Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Qwilt Qwazy Queens Blog Hop!! Meeting Kris Conrad: Interview with a Lace Maker

A big THANK YOU to Marian at Seams to Be Sew for hosting this Blog Hop!  

Blog Hops are always so much fun to participate in and I'm super excited for this one because we had a very broad scope of topics!  So I'm excited to show you something AMAZING that I happened upon just a few days ago...

After teaching for four days at Calla Lily Quilts in Greensboro NC -- had a fabulous time and got to stay with my friends Karen and Graham Pervier -- I drove to Raleigh, returned the rental car and was picked up by my former neighbor, Charlene Wasilczyk, to stay with her and John for a few days.  They were our neighbors for ten years before they left sunny soCal for NC.  They totally broke my heart when they moved!!!

We were all talking during brunch and Charlene mentioned that the lady across the street was a lace maker!  Charlene described some of her friend's work to me and I immediately asked if there was any way I could meet her and see it while I was here.  So after a bit of texting back and forth, Charlene and I strolled across the street and I got to meet Kris.

Her front door says it all!


When we walked in, Kris was instructing two of her students and helping them with their projects.  This was the table where her supplies were laid out: bobbins and fibers, scissors and pins.

There are two of these beautiful narrow pieces of lace intertwined with a thicker gold thread. The second is on the back of the other column in the right hand side of the picture.  Kris explained that they originally hung in a former house in narrow windows on either side of the front door.

Here's a closeup of that beautiful piece!

After her students packed up all their bobbins, threads and projects, Kris took us upstairs to where she spends the most time at her lacemaking activities.  She has been a lacemaker for 35 years and is a member of several guilds devoted to the art.

This is a small part of her hedgehog collection; of course, I loved the one with turquoise hair!  According to Shopping my Stash: "The hedgehog is the mascot of lacemakers, primarily because bobbin lacers use lots of pins in their work.  But makers of all types of lace have adopted this cute animal."

Kris has set up a table for her lacemaking, with the necessary lighting, both natural and electric, to make it easy and comfortable for her to spend many hours immersed in her craft.

This is the project on the table right now; it's an English lace style and she said that she was using Midland bobbins to make it.  The bobbins were an art form in themselves, smaller and lighter than the standard bobbins and some were very decorative.  Kris said that the lace took her about an hour per 1/2" square, so about 4 hours per square inch, whereas most of her lacemaking took about 3 hours per square inch.  She's working with a fiber that is very fine, approximately 140 wt. silk.

This is a piece that her mother-in-law had framed...

Another framed piece on the wall....

Kris showed us several works in progress, each on its own pillow that provides a soft, curved surface to support the work and keep it from dragging.  This one is a beautiful butterfly surrounded by all of the bobbins wound with the fibers used in its construction.

This next one is a forest of pins, but if you look straight down you can see the intricacy of the pattern; again, she is using very fine silk.

I want to thank Kris for her generosity in opening her home and sharing her passion with us.  Always thrilled to meet a fellow fiber fanatic!

There are three other Featured Bloggers today.  Leave a comment on my blog and all three of these blogs to be entered in a BIG GIVEAWAY!!

Thrift Shop Commando
Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Sew Many Yarns

Visit Marian's Blog for all of the giveaway details and even MORE giveaways to enter!

And here's the full schedule in case you're in need of some fun stories, hilarious pictures, or incredible inspiration:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Show Me Quilt Cruise, Part 2

Our first port of call was Key West and, sorry Floridians, but my reaction was Meh....so I stayed on board and did hand stitching on my Presents quilt binding (which I still haven't finished, but that's the whole being sick thing).

Then we had an at sea day where everybody got to take classes from the various instructors. There were three classrooms on the ship and a class going on in each one during the hours the ship was at sea. When we were in port, everyone was on their own.

On Monday, we docked in Mahogany Bay in the Honduras -- that's Wendy taking a selfie...

Wendy and I got off the ship and went on a shore excursion to an iguana preserve -- they were everywhere! Only negative was it smelled sort of like a whole group of sea lions -- ewwww!

Wendy holding a leaf out for the iguanas to eat...

This lady was passing out leaves to the tourists so they could feed the iguanas.

There were also a couple of spider monkeys that have taken up residence here.

The preserve is right on the water, so took a few pics....

After the iguana event, we went to a beach where we hung out for an hour, enjoying the sun, the views and some yummy guava juice. That's Donna and Rita, two of our quilting cruisers, on the beach under the palm trees.

I took this picture of the harbor from the deck of the ship.

It was a relaxing fun day -- now back to the sewing!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Some Pics from the Cruise!

I've declared that I'm officially off my deathbed -- although I'm still coughing and hacking away, after 7 days I can function more or less normally in a teaching capacity, so full recovery can't be more than a few days off. Unless this is one of those coughs that last weeks and weeks -- we've all had those, no? The only good news is that I have no appetite whatsoever and have been living on soup, cottage cheese and applesauce. Tough way to lose 10 pounds!
This morning I set the alarm for 6am; my thinking was that with the "spring forward" thing last night even if my phone didn't make the change I'd be up in plenty of time. Of course, my phone did make the change, all is good, email done, Craftsy account checked to see if there are any quilty questions, and there was even time left over to review the camera roll and write this.
The Show Me Quilt Cruise started on Friday, February 23 and went for a week. I left the day before, stayed at the Hampton Inn in Tampa along with a bunch of other cruisers in our group and we all set off for Holland America's Oosterdamm on Friday morning. Ports of call were Key West, where I spent that day in the 10th deck bar (it was closed....drat) binding the Presents quilt, Honduras, Belize and Cozumel.
Opening night we all got together to meet the instructors and see the potential projects....

Toni (foreground), Millie (left) and Wendy (right) relaxing for a few minutes before the get together. Millie and Wendy had spent all day setting up 34 BERNINA and Viking sewing machines in the classroom and were most likely exhausted! Toni's sitting in front of all the beautiful fabric bundles for her Fringed & Fabulous quilt class.

And here it is -- lots of embellishment and crazy piecing!

Millie taught the Wishing Tree quilt and a Woven Star pattern. I worked on the Wishing Tree while I had sewing time on board....

The ship personnel had brought in several ironing boards with this chevron pattern on it; while I was pressing my Wishing Tree, I loved the way the chevron shadowed through and thought that would be an interesting background quilting motif that I could easily accomplish using my Westalee rulers. My idea is to first quilt in the chevrons and then fill stitches between them. So I stuck an Omnigrid ruler down so that I would be able to determine scale when I got home. What do you think -- cool?

Wendy's Missou Tigers T-shirt quilt. That's Joyce Holley in the bottom photo; she taught a purse and some other smaller items and was the organizer of the whole shebang! Nice job, Joyce!

Tami with her pineapple quilts -- her brights on black was my favorite!

One of the projects that Joyce taught...a really pretty LeMoyne Star table runner....


Students waiting to hear what everybody was going to teach and Toni with her "Fringed & Fabulous" quilt! 

My part in the festivities was to do lectures on needles and thread -- I'm always willing to talk about one of my favorite subjects and give away bags of Mettler thread! I also did a lecture/demo with the Westalee rulers.

This first night set the stage for what was to come -- now on to the cruising!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Eddie's Quilting Bee, Sunnyvale CA

I never had the good fortune to meet Eddie Leone's mom, Diana, but I remember her as being a quiltmaking legend. Eddie partnered with her several years ago and has since expanded her original store, The Quilting Bee, and moved it from Mountain View to Sunnyvale. I hadn't yet taught in the "new" location (putting new in quotes because it's been 9 years! My how time gets away from us!) and was looking forward to seeing it.

There are two classrooms on the upper floor, easily accessible by stairs or elevator, and I was delighted to discover artwork by Diana adorning the walls. 

I hadn't realized she was a painter as well as a quilter, so this was a wonderful surprise!

And it goes on and on! Students are arriving, so more later....this is a great story!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Not That I Cut This Close or Anything!

I'm usually pretty accurate when assessing the number of strips needed for binding. A formula sort of sing-songs through my head: length times 2 plus width times 2 plus 9" divided by 42. That will give me a number that I round up or down depending on how close it is. Right?
I put the binding on before I left on the cruise and then did a little over half of the hand stitching while moored off of Key West. Thoroughly enjoyed the week and then came home with a bad cold, one of those that comes along about every 10 years and totally knocks ya on your butt! I've been in bed ever since, once in a while getting up to do some email and then gratefully lying back down.
During my last email stint, I found a little piece of fabric laying on the bed of my sewing machine and had to laugh when I realized what it was: The very small end of the strip when I did the binding join! That was a little too close!

Have you ever done that? Or, worse, have you ever been that much short? Stuff of nightmares!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Springtime = Givewaway Time!

Springtime feels like a FABULOUS time for a giveaway!  Don't you think??  

Do you love hexagons?? (Who doesn't?)  These are BIG, BRIGHT, SPRINGTIME hexagons... 40 of them!  8" across with diagrams on the back showing different shapes you can cut from them. Included in the giveaway is a pattern using the hexagons and a 2500 meter spool of grey Wonderfil thread! 

Want to enter this giveaway??  You'll get one entry for each of the following:

1. LIKE our Facebook Page!
2. Share this post on Facebook!
3. Comment on this post and tell us what you're working on this spring!

We'll draw a winner on March 20... the first day of SPRING!!

Good luck!  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Whoa! Remember these Pins??

We received this funny email and photo from Paula Lidyoff in response to our Pins Post from a few weeks ago.   FUNNY!!!

Considering your recent post about sewing over pins, I thought you'd appreciate this picture from one of my quilting buddies.  Can you believe it?  True - she using those huge pins we all USED TO use.  I have been using the kind you like for a long time - Alex taught me how at Asilomar when I took her 'stars' class.  Once you get used to using those wonderful fine pins, everything else feels like an enormous railroad spike.  Not every quilt shop carries them, so when I see them, I'll oftentimes just get a fresh pack.  After all, they do bend, etc. a little more often than the railroad spikes (hahaha).  Anyway, get a good laugh with this.

Her caption read: 
"Just stitched through the head of a yellow pin! Omg. Needle didn't break .... but I need a pair of pliers to disconnect things. Another first! Haha."

Thanks for the laugh Paula!!!
Who remembers these pins!!?!?!  Do you still use them???

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Key West Today!

It's an absolutely beautiful day here in Florida. I elected to spend the day on the msOosterdamm and get some hand stitching done on the Valentine's presents quilt binding.

It's been fun sitting here sewing and chatting with people who walk by. Everyone has a quilt story! Either they have a relative who quilts, remembers their grandmother quilting or perhaps has made a quilt or few themselves. One gentleman even told me all about the quilt he won in a donation raffle!
Love listening to the tales and enjoying the scenery. It's about 2pm now, we have a cocktail party at 4:30, dinner at 5:30 and party in our pj's at 8 where everyone gets to be a cut up -- we'll all be rotary cutting our fabrics for the classes ahead. 

Tough gig, huh?

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