Monday, January 24, 2011

Applique the Mary way!

Even teachers like to take a class!
Today I had fun with my guild learning about "Easy Breezy Applique" with needle-turn expert Mary Sorensen.
Mary has a very cool set up with a video camera and projector, so everyone could easliy see each stitch as she guided us through the process. After each technique, she personally checked with every student to see how they were doing, offering lots of tips and encouragement.
Our project was this pretty bouquet, which splills out into a pieced border.
One of the most important things taught today is that a class project is not a UFO! The learning process does not have to result in a finished item. Since the All Stars are working on finishing UFOs this year, we were glad to know this class was not adding our lists!

A handwork class makes a nice change from whirring machines and miles of electric cords all over the floors. Everyone had plenty of room, too, with no need for cutting & ironing stations!
We learned about curves and points and tucking seam allowances. We sewed in layers to "pre-assemble" some flowers before they went on the background. We whined a bit, because we were so intent on doing a good job!

A lot of fun in class is seeing all the fabric that the other people have, and what sort of sewing equipment they brought along. I noticed several cute pincushions among the debris.

This is my new teacher supply's handy to grab when going to take a class, too. When the supply list calls for thread to match all the different fabrics, my pre-wound bobbins-in-a-doughnut come in mighty handy!
(thanks, Superior Threads!).
It's so much fun to be able to get a good close-up look at Mary's work...
....and then indulge in our second love, buying some beautiful patterns! Mary also had a few of the tools and needles she likes to use, but she did not have a great big sales pitch.
She was there to teach and did a wonderful job. I know the guild will be talking about this class for a long time!
If you've ever taken an applique class, after a day of hard work, this is about what you have to show:
(That's my background square on top of the pattern with one leaf sewn down, and two flower petals under construction!)
It may not impress anyone who asks, "What did you do today?" but another quilter will know that tiny pieces can represent a whole lot of learning, and a great deal of fun!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011, Quilters!

The year is new, but I want to take a quick look back to 2010 & 09!
Do you remember Snap Happy Bags?

I learned how to make them at Mrs. Starbuck's house and wrote a post on Dec. 9, 2009.
Recently, I made 30 (some of them are above) as a small "thank-you" gift for the people who had served the guild as chairmen or other positions during my 2 year term as President (also known as "The Reign of Terror").
I was pleased to receive an email today from Rosemary Wissink to let me know the Stitchin Sisters, home of the Snap Happy Bag, have a website with loads of fun bags and other patterns!
Check it out:
While you are there, be sure to read about their special project to provide sewing machines for women in Africa. If, like me, you are interested in projects that help women become financially stable (especially in third world countries) you'll want to learn even more by visiting

I am making NO resolutions for this year, other than to generally try to do better at everything.
Now, I know that breaks all the "rules" of setting goals, the first two being to state a specific goal, and then to have it be measurable!
We'll just have to see if I end up any better at the end of 2011. But along the way, I want to share a number of helpful websites and maybe you will find them of use, too. All are free.
The first is TickTock Timer, which allows you to set a digital timer for whatever amount you decide. When the time runs out, it makes a big GONG sound three times! I am using it right now so I won't spend too much time on the computer! Have you ever sworn you'd be "just 5 more minutes" and then looked an hour later?
You know you have!

Well, the GONG just went off! 
I wanted to leave you with a picture of Shayla O'Puss, who is doing very well with her yearly resolution to sit on every quilt possible....but Blogger seems to be overloaded right now.