Sunday, August 30, 2009

Who's Who?

Have you ever Googled yourself?

I'm not as Internet savvy as many people think. I do what I have to and muddle my way through most of that. The other day a fellow shop owner suggested that I should be checking myself out online on a regular basis, just to insure that everything that is said is actually true. To quote her exact words "Google yourself baby, you will never know what you are up to if you don't". I decided to give it a try. Some of the things I found were pretty funny.
This is not me.

Her name is Karen Montgomery and according to her bio she was featured in a Star Trek episode. I've never met Spock.

I'm not in this photo either,

The caption reads "Queen Karen Montgomery"
Anyone that knows me knows that I never want to be the queen of anything. Princess maybe. Queen never.

I didn't write this book. Karen Montgomery has authored a mystery series.

Not THIS Karen Montgomery, but it might be kind of fun to read them anyway.

We are getting warmer.......

This photo is of teacher Karen Montgomery and her class in front of the quilt that they made to honor the history of their town. At least that Karen and I have something in common.

I was thrilled to find this photo from a quilt show in the UK. The ladies are sitting in front of my Ashley quilt. The caption says that they ordered a kit designed by Karen Montgomery - me!

I love this photo best. The quilter used my Jungle Fever pattern and her own assortment of fabrics to create the quilt. I especially liked the comments she made about how much she enjoyed making the quilt and how well written the instructions were. Yea!
The photo is pretty low res. You may not be able to tell that the flowers at the bottom of the photo are actual flowers in her garden, they aren't part of the quilt. Isn't that beautiful?

It was fun to see what other Karen Montgomery's are up to and it was even better to see what people are doing with my patterns and fabrics.
It has inspired me to start a customer album on our website. If you have a photo of something you have made from one of my patterns or fabrics, send me a photo and your comments and we would love to include it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Five days, 8 states, 2 hotels, close to 40 hours in the car and I can't even remember how much coffee. I am finally back home after delivering our daughter Lindsay to college in Florida and then spending Sunday and Monday in Maumee, Ohio at the Checker Distributor Open House.
The first thing you should know is that college has changed. Well, not everything. The food is still pretty bad, the classes aren't that different, and books are still ungodly expensive, but the living conditions are definitely improving. Lindsay is attending UNF in Jacksonville Florida where they have just opened a new dorm. Long gone are the days of prison cell sized rooms and the bathroom down the hall. This photo is of The Fountains, the brand new dorm, and yes, that is a lazy river, complete with inter tubes for floating. The lazy river is directly across from the Olympic size swimming pool that is surrounded by lounge chairs and occupies the other side of the patio area. Do you remember your dorm having a patio area? I remember when we were happy to have a bean bag chair.

Lindsay is not living in the lap of luxury. She is in the older freshman dorm. Somehow sharing a huge room with 3 closets and a private bath with one other person in a building that features sun decks still doesn't seem all that bad. Classes are going well too. I think we are off to a good start.

I did feel a little guilty when we basically dropped poor Lindsay in her room, kissed her good-bye and headed home so that I could get back to work. I was scheduled to give a presentation to other shop owners at the Checker Distributor Open House in Maumee Ohio on Sunday. That required driving back to Pittsburgh, dropping off my husband, picking up Debby and heading for the other side of Ohio. A lot of work, but well worth the effort.

It was a wonderful event. If we ever have to select a committee to organize world domination, I am going to nominate the crew from Checkers! They managed to gather an amazing group of vendors, set them up in their warehouse space, allow several hundred customers to shop the warehouse, see demonstrations, attend lectures, feed them lunch, check them out, pack their cars and still see to every single need and comfort the vendors requested.

We had great booth neighbors. The girls from Quilt Branch were on one side and Nancy Zieman from "Sewing with Nancy" was on the other. In the few moments when we weren't busy demonstrating and answering questions we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and chat with the other vendors.

Proof positive that Debby and I really were hard at work!

Then, just after we were packed up and were ready to head home the staff at Checkers surprised me with this delicious birthday cake. Aren't they sweet? Then I returned home last night to a dozen roses from my wonderful husband, phone calls from my kids and an email box full of best wishes from some wonderful people. I call that a very satisfying weekend.

Monday, August 17, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here

This photo not only represents the horrendous mess that is my sewing area, it also pretty accurately represents what my brain would look like if you could peek inside my head. Everything is in piles scattered all over the place and nothing is finished. Nothing can be finished until something else is done and I can't get that done because something is missing.

I’m working on the quilts for fall Quilt Market using the batiks that will be introduced at the show. As always the yardage is limited, there is no room for mistakes and I have to squeeze out several projects from the same yardage. For the most part, changing my mind midstream is not an option.

For example, the nine patch quilt on the wall started out as an Ohio Star. It looked great on paper, but I had only cut a few triangles when I realized that it just was not going to work the way I had planned. Scrap the triangles and start plan B, a shaded Trip Around the World variation. Scrap plan B. The fabrics are individually beautiful but without a background to set them off they “mush”. I mean really mush, right into mud. These are beautiful prints in unique colors (we are calling this collection “Desert”) and they deserve to be seen. Simplicity is sometimes best, hence the Nine Patch. I love it again. To make it more interesting I alternated 2 different background fabrics, which I promptly ran out of when I made the quilt larger to accommodate a simpler cutting plan. More fabric is on the way, but I can’t go any further until it arrives. I also don't want to remove it from the design wall because I have already planned the location of each of the 9 patch blocks.

The 2 rows of crazy patch blocks on the left represent the first part of the new Block-of-the-Month program that we will be running this fall. There will be 30 different batiks in that program, including the 10 in the Desert collection. I can’t finish the Crazy Patch blocks until I am sure that I have everything I need for the 9 patch project. Once I chop the fabric up, there will be no more until the shipment arrives from Indonesia hopefully in early October. That accounts for the small piles of fabrics on the floor behind my desk. Each of those piles will eventually be a set of Crazy Patch blocks, unless I run out of fabric and have to make a substitution. That could change everything.

I’ve moved on to the Indigo project while I am waiting for background fabric for the 9 Patch. The blue and white pile on the end of the ironing board is the other half of the strip sets I need for the free handout quilt for Timeless. I have already completed one quilt from this collection so every square counts, no room for miss cuts or an "oops"! I have divide the fabrics in half so that if I accidently read my ruler wrong, only half of the remaining fabric will be wasted.

As for all of that other clutter..... it represents things that I would be sewing on if I had the time. Which I wish I had... but I don't. Personally, I think that if Obama really wants to pass his health care plan he should get rid of some of the "pork" and put in a provision to extend summer another month. Move Labor Day back to the first Monday in October and give us another 30 days of summer vibes. I don't want to be picky, but I really don't want another 30 days of hot, sticky, July weather. I prefer another 30 of warm, beautiful mid September temperatures. It would do wonders for my mental health! Who would argue with that?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

We started the tradition a few years ago at The Quilt Company of closing for one week each summer for a shop vacation. The first time we did it was out of need. My manager and I were going to be in Europe at the same time and most of our staff had scheduled events that were very important and they were unavailable. We decided that if we closed for a week, the world would not end, and it is a very European thing to do.

The next year we took the time off and my husband/landlord and I used it to do some messy work inside the shop. Now it is a tradition. This year we had the roof replaced, other than noise it did not disturb the customers. With the entire week scheduled off we decided to run an in-store retreat with a “Locked in the Quilt Shop” theme.

Our nine guests arrived Friday at 1:00. They moved into our classroom space and spread out. The doors are locked to outside customers, but the lucky 9 are free to shop, sew, eat, talk, laugh, sew, press, relax, talk and sew to their hearts content. Debby and I are providing meals, snacks and expert opinions – although they are doing very well on their own!

Debby and I are actually “working”. We are packing and shipping mail orders, taking phone orders and squeezing in a little sewing too. I managed to finish all of the blocks for our new sample of Can You Spare a Dime. Debby had made her daughter a skirt, her son a table topper and is working on a quilt for another member of the family.

Our guests are getting Lots of things accomplished! This is Rose laying out her French Kiss project from our BlockWatchers Club.

Ruth has been diligently working on the last several blocks of an applique project and keeping us entertained at the same time.

We have a second Rose and believe it or not, this is her first quilt!

Alice is doing her best to duck out of this photo, she has already finished one quilt top and is now working on our French Braid project. The quilt on the design wall behind her is a 3-6-9. It belongs to Mary Ann, who arrived with it all cut out and is already sewing the rows together!
This is Jean and her turquoise and white double wedding ring project! That pile of fabric beside her represents over 200 curved segments that will be included in a wedding gift for her niece.
Not too bad for one full day of sewing! We still have a great dinner to look forward to that is being catered by the Hartwood Restaurant, several more hours of sewing tonight and all day tomorrow!
It has been the best vacation you can have - without sand, water and sunshine!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where's Waldo?

My BFF Bernie has a sleeping problem. (That’s Best Friend Forever, for those of you that don't have a teenager in your house. We’ve been friends for about 20 years, a lot longer than terms like BFF have been around). Bernie lives in Florida and we keep in touch, almost daily, by email, wonderful, hysterical emails. If we ever really want to be rich and famous, we could publish those emails, but our families would never forgive us.

The other morning my email contained a message from Bernie titled “Where’s Waldo?” It seems she was having trouble sleeping and had been up surfing quilting websites and reading blogs at 4am. Bernie considered this a total waste of time, but as a fellow fabric designer I have convinced her to chalk it up to research. It doesn’t help with the lack of sleep, but it does make you feel better about being awake.

Bernie had sent me this link: and told me to scroll to the July 24th entry and look at the photo, where I found this photo of quilts laid out on the floor.
It is a nice photo of the quilts that are going to be included in the next addition of Alex Anderson's “Start Quilting” book. The blog belongs to Alex’s “stunt quilter”, the person that does all of the actual work behind Alex’s quilts. My first thought as I looked at the pile of work on my own sewing center was “I gotta get one of those”.
Bernie had told me to enlarge the photo, so I double clicked and realized what old eagle eye Bernie had wanted me to see! The border on the Flying Geese quilt is the leaf print from my Lindsay Collection! How cool is THAT? Logically I know that with thousands of yards of fabrics out in the world there are all kind of quilts and other projects with my fabrics in them, but it is always a surprised when I see one.

I was sure that photo was what Bernie had wanted me to see until I went back to the blog to snitch the photo to include here and I scrolled down a little further and saw the cover of the new book! Whoo Hoo! We made the cover! Even better, the leaf design is my favorite print and the blue is my favorite colorway in the Lindsay line. Although the fabrics have been discontinued, we stashed away a stockpile of that fabric and will have it available for customers when the books arrive.
Life is good.