Friday, November 21, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect?

I am not a Quilter!

I know - you are thinking I have finally flipped out, but what is a quilter, really?  Someone who quilts.  Vonnie, Cathy, Demi, Teresa and Brenda are the Gammie Girls.  They are our shop quilters.  I am a piecer.  I am fairly skilled at piecing, but when it comes to quilting, it would seem that I am missing whatever gene it is that controls that ability,

"The right tools will make the job easier."  My sweet husband says that all the time, and based on that premise, I bought a wonderful brand new huge Bernina last year.  It has everything I need to make, and quilt, perfect quilts, including the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR).  For the uninformed, this is a nifty gadget that you put on the machine.  It stitches evenly as you move the fabric under it.  Accordingly, you should make perfectly even stitches while you effortlessly glide the quilt under the magic needle while it dances across your quilt making wonderful smooth loops and curves. 

What Bernina doesn't tell you is that the operator of the machine (that would be me) is the one that has to be smooth.  Oh yeah, the stitches are perfectly spaced, but they are perfectly spaced in a manner that would make you think the operator might have been having seizures while moving the fabric. 

I have done several quilts now - ok, not a lot of practice, but I really only do little quilts on my own machine.  At least I am smart enough to have figured out that my "People" are worth their weight in gold.  There is no way that I am going to spend all the time to piece a large quilt and then ruin it with my horrible quilting.

No, I will keep quilting my small quilts, but for awhile I will just stick to my usual ditch quilting.  I am sure that at some point I will get the urge to prove to myself just how bad I am, and try it again.  This should make my quilters happy, though, because it makes me really appreciate their talent. 

If you think I am making this up - stop by the shop and see my latest debacle.  If you think your quilting is bad.....

Do you quilt your own quilts most of the time?  How much practice should it take to do this? 

Thought for the Day:  Practice doesn't always make perfect!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Losing your Mojo...

If you come to the shop often, you have probably heard all of my "interesting" theories.  You also probably know, that I am not a finisher.  Not that I don't ever finish anything, but I have learned to stop letting those unfinished projects block my mojo.  You know what I mean - you go into your sewing room, and right smack-dab in the middle of your peaceful spot is that project that you started last week, or last month, or maybe even farther in the past.  Guilt overtakes you - you know you should finish it before you start anything else, but you really aren't interested in it anymore.  Whatever it is that attracted you to it in the first place is over.  You probably got something out of it - maybe you learned a new method of piecing, or you tried a new ruler.  Maybe you just went outside of your box when it came to choosing the fabric, and in the long run, wished that you hadn't.  In any case, you are not physically finished, but in your heart and mind you are DONE! 

SO - you need to get over it!  It is blocking your mojo and stopping you from learning something new or starting a project that you might actually want to finish because you love it so much.  Think about it - you are clearly not alone.  Have you ever gone on eBay and seen all the quilt tops and blocks for sale?  My friend, Sandy Schweitzer - local quilt historian and AQS Certified Appraiser - says that we shouldn't worry about our UFO's.  We are just creating historic quilt tops and parts for future generations!

If you aren't really interested in going down in history as the largest producer of UFO's ever, you can do what I do - donate your UFO's to our Pieceful Auction!  This has been a wonderful way for me to relieve my guilt.  And people actually take them home, and quite often bring them back finished!  This makes me happy on so many levels. 

What is the auction you ask?  This is an event that we sponsor every year in February or March.  It is our way of rewarding our customers with a fun afternoon, and a chance to get a lot of cool Pieceful Junk.  Ok - not all junk, but some.  One woman's trash.....

We auction off lots of scrap bags, unsold kits and things that are maybe missing a pattern or fabric.  Some of the stuff is donated by our suppliers, and some is from our own collection  of UFO's.  In addition to our stuff, our customers (like you) can donate (purge) their UFO's, excess fabric, kits they will never finish, books they bought twice (yes, we all do that), and anything you can think of that is sewing related and quilt shop quality (please, give your Joanne fabric to charity). 

You are probably wondering how you can participate in this awesome sounding event.  All the bids are made with Pieceful Bucks.  This is Play Money that you start collecting at the beginning of the New Year.  You can get Pieceful Bucks in a number of ways.  The main way is by spending money at the shop.  You receive Bucks for every dollar you spend, including sale stuff and tax!  Be sure to watch the weekly email, because there are usually double and triple buck days and items that you can purchase. 

You can also get Bucks for bringing Pieceful Show & Tell to classes and clubs.  You can also just stop by and show us anything that you have made in a Pieceful Class, or using our fabric or that has been quilted by one of our Gammie Girls.   

The final way, which brings us back to the theme of this post, is to purge from your sewing room.  We will guestimate what your item is worth (retail) and give you Pieceful Bucks that equal that cost (or more - we like to round up).  What a great way to move those UFO's along and free yourself up to start something new!

Keep in mind that the finishers of the world, while being good and noble people, do not keep your favorite quilt shops in business!  I am not just talking about Pieceful Gathering, either!

Thought for the day - Get Over It!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Starting all over again.....

Wow - I knew it had been awhile since I posted, but I didn't realize it had been that long!  When we attend Quilt Market, they say you are supposed to do all kinds of Social Media all the time.  Some of my fellow shop owners seem to be pretty good at posting things all over the place and still running a decent shop and keeping up with on line orders.  I am pretty sure that these super women are really not human at all - perhaps they are aliens that require no sleep, and they have little alien sweat shops that keep things running. 

I don't require a lot of sleep, and I often go for weeks at a time without getting more that 5-6 hours (or a lot less) every night.  People tell me that is not good, but truthfully, I usually get the most work done between 10 and 2 a.m.  What is wrong with that?  So, my clock is backwards.  Maybe I was born at 10 at night, so that is my morning.  Who knows.  Are any of you like me?  Do you wonder why the morning people get to set all the rules about when things are supposed to be open or closed. 

Oh well - I guess I will just keep going along and trying to fit into this backwards world. 

Last week my sister sent me a link to a blog that is written by a girl I went to High School with, Barbara Mahaney.  She used to be Barbie then - and always will be in my mind (sorry Barbie).  I have followed her career with interest, as she has been a writer for the Tribune for quite awhile.  She writes those great lifestyle articles that make you think, and often bring tears and smiles.  She is a really wonderful writer, and her blog, "Pull Up a Chair,"  is really a nice way to start your day (no matter what time you start).  It might be a little bit spiritual for some of you, but sometimes it is nice to just read something peaceful. 

Anyway, I have always liked to write - although I do know that I tend to babble on a bit - so I thought maybe I will give this blog thing another go around.  I might not write every day, but I will try to be regular, at least.  I will share what is going on in my quilting world, and a little about the rest of my life - if I find it humorous or uplifting.  I am pretty sure nobody wants to know a blow by blow about all the insanity of my normal days!

So - keep watching my Pieceful Blog - and I will try to bring a little piece and peace to your days!

Thought for the Day - DIE SNOW DIE!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013 Pieceful Anniversary Quilt Show

Hello Pieceful Quilters:
I am sorry this took so long to get posted.  I seem to have a lot of trouble formatting this blog thing.  I am not sure what my problem is, but nothing seems to stay where I put it.  Anyway, here are the winners from this year's show.  It was harder than ever for our judge to decide, let alone for us to choose the staff favorite and some others.  Everyone did such a fabulous job this year.  If you want to see more pictures, click HERE to visit Mary Jo Koca's wonderful slide show.  I will try to put some more pictures up on our Facebook page, too, and on our Pinterest site.  I  am becoming the Queen of Social Media.  Don't worry, I am never going to Tweet!

So, without further ado.......

Winners 2013 Quilt Show
Viewer's Choice: Jacqueline's Album by Kathleen Widmer:


Staff Favorite:  Prairie Flowers My Way by Stephanie Matz

Quilt Academy: 25  Block Rail Fence by Lori Micheletti:
Most Unique/Creative:True - Fibonacci Sequence by Brenda Wartalski:
Brenda's is the one on the far left - sorry, that is the only picture it shows up in.
Peculiar Fibonacci Challenge - All in the Numbers by Julie Garren:

The corner showing on the right is Julie's - sorry that seems to be the only picture we got.  The one on the left is another interesting Fibonacci Challenge Quilt made by Violet Klein.

Wall Hanging/Tabletopper
1st Place - Jacqueline's Album by Kim Hartman:
2nd Place - Pyramids by Karen Schultz

3rd Place - Sew Many Pieces by Jane Velander
Lap Size Quilts
1st Place - JoJo by Marcia Bowen
 2nd Place - Mary's Tumblers by Mary Landis:
3rd Place: Spring Sprouts by Liz Del Rosario:
Bed Size Quilt
1st Place - Curved Log Cabin by Alberta Forst:

2nd Place - Card Trick by Marilyn Lund:



 3rd Place -  La Playa by Michelle Nichols:

 Many Thanks to everyone that helped contribute to our most successful show ever!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Mystery Quilt 2012-13

Hello Pieceful Quilters,
Last week we had the Mystery 2012-13 Reveal.  As usual, I was blown away with how beautiful these quilts are.  I knew you would want to see them, so  without further ado, here they are, starting with mine, the shop's sample:

Aren't they beautiful?  Isn't it amazing how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabrics that are used?  Be sure to look for our next Mystery Quilt starting in January 2014!
Happy Quilting - Carrie

Monday, July 1, 2013

Finishing is Overrated....

Hello Pieceful Quilters!

Finishing is overrated!

Yes, I have often been heard saying something along those lines - and I do truly believe that, on some level.  After all, why do we really quilt?  Sometimes finishing is important - when we are making a baby quilt, or a gift for some special occasion - but, more often than not, we are quilting for personal reasons.  Sometimes it is our only creative outlet, sometimes it is our therapy, sometimes it is just a good excuse to go out and meet new friends.  Whatever the reason, it is usually the process that makes us happy.  I so often hear people say, "I can 't start another project until I finish...."  Usually, I can hear the torture in their voices.  We don't really want to finish that old project, we want to start something new and fun!  Isn't that why you started quilting in the first place?  When you force yourself to finish things that you are really "done" with, you take all the fun out of it. 

So - don't be afraid to move on and leave those unfinished projects for some future quilter to discover at an Antique Store.  Maybe they will finish it, or maybe they will just buy it to study and enjoy.  I have a bunch of unfinished Antique tops, and they all make me happy, even if I will never do more than look at them.  See how it works?

So, now that I have stated my philosophy of quilting, I should also point out that there are always a few quilts that you will want to finish - but choose wisely.  There are only so many hours in the day, and it's not worth it to torture yourself. 

I am happy to say, that I finished a quilt this weekend!  I really love this quilt, and it deserved to be finished.  It is the result of a Pyramid Block Exchange that we did in Sarah's Sewing Circle at least two sessions ago.  We have been doing exchanges each session, many from the book, "History Repeated," by Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle:
A really great book!
This is not even the first quilt that I have finished from this book! Of course, finished to me means the top is done and ready for the quilter.  So here is my Pyramid Quilt:
Sorry the picture isn't better - the darn thing is huge!  I do really love it, though. 
Here is another quilt from the book that I finished (more or less):
In progress

 Quilted, ready to be bound
You may wonder if this beauty is really done, yet - as in bound - Well, it could happen......
Have a Great 4th of July!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fibonacci Challenge - 2013

Wow - I guess it has been awhile since I posted.  I have been getting some grief from my loyal followers about not posting here, so I will make an effort to post a little more often.  This post will be about the 2013 Peculiar Challenge.  If you are not familiar with our challenges - this is the second one.  This year, the participants were given a choice of three neutral challenge fabrics that they had to use to participate, otherwise, the challenge was free*.  They were to start with a 12" block of their choice, and then each month they were given a set of rules for a border to surround their center medallion.  *If they showed at least some proof of progress, the next set of instructions was free.  The Fibonacci principle comes in with the size of the of the borders.  They could start with a 2" or a 4" border, depending on how large they wanted the finished quilt to be.  We handed out 50 sets if instructions the first month, and I believe at least 20 have, or will complete the challenge.  Completed Challenge quilts will hang in our show on August 3rd, and there will be a viewer's choice ballot to determine which of the participants will win a fabulous basket of nifty stuff.  Last week we had the unveiling.  The instructions were as follows:

   Border 1 (2” or 4”)
      ·   Only Rectangles. 
      ·   One fabric from center & one new fabric.

  Border 2 (2” or 4”)
      ·   Half Square Triangles.

  Border 3 (4” or 8”) 
      ·   Nine or Four-Patch blocks. 
      ·   One new fabric.

  Border 4 (6” or 12”) 
      ·   Use Tri-recs units (from Tri-recs Ruler).

Here are pictures from the unveiling:

Be sure to attend our annual Show and Open House to vote for your favorites.  I am sure they will be much more beautiful in person - pictures never do quilts justice!

Have a Pieceful Day!