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Friday, November 16, 2012

Well, since I returned from Michigan, I've been to the Des Moines IA Quilt Show, and helped with our local guild's quilt show and kept working on my flower job AND getting my stewdio all ready.  Along with the normal craziness, there you have it!

Since this will be a short post (I can't keep waiting until I have the time to write everything I want), I will post the pictures of my new stewdio space now.  The Amazing Quilt Babes will be here tomorrow morning to break it in, so to speak.  I am pretty pleased with how it's turned out, and I hope I don't have much more moving around to get things in just the right place.  You can double click the pictures to see them larger, too.
This is the entire view from across the room (without the design wall on the right side)
Design Wall side beside my "faux" door 
Closer view on the east side
Behind the "guest work table" are all my sorted fabric bins
Closer view of my sewing table and big board
 my personal cutting table is behind the sewing machine by the window 
I went to a local furniture consignment store to see if they would take my HUGE glass tables from the big house.  What did I find?  The guest work table for a pretty price AND they delivered it for me too!  Kewl Beans!
My favorite painted chest, and my board o'ribbons and junk
I store my larger hoops and infrequently used tools in the chest
I was able to mostly cover the circuit breaker box with little quilts.
The pegboard stores all my specialty rulers.
This is my personal cutting table.  I found it at a church rummage sale for only $20.00!
I have so many projects that I found while I was sorting, I can hardly wait to get started!  Tomorrow, though will find me sorting those two tubs of scraps (seen in the third picture down).  That way I have all my fabric for another project almost ready to roll!

Have fun, and keep stitching!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where in the world is QuiltGranny?

Missing in action, you ask? Swallowed by the mounds of fabric? Lost in her stewdio?
No, not at all! I've been off to my annual Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston and 30 of my closest (once a year) best quilting buddies. We meet in Elk Rapids, MI now, at the White Birch Lodge where Gwen has been hosting this retreat for the last 8 or so years. Before that, and until 9/11, it had always been on Beaver Island, MI. I always go up a couple of days early to explore Michigan, since that part of the country was never in my growing up years. September, right after Labor Day is just marvelous because all the vacationers are gone, but the weather is still generally really nice. And this year, it couldn't have been more glorious!
So, Sunday was my arrival day, and I spent a bit of time getting settled in, buying groceries for the condo, and going to JoAnn's in Traverse City for the bits of things I had forgotten before driving on up to Elk Rapids. Monday morning found my friend, Carol, and I headed even further north to Mackinaw City to catch the ferry for Mackinac Island. It was about an hour and a half drive, but oh!, so pretty!
Carol and Quiltgranny waiting for the ferry.
We took the catamaran because it's a smoother ride they say.
This is the Mackinac Bridge (Mighty Mac), the third longest suspension bridge in the world - it's 5 miles from shoreline to shoreline!
And the wind was in my hair since I had a window seat!
We did the carriage ride around the island which was very informative.
We had a nice break at the butterfly house on the island.
I think they liked my lotion and my hairspray!
It was delightful to see all the different beautiful butterflies here!
This is a view of Lake Huron from one of the highest points on the island.
We did a little shopping on the island, and had a marvelous hamburger at a tiny little 1950's diner, the Chuckwagon. It was served on a pretzel bun which made it even better.
A wonderful garden shop chock full of all kinds of bright, pretty things!
Tuesday found us going to Sutton's Bay for lunch at Martha's, and to visit one of our favorite garden Shops. The drive is always lovely along the shoreline from Elk Rapids to Sutton's Bay. And yes, we stopped at at least one quilt shop along the way!
We had to be back by late afternoon for the start of the retreat. We always gather together and talk about our plans for the week, but this time, there was other news to add. Gwen has been doing this retreat for 29 years this year, and she says she is ready to retire after thirty years next year...sort of like the Detroit auto workers - thirty years and you're out. At any rate, next year will be a transition year, with Gwen still there, but along with Pat Holly and her sister, Sue Nickels. I hope they will keep the "retreat" in our retreat, and I know it will not be the same without Gwen, but, I think it will still be a great time. They might even be able to teach me I might even learn some new things!
     This year's theme was medallion quilts, and the next morning, Gwen shared many quilts with us.  She gets inspiration for them by looking at the parts of quilts in antique quilts, magazines and books.  I took a lot of pictures, but mostly just the parts that interested me.  AND, most of my pictures had other people's parts in them, so they weren't so interesting to share with you:)  This is the one that really intrigues me.  I love the setting triangles around the central medallion.  AND look closely to find an extra border in it that will make it a bit longer than it is wide so it isn't just square as most medallions are.  I kept this quilt in mind as I worked through the week.
Gwen's medallion quilt
Isn't this a clever way to repeat those zebras?  Carol B. just made chunks of fabric for the heads and used a stripe fabric for the legs.  She will use this as a lower border. 
     There were many so quilt tops made this week, but I haven't sorted through the pictures yet to give attribution to them.  I will probably drop a few pictures here and there in the coming posts as soon as I match up who made what.  They were all just spectacular, though!
This is the view right outside my condo door.
Sunset on the lake from my doorway.
Annie from Australia brought treats all the way from home - Tim Tams, Iced VoVos, and Crackers.  Yum, yum!
A string pieced corner triangle and a liberated border, hmmmmmm.  Thanks, Ronnie!
This is the view from where I sat and sewed each day.  This was the last day:(
Have ironing board, will travel, Marge and Carol W.
Thank heavens for tape and newspaper so I didn't have to do the math!
I'm sure you are all waiting with baited breath to see what I accomplished this past week, eh? I'll surprise you - I really DID get something sewn in and amongst all the travel and the chatting and the eating! And I love it. I think I am going to tweak it a bit, and then move on to the next section. You can double click any of these pictures for the larger view. And will be another one for MY bed, so I have a ways to go! So, off to sew!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Time and inspiration!

We all have the same amount of time in our day, and the older I become the less there seems to be. How can that be? My time seems to be spent doing most of the things I want, interrupted occasionally by "required" things like shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Yet, when I look at what I am doing, I know there are some things that I have really let take over my time.  
Facebook is one of those. I often get sucked into the pages, looking at pictures that my friends have posted, or following links to news articles and comics and such. At the end of the day, what have I gained from that except to fill some time? A LOT of time, it seems, which takes away from other things I really want to do. I can still keep up with friends the old fashioned way, and I can still read the news on my own without it being filtered by singular posts. I knew it had gotten really bad when Hubby and I were FBing each other posts and notes and cartoons. So, with all that said, I am suspending my Facebook account until 2013.  
For those of you who "follow" me via Networked blogs which notify you on your FB account when I post, you will need to get the feed elsewhere. One way is to "follow" me on the blog page or your favorite RSS feed. Or of course, you can just bookmark the page and check it occasionally. I will be posting every day at least once a week on the blog with the reclaimed time by eliminating the FB time warp!
Now, for inspiration. A couple of you have emailed me privately asking about the painted chest that is in my stewdio. Don't you just love it? I didn't paint it, but always say, "I could have!" When I found this chest at a garage sale, I had been thinking of doing exactly this, so I snapped it up right away. It also came with a matching twin size headboard/foot board that I would really like to re-purpose as a bench. Maybe this winter? I keep my over sized rulers in the top drawer, Christmas gifts (shhhhh) in the next two drawers, and the bottom drawer has my quilting and embroidery hoops and anything else that is a weird size to store. Do I really need this in my stewdio, taking up valuable space? Well, yes, I do! It's my inspiration to play with abandon!  
Painted chest
Scrolled corners highlighted
Top of the chest on the edge (with a pin on the stripes)     
Here's the progress on those tubs.  They are all filled, and then there are some more on the top.  There are still 3 BIG tubs to go, so Hubby went and got me one more shelf!  He's putting it together as I type this post
Did you buy stock in Stearlite containers?
I plan on sorting the smaller tubs with another pass.  When I get back to them, I plan on using Comic Book boards for the 2 yard pieces that are presently stored in the smaller tubs.
How about stock in Polar Notions?
Remember the scrap bin I was making?  Here's the progress on that now -  TWO bins instead of one!
Scrap quilting forever for eveyone!
The most fun and rewarding thing from all of this organizing happened as I got to the end of the big tubs.  Look what I've found, hidden away!  Some of it I know is dated from 2003!  OMG!  And there's more that I haven't even shown.
On the design wall doesn't mean it is going to be finished anytime soon!
THIS one will be finished!  I am going to take it to Michigan with me next week and stitch it on the plane!
Hubby in the garden.  Words from the Garden Song
Do you think I will be able to find the same threads to finish out the seed stitching on it in my box of threads?  
Big box o'threads!
We've had the most luscious rains here in the Midwest overnight.  I'm sorry for those Southern folks who got the brunt of Isaac, but we sure needed the spin off!  Everyone loves it EXCEPT.........
Mayo the Wunder Dog
She loves her walks but not in the rain.  She loves her raincoat, but not in the rain. LOL!
Do I really have to go, Ma?
Yes, Mayo, we really have to go. No more Facebook, so there's more time for walks in the rain! See you all later! Keep stitching!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

And sew it goes!

    I am still using every spare moment to organize.  It's been interesting as I've fondled handled all this fabric while it is finding it's new home.  When I first started quilting, there weren't that many quilt shops, and if I saw fabric I liked, I bought it, without thinking about what I was going to use it for.  At that time, I did primarily hand applique work.  Hand quilting was my game, and hand stitching was in my hands whenever I was idle for any time at all.  Many small cuts of fabric with textures was what I bought.
     Then, machine quilting became accepted, and I could make even more quilts in less time because I could finish them faster.  New tools like the rotary cutter, and marking tools and specialty rulers came on the market along with many classes on how to speed things up.  That meant I mostly started piecing and not doing much hand work. I learned a lot of techniques, some pretty nifty, others I know I won't ever use again.  I bought a lot of the new tools, and only use about half of them.  
     More quilt shops came around, and now I see many of the same lines in all the stores I go to, regardless of the region.  Sure, some of the shops lean more toward a particular personality....say, for example, Civil War reproductions, Modern prints like Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler, Aunt Gracie's 30's and brights.  When I saw fabric I really liked in the past, I bought three yards of it - that always worked for borders OR backings.  Neutrals without paint on them (WOWS) also started showing up, and I bought yardage of that, too.  Here's the result of that yardage shopping.  What's so funny, is I can tell you where I bought each piece, regardless of city or state - but I can't remember where I put my reading glasses!
Progress heading toward the bottom shelf - about 150  mini-bolts
     While pawing through the fabric sorting the fabric, I've found that my taste in fabric hasn't changed much - just the quality of the fabric.  I cleared out much of the early fabric pieces that were stiff with sizing, and just hadn't been out of the box in years. They will be good for charity quilts - nice enough fabric, but just not for me.  
LOOK! Only 12.5% of available storage to go!
    The funny thing about all this (today) is that I used to store all my fabric together in one large tub.  The bits that had been cut off from a larger piece were folded back, ever so nicely with it, probably to be used when that piece came out again.  So, now, they scraps been separated into a large tub (times 2).  It surely looks like I have enough strips and scraps to make at least 4 quilts!  So, that is the plan.  When I am all finished with the bigger sorting, these tubs will be sub-sorted into lights and darks.  Then whenever I have a bit of time on my hands, I will cut them into usable strips, squares, or whatevers.  Looks like a lot of strip scrappy quilts will be made here in the Midwest for a while!
Only the second of two tubs of scraps
Sometimes, it's easier to see the progress by looking at the empties than what has come out of them.  This is a total of 9 LARGE tubs, and 7 half tubs.  The multi-color drawer unit is also empty of the junk that was in it.  I have two half tubs of paints etc. and 4 large tubs of fabric to go.  Getting there!
Empties!  I hope the remaining fabric fits in the available space!

     And last, but not least, I found exactly what I need to take to my Gwen Martston retreat in two weeks.  A medallion or two........(from so long ago, they are hand pieced!)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stewdio Rebirth

I've been working every spare minute I have, wrapping fabric on the new mini-bolts, and re-packing stuff to leave the house. So far, I've taken two car loads of things out of the house to be donated - things that I thought I would use at this new house, but now I find I don't miss them, and I don't really want them anymore. So gone, gone, gone!  
I also have been loading a box here and there with sewing things for friends that I know they will like. My new friend, Carol, got the benefit of several yards of various Kansas Troubles fabric that I know will never use. My stitch buddies, Carol, Shirlee and Vicky all get a small box or a big bag or a big tub of things that are just up their alley; yarn, patterns, fabrics and sewing notions.  
I am encouraged about just how much stuff is leaving - and how much more room I will have to store my things that I will really use!
So, with that said, here's the progress in the basement so far:
This is the mini-bolt progress.
Soon to be wall-o-fabric.
East wall (project boxes and mini-bolts at the far right).
My sewing center with a nice big window behind me, and windows on the east side. 
This is the faux wall that I use for my design center.
1 large design wall, and 2 small ones, a cutting table, sewing machine and notions rack. 
My proud installation!
I still have a lot of fabric to sort and fold, but it's getting there.  I think I might even be able to sew in this space as soon as we get the lighting sorted out.  We are still considering whether to finish the basement or not.  In the meantime, I am getting excited about having my own space once again!