Guilds, Guilds, and More Guilds

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Selecting a Quilting Guild to join is a personal choice. They all vary in size, passions, choices of charity works etc. Which has me asking these question to those of you out there that are, or have been, Guild members.

What appealed to you when you first entertained the thought of incorporating a Quilting Guild into your life?

How did you decide which Guild to join, and what aspects of being a part of the group do, or did, you find most beneficial?

Now comes time for your wisdom and insight! Let’s make the idea of selecting a Guild a little less overwhelming for our fellow quilters!

These Are the Quilts of Our Lives

Drea just asked me what quilting reminds me of?  I suppose she thought we would start off the week with a little soul-searching.  Hmm, as I stare outside and take in the Seattle-like weather my first forethought is that since my mother wasn’t a quilter, nor my grandmother I can’t say that quilting brings back fond memories quilting by the fire with those two individuals. Now I must put on my thinking cap.

So what DOES quilting remind me of?  After pondering this deep question my response is a Soap Opera, yep definitely a Soap Opera.  I would name my daytime television drama “Quilts of Our Lives“.
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The Couple  images-77

Just like my favorite couple, Bo and Hope’s relationship was one of committment, even through kidnappings, and multiple marriages, they still remained together.  When I am working on a samples, or other projects I strive to have a monogamous relationship. I might have interruptions due to other events and family activities but that project is what I am eager to return to and reconnect where we left off.

The Villain       unknown-41

Ah, there is always at least one.  That individual, Stefano Dimera, who stirs the pot and spreads evilness wherever he goes.  Those moments in quilting where I must deal with pins are my villain.  I try my hardest to avoid pins at all cost, but on occasion they weasel their way into a project.  I dread their existence and pray my time using them is short-lived.

The One that Leave Only to Return

images-79Yes, Sami Brady was that girl who we “loved to hate”.  She came  and went, and then what do you know she reappeared!  I have one word, UFO .  I could easily compare a UFO to Sami.  For the love of Pete it’s a troublesome project that I just can’t finish, so it gets put away.  And then HELLO it makes a reveal shouting “Here I am, you can’t forget about me!” and just like that I attempt to focus on my relationship with these projects.

Twist, Turns and Surprises!

images-80Do you ever really know what is going to happen with who, what, where, when and how?  Absolutely not, the story is forever changing, new characters enter, old characters leave, and the unimaginable seems to bring a roller coaster ride to those that watch the show.  That is my world of quilting.  You can never predict how the day is going to go, is the fabric going to cooperate, will the bobbin run out, will I even like what I see appearing in front of me.  The ideas you thought you were going to create often evolve into something completely different from what you initially thought.

Most definitely I could compose a story line for “These are the Quilts of Our Lives”.  And just maybe if I composed it just right it would win a Daytime Emmy from all my quilting viewers.

What does quilting remind you of?

 

Blowing Off Quilting Steam

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We all need to do it; those moments, or days that have you ready to blow and I don’t mean blowing out celebratory candles.  No on the contrary, it’s those particular quilting segments that have you feel as though one more nanosecond in the studio will have you evolving into the Exorcist.

How do I Handle those Moments?  There are two answers to that question.  But my main objective is to remove myself from my working space, run from my working space if need be.  Because let’s face it nothing productive is going to transpire while I am feeling like this way.images-82

 

 

 

 

   Golfing

Oh Yeah! My most prized sport and means of releasing quilting frustration.  This extra curricular activity provides 18 holes of deliberately whacking a little white ball. Seriously what better way to “Let it Go”?  I generally walk the course so the exercise I acquire while traveling the greens helps turn my frown upside down.  And if my game isn’t go very well, at least I have a little white ball to take it out on.  So with my clubs in hand I am able to focus on something other than fabric,  the longarm machine, or whatever else is driving me to madness.images-84Hot Yoga

Regardless of what Drea has said, Hot Yoga is my second choice for seeing those puffs of frustration smoke go bye-bye.  So what if the room is 104 degrees with 40% humidity, and so what if Drea tells me I have lost my marbles, Hot Yoga works for me.  After getting over the initial drippage of sweat that creates a light rain shower on my yoga mat, I love NOT having to think about ANYTHING! This is all about me, my mind and body coming together, and after an hour and a half I feel fabulous!

images-86How do you relieve days that are composed of quilting frustration and have you wanting to yell from the hilltops?  Life is too short to neglect creating or having an escape from negativity; so how do you bring positivity to you day?images-87

Pantographs, Good or Bad for the Newbie?

My adventure in longarm quilting took off in 2004, and at that time I longed to be able to stitch out a pantograph.  Alas, I did NOT seem to have any talent for producing a  pantograph.  I was totally “Pantograph Challenged” which was a blessing, unbeknownst to me, in disguise.  But during that time period it was sadly, quite clear pantographs  and Lisa weren’t going to be friends.

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My inability to stitch a panto forced me to initiate my work from the front of my machine.  It became apparent if  I wanted any of my designs to come alive on fabric I would need to start the process off this way.  I took baby steps, to begin it was just a meander.  Next I incorporated stars, loops, and hearts to this meander.  As my baby steps grew, the strides in designs grew.  Over time I was no longer taking steps; I was running!  My confidence finally paved the road to implementing feathers, feathers flew into custom, custom brought about stitch in the ditch…and so on, and so on, and so on.unknown-27

Being “Pantograph Challenged” was fate.    I truly believe that piece of my quilting journey drove me to become the quilter I am today.  If creating pantos had been smooth sailing from the get go I often wonder where I might be now.

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So this raises a question to many quilters:  Are Pantos a Good Place to Start?

They aren’t  necessarily a bad place to begin.  I encourage my students to become more familiar and comfortable standing in front of the machine, rather than behind the machine.  Starting in the front of the machine will help in a couple of ways:

  • Gaining insight and understanding regarding “proper balance”.  Was the quilt evenly quilted or did it become smaller and tighter on one side?
  • Hearing the sound of the machine when things go awry.  With some machines the sound changes, (i.e tension) In addition, being positioned in front of the machine will provide the ability to  SEE the stitches. Obviously having a visual will allow immediate access to viewing issues.

After about a year, I became proficiently decent at pantos.  I vividly recall completing an entire row of quilting, only to spend an unpleasant amount of time ripping out the that row due to tension issues. Yes, I had heard the machine, it sounded a little different.  Yes, I chose to ignore it.   And yes, I ultimately paid the price for my lazy choices. What took 15 minutes to establish, took 3 hours to eliminate.  That most definitely was not  a good quilting day.

Are you new to your machine?  If so I would ask you to consider working from the front of your machine for a couple of months prior to diving head first into attempting any pantos from behind.  Then let me know how the transition went.

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Want vs. Need

 

 

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I am not a high maintenance person.  I am not one that has to have the name brand handbag, shoes, clothes etc.  In fact I can count on one hand how many pair of shoes I own, and the one Vera Bradley bag I utilize for everything.  After reading those few sentences one would quickly deduce that the word “materialistic” and “Lisa Calle” couldn’t be further a part.  You would be correct, but I am human.  That being said the machine “SERGER” has me acting like this:

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So childlike right?! This has me pondering  “The Need Vs The Want” of this rather expensive machine.  Why do I want it? It’s just so cool! While in Chicago I had the amazing fate of using the Serger and eventually emarking back to PA in tears because I had to part with my new-found toy.  The fact that it cuts AND sews, come on that in and of itself makes it a done deal.  The future of fabric edges being finished before pre-washing, edges of quilts also finished before binding, creating bags and pj bottoms (which I could live in) has my “I want” thoughts working overtime.  15110994_599886990218974_4417419421112390630_o

Do I need it? No not really.  So I suppose I need to stop pouting.unknown-38

Yes it would be extremely amazing to own, but being responsible and mature I will end my temper tantrum now.  Do you have a need vs. a want? Those inner struggles are too torturous to hold inside so please share!

Technology: Friend or Foe?

images-58With the advances many gifted humans have made throughout time it is not surprising to witness applied science making its way into the quilting world.  Beginning with the birth of the first patented sewing machine in 1791 to the now visible computerized quilting machines; mechanics has evolved quilting into an amazing hobby and business.

Somehow in this ever-changing quilting world I still embrace the tried and true, (a.k.a the old-fashioned way) pencil and paper.  Bells and whistles are in abundance; enhancing the efficiency and uniqueness to what can be created with a small needle and thread.  Yet, I forever find myself holding my graphite pencil prepared for brainstorming battle on sketching paper.  I know my BERNINA 750QE is a playground of fun that I have allowed myself to only slightly enjoy.  Maybe, one day, I’ll venture to the BERNINA playground filled with wonderful stitches.  Or maybe not.unknown-22

 

 

 

 

In regards to computer programs and the quilting world I do possess the EQ 7, however, I do not utilize it often.  I am reluctant to be unfaithful to my pencil and paper, I simply find it faster and reliable.  I even hesitate to stray from my handy-dandy calculator for determining yardage.  The words “Computer Savvy” and “Lisa Calle” do not seem to compute.  However, I  do make use of “Illustrator”.  I am actually quite proud to share that Illustrator and I are going on a 7 year relationship.  I honestly cannot ever see me totally breaking up with Illustrator as this program has definitely become a small piece of me.  There are moments during my creative process that, with the help of handsome Illustrator, I will produce an appliqué design.  The results have me grinning from ear to ear as my eyes take in printed designs in various sizes.  But every relationship needs a break, and I since I’m not very good at juggling relationships I always follow my heart back to my pencil and paper.

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Breaking up is hard to do.  So until my loyal pencil and paper decide to call it quits with this designer, I will be sticking with the tried and true.  That’s not to say that technology won’t tempt me into putting my pencil and paper on the back burner.

Has technology found its way into your quilting world? I am sure there are many tech savvy quilters among us, so share your modern must haves!

Let the Shows Begin!

 

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LET THE SHOW SEASON COMMENCE!

The time of year I wait for with an enormous amount of anticipation; the beginning of the Show Season for 2017!!  I am sure many of you are consumed with similar emotions since the New Year has arrived.  The quilting kick off starts immediately with the upcoming Rhoad to California January 19 through 22nd in Ontario California.  Deb Tucker and Amanda Leins will be hosting classes, and over 225 vendors will fill up Ontario Convention Center.  So if you’re eager to get into the quilting spirit check out the upcoming Rhoad to California.

I will be kicking off quilting season with:

Birds of a Feather : February 9 through the 12th in Newport News VA!

I say NO to snow, I don’t need mother nature interfering with my travel plans in February and March.unknown-36

March 17th and 18th: I will be teaching a Divide and Design Class at Steve’s Sew and Vac

March 30,2017 7pm-8:30: AQS Lancaster Show Trunk Show unknown-37

**If you are planning on visiting attending Birds of a Feather in Virginia don’t forget to get the new Quilter’s Groove Checklist.  It will be a big help when trying to remember what rulers you want to include in your inventory, I don’t want my quilters wasting money on items they have already purchased.

Is there a show in particular that has got you geared up for the upcoming season? I would love to hear what future quilting events are helping you get through the winter blues.

Squinting is Overrated

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     Why George? Why? Squinting is Overrated! 

THE CRAFTOPTICS DISCOVERY:

Like many of you I persevered through my quilting days using readers to see those necessary little issues and details.  Finally I had enough and decided that my readers just weren’t cutting it and my eyes deserved better.  It wasn’t long after that the MAGICAL day arrived and I was introduced to CraftOptics.  

I can only compare my initial feelings of these glasses to what it must have been like for Charlie to enter Willie Wonka’s Chocolate factory and discover that everything in the candy garden was edible!  Yes, it was that surreal!

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I was dumbfounded that I had suffered working with my readers for so long.  These glasses are amazing and I do feel like the bionic woman when I wear them.  What are they?  CraftOptics are magnifying binocular telescopes attached to a pair of specially designed titanium frames.  They come in two versions, normal and one for the longarm machine since the distance is often further away.  Another beautiful thing, if you have a prescription, no worries, they can easily be placed in the lenses.  There is an adjustment period, let’s face it, going from a pair of readers to these mini machines is going to take a little time.  Being a newbie to these mechanisms there was a bit of heaviness on the bridge of my nose because I was trying to wear them like my readers. I soon realized that if I wore them correctly, and pushed them back, making sure the band fit snug against the back of my head I was good to go!

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Not only do they serve the general purpose of eliminating my eyes from squinting while quilting but they are a priceless asset for the following:

FROGGING: They are essential for those less than fun moments when you discover you will be ripping out stitches.  Ripping out stitches is more than annoying and trying to focus intently on those little stitches can be painful for even the best of eyes!

HAND APPLIQUÉS and INTRICATE DESIGNS:  Those hand appliqués can be tedious, along with intricate designs.  Again, need we make things harder than they need to be?img_0654

BINDING: Yes these will be quite useful when binding your fabric.  My motto is EASY and like you’ve heard me mention a million times before anything that makes my quilting time more efficient and easier is well worth the price.

They are an investment you will NOT regret! And CraftOptics will be attending Rhoad to Caliunknown-31fornia January 19-22nd! So if you want to see what they have to offer please stop by and pay them a visit!

Don’t let your vision have you squinting during the quilting process.  I guarantee you will feel as though you have been quilting in the dark! Do I have any other CraftOptic fans out there?

Corner Pop Tool by 180 Studio Design

I’m not afraid to say it, I am not the world’s best piecer when it comes to quilting.  It is one of a few weaknesses in my quilting process; so when I encounter a mechanism that assists me with accuracy I am going to shout it out to the world!

YES MY PIECING ABILITIES COULD USE A BIT OF ASSISTANCE!!!  imgres-4

Not too long ago, ok, let me be honest it was  quite a while ago, I purchased a ruler that is now my “Great Oz” for piecing.  Now I know you all have tools that you have forgotten existed and upon their discovery you think “OMG why was I making life so difficult? ”  Well that long-lost prized item for me is the Corner Pop tool  from Studio 180 Design .  I will NEVER lose sight of this tool EVER again(unless one of my family members finds another use for it like my Karen Kay Buckley scissors).  Uncertain of  its effectiveness, age does terrible things to memory,  I pulled out a little bit of fabric from my very little stash assuming that I would only make a block.  Remember I couldn’t quite remember how well this tool worked.  Ah, let’s just say that I was kicking myself wishing I hadn’t chosen a fabric that I was so limited in possessing.  I am so impressed with how easy this tool is to use.  The Corner Pop tool is great for creating snowball blocks ( it would have been a great asset when completing my last project) as well as putting a pop of color into corners of practically any block.

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How does the tool work?  Take a minute and view Deb’s wonderful tutorial.

 

I chose the same size square to make my life easier, I am all about easy, which is a 9″ square.

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Ok so far so good, but now I am confronted with my biggest problem, sewing the pieces together.  Ugh, my triangles never seem to fill the whole area.  However, using this clever invention eliminated that concern since the blocks are slightly larger, they actually had me trimming them down. This was so enjoyable! Since my confidence and enthusiasm were growing I stepped outside my “piecing zone” and not only incorporated one corner pop BUT two!!  Watch out piecing world here comes Lisa!

The striped fabric and the brownish colored material display my Corner Pops.  I vacillated for quite some time on what color fabric to use, purple, tan or mustard.  As Deb shares in her wonderful video the “PoPabilities” are endless, and she is right on point!

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Once the blocks were applied my mind was brimming with ideas so I thought “Why stop now?”  After reeling my thoughts together I opted to insert some rectangles in order to complete the squares on the point that I had established on the design.

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Is it obvious I am in love with this tool? Well in case you weren’t sure, let me just share that I just ordered the Diamond Rects AND  V Block tools.  Are you convinced now?  I highly suggest you check out their Facebook page!

Here is my finished top…. wish I had more of this fabric… 😦

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No affiliation I am simply a very happy customer.  Isn’t that the best kind of referral to give and receive?

Have you lost and found a little treasure? Maybe it was hiding in a drawer, or stuffed in a closet amongst other miscellaneous items?  I can’t be the only keeper of a lost treasure!

 

 

Am I Really Quilting Today?

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Most days have me descending down the stairs to my quiet haven and loving all the components that make my business complete.  But that is not to say that there aren’t a few days here and there when time in the studio has me feeling as though I have just entered a gymnasium and am about to be a participant in a wrestling match.

How do the two compare? Believe it or not in quite a few ways.

Me V.S. Fabric

Round 1:   Pre-Washing Fabric Yes as beautiful as it appears in the store, and in your car, the idea of washing it is not appealing.  Loading this amazing purchase into the washer isn’t horrible, but the results of the washer is quite exhausting.  Let me say these two words “Wet Fabric”.  Just like a wrestler moves about the mat being focused and cautious not to step outside the circle, removing the material without bringing water onto the floor is challenging! 

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Round 2: Ironing Yards and Yards of Fabric 

Ironing, ironing and more ironing.  Pressing wrinkles out of a mountain of fabric located to the left of my ironing board can feel endless and yet has to be done carefully.  After spending hours of steaming, and pressing I must be cautious not to trip over the fabric that has been ironed into silky smoothness laying to the right of my ironing board.  This has me dancing around, like a wrestler on the mat, trying to prevent my opponent from bringing me down onto all fours. images-57

Round 3: Piecing Large Quilts in a Small Area  Intense to say the least.  Piecing the fabric to the quilt is quite similar to a wrestler performing the right technique on their opponent in order to gain and keep control. Both are done repeatedly using skill and patience.

Round 4: Feeding Fabric Through the Machine  Without a Longarm working your material through the machine is taxing.  Will it ever end? Pulling, pushing, aligning, and keeping a nice pace.  These are all characteristics that a wrestler acquires in order to prevent being pinned by their opponent; yes you see we are alike!images-53

 

Round 5: Longarm Quilters, Taking Fabric Off Machine and Folding It Neatly Rather than rip my gorgeous pre-washed, ironed, and quilted fabric to the ground, I will firmly tug and pull the beast off my Longarm.  After I have mastered the removal off the Longarm, I will neatly fold the quilt.  In my eyes this is a “PIN”..and to a wrestler this is also considered a win.

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 Both take physical endurance, and both demand mental skill.  But it is both those abilities that push me forward, and I would think this would also pertain to the wrestler.  The wrestler will face easy matches, just as I encounter days that everything in my studio runs smoothly.  However, those arduous matches, and quilting days, make both of us work harder and educate each of us more than those simple periods.

Does quilting remind you of any sport, or event in particular?  We all encounter different challenges, and adversities when we quilt.  I would love to know yours!