Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Friends, Inspiration, and some catch-up

My friend, Nancy, wants so badly to make a double wedding ring quilt. She was told it was too difficult. Well, it is a difficult pattern, but no more than many others out there - when you put your mind to it anything is possible. So, she ordered a gazillion fabrics -- yes really!  She wants to make a more modern-type wedding ring. Well, let me tell you, all her excitement got me excited and inspired. You see, many, many moons ago I started a wedding star quilt. I had decided to use one fabric for the rings instead of following the pattern. Well, I got everything cut out, managed to piece one melon and had enough, it didn't help that I was dissatisfied with the green fabric. So, away the project went, into a tub on the shelf - most likely never to be touched again. Yes, it was a long time ago. I can tell you that I cut all the arcs while I sat in line at parent pickup waiting for my son from school. I can also tell you that he is now 23... like I said, a long time ago.  Here's a pic of the one and only melon - and see, that green doesn't even match (maybe that's why I put it away).

Well, I'm thinking all of Nancy's excitement stirred up some inspiration in me, I pulled down the tub of wedding ring parts, looked through all the pieces, remembered how much I love the arc fabric, and decided I might get back to this project. Except, I won't be piecing it.  I've decided I won't be doing the star parts either, just the arcs - a more traditional wedding ring quilt.  And better yet, I'll be appliqueing them - yay, I enjoy applique so much more than piecing.

So I took all the arc pieces that I cut with scissors eons ago, made a template and then cut foundation pieces for turned edge foundation applique.


My planned applique layout (I think this might work):

Stitching the edges down:

Piecing two appliqued blocks together:

And the green and brown for the four patch corners:

So blame this one on Nancy, but I must say, I did more work on this project over the weekend than I have in all the years I've had it!  Hopefully you'll see it on the frame sometime this year!

So what else has been going on you ask?
Well, I finished my Cherrywood Fabrics Lion King Challenge - you'll be able to read all about it soon.  I'm waiting until after the entry deadline to share all the wonderfulness with you!

I'm prepping for my next teaching event at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA in July.  There are only a few spots left in my classes so if you're thinking about signing up you might not want to wait.  I'm only there for two days teaching Build-A-Stitch, Doodle Quilting, and Filling the Space - all three are awesome classes, and if you've taken a hands-on class with me before you know we stitch, and stitch, and then stitch some more!  No worries, we'll get you a chair if you're tired.

I'll also have my brand-new rulers with me at Quilt Odyssey.  I only have a very limited supply available for my students in class.  You can go to my website store or use the link on the sidebar over there -----> to preorder and as soon as I return from the show I'll be placing another order to have more made and you'll be the first ones to receive them!  They are awesome, I love them (maybe that's why I had them made...) and I'm planning to do a short video with them soon (so you can love them too).

One more tidbit for Quilt Odyssey -- I'm hoping (fingers crossed so tight my eyes are all squinty) to have my second book Build-A-Stitch 2 - Even More Stitches finished, printed, and ready for sale by then.

Oh, I also managed to cut, lazy-piece (my word for straight-line-not-much-thought-necessary piecing), and square up the blocks for an entire king-size quilt.  When it will get pieced into rows... hahaha, that's another story!

Well, I think that's it... for now!  And please excuse any typos - spell-checker is not working right now.  Happy Stitching peeps - go create something amazing!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The goings-on in my little world

So here goes a little quilty catch-up. I've been working on a few things (like always). In trying my best to stay on track (hahaha) I've been using due dates to select my work order. So during those far and few between moments that I'm not working on client work here's what I've been up to.

You all remember the Cherrywood Fabrics #wickedchallenge from last year, right?  If not, click here for my post about my entry, Elphie. Well, the #wickedchallenge was so awesome, that Cherrywood decided to do another one, the #lionkingchallenge. You know me, I had to be a part of this one too! Just look at those awesome fabrics!

Here's a peek at my project - what, a lion?  You've got to be kidding, right?!!  I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of lions for this challenge. But, remember, this is only a peek - it is going to change a lot!

And some of this:

And some of this:

And a whole bunch of these:

Can you tell it's almost killing me not to share? I absolutely love my challenge and can't wait until I'm able to share with all of you!

Okay, now you see what's been consuming all my free time. Well, almost. I did manage to float in the pool over the weekend!

And then there's that modern challenge I was talking about in my last post.  Here are the fabrics for that - some white Cotton Couture, and some beautiful blues from Cherrywood!

I do have a plan, but as of right now that's all it is - a plan. Stepping out of my comfort zone with this modern thing...

No, I haven't forgotten about Dance in the Rain, it's on the back burner for a few weeks as I try to get ahead on other deadlines - like my Journeys Thru Art Project, which is due in November. This years subject is bridges. I am doing the Trenton Makes bridge. I have a conference call tomorrow with the awesome Cindy Lohbeck (Hands on Hand Dyes) to discuss the background fabric - I can't wait to hear what she has planned for my background fabric.

Oh, and I can't forget about the Journeys Thru Art groups field trip this week... Zoo Miami!!  I can not wait! I have been wanting to do a quilt of the Giant Eland (Lord Derby Eland) for a long while now -- when I found out that Zoo Miami was one of only a handful of places that has the Giant Eland I literally squealed. Why? Because I can stand there all afternoon and take pictures until I get the one I absolutely want. So yeah, on top of everything else I want to create, we'll just add a Giant Eland quilt too - no biggy! So watch next week for some awesome zoo pics on my photo blog!

I think that's it... no worries, if I'm forgetting something it'll just be in the next post!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A *Modern* Challenge

Well, there it is.  That *modern* word...

I knew it would be showing its face in my little world eventually, and it did, at MQS. I was with my friends Jodi and Eva, and Jodi had just won first place in the Modern Category (again), Eva and I jokingly said we should both make a modern quilt for next year and make it a sort of challenge. This isn't a far stretch for Eva, she has done modern quilts before. But me, never, not that I can recall, other than stitching on a client quilt. And we all know stitching on a quilt is much different than creating a quilt. I've been told in the past that I don't have a specific style... my quilts range from traditional to innovative to art -- but nowhere in there have I conquered modern.

Let's start with what makes a quilt modern?

Damned if I know...
I started with the Modern Quilt Guild, following is their definition:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. "Modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

Well, there you have it!

Now armed with this knowledge I searched deep into my creativity vault and found an idea. I begin research - looking at photos, doodling my plan, etc. What's the very first thing my brain wants to do? Yep, make it as realistic as possible and turn it into an art quilt. No! Okay, let's review that definition again (as a starting point). Prints - me, NO! Okay, I'm clinging to the high contrast, graphic areas of solid color, and perhaps minimalism. I can even do the expansive negative space part. But my brain keeps going right back to art as soon as I doodle - my modern is obviously broken.So, if you have any modern advice feel free to throw it at me!

Friday, May 13, 2016

MQS 2016

Even though MQS is still going on, I, unfortunately, am home already.  I had a wonderful two days of teaching, and was thrilled to find out that True Colors (aka White Lines) won an Honorable Mention in the Over the Top Custom category - pic was taken before the awards ceremony and I left before dawn the next morning so this is all we've got!

Just the Two of Us was hanging as well:

I totally forgot to take any pictures in my first class... so unlike me!  But here's a peek at my second class:

These ladies were creative superstars, really!  Take a peek at these awesome doodles:

And, of course, not a single picture from my last class either.  We were so busy creating design layouts and brainstorming ideas there just wasn't any time!

I did manage to snap pictures of a few quilts as I ran through the show in search of a quilt to award my teacher ribbon - these really caught my attention:

But I chose this one for my teacher ribbon:

It is Brianna's Choice by Laurel Kindley -- I love the colors as well as the thread work.  I know the photo is lacking the ribbon (remember I left early), my friends were kind enough to hang the ribbon on my choice for me the next day.

And you can't attend a quilt show and not run into a few friends - I am privileged to be friends with some really talented amazing people!

...and, patiently waiting for MQS 2017!

Friday, May 6, 2016

When the universe speaks...


Seriously. A little over three years ago I started working on a kaleidoscope quilt. It was a class given by my friend Marian, based on Ricky Tims book Kool Kaleidoscope quilts. I made (what felt like) yards and yards of strata. The fabrics were a 9 level gradation of grays hand dyed by my friend Natalie. I added a plain muslin as it needed something a little lighter that the lightest grey.  I had named it Dance in the Rain (my son's favorite quote) because the fabric resembled a gloomy rainy day.

Three years this project sat untouched until recently when the universe hollered at me. In less than 30 minutes I had read that quote twice on two different Facebook statuses. No worries universe, I heard you. I spent 45 minutes later that night looking through my massive mess for the project. I found it, opened the tub, and asked myself where the heck did I leave off (as I can't find the book). After a few minutes of fondling all of the pieces it slowly started to come back to me. 

The next day I was wondering through Joann's Fabrics and what jumps out at me but another message from the universe!

Okay, I got it - the message has been heard loud and clear! So that weekend I continued where I left off.

Now, with all the pieces I continued making my pie slice shapes. Well, I pieced three together, and then the other three. Making sure to carefully line up all gazillion (21) seams in each piece. Whew! So with my two halves constructed I continued to make a whole. Hahaha... After five attempts I stopped. You all know I'm much better at machine quilting than I am piecing, right?!!  Anyway, my center is awful. But it's okay, I had planned for a bunch of appliqué anyway -- I'll fix it later and no one will be the wiser -- well, except for all of you!  This is just one of the reasons why I love appliqué. You can solve many piecing woes -- fabric manipulation, it's a good thing!

So here is where the project is now (and don't look too closely at that awful center):

Look at those waves - looks like I'll have some fabric manipulation when I go to quilt this one! And even without having the book in front of me, I know my kaleidoscope isn't constructed the same as the technique in the book. I did not add the wedge pieces -- that's because this entire unit will be appliqued to a background fabric. Well, that, as well as a lot of other applique. And I'm not even ready to discuss the border yet... it's still flying around in my brain.

Please appreciate my sharing this. I get a lot of praise for sharing all the things I do, but I also catch a lot of flak. Some people say that by the time I debut my quilts everyone has already seen enough of them. Others feel I over-share - like that's even possible! Well guess what, I truly enjoy sharing with all of you. This is why I share it all -- the good, the bad, the wins, the mistakes -- all of it.  I shared (hehe) something about over-sharing on my other blog a long while back - click here if you'd like to read it.

Stay tuned for more on Dance in the Rain -- hoping to get a few minutes (hours) to work on it this weekend before I leave for MQS!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MQS is next week!

Wow, time flew by faster than its normal super-speedy rate!

Although I am super excited about teaching next week, I am nowhere near ready. Today I managed to finish up my handouts and send them off to the printer. Hopefully, I was typing coherently and they make sense -- if not, it'll be similar to speaking with me when I'm super ADD.  Tomorrow I need to get all my fabric/batting kits ready and somehow get them into my suitcase. If not, it'll be a quick trip to Fedex for two-day shipping.  This is the most unorganized I have been in a long while. So many things going on - both client work as well as my own work (more on that later).

Enough of my crazies, back to MQS - you remember that last post where I showed you my block for the Teachers Auction quilt. Here is a peek at my block all quilted up by my amazing friend Gina Perkes.
photo by Gina Perkes/the Copper Needle
Isn't it awesome?!! And here's a peek at the Teachers Quilt - even more awesomeness:
photo by Gina Perkes/the Copper Needle

All the teachers that created blocks did an excellent job and Gina created a super cool sashing and did some beautiful stitches to pull it all together!  I'm so proud to be part of this amazing group!

Okay, again back to that last post... remember I was going to donate one of my earlier pieces for the Audacious Auction?  Well, here it is - Sidewalk Chalk:

Do you remember Sidewalk Chalk? If not, and you want to know all about it, click here

Well, I think that's it... hope to see you next week at MQS!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MQS is around the corner!!

MQS is two weeks away - what?!!  Although time is flying by much too quickly, I am super excited to be teaching at MQS again.  You might remember the awesomeness from last year, if not, click here.

So like I said, I'm excited to be teaching again this year, although I'm only there teaching for two days!! It'll be a quick show for me. There is still some room in my classes -- check them out here.

Oh, and you won't want to miss the Audacious Auction this year.  As it is their 20th Anniversary, several of the teachers have gotten together and made blocks for a special auction piece.  Gina Perkes will be piecing all the blocks as well as quilting it -- it's going to be amazing!  You might not want to miss this!!

Here's my block:

And here's a peek at what Gina is doing with the blocks.  I can't wait to see this piece finished!!
photo by Gina Perkes/The Copper Needle
You might remember last year I made a brand new piece for the Auction, it was named Joker's Jest - and the highest bidder turned out to be Claudia Pfeil -- how amazing was that!  This year I won't be making a new piece - there just aren't enough hours in my days.  Don't fret, I'll be donating one of my earlier pieces - I won't be sharing which one just yet - you might have to just wait until the auction to see! 

I really hope to see many of my quilty peeps this year at MQS, or maybe even meet a few new ones -- will I see you?

Monday, April 11, 2016

A little quilty catch-up...

So, while I was teaching in Lancaster I received a text from my friend Eyvonne.  Our quilt, Outta the Loop, won Best of Show as well as Best Machine Quilting at the Palm Beach County Quilt show. Wow, wasn't that some awesome news!  Here's a peek at the ribbons (it also has the 1st Place ribbon):

And just in case you've never seen Outta the Loop, here's a pick of the front and back:

And, as if new ribbons weren't enough... here's the latest copy of American Quilter magazine with the newest Gammill Quilting ad, featuring, Outta the Loop:

This is Gammill's new A Quilter's Story campaign.  You can read all about my Outta the Loop story here.

Also, some catch-up on Just The Two of Us (the pelican quilt).  You might remember me telling you about it's first show and my questioning my background choice.  Well, it just hung at MQX and the critique was good, it did mention that a higher value contrast could enhance the design.  Now that's a critique... nothing about cutting my background down, nothing about there being too much water - nothing to make me feel my decisions were wrong.  Ahhh, a sigh of relief.  But, back to the good part of this... it turns out, Just the Two of Us was chosen by Janet-Lee for the Founders Award - woohoo.  How awesome is that - totally made my day!
photo by Janet-Lee Santeusanio
Oh... and one more tidbit for you -- I have finally returned to working on Dance in the Rain -- yes, it has been three years.  More on this soon -- there's a lot going on with it, and yes I'm taking lots of pictures, just not sharing them yet.  Soon, I promise!

Monday, March 28, 2016

AQS Quiltweek Lancaster!

Talk about an amazing week... whew, it went by soooo fast!

I was blessed to again teach for AQS - this time in Lancaster, PA. My week started on Monday with travel. It was really nice riding from Philly airport - I recognized so make signs - King of Prussia, Reading, it was like I was back on my old stomping grounds (well, close).

Tuesday was judging day. This was a new experience for me. I was a little anxious as first, but I'm so glad I took part in the process. Such an amazingly talented group of quilters out there right now -- some of the pieces were beyond beautiful, all amazing, but some just stuck out more than others. I guess that's what it is like with all shows - narrowing it down to the absolute best of the best. I'm thankful I had my place with two other knowledgeable judges - I think we had a good balance. And now you know why I didn't have an entry. In case you haven't already seen, here is the link to the winners.

Wednesday started a full day of teaching:

A full house in my Build-A-Stitch class.

And an afternoon of Effortless Trapunto:

And here's a peek at just a few of the student's projects:

And then on to Thursday, which started with Piece & Applique the Longarm Way.

And a selfie with not only a student, by also one of my clients! It was great to finally meet Deborah in person. 

And a full house in the afternoon's Doodle Quilting class.  This class is soooooo much fun! 

And Friday was feather day!

Look at this fantastic sample that Linda stitched up in class! 

And then... right when I thought my week was going wonderfully it hit. Friday night while the rest of the world was sleeping I was wide awake with one of the worst stomach bugs I've had in a long time. I managed to get a tiny amount of sleep and pulled myself together for Saturday's class. Many thanks to the students who helped me load the machines Saturday morning as I was still in a lot of pain and not quite myself.  We took it slow, spent a few minutes extra at the whiteboard, and then got on with class - yes, with loads of hydrating water and lots and lots of hand sanitizer!

So here is Saturday mornings Big Border Breakdown class - this was an awesome group of ladies - and about an hour into class I was managing pretty well. And, a local photographer also popped in and snapped a gazillion picks of the students working away. I've gotta tell you - there were some talented border breakdowns happening and I wish I was feeling better to have snapped some pics - you would have been so proud of these ladies, I know I was!

Even with being sick - it was a fantastic week in Lancaster!

In case I missed seeing you - here are some of my upcoming teaching events:

MQS - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - May 11-14, 2016

Quilt Odyssey - Hershey, PA - July 21-24, 2016

I look forward to maybe seeing you soon!

Oh and I can't forget! Over on instagram, Kathryn @lovebugquilts shared her at-home doodle quilting practice piece -- look how awesome, she's definitely got this!