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. . .
But first, let’s talk about this fabulous collection! Good Hair Day quickly fell into the SHWS favorite-stash category. I’ve known Kim for quite some time. She has popped up on our blog many times over the past few years. She has been featured in a guest post with us, and we were fortunate enough to participate in her first blog hop for the Tidal Lace collection. If you remember these posts, you would agree
that she is a pretty talented gal. With that in mind, I can safely say that Kim’s new line is a perfect combination of her humor and wit, sprinkled with a generous amount of graphic sensibility.
The colors for this collection are downright awesome. This is not just any ordinary color palette. Receiving our sample pack was like opening up a brand new box of crayons. And just look at those bobby pins and hair combs! They are brilliant! Who wouldn’t love to play with this fabric?
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 on to the Windham booth at Houston International Quilt Market last fall to play with all the other amazing creations made by all the talented people on this blog hop.
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.
Thanks so much for joining us today. We happen to be one of the last days of this blog tour, but be sure to go back and read all of the blog posts that have been involved in the Good Hair Day Release. There are some really talented sewists, quilters, and designers on this list. So much creativity and inspiration is shared in their posts.
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.
Hope you enjoyed our stop of the tour. Be sure to look for this line in your local quilt shop. Thanks for joining us today!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are enjoying these first few days of January. Both Laura and I are starting off the new year creatively.
Laura is off to spend a few days quilting with friends on an annual quilting retreat.
I am in Napa Valley, attending the very first Craft Napa. Obviously, my pup, Betsy was not as excited as I am about this.
So, we will get back on track next week with lots of new and interesting blog posts. For now, we invite you to follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see what creative fun we can get into over the weekend!
Since you already have access to the instructions to make the blocks, thanks to Janome, I thought we might discuss some tips for designing with solid fabrics. Because most quilt fabric companies now offer their own signature line of solids, there are so many options available to us, that it can be a bit daunting to know where and how to begin. So, let’s do that – start at the beginning.
When the fabric first arrived in the mail for our 100 Blocks project, Laura and I had a tough time deciding how to ration out our stash. Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture Fabrics are, as you may know by now, some of my favorites. I love the saturated colors, the wide range of color options and the oh-so soft hand of the fabric, which make it really enjoyable to work with. But, it was still a challenge to commit to a color palette for our blocks. We were working at a cutting table that happened to be holding a beautiful display of gladiolas. I looked up and realized that our color palette was right there in front of me in nature’s display!
It’s not always that easy, though. So, read on for a few great tips. Once you have omitted the need to balance the scales of prints, you will see that you have opened up so many opportunities to new design possibilities! But balance is still the operative word. The balance of color, texture, proportion and warmth in choosing solid fabrics are a key part of your design. Here are our tips – choose one or all, but be mindful of all of them as you work through your design.
Top 10 Tips for Quilt Designs with Solid Fabrics
1. Consider starting with an inspiration piece.This could be anything from a photograph to a ceramic pot, or a historical quilt. You are looking for something that inspires you emotionally, not literally. Draw from the color combinations that are used.
2. Be aware of texture, sheen and weave in the solids you are choosing. It may be a simple answer to choose from the same manufacturer’s line for consistency. But by mixing it up a bit in these three areas, you may be adding depth and interest to your final work. Check out all your options at your favorite quilt shops.
3. Choose a minimal color palette to create elements with striking graphic design. Consider the one and two color historical quilts and the strong graphic elements that they evoke. Think of the overall impact of the finished quilt and don’t get caught up in focusing on just the individual blocks.
4. Choose a multi-color palette to create a dynamic and exciting overall design. Or as, Gianni Versace once said, “less is a snore.” A multi-colored print is a great place to draw color inspiration from. Use the colored dots on the selvedge to shape your color palette. These are the manufacturer’s registration marks and are usually tried and true. Now, take a moment and look at the amount of each color used in the fabric design. Read on to # 5 . . . .
5. Explore proportions. You can control the interaction of color choices by size and placement. Solid fabrics have a greater visual impact than prints. Manipulate this with the interaction of large and small elements to create drama and effect.
6. Rely on the rules of color theory – Just as with prints, be aware of balancing the amount of light, medium and dark colors you choose. You will find solids in every hue, value, tint and shade.Line your stash up in a manageable order by one of these categories. Move them around, tweak the order and placement. Make sure that they all play well together.
7. Be aware of saturated colors vs. non-saturated colors. Saturation offers wide range of impact and can also play an important role in the final results. Use a large amount of a strong color for a wow factor, or just add a sliver of an unusual color for accent or interest.
8. Combine warm colors with cool colors.Warm colors tend to advance, while cool colors recede. Think of designing a room in your home. Would you be happy with a completely cool, blue bedroom? Adding a lavender lamp to your bedside may give just the touch of warmth needed. How about a sumptuous red dining room? A slate blue vase might be the perfect accent to offset the warm reds.
9. Add a repeating neutral to bring cohesiveness to the design-even if your neutral is red or turquoise. It will give consistency and flow to a busy design.
10. Consider negative vs. positive space. This could be a complete topic on it’s own . . . but in short, use negative space to your advantage, allowing a resting place between solid color elements. This allows each element and color to be appreciated. I think of it as the difference between a photo collage on a refrigerator vs. choosing a few precious photos to frame and hang on the wall. Each is wonderful in it’s own way, but you are looking at the refrigerator as one big photo essay, and the wall as individual moments in time.
Congratulations go to MoeWest, the winner of a copy of Laura’s book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!, third edition. Laura will be in contact with you shortly to arrange shipping.
Laura and I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with peace, happiness and love. We will see you back here in 2016 for another year of fun with See How We Sew!
Greetings to all our regular readers and welcome to those of you new to our blog. Today I am excited to be participating in a Craftsy Blog Hop/Tour with several other Craftsy instructors. I’m pleased to be among this exciting line-up of instructors who will each be sharing a bit of information on their classes. On this tour you will find a variety of inspirational classes. Craftsy offers an abundance of other creative class choices as well, so be sure to check them out. Two of my personal favorites are baking (hmmm, what a surprise) and bread making. There is something for everyone – jewelry making, woodworking, painting, photography and so much more.
You will have an opportunity to visit each of the blogs, learn about the classes, and sign up, if interested. You will automatically be entered to win a FREE Craftsy class of your choice. You can find all the details below.
Here’s a bit about me and my Craftsy class, Improve Your Quilts: 37 Troubleshooting Techniques. As you may know, I’ve been quilting, writing and teaching since the early 80’s. I am happiest in the classroom and especially enjoy helping students problem solve some of the challenges that often occur. In my class I address many of the most common disappointments (I truly don’t like the word mistake) that can arise during the quilt making process. There are seven lessons that cover everything from fabric selection to binding.
Want to know how to avoid cutting those disappointing bent strips? It’s all in the preparation of your fabric. Take time to press the fabric, properly align the selvages and be sure the folded edge is without ripples before you make your first cut. This is no time to rush. Accurate cutting helps to prevent disappointments . . . and wasted fabric. Remember, success comes in the details.
Fabric selection … ah, yes. This seems to be one of the most challenging steps for many of us. There are so many wonderful bolts of fabric to choose from. How do I know where to start? I share several tips, including the use of Joen Wolfrom’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool. This tool includes 24 color cards plus and in-depth instructional guide to help make color planning easy. It’s both fun and user friendly. By the way, Joen also offers a color class on Craftsy.
Here’s the schedule and links to the participating blogs. Happy Hopping Everyone!
My first class with Craftsy was the FREE 2013 Block of the Month. It is always available. You can join the classroom by simply clicking on the image on the sidebar of this page.
Here’s how to enter the Craftsy giveaway.
Click here to purchase any of the classes from the instructors on the blog hop and you will be automatically entered to win any other class of your choosing for FREE at the conclusion of the blog hop. Winners will be chosen on December 14, 2015.
In addition to the Craftsy Giveaway, I would also like to send a signed copy of my most recent book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!, third edition, to one lucky reader. Simply post a comment by end of day, December 14th, letting me know your favorite creative outlet (sewing, quilting, knitting, etc.) and I will put your name in the hat. I’ll announce my winner with my next post.
Finally, I want to thank so many of you for your heartfelt comments from my recent Paying it Forward post. I had a hard time selecting just one, so I decided to randomly pick the following 3 readers to each receive a yard of fabric from my stash: Brita, Jean and Carol Stickelmaier. I will be contacting you shortly. Pass it on everyone, you are all the best!
Oh yes, and just one more photo before I sign off, just because I’m such a lover of ladybugs, and couldn’t resist sharing.
This is such a busy time of year for all of us. It seems particularly busy for me and my multi-faith family. The moment the Thanksgiving dishes are put away, we begin to celebration plans for anniversaries, my husband’s office party and Hanukkah. Not always in that particular order. And then, we are on to Christmas and New Years. My anxiety kicks in just thinking about it.
This year, Hanukkah falls nicely into our holiday madness – early in December with no overlap. To me, that means that I can enjoy the preparations for our annual Hanukkah party, sharing latke love with friends and family.
We started this tradition about 13 years ago, when one of my daughter’s friends announced she wanted to celebrate Hanukkah to have 8 nights of gifts. I took it upon myself to invite our kids’ friends and their families to share the true meaning of the Festival of Lights. We have been celebrating this tradition ever since! Families, friends, good food and candlelight – what could possibly be better?
Each year, no matter how many guests I invite, my kids (now 23 and 25) seem to make their own guest list of hungry friends- and we end up with a house full of multi-denominational, latke-eating, candle-lighting regulars, sharing a special night with us. It’s one of my favorite moments of this time of the year.
I like to sprinkle dreidels and chocolate gelt on the tables, to add to the festiveness. The dreidel spinning begins, along with discussions of the preferred choice of gelt – dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
I don’t profess to be a great potato latke master. In fact, I am not even Jewish. I grew up on a farm in Iowa! But, in the early years of my marriage, my wonderful and very cunning mother-in-law had a way of teaching me all the families favorite dishes without even realizing it. I will always be grateful for that. When she came for a visit, she would announce that we would be making something I had never heard of for dinner that night. I got used to keeping extra onions and celery on hand when I knew she was visiting!
I may not have ever heard of Kasha Varnishkes or Matzo Brei, but by gosh, I sure learned how to make them! Unfortunately, my mother-in-law passed away long before my curiosity with sweet potatoes peaked.
There are many wonderful recipes online with tips to pursue perfection in frying potato latkes. I won’t even begin to give advice in that arena. I make them, and they are tasty, but I know there are better latkes out there. I am actually known more for the brisket or homemade applesauce that flag the buffet table. And over the years I have become known by my friends for frying a pretty mean sweet potato latke.
I thought it would be fun to share my favorite recipe with you. There may be better ones out there, but this is what I have been making for years, and I think I have it down to a science at this point. At least, I have no guests complain yet!! I like them best with homemade applesauce (extra cinnamon, please), but they are also wonderful with sour cream.
Sweet Potato Latkes
2 leeks, rinsed thoroughly and cut into chunks
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, quarter and to fit in food processor*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or matzoh meal
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
canola oil, 24 fl. oz.
You will also need: food processor, 12″ in deep cast iron skillet and a splatter screen, metal spatula, ice cream scoop, salt shaker and pepper grinder, and a cookie sheet lined with 2-3 layers of brown paper bags or paper towels.
*Tip: You can shred the potatoes by hand, but the food processor is much easier and does a wonderful job with sweet potatoes.
Break 3 eggs into a large size bowl and beat well.
Using the “S” blade on your food processor, mince leeks until almost pureed. Transfer to egg mixture and mix together.
Attach the julienne slicer blade to the food processor. Feed the sweet potatoes through the processor to shred. Transfer shredded potatoes to the large bowl. Tip: Rinse out the processor immediately, so that you don’t end up with an orange “stain” to the plastic.
Sprinkle in 1/2 the flour and the nutmeg. Mix well. Sprinkle remaining flour, until it gets a “sticky” consistency.
Heat 1/2″ of oil in a deep 12-inch cast iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Turn the heat to medium and make a “test” latke. With a ice cream scoop, spoon potato mixture into oil and gently flatten to 3-inch diameter with a slotted spatula. Tip: I usually take a fork and loosen up the edges, to get a cripsy, hairy texture.
Salt and pepper, then cover with a splatter screen. Cook until golden and crispy, about 2- 3 minutes, then flip and fry for another 2 minutes. You may need to flatten again once turned. The latke should have a crispy enough surface that it will not break up when turning. If it breaks apart, add a bit more flour to the remaining mix.
Transfer to cookie sheet and fry remaining mix, making 4 at a time.
Transfer latkes with spatula to cookie sheet to drain. You may move to a warm oven until finished frying the remaining latkes.
Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream. Enjoy!
And so, with the lighting of the candle on the first night of Hanukkah, the holiday season has officially began for my family. One lovely evening of family and friends enjoying traditions and embracing the holiday season together.
May all of our readers have a wonderful and peaceful holiday season filled with happiness and love!
Doesn’t it always feel good when something nice and unexpected comes your way? Or better yet, when you are on the giving end of such a gesture. I recently returned from Tennessee and while standing in line for lunch at a local restaurant, the young man in front of me asked the cashier to pass his change (about $3 or so) on to the next person in line. That would be me! It just gave me a moment to pause and smile. How lovely, I thought. I decided to keep the chain going by passing my change on to the next person. Who knows just how long it went on, it really doesn’t matter. I only know that in the moment, it felt good.
I returned home to find this sweet treasure waiting for me in the mailbox. My dear friend, Anita Grossman Soloman, knows how much I adore ladybugs so, as you can read, has passed her leftover piece on to me. The fabric is Indochine: Lotus Leaf Ladybugs Indigo by Alexander Henry Fabrics. I have it in red but had not yet seen it in indigo. Thank you, Anita!
I plan to use the fabric to make some little treasure that will remind me of Anita and how much I both love her work and am so grateful for her friendship. But, before I do, I’m going to cut the piece in half and share it with Pati. I don’t want her to feel obligated to use it or even challenge her to make something specific, but I will be anxious to see what she might come up with if she does decide to use it.
We could go on and on sharing our pieces and cutting them in half until there is nothing left but a pile of threads. Instead I would like to send one of you a 1/2 yard piece of fabric from my stash and encourage you to share with someone special. If you are interested in playing along, please simply leave a comment by November 25th telling me if you have a particular style of fabric or color that speaks to you. I will put your name in the hat and announce the winner in my next post. I’ll be anxious to hear what you have to say and then have fun hunting through my stash to find just the perfect one to share.
Until next time, enjoy this wonderful season of giving thanks!
Pati and I are finally able to share with you the first of the four blocks we made for the 100 Blocks in 50 Days challenge sponsored by Janome and Michael Miller Fabrics. It is called Jigsaw Landscape and is made using fabrics from Michael Miller’s new Cotton Couture line of solid fabrics.
Here is the collection of fabrics we had to choose from for our challenge blocks.
For this block, I decided to try my hand at cutting and piecing free-form curves. You can watch our video tutorial here and Pati’s advanced curve piecing post here. You will find complete downloadable instructions for making this block, along with all other 99 blocks, on Janome’s blog. In addition to getting free instructions, you will find a few exciting offerings so please take time to visit the website and take advantage of this opportunity. If you are just joining the viewing fun, you might want to check out our previous post to see what these two companies have in store for a few lucky winners.
Have fun with this challenge and we hope to see you back here for my second block on December 16th and Pati’s on December 17th and 22nd.
If you are new to our blog, we thank you for visiting and hope you take time to look through some of our previous posts, enjoy some free patterns, recipes and video tutorials.
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?
So, this is where you come in . . .
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.
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!
I hope you have been following the past few weeks with See How We Sew, as we continue to explore quilt block design. Laura passed the baton on to me this week to see what I would do with the Tumbling Diamond Block that she found in one of her old favorite quilt books, The Quilters.
Before getting started – can we just take a moment to appreciate Laura’s knowledge and instruction in her posts the past 2 weeks? I learned so much! I hope you did too! And what about the cool design created when she used the mirror to show her block in repeat? Just saying . . . it was a real eye opener for me. If you missed her posts, take a moment to go back and catch up on all the fun:
I loved the fabrics Laura chose for this challenge. But, I was drawn to the very minimalist block in the second row of the inspiration quilt. So, I decided to add solid white to the combination to help achieve that same feel.I guess you could call today’s blog post, Tumbling Diamonds Part 3, The Sequel, or maybe even Technical Block Design Goes Rogue. I began as I often do – by cutting and sewing a few curves, kind of like a little bit of warm up to get me started. If you are interested in learning this technique, check out our video, Cutting and Sewing Curves Tutorial.
I followed Steps 2 and 3 of Laura’s instructions to construct my diamonds. By adding the curved strips, my diamonds took on a life of their own, though. I see this as a good thing – I want to focus on movement and a whole lot of wonky direction.
I knew that the block needed to be completely improvisational to obtain this. My challenge was, how to keep the free form construction when the original block had so many angles and y seams? It just wasn’t as obvious to me as deconstructing a Nine Patch or Log Cabin would be. I decided that the answer was to construct my block in three respective rows, which would allow plenty of room to emphasize those wonky angles to my diamonds.
Once I created my three rows, the next step was to attach them. Remember my warm-up excercise? I went back to cutting more curves, this time, the angles of the diamonds dictated the shape of my curve. This made it fairly simple to attach the three rows.
Because of all the random angles and curves I added into the block, it definitely did not end up square at this point.
Adding a border to square up my block was an option. I simply relied on curved piecing again to accomplish this step.
The busy print added a lot of movement, but the border was not exactly what I had in mind. This is where I went a little rogue. I wanted to think outside of the box on this re-design and here it is. . .
Why not trim the busy print down to 1/2″, then turn it under to look almost like a binding? Just enough to show a peak of the busy lines in the fabric.
Then finish as an applique block with a background block. By doing this, the block takes on a totally different look, depending on the background choice. It also keeps the wonky movement that I was trying to achieve. Which one do you think works the best? Leave a comment and let me know!
That was fun, Laura! I guess I need to come up with a challenge to hand off to you next time.
In the mean time, Carol Van Zandt has had her camera out and taking photos of all the wonderful quilt events that have been happening in our area. We will be sharing the links over the next few weeks. Be sure to check out her blog, The Plaid Portico for a lovely photo post Freddy Moran at Quilting in the Garden.