The Signs are Out There: Amish Quilts Redux + A Book Giveaway!

 

Quilt-J:  Ocean Waves from Amish & Urban Myra Harder
Ocean Waves from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder, Martingale & Company/That Patchwork Place, 2014

giveaway2It’s inevitable really, the road to learning the quilting craft always passes through Amish Country at some point. While modern quilters may point to the Gee’s Bend quilt exhibition as a clarion call to explore quilt making, Amish quilts also cast their lure with minimal design layouts and vibrant coloration.

I’m seeing a trend here. In the space of a few hours last week, I heard about a challenge issued by  the San Jose Quilt & Textile Museum to several of the modern quilt guilds in the San Francisco Bay Area called  Amish:  The Modern Muse; an  exhibit of antique Ohio Amish quilts from the Darwin Bearley Collection set to open at that same museum in mid-November, AND, a new release from Martingale & Company/That Patchwork Place called Urban and Amish:  Classic Quilts and Modern Updates by Myra Harder. You don’t have to be a seer to note the signs:  Modern Amish is on its way! (Although, there’s always been a timeless modernity about the spare and bold quilts of the Amish.)

Urban and Amish Embraces a Hallowed Tradition and a Modern Aesthetic

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Author of Urban and Amish, Myra Harder, comes by her love of Amish quilt making from childhood exposure to the Amish community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Myra’s Canadian parents moved the family to Lancaster County and lived there for several years before heading back north. The time spent in that rural fastness had a strong impact: Myra’s mother learned quilt making from the Amish women and Myra spent many hours playing with Amish children and learning about their mode of life. Later, when Myra took up quilting, it was an Amish Pineapple quilt displayed in a Lancaster, PA shop that set her on her quilting journey. Myra is a twenty-year veteran of the textiles and quilting industries and attributes her fascination to an ancestral calling “to the cloth,” so to speak, as her family traces its roots to Moravian cloth traders in early colonial history.

Quilt-J: Amish Center Diamond Urban and Amish Myra Harder
Duet partners: Amish Center Diamond from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder
Quilt-J:  Lightening Strike Urban and Amish Myra Harder
Duet partners: Lightning Strike from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder

Urban and Amish brings together two of Myra’s abiding interests: the Amish quilting aesthetic and the modernist trend in contemporary quilt making.  Her tactic is to juxtapose them in 8 duets of quilts: one faithful to Amish tenets of quilt design, and the other, a modern riff on the theme block. The result is 16 quilt projects that can be tackled by all skill levels. The challenge, of course, is in the execution which is something she addresses in her book:  color palettes, print or solids, scale of design, deconstructing blocks. It was interesting to learn that Amish color schemes are specific to each community–Lancaster County quilts do not use black as the darkest hue, navy is the preferred color. (That’s a factoid I’ll store for future use!)

Quilt-J: Amish Bars from Urban and Amish Myra Harder
Duet partners: Amish Bars from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder
Quilt-J:  Horizon Line from Amish & Urban Myra Harder
Duet partners: Horizon Line from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder

Myra Harder’s Urban and Amish is available now through Martingale & Company. Visit the publisher’s website for additional information about the book and author. Ah, don’t neglect to scroll to the bottom for giveaway details–you could win an Urban and Amish eBook from Martingale!

Quilt-J:  Trip Around the World from Urban and Amish Myra Harder
Duet partners: Trip Around the World from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder
Quilt-J:  Trip to NY fromUrban and Amish Myra Harder
Duet partners: Trip to New York from Urban and Amish by Myra Harder

Antique Ohio Amish Quilts from the Darwin Bearley Collection, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Staring November 15, 2014, and running through March 1, 2015, the quilt museum in San Jose, California will host an exhibition of more than 40 quilts from the Bearley collection. The quilts range from doll to bed-sized and cover a timeline from 1880 to 1940. The provenance of each quilt is fully documented with the story of the maker, recipient, and the dealer(s) who found the quilts.

Amish:  The Modern Muse at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

To coordinate with the exhibition, the museum issued a challenge to Bay Area modern quilt guilds–East Bay Modern, Bay Area Modern, and South Bay Area Modern–to interpret the Amish style in a modernest vein. The juried exhibition will run concurrently with the Antique Ohio Amish Quilt show. Quilt artist Joe Cunningham will select the quilts that best represent a 21st century interpretation of traditional Amish quilt making. Of course, our resident modernist and guild member, Pati Fried, has a challenge contribution and she’s giving us a peek!

Quilt-J:  Detail of Pati Fried's Amish style quilt

Giveaway Details Here!

Martingale & Company has kindly offered an eBook version of Urban and Amish for a lucky winner. Leave me a comment by Monday, October 13 and I’ll announce the winner in the Tuesday post on the 14th. Here’s your question:  Why the hoopla, aren’t Amish quilts already modern?

Later gators, gotta go make another quilt–modern, but not Amish . . .

Jennifer Signature

 

 

 

Lisa Fulmer’s Craft Your Stash Today at SHWS + 2 Giveaways!

cover shadow
We are thrilled to participate in Lisa Fulmer’s  Craft Your Stash Book Tour and Giveaway!
The term “stash” is quite familiar to any crafter, sewer, quilter, or scrapbooker. In fact, if you are true to your passion you probably have more stuff in that stash than any person could possibly use in one lifetime. We here at SHWS are always on the lookout for great stash-busting inspiration no matter the medium. Well look no more, our friend and crafter extraordinaire Lisa Fulmer has just released her book, Craft Your Stash. It is chockful of wonderful projects and inspiration to help you in using fabric, paper, stamps, stickers, buttons, bling, and so much more. So, don’t delay, order your copy today, you wont be disappointed. Lisa also provides suggestions how storing and organizing your stash.
Our SHWS Riff on Stash Busting
We tried our own stash-busting efforts and riffed on a couple of Lisa’s projects. Of course, we opted to use fabric because we have loads and loads of the stuff!
Jennifer:  I took on a variation of Lisa’s heart-themed door plaque, but I opted for a pair of doorknob hearts as I’ve been known to decorate my guest room door with a welcoming gift of a fabric heart. I think Lisa and I must be on the same wavelength with the idea of embellishing doors with hearts–it is, after all, an expression of loving welcome.
Lisa's hearts
I’ve got two special people I want to celebrate with a handmade gift and so I made a pair of hearts. If you’d like to bust your stash and make heart pillows, well, click the Pattern tab above and scroll to the Jack Sparrow Valentine pattern I posted there a couple years ago.
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 Project-J:  Lisa Fulmer inspiration--Jennifer's heart 1
 Laura:  I was inspired by the Mosaic Scrapbook project in Lisa’s book.

Lisa's book

My immediate thought was to make a toddler friendly Memory/Matching Game Board:  bright, colorful, and portable! I also took advantage of this opportunity to use chalkboard fabric for the cover of the game board.

Search through your stash for lots of cute kid -type images.
Search through your stash for cute kid-appealing images.
Hope this will entertain a little one on a long car ride.
Easy clean up too–just wipe the chalk markings off the fabric.

No blog hop would be complete without an enticing Giveaway opportunity–want to participate in Lisa’s the Craft Your Stash giveaway?

Go to Rafflecopter or Link to the Giveaway tab on Lisa Liza Lou Facebook Page for an opportunity to win a copy of Lisa’s book.
To purchase Craft Your Stash:
1. Signed copies for sale on Craftyourstash.com
2. Amazon 
3. Local craft and book stores

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Want the details for the other giveaway? We too have a copy of Craft Your Stash we’d love to share with our SHWS readers. Leave a comment by Monday, October 6 letting us know: are you or are you not a hoarder of crafty items and would Lisa’s book be a good intervention for your habit?

Do check out the other bloggers participating in the blog hop–here’s the talented lineup:

Click here for the schedule overview – and the direct links to each post will be updated below each day.

Craft Your Stash

 

 

Until next time, Happy Stash Busting Everyone!

Laura Signature

Lisa Fulmer – Crafter Extraordinaire & Author of “Craft Your Stash”

Lisa FulmerI met Lisa Fulmer of Lisa Liza Lou Designs through a mutual friend quite a few years back. “You have got to meet Lisa, you two have so much in common,” she told me.  We became Facebook friends long before we actually met, and I finally tracked the busy girl down at one of The Craft and Hobby Association shows to have a face-to-face meeting. I admire her tremendously. She is constantly astounding me, not only her creativity, but with her craft-industry knowledge and savvy social media skills. So, it is no surprise that she has a new book, Craft Your Stash. I attended a book release party last weekend for her fabulous book and took some photos of her always fun and imaginative creations.craft your stash book

Craft Your Stash 1

Craft Your Stash 4

Craft Your Stash 3

As I come from a graphic design background, I am always excited to see how artists use print materials to express their style. Let’s just say that Lisa totally rocks in this arena.

Craft Your Stash 2

Not only does she take full advantage of her crafty skills, she also adds personality to  her projects with her tools! Check out her playful round business cards made from a die cut machine–I want some of my own!!!

Craft Your Stash 5

Oh, and did I mention she is witty?

Hoard Your Stash

So now that I have introduced you to Lisa Fulmer, be sure to visit on Friday when we are a stop on the Craft Your Stash Book Tour !

Craft Your Stash Book Cover

See you soon,

Pati Signature

Gwen Marston Retrospective at See How We Sew + Giveaway Winner

Quilt-J: Gwen Marston Quilt Featured in Minimal Quiltmaking
“Turquoise” 41 x 45 inches, 2013, by Gwen Marston.

Hello dear readers! Gwen Marston is always a hit when we feature her at See How We Sew. Today we’ll take a look at more quilts from her latest AQS title, Minimal Quiltmaking, and revisit past posts about Gwen written by our blogging sister Darra. Gwen and Darra have been both friends and collaborators for years. In fact, Darra’s skilled editorial hand can be experienced in a number of Gwen’s quilting books. Keep scrolling to find the name of the lucky winner of Minimal Quiltmaking.

Throwback Posts

Darra gave us a peek into Gwen’s creative process back in February of this year in The Latest from that Amazing Quilter Gwen Marston.

And, before that in 2012, Working in a Series Gwen Marston and 37 Sketches.

 

Quilt-J:  Gwen Marston Quilt Featured in Minimal Quiltmaking
Minimal in Neutrals, 35 x 35 inches, 2012, by Gwen Marston

Giveaway Winner

And the winner is, Kathy in Florida–Congratulations! Many thanks to Gwen Marston for her continuing support of See How We Sew. Perhaps she’ll return for a visit soon?!? I hope so!

Final thoughts from Jennifer:  I’m taken by Gwen’s works of quilted art.  Can’t you just see these painting-sized quilts adorning the walls of a modern art museum? What if we started a grassroots movement to persuade our fine arts venues to open their galleries to our textile arts? Just a thought . . . we’ve got our Studio Art Quilters and any number of other art quilt groups. Time to come out of the shadows and into the limelight with the rest of the artsy crowd!

J-Signature

 

 

 

 

Gwen Marston Drops By to Share Minimal Quiltmaking (+ a Giveaway!)

We’ve got a special treat today at SHWS:  Gwen Marston is in the house! Yup, she’s going to review her latest and greatest quilting title, Minimal Quiltmaking. Sure, it’s unorthodox having an author write her own book review, but why not? She’s Gwen Marston and she’s super fabulous! Scroll to the end of the post for giveaway details–here’s a hint:  enter to win a copy of her new title.

Hello everyone! I’ve been invited to write a review of my new book Minimal Quiltmaking so let me say right upfront: it’s going to be very favorable!

Book-J:  Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston

It’s always a thrill when I get to see a just-off-the-press copy of my latest book for the first time. In the case of my most recent book, Minimal Quiltmaking (AQS Publishing, 2014), I couldn’t have been more pleased. Reviewers are calling it “beautiful” and I have to agree.

I’ve always been the “less is more” girl, preferring straightforward, uncluttered design so keeping it simple, aka minimal, is my natural default setting. This book includes both examples of my early minimal work and more recent pieces as well. It also includes the exciting work of twenty-two contemporary quilters (some are also quilt teachers) from across the country. I was so very pleased to be able to include their work in my book because it adds an indispensable flavor that makes it all the more tasty.

The book (95 pages, $24.95) has lots of full-page color pictures of the quilts and is packed with design and construction tips on how you can make your own original quilts without patterns using my “liberated”, intuitive, free-pieced methods. So, let me show you some of the quilts in my new book.

Discovering Lancaster Country Amish quilts in the early 80’s set me off on a virtual tangent of making quilts in that style as a way to understand the Amish sense of design and use of color. It also taught me the value of working with solid fabrics, which I’ve continued to do to this day.

ONE PATCH, made in 1990, was the first in a series of thirteen minimal quilts, all shown in the book, inspired by the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928).

Quilt-J:  Gwen Marston's Quilt One-Patch from Minimal Quiltmaking

I have a chapter about Hard-Edge Quilts, inspired by a California art movement from the 1960’s called “hard-edge painting”. MINIMAL COMPOSITION is in that chapter.

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I talk about the process of designing minimal quilts, how to apply the principles of minimal art to create your own distinctive work, and give suggestions on where to find inspiration for working in this style.

And to whet your appetite, here is a small sampling of the stunning quilts made by made by contributing quilt artists included in the book.

Quilt-J:  Split Cherry by Marjorie Tucker in Minimal QuiltmakingSPLIT CHERRY, by Marjorie Tucker, from Boston, Mass, and MINIMAL PURPLE, made by Kristin Shields, from Bend, Oregon, are both contemporary quilt artists and teachers who have their own style and definitely know what they are doing.

Quilt-J: Minimal Purple by Kristin Shields in Minimal QuiltmakingI hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it. Carry on! GM

Giveaway Details Here!

Leave a comment by Thursday afternoon, June 19, answering the question:  What’s your quilting pleasure:  less is more or more is more? I’ll announce the winner of an autographed copy of Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston in the Friday post. We’ll also take a look a more quilts from Gwen’s new title and revisit retired blogging sister Darra’s past posts on Gwen’s quilting style.

See ya!

J-Signature

Spring Arrives with a Bounty of (Fabric) Blooms . . . and a Giveaway!

1-Giveaway IconWe’re more than a month into spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the evidence–both cultivated and wild–is emerging (and in some cases, exploding) around us in a shower of color and scent.

Nothing says "spring" like a bed of tulips! Photo by Darra Williamson.
Nothing says “spring” like a bed of tulips! Photo by Darra Williamson.
Floral "sunshine" dresses a white picket fence. Photo by Darra Williamson.
Floral “sunshine” dresses a white picket fence. Photo by Darra Williamson.
A swath of red enhances the seaside landscape. Photo by Darra Williamson.
A swath of red enhances the seaside landscape. Photo by Darra Williamson.
Delicate pink blossoms in the wild. Photo by Darra Williamson
Delicate pink blossoms in the wild. Photo by Darra Williamson
A single wild iris blooms against a Pollock-like tangle of greenery. Photo by Darra Williamson
A single wild iris blooms against a Pollock-like tangle of greenery. Photo by Darra Williamson
A "natural" display of color and texture.  Photo by Darra Williamson
A “natural” display of color and texture. Photo by Darra Williamson

Fabric Blooms coverToday, to celebrate this “blooming” season, we’ve planned a special giveaway. Lark Crafts has generously donated two copies of its brand-new, 128-page book, Fabric Blooms by Megan Hunt. The projects are adorable and doable–made from felt, cotton, jersey, and even faux leather!–and range from headbands and lapel pins to nosegays, wreathes, and fairy lights. Best of all, the patterns for all the flower parts are given full size. You don’t need to draw or enlarge a thing!

So, here’s the deal. Leave a comment below by noon (PDT) Thursday, May 1, telling us what you consider to be the first sure sign that spring has arrived, and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Fabric Blooms. The two winners will be announced in this Friday’s post.

A peek into the pages of Fabric Blooms
A peek into the pages of Fabric Blooms

Finally, an announcement of sorts. After three wonderful years of visiting with you here each month, it’s time for me to join my former SHWS blogging sister, Christie Batterman, as a See How We Sew Blogger Emeritus. Today marks my final post as an active member of the SHWS team.

While it’s difficult to say goodbye, the change is happily motivated. My husband Brooks and I are slowly beginning the lifestyle-changing transition from the bustling Bay Area to a small, off-the-beaten-track, incredibly beautiful, artist-friendly village by the sea on the Northern California coast. As a writer, I know I’ll want to write about the experience, so you can be sure that “I’ll keep you posted”–no pun intended!

Coming soon . . . Photo by Darra Williamson
Coming soon . . .
Photo by Darra Williamson

I’ve loved the time I’ve spent working, playing, learning, and creating with Laura, Jennifer, Pati, and Christie, and look forward to returning for a guest post now and then. Also, like you, I’ll be eagerly following the latest here at See How We Sew. I know there are some fabulous things in store!

So that’s it for now. ‘Til we meet again (soon, I hope), happy stitching!

Darra-signature

Sandy Klop of “American Jane”–A Signature Look

A few weeks ago, I visited the home of Sandy Klop, owner of American Jane Patterns and Fabric. Sandy was hosting an Open House in her Northern California home, selling some of her wonderful fabrics, patterns, and quilts. I have know Sandy for many years, so I was really excited to see what she was up to!

Welcome
Welcome to American Jane

When I arrived, I was immediately taken with the creative array of color and whimsy that filled Sandy’s home. This was going to be fun!

American Jane Stairway

American-Jane-fireplace

Sandy and Stan Klop of American Jane
Sandy and Stan Klop of American Jane

Sandy and her husband, Stan, welcomed me at the door.  I think I may have been standing there with my mouth wide open–I was so busy taking in the entire American Jane experience before me. Sandy’s home is a reflection of her cheerful personality–a quilter’s playhouse. There is a signature look to Sandy’s work that is immediately recognizable. Her home was staged to reflect this look in bright, happy colors that played together in a world of incredible quilts.

American-Jane chair

Quilts and fabric were everywhere. American Jane patterns were tucked in cute little baskets. A cozy upholstered chair wore her first line of fabric for Moda–still one of my favorites, by the way!

American-Jane-Fat Quarters
American Jane fat quarters and precuts by Moda

All those sunny fabrics were creatively displayed and calling my name.

American-Jane fabrics
ABC 123

Bolts of fabric lined up like a box of Crayolas. Uh-oh, this could be trouble . . .

American-Jane fabric
Pezzy Prints

Is it even possible to be grumpy when surrounded by all this Pezzy Print happiness?

American-Jane-Moda Layer Cakes
Moda Layer Cakes

For a snack, an offering of Layer Cakes in the kitchen – Yum!

American-Jane-Bakers Dozen
A Baker’s Dozen” by Sandy Klop

Books written by Sandy were stacked in the corner to peruse and enjoy.

American-Jane journal
American Jane’s “A Quilter’s Journal”

Every page of her latest publication, A Quilter’s Journal, was a delight to thumb through.

American-Jane-Hallway

Each nook, cranny, and shelf told a story.

American-Jane-sheep

American-Jane shelf

Charming little wooden folk welcomed me as I passed.

American-Jane-ABC

Hmmm . . . which chair was my favorite?

American-Jane-rug

Even the floor was cheery and bright!

American-Jane-quilts for sale

And, did I mention the quilts?

American-Jane Quilts

. . . the beautiful, colorful, whimsical quilts?

American-Jane-Down the Bay

American-Jane-Sails and Sequence

Sandy has a true talent for displaying her beautiful creations in a creative and unique style. It was a delight to spend time in this American Jane world. Thank you, Sandy!

American-Jane-Pink Suitcases

So how does one go about finding a signature look or style? It is a question I posed to Sandy and, in my next post, Sandy will share her thoughts on quilting and what life is like as our American Jane friend. Be sure to visit Friday for the interview and more of her amazing quilts.

If you missed Sandy’s Open House, you are in luck! There is another one coming soon!

American Jane Open House

Fabric, Kits, Patterns, and Books Featuring the Newest Line of Ducks in a Row!

And of Course – Quilts!!!

May 23 ,24 ,and 25

Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:pm

64 Sandy Lane, Walnut Creek, CA

Tell Your Friends!

Also, stop by my blog at Pati Fried to see what I am up to this week. I am looking forward to visiting my home state of Iowa and catching up with quilting friends. See you Friday!

Signature Cropped

Three Great Books for Avid Quilters & Sewists–Our Readers Weigh In

You might remember we sent out an invitation to our SHWS readers for volunteer book reviewers. Well, the results are in and their reviews are ready.  Take a bow Tana, Lynn, and Mary:

Making Fabric Jewelry by Martha Le Van   •   Lark Crafts

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The very first chapter of Making Fabric Jewelry is filled with vital information that every crafter will find useful. Marthe Le Van gives a fabulous overview of the tools and skills that are used for a jewelry designer’s projects. She begins with the basics, or what she calls the first pleasure, the fabric. If you don’t know your tulle from your duck, this book is the place to start. The first 36 pages cover fabric, stitches, and a jewelry primer on findings, wires, and beads. I am sure I will refer to this information often. I am delighted with the variety of projects in this book and the inspirational photos of similar pieces made by other designers. All the full-color photos are large and include the artist’s name and materials used. I can hardly turn the page without new ideas popping into my head. The techniques for assembling the jewelry are well written and easy to follow. Ms. Le Van even includes tips that range from selecting colors to threading needles. (I was surprised to see five ways to thread a needle.) My shopping list is made and I can’t wait to start the next project.

Tana Doss   •   http://www.gotitfromgranny.blogspot.com/

Tana's wonderful rendition of a project from the fabric jewelry book.
Tana’s wonderful rendition of a project from the fabric jewelry book.

 ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥

Patchwork Please! by Ayumi Takahashi   •   Interweave/F+W Media

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I was excited to review Patchwork Please! because I saw so many pretty projects during the Zakka Along 2.0 last fall. I am a novice at sewing, and while the projects I saw floating around the Internet last fall were pretty and caught my eye, I was not sure that they were things I could make. I am a visual learner, so I also have been skeptical about sewing books, but let me tell you–Ayumi’s book is full of tips, and the tutorials are simple and very easy to follow. The book contains 140 pages, and the first 30 pages are dedicated to tips, tools, and techniques which cover the basics used for all the projects. There are beautiful photos of the 19 projects, each made with the cutest and prettiest fabrics. You’ll want to do every one! Each tutorial is rated for difficulty and broken down, step by step, with figures to help visual learners like me. I decided to jump all in and tackle the triangle patchwork box pouch, one of the more difficult projects (rated three stars), because I have always wanted to try making a bag with a zipper. The tutorial was very easy to follow and I completed the project quickly and without having to use my seam ripper, which is a plus for me! If a novice like me can make this zipper pouch, then I think anyone could easily do this project. I love all the projects; the photos are beautiful, the tutorials easy, and the projects come together quickly. I can see myself doing all of them and giving them as homemade gifts. Another plus: you can use scraps for many of the projects. Ayumi’s easy-to-follow tutorials and beautiful fabric choices are inspiring to me and have made me a believer in sewing books! Now to see what I will add next to my sewing-book collection!

Lynn Lee

Lynn bravely tries a project from Patchwork Please! and succeeds.
Lynn bravely tries a project from Patchwork Please! and succeeds.

♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥

Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts by Cathy Gaubert   •   Lark Crafts

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Cathy had two reasons for writing this book: one is that our busy lives often don’t allow us time to sew a bed-sized quilt and therefore try new techniques and blocks. The second is to show  that doll quilts are the perfect avenue to use up the many scraps that we accumulate. For both reasons, I wanted to learn more about this book.

The first section of the book gives us the basics:  the materials, the tools, putting it all together, and the finishing touches.  The sections on materials and tools are a bit brief for beginners, but are perfect for anyone with a little experience.  The section on putting it all together gives information on patchwork piecing, English paper piecing, foundation piecing, free-form + improvisational piecing, applique, embroidery, and quilting. Each technique is used somewhere on the quilts in this book. The section on the finishing touches includes information on binding, labels, washing, and display.

From here, Cathy and 19 top designers give detailed instruction for the 24 doll quilts.  Each one include materials, measurements, illustrations and, if necessary, patterns.

As I read through the book, I found that I wanted to start on many of the quilts  right on the spot!  Too bad I am away from home, my stash, and my sewing machine or I would do just that.

Mary Kolb   •   http://maryonlakepulaski.blogspot.com/

There’s nothing an editor likes more than a prompt, well-composed submission, so many thanks to our three contributors. We at SHWS hope you’ll consider the merits of these fun crafting titles.

J-Signature

Inspiration Plus: Putting Those Decorative Machine Stitches to Work

Do you ever wonder what you can do with that mind-boggling array of decorative stitches available on your sewing machine? If you’re like me, you may have tried a few–satin or blanket stitch for machine applique, perhaps–but that’s about it. On the other hand, my friend, Chris Porter, is never at a loss for creative ideas for putting those beautiful stitches to work. Time for some inspiration!

For Christmas, Chris surprised me with this lovely machine-appliqued, couched, and embroidered pouch.

Machine appliqued, couched, and embroidered pouch, 8 1/2" x 8 1/2", designed and made by Chris Porter
Machine appliqued, couched, and embroidered pouch, 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, designed and made by Chris Porter

Here’s a view of the back. Notice the use of variegated threads and couched silk ribbon trims.

Back view of fabric pouch by Chris Porter
Back view of fabric pouch by Chris Porter

The versatile size (8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) makes it perfect for any number of uses; I found it ideal for corralling all those wires and chargers necessary for my digital camera, iPhone, and iPad. Now I always know where to find them here at home, and have a compact, convenient way to carry them when I travel.

Chris's pouch makes the perfect tote for all those chargers modern life requires.
Chris’s pouch makes the perfect tote for all those chargers modern life requires.

Chris has also been working those stitches to make journal covers as gifts for her friends, using a process similar to the one I described in my December 20 post. For this cover, she began with a beautiful mauve batik, to which she added a variety of decorative machine stitches in coordinating variegated thread.

Machine-embroidered journal cover, made by Chris Porter
Machine-embroidered journal cover, made by Chris Porter

Notice the stitched detail down the cover’s spine.

Cover opened to show spine detail
Cover opened to show spine detail

Rather than working with a single fabric, Chris pieced the next cover before adding the embellishments–a combination of machine-embroidery and couched ribbons.

Pieced and embellished journal cover, made by Chris Porter
Pieced and embellished journal cover, made by Chris Porter

I love the detail she added to the inside flap.

Feb 22_inside flap_orange

Chris has been using similar techniques to create other small gift items, such as needle books and eyeglass cases; the latter double nicely for stowing your rotary cutter. What a great way to familiarize yourself and experiment with your machine’s enhancements on a small scale before launching into a larger project! Here, Chris adapted one of her machine’s embroidery stitches to quilt Alphabet Soup, the cover quilt for our book, Cuddle Me Quick.

Detail of Alphabet Soup, made by Chris Porter; Chris adapted one of her machine's embroidery stitches to quilt the wiggly pattern around each block.
Detail of Alphabet Soup, made by Chris Porter; Chris adapted one of her machine’s embroidery stitches to quilt the wiggly pattern around each block.
Alphabet Soup, 39" x 45", made by Chris Porter
Alphabet Soup, 39″ x 45″, made by Chris Porter

Chris works on a Husqvarna Viking 960Q, but many of today’s machines offer similar stitching options. Why not take yours out for a spin?

Before leaving Chris, I have an exciting piece of news to report. In addition to the two books we have co-authored, Chris has written a number of best-selling books on her own. Her latest, Sensational Circle Quilts, will be published as an eBook (with video) and is scheduled for an April release. The publisher is Vivebooks, a British ePublisher–be sure to watch for it!

Chris Porter's newest book, coming out in April, will be published as an eBook!
Chris Porter’s newest book, coming out in April, will be published as an eBook!

That leaves me with one final bit of “business” for today, and that’s to announce the winner of Gwen Marston’s new book, Minimal Quiltmaking, from my Tuesday post. And that winner is vickievan! Congratulations, Vickie, and thanks to Gwen for providing the giveaway prize.

‘Til next time, happy stitching!Darra-signature