Archive for the ‘Studio pics’ Category

Productive procrastination

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

So, I am supposed to be working on something that has a FIRM due-date of mid-to-early-ish March.  I have dyed the fabric and know what I’m going to do, but got sidetracked for a few days doing something I’ve wanted to do for eons:  paint the basement room that has the furnace, water heater, fuel oil tank, and water pump in it.  WHY?  Well, it’s where I do my fabric dyeing.   Since fabric is a lot more attractive than cement, here’s my last two batches of fabric.  Remember them, you’ll see them transformed at some point this year.

My time at the dye pots was FUN! And more interesting than a basement utility room which is what this post is really about.

What provoked this flurry of activity?  The Elfa sale at the Container Store, where good quality closet storage stuff goes on an annual 30 percent off sale.  Decided after much research it would be the best option for getting some shallow shelves above my “not a legal sink but a a basin” in my dye room because it would require the fewest screws going into the cement foundation walls and those few could be above grade (important for when the ground and snow melt in spring).    Here’s the before:

 

 

Panorama shot of the basement in the before stage…which I remembered to take only after I had started putting the DryLock paint around the window.  Click to make larger.  

I decided that I couldn’t stand putting the Elfa stuff in without finally painting the walls white (which will help with light and visibility in the room), so I started painting.  Four days ago!

First coat of DryLock paint partly on.  Better already!

Just about done except for the cleaning and moving stuff back in place and waiting for the shelf stuff to arrive.  A vast improvement (did another coat of primer on the wall at the far left).  Now, if I could just convince Paul to let me paint our dark living room……

I finished the last of the painting/priming today.  I used DryLock which helps keep water out on the cement walls.  It is like trying to paint with sludge/mud/thick paste.   ICK.   Primer on the base of the chimney/stone fireplace, and semi-gloss on the wall behind the sink as well.    I’ll post pics of the shelf stuff once it arrives and is installed.   It will require a masonry drill bit and Advil for the arthritis in my hands that will be aggravated from drilling the holes!

Birdie Bernina takes her first drive….

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Imagine that…working on a quilt, and not an art quilt! AND it’s a UFO! Here I’m trying out various design options.

We moved to Maine in 2004.   This top pre-dates that move by at least a year–I made it as a local quilt group mystery quilt (design by Debbie Caffrey but don’t remember the name).  I only made four blocks, made it into a small top, and it has sat in a basket mocking me lo these many years.

Fast forward:  I SPLURGED.  I ***seriously*** splurged.  I bought a Bernina Q20 sit down.  Yes, it costs as much as a nice used car.   And Oh. My. Yes. it is worth it…what a DREAM!  I figured you only live once, quilting is my favorite thing, so I’m gonna just go for it.   And yes, I am beyond grateful that I have been able to earn enough by writing, teaching and selling my art quilts to be able to afford this indulgence!  To each and every person who has ever read an article or my book, watched my DVD, or taken a class or bought an artwork, THANK YOU!

But that means  need to learn to use it and not be a tad intimidated.  Light Bulb Moment!!! Take those two UFO mystery quilts (yep, there’s another larger one) and use them to test-drive the new Bernina, named Birdie because of the beautiful bird’s eye maple cabinet (yes, I splurged a little more and upgraded to the cabinet…pics below).  So I got the somewhat soiled, tired, not particularly well pieced tops out, ironed them, and decided to go for it.

You can see some of my quilting design. I planned to do some straight line work with a ruler and ruler foot in the green. I wanted to do more ruler work and curved cross hatching in the white spaces. And since I’m adept at free-motion, some of that using a leaf motif from the navy print in the corners and small squares. I’m not positive yet what I’ll do in the navy floral, but may just use navy and outline the flowers.

Here I’ve completed the straight line work on the green (not perfectly, but not bad for a first attempt as I get used to using the stitch regulator with the rulers. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE curved cross hatching! And then I began on the free-motion for the leaves. I plan to go back in with a lighter weight thread–I’m using 40 wt Superior trilobal poly here–to to a background dense fill around the leaves. There is a half inch outlined space between the leaves and the cross hatching.

I have to say the included-with-the-machine video was great, although I have no clue WHY Bernina doesn’t make it able to play on a DVD player–only a PC or a Mac.  Have they not noticed that computers don’t come with disc drives any more?????  Luckily, separate disc drives are cheap (about $30 or less) and I had planned on buying one for other reasons (moving CD music to the laptop).  But still.   The disc ought to be able to be played on a DVD player!   Anyway, it is well done, as is the manual.

The Q20 comes with a bobbin tension gauge and the manual says (yes, I read manuals! you should, too) you should test every bobbin.   So for now at least, I am.  That helped me get my combination of thread–40 wt. trilobal poly in the needle and 60-wt very fine Bottom Line poly in the bobbin–adjusted with a minimum of fuss.  The stitch balance is simply fan-flipping’-tastic.  I DO match needle and bobbin thread always, though, just in case!

And here’s my beautiful Birdie Bernina on her maiden quilt. Contented SIGH.

I need to thank three people:  Barb Black and Karen Miller are friends who have the Q20 (Barb’s is a sit-down like mine, Karen’s on rails) and Jeanie Cook-Delpit of Bernina for their advice, rave reviews and, from Jeannie, help.  When I saw Barb at Quilt Festival I got a great big laugh out of her when I greeted here with “Thank you for leading me into temptation!”  It’s totally true.  And Jeanie — you helped make this possible.  THANK YOU!  You are the creme de la creme of Bernina Ambassadors.  I’ll post more pics when done.   Let’s hope the power doesn’t go out tomorrow during the incoming storm, which is supposed to be heavy, wet snow.  I wanna quilt!

Sweet Sixteen for sale…nearly new!

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Update:  machine is sold.  About a year ago I took delivery of a wonderful machine:  the HQ Sweet 16 sit-down quilting machine.  It has both regular and ruler feet, all the regular parts.  In outstanding working order, well maintained, clean.  I’ve got all the original packing materials for transporting it to you.   I’m also including 14 M-class bobbins (empty) and a bunch of appropriate machine needles.  I will say the HQ dealer and tech support is OUTSTANDING.  I’ve decided to upgrade, and need to sell this one to make way for the next beastie.  MSRP is $5,599. For sale for $3750 plus shipping.  If you live within a 4 1/2 hour drive of Camden, Maine, I’ll deliver to your driveway free of charge!

Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.  You can also find more information about this beauty on the Handiquilter site here and here.

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition.  Cat not included. This is the most recent version of the Sweet 16 and has the thread tension information (so it’s not a guessing game).  Does not have a stitch regulator, but it can easily be added (consult with your local Handiquilter dealer). Contact Sarah here, sarahannsmith.com/contact.php

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com for more info.

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Leave a comment or use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com if you are seriously interested and have questions.  More pictures at end of blogpost.

Here are three quilts I have quilted on this beauty, so you can see the quality of the stitching:

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

My most recent project, Peony, done on the Sweet 16. ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

My most recent

My most recent work, Peony, quilted on the Sweet 16.  ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45x55 I think.....depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45×55 I think…..depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Side view

Side view.

HQ Sweet Sixteen, less than a year old, for sale! Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.

HQ Sweet 16 for sale

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Update:  machine is sold!  Just under a year ago I took delivery of a wonderful machine:  the HQ Sweet 16 sit-down quilting machine.  It has both regular and ruler feet, all the regular parts.  In outstanding working order, well maintained, clean.  I’ve got all the original packing materials for transporting it to you.   I’m also including 14 M-class bobbins (empty) and a bunch of appropriate machine needles.  I will say the HQ dealer and tech support is OUTSTANDING.  I’ve decided to upgrade, and need to sell this one to make way for the next beastie.  MSRP is $5,599. For sale for $3995 plus shipping.  If you live within a 4 1/2 hour drive of Camden, Maine, I’ll deliver to your driveway free of charge!

Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition.  Cat not included. This is the most recent version of the Sweet 16 and has the thread tension information (so it’s not a guessing game).  Does not have a stitch regulator, but it can easily be added (consult with your local Handiquilter dealer).

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com for more info.

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Leave a comment or use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com if you are seriously interested and have questions.  More pictures at end of blogpost.

Here are three quilts I have quilted on this beauty, so you can see the quality of the stitching:

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale. ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

My most recent project, Peony, done on the Sweet 16. ©SarahAnnSmith.com

My most recent

My most recent work, Peony, quilted on the Sweet 16.  ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45x55 I think.....depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45×55 I think…..depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Side view

Side view.

HQ Sweet Sixteen, less than a year old, for sale! Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.

a video of me quilting and progress on the Peony

Monday, August 29th, 2016

So over on Facebook I’ve posted some  photos of my current project, a hugely oversized peony…well, part of a peony.  I decided I’d try a quick video posted via youtube so show me actually quilting.   Along the way, I added a quick visit to my studio.   The studio is sort of “midway messy,” true to life.  I have a couple things piled on the floor that are: find time to sort and put away, try to get rid of in some way, and prepping for teaching in Houston piles.  When I’ve found time (usually after just barely meeting a deadline), I have a tidy attack.  Mid project it is utter chaos.  This is in the middle. And apologies for the overly loud and enthusiastic hello at the start.  Learning.  I’m learning…..ps:  if the video doesn’t display at first, hit refresh on your browser. Update:   thanks to Donna for some good questions, so I’ve added info at the end of the post about holding your thread tails and my appliqué press sheets.
On the video, I mentioned how I select threads in a value range.  The reason the light ones are in the box and the dark ones to the side is that I have used the dark ones.  When done, I put them aside so I know what I’ve used.  I keep them in the order in which I used them, which helps if I need to go back and do more in a certain shade.

I had clamps by my Janome for working on larger projects, but hadn’t set up hooks from the floor joists (my ceiling) near the Sweet Sixteen until yesterday.  WHAT an improvement!!!!!!! I’ve been using dyed-by-me cotton duck on the backs, and let me tell you the quilts have been HEAVY.   So that’s why there is a blue-handled clamp visible.  I didn’t use the one on the right because of where I had the phone set up to film.

If you like this, let me know and maybe I can do some more videos of me just quilting.  And yes, I sound like a dolt when I try to narrate while quilting–I can’t concentrate on the quilting and manage to talk in a normal rhythm at the same time.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45x55 I think.....depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45×55 I think…..depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back. You can see both of the hanging clamps in this photo, as well as the photo of the peony clipped to the left side of the thread stand on the machine.

IMG_0009

Detail of laying in the darkest-on-this-petal pink.

 

Showing the clamp on the right in use

Showing the clamp on the right in use.  Some folks have started using those dog-grooming things that you clamp onto the table and attach the dog with a short leash for grooming, but substitute a clamp.   That idea became common AFTER I set things up over at the Janome; since I have bare (primed) joists and sub-flooring for a ceiling, I opted for the much less expensive hook in the joist!

 

UPDATE/Addition:    About the move to another bit, be sure to press down on the threads (top and bobbin) when you begin stitching, even if they are still attached.  If the pulled out part is longer than the “jump” (which it sometimes is for me because I need tails long enough to bury), you can still get a snarl if you don’t hold the tails firm to the machine for the first stitch or few.

Non stick sheet on the wall:   same as on the ironing table, just hold the iron vertically.   I tend to make smaller components flat on the ironing board, then move to the wall.   Sometimes I don’t use the wall…just depends.   If I have draw a full cartoon/sketch, it goes UNDER the non stick sheet that is on the big board, so I just work there.   On the rare occasions where I am working improvisationally or something seems amiss, up on the wall it goes.

I ordered my sheets from Valerie Hearder in Canada…the exchange rate is very favorable at the moment.  She sells 24 and 36 in wide, by the foot.  So I got two that are 72 inches long.   They should hold me for a couple decades.  Misty fuse now has the Holy Cow, which is 36×48.   Had that been available when I got mine I might have done that instead. However, I REALLY like having my Big Board totally covered, and it is about 22×60 inches.

Thanks for writing!   The peony is done and I am revelling in having the Peony DONE and HUNG!