After setting up our machines at Ripon College we began the first day of Top Stitch at Bungalow Quilts. Judy’s bungalow is filled with fabric, projects and inspiration!
Samples of her umbrellas and lampshades hang around while bolts full of colorful possibilities are everywhere!
Selections were made and the Top Stitchers couldn’t wait to get to our machines and begin day 1 of the competition.
As these posts continue I’ll introduce you to each of my teammates, one per weekly post. I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m not going to link you to the sites of these wonderful, talented women until my last Top Stitch post, as they’ve already posted some of the upcoming photos and I’m hoping to keep them a surprise until the end of each week 😃.
This week I’d like you to meet Mary Hertel of Oshkosh. In the following photo Judy is filming a mini-class on how Mary made her hummingbirds and added them to her umbrella panels. Mary is the owner of Made by Marney, a delightful paper piecing pattern business. She is a very creative free-spirit, with loads of talent, and I’m so pleased to call her my friend.
Here’s some insight into Mary from her own blog:
“I’ve had a super creative drive all of my life. My designs are fueled by my past. Growing up in a rural farm community gave me a love for nature and animals, as you will see from my designs. My great love for children’s artwork is also evident in my wonky animals…which no doubt comes from teaching children’s art for thirty-five years. My motto: “A Day Can’t Go By Without Creating Something…”
Mary is also very generous and was a real blessing to me as day one was waning. I had decided to add a little zip when drafting the pattern for my compass umbrella by adding a star in it’s center.
I’m very glad I did, but that extra piecing step added quite a bit of time onto the paper piecing process. I discovered I sew much faster in my mind than in real life and… by the time the judges arrived at 4:30 I wasn’t done. Mary offered to sew the lining panels together for me so that I was able to put the top together and pin it into the frame just in time. Thanks so much Mary!
Judy was ready with her video camera (ie. phone) at a moments notice every day. She wanted to record as many tip and technique demos as she could for the Top Stitch video that will be available on C & T Publishing’s Creative Spark in the future (more info to come).
There were moments towards the end where I felt a bit like I was sewing in a “sweat shop” (ha!ha!), because the pressure was on!
All of us “Sewlebrities” are teachers and own our own businesses, so the lunches were a whirl of conversations about marketing, social media, etc. I learned so much!
Judy was one of a panel of three judges and they deliberated quite a while. In the end our scores were very close. The umbrellas were each beautiful, and very different from one another. Our personalities and skills shown through. Mary’s paper piecing was her delightful focus. Jill is second from the right. She has a great eye for coordinating fabrics . She leans towards clean lines and classic designs. It’s hard to see from the photo, but Deanna’s red umbrella has a sheer outer layer with silver bling trapped between the layers. When she moved it “rain” shimmered within her panels.
We were all pleased – and exhausted. After our success with day one we headed home thinking about the next day’s project – hanging lampshades!
I hated not actually finishing my project, but Judy’s pattern was great and I had it all sewn into the frame shortly after returning home from Top Stitch. I was pleased with the way the mariner’s compass pattern fit into the umbrella shape, and pleasantly surprised that the points all fell where I wanted them to (it was a unique pattern to draft!).
It’s sewn onto the frame now and just needs a coating of waterproofing, according to the pattern, to make it truly functional.
When I showed it to Mike he said he thought actually using it in the rain might soil it, and instead we should display it in the house as a work of art. What do you think?