Until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
If anyone has suggestions for redwork patterns (or any other kind of patterns, of course) please send'em on! I'd love to hear them! :) And if you're open to it, the credit for the idea will go to you! :)
Please don't hesitate to share this with your quiltin' friends ... the more the merrier, I always say! And let them know that I'm still taking subscribers (have over 100 so far! Yippee!!) ... and of course, the eZine is free! :)
For those who are still waiting to hear back from me ... as I've said, the response I've gotten is absolutely overwhelming! So if you've not yet gotten a reply, don't give up on me! In addition to the e-mails, I've been putting together some new patterns, planning 2-3 series quilts, trying to get the site itself designed and coded (that's where the eZine archives will be - you'll get a link to that page in the eZine), and get e-mail addies set up so I can be organized! AND trying to keep everyone updated via the blog. :)
Anyway, just wanted to keep ya'll in the loop! Hope to hear from you all soon! Until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!
I've always loved country flavored quilts - especially appliqued country quilts (what can I say? I'm a Southern girl!). So I decided to share with you all a quilt I'm designing (and making!).
It's a 6 block quilt - 6 rather simple appliqued blocks, slightly "folk" in flavor - and a pieced border (with an optional appliqued flower vine border for the "over-achiever!"). The blocks are (though you can always resize them as you like - but according to the pattern as I'm presenting it ...) 9 x 13 and 18 x 5. Fat quarters, charm packs, etc, would be perfect for this wall-hanging! So gather up your scraps and let's get stitchin'! :)
The schedule for the flower blocks are as follows:
Sneak preview block: Sunflowers (9 x 13)
Month 1 (first issue of eZine - August): Coneflowers (9 x 13)
Month 2 (second issue - September): Pomegranates (18 x 5)
Month 3 (third issue - October): Daisy chain (18 x 5)
Month 4 (fourth issue - November): Cowslips (9 x 13), Primroses (9 x 13), Pieced border & (optional) Appliqued border ... and of course, a coordinating quilt label!
No, that wasn't a typo - you'll get two blocks AND the borders in November. We have to have this finished before Christmas, you know! :) 'Cause I'm going to have a few sweet holiday patterns for you to do in November! They'll be quick 'n' easy patterns perfect for gift giving projects. :)
So, if you haven't yet, sign up for the eZine and get your fabrics ready! It's going to be SEW much FUN! :)
Until next time, quilty friends ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Here are two labels for the "Sailboat" applique pattern - I just couldn't decide what layout I liked best, so I'm uploading both! :)
Next up will be at least one coordinating label for the "Espresso" pattern and another applique pattern! :)
And remember, ALL applique patterns uploaded to date will be in my eZine - all pieces separated, in a higher quality file (vector-based PDF, so you can resize at will) AND higher quality coordinating quilt labels!
Until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs! :)
PS - Once I get my copy of EQ6, I'm going to experiment with exporting my patterns to EQ6 ... I'd love it if I can also provide a EQ6 compatible file for download! If anyone out there is a EQ guru and knows the best, most reliable method for doing so, please drop me a line! :)
Here's another applique pattern - this one is for the "naut-y" out there - whether for that special boy or man in your life - or you. :)
As always, this pattern lends itself quite well for fusible applique methods - though it would work for needle-turn as well. This is a great opportunity to use a few of your texture prints ... a nice mottled blue would be awesome for the background water! :)
And of course, full, separated pattern pieces will be in the eZine (so if you haven't already done so - sign up!) ... along with 3 other new ones (so far - possibly more!!) and all of the ones I've posted here! :P
I should have another one - possibly 2, up tomorrow. And of course, coordinating quilt labels to go with them! :)
Until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
As promised, another applique pattern. This fusible applique (or traditional method) pattern would be perfect for a 20x12 placemat - stitch up 4 for your breakfast nook - or as cute gifts for a housewarming - or Christmas - which is just around the corner (Ugh! haven't even begun thinking about Christmas, yet! LOL). Of course, you don't HAVE to use the pattern for placemats - you could always frame it and use it as kitchen or dining room decor!
As always, the dashed lines indicate chain stitch embroidery stitches. :)
If you're interested in the separated pattern pieces for this pattern, sign up for my eZine! In this issue, you'll get this pattern, the other two patterns' separated pieces, PLUS three NEW applique patterns!
For those who'd rather use it as part of a traditional quilt, I'll be uploading a coordinating label shortly. :)
Until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!
I just wanted to take a minute and give a few more details about how I've got this figured out (so far):
1. You'll receive an e-mail from me with a link to a PDF file. I will NOT be publishing this directly on a web site. Meaning, no one will be able to (at least with the first issue) just "happen" across the eZine.
I'm doing it this way not to exclude those who didn't sign up, but to keep YOUR information (submissions, nominations, etc) private. That being said, I will not be using last names or locations for such items as "Ask Miz" or any "Letters to the Editor" ... so if there's any of you who haven't submitted an idea, letter, or question based on that concern, it's not an issue. :)
2. Even though I will not be publishing this directly on the web (at least, not at this point), you are encouraged to share the link with friends, relatives, etc! We quilters tend to be a giving sort and sharing comes naturally. :)
3. If you don't catch an issue, on the same page you download one issue, you'll be given options to download past issues (did that make sense??). Meaning, if you've downloaded one issue, you can download them all whenever you like. :) They'll be archived, of course.
That's what I've figured out so far. If anyone has any concerns, or questions - about privacy, accessibility, etc, please drop me a line!
Now, a new pattern ... I've been working on another one ... I've got 3 so far for the eZine (which is why I've been so neglectful on the ones I post here). And I think I'm about ready to get another up here. :) Though bear in mind what you're NOT getting here, you'll be getting in the 'Zine.
So if you haven't signed up yet, and you like the ones I HAVE posted here, you'll get even MORE through the 'Zine! :) Complete with directions, fabric requirements, sizing options - and I'm hoping, fabric swatches!
I'm buying Electric Quilt 6 so I'll be able to have a "preview" of the applique pattern in the 'Zine. I've been meaning to buy the program, but I'm Mac, not PC, so I'll have to run Virtual PC to use it (or drag out my PC from under my desk and use that - it's been about 4 years since I've plugged it in!). But you guys are definitely worth futzing around with Virtual PC - even worth using my old PC! :)
Okay, that's it for now ... I'm going to go finish the latest "blog post pattern" and label ... until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!
I uploaded a "place-holder" page for our new web site! Even though I still have a lot of work to do (and I mean A LOT!!!), it was really exciting to at least accomplish that much! Whew!
It's my first stab at web site design in quite a while ... please drop me a line and let me know what you think! :)
If you haven't noticed, I've got the "official" e-mail addies up and running. It'll make it sew much easier to keep e-mails organized (though you really don't want to look at my e-mail app right now! It's a l-o-o-o-n-g list of e-mails!) and hopefully, help me to reply quicker! :)
Now ... for fun stuff!
I went to my first guild meeting in about 5 years tonight! Of course, my dear girly-girl, Mara (who'll be 13 in September) went with me! And after only 10 minutes we both decided that we HAD to be members (We were so lucky that our new "home" accepts members under 18 ... not all guilds do, of course)! So we are now proud members of the St. Andrew's Bay Quilters Guild of Panama City, Florida! Yippee! :)
I really have to give a "shout out" to my hubby. Taking my girly with me (which, quite possibly meant more to me than her!) meant needing hubby to watch our son. And of course, tonight was the night his work was having serious computer problems (read: he had to work late). But did hubby blow us off? Nope. We made a mad dash to meet up and he entertained our 9 year old while dealing with tech support for several hours!! Is that a supportive hubby or what?! :)
Another call ...
I'll end this post with another plea for submissions and nominations! Please take a moment and think about a quilter who really influenced you - maybe she's opened her stash to you. Maybe she's always given you support on difficult projects. Or maybe she's been there to help you celebrate a finished quilt. Send her name to us and let's get her the recognition and the "Atta Girl" that she deserves!
And how about that quilt shop owner who tirelessly helps you pick out fabrics? Or makes sure that there's always one extra spot in a class? Or makes a point to ask you about your latest project? Doesn't her efforts to go "above and beyond" deserve recognition?
Okee-dokee ... I'm done nagging for now. I really hope to hear from ya'll soon! :)
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Finally! Here's the coordinating Egret & Hibiscus quilt label ...
As anyone who knows me personally knows, I'm a fanatic about labeling quilts. Too many times I've ventured into antique shops (looking for quilts and feedsacks of course!) and seen a gorgeous creation ... without a single clue to the identity of the quiltmaker! I'm left with questions about this mystery woman - "Who was she? What was she thinking? What was her life like? Why did she make this and for whom?"
Quilt labels satisfy those questions and leave a viable, tangible clue to the "Three W's" (the Who's, the Why's and the When's). Quilts usually have long lives ... a quilt you make today will more than likely survive for generations and generations. Why leave your descendants with more questions than answers? Let them get to know you ... the woman (or man) who spent hours and hours patiently creating a special family treasure!
I am more than likely sensitive about labeling quilts because of my grandmother, Eva Elmore - a wonderful, amazing woman who passed away a few years ago and is THE reason I began quilting. She left her family with such an abundance of quilts - every family event, to her, was worth celebrating. And in a small corner, on the back of each quilt, she recorded in embroidery, the "Three W's." I've always loved tracing my finger along her carefully embroidered name. Trying to feel what SHE felt as she hand-worked each block, quilted each stitch, and bound each edge.
Her quilts would spark beautiful conversations with my dad ... she was such a strong woman with a kind, nurturing soul. While her husband fought in WWII (two tours, as I recall), she was the heart and soul of the family. She took care of four rambunctious kids (of which, my dad was the baby - and, I suspect, the most rambunctious of the four!), and kept the home-fires burning. When my dad was a child, she even managed to tame a wild raccoon! I could go on and on about the stories I learned about this wonderful woman - stories prompted by her quilts.
My late Father-in-Law, Harry Pierce, is another reason I believe in labeling quilts (No, he wasn't a quiltmaker). He spent decades searching our family history, spending hours digging through dusty records at the National Archives in Washington, DC, hunting for clues to where our family's been and what they've done. Leaving a record was so important to him and I know firsthand the grief it caused him when all he found were questions that couldn't be answered.
Two of the family's treasures that he was able to track down (a lap robe and a death veil - dating from the 1800s - belonging to his great-great-great-grandmother) were, thankfully, labeled. Because they were labeled, he was able to learn more about our history and about the woman who wore them. Knowledge that will continue to pass down through our family to the generations after.
So, considering my feelings on the subject of labeling quilts, I'll always provide a quilt label with my patterns - if there's any way that I can encourage other quilters to leave a record of who they are, I'll take it. If I could applique a label on to the backs of your quilts myself, I'd do it. Just to make sure that your beautiful creations answer more questions than they leave behind.
So, please, please remember to label your quilts. Even if it's a quilt that you decided to just try a new technique on. Even if it's a quilt that as you finished it, you weren't quite thrilled with it. Trust me, your great-great-grandkids will thank you for it. :)
Until next time ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!
I'm almost done with the eZine! Yippee! I'm waiting only for a few product companies to send me their images (for the new products spread) and to take pics at our featured quilt shop. I've got a few more articles to format (okay ... and finish writing! LOL) and then, the debut issue should be sent off to everyone's e-mailboxes! Did I already shout "Yippee?!" :)
For those (and there have been a LOT) who've asked for the hummingbird and egret pattern pieces, rest assured, they will be in the newsletter. As it is right now, I have 3 crazy quilt paper-piecing patterns, two applique patterns, AND the egret & hummingbird patterns (all separated & full-size) in this issue.
Also included is plans for a BOM quilt ... 12 blocks (so, I'm committed to 12 issues, LOL!). So start choosing your fave fabrics NOW while you can! :)
But what I had intended to be a "quickie" newsletter (3-4 pages) has quickly evolved to approximately 24 pages (and counting). Due, mainly, to the overwhelming response I've gotten from ya'll! And nope, that's not a complaint! :)
But what I still DESPERATELY need are questions for "Ask Miz Sew-and-Sew" - please, please, if there's anyone out there with a question or a comment - or even a pattern request, please holler! I need to get this page filled!!
Also, if anyone has any info on their guild or local quilt shows, please share! Your guild deserves to be spotlighted! If I had the proverbial nickel every time that I heard someone say that they wanted to join a guild, but didn't know where to start ... Listing YOUR guild would not only help to encourage the next generation of quilters, but create opportunities to make new friends! And give others a wonderful creative outlet!
I'll admit, I have illusions of grandeur when it comes to this eZine ... I want it to be much like a favorite quilty friend - or an awesome guild meeting. Something you can turn to for ideas, inspiration, comraderie, tips on making your life easier, and just FUN! And call me an optimist, but I think that, considering how amazing the quilting community is (and those who inhabit it) we can do this together!
And lastly, I want to thank EVERYONE who sent me e-mails with well-wishes for my family. Having a rotavirus isn't fun by any means, but your kind e-mails and lovely wishes made it so much more tolerable! Ya'll's e-mails were Gatorade for the soul! :)
Please keep coming back ... I WILL have more patterns uploaded once I finish all I can with the eZine. By this weekend, it should be a "waiting game" for pics only and I can get some more patterns up (though, separated pattern pieces will only be available via the eZine).
Until then ...
Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
PS - For those of you who've e-mailed me and not yet received an answer - I'm VERY sorry. I haven't forgotten you and I'm not ignoring you. You'll be getting a reply SOON! :)
As I mentioned above, I am literally SWAMPED with such GREAT e-mails that I'm having a hard time keeping up! :)
That being the case, I'm not going to offer a traditional newsletter, per se. You know ... the kind where it's all black and white, short and thin on content ... It's going to be an E-zine of a sort. I'm thinking about 12 pages (maybe more)? With nice color images, regular departments, etc ... hopefully, since I've designed 4 magazines in my career as a graphic artist, this'll be a piece o' cake. The biggest problem will be knowing when to stop with the content! :)
So ... I'd like some help from the quilting community! I'd like to offer an advice column, some reader's quilts, simple recipes (we all want to spend as much time quilting as we can, don't we? Simple recipes might help us get that latest project done quicker!), feature an online and/or traditional quilt shop, some product reviews, etc.
So, please e-mail me with what YOU'D like your perfect e-Zine to feature. Love product reviews, but hate celeb bios? Simply adore seeing what other quilters are doing but hate leafing through scads of ads? Go crazy for seeing the new fabrics, but dislike
Here's what I have so far for the first issue in no particular order (look for it in your e-mail box late next week!):
"Ask Ms. Sew-and-Sew" - Your quilting dilemmas solved! I have three advanced quilty friends to help in answering YOUR questions about getting the most out of your project!
"Fondle-worthy Fabric" - What to look for (and drool over) in your favorite quilt shop soon!
"Sew it Simple" - Simple quilting projects for beginners or guild meetings. Or you can use these projects to nurture a love for quilting with the next generation of quilters!
"Block of the Month" - Get out your fabrics and sewing machine! I'll feature a BoM each issue that'll get your creative juices flowing and your fingers itching to quilt!
"Applique it Sew Easy!" - Easy applique patterns for fusibles or needle-turn. Whichever is your favorite method, you'll find a pattern for it here! Separated pattern pieces you can print out full size (or bigger) and a coordinating quilt label (I'm a fanatic about labeling quilts for posterity, can you tell? LOL)!
"Quilt Shop of the Month" - Have a favorite shop you'd like to recommend? Know a shop owner who goes out of her way to get you that fabric you're dying for or who patiently helps you with a tricky technique? Looking for a quilt shop to visit while you're traveling this summer? Find it here!
"Sew Simple Recipes" - Recipes to get you OUT of the kitchen and back in your sewing room - all while managing to fill up the family's tummies, AND netting you major compliments on your culinary skill! :)
"Reader of the Month" - Get to know other quilters ... not just the celebs. AND let other quilters know who YOU are! Share your quilts, your passions, or pix of your Quilt Inspector! It's YOUR column! What do YOU want to say? :)
"Sew Simple Tips" - Tips, tricks, and tidbits to make your projects go more smoothly, keep your sewing room organized, tackle tricky binding, end those aches and pains at the end of your quilting day, and MORE! :)
"What's New?" - Products that you can't (or won't want to) live without! I'll scour the industry rags looking for new and innovative products to make your quilting projects easier, more fun and of course, quicker! :)
"Have Quilt, Will Travel" - a listing of upcoming quilt shows! Let me know about YOUR guild's or local area's quilt show!
And MORE! I have a few friends brainstorming even as I write this! :)
Now ... CafePress, the newsletter generator I was going to use won't let me get that creative ... so for the first few issues, the newsletter will be in the form of a downloadable PDF link in the e-mail you'll receive. All you'll have to do is click on the link and download the PDF! Sew simple! :)
There may come a time when I'll ask for your e-mail address so I can send it through my web site (which I'm still working on, of course) - no pressure. I won't use your addy in any way except to send you my newsletter (or e-Zine). And it will be easier for you to "opt out" of future mailings (though hopefully, you won't want to!).
But in the meantime, send me an e-mail and tell me what YOU want to see (no one else can tell me what YOU like) ... or tell me about your favorite quilt shop/owner, or ask a question about your latest dilemma. And don't forget to toot your own horn, either - I'd love to see YOU as my featured "Reader of the Month!!"
Remember, this is YOUR e-Zine, too! Spout off, give lauds - make your voice heard! Whatever you have to say, I want to hear it! :)
Until next time (probably later today - still have to upload the quilt label and reverse image for the egret applique!) ...
Feeling like you need a trip to the tropics? Then this egret applique (complete with a couple of Hibiscus flowers) might just hit the spot! :)
Just clearing out a few designs I came up with a while back ... Again, just as with the hummingbird pattern, this is ideal for fusible applique. I'll upload the reverse and separate pattern pieces for those who'd like them ... probably tomorrow. It's pretty late for an oldster like me. :)
Also to follow tomorrow will be a coordinating egret-themed quilt label. If you have any patterns that you'd like to see, please feel more than free to give me a holler! And of course, if you'd like a higher quality, larger image to work with, you can either e-mail me or sign up for my newsletter (link on the left hand side)! :)
Once I get my site up and running (which I mentioned in my previous post), I'll have everything available for download in a PDF "package."
I don't really know if anyone's really seeing this - the 'Net is a BIG place! So ... if ya'll want me to get a move on with putting up more patterns and get my site up in a jiff, please e-mail me and let me know! I don't want to be the only person reading this, yannow! :)
I decided to go ahead and do it so I can upload higher quality images/patterns. Blogspot's great for gabbing, but not so great for uploading crisp, large images. And if ya'll (or at least, whoever wants to use my patterns) can't get the most out of them creatively and quality-speaking, what's the point? The last thing I want is for you to download the image and then say to yourself "Darn! I can't get it larger without running into problems!"
So, I'm hoping in about a week, I'll have it up and running with patterns galore! And of course, coordinating labels. I'll give the option of PDFs because, as a graphic artist, I know that they are the BEST for quality, resizability, and they're universal when it comes to different computer platforms.
My site won't be astounding looks-wise ... but then, I don't think that's going to be the point. I just want to do what I love and share, best I can, with others! :) So, hopefully, none of you are expecting fancy Flash tricks or special Photoshop effects ... just, hopefully, good quality, FUN applique, paper-piecing and label patterns! With tips and quick recipes sprinkled in just for giggles.
Nagging again about my newsletter ... if any of you have any tips (I don't care if they've been published - and I don't think the quilters out there who need help care, either!), please send'em on! I'll give you credit in the newsletter - even though you won't be famous (my head will never be that swelled to think my newsletter'll be anything to rival a magazine!), your quilty friends will know you helped other quilters (did that make sense? LOL)!
Until next post, as always, quilty hugs!
A really nice woman (obviously - she's a quilter! LOL) e-mailed me about the pattern. Because of her e-mail, I realized that despite my recommending fusible applique as the best method, I totally forgot to include a reversed pattern! So .... here it is is. And please accept my apologies for forgetting to include it last night. As I mentioned before, taking care of a sick family is taxing - and my poor brain cells are suffering horribly! :)
I'm also including a hummingbird-themed quilt label ... if you like it, just print it out on fabric, color it, write your information (the who's, why's, and when's of your creation), cut it out and applique it to your quilt back. I've left it black and white so you can color it yourself, using coordinating colors from your quilt. If you'd like to add text to it, you can either import the image into your favorite image editing application or just freehand your message using an ink pen (I recommend Pigma Pens - NAYY, of course!).
I'll also be uploading the pattern pieces separated out for those who'd like to make the pattern bigger. Look for that in about a day or two. Also coming up is the QI pattern I promised in my last post. :)
If you'd like these patterns (and others, of course!) delivered directly to your mailbox, just use the link/dialog box on the left to sign up for my newsletter! I'll also include news on great shopping deals (and online coupons at major fabric stores), tips, maybe a few recipes, and MORE! :)
Have a happy, quilty day! :)
Just a sampling of what you'll get in my newsletter (if you sign up for it, of course!) ... Feel free to copy the image and use it - all I ask is that you let me know if you liked it, hated it, or have any suggestions on improving it. :)
I tried to keep it simple - but some of the shapes might do better with a fusible applique method. The dashed lines indicate embroidery stitches - chain stitches are recommended (and easy enough for a beginner). The hummingbird's eye is a french knot.
The pieces are numbered - just remember to start at one (in this case, a bias strip) and allow a 1/4 inch seam allowance under overlapping pieces.
If you'd like it larger, you can either enlarge it using your printer or I can e-mail you a larger/higher quality image (use the e-mail link in a previous post or subscribe to my newsletter).
That's all for tonight - still taking care of a sick hubby so I didn't have time to do more. :(
Next up will be a cat applique pattern - for those wonderful, zany, adorable quilt inspectors out there! :)
If anyone out there has the bug, too (which, in my area is running rampant like a quilter with a purse full of cash in Paducah) and Gatorade doesn't seem to be working to rehydrate you (or a loved one) try this (it comes directly from the CDC web site - NAYY, of course):
Homemade ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy)
1 liter water (I'd go bottled water if you can)
8 level tsps sugar
1 level tsp salt
Mix together in a jug and chill. Then drink.
This will actually work better for you than Gatorade - which doesn't supply all of the necessary electrolytes you need after a nasty case of Rotavirus B. If you have a Rotavirus, then you know the symptoms (or as we're calling them: plagues): vicious fever, malaise/lethargy, headache, vomiting, and some of the worst diarrhea known to man!
Also, eat planty of bananas - they provide Potassium - which helps to regulate the level of hydration in your body. But don't be quick to grab Potassium supplements off the shelf in your grocery store if you have ANY heart ailments or issues. Eating a 'naner and getting a spark of Potassium is quite different than chugging down 100-200mgs of Potassium.
Anyway, hubby, who's been off work due to the bug, for 2 weeks now, will be going back to work tomorrow. So more than likely with one less person to take care of. I'll be back to making some patterns and labels to share. :) So come on back now, you hear? :)
Don't worry, I'm not a big conglomerate - I won't be giving out anyone's e-mail addies or abusing them. And all you have to do is holler if you want to be left alone. :) But ... considering all the goodies I'll be sending you, hopefully, you won't want me to leave you alone!
Until next time! (probably tomorrow)
Hopefully, this will be a good fit for me ... I'm an illustrator and graphic designer (been one for the last 16+ years). And I've done many T-shirts & home dec designs/illustrations in the past. If anyone has any suggestions on what they'd like to see (after all, quilters and sewers are some of the most CREATIVE people!), I'd LOVE to hear them! :)
Give me a holler at my e-mail ... even if it's just to say "Hi!" :)
But what I didn't mention is the benefits of visiting your LQS - as opposed to making all of your purchases online, via mail order, or worse for your LQS, your local fabric store chain (JoAnn's, Hancocks, Walmart, etc). Here's a few good reasons to venture out to your LQS the next time you're in a shopping mood:
Last time I checked, when you're shopping online, you're not actually being social (nope, raving to your Quilt Inspector about a new fabric line at your favorite online store doesn't count as being social). And if you're not talking to other quilters, you're not getting creative feedback. The worse thing for your creative spirit is to exist in a vacuum. While I'm sure your family will give you input on whether or not that blue goes with that red, they're simply not going to be as enthusiastic as another quilter about your color scheme - nor are they too likely to give the feedback you're looking for. Now, I understand that many of us are blessed with supportive family members (my family is exceptionally supportive), but it really won't be the same.
So far, neither the fabric companies, online quilt shops or even Jobs or Gates has figured out a way to give us online fabric shoppers the gift of touching what we see on our screens. Until then, all we can do is guess and cross our fingers that that lovely mauve print has a nice hand and body.
It'd be nice if the looks of a fabric was the only important criterion in creating a quilt, but as anyone who's ever tried to quilt genuine feedsack fabric or done trapunto can tell you, the weave, hand and body are important, too. Too tight a weave, too stiff of body and you're going to have a difficult time appliquing, hand-piecing or hand-quilting it! And believe it or not, even with the famous, quilting-focused fabric companies, I've experienced stiff fabric that was almost too difficult to hand-quilt!
Dark blue or black?
How many times have you ordered fabric only to find that it wasn't the color you thought you were getting?? Dark blue and black are often the hardest to distinguish ... and no, it's not likely the fault of your eyes.
So many variables are present when presenting a digital image to different monitors. First, how precisely was the swatch scanned? An off-calibrated scanner can muddle any color, much less the most difficult to discern. Next, let's approach the limitations of your monitor. Some monitors can only display 72 pixels per inch, while newer ones top off at 96 pixels per inch. And how about that limited palette? When an image is saved for the web, it's color palette is "condensed" - meaning, as opposed to the literally 64 million + colors that our eyes can distinguish, it's knocked down to a palette of anywhere from 216 to 256. Heckuva difference, isn't it?? And even then, unless YOUR monitor is calibrated decently, your chances of getting exactly what you THINK you're getting have gotten even slimmer.
For the record, I'm a graphic artist. So's I know about computing hardware, color and stuff. And I can tell you, I calibrate my monitor every day, and even then, I'm still surprised by color issues with fabric that I purchased online fairly often. Remember, it's not just MY monitor that can affect what I'm seeing!
Now picture this: a nice lady opens up a lovely quilt shop in your neighborhood. She offers fabrics at the lowest possible price that she can - and still be able to operate. But ... uh-oh, the online quilt shops (some being only online shops - pretty much operated out of someone's basement or garage) are able to offer their goods at 10-15% lower (seeing as how they have lower operating costs). Before you know it, there won't BE a LQS. Now, how does that affect the quilting "food chain?"
No LQS = no local classes.
No LQS = no local meeting place (other than a quilt guild or YOUR living room).
No LQS = no jobs for those who depended on the shop for employment.
No LQS = (could) mean less local vendors at YOUR quilt guild's quilt show.
No LQS = less opportunities for those interested in quilting to get information, meet people, and get help purchasing their quilting needs.
The bottom line.
I've lived in several cities and I've seen quilt shops open and close - and the quilting community in my areas felt it. We suffered for their loss. We lost a valuable source for classes/learning, places to relax, get creative feedback, find and learn about new notions that can make our creative process & execution easier, and oftentimes, lost friends.
Even if it's only for an occasional purchase - one of those "I have to have this NOW!" sort of item or yardage, make an effort to support your LQS. If every quilter in your community does their part in supporting their local merchants, there will be greater chances of the wonderful art of quiltmaking passing onto the next generation!
The fabrics were awesome (obviously - though sneaking them in the house was another matter entirely!) but the BEST aspect was meeting the shop's owner, Sandy, and speaking to Bonnie, a SABQG guild member (who's lucky enough to work there!!). If you ever have the chance to attend a guild meeting (much less join one) I highly recommend it. The benefits are boundless! I'll be attending my first SABQG meeting the week after next (which, I'm sure I'll ramble on endlessly about) ... and I'm so excited (especially after meeting Bonnie)!! I've been counting the days ...
For those that don't know the amazing benefits of joining a quilt guild, let me describe what most guilds offer:
Receive discounts in LQSs.
Often, shop owners know that quilt guilds are excellent client bases and will do what they can to encourage guild members to frequent their shops. This may include discounts, gift certificates, meeting space, or BoMs (Blocks of the Months). And considering that our beloved art isn't cheap (despite that being the reason for it's conception), any discount is a welcome discount! It gives us just one more excuse to buy more fabric!
Go on a retreat.
Most guilds organize local retreats. A retreat, for those not in the know, is usually a very low-cost weekend trip to another town or city (usually fairly close by) where all you do is quilt & socialize. Usually, the affair is catered, so your biggest worry is how much fabric to bring and packing your sewing machine! It fosters friendship, creativity and learning from your fellow quilters. If you have a technique that's been eluding you, this is your chance, short of taking a class, to find out new methods or tips on getting the job done.
Looking for a Book?
Try the Guild Library. Most guilds have what's called a "guild library" - this is a collection of books that have either been donated or purchased with guild funds (oftentimes from the revenue collected from the guild's quilt shows) that are available for check-out to members. In most cases, you can keep them out for two weeks (and in some cases, "re-check" them out if needed). It not only saves you money, but is also a better assortment than carried by most public libraries.
Keep in the know even if you miss a meeting.
Most guilds offer a newsletter, either downloaded from the internet or mailed to your home. It'll contain news about upcoming events, "Sunshine & Shadows" which is a quick update on fellow guild-members trials & joys, a book review or two, product reviews, a pattern or two, and even members' favorite recipes. Consider it a small, personalized magazine, worth it's weight in gold.
Participate in a quilt show!
Most guilds put on their own quilt shows. While your local guild may not be big enough (or rich enough) to put on a show to rival Paducah or Houston, it'll be a fun experience with plenty of local (and distant) vendors, food, classes, exhibitions, etc. And, for the record, it's a lot less intimidating to enter your local quilt guild's show than it is Paducah's or Houston's! You'll not only have the opportunity to hang out with people you already know from your guild and LQS, you'll also have the opportunity to share your interests with others from out-of-state (Oh, believe me, there are those that will drive for 4 hours to get to even the smallest quilt show!), or new to the area. This is your time to meet new people, see new techniques, and of course, BUY FABRIC! :)
Attend a class!
Most guilds offer teaching "programs." Meaning, Sue Smith, a fellow guild member, will share a technique that she's perfected, or even teach a basic, quick seminar on piecing, quilting, or choosing fabric. Or your guild might offer a special class on a weekend. Again, it's your chance to learn something new, make friends, share experiences and tips - and just have FUN!
Want to do a BoM?
Most guilds offer BoMs (Block of the Months). You'll receive a block pattern (or applique pattern - depending on the current program or focus) that you can complete at your own leisure, at your own pace. Since most guilds have what are called "opportunity quilts" (quilts that members make to sell and/or raffle off and generate revenue for the guild's operations), you may also receive fabric to make a block for the opportunity quilt! Helping out with the opportunity or raffle quilt is optional - but it's a good use of your time. It not only helps the guild run smoothly in terms of finances, but also might help buy that book you've been eyeing online for the guild library. Everyone benefits when members volunteer!
Community Service Projects.
No, I don't mean pulling a Naomi Campbell ... I mean doing a project (or projects) that benefit your community. Some guilds will create "Ugly quilts" - quilts made from donated fabric for the homeless. Or, as I was lucky enough to do, "Infant Bereavement Quilts" - quilts made for parents who've lost a baby. You have the opportunity to touch lives in your community. To make others aware that they're not alone. To give comfort in times of loss or need. And isn't that sort of love and compassion what quilting is all about?
*For more information on these projects, please visit Uglyquilts.org and/or Bridging People (for Infant Bereavement Quilts - patterns and tips on how to get involved!) Or, alternatively, use your favorite search engine for more information.
Round robins are quilts that others help with. Sue Smith might want a quilt for her bed, and she'll ask if anyone will help her ... then Jane Doe might take the quilt home one night and add a block (usually with a theme), then pass it off to Polly Patchwork, who'll add another block and pass it on to Rita Rotary Cutter, and so on. Until, at the end, Sue has a lovely new quilt gracing her bed! Many opportunity quilts are also put together and finished this way.
*And don't worry - everyone will know who has the quilt - your quilt won't just up and disappear!*
As a cautionary to any new round robin participant, NEVER, EVER put a quilt in a garbage bag. Yes, I know, a garbage bag is large enough to fit a quilt and can protect it from moisture, Quilt Inspectors, spills and dust, but learn from another person's mistake! :
Several years ago, in my "old" guild, a member working on the opportunity quilt put it in a green garbage bag for safe-keeping (she was Spring cleaning and didn't want to allow dust to soil it) and left the bag in her sewing room (where she thought it would be safe since her family didn't venture in there). Well, her DH decided to be a nice guy and empty her trash while she was out ... Yep! You guessed it. He took the bag to the side of the road where the garbage men collected it! 6 months of work by 12 different guild members ended up in a landfill! Needless to say, the quilt was lost and had to be restarted.
Where do I find a local guild?
If you'd like to look for a guild in your area, try this Quilt Guilds database (please note that this list is by no means exhaustive. These listings depend on a member of the guild posting them!) ... and remember to contact the Go-to person in the listing. Since most listings are provided by the guild's publicity chair, and publicity chairs come and go, the information may not be up-to-date (they may meet on a different day, different place, etc). But this site is an excellent place to start.
Wait a sec! I didn't see my town listed!
If you don't find a guild listing there, ask at your local quilt shop or fabric store. Even the chain fabric stores, like JoAnn's or Hancock's will have info on local guilds and clubs. And the bonus? You can walk away with some fabric! After all, if you're already going to be there asking about guilds anyway .... why not get some fabric for your next project?? :)
Nope! I'm still out of luck! Now what?
If for some chance, your city or town doesn't have a local guild, consider starting one! Most guilds belong to larger guilds ... f'r'instance, my old guild, Southern Maryland Quilter's Guild belonged to the National Quilting Association (and by default, I was a member of that guild, too! Two memberships for the price of one!). That being the case, a larger guild will be more than happy to assist you in starting a local chapter. They'll give you tips on recruiting members, finding a suitable meeting place (most guilds meet at local churches), and will provide marketing materials to help you set up your local chapter!
Hopefully, I've outlined a few good reasons for joining a quilt guild (or starting one, if need be). The benefits, as I said, are boundless. Not only do you get the tangible benefits, you als0 get to meet people who share your love of this timeless & beautiful art. You'll make friends with which to share fabric obsessions and conquests, patterns, techniques, tips, trials, and joys.
I love ... LOVE crazy quilting! I've never found a better way to have a little fun AND showcase your hand embroidery! In one of my fave forums, Allpeoplequilt.com, a quilter was asking for crazy quilt patterns ... so I pulled this together - it's based on the last crazy quilt I did (about 2 years ago). I did it as a personal challenge - all in creams, naturals, and neutrals. The only real color was the color of the floss I embroidered it with!
Next time you decide to create your own crazy quilt (an art, I think, that has yet to enjoy a complete revival, unfortunately), try using colors you'd never use otherwise. Or limit yourself to a strict palette. Though it's not quite what you expect from a crazy quilt, using a limited palette is fun and a challenge! :)
Okay, granted ... I've not quilted in about two years and two years IS a long time ... but I was surprised at how much things have changed since the last time I either bought a quilting mag or had a subscription. I've bought pretty much every quilt mag on the market (looking for new mags to subscribe to) and this is what I've found (NAYY - No affiliation, of course, yada, yada,):
American Patchwork & Quilting: In the beginning (about 6-7 years ago, give or take a few) I would have told beginning quilters that this was THEIR magazine - not the magazine for the advanced. But now, I'd have to change my tune ... it's got a great spectrum of articles, pattterns, and techniques to suit the first time quilter, the advanced quilter and just those who love "eye candy" (I even caught dear hubby leeafing through it's pages!).
They've got applique, strip piecing, paper-piecing, and the more traditional types of patchwork - they've managed not to leave any quilter out! And not only have they managed to cater to every level of quilting and quilting interest, they also have several "sister magazines" that cater to even more specific genres.
"Quilts & More" (brought to you by those who bring you AP&Q) adds in small projects for the quilter AND sewer ... ranging from stylish bags, dolls, and home decor accessories. It's a veritable buffet of quilting options - it shows you how to turn a quilt into ANYTHING! My only criticism? It's not yet available for a subscription. You have to go to your local bookstore or newsstand - which in my area, is rather thin. :(
Quiltmaker is another one of my old favorites. It seems to have run out of ideas for the most part as I've noticed that in recent issues, they're rehashing some old patterns (but then, no pattern is truly new), but they've managed to make those old patterns seem fresh and new with new color-ways, techniques, settings, etc. Still a great magazine!
Quilter's Newsletter was at one time, my favorite. It catered to the more advanced quilter, but seems to now be doing a better job at leaving no one out. Still heavy on the art quilts, applique and bios (backgrounds and spotlights on up-and-coming quilters - not just the ones who you've heard of again and again). But if you're a new quilter, you'll have a better time with AP&Q or, another vastly improved mag:
McCall's Quilting ... it's definitely improved over the years. Yes, I'm sure most of you remember Robert Callahan's series of "Grandma's Country Albums 1 & 2" and while those were gorgeous, they tended to be the most creative of the patterns/quilts featured. But as they say, it's come a long way, baby! Gone are the "THAT'S a featured quilt??" reactions that the typical quilter would have. It's now full of great patterns, interesting color-ways, nifty techniques, and interesting articles on everything from choosing the perfect machine to the greatest new notions we can acquire. Definite kudos to this mag! :)
Every "review" has to have a loser ... and that, in MHO, would be Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home. After passing it up on the stands and at my LQS, I decided to take a chance (it IS about quilting after all - or so I thought). How many patterns and/or quilts did it feature? THREE. And three sub-par ones who's patterns you could have found in any of the other mags I've mentioned. And how much self-serving, self-aggrandizing "Mark-isms?" Well, pretty much the rest of it. Very little on actual quilting ... mostly a celeb-tells all sort of magazine here, folks. Honestly, if it weren't for the ads that led me to new online quilt shops, I'd have asked for my money back.
I realize that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and most of you won't agree with my estimations of these mags (and I've in no way approached "reviewing" them all, of course - just sticking to the "big" ones). Some of you might eagerly look forward to your next copy of Quilter's Home ... and some of you might absolutely detest the ones I've given 5 stars to. And if that's the case, I'd love to hear YOUR reviews, opinions, and comments on the "reviews" I've given. I'm sure there's new quilters out there who'd love a little guidance in which mag is best for them to subscribe to. And who knows? Some of these they may not have even heard of yet! :)
Sooooo ... any comments? :)
It's been about 3 years since I last picked up thread and needle (other than the occasional dress for my dear daughter) to quilt. I converted my sewing room into a home office for my graphic design company but it wasn't as satisfying an experience as creating a piece of history! Sooo ...
It's back to quilting! Or at least, it's back to quilting as my selfish, personal, fulfilling, journey to creativity (after all, if quilting was a destination, we'd never do another one, right? Then how could we possibly end up as the one with the most fabric?)! And I haven't been this excited since ... well, my first trip to the local fabric store!
I'm going to my first quilt guild meeting next month for the first time in 5 years! I feel like a 5 year old getting ready for their first day at school! I bought a new rolling sewing machine suitcase (for that "sew-in" or "retreat" that I'll be jumping on) and have already ordered some lovely FQ bundles from Connecting Threads (delivery in 5 days and counting!). I have at least 6 quilts planned out ...
I'd really like to find a way to post some applique patterns ... my primary talent in graphics was as an illustrator and it'd please me to no end to help others in any way that I can ... it would be a wonderful way to join my two loves - graphics and quilting! :)
So if you've gotten this far in my blog (and aren't snoring yet), please come back - if I can't post them here, I'll post them on my web site! :)