Friday, March 27, 2009

Paper Piecing Class Spy?

I spent the day at the Quilting and Sewing Expo in Cleveland yesterday and took a class in paper piecing to see if I could pick up any tips from the teacher. I thought her method was interesting because she didn't use any tools other than glue and scissors (and a sewing machine of course), but I still prefer my Add-A-Quarter ruler and greeting card. I don't like the idea of my seam allowances not being even and straight. I know that that is MY problem, but it took all I had not to try and take over the class! I guess I have always been a little anal-compulsive, (and if I have the wrong term, please, by all means, correct me). Always having to put the same shoe on first, is one example that comes to mind, and when I used to do cross stitch, stitching in such a way, that the back looks almost as nice as the front. If only some of that would rub off on my housekeeping!

Anyway, the class got me thinking that I should start teaching more. The only problem with that is I don't like to travel much. I don't like to be away from "my stuff". My kids don't like it when I go away either, so maybe this is something to think about for the future. I guess I'll keep teaching locally and concentrate on adding new designs to my line and see what happens.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My First Pattern

This design was the result of my taking a paper piecing class. Once I learned the technique, I thought about what could be done with it. One of my sisters owns the first quilt I made from this design. It's very primitive compared to this one. I used all scraps because I didn't want to waste any fabric if my design wasn't going to work. I added the houses in the corners where the first one had trees. The scarf is 3 dimensional and the nose is a button that I originally made with polymer clay. I sent one of my original buttons to a button company and had a resin button made so I don't have to walk around for a day with my hands stained from the dye in the clay! If anyone needs a carrot button for a project, I may have an extra one or two (hundred).

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I don't know how many of you teach, but some days I wish I had never started. Something that comes so easy to me can be nearly impossible for someone else and that frustrates me. I don't understand how some people can't sew a straight seam to save their lives, even with pins and a foot with a guide. The machine could probably do a better job if they would push the start button and walk away!

I'm exaggerating, of course, but after a class like I had yesterday, I wonder why I bother.

There was one woman who, even after I matched all her intersections and pinned, sewed down the wrong side. I don't know what else I could have done for her other than sew it myself and I did that on several occasions. This went on all day, since the class was the result of 4 people asking me to teach them a project they wanted to have finished for Easter, so we planned to work as long as necessary. We started at 10:30 and went until the store closed at 5:00. I knew the original 4 people would be no trouble at all, but as they were talking about the upcoming class, a few others asked to join. I would never turn anyone away if I have room for them and think the project is something they can handle.

I am totally exhausted. I have the WHOLE day to recover before I have to do it all again!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Still Playing Around

I'm still exploring the possibilities of this layout and creating new blocks. But I think I would have a hard time sewing some of these blocks out, they have so many pieces. I don't like to sew the same thing over and over, so if I have to make a quilt like this, I call in my friends! I prefer paper piecing over any other method of piecing, so it is easier to have multiple people working on the same project. I have a project coming up that I'm gonna have to call the friends in for!
My internet friend, Karen Gass of Cotton Spice, wants to publish one of my designs in her online magazine. She has chosen a design similar to the one pictured, so unless she doesn't mind waiting FOREVER, I'm going ask for help. Thank God for good friends!

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Maybe Someday"

This is another one of my designs I have been sitting on for awhile. I'm not sure how much interest there would be in this design, so I have hesitated putting any more time into it. I enjoy designing quilts like this, but I don't know how many other people out there would like to sew it out. There is still a lot of work to do on this design, so unless I get some feedback, I will probably put it back into the "maybe someday" file.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Now For Something Completely Different

About 20 years ago, I shared a duplex with my best friend. The place was falling apart, but it had STAINED GLASS WINDOWS! When we were looking for a place to live, we came across this place that was pretty run down, but we fell in love with the windows and the wooden banister, and lived there for 2 years. When we moved out, we joked about taking the windows with us, but settled for pictures instead. I had planned on having a copy made for my friend someday, but when I became a quilter, decided I would make a stained glass quilt for her instead. I got as far as drawing the design and buying the fabric, so maybe I will actually be able to give her a stained glass "window" sometime in the near future.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Can't Help Myself

I'm on a roll. In my continuing effort to design a block a day, I have been using the same layout over and over, so I hope those of you who have been paying attention aren't getting bored. The fun part for me is to design the block. Then, if I use the same layout, I can compare the new design to previous ones and decide whether they are worth putting any more work into. I can't possibly sew all of these out, nor would I want to, but it will give me a lot to choose from, if the day comes, when I am so inclined to make one of these!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quilter's Home

Is anyone else following this story about the controversial quilts in the March issue of Quilter's Home? I have been very interested since I have a quilt in that issue. Not one of the quilts in the article but one of the featured quilts.

I am amazed at the reaction of some people who refuse to look at the magazine or read the article and yet feel compelled to make a judgement about it. On lemondrop for instance, people are up in arms about the Jesus with a gun quilt without ever wanting to hear the story behind it. Shawn Quinlan, another Pittsburgh quilter, is known for his controversial quilts, but if you talk to him and find out about his motivation in creating certain designs, you will find a very sensitive and intelligent man whose quilting is actually therapeutic for him. The quilt in question, was the result of his filming at an NRA convention where he saw a man holding a sign saying, "Jesus for Guns". People think he is mocking Jesus, when he is actually mocking people who choose to use the name of Jesus to promote their own cause. I honestly don't think Jesus would join that cause!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just Playing Around

In an earlier post, I said my New Year's Resolution was to create a new block each day of 2009. I have to admit that some days I didn't even open my quilt design software, BUT on other days, I have designed MORE than one block, so I think, all in all, so far this year I have stuck with my resolution. I have been using the same quilt layout when I put the new blocks in a quilt and have really liked the results on some of them. I don't know which ones I will actually make into quilts or publish a pattern, so if anyone has an opinion, I'd like to hear it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Other Peoples' Patterns

Some days go so well, I feel I've got nothing interesting to talk about. Today was one of those days. I have some regular students that have taken so many of my classes that its like hanging out with friends. We have been working on a purse pattern that is pretty involved but worth the trouble. I like to teach other people's patterns but I have a habit of editing them, sometimes to the point where I have redone the entire design.

Recently, I found a table runner design that is really cute, but the designer wrote the instructions for the runner to be done using 2" squares when it could easily be done with strips. She has the maker cutting fabric into 2" squares and then sewing the same fabric back together in rows. Does that make sense to anyone? I contacted the designer to ask if there was any reason it had to be done in squares and her response was that they just like the look of squares. This will be the last pattern I buy from this designer. I hope no one out there feels this way about any of my designs and if they do, I hope they will let me know!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What I'm Working On

This is my latest design. It is a tablerunner that will be called Checkered Repast. I am still working on the cover sample for the pattern, but I hope to have it ready very soon. I just need a couple more hours in the day!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Biggest Fault

I am a procrastinator. There, I've said it. I wait until the pressure is really on before I start a project. There were so many nights when I was in art school that I didn't sleep because I had something due the following day.

When I used to do portraits, I was commissioned by the owner of the art supply store where I worked, to draw a portrait of his son as an anniversary gift for his wife. I finally got started the day before I was supposed to deliver it. My roommate came home from work and when I showed her my project, she said, "Oh Susie Wan (another story), can you start over?"

Well, I stayed up all night and continued to work on it. The next morning, my roommate couldn't believe it was the same drawing. I really knew it was good when the mother started to cry after opening the gift.

Anyway, my reason for bringing this up, is that Spring Quilt Market is here in Pittsburgh this year and I haven't done anything to get ready for it. I'm not even sure if I can still get a booth. I don't know if I am afraid of success or just lazy, but I have always been this way. Is there a pill for this?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Art Deco Star Quilt

Here is what the block will look like in a quilt on point.

My New Year's Resolution

With the start of the new year, I decided to design one new block each day of 2009. Of course that lasted about one month, but that means 31 new blocks in January alone. Although I have attempted to keep it up since the end of January, I haven't always succeeded. But I think I have added at least 50 new blocks to my library this year so far. I haven't sewn out a single one yet, so I'm not sure how they will work or look in fabric, but I will try to share a few of them with you and maybe include the pattern somehow (when I figure out how to do that).