Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dare I Say It?

I have to admit, it’s pretty quiet around here.

After a big weekend on the road at the Vermont Quilt Festival (here is a photo of my booth at the show), the week after is all about putting stuff away, taking inventory, doing some accounting, and paying some bills.

Nothing very photo worthy. Unless you find accounting spreadsheets and checkbooks exciting.

The stuff on my sewing table is all about getting ready for my teaching events for an August trip to Alaska. I’m certain the trip will be wildly fun with outrageously fun projects on tap, but the prep is for projects I’ve already made - creating the step-by-step models that will guide the classes through the projects.

There is, however, a bunch of new stuff brewing. In about a week or so, the decks should be clear enough for me to go full bore on a couple of new things that have been in the works for a while. All very exciting, but not very much to show for any of it yet.

Fortunately, some of you have shared some lovely photos of the things you’ve been working on based on my patterns and books. I’m extremely flattered every time I see a project you’ve made, inspired by one of the patterns I’ve written.

Shall we have a look?

Here is Anne’s version of “Beach Blanket Bingo” from ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One! Anne said that she just loved using nothing but scraps to make her quilt top. And the beachy-feel of the quilt makes you want to grab the sunscreen and head to the water’s edge, doesn’t it? Excellent quilt, Anne!

Clearly Sandra has a healthy collection of batik scraps! My assistant Tracy completely agrees with your decision to make "Runaway Thread" from ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps! It’s one of her favorites. This version is so fun and colorful - who wouldn’t love dreaming of your next quilt project as you nap beneath it?

Sandra also sent along this really colorful version of "Shining Stars," also from Cut the Scraps. I’ve only ever seen this quilt done up in patriotic reds, whites, and blues. I just love this colorful explosion of stars and secondary patterns in the quilt center and borders. Lovely! Nice job, Sandra . .  thanks for sharing!

From time to time, I like to feature quilts by you in Good Migrations, so send me pictures when you complete a project from one of my patterns. Indicate “watch the birdie” in the subject of your email.

Quiet or Crazy?

Now that I’ve acknowledged the quiet atmosphere around here, should I expect some crazy thing to happen that will shatter the peace? Hope not. Maybe I’ll throw some salt over my shoulder just to be sure!

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A "Normal" Day on the 'Highway'

After a busy couple of weeks on the road, I was glad to start out this week realizing that it’s back to ‘normal’ here on the highway. Then I got to thinking: what exactly does that mean? ‘Normal.’ So I decided to take a closer look at a typical day around here. Thought you might enjoy a sneaky peak into one of my ‘typical’ weekdays.

Almost without fail, after making Dave’s lunch and he goes off to work around 7am, I start the day with a couple of hours of sewing time. If I don’t get in at least a seam or two, it seems my whole day is off. Right now I’m working on some step outs for my August trip to Alaska. I’ll be visiting three guilds while I’m there. These step-outs are for Elsa’s Prayer Quilt from the new book.

By about 9 am, it’s time for a shower and some breakfast. Basic stuff here. Oh poo, looks like I broke a yolk. . .

The girls typically insist that I share the orange juice.

I might grab a few minutes to work on some kits for the Vermont Quilt Festival. Seems like there is always an upcoming event to plan for. Sometimes I have a helper to assemble kits (Hi Barb!) but that is usually more effective when I’ve planned ahead. A-hem.

Next, it’s time for some computer work. I’d say that I spend about 8 hours a day working on correspondence, patterns, and other computer work. For about two weeks before and after Summer Solstice the skylights in my office space create some pretty heavy-glare from about noon to 2pm on sunny days.

That’s when I grab my laptop and migrate to the temporary office space on the front porch if it’s a nice day. Here is my ‘remote’ office. . . .

 . . . and here is my front-yard view. (I am a lucky girl)

During the day, the neighborhood is really quiet. But there is plenty to distract me in the yard. A little rustle in the leaves tells me I have a visitor. Can you find the baby bunny hidden among the honeysuckle branches?

The moving water in the pond brings all kinds of birds - catbirds, chipping sparrows, and robins among my favorites to come and sip or bathe. And it wouldn’t be the Hummingbird Highway without a visit from Mr. Ruby-Throat.

You would think with all the distractions of my outdoor office space, I’d get nothing done! In fact, it’s just the opposite! I find that I’m really focused on the project of the day, and I get more done than if I were in my 'normal' office space. Who knows why?

For example, I’m working on some new things to go along with The Early Bird from the Splendid Sampler (by the way, this week’s featured block for the second Splendid Sampler sew-along is The Early Bird!). The pattern in the book is paper pieced (not my thing), so if you prefer the patchwork version, you can get it here. Or, if you don’t want to do the cutting at all, (this is BIG news!!) I’m hoping to have a pre-cut version of The Early Bird for you very soon. Plus, more bird blocks are on the drawing board, too! I’m very excited about this new offering, but most of the particulars are still in the earliest stages. So stay tuned . . . And shhh! This is just between us girls, okay?

In the evening, after dinner and dishes, I like to sit down with some hand work. Lately I’ve been finishing up bindings on these Swirl Mug Mats made with the Mini Pineapple Trim Tool.

Speaking of pineapples AND the Splendid Sampler. I’ve been using the leftover bits of fabric from my 'SS' quilt (no, the quilting isn’t done yet) to make these six-inch traditional pineapple blocks. I’ve decided I’m stopping at 35 blocks, and I have 28 in the stack. Only a few more to go then I can come up with some sort of setting. This is my ‘other’ project I have off to the side at my sewing table to sew in between the workshop samples I’m making in the morning.

Fridays are different. That’s when I usually get out and run some errands during the day. And just around 5pm, Dave texts me that he’s leaving work. That’s code for ‘meet me at the brewery (a craft brewery featuring Belgian-style ales and libations that is about two or three miles away from the home office) and let’s get the weekend started!'

So many variables can come into play on any single ‘normal’ day. But I like to think that whatever the day brings, that I’m moving forward, even a little and enjoying my surroundings as the day unfolds. How about you? What does your ‘normal’ day look like? Calm, chaotic, unpredictable?

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Packed Month

To say that the next few weeks are going to be busy is a bit of an understatement for me. I'll be on the road for most of the month. Here's where you can catch up with me. . .

A couple weeks ago, my work table was full of fabric, interfacing, zippers, and batting all stacked up. Waiting for a few last details before final packaging.

The kits are to make Chequed Bagues and Baguettes (wanna make spell check go crazy? try typing that sentence a few times and see what you get!)

The Bague and Baguette pattern pairs nicely with ScrapTherapy, The Versatile Nine Patch since scrappy 9-patch blocks adds to the cuteness factor! They are perfect to hold a skein or two of sock yarn, pencils and school supplies, or grocery store receipts (if you save that kinda thing).

The pattern and kits will be available at my next couple events.

If you are nearby, I hope you’ll come out to Rochester, NY (Genesee Valley Quilt Fest - Booth 506), Louisville, Kentucky (Busy Lady Quilt Shop), or Burlington, Vermont (Vermont Quilt Festival) to see the demos, get your hands on a book, and a kit!

Also, there are a few new items in the Hummingbird Highway online store. I’ve just added 10-panel packs of each of the 9-patch interfacing sizes - Mini, Middle, and Little Scrap Grid. The bulk packaging saves you a couple bucks, too. Nice!

And. . . I’ll also have a little display at the Rochester and Vermont shows for something new coming to the Hummingbird Highway. The details are still in the works, however the planning has started for the Tidy Fabric Club. Patterns, bonuses, fabric boards, bonuses, organizing and fabric-using tips, and--did I mention bonuses?--will soon be wrapped up into a monthly club from the ‘highway.’ If you want to be first to know the scoop, jump over to this page to add your name to the list. . .

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford