Primed and ready to go…

I rather liked school.  Not the homework part of it so much as the social side of things – big surprise, right?

So when an invite to a party blog hop involving a primer, grades, pre-cuts and quilts arrived, I jumped right on the bus!  The timing is perfect – school has been starting!

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We’re having fun with Barb & Mary – Me & My Sister.  (No comment on whether one or both of them ever spent much time in the Principal’s office.)

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This is their latest book – Pre-cut Primer.  It’s been published by Kimberly Jolly and the other nice ladies at It’s Sew Emma – the Fat Quarter Shop.  The “teacher in charge” of this field trip is the Jolly Jabber.

In addition to Barb and Mary, Kimberly and her crew, we’ve got the following quilty-folks in attendance.  (I think it’s going to get a bit rowdy… you’ve been warned.)

September 2nd – Pat Sloan & April Rosenthal

September 3rd – Corey Yoder

September 4th –  Amy Ellis

September 7thJane Davidson & Heidi Grohs

September 8th – Sherri McConnell

September 9th – Melissa Corry & Lissa Alexander

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What you need to know about the book is simple – it’s perfect if you’re looking for an assortment of cute quilts – big and small – that use pre-cuts.  The quilts work in almost every Moda collection you might have in your stash or will buy in the future – traditional and modern.  The projects range in difficulty level from “easy peasy” – 1st Grade – to a little more “time-consuming” – 12th Grade.  But even the “high school” quilts are put together with basic units that you’re familiar with.  Beginning quilters and experienced quilters will enjoy making the quilts – and making them more than once.  (Which makes this very unlike “real school”… who’d ever want to do that again?)

Now this is when I should probably ‘fess up to not having been one of those “model students” who was always getting gold stars for doing things like following directions.  That’s why I made a project without asking – or without seeing if someone else was already doing that one.  (If I’d known I was going to be copying April, I would have switched.)

Or maybe I should be back in 2nd Grade to learn “good citizenship”.  (Is that still taught in elementary school?)

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This is the 2nd Grade quilt.  It’s made with Mini Charm packs – which is part of the reason I picked it, I had a couple of those that I really wanted to use to make something.  (It is National Sewing Month after all!)

Barb & Mary’s quilt is made with Hi-De-Ho – their cute collection that just shipped to stores a month or so ago.

I used 30s Playtime 2015 by Chloe’s Closet and one of the woven-solids from the new Pure & Simple collection of brushed wovens.

That “gold star” thing is now going to make even more sense… I sort of changed the pattern just a tiny bit.

I made twenty-five blocks instead of twenty, and I used a 1/2″ finished sashing instead of a 1″.  I wanted to make a pillow.  With borders and after a trip through the washer and dryer, it measures about 23″ square.

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I think I might need to make another one… if for no other reason than to see if I can make it following the directions.

You’re thinking about “old dogs”, aren’t you?

One last thing… this wouldn’t be a blog hop without one.  This wouldn’t be a Moda blog hop without a couple.

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Prizes.  Every blog hop needs them.  They’re like recess.

Leave a comment by midnight on Monday, September 7th – Labor Day – telling us who your favorite teacher was in school.  Or class.  Or grade.  Any one of those will do – or all three.  (No extra credit for doing twice the homework.)

If you’re lucky, you might find a little Dot. Dot. Dash-! in your mailbox – those little bundles are Layer Cakes.  I think there’s a Jelly Roll involved too.

Happy Hopping!

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The polls are still open…

Fabric8! Fabric8! Fabric8!

If you say that aloud, it really does sound like a chant at a rally – and that’s kind of what this is.

The voting for the Fabric8: Botanical Sketchbook Semi-Finalist Round Design Contest is open – and it ends tomorrow night.

You must be a member of Spoonflower to vote – it doesn’t cost anything to join, just your name, rank and serial number.  Or something like that.  It’s easy – I promise.  (Someone who won’t be named has been a member of Spoonflower for years and years…)

If you really don’t want to join, I hope you’ll still pop over to see some of the beautiful designs that made it through to the second round.  Here are a few randomly selected designs – the name of the artist is included below the image.

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Chrissievh.
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Mimipinto.
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Charlottewinter.

So vote!  Voting ends Wednesday night – September 2nd.  The eight Finalists will be announced on Thursday, September 3rd.  (And maybe something about fat quarters.  Membership might have a benefit… just saying.)

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Tomorrow… tomorrrow…

After months and months of anticipation, it’s finally here.

Not this…

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This!

National Sewing Month - LG

It’s our time!  We get to sew, to make quilts, to sew, to create neat stitchy-stuff, to sew, to have fun, to sew with friends, etc.  Okay, so I hope you’re doing that every month but this month is extra-special.  If someone asks if we’re “sewing again?”, we get to reply that we’re celebrating an important national event!  Betsy Ross?  Without her, there wouldn’t be a Flag Day and the 4th of July… I rest my case.

So stock up on ready-to-eat meals, lay in a supply of your “sewing snack” of choice and pull out a new package of rotary cutting blades because it’s National Sewing Month!

(The observance of National Sewing Month began in 1982 with a proclamation from President Ronald Reagan declaring September as National Sewing Month “In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.”)

Zippers.  Make sure to stock up on zippers… okay, maybe that’s just me.

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Help me.  I can’t stop making zipper bags.  This was made using scraps – literally! – from the cuttings left after making the headers/cap-sets for the sales reps.  The prints are from the “coming soon” Regent Street 2015 Lawns collection and the base-fabric is the new Barkcloth.  It’s a little thicker than the Mochi Linen but it is so dreamy-soft – I’m looking forward to playing sewing with this for other projects.  The bag pattern is the Wide Open Zipper Bag by Anna Graham – Noodlehead.

Maybe you’ll get to make something like this…

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The first Frivol shipped a few weeks ago and the next one ships by the end of this week.  After months and months of having this “in the works”, it was pretty cool when the first finished Frivols arrived in the office.  (I admit, they still didn’t seem quite real… but they sure looked good.)

The first Frivol is with Hello Darling by Bonnie & Camille.  You knew that, right?  The title of this quilt is Kindred.  This was one of the blocks I drew up before we knew what the fabric collections would be.  When Hello Darling was chosen, I knew this would fit the fabrics well, and I liked the association of an Album Block with Bonnie and Camille.  The block is associated with family, friendship and community, and that’s them, Moda’s first mother-daughter design duo.

I also knew that the block was one of Camille’s favorites, she had used it for Vintage, a quilt in her best-selling book, Simply Retro.  So while this was in the planning stages, I asked if she had any objections to our using this block for this quilt.  I don’t recall the exact reply but it was something to the effect of “I didn’t invent the block… it’s in every block book… are you kidding?”.

The block is relatively easy to piece – it’s just squares, rectangles and setting triangles.  The only thing that will mess anybody up is seam allowance – this is one of those blocks where accuracy matters.

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There is one important thing to mention about the block and pattern – a discrepancy that is the result of a new pattern-writing process for many of us.  The numbers in the pattern are correct but there is still an error.

In the Kindred pattern, the setting squares are cut at 3 1/4″ x 3 1/4″, and it states that the squares are cut over-sized to allow for trimming.  Trimming instructions are provided.  The 3 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ size is for true-to-size piecing.  With accurate – perfect – cutting, seam allowance and pressing, the blocks will measure exactly 9″ x 9″.  Only the four corners will need to be trimmed.

As originally written, those squares were to be cut at 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″, and the yardage is calculated for cutting the strips and squares to that size.  During the technical editing process, the numbers were changed to the exact-piecing size.  That wouldn’t be a problem except that the pattern says the squares are over-sized.

So I goofed.  When I did one of the final proofs of the pattern, I should have compared the pattern to my original notes.  The “new” numbers are correct but the pattern is misleading… so it’s wrong.  And I’m sorry for that.

If there is an upside, it’s that we’ve gone over our process to ensure that we get better.  The next three “finished” Frivols patterns have been re-read, re-proofed and re-tested.

So if you haven’t cut out your background squares yet – where it has you cutting 3 1/4″ strips and squares, make that 3 1/2″.

I did make a couple of the Maker blocks – enough to make something cute to use right away.  The block instructions are on the really cute quote/block cards included the Frivol.  We asked the designers of the fabric collections to send us one of their favorite quotes, and it’s been a lot of fun to learn a little bit about them by reading their selections.

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We’re posting blocks and quilts to Instagram and Facebook using the #modafrivols tag. 

Yes, making more blocks is on my “to do list” for September.  I am hoping to make a small sampler quilt using one of each block… and another larger quilt using multiples of each block – the same block, just made differently to make them look like different blocks.  And both sizes – yes, I’m making both sizes of blocks.  At least that’s my plan… we’ll see how that goes.

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And more of these.  Really.  I’m obsessed.

These are the Moda Crossweaves – the textures.  (The 12120 SKUs instead of the 12119s.)  And another Open Wide bag.

I’m also going to try to finish my Log Cabin Swap quilt.  Did I ever show you my blocks?  This picture was taken before the blocks were cut into quarters and swapped.

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(If you’re on Instagram – #logcabinswapfun)

So what are you going to sew this month?

Happy Monday!

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Insta-inspiration…

Social media is a mixed blessing.

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Pinterest.  It’s a great source of inspiration – quilts of every sort imaginable, stitchy-stuff of every kind imaginable, recipes, DIY of every sort imaginable, new crafts to try, clothing “looks” to consider, home decor, and the list goes on forever.  Which also makes Pinterest a bit of a black hole when it comes to time… it’s very easy to lose track of it.

But social media is also a terrific way to get an instant “fix”.  Inspiration… shopping… ideas… shopping… whatever makes you happy, the various social media outlets of Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and “everything I can’t think of right now” make it possible to see all sorts of things you never knew you always wanted to see.

My favorite “guilty pleasure” – quilty pleasure? – is Instagram.  IG for short.  I follow all sorts of people – photographers, restaurants, chefs, foodies – lots of those, a couple dog-related folks and a whole slew of stitchers.  (If you’re on IG and you don’t follow @thedogist… I’m not sure we can be friends.)  So it’s been a lot of fun that posting pictures on Instagram is actually part of my job – I think it means I can play around on IG and call it “work-related research”.

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These pictures are from the Instragram feed of Lisa Calle – @vintagemodernquilts.  Lisa is the curator/director/moderator of the Moda Bake Shop, a mom and a wonderful quilter with a glorious color-sense – and not an Aussie.  But it’s still eye-candy, right?

So to finish up this Aussie Week, I wanted to share some of my favorite Instagram feeds from Down Under.  Just so you know, this isn’t a thorough or complete list.  These are names and feeds that came to mind when I tried to think of those people who always inspire – of those people who you might not have run across yet.

By the way, you don’t need to be on Instagram to get a sneak-peek.  Just click the link and it will take you directly to each amazing quilter’s IG feed.  If you’re interested, most also have terrific blogs.  Their blog links are often in their Instagram profiles.

One more thing – if you’re at all hungry, wait until later to peruse the Instagram accounts of many of these ladies.  It’s probably coincidental but one of my favorite things about these Aussie ladies – most of whom I’ve never met – is that they’re foodies!  Oh, and they like fussy-cutting for quilting.

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Siobhan Rogers – @siobhanrogers_beaspoke.  Siobhan is an improvisational quilter with a modern style, a terrific photographer and a new author with a wonderful book – By The Block.

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Jeanette Bruce – @goneaussiequilting.  This is Jeanette’s Red Letter Day quilt – she took Camille Roskelley’s class in Australia last year and made this gorgeous quilt.

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This is another one of Jeanette’s quilts that I really love.  It’s a “happy quilt”.

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Lorena Uriarte – @lorena_in_syd.  Lorena is the President of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild, and an accomplished, award-winning quilter skilled in applique and piecing.  I love her use of color and the way she mixes pattern.

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Peta Peace – @shequiltsalot. Really.  Peta quilts A LOT.  And she stitches, makes bags, embroiders, quilts and many other things – if it can be made with a needle and thread, Peta does it beautifully.

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Gemma Jackson – @prettybobbins.  Gemma is an accomplished longarm quilter and just a really neat person.  I haven’t met her but I think I could be described as an anonymous-to-her stalker-fan-like-wannabe friend.  How can you not like someone who has taught her kids to quilt?  She also wrote a blog post several months ago that I really liked about “assuming others have good intent”.

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Rachel Daisy – @bluemountaindaisy.  You might remember this magazine from a few weeks ago – the quilt on the cover is Rachel’s.  I love this close-up picture that shows some of the fussy-cutting and embellishment.

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Amira Ameruddin – @amira_littlemushroomcap.  Simple Abundance by Bonnie & Camille.  Fussy-cutting.  Hexies.  Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts‘ book A Handful of Scraps.  What’s not to love about Amira?  She does really beautiful work.

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Catherine Demack – @hellofromcat.  Catherine – Cat – is part of Cat and Vee, two friends from Brisbane who create gorgeous, fun artwork.  They’re the Aussie ladies behind the “I touched a quilt and I liked it” slogan.  Cat has a vibrant, colorful style that’s just fun and invigorating.

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Fiona Ransley – @fionafeeransley.  Applique.  Embroidery.  English Paper Piecing.  And it’s all beautiful.

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Corinna Burrows – @corinna_maycreations.  Corinna is a prolific quilter with a good heart.  In addition to making lots of yummy little blocks for an amazing sampler quilt with Bonnie & Camille fabrics, she’s recently done a lot of sewing of little sewing needfuls for charity purposes.

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I.  Love.  These.  I love them so much I bought the pattern and… well, I have good intentions.  I’ve read the pattern and I will make some of these apples – and the pears – eventually.  Retro-Mama – Kim Kruzich.

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Jennifer Reynolds – @jennyofelefantz.  Gorgeous embroidery.  But you knew that, right?

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Samantha Dorn – @aqua_paisley.  Samantha is another very prolific quilter who stitches a little bit of everything – quilts, minis, bags, and a little bit of everything else.  Like many of the others I’ve named, she’s also a terrific photographer who just has a pretty Instagram feed.

As I wrote before, this list isn’t complete or comprehensive.  There are others that I’m sure I’ll remember tomorrow or this weekend.  There are many very well-known quilters whose work I love who I haven’t named because we’ve already mentioned them this week – Jane Davidson (@quiltjane) and Jen Kingwell (@jenkingwell) – to name two.   And there are a few who I simply forgot about when making my list.  Let it suffice to say that there are a lot of talented, inspirationally awesome – and awesomely inspirational – quilters in Australia and the ladies mentioned here are just the tip of the Apostles or Ayers Rock.

Please feel free to include the IG names of anyone you think I – we – should be following.

Happy Friday – have a wonderful weekend!

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Moda’s Very Own Aussie: Jen Kingwell

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We’ve been talking about the wonders of Australia on the blog this week, and it’s time to focus on designer Jen Kingwell. Jen’s ability to combine color and pattern are truly unique (and that’s a word my journalism professors told me not to use unless something was truly one-of-a-kind—in this case it is.)  The fabrics Jen’s designed for Moda convey that talent perfectly. There will be more to come from Jen, so keep your eyes peeled, but for now let’s catch up with her. You may remember that she spent the past couple of years living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She moved back to Australia in February, and thanks to a second move is still unpacking.

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This is Jen’s sewing studio. “As you can see, not much is happening at the moment,” she says. “Those boxes aren’t all fabric, but mostly.”

 

Thanks for stepping away from the boxes, Jen, and sharing some time with Cutting Table readers!

• How has life changed since you’ve returned to Australia? Are there things you miss about the UAE?

Since my return life has been incredibly busy. Like everyone, with change comes new ideas and you see things from a different perspective. When living overseas we had furnished the villa with just essentials, no clutter, and on return I realised our house was in need of a major overhaul. So big of an overhaul we decided to sell up and move……I am now officially a hoarder no longer.
I enjoyed my time in the UAE but there is nothing like home and family. I missed my girls terribly while I was away. The other thing I really missed was the change of seasons. The desert looks pretty much the same summer and winter. We have moved to the coast and I could sit for hours and watch the changing sky as storm fronts roll in.
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This is Jen’s sewing view. She says it’s worth every bit of packing, decluttering, and moving.

But there are things I miss about the UAE. I was time “rich” there. We lived in a very local area. I had few distractions so plenty of time to design and sew. It was great as this was when I was writing my book Quilt Lovely. Back at home I am busy with “things.” Lovely things like friends and family, dining out, coffee with a friend,  just all those normal things I missed so much.
Hip to Be Square and Puppy

Nine-year-old Matilda (Tilda) belongs to Jen’s daughter, Meg. (Jen says this makes her Tilda’s “dogma.”) Matilda’s become an escape artist and is staying with Jen until Meg figures out her escape route.

• Tell us about your new book, Quilt Lovely. What inspired it?Quilt Lovely by Jen Kingwell
I started writing the book soon after I arrived in the Middle East. It was a great time to do it and I think it helped me to settle and gave me a focus. I started with one idea and just worked my way through. Pat Sloan ask me in her podcast if I had a plan or theme. She giggled when I said I made one quilt, then thought about the next and moved forward, but that’s the way I like to work. I found a project on the weekend that I had started over there and when I was looking at it thought ” Oh I know what would look great,” so it’s changing as it grows.
I work in a very “organic” way. I start with one idea but things change and evolve along the way. Sometimes one idea become two projects or two can meld together into one. I did try to include in the book some different techniques and looks so there was a good variety of projects to stitch. As I’m sure everyone is aware I’ve been a lover of hand stitching for a very long time and in the perfect world would hand stitch everything, but I know not everyone has my passion for this.
Hip to Be Square detail Jen Kingwell

Detail of Jen’s Hip to Be Square quilt

I’m so pleased to see hand stitching becoming more popular. I love that it encourages us to slow down a little and enjoy the process. It’s portable: I stitch on planes, trains, and in automobiles! And I love that it is so sociable. Just last week I was teaching a class in New Zealand and the noise level in the room was incredible as everyone chatted and laughed. Most of these women were dedicated machine stitchers but seemed to really enjoy the “therapy”  of needle, thread and a good old chat. I just love sitting and stitching. I never tire of it. I can feel my blood pressure lower as I pick up my stitching. It’s like a giant exhale.
•We’ve been thinking this week about the similarities and differences between quilters from Australia and other places. Any thoughts?
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Jen’s Hip to Be Square quilt on the cover of QUILTmania.

I get asked this question quite often and am not sure of the answer. We are a great melting pot of cultures, and we are a long way from the rest of the world,  but we are also great travellers so we experience different countries and what they have to offer. I think our style is a lovely mixture of a lot of wonderful ideas and things from all corners of the world. We have some great designers.
Our quilt stores are much smaller than in the U.S. Our population is smaller so each store seems to develop a niche style.
Hand stitching is definitely popular here and has been for decades. It’s not a new thing. I don’t think we see it as “fashionable or not,”  it’s more about enjoyment and passion. I smile inwardly sometimes when things become “new” again. Big stitch quilting, for example, has been around forever. I guess that’s the one good thing about being geriatric…..I’m just pleased I can still remember!!!
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But I can also remember coming to the U.S. many years ago and I feel that hand stitching was popular back then also. I guess things just change all the time, clever designers come up with new ways and techniques. Like fashion, quilting is cyclic.
Well, we’re so glad that Jen is part of that cycle and look forward to her future creations!
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