cutting corners

At Work in Progress Wednesday we were talking about the first time a quilter goes to a retreat.   One of the most helpful things that happens is that all of sudden they see that everyone makes mistakes.   The un-sewing process is simply part of the deal.    The stunning prize winning quilt that makes you gasp is the result of many instances of  mistakes made, fixed and learned from.    And yes we all know that intellectually, but actually hearing that amazing quilter cursing under her breath as she takes out stitches has much more impact.     Mistakes are only a problem if you let them be.

Now having said all that and admitting that I make plenty of mistakes the conversation moved on.    That is until I made a mistake.   You see, I had been working on the very last block sample for the Alaska BOM.   I was excited to be finishing it and it was going well.   I had chain pieced four units and instead of taking the few minutes it would have taken to find my seam ripper to separate them,  I simply grabbed the shears that were at hand.   I cut them apart and as I was moving to the ironing board I noticed this little piece of fabric on the table.   As it registered what fabric it was my heart sank.   Didn’t take long for me to be muttering under my breath as I had to  find that seam ripIMG_2465per after all and take out a couple seams to replace the damaged bit.   Happily I didn’t have to go too far back,  and yes I had an extra piece that I had cut so that was good.   Of course the cut happened on a piece that had all the points just where they should be too.     

So the moral of this story is:

Don’t cut corners

or you will cut youRxR2019ChocolateHugsandKissesPhoto corners!!!

 

The Row by Row program starts today.

You have to come in and simply ask and I will give you a copy of the pattern for Chocolate Kisses and Hugs.   It is easy and fun and even if you are not doing the Row by Row, it is a fun to sew project.     Of course you can always purchase the kit,  It is precut for you and sells for $20.00 for the 18 inch project.   It would make a nice little wall hanging,   tote bag, or table topper.     And since it is chocolate themed, we have a lovely Valentine’s fabric that is available and fun for the back.

Also,  tomorrow is chair yoga, at one pm.   We are hoping this rain lets up so we can take in some fresh air while we work out all the muscular kink from doing our projects.     We love our art, but it is all too easy to sit for too long and then be stiff from it.   Susan and I are so happy to be able to bring you this event so you have some remedies at hand.   It is relaxing, gentle and does not take any athletic ability.     For attending our first ever (but hopefully not the last) chair yoga event I have a pattern for a yoga mat carrier bag that I will give to everyone who joins us.

Lastly,  there has been a change in our Crazy Quilt Club Schedule.    The group is tired of working around holidays and other weekend events.   The meetings will now be on the third TUESDAY of each month.    Meetings will run from 1-4 and still be $18.00    If you will be attending the next meeting on July 16 and are new let us know you are coming.

Looking forward to seeing all of you soon.    Happy Summer!!

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Do you need some Chocolate??

There are times in life where a well timed bit of chocolate is just the pick me up you need.    Unfortunately many of us should not be eating chocolate.    I have a quilt related solution.    This summer the theme for the Row by Row is Taste the Experience.    I chose to design a piece that uses the Hugs and Kisses block, in mostly browns so that we have a design I am calling Chocolate Kisses and Hugs.     This wont raise your sugar levels,  rot your teeth, or ruin your diet,   but just like the silver wrapped treats,  I’ll bet you get RxR2019ChocolateHugsandKissesPhotohooked.   This technique is quick and easy,  and the kits are even cut for you.    All you need to do is sit down and sew.     The basic unit is so versatile too,   I have used it for so many projects over the years I am thinking that I may have to add a new skill builder workshop using it.

The Row by Row program begins on June 21,  that’s next Friday,  the day before the Chair Yoga workshop.      If you have not participated in Row by Row before,  it is kind of like a shop hop, but different, and yes there are prizes at stake.    During the time frame of the program you need to visit real quilt shops in person.   All you have to do when there is ask for the pattern and they will give you a copy of the design from that shop.   Many shops have kits available also.  You need to visit eight shops,  and then use the patterns all together in a quilt.  All participating shops have designed to the Taste the Experience theme.   If you are the first person to bring a finished (yes quilted and bound) to a participating shop you win 25 fat quarters and anything else the shop wants to add to the prize.    To help you find shops there are state by state Facebook pages,  and a directory on the Row by Row website.      At the very least you should get the pattern for Chocolate Kisses and Hugs from us.    Over the summer I will be unveiling samples on this blog of other ways to use these units so please do subscribe by putting your email in the space on the right hand column.   You will be notified in your email when I update.

So next weekend will be an eventful onIMG_2439e,  Please let us know you are coming to Chair Yoga.   You can see how happy Susan, our instructor is with her new Mat carrier bag.  She printed some of the fabrics for it with a hand carved stamp and we adapted the pattern to show them off.   When you come to our first ever session I will give you the pattern for free,  and since it also Row by Row Season you can also pick up that pattern and do several things that will make you feel good all at once.    Whats more,  these options are actually good for you!!  Please be sure to let us know you are coming to chair yoga, we may need to remove tables if the group is Large.    

Tomorrow is Crazy Quilt Club,  see you all very soon.

 

     

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Hello Dolly!

This summer the showcase is on dolls.   Art Camp will be a favorite soft doll construction based on the work of Patty Culea.    Her books are now out of print,   so you are not required to have them,  I will provide the pattern for a sitting doll, with a drawn/painted face.     When her character starts to emerge all sorts of fun can be had dressing and accessorizing her.     She is made from cloth and stuffing, and mostly sewn by machine.    Her clothing, shoes, hair accessories,   optional wings,   are all up to you.   Her wardrobe can be complex or simple,  even painted on works for leotards and bodices.   It all depends on who your Dolly wants to be.    IMG_2438

These three were made with the pattern we will be using.    Art Camp will be on July 10-13,   four days,   10:30- 4:30 with a lunch break.    That is four full days to let your inner child come out and play, for $125.      This is a project I am compelled to do every few years and the time is now.    Register Now so you can start collecting her accouterments!!!

Tomorrow is the June Meeting for Alaska BOM,    Tuesday is hand stitchers,   Thursday is Wee Felt Folk,  and next Saturday is Crazy Quilt Club,  so mark your calendars and come in for some  fun!!

 

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One of those days

We have all had one of those days,   when you are just too tired,  the traffic was just so annoying,  you spilled the morning coffee, and you had to re do thIMG_1521at same seam five times and it still isn’t right and now the fabric is frayed.   I know it is hard to believe,  but Jake and I have those days too.      That is when it is the most important thing to slow down and take a deep breath.     Sometimes we just have to listen when the universe gangs up on us like that and do something that will help to recharge and rejuvenate.      A walk in nature is good,   some calming music or escape into a good book work for some,  but we have another way,  that doesn’t take a long time, is very gentle on the body and is good for you on many levels.    Chair Yoga.     I am so very happy to officially announce that we have a session now on the schedule for June 22,  the first full day of summer,  at 1 pm.  I have been working with Sue to specifically address some of the places that stitchers develop tension too.    Our session will be about an hour and if the turnout is good we may make it a regular event.    I do ask that you pre-register for this one so we know if we have to take down some tables for enough room.    I’d love to take it outside but we cannot count on good weather.    Just call, stop by or even comment on this post with your name and I’ll get you on the list.     I even have a pattern for a yoga mat carrier bag that I will give to every person in attendance that day.    How great is that?  For only $10.00 you can do something great for your self,  feel great,  have a social afternoon,  and get a free pattern?    So wonderful!!IMG_2426

We also have a fun and a bit frivolous workshop on the 13th,  to make a fairy doll.   Based on the works of Sally Mavor,  this little friend will brighten any day.   You can even give her angel or fairy wings.    I will also have pin backs available.    When my sister was going through chemo I made some with pin backs and angel wings for all the ladies she is close to as guardians.    The version for class is about 3 inches tall.    All you need to bring is  your embroidery tools (small scissors,  needles,  threader, magnifier if IMG_2425you want )  Oh and a sense of fun is good too.   and yes the kids can do this one also!!   There she is in front of the house shaped sewing box that we made in our stumpwork club.   She is ready to move right in!!   Please let me know you are coming to this one too.    

Lastly a reminder that we will be closed tomorrow and the Alaska BOM will meet on the 8th.

Now everyone,  take a nice deep breath and smile!!!

 

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Commemorative Quilt Installed

The Gilson quilt has been installed and the flurry of public activities surrounding Gilsonfest begins today.    There are events at Montgomery Place and at The Elmendorf Inn and it’s new annex, the Story Studio.   Here are links for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/historicredhook

http://www.bard.edu/montgomeryplace/exhibitions/

IMG_2384The quilt was very well received and adds a wonderful colorful focal point for the room.     I consider it an honor to be asked to participate in an event such as this.    Last night at a reception for those involved my thoughts revolved around the role of quilts as historical documents.   Not just old ones that have been preserved,  but new ones made for that purpose, like this.   So many interesting questions were asked of me from the point of view of historians,  most of whom do not quilt.

One that caught me off guard was how do you decide how big to make it.  In this case I measured the space before we began and worked it to be that size,   but beds were not standard sizes for most of history,  and so that is exactly how it would have been done in the past.   Specific quilt for specific bed or person.     In the days of slavery, the slave women would have been able to raise their status by improving their needle skills.   A woman who could provide beautiful quilts for the main house would often be elevated above other servants.    Having beautiful and fancy covers for the beds that included expensive fabrics and delicate handwork was a status symbol.

You may notice that the Gilson Quilt is hanging fairly far out from the wall.   That is because the back was also pieced, but in a very different style.   The leftovers from the textiles needed in the main house were often made available to the slaves so they could make items for their own needs,  and so the back of the Gilson Quilt was done with scrap materials from the front,  in the manner of something Alexander Gilson might have slept under as a child.    It was decided that viewers should be able to see this and so the quilt is away from the wall.  The first photo is from the installation,  and the second is a shot I took at the shoppe for my own records, but you can see a flat view.

 

There is a long tradition of commemorative quilts that included embroidered images in outline or signatures.   This sort of work could be political (red work quilts of all the presidents)  social, or personal and was often presented to an organization or individual.       It has been an honor to participate in this project.    If you can, visit it and see what the Historical Society of Red Hook can show you.    And of course if you want to create your own commemorative quilt come on in and we can help you.

One final reminder that we will be closed tomorrow.  I have a family wedding to go to,  but keep watching this space and our Facebook page because we are nearly finished with the summer schedule,  our theme is dolls,  and we have lots of great projects planned,  both flat and three dimensional.   Enjoy the Holiday Weekend.

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Inspirations and gratitude

So I know you all want to know about the workshop I attended yesterday.    It was wonderful.   Paula Nadlestern,  ( in the black )   was so informative and entertaining that most of us didn’t even mind doing some drafting,   she informed us afterwards that we  had just done trigonometry.    If it had been this great to look at in High School,  or if I even knew it could apply to something I want to do I guess I would have paid more attention.      At any rate, after the drafting and trig got us to our 60/30 triangle templates it was time for lunch and then to play with our fabrics.  IMG_2365

As you saw in the purple quilt I posted last week,  I have loved this work for a long time.    I brought that quilt with me to show Paula, and she graciously signed her name on the label for me.   I was so happy to be able to thank her in person.   Her work has had a big influence on how I use fabrics and perhaps it was this feeling that contributed to me being quite timid about making the final choices before cutting into my fabrics.       Those of you who know me will recognize just how unusual that is.    I did however finally make some decisions and cut pieces.  I got them put together just in time to finish my block at the workshop.

I am not posting it until I make a few more but I do have some other inspirations to share that Paula had with her.

We did a block called 60/30,  a Kaleidoscope variation where you have two different wedge sizes.  The green/purple below is an amazing example using just two fabrics and a field of blocks cut all the same way.   These are about 4 inch bloIMG_2359cks.   In the bottom picture you can see how they fit into the design of the quilt as a whole.    This super dense piecing was just amazing and one after the other we got close to it and had to feel the seam intersections to confirm that it wasn’t just printed that way,   she does design fabric after all.  

You can also see that she uses very simple straight line quilting, just vertical in this case, less than a quarter inch apart, but not measured and perfect.  Combined with very thin batting it gave a nice overall texture without competing with IMG_2360the dense pattern work.

I got so engrossed I totally forgot to check my phone for messages from my husband and daughter.   She has finished her first year of college and yesterday was the day to undo the dorm room, get it all in the huge suburban that got rented for the purpose,  and get it all home for the summer.   Her school is about 5 hours from home so it was a big day,  but everyone is now home and getting settled again.

As for me,  I will be processing all the inspirations from yesterday for a while.    I have a few projects that have to be done before I work on yesterdays project,  but my brain and notebooks are full of new ideas.

Before I close this post,  I need to remind you that Crazy Quilt Club is tomorrow,  but then the shoppe will be closed the following two Saturdays,  May 25th and June 1 for some family events that I cannot miss.   This makes our next BOM meeting on June 8.   And we are excited to let you know that our Chair Yoga for Stitchers will be on Saturday June 22nd, at 1 pm.   $10.00 per person.   Please let me know you are coming so I have the chairs set up for you.    If the turnout is good we may have this a regular part of our offerings.    Happy Stitching!!

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The Someday List

So last week I mentioned the Someday List.   This is the set of projects you want to get to someday.   I know we all have them,  that pattern and fabrics,  that kit that you picked up at the Show because you love it,  and it’s sitting there waiting for you.   Or it is that pattern that makes your heart flutter every time you see one,  but you think it is too hard for you.     For the first category,  the key is remembering it is there for you and working on it.   A frequent and regular sewing habit can get those projects done while the fabrics you used are still in print.   Even 15 minutes every odd numbered day can get through projects that have been waiting for years.    Most of us can probably find 15 minutes on a regular basis.   Consider it part of your self care routine.       Let me also say that having an actual written list of these projects someplace in a notebook or on a computer means that you get the satisfaction of not only finishing the project,  but crossing it off the list.   You are less likely to forget you bought it if you write it down too.

The second category of the someday list is a bit trickier because it takes you out of your comfort zone.    These are the projects you need to work up to, to learn a new skill,  or increase precision to a high level to complete.    Honestly here too a regular sewing practice can increase your skill level, but often we need help.   Quilting is a game of precision, and small details.    You can learn a great deal from magazines, books and videos,  but nothing compares with working with another actual person who can teach you.     It is why I still take classes once in a while with people whose work I like.   Even if I have made things from their books,  there is no substitute for in person interactions.

Thanks Paula

Thank you Paula   from 2002

This is why I am so excited to finally take a workshop with Paula Nadelstern this coming Thursday.   The Shoppe will be closed so I can take this day for professional development.    The purple quilt above was done in 2002,  using her first kaleidoscope book   and I sewed the complex parts by hand.   I worked very hard to figure out what I was doing and I love the result still,  but I know that there were subtleties I missed.     I have a stash of fabrics from many years that I have been saving to do exactly this,  I just hope I can find them before Thursday.    IMG_2341

I will also be closing at 2 pm tomorrow so I can attend my husbands art opening in Northport Long Island.   It is rare that he has one local enough for me to attend so it will be a rare treat.

Enjoy the red tulips.  Rain made them come in tall and beautiful but rain also is making them droopy.   The pictures will last longer.

 

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