Don’t Skimp on Warming Up!

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THIS Mrs. Incredible Stretches a Bit Differently

Ah yes, wouldn’t it be amazing if we all had the ability to put our “Incredible” suit on prior to our day of quilting?  Unfortunately, we are not lucky enough to possess such powers!  When I began quilting I didn’t even consider the idea of stretching.  However, now that I am a little older (and I mean JUST a little older), and MUCH wiser I make an effort to stretch my shoulders and back before and after working in the studio.

Here are some of the stretches that I have implemented into my quilting routine:

http://mag.activewearusa.com/yoga-poses-happy-neck/

You may need to alter your choice of stretches, since we all quilt a little differently as we develop our own technique and style.  Those exercises that will be the most beneficial to you will depend on which areas of your body absorbs the most tension.

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Regardless of how long you plan  to work on a design, don’t neglect to stretch!  I doubt there is one quilter that can’t relate to the physical toll our bodies endure from this craft!

What pre game exercise do you incorporate into your quilting time?

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!

 

 

You’re a Hard Habit to Break

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If you are like me you have at least one bad habit that has become ingrained in you since you began quilting.  It has probably become such a part of your quilting routine that you don’t even realize that it is occurring UNTIL the end of the day or UNLESS someone kindly points it out to you.

In a shocker my bad habit is wearing my shoulders as earrings.  And I am quite sure many of you are nodding your head in agreement thinking, “Me too” or “Boy have I heard Lisa say that during one of her classes!”  Posture, Posture, Posture!  Letting my shoulders become one with my ears has me cursing myself crazy by the time I am finished quilting for the day.  My neck aches, my shoulders feel stiff and my upper body feels very uncomfortable.  A stiff, cranky Lisa is not a productive, happy Lisa.  “Lower those shoulders” is stressed by me to all my students because IF I can prevent any feelings from transpiring like what is depicted below then it will be heard it again and again.

images-62  Yes, we all stumble and fall back into old patterns, but not trying to break them at all will only hinder our ability to succeed.  Whether our habits are physical or mental let’s not let them deprive us of reaching our goals. So whenever I fall off the “good habit wagon” and realize I’m wearing earrings I just take a moment and think:

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Do you have a habit that lingers in your quilting space?  If so please share! If you have conquered a bad habit I ABSOLUTELY want to hear about your success and by all means how you accomplished the task.  Remember I only listed one of  a long list of habits that I should break while quilting.  Perhaps one of my peers out there will give me the inspiration needed to work on another one!