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!!


Sew Jo.  You gotta have it.  But what if it goes missing?  What do you do?  Panic!  Oh no!  How do I get my SEW-JO back???

It's magical, it's elusive sometimes.  SEW-JO.  It's the making-it magic for quilters!  But every now and then it falters.  Why?  Why does that happen?  I don't know.  I think, sometimes, for me (maybe not for you), it's something sitting there waiting that you don't really want to work on, but have to.  Or feel you have to.

I've been suffering a mis-fire on my sew-jo.  Not for a long time.  But I sew a lot, so if it goes missing for just a few days, I wonder what the heck is wrong with me?  I decided that this time it IS caused by the project under my needle.  My Wild and Free Applique quilt from my workshop with Pat Sloan.  I really, REALLY, want to have it done by guild meeting, 2nd Thursday of April.  I like it, yes, but discovered once I started quilting it that I wasn't really confident with HOW I was quilting it, and that caused my beloved SEW-JO to slip town for a few.

To jump start it, I went into my sewing room this weekend, reluctantly, feet dragging.  Decided to do a little string piecing.  Every since two classes I took this summer on string piecing, I have been keeping a box of little pieces, just for string-piecing.  So I got that out and spent a little time joining them together.  Pressed them.  And FLED.

Today I went back in, boldly and unafraid.  I was going to take those string-pieced thingies and make a pillow cover for my living room chair, damn it!  In quick-time, so I could then walk on the treadmill, and maybe go to the gym!

So I did.

Is SEW-JO back?  I don't know, but I think a kick-start of something easy and no-pressure is helpful.

I'll keep you posted.....

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"Splendid Week"

This week my larger guild, Great Lakes Heritage Quilters hosted Pat Sloan, who presented a lecture & brought some quilts to show.

Pat and husband Greg are quite the team---they both work full-time in their business.  She has about 32 published books, many, many, fabric lines, a radio show and much much more (including current project, The Splendid Sampler).  They work very hard at what they do, and consequently, are good at it.  I really respect a quilting teacher who gives her (or his) all to their business.  They want to give you value.   Their products and their classes show this.

Bonnie Hunter is like that too.  She works very hard at what she does and is very popular, which she deserves.  One of the things that impressed me most when I met her (she was at Great Lakes my program year in the spring of 2014) is her enthusiasm for the places she goes.  She's not 'tired' or 'jet-lagged'.  She's excited to be there, explores the area, and gets to know the people she teaches.  She's interested in you, and she will remember your name.  She's a very energetic, POSITIVE person.  I respect her SO much.

I've kidded about starting a website one day, modeled after Angie's List.  It will be Sue's List, and will be for quilt guilds, looking for info about speakers.  We can review and post info there, politely, discreetly.  It's very disappointing to have a BIG speaker who is not a good teacher, and let's face it--being good at something does NOT mean you are good at teaching.  That's a separate skill.  It would be nice to know honestly, 'her lecture will be fantastic, she's very personable, but is not a good teacher' or 'her books are good but she has no personality in front of a microphone'.  Nothing against them, but a guild can spend several thousand dollars on a 'big' program, and they should know what they are getting.   And hey---that website idea is hereby COPYRIGHTED!

Anyway, Pat and Bonnie both impress me.  They work hard, and if you hear them speak or take a workshop, you will get VALUE, you will have a great experience!  Thank you to both of you!

Back to guild----I put out the call for Splendid Sampler blocks, as a display of them for Pat seemed like a great idea, and it was!  We didn't have tons of participation, but many people at guild didn't even know about it yet.  Seeing the blocks got many interested, and I bet if get together a display again, in maybe 5-6 months, there will be many more participants.  Here are Pat and I in front of our display.  She seemed very pleased we had done it & put a photo of it on her Facebook page.

The day of the meeting, I got the block done that came out that day.  Fortunately, it was pretty easy and fast.

The next day, I was in a workshop sponsored by GLHQ of Pat Sloan's 'Wild and Free' Applique.  We spent the day working on how to select fabrics for a background on which to build the applique.  Pat borrowed fabrics from two workshop participants and went thru them the way she would, picking and discarding what works together and why, building your palette----'curating' she called it.

Then, we went back to our too-small tables (as any would be at this point---we needed spreading out room), curating & selecting fabrics first.   You then use those fabrics & follow the pattern diagram, folding fabrics into something resembling the size & shape they will hold, see how they will look.  Take pictures as you go so see how it looks to the camera eye (isn't technology wonderful for quilters!!! And we have printers in our homes too!).

I got most of those fabrics cut to pattern-size but not too much farther that day, I get my real work done at home, in my studio, 100% attention, everything I need and want at hand.   Made a substitution or two, now that stash was at hand.  Then auditioned the 1 1/2" strips in a contrasting fabric. 

The 'peach pop' looked great, it was in the final two choices, but didn't make it to the final cut.  I thought they grey would be a better background for the applique--let THAT do the color pop!  Here's the top, all pressed and tidy.

I LOVE it!  I was NOT going to make a new project from this workshop, just listen, learn and play.  Oh well.  I went on to start pulling applique fabrics and couldn't stop there.  Did some cutting and pining to the wall.  But not going to show that just yet!

At the workshop, Pat did show us HER Splendid blocks, which were GORGEOUS---red and aqua!    She let us take pictures, but I'm not going to share those here, as I forgot to ask permission.  Take a look at her blog, I know a few are there.  She used her fabric collection Hometown Girl, which has a set of prints and a set of batiks, the entire collection is pretty big, but I LOVED many of them and have some in my 'virtual cart' ready to pull the trigger on.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

1st Splendid Challenge

Since I came back from my short trip, extended a day due to snow in the Midwest, I've been struggling to get caught back up with my Splendid Sampler blocks, othe  rwise known as my current 'look!!!  there's a squirrel'!! New ones come out each Sunday and Thursday, and that rolls around pretty quick when you're not able to do them.

I started with the Modern Country fabric collection, added some black and grey, some other low volume backgrounds.  Threw in a little Fibs and Fables.  And we'll see where we go from there.  I do like to work scrappy, and figure the sashing chosen will pull it all together.  And also figure I'm not going to worry about it a lot right now.

My favorite so far are these:

"Happy Happy' by Jen Kingwell

'Lots of Love' by Melissa Corry
'Snug as a Bug' by Amy Sinibaldi
Loving Jen Kingwell's work came as no surprise---I always do!  But doing the hand embroidery was oddly fun, after somewhat dreading it when I first saw it.  Some people added fabric for the quilt and appliqued it down, but I decided to stick with Amy's theme and make mine all with embroidery, imperfect as it is.  Embroidery not being my strong suit.

Splendid also issued it's first challenge----post a picture of all seven, your first group, all done, and do it by Sunday, March 13.  There will be a drawing, and PRIZES, including patterns, thread and a jelly roll.  I didn't even need that challenge, I'm competitive enough just to want to keep up!  Some post their blocks with HOURS of the block coming out, gee whiz!  Hard to compete with that.  Just want to keep up in reasonable time, get one done before the next comes out.

But here are my first seven, completed in a timely manner, and posted together.  All done in the spirit of the designer's pattern.

Tomorrow night my guild is hosting PAT SLOAN, so I will assist our program team by setting up a SPLENDID SAMPLER board.  So if you are in the area, visitors can come here Pat's lecture and see her trunk show for a guest fee of $10, and please bring your Splendid blocks with you, and we'll put them up on the flannel!!  We invite you to join us, Great Lakes Heritage Quilters, meeting somewhere different tomorrow, First United Methodist Church of Troy, 6363 Livernois, Troy, Michigan, 7pm.  If you'd like to share any other work, especially Pat Sloan patterns, feel free to bring that too!  Hope to see you!