Come in! Have a cup of coffee, maybe a piece of chocolate... Don't mind the thread snips... They keep the Dust Bunnies occupied.
Join me on my journey through the world of quilting. I'll be showing pics of WIPs (Works In Progress), finished quilts, UFOs (Un-Finished Objects), and maybe even a "How I did that" every now and then. I hope you enjoy your visit.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Giftmas Quilt redux redux redux

This is the quilt I made for my baby sister for Giftmas.  After the top was sewn, the flip flops were applique'd on, then I hand stitched the straps onto the flip flops.  For placement, I spread the finished top on my bed and tossed the flip flop fabric in the air over the bed.  I then pinned the fabric to wherever it landed.  For each pair, I removed the fabric and left the pin in place and made the flip flops.  Once they were ready, I applique'd them in place and moved on to the next pair.

This was a fun pattern, and because of it, I am less scared to try a true bargello quilt.

We are off today to our first ever ATHA meeting.  I will post a report on it over on A Hook and A Promise when we get home.  Of course I am running about half an hour late this morning, so I guess I better get going.
That's all for now
See Y'All Later!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Giftmas Quilt and the Importance of Timing

This was the hardest quilt I made for Giftmas this last year.  The pattern I chose called for pre-cuts.  2 layer cakes (40-10 inch squares) and 2 jelly rolls (40 2.5" WOF strips).  I think there were 10 or 12 different fabrics in the pre-cuts in both lights and darks of yellows, greens, pinks and browns.  This was the most difficult for me for several reasons.  First and foremost, I normally send pics to my Mom as I go along to get feedback and simply because I love to share what I'm doing (which might explain this blog! LOL).  Second, I have issues with random, which I will discuss again in the second segment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The One Stop Shop Hop... That Wasn't... A Rant

The One-Stop-Shop-Hop that wasn't.  This last saturday, The Brat and I drove up to Loveland (about 2 hrs with traffic) to attend what was purported to be a, well... as the title says... A One-Stop-Shop-Hop.  Why do I keep harping on that title?  Because it is a lie.
First, let me explain what a Shop Hop is.  The LQS in a given area get together and design a quilt.  Some of these quilts may have fabrics designed especially for them by a manufacturer, or they may be centered around the blocks themselves, or a combination of the two.  If it is block based, each LQS will have assigned to them, their own block using the fabrics chosen for the quilt, and generally all will be the same size, so that all the blocks will go together nicely into a quilt.  In addition to their block, each LQS will put together their own layout for all the blocks in question.  So, if there are 9 shops in the hop, there will be 9 different, unique quilts, each having the same block patterns in them, giving you 9 new ideas of how to use the same fabrics.  Even if the shop hop is centered around just the fabrics, you still get 9 different looks from the same base materials.  There is a passport that each quilter must get stamped at each LQS in the shop hop.  Most hops have larger-than-door-prize prize(s) that are awarded via a drawing of completed passports, so it's important to make sure you hit all the shops and get your passport validated at each one.  Generally, each quilter plans out their own route, choosing which LQS they want to start and end at.  We plan ours starting at the furthest LQS and working our way back towards home.
From the LQS' perspective, this is a year long process of planning, designing, ordering all the special fabrics (and guessing at how much they'll need, cuz this stuff ain't cheap), sewing their block for demo purposes, sewing their quilt design, cutting and packaging the fabrics for their block (again, guessing how many they will need), cutting and packaging the background fabrics and pattern for their quilt design (once again, guessing at how many).  Now that they are finished playing with the special fabrics, they have to decide if they want to put on small demos thru-out the day, will they serve refreshments, have door prizes, in other words, how will they make their shop stand out in the memories of the two thousand or so people that will be coming thru during the shop hop?  Now that they have all that planned out, they have to look at staffing.  Do they have enough employees already on the books?  Will they need to bring in extra help?  Draft family members?  Bribe friends?  Then there is advertising.  Each LQS chips in on the printing, divided by the number of shops involved.  And the flyers and passports and such for each customer.  And the special mark for each LQS for on the passport (this is usually a small rubber stamp that can be used every year).  Has anyone been following along with a calculator?  Why do they do all this?  Attract new customers, sales, and to have fun.
From the quilter's perspective, a Shop Hop is an event to look forward to, and plan for in their budget.  They range from 3 or 4 day events to possibly a month long if covering several states, meaning you have to make it to every Shop on the Hop within those dates.  The largest ones may actually have bus tours to help catch all the shops.  Many quilters will travel together on the route making a real party out of it.  Gathering the block and/or layout at each LQS, the hardest part, from the quilter’s point of view, is the finishing kits.  90% of the quilters on a Shop Hop will buy the block kit at each LQS.  They usually run between $3 and $5 each.  At the same time, they will be looking at each LQS’ layout design and trying to decide which they like the most.  Generally speaking, each one is quite different.  But since they are only gathering one block at each LQS, they will only be able to make one quilt.  So they have to pick which one.  And hope that once they have chosen, the design at the next LQS won’t be even better.  Or that they haven’t run out of the finishing kits (I’ve seen this happen).  They are almost always under $100.00, but generally over $50.00, so it’s not really feasible to think about simply picking up each finishing kit as you go.  Then there is gas.  In these days of $3.50-$4.00 a gallon gas, you really have to hope to find new and unique fabric, tools, and ideas since it may take a full tank of gas to make the circuit.
So you can imagine my curiosity when I heard about the One Stop Shop Hop.  There were 14 shops that had set up booths.  When we arrived, we were given our passports, a voting ballot, and a book about Mock Applique’.  Instead of blocks, the coordinators had a special fabric designed for the event, which was then produced in 4 colorways.  The fabric was pretty, a fancy batik.  However, the print was too large for any of the styles I make.  Each shop designed a quilt using at least 1 and up to all 4 of the fabrics, and each had kits for their quilt.  Except that well, you had to buy the focus fabric from a central coordinator’s table.  The shops were only selling the other fabrics that went into their quilt.  I think they were selling the patterns too, but to be honest, at half the booths I couldn’t even figure out which quilt hanging on their wall was supposed to be the Theme quilt, much less find one I liked.  The Brat took a better look at our passports and guess what?  You still had to drive to all the shops and get the passport stamped sometime over the next month!  There were shops there from Wyoming!  
So far, the score is pretty low on this One Stop Shop Hop.
No centralized theme
No blocks
No gas savings
No unique looks (all the shops seemed to have brought the exact same merchandise)  
There was one booth that had 2 different quilts that I really liked and wanted to buy the patterns for but they were sold out of them.  I found a couple other things I would have liked to buy from that booth, but they were not set up for plastic.  The shop doesn’t have a website or email, so I have to wonder if they take plastic at the their store.  I ended up spending $22.00 including tax. For 2 kits to... wait for it... sewing kits!   4 hours in the car, a quarter tank of gas, and not even so much as a fat quarter worth of fabric came home with me.
At the end of the day, and now some days later, I cannot figure out how  anyone benefitted from this.  Other than the coordinators who had to do nothing but sit back and sell their special fabric.

        I'll be back later today with a much better post.  One with pictures and everything.  I promise.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More Giftmas Quilts.

These Giftmas quilts have to be shown together to get the full impact.  I had already chosen the pattern in my mind when I asked Brat Mom and Brat Dad for their favorite color.  I had somehow expected more contrast between the colors I was given in response.  Brat Dad's color choice was blue.  A good solid color with lots of shade, tone and value options available.  Brat Mom's choice of Teal was a bit more of a challenge.  Just finding 4 teal shades took some time, but then those 4 shades had to not only work together well, but they had to play with the blues as well!  Finally, it hit me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Giftmas Quilt and SBS update

Why do we insist on trying to photograph a tall thing with a wide thing?  This is my Dad's quilt.  After his time in the Navy, he spent the next 30 years trying to bring a little calm to the chaos.