I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” This is a phrase that is well known around our house when it comes to getting something done that is sewing or quilt related.
As a quilt designer you would think that my children and grandchildren would be unable to move in their beds at night from the weight of all the quilts I have made for them, right?! Ha, unfortunately this isn’t even close to reality. My own children do indeed have quilts or wallhangings which I made for them many years ago, before I even started designing quilts. When my two daughters got married, the plan was to make a quilt for each new grandchild as they came along. This worked pretty well for the first couple. Kate received a quilt designed especially for her, which resulted in my Cutie Patootie pattern. Jackson followed shortly thereafter and so did his quilt, which eventually became the Action Jackson pattern.
However, the grandchildren didn’t end there. Both of my girls continued having babies and now I am WAY behind on the quilts. Kate now has two sisters, Emma is five and Claire is two, and Jackson now has three brothers, four year old Gavin, and two year old twin brothers Ryan and Dylan.
It would certainly be easier to accomplish my goal of supplying quilts to each of these kiddos if I could simply go to my local quilt shop and pick a pattern from the rack. However, my girls seem to think that each of these wonderful children deserves their own original quilt designed by “Honey”, and I must admit that I agree with them.
Poor Emma has been waiting patiently for her quilt for several years now. I had been working on it sporadically but just hadn’t set aside the time to get it finished, until recently. The layout is similar to Cutie Patootie except that it is upside down, I didn’t feel the need to “reinvent the wheel” here. The designs inside the blocks are all different except for the monkeys. I’d originally planned something else for that particular block, but one of Emma’s favorite things is monkeys, so I just used the block from Jackson’s quilt instead.
This summer we had a great time with the grandgirls as they stayed at our house for two weeks while their parents went to Europe. Before they arrived, I had finished the quilt top and had it layered and pinned for quilting. While they were here, I would find a few free minutes now and then to sit down at my machine for some free-motion quilting. The girls knew that I was working on Emma’s quilt and I had promised her that it would be finished in time for her to take it home with her. One day Emma stood watching me as I was stitching away on the quilt and she said, “Honey, can you just stay up all night until you are finished?” Well, that didn’t happen but I was able to have it ready for her by the time she left.
Emma was pretty excited about her new quilt. Courtney, my daughter, said that she was showing it off to her friends the following week and she overheard her say, “This is the quilt that Honey made for me. She’s old, but she’s not dead.”
Ha ha, aren’t kids great!
I knew it was here somewhere, just a matter of hunting it down, but once we found shops with fabric, they were everywhere. In Bangkok there are streets filled with tailor shops willing to make suits, sport coats, and pants out of gorgeous lightweight wool, cashmere and linen. Custom fitted shirts can also be made out of beautiful shirting fabric. Not exactly inexpensive, but certainly less than you would pay in the US.
Since Fitz needed a wardrobe update (he is either shrinking or losing weight) he had some things made. It took a few trips for measurements, first fitting, and final fitting but he ended up with some great looking clothes.
Ladies silks were everywhere too, once we knew where to look. There are some pretty fabulous shopping malls here and the silk shops all seem to be located inside. I saw some beautiful handmade silk jackets in one shop but they didn’t allow photos, this shop, however, didn’t seem to mind.
We went to Singapore for a few days and found even more fabric there! There is a street called Arab Street, which has rows and rows of Turkish shops carrying more silk, and cotton fabrics. Lots of rug shops available here too, if you need some beautiful floor coverings.
We were even able to find a quilt shop in Singapore called Quilts and Friends, a great little shop owned by Brigette Lee. She was in the middle of teaching a class when we arrived but was gracious enough to take a break and show us around her wonderful shop. I was hoping to purchase some local fabric but Brigette explained that there were no fabric designers in Singapore so the majority of her fabrics were from American and Japanese companies.
All in all, a pretty good variety of beautiful fabrics!
No grass growing under our feet as we have been constantly busy exploring new areas of Thailand. We flew from Bangkok to Chaing Rei, which is in northern Thailand and stayed at the beautiful Meridian Resort for a couple of days.
The town of Chaing Rei is considerably smaller than Bangkok but in order to get around we hired a driver to take us on a tour of the area. With small children in tow, it’s a little difficult to see more than a couple of places each day but they were troopers as we dragged them around in what felt like 100-degree heat.
The white temple was high on our list and not at all what we expected. We have visited a few Buddhist temples here and just thought it would be another Buddhist temple that was painted white but found instead that is was created by a Thai artist with a different idea in mind. There is a great post here http://www.thailandforchildren.com/chiang-mai-family-travel/chiang-rai/white-temple-wat-rong-khun-thailand to give you a better idea, than I can, about all that is represented there.
Next, we headed to the Black House, which was also quite different. There were several buildings, all black, which looked a lot like temples but contained long wooden tables and chairs made from animal horns.
Many wooden carvings on poles and tables, which displayed crocodile and snake skins. Additional buildings on the property housed an elephant skeleton and large fishing traps hanging from the rafters.
As with everything to visit around here, there was a gift shop just in case you wanted to purchase your own “look alike” crocodile handbag.
Finally, the last stop of the day was at the Golden Triangle where the countries of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand come together.
This used to be the largest opium producing area and there is now an Opium Museum to visit. It’s pretty much a tourist trap but was filled with all types of pipes, and smoking paraphernalia.
Apparently you could rest your head on one of these marble and ceramic “pillows” as you smoked the pipe and soon it would feel like you were “floating on a cloud”. Ha!
There was even a replica of a prisoner to show you what can happen to you if you decide to go down this path.
I guess I was expecting to see fields of poppies instead and had great visions of making a poppy quilt! Not a poppy in sight!
We’re doing a little traveling, visiting our daughter, son-in-law and four grandsons (all ages 6 and under) in Thailand! After the 32 hour plane ride on three separate flights we finally arrived, although we were pretty exhausted. It has taken a couple of days to adjust to the new time zone, 11 hours ahead of Raleigh time, but we’re not waking up at 3 am and staying awake for a couple of hours anymore.
Since our time here is limited, we aren’t letting any grass grow under our feet, although not much grass is growing anywhere here in Bangkok. It’s a really busy place full of sights and smells not often experienced in North Carolina. Traffic is constant and a little harrowing with pink taxis, tut-tuts, baht buses, and motorcyclists fighting for their piece of the narrow streets here. Kathleen drives their mini van around like a champ, not easy considering it is an American vehicle and they drive on the other side of the road here so she has a double challenge with her steering wheel being on the wrong side of the car! Can’t seem to figure out who has the right of way, pedestrians or drivers, as no one wants to give, but we finally realized that if you are walking you are always on the defensive.
What we take for granted in the US is obvious here, as there are hardly any sidewalks wider than about three feet and they are in a constant state of disrepair with uneven levels to navigate, large holes and cracks, and loose tiles. We’re doing a LOT of walking but have to constantly watch where we step so as not to end up flat on our face in front of a taxi or oncoming bus. Needless to say, walking anywhere with a six year old, a four year old, and a set of two year old twins is a lesson in patience and fearful hysteria. Sidewalks aren’t wide enough for a twin stroller so in order to use the stroller you have to walk along the edge of the street and hope no one is having a bad driving day.
Temperatures around 100 degrees are normal here and we, as Americans, seem to be the only ones with sweat dripping from our “red as beet” faces. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Chatuchak Market.
This huge market is apparently very famous here, made up of tiny little vendor shops. They sell everything from new and used clothing, any type of Thai food you can imagine, small animals, birds, and fish and furniture and accessories.
I found a pair of pants and a shirt that I liked and asked to try them on. The ladies were very accommodating, “Sure, sure” they said, “try them on here!” and they took me into their tiny vending space and stood in front of me as I stood there half naked trying the clothes on while hundreds of people walked by just a few feet away! I bought the pants.
What a great time we had at the Vintage View Quilt Show this past weekend! The Capital Quilt Guild, along with the Carolina Longarm Association banded together to create this wonderful show and it was amazing! Over 450 quilts were entered and the skill and expertise were obvious in all the beautiful quilts. Since I was vending at the show, I arrived early every morning so that I could get a chance to see all the beautiful quilts myself. Here are a few photos in case you missed it.
Botanikal by Lynne Turner-Lio is an adaptation of Robin Pandolph’s “Botanika” pattern. Lynne added dimension appliqué to make this the Best of Show quilt!
Wilson, North Carolina by Frances Tillery shows many of the buildings in Wilson where Frances grew up.
Spring Bouquet by Karen West made from a kit by Laundry Basket Quilts and quilted by Suzan deSerres.
Dancing Batik by Noi Bland and quilted by Angela Clark.
Lollipop Trees by Sharyn Cole. This quilt is from a pattern by Kim McLean and was quilted by Suzan deSerres.
Arboretum by Sheryl Lucas was one of the first quilts Sheryl made. It was quilted by Ann Hull.
Smokey Mountain Feathered Star by Angela Clark. This quilt was part of a Dee Dalton Mystery Retreat, the pattern is Star Trekks by Dee Dalton and the quilting design is by Dawna Sanders.
Snails Trails by Gail B. Draney was a Saturday Sampler quilt for 2012 from Bernina World of Sewing. It was quilted by Jan Marie Potter.
I even managed to garner a ribbon of my own with my Acorns Away quilt which I created from a block I made for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks magazine. My own design, my own quilting.
These cute little quiltlets were stitched up by Brenda Keeley for herself and her two sisters using my Tweet pattern. She said she made each of the quilts and gave two of them to her sisters but had to ask for them back so that she could enter them in the show. The next picture is a photo of the works in progress. I love it when customers send me photos of items created from my designs!
Hope you enjoyed this virtual little quilt show and are working on your own fun creations!
Getting excited for the upcoming quilt show here in Raleigh this weekend. I’ll be setting up tomorrow and the show starts on Friday. The following press release contains all the info you need to be able to plan your visit to the show. Hope to see you there! There are approximately 450 quilts for you to drool over, I even entered one myself.
Raleigh, NC…Whether you want to take a step back in time to remember the days of your grandmother’s soft comfy quilt or fast forward to today’s cutting edge quilting techniques, you’ll find it all at the Vintage View Quilt Show, March 14-16, 2014 at the Kerr Scott Building at NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh.
“The Capital Quilters Guild (CQG) is partnering with the Carolina Longarm Association (CLA) to present this big show. The group anticipates 400 quilts on display, vendors, demonstrations, Wearable Quilt Art Displays, and special exhibits,” said CQG President Penny Prichard adding that the show is a fundraising event for the two non-profit groups.
The three-day show will include judged quilts (submitted prior to the show), themed exhibits and 40 vendors who will offer every type of quilt tool, patterns, notions, fabric and machines geared to the casual and dedicated quilter and sewer. Hours for the show are: Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4. Admission to Vintage View Quilt Show is $5.
“Since our grandmothers lovingly stitched every piece by hand, we follow suit but on machines,” said Suzan deSerres, President of the Carolina Longarm Association who added that quilting is a $ 3.58 billion dollar industry that appeals to an estimated 21 million women and men over the age of 18 who shop at approximately 3,500 quilt shops in the United States. (over 50 in North Carolina; 11 in Triangle Region). Traditional quilting abounds and still appeals although art quilting is making its mark in this modern era.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had some type of sewing space in my house. My DH is retired from the Air Force and for 29 years we moved about every 3-4 years. When my kids were small there was very little extra space to allow for a dedicated area to sew. I often would set up my sewing machine at the kitchen table, make a huge mess with fabric scraps and pattern pieces scattered all over the place, and then try to push everything aside to allow enough room to eat at the kitchen table. After dinner, everything would be returned to the previous chaos until that sewing project was completed. At that point everything would be cleaned up, machine and ironing board put away until the next sewing project.
Eventually we moved to a house that had a downstairs family room which allowed me to take over a corner of the family room. This allowed me a little more freedom as I was able to leave the sewing machine set up between projects which also meant that I got more sewing done because it wasn’t as hard to haul everything out to start a new project. I became so used to having my own space that I continued to commandeer a corner in the basement of the next house. With the next move we ended up in a house with no basement and no room in the family room for me to have my own little corner. By this time my three kiddos each had their own room so I convinced the girls that it would be a great idea if they would share a room and I took over one of the bedrooms for my ever growing sewing supplies. I can’t begin to tell you how many fights I had to referee over them sharing a room, I think there were a few months of actual masking tape down the middle of the room so that neither of them stepped in the other’s space (but that’s another story in itself)!
When the girls were in high school we lived in yet another house that had no extra room for me so I ended up taking over the dining room for my space. This actually was not the best solution because it was in the main living area and one of the first things people saw when they came to the house. Because of that, I had to clean up quite a bit when I finished sewing for the day to keep everything looking presentable. Several moves later I now have a dedicated sewing studio of my own! It’s the bonus room over the garage. I can start a project, leave everything as messy as I want, start another project, etc. etc, and I am the only one who has to deal with the mess.
We’ve lived in our current house for 11 years now. Ack! That’s like a lifetime for someone who was used to moving every three or four years, so occasionally I get a little itchy to move things around.
Recently I realized that the design wall I had been using for a few years just wasn’t hacking it anymore. I had a sheet of styrofoam insulation from the local hardware store which I covered with flannel. It leaned against the wall and was stored behind a large chair which manages to stay covered with piles of fabric. Whenever I needed to use it I hauled it out from behind the chair and propped it against the storage cabinets at the end of the room.
Eventually I began to want a larger design wall, something a little more permanent so that I wouldn’t have to move things around whenever I needed to use it. I decided that the only way to accomplish this was to move all the shelves and storage cabinets to another wall so that it would “free up” the wall I needed.
Since my original design wall wasn’t quite large enough I added another covered sheet of foam insulation next to the original one. It wasn’t until they were covered and nailed to the wall that I realized that the color of the insulation makes a difference. The original one was pink and the recently purchased one was blue. You can see a little difference in the color now that they are side by side but I’ve gotten used to it. When I use this wall to take photos of quilts I crop out the background anyway so it really doesn’t matter.
If you have been yearning for your own design wall, here are a few pointers…
Depending on how large a wall you want, you will need one or two styrofoam insulation sheets from your local hardware store. Measure your wall to determine the finished size of your design wall area. Since I rearranged my room to accommodate a large wall I used two styrofoam sheets.
To cover the styrofoam I purchased some heavy duty flannel. It wasn’t large enough to cover the styrofoam so I sewed two widths of the flannel together and made sure to allow enough fabric (about 6 inches) to be able to fold over to the back side of the styrofoam board. After sewing your flannel together be sure to press the seams open.
You may need a helper at this point. Lay your flannel out on the floor or use a large table with the wrong side of the flannel facing up. Then lay your styrofoam sheet over the flannel. Make sure the fabric is flat and begin turning the fabric to the back of the styrofoam board. Staple a couple of staples on one side and then pull the fabric slightly from the opposite side and staple. Continue alternating sides, stapling as you go until you have secured each side. Next, staple the top and bottom the same way.
Since the styrofoam isn’t strong enough to hold the staples in place for an extended period of time, use some type of wide tape (I used duct tape but packing tape will also work) to tape over the edge of the fabric and staples. Tape all four sides.
I used two pieces of styrofoam and wanted to keep them aligned so I added additional tape to make a “hinge” between the two boards.
Now you simply need to attach the finished design wall to your wall. I rested the bottom of the design wall onto the baseboard and used small nails and nailed through the styrofoam right into the wall.
If you are limited on wall space, you could always make a design wall like this, hinge it together with tape and store it somewhere, maybe under a bed, until you actually need it.
Once you begin to use it, though you will love it enough that you will want it out all the time!