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Sigh.

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Hunter, in a rare moment of repose

The winner notifications for Houston have come and gone, and no ribbon for me this time. Yes, I know the drill…it’s an honor to be accepted, all the quilts in the show are winners. I’ve even said those to other non-winners. It’s hard to accept when you make one quilt every two years or so. Even harder when there are a total of 6 quilts in your category. Oh well. Life goes on.

The news put me in a bit of a tailspin. Add a new cat to the mix and there has been very little quilting these last few weeks. I’m just getting a handle on it now, and I hope to have a new top done and in the frame sometime in November.

About that new cat. He showed up 3 weeks ago. We were in the kitchen discussing dinner when we heard 3 LOUD yowls at the back door. Thinking that Knuckles had gotten himself into trouble, we were surprised to see a small gray cat at the door. So small we couldn’t leave him to the foxes, coyotes and who-know-what-else lives in our back yard.

I took him in thinking we’d take him to the shelter. Sure. I called CG Humane, Animalkind, the Ulster County shelter and a few independents. None of them would have him, no room at the inn. He’s a great cat, friendly, playful(!) and noisy. Healthy except for the entourage of fleas and internal parasites. It’s obvious he has been well loved, which makes his appearance at our door a mystery. Smart little bugger, too.

So here’s to Hunter. I hope he likes being a quilter’s cat.

 

 

Cauterskill Rising

JanetKaaterskill

Blurry photo of me taken at the 2010 Houston International Quilt Festival

2010 was a very good year. I entered my quilt, Kaaterskill, in several quilt contests and it did very well. In August 2010 it was juried into the Houston International Quilt Festival, and in September I found out it won a cash award.

This was the second time I got the “call.” I regretted not going when Pocantico won 2nd place in hand quilting, so we made the trek to Houston to accept the 3rd place award in Handmade Quilts.

One thing that the Houston show is famous for is being hard on the feet. My quilt was displayed at the end of the aisle and right across from it was a bench – which became my favorite perch whenever my feet gave out. I’d gaze at the quilt, redesigning it in my mind. Not that I would ever redo it. Perish the thought.

That was the last time I saw Kaaterskill.

It came back from Houston, and I opened the box to take out the ribbon and then sent it to Quilters Newsletter in Golden, Colorado. They wanted it for photography. Talk about floating on air – this was the most prestigious quilting magazine in the industry, and while it had lost some of its lustre when it went corporate, it was still a highly regarded publication.

I was stunned when they called with the news they wanted the quilt to be on the June/July 2011 cover.

Given the quilt’s success, I went ahead and entered two more shows, Indiana Quilt Heritage and the AQS show at Paducah.

Quilters Newsletter held on to the quilt for a long time. My husband was nervous about it, but I felt the quilt was in good hands. Finally in February they shipped it back, UPS Two Day Air. It was due on Friday, February 18, 2011.

It never arrived.

We don’t know what happened, but we have our suspicions. In the end, it wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me. 2011 was a shitty year. I was very happy when 2012 was rung in.

So sometime in 2012 I revisited those redesign plans, because going back to a color palette and design I loved working in was the only silver lining I could find. I hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted the successor.  The quilt named itself – Cauterskill Rising.

Right now it’s at Houston, fortunate to be high and dry in spite of Hurricane Harvey. I hope to hear this week whether it has won an award or not. I’m not holding my breath, but it sure would be fun to go back to Houston and celebrate.

FullView

Cauterskill Rising

 

Hoop or frame?

Lucyquilting
Lucy supervises me as I work on a quilt, a really long time ago.

My first quilting book was a Christmas gift. By the time I finished reading it, I had found my true love: hand quilting. One phrase in the book stuck with me: for fine hand quilting, you need a frame. Now I know that’s untrue, but as an impressionable beginner I took it as gospel.

When I found out my first frame had arrived, I shouted so loud people thought I’d won the lottery. I literally had a rich uncle leave me the money for it – a teensy tiny slice of his estate, just enough for a Hinterberg QX2000. We slapped some stain on it, and I loaded my first quilt on it.

I put in my first line of stitches, quilting towards myself just like I’d always done in the hoop. But then I got to the end of the line. Uh oh. I could turn the hoop, but there is no way to turn the frame. I ended up knotting off and starting someplace else. What was supposed to make my life easier was totally harder to deal with!

Eventually I figured it all out. All I needed was to learn to quilt away from myself. I found that a tailors thimble would work on my thumb, and within a few days I was quilting away like a pro.

Here’s what I know now, that I didn’t know then:

A quilt frame is the size of a living room couch. It’s a great way to quilt if you can adapt your quilting style to using your thumb as well as your middle finger to quilt. You’ll also need to move your body a bit more. It’s great having everything all set and ready to go, though.

I try not to do too much at any one time. I start in the middle and work to the left, then go back to the middle and quilt to the right. I usually do a swath about 6 inches wide, then advance the frame – that’s always very exciting!

Quilting with a cat on the frame is really sweet. Until you realize the cat’s weight is making it hard to quilt. And when your quilt comes back from a show with the comment “Sadly, work is stretched in spots,” it is time to kick the cat off  the frame. Lucy did not handle eviction terribly well. We ended up buying a new frame, just because it tilted up when not in use. No more kitty hammock, no more claw marks, no more stretched spots.

So is it better than using a hoop? I’ve managed to hand quilt queen sized quilts in a hoop and managed just fine. It helps to have air conditioning in the summer, though. I can quilt in a frame all summer long with just a fan blowing on me. Marking as I go along is easier in a frame, although I do have to work on keeping parallel lines from going wonky.

Some quilters love that a hoop is portable. However, having an impaired housekeeping gene, I’d just as soon keep the quilt in a frame so it doesn’t get dirty. I also find that I get a better product from the frame. The quilt is flatter and hangs straighter.

 

September 1, 2017

I suppose it is unusual to see a blog about quilting on a business page. But it is all about design…and who the customer is.

Graphic design is all about the customer. Where do they want to go, what is their primary objective? Quilting is all about me.

I love working with color, pattern and texture. Quilting allows me to play, and sewing by hand gives me peace. Yeah, I’ll take my sewing machine out for a ride every once in a while, but I always go back to hand work.

See my featured photograph? Those are the tools of my trade.

I’m a little frustrated right now. I finished Cauterskill Rising in May. Well, really it was sometime in August, right before it went to Houston, but it’s been out of the frame since May. That means I haven’t been hand quilting at all.

So what have I been doing? Working with these:

MichaelMillerCotton

Michael Miller Cotton Couture. Solids. Hand applique. Picture to come!