Saturday, February 18, 2017

Country Traditions -- Part 2

The penthouse is VERY roomy -- everybody got their own table! As we know, quilter's possessions tend to fill whatever space is allotted, so they were happy happy to spread out and get comfortable. Not to mention lots of lighting.

There are Block of the Month quilts hanging all over the store, most of them designed by Country Traditions. A lot of them use the Go die cutting system. It was interesting to discuss the design parameters when using a cutting system. For instance, the quilt that I posted yesterday and said was my favorite (it is) had large setting triangles that couldn't be cut on the machine, so Leslie made a design adaptation to piece those triangles. That decision elevated those setting triangles from plain to detailed and probably contributed a lot to why I like this quilt so much. So much that I think I'll post the pic again....

The stars in the triangles made the cutting achievable on the GO and just made this a stunning quilt!

Yesterday I was teaching Ruler Play on a Domestic Machine and I took some random pics in the classroom:

I really liked how she took the basic design in the upper left hand corner and added more of the same design element to come up with the one at the right. Prettier -- looks lacy!

Both sides of the same piece -- love how it showed up even on this very printy fabric.

Very cool -- double border around the basic design -- love how people just take the basics and run with them! Putting the pics here in the blog reminds me to go home and practice some of the students' variations!

This was a very fun day! Looking forward to today when we continue on with our exploration of the various rulers available. We'll do feathers, circles and other "fancy" things! Here's a pic from the Westalee trunk show that showcases the Spin-E-Fex feathers:

That's one of the rulers I'm demonstrating today -- love the different sizes together!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Country Traditions -- Fremont NE

It's no secret that for the past few years most of the southwestern region of our country has been enduring an extended drought. If I was fortunate enough to see rain, snow or a thunderstorm, it was because I had traveled to it. People were kind of puzzled that I got so excited when there was a possibility of weather that didn't involve sunshine. So when I was invited to teach at Country Traditions in February? I could see SNOW!!! I am SO THERE!

Or not. As we landed in Omaha, there was no snow, it's 70 and sunny. Meanwhile, a storm is moving into Southern California tonight and hanging out for the weekend, putting me in the unusual position of traveling away from weather rather than toward it.

I knew of Country Traditions from the Quilt Sampler magazine; the shop has been in three different issues and I think it was on the cover once. The photos are nowhere near the real deal. It's three stories! With 8000 bolts of fabric and quilts everywhere all the way up to what look like about 14 foot ceilings.

This was a charming display in the front of the store.

Fabrics, quilts on the high walls and the Brother sewing machine section of the store. Country Traditions also carries Pfaff machines.

Love how the brickwork sets off the quilts!

Color everywhere you look!

My personal favorite quilt! The store owner, Leslie, long arm quilted this one -- it's gorgeous!

My workshops, Ruler Play on a Domestic Machine and Ruler Play 2, are on the third floor, affectionately called the "penthouse". I took the above picture looking down from the penthouse to the second floor where Country Traditions can host retreats for 50 quilters! They have retreats every month and several classes going on every week.

I did a lecture and trunk show tonight and one of the ladies was trying to figure out how she was going to attend all three events she was signed up for over the next two days. I think that calls for superior time management skills.

i decided I also appreciated the Nebraskan sense of humor. This was displayed in the parking lot of a business a few blocks from the store:

Can't wait until tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Best Pins for Piecing?

I sew over pins. There, I've said it! I know it freaks some people out and I have to be really careful when I teach my Borders & Bindings class to remember to take the pins out in my demonstrations so that my students don't wreck the beautiful machines that the stores have brought in for them to sew on. Because there is a technique to sewing over pins and they have to be the Right Pins.

For a long time, I used the finest flower head pins I could find, then I started using the blue and white headed fine pins (I think they are from Clover) and was happy with them. Then last year at Thanksgiving, I was sewing in Salt Lake City with my friends Rhonda Lopez and Josephine Keasler. Josephine is one of the very best piecers I know and she recommended the fine patchwork pins from Clover. She told me that she uses them all the time and tells all of her students that these are the very best!

We were sewing together for a couple of days, so she brought me two boxes on our second sewing day. I tried them and loved them! Here's a comparison between what I was using and these:

The pin on the left is the one I used to use and the one on the right is the fine patchwork pin. A bit shorter and quite a bit finer. My new quilting love! Thank you, Josephine!

So what is your favorite straight pin when you are piecing? And do you sew over pins?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ready to Pin Baste!

Got the top put all together yesterday:

Then I went to Bolts in the Bathtub, my local quilt shop in Lancaster CA, to find backing and binding fabric:

Love fabric with words in it and the candy fabric will make great binding -- unless I change my mind and use one of the pinks or the red that I used for the bows.
I was down to my last 4" strip of that beautiful red fabric that was part of one of Alex Anderson's earliest fabric collections. I sent her a majorly sad face message and she sent me some out of her stash! (Thank you again, Alex -- I owe you bigtime!). So I'm not sure I want to waste that precious fabric on binding!
Going through my fabrics for this project, I found a few leftover layer cake pieces, so incorporated them into the back:

I've cut 91" of Wsrm & White batting, So now to go get it pinned up!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Laying Out the Presents Quilt

Something I read somewhere a few years ago forever changed how I lay out my quilts. I still lay the blocks out, play with them, rearrange and turn them about until I like what I see:

Then I do the additional step of taking a picture using my phone's black and white filter so that the quilt is rendered in grey scale. This enables me to tell how the color values are relating to each other. Too many darks clustered together? Too many lights?

It seemed like there were a lot of light and medium blocks with just a few darks hanging out in groups. This surprised me as I felt that there were a lot more dark fabrics than lights until I took the B/W pic. So I rearranged some blocks and took another B/W:

This is how it looked in color:

I still want to mess around a little more before I sew them together. I really like the way the red bows stand out and there are four different pink prints for the other bows. The white block backgrounds were from an assorted white on white print jelly roll using a strip for each block. Of course I have to obsess over none of the bow prints or background prints being next to each other, but the black & white pics will help me make my final decision.

Have you ever used this technique? What other cool things do you do before you start sewing the blocks into rows?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pieceful Hearts Quilters Retreat -- McCormick, SC

First of all, I'm learning a brand new (to me) blogging program, so if I hit publish before I'm finished, please forgive me! I'm probably just looking for a preview feature!

So now the post:
One of the coolest things about each new year is the quilters retreat where I meet my friends from all over the country just to spend a few days sewing. My friend Carol and her daughter Shelly, both from Chicago, are there as well as Shelly's sister in law Nancy, who hails from Pennsylvania. Carol's sister Susie lives in Georgia where the guild is based. We're all members and one of the very best perks is getting to go to the annual retreat.

I took a pretty long vacation late last year, leaving right before Christmas and getting back to California on January 8. I was home for a few days and then left on the 12th for the retreat. Flew to Atlanta, rented a car and drove to Hickory Knob State Park for the retreat. The weather was gorgeous and, once I got out of the city, was all through small towns and countryside.

This was a picture I took just as sunset was starting to get really pretty....

And this was one I took as night was falling -- both of these were taken from a spot right in front of my room at the Hickory Lodge. What a great start to the retreat!

(As a trying the new blogging program thing, the pictures are only showing about the top inch so I'm hoping the entire pic will publish! Oh, it is SO way fun to learn a new program!!)

The next day I got together with my group in our great big retreat space called "the barn" -- probably because it is big and red and very barn-like!

This is our little group....

And this is a wider shot so you can see some of the people -- there were probably about 60 people there over the Friday through Monday time frame.

I had a layer cake of chocolate themed fabrics that I quartered and used in a Missouri Star Quilt Company's quilt. I had seen the YouTube video for the Presents Quilt; you cut the layer cake into four 5" squares and then use other fabrics in a sashing technique to look like ribbons. I thought it would make a great Valentine's quilt!

And the reason I am thinking about all of this is that I was working on the quilt today! I got all of the blocks with the pink ribbons done at the retreat and did the red ones when I got home. Laid them out today and started sewing them together. Haven't taken pictures yet, but tomorrow's another day, right?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Eerie Nights Blog Hop!

A big THANK YOU to Marian @ Seams to Be Sew and Amy @ Sew Incredibly Crazy for hosting this Blog Hop!  I've worked with them on a few hops in the past and it has been wonderful but I am SOOOOO excited to be participating in this hop because it's HALLOWEEN!!!!!!

With a business name like Batts in the Attic, people rarely figure out that I’m a quilting company.  They just think that I can’t spell very well and that I like Halloween!  Actually, I am a good speller, but haven’t studied up enough to win one of those cool spelling bees that kids do on TV while winning oodles of scholarship money.  But I do LOVE Halloween.

While attending the annual retreat in South Carolina of the Pieceful Hearts Quilters Guild, I met a lady named Linda Yehle who made the most adorable embellished mini quilts.  I asked her if she could make a Halloween, specifically batty, one for me and she said yes!  I was so excited when I got her email last month telling me that she had finished and I could hardly wait for the mail to bring it – well, it was definitely worth that jumping-up-and-down wait, don’t you think?  I just love my little “Batty Mini Sue” and she will be my most essential Halloween decoration EVER!

I also have been working on a Halloween quilt from a kit I bought a few years ago.  I started it at Quilt Market last October in Houston and started working on it again last month.  Got the top finished!  I’ll be traveling and teaching the whole month of October, so it won’t be quilted this month, but I was so happy to get the top done that it’s OK!  I get home from Quilt Market on Halloween, so I’ll be just in time to hand out candy and check out all the cool costumes!

What I loved about the kit, and why I had to buy it, was that it had a very high percentage of bats in the fabrics, including the border fabric.  Lots and lots and lots of bats!!

Dawna Harrison, owner of my local quilt store, Bolts in the Bathtub, is always keeping her eyes open for bat fabrics – she texted me a pic of this one last week…and told me she got me a little.  No idea what “little” means, but I’m excited just the same!

It seems like there are good bat years – where you can find batty socks, earrings, decorations, etc. – and bad bat years, where you can only find all those things in jack-o-lanterns or cats or spiders.  This has not been a great bat year so far; at least, I haven’t found many – have you?  Am I just not shopping at the right places?  Clue me in!!

And what's a Blog Hop without a great giveaway?!?!

Quilter's Dream is the prize...

And here's how you enter...

And here's the schedule for the hop!  I'm including past days so you can check out all of the fun Halloween projects!!!  

October 20

October 21

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 28

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Organizational Tips -- Who? Me?

My awesome assistant Monica is one of the most organized people in the world!  She has to be – she works with me!  And keeping me organized (at least the printed and electronic “faces” of me that the public sees) is just one of her many jobs; she also does website, blog, and social media posting for other companies as well as mine and has a husband and two adorable littles, one just starting school and the other still at home.  And she does this all while keeping an active extended family life and a neat home – I’ll bet her car is even neat and clean, unlike mine which my husband calls a giant purse with wheels!

A few weeks ago, Ms. Organization and I were on the phone and she said that during falltime, people like to get/keep organized and that we should write some blog posts about it.  It took me several minutes to stop laughing at the idea that I could possibly write anything like that or that anybody would believe me if I did!  But when we were talking a bit later, the topic came up again and I told her that she should write organizational posts on my blog for the benefit of our readers.  You guys will love her – she’s knowledgeable, fun and snarky, in a good way – and I can certainly learn a bunch from anything she has to share. 

Obviously, I could benefit from her tips and tricks!

Soon Monica will introduce herself to you and tell you about how she keeps all the balls in the air as she juggles her life, work, and play!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Another Quilty Box GIVEAWAY!!!!

Quilty Box doesn't number their shipments, so I'm not sure how many I have received. One thing that is interesting to me is that some of the shipments really have nothing to do with quilting, like this one.

It has all the materials to make a fabric and mesh bag, including the batting (so I guess you must quilt the fabric before you assemble the bag?) and a bright apple green zipper.

Here's the card explaining the contents; the collection was curated by Annie Unrein.

There were half yard cuts of fabric that I liked -- keeping that!

Here's the project -- a fold-over organizer!

Everything is included to make it...

And an inspirational card that I think is worth framing in any sewing room.

So, would you like to win this? Everything except the fabrics is up for grabs -- I am somewhat of a fabric hoarder!

Like us on Facebook, join our email list, and comment on this post... one entry for each!!

We'll draw a winner next week!

Good luck!

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