Monday, June 13, 2011

Panguitch Quilt Walk

Here's the auditorium before there were people inside - it didn't look too frightening at first, but I was still as nervous as ever. My mom and her friend Rinda were so great to take pictures for me. By the time this was all filled up, with chairs being brought in for the back section, Clint figured there were over 300 people. Pretty good turn out for my first trunk show.

There I am in the doorway - just waiting to do my thing. I kept thinking " I should probably go to the bathroom," but then I kept talking myself out of it. So, when my name came up - I really had to go, but had to put that feeling on the back burner and get through the trunk show.

Hideous picture of me - the only reason I am showing it is because I had a cordless microphone, but I kept turning it off accidentally. So embarrassing! They had to drag in a microphone with a cord so I would stop doing that. It made for some good lame jokes and lightened the mood a little bit. My mom started crying right at first - then I did - what am I going to do with her?

Here's me talking about my "Flower Patch" quilt - easily a favorite quilt of mine, it's just beautiful and I never get sick of looking at it.

I totally talk with my hands - always have and always will. Here, I am showing off "Dahlia." It's funny how many people think that this quilt has applique in it, but it's all piecing and I absolutely love it!

Joe and Nan brought their "Blue and White" quilt - I don't have the name for it, but Nan says she will let me know what the pattern is when she finds it. It was probably hard for everyone to see the detail quilting of this quilt, but you can check it out for yourself here.

There's Joe and Nan - easily the nicest people in the world! I just love them!

Here I am talking about "Serenity," the gasp in the audience is always a good sign that they loved the quilt.

Afterward I sold some of my patterns and I was able to meet a lot of the people there. It was so fun being able to meet so many sweet and wonderful people! I think Panquitch is a wonderful little town and I had such a good time.

Claudia is the best! She is in charge of the Quilt Walk and she did a beautiful job. I am so lucky that I know her, she is so amazing!

After the Trunk Show I walked around with my mom, daughter and my mom's friend. We were able to see houses that had wonderful quilts in each room. I did have to take a picture of this saying - now I just have to convince Clint that this saying should be my Motto!

This was at Claudia's house. She has a ton of antiques and it was so fun just walking around her place. I took this picture, just imagining how perfect it would be for a backdrop for one of my quilts.

I loved this quilt, it looks totally modern to me. It was just beautiful and all done by hand.

Another beauty - I am assuming that Claudia made this quilt, but she can let me know different if that is the case. Lili had a lot of fun walking around with us.

We had a wonderful time in Panguitch! I love the feel of a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and life just seems so much more simple. Clint and I were ready to pack up and move there, then we remembered that our life won't get any simpler just yet. We still have all our responsibilities of the business, and it keeps us super busy. It was fun to take a time out and really let the kids just play. Lucky for us, there was a park right behind our Motel. The kids thought that was the best - what I loved about the park was that there weren't any other people there - we had it all to ourselves. So the kids could just be free and have a wonderful time.

I can't ever get a serious picture of this kid - he makes me laugh though. He had so much fun.

The drinking fountain proved to be a favorite. It shot up about 10 feet and the kids thought that was the best.

Thanks Panguitch for a wonderful time! We will be back for sure!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wish me luck...............

I have my big stack of quilts - hard to believe this isn't even half of the ones I have made. But, I am taking my quilts to the Panquitch Quilt Walk which is going on now and I will be the guest speaker doing a trunk show tomorrow at 12:15 at the Panquitch High School. Not a big deal, right? Whatever!!! - there is supposed to be quite a few people there - I would have a hard time talking in front of 5 people and to tell you the truth, I haven't spent much time preparing what I am going to say and I have no idea what to wear. I am planning on winging it - I hope I don't look like a dork. I am sure I will butcher my words when I first start off and I will be red in the face for the first 10 minutes, but I am hoping after that I can be comfortable enough to continue.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long post, so bare with me. I am so grateful for incredible friends throughout blogland. Since my last post I have had so many encouraging emails and comments by all you incredible people out there. I am so thankful to all of you. I wish I could give you all a big hug for lifting my spirits and making me laugh! You will never know the difference you have made for me and I appreciate every single one of you! So, THANK YOU!

Okay - on with the post!

I thought it would be fun for all you beginner quilters out there to see my beginnings. I would be totally embarrassed to show you these pictures if I never got any better, but these pictures are proof that it takes time, and a whole lot of effort practicing to be good at long arm quilting. Keep in mind - I started to quilt in 2004, but it was a really slow start. My mom bought an A-1 long arm and I taught myself how to use it. My mom didn't go through a dealer when she bought her machine - BIG MISTAKE - and she still tells me today how she wished they would have sent someone to help out at first - anyway, we both had to learn. So, we had no clue how to use a laser, no clue how to do pantographs and really had no clue on how to load a quilt. We (Mom and I) loaded the quilts wrong for the first 4 years without even knowing it.

So, because we taught ourselves - we never touched a pantograph - everything was free motion quilting, everything and to this day - I have never done a pantograph on a quilt. The picture above is my first attempt at a flower. Hard to make out, but a flower with only four petals and an uneven circle would just kill me now. But, there you have it - my first flower.

The other side of the quilt - you can see the flower a little better. But, it still doesn't help the fact that this is obviously a beginner quilter.

This is my Liliana's Heart Quilt pattern - really the pattern that started this whole thing. I was so proud of the quilting on this quilt and now I look at it and want to throw in so much more quilting. Detail Judi! It needs detail!

Check out all that empty space - it just cracks me up now. I would never leave that much space in a quilt and look how uneven everything is. I really hope this encourages you beginners out there!

I was so proud of this quilting job too - but look how I didn't even quilt around the flower - not one speck of quilting - I would totally echo quilt this flower and add so much more. But, I have to say - to this day this quilt (Checkered Flowers) is definitely my personal favorite.

What do you do with all that missing detail? Seriously - if I knew what I would be doing as far as quilting is concerned years later, I would have laughed back then.

Stitch in the ditch anyone? Well, that's all I did on my "Rick the Rack" quilt - also one of my very first designs back in 2005 I think.

This is also a first - Life of a Snowman - there is a lack of "stitch in the ditch" and the tension is uneven. Something I did back then that I refuse to do now is to match the bobbin thread to the back of the quilt, sorry - I just won't do that anymore. I use the same color of thread on top and on bottom - no matter the quilt top or back.

This is a little better - this was my "Turtle Walk" quilt and I liked how I quilted it, but I would still quilt it differently now. So, when I bought my A-1 long arm in October 2008, and I went through my dealer, Jen - I learned how to load a quilt. I learned how to use a pantograph and the laser, but I had Jen take off the laser because I knew that I would never use it. I love custom quilting, I love that I free motion quilt everything, and that each little mistake that I can find proves that the quilting is human. Not that computerized quilting is not as amazing, but I just prefer to add my touch to each quilt that I do. I learned from my sweet friend Em that I should never unpick my stitches - to ere is human - and once you pull your quilt off the frames and see the whole picture, you just don't notice the mistakes.

To this day, the only tools I use for my quilting is my nine inch ruler, and my disappearing purple marker. I make all of my own templates and I free motion quilt them. The trick is, you just have to practice on your machine. You can draw all the designs you want on paper, but you won't get to know your machine unless you use it. It seriously takes time, a lot of time. I still have to take breaks from quilts sometimes because I have committed myself to so much quilting detail that it does get old. That's why a lot of the time it takes me a while to quilt a quilt, I get burned out. But, I never want the quality of my quilting to be affected, so I take a step away until I can face the machine and the quilt again.

For my last picture - Dear Jane - I can't believe how popular this post has been, I keep getting emailed about this quilt. So, years later I can quilt pretty good - I am proud of what I can do, but I really owe all of my talents and blessings to God. He has truly blessed my life.

So, moral of the story and probably the longest post of mine ever, don't give up - keep going and practice like crazy and you will become the quilter you want to be! I hope that helps all of you out there that are struggling with the fact that you bought an extremely expensive machine and you don't even know how to use it!

Hey, maybe I'll use this post as my presentation tomorrow! :)

Take care!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Straight talk................

Okay - I love what I do, and I am so grateful for the talents that God has given me. I enjoy creating - I love drawing a quilt, piecing it together and then quilting it. I can do all of it and I love it. I do it because it keeps me sane, but lately I think I have been going INSANE if you can believe it. Well - if you know me well, then that wouldn't surprise you.

Anyway - I guess I am just sick of all the crap! Crap being the "competitive, rude, jealous" women that pretend to be my friends and then I find out from my own mother - 'cause it's gone through the most random gossip grapevine - that they are just talking untrue crap about me! WHY PEOPLE???? Do we have to do this - it's getting really old, seriously. It takes all the fun out of creating and trying to be good at something.

I love what I do and I love to share what I do, and it seems the minute I have a bit of success - then the claws come out - like I am in competition with anyone - I am not, I simply want to share what I know and hopefully everyone out there wanting to be better at their own thing can use some hints or inspiration from me. Truth is - I design and we (Clint and I) have a business because we just want to provide a good living for our kids and we want to be home with our kids - we are in our little world minding our own business - trying to run a business. So - get a grip!

I am not saying that everyone out there is like this - it's just a select few people who choose to be ornery! So - now that's out - it makes me feel better just to say it because it has been stewing in my brain for a couple weeks now and I feel like I am going to explode!

Now - back to creating - 2 done - 5 to go and the time line is going to kill me - I hope I can get this book done asap so my kids no longer think I am a crazy stressed out mom!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Too early for Christmas???

So here's the deal - we have TONS of new precuts coming for the summer months, and while looking at our current inventory we noticed for some reason we have LOTS and LOTS of Christmas precuts, so we decided to have a Christmas in June sale - 30% off all our holiday precuts - including our brand new releases like Nature's Gift by Deb Strain pictured below!!

Some of the holiday lines include -

Sale ends Monday night, so don't miss this chance to get your hands on new precuts at 30% off!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Almost 7 months.......

It's hard to believe, but my little guy is almost 7 months now. He has been my BEST baby so far and he brings so much happiness into our home.

He is rolling around like crazy and today he was under my machine munching on some cotton batting - gotta love that!

He makes Clint and me smile all the time and his brothers and sister just love him. I am always amazed at how much I love each one of my kids!