Monthly Archives: January 2016

Studio Renovation, Part One πŸ› 

My studio is located in a loft space in our home- cozy, lovely, and a spatial challenge!  By changing the configuration, editing out pieces and building/adding 2 crucial new pieces, my sweetie has turned it into quite the perfect space :).  

Let’s look at the “before” picture…the biggest challenges were:

  1. My long arm took up too much space…and the wrong space–right in front of the set-in shelves that hold my stash and many notions.
  2. The ironing board could never find its right place, and would usually block entrance to the studio area.
  3. There was a great deal of poorly-used storage space in the recessed, sloped-ceiling area containing my (little) sewing machine table.  My workarounds of small sewing table + side table + rolling storage + other stuff = MESS.

(Incidentally, I did find that this very low-tech tool of graph paper came in handy ;).)

My long arm table was set up as 8 feet…and I had originally positioned it so that I could access the back of the machine. This location was terrific for my longarm work but I had to crawl around the table to reach my fabric, as you might be able to see here:
As time passed, I realized I was never ever going to use any of the functions requiring access to the back (eg pantographs)…and that my focus on art quilts meant I really didn’t need an eight foot table.  Fortunately the table is built in modular form so we were able to size it down to 6 feet…and roll it to a different spot.  By switching places with my cutting table (less depth than the long arm), we were able to create MUCH better access to those shelves.

So far, so good!  Next, we considered the ironing board…

Piles of UFOs sliding off…tiny folding bookcase in corner insufficient for my quilting book collection…suboptimal pressing area for quilting.  Yup, the ironing board needed to go…and so orders were placed for the rolling pressing station/shelving unit.  Part 2 will cover the construction of this fabulous piece!


Pet Postcard Project for PAWS πŸΎπŸΎ

Weeks Ringle just announced a very exciting project for Spring IQF…pet postcards to benefit PAWS, the very wonderful Chicago-based organization.  The link to my pet postcard tutorial is mysteriously broken (one of the places Weeks suggests to go for ideas).  While I attempt to learn more about WordPress in a hurry 😳, here is the article on the same topic from last year’s Canadian Quilter magazine (thank you again to CQA for allowing us to use it!!)

There are lots of other fun techniques for these pint-sized portraits, many of which I discussed in posts last month…and some which I’ll be posting as I go into creation mode for this wonderful cause!!  Please join in the fun…🐾🐾

From “Cows on Vacation” to Ice-Dyed

On yet another flight…my companions on this way-too-early trip:
-Coffee, of course…lots of it…I hate early morning flights

-My favorite iPad app for taking interesting pictures of the most mundane objects (PhotoBooth)

-And…my catalogues.

I began quilting 13 years ago…unlike some art quilters, I came at our niche via some very traditional patchwork quilting. I smile as I look though these catalogues, whose every page used to tempt me. In my gallery-of-regrettable-fabric-purchases, I have too many flowers and little cats and miniature musical instruments…and, my personal low, “cows on vacation.” Yep, 4 yards of it…although, by way of alibi, it was actually chosen by my then-12-year old.   

Then I discovered batiks! I was in love. Of course, this resulted in a collection of fat quarters of multi-colored, highly patterned fat quarters which I may never use…they sit on the shelf in my studio like members of a very loud and boisterous family.

Experience brings wisdom and -for me- an acquaintance with hand-dyed fabric. This rainbow stack of fabric is now my paintbox. Blender batiks play nicely, too, as do shot cottons. My purchases of patterned fabric are now extremely rare…I still fall in love, but wisely now (Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Weeks Ringle, Lynn Krawcyk, Janine Vangool…certain artists’ collections just sing to me). Ok, ok, Christmas fabric does NOT count ;).

A similar theme has played out in my thread drawers (wild variegateds yielding to a much-too-large collection of solids for my longarm) and notions (out with unused gadgets, in with the Tsukineko inks).

For me, the evolution is due to years of issues of Quilting Arts magazine and some spectacular teachers. What about you….does your stash tell the tale of your journey?

Lemonade Out of πŸ‹s

Happy New Year to all!  I’m still recovering from Cheryl Sleboda’s 31-day daily blog challenge…and am working on a few contest pieces that cannot be shared yet.  

But, as we make our plans for the new year, I thought I’d share the tale of an unsuccessful quilt top that became my favorite teaching apron (and guarantees that my friends can see me from across the convention center ;)).  

It all began with one of my favorite pictures of my muse…

…we worked together diligently on the pattern…

…and then I decided to apply the “neon” color scheme to the piece. Wow.  Really bad idea, as my other feline advisor tried to tell me:

See his look of concern?  Anyway, the combination of blowing up the image into an overly large size and the “NeonKitty” colors just didn’t work.  I folded it up and placed it in one of those UFO piles we all have.

A lightbulb went off when I packed for Houston that year…I was teaching Open Studios for the first time…and I needed an apron.  Out came the piece, cut to appropriate size, backed with muslin and stitched together with ties for waist and neck…ta da.

She has acquired whiskers since this photo, and some more ink…

…and has become my good-luck item for each trip :).  (Photo above kindly taken by Cheryl Sleboda at last year’s Spring Festival.). What projects have you re-made in unexpected ways?

P.S. I remade the image in natural colors and smaller size and it was one of my favorites donated to the annual Quilt Alliance auction…..