Friday, March 31, 2017

Going Through the Cruise Pics

While we were on the quilting cruise last month, one of our stops was Belize. I was going through the pictures with some friends a couple of days ago and realized that I hadn't yet posted them. Wendy, Millie and I all got off the ship and took one of the tours that explored the Mayan ruins.

The pic above is our whole group following our guide around. I was surprised there weren't barriers, or at least ropes, to keep the tourists from climbing all over everything. Instead, there are stairs (albeit steep ones) to help us get up to the top of some of the ruins so that we could see better than at ground level. Here are a few of the pictures I took; some of them were taken from the top of one of the pyramids after climbing some scary stairs!


All in all, the experience of exploring the ruins of such a long lived, as well as long gone, society as the Mayans was rewarding and I'm really glad that we were able to put life on hold for a bit and see this.

So if anyone says to you, "Let's go on a quilting cruise" -- say Yes!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Giveaway Winner!!!!!

Thanks to everyone for participating in our Springtime Giveaway!!!

Congratulations to our winner... Allison Church Bird!!!!!

We'll ship out your goodie box this week!  40 hexagons (big, bright, springtime hexagons), a fun pattern, and a 2500 meter spool of grey Wonderfil thread!!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Continuing the Presents Quilt

First I'd like to thank all of you who sent me emails and texts wishing me a quick recovery from my cataract surgery last week. (And a big special thanks to Rhonda for the recovery care package including peanut M&Ms!) Eye #1 was a total success with a vision correction lens that allows me to see better than I have in over 20 years! I'm wearing a contact lens in my left eye until that surgery on April 20. So, hooray! All is great on the vision front.

While I was taking it easy at home over the weekend, I finished the hand stitching on the binding and then started quilting the hearts.

Decided on the double hearts -- just enough quilting.
Played more with the ribbons in the bow portion of each block and nothing was working for me.

I drew in one side -- instead of just stitching ribbons on each side of the pieced bow, I decided to stitch a curvy bow and then the ribbon tails. This will work!

I had hoped to finish this by the end of February since I want it to be a Valentine's Day quilt, but end of March is good, right!

What do you think of the bow?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Playing With My New iPad Toys!

Earlier this year, I decided to do what my husband calls a tech refresh.  Both my iPhone and iPad were a few years old and starting to malfunction in exceedingly inconvenient ways so it was time.  As I've been getting older, my vision certainly isn't getting better, so I had already decided to purchase the larger format iPad Pro; accessories I hadn't seen before were also intriguing and helped lead to this decision.

So I purchased the iPad, the cover with the built in keyboard (although that has to be exchanged because the space bar has died, already!) and the Apple Pencil.  My hopes for the pencil would be twofold -- that I could use it as a drawing board using the Notes app when I'm teaching on camera in front of a classroom and that it would serve as a tool to draw on quilt photos to audition quilt designs.

With that in mind, I started researching programs that would allow me to do that.  Starting by Googling "best apps for Apple Pencil", I found You Doodle!  I can choose a photo from my camera roll (or take one with the iPad) and draw on it to my heart's content with my Pencil.  Now I can narrow down design choices and then practice them a little, developing muscle memory without wasting fabric or thread!

Working on the presents quilt, I brought in a photo and practiced a bit.  I think I would like a piece of ribbon on either side of the bow at the top of each gift, but I really don't like how that looks.  However, I'm really liking the triple heart arrangement! I started drawing in the upper right hand corner and then decided it would be easier if there was a diagonal line marked to define where the points at the top of the hearts should go. After that, they were easier -- the last set is at the bottom right and i'm pretty happy with that.


Now that I've decided on the heart design, I can stitch those in.  Still not crazy about the ribbon, though -- anybody have any ideas for how to quilt those small spaces? I have my Pencil in hand!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Qwilt Qwazy Queens Blog Hop!! Meeting Kris Conrad: Interview with a Lace Maker

A big THANK YOU to Marian at Seams to Be Sew for hosting this Blog Hop!  

Blog Hops are always so much fun to participate in and I'm super excited for this one because we had a very broad scope of topics!  So I'm excited to show you something AMAZING that I happened upon just a few days ago...

After teaching for four days at Calla Lily Quilts in Greensboro NC -- had a fabulous time and got to stay with my friends Karen and Graham Pervier -- I drove to Raleigh, returned the rental car and was picked up by my former neighbor, Charlene Wasilczyk, to stay with her and John for a few days.  They were our neighbors for ten years before they left sunny soCal for NC.  They totally broke my heart when they moved!!!

We were all talking during brunch and Charlene mentioned that the lady across the street was a lace maker!  Charlene described some of her friend's work to me and I immediately asked if there was any way I could meet her and see it while I was here.  So after a bit of texting back and forth, Charlene and I strolled across the street and I got to meet Kris.

Her front door says it all!


When we walked in, Kris was instructing two of her students and helping them with their projects.  This was the table where her supplies were laid out: bobbins and fibers, scissors and pins.

There are two of these beautiful narrow pieces of lace intertwined with a thicker gold thread. The second is on the back of the other column in the right hand side of the picture.  Kris explained that they originally hung in a former house in narrow windows on either side of the front door.

Here's a closeup of that beautiful piece!

After her students packed up all their bobbins, threads and projects, Kris took us upstairs to where she spends the most time at her lacemaking activities.  She has been a lacemaker for 35 years and is a member of several guilds devoted to the art.

This is a small part of her hedgehog collection; of course, I loved the one with turquoise hair!  According to Shopping my Stash: "The hedgehog is the mascot of lacemakers, primarily because bobbin lacers use lots of pins in their work.  But makers of all types of lace have adopted this cute animal."

Kris has set up a table for her lacemaking, with the necessary lighting, both natural and electric, to make it easy and comfortable for her to spend many hours immersed in her craft.

This is the project on the table right now; it's an English lace style and she said that she was using Midland bobbins to make it.  The bobbins were an art form in themselves, smaller and lighter than the standard bobbins and some were very decorative.  Kris said that the lace took her about an hour per 1/2" square, so about 4 hours per square inch, whereas most of her lacemaking took about 3 hours per square inch.  She's working with a fiber that is very fine, approximately 140 wt. silk.

This is a piece that her mother-in-law had framed...

Another framed piece on the wall....

Kris showed us several works in progress, each on its own pillow that provides a soft, curved surface to support the work and keep it from dragging.  This one is a beautiful butterfly surrounded by all of the bobbins wound with the fibers used in its construction.

This next one is a forest of pins, but if you look straight down you can see the intricacy of the pattern; again, she is using very fine silk.

I want to thank Kris for her generosity in opening her home and sharing her passion with us.  Always thrilled to meet a fellow fiber fanatic!

There are three other Featured Bloggers today.  Leave a comment on my blog and all three of these blogs to be entered in a BIG GIVEAWAY!!

Thrift Shop Commando
Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Sew Many Yarns

Visit Marian's Blog for all of the giveaway details and even MORE giveaways to enter!

And here's the full schedule in case you're in need of some fun stories, hilarious pictures, or incredible inspiration:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Show Me Quilt Cruise, Part 2

Our first port of call was Key West and, sorry Floridians, but my reaction was I stayed on board and did hand stitching on my Presents quilt binding (which I still haven't finished, but that's the whole being sick thing).

Then we had an at sea day where everybody got to take classes from the various instructors. There were three classrooms on the ship and a class going on in each one during the hours the ship was at sea. When we were in port, everyone was on their own.

On Monday, we docked in Mahogany Bay in the Honduras -- that's Wendy taking a selfie...

Wendy and I got off the ship and went on a shore excursion to an iguana preserve -- they were everywhere! Only negative was it smelled sort of like a whole group of sea lions -- ewwww!

Wendy holding a leaf out for the iguanas to eat...

This lady was passing out leaves to the tourists so they could feed the iguanas.

There were also a couple of spider monkeys that have taken up residence here.

The preserve is right on the water, so took a few pics....

After the iguana event, we went to a beach where we hung out for an hour, enjoying the sun, the views and some yummy guava juice. That's Donna and Rita, two of our quilting cruisers, on the beach under the palm trees.

I took this picture of the harbor from the deck of the ship.

It was a relaxing fun day -- now back to the sewing!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Some Pics from the Cruise!

I've declared that I'm officially off my deathbed -- although I'm still coughing and hacking away, after 7 days I can function more or less normally in a teaching capacity, so full recovery can't be more than a few days off. Unless this is one of those coughs that last weeks and weeks -- we've all had those, no? The only good news is that I have no appetite whatsoever and have been living on soup, cottage cheese and applesauce. Tough way to lose 10 pounds!
This morning I set the alarm for 6am; my thinking was that with the "spring forward" thing last night even if my phone didn't make the change I'd be up in plenty of time. Of course, my phone did make the change, all is good, email done, Craftsy account checked to see if there are any quilty questions, and there was even time left over to review the camera roll and write this.
The Show Me Quilt Cruise started on Friday, February 23 and went for a week. I left the day before, stayed at the Hampton Inn in Tampa along with a bunch of other cruisers in our group and we all set off for Holland America's Oosterdamm on Friday morning. Ports of call were Key West, where I spent that day in the 10th deck bar (it was closed....drat) binding the Presents quilt, Honduras, Belize and Cozumel.
Opening night we all got together to meet the instructors and see the potential projects....

Toni (foreground), Millie (left) and Wendy (right) relaxing for a few minutes before the get together. Millie and Wendy had spent all day setting up 34 BERNINA and Viking sewing machines in the classroom and were most likely exhausted! Toni's sitting in front of all the beautiful fabric bundles for her Fringed & Fabulous quilt class.

And here it is -- lots of embellishment and crazy piecing!

Millie taught the Wishing Tree quilt and a Woven Star pattern. I worked on the Wishing Tree while I had sewing time on board....

The ship personnel had brought in several ironing boards with this chevron pattern on it; while I was pressing my Wishing Tree, I loved the way the chevron shadowed through and thought that would be an interesting background quilting motif that I could easily accomplish using my Westalee rulers. My idea is to first quilt in the chevrons and then fill stitches between them. So I stuck an Omnigrid ruler down so that I would be able to determine scale when I got home. What do you think -- cool?

Wendy's Missou Tigers T-shirt quilt. That's Joyce Holley in the bottom photo; she taught a purse and some other smaller items and was the organizer of the whole shebang! Nice job, Joyce!

Tami with her pineapple quilts -- her brights on black was my favorite!

One of the projects that Joyce taught...a really pretty LeMoyne Star table runner....


Students waiting to hear what everybody was going to teach and Toni with her "Fringed & Fabulous" quilt! 

My part in the festivities was to do lectures on needles and thread -- I'm always willing to talk about one of my favorite subjects and give away bags of Mettler thread! I also did a lecture/demo with the Westalee rulers.

This first night set the stage for what was to come -- now on to the cruising!

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