Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quilt Show & Tow Trucks - Update

I've just learned thanks to a reader that I am not allowed to publish photos of the AQS show without the written permission of the quilt maker - sorry. I'll have to read the show booklet more carefully in future.

I apologize to anyone who may be upset by my recent post.

I'll post some of my own projects in a few days.

Last week brought the AQS Lancaster Quilt Show to our area. I had intended to take the bus with guild friends, but plans changed and I went to for a day trip with my guild friend, Pauline. Poor Pauline. More on that later.....

The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely drive through the rolling Pennsylvania countryside to our first stop. Poole Forge, which is a historical home site and had about 70 quilts on display. Here are a few:

Now on to the big show. It was held in a new convention center which was bright and beautiful. Some of the quilts are hard to see in full view because of the angles of the display, but not much we can do there. I think it was a great first year and it will gain momentum now that it is affiliated with AQS.

Poor Pauline --
After the show I stopped for gas at a roadside Sunoco. The pumps were crowded and I had to pull around a couple for an open pump. After struggling with the nozzle, I realized I inadvertently pumped 3 gallons of diesel fuel into my tank. Oooops.

In New Jersey, we are not allowed by law to pump our own gas. In the Mid-west, diesel pumps are in a separate location. In PA, you better know the &*@# you are doing.

After being stranded for 4 hours, making dozens of calls, 4 different tow trucks were dispatched, and finally we were moved to a hotel. We enjoyed a much needed glass of wine and a free toothbrush. In the morning the 5th tow truck took us to the dealer. We were released form there at around 3pm.

3 gallons of toxic fuel; $10.00
dozens of calls for help; 1 dead iphone
1 non-AAA tow truck, $27.00
1 unexpected overnight hotel room; $150.00
Dealership repair bill; $400.00
A friend who laughed and supported me the whole time?

Thanks Pauline - and beware the diesel pumps!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Eggstra Fun Day

Yesterday I was invited to a little Ukrainian egg decorating party. Pysanka eggs are decorated by using melted wax applied to a egg with layering of colors and wax to produce intricate designs.

So, Mary - have to re-mixed your dyes in the new house and started in on this years' batch? Mary is particularly good at these and maybe she'll share some of them with us.

Mary Ann, a good friend of Jill's, was our hostess and her house was a vision of Easter Bliss. She set up all the dyes on her counter which made it so easy - Thanks Mary Ann!

Some inspiration -

Hard at work....

When we used brown eggs, the result looked a little like red-ware.
Isn't this a cute egg holder?

Mary Ann provided everyone with a sweet little egg basket to take our treasures home.

Here, Jill is using a heat gun (on low) to remove all the wax to reveal the design - flying geese! Sorry I didn't get the complete after shot.

And here are some results - Sorry I can't give credits, I forget who made which exactly. But you'll know Betsy's!

I made this one using step by step instructions from a book. The book shows what new wax to add, then what color to dip it in to get this look. It's too complicated for me to figure it out...

I brought these little lemon Easter cupcakes to fortify us.

And lucky me, being the last one there, I got to take home a prize. Mary Ann had planned to "award" this to someone, but we were having so much fun, it slipped her mind, so I got to take home these cute egg lights. Today I'll plan to decorate the mantel.

Hope you're having fun with your pre-Easter (or Passover) decorating and cooking.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

As the Needle Turns

This took 10 years to quilt! I put it away for years at a time, but finally finished it late last year. It is a Smithsonian reproduction of a antique baby quilt. It was very fun, until a water bottle spilled in the bag it was in and erased the marking, and stained it from the hoop. After avoiding it for years (too painful), I remarked the corner and soaked it for 2 days in oxy-clean and presto - a finished quilt.

It's about 36" square. I know it took 10 years, because I quilted 2000 around the center square.

I also quilted the initial of our family members, B, R, A and H in the upper corner of the pomegranate blocks. In mine, I also quilted a sparrow, which I have used in many, many quilts. It's fun to switch out a design motif and it's a great surprise for those who notice it.

I'm really enjoying hand quilting on my Olympic Eagle. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Several people were interested in the eye-ball quilting so I thought I'd offer a few tips. I in no way intend to sound like an expert, these are just things I've picked up over the years of hand quilting.

Load the Needle -
The toughest stitch is the first, and when you load the needle the chances of going straight are much higher. Sometimes you can see the seam allowance underneath and follow that as well. If you use a good thimble you can really shove it in past the first stitch or so and I use a office finger, inside out, to grab it and pull. I can do a side of these diamonds in 2 loads.

Watch where you're going, not where you are-
I like to keep my eye on the distance from the seam I'm following, rather than the line I'm making. My mother once taught me to watch where I wanted the cup of coffee to go onto the table, and not the cup of coffee....it's pretty good advice.

Quilt Straight Lines
So what I mean here is, quilt all the lines going one way, then turn the hoop and go the other, then turn and cross the lines. You may have a little thread waste, but the lines will be straighter. When you turn a sharp corner you can often pull the thread and make it a little rounded. Also, end a row in a down stitch. When you do turn, start with the space then the stitch, again this helps things stay straight.

In case you are wondering, I like Gutermann thread, a size 9 between, a big 18" hoop and Quilters Dream Request or other very thin cotton batting. On the Olympic Star I'm using Fairfield Cotton and it's very nice. I also wash my quilts afterward to get the good crinklage that we like in the old quilts.

So let me know if this is at all helpful or you have other great hand quilting tips - I'd love to hear them. We can always learn a new way of doing things.

So here is a little quilting from a project I did several years ago. I did a real sampler of quilting designs and this is my signature corner. It is great fun to quilt in surprises and here are a few.

Here is my signature double line quilted and the year 1998.

A heart and a pair of scissors.

And a bumble bee, a motif I often use on signature blocks, and that I have tattooed on my right foot.

After surviving the great Nor'easter of 2010 and being out of power for 36 hours, I now have the cleanest refrigerator and the freshest food I've had in years. I'm not sure when I'll invest in eggs and meat, maybe tomorrow.

When will coco grown into those paws and all that skin? Who knows. She is a pooped out pup after a long walk.

Great Give away - The Queen on Creativity, Karen is having a great give away here: Sew Many Ways

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Well Begun is Half Done

Yesterday I finished the sew basting on my Olympic Star, or should I call it Star of Beijing? Hhhmmm, I'll have to think on that.

I'm the kind of person who likes a little encouragement, so a few years ago I got this great idea. Why not baste the quilt in sections using different colored threads. This way I can take it out as soon as I'm done with a section and I can admire it without the basting...so now that is how I handle basting. It's one of those "aha" moments that really works for me.

When I hand quilt pieced quilts, I like to do it without marking or using tape. I find it easier and faster. It may take a little practice, but it's well worth it. So I'm eye-balling the 1/4 seam allowance on these.

It reminds me when Gwen told me she doesn't use a 1/8" mark for a lot of her applique'. She said "if I don't a 1/8" by now....." and she's right, of course. I have also learned to applique' without marking unless it's letters or needs to be very precise. Try it sometime.

I'm using white muslin on the back. I order the 108" wide muslin so I wouldn't need a seam - nice for quilting. I love the reverse look you achieve when using a solid back.

Over the weekend I went to the Mancuso quilt show here in NJ. I'm not going to say a lot, because I don't have a lot of nice things to say. It was great to see my cupcakers; Jill and Susan and here are a few photos that took of things I liked:

This was an amazing advent calendar quilt, complete with opening doors and windows. She is an amazing quilter and has won many prizes and published a book. I'm so sorry her name escapes me at the moment.

A big winner --

Aroma therapy for puppy's.....a boy's stinky boat shoe.
She is asleep and snoring......gross. Cute, but gross.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Closing Ceremonies

Happy Almost Spring! Three wonderful things happened today. I wore flip flops to walk my puppy, I saw a bunch of blooming yellow crocus' near my front door and I saw a robin hopping across the lawn. All sure signs that spring is coming - finally!

To celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics, I endeavored to finish the quilt I started in 2008 commemorating the Summer games in Beijing. I always wanted to try a lone star. It was a bit challenging as the bias always wants to fight you, but I'm relatively happy with it.

I really like commemorate quilts of all sorts, and the Olympic theme doesn't seem very popular, so this is the second one I've done. The first one was my "Obama for President" quilt, which featured the Olympic Rings in the eagle's beak. I started stitching it during the opening ceremonies of those games.

This time, I marked the quilting designs during the Vancouver games. I'm going to quilt a feathered cable design on the borders, and a feathered wreath in the plain block and half block spaces.

Two of the corners turn nicely, and the other two are going to end where they are - just like on the good old antique quilts that we love.

Here are the rings, and in case you didn't know, there are 5 to represent the 5 continents, and the colors represent at least 1 color in each of the participating country's flags. Cool, huh? I appliqued these intertwined, putzy, but I'm glad I did.

I hope you can see the marking. It was a dark day and it was tricky getting a good photo with the white.

Last and least, look at this "big" puppy with her stick. She's been a "good girl" in the house for 5 days. Hooray!