Author Archives: Bernie

Working with Wonder Woman

I just finished up a really fun project. I haven’t made a custom Chemex Cozy for a while and received this note from a customer about a week ago. She asked….”do you have one that is more Wonder WOMAN and less super Man?”  Clearly she wanted some female superheroes to grace her kitchen. After a very quick search, I found this fabric.

My customer thought it was perfect so I placed an order and waited for it to arrive from an Etsy shop in Texas.  As soon as I got it, I cut into it.  I must have been terribly excited because I cut these girls out upside down. Not once, but twice. Considering I only had one yard of fabric (it takes about 1/2 yard to make a set) I was seriously frustrated. It didn’t take me long to decide to try some improv work to save the fabric.

I started cutting out Wonder Woman (she was the key player for my customer) and laying out pieces with black fabric framing off the individual pieces.  I was really liking the way she looked and felt like the black fabric calmed the craziness of the fabric down a bit.

 

Once I got one cozy put together, I sent off a progress picture to my customer. I was honest and told her what had happened. Asking for her honest opinion, I explained I would be happy to purchase more fabric. She immediately responded that she missed all of the action and  wasn’t too wild about the black in between the clips of Wonder Woman. She suggested I take the fabric scraps and just sew them back together ‘like a patchwork’. Ok then, on to round two. (I was not at all disappointed that she was unhappy with my first rendition as I knew I could list it for sale in the shop.)

Drawing on my practice with making fabric Victoria Findlay Wolfe style, I played with the scraps I had. Luckily, I still had a lot of scraps.

I only needed to have enough for the outside as I planned to line it with a solid fabric. Again, I tried to keep Wonder Woman as the main super hero and began laying pieces next to each other. I needed to end up with a wide strip of pieced fabric, enough for the large curve I cut for these cozies.

It came together so fast!  I showed Judy another progress picture and she was thrilled.  Having both a bright yellow solid and a deep purple solid, I let my customer choose her lining. She went with purple and I finished everything up soon thereafter.

I think it was a great lesson for me. Where I wanted to calm everything down and add the drama of the black frames, she wanted the chaos that DC Comic shows on most of their licensed fabric.

I suppose what I am trying to say is, it is such a trick to stock my shop with items (both handmade and fabrics) for my shoppers. I buy and make with my personal tastes reflected in my choices. I need to keep perspective on what the customer is going to like as well. At any rate, I loved creating both of these pieces and have no doubt the other one will sell swiftly.

If you make for others or for customers, how do you get that perspective? It is only natural to have a bias toward the styles, colors and themes you as the maker prefers, but we need to be able to figure out what the customer wants. Any input??

 

Linking up to a few places this week. Please take a look at the choices I have listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

Checking In

Balance (for me) is never easy. Lately I feel I have ignored my blog slightly as I work to get my fabric shop up and running. There are a limited number of hours in the day and I find myself divided between regular life chores, sewing, writing, listing items on Etsy and shipping a few orders here and there. The other distraction for me is social media. Oh how easy it is to be sucked into it and look up 30 minutes later, wondering how to get that last 1/2 hour back. This week I have tried to stay with one task to completion before moving on to the next.  I have also tried (with limited success) to stay off of social media and check it less frequently. I love seeing everyone’s posts on Instagram but really, it isn’t the best use of my time!

Earlier in the week I made it my top (sewing) priority to finish quilting the Harmony quilt that I made last fall for my nephew. I really wanted to quilt it at the long-arm shop where I can rent time on their machines. After scheduling and rescheduling appointments several times, I gave up on that wish and decided to quilt it at home. As luck would have it, my Janome 6500 (which has a nice big throat) is being very cranky. This means I am quilting it on my little workhorse – an older Janome with a narrow throat. As a result, I switched over to standard straight line quilting. To add some interest, I am quilting it in two halves. Starting on the center diagonal line, I began vertical straight lines. Those vertical lines continue to the far corner. Then on the other half of the diagonal, I am quilting horizontal lines. (Does this even make sense?)  At first I spaced them out about eight inches to anchor everything down. Now I am working on filling them in to about two inches apart.

I think it is working quite nicely and I should be finished with the quilting in the next couple of days. Selecting a fabric for binding it is still up in the air. I am aiming for a scrappy binding with the leftover fabrics but I am unsure if I have enough.

Moving on, I have been playing catch up with the Sewcial Bee blocks. This weekly bee is hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland. The blocks are fun and relatively simple. But I got behind and have to make about three more blocks to catch up. (Remember the first paragraph – just not enough hours to get it all done!) I am (was?) trying to use only my Fleet & Flourish scraps (by Maureen Cracknell) for the print fabric and various solids to tie everything together. As I create the blocks though, it is becoming clear I won’t have enough Fleet & Flourish to stay with this plan.  Now what to do???  Decisions, decisions. My choices are to:

  1.  Add in some Garden Dreamer (also .by Maureen Cracknell and would probably blend reasonably well) and since I carry it in my shop, it is readily available to me
  2.  Buy more Fleet & Flourish.
  3. To be very careful with the scraps I have and make it work by adding in a larger percentage of solid fabrics for the last 12 blocks.

Looking at these three incredibly important choices, my thoughts are these. Buying more fabric is silly.  I have more than enough fabric on hand and should be able to avoid buying anything.  Number three would probably be unsatisfying because I would have to use a whole lot of solid fabric to make it work and I don’t think the result would be to my liking. So, number one for the win. I will go slice six inches or so off several of the Garden Dreamer bolts downstairs in my shop and combine both lines. Phew! I am relieved to have gone through the process and made up my mind.

Before I close and go off to quilt a few more lines and make a Sewcial Bee block or two, I want to share some pictures with you. Remember I mentioned Julia was going to raise two piggies for her 4-H project? I have to say, these animals just crack me up. Here are some recent pictures with photo credit to my daughter. She is really enjoying this project and has done a great job with these two goofy pigs. They are growing like crazy but then that is to be expected considering the amount of feed we are going through!

Daisy and Ella Napping

Eating, always eating!!

Daisy, after playing in the mud.

Silly Ella!

Off to the sewing room now. Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

 

Projects with Vintage Sheets

It is no secret that I have this crazy love of vintage everything.  I have posted many times about different thrifting trips where I have found little vintage treasures. It is fun to find uses for some of these little pieces. My sisters know of this passion of mine. Last month my youngest sister was cleaning out her in-laws house as they prepared to sell it.  She set these measuring cups aside for me, knowing I would want them. They are worn, bent and dented and I love them.

My collection of vintage sheets is quite large at this point. I often cut them into fat quarters and bundle them for sale in my shop. Last summer I made a queen size quilt and two throw pillows for the sewing room/guest room.

Two weeks ago I was cutting fat quarters and bundling them up for the shop when I realized I was amassing quite a stack of sheets. In an effort to use some of the scraps, I thought it would be fun to make a bunting with torn strips of the scraps I have from my sheets.  My plan was to hang it somewhere in the booth at the quilt show I worked earlier this month. I am not sure if you noticed it but I had it hanging around the table I used for cutting and transacting sales. Look at the table on the left in the picture below.

After cleaning up everything from the show I hung the bunting from a little shelf above the guest bed in my sewing room. Doesn’t it look cute with the quilt on the bed??

At about the same time, I decided to make a pair of pajama pants with one of the yellow sheets. The sheets are usually very soft as they have been used and laundered. I used a simple pattern, Simplicity 3935, to make them. It takes about as long to pin the pattern and cut the two pieces as it does to stitch them together. They are so, so comfortable. Here is the front – yes, they are a little wrinkled. I am not much for ironing my pj pants.  😉

Now the back side – which looks much like the front!  I put a little label on the inside of the back waistband so I would know which was which.  Otherwise, you don’t know until you put them on backward and wonder why they don’t fit right. Ha!

Mostly I like to lay on the guest bed and marvel that my pj’s match the quilt. Not really though…

I do love the soft colors and patterns in these sheets. While I only list fat quarter bundles in my shop, I do sell whole sheets if someone wants one to back a quilt or make something like my really cool pajama pants.  If you are ever of a mind to do this, email me and I will send you pictures of what I have available.

I want to show you a fun gift I received for Mother’s Day. My daughter somehow downloaded the logo to my business and had coffee mugs made for me. What a great surprise.

Aren’t these cute?? I just love them!

Just one more thing.  I have been following a series that my friend Mari is publishing over at Academic Quilter. She is on a tear organizing her sewing room, purging unused books, patterns and tools, and going through her stash and getting rid of fabrics she doesn’t want. She has been publishing these wonderfully inspiring posts with all kinds of suggestions for taking this project on. The posts are well written and divide the projects into manageable segments. I have to be honest and admit that to this point, I have only read the posts and wished I was doing the work. It has been so crazy lately and I haven’t spent the time to implement her ideas and suggestions. However, maybe you will have the time to take some of the ideas and put them to good use! Go check it out, if you haven’t already joined in.

Linking to some of my favorites – check out the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

Sew Fresh Quilt Bee Blocks

Last November (I think it was) Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts announced her plan for the Sew Fresh Quilts Bee. The goal was to make tons of 12″ quilt blocks which would become part of a series of quilts to be donated to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Canada. The blocks and/or quilt tops were to be finished by May 15th or so and mailed to Ontario no later than May 30th. I jumped on board and bought some of the required fabric (it has a cute Canadian theme) right away. I planned to make a stack of these improv blocks because I have believe strongly in the Ronald McDonald house organization.  I made two blocks right away and then set them aside. Back in November, May seemed like it was so far in the distance. I pretty much forgot about these blocks.

Come January, I wrote a post about my Q1 goals and I put the Bee Blocks on the list. But nope, there were so many other things to work on. Not to mention a wedding in Toronto and my trip in April to meet my new grand baby in Vermont. So again, I put them out of my mind.

At the end of April I read Kate’s post about finishing up her Bee Blocks. Kate and I are quilty friends and we shared the Canadian fabric required for this project. It reminded me how close I was getting to the deadline and as usual with a deadline looming, I sat down and finished some blocks. Yet again, I put the blocks down and quickly became distracted by the quilt show I worked over the weekend.

Looking at this month and all that I have on my plate, I decided these four blocks are as far as I am able to take this project. It was my intention to make more of them, but sometimes life gets in the way. I packed them up and tomorrow I will ship them off to Ontario. I have been looking at the wonderful projects people have made over the past several months for this bee Lorna has hosted. I think it is awesome that so many quilts have been created and they will definitely provide comfort to the people staying in the Ronald McDonald houses during what are likely times of stress and worry.  Thank you Lorna for organizing this event!

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts. Be sure to come check out the blocks and quilts that have been made for this wonderful event.

 

 

My First Quilt Show Vendor Experience

Well I now have one quilt show under my belt. I signed up (for the first time) to be a vendor at our local guild’s quilt show. This show happens the first weekend of May each year. It is a pretty good size show with maybe 250 quilts to look at and about 1100 visitors coming through over the course of the show. I was a bit nervous as I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Overall, I would classify my experience as a huge success!

We set up my 10′ x 10′ booth on Friday afternoon.  My sister, Patti, came up for the weekend to help me. It was such a  treat to work with her and just be able to hang out with her over the long weekend. She came up Thursday morning and we spent the afternoon doing a bit of a dry run in my garage. We laid out the tables, hung the banner, and selected a few smaller props that I had gathered to see what we could fit. On Thursday night, with the help of my wonderful husband (a packing genius who can fit so very much into small, tight spaces), we got everything packed up in our two cars. Ray has a truck which would have fit everything but I really don’t like driving it so we decided to use our two smaller cars.

Hard at work!

Friday morning found us wrapping up a few details and drinking way too much coffee before heading out to pick up Julia from school.  As luck would have it, she had an early dismissal. Having the three of us to unload cars and set up the booth was great. If I had done it myself it would have been a lot more work. Strength in numbers, right?

Thanks for all of the help Patti!!

The show ran from 10 am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. It took a harrowing 45 minutes for the first sale to occur. I was sure we should just pack up and go home (maybe I was being  a bit overly anxious?)

Oh no! Where is everybody??

Once that sale happened, it all just started to flow. We had steady customers up through the last hour. Hurray!!  By the end of Saturday afternoon we were ready to go home and have a glass of wine. We reviewed the day and thought of a few things to change for Sunday.

One thing I noted was we were selling so much yardage and very few precuts. The precuts were too low, out of the line of vision for our customers. Additionally, the FQ’s and FQ bundles were packed too tightly so it wasn’t enjoyable to look through them.

On Sunday morning we moved a few things around. I took the FQ bundles and stacked them on top of the bolts I had cut them from. This way if a shopper was admiring a bolt of something or other, the bundle was right there. It worked out wonderfully and Sunday we sold both yardage and a lot of FQ bundles. I also moved a few of the collections around to see if I would get better attention to some of the bolts that we had not seen any action on Saturday. This was also successful.

While at the show I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly the vendors were with each other. They encouraged me and answered any questions I had once they knew I was a newbie at this. I shouldn’t have been surprised since we are all part of this quilting community, which we all know to be incredibly kind. I had thought since we were (in some ways) competing with each other, it might not be this way.

Also, three different quilt guilds invited me to have a booth at their shows! It had been my hope that I would make some connections and it certainly happened. I have a show scheduled for September, another for November, and the third is next year. This means I have some time to work out any kinks from this show, making the next experience smoother.

As far as selling fabric, I was pleased to see how receptive my customers were to the lines I am carrying. I had a great deal of positive feedback. There were no other vendors carrying Andover or Art Gallery fabric. I live in a traditional area and normally one sees lots of repro and novelty fabric at this show. There was also a booth featuring brightly colored Timeless Treasure paired up with black and white bolts. The most popular fabric in my booth was the Maker Maker linen/cotton blend line and the Gossamer line by Sharon Holland. I completely sold out of a few bolts which was delightful. Also, the newest line I have, Dreamer, by Carrie Bloomston (Andover fabric) was very popular.

I had fun posting progress pictures on Instagram. All of you were so encouraging to me along the way. Now I have a significant amount of tidying up to do in my shop as this week gets back to normal.

I will be posting an update soon on the Sew Along that will commence at the end of June. I want some feedback on the pattern choice.  Also, at the very end of May, I will have the fourth installment of my Meet the Designer series for you (and there might just be a giveaway involved in this one!) Enough for now, I have lots of boring housework to do after ignoring it all of last week. I keep telling myself if I get the chores done today, I can sew tomorrow. That seems fair, doesn’t it?

Getting Ready

I spent quite a bit of time over the weekend preparing for a quilt show coming up this weekend. I decided to attend the show as a vendor and several months ago, I bought a booth for the vendor area. I got the smallest size booth they have and will give it a go.  My wonderful sister is coming to help me – this way if it is busy I will have help and if it is slow, she will commiserate with me.  Win-win for me!  She has great ideas and is very talented as a decorator so she has been a huge help as I collect what I need for the booth.

I used some green Ta Dot fabric (Michael Miller) and a piece of Crescent Bloom by Anna Maria Horner to make two work aprons for Patti and I to wear.   (Both of these fabrics are still available in my shop, though there is very little left.) The aprons were really a quick project and I just sort of made them up as I went. Check out the measuring tape twill that I used for the waist and the apron strings.  So cute! (Have to say the apron looks a whole lot cuter on my model than on me!!  🙂  )

Using the same fabrics, I made a bunting to hang across the front of one of the tables. Love these colors and they coordinate well with my logo.

Because this is my first time, I am trying not to spend tons of money. I did have to get a few things though. I am going for a bright, colorful look which will hopefully invite those shoppers to come and browse. You probably remember the banner I posted a few weeks ago.  My husband made me a frame with PVC pipe yesterday to hang it from.   People will definitely see that banner!

Pricing, oh my gosh — all the pricing that needed to be done. I have a small assortment of stitchery kits and a few projects for kids to make. Summer is coming and I thought it might be fun for some of the women to work on simpler projects with their grandchildren or children, as the case may be.  I made up a sample of this little pincushion kit. Isn’t it sweet? The kit includes everything needed so I think a young person could be quite successful making this. I have also marked a large assortment of fat quarter bundles and had to put pricing on the bolts (something I don’t normally do since it is just me down here in my little shop.)

Fat quarters! I have cut all sorts of fat quarters. This is a gamble because I have no idea how many will sell. I hesitate to cut too many because than my fabric is chopped up. But I have a good size collection. I think I would rather run out than bring home a billion fat quarters. If you are a local reader, I hope you will come by and say hi on Saturday or Sunday at the quilt show.  Members of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild will enjoy a 15% discount this weekend. Hurray for being in the guild!

Finally, let’s all congratulate Sally! Her name was pulled as the winner of the giveaway of a copy of No Scrap Left Behind. Sally, I have sent you an email.  Please respond in the next day or two. If I don’t hear from you, I will pull another name on Wednesday. Thanks so much for all of the comments and ideas on scrap storage. So many of us do keep scraps but there were a handful of honest quilters out there who don’t choose to keep them. It’s all good!  Those that don’t want them seem to give them to their guild members or other quilty friends. Sounds like a good idea to me! There are still more bloggers sharing their projects on the blog hop this week. Keep checking them out and maybe you will still add a copy of the book to your library!

I doubt I will post again this week. I still have quite a bit to do in preparation for the show. Hopefully, I will be back to tell you of a successful experience after the show!

Linking these finishes up to my favorite linky parties. Check out the tab Link Ups at the top of the page.

 

No Scrap Left Behind – Blog Hop

I am thrilled to be a participant in the Blog Hop celebrating the new book No Scrap Left Behind. This book, written by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts, is an excellent book. The second book for Amanda Jean, she includes 16 projects which are sure to inspire you to pull out your scrap bins and start creating. You might be familiar with her first book which she co-authored with Cheryl Arkinson, Sunday Morning Quilts. I have that one as well and love them both!

Amanda Jean is the queen of scrappy quilting – if you are not already familiar with her work, please check out her blog.  This blog was one of the first ones I discovered back when blogging was becoming such a resource for information and tutorials.  I remember one of the first quilts I made was based on her (free) pattern, Fair and Square.  Since then, I have been a loyal follower who has learned an incredible amount by reading Amanda Jean’s blog.

Back to the book, I ordered this just as soon as it was released. After reading through it, I was pleased to find out the quilts were divided into sections. Some quilts use strings, some use squares and others, triangles. There is also a section on tiny bits and pieces where she outlines the methods to made adorable pin cushions. (Next to her scrappy quilts, I think Amanda is known for her deep affection for pin cushions and polka dots!)  Another facet of the book is Amanda’s explanation of color with some of the projects. She designed quilts that are great examples of projects using different scales, or sizes, of pieces as well as a broad selection of color and value.  The explanation of fabric and color selection is clearly written and very helpful. She gives several ideas for alternate ways to make the projects which enables the reader to find just the right project.


Looking through the book, I was tempted by several different patterns. For the purposes of this hop, I chose to make the Ring Me quilt. I love the effect of the stripped piecing and the open, solid background. Trying to stick with using my stash, I chose to use a gray background. I had a large piece of Bella solid in Graphite and love the depth it gives the quilt.

I must admit, I was overly confident when I told Amanda that I would be able to get the quilt top finished for the hop. It looked so simple when I looked at the pattern. And it is simple!  But oh my gosh, it is a fair amount of piecing going on there! Losing just over a week to my Vermont trip earlier this month didn’t help matters either. For a few days I tried to push myself toward a finish but I (thankfully) decided to slow down and just share my progress for this post. I really like how this is coming along and didn’t want to hurry it and end up with a lesser finish.

For now, progress shots will have to do. Like I said, the pattern is quite simple. I strip pieced the colorful rings around the solid gray blocks. The only trouble I had was the strips are prone to stretching. When using scraps, they are cut every which way and not always with the grain of the fabric. Attaching the two strips to the top and bottom of the block was fine. The problem seemed to occur when I added the background squares to the pieced strips. I think I am too careless with the iron and you know what those rock star quilters are always preaching, “press, don’t iron”.  I was ironing and it stretched the strips and I would end up with corners that don’t quite line up. For the most part, I don’t think the lack of precision there will really matter. The overall effect is still going to be good.  Once I realized the problem, I started to watch this part of the process and be more careful with the iron. This is helping and my precision is improving.

Finally, I love the exercise in color this quilt provides. As I grouped strips and stitched them together, it was satisfying to try different colors together. As I have mentioned in prior posts, color can give me trouble at times. This was a nice side benefit to this project. At any rate, I love the quilt so far and should finish it up soon. You can expect another post when I have a finish to share!

As part of the hop, we were also asked to share our scrap sorting and storage methods with you. Being a fairly organized person, I do have all sorts of scraps sorted and stored. My scraps that are less than say the size of a fat eighth, are sorted by color and kept in shoebox size bins.  Each are labeled by color which probably isn’t entirely necessary since I can basically see through the bin enough to know what is in there. The shoe box size is really not big enough and currently my blue and green bins hardly close since they are just bursting with scrap. My solid scraps, of all colors, are kept in a separate tub. Until this project, the solids tub was overflowing. It will close now but still, it is quite full. Do you see the large zip lok bag between the print and solid scraps? That contains my extra bits and pieces of improv or ‘made’ fabric.  These are left over trimmings from improv projects and certainly couldn’t be tossed!


This isn’t all though, nope not by a long shot. I also have zip lok bags for squares. When I am cutting and happen to remember, I will cut my scraps into squares. I cut charms (5″ squares) as well as 3 1/2″, 3″, 2 1/2″ squares.  Those are just stacked by size and kept in a bag.  Well, except for the charms, which are kept in a box and marked. Trimmings from flying geese blocks, you know, those tiny HST’s, are in their own bag too. Finally, I keep holiday fabric scraps in their own (very large) bag.


Reviewing all of this, I am not sure whether it is the sign of a very organized quilter or someone who may end up on the reality TV show, Hoarders. Is this a problem — is an intervention needed??? Will I ever use these bits and pieces? I hope so and having both of Amanda’s books, Sunday Morning Quilts and No Scrap Left Behind, should help me use them.

Do you have a similar problem? Are you a scrap hoarder like the rest of us? The first step is always admitting the problem, right? The second step is to win this book!  C&T Publishing and Amanda Jean have offered a giveaway for each blog on the hop. If the giveaway is won by a USA participant, they will receive a paper copy. International winners will receive an e-book.  Either way, this is an excellent book to add to your library!! To enter the giveaway, please share your scrap busting habits or your scrap storing and sorting methods. Help us out here. Some of us are drowning in scraps.  Help!  For an extra entry follow me on Instagram, Facebook or the blog and then let me know how you follow.   The giveaway will be open through the weekend and a winner will be selected Monday morning, May 1st. Good luck!

NOTE: this giveaway is not closed. Thanks to everyone for participating!

There are many more chances to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book! Here is the schedule for the hop. I hope you will check out the other projects and interpretations of the quilts in this book. You will surely be inspired.

Monday, April 24th Mary Kolb
Tuesday, April 25, Lee Monroe
Wednesday, April 26, Sandi Hazlewood
Thursday, April 27, Bernie Kringel — You’re here!!
Friday, April 28, Erin Cox
Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves
Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney
Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison
Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske
Friday, May 5, Amy Smart

 

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small payment as part of the sale.

Three Babies with Three Quilts

This is a quick post to bring a little smile to your day. Over the past several months our family has grown by three.  It has been wonderful to welcome the three newest members to the family. This brings the great granchild count up to 12 for my parents. Quite the family my parents started; they had six girls and the six of us had a total of 21 children between us. Now there are 12 great grandchildren (so far!)

When I found out about all of the babies to be born in the beginning of 2017 (we had one born in January and two born in March) I got busy making some quilts. Now that the babies are here and the quilts are gifted, I want to share photos of these sweet babies and their quilts.

This little guy was born January 17th. He has the lattice quilt I made for him last fall. (Read about details for this one here.)  Isn’t he adorable? Have you seen such a cute smile? His two older sisters dote on him. This lattice quilt was based on this tutorial.

My sweet grand daughter was born next, on March 7th. She is so darn cute. This girl got a quilt of HST’s based on the Simply Snuggly pattern. More details on this project can be found here. Her presence in this world means I will be traveling to Vermont when I can and enjoying the stream of photos her parents share with me in the meanwhile. She just started to smile last week and it melts my heart to see those smiles.

Finally, the third baby, this adorable girl was born at the end of March. She also has two older siblings, a brother and a sister. I made her the rainbow star quilt using the When You Wish pattern by BonJour Quilts. For details on this quilt click here. I really loved making this one and will definitely use this pattern again.

Hope you enjoyed these sweet pictures. I love seeing the babies with the quilts. Makes me smile. 🙂

 

Sweet Tweets Blocks and a Quilt Top

Yesterday I had the pleasure of introducing you to Kim Schaefer in my third Meet the Designer post. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her.  I have been playing with the fabrics in her Sweet Tweets line and have a few things to share with you.

First off, I have been making these cute stuffed blocks. I have shared a couple of photos on Instagram so you probably have seen these in process. I used a simple tutorial provided by Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps.

Cutting the panel into blocks, I used four critters and two black and white squares from the Cheerios fabric for each block. I experimented a bit with the blocks. I made two of them bigger, utilizing the full size of the critter block and for the third one, I cut it down a bit so the block would be smaller. Two of the blocks are lined with fusible interfacing. It was only because I forgot that I didn’t line the third one. As a result, it is a bit on the mushy side – I like the result much better when the fabric was fused to the interfacing to give it some body.

Also, I only put one noisemaker rattle in each block and now I wish I had put two. (Actually, as I type this, I realize it would be so simple to open up the block again and add another rattle. I will do this because I think they don’t make enough noise with just the one rattle.)

On one of the blocks, I lined one side with a clean piece of a potato chip bag. Abby had a list of suggestions for variations to try and I thought this sounded fun. It gives that block a crackly sound when it is manipulated. It was very simple to just wipe down the bag, cut a square and baste it to one of the sides. I did put the print side facing inward to the center of the block, just in case in might have shown through the fabric.

After making the blocks, I was on a tear and decided to make a baby quilt with some of the critter blocks from the panel. I started this on Tuesday afternoon this week and it came together quickly. I didn’t have a pattern in mind and decided to just put borders around each critter and sash them in one of the brighter prints from the Sweet Tweets line. I think it is just adorable! Panels can sometimes be difficult to utilize but this one lends itself to a number of projects.

Each critter block was cut to a 6″ square and I bordered it with the black and white Cheerio print. That brought the blocks up to 8″. Next I sashed them with the Hip to be Square print in Rainbow. Like I said in my previous post, I love the bright colors with the black and white print. With just the rainbow sashing, the quilt top is a bit too small for a baby quilt. It currently measures 24″ x 36″. Adding the rainbow sashing print around the outer edge of the quilt will help grow it just a bit.

I have a bolt of this adorable border print coming in. I didn’t buy it with the first shipment of the line and think it is a great addition to this collection. I am not sure how I will cut it up but it will make a cute border and then hopefully the quilt top will be big enough.

I think this line is great for kids. However the black and white prints and the rainbow prints are versatile in their own right.  Great stash builders, for sure.  Reminder that they are on sale in my shop through this Sunday, April 23rd.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Julia is finally getting her piglets this weekend. She is so excited. That is what we have planned, how about you??

Linking to my usual favorites, including Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Designer – Kim Schaefer

Welcome to the third post in my Meet the Designer series at Needle & Foot. If you missed the first two interviews you are welcome to check them out. In February I had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah Golden, a designer for Andover Fabric. In March I wrote two posts about my experience getting to know Maureen Cracknell.  This month I have the honor of introducing you to Kim Schaefer, also a designer for Andover Fabric. Kim has a style that could be described as whimsical. I very much enjoy her designs. Her most recent line of fabric is called Sweet Tweets and I have a selection of it available in my shop. Let’s get to know Kim!

Kim started designing fabric with Andover in 2006 with her first collection, Fat Cats. Prior to working for Andover, Kim was a designer for Erlanger (which is no longer in business.) It was fortunate that Kim had impressed one of the sales reps who worked for both Erlanger and Andover. He was able to introduce Kim to Andover and thus began her relationship with them. It is always something to look back at one’s path and see how each decision or choice made has lead us to the next opportunity, right? Anyway, Kim speaks very highly of Andover, and especially of their design director, Kathy Hall. She is grateful to work with a company who has such a strong commitment to quality.

Growing up as the middle daughter in a family of three girls, Kim was taught to sew early on, maybe around the age of eight or nine years. Her mom and grandma both worked with her. She has fond memories of this and says her mom was so patient and was often called upon to untangle bobbin disasters when Kim was sewing. Kim went to college at a university in Wisconsin, majoring in Fine Arts with an emphasis on Fibers.  Kim’s father lamented never having a son and was very happy when Kim had four sons for him to do “boy things” with. They worked on cars and motorcycles together and went on camping trips, things she and her sisters had little interest in as kids.

Kim’s Quilt for QVC Channel

In 1983 she took her first quilting class – it doesn’t take too much imagination to guess what happened next! She was hooked on quilting and by 1989 was actively selling her quilts. In fact at one point, she had an order for 400 of the same cute birdhouse themed quilt for QVC (tv shopping channel) Kim says it took forever to make these and then they sold in three minutes!! Can you imagine? I am sure she never wants to make that particular quilt again!!

Just a few of the books Kim has authored.

I am in awe of Kim’s productivity as her talents are quite diverse.  She designs fabric for Andover, as I mentioned above.  Currently she is working on a line with a Halloween theme called Fright Night which releases in June, 2017. Additionally, she is a very prolific author and has published thirteen books already. She currently works with C & T Publishing and her range is wonderful. She has written books on baby and toddler projects, modern quilting, seasonal projects as well as scrappy quilting. Any of these would be a great addition to a quilter’s library. Click through here for more information or if you would like to purchase a book.  (Affiliate Link) Upon hearing about all of these books and the numerous fabric lines, I asked her about balancing her work and her home life, and she replied she has been asked that question often and “all I can say is it somehow just works out. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love, and I truly enjoy each aspect of my job. I work hard and am fortunate enough to work for two great companies who have never pressured me. I am the happiest at home in my studio creating, it hardly feels like work when you’re living your dream. I am a lucky lady.” She clearly appreciates the blessings of working for such great companies and being able to utilize her passion in these artistic ways, designing fabric and quilts as well as writing books.

Asking Kim about her design process, she explained that once she has an idea in mind it’s hard to stop thinking about it. (Does that sound familiar!?) First she draws rough sketches on graph paper, then moves to pencil drawings of actual size and scale on water color paper. Her work is hand painted using water color dyes or gouache.  (I wasn’t familiar with the term gouache but it seems it is a water color paint which has been thickened with a gum, or glue-like, substance.) The painting time depends, of course, on the complexity of the design, but Kim often stays at it until it’s finished, even though, as she says, “at the end of the day sometimes I think my hand might fall off my arm.”  🙂  To begin the design of a fabric line, she usually begins with the feature or main fabric. Then she designs the coordinating pieces.

With Sweet Tweets, she created the adorable panel first and then worked on the rainbow themed prints as well as the black and white pieces.

I have to say when I selected Sweet Tweets as a juvenile line to carry in my shop, it was because of the bright, cheerful pieces which are accented with black and white prints. I love brights with black and white – it makes for a really striking combination. Kim also enjoys this mix and explained that much of her work is influenced by the wonderful, colorful, folk art carved wooden animals from the Oaxaca area.   When she was in college, she had the opportunity to spend a semester in Mexico and her work is still influenced by the folk art from this region.

I asked Kim about other places she has traveled and she told me about her all-time favorite trip. Forever wanting to see Paris in the spring, she was finally able to make the trip a few years ago. She and her husband visited Paris and took in the art, architecture, the cheese, and chocolate croissants! She loved every bit of it. After Paris, they went to London where her son was finishing up a semester abroad. After a few days playing tourist, they all returned home together.

Kim enjoys reading and gardening when she gets a minute away from her studio. Asked whether she enjoys sewing clothing, Kim said she hasn’t really pursued it. She did make Halloween costumes for the boys when they were small but there just isn’t enough time in the day to try everything.  Again, sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?

It was great to get to know Kim better. I really enjoy her fabric and her whimsical style. I am looking forward to taking a peek at the next two lines she has coming out. Aside from the whimsical pieces, she also has a great line of black and whites as well as a line of textured solids called Brushline, which is just gorgeous.

This week in conjunction with this Meet the Designer post, I have marked the Sweet Tweet line down 15% in my shop.  Hop on over and take a look. I have yardage as well as a cute fat quarter bundle of the three black and white prints that I am carrying. No need for a coupon code as the prices have been adjusted. The sale on the Sweet Tweets fabric will run through the weekend with prices back to normal Monday, April 24th.

Tomorrow I want to share some cute projects I have been working on with these fabrics. Hope you will come back and check them out!  See you then. 🙂