Stitch ‘n Swap – join the party!

The Generation Q Magazine team has done it again with their new book Stitch ‘n Swap! It’s a sweet collection of exchange-worthy projects, and psst… I contributed one too!

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I was hot off the design of the Chunky Wee Bag when Jake asked me for a project for the book. She mentioned some of her fave features in a bag and so I designed a new version that had those - she likes swivels on her straps and magnetic closures. It’s called the Out and About Bag and it’s on page 77:

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The book is full of fun projects – I’m itching to try the tea cozy by Karen Cunagin, and the eye pillow by Carrie Bloomston. In all, 19 designers contributed a total of 25 projects.

I’ve only recently started participating in swaps, and for me the best part about them is the challenge of trying to really understand your recipient so that you can make something that will thrill them. It usually means I stretch myself in using colors and prints I might not be drawn to, but I always learn so much from it. And then, of course, the excitement of opening the one that was made for ME! And if you get a chance to make something for me, you know that it should be ORANGE, right?!

I know you want me to tell you where to go for a chance to win one of the three books Gen Q is giving away, so here it is! Comment on the original Generation Q Stitch ‘N Swap post letting them know if you’ve ever participated in a swap and the coolest thing you’ve ever gotten in a swap. That’s it! All winners will be chosen from the Generation Q Magazine post Wednesday May 7th and posted Thursday May 8th.

Of course, you can buy the book too! Stitch ‘n Swap releases May 19, 2014. It has 112 pages filled with 25 projects from amazing designers and get this–it’s only $17.95. Pre-order now through C & T Publishing, or beginning May 1, from Gen Q’s website. Ask for it at your local quilt store too – maybe even ask them to host some classes using the book’s techniques. 

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If you want to follow the blog party, here’s the schedule – check out the contributor’s blogs so that they can tell you more about their projects:

Date:       Event                                    Who
4/24        Blog Party week 1                    Scott’s Placemat Pattern, Melissa T. Maher, Jeni Baker, Anne Deister, Emily Herrick, Sam Hunter, Lynn Kraus
4/29        Blog Party week 2                    Vicki Tymczyszyn (will blog for Generation Q), Carrie Bloomston, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Rose Hughes, Heather Jones, Tracy Mooney, Elaine Wong Haselhuhn
5/6          Blog Party week 3                   Jake Finch, Scott Hansen (Blue Nickle Studio) , Karen Cunagin, Michelle Freedman, Linda Hansen, Kevin Kosbab, Melissa Peda

Remember! Comments here DON’T put you in the book drawing!

 

 

Fabric Crush: Introducing PAINT!

Welcome to my hop on the blog tour for PAINT, the latest fabric line from Carrie Bloomston of SUCH Designs!

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To read more about my friendship with Carrie (and one her beautiful “wise-woman” stories) go here.

PAINT continues the conversation begun in Carrie’s first line, Collage. The elements we know and love are there in new shades – the “torn” stripes, and the text prints (psst… Carrie handcrafts the text to be full of positive and inspiring words).

I’m thrilled to see all the solid-reading blenders in this line – they are so needed to bring together a pretty composition – but I’m utterly wowed by the border print! Carrie sent me some to play with, and so I featured it in the flap of a couple Chunky Wee Bags:

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I made the littlest bag especially for Carrie’s daughter, who is featured in the Lookbook that Windham Fabrics created for the fabric. It’s worth a peruse – it has a bunch of sweet projects in it, showing the versatility of the fabric. And don’t miss the inspiring prayer flags created by a community of Carrie’s readers on the last page!

Carrie and Windham have a charm pack of the fabric for you to win – just leave a comment below, and I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday morning. And look for the fabric at your LQS in July/August (tell them to order it at Spring Quilt Market!)

Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

April 9 April Rhodes
April 10 Sally Keller + Julie Goldin
April 11 Shea Henderson
April 12 Ramona Burke + Jenny Kelly
April 13 Sam Hunter A Vintage Fairytale (Staci Barrett)
April 14 Rachael Gander + Erica Sage
April 15 Karen LePage + Tia Curtis
April 16 Shelly Figueroa + Fabrications2b (Bonnie Bobman)

 

Making a Quick Buck

Well! It seems that my last post about quilting patterns touched a couple of nerves… it seems that any of us who have designed quilt patterns got a bit prickly about the comment that we do it to “make a quick buck.” (insert hysterical laughter).

Bags on Mannequin

So I thought I would give you a peek behind the green curtain on how my Chunky Wee Bag pattern got designed. I wrote this up for Generation Q Magazine last year for their Sept/Oct issue. While it’s definitely a humorous look at the monologue in my head, please don’t miss how many times I made and tested the bag before I let it out of the house. Seriously.

Here goes…

The 17th Time’s the Charm – OR – What it Took to Make the Chunky Wee Bag Pattern (said in my best Rocky and Bullwinkle voice-over)

It started out with a need (necessity being the mother of invention and all that): I had a date with my son and Disneyland. I needed a small bag that would go across my body, and carry just a wallet, glasses, phone and a snack. My usual handbag is part backpack, and had previously proven hard to manage in the cramped confines of a rollercoaster, so I thought I would just whip up something else. I’m a miss-fancy-pants-pattern-designer, right? Right. Read on for a peek into the mind of a (mad)woman on a mission to make the perfect bag.

Studio. Hmmm… what size bag? Let’s start with 8” x 8” shall we? Love that square! Love that balance! Couple inches deep. Flap. No zippers! Definitely need pockets inside to keep stuff separate. (What does the Bagginses have in its pocketses?) A ring… to clip keys onto. Where’s the calculator? Graph paper! Sketch, draw, redraw, recalculate.

OK, I think I have it, wait… adjust that a smidge… strap should be narrower? Yes. Fabric! ORANGE! The robot fabric! (Bad Robot!) Aha! Needs something. Grey? Yes… but something else. (Garlic? Chocolate?) Ooh, the retro one with the boomerangs! Yeah, baby! Groovy, baby! (But with better teeth!)

Can I do it all with black thread? Yessss. New needle, walking foot… who put felt under my bobbin again? Drop of oil. Water in the iron? OK!

Cut, fuse, sew, pin, wrangle, sew. Ooops. Flap’s in backwards. Bah! Pout. Rip, rip, rip. Pin. Check. Really? Sigh. Re-pin. Re-check. Sew. Yes! Post picture on FB. Awww, lots of likes :-)

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Disneyland! Wheeee! Works perfectly. Yay for pulling it out of my hat yesterday! Except for the flap needs Velcro. Why, thank you, yes, I made it! The strap could be a smidge wider. But still… success!

Home. I wanna use my cute wee bag! Too small. Can’t get the sketchbook in there. Huh. The tissues. The little box of emergency medical stuff that all mothers MUST carry even when their kid lives in a different state now. (I checked the handbook, it’s in there. Trust me). Pens. Nail file. Lip balm. Emergency chocolate.

Duh. Make it bigger.

Studio. What about 9” x 10”? Draw, calculate, funky Halloween fabric, cut, sew. Hmm. Don’t like the proportion much. Cute but… meh. Yes, you can have it.

DSC_9971 = 2nd bag Halloween

What about deeper? Chunky deep. Like four inches deep? Oooh. Need a base board to hold that bottom out square. And how to get from a 4” side to a thinner strap?

How to get from a 4” side to a thinner strap??

Really. How to get from a 4” side to a thinner strap???

Toss and turn. Wee hours… EUREKA! That’s how to do it! Throw on clothes, grab tea, OMG MY HAIR. But no one’s gonna see me today. I hope. Baseball cap. Car keys. Studio!

Template plastic, more robot fabric, cut, sew. Hold breath. Turn inside-out. Iron. YES! (By George I Think She’s Got IT!) Topstitch that thing and get it into the bag. LOVE IT. (I know).

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Move stuff into the bag. Fits! HAPPY!

Inside the bag

Pattern? No… didn’t make a pattern for it yet. Yes, I should. Well, sure I’ll make you one while I write it. Have to test it anyway. And one for you. Oh, you want it bigger. That tall? To carry your iPad. Got it. Tall version coming up. Let’s try 8” x 10”.

Studio. Draw, calculate, cut, sew. Two sizes… officially a Pattern In Development. Flap’s funny on the tall one. Make it again. Try magnetic closures. Make it again. Ok, I’ll make you one. But I’m still working out this flap, OK?

Taller bag

Email blast to the Tester Peeps! Make a bag! Two sizes! Come on down!

Sorry for the hand sketches. Let me know if the writing makes sense. Yes? Argh, you’re right… I have no idea what I meant by that, obviously needed more chocolate. Yep, that sure is a better way of putting it. Thank you. That step should go first? Got it. Is the velcro in the right place? You think the flap’s fine? How are we doing? Ready to turn the bag? Yay! You made it! Pix for the blog!! THANK YOU!!

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Still not sure about that taller bag. Flap still looks funny.

Rinse and repeat with second group of Tester Peeps. Wow, these gals totally saved my patootie. AGAIN. Whew.

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Flap still looks funny. Harrumph. Back to the drawing board. Rules of design proportion? Rule of thirds? The Golden Rule? Shorten the flap? Yep, that helped. Still looks funny. The bag’s too tall. But it has to be 10” for the (#@*$) iPad. Too tall! Can’t shorten it. Waitaminute! I can make it wider!

Try 10” x 10”. Echino airplanes and scooters! Sweet fabric, but why didn’t they make it in ORANGE. Because not everyone luuurvvvess ORANGE, Sam. (Fools!) More for me! (Wicked laughter!) Cut, sew, flip, and BINGO – doesn’t look funny anymore. Love that square! Love that balance! Oh, you’d like one, but in linen. Sure. I need to test it again.

10 in square

It’s Karen’s birthday and I could make her one of these. Except for the small one is too big for her – she likes them wee (she’s a Scot!) Make it smaller. SMALLER? Are you NUTS? Hmmm… 6” x 6” could work. If I move that and squeeze this and keep it SQUARE, and how the hell am I supposed to get my hand through there and yes, it’s so cute! Perfect. THREE sizes for the pattern now. Oh, you’d like one? Sure. I’m still testing it. No, it has to stay SQUARE. Trust me.

6 inch

A pattern? Of course it’s a pattern. It will be out soon… I just need to run one more test!

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

References:

  • What does it have in its pocketses? – Gollum, in The Hobbit
  • Bad Robot – J.J. Abrams’ production company (and on the end of every episode of Lost)
  • Yeah, baby! Groovy, baby! (But with better teeth!) – Austin Powers
  • By George I Think She’s Got It! – My Fair Lady
  • Love it. I know – (“I love you.” “I know.”) Princess Leia and Han Solo, in The Empire Strikes Back
  • Fools! – Mr. T from the A-Team

Chunky Wee Bag - COVER - 72dpiRGB

How the bag got designed… and a giveaway!

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Remember this little guy? It was the bag that launched me into a frenzy of bag making that (finally) resulted in the Chunky Wee Bag pattern.

Chunky Wee Bag - COVER - 72dpiRGB

I mentioned to my pal Jake that I had made the bag some seventeen times during the design process, and being as she’s part of the collective brain behind Generation Q Magazine, she asked me to articulate that into something that could be published in the mag.

So I decided to write it like it sounds in my head when I’m designing. There’s a huge monologue churning most of the time upstairs, and it’s full of weird thoughts when I’m in the creative groove. So I tried to capture that, and added a bunch of pix to the raw materials I sent in. The ever fabulous Megan of Bitchy Stitcher fame did a bang-up job of laying it out for the mag, and it magically appeared in the latest issue!

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Isn’t it amazing how Jake and her team make that happen? Stuff goes in, pretty comes out. See, it’s magic!

At the end of the article, there’s a discount code for ordering patterns off my site, so you might want to pick one of these up. They are sold in the magazine section of your local bookstore, as well as many quilt shops. And there’s way more in there than just lil ole me – all sorts of fun stuff, patterns, interviews, etc.

And last but not least – I have a couple to give away! Please leave a comment below, and tell me something about what goes on in *your* head while you are designing. I’ll choose 2 winners on Sunday.

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Stay creative!

Chunky Wee Bag goes to market

Spring Quilt Market begins on Thursday in Portland! I’m going to Market, but not in a booth – I’ll be there running around, so if you need to meet up with me just email me to make some arrangements. I’d love to meet you!

I’m sure you’ve been reading about everyone’s last minute preparations in the blog rolls this week, and my studio has not escaped the insanity.

I spent last week hustling through some Chunky Wee Bags. The good folks at Andover sent some fabrics to play with from their new Poppy Modern and KITSCHenette lines.

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Sorry for the “ironing board in the studio” shot… I was hustling to get ‘em in the mail!

I made a couple of bags for the sweet Hoffman Fabrics folks too – but I don’t see the fabric on their website so I won’t let the cat out of the bag just yet -I’ll show you the photo once I get the go ahead. I’ll give you a hint though… humming birds!

You will also find another Chunky Wee Bag in the Brewer booth – it’s one from the pattern cover, made from Melody Miller’s fabulous Viewmaster Reel fabric. I should have bought way more of that when I had the chance!

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If you spot one of my bags at Quilt Market (or you’ve made one yourself), please snap a photo of you with the bag and post it to my FB Page. Be goofy if you like! We’ll do something fun with them when I get back from Market, and give some goodies away!

Image of View master fabric from here.

Introducing Collage!

My friend Carrie Bloomston of SUCH Designs has just sent her first fabric collection, Collage (for Windham Fabrics), out into the world, and lucky me, I get to share it with you!

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I met Carrie at the Long Beach Quilt Festival in 2011. Her debut booth was a spark of bright and cheerful in an otherwise black-draped sea of business-as-usual. I was immediately drawn to her Wonky Little Houses pattern, and she and I ended up having a wonderful gab.

At the time, I was barely a year out of grad school, and still utterly exhausted and somewhat shell-shocked by the experience of surviving an MFA program. Carrie shared that she was still recovering from a demanding program at RISD, but that playing with fabric was moving her back into her old skin, and that painting was once again calling to her. We ended up bonding over being refugees from art school.

Fast forward to last year… Carrie and I ended up in adjacent booths at Long Beach 2012. It was my first big show as Hunter’s Design Studio, and we again shared a bunch of important conversations about navigating this crazy quilt world. She left me with a story about the danger of wearing layers of other people’s coats (as in allowing yourself to be weighed down with other people’s ideas of how your business should be run) and truly, it was just the conversation I needed to hear that day! So that’s the story of how we met – like many quilting stories… two women find a common thread, and as we pass it back and forth, we weave a friendship. I can’t think of a better way to make new friends.

Anyhow – back to the important task at hand… introducing the fabric! Collage is sweet evidence that Carrie made it back to her paints, and obviously had some fun. Carrie sent fabric to all her blog tour folks, and asked us to just make something from it. If you’ve been following the tour, you’ll see that we all found something in the line that spoke to our own way of seeing the world, and some great projects have ensued.

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For me, the fabrics have a sense of wonder, play and delight – all things I know that Carrie (and I) have worked hard to regain after formal education. Being a Word Girl, I love the text fabrics the best, and adore the many encouraging sayings that Carrie purposely built into them.

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I really enjoy using spots and stripes in things, and Collage offers a bunch of both. The border Birdie print is spectacular, and really usable. The “solids” have subtle tone variations and lines that create depth beyond a flat, monochromatic field. There really isn’t a piece in the group that can’t stand on its own, or play well with others.

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I chose to make one of my latest patterns with the fabric, a chunky little messenger-style bag (the pattern is making its debut here!). While the text fabrics called to me the most, I thought the Birdies made for a better lead role on the flap, with the teal cups and scrappy newspaper stripes as wonderful supporting players. Because I couldn’t find a comfortable way to put ORANGE on the bag, I instead used the deep orange-red scrappy stripes to whip up a little tissue holder to go with it. I had to get my ORANGE in there somehow!

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The lovely folks at Windham Fabrics have offered each blog host a layer-cake pack of all the Collage fabrics as a giveaway! So leave me (and Carrie!) a comment below to enter in the drawing for the layer cake, and I’ll use the random number site to choose a winner. I’ll leave the comments on for a couple of days (let’s say the end of my Tuesday), but don’t wait too long to throw your hat in the ring!

And in case you’ve missed them, here’s the blog tour roster – stop in and see all the things Collage can do:

April 9 – Julie Goldin 
April 11 – April Rhodes
April 12 – Tia Curtis
April 14 – Ramona Burke
April 15 – Sally Keller
April 16 – Angela Walters
April 19 – Jenny Kelly

April 22 –Karen Le Page (One Girl Circus)

Bag Ladies!

Yesterday my gang of merry pattern testers and I headed to New Moon Textiles and took over the big classroom to test my latest pattern, a chunky little handbag. I can’t thank my testers enough… they make my designs better!

Thank you to Mary Ellen S, Mary Ellen G, Sandy, Alyssa, Jessica, Minerva, Barbara, Frances, and Noni! And thank you again to New Moon for hosting :-)

Here’s what came out of the classroom – check out the fabulous fabric choices!

And the Orange Robot Bag is MINE!!