Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Hurrah for the USA" Southern Indiana Shop Hop--June 23-26, 2011

I had a chance to go with some friends to this year's Southern Indiana Shop Hop last Thursday (June 23). It was an ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS day. It doesn't get much better than spending a day with great friends doing what you love! I got a few pictures but got so excited at some places that I forgot to take any. I apologize to those shops. Also, I didn't get to go to two of the shops included in the hop, but I will include their information.

First, let me show you my "booty" from the trip. This picture is missing a great pair of scissors I bought, because I'm already using them. They are tiny scissors with a serrated cutting blade. I'm using them to cut out VERY detailed fusible applique pieces. I will be reviewing them later, so stay tuned. Actually, I'll be reviewing several of these products since they are new to me.
  1. I had been looking for the Heat and Bond Feather Lite since seeing it on The Quilt Show. My preferred fusible is Heat and Bond Lite, but Feather Lite is supposed to be less stiff. I'm VERY anxious to give it a test. I have had trouble finding it. The places where I normally purchase Heat and Bond Lite haven't had it. I found this at Craft Town Fabrics at Salem, IN. Look for a review once I have used it.
  2. The egg-looking item is a packet (called a Pebble) of John James beading needles. I love the needle holder. I always have trouble finding my beading needles and haven't, as of yet, found a good way to store them. I'm hoping this will help. I've also heard these are nice beading needles--we'll see.
  3. I'm SO lazy that I REALLY hate to sew pieces of batting together to get a piece large enough for one of my projects. I'm also frugal enough to want to use all those pieces. I'm hoping I have found the product to help me out with this situation. It is called Heat Press from Jeanne Harwood Designs. I bought 10 yards of the 1 1/2" wide size. A narrower size is available, but I didn't feel like it would work as well for me. This is another product I will review once I have tried it.
  4. Next is the Clover Embroidery Threader. It is supposed to make it easier to thread those pesky embroidery threads into your needle. The older I get...the more trouble I have threading needles of any kind. The problem with embroidery thread is that when I use multiple threads, one of them always seems to wiggle its way away from the others and not go through the eye of the needle. I'm hoping this will help. I'll let you know. I thought the price was a bit high (almost $10). If it works, though, I will think it is worth it.
  5. The last product on the table is Clover's tracing paper called "Clover Chacopy." It isn't a real "exciting" product, but it is something I need. It is sort of like the paper I remember using in my home economics class in high school--the yellow paper that we used with a tracing wheel to place the marks from a pattern onto our fabric. Did you all use that paper too? You get five different colored 12" X 10" sheets in the package for $4.25.
The item below wasn't purchased during the hop but appears on the table with my shop hop purchases. I did purchase it the same day, though. I'm really excited to try this product, because it is designed to thread small needles--sizes 9-12. I REALLY have trouble getting those tiny needles threaded, especially if the light is not great. It is made by Sewline and is called the "Sewline Quickthru Needle Threader." They also make a replacement mechanism for the threader. (I'm not sure if that is good or bad. It made me wonder if they have already had to replace a lot of them.) The only place I could find this product is at Shiisa Quilts in Bloomington, IN. They have an on-line store too. Check them out at http://www.shiisaquilts.com/.
The shops included in the hop were as follows. (Some of them have websites--for the ones that do, I have added a link so you can easily visit. Just hover over the shop name. If they are linked, you'll see it.)
  • HollyHock Quilt Shop is located at 1148 Hwy 62 NW in Corydon, IN. This is one of the places where I didn't get a picture. This is a nice little shop with a friendly, knowledgeable staff. They really have a great selection of patterns for hand embroidery. Their selection of Crabapple Hill (one of my favorite companies) patterns is really good. They are one of the few places that carry some Cosmo embroidery thread.
  • Craft Town Fabrics is located at 21 Public Square in Salem, IN. They have over 7,000 bolts of fabric, a large selection of books, patterns, and quilting notions. They do ship orders made on line.
  • The Quilting Bee is located at 4904 Old Georgetown Road, Edwardsville, IN. This shop is located in a red metal building across from the UM Church. I didn't get a picture of this shop either. They have a really nice staff and lots of great fabric, books, and patterns.
  • I didn't make it to the Stitching Post located at 401 East St, Washington, IN, but I have been there many times. This store is LOADED with fabric. They do a bang-up Internet business and have VERY reasonable shipping prices. Again, you'll find a very friendly, knowledgeable staff. Check out their website.
  • L & L Yard Goods is located at 1814 Taylor Street, Madison, IN. This quilt shop looks small on the outside, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fabric (and other items) on the inside. Longarm quilting is available at their shop.
  • Margie's Country Store is located at 721 West Main Street in Madison, IN. The owner, Margie Webb, has a GREAT eye for fabric and patterns. The shop is very small, but you will be surprised at the treasures you will find if you take the time to visit.
  • Sharynn's Quilt Box is located at 1551 North State Street in North Vernon, IN. The shop is an authorized Janome sales and service dealer. They have over 2,000 bolts of fabric along with kits, notions, books, patterns, sewing classes and clubs at this shop. Call 812-346-4731 for information.
  • I didn't get to go to The Village Mercantile which is located at 123 South 2nd Street in Boonville, IN. I have spend some time (and money) there too, though. It is only 10 minutes off of I-64 at Exit 39. Betty has over 6,000 bolts of fabric at the shop. She has a huge amount of beautiful samples made up along with patterns, books, and notions.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the shops. If you don't live close by, you can visit the websites. Have your own little Southern Indiana Shop Hop on line!

Hey, leave me a comment every now and then. I hate to think I'm just talking (typing) to myself all the time!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

...And the Quilt is Named--"Come Dance With Me"

I was having a hard time coming up with a name for the quilt I'm currently working on. I asked my blog readers to help me come up with a good name for the quilt. My friend, Sharon, asked me the story of the quilt. She suggested that the quilt story might help me come up with a name. This is the story...

The character in this quilt was originally an 8 1/2" X 11" drawing (The character in my fabric piece is over 5 feet tall!) made by my Taiwanese foreign exchange student (Sandie Yi). I loved the drawing the first time I saw it and asked Sandie if I could make it into a fabric piece; she graciously gave her permission. Now, you need to know a bit about Sandie.

Sandie was a VERY shy girl when she came to the school where I taught in 1997. After a while, though, she made friends and learned to love the school. She loved the school and the town so much that she wanted to graduate from there, but the foreign-exchange program would not allow her to attend our school for another year. She ended up graduating from Marian Heights Academy (an academy for girls in the town). We became close friends. I even got to attend her graduation and meet her parents. That was quite an honor for me.

There is lots more you should know about Sandie. She was born with only two fingers on each of her hands and two toes on each of her feet. She used to hide her differences but never used them as an excuse not to be able to do something. For example, Sandie was in my typing class and was one of the fastest and most accurate typists I had. She says, “I grew up with being labeled as ‘disabled,’ and would often hide my hands when I was younger. Now I don't see my body is disabled/impaired at all. My hands and feet are my assets, my special traits. Art is a way for me to understand the beauty of the challenges in my life, and also as a way to adorn myself. I wish to be identified as ‘born with two fingers and two toes on each limb.'" (This quote came from a bio on Sandie. You can see the full bio here--http://www.accessliving.org/index.php?tray=content&tid=top624&cid=375) You can learn more about Sandie and her art at the following site. There are pictures of her and some of her art along with a great interview. That site is...  http://cs4a.org/Just4Kids/tabid/58/EntryId/1/Interview-with-Sandie.aspx.

Since graduating high school, Sandie has received a BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also is in the class of 2011 at UC Berkeley working towards a Master of Fine Arts. (She may be finished by the time you read this!) She makes art for and about people who are considered by society to be "disabled." I'm REALLY proud of her, the work she has done (and is doing), and the growth I've seen in her.

With all this information (and a bit more from me--I ran on and on about Sandie), Sharon said, "After reading this, your project takes on a whole different perspective to me. Before I knew anything about it, I would have said something about Mardi Gras or some far away civilization ritual etc. Now after reading all of this and knowing where it came from, I hear a soft (not meek-soft but more like a whisper on the wind soft) but giddy girl's excited, playful voice saying "come dance with me"....kind of metaphorical for don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone sitting on the sidelines....get up and "dance" to the music that is your life. So anyway, that's my 2cents, I'd call it "Come Dance With Me."" I told Sharon that her description made me cry. She said EXACTLY what I was feeling; I'm just not good at putting those feelings into words. So...."Come Dance With Me" is the name of the quilt. Thanks Sharon!

Take another look at the character in my "Come Dance With Me" quilt (in the previous post). I notice, now, that the hands of the character look like Sandie's hands. I LOVE that about the piece. Now that you know the story...what do you think?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

10-Hour "Work" Day

I worked for at least ten hours today on my new project. I do have a name for it (thanks Sharon) that I'll be telling you about shortly. I'm waiting to see if I can get permission to include some information I think would be interesting for you to know about it. Anyway...

This is what it looked like when I started today--I had the rough pieces cut out, but none of the applique done for the top.
This is what I ended up with after ten hours of work... Somehow, it doesn't seem like I got all that much done!  I still have to stitch around most of these applique pieces. (I did get some of the stitching done.) This work takes a REALLY, REALLY long time.
Oh, I did get sidetracked by this for a few minutes! He slithered by my studio window; I was SO excited! It reminded me of the two pet corn snakes (one "regular;" one albino) we used to have. I miss those snakes! Anyway, I ran and got my camera, and took this picture. I think he was trying to get into my landscaping rocks to cool off, but there wasn't any place for him to go. He stayed this way (with his head and about 8 inches of him in the field stone) for two or three minutes and then slithered off into the grass. I guess I won't be going barefooted in my yard anymore!
Seeing him also reminded me of my Grandma Wink. Every time she saw a snake she would run to get her "snake-killin' hoe." That hoe killed many a snake; she just HATED snakes (even though I tried to convince her that they actually do a lot of good). I can still picture her whacking a snake with that hoe. When she died, my cousin David wanted that "snake-killin' hoe"--he got it at her auction. I'm sure it is being put to good use.

Check back; I'll keep you updated on the progress I'm making.

Oh, by the way, I'm trying to increase my number of "Followers," so if you wouldn't mind I'd love to have you click on "Follow." Also, I'd like to hear from you every once in awhile. You can leave a comment. I recently set it up so I would be emailed when I get a comment (so I could answer quickly). I haven't gotten a comment since I did that, so I don't even know if it works. Have pity; please leave a comment!!!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Working on Machine Applique/A Bit of Bird News

This is my progress so far. I  have all the pieces for the "skirt" finished. (Well, I think I'll be adding some beads and hand stitching yet.) I'm getting ready to machine applique them to a piece of tear away stabilizer.

Those of you who are following the "And Then We Set It On Fire" blog might recognize the fabric for the "lips" (bottom, middle in the picture). It was made during my soy wax resist experiments. You can see that fabric here--http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-s1epKW-y-fg/TahvMvBbe_I/AAAAAAAACWg/nKQ0bGcxcnk/s1600/IMG_4202.JPG.
This is the "skirt" part for the figure. The outline drawing below gives you an idea where this piece will go. (I had the orange section of the "skirt" pinned in place on the drawing in the picture.)
I am asking for help--I need a name for this figure/character/quilt. I am terrible with names. Please, please, help me with this (leave your suggestions in the comment section).

Oh, and I have bird news. I saw a new mourning dove sitting on the nest on my window sill today. I will be checking (if she ever leaves the nest) to see if I have a new set of eggs. I so enjoy watching the mother and father birds taking care of the eggs and hatchlings. I feel blessed to have such a great view of this special event.