Monday, November 24, 2014

By the Fireside, a project from Improvising Tradition

This quilted pillow is a project from my book, Improvising Tradition.  Log cabin blocks, made from strips, are a basic but incredibly versatile improv technique.  With this project, I not only show you how to create wonky log cabin blocks in two ways but also how to set them into a color blocked background with a fun slice and insert method.   
photo by Joe Hancock

With just a few variations, you can use this technique to create two more of my favorite projects from the book, which I will share soon.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Scraps, Inc.

I have another new quilt to share.  I created Stripes Earned as my contribution to a fun new book, Scraps, Inc. published by Lucky Spool.  The book has 15 different block-based quilts by 15 designers, all created specifically to use your scraps.  If you've been around my blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about sewing with scraps.  This book has so many great ideas for using the last bits of your favorite fabrics.
My quilt, Stripes Earned, uses scrap strips, which seems to be the bin that fills up most quickly in my sewing room. It was quilted by Tia Curtis.  I designed the quilt using the strategy of a limited color palette.  I was inspired to use colors reminiscent of camouflage, since the three chevrons in the design reminded me of military insignia.  I think this quilt is fun because it is appropriate for even the manliest man, which can be hard to do with a scrap quilt.
You may choose any three colors for the quilt as a whole, or use a different color combination for each chevron for a very different look.  Here is a  mock up in a feminine color way.
I'm so excited to be a part of this terrific, useful book, as well as to be involved with Lucky Spool.  It is a new publishing company, and it aims to create high quality books and interact with its writers and designers in a really collaborative way.  I got to interact with the other designers in the book too, sharing ideas and inspiration via Pinterest.  I'm really interested to see their blog posts in the coming week or two and to read about the story behind each quilt.  One of my very favorite quilts in the book was designed and made by Kati of Quilting from the Blue Chair.  She'll be posting about her quilt next Monday, November 24, so be sure to look for that.
Lucky Spool is kindly offering 30% off the book if you order by December 1st.  Purchase Scraps, Inc. here and enter the code "SCRAPS30" at checkout.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kona Charm Pack Giveaway Winner

The winner, selected at random, is peaches1003.  I'm sending you an email now to get your contact information so Robert Kaufman can send you a prize.
It was fun readings about your favorite colors.  Some that came up several times were Sangria, Watermelon, and Pomegranate. Many of you refused to choose (and why should you have to!?) and named groups of colors like the grays and the blues as your favorites.  I agree!
If you are a KCMQG member, come to Thursday's meeting for a chance at a local giveaway from me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

30 Quilts for 30 Years - a Bloghop and Giveaway

I am excited to share a new quilt with you.  I made this quilt, Floating Prisms, for Robert Kaufman as a part of their 30 Quilts for 30 Years celebrations.  As part of the celebration, you get to see 30 quilts made by 30 different designers, using Kona solids.
My quilt was inspired by an image of an art installation of hanging origami cubes.  I love how the light hits them and how it illuminates different angles of each cube, as they twist and face different directions.  I tried to create the illusion of depth with specific color placement in each paper pieced block. 

I used 20 different Kona solids. Aren't they gorgeous?
The quilt is 60 x 72 and I'm excited to say that Robert Kaufman is offering it as a free download on their website. All of the color names and fabric requirements, along with the paper piecing templates and detailed instructions are included.  I explain how to place the colors in each block to achieve a 3D effect.  And here's a tip: I colored the templates as a visual cue to help keep my color placement on point.
This fun blog hop continues until December 3rd, with giveaways at each stop and a huge prize at the end. Each post features a different lovely quilt in the series.

Week 1:
Saturday, November 1st: Johanna Masko
Sunday, November 2nd: Alyssa of Aria Lane
Monday, November 3rd: Dorie of Tumblingblocks
Tuesday, November 4th: Megan of Canoe Ridge Creations
Wednesday, November 5th: Daniela of Cozy Quilt Designs
Thursday, November 6th: Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts
Friday, November 7th: Anita Grossman Solomon
Saturday, November 8th: Debbie of Esch House Quilts

Week 2:
Sunday, November 9th: Alex of Teaginny
Monday, November 10th: Darlene Zimmerman
Tuesday, November 11th: Nichole Ramirez
Wednesday, November 12th: Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts
Thursday, November 13th: Lee of Freshly Pieced
Friday, November 14th: Julie of Jaybird Quilts
Saturday, November 15th: Latifah of The Quilt Engineer

Week 3:
Sunday. November 16th: Elizabeth Hartman
Monday, November 17th: Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting
Tuesday, November 18th: Karrie of Freckled Whimsy
Wednesday, November 19th: Valori Wells
Thursday, November 20th: Marilyn of Quilt Moments
Friday, November 21st: Cortney Heimerl
Saturday, November 22nd: Shayla and Kristy of Sassafras Lane Designs

Week 4:
Sunday, November 23rd: Shea of Empty Bobbin Sewing
Monday, November 24th: Carrie Strine
Tuesday, November 25th: Rachel of Stitched in Color
Wednesday, November 26th: Liz of Lady Harvatine
Saturday, November 29th: Carolyn Friedlander

Week 5:
Sunday, November 30th: Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy
Monday, December 1st: Emily of Carolina Patchworks
Tuesday, December 2nd: Ken Kaufman
Wednesday, December 3rd: Grand Finale!

Be sure to check out Carolyn Friedlander's blog on November 29th to see my personal favorite of the bunch.  Isn't it stunning?
And finally, Robert Kaufman is offering a free charm pack to one of you.  These are the new 2014 colors!  Leave a comment for a chance to win.  You can say whatever you like, but perhaps you'd like to share your favorite Kona color.  Mine is Silver.  I will choose a winner the morning of Monday November 10th.  This giveaway IS open to international readers (yay Robert Kaufman!), and be sure I have away to contact you. GIVEAWAY now closed.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kids Can Quilt Improv, a Strata Pillow

Improvisational piecing is a very liberated style of sewing which seems to really appeal to kids; it allows them to sew without a lot of rules. What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn't love making things up as they go along, entirely to suit themselves? It's just the type of thing my creative boys enjoy.
My eight year old son made this improv strata pillow. He chose the pieces of fabric to sew together, chain pieced them, and constructed the top, while I trimmed and pressed as we went along. He even quilted it himself. I spray basted the top (to avoid pins and the necessity of not sewing over them!) and put on the walking foot, and he went to town quilting random straight lines in various directions.
I finished the pillow with some cool Star Wars fabric and a lapped zipper (using this tutorial) on the back. My son is thrilled with his accomplishment and loves the pillow. Creating strata is a technique covered in my book, Improvising Tradition, and I hope you'll be tempted to try it out.  As he would tell you, it's really fun!