Friday, July 29, 2011

The Quilters Cottage -- Kearney NE (Part 1)

After teaching class yesterday, Sandi Griepenstroh offered to take me to her mom's shop in Kearney for a little fabric fondling and quilt gazing. Also -- bless her heart! -- before we went to the shop she drove to Target so I could zip in and grab my usual iced venti sugar free vanilla whole milk latte to sustain me until after dinner, my next opportunity to caffeinate....

The Quilters Cottage, owned by Phyllis Hamaker, is located in the downtown Kearney area; the shop is a whole lot bigger than it seems from the front and there was a lot to look at:

The sewing machines and sergers carried here are by Baby Lock; most of the machines that would normally be in the demonstration area are at The Quilters Cottage booth at the quilt show, but I liked that these were displayed on a quilt!

This is one side of the classroom area -- love that it is lined with quilts....

There's Sandi in the back of the classroom...there are more stencils here than I normally see anyplace other than a stencil booth in a quilt show!

Really liked this green floral quilt!

If you are in need of direction, there are plenty of books to choose from.....

This is another book rack, plus there are many patterns on the wall. Sandi explained that the pattern selection was a little low right now.....yikes! I wonder what their "normal" inventory looks like!

The ceilings are high, but there is no wasted space -- it's quilts to the rafters!

This stained glass quilt is beautiful up close!

This plaque was displayed in front of a quilt made from "X blocks" -- I have to totally agree with the sentiment!

The Quilters Cottage is located at 2220 Central Avenue, Kearney NE (phone: 308-237-2701). To go to their website, click here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quilt Nebraska 2011 -- Kearney NE

Today was the first day of Quilt Fantastica, the Quilt Nebraska 2011 show. I can hardly wait to see the show; I'm hoping that my teacher's badge will sneak me in a little early tomorrow morning! Today I taught Borders & Bindings; on lunch break, I took a quick tour of the vendors' mall while they were still setting up.

One thing that is so fun about this class is all of the different fabric combinations that come up; here's one for fans of Nebraska..... a perennial college football powerhouse!

...and my always favorite, Halloween!

Proving that inspiration can come from anywhere, this ceramic tile art piece was hanging on the back wall of my classroom.

A closeup of one of the tiles....

Sandi finished her fat quarter quilt top first.....Sandi owns Lone Tree Designs, a longarm quilting business in Central City NE.

Not far behind her, Leanne finished next. Leanne was in charge of planning the menus for the conference -- judging by the yummy grilled chicken salads we had for lunch, she's doing a good job!

Different themes and moods....

There were 12 participants in class, but one of them wandered off while I was wielding the camera, so I didn't get her in here.

Sandi and I left after class so she could take me to the local quilt shop owned by her mother, Phyllis Hamaker. So, next up -- The Quilters Cottage, Kearney NE

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fabrics Etc. 2 -- Bensenville IL (Part 2)

There are two classrooms at Fabrics Etc. 2; the larger one is all set up with the technology to put the teacher on a big screen so everyone can see the techniques. This is the smaller classroom and I was lured in by all the quilts on the walls....

"Mod Quads" is a class offered in September....

If you want to take the class for "Beacon Hill", this beautiful star quilt, you need to hurry! Classes are on Thursday evenings, July 28 and August 4.

You missed the class for Radiant Star; classes were earlier in July. But if enough people ask, won't they do it again???

I really liked the quilting on the log cabin quilt.....

...and for someone just learning to quilt, this "Start at the Beginning" class would be just the thing to get them going. The class is offered twice, in August and September.

Look at all the Halloween and autumn themed fabrics!

And two very cute Halloween panels -- with bats!!

Fabrics Etc. 2 is located at 1105 S. York Road, Bensenville IL (phone: 630-238-8000), so if you have a little bit of a layover between flights at O'Hare, you might be able to sneak in a visit. It's only about 20 miles away!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fabrics Etc. 2 -- Bensenville IL (Part 1)

Today my friend Carol and I did a bit of running around -- I've been away from home for two weeks so far, so wanted to get some errands run. It was a typical quilterly day: Eat breakfast, go to bank, go to dry cleaners, go to quilt shop, eat lunch, drive to second quilt shop, get and drink Starbucks latte, actually go into second quilt shop, go to grocery store to buy wine, eat dinner, drink wine, blog....all the while answering e-mail and texts on my phone.

Patrick Grant of Unique Sewing Furniture had given me the contact information for Mary Forte, owner of Fabrics Etc. 2, thinking that she and I might find it a good thing for me to include her on one of my upcoming teaching trips. So I told Carol that, if we had time left over when we were finished running errands, I would love to stop by to see the store and meet Mary while I'm here in Chicago.

Being a total machine person, the first thing I notice is what kinds of sewing machines are carried by the stores I visit. I love to see how the machine area is set up and what kinds of samples are available for customers to look at.

The machines are very well displayed, many of them in Unique Sewing Furniture cabinets.

You can see from the picture at left that the machine area is HUGE!

At right, one of the Bernina 830 machines signed by H.P. Ueltschi, Bernina's owner.

Carol loves to sew with Minkie, so she really liked the throw made of strips of animal print Minkie. They were sold out, so Carol ordered the kit to be sent to her. Peeking out from underneath the Minkee quilt is a log cabin made of animal print and black cottons.

This picture was taken from about halfway into the shop in the direction of one of the corners. I wanted to give you a good idea of the size of the store and how many quilts are hanging on the walls. Zeroed in on some of the ones I liked best:

"Cinnamon Toast" from Alex Anderson's book, Neutral Essentials

"Down the Pathway" from Serge & Merge Quilts....

Next: More quilts and some upcoming classes!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Few Things I Missed at Shiisa Quilts

One of the things that caught my eye at the shop was this embroidery, which was made by Alice Ridge. She couched down some threads that were too thick to put through the machine needle, used decorative stitches built into the machine and also did satin stitch around the outside of the appliques. She accomplished all this using the circular embroidery attachment on her Bernina 830, but the attachment is available for all of the Bernina machines.

Closeups of the embroidery....

Shiisa Quilts also had a class using the above pattern from craft apple, "Tree and Bird Baby Quilt". ....

Alice thought that the little bird pattern in the quilt looked like a pear, so she added pears hanging in the branches....

and then she made a nighttime quilt with an owl perched in the tree. If you look closely, you can see that this is a spotted owl!

And here's Alice with the finished quilt top....

I have been at Shiisa Quilts for a week -- I taught in the shop for the first four days. The last three days I've been teaching a really fun, creative staff retreat . There were eight people here working from my Tropical Seas pattern, which combines raw edge weaving with applique to make a 34" square art quilt. Janet Mease took a lot of pictures of the retreat and the progress on the quilts. To see them, click here.

None of the quilts looked anything like mine -- there are kitties in the garden, floral adaptations, butterflies, trains -- pretty much anything that could be appliqued! It's worth looking through the picture gallery to see the creativity here!

Today I fly to Chicago to visit my friend Carol, her daughter, son-in-law and grandsons. I haven't been here for a year, so it will be fun to see everybody, be surprised by how much the boys have grown, and get all caught up!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winding Metallic Bobbins on the Bernina 820/830 Machines

At Crazy 8's yesterday at Shiisa Quilts, we were playing around with Glitter by Superior Threads, a flat metallic thread that I describe as "stream lame" (pronounced la-may, I can't find the accent mark on blogspot!). If you pull it off the spool, it looks a lot like Christmas tree tinsel; when you stitch with it, it resembles a line of molten metal behind your needle.

We were doing bobbin work on the Bernina 820s and 830s, so wanted to find the best threading path to get even winding. Bev L. and I experimented with adaptations to the usual threading path that we use for regular sewing thread and the following method of threading worked really well:

A couple of grey foam discs come with the machine; one of them has plastic on one side and foam on the other. We put that disc, foam side up, on the outermost thread spindle, the one used most often for winding bobbins. Using the disc with the plastic bottom allows the thread to spin more freely.

The thread goes on the foam disc and then is threaded through the "auxiliary thread guide for metallics" that can also be used for spools that are stack wound and like to be pulled off the side of the spool rather than over the top. I've also had good results threading monofilament, water soluble and other specialty threads through this guide. In the illustration above, Bev is threading the thread through this guide.

If you have had your 8 a while, you may not have this thread guide. Around Christmas last year, an 8 Series Kit came out free of charge to owners. Also included in this kit was a thread lubrication and guide unit, an oiling pen, a pack of SUK needles, and a hook cleaning tool. There was also a book to explain how to install and use these items. If you did not receive this kit, check with your dealer.

Here's a top view of the threading through this guide....

The thread then goes through the telescope, front to back....

...down to the clip at the base of the thread stand....

...and down to the bobbin tensioner. Rather than wrapping the thread around in a counter-clockwise twist like we normally would, the thread was passed from the right, under the tensioner and straight up to the bobbin.

Bev then wrapped the thread clockwise around the bobbin several times until the end was very short, then held her finger against the end to keep it from unwinding while she reached over to the screen with the other hand and touched the bobbin winder icon. It's not recommended that the thread cutter be used with metallic thread as it could dull the cutter.

Using this threading path -- voila! We got perfectly wound metallic bobbins!

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