I seem to have gotten my sewing mojo back, at least for the time being. Yet another 'dead soldier' thread spool above (laying on the deck of Blue) from my latest thread working.:)
I can't believe I haven't posted here for twelve days! That's a long time, even for me. :) I've been alternately busy and quiet, doing doctor's appointments, and a fun quilting retreat. Have to go back to my December schedule (posting every day) so I don't forget what I've been up to!
What I'm going to write about is the MidAtlantic Modern quilt retreat last weekend (Thursday the 3rd through Sunday the 6th). I have photos from that (random in nature, but good memory prompts) and I can at least remember most of it.
First, though, I thought I'd share this:
This is me, about two weeks ago. I got a new haircut and liked it so thought I'd document. :) That center bottom bit is the top of my iPhone's case (a Charlie Harper design). As you may know, I am preparing for bariatric surgery (sometime late this fall) and I am hoping my weight goes down next year ... good to have a 'before' photo, eh?
I am fairly active on Instagram now and was in a swap recently that I am enjoying (have six of the eight wedges by now) - called the Sisterhood Swap, it went to support a good cause as well as quilting friendship. I got a wedge in yesterday's mail which is not showing in this photo (I'll take another one when I get them all and finish my pillow):
I love all the different skin and dress prints! :) That little pink bit sticking out on the left side is my wedge. Wish I could zap us all to one location and take a REAL photo of the eight of us holding hands in a circle! :)
Let's see, retreat ... one activity that always happens at 'Mod' is a progressive quilt or two. Before the event, people who choose to participate (and I always do) get a fabric packet in the mail. There have been a bunch of different themes to these quilts (this year the two were 'Modern Chains' and 'Transparency'; I chose the latter). You make whatever you want to match that theme beforehand and bring it to Mod ... then, during Mod, members take turns working on the assortment of bits to create a cohesive top (hopefully!:). I took photos of both boards at the beginning of Mod:
This is what I made for 'transparency' (forgot about the swap so made this at the last minute on Wednesday). You'd think, at this point in my life, that I would have gotten over that procrastination trait!
The work wall we had to compose and arrange on was about queen bed sized so I could not get far enough away to show the whole thing at once - what you see above is a left view then right side view. If you examine the parts made beforehand carefully, you will probably see that some show 'transparency' effects and some do not. There was considerable learning going on during the weekend by many of us. :)
This is how 'Modern Chains' started off. Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to this one as I was not working on it. :)
I have been trying to get photos of both finished items ... but Instagram won't let me extract them. Sigh. You can go here and here to look at them if you are interested. I pretty much just watched how they were developing over the weekend, in curiosity.
What did I work on? Packing for a retreat is always difficult for me - take things to finish or take new projects or take new techniques to explore ... I've done it all those ways. This time I took some of all.
First I took 'new' fabrics to work with (meaning bought but not cut into:) ... and the first item of business I tackled was trying to figure out how to use the Giant Clammy template/ruler by Latifah Saafir. I bought this a couple years ago while on Row by Row travel with Barbara and Patty, intending to use it with my Tabby Road prints by Tula Pink. Of course, when I was packing for retreat, I could not find the fabric, so brought along something else to practice with. :) Here's what my first effort looked like:
Honestly, I think I must be getting stupider as I age ... took me quite a while to get anything useful from the template. I found it very confusing to figure out and I'm not at all sure I got it right. I chose the Orange Peel part of the clamshell to make first because I could do it in smaller parts (I was working with a layer cake of this print collection and the entire clamshell is too big for a 10" square:).
I did decide to try for the clamshell after I finished this block - I brought along my beautiful Japanese indigos for this, purely for the physical and visual pleasure of working with them. :) Sadly, I did not take any photos of that sewing - I stupidly forgot to pack my iPhone's recharging cord and ran out of power before I ran out of sewing. :) (I did find a friend - thank you, Rose!! - to lend me a chord the next day but forgot to go back and take photos). I managed to cut and sew about eight clamshells (two rows of four) at the retreat. Enough for me to feel comfortable about continuing at home. :) I'll share a picture when I get back to working on that.
Next I dug out a pattern I bought recently at Springwater Designs called Mini Happy Flower by Gingerber. I originally got the pattern because I liked the petals-around-a-circle design and envisioned using it as a framing device for large scale prints. Looking at the sweet print collection I was using for the original clamshells, though, I decided that they would make a lovely charity quilt for some cute tiny girlie. Here's what I sewed:
This was pure fun to make! I did find at least one error in the pattern (which annoyed me) but it was easy to recover from ... I look forward to quilting this little baby (maybe 32"x36"?). I can see making at least one more of these ... and I still want to try using the petal shape as a framing device. :)
Another thing that happens at Mod is classes. I did not pay any attention to what was scheduled before I got there or I'd have taken more ... I did take one class on Friday afternoon on improvisational patchwork with varied materials (not just quilting weight cotton). I used cotton, denim, linen, double gauze ... maybe some others I'm forgetting ... to collage this placemat-sized bit:
I enjoyed the teacher, Daniela Di Iorio, a lot! I'd recommend her highly to any guild looking for enthusiasm and knowledge. She's been a seamstress most of her life and really knows fabric. She had the same excitement for fabric that I do. :) Since I had not planned for this class (thanks to Judy Dunlap for getting me into this trouble!:), I bought one of her materials packets for my project and got a really nice curated assortment of fabrics:
That horizontal gray rectangle toward the bottom is a metallic lame of some kind. Sparkly that doesn't show in my photo. Notice the cool selvedge just to the left of the zebra-esque print ('Double Fun'). :) Now that I have it pieced together (again, no pic, yet) I want to do some hand embroidery. Then I'll share again.
Toward the end of retreat I started to have problems with Blue (my Featherweight) ... my top thread kept breaking. I did the usual (changed threads, changed needles, cleaned the bobbin area) with no improvement so that put the end to my machine sewing for retreat. I took Blue in for a spa (repair) session this morning so hopefully she'll be on the mend soon. Thank goodness I have my Bernina at home to use!
There was great swag for us (donations from a LOT of sponsors for a gift bag - fabrics, threads, info of all sorts) and door prizes (I won at least two - a nice box of six spools of thread and another issue of Curated Quilts magazine). We also had a group project of making Button Boats, donated by Lazy Girl Designs. I made mine with two 10" squares of Kaffe Fassett fabric and some lovely hot pink buttons from donations. :)
All in all, it was an exciting four days. We stayed at the Doubletree Resort in Lancaster, PA. Nice place, as hotels go, though I was in a grouchy mood with them at times (not sure they deserved it:). I had some trouble sleeping (I always do when I travel) ... but the beds were comfortable enough that my back did not hurt (always a plus:). The food was GOOD, both at the hotel and the area. We found a nearby Asian restaurant to eat at (twice for me:) called Wasabi. Yum! I had "Exotic Mango" and loved it (chicken and shrimp).
The driving to and from Lancaster was pretty - my Maps app took me through rural northern MD and south central PA for most of the trip - very soothing on Thursday which was sunny (though breezy); not so much on Sunday (rainy).
Monday I spent quietly, resting. I was _supposed_ to go to Mimi's Grad Class. They went to the Maryland Historical Society to see Mimi's exhibit ... but I bowed out. I just did not have the stamina for it. Sigh. I plan to go see the exhibit later this month, on my own.
Yesterday (Tuesday) and today I had doctor's appointments. My cholesterol levels are down, as is my blood sugar level, and my other lab results were positive. I am definitely more healthy than I was two months ago - even though I'm still wheezing. Sigh. I have an appointment next week to see the pulmonologist. :P
Tomorrow is the weekly meeting of Faithful Circle and I have to go - it's time for the block of the month drawing. :)