Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New pattern and a shop hop

So here's what I've been working on lately, a new pattern. Not for a magazine this time, just for retail sale in shops. Of course, I'm flying by the seat of my pants again so I'm never quite sure how these things are going to turn out. Producing a pattern is so much more work than I ever think it's going to be. Writing, editing, photography, graphic design, the list goes on and on. And that's without sewing a single stitch! But, I'm giving it another go. So this is Cavanaugh Crossroads...
Some of you in my neck of the woods may recognize the name. I started working on this during a retreat out at Lake Cavanaugh with friends not too long ago. The block itself is from a traditional block design from early last century called Crossroads. Nothing too clever - just putting the two together and I decided I liked the name, so there you have it!

Here are a couple of test blocks we did in alternate colorways. You know how much I love my Kaffes! I was playing with the photo editor app on my phone, inverted the colors, and decided I had to make it in Kaffe reds with a black background. The center is Moda Grunge Basics "Decadent". Not for the faint-hearted! Reminds me of flames! My lovely friend Verna made a test block in batiks, soft blue/greens with a melon center which turned out great (but I can't download the pic for - sorry!) Batiks are always a winner. She made one in 30's too - I love it. (That one I managed!)
Done in Kaffe Fassett's red "Lotus Leaf" fabric.
Super sweet in Verna's 30's too

The pattern, as shown on the cover, finishes at 54" x 54", a nice throw or baby quilt size. The blocks are BIG, 18"! The pattern also include size options for twin, queen and king size. I rate this as a beginner/easy pattern. A half square triangle is the about as tricky as this one gets, and you even make two at a time.

Availability is limited at the moment. I rushed this one into production so it could be available during the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop, June 24-28. You can find the pattern at Fabric-Etc. in Bellingham. The original quilt top will be there on display, too. If you're not in the area, you can contact Carol and the crew to order. Shop owners and distributors - if you're out there! - feel free to email me directly and I'll hook you up!

Happy summer quilting,


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Look, look! A book, MY book!

Wow, I thought this day would never come! I am so excited to share this great news with everyone. If you were wondering what the heck I've been doing with all my free time, this is it!  I have my first book coming out with Martingale Publishing in October 2015. And here it is!

Many of you know that I have been a quilter for quite some time and have had a lot of fun publishing my quilts in various magazines over the last couple of years. I started to look at my projects in a different light and thought, hey! I might have something here! So I took the plunge, wrote up a submission proposal, sent it in and that's it. No, not at all actually! It takes a lot of w-o-r-k! But what they say is true, if you really love what you are doing it shouldn't feel like work at all and I love to quilt. Write, proof, edit, and edit some more, maybe not so much, but I'm ready for the real fun to begin!
Truly, I can't believe it myself. It has been such a great learning experience so far. I have been working with a great group of professionals at Martingale and I won't lie, it is really cool! The first time I saw the cover concept they came up with, I could hardly breathe!
So, as this project is coming closer and closer to it's official birthday on October 15, 2015, I'm looking forward to giving you some more sneak peeks at all the goodies inside! But for now, join me in a big yippee and let's go sew something!
Happy Quilting,

Friday, June 5, 2015

Quilting with friends

"What the heck do you do on a quilt retreat?" That's just like asking a fisherman, "what do you do on a fishing trip?" but the question seems to come up every time I tell a non-quilter I'm heading off on a quilt retreat, which I try to do a couple of times a year, or even a sewing day with friends. I guess it's hard to imagine doing something all day long if you've never done it before, but if it's your passion and what you love to do, it's not hard at all.

Our view out of the "cabin" - it's rough but someone has to do it.

The 12-hour sashing project that I was working on. One of many...
So if you've yet to take off with some other crazy quilting friends on a quilt retreat, let me share with you some of the basic required components:

1. Friends - old friends, new friends, crazy friends, doesn't matter - as long as they are equally addicted to quilting as you are.
2. Food - good food, junk food, no shortage of food. Quilting takes lots of sustained energy!
3. Projects - more than any one person can possibly complete in 72 hours, but you definitely want options. Especially if your location is not located near a quilt shop!

With the possible addition of a few adult beverages, a beautiful location and no internet/phone connection, you have everything you need for a really good time. I have to admit besides quilting, everything I know about menopause, breast cancer, cheating husbands, and quilt divas, I've learned while on a quilting retreat! Scary and hilarious at the same time :)

Retreats are great for being able to focus time and energy on a project. Friends give great feedback, suggestions and much needed encouragement. Where would we all be without those very important things in our lives - quilting or otherwise?

So if a quilt retreat is in your future, plan your projects, pack everything but the kitchen sink, and get ready for a good time - it's waiting for you.

Happy quilting,


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Thank you Quilters Anonymous!

For those of you that may be in my neck of the woods, I hope you take the opportunity to check out the Quilters Anonymous Show in Monroe, WA every year in March. It's a nice, big regional show with a good sampling of just about everything from art quilts to hand quilting and everything in between. This year was no exception and I always enjoy walking through this really well-planned show. It's definitely a testament to the hard work and experience of QA's 500+ members that have been putting on this show for over 30 years.

A few of the lovely things that caught my eye...

Several of these stripe block quilts that were the product of a group block exchange...perfect border treatment of these fun stripe blocks
Beautiful Minnick & Simpson, "St. Germain" by Nanci Villareale

very fun! "Happy Birthday to Me" by Dianna Park
click to enlarge so you can see the beautiful hand quilting on this one! "Rosey of Sharon" by Donna Eines
 One reason I like this show is because I can always see some quilts in person from one of my favorite on-line quilters, LeeAnn at Nifty Quilts. I love her work and always enjoy seeing the quilts I have enjoyed on her blog in real life.
Nifty's "Pine Burr"

Scrappy courthouse steps by Nifty, "Hourglass"
I'll finish up with this one, a great use of holiday fabrics!

"Pineapple Christmas" by Patsy Hayes
Of course these are just the tip of the ice berg. There were over 500 quilts in the show, not to mention a great collection of vendors. So if you've never been, mark your calendars for next year - March 11-13, 2016!

Happy stitching,


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baby Bang Take 2

Here we go again. I told myself after I finished one of these 45 degree diamond quilts a few years ago I was never making one again.  The original one I saw was Kaffe Fassett's "Big Bang". I fell in love with it in Kaffe Fassett's Caravan of Quilts and I think you can also find it in Kaffe Quilts Again. Kaffe's version was 95" x 95", and of course, all beautiful Rowan fabrics. While you know how I love my Kaffe's, this time I went with French Country-feeling fabrics I had in my stash and wanted to use. By the time I got out to this size (about 45"x45") I was done with diamonds and bias edges, called it quilts and redubbed mine "Baby Bang".

My first attempt at "Big Bang".
It's currently on display at my university library as part of a Mathematics in Creative Arts exhibit based on the book: Crafting by Concepts: Fiber Arts and Mathematics. I wish I could claim my quilt took all kinds of crazy mathematic calculations and mind bending, but no. Just a single block - the 45 degree diamond, and a few of its friends :)

Makes this simple quilt sound kind of smart, doesn't it?

Also in the exhibit, not your everyday origami! 

There it is under all of that other really cool stuff!

Recently, I was on the hunt for some science-looking fabric, and when I found these I knew instantly what quilt they had to go in - Baby Bang Take 2! These lovelies were found at one of my favorite local quilt shops, Two Thimbles. A mix of fabric lines: three from Atomic Garden by StudioE fabrics, Fruit Stand by Jane Farnham for Camelot Fabrics, and Lucky Penny by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

There is no fancy technique used in the piecing of this quilt. It's just joining 45 degree diamonds - one at a time into rows, rows into eighths, and finally joining the eight sections into one. Here's the new version in progress, two eighths laid out on my design wall:

Slow and steady is the key to this one - and touching the diamonds as little as possible! It can be maddening. I swear if I even look at one of those diamonds sideways, it stretches and distorts. Well, wish me luck! If and when I finished it, it will have a new home on my office wall.

Happy stitching,


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year, new things

Ringing in a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to try something new! Fortunately for me, I had just the opportunity. My good friend and very talented long-arm quilter, Nikki Crisp, recently renovated a former chicken barn on her property into a fantastic long-arm studio and work space, newly christened as The Hen House. Along with work space rentals to groups and professional long-arm services, she teaches long-arm quilting classes. Since I don't have the funds, space or inclination to buy my own long-arm machine any time soon, I was excited about the opportunity to take a class and try it out.
A little Hen House-warming gift.

I wish I had some "before" shots for you of the barn building, but to say this place has undergone a major renovation is an understatement! It's beautiful, full of great work space, bright light, a comfy kitchen area and two A-1 long-arm machines.

A-1 machines, one is Nikki's regular machine, and one she uses for rentals.

Lots of fun, functional work space filled with light.

Cutting and ironing stations, design wall, kitchen, and the cutest little red fireplace ever - I'll have to go back for a picture of that!

Now, besides basting one or two quilts on my other friend Tracey's A-1 previously, my long-arm skills should be classified absolute beginner, but it is sure was fun. During my three hour class, I got to try a whole bunch of techniques and designs and had a lot of fun playing along the way. Best of all, Nikki did all of the hard labor, loading and dealing with all of the mechanical stuff. I just got to spend my time playing!

I'm sure not ready to trade in my day job any time soon, but I think it's great to continue to try new things and grow. At the very least, you will come to appreciate even more, the talent and SKILL of your professional long-arm quilter.

Action shot - look at that concentration! :) I was having fun, honest!

Nikki is pretty old school, so if you live in the area and want to find out more about the Hen House or schedule a class or rental, you can email Nikki or give her a call at 360-319-2914.

Happy stitching,


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Colors of the season

I am such a sucker for a beautiful variegated yarn. Looking at the stack of Kaffe fabric in my stash, you will certainly understand why I couldn't leave the store without this yarn. Don't worry, I only get the urge to crochet about once every three years so when the mood strikes, I have to jump on it! This won't be turning into a crochet blog any time soon.

I started off telling myself I would just make a scarf. Then, if it went well I could change the plan. I'm not know for restraint, so now I'm on the third skein and about halfway to an afghan! It's warm and cozy though, even though it is slowing down my progress on the star quilt.
Yarn impulse-buy with afghan in progress on scrappy maple leaves runner.

Just an update - applique star count is at 26...almost halfway there!

And in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle of the season, I was gifted these lovelies from a friend :) with a little help from Carol at Fabric-Etc. Thank you Tracey!

For all of you elves out there still diligently working away - happy eve of the eve and a Merry Christmas to everyone else! Hope Santa brings you some quilty goodness in your stocking!

Happy stitching,