Saturday, March 31, 2012

A thrilling class with Sharon Schamber

This week my quilt guild was fortunate enough to host Sharon Schamber for some workshops and a lecture at  the guild meeting.  The above quilt may be familiar to many of you as it has won numerous awards and has appeared in several magazines.  It was so exciting to see many of her award winning quilts up close and personal and I was happy to get some pictures of her amazing applique and quilting.

Here is a picture of Sharon apparently giving an autograph while answering a guild members questions.  Meeting Sharon in person was so inspiring. I, along with much of the quilting world, have been in awe of her work for years and I was delighted to discover that she is so giving of her knowledge as well as being an interesting and nice person.  For such a "star" she is down to earth and happy to share many of the techniques that she has developed and uses.  I was able to take 2 classes from her, one on machine quilting feathers on a domestic machine and another on longarm quilting techniques.  Both were so filled with information that I hope I am able to put into practice.  She certainly has some unique ideas and techniques but that is what made the classes so inspirational.  Amazing what you can do with some true fabric construction knowledge and some sewing machine expertise and apply it to quilts, especially when you are willing to think outside the box and try new things.  The other thing that amazed me was that she brought blocks from quilts that are in development and shared them with the guild, even to the point of allowing photos.  I decided not to post these, as much as I would like to share, because of all the concerns about design copyright etc. but I can assure you that there is more spectacular work to come.

Just take a look at some of this quilting from another award winner.  Black thread on white fabric, amazing!  And that cord work is incredible.  I used to think of Sharon Schamber as intimidating but after seeing her quilts in person and meeting her I consider her no less than a quilting genius. Though I will never produce anything that even comes close to her work I'm hoping that by using what I learned I will be inspired to push myself to achieve more than I thought possible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Sewing Studio

Since I have little to show in the way of sewing progress, I decided to share my sewing space and my extensive stash.  Well, obviously I'm not actually sharing my stash, I am much to greedy for that, but you can take a peek.  Here is the view as you enter the main sewing room of the studio (yes there is more than one room).  Those clear boxes in the IKEA shelving units are filled with fabric sorted into projects or project ideas. Two of them are my wool pieces and two are silk.  The chair is left from a previous home and sorta sets the tone for the room.  It is a great place to do a little handwork and faces a TV.

This is my cutting table that DH custom made for my height many years ago.  The fabric in those drawers is sorted by color and are mostly hand dyed or mottled fabrics that I use in my shaded applique.  A few drawers are reproductions devoted to Baltimore Album quilts.  To the right of the cutting table is my light table also made by my DH.  It started as just a light box but it was so heavy that I added legs instead and now it is perfect. And a spare filing cabinet fits underneath.  To the left of the cutting table is my design wall, which I couldn't live without.

And here is a view from the door of the mess in progress.  The main sewing goes on in the back and you can just see the ironing board peeking in at the right of the photo.  Those piles on the floor are works in progress.  And the 2 IKEA tables set up are where I do my designing and applique prep.

Next is a look into my fabric room. Yes, I admit it, I have a whole room (10 x 12) devoted to fabric storage.  Those wire basket shelves are also from IKEA and also support the table that fills the middle of the room.  The plastic drawer boxes are each filled with all the fabric and patterns for a project.  This is how I organized things before I went to live in China so I knew I would have everything I needed and it has worked pretty well.  So exciting when I finish something and can empty a box.

Another wall of the same room.  The laundry baskets remain from my previous home and are how I used to arrange my stash.  Each basket was a different color but it was pretty difficult to find stuff.  Now the baskets are filled with novelty fabric, holiday fabric and decorator fabric.  The fabric boxes above are more projects in waiting.  Brights and neutrals are kept in the wire baskets under the table.  I love the table in the room as it is a great place to sort and audition fabrics. 

The third room houses my longarm machine and bolts of fabric for backings etc.  The closet in the room holds batting and I had my DH install super bright lights so despite no windows it is very well lit.

As you can see I am pretty spoiled.  When we bought this house I was thrilled to find a finished media room in the basement with these 2 extra bedrooms finished as well.  The only drawback is that there are no windows but adding lots of lights has really helped.  I also have lots of extra storage closets and cabinets for my trims, buttons etc. and a small alcove between two of the rooms that I use for more book and magazine storage. 

This week I am off to Florida to settle DH into his rental home and I will be setting up a small sewing room for me there for when I visit. We've picked up a few IKEA tables, shelves and wire baskets and I can't wait to get ready for some happy stitching.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

On the road again

Well, I have been home almost a week but it is time to hit the road again.  This time to Florida to find DH a rental home to live in when he starts his new job next month.  As usual I will be taking hand applique to work on while we are in the car or sitting around a hotel room in the evenings.  Just as a change of pace I thought I would show the above quilt that I finished a few years ago. Sadly I can't remember the pattern, maybe a Bunny Hill pattern? It hangs in my sewing room and I really enjoy it.  These are the colors that really speak to me, aqua, coral pink, teal, red and green.  DH loves yellow, red and black and both of us also enjoy blue and white so our home is filled with color, but if it was up to me every room would be some variation of the colors above.

As you can see I have made progress on this quilt during all the recent travels. The picture from a previous post was of applique that was prepped to go, but these ones are all sewn and the rest are prepped for this trip.  Another variation of my favorite colors, aqua, green and that coral pink.  I wasn't sure at first about those outside setting triangles but after auditioning others and then putting some of the border on the design wall I decided that this first choice is best.  I hated cutting into fabric to cut triangles to put up on the wall but this time it was worth the effort.  Does anyone else have that problem, or do you just pick everything without needing to see it on a design wall?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Joy and Sorrow

I am finally home after 2 1/2 very difficult weeks.  Life is filled with ups and downs and during the last 2 weeks I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  First, it is with great excitement that our family welcomed Christopher David on Feb 22.  A first grandchild on both sides and a first child for my son and daughter-in-law.  He is perfect and adorable and we are just delighted.  This morning I finished putting together this quilt for him and hopefully it will be finished later this week.
It is from the pattern Critter Caboodle by Brandywine Designs and was such fun to applique.

Sadly, I was unable to immediately share in the excitement of his birth as I was in the hospital in Canada with my father as he spent his final days battling lung cancer.  He was funny, thoughtful and strong 'til the end and I will miss him dearly, but, I feel so blessed to have had that last week with him sharing laughter and love.  

Time to get back to Happy Stitching.