Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Quilt Market in Houston

I am very excited to be attneding my first Fall Quilt Market this year in Houston. I will be posting lots of photos. Check the Hudson Valley Quilts facebook page and this blog.

Many thanks to Jim Collingham at Colonial Needle.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"9(9) Problems But a Stitch Ain't One!" I Came Up With 16!

My friend Amy over at 13 Spools wrote another fun blog post.  This time we are sharing our crazy, and sometimes humorous quilting problems. While waiting at the doctor's and dentist's office this week, I thought of more than 9 of them; 16!!

1. Quilting directions that are not CLEAR.

2. Technology that doesn't work, or when the electricity goes off in the middle of sewing, such as a power outage during a storm.

3. Running out of any quilting item on a Sunday that I know Joanne's doesn't carry.

4. Throwing the timing off on my sewing machine, and waiting a week for the machine to come back from the repair guy.

5. A drone attack while I'm outside photographing my quilt or WIP.  (No, this didn't really happen, YET) :)

6.  Every year I give my machine, at what our local Bernina dealer calls, "A Day of Beauty," which is a tune-up. It costs more than a day of beauty for me.

7. When I lose track of time while sewing, and realize I forgot to put dinner in the oven. Oh well - it's going to be a call to Capri Pizza for dinner tonight!

8. Giving a quilt to someone who isn't quilt worthy. In other words, you've given someone a quilt as a gift. At some point later in time you find the quilt you put so much work into stuffed in their hall closet, unused. I know that the person I gave this particular quilt too is not reading this blog.  And if by some chance you are, it's now out in the open.

9. The landline or the cell phone rings. I forgot to bring either one to my sewing table. I jump up and catch it before it goes to voicemail, only to find out it's a robo call.  Or worse, it's a political robo call.

10. Getting cold feet while sewing my favorite way, barefoot. Socks are just a little too thick to feel full control over the pedal. But wearing them is better than having cold feet.

11. While hand quilting, picking up an extra piece of the backing, and having to rip out a lot of stitches.

12. Pricking my finger and getting blood on the quilt. It does not come off with saliva, as many have told me it would.

13. Forgetting to throw a cover over the sewing machine when I'm not using it. One day, I found our cat Emma, chewing and swallowing the thread from the spool on top of the machine, which can get caught in a pet's intestines. This is extremely dangerous to their health, and could result in death. If it ever happens to you, get your pet to the vet or emergency vet right away. Fortunately, she cooperated and I pulled the thread out of her mouth, slowly and carefully. I was shocked at how much she had managed to swallow. Sewing can be a dangerous endeavor. Don't forget to baby proof and pet proof.

14. Pulling out fabric I stored and finding it permanently dis-colored.

15. Unable to  find my groove or flow while I'm sewing. Listening to Barry White's, "Your My Everything," cures that.

16. I am a little, teensy, tiny bit older than most of you, and come from a time when we used to talk on the phone to each other. Sometimes a lot!! 

I miss talking on the phone. I miss hearing someone's voice, even if it is a new friend. If I come across a quilting problem, and want to talk with a quilting friend, people are uneasy about giving out their phone numbers and would rather do everything by e-mail. (I know, there are a lot of scary people out there. I am not one of them.) Sometimes, I would rather just pick up that phone and speak to my quilting friends, not e-mail them. I am not afraid to give out my phone number.

And there you go.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My First Quilt Challenge - Pictures Tell All

Sorry about the cell phone photos....just not enough time to take proper photos with a proper camera.

This next photo will tell you how much fun it was to continually be inspired....

Biscuit sat on the dining room table part of the day on Friday, Saturday, and almost all day today. For 2 1/4 days, he sat through 3 complete design changes for the Michael Miller Color Couteur Collection. Hours of listening thw WHUD. The team of Biscuit and Anne finally feel as though they've settled on something modern, clean, simple and crisp, and provides a good visual of  spring fabrics.

But without the suggestions and acute insights of Kathy and Ogla, I would still be drawing and not writing this blog post. What I love about their dropping by, and tossing ideas around is that we all listen to each other, and respect each other's opinion. They are both so smart in their areas of expertise and forces me to think in ways I never have. Thank you both for you help, support and such great conversation!!

You made my day :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Michael Miller Challenge

I told myself I would never do this, but after almost 21 years of quilting, I am. I have never entered a quilt challenge. I'm not worrying about winning, just finishing the quilt by the deadline is a good goal for me. Having one's creativity judged is a tricky thing and it's subjective just as writing book reviews of children's books for School Library Journal is for me.

I have wanted to begin to design quilts tops and hopefully fabrics down the line. So this challenge put a bar in front of me to begin the process of designing quilts. (One thing at time - fabric design....maybe by the end of 2016)?

Back in the spring, I began sketching out blocks. I did some research and read a few books. In Italy I came across so many patterns in the architecture of buildings, on floors, walls, paths, streets, clothes, and of course the art.

So here I am....

Modern Quilt Guild Quilt Con 2015 has several categories of challenges. I chose the Michael Miller Spring Contour Pastels Challenge. I decided on this particular one because, I love pastels, and I have never made a quilt in all these years using only solids for the top.

Michael Miller sent contestants a bundle of fat eighths that looks like this;

 Love these colors!! 

I can't show my patterns, but parts of one is okay. I am figuring out how the patten process works with quilt patterns, and then I'm happy to share.

I'm belaboring between two patterns. Deb from Pins and Needles in Mt. Kisco is helping me figure out the yardage. Right now I am making mock-ups in graph paper, coloring them in, and will decide between the two patterns.

Hopefully I will have figured that out by Tuesday.

Happy Quilting and have a great weekend!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Make Modern - A New Quarterly Quilting e-zine From Australia

I am excited to share some amazing news, which I have been keeping a secret for a few months. I've always been good at keeping confidences, so I am very excited to finally share with you a new, bi-monthly, quilting e-zine, Make Modern, from Australia. Everything in this e-zine is fresh, crisp and relevant. 

I am one of the contributing writers, so I may be blogging a little less. The  article I wrote for this issue is called, "How to Develop a Great Relationship With Your Longarm Quilter." 

But this blog post is not about me. It's about the e-zine and everyone, including the three editors, Jane Kelly, Kristy Lea, and Lara Motta, who worked so hard to make this happen. It takes a dedicated team of people to create an amazing publication.  

The premier issue is full of creative quilting and home decorating patterns, informative articles, projects, resources, technology, and stunning photographs. Read the about page on the Make Modern web site, because you may just see yourself in the text of that page, as I did. To see and sample the preview issue go to Issuu.  At the bottom of this post there are links about how to subscribe.

A Short Review of What's Inside This Issue

As many of us know, quilt math can be pretty tricky. Alyce Blyth clearly explains and shows us with examples, how to use it successfully in, "Upsize, Downsize, Resize Any Quilt Block." No more fuss or frustrating computations that cause complicated equations that end up resembling algorithms. 

Instagram has always been a bit puzzling for me. I keep thinking; Why do I need it? Why do I want it? Do I need to post to IG and facebook? 

However, "Instagram for Quilters: A What, Why and How Guide," by Kristy Lea gave me a way to experience it differently; think about it more as a fun and enjoyable social media option. By not experiencing it as another "must do item" I need to check off my "to do" list every time I post to my blog, the stress factor is gone. Creative thoughts are beginning to come my way. And maybe, or not, in a few months I will have figured out a way to integrate it with my blog. In the meantime, I'm just having fun with it. On another note, any publication that includes an article about relevant technology in my field always grabs my attention and gratitude.

How many times have I machine quilted in the ditch, and had a hard time keeping my stitches in that ditch?  The number is far greater than my age, I can tell you that! Melissa Gottliebsen wrote an outstanding article, "Straight Lines; Introduction to Straight Line Quilting." There are other, and possibly better ways to achieve the "stitch in the ditch," look and feel, without having to "stitch in the ditch." I can't wait to try her method. The creativity in this article awesome.

A fellow blogger from The New Bloggers Blog Hop, from the Spring - Summer, 2014, Jo King, shares with readers her cat, and her pattern for "Memory Cats," which grew out of a QAL she participated in, using Elizabeth Hartman's pattern. Extremely cute. 

Make Modern includes a few give-a-ways, and ends with a library, which includes some of the best modern quilting books published. And there is some information about what's coming in the next issue too.

Overall Make Modern has it all - 112 pages of what Jane describes in our mini-interview below, and some. Take a go at it!

Mini Interview

Jane Kelly, one of the co-founders and editors, and I finally had about five minutes to do a mini-interview. (The magazine was about to launch on the internet, and I was about to leave for a long vacation). We sat down at our computers at the very end of August, a little more than thirteen hours apart, and a half a world away. I'm very happy to share this with you here;

Anne: Congratulations on the debut of Make Modern. Tell us how the e-zine came about.

Jane: Make Modern was born when Kristy (Lea), and I (we are in a real-life quilt group together), were lamenting the lack of modern quilting publications in Australia. The few locally-produced quilting magazines here are very steeped in tradition, so we saw a gap in the market. 

With my background in craft magazine publishing and Kristy’s experience in blogging, pattern writing and design, and our involvement in the social media side of quilting, we realised we were as good a candidates as any to bring a modern quilting publication to fruition. We roped in one of our business-minded quilting besties, Lara (Motta), and the Make Modern team was born.

Anne: What is the mission of this new modern e-magazine?

Jane: Our goal is to raise the profile of modern quilting in Australia, and to provide a quality source of fresh, modern patterns each month. We also have lots of features each issue so it is more than just patterns. 

There is a lot of very cool stuff happening in the modern quilting world and we want to bring a bit of that to our readers. We also have a fair bit of practical information, because everyone wants to become better quilters. The few locally-produced quilting magazines here are very steeped in tradition, so we saw a gap in the market and plan to fill it.

Anne: Describe what the content will be like.
Jane: Of course, social media and the online community is such a huge aspect of modern quilting that the magazine’s content will be international, to reflect the community. But we really want to do what we can to build the modern quilting community in Australia. 

It is very much about community for us and hopefully readers will feel like the magazine is their magazine, they can share their ideas with us, they can connect and contribute via social media etc. We want to work with our contributors to help them grow their crafting businesses/blogs etc too.

So far, we have had a fantastic response to our concept, with so many people telling us how excited they are about the magazine. Given the first issue isn’t even available until next week, (beginning of September), that’s very reassuring and shows us that our gut feeling about the gap in the market was correct.

Launching any new quilting endeavor begins with a great blog hop, doesn't it? And I am more than honored to be a part of this list. Please visit the blogs of these very talented quilters and contributors.

The blog hop started when I was traveling abroad, and the technology wasn't cooperating with me at all. I hope you check out the blogs of these very creative quilters, many of whom we all know, or have heard of.  I am honored, and feel so lucky to be among them.

1st September                   Make Modern
3rd September                   Kristy @ Quiet Play
5th September                   Where Jane Creates
7th September                   Gina @ Party of Eight: Our Story
9th September                   Molli Sparkles
11th September                 Juliet @ The Tartan Kiwi
13th September                 cat&vee
15th September                 Ruth @ Ben and Charly’s corner
17th September                 Kelly @ Kelliotmagic
19th September                 Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
21st September                 Serena @ Sew Giving
23rd September                 Melissa @ Ms Midge
27th September                 Anne @ Hudson Valley Quilts

It takes a strong team with dedication and "a fire in the belly," type of effort and attitude to produce an e-zine that's this good. 

This is how you can purchase a copy or subscription, or go to the Make Modern home page where you can shop and subscribe to the newsletter for the blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Inspirations From Italy

It's hard to believe that 19 days went so quickly. Our vacation to Italy was nothing short of spectacular. It went by way too fast.

We went to Rome, Florence, Pisa and Ostuni. I fell in love with cappuccino, and probably drank 4 of them a day. Also, aqua frizzante, which is water with gas, such as Pelligrino, and drank several a day, because it was still very hot
during the day everywhere.

We took over 1000 photos and have 3 laundry baskets full of clothes to do, (almost done)!! Neither of us gained weight, because we walked everywhere, sometimes up to 8 miles a day. I am still finding pleasant reminders from the beach, sand; in the crease of my wallet, in my sneakers, stuck to the outside of my chap-stick tube even though I've wiped it off several times, at the bottom of my suitcase and inside my journal. 

Sadly, I did not find a quilt or fabric store in any of these cities, but did find out there are some in Milan.

I did come across many quilty inspirations including colors and patterns, which I can't wait to share. (Patterns will come in later posts about quilting, and I'll refer back to this trip and the city where I found it).

In Rome, (Roma), the predominant colors were apricot, dusty orange, greens, (mostly medium to darker shades), and a red stone palette. Sometimes they were distressed from age, sometimes not.

 Pizza Maker - Real Roman Pizza!!  This was the best pizza I've ever tasted.

 Amazing food!!
 So many interesting shapes and colors that come back around to ideas.

White chocolate espresso cup filled with Tiramisu, cut in half. The color of  combinations that look well together were unlimited.

In Florence, (Firenze), the predominant inspirational colors were blues, yellows, peach, red and green.

Gelato colors....

Fruit and vegetables everywhere.

Shades of intense blues everywhere.

Fresh greenery and plantings where ever I turn!! Around a corner, there is another visual surprise waiting there for me. That happend in Ostuni too.
Love it.

This is a photo of The Arno River that just makes me happy!!

The colors of Ostuni are neutrals, including every shade imaginable of white beige and pale apricot. It is called "The White City."

Everthing in Ostuni is decorated with flowers or plants.

I think this is one of the most amazing cities I've ever visited. We stayed at hotel that was a castle in 3 B.C. Then became an Olive Oil factory. 

As beautiful as Ostuni is in the day, I was stunned at it's beauty when it was all lit up at night.....

Now that I'm back home, there will be a lot more blogging and quilting to share with you. I'm still not adjusted to rushing around like I usually do, so if I'm still a little slow with posting twice a week, please bear with me. 

I'm sorry that I couldn't upload all the photos I wanted to, to the Hudson Valley Quilts facebook page. Technology abroad was harder than finding unlisted streets on maps. Although I did become a very good map reader on this trip. Eventually, I will add a photo album on facebook of this trip, but not all 1000 photos, I promise.

And, a promise I did make to a number of people from quilters to friends - a list of the best hotels, restaurants, short tours and gelato shops from Rome, Florence and Ostuni. I will post it in the next 4-6 weeks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


We are finally going on vacation. I may write a short blog post if I find something really interesting to post about. But I will really be sharing lots of photos and inspiration on facebook.

Happy Quilting!!