Monday, May 25, 2009

Sue Fox Open House

Sue Fox, a member of three quilt guilds -- East Bay Heritage Quilters in Kensington, California (near Berkeley), the San Francisco Quilt Guild, and a guild in Maine -- decided to hold a series of open houses during May.  Here are three quilts I liked, photographed the first weekend.   -- Rachel Holmen
Posted via email.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Machine Quilting Lessons

After attending several of Sue Fox's open houses, I got interested in having her teach me how to use her long-arm quilting machine. This is the kind of machine which sits on a table approximately 12 feet long (no, that's not a typo), and is about as related to a home sewing machine as a semi-trailer-truck is to a VW Beetle.

I had a long lesson today; how to put my quilt onto the framework of rollers which enable to work to be done; how to clean, oil, and thread the machine; how to set and use the two sewing modes -- automatic or stitch-regulated, and manual or completely free-motion; how to evaluate the thread tension; how to complete a piece. Her instructions were patient and thorough, but this was no dull lesson -- her enthusiasm for quilting, and for teaching, shone through the day. I'm not sure I'm ready to exhibit what I did, but I'll be back soon for more practice, and in between she encouraged me to draw large unbroken-line doodles on a newsprint pad for practice.

She has a new blog, so check it out: Fox Dreams Quilts at Blogspot dot Com.

-- Rachel Holmen

Succulents (Gardening) and Quilt Design (Needlework)

Agave from the top
I recently attended a workshop on raising succulents at a local nursery I like,
, and wished that some of my quilting friends were also in attendance. The speaker, who said he'd come to gardening from a design background, talked a lot about color, texture, density, scale (size), and how these elements need to be balanced to create a wonderful garden, from small bowlful of plants to an entire wall. He generously passed around books from his personal library, and if you only check out one book after reading this post, locate a copy of The Jewelbox Garden by Thomas Hobbs, and drink in the photos. Amazon has a few copies of the trade paperback left, for around $17 plus shipping.

-- Rachel Holmen

(The photo I've posted with this entry is one I've shown before -- which I took myself, but it's indicative of the kinds of photos you'll see in the Hobbs book.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bike to Work Day is coming up!

May 14 is Bike To Work Day. I had hoped to *own* another bicycle by then, but it's not to be. And since I'll be heading directly to the airport from my office, I will be sticking to mass transit, not pedal power.

Here's my favorite past poster for Bike To Work Day, from 2005.

-- Rachel Holmen