MRW: Quilt Edition #4 - Quilt Market Explained in GIFs

Saturday, May 30, 2015

When I'm obviously the only person on my flight going to Quilt Market:

When I watch the collection preview video during Cotton + Steel's Schoolhouse:

When Heather Ross sits next to me during Anna Maria Horner's Schoolhouse:

When I talk to people in line for Sample Spree:

When I see Kim Kight working the C+S table at Sample Spree:

When my husband asks what I bought at Market:

When I tell my friends what I really bought:

When I see Elizabeth Hartman's new fabric line in her booth:

When I've had 3 cocktails at the MQG Meetup:

How to Make a Visual Project Wishlist

Friday, May 29, 2015

If my blog's title hasn't tipped you off already, I'll just go ahead a say that I usually have at least three sewing projects going at any given time. Between swaps, developing my own patterns, and selfish sewing with my favorite fabrics, it's pretty common to find piles of WIPs in my sewing area. Sometimes it's hard to remember what projects I have simmering, let alone the ones I want to tackle next.

I used to make lists, but scribbled words just don't have the motivation factor that images possess. I started making collage images to keep things visually organized as well as motivate me to finish those malingering WIPs. It's been working surprisingly well!

For each collage image, I use a few different kinds of images. I may include a photo of the pattern cover or book cover, which helps remind me where to look for the instructions in my my piles of books. My Circle Lattice Quilt is a project from Carolyn Friendlander's book, Savor Each Stitch.

 For WIPs, I use pictures from my own Instagram feed or quick iPhone snaps to help remind me of what prints I'm using. My Storm at Sea quilt currently has only two completed blocks, but seeing the the pictures is a good reminder of what shades of blue I should be looking for when I work on it. It's also such a cool block to look at that it helps motivate me to work on it. I've actually gone forward to do all the cutting for this quilt and bag the pieces to take to my guild's retreat.

My Little Dots quilt (pattern by Green Bee) is going to heavily feature Heather Ross and Munki Munki scraps with each dot having a monochromatic palette on a low volume background. Fussy cutting each piece is time consuming, so seeing a photo of a finished block I made along with the pattern cover shows how promising this project will be.

Sometimes I include photos of the fabric collection I intend to use to serve as a quick visual reminder of the color palette and scale. I recently purchased a layer cake of Carolyn Friendlander's Botanics to make the Union Square quilt by Crazy Old Ladies. Seeing the pattern cover and fabric swatches side by side convinces me that this is going to be an awesome, but easy quilt that will fun to tackle at retreat.

For projects where I'm drafting my own pattern, I include one or two inspiration photos. When I was in the planning stages of my travel tote for Podrick, I made this collage to help consolidate all the ideas I had floating around. I knew I wanted to use Denyse Schmidt's Hadley collection, so I included a photo of that. Jeni Baker has a travel tote pattern for the Singer Featherweight, so that that served as one source of inspiration along with the Pack N Go tote. Lastly I included a photo of Podrick himself, just to serve as a sweet reminder who (or what) I'm making this project for.
On every collage, I add a title for clarity.

I make all my collages in Adobe Photoshop, but there are free web-based alternatives like PicMonkey and Pixlr that can accomplish the same thing for free.

How do you keep track of all your WIPs and wishlists? 

Free Quilt Pattern: Shieldmaiden

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

During my recent stint working at a local quilt shop, I got to see lots of cool customer quilts. One of my favorites by far was a scrappy flowering snowball quilt. A flowering snowball quilt had been on my project wishlist for over a year, but seeing one in person put it at the forefront in my mind. I started pondering what fabrics to use, and the answer was obvious: the Spring 2015 Cotton + Steel collections

The Spring 2015 Cotton + Steel Collections

A couple weeks ago at Sample Spree, I scooped up a fat quarter bundle of each of the new collections. I had done the same thing back in fall, and I used those bundles to make my Cotton + Steel Patchwork City Quilt (which I have yet to properly photograph and blog about). Having a huge stack of prints with a common color palette is just too valuable of an opportunity to waste, so finding a way to combine all the collections in one quilt feels very gratifying. Doing it again seems to be the start of a tradition. 

I set about trying to find a free flowering snowball pattern, but couldn't find one that I felt confident in. Instead, I drafted my own pattern and templates in Adobe Illustrator. One quick test block later, I was good to go! Isn't it awesome when everything works perfectly on the first try?

I'm not yet done with my own quilt (I've got 3/6 rows totally finished and I'm piecing row #4), but since it's a one block quilt, I feel confident enough with the pattern I've written up to pass it on to all of you.

Because I need to give everything a cute name, I dubbed my flowering snowball pattern "Shieldmaiden." The interlocking circles reminded me of all the times Lagertha shouts "Shield wall!" on one of my favorite shows, Vikings

Click *HERE* to download the pattern for free!

The Shieldmaiden quilt pattern is fat quarter friendly, using 4 FQs for each of 6 colors, 8 low volume FQs, and a fat eighth for the tiny diamonds. I'm using more FQs for a even scrappier look, but you can still achieve a scrappy feel with the materials in the pattern.

Each block measures 12" square and the finished quilt is 60" x 72".

2015 Spring Quilt Market Recap

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A lot of people say that Quilt Market feels like a blur, but I can't relate this time around. It was a series of meaningful moments in rapid succession, but never a blur. I relished every moment of the experience and feel such a sense of pride to be a part of this industry.

On my flight home from Minneapolis, with everything still fresh in my memory, I typed up a long blow by blow journal entry of everything that happened. Let's be honest though. You want to see the fabric! So if you do want to hear some of the cool personal stories I amassed, we'll have to chat sometime.

First up, Heather Ross's booth! Her new collection for Windham, Tigerlily, features a whole bunch of friendly felines. I met Heather at Quilt Con a few months ago, and I offered to make samples for her booth. She emailed me in early March to take me up on the offer, but requested that I ship them to her before the end of the month. I was curious why she needed them so quickly, but I cranked out two adorable Oliver + S outfits in a couple days. Turns out she needed them for the official lookbook photoshoot! The look books were handed out en masse at her booth, so that was friggen' awesome. The outfits her were hanging in her booth as well, and Heather even mentioned that her daughter was wearing one of the outfits regularly. Lesson learned. Never be afraid to talk to the people you admire, because they might blow your mind.

Heather signed copies of kitty cat prints for us fans and generally kicked ass as she is want to do. I seriously can't praise her enough. She's such a kindhearted and generous person. Sometimes when we hold people in such high regard, we find ourselves feeling let down when they aren't exactly what we imagined them to be. I had no idea what Heather would be like when I met her at Quilt Con, but she couldn't have been more amazing. Since then, she's continued to exceed my expectations and I feel so blessed to know her. She's a treasure.

Next: Lizzy House over at Andover. I must be a genius because I completely forgot to take pictures with my DSLR, so all I have are my cell phone pictures. I made made the blue quilt that had the honor of holding Lizzy's name tag on it as well as a Dear Watson Bag that hung off the endcap. I also made a Washi Tunic, but Daryl (of the Andover Team) said they forgot to bring pants and the mannequin looked like Donald Duck! They decided to show it off at the business meetings instead.

My buddies, Julia (@stars_sunshine) and Liz (@fatchickquilts) also made booth swag for Lizzy. Julia made the little butterfly mini quilt in the photo above, as well as the dino pillows and dino dress below. Her dress was a serious show-stealer. Every time I walked by the book, there was at least one person being hypnotized by it. Liz made a clutch, elephant softie, trail tote (all in the photo below), and a monster zipper pouch that Lizzy was especially fond of.

 I've come to the conclusion that Cotton + Steel are the fabric equivalents of the Spice Girls. They each have unique personalities, but they all mesh together so well. They have intensely passionate fans. Camera flashes follow them everywhere. I attended their school house session on Thursday where they introduced their new collections. Just like last time, I bought a bundle of each at Sample Spree and have already started sewing with them.

Their booth was pretty huge and reminded me of an I Spy book from my childhood. It was a transportative daydream. Someone in that group has some major set styling experience. It's such a joy to pour over the details and props they find to help tell the stories of of the collections. The ladies are friendly as ever, but I can't help but feel like I'm walking up to the cool kids table in the lunch room. They're just so COOL!

My Instagram followers know I've been on a Carolyn Friedlander fangirl bender over the past month. I was really excited to see her booth and her applique BOM pattern. She also has two new little house paper piecing patterns that will be available soon. Both are on my wishlist. She also said she'll be having a new line of fabric coming out this fall, so that's exciting too!

Rhoda Ruth is Elizabeth Hartman's first fabric line, and this was her first Quilt Market booth, but you'd never know it. It looked like the work of a seasoned veteran! A month before Market I had offered to help her make samples and she politely declined because she said she likes to make all her own samples. Well she turned it out! Her booth was rah the perfect reflection of her style: clean, polished, and modern, yet bold, playful, and cute! I just love her collection, Rhoda Ruth, and it's tone on tone look. I've found myself gravitating towards simpler colors and monochromatic palettes over the last several months, so her line is high on my wish list. I think her work and that of Carolyn Friedlander appeals to me so much because their collections behave more like a choir than a rock band with a lead singer. They know how to share the spotlight with all the prints in the line and form a cohesive collection that will sell evenly and play well with prints from other designers.

Tula Pink's booth was getting swarmed not only by fans, but by a film crew. Tula is filming her own reality show! Her mom told it's a full 10+ episode series with "pajamas and coffee and everything." I can't wait to watch it.

I got to meet Jeni Baker for the first time! I'm a huge fan of her and her work, so it was a little jump for joy moment. We bonded over bunny love (I speculated that George is the "basement cat" to my "ceiling cat," the white moon bunny). Her new collection, Curiosities, is bright and happy, and perfectly Jeni.

Anna Maria Horner's Loominous collection was one that really surprised me. At first I was underwhelmed by the simple woven fabrics, but seeing them in a quilt was like getting kicked in the stomach. They had the rich look of an heirloom quilt made from found fabrics and collected over time. It was a very emotional presence that the fabrics created. I've been noticing myself taking on a greater appreciation for the traditional roots of quilting, probably because I don't have that legacy within my own family. It's like I'm trying to build my collection of family history through quilts. AMH's line is going to fill a very special spot in my stash once I can set aside some money to order it.

Violet Craft's new Jungle Abstractions pattern is a follow up to the infamous Forest Abstractions. The Lion is the first release, but more animals are coming too! This quilt is just beyond words... I went to Violet's school house on Thursday, which was one of the highlights of Market for me. I sat in the front row, eager to see Violet in person. Before I could even say hello, Violet looked at me and said, "I'm so glad you're here. I've been excited to meet you!" It through me for a loop. I had no expectation that she had a clue who I was, much less wanted to talk to me! After her very insightful presentation we sat down for a wonderful conversation on art, the industry, and building a brand. It was touching how forthcoming she was with advice and sincere feedback. Sometimes people in this industry guard their success stories and hesitate to share their thoughts. Violet is the complete opposite and her kindness was inspiring. I deeply hope that I can someday do the same for others.

And lastly, my beloved 7 Islands booth. There were just way too many cute prints to mention, so here's a pretty snap of Ellen Baker's new line, monochrome. As usual, I want it. I want it all.

A Tote for Podrick

Monday, May 11, 2015

A couple weeks ago, I added a new sewing machine to my family. A new, old machine. A 1954  Singer 301A to be exact. I have nothing but love for Brienne, my Juki F600, but her giant size makes her a huge pain to travel with. A smaller travel machine had been on the back of my mind wishlist, but I wasn't seeking one out actively.

Coincidentally, my LQS had this little 301 on consignment from Kimberly's Junk in the Trunk, a local vintage Singer queen. I tested it out and it was love at first stitch. I've never sewn on a smoother machine! I had to take him home, and his price tag of $160 made it an easy choice. 

I have a tendency to name inanimate objects, and my 301's name was a no brainer: Podrick! He'll be a wonderfully reliable (if simple) squire to Brienne. 

Since I adopted Podrick to be a travel machine, I made him his own little travel tote. I saw pictures of a simple boxy tote floating around Pinterest, which I eventually tracked down as the Pack N' Go Tote by Kimberly Walus in the book Fresh Fabric Treats.

 Since the original bag pattern wasn't going to be big enough for Podrick and the design was simple, I drafted my own pattern. The finished bag is 15"L x 8"W x 12.5"H. The exterior pockets are all 9.5" tall, deep enough for some magazines, notes, patterns, or rules. The foot pedal and cords fit perfectly into the side pockets.

I used some jelly roll strips of Hadley by Denyse Schmidt for the exterior pockets, yardage of one of the brown Hadley prints for the main exterior, Andover textured solid for the handles, and some random blue fabric by Zen Chic for the lining. I used Annie's Soft & Stable to give the main bag structure and padding. The exterior pockets just have a layer of batting.

Podrick fits inside perfectly! I can't wait to take him to the HMQG retreat in June. 

The Matsuri Bag

Saturday, May 2, 2015

 It's time to introduce you to the second of my two new bag patterns, the Matsuri Bag!

If my spirit animal could be a bag, it would be the Matsuri Bag. I'm a very mercurial person by nature, and that extends to the my choice in bags. My favorite bags are ones that are adaptable and versatile. I carried a crossbody bag at Fall Quilt Market, which worked fine initially, but evolved into an uncomfortable boat anchor as I loaded it up with books, mini charm packs, and pamphlets. So when Quilt Con rolled around, I took a backpack instead, which was more comfortable, but became irritating when I had to constantly take it on and off to access the contents.

The Matsuri Bag converts from a crossbody bag to a backpack with the help of some simple hardware.
I designed the Matsuri Bag for those all-day adventures where your needs may change. Some simple hardware and an a detachable, adjustable strap lets you transform your crossbody bag into a backpack to suit your mood. The bag gets its name from Japanese festivals (the term is also used a lot in the US in conjunction with anime conventions) where you can play games, eat street food, and buy souvenirs.

In addition to it's cool convertible feature, the Matsuri Bag features two gathered side pockets which are perfect for a water bottle, car keys, or your phone.

The two versions Matsuri Bags above were made by yours truly. The bag on the right was made with my scraps left over from my Quilt Market samples for Lizzy House's new collection, Natural History. I'm a scrappy person at heart, and Lizzy's new line begs to be carried everywhere. The bag on the left uses a variety of Carolyn Friedlander prints I also had left over from various projects.

I was very lucky to have several gracious, generous pattern testers who all blew me away with their lovely bags!

First up is Michelle (@chellesquilts) who made her Denise Schmidt print pop with diamond quilting! She even added an ingenious little key fob to the side pocket! Seriously clever.

Next up, Jana (@megmormel) with a lovely Priory Square Matsuri bag, modeled by her daughter! Those big blooms are a perfect focal point for the main panel.

 Chen (@mushyhed), who you may know as Alison Glass's hype girl, made her bag with some of Alison's new Ex Libris and Andover's black chambray. Result: drool-worthy. If you're going to Quilt Market in Minneapolis, keep your eyes peeled for this one in Alison's booth!

Nicole (@nf_merritts) put her Cotton + Steel Mesa canvas to work for her bag. I love the bright contrasting pockets! Her adorable son is also an apparent fan of the finished project. :)

Another awesome mama, Erica (@skynme2), made her Matsuri bag for her petite teenage daughter who needed a backpack that wasn't so traditionally HUGE. I'm only 5' tall myself, so I feel you there, girl. Plus, she used one of my favorite prints by Sarah Watts!

Dyan's (@sew_joyful) Matsuri Bag had me stomping my feet from excitement. I've been head over heels for Rashida Coleman-Hale's rice print canvas since I first saw it. I love the density of the rice on the zipper gusset at watching it tumble down the front panel.

Last, but certainly not least is Tara (@taraceleste) with her cat print Matsuri Bag. This bag (and her amazing photos) totally slay me. As her pictures show, this pattern makes a great "mom bag" for carrying diapers, snacks, drinks, and any other kid essentials. It also doesn't hurt that it's covered in cute kitty faces!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the many faces of the Matsuri Bag! If you'd like to make one for yourself, click the link below to go directly to the product page on my Craftsy shop.

Click Here to Purchase the Matsuri Bag pattern!