Adieu SHWS! I’m Off to Chasing Bright Shiny Objects

My neighbor has no idea how frequently I stalk her rose garden for photo opportunities!
One rose fades while others blossom–that’s my little ready-to-bloom rosebud peeking out from below

The time has come, the time is now:  exit Jennifer, stage right. Thank you very much for joining me on my See How We Sew journey. I absolutely will miss our collaborative blog and the boundless creative energies of Laura and Pati. Do consider joining me at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, you are most welcome!

Jennifer Signature

 

Parting Thoughts: Going Solo @ Chasing Bright Shiny Objects

After four years of blogging with a quartet of talented women at See How We Sew, I am going to take a leap into solo blogging. Starting this coming Friday you’ll find me at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, a blog about whatever strikes my fancy. Sure, there’ll be quilts and sewn crafts in the mix, but with my own blogging venue, I’ll be exploring a broader world of creativity and random other things.

Before I head out, I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite posts and shared moments with Christie, Darra, Laura, and Pati. Just to reassure you, dear readers, SHWS remains in the capable hands of Laura and Pati.

Do check back on Friday for a preview of Chasing Bright Shiny Objects. I’d like to invite you to join me on my new adventures—the road map is a work-in-progress!

Favorite Profile

No question—Candace Kling. Writing a blog is a great excuse to marshal courage and contact the more iconic figures in our creative realms for interviews. I’ve long admired Candace and it was a treat to meet her and visit her outrageously wonderful studio: rough around the edges in its warehouse setting, but a true Aladdin’s cave filled with glorious examples of her art and collected vintage wares.

Inspiration-J: Candace Kling's Studio
Examples of Candace Kling’s outstanding floral ribbon work.

Favorite SHWS Project

Again, a clear favorite for me, Achoo!, a collaborative pattern we developed for the debut of Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer line. It’s not easy to squeeze in shared sewing time when we have such crazy working and life schedules—remember Laura had her daughter’s wedding in that interval—but somehow we managed to design and sew the quilt, plus write the Achoo! pattern instructions. Yes, we were breathless by the end, mostly because we had to make an additional quilt for the Robert Kaufman Fabrics trunk show, but we very happy with the result. Truly, the team collaboration has been the most satisfying experience in this last year. (Laura is awe inspiring as she power sews!)

Handsome Freddy (last name Reddy, yes, Reddy!) guards our secret project.
Handsome Freddy (last name Reddy, yes, Reddy!) guards our Achoo! quilt.

Favorite Team Event

It too was madness, but so much fun: Quilting in the Garden 2012. That’s where our original quartet, Christie, Darra, Laura, and I, were featured artists for the outdoor quilt exhibition in Livermore, California. What a fun weekend we had visiting with fellow quilters and visitors to Alden Lane Nursery. Laura returned this year with her long-time collaborator, Diana McClun, for a retrospective exhibit of a quarter century of shared quilt making. They have an astonishing number of them in their archives–we’re talking hundreds of quilts!

From left:  Christie, Jennifer (Christie's BOM), Darra (Sunbonnet Sue & a baby quilt)
From left: Christie, Jennifer (Christie’s BOM), Darra (Sunbonnet Sue & a baby quilt) at Quilting in the Garden 2012, Livermore, California.

Favorite Personal Post(s)

Yikes, that’s a tough one because there are several that resonate with me still. As a writer who spends most of her professional time crafting sentences that have a neutral voice, taking those first steps to sharing my own voice has been both scary and thrilling. My first post, Designing Quilts One Grocery Bag at a Time, was a complete improvisation. I experienced something that tickled my fancy and I wrote about it. It was weird inspiration, but that spurred me to share the moment with photographs. My peanut gallery of males (i.e. my all-male household) thought I was demented as I tried to figure out how to photograph groceries on my kitchen table. Par for the course as it turns out with this blog–we have each grown our skills as we’ve navigated this endeavor. Next fave personal post: My Quilts Have Feet–it makes me teary eyed. I miss my little fellas, even as I adore the grown men they have become. I absolutely do miss them when I have large quilts to photograph though. They know the drill and, as I mentioned in this recent post, my new crew needs some pointers.

J-Inspiration: Groceries II Minus Chips and Ice Cream

Favorite Collaboration

Ah, this one was a true pleasure: the African textiles and quilts series that culminated in a virtual quilt show of African quilts (Part I, Part II). This mega international project would have be impossible without Paula Benjaminson, art quilter, ambassadorial wife, and former U.S. foreign service officer. We most definitely spanned the globe with this extravaganza: Paula and I were in touch via email as she traveled from Africa to Europe and the U.S. The images from the collection of posts are still favorites for Pinterest pinners and for those who love African textiles.

A wondrous array of colors and prints on display for sale in Libreville, Gabon.
A wondrous array of colors and prints on display for sale in Libreville, Gabon–photographed by Paula Benjaminson, SAQA member.

Wow, four years and somewhere around 50+ individual posts, it’s been a blast here at SHWS. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me in the Comments section, it’s been a true pleasure getting to know such a talented and passionate array of crafting people. Keep the pedal to the medal with your sewing and do consider joining me on my new blogging journey.

Jennifer Signature

 

A See How We Sew Tradition: Our Top 10 Posts for 2014

Inspiration-J:  Xmas Tree

Hello dear readers! Hope the holiday season is  treating you well. We’re enjoying the closing days of 2014, and looking forward to all sorts of crafting and sewing adventures in 2015. You’ll remember that last year we shared our Top 10 Posts for 2013 and we’re establishing a New Year’s tradition by looking at our results for 2014 and sharing them with you.

Like last year, you favor learning about techniques, notable textile artists, and products:

  1. Patterns
  2. Walk Your Stitches Out of the Ditch
  3. 10 Things I’ve Learned From Hanging Out with Candace Kling
  4. Drafting Part 2:  Making an 8-Pointed or Lemoyne Star
  5. Candace Kling, Masterful Manipulator of Fabric & Ribbon
  6. Prewash or Not? Quilting’s Perennial Question
  7. Feeling Frantic?  Check Out These Last-Minute Goodies
  8. Gallery
  9. Soft & Stable:  An Alternative to Batting
  10. Creating Curved Pieced Blocks and Landscapes with Sue Rasmussen

Enjoy the waning days of our Winter holidays and do check back to see what we have in store for 2015!

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Scrap Wool Felt + a Button = Super Quick Xmas Gift

As I mentioned in my last post, this holiday season has me on the run. I don’t have much time to take on big projects with my gift giving. I love a good sewn project as much as anyone, but my quick go-to is always jewelry making. Bead stores have the best stuff for impromptu inspiration. And, if I still feel the need to add a stitch, well, I opt to make a jewelry pouch to hold my handmade gift. You’ve heard my schtick before and you’ve seen samples of my passion for pouches here and here.

This year I’ve been a bit obsessed with natural stone jewelry that I can dangle from a “universal” earring base.

Projects-J:  Earrings for 2014 gifts

The top row sports the universal base. All I need to do is slip off the dangling jewel and slip on another one. Very cool!

In honor of Christmas, I decided to make red wool felt jewelry pouches for my handiwork. I repurposed the wool from a tree skirt that I made a couple of years ago. The sad tale was that my pretty red skirt with  glued on felt snowflakes was taken out by a flood when the Christmas tree toppled and spewed water from the reservoir across the floor. That was also the celebration when my some of my votive candleholders shattered on the hearth. After all that I think the felt scraps should be directed to projects with inherently better karma, like gift giving.

Project-J:  Jewelry pouches for gifts

These pouches are 4 x 9 inches folded to 3.5 inches and machine blanket stitched along the edges. Super simple to make and very nice for stowing in suitcases for travel. The fun part is adding sparkle with a jeweled button or beads.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Jennifer Signature

 

Mom & Me Quilt Boutique

Since SHWS offered its first post to the world of bloggers, we have had our very helpful and knowledgeable “behind the scenes” gal assist us with everything from designing the banner, adding and re-sizing images to uploading videos. We were all new to the world of blogging so having someone knowledgeable to guide us was a big plus. Our wonderful go-to girl just happens to be my niece, Michelle. She was always there for us, day or night, when things just became too challenging for us to manage.  Thanks, Michelle for always coming to the rescue!

Over the years, I think all this “quilty” stuff has rubbed off on Michelle, as she has traveled and worked with me at shows and other quilt-related events. I was thrilled when a few years ago she expressed an interest in taking one of my beginning quilting classes, and even more delighted to see the beautiful quilts she has made for many of her friends and family members.

We are all happy to have Michelle share some of her first creations with you today. Please enjoy!

Laura Signature

MichelleHeadShot

Hello See How We Sew Readers! I am so happy to be able to share with you my new patterns for children’s quilts.

I started my first quilt at age 14 with my mom by my side. I think I got all of the fabric cut out and a few pieces sewed together. Then it sat on a shelf until I was 21. My mom came to visit me in Green Bay, WI and we sat down and finished the quilt together. Mainly me looking over her shoulder and bringing her the next piece to be sewed. But, we did it! The quilt top was finally done and it looked great. I had a friend who was willing to help me tie the quilt and show me how to bind it. This was the easiest part! I love this quilt because it was the start of something. I didn’t know at the time how much quilting would be a part of my life.

M_QuiltGB

About a year after finishing this quilt I moved to the Bay Area. I was less than 15 minutes from the famous Laura Nownes, who I am honored to call my Aunt. She has been such a great influence on my quilting skills and knowledge! I started working with her on her patterns and doing the graphics for them. She suggested I take one of the classes she taught at Thimble Creek Quilt Shop. This was the start of my quilting bug! I learned so much and had such a wonderful time each week gaining more knowledge in this wonderful craft of quilting.

MSamplerQuilt

Each week I visited my Mom in Sacramento and we would talk about my fun times quilting. She was going through chemotherapy and when she was feeling up to it we would spend our time together quilting. I would cut, she would sew, and we would figure out how to put a quilt together. It was such great fun and has left me with great memories.  She told me that I would be in charge of making quilts for all of her grandchildren.  Little did either of us know that I would end up making the four quilts we finished into patterns!

Quilt Patterns

I’ve since given the ‘Child’s Play’ quilt to my son, Warren (left) and ‘Zig the Zag’ went to my nephew, Arlo (right).  Mom’s fight with cancer ended in December, 2011 and though she never got to meet either of these little ones, her legacy lives on in the quilts we made together. I am so grateful to have these quilts as treasures for her grandchildren and the memories that I have from making them with her.

WarrenQuilt2

ArloQuilt

I hope you will look at each of the patterns and find one that excites you. We used basic blocks and put them together in fun new ways. Head on over to Etsy and check out my shop!

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I am so honored to be able to share my patterns with you that I will be giving away one of each pattern to 4 lucky winners. Leave a comment below telling me which pattern is your favorite and your best quilting memory.

International Quilt Market – What’s New in the Quilt Industry?

I just got back from International Quilt Market last week. What a great trip! So many new things to sew; so many new things to try! It was also a really great time to reconnect with friends in the industry, and as always, make new friends.

The big news, this year, was that International Quilt Market celebrated its 35th Anniversary. It’s amazing to think that this huge show to the trade all started with one doozie of a great idea! Congratulations Quilts Inc. for following your dream. So many talented people have kickstarted their quilt-related businesses through this wonderful forum. Quilters everywhere – thank you for this!

Also, International Quilt Festival celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year. In this celebratory spirit, Ruby Red Jubilee was created, a breathtaking quilt exhibit filled with an amazing selection of red and white quilts. All I can say is –  it was spectacular! If you would like to watch a video of the show, I am including a link to a video that Pam Holland created.  Thank you Pam! http://vimeo.com/110033586

 Ruby Jubilee, International Quilt Market 2014

Ruby Jubilee, International Quilt Market 2014

There were many other incredible exhibits at the show. One in particular grabbed my attention. 500 Traditional Quilts, the new book by Karey Patterson Bresenhan,  was was on display with selected quilts from the book, including a quilt by our own, Laura Nownes, Harijuku Star. Congratulations Laura!

Harijuku Star by Laura Nownes

The Schoolhouse Series, always held the day before the show opens, was jammed packed with announcements of all the latest, hottest fabric lines, patterns, tools and ideas. My personal favorite of this year? Pepper Cory’s class on Big Stitch quilitng, and an introduction to the newest pallette of Peppered Cottons, including Peppered Plaids.

Peppered Cottons by Studio E and Pepper Cory     Peppered plaids by Studio E and Pepper Cory

It was also really cool to see how the quilt industry has embraced the clothing sewers. Schoolhouse was filled with lots of patterns and fabrics designed for more than just quilts. For the first time ever, I am inspired to actually make some clothing for myself! Don’t you just love these dress patterns?

Anna Maria Horner - Lemon Drop Dress     Birch Fabrics

Evenings were filled with a meet and greet, Fabric 2.0 and a festival meetup with Modern Quilt Guild members. Both were lots of fun and yet another chance to visit with friends and acquaintances. Oh, and let me tell you – swag bags galore! I could have used an extra suitcase to bring home all my goodies!

What is trending this year? Ok, keep in mind that you are getting this from the world of Pati Fried, but this is what I saw as new and popular on the show floor.

Sizzix – A die-cut and embossing tool for paper – and you guessed it – FABRIC! Everywhere I went, someone was talking about them. And yes, I now have one on order.

Sizzix Booth (2)

Fabric designed for more than just quilts. The seamstress has officially been embraced. Cotton and Steel announced a beautiful new double gauze cotton collection called Bespoke. Yummy!

Photo courtesy of Thatswhatshesewed.com

Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler teamed up to create a fabulous line of cotton knits for Free Spirit.  Anna Maria Horner demonstrated how they could be used as a companion with quilting cotton. The tunic below is made of knit, and the applique is quilt cotton. They work so nicely together.
Photo courtesy of Sew Scatterbrained.com

And to wrap up my take on what’s trending – self publishing is becoming more and more mainstream.  I attended an eye-opening lecture by Marguerita McManus of Fibers Media, on the subject of self publishing and e-books. These platforms are an easy fit for marketing yourself and ideas in the quilt world. Great information and very inspiring.

Ok, enough for now. On Friday, I will show booth photos from some of the SHWS favorite friends and guests that I

saw exhibiting at Quilt Market.

Giveaway-Gold

 

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Lola. Congratulations Lola! Laura will be contacting you with you gift.

 

 

 

 

Pati Signature

Don’t You Just Love it When Quilt Blocks Fit Together?

Theme and border fabrics for baby hexie quilt:  Wee Wander by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabric. (click image to visit Sarah Jane)
Theme and border fabrics for baby hexie quilt: Wee Wander by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics. (click image to visit Sarah Jane)

Hello. Yes, I’m still in project-making mode here and have just completed a baby quilt for the daughter of family friends that I’d love to share with you. Initially, I thought I’d go full Modern, but her mother’s words uttered years ago rang in my memory, “Rebecca is such a girly girl.”

Somehow minimal stripes and lots of quilted negative space weren’t suitable for her, especially with the naïve and pretty prints I’d selected for the baby quilt. I’d cued their selection on a preview photo of Rebecca’s freshly painted nursery.

A Pinterest tour (yes, again, I turned to that dazzling output of creativity) yielded good inspiration, but nah, I didn’t bite. For some reason hexagons piqued my interest, plus they are fun and current. I had so much fun making a Kaffe Fassett hexagon quilt last year that I decided to pull the book from my shelf and take a look. Okay, I felt a shiver of excitement—that was a good sign. If I reduced the number of hexies I figured I could execute a sweet little quilt.

Assembling hexies--opted for an inset detail with the setting triangles for a playful touch.
Assembling hexies–opted for an inset detail with the setting triangles for a playful touch.

Little did I know that “why not?” decision would set me off on one of the best quilt-building weeks I’ve experienced in ages. I had a blast because the pattern assembled like a dream and the cotton/linen fabric combination I’d selected made for perfect pressed seams with my brand-new iron. (Had to trash the old one because it sparked and burned me—fair warning: make sure your iron cord is intact, not worn to bare wire!)

Pressed like a dream--classical sewing technique suggests the reverse side should match the front in execution . . . maybe I had one of those moments?!?
Pressed like a dream–classical sewing technique suggests the reverse side should match the front in execution . . . maybe I had one of those moments?!?
Stained glass view:  back lit finished quilt top.  The insets of the setting triangles illuminated.
Stained glass view: back lit finished quilt top. The insets of the setting triangles illuminated.

As a technical sewer I’m typically a bit haphazard. Now I don’t mean to say that I’m sloppy, I just don’t always end up with a full set of perfect blocks and my quilt tops might have some squirrely matches as a result. Not so with the baby hexie quilt:  aren’t those points delicious?

Sewn with care, this Kaffe Fassett pattern builds perfectly!
Sewn with care, this Kaffe Fassett pattern builds perfectly!
Detail view of the long-arm quilting of Cyndy Rymer.
Detail view of the long-arm quilting of Cyndy Rymer.

I delivered the quilt to the new parents this past Saturday and met tiny William, a perfect little sweetheart of a baby boy. Very manly! Parents and grandparents are over the moon with his arrival—although the novice mother and father could do with a good night’s sleep! Oh I remember that well . . . one groggy night I got lost on the way to the nursery right next door to our bedroom!

Mini hexie quilt label made with scraps.
Mini hexie quilt label made with scraps.
Ready for delivery along with Woodland Bunny by Jellycats--I've got my own Jellycat puppy standing guard by my sewing machine (yes, small obsession!).
Ready for delivery along with Woodland Bunny by Jellycats–I’ve got my own Jellycat puppy standing guard by my sewing machine (yes, a small obsession!).

Isn’t it fun to share quilted love with a new generation? Check back on Friday for the next installment of the Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! Quilt-Along–it’s time to finish up the quilt top! Type “Quilt-Along” in the blog Search bar to find the prior installments–also refer to the Pattern library for instructions.

 

Jennifer Signature