Sunday, July 29, 2012

Finished the Book Cover!

I thought I had published this 10 days ago before I went to Nashville, but it was sitting in my draft file, so here goes:

This turned out to be easier in some ways and more difficult in others.  Some of you have heard me say that I am a quilter, not a sewer, and you laugh at me because how can you quilt without sewing?  But what I mean by that is that I don't understand the vocabulary that people who do other types of sewing use and I don't know the steps involved in making things other than quilts.

So I was really glad that I had Jake's book in front of me for the book cover part of this deal!

The first thing I did was applique the butterfly to my pieced background with a blanket stitch, enclosing the trim in that stitching. 

Then I changed to the free motion foot and did the quilting, using the same metallic thread in the top of the machine.

This beautiful turquoise metallic thread is by Mettler

What surprised me about the whole applique and quilting portion of this project is that I never took my top tension off its normal 4.0 (the 4.0 setting on the right hand side of this picture is my tension on this Laura Ashley machine; it's highlighted because this is the default setting) and I didn't have any shredding, breakage, stripping, etc.  This made me really happy that I wasn't wrestling with the thread!  I had a Schmetz Jeans/Denim needle in the machine, size 80/12.

So that finished the embellishment part of the project -- now to go to Jake's book and learn how to make a cover for the spiral bound journal that I had.

This didn't really take all that long -- I had to read the directions several times, not because they weren't clear, but because this wasn't a quilt!  I felt like I was back in sewing kindergarten here...

Jake does tell you that most of your actual sewing time is spent doing the satin stitch around the edge; I stitched it twice and really could have done it a third time for even better coverage.  Maybe when I get home from Nashville?

I'll be home Thursday night, but look for posts that I'll be writing during the convention to tell you all about the new and exciting things coming up!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Keeping FedEx and UPS Busy! And a Very Cool Announcement!

This has been a busy week for delivery people -- boxes arriving with all kinds of goodies!  You've heard of Christmas in July, right?  Well, that's how it has been around here.....

One big huge box from Brother International had some goodies for me to play with; this is my favorite knee lift because it can be adjusted to fit various sizes of people.  I use my knee lift a LOT and it's nice that I can make it work well for my skinny little legs and not have to lunge way over to the right for it. Although that lunging may have some exercise benefit to it....let me think this through....

Also in the box were two more boxes containing playtime supplies such as presser feet, bobbins, 12 big spools of thread, stabilizer, needles -- the works! 

This all ties in to the Brother convention where I'm teaching next week -- packing today, flying to Nashville tomorrow and teaching classes to Brother dealers Monday-Wednesday.  I've been preparing for this for a couple of months and am very excited! 

So now on to a big announcement!!!:

Look what the UPS guy delivered yesterday afternoon!  I was so afraid that these would not get to me before I left for Nashville, but around 5pm, my guy came through!

It's my newest video, "Beyond the Basics: Free Motion & Trapunto with Paula Reid". I now am the proud possessor of 20 prototype copies and should be ready to ship to dealers around Labor Day.

I am so stoked!  Also, I love the cover; both the quilt photography and the picture of me.  There's also a quilt on the back behind the text that wraps around to the spine of the cover.  David Hooke of LiTen Up Technologies has been my videographer all the way from my first video, Fluff & Stuff, that we did in 2004 up through the present.  He's continually taking classes and updating equipment and I think he bought a time machine!  I swear I look younger in this picture than I did in 2004!  Yay David!!!  It's amazing what good lighting will do.....

So keep checking back, when I get my actual production copies, I'll do a giveaway....

Friday, July 27, 2012

Maybe a Smaller Project? And How About a Giveaway?

I've just been too busy to finish the quilt that I wanted to take with me, so maybe something smaller?  This is a 6-1/2" x 9" piece with flip-and-sew piecing and decorative stitches.  I "built" it onto a piece of heavyweight tear away stabilizer (which I'm actually going to leave on) and then had some thoughts about what I might want to do with it.

You may know my good friend Jake Finch from either her long time stint as writer/editor/jack of all trades at Quilter's Home magazine or in her present project as publisher of Generation Q, a magazine that has been on line for a while and is just about to publish its second print edition.  It doesn't seem like five years ago when this book was published by C&T!

***As an aside on Generation Q:  There is an absolutely hilarious article on the blog today (use the link above) on what to do with your "stash dawgs" -- you know, the stuff you bought but will most likely never use?  I practically fell on the floor laughing....***

Back to my main point here -- in the book, there are some great ideas for attractive and not complicated ways to cover journals and other kinds of books.  I've had the journal, fabric -- in fact, pretty much everything except the heavyweight interfacing -- on hand ready to do this.  So, let's get out all the stuff and see if I can make any progress before I get distracted by something else.....

I think this will be pretty cool; I'm almost done with the piece that I am going to put on the cover.  2" strips of hand-dyed fabrics were used for the flip-and-sew (I pieced them to create more color diversity) and the decorative stitching was done with Candlelight in the bobbin.  Since this is a bobbinwork technique and I was working from the back, I used the strip stitching lines as a guide. 

The butterfly was traced from a stencil; then water soluble stabilizer was used in a flip-and-turn technique so that the outer edge is finished and easy to applique.  The funky trim will be tucked under the edges of the butterfly and then appliqued down with this pretty turquoise Mettler metallic thread, probably in a blanket stitch since I definitely want the thread to show

So I just need to do the applique, trim away the stabilizer from the piece and stitch it down to my background fabric, then make the book cover from the fabric.  Hmmm --- wonder how long that will take?

Now, to the giveaway:  I know a lot of people look at this blog because Google is really nice about giving me all that information, but hardly anybody comments.  So to encourage comments, I have five copies of Generation Q magazine to send to you.  If there are more than five commenters (and I really hope there are!), then I'll do a random drawing.  I will look at this when I get home from Nashville on August 3; I'll post on the blog who wins and then you can e-mail me your addresses. 

Speaking of getting ready to go to Nashville, I'm still getting my blue this fun, or what???

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Into the Blue of Things.....

Getting ready to go to Nashville involves a lot of thinking!  I have to figure out what quilts I'm taking, what completed work illustrates the use of the techniques I'm teaching in class, what gadgets and/or tools that I'll need to make the demo easier as well as fabric, thread and anything else I'm likely to need.

That's one suitcase! 

The quilt above, "Hanukkiah", was designed by my friend Paula Fleischer.  It's just the thing to get me into my "blue" mood for next week.  So it definitely goes in the work suitcase.

Then there's the second suitcase, the personal suitcase.  What I pack in this one determines everything I'm going to wear.  Of course, I choose by season and by part of the country, but this time I've decided that I'm going to decide by color -- and that color is blue!

So part of getting into the spirit of the thing was going to my hairdresser, Tina Fox, this morning and getting some blue extensions as well as some silver bling tied around them.  Now off to the closet to see what I might have in there that goes with my new hair!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kind of a Lazy Day

Too hot to do a whole lot today; only about 100 degrees, but still.....

This morning I walked 3 miles while the day was still cool and then had a facial.  Worked on some quilting this afternoon -- there's just no better way to stay cool than by sewing with a quilt in one's lap in an upstairs bedroom, right?  Right....

It seems like I've been working on this quilt on and off for practically forever, but I would like to get it done this week so I can take it with me to Brother International's Back to Business convention in Nashville.  I'll be teaching classes there Monday-Wednesday next week and would like to have a new quilt to show!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hooray! A Sewing Weekend!

Every so often my friend Terry Wojciehowski and I get together for a sewing weekend.  Earlier this year, we were meeting once a month, taking turns at each other's houses, but then life got hectic and we got off track.  So this weekend was a treat!

I've been getting some of the Strip Club kits from Cozy Quilt Shop in El Cajon CA.  Every month, Daniela Stout, owner of Cozy, designs a quilt using 2-1/2" strips and crowds of women come into the store on the second Saturday to see the new pattern (I believe they get the pattern for free if they come to the shop for the Strip Club gathering), and to buy the strips and additional fabrics, if desired, to make the quilt.  I taught at Cozy Quilts in March and liked the current month's pattern a lot!

The name of this pattern was "Shine" and, as you can see from the color illustration, the strip set was very bright, multicolored and fun!  I purchased the strip sets and the pattern, deciding to pull the white background fabric from my stash and to decide on border fabrics after I made the blocks.

The black and white drawing illustrates how Daniela constructed her blocks, moving outward from light strips to darker strips to give a "radiating" effect to the quilt.  Also, looking at the black and white chart made it easier for me to understand that these stars are actually formed by 4 blocks coming together, with 1/4 of a star in each block..

The way the star blocks are constructed is to make the blocks as shown above and then use Sharyn Craig's Cutting Corners ruler to cut diagonally across the large white square and then replace the triangle that is cut away with the pieced star quarter.  It took me all of Saturday and some of Sunday to piece all the blocks.

Some setting triangles were also needed; those will also get "star parts" sewn onto them.

It took a while to get all the star parts done.  The unit starts with flying geese, then background and star fabric triangles get added on.

I needed a LOT of them!

Some of the blocks don't get star parts, so I needed to do a preliminary block layout to determine which ones.  This was a picture I took early this morning; you can see that I added some pink fabrics to piece some of the setting triangles.

These are the border fabrics that I think I'm going to use.  There are so many bright fabrics in this quilt and I wanted a fabric that would be playful and fun to go with them.  And stripes make such great inner borders that I think I'll be happy with these. And it doesn't hurt that it has a lot of PINK!

Unfortunately, this is as far as I got on our sewing weekend, but it's a really good start on this quilt.

If you are in the San Diego area, CozyQuilt Shop is located at 2940 Jamacha Rd., Suite H., El Cajon CA 92019 (phone: 619-670-1516).  There are many Strip Club patterns as well as patterns for fat quarters and lots of other fun things; you can see all that by clicking here.
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