Quilt classes with Kona Solids + an Olympian

I mentioned a little while back that I was asked to teach simple quilting class at a blogging conference called SNAP. I was slightly terrified because while this was a conference that attracted a lot of crafty people, when I have gone in years past I have been one of the only quilters there. I really worried that the response to a quilting class would be minimal. (I’m a chronic worrier.)

I tried to talk the organizers out of it, but they kept moving forward with the idea (they had more faith than me), so that meant I needed to come up with a simple quilt project, geared toward beginners, that we could accomplish in an hour and a half. I wanted to go with something just a step up from basic squares so the perfect answer: Half Square Triangles. Something ultra-versatile with lots of design options that could be easily made into a 16″ pillow.
Robert Kaufman fabrics was kind enough to sponsor the class, providing everyone with a charm pack of Kona whites and brights. This left a lot of room for personal expression and playing with color.

My original plan was to alternate the bright colors with white (as you can see by the blocks above.) Then I started playing with only the brights. It was a fun exercise away from my normal “pair-everything-with-white” comfort zone. Inspired my my Kona solids blocks quilt. I need to do more stuff like this.

The conference took place at the end of April. The Sewing Room at SNAP was organized by the wonderful Elizabeth and Liz from Simple Simon and Co. They pulled together some great classes with wonderful teachers (I was seriously honored to be included). Check out that sewing machine – you can read more about the blinged-out sewing machine here. And the best part: people came to my class! Yay! And they were super fun people! Check out Bev, Kim, and Jennifer rocking those quilt blocks.

One of my favorite things about teaching (especially beginners) is seeing people’s own creativity and personal style come through. Here you can see Melissa, Katy, and Mandy working on their creations. For most everyone in the class, this was the first time they had sewn together a quilt block. It was so much fun to see them get a taste and hopefully, catch the fever. 😉 I am totally kicking myself that I didn’t get a better group shot of a bunch of the blocks – there were some really great ones! A few other quilt blocks are Amy’s (below) and Bobbie’s.

For my major “D’OH!” moment of the weekend, 45 minutes before I was supposed to teach my class I accidentally locked my purse, phone, quilts, class supplies, and KEYS in my car. ARGH! So I tried to patiently meditate in the hotel parking garage for 30 mins while I waited for a locksmith to come rescue me and all my stuff! Fortunately Glen pulled it off and I made it to my class in time to set up. 
In contrast to that low moment of the day, the key note speaker that night was Noelle Pikus-Pace. Being the Olympics-nerd that I am, I happened to recognize her sitting quietly at the table right behind me waiting for dinner. No one else was around at that moment so I thought, I’m going to just go tell her how much my family loved cheering for her during the recent Winter Olympics. So I did. At which point I totally started crying. (Such. A. Dork.) She is a hero to my girls and I got weepy feeling grateful that there are women like her for them to look up to. Fortunately she wasn’t scared and let me take a picture with her. I felt a little more justified when she had the whole ball room in tears at the end of her speech. 
Good times.
One more thing. Speaking of Kona solids, I have something fun to share. In June I am hosting a Mystery Quilt workshop for Craftsy!! (Woo!!) This workshop will feature a brand new quilt design using the Kona New Bright Collection roll up. It is SO cheerful and perfect for summer. Sign ups have already started for the workshop, which includes the fabric for the quilt top, and it is currently discounted 25% off! This workshop is not one of the Craftsy video classes, but a series of exclusive tutorials available only to class members. Let me know if you join the fun. I’m so excited to share!

Playing with Kona Solids

Later this month I am teaching a class at a social media conference called SNAP. I am so thankful to Robert Kaufman for sponsoring the fabric for this class. So you can imagine my excitement when a heavy box arrived at my door last week with this gorgeous visual feast inside.

This is a class geared toward newbie quilters, so I’ve been working on a simple project that we could sew all together in class. Obviously Charm Squares are the perfect basic to start with – no cutting involved and we can just sit right down and sew.

The Kona Solids Classic Colors charm squares give a great variety of color with lots of options to choose from, so I figured that would give everyone a place to express their own identity. I divided one collection of charm squares into five different color ways to create five different blocks. I’m excited to put each one to work.
I decided to teach 16″ blocks made from good old half-square triangles. Hard to beat the options available there – and with the variety of color choices, combined with the myriad of HST layout options, I think it’s going to be a fun class. I’ll also teach the option of turning it into a quilted pillow cover. I need to finish making my samples quick. These are the ones I got done yesterday. (And you can bet I used my new favorite method to square them up!) I’m excited to play with the other colors as well. 

Definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole quilting thing, is playing with colors. I’m kind of enamored with solids, I think ever since my classic solids Farmer’s Wife Mini quilt and then the Virtual Quilting Bee version made with solids. Also evidenced by two other solids quilts in the works right now. I guess I’m a little infatuated.

P.S. If you are looking for a special new dress just for the First day of April, you may be interested in this Vintage Sheet Dress tutorial. 😉

Kona Solids Blocks and Oakshott Modern Maples

I am happy to report that I’m getting my sewing mojo back – or my “sewjo” as my friend Maggie puts it. First of all, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my Kona Solids Virtual Quilting Bee blocks. (Thanks so much to everyone for their thoughts and input.) For the measurements and instructions on adding the sashing, cornerstones, and borders, see the Sashing and Borders post.

As you know, this was a change from my original plan of a pieced sashing. It had some cool aspects to it, but once I started laying it out, it just wasn’t the look I was going for. I really wanted this quilt to be a stark contrast to the busy Happy Go Lucky version. I wanted it a little more sleek and modern. So I went with the light gray sashing and a few more pops of color with the cornerstones. I also left off the inside border and just let the outside white border be a simple frame for the blocks. I am so happy with how it turned out. I will probably do more color in the binding, but we’ll see.

I also pulled out my Oakshott Rubies Modern Maples from last fall. I ran out of the Essex Linen I was using for the back ground and had a hard time finding more. I finally sent a small swatch to Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics and she matched it for me! Hallelujah!

Those Oakshott Rubies fabrics are so gorgeous. They’re kind of hard to find in the US, but if you see them, you’ll see what I mean. I also added a couple of gold leaves out of a Kaffe cotton because we have a lot of gold leaves during the fall season here in Utah. It feels good finishing an old WIP (work-in-progress). I’m going to keep it around as is for another week or so and then send it off to the quilters. Next fall it will finally be finished!

And finally, I even got caught up on my BeesKnees blocks! This one is for Sinta. The tutorial for this block/quilt is called Starry Eyed and can be found at the Moda Bake Shop. It’s still one of my favorites.

These improv trees are for Melissa. Aren’t they fun? This is her own design. She has an Improv Tree tutorial on her blog.

Whew! Feels good to be crossing stuff of the list. Just in time to start creating a whole new list before Christmas.

Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along meets Modern Solids

A few months ago I was invited by Andrea of KnittyBitties to participate in a collaboration project called Farmer’s Wife for the Home.
If you’ve been around quilting-blog-world you’ll remember the popular inception of the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along by Angela and Amanda last fall.  And it was so much fun to see the variety of quilt-block creations out of classic quilt-block patterns.  At the time my plate was full and I just knew I couldn’t add one more project, but I loved seeing all the creative inspirational eye-candy floating around flickr and blogs.
Well, KnittyBitties Andrea had a brilliant idea for those of you out there like me: mini creations using the The Farmer’s Wife blocks, thus joining in the FWQA fun, without the serious, long-term commitment of making all 111 blocks.  To add to the fun, she invited a few of us to play along and to only use the fabric she sent us: A Kona Solids colored charm pack and some yardage of gray and neutral off-white Kona Solids (generously donated by Robert Kaufman fabrics.)
I love all those pretty solids and used them to create monochromatic (for the most part anyway) blocks from The Farmer’s Wife collection. I don’t think I ever would have tried it with out this challenge, and I think the results are fantastic! Isn’t it amazing how the vibrant solids give those very traditional quilt blocks a modern twist?

I decided to make them into a mini-quilt/table-topper using this Table Topper tutorial. I substituted the Farmer’s Wife blocks for the 9-patch blocks in that tutorial.

Not wanting to let any of that fantastic color go to waste (in true Farmer’s Wife fashion), I used up the rest on the back and the binding.  And I think I like the back equally as much as the front.

The quilting is super simple, straight line quilting. Not perfect at all – I just eyeballed it as I went, so there’s a little bit of imperfection going on. Pretty much all I’m capable of, but it kind of adds to the modernity (good word, eh?) of the quilt.

Be sure to check out the rest of the inspiration as part of this collaboration. You can see the other posts and projects here:

Monday, September 10th – Erin of Two More Seconds
Tuesday, September 11th – Kerri of Lovely Little Handmades
Wednesday, September 12th – Jodi of Pleasant Home
Thursday, September 13th – Jody of Everyday Beatiful
Friday, September 14th – Amy of Diary of a Quilter
Saturday, September 15th –Andrea of Knitty Bitties

And believe it or not, all of the projects for this collaboration are going to be given away, including mine. Yes way. To enter, Andrea has set up a snazzy Rafflecopter entry system that can give you lots of chances to be entered to win one of these projects or a bundle of your own Kona Solid goodness. All entries go through the Rafflecopter system. If you’re feeling a little baffled by Rafflecopter, here is a quick video to show you how it works

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But the best take away from all of this – for me anyway – is the reminder to step out of your comfort zone once in a while – you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.