May 22, 2015

Catching my breath...

Out of the past 15 days, I've been away from home for 12 nights and one of those I was home for less than 12 hours!  It has all been wonderful, but, not surprisingly, I came home from Quilt Market with a bad cold.  After Quilt Market, despite the cold, I went on my biannual Handwork retreat.

During the retreat, I worked on my curved piecing project, the Loosely Curved wall hanging, from Angela Pingel's book, A Quilter's Mixology.  I cut everything out before I left and had hoped to finish the piecing of this project, but a few cutting errors, and the fact that I did not pack the fabric I used, stopped me a bit short of that goal.  Here are a few of the sections I did put together.  This is the perfect small project to play around with a bit of curved piecing!  I am really having fun with it and hope to finish it very soon.

The other project I worked on uses this yummy stack of Pie Making Day by Brenda Ratliff.  I can't show you any more right now, but you'll get to see the rest later this summer I hope.  I love the bits of cool blue mixed in with the citrusy greens, oranges and yellow!

I hope you have some fun sewing planned for this weekend!  Happy Memorial Day to all my US readers!

May 19, 2015

Quilt Market!

I got back late Sunday night from Quilt Market.  For those of you that aren't familiar with Quilt Market, it is a trade show for the quilting and sewing industry.  Twice a year, those who have fabrics, patterns, notions, books, etc can set up a booth to show their merchandise to shop owners.

For the past two years, I've had a booth to show shop owners my patterns.  This time, though, I just went to "walk the floor".  I love having a booth, but I don't see much else when I do.  It was fun to take my time and stroll around and absorb what is going on.

Lynn signing books

My friend Lynn Harris has a new book out called Every Last Piece.  She did two book signings and a presentation to the shop owners.  Her book is amazing and full of ideas for using up every last piece of your fabric!

Brenda in her prize-winning booth
Brenda Ratliff, owner of Pink Castle Fabrics, has a new fabric line coming out this summer called Pie Making Day.  Her fantastic booth won first place in the single booth category!  Many of the projects in her booth were made by members of the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.  The colors in her fabric line are yummy!

Some other fabric lines that are on my must-have list are Modern Background Paper and Modern Background Ink by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic.  I love everything she designs and these fabrics are wonderful background neutrals. 

Story by Carrie Bloomston
 Carrie Bloomston's new line is called Story and is full of her signature colorful whimsy!

Alison Glass' booth
Alison Glass's booth and the rich color in her new Ex Libris line wowed as always.  Her new line includes beautiful knits that have me itching to get back to some garment sewing.

Some other things I noticed included the continued increase in sewing projects that are not quilts - lots of garments, embroidery, and other types of stitching.  

This is just a tiny bit of the amazing feast for the eyes that is Quilt Market. Check out #quiltmarket on Instagram to see what others had to say!

May 15, 2015

Sewing curves

I made garments for more years than I've been making quilts, so I've never been scared by curved piecing.  However, most of the curved seams I did while making garments were sleeves that used gathering to smooth the curve.  So, I've been feeling like I want to do some curved piecing.

Angela Pingel's book "A Quilter's Mixology" has been on my "buy this" list for a while and I happened to come across a copy while I was in Canada last week.  Angela's book focuses on some of the many variations possible with the Drunkard's Path book.  I also recently purchased Lynn Harris' "Every Last Piece".  I'm not the best at using up my scraps and Lynn is an amazing quilter, so this was a must have for me.  Lynn includes curved piecing instructions in her book too.

To sum it up quickly, Angela uses one pin at the center of the block and Lynn uses more pins.  I tried a couple of blocks with each method.  Both methods worked well and I need a bit of practice no matter which method I use.  The blue blocks were done with Lynn's method and the orange ones with Angela's method.

I've cut out some pieces to make the Loosely Pieced wall hanging from Angela's book.  I'll let you know how it goes as I practice a bit more curved piecing.

What about you?  Have you tried curved piecing?  Do you have a favorite method?

May 12, 2015

A Charity Challenge

I haven't been making any charity quilts.  It's been bugging me for a while.  Turning your hobby into your job is an awesome thing, but sewing that isn't work related tends not to happen.  So, I'm issuing myself a Charity Challenge to make it happen.

For the next year, starting in June, I'm going to make a charity quilt every month.  And, I'm going to use my stash to do it.  I have too much fabric that I bought a few years ago and don't hate, but it doesn't work for quilts I need to make for Esch House Quilts.

One of the things that will help make this possible is that the charities that the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild supports both ask for quilts that are 36" x 48" - a very manageable size.  My traditional guild, the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild asks for quilts that are 60" x 80".  However, I have 3 or 4 60" x 80" tops that are finished or nearly finished.  If I quilt and donate them, I think that counts too.

At the beginning of each month I'll post my plan for that month's quilt.  I'll also let you know how I  did on the quilt plan from the previous month.  I hope to include some tutorials for the quilts I'm making as well.  Check back on June 2 for my first challenge post!

So what do you think?  Want to play along?  If you are interested but are not sure that a quilt a month is the right number for you, that's OK, you can make your own charity challenge number - whether it is a quilt a year or a quilt a week - it is totally up to you!

Let's use #ehqcharitychallenge to share what we're doing on social media.  Feel free to add the button to your blog if you have one.  I can't wait to get started!

May 8, 2015


So, you may have noticed that I've been a bit light on the blog posts for the past few months.  Sorry about that!  I'm not the world's best multi-tasker and when I have too many projects on my plate, something falls off.

Now is the time to get the blog back on the plate!  My plan is to blog twice a week - on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Instagram and Facebook are my other main social media choices and I plan to use those for smaller updates between the blog posts, so if you use those social media and don't follow me already, please do!  (See the buttons at the top of the right side column).  My understanding with Facebook these days is that, if you want my posts to show up in your news feed, you need to "like" them on a regular basis to show your interest in my content.

One of the things I've been working on recently is how to do better marketing.  Don't worry - that doesn't mean I'll be constantly posting "buy my patterns" and "invite me to teach" posts :)  But I do need to understand the basic principles a bit better to make the marketing I do more effective.  I'll be honest, it isn't my favorite part of owning a small business, but what I've been learning has helped me understand better how to do marketing that feels more natural and fits with who I am and what I do.

Anyway, if you are reading this, I'm glad you are here - thank you!  I hope you'll find my posts interesting and useful and, dare I say, at least mildly entertaining.

So come on back Tuesday to learn about a challenge that I'm issuing to myself.  Maybe some of you will want to play along!

May 7, 2015

Pieces of Magic!

Join me today, Friday and Saturday for the Pieces of Magic Quilt Show by the Oxford Quilters Guild in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada!
I'll be lecturing and teaching hand applique.  There are over 300 quilts on display!  Don't miss it!

May 2, 2015

Smash Your Precut Stash winner!

Thanks for playing along with the Smash Your Precut Stash blog hop!  Sherry of sherryberrybim is the winner of the book!

Fat quarters were the favorite precut by a long way with charm packs in second place.  That's pretty much how I feel too :)  Though, if a collection is very large, I might go with fat eighths to save a bit of money.  I also like layer cakes - they are so versatile.  I've only ever bought one jelly roll and it is still all nicely rolled up.  I'll have to use one of the jelly roll patterns in the book to break it out!