A View of My Quilt Life

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tuesday Travel - Diamond Hunting

3 states
15 hours
692 miles
0 diamonds

I'm a rock hound. There, I said it. I'm forever picking up rocks from wherever I go. Been doing it since I was a little kid, dragging rocks home from the shore of Lake Michigan. Nowadays, the collection includes stones from Switzerland, Paris and even Dubai (a friend brought me that one).

But today I was hunting the ultimate rock - a diamond. The Crater of Diamond state park has an active diamond field for anyone to come out and search out a precious stone. You find one, you keep it. There are white, yellow and brown diamonds waiting to be found.

I've wanted to go there for several years now and with some creative rearranging of my holiday plans, and a whole lot of driving, I finally made it there. No diamond for me but a couple days hours of digging in the dirt, enjoying the Sun and the thrill of the hunt.

Today the truck is headed to Paducah - Only a five hour drive away! With a more relaxed schedule, there will be time for stops and pictures.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

AQS Quilt Week Paducah - Day 0.5

Hello from the road!
I left yesterday evening to get a start on the drive to Paducah. So far, I've covered 220 miles in 3.5 hours, with 1 stop for dinner. Not bad. Tonight is the Holiday Inn in Effingham, IL. Very nice room, okay rate, considering I just booked it at 4 pm today.

Planning for an early departure this morning, so I should be on the road by the time this post goes live. For those of who wondering why I need to get going so early when I'm only about 4 hours out and the show doesn't actually start until Wednesday... Yes, I have a few side trips in mind for some extra adventuring! 

The plan is subject to the timetable and how hard I decide to push. The maximum is 6 states but that's a big push. And, of course, weather will need to be factored into the equation.  Intrigued? Me too! Come on along for this road trip. I promise I'll figure out a way to get some decent pictures uploaded. I'm posting via my tablet so that may be tricky. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I'm Home from Switzerland!

I got home late last Friday. 

There is so much to catch up on, every which way I turn.  All in due time!

Let's start with the most asked questions: 

1. How was it?
It was amazing. It was busy. It went so fast and felt like forever. It was strange and completely normal.

2. Did you get to travel?
Most of my time was spent working - early mornings before my commute, evenings and weekends.  BUT, yes, I managed to take 2 of the weekends completely off and traveled to London & Paris.  Both were whirlwind trips but I got to experience a bit of two iconic cities! More on those trips later because fabric/shopping/art is involved and there are many pictures that need sorting. 

3. Blogging/Email?
Okay - yeah, well, the best laid plans... 
I did have my new tablet with me, though typing long posts or messages are not the best on it. It was more a lack of time to focus on anything but the project.  Yeah - I know, we're all busy but here's an average day schedule:
Up at 5:30, leave apartment by 6:45, catch the 7:10 train, arrive at office at 7:45, work, catch the 19:02 (or 19:29) train, arrive back at the apartment at 19:45, log back on by 20:00 and work until 22:30, call home to check in and crash by 23:00. Rinse and repeat. 

Not a lot of room in there for personal computer time and honestly, spending time in front of another screen was not very appealing.

Yes - some days were a bit easier. But it was a huge project, with the typical challenges, unexpected hiccups, some extra drama, a tight timeline and a lean team.  We did it - the platform launched. We are now dealing with the aftermath but I am home.  Currently, there's no plan for me to go back. 

4. Quilt project progress?
Not as much as I had hoped! The Van Gogh challenge has the base done but no detail added yet. Pictures to come. I did not hand stitch one square on the Blue Quilt. 

5. Are you staying home now?
Not exactly.  I have 3 trips planned before the end of the month. Michigan House gets opened tomorrow. Midwest Horse Fair is next weekend. AQS Paducah is the last week of the month.

6. Would you do it again?
In half a heartbeat! Not sure the DH would have the same answer, though.  I told the Director that I can be packed & on a flight back to Switzerland with 24 hours notice.

Hope you are all enjoying some warm Spring weather this weekend!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pushing Boundaries, Crossing Borders

I have safely landed in Switzerland and am settling in.  This time I flew economy class. It's certainly different than business class!  The biggest drawback was the luggage weight restriction.  One checked bag, maximum weight of 23 kgs, or 50 l and 1 carry on bag with a 8 kgs, 17.5 lbs. Thankfully, I also had my backpack for my work laptop and new tablet. 

Packing for 7 weeks, including quilt projects, definitely pushed the boundaries on creativity!  The Van Gogh project fabric was rolled into a shipping tube, that the DH cut down to the height of my big suitcase. My IKEA lunchbox served as a sewing equipment box to safely get scissors, thread, needles, etc., here but will be carrying my lunch to work during the weeks ahead. 

I knew 1 fabric project would not be enough to keep me busy in the evenings and whatever I brought had to be a handwork project, small enough to fit. I decided to bring the blue squares project.

 It's 1.5 inch finished size squares, of 1 white, 1 purple and 4 blue fabrics. It is a completely hand pieced project, started years ago when DH had several surgeries, with considerable hospital stays. 

The apartment I'm calling home for now is in Lucerne. As in, the heart of the city! 

It's quite a change from our suburban townhouse! I am embracing this adventure and doing my best to assimilate into this culture. The grocery store is a short two block walk, which means a few trips a week, given the tiny fridge. 

I also need to get used to using this tablet for typing blog posts. 
More later,

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Outward Bound Again

Yep - I'm hitting the road skies, again! 

Just last Thursday, word came down that I'm needed back in Switzerland.  The Project is big, global and needs all hands on deck.  Me, being here, seven hours behind the team is not optimal, not even good. 

So, the last 6 days have been a whirlwind. DH is up & running on all things house related. Bags are packed, except for a few last minute items. I'll be gone for seven weeks.

Sadly, it means no sewing machine for 7 weeks.  I can't work on the 182 Solstice Day challenge. The machine quilting on the MQ and the construction quilt will have to wait. BUT, and there's always a BUT, I have a project packed.

The Cherrywood Van Gogh challenge design I'm working on it a raw edge applique project. 

The full size cartoon drawing is done, fabrics are selected, safely rolled into a shipping tube and already packed in my suitcase. 

The DH & I went out on Saturday and got me a Kindle Fire 8 HD.  If everything works out, I should still be able to use it to post things to the blog. Fingers crossed. Catch you next week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Almost Bound Around

The re-quilting on the mini went well.

It still could have been a little flatter but I'm happy with it overall. This nasty wrinkle it gone.

 I used the lime thread on orange - it appears more yellow and it totally works.

Love the look of a newly trimmed quilt! 

I have the binding attached, turned and pinned to the back. 

 Not sure when I'll get it sewn down because there's big news in this girl's life.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Detouring to Phoenix - Fabric Choices

It's a new year, so it's time for a new Quilt Challenge. Besides,  of course, the Cherrywood Challenge, the New Quilt from an Old Favorite Contest, the 182 Day Solstice Challenge...

I couldn't help myself!  

I was driving home from work, right past Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop, like I always do and suddenly, out of the blue, i remembered they had recently announced the details of the 2017 Challenge.  It was right there, on my way home,  I had to stop.

They are doing a "Phoenix Rising Challenge".  The idea is to take a old block (your 'Phoenix' that will rise from the ashes) to use as the medallion of your quilt.  Add in a background fabric, at least three other fabrics, follow the monthly directions for the subsequent borders and after four (4) months the finished quilt will be about 68 inches square. 

The lovely salesgal who was explaining the challenge to me was puzzled when I told her I didn't have any old blocks laying around.  

The conversation went like this...
'You know, like when you've taken a class, made a block & then didn't do anything with it afterward'.   

'Umm, no - don't have any of those.  I'll have to make a new block'

'Really, you don't have any old project blocks?  You must have one or two? You know from a class...'

She was very nice but just didn't grasp the way I work.  Not slamming anyone here! Just a different perspective.  So I need to draft a block. And I already have an idea...

Of course,  I did need fabric!  The shop specializes in Civil War repro and some 30s & 40s prints.  Again - not my norm.  But - they have solids!  I have discovered Riley Blake's Confetti Cottons.  

This pile already has been through the washer & dryer.  The Confetti Cottons have a LOVELY hand to them!!!  The color selection was great. The exception in the pile was the darkest red - 'Rich Red', that is a Kona Cotton.   This fabric selection should be appropriate for a 'Phoenix Rising' quilt. 

Next up - drafting the center block.  It needs to be 18 inches square, set on point and then squared up with the background (black) fabric setting triangles.