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?

 

Living the DREAM!!

 

The last two weeks have flown by.  I was in Las Vegas for BERNINA University, which was amazing!!

Except for:

Let’s begin with the flight to Las Vegas.  There was “air traffic” which, to those non flyers,  delayed our flight.  In this day and age there is traffic people!  And in the air “planes” don’t magically appear.  Road travel is a bit more unpredictable as far as volume but can’t we be a bit more efficient with scheduled flights (air traffic controllers may need to be paid more, just a thought)? I mean I had important things to do and people to see in Vegas.  Then when I finally boarded my lovely source of transportation, and we taxied out we were #15 (not 3,  5 or 8 but 15) for take off.   And because we weren’t number 3, 5 or 8, our plane waited so long to take off that we had to return in order to REFUEL.  Trust me I can’t make this stuff up.  Originally this was a nice, early 8am flight that was scheduled to arrive at 11:30.  The joke was on me.  Once we FINALLY were airborne and moving, not suspended motionless among the clouds, my seat mates and I were extremely hangry.  It was now lunchtime.  As my flight from hell would have it, by the time the beverage cart rolled my way we were advised there was no more food. Didn’t they thing to reload with food when they refueled? I mean really, is it me or do not get a list of passengers prior to flight departure? So what’s this girl to do but drink lunch.  Don’t judge me there are vegetables in Bloody Mary!

As you can see I eventually made it to my amazing hotel, Red Rocks Resort and Casino.  Thank goodness I’m not a gambling kind of gal, or I could have been in big trouble. But still a fun place to stay when your “working”.

As this particular trip would have it, I entered my room and was once again starving; only to find this “welcoming sign”.  Did this plane take me to a hotel on Mars? Note to anyone staying here set your stop watch if  you remove/place anything from/in their mini bar.

The ladies I met were absolutely incredible. Below you will see me standing with Suzy Williams and Yaya Han.  They are two BERNINA Experts as well, I was so fortunate to spend quality time with these women.  Unfortunately, Lizzy House was MIA when this picture was taken.

These three ladies and I hosted an entertaining Facebook live event, here it is if you are interested.   If you’ve viewed the video I must admit I felt like the old lady of the bunch.  And my big question of the day was why on earth did my hand look so big?

When it was time to depart Vegas I felt entitled to a drama free flight.  Well, entitlement gets you nowhere! If you don’t follow my Instagram stories (@lisahcalle) I thought I would give you a little more insight on my plane adventures and put them all together.  This way on the, off-chance, you haven’t incurred a day in life of delayed flights you will no longer feel left out.  I actually did this to occupy myself and prevent any outburst of my frustration from being video taped by a stranger.  I didn’t need to be seen on Good Morning America as “that” one angry passenger.  So enjoy!  Living the Dream! 

 

Life is Getting in the Way!

It was Las Vegas, then Noah’s graduation party, and now my trip to Hershey!

Sorry fellow quilters but my life is getting in the way of quilting!  Although some of my interruptions are actually quilt related.  Speaking of quilt related I am headed to Hershey for their Quilt Odyssey!

The Quilt Odyssey is being held July 20-23rd! My Quilter’s Groove Rulers will be located at Booth 103, I will be hosting my Trunk Show, and teaching “Getting in the Groove”.  It will definitely be a busy and eventful couple days in Hershey PA.  If you are attending the event please stop by and say hello!

Yes, it seems that this summer has me juggling many things and the days are just flying by.  I’m hoping to find a little more balance in the month of August.  If you haven’t already taken a peek don’t forget to check out my Facebook and Instagram pages; what can I say I like to give a little TLC to all social media!

We Need to Talk…

 

I have no problem encouraging my students to step out of their comfort zone and push themselves to experience something new but sometimes I don’t always like to practice what I preach.  Yes, I am admitting yet another “Lisa flaw”.  Anyone that read a recent post will recall that I did sew a bag, which is not my thing, and I had a great time.  But I am ultimately a creature of habit and feel very uncomfortable taking steps into “newness” and that includes welcoming new things into my studio easily. And here’s what I mean:

My beloved BERNINA longarm has a friend now.  Heavens no, not another machine, although that thought is very tempting.  LOL  I have the QMatic which is the computer component for the BERNINA.  Now, I’m not a total dinosaur, in the past I did “computerized” quilting but this was back in the day (many moons ago) when I was quilting daily for customers and could not fathom completing projects without computerizing.  Since I currently quilt for myself, I now find it hard to jump in and bring myself up to speed with technology.  Yes, I need to come face reality, and with this incredible addition I’ll be in feeling like a more modern quilting girl in no time.  BUT it will take some practice!

 

Learning the software is obviously my first goal, however, I also need to become familiar with the new weight of the machine while doing freehand.  Ah, major learning curve! This is extremely important because although the machine doesn’t necessarily feel much different, the swing is a little different.  Therefore, in order to apply those nice backtracking feathers, it requires me to practice, practice and practice some more.  To aid in my training I’ve placed practice fabric (fabric I care less about) to make sure I’m comfortable with the new weight of the machine.  After gaining confidence in the adjusted swing of my machine I plan on tackling a small piece that will hopefully be an auction piece at Houston. Fingers crossed.

Below you can see an orphan block from my four-year, never-ending quilt.  This will be my Houston Quilt Festival Auction piece if I can get my rear in gear and get it on the machine.  Yes, I realize there is a seam ripper in the picture.  Remember I’m a WIP, need I say more?!

This quilt is  more like the four-year and some odd month, never-ending, quilt…lol    Goal 450 billion is to get that finished by the end of 2017.  I refuse to let it become,”The 5 Year Quilt”.

So I’m off to  practice what I preach and throw myself full force into learning, and understanding this new software.  Big girl pants are pulled up, zipped and belted tightly!

 

What changes have you recently encountered that has you hesitant to step into the new, and unknown?

 

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No Quilting Game Here

 

Graduation, a visit from my mother, a charity golf outing AND a trip to the US Open this weekend in Wisconsin…something had to give right?

I am off my game, or maybe I should say my head is NOT in the quilting game. There is no “off my game” about it.  Are my excuses good enough? Never mind, please don’t answer that.  Regardless of my rationale,  I simply did not have my work mojo this week, so I apologize for letting my readers down.  But once again I am proving that this quilter is human. At least I am consistent in that aspect, right?

Sorry folks but the idea of getting another picture of me and Jordan Speith does not bring the words “quilting, longarm, Proline Rulers or blog post” to mind.  I am currently trying to figure out how I am going to get Jordan to smile for the camera AND have me standing next to him.

Trust me if I do happen to capture a picture of, “Jordan and I”, there will be “something” posted for ya all to see! I guarantee my smile will be bigger than the one shown below.

Have a great weekend, and let me know if anyone else is attending the US Open. But please keep in mind I will not let you in any pictures with Jordan and I…sorry but sometimes a girl has to refuse sharing!

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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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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!

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!

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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