*facepalm*

Yeah, I’m kind of annoyed with myself at the moment. I got so excited with the IDEA that reading the rules fell through the cracks. GAH!

Can I finish in time? #cherrywood #cherrywoodchallenge2017

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Let me back up a bit. When Karla announced the 2017 Cherrywood Challenge I sort of lost my mind. First of all Cherrywood. Cherrywood. Second, van Gogh *deep contented sigh*.

Over the weekend the Mad Dash to Completion started.

Backs are cool

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In spite of a few moments when the desire to run from the sewing room nearly overwhelmed me the going was getting good. Teeny tiny stitches were forming well under the needle creating pleasing designs across the surface of the quilt. YaY Me!

And here it is

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And here is where I paused for a moment, grabbed the Challenge Information Sheet that came with the fabric and – get this – I READ it. Yes, dear ones, I read the instructions. Upon learning that my quilt did not meet the requirements of 75% use of the challenge fabric the drama exuding from my person may have qualified me for an Emmy, or an Oscar, either way you go.

In fine fashion I kept stitching for a while see:

Turned the corner

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A little metallic goes a long way. That’s a post for another day! I found just the right copper in my stash, and shockingly it’s not Superior.

So, in a few weeks I’ll finish the stitching along the “frame” then write a blog post on the character of the quilt. ‘Cause it totally has some character.

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happy quilting!

Teri

Rainy Days, Mondays and so much fun

Rainy Days, Mondays and so much fun

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I do love rainy days, Monday’s not so much. As a day its perfectly fine, I seem to like Thursday’s better. Thursdays are fascinating, vibrant, full of life, looking forward to the weekend, still full of work yet, almost to the weekend. I’m heading into the City later this afternoon to meet a couple of quilters and attend an awards ceremony. More about that soon.

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Choosing thread for Midnight in the Bronx is so much fun and a bit of a process. On Twilight I used the three spools of thread my sisters gave me, yellow, red, and purple. Midnight is of similar design, yet different from the thread color/weight choices to the motifs. I’ll be posting more in Lucy’s Nickles in the next few days. This will include why I’m going for the colors shown, and how I got there. After I dropped this picture in here I realized there’s a part on Moon Over Manhattan that uses these colors.

Happy Quilting!

Teri

The Sewing Room Vortex – Character Counts

49 pieces of chocolate stretched out

Quilts are fascinating creatures with stories all their own from why they were made, to what went wrong while making them., or what went right while making them. Often when I tell the story of 49 Pieces of Chocolat the focus is on the what not to do with wool  batting or the sewing room vortex of it all.

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Today it’ll be the character of the quilting. You see it’s not incredibly good. Oh snap! I just did that.

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I Always, Always, Always give my students the most important thing I learned from my first machine quilting class, “Show people what you did, don’t point out the flaws”

Sometimes my students show me their work, and try showing me where the quilting is not up to the competitive level of quilting that beginners should achieve right out of the gate. If I were one of my students the conversation would go something like this:
Jeanne* “my quilting isn’t very good
Teri, “it’s quilted isn’t it”
Jeanne, “yes but it doesn’t look like…”
Teri, “I’m the teacher. I don’t remember giving you permission to diss your work.”
Jeanne, “I know.”
Teri, “So, if I like it, and I’m not pointing out the ahem “problems”, then you don’t get to either.”
Jeanne, “okay, okay, I get it now”

*names have been changed to protect everyone involved

I don’t know if you’ve ever notices I can be, shall we say, a bit snarky, so I’ve had the “oh you’ve been free motion machine quilting for about 6 minutes! so you should be perfect with every stitch now.” conversation.

As we stitch and make some quilts with great character we develop our quilting character. Fun isn’t it! Should be experience shame when we’re learning? NO. Amiclearenoughonthat?

MJ Kinman – Go visit this site. Do not pass go. Do not collect a minimal amount of cash funding.

Now go quilt something,

Teri

Thinking!

what would you do

This words of this meme have been popping up all over the place the last few days. And I’ve seriously had to give these words consideration.

Would I write a book? Well, uh. Ummm. Ehrm. Tried this. Didn’t go so well. Life got uncomfortably in the way, so fail? Not sure but at some point I’ll try this again. Note to self: you do know this stuff, you can write, and quilt with the best of them.

Would I move to the big City and see a good life there. Did that. Life is good.

Would I take climb Mount St Helen or hike the Grand Canyon? Being the indoorsy person I am probably not. Mount St. Helen has already spewed hot, molten lava in my lifetime causing lots of problems. The Grand Canyon is deep and wide. Did I mention being the indoorsy type?

Run a marathon. I’ve actually given this some consideration, I do live in NY after all.

Of course being who I am I started giving consideration to what failure actually is, and what kind of role failure plays in our quilterly lives. Is failure not doing something, never attempting it? Or is failure something else entirely? Is failure permanent or is it a temporary place to regroup?

So my first book writing attempt wasn’t a failure, life intervened in ways never imagined when I set out on that journey. I can still do this however, at this moment I need to take care of some other immediate things. It’s still on the table, just slightly out of reach. I’m good with that at the moment.

I started thinking about a local inventor: Thomas Edison. Rumor has it that he made 1000 attempts at making the light bulb before it actually worked. Was it 1000 failures? Or are there 1000 ways to not make a light bulb and he had to try every single one of them? Since his invention we’ve been using the term “light bulb moment” to describe moments when things work well together and our goal is met. It’s kind of exciting, forget kind of, it’s really exciting when this happens. Kind of like yelling Eureka! when a vacuum cleaner sucks. . . well.

IMG_0820So what would I do if I couldn’t fail? Nothing. Really. I wouldn’t be doing anything. My quilt life, my life would be inert. I’d be going nowhere, on the couch, in the living room, watching television never taking a stitch.

Then I got to thinking – there is a perception that failure us shameful, always, and every single time. It’s not. Sometimes it takes trying something more than 1000 times to figure it out. Is it shameful to stop before that 1000th time? No. Is it failure? Maybe. That’s okay. “Failure” helps us build our character. Especially when we keep going. I’m still not going to climb Mount St Helen, hike the Grand Canyon or run a marathon. These things don’t speak to my heart.

So the original question is good, a better one might be, “what is that one thing to pursue with reckless abandon?”

Happy Quilting!

Teri

 

Character – Lots and lots of Character

Character – Lots and lots of Character

Today is a two quilt day, each has character.

dad-would-be-honored-full-view-2Dad Would be Honored is the first Feathered Star using Marsha McCloskey’s directions I ever made. Most of the quilt is made with dad’s ties. Dad himself was a bit of character writing rotten poetry, his preferred place behind the camera – always observing, listening. I brought his ties home with me shortly after his death. It took me a little while to work up the courage to cut into the ties, and make the quilt. Every once in a while I think about making changes, if I did this or that the overall look would be more pleasing, and effective. The most important thing about Dad Would be Honored, my stepmom loves it just as it is, flaws and all. The moment I gave this to her is priceless. There is one thing I would change though I’d add fusible stabilizer to the ties making some of the piecing a lot easier. Part of me wants to sit here and rip apart the quilting, however I won’t because at the time I know I stitched to the best of my ability. Memory quilts hold something more, they hold our hearts stitched with great love.

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If ever a quilt had a journey it’s this one. The fabrics are all Moda Marbles by Patrick Lose. The quilt itself is based on a Jinny Beyer pattern the setting corners should be 9 patches. It was a little bit beyond my skill level at the time so using solid pieces seemed the thing to do. The quilt was much larger at one point having squares in the corners and borders, it was quilted. I always like the quilt, didn’t like the quilting, so it sat in a UFO pile unfinished. An opportunity to make a quilt to donate came along, the seam ripper and I had a date, all of the quilting came out, I cut the quilt down, and re-quilted it. This may have been the first quilt I un-quilted, then re-quilted. The moon and stars seem to be a recurring them in my quilts. Oh sweet heavens inspire me!

Both of these quilts taught me so much. Trying something new is a good, using a seam ripper to take out something that isn’t working well is good, starting over is good.

Have a great quilterly day,

Teri

Character Builder: Enjoying my Work

Character Builder: Enjoying my Work

B 780 back inside of project

Every time I look at this piece of dupioni I see a dancer, depending on the distance sometimes there are two. Human imagination allows us to look at what is there, see something vastly different that what is intended, and develop our sense of play. This piece started with the feather motif in the middle, stitched out in Superior Twist. There is a certain style of feather that was eluding me, so this started life as a practice piece, and eventually became a clutch.

When exploring new quilt motifs using different weights, and types will help us develop a sense of what something will look like with whatever it is we want to use. This exploration adds to our library of knowledge in a way that develops our understanding of how things work. The more we allow ourselves to explore what this fabric, thread, batting, machine, needles will do, our quilting will become more consistent. We will be okay with the character of our quilts, and essentially the character of who we are as quilt makers.

Melanie quilting full view

I’m going to pause our normally scheduled blog and share this link to a CBS Sunday Morning website. Melanie Testa, and several other women share their breast cancer stories, the story of mastectomies, and opting to remain flat, unreconstructed after.
Cancer touches so many lives in so many ways.
Each person unique in how they deal with it. My uncle fought as long as he could, my dad gave over to it; Melanie  chose to remain flat, Jake will have reconstructive surgery later.

 

And now back to our regularly scheduled program:

metallic happiness

While quilting Tilde I had an epiphany: cotton thread is grabby. I had cotton thread in the bobbin, was stitching with metallic thread on the top. The tension problems were not resolving no matter what I did, so I changed the bobbin thread to polyester, readjusted the tension and voila! no more tension problems. The grabby nature of the cotton was pulling the metallic thread to the back.
This wee bit of knowledge was added to the classes as lots of us want to use and struggle with. Knowing that using polyester in the bobbin solves the tension issue is priceless. I generally use a non-cotton batting.

I’m certainly a quilty character. #charactercounts

Happy Quilting!

Teri

if at first you don’t succeed

 

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Outside my front window the Mockingbird is chasing the Blue Jay away from the berries on the Dogwood. The Mockingbird’s nest is towards the top of the tree so apparently the tree belongs to it. (I don’t know the difference between the males and females.) Spring happens in just about fourteen days, to say I’m eager, though this winter is amazingly mild, is something of an understatement. I’ve been enjoying the days filled with more light, the sunsets through the studio window inspiring. One of our hyacinths has bloomed, so we’ll see what happens with the rest.

Back to our regularly scheduled post:

Keep stitching until it makes sense, pull out the seam ripper if you’re not happy, play until your heart is content.

I made this stitch sample a few years ago and gave it away. I think I’m going to make another one using this as inspiration.

This piece is one way of practicing, and keeping a library of stitching motifs.
A piece like this helps explore stitching motifs until you’re really good at it.
A piece like this can grace your studio walls giving you inspiration.
Perhaps done quarterly, a piece like this can show your progress as a free motion machine quilter.

Stitching different motifs across the surface of the quilt is something that speaks to my quilterly soul. As the words flit from my brain to my fingers I can see three quilts in my head that I want to work on, okay 5…okay it’s an unending roll of visuals. By keeping the quilts smaller I can make more of these.

For now off I go to start quilting this beauty:

Oh it worked! @sewbatik #sewbatik #bernina #piecing

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Oh should I tell you the character building secret about this quilt?

I will,  another day.