Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pretty new sewing space

I have always been sheepish about sharing pictures of my sewing space, mainly because it wasn't very pretty. (I tend to be kind of a messy sewer.) I have a spot in our basement where I keep my crapola stash and supplies, but I prefered to migrate my machine and whatever current project I was working on to the kitchen table so that I could be where the action was. It was never a pretty sight and clearing the table every night so we could eat, resulted in a pile of my stuff on the floor next to the kitchen table. Not a good look. And frequently my children's friends would comment to my kids that their mom sure sewed A LOT.
This past fall I had one of those clever "a-hah" moments - which tend to be rare, so it was especially exciting. Our house happens to have a dining room open off the front room, which is the one room I try to keep tidy. A dining room was nice in theory, but we rarely use it for dining - even when we have people over. The only thing I consistently used that room for was photography, since it has two windows that face south and west with the best light in our house.

So my "a-hah" moment came when I finally realized that we could hang doors between the front room and the dining room (creating the ability to close-off the back room and thereby, hide my messes) and I could move my sewing machine in there. It has been fantastic! I'm right off the kitchen so I'm still where the action is, but it's so nice to have a place to keep the machine set up, and to not have to re-clear the kitchen table every night. (I know what some of you are thinking, "Duh! What took you so long?!")
We also did some painting before we made all the switcheroo and hauling fabric into the dining room. Our walls were a really brown-ish taupe and ready for an update. We ended up painting them blue and it is SO pretty and refreshing. It took me forever to pick the paint and then, I'll admit, a little while longer to feel at peace about the shade of blue. (Sherwin-Williams Tidewater) I am the WORST about making those kind of decisions.
One other thing happened to spur me on to finally just make a commitment and paint. We had a leak in the bathroom above our front room which resulted in water dripping through the front-room ceiling. Which, ironically started happening the day I was leaving to teach at the Riley Blake fabric fest in Las Vegas. Of course. Ugh. I had no choice but to walk out the door to catch my flight with water dripping through a hole in my ceiling! (Ahh, such a glamorous life...) The one good thing about having to rip out part of your ceiling and repair it, is that it forces you to finally make a decision about paint...
So, three cheers for a fresh paint job and a simple fix like hanging some doors so that I could shut off this room and make it a usable space. We kept the refurbished china hutch in the room as it provides good storage and the table in the room so that things can be easily cleared and the room could be used for actual dining, if needed. But it's sure getting a lot more use now and not just with my sewing. I put the kids craft supplies in another corner in the room opposite the china cabinet (not pretty at the moment, therefore, not photographed) and I love it when they come in and sit at the table while I sew and work on Perler beads or homework and doing things like sing songs from the Frozen soundtrack. I also LOVE having my design wall right next to my machine! It's so handy.
To increase storage, I added an Ikea Hemnes Dresser which looks pretty and can hold projects while I'm working on them, helping to decrease the clutter. I love it! (And I'm proud to say, I even assembled it myself one weekend while my husband was out of town. Thank you.) Finishing the modern colorwheel dresden wall hanging was the perfect finish for this room. I'm so excited about how things turned out! Plus, it's fun to have a pretty place to set up Big Bertha (the Bernina 710) and give her the space she needs.
I'd like to make a few more mini's to hang on the walls. Right now I just have this little scrap-bag mini. Here's a close up. (This scrappy little mini-quilt project is in the latest issue of Fat Quarterly online magazine - issue 16.)

I may take forever to finally get there, but it sure feels good to get this far. Now on to the rest of the house...could someone please come hold my hand and help me make decisions? Hopefully without a leaky upstairs bathroom to finally get me to take action.

Monday, January 27, 2014

True Colors Modern Dresden Circle Quilt

Today is my day to share as part of the True Colors by Free Spirit blog tour. This past fall Free Spirit fabric company debuted the True Colors collections - a collection of fabric blenders by four of their popular designers: Joel DewberryHeather BaileyAnna Maria Horner, and Jenean Morrison. Creative Bug made a beautiful video with the individual designers talking about their inspiration and motivation to create their True Colors collections. 
I was given the opportunity to play with this pretty True Colors bundle by Jenean Morrison
I also mixed in some of the blender prints from Jenean's latest collection for Free Spirit: Wishing Well.
Here are is the full collection from Wishing Well. A really sweet bundle of prints and colors.
And this is the project I created with Jenean's fabrics - a modern dresden circle quilt. I was inspired as I laid out the fat quarters in color order and knew I wanted something using that spectrum. I've always loved Purl Soho's Color Wheel Quilt and thought this would be the perfect way to create something inspired by that quilt.
My circles measure about 18" in diameter (across). I created them using a traditional Dresden wedge ruler. (Mine is a EZ Quilting Easy Dresden Ruler. I've lost track of how often I use this ruler.) For each Dresden (or circle) block I cut 20 different wedges that were 6" long, but instead of beginning my measurement from the bottom of the ruler, I started it at the 2" line and finished at the 8" line so that I'd get a wider wedge. (I've written another Dresden circle tutorial here if you would like to see how to assemble the 20 wedges.)
When each circle was completed I appliqued the block to a 22" square of white fabric, then quilted the block with a piece of batting. I decided to applique and quilt each block separately to make the quilting a little bit easier, but you could applique all four blocks onto a 42" x 42" square of fabric as well.

Coats and Clark provided me with thread for this project. The thread worked really well for both piecing and quilting.
After the blocks were quilted, I sewed the four blocks together, pressing seams open to help the bulk of the batting lie as flat as possible. Then basted the front piece to the backing and quilted a little bit more to hold the back layer together. I used more of Jenean's Wishing Well for my backing and binding fabrics.
This was such a simple project, but I love the visual impact. I'm such a sucker for simple, primary colors - especially when they're in color spectrum order. I'm hanging this quilt in my new sewing space. 

If you want more inspiration using the Free Spirit True Colors collections, visit these other stops on the blog tour. (You can even enter to win some of that fabric!)
1/20Sew4Home
1/21Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22I’m A Ginger Monkey
1/23The Sewing Loft
1/24Ellison Lane
1/27Dairy of A Quilter (moi)
1/28Material Obsession
1/29Craftsanity
1/30Stitched in Color
1/31Craft Buds
2/3Jay Bird Quilts
2/4Melissa Peda

Speaking of entering to win, I have a fat quarter bundle of Jenean's True Colors to giveaway as well as a jelly roll and two charm packs to two more lucky winners. If you'd like the chance to enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what colors you'd choose if you had to pick your "True Colors." Giveaway open until Saturday, Feb 1 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED. (Please be sure there is a way I can contact you if you are randomly selected!)

Winners:
Darcy said...
Amy this is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing such a lovely giveaway and project :-) My one true color is always green but I'm also a complete sucker for a good fabric rainbow.
Lynn said...
I have said before I am loving using the spectrum of colors right now but my true colors are aqua and green together!
 Catskill Quilter said...
My true colors are aqua and orange - love the way they play together! (Thanks for the info on using the Dresden ruler; I am going to try it this week!)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Moda giveaway from Green Fairy Quilts

Green Fairy Quilts
Today I am sharing a pretty awesome giveaway from one of my sponsors, Green Fairy Quilts, owned by the incredibly talented Judi and her supportive husband. 
Moda Fat Quarter Bundle - Sphere by Zen Chic 
They specialize in Moda and Riley Blake precuts: Fat Quarter BundlesJelly RollsCharm PacksLayer Cakes, etc. They always have the latest collections at great prices. Frequent sales mean the prices get even better. They also have the option to pre-order up-coming collections months ahead to guarantee a new favorite arriving asap.
Judi is also an AMAZING (beyond amazing, really) long-arm machine quilter. Her work has so much detail. You can see a lot of her work on her Green Fairy Quilts blog
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And Judi has written a book to share her quilting experience and wisdom called Wide Open Spaces. The book is full of technical quilting tips, creative quilting advice, simple quilting projects, and includes a CD with quilting templates. 
Today Judi is giving away this Moda Fresh Picked fat quarter bundle to one of you! That's 25 fat quarters! And to another lucky winner, a copy of Wide Open Spaces.

To enter to win, visit Green Fairy Quilts and sign-up for their newsletter (click Join Email List button at the top center of their site) and leave a comment on this post telling me that you've done so. This is a great way to be notified of all their amazing future sales and specials.

For a second chance check out Green Fairy Quilts and come back here to tell me something you love in the shop. Make sure there is a way I can contact you if you win. Giveaway open until January 31 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Thanks Judi!

WINNER: 
Debbie Collins said...

I love the Mirabelle in the March released products, love the coral! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wee Wander Free Quilt Pattern and a BIG thank you!

Well, Wee Wander is arriving in shops starting now! It's such a sweet collection. (I predict the horses will be hugely popular.)

wee wander blog tour logo blog
As part of the fabric release, Sarah Jane is hosting a series of projects, patterns, and tutorials on her blog using the Wee Wander collection.
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The first free pattern available is for the quilt that I made! This quilt measures 38" x 44". 

I am finally getting my Virtual Quilting Bee Kona Solids quilt off to the quilter and realized we still need to have a Virtual Quilting Bee Party! I've been receiving emails from people sharing the beautiful quilts they've created with the Virtual Quilting Bee blocks so I want to have a day where we can link up finished quilts or share them some how. And it has to involve prizes and fabric giveaways too, right? So to give all of us that need it a little more time, we're going to set the date for Monday, February 24 and create a week for people to share and link up their finished quilts or quilt blocks. Stay tuned. If you've needed a little inspiration to get out those blocks and finish, this is it!

Finally a huge thank you for the kind thoughts and well wishes on my new book coming out. I've tried responding personally to as many as I could, but I know I haven't been able to respond to everyone. I truly was amazed and touched by the number of people who shared their happiness for me. And even pre-ordered the book! I can't tell you how much it meant! Holy Smokes! It's not even out yet and yesterday it was the number 1 best seller in the Sewing category on Amazon. That is CRAZY. And all because of YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So, I wrote a book.

Want to hear something crazy? Last year I spent a lot of time making those 12 quilts and never shared one of them here. And why? They are going to be in a book that will come out this Spring called Fabulously Fast Quilts. *someone pinch me*
It all feels a little bit surreal at this point. Let me explain some of the things I've learned about the book production business and you'll see why. Last year at this time the book process felt very real and was constantly on my mind and my kitchen table. Starting September 2012 I made all 12 quilts (with some help on the quilting part) and wrote the content for the book.
Putting in the last biding stitches on the last quilt...
I shipped it all off last May and then stopped for tacos on the way home. Once everything was turned in and it was mostly out of my hands, the actual book felt so far away - still almost a year before it would be published. Martingale, my publisher, then took what I gave them and ran with it!! They took pictures, and edited the content. I got to see the proofs and go through the editing process last summer, but April 2014 and a real live book still felt so far away.
And then THIS showed up! Holy Smokes! There's my book listed on Amazon! It's real! And then I realized 3 months from now, this book that I created will be on the shelves of shops and book-sellers near you. In real life.

I'm excited to share more about this book and the quilts it contains over the next few months prior to it's release. The basic premise is based on short-cuts in quilting. Whether you're someone who has little time to sew because you have a house full of little people who need you, or you have a full-time job, or you just need a quick quilt project, I hope this book will be a good resource for quilts you can be proud of. AND that will fool your friends and family into thinking you spent way more time and cut out way more tiny pieces of fabric than you really did.
I'm still in a little bit of awe that this is real. I certainly couldn't have happened without the support of my family, a few extra nights of take-out pizza, and the encouragement so many of you have shown me here. A huge thank you!
The movie rights for this book are still up for grabs at this point. Although I don't think I could let it get into the hands of Quentin Tarantino - I mean could you imagine the rotary cutter scenes in his version? In the mean time, watch for the book Fabulously Fast Quilts due out April 2014!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Free Spirit True Colors + Busting Your Scraps

I've been making string blocks with my scraps. Right now my sewing table is covered with them. With January comes all that motivation to get organized, so if you're looking for ways to tame all those out of control scraps, I'm sharing 12 ways to bust your scraps over at the We All Sew Blog.


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In other inspiration, are you familiar with the True Colors collections from Free Spirit fabrics? These are collections of gorgeous blenders in saturated colors from four of Free Spirit's popular designers: Joel Dewberry, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria Horner, and Jenean Morrison
These saturated collections are so versatile and great for stash building. Starting next week, watch for a bunch of inspiration using these True Color collections.
Free Spirit recently sent me a bundle of Jenean Morrison's True Colors bundle and I'm having a fun time planning something with these colors. Hint: You know I'm a sucker for classic primary colors in color spectrum order. (They also sent me a bunch to share, so be sure to come back!)
Free Spirit, in connection with Coats and Clark, will be hosting a blog tour. You can visit these blogs to see lots of color inspiration as well as chances to win a lot of pretty fabric!

1/20Sew4Home
1/21Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22I’m A Ginger Monkey
1/23The Sewing Loft
1/24Ellison Lane
1/27Dairy of A Quilter
1/28Material Obsession
1/29Craftsanity
1/30Stitched in Color
1/31Craft Buds
2/3Jay Bird Quilts
2/4Melissa Peda

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vintage Quilt Revival gorgeous quilts

 
If you've been reading quilting blogs this week, then chances are you've seen some of the reviews of the new book Vintage Quilt Revival by Faith Jones, Lee Heinrich, and Katie Clark Blakesley. These three are a talented bunch of quilters. I've admired each of their work for years now and have even taken classes from Faith and Lee. They know their stuff.
This is a gorgeous book. The basic premise of the book is that these quilters have taken traditional quilt blocks and given them a modern spin. They have patterns for 20 different 12" quilt blocks. There are three different quilt layouts for using all 20 blocks. In addition, there is a separate project for each quilt block design. I love a book that has multiple good projects and this one has them in abundance.

If you are a quilter looking to enhance your quilting repertoire, this book is perfect for you. There are some great skill-building lessons in this book, including some gorgeous paper-piecing blocks.
The best part is the book comes with a CD with 12 printable paper-piecing patterns.
I made one of the quilt blocks called Art Square. This block will be included in one of three charity quilts Faith, Lee, and Katie are making and sharing on Friday.
I chose a different use of fabric and color compared to the block in the book, just to play with a new look. Like all quilt blocks, the versatility of color and design options is what makes quilting full of so many possibilities. This is the quilt Katie made with the Art Square block design.
And this block is one of my favorites in the book. I really want to give this one a try because it will push me out of my comfort zone.

If you would like to see other reviews of Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks as well as the blocks created for the charity quilts, check out the other blogs below. I can't wait to see Katie, Lee, and Faith's charity quilt versions with such a variety of colors and styles.

January 13th (Monday): Crazy Mom Quilts - Amanda Jean 
Don’t Call Me Betsy - Elizabeth 
Film in the Fridge - Ashley 
Happy Quilting - Melissa 
Noodlehead - Anna 
  
January 14th (Tuesday): 
I’m A Ginger Monkey - Katy 
Quilting Is My Therapy - Angela 
A Quilting Life - Sherri 
Sew Mama Sew - Kristin 
Tall Grass Prairie Studio - Jacquie 

January 15th (Wednesday): 
Christa Quilts - Christa 
Diary of a Quilter - Amy 
Quilting Gallery - Michele 
Sew Take a Hike - Penny 
V and Co. - Vanessa 
West Coast Crafty - Susan 

January 16th (Thursday): 
Bijou Lovely - Holly 
Don’t You Know Who I Am - Sukie 
Lily’s Quilts - Lynne 
One Shabby Chick - Amber 

January 17th (Friday): 
Swim, Bike, Quilt - Katie 
Freshly Pieced - Lee 
Fresh Lemons Quilts - Faith