Friday, September 30, 2011

Block 10-12 Giveaway

It has been a busy week around here.  I am glad it was a catch up week for the Sampler.  Next month we will start exploring foundation pieced blocks.  But for now, leave a comment below if you have finished blocks 10, 11 and 12 in the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  I will draw a winner from the comments Friday, October 7th after the kids go to school.

This month's prize is a fat quarter pack of these fun prints from Treasures and Tidbits collection by Robert Kaufman.  So cute!  So get sewing!!  :)  I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Etsy Shop Open for Business!

There are a few less than positive things I am known for in my family.  One of the worst is mixing up the date and time of airline flights.  Yeah.  Not good.  But sheesh, why don't they look themselves to see when the flight is instead of asking me?  Another thing I tend to mess up are little make-some-money-on-the-side businesses - let's not talk about our family's spring plant sale, ok?  But I think my luck is going to change.  (knock on wood) 

I decided to take some of the proceeds from my commissioned Baby Tree Quilt and reinvest them in fabric - who doesn't like fabric?  I opened my own Etsy shop called Sewn and have eight "layer cakes" of Echino fabric listed for sale.   If you have been looking to get a little bit of many Echino fabrics this listing might be for you.  No pressure, just wanted to let you know.   I will be more than happy to take care of any layer cakes that don't sell - not like those dumb hostas.  ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amish Braid - My First Bake Shop Project!!!

Amish Braid
I'm feelin' a little crazy!  My first Moda Bake Shop project is live!  Jump on over and check it out.  

In honor of the event, I wanted to write a post about the ins and outs of my first project.  I really appreciated Rachel's post last month about the behind the scenes process of being published in Stitch Magazine - maybe I will submit a project to a magazine next? - and wanted to pass on the favor to others.

Moda Bake Shop

I was completely clueless but knew I wanted the "fame and glory" of being a "Moda Chef."   (lol at self)  Anyway, I started thinking of ideas using solid precuts.  I decided to focus on solids because:
  1. I didn't know for sure if Moda provided the fabric and solids are cheaper  than prints
  2. I wasn't sure I could get my hands on newly released precuts and worried even if I did that the line of fabric would be discontinued before I finished the quilt.  :)  Solids never go out of print.
  3. No one uses solids in tutorials and I thought I might be able to get my foot in the door by spinning the project as a great way to increase awareness of Moda's precut solids.
The "design concept" I emailed.
I sketched out this idea back in October when I just started my blog.  I sat on it for six months until I got up the guts to email the Bake Shop about my idea.  I don't know where I dug up the email address, but I got back a kind email directing me to the Chef Application Page.   When I went back and looked at the Bake Shop site, "Submit a project idea...  apply here" was staring right at me on the side bar right above the pictures of Fresh Fabric Treats.  Duh.  

Anyway, I got started filling out the online paper work.  It is fairly straightforward.  After name, address etc. they ask you about your blog, a specific example of your work, why you want to be a chef and a description of your proposed project.  They would also like you to attach a picture or sketch of the project.

For an example of my work, I linked to my Diamond Quilt tutorial.  I figured they would like an example of my tutorial writing, not just my sewing.  Plus I think the Diamond Quilt is way too cute.

For the why do you want to be a chef question I wrote something appropriately awkward and hopefully not too gushy.   In plain english?  Because chefs are totally cool, no one reads my blog (at the time) and I would like to get some of my awesome ideas out there.  ;)

For the project description I played up the use of solids, wrote a few sentences about the basic construction of the quilt and listed the precut and fabric requirements.

Then I checked my email multiple times a day for a week until I got the "...we would like to feature your project on the Bake Shop!"   I was directed to email them the fabric requirements needed to complete the project and they would send the fabric to me.  Sweet!  I had thought they probably provided the fabric but now I knew for sure.   A few days later I was sent an "invite" link so that I could have access to the Moda Bake Shop site and create a post.  A week later I got my stack of fabric in the mail.

We were all excited to receive the fabric.
I could reach the Moda site though my google dashboard and create and edit my post all I want during the sewing process.  However, summer happened and my sewing process totally stalled.  About three months after I received my fabric, Jenny emailed and kindly inquired after the state of my project.  Eeek.  I promised to have it done by the end of August.

After I finished writing the post, I emailed Jenny and told her it was ready to post.  She/others? reviewed it and scheduled it for publication.

I was worried that I had ruined my chances at getting another project approved because this one took so long to finish, but I sent in a series of small project ideas and one quilt idea yesterday and they were all approved.  (Happy Dance!!)  Once you are accepted as a chef you can just email in project ideas - no more painful "why do you want to be a chef?" questions.

Moda chefs are allowed to post a project once a month and I have four months of projects set up.  The first three are non-quilty things I can make in an afternoon and the fourth is a quilt made out of this fabric that I plan to have done by January (knock on wood!).

I think one of the funnest parts of planning a project is picking out what fabric to use.  If you go to the Moda homepage and click on fabric collections it will bring you to a list of current and future fabric collections.  Then you can click to see swatches of the fabric in each collection.  Way too fun.

So, to sum up this rambling post, if you want to be a Moda Bake Shop Chef:

-Think of a project using precuts.  They are always looking for non-quilt ideas.
-Make sure it is a project you love and that you would make anyway.  The free fabric and "glory" are not worth the pain of working on a project that you don't enjoy.
-Search the Bake Shop site to make sure no one else has written a tutorial for your project yet.
-Pick out fabrics you would like to make it in - choose three back up lines just in case.
-Sketch out your idea.
-Fill out the online paper work and get ready to create!

Do you have any questions?  Are there any other Chefs out there who have had different experiences or advice they would like to share?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leila Goes to the Quilt Show

Only three weeks until the annual American Quilter's Society Quilt Show in Des Moines!  It is nothing like the Houston Show or Market, but it is as good as it gets here in Iowa and I have had a fun time going the last two years.

From last year:  A Farmer's Wife?  Or did the quilter design her own blocks?  
Except I can never get anyone to go with me.  I thought I had a few gals from church lined up to go last year, but they all (ok, there were only two who showed any interest) had things come up.   It wasn't bad going by myself and I tried not to feel like Loner-Leila-No-Friends, but then I would get really excited about a quilt or fabric and just have to say something to someone about it.  Half the people were friendly and the other half gave me "Do-I-know-you? Don't-you-know-better-than-to-talk-to-random-people?" looks and short answers.  Kind of a downer.  But not this year!!!  Or if it does happen again this year it won't be because I didn't do my darnedest to find someone to go with.

I love this one.  The center hexagon has an appliqued doily.

So this is my Three Pronged Plan to have someone to gush to at the show:
  1. I am going to try to recruit my church friends again...third time's the charm?
  2. I am going to go to the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild meeting on the 15th and see if anyone wants to meet up (They have a fun meeting planned too.)
  3. And I will be in the way-over-priced food court at noon if anyone from blogland wants to get together.  I will be wearing a red rose and eating a sack lunch.  :)
This American Jane pattern is on my "make someday" list.
Common!  You know you have always wanted to visit Des Moines.  Right?!?  It's so exciting, historic......well, there is a quilt show and it doesn't get any better than that.  :)  Did I mention there were lots of vendors?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Value, Color, Orientation and Amazing Talent!

I just spent an hour looking through the Skill Builder Sampler Flickr Pool.  You guys are AMAZING!   So many cool fabric combinations!   I have a serious case of fabric envy.  :)

As I was going through all of the pictures I realized that the same block could have many different "looks".  Let's look at the Double Star block.  (You can click on any of these pictures to see them in Flickr.)

Double Star by Gina
This Double Star by Gina uses the same light/dark combos my example block did.  I love how refreshing it looks, like a pool.

Block 9 - Double star
Then CrizzyZ2 used a light fabric in the middle that gave the block a more open fresh look.  Love the coral fabric!

SBS block 9
Cassie used the same fabric for two of the "rounds."  It looks like a completely different block!  Seriously love it!  There are so many different looks you can achieve depending on what fabric you choose and where you place it!

And then there are the different looks you get when you flip block pieces.

Double Star
Mama Thomps block, with the flipped outer geese, is a great example of this.  Doesn't her Double Star look rich?

Take a look at these accidental beauties.

Skill Builder Sampler-Double Star
Miss 376/Loopylou flipped some inner geese on accident, but I think it gives the block a fun look.  I like the side chevrons it forms and would like to see a block with both inner geese flipped.  We could name it The Loopylou Star.  :)

not exactly Virginia Star
Tusen accidentally flipped her geese on the Virginia Star and came up with this.  Love it!  I think a whole quilt of these would be great.  Does anyone know if this block already has a name?  If not, The Tusen Cross it is!  :)

Bloco do Sampler
And Leia added an extra layer of fun and complexity to Breaking Out.  It took me a second to figure out what was different - can you see it?  Instead of solid side strips she added a corner square and extra blue goose!

I love seeing how you take these tutorials and make them your own.  This is what I love about quilting - the creativity and skill it takes to put bits of fabric together and make something more beautiful than the individual pieces.  Sometimes it doesn't turn out like expected (and that can be a very good thing!), but that is part of the journey and makes the successes all the more sweet.  I am so glad we can share this Sampler journey together.   Thank You!!!

Alright...sappiness officially over - go look at some more quilts.  ;)

WIP Wednesday

 This is my husband peeking out with the "are we done yet?!?" look.
I love him, but will not be able to give him a recommendation as a professional quilt holder.  :) 
1.  Amish Braid - FINISHED!!!  I almost had a nervous breakdown when it didn't turn out the way I expected/wanted, but I got some Amazing pictures of it.  Seriously, it was a miracle.  It looks a million times better in the pictures than in real life.  I will not have to hang my head in shame on Tuesday the 13th when it is posted at the Moda Bake Shop!!!

2.  Stars and Pinwheels - No progress
3.  Skill Builder Sampler - Caught up!  :)  I even have my block for Friday finished.
4.  4x5 Modern Quilt Bee Blocks- No progress

5.  Chicken Baby Quilt - I thought I might have the finished top to show you until I decided to add two more rows of blocks.  I love bow tie blocks and who knew I had so much red fabric?

6.  Commissioned Tree Quilt - I just have to add the brown flange and white border and this will be ready to quilt.  I am loving it and am on track to finish by the 15th!  Yea!

7.  Flower Garden Quilt - very slowly but surely it is progressing.
8.  Crazy Quilt - No progress
9.  Scrappy 9 Patches - no progress
10.  Dresden Plates - no progress
11.  Tumbler Quilt For Jane Marie - Pulled fabrics.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, September 2, 2011

I've Finished Blocks 6-9 Giveaway!

Giveaway now closed.
1. Pat from FL & MI, Block 9, Double Star, 2. Block 9, Double Star, 3. SBS block #7, 4. Star of Virginia, 5. Flying Geese - "Magic Style", 6. DSCN2663, 7. Skill Builder Sampler Block 8, 8. Skill Builder Sampler: Block 9, 9. Block no:8 Flying geese

I love seeing all of the blocks you guys have made!  Leave a comment in this post if you have finished Blocks 6-9.  Up for grabs this week are four fat quarters of some of my favorite red fabrics.

Four vintage inspired prints by American Jane and Cosmo Cricket.
Giveaway closes Friday Sep 9th at 7:30 am Central Time - ie after the kids go to school.  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another Baby Quilt Start

My sister in law is having a baby this fall and I want to make the newest member of the family a quilt.  When I asked about nursery colors she sent me this inspiration picture.  Fun!

I pulled these fabrics from my stash.  Most of them are from the Meadowsweet line with some dots and checks thrown in.  How thrifty to use things I already had - it is always a good idea to buy fabric to have on hand for such occasions.  ;)

Here are some of the ideas I have for the actual quilt.  (Maybe 9 Dresdens instead of Dresdens and 9 patches on the second picture though?)  I like them all and think any of them would work well with the fabric.  Which do you like the most Charlotte?

Conflicted Cowboy

 I "cowboy-ed up" and finished the quilting on my Amish Braid quilt.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but have you ever been excited about a project, then frustrated during the process and finally, when it is done, you stand back, look at the quilt and say, "Blah, bleck, ugg..."  This is one of those quilts.

The pattern and idea are good, but dominate color is all wrong -
and it makes up two thirds of the quilt.
The inner border is too thin.
The quilting is uninspired .
My husband says he'll sleep with it, 
but it is one of those quilts that you just want to donate.
And that is ok.  I'm not going to be in love with every quilt I make.

Drat all that fabric lint!

There is just one problem.  It is destined to be a Moda Bake Shop project for all the quilting world to see.  Ugg.  It is one thing to share not-your-best-work quilts with blog friends who have seen your other work and know that this isn't as good as it gets, but rather humbling to be obliged to share it with thousands of strangers.

Maybe I will be able to get some pictures that make it look better.  Maybe when the Bake Shop staff see it they will change their minds and won't want to publish it - that would be a good thing.  Maybe it isn't really that bad...

...I just needed to vent now.  I think it is probably poor form to say that you don't like the quilt you made the same day it goes live at the Bake Shop.  ;)

**Edited to clarify:  It is not in the Bake Shop yet, I just finished it yesterday and will send the finished tutorial and pictures to them today.  It will probably be a few weeks until it is live on their website.  I also just got back in from taking some quilt glamour shots and am pleased with how they turned out.  The colors look much better than in real life.  I don't think I will die of embarrassment anymore.  :)   Thanks for putting up with my ungrateful whining.  :) **