A View of My Quilt Life

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Beginning - New Quilt From an Old Favorite

Let's start the project off with the shortening of the name.  Henceforth, New Quilts from an Old Favorite shall be known on this blog as NQOF. Whew, glad that's out of the way!  
This is an annual competition sponsored by The National Quilt Museum and this year's the theme is Nine Patch.  For more information click on this link - New-quilts-old-favorites

I've been stockpiling the batik stash for approximately 2 years, ever since I found out about the theme.  As far as the design goes - not so planned.   I want this piece to evolve naturally, with each section treated almost as if it's a separate quilt.  This is my sketch.

I decided to start with the contrast inset.  I thought long and hard about how to handle this piece.  I'm not sure if I want it on top of the main body of the quilt or recessed inside it.  I'll leave that decision for later and made this as a mini quilt. 

This part needed to be made a a traditional light/dark nine patch - a layout of 9 nine patches.   

So how long can it take to make a tiny 7 inch square quilt?  Most all afternoon!  Getting the colors and values right took some time.  For a brief moment, I considered having the squares finish at a half inch.  That would have made me crazy!!   These finish at three-quarters of an inch and were tricky enough. And I had some special help.

I'm waaay more important that these silly narrow strips.
By treating each section as a separate stand alone quilt, I'm counting on the color, batiks and quilting to tie it all together.
Pieced and ready for quilting.

Quilted!  It has no back, just batting and the binding is not double folded, just turned to the back and whip-stitched in place.

On to the next section - Stay tuned!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Working(wo)man's Holiday

Happy Labor Day!!

In honor of the holiday, not much laboring will be done today - just the minimum chores.  Then some end of Summer fun. The animals are not going to be thrilled when they see me head out the door again today.

You'll be home BEFORE dinnertime, right??!!
They lack for nothing, barring a few hours of attention - don't let that face fool you. 

This has been a busy and slow weekend for me. On Saturday, I barely left the house (library), spending most of the day stitching very slowly in the studio.  Yesterday was a different story entirely!

Up and out of the house, to make it to the barn for an 8 am lesson.  By the end of that hour, the humidity was already climbing - yuck!  But that was just the start of the day.

Shortly after turning the horses out, we had a beginning roper's clinic for kids and adults.  First, we learned about ropes and building a loop.  Then, the ropes started twirling overhead and snaking through the air.  We snared traffic cones, roping dummies and each other - practicing head and heel catches. 

Only after a quick lunch was it time to try out our new skills horseback.  This is when you wish you had three arms.  Some of these horses had never seen a rope, let alone have one thrown from their back and everyone did great!  Of course, care was taken to introduce them to the ropes and 'calves'.   

I was riding Cookie, a large Paint, whose past career focus was three day eventing - dressage, cross country and stadium jumping.  Jen, our instructor, had concern that he might not take to this, and maybe I should switch mounts.  Nope, this was a learning experience and  he handled it like a champ!  

Here is a picture of all of us at the end of the day. 

A good time was had by all!!  By the time I got home, tended to the animals immediate needs, I was more than ready for some pampering - a (short) soaking bath!  With these...

Seventh Sojourn products are all handmade - they have fabulous flavors and wonderful soaps.  They are at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, which is where I'm heading today for the last day of the season, and restocking on these bath products!

However you choose to spend the day - don't Labor too hard! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Recap and 2014 NewFO Link Up

August brings the winding down of Summer.  It was a jammed packed month of activities - outside the house and away from the studio, so there's not a ton to share. 

I am participating in Barbara at Cat Patches 2014 NewFO Challenge. Click here to see everyone's new projects  August NewFO Challenge and Linky Party

My August 2014 quilt stats:
1 new top - FINISH!!
This was a NewFO this month - Summer Irish Chain.  This was just a transitional piece - something simple to work on after 4 Finishes in July. 

1 new quilt part - FINISH!!
This was a NewFO this month - shades of red, pink & orange batiks.  This will be the inset, accent part of the New Quilt from Old Favorites - 9 Patch.   I created this as a separate mini quilt so that once it's applied to the rest of the quilt, it will add dimension.

September's focus is the rest of the 9 patch - New Quilt from Old Favorites.

How was your August?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not a Stitch has been Sewn

in the Studio this week.

Not for lack of trying to want to be inspired to create something. Just not there...yet.  It will come, just need a little down time. But that doesn't give me a lot of blog fodder.

So let's talk AQS quilt show thoughts to share:

1. Love the venue, easy access off the highway, underground parking, big, bright, etc.

2.  Love the guild challenge exhibits - each guild enters 8 quilts from a challenge they held over the past year.  They determine the rules, size, theme, etc.  Some AMAZING creativity and craftsmanship is displayed.

3. The special exhibits were great - though I've seen some of these before.   Like New Quilts from Old Favorites, Carolina Lily.  The Stitch Like An Egyptian exhibit was smaller than the previous two years, the tentmakers were not there in person, but there was a video playing describing their process.

4. It seemed like there were fewer competition quilts hanging. Can't really say for sure but it felt light. The quality was fabulous as always. Very inspiring!!!

5.  Way fewer vendors! This was disappointing to me.  It was definitely a let down after driving all the way up to the show. It seemed like the vendor are has shrunk to about half or less than the first year. 

Bottom line - I will really have to think long and hard before I head up there next year. Yes - I was able to purchase most everything on my shopping list but I was not inspired to buy anything new or decadent. The depth in merchandise simply was not there.  And this totally bums me out since this is my birthday trip.

Flip side - there is the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, Sept 4-6th, I'm off work that Friday and I heading up there to get my fill of inspiration & shopping - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sharing the Birthday Shopping

Being both the Empress of the Universe (during birthday season) and the Shopping Maven at the same time means you sometimes have to share the shopping good fortune with the Minions, er, friends.

Part of last week was an almost unplanned trip to Shipshewana. We didn't think we could squeeze it in and do the drive back to Illinois & Wisconsin & make it out to my official birthday dinner, dressed, full of witty conversation without collapsing.  

Wait - back up to the 'we' part first.  This was suppose to be a solo adventure to Michigan for Quilt show and stitching time.  Through a twist of fate, and thanks to a few clients really pissing her off, my friend Pam escaped the corporate bonds for Thursday & Friday! 

 Since she didn't feel up to driving 3 1/2 hours on Wednesday night (sissy!) after a day dealing with the aforementioned clients, we made impromptu plans to meet up at a mall (??!!) in South Bend and head out together from there.  This plan cut off a good hour of travel if she would have come here and then we headed out back down into Indiana. 

We headed to Shipshewana for the things on our list:

A few more colors of Peppered Cottons,

some black poly/cotton blend batting,

some titanium needles,

Klasse Machine Needles

and JAM for me.

Pepperoni for her.   Why on God's Green Earth we have to travel through Chicago, all the way to Amish country Indiana to find decent pepperoni (at a reasonable price) is a mystery but we were here so it's all good! 

I have shared that I was also checking out local tack shops for any interesting bits of tack - new & used.  And while the shops I stopped at on the way home from the quilt show were very nice - nothing jumped out at me.  Kind of a let down but hey, since we were now heading to Shipshe, tack finds might still be possible.

I have been researching tack shops in IL, WI, MI & IN, as well as hunting new & used saddles, learning the different websites for reliable information, the various features of certain brands of current and older models of saddles,  following the progression of old saddlery companies into their rebirth as divisions of new companies, the use of the same/similar models numbers across manufacturers and basically doing the geeky research thing the Shopping Maven is known for.

One website I have checked often for used saddle, discovering they have AWESOME prices on new saddles as well, is the Horse Saddle Shop.  What I hadn't noticed is the small-ish print a the top of the website - 'Visit our Northern Indiana Store'.  Really???!!!   I.AM. AN. IDIOT!!  I missed this - just how dense can I be?  Google maps showed us within a spitting distance on their location. Okay, maybe not that close but it was only a HALF HOUR straight south from the mall where we met up, an hour west of Shipshe but heading back towards my car.  This was a no brainer of a stop - we're here and if we stayed on task, stuck to the shopping list and blew threw the necessary stops, we could do it!  I don't think I've ever made it in & out of Lolly's Fabrics that quickly in my life!

Was it worth it?  YES!  We walked into western saddle heaven - makers, models, styles, new & used all waiting to be found.  Except for the one we were hoping they would have in stock. The one saddle Pam wanted for herself, having ridden it at the barn and me having found the same one used for her husband Tony earlier this year. 

The Horse Saddle Shop had this saddle advertised on their website for $948.  Other shops sell this same saddle for between $1100 to $1400!   But they didn't have it in stock.  Bummer!!!

But wait, the friendly, helpful staff said they could order it for her... at the sale price.  wow!

And then it got interesting.  

Since they would have to call to order it anyway, would it be possible to see if it could be made in another color?  We were reaching for the stars at this point but it couldn't hurt to ask, right?  The saddle is normally made in the Chestnut Brown color. Would they, could they do a different finish?  Both Pam & I were holding our breath, cause the next question is - if they are willing to do a custom order, how much would they charge for it? 

Dig this, Shopping Maven minions - the saddle was to be sold at the sale price of $948, it would be made in the Medium Oil color (shown below on a different saddle) for only an additional $37.50, AND shipped right to her house at NO shipping charge!!!  

A totally custom saddle, in the model Pam wanted delivered for just over $1000., including tax!!   There was much joy and even squeals of delight.  Nice birthday present to herself (October is right around the corner) and I got to share in the excitement. 

And we made it home early Friday afternoon - plenty early to be rested and dressed for dinner!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Birthday Connections

My Birthday celebrating was delayed a bit this year by other happenings but was definitely worth the wait!

Several years ago, I vowed to wake up on my birthday at the Michigan house. 

 While that sounds easy enough, Sweet Man does take exception to that.  It's hard to wish your wife 'Happy Birthday' and start her day off right, when she's 2 and a half hours away!  So now I just try to get close as possible to the actual day.  

I should explain why this was my particular wish because I'm sure some will think it odd.  What's so special about being at the Michigan house on your birthday?   When I was a kid, we were always here for my birthday, having been blessed with spending entire summers running wild on our gravel road, through the woods and across sandy beaches.  

My birthday marked not only me getting a year older, but a reminder that summer was drawing to a close and soon it would be time to head back to the city (ICK!) and school (double ICK!).  Definitely bittersweet birthdays!    

My tie to this place is older than I am - my mom came here earlier in the summer before I was born.  This morning the grass was heavy with dew from overnight rain.  The sun is not quite up but my toes are bright.

Hey, look - 50 year old feet!   

These feet have been walking this land for 50 years!  Technically, not in this exact spot though because this is where the twin to this maple stood.  

It was removed over 25 years ago so the house could be built where once only a cottage stood.  That makes this particular spot in the yard a favorite of mine.  It's where I like to stand to be connected with the place on a primal level. 

And it's an awesome place to enjoy the quiet, sit, stitch & quilt!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Trip, Threads and Tiara

I'm in Michigan -  No other place has the power to refresh me like this does.  Apparently, now that kids are going back to school this week, summer has arrived. Sunny, hot & humid with a few thunderstorms popping up every couple of days.  I could do without the humidity but otherwise, I'm good!

I hit the AQS show yesterday and will share thoughts on that next week.  My postings for the rest of this week will be rather sporadic - lots of miles to cover, friends to see & things to do.  But I will tease you all a bit with a some of my shopping finds.

Thread - Yes, YLI was a the show.  I went with the 1200 yd. 30 wt. spools - good all around thread for piecing and machine quilting.

It's hard to see but these are all lightly variegated threads.  Show special - 8 spools for $40.  They also have a great 40 wt. machine quilting thread and amazing hand quilting thread.  I could have spent a lot more time & money in their booth.

Meanwhile, back at the house, I have pulled out some fabric. It's all about the reds, oranges and pinks. As usual, I have commandeered the dining room table for my work area.  Good thing no one else is here.

Oh - news flash!  The Michigan house has moved in to the 21st century - the wireless connection is up and running.  This makes things so much easier - like posting to my blog.  I even have a new traveling mouse pad - picked up two of them for $1 each.

And finally, one of my other quilt show purchases yesterday.

This girl will be appropriately decked out for birthday celebrations this weekend...tiara and all!

See you in a day or two ... or three *wink*