Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Home & Trying To Catch Up

Sleeping in my own bed.  Working from my usual spot.  Staring at the never ending To-Do list.  My world is back to it's normal level of chaos, just the way I like it.

Don't get me wrong, the cruise was absolutely wonderful.  The students were great, friendly and very enthusiastic.  Cat Nix and I had a delightful time both on and off duty.  Deb from Stitchin Heaven Travel did everything possible to make the trip enjoyable for all involved.  I would highly recommend traveling with them if you are ever in the mood for a sewing vacation.

We spent 8 nights on the ship, 3 days teaching, 4 days in various ports and one day on each end helping to set-up or tear-down sewing machines.  Not a bad work week.

I have some fabulous photos from the trip, but I wanted to share my snapshot of this artwork that was on the ship.  It is a huge mosaic style piece that was at least 8 by 10 feet mounted on the wall between decks 10 and 11.  I absolutely love it and I want one of my own.  Can you tell what it is?
 Maybe this will help.

It was really hard to zoom in and get a good photo, but those are spools of THREAD!  They are small spools of Dual Duty thread suspended on vertical wires.  Technically speaking it is a counted cross stitch pattern done with whole spools instead of tiny
X's.  I love that!  If any of you decide to make one yourself - I'll be happy to special order the thread for you!

After the cruise I returned home - an uneventful trip I might add - on Sunday evening.  Spent Monday through Thursday in the shop and Friday headed out to spend the weekend with a group of customers on a Sewing Retreat for another 3 days and 2 nights of sewing and eating. 

Spring had better arrive soon so that I can get back to running because by the end of the cruise trip I had taught everyone in our group to order their own dessert another one to share and a scoop of ice cream on the side.  There was no shortage of sugar energy in our group!   

Meanwhile  back at home the photos of the Winter Mystery are still rolling in.  Isn't this version beautiful!  I love the piano key border.  I'm also really impressed that the quilts are finished, quilted and have the binding - a scrappy binding in this case - completed.  I'm going to have to spend more time at home to catch up with all of you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Red Letter Day

Today is an excellent day in my world.

I've got no reason to complain.  I'm sitting in Ft. Lauderdale Florida where I will board a cruise ship tomorrow morning with 40+ other quilters and spend the next 8 days floating in the Caribbean waters teaching and sharing what makes Creative Grids products special.  It's my job.  Is there any wonder why I love it?

If that isn't enough to make one love life, Creative Grids chose today to release my new SCRAP CRAZY template set.  I am nuts about these templates - and I hope you will be too!

The idea for the templates really came from my customers.  I hear them comment all the time that they have too much fabric (there is no such thing) and they need to use some of it up.  Bingo!  Scrap quilts are the answer.  I know you don't really want to use those big pieces.  You know, the ones you are saving for something "special".  I also know that you hate to throw away any usable piece of fabric.  Scrap Crazy templates are the answer.

The basic idea of a Crazy Quilt is that all of the pieces are just scrapped together to form a larger piece.  The problem with that is sooner or later you get "up the creek" with set-in pieces or the fabric pieces become too large.  The Scrap Crazy templates were designed to give you the look of traditional Crazy Patch without the frustration.  All of the pieces fit back together perfectly and form an 8 inch finished block. 

The table runner above is the most traditional sample I've made.  The fabrics are silk, batik, cotton and rayon with a velvet border.  The embroidery was done by machine and I am still in the process of adding beads and buttons by hand.

Next I used the templates to make a larger quilt.  All batiks and all from my scrap bin.  I started by sorting my stash.  This time I planned the color placement.  Using the exact same templates and the exact same blocks the Scrap Crazy templates allowed me to turn the batik scraps above into this 84" by 102" quilt below.  The templates are even used for the pieced border.

But wait..... there's more!  What about pre-cuts?  I know that many of you have a stash of 10 inch squares that you have no idea what to do with.  You just loved the fabric collection.  The Scrap Crazy template set works with those too!  I made this baby quilt out of one pack of 10" batik squares.

Now for the part that I LOVE the most!  I designed the templates to work with your scraps, but that doesn't mean you can't use them to create beautiful designs.  This chevron quilt - same templates, but it was created using partial blocks.

Partial blocks, mirror image blocks, pinwheels, diamonds..... the possibilities are endless and in the coming weeks you are going to see a whole variety of patterns that can be created using the template set.

The template sets have just been released.  They sell for $22.95.  We have plenty of them on order and they should arrive in the shop any day.  The patterns for the projects are printed and ready to go.  If you would love to own a set, call the shop to order at 412-487-9532 or ask for them at a quilt shop near you!

More Winter Mystery

Janet finished her Winter Mystery and added another narrow border to the outside edge to finish off the sashing.  It looks GREAT!

Keep those photos coming!