Thursday, May 30, 2013

Beads and Bling for Faye

First, I have some news! I'm headed to Alaska next summer! I have teamed up with Quilt Retreats at Sea for a quilt cruise that will whet your appetite for breakfast! The theme for our cruise is "Breakfast at Sea" so be on the lookout for an original quilty project that involves fabulous batik "Snaps," "Crackers," and "Pops" from Hoffman California Fabrics. We launch from Seattle on July 11, 2014, and I simply can't wait! I hope you'll join me. Registration for the trip is officially open, and space is limited. Go sign up! It's something to look forward to for 2014! It'll be here before you know it!

Back here in 2013, are you interested in winning a copy of ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One!? To celebrate all the blogging we did on the road to Portland, Oregon for Spring Quilt Market, The Taunton Press is giving away three copies of the book on the CraftStylish blog. You have to comment on this blog entry to win. Don't miss out  . . . you just have a few more days to comment.

And yet another big event happened this last week. My niece Karen--she's the one who is making her very first quilt over on the Quilting101 Blog--and her husband Josh welcomed a new baby girl on May 21st! Their first!

Everyone is doing great, including beautiful Faye Eloise (Isn't she a sweetie-pie!). I couldn't help making a little project for her--more on that below. Spoiler alert: Karen, if you are reading this, read no further until a package arrives in the mail from (your favorite) Aunt Joan!

On our trip across the country, from Syracuse to Portland a few weeks ago, you may recall that we stopped at several quilt shops along the way. On one of the stops I saw this little pattern from Macadoodles made up as a shop sample. Knowing my niece's baby was due some time in May, I just had to have it!

As soon as I received a call from my sister telling me that Faye had arrived, I started stitching. I made a few small modifications to the embroidery pattern. And, instead of placing the embroidery in a wooden frame, I decided to add some fabric borders and create a small quilt. Layered and quilted it simply.

Well one decision led to another, and before I knew it I added some fun lacy stitches to the border with pearl cotton, stitched through all layers of the quilt.

Then I started digging in my bead box and found some crystal beads that matched the fabrics and threads perfectly. Have you ever added beads to a quilt? It's very easy, here's how I did it . . .

First, I threaded an applique needle with beading thread (find this at beading specialty stores--it's a little sturdier for beads than cotton thread). To sew from one bead to the next, you can travel through the batting, or, I just traveled the thread along the back of the quilt, keeping my stitches somewhat tidy. Since this is a small wall-hanging, those travel threads won't catch on any toes like they might on a bigger quilt (Do you really want beads on anything but a wall-hanging?) Knot the beading thread, bury the knot in the quilt layers and pull the needle up from the back just to one side of where the bead will go (circled in red).

Pick up a single bead on the needle. . .

Then insert the needle straight down through the quilt layers on the other side of the bead. You can't see it because of my fingers, but the needle point is headed downward. I'm holding the needle eye.

Pull the needle up from the back at the same spot where you started (two photos ago with the red circle). This time my fingers are holding the pointy end of the needle.

Then thread the bead a second time, and insert the needle back into quilt on the other side of the bead. Travel through the batting or across the back to the next bead location and add the next bead.

I liked adding the crystal beads so much, that I decided to add some pearl-like beads along the binding. First I added the double-fold binding to the front of the quilt, as usual. But before sewing the folded edge of the binding to the back of the quilt, I added the pearl beads at even intervals on the quilt front along the binding seam. The travel threads on the back were all covered up when I secured the binding to the back.

Instead of a sleeve for hanging, I added two miniature buttons at the top edge of the quilt, then tied a delicate ribbon from button to button for hanging.


Since Karen is a knitter (as well as a new quilter!) I thought a book of knitted Shawlettes (from The Taunton Press, of course!) would be a nice personal present for 'mom' for those small bits of personal project time (now more rare then ever!) that may come up from time to time. I know. . . she probably won't make any of the projects for about 21 years--there are so many cute baby things to make--but one can dream while flipping the pages!

Happy Stitching . . . and Beading!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Photos for the Scrapbook

As you may have heard, Carol McLeod (Aunties Two) and I recently traveled from Coast to Coast to participate in Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon. Carol is still en route on the return trip, with her husband sharing the navigator/driver responsibilities. I returned by plane. You can review our journey across the country and our many stops along the way on The Taunton Press CraftStylish blog. The final entry just posted here.

To celebrate a successful and busy Quilt Market for the Hummingbird Highway, Taunton is doing a book give-away! You have to comment on Taunton's blog entry to win. I'm crossing my fingers for you!

For a little luck, my blog post this week is dedicated to a few favorite photos from the trip. And from my return home to Syracuse.

One of my favorite stops along the way to Portland was in Kankakee County, Illinois to see 8' barn quilts displayed on several of the barns and farm buildings throughout the county. Each year, new barns are added to the tour and get their own quilt blocks. The blocks stay on the barn year-round, available to see any time on a self-guided tour.

Of the barn quilt blocks that we saw, this one was my favorite. The fresh clean look of the double wedding ring block offset by the rugged, weathered old barn was simply beautiful!

Violets bloomed in the tall grass right at our feet in front of the rustic barn.

Portland is known as the city of roses. This pretty pink bloom covered with rain droplets looks so alive and fresh.

Of course, the main event was Quilt Market itself. My booth was chock full of Scrappy Quilts from ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One!

Tempting visitors to snuggle into the quilts on the fluffy bed, books just begged to be opened and read.

My all-time favorite flower is the lilac. Back in Syracuse, we have a huge bush in our yard. While I was away in Portland, I was afraid I'd miss this year's blooms. Fortunately, the flowers were ready to be snipped and placed in a vase while the heavenly scent filled my kitchen and office space!

And these tiny blossoms are a new addition to this year's garden. They look like Forget-Me-Nots to me, but my gardener-guy husband says no. No matter, they are too sweet not to include!

Enjoy a safe, relaxing long weekend!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beautiful Beauty!

Greetings from Portland, Oregon!

You may recall that Carol McLeod (Aunties Two) and I are traveling from the East Coast to participate in Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon.

With still lots to do, I simply must take a short break to tell you about my first experience using Inklingo! Have you tried it?

My friend and quilt pattern designer Kris Poor of Poorhouse Quilt Design had an idea to plan a booth hop featuring a handful of East Coast Designers who traveled all the way to Portland for the show.

Twelve East Coast Designers are participating. If you are attending the show, look for our ad in the Buyers Guide or stop by the Special Schoolhouse Session (if you are new to that term, that's okay--Schoolhouse is a day-long series of live "info-mercials" for Quilt Market attendees who get a preview of products to look for once the trade show opens). Each designer in the hop has created an incredible prize package for hoppers who complete their passport. So, it's just like a regular Shop Hop, without the cars.

Kris chose the New York Beauty Block as our Booth Hop Logo.

To help hoppers find us, I thought it might be a good idea to have an actual New York Beauty Quilt block to display in each booth to match our logo. But that block can be pretty complex.

Enter Inklingo.

I've always liked hand pieced quilt blocks, but the prep can be boring.

Inklingo allows you to keep the best part of hand piecing and eliminates the boring parts. Throw in improved accuracy and a lot more fun, and this process makes a whole lot of sense.

Linda (and Monkey) have thought of all the details, creating instructions and tips at every step of the way.

Basically you choose your fabric. Fuse some regular freezer paper to the right side of the fabric. Trim it to 8-1/2 by 11" and feed it into your regular inkjet printer so the pieces print on the wrong side of the fabric.

Cut the pieces apart on the solid lines. (These still need some trimming.)

Then sew them together on the dotted lines.

I made one single 6" block for each member of the Booth Hop (12 designers). Then, I finished off each block with a solid fabric backing, sewn pillow-case style. This one is ready to be a Booth Hop Mascot! Ain't she a 'beauty?'

Next time I'm turning my blocks into a quilt!

But that will be after Quilt Market is over.

Are you following our progress on the CraftStylish blog? We're having too much fun not to share. Check out the Hummingbird Highway Facebook page and Twitter for some of the real-time skinny.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Different Perspective . . . or Two!

Since I'm on the road, headed to Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon, and I'll be posting to the CraftStylish blog while I'm away. I thought you might be interested to hear from a few other contributors with book reviews here.

The new book, ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One!, has only been out a few weeks and projects from the book are already turning up!

My friends, Susan and Christine, also known as the Swirly Girls, made "Confetti Pillow" which is featured on the book's cover.

They are promising to show you how to use the Circle Savvy Ruler by Creative Grids to make one of the quilts in the book. I'll keep you posted when they do! 

There are actually a few quilts that could benefit from a nice circle ruler. I do love when great gadgets make my sewing life more fun!

And on the popular Pleasant Home blog, find an entire quilt top from the book. Tired scraps get a second chance in the "Flower Bed" pattern.

Are you ready to make your own scrappy quilts? Get the book. Make a project. Send me your pictures and I'll show off your projects in a future edition of my weekly "Good Migrations" eZine. (Besides, I like 'show and tell' as much as the next person!)

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quilt-Play in Maine

Last week I was in Freeport and Portland, Maine for a series of quilty events. I was a special guest at Quiltport in Freeport, and was guest lecturer and workshop leader at the Cobblestone Guild in Portland.

I had a fantastic time, and can't say enough about how grateful I am for the kind hospitality and friendly spirit of every single person I met! A special thanks to my good friend Carol McLeod of Aunties Two for making it all possible. More follows.

Everywhere you go in Maine, you are reminded that you have entered a special place when you cross the border. It's quiet there now, but in the summer and fall, all the coastal cities swell with those who seek a more settled pace. Road signs and license plates remind you that this is truly 'Vacationland.'

My first mission upon arriving in Freeport was to visit the huge LL Bean campus and give my wardrobe a little boost. Open 24 hours, LL Bean was very quiet at around 10 pm when I managed to find some good buys.

Next morning, after a yummy breakfast at the hotel, it was time to set up some space to vend at Quiltport. This beautiful old building next to the hotel was the perfect spot to meet and greet anyone who entered.

My spot was just inside the door. I took full advantage of the natural light to showcase some quilty goodies.

Several vendors had lots of quilty temptations to see and buy. This was a rare quiet moment to snap a pic.

On the opposite side of the hotel, some 90 quilters set up their space to sew and chat for the weekend.

Some patterns require a little extra examination.

I was told I couldn't officially be considered a Maine visitor until I had a Whoopie Pie, a classic (and very yummy) Maine specialty. And here, I thought it was all about the lobsters!

By the end of the weekend, Cindy couldn't get her phone back into her purse. Too many sales receipts stuffed in its place.

The load-out is always bittersweet. So much activity converted back to a simple space.

On Monday, Carol McLeod and I took a little break to see some sites. Carol is from Maine, so she was the tour guide and I was the happy tourist. Our first stop was Yarmouth, Maine, and Map Manufacturer, DeLorme, home of the world's largest rotating globe, named Eartha. Coincidentally, we saw Eartha on Earth Day! How cool is that?

Lunch at the Lobster Shack in Portland. This looks like a stairway to no where, but the top of these steps opens to a massive picnic area ready for summer diners. With a bit of a chill in the air, we opted for an inside table.


What's a lobster lunch without a lobster bib?

After lunch, we went to see the famous Portland Head Light, commissioned by George Washington in 1790, and re-dedicated by George H. W. Bush in 1982, then Vice President.

Lovely . . .

Why the three masted ship the Annie C. Maguire went ashore on a calm Christmas Eve is a mystery. All 18 people on board were rescued by the lighthouse keeper. This article says that one of the lighthouse keepers had a parrot named Billy. Leave it to me to turn a tourist site into something 'bird!'

Even along the harsh coast line, spring blooms arrive.

Next up, Cobblestone Quilters in Portland. An evening trunk show and two lively workshops.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Magic Carpet pattern.

The first workshop saw dreary weather. But on day two the sun came out, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to snap a 'class' photo!

What a grand time I had! Can't wait to return to Maine to see my friends again . . . soon!

On Tuesday, I'm headed to the other Portland, the one in Oregon for Spring Quilt Market. Driving out, then flying back. Yep, all the way across the country. I'm very excited. I'll be blogging about my trip on the CraftStylish blog. Won't you follow along? I'll also try to keep you updated on the Hummingbird Highway Facebook page and on Twitter, so watch for updates there, too!

Happy Stitching!