Living This Creative Life

I have two favorite quotes. The first one is by Emile Zola, "If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I would tell you that I came to live out loud". I don't know who the second one is by, but it goes like this, "If you're not living on the edge then you might as well jump". Both of these sentiments sum up my personal philosophy of this experience we call life on earth. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Block 64 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Hi All,
Wow, what a couple of weeks it's been. I've gathered up and sent nearly 200 quilts to my publisher and all but finished my new book. I've got about 40 pages left then it's nothing but the editing! Yeah! And, I got a job! Yeah again!
I'm now working for Rocky Mountain Sewing in Westminster (yes,Westminster - for those of you who know where I live, yes it's a 30-40 minute commute). I'm working just 3-4 days each week so I'll have plenty of time to play! Yeah, Yeah again!
Enough news - on with the new stitch out. The next several blocks will all feature the "gentle curve". I tell my machine quilting students that it is the most valuable stitch design they will ever learn and I aint' kiddin around. Begin by dividing your block into quarters. Then divide each quarter block into quarters. Do all of this dividing with a Hera marker. Beginning in any one of the quarter blocks, set your needle down in the middle where the two lines intersect. Stitch a gentle curve that ends about 1/2-3/4" away from the edge then stitch a straight line out and away from the marked line about 1/2" then form a point as you stitch back down to the center line. Now, stitch back up and out the same length that you did on the other side and turn and stitch back in to the center line thus making the triangle or arrow head. Stitch another gentle curve till you reach the center of the block again. This is 1/4 of the design. Repeat all of the previous steps three more times along the remaining three marked lines. Knot off then move on to one of the other blocks.
Once all four sections are complete, stitch a wavy line along the two lines you drew first that mark out the four smaller blocks then stitch along the diagonal.
Hope you enjoy this new design - it's great for blocks pieced out of lots of squares or half square triangles.
See you later this week,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Block #63 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Good Afternoon,

Sorry this is late in the day, but I was lucky enough to have my old assistant, great friend Judy visiting for the day and helping me get all of the packaging ready for shipping close to 100 quilts to my publisher for my upcoming book - what a job! And there's still more to send!

Here is today's new stitch-out. I call in Curly Cat Hair, and I should know - four cats and there is always cat hair on everything!

We have used this movement before, in the curvy E's and along with swirls too. Here, it stands alone which would make it seem simpler, but it can be a little difficult to fill all the space and get your curves to curve in different directions. You may want to doodle it out before you start stitching.

Begin in the center of the block and stitch a curvy, quarter moon shape that is about 3/4" long. Double back and echo the first curve with a second one that is about 1/8" away from the first one and a little longer. Make two to three more quarter moons that hug the first one. When you've stitched the last layer, make a new 1 1/2" long quarter moon next to the first one then stitch two more inside the first one (moving in the opposite direction as the first set you stitched). Now you've nested smaller moons inside a larger one and have echoed larger moons around a smaller one. Doing this in both manners will allow you more freedom to fill in all of the space equally. Keep stitching sets of quarter moons, trying to keep the same distance between layers and between sets, until you have filled in all of the space.

This is perfect for animal hair or fur of all types, but it's a wonderful filler design too!


Till Wednesday,


Friday, August 13, 2010

Machine Quilting Challenge Block #62

Good Morning and Happy Friday to you all.
I wanted to invite all of you locals to check out the art opening tonight at the Ice Cube Gallery, 3320 Walnut St. in the RINO arts district. It is the opening night of Ray Tomasso's newest show. We used to carry his hand made papers at our store. He makes amazing cast paper hangings. They are filled with wonderful texture, earthy color and great line. He's very talented and a lovely person too. Come and treat yourself to some great art! Tonight (Friday the 13th) from 5:00 - 9:00. I'll be there at about 6:30.
On to today's new design. This one is really fun. I call it Star Flowers. It is a combination of several simple motifs. The center of each star is made like the meandering leaf filler from four entries ago. It is surrounded by five pointy petals which are triangular and each flower is linked to the others with loop d'loops. I suggest doodling it out before you start stitching.
Begin near the center of the block and stitch an almond shape that is open on one end. Make it about 3/4" long and 1/2" wide. When you get back to the open end, stitch a second, smaller almond in the center and close it off at the end. Stitch a triangle shaped petal that is open on the wide end that is next to the flowers almond shaped center. Continue stitching triangular petals until you have five moving around the almond center. Try to keep two petals on each side and one above the center tip of the almond center. Once the flower is complete, stitch several small loop d'loops out and away from the flower, stitch another flower in the same manner.
Keep stitching flowers linked by loop d'loops, trying to keep the negative space equally filled and the flowers the same size and the loop d'loops smaller than the inner almond. When stitching out the flowers, try to stitch them in every direction. This way the design will look neat, tidy and interesting.
I love this stitch out, it's sort of modern-retro. Hope you enjoy it too,
Till Monday,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Block #61 in the Machine Quilting Challenge

Good Morning All,
Thank you to all of you, especially Elana, Chris W, and Christa, who have welcomed me back with such enthusiasm.
Here is today's new stitch-out. I call it Crazy Hearts. It's a great background fill especially for little girls quilts.
It looks pretty easy and it is once you get the rhythm down. You may want to doodle it out first so you get used to the density and placement.
To begin, stitch a small heart that is about 1/2 -3/4 of an inch in size. Echo stitch around the heart one time then make a second heart and echo stitch around it. Keep adding hearts and surrounding them with one or more echos. Try to keep it so that there is no negative space between the echoed hearts. You can vary the size of the hearts or keep them all about the same size like I did. You can also stitch the heart in a bigger size, but that will make it more difficult to butt them next to each other.
Hope you enjoy today's new design,
Till Friday,

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Machine Quilting Challenge, Block #60

Good Morning,
It's been a while, almost two months since my last entry, I've been going through a bunch of personal changes and needed to take some time off. But, I'm back now and I hope that some of you are still with me!
Here is today's new stitch-out. It combines swirled designs from several past stitch-outs; triangle, square and rectangular swirls. This one is very fun and quite contemporary looking. I find it a bit more difficult than stitching the designs in rows. You have to think a little bit more because you have to have an idea of what shape your going to stitch next and where you're going to stitch it.
Begin by stitching a shape that is about 1 1/2" across. I started with a square, then swirl into the shape and back out again. Stitch another shape, but make it different from the first. Swirl in then back out. Try to keep the stitch lines inside the swirls and between the shapes a consistent distance apart. Mine are about 1/4". Continue making shapes, any thing with straight sides will work, fitting them together like a puzzle.
Remember that it's easier to sew a straight, straight line if your moving quickly and that if you want tight turns and corners that you must stop your hands momentarily at each turns, while you keep the machine going.
Hope you enjoy this stitch-out, I'll do another on Wednesday.
Till then,