Sayonara

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been posting very frequently. The simple reason is that moving overseas is difficult and I have been tired. Not too tired to sew, but too tired to post…sorry.

Anyway, it will be a while before I will be posting again. This is my last night with my computer and I won’t see my sewing machines till the end of next month. That said, I look forward to my Japanese adventure. I hope to have a lot to tell you once I am back up and running. I have many new and exciting projects that I will need  to discuss.

So until then, see the sadness that is a quilt room being packed up:(

Before

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The take down

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the packing

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Sayonara!!

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Making it matter.

My first post-QuiltCon project is done and I could not be more proud. Not because it is a technical masterpiece (although it is some of my best work) but because I thought about why I was doing it and poured a lot of love into what I was doing.

I had mentioned seeing Thomas Knauer’s lecture at QuiltCon in my last post and his subsequent blog posts really had me thinking, why do I quilt? Why does it matter? Why did I tell everyone that I would make a quilt for a giveaway when I could go to target and get something for 1/3 the price???

Answers came to me quickly, because I love to quilt, it makes me happy, quilts are a tangible expression of love, I love my MOPS group, and I want to see someone’s face when they win this. It’s a gamble since the person who wins may not appreciate my handiwork, but I was going to take it anyway and make it matter. (for those that are unfamiliar, MOPS is a group for the mothers of preschoolers, we meet every other week and eat and chat and attempt to get very real about the ups and downs of motherhood. I have shared some of my darkest mommy moments there and received an amazing amount of love and grace from these women, I highly recommend finding a local chapter to any mommy who needs a break.)

I started with a panel I purchased last year. It has very inspirational bible versus and small squares with words like believe and trust in peacock colors (blue, purple, gold, etc). It is not my style, but maybe I was led to buy it for this purpose. In my head, I was thinking “wrapping yourself in God’s word, wrapping yourself in God’s word, wrapping yourself in God’s word…” As a Christian, this was a very comforting thought.

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I had an idea to offset the panels with the tiny squares place keepers. It’s not an original design (I couldn’t tell you were, but I know it’s been done), but it looks nice and it keeps the focus on the words. I had thought to use several different tone on tone blacks as the background,but I had trouble finding more than one and what I found looked chaotic. Then I found one I really liked and thought, “let’s keep it simple.”

The quilt top went together fast!

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Next was the backing. I had some leftover squares and the black that I made a strip with. I then went back to the quilt shop and found a royal purple fabric that worked great. Backing done! Now to the quilting. I could have tried some free motion feathers or some paisley, but I went with a tried and true grid with my walking foot. I had a variegated thread in pinks/blues/green/yellows that looked good against the black. It was a therapuetic quilt in many ways for me and I loved the results!

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I was so happy to give this away and knowing that a piece of me is out there. My gamble paid off…this quilt matters(if only to me) and will be going out into the universe to bring warmth and comfort. Some day, years from  now, someone I don’t know will have this wrapped around themselves finding comfort. A piece of me wrapped up in it!

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Update: The woman who received this quilt sent me a lovely thank you message via Facebook:)

I leave you with this, a mini quilt I created. I got to practice my free motion skills on this and I like him a lot. It will hang in our house in Japan to remind me of our little orange house here in California.

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QuiltCon Recap – Sorry it’s late…

I won’t lie…I have been putting off writing this post for too long. Almost immediately after QuiltCon people were putting up their recaps about what they liked, what they did in Austin, who they met, and even a little of what they didn’t like. I guess I needed to wait and process all the information and experiences I had before I could put together a coherent post. I am not really sure if it will be coherent, but I need to get this out at some point.

QuiltCon in a word – awesome! It was a big step for me in many ways. One – I traveled without my family which I don’t do often. It’s funny that without my children around I was actually able to concentrate more on the lectures, look more closely at the vendors, and in general have conversations that don’t involve me screaming “knock it off…get down from there…don’t touch that….1…2….” Two – I was able to concentrate not only on the technical aspects of quilting, but the creative and philosophical aspects as well. I am learning the concept of why quilts matter and how I as a quilt maker matter which will result in a better quality quilts that I make. Three – This was a big learning experience as far as networking. I learned a lot from other bloggers about how they network and find success. I even met a few people who read this blog (shout out to Nicci in Bakersfield!!!) All in all, it was a great trip and I could go on for hours, but I won’t. Instead, I will condense this post to my top 3 experiences at QuiltCon (I am leaving out a lot, but some experiences may be just for me;)

1. I just discovered Thomas Knauer!!!!

Seriously, he blew my mind and I am stalking his Facebook page for any and all wisdom he has to share. He had two talks about modern quilting. The first was modern vs Modern and the message was simple – Don’t worry about being modern, just make good quilts. The talk gave me my first quiltgasm of the convention (one of many)!! The next talk was about the history of modern and Thomas started with the first photograph and how that image helped create the modern art movement. Yeah…blew my mind…another quiltgasm. Recently he wrote a post titled “Product/Producer” that included this wonderful statement:

“My investment in modern quilting is not a matter of style, but of substance; it is predicated on the notion that modern quilting comes not from aesthetic markers but from an active and thoughtful engagement in the complexities of life at this moment. It is my belief that modern work comes from genuine reflection upon one’s place in the world, from the realities on one’s life, not through the mimicry of stylistic tropes.”

Yeah…I could listen to this for hours.

2. Turns out, I don’t want a long arm!!!

I took a class with Angela Walters, Quilting Negative Space, and while I enjoyed the designs and I really enjoyed Angela (she is quite entertaining) – I do not like quilting on long arm machines.

I will let that sink in.

It’s true. While I always thought I wanted one, the reality is I felt too far away from the fabric. I couldn’t feel what I was doing. This was an invaluable lesson and one that saved me thousands of dollars!!! My husband is thrilled:)

The next day was Elizabeth Hartman’s “Free Motion on the Home Machine” where I learned that I not only prefer a home machine, I really love using a home machine…I feel closer to the fabric…like feeling the road in a car…deep stuff…I know. (I had a few quiltgasms during the class…I tried to keep it on the DL). Seriously, I have been a free motion freak since I got home AND I even took my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) off the machine…it feels so good!!!!

3. The Quilts

I will leave you with this…the quilts that struck my fancy…not all of them…some of them are on my phone, but I am being lazy…enjoy!!!

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Ready to get my “Quilt On” at QuilCon!!!!

Like so many of you I am super duper excited to be going to the first QuiltCon in Austin, Tx!! I have been really busy the past few days preparing for this event, including…

Making a new tool/supply bag and a matching travel sewing kit with pincushion:)

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The totally awesome tool bag I technically made a month ago, but the travel sewing kit and pincushion is from this week. I got the pattern from a back issue of Stitch Magazine (Fall 2010). Here it is rolled up…

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Next was to prepare my materials for my classes (Elizabeth Hartman‘s Free Motion for the Home Machine and Angela Walters‘ Quilting Negative Space).

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I have to admit that it wasn’t until I got the supply list that I felt this was real. I don’t take adventures very often without my family so this is kind of big deal for me.

I am also going to three different meet ups. I am representing my guild (East Bay Represent!!!) at the Modern Quilt Guild’s Leadership meet up. No swaps or anything, but they do have a cash bar;) The next night is the Pile of Fabric’s Skill Builder QuiltCon Meetup hosted by Alyssa Lichner. She is doing a pin cushion swap. It is a secret swap so I will show you the back only…I promise you the front is really cute:)

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Later that same evening is the 80’s dance party sponsored by Babylock. I took my husband and boys to the mall with me and found a suitable 80’s inspired outfit that I am willing to wear for other occasions…maybe not the fingerless lace gloves…

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The next night I have organized a meet up for the Bay Area Guilds. We actually have 4 modern guilds in the Bay Area; East Bay, North Bay, South Bay, and just plain Bay Area. I am looking forward to some Bay Area love in Austin:)

That will be my last night in Austin:(

I will leave you with this, my last project before I leave…A Clean Sewing Room!!!

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As I explained to my husband, I plan on being inspired, by the lectures, the classes, the quilt show, the demos, the meet ups…all of it! The last thing I want is to come home to a messy sewing room where I can’t jump in to my next project.


QuiltCon Link Party!!!

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Five things you may not know about me.

1.

I have only been quilting for a little over 6 years. My husband deploys a lot and I needed a hobby to keep my busy. Little did I know that it would become an obsession!!

2.

I am moving to Japan at the end of May!! My husband is getting stationed at the Yokota Base outside Tokyo.

3.

I take very few things seriously except how I care for my Bernina.

4.

I am an identical twin.

5.

I have lived in a lot of different places, but I love northern California the most.

See you all at QuiltCon!!!!


Stitch Modern 2013

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STITCH MODERN IS BACK AND BETTER THEN EVER!!!!!! Here are the deets:

We are at the Piedmont Center for the Arts
located on 801 Magolia Avenue in Piedmont/Oakland.
The gallery hours are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 12-3pm
from February 1 through the 24th.

Please come by and visit. The gallery will be staffed by one of our very own East Bay Modern quilters, so please feel free to ask questions!

We have several awesome events that will interest quilters and non quilters alike.

Lecture: Modern Improv Quilting and Process by Sherri Lynn Wood
Feb. 5, 7-8:30pm
Piedmont Center for the Arts
$5 entry fee
An exciting lecture and trunk show by the artist, Sherri Lynn Wood who will share the ideas behind improvisational quilting and her unique design process.

Textile Design Panel Discussion and Q&A
Feb. 9, 12:30-1:30
Piedmont Center for the Arts

We’ve lined up an exciting panel of local, Bay Area fabric designers to tell us about their process and to answer all of our textile design questions.  The event will be moderated by EBMQG’s own Kim Andersson and the panel will consist of Ellen Heck of Cathy Heck Studios, Pati Fried, Sandy Klop of American Jane, Jennifer Moore of Monaluna, and Carol Van Zandt.

Family Activity Day
Feb. 10, 12:00-2:30
Piedmont Center for the Arts

This is my favorite event since I love to get my boys and husband involved in my little hobby;) Bring your kiddos and/or your significant other for a fun day with textiles and crafts. There will be a scavenger hunt, fun crafts, and snacks! It will be a great opportunity to explore the world of fabric and thread with your whole family, plus you can check out the quilts of the Stitch Modern 2013 show while you’re there.

Lecture: Threads of Transition, Patterns of Change: Rabari Appliquéd Textiles of India by Kristine Vejar
Feb. 13, 7-8:30

**To be held at A Verb for Keeping Warm**
Join the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild for a lecture by Kristine Vejar as she discusses the gorgeous, appliqued textiles of three nomadic camel herding tribes in India, known as Rabari.

This lecture is free and open to the public, but PLEASE RSVP as space is limited!

Sew SaturDay with East Bay Modern Quilt Guild
Feb. 16, 12-3
Piedmont Center for the Arts
Come and join us for a Sew Day! Bring your sewing machine or hand-work project and hang out with us as we sit and sew at the Stitch Modern 2013 exhibit!

Too far away to make it? Check out our flickr and some of our member’s blogs (like here, or here, or here, here, or even here) on the goings on.

If you can’t make it in time to see Stitch Modern at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, don’t worry!  You can catch our quilts in the Stitch Modern special exhibit at the San Francisco Quilters Guild Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10 at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco.

I will leave you with this, EBMQG’s new logo!!!

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Great job to Joel Ignacio and Kim Andersson for their snazzy new design!!!


Happy New Year!!!

It’s a new year and there are big things going on, so I won’t be posting as frequently for the first half of the year. Why?, you may ask…. because my family is moving to Japan!!! My husband is in the Air Force and he will be stationed at the Yokota Air Base near Tokyo for three years. My kids are super excited (especially Rad since he loves sushi) as is my husband, but I am a little stressed by the whole thing. I think it is mainly the idea of moving my sewing room overseas. I am now preparing to clean out my stash, prioritize what projects needs to be done versus put away until after the move, and find some projects to keep me busy while my sewing machines are in storage. We move in May…*deep breath in*….*deep breath out*….I can do this:)

I am trying not to start any big projects since I am still working on my quilt of Prissy. I am naming it “At the End of Her Reign, the Queen Preferred Quiet Days in the Sun.” My hope is to get all 9 panels completed before May…I have finished three.

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I had made a sewing machine cover for my big machine so I thought I should make one for my little guy. I used the Madrona Road  fabric from the Modern Quilt Guild challenge and a free pattern from Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine. I was also able to get some Free motion practice:)

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I have joined two BOM. I enjoyed the Craftsy 2012 one so much that I signed up for the 2013 BOM. It’s free and this year is a little more traditional, but still very playful. I like that it isn’t a mystery quilt and I like that they include a coloring page so I could plan out what colors I would use where.  I am using some bright solids with Carol Van Zandt’d Licorice Fizz collection.

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I also joined Alyssa Lichner’s Skill Builder BOM on her blog Pile o Fabric. This one is free, very modern, and is a quilt-as-you-go project. She even includes FMQ instructions. I am using Kona Snow with scraps, here are the January blocks:)

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I am gearing up for QuiltCon!! I made a totally awesome tool bag to take to my class with Elizabeth Hartman!!! That will be 5 days in February with no children and nothing but time to sew and  talk shop!!!!

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But before QuiltCon is the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild’s Stitch Modern Quilt Show. My quilt, “Finding Your Way”, will be hanging. We have a ton of events planned including an opening reception, family day (with demos), textile design Q&A with local fabric designers, a sew day, a lecture by Kristine Vajar, and the really big deal….a lecture by Sherri Lynn Woods!!!! If you are in the area please come by and check us out. The show runs from February 1 through February 24. Visit us at http://eastbaymodernquiltguild.wordpress.com for more information.

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I will leave you with this, my husband and I have started a round robin quilt. We are just using scraps and focusing on improvisation and wonkiness. Dave is working on the dragon block to attach. I don’t know how big the quilt will be, but we are having fun with it.

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The 5 stages of Quilt Show Rejection

The stages of Quilt Show Rejection are universal and are experienced by quilters from all walks of life. In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage more or less intensely. The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of our quilt show rejection. The rejection of your quilt from a show might inspire you to evaluate your own feelings of quilting and sewing. Throughout each stage, a common thread of hope emerges. As long as there is fabric, there are quilts. As long as there is thread, there is quilting.

Stage 1 – Shock and Denial

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“What do you mean my quilt didn’t get in. It was magnificent!! I spent months carefully piecing and quilting and sewing on a hanging sleeve….this can’t be real!!!”

Stage 2 – Anger

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“When I get to the show I will give them a piece of my mind starting with #!@% yourself!””

Stage 3 – Bargaining

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“Maybe if I just called or e-mail and explain that it wasn’t a good picture and that it’s for charity….they have to understand that. That would mean I have to give it to charity…”

stage 4 – Depression

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“I will never quilt again. Burn everything I have, shut the door to my sewing room…all is lost…pass the gin.”

stage 5 – Acceptance

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“Wait a minute, it’s just a show….I have too many projects I need to finish…back to it!”

I will leave you with this, my rejected quilt and I snuggling with my boys (and Otterpop) on the couch.

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My Favorite Things

Hello and welcome to my final post of the year. I have been very busy this holiday season and will probably not be posting again until January, but that may be a lie….who knows!!!

Anyway, I thought a good way to end was to discuss some of my favorite sewing items. They all make great gifts and stocking stuffers and most should be at your local quilt shop. Sew, let’s get started.

1. Batting tape – I have discussed my love of batting tape before. It is a very thin fusible tape that joins two pieces of batting together. It is perfect for small or large projects where you have enough batting pieces, but you need a way to join the pieces. I get mine at my local shop, Cornerstone Quilt Shoppe.

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2. Sewline fabric pencil – I just discovered this as a way to mark fabric. You can use the special eraser to remove the marks or you can use a damp cloth. It makes precise marks and doesn’t rub off  like chalk does. I also like that I can buy several colors of lead to show up on different colors of fabric.

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3. Transfer-eze – I discovered this on the same shop hop I discovered the sewline pencil. This is a wonderful product to transfer embroidery patterns onto any fabric. You simple run it through your printer, peel and stick where you want to embroider. When you are done embroidering, you put it in water and it dissolves.

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I used it to make embroidery a design for a sewing machine cover. I don’t think my embroidery has looked better:)  The cover pattern can be found on generation q magazine’s site.

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4. Qtools cutting edge/sewing edge – Dawn Schwab at Cornerstone turned me onto these. If you have a project that need precision (and I know you do) then these will help you make precise cuts and seams. The cutting edge is a movable vinyl piece that you place on your ruler. It butts up to the fabric and helps make every cut the same size. I am using this to make Prissy’s quilt since it depends on lots of 1 inch square cuts.

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The sewing edge is placed on your machine. It is an edge you can use to but your fabric against to make all your seams the same size. Perfect for beginners:)

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5. Craftsy classes – I can’t say enough for craftsy and their classes. I have taken many of their free classes and I finally paid for two classes. One of those is the Leah Day free motion class. I don’t do lots of free motion, but I want to learn. By watching Leah Day’s classes I did a little sampler using my sewing machine cover. Here is the result (mind you, I don’t do a lot of this)

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Not bad!! I am getting more and more comfortable and am preparing to free motion my first big quilt.

I will leave you with this. This is a time for giving back and our guild is one of the many participating guilds in a charity event for the Austin’s children shelter. I volunteered to do the backing for our quilt. We received mostly log cabin blocks, except for this one rectangle block which we decided to feature on the back. Another guild member (Terri) gave me the yellow fabric so I had very little to buy.

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I look forward to seeing what the other guild members do for the front!!

Marry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!


USE ALL THE MUSLIN!!!

Watch out, people! I have got a bolt of muslin and I am not afraid to use it!!!

A friend of my parents gave me a bolt of muslin that she insisted she would never use and wanted me to have it. I am fixing a quilt for her, but I will save that story for another post. Anyway, I will admit that at the time I took the fabric with no real plan…but how many of us have a plan when we get fabric..really?! It struck me a few weeks back that I could use the muslin in two different projects. It would have the right look and I wouldn’t have to buy more fabric…double win!!

First, I finished  my Stash Bee quilt. I put together all the blocks and added a wonky border to two sides. I love the wonkiness of it all!

For the backing, I used the muslin and scraps from my scrap bin. Anything that was already sewn together from previous projects I threw in the mix. I included the log cabin my husband made along with a few of my own wonky log cabins. One block got lost in the mail and the member (Debbie Gay at Back River Designs) had to make a new block to send me. Since I am impatient, I put the blocks together without Debbie’s block. But, I got the block in time to put it on the back where it stands out (see the log cabin on the left).

It was fun exercise in improvisational piecing. I plan to use this quilt as a quilting sampler so I can practice my free motion. I have been reading a lot about free motion (doing lots of doodles) and really believe that is the next level for me. I was lucky enough to get in the Elizabeth Hartman class at QuiltCon (free motion quilting on the home machine). I even found a very cool quilting tutorial by Leah Day (I plan on practicing on my muslin!!!). I also have a pack of decorative threads I got at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach ready to try out:)

Next muslin project, my Craftsy block of the month top!! I used muslin to sash the blocks and to border the quilt. I also added a scrappy middle border. FYI: the class is still available and is FREE!!!

Side story, This is my adult rhea (pronounced ree). I am an identical twin. When my sister and I were young we developed twin speech pattern which is a fancy way to say we made up our own twin language. Part of that language was the rhea (it’s how I pictured it being spelled…and it’s our language so I get to decide these things) which was my blanket. I loved my first one to death and my mother was able to find a suitable replacement. I still have the replacement but that is beside the point. What will make this a rhea and not just a quilt, satin binding…oh yeah!

Any way, I thought the muslin worked really well with the fabrics I chose (AKA -my old lady prints). I used another Craftsy class to make the back. It was the Elizabeth Hartman’s creative quilt backs (another FREE class). I used Elizabeth’s tips to create a fun improvisational backing. I will finish this quilt with some diamond grid quilting.

I leave you with this…Licorice Fizz!!

This is Carol Van Zandt’s new collection. She gave my guild some free yardage and I have big plans for it.