Friday, December 31, 2010

Back and Forth at the Same Time: New Year's Eve Edition

I  couldn't possibly say goodbye to 2010 without looking back at the quilts I've made over the past year. Sometimes I wonder what it is about quilts that attracts me to them. I certainly enjoy designing and making other things, but oftentimes those ideas are spurred by a need or an assignment rather than just inspiration. It seems like whenever I think about patterning, I do so in terms of quilt design rather than a garment or home dec item. The idea may evolve into something other than a quilt, but it probably started out with a quilt in mind.
Anyway, I'll probably have to go into analysis to figure that one out, so if someone wants to recommend a therapist, I'm all ears. :) Until I get that sorted out, here's my mosaic of 2010 quilts.
I probably could have included a few more as I often make repeats of designs as custom orders, but I think this mosaic gives a good overview.
Also, since these posts have been about the future as much as the past, I'm announcing that I'll be releasing a new quilt pattern on Monday, January 3, 2011.
I first showed sneak peaks of this quilt in mid-November when I requested that a few helpful folks review the pattern. I've since done a wee bit of editing and I'm ready for it to go live this Monday. Check back here then as I'll have more pictures and information and will be giving away 2 copies of the pattern to celebrate its launch.
Until then...have a fabulous New Year and, for those who live close by, I hope to see you at the book signing this Sunday at 5:00pm at Stitch Lab (1000 S. First St.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back and Forth at the Same Time #2

I was planning to look back on the quilts I've made in the 2010 and chat about some quilting plans for the new year, but I was struck by a discussion thread over at Sew, Mama, Sew.  So(or should I say sew :)) I'll save that for tomorrow's post. Instead, I'll play along with their prompts and would love to hear your thoughts about what sewing in 2010 meant to you and what you think the future holds.

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
This might seem a wee bit self-serving, but I genuinely believe that the biggest trend on the sewing horizon these days is the making of contemporary quilts that are both beautiful and functional. I think there's a slew of young and young at heart sewers who want to make quilts, just not exactly the way grandma did.
What were some of your favorite things? (Trends, fabric collections, patterns, blogs? Whatever you really loved.)
My favorite thing is the mini explosion I see of downloadable patterns. Knitters have been doing this kind of thing for a few years and those of us who sew are just starting to get in on it. Now what we need is a Ravelry-like site for sewers where independent designers and crafty folks can have an online community to swap ideas, sell patterns, and generally display their talents. BTW- I love Burdastyle, but that doesn't fit this bill in my opinion.  
What was your very favorite fabric collection or print? (If not listed above.)
I may be biased, but I was pretty partial to my friend Kathy York's collection for Clothworks.
What was the best thing you made in 2010? (Be sure to share a photo!)
I do a lot of sewing, so it's hard to pick one item, but I feel like the Hexagon String Baby Quilt that I designed for Quilt Scene Magazine was definitely one of my favorites.

 What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?
This might be a weaselly way to answer this question, but oh well.... I have seen so many beautiful creations over the past year that I can't, no matter what, name just one. I do have a bunch of beautiful crafty images faved over at flickr and I'd invite others to be as inspired by them as I've been. 
What do you think 2011 has in store? (Again, trends, fabric, patterns, etc.)
I think the past few years have seen a growing fascination with all crafts and designs Japanese. While I've really enjoyed this, I think this year's trends may be a bit bolder and more color-based than what you tend to see in the Japanese aesthetic. I think there's a real interest in simple, strong designs that focus on color. 
Anything you’re ready for the sewing world to get over?
Not really. I think we're a pretty decent bunch and if something isn't your cup of tea, just don't make it or buy it.
What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?
I've got lots more quilts and quilt patterns planned for 2011 and more personal clothes sewing with knits. I've been a bit wary about working with knits in the past but I'm ready to get over that.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back and Forth at the Same Time #1

I love this time of the year, reading all the best-of lists that are published or listening to the best-of radio shows. It's fun to look back on the past year and to think about the possibilities for the year to come. It's really a strange dichotomy of recalling the past and anticipating the future all at the same time. Frankly it should make me a little schizoid, but instead it makes me smile.
This week I thought I'd share some of my highlights from the past year as well as plans or maybe just hopes for the year to come.
I wanted to start off with a mosaic of some of the projects from my book, Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration.
I'm featuring the book as my first look back because I'm going to have a book signing this Sunday at 5:00pm at Stitch Lab,1000 South First Street.  If you've never been to Stitch Lab you are in for a real treat. The place defines the word eye candy. It's located in a refurbished old house on and not only is it fun and funky and colorful, but they sell the best, most contemporary, perfect for quilting, crafting, any-which-way-kind-of-sewing fabrics there. I'll be there along with copies of the book and the original projects from the book. Want to see the Honeycomb Hexagon or Nate's Quilt up close? Come to Stitch Lab this Sunday at 5:00. Also, I'm going to be teaching some classes this Spring at Stitch Lab and though I plan to post about that here later in January, all the class info will be available at the book event. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cathy's Ocean Revisited

Today's post is brought to you by kismet or fate or karma or one of those forces in the universe. The other day a friend and devoted customer emailed to say hello and ask a question. She then mentioned that she'd seen my write-up in American Craft and saw that one of the quilts featured was a quilt I'd made for her. I replied that the editors had asked for a high resolution image of that quilt and unfortunately all I had was a pretty crappy photo I'd probably taken with a point and shoot. Being the kind and generous person she is, my friend offered to drop the quilt off for a few days so I could properly document it.
So here it is:
Its an improvisational take on the traditional Ocean Waves pattern and if you've ever looked at my flickr photostream you've seen it in my quilt set. What the original photo doesn't reveal and frankly neither does this one is how much embroidery I added to the quilt top before I basted and machine quilted it.
That's why I took these closeups.

 I had so much fun adding the embroidery to this piece. I remember telling my friend at the time I was working on the quilt that I found the embroidery work to be so calming. I just couldn't seem to stop myself. Also, I used wool embroidery thread which I feel is the perfect compliment to a lot of the hand dyed fabrics. The wool has such an amazing richness of color it really suits the color saturation of the fabrics.
For those who might be interested in some of the mundane details, the quilt measures about 30" x 40" and features both hand dyed and commercial cottons.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA :: Day 7

Whew! I made it all the way across the USA and boy...wait I already used that. I'm actually not tired; I'm thrilled. I've really enjoyed reading the comments and seeing some of the interpretations of the Fresh Quilting projects. Today's the last stop on the tour and it's a great place to visit. Kathy Mack is a designer and owner of a fabulous online store, Pink Chalk Fabrics. I can personally attest to how terrific her space is because not only do I buy a lot of fabric from her I also sell my downloadable patterns there. On her blog today she's posted her review of Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration including a book giveaway.
Throughout the blog tour I've featured photos that I took of the projects before I sent them off to the publisher last winter. Since this is the last day, I've decided to focus on two of the wearable projects I designed for the book. In the book these items are modeled by professionals, but my photos feature two lovely girls, my eldest and her friend. Being teenagers they insisted I not include their faces, but take my word for it they are as cute above the neck as they appear below the neck.  
 Peppermint Neck Warmer
Mix-it-up Patchwork Scarf

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA :: Day 6

We're rolling into Day 6, but week 2 of the Fresh Quilting Across the USA tour. I think I like the idea that we could have an incongruous number of days to weeks. If  I could figure out how to do that in the reverse, I could probably go back in time and imagine what an amazing book and subsequent blog tour that would lead to.
Annie's Picnic Quilt from Fresh Quilting

But, back to reality and the blog tour at hand. Today's stop is at Blair's always beautiful and well-designed space. Remember, each stop includes a book giveaway, so be sure to check it out for your chance to win.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA :: Day 5

 Honeycomb Hexagon quilt from Fresh Quilting

I'm virtually flying my way across the USA and boy are my arms tired! :) I was going to wait until the last stop on the Fresh Quilting tour to make that silly comment, but ever time I thought about it I'd giggle, so I couldn't help myself. I guess I"ll have to spend the weekend coming up with something else.
Today's stop is at Jacquie's incredibly popular and informative blog. This woman has so much energy and enthusiasm and it shows in the beautiful quilts that she makes. A little birdie told me that Jacquie has a book in the works too, so I'm definitely looking forward to that.
The tour takes the weekend off for refueling, but begins again on Monday at Wise Craft.
As with all the previous stops, today's blog is offering a free copy of Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration. So head on over there and check it out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA :: Day 4

My photo of the Whirlygig quilt from Fresh Quilting

Day 4 of Fresh Quilting Across the USA is at Erin's space, House on Hill Road. I've been reading Erin's blog for a long time and I'm a huge fan of her designs, her wonderful approach to life, and the wallpaper in her bathroom.
Be sure to check out her interpretation of the Whirlygig pattern, read her review of Fresh Quilting, and put your name in the hat for the giveaway.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA :: Day 3

 My shot of the kitchen curtain from Fresh Quilting

Today's stop is at JCasa *handmade and I'm totally loving what Jennifer created from the book. In fact it's my dream for what folks might do with the projects in Fresh Quilting. She took the patchwork pattern from the sewing machine cover and adapted it for a studio curtain. Brilliant!
I've long been a fan of Jennifer's and am lucky enough to have visited with her online and in person. She sews, she knits, she writes books, she's got two incredibly cute girls...grab a cup of tea and enjoy your time in her space.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA :: Day 2

Check out Victoria's post here for Day 2 of the blog tour. I would also strongly recommend that while you're visiting Victoria's space you take some time to look at her truly unique and amazingly crafted fiber art.

I wanted to take a minute to thank all of y'all who've emailed to let me know how much you're enjoying the book. I'd love for those of you who have a few extra minutes to log onto and review the book there as well.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA::Day 1

So today's the first day of my blog tour to celebrate my new book, Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration. For a chance to win a copy of the book and to read Ashley's review go here.
While you're there you should definitely check out all the amazing quilts that Ashley's made. Very inspiring!

We have a winner for the copy of Fresh Quilting I was giving away last Thursday. This giveaway has been such fun for me. Along with receiving all you wonderful birthday wishes, I have learned how to say "Happy Birthday" in so many different languages including Canadian where they wish the birthday boy/girl, "Happy Birthday, eh." 
Anyway, thanks to all who participated. Our book recipient is:
Alice R. said...OOOOOOOoooooohhhhh! Happy birthday to you...and to me, I hope! Thank you for the chance to win your lovely book - it'll go great with those bundles I just ordered!

Alice, please email me at with your home address and I'll get your book to you super quick.

Also, I'd like to clear up a bit of confusion that I may have created in my post about the blog tour. Perhaps it was the mention of the Rolling Stones tours of the US or my promise not to trash hotel rooms, but many of you got the impression that I will actually be making my way across the country. As much as I would like to visit all the places listed on the tour and a few more, my blog tour is entirely virtual. I'll be there in spirit, but my body remains in Austin, Texas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fresh Quilting Across the USA

First off, I should say that I'm totally in love with the graphic that Jamie Guthals, publicist extraordinaire at Interweave Press, sent me to visually illustrate my blog tour. I mean check this out:
Each stop on my tour is denoted and I love concept of hopping across the country.
When I first saw the graphic and heard the blog tour referred to as 'Fresh Quilting Across the USA", I couldn't help but think about Keith Richards. I just finished listening to his autobiography on my ipod and he went into great detail about life on the road with the Rolling Stones. Rest assured I have no plans to trash hotel rooms, get arrested, or do pretty much anything that he did on his tours. I think I'll just talk about the projects and giveaway books.
The tour begins next week and will include the following stops:








For those still interested in commenting to win the book I'm giving away, have no fear, those comments are open until Sunday, December 5 at 8:00 pm CST.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yom Huledet Sameach

Are some of you scratching your heads about today's post title? Well, that is Happy Birthday in Hebrew transliterated because Hebrew has a completely different alphabet. Why would you need to know this other than to wow your friends at parties? Because today is my birthday and that's the way my folks, my brother, and even some of my Facebook friends wished me a happy birthday.
my birthday isn't the only thing I'm celebrating today.  I said in Tuesday's post that I hoped to finish the quilt I was making and...
I did!
As I was taking these pictures, I zoomed in to take a close-up shot and noticed something on the quilt. I wonder if you see it too.
There seems to be a copy of my new book on the quilt. This must be some kind of birthday sign. I'm thinking it's saying that it would be so fun to share my birthday joy with you all by giving away a copy of the book. I'm loving that idea. So, go ahead and leave a comment. I'll take comments through Sunday at 8:00pm CST and announce the winner on Monday.
For those of you worried that this might be your only chance to win a copy of the book, don't despair. I'll be back in this space tomorrow to announce the details of my Fresh Quilting Across the USA blog tour.
Good luck and Lihitraot (that means see you later) !


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finish Line in Sight

Race metaphor brought to you today because I ran the local Turkey trot last Thursday. I was super excited about my time...until I learned that the course was accidentally shortened by a half mile and was actually 4 1/2 miles rather than 5.
Today's finish line though is completely under my control. No pace car or confused policemen to screw this up. Today I'm off to the quilt this:
  It's a full size bed quilt for a customer across the globe. She had seen the version that I made my daughter several years ago and asked for one of her very own.
I've mentioned this before here and wrote about it in my new book, but I have to extol the pleasures and time saving nature of renting time on a long arm quilting machine. Quilting this entire top will take me 4-5 hours including "basting", a process that's a lot different and easier on you back/butt than taping the backing to the floor, layering the batting and top, and then proceeding to scoot around pinning the layers together. I'm telling you, long arming is the only civilized way to go.
 I'm hoping to have this bound and photographed for display in this space on Thursday. If I were y'all, I might just check back here then because 1. Thursday is a special day for me and 2. How fun would it be to share some of my special day with you lovely folks. Need I say more? :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shop Talk

I may have caught the Black Friday fever. I didn't venture out to the malls, but I did go in search of a couple specific fabrics at Joann's. People, that place is a madhouse. I ended up buying a couple spools of thread. Big, thousand yard spools that usually cost about $10.00 a piece, but today were buy one, get the second free. Then, the checker scanned some coupon that she had at the counter and the spools got even cheaper.
Though the craziness of the place convinced me that I should come back during the week to buy muslin, I was inspired by my Joann's experience to do something new in my shop.
(Imagine me speaking in a loud voice) For the first time ever, I'm offering my blog readers, that's you wonderful people, a special discount on the items available in my store. That's 10% off any purchases between now and next Tuesday. To use the coupon code, all you need to do is type in the phrase BLOGLOVE when you check out.
I've just updated the store with some new fabric bundles

 and a scrap bundle.
 I also have an array of pillow covers, patterns, hand dyed fabrics, coasters, quilts, and at least one or two other things I've forgotten.
If you've been thinking about buying one of the quilts or pillow covers I have listed, her's your chance to get it at a discount.
Just sayin. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the Interest of Brevity: OMG

Years ago, before I ever thought about dyeing fabric or making quilts, back when I was still in art school, I knew about American Craft Magazine. Periodically, I would go to the bookstore to peruse the magazines I couldn't afford to buy and along with Art in America and Art News, I would read the latest craft news via American Craft.
Fast forward twenty some years and I get an email from a local writer, Shelley Seale, telling me that she has been commissioned by American Craft to write a story about me. Me?!!
And then, like icing on the cake, American Craft sends an amazing photographer, Michael O'Brien, to photograph me and my studio. Do you think I might be jumping up and down like a contestant on The Price is Right?
I've had to keep this under wraps for a couple months, but I got my copy last week and I'm ready to shout it from the rooftops. I am so thrilled to be included in the Dec/Jan issue of American Craft!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Of Bags and Buckles

If you've watched the promotional video I made for my book, Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration, you've heard me describe the projects in this book as items I've wanted to design for a long time. Many of the projects are the result of ideas I've carried around for a long time. For instance I mentioned that the kitchen curtain that's featured in the book is a concept I've long wanted to play with. I'll often see something in a store or in a magazine and think it's interesting and then something about will just stick with me. That's the story behind one of the projects that was originally slated for the book, but, due to space constraints and the complexity of the project just didn't make the final cut.
 The impetus for this book bag was my desire to make a bag that had a bona fide, working buckle. This bag is all about that 3" buckle. Years ago I was at Hill Country Weavers and I saw a knitted bag with buckle on the cover of a Rowan magazine. I liked the bag, but I LOVED the buckle. What's more, I loved the concept of a bag with a buckle. I know that seems like a little detail to hone in on, but I put it in the back of my mind that one day I'd design a bag with a buckle.
The rest of the bag: the quilted interior and exterior, the placement of the flap, the binding encasing both the quilted flap and the interior seams, and all of the other details I had worked out in this previous design.
 But this was where I decided to add my buckle.
Interestingly, the bag that is in the book also has a design feature that I had in mind for years.
 This is my image of the Four Points Tote taken before the bag was sent off to Interweave Press last winter. The handles, however, were given to me by a friend several years back. At the time she was cleaning out her aged mother's house and found these wooden handles. She didn't know anything about them, but thought I could put them to good use. I set them on a shelf and there they sat and gathered dust. As I was planning the patchwork for the tote, I realized that I wanted to use those handles in the design. I checked to make sure they were a standard size so that folks could recreate the pattern without having to dig in some obscure place for similar handles and, once reassured, added them to my tote.
Now I have both bags in my home. The tote I've set aside until book promotion is over, but the buckled bag is already getting daily use. And, like a little kid, I am so loving buckling and unbuckling my bag.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wanted: Guinea Pigs

Not the real kind. I actually have two Chinchillas that live in my house so I don't need any more rodents in my life. I mean sewing guinea pigs.
I'm working on a new quilt pattern and I'd like to ask a few of you skilled sewers to review the pattern for me and, if you'd like, sew a version of the quilt. You don't have to sew up the pattern to review it, just make sure that the directions make sense.
In return for your hard work and sage advice, you'll get the first draft PDF of the pattern and, eventually, the final draft PDF for free.
 I should warn you that this is a pretty large quilt measuring 69" x 69", so those who might want to sew the top as part of the review process should be aware of that.
 If you're interested, please email me directly at for additional details.

Edited to add: Wow! Eager beavers, I means guinea pigs. I have all the testers I need. Thanks everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two-fold Purpose

Obviously part of the focus of today's post is to announce the winner of the Quilt Scene magazine. Before I do that I want to reveal my very special method for picking a winner. my technique involves sitting in my favorite chair an calling out to one of my girls. Sometimes the one being called doesn't hear me or is, in fact, not home. They are teenagers after all and there have been a few times when after calling their name repeatedly, I set out in search for one only to discover that she's not home. Thank goodness they have phones and I know how to text.
Anyway, I usually continue to call until someone, anyone, responds. At that point I ask them to pick a number based on the number of comments I've received. They don't even know or ask why I want them to select a number between 1 and 131, they just pick one. It couldn't be anymore random than that. Today's number, courtesy of my sweet Rachel, is 113.
That makes Mathea our winner. She said:

The magazine looks wonderful, and I love your quilt, but oh, what I'd give to have real sunlight in November.. :-D

Congratulations! Please email me at with your mailing address and I will send the magazine super quick-like. Unfortunately USPS doesn't allow me to ship sunlight, so I can't help you with that.

My second purpose is to pass on a bit of quilt inspiration I happened to photograph at Quilt Festival the other week. As I was heading back to my car, I noticed two small buildings across the street from the George R. Brown Convention center.
 Both these little structures are located on a bit of park-like space.  They're very small, so I'm assuming that they're purpose has something to do with controlling the lights or some other technical aspect of the surrounding structures. If someone sees these images and knows what their point is, please chime in because I am curious. Anyway, they've been adorned with the blocks of warm and cool colors.
True confession: when I took the pictures I thought the buildings had been placed there exclusively for Festival. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that, but I figure it's just between you and me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What does it mean...

when you find a package on your porch last night, realize it's from your publisher, but decide you're going to wait until the next day to open it, so you can take pictures of the contents as they emerge from the box?
And what does it mean when you're taking pictures and then notice the cool way the light is playing on the surface of the box and quilt and floor,
so you take one picture
 and then another
and then some more pictures of what is essentially the reflection of the slats of your dining room chairs? I have even more pictures, but people, even I have some kind of filter.

And what does it mean when the point of this post was not to show off pictures of sunlight or chair slats or even quilts, but to giveaway a copy of this year's Quilt Scene magazine and I'm this far in and only now getting to it?
 Answers. I'm going to need them. And your comments. You're going to want to leave them because this is a magazine worth owning. You know who has patterns in this magazine? How about Elizabeth Hartman.
and Ashley Newcomb,
 and Denyse Schmidt.
In all honesty, when I held the magazine, I actually thought it was heavy. There are loads of wonderful projects, so leave a comment. I'll pick a winner on Sunday night and announce him/her on Monday.
Good luck and have a fabulous weekend!