Sunday, November 24, 2013

Call me Coach

Years ago, when we were living in Toronto, a young mother saw what I was doing and wanted to learn how to quilt too. 

You know how it is sometimes when a person wants to learn a new craft, they say they are really interested and you offer to help and ask when they want to meet up next and they dilly dally and can't arrange a date and so it goes.  When I asked this gal when she wanted to meet up, she said the next day.  OK .... this gal was serious! 

So, the next day we met.  She showed up with a tool box full of supplies and fabrics and was eager to start.  I took her through some of the basics and taught her how to use a roller blade, etc.  She was hooked!  She ended up taking some classes at a local quilt store and the rest is history.

She took to applique like a fish in water.  In her applique class, their project was to make a Santa quilt.  As she finished each block, I could only sit and admire and applaud her work.  The last time I saw the blocks, they were finally made into a top.

Sometimes, she went against my advice and learned the hard way, especially in hand quilting.   That is human nature.  We learn, we grow and then we do wonderful things.
We lost touch years ago, until this summer when she sent me an email and said:  "Hi Coach!" That is what she always called me.  Coach.

Take a peek at her work that she did on her Santa quilt.   Her hand quilting and applique is exquisite!

I remember seeing this same quilt hanging up in the quilt store to advertise the applique class.  When she said that was the quilt she was going to make in the class I thought to myself as a beginner, she wanted to make the whole quilt?  Not just a hanging, the whole quilt?   So, Miss Paula, Coach says you did good!  You did very GOOD!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Playing 'what if' again ...

I love doing that .... it is fun and it gets my creative thinking racing.

As I was sitting in my chair and looking at my Promise of Spring top on my design wall, it just felt that something was missing.  But what?

I kept looking at the centre section and thought the jade green leaves at the end of each stem was lacking.  What if it was surrounded by red?  The template was enlarged by 30% and suddenly that leaf doesn't look so lost and it looks more defined.
Here is an overall shot of just the one leaf in the centre section:
In this shot, more red has been added and now I'm liking it more and more.  Not sure if those birds will be staying or going.  We'll see as time goes by.
You know, life can be so tough some days.  Miss Ashes sure knows how to relax, doesn't she?
Have a great day!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Prep work

Lately, a lot of prep work is going on for the final push to get my Promise of Spring top done. 

A gazillion circles are needed:
A lot more leaves to be made:
Stems galore:
Talk about really cutting it close for the fabric for my stems .... this is all that is left of the plaid fabric ... whew:
All of the above is needed to do my borders and this is what it will look like .... so far.  By the time this top is finished, it will measure around 99" square.
Have a great day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trying to do hand quilting

With cooler weather upon us, this is now the perfect time to bring out a long abandoned hand quilting project.

While the girls are snoozing away in the living room by our new gas fireplace, there is no time like the present to get at it.

So, away I crept to my studio and got in 6 rows of hand quilting on my hexagon quilt.  Not bad.

Oh, oh, here comes trouble.  Miss Hank and she will want to be right on top of my quilt frame.
I'm trying to take a photo of her big brown eyes, begging to be allowed up and over the quilt frame.  Guess she is a tad camera shy.
Nope, WE are now ticked off.
WE are definitely ticked off.
Alright, come on over and have a lick of my finger.
Now, Miss Hank is a happy kitty.  Having a snooze on top of my frame.
Luckily, there is another project on hand for me to work on while she sleeps.  Darn, how did this happen?  There is will some ripping out to do ..... oh well ....
For those of you wondering about the health of Miss Hank ..... some days we think she is starting to go down hill and then we think not.  She still has an appetite, still wants to play, still wants her treats and still wants to go outside to check on the chippies.  I put out peanuts for the chippies and if they don't show up, she chirps for them to come .... and they do.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Styrofoam queen

Yep, that is what I'm famous for these days.  Why, you ask?

Recently, I took a machine quilting class with Martha Schellingerhoud and amongst the items that we needed to bring was an extension table for our sewing machine.

Well, there was no way that my special extension table that DH made for me was coming to the class.  It is way too big, too heavy and too cumbersome to transport.  You can see how big it is just by the ruler that is laying in front of my sewing machine.
So, what to do about it?  Enter Styrofoam and duct tape.  DH had some leftover 1-1/2" thick rigid Styrofoam that he used to insulate our sky lights.   It was fortunate that the height of my sewing machine base and the Styrofoam doubled up was the perfect match up.  This is what I came up with.  Mind you, it works well, it just is not pretty.  The Styrofoam is doubled up and taped very well together.  The red duct tape works the best as the adhesive is very good.  The ladies and the teacher at the workshop thought my special table was a great idea.
Once it is slid into place, this table doesn't move or slide around at all.  To pretty up my special table, a few ladies suggested that I look into designer duct tape. You know, if anyone is on a tight budget, this would work very well for you and you could make it to whatever size you want.  Who knows, you might even be able to buy half sheets of Styrofoam from your nearest home hardware store?  This table is perfect for quilting workshops and retreats.  Red Green would be very proud of me!  :o)

When my DH saw me making my special table, he said that I would be getting comments about it.  Actually, I wondered if the ladies would laugh me right out of the room.  They didn't (thank you guild ladies) and I enjoyed my classes because I was able to machine quilt with ease.
Below are my samples of the machine quilting workshop.  They also are not pretty, but for the first time trying it out (except for meandering and straight line machine quilting which I've done in the past) they turned out pretty darn good.
At our guild's September meeting, I gave a demo on how to make a design wall using 1" thick rigid Styrofoam and duct tape.  Perhaps I should bring my special table to our next guild meeting for my show and tell.  :o)

If you are interested in how to make a folding design wall out of rigid Styrofoam and duct tape, then go here.

Have a great day!