Monday, November 21, 2011

New and News

I thought I'd take a moment to show off a new mini quilt that recently made its way into and out of my shop and let you all know about something I've just added that will be there for hopefull a very limited time.
First the new mini quilt.
I made this little quilt at the request of a customer who plans to gift it to her mom. Very sweet. The patches are all original hand dyes while the backing and binding come from my a stitch in color fabric collection. I hope mom enjoys both the quilt and her daughter's thoughtfulness.
Now, new to my store, but on a very limited basis is this:
I have 11(strange number, I know) copies of my book, Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color Design, and Inspiration, which I am selling and happy to sign to you, a neighbor, friend, or even your dog.
This is a very limited offer as I got the books for a specific event and these are the leftovers. I'm not planning on selling my books in my store on a regular basis.
For the two of you who haven't heard me go on and on and, maybe even on about this book, it features 21 sewing projects including 6 quilts, 2 wearables, a baby book, sewing machine cover, and even a kitchen curtain. It is beautifully styled and photographed and filled to the absolute brim with illustrations and step-by-step instructions.
I realize that you can buy the book for less from Amazon while I am selling it at the suggested retail price, but I won't be signing any of those Amazon books and I will happily and lovingly sign any of the 11 copies I'm selling in my shop.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cool Story, bro

That's the often flippant remark my dear, sweet 17-year old daughter says after I've told her some semi-mundane story. Admittedly, the comment usually follows a tale about going to the dry cleaners or the price of a head of lettuce, but that's her response. And, lately, I say it as well. She tells me about her little sister borrowing some item of clothing and how annoying that is and I respond with, "Cool story, bro." It's actually a great diffuser of situations and maybe makes us realize how thankfully mundane some of our "problems" are.
Recently though I've come to view the phrase in a different, more positive, life-affirming light. And I think a recent project has been the reason for the turnaround in how I interpret, "Cool story, bro."
Several months ago I designed a project for the current and inaugural issue of Stitch Gifts. My project is a pair of pillows that I titled "Story Pillows". Actually, I think I originally titled them "Our Story Pillows", but somehow the our got dropped.
 Anyway, the pillows were inspired by a pair of embroideries that I purchased at Quilt Festival two years previous. The embroidered panels were crafted by a cooperative of women in South Africa and can be purchased online here. The embroideries give these women a chance to express their creativity, tell their story, as well as earn money for their families. It seemed amazingly appropriate for a publication that promotes gift-making during a holiday season that's also about helping others to design a project that encompassed both values.
The embroideries were so beautiful and compelling on their own that I was stumped for quite a while as to how to incorporate them into a project. Eventually I decided to make them the focal points of these pillows and surround them in a loose log-cabin style series of strips. I wanted, however, to add some text to the pillows because I felt that the embroideries had more of an overt story to tell and that it would be obscured by pretty pictures and colors. So, I went on the internet and found two African sayings that I felt rung true to the spirit in which these embroideries were made. The two proverbs were: "The Pillar of the Earth is Hope and "Knowledge is Better than Riches". How beautiful and deeply meaningful are those ideals?
Using my favorite transfer paper, I wrote both phrases on my fabric and free-motion machine quilted the text, then crafted both quilted tops into pillows with zippered backings.
Now that the magazine is out on the stands, the original pillows have made their way back to me and I think they look perfect on my couch.
Pretty cool story, huh, bro?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For the Love of Lotta

Raise your hand if you love free fabric. How about beautiful free fabric? Yeah, I thought so.
One of the cool things about going to Quilt Market and attending the Schoolhouse presentations is the stuff they give away. Sometimes it's a sneak peek at a new book or a free pattern and sometimes, and best of all, it's free fabric.
That's exacty what Lotta Jansdotter gave away to promote her new line, Echo, for Windham Fabrics. And, I'm here to tell you, the stuff is seriously beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I couldn't wait to come home and make something with the charm pack of samples I got.
Initially, in adherence with my selfish sewer philosophy, I thought to use the fabric to make a pair of new pillows for my new sofa(more info about that when I do actually make pillows for said sofa).
But, on further contemplation and because a baby shower was quickly approaching and I was sans a handmade gift, I decided to use the fabric as part of a baby quilt for one of my lovely and talented co-workers at Stitch Lab.
 I apologize for the work-in-progress photos. I just didn't have a chance to take a picture of the finished quilt, but I can guarantee you that Lotta's fabrics made the top feel fresh and contemporary and fun.
A few of the sampler blocks were larger than the others because they came from a kit she handed out along with the charm packs. I wanted to use both, so I improvisationally pieced borders around some of the blocks to get them to fit together. I also added four corner blocks to the border muslin which may or may not be visible in the first photo.
The quilt was super-quick to piece and machine quilted from the center out to echo the above shape. The quilting really accentuated the organic nature of both that particular block and Lotta's fabrics in general.
Being a fabric designer myself and having my own line to promote, I feel a little weird gushing about these fabrics, but they are beautiful, fresh, and eminently useable. If I was on a desert island and could take only one collection with me other than my own, Lotta's would be it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finally, Full Views

I wish I could count how many times I've finished a project that I desperately wanted to share with you all only to realize that I can't. So much of the time what I create has to be kept under wraps until somebody, somewhere gives me the green light to share it here. Well, this week I've gotten that green light regarding two projects that thus far I've only hinted at.
The first is a mini quilt that I showed detail images of a few posts back.
Like I mentioned in the original blog entry, this little quilt was designed for Cathy Gaubert's book, Pretty in Patchwork: Doll Quilts: 24 Little Quilts to Piece, Stitch, and Love.  I took this shot before I sent it off to Cathy months ago and have been holding on to it anxiously waiting for an opportunity to share this image.
The other full view is of the quilt I created as a free project to promote my fabric line, a stitch in color. Here too impatience got the better of me and I posted a few close-ups to get folks excited about the fabrics and quilt. Now that it has debuted at market I can show it off in its entirety.
 By the way, for those of you who think this is a difficult-to-piece quilt with Y seams and finicky hexagons, I've got a little reveal for you: it's all triangles. The entire quilt is pieced in rows of two different triangle templates. One is an equilateral triangle and the other, meant for the edges and corners, is a right triangle. Easy peasy, people.
There you have it: the full monty, sorta....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Little Piggy Went to Market

...and here's a bit of what it looked like.
Part of my display in the Moda booth
See the cheater cloth tote on the floor? That has to be the #1 thing folks asked me about other than who was getting the fabulous upholstered chairs and ottoman that Moda had crafted for the booth.
I had such a wonderful response to the fabrics and met so many amazing people that, as a first time attendee, I can wholeheartedly recommend market to others considering making the trip.
It was a little weird to discover that Amy Butler is really tall and that Ty Pennington is not nearly as good-looking in person(sorry, Ty), but I walked away impressed and inspired and ready to design more fabric, quilts, and who-knows-what else.