“Homecoming” Embroidery project, the sketch phase

Before I commit to the final version, I wanted to test out my embroidery skills, first.  To say I don’t usually embroider is an understatement, but faint heart ne’er won much of anything.  Right? Right.

Here’s the light table, with a rotary cutter for scale.  It’s get LED backlights, and pretty much looks like a thin computer screen.  It’s also got centimeters marked on the sides and I am more than a little in love with it.

That's actually my project, on top of it!

That’s actually my project, on top of it!

Rotary cutter for scale

Rotary cutter for scale

I’m using a piece of Peppered Cottons in “oyster”, which is a little different than the linen I had originally thought to use, but it’s my first trial.  Kind of exciting!

Also on the docket today, drafting an A-line skirt pattern for myself.  More on that later.

Dream Made Manifest: the “Homecoming” Project

I woke up one night last year in a sweat, with a clear memory of seeing a ship on the waves, plowing through difficult seas as a man seeks to return to his home after years of war.  I confess it, I’m a little obsessed with the Odyssey and all its complexities of returning home, changed by the things you witnessed and the things you did, to a home and people that are also changed. How do you find your path back, when the people who anchored you, the dreams you had, the memories of your past no longer fit?

I’ve got a bunch of projects I should be doing, and I am working on those as the materials get all prepped and ready (fabric needs to get here, and then there will be a flurry, nay, frenzy, of activity). What sits in a little quiet space in the back of my mind, though, is that dream.  I finally decided to work on making this dream something solid.

So I gathered up all the spare change in the house–we aren’t really cash people, so all the change seems to get emptied out from our pockets into pottery jars and mugs I’ve made over the years, and seem to be perfectly suited for this purpose.  It turned out to be quite a bit of accumulated wealth over the last couple of years!  I took it to my local grocery where there’s a CoinStar thingy that exchanges your receipt for an Amazon gift certificate (without a fee!), and I bought myself this:

lightpadI have sketches and drawings to transfer.  I’m starting with embroidery, because I want something to take with me, and I want something that is going to allow me to really sink into this dream before I turn it into a quilt.  Working on the book is a very fast process, and I want this one to be slow, which it will have to be, because, book.  I’ll share what I do along the way, as I can.  Wish me luck: vision and reality are sometimes difficult companions.

Quiet thoughts

The last few days I’ve been having a hard time getting motivated.  My cousin’s little boy, who’s three, has had his third open heart surgery this week.  We live on the other side of the country, so I’ve been checking in frequently and trying not to be a pest with texts and IMs.  Owen is a strong kid, and resilient, and he’s doing much better today, the day after.  Some of you know about this, and I just wanted to say thanks for your thought and prayers.  Owen and his family appreciate them, too.  #teamowenaugust

Some Exciting News

Y’all.  Y’ALL!  Yesterday, I spoke with BERNINA of America, and I’m really excited to share with you that I’m going to be a new Ambassador!  I bought my first machine last year, a 710, after my old machine had a technical difficulty (a piece broke off and fell out while I was sewing).  I’m pretty lucky that I have a dealer down the street, and I was able to test the 710 alongside several other brands over the course of a few hours, and I got hooked.

SO.  EXCITED!

“Creative Longarm Quilting” review over at The Girl Who Quilts

HI everyone, just wanted to point you in the direction of a review by Nikki over at The Girl Who Quilts for my class over at Craftsy, Creative Longarm Quilting.  I’m really glad she wrote it up, because Nikki is one of those rare birds who quilts on domestic *and* longarm, and is truly proficient in both: if she says this class works well on a domestic, she knows what she’s talking about!  While you’re there, check out her patterns and tutorials!  She’s got some really great stuff, like this English Rose quilt for Benartex.

I can share now!

Y’all… my good news that I’ve been sitting on?  I am so super excited to tell you that I have just signed with Stash Books, part of C&T Publishing!  Can I pass out now?  I think I am going to pass out now.

What I can share: It’s going to be a quilting book, providing you with projects and inspiration to move forward beyond the basics.  Pretty vague I know…  Writing a book was on my list, and I’m just so happy it’s working out!  Wish me luck–it’s nose to the grindstone for the next few months!

Jane’s quilts

Jane contacted me in January about sending me her first two quilts for quilting.  These were her very first quilt tops!  I was honored she let me do the quilting for them.  They are two very different looks, which was also fun since it allowed me to do some different styles of quilting for each.

(Note: until I find the camera that the kids ran off to make documentary travelogues with, I Am going to have to use camera pics.  Boo!)

Jane’s first quilt is a pattern by Boo Davis’s Dare to Be Square book.  She used some really great purple solids, and it was just a very pretty quilt that reminded me of spring.  Given how much snow is on the ground right now, I really appreciated that!  I wanted to emphasize how the purples and whites were tied together in long bands, so I used a spiral feather motif in each of the purple blocks, and then filled the leftover area of each one with a different “modern” fill.

purple1You can really see the quilting on the back (and isn’t that pieced back awesome??  I’m totally doing this on a quilt.  And soon.)  I echoed the white bands at 1/4″ and 1/2″, which left a nice 1″ space in the middles, and I loved how it looked in contrast with the nice swoops and swirls.  You can see it best on the back:

I really love this.  It's like two quilts in one.

I really love this. It’s like two quilts in one.

Jane’s second quilt was a lap quilt with double Quilter’s Dream bamboo batting (I love that stuff–such an awesome drape and so soft!)  I really wanted those rainbows to pop, so I quilted a very simple series of lines in the black, tapering where the points came together at the “X” in the middle.  Jane loves feathers, and had asked for those in the center blocks.  I still wanted to give it a modern feel, and so used a very narrow pointy oval that I filled with pebbles as the spine.

rainbow1

Mist, find. other. camera!!!

Must, find. other. camera!!!  Love how the design really adds a second element to the quilt.

Thanks, Jane, for letting me work on such fun quilts!