Monday, December 31, 2012

Dusty's rulers

When I was in Houston I bought two sets of rulers from Dusty and folks asked if I would put up a review of them when I had tried them. I have now, so here goes.

Firstly the cute packaging is also useful. I can hang the bags from their drawstrings and keep a whole set on one hook, neat. I am also using them for storing my cunning pin catchers but more on those another day.

The set I have spent most time with are the radical rulers. Their first outing was a baby quilt for a regular customer. She doesn't mind if I play and a baby won't critique my quilting. I used the 4 way cross shaped ruler to do the borders, with the gothic arch look. It wasn't perfect, I don't use rulers much so that is to be expected but it was acceptable. If you look on you tube you will find some video of him demonstrating them and the border I tried was one he shows.

I did find the ruler a lot easier to hold than most I've tried. It's a really good size, big enough to be usefull small enough to he held stable easily. I then had to quilt Tet's Christmas present to his mum. It has a lot of applique on it that had to be stitched around. I grabbed my trusty straight ruler and the went hunting for something to use on the curves. Three of the radical rulers got pressed into service. The two arches and the 4 way. Between them they had something close to every arc I needed and were all easy to hold. It wasn't what they were designed for, but they are very very good at it. So much so I've done tons of stitch in the ditch (something I normally won't do) on two sampler quilts as well.

I still need more time to play with the rulers and the other set I bought, but so far I am a very happy camper. These have changed the way I look at ruler work completely. I've also started using my leader grip side clamps. They are much easier to open and close than I had expected, which is good and I love the way the hold the backing. The leader grips for loading quilts are waiting to go on the new frame when it arrives, which will be a while yet because I wanted it customising. I know, typical, but hey if you are going to spend that much you might as well get it right.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cow on the frame

As you can see I am making good progress with the cow now. Yes this does mean the tracing is all done. I am so relieved, it was getting really boring. The cow has been about for nearly a year without quilting. It is one of the samples for my art quilts 3 class and is based on the photos I took for Herd Mentality. It is quilted very differently from Herd Mentality, and is also acting as a test for my next quilt. Fur goes much faster than I expected and is a lot of fun to quilt.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What's on the frame?

Well, two things actually. I know that's a bit odd bit when I need a long table I lay a piece of polystyrene on the rollers. At the moment I am using that to trace a pattern. The picture shows part of round 1, I'm on round 2 now, and for this project there will be a round 3, though 2 and 3 are only partial tracings so it's not as bad as it sounds.

Actually mounted on the frame I have my cow head sample quilt. I finally got fed up with the pins at a time when the frame was free so the pins are out and the stitching is going on. I made it from the exact requirements I give students which meant the backing was too small to mount so I mounted heavy weight washaway instead. I am not enjoying quilting a quilt with a lot of layers of fabric and the thick washaway front and back. I won't be making a habit of this.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quilt finished

No I haven't been taking time off from quilting over the holiday. Did you really think I would? Yesterday I finished off a customer quilt the loaded this little one. It's a sample for one of my patterns so I will show you it when the patter comes out, but for now I can at least show you the back. It's not the most exciting quilting in the world. It needed to be quick and easy and done.

Loving having access to my blog again.

Am I back?

Hopefully this new phone will let me start blogging again. I can't get the new blogger software to do what I want and my handset got too old and shaky to deal with email or web access. So for my present to myself I got a replacement handset. 2 days to get things synced and I seem to be back up and running.

The quilt is a sample for a pattern. It's just keeping me out of trouble until I can start on a new art quilt. Just waiting to get the new printer up and running.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quit done

When ill everything takes longer, even quilting. Why am I quilting when I feel ill? Well you might have noticed the date, Christmas is coming and my queue is full so I have to get a certain amount done every day no matter how I feel. I have been picking out the simpler projects though. There is no[chance of me doing complex work right now. Even this quilt took at least 4 times as long as it should have done, but it's finished now and hopefully can head home this week.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Houston? Nah, Florida

I was going to post some more pictures from the Houston quilt show, but actually I'm not in the mood. So here are some pictures from Florida instead. However, to keep my quilting fans happy lets start with some quilting. Some really really famous quilting.

I hope at least some of you guessed what the quilting in question might be on, given my background and the location :) All these panels are quilted. We got to see some samples in the VAB which showed the stitching much better but you can see it fairly well here. As you can see she isn't the easiest thing to get a picture of, you just can't get back far enough, but Tet did his best.

For me this has to be the ultimate patchwork quilt. It's a serious working quilt, although the colour scheme isn't the most imaginative I've seen.

We were very lucky to see Atlantis. There was just one week where they were allowing sneak peeks before she is built into a 'proper' display. Personally I would much rather see her grubby and on very functional stands. It suits who and what she is. I hope they don't tart her up too much.

 This is one of the launch pads used for shuttle launches. The gravel tracks you can see leading up to it are the roadway used by the crawler that carries the platform and whatever is being launched to the platform. I do mean both tracks are one road. the crawler has huge tracks and straddles the grass between the gravel.

We got even luckier on our visit. There is a platform on the pad and a crawler under it. Our guide said the crawler had just had a complete refurbishment and new engines so we were guessing it had come out here as a test run. Whatever the reason, I've always had a soft spot for the crawlers so it was great to see one.
From this angle you can see the fire trench and the massive water tower which dumps water at the base of a shuttle launch just before the engines fire. The water is there to damp (literally) the sound waves which would otherwise damage the orbiter. It's a neat and very clever solution to a potentially huge problem.

Lastly, for tonight at least, the rocket garden. Maybe if I have wifi on the train tomorrow I will try and post some more quilts :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

More quilts from Houston

 I don't know how much I am going to be able to say. The laptop thinks I have 20 minutes battery, so if I have to stop suddenly you will know what happened.

I've been looking through my photos from Houston and they seem to fall mostly into two groups, amazing quilting and medallion quilts. I guess that says something about my interests doesn't it.

I also notice that the quilts that really appealed to me often didn't get the big ribbons. I have far more pictures of non winning quilts than winners (well until I sent Tet to get a picture of every competition quilt for me :).

As ever you can click on the images for a bigger picture and the last image of each set is the description bard for the quilt.

Only one quilt made it into the photos just because I guessed who made it. Many I looked at fell in love with then read the board and either said, "should have guessed" or "well that figures". As I get more up you will see what I mean ;)

 This quilt grabbed me from the other end of it's aisle. In person it glows with sunlight, and you just can't wait to get a better look at the rocks. The pictures don't do it justice, but it did at least win an award. These pictures were taken during market which is before the awards are announced.

Do look at the close-ups there is so much detail in this quilt. Eeeep battery warning. Better type faster.

 This quilt is all about the quilting for me. Maybe that's wrong, but just take a look at it. I think we have 8 or 9 detail pictures of this one, there is just so much in it.

Please read the blurb the artists wrote I am going to get this uploaded quick.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I would share my Houston goodies

But the family says no. Under the 2 cats is half a suitcase. In which are threads. Lots or them, but they currently belong to the cats who are still using 2 weeks in a cattery as leverage. Sorry, I will unpack soon. Equally I'll have to get my laptop hooked up to the home network so I can share som,e more quilt photos, don't worry you will see them within a couple of hours of me getting a look at them.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Too tired to make sense but posting anyway

 I really should be going and getting some dinner but Tet has fallen asleep so I will try and do this instead. Be warned, I've been repeating myself for several days now and I'm tired so I may not make a lot of sense. I also haven't edited the images so they are huge. They should look good if you click on them to enlarge them though. I am also hoping you will be able to read the signs (and that I have put up the right ones for the quilts).

The first picture tonight is a random building in Houston :) Well not that random, it's the one we can see from the lift and we both rather like it. I like the whole Houston skyline actually and I think it may well become a quilt at some point. I know we have more pictures of it, but asleep person has the camera so I guess you'll have to wait for that.

This quilt is hanging next door but one to my quilt. That's a mixed blessing. I get to look at it a lot, which is great, but it is way too good and I'd rather is was further away from my quilt. It is called 'Adventure Awaits' and was quilted by Sue McCarty, it is stunning. The detail on it is just fantastic. How this quilt didn't get in the top 3 is just beyond me. If something this amazing only gets honourable mention I can totally understand how I didn't place. I have so many pictures of this quilt because every time I look at it I see another feature I love. I think that these gates are probably my favourite part of the quilt, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

 This quilt was one of the awards that really pleased me at the winners circle. It's not a big quilt and it's in a category with a lot of far larger pieces but it holds it's own very well. The photograph doesn't capture the amazing glow this quilt has. The fabrics have been chosen to capture the light hitting this tree. If I could take a show quilt home with me it would probably be this one, because not only do I love it but it's small enough I could hang it too. 'The Leprechaun's Tree' by Robin M. Haller.

Another award winner that I was pleased to see  was 'Departure' by Kiyomi Takayanagi (I hope I got all those letters right). This quilt ticks all my boxes. I love the colour, the shading, the piecing and the quilting. I do find Japanese quilts very intimidating, the workmanship is amazing. One day I will be brave enough to try submitting one of my quilts to a Japanese show, but I'm not sure I'm quite there yet.

Yes I know, I'm mean, these are nearly all detail pictures but come on, these details are worth studying :)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Great lunch buddies

 Between market and festival there is a two day break, where the visitors need to entertain themselves and the stall holders panic. We decided to give the Downtown Aquarium a try. It's not a huge place but it does let you pet rays so I was happy. The best display of rays though is in the restaurant. They are quite distracting which I thought was great. I love the way they fly in the water. I guess I now need to try a quilt of one as we have loads of pictures.

Right now though it's gone 10 so hopefully the queue at the show will be reducing. I need to go and catch the bus to play with the public. Wish me luck the aircon is playing havoc with my throat and I have almost no voice. I can see Tet doing a lot of talking today. Just as well he has heard the spiel so often and can sound pretty much like me :)

In the naughty corner

Although the quilt festival opened today last night was preview night and IQA members could get into the show from 5pm-10pm. I obviously had to take advantage of this to meet people and to shop. In doing so I discovered the show has a naughty corner. You know you've found it when you hit the Innova longarm booth. I've not worked out if they are in the corner or just out of it, I suspect it depends on who you talk to and when, but everything beyond them is certainly in the corner. To one side you find Akonye Kenya, who sell lots of fabrics beads and other objects sourced from Africa. He hasn't managed to sell me anything yet, having limited space makes you a lot pickier, but he has some lovely fabrics. However, I don't think I will ever forget him, and those of you who know me well know that has to bode :) He wears a kilt which would give him a fair chance of being remembered but his wicked sense of humour guarantees it. Never ever leave a computer guided longarm unattended with him around, really, just don't.

To the other side the two bad boy longarmers are lurking. I thought it would be nice to show you a picture of the two of them with their new products (which I may have had to buy :) but the more observant of you will see I only caught one of them. Their handlers are threatening to put shock collars on them so they can be kept closer to the stands in future. Dusty didn't run fast enough so we have a picture of him and the bag of goodies. In this bag you get a set of his rulers and the DVD to go with them. He assures me it makes him look really clever. I don't find that too hard to believe. Of course what I really want is the new book he is working on. He stitched out a couple of things from it and they look great. Why is it I always want the thing I can't have?

If you are at the show there is a special offer of the 5 rulers and the DVD for $105. They are booth number, 162 Country Stitchin. Failing that they do have a web site, where you can order the rulers, but I think it's going to cost more.

As most of you know I don't do a lot with rulers. I do however sometimes want to be able to repeat a curve. I liked the look of these partly for the wide range of curves you get but they also look like they will be easy shapes to handle. They aren't huge either so they should play nicely on the smaller frame. I suppose if I was really keen I could watch the DVD while I am here and see if Innova would let me play with my rulers on their machines, but then again that might just be the step too far. I am already getting though their fabric and thread at an alarming rate. Maybe I will leave the DVD safe in it's shrink wrap until I get home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yay RIcky

It's not a great picture, but here is Ricky Tims with his award winning quilt in the winners circle. He was sooooo thrilled it was really sweet. Nice to know it's not something you ever get used to :) Argh!!! I am trying to layout my posts but blogger really won't let me. You'll just have to pretend there is nice layout, OK :)

Quilt show in progress

Last night when we went to the winners circle we took a look at how the stands are coming along for the show. Some of these have stayed put from the market but a lot have been taken down and new ones have gone up. It's a lot of work to do in two days.

I kinda like the chaos before the show, but by the time we got a picture it looks pretty much normal as you can see. I wonder if they have little tractors here like the do in Birmingham to clean up the mess from unpacking.

Am I back?

Well long time no see. Between blogger being new and improved (also known as unusable) my phone having a hard time and now very poor net access in Houston, blogging has not been easy. This will have to be a short post as the only way to get net access involves holding a heavy laptop in a very painful position.

Still I am in Houston and I have to share a couple of photos from last night. This is Brigit collecting her prize at the awards show. How cool is this? She came to my class in Sitges as well as wining loads of prizes there. It was amazing to not only see her again but to see her in this position. Her quilt is really amazing and does entirely deserve the awards. I was really pleased with this class actually as several of the quilts I thought were amazing collected awards.

Anyway I wasn't kidding, this is really uncomfortable so I will leave this here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

where is the North Star? - Farncombe

This weekend I was the tutor for a residential (well mostly) course at the Farncombe Conference center (Cotswold Conference center now I think). The students were making their versions for my North Star quilt. The quilt is all foundation pieced and then joined using partial seams giving it a very random/organic look which is supposed to make you think night sky.

Having a mixture of abilities different parts of the class started in different ways. The experienced table went straight in with the borders. As these need the biggest pieces of fabric it makes sense to do them first. This way you know you will have the large pieces to do them and the off cuts can be used for the smaller blocks. However they are large so for the beginners I decided we should start with the simplest block the sky blocks.

The students did very well with the sky, most of them completing 2 sky blocks in the first session after dinner on the Friday. From there the beginners went on to the star blocks so I could teach them the partial seam technique. Again, as you can see, they did really well. Some of the 'beginners' went home with sky, star, and a decent chunk of border. The quilt at the bginning of the post is a combination of work from all the students. The four most experienced got their borders done and those are the ones in the mock up and the partial stars are mostly theirs as well.

I was surprised at how well all the pieces work together. The colour schemes are so different yet the play well together. I am very taken with the monochromatic red version of the quilt, which I wasn't convinced by when I first saw the fabrics. Now the border is together you can see it will be ver striking and effective when it's finished. My concern, other than my p**k issues, was that there just wasn't enough contrast to make the stars pop. I was wrong, there is and I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

Sorry this post (and others) are late. Life has been getting in the way. The posts will arive though, in their own time. I still need to get some images off cameras so I can share with you the highlights of this years FoQ, the gallery of Brigitte Morgenroth, her work was just stunning and I do have the photo's to prove it, if I can just get them onto the computer.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The last couple for this class

I can't wait to see these finished.