A boulder, a book, and a few other things…

Just south of town there’s a giant spray-painted boulder referred to locally as “Blue Rock”, “Graffiti Rock”, or simply “the Rock.” It’s the unofficial billboard for the masses: team cheers, memorials, prom proposals…You name it, this boulder announces it to the world and has been doing it since at least 1966!

rock3

So, what does this boulder have to do with quilting? Well, it’s a stretch but it’s a great analogy of life, my life and the boulder of life I’ve been living under for the last 4-5 months. Sometimes you’re on top of the boulder of life, sometimes you feel like you’re underneath it! And I think if I were to connect the boulder with quilting, it would be that sometimes we have a great amount of creative energy and mental space to create, and sometimes we just don’t. And that’s o.k. Some may ask, Tonya, where have you been? What are you working on? Why aren’t you posting three times a day on social media? Your last blog post was in OCTOBER!

Well, my personal boulder would have several things written on it over the last few months and it would say something like this:

Sell house #1, buy house #2, pack house #1, move to house #2, sell a house #3, pack house #3, move house #3 across 3 states to join house #1 at house #3, break out in shingles, survive the holidays,  and sadly say goodbye to puppy #1 after almost 14 years as a member of our family.

Now as complicated and stressful (at least to me!) as all of that sounds, there’s LOTS of good in all of that, with the exception of losing the puppy. It just took a few months of focus, or should I say, distraction, to get there.

Sugar-Shack-by-Tonya-Alexander

Sugar Shack, by Tonya Alexander

I’m happy to say I made it through the muddle, life is returning to a better balance, and we’re in a beautiful home, including a dedicated sewing space! Yeah! While I’ve been under my own personal boulder, a new book came out that included one of my favorite projects, Sugar Shack. (See, I did finally bring it back around to quilting!) And with all of my house-related drama lately, it seems pretty perfect!

Martingale just released a big, beautiful new book of lap quilts and it’s called, you guessed it,  The Big Book of Lap Quilts. Sugar Shack is making it’s second appearance, first being featured in another Martingale title called I Love House Blocks as part of their popular Block-buster series.

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Sugar Shack is a project perfect for fat quarters and uses some easy half square triangle piecing for the roof line making it a quick and easy project. So if lap quilts are your thing – they are one of mine – then you’ll want to check it out. You can visit my shop page or ask for it at your favorite local quilt shop, they’ll be glad you did!

Other fun things are happening, visiting quilt guilds, teaching workshops and classes, and even finding a little time to sew with friends. More about all of that another time. But for now I think I will close with one more pic of the BEST. DOG. EVER. We miss you, our beautiful Seamus. Thank you for being a such a beloved part of our family. You were a blessing and made our lives full of unconditional doxie-love that is hard to imagine ever replacing…

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Until next time, happy scrap quilting my friends – on top of all of the boulders of life!

Tonya

Pressed Leaves…Homeward

Making a pattern more than once? A rarity for me – but not this one! I’ve made so many of these table runners from my pattern “Pressed Leaves” I’ve lost count! It features a traditional leaf block in a not-so-traditional setting. It’s pretty quick and easy and looks great in every color combo of fabrics I’ve seen. And the perfect project to get you in the mood for Fall!20180804_0936351274309439.jpgThis time though, I had the pleasure of using a beautiful new fabric line by Natalie Barnes from Beyond the Reef Patterns for Windham Fabrics called Homeward. When I saw the beautiful mix of bold, saturated color and low volume prints, I knew my next “Pressed Leaves ” runner was on its way! The fabric line includes a great range based on a beautiful floral focal print…20180804_2043321664419046.jpgI chose to mix up several of the low volume white/gray/black prints in the line for my background. The leaf blocks practically made themselves I had so many great combinations of prints to pick from. From the looks of this photo, I need to clean my design wall!I added my go-to favorite quilting on this project – an echo quilted wavy line using the walking foot on my domestic machine. Choosing scrappy binding from all the bits leftover means you don’t have to pick just one! There are so many great choices in this line and it will look great on my dining room table.Thank you Natalie and Windham Fabrics for a beautiful line! Look for Homeward as well as my pattern “Pressed Leaves” at your favorite local quilt shop!Happy fall quilting,

Tonya

 

 

 

Time for a little String Theory!

And yes, we’re talking science – SCRAP SCIENCE that is! One of my favorite subjects to be sure. The longer I quilt one thing has proven to be true – the scraps keep multiplying and they keep getting smaller! I have been on a solid year full of string quilts – strings for me being skinny 1 1/2″ cut strips of fabrics. The result is my latest project – the String Theory Lab Manual and I’m thrilled to share it with you!LMS_String Theory Covers

String Theory includes patterns for 6 different projects, all featuring these skinny strips of fabric. It’s amazing what you can do with all of these lovely little bits. We also talk a lot about low volume fabrics, storage ideas, and general construction tips and tricks. For me, it all started with this project, Rock Star…

Rock Star

This one also includes the optional project for the Big String Star that I teach in workshops and has been so much fun. On to the next project, Calliope!

Calliope
Calliope

Calliope is my version of a traditional plus quilt on scrappy string steroids! What makes this quilt work visually with all the different fabric scraps is the technique of color-blocking and I talk a lot more about that in the book. Next up, Domino, a curvy log cabin table runner. There are actually two version in String Theory but here’s version #1…

Domino1
Domino

And Ombré Loco, for serious scrap enthusiasts with a bucket of favorite color scraps over-flowing. The best thing about this project is how it can be adapted for ANY favorite color out there!

Ombre-Loco
Ombre Loco

Next up, Exit Stage Left!

Exit-Stage-Left
Exit Stage Left

And last but certainly not least, Simple Gifts, a quick and easy table topper that can be personalized for any favorite holiday colors.

simple-gifts
Simple Gifts

One more for good measure, is this Simple Gifts alternative, these cute little throw pillows. I couldn’t resist! How can you ever have too many throw pillows? Especially when they’re this cute!

Simple Gifts alternate project – pillows!

O.k., here are the details…look for String Theory at your favorite local quilt shop or ask them to get it! They can order wholesale directly from me or through the following awesome distributors: Checker, EESchenck, Brewer Sewing, and Petersen Arne.

Or, you can order directly from my new shop page ! You can also check out my other latest patterns available now too. More about those later. I think that’s as much scrap happiness as we can handle in one post for now!

Happy string quilting,

Tonya