A View of My Quilt Life

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Seeking Studio Warmth

The recent cold snap sent us scurrying to find a new space heater for my studio.  The laminate floor is directly on top of the concrete slab and while the new area rug cuts some of the radiant cold, the old sliding glass doors aren't especially efficient.  The old small space heater lasted several years before smoking it's way out the door!

Normally, I would go find a another modest heater. 

Except this year, DH insisted I indulge in one a little more aesthetically pleasing.  He knew I really liked the old wood stove look. So now I have this to warm my tootsies while sewing.

I've already had it on several times and it is quite warming, as it's rated for up to 1000 sq. feet.

And while perusing the various electric heaters on display at 3 different stores, we ran across this:

It was on clearance & just the perfect size for the living room.  Well, it will be once the move a set of shelves to the office.  A good decision really as the shelves are a bit hunky for the room.  It needs to be visually lightened up. It wasn't something we were really hunting for but we decided to take advantage of the find and it is an early Anniversary gift to ourselves.

UPDATE:  I came home on Friday to find DH had everything moved around and the fireplace in its new spot cranking out heat making for a cozy evening.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Launching the New Mystery Quilt

It's Started!!  
Bonnie Hunter's Annual Mystery Quilt is underway.  The launch date was Black Friday but I didn't start on mine until Sunday. Check out En Provence Mystery  link up to see everyone's progress!

Here are Bonnie's colors:

I've done the past few in all batiks. Last year I did a lap size (not yet quilted!) and a miniature.  This year, I am doing just a miniature, using Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics. 
The first fabric pull with various neutrals awaiting auditioning:

Which narrowed down to this:
Or this:

And I thought the navy would be okay as the only neutral but I re-thought that after the first clue was released. Back to the stash to find some other blues to add to the mix. 

Doing a mini requires quilt math. So far, the four patch units aren't tricky in that department. Basically, I half the finish size and then add in the seam allowance back in.

My four patches are done.

Now, I need to start on a special little guy's new quilt. And I do have an exciting quilt announcement.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Great Sadness

This is not an easy post to write.  

This is not an easy thing to live with.

For the first time in 25 years, I am without a beloved dog by my side.  

On Monday, November 21, 2016,  Ch. Magik's Redfyre Renaissance Man , aka Drake,  my beloved Shar Pei crossed the Rainbow Bridge. 

Drake was mine from the time he was twenty minutes old, until now at 11 1/2 years old. 

Dr. Chris confirmed that the melanoma he had removed from Drake's cheek a few weeks ago had already metastasized to his right lung.   

There was nothing more we could do but let his spirit run free. Our hearts are broken. It's hard to breathe. This will take some time to deal with.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Special Things Come Home to Roost

There was another reason, besides the treadle machine irons, that DH & I went on our recent road trip.  I was being gifted a very special item.

That lives in this case
I would like to introduce you to the newest member of my sewing machine family

This is "Witchery".  Her name comes from our dear friend who had her for many years, and a play on the old, non-sewing, iron-on hemming product, Stitch Witchery. Another W for the herd!   

She is a 1952 model in beautiful condition!  Witchery will NOT be repainted! She will be the resident black FW.  Her  finish and decals are in fantastic shape, just a few little rubs on the finish from 64 years of use. 

I'll be getting to know her better during the upcoming Mystery Quilt. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When Quilts Fly...

Very late last Friday night, after working most all day, yet another vet visit and a unsettled evening, with Drake was finally tucked in for the night, I checked my email. 

There was one (1) new message - a very important message!

I am thrilled to share that 'Fly Away Home' is a finalist in the New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Flying Geese contest, run by the National Quilt Museum, in Paducah, KY.

I need to get Fly Away Home packed up and flying off for the judging portion of the contest, which will take place the week of December 6th.

I'll need to get busy on writing my section of the subsequent book that's published by AQS for the contest. 

Fingers crossed for the judging but of course, I am more than excited to be a finalist!

Monday, November 21, 2016

When Snowflakes Fly...

It's early Sunday morning as I type up this post.  The house is still mostly quiet and the sun is sloooowly making its appearance.  I'm not fooled! It may be clear & sunny today but it will be cold again today! We've been enjoying warmer than normal temps this month but it all changed late Friday into  yesterday morning. There was a dusting of snow on the rooftops and cars when we rolled out of bed!  It didn't stay around long and it didn't accumulate on the grass because the ground is still too warm.  It was, however, a sign of things to come.

Those things we don't talk about!

So what does this quilter do when the sky is heavy with low, grey, lumpy clouds and the west wind is gusting like crazy?  

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know very little stops me from hitting the road and having some kind of adventure - usually involving shopping, quilting, fabric, shopping, eating, fabric, and did I mention quilting? Oh sure there's sometimes DH stuff in there, or maybe horse stuff for balance.

This time is was definitely quilt related, fabric was discussed, there was eating (omg, PIE!) and DH did come along!

Yesterday's trip was the third attempt on taking it!  We've been dealing with some health of Drake's so the original two weekends we tried this trip just didn't work.  Of course, those weekends were warm, sunny autumn days that would have been perfect for a road trip.  

We're not out of the woods yet on Drake's medical adventure so if you could send some positive thoughts his way, it would be greatly appreciated! We head back to the vet today for his 6th visit in under a month.  

Saturday, with Drake medicated and safely tucked into his crate for some needed rest, DH and I headed out.  Good thing this quilt was in the truck!
Flying Over Hawaii
It was so windy, my legs were cold, even with the heat on my feet. This is 'Flying Over Hawaii' and it's always in my truck!
Our destination was our friend's, M & M, three hours away. Okay - rant here for a minute.  The stupid GPS/Maps/Navigator says its 2 and a half hours. It's NOT and this same system puts their house in the middle of a harvested corn field. NOT! 

We were there to visit, of course.  Unfortunately it had to be a short visit. DH & M spent some time out in M's wood working shop. M has been a working wood for quite some time now, while DH is just starting out.  A future visit is planned just for some special wood talk/shopping. 

Meanwhile, I got to visit with M in her weaving studio, among other things - admiring her new, very rare,  vintage loom. It's gorgeous! M & the loom-not-yet-named are having a bit of a "love/hate, getting to know you, earn my respect, I'm not going to make this easy on you" kind of honeymoon period.  

I can respect a vintage machine for that. It takes time to get to know their little quirks and personalities.  While we chatted and M cussed about some of this loom's challenges, she had a revelation on what is causing the hard treadling.  One quick test adjustment revealed the treadles were tied a little too short.  WooHoo!  One issue resolved. Of course, it will take M about an hour of crawling on the floor to retie all the treadle cords but that's just a minor detail - LOL!  And yes, M, I can hear you cussing me about that comment all the way up here.

Another reason we went down for the visit was to bring some things home.  M wanted to re-home some old treadle irons somewhere they would be loved and put to good use and definitely NOT on the scrap metal guy's pile.  So this base came home.

I'm hoping a piece of the live edge black walnut DH & I got in Michigan will fit the top & make a great bench.

And these Singer treadle end irons with back panel came home.  

They will join with the other Singer end irons I have to make some new studio furniture.  The vintage sewing machines, along with Workhorse, will no longer be relegated to the corner cabinet or the closet but will have their own dedicated shelf unit.  All the better to keep them at hand so I can rotate them into use on various projects. 

There is something else, something really quite special, also came home from this trip but it deserves a post all it's own.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Bit of Red

While out in California, I stopped at the Reagan Presidential Library.   It is an amazing place on the side of a mountain in Simi Valley, California.  

I didn't have a lot of time to spend there & this is not about politics.

All of my office desk accessories at work are red. 

I added a new tea mug to my collection:

The message on the reverse side is so true.

I love my new red tea mug.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

October Quilt Travels

Back in October, I traveled to Boston for work.  Some careful pre-planning and an understanding DH, resulted in having two whole days to explore parts of the East coast that I've never visited before. You know I HAD to fit in some quilt related destinations into this trip.

Since I had a rental car and a home base hotel in Burlington, MA, on the northwest outskirts of Boston conveniently located near several highways, I could go in so many different directions.   What's a quilter to do??  

Head to New Hampshire!  It was comfortably mild, sunny and the roads stretched out before me. Destination? 

Keepsake Quilting, Center Harbor in the Lakes Region of NH!  For years, I've been receiving their catalogs in the mail. I've participated in their quilt challenges, purchased fabric and supplies and been inspired by images and examples in the catalog. 

It's a lovely building right across the street from the Lake.  It has a nice, long porch with seating for non-quilters to hang out & wait.

Was it all that I expected? Yes & no.  It was large. There was a class going on in the side room, lots of shoppers  but it wasn't overly crowded. The staff was friendly enough.  The cutting table was unfortunately surrounded by so many bolts of fabric waiting to be re-shelved it was almost hazardous.  And it was in those piles I actually found another fabric to bring home.  Imagine what damage I could have done if even half of those bolts were back on the shelves.  The shop wasn't that busy. I'm not criticizing but I do have experience working a cutting table in a busy quilt shop and the first rule is re-shelf as quickly as possible!

Which brings me to the shelves.  Some collections were housed together - mostly the newer ones, revolving around Halloween or wool.  What was the problem?  Color hashed walls!  Fabrics were not in genres or collection but hashed together in colors.  It may work for them but not for me.  Thankfully, the batiks were housed separately. And a few things did come home with me.

On the way to Center Harbor,  I ran across this on the side of the main road.

A tiny, little quilt shop - just the place to stop & support a LQS owner. I found a few bits for the stash.

The drive went through some beautiful scenery with conveniently located scenic lookout spots.

There is so much more to explore out there for next time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The "W" Phenomenon

Today, I realized something very strange.  Henceforth and forever to be known as 'The W Phenomenon"

I was out driving for a while on a special errand today - thinking about my sewing machines.  They are all Singers and..

Four of the have a "W" name!  Weird, isn't it?!!

There's my 2000 Singer Scholastic 6510 - 'Workhorse'.  She's never had a ladies name and I've only ever called her my workhorse machine.  
She's not pretty in a classic sewing machine sense, no fancy scroll-y bits of decals grace her white plastic casing.  But she has powered through everything I have ever set under her needle! Most recently, handily handling the quilt on 'Fly Away Home'.  

Next there is the 1949 Singer FW, I had repainted.  She was named 'Wild Cherry', after the name of the paint color I chose for her makeover. 
After her comes the 1956 LBOW (Light Beige, Oyster White) Singer 301a 'Wendy' gifted me from my friend P.  She got the machine from a old high school friend named Wendy, who had inscribed her name in the side of the machine's base.  
I couldn't really change it could I?

Finally, the last of the W's is the 1956 LBOW Singer 301a I found at the spring estate sale - a twin to Wendy.  
TWIN 1956 LBOW 301a's
As I was scrubbing the daylights out of it the other day, I was trying to come up with a name for it.  The paperwork in the case, dating back to it's last cleaning & servicing in 1985, was made out in the name of a Mr. Walter S. I tried & tried but it's no use - his name is Walter. 

I finally had a chance to power up Walter and see how he ran & stitched.  

At first, he was sticky or slow to start moving, though the stitching was fairly good.  I lubed & oiled a bit more, un-threaded him and just let him run.  The movement evened out as the bits warmed up.  But in the end, he is still a wee bit heavy in the action of the hand wheel, especially as compared to Wendy, who, by the way got a much needed scrubbing today.
Wendy's crud
A quick check of the hours at sewing shop that handles my servicing and I was packing him up.  Since I was going for Walter, it seemed to make sense to take Workhorse along for a spa treatment as a reward for all the recent quilting work. 

When I pick these two up, the plan is to drop off Wendy for a tuneup. I need to be ready for heavy quilting season - Winter is right around the corner.  Oh, that's a good name for a sewing machine...'Winter'.  Now to find a deal on a 1964 white FW to use that name on and continue the W Phenomenon!