Thursday, April 30, 2015

Excuses, Excuses

I told you in my last post that I would explain why I haven't gotten much work done lately (or posted much lately). Here is my "excuse." In 2013, I had a post-vitreous detachment in my right eye. I'm told the condition is pretty common. That caused decreased vision and difficulty driving at night, but I could still see fairly well to do my hand sewing. THEN, I had a post-vitreous detachment in my left eye on April 2nd of this year. I knew what to expect from this condition, but by April 4, something had drastically changed. I was virtually blind in my left eye. I went to my eye doctor, and he sent me (that same afternoon) to a retinal specialist. They told me I had a vitreous hemorrhage. Anyway, I ended up having to have an eye surgery called a vitrectomy on April 15. I'm recovering now; but I can't drive, and I'm still having dark blurry vision. It is MUCH better than it was but still not good enough to do any detailed handwork. I CAN see well enough to baste my little hexies to ready them for English paper piecing. If you'd like to see what they did to my eye, you can watch here (WARNING--it is a bit graphic).

I did go to the Paducah Quilt Show. I'm sure you can easily get pictures of the ribbon winners from the show, so I'd like to share some of the quilts that didn't win awards but which I really liked.

I think this was my favorite pieced quilt. (There isn't a way to get a good picture of the quilts hung on the side of a "booth.") I was just fascinated with the TINY pieces and difficult piecing required for this quilt. It was made by Akiko Watanabe and is called A Time of Prayer.

This was probably my favorite traditional quilt. It is called Stars in my Garden and was made by the Riverwalk Quilters Guild. Zoom in to see the fabulous quilting on this one.

I was amazed with this quilt too. It looks like a "simple" brick quilt, but it is made spectacular by the color distribution in combination with the semi-circular appliqu├ęs on EACH "brick." The title of the quilt is The Red Sea, and it was made by Soyoung Chung.

I have a few more pictures to share along with some good news. Stay tuned.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

I LOVE These Products/Excuses

I have a new product I just love. It is an Ott light that I hadn't seen before. I was attending a retreat where the lighting was terrible. A group of us made a trip into town to the Joanne's store. Ott lights were on sale, so I thought I'd check them out. I found this one and love it so much I promptly bought another one.

This little light is portable, not heavy (but heavy enough to be stable), and VERY flexible. I could bend it to the EXACT position I needed. I used it both for sewing with my Featherweight 221 (which doesn't have a Bendable Bright Light--I reviewed here) and for hand sewing. After I got home from the retreat, I went to my nearest Joanne's store (where they were still on sale) and purchased another. I am using one here at the house and keeping one packed with my retreat supplies. I paid about $25 for each of them--well worth the money.

Another product I like is this machine needle threader that I purchased from a Bernina booth at a quilt show.

View from the top and view from the side.

I paid $5 for it. My eyes are terrible, and I need all the help I can get threading needles of any kind. My Bernina is a 1260 (before attached needle threaders) and my Featherweight 221 (of course) doesn't have a needle threader. My Bernina came with a needle threader like this, but I promptly lost it. I bought two--one for my Bernina and one to use with my Featherweight. It is small, it makes threading a machine needle very easy, and it is inexpensive--win, win, win!

FYI--I have no affiliation and am not being compensated by either of these companies.

I haven't been working on any art projects for a couple of reasons. The best one is that I got to spend some quality time with June Beth and Cade. I traveled to Arkansas and got to spend three days babysitting for June Beth.

June Beth LOVES Mexican food (as you can see in her picture).

And I got to spend an afternoon with Cade. We took him out for a milk shake and spent the rest of the afternoon reading his new "Chapter Book" called "Bad Kitty." He wanted me to see that he could read a "Chapter Book." He was VERY proud (and so was I).
I'll fill you in on the biggest reason for my lack of productivity in my next post.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Say Ahhhhhhhh...

In January I spoke to the Lake County Quilters Guild in Florida. The members were SO welcoming and friendly; I had such a good time. While I was there, I gave a talk about my journey from traditional quilter to art quilter. I brought LOTS of quilts to show examples of each quilting "stage" I had gone through. I recently received an email from a friend telling me that one of the guild members had made a piece that was inspired by one of the quilts I had shown. I knew I wanted to do a blog post about the quilt as soon as she sent me a picture.

Lately, there has been a big discussion of derivative work, work "inspired by" the work of others, and copying work. I wanted to do a blog post showing you a great example of a piece INSPIRED by but not COPIED from another. This is Kelly Woodworth's piece called "Open wide and say Ahhhh. Okay, I see it. You have a frog in your throat."

Kelly explained to me that she made the quilt for a guild challenge based on a saying and said she almost went with a quilt based on "drinks on the house" until she saw my piece. The size of her quilt was dictated by the rules of the challenge and is 10" X 17". Kelly says, "When I saw Spike's black and white top, I knew it could be my hair or hat. It just talked to me. I took a picture (with permission of course) and then went home to start my challenge. It was the perfect inspiration! I got a blue ribbon with my little quilt and at the end of the show I also won Viewers' Choice! Thanks Beth!!" Well, I have to say I was REALLY thrilled to have been the inspiration for such a wonderful piece.

So that you can see what she saw and used for inspiration, here is a picture of me with "Spike" when I gave my talk to the quilt guild. (The real name of my piece is "Brain Freeze," but I have always referred to her as "Spike.")

(I didn't realize, till I saw this picture, that I wore an outfit that matched "Spike!")

As you can see, Kelly did a great job of using "Spike" as inspiration--not a copy--for her piece. Congratulations on your well-deserved awards Kelly!

If you would like to see other quilts from the Lake County Quilters 2015 show, click here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

You Have to Remove All Those Little Pieces of Card Stock

I met with one of my stitching groups yesterday afternoon. Guess what I worked on? You're never-ending hexie project! English paper piecing is the only way I'd know to do this project, so there comes a time when all those little templates have to be removed. Yesterday was time to start taking out some of the templates on the middle section. I like to leave them in for awhile for a couple of reasons--it gives the piece a bit more stability while I'm dragging it everywhere and it gives me time to make sure I haven't placed one of the colored hexies in the wrong place. (With a pattern as difficult at the one on which I'm working, that is a distinct possibility.) If I remove the templates and THEN find the mistake, it is much harder to rip out the offending piece and replace it with another. Ask me how I know!

I worked for 3 hours and 37 minutes to take out this many templates.

First, all the basting threads have to be removed, then all the little cardstock pieces have to be taken out. Some people reuse a template numerous times, but mine are so beat up (because I drag it everywhere I go) that I can only use them once. That means I have to spend quite a lot of time cutting out templates too. (I print them onto cardstock on my printer and cut them out by hand. I know, I know...I'm a glutton for punishment; but I didn't think ahead when I started this project. I printed out my first batch of templates and used those BEFORE I realized how many I'd actually have to cut out. Now, I'm afraid to use preprinted ones, because I'm afraid they wouldn't exactly match these in size.)

It is a REALLY long process, but I hope the finished product will be worth the time involved. I'll be posting an updated project picture before too long.