A View of My Quilt Life

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quilting Getaway - Saturday

*** Note: This post should have went live last Friday, 19 May - not sure what happened.

A little slower start today.  I was battling a sinus headache.  While waiting for the meds to kick in and clear the cobwebs, I cooked a lovely breakfast,

and pulled Walter out of his case.  I haven't touched him since he came back from his tune-up.  Hmm, not the best way to handle machines. 

While the test stitch piece under the needle looked okay - the proof in always in the pudding. 

And the first lines, were NOT up to scratch and there was an excess of oil about.  Some tweaking of the upper tension and I had a much better stitch out. I need to grab a long strip and open Walter up full throttle but instead I switched out to Workhorse as I wanted to get on to the Van Gogh challenge quilt.

In order to tell the Van Gogh story, I'll need to go back a few months and start at the beginning.  I hope you don't mind coming along on a trip down memory lane. It's time to share the story.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Quilting Getaway - Friday

Friday dawned sunny & bright.  I had a whole day stretching before me with nothing besides quilting planned.  What a wonderful treat! Okay, to be totally honest, I did have to run to town for a few more groceries - a grand total of a half hour trip. So other than that, the rest of the day was mine.

First up - yet another tracing of the Phoenix. This time it needed to be done in stages to correctly draft the pieces that had other pieces laying on top. 

This is the LAST time I had to draw any bit of this bird - for which I was grateful!

After that, scissor time!  I ended up with this:

Isn't that a lovely pile of paper spaghetti?  Technically, I now had to draw around each paper piece on the back of the fused fabric - but that was the LAST time I had to draw any bit of this bird.

I was so into the zone, I missed taking some shots of the progression - fusing the fabric, drawing the pieces, cutting them all out & working out their placement. I can tell you it took almost all day to get through these steps. 

By evening, I had this:

And right after I had fused everything I noticed the problem with a feather placement - 1 feather was not where it should have been. There is no way to unfuse, so I had to patch over a bit & cover the mistake.  

That & some thread work should minimize the error.  I can live with that.  The alternative would be to redo the entire phoenix and potentially have more issues.  Nope - I'm good and pleased.  

This block needs to have setting triangles added as Part One (February) instructions.  Parts Two - Four (March - May) will need some thought and design work but nothing as complicated as this. At least, I hope so!  One never knows where things like this end up. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quilting Getaway - Thursday Evening

Thursday Day - Work, Plumber, Work.
Thursday Evening - Quilting!  I started on the Phoenix Challenge piece. 

First up - coloring. I have 7 shades ranging from yellow to dark red that need to be worked in the phoenix. It only took three tries to get a version I was happy with. Third times a charm!

Then I took some time to work out the plan - coding and numbering the pattern pieces. Breaking them out by color and tagging the drawing. 

And I came to a startling discovery. The phoenix has 59 pieces!  That's a lot of pieces to insure proper fit, almost blindly on a black background, and fuse all at once. It was about that time, I called it quits for the day rather than risk making a late night mistake.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Quilt Project Alone Time!

This week I am revisiting the inner works of the Michigan House, i.e., the Plumbing!

The original plan was to set up the appointment and have my Dad be onsite for a few days to coincide with the appointment. Then the Plumber bills me & I write the check – a simple, easy, straight-forward plan.

Then the wheels fell off the bus. Or rather, more accurately - the arterial stent got displaced. 

Dad is fine – just had some chest pain, went to hospital, got admitted, and discovered a stent (1 of 5) that was placed just last year in the back of the heart got displaced & was restricting blood flow.  It happens.  The doctors went in & placed another stent right below the displaced one. However, Dad is on restricted activity.  I decided he is NOT allowed to be at the Michigan House right now, especially not alone.  Since this was not going to be a popular decision, I circumvented the ensuing discussion on it by simply failing to update Dad on when the Plumber appointment actually is. Sneaky, I know but oh, so necessary.

Luckily, I can work remotely. The New Plan gives me 2 evenings plus 2 whole days of uninterrupted time for Quilting!!! I am thrilled to say the least, and very, very thankful I have this flexibility. 

On the agenda:

The Van Gogh Quilt

It needs to be layered & quilted and possible have more details added in fabric first.  I was brushing my teeth Monday morning, when an idea popped into my head.  Have to go digging into the Cherrywood stash drawer & see what I find before I can audition the background embellishment idea further. It may come to nothing and I revert back to what I have planned.

The story of this quilt is almost ready to shared.

The Construction Equipment Quilt

It needs to be layered & quilted. The quilting will be straightforward and utilitarian and it’s meant for using by a four year old, which means washing machine & dryer stable.  I figure this will be a break from the Van Gogh quilt if I run into a creative brain cramp.  It happens – I acknowledge that sometimes things need to percolate a bit and occur in the right time.

The Phoenix quilt

Center block needs constructing, then set on point with black background and three more months directions I didn’t have yet.  The other day, DH very nicely stopped in the LQS, with written instructions in hand, and picked them up.  They are very straight forward after I get the center block done, though there is still some design work.  Good thing cause this is going to be tricky.  Fortunately, I've packed some lovely cider to take along. 

I am ambitious trying to get a LOT of quilt work done in my little time away.  Fingers crossed!

UPDATE:  DH has a new vehicle - a 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan SE Plus.  It's his first ever new, new car!

And just in the nick of time!  The old one was trying it's best to stall at stoplights on the way to the dealer and the 'check engine' light came on, too.  We had to buy something Tuesday night because we were 100% certain his old car would make it back home.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Adventure with the DH

What’s it like car shopping with the DH? 

It’s like taking a kid to a candy store & having him run amok!

Well, almost.  The time has come to retire his well-loved 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser. It has served him well over the past 8 years.

The biggest hurdle we face, besides remaining within budget, is that the DH is not exactly set on what kind of vehicle he wants at this point in his life.  Previously, when he was working and driving on average of 100 miles a day, small, cheap & fuel efficient where the main criteria. 

Now that he is effectively medically retired, it’s a new ball game – one in which the parameters are broader and somewhat undefined. Great!

Thankfully, he has finally given up on the idea of a zoom-zoom car (fast, small, sporty and dangerous) He wants something that can haul wood (including full sheets of plywood) or 5 guys with gear for a trip away, not too large, not too small, fuel efficient, used but not old or with too many miles, new if not terribly expensive (HA!),  equipped with a roof rack if small or large, and maybe can be used as a tow vehicle (for what, I am afraid to ask!).

Needle, haystack, unicorn - you get the picture. 

Because he is being open to whatever we stumble across in our search, we haven’t quite decided on a make or model, though I believe after last Sunday’s outing searching car lots while they were closed, we are getting there! We have narrowed the field considerably.

He truly needs a minivan. 

The very same type of vehicle he made fun of me driving back in 2001 when we met. A soccer mom vehicle, he called it. A comment for which I promptly whacked him upside the head for…on our first date.  I drove a 1998 Ford Aerostar – yes, a minivan but it was built on a truck chassis.

Loved that truck!  Drove it into the ground.

Hopefully, he finds whatever it is he needs to have vehicle-wise and soon, as it is making him anxious.  And I refuse to spend the next month car shopping. There is Quilting to do!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Phoenix Rising - the Drawing

Back in February (!), I posted HERE about the Phoenix Rising Challenge at a LQS.  I had received the first month's instructions and purchased my fabrics and that's as far as I got. I needed to draft a 18" block and set it on point.  I had an idea and a plan and no chance to work on it until this past weekend.

These are my fabrics

And here is the first drawing of the center block

The asymmetrical wing layer structure was making me crazy. DH agreed I needed to fix this. So I headed back to the drawing board. 

Draw, cut, tape, overlay, trace, draw and repeat.

Finally, I had this.

Next up - the color placement planning, then the cutting of the template pieces.  It's going to be like playing with spaghetti to get this assembled!  But I have a plan...

Friday, May 5, 2017

NQM, Paducah, Kentucky - New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Flying Geese

Last Friday, I was at the National Quilt Museum, hanging out with a great bunch of quilters, signing books for a bigger bunch of enthusiastic quilters, and talking all things quilt,  while surrounded by some of the most gorgeous quilts on exhibit in the different rooms of the museum.

It was a blast! There were 15 finalists, representing 14 of the 18 finalists present, making for a long and noisy table!  I was on the far (?) end with Julia Graber – a 13 time(!) finalist/winner of the NQOF contest. Julia & I met two years ago doing the same thing.  We had new faces at the table and old friends. 

The NQOF: FG exhibit & book is amazing, edited by the wonderful Linda Baxter Lasco. Linda did a great job with all the quilt & artist stories.  

The book is available at the museum, on AQS & on Amazon. I got my copy signed by all the artists in attendance.

While picture taking is absolutely prohibited in the museum, there is an allowance made for those in this exhibit. 

We are allowed to take a few pictures of our own quilt in this unique setting and a few of the pertinent information.  

There was also a group photo taken – need to find that!

And, yes, the last thing I did before leaving the museum was to touch a corner of my quilt & send it on its way.  I won’t see it again for almost two years.

A few NQM purchases completed my visit:

The quilt artwork on the greeting card is by Susan Schmitt. Love this image. It’s going into a small frame for the studio.  The quilt on the card reminds me of a bouquet of flowers.

See the little scribble inscribed wood spreader? It’s cherry - you know I had to have it!

The dvd follows three different quilters and their journey making award winning quilt entries from 2010.  Surprised I don’t already own this, as the concept is cool & you can always learn something new.

The basket was a no-brainer!  I have a tiny collection of Ghana baskets.  The bright green is perfect for Spring & the studio. 

And speaking of my studio – it needs a good, old fashioned Spring Cleaning! There is a new project that needs to get going - that's the plan for this weekend.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Travel, Tablet, Thunderstorms and Tiny Pieces!

I am HOME!

Last week's travel stats:
7 Days
7 States
2122 Miles 
The trip went pretty much like the red line...more or less.

It was a whirlwind trip, lots and lots of driving...even by my standards. 

There will be a recap of the quilt show, shots of my purchases, and some new quilt projects in upcoming posts. For now, some highlights.
1. Tablet. I have discovered I love my Fire HD8 tablet - for reading, surfing the interwebs, reading email, maps & navigation, etc. 

 What I don't like it for is typing. Typing email & blog posts are not fun on the tablet. I can do it but I don't like it. May need to check out a 

2. Travel. Everything went well, only a few small hiccups. The truck ran great, gas prices were lower than around here, the hotels I booked were great with the exception of the Travelodge I stayed at near Paducah,which was far less than ideal. Not going to stay there ever again. 'nuf said. 

This was taken on Wednesday morning headed to Memphis.

3. Thunderstorms!  The bad weather that stretched from Texas to Ohio was riding a ridge right across southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, southern Illinois, northwestern and north Kentucky, and southern Indiana. The front was stalled out, with heavy rains in areas, flooding and some tornadoes (unfortunately, they were deadly in Texas). Watching the Weather Channel prompted me to cut my time in Paducah short and head back north early Saturday morning. On Friday night, I repacked the car with my suitcase, keeping the bare necessities in my room in a duffle bag and slept with my cell phone right next to me in case of emergency.  Thankfully, no alerts came in during the night.  Within the first 3 hours of driving in the morning, my cell phone went off twice with flash flood warnings! While I missed out on parts of the quilt show, it was the right decision. 

I did not, however, cut my trip short - just re-routed it to spend the last 24 hours at the Michigan House. Peace & Quiet and an opportunity to work with some 

4. Tiny Pieces.

I'm feeling a little protective of this project. It's for the Cherrywood Van Gogh challenge. Not quite ready to show the progress pics but I can say it's a fusible project & I'm trying some new things with it. I drew the full size cartoon on paper, made a tracing of it for cutting apart for pattern pieces and then I did another tracing - on a flour sack towel which became the base that I was fusing onto. The flour sack towel is lightweight, 100% cotton and it accepts the fusible perfectly!  

You can see the towel peeking out under the backing I pulled out of the stash. 

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.