Quilt design inspiration in London Museums

One final post from our travels to the UK this summer, if you don’t mind. It’s so fun to find beautiful quilt and design inspiration where every you go, so I thought I’d share a few last pictures of some pretty design I came across on our travels. Above is the Museum of Natural History (literally across the street from where the Fat Quarterly Retreat was held. Such a gorgeous building and the carved detail on the gates out front was gorgeous with representations of different wildlife. I wish I’d snapped pictures of more of them.

One of my favorite things about London is the museums – in part because they’re free (although a small donation is appreciated.) We visited a bunch of them while we were there. Though not specifically quilt themed displays, there was still great inspiration to be found. This is the Tate Gallery.
When I visited, there was a special exhibit of  beautiful “fabric paintings” by an artist named Andrea Buttner that reminded me of modern quilt designs. There was also a special Folk Art exhibit going on, but I didn’t have the time to go through (or, sadly, the desire to pay the extra fee at the time.)
This tile floor at the Tate was another fun quilt design inspiration.
The British Museum is full of pieces from antiquity, but the modern sky light over the main hall atrium is one of my favorite features!
Strolling through the carvings from ancient Assyria (Iraq) was this beautiful carved “quilt”. (Not really, but it sure looks like one!)
Here’s a close up. I’m sorry it’s hard to see – the lighting made it difficult to get a really good picture, but hopefully you can still see some of the gorgeous carved detail. Making a “stone quilt” sure means it’s got a longer chance of survival.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is a museum dedicated to the “decorative arts” including textiles and clothing and interior decor, jewelry, sculpture, etc. It is huge and such a fantastic place. One of my favorite exhibits there is always the one displaying clothing over the last 600 or so years. It’s fantastic! I don’t know why I don’t have any photos from that – maybe they weren’t allowed. I can’t remember.
Gorgeous tile designs from the period furniture and decor exhibits. I love getting quilt inspiration from tile patterns. Plus I’m always a sucker for blue and white together.
There was a gorgeous collection of original designs by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 19th century. He was a builder, furniture designer, artist – pretty much could do it all. I’m totally a William Morris fan and it was fun to see the detail and how much more vibrant are the original pieces.
This piece is called strawberry thief. Morris’s prints also inspired some the first Liberty of London textiles. This one is still in print today!
I also snapped this picture of the tile floor at the V&S. I think I need to make a quilt like this.
More design inspiration around every corner. These massive doors were on a building along Embankment.
One highlight for me was visiting the Jane Austen museum in Chawton, in the home she lived in towards then end of her life and while her books were being published. This was my first ever time visiting Chawton.
This is an old quilt on one of the beds in the house. Red and white never goes out of style!
But the really cool part was to see the quilt that Jane Austen herself had made! I’d remembered hearing about a quilt made by Jane, but hadn’t realized it was at this site! I’m sorry for the lousy picture. The lighting was not great and there was a glass wall around the bed. (Which was probably a good safety precaution against those of us who might fondle the quilt itself, or just walk off with it all together. You know how nutty those quilt-people can be!)
The fabrics and colors were beautifully preserved. I loved the dot fabric used for the sashing especially. I would love to know though, how much the colors have faded and changed over time.
Look at those hundreds of little baby triangles. I’m assuming this was English paper-pieced, but don’t know. You can read more about the Jane Austen quilt here and here. As if I didn’t love Jane enough – then to be reminded that she was a quilter too!

One final quilt from our journeys was at the Harry Potter Studio tour outside London. (If you’re a Potter fan, it was absolutely worth the effort and the price to go. So well done.) This pic is from the set of Gryffindor tower and there is Ron Weasley’s bed with this patchwork quilt of knit squares, obviously made by his mum. As a good mum would.

Kansas City Quilt Market 2012 part 2

Michael Miller, Cotton Couture
We now return to the continuing saga of Kansas City Quilt Market 2012: Part Deux.  
Well, I’m sure you can guess who was one of my favorite people to find at Quilt Market: Sandy Klop. There are other big name designers at Market that people swarm around: me? I love Sandy.  But you knew that already. (I’m trying really hard not to scare her though, so I didn’t stalk her the whole time.  Even though I was tempted.) I’ve been a huge fan of her fabric and colors and quilts for years, but she is just an all-around delightful person as well. 

Some other parts of the Moda area (clockwise): Sweetwater’s new collection, Mama Said Sew: great. Bonnie and Camille’s latest collection, Marmalade. Love it. It’s so fun to punch up their aqua, red, and pink with a little bit of yellow and orange. Liesel Gibson of Oliver + S is so lovely in every sense.  One of my favorite people to talk to. She has a new collection called The Ladies Stitching Club as well as introducing The Straight Stitch Society. Cutest things. Read their Manifesto, it’s awesome. Also the incredibly talented Jan Figuroa.  Her booth was amazing, as always.

A few other booths for Moda. I always love the details in the Basic Grey booth. Love the color spectrum buttons!  A few new designers for Moda this year: Zen Chic – the cutest couple from Germany. Their booth was one of my favorites at Market last year. Also Pat Sloan’s new collection for Moda, Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables. So bright and cheery!  I’m kicking myself that I don’t have more pictures of the Moda area.  But if you want to see more, and actually feel like you are there, visit the Moda channel on YouTube for tours of all the booths as well as interviews with the designers.  
The Free Spirit/Westminster fabrics area was also visually stunning. Above left is Anna Maria Horner’s booth – I loved the butterfly shaped fabric swatches and on the right is Tula Pink’s booth.
My favorite Free Spirit booth belonged to Denyse Schmidt. (Shocker, right?)  Someone told me that this was Denyse’s first booth at Quilt Market. Again it was so much fun to see her quilts in person and preview her new collection, Chicopee. (More bias plaids! I love those.)  I was also able to have her sign my copy of her book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. Yes, I was giddy. 
I always love the Robert Kaufman/Kona fabrics booths. They are so full of color!  They have a new collection of cheater modern quilt blocks – so brilliant! – on the bottom right. Those aren’t pieced blocks. Awesome, right? The Kona booth was full of amazing quilts featured in the We Love Colorbook, including the amazing quilt on the left made by Jennifer Sampou. 

 Another favorite booth was the Art Gallery booth. Gorgeous! Don’t you love the padded fabric color tiles on the wall? I love the color of Art Gallery. In fact, the only fabric bundle I brought home is one of their bundles of Oval Elements. SO gorgeous and the fabric feels like silk.

More color.  Bright color collection seemed so hot this year. (going clockwise) Above left is Thomas Knauer with a quilt he made using his new collection Savannah Bop, inspired by his daughter. SO sweet. Incredible applique patterns by Don’t Look Now. Cute Monica (aka Happy Zombie) with her latest collection for Lecien, Winterkist.  And cute new Pam Kitty Morning collection for Lakehouse. (The quilt with the houses was made by Nanette. I can’t take any credit for making something so wonderful, but I did get to personally schlep that quilt to market in my own suitcase, for Pam’s booth. It was tough, but someone had to do it.)

Adorable Melody Miller, of Ruby Star fame, in her very retro-inspired booth. I love the Pyrex, vintage sewing machine and even vintage Little People! The Seven Islands Fabric booth, home to Echino and Kokka fabrics is always one of my favorites. I love their whimsical collections.
Other new and upcoming pattern designers (clockwise): Carolyn Friedlander. Amazingly gorgeous modern quilts. Very sweet Shea Henderson, local KC girl with her first booth at market as well. Natalie’s Beyond the Reef booth was right across from the Geared for Guys booth where I helped, so we got to visit a lot. Natalie and I were both part of Bee Beautiful a couple of years ago- and this was the first time we met in real life! Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew: her second booth. Her patterns are some of my favorites.

Finally, some other fun details of Quilt Market. The empty bobbin earrings worn by the very fun Marmalade Fabrics girls. Also, an amazing zipper necklace.  Where will people appreciate these kinds of things more than in a giant convention center full of other sew-y people? And finally, for my boys. Darth and Chewbacca. Because nothing says “quilting” quite like Darth Vadar.

And there we go. Congratulations for hanging in there to the end of this word-heavy, picture-even-heavier, blog post. My brain is still mushy from trying to coherently summarize. I have a couple more small posts about other Market details and creations, but I’ll save those for next week and give us both sometime to recover.

Kansas City Quilt Market part 1

Wow. Where to even start. I have to admit, I’ve felt completely daunted by the task of sorting pictures and trying to organize a succinct Quilt Market experience post.  It’s about as overwhelming as the vastness of Market itself. Booth after booth of inspiring fabric, color, patterns and people. It’s truly huge. I’ve tried to condense my thoughts and my pictures, but even so, I’m going to have to do a Part 1 and Part 2.
The first day of the Market experience, before the trade show portion, is a series of mini-classes and lectures called School House.  For one of the sessions I was able to listen to Denyse Schmidt talk about her new book Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration(above).  For those unfamiliar with Denyse, she is an icon and a major influence on the modern quilting movement as well as both pattern designer and fabric designer.  Her quilts are a wonderful mix of traditional with a twist and her sense of color is incredible.  Should I gush some more? It was truly a ‘pinch-me’ moment to listen to her speak and see her quilts up close. I did not dare to touch them for fear of my sweaty palms doing irreparable damage.
Another real treat was to hear Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison share quilts from and talk about their beautiful new book, Sunday Morning Quilts. Both of them were inspiring. Amanda Jean’s blog, Crazy Mom Quilts, was one of the first quilting blogs I ever read: “You mean there are women my age who like to make quilts and share pictures of them on the internet?!” She has been a perennial favorite ever since.

A few other snippets of School House: Emily Herrick sharing her new Shore Thing collection, Sarah Jane sharing Out to Sea, hilarious Jana sharing her first collection as fabric designer, Delicious Wishes, and the ever-energetic, Amanda Herring talking about Apple of my Eye.  (I was so excited that she handed out apples in her class because I was starving!) Pardon the blurry pictures. Inside lighting + distance = crappy shots.

My main reason for actually going to Market this year was to help my friend Emily man her Geared for Guys both.  Emily had not one, but two booths, this market. One for her new fabric collection for Michael Miller, Shore Thing and a separate one for her new book, Geared for Guys.  It’s hard to be in two places at once. 

Here she is in her Shore Thing booth with her cute Dad. Don’t you love his shirt made out of the sailboat fabric from her collection?  I also got to piece one of her new quilts (the one with the circles hanging over the blue shutter) and bind a couple others. (Including one on the airplane ride to KC.)  It was very fun to get a sneak peak of this new collection.

I was excited that I was able to get out and roam for a bit as well! Next door, also in the Michael Miller area, was Violet Craft and her newest collection, Madrona Road. SO. Cute.

And next door yet again, Sarah Jane’s newest collection, Out to Sea. Just like last year with her Children at Play collection, she’s created a boy color palette and a girl color palette, all with a nautical twist, including pirates, mermaids and narwhals

Above is Sarah with her awesome husband Ken who disassembled their old backyard fence to build the weathered wood wall on the left and crates on the right. Talk about an great team! I was lucky enough to do a little bit of sewing for Sarah’s booth again this year. I did the piecing around the Ship stitchery (hanging above the adorable Narwhal head).

I also created this quilt, designed with Sarah Jane, to go with her map and ship panels.  There will be a free PDF pattern for this quilt when the fabric is released later this summer.

Another aspect of the Michael Miller area that I loved, is their color inspiration wall. SO many pretty pictures to look at!

Riley Blake has some beautiful new collections. Above left (going clockwise) is Amanda’s Apple of my Eye, new collection The Simple Life, Lori Holt’s Millie’s Closet, and new designer, Carina Gardner.

Also at Riley Blake, the very sweet Shari of Doohikey Designs.  I love the zigzags in her new collection, Dress Up Days. Shari is about as sweet and genuine a person as you can find.

There were lots of newer fabric companies represented with some gorgeous new designs such as Dear Stella.  I especially love their Town and Country line – more London fabric! 
I also love the fresh collections from Birch Fabrics. SO adorable. It was one of my favorite discoveries at Market last year and the love continues to grow. 
Monaluna fabric is another new, adorable organic fabric collection. 
The designs are so fresh and cute.
And a final new and upcoming player in the organic fabric market is Cloud 9 Fabrics

And so we come to the conclusion of Part 1. My brain needs a rest. Your’s probably does too. I’ll be back with Part 2 later this weekend. Stay tuned…

Ready for Christmas Projects?

So, are you ready for Christmas projects? Some years the answer for me is “not yet” other years it’s “wait, it’s December?”  This year, for some reason, I’m raring to go! After a full day of prep, eating, family-hosting and clean-up on Thanksgiving, I should have gone right to my bed. Instead, I suddenly had a quilt in mind that I was dying to pull together so I stayed up and cut the whole thing. I can’t wait to see it come together. (I paid the next day – I was pooped! But my project is patiently waiting for me to return. Maybe tonight?)

This is a little project that came together so fast today. A mini bunting made with my felt scraps from the felt circles pillow last year. It’s so cute and came together so quickly – I used red & white baker’s twine to string the pennants together.  

I think that one of the reasons I am so excited about Christmas projects is thanks to Stitch Craft Create.  At the Sewing Summit, Vanessa handed out copies of this magazine as part of her photography class.

It’s such a beautiful magazine and it is FULL of ideas for Christmas projects – decor, gifts, and all around cuteness.  My girls love pouring over it as well.  Our copy is dog-eared all over the place. 
This velvet ribbon rose is another project from the magazine. I plan to finish it and make it into a Chrismas broach. Did I mention how many projects there are that I want to make?

 Like these felt roses?  So when Stitch Craft Create offered to send magazines to giveaway to my readers, I said, “heck yeah!”  Really – this magazine is so inspiring and full of SO many great ideas. But even if you don’t make a single one, you will enjoy it for the eye candy!  So if you’d like a copy leave a comment. Giveaway open until Wednesday, November 30 at midnight (MST). I’ll randomly select three commenters so that I can get these out to you asap for that Christmas inspiration.  WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT THE BOTTOM OF POST. If you can’t wait, you can find the Stitch Craft Create on most newstands at craft and bookstores or you can order directly from SCC.
Are you a crazy shopper during the weekend after Thanksgiving? Call me a party pooper, but I tend to avoid the mall/Walmart/etc. like the plague during all the Black Friday sales. Thank goodness for online deals. :)  And since today is Small Business Saturday you can find great quilting deals AND feel good supporting small businesses at some of these online fabric shops:
Fresh Squeezed Fabrics: everything 20% off with the coupon code christmashop20

Burgundy Buttons: great discounts through Monday.
JAQS Fabrics:Everything 10% off with the code JAQSTenOff through Dec 1
Little Fabric Shop: 15% off entire order with code Gobble11 through Monday

Fabric Worm: 10% off orders of $50 or more with code 10off50 – cyber Monday only.

Canton Village Quilt Works: Whole shop 25% off with code CyberMonday25 at checkout – Monday only.

SewObessed: Free shipping on everything through Monday.

Fort Worth Fabric Studios: Everything 10% off through Monday with the code shop2011
There you go. You’re welcome.

Congrats WINNERS! I will contact you by email. (Looks like Becky was the lucky name this time.)

 Becky S. said…

That looks like a great magazine! I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance.
 Amy said…

I want to win one! I went to Vanessa’s class, but she had ran out of magazines so I didn’t get one. It looks like so much fun! Not that I need any more projects right now :)
Becky said…

I’m not sure I really need more projects to work on. Just kidding! I could always squeeze in a few more :) I almost never shop on Black Friday. One year I did, lived to survive, but have no desire to do that again. I do admire those that brave the crowds and come away from the experience with great bargains.

Sage Advice from a Seasoned Quilter

When I first started really quilting about 11 years ago I took a few classes from a very talented quilter, Leslie Ison. (I made this sunflower quilt, still one of my all-time favorites, in one of those classes.) Little did I know then that years later, her daughter Calli would become a very great friend.  So when Calli invited me to a ‘trunk show’ of her mom’s quilts, I jumped at the chance to see Leslie’s work again.  
Leslie is on the right. The show was hosted by Amber (a talented quilter herself – sorry Amber, not a great picture.)  Leslie has a way with fabric. I lover her use of color and her fabric combinations.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her make a quilt from a manufacturer’s collection – she mixes and matches fabric lines in all her quilts. 
 This quilt is made up of 300 individually appliqued baskets. Wow.
And it’s the second quilt like this that she’s made.

 As she was describing her quilts, Leslie gave some sage advice (which I quickly jotted down on the back of a Costco receipt).

1. Make quilts that you love.  Amen to that. Isn’t it hard to make something you just don’t love?

2. Don’t worry about perfection – it’s overrated. Quilts need to have some imperfection in them.  Once again, Amen.  Perfection can be such an obstacle – I’ve seen too many people quit and give up because they were so frustrated by making their quilts perfect. Just enjoy the process and let go of the perfection.

 3. Label you Quilts. (Here’s where I need to repent. I’m terrible about this. Vowing right now to do better!)

A work in progress

4. Document your life and your history and your family’s history in your quilts. Leslie showed a bunch of quilts she’d made in memory of her mother’s kitchen, her grandparent’s farm, etc. They were wonderful.

5. Make quilts that mean something. Leslie made this quilt this spring after going to the Red and White exhibit in New York. This pattern is called Sunny Days and can be found at Geoff’s Mom’s Patterns (along with many others in this trunk show.)

6. When it comes to colors, there are no ‘rules’.  Leslie shared the experience of learning to quilt from a master teacher who told her that the quilt she was working on needed more yellow. But she didn’t want yellow in the quilt.  So when she teaches, she never comments on color or fabric choices.  Color is an expression of our own tastes and personality. Don’t feel beholden to some color-rule-book.  Use what speaks to you and what you love.

You can see more about Leslie’s trunk show at Calli’s blog as well. Thanks again to Amber for hosting. I was inspired all over again by Leslie’s amazing talent, quilts and by her love of this art form. Made me want to go home and lock myself in my basement for a week just start playing with color and fabric.

Living in the moment

This has been one of “those” weeks. As you can see, I didn’t even get to this week’s Field Trip Friday post, so we’ll save it for next week. Instead you get pictures from our camping trip this weekend. 
Some sad things and pretty tender feelings around here this week. Not things that happened to me personally, but to some people I care about. Also, my sister-in-law came to visit, which turned out to be a God-send. She was such a blessing and a help.  I’m grateful for those tender mercies.  And it was fun to stay up late and talk with her about young love and watch So You Think You Can Dance. :)
It’s a state holiday in Utah this weekend – Pioneer Day – hence the camping trip. I have to admit, I’m not a huge camping fan. So much work and preparation to go and get dirty and not get a lot of sleep. Then you get to bring home cranky, dirty kids and a lot of laundry. [That’s the bad attitude part.] But once we were there it was such a good thing. First of all, it was gorgeous.  Second, it is so good to be able to be with the kids with no distractions. No cell phones, TV, computer, email, etc. I was reminded THAT is why we do this. The opportunity to fully focus my life on what is most important, without all the distractions.

As the summer is fast flying by, I find myself getting more and more tired and longing for a little more structure. (Not to mention a tiny bit of solitude once in a while.)  But at the same time, I don’t want to waste it or wish it away. While this week has been emotional, it has also helped to remind me what matters most and to do better about Living in the Moment and not rushing through this time of having my kids around me. And please forgive me if I’m a little slower responding to emails or visiting blogs for a few more weeks.

I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this.
Best of luck in your own summer-time crazy balancing act.

And thank goodness for portable hexagons.

P.S. We camped at Payson Lake in Utah.
Fortunately the night before we got there,
they caught the bear that had been spotted in the vicinity.