Friday, August 20, 2010

Pieced Borders are ready for the Tulip Tiles BOM

It's ready!  The instructions for the pieced border for the Tulip Tiles BOM are ready for download on the Block of the Month Page.  They are super easy foundation pieced blocks that will add a touch of elegance to your quilt top.The reversed pair of blocks, repeated along the edge of the quilt center are a dramatic element which looks difficult but is really easy to do.

Before you know it, you will be ready to do the final scalloped border.  So far so good!  I would love to see pictures of your blocks or pieced quilt center.  I will post them here on the blog to inspire and motivate all of you who are doing this Block of the Month.

Remember . . . if you are missing any of the earlier blocks you can still get them on my website.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 3 Handi-Quilter Retreat

The third (and last) day of the Handi-Quilter Beginner Retreat began with a shopping frenzy!  We all wanted to get our orders in for all the great gadgets and gizmos we wanted to take home with us.  We packe and repacked our suitcases hoping we could get everything (including all our sewing projects) in.  My suitcase just barely zipped and had to have them ship my new Micro Handles (my big purchase!!).

Our final class was trapunto!  I had never been very interested in do it before, but the quilts they showed us and the techniques they taught us made it seam easy and fun.  They showed us this pink quilt made by inserting bright pink fabric between the white muslin top and the batting after the first layer of trapunto batting had been added and stitched in place.

Then the yellow one, made by one of the HQ Educators blew us away too.

This quilt was one that was marked and stitched but not yet quilted.

For our projects we did a quick technique where batting was placed under an applique piece and then edge stitched onto the quilt.  We used our little practice tops to make cute bags.

This one is mine before quilting it. Somewhere I have and AFTER picture and will add it as soon as I find where I put it!!  LOL  What was so cool was that we made the whole bag on the longarm!  How cool is that?  The only thing it needed was handles.

We had an incredible saladbar lunch and then we had. . . GRADUATION!  How fun is that??  We each got a certificate, some great recipes (from some of our previous meals) and a picture.

Back row: (L-R) Janet, Terri, Melanie, Reeze, Carol, Marianne, Ella, Debbi and Jeri.
Front row: Sandy (standing), Diane (kneeling in front of her), Dyanne, Hope, Dennis, Linda, Candie.

We also had to take a sisters picture since we had 4 sets of Sisters in this group!!!

Terri & Melanie (back row left)
Dyanne & Hope (front row left)
Sandy and Diane (middle)
Ella and Debbie (right standing and sitting)

Of course we had to get a picture of our great teachers as well.

L-R: Kathi Salter, Cheryl Duncan, Vicki Hoth, Hatty Brown

Before our van swooped us off to the airport I had to take a few more pictures of quilts around the lobby of this incredible building!!

So off we all went to our various planes, trains, and automobiles.  I learned so much in this class and hope I have the opportunity to take another one soon.  I highly recommend it.  Of course as soon as i got home I had to load a practice quilt and try out all my new tools, technique.  Hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 2 Handi-Quilter Retreat

classroom day 2

Day two began with a review of the products offered by Handi-Quilter.  OK, what quilter can resist an array of gadgets and gizmos geared just to their needs?  Not this quilter!  LOL  It was fun – and tempting -- to see all the cool tools available by and for HQ, and to shop for them right there on the spot.  WARNING – save room in your suitcase to take those babies home with you.  I ended up buying a set of micro-handles for my machine and had to have them shipped because my suitcase was too full of class samples, books and other goodies I purchased.  I tucked all the other goodies I purchased into my carry on so I could fondle them all the way home on the plane!

HQ gadgets 2   HQ gadgets

Then we went to work finishing up the bobbin work we started the day before.  It really was amazing how great it worked and was relatively simple to do.  My sample was a bit hard to see on my fabric with the thread color I chose, but many of the other retreaters had some fabulous bobbin work.  I want to try it, now that I am home, when I have the time to do it slowly and concentrate on my fabric and thread a bit more seriously.feather lesson quilt

Vickie spent most of the morning teaching us to do feathers.  This was totally fun.  While I have practiced feathers a lot, watched a number of DVD’s on how to do them, read some books, etc., it was really valuable to watch Vickie’s lessons and then practice, practice, practice on our fabric.  I have lots and lots more practice to do, but I feel like I made some real progress in learning to do feather practice

OK, so I won’t win any award for these feathers – but it was really fun to practice.  I have loaded my practice fabric on my HQ16 at home and am doing more rows of practice feathers so I don’t forget what I learned!!!

Lunch was catered in and as usual it was delicious.  They sure know how to feed quilters!  Did I mention that there was always a table full of snacks, chocolate, sodas and water out for us all day?  Oh my, no chance of losing weight on this retreat!!  :-)  Ok, so I am not complaining.

After fueling up we had a demo on using the micro-handles and another one on using Groovy Boards.  These are so cool, and it was very tempting to want to buy some, but I resisted the urge.groovy board Barely.  After the demonstration on Groovy Boards we had a really valuable class on pantographs.  This was terrific class, taught by Hatty, and we made a quilt with a border to border panto with a separate panto for the boarder.  Then Hatty taught us how to turn the quilt to complete the borders on the sides.  This was something I had always wanted to learn and not only got to watch but got to do!  I just barely finished this project when the bus came to pick us up for dinner. 

Whew, after a second day on my feet, my dogs were barking!!  But my second wind came when we arrived at this marvelous Chinese Restaurant and the food began to appear in bowl after bowl.  Oh my.  All I can say is. . . . the shrimp was incredible.  I even resisted dessert just so I could have more of the shrimp.  It was that good. 

It rained and poured while we were inside eating but I am pretty sure none of us noticed.  Between being exhausted, famished, and overwhelmed by the quality of the wonderful meal, we almost missed the magnificent rainbow which formed over the valley as we drove back to our hotel.

I drug my sorry back side down to the pool that evening and soaked in the hot tub till I turned lobster pink then went up to bed and slept like a log.

One more day to go and I couldn’t wait to learn more.  Tomorrow. . . .Day 3.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 1 Handi-Quilter Retreat

Almost a year ago I decided I needed to take lessons on my new Handi-Quilter long arm machine.  But when I looked at the schedule of classes I found that this August was the first date I could get away.  So I booked my retreat and spent a year preparing and dreaming about it.  The retreat is offered by the Handi-Quilter Education Staff at their corporate offices in Bountiful, Utah, near Salt Lake City.  Finally the day came and I boarded the plane for Utah!  What a surprise, it was beautiful.  Ringed by mountains, the high desert of SLC was spectacular and the weather was perfect.

But the bigger surprise was the incredibly warm welcome we received from the Handi-Quilter staff, including CEO Mark Hyland.  They fed us like royalty all week, clearly to keep our energy up as they proceeded to work us like Border Collies on a herd of sheep!  It was wonderful.  They lodged us in a wonderful hotel and shuttled everywhere we needed to go.

Mark Hyland Ceo

Day one began with an incredible overview of the Handi-Quilter machine and an in-depth tour of the manufacturing plant led by CEO Mark Hyland.   He marched us around the plant showing us where the machines are assembled, tested and inspected.  It was great to see where my HQ16 was born.  We watched as they assembled machines, put them in the “burn in” room to run for 4 hours, and then saw where they tested them for 20 minutes of sewing.  It was amazing to watch the process and see how my HQ 16 was made. 

Here are more pictures of the plant.

After the tour our morning class was an incredible class on how to use the machine, how to load quilts and how to do ruler work.  Our incredible instruction staff was led by Vicki Hoth, Hatty Brown, Cheryl Duncan, and Kathi Salter.  Kathi led our morning class and got us to work on our machines right away.

You would not believe the corporate offices where we took our classes.  Their studio was incredible and the building was full of quilts.  I took lots of pictures of the quilts and here are a few of them.

In addition to learning about the machine, we spent the afternoon learning about threads and tension, loading 10 different threads on the machine and learning to adjust the machine tension for every different thread!  OMG, now that was a challenge.  We ended up with a lesson in bobbin work and embellishment that was wonderful.

Later that night, after an incredible catered dinner of roast beast and mashed potatoes we went to a quilt shop and had a ball shopping. There were great quilts in the shop also, and had to take some pictures of those as well. I bought a couple of patterns, – like I really need more patterns!! – and then they took us back to our hotel to crash in a pile, exhausted to the bone.

Ok, so that was Day 1.  Tomorrow I will show you what we did on Day 2!  Till then. . .