Shhh… Have I got a deal for you.

No, not the Brooklyn bridge. Way more fun than that.

Material Girlfriends have been setting up a booth at local Quilt shows (this is our 3rd time). And this weekend we will be at the Alden Lane Nursery “Quilting in the Garden” show! You’ll not want to miss this show. It is the most beautiful outdoor quilt show EVER. That’s tomorrow and Sunday.

We have a 10′ x 20′ booth we’re sharing with In Between Stitches and it is full to the gills with lovely, fun, wonderful quilting patterns, kits and fun stuff.

But wait, there’s more. We have deals.

Did you catch that? Here is the sign.

But if you want a Yazzii bag, be sure to say, “Hot Flash my Yazzii” for 15% off your Yazzii purchase. It won’t be advertised in the booth! Don’t forget to pick up your purple hand fan. All the cool quilters have them. Ha!

Thank you Kelly! Your help was amazing.

Lora climbing up and down, up and down, up and down, putting up the tent and quilts.

Carolyn (mom) hold up one of the quilts. Don’t let the quilts hit the dirt!

Carolyn calling in reinforcements!

We hope to see you this weekend!! Come through the front entrance at Alden Lane Nursery and hang a left. Listen for the laughing and you’ll know you’re headed the right direction!

Lisa and Lora

Material Girlfriends

We Want You!

Actually… Alden Lane Nursery Wants Your Quilts. But that was too long for a headline. Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, has put on the most fabulous of quilt shows for… gosh, I don’t know how long. The first one I attended was in 1999 and I haven’t missed one since. This annual quilt show is the reason I started quilting! Really! Quilts are hung on lines strung between giant California Heritage Oak trees. It is a “must see” if you’ve never been. This free “Quilting In The Garden” show will be September 23 & 24.

So back to the the headline (it’s even longer now). Alden Lane Nursery Wants Your Quilts for the Quilting In the Garden Show. Every year a featured quilt artist or two are invited to display their quilts, as well as quilts from quilters all over the valley. Cyndee from Alden Lane Nursery, recently sent me an email saying she needed more quilts from the community! Material Girlfriends to the rescue! Of course we can help, but the show is just around the corner so we need you to act NOW! 

I already hear the excuses. “Mine isn’t good enough.” Yes it is. There is no judging, no prizes, no win, no loose. Plus the quilts are hung 20 feet in the air so no one is going to see if you have any points missing. It is our duty as quilters to support the events that promote and honor the quilting arts (did that guilt you into it?). So go to this link,

Quilt Show

scroll down a bit and you’ll see the part about Open Call for Quilts. Download your form and send it in right away! Tell them the Material Girlfriends sent you.

WE CAN DO IT


(Image shamelessly stolen from Keepsake Quilting Labor Day Sale Ad and Material Girlfriend logo added)

Absewlutely!

Lisa and Lora

Panels!  A Love/Hate Affaire

I love panels.  Lisa hates them.  Why???

Well to start with, a panel quilt takes all the fun out of quilting for my sister. She is the Perfect Piecing Princess. There is very little piecing in a panel quilt.  She also loves appliqué!  And there is no appliqué in Panels. So for Lisa, a panel just sucked all the joy out of quilting.

But for me??? I love how fast they are! I can have a quilt top ready for quilting in little over an hour. And I love the quilting part. The thread painting, the meandering, the sculpting of a flat surface with thread and adding beautiful dimension and texture. Yes, I can get carried away. To me Panels are fast and can be beautiful and fun.

Against Lisa’s will, Material Girlfriends has design two patterns using panels. Of course, Lisa has added her love of piecing and has coaxed a simple cut of fabric into something gorgeous. Our new pattern is called Bella Notte. It uses a panel in its center blocks.

This old pattern is Livermore Run. It was design several years ago. It used a smaller panel. I’ve just remade it using a fall wreath panel by Robert Kaufman. Super fast and fun for me, pretty piecing for Lisa.  A happy ending for a plain panel.

And I have a freebie for you! This is a pattern I wrote!  Yep.  Me, myself and I.  Lisa didn’t even have to help me (much). MaterialGirlfriends.PanelBorders.Pattern It is simple borders on a larger panel. There is obvious differences in Lisa’s and my quilt design skills. Ha!! This simple Panel border is great for baby quilts and wall hangings too.

Sew fun,

Lora

Lisa’s Note: It is true. I confess to be a Perfect Piecing Princess, but these ARE lovely, aren’t they? If you want a kit of any of these, we will have all at our booth at the Alden Lane Nursery show “Quilting in the Garden” the third weekend of September. And…. let me show you Lora’s quilting. She said she just followed the lines on the angel and then did a little meander in her background. LOVE IT. You can do this too on your domestic goddess, I mean, machine. Need a little coaching? Come hang out with us at Lisa’s Finishing School. I’ll ooh and ahh while Lora coaches you through. (Use a smoke mono-poly “invisible” thread on top and a cotton or cotton/blend in your bobbin that matches your backing.)

Absewlutely,

Lisa

Make a list, check it twice and then…

Quote

Part 3 …sit next to my sister.

by Lora Zmak

In Between Stitches Preview Party – Lora is in the middle

Whether you sit next to your sister-sister, sister-friend or your sister-quilter, we are in this together!

If you forgot to bring something to class, it is okay to ask if you could borrow the missing item.  It is a great way to start a conversation with a sister-quilter you’ve only just met.  Most of us go to class for the giggles and fellowship that women need and enjoy.  We need to get out of the house and make connections.

Just on a side note, there are a couple of things you really shouldn’t ask to borrow, unless you are best buds or truly related to the lending quilter. The first is a rotary cutter.  Those blades dull and are expensive.  One or two cuts is okay, but if you have a whole project to cut out?  You might need to buy another or buy a new blade for the lender.  Specialty fabric marking pens and pencils – these too dry up or are used up.  Consider picking yourself up another one.  Usually quilters are very sensitive to not borrowing something that can get ‘used up’.  Sometimes a new quilter doesn’t have that understanding yet.

I think we have covered everything that we need to bring to class in the previous three posts, but how about what not to bring?

What NOT to bring??

Do not bring any bad or trash self talk. Encourage yourself!  You can do this!  We spend 75% of our time in our own heads.  Make it a nice place to be.

Do not bring a bad attitude.  We do this for fun.  And it is fun, especially if you allow yourself to relax and enjoy the creative process. Don’t worry about not getting much accomplished.  The real reason you are here is to connect with other fun women.

Do not bring the stresses of a crazy busy day.  Leave all those in the car….I’m sure they’ll be waiting when class is over.

See you in class!

Making My List, Checking It Twice, part 2a

by Judy White

Quilting in the Garden September 2016 (Judy is third from the left)

Oh my…Lora and Lisa, the founders of Material Girlfriends are each such incredibly talented women, but they just wouldn’t be where they are and sewing a straight ¼ inch seam if it wasn’t for their village!  I know they’ll admit it and laugh, but it’s true…there is a LARGE village behind them, cheerleading and bragging (Carolyn and Doris), proofreading patterns* (Judy, Teresa, Katheline, Diana, Dianne, Jennie), testing patterns (Georgette, MG Slave Weeks), feeding them (retreats and MGSW), it goes on and on.  After reading “Making My List, Checking It Twice”, parts 1 & 2, I was thumping my head and wondering if they’d paid attention in the featherweight class at all?? 

I should probably tell y’all, I’m their Judy. (The one on the left.) I’m that woman, no, not THAT woman who finishes every project and has it to show at the next class or guild meeting (and by finished, that’s the top, with all the applique, piecing and embellishments attached, quilted, bound AND labelled!).  No, I’m the other one…that woman who has a little of everything, including the tools, to fix stuff.  The other one you want to sit next to because she’ll help you solve…Stuff.  Stuff, like the sewing machine that’s got an attitude and has a thread in her crack that’s really uncomfortable!  When we meet for Material Girlfriend Retreats (or Slave Week), they bring their tired, their poor, their huddled masses of thread nests, gears and flywheels yearning to breathe and run free…Ok, just a little literary license there…So after being their Judy for years, they told me I should teach a class on maintaining Singer Featherweights…And they all came!  We had fun, but did they listen and remember to put some basic sewing machine tools on their ‘Making My List’ List??  No…Oh my thumped head!

Sew Sewists**, take care of your machine!  Especially if she is a vintage girl, like a Featherweight.  (If you have a newer machine, follow your manufacturer’s directions for maintenance and cleaning!)  She is your main tool in this quilting process, and deserves a little attention at class or retreat (or Slave Week)!!

Judy’s Bare Essential Tool List

Reading glasses and a cleaning cloth:  If you can’t see that bit of thread stuck in that crack, how are you going to get it out?

Screwdrivers:  Good quality blades that FIT your machine’s screws, usually a 3 or 4 inch and a micro screwdriver for changing bobbin tension (YES, you CAN do that!)

Brush:  A double ended sewing machine brush, bristly on one end and paintbrush shaped on the other end, for cleaning DRY linty places.  Use a rag or q-tip for oily or greasy places.

Tweezers or a hemostat:  For when your fingers are too short or won’t fit.

Dentist’s pick:  Yup, just ask at your next cleaning…the hygienist will scowl and ask what you’re going to use it for?  And you answer, of course, that you need it for cleaning your sewing machine.  (She’ll be relieved that you’re not scraping your own teeth.)

Makeup mirror:  Makeup?  Naw, sew in your jammies.  Use it to put under your needle shaft when you can’t find the hole to put the needle into.  Or better yet, a Mechanic’s Mirror…That little mirror with a swivel on the end of a stick…so you can see in and around and chase little bits of thread and lint.

A spare lightbulb:  Unless you have a LED light.

Bright flashlight:  No the flashlight on the iPhone is not enough to see into the dark crevasses of sewing thread knottiness.

Sewing machine oil:  In a refillable oil pen.

Extra needles:  Shall I tell you a story about the needle that was rusted into the needle shaft?  Change your needles!!!!

Bobbins:  6 of them.  Wind 6 bobbins with the thread you’re going to be sewing with and clean and oil your machine after they’re gone.

Chocolate:  Duh!

Corkscrew:  One with a bottle opener also, so you can choose.

Makeup Bag:  NO, not for foundation and mascara, that stuff stains fabric!  Put your tools in a pretty makeup bag and it’ll be a pleasure to pull it out after using 6 bobbins to clean up your most faithful sewing buddy.

Happy Machine, Happy Sewist.  May all your seams be nested, and not your thread!

Your Judy

The Featherweight Whisperer

 

*Did anyone else notice that we should remember to bring a peddle to class to use with our sewing machine?  Yup…They might peddle Material Girlfriend patterns, but I’ll pedal my bike back to pick up the pedal to use with my sewing machine!  Proofreading is SEW hard!  I’d rather SEW!

**We used to see SEWER when referring to a person who sews, but that can just come out all wrong and confusing if it’s pronounced in plumbing way…Sewist is SEW much nicer!  But alas, the spellchecker wants to make me a sadist, sexist, or just sweet.

 

Making my List, Checking it Twice, Part 2

Checking it twice – Part 2 

by Lora Zmak

I attend Lisa’s Finishing School for Wayward Quilters twice a month. It is a 6 hour class, that goes until 11pm! Here are a few other things that my classmates have added to their tool bags:

Aspirin and Tylenol especially helpful for those long workshops in front of our sewing machines. And for those headaches brought on from a miss behaving sewing machine, and/or excessive seam ripping.

Bandaids – We work with lots of sharp things!  Don’t bleed on your quilt!

An extra pair of reading glasses – You can only sew as well as you can see. More often than not, I loan this pair out!

Task lighting –  Again, you can only sew as well as you can see.

A few extra dollars for the ice cream or latte run.

Refreshments – You need to stay hydrated for a long sew! Bring your water. Our sewing class room has a Kuirigg machine.  I always pack a few extra decaf coffee pods. Last week, Irene pulled an extra set of plastic silverware out her tool pack!  And they were needed! Pack little snacks, like a package of nuts.  When I get too hungry, it is hard to focus on what the Instructor is trying to tell me! Consider packing something quiet to munch on…

A seat cushion.  Sometimes, we only have metal chairs to sit on and sometimes we are lucky and have nicer chairs.  A seat cushion can give you a bit more comfort for a long workshop.  Look into adding a Gaian Balance cushion to your class supply list. These are fantastic for keeping your core muscles engage and will really help relieve sore backs! Or keep an eye out for a new class and pattern by Material Girlfriends The Tushie Cushie. You’ll be the envy of your quilting classmates!

Hair clips and pony tail holders.

Zip lock baggies to keep all the pieces for a block together.

A small personal iron (Yazzii has such a cute case to store it in!!!) and ironing pad.

Tool mat that my sewing machine sits on.  I’m forever chasing down my seam ripper and snippet scissors.  My Yazzi tool mat keeps them at my finger tips and not rolling across the table.

A variety of thread.  You’ll need white, tan, medium grey and black or charcoal.  Use the thread color that closely blends in with your project.

A little spray bottle of spray starch and/or water, for pressing or removing your blue water erase pen marks.

What else…what am I forgetting??

What ‘different’ item would you pack for class? What would you recommend adding to our packing list for either a long workshop or quilt retreat?

We’d love to hear your suggestions!

Lora

Making my List, Checking it Twice

You know when you’re just going along… minding your own business… when suddenly it hits you. You remembered something you forgot. Eyes get big, quick intake of breath, heart jumps in your chest. The older I get, the more this happens. I’ve wrecked two pans on my stove just this year because I left the kitchen, got sidetracked and forgot I was cooking! Now I have a rule that I can’t cook unless I STAY inside the 10’x10′ kitchen space. Why didn’t someone tell me I forgot to post July’s tips and tricks for the Bird Walk BOM?! So sorry for my distractedness! I’ve added month 11 if you’re following along.

But I DID remember to add a page for Guilds. I added a new block of the month page for Living In The Moment and uploaded a paper piecing tutorial. But, wanna know what else I forgot? Lora wrote the next blog and I forgot to post it. *sigh* (Sorry Lo). Below is what she wrote.  Hmmm. I think we’re a lot alike!

Making my List, Checking it Twice, and then sit next to my sister. 

I always sit next to my sister when we go to Quilting class or quilt retreat.  It’s not because she’s my best friend. Well she is, but that’s not the reason.  It’s because I always forget something and I’m going to need to reach over to her tool bag and borrow it. I’m always leaving something behind. Just last month I left at home an entire suitcase of free motion quilting tools that I needed. I know I’m not alone in this. One of our students forgot all her fabric and another forgot the peddle and power cord to her sewing machine. Frustrations.   Make a list, check it twice and then sit next to my sister….That’s pretty much my basic plan.

Part 1-

Make a list: What to bring to quilting class? 

I have a new Yazzii bag with all these LOVELY pockets…. As I was transferring my tools from my old bag to the fancy new one I thought…What shall I fill them with?  What do I need for class? What should I NOT forget this time?

Usually when you sign up for a quilt class, you are given a supply list and a list of the basics. But on top of that list, add:

-Sewing Machine, foot peddle and power supply, and manual and a variety of feet. I bring my featherweight to class.  She fits in a lovely carry on flight bag and easily rolls across the parking lot.  I have a small Yazzii bag that holds all her tools, oil, manual and bobbins and feet.  She is my class sewing machine.  She’s light weight and mobile.  I don’t like crawling under my desk and unplugging and packing up my fancy, big and expensive computerized sewing machine.  When I am home my featherweight is stored in the down stairs closet and waits patiently until I am ready to go to class again.

-Rotary cutter, spare blades, rulers.  (Big rulers for big cuts, small rulers for small cuts) Any other rulers? Square ups? Specialty rulers? ¼”ruler?  That will usually depend on what project you are working on.

-Cutting mat.

-Marking pens/pencils.  My favorite is the one with blue water erase on one end and the purple air erase on the other. Plus, pencil, pen and sticky note paper to label and make notes on my progress. I have a tiny highlighter that I pack to mark my pattern too.

-Seam rippers. I usually bring two, because one will roll into hiding for the entire duration of class and will only make an appearance when I start to pack up to go home.

-Shears and scissors. One large and one small.

-Pins, needles and needle threader.

And of course, your pattern and fabrics and co-ordinating thread.

These are pretty basic class necessities.  And hopefully you have these all gathered and ready to go.

I’ll see you in class!

Sew fun,

Lora

Lora has written part 2 and part 3 of Making my List, Checking it Twice.  Sew stay tuned!

All The Cool Quilters Have Them

“But I think they’d really sell well!  All the cool quilters have them!” Lisa whined.

She eventually won, and ordered a box load of Yazzii bags from Australia for our quilt show booth. But I wasn’t really sold on them.  My first thought was that they are rather expensive and I really didn’t need one.  That tool bag I had spent so much time constructing was holding together.  Kinda. (see blog post Jan. 2015)

The challenge is that Quilters have lots of tools and we schlep those tools back and forth to class.  We also have a huge problem, on not being able to find our tools.  Even though Lisa and I are identical twins.  We are different in SEW many ways.  For one, I am naturally organized and Lisa is not.  I usually know where my tools are.  I also have a sewing room with cabinets and organized drawers.  Lisa does not. So I caved and let her order the Yazzii bags.  Anything to help her organize her life!

It was not very long before I started singing a different song.  WOW!  No wonder,  these bags are a Quilter’s new Favorite! They are a fabulous value.  I spent $60plus and three days on creating my little tool bag, (the yellow one in the photo below). I love that little bag.  However I have bloated, over filled and torn the little plastic storage bags. The Yazzii bag that is the same size – the mini craft organizer large– is $39.95.  Really?  My favorite one is the little teal bag, the mini craft organizer petite, for $29.95.  It is filled with all the accessories, manual, tools, and oil for my Featherweight. I LOVE it sew much!

Lisa’s favorite bag is Yazzii’s Universal Companion with four sleeves and 28 pockets of different sizes (see photos below).  It is the largest tool bag that we ordered for our show booth. This bag is so cool and is $119.95.  Honestly, I have spent more on my Vera Bradly totes and bags that are not nearly as useful. Lisa emptied her various stashes of tools and organized all her gadgets in one place.  Sturdy, double zippers, clear pockets to see and find thing, and fun colors too.  Mine favorite is the teal!

Another awesome feature is the beautiful wool work that you can add to personalize your Yazzii bag.  Sue Spargo has instigated quite a creative fervor in leading quilters to customize their own Yazzii bags by adding embroidered wool felt. Check out In Between Stitches’ class schedule for Wool Appliqué Club meetings with Suzi Dillinger!

I love the clear pocket on the outside of Lisa’s new Yazzi bag.  Perfect for a quick grab for a business card, or tag to identify it as yours!Take a sneak peak at the new pattern Lisa and I are working on.  Yes, it will be a bit bigger – more rows.  An there will be a puppy version. Love the pattern pocket in the front.  Ohhh?  And what pattern is Lisa working up??How about that?  Lisa found two of the same seam rippers….in different places.  Now they are together 😉
Bandaids, Tylenol and Kleenex are great to have in the tool bag you take to class. All those little square up rulers in one easy to find location!A collection of black fine tip permanent markers that had collected at the bottom of a bag.  An two more pockets in the back to hold more rulers.  Big rulers for big cuts, little rulers for little cuts.

Sew fun to have Lisa all organized!

Lora

 

Our American Heritage

Charles80Today is my father-in-love’s 80th birthday. He is a big John Wayne fan so being the Photoshop wiz that I am, I created this image for him for his birthday. Isn’t it cool?!! I was really pleased with how it turned out. The handsome cowboy in the middle is Charles. (Shh… it’s a surprise so don’t tag him if you are Facebook friends.) I will give this print to him when I see him. Charles is a wonderful man. I respect, honor and love him so much. He is also an American history buff… but not about the history of quilt blocks! November2015BiteSizeBlockToday I’m sharing a free pattern. It’s the Log Cabin. VERY American block. Throughout American history, women sewed the Log Cabin block all across America. The antique Log Cabin quilts made during pioneer times are stunning. But, did you know that this block was actually discovered in an Egyptian tomb? A bagillion years ago, this block was a quilt that wrapped a CAT. Weird.

Traditionally the log cabin block had a shady side and a sunny side. The very center block was red to represent the hearth or heart of the home. In my example above, my shady side is the dark blues and my sunny side are the bright pinks. So here are the instructions to make EASY Log Cabin blocks ILoveUsYearRound.all pages34-35. It is strip piecing and you can make more than one at a time. These instructions are to make 4 at a time but you can easily adjust.

This would be so cool in red, white, and blue! In fact, I just googled red, white, and blue log cabin quilts and hundreds of images popped up. Wow. I’m ready to pull out my bins of red, white and blue fabric stash!!!

Enjoy your American heritage this month, whether through your favorite westerns, reading history or making some historic American quilt blocks. You know which I will choose!!

Absewlutely,

Lisa

Quilting Thought for the Day

Several years ago, I had a student in my Start Quilting class that wanted to quit because she just couldn’t get it right. I talked her out of quitting that first class. She came the second week and was in tears (literally!) because she wasn’t “getting it”. I talked her out of quitting again.

I worried she’d throw in the “quilted towel” in the next class. That week, I came across a thought provoking quote on Pinterest. So for Week Three’s class, I wrote the quote on the write-on/wipe-off board and we briefly talked about implementing the quote as we quilted. My student finally stopped worrying about her results.LiveCreativeLife“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce. I don’t know who he is, nor what he has done to be worthy of quoting, but his words gave me a lot to think about. I’ve thought over his quote for over a year now.

  1. Live a Creative Life – just that portion of the quote can make you think. What have you done to live a creative life lately? Sewn, gardened, painted, drawn, written, sang…? To me, these things are the ability to play. Don’t let life rob you of playing and limiting your creative time.
  2. Lose our fear – What are we afraid of if we’re wrong? Being criticized? Scorned? Rejected? Embarrassed? Want to know what my new acronym for FEAR is? Face Everything And Rise.
  3. Being wrong – Being morally wrong isn’t what the quote is referring to. Let’s talk about the “being wrong in our creative life”. Playing that sour note, planting a garden only to have it die, or sewing a block only to have it turn out not as anticipated. Sew what? Comparison will quickly kill the joy of leading a creative life. Who defines, “wrong”? Not me. You do. Check out Freddy Moran. I’m glad she learn not to fear being wrong. She has more wonky blocks: star points that disappear, colors that clash, yet her quilts are gorgeous!

Here is my challenge: stop comparing your efforts with someone else’. Lean on your own uniqueness and take risks. For example, if you’re working on a Block of the Month pattern and there are fabric choices made for you in the instructions and kit, change something. If one of those prints just isn’t what you want, pull something from your stash or buy something new and lose that fear of being wrong. Make what is right for YOU.

For me, Living a Creative Life is more about enjoying the creative process, not just the results.

Visit my Pinterest page if you pin and check out my Words to Live By board for more brain itching quotes. And don’t forget to play today. “All work and no play, leads to very little quilting.” – Lisa Norton. Okay, maybe I’m not so quotable.

Absewlutely,

Lisa