Dimensional Indeed!

Pam Lincoln at Mama Spark’s World recently filled my inbox with goodness! Check out the pix of her rendition of my Relatively Dimensional pattern!

IMG_3494She used a custom Gallifreyan Spoonflower fabric for the background, and then sent it to Kathy Koch at Thread Bear Quilting for the long-arm artistry.

IMG_3496 IMG_3497I’m utterly entranced with the interplay of the circles, and more than a little geeked out by the “DW” motif in the door panels. Swoon!

Brava, ladies! And thank you SO much for sharing the pix with me!

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A Slight Obsession with Sew Together Bags

Have you made a Sew Together Bag yet? Did you know there’s a pattern for a MINI version??

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It’s shorter, and has only two interior pockets.

Elizabeth at OPQuilt.com designed the adapted mini, but she did something utterly cool to protect the original pattern. Rather than offer up the cutting instructions, which could thereby cheat Michelle at SewDemented out of some pattern sales, she created a worksheet that doesn’t work unless you have the numbers from the original pattern. What a delightful way to honor and protect the original pattern!

Anyway – I’ve been on a bit of a tear, making them for friends. I’ve made eleven so far. I even made one for a zipper pouch exchange at my guild’s retreat this weekend. And I have the parts cut out for 4 more to sew while I’m there….

Yep. A little bit obsessed :-)

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Bloomin’ is in Keepsake!

I’m tickled to share that one of my patterns is being featured in the current Keepsake Quilting Catalog – it’s on the back page of the Spring issue! Thank you to all the friends who’ve forwarded pix to me.

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Keepsake has paired the pattern with Catalina, a new floral line from Maywood Studio Fabrics.

This version of the quilt was made by two dear and talented friends – paper-piecing maven Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts made the top, and Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting here in PDX did the long arm honors.

The pattern uses both paper-piecing and easy straight seam piecing to get the job done. If you’re not a fan of working within a collection, it’s an excellent scrap/stash buster – I used prints, batiks, and hand-dyeds in my version for the cover:

HDS.019.v1 - Bloomin - COVER

 

Yes, yes, I know… I used PINK. But you noticed the ORANGE in there too, yes? Of course!

Both the hard copy and PDFs are available in my store… just follow the shopping link above. Or get yours as a kit from Keepsake.

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In praise of counting, even when you don’t plan to sell

How many of us hit the first weekend of February, completely aghast that January was already history? One tenth of the year is done, and I’d be lying if I said I’m cool with that fraction. It’s actually making me sweat a bit. I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO.

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Like many people, I navigate the transition from December to January by taking stock, and one of the things I take stock of is how much work I do in my studio. Counting quilts isn’t too hard as they’re pretty big, but my post-meno memory still manages to lose track of a few – mostly test versions of a pattern in development, or things done for charity. I finished 28 quilts in 2014 – yes, a good number! And don’t hate me… remember this is my living! But when I look at that divided by 52 weeks, it made me wonder where my time went.

So here’s a more detailed breakdown:

  • 28 Quilts finished
  • 21 Bee blocks or donation/charity blocks
  • 4 Quilt tops
  • 17 Quilt Talk buckets
  • 11 Chunky Wee Bags
  • 27 Miscellaneous containers (small buckets, zip pouches, etc.)
  • 2 Cross Stitch pieces
  • 10 Other stuff (scarves, pattern tests for other people, sets of napkins for the house, etc.)

A whopping 111 items. Whew. Now *that* number makes me feel like I didn’t spend the entire year fiddling with social media!

So how do I track it? With this worksheet (download it here).

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While I point to other more detailed documents for tracking project time and materials, the one I use most is this one, with just enough space for the time used on common steps like piecing or binding. And this easily lets me see where my time went on all the other stuff!

Also – data is power. I can see that I made a lot of bee blocks, and this year I decided not to join in anymore bees or swaps for a bit to reclaim that time for other things I’d rather be doing. I can also track some broad numbers that I can use for more detailed bidding for projects, should the need arise.

I already have a good start for 2015 going (names of projects blurred to avoid spoiling a couple of surprises!):

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OK – back to the studio. Time to get something else ON the list!

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Happy and Merry!

Tis the season! So of course, for my guild’s holiday celebration, I pulled my favorite Christmas accessory out of the waaaay back of the closet.

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I showed it to a couple of friends before I wore it out of the house. The reactions were mixed… it seems that this gorgeous thing that was THE BOMB when I made it in 1995 is now, quite possibly, the quilter’s version of the ugly sweater.

No matter! I sweated over it, so I’m wearing it! Seriously, it has more hours in it than many of the quilts I’ve made (the smaller the pieces, the longer it takes). Where on earth did I get the idea? From Judy Murrah, author of Jacket Jazz (and now the head of education for Quilts Inc.) I took a class from her in 1995 – fabulous teacher – and well… went a little overboard with concept.

Many of the techniques are in her book. The twisted texture…

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… the 9 degree wedge elements (one half of the strips is the sleeve, the opposing half is the front).

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I designed the presents for the second front. Notice how I integrated the pocket. Damn proud of that, considering what I didn’t (and still don’t) know about garment construction.

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I shrunk the poinsettia from a wall hanging pattern (my apologies to the designer… I no longer have the pattern to credit you!) and APPLIQUED it. Yep, I actually did the A-Word for this (albeit by machine, but still). I only wish I had known about glue basting back then!

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I finished it off with a run of paper-pieced trees. They needed a bit of a switch up, so I swapped a tree from the back with a Santa from the cuff. Santa does get around, you know.

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So there it is. Shoulder pads and all. I like to think that, due to the wonders of time, it has perhaps transcended from tacky kitsch to retro cool, just the way that ugly sweaters have, no? And when you think about some of the holiday excesses (swants, anyone?) then perhaps not quite so over the top!

I wish you Happy and Merry from my studio to yours – I hope you get to spend time with good people and good food, and that every stitch you made on a gift is well appreciated by the lucky person that received it!

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Final QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 13 – ORANGE – with me!

You made it! Lucky 13 ends here with me, and of course, with the ORANGE bucket!

ORANGE Bucket

Here’s a link to the ORANGE pattern, and here’s a link to the instructions on how to construct all the color buckets (you only need to download this once).

It was pointed out to me that the ORANGE bucket seems to have a bit more work in the fabrics – to which I can only say “guilty as charged!” ORANGE is definitely my favorite color, and I had strips left over from making another project, so it was perfect.

Thank you for hopping along, and I hope you’re inspired to make a project talk with some words! If you didn’t yet purchase your copy of Quilt Talk, you can get a signed copy here. You can also hit up your local quilt shop or indie bookstore – remember, the price difference between the local store and Amazon is only about the cost of a frothy coffee or a half yard of fabric – so please give your local stores some love or they won’t be there when you need them!

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And finally – I have goodies for you! In addition to an autographed book, I have a package of my favorite newsprint paper-piecing paper, a hunk of Timtex and fusible fleece to get you started on a bucket, printouts of all the color words on the newsprint, and some Sassy Buttons. And if there’s room in the envelope, maybe other things!

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In your comments, please talk quilty to me! Tell me which words you’d use on your wordy quilt. Random.org will help me choose a winner on Monday Oct 27, after I get back from Houston Quilt Market (where I plan to take a lot of pix, so follow @huntersds on Instagram, or here on Facebook.

ALSO – when I get back from Quilt Market, look for a photo tutorial on how to make the buckets!

A LAST REMINDER: Hop back to these great people to grab any missing color patterns!

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QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 2 – BROWN – with Carrie Bloomston

Day 2 is here and the color is BROWN!

BROWN Bucket

I was worried about handing BROWN to a friend as the color of their hop, but then I remembered that the fabulously talented Carrie Bloomston of SUCH Designs is helping out, and I knew all would be well.

In addition to designing patterns and fabrics, and authoring her new book, The Little Spark – 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, Carrie is also an abstract painter – so who better than a painter to tell us how to appreciate BROWN? I remember the magic of combining all sorts of colors to make myriad brown tones in my first painting class – it really was a wonder. Learning how to manipulate color is one of the keys to the kingdom of art!

When I was working on the patterns for Quilt Talk, I began to play with some words for those of us who follow paths that are not always so popular. What emerged was “She just ignored the people who said it couldn’t be done.” As I’ve changed my life from full time IT management geek to full time creative geek, I’ve had a lot of encouragement, but a lot of pushback too. I had to ignore the people who said that I couldn’t or shouldn’t make a radical life change, realizing that often when people tell you that YOU can’t, what they are really saying is that THEY can’t.

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As the words crystallized, I knew I had to fnd some special fabrics for them. I reached out to Carrie to use her very first fabric line, Collage, and she and Windham Fabrics squeaked out the needed yardage from the precious pre-release stash. (And this quilt will work with other border prints, too.)

Why this fabric? Well, when I first met Carrie we started gabbing, and soon found out that we both had graduated from art programs that, while they taught us a lot about art, pickled our brains a bit. Carrie put it best when she said it took a while to get back to being the artist she was before school. I’ve felt the same way… after so much critique (helpful and otherwise) my head was in a swirl. Making this quilt for us both was a way to celebrate our return to what we know is right for our own artistic careers. And I know she would join me in telling you to follow your own path, and just ignore the people who would tell you it can’t be done!

Please head over to Carrie’s blog to comment for a chance to win a Quilt Talk book, and to download the BROWN bucket pattern.

Check out Carrie’s new book too – it releases this month! I can’t wait to play with it!

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Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:

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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!

HDS.007 - Dingbats - COVER 2014 - 300dpiRGB

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:

From http://www.design-is-fine.org/post/96889364749/rupprecht-geiger-n-d-via-galerie-walzinger

From http://www.design-is-fine.org/post/96889364749/rupprecht-geiger-n-d-via-galerie-walzinger

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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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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