Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm a Bad-Ass Quilting Mama!

Life is a long lesson in humility. -James M. Barrie

This quote from Peter Pan's creator is vastly true for most of us. But every once in a while, things happen that tend to validate one's accomplishments, creations, or beliefs. Today, I can tell you about two of those rare moments in life when you feel you must have done something right.

Yesterday, I was thrilled to be awarded a first place ribbon at the Carolina Longarm Association's show in the Heirloom/Wholecloth category. Something "Girly" came through for me again! Something about this quilt seems to appeal to viewers. Perhaps it is the mix of traditional and art techniques, or that it just sparkles and lives up to its name when viewed in a show. This is the same quilt that caused so many problems that I almost withdrew it from its first show in March. I cannot tell you how astonished I was to take first place in this category. Actually, I think Kim Buterbaugh was robbed of her rightful award, since the machine quilting in her Rhapsody in Red quilt far outshine my little production. Rhapsody in Red was the larger of our two raffle quilts, quilted a la Sherry Rogers-Harrison's style of formal feathers. However, the raffle quilts were hung proudly at the front of the show, where hundreds of viewers hopefully purchased tickets to win them. Since the other quilts in the show were hung together in categories, people may have missed the fact that this quilt was also in the category for judging. Anyway, I am so happy to bring home this most unusual ribbon. I will write more about the show tomorrow.

Now, for the other "validation" I mentioned at the beginning of this post. This one is even more gratifying. I just read my son Dave's blog post called My Badass Quilting Mama! Let me just point out that his blog is all about ice hockey, specifically the Carolina Hurricanes. It is often funny, satirical and/or irreverent, and definitely so much more cool than mine. Yet, he keeps a link to my quilting blog on his site! And then I got a lovely tribute from him in his post about my blog. Wuff, my cup runneth over!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not Your Grandmother's Quilt Show

This weekend will be the Carolina Longarm Association quilt show in Clemmons, NC. Dubbed Not Your Grandmother's Quilting, it will feature quilts by our members from North and South Carolina and Virginia. There will be two "opportunity" quilts available, both in red and white. I got to see both of these yesterday when I delivered my show quilts. Both are beautiful, heirloom quality, mouthwatering quilts that were pieced and quilted by our members. You can still get tickets for a chance to win these beauties, which will be raffled off on Saturday evening at the end of the show. Please follow this link for info about buying raffle tickets.

The show will be held at New Hope Presbyterian Church, 2570 Harper Rd, Clemmons, NC on Friday and Saturday of this week. Here is the link to the show information.

Pieced and quilted by Iris Noitalay

Pieced by Theresa Dewalt and Pame Whitaker and was quilted by Kim Buterbaugh

I am leaving tomorrow to help set up for the show, and will not be back until Saturday night. My sister lives in Kernersville, NC, which is about 30 minutes away from Clemmons, and I will be staying at her house. We are hoping this show will be a success, since it is our first Machine Quilting show. In fact, there are large machine quilting shows in other parts of the country, but none in the southeast. Perhaps this will become our own MQS or MQX someday! This year, we will have vendors, but no classes at this event.

After my guild's quilt show in March, I vowed not to enter any more unfinished quilts in shows. It is kind of stressful if things do not go well, or if life intervenes before the quilt is finished. So, I entered only finished projects this time. Except...I signed up to do the challenge quilt, which is only 24 inches square, a blue star on a white background. How long could that take? So, I drew up my designs, auditioned them with members of my bee, and got started...on Monday! I got it quilted and finished, but not as perfect as I would have liked. Oh, well, it's just a piece of cloth. After my son's apartment fire last week, the importance of something like this went way down on my list of priorities. Anyway, here is my little guy. I used a garden theme since I enjoy quilting leaves and flowers so much. The blue areas have a variegated thread in jewel tones, and I used Aurifil and Bottom Line in the white. Introducing..."Star of the Garden."

Star of the Garden
24 x 24
Signature Fad 5 Variegated cotton thread in blue areas
Two layers of batting- Warm and Natural base and Warm Blend top layer Butterflies and dragonflies occupy the corner squares
Setting triangles have feathered leafy motifs
My other entries are my fiber shawl, Something Girly, Spring Greens, and a Yellow Brick Road bed quilt I made years ago named Summer Treasures. It has hummingbirds and dragonflies in blues, yellows, and greens, and is quilted with Linda Taylor's Feather Meander pattern in variegated blues and greens. I think the Carolina Lily quilt is prettier, but notice it is not finished yet!

Fiber shawl made on longarm , now named "Luscious"

Something "Girly"
34 x 34

Spring Greens

12 x 12

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Carolina Lily label

Here is the label I made for the quilt for my granddaughter, Lily. Just in case anyone thought the "Carolina" referred to the University of North Carolina or South Carolina, Lily is seen sporting her North Carolina State hat and sweatshirt.

I did not finish the binding on the quilt during her visit, so will have to get that to her later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Busy Week /Ashe County Quilt Fair

Whew! Now I remember why God gives babies to younger women. I LOVED having my little grands here this past week, but they certainly consume all your time and energy! It was a co-incidence that they had scheduled their visit to arrive the day after our other son's apartment fire. Bry and Miranda always try to attend the Dave Matthews Band concert in Raleigh, so they brought the kids up for us to babysit. Then, Bryson went back to work in South Carolina on Wednesday, and Miranda and the children stayed with us. On Friday, Charlie and I loaded them all up and we went to the mountains for the weekend. Bryson met us up there. It was a beautiful, warm weekend, and we loved having them there.

Our other son, Dave, and his wife have been real troopers after their apartment building burned down. They have found a new place to live in the same apartment complex, and are awaiting word from the insurance company about the settlement on the rest of their possessions. They have gotten most of their clothes cleaned and both are back at work. I continue to thank God that they were able to escape the fire.

While we were in Laurel Springs, Miranda and I took off for a few hours to visit a Quilt Fair in West Jefferson, NC, presented by the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild. It was held in beautiful Jefferson Station, which the county artists have decorated with fantastic paintings, murals, ceramic art, you name it. Here are a few pictures:

These are two pieces of artwork from Jefferson Station. Most of the featured art has a mountain theme.

The quilt fair was Viewers' Choice. They did not even have the names of the quiltmaker or machine quilter on the label, so I cannot give credit. This was an interesting experience for me, since I had never voted on quilts in every category at a show. Usually there is only one Viewer's Choice. Next weekend my Carolina Machine Quilters Guild is having a show with the same type of voting, but I think they are having a program and labels with the quilters' names and statements.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Counting our Blessings

You never know what life is going to throw at you. Sunday night my son called to say his apartment building was on fire, and that he and his wife had gotten out safely. Yesterday we went out to help. Their apartment did not burn up, but since they were on the ground floor, everything is soaked. We were able to get in yesterday afternoon and move everything out to a storage unit, but if they don't get it all cleaned soon, it will all mildew. Today they are talking to the insurance agent and looking for a new home. My heart breaks for the young people from the upper floors who lost everything to the fire. Fortunately, all the residents escaped safely. Here are some pictures I took yesterday.

On a much happier note, when we got home about 9:00, my other son and his family had arrived from South Carolina, so we got to feel a little joy again watching our beautiful grandchildren.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Beautiful weekend in mountains

Friday in the northern NC mountains was a washout, with a much-needed drenching rain lasting all day. But Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous late summer days with a hint of autumn in the air. Saturday we picked up my dad in Boone and took him to lunch in Blowing Rock, NC, the inspirational village for the beloved Mitford series of novels by Jan Karon. We ate delicious sandwiches and took some photographs to mark my father's 84th birthday.
Happy Birthday, Pop!

We stopped at a store along the highway between Blowing Rock and Boone to check out these very unique benches, plant stands, and tables. They are made from trees that are from Indonesia. I believe they are called gembol trees. The trees have a long life of about one hundred years, and after they die they harden into a kind of petrified wood. If you find just the right spot to sit, they are quite comfortable.

I finished making a couple of coasters for our cabin from the improvisational quilt blocks I made this summer to try out some of Vikki Pignatelli's techniques. I did not think I would ever make a whole quilt out of these little "improvisational log cabin" blocks, but they are just right for coasters for a cup of coffee in the cabin. I finished these with Vikki's envelope-type backing.

Quilted with a pine meander design from Darlene Epps' freehand book.

The second one is quilted with a freehand fern all-over design. I used a King Tut green variegated thread for both.

I went for a nature walk with my camera Sunday morning and was rewarded with some outstanding shots of the sun shining on the last of summer's wildflowers and the beginnings of autumn color in the foliage.

Poke berries

Blue asters

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sewing a pillow- twice!

Yesterday I made one pillow to go with the Carolina Lily bed quilt for my granddaughter's room. It took almost all day- mainly because of all the re-sewing I had to do! Here is a hint: if you use Vanish water-soluble thread, keep it in a different place than your usual threads! I changed to a light thread color when I started this project, just grabbing a spool off my sewing table. When I started experiencing frequent thread breakage when gathering the ruffle, I took a second look at the thread I had chosen. Yup- the kind that dissolves in water! I had sewn the borders for the pillow top and the ruffle with it. Not a good idea! Normally I only use this product when doing machine trapunto before cutting away the batting.

Of course, I am not known for the organization and neatness of my sewing room. I envy all those who take pictures of their workspace. Not me- I can barely walk in the room sometimes with all the projects heaped about. Oh, well, it works for me- usually!

Anyway, I think that the grandkids are coming up next week for a few days- so I will try to get the binding finished on the quilt by then. Off to the mountains either tonight or tomorrow where the air is supposed to be much cooler this weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Got new dishes!

I am taking a little break from preparing the binding for my Carolina Lily quilt. I did cut the scallops yesterday, and they look fairly even. I have stay-stitched the layers of the quilt together and am ready to make the bias binding.

I thought I would get this done yesterday, but when the UPS truck arrived, all sewing stopped! I finally ordered some new dishes for our home from Winterthur. After admiring this set in the catalog for a long time, I decided to go for it since they were currently on sale. I think these will look nice at home and also in the cabin when we move up there. Anyway, it took a long time to unwrap, wash, and remove two stickers from the back of each dish. Hmmm, may have to cook a meal to try them out!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mary Jo's Outing and Family Pool Party

Here is my haul from my Way-Too-Short one hour run through Mary Jo's in Gastonia on Friday afternoon: I collect black and white fabrics, and got all these FQ's for 99 cents each. I love the little chairs!
I stocked up on some needles for DSM and for burying knots (chenille needles- big eyes!)
Some possibilities for a future mountain landscape quilt. Ashe County, the location of our little cabin, is probably where your Christmas tree comes from if you are in the USA! My husband thought the fabric on the right depicts a certain illegal plant. I was thinking of the laurel leaves...

I also got a whole bolt of muslin, two 18-inch pillow forms for the pillow tops in Lily's room, a huge remnant of Timtex interfacing for fabric post cards, some Silicone spray, fabric detergent, and Synthrapol. When I go to MJ's I usually look for backing fabric, since they have quilt shop quality fabric at only $5.79 yard. But I couldn't find exactly what I wanted in the short time I was allotted on this trip. Good news- they will soon have a shopping website available! You can mail order now if you know the fabric you want. If you go to the Mary Jo's website, you can sign up for e-mail notification of when the new site goes live.

From Gastonia we drove west for another hour and had a wonderful visit with my husband's relatives. His two brothers and his sister all live in western NC or SC, and they all made it to the pool party on Saturday. Usually this event signals the onslaught of thunderstorms and unseasonal frigid temperatures, but we were pretty safe this year since it has only rained about twice all summer and has been HOT every day.

We were amused by nephew Chris's school project, a tom turkey he has raised from a chick and will display at the NC State Fair next month. They call him Baby "T," and he was walking around the driveway when we arrived. I was reminded somewhat of Big Bird on Sesame Street. I am afraid he has become a family pet instead of a future Thanksgiving meal.

And here is a neat picture of a much smaller bird who visited the pots of petunias on the back deck Sunday morning.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Work in Progress- Carolina Woodland Spring

Here are some newer photographs of my green trapunto quilt, tentatively named Carolina Woodland Spring. I have begun tinting some of the quilting motifs with Tsukineko inks to bring a little interest to the shadow trapunto areas. I like this quilt better already, and think I will love it when I add some sparkling beads and an irregular border. You can see the green fleece that I used beneath the white batiste areas to achieve the light green background behind the trapunto.

Now I am off to get ready for our trip to the western area of the state today...which means I better make my list for Mary Jo's Cloth Store! Will blog again on Monday.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Another Painted Quilt

Here is another little trapunto quilt that I finished painting, "bejeweling," and binding yesterday. I made three of these little twelve-inch quilts to audition the appearance of different colors of felt beneath a white batiste top. This one had a purple felt layer, which really came out looking drab and gray as a shadow trapunto. The white feather circle is white Quilters' Dream Poly batting that has been cut away after quilting with water-soluble thread. I never intended this project to be a keeper, but after painting with Tsukineko inks and adding some Swarovski crystals, this little guy really came to life! I just ordered fifteen more brush-tip markers for applying the inks, since some of mine are getting a little frayed.

I originally called this piece "Lavender Blue," but that no longer seems right for this riot of color. It sort of reminds me of the hippie designs of the sixties and seventies, so I decided to re-name it "Color Me Happy."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day Weekend in the mountains

We had a wonderful long holiday weekend in the mountains of North Carolina at our little cabin. There is a hint of fall in the air, with some of the leaves changing color already. Here are a few pictures:

If you click on the picture of the wild turkeys, you may be able to see a flock of birds climbing up the hill that my brother-in-law cleared with a backhoe.

The only bad part of the weekend happened just as we were getting ready to leave. I never brag about my housekeeping skills, but I am trying to keep the new cabin spotless to avoid coming back to mice or insects. Anyway, I was sweeping the steps and missed my footing on the landing. I fell hard to the concrete garage floor, but landed on my most padded part of my anatomy. All I got were a couple bruises and little soreness.

Next weekend we are supposed to go to a McBrayer family gathering, Richard's annual pool party. I am looking forward to seeing my brother-in-law, who has been called "The Silver Fox" for decades, with his hair and mustache dyed black (courtesy of his new girlfriend.) I also have my husband pretty well-trained to stop at Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia on the way. If you have never been there, this is what I call Mecca. It is a former grocery store that has been turned into a huge fabric and notions store. There are quilting fabrics of every description, sorted by color and also by theme. Additionally, they have a large home dec section and lots of trims, bridal lace, you name it. And all at a discount price. If you are ever in the vicinity of Charlotte, NC, go a little farther on I-85 and plan to spend a few hours here. And don't forget your credit card!