Never-Ending Quilt Lesson #3

 

I had good intentions, and  grand plans of getting a ton done on my never-ending quilt over this holiday weekend.  But as we all know what happens with “good intentions” it did NOT happen.  The weather on Saturday had the golf Gods calling me to my favorite place.  “Lisa, Oh Lisa if you grace my greens with your presence I will ensure that you have an amazing 18 holes”.  I needed no begging and with no further ado I was having a blast swinging my clubs.

Even thought I did NOT provide my 4 year UFO with  any TLC on Saturday, Sunday or Monday; I did get make sure I gave it some love on Friday.  So to ease my conscience I thought I’d share what I accomplished on Friday with everyone…as promised.

I agonized and agonized over what to do in this area of pink.  After a lot of painstaking consideration I eventually reached a decision but not before I mentally put myself through hell.  Thoughts where having a relay race in my mind “oh my, I am going to put the wrong thing here and it’s going to look horrible” and “what if I discover I HATE it, I’ll be picking it out till the cows come home” (sound familiar).  At some point I had a small epiphany.  And that was realizing that this quilt could already be perceived as ruined due to the bleeding that it incurred. Understanding this little notion had me putting aside any further fickleness on my decision-making process.

 

I contemplated many different ideas as to what I should be incorporating in the below portion of the quilt.  The thought of applying feathers was a brief consideration; but it was a fleeting prospect since there wasn’t enough space for them to become a reality.  In addition, the area in yellow just opposite of the pink was intended to feature the same technique, therefore creating a mirror effect.  Now as I reflect on my choices, in hindsight, placing feathers on one colored area and echo lines on the opposing colored area would have enhanced my design.  But if you think I am ripping anything out you are highly mistaken.  As with the bleeding color, this too stays and I move forward.

I’m not in love with the feather motifs that I applied, in fact, those I really did consider ripping out.  But thank goodness I am working hard on combatting my compulsive behaviors; because now they are starting to grow on me. I can’t say I love them yet, but maybe in a few more days we will move beyond the feelings of toleration.

So a few more steps along this adventure have transpired and as I move forward a feeling of excitement is beginning to stir within.  Hopes of salvaging this piece are becoming a possibility.

Lesson #3:  The lesson learned during my Friday quilting was this; prior to Friday the feeling  of being “hopeful” or “excited” did not exist.  This quilt has reminded me that regardless of our initial thoughts and feelings are, there is always hope in what we do.

Are you working on something that has you rethinking your original design?  Have choices you’ve made ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding my designs or choices I have made with thread, batting etc.  I’d love to answer any questions you may have.

 

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You’re a Hard Habit to Break/Make

 

One, two, or three( cannot go beyond three), yes, we all have them.  Habits, whether good or bad, take up space in our daily routine.  I figure after sharing my quilt travesty why stop there? I might as well turn the page on the open book of Lisa Calle.

Bad Habit #1:  While I am quilting I have a tendency to throw all of my thread snips onto the floor.  This then requires me to vacuum up all those lovely little snips at a later date.  Dare I say a much later date, an extended date that I push-off as long as possible.  The consequence of this snip littering has me entering a store with various colors and lengths of thread dripping off my pants.    I look like an episode of Project Runway gone bad, really bad.  I keep forgetting to keep a lint roller in my car, definitely not the way to break my habit but it would allow me to keep an intervention from occurring.

Bad Habit #2:  Making sure my family is fed on days that I am immersed in my studio; which is typically Monday through Friday. Yes, they actually expect to be fed, they are obviously a bit clueless to what the addiction of fabric does to a quilter.  Let’s clue them in shall we…no dinner!

Good Habit #1:   And at this time there is only one that I am going to report, I need to think on a few others (or rather think if I have any others).  Prior to beginning a new project after completing one I MUST clean my studio.  I need to start my new design in an area that is nice and tidy.  But within mere hours I revert back to bad habit #1 as thread snips cover the floor, and various tools/materials take over my work space.

What habits take over your quilting life?  Please tell me I’m not the only one that allows their family to starve for a majority of the week? By the way there is always frozen waffles and pizza in my freezer!

One Step Forward

I am completely overwhelmed with the response to my last post.  Thank you all for your words of encouragement!  It really has helped make this less painful knowing that you all are there!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

Now that I have made the decision to move on with, my less than perfect quilt; it is time to keep taking steps forward. Therefore the center portion of this quilt is now completely finished, and this was accomplished by enhancing the design with little pebbles.

Yes, they are tiny aren’t they? If you are wondering how I executed this technique well wonder no more, the secret to my success can be viewed in this tutorial.

Watch and You will No Longer Need to Wonder!

It wasn’t a great angle…. sorry, didn’t realize till I was done.

 

Pebble Variation

See how easy that is to achieve! And now YOU can put some small pebbles into your design.  If you have decided to take a step forward and place small pebbles into your project I’d love to see what you have done! I encourage you to share your efforts with me via email, lisahcalle@me.com

And stay tuned for the next step I take along this unexpected journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road Less Traveled

Nope, I am not happy; and I really am not happy to be writing this post.  Those that saw my post on Friday read about my 48 month project.  The infamous quilt that has been in the making for way too long.   After my post I was inspired to do some marking and wanted to remove them to see what the design would look like.  The result has me in tears.

Did I prewash the fabric? Of course.  Am I sick to my stomach? The thought of fabric is making me nausea.  Have I cursed myself inside and out?  A million times over.  Were tears shed? Let’s just say I do need to re-stock on tissues.

Just the other day while I was finally motivated to tackle this quilt a friend of mine imparted this thought.  She said that maybe this quilt has already provided me with its lesson; she continued by stating that maybe it’s time to let it go and give the top away which would allow me to move on.  Her words held some truth to them, as I now believe that this quilt has something unique in store for me.

 

I have learned many lessons from this quilting disaster.  Here are just a couple:

Lesson #1

Hand dyed fabric wash repeat, wash, repeat UNTIL the color catchers come out the same color they went in as.  What color is that? White!

Lesson #2

The ability to salvage this quilt remains uncertain.  But rather than allowing my feelings of regret and frustration take over which would normally have me tossing this project aside indefinitely; I have chosen to go move forward and finish what I have started.  This UFO is taking me into uncharted territory. Will it ever be show worthy? Again, only time will tell.

If you are interested in joining me on this journey, then stay tuned.  I plan on keeping my readers abreast of where this new road takes me. It will definitely include the good, the bad and the ugly.   But I have a strange feeling that this quilt will be providing me with several quilting and life lessons that I will be more than happy to share with my fellow quilters.  And in the end together we will all see where this project ends up, maybe it’s in a show, or maybe we will find it in the classroom.

 

 

 

Change in Direction A.K.A Changing Your Mind

The picture below shows my never-ending quilt.  I have made reference to it several times, as it has been four years in the making.  I understand that four years is a rather long period of time to be constructing a quilt, but quite frankly I was afraid I would ruin the top, which I LOVE, once I began the quilting process.  Yes, this quilter was deathly afraid of ruining this 48 month piece of work.

Having a game plan is very important to my entire designing process, yes I realize this is not shocking news to many of my fellow quilting peers.  Although not written in stone, I prefer to have a sketchy idea of where my creativity is headed, again I know this is old news.  But as I stated no design is non negotiable.  The picture below depicts my ideas at the start of this project.

 

I loved the “idea”of incorporating extra points into this quilt.  Obviously the initial “idea” did not work out quite that way, and for good reason.  If I had placed additional points in the design I would have really reduced the space available to place my feathers.  I also chose to situate feathers only on one side of the spine.  Although it wasn’t the look I originally had in mind, it doesn’t mean that opting to change direction in my design was a bad decision.  This is par for the course when I’m not drawing to scale, and I love how the this aspect of the process seems to bring new revelations to art work.  AND Ta-Da, the fairly close to completed center portion of my quilt is shown below.

Currently my absolute favorite part of this design is the bead board.  I implemented the ProLine 16 ruler to establish the technique, which not only looks amazing, but is also so much fun to create.

How many other quilters out there fly by the seat of their pants with quilting? Or do you like to have a plan?  Let me know how many fliers and planners are out there.  And if you’re a planner how often do you deviate from your original course? Curious minds, like mine, want to know!

It’s Not All About the Gift Wrap

 

So often we encounter quilts that are just stunning, I mean…AMAZING.  The bling incorporated into the design, the ribbons we see hanging from them; it makes us want to run and hide.  But believe it or not often it’s those quilts that don’t “sparkle” or haven’t won awards that are priceless.

It’s not always about the “gift wrap”.  Some of my most precious quilts are the ones that are utility quilts, or ones that I have created for those I love; not designs I made in order improve my quilting professionally.   For example the quilt shown below was a project for a dear friend who, at the time, was battling cancer.  There was no bling, or specialty fabric used, on the contrary, the emotional aspect of this quilt outweighed any materialistic part of this design by leaps and bounds.

Let’s also consider quilts that we receive as gifts.  My sister-in-law, Judy, who is kind enough to travel with me to shows (I’m sure many of you will recognize her in the picture below) made me that awesome quilt.  Now, I’m not insinuating Judy isn’t talented, my point is that this quilt wasn’t produced with all the bells and whistles seen at quilts shows, on blogs, etc.  Judy wasn’t “gift wrapping” her design so those in quilting community would rave about her talent.  No, this priceless piece was made just for me, and trust me this quilt and I bond every night on the couch (or taken on the road with me to shows).

The quilt displayed below was a gift my dear friend Mandy sent to me.  I was completely shocked to receive this beautiful quilt, as it was sent with the intentions of giving me a little “pick me up”.  Her mission was accomplished and she won the award for kindness and friendship!

So let’s face it, we can admire those talented quilters surrounding us. Fellow quilters that encourage us to better our techniques and push our creativity to another level are individuals we should respect.  BUT it isn’t always about the “gift wrapped” quilts.  Quite often it is those “silent” designs that in our hearts have ribbons pinned to them, and are wrapped with love; those are the quilts that truly matter.

Do you have a quilt that didn’t amazing “gift wrap” but mean a lot, or did you give a quilt that wasn’t all about the gift wrap? I’d love to hear your story!

Did You Hear Me?

 

 

What is a business without good communication? There is none.  How vital is communication with our customers?  It’s pretty darn vital.  I know that when I was quilting for customers,  I composed an intake sheet that allowed me to notate information regarding each client and specifics on what they wanted on their quilt.  Why was this so important?  Well, hello I am no super hero when it comes to retaining every single word my customer shared with during consultation.  I could review my notes and realized “I completely forget she had mentioned this, or requested that”.  We all have good intentions of listening closely to the wants and needs of our customers but can we rely on mentally keeping every detail tucked away in our heads…not this girl.

 I rely on contacting with people via email, rather than connecting with them by phone.  This is not something I am proud of, it is definitely an area I am trying to improve upon.  As I picked up the phone recently I became extremely aware of how significant that voice to voice connection is to both the customer and myself.  Those receiving my call were pleasantly surprised I had reached out to them.  And when I am the one answering the call my clients cannot believe it’s actually “me” fielding calls and not an employee.  Yep folks believe it or not it’s just little old me in my studio now that my red-headed assistant got a new job.  Yeah and boo all at the same time…

Bottom line–hearing someones voice, the tone in which they are speaking and having the capability to exchange words “VERBALLY” is huge!

Having an online business does allow me to work with customer but in a different way.  Now, I utilize my blog , and newsletter to reach out to peers, and those in quilting community. Since I’m always striving to improve I’m also working on implementing more tutorials!

Speaking of tutorials thank you so much for all the kind words about my Baptist Fan tutorial.  It really makes my job rewarding when I hear how much viewers appreciate and benefit from my videos.  If there is something in particular you would like to see demonstrated let me know!

Has anyone struggled with finding a balance in communicating with customers? If you have found a balance what’s your secret? And don’t say you remember EVERYTHING!

 

Heigh Ho…Heigh Ho… It’s Off To Oley I Go!

 

Lady Finger Sewing Studio, Oley PA

Divide and Design Workshop

May 27th from 10-2:30

 

It’s no secret that this Divide and Design is  my favorite class to teach!  In just a few weeks I will holding a class at Lady Finger Sewing Studio!

Come learn to design the quilting for your own masterpiece! Read below for what the afternoon will bring to you.

Do you feel overwhelmed when gazing upon a quilt feeling anxious that something creative and beautiful is beyond your scope? Have you observed pieces designed by quilters and thought “where do they come up with such originality?” You are not alone, and the cure for such reluctance is just a class away. With my 3 step process you will approach the idea of quilting in a completely new way. Over the course of this class you will divide large areas of your quilt into manageable small spaces, gaining the confidence and skill needed to produce a design that will make your quilt top sing and have you smiling with pride! You will soon discover that anyone can transform the everyday quilt into a masterpiece, and moreover turn those special quilts into treasured heirlooms. So don’t let Quilter’s Agoraphobia keep you from doing what you love; let my class provide the freedom needed to bring out the quilter in you!

 

 

 

 

To all of you that took advantage of my Birthday Sale, I apologize that orders are shipping a bit slower than normal.  I am currently waiting on a shipment of rulers that are to arrive this week.  I was thrilled to see how many of you celebrated my 21 st birthday with me…okay that age might be off a little bit!   Thank you so much!

Tune In for a Tutorial!

I have had many requests for the Baptist Fan pattern and how to accomplish this technique.  This made me realize that it has been quite some time since I have posted a tutorial, so today is your lucky day if you want to be in the know on how to accomplish the Baptist Fan!  So to my machine I will go and get this little instructional video going!


Before I get into full swing sewing away, I wanted to give everyone a little reminder that my birthday is TOMORROW! Which means my BIRTHDAY SALE will commence!  You can take advantage of 15% until May 7th!  Might be the perfect time to fill your cart with some circle rulers which will allow you to produce the lovely Baptist Fan design shown below.  My birthday only comes once a year so celebrate with me and enjoy a little retail therapy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the texture of the Baptist Fan pattern, and its traditional look; and in the first video I will educate viewers on how I do produce an all over Baptist Fan Design.  Now this isn’t a technique that you can complete in a few minutes.  It will take a little dedication, and many will say using a pantograph would be much faster.  I cannot deny that fact, however, I find that this treatment comes out beautifully using the ProCircle rulers, sizes 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.

In the second tutorial I demonstrate how to complete a border.  Remember I am LAZY!  I don’t challenge the brain with additional math problems if it’s not necessary. I want to be working on my design not calculating numbers!  LOVE IT! For this specific border I incorporated the ProCircle Rulers, again selecting sizes 3, 5 and 7.  These rulers are extremely versatile, and can be utilized in so many ways! That being said more circle videos are in the works!  So hopefully you will have a better understanding after watching these tutorials on how to complete the Baptist Fan.  If you tried tackling this technique after watching these videos let me know how you made out!