Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Project

I chose this bright fabric for the Beginner Quiltmaking class sample I'll need in February. Happily, some of my stash and hand-dyed fabrics work well with it.

Today I gathered the fabrics and placed them on my quilt wall, then made a handful of blocks to check my pattern dimensions. None of these blocks are finished yet, so they look out of proportion, but I was able to get the general idea. I like the layout.

I'll finish making the blocks tomorrow and may reduce the size of the checkerboard top and bottom.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quilt Design

Yahoo! I finally figured out how other bloggers create links without spelling them out! I've got a couple below, so check 'em out! I confess...I'm like a man who doesn't want to ask for directions and I've been dragging my feet about learning this blog tool. Thanks to one of my Quilting Arts Alliance friends I finally learned how to add a "signature" to my e-mails too. Oy.

Yesterday I worked out some of the details for a sample quilt for the Beginner Quiltmaking class I'm teaching at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, GA in January and February. I've had the sketch for months but needed to calculate dimensions, etc. Today I'll start piecing it.
Note the highly technical tools and hand-held "computer" (that's what Bill calls the calculator). One of these days I'll jump into computer design...
I sewed the green circle quilt together from last week's blogs and will start making notes for the border. It's up on the design wall and I've already decided to make it a mitered border. The black & blue circle quilt is in the same stage and I have some ideas for that one too.
Here's a quilt I've been working on this week which is a sample for the Scrappy Batiks Brick Quilt class I'm teaching at the Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville, GA in February. It's a wonderfully easy traditional quilt that's great for baby or scrap quilts. I've come up with some other variations too. I first saw this design years ago when my friend Barbara was making one at our weekly Pensacola Killer Bees meeting.

Happy 2009 to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Snug as a bug; that's how our home feels today. It's cold outside, the fire is blazing, dinner is nearly ready, and all is well in preparation for Christmas Eve.

Our team santa.

May you have a safe and peaceful holiday season.
Anita & Bill

Monday, December 22, 2008

Machine Quilting...The Novice Type

Okay, I've had this mid-arm machine for two months now, and my Patsy Thompson Fast and Free DVD's on machine quilting for longer than that ( www.patsythompsondesigns.com ). It's time to buckle down to practice my machine quilting. I am making a commitment to spend 30 minutes each day practicing. Here are my practice pieces for yesterday and today...

They're not pretty, but I'm feeling more control with the machine and my foot is getting the feel of the correct position for the speed I want. As you can see, I'm trying to quilt in designated areas to see what I can do with them.

Patsy DVD's really help because I can see and hear the speed of her machine and the movement of her hands. Patsy is very calm and encouraging and has lots of little tips that make the process easier. Anyway, I just feel better, and less critical of myself, after watching her quilt for a little while.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seeing Circles

I did more work today on this circle quilt. The background got some tweaking because I didn't like that black half-triangle in the bottom right corner(see yesterday's blog). Some of these circles are already fused and four of the blocks need to be hand appliqued to the backgrounds. Sounds strange, but this is a sampler quilt for a class and I'm using different methods to apply the circles.
If I can get five circles hand-stitched tonight, I'll be able to put the quilt together tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Circle Quilt update

After a few days of straightening out my studio I finally spent all day today working on two circle quilts.

This quilt is finally sewn together and is ready for borders. I just love black and blue quilts and I'm pleased with the way this one turned out.

I also worked on this next circle quilt as a sample for a class I'm teaching in January. The background looked totally wrong, but I followed my instincts with color and layout and the result is...not bad.

This one is still in the design stages. The background blocks are sewn together (but not to each other) and are almost the way I want them. The bottom left circle is too big and the other circles are not sewn yet. I'll apply these circles using 4 or 5 different methods including needle-turn applique, fusing, and machine applique with two methods of shaping the circle. Students will be able to choose their method of circle application.

This particular quilt is also an example of using one fabric for all of the circles and different backgrounds. Reynola Pakusich's book, Circle Play: Simple Designs for Fabulous Fabrics, is loaded with design ideas and is the basis for the class I'm teaching.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Happenings

Here are are a few things I've done this week...
While manning my booth at "A Weekend Affair" at Charmar (Athens, GA) I was able to cut many, many batik rectangles and squares for a class I'm teaching in February...there are probably 500 or 600 in this box.
Of course, I had to shop the other vendor booths (no one had to twist my arm), and I found this vintage Santa and Mrs. Claus salt & pepper set which was an exact duplicate of my Memere's set! FYI, "Memere" means "grandmother" in Canadian French.

I did some updating on my studio storage this week too. Sadly, I had to give up my beautiful This End Up hutch for a larger and more efficient storage unit. That hutch has been with us for fourteen years, but there's no other spot for it in this new house.

Good ol' Lowe's had this huge chrome storage shelf unit which gives me about 10 inches (25 cm) more walking space around my table, and much more storage.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Personalized Mug Hugger

Here's one of my finished Mug Huggers. It goes beautifully with my Jittery Joe's cup!
If you know the Athens, Georgia area, you know Jittery Joes coffee shops. They are all over Athens and are loved by all.

Holiday Demo for Making Small Gifts

It's been rather busy around here lately. Today I am gathering pieces and making more samples for a holiday demo I'm teaching at the Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville, GA from 1:30 to 3:30 this Saturday. It is called "Anita's Holiday Helpers" and I'll be handing out patterns and showing people how to put together some easy holiday gifts.

Can you figure out what this is? It's the start of a personalized "Mug Hugger". A paper cup is not a "mug" but the words are so right for each other! Anyway, these quick gifts will add some zing to a coffee- or tea-lover's day...and they'll save on paper. A tiny rectangle of cardboard isn't much paper, but multiply that by 365 days of coffee, and it's a load of cardboard saved.

Come and visit me at the Dragonfly for this free afternoon of gift ideas and patterns.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My First Booth

Okay, this is not the most beautiful booth you have ever seen, but it's my first-ever sales booth at a holiday market. Our local antiques/retro/arts business, A Weekend Affair at Charmar, is hosting all kinds of booths for the month of December, so I thought I'd try my hand at it.

My booth is outside, under cover and right next to the Christmas trees which smell great. We've only lived in Athens (Georgia) for a year-and-a-half and this booth is a wonderful opportunity to meet the folks on the "Eastside", which is our side of town.
So far my felted pincushions and some of my hand-dyed fabrics have sold well. It's been a little cold this year, so Bill set up one of his heavy duty lights for me to warm up by. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Judy Simmons websit

I just read on Mary Stori's blog that Judy Simmons' website is up and running! If you don't know all of Judy's work, which is wonderfully creative and inspiring, take a peek at here... www.judysimmonsfiberart.com .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Circle Quilt update

Here's where I am on the Circle Quilt which I started last month. I thought for sure that I'd have all nine of these 6" circles appliqued by now, but alas, I have four more to go.

I found a new way to secure these circles to the background as I needle-turn applique them to the background. FYI, there is a freezer paper circle pressed to the wrong side of these circles which helps me to keep the circle shape. Anyway, I found that if I will machine baste the circles in this way...

...they will remain secure and not shift as I hand stitch. This works much better than pins which don't actually prevent shifting. I also tried stitching in a circle about 3/4" in from the edge, but as I machine basted, the background gathered in an undesirable way...so if you must baste in a circle, use your walking foot.
This little Honey came into our lives for a mere 24 hours as he wandered through the neighborhood and was rescued by my husband. Sadly he had no tags.
We posted signs and called Animal Control to let them know we had "Barney". Barney smelled like he had just come from the salon, had excellent manners and was a gigantic love bug, but his owners called this morning and he is home with them now. Come to find out, he did have a chip in his ear; his dog tag. His name was actually Barrett. He certainly liked my pile of fabric on the floor, and covered his face with his ear to shade the light.

Kreativ Blogger Award

I recently was chosen as a "Kreativ Blogger".
Along with this prestigeous award came the responsibility
of passing it on to 5 other people of my choosing.
I am choosing the following people
based on how creative I think that their blogs are:
Carol Sloan, www.carolbsloan.blogspot.com nominated me for this award and I thoroughly enjoy her blog too, but she has already been nominated. Congratulations ladies!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What do you think?

Call me crazy, but every time I look at this piece of fabric I dyed this past weekend it reminds me of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. What do you think?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hand Dyes are Heaven 2

Not much to write today, but here are some of the fabrics I've dyed this week. All of these, and more, will be for sale at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation's Holiday Market this weekend in Watkinsville, GA.