• My New Year’s Resolution

    Well, it’s January 6th and I’m about to embark on my New Year’s resolution. I have several – one is to clean and reorganize my sewing room and office, another is to try and get caught up with several years worth of neglected yard work on my two acres of property (sometimes it feels like Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood) and another resolution is to try and post more on my website (and update the gallery and calendar).

    This morning I’ve decided to ‘review’ some new embroidery needles I’m trying. A shop I teach for – Pioneer Quilts – recently started carrying a new line of hand sewing needles. They are Tulip Hiroshima Needles made in Japan. Apparently, the company started by making beading needles and have expanded into other types of needles, applique, quilting, embroidery, Sashiko… The needles I’m trying out is an assortment of embroidery needles ranging from size #3 – #6. So far, I’m impressed. I’m working with 6-strand cotton DMC floss (all 6 strands) and have found the needles thread more easily than than a comparable sized needle I was using previously. The needles are also quite sharp and have made stitching through the multiple layers of fabric in my project a bit easier. While the needle takes a little more force to penetrate initially (I’m assuming the taper at the tip is more obtuse), I’ve found that once you reach the ‘break point’ the needle glides through with ease and does not get stuck when you reach the threaded eye and requiring a LOT of force to pull it through like the other needles I had been using.

    The only downside is the cost. A package of Clover embroidery needles in assorted sizes will set you back around $3 – $5 depending on the type of needle and where you buy them, and come 16 to a package. The Tulip needles come at a hefty price – around $8.50 for just 8 needles. They are worth the cost however if they continue to work this well in other projects.

    These are the assorted Tulip needles sizes #3, #4, #5 & #6, notice they come in a little corked tube.
    These are the assorted Tulip needles sizes #3, #4, #5 & #6, notice they come in a little corked tube.
    This is the embroidery project I'm working on. It was meant to just be an example of layered and slashed fabric and the 'flaps' were supposed to curl and fray but the new non-agitating washers won't rough up the fabric so I trimmed them back and decided to embellish the resulting (rather boring) piece with hand embroidery
    This is the embroidery project I’m working on. It was meant to just be an example of layered and slashed fabric and the ‘flaps’ were supposed to curl and fray but the new non-agitating washers won’t rough up the fabric so I trimmed them back and decided to embellish the resulting (rather boring) piece with hand embroidery


  • Time Flies…

    I once heard someone say – “Time flies whether you are having fun or not, so you may as well be having fun. This past fall was fun but it was also a brutal schedule. I would be gone on a teaching engagement and return home with just enough time to get a little caught up on other work and prepare for the next trip before I was out the door again. My husband was not a happy camper.

    To make things worse, right before my last trip in November, I discovered my camera missing. I looked everywhere I normally keep it in the house and then in odd nonsensical places (in case the cat batted it under the furniture) and still no luck. Though I was distressed over the loss of the camera, the biggest loss in my mind were the pictures I had been too busy to download to my computer – they were irreplaceable.

    I finally bit the bullet and bought a new camera about a month ago, one ‘smarter’ that I am and I’m still trying to figure out how to download the software to make it able to transfer pictures wirelessly. Then, of all thing, I found my old camera a few days ago and in a place I swear I’d checked several times. It had slipped into a ziploc bag of embroidery supplies in a canvas project bag. I had removed the various ziploc project bags repeatedly to search the main bag for the camera and never noticed that one was a bit heavier than it ought to be. Oh well, I was thinking of upgrading the camera anyway and at least I got my lost photos back.

    So this is what I’ve been up to over the last couple of months: I started in early October with a trip to Pennsylvania to teach at a retreat sponsored by The Quilt Patch Etc. in Mt Pleasant, I taught my Garden Patch Cats & Bloomin’ Dogs class, Thread Painting and Mini Landscapes and have some wonderful photos of student work below.

    Following that, I taught at the Ocean Waves Quilt Camp at Rockaway Beach in Oregon sponsored by Jane’s Fabric Patch in Tillamook OR. I taught my regular standby – Machine Quilting and also my new class on Animal Totems.

    After that, I headed home for a few days then right back to Tillamook, this time to teach at the Latimer Textile Center where I offered a class on Hand Embroidered Folk Ornaments and then a class on Hand Appliqued Molas. While there, I stayed with my good friend and Starbucks Hot Chocolate Buddy, mystery writer, Arlene Sachitano. It was after this trip that I misplaced my camera so I did not get pictures of my next trip to teach for the West Sound Quilters in Port Orchard WA.

    After that, the holidays set in and between preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas coupled with playing catch-up with patterns and local teaching venues, I haven’t been at all good about keeping up with my blog. Perhaps I should make that my New Year’s resolution.

    Pennsylvania Fall Color! I was a bit early for the real show but I did get a glimpse of the the first hints of color.
    Garden Cat Quilt #1
    When I arrived at the retreat, they had a surprise for me. A member of the retreat group had brought two gorgeous full sized quilts she made from my Garden Patch Cat patterns; this was the first.
    Garden Cat Quilt #2
    This is the second full sized quilt.
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Mini Landscape #1
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Mini Landscape #1
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Mini Landscape #2
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Mini Landscape #2
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Mini Landscape #3
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Mini Landscape #3
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Thread Painted Butterfly
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Thread Painted Butterfly
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Bloomin' Dog (customized by student to better resemble her dog)
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Bloomin' Dog (customized by student to better resemble her dog)
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Garden Patch Cat: Podcats
    Quilt Patch Retreat - Garden Patch Cat: Podcats
    Retreat Center
    This is the retreat center we had the classes at. The top story shown here was basically one large meeting hall with a kitchen; the lower level was lodging for the teachers with private rooms, shared baths and a great room with kitchenette, fireplace, pool table and even a HOT TUB (which none of us used)
    Nature Trail
    There was a nature trail just down the road from the retreat center where I went for a walk.
    Full moon
    The last night I was there, rain was predicted but let up after dark long enough to let me take some stunning photos. I couldn't help but think of a Loreena McKennitt song with the words "...The moon was a ghostly galleon, tossed upon the cloudy seas..."
    OWQC Totem Class
    On to Rockaway Beach for the Ocean Waves Quilt Camp. These are the students from my Animal Totems class proudly displaying their projects
    Rabbit Totem
    Rabbit Totem
    Horse Totem
    Horse Totem
    Thunderbird Totem
    Thunderbird Totem
    Salmon Totem
    Salmon Totem
    Rabbit Totem (too)
    Rabbit Totem (too)
    Salmon Totem (too)
    Salmon Totem (too)
    Salmon Totem (three)
    Salmon Totem (three)
    Salmon Totem #4 (my, the Salmon is a popular one)
    Salmon Totem #4 (my, the Salmon is a popular one)
    More Salmon!
    More Salmon!
    My instructional Seminole display
    My instructional Seminole display
    Tillamook Sea Stacks
    The coast north of Tillamook feature exquisite sea stacks reminiscent of a Chinese landscape.

     

     



  • San Diego California

    I have to get better about blogging, it does not come easily for me. I have returned from a trip to teach and lecture for the Friendship Quilters in San Diego which was a great trip. I stayed with a wonderful hostess and met many talented and enthusiastic quilters in the guild. The weather – well that was not the greatest, it was hot and muggy and though I was leaving a hot spell in Portland, the weather in San Diego was more oppressive. Never mind, I really enjoyed the trip even with the weather.

    Between lecture and class, I got to see some of the sights including the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. LOVE those tigers but the only glimpse I got of a cheetah was crashed out in the shade, couldn’t see more than a spotted ‘carpet’. I took lots of pictures of animals, inspirations for future designs. I also went to the Visions Gallery where I saw a fabulous exhibit of quilts by Caryl Breyer Fallert. They were all smaller than her work that I have seen in quilt shows and frankly, I think these were the best pieces of hers I’ve seen to date – EXQUISITE!

    Onto the workshop – students made miniature landscapes in a choice of two scenes, a seascape and a marsh. Though students worked from kits I created, they were encouraged to play with the selections and swap any fabric they did not find appealing and several chose to do so. Following the pictures of the students at work are several photos of some of the projects. I would dearly have loved to get a group shot of the students holding up their quilts but one of my failings as a teacher (depending on your point of view) is that I get so immersed in the class that I often forget to stop and take pictures until the class is over and the students have left. Note to self – TAKE MORE PICTURES!

    Mini Landscape Lecture
    A lecture on how to achieve great effects with fabric for landscape quilts precedes the class
    Mini Landscape lecture 2
    Attentive students listen and learn
    Students at work
    Students at work on their projects
    student at work 3
    Cutting and fusing the landscape
    Students at work 3
    One on one advice regarding border selection
    Landscape kits
    Each kit is unique based on the fabrics selected
    Landscape 1
    Student project #1
    Student project #2
    Project #2 - note the borders being 'auditioned'
    Project #3
    Project #3
    Project #4
    Project #4 - auditioning inner border
    Project #5
    Project #5 - with potential borders
    Project #6
    Project #6 - seascape