Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Afternoon of Scouting, Part II

I left off yesterday at the Hotel De Paris in Georgetown, Colorado. Georgetown's main street is only 2-3 blocks long but filled with historic buildings from the 1800's.

Across the street from the hotel sits an art gallery, of which you'll find several in town, as well as the town hall and police department.

The neighborhood of houses can be as wee as this sweet place . . .
. . . and is filled with charming clapboard homes from long ago.

This is one of the larger, Victorian-era homes in the neighborhood and has an unusually generous lot.

Above is the old schoolhouse built in 1874. It's been fully renovated and a testament to the architecture of the time.

As you travel away from the town center, you'll pass Alpine House; the old firehouse, which is now a firefighting museum.

Here's the former merchant and tailor shop that sits on a steep slope. At the top of this street, we'll turn left and head up onto Guanella Pass.

The Pass from Georgetown to the other side is 22 miles. However, we only drove to the top during this trip. We stopped along the way at this park where we got out and took a short hike in the woods. Here's my husband just before we crossed the bridge over the creek.

It was so beautiful, even on this overcast day.

Can you see the unusual face peeking out from this tree?

A sweet little flower.

The aspen trees.

We got back on the road and continued our climb up the Pass, where the aspens are replaced by fir trees.

The scent is intoxicating at this level!

The views, breathtaking!

I'm sure you'll agree that our trip that began with the hope of finding great places to photograph quilts was fruitful indeed!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Afternoon of Scouting, Part I

Not too long ago, my husband and I took an afternoon and headed into the mountains to the west of Denver, Colorado. The goal was to get some ideas of places to photograph quilts.

I've often noticed this abandoned mine while traveling on the highway and we were able to get a closer look.

I love the patina of the building, and the broken windows and patched roof give it such character. You can still see the name of the company at the top.

We found that the property is part of the Stanley Mining Company, now owned by the Empress Gold Mining and Milling Company, Inc.

I wish I could go back in time to see this property alive with smoke poring out of the chimney.

We continued driving on the service road that parallels the interstate highway toward Georgetown. As you drive into the town center, you pass a chalet-style hotel called Hotel Chateau Chamonix, which sits on Clear Creek. It's a charming property and we often talk about staying here when we're in the area. Perhaps, some day!

A view from the back where the creek flows.

Driving into the town center is like stepping back in time. I didn't take a lot of photos because I have many from other visits. But here are a few for you to enjoy . . .

A taste of France in this small, mountain town. I've wondered what the rooms look like. Are they 1800's period-style or updated?

A lion guards the gate leading to a courtyard at the back of Hotel De Paris.

I'll share a few more photos of Georgetown and where we headed next in Part II.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Much Overdue Blog Post

Hello friends...

Where shall I begin? My last blog post was exactly three years ago, today: December 3, 2013. It baffles me how things work out, as I did not plan this. I certainly was stunned, realizing how long it has been! I'll describe the past three years as an adventure full of change, many fruitful opportunities and, at times, an intense whirlwind.

Little Red Bird, McCall's Quick Quilts, Dec/Jan 2014, image compliments of McCall's Quilting. Photographer: Mellisa Mahoney, Stylist: Ashley Slupe

In 2012, I submitted a proposal for my first book and it was accepted. By this time, I was already designing and making quilts monthly for McCall's Quilting with a few extra, here and there. I had  established regular work with other magazines and fabric companies as a pattern writer, editor, illustrator, and designer (both quilts and graphic layout), among other things. My schedule was overflowing.

Project commissioned Spring 2013 by PFAFF. Click on image for pattern link. This quilt comes in 3 sizes.
Modern Diamonds ©SuzGuz Designs 2013 for PFAFF

Project commissioned Spring 2013 by Husqvarna Viking. Click on image for pattern link. This quilt comes in 3 sizes.
The Garden Patch ©SuzGuz Designs 2013 for Husqvarna Viking

Since that time, my best-selling book, All About Strips: Colorful Quilts from Strips of Many Sizes (see reviews on Amazon and Martingale), was published by Martingale, January 2015. In addition, I had the distinct honor of taking over McCall's Quilting as Content Director upon the retirement of Beth Hayes, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus. F+W Media purchased McCall's Quilting at the beginning of 2014, and I came on board to attend Spring Market, beginning to work in the office the 1st of July. At that time, I was in the throes of making quilts and writing patterns for a fabric and graphic designer whose book is slated to come out in 2016. While working at McCall's full time, I would come home and work several more hours into the night and all weekend on the book, wrapping up the last handful of projects. It was grueling, for sure, but I would not have had it any other way. And, wow, did I learn a lot!

Image compliments of Martingale 2015

At the end of August, 2015, I made the difficult decision to resign from my position of running the magazine; one I treasured and valued more than you can imagine. I would miss my highly talented staff and coworkers, working with the best quilt designers in the industry, the ability to work hard to meet our deadlines, the richly creative environment, and most especially, working on creating and molding content worthy of our readership. We all loved what we did and were passionate about maintaining the McCall's style.

We worked hard. I remember last December, as a blizzard was blowing through and the entire building was empty of people except myself, our art director, and graphic designer; how we had our nose-to-the-grindstone so that we could meet a deadline (we were short staffed at the time, and all had to pull together to get the work done). The entire staff worked straight that day and the three of us worked into the night. I remember getting punchy that evening and insisting how we all needed a break and to get a bite to eat. We piled into my SUV and, although the roads were dangerous to drive, we made it out and back safely. Looking back on my entire experience, I cannot tell you how proud I was of our entire staff. Their dedication and hard work at times brought tears to my eyes.

My first issue as Content Director for McCall's. Image compliments of McCall's Quilting. Photographer: Mellisa Mahoney, Stylist: Ashley Slupe

I'm glad I was able to accomplish these milestones: Work on the tail-end of McCall's last special issue (Heritage Quilts Made Modern, Fall 2014), and Beth Hayes' last issue (McCall's Quilting, Nov/Dec 2014). F+W Media changed the Editor-in-Chief title to a new title that encompassed video and digital media: Content Director. My first issue as Content Director was Quick Quilts, Dec/Jan 2015. I was able to work on the last perfect bound, larger-size magazine McCall's published; the Mar/Apr 2015 issue. I was so proud of that cover because it showcased a more casual elegance and playful feel, besides the fact that my dear friend, Amy Gibson/Stitchery Dickory Dock, made a mini quilt, Apple Blossom, for that issue and it topped off the stack of other lovely quilts that made the cover beautiful: Lilli's Pond, by sweet Bev Getschel, Shimmer by long-time contributor and prolific designer, Gerri Robinson, American Wildflowers by dear Audrey Hiers, Cross & Crown, by another sweet lady, Sandra Clemons, Keepsake Violets by the talented long-time contributor team of Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith. I believe Amy, Bev, and Audrey used fabrics from their stash, Gerri used her current collection at the time, Summer Cottage for Red Rooster, Sandra used Hadley by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit, and Sarah and Dolores used Victoria's Violets by Molly B's Studio for Marcus Fabrics.

New HOME page for SuzGuz Designs

After leaving F+W/McCall's, my plan has been to revive my business: SuzGuz Designs. In October, my husband tore his labrum (shoulder) and had two tears in his bicep, all at once. And it all happened on his dominant, right side. He's been in a sling since then, and had surgery two weeks ago. This sort of injury is extremely painful and the surgery results in post-op pain for weeks. We look back on this experience and realize how it is all part of God's plan. If I were still working outside of the home, I would have had to take a leave of absence to care for him. As much as I get queasy around anything medical-related, I'm sure glad I've been able to help him; he's been my rock and biggest supporter since I started in the quilting industry.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 8: GIVEAWAY Announcement

I love to write. I so enjoy the creative process of forming a plan and writing a blog post. But darn it if I can't find the time to do so this year! It's a good thing, though. Really, it is, as I'm working on a couple of huge projects that will be out over the next few years.

In the mean time, I wanted to announce a marvelous giveaway that Quiltmaker is hosting, but you must act fast!

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 8 is out on newsstands, now!

Image compliments of Quiltmaker Magazine

The giveaway is for the first 8 issues of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. That's a total of 800 unique quilt blocks! A bevy of creativity!

You can also read about Ian Davis, the creative lone-wolf guy on Quiltmaker's team!

Here is my applique block found in Volume 8, called: Bouclier de la France. I used coordinating Aurifil 50 wt. cotton thread to machine applique my pieces in place. I felt that the 50 wt. cotton gave the block a cleaner, smoother look and am so pleased with the results.

Image compliments of Quiltmaker Magazine

Looking back, I probably should have used a contrasting thread on the pink flowers to help the petals stand out better.

Fabric is from my stash. Although, I did end up purchasing a fat quarter for the green tulips and the mini print used for the pink flowers from Snappy Quilts (love that store!).

So be sure to hop on over to Quiltmaker's blog, Quilty Pleasures, for a chance to win the pack of 8 magazines . . . good luck!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Aurifil's November Designer of the Month: Laurie Tigner

Please enjoy reading about my friend, Laurie Tigner, and the processes she goes through to create her works of art. She shares a her free block design as Aurifil's November 2013 Designer of the Month.

I had the pleasure of meeting Laurie in person at the Fall 2013 International Quilt Market, recently. She's just as lovely as I knew she would be. Her smile lights up a room and her personality is warm and inviting!

When finished, check out Laurie's work by visiting her website.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Decorative and Quilting Stitches

This is going to be a quick one that I hope will help your creative wheels move into action.

I love texture. Whether it be gorgeous detailed crown molding, or embroidery hand stitched on a piece of cloth. It's all good.

Take a new look at your sewing machine's decorative stitches.

As I was planning what I'd present for today's tutorial, I was paging through the PFAFF expression line Owner's Manual. On page 7 of the Sewing section, I found an image showing stitches that give a look of handwork. I thought I would select a few of these stitches and see what they look like using my machine.

Disclaimer: I'm essentially sewing out ideas, not unlike jotting down quick sketches for future designs. This is a great way to get some thoughts down on cloth so that you can perfect your ideas for a later date!

Before I began, I wanted to do a little experimenting, so I tried out a decorative stitch down the center and surrounded it with a different stitch I liked. By the way, for this experiment, I'm using a piece of Air Lite 80/20 batting between two scrap pieces of a white solid left over from my "Hey Girl..." quilt. Thread is Aurifil 50wt. 100% cotton thread.

I tried two more stitches, surrounding what I already had. I liked the results and will hold onto this thread jotting piece as an idea-prompter for a future project.

Food for thought: How about planning out a sequence of stitches that appeal to you and use it in the center of a pillow? Coordinate fabrics with your choice of thread colors and make a quick accent for an occasional chair or bed. A modern-day sampler, of sorts.

The following stitches are ones I selected from the image I found in the Owner's manual. They suggest for a hand-quilted look. In this case, I used Aurifil 28wt. 100% cotton because I wanted to see how a thicker thread would show more texture. I love to experiment! The results were great, but this thread truly is not made for this purpose. I'd say that if you are doing small projects, it's fine.

So in conclusion, play! explore! experiment!

If you're planning to use a straight stitch to quilt your next quilt, try something new! I think I'm going to try that one on the far right (#53 on the quilt expression 4.2) on an improv quilt I'm making for a friend of mine. It's perfect, and with occasional changes of thread color, it could enhance my design in a unique way!

I hope you enjoyed this rather basic post and will also re-visit your decorative stitches! Please let me know if this interested you. I love to hear your thoughts!

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: PFAFF 4.2, Two New Features To Learn

So your machine is humming along and all of a sudden you're out of bobbin thread.

 Dang it! Why now, when I'm in the middle of chain piecing 40 half-square triangle units?!

Here's your solution:

You no longer have to unthread your machine to rewind a new bobbin (sweet!).

Pull your bobbin out of the bobbin case. Be sure the PFAFF logo remains on top. You'll also see in the background that I have the universal foot on . . . a plastic foot.

The PFAFF manual asks that you use a metal foot when filling an empty bobbin the way I'm about to show you, so I selected the 1/4" foot (any metal foot will do).

Pull the spool thread off to the right side (By the way, I'm using Aurifil 50 wt. 100% cotton thread. It's thin, extraordinarily strong, and amazing!) . . . Oh, and be sure your presser foot and needle are raised.

Maneuvering a camera while performing this task can be challenging, but with your left hand, you'll want to guide the thread so that it doesn't leave the stability of the foot (i.e., slip out the front).

Pull the thread up the left-hand opening of the face of your machine. 

Thread it through the first thread guide.

Then, thread it through the second thread guide. 

Double-check that the PFAFF logo is facing up and bring the thread through the opening on the top of your bobbin.

Place your bobbin on the bobbin winding shaft. After I do this, I like to roll the piece of thread I brought through the tip of the bobbin with the thread that connects to the spool to give it some security. Keeping the "rolled" threads between my fingers, I push the bobbin shaft to the right.

I like to hang onto the rolled threads as I press the foot pedal.

 Hang on until its gone through a few rotations on the bobbin to secure the end.

A quick glance down to the faceplate, and you'll see that the thread is perfectly secure (and still in the eye of the needle!).

The screen also shows that your bobbin is winding perfectly.

In a very short time, your bobbin is wound. The bulkiness of the camera didn't allow me to capture this, but you can use the thread cutter to the left of the bobbin to cut the thread and remove the bobbin by first moving the shaft back to the left, then simply pull the bobbin up and off.

Pull the thread out from the thread guides.

Pull the thread down and out of the face of your machine.

Trim the thread, then pull it off to the back and left.

Insert your bobbin. Pull the thread through the guides and pull the long end of your thread through the trimmer.

Replace your bobbin plate and you're ready to roll.

So now we're on to feature number 2 I'd like to share with you today . . .

"How do I move the needle?" and "Why would I want to move my needle?"

Before we tackle those questions, I wanted to make a comment on the programmed stitch length when you turn your machine on. A glance at the screen and you'll see that its 2.5. Personally, I like to stitch with a 2.0 stitch length.

To change your stitch length, simply use the "-" and "+" buttons on the second row to the right of the screen. In the future, when I begin to teach myself how to free-motion quilt (hopefully, in September . . . hope you'll join me), I'll be using a longer stitch length.

About 2 months ago, I was working on a project where I was inserting cording into a seam. Due to time constraints, I was working with what I had on-hand. I attached the Universal foot and found that if I use the top "-" and "+" buttons, I could move the needle either to the left or to the right. The screen starts at "0.00". To move the needle to the right, press the right "+" button.

Pressing once will give you a miniscule .3 move to the right.

But it will go up to a 4.5.

Perfect for sewing covered cording into the pillow I was making. I do believe there is a special foot available for this procedure. However, when I'm on a mission, I just want to get it done. :)

As mentioned, depressing the "-" will allow you to move the needle to the farthest left-side of your Universal foot.


Thanks for hanging out with me. Please comment. Let me know if this was helpful or not. I will be continuing my tutorials next week. I hope you're enjoying your summer. Have a great week!