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Time Travelling – A Quilty Expedition

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Hamilton, Missouri for a weekend of visiting with friends, fabric shopping, stitching, and a day visit to a new time machine, the Missouri Quilt Museum. The museum officially opened in 2019 and is the project of one hard working family. I admit that I was amazed at the progress and work that has occurred in a short period of time. If you are looking for the perfect addition to your trip to Hamilton, don’t miss this museum. I’ll post a few pictures here, but leave the rest for you to discover on your own!

The museum is situated in a 30,000 square foot, 100 year old schoolhouse building. They have currently opened up two floors of the building to exibits, with more planned. I found myself exploring exibits around historical quilting, quilting memorabilia and technology, vintage sewing machines, the largest collection of “toy” sewing machines I have ever seen, minatures, and amazing displays from both unknown and renowned quilters. If you have ever visited the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, you will also know how significant it is that they have partnered with the Missouri Quilt Musuem and have quilts on display in Missouri as well. I heard that this display will change out along with some of the others every 90 days or so. I can’t wait to go back!

Some things I was schooled on…

Featherweight fans. I’ve heard of pale green featherweight machines, but research deludes me. Did Singer actually make green machines? During my visit, one vintage featherweight on display indicated that some of the Singer white machines that had the pale turquoise / green cases actually “tinted” the white machines slightly making them seem green. If you have found any more detail on this, comment and share what you’ve found!

The “Aloha – Wish We Were There” exibit featured quilts from two missouri quilters, Dianne Harmon and here sister Dinah. Have you ever made paper snowflakes? These quilts have inspired me regarding applique techniques. Imagine using fabric, instead of paper to make applique designs that fill your entire quilt. I definately want to try this technique. Check out the details at the museum’s website above. This post looks like a good start for me; How to make Hawaiian quilts. I’m going to try a mini first and instead of doing a Hawaiin design, I’m going to try my hand with snowflakes.

While there were many other exibits, the final one I will share here takes the cake for me. The National Quilt Museum shared a display of quilts from their collection. Believe me when I say, “I am not worthy”. The quilts and techniques in their collection never cease to amaze me. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. How many peices do you think this quilt by Nancy Ota, San Clemente, CA called “Infinity” is created from?

I hope you, like me, will visit and visit often!

HAPPY QUILTING!

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Data is Beautiful, part 2 – Roses

2020. It goes without saying that this year’s global events have required strength in the face of uncertainty. Businesses and individuals have relied even more heavily than before on data to bring understanding and actionable insights to their families, teams and communities. One tricky part of doing this is to create a visualization that can be understood by a wide population.

Data is Beautiful : Part 1

I feel fortunate that I have been able to buckle down and work on my Master of Science in Analytics (remotely), support my family at home while they moved back and forth with remote schooling, and in November, I was invited to join a new team, Optimally, as a data engineer! (Say that three time fast! It’s no wonder I have not posted here in almost a year…) I didn’t realize until they brought my “first day” supplies that their logo happened to be a form of a rose diagram, one that some statisticians might call a “coxcomb chart”. Some of you may have seen my “2019 In Review” post that contained my “data is beautiful, part 1”. It was actually another version of the coxcomb (inverted for art sake).

The rose chart logo made me smile. It couldn’t be more appropriate for 2020, and you guessed it, I said, That needs to be a quilt block“. This weekend, I got around to playing with the idea.

Optimally Logo
Data is Beautiful: Part 2

WHY could it not be more appropriate? Well, from what I’ve found, the “coxcomb” chart was created back in 1858 by Florence Nightingale. It is a variation on a pie chart. She was a a legacy in nursing as well as an experimentalist in visualizing data. So there you have it. I think that visualizations and nursing have both played key roles in 2020. I’m not going to call this the year of the pandemic. I’m going to remember it for a key marker in the latest data revolution.

The quilt block representation of the logo was created with raw edge appliqué techniques.
1. I started by cutting circles of my “rose” petal colors. To make the appliqué easy to apply to the background, I applied the fabric to fusible webbing, like the Pellon Wonder-Under product.
2. Then, I divided the circles into 72 degree wedges (I wanted 5 equal wedges => 360 degrees / 5). A rose can be split and layered into many different sizes and petals to give it a different look.
3. To get the spoked look, the wedges simply spread out, or you can trim the edges off the wedges equally on both sides. Doing the second method ensures that you get the perfect circles where you are keeping the depth of the petals equivalent.
4. Press the wedge into place on your background.
5. Stitch using a “blanket” or appliqué stitch. If you zoom in, you can see that when I do this, I like to match my thread to the fabric color.

Tip: If making a small block and you have an image of the correct size, you could print it, then cut templates of the pieces for less waste.

Rounding out 2020, I am thankful that my family has remained strong during this uncertain year and to have the opportunity to work on a team that values helping small businesses as well as providing flexibility to their employees to take care of their families and bring value to the community through their work. Data IS beautiful and visualizing it can be powerful. If you wonder what this new job I have is, check us out at our Optimally.com site. I think my new quilt block will become a mini quilt, and once we are actually back to the office, I can share it with my team. Maybe it could be a traveling icon for #kudos and a job well done?

Happy Quilting!

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2019 In Review and Sneak Peek

2019 Review:   Family, Education, Quilting (In that Order!)
While I have been relentlessly working to enjoy my family and add to my skills in data science,  I managed to still spend time with my best quilting friends and finish some projects along the way.   It was a light year for photographs and blog posts, but I hope you all enjoyed the “tricks” that I shared during the Dueling Threads retreat.

Quilty Finishes:  7 quilts long-armed for others, 2 gifted quilts, several minis and some charity quilts, 2 quilt shows, and 2 retreats.  Plus,  I got to see my Mom participate in her first quilt show!  She does beautiful work.IMG_5213 2.jpeg

I feel pretty good about 2019, and some of my latest works in progress are going to turn out great!  Here is a sneak preview to some of my favorites for 2020 in my studio.

  1. “Delft” Quilt:  All in blues a little like Dutch pottery decorated with metal oxides.  It still needs border and quilting, but I am well on my way.
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2.  Data is Beautiful – Take 1:   This design is an original work in progress and was inspired by a graph that I saw during one of my classes.  Sometimes graphs are not very good for telling a story or conveying information, but they sure are beautiful! I remember sitting there saying to myself.  , “That is a terrible graph, but it needs to be a quilt!”.   I’m still working out the technical details, but I enjoyed choosing the colors and coming up with the first draft.

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3.  Icy Aurora:   I started this quilt in Fall of 2017, and am finally to the home stretch of custom quilting it.  It is a variation on the binding tool star quilt that I saw in the MSQC Block magazine.   I used a scaled down version of the binding tool to create the outer border.  The white in the quilt is a batik with subtle icy blue dye mixed in, so I am quilting it with thread of a similar color, called “iceberg”.

4. What’s a snowman with out a snowball fight?:  This pattern by Wildfire Designs Alaska, had been on my bucket list for a while.  I didn’t make it originally because I waited too long and the fabric in the pattern had already sold out.  I found new fabric in spring 2019, so tackled this in December and January.  However, you can see that I imagined him as a whole and am adding some fun mittens and snowballs from the Lori Holt, Bee in My Bonnet, Quilty Fun book to the bottom so that he can hang on my door.

 

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Ruler Hack

In my obsession with organizing my happy space, I recently organized my quilting rulers.

The large rulers hang on the wall near my cutting mat. Medium rulers now hang in the inside of a door on my tall cabinet. Command hooks work great. I like the ones with the narrow metal hooks best. They fit easily through the ruler hang holes.

And…. drumroll please. (I wish I had a before picture, but I don’t, and there is no use going backwards!)

All of my small rulers used to reside piled in a single drawer of a cabinet. Now, they hang on S hooks behind my cutting table.

The beauty of this solution is that it is hung with command tape. Theoretically, if I decide to relocate it, it will come right off.

Command Towel Bar – Ruler Hack

How do you rule?

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Spray it with Flair

PROBLEM:   Traditional spray bottles tend to dispense either too much, or non-uniform spray patterns.  When using them to starch or spray fabric, it can leave wet spots, and require more spray than would have been necessary.

Over the last couple of years,  a spray bottle made by a company called Flairosol has become popular in the quilting community.  I think that the bottle was originally popular in beauty salons.  The spray nozzle is remarkable, delivering a finer mist than any nozzles I have used in the past.  It also requires less pump action, as it is a continuous spray.  This is a great feature for people who have hand and joint challenges.

All of the bottles that I have found so far were the tall version (shown in a previous post), so what I am showing you here is a shorter version.  I picked it up for travel and to keep more scents at-hand.  Hint:  Check out US Plastics if you are interested in buying them in-bulk!

“Mischief Managed”
I hope you enjoy this trick! I should be able to pull more tricks from my hat between now and November 3rd.
Be sure to comment on my blog about which ones you like best and share some of your own quilting and sewing magic tricks.  I will draw one name from the comments randomly November 9, 2019 and follow-up with the lucky winner to send one of these special tricks!
Please, share with your friends.

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Stash ‘n Store

PROBLEM:  How do you keep you marking tools, mini scissors, and stylus close without rolling round on your sewing table?

The “it’s sew emma”, Stash ‘n Store tool does the trick.  I had seen the longer ones in my local quilting shop, but recently came across the mini version and decided that would fit the bill.  It is stable enough to hold most of my tools upright.  However,  if you have a tendency to knock things off (or have a cat that help you!),  some Velcro attachment on the bottom might do the trick.

“Mischief Managed”
I hope you enjoy this trick! I should be able to pull more tricks from my hat between now and November 3rd.
Be sure to comment on my blog about which ones you like best and share some of your own quilting and sewing magic tricks.  I will draw one name from the comments randomly November 9, 2019 and follow-up with the lucky winner to send one of these special tricks!
Please, share with your friends.

 

 

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For the Iron Maiden

PROBLEM:   I like to use different fabric sprays on my fabrics to reduce wrinkles and make my seams lie flatter.  I usually have two or three different ones in use.  The problem is that the spray bottles also take up room on my ironing board.

I love a good storage and organization hack.

I found these folding cup holders that can be mounted just about anywhere using screws or command hook tape. I used two pieces of command Velcro. They work perfect for my ironing station. They even come in 5 different colors.

Camco Cup Adjustable Cup Holder

Some of you may have seen this hack earlier, but I wanted to re-post it in this series.  I hope you don’t mind!

“Mischief Managed”
I hope you enjoy this trick! I should be able to pull more tricks from my hat between now and November 3rd.
Be sure to comment on my blog about which ones you like best and share some of your own quilting and sewing magic tricks.  I will draw one name from the comments randomly November 9, 2019 and follow-up with the lucky winner to send one of these special tricks!
Please, share with your friends.

 

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Choosing a Wand

PROBLEM:   When making half square and quarter square triangles from layered squares, it is critical to mark two lines 1/4 seam allowance away from center and sew accurately.   How can we mark the lines?

Ruler, of course, work fine for this.  However,  remember that “The wand chooses the wizard”.    I really like The Quilter’s Magic Wand, one of the Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design rulers. It’s just my style, and again, comes in many colors!  It is an accurate 1/2″ ruler with an etched line in the center, perfect to line up with the corners of your fabrics.  Check it out at the Studio 180 Design website to learn more.

“Mischief Managed”
I hope you enjoy this trick! I should be able to pull more tricks from my hat between now and November 3rd.
Be sure to comment on my blog about which ones you like best and share some of your own quilting and sewing magic tricks.  I will draw one name from the comments randomly November 9, 2019 and follow-up with the lucky winner to send one of these special tricks!
Please, share with your friends.

 

 

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Le Needle Bird

PROBLEM:  Those pesky needles can be difficult to thread.   It is no wonder that threading the needle has been used in so many in so many metaphors and aphorisms over time.

There are plenty of tools on the market that can help thread needles.  I personally like le needle bird.  It is cute and comes in three colors.  The needle hook (beak) is protected during storage with a flip up cover.  The hook is small enough to accommodate most of my needle eyes.  What is your favorite needle threading technique.

“Mischief Managed”
I hope you enjoy this trick! I should be able to pull more tricks from my hat between now and November 3rd.
Be sure to comment on my blog about which ones you like best and share some of your own quilting and sewing magic tricks.  I will draw one name from the comments randomly November 9, 2019 and follow-up with the lucky winner to send one of these special tricks!
Please, share with your friends.

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Beeswax is where it’s at!

PROBLEM:  When hand stitching binding,  some of my thread has a tendency to twist, knot, and have annoying abrasion, catching on the fabric.

To solve this problem in the past, I have tried using some of the synthetic thread conditioners on the market.  While they did the trick, I always wondered if they were good for me, or the thread.  Not all of them are still available.

My mom worked in a tailors shop before she was married.  She told me that she misses the pure beeswax that they used when tailoring men’s suits.  She said it was softer and more maleable than some that I had on hand.  I don’t think that the yellow wafer conditioner that I found in the notions aisle at the store was 100% pure beeswax, nor the piece I found at the state fair. They must have been mixed with some paraffin because they became very flaky, and caused a real mess.

If you are interested in reading more on the subject, I found a great article on the subject;  needlenthread.com .

According to their research, use “Beeswax for strength and protection against abrasion. But not for decorative work!”.

I felt very lucky this fall when I reached out to a local bee farm.  They have asked me not to share a link here, as they don’t sell beeswax in it’s pure form on their site.  However,  they were so friendly and were able to help me out for my retreat.  Some lucky ladies will get some pure beeswax to use on their threads.  I’m hoping it will be the “bee’s knees” for stitching our binding and not just a wee folk tale!  You might reach out to your local bee farm and see if they can help.  A little bit will last a very long time.

“Mischief Managed”
I hope you enjoy this trick! I should be able to pull more tricks from my hat between now and November 3rd.
Be sure to comment on my blog about which ones you like best and share some of your own quilting and sewing magic tricks.  I will draw one name from the comments randomly November 9, 2019 and follow-up with the lucky winner to send one of these special tricks!
Please, share with your friends.