Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving. . . already???

Well, Thanksgiving is already here, can anyone believe it?  I'm not sure where the last few months have gone.  I know I feel like someone pushed me off a speeding train and I am still living back in July.  I never seem to be ready for this time of year, but like it or not, I've had to get a grip and come to terms with the fact that the holidays are really here.

I thought I was actually ahead of the game for once when I was inspired in early September to work on a fall-inspired quilt.  Originally the plan was that it would be hanging in my house during the months of October and November.  Oh well, maybe next year!
I had wanted to capture a softer autumn feeling in this quilt and as I was also going through my fabric stash, I realized I rarely use orange fabrics, but I have way too many of them!  I had started cutting and using scraps for the sashing, which I foundation-pieced.  I auditioned several different options for the blocks and loved the look of scrappy Dresdens.  It took a couple of months to get it all together and completed, but I am happy with the finished look, although it still needs to be quilted.  I've titled it Tupelo Honey, partly after the Van Morrison song and partly because I started reading about Tupelo trees that grow in northwest Florida.  The honey that is produced from the tree's flowers is the gold standard that all other honey is compared to.  The trees also turn a beautiful orange color and since we don't really have traditional fall like the northern states, this is my version of fall!
So let's catch up. . . I had mentioned in my previous post that I had been notified that I had won an award at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in October.  We flew out there for several days and attended the Awards Ceremony.  I was completely taken by surprise when my quilt, Grandmother's Cabin, won first place in the Traditional Pieced category.  What an honor!  And for those of you that may not know this, they do not split up the categories in the Houston show with long arm quilted quilts and domestic machine quilted quilts, they are lumped together.  So the competition is very high, to say the least.  Some of the very best long arm quilters, whom I greatly admire, were in the same category.  Having my quilt achieve such an award is quite an honor for me, since I quilt on my home machine and never felt I could really compete with the long arm quilters.  Here are just a few of the quilts that were in the Traditional Pieced category:
Stargaze by Susan Liimatta, Wisconsin
 Stargaze (detail)
 White House Hexagons by Fiona Bell, Australia
 Cardinal Points by Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison, Illinois

Cardinal Points (detail)

 Starstruck by Carolyn Hughes & Errol A. Hughes Jr., Texas
Starstruck (detail)
Houston is always so inspiring, the number of quilts on display as well as the immense variety is overwhelming.  One of my favorite exhibits there was the Quilts de Légende Brouage 2015 exhibit by French quilters.  These quilts are pieced, appliqued and quilted entirely by hand and they are breathtaking!  All are copies of antique quilts and done in reproduction fabrics.  They are exquisite.  Of course, photos don't do them justice, but hope you enjoy some eye candy, just the same.
Somerset by Marie-Francoise Gregoire 
Somerset (detail)

Potomac by Yvonne Calvez 

Potomac (detail)

Bouquet d'ananas by Laurence & Eric Durth 
Bouquet d'ananas  (detail)

Legende by Simone Patouillard

Chesapeake by Aline Joulin 
Chesapeake (detail)

 In Memory of Ann Randoll by Martine Lanux
In Memory of Ann Randoll (detail)

 Cephee by Marie-Josephe Veteau
Cephee (detail)
 Champ de Tournesols by Gabrielle Paquin
 Champ de Tournesols (detail)
 La Bertauderie by Monique Hovette
 Wales by Aline Joulin
 Wales (detail)
 Miss Rosetta by Dominique Husson
 Miss Rosetta (detail)
 Antique Basket Quilt by Ghislaine Lucas
 Scaramouche by Dominique Husson
 Amish by Anne-Marie Uguen
 Sunburst Avec Etoiles by Louise Marie Stipon
 Jeu de Dames by Anne-Marie Uguen
 Potomac by Annick Tauzin
Potomac (detail)

Hope all of you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends!  Happy Quilting!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Garden Star Medallion Quilt Pattern

I am fast forwarding over the last few months to the final end product of what has been a lot of work and tons of hours.  As I mentioned in my last post back in July, I have been doing some designing for RJR Fabrics and also have learned a lot about pattern writing and publishing in the mean time.
Up until now, I have never written quilt patterns before.  Part of my resistance in doing so has always been due to the fact that I knew if I was going to do it at all, I would need to learn the software that would enable me to illustrate diagrams as well as write good patterns.  Needless to say, this summer was like going back to school!  It was not easy.  There was definitely a huge learning curve as well as more work than I could have imagined. 
Of course, I never make things easy on myself.  I honestly did not know how "over my head" I was when I started writing the pattern for this quilt.    But I persevered and after a couple of weeks of working on it, I actually wound up with something I am really proud of.  I owe a huge thank you and am eternally grateful to Judy Martin, one of the quilt industry's biggest icons, whose design career spans more than 35 years.  She was kind and generous enough to spend over 90 minutes with me on a long distance phone call.  She guided me on a crash course in Adobe Illustrator to get me started drawing quilt diagrams as well as sharing invaluable inside info on pattern publishing.  If it wasn't for her giving me that push, I probably would not have gotten through this.
This medallion quilt was designed with Robyn Pandolph's new fabric line, Garden Gate, by RJR Fabrics.  It is currently due out in stores everywhere as well as online.  The quilt is being offered as a kit by RJR Fabrics to quilt shops around the country.  I am also selling just the pattern in my Etsy store.  If you purchase the pattern on Etsy, you will receive a 20 page 8 1/2" x 11" paper pattern in the mail.  I have also added the option to purchase as a downloadable PDF file that you will print entirely on your own printer if you do not wish to pay shipping.  However, either version is the same full-color pattern with detailed instructions and color illustrations and diagrams, 20 total pages plus a cover.

Here are several photos of the actual quilt so you can get a better look at the fabrics. . . .

The longarm quilting was done by Ramona Sorenson of Corn Wagon Quilts in Springville, Utah.  I was very happy to turn that task over to someone else on this quilt and could actually get used to the idea of having someone quilt my quilts for me.

I will also have two more patterns available very soon, both are table runners.  One is a companion to this Garden Star Medallion quilt done in the same fabrics.  The other one is done in RJR Fabrics' 30s line, Everything But the Kitchen Sink.  Both will be sold as kits exclusively by Missouri Quilt Company.  As soon as they have them showing on their web site, I will share photos of those as well.

For those of you who are patiently waiting for me to write patterns of my other quilts, I still have not done so yet.  I apologize for taking so long, but my time is so limited, I have had more than I can keep up with just doing projects for RJR and getting through this first round.

And now for the most exciting news of all. . . I was notified a few weeks ago that my quilt, Grandmother's Cabin, has won an award in the Traditional Pieced category at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this month!  They don't tell you what exactly what prize you've won.  But I am pretty blown away to have won anything in that show, just being recognized is a huge honor.  So we are flying out to attend the awards ceremony at the end of the month and since we will be there, we will be attending Quilt Market and staying over to see Quilt Festival.  I am super excited, this was not planned ahead at all.  Everything just sort of magically came together in the last couple of weeks.  I will take lots of pictures to share, that show is always so full of inspiration, I can't wait.

Until next time, Happy Quilting!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July!  Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend and having a great summer!
I have been very busy since I last wrote, but will try to do a bit of catching up while I have a holiday to goof off.  I showed you this little 9-patch table topper in my last post.  
One of the ways I like to display small quilts is to hang them from a hook or peg.  However, I find using clips to hang them tends to distort the quilt and stretches the corners out of square over time.  
Instead, I added a little strip of fabric diagonally across one corner on the backside of the quilt. I top-stitched a 1 1/2"strip of fabric folded in half with raw edges to the inside.  I basted it to the edges of the quilt before sewing on the binding.  While hand sewing the binding down to the backside of the quilt, I also stitched through all layers of the strip to keep it in place and prevent it from pulling on the binding's edge.  It is similar to the hanging loops you see on beach towels and bathrobes.  You could also use a strip of ribbon.  It works great!
I had also promised the rest of the quilt photos from Paducah, so here are a few more worth sharing.  These were mostly in the wall quilt category.  Better late than never, right?
It's the Cowboy Way by Karlyn Bue Lohrenz
It's the Cowboy Way (detail)
Reborn by Molly Hamilton-McNally
 Reborn (detail)
 A Toast to Toulouse-Lautrec by Kay Donges
 A Toast to Toulouse-Lautrec (detail)
 Song of the Sea by Kathy McNeil
 Song of the Sea (detail)
 The Paisley Peacock by Bethanne Nemesh
  The Paisley Peacock (detail)
 Jester's Jolly by Margaret Solomon Gunn
 One Fine Day by Laurie Britt

And here is the cover of the July issue of American Quilter with a peek inside of my winning quilt!  It still seems a bit surreal to me that my quilt won such a huge honor.

Finally, part of my excuse for neglecting my blog is that I have been busy designing quilts for RJR Fabrics for a couple of their upcoming fabric lines.  It is very exciting to be involved and such an honor as well.  This is a peek at a quilt I am doing from one of their new lines, Garden Gate, by Robyn Pandolph, due out this September.  I will be writing the pattern for this quilt (and others) and the kits will be available in stores this fall.  I will also have patterns for sale once the kits are released.
Which leads me to answer a question so many of you have asked me, when will I have patterns available for my own quilts?  I am working on it!  I will be writing and publishing the designs I create for RJR Fabrics, which I will also be able to sell myself to anyone interested in purchasing.  As I have the time, I am going to start writing patterns for quilts I have previously made, many of those which I have shared on my blog.  This is something I am doing in between my regular job at our business, designing and sewing for RJR, and creating my own show quilts.  I am a bit slow, but it is finally happening!  I will let it be known when patterns are available once they are published and will most likely sell them on Etsy until I get comfortable with the whole process. 

On that note, I would like to thank all of you who have commented and written me with your congratulations and words of support and encouragement.  It means more to me than I can say and gives me that extra little push to keep moving ahead.  I am a pretty solitary, homebody kind of person, so receiving your lovely emails is sort of like being part of a guild, except I don't have to leave the house!  Thanks so much to all of you and I hope to be able to share more of what I have been designing in my next post.  

Enjoy your holiday!  Happy Quilting!