Sunday, June 25, 2017

TIME OUT FOR ONE OF MINE

From time to time I give myself a reward after a quilt has been finished and handed back to its maker. Even though I have oodles of UFO's hiding in my lurkim, when I came across this charming pattern, I just had to make it.  I used yardage from my enormous stash (and felt very virtuous for doing so, thank you!).

But first, I must tidy up my work space.


And my pressing space.





Now that I could actually see the top of my cutting table AND find the ironing board, I set about  creating these initial building blocks:


I used maybe 16 fabrics all told, in various combinations.  Next was to add sashing:


First corner finished.  Now to add everything else:


Isn't this a pretty block?  I can't wait to have another "free" day to work on this quilt.









Saturday, June 24, 2017

Best Laid Plans...



First, a brief visit with us on our honeymoon in NYC.  We love New York!  Arthur, being from the Midwest, had never seen the Statue of Liberty, so we spent a beautiful, sunny, perfect temperature day taking the ferry over to see Her.  I have seen Her several times, but every time I do, the experience is impressive, awesome, emotional.  This time was the first time I had actually entered the structure and gone to the top of the base to look out over the island to NYC (sans Towers.)  The next time we go to New York, we're going to visit Ground Zero.  We only had two days this time around, so we didn't have much time for anything but this tour and a Broadway play, School of Rock, which was fabulous!!!


This is a view of the workings for the original light.  The scale of this great lady is amazing! And to the right is a view of just a bit of the statue's underpinnings.


I love this picture of the south end of the city.  I just happened to catch a gull in flight -- that's the white blob left of center.



And then it was time to go back home and get back into normal life.  I auditioned some thread for my newest customer quilt.  She chose the teal one.

Next to work on a customer quilt already on the frame.  The fabric was luscious, and I loved looking at it every day!

Below is the quilt map I used to make the pattern for this quilt.  It really turned out lovely, but, darn!  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product!


So I'll stop here and add some more tomorrow.  Have a nice day!







Monday, June 5, 2017

Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa!

It's been 4 years since I last posted!  During that time I moved to Maryland, met someone special, established a connection with a wonderful quilt guild, the Village Quilters Quilt Guild in Catonsville, MD, started my Maryland business, Ladycat Quilting, said goodbye to two dear friends who moved away (Mary to Florida and Peggy to California), celebrated eldest grandson's graduation from VA Tech as a Naval Architect, escaped most pitfalls in my relationship with Special One and dealt with others, introduced My Guy to the Caribbean and scuba diving, made lots of quilts, attended second grandson's high school graduation (which he tried hard to skip), quilted several quilts for my guild members, for new customers, and for charity, bought one of those marvelous adjustable beds (!!!), took up in depth Bible studies and discovered a real enthusiasm for that research, made a whole bunch of zippered and windowed project bags and cloth bowls and a tuffet, donated 17 bags of clothes and shoes and housewares to Goodwill, kept a diary, learned what forgiveness really means, fell in love with great grandson Benjamin, repainted the family room and kitchen, replaced a toilet with a taller version, welcomed Peggy back to Maryland - permanently!,  and on May 19, 2017 I did something most 72 year olds don't do:  I married My Guy, Arthur, in a civil ceremony at the local court house with a lady officiant who was upbeat and funny and made it all that much more memorable.



So now it's time to get back to sharing some pictures of the quilts and projects that have been waiting to be memorialized in the blog.


This quilt was made for my third grandson's graduation, which I will attend June 17.  He will be going to George Mason U in Virginia to study dance.  This is a talented kid who played football for a few years, was in all county chorus for a year, and began doing this disjointed, robotic sort of dancing about three years ago, and it snowballed into taking lessons and performing in competitions -- and winning!  So when it came to fabric for the quilt, I kept thinking:  how do I tie in singing and football and dancing?  What do they have in common?

TIMING!  Everything depends on timing -- rhythm in song, running up the field to catch the ball, matching your steps to those of your dance partner.  So I found this perfect fabric:


Isn't that fabulous?!!!  Clocks!  All of them with sayings from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  Or, if the Bible isn't your thing, maybe you can remember "Turn, turn, turn" sung by The Byrds in the late 50's and "written" by Pete Seeger (who, except for the first line, took it word for word from Ecclesiastes). If you look closely (click the picture above and it will enlarge), you can see the clock that has "A time to dance" written across it.  That's the one that clinched the deal for me, and the whole rest of the quilt was build around the central issue of time, particularly as it pertains to dance!

I think I'll stop here and show you more tomorrow.  Lots to come!







Sunday, July 21, 2013

SERENITY

 
I'm catching up on showing some of my quilts.  This variation on the Tree of Life was one of the most pleasing quilts I have made, mostly because of the colors I used.

 
But there's something about putting on those final touches, standing at the long arm frame, deciding on the stitching designs, and then watching it all come to life.  I turn on my music, and the alpha waves roll. 
 
By the way, the bit of batting at the bottom of the tree trunk is not a design element.  We quilters use snippets of batting to collect the shards of thread when we cut them at the end of each row or after using each color if there is more than one color of thread used.
 
I'm working on an art quilt for my VERY patient sister.  She gave it to me to do years ago, and initially I was intimidated by the intricacy of the hand appliqued designs.  Then I finally got started on it, but was interrupted by other projects, and then the mayhem and disorganization of my divorce.  I put it back on the frame when I moved to Maryland, but took it off  -- again! -- when she asked me to do some charity quilts she had made.  But I'll put it back on when I come back from Quilt Odyssey and try to get it finished for her before her birthday in December.  December?!  Yes, it will probably take me that long.  It's an art quilt and requires long hours to finish small bits at a time.  But I'll post now and then so you can see the work in progress.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

OPUS


This quilt's name is Lucinda Brodie.  The original pattern is from a 2009 McCall's Quilting Magazine, and it was all done by hand -- the piecing included. 

When I saw this pattern, I got in touch with quilting buddy and BFF Mary.  We decided to each do this quilt as personal challenges, since it was far more complicated than anything either of us had ever produced before.

However, neither of us wanted to hand piece anything, much less an intricate quilt like this one, so I divided the compasses into quarters and made paper piecing patterns out of them.  This solved two problems instantly:  how to get those perfect points consistently, and how to make the compasses "user friendly" by sewing them on a machine.

Mary showed me how to take the pieced compasses and sew them into the backgrounds, which were squares with the center circles already cut out.  The tall flying geese in the sashing were created with another paper piecing pattern I made from the original hand piecing patterns.

We used repro fabrics for everything, including the lovely appliques on the edges.  Actually, this quilt should be hung with the appliqued edges at the top and bottom, but my display area is not tall enough to do this over the couch, so I just turned mine on its side.

It sets off the newly redecorated medium gray/brown walls of the family room just perfectly!

Oh -- and the quilting is very detailed.  I don't like to use a bobbin thread that contrasts a lot with the backing, but in this case, if your backing is dark, as mine is, you need to use the same color thread as the background to the applique so that no snippets of color come through should your bobbin tension not be correct.

So, this is my opus for 2012.  It took several months to make, once the perfect fabrics were found.  But it took about 9 months to get up the nerve to tackle it in the first place.  The moral to the story: don't be daunted by any project you love from first sight.  It's so worth plodding through to the end!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

GIVING BACK

 
My sister, Missy, owns and operates a marvelous quilt show in Hershey, PA called Quilt Odyssey (www.quiltodyssey.com).  Part of the activities during the four days the show runs is a large sewing area with many new sewing machines and one indefatigable staff member, Sue, who assists and directs the varied efforts of visiting quilters who want to leave something behind to pass on to others in the form of donation quilts for sick children.
 
In her free time (hah!), Missy also makes quilts to give to others in need, and this year she asked me to do the quilting on two of them that she had finished in time to be included with the Quilt Odyssey group.

 
I wish I could figure out how to turn this picture, but you get the idea.  I liked the bold dark stripe across this quilt.  Most of the time I have so much fun quilting for others, even if the quilting requested is a simple pantograph.  No matter what you put on your quilt, the stitches bring to life the beauty and design of your quilt, and for me, it's almost magic to see the gradual metamorphosis.
 
Both of these quilts were quilted with pantographs.  If you would like to see the stitching a little better, click on either picture for a magnified view.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'M BACK!

 

 
 
Happy Days!!!

I'm blogging again after a year's absence. My former blog was LongarmDiva (www.longarmdiva.blogspot.com).  If you go to that location, you will find hundreds of pictures of my longarm quilting work.  If I can figure out how to get those pictures into this blog, I will do so, but I lost many pictures in an outdated photo storage system and can no longer access them.  Now that I have moved into my new digs and have set up my new studio, I'll be producing new works for you to peruse on this new blog.  My!  A lot has changed during this past year!

During that time I changed status (now divorced), state (Maryland now instead of Virginia), and scenery (city life instead of remote country). One of the results of the first change was losing 65 pounds.  Actually, 265 pounds, if you count the ex-husband, but we won't go into that.  May I just say that I don't miss a single one of those 265 pounds.... 

A happy result of the second change is establishing membership in a new quilt guild, the Village Quilters in Catonsville, MD.  I miss my old gang at the Lake Gaston Quilt Guild.  They have been the most kind and generous friends imaginable these past five years, and they will always be welcome should any of them find themselves in my area.

Which means that they would have to brave the result of the third change:  TRAFFIC!  OMG!!! I had forgotten the mayhem and lunacy of driving the beltway! Down south, if there were more than four cars on the same road with you, it was a traffic jam.  Up here there are thousands of cars all going under 20mph for what seems like forever -- and they all think that's the normal state of affairs.  Hmmmm.  So far, that's the only drawback to being back in my home state.  And to my way of thinking, the good parts far outweigh the bad stuff.


Here are two BIG reasons why I'm extra happy to be back in Maryland.  My two sons, Chris and Jon.  I'm 5'9", but these guys are well over 6'.  My Guy calls them Sequoias!  These huge offspring and their families (five grandchildren, thank you) are now so much more accessible.  Being over four hours away in the southernmost boonies of Virginia made short visits almost impossible.  Now I can see them just for dinner or other normal occasions.  Hurray!

So now I have opened my new studio, LADYCAT QUILTING, otherwise known as my lurkim (see Dr. Seuss' The Lorax), happily quilting away on my wonderful Nolting 24 Pro with the unbeatable IntelliQuilter computerized robotic system on it for gorgeous and limitless quilting designs. Over the next weeks, I'll share this journey of reestablishment, reconstitution and revitalization. 

And I'll introduce you to a very special person -- My Guy -- who appeared out of nowhere as nothing short of a miracle.  But that's for another day.

Till then, there's no place like home.