30 July, 2010

All Organic

Well, I caved and bought more fabric. Not a good idea with some major changes facing our family. I just felt, however, that this project needed something specific. That is, I needed to use more organics to combine with my Daisy Janie fabrics.

I've got the design sketched out and I will test the technique this weekend. First, though, I need to source some organic or sustainably made thread. Any sources out there that you know of?

26 July, 2010

City Quilts Winners

I'm back with the City Quilts and Robert Kaufman winners!

Thank-you so much for joining me and the other hosts for a great blog tour for Cherri House's new book, City Quilts.

The City Quilts book winner is:

465

Sandi at A Legacy of Stitches come on down! 

The Robert Kaufman fabric bundle winner is:

374

Stephanie from SeaSteph's Creations.

Congratulations to the winners here and in all the blog tour spots. And congratulations to Cherri for sharing a fantastic first book with us!

20 July, 2010

First Delivery



The first set of doll quilts were delivered last week. There is always some anxiety, especially when people have given me free reign on design. But this was part of the email I received:

Truly wonderful beyond words. I cannot take my eyes off them, even as I type with them on my lap and not wanting to put them away! So worth the wait!

And suddenly the stress goes away.

16 July, 2010

A New Project!

It seems like forever since I started a new project. I'm almost finished with the doll quilts. And the Blog Tour this week is making me desperate to try some new, graphic designs. Alas, I have one more commission quilt to get done. It's okay though, I am really excited for this one.

A few months back one of my old book club friends contacted me. She's moved away and is now expecting her first baby. I was lucky, she said she loved my style and asked if I would make her a quilt. She gave me free reign after asking for something bold, bright, modern, and just a bit girly. I knew immediately what I wanted to do. This is my initial fabric pull, and more to join in soon.

Tomorrow I have the WHOLE day to myself. Hubby is taking the girls out, then the Calgary Modern Quilt Guild is meeting. Nothing but sewing, and maybe a little nap. Now, if only would come clean my house for me today so I don't feel obligated to do that too.

12 July, 2010

City Quilts - Welcome to the Blog Tour


Welcome to the first stop on the City Quilts Blog Tour! And welcome to Naptime Quilter for all you new visitors. I am extremely pleased to be joining the rest of the blog tour crew. And I am very excited to share this book with you.

If you haven't had a chance to pick up City Quilts yet, make sure you enter here and everywhere else on the tour for your chance to win a copy. One copy at every stop, courtesy of C&T Publishing! And fabric too, courtesy of Robert Kauffman!

City Quilts is a really interesting book. Cherri House takes her hometown, Houston, as the main inspiration for the projects in the book. But with her work being exclusively in solid fabrics, there is a distinct Amish/Gees Bend influence. City Quilts is a fantastic example of modern quilting with a very strong grounding in tradition.

To be honest, I expected it to be a book of patterns only, but I was more than pleasantly surpised to read so much more. Incredible discussions on inspiration, colour, process, and the melding of traditional and modern/contemporary. I found these discussions detailed and informative. And when it came to the patterns, I loved reading about Cherri's original inspiration and how she translated it into the pattern. Finally, Cherri encourages her readers to play, to try new things and adapt her patterns into their own ideas. As someone who doesn't follow patterns (much) I appreciated this encouragement. And now I have more than a few ideas percolating based on Cherri and her inspiration.

Cherri and I had the opportunity for a little interview. I'd love to share that with you.

What marked the transition for you from a hobby quilter to a professional quilter?
It wasn't a particular accomplishment, it was my work, City News to be exact. It was hanging in Robert Kaufman's booth at Portland Spring Market 2008, and I knew I had done it, I knew the quality of my work surpassed anything I had done before, and that I was in new territory. It was a game changer for me.

Do you think you would be the quilter you are without the internet and blogging?
Yes, absolutely. I had been quilting since the early 80's, always trying to push myself, and improve my skills. What the internet and blogging has brought to me is the quilting community. I'm a pretty solitary person in terms of my quilt work, the term social butterfly would never apply to me. So, having the internet and blogging has given me a group globally that I haven't cultivated locally.
My LQS carries my patterns, and my book. Plus, I have taught locally for years, mostly privately, but I have started teaching at my LQS, which has been really exciting! Yes, having an online pattern business has been wonderful... the other night I filled orders for customers in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Canada (!), everywhere... Through the internet having a worldwide audience is possible, and attainable for my book and patterns.

City Quilts is great at documenting your inspiration. Once you have your inspiration, what is your process for translating that into a quilt?
After I have the inspiration, it is a matter of finding or creating a quilt pattern that will translate and mesh with the inspiration. the quilt City Circles was inspired by city traffic, but in a quilt book based on squares and rectangles, an actual circular quilt pattern wouldn't do. The Shoo-fly quilt block is made with squares and rectangles but appears circular, so it was the perfect fit. The actual block patterns are the vehicle to translate inspiration into a quilt.

When does the colour scheme/picking fabric come into the process?
There isn't just one answer for me - it's kind of a 'chicken or the egg thing'. Sometimes I want to make a green quilt, so the color/fabric will come first, everything else will follow. Other times I will design what I think is a great quilt, and with EQ6 I'll try different colorways to determine what looks best. If I'm working with a manufacturer or magazine, I may have very little say in the matter, and I create something within the parameters someone else has set.

Have you ever considered sharing that process or profiling it on the blog, a la the Process Pledge?
I've read about the pledge process and I've thought about participating, but then I think, "would someone care, would someone be interested in why I chose orange over red?" I'm happy to share whatever is going on with my work, mistakes and all. Holy crap - as embarrasing as it was, I freely admitted to falling in the lake trying to take a freakin' photo of a quilt. A core belief I've always had, is that I'm not competing with anyone but myself. I'll never be able to knock out as many quilts as ________, my machine quilting with never match ______. All I can do is better than the quilt before, the pattern before, the book before - it is a journey and through blogging I am able to share that journey.

There is a lot of discussion these days online and in print about the modern quilt movement. You are a member of the Modern Quilt Guild and City Quilts is undoubtedly considered a modern book.  Do you make this distinction yourself, between modern and traditional?
This is a touchy subject for me, which seems kind of silly. Yes, I am a member of the Modern Quilt Guild, I started the Houston chapter. Yes, City Quilts is considered a modern book - which is great! But where I get a little iffy is the "modern" thing - what is modern? If I'm asked to identify my quilting self, I say that I create 'contemporary' quilts. I don't say 'modern', and I don't say 'art', I state that I make contemporary quilts based on traditional patterns. Everything about what I do is traditional in the terms of piecing, and technique. Maybe I'm an orphan quilter, I don't belong with the traditional group, and I'm not sure if I belong with the modern group. Seems silly to be at such a loss for a definition but there it is.

As I mention in the book, my first appreciation of solids was through an exhibit of Amish quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. That a solid colored fabric could produce quilts that glowed was mind blowing to me. I also had a huge appreciation for the timelessness of Amish quilts. There are quilts from the 1800 and 1900's that look like contemporary works of art.

In regards to the simple block construction in the book, I have a passion for helping quilters to understand that simple doesn't mean boring. There are many books and patterns for beginning quilters that are a complete snoozefest! There is no need for that - we need to elevate quilting, and elevate our work. 

Thanks Cherri, for a very interesting and inspiring book, and a great interview.

To enter the draw for the prizes - a copy of City Quilts courtesy of C&T Publishing and a Fat Quarter Stack of Kona Solids from Robert Kaufman - please leave a comment on this post. Only comment once please, and make sure you have an email attached to your comment so I have a way to contact you. I'll keep the draw open until the end of the blog tour, that's on July 24, midnight MST.

Don't forget to visit the rest of the hosts for more from Cherri and more chances to win.

July 15  Pat Sloan
July 16  Spool 
July 17  Robert Kaufman
July 18  Fat Quarterly
July 20  Sewer/Sewist
July 21   Jaybird Quilts
July 22   Spun Sugar Quilt
July 23  Juicy Bits
July 24  Kim Kight

Enjoy the tour, and City Quilts!

09 July, 2010

Thread


You've heard me speak of my particular thread love before. Today I am sharing, with the inspiration from Sew Mama Sew, a bit more about thread.

How do you select colours for your personal thread collection?
Unlike fabric, I don't have a thread stash. Rather, I have thread that I've purchased for specific projects and maybe there are some leftovers.

Do you always match the thread perfectly to your project?
Well, that depends on the project. For piecing I use a cream or grey 99% of the time. For quilting it depends on the project at hand and my goals with the quilting.

Do you ever use contrasting thread?
Indeed, I have. I've outlined by hand with black. I've used colour on white, more than once. Or, when you've got a project with strong contrast in fabric choices, you can go one way or the other and you get contrast.

Do you use the same colour in the bobbin as on the top?
Usually, I do. You have to be very good with your tension if you use different threads, and even now I still struggle with this. For example, I constantly fought with tension on my Roots quilt, and it really mattered because I used grey on the back and constantly changed the top thread.

What if a fabric has big areas of very different colours?
Over time I've discovered that I stress way too much about the quilting pattern and thread choice. Especially when it comes to very colourful pieces. The truth is, in many, many quilts the thread and quilting pattern will get lost in a busy design. So, on a multicoloured or busy piece pick one colour and go with it.

Do you have any tips or suggestions on picking thread?
Experiment! Until you know what your machine likes and you've quilted a few times with it, it is hard to narrow down a specific choice of thread based on someone else's recommendation. So, try a few brands, a few needle sizes, and just play. The right thread will make itself known.

Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with a colour? As an investment?
Nope.

What types of thread do you have?
I stick entirely to cotton.  My latest obsession is Precensia Mercerized Egyptian Cotton. I love the colours, it works well in my machine, and it doesn't produce a lot of lint. And it doesn't break! I do have some embroidery floss that the girls and I use to play around with embroidery. Thanks to Jen for that!

What about you? What are your thread favourites?

06 July, 2010

Stitch

This week marks the return to reality. Hubby and I ventured East for a wedding and a bit of a holiday. A much needed holiday. I took no laptop, no sketch book, no crackberry, no little hand project. We didn't even take the girls!

This Mama needed a break from it all. 

Imagine my surprise when in the tiny, tiny village we were staying in I come across a fabric store just a few doors down from the cottage we were in. And get this, I managed to stay away from it for 2 whole days!

I am so glad I finally broke free from all that napping, reading, and cuddling to visit. I ogled the yarn (I still can't manage to knit), browsed the small but varied selection of Lecien, reproductions, 30s, French General, and visited with Jocelyn, the owner. And yes, I bought a few things.

Isn't this the sweetest looking quilt/yarn store ever? This is Stitch.






PS Don't forget to be here on Monday. I'm the first stop in a blog tour for Cherri House's City Quilts. I will share with you a special interview with Cherri, and there will be an opportunity to win both a copy of City Quilts and a special fabric treat from Robert Kauffman. And after me comes a great line-up of hosts. Stay tuned!

02 July, 2010

Prepare yourself, I'm contemplating making a quilt from a single fabric line.

Shocked, aren't you?

You see, I won this gorgeous Daisy Jane organic fabric from the Blogger's Quilt Festival. And when it arrived I got to thinking about making a solely organic piece. I know I could mix in some other lines, or at least some solids. It would be a bit of a statement, and somehow it seems wrong to mix it with the conventional stuff.

Kind of like getting organic, local strawberries and making shortcake with Bisquick mix.