Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaching Embellishment by Machine at The Quilt Basket -- Tucson AZ

My second day at The Quilt Basket was an embellishment by machine class. This picture was taken just before class; I got to do all of my demonstrations on the BERNINA 830 above.

Most of the embellishments were done with monofilament thread in the bobbin. The only thing that you need to remember about winding monofilament on a bobbin is that you need to wind it slowly so that the nylon or polyester won't stretch as it winds. The pertinent feature on the BERNINA 820 and 830 machines is that the bobbin winding speed can be set, all the way down to 12% of normal if need be. You can also specify how full you want the bobbin; for this purpose, I set it to 50%. After winding the bobbin and threading up, I was ready for class.

This bolt of fabric from the store looked like it would be really fun to embellish; with it are some of my couching samples and the latest issue of Quilting Arts magazine...

...a closeup of some of my couching and beading samples; in the morning I did a demonstration of how to couch down various threads and beads using some of the BERNINA presser feet and the dual feed feature of the 830 machine..

One of my embellished quilts was displayed in the back of the room along with needles and other supplies for class.

This is Lena Tsuruda, owner of The Quilt Basket and The Sewing Room -- another PINK girl!

Here are pictures of some of the workshop participants -- look at all the goodies that they brought to play with! Several of them had shopped at a store in town that had all sort of beads, ribbons and other trims at very low prices. They offered to take me there after class, but -- darn it -- I had a plane to catch!

Maybe next time?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Sewing Room & The Quilt Basket -- Tucson AZ

My trip to Utah, New Mexico and Arizona ended last week with two days teaching at two shops that are located right next door to each other in Tucson AZ. Both stores are owned by Lena Tsuruda and used to be across town from each other. When Lena got the chance to move them together, she did.

The Sewing Room contains the BERNINA machines, a kazillion threads, embroidery supplies and designs, sewing machine needles and other machine related things. The Quilt Basket is a well supplied quilt shop with fabrics, books, patterns, notions and all the things we expect a quilt shop to carry -- and more! Both are beautifully decorated and fun to visit!

I started my photographic journey in The Sewing Room, but wandered all over both stores, camera in hand.....

The photo at left is part of the BERNINA display area; below is the BERNINA 820 on a frame with a beautiful star quilt displayed behind it.

This colorful and incredibly well-pieced, as in "You should SEE these points!", is the 2011 Raffle Quilt offered by the Tucson Quilters' Guild. If you would like to take a chance on winning this beauty, you can buy tickets at the Quilt Basket.

A glimpse into the Asian room at The Quilt Basket; Lena says she is ordering new Asian fabrics all the time for this part of the store and plans to expand this section.

Closeup of some fabrics and an issue of Asian Fabric magazine.

The fall quilt was particularly appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving!

This picture was taken from inside the store, but it is the front window display.....

...more of the same window display. Beautiful fall fabrics make a simple quilt special....

Some colorful quilts in the machine area....

Some pictures of the store show how well everything is displayed....

I've come full circle and am back in the machine area to get a picture of a smiling happy sewer and some of the beautiful threads....

I taught two days here and will post pictures of some of the fun things that we did!

The Sewing Room and The Quilt Basket
are located at 6538 E. Tanque Verde Road, #130, Tucson AZ (phone: 520-722-8810). To go to their website, click here.

Alex's Pomegranate Quilt

Getting the mail every day is somewhat of a routine thing, but there is that little bit of excitement as I walk across the street -- will something really good arrive today? A new book? A magazine? Something I ordered from Chico's? A check from a quilt store?

When I'm traveling, Dan piles up all the mail and I plow through it when I get home. In the magazine pile this time was the December 2010 issue of The Quilt Life from Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. I knew that one of the quilts I had done for Alex recently was going to be in the issue and I couldn't wait to see it (and my name!) in print. The article and instructions for this quilt start on page 70.

Earlier this year on my blog, I showed how I put the border on this quilt using a method called "partial seaming". If you'd like to see that technique, click here.

I've subscribed to the magazine since the charter issue and always find good stuff in it. My favorite things in the current issue (it's still on the newsstand at my local Barnes & Noble and probably yours, too, if you haven't picked it up yet) include a Vintage Bells Christmas Quilt starting on page 36. It's a pieced quilt in soft shades of cream, coral and green with appliqued (yikes!) Christmas bells on it. That would be a lot of applique for me, but I noticed in the article about www.thequiltlife.com that I can go to the website and get a smaller pattern for a table runner if I didn't want to applique the whole quilt -- whew! It's so pretty I just may take the plunge.

The Quilt Life isn't a magazine I leaf through and put aside -- there is so much information and eye candy in each issue that "devour" is probably the verb that comes to mind....I'm going to be in Temecula for the next few days and then on vacation in Cabo San Lucas for a week after that. The Quilt Life is definitely going in the suitcase so I can spend some serious time with this issue!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bernina Sewing & Design Center -- Las Cruces NM

It's great to be back at the Bernina Sewing & Design Center! I was here for a couple of days in May and the weather was pretty warm; now, in November, it's getting to the mid-60s by day, but in the mid-30s at night -- yikes!

Jim and Marsha Cowan
have had the quilt shop, including the Bernina dealership, for about five years. The shop definitely has a Southwest influence in its decor; some of the fabrics offered are of the same style, but there are also a large number of batiks and large scale florals here as well as some stripes and other geometric prints in bright colors that I hadn't seen elsewhere. Marsha definitely loves color and it shows!

Marsha has reading glasses in every single color of the rainbow, plus some wild prints, to go with every outfit she owns. When she isn't actually reading through them, she drops them down on her face -- had to get this picture! She said that people have asked her if she is reading through her nose!!

Here are some pictures from my two day Fluff & Stuff workshop......

...the quilts on the classroom walls are gorgeous!

Here are three more students in front of a really fun quilt made from fabric printed with large scale vegetables and fruits -- ooh, ooh, a food quilt!

A display of Halloween and harvest quilts, many of them made of wool.

Of course, this was my favorite because it has BATS on it....

More fall decorations enhance the beautiful Southwest style clay fireplace....

From fall to Christmas in the blink of a wall?

A closeup of that Christmas quilt in the center -- the snowman border really makes the quilt!

Some of the ladies in my workshop brought quilt tops made from the pattern "Love That Print" that the snowman quilt is made from. It really shows off those larger scale prints and we discussed ideas for how to quilt them.

Pieced chile pepper Christmas stockings!

I couldn't stop ooo-ing and ah-ing over this ruffly purse.....

Even the ironing board is way fun in this shop!

Bernina Sewing & Design Center is located at 1601 East Lohman Avenue in Las Cruces NM (phone: 575-523-2000). To visit their website and learn more about the quilt shop, click here.

Tomorrow we are doing "Trapunto by Machine" here in Las Cruces and then Thursday I'm back on a plane on my way to Tucson AZ!

It Was a Surprise Party!

One thing that is very cool about teaching in Salt Lake City is that I get to stay with Rhonda and Steve and pretty much make myself at home. I've been adopted into the Lopez family, so when I arrive at the airport it's like coming home to brothers and sisters that I've missed. Fortunately, I usually get to see everybody in the family on these trips, including Rhonda's very fun mom and dad, and catch up on all the family news.

Rhonda and Steve have a big beautiful kitchen and I get right in there and cook dinner for however many family members and friends show up to eat. I never really know whether it will just be the three of us or if thirty people will be there ready for whatever Rhonda and I cook up.

Rhonda and I had talked Saturday morning about what we were going to do for dinner that night, so after I finished my Saturday class at the Creative Sewing Gallery in Provo, I was thinking about what I was going to cook and wondering how many people were going to be there. For that reason, I wasn't really surprised to see a lot of cars around the house when Chad, his daughter Liz and I drove up.

Totally didn't expect the whole surprise party thing!

Once the surprise part was over, some of the guys gathered in the family room to watch college football.....

...while everybody else gathered in the kitchen, either making food or waiting for it to appear! There were lots of goodies -- shrimp, two kinds of buffalo chicken, a really good homemade salsa that had corn and other good stuff in it along with chips to dip in it. Denise made two kinds of calzones, one with broccoli and potatoes and the other with pepperoni -- think I need those recipes! There were lots more things on the buffet, too.....

And, for dessert, there was a pumpkin cheesecake with candles -- not 62 of them, as that would have required a standby fire extinguisher! -- and a big tray of brownies.

Rhonda had talked to my husband, Dan, about flying out to Salt Lake to be part of the surprise party, but due to work commitments he couldn't do it. So he e-mailed a picture with a birthday greeting and asked Rhonda to print it with a heart design in the border -- gotta love this guy! When I told him where Rhonda had put the picture, he commented that it was the first time in his life that he was hanging from a chandelier.....

Monica, Dari and Jen.....

...and Dari's daughter, Abryann in her pretty black skirt.

I love Tinkerbell (even though I know she's a murderous brat -- she did try to kill Wendy, you know!), so that was the party decoration theme. There were balloons....

.....and lots of crepe paper streamers.....

The fireplace was all decked out....

...with adorable Tinkerbell cutouts!

It was so much fun! Thank you, everybody -- I LOVE being part of your family!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creative Sewing -- Provo UT

I had the opportunity to visit and teach on Friday and Saturday in the new Creative Sewing Gallery of Provo store located in the charming downtown area of Provo UT.

The district has undergone quite a bit of renovation recently and has a number of interesting buildings and shops.

The picture of the autumn trees was taken right outside the front door of the store.....

...and there is a beautiful church across the street. It was starting to cloud over when this shot was taken and I was really hoping for snow, but was disappointed -- rats!

The shop has only been open a few weeks and the owners, brothers Chad, Eric & Kyle Lopez, are still getting the interior organized. They already have a complete Pfaff display up.

The notions wall is well stocked and there are bolts of quilting fabrics on hand.

This metal sculpture is located just outside of the back door of the shop; that door opens into an interior lobby of the building. Balanced on the hand of the somewhat human looking figure is a metal and glass fishbowl with small fish swimming inside -- very cool!

Out the lobby, across a small lawn and down a flight of stairs, there is a spacious empty room that is available to Creative Sewing Gallery for classes. I got to the classroom about an hour ahead of class time; all of the tables and sewing machines were already set up, so then we finished preparing for class by hanging quilts on the walls, putting kits on chairs, etc., all the things that need to be done before people arrive ready to sew!

The table above was stocked with threads, markers, scissors and all sorts of other supplies for class -- by the time this pictures was taken, a lot of the merchandise had already been purchased and hauled off to the various tables!

All of the quilts on the walls transformed a very large space into a warmer, more friendly place in which to learn and sew.

In these pictures, everyone is fluffing & stuffing their quilts to get comfortable with feeding a large quilt through a domestic machine.

There were 19 people in the class and 20 sewing machines in the room, so each person had the use of one of several different models of Brother and Pfaff machines to learn and practice on for the duration of the two day workshop. A great opportunity to try machines that are new to them and perhaps discover features that they just can't live without!

Creative Sewing Gallery of Provo is located at 26 West Center Street in Provo UT (phone: 801-691-0244)
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