Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Favorite Recipe

My favorite recipe calls for 1 part beautiful fabric,

mixed with 1 part easy-to-follow instructions for a beautiful and useful item,

Sprinkle in a wonderful new sponsor,

Top all that with a giveaway of both fabric and pattern as well as a discount code that gives you 15% off each item ordered through October 31 and you've got a treat that will have you loosening your belt and saying, "What the hell, I'll run an extra lap tomorrow."
Pretty tempting recipe, right? Well, I whipped it up in celebration of my new collaboration with The Fabric Quarter as well as the release of my latest sewing pattern, Hex Pot Holders. This wonderful online and bricks and mortar shop has an amazing array of modern, fun fabrics from Robert Kaufman, Moda, Cloud 9, and so much more.
In fact, the fabrics I used for these pot holders:

were chosen from the awesome selection of cottons available at The Fabric Quarter.

To spread the love that is great fabric at a great price and used in a fun and functional pattern, The Fabric Quarter has even created a kit that includes all the fabrics I used in my pot holders, heat-resistant batting, and my Hex Pot Holders pattern.
But wait,( I have long wanted to use this phrase), that's not all. The Fabric Quarter is giving away 3 of these 8, fat quarter(how appropriate is that?) bundles.

They are folded into these amazingly cute stars and topped with a tape measure. The packaging is adorable.
Now I'm regretting having said,"that's not all," already because there's so much more.
The three lucky winners of the fabric stars will also receive a free copy of my Hex Pot Holders Pattern and The Fabric Quarter is offering a 15% discount on all items purchased between now and October 31 to all my readers. All you have to do is include the code POTHOLDERS15 when you checkout.
Forget the recipe metaphor, this is a smorgasbord of good stuff.
So, if you'd like an opportunity to win all you have to do is leave a comment along with your email. The email serves two purposes: 1. I can easily inform you when you are the big winner(s). 2. The Fabric Quarter would like to be able to update you on all their terrific products and sales. Don't worry. Your email won't be offered up to anyone else and you can always unsubscribe if you find you don't enjoy browsing beautiful fabric.

I'll take comments through October 31 and announce the winners on November 1. Good Luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tidbits to Share

Just a couple little bits to share today.
Remember these potholders?

The potholders that spawned the Great Potholder Swap. Well, more than a few of you have asked if I was planning on offering the pattern. The answer has always been yes, but now I can add a date to that yes. This coming Tuesday, I'm going to be celebrating the pattern release with a great, big giveaway. The giveaway will not only include free copies of the pattern but additional goodies provided by my new, fabulous sponsor The Fabric Quarter. And, that is by no means all. So, I strongly suggest you check back here Tuesday, October 26. Trust me. You won't be sorry.

The second tidbit is this little image:

I've added a few more challah covers to my shop.
That's all the bits I've got.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Benefits of Reading Email

If I had not read my email yesterday I would have missed out on a lot more than the latest Nigerian diplomat needing my help with a banking transaction. I would have missed out on this:

Like many of you, I subscribe to the Quilting Daily email written by the fine folks at Quilting Arts magazine and Interweave Press. Imagine my surprise when I opened yesterday's email and learned that my quilt, Hexagon String Baby Quilt, was on the cover of Quilt Scene magazine.
Obviously, I knew the quilt and pattern were going to be in the magazine and I knew the magazine was slated to be released soon as it's release coincides with the International Quilt Festival in Houston, but I had no idea that my quilt would grace the cover.
I was pretty psyched about that for a couple reasons. First, it's the cover and that is definitely exciting and second, I figure if the quilt can be featured in an email that goes out to thousands of folks than I have the green light to share my image of the quilt taken back before I sent it off to the magazine.

I've been interested in the idea of super sizing traditional blocks for a while. There's this quilt, created for a tutorial I wrote for Sew, Mama, Sew and this baby quilt that was a byproduct of that tutorial. There's also a super size block quilt and pattern in my new book. This super duper sized hexagon made out of six, string-pieced, super sized hexagons was so fun to design, make, and especially quilt which I did in concentric circles from the center. And I'm pretty pleased with the way limiting the color palette enhances the geometry of the quilt. Plus, I seriously love gray and orange together.
I'll be at Quilt Festival in early November(more about that in a later post) and plan on picking up a copy or two of this magazine. If you want to get yours sooner than that you can pre-order it here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I seem really enthusiastic

I've watched this video a couple of times and if there's one thing I notice it's that I am super enthused about the projects in my new book. So enthused in fact that I don't seem to let Pokey Bolton get a word in. Well, my apologies, but, honestly, that's how excited I am. I am so proud of the projects in this book and I'm totally sincere when I say I can't wait for you all to see them.
In the meantime, watch the video and you'll get to preview quite a few of the quilts, pillows, scarves, and other goodies featured in Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's the small discoveries

For a while now I've been trying to figure out a way to standardize the way I make letters for my challah covers. In the past I've improvisationally pieced them like this one:

I love this design, but it's pretty much impossible to make two that are the same or even similar. That might be part of what makes them attractive, but it's also what makes them not the most cost effective item to make for my store. I want to be able to offer beautiful, handcrafted items, but the items can't be so labor intensive that they're not affordable for the customer. The alternative is to price them so I think they'll sell, but the price is such that I'm essentially working for nothing.
I don't know that I have the solution for every item I'd like to offer, but I think I've come up with the solution in this case.
First, I found a way to print the letters using Hebrew letter cookie cutters, potato stamps, and wax resist.

What's sort of amusing is that I have been trying to puzzle out how to use these cookie cutters for a while. I planned to press the cutters into potatoes, slice away the non-letter parts, dip the potato stamps in wax, and print. My problem was that the sharp end of the cutter yielded wrong reading letters. I really couldn't figure out how to get the letters to read in the right direction. And then it dawned on me that the fabric is the same on both sides. Unlike many commercial fabrics, there is not right or wrong side to a batik. Eureka! All I needed to do was use the opposite side of the fabric and I would instantly have right reading letters. By the way, this would apply to English letters as well. Can you see that the wheels are turning.
Anyway, with the letter quandary solved, the design really started to come together. I decided to combine the letters with the 2 1/2" patches of hand dyed fabric that I accumulate as I make fabric and voila:

I'm officially dubbing this design the Patches Challah Cover.
I've made a few for a Hanukkah Gift Bazaar I'm participating in this Sunday and I've already come up with a variation that uses shibori created symbols instead of letters. Anyway, after this weekend I'll definitely be adding these to my store. For those who live in Austin and would like to see them in person, they'll be at the Jewish Community Center on Hart Lane from 9-5 this Sunday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reason # 1,565,232...

...that it's good to have interaction with other crafty people: they often have great suggestions. Take, for example, a recent request by a customer for fabric in a chartreuse/red/white color way.
She specifically asked for a couple patterns in those colors. So, I created this:

and this:

based on her suggestions. But then I also made this:

because I felt that the pattern really lent itself to this color combination.
Now I have three new fabrics to offer both to her as samples and to you as quarter yard pieces.

Which I guess brings me to reason #1,565,233 why it's good to have interaction with other crafty folks: someone to share with.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Change of Pace

As much as I enjoy making quilts and dyeing fabric, I have to admit that the occasional out-of the ordinary custom order helps to keep things exciting.
Most times the request is related to something I already make, but involves a bit of a twist.
A while back, someone contacted me about making her a pillow cover. Now, that isn't unusual; I make pillow covers practically every day. It was the pillow she wanted to cover that made this a new and slightly challenging project. She had an already existing bench cushion that she wanted to brighten up. She selected the fabric on this pillow and requested that the sides of the bench cushion cover feature that fabric as well. She also wanted a coordinating hand dyed solid along the bottom and a contrasting edging for the sides.
Before I continue with the images I should mention that when I was in eighth grade I took an aptitude test where I scored well on standard academic pursuits like reading, writing, and math, but failed miserably in the section that determined whether you had a mind for engineering. Ever since then, whenever I manage to "engineer" something, I stick out my proverbial tongue at that stupid test. So, it is with great pleasure that I show off this bench seat cushion.

The customer also wanted a wee little round pillow to match the cushion.

The round pillow did not require any new engineering as it is a lot like this pillow.

I designed it for the Spring 2009 issue of Stitch. So, though it was fun to sew, I didn't have that chest-swelling feeling that comes from proving something wrong. But I did get to enjoy doing something just a little out the the ordinary.