Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Here's to all the friends who are hurting this holiday season. Perhaps they are alone because their family lives far away, perhaps their loved ones have to work in this 24/7 society, or perhaps they are separated by death from someone very precious in their lives. Here's to all the friends who have hurtful relationships, illness, loss of job or serious calamity in their lives this holiday season...My prayers for you (and me) is that we would see Christmas for what it truly is - not the expectations, not the disappointments - but the awe and wonderment that God took on the form of mankind in that precious baby, His Son, who came to live among us - the only sinless man in the world because He was both God and man, the awe and wonderment that He gave His Son Jesus to be born, and then to die that we might live. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.. Put aside your hurts, fears, worries for a brief moment in time, and reflect on the BEST GIFT ever - Jesus. He knows your sorrows and your joys. Receive His gift - His love for you and His sacrifice for your sins and mine. Tell it to Jesus my friend, you'll find that He understands. And have yourself a merry little Christmas!

(reposted from FaceBook)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Busted: Island Quilters Caught Playing Strip Poker!

It started out innocently, honestly it did...

Mild mannered quilting ladies gathering for their annual Christmas party...who would have thought?

Eagerly rushing through the business portion of our monthly guild meeting....

Sharing,among other things, all about the charity quilts donated during the year and plans for the upcoming year...

Taking a little time for show and tell...

"When do we eat!" was the resounding question...

Finally it was time to party! Bring on the good times!

Quilters are known to be good cooks. (All but this particular quilter, but we're not talking about my lack of culinary skills...)

It was evident by the spread that these ladies were serious about their food!

Who would have thought that this nice group of "little 'ole quilting ladies" were fixin' to get wild!

*** warning Will Robinson***

Due to the nature of the topic
photos are not published of what happened next!
Truth be told - photos weren't taken!

The paper plates were cleared, the deserts revisited, the drinks refilled (non-alcoholic of course - after all we are NICE little ole quilting ladies).

It was time...

The much anticipated hottest entertainment event of the evening...

The excitement had been building....

Many members, myself included, waited all year for this!

An opportunity to let our hair down...

An excuse to throw caution to the wind...

A chance to be a little reckless...

The room was electric with anticipation...

The cards were distributed among the tables. Dealers were chosen. (I'm guilty. I participated eagerly with my Las Vegas alter ego leaping out of no-where as the deck was shuffled).

Island Quilter's Guild Ladies Playing Strip Poker!

Yep, it's true, my good friends and fellow quilters with utter confidence were quick to ante-up a 2.5 inch STRIP of fabric! Cards were dealt, high card drew first from the pot. From high to low quilters chose their coveted strip of fabric - "battling" for position when there was a tie. Such reckless abandonment - I've never seen anything like it.

For four games we did this. Fast paced dealing and grabbing - hoping for the best draw and not being stuck with the "ugly" fabric. Game five was winner take all! High card won the jackpot. Oh the joy of victory, oh the agony of defeat. It's not easy letting go of fabric!

Time to switch tables, dealers stayed. New group of quilters, new fabric to covet - choices were made - do I play the pretty fabric or offer up the dogs?

Laughter could be heard among the five tables. Some dealers were faster than others (just sayin') playing more than the five games per table while waiting for other tables to finish before the shuffle of players to a new table to begin all over again ...

Yep! The Island Gals got a little wild at our Christmas party - we un-ashamedly played strip poker and I betcha' we do it again next year!

Now the challenge is what to do with my winnings!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Making Memories

This is the time of year when families get together and "make memories" - typically kicking things off with a big Thanksgiving and then the countdown begins for Christmas!

For some people the holidays can be both joyful and painful. Seems there are a lot of people I know who have family members with serious illness or have lost loved ones recently, many are entering into the first holiday season after a loved ones' passing. It never seems to get easier - as I too have once again walked through the anniversary of my dad's passing some 8 years ago....yes, the ups and downs of the holidays....

Everyone deals with their own grief in their own way. Some like to hold on to special items from their family member, some enjoy photos, others just want to keep their memory alive by recalling special times together.

Every once in a while I'm asked to make a "memory quilt" from a deceased family member's clothing so that those left behind have a tangible remembrance, a "hug" so to speak as they cuddle up in a quilt that is unique and one of a kind, one that holds special memories and can bring comfort during times of sorrow.

Recently I was given men's suits and ties along with a few special photos to make a lap quilt for a granddaughter to remember her granddad...

A few scatterings of blocks made from ties and a few photos are sprinkled in among a wide variety of fabrics from pants and suits, tied together with a little red fabric to add to the colors of the clothing with hopes to make this holiday a little more special...

It's always a privilege to be entrusted with a family's heirloom, and it is my hope that this quilt brings joy to the receiver not only this holiday season, but for many seasons to come.

As with my own dad, there are so many times I miss him....and I think of how much he'd be enjoying the family right now as my two sons have chosen their soul mates - oh how much he's approve of the girls! How he would tease them and laugh with them, and love welcoming them to the family...sometimes these thoughts are painful as I truly wish he could share things with all of us...yet because I know where he is I realize how selfish it is to want him back...the separation is truly the hardest on those left behind . Every now and then I reflect on the fact that my dad certainly knows a whole lot more than me about heaven, angels, the saints who have gone before and oh how wonderful it must be to gaze upon the Redeemer...our Savior...face to face! One day I'll share that knowledge....

2 Corinthians 5:6-10 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and)to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Piece by Peace

Sometimes scraps happen. Well, if you are a quilter they happen a lot! I have several baskets for scraps and this particular one is all strip scraps - you know, the kind that happen when you are cutting strips and you make an oops and it's not exactly straight, or the kind that happen when you don't have enough fabric left to cut the exact size you want for a certain project, and of course, there's those strips that come from trimming the over sized backing off a completed quilt that's been done on the longarm.

Strip scraps. Strip therapy. Yep. That's what I needed I took photos to share my therapy journey with you...

I didn't really have a plan when I started. Truly I just needed to hear the hum of my sewing machine to make me happy. I've done foundation flip and sew type string quilts but that's not what I wanted to do. That requires a lot of pressing, generally with each added strip and who wants to do that when all I wanted to do was sew!

So sew I did! It didn't matter what width the strips were or even if they were a tad wonky, I just wanted to sew. I discovered that most of my strips were full width of fabric, with a few odd sizes mixed in, hum...perhaps by cutting them in half and making them 20 something inches instead of 40 something inches I'd be able to vary the placement better... It was then that I came up with an idea to us my Go Cutter, but I'm getting ahead of myself...

I don't think you can really see it in the above photo, but under the first strip there is a neat little gadget called The Strip Stick that I highly recommend! I purchased this tool at a local quilt show and have found it most useful in my pressing - it's got a raised surface that makes it easy to press the seams open and flat! You owe it to yourself to view their video (but it can wait until after you finish reading the blog - smile). One thing I liked about it was I could save pressing until the end of the strip strata...a bonus on a day I just wanted to sit and sew with little interruptions.

I hinted above that I had a design inspiration while sewing to use my Go!Cutter - I decided on which die to use and determined that I needed my strip set to be at least 9 inches wide and 18 inches long...this also would work well with the smaller strips in the scrap basket, the strips didn't have to be only vertical or only horizontal, just 9 x 18... so the first set was sewn, pressed and loaded into the Go!Cutter...

And this is what came out the other side! (minus the trimmings of course)

Instant gratification! Well, almost, it's still got to be put together - but it was pretty exciting! So I tried out another strip set (notice that the strips truly weren't even, which adds to the charm wouldn't you say?)

And yes, all the trimming away with the Go!Cutter left me with still more scraps...but I determined that I'd be able to "let go" and recycle these to the studio trash can with little or no guilt. Some of the bigger scraps I've kept for future projects.

Keep in mind, Pixxie, my professional quilt model is only 6 pounds 6 ounces so that's not too much guilt in the collection of scraps next to her...

As I was merrily sewing and cutting away my mind was busy thinking of the background fabric I would need to complete my little therapy quilt....every now and then I'd hop up from the machine and go audition a fabric...there were lots of colors to choose from and I knew from previous experiences that I could make this quilt be whatever color I wanted. If I chose a yellow background it would read yellow no matter that there were multicolored scraps.... It wasn't an easy choice as I did have a lot to choose from in my's been a while since I've made a purple quilt so I began to look on the purple shelf for possibilities...

It may be hard to see unless you click on the photo to enlarge - but I chose what I like to call a "dizzy print". You have to admit, it does have lots of movement!

Not only that, but it sorta fit with my therapy....seems I needed peace in my life because things do have a way of getting dizzy and stressful. The dizzy fabric represented my mood at the time and the peace came from being frugal with my strip scraps and the peacefulness of the hum of my machine while listening to my praise and worship music on the iPod....

This quilt isn't a quilt yet, only a few of the blocks are actually pieced, but it's on the design wall with the goal of piecing a little here and there as I need more "sew therapy" during this busy time in my life.

Piecefully yours,
karen o

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You. Isaiah 26:3

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

As promised: Quilt Market & Quilt Festival 2011

Oh the places you'll go and the people you'll meet!

In years past I've been a roving reporter sharing with my online friends and family my view of the annual Houston International Quilt Market and Quilt Festival - and this year the exception is the majority of "my view" is from my booth at Festival...couldn't resist this photo of a passer-by-er ... a wonderful example of a good pack mule!
what I don't know is if his wife went wild purchasing Christmas gifts or if he was restocking a booth...either way, I'd say he's a jolly good fellow wouldn't you?!?!

I love this time of year! My friend Trish and I look forward to making the daily commute north into Houston for this annual extravaganza. I don't know how many years Trish has attended, but I've been going since 2000 - that's when this Texan/Tennessean moved back to the H. Town area... In 2004 I began going to Market in addition to Festival, the trade show for those with wholesale licenses. In 2008 I became a vendor at Festival with A1 Quilting Machines - so my wandering of the isles at Festival is no more....BUT! Trish and I make up for it during Market the weekend prior to Festival....

The isle ways at Market aren't as crowded. The vendors offer a lot of hands on demos as they are marketing their newest gadget, book or patterns to shop owners. I was having so much fun that I forgot to take photos (sigh) But here's Trish at one booth's "make and take"...

Fun stuff wouldn't you agree? Since I'm not a retail or online shop a lot of items were just eye candy for me - a time to be inspired and learn new things and take a peek at the upcoming fabric lines from all the major manufacturers.

I do however have my favorite vendors...because I teach beginning piecing and fun patterns in both my studio and area quilt shops I always make a bee-line to Aunties Two Patterns - boy did I buy out the booth! I can't wait to make some shop samples - check out their rag rug pattern and just one of my favorites - the breezy weave bag... this bag lady is going to be stylin' in 2012 that's for sure!

And what market venture would be complete without stocking up on thread for the longarm (and piecing). Bob at Superior Threads always has a well stocked booth and that's generally where all the longarm guys and gals gather during market...this year was no exception. I stocked up on Rainbows and the new Omni line. Fun fun colors!

During Festival I visited the Fil-Tec booth where I purchase my Magna-Glide prewounds and met up with Dusty Farrell at the YLI booth where he was introducing his new line of thread...Yep, longarm quilters invest a lot in thread!

I think if you click on the above photo collage that it will become larger in your least I hope so. I'm trying to share a lot of photos in a little amount of space so I hope this works for ya'll.

I've got things a little jumbled sharing vendor photos from Market and Festival mixed together but oh well... To get back into the chronological order of things - first things first! Market is not only a time for Trish and I to purchase things for our businesses but it's sorta a reunion with all our quilting friends, and a time to celebrate!

The first person I ran into at Market was Tom Russell and we had a bit of celebrating to do! The new book Lone Stars III, A Legacy of Texas Quilts 1936-2011 was released and his quilt is on page 3oo and one that I quilted was on page 248. Woo-hoo! I didn't learn until after the fact that there was a reception for those included in the book, I didn't get the I missed the wine and cheese but I've still got my name in the book and that's what counts!

Did I mention that Market/Festival is a reunion! Oh my! I didn't take enough photos! Not only did I get to visit with local friends but I actually met up with several "facebook" friends and friends from longarm lists and blogville friends, and even long lost friends from high school! What fun to get to give and receive hugs - I think I have sore face muscles from so much grinnin'

All too soon Market was over and it was time to set up the A1 Quilting Machines booth for Festival. I do hope you can click on this and see the close ups of the beautiful quilts I borrowed from award winning quilters Mark Sherman from Florida and Clem Buzick from North Dakota.

Here's a close up of Mark's quilts, and "me 'n Mark"

If you have never been to the Houston show you can't imagine just how big it really is! This is a view from an upper floor window. I have no idea the square footage of the show nor the number of the vendors, but in the past I do know the show boasts of over 56 thousand attendees! Truly a quilter's paradise! And plenty of other things to tempt those non-quilters too! This photo is not even half of the hall - the isles were numbered 100, 200 all the way to 2000 - so it's TEXAS BIG!

One of my favorite things is getting to introduce people to the joys of longarm quilting. Many have never seen nor had their hands on a longarm - that's why we bring them to the shows, to allow people to try them out and see if this is something they might be interested in....many come to the show with an agenda to test drive all the major brands and then make a decision on which longarm is best for them. We welcomed many new A1 quilters to the family this past weekend!

A real blessing to me this year was having my A1 customers, or my "A1 family" as I call them, assist me in the booth. Special thanks to Trish, Dwain, Ida, Lou Ann, Ellen, Vonnie and Janice for being so wonderful with customers...I received some good feedback on them as well as comments from them concerning the experience...

From a future customer on our feedback form:

... this is the first time I am SERIOUS about making a long-arm happen for me. You'll be hearing from me and that is largely due to the warm greeting you and the other reps (and customers!) gave me during the multiple stops at the show booth this weekend. I've now sewed on about everything - I want your machine. It's the one that wins hands down for control, smooth motion and value overall...and I've LOOKED!Cheers!

From my customers who worked the booth:

I had a ball helping and would love to do it again along with all the other fun helpers! It always amazes me what all you learn even when just enjoying the A1 family at a show. Karen thanks so much for asking all of us to help.

... thank you for the opportunity to work in the booth and tell more people about how great the A-1 is. To be able to say, "I'm not a dealer, just a very happy customer using the best longarm. Just try all of the other longarms and you will not find a smoother running machine." Visiting with Stewart and (others) was a plus also.

From my one of our new customers:

It was so nice to meet you and all the other A-1 quilters. I feel like I have found a family! Everyone was so nice and friendly. I am very excited and looking forward to getting my new machine!

This is what makes those long days worth it that's for sure! I am so blessed to have the best machine out there, the best "boss" Stewart Plank, and the best customers!

But in reality, the highlight of my week wasn't seeing my name in print or my quilt in the exhibit, it wasn't the reunion with friends or meeting online friends in person, or even being among all the "famous people" of the quilting world or introducing new quilters to the was a special visit on the last day of the show...

...with my mom! This was the first time she'd attended the Houston International Quilt Show and got to see first hand what I'm so passionate about! Thanks mom, for your continued love and support!

Before we knew it the quilt show was over. We were joined by Trish's husband Frank and my hubby Johnny to help tear down the booth....looks a little different doesn't it? I've always loved those behind the scene photos!

SO here's the final parting shot from my full-time A-team volunteers Trish and Dwain...and yes, those are bags under our eyes - we are tired but most happy! It was a great Market/Festival - I'm still digging out and sorting through all the wonderful things I came home with from Market and busy answering emails from new customers and future customers who want to be put on a mailing list. OH! and I almost forgot! I was totally blown away by having some folks come to the booth to inquire about my quilting services - thank you to my fellow vendor friends who passed along my contact information! I'm looking forward to working on some very special quilts in the near future!

I'll sign off with this parting shot...taken the next morning on my walk to the bay....

Karen O Needs Your Help!

I'm interrupting my plans to blog about the recent Houston International Quilt Market and Festival to ask a HUGE FAVOR of all my blog friends.....

Background: My new daughter in law (January 2011) recently became a Mary Kay Consultant. As any good mother-in-law would do, I'm supporting her business. Funny thing is, I was actually looking into the Mary Kay line and considering changing when she became involved with this company,so the timing was perfect for me.

When Alena asked if I'd participate in a makeover contest I said "Absolutely" who can't use a makeover!! And the opportunity to have a complete makeover in New York!

So here's the favor! The first phase of the contest is determined by popular vote. The voting began Nov 1 and goes through Nov 10....and of course I was involved in Quilt Market and I'm needing to make up the lost time by soliciting votes.

Once you click on this link you will find hundreds of thousands of women all vying for the same grand prize - the chance for a make over in New York City! At the top right of the page there is a search box, type in Karen O and this page pops up.

They are real tricky, sometimes I'm on the right and sometimes my humbling photos are on the left....Above I'm the one in the purple on the right...

SEE! This quilter could really use a makeover! You can vote 5 times PER EMAIL ADDRESS per day. Hurry, there's only two days left!

If you are on facebook share the link with the following comment:

"Help this quilter get a makeover, type in Karen O in the search box and vote for the one in purple, 5 times a day per email through 11/10"

I would truly appreciate all the help from my quilting friends and all their friends. I think it would be a blast to take my new daughter-in-law on a trip with me to New York - and it would be worth the humbling photos to get there!

Tomorrow I share about the Quilt Show - so go vote and stay tuned!

karen o in Texas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Direction

I love sunrises and sunsets. If you are a face book friend you know that I upload a lot of photos with this central theme. Something about the beauty, the total art of God, that is new every morning and spectacular every evening. If I had a camera that could capture the full moon there would be a lot of those photos too!

Seems these canvas in motion events totally distract me, mesmerize me actually, and I find that I do a lot of reflecting. When I posted this particular photo on FB I got a lot of comments about keeping my eyes on the road!

Sometimes my quilting is like that, I get distracted and a bit disorganized in my direction. Sometimes things are just so crazy that I can't focus on something that needs to be done, instead I find something that's not on my to do list for a little refreshment - a little change, so to speak.
Such was the making of this little quilt....

It was sometime this summer during all the remodeling mess. I had been sent a link to a fun little pattern called JellyRoll 1600 Quilt and it looked like fun. "Jelly rolls" are typically 2.5 inch strips all rolled up together, generally from a fabric manufacturer showcasing a collection of fabric, you know, fabrics that "go together" nicely, usually 35 to 40 strips. Any quilt shop can offer you a wide assortment of jelly rolls. Well, this quilter makes her own 2.5 inch strips and keeps a drawer full for quilt emergencies such as this....

So I found myself in need of a mental break. So many things were swirly around me that I seemed to have lost my path.....actually I think I just wanted to get OFF the path for a little while (grin).

With the instructions on the internet and my chosen 40 strips I began the process of sewing the strips together end to end until I got the "1600" or so long you take the two ends and begin sewing the sides together until you get to the end of that, then you join 2 rows to make 4, 4 to make 8, etc...I've shared photos of my progress but since this isn't a tutorial if you really want to make one visit the above link and watch their fun...

After a few short hours I had myself a Jelly Roll Quilt. Lovin' the instant gratification. Much needed at the time I might add.

My plans were to spice it up later with a border or something. Hated to admit, but my random act of pulling out 2.5 inch strips didn't lend itself to the pretty coordinated look that comes from a true jelly roll collection...oh well. It was quilt therapy.

Several sunrises and sunsets had past before I thought about the little quilt again.... the more I thought about it the more I didn't like it. It was too linear or something. I loved the pattern and the fun of making something quick. What was it? Did the colors not play nicely together? I couldn't understand that as they were my "chosen" and I do a lot of scrap quilts. I'd look at it and just toss it aside. I had other things to do. For months this became a quilt in waiting...

Until one day!

I decided what I didn't like about the quilt was indeed it was too linear for fabrics that weren't "blended" as a collection - instead of just tossing it in the pile of unwanted projects I decided not to waste the fabric or my time and energy. Goodness, it's fabric right, so why not cut it up and do something different!

Since I do like some sort of balance, or evenness I cut it into 5 equal parts and then switched those parts around to break up the long streaks of similar colors. (Lovin' my new design wall by the way)...

The process wasn't as painful as I thought. It was just more time than I wanted to commit to a project that seemingly didn't have a purpose...

Indeed, I felt like it was an improvement. Pleased with my extra efforts of time, the little quilt was tucked away again for another day..

I don't get to walk to the bay every day, not even every week, but when I do I am rewarded with reminders again that nature is indeed God's canvas. Its times like this that I sit and ponder the direction of my life, questioning the things that I am currently going through, wondering if I'm on the right path, curious as to what is around the next bend....

And then I get a brain storm! It's time to teach my husband more about quilting as it is our desire to have him join me more in the business (currently he is my right hand man in setting up the A1 Quilting Machines we sell). Yep, it's time to learn to actually quilt a quilt!

When I was learning I never enjoyed that blank canvas of muslin - we didn't need practice quilts mounting up to use as doggie quilts - goodness Pixxie is just a 6 pound Chihuahua and sleeps on real quilts! Nope, I didn't want to do muslin, I practiced on "real quilts" what if they weren't perfect, they were still useful. With that in mind I sacrificed my little jelly roll quilt to the mercy of a new quilter (grin). Okay, so it wasn't that dramatic, but it is the FIRST quilt that I've piece that I hired out the quilting (double grin).

Yep, something new for the both of us. And with good results if I do say so myself. PS, I do plan on teaching him to piece so he can do his own quilts from start to finish...

And that brings me back to the thoughts of New Directions. Many times I fight the thoughts of change, more so the trials that sometimes come with it. Those hard times when you can't seem to understand why mess is happening to you...why you are being uprooted or disappointed or torn apart. Those nights of anxiety, the endless oppression, the constant wondering of just where in the world are you suppose to fit in. I know I'm not alone. It does seem to be a universal experience at some point in everyone's lives...

It's times like these that I have to stop looking in the rear view mirror no matter how beautiful the sunrise and put my eyes totally on the road in front of me. The past is the past, it's time to look to the future. I may not know where I am going, sometimes it' only clear enough for the next step - but its times like these that I must put my total trust in my Creator God, the one who loves me more than I can imagine, the one who sent His Son to pay the price for my sin by dying in my place, the risen Jesus. I know I don't have all the answers to life's problems but I do know that He loves me and will never let go of my hand - new directions and all.

And like that little quilt that went through the painful process of waiting to be useful, then the pain of being cut up and redesigned....I've surrendered my will to His, if He wants to shake things up, move things around, and rework me then that's okay, because I know through the wait and the process that I will be better for it. Sometimes He shakes things up to move us where He can use us!

I'm ready for the next step in this wonderful journey called life! And like quilting, it's meant to be shared so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


"It's 'bout as bad as it could be
Seems everybody's buggin' me
Like nothing wants to go my way -- Yeah, it just ain't been my day
Nothin's comin' easily.

Even my skin is acting weird
I wish that I could grow a beard
Then I could cover up my spots
not play connect the dots
I just wanna disappear

Can only go up from here
where the clouds gonna clear
There's no way but up from here...."

Shania Twain lyrics.

I really like that song as there are a lot of days I can echo the sentiments. 2011 has been a whirlwind of a year (and we're only 3/4 of the way done!) Many times I've had to hold on to hope just to make it through the day. My best laid plans didn't always materialize ....

For example, this little quilt that I now call "Up!" was suppose to be called "Class of '37"

I designed it back in January using AccuQuilt's Block of the Month patterns and with the setting design inspired from Circle of Nine, a book I picked up at the Houston International Quilt Festival last year. The idea was two-fold. One to teach a piecing class using the Go!Cutter and two, to teach longarm design elements.

Okay? You still don't understand the Class of '37 do you? See, I was going to divide up the outer borders into quadrants as well as the inner borders...if you counted all the opportunities for designs (sashings, blocks, borders) it added up to 37...I see said the blind man.

Teachable moments!

But sometimes the best laid plans just don't work out as intended. Due to my studio redo and being displaced for so long the quilt top didn't get pieced until my birthday in July.

But that was okay, because it then doubled as my annual birthday quilt. Since 2004 I've made a quilt on or near my birthday. With the exception of my 47th year, that one carried over into my 49th year and is still waiting to be quilted. But! I made two last year for my 50th, so I still can say I've made 8 birthday quilts (grin).

The fun thing about procrastination is that I learned something new prior to piecing and quilting this little fun quilt. The Rose of Sharon block was cut out my with Go!Cutter (as was the entire quilt) and based on a block from Sharon Pederson's book The Rose of Sharon Block Book.

I'm not an appliquer so this was a bit of a challenge. It was made easier by putting double sided fusible on the back of the fabric prior to cutting and then I simply ironed it on my background fabric.

That's as far as I had gotten. Had no idea how to go around it. Would I do it on my domestic sewing machine? Clueless.

Well, on my birthday the Island Quilter's Guild holds an annual sew in - they don't just do it for me on my birthday (grin) but it always falls then because my birthday is in the third week of July and that's the time of the event! No better place to learn something new than at a guild sew in. With a little help of my friends I learned a new term "appli-quilt" and I decided to be brave and do it on the longarm because I am much more comfortable with my longarm than my home sewing machine. So instead of going around the parts and pieces during the piecing process I simply waited and did it all when it was on the frame - thereby securing the parts as well as quilting them all in one process!

Okay, so back to my original use this quilt as a teaching sample. The pressure was on. I'd been displaced so long out of my studio that I was guilt ridden to do this sampler when I knew I had customer quilts to do.... but my A1 reunion was fast approaching and I'd promised my A1 family a "class of '37"

Quilting is hard on the body, let me tell you. I've got multiple chiropractor receipts to prove it! There's been years that I have totally blown out parts of my body that have shut me down from quilting...some is due to the repetitive motion and some is due to stress....sad to say, stress has hit me big time this year (many many contractor woes that I haven't shared) and I've been physically suffering (trying to do it silently, but lately I've been a whiner).

So between physically hurting and my deadline fast approaching, parts of the quilt didn't get finished...namely the inner borders. So much for 37 design elements. Sigh. But the reunion went on and the quilt has sat unfinished for over a month.

Opportunity knocks sometimes at the most inconvenient times. My guild holds an annual show in conjunction with the Galveston Historical Foundation. I've always tried to have a quilt in the show but for the past couple of years haven't....I wanted this little quilt finished and hanging in this years show - well, it's an exhibit actually...runs from Oct 10-Jan 6 in the 1861 US Custom House on 20th Street.

Problem....crippling pain in the neck and left shoulder that radiates pain all the way down to my finger tips. Multiple chiropractor visits (wish I could trade quilting for their services! Ouch! in more ways than one). Instructions to take it easy, no heavy lifting, light quilting (or no quilting) while things heal...UGH!

But the quilt needed to be finished! All I had was the inner borders, 4 sets of 3 little parts....alas, my brain was somehow fried too and I couldn't come up with a dozen new border designs...
Instead I did what I love to do best, and that's feathers....and I repeated them instead of multiple designs. Fire me.

It's almost finished. I still need to do the binding and a hanging sleeve before the deadline in October. A little here, a little there. It will get done. I work a few hours a day playing catch up on my customer quilts and one of those days I'll work for me. Recovery is slow from injuries and I'm not the most patient of women. I've tried not to whine, at least publicly, my closest friends are probably VERY tired of my comments...can I help it if I have a low pain tolerance (grin)

As I was gathering the photos to put on webshots of all the close ups I noticed this close favorite feathers and notice -- they are pointing UP!

Shania's song is fun and upbeat, but my true "upness" comes from the love of my friends and family and the promise that no matter what my Jesus is always faithful to me even when my faith isn't strong....He is my healer, and even though this seems like the long way home He is faithful and I'm trusting Him to work things for my good.

So here's all the close ups of UP! or "Class of '37 minus 9" (grin).