Monday, November 26, 2007

Cleaning and finding

Slowly I have been going thru the items in my sewing room. (Cleaning it out for a remodeling that will take less time to do then the cleaning out.) I have been quilting since 1984 and because of needing samples for teaching and taking "how to do something" classes I have many UFO's. I know that UFO's are not unusual for quilters, but I have them in boxes, plastic containers and bags. Today I found pieces from Primative Patchwork class taught by Ricky Tims when AQS first started their show in Nashville. I must finish some of these things.

Much of what I found were my own designs that I made in multiple color ways to use in classes. I would complete one top or quilt and then have another quilt or two started to show how to sew parts of the quilt together. I could not begin to guess how many flying geese I have made in various sizes, colors and methods in different steps. Some of them have "homes" to fit into particular quilts or wallhangings, but many are just sitting there with no matching blocks. I think a utility quilt may need to be created of all the blocks that don't go with anything. It will take some creating, because I have blocks of all different sizes and styles....and oh the colors changed as often as my moods changed.

Some people only work in one or two color pallets, but since I also teach color classes I would push myself to try color combinations that were out of my comfort level. I learned that there are colors other then blue and blue and blue. Actually blue is not a color I work with easily. I would much rather work with pinks, purples and yellows then add the brown, rusts and reds working my way down to blue. I can put green in most any combination, but it must be the right green for the project. Then when I have used blue in the past it was more of a variation away from the true blue. Believe it or not I can use orange easier then blue.

I am now working with blues due to Patti's traditional batiks (
Many of what she has are very pretty blues that go well with one another. I sometimes look in awe at what others have made with the blues and wonder why I have such a difficult time visualizing what something will look like made with the different blues. So again I am pushing myself to a new level. Samples need to be made for Spring shows and now is the time to start. Actually some should have been finished for the Fall shows, but some supplies didn't arrive and some fabrics needed coordinates that "were on the way".

I look at each time new fabrics come out, which is at least twice a year, but some manufactures are putting out mini lines four times each year, it is a challenge to use the new designs and colors. This is especially true if only one or two pieces is in your collection from the manufactures design lines. Then the challenge is to coordinate that "must have" fabric with what you have in your stash or you must buy something to make your new piece look good.

I like to look at older quilts to see how colors were used. Many times there was no rhyme nor reason as to why piece one was put next to piece two. Sometimes they blend so well, but other times it seems like the aging process is a blessing to the over all look of the piece.

Then I start thinking about the makers. Sometimes I think one block may be made from pieces of clothing from a child that may have died at an early age. This block to us my look like a hog pog of color, patterns and textures, but be a very special block to the maker.

Today if two or three friends attend the same quilt show each will remember different quilts. Sometimes it is because of a particular pattern used to make the quilt. Other quilts are remembered because of color combinations or special decorations. I know at the shows I have attended recently some quilts are not really pretty until the quilting is added. All of the dimensions and contours are created due to the quilting, quilting threads and have very little to do with particular fabric choices.

My particular passion when attending quilt shows is first applique, then color. Looking in the booths of vendors at Quilt Festival in Houston I noticed I was attracted to two things. One being bright vivid, but unusual color combinations and then primative pieces. Now can anything be farther from each other then that? I love the African, Australian and the Batiks, but I also love the wools and things made to blend well together in muted tones. Maybe it would be easier if I just like one blue!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I had promised a few days ago to post something about smocking and am just getting to it today. One of the best on-line references I have found is I don't know who owns this link, but Country Bumpkin must be associated with it in some way.
The picture of the smocking is of the piece I am going to use in a garment for our great great niece. She will be one year old on January 1, 2008.

I have taught several smocking classes, but am by no means an expert. I know the basics and can share them with others. I have done some piece work stitching some smocked panels, but they sent me some to do that I could not accomplish.

I remember as a child making a pillow using gingham fabric and stitching together the corners of the squares in a pattern. For anyone who doesn't have a pleater using a gingham fabric or a checked homespun can make the pleating easier.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Classes

This table runner is just part of my new class listings. The pattern will also be available for purchase after the first of the year. The pattern will have sizes from the table runner size up to a king size. It is very interesting in the larger sizes due to the surprising borders I have added. More about this later.

I will also offer classes in hand piecing that is great for beginners as well as more experience quilters as I cover the very basic four patch to "Y" or set in seams all in one block. Hand piecing and hand applique are nice projects to have on hand for traveling, waiting at the Doctor's office and for times watching TV with the family.
The above class can also be done by machine.

Now for a quick recipe.

This basic recipe was given to me from a friend as a dip for fruit, but I have changed it into a base for several pies we enjoy.

Easy Basic Cream Pie

1 box Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 pouch Instant Topping Mix
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream

Mix all together and spoon into a graham cracker pie crust.

To make different flavors I add toasted coconut, bananas or drained crushed pineapple.

I also buy my pudding and topping mix in bulk from the Amish or Menonite stores in our area. Then I will use 1/2 cup of each powder to make my pies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Home Again!

Going to Quilt Market and helping vend at Houston Quilt Festival was wonderful! I made some invaluable contacts and will be following up on them in the next couple of days. Right now I am exhausted, but am inspired to start designing and getting some classes and patterns ready for the first of the year.

At market I saw many new and interesting fabrics, threads and gadgets. I really wanted to buy, but had to restrain myself. I want to remodel my sewing room first before adding too many new items. We will be doing the remodeling after my brother's visit next week. We have already purchased the wood flooring and the paint, so now it is up to me to clean out the room so we can get started.

I see that I am making mistakes in this post, so I best get to bed.