How Do You Organize Your Sewing Area?

I hope that your sewing area is a lot more organized than mine.  My sewing area is a disaster zone in my basement.  I have an old desk that used to be one of my son’s, a filing cabinet that needs all the files purged, a large work table that really belongs to my husband, but that I have taken hostage of, (you would understand if you saw it in person… it’s just the right height for cutting fabric with a rotary cutter) A two-door cabinet that has fabric kind-of sorted by color, but not really, a sewing table that has a mountain of clutter on it…

You’re not going to make me go on with this, are you??

Anyway, the basement is cold and damp.  I am always cold no matter what the temperature is outside, so having a cold work area is not very inspiring for me.

I know I’m not the only quilter in the world that struggles with “Sewing Area Dis-organization.”  My goal over the next few months is to de-clutter, purge, organize and add some warmth to the basement.  (I would like to call it the studio, however that would be jumping the gun and dishonest).

Please share your sewing area with the rest of us so that we can set more reasonable goals and end up with a lovely work area.

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QUILT SHOP COMPARISONS

Durham Feathers

Photo above: Preparing a quilt for hand quilting

In my neck of the woods (Mid-Michigan), there are very few quilt shops.  Many have closed over the past few years, leaving quilters with few options available to them.  Yes, we have larger stores such as JoAnn’s, Michael’s. Walmart, etc.  But if we want a good selection of fabrics and tools for hand quilting, we are out of luck.

Most small quilt shops don’t carry much in the way of hand quilting supplies.  I have heard from many quilters that small shops have even been rude to hand quilters asking for supplies.  Why is that?  Word has it that quilt shops that carry larger ticket items such as sewing machines can make a LOT more money from their customers than they can from hand quilters.

Quite often when I visit quilt shops it is not unusual to see classes in process.  The classes I usually see are centered upon sewing with a machine or following a specific pattern designed by the shop owner.  I would LOVE to walk in and see a hand-quilting workshop in process. I would LOVE to walk in and see an instructor guiding a class in the design and creation of their own art quilts.

What has been YOUR experience with small quilt shops?  What do you see on a regular basis?  What do you like?  What don’t you like?  What would you like to see more of?  Shop owners, please join in on the discussion.  Quilters, please leave your responses in the Comments section below, and feel free to tweet your remarks as well!

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Music to Quilt By… or T.V.? What’s your pleasure? and Ken Burns collection!

My quilting time is for me… a time to relax, think about what I’m doing or ponder the universe.  It’s also a time for listening to some good music or some television show the hubby probably wouldn’t listen to if I paid him… Generally, it’s a quiet time.  Right now as I write this, I’m listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Stones in the Road.”  For me, it’s perfect quilting music.  It relaxes my muscles and clears my head; I think even the furry girls in my house enjoy it.

What do you listen to while you are quilting?  Share it with other quilters by using the Comments section below.

The Quilts of Ken Burns:   You WON’T want to miss this… click on the links below!

Ken Burns  

“Filmmaker Ken Burns has collected quilts since the 1970’s, but he’s never publicly shared his collection… until now. Burns once said, “I make films for other people; I collect quilts for myself.”   In this interview with Nebraska Stories, Burns shares why he’s become a collector of this beautiful and functional art form.”

Writing and Quilting – a Big THANK YOU!

I like to write.  You may have discovered that already.  I’ve written two quilting books, a number of magazine articles, and lots of blog posts.  I am a quilter.  A HAND QUILTER.  I do most of my quilting by hand, as I find it relaxing.  A few years ago, I started a Facebook group called “Celebrate Hand Quilting” so that other hand quilters could connect and share with each other, regardless of where they live, what their background is, and how much experience they have.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/handquilting/

I received an email the other day from a gentleman offering “help.”

I thought I’d share it with my regular readers.  Here’s what it said:  “Hi,  My name is Ryan, I’m a freelance writer and I’m a long time reader of your blog. I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post for your website. What do you think about it? I’d be happy to know your opinion about guest blogging opportunities. Look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,
Ryan

Well, Ryan, That’s an awesome offer!  Since you’re a long time reader of my blog, I have some questions for you!  Would you please respond to them by leaving your responses to the questions below in the comments area so that others may read them as well?

  1. What is your favorite kind of hand quilting thread?

  2. Do you double thread your needle all the time?

  3. How do you feel about pre-washing batting before you hand quilt?

  4. Batik fabrics are lovely in quilts, aren’t they? Do you find them harder or easier to hand quilt?  Why?

  5. Ryan, do you prefer a long-arm or a short-arm machine for hand quilting?

  6. Would you please share the link to your own blog with my readers? We’d like to know what you are currently working on.   A picture or two of your work would also be appreciated!

  7. The Celebrate Hand Quilting group on Facebook welcomes male quilters. We would be happy to include you in the group.  Please don’t hesitate to join by clicking on the link above.

  8. Since you are an avid quilter, I am assuming that your offer to be a guest writer on my blog means that you will be willing to contribute free articles on my blog on a regular basis. On behalf of my quilting friends, I’d like to share a hearty Thank you!  

Hand Quilting In Progress!

1cdba-twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhite-759183I’ve been working on a quilt for my youngest grandson for several months now.  I think it’s coming along nicely! The quilt is a mixture of different blue printed fabrics that I had lying around the studio. I have made this pattern before for another of my grandsons… I like how it’s shaping up!  How about you? I always use Presencia thread for hand quilting.  I love how it feels and how it slides through  100% cotton fabric!

HandQuilting

I would also love to hear what you’re working on!  If you have a blog and have posted your most current project on it, please comment below with a link to your blog so others can see!

Are you on Twitter?  If so, would you please add me to your Twitter list? I will return the favor!

1cdba-twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhite-759183

Tweet Caron @cmosey

 

Huff and Puff… Nope, better not even come near our house!

For the THIRD time in about one year, hoodlums in our neighborhood have destroyed large windows in my husband’s fairly new woodworking studio.  Yesterday, hubby had an opportunity to meet up with them BEFORE they did any new damage.  They were in our back yard looking in the window, and hubby and our neighbor  had a brief chat with them.. a few kids, not very old.  All seemed “almost well,” but something was fishy.  You could feel it in the air.  Then this morning while out walking the dog in our yard, hubby discovered one of the large windows in the back of his studio had been broken with a large rectangle paving stone.  An immediate call to the police was made, and plans are in action… This is the THIRD time… and it’s getting old and expensive!   huffNpuff

3pigs.jpg

 

Passing the Torch

So many changes…

When I was little, my parents wouldn’t let me have a pet.  Until, that is, our next-door neighbor gave me a kitten.  A fuzzy, adorable little white kitten that I named “Snowball.”  I loved that kitten SO much, but my father could not tolerate the cat going potty in OUR bathroom, so the cat became an “out-door” cat.  Until the wonderful neighbor next door had an accident in the driveway that prevented Snowball from ever going potty again.  Anywhere!

My Grandpa Covert was an avid hunter.  He and his buddies loved to go out in the country and hunt.  Everyone at that time who hunted had a rifle and a hunting dog or two.  Grandpa’s dog’s name was “Jody.”  But Jody left this world before I could ever pet her.  She was a beautiful black and white Springer Spaniel who looked much like this:

Grandpas.Dog

I don’t know where he got this little girl… she’s quite heavy to pick up (for a 3 year old, that is).  I wanted a dog that I could walk on a leash.  So Grandpa made this leash for her so that I could pull her around on top of his desk.   The leash is still on her, and she sits on the ledge in my kitchen.  When my boys were little, one of them tried to take her leash off, and I got REALLY upset!  Nobody takes Jody’s leash off except me or Grandpa!  The leash has been there since I was 3, and to this day, I refuse to take it off.  It’s a connection to Grandpa.

This Memorial Day marks a special day for me… and for my father.  Every Memorial Day since I can remember (or a few days before Memorial Day,)  Dad and I have made a trip in the car to Davison Cemetery to put flowers on his parents’ graves, as well as a few other relatives’ graves.  This year, Dad will not be going with me.  He now lives in Arizona near my brother, so the torch has been passed and I will keep it going for him.  It gives me a chance to talk to Grandpa, and let him know that I still think about him, Grandma and Jody with her leash.

 

covert-george-edith

Quilt by Artificial Intelligence? OMG!

Today is just an ordinary Sunday around the Mosey home.  We sleep in a little bit, take turns in the shower, get ready for church, drink way too much coffee, and pass the Detroit Free Press around the breakfast table, arguing about who gets which section when.  This morning, an article in the Parade Magazine (April 22, 2018, page 9) really caught my attention.  The article is called “Artificial Intelligence Takes Off.”  Here are a few quotes from that article, but it would really benefit you to read the entire article if you can.  The link is provided above.

  • “Everybody’s job is going to look different by 2030,” says Susan Lund, partner with MGI and an author of a report by McKinsey Global institute.”

  • “People fear a lot of jobs will be destroyed, but the reality is jobs will change as people team up with technology, “says Andrew Chamberlain, Ph.D.”

Let’s relate this article to what is currently going on in the world of quilts.  Over the past few years, there has been a large quilting shift taking place around the world.  Quilting used to mean one or more ladies sitting around a large quilting frame, stitching and talking and talking and stitching… stitching by HAND, that is!  But the past several years have seen women AND men* sitting around a quilt frame to sew, or sitting by themselves and stitching by hand… AND sitting or standing by yourself to machine quilt a quilt top which you put together by machine.

More recently, what I have noticed is more and more people who are “QUILTING BY CHECK.”  The phrase “quilt by check” started out as a bit of a giggle… people who didn’t have the time to quilt would make their own quilt top, and then PAY a machine quilter to machine quilt the quilt sandwich together.

I’m not saying that paying someone to machine quilt for you is necessarily bad.  There are many people who earn their living by machine quilting for others who may not want to quilt for themselves.  They may have a full-time job of their own and don’t have the time to quilt a top by themselves.  They may not have the confidence to quilt by hand or machine on their own.

A few years ago, I made my granddaughter a quilt for her twin-size bed.  I was working full-time, and part-way through making the quilt top I realized that there was no way the quilt would get finished before Christmas, which was when Santa Claus would be delivering her quilt.  So I utilized the service of a machine quilter from our quilt guild.  I gave her the top, the batting and the backing for the quilt, and she let me know when it would be finished.  A few weeks later, I received a call from her:  the quilt was ready to be picked up.  I prepared myself to cover my expense for “QUILTING BY CHECK,” and drove to her house.

I was shocked to see her studio… she had several long-arm quilt machines in her basement studio.  Two of them completely gob-smacked me!!! Not only were they expensive long-arm quilting machines, but they were computer-driven!  In other words, the three layers of the quilt (top, batting and backing) were spread out on the machine.  The computer was programmed, the thread was fed to the machine, and off she went.,, the machine sewed what the computer told it to sew (a specific pattern/design).  When it ran out of thread, the machine alerted the human, and the human fed the machine more thread.  When the machine had finished its job, it let the human know, and the human turned off the machine.  The binding was stitched and sewn into place by the human, and the quilt was FINISHED!  The human was given a check, and off I went with my head spinning.

Let’s get back to the article above on Artificial Intelligence.  As quilters, just how far will we let this “quilt by machine” era go?  Yes, friends, I am a fairly loyal hand quilter.  I enjoy doing handwork.  I like to hand quilt, to hand applique, to hand embroider, etc. I love looking at old, traditional quilts, and I could sit hour after hour inspecting the work of those quilters who came years before me.  What I’d like to know is this:  where is the dividing line between hand quilting and Artificial Intelligence?

Envision this:  purchasing a large backing for a quilt top, a collection of fabrics that coordinate fairly well, placing it all into a plastic bag, handing it all over to a machine, selecting some electronic buttons that will supply the design for the quilt, pushing those buttons, and letting that sucker do its thing! Oh, please give me a class of cold water, a chair to sit in and something to slow my heart rate!  I just don’t think I could do this!  How many jobs will be taken away?  Do you have room in your home for R2D2?  I believe that time is coming!

R2D2.jpg

 

 

WHITE IS NOT WHITE, and WILL I EVER LEARN?

Nashville

Years ago, when my boys were young, I worked on this green and “white” quilt.  Part way through the piecing process, I ran out of the “white” fabric.  No big deal, right?  White is white (or cream colored, in this case). So I hopped in my trusty automobile and drove to the nearest fabric store.  I spotted some “white” fabric that looked the same, bought a few yards of it, and took it home to add to my quilt. The pieces were cut using the templates I had been using.  Each evening, I would hand stitch a few blocks and add them to the quilt.  Much to my surprise, when I finished the quilt and lay it on the floor to admire, I nearly fainted.  The “white” fabrics were not all the same!  Though the newer fabric I had purchased and added into the quilt was Okay, it was NOT THE SAME.  In fact, it was drastically different!  Well, I was not about to pull the whole quilt apart, so I left it alone.  When you stand away from the quilt, you can see the “slightly darker” pieces of “white” fabric.  They stand out, but when you are close to the quilt, you can clearly see the difference.

Jump ahead about 20+ years, and I’m working on a blue and white quilt.  Hand piecing it, actually.  I had several yards of white fabric, so no need to go purchase more.  However, part way through the piecing, I realized I just might need more fabric for the borders.  So off to JoAnn Fabrics I go.  Purchase the white fabric, take it home and sew it into place.  Yup.  You guessed it!  When sewn into place, the whites are NOT the same.  What I had most recently purchased was not the same quality fabric.  Yes, it was white.  And when you hold up the two fabrics together, they are so very similar.  But not the same.  One fabric has no polyester in it.  The other has a smidge of polyester in it, blended with the 100% cotton.  Now, who would think a SMIDGE of polyester would make a difference?  Huh?  Oh goodness, I’ve gone and done it again!  Yes, I can see the difference.  And not only that, I can FEEL the difference when I try and quilt through it.  When you stand back from the quilt and look at it, everything looks fine.  But when you get close to it, it’s quite apparent.   UGH.

Shoot me now.  Please.  And don’t ever try this on your own.  You will regret it.

HEAVY SIGH.

Parting with the past, preparing for the future

Today marks an important day in my family, as we hold an estate sale for my parents.  My mother has been gone since 2007, but my father is still alive, though he lives out of the area now.  At age 95, he needs a lot of assistance, can’t hear very well, and does a lot of sleeping.  For the past several months, we’ve been making arrangements for the sale, and it just hit me this morning that everything in the house that we normally see… and have seen daily for years… will be disappearing one-by-one.  That’s a strange feeling. There are some things yet in the house that Dad has asked that we ship to him, and what he wants are strange items.  I’m wondering what he will do after the sale when he remembers something else that he wants… but that is no longer his?

Preparing for the sale has also caused me to think about our own objects and what will become of them when we’re older.  In my mind, I know who I want to give certain quilts to.  But what about all the fabric, sewing items such as my good Gingher scissors, sewing machines, etc.?  I guess it’s not wise to sit and think about all of this, but it is difficult NOT to!  Do you have a plan in place for your sewing collection of stuff?  What will you do with it?  Do you know who will get it?