Sunday, June 29, 2014

What Are You Working On?

I have been nursing a sore shoulder with radiating pain down my arm. It's really a constant tingling and basically a PIA. About 8 years ago I became an avid cyclist. It certainly helped to make me very healthy, but was accompanied by 2 broken shoulders. It happened within 3 months of each other, both as a result of accidents. The first one was a separated shoulder. When that felt a bit better, against my doctors orders, I got back on my bike and broke my collar bone. Both of them required surgery. Both of the surgeries required metal pins and then another surgery to remove the pins. I severely cut back on my riding, especially with groups. Group riding can help to protect you in numbers when you are riding on the road, but then there are all those other cyclists that you can collide with.
Recently I noticed that I had shoulder pain when I did a lot of upper body exercise, including sewing! It resulted in constant tingling radiating down my arm into my hands. It got so bad that I had to stop sewing and I finally went to see my doctor. He suspected arthritis or a herniated disk in my neck. But hey, it was my shoulder. He sent me for X-rays and to see a physical therapist.
I went to a physical therpaist that my friend recommended. (Why do we all know these things?) I have to say I think this woman was a genius. You know I didn't want to give into this arthritis diagnosis. That would mean I was getting old. After pushing and pulling and feeling my bones and muscles in my back, the PT diagnosed me with Scapular Instability. That made such sense to me. There is no tendon in that shoulder connecting the muscle to the bone. Could a DR ever had figured that out? So I am on my way to less tingling and more comfort. The most important thing is that I can sew again. Hooray!
Instead of being silent, I thought I would share what I have been working on. I have 2 projects that are currently on my design wall. The first is a silk piece. These are the blocks using fusible appliqué and made from dupioni silk.

I have added a talk about working with dupioni silk to my lecture repertoire. It's a new talk and I am scheduled to present it in October and then again in November. I cover how to tame silk so it can be treated like cotton and how it can be combined with other fibers such as cotton. I need a couple of more pieces to round out the presentation. The piece above will have a batik sashing and the centers of the flowers will be velvet.
And of course I am working on another Curvalicious piece. Ever since that tool arrived on my doorstep, I go from one idea to the next. It is so exciting to come up with more uses for it. This was inspired by my trip to the beaches of Delaware and my visit to the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, DE. I will give you a sneak peak, because it is only a top right now with no border. I call it "A Day At The Beachalicious".
It's funny how designs evolve. My first thought was to use the tool to make waves and create an underwater scene, which I still might do. I had some fish left over from the group quilt from my DILs baby shower. I put them jumping through the waves and that made me think of the beach. It needed a design element up top, so I added sailboats. But then the fish got lost and just looked incongruous. I removed them. I added some beach umbrellas to fill the upper section. The foreground needed a bit more and thus the sand pails. I need to add a border and then quilt it. I'll share when it's done. I may also write up a pattern for it if enough people are interested.
I had an idea that I could prepare the waves using Curvalicious with turned under edges. I was concerned that fusing all the waves on top of each other would result in a very stiff quilt. I cut the strips a little wider and since the curves are so gentle I was able to use freezer paper to prep my appliqué. Invisible machine appliqué was my method of choice using invisible thread and a blind hem stitch.
This is why I love quilting and love to design. It is a continual challenge to come up with new ideas and figure out the mechanics of how to accomplish them. I must say that my hubby would rather see me in my quilt studio than on the road on my bike!
What are you working on?
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heading To The Beach

Where I grew up on Long Island, we called it the beach. I moved to the NJ/PA area to find out that t's called The Shore. In Delaware they also call it the beach. Are there other names for this delightful piece of land where the ocean meets the sand?

I am heading to the beaches of Delaware and it couldn't be better timing. What a perfect place to be with the sizzling temperatures that we have been having. I'll be at The Serendipity Quilt Shop in Rehobeth Beach, this Friday. They are having their 6th birthday celebration..

I'll be there to demo my Curvalicious tool. I'll also have silk kits with me.

There will be a bunch of other demos too. The schedule is on their website.

It's really a wonderful shop. I met Kathy Lewis, the owner, when I was visiting the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild a few months ago. They have tons of fabric, lots of batiks, lots of wool and even yarn. If you are looking for beach themed fabric, this is definitely the place.

So if you're in the area or need an excuse for a road trip, come say hi.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tickle Your Brain

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of my quilt guild. I shared this quilt during Show and Tell.

The pattern is called a disappearing 4 patch. I used the directions from The Missouri Star website. It's scrappy and went together quickly and quite easily. Great for a beginner or a fast quickly. I used a larger square to begin with (7") and then cut the squares 1.5" from the mid line. This yielded a 12" block. Here's the link.

I wanted to make a quick and dirty quilt to experiment with an inner border using my Curvalicious tool. I started with a strip of fabric that measured 3" wide by the length of my quilt. After applying fusible web to the back of this strip, I only cut one side of the 3" wide strip of fabric, curvy with the tool.

I fused this to the 5"wide strip of fabric that I cut for my border. I added the circles and stitched them down with a machine blanket stitch, before attaching it to the quilt.


I really like how the borders came together in the corners.

I would have been a little happier if all 4 corners were the same. LOL


I tried a couple of new techniques that I had heard about recently. Nancy Humphreys sent me a link for a video about a no measuring method of joining the tails of your binding by Cassandra Plotts. Let's just say I loved it and will never measure again. Thank you Nancy. Here's the link if you want to try it.

I also used a new type of label for the back. After cutting a 7" square of fabric, I folded it in half and sewed it into the seam allowance when attaching the binding. (It's easy to do if you are sewing the binding to the back of the quilt first.)

I hand stitched down the folded edge and wrote the label with a permanent fabric marker.

It was fun to experiment and it just shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks!






Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vacation Inspiration

Travel and architecture always give me lots of ideas and inspiration for my quilts. Everywhere I look, there is always something. If you have heard my talk "Inspiration From Squiggles and Dots" , you have seen how I turn an inspiration into a quilt.
So I take lots of photos and keep a file -actually many files. Either an idea sticks in my brain or I swipe through my photos when I am ready to start a new project. Sometimes it looks like the inspiration and sometimes it does not. The inspiration may just be the germ of an idea.
Here are are a bunch of photographs if inspiration from my trip to Prague and Budapest. I don't know even or if they will show up in my work. Can you see a quilt? What inspires you?

I match!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Got Wheels?

It's a beautiful day on the eastern side of the state of Pennsylvania. After spending almost 17 hours traveling home from Budapest, today was a great day to get outside check out the new Chester Valley a Trail (CVT). Well , its new to me. It's restricted to bicycles and runners and walkers.

If you know me or have read my blog for a while, you know that I love to ride my bike, especially with my trusted companion, Bailey.

She was very well behaved today.
There was a wonderful perfumy smell in the air.

Then I spotted these wild roses.

I really needed a day to do this. Back to work tomorrow.

If you missed my bicycle block in Quiltmakers 100 Blocks mag, here's another look. It's one of my most favorite thins I have designed.

The current issue is still available, here.