Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bragging Rights

I have two wonderful daughters, Meredith and Olivia. Meredith, a student at Boston University, could care less about sewing. Olivia caught the sewing bug when she was in middle school and hasn't stopped since. She is a freshman at Parsons School of Design in New York City - the home of Project Runway. Liv's major - fashion design, of course.

Tomorrow she is having her first sample sale for a line she and her boyfriend, Tucker, designed for their "un-fashion" class. Honestly, I'm not sure what exactly "un-fashion" refers to. She sent me photos and has allowed me to share them with you all.

Liv did most of the modeling, she's only 5'4" so no runway for her. I'll let the clothes speak for themselves. I love the photography - a fellow Parsons' student snapped the pics.

They call the venture Local Meat. Liv and Tucker did all of the garment construction. .
This shirt has really cool shoulder embellishments - wish the artistic photos showed a bit more detail.

This jacket is up-cycled using an old sweater for the sleeves and an old leather jacket as the body of the garment. Liv's been going crazy knitting these cowl scarves. They even made the leggings.

Here's a better detail shot of the shoulders.

Now this it the one I want - they used this really great wooden bead trim for the back of this shirt - not so sure how comfy you'd be sitting on the subway, but it certainly makes a statement. They bought almost all of their fabric and supplies at Goodville Fabric Outlet in Goodville, PA and Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet in Leola (there is another on South 4th St. in Philly). Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bobbin Threads and Apron Strings

I've received a few questions about why I use bobbin thread so I thought I'd give you my two cents on the issue. I love bobbin / lingerie thread - specifically YLI Soft Touch thread - it's basically the only thread I use in my bobbin, with one exception which I'll explain below..

YLI Soft Touch is a 60 weight / 2 ply, 100% cotton thread. It is very strong - I've been know to use it on top as well as in the bobbin.

Soft Touch is available in 28 colors - I tend to use only neutral colored thread in most of my piecing so I always keep a supply on hand of white, off-white, grays, tan, brown and black. However when I am quilting I will try to match or compliment the backing fabric with my bobbin thread.

One exception - when I am using a heavy weight quilting thread on top - say a 40 weight - I will put a heavier weight thread in the bobbin - say a 50 weight. I've found that using a bobbin weight thread with the heavier quilting threads can throw of my tension - talk about a thread from the edge!

Why use bobbin thread -
1. because I'm lazy, - - - I hate to have to stop sewing to change my bobbin. A lot of sewers will wind a bobbin with whatever thread they have on top. If you're using a heavy thread on top, say a 40 weight - that bobbin in going to run out before you know it. This is me winding a bobbin - I actually hold onto my thread as it is coming off of the spool to create a bit of tension, allowing me to really pack the thread on my bobbin. FYI - do not do this if you have a machine that uses plastic bobbins - you can create so much tension the plastic will contract and get stuck on the holder - I know - I did it!

2. because I'm cheap - - - those fancy threads we like to use on top can be expensive - why throw money away on something you really don't see. Bobbin thread is more cost effective to use.

3. because I like the way the stitch settles when ironed - - - using bobbin thread really decreases the bulk in your seam.

Where can you find a nice selection of thread - seems I've had no problem with that - take a look at my thread collection below - ouch! There are still bowls and stacks of thread scattered throughout my sewing room that can't fit into this door "organizer" - if you call this organized.

Finding a quilt shop that has a nice thread selection can be tricky - I find a lot of quilt shops have a very poor selection of thread. If you're in the Greater Philadelphia area there is one shop that has an excellent selection of thread - Ladyfingers Sewing (I've always thought this sounds more like a massage parlor than a sewing studio). An FYI - they do not offer their full line of thread on line. Ladyfingers Sewing is located in Oley, PA - farming country close to Reading. But let me make it worth your drive - here's the perfect full day road trip for a quilter -
First stop: Generations Quilt Shop right off route 422 in Pottstown - great selection of designer fabrics
Second stop: Ladyfingers in Oley off of route 662 - stock up on thread, tons of notions, and silk on the bolt
Third stop: Quilters Palette in Pricetown on route 10 off of route 662 - a fantastic collection of batiks and hand-dyed wools
Fourth stop: Goggleworks in Reading - an incredible gallery / artist studio space. Mary Stoudt, who has been in Quilt National, has a studio at the Goggleworks.
Fifth stop: Somethings Looming in Reading - haven't been there yet, but am planning to get there soon.

Here's my pet peeve - why can't sewing machine manufacturers make a machine that doesn't require a bobbin - I feel like the girl in the Windows 7 Microsoft commercial. Why can't they make a machine where you put a big honking spool of bobbin thread on a special holder that feeds directly into the bottom of the machine - WHY??? Are you listening to us????

Enough about thread - I want to show you my Free Spirit apron that I made this weekend - remember this - I bought it at the quilt show?

It was so easy to throw together - if you don't have one of these tube turners - BUY one - they're great - made turning the straps a piece of cake.

Here's my beautiful niece Megan modeling the apron - I gave it to her Mom as a thank you for the big spaghetti dinner last night - I should have given it to her father who got sauce all over his new shirt!

I got a little tricky - the directions had you turning the edge - I decided instead to make it reversible - isn't this cute! Thanks Meg!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Acknowledging Success

Quick post today - I just wanted to let you know that earlier this week I contacted all of the Lancaster AQS award winners that I included in my blog post. I was so excited to receive a comment back from each and every one of them, some here at the blog, others via e-mail. I even heard back from the various vendors and Lancaster businesses that I featured - all positively acknowledging my blog. And, yes, AQS even responded. Wow, thanks!

Actually I tried e-mailing Diane Johnston of Nevada, a recipient of an "threadfromtheedge" award, but my e-mail ended up with Dianne Johnston of Australia, she too a quilter and designer of patterns. I had numerous e-mail conversations with Dianne of Australia yesterday trying to unravel my blunder - we both enjoyed my mistake, Dianne more so than me. Never could locate contact information of Diane Johnston of Nevada - she'll never know she received my award.

This post is just to say "Thanks" - thanks to everyone for noticing my blog and thanks for your positive feedback! I really do appreciate it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Take a Peek in My Shopping Bag

I love shopping at quilt shows - I try to make a point of purchasing only what I can't buy at my local independent quilt shops - I'd hate to take my business away from my local shops - they need us! With that in mind here is what I purchased:

I stopped by the Quilt Museum Store and found this beautiful ribbon - I've been wanting to make a knitting bag and I thought this ribbon would make a nice embellishment.

I have no specific purpose for this ribbon - I just really liked it.

Also stopped by the Renegade Shops on Route 30, across from the Host Farm Resort - a sanctioned AQS vending location. Loved the vendor from Maine - they had beautiful contemporary fabric. I bought 2 of these "cheater" aprons from Free Spirit - I've got 2 dinner parties this weekend - guess what I'm taking as a hostess gift?

The directions are printed right on the fabric. It even has a sew on pocket. Love the eyelet-like printed trim on the fabric.

OMG - I am in love with this fabric from Alexander Henry - it is a canvas weight fabric - don't know what I'll do with it but it's gonna be good.

Its called Birdsong.

The colors are so bright and vibrant.

I bought this Alexander Henry fabric from the same Maine vendor - they didn't have any of the companion fabric in stock - the quest has started - I've already been on line looking for any and all companion fabric - please let me know if you've seen it.
Now - what did I buy at the show in the convention center? Well - I didn't find any fabric that interested me - there was a lot of traditional fabric, lots of batiks, hand-dyes, and mottled solids - - I'm not really into any of the above. There was very little contemporary fabric for sale at the show - disappointing. I would love to see far more variety in the fabric vendors at the show.

I needed thread - and it just can't be more boring - I needed white thread. I love Aurifil thread - you can't find it anywhere in the local stores - so 2 spools of 50 weight white Aurifil ended up in my shopping bag.

I stopped by YLI - I use only YLI Soft Touch in my bobbin - I have it in many colors, but prefer using neutral thread in all my projects. This is the best cotton bobbin thread on the market, hands down. If you don't use bobbin thread - give it a try - you can fit so much more thread on your bobbin.

I didn't buy this thread - and no, I didn't steal it! I renewed my AQS membership and received it free - it's beautiful silk variegated thread. I've never tried Clover thread - heck, everything else Clover makes is great - I'm happy to give their thread a try.

Hmmmm, what do you think this is - - - if you guessed pinch purse hardware, you'd be right. My friend Kelly was buying some and when Kelly recommends a project you just can't go wrong. Take a look at this link to Pink Penguin blog to see a pattern for pinch purses - I'm going to give it a try next week.

ProChem was at the show - I bought a rain forest gradation kit - I love these kits - no fail dying. And I also picked up a dye kit to fix a dying project that failed last fall - I think overdying is more interesting anyway.
That's it - the shopping bag has been revealed. What did you buy? What did you want to buy but couldn't find?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lancaster AQS Quilt Show Review

Click your heels three times girls - we're not at Host anymore!!!
Thanks for the memories!

The Lancaster Quilt Show has moved on up, into town, and into beautiful new digs in center city Lancaster, and Lancaster has rolled out the red carpet for us. Thank you AQS for your dedication to keeping quilts in Lancaster!

This is Penn Square facing the new home of the AQS Lancaster Quilt Show in the brand new Lancaster Marriott and Convention Center.

Take a step inside this beautiful Marriott - ahhhh... lovely! And, let's address a necessity here that is all too often overlooked at quilt shows - our comfort. The hotel has plenty of locations to grab a snack or beverage throughout the 3 floors which house the quilt show. And now for the big news - the venue has plenty of clean and beautiful womens' bathrooms - do I hear "hallelujah!".

It is an amazing feat that AQS could pull off this quilt show - remember, they had less than a year to orchestrate this show in a brand new facility - Congratulations! I can see this show growing exponentially in years to come.

I attended the show yesterday with friends, and returned today to get more pictures for you all. There was a nice crowd yesterday, but today there was a CROWD - it was packed this morning when I arrived. The parking garage in town was almost full to capacity and the show aisles were shoulder to shoulder with women, and a few token men, shopping and quilt viewing. Everyone was impressed with the new venue.

The quilts are beautiful. I'm going to share with you snipplets of photos of some of the prize winning quilts - you need to attend the show in person to appreciate the beauty of these works. Many congratulations to Marilyn Badger of Saint George, Utah for receiving Best of Show awarded to her quilt "Filigree". The quilting is exceptional, and almost all of it done with metallic thread.

Best Hand-workmanship was awarded to Suzanne Marshall of Clayton, MO for her entry, "Vases". This is a stunning quilt - her color selection is lively and the hand quilting is impeccable.

The award for Best Long Arm went to Rhonda Beyer of Tualatin, OR for "Darwin's Diamonds and Flowers." This quilt is beautiful - but unfortunately it was placed too far back in a poorly lit location to truly appreciate the intricacy of the quilter's work. While this venue is better, unfortunately lighting is still an issue in parts of the exhibit hall.

Linda Roy of Knoxville, TN was awarded First Place in the Appliqued Bed Quilt category for "Icing on the Cake". I love the chocolate background fabric she used - her stitching is incredible.

"Oriental Expressions" by Karen Kay Buckley of Carlaise, PA received second place in the appliqued bed quilt category. I love the leaf spirals in her border - again it was a very dark location and you could not fully appreciate this quilt.

First place in the Wall Quilt Category was awarded to Janet Stone of Overland Park, KS for "Alpha Block Celebration" - everything about this quilt is lovely - I especially like her tabbed border.

I love this quilt by Deborah Kemball of Baie D'Urfe, Quebec, Canada - "Jewelled Garden" - it received third place in the wall quilt category - it is a personal favorite as well as a judge's favorite.

And now for my awards for the quilts that I felt deserved awards - I bestow upon them the "thread from the edge award" - sorry, no monetary value. I love this quilt - it is something I would never undertake but the quilter's workmanship is extraordinary - Congratulations Diane Johnston of Pahrump, NV for this lovely version of a Dear Jane quilt that she titles "Northwest Passage". The reverse applique is beautiful, and the different quilting in every block is so appreciated.

The second "thread from the edge award" goes to Terri Stegmiller of Mandan, ND for "Here's Looking at You Cat". I love the eyes - you have to see the cat's eyes as well. Beautiful imagery.

I obviously did not get photos of all of the prize winning quilts - to those not mentioned, sorry and congratulations. AQS invited us to a lovely premiere of the Lancaster Quilt Show - thank you so much. Three specific requests for next year - 1. better lighting; 2. full frontal views of the quilts; and 3. no quilts more than 4 feet back from the viewing area.

And to Lancaster - thanks for welcoming us with open arms. Take note of the enthusiasm of the local businesses getting into the spirit of the show. The daily menu at Carr's was blanketed with a quilt background.

This dress shop dropped a yo-yo quilt as their backdrop,

Traditional quilts stocked the shelves in this window display.

Papagalleo's spiced up their window with this lovely quilt. Get a load of my reflection wearing the zebra dress - not quite my style.

And FIG Publishing really exercised their creative side with this beautiful window display featuring quilting frames circling some of their many publications set in a patchwork inspired arrangement - love it! And yes, I am definitely as thin as my reflection suggests - not!

Oh, shopping - yes I did plenty of that, but this blog post has gone on long enough. Tomorrow I'll open my shopping bag and share with you my purchases. I will say that if you are heading out to the show before my shopping post I recommend making sure you stop at the Renegade Shops on Route 30 (across from the Host Farm) - there are quite a few good vendors in this location.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big Field Trip Tomorrow

I am so excited - tomorrow is my big field trip to Lancaster for the AQS Quilt Show! This is the first time the AQS Show is being held in Lancaster, and the city is rolling out the red carpet. Of course I bringing my peeps with me - the Layers girls - always interesting, and eventful, when we head out together. I e-mailed them the "what not to forget" list earlier today - I don't want any surprises - no I forgot something, can we turn around - no can we make a potty stop. Forget it - we have ground to cover tomorrow and I need everyone to be on their best behavior. I'll try to post a review tomorrow night if I'm not too exhausted from our adventure.

I was putting some of my Easter decorations out today and thought you might be interested in seeing my redware eggs - these eggs were made by Lester Breininger of Robesonia, PA. Lester is a well known redware artist and international authority on this form of pottery. Aren't these cute!

Now this next egg is very special - I can't even believe I have it. It is Lester as an egghead. There are many collectors of redware, particularly Lester's redware - this egg would top off any collector's stash. Redware artists have a unique way of signing their pottery - they date the back and note the weather conditions - I love it.

Dinner tonight was delicious - straight from the April issue of Martha Stewart's Food Everyday. I made the tilapia and quinoa with feta and cucumber. Quinoa, a grain, is high in protein and fiber - it was used by the Incas in ancient times. Tonight I used red quinoa - either red,or the more common white quinoa, will do.

I made only one alteration to the recipe as written in the magazine. I had a lot of carrots on hand from the grower's market this past weekend, so I roasted them and added them to quinoa salad. The salad was delicious - so happy we have leftovers!