One of my favorite projects from this year has to be the quilt I made with the Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt Along. Remember this? Hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell, there was one block released each Wednesday for twenty five weeks. There were several reasons for this being my favorite. One was the block design. The blocks were based on common piecing methods but Sharon and Maureen gave them a really modern look, probably because they included solids in their fabric selections. It gave the blocks such a fresh look. Also, the blocks were doable. I have been quilting for a while but I am definitely still in the advanced beginner stage and fussy, intricate blocks tend to frustrate me. Finally, the community developed by Sharon and Maureen. This was actually the main draw for me. So many quilters joined in – I would have to say there are hundreds of SBS quilts either finished or in progress.
The use of social media greatly enhanced the development of a friendly group participating in this QAL. Also, Sharon and Maureen were really dedicated to staying involved in the conversations on Instagram and put out a strong, positive vibe by giving great feedback and praise as we all shared the blocks we were working on. While this is not my first QAL, it is the first time I really paid attention to the quilts others were making as I made mine. With previous projects, I wasn’t as involved with the other quilters so I didn’t see as many projects made from the same quilt pattern.
The Sewcial Bee Sampler quilts that were made are gorgeous. I have had such a fun time perusing the #sewcialbeesampler hashtag and looking at the color schemes, fabric choices, and the ways quilters chose to set or arrange their blocks. I thought it might be fun to share some with you today. When you look at the quilts one after the other, it is so cool to see the varied interpretations of the patterns Sharon and Maureen developed.
Let’s start with the queens of the quilt along, Sharon and Maureen! Believe it or not, Sharon made two quilts (I had enough trouble keeping up with just one!) The quilt above was made with the same fabric for the block borders and sashing which gives a cohesive look to the quilt. It makes the blocks float on the surface.
In the second version of the SBS quilt, Sharon used uniform frames for the blocks and chose to set them with a blue sashing. Notice how distinctly the blocks stand out when sashed like this. She used a palette focusing on blues, pinks and white which is really sharp.
This quilt is Maureen’s project. It looks like she sashed hers with a denim color chambray fabric. I like that she has some really vivid pops of color – the three bursts of yellow that stand out to me.
Also, because Maureen often designs fabrics with a large focal point, she was able to use those and do some great fussy cutting for block centers. Look at the shot above and you’ll see an owl, dragonfly and her gorgeous orange peony.
Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun than Housework, also used Maureen’s Garden Dreamer fabric for her quilt. You will find the owl and the peony in her quilt as well. Same fabrics building many of the blocks, yet it looks different. Maybe partially due to the white sashing and varied fabrics used to frame the blocks?
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My friend Mari of Academic Quilter also made a quilt. She chose bright, colorful fabrics which gave her quilt a definite summery vibe. It makes a person happy just to look at it and I think it is the colorful palette she used. She also framed her blocks in a variety of colors.
Let’s take a look at an international version of the SBS. I watched this quilt grow on Instagram. Mariana (@cosertejercrear on Instagram) is a quilter who lives in a town just north of Valencia, in Spain. She began quilting six years ago. Because there are no quilt shops or guilds in her part of the world, Mariana has made friends with lots of quilters over the internet. She orders her fabric on-line and says most of her quilty friends are American. Participating in a QAL that has such a strong presence on-line makes the world feel much smaller as we are always communicating with quilters from every corner of the world. Looking at Mariana’s quilt, she used really bright colors and lots of prints. This could be overwhelming but it isn’t — she used white frames on the blocks and a calm, blue sashing to set the blocks. It ties everything together neatly.
This one will surprise you. Lisa made the SBS quilt as her first quilt project ever. I know…. that is crazy, right?? When I saw her posts on Instagram (@knitluxe) and realized she was a newbie quilter, I wanted to know more. She has been a crafter for a long while who has done a lot of knitting and has made clothing but this quilt is her first attempt at quilting. She lives in New Mexico and clearly has a talent for sewing! Like Sharon, Lisa framed her blocks in white and also sashed them with white. Again, the blocks are floating. The crisp blue tones look great with the white setting. Kudos to Lisa for taking on something like this as her first project!
Last but not least is my friend Sarah’s quilt. Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches lives in cold, cold Montana in a really rural area. I think she told me she is 40 minutes from town. Kind of remote, I’d say! She and I have been friends on Instagram for a while now. (She is @cedarforksarah) I love Sarah’s quilt for the personal twist she put on it. She chose to skip the frames on the blocks, added a few of her own blocks and put a great border on the quilt. The chambray she used for the sashing and borders is really rich and sets her blocks off well.
Clearly this post could go on and on because there are hundreds more quilts to see. If you want to take a look, hop over to Instagram and search on #sewcialbeesampler. As I write this, there are 7,280 photos in the hashtag. Really amazing and far more than I think Maureen or Sharon anticipated!!
I am looking around at the quilt alongs and block of the month events that are starting to line up for 2018. I’ll be back with a round up of some fun events in a few weeks. If you know of a good one, leave it in the comments and I will check it out. I am definitely going to do at least one. Just need to decide which one!
I am so happy with the finish of my Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt. I loved making the blocks along with the billions of other quilters that followed along with this QAL hosted earlier this year by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. I posted progress shots along the way as I made the blocks, but just in case you didn’t know, the QAL included 25 blocks but I stopped after making 20. This quilt is a comfortable size for a lap quilt and I felt like if I went for the full twenty-five blocks, this would just be set aside and not finished. The colors of the quilt are so pretty and I was anxious to finish it and use it.
After sashing the blocks and rows with Mesh Joy, a gorgeous low volume print from Sharon’s Gossamer line, I took the quilt over to the long arm shop where I rent a machine. For the backing, I used a piece of soft vintage gingham that I purchased at a thrift store over the summer. The light brown color is lovely and works well with the quilt top.
When I picked the binding, I was trying to choose between two fabrics, Terra Firma in deep yellow and Twinklestar Berry from the Garden Dreamer line by Maureen Cracknell. I couldn’t make up my mind so I asked Julia to choose between them and she immediately went to the Twinklestar fabric. It works well with the front and back.
I took it to the long arm shop a few weeks back and quilted it with a loose meander pattern. Because each block is different and the quilt is fairly busy, it made sense to keep the quilting simple. More importantly, I wanted to use this quilting time to practice my control on the long arm and by using such a basic quilt motif, I could focus on the speed and evenness of the stitches on the long arm. It was really helpful to practice like that. It amazed me how little time it took to quilt it!
I really like the loft the quilt has with the loose quilting. This quilt is so cozy.
The rich colors – cheddar yellow, the deep blues and the raspberry colors are my favorites. This was such a fun quilt to make. I know there are a lot of QAL’s popping up for the new year. I think I will look through them and choose one. I have two more quilts in process and I hope I can finish those up before starting another one. Tomorrow I plan to take my nephew’s jersey quilt to the long arm shop and quilt it. Hurray for finishing up some projects!!
Have a wonderful weekend all! Linking to some of my favorites. Please feel free to check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Well, I guess not every week is going to include a finished project, right? That is unreasonable. But I did come close! It wasn’t a terribly productive week. Monday morning I had my second round of Botox injections. I have been receiving them as a way to lessen the frequency of migraines as well as the severity of them. My first round was in July and I will receive them every ninety days. Both times, the series of injections set me off and triggered a cycle of migraines. So, it wasn’t unexpected that I was down for the count for much of the week.
While I was in migraine mode, I wisely stayed away from the sewing machine as I tend to make so many mistakes if I sew while dealing with headaches. My brain just doesn’t fire on all pistons and I make silly errors. Instead, I sorted my scrap pile which hasn’t been done in months. I also watched too much TV but Netflix has the most recent season of the PBS show, Call The Midwife, and I love that series so I couldn’t help myself.
As is often the case for me, the blue scrap pile and the green were huge. I managed to stuff the greens into their tub but no way would the blues fit. I posted this on Instagram and found someone who could use blue scraps. Those are packed up and ready to be sent off to a happy quilter. It is nice to share them, better than tossing the fabric and really, how on earth will I use all of it?!
Yesterday I felt much better and was able to keep my appointment at the long arm shop. I had planned to take the jersey quilt and finish that up but I chickened out. I decided to take one more of my own quilts to gain a bit more practice time before I tackle the jersey quilt. I was nervous about thread or needle issues with that thicker quilt. When I got there and talked to the gal at the shop, she assured me it wouldn’t be a big deal to quilt Sam’s project so it will definitely be the next one I take to the shop.
I loaded my Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt top and was excited that I was able to load it (almost) without help. I am getting the hang of this process which feels good. The quilt top lay nice and flat – also exciting to me – it doesn’t always happen that way. I decided to just do a simple meander so I could focus on controlling the needle’s speed and direction.
Because I didn’t place any focus on a more challenging quilting motif, this was very relaxing and I really enjoyed it. I had almost no hiccups – the thread snapped once but the shop gal was able to adjust the bobbin tension and I was back in the game in no time. I have to say, I am loving using the shop’s machine because there is a source of support right there – It is the best of both worlds.
It took no time to get the top quilted up. Another perk of renting time at the shop is their huge cutting table in the back. I was invited to use it to trim and square up the quilt once I had finished. This process is so difficult at home because I don’t have a surface larger than the dining room table and I have to lay both my cutting mats under the quilt and keep shifting everything around. It is not easy, for sure. But having this huge table available to me makes the task a breeze.I loved everything about finishing up this quilt. Today I will prepare my binding strips so I can do the hand stitching this weekend. Hopefully I will have a finished quilt to share with you soon.
I have also decided to pull my “Ring Me” quilt out of the closet and work on it. I started this one as a part of the blog hop celebrating Amanda Jean Nyberg’s recent book, No Scrap Left Behind. I want to make it queen size instead of lap size (as I originally planned) so I have some cutting to do to enlarge it. Previously I have been hesitant to make larger quilts because I dreaded quilting them on my home machine. I feel like I have options now so I am going to take advantage of that and make some larger projects. I would love to put this one on the guest bed in my sewing room.
Ok – enough for now. I have a custom Etsy order to finish up and several fabric orders to pack. The shop has been really busy this week which makes me happy. It has been so nice to have this part time job that I can work into my time schedule, depending on whether I am dealing with a migraine or not. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Remember today is the last day to enter the giveaway celebrating the Grand Opening of Ferrari Handmade. Check that out here.
This week didn’t go quite as planned. But I have learned to be flexible because my week rarely goes as planned. I had scheduled time to quilt Sam’s jersey quilt at the long arm shop but this plan was derailed by a migraine. Fortunately, the woman running the shop is very flexible and was able to reschedule me to Thursday of next week. Hopefully, that will work out for me as I am really looking forward to quilting it.
After a day of recuperating, I pulled out my blocks made with the Sewcial Bee Sampler during the spring and summer. I loved this QAL which was hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland. For the majority of my blocks I used scraps of Fleet and Flourish (designed by Maureen) and solids from my stash. Toward the end though, I added in a bit of Garden Dreamer and one scrap from Alison Glass because I was really running out of Fleet and Flourish. Thankfully, these all worked well together.
Somehow time got away from me toward the end of the quilt along and I completed only 20 of the 25 blocks designed for the quilt. I pulled out the blocks, looked them over and decided that 20 blocks was plenty. These are 12 inch blocks and there is sashing, so the quilt makes a generous lap size. Even without the last five blocks, it finished at 58″ x 72″. I love these blocks and wanted to finish this one up.
I used Mesh Joy, from Sharon Holland’s Gossamer line for the sashing. This low value print is a huge favorite of mine. Actually, it is a favorite of many which was made clear by how quickly I sold out of two full bolts of it. The colors and grid like print are really soft and work with so many colors. I am please by the way it enhances my blocks. Between the colors, Maureen’s fabrics, the sashing and the block design, I am thrilled with this quilt top. Samplers are a favorite of mine, second only to basic, simple patchwork. It is fun to see the varied design of the blocks, some with large chunky shapes and others with smaller, detailed designs. Sashing is a life saver for me as I am not a precise quilter. With sashing, I know my less than perfectly pieced blocks won’t need to line up corner to corner.
I think I will try quilting this project at the long arm shop too. I want to do a loose all-over pattern so it is soft and cozy. It is second in line, after Sam’s jersey quilt.
Chemex cozies for my shop
Besides finishing up the Sewcial Bee quilt top, I have been making Chemex Cozies for my shop. It is getting to be the time of year for holiday shopping (I know, it is still 80 degrees outside and fall has barely begun!) so I need replenish stock in my shop. It has been fun to shop my own store for fabric to make these.
With holiday shopping around the corner, my shop will become busier than usual. I need to look at the sewing I hope to accomplish during the last part of the year and prioritize. My personal sewing tends to be less during this time as my Etsy projects and holiday gift sewing increases. I had planned to take part in the Wayward Transparency QAL hosted by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl. I love the pattern she created for the event, so much so that I am sponsoring the event with a giveaway prize. However, this isn’t the right time for me to begin another quilt. If you haven’t looked at this event yet, I highly recommend it. The pattern is really cool and the transparency effect is striking. The QAL for this striking lap size quilt has barely begun with fabric selection happening now.
Julia and I are heading up to Apple Hill this weekend. About an hour’s drive from here, there are lots of you-pick places, yummy Apple Cider donuts, pumpkins and all things autumnal. I am looking forward to spending the day with her out and about. I hope you have something fun planned for this weekend too!
Be sure to stop by next week. I have a fun post and giveaway to share on Tuesday!
Linking to my favorite places. Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups. See you back here next week!
It is so hot outside, really just too hot. As I write, the thermometer on the deck reads 95 degrees, in the shade. This means it is about 100 billion degrees in the sun. Hence the reason I am inside playing on the computer! When it is like this, I try to go out early in the morning to do any chores that need to be done. Yesterday I was out early, dropping Julia off at the high school. (She is volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for a class taught by her English teacher to a group of exchange students from France.) After dropping her off, I worked in the garden, dead heading roses. We have a nice selection of roses which we have to keep inside the fenced area to protect them from the ever hungry deer that wander our property.
The roses are slowing down a bit due to the heat but we still have some really pretty ones.
I spent about an hour working in the yard and while I trimmed and clipped, I listened to a recent podcast from While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg. Episode 100 was an interview with Alissa Carlton of the Modern Quilt Guild. Even though I was familiar with much of the origin of the MQG, it was interesting to hear Alissa’s perspective as one of the founders of this ever growing organization. The podcast was made even more interesting when Alissa talked about her other job as a casting director for the reality TV show, Project Runway. I recommend this episode (and really, all of Abby’s podcasts) as it covered a lot of interesting topics.
This girl’s been working. Check out these boots.
Because Julia was working at the high school for the day, I helped her out by feeding and cooling off her girls, Ella and Daisy. Ella and Daisy are two market hogs Julia is raising as a project for 4-H.
Measuring Ella to monitor her growth.
This has been a great experience and I think she enjoys it for the most part. As with any animal project, she has had a few issues to deal with. Ella, the show hog that Julia has been training to show at our county fair, is oddly uninterested in eating. She isn’t gaining near the weight she needs to gain to qualify for showing at the fair and for selling at the auction at the end of the fair. This is baffling but Julia is treating it as a science project and trying her darnedest to get Ella to gain weight. She is mixing raw cow’s milk with her feed three times a day to entice Ella to eat more. (She gets the raw milk from her very kind 4-H leader who has a dairy cow.) She also makes tons of scrambled eggs to mix into Ella’s feed to make it more desirable. So far, Ella isn’t having any of it. She snacks a bit and then gives the rest to her roommate, Daisy. You can see where this is going. Daisy is gaining all kinds of weight!
Ella and Daisy keeping cool in the mud.
Besides concocting these meals for Ella three times daily (which Daisy eats for the most part!) Julia also has to keep them cool during these dog days of summer. Pigs do not tolerate heat well as they have no ability to sweat. When Julia and Ray built the pen for the girls, they put misters in which is a great help. Julia also goes out multiple times throughout the day to hose both pigs down. They LOVE this and it is adorable to watch how the play in the spray of the hose and try to drink the water.
If Ella’s slow weight gain continues, Julia will end up showing Daisy at the fair and auctioning her off instead of Ella. Daisy is bred as a feeder pig, to be raised for meat. She will not do well when shown at the fair but whomever is kind enough to purchase her at the auction will have a freezer full of great quality pork. Ella will be fed out until she is large enough and has put on enough fat to be butchered. It isn’t what Julia expected but this is life, right?
Even with all that has been going on around here, I had a bit of time to sew this week. I wanted to catch up on my blocks for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, this has been such a fun project. They created it to increase the connection amongst the on-line quilters and it has been really successful. Check out the #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram – there are more than 6,400 photos posted to it.
I have fallen behind on my blocks but I did get a few made this week. I tried to combine solids with fabrics by Maureen Cracknell, both her Garden Dreamer fabric line as well as the earlier line, Fleet & Flourish. But I was running dangerously low and still have several blocks to complete. I had a funky size scrap of 1/2 of one Ex Libris panel by Alison Glass that I have been hoarding. I knew I would find the right thing to use it for and this is it. The colors work perfectly and I can fussy cut the bits of the panel to use just the parts I need.
Here is another block with a bit of Ex Libris in the center.
Sewcial Bee Sampler, 20 of 25 blocks
I had all of the blocks thus far completed arranged on the floor to look at the flow of color. I need to make sure the last five blocks are made with colors that balance well with what I already have. I think I want to frame one more with the light green and another with the mustard yellow. As I looked at these, one block jumped out at me – How come I didn’t see the mistake??
I need to spend a few minutes taking apart the upper left corner. Oops!! There is one more block to be released this week and I have four that I still need to make. Then we will sash the blocks and start assembling the quilt top. I really love the blocks I have made thus far – this one is a keeper. It should finish at 72″ square.
Linking up with Oh Scrap and a few others. Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
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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. 🙂
Welcome to the fourth installment of Meet the Designer. I began writing this series of posts in February. So far, we have gotten to know Sarah Golden, Maureen Cracknell and Kim Schaefer. I feel incredibly fortunate to have gotten to know these talented designers.
This month I chatted with Sharon Holland. Sharon is a designer with Art Gallery Fabrics whose fabrics are a mix of muted florals, leaf and vine motifs, and nautical themed prints among others. While each of Sharon’s five fabric lines are different and unique, there is a definite common thread of personality connecting each to the other.
When Sharon and I spoke, we talked about how we each began quilting, way back when. Sharon grew up as one of three children. Both of her parents were quite creative. Her father was an electrical engineer who had some very artistic hobbies. He was a woodworker, loved drawing and drafting, and also enjoyed gardening. Her mother was a stay at home mom who was often knitting, sewing, and crocheting. She was able to draft patterns (which is something I very much admire) and made her clothes as well as clothes for the children. Clearly, Sharon grew up in a household where making things was a favorite past time.
However, neither her mom or her grandmother quilted. Sharon was in high school when she decided to try quilting. Going through her mother’s fabric scrap box and looking at the various prints was intriguing to Sharon. She decided she would make a patchwork pillow. She selected her fabrics and hand stitched the squares into a patchwork, often using stripes to create patterns. She made the patchwork into a pillow cover. Not long after, while in college, Sharon was married. At around 20 years old, or so, she decided to make a quilt. Checking books out of the library and reading up on the process, she made a queen size quilt with a rather complicated block. She couldn’t remember the name of the block but definitely remembered the pesky Y seams that were involved. When she described finishing her quilt with an envelope style backing (no binding required!) and yarn tying the blocks, I had to laugh. That is exactly how I finished my first quilt back in 1979. I had no idea about binding and the idea of actually quilting it was daunting so I yarn tied it. Sharon has been quilting ever since.
I think one of the things I enjoy about Sharon is the scope of her talents. She writes, paints, draws, designs fabric, quilts, sews clothing, and drafts patterns. She seems to approach new ideas and experiences with gusto. After graduating from college with a BA in Art and Design she found herself raising her family in Coal City, Illinois. Around this time she began upcycling retro or vintage objects and selling them at an antique mall. Some years later the family moved to Ohio when her husband’s job took them there. She continued to pursue creative outlets which lead her to take some classes at the local community college to learn to use software for desktop publishing and printing. Her love of fabric and her newly learned computer software skills enabled her to start playing with surface designs and block printing. She designed four lines of fabric for Fabri-Quilt as well as several quilts for various quilting magazines. Following this she was hired by Valu-Publishing to bring two magazines to print. As the Assistant Editor, Graphic Designer and Photographer, she was instrumental in developing Quilt It…Today and Sew It…Today to the customer. This experience developed her skills in fabric design as well as graphic design. The perfect combo! Leaving the magazines, Sharon decided she really wanted to design for Art Gallery Fabric. She developed a portfolio and made an appointment with AGF owner and designer, Pat Bravo, to meet at the 2014 Spring Quilt Market. (How scary and exciting that must have been to put herself out there like that!!) Pat was very pleased with Sharon’s work and hired her on the spot!
Quilt market booth, celebrating the release of Bountiful.
This brings us to Sharon’s current work! She has completed five lines of fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics over the past several years. Her fabric collection is a beautiful compilations, each incorporating gorgeous color schemes with nature, coming together to tell a story. Her newest line is Bountiful.
I enjoyed hearing about the process Sharon goes through when working on a new line. She explained deciding on the theme, or the story, the fabrics will tell is the first step in her design process. For example, her latest line, Bountiful, tells the story of living in the mid-west. I remember when I was looking at this line when it released a few months ago I had not yet read about Sharon’s intent. However I knew right away the collection was a depiction of rural life in America. When I ordered the selection I offer in my shop, I loved the nostalgic mood of these fabrics. Perennial Optimism, a main focus fabric, is a gorgeous floral that is reminiscent of the vintage sheets I enjoy collecting. Tartan Field Midnight reminded me of looking down over the Sacramento Valley whenever I am flying home from a trip. The organized squares of farmland are perfectly represented in this print. Hearing her explanation of the inspiration for this line confirmed my thoughts. What a lovely way to tell the story of life in the mid-west.
Creating the design for Haymow.
Each fabric from a collection is treated as an art project of its own . When she was drawing the pattern for Tartan Field, it took her about five iterations before she got to a version she loved. She came up with the idea for this print while flying home from a Quilt Market show. Creating Perennial Optimism, Sharon said she was channeling her love of artist, Vera Neumann. This makes total sense when I look at Vera’s work and Sharon’s Perennial Optimism print as they are quite similar in style and mood. To created Haymow, she cut a wood block to the shape she liked, printed the pattern and uploaded it to the computer for further manipulations.
Creating the leaf prints for Aborescent.
Finally the Aborescent piece, a combination of leaves and flowers, was made with some leaves she picked up while walking her dog. She took the leaves and painted them to make prints. These were uploaded and manipulated on the computer to the finished version we see. It was really interesting to learn that Sharon first works on the inspiration or story behind her line. As she creates the designs for the fabrics to tell her story, she is working in black and white at first. Color is not important when she is developing the initial designs. The process of determining the scale and the repeats in the print are treated as a puzzle. She enjoys working out these details in the design process.
These rolls of the Bountiful collection sing. Think of the potential in this bundle of fabric!
We talked a bit about all five of her lines. She, like many designers, could not name a favorite. She said she usually favors the line she is currently working on and considers each line to be it’s own unique experience. I mentioned how easy it was to mix her fabric lines together because many of the colors are shared between lines. She said she usually tries to pull a few colors from the previous line forward into the new line so people can mix them. I really appreciate this as we so often purchase a number of pieces (if not all of them) from a line. After using them we have leftovers, right? It is great to continue to use them with the next line. Curiously, Sharon also mentioned that she is working on a new line (hopefully it will release at the end of the year or the first of 2018) where she is pushing herself to work with colors that are outside her norm. If you are familiar with her fabrics, you will remember she often uses muted tones with lots of blues, greens, and pinks. I cannot wait to see what comes with the next line.
Each time I interview a prolific artist I am impressed by the amount of work produced. So much effort goes into developing a fabric line, from the first ideas, to creating each design, working with the colors, telling the story.
Once the fabric is created, there is the promotion of the line – samples to be made, social media to interact with, trade shows to attend. Asking Sharon how she manages all of this, she told me she has to focus on one thing at a time. She doesn’t multi-task when she is creating something. This makes sense and it clearly leads to a lovely result for her. She only maintains a presence on her blog and Instagram. There just isn’t enough time for too many social media platforms.
A peaceful place to work and to write.
We talked at length about the effects of increased usage of social media. It is difficult to have this barrage of images of all of these wonderful creations without feeling somewhat disillusioned by it all. Does that ring true for you? There are times I come away from Instagram thinking my work is sub-par after looking at so many amazing quilts; such gorgeous artistic work made by others. Sharon’s take on this is to use social media less often. In order to stay focused on your project, leave the phone or tablet alone while you are making. It is all to easy to derail the creative process with the abundance of imagery out there. Each of us is in our own place creatively and to compare our work with that of others can defeating. She (wisely) suggests each of us “own and experience our individual creativity”. She admits to sometimes overusing social media and refers to it as “feeding the monster”. All things in moderation, right?
I am one of many people who claim ‘I am not an artist because I cannot draw’. When I said this to Sharon she was very kind and encouraging. She has a degree in art but said as a young girl she was not one who could draw beautifully. However her sister was a wonderful artist. She envied this a bit and was determined to learn to draw. In Sharon’s opinion, people can learn to draw. It requires we learn from the right teacher or book. Then practice, practice, practice. She suggested a book titled Drawing With the Right Side of Your Brain, by Betty Edwards. Originally published over 40 years ago, this book is readily available on Amazon and there are tons of used copies to be bought inexpensively. Just after we talked about this book I read some reviews of it. I am going to give it a try. I have reserved it at our local library. Hopefully it will help me get past the idea that I can’t draw so I am not artistic. (Why are those two so heavily linked in my mind?)
As you might remember, I have been sewing along with the Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt along, hosted by Sharon and her dear friend Maureen Cracknell. This has been a great event which was created by Sharon and Maureen’s desire to further build community amongst quilters on-line. I am incredibly impressed by the organization and quality of this event. Sharon and Maureen decided to do this last fall. They spent several weeks working on nothing else until they had blocks designed, instructions written, sponsors signed up (I am one!! Look for a giveaway by Needle & Foot once in June and again in July!). There are many people sewing together and it has been a blast. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. My quilt is coming along so well and really, it isn’t too late to join in.
Finally, I asked Sharon how she spends her time other than designing fabric and hosting sew alongs (is there even any time left over at this point!?) She surprised me by saying she has a book in process. Titled, Utility Style Quilts for Every Day Living, it is being published by Landauer Books. The quilts she designed for this book are based on traditional blocks with a scrappy look. She encourages the reader to use up their stash with these fun projects that were in part influenced by Gees Bend quilts. I am looking forward to seeing the book when it comes out in the early fall. With the modern slant Sharon gave to the blocks we are making in the Sewcial Bee quilt, I know this book will have some great ideas and patterns in it.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know more about Sharon. She was just a joy to chat with and I feel fortunate for having had this opportunity to learn about her and share it with you! In celebration of Sharon’s work, I have a sale going this week on her Bountiful fabrics as well as her Gossamer line. Both of them are lovely and if you desire, they play together nicely. No coupon code needed as the prices have already been reduced 15%. The sale runs through the end of the day on Friday! Click here to see what I have in the shop.
If you haven’t already done so, you might want to sign up for my newsletter. Look to the right side of the page and scroll down a bit. I would love to let you know of new fabrics and promotions going on in my shop!
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:
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
Buy more Fleet & Flourish.
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.
Off to the sewing room now. Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!
A little of this and a little of that – this has been the routine in my sewing room this week. For the most part, I have been quilting the baby quilt for my almost-here grandbaby. She is due March 3rd and I know my daughter-in-law has reached the point where she is done being pregnant. Those last few weeks are just miserable. I hope this little girl makes an appearance soon! The quilt top is finished and the quilting is nearly finished.
The quilting is coming along fine though. It is hard for me to sit and quilt for long periods of time. My neck becomes very grumpy if I sit for longer than 1/2 hour or so. It is better this way. I break it up and get other things done in between. I have been quilting a flower on each HST and a little heart on the sashing between the squares. So cute.
The hearts are a bit on the wonky side but such is life. I have a feeling the baby won’t be too critical of her Grammy’s stitching.
I have jumped in on a quilt along. It is hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, both are designers for Art Gallery Fabric. They are calling it the Sewcial Bee Sampler. A block design is released each Wednesday and today is week three. If you are interested, there is plenty of time to catch up.
With each week, there are giveaways for those who participate. Needle & Foot will be sponsoring two of the giveaway Fridays; one in June and one in July!! Here is the pull I selected for the Quiltalong.
I am using the rest of my fat eighth collection of Fleet and Flourish (designed by Maureen Cracknell). I added a fat quarter bundle of solids from the Pink Castle subscription I received for my birthday. I am being very judicious with the Fleet & Flourish and hoping I have enough. We shall see!
The first three blocks look great!
Each block is framed but when I got to the third block, I decided to wait before framing it. I am wondering about my choice of gray and navy blue as frames. So, I need to ponder that one for a bit.
Ok – that is the update for now. Projects are moving right along. 🙂 Hope the same is true for you! Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Needle & Thread Thursday. Links are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.