Sunday, July 20, 2014

Progress Reports!

It's been quite awhile since I've posted any "works in progress" blogs and I think it's because I've been bouncing around on LOTS of different things.  Rather than focus on one project for this post I thought it would be fun to have a mixed bag of sorts.  I've definitely not been sitting around eating bon-bons for sure...although I'm working on  a wonderful piece of Ghiradelli chocolate at the moment!

There has been a lot of interest in the Irish linen piece I posted about a few months back.  Although I haven't devoted a ton of time to it lately I do peck away at it a bit in the evenings.  It's coming along beautifully but it's oh-so-tedious! 

Before the quilting...

 After the quilting....

If you remember it was literally falling apart with lots of previous repair work done, holes, tears, and generally just discintegrating.  Using Superior Threads' Bottom Line thread in the top and bottom and a Microtex Sharp 70/10 needle I am painstakingly ditching around every tiny piece of embroidery and then tediously doing micro-echoing to fill in the background.  This is strengthening the piece (stabilizer is underneath the linen) and covering up the holes and tears.  I think it's turning out gorgeous!

This pretty piece will be ready for the machine soon...reverse applique of a hankie center, embroidery piece in the middle and both pieces together  will create a beautiful medallion for this quilt. 

Beautiful lace doily was meticulously quilted with birds, ribbons and flowers and used as a medallion for the center of this piece.  The lace is being beaded down and attached to the linen with itsy-bitsy freshwater pearls.  I am also adding hundreds of french knots to open circular areas below the swags.    Still loads to do on this one!

This piece has turned out to be my quilt-from-hell but I persevered and am seeing it thru to the end.  I ended up having to add a wide border AFTER the quilting was done and then added the lace on top of that.  I'm in the midst of adding lots of pearls and beads, getting the binding hand stitched and the rod pocket and signature linen stitched on. 

When I am done with the above quilts I will have a special blog post for each with great close up pictures and details about how I did particular techniques.  

On top of quilting and teaching I'm still plugging away at new quilting designs for the second set of my newly written designs book.  This is going much slower than I would like but progress is being made!  For those of you who have purchased the "Oldies But Goodies" book of designs you will be getting the second set of newer designs by the end of the summer. 

I also have several new class samples I'm working on for my Heirloom Feathers & Backgrounds classes.  I'm off to the Washington State Quilters in Spokane on Wednesday and then turn right back around and go back to teach at the APWQ Symposium in Tacoma.  Hopefully my new samples will be ready for those workshops.  Can hardly wait!  I plan on having down time in the airports, airplanes and hotel/dorm rooms to get some of the hand work done...

Hugs, Cindy :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Congratulations Karen!!!!

I wanted to give a big shout out to Karen Azevedo for the awards she won this week at Quilt Colorado!

If you are a blog stalker you are very familiar with Karen's amazing work on linens...she does all of her work on a long arm and I am always amazed at how tiny she can get her details. 

She received a second place ribbon in her category on one quilt as well as Director's Choice for the other.

Congratulations Karen....awards very well deserved!

Hugs, Cindy :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Nana Cindy" Days...Teaching the Girls to Sew!

I have the privilege of being Nana Cindy to my two favorite granddaughters...Chloe and Samantha.  I decided that this was the year I could finally spend some time teaching them to sew by creating their very first quilts!  I spend half a day alone with each of them, take them out for lunch and ice cream and then we spend the rest of the day working on their quilt tops.  This was week one...I wanted to show the process of how I've pulled this off hoping it would provide inspiration to the rest of the Nana's out there in case they want to do the same thing!

First things first...gotta have a sewing machine!  I thought it was very important that they learn how to sew on their very OWN machine...not Nana Cindy's.  When I teach at shows I try and request Janome machines as they are so user friendly and I have fabulous classroom support.  At several shows on the east coast I have been fortunate enough to have David LaValley from the Bittersweet Fabric Shop supply the Janomes for my rooms.  He and his support staff are over the top. 

I have taught for the Vermont Quilt Show twice and they have a special category for the youth...first time entrants.  At each awards ceremony David has gifted each and every youth entrant a new sewing machine.  There's hardly a dry eye in the room when this happens.  I've never forgotten that.

Soooo, when it came time to buy a sewing machine for Chloe and Samantha I went directly to David.  He highly recommended the Janome "My Style 100" and he assured me this machine could stay with the girls forever.  Sold. 

The machines arrived last week but I had to wait until I was home THIS week to give them to the girls.  They were SO excited and I have to admit the learning curve was very easy and the speed easily controlled by little feet. 

So now we have to take a step back to show you the process of getting the quilt top started. I created half-square triangles on white card stock and colored each half.  I gave a bag of squares to each of the girls and told them to create a design for their top and have their mom, Jenny, take a picture of it. 

Then I gave each of them a piece of paper with the rows of the quilt all drawn out.  They had to color each block to make the design.  This was going to be our "road map" when assembling the top.

 I decided it would be best to have the girls make large half-square triangles...6" to be exact.  These would go together quickly to complete their tops.  I ordered the half-square triangle paper on a roll, precut all of their fabric into strips and pinned the paper to it.

Each of them sewed the paper to the fabric following the dotted lines...sort of! 

Oh, you're probably wondering how those little feet reached the foot pedal????  A long basket of course!

Once the strips were sewn together I cut them apart but the girls had to rip off the paper and cut off dog ears...I pressed the squares and then they were ready for the design wall.  VERY cool to watch this part!

This is turning out to be a fabulous summer project and a great way to spend quality Nana Cindy time with each girl on their own.  They will finish the summer with their very first quilt that they have sewn on their own (kind of) with their very own machine.  Life is good.

A very special thank you to David LaValley for ALL he does to support our youth. 

Big Hugs, Cindy :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quilting Adventures~Linen Ladies Workshop!

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching my 5-day linen workshop for Quilting Adventures.  This is the second year I've taught for them.  The first year the workshop was held at the T Bar M Ranch and this year was at the Jordan Ranch.  Both facilities are wonderful with huge classrooms.  If you ever get a chance to indulge in a retreat with them I highly recommend it!

In this workshop we were totally focused on learning to create the linen wholecloth quilts.  The classroom was literally oozing with beautiful linens...they were everywhere!  Students got the chance the first evening to do the "nanner nanner...look what I have and you don't" as they showed off their treasures and chose what they were going to work on during the week. 

The next day was spent designing and marking their tops...

I always try to get into the classroom extra early to set up for that day's lessons and get things cleaned up and organized.  One particular morning it was pretty cool as there were linen quilts in progress draped over machines and chairs.  Beautiful way to start the day!

Another extra duty of mine is to wash linens for the students...since there were no clothes lines or large flat places to lay them out to dry we had to get creative!   

I love to end my workshops with show and tell the last morning.  Each student shows what she worked on, problem solving, threads, etc.  This was an AMAZING class filled with very talented students and I thoroughly enjoyed my week with every one of them!

Hugs, Cindy :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Craftsy Big June Summer Sale!

Just letting you know that Craftsy is launching their big Summer Sale starting today and ending at midnight, Monday June 9th.  All courses are a whopping 50% off!!!

CLICK HERE to be taken to Craftsy...happy shopping!!!

Hugs, Cindy :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

AQS-Paducah Video!

When I was in Paducah, I had the pleasure of being invited to do an interview with Bonnie Browning about the Nun's Quilt.  AQS interviews the award winners at the show so that viewers can get up close and personal information about the winning quilts.

Click HERE to be taken to my video but be sure and click HERE TOO to check out the rest of the videos!  There's lots of great information here. 

Hugs, Cindy :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

"My Designs" Collection of Quilting Patterns...PRE SALE OFFER!!!

I am VERY excited to  tell you that my set of new design handbooks is nearly complete.  This is something I've been wanting to do for a long time and I am soooo jazzed with how well they are  turning out.  The first set will be finished by next Wednesday...the second set will be done by the end of July.  I have had a number of you contacting me over the past few months wondering when this was going to be finished so I thought it would be fun to do a pre-sale and offer you a discount!

This collection of quilting patterns will be sold at full price of $50 and includes twice-yearly updates.  I am offering this set at a special pre-sale offer of only $40.  This offer will end at midnight on Thursday, June 5th.    For those of you who take advantage of this pre-sale, I will start sending out the first set of this collection starting next Wednesday, June 4th.

You can pre-purchase this set of handbooks by going to the handbooks section of my website by clicking HERE.  Payment is made thru Paypal.  You will receive a certificate as your proof of purchase and receive the first set starting Wednesday.

For those of you who have purchased my "COMPLETE COLLECTION OF HANDBOOKS" please know that you will be receiving this set of handbooks FREE.  Anything new that I write will always be included free of charge to you. 

So, now that I have your interest,  let me show you what I've been up to! 

I have been designing stencils for Quilting Creations, Inc. for many years.  These designs were also included in my now out-of-print book, Wholecloth Linen Quilts.  Stencil designs must regularly be discontinued to make room for the new stuff so many of these designs are now unavailable.

The first set of this collection, "Oldies But Goodies" contains about 90% of my older designs. I am putting the polishing touches on it as we speak and it is now 200+ pages.   My designing style has changed a LOT over the years and I was a bit hesitant to even bring the old stuff back to life.

My compromise is that I am showing the designs as they were originally drawn and then I am re-sketching a bunch of them showing new and improved ways to quilt them.

Many of them are being used to show how to make wholecloth quilts with that particular design.

I will have each set broken up into chapters for blocks; borders; fans; corners, wholecloth medallions and this & that.   A separate index shows small 1" shots of each design with the page numbers so that you can quickly flip thru and see where a design is.
If the cut stencil is still available thru Quilting Creations I will have the stencil number on that particular design page so you can order it if you wish.

I will also be including instruction at the beginning of the book showing you how to make your borders fit, simple instructions on how to transfer the designs, how to use a proportion wheel for enlarging/shrinking designs and I will share how I create my designs and some of the tools that I use.

The second set is still being created and will be called "New and Improved".  I have a new batch of designs currently being cut and polished up at Quilting Creations and expect to have them soon.  This will be the beginning of the second set of designs.  I am focusing more on designs that have less detail.  I am always encouraging my students to "make it your own" and these designs will help with that.  I will be offering multiple alternative design sketches with each of these to inspire you.

This set of handbooks will come with twice-yearly updates in January and July.  As I sketch out more design alternatives for the older designs (in the first set)  I will send them to you.  As I come up with new designs (in the second set), I  will send those to you as well.

I'm excited to share all of this with you...this has been something that I've wanted to do for a very long time!  

Big Hugs, Cindy :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Irish Linen~Progress Report

I have several pieces going at the moment but I am starting each morning working on my Irish Linen and wanted to share my progress!

This particular linen has felt special to me from the beginning even though it arrived in pretty bad shape.  I wanted to repost the before/after photos after washing with Retroclean. 

I spoke in my  previous post about how badly damaged this you can see from the very first photo fabric was missing from two corners.  There are multiple tears and rips due to the fabric being SO fragile and as I handled it more tears occurred. 

I decided in order to keep it from completely dissolving I applied Bosal woven fusible cotton stabilizer to the back and cut it away from  the Irish Crochet. This helped tremendously!

I thought I had found the perfect underlayment for this but I hadn't.  My first choice had a yellowish cast to it and it looked awful.  This linen, after washing, had almost a grayish cast to it and NOTHING matched.  A trip to the antique store on Monday provided the perfect match!  I found a large, tattered petticoat in a corner of the store and it was almost perfect.  I was able to salvage enough fabric, sew it together, and have the perfect piece for the underlayment underneath.  Because of the perfect match most of the damage doesn't show as much...whew! 

The more I work with this piece the more I am seeing evidence of how someone before me so lovingly tried to save this piece too.  Check out the intricate handwork trying to fix and hold this together.

 Sooo...check out this corner and the edging...something needs to be done about this.  It's in this condition all the way around.

I decided I needed to add a lace border to cover this up and give it a beautiful ending.  My friend, Karen, found some fabulous crocheted pillowcase lace that was the perfect size and texture.   I decided that I needed to cover up this outside border to make this work and be beautiful...I am not going to cut it off...just cover it up.  The heavy texture and border of the crocheted  lace will hide this.

Remember I had two corners where the lace netting had rotted/torn away?  I decided I needed to fill it in with "something" to add texture.  I have some vintage netting from some old lace and salvaged a couple pieces and tucked them in underneath.  It's not a perfect match but at least it's something in there.

I'm getting ready to baste this piece...I'm using Quilters Dream Cotton Select and a beautiful woven linen yardage for the back.  I'm still not sure how I'm going to do the quilting but I'll be sure to share the journey as I go.

I felt it was important to share the process of this piece as it is so easy for us to discard beautiful old linens due to their damage.  This particular piece is spectacular and has a wonderful presence and energy to it.  You can just tell it has literally been loved to death and it's my honor to bring her back to life even for just a little while.

Hugs, Cindy :)