I will admit that I am a knowledge geek. If someone poses a question about something and we don’t know the answer, I am the first to whip my phone out like a gun at the O.K. Corral to look it up. In fact, just in writing this first paragraph I have fallen into the trap of looking up the O.K. Corral phrase, which I had never given any thought to before when using it verbally. In case you’re wondering, wikipedia starts out with this: “The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a 30-second gunfight between the semi-outlaw group the Cowboys, and lawmen, that is generally regarded as the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West. The gunfight took place at about 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.”
I was looking at a quilt I made for an exhibition I took part in, for an MQX show many years back. It’s a Log Cabin quilt. I realized that all I knew about the block was that I’d always heard the center was red to symbolize the fire in the hearth of the cabin. So, I looked it up and found a nice article on Womenfolk.com that talks about the Log Cabin design. Turns out, they might have a much longer history than pioneer days even!
In the early part of the 19th century the British found thousands of small animal mummies when they began to
open pillage the tombs in Egypt. The linens wrapping the small animals were wrapped in had the log cabin design on them. Sadly, a huge number of these mummies were sent back to England where they were distributed to farmers to use as fertilizer. (When you wonder why we are now slaves to our cats, I think information sheds *cough* some light on the situation. Pun fully intended.) The article points out that perhaps this is how the log cabin design initially came to be in our collective knowledge for quilts.
There are a couple other theories too, but I really want to just believe and go with the cat version. But then, I am a crazy cat lady.
Not unlike a lot of you, the month of December is a busy one for me! Normally, I try and have some homemade gift items made for people, but this year that has not happened. I have been focusing on myself and my career the last few months. I have taken several classes on drawing and illustration, working towards building my illustration portfolio. So, I will not be torturing myself trying to churn out any massive homemade quilting gifts this year.
I will be blogging each day, as I posted about the 31 Day Blog Challenge. So, that will be filling up quite a bit of my time. I also have blog posts to write for APQS’s blog.
Quilting related activities will be: Finishing the winter version of Fall Splendor, my free quilt pattern from quite awhile back. I also have three quilts that I need to write patterns for so I can put them up for sale starting next year. This entails writing up the directions as well as designing the packaging/appearance of the pattern.
December also brings about a time of reflection and planning for me. I will be deciding on what my theme word for 2016 will be. As well as goals I want to set for the coming new year. Quilting goals. Personal goals. Business goals.
It of course also brings festivities. Work Christmas parties, concerts, seeing A Christmas Carol at The Guthrie as we do each year. Culminating in hosting a Christmas Eve fondue for family and framily. Pretty much my favorite night of the entire year, to be honest. I adore entertaining, and Christmastime is my favorite time of the year.
One of the new ideas I have for IndieQuilter is doing a “Favorite Quilty People” post once in awhile on my favorite quilters in the industry.
I’m going to start it with Sandi Sawa Hazlewood also known as The Crafty Planner.
I’ve been listening to The Crafty Planner podcasts for quite awhile now and it is hands down my FAVORITE podcast all around. Sandi is so very good at keeping the conversation/interview rolling without any of those weird uncomfortable moments you often are subject to in other podcasts. (You must know what I mean!)
She also does not censor her guests, which for me is such a treat! She is quite frank and honest upfront and will mention in the intro if it is a particularly spicy episode! No worries, it’s nothing over the top, but the freedom allows the guests to be completely themselves. That’s what I really love about this podcast. You get to hear the “real” artist, not the polished “interview person” that we often become for these sort of things!
I got a little inside scoop when I had a little chat with Sandi about choosing her as the first Favorite Quilty/Crafty People, and lets just say, if you are going to Quilt Con 2016 (or especially if you can’t make it) you will want to hear who she’s talking with next episode. That’s all the hint I am giving!
Until the new episode airs though, try taking a listen to some of my favorite episodes on The Crafty Planner:
#13 Mary Fons
#25 Victoria Findlay Wolfe
#30 Lizzy House
#34 Tula Pink
#39 Karen McTavish
This should be enough to get you addicted to the podcast. Also, make sure and pop over to the blog side of Crafty Planner, she has reviews and links and info about the quilting and craft industry. Thank you Sandi, for creating such a great resource for our industry!
Are there any other quilting podcast you listen to? I’d love to hear about them! Or maybe you HAVE a podcast? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!
My friend Cheryl Sleboda has put forth a challenge: “31 Days of Blogging”. What better time to commit to and prove your dedication to our blogs than over the busiest month of the year for most of us? I know I have gotten behind on my blogging, due to the classes I have been taking. However, I have even more classes coming up, but I still need to keep things going here. (Perhaps if I were able to limit myself to 15 minutes on social media a day like Cheryl, I’d get more done? Really Cheryl?? 15? Clearly you’re a goddess.)
Many days will be super light in content, perhaps even just inspiring photos from around my house and neighborhood. I had considered turning my blog into a sort of “Morning Pages”, but then realized that no one needs to be tortured by that sort of running inner commentary. There will be some bigger posts thrown in here and there, and I will also likely have a post coming up on the APQS site soon. Hopefully this sitting down to write every day will also spark first drafts for the future I can come back to, and hone and sharpen.
Today, I have set up a nest in my bedroom with my big monitor, bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth mouse (and laptop borrowed from hubby since I blew out the one cord that could hook MY laptop up to my monitor, don’t ask, I’m technologically dumb.) Yesterday brought a “snowstorm” (a disappointing amount of snow fell), but I have a beautiful few to either side of me of freshly fallen snow. Snow and freezing drizzle predicted all day today, so it’s a good day to wrap myself up into a lap quilt and soldier through some writing!
If you want to join this challenge, head over to Cheryl’s and sign up your blog! If you use social media, use the hashtag #31dayblogchallenge.
One of the “must haves” for a George APQS is the hopping foot attachments set. It runs around $200 and offers three hopping, thread snips, extra screws and the tool to change the foot out. These feet are functional for specific needs when you’re quilting. Today, I will cover the high closed hopping foot (called the Platform) and and a long arm ruler to do straight line modern quilting!
You can also use the open to high hopping foot (called the Saddle Shoe).
Watch for future posts on the other varied uses for the different hopping feet!
Pretty much all of us struggle with organization in our studios. Especially if we enjoy other arts/crafts as well – we can acquire a lot of stuff! Personally, I have quilting, inks, acrylics, watercolors, gouaches, felting, drawing, colored pencils, paintbrushes, containers for paints and inks that I mix, etc. Previously, I attempted to organize these on the built in bookshelves in my studio room. I would put them in tubs and label them. I would use them. I would not always put them back. (I know, you’d never do that.) Sometimes I would want to work on something, but wouldn’t because frankly I didn’t want to gather all the components from the shelves.
One day I was at Ikea and saw these beautiful items:
I fell in love with them. I bought three of them that day I believe. Now, a year or so later, I now have six of them in the studio, and two in the garage waiting to be put together and used. I can roll them to where I am working and just work from the cart. No need to put things away, and when I am done I can just roll the cart back to it’s home. Often when I am painting I have two carts next to me, the cart with the paints and the cart with the brushes on it. It’s worked beautifully for me.
The other organization addition to my studio that really helps me is peg boards. One pegboard is full of my cone threads. The other has my various tools hanging on it, as well as a few shelves I added just to hold items that I love and that inspire me (as well as my succulent plants!)
What are your favorite organization solutions you’ve come across for your studio?
I already share with you that I now have an APQS George quilt machine. I would like to share with you a little bit more about the new guy in my life! (As it turns out, he has MANY brothers if you’re looking…)
George is a handsome guy, let me tell you! He even has some nice scrollwork “tattoos” on him. He has an impressive 20″ throat space, and even with all that room he takes up a very small foot print in the studio. The table he sits in is 24″ x 60″, which is still big enough to support quilts pretty well. I will say that I quilt some bigger quilts, and to make life just a bit easier, I have set an old kitchen table I had in the studio already up behind him to support the weight. I needed the table anyways as it’s also my cutting area. If you only have room for George, rest assured that if you need assistance with the weight of the quilt there is a much less space costing solution. Patsy Thompson has a great post about suspending your quilts.
I also have the interchangeable hopping foot kit. There is an open toe option that is perfect for going around applique, and when I am working on art quilting. It provides me a near complete view of the area I am working in with no “hidden” bits. The higher hopping foot is great if you want to work with rulers on the George. (Yes, it can be done. More to come on that later!)
The thing I think I love most about George, is that he is oriented just like a domestic sewing machine. Many of the other sit down long arm machines are not. This has meant virtually no learning curve to working on him versus my domestic machine. It also means that my view of what I am quilting is not impeded at all. When working on a sit down machine like this, having the machine oriented like a longarm (meaning lenghtwise away from you) is pretty much a waste of the space you’re getting in the throat area. Why is that? Because, do you really want to be leaving over reaching 20″ away from you? It’s bad for your back!
The only modification I have made to my George, isn’t because he is found wanting, but rather my studio is. I have added Red Bandana 15 LED Light Kit that I purchased from Spool. It’s not that George’s already bright LED lights are not bright enough, it’s because the area where I want him situation in the studio is poorly lit. With this (removable) light strip, my entire quilt under the machine is lit well. This is very helpful when I am working on dark fabric quilts, as well as art quilts.
We are all old ladies with grey hair.
We can all mend or alter your pants/coat/shirt/etc.
We are all frumpy and wear sweatshirts with deer on them.
We are all fabric hoarders.
We all like moose and cabin fabrics.
That we don’t have tattoos.
That grey haired older ladies can’t be wickedly crazy and adventurous.
That we don’t tell dirty jokes.
That we all know how to put in a zipper.
That we all quilt by hand.
That we are all ultra-consertaives with closed minds.
So, you’re tired of stippling and straight line quilting, and you want to come up with some new? Something more “you”? But where to start? This week, I will begin to show you how simple objects around your home can hold the inspiration for a new quilting motif design.
This week, I used my pencil case as a starting point for a new design.
Specifically we are going to focus in on the orange part there. I have put together a short video showing how I worked through the process! Watch as I move from sketching, all the way to sitting down at my APQS George machine to quilt! I hope you enjoy.
Some important things to remember.
- There is a difference between using something as inspiration and completely copying it.
- You may need to really look at a complicated design and break it down – possibly even getting more than one design idea from one inspiration
- Inspiring imagery is all around you: the pattern on your couce, a tissue box, packaging for items, magazines, everywhere!
I would love to hear about where you have found quilting inspirations!
- Fabric: Touching it, buying it, looking at it, designing it.
- The awesome I can meet at meeting, shows, in stores, online.
- I will stay warm and have a trade-skill in the zombie apocalypse.
- I get to buy from small shops (even if they are online shops), which helps THEIR dreams come true too!
- It’s a link to the past and I am content that I am carrying on quilting traditions that have spanned generations.
- Quilt shows! From the small local shows, to big shows, to Quilt Market itself!
- I have a perfect excuse to binge watch television when I have hand stitching on my bindings to do.
- The complete satisfaction from creating a perfect half square triangle.
- The trill of seeing my finished quilts!
- Did I mention fabrics??
What are YOUR favorite things about quilting? I’d love to hear about them.