Since I generally sew alone in my quiet little space, an occasional getaway of quilting with a group of creative people can be especially energizing. Not only can the experience be extremely fun and relaxing, but can also provide the needed time to work on projects and share ideas. While I was away at the same retreat Pati wrote about in her last post, I had the opportunity to work on a quilt for my new grandson. My daughter requested that I make a fox quilt for him. How could I possibly say no when she showed me Fancy Fox by Elizabeth Hartman.
Here is my baby version of this design. This was a perfect retreat project, both fun and easy to make. It will be machine quilted with a pinkie backing, just perfect and snuggly for our new little guy. Thank you, Elizabeth for this adorable pattern.
Since this post is short and sweet, I will share with you some eye candy from Quilt 2017 by the San Francisco Quilt Guild. Please click here to see the images on The Plaid Portico, taken by Carol van Zandt. There are 3 separate posts so you will want to take time to enjoy them all.
Hope you all all enjoying a relaxing and creative summer. Until next time,
In past years, January has always been my catch up month. Not this year! I have been in a whirlwind since I shouted “Happy New Year!” a few weeks back. I have been on both a quilt retreat and an art retreat, met and spoke with 2 wonderful guilds at their monthly meetings, and then jumped on a plane to Mexico. As you are reading this, I am hoping to be causally sipping a margarita on a warm and sandy beach. Aaaah! Writing this post gives me a chance to reflect on the past year, and draw a few plans and goals together for me in 2017.
2016 was quite a year for me, with many firsts. I started the year out with a few days at Craft Napa 2016. I used the time to dig in to my creative side. I made a conscious effort to map out what was important to me, and permit myself to say no to anything that I had not enjoyed in the past year.
It was a great decision and made for a year of inspiration and adventures. I followed politics closer than I ever had before. I began speaking and teaching workshops to guilds. I was honored to be invited as the featured artist at a guild quilt show. I spent an inspirational month travelling in Italy. I made many new friends and reconnected with old friends. All in all, it was a glorious year. It is interesting for me to consider how my design work was influenced by my escapades.
This last quilt is an interactive quilt, designed to be a quilt version of the Subway Therapy Wall created in New York City. It is a work in progress.
Fabric “post its” are being added every day by friends, family (or anyone that wants to contribute) and will eventually cover the entire quilt. Heartfelt and positive thoughts, quotes and comments have become the overlying theme of this project. I have a stack of notes to add when I return home. If it gets too full, I will simply make another wall!
A few weeks back, I traveled to my home town in Iowa to attend an annual fundraiser for my old high school. I get to spend 2 full days of quilting with talented quilters from my hometown. It is always fun and I love going! We usually offer a quick and easy project as a demo, including a few technique tips. This year, the goal was to create a holiday project, and tackling the subject of perfect points, mitered corners, machine quilting and bindings. Soooo. . .
We showcased this holiday table topper. It was super easy and fun to make. I thought I would share it with you – just in case you needed to pull a quick holiday project out of your stash in the next few weeks.
I started with a great tutorial by Sewn Up/Teresa Down Under for a Disappearing Pinwheel Block. You can see the post and video here: Disappearing Pinwheel by Sewn Up, along with her beautiful sampler quilt and 11 variations created with simple little block!
Now the magic happens – cut the pinwheel block into 9 equal sections, creating 9 smaller blocks.
Repeat with the other three blocks.
Switch, flip and rotate a few small blocks and watch those large pinwheels disappear!
Awesome, right? Let’s try another layout. . .
Since I am partial to the Churn Dash Block, this was the layout I chose. Each block measured 11″ unfinished.
I added a 5 1/2″ border with mitered corners to frame it out. In one short afternoon, I created a 30″ table topper for the holidays. Wow!
This would be a great project for a table runner, placemats or an entire quilt. Here is one of the projects that was made at Quiltfest by a student. Same fabric line, but played with a little differently. I love the contrasts!
Here’s a look at some of the other wonderful projects that were worked on over the weekend. So many great quilts!
For our Bay Area readers – The new Bay Quilts quilt shop in Richmond, is having a meet the teachers event on Saturday, December 3 from 1-3. If you haven’t checked out this beautiful new shop, this is a great opportunity. Darci Read and I will be there chatting about the classes we are scheduled to teach in 2017. Stop by and say hello! There is also a wonderful 12 x 12 gallery show that will be on display at the shop. Be sure to check out The Power of 12 quilt show, that will be up through the end of the year.
And now – the Giveaway winner from last week’s post goes to Nance of idreamofquilting.com. Nance shared a simple, but really great tip:
“I always spray the top of the fabric and then flip it over and iron from the back. That way I don’t get any starch flakes on the top of the fabrics.”
There were lots of other great tips on ironing, so if you missed that post, take a moment and scroll through the comment sections. Thanks everyone!
Awesome. Inspiring. Encouraging. Just a few words that pop into my head when I think of this year’s Quiltcon West, from last month in Pasadena, California. There are a lot of blogs, Instagram and Facebook sites that are covering the quilts in the show, including our own Carol Van Zandt, who will be posting photos in categories over the next few weeks. You can see her first in a series of Quiltcon posts here: The Plaid Portico. I will leave the quilt photography to the experts, and instead, share my own personal experience with this year’s show.
What I enjoyed the most about Quiltcon West, would have to be the camaraderie. The warmth and fellowship that I encountered was apparent throughout the entire show. Whether I was walking the show floor, sitting in a lecture, or standing in line for a morning latte, it was refreshing to enjoy the friendly vibe . Everyone I met was simply happy to be there, be part of the experience and take it all in. I made so many new friendships by happenstance. Each one, an opportunity to discover another spectrum of our quilting community. And it was a lovely four days to catch up with old friends.
The vendors this year were spectacular. Each booth had so many jewels to discover. My suitcase came home stuffed to the weight limit. One booth in particular kept drawing me back in. I wanted to share a little about it. Purl & Loop, a contemporary needlecraft business that focuses on needle felting and weaving kits with the busy life of a maker in mind.
I remember meeting and chatting with the owner of Purl & Loop, Angela Smith, at Quiltcon 2015. I loved her needle felted bowl kits, but didn’t take one home, knowing myself well enough to not add another unfinished project to my list. Well – my friend, Gina Chang, of Wooden Gate Quilts did – and I have spent the past year admiring her lovely bowls every time I visit her quilt shop! Regretting my decision of last year, I was not going to make the same mistake twice.
So, I headed into the Purl & Loop booth, and immediately was taken back by the soothing, calming effect their booth had among the hustle and bustle of all the other vendor booths. It was airy, inviting and draped in linen. Ahhhh, breathe, relax.
The textures and colors of the wool, aside the warmth of the wood was simply inviting. I just wanted to savor every place my eyes gazed.
Angela Smith and her assistant Missy Bosch, were so much fun to get to know. Their work is beautiful and they truly enjoy what they are doing.
It made me remember my college days, when I would spend hours and hours on a floor loom. I used to say it was my therapy for all of my other stressful assignments.
But wait! What is this? A Stash Blaster Birch Weaving Loom! Seriously? This is amazing!
Oh my gosh, I better get started making bowls and weavings quick, so I can move on to these adorable trees!
I had better be off! I have got work to do!
Have a great week,
We are so excited to be part of the Good Hair Day Blog Hop Tour today. The tour is celebrating the release of KimAndersson’s new line of fabric with Windham Fabrics, appropriately named, Good Hair Day.
If you are new to our blog, welcome! We are so happy you found us. If you are one of our loyal followers, then you know what a blog hop tour means here at See How We Sew. . .
Which is why, when Laura and I were asked to create something out of this line to share in the blog hop, we jumped at the chance. What a perfect opportunity to embrace our girly side. Hmmm, combs, blowdryers, ribbons and curls – how about a girl’s pajama night?
And off we went, measuring, cutting, and sewing up this cheery fabric!
Our pajamas and robe made it home just in time to show them off at one of Laura’s Pajama Night Sew-ins at Wooden Gate Quilts. Here we are sporting our pretty pajama party clothes.
Everyone loves giveaways! Just for fun, leave a comment at the bottom of our post, telling us about the craziest hair style you have ever tried. We will pick a lucky winner to recieve a 5.5 inch charm pack of the this great collection. (If you have trouble finding the comment box, scroll up and click on the title of this post, that should get your where you need to be.)
And there’s more giveaways!
Fat quarter bundles are being given away on the Windham Fabrics’ blog, Snip-its and Kim Andersson’s blog, I Adore Patterns. These giveaways will be open throughout whole blog hop schedule, which ends tomorrow, so be sure to hop over and leave a comment for your chance to win.
Janome and Michael Miller Fabrics have teamed up with a really fun project we would like to share with you. 100 Blocks in 50 Days.
Laura and I were asked to design some blocks for this project a few months ago. The blocks were to be made from a selection of 10 scrumptious colors from one of my favorite fabric lines, Cotton Couture by Micheal Miller. 100 blocks total, were created by quilters from 40 different states and 5 different countries. The blocks were then assembled and presented at Quilt Market in Houston last week in this stunning quilt. Isn’t it amazing?
All of these wonderful blocks are now being released, two at a time, on Janome’s blog, along with FREE downloadable instructions for each block! There is also a link for you to check out who the designer is. Every weekeday beginning on October 19th going through December 25th two new blocks have, and will, be released. How cool is that? It’s not too late to sign up to have the remaining blocks delivered to your email box every morning – Sign up here
If you want to catch up on the blocks already released, you can find them at 100 Quilt Blocks Downloads or follow along on Michael Miller’s Pinterest Board – 100 Blocks in 50 Days. Laura and my blocks will be released on November 9th, December 16th, 17th and 22nd. We will post a little info on how we created these blocks on the days they are released. So, stay tuned!
Interested in making the quilt? I sure am!
This Cotton Couture fabric bundle just happens to be the right amount of each color to make all 100 of the blocks. It is available to purchase at any Authorized Janome Dealer.
And – there are some opportunities to win some cool prizes.
Share on Instagram with #100quiltblocks
I feel like an infomercial, but . . . Wait! there’s more!
Whew! I am exhausted – that’s a lot of info!
I am going to finish up by mentioning that Carol Van Zandt has been busy photographing the beautiful quilts at Houston Quilt Market last week. I think I will take a little time to enjoy her wonderful photos here. You should too!
California is in the middle of a heat wave this week. The timing seems really odd to be announcing a new quilt pattern called Winter Brrrd Houses. But that is what I am doing! Winter Brrrd Houses is here, and now available through my Etsy shop and will be on our SHWS Pattern Page. And to celebrate, we are giving away a free pattern today!
Winter Brrrd Houses has something for everyone. The pattern mixes piecing, improvisational curves, applique and a little bit of embroidery. Trust me, you will not get bored from making the same block over and over again with this project. I made 30 birdhouses from the start of the quilt to the completion of the pattern. Each one had its own personality. It was so much fun choosing the fabrics and sizes, that I could just keep on going!
The pattern is designed to give you oodles of options to add your own unique spin on the project. The quilt and the pattern have my name on it, but I will be the first to tell you – Laura was a huge part of writing this pattern. We all know that writing a pattern with solid technical instructions is tough. Choosing to include improvisational design options made it twice the challenge. I am so grateful to have had Laura’s expertise along the way.
Last week, I gave a peek of the sample that Laura and I put together at our sew day. I’m excited to say I just received a few photos from Kerry Reed, who has been busy quilting for me and sent some teasers while working away. This is the Spring version of the quilt. Same technique, just different fabric choices and layout. Remember, I mentioned oodles of design options?
Laura and I are teaching a birdhouse workshop to the Piece by Piece Quilters of Morgan Hill, Ca. next week. It will be fun to team teach this project now, after working so hard together to complete the pattern.
About a week ago, I tried making two more versions. The first time, I followed the pattern exactly, with not a stitch of improv in sight. I even omitted the curve piecing. Ok, I did decide to change the birdhouse doors a bit. I also used some of my cherished indigo fabrics to punch it up. Simple, quick and still lots of fun to make.
In the second version, I threw all the rules out the window except for the cutting instructions for the roofs. I wanted to see what would happen if I sized the houses differently. How would it look if my points were off?
I also over sized the background sections, to give me a chance to play with the layout. The curve piecing was a natural fit at this point – I was just filling in the blanks. At some point it became a little French city, not a flurry of birdhouses. And can we just take a moment to notice the quilting?
So there you have it. Four versions of what can be done with one pattern. My hope is that a few of our readers will take my lead and create their own unique designs, using the tips and techniques shared in the pattern. In fact . . .
leave a comment on what your version might be like – and I will choose a winner to receive a free pattern!
Have a great weekend!
Today was a sew day for Laura and I. We are teaching a guild workshop in September on the Winter Brrrd Houses quilt. We thought it would be fun to experiment with making a different version of the quilt.
Laura brought some Kaffe Fasset fabrics and this wonderful white-on-white background fabric. I’m not sure if it was the white against the saturated color, or the strong graphics against the organic florals – but something really popped between this fabric combination. I had a stash of Moda Grunge, along with Robert Kaufman Quilters’ Linen that were just begging to be added into the mix. And so, with no preconceived notions in mind, we decided to start by making two houses each.
The houses were oh-so-cute, but we were a bit befuddled about what fabrics to add into the background plan. As you can see in the original quilt, the background represented a winter scene with drifts of snow. As much as we liked the background we chose, it just didn’t look right with any of the grays in my stash.
So we simply switched seasons!
Striped posts against a spring green hillside – now that works!
And so we’re off and running. It’s funny how things work out. Neither of us knew where we were headed with this quilt, but we just kept sewing until the ideas surfaced. It’s so fun to collaborate on quilts!
See you Friday!