Thanks, sweetie for the inspiration!!

I often present a talk that discusses where we, as quilters, find inspiration. Personally, I LOVE finding things in the world that remind me or inspire me to make a quilt.

I love it even more when others send inspiration to me!!

My husband, Michael, just returned from two weeks in Namibia, located on the southwest coast of Africa.

While there he came across an abandoned village that had been inhabited by the Herero People. As he walked around the village, he found houses that were built from a mixture of clay and cow dung. That, in itself, was amazing, but the designs that were imprinted on the walls were the most fascinating thing of all…..

Can’t you just see lines of stitching in there?

Now I am thinking about making a top using squares and rectangles of a solid fabric and adding quilting lines going in different directions for each square!!

And look how the “stitching” lines are at angles rather than being vertical or horizontal……

TOO much inspiration!!!

I was interested in learning more about the Herero people and found out that they are a Bantu ethnic group and that traditionally, they are cattle herders. Cattle are so prominent that their traditional dress is worn with a headscarf that is tied to resemble the horns of a cow…..

Photo taken from Wikipedia

Based on the number of pens that Michael saw…..

….

….this particular village once held many cattle, but the drought had taken away the grazing pastures, forcing them to move on.

So inspiration AND a history lesson….all in one post!!!

Fast and Furious

Michael, my husband, has been out of the country for the past two weeks and I have used that time to get my life organized….particularly the quilting/blogging/business portion!!! I am enjoying blogging a lot more and trying to turn it into more of a business, but it takes time….lots and lots of time!!!

The other night, I was TIRED of sitting at my computer, WRITING AND THINKING about quilting and decided that it was time to do some sewing.

I turned to a kit that my guild’s charity group had provided and was pleased to open it up and see the fabrics already cut and ready to go…..

The kit even had detailed instructions about how to complete the top…..

The first step was to sew 12 W-O-F strips to 12 other W-O-F strips!! I put on my 1/4 inch foot that provides a ledge to butt up against……

…set the speed to “SUPER RABBIT”……

….and off I flew!!

After doing a bit of ironing, sewing, sub-cutting, sewing, and even more ironing, I was pleased to have this wonderful quilt top ready to go…….

I spent 2 hours from go to whoa on it and, not only did it make something that can be given away to help those in need, it gave me the welcome relief of getting to touch fabric and actually create something!!

Many thanks to our guild charity group as they do much of the “dirty” work so that I can have fun with the fabric part!!!

What do you work on when you JUST WANNA SEW?

Getting to know Julio – Part 2

As I posted previously, I am enjoying learning more and more about Julio, my Juki Sit-Down long arm machine.

My first attempts at free-motion quilting were to get the FEEL of the machine but now it is time to start working on precision….and I am going to need a lot of work!!

Firstly, I need to learn how to go slow. You can adjust the speed of the machine, but it is still super hard to just take one or two slow stitches. I use this technique constantly when I need to move the quilt just a little bit!! I could probably fix this problem by putting a stitch-regulator on the machine, but I really don’t want to do that!!

I also found that when I stopped and re-positioned the fabric, it was easy for the fabric to shift just a bit when I started back again. I need to practice holding the fabric well and taking one stitch in the same place before I start moving the fabric.

This machine really notices when the fabric drags so it became quickly apparent that I needed to add something to the table to help that problem. The machine table sits up against my other machine so there is a table on the left side, but I needed something to support the right side as well. I added a fold-up table and that seemed to do the trick…..

I was doing all ruler quilting for this piece and Julio schooled me in a few other practices as well!!

First of all, I needed to make sure that the fabric wasn’t bunched up under the ruler but was instead laying flat. This was especially important when I was doing designs that needed to meet in exactly the same place each time.

I also learned not to look at the needle when I was using a ruler. Instead, I looked at the line on the ruler that I was using for registration. This meant that I wasn’t as likely to let the ruler slide as I quilted.

Finally, I learned about ruler heights!! These are the two rulers that I was using for straight lines. The one on the left is an Angela Walters ruler and the one on the right is from Westalee. You can see that there is a significant difference in their height.

Once I had raised the foot high enough to cruise over all of the seams (see previous post), it was too high for the Westalee ruler. I used it for a few lines but realized that it would sometimes slip under the presser foot and that was not good.

The problem that I had with the Walters ruler is that, when I am holding the ruler directly behind the foot, it is too tall to completely butt up against the ruler foot!!

If you look, you can see a tiny gap between the ruler and the foot

I never did come up with a perfect solution to this problem but did find ways to re-position the ruler so that it was never DIRECTLY behind the foot.

All in all, I am pleased with my purchase!! I recognize that most of these “problems” can be fixed with attention to detail and with lots of practice.

So, it’s off to design more quilt tops so that I have more to quilt!!!

Getting to know Julio – Part 1

If you haven’t already met, this is Julio……

He has been part of our family for about a month. He and I are slowly getting acquainted and learning each other’s quirks and perks!!!

I started out by quilting Charity quilts and was pleased with the results…..

BUT…..those quilts didn’t have a specific pattern and I honestly wasn’t too concerned if things weren’t perfect. But now, I am ready to work on one of MY quilts…

and one that I really want to do a great job on!!

The issues that I had with this particular quilt were one of the reasons that I bought Julio. And now I was ready to take advantage of those issues being gone……but they were still there!!

If you remember, I HEAVILY pieced the backing and the front was strip pieced so there were a LOT of seams. I was SURE that Julio would jump those seams just fine…..HE DIDN’T!!

I started trying to figure out why. First, I started adjusting the presser foot tension by loosening it using the knob on top of the machine. I turned and turned and sewed and then turned some more, but THIS happened….

I had twisted the knob completely out!!!

After about 10 minutes of panic, I was able to get it back together but still hadn’t fixed my problem.

As I dejectedly sat there staring at Julio, I noticed that there were some hash marks on the foot where it was screwed in. And I noticed that the foot was about halfway up and could potentially go even higher. My heart quickened as I thought that MAYBE there was hope.

Then, I had to remove the foot and boy was the screw on there tight!! After consulting with Dr. Google, I sprayed a few shots of WD-40 on it and, after about 15 minutes, it came loose. Resetting the foot to its highest position was easy now…..

Now I was concerned that it was too high up and that the stitches wouldn’t work, but Julio didn’t disappoint and I was soon skimming over all of those seams with the greatest of ease!!

There have been other issues that I will discuss later but I just wanted to share the sheer joy of figuring out that I was, indeed, going to be able to use and enjoy Julio!!

Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is defined as the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. During this time, the daylight is redder and softer and it is the MOST wonderful time for photographs!!!

As I have walked in my neighborhood this past week I became enamored with this Ginkgo Tree during the Golden Hour……

It made my walks just that much more fun!!

Of course, this HAS to be my favorite “Golden Hour” photo…..

Coffee Shop Inspiration

It is Tuesday, so must be time for a bit more………

When we were visiting in Austin, Texas a while back, we had breakfast each morning at a local coffee shop. This design was found underneath one of the serving bars and immediately caught my interest…..

I love that the stripe quilt blocks lead into the neighboring block and I especially like the black/white coloring!!

Will I ever make a quilt like this??? Probably not, but it is still fun to find quilts where they are least expected!!!!

Mahek is going to Houston… Sort of!!

Back in May, I entered “Mahek, the Market Girl” into the International Quilt Festival (Houston Show) competition.

As we all know by now, Houston was canceled for 2020. and I was so disappointed when my entry fee was returned!

In September, they announced that there would be a “ Virtual Quilt Festival” and that entries were open for the “My Mind” exhibit. I told Michael that I was hesitant to enter the virtual show because I REALLY had wanted the opportunity to see her hang at Houston. As usual, his advice was spot on!!

He counseled me that we didn’t know what the next years were going to be like, and ALL of the shows may be virtual in 2021!! As I thought about that, I decided to go ahead and place the entry.

On Friday, I got an email saying that my quilt had been juried into the virtual show

I am thrilled to bits!!

It won’t be quite the same as walking up to her hanging on the wall as part of one of the exhibitions, but it’s still pretty neat.

I guess now I need to get started on another collage type quilt so that I have something like that to enter next year.

I think that the Virtual Show is actually going to be pretty good. You buy a pass for $10 that allows you to tour all of the online galleries on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th. There are various lectures and workshops that you can take for a $20 fee, and of course, there is a vendor mall…..because we HAVE to buy the newest thing!!!

You can visit THIS LINK to get more information and follow the link there to purchase tickets or register for classes.’

While it won’t be the same as seeing the quilts in person, (and of course there won’t be Mexican Food), it will be an exciting 3 days!!!