Hands 2 Help is a very popular on-line quilting event hosted by Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict. This event was first held in 2011 and seems to grow in popularity each year. The “rules of the game” are simple. Make a quilt and donate it. Sarah always rounds up several worthy organizations who love receiving handmade quilts. The quilter is also free to choose to donate to an organization close to her heart. I participated in 2016 but not 2017. This year I signed up again. My plan was to donate the Postage Plus quilt I made for the Modern Plus Quilt blog hop a few months back. One thing after another has gotten in the way of any attempt I made to get the quilt top finished up. At this point, it is clearly apparent it won’t be done by the end of the week (when the event concludes.). This doesn’t mean I can’t finish it and donate it still, it just means I need another way to fulfill this particular commitment.
I thought about it and decided to donate two baby quilts I made last year. Both of these were made as samples for fabric I carried in my shop. I think they are adorable and will be loved by a child somewhere. Rather than send them both out of the area, I want to donate one to Little Lambs in Utah and the other to my local chapter of Project Linus.
This is the quilt I will send to Little Lambs Foundation. It was made with a panel from a fabric line called Shine.
If you want to read more about this project, click here. I think this one is really sweet. I had a lot of fun quilting it and used it as a display in my booth at several quilt shows. The fabric is so sweet with the cats and owls, sunshine and clouds.
The second quilt will be donated to Project Linus, Featuring bold colors in black, white and rainbow, the quilt was made with a panel from Sweet Tweets.
For more details on this quilt, click here. This line was really fun and sold out incredibly fast. While I had it, I used the quilt as a sample in my booth. I think the birds and critters are so much fun for children of any age. It is a bright, cheerful quilt. This fabric is, unfortunately, not printed any longer or I would still stock it. I just love it.
It is such a challenge to get everything done that one wants to. I can’t kick myself for not finishing things as I had planned. It is a constant battle fto figure out the best way to stay organized and do as much as I can. The Postage Plus quilt will get finished and it will also go off to a good cause, just not this week! Thank you Sarah for your wonderful work organizing this huge event. I know it takes so much of your time and you reach many people as a result. You are such a generous soul. There are so many gorgeous quilts being donated this year. If you want to see some, click here and be inspired!
I have a finish to share with you this morning! I began this little quilt a couple of months ago when I had the Sweet Tweets fabric (by Kim Schaefer for Andover) in stock. There was a panel fabric with these fun critters and I made both a quilt top and three stuffed blocks out of it (with a few pieces to spare!) I wanted to wait a bit before finishing the quilt though. I sold out of the rainbow stripe that I wanted to use as a border. I knew Kim Schaefer was coming out with a new line that had a similar rainbow stripe and I had it on order for my shop. (Note: I am sold out of the Sweet Tweets panel now and Andover has told me they will not be reprinting any of this line. It is kind of unfortunate because it is such a cute one.)
The new rainbow fabric is from an Andover line called And Z (from the alphabet song… W, X, Y And Z!) It also has a sweet alphabet panel and lots of fun coordinating fabrics, including a new rainbow stripe, which I used as the border on this project. I greatly appreciate when a designer works to make sure successive lines work with the one prior. It makes it much easier to use your stash. Anyway, this rainbow stripe was perfect for the Sweet Tweets quilt border.
Once I had the borders on, it was time to quilt it. There is a whole lot going on with this quilt, cute focal fabric, stripes and dots, and all sorts of color. I thought it best to keep things simple. I outlined the critters with my walking foot which anchored everything down.
Next I free motion quilted large and small loops between the critters. I was using Glide thread in basic white and it was wonderful. I am really impressed with this thread and I need to get a few more colors to have on hand.
For the small row of sashing between the critters and the rainbow stripe border, I quilted a little wavy pattern. Finally when I got to the border, it was time to switch from curves to a boxy motif. (Side note – look how dry the pasture next door to us is…. We have had such a heat wave and the grasses are really dry now. )
For the backing, I used a red stripe given to me by my sister last fall when she was purging her closets. It is perfectly bright and cheerful. The binding was a bit of a decision for me. I posted a photo on Instagram, asking people for input or suggestions. When someone said solid black to frame it off, I agreed. I think this quilt needed a simple binding for the finish.
The back side actually displays the quilting better than the front (as is often the case.
Look at the combination of the blocks and the quilt. This was such a fun way to use this panel fabric.
This quilt finished at 30″ by 38″ which is a nice size for baby. The quilt makes me happy and I am sure it will look cute in a nursery with a baby playing on it. There are so many colors, patterns, and critters to look at!
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Yesterday I had the pleasure of introducing you to Kim Schaefer in my third Meet the Designer post. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her. I have been playing with the fabrics in her Sweet Tweets line and have a few things to share with you.
First off, I have been making these cute stuffed blocks. I have shared a couple of photos on Instagram so you probably have seen these in process. I used a simple tutorial provided by Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps.
Cutting the panel into blocks, I used four critters and two black and white squares from the Cheerios fabric for each block. I experimented a bit with the blocks. I made two of them bigger, utilizing the full size of the critter block and for the third one, I cut it down a bit so the block would be smaller. Two of the blocks are lined with fusible interfacing. It was only because I forgot that I didn’t line the third one. As a result, it is a bit on the mushy side – I like the result much better when the fabric was fused to the interfacing to give it some body.
Also, I only put one noisemaker rattle in each block and now I wish I had put two. (Actually, as I type this, I realize it would be so simple to open up the block again and add another rattle. I will do this because I think they don’t make enough noise with just the one rattle.)
On one of the blocks, I lined one side with a clean piece of a potato chip bag. Abby had a list of suggestions for variations to try and I thought this sounded fun. It gives that block a crackly sound when it is manipulated. It was very simple to just wipe down the bag, cut a square and baste it to one of the sides. I did put the print side facing inward to the center of the block, just in case in might have shown through the fabric.
After making the blocks, I was on a tear and decided to make a baby quilt with some of the critter blocks from the panel. I started this on Tuesday afternoon this week and it came together quickly. I didn’t have a pattern in mind and decided to just put borders around each critter and sash them in one of the brighter prints from the Sweet Tweets line. I think it is just adorable! Panels can sometimes be difficult to utilize but this one lends itself to a number of projects.
Each critter block was cut to a 6″ square and I bordered it with the black and white Cheerio print. That brought the blocks up to 8″. Next I sashed them with the Hip to be Square print in Rainbow. Like I said in my previous post, I love the bright colors with the black and white print. With just the rainbow sashing, the quilt top is a bit too small for a baby quilt. It currently measures 24″ x 36″. Adding the rainbow sashing print around the outer edge of the quilt will help grow it just a bit.
I have a bolt of this adorable border print coming in. I didn’t buy it with the first shipment of the line and think it is a great addition to this collection. I am not sure how I will cut it up but it will make a cute border and then hopefully the quilt top will be big enough.
I think this line is great for kids. However the black and white prints and the rainbow prints are versatile in their own right. Great stash builders, for sure. Reminder that they are on sale in my shop through this Sunday, April 23rd.
Hope you all have a great weekend. Julia is finally getting her piglets this weekend. She is so excited. That is what we have planned, how about you??
Welcome to the third post in my Meet the Designer series at Needle & Foot. If you missed the first two interviews you are welcome to check them out. In February I had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah Golden, a designer for Andover Fabric. In March I wrote two posts about my experience getting to know Maureen Cracknell. This month I have the honor of introducing you to Kim Schaefer, also a designer for Andover Fabric. Kim has a style that could be described as whimsical. I very much enjoy her designs. Her most recent line of fabric is called Sweet Tweets and I have a selection of it available in my shop. Let’s get to know Kim!
Kim started designing fabric with Andover in 2006 with her first collection, Fat Cats. Prior to working for Andover, Kim was a designer for Erlanger (which is no longer in business.) It was fortunate that Kim had impressed one of the sales reps who worked for both Erlanger and Andover. He was able to introduce Kim to Andover and thus began her relationship with them. It is always something to look back at one’s path and see how each decision or choice made has lead us to the next opportunity, right? Anyway, Kim speaks very highly of Andover, and especially of their design director, Kathy Hall. She is grateful to work with a company who has such a strong commitment to quality.
Growing up as the middle daughter in a family of three girls, Kim was taught to sew early on, maybe around the age of eight or nine years. Her mom and grandma both worked with her. She has fond memories of this and says her mom was so patient and was often called upon to untangle bobbin disasters when Kim was sewing. Kim went to college at a university in Wisconsin, majoring in Fine Arts with an emphasis on Fibers. Kim’s father lamented never having a son and was very happy when Kim had four sons for him to do “boy things” with. They worked on cars and motorcycles together and went on camping trips, things she and her sisters had little interest in as kids.
Kim’s Quilt for QVC Channel
In 1983 she took her first quilting class – it doesn’t take too much imagination to guess what happened next! She was hooked on quilting and by 1989 was actively selling her quilts. In fact at one point, she had an order for 400 of the same cute birdhouse themed quilt for QVC (tv shopping channel) Kim says it took forever to make these and then they sold in three minutes!! Can you imagine? I am sure she never wants to make that particular quilt again!!
Just a few of the books Kim has authored.
I am in awe of Kim’s productivity as her talents are quite diverse. She designs fabric for Andover, as I mentioned above. Currently she is working on a line with a Halloween theme called Fright Night which releases in June, 2017. Additionally, she is a very prolific author and has published thirteen books already. She currently works with C & T Publishing and her range is wonderful. She has written books on baby and toddler projects, modern quilting, seasonal projects as well as scrappy quilting. Any of these would be a great addition to a quilter’s library. Click through here for more information or if you would like to purchase a book. (Affiliate Link) Upon hearing about all of these books and the numerous fabric lines, I asked her about balancing her work and her home life, and she replied she has been asked that question often and “all I can say is it somehow just works out. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love, and I truly enjoy each aspect of my job. I work hard and am fortunate enough to work for two great companies who have never pressured me. I am the happiest at home in my studio creating, it hardly feels like work when you’re living your dream. I am a lucky lady.” She clearly appreciates the blessings of working for such great companies and being able to utilize her passion in these artistic ways, designing fabric and quilts as well as writing books.
Asking Kim about her design process, she explained that once she has an idea in mind it’s hard to stop thinking about it. (Does that sound familiar!?) First she draws rough sketches on graph paper, then moves to pencil drawings of actual size and scale on water color paper. Her work is hand painted using water color dyes or gouache. (I wasn’t familiar with the term gouache but it seems it is a water color paint which has been thickened with a gum, or glue-like, substance.) The painting time depends, of course, on the complexity of the design, but Kim often stays at it until it’s finished, even though, as she says, “at the end of the day sometimes I think my hand might fall off my arm.” 🙂 To begin the design of a fabric line, she usually begins with the feature or main fabric. Then she designs the coordinating pieces.
With Sweet Tweets, she created the adorable panel first and then worked on the rainbow themed prints as well as the black and white pieces.
I have to say when I selected Sweet Tweets as a juvenile line to carry in my shop, it was because of the bright, cheerful pieces which are accented with black and white prints. I love brights with black and white – it makes for a really striking combination. Kim also enjoys this mix and explained that much of her work is influenced by the wonderful, colorful, folk art carved wooden animals from the Oaxaca area. When she was in college, she had the opportunity to spend a semester in Mexico and her work is still influenced by the folk art from this region.
I asked Kim about other places she has traveled and she told me about her all-time favorite trip. Forever wanting to see Paris in the spring, she was finally able to make the trip a few years ago. She and her husband visited Paris and took in the art, architecture, the cheese, and chocolate croissants! She loved every bit of it. After Paris, they went to London where her son was finishing up a semester abroad. After a few days playing tourist, they all returned home together.
Kim enjoys reading and gardening when she gets a minute away from her studio. Asked whether she enjoys sewing clothing, Kim said she hasn’t really pursued it. She did make Halloween costumes for the boys when they were small but there just isn’t enough time in the day to try everything. Again, sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?
It was great to get to know Kim better. I really enjoy her fabric and her whimsical style. I am looking forward to taking a peek at the next two lines she has coming out. Aside from the whimsical pieces, she also has a great line of black and whites as well as a line of textured solids called Brushline, which is just gorgeous.
This week in conjunction with this Meet the Designer post, I have marked the Sweet Tweet line down 15% in my shop. Hop on over and take a look. I have yardage as well as a cute fat quarter bundle of the three black and white prints that I am carrying. No need for a coupon code as the prices have been adjusted. The sale on the Sweet Tweets fabric will run through the weekend with prices back to normal Monday, April 24th.
Tomorrow I want to share some cute projects I have been working on with these fabrics. Hope you will come back and check them out! See you then. 🙂