Sunday, March 31, 2013

I've Gone To The Dark Side

I tease my quilting friends when they become knitters.  I tease them that they have gone to the dark side.  They have become one of "them".Why would you want to knit, when you can make it out of fabric?  There are a lot of quilters that dabble in knitting.  We love the color and texture of various fibers.  Socks are a favorite item to make.  All of us like to keep our hands occupied while watching TV or traveling or waiting for a doctor's appointment. If it's not small quilting projects, then it's knitting.  For some people, that is!
I have dabbled in knitting myself.  At various times over the years, I have gotten so frustrated that I have given away all of  yarn and needles.  Then I become enticed several years later and pick up needles and yarn again.  I definitely have never been any good with sweaters.  The less the project relied on size the better off I am.  On our recent trip to Florida, I began my dalliance with knitting again.  I made this seed stitch cowl. 
It was fast and I enjoyed the pattern, called  And it was one size fits all.
 I have never really advanced past being a beginner. 
 But now I am enticed.  I went to a baby shower this weekend for my DIL's sister.
The theme was woodland creatures, which is also the theme of the nursery.
 Their mother, Nan, knitted these adorable animals. 
 They are about 3" high.  This was the pattern she used:
 Click on this link if you want more info:Wee Woodland Wuzzies
To decorate the tables, Nan made some tablescapes.  They were magical. She is so talented.
Check out the little gnome.

Although I thought these adorable creatures, especially the squirrel with the bushy tail, should come home with me (yes I have lust in my heart!),
their next stop would be the baby's nursery in the form of a mobile.
Lucky boy!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Organizationally Challenged

I have to admit it.  I have organizational issues.  I am a loser.  I can lose anything - a piece of fabric, directions, part of a quilt, a list of people, a "to be given" gift, clothing. If it can be misplaced, I can do it.  I ask people not to give me anything that they may need returned.  I will get so stressed out because when I need to return it I cannot find it.  I put things away for safe keeping and then try to figure out where I put it when I need it. 
What do I do when I can't find something, especially in my studio?  I start to clean up.  I start in one spot and fold fabric, toss out trash, read mail, put away tools and scan papers. Then hopefully the AHA moment comes and I find what I am looking for.  When that happens, I am done cleaning until the next time that I can't find something. Then there are the other times when I do find something, but it was what I was searching for before the last thing I was looking for.  I consider that a partial success. And when I eventually do find that thing I am searching for,  I put it away in the first place that I looked for it.  Will that help me next time???? Maybe.
I have come up with systems to help me.  Sometimes about half of my design wall is covered with pieces of paper.  I am afraid to put them away because when I need them, I won't be able to find that particular paper, especially contracts.  But then my design wall becomes a huge filing cabinet.  So every few years, when I need to work on a large quilt I have to clean my design wall. I try to file the papers in a folder where I hope I will look when I need that piece of paper. 
The pieces of white fabric was the fooundation for my custom made ark curtain.
But will I ever look in that folder that is marked"Design Inspirations"?  It is so mcuh simpler to see it often on my design wall.  PLus there are always all of the new design inspirations for inspiration that I come across daily! It's just too much.
I just can't seem to make the time or take the time to put things away where they belong, or where I can find them.  Right now I still have not unpacked my quilting supplies that I brought to Key West.  There's lots of fabric, books that I bought while I was there, partially finished projects and my watercolor supplies! (I have not painted since I have been home.) There are so many other things I would rather do - productive things, like sewing!
It is nomination time for my quilt guild.  I consider myself a relatively active participant. I have been Program Chairperson, Chair of Ways & Means and Co-Chair of our guild challenge.  This week my friend Kelly and I hosted a quilter's day out with a mystery quilt and a pot luck lunch.  It was lots of fun and I think we did a good job. We volunteered to do it again next year.
What's the first step?

This was the teal table!

I swear we had salads, not just desserts.

The necessary chocolate afternoon pick me up.
 But I get nervous when someone from the nominating committee comes around and the topic of President comes up.  I have been asked several times about filling this role.  All I can think about is how many opportunities I would have to lose things.  How many times will I be close to tears because I can't find something important? Sometimes you need to acknowledge your weaknesses and focus on what you can do well.  I am too old to change. I am organizationally challenged.  So I politely explain that it's not the job for me and focus on what I do well.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Tentmakers of Cairo

I am home the the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster and still unpacking.  It was a fun 4 days working in the Wonderfil Specialty Threads booth.  I met up with lots of blog friends and guild friends and made lots of new friends.  I took lots of photos, but you can get the best view of the winning quilts by visiting the link here: WINNERS
I had mixed feelings about the show.  I wished there had been more competition quilts.  I wish there had been more variety.  The one thing that stood out the most, as an overall theme, was the machine quilting.  It was over the top.  The intricacy and the minute detail was just draw dropping. Every single square inch was covered with thread.  I feel like we have crossed a divide and we will never go back to where we were before.
The highlight of the show for me was an exhibit by the Tentmakers of Cairo.  The applique are needle turned and made with a very large needle and pair of scissors with a very stabbing motion following a chalked line.  Only men make these quilts and they make them only for their families.  The backing is a piece of canvas.  They were for sale at the show.

It started to snow on Saturday.  Just snow flurries.  But Hosam and Tarek had never seen snow before! What a treat it was to see their excitement.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

AQS Lancaster Quilt Show

I am busy getting ready for the AQS show in Lancaster. First I'm giving a talk tonight at the Love Apple Quilt Guild in Cherry Hill, NJ.  The topic: Inspiration From Squiggles & Dots.  I have a couple of new quilts to share and I will be unveiling my Bailey portrait quilt for the first time to a group. 
The quilt show begins on Weds, March 13th and runs until Saturday. I will be demonstrating how I use decorative threads at the Wonderfil Specialty Threads booth.  I will be bringing a couple of my quilts with me, including "Frosty Flakes:, which was in the December issue of The Quilt Life.
I will also have a postcard that I made for a postcard exchange.  The theme was The Circle of Life.
For both of these projects, I couched a 12 weight rayon thread with a variegated 40 wt rayon.
It's a simple and easy technique and you get a lot of eye candy for your effort.
This is the project I will be working on at the show:
So if you think that couching is what you do on a Saturday night in front of the TV, come and watch me share my unique method for creating seaweed, plus I will be blanket stitching the fish with Wonderfil's beautiful rayon thread.
So if you are at the show, come and stop by to say hi.
Booth #1419/1421

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Upcoming Workshops

This July, I will be teaching 3 workshops at the Mid-Appalachian Quilters 2013 Convention.  I am so excited to be included in this gathering.  It is held at Mount St Mary's College, located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. One of my goals this year was to be included in a muti-day quilters get together and this is my first! Woo Hoo! (I do have to thank the Seven Dwarves for this referral.)
I just received all of the class write-ups and I wanted to share them with you.  There are lots of great classes to take. I wish I could take some of them. You can't register until April 1st, but I wanted to give you all a heads up. I don't know how quickly the classes fill.
Here's the link:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is Spring Here?

This week I went to The Philadelphia Flower Show
 and was thinking that Spring was right around the corner.
And then the next day, this is what I saw:
But today was promising to be a beautiful day.
I love to ride my bike and it has been an integral part of my weight battle. 
( I will share my story soon, but it will be a long post.)
Before I could go out and ride my bike, I made myself baste my Bailey quilt.
What a helper!
I really miss riding my bike with Bailey in my basket around Key West, so we set out with bike in car, basket and Bailey girl and drove to Valley Forge and The Schuylkill(school-kill)  River Trail.
We headed towards Philadelphia on a wonderful multi-purpose paved trail with lots of other cyclists, walkers and roller bladers. You can also ride it for over 20 miles all the way to The Art Museum.  The best part - no cars allowed. It was a glorious day and lots of people wanted to share it.
This was my view during our 2 hour bike ride.
She sits like a sentinel and every once in a while
 turns around to be reassured that I am still there and gives me a kiss.
I just love this little dog.
The best exercise partner ever.
Is this the start of Spring? I hope so.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Philadelphia Flower Show

There's snow outside, but it's Spring in Great Britain inside at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
I'm waiting for the warm weather.  Please.