In the excitement of the holiday weekend, Black Friday sales activities and other distractions, I forgot to draw the winner of the Make Wall Quilts e-book. This morning, using my scientifically random system of drawing names ( Hey Julia, what is a number between 1 and 42?), Nancy was selected as the winner of the book. Nancy, I hope you enjoy it and make some fun projects with it! Remember, if you want a copy of the book – it is a bargain on Amazon. Truly – only $2.56 for the hard copy of the book. Great gift for yourself or your quilty friends!
Now that business has been taken care of, want a peak at the quilt I am making? Sarah Goer is a talented quilter, pattern designer, and blogger. We both started our blogs at roughly the same time and became friends at that time. This is the second time I have pattern tested for her and I really enjoy it. Before having children she was a math teacher at the junior high school level. I think this gives her a great background for pattern writing. An affinity for math and puzzles gives her the skills to write a clean, well understood pattern. For now though, this is all I am going to say! Here is a look at what I am working on.
I asked for opinions on color choices on Facebook and Instagram about a week ago and got lots of feedback. This blue and yellow combo was quite popular and I am very happy with the look so far!
Finally, I was reading the news this morning and saw an article about Facebook that caught my eye. Facebook gets a bad reputation from the way fake news is often generated, hysteria builds based on ridiculous, irresponsible posting, the cyber-bullying that occurs etc. Much of this is due to poor decision making on the part of the Facebook user community as well as lack of parental monitoring of the youth that use social media. When Facebook introduced live video options last year some really disturbing videos were posted. In response to this, Facebook hired a large team (3,000+ employees) to monitor the videos for harmful content or intent. For quite a while now, they have monitored text for any disturbing conversation that may indicate children and potentially abusive adults (sexual predators) They will notify authorities when suspicious text is found.
Now Facebook has expanded their use of Artificial Intelligence to scan posts for text that indicates possible suicidal tendencies. When such information is picked up, there is a team of interventionists ready to contact the person posting as well as persons who may have responded to the posts with supportive information such as suicide hot line phone numbers and other resources which may be able to assist. Realizing that this sort of intervention has to happen quickly, Facebook has trained employees available at any hour to speak with authorities in the language of their country if something suspect is found.
Facebook is a powerful social media platform with over two billion users. Many would say Facebook noses around where they shouldn’t. That they push annoying ads targeted at users and monitor conversations to be able to do so. However, it is my belief that people using Facebook are making a decision to be posting on a highly monitored platform and thus making their lives somewhat public. I think it is a good thing to know that the company uses the tools they have to try to protect the safety of the users. I am curious to hear your thoughts on this. To me it shows a very responsible use of the incredibly powerful technology developed by Facebook.
Off to the sewing room! I want to make some good progress on the baby quilt I am making with Sarah’s pattern. Hope everyone is carving out a little creative time in their day.
Note: This post contains affiliate links meaning if a reader clicks a link on my page and makes a purchase, I will be paid a small amount. This payment does not increase the price of the sale to the customer.
Today I would like to share a book review with you. C & T Publishing asked me to review one of their new books, Make Wall Quilts: 11 Little Projects to Sew (Make Series). In a nutshell, I would say I love everything about the book except for the title. The title didn’t grab me and as I clicked on the link to the book, I was going in with a negative attitude. Luckily the actual book is wonderful. I suppose this means one shouldn’t judge a book by its title!
This book is a compilation of eleven different wall, or mini, quilts. Each is from a different, well known quilt designer. There are projects from Camille Roskelly, Kim Schaefer, Rebecca Bryan and Heidi Staples in the book as well as several others. Taking projects from books previously published by the designers is a genius idea as it provides a variety of styles in one book. You probably know just from reading the names above that the book contains modern and traditional projects made with a variety off techniques. I am a fan of reading quilt books (no surprise there!) but each one usually has a particular theme or style to it. With this book, the quilter can try a variety of styles and techniques. The projects are not large which means they are easily accomplished.
Well, all except one! For me the Huckleberry Quilt designed by Rebecca Bryan looks challenging and maybe out of my skill range. But this is a good thing – it further affirms the book has something for everyone from the beginner to the more experienced quilter. The fact that this riff on a color wheel requires 72 different color fabrics is enough to intimidate me. I have enough difficulty choosing color and if I had to choose 72 different solids I might go right over the edge. But while you are here, take a look at the quilting on this piece. Stunning!
The reader might choose to make a modern applique project or a traditional one. I really like the look of this quilt designed by Jennifer Dick, appropriately called Mod. Again just take a look at the quilting here. Gorgeous!
Quilters who favor traditional applique might enjoy this one. Called Outside In, this project was designed by Becky Goldsmith. It is a larger piece, finishing at 30″ x 36″ but very doable. I love the cat at the top. She has attitude.
Quilters without improv piecing experience might like to learn from the Lazy Log Cabin project designed by Laura Wasilowski. The blocks in the piece are six inches with the total quilt finishing at 17″ square. It is Laura’s use of bold color which makes this project stand out to me.
Most of the projects in this book could easily be expanded to a larger size quilt if the reader wanted to make a baby or lap size quilt with the project. This further exemplifies the flexibility of the book. I really give high praise to C & T for curating this great selection of projects and publishing them in one book.
C&T has generously offered a copy of the e-book to give away to one lucky reader. But if you are not the winner, I do recommend purchasing this book, either for your library or as a gift. It is a lovely collection of a variety of projects, truly a something-for-everyone kind of book.
To enter to win a copy, please leave a comment on this post. Tell me what your favorite quilting technique is at the moment. Is it EPP, paper piecing, improv piecing, traditional block piecing, applique? What do you enjoy most? Giveaway will be open until Friday and I will pick a winner on Saturday.
If you would like to purchase the hard copy of the book, it is on sale at Amazon for a steal of a price! (Affiliate Link)
I doubt I will post again this week so let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I do love this time of year. Celebrating gratitude for all we are blessed with feels good and reminds us that even if we are enduring difficulty, we still have much to be thankful for.
Note: Needle & Foot is an Amazon Affiliate meaning if you were to click through and purchase the book, I will receive a small stipend for the purchase.
Today is my day to post a review and host a giveaway of a fun new quilt book. If you are here for the first time via the blog hop, welcome! The book of the day is Angie Wilson’s Fussy Cutter’s Club published by C&T Publishing. You may know Angie as she is the queen of online quilt alongs and swaps. She thrives on leading large groups of quilters through complicated projects such as her current QAL making Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife Quilt – not for the faint of heart for sure. For more info on the events she is currently leading and has done in the past, click here.
It was about two months ago when I was invited by C&T Pubs to review Angie’s upcoming book. Right away I was intrigued by the title of the book and the gorgeous cover. I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on. Look at this cover! It just pulls the reader in at the get go. Angie’s reputation for mad skills with fabric play and use of color assured me the book would be worth the time to read, review and create with.
The premise of the book is to learn to look at your stash with a new perspective – Angie teaches the reader to use your fabric by cutting into it and emphasizing the bits you love the most. The book is well written and the instructions for each of the 14 projects are precise and easy to understand. Angie takes the reader through the design process, how to best use your fabrics, color theory and more, prior to introducing projects. She really did a great job with this book. The projects range from the very simple to quite complex (again, look at the cover!)
For my project, I chose to make the tote bag. Angie rated it as an Intermediate project but with her clearly written instructions, I didn’t have any trouble. Following Angie’s thoughts on color for this project, I chose a limited palette.
My bag is built around a piece of vintage fabric I have from the 1950’s. It is a kitschy print featuring red, brown and black kitchen appliances, clocks and coffee cups. I loved the idea of using vinyl for the bottom of the bag (looks great and gives durability) and found this textured vinyl at Ben Franklin. Once I had my focus fabric and the vinyl, the rest of the fabric was pulled from my scrap bins.
Since the red coffee cup was the primary focus, I decided to use mainly black, brown and white with the occasional pop of red. Most of my fabrics had a vintage look to them except the coffee themed text prints. Those are clearly current and modern but I liked the idea of including the coffee text with the other fabrics, to further the coffee theme of the bag. The main fabrics I fussy cut were the coffee cups and saucers, the text prints, and the tiny black coffee pots on the vintage fabric.
Making the slabs for the outside of the bag was really fun – I have improv pieced in the past, but it has been a long while. Putting these scraps together was very satisfying. I did reduce the size of the bag by a few inches in width and length. I am fairly short and the bag seemed like it would be too big for me at the original size but breaking it down to reduce it was easy.
The two main slabs and the vinyl bottom are assembled here
I learned quite a bit about fussy cutting. Like anything, the more you do it, the better it becomes. Looking back, I feel I should have trimmed the bits I fussy cut closer in. I left too much peripheral pattern and that detracts from the focal point. Note the cup and saucer below. I think if I would have trimmed it down a bit and removed the little bits of coffee pots, it would have been much cleaner. In the picture above, take a look at the text print. Were I to do this again, I would not allow the other words to appear. I really only wanted the word “coffee” to be the focus. But live and learn (or sew and learn?). Next time I will remember these bits and pieces that really make a difference in a project.
When assembling the bag, Angie’s instructions called for me to line the outer pieces with fusible interfacing and then to apply fusible batting. I was skeptical at first but it really makes the structure of the bag a nice combination of crisp and soft (does that make sense?) The addition of the fusible interfacing gave it a nice shape. Once I had those layers assembled, I used simple straight line quilting to hold all three pieces in place.
Her pattern calls for fabric straps but I had plenty of the vinyl so I decided to make the straps with that instead. I like the look of it and was pleasantly surprised that my machine had no issue stitching through several layers of vinyl. (I did use a heavy duty jeans needle.)
My model shows just how cute this tote bag is!
Overall, it was a great project and I felt the book was a great inspiration to look at my fabric with a different perspective. The tote is really fun (as you can see with my always available bag model.) It traveled with me to Vermont last week and when combined with the cross body bag I made, it was the perfect set up.
This is just one example of the projects that Angie designed for her book. There are thirteen others though, including pillows, coasters, minis and zip pouches. To take a look at some of the projects, here is a list of the bloggers celebrating this new book. Check them out for lots of inspiration as well as several chances to win a copy of the Fussy Cutters Club book! As with most book giveaways, if the winner is international, an e-book will be provided. If in the states, you will receive a hard copy of the book.
To enter to win, please leave a comment telling me your current go-to quilt book (I guarantee if you purchase or receive this book, it will be right up there on the list!) I will leave the giveaway open through Saturday, October 28th and will announce a winner on Sunday.
Linking up with lots of my favorites – most are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups. Also linking to Elm Street Quilts annual Bag It event. Check that out here!
Today I have something really fun to share with you. This week my sister Patti is celebrating the grand opening of her shop, Ferrari Handmade!! She has been working incredibly hard on this for several months now and she is ready to invite you to come and browse her shop.
Let me take a few minutes to introduce you to Patti. Of the six of us sisters, she is number three and I am number four which means…. yes, she is older than me. I will admit this gives me satisfaction in a sort of unhealthy way. It is readily apparent in the photo above. I am the baby and she is to the right of me — even at this age, she is clearly older and wiser than I. (I love this picture – two more girls were born not long after this.)
Patti and I shared a bedroom growing up and we fought constantly. Like, really and truly — all the time. Funny how once you live apart you miss the person that drove you nuts for so long. We would love to live near each other again. We share a love of sewing and we both took sewing classes from Mrs. Handley back in high school. She haunts us somewhat and if we have a sewing mistake or a major project fail, we will say “Mrs. Handley would be so disappointed.” (I wrote about Mrs. Handley a long while back if you want to hear more about our esteemed sewing teacher.) Yes, Patti and I have been sewing a long while now.
We both made lots of our clothes during high school (remember, my father owned a fabric store so we had ‘easy access’.). Not long after high school, Patti moved to Southern California, married and started her family. (Click here for a post about the bridal gown she made for her wedding.)
Once Patti started having children, her sewing changed a bit and she began sewing for her kids. She has a five children, three girls and two boys. One of the things Patti really enjoyed was making costumes for her children. Her girls were very involved in theater when they were in high school and she made costumes for them.
Maria playing the part of Tina Denmark, in the play “Ruthless”
As Patti’s kids grew up and began their own families, she shifted her sewing priorities yet again and began to focus on her grand children. Hers are very lucky grand kids because she has made some really fun costumes for them.
When her first grandson, Jack, was just a baby, his mother, Maria (same girl as the one that played Tina Denmark in the costume above) had to speak at Comic Con in Southern California. She asked Patti to make a costume so she could dress him up as Jack-Jack, from the kids’ movie, The Incredible’s.
Last year, two of her grand daughters wanted to dress up as Princess Lolly and Queen Frostine from the kids’ Candyland game. Grandma came through and the girls were adorable.
The older grand daughter (Queen Frostine) had a recent obsession of Veruca Salt, the character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. She was thrilled with this costume from her Grandma.
Am I getting the idea across? She loves to sew and she sews a lot! It came time to think of another way to put her sewing to work for her. Now that her children are out of the house, she has a lot more time. I have written before about how helpful she has been by working the quilt shows with me. As we spent time together preparing for and working the shows, the more she thought about having her own business. She loves creating these wonderful outfits for her kids and wanted to expand on this hobby of hers.
And so it began. Ferrari Handmade came to fruition just days after she decided to open a shop. Once Patti decides to do something, there is no going back. She epitomizes the phrase, “Go big or go home”. She commits and dives in. Patti began researching fabrics and selecting designs and creating dresses. She had a soft opening at the last quilt show we worked and she was quite successful. She sold a number of dresses and little tote bags and took home orders for custom work.
She has been sewing fiend over the past weeks.
She is lucky to have a great studio to work in. I may be a wee bit envious. Ok, yes, I am envious – it is a lovely space. (Real life crafting comment though…. she made me promise to tell you it never looks this clean. She wasn’t ready to go public with a picture of a messy space just yet.) 😉
Her inventory grows daily as does her selection in her Etsy shop. Right now she is focused on creating a dress in each of the fabrics she has on the shelf. She is making sizes 2T through girl’s size 8. I really like the system she utilizes for stocking her shop. She lists at least one finished dress which the customer is welcome to order, or the customer can place an order for that dress in a size that works for her child. Patti will take the order and ship the dress within five business days (though she is usually faster than that– she does not seem to require very much sleep.)
I think one factor setting Patti’s product apart from others, is her use of trim work and unique accents. Most of her dresses have piping accents at the sleeve, bodice or neckline and many have ruffles or under skirts in coordinating fabric.
Her fabric selections are the perfect combination of pretty and practical. She uses quality cottons which are easily washed, so her dresses are beautiful but also practical for children; ready to be worn and played in.
Of all she has made for this season, this is my favorite.
I love the dark blue celestial pattern with that bit of gold trim peeking out at the sleeve and from the hem of the lining.
How about these snowmen on blue – it is great for the holidays but could easily be worn all through the winter months.
This dress features snowflakes on a deep red background. I should note that Patti uses a very generous hem so these can be worn for a long while before the child out grows the dress.
This sweet holiday dress has a rustic feel to it. Patti chose a print featuring Christmas ornaments decorating a background of pine. I love the bias strip of plaid she used to accent the bottom of the dress.
Handmade doll dresses to match your little one’s dress.
One more thing I have to show you. Patti also makes doll dresses that fit American Girl Dolls, or other dolls that are 18 inches tall. I love this!! How fun to surprise your little one with a matching dress for her doll. If you are shopping and select a dress for your special girl, you can also order a matching dress. She has some in stock but will happily take orders for others to match the dress you are purchasing.
Hopefully you now have an idea of the style and excellent quality of the items made by Ferrari Handmade. Because so many of you either have children or grandchildren, or a special child in your life, I know you will be happy to hear Patti is offering a custom dress to one lucky winner. To enter the giveaway, you need to do two things. First hop over to her shop and take a peek at the dresses she has listed so far. Come back and comment here to tell us which dress is your favorite. (Hoping this will provide some input on the fabric choices she is using and then she can plan accordingly.) The other requirement is to either like her Etsy shop so you can keep track of what she is offering, or to follow @ferrarihandmade on Instagram. Either way, you will then be able to hear about any promotions or new product that might be available in her shop. So, you have two simple tasks to complete and you may win a lovely handmade dress for your special girl.
Additionally, readers can use the coupon code GRANDOPENING20 to receive 20% off any orders at Ferrari Handmade. This coupon is valid through the end of day on October 10th. Definitely a great deal on a gorgeous gift for a little one.
Thank you for taking part in this celebration of Ferrari Handmade. I am so proud of my sister and the work she has done to get this up and running. If you feel so inclined, please share the news of her shop with any of your friends who might appreciate Patti’s work. It takes a village and I love the way our community supports each other! Good luck with the giveaway!
What a crazy month September has been. Horrible weather is affecting so many – hurricanes, flooding, fires – too much rain in many places and such a shortage in others. I hope you haven’t been adversely affected by all of this. But for those who have, I am sorry for what you are enduring. We haven’t had as much wildfire activity nearby as we usually due in late summer. Today it is substantially cooler than it has been and I am so thankful. Maybe fall weather is coming to our part of the state.
I wanted to share a few things with you. The first is to show you a mini I won from a giveaway held at Quilting Jetgirl. Yvonne celebrated her birthday earlier this month with an incredibly generous giveaway where she gave a box of fabric from her stash, a gift certificate to Hawthorne Threads, and two pieces she had made. I was so lucky to win this mini, called Sidekick Sampler.
I just love it. The background is deep purple which was challenging to photograph for some reason. The star is made with light blue and lavender fabrics. It is just exquisite. Yvonne has a well deserved reputation for precision piece work and lovely quilting. This mini displays both.
Quilting this with an all over motif of stars was the perfect choice for this piece. I was thrilled to receive it and quickly added it to the wall over my sewing machine.
What a generous way to celebrate a birthday by giving such awesome gifts to others. Don’t you love Yvonne’s labels? Thank you Yvonne!:-)
I have done a bit of sewing this week, though not as much as I would like. Last week I took a quilt top to the local long arm shop that rents time on their machines. I hadn’t been there for just about a year and it took a while to remember everything. The woman that works there was so patiently helpful as I tried load the quilt – there are so many details involved in that process and I definitely needed a refresher. Once I got going though, the quilting went quite well. I am excited to share this quilt and if you come back on Monday you’ll see it. I made it for the Back to School blog hop that is ongoing with the Island Batik Ambassadors and my day to post is the 18th. Luckily I got it done and spent the past two nights stitching the binding to the back side. Be sure to check out the post on Monday as I have a wonderful giveaway to go along with this blog hop.
Much of my time this week is being spent preparing for another quilt show. I will be a vendor at the Elk Grove Quilt Guild’s show this weekend. I am looking forward to it and the Vendor Chairwoman for the show has been a delight to work with. This show is just over an hour from my house so it is pretty convenient. My sister (Ferrari Handmade) is working it with me and I am so looking forward to spending the weekend with her. If you are local to the area and plan to attend the show, please be sure to come by and say hi.
Finally, I drew names for the two winners of the Shine fabric panel and border scraps. Lucky winners, Roxie and Tami, should have their fabric in hand by now. I asked readers for recipes or foods they love to make when autumn rolls around.
I love candy roaster squash pie. It is like pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie. I know it is fall when I put this in the oven and smell the great aroma!
This is so cute! That “Just shine” panel would be fun for a little wall quilt to hang by my desk at school, or even a floor cushion for the reading area. Its really a darling print! Our favorite fall tradition is soup on Sunday. We usually manage to come up with a different soup every weekend until Thanksgiving! my girls pick recipes and we try them out. Starting with cheeseburger soup tomorrow! Good luck at the show next weekend!
I have not heard of candy roaster squash pie but if it is anything like pumpkin pie, it sounds great to me. Soup on Sundays sounds like a wonderful tradition to have when the cooler weather comes. Hope Tami and Roxie enjoy the fabric.
See you all back here on Monday to celebrate some gorgeous Island Batik fabrics.
About two weeks ago, I was contacted by C&T Publishing asking if I would provide a review of one of their newest quilting books. Always up for learning something new or reading pretty much anything about quilting, I was happy to help.
The author, Dorie Hruska, is a long arm quilter, mom, and blogger. She has her website, Forever Quilting, set up as both her blog and her professional site for her long arm business. I really enjoyed looking at her gallery to see the work she has done for others. Her quilting style is lovely with many intricate patterns.
The book, Making Connections, is all about free motion and long arm quilting. The goalof the book is to help the quilter choose a motif or pattern for the quilt and then to set a travel path up for moving around the quilt in the most efficient manner, with the least amount of starts and stops possible. This is really appealing to me. Like many of you, I struggle with how to quilt something once that quilt top is done.
Reading this book through, I noticed two things that I really liked. It is written as a workbook with very clear illustrations and directions. The practice builds in complexity as the reader learns the steps. Also, there are lots of grids printed in the book to draw on. The grids are bigger than graph paper but not quite big enough. When I practiced, I copied the page and enlarged it on our printer. Finally, the book is printed in landscape orientation, not portrait. This makes it much easier to use as you don’t have the binding on the left side making it awkward to draw.
I took away a few really helpful ideas from Dorie’s book:
Doodle the design before quilting. I know this, we all know this, but it helps so much! There is such muscle memory in free motion quilting and by drawing it several times over, that routine settles into our brain before we begin quilting.
While doodling the design and then while quilting, think, or say, the pattern you are moving in to keep you on track. For example, Up, Down, Over, Up, Down, Over – or whatever works. When Dorie maps out a path in the book, she sets this up for the quilter. As a beginner quilter at best, this was pretty helpful. Seems so simple, but that little mantra was kinda cool. 🙂
Don’t try to quilt the whole design in one pass. Dorie layers the design so you might do one pass, the come back and add a layer to add another detail. I get this and think, eventually, it will be helpful to me. I am not quite there yet. Some of the designs she illustrates for the reader are quite complex. She does use different colors so you know which pass you are working on each time. Also, she numbers the path so you can see what direction she is taking you in. This is quite helpful.
Note the complexity of the design, stitched in several passes.
The method used in this book is based on grids. The perfect example is basic patchwork, or nine patch blocks, where there is an obvious grid. The more experienced quilter would be able to apply it to more complicated blocks.
I didn’t have a quilt top on hand that would work for this so I didn’t actually quilt anything. I did do some drawing to get that path ingrained into my brain though. After drawing a bit, I made a quilt sandwich with some scraps of fabric and batting. I drew a 3″ grid on it to practice. Once I got going, my sewing machine gave me fits. So, I had to quit and I took the machine in for service. I have been putting it off and now it was sending me very clear messages that it wasn’t going to perform well! But ugly as the stitching was, the idea worked – I knew how to move along the design without getting stuck in a corner somewhere. This methodology requires planning though. It isn’t one where you move freely around on the quilt top, filling in sections as you go along.
If I were asked, I would tell the readers this is probably a book for an intermediate quilter. I think I could follow it for the basic design and travel flow but I don’t think, as a beginner, I could layer the designs and achieve a nice result.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and think it is a valuable resource for my library. As I continue to practice, this will be very helpful. Dorie and C& T Publishing have generously provided a book for me to giveaway to a lucky reader. If the winner lives in the US, a hard copy will be sent. For winners outside of the US, an Ebook will be provided. For those of you that want to go ahead and purchase the book, it is available through C&T Pubs or directly from Dorie’s website (she will send an autographed copy!)
To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you are welcome to leave a 2nd comment for another entry. Sign up for my newsletter (which is sent out every month) for another entry. (Sign up form is at the top of the page on the right side.) That is three possible chances to win!!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
For even more chances, please visit the other bloggers involved in this hop. Lots of gorgeous quilting has been done to display all this book offers. Go check it out! Here is the schedule:
Sunshine has been all to strong in my part of the world. We have had such an intensely hot summer this year. Craving fall, I decided to make something with this cute panel from the Red Rooster fabric line called Shine. This was designed by Jackie Paton and it is adorable. Autumnal colors, inspirational phrases, sunshine, kitties, owls — so much cuteness wrapped up into one fabric line! I have had it in the shop for a short while now and it has sold really well. Because I have a quilt show I am working later this month, I wanted to make up a sample with this fabric. It will decorate the booth a bit and maybe inspire shoppers to take a look at this sweet fabric.
The panel consists of six different items that can be used individually or in one project. I decided to use the four small blocks from the panel as well as some strips of the border print. I also used a bit of each of the three accent fabrics I have available. It was so fun to sew something with these colors. C’mon fall!!
The piecing was quick – just some sashing of the four rectangles and then a few borders to add color and whimsy. The best part was choosing how to quilt it. I took some time and stitched around the perimeter of each rectangle to anchor things. Next I followed the print of the blue and green border and echoed circles around the print.
The panels are really sweet and I spent just a little time thread sketching some of the bits of the scenes such as the clouds, the sun, that sweet kitty and the wise owl.
The outermost border was made with flying geese and rectangles. I love the way it came out. (Shout out to Mari of Academic Quilter who helped me when I got stuck figuring out what size blocks would work best. Thank you Mari!) I like the deep rust color of this fabric. So much so that I also used it as the binding.
A quick modeling session before school this morning!
Lady really wanted to be included in this photo shoot. She is also concerned that there are no dogs, only cats, featured in this fabric line. Why would I use such fabric?? Well, for one reason, I like the little inspirational words – Learn, Shine, Explore and Grow. The fall colors make me happy and I could totally see this project of mine hanging in a classroom, library, kid’s playroom – or maybe even downstairs in my shop! It will be a fun one to hang in my booth at the next show. I will be a vendor in Sacramento over the weekend of September 15-17th. This little quilt will surely add some fun to the booth.
Measures about 14″ x 21″
Measures about 10″ x 15″.
Since I only used a part of the panel, I would love to share the two pieces that are left. I also have some of the border print that I cut into but didn’t use up. I will divide the border fabric and the two pieces into two bundles and give it to two lucky quilters who would like to use it. One bundle will have the larger piece with the tree. The other bundle will have the piece featuring the sun. I would love to see what you make with these!!
If you would like to throw your name in the hat, please leave a comment and tell me what recipe is your go-to fall food. I am all about muffins – apple, pumpkin, cinnamon & sugar – Yum. Should you want the other accent fabrics you can find them here.
Today I bring you another fantastic conversation with a talented, giving and very friendly artist, Carrie Bloomston. This is the fifth interview in my series, Meet the Designer. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some really fantastic women in the world of fabric design. Previously I have posted interviews with Sarah Golden of Andover, Maureen Cracknell of Art Gallery Fabric, Kim Schaefer of Andover, and Sharon Holland of Art Gallery Fabric. Each of these women have inspired me with their tales of how they design, what their process is and how they came to work for the company that creates their fabric. Today’s interview will not disappoint. I loved every bit of the conversation I shared with Carrie.
Let’s get started! Carrie Bloomston is currently designing fabric for Windham Fabrics. Her latest line, Dreamer, is a stunning collection of color and pattern with a bit of a southwestern feel. We will touch on that in a bit though. When I was reading about Carrie on various sites, prior to talking to her, I came across this bit she had written for her bio on the Windham Fabric site. Re-reading it, after talking to her, I realized it just describes her perfectly so I want to share it with you.
Life is so beautiful.
We are lucky.
We do cool things,
whether abstract painting,
designing patterns and fabric,
is all about expressing joy and love.
For me, art is a place to figure the world out-
to make sense of it.
After getting to know Carrie a bit, it became clear she treasures life and the ordinary experiences in day to day life. She is always eager to put those experiences into her art and writing, as well as her teaching and parenting. Carrie is a wife, mom to her two children ages seven and eleven years old, artist, author, and teacher. Like any working mom, she strives for balance.
Sweet family picture; Photo credit to Jill McNamara
I love the family picture she shared with me. Take a look at the artwork on the wall behind them. They drew frames directly on the wall and have a place to display the kid’s artwork on an ever rotating basis. What a cool idea!
Painting since she was thirteen years old, Carrie innately likes to ‘work big’. Small canvases feel constricting to her. She explained she wants to be able to use large gestures, painting from her shoulder, not her fingers. Because Carrie is a very tactile artist, I wondered how this translated to creating designs for fabric. She explained to me she does not translate her art to an electronic file on the computer. She hasn’t wanted to learn this part of the process. She sends her paintings and sketches to Windham and they create the files for the manufacturing process. Carrie spoke highly of the process used when designing for Windham. She greatly appreciates their expertise in the conversion process and said they are wonderful to collaborate with. It takes some back and forth between Carrie and the in house designers to get the colors right which are based on a hand painted palette created by Carrie.
We talked about creating a line of fabric and how it comes to fruition. I loved the parallel Carrie used to explain her process. She said it is ‘like true jazz where one instrument starts and the others follow, as though a magnet were pulling them in’. So it is with the story her fabric lines tell. She gets an idea for a theme, creates a focal point, and then begins to design the other fabrics to tell the story. With her most current line, Dreamer, she thought about telling a story containing an earthly or ancestral feel. She wanted it to have a tribal element to it as well as a southwest feel. (Carrie lives in Arizona.) She went off to take a hike and paint inspired her. While out there she tried to capture the spirit of the bees and this became one of the focus fabrics for the line.
She continued working to develop her story. While her son was studying Arizona Native American history, they found pictures of pottery on line. This process then provided inspiration for the broken pottery fabrics in the Dreamer line.
The line continued to develop in this fashion. As they worked together Carrie and Windham agreed to support the Xerces Society with this line. Each of them donate a portion of the earnings from Dreamer to Xerces in an effort to support the research and improvement of the declining bee population.
Within Carrie’s fabric lines, you might notice she often uses newsprint within her patterns. It might be the focus of the entire piece of fabric or just a small element within a complex print. She enjoys incorporating text and encouraging words within her fabrics. Also, illustrating with newsprint, she demonstrates her love of “elevating low materials to higher forms of art”.
Sometimes her projects might involve brown paper grocery bags and even styrofoam meat trays. She loves to create vision boards with collages of newsprint and magazine clippings as well. Another reason to incorporate newsprint in her work is to memorialize the print media. As we all know, print media is in rapid decline with the rise of technology. It makes her happy to know that people will look at quilts made with her fabric years from now and read bits of print media.
Carrie learned to sew when she was pregnant with her daughter. She joined a Sunday Sewing group and the women in the group taught her about sewing technique. She in turn enjoyed explaining her feelings about creating. Describing herself as a creative enabler, she strives to teach others to listen to their creative voice. In 2014 Carrie wrote her book, The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. The book was published by Stash books, a division of C&T Publishing. You might want to watch this short video about her book.
When I first purchased the Dreamer line for my shop, I did a bit of research on Carrie as the designer of the line and discovered her book. I quickly ordered it and read it cover to cover. It is written as a workbook with each chapter providing a little exercise to help the reader discover the creative side of herself. As I read the book, I felt it not only reinforced the creative part of me, but the exercises emboldened me. They help you to feel confident in your knowing, your experiences, your creativity.
Carrie talked to me about being a seeker. She defines it as trying to live with a ‘beginner’s mind.’ This frame of mind means to remain curious and continually look for ways to expand one’s skills and be challenged, If you keep seeking new ideas, ways of doing and knowing, you will be able to experience the almost euphoric joy of discovery. Children have this. Remember the joy of watching a child figure something out? They live with beginner’s mind. Carrie loves to “not be the expert” and would rather always be learning and stretching beyond her skill level. In her book she illustrates how to find the confidence to stretch ourselves and grow in our creativity. She hopes her book encourages the reader to live life in a fuller way and to remain open to experiences which will increase the richness of day to day life. When I read the book, I kept thinking that many of the little lessons she describes in each of the thirty chapters would be applicable to my home life, my personal life, and my work life. These projects she describes are beneficial on many levels, both creative and emotional. It is sort of a ‘self-help’ book published in the crafting and artistry genre. I mean this as a positive – It is a very cool book.
Carrie in her studio; photo credit to Jill McNamara
As we talked we touched on social media quite a bit. While Carrie has a strong social media presence, she touched on one point that struck me. (This is also covered in her book.) She mentioned that to share one’s work constantly causes the artist to lose the intimacy of creating. When she is painting or drawing and then stops to take a picture and post it, she has removed herself from that creative zone. It is precious to stay with your project, or artwork, and let it happen organically. Keep it to yourself and see where it takes you. Additionally, constant sharing on social media causes a person to rely on external validation from others. How many likes do I get? How many followers responded to this piece of work. This can be damaging – if a post doesn’t receive enough ‘likes’ it isn’t necessarily due to negative reaction to the work. Rather it is likely because of the algorithms used by the software. Your post probably didn’t pop up in the feed of every follower. Social media requires a creative person to have such a thick skin! Isn’t it better to validate from within? To know that your quilt, painting, recipe or photo is your creation, to enjoy both making it as well as the finished project is very satisfying.
Lest you think this is easy, let me assure you it is not. Carrie knows how difficult it can be to pursue a creative path. She spoke of her own personal issues with control and how difficult it has been for her to relinquish control of her work. She continues to work on this and is becoming more comfortable with it. For example, when she sends her artwork off to Windham for them to convert it into files and print it on fabric, she has to let go of it and trust them to use what she has made in the way they see appropriate. Never easy to do, but it is very gratifying when she sees her work being sewn into quilts and so many other projects by quilters and sewists everywhere.
Another theme that runs through her book and our conversations is to live with gratitude. I commented on this thread that I kept reading and hearing in our discussion. About nine years ago, Carrie and her husband had a terrible scare when their son was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder at the age of two years. He had a tumor in his hip bone. The bone scan happened on Christmas Eve and they spent the next two days anxiously waiting to find out the severity of his illness. He was treated aggressively for the next year and they are deeply grateful for the good health he enjoys today. Carrie feels this experience dissolved some barriers between herself and others. It taught her to appreciate receiving help from others and to give of herself to others. She said where she was ‘almost maniacally controlling’, she learned she is not in charge of these things. Gratitude became “the bedrock of her life”. I love that sentence. ‘The bedrock of her life’… gratitude should be the basis from which people react, create, and interact with others.
At the risk of making this post too long, I want to touch on one last part of our discussion. When I read her book, I kept questioning the value of certain parts of the book in relation to me and the things I make. I usually make things after being inspired by something I have seen, or using a pattern I have found or purchased. When I made the THREAD and FABRIC mini quilts (where I practiced relief quilting and surrounded the thematic words with improv pieced fabric), I felt more joy in making those than most of the items I make. It was hard for me to articulate this but the more we talked about it, it began to make sense. Carrie talked to me about arts and crafts and how the two co-exist. In her opinion, crafting is done using a skill(s) one possesses and creating something.
Then my notes say this:
Art = Personal = Free
When I wrote this, she was teaching me that to create an art form is to trust yourself and use those skills you have in a way personal to you, somehow meaningful to oneself. Not following directions but allowing yourself to create independent of direction and instruction. This is a vulnerable place to be. What if it comes out terribly? If I fail miserably? I cannot ‘blame’ the pattern or the instructor for the less than awesome project if I am creating it independently and in my own fashion. But creating or making something personally meaningful is so satisfying. It is worth the risk of disappointment in the project. I remember when I made those two mini quilts, there was no plan other than to practice relief quilting. It sort of just evolved. I love those two little quilts and I remember feeling really satisfied and focused when I worked on them. It was so interesting to talk through this with Carrie.
OK – Let’s wrap this up, though I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, I loved this interview and feel like I learned a great deal. Oh, wait – one more thing…. When we talked it was late afternoon and both of her children had play dates going on in the house. I loved how often she had to stop, talk to the kids, take care of the dog and be a mom. We are all just regular people, doing regular stuff and these designers we so admire are too. Carrie kept apologizing for the interruptions but it was fine. She is a mom. That’s how life is.
C&T Publishing has generously offered two copies of The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity for two lucky readers. Let’s get a good discussion going in the comments. To enter the giveaway, tell me please:
If you could be assured success in something, anything, what would you try to do? It has been mandated, you will succeed! You will not fail. What would you want to do? I would love to hear. There are so many things that I would like to do but the risk of bombing out creates these inhibitions. Actually that fear of failure limits me in what I try to do. How about you? Here is one for me. If I knew it would work, I would make a quilt for my king size bed. I feel like that is such a huge canvas to make a quilt that large. In my mind’s eye, the quilt is somehow made with very large pieces, lots of negative space and straight line quilting in some sort of geometric pattern. But I don’t want to use a pattern and I don’t know “how” to start. Making a king size quilt will take a lot of fabric and batting and time. It frightens me on some level to invest time and money into this when I am not confident of the result.
The giveaway will remain open until Tuesday night, July 11th. I will pull two names. If you live in the US, you will receive a hard copy of Carrie’s book. If you live internationally, you will receive an E-book.
As always when I post these interviews, Carrie’s fabric is on sale in my shop. I have marked it down by 15% so no coupon code is necessary. Her work is gorgeous and inspiring. If you haven’t seen this line yet, come take a look. I bet you will love it. Sale ends on Sunday night, July 9th.
Are you participating in the Sewcial Bee Sampler Sew Along, sponsored by the wonderful Maureen Cracknell and the talented Sharon Holland? It has been on-going for the past twenty-one weeks with one block released each week. There will be 25 blocks total. I am making blocks, though I must admit to being behind by about three or four blocks at this point. But I love the quilt I am making. I have been using fabrics from the Fleet & Flourish collection and the Garden Dreamer collection, both of which are designed by Maureen Cracknell. I have mixed in solids as needed. It will be sashed with one of my all-time favorite, low volume fabrics, Mesh Joy – designed by Sharon Holland. Click here to see it in my shop!
If you are participating in the sew along, you are aware of the giveaway that happens each Friday. Wonderful prizes have been offered up by the event sponsors each week. This week I am hosting the giveaway. If you are eligible, hop over to Maureen’s site to find out how to enter to win this bundle of fat quarters! A combination of eleven fabrics from two of Sharon’s lines, you could win pieces of both Gossamer and Bountiful. These muted, peaceful prints are gorgeous as a bundle. They are available now in my shop, both as fat quarters and yardage.
Essentially each participant is a winner this week. You may use coupon code SEWCIALBEE15 to receive a 15% discount off of your purchase from my shop all weekend long. The code will be active through Sunday night, June 25th. If you purchase one of the special SBS bundles and then are lucky enough to be drawn as the winner, I will refund the amount of purchase. No worry there. Take advantage of the coupon code to do some shopping — there are all sorts of wonderful fabrics to choose from! Happy Sewing. 🙂
The challenge presented to the Island Batik Ambassadors this month was to create a modern quilt. That’s it, there were no other guidelines. Talk about a blank slate! I decided to turn to my copy of Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson. There are so many fun projects in this book. For this batik challenge, I selected the Swirling Medallion quilt.
This project is quite simple. It is constructed of HST’s created with 4 1/2″ blocks. A subset of the HST’s have a triangle of black applied to a corner, improv style. (Basically a stitch and flip method.) Those black corners are placed so as to create some movement within the quilt (the swirl). Were I to make this again, I would have made my black triangles larger. There are places where they don’t touch each other and I feel this lessens the effect substantially.
The pattern would have you add another row of the background blocks to frame off the orange diamond shape. I didn’t add these because I wanted to hang it in a certain spot in my entry way and it would have been just a tad too large. I was careful to leave enough of a seam allowance so I wouldn’t cut off the orange points. Hurray!
Using a buttery shade of Aurifil thread, I quilted with straight lines in each quadrant. Once I got to the corner beyond the orange stripe, I changed direction and quilted on the diagonal, radiating out.
I am happy with the overall look and think the blue and orange are bright and cheery for summertime. My quilt model was in a mood. Can you tell she is two weeks away from summer break?
Island Batik has been incredibly generous with the ambassador program. It is time to share the wealth! Let’s have a giveaway. Just because. A batik celebration of sorts! First up for the win is this package of ten inch squares, called River’s Edge. It is a selection of earthy browns and blacks and there are two of each print for a total of 42 squares.
The second prize up for grabs is a charm square pack. This is a gorgeous set of charms with a theme of dots and circles. Blues, grays, whites, browns and some black make up the pack of 42 charms (2 of each print.)
NOTE:i Giveaway is now closed!
I would love to share these with two winners. Due to the cost of postage, this is open to US residents only. (I’m sorry!) To enter to win, leave a comment that will make us smile. Did you do anything fun over the weekend? Share with us. If you are a follower, leave a second comment and tell me how you follow. I will draw a winner on Thursday evening announce on Friday morning! Also, I want to remind you I have a newsletter sign up form on the right side of the page. I will be using my newsletter to communicate information about my shop. When I have new fabric, a sale or a fun event, I will send it out in the newsletter. I hope you will sign up and join in the fun. Happy Monday!!