Sunday, December 16, 2012

My favorite assistant!

Well Little Man was over this weekend for a sleepover at Nana's and Grandpa's. Trying to get him to work on a project for his Momma was a NO GO! He was quite happy to be my assistant though! Here he is holding up my latest project! Pretty good assisting for a 3-year old!
This is the baby quit for my cousin in Hungary. By the time Canada Post will get it there, I am sure the baby will be a year old! will still be cuddled! This is the first project that I really practiced my free motion quilting on. Here's a closeup of some of the stiches. The only one that I actually drew on was the "A" outline. It sure gave me more confidence with each triangle that I did. A good wash gave it the super-soft cuddle to it and Little Man gave it an extra cuddle since it was going to one of his cousins!
I used 100% Egyption cotton in the bobbin and the top. One thing I did notice was a whole lot of lint build-up. I had to clean out the machine twice and re-thread the machine twice. The way it stitched was great. Some of the designs were super easy and yet some of the others not so great. I think that practice will improve my stitching somewhat. It was worth taking the free-motion class with Lorraine Stangness. It sure took the fear out of free-motion. Now I get to experiment with different threads and needles. Not too crazy though! One step at a time. The pattern is Chop Sticks by Jaybird quilts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back to Winter...goodbye Nevada!

Well Chef Murphy and I took a break to go to Phoenix, Nevada on a FART (Fabric Acquisition Road Trip!). Of course anything to do with fabric is a blessing and Chef Murphy found a place for cheese making supplies! Both of us were thrilled! This is what we left:
After arriving in beautiful Phoenix we went here:
We went to Flagstaff this time (WTF = Welcome to Flagstaff!)
At the stroke of midnight in Flagstaff, the giant acorn drops to bring in the New Year! Wonder if they have insurance on that thing in case it bonks someone on the head? ha ha! Then we continued our trip to Sedona for sunset:
The pictures are never as nice as they are in person! We tried to get to the top of the airport vortex area to feel the "spirits" but there was no parking at all! Maybe the next visit we will make it! We continued our trip to Jerome -- now you gotta see this place! It's an old mining town that's built on the side of the mountain top. We stayed at The Connor Hotel -- the original one that is true to it's roots. I'll give you a peek at the room. This is an amazing little town to visit if you are in the area. Very touristy, thus the prices of everything is reflected the same. The food was fantastic and we were very happy with our stay. Take a look at the great tin ceiling and the remnants of one of the older buildings.
When we left Jerome, we headed toward Prescott and on our drive found an interesting area that was advertised for home sales. We decided to take a little drive in and see what it was all about. Take a look at this house! How would you like to live here?
Our final stop was Prescott and then off to Phoenix where we would shop some more! In the middle of no where look what we found!
so on to some fabrics! Take a look at the new additions that I found to add to my stash!
Some of the larger pieces of Christmas fabric is for some tree skirts that I have planned. I hope to get to those in the next week. I also picked up a new book on Free Motion Quilting! What a wonderful resource! Hope I can become as great as all of you out there!
Now I don't pay much attention to buying all coordinating fabrics when I am adding to my stash. If I love the fabric, I buy it! I don't stick to any one designer as I believe they all have their gifts and choices of colours. I love batiks and I've found some great "cheapo" fabrics that were 100% cotton that fit in quite nicely. I "feel" the fabric. You can tell some grades of fabrics are not as "sturdy" as others. I don't wash my fabrics and have not had trouble with it. I do use a colour catch when I wash and I personally love the puckering that takes place once it's washed. In my early quilting days I was told that you HAD to wash, and you HAD to press and you HAD to use templates! Well first of all I hate being told what I HAVE to do and secondly, the easier, the better. Personally I can't see the difference between quilts that had pre-washed fabric to quilts that did not have pre-washed fabric. It's all a choice. If you have reds in your quilt, watch how you wash it. You wouldn't put a red blouse in with your white blouse now would you? If you like pink, then take the risk. So again -- it's choices!
My favorite shop of course in Arizona is 3 Dude's Quilting. Ray has a new pattern out (like my Arizona quilt that I did earlier this year). He is in the process of writing the pattern now and it will be available on line for purchase. Well worth every penny I am sure. He was kind to offer his first pattern for free, and it's still free if you visit their website. Check it out! Here's one of Ray's patterns that I picked up this past week:
One of the classes that you can find in the shop is this one: (of course I had to bring the pattern home!)
I hope that I've inspired you to dig out those fabrics and get sewing! I've been busy with my free-motion quilting of a baby blanket. I'm hand-stitching the binding and it will be photo-ready before it hits the post office! I'm not so afraid anymore and hope that this opens up the doors to more free-motion! Though, Karen, my long arm quilter is NOT off the hook! haha! I'll be still bringing her my bigger projects to do! I have some that are being worked on now but won't be posted as they are surprises for some people! Happy Quilting everyone!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Here We Come!

Saturday I finally found myself back in a class -- after so many years! I think my first class was in 1996 and then a hand quilting class followed. That was it! The rest of my quilting experience has been by trial and error, the purchase of way too many magazines, and the books! So finally, I decided that I couldn't do it all on my own! I so admire those who can! I have ordered CD's and own numerous "free motion" books and have read into the wee hours trying to figure out how I could do it. What I discovered was I needed hands-on and someone over my shoulder telling me what I was doing wrong. Along Came Quilting was hosting Lorraine Stangness with a free motion class for a Saturday. I paid for the class and waited patiently!
Lorraine's class was so enjoyable and her instructions in class (and her book)were so easy to follow! We had lots of time to practice the new stitches and great feedback from her. The only comment the majority of us had was it would have been nice to have a morning class and then head home for the week to practice and then come back the following Saturday for another morning. The full day class was exhaustive, but so worth it! Lorraine is an amazing teacher and hope that she has more classes to come! Here's a sample of my "practice" squares. You can tell that I need LOTS of practice! I'm not so terrified and look forward to practicing!
After practicing again today, I started quilting a baby quilt that is to head overseas. Of course, I had an instant helper! Take a look:
When quilting gets to THIS point, you have to shut the machine down and call it a day! Happy quilting everyone!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Donation quilt - United Way

A co-worker and I were talking "quilts" last year and decided that this year we would do a quilt together to donate to United Way to generate much needed donations! It's an easy pattern, which I am sure you recognize! What a versatile pattern! You can make it any size you want, depending on the number of 2.5" strips you sew together.
The quilting of course was superb! I just love what Karen can do with the quilts! She makes them into works of art! Thanks Karen!
Many thanks to Jolene who generously donated the back and worked Thanksgiving weekend putting together the giant blocks and working in the beautiful piano border.
I wish you all could see this in person -- the photo's do not do it justice! Here's hoping that the lucky winner will love it as much as I do! If you are interested in this pattern -- head over to Take a tour of their website! The pattern is easy to follow and one that I will make again! Happy Quilting Everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Amazing Friends!

You gotta love friends! One of friends who I used to work with went to Japan. She's a sweet gal who always brings home beautiful "something" for her friends. Now no matter what I tell her..."no", "thanks, but no", "that's really sweet, but please don't", she brings something for me regardless. Well this time, against everything that I was told when I was growing up, I ASKED that if she was bringing something home, to please bring me a swatch of Japanese fabric. I of course, promised her in turn to bring something from Portugal (which I "ahem"...still have not gotten to her!) Never in a million years did I think I would get what I did! Take a look!
I called to thank her today as another co-worker brought it to work today. I was so excited, I had to call her from work to thank her! The story goes that both her and her boyfriend found a shop with textiles on their journey. My friend dragged him in and the both of them were searching through bundles of fabric to pick the one they thought I would love (I think I would be pretty thrilled with anything! wouldn't you?) So this lovely little bundle from over the ocean came to join my stash!
サリーありがとうございます! (let's hope this really says "Thank you Sally!") PS...Sally we need to get together for my turn to pass along something!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crochet with thread? Are you nutz?

Apparently I am! I tried my hand for the first time with crochet thread. I didn't have a crochet hook small enough, so I had to go out and buy one! The smallest I had was a US00 -- and I needed a size 10 (1.15 mm). I could barely see the little holes! Are you people crazy? (the ones who do all those beautiful doilies with the thread!) I always admired those who could crochet those beautiful things -- now I am even MORE impressed!
A few years ago, my assistant had her baby girl that I made a quilt for. She's coming up to three years old now, so I thought a little dolly blanket was in order. I found some super-soft flannel that was so yummy! I wanted to dress it up a bit and saw a great idea in Glacier Quilts when I was down there in September. I used a hemstitch needle to finish the edge and create a place to crochet into. Next time I will space out the stitches a bit more and see if I can trim a bit closer to the edge (or sew closer?) My crochet up close is a bit messy, but the end result above really doesn't show.
My hands hurt poking in the crochet hook for the first round. Once the first round was in, the rest of it was completed quickly! So while I was crocheting tonight, look who came to "Trick or Treat"! Was definately MY treat tonight!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Georgetown Inn, Canmore, Alberta

Along with Creative Stitches -- a weekend wouldn't be complete without a wonderful getaway with Chef Murphy. He surprised me with this place in February this year and I decided to surprise him for his birthday this weekend! Take a look at how beautiful this place is! Every room is beautiful and they treated us like gold. I just love that the rooms are not cookie cutter! The food in their "pub" was fantastic and again we were not dissapointed. If you are looking for a peaceful and romantic place -- this is it. By the way, they also welcome scrapbookers and quilters as well as they have great workrooms that a group can gather in.
One of the other rooms we got to stay in! *sigh*
They have an old-fashioned elevator where you open the door yourself and have to hold the button in for it to move. The rooms are cozy and warm. What a gem of a get-away! Call them up and make a reservation! Take your honey there for a night away! ;-) You deserve it!