Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"And More!" Again and Loving It....QM's 100 Blocks Volume 10

Well, actually, it's here. Details.
By now you are either well aware of the fact that Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 10 is out this week, or you have been living in a cave. Granted, if said cave was in Scotland in 1745 and you were sharing it with a certain red-headed Scot, you are excused. But otherwise I am certain you landed here as part of the blog tour to celebrate, so welcome to Quilting Hottie Haven and my own little celebration of inclusion in this landmark volume of the 100 Blocks series! You'll note that as in Volume 8, I'm firmly part of the "And More!" crowd, and that is all fine with me. If you put all the And Mores from all 10 volumes together you would have a seriously awesome rave going and I'd hate to miss that.

If you've seen my video, which looks like it was shot in semi-darkness by an 11 year old because indeed it was shot in semi-darkness by an 11 year old, you've seen a little preview of my block. Maybe you also entered my "Cutting Room Floor" contest on my facebook page and threw out a guess of why I was wearing that big old button, the explanation having been left on the cutting room floor when the video was edited for length. Congratulations to Becki Morrison, who while not completely correct in her guess of "for those who need over 50 font," she was the closest to my delight in being a part of QM's 100 Blocks "because of the really delicate and subtle jewelry they send you." So size, and all things involved in it, mattered in this case.

Woo hoo!
My block, Puddle Jumper, is #975, which I love because that's a really easy number to remember forever and for always. God forbid I ever have to save the life of anyone by reciting what numbers my blocks have been in the 100 Blocks series, but I thank QM for making this one easy.

Despite my better judgement, Puddle Jumper was so named due to the fabric colors used. It's a method I really try not to employ in my quilt or block naming, but rules were made to be broken. I thought the aqua middles to these blocks looked like puddles, so there you go. Sometimes there's a good story behind a quilt name, and sometimes the story just sucks.  Unfortunately, this is one of those times. But who cares - it made the volume, so I'm happy!

A few weeks ago I wrote this blog post, which explains a little bit about why the block in the magazine looks nothing like the one I'm holding in the video. Although Kelly Eisenger at QM read and thoroughly enjoyed my post and immediately sent me a photo of my block so that I could whip up a new one, there are even more reasons I chose to go with a completely new color scheme:

  • I was out of the teal batiks
  • I make too many teal/purple quilts (see background of video for exhibit A)
  • I rarely use red, so I thought "What the heck?"
  • I believe whole-heartedly in putting a spin on any design, and this includes my own, because making something exactly the same way over and over again is boring.
Using the block in the video, I whipped this cute little baby quilt up last week, using four of the blocks and some pieced sashing.

I'm thinking of calling this "Rampant Viral Illness" as it looks a bit like measles and my youngest daughter was sick with a horrid flu the entire week I was making it. There. That's a way better quilt naming story for you.
Virus-like or not, I think the quilt is pretty cute, and shows a new variation on some setting ideas for my block. My older two daughters think it is the ugliest quilt I have ever made. I'm no longer feeding them until they take it back. PS, they are wrong, and clearly have not seen my trunk show featuring some of my early creations.

Pretty quick and simple
I played with the block in EQ7 a bit and came up with a few more design ideas for you.

Throw five blocks set on point with some setting triangles and you have a long table runner. Extra points to the first person to get one done by Thanksgiving next week.

Or eliminate the sashing or setting triangles and just play with the background fabrics a little for a cool secondary thing going on.

The block in the above mock-up was done all scrappy, and you can see the difference in movement between it and a the blocks shown previously. Both are great (if I do say), and it just depends on whether you are going for a more planned or a more scrappy look.

A little more planned

A little more scrappy
If you do use this block in any of your upcoming projects, I'd love to see!

My fabulous blog sponsor, Fat Quarter Shop, has graciously agreed to augment my giveaway prize of a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 10 with a $35 gift certificate to their online shop. Aren't they just the best?

To enter, all you have to do is comment below telling me what you are currently working on, and how long you've been working on it. Is it a table runner kit you bought yesterday and plan to complete this weekend? Or is it a Baltimore album you started before Baltimore was even a city? Let's inspire each other with our stick-to-it-iveness for the epic projects, and share ideas for quickie projects for when we just can't take one more second of the epic ones.

For a second entry, become a member of my EQPD facebook community, and comment that you did so in the pinned post at the top of that page. It's not mandatory for entry, but it's a fun little community of daily quilty snark and sharing and I'd love to have you be a part of it!

Enjoy the rest of the blog tour and good luck with my giveaway!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Celebrating QM's 100 Blocks new issue and videos with a "Cutting Room Floor" Giveaway

Yeah, that's me - grainy, fuzzy, and with questionable shadowing effects, but hey, my 11 year old videographer was the best I could do. Plus she kept laughing at me.

You may have heard by now there's a blog tour going on next week to celebrate Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks Volume 10 hitting the stands. If you haven't heard, it means you haven't seen all of the videos on you tube. When you are done entering this giveaway, go right ahead a watch a few.

When we were asked to film a short video to advertise the blog tour, we were also asked to use our creativity and personality, and that big old button left over from when I was included in Volume 8 became part of my schtick. However, as I am wont to do, my schtick went on too long, and the part where it became clear why I had it on ended up on the cutting room floor. To be honest, I was a bit sad about that for a few minutes. Then I had a brilliant idea - why not make an extra giveaway out of it?

I knew you'd like that idea. Here's hoping QM does too! More marketing is always a good thing, right?

So, here's the thing. Watch the video. Make a guess, either in a comment here, or on the pinned post at the top of my EPQD facebook page, stating why you think I am wearing that button, which is explained in the edited portion of the video (The Cutting Room Floor part). (Hint - try to think like me. I know, that's a scary place you just went to. But in other words, a little out of the box.)

Contest is open until November 16 at noon. Sometime in the afternoon, I will announce the winner, which will be the person who gets closest to why I decided to wear the button in the video, and she/he will receive a copy of QM's 100 Blocks Volume 10 and the scraps from the baby sized quilt (off the cutting room floor, see what I did there?) I am making for the blog tour highlighting my block. They are actually pretty cool fabrics and will be great in a small project.

Photo: The Quiltmaker magazine 100 Blocks Volume 10 blog tour is next week. I just might be whipping something up special for you in preparation.
Like I said, they are cool.
 Perhaps more exciting, I will at that time post the original video in its entirety and we can see how close the winner actually came. If they use my actual words I am going to be actually dumbfounded.

Don't think too hard. Just think like me. Be creative. Say whatever you want, because you know I of all people could never be horrified by any idea you might have.

 Enter in a comment here on this blog post, or on my facebook page where the post with comments is pinned to the top. Have fun! Be creative! Win a copy of 100 Blocks and my floor dregs! What could be better?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Not landing at IAH? At least you found BQF at QHH

Welcome to another of my entries in Blogger's Quilt Festival, the answer to the "I decided to stay home from Market and now I'm a little bit sad about it" doldrums. Thank you to Amy's Creative Side for always giving those of us who stayed home a reason to live.

Fall 2014 BQF Button
Click to head on over to the Festival. But maybe finish reading my entry first. You're already here and all.
This year I decided to enter the mini category. Who doesn't love mini stuff? Mini chocolate chips are good. Mini Coopers, while not spacious and comfy for a cross country roadtrip, are quite cute. Mini marshmallows are always a fun surprise in the day. Min(n)i(e) Mouse epitomizes womanly mousedom. Mini quilts can't be bad either.

I don't tend to make true mini quilts, but this week I actually was all hopped up to make a new sample and shape of quilt for my "Mod-ified Trees" pattern, which itself is just a table runner and therefore pretty mini itself. A fellow designer suggested a one-tree version based on comments she was getting in her booth, so armed with a challenge and knowing a one-tree version would take me two hours tops, I whipped one up. And I love it enough to show it off. The whole thing measures 16" x 16", so well under the 80" total mini limit.

Mod-ified Trees 2.0
I love a Christmas quilt that is anything but red and green. Pink and teal and a touch of lime? That works for me, and always reminds me of Charlie Brown wandering the tree lot being all disgusted by the pink aluminum trees. Deal with it, Chuck. I like this tree.

The quilt is made by first sandwiching the background with backing and batting and "pre-quilting" it, if you will. Or even if you won't. Because like it or not, that's what I do. I quilt the entire background before doing anything else, with the possible exception of eating a cookie or something if I am needing a snack. This time I decided to use two different variegated threads in teals and pinks in a stipple pattern. Next time I'd separate the two threads a little more, but I still like the effect.

"There's always next time" - one of my many mottos.
The tree and border shapes are cut using the Leaves Galore TM "petite" size template by Sue Pelland Designs. I chose some cool fabrics out of my stash and my scrap bins, because you really don't need much for this project. They were fused in place and machine applique threads carefully chosen (read: a pink and a teal
It's just a bit of squiggly wonderment.
were grabbed off the rack because they looked like they had enough thread on the spool to make it around all these shapes without running out) and a few iron-on jewels thrown in between the fronds of the tree for added glitzy fun.

I'd like to make this project sound amazingly artsy, but come on, let's be real. I quilted a background, and I machine appliqued some waves onto it and because I had them in the embellishment closet, I added some sparkle. (Yes. I have an embellishment closet. I feel your jealousy. If it makes you feel better, I found the actual cabinet on the side of the road for free. True story. It was also empty at the time, which was very sad.) That's really about it. I do absolutely adore the self bordering situation I have going on, though, so am willing to pat my own back over that part. I love borders, but hey, one less thing, right?
Here's the thing - a quilt doesn't have to be a project that took you seven years start to finish and is worthy of a special glass case in a museum in order to be considered art. Maybe this is more along the lines of "a cute little piece of art" than "a masterpiece" but I love it, and that is what matters. I hope you enjoyed it, too. If not, well, there are lots more minis in the BQF, so go enjoy!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Happy festival to all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I don't want to brag, but I'm pretty much a Hot Mess

It's time to admit something: I can be a complete idiot.

Like most creative people, I can often be a tad disorganized. While I abhor general household clutter and regularly admonish Mr QH about saving every piece of mail that comes through the door, piling it all up on a counter to make me completely insane every time I walk by the kitchen peninsula, and regularly take a trash bag to my daughters' rooms while they are at school to toss random crap they won't even notice is gone, I'm actually okay with a certain amount of clutter in the studio. I think most quilters are. Call it "a studio in creative mode." At least that's what I call it. Whatever makes us feel normal.

Unfortunately, my creative mode has gotten a little out of hand this year. Since I have to blame something and obviously the problem couldn't possibly be me, I blame my year of Scrap Squad and the need to always be delving into my scrap bins and throwing them about the room to find the right one and the lack of elves to come along and put the bins back.

In further unfortunate news, this organizational chaos has resulted in a six week search for some photos I know I took, but cannot find, of the three blocks I submitted to Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 10. I'm thrilled that they accepted one of them to be included in the issue, which comes out in just a few weeks. I'm thrilled to be participating again in the blog tour, during which I'll regale you with the process of creating my block which will be included, called "Puddle Jumper."

I can hardly wait. Because like you, when I get my issue, what this block looks like will be revealed for what will feel like the first time. That is because I somehow lost all the photos I had taken of the creation process of all three blocks, and I named them all on a whim, filling out the form moments before I shipped them all off. So this is the only remaining photo of my blocks.

That's helpful.
 So what can we surmise from this photo?

1. Batiks were heavily involved in my creative process.
2. I remembered to sign at least one of the blocks.
3. I like a light background.
4. Folding and stacking blocks makes for a pretentiously artsy and stupid photo.
5. My handwriting really does look a bit like knitting.

What it does not help me surmise is which of these blocks actually made the cut, and WTH the winning block looks like. A block I need to not only recreate since I apparently have no photos of the original, and which I also have to play with in EQ to come up with some more stunning items for my blog post during the tour. 

You may have guessed I am too embarrassed to ask. Here's hoping someone at QM takes pity on me after this post goes viral.

It's pretty much my motto.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop Reaches Baja New Hampshire

Have you heard of this "Around the World Blog Hop" thing? I have no idea how long it has been going on, but basically quilty bloggy people are writing posts answering the same few questions and tagging their friends to do the same. I was tagged by Marie Joerger (Marie's Creative Space) and was told to write a post by 10/6 answering the same questions she did.

Marie did not see my To Do list when giving me that deadline. I'm feeling quite fortunate that I am only two days late and there is a very large part of me writing this post right now just so I can have something to cross off of it today and because a hot cup of tea was calling and I can't just sit around drinking it, I must act like I am also accomplishing something. Brutal honesty - that's me.

So here we go:

1. What are you working on?

Gee, what portion of my To Do list do you want to see? The part where I have swear words encircling the word "Verizon"? The part where I realize I am crazy for having agreed to be the BOM chair for my guild this year? The part where I left my husband's absentee ballot on the kitchen counter for three weeks and missed the cutoff for paper ballots for those living abroad?


Okay, I'll show you the fun stuff.

 I've been part of the Modern Instabee since last spring. While many months have been more of a challenge than necessary due to the bizarre construction methods used in the book (sorry, but wow), September was a particular doozy because I kept thinking I had all the materials I needed and would go to complete a step and didn't have them. Strip piece using low volumes (oh how I loathe that phrase) and some red stripes - easy enough, except if you have no appropriate reds that aren't covered with Santas. Find red, now we're ready to inset the strip pieced part into a circle - actually not that bad when you use This Tutorial from step 12 on, but it would help if you had an actual navy rather than bright blue. Blue procured, now WHERE THE HELL IS MY FREEZER PAPER??? Seriously, this is NOT a hard block to make, and I could have done it in 20 minutes if I had all my supplies. I'm thrilled it is done as of this morning and will be on it's way to the recipient.

Also on the design wall and with a deadline fast approaching: Scrap Squad #5. Never have I enjoyed Halloween or made a Halloween colored quilt, but I am flinging the lid off the box and trying something new. I actually think it is going to be adorable.

Ghosts not included
Can't really show you the designs, now, can I?
I also whipped up a couple of blocks to submit to QM's 100 Blocks Volume 11. If you haven't done so yet, there are a few days left to submit your 12 1/2" block idea.

It is fun when thread loves fabric.
The one on the left. In purple satin. Jesus save me.

And from the department of  "I should have just said No," I'm working frantically to make this Mary Lincoln/Nellie Oleson/Laura Ingalls in her fancy church clothes Halloween costume for my eight year old history geek. Normal children want to be a vampire bride, I had to talk her into this costume rather than Sybil Luddington simply out of hope someone might know who she is in this one.

This is all in addition to the two new designs I am working on plus a new sample of Mod-ified Trees that isn't going to sew itself. So it's been fun.

2. How does my work differ from others?

My design attitude is a lot like my life attitude. I like relaxation, fun, and keeping things real. I don't like labels, boxes, policing (well, okay, in actual life police officers are a good thing, but they don't belong in quilting), pretension, or boring and I am okay with calling it out when I see it (hence my issue with "low volume" - it just sound pretentious to me, and my affinity for quilts made with scraps for more color excitement rather than a single fabric line). My patterns aren't meant for those who want a challenging long term project; they are meant to get you creating, playing, de-stressing, and loving the art of quilting without throwing the pattern against the wall in frustration because you've taken out the same seam twelve times and your points still don't match.

Granted, I'm not the only one with this attitude out there. But I always think we can use some more and I love bringing everyone I can over to the dark side with me.

3. Why do I create what I do?

Because it makes me happy. I don't think there is much more to say than that.

4. What is my creative process?
I often joke with my lecture audiences that it's important to spend some time just rolling around naked in your stash for inspiration. I am definitely one to immerse myself in the fabric, pull out a bunch of it and just see what happens when I start cutting. I CAN use EQ, and I DO use it sometimes, but I find it very limiting when it comes to design. I'd rather start with a pile of fabric and see where it takes me.

I'm supposed to tag a few people, but being the rebel that I am, I'm just going to invite anyone who blogs to join the Around the World Blog Hop. Just tag me as your inspiration and I will be thrilled!

To finish, my awesome new design wall, covered in some of my current projects.

I cannot WAIT to get my new fabric storage shelving!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Design Wall Lust

Most people get all hopped up about spring cleaning. I think we all know by now that I am not most people. I wait until fall. Fall for me has an energy to it that no other season has, and it is in the midst of the crisper air and the smell of pumpkin- or apple-something-or-other baking in the oven that I get all tingly and excited about purging crap from the house. It's the first week of October, so you can bet I'm currently surrounded by piles of said crap, and that at the conclusion of this post, I will be off to the dump. I can barely contain myself just thinking about it.

A small pile of his papers, most of which are junk mail.
This year's purge has become even more successful than usual, as Mr. Quilting Hottie, aka Mr I Will Keep Every Last Piece of Paper, Every Item of Clothing, and Every Random Thing I Pick Up Off the Street Just to Annoy My Wife When I Bring it Home is away. Very away. He's taken a job at NATO headquarters in Brussels for a bit, and while we are missing him terribly, I am also choosing to grasp the opportunity to throw away anything that isn't nailed down and without worth without having to have a family meeting about the pros and cons of throwing out a broken spatula.

That part of our NATO adventure? A little bit delightful, honestly.  

So anyway, part of my cleanout a couple of weeks ago was getting rid of my monstrosity, nightmare, useless after the first few months, and taking up way too much space mid arm quilting machine with table. If you'd like proof as to why I was not a complete moron for giving it away on Craigslist for free, feel free to review this post. And this one.  And this one. And this one.

I'd been dreaming of turning the wall the machine was taking up into a giant design wall for months, as evidenced by my mention of it in at least two of those linked posts, and once the offending nightmare was gone, I had to dream no more. This week I built and installed one 6 feet tall by 8 feet long, and I share my secrets here so that you too can have the giant design wall of your dreams.

How to Become the Envy of Your Friends: Building and Installing a Ginormous and Awesome Design Wall

1. Head to Home Depot or Lowes or wherever they sell giant sheets of foam insulation. Wander the aisles aimlessly looking for a size they don't make (4 x 6, to put next to the one you already have of that size). Explain to the guy who trepidatiously offers help that you are looking to build a giant quilt design wall. Watch his face go blank as he tries to escape from the crazy quilt lady.

2. Glance up as you are about to leave the store, crestfallen that your dreams are about to be shattered, and see the sheets of foam insulation that are 2' x 8', with tongue and groove sides.

3. Do a happy dance because you are brilliant even if the Home Depot guy keeps looking at you like you are weird.

4. Load three sheets into your car. Note: Make sure you do not have any children in the car with you as they'd have to lie down in the backseat or risk head trauma.

5. Listen to the sheets rub against each other and make the most God awful annoying squeaking sounds while you drive. Remind yourself this is going to be a wall your friends will covet for decades and it is all worth it.

6. Head to Joann's or similar and purchase a queen sized batting. It does not have to be expensive batting, just batting.

7. Discover, upon pulling up a mobile coupon on your phone, that Joann's is no longer giving 40% off coupons, but is now down to 30%. Bemoan the days, not so long ago, that the regular coupon discount was 60% and you wondered how they stayed in business, but didn't really care.

So annoying.

8. Debate whether to build wall in living room, outside, or in studio. Decide studio is best as this will be huge and awkward enough without having to move it.

So excited!
9. Stack the sheets and attach them together via the tongue and groove feature. Realize the tongues and grooves are almost useless as they are too shallow, and get the duct tape to stabilize each seam.

You can tell the seams are too floppy without duct tape.
 10. Cover the entire wall with the batting and staple it to the back. My wall is 72" x 96" and the batting I used was 90" x 108", which was just about perfect. (Sorry no photo of this process. I tried so hard, and had such a cute model helping me, but my phone was not behaving.)

11. Locate a bunch of nails, call down your kids to hold it up (bonus! It's light enough for an eight year old to help out!) and smack that puppy onto the wall.

So big it won't fit in one photo!

12. Writhe on the floor in ecstatic joy. Maybe vacuum first.

13. Optional - Skype with husband and show him the wall-o-joy and your evolving studio redo. Act innocent when he asks "Where did the computer table go?" It would only upset him to know you didn't give it a proper sendoff when you listed it on Freecycle.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Setting Another Hottie Afire - Welcome to the Hotseat, Gina Reddin

Gina Reddin,

After a brief summer hiatus, the Hottie Hotseat series continues today with Gina Reddin, Machine Embroidery Designer, Online-Shop Owner, and Quilt Designer.

Name:  Gina Reddin
 Business Name/Title: Splinters & Threads
 Location: Live in TX but you can find me on the net:
 # Years in Business:  13
 Current Quilt project: I'm currently working on digitizing embroidery designs that match fabric from the ADORNit lines.

I had to share her logo because it may be the cutest ever. Click to head to her shop!
I'm particularly excited to introduce Gina today as the "Two for Teal" swap has been heavy with machine embroiderers and is inspiring many quilters to give it a try, so how fun that Gina might be able to provide some cool patterns to some newbies!
If I came to your house unannounced, could you give me a tour of your 
studio, or would it be such a disaster you would make up an excuse as to 
why we couldn’t go in?  
Good luck getting in the door ;)  There is a reason in my signature line it says:  "Remember me not for the condition of my home but by the love contained in its walls."
What was the worst job you ever had? 
When I was in the Navy I worked in transient barracks (much like a hotel).  For 3 months I had to count the sheets in 5 of the (male) barracks to send to the cleaner.  ICK!  Boys can sure be disgusting.
What is your favorite meal to feed your family when you are desperately 
trying to meet a deadline?  
That's what I call "Fender" nights.  Because they have to fend for themselves.

Are you more likely to sing or to dance while quilting?
  Sing.  I love to sing!!  I play the keyboard for our church but like singing best.  I'm not great but can definitely make a joyful noise ;)

 What is the nerdiest thing about you?  I LOVE my computer.  My kids & hubby come to me when they need computer advice.

Favorite places you ever lived  Japan and Hawaii (2 years at each)

Something she didn't tell you - Gina has five kids. I'm always a little bit in awe of women who keep it all together with more than three!

I love that Gina's designs are so bright and fun, and also that she doesn't seem to have just one style. If you need cute, she's got it. If you need sophisticated, she's got it. If you need inspirational or funny, those are there too. I hope you'll head on over to Splinters and Threads and consider trying some machine embroidery, especially if you already own the machine but don't know what to do with it. You know I'm talking to at least a few of you!

Thank you, Gina, for agreeing to be my latest hotseater!

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