Sep 24, 2013

got straws? then you've got the ultimate solution for keeping bobbins & quilting thread matched

If you quilt on a regular sewing machine, then you need a lot of thread colors and a lot of bobbins filled with matching thread.

Lately, I've been tossing and turning (this is no joke!)... about the best way to match up my Bernina bobbins with their quilting thread source. Really... these are big problems.  I tried many suggestions and solutions. Some worked but took up too much space. Others were just too cumbersome.  I have one of these great thread organizers hanging on the wall. I tried putting quilt thread on one spoke and the bobbin next to it - but then I ran out of spokes.  I tried other organizers, but they just got in the way... there's a reason you see this type of thread organizer everywhere. It simply works!

Then it came to me - straws!


So my epiphany was to take some ordinary straws, trim them down a bit, and stick the straw over the spoke to make it long enough to hold BOTH the thread and the bobbin together. A genius solution - cheap, fast and super effective.



And for what its worth, Aurafil and Isacord are my thread of choice! And these lovely threads are not cheap, so once you fill one of these super-large Bernina bobbins, you do not want to take that thread off and throw it away just to load up another color. Nor do you want to just load the bobbin part way, because if you do, you are guaranteed to run out of thread in the middle of quilting your favorite part.

So I say, load up that bobbin 100% and get some straws on those spokes.

Try it. And tell all your friends. Guaranteed to save a lot of tossing and turning at night.




Sep 19, 2013

on the edge of Texas - a quilt store!

Right here... on the very edge of Texas... Terlingua, Texas to be exact... there sits a tiny quilt store.  Quilts, Etc. by Marguerite.

Marguerite runs the store and she represents about a dozen quilters from the area. Quilts of all kinds for sale inside. Customers from near and far stop by occasionally...  a few travelers from nearby Big Bend National Park come by... and some quilters have ventured here even from Australia when they came to Texas for the International Quilt Festival in Houston and then over to Big Bend. Hey, once you're in Texas, what's another 650 miles, anyway?


My homing device for quilts stores is still intact... even on the edge of Texas.

And its good to know that there are quilters everywhere and nice ladies like Marguerite keeping our art alive.

Sep 13, 2013

this IS my grandmother's quilt

Bow tie blocks, hand pieced and hand quilted by Frances Duryea (my paternal grandmother).
Not exactly sure when this was made, probably circa 1960. Dawson, Nebraska.

These days you hear the saying... "this is not your grandfather's ___" bank... or car... or company... whatever. You fill in the blank. We hear this constantly now in advertising and media, and it's even becoming part of our own conversations. This phrase seems to be telling us: We're so much better than the generation before us, and certainly better than two generations ago. I wonder.

What I think is that people haven't really changed all that much. Certainly, the things around us have changed drastically, our lives have improved and so has our wealth and everything a higher standard of living brings.  But people, are essentially, the same. We still have the same desire to love and live in peace.

Most of us who quilt had mothers or grandmothers who quilted. In fact, quilting at one time was ubiquitous --- partially for practical reasons, of course. But I would guess that most early quilters also found both solace and artistic expression in their needle and thread... the same way we do today.  

My grandmother was constantly in motion... either working, cooking, sewing, running the church, or of course, quilting. One of her quilts is pictured above. These bow tie blocks founds their way to me many years ago and I'm so lucky to have this quilt to remind me of her. It also reminds me that even though the world around me has changed a great deal, when I sit to sew, I'm a lot like her!




Sep 11, 2013

painting with thread

Some genius in the sewing world figured out that if you had a machine that could sew in any direction --- you could literally paint fabric with thread. We quilters call it thread painting.

And now I've done it - and it works! I can manipulate and paint the fabric in much the same way I would if I used a paint brush.

Here's is a look at my progress. This is my whole cloth odyssey that I've been working on for a few weeks. Eventually, I will post pictures of the finished piece.

 
Here's how it works.
 
Place the fabric in an embroidery hoop (an ordinary hoop will do). Use a good stabilizer on the back and use a free motion type presser foot. I have the amazing Bernina 820 with the BSR - technical talk for Bernina Stitch Regulator - which means even though you are sewing in crazy directions at varying speeds, you will still have nice even stitches (regulated stitches). In theory anyway.
 
After my first few trys at this, I feared there might be a bit of false advertising in there... but eventually, it does work! Gotta stick with it... though.

 


 
And this is a picture of my hand embroidery "cast on" stitched flower. I love this one!
 


 
This wall hanging is a true odyssey for me - a mash up of hand and machine techniques... and not sure where it will all end. 
 
In the meantime, I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced's Wednesday WIP. Stop by to see what's happening in the quilt and sewing world.  http://www.freshlypieced.com/
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sep 10, 2013

new blog, new gallery

Hi readers. Welcome to my new site: thirdfloorquilts.com

I've gone pro! Or, I should say: I am attempting to go pro with a more professional blog space... and better yet, more focused content.

To launch my new blog... here is a photo gallery of a some of my latest original designs. Enjoy!

Please leave a comment and sign up to follow this blog on bloglovin or email!

Before I go too far though, I have to stop and say thanks to the husband for all his love and support (and all the 'you go girl's), to the daughter for helping with creative inspiration, and to the nephew (the patient one in Austin!) for helping me navigate all the tricky web url stuff.

Thanks a million guys!


 


More to come... stay tuned.

Sep 1, 2013

Quilt of Urban Images

Originally published on my old blog: Quilting. Sewing. Living.
Sept. 1, 2013

Forget the red barns and the green pastures.

I live in the inner city... in a town with no zoning. We're wildcatters here in Texas, and we don't take kindly to too many rules.

So for us Houstonians, that means life in the city is both eclectic and gritty, clean and messy, with less traffic and more potholes.

But best of all, no zoning means we have plenty of open space for art... but only if you keep your eye open.

For years I've wanted to quilt these images. So here goes... I'm starting a collection of drive-by art.



 
We'll start with two tall Texans...

The beer can house... a classic Houston icon!


And the big red chicken to lead the way home...


My collection will eventually become a "Quilt of Urban Images." I'm envisioning it to be about  6 or 7 feet long, maybe15 inches high... with panels featuring the funkiest, most colorful and most eclectic images.

Should only take about a year or so.  Any thoughts? Ideas? Contributions?

All of the "drive by's" were photographed by me in and around my neighborhood.  More to come...