Various & Sundry 2011 #15

I do like these various and sundry posts. I feel a sense of freedom when I write them. I don’t have be terribly organized, magnificently coherent or make all the words relate to each other. I can’t point you in various directions and send you off on journeys, hoping you will return and tell me what you think.

The weekend of the 6th saw a huge event in NYC to support the Alliance for American Quilts. they are having an event called Quilters Take Manhattan. I think all of the unexpected hoopla surrounding Infinite Variety gave new life to quilts as art. All of the quilting glitterati were there and I followed the action as best I could from 3k miles away. Some blog posts I saw about this were:

In the course of following the events, I was pointed to Marianne Fons blog. I like her writing style and hearing about her family. She is a sensitive writer who records her observations in a delightful way. In a way, she reminds me of Rosamunde Pilcher, my personal gold standard for descriptive writing. She writes about her personal life and family, but doesn’t give too much away, but she does write about her daughter, Mary’s, illness a bit, which I had only heard about in passing. I was curious, of course, but such a thing is none of my business, so I wouldn’t ask, even if I had someone to ask.

Marianne, in turn, pointed me to Mary Fons blog, which I will look at and, perhaps, add to my blog reader.

I saw that a show called Why Quilts Matter will be coming to PBS in the Fall. I am looking forward to watching it. The website has a video trailer. It is 9 part documentary in which Shelly Zegart is heavily involved. A lot of the people in the trailer are from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I wonder if Frances will be able to take advantage of any lectures or anything? 😉 There are a lot of other contributors as well. I checked my Tivo and the show isn’t yet listed, but I have a ‘quilts’ keyword search, so, hopefully, it will come up in that search.

Stitched, the movie, came out a few months ago and I still haven’t seen that. My libraries don’t have it yet and I am not a Netflix member.

I think there is something to be said for quilt companies to be small businesses, well any companies really. I am not enamored with large companies right at the moment. Small businesses seem to care more about their customers, though that is a generalization and a stereotype and I know it is not always true. The ones that have been taken over by larger companies, such as Fons & Porter, have become impersonal and don’t really seem to care about their customers. Fons & Porter is now owned by New Track Media LLC, which is further owned by a person and a private equity firm. They also own Quilter’s Club of America, Keepsake Quilting, QNM and others. What is their interest in quiltmaking? Money, I am guessing.

I watched one of the Fons & Porter episodes #1201 on the Spin Wheel quilt project (definitely a repeat), which said that the updated directions for using the hexagon ruler and their pyramid ruler to make the Spin Wheel with these tools would be available on their website. I bought the DVD with the pattern from the magazines, both rulers and went looking for the adjunct instructions. They weren’t on the website. I searched over and over to no avail, so I contacted customer service. The customer service people (called Answer54) were diligent, but supremely unhelpful. They had canned responses and I became more frustrated as it became clear that my question did not fit into their list of responses. Somehow I was transferred to Keepsake Quilting and the person contacted me and responded to me several times, but ultimately didn’t have the instructions. I also posted on their FB fan page. No response. I can make the block without that adjunct sheet of instructions, but it just seems so lame of them not to be able to find a sheet of instructions. I guess New Track thinks of their quilting properties as cash cows. This seemed like a simple request: M&L said the adjunct instructions were on the website, they are not on the website, please send them to me. I guess New Track Media thinks their brands are so awesome that they don’t have to provide customer service. Customer Service is everything, New Track. Get with the program.

SeamedUp is having a fundraiser (you, too, can be a venture capitalist!) to get more server space and a bunch of other stuff. They are a small, women owned company. Only one person has contributed, as of this writing, which is kind of sad. If all of the almost 2000 people who are members contributed $5 that would be $10,000, which is much more than their goal. Go for it and if you are not a member, join up! You can read more about their plans, the campaign and everything SeamedUp on their blog

Tools, Books  and Supplies
I bought a new iron when I was out shopping for the Young Man’s school uniform parts. It is the most expensive iron I have ever bought – $29.99. I figured I should splurge since I have two in the closet downstairs that were cheap and, clearly, not up to my pressing needs once I got them out of the box and heated up.  It is really nice to have steam again. I also like this iron, because it doesn’t beep at me all the time. I need many fewer irritating beeps in my life.

Did you enter the book giveaway I announced earlier this week? Check it out!

Are you interested in how thread is made? Coats & Clark made a video which I saw on

BryeLynn of SeamedUp and Sew~Stitch~Create did a review of the Frixion pen. It is really nice when someone else does the heavy lifting for you!

As I have mentioned a few times, I have helped to organize a class at Always Quilting on August 27, 2011, 10-4. It will be taught by Lynn Koolish of C&T fame. It is open to everyone though the BAMQG and CQFA folks have had a headstart on sign ups. The class is now on the shop’s website. You can register via the website or by calling their shop at (650) 458-8580. Hope to see you there!

ArtQuilt Tahoe is coming around again. There are still some great teachers available. If you are able to attend and haven’t taken a class from Libby Lehman, sign up immediately. She is a wonderful teacher – giving, not stuck up, a great presenter, personable. I’d like to go sometime, but this isn’t the year. I’d love to hear about it, if you attend.

Hooded towels are very popular in our house. The Young Man thinks about things in the show and likes to tell me about them when he emerges from bathing. They are great to wrap up in on cold bath/shower nights when bathrobes are too fussy. The hooded towels have the added bonus of drying the hair with very little effort. They are harder to find as children get taller. I saw a tutorial for a hooded towel. For larger children, I would use two towels. Use a very sharp needle when sewing the two towels together, so you don’t break a needled or jam up your machine. Since you may be having the same issue, I thought I would share.

Yesterday, I posted about the gift I made for Grama. I took it to show a friend visiting from New Zealand and realized I hadn’t done the topstitching from the top hem to the bottom corners. DUH!. It would really help if I read the directions once in a while!

Last week (?) I posted the finished Kona Challenge quilt. Yesterday I saw a blog post about the responses to the challenge from the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild. Some of them remind me of Angela’s Kona Challenge quilt (which she was binding at the last meeting!!!)

Chair Pillowcase
Chair Pillowcase

Due to my ongoing machine issues, I am working on easy projects, or projects that don’t require complicated piecing. The Jem just can’t handle it. I bought some more of the Tufted Tweets chair fabric when I went to New Pieces the other week and cut out a pillowcase to go with the purple quilt. I sewed the whopping 3 seams it took to put the thing together and will send it off this week, hopefully.

Other Artists
I had heard about Claudia’s blog, Machen und Tun from Frances, but had never gone to look at it until I saw one of her quilts in the Quilting….for the Rest of us Flickr group. She is a working on the Attack of the Hexies project and is doing a wonderful red and white color scheme. Why didn’t I think of that? I went to her most recent post (8/4/2011) and was thrilled to see a, mostly, aqua and red sampler quilt. If you scroll down she shows some more blocks and the whole effect is quite wonderful. She talks about looking at the Fresh Lemons Summer Sampler Series blocks inspiring her, but also encouraging her to go off in her own direction. She might select different blocks that weren’t as difficult or required no paper piecing. She also talks about making the blocks a little differently to make them her own. What a great idea for inspiration! I noticed a circle tutorial, which looks very similar to the Dale Fleming method. The other thing about her blog is that she writes in English and German. This is great practice for me. Thanks, Claudia! Her blog is definitely worth looking at.

Angela has posted over 240 photos of quilts from the UK Festival of Quilts. She posted the photos in a Smilebox format on Creating the Hive, so you can scroll through them fairly easily.


Really good reminder of how the inner ambivalence can affect outer life.
Amplify’d from

Art therapy? How do you connect your anti-passions to your passions? And when you are talking about passion you must talk about Jesus at some point anyway. Look, Jesus didn’t know what magazines were so lets cut him some slack here. Lots of people’s coffee tables are cluttered, so maybe that was a lucky guess. But her violent reaction to it mirrored her real frustration with her job situation. Her inner and outer, as far as she understood them were the same – even though it was hidden to her. What I offered her gave her a chance to actually take the advice from Jesus above and expand her vision of herself and experience entry into a new kingdom.