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Spring Quilt Market: The Obligatory Ginormous Fabric Post

Okay, let’s do this thing! Here’s a sampling of some of my fave fabric sightings at Market. (Looking for my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day post? It’s here.)

Liberty of London is introducing their first-ever “lifestyle collection” on 100% quilting cotton! I admit, I haven’t been a huge Liberty fan in the past, but I was pleasantly surprised by this collection, called Bloomsbury Gardens. The prints are a bit brighter, bolder, and more graphic than what I’ve come to expect from Liberty. We met the designer in the Liberty booth, and he told us that was a deliberate choice, made with higher-contrast quilt designs in mind. I love that Liberty really thought about it! They didn’t just slap their usual prints onto quilting fabric. You can check out some of the prints here.

Madrona Road by Violet Craft/Michael Miller. These colors really hit the spot for me right now—I’m starting to yearn for blues that aren’t aqua, and Madrona Road has some beautiful blues! You can see the prints here, and while you’re at it, check out Violet’s Giveaway Day post—she’s giving away two bundles of her new line! (This quilt, by the way, is from Elizabeth Hartman’s fantastic new book, Modern Patchwork, now available on Amazon.)

And here is Madrona Road’s large-scale floral used in a dress. How cute is this? It’s from Sew Serendipity patterns.

Bella by Lotta Jansdotter/Windham. This was the fabric line I most wanted to get at Sample Spree (and yes, I succeeded!). So it’s safe to say that it’s one of my absolute favorites from Market. I fell hard for this quilt, which uses only the grays and oranges from Bella. It’s amazing how different a line can look when you pull out only one or two colors like this. Bella ships in August. You can learn more here.

Storybook Lane by Ever Kelly/Andover. My favorite line from a new designer would have to be this one, shipping very soon from Andover. Such clear, bright colors—just what I like. Designer Kelly Lee-Creel also took one of the booth display prizes at Market this year. I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the coming months. You can take a closer look at her prints right here.

Here’s another quilt featuring Storybook Lane. Love that dresden cuckoo clock!

Chevrons by Riley Blake. I haven’t been a huge Riley Blake fan in the past, but I came away from their Market displays thinking that their offerings are improving. There’s a whole new range of chevrons coming from them in the next few months—larger chevrons, multi-colored chevrons, tone-on-tone chevrons, teeny chevrons, laminated chevrons … they have got the chevron market so covered! I love it! Most of these will be shipping in July. Click here to see more.

Millie’s Closet by Lori Holt/Riley Blake. That check/houndstooth pattern is fabulous. There’s also a great dot in this collection, and a couple of nice florals as well.

Dear Stella just keeps churning out winners. I love love love the Fez print from their Bukhara collection. And the British-themed Town and Country is perfection.

The Birds and the Bees by Tula Pink/Free Spirit. Of course I’m dying to get my hands on some of this collection, which is due in July. Those colors! Be still my heart!

Winterkist by Monica Solorio-Snow/Lecien. Winterkist is the new holiday line by Monica of Happy Zombie fame. The Gnomas are back, and I scored a bundle of ’em at Sample Spree! This line is so bright and fun I’d just like to eat it up. But instead I’ll probably sew something with it. : ) Click here to see more.

Echino by Kokka. As always, Kokka has some fab Echino prints coming out—I’m really digging those zebras.

Nursery Versery by Heather Ross/Kokka. Sure, those mice are cute, but hello, have you seen the Itsy Bitsy Spider prints??? I must have them! Click here for a closer look.

Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater/Moda. Lots of people are excited about this one, including me! Text prints are hot and Mama Said Sew has them in spades. I tried to nab some of this at Sample Spree, but it was completely gone in the first 10 minutes, so I was out of luck. This collection ships in August—get a closer look at their prints here.

Out to Sea by Sarah Jane/Michael Miller. There are mermaids and narwhals in this line!! Enough said. : ) Click here for a better look.

And there’s more, of course—these were only some of the highlights for me. I’ll be back soon with another Market post covering all the wonderful people I met and spent time with at Market. What an amazing experience to meet so many of my quilty idols! I tried really really hard not to act like a dorky fangirl around some of my favorites, though I’m not sure I always succeeded. : ) But everybody was super nice anyway and I can’t wait to fill you all in.

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Tripped Up

So, how was my trip, you ask? Well, let’s see. Last week, the hubs and I moved heaven and earth to find a babysitter, spent too much money on a plane ticket, and dropped everything to travel 1,800 miles on very little notice to see both our favorite basketball teams in the Sweet 16 … and they both lost. No, they didn’t just lose … they got annihilated. Sigh. Sadness doesn’t cover it. Thursday was officially depressing.

But. Such is the life of a sports fan, right? We knew we were taking a chance on this. And some college kids bouncing a ball around is nothing to lose sleep over. Besides, McLurky and I were on our first no-kids-allowed trip together since long before Miss C was born. We had two whole days left in Arizona—what to do? Hey, I know—let’s go here:

We were just about as unprepared as two people can be for a trip to the Grand Canyon (okay, maybe with the exception of these two). All we had were flip flops and shorts and more college t-shirts than anyone should be allowed to own. The canyon would be a spur-of-the-moment trip within a spur-of-the-moment trip. But a quick stop for new shoes and outerwear at a mall in Flagstaff and we were in business.

Back in the day, the hubs and I used to do a fair amount of hiking. It was one of the things we bonded over when we were first dating. Some of our favorite places that we have hiked are Shenandoah National Park, the Grand Tetons, and Switzerland. But then two sweet little girls came along and changed things a bit. So it was incredibly nice to have the chance to participate in a hobby we’d almost forgotten existed. If you had told me two weeks ago that I’d be hiking the Grand Canyon on Saturday, I’d have laughed. Hard. Spontaneity isn’t in the vocabulary of a mother to small children. But yet, here we were. That alone was kind of awesome.

So we hiked about a mile and a half down into the canyon (and, more importantly, a mile and a half back up!). Of course, a mile and a half barely scratches the surface of that place, but it was a spectacular hike nonetheless.

 

We also got a couple of excellent meals in Phoenix—I highly recommend Matt’s Big Breakfast (which has been featured on Guy Fieri’s show) and Pizzeria Bianco. You will wait an exceptionally long time at both places (the wait can run up to four hours at Pizzeria Bianco), but you will get a meal that is so worth it in both cases.

This pizza right here? Was to die.

All in all, we had a great time, and you’ll get no arguments from me about this trip. Okay, I really wish we could have seen a win. Other than that, no arguments.

But I’ll forgive you for the devastating loss, Tom. One day. Maybe. : )

Yes, I’m liking Instagram these days. Come follow me—I’m freshlypieced.

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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

My biggest accomplishment in 2011? Well, there were lots of highlights. But the thing that really stands out for me is that I finally figured out how to finish my quilts.

It sounds crazy, I know. But at the beginning of 2011, I was not at all confident in my quilting and binding skills. Piecing was another story—I felt like I had that part pretty much down. But I couldn’t free-motion quilt at all. Let’s face it, I could barely even manage straight-line quilting. My basting skills left a lot to be desired, and binding? Well, I could do it, but it wouldn’t win any awards for fine craftsmanship or anything.

2011 Quilts
Quilts of 2011 

I made 13 quilts this year. Seriously! 13! My goal for 2011 was to make 12 quilts. Somehow I actually squeaked out an extra one. And it’s amazing how much you can learn over the course of making 13 quilts. Free-motion quilting? Check. Machine binding? Check. Basting—especially spray basting? Check check check. Going into 2011, I often sent quilts out to be long-armed, especially the “important” ones. By the end of 2011, I was confident enough to finish one myself that is going to be in a book. Wow.

Other Projects of 2011

 

Other projects of 2011 

Other highlights:
• hosting my own quilt-along (Supernova) and co-hosting another (Summer Sampler Series)
• going to the Sewing Summit and meeting lots of blogging buddies in person
• participating in more bees and swaps than I can count
• making the top five in the Connecting Threads fabric design contest
• hosting WIP Wednesday and watching it grow
• joining the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild and making new friends there
• guest-posting on the Fat Quarterly blog
• publishing my first Moda Bake Shop tutorial
• making quilts for charity (one for Margaret’s Hope Chest and one via the Do. Good Stitches bee)

How lucky am I that all these amazing things happened to me in one action-packed year?

In fact, looking back at my goals for 2011, there are only a few that I didn’t meet. I did not finish my mom’s king-size quilt, despite gentle reminders from her. I did not make bed quilts for my daughter or my niece. I did not make Christmas stockings or a tree skirt or finish the Christmas quilt that I started for my family in 2010. Hmmm, are you sensing a theme here?

So that brings me to my goals for 2012:

1. Make things for my family. So many wonderful quilty opportunities came my way in 2011, and I was always so flattered and excited to be asked that I hardly ever said no to anything. As a result, things for the people I love most got shoved way down the list. That’s not good. This year, I want to do all of the things listed above that I neglected in 2011. After all, what is this hobby really good for if I can’t use it to bring happiness to the people closest to me?

Figgy Pudding fabric that’s been waiting for me to turn it into a quilt for a year and a half

2. Make Christmas stockings, a tree skirt, and finish that Christmas quilt. This kind of goes along with #1, but I’m determined to make it happen this year. Pinky swear!

3. Keep saying “no” to things. My goal is to be much more selective about what I say yes to in the coming year. So don’t feel bad if I turn you down for a bee, swap, blog hop, guest post, etc. It’s not you, it’s me. : ) Isn’t it hilarious that last year one of my goals was to do more bees and swaps, and this year one of my goals is to not do so many bees and swaps?

4. Make more non-quilty items, like bags, skirts, etc. Since making a skirt with Anna’s sew-along, I’ve got the bug to do more of this! (Yes, I am still planning to post about the skirt, I just need to get my husband to take a decent picture of me in it.)

My oldest (who’s now 5!) in a hat I knit for her way back when

5. Do a little knitting again. Once upon time, I was a knitting fiend. Then quilting came along and stole my heart away. But lately I’ve had the urge to dig up those knitting needles again. You never truly forget your first love, I guess.

6. Design another fabric collection. I’m hoping to set aside some time in the coming year to make this happen. Both my kids will be in school in the fall (one full-time, the other three mornings a week), so I’m thinking of dedicating that preschool time to fabric design. I’ve got to do something with myself while my babies are away, right?

Um, yeah, something tells me I won’t have a problem filling up my free time. : ) So here’s to 2012. Happy new year, my wonderful bloggy friends!

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Photo Shoot with Susanne

So do you guys all know Susanne? She blogs at Susanne Loves and is such a talented sewist, quilter, and photographer. And (at least temporarily) she’s a fellow Wisconsinite. Not only does she sew some beautiful things, she takes gorgeous pictures of said things, so there’s always plenty of eye candy on her blog. She is also completely hilarious! I love reading her about her take on life.
Anyway, it crossed my mind a few weeks ago that it would be nice to get some family pictures taken—we’ve never done that, beyond the usual mall studio shots of the girls when they were babies. And hey, maybe I could even get a decent profile picture of me at the same time? And who better to take those shots than Susanne?
She lives about an hour and a half from me, and was sweet enough to offer to come to me to do a photo shoot with my whole family. She got some fabulous shots of the girls—don’t they look like angels here? (Trust me, they aren’t!)
Some of my quilts also got the Susanne treatment, as you can see above. I may even have snuck into a few of those quilt shots myself. : ) So a new profile pic should be coming soon. In the meantime, check out Susanne’s blog post about our photo shoot. Thank you, Susanne! We had a great time and it was wonderful meeting you at last!
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Original Supernova Quilt

Okay, get your fainting couches ready …
My Original Supernova quilt is finally finished! Only fourteen months after I started it.
Tomorrow marks a whole year of WIP Wednesday linky posts. One year! And I thought, what better way to celebrate than to haul out one of my longest-term WIPs and actually finish the darn thing? Also motivating was a hilarious comment from Eryn on last week’s WIP Wednesday that if I didn’t finish off the Original Supernova soon, she was going to find out where I live and swipe it. Well, here it is Eryn—swiper no swiping!
The front is made up entirely of Hope Valley prints by Denyse Schmidt, Kona Snow as the background, and Kona Stone for the star “extenders” and binding.
I pieced this differently than the method I used for my Supernova quilt-along. Original Supernova is pieced entirely from squares and HSTs. It is also much smaller than my QA Supernova—Original Sup is 48″ square, with each Supernova block finishing at 12″ square.
I came up with the alternate way of piecing this for the quilt-along to eliminate the HSTs and give people fewer squares to piece. But I think there are benefits to this method as well. I definitely recommend this method if you have a lot of directional fabric, because the other way requires a lot of advance planning to coordinate the direction of the prints. If I were going to make this quilt again, I think I’d go back to this original method, but I would increase the size like I did for the QA, and I would use Thangles to piece the HSTs.
PTS Redo
Speaking of Thangles, I have to add one more thing to this post: Check out this a-MAZ-ing pillow made by Amy of Don’t You Know Who I Am? These are the TINIEST Supernova blocks EVER! Each block measures just 7″, with each teeny square 1″ finished! Amazing! She used Thangles for her piecing as well.
Anyway, I’m so happy to have Original Supernova in the “finished” column at long last. The top has actually been done for just under one full year. It’s also worth noting that this is my 10th finished full-size quilt of the year—I just need to complete two more by the end of the year to meet my goal of 12 quilts in 2011! Woo hoo!
Be sure to come back tomorrow for my big anniversary celebration of WIP Wednesday. There will be a giveaway for everyone who links up, and a special “retrospective”. You won’t want to miss it!
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One More Summit Swap

I have one Sewing Summit swap item that I made, but unfortunately didn’t complete in time to actually swap it in person at the Summit. Happily, Elizabeth’s mini is all done now, and she has received it, so I’m free to share it! This was for my “roommate swap” with AnneMarie and Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s mini is the same design as AnneMarie’s (which you can see here), but in different fabric/colors.
As you might remember, each star is from Carol Doak’s 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars, which features stars named after each of the states. So I went for the hard-core symbolism and did four stars: Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Utah. One for each of our home states, and one for the state where we all met. I really love how both of these minis turned out!
I used yellow thread to quilt Elizabeth’s, a decision I questioned after it was done. But now I like it and I’m glad I broke out of my usual thread rut. : ) And I love love love the stripey binding. I usually like to do striped binding on the bias, but this one just called out for straight-grain, and I’m really happy with the end result.
Here’s the back, with several iterations of Dena Designs’ Tarika. I love these prints.
Yay for roommates, sewing buddies, and friends. Thanks for a fun swap, ladies!
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Two Months of Bee Blocks

Happy Halloween! The last day of October means it’s time to post some bee blocks. Except that as I got ready to post the October blocks, I realized I never showed you September’s either. So here they are, all in one fell swoop.

{Sew} Beautiful – September
Dutch Pinwheel
AnneMarie asked for this Dutch Pinwheel block using Ruby charm squares. I can’t wait to see all of these blocks put together. It’s going to be gorgeous. You can find a tutorial for this block right here.
{Sew} Beautiful – October
Christmas block for Katie
Katie asked for Christmas blocks of any design, using fun holiday scraps. Bee members had already done a few Christmas trees and some presents by the time I got around to doing my block, so I whipped up these twinkly wonky stars.
Stash Trad – October
This is a brand new bee for me. It was organized by Lynne of Lily’s Quilts and features traditional blocks done in our own modern stash fabrics—how could I possibly say no to that? There are some amazingly talented ladies in this group and I’m so excited to be making blocks for them!
Cracker Scraps block for Angela
For our very first month, we made these “Cracker Scrap” blocks for Angela (you can find the block tutorial here). This was a fun, easy block to make, it looks great, and OMG it’s HUGE! Something like 19″ square. So you could whip up a very good-sized quilt in no time with her tutorial.
Do. Good Stitches – September
Do. Good Stitches strip block
Natalie asked for strip blocks of any design, in a single fall color. My color was red, and I ended up doing a version of my strip-pieced zig-zag mug rug—only waaaaay longer. : ) This block measures 48″ by 6.5″! Can’t wait to see how this quilt comes together.
Do. Good Stitches – October
Do Good Stitches - Around the World block
Melanie asked for Around the World blocks in any bright scrappy colors. We used this tutorial to make the blocks, and I was really surprised at how quickly and easily they came together! This will be such a fun quilt.
String Me Along – September
HST block for Sharon
Sharon asked for any half-square triangle design, using these Amy Butler charms. I love this offset HST design.
String Me Along – October
String blocks for Sabrina
Nicey Jane string blocks for Sabrina. If this block looks familiar, that’s because it is—this is my second set of Nicey Jane string blocks for this bee in the last few months. : )
And finally, a little look ahead to November: It’s finally my turn in the {Sew} Beautiful bee! This is such a fabulous bee—everybody in it is so creative, so inspiring, and more or less on time. : ) And since these ladies are all among my favorite bloggers, I wanted to assign a block that called for a little creativity and personality.
Fabric stack for {Sew} Beautiful
So I’ve mailed out this fabric to my beemates and I’ve asked them to create tree blocks for me. The blocks can be pieced or appliqued or both. They can make a tree of any season, with leaves or without, with wildlife or without, etc. They’ve got free reign—as long as there’s something tree-ish in there! I did give them a Flickr gallery with quilty tree inspiration—you can check it out here. I can’t wait to see what the {Sew} Beautiful ladies make for me in November!
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BQF: Warm Cool Quilt

It’s Bloggers’ Quilt Festival time again! Unfortunately I don’t have a new finish this time around, but I can show you one of my favorite quilts from the last six months.

My Warm Cool HST quilt. I love it, my daughters love it and often request it when they’re sitting on the couch, and hopefully you love it too. : )

It’s scrappy and colorful and snuggly and a great size for a couch quilt. Many of my all-time favorite prints are in there—some of which I have used up and can’t buy anymore.

There are like a gazillion HSTs in this quilt (actually 266 of them). I got really sick of squaring them up, but somehow that didn’t translate into me being sick of this quilt.

I like how the back turned out as well. This quilt makes me happy no matter which side is facing up!

And a few more reasons to love this quilt: It was my first attempt at spray basting (which I now love), and only my second attempt at FMQ stippling (which I also now love). So in many ways, I feel like this quilt was where I turned a corner and became a “real” quilter.

Thanks for checking out my BQF quilt! Enjoy the festival!

Size: 54″ x 74″
Design: Warm/Cool Quilt-Along by Jeni at In Color Order (thank you, Jeni!)
Fabric: 219 colorful prints/scraps
Binding: Mini Muu dot by Lecien
Back: Mostly Kona Cotton solids
Quilting: FMQ stippling
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WIP Wednesday: Nothing Doing

Okay, I think this might be a first: I’ve got a WIP Wednesday post with no pictures. Back when I was a reporter, every morning I would tell my editor what I was writing about that day, and he always had the same question: “What about art? Is there art? Get me art!” Today, I have no art. Somewhere, that editor is cringing.

Ongoing:
Secret project – My deadline looms, so this was my major focus this week. It’s going to the long-arm quilter and I promised to get it to her by the end of the month. Also: behind-the-scenes sewing stinks. I wish I could show this to you!

Completed tops awaiting quilting:
Summer Sampler
Hope Valley

No progress:
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer’s Wife QA (still on hold)
• Skill Builder QA (yep, ditto)
• Kaleidoscope QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt
• Wonky Log Cabin

This week’s stats:
Completed projects – 0
New projects – 0
Currently in progress – 10

So there’s my picture-less WIP Wednesday post—are a thousand words worth a picture? You tell me. : ) And while you’re at it, link up your own post featuring a work in progress. Don’t forget to link back here and comment, comment, comment.

Also, stop back later today, when I’ll be drawing a winner for the 12 Gifts of Christmas giveaway! A $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop is up for grabs. Have a great week—I promise I’ll have some art next time.

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Sewing Summit: Swag

This giveaway is now closed.

Of course, another great thing about the Sewing Summit: Free stuff! Some of this came from the general conference swag bag, and some from the dinner organized by Jennifer and Elena. Either way, it was all good!

Fabric—Peacock Lane FQs from Michael Miller and my favorite print from Outside Oslo by the Needle Shop.

Patterns from Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, Izzy & Ivy, and Brassy Apple.

Batting samples from The Warm Company.

Tools and notions galore—including my first pair of FMQ grippy gloves, from Grabaroos! (I hope I’m a size 8.)

But even if you didn’t go to the Sewing Summit, you can still take home some of the swag! I’m passing some goodies along to a few of you—here’s what’s up for grabs:

Winner No. 1 gets a pair of Olfa Precision Applique Scissors, the Seville quilt pattern from Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew, an Aurifil thread variety pack, and a fat quarter of Basic Shades Gray from Riley Blake.

Winner No. 2 gets a Kona Cotton Charm Pack from Robert Kaufman, cute decorative twine from The Twinery, a trio of pillow patterns from Mod Kid, and a mini cutting board from Olfa.

To win, just leave a comment on this post. I’ll draw a winner sometime on Saturday. Good luck! And thank you to all of the Sewing Summit sponsors for providing such great loot!