Monday, April 13, 2015

Chotskies


I consider myself to be a pretty tidy person, unless you're including the pile of clothes on the floor in front of my closet. Which doesn't really count, because I don't want to talk about that, much less blog about it. So, back to me being tidy, I realized it had probably been over ten years since I "really"cleaned out my studio.
 CHOTSKI? 
What is a Chotski and why on earth do I have SO MANY of said items??
Defined in the Urban Dictionary as:
Generally useless crap of little or no value. UH OH.
So it began, a good two weeks of literally taking down everything off of my walls, out of my drawers, shelves and under surfaces. I have a full garage full of bags of priced garage sale Chotski and a bag full of E-bay Chotskies. 


Bag of Ebay Chotskies
I have a great studio space, it is 300 square feet and I have no reason to complain....BUT with a 
12' long-arm table I have to admit the space is tight and the way it was previously set up was very dysfunctional. The first thing I did once I got all of the useless crap off the walls was add two new design walls. There are many great design wall tutorials on the web, I used Katies tutorial found here.

Insulation board


Below you'll see the two spots ready for design walls


I also moved the collapsible cutting table from its previous location and replaced it with my sewing table seen below in its new location. The sewing table has a removeable back piece that I hope to be able to add if and when I am able to move my Gammill back a few feet and/or get a 
10' instead of 12' table.


Clean!

This area still needs some work, that tiered shelf was a very stupid purchase on my part and a terrible waste of space. Shelves to match my thread storage are on someones honey do list. That will open up a lot more storage for....fabric, of which I obviously need more of.
The cutting table opens quite easily and I can store the cutting mats on the back of my long-arm when I need to close the table.



OK so there's still Chotskie sitting around but a lot less.


Still some creepy dolls. 



And as always, I am beach rich.


I love my new design walls the most, and this is a great cutting station, I had previously been using this table as an ironing table in the corner where my new cutting table has a gone.



From the view below you can see my thread wall and the top shelves where I store extra batting and rolled quilts. My WIP's are in the white cardboard Ikea storage bins and below is a hanging rod where I previously stored customer quilts. I hope to push the Gammill back into that space and open up the area for my domestic sewing machine a bit, we'll see. The fabric you see in this picture is my entire stash, for me less is more, I get overwhelmed by too much. Weird I know.



On my design wall is the Bride of Frankenquilt, meet Frank here and here. He needs a bride and I hope that what you see here will become just that.



Here are my thread shelves with a bit of room for more fabric.



Not bad for two weeks worth? I still haven't had the garage sale but everything is priced and I still haven't listed everything on Ebay, but soon. If you are interested in checking out my studio before the changes you can look at my Studio Spotlight post here. Honestly, it's not a whole lot different just a LOT LESS CHOTSKIE and new design walls.

Happy week everyone!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Make it Take it Blog Tour (with giveaway!)




Happy Thursday! 
Welcome to my stop on the Make it Take it blog hop for  Krista Hennebury's fabulous retreat book.




I collaborated with Krista on a small table runner that could be made in a weekend, we decided to build the top from simple pieced designs that could be mimicked as ghost shapes in the quilting. Krista made the top and I did the quilting.  I quilted a ghost flock of geese and added some circles and straight lines to pull it all together and keep it flat. This was a really fun project, one that could easily be completed on a retreat.


I had the pleasure of working on two projects for this book, the other was the quilting on Krista's beautiful Orange Grove Quilt, which is a modern take on the classic Pine Tree block.
Here is a WIP shot of the quilting. With the blocks all being set on point I had a great expanse of space to add some fun quilting designs. Krista's only request was that I add a moon, which you can see getting fleshed out in the photos below.





I quilted this quilt with a lot of straight lines, I stayed consistent in the tree blocks with straight line fans. I varied the quilting design in all of the alternate white blocks by adding swirls and bubbles to break up the space and add interest.

Below are some detail shots of the alternate white blocks. 






 While the quilting may be a bit more than one person would complete on a retreat the pine tree blocks would be a fun retreat block exchange. There are some amazing projects in this book, including Krista's fabulous thread catcher.  She gifted me one years ago (at the first retreat of hers that I attended) and I use that thing every. single. day. 
See below, thread catcher happily perched next to machine and notice the double scissor keeper hanging on my wall, also in the book, designed by the very talented Amy Friend. This book is a treasure trove of beautiful and useful projects and I am so happy to be among the contributors, most of whom I am lucky enough to call friends.


If you haven't ordered a copy yet I highly recommend you do
OR you can comment here to win an e-copy of the book, I will choose a winner on Sunday!

Winner has been chosen! Thank you for all of the comments!!!


Don't forget to stop by all of the other amazing contributors blogs to get a sneak peak of their projects from the book and have a great end of the week! It's almost Friday!!!

Blog Tour Schedule 

Friday, April 3 Blog hop kick-off: Krista at Poppyprintcreates
Monday, April 6: Berene at Happy Sew Lucky and Amy at During Quiet Time
Tuesday, April 7: Leanne at She Can Quilt and Felicity at Felicity Quilts
Wednesday, April 8: Martingale Inc. at Stitch this! (check out their Rainbow Round the Cabin staff party!)
Thursday, April 9: Krista at Spotted Stones and Krista at Krista Withers Quilting
Friday, April 10: Lynne at Lilys Quilts and Cindy at Live a Colorful Life
Saturday, April 11: Ayumi at Pink Penguin and Krista at Poppyprint
Sunday, April 12: Kristie at OCD: Obsessive Crafting Disorder and Christina at Sometimes Crafter

Monday, April 6, 2015

The lure of the Medallion

There is something about the Medallion quilt that is irresistible. I am so very close to finishing my Marcelle Medallion from Alexia's book Liberty Love.  If you are on Instagram the hashtag #marcellemedallion brings up a zillion different amazing versions of this quilt. To make it mine I reversed some of the traditional values, as you can see in the geese. The geese are the light value and the background is dark, I am continuing with this theme in the last plus border. It needs to be finished and I am SO close.  I also found the perfect backing fabric by Alexander Henry at Island Quilter, so at this point I really have no excuse for not finishing. 






I used some of my favorite fabrics in this quilt and sadly the last of my plum mendocino mermaids.
I must say the quilting part of this project makes me shudder a little bit. I think I will keep it very simple with parallel lines spaced about a half inch apart. 
I had the pleasure of quilting Cindy Wien's Marcelle medallion quilt, she has a wonderful blog post here with full shot pictures and all the details about her fabrics, etc. She used primarily solids and as you'll see her quilt is stunning. You may have already seen this quilt floating around the internet and Pinterest, Cindy has a wonderful aesthetic and is not afraid of bold color or pattern.


 This quilt struck me as very playful and I tried to capture that feeling with the quilting. Her workmanship is superb and this quilt managed to stay very square which is no small feat considering she used mostly Oakshot and Kaffe wovens. If my memory serves me that is shot cotton on the back too...yikes!!! How I managed to keep good tension on this quilt is a mystery.










I had a few inquiries about the 1" grid that I quilted on my X-Plus quilt that I blogged about last week. I DID have to turn the quilt. Meaning; I loaded the quilt onto my long-arm, quilted 1" horizontal lines all the way down, then unloaded the quilt, reloaded the opposite direction and completed the crosshatch. 



I use a very handy little tool you can find online from Linda's Electric Quilters, called a crosshatch circle, you can find it here



The circle is used by placing the template around the hopping foot.
Just as your hopping foot can be used as a guide for 1/4" these circle templates offer that same guide in increments of 1/4" and go up to 1-1/2".


 As you can see in this next picture I line up the outside of the guide to the last line stitched and my next line of stitching is exactly an inch from the previous line. (I lined it up with the vertical lines so it would be easier to see, I quilted all of the lines horizontally though) 
I'm basically using it as a ruler, once it is lined up with the previous line of stitching I turn on my channel lock and start stitching. 
Cool huh? 
I use it as a guide but you can also use it with a ruler. If you follow the link above there is a video on how to use this tool. 


I hope that helps you if you are considering a crosshatch quilting project, turning is not my favorite thing to do but I have found it to be the only way to do an allover grid on a long arm. It is a simple quilting treatment that really compliments most quilt tops and the quilt stays very soft.

Have a wonderful week, I will be finishing cleaning and getting ready for a big garage sale this weekend! Hopefully next week I will have some good shots of my finished and clean studio!!
xo

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bound and Determined

I'm by no means a prolific quilt maker, a prolific quilter of other peoples quilts yes, but maker of my own...no. I am hoping that will change and I have taken some pretty good steps in that direction this year so far. I took three quilts to my very good friend Irene who does the majority of my binding for me. While I actually love doing binding, so does Irene and it gives me a good excuse to see her and sew pillowcases which apparently one household can never have enough of. I also can think of few things that I enjoy more than sewing and staring out onto this beautiful city I am lucky enough to call home.



In an incredibly short time frame my quilts are returned to me perfectly bound. And her only request is that I bring her more and soon.









I finally finished my value quilt! This was an exciting finish for me because it is the first quilt that I have made that actually fits the bed. What a novel idea, a quilt that fits a bed, who knew such a thing could be so useful? Every quilt I have made up to this point just barely covers the mattress....duh.
It is gigantic though and weighs roughly eighty thousand pounds. I had to enlist three friends to hold it up for me after we almost lost it over board the Vashon ferry.



For Katie's value quilt tutorial link here


This quilt is full of so many of my most treasured fabrics and backed with a very snuggly flannel and an even softer mini corduroy. I have been on a healing health journey and have been realizing the importance of sleep. 
I can't help but wonder if I may have taken this concept too far?
 Will I ever leave my bed again? 
When is cozy bad?
 Is too much sleep dangerous?
Can I cook from my bed? 
Should I move the kitchen to the bedroom?
I will get back to you with the answer to these pressing enquiries.







Another finish was my x-plus quilt that I started a very long time ago and finished piecing at my annual Loon Lake retreat. It was smaller than I had originally intended but it needed to be finished. Now it will fit in nicely with every other undersized quilt (besides giganto up there) I have ever made that serves very little practical purpose and barely covers a human.






I quilted an inch grid allover design on it, not the easiest quilting job but I am in love with the overall effect.




The final quilt that was bound for me was my newest sample quilt that I am in love with. It is my wholecloth sampler that I blogged about here













Speaking of whole cloth quilts, I took a whole cloth design class many years ago from Karen McTavish with my dear friend Barbara Magill. We took the class in Kansas at the Machine quilting show MQS. It was one of the first big shows I had ever attended and was so much fun in so many ways. Barbara and I took our hotel room apart moving tables and rearranging our beds and every thing else that weighed more than the two of us combined to accommodate our need to finish designing our work. We also collectively purchased more stencils than we could haul back to Seattle with us and I had weird bruises on my thighs from scaling a fence for Barbara's supply list that went flying out of her grasp in what seemed to me like a small tornado. In our beds that night we noticed that the blankets were heavy like lead X-Ray blankets and I almost wet my bed laughing when Barbara shouted out that the blanket just grabbed her ass. 
Barbara died last Thursday, she has fought cancer for as long as I have known her. We always joked,"what happens in Kansas stays in Kansas" it was one of the last things we said to each other. I am sharing a little bit of what happened in Kansas because it makes me too sad not to. Barbara never quilted her whole cloth, in the next few weeks I will be going through her things and I will find it and finish it, for her, for me, for us.
I am really going to miss her. Hug your quilting friends, cherish them, love them, laugh with them, remember them.