Rotary Cutter Maintenance

I’ve just changed the blade in my rotary cutter and oh my, what a difference! Whenever I do this, I think to myself that I should have done it weeks ago. As I tell my students, we spend hundreds of dollars on fabric, but we balk at replacing rotary cutter blades and sewing machine needles. This doesn’t make any sense. Ergonomically and for ease of use, having a sharp blade is the way to go. With a new blade, fabric cuts are like cutting through butter. They are clean and can be made without applying much downward force on the rotary cutter.

When I’m teaching, I’m surprised how often I come across rotary cutters that are incorrectly assembled. I’ve had students say to me things like, “I’ve just put in a new blade, so I don’t know why it’s not working very well”. Make sure that you put it back together in the right order with the large black circle in the center on the top and the washer and nut on the back.

Work in Progress (4), now finished!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve posted pictures of this quilt in various stages of development. Lauret’s Stars, is at last completed, after 20 months and over 200 hours of piecing.

With our quilt show being cancelled, I was unable to photograph this commissioned quilt at the quilt show. Instead, I took it to church and set up my quilt stand in the parish hall where there was plenty of space and light. This is one of the largest quilts that I’ve ever made, at 105” x 105”. My friend, Wanda Rains, did a spectacular job on the custom long-arm quilting. I’m happy to report that my client is thrilled with the quilt and has given me permission to borrow it back from her so that it may be displayed in our rescheduled quilt show in May. Here I am up close with it.

Here’s another detailed shot so that you can see some of Wanda’s exquisite quilting.

Hawaiian Fabric

Recently, I was delighted to escape from the cold snow to Hawaii with the family, (including my 4½ year old, and 15 month twin grandchildren). We stayed at the Aulani Disney Resort on Oahu, by the ocean, for a wonderful sunny week of playing outdoors.

We visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation which had gorgeous lush gardens and a nice patio to eat lunch and delicious Dole whips, (vanilla ice-cream swirled with pineapple syrup). At the back of the enormous store, I found a fabric vendor selling cuts of Hawaiian cotton prints. How could I resist?! I bought two yard chunks of each of these two fabrics, (see below), with no specific project in mind. With a large fabric stash at home, I try to be disciplined about my fabric purchases, but made an exception here since I was on vacation and needed souvenirs! There can always be some justification for fabric purchases and perhaps just liking it is enough….

Diego Rivera Portrait

I saw this amazing picture, The Muralist (Diego Rivera), by Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguin in an exhibit at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

I was immediately drawn to this for its quilt like quality, especially in the jacket, shirt and tie. Look at all those Flying Geese and Shoe-fly blocks! The ability to create such an image using these is remarkable. A detailed look at the background and face reveals more piecing with triangles and pixels. I love the use of color too. It’s vibrant and inspiring. Here’s a closer shot.

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show, 15th and 16th February, 2019 cancelled

Due to record breaking snowfall with 15″ of snow accumulated earlier in the week, the Kitsap Quilters’ Guild has cancelled its quilt show originally scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday, 15th and 16th February. This is the first time we’ve ever had to cancel. Despite warming temperatures and melting, many side roads and residential streets are still hazardous. Our volunteers couldn’t get to the quilt drop-off locations or to the venue to set up the show and our quilt show attendees will not want to come in these inclement conditions. We are hoping to reschedule the show for May 3rd and 4th, 2019.

I took this photo on Monday, late afternoon at dusk. This is High School Road, Bainbridge Island, close to my house.

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild 2019 Raffle Quilt

Last week I shared a poster promoting our upcoming Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show on Friday and Saturday of this week, 15th and 16th February, (snowy weather permitting). The poster shows a small portion of the beautiful raffle quilt. I wanted to share the whole quilt with you in all its glory, so here is the full-sized picture, photographed by Richard Thornton.

This certainly echoes the theme of our quilt show, “Stitches of Love”, reflected by the hours of hand appliqué that went into making this gorgeous queen-sized quilt. Ann Trujillo and Margaret Mathisson chose the design and coordinated the project. The pattern is Jacobean Appliqué by Pat Campbell and Mimi Ayers. Twelve guild members pieced the blocks and another four assisted with borders and the quilt top assembly. The quilt was machine quilted by Jackie Heckathorn. If you are able to attend our quilt show at the Kitsap Fairgrounds in Silverdale on Friday or Saturday, you will have the opportunity to purchase chances to win this lovely quilt. The drawing will take place at our guild meeting on 26th February and the winner will be contacted by phone (unless at the meeting!).

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show, 2019

Please join us next week at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds for our Kitsap Quilters’ Guild 33rd Annual Quilt Show. This promises to be a feast for the eyes with over 200 quilts on display, vendors and more. My large quilt, Lauret’s Stars, (photo of quilt top posted last week), will be part of exhibit. As a guild member, I’m obliged to volunteer four hours of time to help with the show. However, it takes much more work than this, and our tireless Quilt Show Committee have already been at work for several months, planning and organizing everything. I really appreciate all their hard work and dedication to making our quilt shows successful year after year. I encourage you to go to the show and enjoy the beauty of our quilts.

Work in Progress (3)

Last week, I published my work in progress. I’m proud to say that the quilt top, Luaret’s Stars, is now complete. This quilt was commissioned over 18 months ago and has been slowly evolving. Last year I traveled extensively to teach and also spent a great deal of time helping to care for my new twin grandchildren, so I didn’t have much time to devote to the quilt. Fortunately, my client has been extremely patient and understanding. I’ve worked intensively on it over the last three weeks to finish in time for my machine quilter, Wanda Rains, to quilt it before our local quilt guild show in mid-February. Wanda now has it and is working her magic. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does and then I’ll have to scramble to execute the binding before the quilt show. Here it is, spread out on my living room floor. It took over 200 hours to piece and is 105″ x 105″, king-sized.

Work in Progress (2)

In my blog of 17th December, 2018 I posted a picture of my major project in progress. I have spent the last couple of weeks working intensively on this quilt top and am sharing the next stage with you. I constructed a pieced lattice for the next border.

I made eight sections, two for each side of the quilt, mirror images to go on either side of the inset compass blocks. I like the scale of this new border and think it will work well for the quilt top. Here I’m wrestling with how to handle connecting them at the corners and am auditioning ideas. As you can see the whole quilt top became rather unwieldy and heavy for my work wall.

When it came to pinning these border sections, I took the whole thing downstairs to my living room. I moved the chairs, vacuumed and put a large white sheet on the floor. Then I was able to lay the whole quilt top out, measure easily and work on the floor to pin. When it was time for ironing after the sections were attached by machine, I resorted to using a hole punch as a fabric weight to keep the top from slipping off and pulling!

This project permeated every part of my house!. At one point, I had to call a time out to clear the surfaces in my studio. By next week, the top should be finished and I will post again.

Charming pincushion

When I travel to teach, I love to see the variety of gadgets and notions that my students bring to class. One lady in my class at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium had this charming pincushion. It’s a small basket with a lid decorated with a wool applique pastoral scene. Inside is a divided pincushion embellished with embroidery. This is adorable.

I asked where it had come from and the lady said that she purchased it at the Dragonfly Quilt Shop in High Point, NC. The website has an on-line store, but I don’t see this particular item, so it’s possible that they no longer have it in stock.