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!

I Will Not Deviate!

 

 

That is my way of thinking once I have a vision.  I am steadfast on moving right along the course I have planned, but there are times when a design does not transpire the way I originally anticipated.  This is especially true concerning the piecing aspect of my quilting.  Gauging the amount of fabric required has been an issue for me in the past. Unfortunately, when I miss calculated the material needed, I needed to incorporate some major creativity in order to make the project work.

Case in point would by my Hula Hibiscus:

Originally I planned to use more of the color blue so that I would enhance the outer portions of the quilt.  Obviously the end result was much different as I did not have enough blue and had to revise my plan of action!

Here is another example where I needed to abort the initial mission:

While producing the above small sample it became apparent that I did not have correct color thread.  My intended goal was to match the thread to the background, well change of plans for this quilter! My color choice of thread then had to be altered to a shade that was similar, or kind of similar to the background.  Again, not what I mentally manufactured for this design.  Boy oh boy does thread choice make a difference!  This little piece would appear completely different, if a blending thread had been used.

Regardless of the reason , sometimes being creative means revising again, and again, and again.  It may not be that you have miscalculated the amount of fabric needed, or neglect to possess the correct thread color; it could simply be that mentally your vision is taking your design in a new direction.  Whatever the reason, embrace what is being set before you and unleash the talent within.

Deviating from what you “thought” was the best plan, might just produce the most amazing plan ever!

Have you needed to revise, or deviate from your “original” quilt idea?  If so was it due to not liking your design, or (like me) you misjudged your design requirements?

 

“Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens”

 

We all have a “few” of our favorite things. Those items that, if they went MIA,  would have us completely paralyzed from doing anything productive.  For me, there are those very obvious things like my longarm, and sewing machine that undoubtedly would prevent me from moving forward each day.  But in pondering the less obtuse items, there are three  favorite things that come to mind:

My Grandmother’s Thimble

 When I received my grandmother’s thimble I was thrilled to have such a pretty memento. To me thimbles weren’t a necessity to quilting. I felt they were very cute, and made nice, tiny decorative piece; but useful…no  I mean, really, how could a small piece of metal situated on your finger really become an instant force field?  Well, was I enlightened to the thimble’s importance! I felt like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart when I finally chose to spare my finger tips from being murdered by potential needle jousting. My fingertips and heart thank my grandmother on a daily basis!

Needle Threader 

 Even my red-headed assistant wants one of these (for those very, very rare occasions she needs to replace a button).  Once she saw me use this little gadget she was in awe and was very tempted to walk out of the studio that afternoon with mine in her bag.  No, replacing a button was NOT on her to-do list that evening she just fell in love with this handy-dandy device.  But for those true sewers, like me, I am happy to know that in a mere blink of an eye my needle will be threaded.  I can cast away those reading glasses, and wasted time making sure I am in a nicely lit area, this mini machine gets it done.  Since revealing this item to Drea I have kept a watchful eye out to ensure mine doesn’t go missing.  I might just bite the bullet and get her one for that once a year use.

Organizer

Okay, so this little beauty is so important that I felt simply posting a picture and writing a brief description would not do it justice.

Karen Kay Buckley’s Thread Bag

Karla’s Amazing Cherrywood Fabric

I have no affiliation with either of these two wonderful ladies…. Just love their products!!

  There you have it quilting friends, a couple of MY favorite things.

 

Now I know YOU have a couple of Favorite Things.   So please, do tell!

 

Ending Your Week in a Fantastic Way!

I promise I will end your week with a smile and a little happiness! 

 Really, does the end of your week get any better than this?  I advise you to begin your weekend by grabbing a beverage and visiting Lisahcalle.com.  Take your laptop, tablet, or phone and go somewhere where you will not be interrupted (may I suggest Starbucks, you can enjoy a yummy Mocha Latte Grande while perusing my website).  Just tell the family that you’re attending Lisa’s birthday party, they  don’t need to know it’s an online celebration!

And PLEASE don’t forget, that if you do take advantage of my birthday sale, CHECK the bottom of your box once you receive your products. You may be the lucky recipient of a golden ticket! Those finding a golden ticket on the bottom of their box will pick a ruler of their choice for FREE! I want to miss that opportunity, said NO ONE ever!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  ENJOY EVERYONE!