Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Art Quilt Tahoe - Three Things to Ponder

The sign outside our door at Art Quilt Tahoe. The freakish organized person inside me really liked the way everything was labeled so nicely! I thought about snatching the paper sign at the end of the program as a memento, but someone beat me to it.

Here are three things (there are more, of course) I learned while I was there:
  • Overheard from Libby Lehman, Thread Goddess: If you are a fan of Sewer's Aid for difficult threads, you'll really like Tri-Flow Bicycle Lubricant. It actually bonds to the thread and doesn't gum up your machine like Sewer's Aid can do.
  • From Carol Taylor, Color Goddess: To tame unruly couching threads, use a straw, taped to the top of your sewing machine, to feed the thread. It's hard to see in my picture, but the couching thread comes around the back of the pin where you pull your thread to wind your bobbin, then trails over the end (near your flywheel). This will free up your hands to guide the fabric under the foot. Make sure the tension on your couching thread stays loose - if it pulls tight you will get puckers. After much serious discussion in class (ha, ha, NOT!), we decided that the best straw to use is one of the fat Starbucks straws, the one you get with a Frappuccino. However, make sure you get a smaller one, too, so you can poke unruly threads through the straw easily.
  • Heard from one of the teachers and now I can't remember: Think about sorting your fabric by value instead of color. Hmmm...this might actually work for me, but is going to take a long time for me to reorganize my fabric. A long time ago I used to sort my fabric by type (solids, batiks, florals, etc.), then I mixed them all up and sorted them by color because I frequently intermix them in my work. But sorting them by value might even be better! I'll have to think on that one myself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What I've Been Up To

I'm home from Art Quilt Tahoe, which was FABULOUS. I will post more very soon about the experience. In the meantime, THIS is what I've been up to:


Actually, this picture doesn't look as bad as it feels. Organized chaos, I guess.

More soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Art Quilt Tahoe - Day Two

First, a glimpse of last night's dinner. It was Libby Lehman's 60th birthday. She looks terrific, by the way, and is sporting a darling new short haircut. (Notice Honu III on display behind the podium - WOW - how did I luck out with that??)

Today was the first full day of work and I made good progress on the first project. It was fun learning how to couch various yarns and threads. I have a nice new SMALL collection of these yarns that I can use for various projects. I already have some ideas.

Here is a play-by-play of the piece I worked on today:

I'll post a picture of the finished project tomorrow. In the meantime, check out this jacket that Mary P. from Upland, California made (Aly, here's an idea for your fabric!!):

More fun posted tomorrow!

Monday, November 12, 2007


I arrived at Lake Tahoe yesterday, a little tired from the red-eye flight, excited about the week ahead and a little nervous. This is the first time I've taken a trip like this by myself! It feels a little bit odd to be in such a beautiful place without Bruce, and he said it feels odd to be home by himself, too.

This is the view from my room, which is lovely. Snow on the mountains and a bit chilly outside - I don't think it got up to 50 degrees yesterday.

I settled into my room and had a massage, which was desperately needed after trying to sleep on the plane. They had a sanctuary room with comfortable couches, relaxing music, lemon water, tea and apples. I had two cups of this wonderful cinnamon tea, the scent of which reminded me of the fiery taste of cinnamon bear candy (one of my favorites), and an apple. I realized as I ate the apple that I'd had very little to eat and I was starving!

After the massage I felt relaxed and rejuvenated, but not perky enough to explore, so I ordered room service (I think for the second time in my life) and had a wonderful grilled chicken sandwich and a bowl of mixed fruit. It was funny, I was expecting a little side cup of fruit, but it actually came in a good-sized bowl which was filled with cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and pineapple which were all fresh and sweet. I was especially surprised with the pineapple, which was the best I've had outside of home (and better than some of that)!

This is the view this morning. It snowed last night!! There is a thin blanket of white covering everything and it is SO PRETTY. You have to walk outside to get from the building where the rooms are to the main building where the workshop and restaurants are which is neat because you get to experience the COLD air. I love it. I'm just thankful I have a good jacket, gloves and warm shoes. I might even take a walk outside later. There are trails everywhere. If I had warmer running clothes, I'd probably take a spin outside, but I'll be happy to workout in the fitness center which looks out on the valley. Who needs TV on the treadmill when you've got a view like that!

I am enjoying the peace and quiet and the ability to choose whatever I want to fill the day. I am reading a wonderful book that I borrowed from my friend Joan called "A Three Dog Life." It's a memoir about a woman whose husband is injured and suffers a traumatic brain injury. It's beautifully written, poignant and funny. I didn't think I would be able to relate to it, but I read the cover flap and was intrigued. Turns out there's something for everyone to take away from this book. I have to keep reminding myself as I read it that it is a true story - this woman is remarkable. A must-read!

Lastly, I have to show you the little bag I bought for traveling. I needed a small purse just to carry my ID, credit cards, phone and camera, plus my boarding pass. Who wants to dig through a huge bag at the airport? I looked everywhere on Maui, but could not find what I had in mind, and I had NO TIME to make one up. The I literally stumbled onto Linda Dunn's blog via the SAQA web ring (the link for the ring is on my sidebar - they are all Studio Art Quilt Associates members). She makes these FABULOUS bags from bits of recycled fabric. Here is a picture of mine:

It is beautifully made, opens at the top with a zipper, has a front pocket that fits a boarding pass (see the gold silk edge near the top), and a zipper pocket on the back that you can't see, which holds my camera and phone perfectly! To top it all off, all pockets are lined in silk. And, it is my current favorite color combination - brown and blue. What a great Christmas gift! Thanks, Linda, for having exactly what I needed!

That's all for now. I have to finish sewing the sleeve on my quilt for the challenge. I will post a picture of it after the exhibit opens. More later!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No Mo Plastic Bag

Check out this effort by the Paia, Maui merchants to become the first plastic-shopping-bag-free town in Hawaii:

I caught a press release about it in Maui No Ka Oi Magazine.

Are YOU using reusable bags yet?

Trouble with Fabric Choices

This is the central fabric I picked for the last part of my class. I'm not sure I've done the right thing! I may scrap the whole bit and go with something completely different tonight after I talk with my friends at our guild meeting.

I'm just not sure I'm getting the pizzazz I want from the color choices. I've always wanted to do a brown/neutral quilt, but I'm not sure if this is the right combination.

Here are the other fabrics I've pulled so far:

What do you think?

Project Two

These are the fabrics I chose for the "sensuous lines and curves" part of my class next week.

It's a good thing to get everything prepped early. As I was getting these fabrics ready to go I realized that my central piece was only 18" wide (makes sense, since I usually buy half-yards) and I needed 22". I was lucky to find it at the fabric shop yesterday and bought another yard.

One more bummer - my Tutto tote is not the "crafter" model. It's the office model, so my sewing machine does not fit. ERG! I'm going to have to post it back on eBay. Thankfully, my mother-in-law has a variety of suitcases and one carry-on size just happens to fit my machine perfectly. Crisis averted.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Honu III

Here's a first peek at Honu III!

He's done, except for the sleeve, which I am going to stitch on tonight.

I finished this one with a facing instead of a binding, which I prefer for this quilt, because it gives it a more "open" look since it's not confined by a traditional binding. You can't see the detail in this shot, but I will take better (and more color-true) photos this weekend with my new photography set up.

Thanks to one of my blogging friends who referred to Kathy Loomis' article in the September 2007 issue of AQS magazine - who was it?? It's Kathy's instructions I followed for the facing - great job!

Secret Project

The other day I pulled out a book I haven't referred to in a long, long time: On the Surface, by Wendy Hill. I fell in love with this book when it came out, and it was one of the first titles I purchased for my old quilt shop.

I wanted a fun, thready background for a quilt I'm working on, and On the Surface was just the ticket. I wove the background, and here you can see how I've used every pin from my pincushion to secure the layers for quilting.

I first zig-zagged all of the raw edges to tack everything down, then went to town with several threads a la "on the surface." Here's a picture of the thread embellishment in progress.

My trusty 160 did well with most of the threads, but kicked up a fuss with the Superior Threads Hologram thread and one other decorative thread. I trudged on, though, and it finished up nicely.

I'll unveil this project and its purpose in a later post.

Getting Ready for AQT

I am going to Art Quilt Tahoe in just over a week! I have been slowly getting supplies together for my class with Carol Taylor. I am so excited about this trip I can hardly stand it! I've wanted to go to Art Quilt Tahoe or Asilomar for years and my dream came true in the form of a scholarship to AQT.

Here are the fabrics I've chosen for one of the segments of the class. I still have to add threads to this one. Finally a chance to use these finicky fabrics I've had for a long, long time. I threw in the packet of beads just because they "go."

I have to get out the suitcase(s) this weekend and figure out how I'm not going to freeze my tail off! I don't have any "winter" clothes, outside of a snowboarding jacket I bought last year for our trip to Lake Arrowhead. The average high temperature for Lake Tahoe in November is only 49! With lows as cold as 20. Oh boy. Let's keep in mind, however, that I won't be hiking in the woods or skiing. I will be going from airport to car to hotel. I'm mostly concerned with staying warm and comfortable in class.

I'll post the other two fabric packets I'm putting together so you can see the progress during the week. I can't wait!

By the way, if you are going to AQT, please drop me a note. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone and making new friends.

Long Overdue

Here is a picture of Janey with her "get well" quilt. She had hip replacement surgery so our little group got together and made her the quilt.

These quilts are fun, because they are kind of like a pot luck where you end up having all of the right dishes. We had minimal guidelines (flower theme, Bali fabrics, and one matching sashing strip). Ta - Da - this is what you get!

She was really surprised! She had no idea what we were up to even when I was getting it out of the bag to hand it to her.

And, of course, she's healing up fast, no doubt because of the quilt! :-)