Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Whole "Quilting Makes the Quilt" Thing

Quilting makes the quilt. In the case of the quilt I finished binding yesterday after a marathon week of quilting it in pebbles and tiny lines, quilting also makes one run screaming to the chiropractor for an adjustment.

If you've been following the progress of The Great Pebble Undertaking of 2015 on my EPQD facebook page or Instagram feed (@evapaigequilts), you've been a witness to not only the progress, but also a not-so-rare look into my feelings on my choice of quilting pattern, with captions expressing my horror upon realizing it took me 38 minutes to quilt one triangle section, admissions that I fortified myself with chocolate covered almonds to keep going, and hashtags like #bringthecrazy, #stupidpebbles, and #aurifilrocksmyworld. I thank everyone who shouted encouragements at me through every update. It was, next to the almonds, the thing that most kept me going.

So remember this quilt top?

Working title: Big Old Star
 Shown here hanging off the side of the deck as we are wont to do around here, it's quintuple nesting stars in 80" of pure quilting dilemma. Which is why it ended up in the UFO pile for a bit while I contemplated. Then once I decided it was time to start quilting it, I of course had no backing fabric big enough, so it went back to the pile for a week or so. The motto of EvaPaige Quilt Designs has never been "Bringing you new quilt patterns with utmost alacrity in a prolific manner," after all. I didn't adopt such a motto for a reason. Sometimes these things need to marinate. Or they just piss you off. Or you are out of backing. Regardless, the EPQD motto, "Inspired Designs, Relaxed Attitude," could just as easily have been "We'll Get to it Eventually. Relax with Us. Enjoy an Adult Beverage While You Wait."

Once it was time though, I dove in.

And we're sandwiched!
And we're off!
For whatever reason, the quilt, with all of its white background, was screaming for some heavy quilting. I tried to shut it up for a few minutes, but gave up when I saw how cool it was going to look. So despite the fact that three rounds of stars, which were barely 1/8 of the entire quilt, took me over two hours and three bobbins to quilt, I was stuck. And a little bitter toward myself, to be honest.
However, come on. It's looking amazing.

So the pebbles filled the white, and in the star points I did wavy/straight lines in a triangular spiral. For thread I used Aurifil 40 wt 2510 "Light Lilac" on the top and 50 wt 2150 "Pumpkin" on the back. Did I notice that the numbers were almost exactly the same until I went to buy more? No. But it confused the heck out of me and I'm glad I had the spools with me or I definitely would have ordered the wrong thing.

The quilting was by now making the quilt. It was killing me to admit it, but it is a true statement. And as one who has ruined more than one quilt with less than stellar quilting, I was loving what I was doing to this one and that made me want to continue all the more, even though my shoulders were killing me and my machine area was getting messier by the second as every time I moved this monstrosity under my Janome 6125, it knocked more crap off the table to the floor. I can't wait for school to be out to make my children clean up my mess. Payback is awesome.

Halfway there!

The final pebble section. I may have been shaking with joy.

I also definitely celebrated at lunch that day.
 For the first time in my life, I love the back almost as much as the front. Plus those circles are so circular! Eat your heart out, Mr. Galluci, my fifth grade teacher who liked to amaze us by drawing perfect circles on the blackboard. I challenge you to a circle contest any day.
Love love love.
Isn't it cool how the circles make those white areas of the back look like carnations? I totally planned that.
By now you realize I am teetering on the edge of the deadly sin of pride. We're just going to go all the way into the abyss, so stop reading if you just can't take it.

For the 8" borders, I switched feet and did straight lines about 3/4" wide, about the same size as the pebbles, but much quicker.

And then, joy of joys, it was time to trim the excess! I pretty much was in an ecstatic state of glee and am lucky I didn't slice off a finger in my joy.
 I had my concerns about switching to straight lines from pebbles, but overall, I think it worked. Plus it was done, so I no longer cared.
Works for me. Done is better.
 Love this fabric I chose for the binding. It, like the blue part of the backing, is a Riley Blake print, although this one, being newer, is actually available.
 Then came the fun of adding the binding, and an epic display on my part of the Stupid Quilter Trick of managing to get the binding seam right at the corner the quilt. Because I did it not just once...
first corner
 Not just twice.....
second corner

Third corner
I win.

I did love that posting a photo of the first corner on my facebook page garnered a ton of reaction, both from the masses who do this all the time too to the superior among us who test it out first to make sure it doesn't happen to them. As I said to one of my friends who falls into the latter category, but then what would I have to complain about?

Which brings us all to the reveal of the completed quilt. While it is much more evident in person, I hope you can see a bit how the quilting of this thing, despite the fact that it took several years off my life, used up over 1000m of top thread and 25 bobbins, and generally drove me up a tree on multiple occasions, resulted in a really cool looking finished product, so much better than the top we started with. Plus it's so stiff with thread it could practically stand on its own, which could come in handy at lectures. I do pity the helpers who will be holding this sucker up when I give my "Give it a Scrap Slap" lecture - I hope they have their Wheaties that morning!

You are sick of me, but I really really love it.

I'm going to be needing some pattern testers in July to make me a top and let me know if my directions make sense, so if you are interested, let me know. I will NOT be requiring you to quilt it in pebbles, straight lines, or at all. Cross my heart.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Color Game, 2015 Style

True confession: I was a weird kid. Most would argue I'm still a little weird, but these days we can attribute it to the latent creative streak I never knew was there as a kid that has come out in my passion for creating with fabric. And also just to me being a dork. That's cool. The most interesting people in the world aren't only those who drink Dos Equis, they are also the makers and artists and I'm so happy my weirdness morphed into a member of that club.

But back to 1979 weird for a moment, I bring you The Color Game, which my friend Keri and I played to excess every time we got together. We'd pick a color, grab a pen and paper each, and go all through the house, writing down every single thing we found in each room that was that color, and then compare notes and see who had the most items. Now and then there was a heated discussion regarding chartreuse vs lime or tangerine vs peach, but overall it was all good clean fun.

You want to party with us, don't you? 
This weekend, Bari J posted a challenge on her IG feed called #BariJColor. Or maybe it's not a challenge, just a hashtag. I have no idea. I really am not a big IG user, but I heard about it in one of my designers groups, and I loved her photo of her pink-spiration board.

 She challenged us all to participate, drawing inspiration from the colors around us in every day life any way we wanted to, which is of course something quilters are pretty adept at doing, but it never loses its fun. I was drawn to her collage because it reminded me so much of the Color Game circa 1979, so I grabbed the closest pretty thing I could find, in my case a bottle of dark periwinkle nail polish Paige had been using without permission in the living room, and took off to the far corners of the house to find inspiring objects d'art.

So what inspired me? Clockwise from top left:

Binding tools, stack of 8: I just got these in a Checker order, and last time I ordered them they were clear. This time they were blue, and when placed in a stack were almost the same color as the nail polish.

Eva's Converse Sneaker: I have no clue what she is wearing at school today as she wears these daily, just like every other 12 year old girl. She's very proud that she's the only one in 6th grade with periwinkle Converse, so don't you wish you knew her bad self?

Spiller flower taken from container pot: Much like being cool before my time and inventing The Color Game at age 9, I also was doing the whole "Thriller/Filler/Spiller" thing with my container pots before it was a thing with a name. I have no idea what these flowers are, but apparently the gardening world would call them a spiller. I just call them pretty.

Granite necklace weighing 25 tons: I love this necklace and wear it often. It even showed up in one of my very first blog posts. It's a hunk of blue granite, weighs a ton, and gets me comments and compliments every time I wear it.

Binding leftover on spool: A couple of blog posts ago we touched upon my penchant for rolling the leftover bindings I always end up with because I make my bindings 46 feet long on an empty thread spool. Here's one I freed from the mason jar where all the binding leftovers live.

Polka dot fabrics: One I bought early this year, one I just bought on Friday. The year of the polka dot continues.

Clover iron on jewels: I love these things for little bursts of sparkle when I don't feel like getting my Jewel - it out. Yes, you read that right. There are times I don't feel like getting the Jewel - it out.

Threads of all shapes and sizes: We've got an Aurifil 12 weight, a Kreinik metallic braid, a King Tut variegated, and a Wonderfil spaghetti. I don't know when I became a thread snob. However it happened, and I embrace it.

And right in the middle is the nail polish that started it all, just by being left on the coffee table.

Thank you, BariJ, for a fun little Monday morning activity to get the creative juices flowing for the week!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hexi(e)s + Summer = Hexi(e) A La Mode

At long last, I can finally announce that this pattern, the one I started oh maybe eight months ago but it feels like seven years ago, the one I have gnashed teeth, spit nails, and generally banged my head against the wall over, the one nameless for so long I figured at one point I might as well name it FTLOG (For The Love of God) for all the pain and suffering it was causing me.....well, it's done. Cue the fanfare.

I know that description of the fun I had with it makes you want to run right over to Craftsy and purchase a download-it-before-you-can-get-it-in-print version, right? Before I lose you entirely, it's  important for you to know the sources of my frustrations, which were NOT the writing of my directions (so yay!) or the way it fit together (yay!) or the general ease of construction (triple yay!). Oh no. Those are really fine, and were tested by five fabulous women who confirmed it was a good pattern. The problems were all about the cover, and were enough to inspire a new song by Meaghan Trainor if she were a quilter (its all about that cover, 'bout the cover...... it's TROUBLE!). Let's break them down:

Problem 1: Mental block over the name

This was the biggest problem, so we'll list it first. Naming a quilt is hard. But if you've ever named a quilt PATTERN, you know that is a whole other beast with seven extra heads. You have to strike the right tone of generic (ie no mention of colors or specific fabric patterns because you risk swaying users to stick with only those colors or fabrics; no words that might limit the use of the pattern for only one segment of the population, etc.) while appealing to the entire feel of the design itself. Then if you are me, you have to Google the name to see if anyone else has called a quilt pattern something similar, because who needs to compete with Terry Atkinson or Mary Fons? Sometimes a name comes to you before you even start cutting your pieces. Sometimes it takes eight months. Unfortunately, this was one of those times.

It wasn't for lack of trying. I've shown this quilt at my own guild show and tell, at several lectures, and more than once on my EPQD facebook page, asking for name ideas. While I got some that came close, none were really grabbing me enough to make me stand up and yell "YES THAT IS THE NAME!" Which I actually do do most of the time, so excited am I to have a name for a pattern. It may be that this was not the first time I struggled, I won't lie.

So how was this problem solved? Last Friday I just said to heck with it. I went with the best name I had come up with and said some bad words. Done.

Problem 2: Photographic issues for cover quilt

I love including more than one size in my patterns, because with the going average price for a pattern at $10, I want you to get as much for your money as you can. If you only make the pattern once, that is awesome, but it won't be for my lack of trying to convince you that you need to make it in at least two sizes and for every member of your family plus the dog. This also means that I like to show two of the sizes included on the front and back covers, and normally I like to put the larger size on the front cover. It's just my thing. You probably don't care or notice the size on the cover, but now you will.

So I made a twin size version for the cover, all in lovely polka dotty black/white/teal/purple shades with some batiks thrown in, determined to throw it on the cover. Somehow over the years, I had forgotten that b/w prints are a beeyotch to photograph. And by beeyotch, I mean just kill me now.

Photo session #1 - My photo fixer is good, but she isn't a miracle worker on the same plane as God himself, and that's what this one would have taken.
Photo session #2 - While the feet lend to the caterpillar effect (a popular name theme suggestion) it's overall a sad display of photo fail.
Photo session #3 - Finally, an overcast day and a borrowed clothesline. Photo chick could have cropped out all the background, but she couldn't have fixed the main problem - the psychedelic polka dot horror.

Photo session #3A - Found a cool rock on my way home from the House of Borrowed Clothesline. Climbed up the rock (top of this quilt is about 12 feet off ground) while wearing my cute new shoes which while adorable are NOT cut out for rock climbing, then climbed all over my car and hung out the door frame while squishing myself in it to get the camera at the right height and angle. The things we go through for a decent photo, but still those dots are killing me.

Cute, yes, hiking/rock climbing worthy, no.
Finally, I gave up. This is the face of defeat and the smushed boobs of the desperate. (Note - "Boob Tube" was also suggested as a name more than once.)

Admitting that I was not ever going to get a photo that did this quilt justice and made for an attractive cover lead me to the next problem:

Problem #3: What DO I put on the cover?

Short of making another twin sized quilt or hiring someone to do it for me, I was not going to have two sizes. But what I did have were five testers, who had made me beautiful tops, one of which was chosen in a viewers choice contest to be on the back cover to illustrate the baby size.

Because I had the pink/green version at the top of this post in hand and quilted, and a photo of Laura Piland's (Her blog is here!) winning teal and brown version all quilted and ready to go, I put an end to the madness. I asked Laura if she minded being a cover girl instead of a back cover girl, to which she replied "excuse me while I go run around the house screaming." So I guess that was okay.

I'm coveting this barn wall or whatever it is, especially after this photo fun I've had.
The final cover is as pictured above, and the pink/green version is on the back cover. Directions still include twin size requirements and layout as well as the baby size, but my life is much happier now that I have decided it is just plain okay to not include a photo of that particular size. After all, most of my scrappy patterns actually have 3 or 4 size options, but I only show two on the covers. So how is this different? I have decided it is not. If you don't agree, I respect that. However this solution is working for me. And since NOTHING about this cover process was working for me for so long, I'm good with my solution.

If you are still here with me, I cannot thank you enough just for sticking around and reading of my plight. My final issue is one you can help me with, and I hope you will:

Please comment - is it Hexi or Hexie? Both are rejected by spell check, so we as quilters must decide. Before I send it to the printer I want to know if I am doing it the proper quilty way!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thread Tail Thread Tales

One of the reasons I love my EPQD facebook community oh so much is I never know what is going to come out of it when I post some random thing. Sometimes I get a few likes, sometimes I get a few comments, sometimes we have some laughs....whatever happens, it's all good.

But then there are the times I post something completely random out of no where on an otherwise boring day, and all of a sudden people I haven't heard from in months or years are weighing in with passion on the quilting topic du jour in a post seen by triple the number of people who normally see my stuff - at least if we believe the numbers according to FB. Yesterday, that topic was the tail end of spools. I know. Riveting stuff indeed!

It all started out innocently enough as I was moving my two new Aurifil collections from their boxes to my thread racks. There is nothing like a nice full thread rack, spools brilliantly gleaming with the hopes of all of the projects yet to be, am I right?

Quilter porn
In the process of sorting my quilting threads (shown above in all their sexy glory), I came upon several sad, deflated, less than studly spools, and was torn. Should I throw them away? Should I be the frugal quilter that I am for the most part and try to use them up? This seemed best dealt with by the crack quilting community of the EPQD page.

I do love me a good screenshot
Within minutes, impassioned responses from both parties, aka the "User Uppers" and the "Tossers," started pouring in. From those who claim to use "every last bit" to those who answered with nothing more than "TOSS!" screaming at me in all caps, it was a bit like a very civil Civil Thread Spool War. I was thoroughly entertained by how a silly photo of what might as well have been my garbage sparked such discussion.

My favorite responses:

From the do as I say not as I do department: "I would toss them as they are nearly empty however I have thread that is older than my 38 year old daughter."

From the I'm just a girl who can't say no (to your face) department: "I happened to be cleaning out and organizing my thread collection when my sister was visiting. She made me keep mine but.........then she went home Toss them! Life is too short and so are those threads!"

From the department of avoiding creating more problems: "Those are tossable. They'll only bounce around in the drawer and tangle."

There were also several ideas given for how to best use up the thread ends, ranging from prepping it for the birds to use as nests (an idea that became very popular with the entire group) to thread basting (yeah, no. 505 spray all the way), to fusing them all together and using them as thread art. My guess is the thread artist is way more creative than I could ever be.

But there were two responses that got me thinking, even as my hand holding the almost empty spools hovered dangerously close to the garbage can:

 "I use up those little odds and ends for piecing scrap quilts, where the color doesn't really show or matter. That's also how I reclaim bobbins that only have a little bit left on them. It makes for slower going, with frequent re-threading, but the frugal Yankee in me finds that to be an acceptable trade-off." 

"If you ever looked at the back of my tops you would know I use every bit. May use 5 or 6 colors to piece some tops."

Okay, I am both a scrap quilter and an open presser. These threads should both blend in no matter what fabric I'm using, and it won't remotely show on the back anyway. Therefore WHAT IS MY EXCUSE? I can use these things up. And so this morning, I did.

SSDD - Same spools different day
Yes, I had to rethread about a million times (or seven, if we are being specific), but it isn't like doing so added hours to my project. While I like piecing with grey or beige, it's okay to mix it up once in a while, and it made for prettier seams. At the end of the sewing session, I had added two sides to these blocks and used up all these spools AND cleared out plenty of room on the racks for the yummy new Aurifil. Win win WINE! - typo but I'm leaving it because come on. This is me. It fits far too well.

You can't tell, but there are about 30 blocks in this pile. So adding two sides to each means those thread ends added up to 60 or seams.
 However, all this gleeful using up of spools still didn't make me feel one bit guilty about tossing some of the really old stuff that probably belonged to my mother, and is older than me, and I'm older than the daughter mentioned above. Plus I got to actually post a photo of my garbage after all.

I think they will be happy there. It's kind of cozy and all.

 So in the end I ignored the sage advice of  my friend Michelle, who obviously was so hung up on this that she was thinking about it constantly and texted her thoughts to me personally, hopefully not while she was driving:

"Did you realize that 10 yards of that Aurifil thread we bought is less than 3 cents? Toss those little bits. Your time is worth much more than what it would take to do anything extra with them."

Maybe, but my 60 seams probably cost me even less than a penny. For a cheapo quilter, that's pure ecstasy.

 And where do all those empty spools end up? I'm amazed by how many extra yards of bindings I always manage to create, and believe it or not I actually do end up using a lot of these little pieces for mug rugs, pillows, edging a shrug my daughter made out of a long sleeve tee the other day, etc. 

So I wrap them up on the spools and imprison them in mason jars.

 So there you go. The great thread debate may rage on, but my solution worked for me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

100 Blocks Winners - In the Presence of Superstars

Thank you to everyone who stopped by during the blog hop! I seem to have asked a rather difficult question for the comment section (Who is your celebrity doppleganger?) as only about a third of you were able to come up with one, but what can you do? It's still always enjoyable to see so many new faces, famous-looking or not, on the blog tour! I did get lots of answers saying people looked like their moms or sisters, which is delightful and sweet and always made me smile and marvel at DNA, and a few stories of people who were apparently molded from one of heaven's most popular molds and are told they look like everyone under the sun were very cute.  I also thoroughly enjoyed a few dorky fangirl stories some of you shared about meeting a famous quilting personality. I'm right there with you and only hope Rob Appell doesn't still have nightmares about me attacking him in the aisle outside my booth or Bill Kerr doesn't lose sleep over me making him take a selfie with me because I have an uncle Bill Kerr and I thought it was funny. Thanks to all who played along!
He didn't call in the bodyguards, anyway.

 I had two prizes to give out and am all hopped up to announce my winners this morning. I'm doing it now, before the ridiculous heat of this May day melts my brain. I begin to regret naming my block "Sun Shower" as I could do with a little less sun beating down today as it is already close to 90 at 10 am. I'm much more excited about my winners than to be back in the season where I will complain that I am sizzling hot (like you didn't know it) all the time.

Winner of the 100 Blocks Volume 11 plus a $25 GC to Gotcha Covered Quilting - Paula Dalby! Paula was not only my winner drawn from the comments on the blog post, but she also shares something in common with me aside from quilting - tone deafness, as evidenced by her actual comment: "My husband thinks I look like Brenda Carlisle of The Go-Go's. I think he's crazy, but we both agree I can't sing, so that's something. :-)," and this lovely sentiment in item number six from this Mother's Day gift from my eight year old:

Note the font three times larger than the rest of the page. She loves me.
 It's like my minister always says - "If you can't sing, just sing louder." Enthusiasm will get you everywhere with me anyway! Congratulations, Paula!

 My second winner is Loriann Fish, who entered the extra giveaway by being a member of the EPQD facebook community and posting on that particular page in the entry post. She will receive a copy of the 100 Blocks issue as well plus a "Harlequin Shake" pattern and charm pack from me. Thank you, Loriann and everyone else, for allowing me to feel all special over there too!

I'm also excited that thanks in part I am sure to the love you were showing my runner I made with the Sun Shower block, QM will be including it in their next "Quilts from 100 Blocks" issue, which I believe is due out in December. Did you know that if YOU make a quilt, any quilt, from any block or set of blocks from ANY 100 Blocks issues and send QM a photo, your quilt very well might end up in one of these "Quilts from 100 Blocks" issues as well? THEY REALLY MIGHT! So if you DO make a quilt using any of the blocks, make sure you show Quiltmaker! They want to see them - and they just might want to share them with the world.

No one says they have to be complicated, either.
If you haven't found a copy yet of 100 Blocks Volume 11, you can grab one over on the Pattern Shop page of this blog. Be sure to check out both the Pattern Shop and the Kits and More pages, especially if your LQS doesn't carry my patterns yet. Someday I will succeed in world domination, but world domination takes time.

Have a wonderful sew-y week! I'm off to Cape Cod this evening to spend some time with a guild there, and then will head to spring quilt market in Minneapolis on Wednesday for just a couple of days. Maybe I'll have an embarrassing fangirl story or two for you next week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11 - "And More!" Take Three!

It's that time again - Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11 is out on newsstands (aside - do newsstands exist outside of Europe anymore?) and I'm honored to have a block in this issue. As I am wont to muse, I'm also thrilled to once again be sitting at the lunch table with the cool "And More!" club referenced on the cover. But wait.....OMG! This issue it looks like I almost made it past the final day of sorority rush to get a bid at Nu Omicron Gamma ("Name on Cover") because what's that I see? My BLOCK made the cover! Woo hoo! Beta Omicron Gamma sister-up ceremony commencing!

It's the little things. Literally. I apologize for how this photo is so small.

Yes, along with many blocks much more amazing than my own, Sun Shower #1006 is a cover girl. Or boy. You know, I never asked. Either way, made me happy!

Welcome to everyone stopping by: if you've been here before, you know I can be a little wacky, and if you are new, my opening paragraph wackadoo-ness is pretty much what you find around here. I love designing, sharing, opining, and being a part of the Quiltmaker community and I'd love to have you stop by now and then. Mostly I'm thrilled you are here right now so let's get on with block stats:

Name: Sun Shower
Number: 1006
Piecing Method: Machine Applique (don't panic! It's fun! It's easy!)
Star Sign: Scorpio
Likes: Polka dots, fancy decorative stitches, long walks on the beach
Hopes and dreams: To be a part of a quilt you create for someone you love, up to and including yourself.
Fabrics used: Art Gallery Fabrics Oval Elements and Chromatics (stick around here enough and you'll learn I'm a bit addicted to AGF.)

Here it is in all its glory right in the magazine. I'm pretty sure Quiltmaker must use a better camera than the one on my iphone; their photos always look so yum.

It's really a fun little block and a great intro to machine applique. The shapes are simple (and found on pattern sheet 1 of the issue), can be cut from scraps (yay! scraps are my other obsession), and have a cool little geometric look to them. The key to getting those corners right, as you will see in the issue, is cutting the background larger than 12.5" and then trimming down. It's really the only trick to the block, and I think we can all agree that that is hardly a tricky trick.

I'm hoping you also got to see the runner I created in the gallery on today's Quilty Pleasures post.
Look at the cuteness. You too can do this!

Perhaps you notice something is missing. Yes. I, creator of the block, screwed up and forgot the little edge pieces in the corners when I made the thing. We could call it Creative License, but let's be honest. The real term this time is Abject Airheadedness. So we all must pretend they are there.

In any case, I figured a runner using three blocks could be cute. So I pulled some fabrics...

Hmm. More AGFs. Shocking!

Sewed some strips together.......
And then marveled at how they were so blendy with my cutting mat. Show of hands - Who thinks I am WAY overdue for a new mat??? I'm almost horrified, but not really. Stick around and you'll also learn I'm a really cheap quilter.
 Photo from the design wall might show it better. As you can see, I cut the strips random widths before sewing them back together. Who needs accuracy when you can trim down?

No measurements, no problem.
Here we are in progress. This project is a great representation of what will come to be known by future generations as "EPQD's Year of Grey and Polka Dots." Future schoolchildren will write reports in art class about my obsession-bordering-on-fetish, I am sure.

Would it have been more fun with the corner pieces? Probably. But too late!
The runner is going to be given to a friend who celebrates a big birthday this summer, simply because she saw the fabric pull photo on my EPQD facebook page and fawned all over it. I need another runner like I need more thread scraps hanging off me 24/7, so I was happy to tell her it was hers when I got it back. Do I often give things away randomly over there? Well, to be honest, not usually that easily. But sometimes there are giveaways for sure. And also fun discussions. And also breaking news about projects. And also daily quilty snark. In short, it's a fun little community and I'd love to have you join us.

So time for the giveaways. That's right. GiveawayS! Woo hoo!

Giveaway #1 - Copy of the magazine from Quiltmaker and a $25 Gift Certificate from my lovely blog sponsor, Gotcha Covered Quilting. She's an online shop so you don't even have to get dressed to spend your winnings, and you'll definitely find something you love because she has the most fabulous taste in fabrics!

Giveaway #2 - Copy of the magazine from me, along with a Harlequin Shake pattern (because it's new and awesome) and a Kona solids charm pack to get you started on making the quilt.

Charm pack is solid brights in all shades of the rainbow

To enter the giveaway, tell me who your doppelganger is in the comment section. This was always a fun question for my guests when I did the Hottie Hotseat interviews, so why not. At any point in your life, who have you been told you look like? Everyone seems to have someone! If there is a funny story to share (Did you get a good table at a hot restaurant because the hostess thought you were Angelina Jolie? Did someone ask you for your autograph in an airport because they mistook you for Tula Pink?) then share it! Also acceptable are stories of you acting like a dork in front of a famous quilting personality, because those could be fun too. Such as the time I practically forced myself upon Rob Appell as he walked by my booth at market and attached a Quilting Hottie button to him. But that's just me. Either way, we'll have a lovely list of entertaining stories I am sure.

For a second chance at the giveaways, head on over to my EPQD facebook page and leave a comment in the pinned post at the top letting me know you are a member of my community there, whether you have been for a long time or just joined today.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Send in the Hedgehogs

Ah, April break. A week off of school clearly not planned by a quilt professional due to its proximity to Quilt Market, but whatever. This year I just gave up on trying to get the final design I wanted out to Checker before market done. And by done, I mean, get a frickin frackin decent photo for the cover because everything else is done and has been done for what seems like years but is really only months. It's been a pitifully comical horror show, really.

Even my magical photo woman was unable to make this work.

Thankful for the loan of a clothesline, but just no.

Yeah, no.

Not straight on enough, although I do like the rock itself.
 It's just been so much fun. It also does not help that my camera (nee iphone, upon which I have taken all of my previous cover shots for four years and they all look great) does not love polka dots as I do. Unfortunately this is not destined to be a great cover, but the quilt itself is quite pretty. It's a sad thing.

The trials and tribulations of a designer. So moving on....

Troop 11009 and their cool breast cancer recovery pillows.
Several weeks ago I volunteered to host a cadette Girl Scout troop in my sewing studio (basement) and auxiliary sewing studio (dining room table) so they could make some breast cancer recovery pillows for a local organization. They did a great job, and everyone wanted to come back and sew some more, specifically everyone wanted to make a hedgehog from the pattern featured on the polyfil bag. Those crafty polyfil marketers. But because I have not completely lost my mind, I allowed my daughters to each invite one of them to come hog it up during an otherwise cold and windy and icky April break day. I would have loved to have all of them as I enjoy each of these girls greatly, but I am not insane.

I wish I had gotten a photo of the whirlwind of fabric picking for their hogs; while I don't have the stash of some/most quilters, to a 12 year old girl I guess it's fairly impressive. At least a 12 year old girl or two who aren't my own. In any case, after much fabric auditioning, callbacks, rejection, and casting, the pieces were cut and we were ready to move to the auxiliary studio, all set up with my two sewing machines.

This was the moment I blew their minds. How, you ask? Well, clearly it wasn't my abilities to make sure a picture is hanging straight on the wall. No, the truth is I possess an incredible and amazing skill bordering on the "magical" (their word) I like to call "winding a bobbin." There was ooooo-ing and aaaaah-ing the likes of which I haven't heard since pretty much forever.

Look at the joy I created. I rock.

 For those of us who put pins in things (preferably not our children) on a regular basis, it may come as a bit shocking that the population at large, as represented by preteens, has no idea how to put them in. So that was another lesson. I was very impressed, though, that they totally understood why the pieces had to be sewn right sides together, and also why the hedgehog spikey thing had to be sewn inside the little pillow as part of the seam, probably more so than you do right now because it is very hard to describe what I mean.

The actual sewing portion of our day-o-hedgehog-fun vascillated between forgetting to put the presser foot down, sewing at the speed of light, screaming with joy and/or fear of the needle, and happily lots of working together and laughing at and with each other.

A rare moment of serious sewing. Paige actually looks like she knows what she is doing.
Anneliese's "OMG I might be going too fast but I don't really know OMG OMG OMG" face.

Eva practicing surgery through handsewing.

Julie attaching some ears, because a hedgehog who can't hear you is just sad.

Eva is all excited about eyes she glued on. Anneliese is all "Girl, look at the mess you made on the table."
 Eventually the hogs were done, so we took them outside for a photo session. Like you do.

How many hogs can you fit on a tire swing?

If nothing else, the dying tree in the yard makes for a great photo backdrop.

Joining the hog treefest.

They needed a snack, so we stuck them in the grass to let them dig for bugs.
So did I get much work done over break? Do I ever? But I got to sew with some cool chicks who might actually sew something on their own someday because they will think back on Hogfest and say to themselves "I want to be cool like Paige and Eva's mom" so it's all good.

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