March Madness Coming

pbstudios_2

I have been working with Painter’s Palette Solids for nearly two years now in various capacities (quilt designer, mostly) and I love these fabrics not only for their wide range of colors, but also for the hand–or how it feels. They are made by Paintbrush Studios. pbstudios_1

I was contacted by them to help them with their launch of the fabrics, to make them a quilt for Quilt Market announcing these solids.  I designed a quilt, sent off my fabrics request and started working.  I fell in love with the saturation of color, the fine thread count–but not so much that it’s too lightweight, like a batiste (which wrinkles terribly)–but enough that it was easy-to-work with, to cut and to sew.

StarryCompassRose_frontStarryCompassRose_booth3

And since I was sewing for someone else and I was hyper-vigilant about matching the seams, etc., it also held up while I ripped out and resewed seams, without showing cloth fatigue or looking used.  I was amazed at this new line of solids and have been working with them for a while now, waiting as they rolled out their fabrics for sale across the United States.

QMarket3_FocusAnd now again, I get another chance to play with my beloved Painters Palette Solids!  They are running a March Madness contest, starting Friday, and at the end of the contest, they will draw two winners to win free fabric…and I hope one of them is you.

Focus_front

More details are coming on Friday (3/24), with voting in brackets (just like the real March Madness) beginning on Monday, March 27th.  I’ll have a bundle of colors that will go up against other quilters with their bundles of colors.  Vote for the one you like the best in the categories, and send your favorites to the top (I like mine, but it’s also great if you like someone else’s too).

March Madness 2017 button

So, play March Madness Mad for Solids and vote for your favorite bundles.  See you Friday.

Uppercase Fabrics, Kevin Umana, and Creativity Breakout

KevinUmanaSnap

This post is the story of two creatives, well, maybe three.  One is an artist living and working in Los Angeles.  That’s Kevin Umaña, up there.Vangool

Another is Janine Vangool, a graphic artist and editor-in-chief of Uppercase Magazine in Canada, who recently released a line of fabric through Windham Fabrics (photo of Janine from *here*).

And then there’s me, but you know what I look like.

UmanaUppercaseQuilts1

And it’s also the tale of two quilts and a quilt block (which is at the end, by the giveaway from Uppercase and Janine, so keep reading).KevinUmanaIGfeed1

Some time ago, my nephew linked me over to Kevin’s Instagram feed, as he knew I am slightly passionate about quilts and designs, and I’m especially in love the the “grid.”  Apparently Kevin loves it too, as well as color and shape and repeated lines. (All these images are posted with his permission.)
KevinUmanaIGfeed3

I had sort of been in a creative slump, slightly burned out, not really knowing what to do next besides bee blocks and the Same Old. Idly scrolling through Kevin’s feed one afternoon, I found a few designs that interested me; he and I began to correspond, and then collaborate.

Stitch-IlloAbout the same time, Uppercase Magazine‘s Janine Vangool announced that they were producing an Encyclopedia (images from Uppercase’s website), and the one that interested me was her Stitch-Illo, one of three that was launching the Encyclopedia series.  Since I’d missed submitting to her Compendium (which is always on my nightstand), I went right to her website and started choosing pictures to submit, planning on getting the submission in early. Everything was going along swimmingly until I hit this question: “What makes your work unique?”

Unique?

No matter what I wrote, it sounded trite and useless and idiotic and banal and cliched, and believe I re-wrote the answer to that question about 50 times. I felt dead in the water.  (I’m sure Kevin wondered what happened to me.)  It was like coming up to a mirror and instead of seeing a reflection of my image, it was like seeing past me into an empty sewing room, forty million quilts stacked to the ceiling, but they were all somebody else’s vision or creation or idea.  Nothing unique anywhere.

That question rattled around in my head while on a trip with my husband, and where it rained nearly every day, giving me lots of time to think.  I slowly reviewed all the quilts I had pictures for while sitting in my hotel room, wondering; do we all make the same quilt, over and over?  Not our own same quilt, but the One of the Moment, currently seen on everyone’s Instagram feed, or splashed all over the quilty magazines?  Where was my unique?  If someone saw one of my quilts, would they say, “Oh, yes–that’s Elizabeth’s!”  And if I really had a unique, what was it?  What did it look like?  How could I tell it from someone else’s?

And in my more cynical moments, I’d say, “Well who cares, if it’s unique?  Doesn’t matter enough that I’m a maker, that I express myself with cloth and sewing and cutting and stitching?” Really helpful, right?

IllusionofColorsQuilt

Back home, I began looking at Kevin’s designs again.  In college we were encouraged to do “imitations” of writers, using their form in order to get the meter and the words under our creative nails, as a way of training up a writer. It was a form of limiting, giving us structure, but not letting us off the rails, so to speak.  So I decided to allow Kevin’s form to give me structure. And I chose to limit my fabrics to a (delightful) bundle of Janine’s Uppercase fabrics, which I’d purchased at Market.

The first experiment (above) with Kevin’s work was almost an exact copy.

KevinUmanaIGfeed2

Umana Cross Quilt 2

But the second quilt took off on its own.

Crossroads Center Block

The center cross morphed.
Crossroads_frontfinal Crossroads_detail

Somewhere in here, the experiment sparked an original idea.  And when I quilted, I kept seeing more.Crossroads_3 Crossroads_2 Crossroads_1

Crossroads, after Umaña • Quilt #165

Until finally, I’m here.

I won’t tell you what I wrote for Uppercase, because in a way, it’s really irrelevant to the idea of this particular story.  What resonates is that challenge laid down in those words of the application, one that I think about to this day.  I’m incredibly grateful to Kevin for allowing me to collaborate with him, and to borrow a little from his light when I needed it.

I’m also grateful to creatives who make fabrics for me to use, such as the excellent line shown in this post.  All fabrics, with the exception of the solid white, are from Janine Vangool’s Uppercase Fabrics line.  Yes, even the wee metallic letters in the sunglasses below, an echo of Kevin’s at the top of the post.

UppercaseFabricSunglasses

 (Chuck Nohara block #345. Pattern for the Crossroads quilt coming soon to Craftsy.)

And finally, the cheesy way to close out a conundrum: let somebody else do the talking for you.

I narrow-mindedly outlawed the word ‘unique.’ Practically every press release contains it. Practically nothing ever is. (Fred Hechinger)

Every person born in this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique and every man or woman’s foremost task is the actualization of his or her unique, unprecedented and never recurring possibilities. (Martin Buber)

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. (Margaret Mead)

Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it. (Tallulah Bankhead)

Giveaway Banner

Uppercase Giveaway

When I saw Janine at Quilt Market, her booth was handing out free Uppercase Magazines.  Since I’ve been a subscriber for several years, I mentioned to Janine that with the free magazine I could instead do a Giveaway on my blog, and she handed me another magazine, her fabric catalogue and the charm pack of her fabrics to sweeten the pot.  To enter, please leave a comment.  Blog followers get double their chances (shameless promotion), but it’s not necessary to follow to win. 

NOTE: Giveaway now closed.  Thanks to all who entered.

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚
And finally…

Giveaway Step 6_OCT

…congratulations to the winner of the Dresden Carnival book, Beth T, who wrote about making a squared Dresden plate block for her niece’s quilt.  I’ve sent you an email and I’ll get that off to you this week.  Thank you to all who entered.  You have lovely Dresden Plate Memories!

Oh Christmas Tree QAL • STEP 6 and Giveaway

6XmasTreeJune

Today is Step 6 of our Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-a-Long (#ohchristmastreeqal), following a pattern by Wendy of FlyingFishKits and which was published in Simply Moderne issue #3, by QuiltMania. As always, we have an assist from Wendy of  Wendy’s Quilts and More (blog) and wendyquiltsandmore (IG).  Our hashtag on Instagram is #ohchristmastreeqal so look there for more ideas.

I’ve been keeping a log of the steps in the tab above, Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-A-Long, so consult that page when you need to find a post.

And yes, there is a giveaway at the end of this post, so have fun reading through the maze of red triangles.

great wall of china1

Today is the Dreaded Border Problem. No, not that kind of border problem, but a QUILT border problem. To guide you through all the blather this longish post, I’ve broken it into 5 parts: 1) The Pattern and the Problem, 2) The Fix, 3) Construction, 4) Fitting it to the Tree, and 5) More Ideas.

The Pattern and the Problem

As SuggestedThese were the inner red/background fabric border blocks, drawn to the measurements listed on the pattern in Simply Moderne.  You can see the troubles already, right?  None of them can play nicely together (that last shape is the dimension of the half-triangle, minus its diagonal line).

MetricImperial Stormtrooper(from here)

Maybe the Metric vs. Imperial measuring system may have something to do with it?  but I don’t know (and to be truthful, I just really wanted to use that image).

As Re-drawn

When I tried to subtract the seam allowances, and create the wedge piece for use at each end of the borders, it just got messier.

But never fear!  Wendy informed me that the seam allowances were left off the triangle and the wedge piece, EVEN THOUGH IT SAYS THE SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE INCLUDED.  She sent me photos showing a difference in the base of about 3/4″ across.

Which explains. . . a lot.  Like a lot of you have gone ahead and cut out the triangles then got to a place like where Gwen did, when she noticed that they were too small!  She eventually made more triangles to fit across the area needed.  Leslie, another friend who was trying to make this at a retreat, emailed me with the same problem; she decided to stop until I figured it out.

The Fix

But before I knew about the news from Wendy,  I had scrapped their templates entirely and made my own, which work fine (free templates for download are below). I compared my triangles to the revised pattern (now including) seam allowances, and mine are slightly larger by about 1/4″ total on the large triangle (1/8″ each side), but interestingly enough, perfect for the wedge triangle.  So you have a choice: do theirs in their imperfections — first adding seam allowances — or, forget theirs and go with mine.  You should know, however, using my templates will change the number of wonky stars you’ll make for the border, if that matters to you.  The finished quilt photo is at the very end of this post, if you want to compare how mine turned out with the magazine’s photo.  And Simpy Moderne’s  link for the errata; it simply says “add seam allowances.” Okey, dokey.

I figured out my templates by starting with their lower border measurement, which just happened to be one that I could evenly divide by 3.  So I redrew my triangles to measure 3″ across the bottom. Then I had to change the side border measurement to also allow division by 3.  Here’s my working snapshots from my QuiltPro software.

OCT6_Side border1

These images show the measurements without seam allowances.  The templates that you’ll print off (at 100%) include those pesky seam allowances.  OCT6_TopBorder

So here is that link to a PDF file that has templates for the new triangles and corner block: OCT New Border Templates.  To make sure you are printing it out correctly, the inside measurement of the cornerstone (w/o seam allowances) is 3.5 inches (or the entire square is 4″).  Please print out only one copy for yourself.  If your mother or friend want the pattern, please send them here to get it.  Many thanks.  

Construction

OhChristmasTree6_1 cutting triangles

I cut three 4″ strips WOF: as you can see, the strips were big enough to accommodate the triangle pattern.  I did flip it back and forth so was able to get about 10-12 triangles out of that folded cut per strip (I forgot to count).  So, from three strips I had plenty.  You’ll need 11 red triangles each for the top/bottom border, and 13 red triangles each for the side borders.  Cut 12 whole background triangles and 2 smaller wedge triangles for each side border; top/bottom borders require 10 full background triangles and 2 smaller wedge triangles.  [NOTE: I do show you two different ways to think about your placement; read all the way to the end before cutting.]OhChristmasTree6_2

I put a double loop of painter’s tape on the back of my template so it wouldn’t shift while I was cutting.OhChristmasTree6_2a

I also don’t really worry about the outside edge of the template so much, instead focusing on lining up my ruler with the actual dimensions of the triangle.  That way, if I accidentally trim off a bit of the template while cutting, the world doesn’t end.  I’m paying more attention to the inside “actual triangle” shape when I cut, than to the triangle’s outer seam allowance line.OhChristmasTree6_2b OhChristmasTree6_3 cutting arrangement

I’ve also learned to shift the fabric going up away from me (north-south direction) when I cut angles, shifting it slightly left or right as needed, so it’s easier cutting with less stress on my hands.

OhChristmasTree6_4 sewing

All lined up, ready to sew. OhChristmasTree6_4a

Since I cut three strips at once, I work with a stack of six red triangles and six background triangles, laying them out like this.

OhChristmasTree6_4bb

Line up the tip like this, then sew along the top edge with an accurate 1/4″ seam, shown here by the dotted line.  Do your best to get that seam as accurate as you can, as you are working with a ton of seams here, and a little scoonch off at this point can yield big differences later.  Having said that, I wouldn’t worry about it too much, as there are lots of ways to adjust these borders.OhChristmasTree6_5 pressing

I stitched them in pairs, then pressed to the dark side.OhChristmasTree6_6

Then I seamed two together, pressed again to the dark side, then built out my four different borders by combining these sets.  Watch out–you will have an odd number so you’ll need to sew on just one red triangle at the end of each border, then sew on the smaller half-triangle shapes to make your borders.  To reiterate, you should then have:
•  two borders with 11 red triangles
•  two borders with 13 red triangles

This is different than the pattern in the magazine.  Sew a corner block on the ends of the 13-triangle (side) borders and iron all the seams to the dark side, as before.

Fitting It to the Tree

Find yourself a nice big flat surface, preferably with a grid.

OhChristmasTree6_7 squaring quiltLike a cutting board, or something (Why yes, I do work on my guest bed all the time).  I smoothed out my tree, aligning the tree trunk on one of the lines (north-south) but quickly realized that even though I thought I had sewn the tree on straight on my background, it was slightly off (see the slope of the lower edge).  You’ll cut the background 33 1/2″ by 39 1/2″ if you are using my templates.  Please follow the measurements in the magazine if you are using theirs.

OhChristmasTree6_7 squaring quilt1

I was more concerned that the tree be upright and straight, so I continued lining up the tree trunk and the limbs with the grid underneath, then putting pins to anchor them straight.
OhChristmasTree6_7 squaring quilt2

Since I want the background to be cut to 33 1/2″ inches wide, I put the 16-3/4″ inch line in the middle of my tree.OhChristmasTree6_7 squaring quilt2b

If you have one of these hanging around the house, that’s even better.  They are nifty rulers that allow you to find the center easily.  Just line up the similar measurements on the outside (in this case, the 1-inch marks on the top edge of the Center-Finding Rule) and you’ll instantly find the center.  OhChristmasTree6_7 squaring quilt3

Mark the outside edges.OhChristmasTree6_7 squaring quilt4

Now connect the marks.  I also used the grid underneath to aid me, deferring to those lines, if I thought my marks were a little wonky.  I measured the height of this rectangle (39-1/2″) and it turned out to be almost exactly two inches above the big circle at the top of the tree and the lower edge of my manger in my scene.  (Lucky me!)  I then used the grid underneath and the right angles of my big ruler to draw the top and bottom lines.

The idea is to draw yourself a squared-up rectangle.  If you draw the lines at 33 1/2″ and 39 1/2″ then you can align the raw edges of your borders with those lines as you pin them on.  BUT DON’T TRIM THE BACKGROUND YET!!OhChristmasTree6_8 sewing borders1

Of course, the best-laid plans often go awry.  I’m a bit short here, but instead of stretching the border to fit (which I could do, since it’s mostly on the bias), I let it be a bit short.  I’ll adjust the outside wonky star borders as needed.  Sew on the top and bottom borders first.OhChristmasTree6_8 sewing borders2

While ironing this seam, I just realized that the red triangles should be pointing TOWARDS the Christmas Tree. I un-sewed, then re-sewed, all the while listening to this (30 hour!) book:

Alexander Hamilton

In this season of political intrigues, constitutional fights and jockeying for power, it’s been interesting to revisit the original story of political intrigue, constitutional fights and jockeying for power.  Okay, back to the triangles.

OhChristmasTree6_8 sewing borders3

Sew on the top/bottom borders first.  Then sew the two sides, leaving the corner block seam areas unsewn.  Press, then check them, THEN TRIM THE BACKGROUND FABRIC.  After that, stitch the corner block seams.OhChristmasTree6_first border on

Ta-Done!!  It changes the look of everything to have this first border on, and now I can’t wait until I can get sewing the Wonky Blocks for the outside.  I’ll cover that on our last installment of the QAL, including how to adjust in case your borders aren’t quite what you thought.

Betty, another friend who is doing this, was working parallel with me that day, and we talked back and forth as we worked. The big take-away is that I think this quilt is jinxed, has a spell on it.  Or maybe it was because it was too hot:
113 degrees_toohot

At one point, nearly in tears, I called my husband and told him this pattern had gotten the better of me, and I wanted to chuck it through the window.  So if you have this reaction, you are not alone.  But carry on, it gets better.  Betty’s quilt turned out like this:

BettyOCT_redborders

(Isn’t that background fabulous?)

Here’s the kicker: she had to eliminate the wedge triangles from the two sides at the lower edge, where it joins the square.  In fact, she had to cut those triangles in half.  Her measurements are only 1/2″ different than mine, so that’s when I decided that with this pattern you have to:

Go Zen Quilter

Go Zen.

Oh yeah, that’s totally me up there, but only after I got the red borders on.  Just let go of trying to make this pattern be a precise, precision-cut and sewn quilt, and just work with it.  And by the way, Wendy from NZ was working with the “good measurements” from the original pattern and she still had a hard time getting the red border sewn.  But like me and Betty — and soon, you — she did it.

Wendy OCT with first border

Yes, she reversed her triangles, but when I commented on it, told me that she was all finished so they were staying that direction.  I mention this to fit in with the theme of Go Zen.  There are many ways to complete this pattern, and they are all charming.  Keep reading for another.

Once you get here, you’re going to want to keep going and get the whole dang quilt finished off.  So, instead of waiting a month for the next installment, I’ll give you roughly a week to get it on (and to get the cursing out of your system) and then I’ll pop up with the the final installment, where we Finish This Thing.

tiny nine patches

More Ideas

OhChristmasTree alternateborder

I first saw this on IG.  She did it all in Kaffe Fasset fabrics (apparently, no wools anywhere), with a red/white checkerboard border and that she plans to hang it up all year long.  This photo is from the IG feed from Linderella’s Quilt Works in North Carolina.  (This is the advantage of tagging your photos!)

SusanHolmanOCT

And then Janice of french75too (and a huge EPP enthusiast) sent me this picture that was posted on the Kaffe Fasset FB group.  The quilt is by Susan Holman, who gave me permission to post it here.  She also mentioned that she “had to cut the inner section a bit smaller” and also “re-drafted the stars to finish at 7.5,” as the depth of the border changed the dimensions.

Just to torture myself further for fun, I decided to think about how the quilt top would look if I used different end wedge triangle colors. Here are two pictures to illustrate what I mean.

OCT6_beigetriangles

This is how the pattern goes: small half-triangles made of the background fabric sit next to the corner blocks.  The center triangle, in the top and bottom borders, is pointing exactly at the tree trunk.
OCT6_RedTriangles

In this one, the small wedge-shaped triangles are red, which means that the numbers are slightly inverted (10 full red triangles, instead of 11) and the points of the center triangles are on either side of the tree trunk.  You get to choose.  And because I promised you, here’s a look at my completed top:

OhChristmasTreeFinalToplabeled

This photo is showing number of triangles and the number of wonky stars (which we’ll do next time).

ChristmasTreeLogoSM

Here’s our updated schedule (can you believe we’ve been working on this since January??):

January 2nd, Step “prepare”: buy the magazine, books, gather your fabrics, buy the felt/wool, buy/find the pearl cotton.
February 2nd, Step 1: Make the tree on the background and stitch it down.
March 2nd, Step 2: Make 21 flowers.
April 2nd, Step 3: Make 10 birds and all the leaves.
May 2nd, Step 4: Appliqué down the flowers and birds.
June 2nd, Step 5:  Scene at bottom of tree–make, then appliqué onto background.
July 2nd, Step 6: Sawtooth border (reds); sew together and attach. 

July (sometime mid-month), Step 7: (finish up Quilt-A-Long): Make wonky star blocks, sew them together and attach border #2.

September, Step 8 Show and Tell, just in time for school starting again.  Please send pictures of whatever state your Christmas Tree is in–whether it’s just the bones of the tree, of a completed top–we want to see it!

 

Giveaway Banner

Dresden Giveaway

Since we are now winding down our Oh Christmas Tree QAL, I thought you’d like to have another project to start.  How about some Dresdens?  This lovely book, Dresden Carnival, written by Marian Gillian and Yvette Marie Jones, has sixteen different quilt projects using the Dresden Plate block in ways you never thought of.  The color pairings are bright and fun and the settings will have you thinking about Dresdens in a whole new way.

To win a copy of this book, please leave a comment telling me what your best Dresden Plate block memory is–from that vintage quilt you saw in an antique store to inheriting a set of blocks from your aunt, to the colorful Dresdens now flying around on the internet (including the free EPP pattern on this blog).  I’ll activate the Husband Random Name Generator and we’ll pick a winner.

UPDATE:

Well, my husband was reading intently, so I fired up the Random Number Generator and it picked a winner.  See next post for more info.

Flag waving

Happy Independence Day!
After listening to Hamilton, this whole process has a new meaning for me.  I owe a great debt to those early patriots.

Quilt Market May 2016 • Day One • Giveaway

QMarket1_sign

Yes! folks.  That is me standing under the sign, nervous and excited as all get out. Yeah, I know it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  And there’s a little bit of a giveaway at the end, just to reward you for reading all the way through.

QMarket_overlook

I’d entered the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City that morning, dazed and confused even though several people had given me good advice for Going to Quilt Market.  I came down the escalators to the left (out of sight), trying to figure out what to do next, when a lovely woman walked towards me.

QMarket_Claudia and I

Claudia, the owner of Snowed In Quilt Shop in Panguitch, Utah showed me where to pick up my badge.  She then told me to pay for SchoolHouse (all-day classes) and for Sample Spree (really?  I’m going to that time-honored craziness??).  I designated her my “Handler for Quilt Market,” and off we went to Schoolhouse.

QMarket3

Wait, what?
QMarket3a

This is better.  We shared the building with burly guys wearing T-shirst that said Coal: Clean & Abundant, as they went to their meetings in a wing of the convention center.QMarket2

First up: a plenary session where the first 700 who picked up their schedules also got a ticket for a souvenir tote bag from Cotton and Steel.  I’d heard about the freebies here (actually less than you think) and was happy that I could get something fun right off the bat.  It opened with the officials telling us the stats of our industry, among other pleasantries.

For the very next presenters were the Cotton & Steel gang, all young women, announcing their partnership with Rifle Paper Company, and the new fabric line where they showed us us a video.  We had a small sample of it in our freebie bags.  We weren’t yet allowed into the exhibition hall, as everyone was still setting up their booths.  It dawned on me only later that I had a badge that would let me in.  (Trying not to overuse my Super Powers, here. . .) However, I didn’t have time to go in until later, as I was busy going to Schoolhouse.  Claudia and I went back and forth between the two sets of classrooms, about a 3-minute walk between them, until we wised up and chose classes in a clump next to each other.
QMarket4

This presentation by Ink & Arrow/Quilting Treasures was stellar.  I learned a LOT.  Every quilt shop should have attended this one.QMarket_Schoolhouse4

Plus the brownies in their little giveaway bag were a nice treat.QMarket_Schoolhouse5

Many of the Schoolhouse classes are like this one: an introduction to a new line of fabrics, in this case Frou-Frou, distributed by ClothWorks, Inc.  I liked what the head of Frou-Frou was saying about quilting being like cooking.  “Spaghetti” in column 2 is actually skinny tubing, suitable for spaghetti straps on clothing.
QMarket_Schoolhouse3

I loved Maywood Fabrics’ presentation.  Claudia won a bundle of their fabric.  She actually won two times that day, which is nice payment for her having to drag me around.
QMarket_Schoolhouse2 QMarket_Schoolhouse1

Somewhere in here, at the urging of my darling husband (yes, he is!) I went down to the floor to see my  quilt hanging up.  Sigh.  You read all about that yesterday, so I won’t bore you today, but it was wonderful.  (And yes, I’d finally figured out at that point that I had a badge that would let me do that.)QMarket_Schoolhouse6

After lunch it was more classes.  Here’s Anna Maria Horner’s Schoolhouse class, showing off her amazing quilt.  And skirts.  And fabric.  And more quilts. And her fine sense of humor.QMarket_Schoolhouse6a QMarket_Schoolhouse6b

(Reverse applique flower and leaves)
QMarket_Schoolhouse7

So glad to see her in fine form.  We’ve missed you, Eleanor Burns!QMarket_Schoolhouse8_moda QMarket_Schoolhouse8a_moda QMarket_Schoolhouse9_moda QMarket_Schoolhouse9a_moda

The Moda Schoolhouse was all about their program starting in fall and continuing through next year: “Be My Neighbor,” where they will give out “blueprints” of blocks to fabric shops, where we plebeians can get them.  I’ve already made a house quilt, (click *here* to see and to get free downloadable patterns, too) but after looking at this one, it’s mighty tempting to try another.

By now Claudia and I are dragging and we have to muster up some strength to make it to Sample Spree that evening. QMarket_Schoolhouse10

So we stayed in our seats through another designer’s presentation (basically a demo of all her new products and how we could buy them) then went next door to Moda/Martingale’s presentation of the Match Game, featuring quilty terms, and a cast of brilliant stars (some lined up above).  It was really funny, and very high energy and we had a great time.  Some of the quilts featured in the book are below, slightly blurry as they were parading them before us at a pretty good clip:QMarket_Schoolhouse10a QMarket_Schoolhouse10b QMarket_Schoolhouse10c QMarket_Schoolhouse10d QMarket_Schoolhouse10e QMarket_Schoolhouse10f QMarket_Schoolhouse10g QMarket_Schoolhouse10h

There.  Now you’ve had your fill of eye-candy for one post. (I do think I’ll get this book.) We went to find dinner and I took a photo of the sample spree line from the second floor, where people had been lining up for hours:QMarket_SampleSpreeLineQMarket_exhibitor floor

And then I took one of the market floor.  See those people laying green carpet over to the left?  Stay with me now, there’s a story there.  Claudia and I grabbed a salad for dinner, and ate it quietly away from the Sample Spree line.  She agreed to watch my bags while I went in for one last pictureQMarket_onelastlookz QMarket_onelastlook

I came out of the aisle just as three uber burley guys gave the green carpet runner a hefty yank to the left. . . and I fell down to the right.  Yes, so graceful, but the rug had been pulled out from under me, just like in the cartoons.  The burley guys to the right came running over.  One of them was the crew leader, and after watching me get up (again, incredibly graceful *ahem*) he insisted I go to the boss of the crew.  I followed him to the loading dock, where it smelled like brine, a storm coming in off the salty Great Salt Lake.  Kind of like being at the ocean, really.
QMarket_loadingdock

Then he insisted I go to the Floor Boss, who was driving around somewhere on a yellow cart.  You think if they were so concerned about my injuries that they would have put ME on one of those dumb carts and driven me around, but no.  I had to go with this guy, chasing around looking for the other guy on the dumb cart.  We found him, but I explained that I was going to miss my PARTY and that my friend had my bags and I needed to go and get them, and really I felt fine (but knowing the next day I was going to feel it).  He agreed to let me release Claudia so she could get in line.

Now I’m carrying all my loot from today, and following this guy around.  Back to the loading dock, where we get another boss, who determines that I should to see Security. (But my PARTY!! I want to scream, for that’s what Sample Spree was to them–how could I explain what would be the mad dash of frothing quilters straight for the Rifle Paper Company new fabric line by Cotton & Steel?)  He takes me along the back of the convention hall, to a wide gaping doorway and I realize I’m looking at Sample Spree and nobody is in here!!  Did I take advantage of this and grab a stack?  No.  Like a good little girl, I follow the guy through the other doors, out into the hallway, where everyone in line is looking me, like “How’d she get in there?”

We go down the lines of foyer-sitters, into the office.  He says “This is the lady who fell down.”  Wait.  I pipe up to say, “I didn’t fall down.  Someone yanked the carpet from under my feet!”  I was asked to wait while they called for an EMT, and while I was waiting, would I write a description.  The EMT guy arrives and wants me to go in an ambulance to the ER.

Meanwhile. . . I can see the lines start to move into Sample Spree.  I turn to him, and say “My Party is starting! I’ve got to go!”  He assesses me (no slurring of speech, no fuzzy vision, no impact to the head, appears to be somewhat sane and walking straight); I sign waivers to not to go the ER in an ambulance.  But by now, I’ll be at the back of the wagon train in the Sample Spree line.  So I look at him and say, “You look official.  Can you walk me to the front of the line and get me in?”  He smiles, agrees, and we pass by hordes of frothing quilters, and I slip in past the Quilt Police, into Sample Spree.  I’m still achy, my hip and ankle are sore, and I know I’m going to feel it in the morning, but hey–I made it it to The Party.

QMarket_SampleSpree

This sort of image was not unusual.  I decline to show you my group of bags so as not to incriminate myself, but I got in about halfway through the long line, and no, at that point there were no Rifle Paper Company stacks to be had unless I bought ALL of the new Cotton & Steel lines for a mere $271, which would include their tote bag.  Um, no.  But it was fun going around, seeing the FQs (Frothing Quilters) grab and push and terrify those on the inside of the tables as they snapped up their stacks and bundles, and overheated their credit cards.

Basement apt

I did see Claudia later on, and she asked how I was.  She’s lovely and terrific and as she was still shopping, and I was pretty spent (in all ways), I headed home to my sister’s new apartment in her basement, where I had a lovely space all to myself.  I took some ibuprofen, and while I was uploadiong some IG photos, all the power went out around me.

I looked outside: dark.  I looked on IG: all the quilters in the hotels downtown were freaking out, saying “Way to go–the Fabric Geeks broke Salt Lake!”  Sounds like the party was still going on.  I knew the light would wake me up when it came back on in the middle of the night, but I rolled over and went to sleep.

Giveaway Banner

Because I was surprised at how little freebies there were (I had to purchase most of my souvenirs, except for the bag I mentioned), I have one giveaway here and a couple of more over the next two weeks, courtesy of the people I’ll name.

Felt Giveaway1

This first one is a charm pack with lots of colors of 100% wool felt, for those of you who are working on your tree (another one’s coming on June 2nd).  The colors are beautiful:

Wool Felt 3

It’s from National Non-Wovens, and they also donated some for our next Oh Christmas Tree post, just in case you don’t win this round. While this is a vendor, they will sell smaller quantities to us quilters at Commonwealth Felt.

In The Pines Book

The other item I’ll throw into the giveaway is this book by Carolyn Culling McCormick, In the Pines, from Kansas City Star Quilts.  This is a book of paper-pieced patterns so you can make the more traditional pine-tree quilts with tiny pieces.  The paper-piecing makes is manageable.  Leave a comment below and I’ll activate the Husband Random Name Generator and pick a winner (one winner will get both items).  This will close on Saturday, May 29th, my mother’s 88th birthday.  (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

NOTE: Comments now closed.  Winner to be announced in next post.

Next Up: Day Two of Market

Oh Christmas Tree QAL • STEP 3

4XmasTreeApr

Here we are again, gathering together for the next step of the Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-A-Long (#ohchristmastreeqal), using the pattern found in Quiltmania’s Simply Moderne, issue #3, designed by Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits.

ohchristmastree3_flowers1 ohchristmastree3_flowers2

At this point, you’ve been working on your flowers for a month, and if you are like me, that first one was like jumping off a high dive, and thinking the pool was empty and you’d go splat.  But you didn’t, and your flower circles are looking wonderful and you are actually having a great time.  Keep working on them, you’ll need 21 of them in the various sizes shown on the pattern.  I have to admit that all of mine are not the “perfect” size, as some are larger than what is called for.  I mocked up the tree the other day (I’ll show you this at the end) and it was okay.  So no fretting.  Just #startyourneedles and keep creating and stitching.

But. . . this month we’re adding two easy tasks: leaves and birds.  First up, birds.

ohchristmastree3_birdsA

Remember all that tracing you did of the birds, and how you labeled them and marked the dashed overlap lines on a folded piece of freezer paper, so you’d be making two copies of the bird (one regular, and one reversed) and you stapled it together to keep the pieces from shifting? Now’s the time to get them out.  Hold them up to the light and transfer the dashed overlap marking on the wing to the wing piece on the other side, then cut them out and start picking your colors.ohchristmastree3_birdsB

Be bold!  Red beaks! purple bodies! wild wings!  I ironed down the freezer paper patterns, using a wool setting (NOT your regular cotton setting–or you’ll scorch the wool), and then cut them out.  I tucked the beaks under the body, guesstimating where they’d go (hint: NOT even with the top of the body) and pinned them.  Then I place the wing on the bird, using the dashed overlap line to place them, then pinned that in place.ohchristmastree3_birdsC

(No worries…I fixed that purple bird’s wing before I pinned it down!)ohchristmastree3_birds1

Wendy of Wendy’s Quilts and More gave me a tip to sew on the beak first.  I just used a few overcast stitches to get it on securely.  I’d never qualify for a bird plastic surgeon, that’s for sure.ohchristmastree3_birds2 Then attach the wing by blanket stitches (or overcast stitches, or a back stitch or a running stitch), beginning where it attaches to the body and work your way around the lower edge and back up again. ohchristmastree3_birds3

Now do the floaty part of the wing, and tie it off.
ohchristmastree3_birds4

Add a few French knots, or seed stitches, or whatever small decorative stitch.  Cut a teensy circle of white, then an even teensier circle of black and secure them both with a French knot, done with white thread.  I started by cutting 1/2″ squares of white felt, then rounded them off, and then cut smaller squares of black and just kept going around and around, cutting, until it was the right size.  Be prepared to sacrifice a couple of eyeballs until you get the hang of it.ohchristmastree3_birds4a

Ta-DONE!ohchristmastree3_birds4b ohchristmastree3_birds5

I got fancy with that red bird, attaching the wing with running stitches, and doing a zig-zag stitch across the wing.

ohchristmastree3_63birdsallI took them with me on my trip to Portugal and Spain (pictures of that trip are on my Instagram, to the right and on a previous post) and was able to get them sewn without too much trouble on the [long] flight out there.  These go MUCH more quickly than do the flowers, so I’m also adding LEAVES to this month’s tasks.

ohchristmastree3_leaves1 ohchristmastree3_leaves2 ohchristmastree3_leaves3 ohchristmastree3_leaves4

Okay, that wasn’t hard!  I traced half of all the leaves I’d need onto freezer paper, doubled it over to get two layers, then cut them out.  Iron on to your felt using a wool setting, and cut out.  Repeat for the inner, smaller, leaves.  I cut a few out of a different green just to give some variety.  Place the smaller leaves as shown, setting them closer to one end.  Using a backstitch, sew them down.  It’s tricky near the tip, but you can see how wobbly mine are and how it really doesn’t matter.  (Last time I checked, The Creator didn’t use a ruler to create his leaves either, and our world is the more beautiful for that variation.)

ohchristmastree3_mockup1

So I was curious as to how I was doing at this point, so I smoothed my tree up on the design wall, and stabbed pins through all the flowers and the four birds I’d finished.  Then, ACK! I was stuck.  What number flowers were where?  What had I sewn and cut and what was I lacking?  I got out all the baggies of labeled flowers and set up a little station on my ironing board, right below the tree.  I wrote out post-it notes labeling the flowers as in the pattern, and then a master list of where they were supposed to go.  I then lined up the circles from the pattern, drawn out on freezer paper below each sticky note, so I could see the relative sizes.ohchristmastree3_mockup2

Now that I was organized, I could figure it out.  I had enough of certain flowers and needed more of others.  Some of the directions in the pattern were wrong, so I corrected for those:

OhChristmasTree_pattern errataIf you want it to look like the one in the magazine, Flowers 6: should read “floating above branch 2” and Flowers 7: should read “on branch 3.”  I say, just squinch them all in where they’ll look good.  This is just a test run, but later we’ll do it for real.
ohchristmastree3_mockup3

After a while, I could pin up what I’d cut out, fabric medallions, layered felts and all, and was pretty pleased with how it was coming along!  I’d encourage you to do this interim step, if only to give yourself a little pat on the back that you’ve come this far.  After taking the photo, I put everything away in the proper baggies, and planned to keep stitching flowers and finish up the birds.

ohchristmastree3_64stitchingAt the last minute, I decided to take a bunch of the flowers with me on our trip, squeezing them into a cute bag made by Sherri of A Quilting Life.  I snapped a photo of my stitching on the airplane tray table.  I kept stitching until I had nearly all of the flowers done:

ohchristmastree3_62flowers
ohchristmastree3_61mockup2

And after getting home, I did another mockup. I didn’t pay too much attention as to what number flower should go where, but instead put my largest one on top, then the next two largest on the lowest limbs, moving on up the tree and thinking more about size and color placement. I’ll let this stay up on the design wall for a few days while I move things around.  I did have one dud–a flower I ended up not liking, but that’s pretty good, I think.  I only had three flowers left to finish, which I did yesterday, so I’m ready to move on to the next phase.

A recap of where we are:

January, Step “prepare”: buy the magazine, books, gather your fabrics, buy the felt/wool, buy/find the pearl cotton. 

February, Step 1: Make the tree on the background and stitch it down.  

March, Step 2: Make 21 flowers.Keep stitching, keep stitching!

April, Step 3: Make 10 birds and the leaves.  Keep stitching, keep stitching!

May, Step 4: Scene at bottom of tree.

June, Step 5: Appliqué down the flowers.  (Wendy gave me some tips for this last week, which I’ll pass along.)

July, Step 6: Appliqué down the birds and the scene.

August, Step 7: Sawtooth border (reds); sew together and attach.

September, Step 8 (finish up Quilt-A-Long): Make wonky star blocks, sew them together and attach border #2.

See you May 2nd for the next step: scene at the bottom of the tree.  Wendy’s done one scene, the pattern shows one, and I’m cooking up another.  See below for the giveaway.

#startyourneedles for the #ohchristmastreeqal

Giveaway Banner

ohchristmastree3_65GIVEAWAY

Initially I wasn’t going to do a giveaway, but after visiting with Anna in Barcelona, I thought it would be fun to have a Spanish connection from our trip.  In Barcelona, I purchased five balls of size 8 pearl cotton (my favorite size) and will send that to the lucky person who is chosen from comments left below.  I’m also including a 1 yard piece of metallic purple embroidery floss that I purchased in Lisbon.  Even though it is a little like sewing with tensile steel, it makes fun accents on our flowers (I used mine for some back stitching here and there, and also for some French knots on another flower).

Please leave a comment below, telling me either where you’d like to go a a trip outside the US and why, or the place where you had your favorite trip (outside the US) and why.  I love to read about other people’s trips, or their hoped-for travels!  I’ll let this run for a few days, then will close it off and chose a winner.

UPDATE: Comments are closed now.  Thanks for writing!