Thursday, April 28, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Better Late Than Never

I know, it's not technically Wednesday anymore, but this is what I was working on yesterday when it was Wednesday so I'm counting it.

This week has been pretty exciting with some actual sewing going on in my new studio. The first order of business is piecing the back for my father-in-law's Christmas Father's Day gift.

Remember this technique that Dianne Knott shared? It totally worked!

Again, the picture quality is terrible but you get the gist.

I had enough scraps to piece in the horizontal strip and create the bit of patchwork for the remaining gap.

I even used the binding strips as leaders and enders, so I don't have that chore in front of me!

Monday is guild night, so I can bring the top and back to Lene to quilt. Can you believe it?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Design Wall

I've started moving things into my new studio and planning out the space. One thing I knew I wanted was a large design wall. I'm a very visual person, and seeing my work in front of me helps me figure out what the next step should be, which fabric or border is right, and saves me a lot of seam ripping. One other awesome thing about a design wall: when my projects are in plain sight instead of folded away in a drawer, they are less likely to become UFOs. Not that I have a problem with that. But I've heard about it. From friends. 

I searched for ways to add a design wall and found a few interesting looking tutorials. I've been saving these to my "Studio Dreams" Pinterest board for years. Eventually I settled on a combination of a few methods. Luckily The Pit Boss was in the mood for a project, so off we went to Home Depot.

My wall space is about ten feet long with eight foot ceilings. A lot of the soundproofing or other insulation comes in eight foot lengths, which sounds perfect until you remember things like molding and outlets and such. Also, as TPB pointed out, I can't reach eight feet high, so there would be a lot of wasted space at the top if I went all the way to the ceiling.

I ended up buying two packages of this Insulfoam, which includes six sheets that are eight feet by just under fourteen inches and about 3/4" thick. It's meant to go between studs.

We bought packages totaling 72 Command Strips (medium) for picture hanging - this was the most expensive component of the project!

I also bought a plain roll of duct tape.

Last, we went to JoAnn's and bought five yards of half price batting while it was on sale. 

I cut the batting into three sections lengthwise and then in quarters widthwise, which left me with twelve pieces that were a few inches bigger all the way around than the insulation. I wrapped each piece of foam with the batting and secured all of the loose edges with duct tape. This took awhile, so thankfully Frances, Pam, Tanesha, and Daisy kept me company.

I placed six Command Strips on each piece of covered foam; one at each corner and two in the middle.

Then I carefully stuck them to the wall horizontally, five high and two wide, starting just above the outlets. I placed one and a partial one vertically on the end. I also have a leftover piece, which I covered as well, for transporting pieces or laying out a complicated block on my sewing table.

Tada! I'm very happy with the finished product, even if the pictures are not so fabulous. The lighting is one part of the project I am still working on.

I ended up spending right around $100 for a design space that is over nine feet long by about six feet high, and which could be moved without destroying the wall. If you could find the Command Strips for less (or if you didn't mind just nailing the pieces to the wall) it would be even less.

I've already put a project on it! I did have to pin these since they still have the paper on the back, but the pieces without paper stayed nicely even with the ceiling fan on. I'm so excited to have this awesome feature in my studio!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

***Breaking*** Birds in the Air to Debut at CES Quilt Show in September! ***

I have been keeping a little secret from you all and can't keep it in a moment longer!

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Frances from the Off Kilter Quilt podcast and blog. If you are a fan of Frances, then you surely also know that she is working on her first novel for adults, Birds in the Air.

I am thrilled to announce that Frances has agreed to kick off the book tour for Birds in the Air at the Stars N Stitches Quilt Show on September 24, 2016. Frances will read from the novel, sign and sell books, and show some of her own quilts.

I personally have been listening to Frances's podcast since the beginning but have never met her in person, even though we don't live that far apart. I can't wait to meet her in person and see some of her quilts in real life!

We would love to see you there as well!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Call for Quilts! Time for Another Quilt Show!

I can hardly believe that it's already time for another quilt show! We have been planning for several months already. I'm excited to see some of the new ideas become reality. Stars N Stitches will be held on Friday and Saturday, September 23-24, 2016 at Lakewood 400 in Cumming, Georgia.

If you have been thinking about putting a quilt in a show but are concerned about the judging or feeling like your quilt isn't good enough for a show, then this is the one for you. Don't get me wrong - we will have some gorgeous quilts on display. For example, if you come to our show you will get to see Elizabeth Frolet's quilt that won a ribbon at Paducah! However, we will also have our share of first quilts, quilts made by kids, and others that will make yours feel right at home.

Our show is juried, but not judged. What does that mean exactly? Well, a judged show has at least one quilt judge who will examine each quilt and critique it, awarding ribbons based on his or her feedback.

A juried show is one where you submit a description and photo of your quilt, and the "jury" (a few quilt show committee volunteers) decide if it fits the theme of the show. Our show's theme is "let's show off some quilts and buy stuff!", so as long as it's actually a quilt, you're probably good. The only time this would be a real issue is if we had too many entries. That has never happened before. Not saying it couldn't happen, but there you have it.

At our show, most of the ribbons are awarded by a vote of the membership at our preview party the night before the show officially opens.

We also have a few "Sponsor's Choice" ribbons, where our top sponsors choose their favorite quilts. Since not all of our sponsors are quilty people, you never know which quilt might win one of these.

Attendees get to vote for the "Viewer's Choice" ribbon that is awarded at the close of the show.

As you can tell, this isn't a high pressure situation.  To find out more about entering your quilt in our show, please visit the Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild website. We'd love you have you join us!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Going to Guild - Elizabeth Frolet

Last Monday was guild night, and I'm so glad I went! It's been a little hit or miss this year because work has been wearing me out.

Our April guest was Elizabeth Frolet, whose story of learning to quilt and embroider and then combine the two is both astonishing and entertaining. It's hard to believe that someone who is self-taught and claims not to really like crazy quilts has created such amazing, award-winning works of art. And did I mention she pretty much only does hand piecing and quilting?

This quilt was the beginning of the embroidery and "not a crazy quilt" journey. Elizabeth wanted to use thread she inherited from her mother.

This is Elizabeth's Garden - A Tale of a Thousand Threads, the quilt that has won ribbons at Paducah and other shows.

My absolute favorite block from that quilt. Elizabeth didn't repeat an embroidery motif anywhere on the quilt!

I love that Elizabeth included so many things she loves in unique ways, including these silhouettes of her family members.

Just a little ole Baltimore Album quilt. NBD.

As you can imagine, these pictures do not even begin to do these quilts justice. If you ever have the chance to see them up close and to hear Elizabeth speak, do not miss it! Even if you have had the Mondayest Monday that ever Mondayed and the idea of keeping your shoes on for two more hours is more than you can bear.

Totally worth it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Remembering How to Sew

Today's WIP Wednesday is fabulously full of fail.

It's like I forgot how to sew.

Last night The Pit Boss had to work late, so I decided to get back to my machine. I'll start with something simple, I thought, just to get back in the groove. Maybe I'll make a block for an upcoming swap, I thought.

So I chose pretty fabrics and pressed and cut out all the pieces. I marked my diagonal lines and started sewing.

At some point I realized that I didn't need a 8 7/8" half square triangle block. so I took them apart. (Yes, I made two before I figured this out. It's so much more efficient when you can make your mistakes assembly line style!) And we know how awesome it is when you have to rip out stitches on a biased edge!

Then I started stitching the pieced half of the blocks. This isn't it either. ~sigh~

Finally I finished both blocks, and they are the right size and the diagonal lines are at 45 degrees! I had a little moment of panic when I couldn't remember if I had reversed the color placement, but a quick check of the pattern shows that this is right after all.

It feels good to be sewing again, but also a little scary at how out of practice I am. I'll just have to spend lots of time getting my groove back in the weeks to come!

What are you working on?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Blank Slate

We have been on a home improvement kick the last few months, so not much going on in my sewing room, but that is about to change! Now that both boys are off to college, Gracie convinced us to play musical bedrooms. She moved into Deuce's room - which has been largely undisturbed in over two years as he prefers the queen sized bed in the guest room when he does come home - and took over the much larger Jack and Jill bathroom that the boys used to share. My Middle Child (MMC) will move to Gracie's old room so the two of them aren't sharing a bathroom when he is home this summer, and his old room will become...wait for new sewing studio!!

We have painted and changed out the twenty year old tub hardware and light fixtures and builder's grade ceiling fans. We have cleaned carpets and given away childhood furniture and emptied closets. The people at Lowe's know us by name.

Finally I have an empty room and, of course, I'm frozen; unsure of where to start. One decision I'm putting off  need to make is what I'd like to use for a sewing table. My current space and money saving setup is okay, but not ideal. Unfortunately there aren't any big shows coming up close to me soon where I might get to see some in person (or take advantage of show discounts).

If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them. I hope to share pictures along the way and start sewing soon in my new dream space!

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