Saturday, January 25, 2020

My third quilt - trying new techniques

So after achieving success at the County 4-H fair with my second quilt (you can read about it here) , I switched crafts for a few years and worked on some latch hook rugs.  But then came back to quilting.   

I was learning those multi-crafting skills early in life - who knew how valuable that would be to me later! 

For my third quilt I went back to the "baby blocks" that I used for my first quilt but this time after assembling the center motif, I hand-appliqued them onto the background fabric.  I got the borders on and then life happened.  

College, jobs, Grandma's declining health and a whole host of things prevented me from finishing the quilt.  

And then, 20 years later, I got my longarm!  I don't think this was the first project I quilted on my longarm but it was one of the first few.  Again, who said you weren't supposed to do freemotion and ruler work and template work as a beginner! 

By this time, I had "graduated" to quilting cottons instead of cotton-poly blend.   It has some faded spots and that's okay.  I still love it!

And like my other two early quilts, I analyze the design decisions that I made and wonder what would happen if I did that again :) 

Friday, January 24, 2020

My second quilt - building and growing my stills

I made my second quilt the year following my first quilting adventure, so I was about 14-15 years old.  A lot of the decisions regarding my second quilt were based on what happened with my first quilt.  If you haven't read the story, check it out here

And that's the way it should be, learn from your mistakes, build and grow from there. 

So with my second quilt, all of the design decisions were based solely around what would make the judge happy at the county 4-H fair!   Instead of using a pattern, I designed my own quilt.  And quilting would be done only with quilting thread.  

For whatever reason I was into log cabin quilts at that time.  So I arranged the four log cabin blocks so they would form a cross in the center (still one of my favorite layouts) and then added curve piecing for the background around the center blocks.  Of course, these curved were all pieced, not appliqued.  No one told me that curved piecing was difficult - so I did it!  

Well, this quilt did much better.  It received a Champion ribbon and Grandma was happy! 

And just like my first quilt, this one was made with cotton-poly fabrics and hand quilted.  Interestingly when you compare the hand-quilting on the two, my quilting was much better when I was younger.  I think I had more time and was more careful then. 

As I look at this quilt now, I still love it.  Would I design such a complex quilt today?  My first reaction is "no", but then I think why not?  Who would have thought that my designs from roughly 40 years ago would still inspire me today ....  Again STOP, don't do the math! 

Stay tuned for my post on the third quilt that I ever made.  To make sure you don't miss that post, be sure to enter your email in the "subscribe" box at the top of the right hand column. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

My first quilt - where it all began

I thought for sure I had blogged about my first three quilts - but if I did, I sure can't find the post!
So I'm going to share a bit about each of my first three quilts in individual posts over the next few days. 

I made my first quilt when I was about 13-14 years old.  It was a wall hanging that I saw in one of my Grandma Scott's quilting magazines.  I loved it and I had to make it!   
So off to the fabric store we went to buy cotton-poly blend!  GASP!  Yes, that is what a lot of quilts were made from back in the late 1970's.   Okay - stop right now on doing the math to see how old I am!  :) 

As Grandma made all her quilts, we started with a cardboard template to draw the diamond shapes and I traced and hand cut each of them using scissors.   

And for everyone gasping that this would be a first quilt - Grandma has high expectations for everything I did.  No one told me that working with bias cut fabric and sewing Y-seams was supposed to be difficult.  

I still love this wall hanging, even in it's now faded way.  I love the color placement and the optical illusion of the 3-dimensional cube.   Maybe that's why I design so many quilts with secondary patterns and optical illusions today. 

And yes, I hand quilted it.  

And yes, my hand-quilting then was better than it is today!   

So the rest of the story on this quilt.  I entered it at the county 4-H fair and I received a red ribbon.  Grandma was mortified!  The judges critique was that I had used a decorative thread to quilt it with instead of quilting thread.  The pattern called for decorative thread.  I like the contrasting thread but the judge sure didn't like it!  

Remember this story for my blog post about the second quilt I made .....  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Autumnal Flannel 12 Fat Quarter Bundle

I'm back with my weekly Curated Fat Quarter Bundles and you don't want to miss this one! 

This week's bundle is a 12 pack of flannel fat quarters in a lovely mix of autumnal colors.  All of the fabrics are from leading manufacturer's - mostly Maywood - and all are quilt shop quality. 

The bundle is available in my Etsy store for $34.98 with free domestic shipping. 

Think about all the beautiful and WARM quilts can you make with these fat quarters! 

Don't wait to purchase as I only have 10 bundles and I know they will sell quickly.  

Stay tuned for next week's bundle.  The best way to get advance notice is to "subscribe" to my blog by entering your email at the top of the right hand column. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

What I'm reading in 2020

I like to read.  I really do.  I just never seem to find time to read so in 2020, I'm planning on reading more.  I'm even putting it in my schedule to read a book per month. 

I'm an old fashioned reader.  I prefer a book in my hands.  

I've tried audio books and I just don't focus well.  My mind is off thinking about 800 other things and the book just becomes background noise.  Or I get so focused on the book then everything else becomes a blur - which isn't good when driving!

I've tried tablets and such and I struggle.  My eyes don't follow a line well.  My eye doctor has a fancy term for it and my glasses help me compensate for it.  Remember the kid in elementary school who had to use a ruler under each line or their finger to follow the words?  Yep, that was me.  And reading out loud ...  I started on one line and ended on the next one down ...  

Anyway, here are some titles that are on my 2020 read list. 

Austin Kleon's three books - Steal Like An Artist,  Keep Going and Show Your Work. Obviously, they are on my nightstand right now :) 
I started with them in this order and need to re-read each one again.  

Another perennial favorite of mine is A Whack on the Side of the Head, by Roger von Oech.   I re-read this book about every 18 - 24 months and I'm always gathering something new from it.   It was published over 25 years ago and it's lessons still hold true today.  

The Launch, by Jeff Walker, has been on my list for over a year.  I need to just buy it and read it ... and stop with the procrastinating! 

As you can tell, I'm pretty much a non-fiction person who loves to read about business strategies and self-improvement.  

But I love to read cookbooks too as I'm always searching for new cookie recipes especially ones with chocolate!  

What's on your read list for 2020? 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Always Better With Jelly - Exclusively Annie's Pattern featuring 2.5" Precut Strips

Quilting with precut strips is a great way to speed up any project.  Always Better With Jelly is one of my latest designs that used 2.5" precut strips (also referred to as Jelly Rolls - thus the "Jelly" reference in the title!).

Always Better With Jelly is a part of the Exclusively Annie's Quilt Design collection available from Annie's Publishing.   And another great thing about this pattern - You can make it many times using different precuts and you will come up with a totally different looking quilt every time! 

The fabrics for this gorgeous quilt are Artisan Batiks Desertscape collection by Lunn Studios from Robert Kauffman.   To make it super easy for you to make this quilt, a complete kit for the top is available too!

To stay up-to-date on the projects I'm working on, be sure to "subscribe" to this blog by entering your email at the top of the right hand column.  This post does contain affiliate links where I receive a small percentage if you purchase the item using the links. This helps support my business and I thank you!  To learn  more, click here

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Beautiful Bouquets - COVER Quilt of Quilter's World Spring 2020 issue

UPDATE:  Single Print & PDF Digital Download patterns are now available for this quilt.  Here are links for your convenience. 

Right before Christmas I got one of those emails that puts a big smile on your face and makes you do a happy dance!  It was a sneak peek of the cover of the soon-to-be-available Spring 2020 issue of Quilter's World magazine and MY QUILT was on the COVER!

When I designed Beautiful Bouquets I knew I really liked the design and I hoped it would be accepted for publication.  For those who don't know, designers receive a call for submissions from the publisher for each magazine and I typically submit 3-5 designs for each call with the hopes that maybe 1 will be accepted.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be selected as the cover quilt!

Beautiful Bouquets is a great stash buster with each bouquet featuring a different set of spring colored fabrics.  The precise stems and leaves are achieved with a bit of paper-piecing.  I used fabrics from my stash to make quilt with the Soft & Bright batting graciously provided by The Warm Company

Also with her name on the cover is my friend, the amazing Debby Brown of Debby Brown Quilts.  She writes a super-informative quilting column which is always a must-read.  

Making this cover even more special is the location of the photo shoot - my friends Ben & Lana's beautiful home! 

You can pick up your copy of Quilter's World at your local quilt shop, at variety of craft retailers or online.  I would love to see your version of Beautiful Bouquets! 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Pulling the Plug on a UFO

If you are like me, you have a lot of UFO's - aka UnFinished Projects.   One of my goals for this year is to finally finish some of them.  I have deliberately gotten two of them out of the tote they were stashed away in and put them front and center in my studio so I can work on them when I have an extra hour or so.  One has even already been pinned up on the design wall and I was amazed at how much I had done...  but it's been 3 or 4 years since I've worked on it! 

And realistically there are some projects that I am just never going to finish.  I ran across one of those projects this morning and am putting the extra fabric back into my stash. 

I'm not even sure what the name of the quilt is!  (I know, that's bad.)  It was a Quilt Show block of the month from many, many moons ago.  I'm guessing the instructions are downloaded on an old laptop.  (I know, not good - please don't judge.)  I had gotten this far on the center but realistically, my love for it isn't there like it used to be.  

So I'm pulling the plug on it.  Since I still have the fabrics, I may add a small 2-3" border onto it and then I'll use it as a practice quilt to play around with some new quilting designs on my longarm.   And I may experiment with a decorative machine binding. 

And ya know what, I'm okay with that.  Actually, I feel good about it.  A weight has been lifted and closure has been brought to another UFO.  

I might end up using it as table topper but most likely it will end up as a quilt for the pooches to lay on while they are in the studio.    Miss Lilly is already thinking it looks pretty good to her.  

And I've got some yardage to add back into my stash in my favorite shades of blue! 

So all is well that ends well.