Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Fall 2011

If you are here from the link on the Festival, welcome. 

If you are just happening by or are a regular reader, Amy is hosting the bi-annual quilt festival again and let me tell you, I'm excited to see all the genious out there in cyberland.  The gorgeous quilts are one thing but reading the stories adds a whole new level.  If you want to see, just click on this LINK and maybe join up with a quilt of your own.  Also, a big thank you to the sponsors (linked on Amy's blog) that contribute and assist in the hosting of such a fantastic event! (I'm off to shop as soon as I post this. :D)

For my entry this fall, I'm choosing my "The Sun Still Shines" quilt.
This was born of my desire to share my love of paper-piecing with my cyber-buddies who were new to the technique or maybe were just rusty and wanted a quick refresh.  So, I planned a quilt along and while it was small, it was a lot of fun to do.  I was able to create a design using EQ6 which would provide a lot of versatility for each individual taste out there.  I think the photos in our Flickr group illustrate that was a good choice (and if you want directions, look at the discussion field in Flickr, I don't want to link blog posts here).
I enjoyed designing this but I found I also really enjoyed creating the You Tube videos showing how the technique worked. They are my first and I was very nervous but I am proud I didn't let that get the better of me and I trudged ahead. 
While trying to decide a name for it, and holding it, I was struck by the path of destruction in Joplin, MO after the tornado this past May. The path was clear destruction and chaos but the video that next day was being shown in the bright sunshine, people were assisting neighbors and there were many places that were not destroyed. When I looked again at my quilt top and the design, it seemed to mimick the sun shining over a path much like the tornado's and I was reminded that even in difficult times and dark hours, light does return... the sun does still shine.  And the name and quilting motif was born. 
For me, naming a quilt is just as meaningful as creating it and so this one, for all the joy in creation and contentment in the name, is my current favorite quilt.  Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful time viewing all the other quilts in this Fall Festival!
Cheers! Beck

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Embroidery Block

I jumped on the sewing bandwagon again this week but have little to show so far except this embroidery block. 
I have to say, tehre are some things I've learned. I cannot rotate the hoop and embroider in only one direction, if that makes sense.  However, if I keep the hoop level, then I sew a much more even stitch.  I find this a little annoying because it means my left hand rarely changes position and I have to stop and stretch it.  

Anyway... a set of reversible placemats are being made right now for my sister with some fabric that was simply too cute to pass up and that ended up with her request for a new tablecloth also.  No good deed goes unpunished, right? lol  Pics of the placemats will be posted as soon as I bind them.  The tablecloth may take a little longer. :)

Hmm, what else am I working on simultaneously? A mini-project for my secret swap partner from the Sewing Summit (well, not secret to me but she doesn't know I'm sending her something).  I am not going to provide hints about what it looks like because I don't have a definitative design yet.  You'll know when I know, which means, when it's done. -wink- I have to mail it by 11/5 so you will see it very soon.

That's all about me.  How about you, what are you up to this week?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Small accomplishments

I realized I forgot to show you the embroidery block I completed on the plane ride out to Salt Lake City, UT. 

Also, just finished another test cathedral window mini. I tell you, I'm not completely satisfied with the tutorial I previously used but I was trying it again here with some modifications in process.  Can't say I'm thrilled but it is a practice piece so I get to see what works and what doesn't. One day, when I have a method that allows lazy me (I hate pinning) and less than perfect me (I cannot seem to get perfect folds from a perfect starting square which is supposed to create the perfect finished square) to get a beautiful finish, I will be sure to share it with you.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sewing Summit - Final Day

Despite a cruddy night's sleep, I was up and out the door to breakfast in a jiffy. Chatted it up with folks, drank plenty of coffee, watched door prizes get handed out once again (there were a LOT of door prize drawings) and then off to my first "class".
I decided to attend the Author's Panel, not because I have any interest in publishing but because I thought it was worth listening to how they moved into a new "area" within their field.  I figured it might be useful. I didn't leave empty handed and should I ever decide I want to try to publish anything, I have some good notes. These ladies all had different stories of how they got there but end result is the same with all businesses. If you want to break in, have a plan, have a prayer and expect it takes time. :)
Next class, Documenting Your Creativity - Blogging and Social Media led by Dana Bolyard of Old Red Barn Co

This was yet another engaging class and full of discussion. The main point of the class, however, (and I don't think she'd mind my repeating it) is to ask yourself, "what is my focus".  What is my focus for my blog or tweets, etc.  While I think I have a focus, I think it might be more of a soft focus. lol   Anyway, I like what she had to say and I may be making some changes over the next few months but don't you worry, I'll still be me. :)

At the last meeting of the day, (basically an adjourning of the Summit) more door prizes were handed out and I won! I won a Clover Iron with a variety of attachments but since I don't applique much and a girl at my table does, I gave it over to her.   I was feeling generous becuase I also won a door prize (a  pattern book) in the Author's Panel
and I won the silent auction item of 2 yards custom print spoonflower organic cotton fabric.  Can you say, "hooray"! I guess I can't say I never win anymore, can I?
And now, folks, I feel it's VERY IMPORTANT to take a moment and give you a word (okay, lots of buttons) from our sponsors, without whom, this great weekend couldn't be without.  Please do take a moment to look around their sites and ask questions. Feel free to let them know you heard about them as a result of the Summit (they'd love that).  Don't forget to scroll through, I do have pictures of my other goodies won/bought from the weekend for your perusal.
BabyLock - they brought in machines (the Grace) for us to use over the weekend and set up some other demo machines for us to look at and try.  Let me tell you, I found these machines to be quiet and easy to use and the sergers (while I didn't use them) look like a great asset for those garment/specialty sewers! Take a look at what they have to offer, I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised also.  (PS - Look at the little gift baggie they gave us. We have a pattern for a simple little clutch with the fabric.)
AdornIt - I bought a couple charm packs from them. Love the price, love the fabric line, love the concept.

The Warm Company - awesome batting. Enough said.

Burda Style - oh, you won't be disappointed if you mosey over there!

Delish - a new publication that I can't wait to see!  The ladies of Delish are sweet and friendly and I really like their concept.
Beebolt - their tagline says it all, "Sew. Learn. Connect." Check it out, ya'll.
Robert Kaufman - honestly, do I need to say anything? Isn't writing the name enough information about this company? -swoon-

Sullivan's - the EDGE ruler, rotary cutter and mats. We used these during the summit with lots of success. the mats are nice and lightweight, very manageable.  The rulers came in many shapes and sizes (so love those) and the cutters fit my hand well. I did manage to need sharper blades but that's not a design flaw, just a lots of quilters/sewists in the room flaw! lol

Martingale Publishers - if you want a book about it, I'll bet you they've got it.

Venezie Designs - ahh, these are such fun designs. They are most definately on my market list of places to shop!
The Fat Quarter Shop - we all already love this store, right?
Lapel Stick - I have not tried this yet but I've heard really great reviews about it, if you have reviews, feel free to comment here.

Patterns by Figgy - there are some great patterns here, people.

Reliable - We used the Velocity Irons and frankly, I liked them. They were nice and hot but I have yet to figure out what the "vibrate" means.  I know, sounds bad, right? Seriously, though, part way through it would start vibrating and I wonder if it was a warning that we were holding the iron too long in one place on the fabric (thus got too hot) and would vibrate to get our attention. I don't know but I'm researching it this week because if that is the case, it is FREAKING AWESOME.

Sheree's Alchemy - check out the fabrics, ya'll.

You Can Make This - such a sweet site, folks.
Generation Q - go there, now.
I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, they were the icing on the cake of a fantastic weekend and they were much, much appreciated!

Now, for your viewing pleasure, a few misc. photos.
Fabric scraps/FQ's and a patter from the LQS near the hotel.
Me with some new friends.
 (sorry all those photos are blurry, etc. my camera hates indoor shots and the lighting at the hotel was less than stellar).


Monday, October 10, 2011

Sewing Summit - Day 2

Oh where do I begin?! How about by telling you that breakfast was served in the main ballroom so we all could fuel up for the day ahead. A nice little buffet that allowed us to meet more people we may have missed the night before. (For the record, I'm writing these posts, each, one day late.)
After a good breakfast with some nice coffee, I made my way to my first class, Improv Piecing: How to Think Outside the Box taught by Jess of Urban Patchwork.
 It was a great way to start for me, she gave us a few tips and some scraps and threw us right in. It took me about the whole time to actually loosen up enough to feel I could get something accomplished. For me, it took that long to get past the idea of cutting straight seams first, then adding strips and instead, sew, then cut.  Bottom line, I'm not as afraid of improv piecing as I once was and while I think my test block is a little boring, I am happy it was created without a pattern or design. I just 'put it together'.

A little coffee break and then I was off to my next class, Photographing Your Creations: Simple Changes for Maximum Impact by Vanessa of V & Co. She's a little dynamo. Funny and self-depricating but quite confident at the same time and had great, simple tips for taking great shots. I'm eager to work with those tips down the road and see if my quilt photos are better for it. The funniest thing, however, she said she still doesn't know how to take a full on photo of a quilt and make it look nice.  I have to appreciate honesty but I think with all the other tips, I probably can't go wrong, you know? Here's a photo of Vanessa and I.
Then, lunch. Another opportunity to mingle and chat it up.  I took this photo with Amy of AmyLouWho fame (or Friday Sew & Tell) ((sorry folks, the link for her site doesn't seem to be working at the moment)).
Then off to my next two classes.

Creative Fabric Selection: Moving Beyond Fabric Collections taught by Jeni of In Color Order.  Look at her. Doesn't she look like she's about 12? I'm not usually one who thinks and likes "cute" but this girl is the very definition! Even her voice is super sweet. She was a love and the class moved right along. 
A quick education on color, some show and tell of her creations and lots of Q&A. Very eye-opening. Then, a gift for everyone in the class.  Let me tell you, we were all super, super stoked. Check it out.
 A Kona Solid Color Fabric sample chart from Kaufman.  Oh, love! Now I don't have to guess at the right shade online, I have it in front of me!!!!! (See all those exclamation points? I'm very excited about this one.)

The last class of the day was Marvelous Minis: Packing Lots of Punch into a Mini Quilt by Amanda of Mrs Pork Chop Quilts.
Let me tell you something, this woman can control a room. She had us moving right along with her in discussion and pushing those barriers we had in our own brains about what a mini quilt is or creating a mini. Even one of the event founders found herself interested and due to lack of seats, plopped down on the floor to listen.
By the end of the class, I (and I can safely say most other participants) were walking away thinking, "I can do that, no problem." Even now, I still think I can do it so I made myself go up to her and tell her she inspired me (way out of my comfort zone here) and I went further and told her I am telling her I have a 16" mini I designed but decided was too difficult to put together. I was using that moment, to be accountable and tell her I would complete it. She didn't say, "oh that's nice, let me know how it goes." Nope, not her, she's so freaking personal and easy-going she says, "great! I will cheer and say hooray and then I'll post about it."  She's actually started following me on Twitter.  This has immediately gotten a little scarey now that I've put myself out there but I think I'm up for it.
Class ended, we broke for dinner (at which time Candice and I linked up again and went out with another wonderful group of women).   When we returned, I went to the room set up with sewing machines from Baby Lock and started working on my next cathedral window mini.  I showed a few people the technique, milled about, learned what others were working on and how, and generally just enjoyed the biggest sewing bee (and only one) I've ever been involved with.

I felt my day was full and crazy but in such a good way. So much so, it took my brain quite a while to settle down and fall asleep.

Ahh, tomorrow, I will tell you of my 2 panel discussions and about our sponsors (and some more goodies).  Stay tuned.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sewing Summit 2011 - Day 1

Alright, I arrived at the airport in Salt Lake City, UT after a 5 hr flight  yesterday and waited for the 2 people I'd arranged online to share a cab to the hotel with (Candice and Darci). We did not know each other but spent a little time chatting it up in the cab ride. Let me start by saying this, Salt Lake City is quite pretty when 3 views around the city are of snow capped mountains! 
While I'm on it, flying over the Rockies with the sun just up on the morning and snow on them, gorgeous.

We arrive at the Little America Hotel and  here's where it gets good, we were able to check in early. Sa-weet, for this tired puppy.  We check in, and the room is fantastic.  It's a mini-suite. A  short foyer with a dressing area off to the left and then a bathroom behind that.  Marble tile, etc.  Very pretty and spacious.

Then into the room you have the sleeping area and a small living area (dinette table, lounge area, desk).  Oh yes, flat screen on the wall, wi-fi, and an iHome clock. This means I can dock my iPhone and charge it without pulling out the cord tucked in my suitcase. 

The room is classier than I am but still retains a homey and welcoming feel. I think that's pretty hard to accomplish so props to the designers.  Also props to the service here. It's wonderful and friendly.  I cannot go any farther in this post without saying that if you are ever in Salt Lake City, this should be the place you stay. I most ceratinly will if I return. It's worth it's price (although we have a great deal with the Summit).

Darci went off to assist her friends (Erin of Two More Seconds and Amy of Amy's Creative Side, the founders of this great event) and that left Candice and I to sit by oursleves in our room or band together and get out to see some of the downtown area. So we banded together and wasted a couple hours. Well, it wasn't a total waste of time, I got my hair cut.  See?

The before shots.
 The after shots.

I definately needed the change and told the stylist to just do what he felt like.  Too bad I don't live here, I'd totally return to him again. He was my age, 37, and had bleach blond hair with red streaks in it. Tatoos, rainbow bracelets, etc. but what a good guy.

Anyway, back to the Sewing Summit (the 1st annual, I'm CERTAIN) & the meet and greet mixer. Candice and I found ourselves hanging back.  I like watching people, not dropping into groups but we decided, to heck with it and did just that. I met enough people that I can't tell you who they all were but here's the fun thing, that's okay!  I'm sure they were in the same boat.  Then off to dinner out about town with another group of ladies. Lots of chatting, eating and more walking. I think we returned at 9:30pm and here's what I know.

I know I walked a lot that day. I know I enjoyed it but I know, I was freaking tired. There was an extra 2 hours in my day (time change), an extra amount of movement my lazy butt isn't used to (but should be), and a couple drinks and filling meal (needed both). I barely pulled the sheets out of the mattess to get in before my head was on that pillow.  I awoke today still tired but after some coffee and lots of hydrating, I was eagerly looking forward to my day of classes.

You, however, will have to wait until tomorrow for me to pust about those.  I need to sort through my pictures and gather my thoughts to give you a post a little more coherent than today's.


ps - did you think I forgot? Of course, I didn't... here's the swag bag received upon registration.
 A bag with a printed label and pretty button attached.

 Name tag "chain" made and dontated by Venizie Designs.
 Batting samples from Warm and Natural.  SO AWESOME!
 Pre-made labes from Izzy & Ivy. (super cute!)
 A variety of patterns. Look close to see who they are from. :)
A little cut bundle of Moda fabrics, and Beebolt donated some fabric but with a twist (gotta love it). The twist is to use it or some of it to make a block a particular size, then mail it back.  All blocks will be sewn together for a quilt top(s) to be auctioned off at the next Sewing Summit next year with 100% of proceeds going to Project Linus.  What a great idea, huh? I'll be sending a block to them.

That's all for today, folks.  See you tomorrow!