Wednesday 18 March 2015

WOW: Making Iron Table Covers

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday
I've somehow found myself volunteering twice a week. Both for very good purposes and so rewarding but somehow always overlapping with my suddenly regular art workshops. Just when I thought I would stop workshops for a year or two, I've found myself booked week after week. It always strikes me as strange how that happens!

Anyhow, along the way of my workshops and classes I've somehow 'lost' 20x workshop tabletop iron covers. I make these so students can iron right at their table and I used to have 30 but have found myself with just 10. Where have I misplaced my missing 20 x ? Who knows. Lucky I checked before packing my car the night before a class because this means I have enough time to make up some extra today in preparation for my upcoming workshops, including AQC in April. That's less than a month away now. How exciting! I can't wait to be in a LE mood all over again. I'm really looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm with a whole new set of people!
What's Your WOW?

Sunday 15 March 2015

FREE BOM: Oma's Blues Part 3 is Launched

Luckily I looked at my phone today as it reminded me today was the 15th! Yes, it seems I lost track of time. Where is March getting to so quickly? I can't believe it's already time for Part 3 of Oma's Blues ( I feel like I just launched it last week) and now its already time for Part 3 and according to my quilting schedule, time for me to release my Easter 2015 project too!

Phew! What a week its going to be. Can't wait to show you more on Monday...or perhaps Tuesday...let's see what I can manage!

This month we are working on the star - tulip-house-apple and heart charms. I love all the charms and I'm really excited to see how you make them all with your own style and flourishes. 

Oma's Blues is my free current BOM. It's available to members of my Yahoo BOM Group. To read more about this design, check out my 'Oma's Blues Page' at the top of this blog, We are now up to Part 3. It's not too late to join in - all parts are still available for you to download for free.

Friday 13 March 2015

The Joy of Volunteering

2015 is turning out to be one of those years. In a good way. A good and very busy way. At times I don't know whether I'm coming or going and catching up on missed calls and emails makes me wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just unplug my phone? March has come in a whirlwind and I keep pinching myself when I consider that AQC really is just around the corner now.

Yesterday I started volunteering sewing skills at a local school. It's been many years since I taught young children to sew and the the enthusiasm and determination they showed was really contagious. I just loved it. I've also started volunteering in a local women's group - just essential sewing and pattern skills right now, but you never know, I might make some quilters out of them yet!
Aren't these just great?! Such an achievement for beginners- these kids just loved making their own felt critters and really focused on stitching all the way around these shapes, I'm so proud of them.And I'm really impressed with their positive attitude too. Both the girls and boys really did so well. Just being around them recharged my battery. 

These days, in order to volunteer in a school setting you need a special working with children safety check. Here is a lone photo of me helping one of the children along, I had a little queue at my 'station' here but for privacy reasons, I've cropped them all out as I don't want to possibly  upset anyone or infringe on their privacy rights. When my own children were young it was normal to take photos of them with and around teachers and strangers in settings such as this one. My own caution reminds me just how much the world has changed since my own children were young and, most dramatically, since I was a child myself. I understand completely why these measures are in place now and I am in no way criticizing them -in fact I recognize that they are sorely needed. It's just that this recognition makes me feel a bit sad for society. Still, I do believe in doing what you can and it's been a real treat for me to share my passion for sewing skills with young people. 
And that's got me thinking about how to keep them engaged in sewing in a relevant and fun way. When I learnt to sew, it was all hard work and repetition but children are much too savvy for any of that these days! Luckily my DD who is a teacher now, is full of resources and has even set me up with a children's sewing inspirations Pinterest board. All I have to do now is work out how to import it into my own Pinning stream! So far I'm feeling the enthusiasm and just need to find some plastic sheets with perforation holes at a good price. I got really lucky with these felt critter packs - they were on sale at Spotlight and the special was that you when you buy 2x you get 1 x for free. A nice perk when you're stocking up for classes like this one. 
Goodness, its been such a long time since I received thank you letters. I think the last one must have been when my eldest DD was a Girl Guide.
Today I'm re-washing Lily Rose so that I can move on to quilting it next week. I've done a lot of reading up on dye running and think it's going to be fine. I'll let you know how it works out when I pull it out of my machine and can see the results for myself!

Over the weekend I hope to put down some serious hours for my LE2 hand sewing and when my hands can take no more and need some stretching, I'll be working on my workshop booklets and getting them ready for binding.

Oh March, slow down!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

WOW: Hand Sewing My Heart Out!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I feel like my feet are barely touching the ground at the moment! Luckily I have a list and schedule otherwise I'd completely lose track of what I need to do. I'm offline most of the time now and am only checking my emails every few days. Drastic steps for busy times!

Here I am working on my LE2 compass: I'be been working on various elements over the last few months (its all in the preparation) and now I'm just sewing it all down. I say 'just', but being a perfectionist means hundreds of hours and beautiful workmanship - otherwise, what's the point? My LE2 is an heirloom just as significant as my original LE and I know it will be in my family for generations, so every stitch matters to me, even with looming deadlines.

Are you coming to AQC? Are you in my LE2 class? If any of you are still on the fence, there are a few spots left so it's not too late. As for me, it's more hand sewing today, I've got deadlines to keep!

What's Your WOW ?

Tuesday 10 March 2015

My LE2 Workshop at AQC In April

 April is just around the corner now.

I'm hand sewing my LE2 coverlet. This is the coverlet I'm teaching in a special workshop at AQC this year. Hand sewing gets me in a contemplative mood and has me asking all those mysterious questions all over again. Such as; knowing that the British were sticklers for records, surely there is an account of wealthy people throughout the country where the coverlet was first found?
And, having recognized and recorded the coverlet as such a fine example of work, why didn't Averil Colby say more about the quilt? Did she know more? Did she try to uncover more?
I just can't help feeling that the woman behind this quilt was remarkable - almost certainly in wealth, but also in textiles. And this narrows down the field even more. Was she a married to a mill owner? how did she have access to or afford so much chintz? If she was 'merely' wealthy and purchased so much of it because she could, this doesn't explain how she obtained or created the coverlet pattern.
And having created or obtained the pattern for the coverlet, wouldn't she have shown it off in her society circles? This pattern is really extraordinary and unique for its era. What does that mean? Did she make it personally? Or did she copy designs which she had seen outside of the UK? Was she a foreigner? So many questions, Love Entwined, so few answers.

I really hope I live to see this textile marvel and mystery solved in my lifetime. It really is a significant piece of work in the era and I'm sorry that it is languishing without it's maker's name. I wish there were more historical and archival textile hunters out there! The original is truly a national treasure. I hope it becomes recognized as such. And soon.

As for me, I have done what I could and now I'm focusing on sharing my love of Love Entwined in a larger centre based quilt exclusively for AQC this year. I'm really looking forward to the workshop. It feels doubly special to be presenting it in person too, especially as LE2 is such an emotive quilt.

I can't wait to meet my LE2 students in just a few weeks time. Are you coming? Have you prepared your background fabric? Are you ready for the workshop? In these weeks running up until AQC I'm making student contact my first priority, so please, if you have any questions - ask me!

My goodness, time is flying!

Wednesday 4 March 2015

WOW: Real Opinions - Do They Still Matter?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

I think they do.

Last week I shared my batting pet hate. Thanks to everyone who commented. I purchased the batting at a show and have no idea where to return it although I agree that it should be sent back. That got me thinking of the other products I have previously loved and trusted ... many have fallen short lately.

One of the advantages of having a blog is the ability to share real-life unbiased feedback. I love reading the real opinions of others and must admit that most of my purchases nowadays are based on recommendations and suggestions from those very same real life opinions. It's something I'd love to see more of. I get so annoyed when I trust in a brand and am then disappointed with the performance or quality standard. And its not just quilting or sewing products either- it's services too. Remember my post about QNNTV from December last year? It's now been 8 emails and still no reply. And no, I still can't get in. I lost $12 which is no big deal, but it's the blatant money grabbing set up I can't stand. And it just doesn't make sense. If there's no one there - who's running (or not) the website? That's just a minor annoyance - there are so many more where that one came from, and many much more significant too.
What's going on? 
Whatever happened to quality control? 
Whatever happened to customer service?

Yes, I actively seek out real reviews now before buying things and I think it's the way of the future. But I can't end this post without acknowledging that there are still some real service stars out there in the quilting community. EQ7 is one. I cannot fault their customer and technical service. Whenever I have needed advice or support, Penny has responded in such a friendly and helpful way, its made all the difference.  And often at the last minute too (from my end) because creativity just works like that, when you feel you need answers you need them straight away and I have always received them as quickly as humanly possible from EQ7. Thank you EQ7 for loving quilters!

And I can't forget Quilt Pro Systems either. I had purchased their HST Triangles Magic software for use in a HST quilt for easy printing out. Then I updated my computer (this happens twice a year in my household due to my DH's work requirements). Well, somehow I lost it. And then I couldn't remember where I had purchased it. Then I found the website in my favorites bar and contacted technical support to see if I could re-download it. Well, not only did they send me a new link to download it, Linda from Quilt Pro tech support found two other purchases I had made under my username (which I'll be honest, I had forgotten about) and re-sent me those as well. Talk about customer service!
See? It's completely possible!

What do you think?

Tuesday 3 March 2015

I'm back!

Last night I arrived back in Melbourne from back to back workshops and I am exhausted! Too much creativity for one week... if that were possible.  I was also offline for almost a week, so if you have emailed me - I'll be catching up in the next few days and you will hear from me.

I did think I would miss being online and catching up on WOW as I did last week, but I was so busy that I didn't really think about it. It's only catching up to me now as I have just realized that it's almost WOW again. What a week!

I haven't washed Lily Rose again yet. I am hovering over it thinking about the best way forward. It will have to be washed and I will blog it when I do. Today I started preparing my kits for AQC. Now that March is here, April doesn't feel so far away anymore and AQC will be here in a flash. I can't wait - but I do have to finish Lily Rose first so that I can display it at the show!

As you can see, I'm taking bouts in cooling off my fingers. I have a bad habit of touching the base of my iron to see if its hot. It's such a silly habit and it's something I know I shouldn't do... and do it anyway. Well, on my last day of teaching I touched a far too hot iron - one of those old seriously hot bases and scorched three fingers all at once. It's been ice water since. The worst thing is, I'm always telling people not to do it. Just like my Lily Rose Colour Run Disaster, I need to start taking my own advice!
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