Friday, January 28, 2011

Sew Excited

I  know, I know. It's such a cliche to use the word sew in place of so, but, first off, I love cliches and, secondly...well, there is no secondly. I just love cliches, sew there.
I didn't start the day particularly excited. It looked to be a pretty regular day, but then I opened my email and read today's Sew Daily published by the good folks at from Stitch magazine and Interweave Press and written by Stitch editor, Tricia Waddell. The focus of her article was sewing clothes for yourself and the joy she takes in making simple, beautiful garments to wear and, don't we all do this, have admired by our friends, family, and co-workers. Tricia wrote about what she called a fabulous weekend of garment sewing:

Friday night after work: cut out pattern and fabric
Saturday: sew all the major pieces together
Sunday: final fit tweaks, complete finishing, add embellishment details
Monday: wear it to work and impress my co-workers

I couldn't agree more. There's little better than sewing up something new and wearing it to the accolades of others. I'm not going to lie, the accolade part is pretty fabulous. Everyone loves receiving a compliment on what they're wearing, but it is so much better when it gives you the opportunity to bat your eyes, smile demurely, and say," Oh, thanks. I made it myself." 
Sew :), imagine my joy when I opened up the current issue of Stitch and found an article all about sewing with knits complete with some terrific and simple garments to make. Some of you may remember that I said that overcoming my nervousness about sewing with knits was one of my sewing goals for 2011. I think this dress:
and this skirt:
are just the motivation I need. That and the fact that my 16-year old recently made herself a costume out of knits and anything that a teenager can do, I can do too. 
Sadly, I'll probably have to defer some of that excitement, maybe even until next weekend, unless I'm so buoyed by Sunday's race-day experience that I feel I must sew a skirt rather than take a nap. Nevertheless, I'm psyched to do this and I want you to get psyched too. There are lots of great projects in the current issue of Stitch and, though I'm a huge proponent of sewing for yourself, you selfless types are welcome to make anyone of those projects for someone else.
 As a contributor, the folks at Interweave generously send me 3 copies of the magazine. Add to that, I never have the patience to wait for my contributor's copies so I always buy a copy at the newsstand and simple math tells you I currently have 4 copies of the Winter issue. I've promised one to my lovely neighbor who is an avid sewer in her own right and, of course, I need one for myself, but that leaves two copies that I could give away. And who better to give them away to than you? But, I'm going to want more than just a plain, old comment. I want you to tell me what you'd like to sew this year. It doesn't have to be something you've never tried before or something for yourself, but it does have to answer the question, " What are you planning to sew?" No need for a topic sentence and three body paragraphs, a simple short answer will suffice. 
Good luck!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wrandom Wednesday

Yes, I know the word random doesn't start with a W, but I was wanting a little faux alliteration today so I added the W. Also, I know that alliteration means the words should sound the same at the beginning, but I'm calling this faux visual alliteration, so work with me.
Mostly, today's post is random or wrandom, whichever works.
I thought I'd start with happenings of the past and move to plans for the future. A little organization to the randomness, huh?
This past week saw two somewhat new items exiting my shop. Well, one really new one and one that I just hadn't made in a long time.
 A sweet customer asked me to make her a little pillow with my squiggles fabric.
I saw it as an opportunity to go knuts with machine quilting.

Someone else put in a request for this baby quilt:
 I'd made quite a few of these in the past, but now only make them as custom orders. The top is part of an IKEA duvet cover. It's recently been discontinued, but, needless to say, I  purchased a few of these when they were available.

Another bit of wrandomness that appeared in my inbox yesterday was this:
 Erin, customer and crafter extraordinaire, emailed this picture of her latest sewing creation. She made it with a combination of commercial prints and solids as well as some she'd purchased from me, but, even better than that, the pillow features Erin's first ever zipper. She mentioned that she followed the directions in Fresh Quilting to add a zipper to her beautiful pillow and has since made several more. As sappy as this may sound, I so love seeing the things folks make either from patterns I've written or with the fabric I dye. It really completes the circle for me. So, keep it up people.

I'm needing to knit a hat by Sunday morning. Well, not needing to exactly, but really wanting to. Sunday morning I'm running my first-ever half marathon and, me being me, feel I must commemorate this event by making something. I made this hat a few weeks ago while my daughter was home from college, but ended up giving it to her to take back to Atlanta. I have yarn to make a second one, but am a little worried that I'll run out of time and have to wear, perish the thought, a store-bought hat. A hat is probably a necessity as word has it the temperature at start time will be in the mid-30's. I can't help but imagine myself running the race with my new hat on my head and my ipod tuned to Alison Weir's The Lady in the Tower. Last Sunday I ran 11 miles listening to that story and made it home just in time for Anne Boleyn's unfortunate beheading. I could purchase a new book to listen to during the race but I'm worried the other 5,000 plus people running it will distract me from the story, so it's best to stick to one I already know.

If you happen to have hat or race-day advice, by all means, let me know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

World Peace at Hand

Eureka! I have it. I think I know how to get everyone, and I mean everyone to get along. And, to prove my point, I'm going to try this experiment in my own home.
If you have the current issue of Stitch magazine then you've seen the feel good pillows I designed. If not, here they are:
I plan to use these for more than just cushioning my couch. They will be part of a grand experiment. In keeping with the scientific method, my hypothesis is that once placed in my living room these pillows will subliminally work their magic and put an end to bickering about borrowed clothes, arguments meant to hash out whose turn it is to wash the dishes, and all other sibling based disputes that I am expected to referee. These pillows will bring about the very virtues they extol.
If my experiment works I propose we, sewers of the world, set about making and placing similar pillows in our homes, the halls of Congress(really needed there), the UN, and anywhere else people feel the need to gripe at each other.
Who's with me?!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More WIPs than you can Shake a Stick at

You know what I love about working on commissioned projects, other than the getting paid to sew part? I love that the folks who ask me to make them a quilt don't care whether I talk about it or show off bits of it before their big reveal. There's none of this keeping a lid on things until I'm given the green light to show it off here. The green light is always on. That's the case with the work in progress I posted on Monday and that's the case today as well.
This soon-to-be twin sized quilt doesn't feature a new design, but it does have a new-to-me element. The customer that commissioned this quilt for her teenage boy came armed with 24 photos that she had transferred on to fabric. She wanted the improvisational squares design and asked that the photos be incorporated into the quilt.
 I have had so many "awww" moments looking through these photos. They span the boy's life from infancy to age 10 or so and include pictures of him and his folks, his pets and several adorable portraits like this one.
When I was first asked to make this quilt I didn't think it was exactly my style and I guess I'm still not completely convinced, but when I think about this quilt finished and laying on this boy's bed, I'm a bit swept away by how special it will be.
Another thing I've discovered in making this quilt is that its future specialness adds to my enjoyment in making it.  I always like the process of creating and oftentimes I create with an end recipient in mind, but these photos provide a more concrete sense of the end recipient and make the specialness of this quilt more tangible. It just goes to show you that sometimes when you take on a project that's not exactly your "thing", you just might find something new and wonderful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, Monday

Remember hearing The Mamas and the Papas sing that song? Yeah, neither do I. I wasn't even born yet. But it is Monday and I've listened to enough oldies stations to at least be familiar with that song, so there you have it.
What today's post may lack in pictures it more than makes up for in shameless self-promotion, but, before I get to that, I need to announce the winner of the fabric/pattern giveaway. I've always loved the way they announce the Olympic gold medal winners as "Your Olympic Champion", sort of like we can lay personal claim to this person. So, in keeping with that spirit, Your Giveaway Winner is...Ally!!

Ally commented:
Thanks for the giveaway! Love Solids and never have enough!

Congratulations Ally! Email me at and I'll see to it that your fabric, pattern, and gold medal arrive faster than Micheal Phelps can swim the 200 meter butterfly despite his goggles filling with water.
On to the self-promotion part of our show. The earlier radio reference was actually pretty apt because I'm going to be interviewed on the radio. Not exactly the radio, it's actually a live internet radio show called Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski. The show happens every Wednesday at 3:00 EST and runs for two hours. My segment is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 19 from 4:28-4:40 EST. I've been told though that I'm supposed to be available via my phone line throughout the two hours, so I guess you shouldn't try to call me then. You can listen to the show live at Toginet Radio ( by clicking on the listen live button on the right-hand side of the page. Obviously, my appearance is supposed to promote my book and I would expect that the questions will be about sewing, quilts, fabric...all the things you and I love to chat about. The show does have a call-in component, so I would love to hear from one of my super-wonderful blog readers.
Also, I'm having another book event this Saturday at a new local space, Walker Hall Design. This place is new to Austin, but has features carries some beautiful fabrics as well as amazingly crafted home furnishings and home decor items, many by local artists. The signing is at 2:00 and I'd love to see you there. The store is located in the wee little shopping center behind the Tavern on Lamar. Remember, the Tavern is air conditioned (local joke, don't fret if you don't get it).
Due to personal prohibition #1,362,175, I cannot press publish without some kind of visual, so here's one of my current WIPs:
 A soon-to-be twin sized Twinkle Quilt

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Second Giveaway of the Year

I was going to title this post, "First Giveaway of the Year," but then I realized that I had a giveaway on Monday, January 3 to promote my new pattern, A Wedding Quilt for Joseph and Annie. Well, no matter, because fate has stepped in to make giveaway #1 a segue to giveaway #2.
The purpose of today's giveaway is to introduce you to a new and wonderful sponsor, Marmalade Fabrics. This terrific online store carries many of the cottons you and I have come to love for contemporary quilting and crafting. Even better though, Tammy at Marmalde Fabrics also stocks some harder to come by, but amazingly beautiful fabrics like these organic cottons form Daisy Janie.
Here's where the segue part comes in. By way of introduction to you all, my lovely readers, Tammy is giving away a fabric/pattern treat. The pattern she's giving away is a copy of A Wedding Quilt for Joseph and Annie and 3 of the Kona cotton colors used in my sample version of the pattern. That's the pattern plus 3/4 yard pieces of Kona cotton in Mango and Coral as well as a 1/2 yard piece in Tomato.
 And many of the other colors seen in the sample (sewing circle link, how about that?) are available at Marmalade Fabrics, including Orange, Ash, and Coal.
As they say in the lottery commercials, you can't win if you don't play, so leave a comment and see if today(or tomorrow) is your lucky day. I'll take comments through Sunday at 8:00pm CST and announce the winner on Monday.
Good luck!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Sewing Room

With the help of a couple of wonderful readers I have discovered the holy grail. OK, maybe not the holy grail, but definitely what looks to be the Ravelry-like site for sewers I've been harping on about. It's called My Sewing Circle and it's not even a year old, but it seems to have all the features that I think make Ravelry so great. Every user has a "sewing room" where they can organize their projects, tools, fabrics, even keep track of their friends and postings. Also, there's the ability to post patterns, free or otherwise, commercial or indy, and forums to discuss all manner of stitchy things. Like Ravelry and flickr, you can create a profile and link back to a website, blog, or flickr photostream. It's all super easy to use and I think the basis for the kind of sewing-based online community that knitters have over at Ravelry. People, our time may just have come.
I don't want to come across as too bossy and I probably need to control that a bit right now as I'm listening to Alison Weir's novel Innocent Traitor about the mind-bogglingly fast ascent and decline of Lady Jane Grey and could get swept away by all the Queens commanding this and that, but...I really want you all to take a gander at this site, maybe with a sewing friend or two, and consider joining this community.  If you do and you'd like to friend me, I'm stitchindye over there.
In honor of My Sewing Circle, I'm going to post a couple pictures from my real-life sewing room.
I'm working on a new version of my Strips and Bricks baby quilt. Unlike the first one, this one's focus is color. It's still composed of the same number of rectangles, in the same proportions and pieced the same way as the version described in my pattern. I just thought it might be fun to work it up in a completely different palette. I'll post more about my color choices and placement once I have it quilted.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two Things

Yep. I have two things I want to talk about today and I could work hard to try to connect them and actually it wouldn't be that hard, but I'm just going to lay them both out there.
Thing #1 :
I get the weekly Sew Daily email newsletter from Stitch magazine. I imagine the newsletter will eventually be a daily occurrence, otherwise what's the deal with calling it Sew Daily? Anyway, today they announced that Interweave Press, publisher of Stitch, Quilting Arts, Interweave Knits and Crochet as well as little ole me, is launching the Sew Daily Pattern Store. This store allows you to purchase patterns that have been featured in past issues of Stitch at a time. That means you don't necessarily have to buy an entire back issue if you just want one pattern. Also, the patterns are downloadable, so it's instant gratification, baby!
In the interest of full disclosure, I will note that because I've been lucky enough to be published in Stitch several times, my patterns along with a bunch of others are for sale in the pattern store and I do earn a royalty from those patterns. But, you know what, that's not why I'm excited about this. I said this a week or so ago, knitters have had downloadable, instant patterns and a site(Ravelry) to share and compare those patterns for a while. Sewers of the world, it's our turn now! The world of downloadable sewing patterns is beginning to emerge and I think this pattern store is part of that.  I read the other day that C&T publishing is planning to launch a site called Patternspot which they're describing as, "a downloadable pattern marketplace." Now, I think we need a Ravelry-like site to bring all this together. A place for sewers to share their creations, link to their downloadable patterns, and create community.
I feel pretty passionately about this, so I'm jazzed about this new pattern store because it's a step in this direction.

Thing #2 :
This is perhaps loosely linked to thing #1 because it is sewn and it is a unique design and I may write up the pattern and offer it for sale over the intewebs, but it's also a totally separate thing so I'm giving it its own heading. That's a lot of build-up for this:
I altered the standard way I make my Patches Camera Straps based on a customer's requests and I think her suggestions are brilliant. She wanted a strap that could be worn across the hips as well as around the neck. That was simple enough to accommodate, but it was her other specifications that I've fallen in love with.
  She also wanted a pocket in the strap to hold the lens cap. Wow, so simple, yet really handy. If I'm shooting pictures and wearing something without pockets, I honestly don't know what to do with my lens cap.
 And she asked for a couple of pockets on the strap to hold extra memory cards. I love these additions.
To accommodate the lens cap I did make the strap 1/2" wider and had to redesign the end pieces that connect to the adjustable straps. I also lengthened the adjustable part of the strap to 18" so she can wear the camera as she chooses. All in all, I think these are terrific modifications and I can't wait to make one for myself...strictly for testing purposes of course.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not Quite Done

...with reflecting on 2010.
But, before I go back, I've got to go forward and announce the winners of the giveaway:
DianeY said...
Really nice-love the colors you used!


bekki said...I love your work, your quilts look soo simpel but very beautiful

If you two will please email me at I'll get your PDFs over to you faster than Al Gore can re-invent the internet.

Now back to the past. It dawned on me the other day that if I had to pick one motif or shape that defined 2010 for me it would be the hexagon. My passion for this six-sided cutie probably started back in 2009 when I started re-purposing blocks from an old Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt into pillow tops. Then I discovered Y piecing and the world of machine sewing hexagons opened up for me. My new book includes two hexagon based quilts and a pillow sham that features a hexagon flower in the center. Add to that the supersized hexagon quilt I designed for Quilt Scene magazine and you've got a lot of hexagon action in my life.
To quote my mother, " The more things change, the more they stay the same," (I know she's not the first to say that, but let's credit that quote to her anyway) it looks like I'm not done with hexagons in 2011.
Looks like my first FO of 2011 includes hexagons.
 The center block is actually something I created for my Open Studios event at Quilt Festival. It sat around for a couple months before I decided that I didn't just want to admire at the bottom of a stack, but that I wanted to make something with it.

So, I bordered it with a solid in cotton in a pale gray, quilted it in concentric circles from the center out and backed it with this super graphic print I bought at festival.
 I think my favorite thing about this particular hexagon interpretation is the complexity that all the different prints give the block. I don't think such a variety of prints would work though if the palette wasn't limited to basically two colors, orange and gray.
The block itself is the same block I designed for the Modern Baby Quilt in my book with a bit of a twist in that I divided the center hexagon into six equal triangles and string pieced them.
I can definitely see a quilt top made this way. Who knows? Maybe 2011 will be as six-sided as 2010 was.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Wedding Quilt for Joseph and Annie

Despite the fact that it's 9:30 in the morning here in CST, my new pattern is ready for prime time. I posted a few teasers about it back in November, but today I'm ready to release the pattern as well as post additional pictures.
First, some information about the quilt and pattern. I'm calling this A Wedding Quilt for Joseph and Annie partly because the design was inspired by an amazing creative couple, Joseph and Annie Albers, pioneers in post World War II design and painting and partly because at 69" x 69", it's a perfect size to cuddle under. Though I've read a lot about Joseph and Annie Albers, I can't attest to how much cuddling they did, but I'm all for encouraging that.  
The pattern is fully illustrated and includes something that may be unique to quilt patterns. I actually thought of it because I'm a knitter. It struck me that all knitting patterns include information about the yarn used in the sample. This is included despite the fact that gauge is listed as well. I think the assumption is, and it's often correct, that a lot of knitters might want to use that exact yarn, maybe even in the same color, so they'd like to know what to buy. Listing exactly what fabrics were used in a given quilt might not always be practical, especially with a quilt that has lots of different fabrics or focuses on scraps, but in this design, where the sample was made entirely out of Kona cottons, listing the specific colors based on the Kona color card seemed like a handy addition.
 Obviously, you can use these colors or not. That's still up to you, but I thought you might want the information and it was simple enough to include, so there you have it.
I'll probably work up a second sample in a totally different color palette because this simple design really lends itself to playing with color.
I'm also offering two different purchase options. You can go to my Etsy store and purchase it there or click on this cute little button in the right-hand sidebar and that will take you directly to Paypal.
Also, because I'm super excited about this pattern, I'm giving away two copies of the pattern to a couple of lovely readers. So, if you'd like to roll the dice on that and see if you're one of the lucky winners, leave a comment and I'll select a pair of winners. I'll take comments through Tuesday at 8:00pm CST and announce the winner on Wednesday.

See you then!