Lessons learned (the hard way!)

I checked my baby out of the hospital yesterday – my Janome 66oo, that is.  Turns out she was trying to telling me that she needed a bit of a spa treatment.  Thankfully, all she needed was a good cleaning and a lube job.  It’s been about 1 year, 2 major quilts and  half a dozen or so small projects.  I guess it was time.

Moral of the story:  Treat your baby well and she won’t let you down!

Another lesson learned the hard way:  I should have paid more attention to this, but of course I had to find out the hard way.  Even with the 6600 and 6500 being practically the same machine, I evidently needed to pay closer attention to calibrating my 1/4″ seam allowance.  After I switched machines, I was working on a pieced border with a lot of seams.  It’s amazing how much length can be eaten up by being off just the slightest bit – after a while it just adds up!  My 35 1/2″ border strip was nearly a 1/2″ too short when I was done!  I had to do a bunch of adjusting but I managed to make it up without a noticeable difference in the design.

Moral of this story:  If you change machines mid-project, make sure your seam allowances are the same as with the previous machine.  On a quilt with a lot of matching seams,  it can mean the difference between the use of a very sharp instrument along with a lot of unmentionable words and stress-free satisfaction with how well the piece came together!

 Lessons learned – now back to the sewing!


Quilters – the play

Went to a performance of Quilters last night with some of my quilty friends.  It was performed by the Act 1 Performing Group at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA (near Bethlehem).  They did a wonderful job.  Evidently the play was first performed on Broadway in 1982 and was nominated for several Tony awards. 

The play is set in the American West presumably in the 1800’s .  A pioneer woman, Sarah, and six women, who are called her daughters, face frontier life. Rather than a straightforward storyline, the musical is presented as a series of short tales  matched with musical numbers, each presenting an aspect of frontier life or womanhood, such as girlhood, marriage, childbirth, spinsterhood, twisters, fire, illness and death .  Each story is represented by a quilt block and .   The blocks  are ultimately put together to form one large beautiful quilt. 

My friend Linda, who was with us, said that the quilt for the original Broadway production was quilted by her friend in Maryland, a talented long-armer. 

This production at DeSales ends tonight, but is definitely worth seeing if another production comes your way – even if you’re not a quilter!


Why every quilter needs at least 2 machines!

After 5 scheduled days off and a snow day on top of that, I was so happy to put the kids on the bus this morning!  I love my kids – but really,  they needed to go back to school and I needed to get back to my sewing machine!

After about 20 minutes, my needle suddenly jammed, bent and then broke.  It’s pretty rare for that to happen to me – but ok I knew my needle was a little on the fine side for what I was doing.  So I put  a new needle in, re-threaded the machine and then the noise started.  My baby did not sound happy 🙁   After messing around with the bobbin area for a while, I came to the conclusion, that something ugly must have happened down there when that needle jammed.  She needed to go to the hospital.  Then came the really bad news – she probably wouldn’t get looked at until the end of the week!!!!!  Oh, no!!!

Fortunately, I have a Janome 6500 sitting at home in a box.  When the 6600 came out so quickly after the 6500 – I was advised not to trade-in the 6500 since I would not get my money’s worth on such a new machine. )  Evidently it was very good advice, but for a much different reason!  So I am happily sewing again on my newest project and despite the flurries today – the kids are still in school!  🙂 

Moral of the story:  If you are a serious sewer – always have a back-up!  I think one is probably enough, but I have a few friends who could probably jam quite a few needles before they run out of machines!!  You know who you are!!:) 


One quilter’s journey in slides and quilts

I want to thank my guild, The Courthouse Quilters, for being my guinea pigs last night!  I appreciated your patience and attention to my slide-show and trunk show!  I apologize for running a bit late.

A little over a month ago the program coordinator asked me to be the guest speaker at the guild’s monthly meeting.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at, but I’ve been a little reluctant.  It was great to be able to try my hand at something like this in front of friends.   My journey in quilting is only 10 years old, but I was worried about rambling and getting off track so I wrote myself a script in hopes that it would keep me focused.  I practiced at home several times in front of my husband hoping to keep the talk to half an hour.  Although I did spend a little more time on personal history with this group than I would with others, what I did not count on was the amount of time that was spent looking at each quilt – especially, since I thought I had shown most of them off already.  So I think it was closer to 45 minutes before I got to the end. 

Figuring that I was going to spend about 30 minutes on my quilting journey, the plan was to spend another 30 minutes on an overview of what EQ6 software can do.  Because the evening was getting late, I had to rush through that part before I lost my audience.  I now know that if I want to offer a trunk show, there’s just not enough time to do both.  I am grateful for the opportunity to work out some kinks in what may possibly be yet a new adventure.

If there are any NJ or eastern PA guilds out there interested in hearing one quilter’s journey, give me a shout! 


Driftwood News

It’s been such a crazy busy week.  I’ve been trying to write this since Tuesday.   Now that we’re stuck in the house with a blizzard blowing outside, I have some time! 


I found out at the beginning of the week that Driftwood was juried into the new AQS show in Lancaster at the end of March! I am very excited!!  It will be judged in the Wall Quilt Category.  I think the chances of it winning a prize are slim because I am sure that it will be up against some amazing quilts from some very skilled quilters, many of whom are on the east coast – think Jinny Beyer, Karen Kay Buckley, among others.    As far as I’m concerned Driftwood has already had to pass through one set of judges just to get into the exhibit.  I have already received a “Contestant” ribbon which I get to wear on my name badge when I go.  I’ll take that!

The link to the show:  http://www.americanquilter.com/shows_contests/lancaster/2010/general_info/

This is the show I talked about at the end of last year.  There had been another large show in Lancaster which closed it’s doors.  The American Quilter Society (AQS), which hosts the famous show in Paducah,  took advantage of the opportunity to add its first show on the east coast.   While in the midwest, I never made it to Paducah (which for you non-quilter readers is like going to Mecca for quilters)  It requires reservations for accomodations at least a year in advance and even those are hard to come by.  In addition, the show is primarily held during the workweek.  With two small children and a  husband with limited vacation time, I hadn’t gotten to the point where I could swing that one before we moved!

I did have the opportunity to go to the AQS Nashville show several times, however, before they moved it to Knoxville.  The show was held at the Opryland Hotel which is like a city under roof, but I think I’ve talked about that before.  In 2005, Treasure Chest (HMD-103) was juried into that exhibit.  In 2006, Ring Around the Rosie was juried into the Guild Challenge Category along with 9 other amazing challenge quilts from my guild.  Our guild challenge that year was entitled “Childhood Games.  We drew games out of a hat which we then had to depict in a quilt.  It was a lot of fun.

I hope that some of you will be able to see Driftwood in person – maybe I’ll even bump into you while you’re there!  If you want to make your own,  don’t forget you can purchase the pattern – HMD-104!   It’s not a beginner quilt, but it’s not as hard as it looks.  The pattern takes you through it step by step with a diagram for every one!

See you in Lancaster!