Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP

a quick update....I'll post more when I finish, but I'm really excited to be this far along!! Binding to go that will add even more character!

The small blocks are from EQ's 2011 BOM...and the quilt layout I designed as part of their contest for creating a setting for the blocks.

Update 1-Mar-12: --I won the layout contest! DoYouEQ's blog post about the winner. 
Whoo Hooo!!!!


More detailed photos on my flickr photostream.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Life

While much changes in our lives, we must still have faith that it is for a good reason.

My husband and I are going through a lot of changes right now. It is never easy. Especially when you're not sure what is next.

Let me provide a little context. I moved to this area in SE Washington in 2003 because of a job opportunity. Throughout the trials and tribulations of the next 6 years, the best part was meeting Duncan, whom I married in February 2009. For that I am eternally grateful for God's leading in our lives and count it as the most successful outcome of leaving San Francisco.

After a rough transition of jobs for both of us in 2009, Duncan's new position provided an opportunity for me to start my own quilting business. I've continued to keep some of my consulting and various volunteer activities related to my old profession.

I've volunteered for a variety of roles in my life, the most recent to end was a 3-year term on the board of a local credit union. The last two years I've been the board chair. This was an opportunity to give to an organization the skills and experiences from my 12 years working in financial services. Although it is nice to not have the obligation, it is sad to not have a place to share those skills. These skills come from a very different part of my brain than quilting!

I also do some consulting --mostly bookkeeping related, but sometimes project management (the best part!). For my largest contract with a non-profit, I was given notice of termination (thinking they had found a volunteer to do the necessary role, but then was asked to do the advertising for the volunteer role), but now they aren't sure, have posted a paid position but for half my rate even though they have the budget for my contract, maybe want to extend mine while they look--really poorly communicated and handled, but then they are volunteers trying to manage the situation with a professional. Perhaps their business skills aren't mine, and I need to be sensitive to that. None-the-less frustrating.

My husband's job is ending in 3 weeks time and he has been applying for jobs for several months with nothing panning out. Very frustrating. He is a mechanical engineer and would like to get back into design work (vs. managerial). To give you an idea of what he is passionate about --he hopes to some day build an airplane using CNC machines to make the parts. The Corps of Engineers has a significant local presence, and he has tried many times to get a job there. If we had a choice, we'd stay in the Pacific NW, preferably not IN a big city. But Denver, CO to be near his brother, or Arizona --near my parents, or California--near my sister, or North Carolina --near one of his sister's....probably in that order would be worth pursuing as well. i.e. we'd prefer Denver or WEST. If you have any leads, we'd be open to hearing them!

Do you watch Doomsday Preppers--do you ever wonder, if 2012 will be the year?

On our way to an event this weekend out of town (4+ hours), the car was hit with a lot of icy slush from a large semi truck. For a second or two we couldn't see anything. Moments later the engine quit working. As my husband carefully guided the vehicle across several lanes of traffic from the fast lane to the shoulder, I thought 'what now?' I got out the manual, Duncan checked under the hood. We talked several times of what might be happening and brainstormed how to deal with it. We prayed several times both in desperation and true faith that God would help us, as He has many times in the past. The car just wouldn't start. Duncan checked under the hood several more times, made some apparent repairs (a cracked hose) but logically didn't necessarily connect with the symptoms of the situation. After about 45 minutes, the car sputtered when trying to start. He tried several more times, each with a bit more success. First we rolled about 10', then maybe 20', then 50', then finally some speed where he thought he could get off the shoulder and into the slow lane. Needing to keep the RPMs high, we kept it in 4th gear all the way down the mountain. Since the 'engine check' light was on we decided to try to find a VW dealer and get some expert opinion and be sure we should / could be driving it. After finding one, they wouldn't be able to look at the vehicle until Monday and advised that it should be ok to drive home and get it looked at by a local dealer. Driving was still tricky when hitting a low rpm, but seemed to get better the longer we drove. As soon as we were feeling confident though, it would sputter again. We were able to get a replacement hose, but then broke something else in replacing it on Sunday. Duncan was able to repair the newly broken hose and had purchased a diagnostic computer so that we could understand the 'check engine' light. The initially repaired hose was a vacuum hose, and the diagnostics said that some cylinders were misfiring. So this kind of made sense. We re-set the diagnostic codes, started the car, and no lights stayed on. Yippeee!!  We made it all the way home without one sputter.

At this point, we think that the slush flood might have highlighted the cracked hose to us. Although it was frustrating to be on the mountain pass for about 45 minutes not knowing what to do, Duncan was able to tape up the cracked hose and after letting things dry out a bit, we were able to carry on. The longer it dried out, the better it got.

So grateful for our guardian angels that kept us safe.

Although my post today hasn't been much about my quilting, it does give a glimpse into my life and what is going on with us. It all factors into my emotional state which effects my creativity. Sometimes working on a custom quilt requires no distractions. Having these other distractions definitely impacts my creativity. Do you have a way to compartmentalize between your quilting and life's distractions?

This week, I'm focusing on customer quilts and my EQ7 2011 BOM quilt. All Mi Amore testers are done and feedback has been provided. This weekend I had the opportunity to work with my graphic designer and web designer (Zoe's mom!) and learn some uses of Adobe Illustrator so that I could make the heart outlines for the pattern much easier for the pattern user. I'm confident now I can get Mi Amore published this week, too.
Mi Amore
EQ7 2011 BOM ....suggestions for names??
















Any ideas for mechnical engineering jobs?
Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP

Thank you to everyone who voted last week for "Mi Amore" in the Quilting Gallery's contest--I got the most votes and will receive a jelly roll of fabrics designed by Deb Strain for MODA in a valentine theme. YEAH!
Always And Forever
Completed
Charmed Network v.2 ("Eva" fabric line by Kate Spain for MODA) Entire blog post about it with quilting detail photos was posted on Monday. 

2012 finish #8 !!


Progress
  • ...Alaska block - Mountain Pines
  • ...Out of the Darkness block #2  
Also awaiting quilting:
  • EQ7 BOM Layout--ahh...I only have a week!
  • WWVQG 2006 Basket BOM (Since I won Quilting Gallery's contest last weekend, I won't be pushing to get this done for this week's "Baskets" themed contest. Definitely participate or at least check them out and vote, regardless!
'Til Next Time
  • Skill Builder Sampler Blocks
  • Rose of Sharon Bird Block (open to border design ideas --see Monday's post)
  • Oddie's Wild Nature (O.W.N.)
  • McCall's Mystery - Part 3 --waiting for pattern!
  • Snowflake/Blizzard Quilt
  • Irena Bluhm coloring samples
2012 STATS
Completed: 8
In Progress: 10
To start: 3 (Peace Park, Shop Hop the Blues 2007 & 2009)
Are you going to Ireland in June? New pricing available for the 'tour' only, i.e. do you have miles you can use to get there? Join me!! Pay by check by March 7 and get a 3% discount.
More WIPs at the linkup on Lee's Freshly Pieced blog. Happy WIPping ;-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

{Sew} Modern / Design Wall / BOM's Away Monday



My {Sew} Modern finish is another version of Charmed Network. I've written an entire post from this weekend about the quilting on this.This is featuring the fabric line 'Eva' by Basic Grey for MODA. I started teaching this class last week at Stash. I had a lot of fun quilting this. I find myself taking a fair amount of time deciding what to quilt, once I stitch one or two of the repeating designs I'm then kind of bored with it and wish it was done already. At that point, I'm easily distracted by other things going on in my life. Glad to finally get this done. I know my customers will be glad to have their quilts back on my table!

BOM's Away --here is my Alaska 2007 Shop Hop -Mountain Pines from Seward. note: color#7 was not provided with sufficient fabric, so I pulled from my stash a bit. I was in Seward to attend a wedding in 2007 and enjoyed staying at a hotel right in the harbor. The Kenai fjords were beautiful. The quilt shop in town had wonderful regional print fabrics.

I didn't get anything posted last week, so I pressed on and got caught up.



Here is my Pam Bono's 'Out of the Darkness' - Block #2 - Patriotism's Eternal Bloom --now I'm not sure what that flower is, are you? But I love the striking contrast of these colors. I went with the medium/dark green combo in the leaves rather than the light/medium combo called for. I've also changed the fabrics provided in the kit from the shop I purchased this BOM, so that I have all batiks except the background and with a brightness to the fabrics that I prefer. Sorry that the pic is a little blurry. The one I took with flash had a shadow in a weird way.




No Skill Builder's yet, even from last week...we'll see how we go this week. If I get anything done, I'll post on WIP Wednesday.

Design Wall - my Rose of Sharon 'bird' block....how to applique the pieces down and what type of borders/framing shall I give it. The applique pieces are currently fused in place. I am thinking of a 'window' effect for the framing. wdyt? The image on the left is from the original EQ - Rose of Sharon design contest that made it into the Nine Patch Media DVD. On the right is the version I've created enlarging it to a 15" block with batiks from my stash and a sky like background so it looks like it is in flight.














I've mocked up an idea in EQ7. Not sold on it yet...any other ideas? I wanted to create something that would look like you were inside a thick walled structure and looking out through a small window to see the bird flying by.



So.....Ireland?? Are you going??

Check out other Design Walls, BOM's Away progress and {Sew} Modern finishes.

Charmed Network

Creating a new design over the holidays and getting built in testers of the pattern at my design location was too good to be true. I had to take advantage of it! This past week I had to focus on getting this second version of Charmed Network finished.

A few notes about the design--the challenge to myself was to use a charm pack and stay within the fabric line for all fabrics selected. So, if you're thinking of doing this, you can buy the pattern on patternspot.com and here is a guide to your fabric choices --get a charm pack of a line of fabric that you might be particularly fond of, choose a dark dark or a light light as the background and two contrasts to the background you have chosen. One more predominent (the magenta churn dash blocks in this first example) and one not so predominent (the blue network connectors in this first example). Consider medium to large motif fabrics, that have a mirrored repeating nature, for borders. It is a great way to show off some of your favorite fabrics within the line.

The first version that I made, using the 'Terrain' line of fabric by Kate Spain for MODA, I quilted with a simple 'bones stipple'. The design on its own, with the busy fabric, etc. especially when used as a utility quilt, seemed to carry itself enough to not need something custom. The picture below is from the backside.


The second version, tested with my own fabric selection but pieced mostly by my sister and finished by my mom over the holidays, used the "Eva" line of fabric by BasicGrey for Moda. This was fairly 'pink', but with the dark burgundy and bits of green it seems to still read pink! HA! but the burgundy really pops....my sister wanted something simple on the back, perhaps a blue and white stripe. Well, see below for what I found and I thought it needed something, so decided in the churndash blocks that I needed to do some special quilting. The pink rivers were quilted with a sort of water stipple to show the river movement.

Here are a few images of various details in the quilting.




Details of the border quilting. Freemotion curly swirls and outlines of the peacock like bird image when it worked.

This is the backside of the inner border quilting.
A few charm squares that are between the churndash blocks are on their own, so I freehanded a flower that kind of looked like the flower in the inner border.




I blewup the spade image from the inner border as large as I could on a printed piece of paper, and it just fit inside the churndash. Tracing this with a Pilot FriXion pen to give me a basic shape, I was able to then quilt this space. It is easier to see the quilting from the back. I hoped that it would create something that looked like a 'crest'. Maybe a name could be embroidered in the 'arch' of the handle of the spade. I used a purple 100 wt Invisafil thread on top, and black 100 wt Invisafil thread on the bottom. I didn't have any blue that would work, so thought just the thin black would work.






I bound it cutting the stripe fabric across the stripe to create more interest in the binding. Since I ended up with a stripe on the back, I figured regardless of color (it is dark) it would coordinate sufficiently with the back. I used Aurifil 50 wt black on top, 50 wt white in the bobbin.

Went outside to take my photos and it is RAINING! OH MY...ok, so this one will have to do strung up in the garage with my makeshift mechanism. Not possible to get good lighting or straight on, but close enough.

Feels good to have this finished. Back to customer quilts this week with several custom ones for Nelda King!

Are you going to Ireland in June? New pricing available for the 'tour' only, i.e. do you have miles you can use to get there? Join me!! Pay by check by March 7 and get a 3% discount.






Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP

I really need to get back to customer quilts...but I want to keep up with a few things. So here is some progress.  The key point is the picture near the bottom. But--I've also put my Mi Amore quilt into Quilting Gallery's quilt contest for this coming weekend. Hope you'll stop by and vote! It is in the Valentine's Day Showcase as well (voting Feb. 21-25)







Progress
Skill Builder Sampler Blocks--Leila has become ill and won't be able to publish more blocks until maybe mid-March. I'm sad for her, but maybe it will give me an opportunity to catch up. They are ready for #26 ...I'm ready for #8, 9, and 10...I've got instructions printed out and basic coloring selected.

Alaska --I chose the next block ;-)

Charmed Network--the next onto the quilting machine.

Also awaiting quilting:
  • WWVQG 2006 Basket BOM
  • EQ7 BOM Layout  -- check it out! I  decided that since EQ is posting them as they arrive, I'll go ahead and reveal what I'm doing now. I look forward to writing this up in detail of how I did it.


'Til Next Time

  • Rose of Sharon Bird Block (hoping for a finish within February)
  • Oddie's Wild Nature (O.W.N.)
  • Out of the Darkness (block 1 is done...next up in February)
  • McCall's Mystery - Part 3 --waiting for pattern!
  • Snowflake/Blizzard Quilt
  • Irena Bluhm coloring samples

2012 STATS
Completed: 7
In Progress: 11
To start: 3 (Peace Park, Shop Hop the Blues 2007 & 2009)


Are you going to Ireland in June? New pricing available for the 'tour' only, i.e. do you have miles you can use to get there? Join me!! Pay by check by March 7 and get a 3% discount.

More WIPs at the linkup on Lee's Freshly Pieced blog. Happy WIPping ;-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Antiquing via quilts

I have to start off by sharing the pride of the week when I was told by a former colleague that I should to go to SuperOneFoods in Walla Walla, WA and see some of my former engineering students with their new product--a bread baking machine that the public can watch as the bread is mixed and baked right before your eyes. Two of the designers were part of the engineering program where I was the Assoc. Dean of Engineering a few years ago. I was the advisor for one of them on their senior project. Check out the story of the bread baking machine created at Wilkinson Baking Company. Every 3 minutes a loaf is ready. It takes 96 minutes from start to finish for one loaf to be made. It smells wonderful!

I'm so proud!!!!





I was also awarded --twice no less, a 'Versatile Blogger' award. So honored! Thank you to BEAQuilter and WhataHootQuilts for naming me in your list of 15...you would each be in my list if this came from someone else!!
The Rules:
  1. Add the award to your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
  3. Mention seven random things about yourself. (see below)
  4. List the rules.
  5. Award to 15 bloggers.
  6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.
So the 7 random things....
  1. I grew up on the coast of California --I so miss the ocean.
  2. I come from a family of award winning teachers--I try ;-)
  3. My California vanity plate at one time was MBASISE.
  4. I feel like I'm into my 3rd career (typically have spent about 10 years in each or had a major transition at the 10 year mark each time).
  5. Didn't marry until in my 40s.....but God was working on both of us. Everything in HIS timing!
  6. Although affection is my #1 love language (thank you Gary Chapman for helping everyone understand this)...quality time is a close second.
  7. I'd prefer to just design quilts and be able to hand off the concepts to a team of fabricators! 

I award a Versatile Blogger award to:
  1. Lee @ Freshly Pieced -- she got me going in a major way with the on-line community through her Supernova Quilt-a-long.
  2. Becky @ Becky's Blabber--met through the Supernova Quilt-a-long and only lives about an hour from me. We've gotten together several times--so fun to meet up with another quilter.
  3. Anne Henrie @ And Sew It Goes--a fellow McCalls 2011 Quilt Design Star challenge 1 finalist.
  4. Shirley @ Sewing Obsessed! --a fellow McCalls finalist and round 2 winner!
  5. Mary @ Quiltin' Grandma's Blog --a fellow McCalls finalist...and in the next town from me! 
  6. Carl @ 3 Dog Design--a fellow McCalls finalist.
  7. Megan @ CanoeRidgeCreations --host of {Sew} Modern finishes on Mondays.
  8. Leila @ Sewn -- I'm enjoying the Skill Builder Sampler with the Rosie the Riveter/We Can Do It quilter button
  9. Melissa @ Sew Bitter Sweet Designs--a fellow Pacific NW Quilter
  10. Chrissy & Linda @ SewLux Fabric & Gifts --have gotten some great online fabric deals here.
  11. Leona @ Turbo Quilter - a very talented long-arm quilter and part of the Outlaw Quilters!
  12. Diane @ A new tradition in quilting - beautiful machine quilting
  13. Sierra @ The Bee Keeper's Wife - one of the first bloggers I ever met.
  14. Suzanne @ Suzanne Thompson Photography -- my SIL...an aspiring photographer who has an eye for it! I wish she lived closer so she could photograph all my quilts.
  15. Vegan Sisters - some wonderful looking food can be found here!

So...here is my intended subject for the week!

Opportunities this week saw me looking at several antique quilt tops and figuring out what to do with them.
The 1/4 Dresden Plate design, resulted in me doing a completely free motion design, the background inspired by Irena Bluhm. I figured out a continuous path to go from left to right on the quilt on each row without stopping. yee haw!






The next quilt was a lightweight fabric crazy quilt, put together in four pieces backed with 10 lb sugar sacks. The embroidery stitches at the seams were all the same design, but in different colors. Any ideas on how to appropriately quilt this? Right now I'm thinking it should just be tied with 28 wt cotton. What do you think?




The last is a medium weight fabric crazy quilt, put together in blocks with lots of different embroidery designs over the seams, but not on the square block seams. With additional fabric from the client that went with the thinly weighted border, I intend to finish up the borders to make the piece complete. After much research, I decided that I just should quilt the square block seams and leave it at that. Any other ideas? What type and color of thread should I use? The backing is a taupe background with dainty red flowers occassionally--looks very period. Do you see the pink initials stitched (left side)?  There is a date that includes '97 also stitched in it elsewhere. We're thinking it is 1897.



ok...a lot accomplished in this blog...hope you're still with me.

If anyone is still deciding about Ireland...NOW is the time to make that decision. I've heard that some options are filling up. C'mon let's go!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Week--its my 3rd wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day! I've got dough rising to make special heart shaped cinnamon rolls in the morning.