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Yesterday was fun and off the usual track. In 2009 I have been asked to be the featured quilter at the Mantica quilt show. Ordinarily I have to pass on these excellent opportunities, but in this case it worked out perfectly, they are 20 miles from my home and besides that we have been friends for over two decades. The guild likes to have the raffle quilt (excuse me, opportunity quilt) to be linked with the featured artist. Not having time to even complete current deadlines, I asked if I could just come up with the idea. Flash forward, this year at my retreat, Kris Spray offered her incredible talents to the project. Well, YES! How lucky can a person be to have Kris offer? In addition the guild has someone lined up to hand quilt it. I told Kris, the rule was that she had to be open with her thoughts and comments.

After pouring over books, we came up with an incredible antique quilt with a to die for applique border (Kris's hand applique is superb). We decided on the colors and went to the quilt shop. After MUCH deliberation with Pam who works there, we finally came up with the fabrics. Wouldn't you know it, the red we need was no longer there. SO, this is where you come in. Can anyone tell me the manufacturer of this fabric? Or has anyone seen it recently and if so where? I never thought a fabric would hold me hostage, but apparently it has!

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I agree with Alex on the hand quilting issue. One of my first burning quesions for experienced quilters was about keeping even stitches when going over seams. Stab stitching though them is the most accurate way. i think everone has to set their own stanadard. It's not about what other people think, even for a show quilt. It is about doing the best you can.

I dont hand quilt much anymore, but it was something I wanted to learn to do well. I think that came from a desire to gain respect from the quilters for whom I had so much respect. My first accepted quilt into a national show won an honorable mention ribbon - but I was more thrilled that all three judges gave me high marks on hand quilting.

Now I find my greatest pleasure in machine quilting. Again - you shouldn't have to do anything my way - or Alex's way - or anybody else's way - just do whatever you need to in order to keep enjoying the process.

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Shekinah I and Shekinah II. One the left - hand quilted. On the right machine quilted. It's the only time I've ever duplicated a quilt. Both were used as wedding canopies.

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I realize that a whole bunch of you don’t know me as a teacher or personally. So, let me take this opportunity to give you some insight to how I think and how I teach. I like to have fun with quilting and with students. When it stops being fun, I’ll move on. So — - rememeber that. Now, keeping that in mind, I should also tell you that everything I do as a quilt teacher is about about pushing quilters to be creative on their own. You’ll here me say over and over, “Hey people, you HAVE a brain!”

My mode of teaching is to give everyone a kick start and see where it leads. I tell all my students, “I will hold your hand to get you through, but I will not tell you what to do.” My book, Convergence Quilts is the same - a guide to creating your own unique quilt without being spoon fed every step of the way. My comment about ‘quilt as desired’ on the Blog Log Cabin pattern was meant to be humorous. It seems ‘quilt as desired’ has been such a joke among quilters lately. If you think my quilting instuructions are vague, wait until I give you my famous recipe for making Ricky’s Chili. mmmmmm

One suggestion for quilting the Blog Log Cabin Quilt would be to quilt it in the ditch. But overall quilting with swirls would work too. So would stitching 1/4 inch inside all the logs by hand. Also, it could be tied. Finally cross hatching or clam shells would work just the way quilts from long ago were done. Wow - there’s just so many options! I still have to let you pick. Mercy me! Is that enough suggestions! Whew!

Regarding lack of quilting instrucions in purchased patterns, there are many factors that contribute to this. The first and foremost being space limitiations. There are thousands of ways to quilt any given quilt, so I’d encourage you to decide for yourself. When the quilt is finished, the best part of all is being able to proudly say, ‘I did it my way!”

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Yesterday morning, I like thousands and thousand quilters were tuned into The Today Show to see the $100,000.00 quilt winner. Congratulations Linda McCuean, your white on white quilt is stunning. I do wish they had shown it indoors, wasn’t fond of the set up. But honestly, if I were Linda, I don’t think I could sleep for the next two weeks! AND I hear the quilt will be at the Road to Ca show. How cool it will be to check it out in person.

See the winning quilt here.

For those of you watching, did you catch the part about Apple’s new technology? Both my Mom and daughter called at the same time asking about it, and because I was both answering phones, I missed most of it! I believe it is a new product that allows us to watch the internet on our TVs! How great is that??!! If any of you heard the details, please respond in the comment section. I want to know more.

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We have secured the new Chat feature and are in the process of making sure it is integrated with our site. We didn’t want to establish a system that we would outgrow in a few months, so we were careful to do the proper research. I anticipate that it will only be a matter of a day or two more before we can launch, but that is not a promies. Technical aspects could creep in, and we can’t launch Chat until it is right.

Also - very shortly you’ll see a change in the blog location. Currently, when you log on, you stay on the main page with all the join info. When we integrate the Blog in our site, you will log on and immediatly get the latest news. As long as you are logged on, you won’t be seeing all the main home page elements that are designed for visitors, not members.

Technically, we’ve had very few problems. We are now over 3000 strong and only a handfull of members have struggled. We wish there were no problems at all, but that is unrealistic. The combinations of computers, platforms, and servers can create gremlins that are inexplicable. If you are experiencing any difficulties at all, we need to know. First check the FAQ s, then, if a problem persists, use the Contact link and let us know.

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Quilter Ami Simms has a wonderful ongoing fund-raiser for Alzheimer’s research. Periodic auctions help raise the funds. For the current auction. You’ve got just a few hours left to bid on 24 exceptional little quilts at www.AlzQuilts.org . And they are little. None are over 9 inches by 12 inches. They’re called Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts for the urgent need of research funding and because if you’re the lucky winner your quilt will be mailed to you in a USPS cardboard priority mailer. Get your bid in by noon on Wednesday, January 10th.

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Just a selection of the fun quilts available for a worthwhile cause.

 

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As many of you know from an earlier blog, Sunday night was Mom and Dad’s mystery date celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss. Originally John had come up with what seemed to be a really neat plan. Apparently there is an island in the SF bay that has a light house and a restaurant. It is billed as “A hidden jewel.” Perfect! Dad loves boats - Mom loves lighthouses. After a bit of investigation, we realized the island was a barge and the accessibility was not swell. So we decided that this would be something to try some other time. Now where? With the aid of my girlfriend Cheryl (you can catch our pod cast on my site) we came up with the perfect solution, The Cliff House. It is a wonderful restaurant right on the Pacific Coast that has recently been remodeled. In its hay day it was a giant bath house. We got the very best table in the house and the weather was incredible providing an excellent sunset. Along with John and myself, our daughter came and a couple that we have known forever. In fact, I worked in their sporting goods store in high school. The food was great, the restaurant more than accommodating and the company the very best. Let’s go for 60 more Mom and Dad!
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We just received news that the grand prize winner of the $100,000 Quilt Challenge will be announced Tuesday Morning, January 9, 2007 on NBC TV’s Today Show. We have been told the winner will be there to receive “her” check and show her quilt.

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We’ll we are starting week number two of the Quilt Show website. We’re almost to 3000 members! YEAH! We are thrilled with your support. In case you haven’t noticed we have official Quilt Show colors. They are the colors used on the icon heads and buttons throught out the site - purple, yellow, red(slightly pink), limeish green, and a medium blue. We’re having so much fun with the colors that we’re even getting fabric to match so we can make Quilt Show Quilts! There is another fabric surprise coming this spring. I’d like to tell you all about it… but, we’ll… I’d like to, but I can’t!

How many of you have a guild meeting this week? Please make an announcement and give them our address. It’s always good to say THE quilt show and emphasize that the website is www.thequiltshow.com. More good news tomorrow - I can’t wait to tell you… but I have to!
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Our colors! Would anyone like the pattern for this log cabin variation? Paper pieced.

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Hi, it’s John, Alex’s DH. I’m pinch hitting for Alex today. It’s her parent’s 60th anniversary party this weekend. (Details will follow later).

Well it’s a new year. I think I am the only one left on the planet who still makes resolutions, but I refuse to stop. Alex never makes resolutions. In the time it would take a normal person to write down what they want to do, Alex usually has it done. Ricky would have done it, stored it on a memory stick and filed it alphabetically. But for me it’s a time of renewal- new ideas, new hope, new commitments and new directions. I always need to set up some resolutions. My first resolution each year is to do things with the family.
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Sometimes when you do things together, everyone is happy.

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Sometimes not everyone is happy.

My personal improvement resolution this year is to finish what I start. I have a habit of being a good starter and not a good finisher. Well this year is going to be different. Here’s how I’m going to do it. I’m going to…what?… The Dallas/Seattle game is on!?…

 

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