Saturday, December 06, 2008

Actually Quilting during Quilt-a-thon!

Can you believe it? Two posts in one week! And I am actually quilting on a Quiltathon weekend. But hey, I'm a long arm quilter and it's December... Of course I'm quilting.

I just finished a customer quilt, it was an online mystery and she did a great job. It is great fall colors and I got to do custom work in the borders. I can't show pictures yet, since she reads my blog and she hasn't seen it yet. Let's just say I'm happy with it, I hope she is too.

The rest of the afternoon will be a few small pantograph quilts and finishing the dozen wreaths that need to be sent to my brother in Florida.

The area I live in is the wreath capital of the world I think. The company who makes the wreaths (and centerpieces and table top trees) for L.L. Bean is just up the street from me. They ship out 10's of THOUSANDS of pieces every December.

It now looks like December in Maine... The snow has been coming down since about 11:00. I've got to go home and take the dogs out and guess who wore the wrong shoes to the store? Oh well It's not far to the house and my tennis shoes will dry. Then back to quilting.

Sunday I am treating myself... I'm going to the Christmas Tea at the Ruggles House. That's the museum I work at in the summer. This is the last thing they do before the house is completely shut up for the winter, but I'm sure it will be lovely.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Monday, December 01, 2008

I almost made it

Yep, I almost made it... Almost made two posts in one month. But I sat down to write about all the stuff I had done in November and dozed off waiting for the page to load. Dial-up can be a real pain!

So here it is the first of December... I surely don't know how that happened. I hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving. Like everything else recently, mine was a grey blurr. I actually spent a bunch of the day at the store quilting. We didn't do the whole big meal thing. I did my usual bread baking on Sunday though and it was a very good bread week. Two loaves of white and FOUR loves of brown serendipity bread. I'm calling it that because it started off as cracked wheat bread, but I ended up adding sourdough starter, whole wheat flour molasses, honey, and anything else that sounded interesting. It is really good and really fluffy. But I can never reproduce it!

On a sad note, I'm going to have to say goodbye to some old friends this year. I wrapped up the apple seedlings on Sunday and have to face the truth...My wellies (garden boots) have finally reached that point. I was trying to figure out how long I had them and when I asked my husband, he said I had them as long as he has known me. Well that's almost 20yrs so I guess I got my money's worth. But it seems sad to throw out such old friends like, well, an old shoe. Maybe they could work as some funky planter...OK maybe not

So finally to make this quilty and so you know I really have been working...

First:Cindy's Batik Irish Chain. Don't be deceived, that is a king size quilt and on cotton batting it weighs a ton. But it is gorgeous. Lots of blues and golds.

Second is a crib size IC with Teddy Bears, also Cindy's.

Cindy is the Queen of Irish chains. She even manages to get all her directional prints going in the same direction. No Teddy Bears on their heads here!

So that's the highlights for now. Lots of customer quilting to do before Christmas and then maybe a bit of time for me.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Change is coming

That is NOT meant to be a political statement, but a personal one. Things in my life need to change. Some changes I can make myself and others will have to come about over time.

I am taking a business development class on Wednesday nights and I was afraid it was going to be another of those "well Duh" classes where they give you non-specific common sense suggestions like "market your business to the people who will be interested in your product or service" . Those classes never tell you how to find out who your customer is or where to find them to market to them. Well this class does walk you through all the steps and last night was a wonderful presentation on marketing. I have never been completely happy with the store logo. Well today I figured out what I want it to be and have downloaded two new programs to help finish the design and start working on my website to give it all a more cohesive and professional appearance. With a little luck I can figure out the programs. They are both supposed to be user friendly.

With a little luck there is a new header on this blog. It will probably look very out of place for a while, but hey... Rome wasn't built in a day and change takes time.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One of my other vices

Somewhere along the line I have fallen in love with Jane Austen. Don't know when or how exactly, but I think Colin Firth (as Mr. Darcy) is involved. Give me a rainy afternoon, a Jane Austen DVD and some hand sewing and I am in heaven. I saw a quiz on Dionne's blog and took it. It says I am Elizabeth Bennett. That works for me.

I have been working in an historic house museum all summer and the Ruggles House was built in the right period to feed this obsession.

Then just as I was thinking it might pass, I remembered Linda Franz and her book "Quilted Diamonds"
It is like a Dear Jane only based on a quilt made by Jane Austen and the blocks are all named with quotes and characters from the novels. Oh well, how bad can a literary/quilting related obsession be? Now if I can just find the time to do the hand piecing!

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


Friday, September 05, 2008

I'm Caught Up...

With Judy's BOM at least. The other day I set out to cut out block #1. I didn't have a real good idea of my fabrics, so I just started rumaging around. I found lots that would work, but not enough of any one, so I'm going to make this a "semi scrappy" quilt. I won't mix the fabrics in any block, but (foe example) fabric #3 may be one fabric here and another fabric somewhere else. These are what I settled on:

I actually de-commissioned some PIGs while I was digging around. The gold and the green were for another project. I'm not really interested in making it anymore- It was for one of "those" customers. The kind who can't tell you what they want, but know what they don't want (and they don't want whatever you are showing them). When she didn't call back to approve the swatches I thought I would make it up anyway, but it has been almost 2 years and I can use that fabric. Yep, it's more stash, but it's one less PIG so I call it a win.

So, I got block #1 cut out. As long as I've got stuff out, why not cut #2 and #3... OK

Then I actually spent time piecing Wednesday evening and Thursday my quilt group got over really early so I picked up a movie and pieced until DH got home (about 11:00) These are the results:
I'm happy with them except for one corner on block #3.

I think I'm going to have to pick that part out and try again. I hate chopping off points.

So on my to-do list from the other day:
  1. Finish the quilt on the Machine-Done
  2. Call to confirm about teaching at adult ed- Done
  3. Cut out Judy's BOM block #1 - Done (plus 2 & 3)
  4. Load another customer quilt- Done and partly quilted.

So far September is looking pretty good. There is always hope.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Friday, August 29, 2008

What do you mean Labor Day??? (now with pictures)

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. But how did it get to be Labor Day weekend? I know I've been running around like a headless chicken, but WOW. Suddenly the summer is gone. The real wake-up call came when the Adult Ed coordinator called to see if I want to teach quilting again. It just doesn't seem possible!

I have been busy- lots of customer quilts and I even managed to get a couple of my own done. One was from swap blocks and was donated to the local animal shelter's annual raffle.

Yes, those are scalloped edges.

I also finished my class sample from last winter's quilt class. I'm glad I took pictures because I sold it about a week after I finished it.

OK, I admit it I like LOTS of quilting on a quilt. I like the way it looks and I like doing it. But I would hate to have to pay me for my quilting!
I shared a booth at the Blueberry Festival with my friend Sarah (Downeast Quilting & Interiors). I sold two quilts! And handed out LOTS of information. Somehow it takes a month to prepare and 2 weeks to recover from a 2-day fair. I don't know how Bonnie and Judy do it- Trunk shows, lectures, classes, Oh My!

I have decided in all this chaos that I need to put aside more time for my own sewing. I needed some hand work to do and wanted to work on an applique BOM, but needed to piece the basket blocks. Once I sat down to sew it went quickly and came out really well and felt so good. It seems like ages since I have done any piecing.

I also need to get better at keeping up with this blog. Almost 3 months between posts is awful. So- my To do list for today:

  1. Finish the quilt on the Machine
  2. Call to confirm about teaching at adult ed
  3. Cut out Judy's BOM block #1
  4. Load another customer quilt

That's not much of a list, but I'm gonna start small and see how I do.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Recap of the week that was

I know quiltathon was only Wednesday and Thursday, but I managed to squeeze out a little extra time on Friday as well. So all told this week was pretty productive:
  1. Finished Faye's Thimbleberries log cabin quilt.
  2. Got all the HSTs (120 of them) made for Orange Crush/ Tango Salsa step 4 (I now LOVE the easy angle ruler)
  3. Have drawn out my Hoffman Challenge quilt- full size.
  4. Started and finished Sue's Feathered Star quilt, complete with feathered wreaths and crosshatching.

The Hoffman fabric I ordered have been shipped, so hopefully I will have them on Monday and can start playing with them.

As for today, we have Summer in Maine! It is gloriously warm (80 degrees) with real humidity. I am so happy, really. This week's bread is made and the laundry is hanging out, so I'm going to go play in the garden a bit and then try to sand and paint the rocker for the front porch at the store. Having a nice place to sit and do hand work is an imprtant part of quilting...right?

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Stashbusting and Quiltathon...Not

I've been bad. I just added 6-1/2 yards to my stash. But I have a good reason. I fell in love with this year's Hoffman Challenge fabric.

It is so not my style, (and I hate peacocks in real life-that's another story) but I just love this fabric. So I ordered a yard of the challenge fabric. Started playing around and have a design. Unfortunately, none of my stash fabrics really work with this oriental feeling. So I spent way too much time on line and found what I need... Most of it on sale... and only bought small pieces. So I wasn't too terribly bad, I don't think. Now just to find the time to get it done... Did I mention the deadline is the 24th of JUNE! Yikes

On the Quiltathon front, I spent all afternoon on the computer, so no sewing. But, Mike has a ball game, so I don't have to be home until about 11pm and I have all day tomorrow to quilt and quilt group in the evening. I can make up for lost time.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quiltathon Results and Day 2

I didn't get as much done as I would like yesterday... big surprise.

But I did get Fran's "City Girl" quilt done. I stitched a border design on that quilt 3 times and picked them all out before I decided the 4th one was OK. I think the do/undo ratio for longarms is about 1:15 for every 1 minute you sew, it will take you 15 minutes to pick out.

I got my QFAH fabrics chosen and got a nice surprise in the process. I had some fabrics picked out...they were nice, but just darks -kinda reproduction/historical and not terribly exciting. So I go looking in my small brights pile and what do I find? 3-1/2" strips left over from another project! So I will have more colors in my stars since none of these are WOF, but I'm making more stars anyway since I need a bigger quilt. I figured it out and I need about 12" per color to cut the Recs units. Once I get the fabric cut for the QFAH I will count it on my stash report.

I was playing with the Circle Lord again and this is what I came up with. Way cool.
The bread is all done. I spent some time pulling weed while it was rising. I hate to waste the sunshine. The dogs were out in the fresh air all day too, so they are exahused. I don't know how laying on the ground can be such hard work, but when they come in from outside they sleep like rocks.

So now to work.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Joining the Quilt-a-thon

I started my quiltathon a bit early. I was at the shop working until 11:30 last night, so I guess I can cut myself some slack for not getting started until 9 today.
On the To-Do list:
  1. Finish Fran's "City Girl" Quilt (done)
  2. Quilt Sheri's Log Cabin
  3. Pin zippers on both of Carmen's quilts
  4. Choose and cut fabric for next weeks QFAH (Chosen and ready to cut)
  5. Make Log Cabin swap blocks for April (oops) and May
  6. Finish Orange Crush step 1

That's probably more than enough, but since Mike has a late ball game I might get to do OC step 4. (Yes, I'm avoiding steps 2 & 3. I'm not ready to mess with triangles and the left-right thing right now.)

Dinner is in the crock pot, so just a quick out for the dogs and I'm off to work.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Monday, May 05, 2008

A quiet Weekend

I'm beginning to wonder if anybody is out there... My email inbox is remarkably empty. I guess every one is sewing and gardening and enjoying the spring weather.

I have been quilting up a storm trying to catch up from MQX. There are so many new ideas I want to try. Since I got the Circle Lord tool set up on the longarm, I wanted to try it out right away. Mary had a last minute baby quilt she had put together and I twisted her arm into letting me try the swirls template on it. I didn't have to try too hard. It was a great first piece.

Then I had Faye's quilt, she calls "Steps to the Stars". Originally this was going to have a Daisy Swirls panto, but the more I looked at it it really needed something old-fashioned.
Gee, guess I could try out my new baptist fan template... It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. :-)

I now have the complete set of Karen McTavish books. There are some positively breathtaking quilts in those books. I posted a while ago about my woodstove wholecloth inspiration, now I have the instructions on how to do it, now just to find the time.

I have almost finished step 1 of the Orange Crush mystery. I thought I had about a mile of 4-patches, but I guess it was only 3/4 of a mile. I'm 43 blocks short.

I had been resisting buying fabric (not toys just fabric) at MQX but gave in on the drive home. I got some great blenders, a nice floral all-over, a cute little boy print and some great neutrals. It's all been washed and is now hanging up drying. I hate washing fabric but I know it will save me grief in the long run. This is the first time in almost 2 years that I have bought fabric just because I liked it. The good thing is, I think some of it will be perfect for the new Quilt for an Hour that starts in about 10 days. So I guess I need to start a record of stashbustng yardage. That can be part of my quilting year goals.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The new "Quilting Year"

It's mid-April and I have just gotten back from a wonderful time at MQX (Machine Quilters Exposition) and I had an idea. I've had lots of ideas over the last 3 days and they are all muddled together in my tired brain, but this one has surfaced right now.

You know how businesses have various "fiscal years" according to when their busy time is? For example the Post Office runs budgets and stuf from October 1 to September 31. Well, I think I need to have a "Quilting Year". Just a time frame so I can set goals, make modifications (resolutions), evaluate decisions, al that kind of stuff. And I think it should be April 1 to March 31. April is when I got my machine, and April is when MQX is held. So now would be a great time to evaluate things, put new goals in place, etc. It was 2 years ago after my first MQX that I decided I wanted to be primarily a quilter (no PO or other job) and have a quilt in a show by the next year (2007). Well, it took a bit longer than planned, but I am definitely quilting almost full time and I have had a quilt in a major show. So that's 2 things to cross off the list. So, modifications for this "quilting year" include:
  1. Get better at scheduling customer quilts and getting them done on time.
  2. Do more consistent advertising.
  3. Spend more time working on piecing quilts for me and quilting my own quilt.
  4. Get comfortable with my new Circle Lord.
  5. Finish the upstairs studio so I can be more comfortable and efficient (see #1-4)

So Happy New Quilting Year to everyone. I have got to go to "work" ... I have toys to pay for.

Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Friday, April 18, 2008

That's me at MQX

It's official...I have a quilt hanging in a show! And I have the "Thanks for participating"ribbon to prove it. Faye and I got to MQX on Thursday and looked around a bit, but didn't find my quilt in the main display area. Friday we started in the Armory- the other display area. I really tried to just start at the door and walk around like a lady, but after about 5 minutes I gave up. I want to see my quilt and I want to see it NOW. So I walk (fairly briskly) through the rows of quilts until I find it... hanging there just like all the others.

And it doesn't look out of place, it doesn't look like the kid's artwork among the old masters. There may not be any crying in Baseball... but there was crying at a quilt show. No, it didn't win anything, I didn't expect it to. But somehow seeing it there made me feel like a real professional quilter. I am really looking forward to the judges comments.

The rest of the show has been amazing. I have done my share of stimulating the economy but have not completely lost my will power. I did buy the Circle Lord and several templates to go with it. That should keep me busy for several weeks. The big splurge was a copy of the re-print of Karen McTavish's book Whitework Quilting. I was going to order it (at wholesale) but when we got to the show today, Karen is sitting at one of the booths autographing copies. So, how's a girl to pass that up? This book has been touched by the hand of the Goddess.. That's got to be good karma.
Tomorrow its home, by way of the discount fabric store in Waterville, and back to reality. But it is reality with new toys... I can live with that.
Right now it is almost Midnight, I'm beat and like your basic 3 year old, too tired to go to bed... well...maybe ...just... put..... my .......head down... z..z...z...z..

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How about Tango Salsa?

I have been working... Really...

Besides working on that great applique quilt, this is a few of the other things I've been trying to get done:

I wasn't really going to do the Orange Crush mystery on Quiltville. I only got to step #3 on the Carolina Crossroads. But, I was looking for something on my desk the other day and came across some stamps I had saved. I loved the way the colors worked together. Even though they aren't colors I would put together myself.

So, you know how it goes... the fabrics start whispering to you... and the 2" strips are already cut... and... and... and OK, I'm weak. These are the fabrics I found to use as the "planned" fabrics. There isn't quite enough of a couple, but this is a scrap quilt and I figure I can just wing it. But it's definitely not "Orange Crush" Since the stamps were all about Latin about Tango Salsa?

I did this quilt for Fran. It's a light spring-y design and BOY DO WE NEED THAT. The custom quilting doesn't show much in the pictures, it does in the quilt. It shows really well on the back.

In case somebody hasn't heard, there is a new larger size flat rate priority box. It is 12X12X5 I think. I can only imagine how many yards of fabric you can get in that one! Leggs thinks it is just the perfect size for a nap.

Now it's back to work. I've got binding to finish hand stitching- and then quilts to get caught up. Faye and I are leaving next Thursday for MQX in New Hampshire. I'm trying hard to concentrate, but it's getting harder every day.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I love my job

I really need to get something posted here, since Tracy was so kind to mention my blog in hers.

The Love without boundaries quilts were so cute. She did a great job with the piecing. I really hope they do well in the auction.

Life went from not so quilty to really quilty all at once. I just finished what may be the most spectacular quilt I have worked on to date.
This is the applique quilt I got from the customer back in late December. I worked up a design and sent her samples. It was finished on Thursday and she picked it up today...and loved it.There's always that little insecure fear when a customer comes for their quilt.
I really did lots of quilting but I'm very happy with the results. It was on & off themachine a couple of times since I had other quilts to do and this one could get a little intense at times. Sometimes a simple panto can clear your head. There wasn't anywhere I could hang it for a picture of the whole quilt, but it is on display at a local bank all summer while they sell tickets so I can get one then.

I'll have to get the pictures together of the other quilts I did too.

The Second Saturday Charity Quilting is going well. I started adding up the numbers and I'm over 64,000 square inches so far. I've got to figure out how to make a counter or graphic to show the progress.

Well, back to work. Tomorrow is baking/housework/laundry day... and I have some quilting to do, swap blocks that are late, and I'd REALLY like to do Bonnie's new mystery. I'm still stuck on step #3 of the Carolina Crossroads. Oh well what's one more UFO?

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!