Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July has come and almost gone - but there's a whole lot of summertime left

This month has just flown by, and today (!) is the first chance that I've had to enjoy one of the biggest perks of working out of the house...the summer office set up.  Today, I have to do lists to be to-done, and newsletters to be written.

  There's nothing like sitting on the screen porch, listening to the sound of random lawn mowers and wildlife to get those creative juices flowing.  We have a  family of hawks living in the tree next door, serenading me with the sounds of their screams. For now, the screen porch is the closest than Dunkin (see pic) is going to get to the great outdoors.

The month started off with a bang over the fourth of July weekend when my copy of Quilty arrived, and with it, Lake Shore Magic's debut. That's very exciting, and I've been waiting to  get to work on the next pattern I want to bring out.  Now that the exciting part of the summer is over (and I no longer wait with baited breath for the sound of the school bus), I am looking forward to getting to work on what's coming next...hopefully, soon.

Now that I've gotten the two big 'push' projects out of the way,  I had originally intended to spend some time just playing in the studio, and continuing to work on my PhDs.  I know that by the size of this pile, I won't be graduating any time soon.

There's a whole lot of mish-mash in that pile...I know there's some free motion quilting practice pieces that I want to play with, an unfinished challenge that I got 'stuck on' - and I'm running out of time, a baby quilt that needs quilting before the child gets to kindergarten.

Why is it that summer seems like it's going to last forever before it begins, but it seems that by the midpoint of summer vacation - which is not, by the way, the midpoint of the summer?  I've barely had time to enjoy lazy evenings on the porch, and already I'm seeing ads for fall clothes...

Like many other summers, I'll get a late start and then work on my fall raking chores in my flip flops and capris...

Are you enjoying your summer break?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

When you're a quilter, how do you celebrate a milestone anniversary?

Well, last week I was able to tell you all about the biggest quilt I had worked on last year, which was Lake Shore Magic.  A lot of energy behind the scenes went into getting that quilt into Quilty, but it certainly wasn't the only biggie quilt I worked on last year.  The second quilt was a labor of love for my husband - somehow last winter I realized I had never made him a quilt of his own.

We celebrated our 35th anniversary last month - and yes, I was very young when we were married.  Truthfully, that realization hit me when I was sitting at a guild meeting talking with some friends, many of whom had made at least one quilt for their partner.  I was chagrined to say the least, and I got to work on it right after the holidays.

Patience and Kindness, 2013
Picking out the quilt design was actually a very easy- many of you will recognize the finished quilt (above) as a Carpenter's Star pattern. Mike has always enjoyed woodworking, and has in fact made every one of the quilt racks which hang in our home. This was a natural fit, and several of the batik fabrics in it are special to him.  His birthday is in October, and I actually found batik pumpkins at one of the last trips I took to Keepake Quilting.

For those of you who doubt the old 'wives' tale that you should buy it when you see it - I SOO wish I had more of this left to play with.

This quilt was made as a secret to Mike - beginning in January, with our actual anniversary at the beginning of June.  Mike's semi-retired, and he's pretty tuned into the pieces I'm working the secret part of this became more of a challenge than I originally thought. It's good that we had a major home renovation going on at the same time to distract him; the bad news is that drywall dust is never an embellishment option.   Fortunately, I had a couple of retreats this past winter - this 'surprise' was well traveled before I gave it to him.

This was the layout of the quilt on the floor before I sewed anything together; in this pattern, there is one right location for each piece of the 64 piece puzzle.  The tags were removed once I had actually sewn the entire star together.  I've never done a pattern like this, but I'm sure happy that I had a chance to work on this in peace and quiet over two weekends.

This quilt is special to me because although this is a queen sized quilt (with borders added), I rented time with a local shop on their longarm machine, and I actually did the quilting myself.  I learned a lot about the longarm process (which was a by-product of the experience), and I could happily give him something that was truly made by me.  It's nice (after all these years) to actually sleep under a quilt I made.

The name Patience and Kindness comes from two of the qualities that I first fell in love with him for.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lake Shore Magic is finally here!

Good morning! 

Every summer, I make it a point to  attend the Lowell Quilt Festival; at last year's event,  I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on the direction of our industry, which included  both Mary Fons and Marianne Fons, representatives of SAQA and of the Modern Quilt Guild.  After the discussion, I had the chance to speak with both Mary and  Marianne - and to get an autograph on the Fons and Porter book that's been a bible for me for many quilts. One of those very  brief conversations- and a picture of the quilt top for Lake Shore Magic led to an offer by Mary to publish the pattern in Quilty.  

Meeting Mary Fons at the Lowell Quilt Festival last year. 

I'm usually terrible at keeping secrets, and I'm so glad that it's finally here! 

I had the privilege of attending the exhibit of Joanna Rose's quilts, Infinite Variety, in New York City in March 2011...the bus trip that I brought down there to attend the exhibit marked the debut of bus trips by The Patchwork Pearl.  Like many of us who had the opportunity to see the collection, I was inspired by the variety of styles included in the show, and I was inspired to make my own red and white quilt.  I was also intrigued by the variety and depth of styles shown in the exhibition.  

Lake Shore Magic was created on a weekend retreat in October 2011 - it really is an easy pattern to play with.  I had the pattern in my head, and a bin of every red and white fabric I had in my stash.  I tend to be a bit 'infamous' for bringing my bins o'fabric with me on retreats...but this quilt top just came (more or less) together. This was one of the early layout attempts....which I was not happy with. 

LSM...early layout...yawn!

The final quilt which appears in Quilty was quilted by the wonderful Pat Harrison of Ocean Waves Quilting Company in Rhode Island.  I was fortunate that when I brought the quilt to Pat,  we knew where it was going, so she was able to enhance the top with a fresh, contemporary outlook to the piece. 

I can say that LSM is the first pattern I've commercially produced, and I'd love to hear from you whether you like it, or modify it to meet your own needs.  I can also tell you that I have 3 more in my head... one of my summer projects is to get the next one out of that and into fabric.  Stay tuned!

Finally, just a shout out to the folks on the Quilty staff...they are great to work with, and always available to answer questions (there were many) along the way. 

Today, LSM is hanging in my home, and I love being able to look at it every day!  

Till next week...