Monday, September 28, 2015

Stash Lab - take 2

So, on our countdown to the big book birthday - October 6th! - I'm sharing some of the projects from my upcoming book with Martingale, Stash Lab: Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts. Moving right along, let's get to some more quilts.

This time, let's look at some of the projects under the Stash Lab equation of "Neutrals + Scraps = Balance". It really is as simple as it sounds. When working with lots of different competing fabrics or scraps in a quilt, it helps a lot to give the eye a place to rest in between. Neutrals can act as a great frame for a variety of fabrics and neutral doesn't just mean white-on-white either. Textured prints, solids, even low-volume patterns are all considered neutrals in my opinion. Here's one that uses a gray/white sheet music print as the neutral. This is "Loose Change"...

"Loose Change", Stash Lab: Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts
Can you guess it's namesake and the inspiration for this project? If you guessed a traditional Chinese Coin pattern, you were right! This is my version with a bit of a twist, turning the quadrants to add interest and little bit of a modern edge to a very traditional pattern. For this project, I dug into my bin of 1-1/2" strip scraps and put together a variety of strips sets, using sea glass as my color inspiration.

The next quilt is a little (o.k., a lot) bolder, and one of my favorites - not only because of the fabrics! This is "Kaffe's Garden at Night"...
"Kaffe's Garden at Night", Stash Lab: Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts
This one may look a little familiar :) I just can't let it go! I love this quilt. Black is definitely the ultimate neutral and really brings out the intensity of colors in fabrics that you use with it. Sometimes people shy away from using black in quilt tops, but I don't think black has to be sad or dark. Not when you use it this way!

Now, please forgive the not-so-great photo on this next one, it's the only one I could access at the moment. But, my bad living-room photography doesn't do this one justice in the least. This is "Sunny Side Up"...

"Sunny Side Up", Stash Lab: Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts
So maybe this is my ploy, you have to see the professional photography of this one in the book! The quilting is beautiful simplicity itself, from the efforts of the very talented, Tracey Fisher. Tracey is not only one of my go-to professional long-arm quilters, she is my friend and one of my biggest cheerleaders (thanks Tracey!) This one does actually use solid white as the neutral, but in a non-traditional way, to bring together a shop-hop collection of different yellow fabrics, all made from 2-1/2" strips. This would be a great project in anyone's favorite color.

Well, we're getting closer! I can't tell you how great it feels to finally be able to share all of this with you. I have said that waiting and working on the book for almost two years has felt like sitting on a chicken egg, waiting for it to hatch - and it's true! This is one big baby chick, I must say. But, I couldn't be more thrilled. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Happy Stash quilting,


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stash Lab Countdown!

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig! They're home....crazy for me to look at this little pile of folded loveliness and think that it represents a couple of years worth of fun and fabric, but there it is.  Anyway, the countdown is moving right along and my publication date for Stash Lab is quickly approaching - October 6th! So, I think it's about time I start sharing some of the projects with you.  

Sorry, this seat is taken.

The table of contents gives you a sneak peak at what's to come. I really love the design and concept of the book that the good folks at Martingale came up with. Yes, they're my projects, my writing, my ideas, but the graphic design group at Martingale came up with the overall look and feel of the book itself. I love it - but then again, I'm a little bit biased :) 
Stash Lab - Table of Contents

I thought it would be fitting to start with one of the quilts you see on the cover and in the table of contents, "The Big Spin". The projects follow three different scrap equations that I like to use when  looking at my stash or a bucket of scraps and starting a new project. "The Big Spin" actually falls under Stash Equation #2 that deals with the use of fabric value vs. color. This project fits the equation to a tee. This design really is all about value and placement, regardless of color palette.
"The Big Spin" from Stash Lab: Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts
If you're in my local area, you can currently see this quilt on display at Two Thimbles quilt shop in Bellingham. All of the projects under this equation really work with any color palette or fabric style - it's all about value and placement to create the design. Another project in this category is "Jester".
"Jester" from Stash Lab: Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts
I enjoyed making this quilt so much because it has so many of my favorite stash fabrics. It's also the only paper-pieced project in the book - and a really easy one if you've never tried paper piecing before. This quilt is currently on display locally at Fabric-Etc. in Bellingham.

I am really fortunate to live so close to great shops that provide beautiful products and inspiration for what I love to do. They have been so supportive of my efforts as a quilter. Most of all, I'm so thankful for their encouragement, friendship and willingness to help me on this crazy journey. Priceless.

More to come, but if you haven't already, run out to your favorite local quilt shop and ask them to order you up a copy of Stash Lab! Maybe you'll find a few other goodies there to add to your stash. In the meantime...

Happy stash quilting,


Friday, August 14, 2015

New addition to the family...

I have a lovely new addition to my family...of sewing machines, that is! A Featherweight 221 has been on my wish list for quite a while now. A friend of mine recently had a quilters' garage sale (the very best kind of garage sale!) and had several machines all lined up, ready to go to new homes. This little beauty had a halo of light behind it as I came up the driveway, I swear!
My very-new-to-me 1946 Featherweight 221
If it could have sung the Allelujah Chorus, it would have. It was just meant to come home with me. And the very fact that it came from a good friend's family (thank you V. and M.!) and has been much loved and much used over the years makes it even better. The details on it are beautiful.

I love the Egyptian Scrollwork design on the faceplate.
So I have been studiously pouring over Dave McCallum's must-have book The Featherweight 221 & I and learning all I am supposed to know about this perfect little gem. Now I'm torn between the beautiful, classic black or something a little racier like this...

Future makeover?
Well, I'll have to save up some more pennies for a custom paint job like that so I have more time to mull it over anyway! So for those of you that may be counting (my darling husband...), that puts the inventory total at 4 machines (down from 6!) I think I'm good for a the meantime...

Happy summer stitching,


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Guest blogging at McCall's

Hi all, I'm here, but not exactly! I'm a guest blogger over at McCall's Quilting Blog today. I'll be chatting more about my project "Pressed Leaves" that's in the Sept/Oct 2015 issue. More about the project inspiration and some tips for the actual quilting technique I used. Hop over and check it out!

"Pressed Leaves"
Happy quilting,


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Giveaway winner!

No, let's make that winners! So many great comments - thank you so much! I'm so glad to hear there are so many folks out there that love their fall colors as much as I do :) I decided one copy wasn't enough, so we'll make it two! I have a very high tech way of selecting the looks something like this...

Yes, I print out the comments, cut them up into cute little strips and then pick one with my eyes closed! Pretty clever, huh? So clever, I can't figure out how to get the silly picture below rotated correctly, jeesh! Whatever! Here are the lucky winners...

Congrats Linda B. and Emily C. - please email me your addresses and I'll get the issues mailed off you right away.

I hope some of you will put some of your own beautiful scraps to use and make this project yourselves. Please send pictures to share if you do - we'd love to see them!

Happy quilting,


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pressed Leaves and a Giveaway

With summer in full swing, it's hard to believe fall will be here before we know it! I want this beautiful summer in my Pacific Northwest to last forever, but I'm ready for fall for a couple of really good reasons - one of them is the upcoming issue of McCall's Quilting, September/October 2015 that will be hitting your mailbox and store shelves soon. One of my favorite recent projects is being featured - "Pressed Leaves" - and it even has its glamour shot moment on the cover!
It was such a fun project that used some of my favorite scraps framed by a really great neutral newsprint fabric. The one I used is from Collage by Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics. If you can't find this one around, not to worry. Any great print neutral would be perfect for this project. Your favorite quilt shop probably has some already on hand, so check them out.
Pressed Leaves table runner
With so little actual snail mail these days, I'm always excited when something like this lands in my mailbox...advanced copies! So it must be time for a giveaway! Leave a comment below and share your favorite fall leaf color for a chance to win a free copy of the McCalls Quilting September/October 2015 issue. I'll pick a name out of the hat and mail off a signed copy to you!
Time for a giveaway! Leave a comment with your favorite fall leaf color to enter.
The other reason I'm excited for fall, of course, is because of this little beauty that I'm anxiously waiting for....
Just found out the release date has been bumped up from October 15th to October 6th. Nine less sleepless nights of anticipation for this first-time author. I can't wait to share it with you :)

Happy summer quilting,


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New pattern and a shop hop

So here's what I've been working on lately, a new pattern. Not for a magazine this time, just for retail sale in shops. Of course, I'm flying by the seat of my pants again so I'm never quite sure how these things are going to turn out. Producing a pattern is so much more work than I ever think it's going to be. Writing, editing, photography, graphic design, the list goes on and on. And that's without sewing a single stitch! But, I'm giving it another go. So this is Cavanaugh Crossroads...
Some of you in my neck of the woods may recognize the name. I started working on this during a retreat out at Lake Cavanaugh with friends not too long ago. The block itself is from a traditional block design from early last century called Crossroads. Nothing too clever - just putting the two together and I decided I liked the name, so there you have it!

Here are a couple of test blocks we did in alternate colorways. You know how much I love my Kaffes! I was playing with the photo editor app on my phone, inverted the colors, and decided I had to make it in Kaffe reds with a black background. The center is Moda Grunge Basics "Decadent". Not for the faint-hearted! Reminds me of flames! My lovely friend Verna made a test block in batiks, soft blue/greens with a melon center which turned out great (but I can't download the pic for - sorry!) Batiks are always a winner. She made one in 30's too - I love it. (That one I managed!)
Done in Kaffe Fassett's red "Lotus Leaf" fabric.
Super sweet in Verna's 30's too

The pattern, as shown on the cover, finishes at 54" x 54", a nice throw or baby quilt size. The blocks are BIG, 18"! The pattern also include size options for twin, queen and king size. I rate this as a beginner/easy pattern. A half square triangle is the about as tricky as this one gets, and you even make two at a time.

Availability is limited at the moment. I rushed this one into production so it could be available during the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop, June 24-28. You can find the pattern at Fabric-Etc. in Bellingham. The original quilt top will be there on display, too. If you're not in the area, you can contact Carol and the crew to order. Shop owners and distributors - if you're out there! - feel free to email me directly and I'll hook you up!

Happy summer quilting,