Monday, July 21, 2014

MAQ Fun Class Of The Day

Of course I had to share my Curvalicious class as the fun class of the day. I had such a great class of women. It was a mixture of beginners and more experienced quilters. I knew some of the ladies from last year and some of them from my local area. They all made great progress and I was so proud at the Show n a Tell on Saturday night as they paraded across the stage.



This was new to me. A wallpaper seam roller to press open seams. I have to go find mine, because my wallpapering days are over.

The quiltaperazzi!

Day 3 I taught my fiber mosaics. It was a perfect class for a Sunday.

A no sewing machine class.

Can't wait until next year. Thank you to all of the staff that worked so hard to make this a wonderful experience. And I am so happy to have reconnected with women from last year and to have made so many new friends.

Try it next year. You won't regret it.


Friday, July 18, 2014

MAQ's Fun Class Of The Day

Today was the first day of the Mid Appalachian Quilters get together. I wasn't teaching today, so I was able to check out a bunch of the classes and chat with teachers and students. It was great to see all the different classes being offered. There was definitely one class that I would have loved to take. Theresa Fusco, a fire cracker of a test her, was teaching how to make your own unique floor cloth.

It looked like so much fun and I wish I had been one of her students. The students loved her. Everyone had a blast and they all finished, except for the final seal coat. Here are a bunch of photos of the floor mats in different stages:

Teresa gets down and dirty with her students.













The class was so well received that she is going to do it again next year.

Check her out:


Monday, July 14, 2014

Where Do I Buy My Silk?

I am often asked where do I by my dupioni silk. Although Philadelphia has a fabric district, it is a mere shadow of what it used to be, so I hop on the bus and travel to the garment district of NYC. This is my shop:

It's called Butterfly Fabrics or Bazar Fabrics, located on 39th street. All the fabrics in the store are from India. Looking at all their beautiful fabrics, I wish I had a fancy event to attend because I would love a ball gown made from many of their them. This is their wall of silk dupioni:

If I won the lottery I would buy 1 yard of every single color. My favorite ones are those that are iridescent made using a different color silk thread for the warp and the weft. I was there shopping for my upcoming workshop at the Mid Appalachian Quilts education seminar.

There's construction everywhere in NY. This is outside of the shop.Lots of scaffolding.

I met my cousin who lives in Manhatten when I was done shopping. We visited the Hell's Kitchen Flea. I passed it walking to the Garment District from the bus stop and it looked irresistible. I don't know what came over me, but I couldn't resist these African masks.

And I bought one!

My cousin spoils me when we get together. She had a list of things we could do, but we ended up catching up and visiting with her dear, sweet dog. She did take me to the roof of her apartment building and what a treat that was.

And look at these views:

Empire State Building

The Chrysler Building. This is my favorite building in the city. I remember when I did a Wednesdays Wandering block about this building. You can see the post HERE.

And I love these old water cisterns.

And of course we had lunch at a wonderful deli. I had the most delicious matzah ball soup with half a summery egg salad sandwich on real rye bread - that's with carroway seeds. Yum!



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Done! And It Feels Good

I finished my silk flower quilt. It measures about 40" square. I call it Chrysanthemums. I love the combination of dupioni silk and batiks. A little bit of hot pink velvet thrown in, really makes it pop.

Most of the flowers aren't perfectly symmetrical. I blame it on my discomfort and working in the mountains without all my tools. It is said that to do a job right, you need the right tools. I do love my nested acrylic circles.

I have started doing a lot of my bindings completely by machine. Why not? Not only is it quicker, but it think it will last longer over time. I have to admit that it has taken several quilts before it has gotten less nerve wracking. I still have corner issues. But I have them even when I bind by hand.

Here are some photos of how I attach my binding by machine.

The first step is to stitch double fold binding to the wrong side of the quilt with a 1/4" seam allowance.


Then I turn it to the front, just covering the stitching line and top stitch it down. I move my needle to the left so I can use the edge of my walking foot as a guide.

The only place where I pin my binding is as I approach the corners. I try my best to make it as perfect as I can.

As I miter each corner, I stitch into the point and back out again and then continue on my merry way.

I stitch into the corner and back out, turn the quilt 90 degrees with my needle down, and then keep going on my merry way. I stitch the entire binding down without cutting my thread. I tie them off at the end.

While we were in the Poconos, we surprised the kids and took them out to dinner where they were married. I can't believe it was 2 years ago. When I made the reservations, I made a note that this was their wedding reception location. Lo and behold, they brought over flutes of champagne for all of us to celebrate. How lovely.


Bailey was kind enough to put up with Cooper. Kind of!










Sunday, June 29, 2014

What Are You Working On?

I have been nursing a sore shoulder with radiating pain down my arm. It's really a constant tingling and basically a PIA. About 8 years ago I became an avid cyclist. It certainly helped to make me very healthy, but was accompanied by 2 broken shoulders. It happened within 3 months of each other, both as a result of accidents. The first one was a separated shoulder. When that felt a bit better, against my doctors orders, I got back on my bike and broke my collar bone. Both of them required surgery. Both of the surgeries required metal pins and then another surgery to remove the pins. I severely cut back on my riding, especially with groups. Group riding can help to protect you in numbers when you are riding on the road, but then there are all those other cyclists that you can collide with.
Recently I noticed that I had shoulder pain when I did a lot of upper body exercise, including sewing! It resulted in constant tingling radiating down my arm into my hands. It got so bad that I had to stop sewing and I finally went to see my doctor. He suspected arthritis or a herniated disk in my neck. But hey, it was my shoulder. He sent me for X-rays and to see a physical therapist.
I went to a physical therpaist that my friend recommended. (Why do we all know these things?) I have to say I think this woman was a genius. You know I didn't want to give into this arthritis diagnosis. That would mean I was getting old. After pushing and pulling and feeling my bones and muscles in my back, the PT diagnosed me with Scapular Instability. That made such sense to me. There is no tendon in that shoulder connecting the muscle to the bone. Could a DR ever had figured that out? So I am on my way to less tingling and more comfort. The most important thing is that I can sew again. Hooray!
Instead of being silent, I thought I would share what I have been working on. I have 2 projects that are currently on my design wall. The first is a silk piece. These are the blocks using fusible appliqué and made from dupioni silk.

I have added a talk about working with dupioni silk to my lecture repertoire. It's a new talk and I am scheduled to present it in October and then again in November. I cover how to tame silk so it can be treated like cotton and how it can be combined with other fibers such as cotton. I need a couple of more pieces to round out the presentation. The piece above will have a batik sashing and the centers of the flowers will be velvet.
And of course I am working on another Curvalicious piece. Ever since that tool arrived on my doorstep, I go from one idea to the next. It is so exciting to come up with more uses for it. This was inspired by my trip to the beaches of Delaware and my visit to the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, DE. I will give you a sneak peak, because it is only a top right now with no border. I call it "A Day At The Beachalicious".
It's funny how designs evolve. My first thought was to use the tool to make waves and create an underwater scene, which I still might do. I had some fish left over from the group quilt from my DILs baby shower. I put them jumping through the waves and that made me think of the beach. It needed a design element up top, so I added sailboats. But then the fish got lost and just looked incongruous. I removed them. I added some beach umbrellas to fill the upper section. The foreground needed a bit more and thus the sand pails. I need to add a border and then quilt it. I'll share when it's done. I may also write up a pattern for it if enough people are interested.
I had an idea that I could prepare the waves using Curvalicious with turned under edges. I was concerned that fusing all the waves on top of each other would result in a very stiff quilt. I cut the strips a little wider and since the curves are so gentle I was able to use freezer paper to prep my appliqué. Invisible machine appliqué was my method of choice using invisible thread and a blind hem stitch.
This is why I love quilting and love to design. It is a continual challenge to come up with new ideas and figure out the mechanics of how to accomplish them. I must say that my hubby would rather see me in my quilt studio than on the road on my bike!
What are you working on?
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heading To The Beach

Where I grew up on Long Island, we called it the beach. I moved to the NJ/PA area to find out that t's called The Shore. In Delaware they also call it the beach. Are there other names for this delightful piece of land where the ocean meets the sand?

I am heading to the beaches of Delaware and it couldn't be better timing. What a perfect place to be with the sizzling temperatures that we have been having. I'll be at The Serendipity Quilt Shop in Rehobeth Beach, this Friday. They are having their 6th birthday celebration..

I'll be there to demo my Curvalicious tool. I'll also have silk kits with me.

There will be a bunch of other demos too. The schedule is on their website.

It's really a wonderful shop. I met Kathy Lewis, the owner, when I was visiting the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild a few months ago. They have tons of fabric, lots of batiks, lots of wool and even yarn. If you are looking for beach themed fabric, this is definitely the place.

So if you're in the area or need an excuse for a road trip, come say hi.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tickle Your Brain

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of my quilt guild. I shared this quilt during Show and Tell.

The pattern is called a disappearing 4 patch. I used the directions from The Missouri Star website. It's scrappy and went together quickly and quite easily. Great for a beginner or a fast quickly. I used a larger square to begin with (7") and then cut the squares 1.5" from the mid line. This yielded a 12" block. Here's the link.

I wanted to make a quick and dirty quilt to experiment with an inner border using my Curvalicious tool. I started with a strip of fabric that measured 3" wide by the length of my quilt. After applying fusible web to the back of this strip, I only cut one side of the 3" wide strip of fabric, curvy with the tool.

I fused this to the 5"wide strip of fabric that I cut for my border. I added the circles and stitched them down with a machine blanket stitch, before attaching it to the quilt.


I really like how the borders came together in the corners.

I would have been a little happier if all 4 corners were the same. LOL


I tried a couple of new techniques that I had heard about recently. Nancy Humphreys sent me a link for a video about a no measuring method of joining the tails of your binding by Cassandra Plotts. Let's just say I loved it and will never measure again. Thank you Nancy. Here's the link if you want to try it.

I also used a new type of label for the back. After cutting a 7" square of fabric, I folded it in half and sewed it into the seam allowance when attaching the binding. (It's easy to do if you are sewing the binding to the back of the quilt first.)

I hand stitched down the folded edge and wrote the label with a permanent fabric marker.

It was fun to experiment and it just shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks!