Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Break is Here!

No extensive post today, because the day was spent out at the softball field!  Spring break is here and so is the Spring Break Softball Tournament.  My high school senior granddaughter is in her final season of varsity softball.    Just a couple of pictures:

See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March BBA Challenge - Part 2

I have finished my BBA challenge project (see Monday's Part 1 post) and was going to post it on Tuesday, but held off until today.  Several reasons for this, one was presented in the Tuesday post but the biggest reason is, I was disappointed with my resulting product.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love the color combination, which is what the challenge was all about!  I was pleasantly surprised that what I thought was a little 'out there' combination, turned out to be beautiful and I can't say that enough!

I made a quilted Easter table runner. 

As you can see, it doesn't lie flat, although it might after it is washed.  It's all cotton, so it will probably soften up in the washing process. 

Not to belabor my disappointment, but I am also just learning to free motion quilt on my standard machine which does not have a stitch regulator.  To get an even stitch you must learn to have an even moving hand while sewing in the pattern you chose.  Stops and starts cause a stitch with uneven stitch lengths.  You might be able to see them in this picture. Larger stitches can be seen at the bottom of the picture if you look closely:

And there were stitching curves that had corners in them, which is not what I was going for.  All stitch lines should have had flowing curves.  But worst of all is that I didn't think ahead to the quilting process before I did it.  I should have used a basting spray between the layers, so while quilting there would not be any layer slippage.  When one quilts on a frame, which I don't have, the three layers of fabric are held taunt.  This prevents any excessive pleats or puckers in the fabric.  Mine has plenty of puckers, which I am not happy about!

I was able to fix this somewhat, but it still makes me unhappy with the finished product.  Oh well, practice makes perfect, they say!  Oh boy, could I use that new machine I have been wanting that has the proper hopping foot/walking foot, that would have helped too!  But that is another story.

As to my initially not liking red and turquoise together, maybe I could have learned something from my little 5 year old grand daughter, LaRaya, seen here with her sister, Vivienne.

 Live and Learn!
P.S.  This is for the Blogging Business Artisans March Challenge.  Hop on over to our team blog to see the other participants came up with in Red and Turquoise!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Goodbye Winter!

I promised part 2 of my Challenge project today . . . but . . .  I would like to save that until Thursday, if you don't mind.  The reason for my change is the change in the weather!!!  Today is the first day of Spring, although technically here on the west coast, it was yesterday at about 10:09 pm PST.   Hubby and I took a walk by the river a few days ago and I never reported on it.  It is a winter story, and so I wanted to place it here, between winter and spring, chronologically.

We often eat our lunch in our car riverside where the Clackamas and the Willamette Rivers intersect in the Southern portion of the Portland area.  (A great article on the Clackamas River.) This particular day was balmy with warm sunshine.


We walked on the sandy beach created by the river's low level, while hubby and I took pictures, enjoying the exercise and the sunshine. I enjoyed the ducks, the geese, and the calmness of the water. 

I even snapped a few artsy photos of the sand!

We walked a little further up river and found signs of last months flooding--debris left in the trees about ten feet above hubby's head! I did a post about the high water last month.  You can see it here.
Gladstone bridge over the Clackamas River
 Thanks for allowing me this deviation from the plan and taking this stroll with us.  Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!  Although it's still supposed to snow later this week!  Scheech! 

P.S.  One more photograph of something we found on the beach, tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

March BBA Challenge - Pt 1

My Etsy blog team, Blogging Business Artisans, have a challenge every month, to stretch us!  Stretch our thinking, our skills, and our creativity!  When the March challenge was released, I didn't think that I wanted to try it.   I wasn't even sure that I liked the color combo that was suggested.  Here is the challenge:

"Your challenge is to create any item with turquoise and red as the primary colors.  You can incorporate other colors, too, but turquoise and red must key components."

I came across an idea for Easter that involved a technique that I have not tried very often.  Since I am a quilter, I usually sew straight lines, but this idea involved curved lines.  So I decided to try my idea in red and turquoise for the challenge!  Two challenges in one--my own and the BBA challenge!  Today's post is about piecing with curved lines.  Tomorrow I will show the finished challenge item.

For the curved lines, I used a small plate to cut around, then . . . . decided the placing of the pieces . . .

Sewing curved seams can be tricky, since you are easing a concave and a convex curved piece together.  Clipping halfway into the seam allowance of the concave (U-shaped piece) first at about 1/2 inch intervals helps the alignment to the convex (rainbow shaped) piece.    Pinning or basting can help.

Otherwise, your two pieces will look like this and not lie flat.  Then, the final curved patchwork looks like this:

Turquoise and Red EGG!

Part 2 and the finished product tomorrow!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Charity Causes

Everyone needs a cause! 
My cause is the Breast Cancer issue.

I am a survivor and support the cure for this disease, but yesterday, hubby and I went with my daughter to support another cause.  We volunteered, helping with the race entrant bib pickup for our local Shamrock Run.  There were over 32,000 entrants to the run/walk that will be held tomorrow, Sunday, in the downtown area of Portland Oregon. I love this because it is for the children too! Runners and walkers of every capability are included! YAY!

The thing I like about this run is that the proceeds go to another charity that I also support--The Doernbecher Children's Hospital Portland Oregon (pronounced simply Dornbecker).  Our grand daughter has been treated there for a serious rare disease and she has had awesome care!  Awesome doctors, awesome staff!  She's doing well, now; isn't she cute?!

So this is a BIG THANK YOU to everyone participating in tomorrows race. And a thank you to all the sponsors! Here's just a few pictures from last years event so you will get the flavor of the day!

Thanks to everyone!
P.S. Hop on over to Beverly's blog to see what others are posting for St. Paddy's Day. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

One 'FAT' Quarter

Have you heard this old adage?  A farmer friend of mine used to say "Eat it up" for the first line! It goes like this:
Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make do or
Do without!

Well, recently,   I had a novelty print fabric with some cute turtles on it and decided to 'use it up'.  I titled this post "One FAT quarter" but, as I think of it, I believe there was more like a third to a half yard of it. I really didn't mark it down. Anyway, I strive to not have leftovers, so I spent the afternoon using up this particular piece of fabric!  Look at what I ended up making--of course, by adding a few other fabrics from my stash! 

Two (2) crayon roll-ups with a matching fabric, two (2) little 'Anything Bag' zipper pouches (one I gave to my sister) and a pillowcase edging using some white fabric that I also had.  I did a post on Friday about the pillowcase, titled "Last but Not Least" which strikes me now as funny and so appropriate since it is a pokey turtle!  The remaining items are now available in my shop.  

It was a fun afternoon and I felt like I had accomplished something!   When is the last time you felt that way?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Last but not Least!

Not my usual 'Friday Finds' post today because I have one final thought about the SewExpo . . . .

Their charity for the event was Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center in Tacoma WA. They serve All of SouthWest Washington state with their mission to provide care for all children, regardless of the family's ability to pay.  According to Barbara Littrell, of the hospital, "Every child who comes to Mary Bridge gets to pick out his or her own pillowcase.  That pillowcase often becomes their comfort item--something they can take with them when they have to go for tests . . . you'll see children holding their Sew Expo pillowcase as they sit in chemotherapy chairs or get rolled down the hall for surgery. Of course, the children take their pillowcases home with them--which means Mary Bridge needs about 900 pillowcases a month."

I made one this year and was pleased to see a huge stack of pillowcases displayed at the Expo as the attendees brought them in.  They collected nearly 3000 pillowcases!  I know the kids will be blessed!

(I've been sew into reporting on the SewExpo that I forgot to do a post that I promised, about my productive day with this turtle yardage!  Watch for it on Monday!)   

Thursday, March 8, 2012

SewExpo Profit Class

Although attending the SewExpo in Puyallup WA was less than I had expected, I did take two classes that I felt were helpful and worth the trip.  I have already discussed one of these classes in last Tuesday's post

Kandi Christian of SewTimeless
The other class I enjoyed was called 'Turning your Passion into Profit'  by Kandi Christian. (She is the author of a book by the same title.)  Kandi is  an entrepreneur, a former corporate executive who left the business world in favor of her creativity and her artistry. She is a fiber artist who specializes in heirloom embroidery.  I had a chance to talk with her briefly and she is a very delightful lady!

Her class was a lot of information that I, and other serious Etsy sellers, already knew, but it was a good refresher course with some new information to glean.  Of course not many in this class were Etsy sellers and Kandi dispensed tons of information for those wanting to be or thinking about being an entrepreneur.  She wasn't selling anything, although I did go to her booth later and buy her book.

The best advice, that I think she gave was to call your self an artist.  She calls herself a fiber artist, I call my self a textile artist. (Mostly because I work with fabrics, and Kandi works with thread, yarn, and fabrics.) It's all about how you think yourself to be, and presenting yourself properly to prospective buyers.  One other thing that she said was to call your items, not "handmade" but "handcrafted".  This denotes an artistic designed stylish piece, not just made at home.

Kandi discussed the four P's of PROFIT--Product, Pricing, Promotion, Placement--which I won't go into in this post--I'd be repeating almost her entire lecture!  Purchase her book on her website if you want more information!

All things considered, the SewExpo provided me with some information and some ideas of where to purchase specific supplies in the future, albeit not in huge amounts.  'Sew' . . . . I guess it was a good experience, but I will be looking for another informational venue for future attendance.

SEW . . . .
what shows or venues do you attend to learn more about your craft?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anatomy of a Needle

One class that I thoroughly enjoyed at the SewExpo was about sewing machine needles.  It was very technical about the engineering reasoning and design of machine needles.  Although the presenter, Nancy Goldsworthy, was representing a company, her "point" was that sewers should know what kind of needle to use for their particular project, not just the size of the needle.

Nancy, a 30 year veteran of the apparel industry and former Nike product developer turned entrepreneur quilter and teacher, has the experience behind what she was teaching. She described how the needle was designed from the butt of the shank, thru the shoulder, and on down the blade with it's grove to the eye, point and the tip. (Most of these parts are different on the various types of needle.)  She discussed the properties of 16 different types of needles with their strengths and weaknesses, and that was not to mention the next set of needles (that she did not spend time on) that were double and triple needles for specialty applications.   I won't go into all of these, but you can get tons of information at the Schmetz site that explains a lot of what Nancy presented.  Suffice it to say, this class helped me understand a few problems that I was having; my sewing skills will be enhanced by all the information that she gave!

BTW, Nancy is the author of the book "Needles & Threads & Bobbins, Oh My!" which she did not even mention at the class!  Look for it at your local quilt or fabric shop.

The other class that I enjoyed, "Turning Your Passion into Profit"  I will discuss on Thursday--"Sew" stay tuned.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sew Expo Perspective

Well, I'm home from Seattle (the picture at the left is typical of Northwest weather days-overcast or raining!) and from attending the Sewing and Stitchery Expo at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.  What an experience!  I ended up attending six of the seven classes that I signed up for--One I missed, just because of logistics.

I spent time browsing the booths of over 400 vendors of sewing or sewing related products--not unlike browsing on the computer, but my feet and my back got very tired walking the huge showplace at the fairgrounds! 

Picture from SewExpo blog

I watched demonstrations of various sewing machine models from several manufacturers, including Husqvarna, Brother, Janome, Juki, and Bernina.  This was what I had expected.

Note:  You can see more about the behind the scenes SewExpo activities on the SewExpo blog. (Picture at the right taken from the blog.)

And what didn't I expect?   I didn't expect to be overwhelmed!  It was as if I was on overload and just couldn't take anymore!  I expected to be inspired, not humbled by my lack of knowledge of the sewing field!  What was the cause of this?  It was due to the overall point of the Expo. Everything was geared to SHOPPING! Even the classes were done by vendors who let you know where their booth was and what they were selling.  I had expected to gather information about increasing my skills, not about using new products.  Case in point: a class about bags.  I expected to learn some new techniques for making better bags, but instead, it was nearly an hour infomercial about a particular product that you really must use when you make a bag!  Not entirely bad information, but not what I anticipated.

All the classes were like this.  How to use this particular stitching technique with your serger (some usable information there); ideas for dressings up thrift store clothing using your extra fancy embroidery machine--which I do not have!  I even won the door prize in this class for a free three month subscription to a pattern service for my "non-existent" expensive embroidery machine.  And were there inexpensive machines being demoed there?  Majority were all over the three thousand dollar mark!  I felt like a minnow in a whale tank!

Now don't get me wrong, I gleaned from the experience, but it was not a hefty meal.  I saw gorgeous quilts--every booth seemed to use beautiful quilts as their backdrops, whether they were a quilt shop or not. This was overload too, and we could not take any pictures!  I did snap a couple while I was having lunch.  I don't think that I violated anyone's private creativity! I did glean a handful of vendor possibilities that I may use in the future.  But in a sea of stitchery stuff, with representative quilt stores from all over America, I  am sure that I will not be shopping from their online options, unless they had something special.  It was all geared toward them feeding on me and the other attendees. I would have preferred to see booths from fabric manufactures with their new line of goods.  Then I could go home and ask my local shop to carry what I liked. 

My purchases?   I spent a whole $22, after it cost me $78 for entrance and class fees. As to going again next year?  I probably will not spend the money, unless one of my daughters or DIL's just really want to go.   So . . . . "Sew" . . . here's a final view that maybe someone can use for inspiration . . . the reflected lights on the floor are pretty!

See quilt back drop in the upper left
P.S. There were two pretty good classes that I will report on tomorrow--stay tuned--you might glean something too!

P.S.S  Here's a blogpost about someone else--a vendor--who was overwhelmed!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Quilt Finds

Since I am at the SewExpo, actually the Sewing and Stitchery Expo, I thought that I would show some of my own favorite stitchery for Friday Finds!

Although this item is sold, I love the work that this Australian stitcher, Maria,  does!

Crazy quilting by mariadownunder

Hydrangea Quilt by DesignerDahliasEtc

And another quilt by Suzanne of Designer Dahlias Etc--I just love her quilts!

Red Quilt by Suzanne B Taylor
 See ya next week, with the report of the SewExpo--The biggest sewing party in America!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sew Expo

Well, I'm off!  Not 'off my rocker', although out of my easy chair and off to the Seattle area for my very first SewExpo!    


As you can see by the picture, it is billed as

 "The Biggest Sewing Party in America!"

I've signed up for several classes, not to mention, all of the exhibits that I will see and enjoy!
I'll be looking at sewing machines, trying to decide which one would be right for the type of sewing that I do. I will visit the Brother, Pfaff, Husqvarna, Bernina and Janome exhibits.   I am sure that I will see lots of fabric exhibitors and quilt associations; also, quilt shops and trunk shows from all around!  

My classes,  just to name a few, are:
 "More Creativity: One Stitch at A Time" 

"Needles - Getting to the Point"

"Crazy for Bags"

"Serger Basics - Decorative Thread"

"New Tricks for Old Quilts"

I can't wait!
Then, there are the Sewing Stars that will be appearing and doing some workshops: 

When I get back, I will give you a recap and maybe share a few tricks and sewing secrets that I will be learning!  I can't wait . . . I can't wait . . .  I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!  If you can't wait to hear about it first hand, here is a blog site that is keeping up with all the doins'.   Also, info about the expo is here!