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I’ve tried several techniques in this path to mastering free motion quilting (FMQ).

I started my FMQ path with Leah Day and she quickly convinced me that gloves and a Supreme slider were great tools to have.  (It also helped that my sister is a long arm quilter and somehow acquired each of these tools and didn’t need them so sent them on to me!)

One day I complained to a friend about how hot it was to FMQ with gloves and she suggested glycerine.  Mr. W had a bottle in his wine laboratory so I started putting just a dab of glycerine on my hands prior to FMQing instead of gloves and that worked like a charm.

While in Canberra at the craft show, I came across a lady demonstrating Sharon Schamber’s quilt halo.   Once I received my halo I  went to town learning it.  Studied the videos on youtube.  Read the reviews (they were mixed).  Tried it.  FAIL.  I wasn’t impressed.  Put it away for a month then tried it again.  hmmmmm…..not so bad!  It actually makes FMQ easier on my body.  My shoulders aren’t near as stressed and cramped.  My hands don’t have near the tension in them.  It truly does glide (because you use a slippery mat underneath).  I’m actually rather impressed and will keep using it.

The mat that came in the hoop combo is called a sewslip (see images above).  It’s OK but not near as  nice as the Supreme Slider.  After one usage, it started to curl.  It’s not near the weight of the Supreme slider and I don’t think it’s as slippery.  I will be buying the queen sized Supreme Slider in the future.

 

 

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Two new books:

Inspired-to-Design-Cover

10900D

Elizabeth Barton’s blog:  Art and Quilts, Cogitations thereon

An online workshop on art quilting with the author called Abstract Art for Quiltmakers that I’m taking starting May 2.

It seems so over my head but I’m going to dive in and see if I can swim.

I’m also heading to Canberra for the Creative Textile Show to check out this art quilt exhibit called Living Colour.  Check out some of these quilts – absolutely stunning.

LCmosaicFinal7April600h

 

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Journey2InspiredDesn_Wells

Jean Wells from The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon is someone I have followed from afar for many many years.  I think I was first exposed to her when on a vacation in Oregon several lifetimes ago.

Her style really appeals to me.  It’s very freeform and nature-driven.  Very organic.  Very artsy fartsy but yet her work retains such a lovely quilterly aspect.

Last year I bought her book Intuitive Color and Design and have spent many hours pouring through the pages.  Her latest book, Journey to Inspired Art Quilting has been a joy also.

Below is one of my favorites pieces to look at from her book.  Check out those colors.  Check out those lines.  I love that freeform piecing.  That’s actually on my list of things to do more of this year.  I want to do smaller pieces and more freeform piecing.  I think I’m stuck in trying to interpret what I see in life into my quilting and that stops me in my tracks.  (Oh, and the fear of sucking at it.  As everyone knows – I prefer to be good at something straight out of the gate rather than going through the learning process.)

Anyway, I just hope one day soon I can move past the DREAMING IDEA phase and actually into the WORKING DESIGNING phase.

jeanwells

The second book is by Natalia Bonner called Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting.

Natalia Bonner's book

I probably didn’t need another FMQ book but I’m glad I bought it.  She goes through the basics in a very nice manner – giving her opinions on what works for her and things you can try.   She gives good direction on the designs, which although many of them are simple, have just enough added character that they don’t really look like BEGINNER patterns.  Example?  She combines swirls with other patterns like daisies or poppies and it gives the pattern an entire ‘doodle-esc’ look (which I love!).

One of the other pluses of this book is her section on working with borders and sashing.  And not only using feathers in your borders but things like swirls, ovals and flowers.  There is a ton more that draws me and makes me think ‘I can do this’; her pebbling work, her outline work, her line work.  It’s all there.

The book includes 6 projects – all of which I would probably make if I hadn’t made a vow to not follow other people’s patterns.  I really like the one called Round and Round.  Does anyone  want to make it for me?  It reminds me of a drunkards path design only in an orderly, organized manner.  Maybe like a drunk in a labyrinth?  ok – that made me laugh…laugh out loud even!  I mean really……do you know any orderly, organized DRUNKS?  🙂

My opinion?  This is a good book.  I’ll use it frequently for ideas.  It belongs with my favorite FMQ book,  Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.

natalia

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Yup.  They do.  It’s rare –  less than 1% of male cancers are breast cancer and less than 1% of breast cancer patients are men – but it happens.

From www.bcna.org.au

“While it is well known that women who carry the mutation are at increased risk of developing breast (and ovarian) cancer, research published in the UK in July 2010 found that men who carry the gene mutation are also at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

The UK researchers looked at the incidence of male breast cancer in 321 families with BRCA2 mutations, and found that men with the gene mutation have a one in 15 chance of developing breast cancer by the time they reach 70.”

Why do I know this?  Mr. W had breast cancer 9 years ago.  His mother and several of his Aunties had breast cancer.

Wednesday, we made a quick trip to Sydney for his yearly check.  It’s a long day – 3+ hours one way – so we made several stops.

On the road by 10am, our first stop was Berry.  I can never resist a stop into Sew & Tell and since I don’t have a current knitting/crochet project – it was time to find a few balls of yarn.  I absolutely love Noro silk Garden yarn so several balls came home with me to make this shawl by designer Jenny King – available on Ravelry, my most favorite site for knitting and crochet ideas.

Next, on to Kirrawee and Loftus to quilt shops – they each were quaint in their own way with a ton of product to choose from.  I didn’t buy a lot – but did find a floral decorator print for $10/meter (which is unbelievably inexpensive for Australia) and a few hand-dyed embroidery threads.

After an ‘ok’ Thai lunch, it was off to the doctor.  After the all-clear, we were back on the road heading out of town with rush hour traffic.  A stop for another cappo about 6PM and we were back home shortly after 8pm.  Long day.  We really and truly are HOME people…..there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…..

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I’ve been busy for the last couple weeks sewing samples for the local quilt shop MY PATCH.  All these patterns are available in Valerie’s store in Milton AND on her online store.

These skirts went together in a snap!  Valerie has such a knack for colors that it was real fun to sew them up.

This little boys reversible jacket turned out simply adorable.  The zipper wasn’t hard to insert at all (even though I dreaded it).

Cute as a button reversible girls jackets.

Love this tunic top!  Went together so quickly and fits great.  I made one for myself out of a Valorie Wells voile fabric (from My Patch) which is simply scrumptious!  Pop over to my “what I finished in 2012” page to see the individual items.

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