Friday, October 31, 2008

Blogspot is annoying me

I have changed my blog template for the umpteenth time in order to avoid a fight. I know where I want my photos to display but blogspot keeps shifting things around and giving me a thin column down the middle of the screen so the text as well as the photos are skewed, to one side or the other, with an algorithm that is known only by template-format trolls at blogspot. Give me a break. So this is the new, stripped down, no hassle format. Ah, peace.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

LA Law - 2nd Annual Raffle Quilt




There is a quilting group in Los Angeles. It consists of women who work in a law firm in LA. Their normal quilter was unable to do their quilt for them in time to get it ready for their annual quilt raffle. The group found me on Rosie's Calico Cupboard Longarm Volunteer list and gave me a call. We worked out the details and I made a commitment to have the quilt back to them by Thursday Oct 26th. That was October of last year, 2007.

We decided on a design and I started quilting it. It was on my frame when we got the call that my husband's mother had passed away. We flew up north to make the arrangements. My husband and his brother, an attorney, could handle things without me so I flew back to San Diego the next day. I had committed to have a booth at the Back Country Quilt Show starting the Thursday I returned and running through Saturday. The show went well and on Sunday, I was finally able to get busy on that quilt for the LA law firm.

I was more than half done when I noticed the smoke. The Witch Creek fire started about 3 miles from my home. Since the Cedar Creek fire of 2003, San Diego has put some lessons learned policies in place. One of those lessons is called 'reverse 911'. A voice tells you that there is a fire in xyz place and to prepare for evacuation. Of course, my husband is still hundreds of miles away in the bay area. I would have to do this evacuation on my own.

I stopped, packed the car with my customer quilts and other vital stuff. A friend who refused to evacuate agreed to feed my cat. I could drop the dog at my son's house and find a hotel to camp out until I could return. Sounds like a great plan, except there was the LA Law firm's quilt with a deadline 4 days hence.

After the initial "prepare to evacuate" call, I got 3 more increasingly strident-voiced calls that evacuation was mandatory. Yeah, but I have this quilt to finish.....

I finished that quilt. I pulled it off the frame, grabbed the dog and got out of there. The TV news later told me that I just beat the big rush on one of the two roads out of my neighborhood. The state of emergency meant that once we evac'd, we were supposed to stay off the roads to allow emergency vehicles to get around. Most businesses were closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I found an UPS store and mailed that quilt on Wednesday. They recieved it one day late.
So back to current time: LA LAW, (it's what I started calling them last year) has been good to me. I have 4 new customers from that group. They found out that I keep my commitments and can turn around a quilt faster than their previous quilter.

So this year, they sent another raffle quilt. This one is a scrambled 9-Patch which I have not heard of.




They used the most wonderful Alexander Henry Michi Kanji fabric collection rish with black and reds and wonderful Kanji-looking names. I made a note that the back was pieced when I did intake on the quilt writing down the size, horizontal and vertical (side) seams. The back is black with red Kanji on it. They sent a black poly batting.

I drew up the design plan and was getting ready to email the group with my biz blog with the design ideas when I noticed that there was something "not right" about the back. The back, though rather open with just the kanji symbols, had been pieced opposite. On one side the Kanji went up-down and on the other side, the Kanji went down-up. I pointed it out to them and they are Ok with me changing it.

I used Summa Blowing Pampas Grass in the field and Julie Mullin Eathlines Bamboo for the borders. Signature Black cotton thread and black batting.

I want them to make a ton of $$ on this quilt, too.

Java Snowballs On-Point


The Crazy9Patch quilt shop just received some wonderful coffee-themed fabric. The collection is named Bistro and it is from Moda. It came in 2 colorways; black and red and brown and blue.







I love the smell of coffee and coffee ice cream is my alltime favorite but I don't drink much coffee. But I love the quirkiness of this fabric. Martha, the owner of the Crazy 9 Patch, deep discounted the border fabric if I would allow her to display my completed quilt in the shop to entice others to buy the new fabric. Twist my arm.




















I used a simple pattern from the No-Sweat Flannel Quilts book by Beth Garretson. The pattern is called Stargazer. I saw a quilt made by a chat-forum mate named Darcy that so inspired me, I had to try out some new ideas. Darcy's was done on a 9 patch quilt made from military camouflage uniform pieces. Isn't that cool? But the way she quilted it is the real story. Lots of concentric circles and borders that have a big WOW factor. When you get a chance, take a look at this quilt on MQR.

I decided that I wanted to showcase some of my Circle Lord quilting so I used Quilter's Dream Puff batting for a little extra loft and quilt definition.

--CL Wave template - a parallel double wave on the borders

--CL concentric circles in the blocks

--CL circle maker - small circles over the star points

--CL circle maker - 3/4 circle partway around the setting triangles

--A cup and saucer taken from Jodi Beamish's Coffee Break panto in the setting triangles.



I considered using Signature cotton thread in the color Mustard to match the star points. I even wound the bobbins. But the conservative in me drew me back to Signature cotton black thred.

I was careful to do a good job piecing....I am not the best piecer. Since this will be seen by others, I didn't want it to look like a rushed thru it. Even the borders were flat and square. Maybe I should invite a few of my clients over for a "How-To" on borders. Oh, that was mean.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MQ Innovations Teacher Comments

I sent two quilts to Machine Quilters Innovations in Tacoma this year. It was my first time submitting a quilt to a peer-judged quilt show. I entered my "Asian Flower Garden", a Blooming 9 Patch from Blanche Young's Tradition with a Twist book, in the Traditional - Large category. I entered the Creativity Challenge with "Here Comes Frankie", a quilt named for the linear design of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

My friend, Debbie, is an excellent piecer. She pieced both of these quilts for me. I could not have, and more importantly, WOULD NOT HAVE, entered these quilts without her. There is a time in the journey to the quilt show that you wonder "Is this worth the effort?" There are lots of rules, deadlines for entry, photographs, sleeve just so, deadlines for submission, yada yada. So after all the work of photographing, entry forms filled out and piecing, there is a lull in which you are finally able to catch your breath.

It is time to quilt this thing. For me, that is when doubt creeps in. That is when I seem to vacillate. I call it my wishy-washy phase. What am I trying to prove? And to whom? My quilting makes me happy so why submit a quilt to a show and invite strangers to make comments about it? For me, that is how I grow. Somebody points out (always in a nice way) what I need to improve. I take that onboard and use it to guide me in future projects, including in customer quilts.

But during that wishy washy phase, it is the efforts of my piecer that keep me putting one foot in front of the other. She did a lot of work and I am not going to disrespect that work by bailing out of the show. A little dose of that cautionary guilt carries me a long way; well, at least it carries me to the post office with my box of quilts.

OK, so now that I have yapped long enough, here are the criteria on the Innovations Comment sheet.
(E) Excellent (S) Satisfactory (N) Needs Improvement (N/A) Not Applicable

MACHINE QUILTING,
--Appropriate design, enhances the quilt
--Creativity of design
--Quilting density well-balanced
--Straight lines are straigh, curved lines are smooth
--Parallel and grid lines are evenly spaced, do not distort or ripple
--Tension
--Stitch length consistent
--Beginning and ending of quilt lines well concealed
--Stitch in the ditch (SID) is in the seam
--Trapunto/trapunto look (or similar specialty techinique) is well done and evenly
stuffed.

Areas of Strength: (fill in the blank)

Areas of improvement (fill in the blank):

APPLIQUE OR PIECING OF TOP
--General Appearance
--Design
--Construction
--Binding

Areas of Strength: (fill in the blank)

Areas of improvement (fill in the blank):

Critique prepared by: (Teacher's signature)

So now that you have had a peek into what the judges are looking at, please consider putting a quilt in a show. A regional show, county fair or guild show are good areas to start. But if you want to know what you are doing right as well as what you need to improve on, a big show like Innovations is where you need to enter your quilts. Good luck and Happy Quilting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Butterflies

This is another quilt for Sherry. I used Hermione Agee's Butterfly Charm. I love the 54-40 or fight pointy stars. I used Quilters Dream select batting and Signature Seafoam green cotton thread. I wish that I had enough nerve to use the pink thread on this instead of the matchy-match green that just blends in. The pink would have shown and been more interesting to a teenage girl. Oh, well.

Photo later......

Golden Pansies



This is a lasagna style quilt done with strips with the sweetest little pansy flowers in it. I decided to quilt giant pansies all over with leaves and loops. I used Old Gold thread by PermaCore and Quilter's Dream Select batting.

I got my inspiration ffrom the little flowers in the fabric. But I got the mechanics of quilting the flowers from Deloa Jones' book Quilt Me a Garden. Thank you Deloa.
http://www.deloasquiltshop.com/deloasonlinestore/quiltmeagarden.html


Another QOV


I got this little log cabin variation in red, white and blue is a peach. I used Signature White thread and the Julie Mullin Star-Spangled Banner panto. It is my sincere desire that it bring comfort to the recipient.
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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks