Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snow and Sew? (Let's just read some quilting books)

A little over a week ago, Mother Nature provided those of us who live in the northeast a very interesting weekend. Early in the week, we knew snow would be coming by the weekend, and of course, the closer the storm came, the better the forecasters were able to predict the outcome. It was clear that by midday Friday, something BIG would be looming in our neighborhood. Schools and businesses were closed...and we waited. Sure enough, winter storm Nemo (or blizzard Charlotte - I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to call it) bore down on my little town and packed a wallop! We went to bed on Friday night with the snow piling up, and by the time it stopped on Saturday there were 31 inches of the pretty white stuff in my yard...and on my driveway. Since we all think in fabric, that's almost a yard of snow. Too bad it wasn't fabric. For a little perspective, here's a shot of me, trying to dig out the deck. The snow here had drifted over my head. It made for an excellent upper body workout!

After hours and hours, literally 6-1/2 hours of solid work by two able-bodied adults, the way was cleared to the road (which had not seen a plow). When I got back inside, I was just too tired (gasp!) to sew! It seemed to be the perfect weekend to relax with a cup of tea and a couple of the books I received for Christmas.

I will admit to being in love with modern quilts and quilting. My fabulously talented, and incredible friend, Jess Smith from The Quilt and Needle introduced me to Angela Walters' concept of quilting in negative space. I am the lucky owner of both books Angela has written, so I spent time reading and practicing my drawing. We longarmers doodle. A lot! In "Free Motion Quilting", Angela teaches the reader designs that work well with modern quilts, then follows with ways to incorporate these designs into actual quilts. I love this book and highly recommend it! "In the Studio" builds on the ideas Angela discusses in her first book. You can learn more about Angela at www.quiltingismytherapy.com

My final book is pure, unadulterated eye candy! I'll admit it. I just sat and looked at the pictures...and dreamed. Karen Stone's (learn more at www.karenkstone.com) quilts are jaw-dropping. I always say I'll make one of beauties, but I don't know when that day will come. What quilts do you dream of making one day?

Wishing everyone a day filled with fabric and dazzling ideas! Lizzie

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gadgets Anyone?

Are you a gadget girlie or guy? You know who you are. When something new hits the quilting market, you're one of the first in line to buy it. I admit it. I am a gadget girlie. Heck, sometimes I see something in a magazine BEFORE it's in the shops, and I go crazy searching for it. I am always sure that this new magical item is going to save me time, or make my life easier, or both.

Since I like to reorganize my workspace in January, that means I've spent some quality time over the past few weeks looking at all these gadgets. It made me wonder, "Which of them do I really believe I can't live without?" The ones I love.

I love to piece quilts, and make bags and other pretties, but I also have a longarm quilting business, so I decided to let myself identify my favorites from each category. So, without further ado (and in no particular order)...

My "seam ripper on a stand". It is so handy when chain piecing. (And those who know me understand the importance of the purple base.)
Creative Grids rulers. I've tried a lot of rulers, but these are, by far, my favorites. They are easy to read with sharp black and white printing on a clear plastic ruler. I love the textured "dots" on the back side that help keep the ruler in place when cutting. I have many of these and my two favorite sizes are the 6 1/2 x 24 on my cutting table (and in my bag) and the 3 1/2 x 12 next to my sewing machine for all those quick trims.

I'm a bit addicted to marking pens and pencils, and these Frixion pens by Pilot are wonderful. They come in a variety of colors to make marking easy. The best part is the marks disappear with a hot iron!
(I have heard that to be sure the marks are really and truly gone it's best to wash them out, but since I'm only using them on the wrong side of the fabric, I haven't needed to do that.)

I have only one photo to share regarding my two favorite longarm gadgets. The first is another Creative Grids ruler in a 20 1/2 inch square. It really helps when squaring up backings.

I cannot say enough positive things about my headlamp! It was a gift from my son. I am positively anal about thread tension and have been known to look at stitches under a magnifying glass. With my headlamp, I can crawl on the floor, under my frame, and check my stitches to my heart's content.

So now we know about my favorite things. What gadgets do YOU love?

Lizzie at Frolicking Threads