Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tragedy Quilt on Display

Tragedy on Esplanade by Ann Fahl
If you've been reading this blog for awhile you know how much I have struggled to create this memorial quilt. Click on the title above to read more about it. Finally it is hanging in a public place in Winona Lake IN. It will be there through April.  This is where you may view it:

It is hanging above a glass cabinet in the
Lobby of Winona Mercantile and Boathouse Restaurant
700 Park Ave.
Winona Lake, IN

Check ahead to see if they are open.Winona Lake is a small little town. But if you drive there, you can check out the artisan shops and have lunch at the Boathouse.  On the way out of town, turn left on Winona Ave. and drive a mile or so to Lowery Fabrics and Sewing Machine Shop. It's worth checking out!

Ann Fahl

Friday, March 25, 2011


I picked up the books from my printer yesterday. This is a day I've waited for, for a long time. I could hardly wait to turn the pages, read the verse and look at all the quilts pictured inside.
Here is the first look at the books!
But first we had to unload the trunk! We have boxes of books stored in several rooms of the house. We need to keep them in a clean and dry place so these precious books don't get moldy.

At last I opened one of the books and took one to Sally Miller (book designer) to show it to her. We were very pleased. It was exactly as we expected, with no mistakes. The printing on glossy paper is wonderful and enhances the photography. You can see each bead stitched on the quilts, it's amazing. I can't believe this is my book.
Oreo inspecting the books, she isn't as excited as I am!

Finally, Oreo and I, have A Black and White Tale, ready for sale! The website is up and running. I will be glad to sign each book for you.
And here is the cover of this 48 page book!

This is a small book, yet packed with 34 one-of-a-kind quilts some with a cat, and some without. It is colorful and sure to please both quilt and cat lovers of all ages.  Jacquie Scuitto's verse which accompanies the quilts will delight you. At the conclusion of Oreo's tale, there is a section of the book that has the back stories and descriptions of each of the quilts. Sorry no patterns included.

Now that we are ready to go, we have decided that Oreo will be in charge of cat hair removal, and I will be in charge of packing and shipping. So we are ready to hear from you. Please help us out by telling people about the book. We will try to understand if you are a dog lover!

Ann and Oreo

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It is National Potato Chip Day!

Great Grandma's Bench, a quilt by Ann Fahl
I heard it's Potato Chip Day on the news at noon today.  It just brought all kinds of wonderful thoughts to mind.  Potato chips were always one of my favorite snacks when I was growing up.  After school my sisters and I would each have a bowl of chips while we watched As the World Turns at 4:00.

When we were at the cottage at Winona Lake, no meal was ever complete without them.  Seyfert's Potato Chips were available in Indiana, and my Aunt Mary Edith always thought they were the tastiest chips ever.  She would buy extra bags to take home to Georgia.

We stored the chips in a tall old Lone Ranger tin.  It was always a good sign for the kids when Grandma pulled that out of the pantry! My Uncle Bill Jones was a subtly humorous man who we remember fondly.  He always said, "I always get worried when I see the stack of smaller plates and the potato chips put on the table for the next meal. That meant that it was going to be small!" (And he was going to be hungry!)

For me, everything at Winona Lake always tasted better. The above Winona Lake quilt is pictured in my new book, A Black and White Tale.


Friday, March 18, 2011

It's National Quilting Day-----March 19

What are you doing to celebrate this day?

I've had both of my sewing machines tuned up, and I'm hard at work on 2 new quilts. But this same thing happens between 2:00 and 3:00 each afternoon; Oreo comes down to my studio and spends too much time at my machine.  There must be an easier way!
Oreo on my large machine, helping to embroider the pink coneflowers on next years competition piece.

Hope all of you enjoy this special day for quilters, even those of you who aren't quilters.

As a last minute celebration, I had a Shamrock Shake with my son up in Milwaukee. This was my first Shamrock Shake and I was very pleasantly surprised.  They look beautiful, with green swirls in a clear glass, topped with whipped creme and a cherry. Quite tasty even though no chocolate was involved.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Print a Book-- part 1

Friday was one of the most exciting days I've had in the last year or so.  Everything is coming together for the book. Since I am publishing this project myself, I am in charge of every detail. Bill Angel of Angel Lithographing is the printer, and has been extremely helpful to me and my designer, Sally Miller, prepare the manuscript for its final journey to the press!
I was able to see the first pages of A Black and White Tale born!
Stack of glossy paper
A huge stack of paper, on a pallet, is placed at the front end of the machine. It rises up so it can be fed continuously into the press.
Each sheet gets picked up and fed, waterfall style, into the press.
The large press
This press is huge, longer than a house, and taller than you are. The the paper you have just seen goes in on the far right side of the picture to the far left.  On top are the large boxes that house the printing plates, rollers and ink. This press has eight rollers; 4 for the top of the page and 4 for the underside when required. The process was much quieter than I expected.

Yellow Roller on top of the press.  
On the left side of the yellow roll is a vertical white tube which is the ink cartridge.  It moves across the roller distributing ink as needed. There are four colors, magenta, yellow, cyan and black.

Now for the exciting part, the page is finished
This page is the last 1/3 of the book

Inside a plastic box the final sheets emerge. They have been heated before their arrival at this place, to speed the drying of the ink. It's amazing to see my quilts in all the beautiful photographs on the page. I can count some of the beads on the quilts!
Quality Control
Occasionally a page is pulled out and quality inspected. A small scanner (gray box on lower left) scans the strip of colors at the lower edge of the sheet. This is important to check that proper quantities of ink are being laid on the sheets.
Printed page on a pallet
Here is the stack of printed pages, about to go back to the front end, to be printed on the reverse side!
The folded signature #3
After both sides are printed, the page is folded up like this. It is pressed flat. I have fanned it out so you can see it better.  This becomes a little packet called a signature.  Three signatures #1-3 are placed together and are then glued together with the cover. Somewhere in this process the book is also trimmed up to remove all the printers marks to create the final package. All my pages are now on their way to the bindery.

We are almost done.

This is a very complex process, for which I have more respect and understanding than before.  All of us buy and use so many beautiful color quilting books and have no idea of how it was made.  So this is my story! And soon you will be able to read Jacquie Scuitto's wonderful poem which is on the book pages too.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Darning Feet--One More Time!

Hearts and Trillium by Ann Fahl
As I was quilting my trillium piece for Valentine's Day I used Janome's small adjustable open foot for the quilting. It was great for outlining all the flowers and leaves and in the ditch. But it was terrible quilting around the bugle beads sprinkled on the lower half of the quilt! Because it doesn't hop on a spring, this new gliding foot gets stuck on every single bugle bead. 

Also when quilting the outside edges I found it necessary to go back to a closed toe foot on a spring as the open toe got caught in the batting and the outer edge of the quilt top. These problems were really irritating.
Here  is my collection of Janome darning feet.  L to R: open toe spring, closed toe spring, adjustable open toe, large closed foot option, small closed toe option for adjustable foot.
So after many hours of testing and comparing the new gliding adjustable foot with the traditional spring loaded foot, I find I have strong preferences for which foot works better for a particular job. Here is what I've found:

No matter what brand of machine you use darning feet will fall into the same categories:
  • Open foot on a spring--great visibility with this foot for all around quilting.  Zigzag stitching is possible with this foot. Open toe catches on the batting. Your eyes eventually get tired watching the foot bounce up and down on the spring. I have had good success with this foot over many years for both embroidery and quilting.
  • Closed foot on a spring--great all around darning foot. It works well when quilting the outside edge of a quilt because it is less likely to get caught in the batting. Zigzag stitching is possible with this foot. Great when working around embellishments. The closed toe reduces visibility. Your eyes eventually get tired watching the foot bounce up and down on the spring. I have had good success with this foot over many years for both embroidery and quilting.
  • Open foot that hovers--the open toe gives good visibility.  This foot hovers over the quilt rather than bounces, so it is so much easier on your eyes. Straight stitching only with this tiny foot. Gets tangled up in batting when quilting on edges of quilt. It also gets caught in and around embellishments.  I love this for my free-motion embroidery.
  • Large foot or big circular darning foot--at this point, I haven't used this foot. It is possible to zigzag stitch with this one. There is some distortion because of the curved plastic shape.
  • Closed foot that hovers--limited visibility causes eye strain. Straight stitch only. Impossible to stitch in the ditch or outline an applique with this foot.
  • It is best to have a selection of several feet so they can be changed to accommodate the project or need!

If you have any additional comments, preferences, or problem areas, please let me know. I could like to  compile your ideas with mine and come up with a chart about darning feet by type, and positive and negative aspects of each type.

For my earlier posts on darning foot, go back in the archives to Nov 2010, I think there were 3 or 4 different posts.
Please send me your observations.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Turkeys in the Mail

This has nothing to do with quilting.  This afternoon, I thought I heard the mailman out front.  He was having problems with 4 or 5 large wild turkeys, which were trying to attack his truck. You will see one kept trying to peck at the front wheel. These birds are huge!
Mailman at the end of the driveway, trying to avoid the turkeys
Believe me this is not an everyday ocurance in our neighborhood. There were a total of nine birds. The tracks they left in the snow were huge.  A little bit later they found something to munch on at the house across the street.
Look closely, they are lined up really close to the white house. This was such a bizarre incident, I thought you might enjoy seeing the pics.
Here they are at the mailbox.
You never know, what will happen each day!