Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm Going to QuiltCon, Are you?


I just joined in the Modern Quilt Guild's QuiltCon Linky Party! Are you going to QuiltCon? Then link up over there. It's a great way to start getting to know some of your fellow attendees and put faces to names. (My face is up there and my name is "Hollie" if you didn't already know.) I don't know about you, but I have a pretty full agenda at QuiltCon. I'm taking Anna Maria's "Every Last Stitch" class on Thursday, Lotta's "Textile Printing" class on Friday, Elizabeth's "Free Motion Quilting" class on Saturday and Yoshiko's "Playing with Sheer Fabrics" on Sunday. I also just signed up to Volunteer if they need me so you might see me around somewhere, doing something. 

And to get to know me a little better here are five things you might not know about me:

1) I was a professional actor (theatre) for twenty years, but I retired over ten years ago. Despite being uninhibited on stage, I can be pretty shy in person, until I get to know you. For me acting was about an artistic expression of myself, not about trying to be famous. If I could have paid my bills doing Shakespeare and musical theatre for the rest of my life I wouldn't have retired so young. 

2) I have lived in a lot of places: Diamond Bar, Chico & Los Angeles, California / Oxford, England / Iowa City, Iowa / New York City / Chicago, Illinois... It's hard for me to pinpoint my "hometown".

3) I have no desire to be on television, but I would love to be on Survivor or the Amazing Race if they were just experiences, not being filmed. I like to test myself and see how far I can go. I'm pretty tenacious when I want to be and tend to embrace challenges full throttle.

4) I often dream about my "alternate life", you know that dream you let go of early on to pursue another one. In alternate life I would have lived around the world when I was young, working as a adventure travel guide, then gone into the Peace Corps and likely ended up in Africa working for a non-profit and doing relief work for a living. 

5) While I couldn't play team sports to save my life, I did ride and show horses competitively until I was 18 years old. I wanted to continue into adulthood, but my horse passed away from cancer my senior year of high school and my life went in a different direction after that.

How about you? Are you going? Let me know if you are and want to meet up. It's gonna be fun!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Foot Failure


So I bought myself a walking foot with a 1/4" guide for Hepburn. I didn't even know these things existed, but at our LAMQG Retreat this Fall, Latifah introduced me to this little magical wonder. She pieces with her walking foot and mentioned that it helps especially sewing over some of those bulky seams, which makes sense. Then she showed me this little beauty. I knew I must have it. 


I tried to find it online (not terribly hard, but hard enough) and had some trouble finding one. Then, one day while I was working in Tennessee I noticed a little sewing machine shop down the road, that happened to be a certified Janome dealer. I stopped in on my lunch break to ask if they carried the foot. They said they did, and I got excited, but then had a heap of trouble finding it. Sadly, I thanked them for trying and told them where I was working for the day just in case they were able to find one. Half an hour later they came looking for me. They had the foot! They were so friendly and helpful. If you're ever in Murfreesboro, TN be sure to stop by Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery.


I decided to take it for a test run on some of my (past-due) bee blocks. Caitlin had asked us to make Scrap Buster Blocks from Little Miss Shabby's tutorials. Her request was that we use black, white and gray scraps for the 1.5" squares and a bright solid like an orange or pink for the strips. 


Piecing was going really well. I seemed to be moving right along making the 1.5" square rows and then I started to put the block together. My scrappy rows were consistently too short. I measured them up against the foot guide and it seemed fine. I didn't have the stamina to start all over again so I decided to try and solve the problem rather than "scrap" it. I cut the solid strips wider than in the tutorial and that seemed to help. Then I realized the problem. My needle isn't matching up with the guideline on my new walking foot!


Ugh. I just assumed that it would automatically be aligned. Well, you know what happens when you assume? You screw up your scrap buster blocks! Ugh! I think I was able to salvage the blocks without starting completely from scratch. I had a few extra 1.5" squares left over from cutting, so I ended up adding extra squares to each scrappy row. That, paired with the wider solid strips helped me to save the blocks. They're now just a scant bi shy of 12.5" square, so I think Caitlin will still be able to work with them. But sigh. These are definitely not my best work.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Finally Some New Year Sewing


2013 has already been a whirlwind. I finally got home late last week, but I had a migraine that didn't seem to want to cooperate and stayed with me through the weekend. I did manage to pull Hepburn out of my studio (which is chilly right now and crammed with junk that needs to be organized - but that's another story) and do a little bit of sewing. And I also got to try out my new foot...


Right now my MUST DO LIST seems daunting. I have two sets of bee blocks that were due before the New Year. Plus I have one last swap looming and I need to finish quilting and binding my Broken Triangles Quilt, because it was accepted into the show at Quilt Con! Yeah, that's a piece of news I received while I was on holiday in Alaska and I've been sitting on it a while. I'm still in a little bit of shock. I got it basted and quilted "enough" to submit it in November so now I need to get it finished. 


I started on one set of overdue bee blocks. But I started cutting the wrong color of 1.5" squares. I got all 176 squares cut before I re-read what she wanted and realized that the scraps are supposed to be black, white and gray. I didn't let it get me down. I know I'll need those other 1.5" squares somewhere down the line. It's inevitable. 


Then, I also pulled fabrics for the swap. I think Anna Maria, Lotta and Jay will play nicely together, don't you? I have a plan that I think will make my partner very happy. What were you up to this week?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Marathon Quilt: Month Eight


It's been a little silent around here because the husband and I took a little trip over the holidays. I had ten days off from work so we headed up to Alaska. Neither of us had been and we got an amazing last-minute deal so we just went north. We had an agenda for the trip, which is totally unlike us, but the weather thwarted almost all of our plans. It was unseasonably warm while we were there, but we still had a blast. I did had a cold that I couldn't seem to shake the entire trip so I spent most of the days sleeping in, skiing half day and then retiring back to the room to rest before dinner. 


I did manage to get some sewing done during my rest periods. So, I actually made a lot of headway on my Marathon Quilt. Last month I only had 9 blocks fully completely, but only six of those blocks were actually sewn together. I went to town on making blocks during the plane rides and rest time in the hotel. In fact, I now have 15 blocks completed AND they're all joined together. 


Unfortunately this cold lingered and turned nasty as soon as I got home on New Years so today is actually the first day I was able to drag myself out of bed. I felt like I really needed to make an appearance at work this morning because on Sunday I'm back on another plane and will be gone on business for the next ten days. Ugh. I really hope I can shake this thing and fast.


While lying in bed the past couple days I did also manage to plan out the next four blocks (block 5 is complete spare for the middle). I'm planning to take this project with me on my business trip, so I anticipate making even more headway this month. Slowly but surely it's coming along. And Mercedes was very interested in my little photo shoot this morning. She kept trying to eat the pieces. Silly chicken. Happy New Year to all of you and yours!