Wohoo! I’m celebrating! I attended Spring Quilt Market in Portland last week (industry trade show) and had my own vendor booth for the first time and WOW! So much work, such a big learning curve, but so much FUN!
First of all, no one does this kind of thing alone and I had all kinds of great help – from product production, graphic design, long-arm quilting, hauling, set-up, booth coverage, experienced neighboring vendors, tear-down, and even pizza and ice cream consumption. Most importantly amazingly encouraging friends and family – I had all kinds of help along the way and I’m so grateful.
I hardly had a chance to leave my own booth and walk the show floor. But I’ll share what I can! Picture heavy but here are some glimpses of my week…
the view down my aisle before the show floor opened…
click on any of the images for a closer look…
and then there was a fun open-house shopping event at EE Schenck (an industry distributor) at their facility in Portland…and look what was on their shelves!
I met so many great shop owners, industry professionals, quilt lovers all. There’s probably no better way to summarize my week than with this display from RJR Fabrics. This is what it’s all about…
One of the things I love about quilting is the variety and creativity in the medium. While I love my scrap quilts, it’s also fun to try new things, stretch and grow, too. I had the opportunity recently to take a silk fabric painting class with Janet Lehwalder and it was so fun! So different than anything I had tried or imagined either – and sometimes that’s the best part of taking a class!
So, if pressed to describe painting on silk fabric, I’d say it’s kind of like watercolor painting crossed with Easter egg dying. The process is so easy Janet even teaches elementary school students the technique – so I knew there was hope for me!
Janet’s knowledge and experience is so deep. She’s such a great example of someone finding the art form that speaks to them and making it a lifelong passion. Not only was it a class on a new technique and medium but also a great exercise in color mixing and using the true primaries – yellow, magenta, and cyan – to make all the colors we used.
There’re a lot of steps and I wouldn’t begin to attempt a tutorial here – more like an exploratory look 🙂 so here are some pics of the process…
Here’re some of my classmates’ works in progress and one of Janet’s completed projects with beautiful bead embellishments.
I tried a traced design with a resist medium and then adding the paint and then one free-hand all-over design on a silk fat quarter. Supposedly, you can even cut it up and quilt with it when you are done, but I can tell you I love it too much already to ever cut into this baby!
So, check out Janet’s work, take her classes if you have the opportunity and try something new! You will enjoy the process, add a new skill to your arsenal, and leave with a beautiful piece of hand-painted silk.
“Class Full.” Those are delightful words for a teacher offering a class – a bummer if you were trying to get into the class too late! Do you take classes at your local quilt shop, at conferences, or with your guild? Classes can be so much more than learning a specific technique or quilt pattern. As a teacher and as a student myself, here’s what I love about them:
shared passion, excitement for our craft and truly the art of quilting
support and encouragement from other quilters
idea overload – in a good way!
a different perspective
learning a new project, the actual content of the class itself…
I wanted to share some student projects from some recent Big String Star classes I’ve taught. It’s a class based on this larger project, Rock Star – scaled down to wall-hanging size.
So much fun…
Aren’t those student projects beautiful?! Creativity has no bounds and I love that and am so inspired by them. The one thing I would add to my list of favorite things about classes is this:
There is nothing more satisfying for a teacher than to see their students’ unique and creative projects come to life!
So take a class, meet new friends, learn a technique, and most of all, HAVE FUN!
Oh my, oh my, oh my! I feel like my hair’s on fire! I’m getting ready for Spring Quilt Market which will be in May in Portland, Oregon. (Quilt Market is the industry trade show for designers, publishers, fabric companies, etc. to introduce their products to shop owners and retailers.) So exciting, but no small amount of work, I will admit!
I’ve been to market once before but this is the first time I’m going as a vendor and will have my own display booth. While I’d like to say I’m busy sewing, that is only one small part of the process of bringing a product to market. There’s a whole lot of computer time put in before then! One of the exciting mile posts for me is seeing the products coming together and the cover reveal! So I want to share with you my pet project for Spring…..String Theory!
So this is the draft cover, there are still some tweaks being made but it’s still pretty freaking exciting to me! I’ll share more sneak peeks of the projects inside soon but honestly, I just couldn’t wait any longer to share with you 🙂
The arrival of Spring is fast approaching and this weekend we get to spring ahead and reset our clocks to take advantage of more beautiful spring sunshine! Sounds like a great time for a scrappy spring table top project – like my recent “Spring Strings!”
My friend, Creative Director of PQ and fellow-Martingale author, Jeni Gaston likes to remind me that primitive is not a color – it’s a style and feeling that can work with many different color palettes – which is encouraging for me because I love bright, saturated colors. For this project I pulled together some of my favorite wool fabrics in blue, green, and magenta. I layered them on a scrappy background of low-volume scrap strips – or strings – and the combination was so fun!
A quick and easy blanket stitch around the wool applique shapes is a hallmark of primitive style and it made this project relaxing and fun to do. So, pull out your bucket of scrap strips, pick out some fun wool in your favorite spring colors, and enjoy making your own version of Spring Strings!
Have you ever come across a quilt top flimsy in a thrift shop and walked by thinking some poor quilter passed away and her family gave all of her unfinished projects away to the thrift shop?! The nightmare of all quilters with UFO’s – including me! I will admit, I have more than once. Now I find the shoe on the other foot – not as the quilter, but as the designer. One of my own projects was recently found – and thankfully rescued!
So, quilter Beth emailed me after she came across this in her local thrift shop…
A lovely Dresden plate project that reminded her of something very familiar to her…maybe this?
The one on the black background is my project “Kaffe’s Garden at Night” from Stash Lab. And here’s what I’m thinking of as the daytime version that quilter Beth found…
There is some beautiful work done there. Now, my heart cannot let my head believe that the quilter who started this lovely project gave it away in frustration – not at this point! Surely it was snatched from her work shelf when she was no longer there to protect it. Quilter Beth rescued the project, took it home, and made her own additions and now the project is complete.
I think it turned out amazing and I’m sure wherever the original quilter is now, she would be proud! I love that folks take my projects and change them to make them unique and make them their own. I love it when a project turns out so beautifully and you can glimpse the spirit of the quilter. I love that this project found its new home with Beth! And we can all sleep better tonight knowing that there is one less orphan project languishing in the thrift shop shelf! Nicely done!
The new year brings new beginnings, resolutions, clearing out the old and in with the new, or in my sewing room, that means a new scrap project! If you’re looking for a scrap buster to feature your favorite color (or the color with the biggest pile of scraps!), you’ll want to check out my current project for American Patchwork & Quilting in the February 2018 issue. This is “Plaid to Meet You”!
I can’t take credit for the project name at all. The beautiful photo styling and editorial was done by the great folks at APQ. I was simply referring to this project as my version of Buffalo Plaid. I’m sure you know what buffalo plaid is even if you didn’t realize that’s what it was called – think red and black plaid on hunting shirts. That’s a buffalo plaid!
My version takes a bit of a twist in the color category. Sorting through my scrap strings (which I keep sorted by width and color family, my smallest being 1 1/2″ wide), I came up with a big pile of grays left over from another project. (Can you guess which one?) What to do with them? Here were some of my auditioning fabric pulls I was considering before I landed on the final purple/gray combo.
Now, even thought the Kaffe Fassett purple/teal Spiral Shells fabric on the left didn’t make it in the final version, it definitely helped me pull together thoughts about the quilt. Sometimes it’s like that, you think something will be there and then further down the line, it gets edited out. In this case when it came time to pick the main purple and gray off-set square fabrics and border, the shell fabric came out.
My stash of scrap strings was pretty light on purples so I spent time scavenging the scrap table at my guild meetings and in friends’ sewing rooms to come up with enough to reach my scrappy vision. Long after the decisions were made, the sewing was complete, and the quilt shipped off to APQ, Pantone came out with their color of the year predictions – yep, you guessed it – ultra violet! Purely coincidence, I guarantee it.
Here’s a shot of the big spiral quilting in progress using the walking foot on my domestic machine…and yes, the backing is a beautiful modern toile by Jennifer Sampou called Black & White Scenic Onyx for Kaufman Fabrics. I’ve been hording it for just the right project! You can also see the two main purple and gray fabrics I used for the squares alternating between the grid blocks, Kaffe’s Guinea Flower (purple) and Kaffe’s Ferns (gray) from Free Spirit.
This project would be so easy to adapt to your own favorite color-way. Basically gray + pick your color. Or change up the gray to a different neutral. How about taupe? black? white?
So whether you are wanting to clear out some scraps for the new year or love your scraps all year long, I hope you’ll enjoy making your own version of “Plaid to Meet You”!
Can you hear the calliope music playing in the background when you look at this quilt? I can! That’s what inspired the name, that and the bright cheery colors that make up my scrappy string version of a plus quilt.
I dove into the scrap bin and sorted a bunch of scrap strips of various lengths, all cut 1 1/2″ wide into color groups – pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, and white (low volume). These I joined into strip sets to cut my blocks. Instead of the pluses being constructed of a single fabric each as they would be in a traditional setting, I used my strip set blocks. Scrap burner for sure!
Now, for the plus design to come through you have to pay attention to block placement to let the colors work together to make the secondary design. I like to use good old fashioned graph paper for this step. Then it’s time to lay out the blocks. A design wall works great.
The beauty of a project like this to me is that the overall design is so much more than any of the individual scraps on their own – they are so much more effective together.
And one more closeup of the beautiful quilting by Tracey while I was attaching the binding. She matched the thread color to each plus, adding great texture while helping define the identity of each plus. Perfect.
You can find Calliope and other fun patterns in the current Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Modern Patchwork.
***this is a re-post from last month, I just had it in the wrong place on WP, so putting up again to get it in the blog queue! ~ta
Wohoo! Time for a trip down the magazine aisle to hunt up some more copies of the new issue of Quilts and More magazine, Fall 2017. It was just released and it features my project “Look Both Ways”. I’m super excited to share more about it with you. Do you have some low volume scrap strips laying around your sewing room? Perfect! Pull them out, this may be just the project.
When you first look at this quilt do you see the white arrows or the gray arrows? Did you notice there were both at first? Our eyes play funny tricks on us. At first, I naturally see the white I think because they follow the direction of the orange arrows but once I focus on the gray ones going the opposite direction, that’s all I can see!
This project features 1 1/2″ wide scrap strips sewn into strip sets. To achieve the contrast between the white and gray arrows, it’s important to be selective when sorting your scraps. I tried to be pretty strict about white backgrounds on all the fabrics in the white arrows. With the gray scraps I was more willing to include a wider variety of tones, as long as they were gray (but don’t be afraid of little pops of color!) You can choose to mix your scraps up a bit more but your arrows may not be as prominent.
The orange row was my favorite scrap dive into the bins. I had fun picking them all out and many friends contributed their scraps as well so I had a great selection. I highly recommend scrap sharing with friends! Once I had enough orange strips, I arranged them all lightest to darkest and made multiple strip sets to achieve the light to dark affect across the quilt. Not a fan of orange or making it for a special baby with a differently themed nursery? (It’s a great size for that, by the way…) Pick your favorite. Any color will work well with the white and gray.
I had fun with the quilting on this one, borrowing a friend’s long-arm machine and getting some great tips from my two favorite long-arm professionals, Nikki and Tracey. Squiggles in the gray arrows and a squared off meandering loop in the white and orange with matching thread.
and one more quilt-in-the-wild shot just for fun!
So that’s all for now. I have some more projects coming out soon so I’ll be sure to share. That and a new website!!! It’s my big summer project…stay tuned (and wish me luck!), it’s quite a stretch for me 🙂 Until then…
Oh, how I love string quilts. Well, what I really love are all of the fabulous scraps strips that go into them. Little bits of odds and ends that come together to create something better than they would have ever been on their own. Here’s one of my latest, Rock Star!
I’m so happy to share that it is currently gracing the pages of the October 2017 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It’s a great scrap issue and I absolutely love the feature shot of my quilt. I wish that it was in my own house…
Once again, I find myself trying to find my own quilt-voice in the convergence zone of modern and traditional design that I often find myself drawn into. I think the modern elements of this project are the alternate grid work, exaggerated scale of a traditional block design, and use of negative space. Mix that with a traditional concept of scrap string quilts and this is where I landed!
Here’s a close up of the beautiful quilting done once again by Tracey. I really enjoy seeing how her creativity and talent adds to my projects to make them complete.
So if you don’t already have a copy of the October 2017 issue, get it while you can! Save up those scraps and make something you love.