Happy Independence Day, America!

And the quilt keeps growing

Quilters –

I am ever thinking about you and what I can share with you. I’m currently working on super-special Podcast that will be presented in two parts — I really think you’ll like it.

In between, I am working on this quilt that needs to be finished by Friday — and — working on my Studio space. When I get into it, I really get in to IT. Here’s a pic of how far we’ve gotten on the studio:

So far, I have gotten quilts that I don’t take with me when I travel, neatly folded and stored in the bottom part of my Gran’s hutch. The ones that you see folded on the Baker’s Rack are the ones that I do take with me, in suitcases, for my trunk shows. Yep, that’s a lot of quilts, alright. Just getting that done took two people and three hours to accomplish. I’ll show you more as we progress. The Studio is one of two work spaces.

So — here’s what I’m working on now:

The DOE fabric is the center of the block – a nice neutral print to pull the very un-alike fabrics together. I’m using it for the sashing too, and here’s my quandary:

Do I use the fabric right-side up and put a nice bright accent in the cornerstones? In my eye, the DOE fabric fights the block edges and blends away in some places. So, this afternoon, I did this:

Here’s a close-up so you can see the cornerstone better:

What if I turned it over and use the wrong side of the fabric for sashing — which is a lighter value — and use the right side of the fabric as cornerstones? Kind of cool, huh?

What do YOU think? Please let me know by commenting below SOON. I need to finish the quilt top by Friday.

I know you’re still wondering why I am putting all of these disparate fabrics together in one quilt. I promise I will reveal all in pictures and in the special Podcast, coming soon!

Before I get back to the quilt, I want to share with you something I found for our super-duper nephew and his fiancé for their wedding next week. My all-time favorite cake shop, Icing on the Cake shared a pic of these on their Facebook page (which I follow religiously ; ) — and knew that they were the perfect pre-wedding gift for Keith and Carrie. Are you ready?

How can you stand all of that cuteness?! Even better, they are vintage sterling silver. Some clever person has done a great job of transforming these into a cool gift, don’t you think? Best of all, they weren’t sterling silver prices, believe it or not.

Okay — so I’m waiting to hear from you about the sashing!

©2015 Annie Smith  All Rights Reserved

Why am I making this quilt?

What do you do to pull together an assortment of disparate fabrics to make it a cohesive quilt?

Why — add a fabric that will pull them all together:

Decide what quilt pattern you’re going to make with these loverly fabrics:

(This quilt is courtesy of Pinterest. I apologize to the maker for not knowing her/his name, as I would like to credit them for this wonderful quilt. Please make sure that you know who the maker is when you pin something great. My quilts that are on Pinterest? Not one of them has my name on them, as the designer, maker, nothing.)

Here’s my first block:

Pretty good so far. They are 10 1/2″ blocks, which I will sash. It will make a 25 block, 5×5 quilt.

These fabrics have been hiding out in a white garbage can liner for the last five years.

Why am I making this quilt now ? The answer will become clear soon. I need to find some pictures that I’m hoping didn’t go south with a busted hard drive. 12,000+ pictures became thumbnails (trying not to cry again).

What would you do with fabrics like this? Tell me below. (P.S. There is not an option to just chuck them all ; )

 

©2015  Annie Smith  All Rights Reserved

Podcast 227 — Little Known Thread Facts

Podcast 227 — Little Known Thread Facts
(Right-Click or Ctrl-Click on the icon below and select “save link as…” to download the podcast to your computer) podcast Running time: 00:53:47 Size: 25.8 MB

This is a podcast of little snippets of information about the thread we use — and why not to use certain threads.

Here are the threads in the order that I talk about them, and a few interesting factoids:

Mettler – changing cone colors to lavender — 250 colors  – made in Spain, Made in Germany

Aurifil – cone colors indicate thread size — 270 colors – made in Italy

Presencia — 182 colors — made in the Giza Valley of Egypt

Superior Threads – use Masterpiece for piecing — 75  solid colors — and color cards, made in Japan

Guterman – variety of thread types — made in Mexico

Coats and Clarks/ Dual Duty – confusing variety of thread types — made in Egypt

Our thread has a “Nap” or a cuticle — you must know where the smooth direction is. IF you knot the end of the smooth side, you will have less knots when you hand stitch.

Cross wound spools:

Stacked spool:

Don’t use these:

You don’t know how old they are or what the fiber content is.

Do you really want to use this thread for your lovely contemporary quilts?!

Instead, do this:

or how about this?

Schmetz needles

Nancy Prince’s article on BERNINA’s We All Sew Blog:

http://weallsew.com/2014/12/30/how-to-pair-thread-weight-with-needle-size/?crlt.pid=camp.0Ru9a7o

 Now for two of my favorite, can’t-live-without notions:

the Clover Needle Threader!

Thread Heaven

The quote of the week:

Don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know any thread factoids that I missed, or to let me know what you want to hear about on an upcoming podcast. Just click the COMMENT button below!

©2015   Annie Smith   All Rights Reserved

Podcast 226 – a Visit with an Old Friend

(Right-Click or Ctrl-Click on the icon below and select “save link as…” to download the podcast to your computer) podcast Running time: 00:35:14 Size: 16.9 MB

Yes, quilters – I’ve been in touch with this dear lady and friend of the podcast. I hope you’ll remember Teresa Vargas from two previous podcasts. Teresa owns a quilt shop in San Jose, Costa Rica — El Jardin de la Abuela (My Grandmother’s Garden, or the Garden of my Grandmother). Teresa sent me an email, asking if I was going to be in L. A. while she was going to be there. It was a long shot, but it just so happened that the answer was YES! After doing a lecture and workshop for the San Fernando Valley Quilt Association, I met up with Teresa in L.A. and spent two lovely days together. We had a great time, as usual. Teresa is one of those friends where you pick up your friendship where you last left it – and it doesn’t skip a beat. I seized the opportunity to do a podcast interview with her in our hotel room, complete with sound effects from the busy, busy street below. We spent the day shopping and eating, and the next day, shopping and eating — just like old times! We hit some quilt shops and the mall and threw in some ice cream sundaes as well. Here are the quilt shops we went to: Piecemakers Country Store in Costa Mesa  This is the quilt shop that is famous for its Quilt Calendars like this: They have been in business as a quilt shop since 1976, possibly the first in California. They still look like the country mercantile that they were the last time I visited, twenty years ago. They have hordes of new, fresh fabric, while keeping the country feel.

Sew Modern in Los Angeles. They’re open on Wednesdays from noon – 8, and we’re so glad because we went at 7:00! Oh, Sew Modern, how much did we LOVE shopping at your store?! The shop space is compact but oh so beautifully designed and filled with the color of yummy fabrics. Teresa and I had a wonderful time, collecting for future quilts — and it was easy to do. They have dressmaking patterns, a cozy conversational area and longarm service. If you’re in L.A., you want to go here — trust me. See the rest: This is how they advertise their classes and events — isn’t this cool? Lovely solids — they carry all brands – and colors, which is super cool. They had this lovely little quilt on the wall: So I looked for the background fabric (you can never have too many lights):   The next day, we went to Northridge and ate at Brent’s Deli — a fantastic place to eat. It’s much more than a Deli and Yelp reviews give it a solid 5 stars. They have a 12 page menu, that has 4 pages of breakfast options, which they serve all day. Quilters gotta have the strength to shop, and here is where we went next:

Candy’s Quilt Works doesn’t appear to have a website : ( but here is their contact information :

  • 8549 Reseda Blvd
  • Northridge, California 91324
(818) 349-7397

Candy’s is on Reseda Blvd., a busy street, and they have parking right at the curb in front, and then behind the store – don’t miss the drive way, it’s right after the sign above. The very best part of Candy’s is this:What you’re seeing is a wall the length of the store that is BATIKS… nothing but batiks all shelved by their color family. Oh, but wait — walk to the end and turn the corner, and you will see the rest of the batiks wall which runs the width of the store. Oh yeah — 2,000 bolts of BATIK fabric heaven. This is what I left with: wouldn’t this make a beautiful summer dress, or maybe one of these retro beauties? I actually made one of these beauties back-in-the-day (as my kids say) with a real batik fabric. What I would give to have that fabric today, but I have no idea what became of my caftan). I found this very pattern on Etsy (no longer $1.00 by the way) and I’m going to make myself one very soon. Stay tuned! I also found these lovely batiks together: …which remind me of the fabrics I used for: cover of the book you’ll find if you scroll up, and in the upper right hand corner ; )  But I digress… Candy’s has about 5,000 bolts of fabric in her store. Batiks just happen to be her specialty. The ladies there are friendly and helped us find the nearest mall, another quilter’s necessity.

 

Teresa always brings me lovely gifts from Costa Rica, and this is what she brought me this time: Teresa made this lovely journal cover for me. She knows that I love journals to design my quilts in, glue fabric swatches in and write the steps of quilt construction for my patterns in. I love this and will think of Teresa every time I use it. A quilter can never have too many cups to keep pens and markers in, and this one was designed by one of the girls who works in El Jardin de la Abuela.

After I left Teresa, I traveled to Santa Barbara and visited this lovely store: I had 20 minutes here… not even close to enough time — ever. I want to have the luxury of spending 3-4 hours here so I can see everything and contemplate what I want. The best thing is that they have all of the Japanese quilting magazines. Luckily, Super Buzzy has a huge online presence and SHOP.

The next day, I went to this lovely shop:

and, I found this:

I was looking all over for this fabric in L.A. and finally found it at Birch! They also have an online presence and Shop, which is Fabric Worm. Ever since meeting Lizzy last month and being ultimately inspired by her, I want to make a dress out of her fabrics. I brought home a pattern from Sew Modern and didn’t realize that this is the very outfit I want to make with Lizzy’s amazing Natural History fabrics. Kind of fun, huh? (Okay – so I just realized that I didn’t get enough of the Pearl Bracelets fabric, so luckily I can order it from Fabric Worm ; )

Please let me know what you want to hear on upcoming podcasts — I’m listening to YOU!!

Until next time…

©2015  Annie Smith  All Rights Reserved

Is it really May 15th already?!

hi Quilters –

Sorry for my brief absence here. I’ve been traveling and teaching in L. A. and I have a new podcast in the can, waiting to share with you:

But we can’t get it off of my iPad away from home! ARGH — technology!

so, stay tuned  –  I’ll be home tomorrow.

Podcast 225 — Classes and Workshops

(Right-Click or Ctrl-Click on the icon below and select “save link as…” to download the podcast to your computer)

podcast

Running time: 00:29:36 Size: 14.5 MB
Podcast 225 — Classes and Workshops

 

Thank you for your Donations! It keeps the Podcast rolling!

I was asked by several listeners  to talk about how to be a good workshop attendee and get the most from the class/workshop. In the podcast, I cover:

* Pay attention to the materials list

* Make sure your machine is in good working order and bring the manual.

* Arrive early and get set up. Allow the teacher to do the same.

* Be attentive and ask questions. Take notes too.

* Don’t chat with friends during instruction and don’t work ahead.

* Don’t leave early – you don’t know what you’re going to miss.

One thing I missed — If you need help, don’t ask your friend or table mate. Ask the teacher — she can tell you quicker and better than your friend who is trying to work on their project. The friend may be doing it wrong, then you’re both wrong. It’s not an intrusion of the teacher’s time, and they won’t think you’re asking a stupid question (remember: there are NO stupid questions). The teacher WANTS to help you get it right. And even though your friend may want to help you, you are taking time away from their project. You know what I mean if you are always the friends who helps : )

This week’s quote:

Being humble means recognizing that we are not on the earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.           Gordon B. Hinckley

These last couple of weeks have been a real challenge with being sick off and on, traveling and teaching and having BigGuy get sick too. I want to share my trip to Southern California with you, though.

What is Meet the Teachers?

For those of you not familiar with this, quilt guilds form a Council and then offer information to all of the guilds. There is a Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds, SCCQG, and once a year in April, they hold Meet the Teachers. Fifty national teachers were in attendance. We each have a booth to show our samples, give out brochures and write contracts for upcoming guild visits, and have three minutes to talk about our lectures and workshops in front of the Guild Program Chairs. It’s a fun and exciting day. Believe it or not, we are signing contracts for teaching in 2016-2017 already. And, there are three councils in California alone: SCCQG, NCQC (Northern California Quilt Council), and Quilt Guilds of the North Quarter.

If you want to see my brochure, click here. You can download the PDF version and share it with your local guild or quilt shop ; )

Here’s me at my booth, in front of a quilt I hope you remember: West of Baltimore. It was featured in the Keepsake Quilting catalog for 2 1/2 years and has traveled around the world.

My table-mate, Mary Tabar:

Directly behind was my long-time friend, Tracey Brookshier and Mike McNamara.

Dixie McBride was also there — I’ve been a big fan of hers for umpteen years. She was presenting at the time.

There were vendors there, and I just had to make a donation ; )

I found this cool electric seam ripper! Now I can be a professional Seam Ripper for all of my students. **read why below**

My very talented friend, Arlene — who did a Q&A during her presentation: Why are you wearing the belt? Her reply: It stops the Girls. Arlene is a Civil War historian and collects quilts from the era, teaching how to create them.

and then, I was this booth across from me, and the more I looked at these amazing quilts, the more intimidated I got:

This is Rita Verroca. She’s a C&T author and will have a new book out soon. She is so nice — I look forward to spending some time with her in the future.

At the end of the day, I took poor BigGuy out to dinner, who by this time had caught my cold and was miserable. We went to our favorite restaurant in Irvine, — Houston’s. They are a part of the Hillstone group of restaurants, and they even have a Houston’s in Houston. If you go for Market or Festival, it’s a treat to go there. This, is heaven on a plate:

I don’t know why, but I always get a cheeseburger. Pretty simple, right? The bun is made fresh, the meat is ground in-house ribeye and it is yummy. Almost better than the burger is the Coleslaw on the plate, which is savory, not sweet and isn’t overpowered by sauce.

So, this happened two days after I got home — not one but two broken toes, courtesy of an office chair…

Sorry it’s blurry — but then again, maybe that’s a good thing!

Lastly, I found this book in my hostess’s bookcase — I can’t resist looking at books about quilting.

This book was printed on 1984, just before the rotary cutter found it’s way into our quilt shops and homes. Take a close look. No, it’s not the drying rack that I want you to see — although that is a good tool for keeping cut strips separate…

It’s THIS that I want you to see:

Uh huh.

…if you are thinking that she’s using a paper cutter to cut strips, you would be right. That was an innovative solution to replace drawing pencil lines and cutting each strip with SCISSORS. That’s what we used to do “back in the day”, as my kids would say. But — those strips, cut in at east two layers of fabric would shift under the blade and would never be straight or accurate.

Thank heaven for Mr. Yoshio Okada:

If you’ve ever thought that the rotary cutter resembles a pizza cutter, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. OLFA Corporation is a part of the World Kitchen group, which also has other companies like Pyrex, CorningWare, Chicago Cutlery and OXO as a part of their stable of products. Get it?

**About the Seam Ripper:

Those of you who have taken a class from me, know that I have three rules of the class/workshop:

1. This is YOUR class, it is not my class. I want you to get out of the class what you need to help you be a better quilter. I am the facilitator, you are the student.

2. This is YOUR quilt, it is not my quilt. I will show you how to make a quilt the way that I do it, but you don’t have to make your quilt to please me — you make it to please yourself. You don’t have to make your quilt exactly like mine. I will give suggestions, which you can take or leave. After all, you will be taking your quilt home with you, I won’t.

3.You should have a seam ripper in your notions kit, as it is on the materials list. You, however, may not use it — only I can use your seam ripper. If you sew something wrong, I will pick out the stitches for you while you continue to work. It is a waste of you time to pick out stitches — that’s what I’m here for.

Please let me know what you’d like to hear on a future podcast, by leaving me a comment below, or send me an email, at  annie@simplearts.com

Happy Quilting!!

©2015  Annie Smith    All Rights Reserved

The road goes on and on…

Hi. Quilters…

this is me this week:

… Still.

and BigGuy has joined me. A pathetic pair, I tell you.

i’ve put together show notes for Podcast 225 — i just can’t talk without coughing.

I’m thinking about you, and some fun things that I have to share. It will just be next week instead.

On the mend

Hi Quilters!

thank you all for your emails and well wishes! They have certainly helped.

Despite not wanting the get out of bed yesterday, I did travel to Central California because the show must go on — so today, I did a lecture for the Olde Towne Quilt Guild of Nipomo. I feel so much better. I’m looking forward to my workshop tomorrow, Shadows and Light:

(Okay, so that is not a flattering picture. Mental not to take a new one…)

BigGuy is traveling with me, so we went to one of our favorite places tonight — the Farmer’s Market in San Luis Obispo. It’s one of the finest Farmer’s Markets ever. Every Thursday night, except for. Thanksgiving, when it happens on friday night.

We souvenir eat — it’s no secret. Here’s what we love the best at the Market:

Isn’t their oven lovely? It bakes a pizza in 4 minutes flat. That’s the best part : )

there’s a new quilt shop in town, but they closed before I got there. table linens and modern fabrics. i have to come back soon. Picking Daisies is closed on Sunday-Monday. Every other day from 11:00 – 5:30.

More to come!

A Little Under the Weather…

Click the play button below to hear a special audio message from me.

CLICK ME PLEASE

Running time: 00:00:37 Size: No podcast this week — Feelin’ a Little Under the Weather
But, I’ll be back with an all-new podcast next week! Stay tuned!