Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Miracle is this:

I LOVE Austin TX.
 I just returned from teaching at Quiltcon 2015 and I really don't think I can do a blog post without at least mentioning how much I LOVE the food in Austin.  I'm not here to wax poetic about my diet or health but I will say I follow a pretty restrictive AIP Paleo diet and I found more delicious farm to table food than any celiac could shake a stick at.  Just sayin'.  Apart from eating at Max's Wine Dive a total of 5 times (in 4 short days),  I also enjoyed seeing some of my favorite people in the world and meeting some of my new favorite people in the world.  I am a very visual person and I am guessing if you're reading this blog, you are too.
  So, thanks for reading and come enjoy some photos with me.

This quilt; Diving Geese, pieced by Katie Pedersen, won best machine quilting at the show!!
Here are some pictures I took while quilting it. The last picture is a beautiful full shot of the quilt taken by Katie.

The Back:

The subliminal Star Trek emblem:

 Leonard Nimoy passed away four days ago and I started researching his life and his quotes. This one hit me hard and has resonated with me since.
"The miracle is this, the more we share the more we have."
-Leonard Nimoy

photo courtesy Katie Pedersen

I was able to share some of the things I have learned over the past ten years with my students at Quiltcon and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. My students filled me with their energy and spirit. I made this as a sample for my zig zag sampler class, one of my students took it home as a door prize!

 I always love a rainbow.

 Speaking of teaching and sharing, have you gotten yourself a piece of plexiglass yet?
This is THE TOOL I could not live without. If you were in one of my classes you might want to shoot yourself in the foot rather than hear me say it again but if you don't have one yet,
I use a 20"x30" piece of plexiglass that you can source from your local home improvement store. TAPE the edges with painters tape......trust me, even though you think you won't,  you WILL draw off the edge. Mark on the tape "drawing side" so you only use one side.
Lay that bad boy down on your quilt and you can try out every design your heart desires to-scale. Deal with the density of quilting, play with different designs in different places.
 This is not a marking tool. 
This is a drawing tool to help you visually understand the space you are getting ready to quilt. 
You are also building muscle memory when you draw your designs.
 I'm not kidding, DO IT.

Now that I got all my design work sorted out I can start quilting without stressing about what I am going to quilt. If you're wondering about this awesome quilt it is a pattern called Modern Mountains designed by my namesake bestie Krista. You can find the free pattern here. This version was made by one of my awesome customers, Amanda.

Do I draw in a sketchbook? Yes, all the time. But the sketchbook does not give me the perspective to deal with density of quilting and other to-scale design issues.
I'm gonna say it again. PLEXIGLASS. DO IT.
Use your sketchbook too. Use it every day, bring it with you on the bus, train, airplane.
Don't be afraid to use anything/everything you see.  Designs belong to all of us. 

  I love moons. I love drawing them. I love quilting them.

Here is a sneak peak of a quilt my sweet friend Jen Carlton Bailly made for Cheryl Arkison's book, You Inspire Me to Quilt, coming out soon.  Of course I consulted my plexiglass first:

Collaborations are so awesome when you are on the same page with your friend/customer/collaborator. 
Plexiglass is a great way to visually communicate with your piecer, or yourself, if you're lucky enough to have the time to quilt your own work!

Plexiglass again? Are you sensing a theme here? I finally finished my value quilt and have been sleeping happily beneath it, even though it still remains unbound. Sorry for the blinding flourescent reflection.

And Voila:

 The last photos I am going to share are more WIP shots from a quilt that I quilted for 
Elizabeth Hartman for her book Patchwork City. I was so happy to see her sweet face in Austin and teach two doors down from her.  I am always in awe of Elizabeth's work. This quilt is badass and completely blew my mind. There are some of the coolest blocks in this quilt that I have ever seen. 

 I love the way the brilliant piecing in this quilt informed my design decisions to explore so many unexpected possibilities. I wish I had taken photographs of the plexiglass for this project. You can trust me though, I used it.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I expect you to have a sheet of Plexiglass before my next blog post which technically means you are off the hook for at least another 6-7 months, right? 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hands on Longarm classes at Island Quilter on Vashon Island and a little eye candy!

Saying goodbye to summer is always hard for this California girl.  With fall in the air, kids back in school and a new long arm machine in one of my favorite Quilt shops I may be able to happily face the fact that I no longer live in a coastal climate that stays 70 degrees year round. Sigh. I miss you SLO town. 

I have been focusing my business away from quilting for customers and in the direction of teaching and lecturing. This is a huge but exciting change for me and I am looking forward to sharing everything I have learned over the last ten years with students.
Before I go into a lot of detail about my teaching ventures I am going to fill you with some eye candy. These are some of the gorgeous quilts I have had the privilege of quilting for friends and customers over the last few months....err...year.

This quilt was made by my good friend Noelle, it is an improv beauty, I love her bright pops of color, compositionally it flows so flawlessly and has so much depth and visual texture.

This next quilt was made by Heather Bostic with Melody Miller's amazing Bee fabric, it is her Hotel California quilt and I was able to squeeze some lyrics in there for her.

The Quilting on both of those Quilts may look complicated but in reality the designs I chose stem from a rather simple formula I have developed which creates a path working you across the quilt with as few starts and stops as possible.
I affectionately refer to this method of quilting as "Compositional Quilting".  In addition to teaching this at Quiltcon2015 I will be teaching locally at Island Quilter on beautiful Vashon Island. Workshops will be hands on working on an HQ18 Avante.

The next few quilts I am going to share with you I quilted for Angela Pingel's book,
 A Quilters Mixology. This girl knows her curves and I highly recommend her book if you are looking for some great designs and instruction working with curves.

One of the brightest spots in my career so far was being asked by Karen McTavish to contribute to her most recent book, Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition.  I collaborated with my bestie namesake,  Krista who worked with me to piece the quilt that we submitted for the book.

Does this motivate you to hone in on your longarm skills??  If so, please consider joining me at the Island Quilter starting this fall. Workshops are being held on Wednesday mornings starting the 17th of September. Workshops are four hours in length from 10 am-3pm with an hour lunch break at noon.
Please email me directly at lolabluemar@gmail.com to reserve your spot in class. 
Workshops will be offered at an introductory rate of $90 (this does NOT include a one time $20 kit fee or fabric needed for class) through 2014.
If you are from out of town and plan on visiting Seattle and want to schedule a one on one hands on longarm workshop during the week or on weekends at the beautiful Island Quilter please contact me via email: lolabluemar@gmail.com

Workshops and fall schedule offered at Island Quilter:
Click HERE for availability and workshop info.

Compositional Quilting
Wednesday Sept. 17th 10am-3pm
Wednesday Oct. 29th 10am-3pm

Zig Zag Sampler
Wednesday Sept. 24th 10am-3pm
Wednesday Nov 5th 10am-3pm

Broken Wreath
Wednesday Oct. 1st 10am-3pm
Wednesday Nov.12th 10am-3pm

Ghost Shapes
Wednesday Oct.8th 10am-3pm
Wednesday Nov. 19th 10am-3pm

I'm looking forward to seeing some of you this fall in class as I reluctantly pull on my boots, fold away my summer tank tops and resign myself to the truth that fall, is in fact real. I will continue my slow.... slow knitting on a scarf I hope to finish this life time and fill my soul with lots of fabric sunshine at Island Quilter! Hope to see you there!!xo

Monday, August 12, 2013

Studio Spotlight

So glad you stopped by to visit!
 It is always fun to see where someone else creates, dreams, designs, sews and.....stores their fabric. I hope you enjoy my little studio tour, welcome to the Pacific Northwest! 

photo.JPG photo.JPG

Greetings from Seattle!
 I had all good intentions of having the gardening done before you all arrived, but it started getting dark out and that bag of soil was way too heavy to get out of the picture. So here you have it.  My studio is in a space detached from the house with a door leading in from the backyard. I have 300 square feet to house my Gammill longarm quilting machine, my Bernina domestic machine, a Singer featherweight, my modest but growing fabric stash, my thread wall, my design wall, and a lot of batting.
Yes, I have a palm tree, yes it is out of place in Seattle. Yes, I love California with every part of my heart, what else can I say?
 Hi Victor!

This is my view from the door. The space sits behind our garage. When we moved in it was a very rough storage room with tacky shelving and concrete floors. A lot of love and work has gone into this space, it continues to be an ongoing WIP

For those of you who have never seen a longarm it is quite an impressive machine. My Gammill is cast iron and sits atop a 12 foot table. I have it pictured here alongside my featherweight for scale. Impressive, no?


This is the area behind where I stand while quilting, I seem to have a thing for a good pair of scissors..or two.. or eight. The plexiglass you see on the floor is a tool I use for planning quilting designs.


Pictured below is a gorgeous quilt made by Jules, I quilted spirals on it with the help of my IQ and quickly became once again obsessed by the elusive selvage spiderweb. I store my batting on rolls above the area where I hang customer quilts I have two additional rolls stored under my gammill. Storage in a 300 Sq Ft space with such a large machine is a continual work in progress.

This is my design wall, it is a nice large wall that I constructed using insulation board and covered with batting. My thread storage is quickly being infringed upon by fabric overflow in need of a place to stay. I love color order and am smitten with my Value quilt WIP. I have completely crushed on value quilts thanks to Katie after taking her value quilt class at Drygoods.

Value quilt

Here is a view from my studio looking out to the backyard, my husband just put screens on my window and a new door, I am lucky to have so much natural and very little direct sunlight coming into the space. 
My cutting table is in a constant state of being a disaster area. All of those trimmings and thread will make their way out to birds nests in the yard. There are a ridiculous number of birds living in our backyard. With all the thread and fabric scraps available for nesting material I get the feeling that my backyard is like the Hamptons of the bird world.



I have somehow managed to collect a few vintage sewing machines. The one pictured below is a before and after shot of an industrial Singer sewing machine dated to 1911 that my step dad found and brought back to life for me. It currently resides in the garage, but we aren't talking about how I am slowly but surely taking over the garage for additional sewing space are we?

 Here is my sewing table and some of the fun stuff that inspires me hanging on the walls.  I love mini quilts and I love to paint and draw. I am in the process of cutting and trading many MANY 6" squares for value quilts. I have amassed enough squares to make value quilts to roughly cover the entire city of Seattle.
 It does rain here a lot.


 I searched and searched AND searched for this IKEA table on Craigslist and finally just caved and bought one new. It was worth every cent. I covered it with a layer of batting and fabric, it is a fantastic ironing/work surface.
I am inspired by so many things and love to surround myself and fill my space with treasures.


Its been my pleasure to have you visit my studio on this virtual tour.
Enjoy all of the other studio and crafting spaces featured,  I would love to see where you create too!
 Where ever you create big or small, living room, dining room, extra room...err...garage.... studio, our sewing/crafting spaces are such special, important places where we can escape to, express ourselves and create beautiful things. I have enjoyed sharing mine with you. As always thank you for visiting and have a wonderful week. xoxo