Monday, September 22, 2014

Bring on the Crazy

You know how sometimes it takes you just a few days to make a quilt from start to finish? Sure you do. This usually is because you've either lost your mind and agreed to a new project with a ridiculously tight deadline or you've misjudged your own awesomeness but midway through the project that you know is about to be the death of you you get your awesome on instead and decide you are woman, and you will finish it on time if it is the last thing you do. Both scenarios were my life last week.

This is the year of the Scrap Squad crazy, as no doubt you have noticed, but as part of said crazy I am developing a new lecture to discuss the fun I have had turning other designers' brainchildren into a quilt with my own spin, and then using the results of the spin to come up with a completely new pattern inspired by the fun. I'm calling it "Give it a Scrap Slap" as I believe the most striking quilts out there are those that contain a wide variety of tones, values, textures, saturation, and for the love of God, more than one fabric line. You may not agree, and I respect that. However I can't help but hope my future lecture is insightful and scrappy-inspiring and has audiences going home to dig in their scrap bins for just that most perfect shade of hot pink.

I had exactly seven days last week to bring an "inspired by the fun" design to fruition so I could announce and advertise my new lecture at the New England Quilt Museum's "Meet the Teacher" event last Friday. Normally, that would have been challenging enough, but oh no. This time I had to combine my self-imposed crunch to the deadline with the last week that my husband was in the states for possibly up to a year due to a job thing, and as men are wont to do when faced with planning for something so major, he took up some of what might have been my sewing time with an urgent need for me to help him go buy pants. Or search the attic for his college degree. Or whatever. 

It was fun.

In good news, though, we both found him some pants (I drew the line at shoes. If he can't buy his own shoes, he has no business living on his own.) and I finished the baby-sized version of my inspired-by quilt with hours to spare. So you recall my version of the latest Scrap Squad project:

The quilt that almost killed me, but I do love it so.
In creating an "inspired-by" version, I wanted to simplify and modernize the design a little but still include the basic round shapes as they were my favorite part of the quilt. I quickly decided, though, possibly based on my lack of time, to flatten my round shapes by leaving off the top and bottom of the blocks, saving time and creating a little more modern spin. I also knew that the circle "blocks" were ALL I wanted to be inspired by from the original design, as while it was cool to do once, I'm not really a huge fan of fussy blocks with 139 pieces, so the rest was going to fade into the background.

Off I got to work, and it is amazing how much faster these blocks went when I changed them just enough to make little football-y blocks.

Plus look at the cuteness. Fast and fun. It's my thang.
I even fussy cut some of the middles. Admire.
It didn't occur to me until midway through the process that this was the second pink and green quilt I've made in the last few months. My reference to it being my year to pretend to be a Delta Zeta was lost on most of my Facebook community, but shout out to any DZ chicks out there.

I showed a sneak peek of this photo:

This one here
to my friend Kelli and said "one more pink block and I'm done! Woo hoo!" She was all "Um, I think you mean one more pink and two more greens," but I fooled her.
 
Hee hee. Fooled her.
 I really kind of liked the off-kilter look. Plus it saved me time. I had pants shopping to do, don't you know?

Weirdly enough, not only was this the second pink/green quilt I've made this year, but in both I used light and dark tones of the fabrics to create part of the pattern. See how the green ones go dark/light/dark/light from the middle out and the pinks are light/dark/light/dark? Apparently that is my new thing. 


Simple quilting was all I had time for.

I clearly also didn't have time to make it perfectly straight. Whatevs.
I did decide to jazz up the quilting by changing the thread every five lines from green to pink. I'm just a crazy nut, huh?

I do love fabric.

Attempt at an artsy photo.
 Am I the best, most accurate straight-line quilter ever? Bwah ha ha. But you know what I love? You trim the quilt up after quilting, you cut all those thread tails right off. Bonus!

Always use your ruler in the upside down position.
I bound it all with a lovely hot pink, because everything is happier with hot pink, don't you think?

And voila! Done with seconds to spare. And I am thrilled to say very well received at the museum event, with two bookings of the new lecture already! Woo hoo!

My Vannas are at school, but you get the idea.
Would love to come give a scrap slap (gently, of course) to your guild, too. You know where I am!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mugging for the Camera

Did I hear you say you are sick of hearing about Two for Teal 2014? No? Good. This may well be because you are too polite to tell me, which I appreciate.

I am so very proud of my Two for Tealers (Two-fers? Teal Heads? We really do need a catchy name.) this year. Not only did they help raise $880 for Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, but the group is so cool that they gave me some pretty cool stats to share here, too:

  •  15% of the 88 participants are survivors of some form of cancer. While this is on the one hand a little sobering when you think about how prevalent that means cancer is, it's on the other hand inspiring, so we are going to focus on the other hand.
  • 4 of those survivors are ovarian cancer survivors, ranging from just a year or two to 21 years. I can't love that more. 
  • Over 30 states are represented, from small (Delaware) to big (Texas); from north (Montana) to south (Georgia) and east (Virginia) to west (California). Next year I am shaming the rest into it, starting with Rhode Island and Vermont, the only two New England states not to ante up a participant.
  • 20% of the participants have the name Donna, Diane, Diana, Debra, Charlotte, or Barbara. Which was a big old nightmare when organizing the actual swap, but I made it through and I love every one of them.
But much more exciting than all this is just the insane enthusiasm this group is showing on the Two for Teal FB page, from sharing the joys of already spending their Cherrywood gift codes to a spirited discussion of best mailing procedures for the completed mug rugs. One even decided to show us how cool she is to have painted her toes to match her focus fabric.

I covet Lisa's lack of bunions. Just saying.
 The favorite posts, though, are those photos depicting fabric pulls and completed mug rugs which have been showing up with reckless abandon over the last few days, spinning everyone up into a fervor of joyous sewing merriment.

Time to play Can You Spot the Focus Fabrics? We've got cool modern hexi mug rugs:
Made by Amy Marohn, daughter of Cherrywood founder and our resident famous participant because of it.
  We've got mug rugs with a little extra surprise:
Made by Christine Orlando; pocket a happy afterthought that was loved by all who saw it.
 We've got the cutest sand castle ever:
Made by Camille Vlasak for her beach-loving partner.
 And then there are the inspiring fabric pulls that have us all salivating. Forget the dogs, Pavlov should have used quilters and fabric, don't you think?
Michelle Banton's fabric pull. Yum.

Ruth Wasmuth's delicious choices.

Neva Ansinari-Post's delightful choices make me wish I'd given her the honor of being my partner.
 Didn't get a chance to be part of the fun this year? I'm already working on ways to make next year bigger and better. Be sure to join my EvaPaige Quilt Designs facebook page or newsletter signup so you can stay on top of the latest; I don't want you to miss out!





Friday, September 5, 2014

I'm back, hotties! I'm talking to you especially, Anne, for whom I am about to make the commute home oh so much more enjoyable.

We may have eaten them all in one sitting.
The summer of 2014 was survived by myself, my husband, and all three children, which is always a minor miracle. It was the summer of lost shoes, two cases of never ending poison ivy (one of them mine and I will never ever again weed. Ever.), introducing The Wonder Years to the girls via Netflix, lazy days at the lake, desperately trying to find the leak in the water trampoline, berries galore, Outlander on my audible books AND MY TV BE STILL MY JAMIE LOVING HEART, and the quilt project that sapped three years off my life. It will also be remembered as the summer I only beeyotched about the heat maybe three times because it rarely broke 90. In all, it was actually not a horror show. I'm still kind of shocked.
Sorry it took me so long, AH.
However as per ushe, there wasn't a whole lot of time to blog, so here I am, back with a vengeance! Or at least a new post!

It being September, allow me to  remind you that before we turn the world pink in October, this is the month of teal - Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. As I am blessed to be in a position of being able to do something, anything to bring awareness to the quilting world about this crazy awful disease, for the second year in a row I am hosting the Two for Teal Mug Rug swap and OCRF fundraiser. With my mailing of the envelopes to all 88 participants earlier this week, the swap is now well underway and I can't wait to start seeing some actual mug rugs on the Two for Teal facebook page! The group is open to anyone, whether you are participating or not, and can be seen by all, so check it out from time to time; I'm sure we are going to get some really cool projects shown on there.

Fall is always a busy season for me, and this year is shaping up to be just as nutty as usual with a bunch o' lectures in New England and beyond. For the first time I will actually be shared by two guilds in Pennsylvania the third week of November, which means I am going on a Serious Business Trip. (Minus the serious business attire. That would just be out of character.) You all understand that Serious Business Trip translates to A Week Off at Home and Sweet Jesus I Can't Even Wait To Spend A Week Straight With Adults, right? In any case, I am really looking forward to all the opportunities I get this fall to meet some quilters and dazzle them with my awesomeness. Or something like that.
 
No serious business attire, but I can promise a fab necklace and maybe some air quotes.
Fall also means fresh air and a fresh start, but best of all for me it means six hours in a row on a fairly regular basis without having to stop and search for tap shoes, a bikini top, swim goggles, or a hairbrush. It's pretty much a revelation in free time. So I get to lock myself in the studio and go to town on all the projects that are rudely yelling for me to get back to sewing. How am I doing on my master summer list, now renumbered for your convenience and shortened to only those items still pending or which I wish to chat about? Let's check it out.
 
1. Smack these HST blocks into quilt/new pattern for my new lecture, debuting in May 2015, about my Scrap Squad experiences and consequent inspirations.  - I'm pleased to say I've gotten a little further on this one. I'm not pleased that it is still all over my sewing room floor, but at least the chunks of quilt are now bigger and it WILL BE DONE BEFORE I DIE.

Before: mid-June

After: 10 minutes ago. I'm in love with the dots.
 2. Finish quilting this sucker. - Let's all laugh together.

In all honesty, I have no idea where this one even is right now.
3. Keep up with Modern Instabee blocks. - June was sent before I even made this an entry (you know you get it - who doesn't love writing something on a list so you can immediately cross it off?), July was a few days late but I did send it, and August snuck itself in there with minutes to spare. But I kept up and made some cute blocks, putting this one in the win column. The bee is pushing my "modern" buttons, but it is all good.
 
June - I'm not adding "lint roll design wall" to the list. We all know I won't do it anyway.
July - I have no idea why it is practically life-sized here.

August - Hey! Those dots are back!
 4. Scrap Squad project #4 will be due in September or maybe late August. - And it is AWESOME, hotties, if I do say so myself, which I totally do right now. If you haven't checked out the blog post on Quilty Pleasures yet, please do. I'm all about showing it off properly and fishing for compliments. Apropos, as I named it "Koi Pond Kaleidoscope."

Here's hoping the three years of my life I gave up was worth it.
  The design I have in mind as "inspired by" Koi Pond Kaleidoscope is next in line, as soon as I get this damn grey dot thing off the floor. So back to the dungeon I go! Thanks for checking in and I'll see you back here early next week - count on it!

Friday, August 29, 2014

139 Pieces Per Block - NAILED IT!

I woke up this morning to this sweet message in my inbox, from my pal and groupie Jeneta in Australia:


"I LOVE your Scrap Squad quilt #4. LOVE it I tell you! There is no way that I would ever make a quilt with 139 pieces in each block, but I am glad that you did!!" What a way to start the day!

I'm SO excited to finally be able to reveal to you the quilt of the summer, the quilt I've used to tease you mercifully with little snippet photos of close ups, the quilt that at once saved my summer sanity as it allowed me time in the sewing room and almost drove me to the crazy house with matching points.....Scrap Squad #4, "Koi Pond Kaleidoscope."

You can see the whole post of bloggy wonderment describing my thought processes, which we all know can be scary, over at Quilty Pleasures, Quiltmaker's blog, but here's the reveal you've earned for putting up with me.




Koi Pond Kaleidoscope contains more fabrics than any quilt I’ve ever made and has a mix of solids, batiks, and prints all working together. You know those purists who tell you that batiks and other fabrics can’t be put in the same quilt? Show them this and watch ‘em weep.

Here's what I had to scrap up.
magicstars450opt How to Make a Scrap Quilt: Scrappy, Scrappier, Scrappiest

I think I nailed it. At the risk of fishing (hee hee) for compliments, do you agree?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Two for Teal Registration Open!

It's HERE!

Signups started at 12:00am 8/15/14. If you are on the west coast, you can even sign up after 9:00pm tonight. And I'm writing this post the morning of 8/14, and scheduling it to post in the future, and the whole thing is just making me feel very much in tune with my inner time-traveling Sassenach.

You know I never miss an opportunity for an Outlander shout out.

So time to register and start planning your mug rugs! Please read all the info and fine print on the registration form, and refer to the previous post for even more specifics. I have a ridiculous goal in mind for our OCRF donation, but if I reach it it will be worth the administrative nightmare it causes for sure!

If you plan to participate, make sure you check out and join the Two for Teal Mug Rug Swap 2014 open group on Facebook as well. Any member can post photos of the mug rugs as you receive them or ovarian cancer awareness or questions or anything appropriate. You'll definitely want to get in on the action!

If you didn't hit one of those links to register already, you also can do so right from the left hand sidebar over there <------. Just be careful to sign up for Two for Teal and not the Round Robin in a  Day - unless you want to do both! I'd be thrilled! But with two events going at once I just want to make sure you sign up for the right thing!

Can't wait to get started with all of you!









Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two for Teal Almost Here!

And now there's even a cute blog button!
 It's almost here....Two For Teal Mug Rug Swap 2014! Because the Teal Toes people have graciously offered to highlight the swap and new FB open group tomorrow on their own facebook page, I figured now might be a good time to send out a little info via blog post, in frequently asked questions format. After answering about seventy-five thousand questions a day from my three daughters since June 20, this format seems only appropriate.

What is Two for Teal?

Two for Teal Mug Rug Swap and OCRF fundraiser is a way for EvaPaige Quilt Designs to help raise awareness of this ridiculous disease during the month of September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The basic premise is formulated around the What We Know of All Quilters Trifecta:

  • They love to sew
  • They like fun gifts in the mail
  • They are mostly women and/or have women in their lives and would like to prevent women from dying from ovarian cancer if at all possible.
Participants are asked to pay a nominal fee when registering. They are then sent the name of their swap partner along with a small piece of the focus fabric, to be used somewhere in the mug rug the are to make for their partner, which they are responsible for making and sending by 9/30/14.

What is the focus fabric? What if I hate the focus fabric?
This year's focus fabric, a 6" x 9" piece of which will be sent to each participant, will be one of four hand-dyed teals from Cherrywood Fabrics, who have agreed to be our sponsor. They are extraordinarily soft and yummy and I will be shocked if you hate the piece I will send you. However, if you do hate it, you can always use it on the back. That is totally legal.

Why OCRF?
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund is amazing. They've funded over 200 new clinical research grants since 1998. Directly from their website, OCRF researchers are conducting all types of research, including:
  • Developing innovative strategies for early detection
  • Discovering genetic polymorphisms that increase risk for ovarian cancer
  • Understanding the underlying genetics and molecular biology of ovarian cancer
  • Identifying new, better targets for treatment
  • Determining how to super-charge a woman’s immune response to better fight ovarian cancer
  • Deciphering how and why ovarian cancer spreads, and how to stop it
If you've dealt in any way in your life with OC, you know all of these areas are incredibly important in finding ways to kill this thing dead. I receive and read their quarterly newsletters and I am inspired by the accomplishments they are helping to create in this fight. That is why I choose to make them the recipients of the fundraiser.

Why not wait til October and pink it up?
Breast cancer sucks. I hate it as much as anyone else does, and even more than I ever did at this point as I have a dear friend fighting the bastard right now. However, teal is important to me as my mother died of a rogue and awful form of ovarian cancer (as if there could ever be a good and sweet form) in August of 2002, so I've chosen to raise awareness and funds for this cause instead of jumping in the pink piles of fabric in October. I know many other designers and fabric companies will have ample opportunities for us then, and I will be finding something to join in to raise funds for breast cancer in October. If you hear of a good quilty fundraiser, let me know!






How much will the fundraiser cost me?
I've been hinting that the registration fee will be higher this year. I've also come flat out and said that everyone participating will receive a $10 gift certificate from Cherrywood Fabrics, so you know you'll at least get that part back. So now is the reveal of the real price: The fee this year will be $15.

Whoa! That's a 300% increase over last year? ARE YOU CRAZY? How much do you plan to profit from this?
No, and nothing. Here's the breakdown:

  • $10 from every participant will go directly to OCRF, and will be "refunded" to participants in the form of the coupon for Cherrywood
  • Approximately $3 per participant will go toward postage
  • Approximately $2 per participant will cover miscellaneous expenses such as envelopes, extra fabric, and paypal fees.
As much as I wish I could absorb all of those extra costs, EPQD is not rich. At. All. I've learned the hard way that I can't give stuff away or expect to work at a loss most of the time with my events. So I have no choice but to pass those costs on and hope the Cherrywood carrot is enough to attract participants!

They have a blog button too!
 Okay. I'm convinced you aren't trying to get rich off a cause. When can I sign up?
Sign ups will be open via a PayPal link, available on the sidebar of this blog, starting August 15 and will stay open until August 29.

Great. Then what?
The timeline will be as follows:
August 15-29, signups
August 30-31, I prep the packets for mailing on September 2
September 2, I mail packets and make donation to OCRF
September 3 - 5, race to your mailbox to get your packets
September 5- 30, create your mug rug for your partner and mail it off
September 5-30, watch your own mail for your own mug rug!
Whenever you receive your mug rug, post a photo of it to the Facebook Open Group. 
That way we can all admire it!

This all sounds fantastic. But how am I supposed to remember to sign up?
 Put an alert on your phone. Or you could go all old school and write it on your calendar, your hand, or put a note on the fridge. Better yet, check out the Facebook Open Group now as all the details and announcements will be available there the second I think of them.

Here's how you know you landed in the right place.

I hope that answers some of the more frequently asked questions. Please contact me and let me know if you have any further ones. The only question I refuse to answer at this point is "Mom, where are my shoes?" I swear I've answered that a million times this summer already.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stuff, Nonsense, Class Signups, and More

 I have decided to shock you all by saying I really cannot express enough how much more enjoyable summer is when a. one's children can all read chapter books, are old enough to feed themselves on a regular basis, and can be told "Mom is going to work for two hours. Deal with it wisely and don't kill each other. See ya on the flip side." and b. it is not one billion degrees with 600% humidity for days/weeks on end. Summer Sewing 2014 - winning!

Happy participant in a recent RRD class!
The biggest news I have today is that based on the shocking number of positive responses I got when I asked "Would any of you join me if I ran my Round Robin in a Day workshop in Pepperell MA this fall?" on the EPQD facebook page, I have procured my local community center for Saturday, October 25 from 10-4. I'm planning to run the class "mini-retreat-style" and will provide lunch and am asking all participants to bring a show and tell for the lunch break. This class is first and foremost about camaraderie and collaboration and a little bit about me keeping a nervous eye on the clock and cracking the whip as necessary. It's absolutely my favorite workshop to run and I don't think it any surprise that it is the most popular; I really hope you'll consider joining us! Don't let distance stop you - one participant is coming from Virginia! How crazy is that?  More information and signups are available in two locations: On the "Pattern Shop" page of this blog as the very first item to purchase, or via EventSpot at Constant Contact. Both locations feature easy payment via PayPal, and once signed up you will receive a welcome letter from me with a supply list. I mean what more could you want? I really hope you'll consider joining us for what I am sure will be a day of fabric frolic to remember!

Supercloseup is all I can show you.

Much of the last few weeks has been spent working on Scrap Squad quilt #4; I'm currently considering naming it either "An Imperfectionist's Worst Nightmare" or "My Own Personal Waterloo." This is the quilt that is making me sort of understand the "Slow Stitching" movement, although to be honest I don't know why we have to name everything cutesy things - just call it a long term project quilt. /modern quilt lingo rant over. But here's the thing. I loooooooove it. Love love love love love. This may well be one of the prettiest quilts I have ever made, pat my own back, and even though it features 139 pieces PER BLOCK and has about 1000 matching points total I have not yet thrown it out the window, and not only because I saw a snake close to where my studio window is yesterday while weeding. It might be the colors, which are so me, and the fact that I am actively proving that batiks and prints and solids and moderns and traditionals all mix if you tell them they do.

yummers

Did you see the July "Sizzling Hot Hottie" Hottie Hotseat post last week? If not, make sure you check it out! Carrie Hanson of Gotcha Covered Quilting was just delightful to have hang out in the hotseat, and really, I'd love to hang out with her in real life as well. Too bad she lives literally as far away from me as humanly possible on the North American continent.

She was so excited to be in the hotseat that she sent me some fat quarters from her shop! Free stuff! Presents! Woo Hoo! She's clearly been listing to my constant praise-singing of Art Gallery Fabrics. Thank you, Carrie!

I'll be taking August off from featuring a hotseater, mainly because Carrie and I almost forgot to run hers in all the summer crazy, but we'll be firing up the chair again in September with Gina Reddin!

It's back to the millions of pieces all over my sewing table for me.






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