Still Kickin’ After Harvey

Quilts are starting to come back home!

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!

This first shelf is “finished” but there’s still a table full of items to sort and find a home in the new tote/shelf system

 

This is my favorite area so far, my newest quilt covers a cutting station and my longarm rulers and threads are all sorted and ready to get back to work
As soon as this area is cleared I can unveil my longarm table – it’s been too long since I’ve heard it’s purr

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.

Can you see my sewing machine under this pile? Unfortunately my beautiful sewing cabinet sat in water for 5 days and is ruined.  I purchased it last year at Quilt Festivial and will replace it at this year’s Quilt Festival coming up soon

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!

Sneak peak of my beautiful Island Batiks and Studio 180 Design patterns…good things are in store for the future!

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!

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Studio Without Walls

 

The Quilt Rambler Studio January 2017 (see the home page for a virtual tour)

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”

So many things piled high in the center of the studio to avoid the waters of Hurricane Harvey 9.4.17

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.

9.7.17 These were my thread cabinets behind the longarm Bottom drawers were moved to higher locations to save the thread, however, the cabinets were ruined.
This was my fabric stash again bottom drawers were moved higher but the cabinets have since rusted and are totaled

The Call for Quilt Angels

9.5.17 All the quilts and fabrics were moved to the front porch

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!

9.6.17 trying to move things to the center of the room prior to wall removal

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.

9.6.17 Once things were taken off the higher cabinets the cabinet then had to be emptied and removed. Flood waters do nasty things to cabinets.
9.6.17 All damaged cabinets from the studio found themselves curbside – not to mention damaged items including carpeting and walls from the rest of the house.
Probably the most emotional part was my son helping the crew tear down the mural he had painted for my studio. So hard to lose art.
9.7.17 The studio walls made a colorful addition to our curbside debris from Hurricane Harvey

Time to Regroup

Lots of new storage ideas for the studio!

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!

Entrance to the studio, on the left, has two shelves. The first with t-shirt quilt fabric and totes with customer quilts.
The top of the second shelf system will be housing all my “class in a box” teaching materials for upcoming workshops using Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design tools and techniques.
The next two shelves are a work in progress, the one on the far right is the longarm tools with the bottom two rows nothing but thread! The area covered by my latest quilt, Sugar and Spice (see previous blog) will be my cutting station
Backdoor shelf will house sewing supplies and projects

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.

Clean up crew is starting to come through the neighborhood!!! 9.19.17 maybe we are next!!!

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!

Still the queen of typos (grin)

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Distractions – of the Fabric Sort

Distracted by Beautiful Fabric

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!

Easily Distracted

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>

Distracted by Quilt As You Go
Using scraps from my Island Batik stash and an orphan block I got distracted in the Quilt As You Go method

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.

 

Visit my YouTube for instructions
I love how the star ended up centered on the back…Don’t look, but I discovered why it was an orphan (sigh) not-so-perfect points (GASP!)
Perfect place to keep my notes, with graph paper lines for any design inspiration AND a place to keep my pens. Ready for Class!

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….

Quilt As You Go strips onto Soft & Stable, then aligning zippers
Once placement of zippers has been determined, I cut the vinyl to size to form outer pockets
More pockets – how about mesh pockets for the interior!
.I sewed right sides together to make a tube…would do this differently next time, if there’s a next time
Before midnight I had a bag, of sorts….
At least the inside is light enough to see what I put in there!
One side of my  pocket pouch will hold my snacks for the plane
The other side will hold my iPod and earbuds
The idea was for the interior to hold my travel purse and phone…will they fit?
Ta da! The travel wallet and cell phone WILL fit in my seat-back pocket pouch

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!

I must be crazy! All I really need is a toothbrush, right?!!?

 

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What’s in Your Box? Island Batik Ambassador Box 2

Christmas in July for Island Batik Ambassador The Quilt Rambler

It’s like Christmas in July!

Truly.

The Island Batik Ambassadors have been receiving their second shipment for the year these past few weeks.  I’ve enjoyed watching the unveiling and big reveal of “what’s in YOUR box

Without further ado – it’s my pleasure to share with you the joy of being an Island Batik Ambassador.

 

Here’s a link to the other Ambassadors – check out their box openings!

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler (this is me!)
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts
Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

Island Batik Fabrics are always a pleasure to work with!
Here’s a close up of the bonus fabric included in my 2nd Island Batik Ambassador Box.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – Island Batik Ambassador

What would you make with the beautiful purple stamped fabric? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave me a comment.

Oh Baby (Part 2) – What Happened To July?

Vintage baby quilt with modern remake by Karen Overton

June Challenge for Island Batik AmbassadorsOh Baby Part 2

Wow! July just completely flew by, didn’t it!  Here’s my continuation of the Oh Baby  Island Batik Ambassador Project…

In case you missed the previous ramble concerning choosing the fabrics and piecing the project you can catch up by clicking on this link.

Finishing Touches

Sprinkles Baby Quilt coming together“In our last episode” my little quilt was on the design wall needing only three more seams to complete. I made quick work of it recently during my Sunday sewing (after church). Before too long it was ready for the longarm.

I love to take photos of “hot off the frame” – after working up close and personal with a quilt stretched flat on the frame it is fun to drape it over the leader bars and see how the light reflects off the texture of the quilting.

Oh Baby Part 2
“Hot off the frame”

Since this was a personal quilt I wanted to be sure to add my signature butterfly as well as my initials plus the year in the quilt. Kinda my quilted label so to speak.

Oh Baby Part 2 Binding is complete
It’s not finished until the binding is on – and a label (of sorts)

The quilt top was quilted by the end of Sunday, but the binding wasn’t put on until Monday 7/31 – talk about meeting a deadline!

Photo Finish

Fabrics from Island Batik
Stay tuned for the big reveal as I open my second Island Batik Ambassador box!

Today (Monday) has been a very very busy day – my 2nd Island Batik Ambassador box arrived late last week and I had plans to have my videographer (aka my oldest son) come over today to film the opening of said box…part of “the big reveal” was to include a round up of the projects done thus far with Island Batiks….I literally finished the binding on my July project as he was setting up the cameras!  Watch for an upcoming post and link to my YouTube channel to see the presentation. In case you missed it, here’s the link to my first “unboxing.”

After the filming, I took the baby quilt outside to photograph full view as well as next to the baby quilt my grandmother made me as a newborn. I found it rather fitting that July is also my birthday month so in a way this little quilt not only honors my grandmother but is my birthday present to myself.

Island Batik fabrics make a great baby quilt using the pattern Sprinkles
I just love the bright fabrics in this version of “Sprinkles” pattern
6 pointed star quilts make great baby quilts
I think my grandmother would be pleased with my remake of her quilt, don’t you?

What’s Next?

A new month, a new project – the August challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “Quilt As You Go” – I’ve got a neat project planned but won’t be starting it until my next Sunday Sewing….in the meantime, check out all the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs as they too are rapping up the month. Links can be found here.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler,  Barely Under the Wire on the Oh Baby July Project! Can’t Wait to Talk to You in August!

 

 

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What Does The Quilt Rambler and Studio 180 Design Have In Common?

Upcoming Event with Studio 180 Design

Besides the fact that I love love love Deb Tucker’s Rulers and Techniques…

How about a future trip to include a full week of Certified Instructor Training!

Yes, I love Deb’s Rulers

Studio 180 Design And The Quilt Rambler
My all time favorite ruler is the Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler

Those of you who know me know that I believe that you can never have too many rulers! That said when it comes to specialty rulers that truly make my piecing life easier I turn to Studio 180 Design. Deb’s techniques make me look like a champ in the piecing department.  I know, I fired the quilt police years ago, but I’m not afraid of them when I piece using these rulers.

Call for Applicants – Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor

I was soooo excited when I saw the facebook post concerning this year’s Certificated Instructor Training offered by Studio 180 Design. It’s been something I have wanted to do for well over 5 years.

Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor
As seen on Facebook

Application Process to Train as a Certified Instructor

Studio 180 DesignBy the time I saw the post it had been “out there” for well over a month – how in the world did I miss it??  I quickly downloaded the application and found that it was pretty detailed.

Quilting Biography – The Quilt Rambler, Who Am I?

Certified Instructor This was time-consuming….I needed to rack my brain for some of the public “accomplishments” that I’ve achieved – teaching piecing classes, a little about my longarm accomplishments, publications, etc.

Quilting References – I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!

Studio 180 Design Certified InstructorWhile I was working on the biography I asked a few folks to consider being a reference for me, a local shop owner/friend (location of past classes) and three quilting friends who have attended classes and/or workshops with me (one was a past guild president)…I later learned that my gals had their reference forms emailed long before I completed my application! Such sweet friends!

Block Submissions Needed to Apply for Certified Instructor

This part of the application was where the needle met the fabric! Deb has several rulers in her lineup – or as she puts it “Tools for the Realist, Not the Idealist“. It’s not surprising that I own every one of them! I’ve used a few of them more than others like the Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler, Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler, and Corner Beam.

The application had 6 line drawings for blocks that needed to be pieced and submitted. There wasn’t a size restriction, suggested color/value, nor instructions! Truly this was THE TEST! How well do you know how to use Deb’s Rulers?

My Blocks To Be Juried Into Acceptance For Training

Of course, I pulled fabric from my Island Batik stash. I just happened to have a 10″ square stack of Coastal Mist and redrafted the blocks to the sizes that would accommodate my fabric limitation to 10″ (except the background, I had yards of that!)

These blocks do not have an official name that I’m aware of….

Block made using Deb Tucker Rulers for Certified Instructor Training
Rulers Used: Rapid Fire Leymone Star, Corner Pop
Block made for Certified Instructor Training Application
Rulers used: Corner Beam, Tucker Trimmer, Square 2
Block made by Karen Overton Using Studio 180 Design Rulers for Certified Instructor Application
Rulers used V -Block, Tucker Trimmer
Karen Overton made this block using Deb Tucker Rulers for her Certified Instructor Application
Rulers used: Wing Clipper, Tucker Trimmer
The Quilt Rambler made this block using Deb Tucker Rulers for Certification Application
Rulers Used: Split Rects, Diamond Rects, Tucker Trimmer

 

Karen Overton's block submitted for Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor Training
Ruler used: Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star: Petite Star

Happy Mail – My Application for Certified Instructor Training

Since I was “a day late and a dollar short,” or felt that way due to learning of the application process in a very untimely manner, I took a whole weekend off to focus on the piecing of my blocks. As Deb said, “take your time, but hurry up.”

In the mail Karen Overton's Application for Certified Instructor training
My blocks and application are (almost) “in the mail!”  You may remember this photo from an earlier blog post.

The Wait

If you’ve ever waited expectantly, and who hasn’t, then you know I was on pins and needles awaiting a verdict.

Email from Studio 180 Design for Certified Instructor Training
Good news! I’ve been accepted!!!

Let The Countdown Begin!

Countdown until Deb Tucker's Certified Instructor Training
Even though I’ve known about my acceptance for several weeks, I just started my “countdown” today. By the way, 23 is my favorite number! Quilt in the background is Morning Glory, a new pattern by Studio 180 Design quilted by The Quilt Rambler

I’m sew excited to be going to this training. I have learned from others that it is very intense and equally very rewarding!  I hope I can pass the test at the end and be counted among a prestigious group of quilters known fondly as “CI’s”

With certification, my goal is to be able to offer more classes and workshops both locally and wherever the call may lead me. Can’t wait until I can say “Coming to a location near YOU!”

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler,  giddy with delight to announce my acceptance to Deb’s Certification Instructor Training (I’m still pinching myself!!)

 

Summer Secret Sewing

Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, is about to embark on a secret sewing mission

Say that three times!

What a great start to summer! So what is “secret sewing,” you ask? Quite frankly a new experience for me – after all, I am The Quilt Rambler, not the keeper of quilt secrets! Do you realize just how hard this has been for me trying to keep things under wraps for the past 12 days!

After coming off a busy graduation t-shirt quilt season (with the last one picked up June 2nd before the June 3rd graduation) you may have seen this on social media posted June 2:

Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, is about to embark on a secret sewing mission
Shh! It’s Secret Sewing time with The Quilt Rambler

“Shh!! It’s a secret! Actually, I’m working on THREE secret quilting projects right now that all due within the next 10 days. Two I can’t share until Fall Market, the third is super top secret but if it works out I will be able to share in a few weeks. I’m going to be a secret agent and bury myself in fabric…duty calls!”

Secret Sewing Project Number 1

June 2 to June 5

Secret Sewing - all I can show is the trimmings
All that’s left to show is the trimmings – fabric line Coastal Mist by Island Batik

This one kinda snuck up on me with a fast approaching deadline. All I can say is it’s an application to something BIG if it all comes to pass. If not, it was a learning experience and I’ll try again another time. But the pressure was on! Choose fabric – no brainer, I picked Island Batik’s collection Coastal Mist. Measure twice, cut one. Sew sew sew – actually 3 days of sew sew sew, had to do my best work!

Piecing secret sewing quilt blocks
Probably could have shown the fabrics because that wasn’t the secret, can you guess what units I’m piecing?

Then shipped off to meet the deadline.

I can hardly wait to hear the results. And yes, I will share the results one way or another…I’ve also got plans to repurpose the project “one way or another”… Hopefully, by the end of July, I will be able to reveal this adventure. I can hardly wait!! It’s so hard not to talk about this!

 

 

Secret sewing is mailed to a top secret location
After an intense weekend of secret sewing, the project is mailed off to a Top Secret location

Secret Sewing Project Number 2

June 5 to June 6

This project is an original design pattern that was submitted to Island Batik to showcase one of their upcoming fabric collections that will be introduced the end of October at the Houston Fall  Market – a tradeshow for the quilt industry where buyers come to see the latest trends, new notions and of course new fabric!! Orders are placed for fabrics to ship in the spring….

This one is especially hard to not ramble about, even harder not to share photos! But that’s the surprise! The fabric!! Okay, and the design…it’s a new one too.

Oliso Iron stops working, but a replacement is soon to come
Rest in Peace my dear Oliso – you were the best iron I ever had!

One little sad frustration while working on this project is that my Oliso iron died. I was pressing all the little parts and pieces as I was sewing and I smelt something burning – evidently, the heating element must have burnt out. Sigh. Backup travel irons don’t compare but I am thankful to report that Oliso has a repair/replace option and I am shipping off the deceased iron today and eagerly awaiting another one. Best iron I’ve ever owned!

Secret Sewing Project Number 3

June 7+

Thank goodness this project was just a wall hanging! Whew! Pieced in one (long) day!  Last stitch 1:30 AM June 8th. And yes, it’s another Fall Market fabric line for Island Batik.

Oh, how I wish I could show you this one! The fabrics are MY colors – that might be too much of a hint, but I can tell you I can’t wait to purchase fabric from this line when it comes out the first of next year!

Let The Quilting Begin

June 8 to June 12

Okay, I did take Sunday off! But I still pulled some after midnight quilting. I couldn’t help myself – I got really caught up in the quilting. Project Number 2 was custom quilted with a little bit of ruler work.  According to my stitch counter, this tasty morsel had 136,285 stitches with four thread color changes.

Here’s a legal sneak peak of the backing showing just a tad of the quilting. It’s “legal” because the backing is from a current line introduced at Spring Market called Seas The Day shipping soon to quilt shops.

Close up of backing fabric from secret sewing project
Backing showing custom quilting of Secret Sewing Project #2
Stitch counter on secret sewing project 3
I love it that my A1 Quilting Machine has a stitch counter. That’s a lot of thread!

I really got into the quilting on Project Number 3, even though it was much smaller it had oh so much higher stitch count, with only two thread color changes. I played a lot with ruler work! A lot!

I thought it was fun that the Island Batik backing, from the basics line, was called Rainbow and that I used Superior Threads Rainbows thread to quilt it in a colorway called Carnival (more hints of the fun fabric colors on top!). As you can see – I cut it sorta close on running out of thread!

Superior Threads used on secret sewing project
Sneak peak of the backing and custom quilting on Project #3 Don’t you just love Superior Threads!

Binding, Photos, and Off to the Post Office

June 13 to today, June 14

Binding threads on secret sewing project
Always the right color thread for binding with Superior Threads Masterpiece bobbin collection

I’ve been doing a lot of machine binding lately, attaching the binding on both sides with the sewing machine, but these beauties deserved a little hand sewn binding love. I just love how my “donut” of MasterPiece threads by Superior Threads offers any and all colors I need to match my binding!

And no, that beautiful stripe orange is not a give-a-way of the secret fall fabric collection – that’s my hanging sleeve made from Island Batik fabric in my stash. You thought I slipped up and let out a secret, didn’t you?

Naturally, I had to have photos taken to document the quilts before shipping them off to Island Batik….that way I can blog about them this fall! Don’t you want to see all the close-up details? Oh, I can hardly wait to show them to you.

I asked for special permission to share this next photo with you – that’s why it’s in black and white, to protect the big reveal of the fabulous colors in Project Number 3….but I couldn’t resist this photo taken in the backyard – lots of critters flying around in the summer time – some of which aren’t alive to fly…

secret sewing sneak peak
Critters in the backyard…a Cicada shell and my signature butterfly (grin)

The clock just struck 9:00 AM June 14th – that means the post office is open and I’ve got to head out the door!  Here’s a parting shot of the quilts prior to boxing up showing you the beautiful labels my friend Janie made for me (with the pattern name and fabric collection name covered up – it is still a secret after all).

secret sewing quilts rolled up and ready to mail
It’s been a whirlwind of secret sewing, time now to send the quilts on their way to Island Batik. Thank you, Janie, for the labels!

Thanks for joining me in this ramble….I can’t imagine keeping this secret for 136 days – Quilt Market is October 28th!!!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, talking about quilts while still keeping them secret! who knew!

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Illuminated Journey – Arizona!

Karen Overton holding her quilt Illuminated Journey outside near a breathtaking view of Arizona

Arizona, We have landed!

Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, poses by a tall cactus in Arizona
Nice to meet you Arizona!

I have been looking forward to this journey for months! This past week I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild in Prescott Valley, Arizona and able to teach a workshop with my original pattern Illuminated Journey.

I have to say the hardest part of packing was deciding what quilts to bring for my trunk show! Every quilt has a story and this rambler does like to ramble on.

Bags are Packed

My friend Dianne accompanied me on this journey. Fortunately, she travels light so I was able to appropriate one of her allowed check in bags. As you can see, I don’t travel light!

Three hot pink polka dot suitcases are full of quilts to take to Arizona
Colorful suitcases are easy to spot at baggage terminals!

 

Let the Journey Begin

photo shows a sandaled foot on the break and view of the dashboard of a rental car
Current world view – trying to find the ignition and the stick shift on the rental car

We flew into Phoenix from Houston Hobby and had a rental car waiting on us. It’ s a good thing that Dianne is a little more up to date with vehicles than I am. I was really surprised when I couldn’t find a key hole in the ignition! She calmly explained to me “put your foot on the brake and press the start button”. But even Dianne was dumbfounded when we couldn’t find the stick shift – who knew it was a knob on the dash!

Road Trip

Our destination was Prescott Valley. I have to thank my friend Larry at church for teaching me the proper way to say this. As a Texan, I thought it was pronounced Press-Scott but he kindly corrected me that it was Pres-cut, the only way I could remember was it sounded like it rhymed with biscuits…

We had a little over an hour and a half drive UP the mountains to our destination. Coming from 10 feet above sea level to over 5000 feet above sea level was breathtaking in multiple ways. The scenery was glorious. Along the way, we saw an exit sign for a visitors center where they shared a location with us to enable us to safely take photos of the fabulously tall cactus we were viewing out the window. If you follow me on Facebook you can see my impromptu Facebook Live video from High Desert Trail. The scenery was truly breathtaking.

Two friends take photos of large cactus at a road side hiking trail in Arizona
Mountain top experience in Arizona

Shop Hop

Colorful fabric on the cutting table of a quilt shop with ladies studying the pattern for a quilt
Dianne studies the pattern and picks out fabric for her next quilt

By late morning we were joining our hostess, Patsy and Karen (daughter/mother), for a fun tour of the two local quilt shops.

First stop was Quilt ‘N Sew Connection I enjoyed all the shop samples and beautiful display of fabrics. The ladies there were very welcoming. Dianne found her “next quilt” and I’ve been recruited to assist her with some of the teachable moments in the pattern. It’s going to be stunning.

Just down the road was Cloth Plus which offered both quilting fabric and home decoration fabric and supplies. This shop was equally friendly – that’s important in my book! I was pleased to see some Island Batik precuts – they actually had the fabric line that I used in my Illuminated Journey sample!

I’m not confessing my purchases – but I will say it wasn’t easy to squeeze in more fabric in my already packed suitcases!

Time for Guild Meeting

After an enjoyable afternoon sight-seeing and a late lunch with the girls, it was time to prepare for my lecture and trunk show.

I had brought two little cameras and asked that photos be taken for me….well, low light and a camera that’s not familiar yielded a few shaky shots as well as grainy shots – but if you are a true quilt lover, and I know you are, you will forgive the photo quality and look at the quilts!

I have to say my favorite part of quilt guild meetings are the show and tell by members. I love seeing what others are making and hearing their stories. The Lonesome Valley Gals are extremely generous in the making and donating of charity quilts – so many were displayed during their community service show and tell. In addition, the members shared their own personal quilts. I was able to capture a few.

A 9 patch collage of ladies showing their quilting projects
The Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild members share their latest quilting creations

Time To Ramble

A lady at the front of a church with a table full of folded quilts ready for show and tell
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you….Karen has her quilts in a row ready to ramble the night away!

It doesn’t look like 100+ pounds when they are all folded up on the table, but I promise I had 3 suitcases weighing just under the 50-pound limit each full of quilted quilts, unquilted quilts as well as all the teaching supplies for Illuminated Journey. Here’s a small sampling of my trunk show…and yes, this Quilt Rambler did ramble on! I lost track of time and never made eye contact with my “timekeeper” Patsy to know when to stop….umm….yeah…how about an hour of rambling on! I really could have talked all night – quilting is such an inexhaustible subject! I got tickled when Patsy stated, “I don’t think she took a breath!”

Scrappy quilt made from purple fabric
Early quilt pieced and quilted  by Karen Overton – Fabric collected in 2001 as fat quarters
scrappy purple quilt with lime green stars
More purple fabrics, quilt top pieced between 2007-2009 waiting to be quilted
Sharing a colorful lemoyne star quilt
Stack ‘N Whack quilt pieced and quilted in 2003. This quilt was a turning point in my journey. I attempted to machine quilt this on my domestic sewing machine – it “made a good woman cuss, so I had to buy a Longarm”
colorful wallhanging quilt
Crown Jewels, a pattern by Deb Tucker, pieced and quilted by Karen Overton,
scrappy reproduction fabric quilt made using a specialty ruler by Deb Tucker
Original pattern using Deb Tucker’s Ruler Corner Beam, I call this “Hummingbird” pieced and quilted by Karen Overton
Binding Tool Star Quilt in colorful island batik fabrics of orange, hot pink, yellow and lime green
A fun fast pattern called Binding Tool Star Quilt by Missouri Star Quilt Co. with a border variation by Karen Overton. Pieced and quilted by Karen Overton using Island Batik fabrics. Yes, Lime Green is a neutral!

Illuminated Journey Workshop

Tuesday morning 14 ladies were up bright and early, toting in their sewing machines and supplies for a full day of learning how to use Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design’s Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler with my pattern Illuminated Journey.

collage photo shows students in a quilting class
Illuminated Journey class with the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild ladies

The ladies were delightful. I truly appreciated their kindness and loved getting to spend time quilting and visiting with them. Once again, thank you to Kim who provided a sewing machine for Dianne to be able to sew during class. Since Dianne had already made Illuminated Journey she worked on her first “Jelly Roll Race” quilt and was pleased to get it totally pieced during class.

beautiful scrappy blue quilt
Dianne’s first “jelly roll” quilt – pieced in one day! Fond memories of time spent in Arizona

The day went too quickly! Before I knew it everyone was packing up and we were headed out to dinner with Patsy and Karen, joined by their husbands. I neglected to mention that these ladies, who are actually from Prescott Valley, spent some years in my neck of the woods – the Texas gulf coast – and we were in the Mainland Morning Guild together (Texas City). This mother/daughter team is a joy to be around. Again, Dianne and I appreciated their hospitality.

four quilting friends holding a colorful quilt
The road is never long between quilting friends!
Karen Kumke, Patsy Franko, Karen Overton and Dianne Burnett. Illuminated Journey goes to Arizona!

All Roads Lead South

map showing route from Prescott Valley to Phoenix
Heading south the Phoenix then on to Houston

Well, maybe that’s not true, but it was time for these Texas gals to head south – but not without another stop on the road for our photo op. This time we stopped at an official rest stop called Sunset Peak, a mere 3000-foot elevation. We weren’t disappointed by the view that’s for sure!

 

cactus flowers in Arizona
Dianne enjoying the beautiful flowers
collage of cactus and flowers and a quilt in the wild
Photos taken at the Sunset Point Rest stop
cactus flowers in Arizona
Beauty in the desert
yellow cactus flowers in Arizona
Loved the colorful flowers in the sea of brown – Arizona is a beautiful state

Illuminated Journey in The Wild and On the Road

While taking this photo another rest-stop guest asked if we were going to a quilt show in Utah that weekend…Darn! We would just have to miss that one! Just not enough hours to see all the fabulous quilts in the world!

Karen Overton holding her quilt Illuminated Journey outside near a breathtaking view of Arizona
Illuminated Journey and The Quilt Rambler journey to Arizona

I truly appreciated the good fortune to share my pattern with the Arizona ladies. Thank you again for your hospitality and allowing me the opportunity to see your beautiful state!

Pattern Available

stunning scrappy quilt made with precuts, purchase from Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler
Illuminated Journey is an original pattern by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, and is available for purchase

Illuminated Journey was created in 2014 as a pattern to be taught on Cactus Quilt’s 2015 Quilting Cruise. The pattern is available for purchase as a PDF download, written as it was for the cruise. If this is something you are interested in please contact me.

In addition, if your guild would like a trunk show or workshop I would be more than happy to discuss details.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Rambling On the Road, Telling My Story One Quilt At a Time!

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts about guest speakers at guilds and workshops you have enjoyed.

As the Crow Flies


For over a week I’ve been humming that old song “I’m leaving, on a jet plane…” yep. Today is the day! According to Siri “as the crow flies” (or in my case, Southwest Airlines”) I’m a little over 1000 miles into a new adventure!

Siri – how far….

Several months ago a quilting friend of mine contacted me concerning being a guest speaker at her guild and teaching  a workshop. I know Pasty as a fellow guild member of The Mainland Morning Guild in Texas City prior to her moving to Arizona.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Arizona – unless as a toddler perhaps as my dad was military based in Nevada when I was born and I’m sure we drove home to Texas at some point to visit grandparents. But back to my current ramble…

So began the thought process of trying to decide which quilts to bring for my lecture – which in reality is just a long ramble – so I think I’ve got that covered.

I might add that I have over 200 personal quilts that are actually quilted. One hundred of those live in the built-in bookcase in the studio. That’s not counting the 30+ personal quilts waiting to be quilted and we aren’t even going to talk about the works in progress! 

And sew it began! Going through the bookcase, taking quilts off the wall, off the bed, off the table and digging through the quilts in waiting drawer!

I did discover that you can pack more quilts if some are unquilted! Now I don’t feel so bad for not getting around to quilting my own quilts.

Next the decision of what to teach. Having taught in two quilting cruises (2015 and 2016 with Cactus Quilts of Texas City) I have written two different patterns based on Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design rulers.  Patsy made the choice between the hunter’s star or the lemoyne star – and lemoyne star it is!


Bags are packed. We are waiting to board. Arizona here we come! Be sure and check social media the next couple of days to see the quilting adventures of Karen & Dianne!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, “on the road again”

Please forgive the formatting and layout – I wrote this on my phone at the airport

Can You Relate to My Whirlwind?

cartoon version of The Quilt Rambler studio with the appearance of the after effects of a whirlwind due to the creative clutter

 The Past Few Weeks Have Been a Whirlwind

cartoon version of The Quilt Rambler studio with the appearance of the after effects of a whirlwind due to the creative clutter
Looks like a whirlwind hit the studio – time for a little comic relief
At times do you feel like you are in a whirlwind? Not necessarily the devastation kind, but the kind where things just keep swirling with lots of commotion and activity. I think if my life story were to be written focusing on the past month it would almost be a comic book. At least I think I tried to take a little comic relief amidst the mayhem and not let the tidal waves of busyness drown me.

 Tax Tornado or Turbo Tax

Two Mac computers side by side, different screen sizes showing out with the old in with the new
Silver lining to the storm of computer issues,  a new bigger computer
When I think of April I think of tax time….and that’s about all I want to say on the subject (grin) except that this season seemed to go on forever, especially with my computer issues. Ah, but every good storm has a silver lining. I was blessed with a new computer and after all the transferring of data, I actually filed my taxes on April 15th – even knowing the deadline this year was April 18th. And it’s behind me! Hallelujah!!

Yep, lest life gets too serious – enter Oscar! He’s my son’s adopted stray kitten that has stolen all our hearts. I love that he is an outdoor kitty with indoor privileges who takes advantage of the doggie door to pop in and say hello when he comes to visit me in the studio. It’s nice that they live next door!

Cute orange kitten peaks out from under an Apple computer monitor
Oscar wants to help with the taxes OR perhaps just play peak a boo

Escaping the Vortex

A pair of tennis shoes peaking out under a quilt showing a relaxing moment
After a long day at the computer, it’s wonderful to put my feet up to relax – and enjoy the comfort of a quilt on a breezy afternoon
Sometimes you just have to kick back and put your feet up! It’s amazing what a little fresh air can do to revive your mind so you can change gears and get back to work.

After the cyclone of taxes, I totally enjoyed making a baby quilt for one of my customers. We have been working off and on for over a year making memory quilts from her deceased father’s plaid shirts to share with her siblings, children and now her future grandchildren… this precious memory quilt was made for her daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Yes, they are eagerly awaiting the beginning of a 4th generation that will be wrapped up in “daddy’s shirts.” What a legacy!

Scrappy quilt made from men's plaid shirts and quilted with hearts will welcome a new baby soon
Made from great grandpa’s shirts, soon a new baby be will be wrapped in 4 generations of love

Stop the Cyclone

Young man stirring a pot on the stove with a bowl of Rice Krispie cereal in a large bowl next to it
Remembering when the boys were young and we made lots of cookies and treats in the kitchen
When life gets full of activity sometimes it’s just best to stop the spin and do something fun. Like making Rice Krispie marshmallow treats with your son! Granted, we had planned on making these a week ago to share at the family Easter lunch, but making them a week late means we had more for ourselves! Unintentional selfishness I promise!

Lady sampling the sticky sides of a bowl after making Rice Krispies treats
Proving that you are never too old to lick the bowl! Not to mention Rice Krispie Treats are more fun in spring colors!

Lady's jeans and shoes laying on a quilt in a hammock
My happy place – relaxing for a few minutes under the tiki hut in my hammock, always with a quilt!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you are already familiar with my habit of posting my “current world view” showing my feet propped up somewhere – if you don’t follow me, well, why aren’t you? (grin). Anyway, one of my favorite ways to relax at home is to put up my hammock in the backyard and take a short afternoon nap.  Nothing clears my mind better than being outdoors, even if for just a moment. Seems I have needed to steal away for several of these moments lately.  Especially following the recent big rains!

Whirlwind Activity

One definition of whirlwind is “something that is done very quickly and without a lot of thought as in a whirlwind courtship”. Well, nothing along those lines but sometimes I do get crazy ideas in my head and just “gotta sew something” and it’s usually done quickly and without a lot of thought. It generally adds “one more thing” to that already busy to-do list…but for me it is the calming in the mists of the typhoon. Nothing more relaxing than the hum of my sewing machine as I create something…

Colorful fabric book cover surrounds a cookbook
Never judge a book by its cover.
That said, I was looking forward to a retreat with the women of my church this past weekend and knowing I would be arriving early I planned a little downtime to sit by the pool to do some planning and perhaps design…A long overlooked goal has been to seek new recipes for a healthier lifestyle …. well….I didn’t want to be caught “reading” a cookbook beside the pool because those who know me know I don’t cook – so I came up with the idea of covering said cookbook!

 

Majestic purple fabric covers a well read Bible
Purple represents royalty and spirituality. It’s also my favorite color so it was a perfect choice for a simple Bible cover
And then I decided that my Bible could use a quick cover change too.

Quick as lightening these were done and I was packed and on my way looking forward to a little personal time before joining with my friends for a time of fellowship and fun.

Calming the Windstorm

Lady's jean clad legs stretched out in relaxation overlooking a pool area on top of a Houston motel showing beautiful clouds and building in the distance
Current world view – blue skies and serenity overlooking Houston skyline
The antonyms for all the commotion of strong weather words like whirlwind, cyclone, hurricane, or tornado are calm, peace, quiet, relaxation, even laziness. (don’t you just love a good thesaurus!).

Restfulness and refreshing describe this past weekend of the Women’s retreat. I arrived early to take advantage of that rooftop pool and did do a little “reading” in my cookbook.

 

My husband texted me the following photo, a gentle reminder not to take life too seriously.

cute orange kitten peaking out from a talavera bathroom sink
When mom’s away the kitten does play
A  time of worship and Bible study was just what I needed to tame that dust devil of a busy life into a refocused life  of choosing joy. A revival of the heart.

Clear Skies on the Horizon – Looking Ahead to May

Taking time to relax, refresh and reflect can be very inspiring. My busy brain is constantly in motion thinking ahead, looking for new opportunities, new ideas….even in the restfulness there is always inspiration if you look for it.

Lady's jean clad legs stretched out in relaxation looking at a window in an outdoor mall
When we relax and open our eyes to the world around us even simple things can be inspiring
I’ve already got an idea for the Island Batik Ambassador May challenge “modern batik” inspired by my “current worldview” waiting on my friends for dinner prior to retreat…you will just have to wait to see where this leads! It is a little off the wall, so to speak, as I am planning a wall hanging! We’re finishing up the April challenge of Adventurous Applique so why not visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs to see how they completed the challenge. You can find their links here. 

 

 

 

Two smiling friends taking a selfie with the skyline of Houston behind them
Couldn’t resist a selfie with the beautiful skyline of Houston behind us – Dianne and I will soon be in the friendly skies headed to Arizona!
And speaking of friends. I’m happy to say that Dianne, my church and quilting friend, will be joining me the first week of May as we fly to Arizona to be with the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild where I will be speaking at their guild meeting on Monday, May 1st, then teaching a workshop on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Island Batik fabric strips made into leymone star blocks in preparation for an upcoming workshop making the pattern Illuminated Journey by Karen Overton
Working on class sample for upcoming workshop, Illuminated Journey, with beautiful Island Batik fabrics
So much to look forward to in May – but wait! We still have a week to navigate before we take flight! Can’t wait to see what is just around the horizon and in the studio!

Encouragement for Your Whirlwind

This song came on while I was writing my blog and I wanted to share some encouragement with you. We all go through whirlwinds, some whirlwinds of activity are good, some whirlwinds of emotions can be crippling. It is my hope the words of this song will help you not to feel alone in your hurricane.

Hurricane by Natalie Grant

You’re spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You’re wondering how it came to this

Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are

Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

You’re in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You’re wondering how long it will keep?

It’s never too late
Never too far
For you to reach out
And take a hold of love

Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

Don’t back down from the fight
He’ll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

There’s a place, there’s a place you can run
When you fall, and it’s all come undone
You’ll be safe in the raging storm
So just let go
‘Cause you are held in His arms

Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

Ooh ooh…

And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in a hurricane

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, sharing the journey reminding all of us to chose joy even during the storms of life

 

Can you relate? Does your to-do list get crazy and you feel like all you can do is laugh to keep from crying? Do you ever feel like you just “gotta sew” even if it’s a whirlwind of a little project? Share your thoughts in the comments below!