Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Free Patterns From Fabric Manufacturers

Do you check out the free quilt designs that are offered by fabric manufacturers to show off new fabric lines? I must admit that I don't like many of them. However, I have stumbled across a few recently that I quite like.

Some of my favorite quilt and fabric designers partner with Henry Glass fabrics. You can find their free designs here and here. These are some that I especially liked (click the picture to download the pattern):

From Kim Diehl:

From Buggy Barn:

From Dana Brooks, My Lazy Daisy:
Enjoy getting some inspiration from the many free patterns available.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shanghai Sewing Kit

I was reminiscing this week that a year ago at this time I had just returned from spending just under a month in Asia. During that trip, we spent a day in the old part of Shanghai, China.

After seeing the sights, we had several hours to shop (and eat) -- activities I documented with my camera.

Chinese food in a Shanghai  "food court".
And then Diet Coke at a Shanghai McDonalds!
We  could have eaten at Dairy Queen.
But instead ate dumplings and chicken wings.

Followed by Chinese candy.
Then we stumbled upon this shop.
And this is what I bought.
A cute sewing kit.
Farewell to Shanghai.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Best of Show

I patiently worked away at the office while many from Handi Quilter were at the Houston International Quilt Market and then the International Quilt Festival. (I'm hoping to be able to go in the future now that I'm more familiar with HQ's products.)

I would have loved to see all of the quilts on display -- especially the "Best of Show" award-winning quilt called "America, Let it Shine".

"America, Let it Shine" by Sherry Reynolds  of Laramie, Wyoming
Isn't Sherry's quilt amazing? And although I didn't see it in Houston, I did see it at the SLC Home Machine Quilting Show last spring where her quilt also won best of show.

Check out the quilting and the bedazzling!

I wonder if I would have the patience and detail orientation to create such a masterpiece? Probably not.  What about you?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday at Martingale

As you know, I am counting the weeks until my book with Martingale comes out.

In the meantime, however, there have been some new books released by other Martingale authors that are on my wish list.  I think now is the time to buy because they are 50% off -- plus free shipping on purchases over $30. Black Friday here we come.

I'm going to buy Jill Finley's book, Home Sweet Quilt

I love her fabric collections, so I know I'll love her quilts too.

And of course, gotta have Kim Diehl's latest book, Homestyle Quilts, in collaboration with her editor at Martingale, Laurie Baker.

Not sure what else I'm going to get, but this offer is too good to pass up. (Now if only my book were done and available for sale too!)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


"Deseret" means "honeybee" and was the original name of what became the Utah Territory, later the state of Utah. I have collected all things beehive — especially beehive-shaped honey pots — for about twenty years. I thought it was about time to create a beehive quilt.

I designed this quilt for my book, but unfortunately it got pulled at the last minute because it made the book too long.

My brother has beehives on his ranch in eastern Utah. The sage green and golden hues of his ranch inspired the colors for this quilt. As with many of my quilts, some black also finds its way into the palette. In this case, the black and tan border blocks (traditional jewel box block) remind me of the black and yellow of the iconic honeybee. This quilt uses paper piecing for the honeycomb hexagon blocks. It also includes embroidered honeybees buzzing around the hive and a simple running embroidery stitch to highlight the beehive.

This quilt was made completely from my stash except for the backing. I'd had the border fabric for more than ten years. I think it's from a Carol Endres fabric collection called Apple and Bee Orchard. There are little beehives scattered among trees and cabins. It was just perfect. I don't know how many times I had pulled that fabric out of my cupboard and contemplated using it in a quilt.  I'm glad I waited!

I submitted this design to Primitive Quilts magazine in hopes that they would want to include it. But alas, they sent back my submission because isn't primitive enough. Oh well.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Winterfest 2013

Each of the past three years I've attended a great retreat, called Winterfest, at the end of January. It's at a great winter lodge up in the mountains east of Salt Lake called Daniel's Summit.  Check out my cozy room from a past Winterfest.

While attending Winterfest I've been able to take classes from well-known teachers such as Kim Diehl, Carrie Nelson, and Joanna Figueroa. I'll be able to take classes from Paula Barnes at the next Winterfest. Her company is now called Red Crinoline Quilts (although it used to be Bonnie Blue Quilts).  You're probably familiar with her lovely traditional Civil War-style quilts.

I'm privileged to also be teaching at 2013 Winterfest. I will be teaching a quilt called "Days of '47", based on the traditional (but not well known) Salt Lake City block. 

I have made three versions of this quilt, two of which are shown on the Winterfest website.

This version uses scraps.
This version (with a different border option) uses fabrics from the Circa 1934 fabric line by Cosmo Cricket for Moda.
Any Utah gals out there planning to go to Winterfest? It's a fun getaway in the middle of winter!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Definitely Time For an Update.

Yippee! My book with Martingale / That Patchwork Place is moving along. Over the last several weeks I was able to review the page proofs that show what the book will actually look like. The photos, the illustrations, the instructions. Pretty exciting. Still waiting to see the cover design -- which will make it seem even more real. The release date is still early May, just before Spring Quilt Market in Portland, OR.

On the job front, I went back to work almost two months ago. It was time. Although I put my 17-month hiatus from full-time work to good use (30+ quilts, the book, a month vacation in Asia, surgery and recovery), my Cobra insurance coverage was going to run out. Yes, it was time to look for a job.

Back in February I was invited to be a beta tester for Handi Quilter's new TruStitch stitch regulator for their sit-down mid-arm machine, the HQ Sweet Sixteen. I spent a day in their offices, met some of the marketing team, and some of the engineers. As I looked around, I thought "Hmmm, this would be a nice place to work." (Especially since it's less than 15 minutes from my home.)

As soon as I got home that afternoon, I sent my resume to the director of marketing to let her know that I had a background in technology product marketing (and of course quilting), and that I would love to do some free-lance work for them if they ever needed help. Well, it wasn't but a couple weeks before I had my first editing project from them. And so it continued over the next five months -- a project here and there.

When I knew I had to start looking for a job, I spoke with the marketing director at Handi Quilter and let her know that once I found a full-time job, I wouldn't be available to do free-lance work anymore. The prospect of not being able to offload some of her work to me must have created some fear and trepidation, because a month later I started work for Handi Quilter full time as the marketing communications manager.

And it's been great. I was able to hit the ground running because I already understand the quilting industry, I was somewhat familiar with their products from the previous work I'd done, and I already had the marketing know-how. I've been very happy with my decision. Good company. Good people. Great products. And quilts decorating the walls throughout the building!

And, a nice little perk that I didn't know about when I joined Handi Quilter. After three months of employment, employees can (if they want) take home a slightly used HQ18 Avanté longarm machine and after four years of employment, it's theirs to keep. So I'm counting the weeks until I can take a machine home (hopefully one will be available when it's my turn!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Couple Quilts That Didn’t Make the Cut

I made a couple quilt tops that I decided not to include in the book. 

Both were set on point and they were the only two on-point quilts in the book. I knew that if I included them I would need to write involved instructions for on-point settings. But more than that, in each case there was something that I didn’t like about the finished quilt top. Don’t get me wrong – I like the quilts. I just didn’t think they were up to the standard I’d set for other quilts in the book.

Can you see what went wrong in the first quilt in reds, golds and greens? I used the same gold background for the borders and edge setting triangles. But I had bought the fabrics from two different sources because neither online store had as much as I needed. And, wouldn’t you know it, they were obviously different dye lots. It wasn’t so obvious in person – but when photographed, the variation in value shows up. And, unfortunately, it shows the piecing in the triangles (which I wanted to blend together – and it didn’t).

red green quilt with caption

The other quilt uses all Kansas Troubles fabrics. I had a layer cake of 10” squares and extra yardage for background and borders. Unfortunately, I was limited in the fabric combinations I could do for the stars and some didn’t have as much contrast as others. It was a fun quilt, and I’ll probably make another one some day using the same star block design. But it didn’t make the cut for the book. So, in reality, I made 32 quilts for my book – not just 30. 

new star quilt with caption

I can’t imagine that I’ll ever do that many quilts in less than a year. Yes, that’s 32 quilt tops. And 30 finished and bound quilts. Oh how I wish I could share them with you. I think I need to create a countdown timeline for my blog with the countdown until the book is released. But that will probably make the time go slower with the constant reminder.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back to Blogging

I officially sent off my book manuscript to the publisher about 10 days ago! Yippee! My last quilt (of 30!) is being quilted. All of the quilts will be sent off the week of July 9th. Then the technical and copy editing by Martingale editors begins. The schedule has page proofs for review in November, and book ready to ship the beginning of June 2013. So, it will be nearly a year before it’s available for purchase. But at least we’re making progress.
I was able to do some non-quilt sewing over the weekend. I splurged on a serger a few months ago and other than thread it and briefly try it out, I wouldn’t let myself do any sewing/serging. I bought the Brother 5234 Project Runway serger (which was on sale back in early April). It’s not a high-end serger – but so far  I’ve been really happy with it. I couldn’t justify buying something too fancy for my first one.
My first projects were two large “fat quarter” bags which are great for toting quilts around. Each bag can hold 3 small quilts or 2 medium/large quilts.
Rather than use fat quarters for the first bag, I dug through my stash and found this great fabric that looks like the outside fabric was pieced. It was pieced, just not by me. It came off the bolt with the squares actually sewn together (it’s not your typical cheater cloth). I don’t remember what I had in mind  for the fabric but I had enough of it plus a matching plaid lining fabric to make the bag.
I did use fat quarters for the other version of this bag. I had  left over fat quarters from a fat quarter pack that I’d used to make a wedding quilt for my nephew and his wife. I  also had enough of a coordinating fabric to use for the lining and the ties. Ta da! Another bag but with a completely different look.
I have a third bag nearly done – except for the handles/ties. For that one I used a couple Kathy Schmitz fabric panels that I  impulsively bought several years ago. I knew I’d never use them in a quilt, so now they are a bag. I made that bag bigger than the pattern so that I wouldn’t have to cut away any of the panel. The bags are fun to sew up and they each take only about 2 hours.
I’m slowly getting my sewing room back into some semblance of order. I like how I’ve been able to situate my new serger to the left (in the photo) of my sewing machine. But it’s actually to my right when sewing. And I can push the serger to the back of the counter when I need more space by the sewing machine. Very handy.
I’ve missed blogging, but especially missed spending time reading other blogs. You’ll be hearing from me a lot more than you have in the past many months.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Please Vote For My Block

Hi everyone.
I submitted a block design to the Accuquilt Barn Quilt Design Contest, and my block was selected as one of the top 100. Now it’s up to you to vote for my block so I can win some great Accuquilt goodies.
My block is #29:

You can vote once per e-mail address until the 18th of April – so, please vote!

Click HERE to vote.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Can’t Show You the Fronts Yet…

But I can show you the backs of these quilts.
I got back the first four quilts from one of the four quilters I’m working with. (More coming next week – yippee!) My mom did the hand-sewing part of the binding. (Thanks Mom!)
So I thought I’d show you the quilting from the backs of three of the four quilts. On one of them, the quilting blended in so much with the backing fabric that it didn’t photograph well enough to show. (But in person and from the front it’s fabulous!)
This first quilt uses Minick & Simpson’s Banner Rose fabrics. Because of the Americana style, it is quilted with a subtle Americana design:
My quilter liked this design so much that she wants to teach it as a mystery quilt at her guild. The design lends itself to a mystery because it comprises lots of basic block components that are then put together into blocks and interesting borders.
This quilt uses Fig Tree fabrics from a couple of different collections. The back is from Fig Tree’s Strawberry Fields. Can you see the rose – floral quilt design? It is perfect for this quilt design – with my original blocks set with chain blocks:
The  last quilt back I’m showing off today is a totally scrappy design – using only scraps and stash fabrics. Even the star-fabric backing was already in my stash. I decided to echo the star design from the backing as the quilting. Love it!
That’s all I can show you, but I am slowly closing in on finishing all of my quilts for the book.
Bye for now.


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