Just wanted to touch base and let you know I’m still kickin’ and diggin’ out over here!
The walls have been down for a few weeks – don’t you love the country look of my shiplap! I feel like a log cabin quilter!
The new shelves are filling up…All that is left to organize is the clutter you see on table tops!
Who knew it would take so long to unpack and reorganized after a hurricane! Truth be told, there’s a lot to do and it’s not all studio related. I keep thinking I should be further along but there’s so many things on the to do list that “aren’t normal” – like trying to recreate the value of furniture and such that was lost in the flood. It’s amazing to me how much we were able to save, but there’s still a lot of loss.
Hopefully soon I can show you the cleared space and that I’m able to function somewhat in the studio. Today’s milstone was actually doing some meal planning and going to the grocery store! We’ve been fast fooding it for way too long now. Kitchen isn’t fully operational but I’ve rediscovered my Instant Pot and am eager to use it! Most days it’s been to exhausting to even think about food….trying to put that in the past! Wish me luck!
Still getting ready for the remodeling – the entire house has to be (re)packed and moved out. Seems kinda strange that I’d focus so much on reorganizing the studio but the plan is it will be easier to put back after the remodel. I’m loving these clear totes!
It’s a lot of work but it’s going to be so worth it in the end! One thing that keeps me going is the fabulous quilts I have planned and all the upcoming classes! Can’t wait to put my Certified Instructor status to work! So many good things coming due to my association with Studio 180 Designs. So many good things have already come!
Next on today’s agenda is to find my camera – I have one on my phone of course, but the “real” camera has been MIA for several weeks. Need to download photos for insurance purposes. Have asked for specific prayers concerning locating it…can’t wait for those prayers to be answered!
We keep moving forward, one step at a time.
So that’s my short ramble for today… Short? Was that short?
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, being distracted at the computer when I should be diggin’ out!
PS! I almost forgot – there’s a giveaway going on – checkout the recent Back to School Blog Hop – you can’t win if you don’t register!
Many of you are aware of Hurricane Harvey, at least if not personally then because of the news. If you have been following The Quilt Rambler on social media (and a few blog posts) then you will know that I was “out of state” when the hurricane flooded our home and my studio. In addition, it was a full week after the first wave of flood waters entered our home before the airports were opened and I could get home to help with the cleanup.
I thought I’d do a quick recap of the studio redo – what I’m calling my Studio Without Walls as the walls all had to be removed due to flooding.
First Viewing “After Harvey”
I am still amazed at how much my husband did without me to move customer quilts to a safer place then move furniture and personal belongings. So many things were piled high to avoid the flood waters.
If you remember, Harvey gave Texas more than a one-two punch, I remember getting daily reports of how high the water got each night over the four-night downpour. I know God spared me from having to watch the waters rise, then drain then rise again over the course of the storm. Unfortunately, my studio was the hardest hit as it didn’t drain for 4 or 5 days and had to actually be wet-vacuumed after the storm moved on to other parts of the country. There were 6 inches of standing water in the studio.
The Call for Quilt Angels
One of the first things I did was to remove the over 200 personal quilts and all my fabric stash to the front porch and put out a plea on social media for “quilt angels” to help me wash things. Even though they did not sit in water, just the fact that they sat in a room which sat in water…..well….bottom line, there was moisture and it was best to be safe than sorry and have everything washed.
Countless friends came and took home laundry baskets full of quilts and or fabric and have been taking care of my items until I can bring them back home. Kinda like sending your kids off to camp – a few friends actually posted photos on social media of my “quilt children” as they knew they were missed.
I can’t say thank you enough to all my quilt angels. You know who you are, and I hope you know how special you are to me!
Tear Down Those Walls!
I’ve been told that one inch of water is the same as several feet of water when it comes to the structure of the home. Generally, sheetrock is removed in proportion to the amount of flood water – this is why you see photos of half walls. That is not the case with paneling. Sigh. The entire wall has to be removed as well as the insulation. What a mess!
The bigger mess was trying to get things out of the way of the demolition crew! Things were quickly thrown into boxes and moved to the center of the room so the wall could be removed.
Time to Regroup
As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons make lemonade!
Time to regroup, redesign, rebuild….well, the rebuild part is on hold until we hear from Insurance but the rethinking of the studio layout didn’t take long to redesign.
I am replacing all those white cabinets that held longarm threads, longarm rulers, longarm books with a shelf system and storage totes from The Container Store.
In addition, all the items that were in the wire basket drawers are also going to be contained in the same shelving and similar storage totes.
But wait, there’s more! The office area will be included in this shelving system as will the customer quilts, t-shirt quilt fabric, sewing supplies and rotary cutting rulers.
It’s a work in progress and the progress is slow – I’m having to dig through all the boxes where things were “dumped” in haste of getting the walls removed. But I’m excited about the potential and hope to have things sorted out soon so I can get back to work!
Change is Inevitable, Joy is How I Choose to Embrace It
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done to place items in the shelving – only to be undone again when construction begins and the entire household has to move out…
The “log cabin” look of the shiplap will be covered with brand new sheetrock. My beautiful lime green door will be replaced as will my hot pink flooring. Kinda sad in a way, yet exciting in another way!
I choose joy in these changes that were obviously beyond our control. Looking at this as an opportunity to rearrange and rethink how my studio is laid out to best serve my business needs. I’m excited that the new layout that will allow me once again to have classroom space – and boy do I have some fabulous classes planned with all the wonderful tools and techniques from Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
There’s Always Hope
If you follow me on social media or know me personally, then you will know that I place my hope, peace, and faith in Jesus. I believe that He makes all things good for those who love Him. Life is hard, but God is good. We continue to trust that He is making all things new and look forward to what the future will bring.
Thanks for taking time to read this personal post….I am hopeful to be back to quilting soon and posting beautiful quilt related photos and telling stories about quilting….but as I’ve discovered first hand, quilting isn’t my life but it sure makes my life more colorful! Thanks for sharing the journey.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, eager to get back to “Let’s Talk Quilts” instead of talking Harvey recovery!
*PS Update: original post said 2 weeks before coming back….well, I was gone two weeks but one week was my certified instructor training, it was only a 1-week delay after that to get home. I left 8/20, Harvey hit 8/26, suppose to fly home 8/27 but I flew home 9/3 – you can read about my adventures on previous blog posts!
I should be packing. My plane leaves in a day for my Certified Instructor Training with Studio 180 Design and what am I doing? Not packing that’s for sure!
Sometimes I lose focus. Especially where there’s too much to do, instead of just shutting down I find myself wandering in areas that I shouldn’t be, non-productive areas, sometimes involving my addictions – addictions to fabric that is <grin>
Such has been the case of late. I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a new covered composition notebook for my trip, after all, I did find an orphan block, a lemoyne star to be exact, that just needed to belong….and having just finished up the August challenge of Quilt As You Go….well…here’s what happened Thursday afternoon.
But Wait – There’s More (The Distraction is Strong!)
I’ve been doing a lot of online “wishful” shopping concerning travel accessories. I found this really nifty three zippered pouch that is supposed to fit in the seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket…Wouldn’t that be great to have things within reach after I put up my carry-on bag? I figured it wouldn’t take much to whip one of those puppies right out, just quick as you please…only I got a little carried away…it was that Quilt As You Go thing again….
I think I would like to try this again, only this time not use the soft and stable, well, maybe just on one side to give it body. I also wouldn’t do the “tube” with my lining – made things too thick to sew the side seams. Bottom line, I’ve proved I’m not a bag expert and will leave the designing up to Patterns By Annie (love love love her patterns). But I’m not too proud to use my little dorky homemade look seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket holder! And who knows, I might even rework it at some point and actually improve upon it before my next trip….
This is Karen Overton, The Midnight Quilt Rambler, who seriously needs to go pack for my trip!
Generally when sewing curves for a Drunkard’s Path block assembly there are multiple pins involved as you carefully pin all the fullness of the bias curve of the “pie” shape to fit the “L” shape of the units. I’m going to show you an easier way without all those pins!
It Only Takes Three
In my experience, it only takes three locations to secure the units together before sewing – the top, the middle, and the bottom.
What makes this assembly different is placing the L-shaped unit on top of the pie shape. Most instructions have you do the opposite.
The key is to mark the centers of each shape and use a pin or wonder clip to hold into place. Then line up the bottom edge where the two units meet, making sure that the straight sides stay straight.
Begin stitching at the top using a stiletto to keep the fullness dispersed and matching the edges as you gently and slowly sew a quarter inch seam.
Most importantly make sure that the bottom edges meet, preferably making a straight edge connection.
Press with the direction of the pie shape laying naturally towards the L shape.
Small Improvement Makes a Big Difference
I found that sometimes the bottom edges didn’t quite lay perfectly at the straight edge and that resulted in being off just a tad after being pressed open, causing the curved seams from one block to another not to match, and we all know it’s about matching our seams (grin).
My solution was to sew a little from the bottom first to assure they lined up and then go back and sew from the top. This gave me much better results and was worth the extra time spent – still much less time than all those pins!
Since this was just a practice piece I decided to make a design change instead of trimming or ripping out and starting over with the newly discovered technique.
I haven’t decided yet what to do with the block – it’s kinda a Christmas color and it also reminds me of an owl. I originally thought of summer watermelons…so many possibilities….I’m sure it will pop up in a sampler quilt some day!
I hope you have found this simple technique useful and will enjoy a little curve piecing.
Stay tuned for my Island Batik Ambassador June Challenge with Curved Piecing!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, with a simple trick to simplify your curved piecing of the traditional drunkard’s path block.
Have you tried curved piecing? Do you have a favorite traditional Drunkard’s Path layout? Leave me a comment!
If you have been following The Quilt Rambler on social media the past few weeks you have seen little snippets or sneak peaks of a “secret quilting” project I have been working on ….and now…the big reveal!
Why was it a secret you ask? Well, on occasion, as a longarm quilter I am asked to keep things secret for a time being. For example, not publishing photos of graduation t-shirt quilts before the grad receives it, or especially around Christmas time when I’m quilting customer quilts that will be Christmas gifts.
This time it was because the quilt was to be introduced to the public by the designer – in other words, it wasn’t my story to tell until after its debut and publication.
Why the Secret Quilting
Spring Market was this weekend May 19-21. For those unfamiliar with the quilting world – twice a year Quilts Inc hosts an industry tradeshow where wholesale buyers, distributors, designers and industry leaders gather for the reveal of new fabrics, new patterns, new notions and new trends in the quilting world. The Spring Market this year was in St. Louis. The Fall Market is always in Houston the weekend before the public International Quilt Show. I’ve never been to Spring Market but have attended Fall Market since 2004. Trust me, it’s better than Christmas!
I received this beautiful quilt from Deb Tucker, Studio 180 Design right before my Arizona trip the first of the month, asking that it be quilted and returned in time for her to put on the binding so it could be displayed in the booth at Spring Market. (For the record she had made a reservation earlier so I knew to expect it). I took this photo “before” it was quilted so I could study it on the plane and come up with quilting designs. I fell in love with the design, it goes without saying how much I love LeMoyne Stars. Upon inquiring about the name of the pattern I found it very fittingly named Morning Glory.
Before I go any further sharing the quilting designs I wanted to share what I’ve learned by osmosis.
I’ve been watching social media for all the big reveals at Spring Market – if you do a search #springmarket you will be able to get sneak peaks of upcoming goodies to our local quilt shops later this year. I was especially pleased to see photos of Studio 180 Design booth with Morning Glory hanging among such other beautiful quilts! I love all her rulers and have most of her patterns, having taught several in the past in my studio or local quilt shops. Needless to say, Morning Glory is at the top of my wish list!
As you know, I’m an Island Batik Ambassador having the privilege of working with these wonderful fabrics and looking forward each year to their new fabrics and designs, eagerly awaiting their catalog….sooo….I’m looking through their Spring Market catalog and low and behold I see a different version of Morning Glory by Deb Tucker! I’m guessing that the pattern has different size options and she made one for Island Batik’s booth and the one I quilted was for her booth. Oh, I wish I could have seen both in person at Spring Market. I snagged these photos off social media to share.
On To The Quilting
I determined that I wanted to stitch in the ditch (SID) all the borders and the star outline, but not the individual diamonds. This would give the quilt stability and frame in all the important components. It also allowed me later to roll the quilt up and down as needed to be able to quilt all of one thread color before changing threads vs advancing the quilt and changing threads as I worked my way down the quilt. The SID took the better part of one day but experience told me it would be well worth it.
Next, I would be quilting all the borders and the blazing star units within the borders. This would assure that the borders would be straight and not drawn in by the density of the interior designs had I quilted it first. I quilted the top and bottom borders then “turned” the quilt, which means it was unpinned off the take-up leader bars of the longarm and turned 90 degrees and repinned to be able to quilt the side borders in one long pass vs advancing and breaking thread causing a lot of stops and starts. Extra time to turn, but once again, worth it!
The quilt remained in this side to side position instead of top to bottom for the remainder of the quilting.
Auditioning Design Ideas
Sometimes I will take a plexiglass and use a dry erase marker to audition design elements prior to quilting. Through the years I have found this to be useful and many times what I initially thought I would be quilting had a “design change” after drawing it out.
I had completed the quilt, having unpinned it from the take-up leader bars and was texting Sue Tucker to verify the shipping address when I mentioned that I was sad I couldn’t attend Spring Market but at least I could “be a butterfly on a morning glory” to which Sue responded that she had hoped I was including one of my special butterflies…Oops! Didn’t know that!
As a side note I typically put the butterfly on personal quilts or as special requests as it is sorta my trademark signature….I was flattered by the suggestion and quickly decided this quilt just needed a butterfly!
Do you remember that old song “have it your way”….well, if you don’t, here it is to refresh your memory of singing commercials of yesteryear (or if you are too young to remember, to expose you to some of the finer things in life). I was humming this tune as I reloaded the quilt and found a place for the butterfly!
Hot Off The Frame
And now I will slow down the ramble and let the pictures speak for themselves.
Where Can You Find This Pattern
I know you are going to want to make this as much as I am! Check with your local quilt shop and request that they carry Studio 180 Design Patterns and Rulers. While you are there, also request that they carry Island Batik fabrics if that isn’t already in their line up. I have been a huge fan of both companies for years, having had the blessing of meeting both owners and co-workers of each. You will never find better folks than the Tuckers and the team at Island Batik. I can recommend their products to you and your local quilt shop without reservation.
Stay tuned to The Quilt Rambler as my upcoming blog will include another recent workshop using Deb Tucker’s rulers (this time the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star Ruler) as well as the progress of my May Island Batik Ambassador #ModernBatikChallenge using their beautiful fabrics.
Why not make it easy on yourself – go ahead and subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss out on a thing!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thanking Deb Tucker for the privilege to once again quilt one of her beautiful quilts!
Are you still humming the song in your head? ….. You’re welcome! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on how you’ve had your own secret quilting projects, or your favorite singing commercial (grin)..
Oh my goodness! Where have the days gone! March Madness indeed! It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve last blogged.
I promise I haven’t been on a world cruise and forgot to tell you about it. Actually I wish I HAD been on a cruise!
Things have been hopping over here in The Quilt Rambler studio – and just to prove it I’m going to share a few unedited photos of the creative explosions to account for being MIA.
You may recall that the first of the year I totally redid my studio – with several things being moved into the living areas of the house waiting to be sorted. It’s been a slow process to get everything where I want it. So many wonderful things to go through, to get distracted by, to find a new place to store…sigh….One of the recent goals was to remove a large cabinet from the studio….
And that was just one adventure of the past two weeks! However, our motto has always been “we work hard, so we play hard” There wasn’t much time to play however I did manage a bike ride to the bay with my youngest son as well as a date night in Galveston with my hubby…
In addition to all this rearranging of the studio, which is a slow work in progress, there was some serious sewing and quilting going on in the studio! AND videoing!!
Currently in production is a tutorial/workshop on How to Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover – the project inspired by the March Challenge of the Island Batik Ambassadors – read about it here.
That said I had high hopes of having this video online by now, but alas, and with a mournful sigh, I am struggling with computer issues….yep…had to restore everything to factory settings and it’s taking way too long (and my patience is thinning) to try to get things back to normal….
What is normal anyway!It’s just a setting on the dryer!
So in between all the fun clean up, the video, the computer mess and trying to get the taxes done (let’s don’t even go there!) I have managed to do just a little personal sewing in prep for an upcoming workshop next month in Arizona…more details on that to come but here’s a sneak peak of the beautiful Island Batik fabrics I’m using in said project.
So there you have it, a brief accountability of the past few weeks! Short and sweet, with unedited photos and unedited ramblings! I’ve got so much scheduled for the month of April I don’t even have time to tell you about it as I do need to crack the whip and get busy!! All I can say is it’s going to be a fast, furious and an incredibly fun month full of fabulous fabric! I can hardly wait to experience it and share it with you!
Thanks for checking in with me! Stay tuned for more, and more often!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, coming out of MIA to Tell Your Story One Quilt At A Time!
Please leave a comment and share about your busy spring cleaning, or spring project, or a suggestion for future tutorials!