Saturday, June 11, 2016

Last week, I attended Glamp, my 2nd one.  The first was in November.  What's a Glamp you say?  It's glamerous camping, right?  Brenda Ratliff, owner of Pink Castle Fabrics, had numerous Camp Stitchalots, for about 25 people at a bed & breakfast.  She decided to up the ante, six teachers, well-known names, 200 attendees.   The first was held in November, this one the 2nd, and a 3rd one scheduled for November 2016.   The June 2016 Glamp had teachers Carolyn Friedlander, Elizabeth Hartman, Monica Solario-Snow (know far more by her blog & Instagram name, The Happy Zombie), Penny Layman, Violet Craft and Rashida Coleman-Hale (also a designer of Cotton & Steel Fabrics).  What an amazing line-up!!

You have very short classes over a two-day period with six teachers.  The entire group is divided into six teams, and the teachers move around, teaching each group a technique over a two-hour time period.  This Glamp's project was a row quilt, so each teacher designed a block for a row, with the central themes being paper-piecing & curves, along with some simple piecing.

Arrival on Thursday, you get some swag, including this beautiful printed zipper pouch & great for keeping a project together) an issue of Quilt Now magazine, charm square packets, thread, a Glamp sew-on patch, your name badge and wrist band indicating what color team you are on.  Strolling dinner, mix & mingle, open cash-bar, and there was a pouch swap, so people wandered around, trying to find their swap partner & present their item.

Friday and Saturday, breakfast, a class, lunch (yummy, by the way---a mexican taco bar on Friday, and pasta buffet Saturday), two more classes, then the bar opened, and dinner an hour later.  Friday night had a dance party, but we didn't seem to have the party-ers as much as last Glamp.  Mostly people just wanted to sew!  Saturday---repeat!   Check-out Sunday morning, after a continental breakfast.

Above is what I got done, although, only 2 of the houses were made at Glamp.  It was a fun weekend, and one of the BEST parts is how friendly everyone is!  One quilter from New Zealand, quite a few Canadians, and people from all over the US.

One of the best things to happen this week, was my oldest daughter's Austin, Texas reading, hometown of her publishing company, A Strange Object.  Katie's first book, a collection of short stories, "Man & Wife", was released on her Dad's birthday, May 10th.  We attending a reading & signing at Powells Bookstore in Portland in May.  Can't wait to hear about the reading at Book People in Austin, but she did post this picture.  Looks the they were well-prepared for the reading!  We are so excited & proud of her, she has worked long & hard for this day.  She is dedicated to her craft, and lives a simple lifestyle to allow herself the time to devote to it.

Oh.  And did I mention I will have not one, but THREE quilts at the AQS Show in Grand Rapids in August???  SO.  Darned.  Excited.    One is part of a guild challenge exhibit, Great Lakes Heritage Quilters Text challenge from last June.  First time my guild has had anything like that, and seeing it, and our name on the sign, is going to be an amazing feeling.

Will I see you in Grand Rapids??

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Paper Piecing & Plastic Sheets

Just how do paper-piecing & plastic sheets go together, you ask??  They are the two things I am doing lately.

Wrapping everything in the basement in plastic.  Getting ready for waterproofing work to start on June 6.  We had a room in the basement torn down & removed.  There will be jack-hammering, trenching, then new drainage pipes, crushed rock & concrete.  After the pain of that is over, un-plastic-ing, maybe some prettying up in my basement, the first we've ever done, then trying to get things back in reasonable place.

English Paper-Piecing is such nice sit-down/TV work, so I've been working on on my Fruit Tingles quilt, pattern by the wonderful Sue Daley of Australia.  Below are my three newest blocks.

As I pull fabrics & cut out, doing usually two at a time, it's helpful to see how my colors are looking, what's needed next.  I didn't being with a complete pull to work from, just really didn't want to have another basket of fabric set aside for the project.  They usually sit so long!  So I'm pulling as I go, but the fabrics have to coordinate with the centers, which are all cut. 

It's helpful to get it out & put on the wall, to see how it's looking, so I put them up on my design wall.  Which I FINALLY got free from the Japanese Puzzle quilt that's been on the wall for maybe 2 months, little bits of numbered paper pinned to each one, what a PITA it was becoming!  No, not bread.  Pain in the-----.  It's been tying up my wall for too long, and since the deadline is approaching, at the urging of friends to finish it, I did.  But it's for a guild challenge and the reveal is our end of the year meeting June 9, so no pics of that yet.  Here's my blocks so far.

The kit doesn't come with enough paper to do all 16 blocks, so soon I have to audition & pick my  background fabrics, and get a few appliqued down to free up some papers.  I'm thinking soft grey background fabrics, maybe 4 different ones.  Then there are some really cute petal shapes, round on one end, coming to a point on the other.  They are joined in clusters of 4, and go in the corners where 4 blocks meet.  Not sure yet what color those will be, but it will be one fabric & color to unify the scrappiness of the blocks.

Also packing up for Glamp and some wonderful teachers that I am really looking forward to meeting: Carolyn Friedlander, Elizabeth Hartman, Happy Zombie ( Monica Solorio-Snow), Rashida Coleman Hale, Violet Craft & Penny Layman.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Beautiful Vintage Circa 1920

Don't know how YOU'RE doing, but not too much sewing going on in my house right now.  We're getting ready for basement waterproofing, and doing lots of sorting, getting rid of, and packing up.  I 'm really happy if I can get my two Splendid Sampler blocks done each week!

During this process, I was looking at this old quilt I have---too young to be 'antique', so it's 'collectible' or 'vintage'.  It's the very FIRST one I ever bought, not that I have many.   Maybe 6 or 8, and most are close to being what people would call a 'cutter quilt'.  The kind people used in their attics as dust covers, or their trucks for moving things.  Really, really worn.

This one I bought in Shipshewana, Indiana, I think it was the early 1990's.  It was one of my FIRST girl-road-trips, which were a total revelation to me!  Who knew that the point wasn't just getting from point A to point B in record time?  Who knew you could stop & browse an antique store if you wanted to?  I had no idea!  I still remember a later trip, going to Quilt Festival in Chicago---it took us 6 hours to gt across the state! (It's a 3-hour drive).  LIFE's a journey, my friend, and it's allllll about the ride!  Wait---a minute ago, when I said 3-hour drive, did you, in your head, start humming "a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour'?  Or was that just me???  If you didn't get that, you're too young.

A group of friends in my neighborhood did an annual trip to Shipshewana in November, when things were decorated for Christmas, which then led to a summer trip to Shipshewana for the huge Flea Market they have there.  My first flea market ever!  It was hot, so hot.  We had coolers in the car with water bottles on ice, and parked as close as we could.  It was really fun!  Foot sore, hot, but fun.  And I found...... THIS!

It was cheap----maybe $35 or 40.  Wish I had written that down, and the date, but I didn't.  It's not a fine quilt.  It's not hand quilted.  It's machine-quilted.  It had been used, lived a life. It spoke to me---the colors, the simplicity, the fact that it WAS done by machine!  The striped fabric seems to be dish cloth, kind of waffley, if you look at the close up. That dark stitching thru the yellow sashing is a zig-zag stitch.   It's navy (not black),  with the pink and yellow, and some white. Wonky!  Weird!  I loved it!  I was so thrilled to take it home, my FIRST vintage quilt!!  The back is white, and brought to the front, turned down & stitched to bind it.

Some years after that, maybe 5,  we became aware of the Michigan Quilt Index project.  We had an amazing quilt collector & historian living in the area, and she was a member of our guild, Mary Silber.  A friend of mine, also a Mary, had made a beautiful Lone Star Quilt, I think it was all hand-quilted, and she wanted to have it appraised & registered in the project.  We were being urged to register all of our quilts, so that their history would not be forgotten.  So I went with Mary, and took my funny little quilt along for Mary Silber to take a look at for me & tell me anything she could figure out about it.  I recently looked it up on the quilt index, as I couldn't remember when it was from, or the name of the pattern.  THEN, while cleaning the basement, I found notes I had written from that day!  Tucked safely into a folder of "QUILTY STUFF" (**important note here---'a safe place' isn't ALWAYS throwing something into the abyss of the great unknown--sometimes you can actually find it again!!!)

So here's what Mary had to say about it:  This quilt was probably made in Pennsylvania, around 1920 (between 1901 & 1929). It is a Monkey Wrench Variation.  It was hand-pieced, and machine quilted on a treadle machine!  How cool is that???!!  Mary said its value at that time was $375, and replacement value would be $750.  She also said I could wash it in a tub, or by machine, on delicate, with a delicate soap.  Air-dry, or dryer on cool.  Important to note that is a quilt that was USED, not tucked away in a trunk.  So it had been washed before.

I still love it.  When I look at it, it makes me happy.  It tells me important things about myself from the perspective of twenty-some years later.  Some of those things should have been clear, but maybe weren't altogether.  First, I love using my machine (OK--clear to me, never lost sight of that, no fuzziness there!).  Machine quilting is awesome!  (never lost sight of that either).  I guess the only thing I lost sight of for awhile, in my brown, muddy phase, was that I LOVE COLOR!  I love simple patterns, simple shapes.  I can look at an intricately pieced quilt, a Baltimore Album, an incredible landscape or art quilt and admire & appreciate the skill & beauty of those quilts.  But they do not speak to my heart.  They do not GRAB me by my soul.  They just don't.

Beautiful fabrics.  Simple designs.  Those things speak to me.  Those are what I want to make, and need to make.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


My larger guild, Great Lakes Heritage Quilters, held it's FIRST Quilter to Quilter Sale!  Very exciting concept, this idea was initiated by my friend Diane, who is a current board member.  Similar to a Moms to Moms Sale, which she has often gone to with one of her daughters, we had anything a quilter wanted to de-stash, or found they didn't use, etc.  Gently used or new.  We had everything from fabric to sewing machines, and everything inbetween.  Beautiful antique quilts, tops, blocks, quilting hoops on floor stands, a Serger, a Tutto case!  Buttons, batting, books!

We had a great location, a church in Troy, who was absolutely wonderful at helping us out, and we used their beautiful new-looking gymnasium, on a main floor, no steps.  It was light and airy, with plenty of room.  Large items were in a separate room, right near. 

We set up the day before, between 4pm and 8pm, so that those who worked, could also get set up with ample time.  The church supplied some carts and also a strong young man or two to help people get their things in during set-up.

We probably didn't have as many vendors as we would have liked, but watch out world---that won't be true next time!  We had quilters from far and near, and they were waiting outside before the opening time.  Us vendors had an opportunity to buy from each other the hour before the same opened, which we did.

Some thought it was silly to buy---object was to sell, not buy!  Make more space, de-stash.  I say, if you found NEW stuff you wanted (and prices were often VERY cheap!), why not trade up to some NEW things you DID want?

Here's someone still setting up

This one had an amazing THREE tables full of fabric, all divided by color

My friend Carol had these AMAZING shirt fabrics that she had bought, washed, ironed & cut up---the work all done for us!

Serious yardage

It was a very fun day, and  mark my words, this event WILL happen again, and it will be LARGER next time--more vendors, more stuff.

But shoppers---next time remember to be ready to buy the large items, which were seriously overlooked.  There were some amazing deals on larger things, and no one seemed to take advantage of those.

Panoramic of the sale, with some shoppers

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Quick & Easy Must Have Item!

For awhile now, I've been thinking of making one of those portable pressing tables some of my friends have, you know---you take a wooden tray table and cover it?  The great thing about it is, even when you are sewing in a crowded situation, like retreat or a workshop, there always seems to be space to use this.  My friend Vicky & Marie both have them, with really cute covers, and they put them to their left when sitting at a 6 foot table, making your space into an "L".

Another friend, Rebecca, mentioned she had several she had gotten really cheap at a garage sale, as a set, and offered me one-----shout out to her!  It's great to have friends, isn't it? (You could also find one at Target or Meijer, for about $10).  And I must mention here that it needs to be made of WOOD, so you can staple into it.   So last night at guild, I got the table from her, and have managed to get it covered very quickly, from my well-supplied quilting studio, just this morning!

Here's what I did:

Measure the top of the tray table, mine was 14.5" by 19".  (and about 1/2" thick)

Cut one piece of Insul-Bright the exact size of the top, and also one piece of cotton batting (leftovers from quilt tops are wonderful to have).  BOTH are exact size to cover just the top of the tray table.

Cut fabric top about 3"-4" larger on top & side to allow for pulling that fabric only to the back. For mine, that rounded off to 18" X 22".  You can run out & buy something cute, a printed canvas or home dec fabric would be great, but I used what I had on hand, a fabric I love, green with some blue that friends put on the back of my 'big birthday' quilt.

Layer first with the Insul Bright goes  (next to the wood), then the batting, then the printed fabric.  Many of us like a firmer surface for pressing, so this works great.  If you like, add another layer of batting now, for a softer surface.  Turn this pile upside down on the floor, the fabric next to the floor, then put your opened tray table on top it, making sure the cushy part is evenly covering the wood, and you have about 2" of fabric along each side to pull to the back.

Load up your staple gun & if it has a tension adjustment, it has to go to 'strong' if you tray table is oak like mine was---oak is a very hard wood.  Then pull gently taut on a long side, stapling about 3-4" apart.  Next, the opposite side.  Then, the ends, pulling and tucking around the ends.

Voila!!!  Here is is, ready to go!

One of the great things about having a staple gun for projects like this is that when the cover gets dingy looking, as it will with a lot of use, you can easily remove just that fabric covering & re-cover it, all fresh and new!

So, easy peasy, I now have portable extra space.  I can press on it, or add a cutting board and do smaller trimming.  Or whatever I want!

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be getting packed right now to go on a quilter-girls weekend Up North.  Can't wait!  But had better get on to the packing.  Isn't planning projects to take always the hardest thing????  That's where most of my time has gone the last two days, and my project STILL isn't ready!  Best I get back to it.....

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


3pm breaking news----it appears to be back, as my GLHQ Challenge quilt is all cut and partially sewn!  The bad news is....didn't go to the gym,  walk on the treadmill or get dressed yet today!  And if I don't go to the grocery store now, my husband will have no yogurt in the morning!!