April 23, 2014

Stitch 'n Swap Blog Party and Giveaway

Welcome to the Stitch 'N Swap Blog Party. My friends at Generation Q Magazine have a wonderful new book coming out next month that's all about sharing. The GenQ folks are all about community. That's how they got started and that's what they believe in . . . community helping build community. And what better way to encourage community than through a swap. Bringing people together to share their talents and skills by making and then giving. It's a win win scenario and wonderful experience.

Stitch 'N Swap is loaded with 25 fun projects that include a variety of themes. All are meant to be doable in a day. Some are small . . . some are more involved. There's something for everyone including kids. One of my favorites is the Interchangeable Monster by Linda Hansen. Linda made these really fun little monsters with arms and legs that can be swapped out for different ones. Very clever and creative. Another favorite, and one I just might need to make for myself, is the Tea Cozy by Karen Cunagin. I'm a big tea drinker and my tea is always cold.

In addition to all the projects, lots of tips and advice are included on how to organize a successful swap. How do you get started? Who do ask to play along? What projects do you use? Everything you might encounter if you're running a swap so you'll have a smooth and fun filled event. This would be a great book for guilds to add to their library too.

I was really honored and super excited when Jake asked me to contribute a project. This is the first book I've had the pleasure of being published in and I couldn't be in better company. WaHoo!!! My project is in the Home Swap chapter and called Heartbeat Couch Scarf. It's a small quilt meant to be a decorative runner to dress up your couch. It easily can be used as a table runner or wall hanging too. Super simple to make, it uses a quilt-as-you-go method so it really comes together quickly.

Of course every good party includes a giveaway. Generation Q Magazine will be giving away 3 copies of Stitch 'N Swap on their blog. US winners will get a paper copy and international winners will receive a digital copy.

So how does the giveaway work? I'm glad you asked. All you need to do is comment on the original Generation Q Stitch 'N Swap blog post here. Let them know if you've ever participated in a swap and the coolest thing you've gotten in a swap. That's it! All winners will be chosen from the GenQ post Wednesday May 7th and posted on their blog May 8th.

You can also get your very own copy directly from Generation Q beginning May 1st or pre-order now through C&T Publishing.

Hop over to today's other blog party participants and see what they have to say.

On a side note, if you saw this post yesterday, it was accidentally published after being accidentally deleted. Needless to say, Blogger and I were definitely not on speaking terms . . . at least not with any words I'd care to share here . . . but alas all is good in the Quilting Universe now . . .   : )

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Spring Colors in Full Bloom

Spring has finally made a real appearance around here. Things are getting green . . . flowers are starting to bloom . . .  rainbows are making an appearance along with a little much needed rain.  Color is showing up all around after a dull gray winter. So it just seemed like a good time to spring my latest new quilt designs on you too. These three designs have actually been works in progress for far far too long. I'm still working on the finishing touches. Two more to bind . . . one more small one to sew.

First up are two quilts I've made using 2 1/2" strips in cheery spring colors . . .

Next up is a fat quarter friendly design using cool crisp colors to refresh on those hot days to come. . .

And another fat quarter design bursting with rainbow brights  . . . awaiting binding. I have the fabrics cut for another version in wonderful blue/green stripes too.

All three quilts will be be published next month as PDF patterns. There are also other versions and optional ideas that I'll be sharing soon too. Stay tuned to the blog for the big release and sale.

I'm linking up today with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Hop over and see all the creativity going on out there. It's very inspiring.

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April 17, 2014

The Need to Create

This seemed like a random post perfect for Cindy's Really Random Thursdays.

While looking at images on Pinterest today, I was struck by the overwhelming wealth of creativity in the world. There are amazing things being imagined and made by thousands and thousands of people.

The sheer volume of creativity is enough to both inspire and, at times, even discourage. And I will admit I do sometimes feel discouraged. But much more often I am inspired. Inspired not only by what I see, but by the simple, basic fact that so many many many others are compelled to create and share their creativity with the world. Visual art, music, writing . . . you name it.

Today I was simply struck by the deep need, the absolute need, that I and so many many others have to create. To dream. To envision. To make with our hands. To give voice through our music and writing. To express ourselves by being creative.

I live in a house filled with creativity . . . we use drills to carve pumpkins . . . we make snow art . . . who knows what we'll use this year to dye Easter eggs.

I am a designer . . . a decorator . . . an artist . . . a quilter . . . a collector of fabric.
Beautiful gorgeous prints and intense saturated colors.

My husband is a graphic designer . . . an art teacher . . . a mixed media artist . . . a junk collector
See what crazy creative things he makes here.

My daughter is a jewelry artist  . . . a photographer . . . a writer . . . a collector of all things beautiful.
See her stylish, beautiful jewelry here.

My son is going to be an engineer. He will use his creativity to design, build, imagine solutions.
He is also a musician . . . creating in his own way.

I have always felt the passion, the desire and the need to create through visual art.
I am a better, happier, more content person when I am creating.
I live it . . . breathe it . . . and yes, even dream it.

So today I say thank you to all you creative people out there dreaming, making, sharing your art with the rest of us. Together I believe we truly make the world a better, more beautiful place. These are my random thoughts on living the life I love.

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April 13, 2014

Sew Solid Sunday with Esch House Quilts

Linking up today with Debbie of Esch House Quilts who has a regular monthly series going called Sew Solid Sunday featuring projects made from all solids.

As I was cutting strips today for a small quilt, I realized one of the fabrics was the same stripe I had used for the binding on Fitting In and since I don't have any new solid projects at the moment I thought I'd share an older one.

Fitting In was one of the first all solid quilts I made and came about as part of the Tetris Quilt Along by Melissa of Happy Quilting. It was the first, and so far only, quilt-a-long I've done.

Working on this quilt, the biggest challenge for me was the fact that there wasn't a plan. I'm not an improv kind of quilter. This wonderful little quilt came together week after week as Melissa gave us a set of shapes to play the Tetris game. I made myself stick to the "rules" of the game by building from the bottom up and simply allowing the design to emerge each week. It wasn't easy.

At first I felt compelled to try and fill all the spaces like you're supposed in the real game but am so glad I didn't. The white squares represent places where the game pieces didn't fit together right and yet they became a vital part of the final quilt. The design needed those empty spaces to create more visual interest and play. You can see how it all came together week by week by looking under the Tetris Quilt Along tag on the sidebar if you're interested in the weekly progress.

I chose a controlled palette of colors rather than the normal primary Tetris colors. In the end I loved how the quilt took shape each week. In many ways it's probably one of the more modern designs I've made. There is a randomness to it that I find quite pleasing.

One of the things about working with all solids that I find intimidating is that the solid fabric just begs to show off wonderful quilting and that is the part I am least comfortable with. For this one I simply did straight lines in a grid to reinforce the grid structure of the quilt. Nothing fancy but I think it's ok. Just ok. More lines would have been better but I needed something quick to get it finished on time.

I have 2 all solid projects in the wings that need to be done by the end of the month for challenge groups I'm in so hopefully next month I'll have a new finish to share on Sew Solid Sunday.

There are so many beautiful all solid quilts being made that it can be quite enticing to jump in and play with pure color and form. No distraction from prints and patterns. Yet I find that after I've made something using all solids, I'm usually quite ready to busy things up with some prints.  : )

How about you? Do you like working with all solids? If you'd like to see some inspiration check out Sew Solid Sunday links and my Pinterest board specifically for quilts from solids.

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April 9, 2014

Binding on a WIP Wednesday

Binding . . .  one down . . . one in the works . . .  two in the wings . . .

The good thing is it means I'll have finished projects to show you soon. But it sometimes feels like it takes FOREVER to bind a quilt.  These three quilts have been languishing in a pile for longer than I care to admit. It was far easier to start another quilt than to actually finish these.

I stitch my binding to the back by hand and have normally done it while watching listening to TV. (You can't really watch TV and sew at the same.)  Lately I've realized it is easier and quicker if I sew the binding while the quilt is supported at my desk. So rather than doing it in front of the TV I decided I'd do it in my studio. Trouble is I just didn't want to take the time out of a busy day to sit and do nothing but bind. Thus these quilts have been patiently waiting for me. Until now.

In order to speed things up, I'd love to master a machine method that really looks good. The one method I've tried is to stitch in the ditch from the front and catch the binding on the back. It's never even and there are always a few places that get missed alltogether. My perfectionism is showing isn't it?  So far my attempts have been less than satisfactory so I stick with hand stitching.

Recently though I heard of using glue rather than pins or clips to keep the binding in place. Supposedly more accurate since there aren't any pins causing distortion. Has anyone tried this with success? If so, any tips? Perhaps I'll give it a try with one of the quilts in the wings. For now I better get back stitching.

I'd love to know how you bind your quilts.
And yes, spring is back and the tulips are once again in full bloom . . . yippee!!!
Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

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April 3, 2014

Spring . . . Maybe, Maybe Not

After living in Colorado for something close to 30 years I'm used to this . . . sort of.

Yesterday our front garden looked like this . . .

Today it looks like this . . .

Tomorrow it will look like the first photo again . . . I hope. Springtime in the Rockies. You just never know what to expect. Maybe that's why the northern Colorado shops join forces this time of year for a shop hop all in one location and call it Springtime in the Rockies. It's coming up April 11-12.

Since spring is so slow to arrive here, I get my fix of color playing with my fabrics. Last week I had a pile of these . . .

By the end of last week they became this lovely pile of blocks . . .

And this week they are on their way to becoming a finished top. Here's a sneak peak . . .

This is just one of four new patterns I hope to have finished and released in May. Fingers crossed.

Linking up with Cindy at Live a Colorful Life for a Really Random Thursday.
What random things are happening with you?

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