Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting Ready For Baby

Our first grandchild is on the way and I am sewing up a storm. We know it's a boy and he should be arriving at the end of August.  I have blocked off my calendar and plan on staying close to home during August and September.  I don't want to miss a thing.
A few weeks ago, I had a fabric dyeing workshop at my house.  You can read about it in this post.  I had a bunch of dye left over.  The MX fiber reactive dye is stable in solution for a couple of months, but it does start to loose potency over time.  I thought it would be fun to dye some onesies.
There was a package of 5 at Target that was a mixture of long and short sleeve.
 I did leave one white.I'm going to try my hand at sewing some sleep sacks using them.
But I thought it would be fun to use one as a onesie with a bicycle applique. 
I cut it out of the cutest fabric called Cruizin' by Barbara Jones from Henry Glass.
I fused it on and blanket stitched around it. 
 The background color of the bicycle fabric should be turquoise. This isn't the greatest photo. 
I also used the bicycle fabric to make a boppy cover.  If you don't know what a boppy is, I didn't know either until a couple of months ago.   It is a pillow for nursing.
I want to save some surprises for the mother-to-be's shower.
In a couple of weeks, I'll share it all with some links and tutorials.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Couching Workshop

My quilt guild, Calico Cutters, has an annual auction to raise money to support our charitable causes and to pay for wonderful speakers.  I try to donate a class. The participants come to my house and we spend the day, usually finishing a project.  It's always a fun time.
This year I decided to offer a couching class. I have lots of Wonderfil thread from demoing in their booth at the AQS Lancaster Quilt Show that I wanted to share.  4 wonderful ladies - Betty, Nancy, Ronie & Catherine,  bid on the class and schlepped their machines to my house.
Couching takes less than 5 minutes to learn, but then you can spend lots of time playing with different thread color combinations.

The ladies , including Bailey, modeling their bags.

Three finished bags!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Making Time For Friends

I spend most of my days in my studio.  My main focus has been designing and quilting for the past bunch of years.  I have to make a concerted effort to leave my work and Bailey to see my friends, especially if they are not quilters. I always come home thinking it is so worth it.  There is a history.
This week I met my friend Carol for lunch.  She happened to be in the area.  I have known Carol since my youngest son was 3 years old.  She is one of my oldest friends. 
We know each other from the mountains where we spent many a summer afternoon on the beach while our boys played in the lake.
Years ago I inspired Carol to quilt. 
She has inspired me and continues to inspire me to be a better person. I think I got the better deal.
Carol has post polio syndrome and has been dealing with it for many years.  But, she is brave and strong, never complains and is ready to help others.
Her new car has a lift so that she can take her electric scooter with her wherever she goes. She joined a support group that called themselves victims.  She decided that she prefers to be part of a group called survivors.  This group has been visiting the Villanova University School of Nursing, to expose  potential care givers to a disease that some of them have never heard of.   
There is no holding her back.  And if you happen to be watching the US Open Golf Tournament on TV, you may see her.  She's a Marshall.  You'll be able to recognize her, because she will have her motorized scooter.  I'm sure she will inspire others too - to not be victims!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It Just Takes Some Confidence

My friend Dina had some dining room chairs that were very worn.  She wanted to recover them and she knew it could be done, but she didn't think she could do it.  Somehow this came up in one of our conversations, so I offered to help her. 
I thought she would arrive with 6 chairs, but instead she came with two bags of chair seats.  Her husband had removed them for her and was excited about getting them covered.  It's very easy to take them off the chairs.  It's basically 4 screws.  Here is the bottom corner of one my kitchen chairs where the screw is located. 
This is one of Dina's chair seats. 
This is the bottom of the chair seat. The fabric underneath it is the new reupholstery fabric.
You can remove the old fabric and replace the foam, or not.  It's much easier not to remove the old fabric. The foam of her chair seats was fine and still firm, so we put the new fabric right over the old. 
 A staple gun is essential to doing this job.  An electric staple gun is even better, but only when you can figure out how to insert the staples.
And we couldn't do this project without our buddy. 
It's really like wrapping a present. 
You can cover the bottom with kraft paper, poster board, a non-fraying fabric, or not!
It didn't take Dina long, before she was doing it herself.
Cushion #1
And they started piling up.
Don't they look beautiful?
Dina, you go girl!
Sometimes it just takes a little confidence.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Day Sewing Project

On Mother's Day I like to spend the day sewing, usually in my pajamas!
 I choose a project that I can finish in a day. For dinner, I like a nice Bar-b-Que with hamburgers and hot dogs, cooked of course by anyone but me.  This year, I also requested cake, since I have not had a piece since before Thanksgiving. Yum.
My project this year, was a multitude of collars for my best girlfriend.  For those of you that are regular readers, you know how much I love this little dog.  Why shouldn't she have a wardrobe?
I had planned this ahead of time and spent some time looking for parts on the Internet.  I was lucky enough to find a website where I could not only buy the parts, but I could buy them as a kit, WITH directions.  This was a no-brainer.  I bought enough to make 8 collars.
Normally I jump right into whatever I am doing.  This would have meant cutting out 8 different fabrics for the collars and constructing them assembly line style.
  But I did control myself a bit, and even though I picked out all the fabric, I thought the wisest course of action would be to make an entire collar first, checking the directions and making sure it fit right.  And so I did.
I had to adjust the length a bit, but other than that, the collar went together easily.  The directions were pretty good.  So I then cut the fabric for the remaining 7 collars.
  And after just a few hours, I had a bunch of collars.  In addition to the Memorial Day/4th of July collar, now she had one to wear for:
 Valentine's Day
World Peace Day (LOL - I just like this fabric)
A striped collar
And an orange collar because it's so colorful.
As I was getting ready to throw away her old, worn collar
I decided to salvage the closure and the other parts and make yet one more collar.   Looking at the collars I had already made, I noticed there wasn't one using my favorite collar - Key Lime Green.
So I chose a Kaffe Fasset fabric for the last of the collars.
Small scale prints definitely worked the best.
Which one was the collar chosen to be worn first?
It's Spring isn't it?
Will anyone notice with all that fur?
We don't care, because we will know. It's a girl thing.
After a few years of being side-lined I am now back on my bicycle. 
 I love it almost as much as I love quilting.
This was my Mother's Day gift from my husband.  And it's perfect. 
 And I found the perfect spot for it.
where I can be inspired all the time.
I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!
It's the most important job in the world.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Results Are In

We had a great Show & Tell at our guild meeting
 with some of the hand dyed fabric from the workshop:

And from the Small Works workshop from the week before, Sandy brought her wonderful piece:
It's a photo of her deceased father fishing with her son.
What a memory!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's All Fun!

What could be better than a workshop where you don't have to bring a sewing machine, fabric or any sewing supplies?  How about a workshop where you don't have to stress about color choices or if you have the exact seam allowance?  What if you got to choose from lots of colors to dye yards and yards of fabric?  It's a no brainer and it was lots of fun today as Calico Cutters Quilt Guild had a fabric dyeing workshop - at my house. 
I spent a day making up about 10 gallons of dye in about 20 different colors for my fellow guild members to play with.  I'm so happy I didn't have to schlep everything to a different location.  The workshop was Chez Lynch. They just had to bring lunch and come in clothes that they didn't mind were splashed with dye.  Fiber Reactive Dye is just that - and it's permanent. OOPS!   Holly didn't mind! Who spilled that dye on her???  I won't tell.  It matches her shirt.
The plan was to dye outside.  No mess indoors and if something spills, the grass would hide it.  But Mother Nature wouldn't co-operate.  It was chilly, the grass was wet and the forecast called for some intermittent spritzing.  So I waited for the last minute to clean out my garage.
 We started the day by ripping 4 yds of fabric into fat quarters.
Soaked them in a soda ash solution and started dyeing.

Everyone had their own dishpan to keep their baggies.
it was a beautiful thing to watch them fill up.  Everyone went home with 18 baggies each with its own fat quarter.  They would sit overnight and washout would come in the morning.
We did single color dyeing, single color gradation dyeing and 2 color gradation dyeing. We had some extra time and those who wanted dyed some cotton thread.

Our guild meeting is tomorrow, Wednesday.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that some of my new dyers wake up early enough to do a washout and dry their fabrics in the morning. This reveal is the best part of dyeing your own fabric. And,  I'd love to see some hand dyes at Show & Tell.
I do really enjoy sharing the fabric dyeing experience.

Monday, May 6, 2013

You Deserve A Quilt Get-A-Way

There is a great 3 day quilting getaway that takes place in MD during the summer.
Mid-Appalachian Quilters puts on this event at Mt St Mary's College, located near Gettysburg, PA.
I am thrilled o be one of their teachers this summer.  Not only am I one among many, but this has to be one of the best bargains.  Each one day workshop costs only $60. 
Then, room and board at the college costs between $65 and $80/day.  This amounts to less than $400 for 3 days of quilting and eating.  What could be better than that?  especially if you go with some friends - or meet some new ones.
The dates are July 13-16.  You arrive on a Thursday night and leave Sunday after classes.
So I hope you are wondering what workshops I am teaching,
 because I could really use some more students.
On Friday, I am teaching "Everything You Wanted To Know About Fusible Machine Applique".  This is the sampler we will create while learning 7 different fusible techniques:
If you are new to fusible machine applique (FMA), you will be able to experiment and see which techniques you like the best.  If you are already familiar with FMA, you can hone your skills and learn a few new techniques, plus some of my quick tricks.
On Saturday, I am teaching a class to demystify quilting with dupioni silk.  If you treat silk just right, it will behave like cotton.  Silk dupioni makes every project look elegant because it is such an elegant fabric.  You will purchase a kit and can choose from 3 different colorways and 3 ways to set your blocks.
I'll talk about using it for applique as well as how to combine it with other fabrics.
On Sunday, I am teaching a workshop that is perfect for anyone that has an interest in designing their own block based quilts.  It's called surprising designs from Mexican Tiles, but it is about designing blocks by choosing a central design and a corner design and seeing how those designs interact.
  I share a few methods for how to visualize a quilt after making only one block using inexpensive methods, preventing an unhappy product.
This class is based upon the way I designed the quilt patterns in my "Quilt Fiesta" book.
If you have any questions about my classes, feel free to e-mail me.  I understand that the food is good, the dorms and classrooms are air conditioned and handicapped accessible.
The link to get to the website is:
Come see me and help to fill my classes.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!
And you will have the best time, laughing and sewing
 and meeting new quilters without having to cook a meal.
You deserve it.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Penn Oaks Quilt Show Video

The Penn Oaks Quilt Guild is having their show.  I went yesterday, but you can also go today. There are some great vendors.
It's in Glenmoore, PA.  Click here for directions and hours.
I wanted to try and imbed a video in my blog.  Here is my first attempt.  It took a bit if work, but I am so proud of myself that I figured out how to do it.  So, please forgive the quality and just enjoy looking at their raffle quilts.

Friday, May 3, 2013

An Amazing Blog Tour

I have been just delighted and overwhelmed by the response to my post for the 100 Blocks Magazine's blog tour.  There were 288 comments-my most ever.  I surpassed 300 Followers - my most ever. But the most heartwarming part of it was your responses to childhood memories of a summer vacation.  So many of you shared what had to be great memories that you have not thought about for a while.  I think I brought a smile to a lot of your faces.
The winner, chosen through the random number picker (yes there is one) is Betty. Betty you will receive a copy of the mag and a fat quarter of dupioni silk.
to celebrate my 300th Follower, I've decided to send Debbie a copy of the magazine also.
I've contacted these winners and can't wait for you to get your prizes.
Thank you Quiltmaker and all of you who took the time to visit my blog.  Come back to see where my quilting adventures take me next.