Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ireland - A Healing Place for Me

This week I am preparing to leave for Ireland, and to be honest, my giddiness level is currently over the moon!  I make lists and lose lists...have started packing and am taking so many prizes and giveaways I'm not sure I've got room for clothing....

Nikki Foley (The Sewing Shed) and I are launching the first ever National Quilt Week of Ireland, June 1-7, and I could not be more thrilled to be able to be there and share this week with her.  This is something we planned almost two years ago so watching it come to fruition has been amazing. Our goal was to find a way to celebrate quilting and quilters in Ireland that is happening all around the country.  As we were planning we were joined by our friend and quilter, Paula Rafferty, who has jumped right in to help us promote and plan events.  We've got lots of exciting things planned for our trip...some quilt related as well as some time to just enjoy Ireland and all it has to offer...so stay tuned for a few more blog posts.

If you know me it all, you know that it was just a few years ago that I took my first trip to Ireland and fell madly...head over heels in love.  There is something so incredibly magical and spiritual about the Emerald Isle and I love that I get to share that with all of you. 

I have written previously about a project that I was involved with a couple of years back...a Block Exchange that included a few quilters from Ireland, Canada and the U.S.  It was my first ever block swap (and actually the only one to date).  This past November I was invited to Chicago to share the story of my quilt with the wonderful Mary Fons, in a This Is My Quilt episode.  Mary and her sister, Rebecca (who got hitched this weekend...Happy Wedding Rebecca!) were amazing hosts, making me feel so comfortable and welcome from the moment I arrived.  You couldn't ask for two sweeter girls...but then...if you've met their Momma, Marianne Fons, then you know they come by it quite naturally.  I also got to meet my FB friend, Heather Kinion (aka: @fire4hairlady on IG) who helps with filming.  If you've watched Mary's "Quilty" shows then you'll be familiar with her!

This quilt has so much deep meaning for me.  Not only does it tell the story of the connection I have with Ireland, but as I say in the video, it's the first quilt of my own that  I completed on my Innova shortly after starting my own business.  To me, it represents an amazing part of my quilting journey, a reminder that stepping out of our "comfort zone" and taking chances can be a very good thing!  It's that movement from "Can I?"...to "I think I can!"....to "I know I can!"...to "I did!! "

Click the link below to watch the video "This Is My Quilt".


Friday, May 22, 2015

A Little Bit of Quilt Market - LECIEN FABRICS

How is it even possible that it's already a week past Quilt Market....??? 

I made a To Do List yesterday of all the things I need to get done before I leave for Ireland next week and promptly lost it.  I know I hadn't added "Write a Blog Post" on it...but it seems like a great thing to do while I sit here and try to remember where I've put the list.

Every quilt show and/or quilt market I've ever attended, I feel as though I always meet someone new who becomes very special to me.  Quilt  Market Minneapolis was no exception.  The Wednesday before market opened, I spent some time helping to set up the Innova booth (aka: the best longarm you'll ever find!) and our booth was directly across from LECIEN FABRICS.  If you're not familiar....sit back and enjoy while I introduce you with some pics of their booth and their beautiful fabrics.

LECIEN, a Japanese company, also offers precuts with a bit of a fun twist in the names.  Ten inch squares are called Origami Squares and the rolls of 2.5" strips are known as Sushi Rolls.  Their booth was a so bright and colorful and with the employees dressed up as Ninja's (or maybe they're real ninja's) , it was a lot of fun to have them as "neighbors" at the show.

This is Yoko from LECIEN FABRICS (aka: Super Ninja Fabric Girl)

Here's the L's Modern line in the "WARM" color way.  My pics just don't do them justice.  They are truly some great prints that will be so fun to incorporate into some new quilt designs I've been working on!

 L's Modern also has a "COOL" color way that is just as yummy!   Look at these beautiful colors!

If you love earthy tones....they've got a great Basics Line for you  called Woodland.

And then....I know, right.... There's more!  Some retro 30's inspired prints are available too!

Retro 30's

Flower Sugar

Minny & Muu
Petit Fleur

 Are you swooning?  I totally swooned.....and can't wait to put these fabrics into a quilt!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Totally Twitterpated with This New Tool!

I spent last week at the AQS show in Paducah.  It was my first time attending that particular show and we had such a great time!  "Work" is awesome when you get to spend your time with great friends!

In between the crazy rushes of customers, I did get an opportunity to get out and check out a few other vendors and came across this new tool that I just had to bring home with me!
I own two "rotary" style cutting mats and hate them both.  One has a metal base that is glued on and not only falls off, but has a major dip in the middle, so makes cutting a challenge.  The other is a smaller one that falls apart every time I use it.   I won't mention any names of who they're made by...but lets just say they both leave a lot to be desired. K?
But look what I found at the Come Quilt With Me booth!
This rotating cutting mat is solid and made with ball bearings and spins like a charm!...There's no dip in the middle or falling apart when you spin it as with the other "not to be named" products I own.

Working on a Row by Row Experience project last night for a local shop I just had to test out my new tool!  I am 100% twitterpated!  I snapped a few pics,  and if you need to see it in action, Pat at Come Quilt With Me has a short little video on her website.

I know this tool is going to get a lot of use in my studio!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Graphic Garden

After spending a week at AQS Paducach, I got home last night to my preview copies of the next McCall's Quick Quilts June/July issue which features a quilt named Graphic Garden designed, made and quilted by me using the REcollection line by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics....as well as another quilt designed by the fabulous Gerri Robinson (Planted Seed Designs 2) that I made and quilted using her new fabric line called Steel.  (Red Rooster Fabrics)


My quilt can be found on page 42 of the magazine and is also being offered as a kit if you'd like to make one for yourself!  This is another quilt I designed using EQ7 and to create those great angles I pulled out my 45 Degree Diamond Dimensions Creative Grids Ruler.  I love having such great quilting tools!  If you've not tried Art Gallery Fabrics yet...you must....run to your local quilt shop and get yourself some!  The feel fantastic and will certainly feed your fabric petting addiction.  Quilters what I'm talking about....

Gerri's quilt, Gold Dust, can be found on page 12 of the magazine, and is a stunner!  Her new fabric line, Steel, is a fabulous modern metallic line that is nothing less than swoon worthy!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Half of My Heart Quilts - An Update

What a thrill today to be able to spend the afternoon with my favorite  MN second graders.... the ones who with me created the "Half of My Heart" quilts that were sent to a deployed couple serving in Iraq this past February.

We had a big surprise for the kids...our soldier couple, Brian & Jenna, were actually in town visiting family and planned a stop at the school to see them! 

Brian & Jenna also had another big surprise for the kids...they brought them the gift of an official American flag that was flown on the base in Iraq, and a handmade plaque with a certificate of authenticity. 

The kids got to ask all kinds of questions about what it's like to be in the military as well as being deployed ...and of course a few silly questions asked as only second graders know how to do... ie: Do you like pink fluffy unicorns?  Are you Australian? (Brian is from Georgia and has a bit of a southern drawl y'all) , Do you have to wear your uniform to bed too? 

So exciting for the kids to get to meet Brian & Jenna in person ( they had met Jenna via Skype once before while she was in Iraq)  They brought their quilts along too so of course we had to get a picture of everyone!

Such a special day....one I'm sure these kids will remember for a long time to come... I know I will. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Do you....EQ? You Should!

On newsstands now!  Check out my latest quilt in McCall's Quilting!

McCall's Quilting May June 2015
Made from Kona Cotton Solids in shades of purple with just a dash of green.

This is the one of the very first quilts I ever designed using EQ7 quite some time ago.   I had just upgraded my EQ5 program to EQ7 and was practicing away, in fact, I'm pretty sure I have it saved in approximately 47 different color ways.  This quilt is made from two of the blocks that can be found in the Block Library.   If you've been contemplating EQ7, I say "Go For It!!"  The program comes with an entire Fabric Library too, but you're also able to upload jpeg files of the actual fabrics you'll be using, so you really get a good look at what your quilt will look like when it's finished.
EQ has lots of tutorials as well to learn their program.  You can also create your own original quilt labels to print on your inkjet printer!

EQ7 has a gazillion (maybe more) blocks and layouts to choose from as well as options to print instructions for rotary cutting or foundation piecing, as well as printable templates.  For the star block in this quilt I was able to use a Tri Recs ruler (not to be confused with T Rex) so completing blocks went pretty quickly.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Fantasia Quilt is Complete!

Two rows of two and a half inch squares sewn together to make an outer border, some simple quilting and then prairie points make this  quilt complete.  I am totally in love with this quilt! 
I found a tutorial online for making the prairie points  using a width of fabric instead of cutting each square separately.  The directions were really easy to follow and they really didn't take me long to make...and of course using a width of fabric, as long as you made your cuts in the appropriate places your points will be very evenly spaced.  The only thing I didn't like was that I felt like I had more bulk  using the folded width of fabric  when I was doing the final stitching.  I really struggled to make it lie flat on the back....and that was frustrating.
One hint, if you make a quilt and want to add the prairie points as a finishing touch, make sure you let your longarmer know so that she/he doesn't quilt all the way to the edge of the quilt.  You really need to leave a  minimum of a half an inch or even an inch so that you've got room to turn that seam under and it's really hard to do if the quilt has been quilted too close to the edge.  The last thing you want to do is pick out quilting stitches. (ask me how I know this....fortunately I gave myself room on this one!)

I printed and stitched on a very special label and the quilt is on it's way to provide love and comfort to someone very special. 
Thank you Sara Lawson (@SewSweetness) for the opportunity to create something lovely with your new fabric line and to honor your Grandpa.  Love you to the moon and back, my sweet friend.