Friday, July 30, 2010

You Just Have to See This!

I saw the most amazing crazy quilt pillow the other day made by a customer at the sewing machine store where I teach that I just have to share! Unfortunately, the only camera available at the time was the one in my phone, so the pictures aren't the best quality, but I'm going to post them anyway.

Janine Franc did all the embellishments by hand and it only took about 2 months to complete the pillow. She had a contest deadline, so she really pushed herself, but it was worth it because she said she won.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sewing Room Horror Stories

When I teach a brand new quilter who has never touched a rotary cutter before, I make sure they know how dangerous a tool they can be. First I show them my scars and tell how I got them, then I proceed to tell them the horror stories I have heard or been witness to over the last 10 years. For instance, I have a friend that another friend has nicknamed "Nine Fingers". NF travels with my other friend and I on occasion to shows and helps us by cutting fabric for customers when we are busy. Within 3 months, she had cut herself 2 times. On the second accident is when she received her nickname. After we had her bandaged, she returned to the cutting table and picked something up. It was the tip of her finger.

I have left my rotary cutter open on the table, and since I am barefoot most of the time when I am home, when I knocked it off of the table, it landed on the top of my foot and cut me. From this experience, I now have a rule in the classroom. If I come by your table and your rotary cutter is open and you're not using it, you owe me a quarter.

I had one student who told me she left her cutter open on her table in her sewing room and her grandchild walked in and picked it up thinking it was a lollipop. I have forgotten the end of this story, unfortunately(maybe I blocked it out), so I don't know if she caught them in time or had to make a trip to the hospital.

I heard about a nationally known teacher who cut herself during a workshop she was teaching and asked for a needle and thread to sew her hand shut. Fortunately for herself and the workshop participants, the cut wasn't as bad as it could have been and the shop she was teaching for had butterfly bandages which did the trick.

Rotary cutters aren't the only dangerous tool in our studios. We have all seen or maybe own a tomato pincushion. How many needles do you think are lost inside of them? I'm betting close to 100. A friend of mine knocked hers off her sewing table and didn't notice until she stepped on it. She pulled about 80 needles out of her foot before she stopped counting.

Do you have any sewing room horror stories you'd like to share that I can include in my rotary cutter safety speech?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Room at Seams Like Home!

This is the Hydrangea Room at the Seams Like Home Bed and Breakfast in Vanderbilt, Pennsylvania, where I was scheduled to teach a quilting retreat this weekend. I was lucky enough to be able to bring a friend with me to enjoy all the ammenities at this brand new B & B, so I am sharing this room with one of my best friends and having a wonderful time sewing away. I have known the owners, Donna and Rick Eicher, for about 5 years now, so I almost feel like family anyway, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they will make all of their guests feel that way.

The building has been completely re-done from its former life as an office building, so EVERYTHING inside is brand new. This is the view from the balcony down into the entrance. See the quilt block in the floor? The next picture is another view of the foyer from another angle.

You can see pictures of all of the rooms, including the lounge, on their website

I have to admit I started quilting simply because I wanted a quilt for my bed and after 10 years, I still don't have one, but every guest bed has a quilt made just for that room. If they'd just let me move in, I NEVER have to make one for own bed!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Chautauqua Institution

What an amazingly creative place! I taught my first class yesterday afternoon and have 2 more to teach this week before I head back home to my regular teaching job. I am so inspired by everything else going on here, that if I could figure out a way to spend the entire season here, it would be a dream come true. I have so many new ideas that I can't wait to get back to my studio and try them out.

If you are ever in this area, even in the off-season, you would be so impressed with even just the grounds of Chautauqua Institution, it would be worthwhile to stop and check them out!

The people that volunteer here are friendly and helpful they make your visit even more enjoyable. The Special Studies classes being taught here are so diverse, you can come here and learn about almost anything, from Middle Eastern belly dancing to bridge, knitting to life casting, investing to yoga.

If I get the chance to take any new pictures while I'm here, I will post them soon.

Does anyone else have a place they know of that they consider "magical"?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

My New "Toy"

I am mainly known for paper pieced designs, which I love to do, but I am starting to venture into some applique. My most recent applique design is the mermaid I have been working on. Because of a recent event at the sewing machine dealer where I teach, I have purchased an Accuquilt Studio Cutter and have inquired about having a custom die made to cut out my mermaid pieces. I should get a quote today to see if it is possible for me to produce my mermaid as a precut applique and offer her for sale without having to remortgage my house first!

I didn't buy any dies with the Studio Cutter, since I only bought it to do custom dies, so it is set up in a corner of my studio, just waiting to be put to work. I hope it isn't waiting too long. I have a lot of students who want to purchase my mermaid applique and put her on all sorts of things, like tote bags, jean jackets or make a small wall quilt like my sample, so I am hoping I don't have to disappoint them or make them wait too long.