Monday, August 25, 2014

As clean as it gets

My longarm group, Kansas Longarm Quilters, had a quilt room tour recently and because they were having trouble finding victims hosts for the tour, I volunteered.  It seemed like a good idea until it came time to clean my studio.  I'm busy quilting so allowed  just one day to clean it up and this is it -  as clean as it gets.

When Peter and I bought our house in Sedgwick we realized we would need to build a separate building to have room for a longarm machine.  We originally planned to renovate the old garage (build in the 1920's) as a studio but soon discovered it was too decrepit, infested with termites and had an old well inside.  We ended up taking it down and building a 24 x 26 foot building behind the house.  It seemed huge at the time but now is crammed full of stuff.

The entrance facing the house, with Mrs. Meatloaf on the wall.

Part of my thread stash.

More thread in all the shelves and cabinets along the wall.  Do you like the repairs on my chair cushion?  That's my quilt It's Turtles All the Way Down on the back wall.

A view of my stash with my first wholecloth Indian Summer on the wallJust not enough time to straighten my fabric shelves.  I need a couple more days to do that.

Design wall and cutting table.  I can roll the table out of the way and use the design wall for photographing quilts.

 Another view of my Innova longarm with (ahem) more messy storage underneath.  I'll clean that up better someday - really!  On the wall is an old guild challenge quilt, The Cat's Tea Party.

Ribbons! And photography lights.

It's nice to have it cleaned up for a day or two.  As soon as I get back to work it will return to normal!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A peach pilgrimage and cabbage farts

Betty and I made our annual pilgrimage to the peach orchard and found the most beautiful peaches we have ever seen and tasted.

This is what Betty is smiling about:


We always enjoy our trip to the orchard.  We go first thing in the morning so it is cool and quiet with just the birds for company.  Tasting is free, of course.

Plus we come home with treasures.

I made a short road trip with Nancy and Tammy to Strong City, Kansas.  It's a tiny town in the Flint Hills with a wonderful restaurant called Ad Astra.  They are known for using locally produced food and I had heard good things about it.  We had an excellent lunch which we snarfed down before I took this picture.


Nancy ordered fried brussel sprouts and I can't believe I liked them after a lifetime of being brussel sprout-phobic.  They weren't battered, just fried until crispy on the outside  - yum!  I tried making them at home but only succeeded in making the house smell like cabbage farts. 

It was a beautiful day and the trip there was  a pretty one as we drove through the Flint Hills.  I love the round hay bales. 

We stopped in Cottonwood Falls and saw the Chase County Courthouse which has to be about the cutest courthouse I have ever seen.  It is the oldest operating courthouse in Kansas and was built in 1873.  A little Kansas history for you.

When I went to our little Sedgwick Sewing group last week I was the first to arrive and found Virginia waiting on her front porch with her goose.  She dresses that goose up in a different outfit for each season and holiday.  It has a bigger wardrobe than I do.

No quilt pictures this post - I'm still working on Gail's quilt.  I'll try to find pictures of a few quilts to  include in my next post.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Betty's hexies

Another quilt for Betty - hexies this time.  Betty said  she made it all from scraps except for the backing.   This was quilted using a cotton batt which doesn't have much loft so I used grey thread in the border so the quilting would show.


Of course it is all hand stitched and she even cut out the paper foundations by hand.  She says she likes to keep her hands busy!  It took her several years to finish.

I'm getting ready to start on another quilt for my quilting partner Gail Stepanek so won't have customer quilts to show for a while. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nice and scrappy

This is Betty's quilt; it's a nice scrappy one.  I don't do many edge to edge designs, my work is 99% custom so it's kind of fun to do something different.

Betty is the one that brought me that dreadful batting.  She said she took it back to Hancock Fabrics and they refunded her money.  Thank goodness!

So far our Kansas summer has been unusually cool and I'm not complaining!  I haven't even had to use the AC since the 'polar vortex' moved in.  But it is making it hard for my tomato crop to ripen.  I planted several  plants in pots this year and they have done well, producing big fat green tomatoes.  I talk to them every day but they are waiting for more typical summer temperatures to ripen.  Only the leaves are turning color!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The return of The Thimbleberries Lady

If you have followed my blog for a while you might remember The Thimbleberries Lady that I quilted many quilts for.  Marsha took a break for a while but is back with this cute wallhanging.

Thimbleberries fabric is no more but I think Marsha has a lifetime supply in her stash.


When I took our quilt show judge Cindy Erickson out for a quick visit to a local quilt shop, Material Girls, this quilt was hanging on the wall.


Made by shop owner Jan Munroe this is Chick Jubilee by Bunny Hill Designs.  The quilting is so beautifully done by my friend and amazing quilter, Siriporn Hollar.  The quilt is square and straight but because I had to aim upwards to take pictures it looks a bit out of whack.



It's so fun to examine each block.  Siriporn added all kinds of fun details.


When my customers bring me their quilts they sometimes bring their own batting and I'm willing to use whatever they have with a few exceptions.  This batting now goes on the list of exceptions.

The touch of luxury cashmere appeared as little dirty spots trapped in the polyester.
There were even more holes and chewed up spots in this batting, more than I took the time to photograph.



I hope she can get her money back and really, she should make an official complaint.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

A real memory quilt

This quilt came with issues.  I was prepared; the customer told me the blocks  had been hand pieced by her mother when she was old and unwell. It was made from old family clothing scraps collected over the decades and it had everything in it: old feedsack prints, cottons from the 50's, bright psychedelic prints from the 60's, flocked cotton, wool, double knit, madras, seersucker - you name it! A real memory quilt.


Because of the wacky piecing and crooked seams we agreed an edge to edge design was the best choice.  I did overall feathers which give good coverage and ate up all the excess fabric in the borders and some blocks.

The end result lay flat and looked nice. 


This is what $1000 worth of Wonderfil thread looks like.  I placed an order using the gift certificates I won at MQS last spring and it just arrived.  Lots of Invisifil, many colors of their metallic and hologram thread and the wonderfully named Spagetti, a 12 wt. cotton thread.

My thanks to Wonderfil - I do like their thread!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Common Threads part II

In the first Common Threads post I showed pictures of a few of the 140 quilts entered into the judged show. In this post are quilts entered for display only: there were a total of 600 quilts hanging in the show.  Many of these quilts could have won ribbons in the judged show but their makers choose not to enter them.

Merilyn Austin made this ambitious appliqued Princess Feathers quilt by designer Kim McLean.  It is a large quilt and was hung at the end of a row facing the entrance to the show where it attracted a lot of attention.  Siriporn Hollar did a beautiful job on the quilting.

I don't especially like the Downton Abby line of fabric, but Leslie Snodgrass made a pretty quilt from it.  The pattern is Emerald Forest by Leanne Clair.  Another beautiful job on the quilting by Siriporn.

I like the bold colors in Lee Miescher's quilt.  This is a design by Heide Stoll-Weber.

This is such a clever design by quiltmaker Cathy Klusman.  She made it for her 3 year old great niece that loves Minnie Mouse and calls it For the Love of Minnie.


Susan Webert made Stars and Strips by Brendalou Scott and Liz Scott Adams.  Evelyn Gernaat did a very nice job on the quilting.

This is Moroccan Gem, made and quilted by JoAnn Blackmore from a pattern by Toby Lischko.  Great way to use that patterned fabric.

Charlotte Wolfe designed this for her shop for the 2013 Kansas Shop Hop and I really like the way she used the bold black and white chevron print in this quilt.

Lucky Gail Hand found this vintage beauty in an antique mall in Ohio. 


Such gorgeous hand quilting!

The next Common Threads post will be in two years - at our next show!