Thursday, April 9, 2015

My Brain's Been Busy!

I often wonder if other quilters struggle with 'idea overload' and that they also have sew many creative ideas pinging through their brain day and night like a crazy pinball marble. After my third book Threads of Friendship: Marge and Beth was published in February, I immediately started to mentally plan what Nedra and Lettie will be doing in Book 4. It was within weeks of the book's release that I attended my own DIY Retreat (when I couldn't attend my beloved B.A.Q.S. Retreat), and then the International Quilt Festival happened less than an hour from my house! Needless to say the creative juices are oozing and I'm loving every minute of it, so I thought I'd share...

Quilt(s) I'm Working On

I've gotta be honest, I work on several (many) quilts tops at a time, but this is the one I'm determined to finish before I start've heard that one before haven't you?
It's hard to see in this picture, but the corner of my latest quilt is hanging from my NEW FLANNEL WALL!! I'm so darn excited about having my very own flannel wall. Bob and I made it with foam core, a flannel sheet, double-stick and duct tape...easy-peasy. It goes all the way to the floor and I simply have to whisk away that table to have more space.

I fell in love with the quilt when I saw it at a vendor booth at a guild show about three years ago (see below). I bought the pattern and specialty rulers. The name of the quilt is Maddie Bea's.
This was the example of the haunted me until I bought the pattern.

FYI and BTW: I'm working on this post from Decatur, Illinois, where I'll be selling and signing my Bunco Club Series at Quiltfest 2015, put on by the Decatur Quilters Guild. Tomorrow morning, Thursday, I'll set up my booth and the show is Friday-Saturday, April 10-11. When I left home in Chicago 'burbs this afternoon it was 51 degrees. When I got to Decatur it was 75 degrees and my son said it was 39 in the city! WOW--what a difference!
I'm pretty proud of my organization! Books 1, 2, and 3, boxed up and ready for the trip south.

Off to the Long Arm Quilter
So you all remember the humongous 30's repro quilt that I finished at my DIY Retreat, right? Well in case you don't remember, this is it:
I packaged it up along with the quilt below and mailed them to the very creative and talented long-armer, Heather, in Michigan. Can't wait to get them back =)
I made the wine/grape quilt for my brother, Bob, for helping me with Threads of Friendship. Bob has been a sounding board for me for all three books. He's an avid reader with creative ideas and along with his wife, Liz, like this quilt seemed more than appropriate. I told him he had to share the quilt with Liz!

My Take on Leaders and Enders
My take is that I simply LOVE them. Since I've been using the technique, I haven't made one bird's nest or had my thread dive into the underworld of the face plate where the needle gets stuck and the threads get wonky. I think I started using leaders and enders about a year ago. At first is seemed awkward and I didn't always remember to do it. I also wondered if it was really worth it...and then, WHAM, I got it and I can't sew without them now!
Leader -- Ender
I like to use the same pieces over and over. I even trim them down just a smidgen until they are ridiculously full of threads.
Okay, so I am ready for the next step and I'm jonesing to do a Leader/Ender quilt. I only recently figured out what that meant and I have the perfect quilt semi-cut out and ready to go...lots of 2x2" squares! It's like getting two quilt tops finished for the price of one (time-wise) ... well, not really 2 for 1, but a darn good start on another top.

If this sounds like a foreign language to you, I understand completely. I was confused at first, too. REAL QUICK: A leader is a small scrap that you stitch before you start your 1/4" seam. You can sew one seam or chain a whole batch, and when you get to the end, you do the same thing with another scrap, called the ender. One of the nicest things it accomplishes is a more perfect 1/4" seam at the beginnings and ends where the needle tends to wander a little causing fatter or narrower seams than desired.

Once you get used to this process and into it, you can then pickup two pieces that need to be sewn together for another quilt and use them for your leaders/enders! I plan to keep using my scraps for leaders, chain on a square for quilt #2, then chain or sew my seams for quilt #1, then sew off with another square for #2, then my scrappy ender.

If this is confusing I apologize! I'll take more pictures when I get home and try to be more clear!

YAWN! I'm pretty pooped right now and have to get up early tomorrow (by Karen standards) to set up my booth. So I'm off to bed and I'll finish this after my setup.
Thursday evening: Setup successful and complete!
Quiltfest 2015 is at the Decatur Civic/Sports Center. It's quite a large arena and I have an exceptionally good size booth. From what I've seen, the quality of the exhibited quilts is breathtaking.

Last week I was a guest speaker at the Norther Lake County Quilt Guild. My Bro and SIL helped me. Here are a few photos he snapped...

Tomorrow is another early day for me and the first day of the Quiltfest so I'm going to tuck in early tonight. Thanks for looking and get out there and have a Quilty day!

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