Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quilty Goals

Do you set goals at the beginning of every year??? or do you set them at the beginning of the school year (September)? This was the topic when I talked to my Mom last week.....I always set them at the beginning of the calendar, while she always sets them at the beginning of the school year (I guess that is what happens when you spend 35 years as a teacher!!!). This past year, I chose adventure as my word of the year, and well it has been an adventure that is for sure!

This year, I am going to do it a little differently, and set some specific goals for the year, and a new word to go with them.....

This years quilty goals....

1. Finish a new pattern every month for QQ. That's 12 new patterns released in 2013.
2. Finish a new Judy quilt every quarter. That is 4 quilts this year. Specifically, I will be working on Coxscomb, Farmer's Star, Feathered Star and Celtic Wave. And the Glacier Star -- because I need to get that one done for teaching purposes.
3. Attend 2 Judy events -- Asilomar in March, and Montana in August.
4. Teach 2 Judy classes or retreats each month.
5. Finish up a bunch of Judy quilts that just need final touches -- quilting, binding, borders - Touch of Spring (quilting), Cappuccino Party for 4 (quilting), MiniStars (quilting), Summer Solstice (Borders), Amazon Star (borders), Pepperdish (applique), 3 Ducks in a Row (borders).
6. Blog more regularly -- I finally figured out the scheduling feature, so that should help!! My goal is three times a week.
7. Learn how to use instagram.
8. Learn how to code in XML for the website.
9. Sew every day -- even of it is only for 10 minutes, or one section of binding! I really should do some binding prep work to have some projects ready to go for this!!!!

And the word of the year : FOCUS. Because that is what I will need to get all of this done!

So -- that's the plan, follow along as we go and see how it goes! And I'll check back once a quarter to see how this list is coming along!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 28, 2012

100th Post, and a few prizes!!! Yippee, I love prizes!

That's right, I am almost at 100 posts. This one is 92, which means in 8 posts we will have a giveaway. And there are two prizes on this post celebrating the close of the year. And we are going to have some guest bloggers in the next few weeks, who are bringing prizes. Did I mention that I love prizes??? I do, seriously, I love prizes......each of them will have different read carefully to make sure that you are eligible and then good luck!!!!

1. Friday's prize -- is one of the newest Judy Niemeyer patterns......and one I will be teaching in April, so get yours early. It is Cabin Fever!! I just cut mine out, and am super excited to see how the colors are going to work out -- mine is shades of green, aqua, purple and blue (aren't you surprised??). Love this pattern so far!!! To win it, all you need to do is be a follower of the blog by Friday, January 4th at 5pm, and comment on this post indicating that you are a follower.

2. New Year's Prize -- is a 7-piece fat quarter pack of Tokyo Roco in either pink or blue colorway.   I took pictures of these, but it's so dark in my house that they looked tan and pink or tan and blue, so I pulled the images from the color card instead.....the blues.....I love these, they are a really modern interpretation of a garden, in crisp blues (including a really nice teal, that of course I adore) and mushroomy greys.

The pink colorway combines shades of pink and yellow, with a rusty brown for a modern twist. 
To qualify for this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight, Monday, December 31st, 2012, telling me what you would do with this fabric collection. I made pillows for a friend for her birthday in October, and then ran out of time to photograph them!!! I literally was sewing together the opening at the post office! She assures me they are perfect in her living room.

Alrighty, I gotta get back to work here in the sweat shop. Hoping you all have a wonderful weekend full of sewing!!!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Golden Harvest

Golden Harvest might be one of my favorite Judy Niemeyer patterns, most notably because it has all of the techniques -- stacking, curved piecing, piped binding, mariner's star, etc, BUT it's a small investment. At 56 x 56, it is about 25 hours worth of piecing, and is a great retreat quilt. I worked on mine while I was at Quiltique in Henderson, NV (they have a fabulous shop, full of batiks, notions, and a Bernina dealership). I saw Judy there last July for a week long workshop, and I got this done, and my Bali Bedrunner finished in a week. I've been holding onto the top unquilted since last July due to my teaching schedule (it is very helpful to have a sample of the quilt you are teaching, just saying). So, once the show and teaching schedule calmed down after Halloween, I sent this one off to Montana for some quilty love. Tammy Deshayes did the quilting, and it is fabulous! So fabulous in fact that I sent her a new box of quilts for quilting!!!!  I love the feather work (aren't you surprised) and the negative space she left which makes the points pop!!! Here's some pics for your enjoyment!

The overall -- can you find the blocks???

The quilted feathers on the background of the points. The points themselves have a simple pointed loop in them, so fresh and simple!

A loose boxed feather in the center corners (before the borders).

The boxed feather (sort of a wreath shape) is repeated on the background as well but in a smaller size....

And more of the simple loops in the background of the border (teal). You can also see hints of the large spined feather that is in the border. She matched thread throughout the quilt, and she did such a good job that the camera couldn't really pick up the quilting (of course, that is partially the light this time of year and the busyness of the striped border).

Stay tuned for another update once the binding goes on, and the sun comes out for good pictures!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Christmas

Hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas!! I had a lazy one, and it was fantastic. We slept in. We ate Crockpot ham and homemade augratin potatoes, and snacked on chips, veggies, carne adasa and miscellaneous goodies all day long. We enjoyed Bells first Christmas -- she was much more excited about the paper than the gifts, but we didn't mind, it was just fun to hang out all day long. We went to the movies (Django Unchained), which was interesting, as I had never been to the movies on Christmas day, and was surprised how many people were there! We played some new games (or at least new to me) -- Agricola and Sequence. In typical fashion, Jared won Agricola (perhaps it helped that none of us had played before) and Taylor and I took home the sequence trophy. Generally a great day was had by all. Today, I'm headed back to work, but only for a few days, before we repeat last weekend's 4 day weekend!

I did manage to get a few things done during the Christmas madness, here they are :

Binding finished on my HST quilt. I finished the top years ago, and got it quilted last summer, and I finally got around to getting it bound and ready for service. Not sure why it took so long, other than I didn't need it for anything. I rushed to get the top finished in 2008 to teach it throughout 2009, and once I taught it, it just kind of lingered in the quilting closet. So, last summer I threw together a backing, and sent it off to the quilter for some quilty love. She did a wonderful job and got it back to me quickly, but it lingered in the binding pile (with friends Mr. Baseball and Miss Serendipity). So, over the holiday I got the binding sewn on, and did the hand work over two evenings with Harry Potter. I do love this quilt, it is super simple to construct (though a bit boring with nothing but triangles to sew), and it had a great visual impact. It's a great stash busted, using all fat quarters. Mine has various White on White backgrounds, but of course you can't tell. It's also a great way to showcase a great border print, in my case, a fabric called constellation..... 

And the piece de resistance for last week was Taylor's scarf. I started it last Thanksgiving, and I love the way it turned out. It is a sinple garter stitch, nothing complicated, but I think it turned out well for my first gift quality knitting adventure. The yarn is a bulky weight mohair/worsted combo, and is super soft, but still has some bulk to it. The picture looks flat, but the yarn itself is a medium dark charcoal with verigations in it, so yummy. It's a great neutral without being basic black. Hopefully Taylor will like it as much as I do!!

Stay tuned later this week for some information on my Golden Harvest and a giveaway!!!

Happy Quilting!!!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting Things Done and an Epic Fail

Do you ever have those times when for some reason you are super productive? I've been having one of those months...for some reason tons of things are all coming to fruition (or finish)! I'm loving it!!! There is something so satisfying about putting the last stitch in the binding or binding off the last stitch on a scarf (the only thing I have actually managed to knit!!! Okay, technically, there is something uber-exciting about dropping the box in the mail for the quilter (since it means the top is finished, and off for adornment)). So, here are some of the things I have been working on lately.....Sorry about the colors in some of these photos, its been hard to get a good image, since it is dark so early, and the last few weekends have been rainy and dreary around here, so I was left with living room floor light, which is not so great!

3 Ducks in a Row
3 Ducks in a Row -- center section is finished, and the borders have been pieced, now I just need to add them on. This one turned out super bright, and I really like it, though I have to admit it doesn't go with anything in my house, and is a bit overwhelming in this picture.
 Mini Stars
  Cappuccino Party for Four
I decided to try to quilt these myself, rather than send them to the quilter, and while I thought they would be manageable, and I practiced with my walking foot, I found it a little harder than I thought when it came time to actually quilt on the real piece, most notably because I couldn't see where I was in those skinny spiky bits....turns out I should have bought the walking foot with a clear foot so that I could make the turns at exactly the right point. I didn't like the quilting that I did on the Cappuccino, so I ripped it all out!!! 30 minutes if quilting = 4 hours of ripping!!!! At which point, I vowed to take a machine quilting class...and turn these over to a professional!!!! I really need the Mini-Stars one quilted so that I can send it off as a sample to a shop, so it's time to call in the specialists.
On another note, I got several bindings made (baseball, serendipity, golden harvest), and the hand turning of the binding on my ripples quilt. And I finally finished my Judy Niemeyer spreadsheet....the one I have been working on for weeks. It details all of the JN quilts, and details whether I have a sample, what colors it is in and some details for the trunk shows......and it is both exciting and depressing! Exciting since I realized I am in the double digits, and depressing to realize I have made less that 10% of her patterns. I continue to be amazed by her talent and productivity!!!! And with that, I'm off for a little more quilting before the holiday madness begins tomorrow!
Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quilt Makeover!!!

A Quilt Makeover is what happens when a quilt goes out for quilting! I think that the actual quilting is what makes the quilt, alas, it is not one of my true skills. Don't get me wrong, I can do the simple meander on my domestic or a long arm, and I can do a panto on the long arm, but some quilts just need a real makeover, which is when I reach out and quilt by check! I think that the more complicated the piecing, the more intricate the quilting should be....

So, I sent off a couple of my Judy quilts to a new quilter. This is always a bit nerve racking to me, and afterwards I always wonder why.....I had seen lots of Tammy's work, and she had seen lots of mine, she knows what I like (dense quilting, lots of feathers), and she's a fellow Judy Niemeyer Certified Instructor, so she is well aware of the number and type of pieces in my quilts....I really don't know what I was nervous about, they came out amazing!!!!

Here's the original unquilted version.....

and the lovely quilting, that makes it sing......

 lovely feathers.....
more feathers.....

diamonds in the arcs....

mini-feathers in the melons....

a fleur-de-lis pattern in the squares where the arcs meet....

color coded depending on location

And now, time for curved binding!!!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekend Fun during the middle of the Week

So, it's Saturday did a whole week go by? It's crazy how lively things are around here. Christmas decorating, major house cleaning (the behind the furniture serious cleaning), movie viewing, baby shower throwing, quilt making. Pretty much a little bit of everything housey and quilty around here.

I've been lucky enough to be home early most nights since thanksgiving, since most of my committees and commitments are "dark" during December, there haven't really been any real "after work" committments, which means more sewing time for me. So, in my "spare time" I have had a chance to work on the website, the shop, and general sewing that I wouldn't normally get to during the week.

So, here re dome pics from those "free hours".....

My trip to Hoffman Fabrics in Aliso Viejo.....some color cards (for finding the perfect match!).....

 and some sample yardage to play with/design with.....The newest Bali Pre-Cuts are from the 1895 collections (above) in color ways of yellow, orange, red (called Red Hots), greens (called Taffy), Piks and Purples (called Kool-Aid), blues (Breakers), Browns (caramel) and Blacks (Licorice). I was lucky enough to snag a few for samples.....Licorice Bali Pops from G6 (spring 2013 delivery). and some crackers (10" squares) in Breakers (blues) and Caramel (browns). I have already broken into the Bali Pop, and have been steadily working on a sample for that one, look out for it soon.

I've also spent quite a bit of time this week working on my Mariner's Compass....joining all of the units and sewing the final few's the feathered star units....

and the backgrounds....

just the final sails to add and I will be all done, and ready to send it to the quilter!!!! Hopefully that will happen this weekend, after all of the decorating, cleaning and bill paying fun!!!!

Happy quilting!!!