Quilt Talk – The Blog Tour!

Here we go! Thirteen hops, starting tomorrow!

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Who’s hosting:

What happens on the hop?

You visit each stop, and the hop host/hostess will regale you with stories. Stories of making a quilt for the book, stories about me, stories about me and them, stories about choosing a color, etc. It will be good and fun stuff, and we’ll try not to have too many mushy moments (but no guarantees… the people helping out here are dear to me, so I might get a bit soppy in places). And then you comment on their story to win a BOOK. Yes, each hop is a chance to win.

What’s with the COLORS?

So glad you asked! We have special patterns for you. You’ll be able to download the PDF pattern for the COLOR word featured at each stop so that you can make all these colorful scrap buckets for yourself or for friends.

All Buckets stacked

Yes – THIRTEEN free patterns! You’ll get all the letters for the COLOR words, correctly sized so that you can start paper piecing immediately. And you’ll need these COLOR bucket instructions to turn the COLOR word into a word block (that you then plug into the Oh Scrap Bucket pattern from the book).

The hop ends with me, and the ORANGE bucket, of course. I’ll be giving away a signed book, all the COLOR patterns printed on my favorite paper-piecing paper, a package of that favorite paper-piecing paper (It’s like crack, it’s so good), a package of Timtex and some Pellon Fusible Fleece (for bucket making), and some other goodies. It will be a lovely box of stuff. And yes, my dear international peeps… I’m happy to mail across the water, so you’re eligible to win this box too!

See you on the tour!

Where to Find Sam – September 2014 Edition

I’m traveling tomorrow, and talking and teaching and signing for the next week or so – if you’re close by, come see me!

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Thursday Sept 25th, 7pm – Nite Owl Quilters Guild in Upland CA. I’m doing my “There’s Magic in the Lesson, OR Perfection is Overrated!” lecture. Lots of trunk show, including new things from the book that haven’t been shown yet. And of course, I’ll be signing books too.

Friday Sept 26th, 6-8pm – New Moon Textiles in Pasadena CA, my former quilt store home (I worked there for a couple of years – it will be so great to see my friends there!) I’m showing the book quilts in a trunk show, and signing books.

Satuday, Sept 27, 10am to 4pm – back to the Nite Owl Quilters Guild for a workshop. We’re making Dingbats! It’s one of my favorite quilts, and another “so much easier than it looks” pattern. I think they still have a couple of spaces if you’d like to come play. I even rip seams and iron for my students, while cracking lame jokes – really, you don’t want to miss this!

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Sunday Sept 28 – 2-4pm – out to Sew Modern in Los Angeles, CA, one of the best modern stores around, and home of the LAMQG. Lauren, the owner, will be breaking out the bubbly while I sign books. Oh, and in case you’ve never visited before, she carries every Kona solid. Yep, EVERY.

Monday, Sep 29 – 6 to 8pm – SLO Creative Studio, in San Luis Obispo, CA. SLO Creative is a new creative space developed by my friend, Janet Mease, and I’m there to help kick off her opening week events with some book signing, a wee bit of We Are $ew Worth It lecture, and a car full of quilts to trunk show. Please come support this new space!

Other adventures for the week include time with my creative mini group, these folks:photo-6

We’ve been meeting once a month for the last couple years, challenging ourselves with creative projects. I’ve been joining the meetings via FaceTime since I moved to PDX, but this time I get to sit at the table and share the chocolate! Our challenge this month is to make something in response to this artwork:

I’m not sure what I’m doing yet, buy I know it won’t include PINK ;-)

I’m also visiting my friends at Hoffman Fabrics! I get to touch the new pretties, and hopefully choose some to make a market sample or two for them. Psst…. we’re playing with solid batiks too, and they are so, so gorgeous. Watch this space.

Also, if the planets align, I’ll be heading to the Craft and Folk Art Museum in LA to see a new juried exhibition of contemporary textiles. Read about it here. When living and working a creative life, it’s important to put some inspiration back into the well, too. LACMA is across the street, so I might poke my head into a quilt exhibition that just opened there, Big Quilts in Small Sizes: Children’s Historical Bedcovers.

Lastly – we kick off the Quilt Talk blog tour on October 1 as I fly home. It’s going to be a fun hop that takes us as far away as Australia, and might even include a Skype interview if Victoria Findlay Wolfe and I can figure out the technology of it!

So I’ll leave you with these as a teaser… look for them on the tour!

All Buckets stacked

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Tablescapes

Tablescapes. This word has risen out of the noise at me a few times in the last couple of weeks… and, being a Word Girl, I pay attention when words poke at me.

The first mention of it was a call from one of my distributors for the loan of quilt samples in one of a few categories for the upcoming Quilt Market in Houston (the last weekend of October). The second mention was last weekend, when I demoed at a local distributor’s big new stuff shindig… “Do you have any patterns for tablescapes?” Ummm… no.

So off to the modern day oracle for an image search to go with the word, and yikes!

tablescapes

(Yes, I picked an ORANGE image, because, well, ORANGE.)

Confession…. I missed this class in school, and I have avoided it like the plague on Pinterest. While I love to have friends over for food and board games, I put my energy into making things like pots de crème instead, and if we manage to eat off real plates with cloth napkins I feel like I’ve appeased Martha just a wee bit and call it a win. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the beauty of a table set like this (I love me some beauty), I just don’t care about creating it – I’d rather make more desserts. And if I had the space to keep all this extra kitchen/table stuff around (I don’t) I would have filled it with fabric long ago.

So back to the pattern requests for tablescapes. Another return to the oracle reveals that, yep, there are lots of quilted table runner and placemat patterns out there.

As it happens, I designed some cheeky placemats for Quilt Talk not knowing that they were part of the tablescape clan, but frankly, the idea that gravy could be spilled on something I bound by hand gives me the willies.

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I just can’t imagine putting a pretty table runner down the center of a big, noisy, family dinner and have it escape unscathed. And the last thing I want to think about during a big, noisy, family dinner is keeping the tablecloth clean… I’d rather eat and laugh.

And so… I have questions. Why are table runner patterns popular? Do the runners get used? Close to food, or only decoratively? Is it because, as a smaller project, they are easier to make? Easier to quilt/wrangle on a domestic machine? More affordable in terms of materials? Great/fast/small as gifts?

And if I did design one, what matters about the design? Size? Customizable size? Scrap or pre-cut? Or….?

And… should I be designing them? While I design mostly for what turns me on, I’m no fool. If my readers want something, I’m interested in seeing if I can point my design head towards it, with the understanding that it’s MY design head, which means if I’m not turned on by the idea I won’t put my energy there. Trust me, you don’t want things that are made by people who aren’t turned on by making them! Passion matters!

Let me know your thoughts!

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BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

Thread testing – need your input!

A few blog posts back, I wrote something to the effect of “I used to work in a quilt store, and have tried a lot of different threads, and I always return to Aurifil.”

Well, a new thread manufacturer contacted me and said “You haven’t tried ours!” And so they sent me a few spools to play with – some 50 wt cotton in a couple of colors and a variegated, and a polyester embroidery thread in ORANGE.

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Thus – my questions:

  • What do YOU want to know about these threads?
  • What matters to you when purchasing them?
  • What types of things do you want me to try and report back on?

Note that I’m not going to track down every thread known to man and do a double blind study here, I’m just going to run these threads through some paces and tell you what I found out. And then give them away to you, dear readers, when I’m done because, hey, you should get to play too! And I should probably just say up front, I might not let go of the ORANGE!

So leave me your thoughts for a thread test! Thank you!

 

Quilt Talking the Details

It occurs to me that, because I’ve had my nose on the bark of this book for almost two years, I might not have explained the view from the edge of the trees very well! So here are a few points about the book that I’d like to share so that, if you decide to take the plunge and own one of these happy things, you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into!

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1. What it is!

  • The book is designed around a paper-pieced font.
  • There are upper and lower case letters, numerals, punctuation, and all the special characters above the numbers on your keyboard.
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  • There are also some accents that allow the letters to speak languages other than English: umlaut, tilda, cedilla, circumflex, accute, and grave. I’m quite proud of these!
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  • Why paper-pieced? Paper piecing is the easiest way to get pinpoint accuracy in odd shapes or angles.
  • Along with the characters, there’s a great chapter on how to set them into custom text, much like setting old-school typography.
  • There are easy instructions for resizing the characters to fit any words you can dream up.

2. Projects

  • I designed 12 projects for you, from small things like placemats and the scrap buckets on the cover, up to wall, snuggle, and bed-sized quilts.
  • Most of the phrases are sassy, encouraging, inspiring, or nerdy: both Star Wars and Star Trek are covered!
  • Each project has additional notes on how to fit your own ideas into the word spaces.
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  • All of the projects are designed for easy straight seam construction (no set in pieces, no curves, no y-seams). Once you make the letters, they are essentially blocks that then get set in rows. There is nothing in here that a confident beginner can’t manage!
  • For additional inspiration, there’s a gallery section of wordy projects made by some dear friends, including Megan Dougherty, The Bitchy Stitcher, and Maddie Kertay and Flaun Kline of the BadAss Quilter’s Society.

3. Things that matter about the book design

  • I skipped writing a basics chapter on how to use your rotary cutter, etc., as I thought you’d rather have more projects!
  • There’s a brief chapter on how I do paper piecing, and it’s illustrated with step-by-step photos. You can see a few pages of this in Amazon’s “Look Inside” preview.
  • I go over how I do pre-cutting for paper-piecing – it makes the paper-piecing easier to manage, and it saves on fabric.
  • I also added a chapter on how to choose fabrics for letters to make them shine.
  • The majority of the patterns are on a jumbo pull-out in the back of the book. You tear this out and cut it up, which makes for easier and flatter copying.
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  • I made sure the upper and lower case pattern of each letter are back to back – if you find the “A” in your pile of letters, turn it over to find the “a”.
  • The numbers are also paired back to back.
  • There were a few too many characters for the pull-out, so the extras (and the ones I thought might be the least used) are at the end of the book.

4. Things that matter about the Paper-Piecing design

  • The seam allowance isn’t drawn around the blocks because most of the time you’ll be scaling them, which would give you inaccurate cutting lines. However, because I’ve sliced the seam allowance off plenty of paper-pieced blocks, I put the words “add 1/4” seam allowance” around the edges of all the blocks so that you (and I) have a reminder.
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  • Some of the sewing lines on the characters start at odd angles, so I extended the lines into the seam allowance to lead you in to starting your seam at the right place.
  • Some of the blocks are constructed in multiple sections, so I added alignment lines so you can get them joined up without too many seam ripper moments.
  • In each block pattern the letter is shaded but the background isn’t, so it’s easy to see what you’re working on. And I shaded with a light dot pattern rather than a gray fill to save you some printer ink.

5. Blog Tour

  • The blog tour kicks off at the beginning of October and it will include some of my favorite people in the quilt world.
  • There will be a dozen stops, so a dozen chances to win a copy of the book.
  • There will also be a little something extra for you to download at each stop :-)
  • The final stop will be with me, and I’ll have some extra goodies for you to win.

And if you can’t wait until October, you can order Quilt Talk here. I have books on hand to ship!

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BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

 

Dr. Who Winners!

OOPS! I forgot to choose winners on Monday, and yesterday I had to go to the dentist, which absolutely knocks me off my game. So here we are on Wednesday!

Random.org chose 8 and 23, which are Stacy and Melissa. Ladies, I’ve sent you an email!

RelativelyDimensional - Cover - 72dpi HDS.016 - Whos the Bad Guy - Cover 2014 - 300dpiRGB

And if you missed winning these and would still like to have them, they are both available digitally and hard copy here.

Thank you for playing along!

 

Who’s Your Doctor? And a Giveaway!

Peter Capaldi has taken the stage, and according to my son (a geek’s geek), it’s all gonna be okay.

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Peter Capaldi as Dr. Who – image from the BBC site.

I’ll have to wait to find out because I’m not caught up yet. I know – heresy! But I only sew to stuff I’ve already watched so I get behind easily (and I’m currently watching a certain kilted Scotsman).

Being as FABRIC is the thing we use most, I thought it might be good to spend a moment looking at the good chap’s costume. I LOVE the red lining of the coat! It’s like an unexpected crazy back to a quilt. I can’t say I’m keen on the sweater vest as it reminds me a bit of my granddad. And I have a soft spot for a nice pair of Doc Martens….

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Image from drmartens.com

Ha – I went searching for an image of Docs and I might just have to buy these… the tops are needlepoint tapestry – perfect for a British born fiber geek like me!

In honor of the new Who, I’m giving away TWO pairs of patterns – you’ll get both the Tardis and the Dalek. US peeps, I’ll send you the hard copies, international folks, I’ll email you the PDF versions.

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Leave me a comment, and tell me who’s your favorite Doctor, and how you’d dress him if you were in charge of the costume department! Winners drawn on Monday Sept 1 via random number.

(I still have a soft spot for my first doctor, Tom Baker, and knitted a scarf like his for my son’s dad when we were courting!)

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BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!