Saturday, June 30, 2012

Common Threads Quilt Show Continued

While I don't dislike my job by any means, I have discovered that leaving the house at 8:30AM and not returning until 11PM, three days per week, cuts in to my quilting time, blogging time, and blog reading time.  It appears I'm destined to be a weekend blogger for the foreseeable future ~ unless I can get far more organized.

To continue with the Common Threads Quilt Show photos from last week, I bring you these:

I found the color scheme in this quilt rather unique.  Not sure how much I like it, but I don't dislike it.  The feature that drew me to it is the setting of the appliqued flower blocks.  The dark sashing around those blogs really makes them pop.  They look almost 3-D

There were two heavily embellished wall-hangings.  Fascinatingly ornate!  I tried to get overall pictures of them, but if I got back far enough get the entire wall-hanging, the dainty embellishments were lost.

I stared at this wall-hanging for a long time, trying to figure out how it was made.  The swirls appeared to be folded fabric, but I'm not really sure.  How this was done remains a mystery to me, despite having the opportunity to stand before it and study it.  One of the most enticing pieces of the show, in my opinion.

But this is not all!  More to come.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Common Threads Quilt Show ~ Wichita Kansas

Along with my mom, I attended the Common Threads Quilt Show in Wichita KS this morning.  Featuring over 500 quilts, it is the biggest quilt show that I have ever attended.  I am glad it wasn't any bigger.  As much as I enjoy looking quilts, I found that I reached a point where I just couldn't take any more in.  Quilt saturation?  Who would have thought it?

When I got home and surveyed the pictures I'd taken, I tried to decide what drew me to some quilts more than others.  I'm very partial to certain colors, but that's far from the whole story.  So much is in the design ~ both of the quilt pattern and the quilting.

Glad some quilters somewhere have been busy.  Despite my best intentions, I haven't sat down at my sewing machine yet.  So over the next few days, I'm going to share some of the quilty eye candy, and be glad I have something to report on my quilting blog.

First Storm at Sea.  Aptly named, the "motion" of the design never ceases to intrigue me. I've liked it in every color combination in which I've seen it done.   

Hard to see in the overall picture, the quilter used a lot of circular quilting which only served to accentuation the sense of movement.

I took the next group of pictures with Shay at Quilting in My Pyjamas in mind, since I know she has been working on a selvage quilt.  (I've been so long absent, she may have finished it by now.)  My apologies that the picture of the overall quilt is rather blurry.  There was a very slight breeze that kept the quilts subtly in motion.

Fortunately, the close-ups below do the quilt justice.  Isn't the quilting fantastic?

I'm not much for quilts in subdued tones and old-fashioned colors, but the design and quilting in this piece fascinated me.  This quilt is so subdued that you might be liable to think that the lighting at the show was bad, or something was wrong with my camera.  But no, these are the actual colors in the quilt.

Stay-tuned!  There are more quilts to come.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's a Dog's Life ~ Literally

Yes, I know.  After my long absence, you're surprised to see me pop up again.  A new job as an instructor at a local career college in mid February, followed by a move into a rental house in early April has pretty much kept my life rather hectic.  I'm hoping to find a routine that will allow me to pursue some more creative endeavors ~ find my inner quilter again.  We'll see how that goes....

Meet my two cats, Lovebug and Max:

When my room mate, Susan, was making the decision to move in with me, she had asked how I would feel about her getting a dog.  I like dogs, although I'm not really a dog person.  Susan, however, likes dogs the same way I like cats.  I don't really feel complete without one or two.  Knowing this, I couldn't deny her having a dog.  My only caveat was that her dog not eat my cats.

For the last several weeks she's been checking the local humane society website, looking for an adult dog with a known history of getting along with cats, or a pup that the cats could train.

Yesterday, Susan brought home an as yet to be named, 4 month old, Giant Schnauzer female.  The cats were mostly nonplussed when the dog came through the door, and the pup initially shied away from them.  However, as all puppies do, she eventually got playful, and got to racing around a bit wildly.

Training commenced right away when she got too close to Lovebug.  When I snapped the photo below, Susan had grabbed the pup so that I could get a picture of her.  It was then we noticed the blood dripping all over Susan's hand and cast.

Needless to say the new pup has learned to pay both cats the proper respect.  I'm betting she won't need another lesson in etiquette very soon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Flock of Fairies

Historically, I've not been a big fan of panels.  It's not that they don't look great, but somehow I always felt that I was cheating if I used them.  However, when I found the fairy fabric, I had to have it.  It was simply too adorable to pass up.  I had no use for it at the time I bought it, but life has a way of taking care of those issues.  My cousin and his wife are having a baby girl in April.  Fairies for a little girl.  Perfect!

I finished the flimsy last Saturday.  I'm quite pleased.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

Gainfully Employed:

I've fallen behind on my quilting and quilt blogging ~ again.  But I have a good excuse.  Really.  I've been job hunting, and it finally paid off.  I am now a medical instructor at Wright Career College.  I begin teaching on Tuesday.

Wright Career College is not your traditional college.  It's geared to accommodate working people.  As such there is no summer break, which enables people to get their education in the shortest time possible.  And classes are scheduled just three days per week ~ Tues, Wed, Thurs with both morning and evening sessions available for students.  For instructors, they are long days.  I will teach from 9:30AM-2:30PM and from 5:30PM-10:30PM.  In the 3 hour break between 2:30PM and 5:30PM, I'll get an hour break for lunch and then have time to do grading and class preparation.  Those three days will net me 36 hours, and is all I am required to do.  If I want a full 40, I have the option of coming in on Mondays and / or Fridays to do class preparation, staff meetings, tutoring, etc.   This will work out great because it ought to allow me at least a three day weekend if I manage my time right.  I'm glad to have one day off during the week to be able to deal with whatever business tasks come along.

The employment was especially good news having come on the heels of being rear-ended in the snow on Monday and my mom having her purse snatched on Tuesday.


I'm always a bit regretful about throwing away the nifty sized, plastic Folgers containers.  But I had an inspiration recently.  This one now serves as a desktop trashcan for all of the miscellaneous bits of thread and fabric that seem to quickly multiply during the quilting process.

I used to keep a trash can on the floor next to my sewing chair, but there were two problems with it.  The first was that if it was close enough to be useful, it was in my way.  So I'd move it.  Then it was never where I needed it to be. Secondly, even if the trashcan is close by, a puff of air sends threads everywhere but in the can.  (Nothing like a trashcan surrounded by bits of thread.)  With this little can right next to my machine, there are no misses.

Lovebug ~ Just Because I Can:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

A Pile of Pinwheels! 

I've decided the best way to show off the fairies in this baby quilt is to sash them. These pinwheels will reside at the junctions.  They measure just 3 1/2 inches.

Vegas Baby!

Last week at this time I'd just arrived home from visiting my friend, Michele in Las Vegas.  Seems ironic, but we didn't step one foot inside a casino.  After living there for a couple of years, the casinos lose their appeal.  Besides, why would we need to go anywhere with a fridge full of beer?

Okay, we did get out one day and walk down the street to Nacho Daddy's where we had, yes nachos, and margaritas.  After all, a woman cannot live by beer alone!  :-)
It was one of those terrific low stress, hanging with the girlfriend type of weekends.  I need those more often!

Blogger Layout:

I've been tweaking my blog layout.  I increased the size of the main column, the post column, and in so doing, made the entire blog a bit wider.  That's fine except that I am having trouble with my header picture.  I tried to figure out how to center it to no avail.  Then I tried to make my picture longer both in Picasa and Photoshop.  None of those efforts translated well at all.  Any tips? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Favorite Things Friday ~ Technology

Born at the tail end of 1963, I am old enough to remember those plain, black, heavy, rotary-dial telephones.  By the time I was a young adult, the first cell phones were in use, along with personal computer whose monitors weighed a ton. These inventions changed life as we know it (unless you happen to be a technophobe, in which case, you won't be reading this anyway).  Cell phones, personal computers, and the Internet have opened up the world to us ~ have made it so open in fact that I can link this post to Shay's Favorite Things Friday blog, hosted by a funny, talented, wonderful lady from Australia who isn't even on the same day of the week as I am.  When I post this on Friday, it will already be Saturday there.

I so enjoy the people I have met through the Internet ~ people I've never seen in the flesh, but regard as friends.

Now, technology has made it possible to self-publish one's own books with ease and little to no expense.  No longer are the big publishing houses the gatekeepers of bookdom.  Yes, these institutions no doubt do insure that books are held to good grammatical standards and comprehendable content.  However, they are in the business of making money, and to that end, they tend to publish the same fare over and over because they know certain types, styles, and plot-lines sell.  They do not take risks on anything too original, or content that does not fit into an easily marketable niche.

So today, I hold in my hands the very first hard copy of the book my dad and I wrote together ~ a paranormal, contemporary fantasy, Beyond the Mortal Coil, rejected by one of those big publishing houses for being "too original."  (I kid you not!)  My dad was the imagination and wordsmith, and my role was to help brainstorm, research, type, and edit.

Life is good!

*A special thanks to my cousin-in-law, Eric, for doing the proofreading, and blogging about the book himself.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Maple Leaf Table Runner

So my mom's Christmas gift ~ the Maple Leaf table runner ~ was a little late.  You see, I had left myself just enough time to make it before Christmas, but then my mom and I got this great idea to make hand-made gifts for almost everyone with whom we exchange gifts.  That blew my well-planned thought I could eke by schedule into total chaos.  My mom graciously agreed to be patient about receiving her own hand-made gift.

I consoled myself that since the table-runner was seasonal, for use in the Fall, she would still receive it well in advance of when she would be using it.

I spent more time quilting it than I did piecing it.  As I've become more comfortable with free motion quilting, it seems with every project, I feel compelled to try something new, which also tends to make the process longer.

My mom has found a way to use the table-runner now.  It now resides on the back of the sofa where she can enjoy it.

She has told me that for next Christmas, she would like a table-topper like the ones I made for P. at The Way I Sew It, and my cousin, Lori.  To that end, I have left the Christmas fabrics out and will start on it as soon as I am done with the baby quilt that must be completed by April. Next year, her gift will be on time!

I'm linking up at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Click on the button below, and join in the fun!

Edit: Although I knew Elizabeth at Such a Sew and Sew was having a February Finishes linky party, I didn't realize I could link up already.  I thought it would be at the end of the month.  Apparently, it is ongoing.  So, I'm linking up there too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playing the Name Change Game

You'll notice the spelling on my blog title has changed from The Gypsy Quilter to The Jypsy Quilter.  Apparently there is online quilting store that also goes by the name of The Gypsy Quilter.  The owner contacted me concerned that a professional business and and informal blog with the same name might cause people confusion, and asked that I change my blog title.

While I tend to give people more credit than that, given that she is a fellow quilter, and made her request courteously, I saw no reason not to comply.

I had to laugh at the irony of the situation though.  As some of you may remember, I started out as The Desert Quilter, became the Prairie Quilter when I moved to Kansas, and decided after the move to Texas to choose a name that I would not have to change if I moved again (which I did, by the way ~ move that is).  Hence The Gypsy Quilter.  And now, I am indeed changing the blog title yet again, albeit in a very minor fashion.  Maybe this will be the last time?

*And a shout out to my cousin, Lori, who suggested simply changing the spelling.  That made life easy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous


I am not a huge fan of panels.  However, last year when I saw this panel of twelve different delightful fairies, well, I had to have it. 

One of twelve fairies
Had no clue what I was going to do with it.  I considered making a quilt for my then 8 year old cousin, but I did not get it done.  It's interesting what changes occur in a child in one seemingly short year.  Now at 9 soon to be 10, she is really too old for fairies.  She is currently into zebra stripes.

However, I recently got news that another of my cousins and his wife are expecting a baby girl in April.  The fairies will be well-used in a baby quilt.

Lovebug had to do a little pre-quilt inspection.  I think she approves.

Cat is NOT out of the Bag:

This is the bag in which my mom is keeping her crocheted baby afghan project (for the aforementioned baby girl).  Yeah, who knows why cats do what they do, but I had to giggle when I saw Lovebug make herself comfortable in the bag.

It's Vegas Baby!

Thursday will find me flying out of Oklahoma City to spend the weekend with my childhood friend, Michele in "Fabulous Las Vegas".  My trip is courtesy of Michele, who works in the airline biz and was able to procure me a free ticket.  (Sometimes it is who you know!)

The trip is a two-fer me.  First of all, I'm always glad to get together with Michele.  We've known each other since we were six.  We can go years without seeing one another (last time was in 2003) and months without talking, but it's always like we just spoke yesterday.  I'm so excited!

And after living in Vegas for two years myself.  It will be wonderful to reacquaint myself with its vibe ~ although I suspect Michele and I will mostly be hanging at her place.  Once you've lived there, you just don't really feel the need to spend much time in the casinos.

The city can be beautiful to look at.  The view from the hill behind my first house looked much like this ~ although a bit further away.  (The last time I was there though I discovered they'd leveled the hill and built houses in it's place.  Only a memory in my head now.)

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Straggler

I am making this Maple Leaf table runner for my mom for Christmas.  Shush!  I'm well-aware of the fact that it's late ~ horribly late.

When my mom saw the table topper I made for my cousin, she had to have her own, but like, longer.  Hence the table-runner.
The great thing about leaving the table-runner for last, and then dawdling over it, is that it gave me time to concentrate on my free motion quilting. Most of the "dawdling" was planning the quilting.  The actual quilting I did over a two day period at 20-30 minute intervals.  

I did several motifs on the runner ~ pebbling, a wind inspired swirl on the leaves themselves, and a very simple try at echo-quilting on the background.  Overall, I'm quite pleased.
As with everything one practices, my free motion quilting is improving.  I'm more confident; more adventuresome.  That said, I'll admit that while I am getting better at regulating my stitch length compared to where I started, it could still use further improvement.
I'm just down to doing the binding.  Life is good!

I'm linking up with 15 Minutes with Kate and WIP Wednesday (for the first time ever).  Join the fun!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

It's the Little Things in Life:

In this case, my new Apple I-pod Shuffle.  I bought it in hopes it would help inspire me to get out and walk more.  The fact that Apple sells these teeny music libraries in various colors, allowing me to coordinate with my custom-made purse, is just an added perk. 

I spent Saturday night adding the music to it.  When I began the selection process, I realize just how varied my tastes have become.  135 songs later, my I-pod is filled with rock, reggae, classical, traditional, Latin, blues, and my cousin-in-law's music mixes.  (He allows anyone to download his themed mixes for free, so don't hesitate to take advantage.)  The only genres unlikely to be represented are country and rap, but even then I occasionally run across songs in those genres I like too.

Beyond the Mortal Coil:

For a period of years, my dad and I wrote short stories and novels together.  I freely admit that he was the imagination behind the endeavor.  I had a few non-fiction articles published, but fiction thus far has not proven to be my forte.  The last book, Beyond the Mortal Coil, was reviewed by an editor at Ballantine.  We were so excited to have the manuscript under consideration by a big New York publisher. 

The editor had the manuscript for 3 or 4 months.  When he'd finished with it, he sent us a glowing review that said, the book was well-written with good plotting and characters; very original, but since it didn't fit in any specific genre, he did not know how to market it, and therefore was turning it down.  Really?  WTF?  Every publisher's website claims to want original stories.  I guess they forgot the caveat ~ but don't make them too original.

The manuscript has since made it through 3 computers with me, getting transferred every time.  Now technology has caught up making it easy for authors to self-publish.  I've used Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and now have the digital version available for purchase

And the hard copy version is in the works.  The proof has been mailed to me. 

Now, I just need to become an expert in marketing.  If anyone has any suggestions, don't be shy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Hey it's the first second Favorite Things Friday of the New Year!  Okay, the first for me.  Somehow I had more holiday type visiting in the first week of the New Year than I did during the holidays.  In any case, FTF is a blast and it's terrific to be back at it!  To join in the fun take a turn over to Quilting in My Pyjamas and play along.

So my favorite thing this Friday is.... (drum roll please) Woman Cave!  I moved back in with my mom while I do some job hunting in Wichita and she gave me the rather large, unfinished basement room for sewing stuff:

 and my office stuff:

Perfect!  I love it.  This is where I spend most of my time.  After all, it has all of my favorite things!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

Christmas Gifts:

I was the ever so fortunate recipient of this lovely piece of quilt-work from P. at The Way I Sew It:

The colors, the funky designs in the fabric, coupled with the black border..., well, it just makes me happy.  Every time

I left it on the floor, where I could admire it no matter where I sat, until this fuzz butt quilt inspector decided she needed to test her claws on it.

To quickly remove this already cherished piece from danger, I grabbed it and put it on the back of the couch.
It looked so good, that there is remains.

I also received a lovely purse and tissue holder (although I keep my driver's license and credit cards in it) from my mom at Suzi's Stitchin'.  She is one talented lady. 

She used all my very most favorite colors in the creation  Talk about "custom made!"

A Tale of Two Table Wall-hangings:

For Christmas I got on a handmade kick.  I showed off some of my work here and here.  But there were two items I didn't show because the recipients read my blog.

The first was made for P. at The Way I Sew It:

The second was made for my cousin:

Same pattern ~ one I've decided I like a lot.  I enjoyed seeing it made up in two different fabric groupings.  While my cousin's uses the traditional Christmas colors, I used one of the later Christmas fabric collections for P.'s.  (Actually, I won that bunch of fabric in a giveaway a year and half ago, so it was nice to finally use it.)

I put the border around P.'s, but as I knew my cousin would likely use hers as a table-topper on a very specific table, I left the border off.  The border would have made it too large for the table. 

I am quite pleased with them both.

If you look carefully, you'll see that besides the color and the border the two are not exactly alike.  

When I was making P.'s, I accidentally inverted the pieces attached to the center square.  I decided it looked pretty cool and left it that way.  I think I may actually like it better, design-wise.  A happy accident.

And I must add that I really enjoyed quilting these. The free motion holly ~ well, it's organic, and proved to be a lot of fun to do. I remember when I started free motion quilting, I was terrified.  Now an unquilted project is my playground! (Cue the maniacal laughter.)