Once Upon A Quilt

 

 

Recently I had the pleasure of traveling to Ft Lauderdale and taught at a retreat with Angie Steveson and Carol Ann Waugh.  Wow, I had a blast!  Let’s begin by saying this always freezing cold girl was headed somewhere warm!  Oh yeah!  The only downside was that it was the perfect weather for doing my favorites thing in the world, besides quilting, which is playing golf.   The mild temperatures and the bright shining sun teased me with their amazing golfing conditions.  I made a silent pact with weather gods of Ft Lauderdale that I would return, in the not so far off future, with golf clubs and a tee time calling my name.

The hub of where I taught was “One Upon A Quilt”.  This fabulous store is owned by Lisa Stevens. If you are ever in Ft Lauderdale and have any interest in quilting you MUST visit her shop!  I’ve included a quick video so that anyone that might be traveling her way can see what they are missing.  Trust me you don’t want to miss an opportunity to see what her establishment has to offer, I’m hoping that she invites me back very soon!

What does 60 fabulous quilters plus 3 days equal? An extraordinary amount of incredible quilting!  Angie Stevenson was the embroidery guru, Carol Ann Waugh was the stitching queen, and me; the quilting goddess… lol.

Each day we were presented with 20 new fresh quilters.  The three of us taught our specialty.  I’ll admit not everyone was thrilled to learn quilting with use of rulers. Many stated that they quilt by check, but I eventually brought 99.99999% of them to the ruler side of quilting. Moreover, now having learned this process they have obtained an appreciation for what their quilters must accomplish. At the retreats conclusion it appeared everyone was leaving with a lot of useful information and techniques.  I may have actually created some quilting monsters, or at least I hope I did!  It was very impressive to witness how talented these individuals were; even the ones who quilted by check…

My second class was by far my rowdiest group.  And I mean that in the best of ways.  Note the picture below.

Did I drive them all to drink? Is that picture a good thing or a bad thing?

I wonder what are your thoughts on that, please share!

 

24 Hour Drive-We Got This!

 

Driving, I actually enjoy it, seriously I find it therapeutic to listen to a little music, put on my sunglasses and hit the road.  Until you say the three words “24 hour drive”.  Since my trip from hell, driving back from Houston, I will announce loud and clear that I’m NEVER EVER AGAIN making a “24 hour drive”.  Yes, I said,“NEVER” and I meant it!

The Houston Quilt Festival ended on Sunday at 4pm.  Judy and I packed up the booth in record time and were ready to hit the road at 5:30pm.  A whole half hour ahead of schedule, wahoo!  Our plan was to drive four hours, on Sunday, and end up in Baton Rouge!  Unfortunately the travel gods had a different plan in mind for us. Within a half hour or so we encountered some of the most ridiculous traffic ever.  Why was it so ridiculous, well normally you have bumper to bumper traffic due to an accident, congestion due to volume, but not on this day.  No, we crept along at a snail’s pace, and I mean an elderly snail’s pace.  But after about 30 minutes..POOF….all was clear.  Even the WAZE app appeared to be stumped.  It was a Google Maps and WAZE mystery!

The moon was amazing… the photo not so much.

We made it to Baton Rouge, not in record time, and put our feet up.  I briefly  allowed myself to think “ok, this trip might not be so bad”.

 

Below is a picture of Judy and I with our trusty steed (I believe that picture was the 10th attempt of getting a photo we both could agree on, can you imagine what the other photos looked like?).  A huge thanks to Rob for letting us drive it home!

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Destination: Roanoke VA…or not.

This was to be the long travel day.  Our goal was Roanoke, Va, however, at around lunchtime we realized that our expectations were set a bit high.  So we settled for an hour south, Hello Wytheville, VA!

This looks like an interesting pit stop for a potty break.

 

The picture below had my blood boiling!!! The poor dog was obviously so unsteady on his feet and appeared very nervous. What kind of person drives 75 mph, on a highway, with their dog traveling in the bed of the truck? Seriously, I wanted some cop karma to come his way!!

I did feel a little better having my handy-dandy Swedish Fish nearby.  I was starting to go a bit stir crazy at this point.

Who knew Alabama was the never-ending state? We felt as Alabama  seemed to go on forever, we shouted with glee when good ol Georgia came into view.

Hello Chattanooga! And Hello Ryan! My middle son, Noah, has a friend that goes to school in Chattanooga so we figured why not pause for a small break and visit Ryan. He seemed to take our impromptu drop in very well..lol

Thirteen hours of driving and we finally arrived in Wytheville.  Thirteen long hours!

Day 3:  Eta to arrive home: 3-4 pm

Not gonna happen, DC sucks!!  Traffic was horrendous and I’m being kind.  So how do two chicks, that are filled to the gills with Swedish Fish, and going bat crazy from being in vehicle pass the time?  We created a card and every 1/2 hour we checked off the time (see below). Strange, weird, ah maybe..but it occupied us enough that we didn’t kill each other or ourselves until we got home..27 hours later in total.   I posted on my Instagram and created stories about the road trip from hell.  So you might want to make sure you are following me on Instagram…. who knows what I will post next?

 

 

Did I mention it also rained that last 3 hours of our trip? Well it rained during the last 3 hours of our trip.  Bottom line is that Houston to Philadelphia is a long ass drive.  Not recommended by this quilter.

I thank God everyday that Judy is such a dear friend as well as my sister-in-law.  I could not have endure this trip without her.  And although Judy was a good sport during the entire adventure even she said ….. NEVER AGAIN.

Have you had a trip from hell? Or unexpected obstacles along the way of a road trip? I am sure there is more than one path to hell out there! Please share!

Never Fear Lisa’s Here!

 

Have I really been gone a little more than a month without posting on here? Are you kidding me? Being sick and trying to prepare for the Houston International Quilt Festival really through a curve ball into my dedication to blogging.  But I am now back!

The Houston International Quilt Festival was as always a total blast, no shocker there.  I’m sad to report that my redheaded assistant was not in attendance.  It appears she is a hot commodity and has a 9-5 job which prevents her from joining me on trips such as these.  The studio is not the same without that non quilter’s presence.  One day I will hit the lottery, steal her away from job that currently pays her bills and take her full-time.  But I am happy to share that my unwavering cohort, Judy, was ready and willing to step up to the plate.  She never fails to bring a good time with her when we travel together.

Well, even the best laid plans have hiccups and Houston was no exception.  I had been extremely organized and was actually kicking back and relaxing (still recovering from the sickies) when WHAM!  My plans took a little detour.  I will not bore you with all the details as I might lose a few followers, but let’s just says that Judy and I had to drive the 24 hour trip home from Houston.  Stay tuned for more on this.

While in Texas the class I held was amazing and the students were pretty incredible as well!  The bad teacher that I am I didn’t take any pictures, I was to wrapped up in the task at hand and after class it was time to set up our booth.

BEFORE picture:

AFTER picture:  Here is the closest thing I have to an after picture, doesn’t do the booth much justice since the only view you get is between our heads..sorry folks!

I loved seeing all of my quilting peeps!  I know I say it after every event but it never gets old, I thoroughly enjoy seeing faces from the past and hopefully some for the future.  Once again, being the forgetful person I am, I don’t have any pictures to post, although many were taken.  So please, please, please, if you were kind enough to visit my booth and have a pic of the two of us send it to me!

I had the opportunity to dash through and take in all the quilts, they were simply amazing!  Here is my all time favorite.  I can feel a smile spread across my face every time I gaze upon this particular design.  The artist used my favorite fabrics… Cherrywood! Ahhh you can’t go wrong with Cherrywood! This beauty was made by Susan Stewart, doesn’t it just make you wanna smile?!

A good friend of mine, Gilbert Muniz,  is a garment maker and I swear he had me in mind when he created this…

 

He is so lucky he didn’t find it missing, I absolutely LOVE IT!!

Houston Quilt Festival is now an event of the past and I am already looking forward to next year.  But let’s just say I will make damn sure I don’t drive home in 2018!  And that topic is just around the corner folks!

 

Oh My Bleeding Quilt

 

Since my last post on my lovely bleeding quilt I received a ton of emails, all asking how on earth I am going to “try” and fix my poor bleeding quilt.  Because there were so many of you that inquired about the method I’m going to use I thought I would link to Vicki Welsh’s blog!

 

Expermination will be occurring very soon in the Calle Studio; so I’ll keep you all abreast of how it all turns out!

My “Almost” Shoulda, Coulda Been Houston Auction Quilt

 

It’s almost time to say,”Goodbye September and Hello October.”  Which means that getting ready for the big event in Houston is in full swing!  I am keeping my toes and fingers crossed that I see many of you there; just in case you are wondering where we will be located this year I am here to share that we will be in booth # 1223!

 

 

 

 And if necessary there’s always 24 other options available according to the alphabet!  Does the below photograph look familiar to you? My mind has immediate horrifying flashbacks when looking at it!

No too long ago, I had created a post regarding my  4 year forever quilt….. , and the lovely bleeding that graced it’s presence on my fabric.  Bear with me readers… I had an orphan block for this piece and had decided that after applying some beaded piping and a border on this project I would then quilt it.

My goal was to finally have this completed  for the Houston International Quilt Festival’s auction. I’m sad to report that  Houston isn’t going to happen.  Now, although the process did not meet the Houston deadline I DID finish quilting it!  I’m currently waiting for my friend Liz Haskell to provide me with the fabric needed which will allow me to bind this piece.  Having had the unfortunate experience of  the “4 year quilt bled bath” I am thinking that this scenario could repeat itself with the piece displayed below.  This time I am going to be proactive instead of reactive!  When it is time to block the needed area, I will implement the same process (dawn dish detergent) for this piece.  Typically I wouldn’t block such a small piece but I figure I might be about to learn another huge life lesson in regarding my quilting so better to be safe than sorry!

Below is a picture of the almost finished piece.

After much consideration I have also decided to hold off and reserve this for next years auction piece.  Hopefully I will FINALLY have the 4 year quilt finished in its entirety and entered into the Houston show.

Stay tuned for results on how  the blocking of this piece turns out!

Is anyone else gearing up for Houston? Whether you’re vending, teaching or planning on visiting please share your plans!

Pa National Quilt Extravaganza!

 

I was teaching at the PNQE 2017!  In a shocker my students were incredible!  This event had me teaching three classes on the long arms, which were kindly provided by Val of, The Longarm Network, thanks  so much Val!  Our tech support was provided by Matt (we would have been lost without him).  Typically we have the double duo team of Matt and Keith but unfortunately Keith was not in attendance; he was greatly missed.  AND those that enjoy their company during the evening really missed the pair as I have heard they are very entertaining!

So here are a few pictures from PNQE.  My classes wouldn’t be the same without one troublemaker participating, see if you can pick her out.

Every student gave a 110%, and as usual I was a very proud of these students.  They never cease to amaze me with their willingness to try new things and step outside their comfort zone.  Kudos to all of you!

The morning prior to classes was spent setting up our booth.  I was actually excited to break away from the booth and see my students   BUT the most exciting part of my morning was sharing the news to my good friend, Deb Levy, that she won Best of Show! Her work is incredible and she was more than worthy of the award.

Many people stopped by to view her amazing piece, I only witnessed a couple of people drooling over it.  Not to worry I was close by with bibs, and napkins in hand!

On a personal note, I was more than thrilled that my quilt, A Silver Lining, won Best Wall Quilt.  Excuse the poor photography but I was in a bit of a hurry.  Places to go and people to see.

A Silver Lining

 

After completing two wonderful days of teaching, I spent the remainder of my time vending.  Although I did not take few, if any pictures, I had many visitors.  Making new friends and catching up with old ones, was terrific!  I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite mother daughter duos,  Debbie and Donna Lohman! Thank you both for taking the time to say hello, it is always great to see the two of you!  Other guests included, Jolene, who took a moment to stop by on her way back to Florida, Teri Lucas, Renee, and so many other incredible individuals!  I must admit that connecting with such wonderful people is one of the best parts of attending these events.

A HUGE Congrats goes out to Debbie Lohman for receiving “Best Longarm Workmanship in the Traditional Category”!   No pixie dust needed you spread all the sparkle on that beautiful award-winning piece on your own!

During my trip to Hershey, Judy and I met Daria (seen in picture below). We spent time chatting about our favorite topic… quilting, of course!  But who knew I’d come to PNQE and discover that Daria won the award for “Best Longarm Workmanship”?  Obviously, she is one talented quilter! Way to go Daria!

Best Longarm Workmanship

Believe it or not, Judy and I did have a little down time in  between customers.  Downtime between customers doesn’t mean downtime for getting work done.  Judy and I made the most of our time by completing some hand work.

As you can see I REALLY made the most of my time and accomplished quite a bit!

What do you do during down time while vending? Is there something special you have in the works?

September is Here and Almost Gone!

We are mid way through September!  I’m so disappointed that the summer flew by and I know that I did not accomplish nearly half of what I set out to do.

 

What’s there to do besides pull up my big pants and move on, and that means I’m traveling to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PA National Quilt Extravaganza! AND it’s practically in my backyard, well that’s a little exaggeration, but it sure is close to home!

Yes, next week I’ll be in Oaks, PA.  It’s literally located about 20 minutes away, which means no Holiday Inn, or Mariott for this quilter! Trust me any fellow instructor or vendor will agree that is really nice to have a break from living out of a suitcase!  In addition to teaching, I will also be vending!  My copilot, Judy, will be holding down the fort on Thursday and Friday while I conduct classes.  Please stop by and say hello, I don’t want her getting lonely!

I’m thrilled to announce that a couple of my new Getting in the Groove Kits will be accompanying me to this event! Yes, it’s the lovely picture displayed below.   This new kit includes the panel, booklet, and the 6 rulers (ProDiamond Even, ProLine 8, ProLine 1, ProPebble 1/4-1.25, ProPebble 1-2, and ProEcho 11).  I’ve taken all the guess-work out of completing this project by providing all the tools required to accomplish this sweet little sampler.  You will notice that since there is no ditch in which to travel, I hid my traveling with the black rick rack.  Also, along the black curves, if you aren’t perfect in the traveling, a black sharpie marker is your friend. Oh the uses of the sharpie!  It won’t be long before I have more of the panels and will then have them up on my site along with the Rulers for Rookies Kit.

 

 

I’m currently working on my Houston Auction quilt.  I’m vacillating on whether or not this piece is worthy of going to Houston.  The scale is tipping heavily towards “doubts”.

 

I completed further beading… ala Bethanne Nemesh.  It required the use of my BERNINA 750QE.  I thought I was doing a great job, until I pulled it away in order to resume sewing on the longarm.

 

This is no laughter matter! This piece has seen a couple different machines.  My crosshatch is slightly off kilter, and I have a little pucker in the top.  That being said I am still persevering onward and resolve myself to bring this quilt to a close.  I truly hope I can resolve some of these issues, because if not, it will not be heading to Houston. The idea of it not being in attendance at Houston makes me very sad.

I need some input from fellow followers.  Do I send this quilt regardless of the outcome, OR do I save it a nice little reminder of lessons on what not to do?

 

There’s a Traffic Jam Ahead

 

FINALLY!  I reunited with the love of my life…. quilting.  And now that I have time to get back into the quilting game I need to remind myself to get out of my own way.  Yes, I get in the way of myself !  I think I create an enormous traffic jam  of the mind as I agonized over every little decision.  The mental traffic of thoughts remain at a stand still while I ponder over whether the design will appear just right.  Or perhaps perfect is just around the corner if I don’t rush the process and walk away for a while.  Can you understand why my current show quilt is four years in the making?

Initially I felt as though I was in a creative rut;  that I was getting in the way of my own creativity (yes, I create many traffic jams of the mind).  But it then dawned on me…I just need to quilt.  How could I be lacking creativity when I haven’t spent any quality time in front of my machine? Standing in front of my longarm, silently asking for its forgiveness for being MIA, I felt a reply that had me going on Facebook and rekindling the idea of completing a couple of customer quilts.     Thinking back to my roots of doing custom quilts,  it was then that my creativity was at its peak.  My need to step foot back into that arena felt overwhelming.   Onward and upward towards creativity!

Bonnie Browning from AQS was kind enough to reach out to me.  She told me Paducah would be hosting, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), Creative Cities, meeting for the Crafts & Folk Art section in September.  This is huge because a US City has never had the pleaser of hosting this event until now.  It is customary for the city providing the meeting to bestow gifts related to their designation.  As luck would have it, for Paducah, its quilts.

I was given the pleasure of quilting three small wall hangings for this special event.  I wish I could say that I was able to keep the traffic in my mind moving at a steady pace; but there were delays.  The three quilts that were produced by a local Paducah guild used the same design, the only difference among them was the color of the fabric.  I found once I put my hand to work, and just began quilting the self sabotaging ceased to exist.

Once I moved out of my own way I had so much fun doing what I love!  Now its full steam ahead and I’m quilting up a sample and then my auction piece for Houston.

Do you get in the way of your creativity?  What are your secrets to preventing traffic jams of the mind?

 

Idea Overload

 

Can You Relate? How to Deter Idea Overload!

It’s so exciting when you are ready to start a new project. Maybe to boost your wheels of creativity  you’ve attended a recent quilt show, googled images on your computer or made a trip to a quilt shop.  During those moments you’ve meandered up and down the aisles gazing upon one piece after another, or perhaps browsed the infinite number of images on the internet. You’ve invested a lot of time to collect all the insight possible, because you want to be fully prepared when it comes time to move full steam ahead on this new endeavor.  Then you eventually return to your sacred space designated for designing your new quilt; the birth of this amazing piece is just around the corner and then BAM mentally you’re combusting with the “how about this” and “what about that” statements.  The result is that you find yourself closing your eyes with a heavy feeling of anxiety and strong sense of being overwhelmed while silently saying this:     

I’ve been there and it really can suck the air right out of the “I can’t wait to start” feeling of a new project.  My secret to not letting this happen is simply this.  IF I’m starting a new quilt I deliberately don’t go to quilt shows, online, or into shops for inspiration.  This solution sounds a bit crazy but for me it works. It’s one thing to get a better understanding of how certain techniques are applied to a quilt, but quite frankly I don’t want someone else’s finished product to influence what I am going to create.  I find it way to easy for my brain to get overstimulated when I look at other quilters pieces; in order for my designs to feel organic I stick to my tried and true process of sketching.  So often we don’t give ourselves enough credit that we can come up with ideas without having to use designs we’ve encountered as a springboard for our personal art.  We presume gathering one idea upon another idea will make things easier, reassuring ourselves that several concepts are better than just one or two.  You may want to ask yourself “How is this working for me, am I mentally exhausted?”


Do you have any special ways you combat inspiration overload?

Ruler Anxiety

If I’m repeating myself it’s because what I’m about to say may be a little important.

That being said, the #1 question I am asked is:

“What rulers should I start with since I don’t own a single one?”

 Answer to the most asked question:

Hands down, you MUST have a straight edge.  BUT, don’t waste your time or money purchasing the biggest one out there, bigger isn’t always better.   I suggest getting a ruler that fits comfortably in your hand, because let’s face it if you can’t maneuver the tool easily what help is it? My personal favorite is the ProMini.  I reach for this lovely little ruler when I want to incorporate “stitch in the ditch” into my design.  My next ruler that is a “must have” would be the circles!  You can accomplish so much with these babies!!  There are two different kinds, solid circles and nested circles.  I prefer the solid circles. since I have small hands, holding them is easier.   They are a little more expensive but I feel the money spent is well worth it.  Keep in mind that having a variety of sizes will allow you to accomplish just about everything.  Not too long ago, in May, I shared a post on the Baptist Fan design , which demonstrated the versatility of utilizing different sized circles.  Today, I am going to provide a tutorial on creating the Clamshell design.  Once again it’s with one of my “must have” rulers, as I am referring to the circles.

Do you feel that circles are a HUGE benefit to your quilting?  If so, what’s your favorite design to do with circles?