Friday, February 25, 2011

Confessions of a Quilt-aholic

Like many addictions, it started out innocently enough.  Being of a crafty bent, I decided, sometime in the mid 1980s to make a quilt.  I had bought a magazine which included a pattern so simple, it could be "completed in 1 weekend!"  It seemed too good to be true!  I bought yards of various blue fabrics and got to work.  There wasn't much actual "quilting" involved--just sewing very large squares together--and so it did go very quickly.  I had made my first quilt.  Ugly as sin, but there it was.
Weeks went by and I felt the urge to try another.  A little more challenging this time--I decided to try making a "lap quilt" where you piece and quilt the blocks first, and sew the blocks together afterward.  I bought some rose and baby blue fabric.  I used templates and handquilted everything.  And proudly displayed the finished quilt on my bed for all to see and admire.
The weeks between urges to quilt were getting less and the urges were becoming stronger.  I began to wonder if I was heading down some slippery slope but I was having so much fun that I didn't question myself too much.  When the urge hit, I'd find a fabric shop, just waiting to sell me something.  And every time I went, it seemed, there were more beautiful fabrics in colors and prints I could never have imagined.  Patterns were popping up every where.  And wonder of wonders, there was this wonderful new invention called the rotary cutter, which made the whole process so much quicker and easier.
Soon, I wouldn't even be finished one quilt and the urge would hit to start another. As soon as I had a bit of cash, I'd buy more fabric. My stash was growing. My self-control was all but gone. I experienced strange symptoms when I found myself without a needle in my hand. I began to plan vacations around quilt shops and quilt shows I wanted to visit. I made new friends--quilting friends. I quit my office job so I'd have more time to quilt. I converted the basement into my quilting "studio". My days were spent stitching and my nights were spent dreaming of stitching.
My house has become almost too small to contain the results of my addiction.  Quilts are draped over chairs,
 piled on top of cupboards, 
 hung on ladders,
and over stair rails.

They hang on walls,
and cover tables.
They fill the wood box next to the fireplace,
and more boxes in the basement.
They are stacked in my linen closet,
on shelves in my studio,
and are piled high on the window seat in the guest bedroom.
 They even decorate my laundry room. 
 And that's not counting the quilts currently on loan to shops selling my patterns,
or the stack of quilt tops waiting to be finished. 
My name is Cheryl.
And I am a quilt-aholic.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Glorious Weekend

For the past ten or so years, my Monday night quilting group, the "Phat Quarters", has rented a cabin for a weekend getaway in spring.  This year, we found a vacation home at Harrison Hot Springs, a lakeside community about an hour away from my home.
I loved this sign which greeted us at the front door.
It was a beautiful house with space to sleep 12 people.  We were 8 this year.
We spent the first minutes exploring all the rooms.
 This is the view from the loft looking down to the living room.
We started Friday evening off with appetizers and wine.
We always eat very well.
Laura made amazing curry chicken wraps for dinner.
 And we enjoyed great conversation around the dinner table.
Saturday breakfast included a wonderful fruit salad,
And Meg's scrumptious french toast casserole with brown sugar sauce.
 Saturday morning was spent stitching.
I worked on a little wool candlemat project.
Here's a preview.  Pattern to come soon!
Then we had to burn off a few calories, so some of us went for a walk.
This stream was right behind the house.
 And the lake was just a few minutes away.
We'll need to come back in summer to enjoy the beach,
but the weather was perfect all weekend.
 Saturday supper, as is our tradition, is take-home pizza. 
Followed by videos in the evening and another wonderful breakfast on Sunday morning.
As always, the time flew by much too quickly but what a glorious weekend it was!
I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends.
Thank you all!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't do a lot of decorating for Valentine's Day.
Just hang this little banner on my front door
(the red paint matches the theme, at least!)
 And make a little display for my front entrance.
Designing quilt patterns is a tough business--very competitive and shops are always looking for something new.  So I've decided to try a different approach and see what happens.
I went to my distributor and picked up these samples of fabrics which will be hitting the stores soon.
They look so pretty, I almost don't want to open them!
I'm going to try designing with these new fabrics, instead of just dipping into my stash.
Hopefully I'll have some new patterns ready for Spring Market in May.
Maybe one of these times, I'll be "discovered"!
(Fingers crossed.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Company's Coming and New Fabric

Confession time--I hate cleaning my house.  So I don't do much of it.  It's just that at the end of my life I don't want people to stand up and say, "Her home was spotless."  I'd rather spend my time doing what I do want to be remembered for, and that doesn't include dusting.  I agree with the bumper sticker that says, "Dust is a country collectible."  And my collection is definitely growing!

But at times (ie. when I'm expecting company) cleaning does become a necessary evil.  And this Monday it's my turn to host my weekly quilting group, "The Phat Quarters".  So out comes the Swiffer and I start making my rounds.  They must pay those women on the commercial an awful lot to do that little dance--I just feel more discouraged because the more dirt I swiff away, the more I uncover.  When did my kitchen cabinets get so grimy?  (Thinking back, white was probably not the best color choice for me.)  So now I need to get out the stronger cleaning stuff and the rubber gloves.  By the end of this day I'll be wearing a Hazmat suit and breathing apparatus.

I've heard that when Beethoven was composing, he totally let his personal hygiene go.  This gives me comfort.  And an excuse.  Imagine if we'd be without his Fifth symphony because Beethoven decided he just couldn't live with sink scum a minute longer.  I'm a bit of a mini-quilting-Beethoven.  Given a choice between cleaning and creating, guess which I'd pick?

Besides the cleaning, I was able to do some fun things this week, however. I drove out to my fabric distributor and came back with some great stuff to sell, which I've posted on my website.
This one is my favorite--it looks like tea-dyed muslin.
(The picture doesn't do it justice.)
I'm so glad a fabric company (thank you, Moda) finally thought of this.  Think of the tea-bags I'll save!