Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Can I Say

I have been remiss in my blogging, but for some reason I just haven't felt like I've had anything to say. There has been a lot going on, but not too much of it having to do with quilting, which is what I like to write about. I've been working on a couple of projects for myself, which is nice. I made this beautiful quilted journal for my Etsy notebook. I knew I wanted to make it Orange for Etsy, so I used the leftover fabrics from Dancing Fans to make smaller log cabin blocks like in the quilt. It came out wonderfully, and I am enjoying using it!

I am also working on a new winter quilt (technically it will be a comforter) for my bed. I am going to use two layers of fluffy poly batting and tie it with embroidery floss. I am using a light brown sheet for the back. I discovered that I had accidentally purchased a fitted sheet, so had to make a special trip to exchange it for a flat one! Anyway, the top is done so now I just have to layer and tie it. I may layer it tomorrow, it would be nice to have done this weekend because next week I go to have my gall bladder "sucked out" as my daughter puts it!I have quite a few loose ends to tie up in the next few days, but I hope to make a return to more regular blogging as I recuperate. Hopefully I won't be out of my sewing room for too long, but I think a break will be a good thing for me. I'm looking forward to being a little lazy and reading some books and playing video games without feeling guilty!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shop Samples

I took my camera last week to document some of the samples I have hanging in Threads That Bind right now. Some of them will be coming home soon, so it's time to create some new ones! This one is just a simple border I added to a panel. The panel is really cute, and it's made to be customized with a name, address and initial in a heart on the tree.
This is the paper lantern sample I made from a pattern. Isn't that orange geisha next to it wonderful? It is from a series of four different ones. Very dramatic, and lovely.

This is the dancing fans quilt that I made last year - I'll be taking it home soon and adding it to my Etsy shop! It is a beauty, so I'm thinking it will have a new home very quickly. I'm not much on orange, but this quilt is so attractive that it almost makes me wish that it would look nice in my house (unfortunately it would look very out of place in my country house!).
And the final picture today is of one of my original design, All Seasons Basket. The blue and yellow is a spring version and the Brown is the fall one. I'm currently working on a very elegant looking Chrismas version with a fabric featuring partridges in pear trees! It will be very lovely. I have many patterns printed up of this quilt, so I just need to get to get busy selling it- one of the to do list of things I have that's about a mile long. It's been selling nicely at the shop here, so I think it's a winner! My next pattern I'm working on is for my quilted journal covers. Just needs some tightening up and I'll have that one ready to market.
I really enjoy working at the shop, it's a great outlet for me, and Sharan has been such an encouragement in my life. I appreciate her so much for all she's done for me. I have learned so much from working there, not to mention developing a taste for the wonderful fabrics that we have! It's a wonderful thing to have a job that is enjoyable, challenging and fun, and I am truly thankful that I am so blessed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Complete Joy!

Nothing like finishing a project to put a smile on my face. Especially one that has languished in a pile for far too long a time. Many months ago I took an oriental panel and some coordinating fat quartes intending to create a small wall hanging to showcase the panel. I also purchased a ruler and a book on Piping hot Binding to go with this project. I got the fan blocks for the corners paper pieced some time ago, but since then it's just been sitting.

I was asked to do a demonstration on piping at the quilt show, so I decided to use this project as my demonstration piece (since I have never actually made a quilt with piping on it!). I used narrow piping around the panel, and the edges of the fans. I finished the top last week, and as I have a sample at the shop that's ready to go home, decided to quilt this one and bring it in so I can have the other one! I just did some stitch in the ditch in the seams, and did some free-motion to outline the details in the panel. I think I'm going to add a few gold beads for stars in the sky tonight, and I will take it in tomorrow.

So, in celebration of finishing a project I've been working on the quilt I am making for my bed. Some of those Midas touch fabrics are pretty wild, so we'll have to see how this one comes out! I've change my idea of how I want to put the stars together several times, and have returned to my original scrappy star idea! Some quilts just have a mind of their own (and some quilters are loosing theirs!).

Monday, October 06, 2008


This weekend I was thinking about where inspiration for my projects comes from. I can be inspired by many different things to create something, and sometimes the idea just takes off and takes on a life of its own.

Memories of the Titanic is one of those inspirations - the first time I saw the movie I caught a glimpse of a pattern on the floor. Right at that point I decided to make a quilt inspired by that little flash of blue and white. When I got home I tried to sketch it out, but was not satisfied that I had the design correct, so next time I saw the movie, I was able to confirm that I was on the right track.

At that point I recognized a familiarity to the design, and incorporated it into a storm at sea pattern that would be on point. I sketched out my center design, pieced a block, then started looking for fabrics. I had previously done a group project using storm at sea with scrappy blocks, so new I wanted my fabrics to be scrappy and all blue with a white background. I found a tone on tone white with swirls that was perfect for the background. It took a while to draft out the edge pieces as this was on point, but I wanted to square it off for a plain white border to add some quilting to.

When I looked at the quilt now I decided that it was nice, but needed one more border to draw the eye out to the edge of the quilt, and I didn't want a plain fabric border. Playing with the Snail's Trail block, I came out with a wave pattern, and drafted this out to circle the outside edge of the quilt. For this block I chose to use a designated set of fabrics to bring out the wave effect the best.

At this point I realized that the center block was not the best choice for the center, it was just too plain. Of course, this was my inspiration block to start out with - I didn't want to take it out, but it just wasn't working. After some drawing and thinking I decided to replace it with a compass.
The top declared itself done, and the quilting commenced. I used warm and bright batting to keep the flawless white of the background as white as possible. Quilting the compass and storm at sea blocks was easy, but when I came to the white border I was stumped. I had lots of ideas, but it seemd the drawing skills for the designs I envisioned were quite out of my league (and I was hand quiting it). After setting the project aside yet again for a period of time I developed a swirled motif to quilt in the border, and pushed myself to finish the project for a quilt show. I was very pleased to win Best of Show for this quilt in 2005, then to have it juried into the Denver National Quilt show.

Then, there is my lastest quilt - Northen Lights, Free-form Bargello. This was totally inspired by the fabrics - Glacier Lights by McKenna Ryan. Sharan asked me to come up with a sample using these fabrics and I was thrilled to work with them. At first I was thinking of a blended log cabin quilt, but in my head popped the idea of making and Aurora Borealis picture using Bargello. I was familiar with the technique, though I had never actually make a Bargello quilt, so I simply started designing on the fly - cutting and sewing strips as I went, taking notes, and the results were exactly what I was thinking of when I started. We are offering this as a kit at the shop, and hopefully I will refine the pattern to work with other fabrics as well!

Lastly, this set of postcards was inspired by a beautiful sunset. The colors were so lovely that I though it would be fun to capture them in a set of postcards. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole project, and they will always make me think of that perfect summer sky!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Climbing The Wall

Whew, life has been very busy this past month and the final event was our church Ladies Retreat this weekend. I have been on the board for some years now and really enjoy not only going to our retreat, but also helping to put it on. Our theme this year was simple pleasures and we went overboard treating the ladies to all kinds of wonderful simple pleasures.

We began with greeting the ladies in our bathrobes, which was great fun and inspired ladies to dress down and relax. Our speaker was wonderful - Mary Ann Zimmerman spoke to us about the Road Signs of Life, so we decorated the chapel with road signs on loan from the Dept of Transportation! The first night we made flip flop bags to put on the beds secretly while everyone was at chapel - notepads, erasers, key tags, all in the shap of flip-flops. Very fun! The second night we had silk rose petals strewn on our beds with a pampering bag of goodies to enjoy. Then, as the ladies left they were treated to goodie bags with avon products. I'm sure they all left refreshed and feeling very much cared about, which was our goal.

On to the main point of my story. At our retreat center there is a large gym with a climbing wall at the back of it. During free time in the afternoon on Saturday, they open this up for anyone who is brave enough to attempt to climb. This has been a very popular activity, usually a line of people waiting to try it, thinking of trying it, or just watching. Every year I say - next year maybe I will try that, it looks like fun - kind of! Several years ago I was inspired by an older member of our church who tried it. She said that as long as an activity was not against scripture, and it looked like fun, that she would try it.

This year my youngest daughter got to come for the first time and her next oldest sister came down from Portland to join us. I love spending time with my girls! Well, they both decided they wanted to climb the wall, and I said, well, maybe this year I will try it. By lunch time time they wore me down enough to say, I think I will try it. Right before they opened up the wall, there was a game started in the dining room, and I though, well, maybe I will just stay here, and not have to do this hard, scary thing after all (major cold feet!) It didn't work, they came in and grabbed me and in their sweet way, forced me to get in line to climb! I was hoping that time would run out, but eventually it was my turn to step into the harness - my hands were sweaty and knees shaking before I even stepped up to try!

I was hooked up to the line, then one step after another up I went. I gave myself permission to quit when it got too scary or I got too tired, but the cheers of my friends and my daughters below urged me on. I had to stop a couple of times to regroup. But up, up, up, I went until I was able to Ring the bell at the very top and was gently lowered down. What an experience! It made me feel very empowered, but most of all it made me realize how important it is to encourage others. If it wasn't for the encouragement I got, I would not have even tried. Or I would have tried, but quit partway up. And my gratitude for the man at the other end of the rope. He had a tight grip on me, and was not going to let me fall. When I was tired I was able to lean on the rope and rest. In my everyday life, God is the man on the other end of my rope. He is there to balance and support me. I feel like I have to climb the wall of life on my own power, but the truth is that He is there supporting me all the time. And He is also my encourager, whispering, go ahead, keep pushing, you can do this. And my friends, my family are all there, too, urging me on every step of the way. I can't express in mere words how this makes me feel - confident, less worried, more hopeful. Anyway, it was a great retreat, and just that afternoon makes it all worth while!

Not to mention the sale at the quilt shop we visited - 20 Fat Quarters for $20.00! That was a great bonus, and was another great highlight of my weekend!