Our Retail (Ad)Venture

It’s up… our online store is up!!
It’s a store that combines my love of fabric and quilting with Gregg’s (my husband/partner)  screen printing ability.  It’s what I’ve been working on this winter to keep me busy. Pretty exiting!

Our approach to business is a low-tech, slow-grow, and hands-on. We don’t plan on automating or investing in a digital printer. We want to keep the craft of hand-pulled screen printing alive and well . This is what makes us very different from most ‘printers’ you find online who either use their own digital printer or they use a third-party printing platform like Society6, Printful, Cafepress, or Spoonflower.
Digital printing technologies have made big advancements over the last few years. It is this technology that makes it difficult to compete as a manual printer, and is part of the reason why we are trying this retail adventure!

Here are a few things we offer:

Fabric Panels.
Our screen printing studio is not large enough to print large bolts of fabric like they do for quilting cottons (see video here), but we can print fabric on a small scale! We are hand printing fabric panels to be used whole as a centerpiece for a pillow or quilt block. However you can cut them up and use them however you wish! Since the inks used require washing, we are serging the edges, washing and pressing the fabric panels. Their finished size is approx. 11.5″ x 13″


NEPP Hand Sewing Kits.
This is the most exciting thing for us to try! Being a hand stitcher myself, I have often used the EPP method (English Paper Piecing) for sewing shapes together. This is where you use die-cut paper templates to baste fabric around to make your ‘pieces’, then you stitch all the pieces together. This takes a bit of time, so I tried tracing my sew lines on the back of the fabric and using a running stitch with y-seams, and that was much quicker, but less accurate. Then I thought that we could screen print the cut and sew lines on the back of fabric very accurately… and I had to try it! Now that I’ve been using my NEPP (Not English Paper Pieced) pieces, I’m flying through my current hand sewing project!
So –
we are creating NEPP Hand Sewing Kits! I’m designing the color layouts and we are currently using Kona Solids for fabric. The kits will have all the pre-cut fabric pieces with accurate stitch lines and Y-seam start/stop points for smaller, less daunting projects. Each kit will have tracing templates to give the project right angles so you can easily add it into any other patchwork. Kona colors are listed for matching purposes.

Quilt Patterns
I put my Hexie patterns up and plan to try to write at least two other patterns for machine-stitched quilts by the end of the year… it’s good to set goals, right…?

Handmade
We made a category called Handmade for things that don’t fit anywhere else. I have a few quilts and other quilted things, and we have old printers-proof posters, and cards we hand-printed years ago and when we did hand printed flat stock. It’s time to let go.

Pre-Orders
We’ve done a few of these over the years… it’s a great way to offer a featured design on many different apparel items without having to keep inventory! These are limited edition prints in every way. There is a set ORDER BY date – usually allowing for 2-3 weeks time for people to place their orders, and there is a SHIP BY date stating when we will have the shirts printed and shipped by. We plan to do one Pre-Order a month.

Featured Designer
This month for our opening Pre-Order Sale, we are working with Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio as our Featured Designer!  The design is: Respect The Power Tool.
We are so excited to be able to work with other creative types in this way. It helps our sales and the designers get a percentage of every purchase using their design.

 

You’ll find our store in the menu above, and at PhantomChicken.com/store.html

 

 

Quilt Finish!

I finished the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (PMQG) Block of the Month (BOM) quilt a while back and I finally got the label printed and sewn on, so I was able to show it at our last meeting:

Finished front:

Quilt Label – screen printed:

Finished back – pieced too!

I rarely have quilt finishes to share, I’m always so thrilled to finish a quilt… especially a big one like this! It finished at 80″ square! I’ll be able to use this on my bed! It will be awesome too because I used wool batting, so it’s all puffy and soft.

My quilting goal for this year is to finish my Kaleidoscope quilt top, and I’d love to be work on the other 5 Chakra quilts to finish that series. That’s a bit more than I think I can do, but I want to challenge myself.

What are your quilting goals for the year?

Animation Play

I really like to sew… but I do have some other skills that I try to sharpen at times. I’m self-taught on the computer and learned Illustrator well enough to become a graphic designer for our screen printing business…  I also learned how to make a website for our business too!

So now I’m dabbling in some stop-motion animation, and I paired it up with my hand-stitching, and I made a fun little video:

 

This is the first “chunk” section that I’m making on the Kaleidoscope Quilt. This one is No.4 of 10, so I’ll be sewing these for the next month before I get to start on the next big chunk on the quilt. Here are 3 of the chunks with the center ring:

By themselves, they are very strange looking, but as they get added to the center piece, the pattern is starting to stand out – so exciting!

Hand-Pulled Screen Printed Fabric Panels

That’s right! Gregg and I are putting some new designs together to create some limited edition hand-printed fabric… and I couldn’t be more excited!

This is something we’ve discussed ever since I started quilting, and I think I’m ready to give it a try. The part that has always held me back was the amount of labor and materials involved in screen printing which makes it a bit costly to produce. Our print studio is quite small… only one press and when we are busy printing t-shirts, it’s hard to schedule time on the press for fabric printing.
BUT..
we have come up with an idea that will alleviate the problem: setting up a separate 1-color press. So we decided to give it a trial run – and so for our first run, Gregg laid out some stars and ants randomly on the screen as a serigraph print.

What do all these words mean: serigraph, screen print, hand-pulled…?
The way we print at Phantom Chicken is old-school. We get film positives (or cut rubylith film) and use it to create a screen. If we trash the screen after printing, we cannot reproduce the same image in the future, so those prints would be very limited, or serigraph prints. The screen is used as a stencil and with a squeegee, ink is pushed through the holes in the screen and onto the t-shirt or fabric. When you pull the squeegee by hand, it’s called: hand-pulled. Most screen print shops used automated presses or digital print machines now to print on shirts, but we want to keep this craft alive.

How does it work exactly? I’ll show you! *get ready for a lot of photos*

  1. A screen is carefully coated with photosensitive emulsion in a darkroom and after it dries we can use it. Here you see a screen with a paper marker cut at 12″ x 14″ to mark image area.darkRoomEmulsion2. Gregg carefully laid out some small pieces of film with stars and ants to create his print design. Film positives are used – the opposite of negatives used in photography.3. A strong light is turned on, and the screen gets ‘burned’. This means that all the exposed emulsion hardens, while the emulsion under the opaque black films stays soft.4. After burning the screen, water is used to wash out the soft emulsion.washingScreen5. Then the screen needs to dry completely. dryingScreen6. When it’s dry, small pinholes and edges are ‘blocked-out’ so they don’t print.7. Now the screen is ready to use. FYI: screen printing set up is what takes the most time in printing, and why there is a set-up fee for print orders. Here is a close-up of the image:8. Now we can put the screen on the press! (Yes, more set up!)screenSetUp9. Since we are printing on fabric that people may want to iron, we want to use waterbase or discharge inks for printing. That way the end user can freely wash and iron the fabric. These inks need special mixing which requires exact measurements.mixingInk10. Ink is mixed and screen is on press, so now we can actually print! Time to put some ink on the screen.inkOnScreen11. We charge the screen with ink by pushing the ink over the image area with the squeegee. Here is the screen full of ink, ready to print:inkInScreen12. The screen is put directly onto the fabric or shirt and the squeegee is used to push the ink through the holes and onto the fabric.printOnShirtprint1You can see the detail Gregg can hold – after 22 years of printing, his skills shine! I can print too, but I have a much harder time keeping the edges of the print image clean. The tool he uses the most while printing is a tweezers:He has to keep the print board flat – threads can really affect a print. And fabric is full of threads!!The end result is totally worth the work! These “Ants in the Stars” printed panels will be available for purchase soon! Gregg and I are working on a new business plan – we will have an online store opening in February 2018 where we will offer more serigraph print panels like this (12″ x 14″), and possibly: custom printed quilt labels.

We are still figuring cost and shipping and all that goes with retail sales, but I’m so excited – I wanted to share! Plus I’m going to fish for image ideas – what would you like to see on fabric that you can’t find anywhere else?

We finally set up an IG account for Phantom Chicken, so if you’d like to follow our printing adventures follow us: PhantomChickenStudio

Ants in the Stars Hand Printed Fabric

Manic…

I’m doing a lot of pacing and cleaning lately… and today after hearing about the terrorist attack in Las Vegas, I feel like I’m spinning. You know that feeling when you just can’t relax…? That’s where I’m at right now.

So… I’m working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt today. Not really sewing yet, just working on the design in Illustrator. I need to have a plan before sewing all these little guys together.

It’s going to be 60″ x 80″ when finished, and I think I’ll just be cutting into the edges to make straight lines for binding. The biggest shape in this is a pentagon that measures 1.25″ per side. Still don’t know just how many pieces it will be, but I really like how it’s starting to come together!

I still have a way to go before I’ll start doing the sewing. I’m even thinking of sewing on the machine using Y-seams since I have all my pieces marked! I’m going to go obsess over this today, and maybe for the next few days… I find the design takes the longest. Once complete, the sewing will go pretty quickly I think. I’m going to be timing this one too – very curious about time.

Love to all out there in this crazy world affected by the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the fires, the terrorism, and the outlandish antics of our president who continues to make things worse. I feel you.

Fire and Ashes

I have never been as close to a forest fire as we are right now. Currently the Eagle Creek Fire is at Multnomah Falls, threatening to burn the lodge there. The smoke and ash here in Portland is heavy, the sun is orange through it all. We are about 35 miles away from the actual fire… which is only one of many in the Pacific Northwest right now.

We are heartbroken.

So many trees, animals, parks, trails, homes, businesses along the Columbia Gorge and throughout the PNW – one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen (and hence my move here) currently looks like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. We are sending positive energy out to all the firefighters risking their lives to try to stop this devastation, as well as wishing for some real rain.

I’m currently sitting in our closed-up house trying to deal with its stagnant heat. The air quality outside is terrible and my throat/lungs hurt. Wishing we had air conditioning right now, but at least we don’t have to evacuate as so many others have.

accumulation of ash on our clean car this morning

Meanwhile, hurricane Irma is set to hit the East Coast, and people in are still in dire need after Harvey. Can we just agree that climate change is real – and start actually doing something about it?

I do have a small quilt project in the works that I’m looking forward to sharing… but for now, all my energy is spent. Love to all – especially the firefighters and others who risk their lives for the rest of us.

Never Again.

This is a political post – and one I think is extremely important.
After our president gave speeches which supported Nazi movements after the violence in Charlottesville, I felt so frustrated – and overwhelmed by the numbers of people who are fighting for ethnic cleansing, and by our supposed national leader egging them on. I’m not surprised at all… but definitely on watch.

Then 2 days ago I saw an image online that really spoke to me. I kept going back to it all day – then I decided I just had to make a quilt of this image… so I did! It’s entitled: “Never Again – or – No War, No KKK, No Fascist USA” and I quilted the words: never again all over in the background.Never Again Quilt

 

It was cathartic and felt great to do something… even as bitty as making a little quilt. I made it in one day so I could take it to my Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting last night where it met with great support! (I love my guild!) I posted it on IG and FB and I started getting compliments on the design – and I realized I need to do due diligence to find the original artist and get approval before trying to enter to shows, …or in case it goes viral.

Luckily for me, a friend knew who created it and I was able to contact him and he gave approval to share as much as I like. His name is Mike Mitchell and is an amazing artist – please go see his work and be supportive – that is one clever guy, and really sweet too. I’m so thankful – I should have asked prior to making it… but I was totally caught up in the moment.

I’m thinking that the ACLU really needs to re-evaluate standing up for fascist movements having free speech. Any speech that pushes the idea ethnic cleansing – should never be protected. When the fight is murder vs. humanity – the lines should be clear and simple. No one should have to fear extermination due to their sexuality, the color of their skin, where they were born, or for what they spiritually believe (unless that belief entails killing others).

To be tolerant of all things – one must never be tolerant of intolerance itself.

Heat Lag

It’s been warm here in the Pacific Northwest over the last few weeks. Some days made it into the 100’s even… luckily we don’t get any real humidity here, so it can be tolerable – but just barely.

I think the heat affects my motivation in a big way. It makes me swell up and get tired, so I just want to sleep all the time. Plus, this is our busy time of year for work, so I haven’t done much sewing lately – except for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month project. It’s been really fun so far! I just finished #7 of 9. Only 2 blocks left, so I get to practice my patience while I wait for the next two patterns to be released.

I posted on IG and FB yesterday and got a lot of great feedback on my color choices. I’m thrilled because I’m trying to use up my stash, and didn’t allow myself to buy anything new for this quilt. Since it finishes at 76″ x 76″ – there is a lot of fabric to pull. I had a vague idea of how much I needed for the background squares, and I knew I wanted a night sky… so I pulled all my dark blues – which wasn’t much. I had to amend with greys and light blues, and the mixing of these seemingly un-matching colors really makes it sparkle!

Another thing I’m working on right now is making patterns for all my hexie quilts. The Dragon and Squid were done in the past, but I’m re-vamping them to match the newer patterns for the Jellyfish, Hummingbird, and that little placemat. I’m almost done, and when I am, I think I’m going to try to do a give-away. I’ve never done one of those before, but I think it would be fun, and I’d love to share my work that way!

A New Shirt Design

I’ve been having fun playing with designs lately, and I just made another that I like enough to offer to others!

My husband hand-pulls all the prints out of our screen printing studio – I love that it’s so hands-on and low-tech. When we set up to print this shirt, I’ll try to take a video.  I put a link to our store here on my quilt blog – I figure, my world is mixed between screen printing and quilting… so I think it’s okay to mix them in cyberspace too. 😉

On the quilting front, I finished my #cannabis pillows! I think they came out great!

This is the front and back of one of the pillows – they are both close to the same, a few differences to make them unique. The cannabis print was done using discharge ink. Discharge ink is actually more of a chemical reaction than an ink – it releases the dye of the fabric leaving the base fabric as the ‘print’. This means the print is a part of the fabric and can be ironed over and is just as soft as the fabric – no layer of ink! It’s a fantastic print method for fabric.

I have a few print/quilt related ideas in process right now to see which, if any, may pan out to push further.  A work in progress!

Sew The Seeds Of Resistance

Oh my! What a predicament we have gotten ourselves into here in the US. I have to admit, I’ve been a little beside myself as to how to move forward in a positive light.

Luckily, I have great friends and family! One of my friends recently wrote this statement on FB and I loved it – so much, that I designed a shirt based on it!

This one I made specifically for my quilty friends… at least the ones who are all about human rights for all human beings. We set Feb. 22nd as our print date and we’re taking pre-orders until Feb 15 for T-shirts, Ladies T’s, and Hoodies. If you’re interested, here’s a link.

All for now, and I promise my next post will be full of quilty-goodness again. 🙂

Another Snow Day

Orbital Spotting Front

We are having some weather here in the Pacific NW – we’ve had more snow here than I can ever remember, and this week it stayed cold, so it stuck around – and now icy rain is falling over the snowpack. This city is not prepared for snow, and neither are most people who live here! I grew up in Minnesota and learned how to drive on a frozen lake, so driving on icy roads comes pretty natural to me… but I highly doubt others on the road have such experience.

So I’ve been staying indoors and doing a lot of paperwork (end of year accounting) and brainstorming. I’m brainstorming ideas for quilts and other projects for the year. One thing I really want to re-visit is printing on quilts. Gregg and I worked on this quilt together a couple years ago and I love it more and more as time passes and it’s becoming more used.

Orbital Spotting Front

I also want to follow through and make all the chakra quilts! So many ideas… I hope I can process them all.

My camera and my computer are currently not speaking to each other so I haven’t been able to access new photos here in my blog. It’s a little irritating, and part of the reason I haven’t posted much lately – but it will be remedied as soon as I get my new computer!

 

More Snow!

It’s snowing again in Portland! It’s a bit rare that it actually accumulates, but when it does (like last week), everything sort of shuts down around here. The roads get very icy and there are a lot of curves and hills that can be treacherous.

Luckily, I just got back from a dental appointment just ahead of this upcoming storm.

I received some unfortunate news about my teeth. So far there are 3 crowns that have become ‘dis-adhered’ and will need to be replaced.  I also have one little cavity. The crowns are what get me a little upset because they are all new – like within the last 2 years… and they are not cheap!

So, before they replace the crowns (for a 3rd time) they plan on doing some resin mold or casting of my teeth to check my bite and to see if my TMJ has become degenerative. If it is, it may be affecting my bite and causing certain areas to hit too hard, and it will need to be addressed before new work is done.

I am now thinking of a way to make extra funds to cover this dental work. I’m starting to consider what I can do in the quilting world that can garner that kind of cash… and I don’t think there are many avenues open there – but I haven’t really tried anything either 😉 Going to put my head into brainstorming mode… maybe I’ll have an idea by the end of this 31 Day Blog Challenge! I’m also just going to put this out there into the universe… you never know who might have the perfect temporary project for me!

For your viewing pleasure today, I’m re-sharing a quilt I made for one of my closest friends in 2012. It’s a string quilt and it’s bright and sunny to offset this snowy grey day!

Snow Day!

 

It rarely snows here, and of course it snowed the same day my in-laws arrived from New York! It’s making the visit a bit interesting, and just a little difficult to make plans. My brother-in-law and family are also in town visiting, so we have a houseful! The snow turned to a big sheet of ice pretty quickly, so we’ve had to resort to indoor play. Luckily my husband is like a big kid and has never shed the toys, so we have Lego’s and board games, Matchbox cars and tracks, as well as coloring books and markers. It all came out and we’ve been having fun with the nephews!

The sun is out today and everything is melting. We still have 2 days with the family before they leave town, so I’m off to enjoy a slushy walk in the sunshine, then it’s off to find an early dinner.

Making Progress

whipstitching on back

I’m steadily making progress on my Hexie Hummingbird! Currently, I’m stitching the rows to each other. whipstitching on back

While I make the rows using a ladder stitch, I change it up when I’m sewing the rows together and use a whipstitch. I think it’s easier to work as a flat piece when the rows are coming together.

To start, I take the piece I’ve stitched together an place in on my design board exactly where it needs to be:

Finished section

I check my layout to make sure it’s in the right place then pin the two sides where I need to start stitching:

pin In Place

From here I flip it over and start my stitch a little in from the edge:

stitch Start

The blue fuzzy thing I’m working on is a stuffed animal in the shape of a bolster pillow. I find by using this pillow on my lap while sewing, it helps me keep the piece flat while working on it, I can see my stitching better, and sew with less stress on my wrist… I can also wrap it around the pillow as it gets larger.

I start stitching here and work to the edge then back up the way I started:

stitch Start 2

I’m testing a fine silk thread as a double strand right now. Usually I use an all purpose thread, and that can be used as a single strand. I’m still undecided as to which way I like better.

stitch Start 3

I like using the whipstitch here because you can really tighten it up and make super strong seams – and you can’t see them from the front:

top

So this is my progress! I’m looking forward to the appliqué process – it will be a new thing to try for me!  I just love how quickly this project is going – and it’s because I didn’t do a full hexie background. Food for thought!

Tonight is the PMQG meeting, and they’re having a mini-trunk show of all the quilters who had quilts show in the PMQG section of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Since I’m in that group, I’ll be bringing some quilts to show tonight, even my hexie quilts! I’m a little nervous, but really excited to be able to share my quilts again!

Big Anniversary… a personal story.

daisy

This is a wee bit of my personal history, and why I’m in the mood to celebrate a little. Not a quilt-related story, but I’ll be quilting in celebration over this. Let me set the picture of  for you:
It’s 1996, I’m working as a bartender, and my daughter had just started kindergarten. The two of us had been living in a van for 2 years, and I had worked hard to get myself into a 1 bedroom apartment about a month prior. As soon as I had set up a telephone line, I started receiving calls from creditors.

This confused me, I had no credit… not even a bank account at that time. I had been homeless, waiting tables or spare changing for money – I definitely did not have a checking account for any said check to bounce. I didn’t know what was going on until I remembered my storage locker that had been broken into the year before. I didn’t think of it till just then, but among all the things I lost (everything I owned) there was a briefcase that had all of our important paperwork in it. Things like our SS cards, birth certificates, old ID’s… even some of my old resumés… all this, along with the loss of all my photos and artwork, I felt like these thieves had more proof of being me than I did.

All I could do was hang up the phone on the many creditors who called… eventually I just didn’t answer it anymore. I didn’t know what to do.

Then one day, while working at a bar here in SE Portland, the police came and arrested me on the spot. They said it was for failing to show up to a court date – of which I had no clue – so I was handcuffed in front of everyone I worked with, and all the people who had come in for drinks. I was dumbfounded, but what could I do?

When we got to the police station downtown, I used my one call to call my apartment manager to ask if she would pick up and watch my daughter after school – that was the only thing I was thinking about: What will happen if I’m not there for my daughter?? I didn’t even know why I was being arrested… I had no support system, family or otherwise. What would happen to her if something happened to me?

I stayed in a holding cell for a bit, then I was fingerprinted and was being processed to go to jail. As this was all unfolding, a detective came up to us and let me know that my fingerprints did NOT match the ones they had on file. There was quite a bit of confusion, but after a few hours it came to light that my identity had been sold at the same time the DMV computers were being updated, and somehow there were 11 different photos to my name.

Many of these ladies had used their forged ID’s to steal things, some created checking accounts and credit card accounts, others opened accounts with electric and gas companies. One got a warning for defecating on a car (yuck!)… and one got caught with a half pound of meth in a truck her boyfriend was driving, a truck full of stereo equipment recently purchased using a check under my name. SHE was the one who didn’t show up to her court date- and when they searched for her, they found and arrested me instead.

This all sounds terrible, and it was, but luckily, this woman had been fingerprinted and they didn’t match mine! Now I finally had some proof of fraud to battle the creditors with. It still wasn’t easy, for every credit notice I wanted to debate, I had to send a copy of a letter from the District Attorney describing the fraud with a copy of my fingerprints, pics of my tattoos and new ID, along with a handwriting copy that had to be witnessed by a registrar and stamped – it was one big packet of info, and I had to send out a packet about 3 times a week. This was a bigger expense than you’d think.

At the same time I was subpoenaed to go to court, as a witness, a couple times a week the whole time this girl and her boyfriend were tried for fraud and meth possession. The courthouse was way out in the suburbs, and I had to go by bus because I didn’t have a car at the time. Between that, a half-day kindergarten schedule, and my bartending schedule, I really felt beat – totally exhausted. That was a rough period of time, and I was using drugs and alcohol to get through it. I met my husband during this time, and it was with his help that I was able to stop drinking and using.

I couldn’t get a bank account or any credit for years… and even for a while, I had to have a manager from work come with me to cash my checks. It made getting married and changing my surname so much more appealing!

So… this year is the big 20th anniversary of having my fingerprints taken and having my name cleared of so many terrible things.
… AND it marks 20 years of being completely off hard drugs and cigarettes, and 20 years being with my husband (12 years married)!
YIPPEEEEE – I think it gives me reason to celebrate, and as you may know, I now celebrate with fabric and thread!

daisy

Quilt Finish!

Earth Energy Quilt

I’m so happy to report another quilt finish! So much better than a political conversation – IMHO at least 😉

This one is called: Earth Energy.

Earth Energy Quilt
Earth Energy Quilt – Finished Front

This quilt came about because I won a pack of pre-cut off-white Kona HST’s at PMQG meeting a year or two ago… then, when I was at an All-Day-Sew, my friend Beth Wells was getting rid of some of her stash, and she happened to have the Kona Darks HST package – and gave it to me. I was pretty excited, but wasn’t sure how to put them all together at first.

Earth Energy close up
Earth Energy Quilt – close up

I ended up with a ‘rainbow’ type quilt, and it reminded me of radiating energy, hence the name. Once the top was finished, I wanted to quit it on my Juki, but didn’t have a good idea of HOW I wanted to quilt it. I started with the wavy lines and after I was done, I was ready to pull them all out and start over. Instead, I just added more quilting using straight lines. Well… semi-straight lines, I free-motioned them, so they are definitely not perfect, but I ended up LOVING how it turned out.

Earth Energy Back
Earth Energy Quilt – Back

I got some of the really neat Tula Pink quilt backing in blue for the back – I adore these backing fabrics with polka dots and birds – so awesome! I used wool batting for this quilt too – it feels so soft… and I still have to wash it! It will feel even better after that!

Recently I also went a little crazy with the green fabrics I have laying around… it didn’t help that I had a couple requests too… so I also finished 4 smaller cannabis quilts. I’m calling them my “Green Cross Series Quilts”.

Green Cross Series #1
Green Cross Series #1
Green Cross Series #2
Green Cross Series #2
Green Cross Quilt #3
Green Cross Series #3
Green Cross Series #4
Green Cross Series #4

They all are very similar, but all are very different. They are approximately 42″ square. Each one has a Cannabis leaf stitched into the green cross. Series #2 is currently hanging at a show in Madison Wisconsin right now! It’s at the Gallery @ Truax along with over 40 other Modern quilts in a collection called: Quilt Making – A Modern Practice. Another is a commission for a friend, and yet another is spoken for by someone who has a cannabis shop here in Oregon. The last one is probably going to stay right with me 😉

Green Cross #3 Detail
Cannabis Free Motion Quilting

I finished the last two of these since the beginning of the year, along with the Earth Energy quilt, that makes 3 new quilt finishes for me this year – YAY! I’m so happy to share something productive!

 

Endless Summer

With the heat wave we have been experiencing here in Portland, it makes it seem like forever since we’ve seen rain… today there are clouds in the sky, and I am thankful! A little rain would be pretty sweet about now too.
Boy, it seems like an endless summer.

With summer comes our busiest time in our screen printing business. I’ve been doing a lot of design work and not much sewing – but we all need the work to pay the bills -and buy the fabric, so I’m definitely not complaining! I just don’t have as much sewing to share.

Doesn’t really help that I’ve been working on a small quilt for a Game of Thrones themed quilt challenge... and I can’t really post that just yet. I’m going a little nuts sitting on this one. I think it’s turning out fantastic, and I’m dying to post it! Hopefully I can share in the next month or so.

I did get a much better photo of my Green Cross Quilt:

Green Cross Quilt by Gail Weiss – to commemorate the legalization of cannabis in Oregon.

I’m entering it for the PMQG showcase at the Northwest Quilting Expo – I hope it makes the cut! I’m really loving how this quilt turned out… specifically in the small white crosses. My longarm friends will understand:  the channel lock on the longarm was not working in that direction, so those straight lines in the white crosses are all free-hand!! I also hand-quilted everything in the green cross section except the leaf itself.

Now I’m off to do a little more sewing today before the work starts again tomorrow.
How are you spending your Sunday?

Hot Summer Days

The weather here in Portland has been unseasonably warm. For some reason, my body has much more inflammation issues in the heat than usual. I now have cankles, and my feet and toes look like sausages. That part isn’t so bad, it’s the sciatica (which gets ramped up with inflammation) that has been keeping me un-able to do much of anything.

However, my spirits are up – on our way out to dinner the other night, Gregg spotted a folding card table and 4 matching chairs with a free sign on it – we quickly made a U-turn and now I have a ‘Hexie Play Station’!
(and on a side note: My friend Kimberly turned me onto a new place to eat. Teote is super yummy and gluten free …and they have fried plantains!)

Hexie Play Station

I used some masking tape to attach batting to the table top – it can easily be removed. The batting really keeps the little 1/2″ hexie pieces in place… so even when Mr. Kitty jumps up there, they don’t slide around.

We set this up in our basement which has been staying about 10-15 degrees cooler than outside, and so now I have a project to keep me busy for a while… I have a lot of hexies made:

Bin and Bag of Hexies

 

Solid Brights

I made all the solid bright hexies from a honeybun roll – there were 41 different colors and I made 28 hexies out of each 1.5″ strip of fabric. I have them all color separated in baggies for now till I figure out exactly how I want to use them.

Currently on the HPS (hexie play station)

FYI: it seems to be much harder to design a layout this way… as in: not having a plan. At least it is for me! I’m going to play around with this today – I’m interested in making a few smaller projects with these hexies. We’ll see what speaks to me once I get all the colors divided.

Stay cool folks!

Green Cross Quilt Finish!

Woo Hoo! Just finished stitching on the binding to the Green Cross Quilt I’ve been working on – so now I’ll be able to bring it to the PMQG meeting tonight!

Green Cross Quilt Front
Green Cross Quilt Back

Okay… so I am totally in love with this quilt… and it’s more than the fact there is a cannabis leaf quilted into it – there is just something about it. Maybe it’s the wool batting I used. It’s so light and fluffy and feels so good. I think it’s a great size too at 58″ x 78″, long enough to cover my toes!

Cannabis Leaf Quilting

I hand quilted the straight lines in the green cross, leaving a little space between that and the machine quilting to make the leaf pop out a little.

YAY! I’m pretty excited to show this one, and very interested in the response by my guild mates to the motif I’ve chosen. Conversation needs to start somewhere, and what better way than with a comforting quilt…?

I Love This!

Cannabis Quilting

I love everything about this.
Beginning July 1, 2015, it will be legal to use cannabis recreationally in Oregon.
I currently have a medical card, but it’s still very exciting – even historical!

I began making a quilt at the fall PMQG retreat last October with every intention of quilting a big ole cannabis leaf on it. I’m calling it the Green Cross Quilt… and I’m loving it so far!

It’s not finished yet, but I was able to use a long arm machine at Just Quilting earlier today to do this quilting. There is a bit more to do, and then the binding – but I should finish it just in time to commemorate the big occasion. The results of this quilting adventure is making me so happy! I keep petting the quilt…

Green Cross Quilt on the longarm

Cannabis helps me sleep, and helps with my nausea… and changes my perspective a bit when I start to become negative. Yes, it can make me sleepy sometimes, but that’s about the worst side effect I’ve had. It also helped me kick a few addictions that were truly bad for me.

Beyond medicinal and recreational use, hemp is a fast-growing natural resource for paper, clothing and fuel. In fact, Americans used to be able to pay their taxes in hemp! more…

Obviously I am pro-plant. How about you?

small cross – free motion quilting

 

Quick project: Laptop Cover

I’m starting to check things of my “to do” list. I even got to a non-quilting project: a laptop case! One of my best friends wanted me to make her a cover for her laptop using very old felt she had gotten from her grandfather. Thick green felt… and I was clueless as to what to do at first.

I started looking online for a pattern and found a few, but landed on this one by Amy a la Mode. I liked it because it was lined and good for thick fabric.

We have a very similar esthetic, so when I found some orange plaid wool in my scraps, I had to use them somehow and came up with a quick little appliqué flower.

Appliqué test

I fused some interfacing on the back of the fabric to keep the edges from raveling, and sewed them on raw-edge style with a zigzag stitch. My friend really liked this flower so I had a direction to go in, but it still seemed a little bland on the green felt, so I pretended it was a quilt and free-motion-stitched all over:

back of laptop cover

The curly stitching really made it fun and look pretty nice!

front of laptop cover

This is the front – instead of buttons, I used a strip of felt with seam binding on the edges to make a loop for the flap to fold into – I put a couple wool circles on there too – just too cute not to.

This cover is fully lined with more of the green felt, so it is pretty sturdy and thick… AND it fit her laptop perfectly!

Now I can work on some quilting without this little project looking at me all the time. 😉

Time Slip

Wow! I just realized it’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything – Happy Belated New Year!! Lots of things happening, but not much time to write about it all, let’s see if I can recap a little bit.

One great thing I’ve been able to do this month was go to Just Quilting for a longarm class with Nancy Stovall. What fun, I loved it completely. Now that I have a class under my belt, I can rent time on the machine whenever I have a quilt top/back finished!!

Sam Hunter put together a pretty quilt top for charity, and when I said I wanted to practice on the longarm some more, she promptly handed me a bag with that top, a back, batting and pre-made binding in it and said I could use it for practice! FANTASTIC – Thank you!

So I went back to Nancy’s studio last week and worked on an actual quilt. I got the whole thing quilted in my 2 hours on the machine. I had so much fun!

One thing that is a little daunting is picking a pattern to use. This particular quilt was one that my husband was really attracted to, and while I was thinking of doing an all-over floral pattern, I thought that might be too ‘girly’, so I changed my mind and took an idea from Christina Camelli’s new book: Step By Step: Free Motion Quilting.

Mind you, I’m a total beginner, so there is a lot I want to work on in the skills department, but I’m still really happy with how this turned out:

I came home after doing this quilting with a million new ideas in my head for quilt designs and patterns that would lend well to longarm quilting… hopefully I can get rolling on those soon.

Another HUGE thing that happened this month was that my little brother has contacted me! My mom & dad had just found out they were pregnant for the 5th time right before I was kicked out/left home. So, after all these years, I had never talked to him.

Fast forward to two weeks ago and I get a message on Facebook that just says: “Hey Sister”. That was it… I responded right away, and we have been in contact everyday since!! He has also left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the family is no longer speaking to him either… so we really connected. He is 27 now and is in a whirlwind of emotions. He lives in CA, and he has plans to come visit within the next few months – SO EXCITING!

It seems like it could almost be like reconnecting with a child you gave up for adoption… I don’t know… but it’s strange (to say the least) to get to know a stranger (basically) who shares the same parents. It’s kind of neat to find similarities between us, and I’m elated that I now have a bit of my family back.

Last week was my birthday… and we got to go to the coast out by Cannon Beach for the weekend. It was a long-needed break, I don’t think Gregg and I have taken 3 days off together in at least 5 years! The best thing was that it was above 60 degrees and super sunny! At night the sky was so clear you could almost touch the stars… and they came all the way down to meet he waves on the horizon. Just beautiful!

 …and we also got our 3 new trees! They are incense cedars to replace the big firs we recently had to take down. They are so cute and green – and they help fill the yard and that makes me happy.

I’m still working on the quilting of the Jellyfish – right now I have about a quarter of the “water” left to quilt… and then I’ll be ready to add a few more French knots before putting the binding on. I’m planning to hand sew the binding too so I can say the whole quilt is hand stitched!

There are a few more projects currently on my plate right now, I’ll tell you about them in the next post.
What will you be working on next month?

PMQG

I love my guild… The Portland Modern Quilt Guild – what an amazing group of people. Our holiday party was a blast, and now I can finally share what I made for our gift swap!

Pillow Front
Pillow Back

The swap was fun, we each brought in a sandwich baggie full of fabric to our Nov. meeting where we randomly received a bag of fabric from someone else.  We used the fabrics in the baggie to make something for them from their own stash and brought it to our Dec. meeting.  I received fabrics from Katie Blakesley of SwimBikeQuilt.com and I had never met her before… I was a bit nervous to make something for someone so prolific, but she liked the pillow I made for her, and that made my day!

I received a great little needle-book from Pamela Barber – it’s a ‘book’ made of fabric with felt ‘pages’ so I have a neat little place to keep my needles and scissors for hand sewing. It’s so sweet, and the quilting on it is fantastic!

The board members this year really did an amazing job at wrangling the 230+ members of our guild to keep things happily rolling along! Thanks to Mary Ann, Kelly, Suzanne, Lisa, and Cath – they all really excelled at making it a fun year with lots of things to do, and I, for one, am appreciative of all the work that they put into it.

One event PMQG hosts is a monthly charity sew organized by Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts. Each time a group meets, there is a simple block pattern to make using a bunch of scrap fabrics donated by individual members of the guild. This time we made a scrappy 7.5″ block with 2″ white borders. There were about 10 of us there and we made enough of these blocks for another quilt top for Project Linus.

charity blocks 
PMQG members at charity sew day at Modern Domestic – Quilts on display by: Elizabeth Hartman

Scrap Station… so fun to dig!

This is such a fun way to get involved and meet people from our guild, I really enjoyed this – there is nothing like working with a group of people all focused on the same project. We got a lot done, and for a good cause too!

Jellyfish Hexie Top Finished!

I finished the top!!!! Happy dance!

I waited to post pics until I had showed this to my guild last night – I was really excited to show it in person – the PMQG is the best group ever! I’m very happy with how it turned out, the colors are vibrant and the background works. My favorite parts are the “bubbles” in the background… and how it looks almost glow-in-the-dark in some areas… and so many friends donated scraps for this quilt. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of the extremely sweet people in my life.

This was started January 14, 2014 – today is September 19th… so nine months of work so far. There are 2373 1/2″ hexies in this piece, and I used (re-used) papers from Paperpieces.com Now it’s time to think about quilting. So much to ponder…

In Print!

I’m totally buzzing! Not only did the Blazers go into the next round of playoffs on an amazing buzzer beater (basketball), but I’m also in print in 2 magazines this month!

First is the new issue of The Quilt Life – on page 54.
My friend Bill and I were talking one day and after relating some of my life story, he said I had to meet his friend Victoria because our stories were so similar. I was like: “sure – why not?” and in a few days I received a very sweet email from her asking if I would be willing to do an interview for a magazine she was writing for. I said yes, and then we had a wonderful phone conversation in which we totally connected. Our families come from the same small town in Minnesota, we both had some crazy life struggles and worked hard to get our shit together… and we both found quilting!

After our conversation, I was super excited and a bit nervous about how she was going to write what we talked about, but there was no need… she took what I said and made it all sound wonderful. If you get a copy and read it, let me know what you think!

I knew it was coming out in the June issue, so when I saw the current The Quilt Life at Fabric Depot the other day, I had to buy it immediately… actually two. The woman at the counter asked why I was getting two and I told her about the article – and she went right to it, right there (while people waited in line) and started reading! She made me feel all giddy inside and my walk home was a great one.

The second is the new issue of GenerationQ – on page 14.
I entered a quick block building contest a month or so ago – and they picked my entry as one of the winners! This is pretty exciting to me – I haven’t entered many contests, so it feels great.

Life is good – from basketball to quilting and everything in between!