2017 – Let’s have a terrific New Year

Well, it’s January which means time to get ready for Road to California Quilt show.  This is more than a show – it’s more like an explosion of fabric, classes, vendors and amazing teachers.  So if you are ever in the Ontario, CA area in January, please consider attending at least one day to view some terrific fabric art.

Craftsy star quilt.jpg

Summer Stars

This was a free project from Craftsy and designed by Kimberly Einmo who I met at Road and had as an instructor.  The top is not quilted when I took this picture but my long armer did an exquisite job.  Kimberly is one of the teachers that has also published books on Jelly Roll designs.  For non-quilters, a jelly roll is anywhere from 20-40 fabrics all precision cut into 2 1/2″ strips.  You can find her books at quilt stores or on Amazon.

Spanish tiles is a pattern I bought at a Road show, bought the fusible interface that went with the design but then put it away. Pattern is by Marin and Colusa (always give credit to the designer) and the tile design is already on the fusible interface.  Not sure why, but I put it away.  Well, in cleaning out some items, I found the pattern.  Then found the interfacing so that got me started.  After a nice “cuppa tea”, I read through and found out that it wasn’t that hard after all.  I tried a couple of squares with fabrics from my stash.

Spanish tiles.jpg

Spanish tiles

I really liked it and decided to go on with the pattern.  My lap size turned out to be 5′ X 5′ 1/2 ish.  I also say “ish” as one side is usually just a tad longer or wider.  To quilt this one, I will do hand quilting.   It would a nice change of pace even though I do love standing at the long arm and getting the quilt done in an hour or two (depending on the size and pattern).

Here is a picture of the completed quilt top that Elwood decided to check out.  As usual, my quilts are CTCA, Cat Tested-Cat Approved.  Again, this was done with stash fabric.spanish-tiles-3

Quilting is my hobby, my passion and my stress reliever.  However, when I want to rush through the pattern, that’s when little things will pop up – the tension gets askew, the thread breaks, one of my cats demands my attention, etc.  Plus I usually like to sew when there is day light.  However, since I wanted to get this top done to show at my guild meeting, I plowed through until 8 p.m. (Plus I wanted to watch NCIS).

So I am excited about attending Road to California again. http://www.road2ca.com.   New quilts to ogle, new tools, returning friends and new ones, returning vendors and so much more.  There are also lectures scheduled, late night mystery classes and how to design your own patterns electronically.

Thanks for reading.  I appreciate your time.  Have a terrific 2017!

 

 

Tips and Tools Part Deux

Bon jour and that is the extent of my French.  I hope you enjoyed Part one of Tips and Tools.  Let me throw out some more:

Tools DVDPattern Books and movies:  I will usually purchase the books from teachers when I take class at Road to California.  One reason is they get the money directly and two, they will autograph it for you.  I will take some of the books to have them spiral bound.  This makes it easy to make copies if you are doing paper piecing.  Now my DVD collection on the shelf is a cross between movies and quilting.  The Quilt Show, hosted by Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson are in box sets which is good and bad.  The good is you learn great techniques and get to new perspective.  The bad is you aren’t quilting because the show is so intriguing.  I have made quilts while West Side Story, Casablanca, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray and many others are playing on a small DVD player.  Again for two reasons – one is I have seen them so many times I don’t have to watch.  Two, it makes me stop if my favorite scene is on.  You need to take breaks for your back, eyes and mind.

Tools Iron Iron:  I love this Oliso iron as it lifts itself up off the fabric.  This helps eliminate the repetitive motion of lifting up the iron.  You can get less expensive irons but make sure it doesn’t leak.  The Oliso one also shuts itself off when not moved.  It takes regular water so you don’t end up buying distilled water.  You do have to empty out the reservoir after you are finished.  There are other portable irons that you can take to class but some places are adamant about too much power being used.  Some classes are even policed by the staff of the venue to check on the extra items.  Now some teachers say don’t iron until you have completed the top.  But when you need top press the seam to one side or press open, you want to use the steam iron as opposed to a dry  iron.  The steam causes the fibers of the thread to expand making the seam more strong.

Tools rulersRulers:  So many to have and you will need a lot of them.  There are many manufactures so it really depends on what appeals to you.  Do you want one that has a green background, clear acrylic, yellow lines, black lines, specialty (diamonds, triangles, etc).  Some teachers have had their own made for their patterns.  Kimberly Einmo created a ruler so it would be easier to cut diamonds for her patterns.  The 2 1/2″ line is marked in a different color.

You’ll want at least a 24″, 18″ and a 12″ length ruler.  This will accommodate almost every cutting mat that is out there. 12″ and 18″ are good for fat quarters but the longer rulers are better for the 42-44″ fabric. Do not leave these rulers in direct sunlight.  Along with the mats, they will warp – that’s when you put on Rocky Horror picture Show and do the Time Warp Dance”  But seriously, the mats can be reshaped but not perfectly.

Tools art bin lampCarry All:  Mine is an old art bin box that I have had for years.  It’s lightweight and has numerous levels.  My wood handled seam ripper and stiletto are on the top level along with hand sanitizer.  I also carry a highlighter, glue stick, buttons, extra thread, needles, extra bobbins, rotary cutter, breath mints, pens, pencils, and band-aids. To the right is an Ott light.  Some venues had almost adequate lighting.  The Ott light is a must for some classes.  The bulb is LED and gives natural illumination.  This way, you don’t have to carry your fabric outside to check the colors.  Next to the light is a small bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  You will want to use this when sewing half square triangles.  I know that mine have stretched just enough to make it impossible for the points to be perky. Best Press has a variety of aromas – Lavender, Peach, Fresh Breeze and Unscented.

So to conclude with just some other advice:

Never be afraid to try a new method .. Read all the directions before cutting (it will save you $$ and time) .. There are no stupid questions.. Be bold… Check out a teachers website… Contact them if you had a great time in the class…Send them a photo of the finished top (you might end up in their next book)..Just have fun.  Plus you do need a cat to test the fabric.Tools cat This is Jake.  He reminds me to stop and appreciate him.

Thanks for reading. Any feedback is appreciated.