Monday, September 28, 2009

My Student, My Solution & My Studio

This is Beth. She has taken several of my classes now. Friday she came into my Basic Threadplay class with this piece of art in hand. She told me I had inspired her to do this after the ABC's of Embellishment series that she took with me. I was thrilled to see her beautiful work, & flattered that I could help her find her inner muse. She obviously has found here creativity. I doubt I had that much to do with it, but it made me feel good to hear it from her.

It was even better in person. The Threadplay class went well. It was full, & fun. I love teaching free-motion work.

I think I solved the problem with the threads from this top popping through to the back as I quilt. It was the stray strings from the patch edges that were the problem. The Hobbs Wool is behaving beautifully, & has had NO BEARDING what-so-ever! I am Loving it!

I simply have to take an extra 15 or 20 minutes each time I advance the quilt to trim, & pick , & sticky roller all of the excess threads from under the top, before I start quilting it. This is the first quilt I've done that these threads seemed to matter. It seems like there is a different issue with each quilt I work on. Good thing I enjoy problem solving!

The back is looking good now that I'm spending the extra time thread picking!

I've had an nice side effect from the steroids that I've been on for the pneumonia. It has left me feeling a bit wired, & I've channeled that extra burst of energy into putting my studio back in order, & getting ready for winter. My house is the tidiest that it's been in months, thanks to Prednisone.

I am the Queen of clutter. Nothing Feng-Shue about our house. I have collections of stuff, that I just love to look at, & think about the nice associations that these things bring to mind. Pictures & quilts made by friends & family surround me. I have art from each one of my kids hanging in my room. This is what you see when you walk into my room.

Looking from the closet you can see my shelf full of antique sewing machines. I bought one on a whim, & suddenly people (mostly my DH, but others too), started giving me old machines. Now I have a collection. Shelves against the back wall are full of the old movies I like to listen to, over & over as I quilt.

Storage containers under Lily hold projects, & class materials. From inside the far corner of the room, you can look back toward the closet door & the design wall. The big white paper has a pencil drawing of my next "BIG" project. It's been there for several years now, waiting for me to find the right time to get going on it. The vertical bulletin board just to the left of the closet door is covered with ATCs from several of you bloggers.

My newest addition to the sewing machine collection came home with us from Massachusetts.

Niece Lynne's hubby, Kevin lost his grandmother recently. She was the only seamstress in the family. Kevin decided I should take Grandma's Bernina, & since I am a Bernina girl, I was thrilled to have it. It was quite an adventure carrying this cast-iron machine across the continent. I felt bad every time Warren had to lift it into the over-head compartment on the plane, but love how it looks on my map-case, in my studio. I also kept a little wicker box of trims & notions, & put them by the antique bust I bought

2 1/2 years ago when I was in Maryland.

There were several old wooden spools of thread. The thread is too rotten to use, but looks cute up on the shelf by my pin cusion collection. Woody & Jessie don't seem to mind it.

The bunny is still waiting patiently by the door, for me to get her clothes made. Maybe in time for next Easter!

Tomorrow I work at the hospital. It's been another 2 weeks since I was there. I really enjoy staying home, but it'll be good to get out & see other people again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A question for you who Longarm quilters...

Today I awoke with a feeling of well being. The best I've felt in over 2 weeks. I had my usual coffee, & breakfast, then took my meds for the pneumonia. My face has a funny red butterfly mark spreading across my nose & cheeks, but I am breathing better, so I'll live with the weird side effects.
I headed into the studio with much optimism. Started up Lily, & was wiping her down like I always do, before quilting. Removing any excess oil that may have dripped from yesterday's oiling when I put her to bed. I took the rag, & wiped around the bobbin area, the started her running to catch any drips that fly out. Unfortunately I was a little too close with the rag, & caught it in the bobbin, blowing the fuse & jamming up the rag in the hook mechanism. It wasn't pretty.
Fortunately I had an extra fuse, so I switched that, & got her turned back on. Then I managed to dislodge the rag & remove the jammed needle. Then I had to work on re-timing my machine. I called Megan & got a little advice before I went too deep, & after about 2 hours of re-reading the instruction book, & watching the same section of the DVD over & over, & taking things apart & putting them back together, I finally have a decent stitch again.
Now here's my question. I've been using this machine for almost a year & 1/2 now, & one thing I noticed, is bearding. It happens a lot. Way more than I ever had on my short arm Bernina. I have discovered that certain batting beards worse than others. I also noticed that the backing fabrics seem to make a difference. The last quilt I quilted had a Cotton Sateen on the back, & it bearded even with the Hobbs Thermore for the batting, which is one of the better ones I've used. Now what else can I do. I am using Titanium needles (recommended by A-1).
On my present quilt, I am using Hobbs Wool batting, & it isn't bearding at all, but the stray strings from the edges of the patches on the front at pushing through the back, as illustrated in the photos below.
That's not thread, it from the patchwork. I can pull most of them out, but they are everywhere, & it will take forever! Is there a good solution for this & the general problem of bearding?

Feeling better

Tuesday I finally went to the Doctor, & was told I have "Atypical Pneumonia". He started me on Prednisone, Zithromax, Proventil, & a narcotic cough med for bedtime, so I can sleep. Within 12 hours of the first doses, I was feeling soooo MUCH better! What a difference! I actually quilted for a couple of hours yesterday, & hope to go longer today.
Warren has been tinkering in his bar. Now that it's cool outside, he wants to get going, & get the bar finished this winter. It will be so nice when all our construction is done, but it will be years before we can call this house finished. Probably about the time we have to sell & move into an old folks home.
He hung my thread paintings on this wall that you see as you walk down the stairs. They far to the right to accommodate the door trim that will be on the left, once the floor has been laid.
On the back wall to the right is his new wine rack. He intends to keep it stocked with Bear Creek wines. The tapper of course has 2 kinds of Midnight Sun beers. Both the beers & wines are Alaskan made. I'll let you all know when the bar is open for business.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Here is the next quilt on Lily. It belongs to Dr Shirley Fraser. I am using Hobbs Wool batting, & it is quilting up beautifully. I don't have much energy though, so it's going to take me longer than I'd like. My lungs are a mess right now. Breathing is difficult. Even with my inhaler. That dose of mold inhaled from a container of Cream Cheese, has done me no good at all.
Yesterday & this morning it rained. When the clouds lifted there was "Termination Dust" on the mountains behind our house.
Winter is on it's way here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A New American

This is my customer's quilt, Kathy Murray. I finished it this past week & delivered it to her yesterday.
She was thrilled with he quilting.
She was in a class at the Quilt Tree, at the time, & another quilter had a quilt ready to go, & gave it to me.

Anchorage is enjoying a prolonged autumn season this year. We've had a string of nice days strung together like pearls on a necklace. Mostly our color is gold of Aspens & birch, but yesterday I stood under this maple in our friend & surgeon, Pete Schaab's backyard.
He hosted a surprise party for his girl Lily, who became a US citizen this week. She was born in the UK, then moved to South Africa as a child. She has been living in the US, working as a Physical Therapist, & has spent 15 years on becoming a US citizen. She was very surprised at the party.
I made this little "Welcome" quilt for her. It's wool on top. The wooden hanger is a piece of driftwood, that I picked up off the beach in Homer.

We had bar-b-que ribs, & potluck. The food was great, & the day was perfect.
I've had so much going on lately, that I've had more to blog about than time to do it. If you'd like to see some of the quilt show from last week please go here. One of my customer quilts won a viewer's choice ribbon, for which I am very pleased.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Rest of the Vacation

These 1st 2 shots are a customer quilt, that I finished quilting the day before we left on vacation.
We flew from Anchorage to Washington DC. We spent the first night in DC, then got on the Amtrack to Connecticut. The next few images were shot through the train window.

We went through New York.

In Massachusetts we visited family. This is Warren's sister Jan, & her first daughter Lynne.

We spent some time in 2ND daughter, Lisa's pool. This was Grandpa Joe & Lynne's son Aaron.

Warren played his first ever video game with Lisa's 2 step daughters. The girls were so cute.

This was the BEST Tomato salad I ever ate! Good tomatoes are hard to come by in Alaska. We don't get enough darkness in the summer for the tomatoes to develop their sugars. We get hot house tomatoes, & their flavor is bland. These were the most flavorful tomatoes I've ever tasted. The green one was the sweetest ever.

This little green frog greeted us at our motel in great Barrington, MassWe visited the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was awesome, getting up close & personal with his paintings. To be able to see the brush strokes, & amazing number of works that he created in his lifetime. Over a thousand large paintings. Each completed in a couple of weeks.

This house was on the grounds with the museum.

I liked this stone garden portal in the back of the house.
These giant Hosta leaves looked quilted to me.
I loved the little tiny leaves growing right from the edges of the larger leaves.
We stopped by "Alice's Restaurant" made famous by Arlo Guthrie's song.
I thought the door was charming.

Hibiscus, the size of dinner plates were in bloom.

This red one was just opening up.

We visited upstate New York. Sister-in-law Sandra was from this area, & acted tour guide.

This large bird (hawk of some sort I think) soared over our heads as we looked out over the Hudson River.
The Hudson River.
This bronze lady looked out over the river too. We couldn't find a sign that explained who she was.
This bench was at Olana.
This was a mansion that we toured. It was built by artist
Fredrick Church in the early 1900's.
He had a fascination with all things Persian.
I wish I could have taken photos inside too.
I thought the way the stones were mortared together was beautiful.

I thought these 2 little boys were cute looking through the windows.
I loved the texture on this tree.
Back in Washington DC, we had lunch at Penn Station before we headed back to the airport to fly out.

We had a very relaxing vacation. It feels like a dream now.

Last night we went to see the Lion King. Even though I'm not feeling well, (I inhaled a snoot full of mold last week & have had lung issues ever since,). We sat in the 3rd row right on the aisle. The seats were great. The music & voices & dancers, & costumes were amazing. I wish I could go again! The minute the performance started, we had chills, & my eyes welled up with tears.