3.30.2015

Seems Like Scrappy Preview: Splotch

Very similar to my first title, Seamingly Scrappy, this new book, Seems Like Scrappy, will feature several quilts designed to give you a scrappy look by using precuts. There are 14 quilts in this new book and I've shown you several thus far that use your favorite precuts including fat quarters, layer cakes and jelly rolls. One pattern I've introduced you to was designed to use a fairly new precut, the Tonga 6-pack, and today I'm going to show a project that uses another newer precut, the honeycomb.
Photo provided by Martingale, photography by Brent Kane

Here's Splotch! This is a fun, quirky, easy to create small quilt that is packed with personality! I had so much fun creating this little gem and I'm actually working on another version of it now.

Wait, I need to backup a minute. What's a honeycomb you may be asking? A honeycomb is a fairly new precut from the fabulous minds at Moda. It is a hexagon shape that is 6" from point to point. Just like charm packs and layer cakes, you get a variety of fabrics in each pack and a little bonus... A bonus you ask... Because this shape is a bit more complex than your regular ole strips and squares, included in each pack is a plastic template with a small hole 1/4" in from each point. That way if you'd like to piece them just as is, you can mark the intersections to create Y seams (if you're planning on piecing it that way).

There are several projects out and about in the marketplace featuring hexagon shapes (whether the fabrics started that way or not) and it's fun to play with a new shape that isn't a square. These pieces are so much fun to play with and for this particular pattern, I've taken the fear and concern of weird shapes out of the picture. Trust me.

Splotch is super quick and fun to make, like I said before, I'm making another one. I hope to show it to you soon. When I made the original (shown above), I had so much fun playing off of the vibe it gave, so I kept the quilting simple and slightly modern. You can see it fairly well in this picture because I used Dream Puff batting to show off the texture even more.

I thought this quilt reminded me of tumbling blocks and toys for toddlers and I originally imagined this quilt as a nursery decoration. The version I'm making now has a much more elegant feel with the Fig Tree fabrics and I'm adjusting the background slightly (I always have to make a small complex adjustment because I can. It's the artist in me, I can't stop it). I'm hoping this new version will work well as a wall hanging in my living room or kitchen... We shall see where it ends up... And I promise to show it to you once I get the top done. It's looking well so far. I need to lay it out to plan the next step and I just haven't had the opportunity yet. I have too many quilts in the works... Eh, the story of my life!

So, I'm curious. Have you played with honeycombs before? Have you seen them at your LQS and picked it up to study it, but set it back down because you didn't know what to do? Now, you know! Plus, if you can't find them locally, they are available in several online shops. Isn't the internet wonderful?!

I have one more pattern in Seems Like Scrappy that will also use the honeycomb. I will share that quilt in the future, I have so many more quilts to share! Seems Like Scrappy will be released this June, but I will be showing the book and all of my quilts at Spring Market, so if you're planning on heading to Market, come see me! I'll be bringing my alternate versions too to show options, it should be a good time. Who am I kidding? Market is always a good time! It's just more fun when I have quilts and all of this secret sewing I can finally show!

I will be back next Monday with another quilt and more pictures. I actually just got a bunch of the quilts back from Martingale! I was happy to come home from vacation to this big box of awesomeness!

That is a big box of quilts (it's actually only a bit more than half of the quilts in the book)! More to come soon!

3.26.2015

Einstein Fluff

So I just wanted to pop in and show you all this Einstein fluff Miss Rosie Roo has:
 Can you see it?! That little fluff patch between her ears?!
 This dog literally has every type of coat you can think of. Her ears are velveteen soft. Her back is coarse wiry curls. Her sides have super fine hair that you can only see when the light shines on it and it sticks straight out.
 But this little Einstein patch is unlike anything I've ever seen! It looks and feels like a cotton ball and I can't get enough!
Rosie is settling in just fine and we've made some huge improvements in the few weeks we've had her! I love this pup and I can't get enough!

3.25.2015

Rainbow Mini Swap

I actually remembered to take pictures (and good ones at that) and show them to you before I packaged it up and sent it off. Usually I remember that I needed to take pictures as I'm sitting in the post office parking lot after I sent it.

I joined the Rainbow Mini Swap and instantly I felt on top of my game! I had a plan! I know and love color and I couldn't wait to get started.
 This was my first time playing with Liberty of London fabrics and I AM HOOKED!!! I started with the feathers and once I finished those, the mini needed to grow just a bit and I still wanted to play with more color, so I added these offset borders. It worked out almost perfectly to run "around the rainbow" twice. I had to improvise just a few pieces. It was pure luck because I just cut haphazard widths of strips, there was no rhyme or reason to the pieces besides thicker strips for bigger pieces and smaller prints were cut into thinner strips...
 Then I played with the quilting and did this denser-ish swirl design in the background and these angled lines on either side.
I wanted to mimic the feather into the border and you can see how the quilting added to the quilt as a whole. I had so much fun making this mini and I can't wait to see what shows up at my doorstep!

3.24.2015

What what what?!

That's what I was saying to myself during my little giveaway a couple weeks ago. Things have been a bit busy on the blog I hadn't had time to share this tidbit yet!

I woke up early in the morning (when Ben gets up for work) and I usually check some emails and watch some news until I fall back asleep... Well, I was searching through my emails and one of the comments on the giveaway said:

I just learned about your blog in a quilt magazine Fresh Quilts. I am so excited to find your blog! And bonus a giveaway!

Well, Lori... you changed the number one item on my to-do list for that day in an instant! No matter what, I had to get to the store... And when I did I found this:

I was trying to play it cool... But there was this large gentleman blocking all of the quilting magazines. I didn't want to be rude, but I really wanted him to get out of my way! Didn't he know I was a woman on a mission?! And then I spotted it and flipped through feverishly until I saw:

It took every ounce of my being not to scream in the middle of the store! I probably had a ridiculous grin on my face, but I didn't care. The gentleman had moved on so I grabbed some other favorites to read and I practically ran to the counter... But not ran ran... More like that goofy walk that kids do when you tell them not to run at the pool but they still try to get the same speed...

And that's when it happened...

I got busted. But in a good way. There was only one cashier and she was busy, so I stood there with this stupid grin on my face... Another guy working at the store comes up and asks me to come to another register (SCORE)...

He starts ringing me out and then asks if I have their rewards card to save whatever... I reply no...

Then he looks at me with a weird look on his face and asks, "Aren't you in here like every other week buying these magazines?"

I WAS BUSTED. I tried to brush it off and my reply was something less than cool with, "It has to be more like every other month, duh"

But I didn't care, I had my magazines including the magazine with my little mini in it that I had no clue about, so I ran to my car and posted on social media...

To which I got a reply from my Hubby's aunt... "Oh yeah, I saw that a few weeks ago. I was at the store sipping coffee and looking through magazines and saw your name..."

After my jaw hit the floor I demanded in not my nicest tone "And you didn't say anything?!" She thought I knew...

Such is the life of a quilter, I tell you. So there it is, my goofy story about my quilt in a magazine that I didn't know was there. This issue is still on newsstands, so run and pick yourself up a copy and I hope you got a good laugh at my tale!

3.23.2015

Seems Like Scrappy Preview: Annabelle

Well folks, best I can tell, Seems Like Scrappy has been delayed until a June release... So you'll just have to wait a bit longer to get your hands on this goodness, but trust me - it'll be worth it!

Today I wanted to show you the largest quilt in the book, Annabelle:
Photo provided by Martingale, photography by Brent Kane

I was inspired by antique two-color quilts for this design. I wanted to "spiff it up" and changed the basic layout keeping one color as a constant (the red) and making the alternative super scrappy. To keep things interesting, I added in these little stars scattered them about the quilt.

When I design quilts like this one, I try to keep that classic feel and honor the heritage of the quilts from years past. In order to accomplish this task I try to only switch out one thing at a time... First I had the idea of adding the stars and that alone would have been great. This book however isn't called two-color quilts, it's meant to be scrappy! So that is where I decided to scrap up one piece of this puzzle.

The trick to keeping a balance when you have so many fabrics in a quilt like this is to keep it subtle. The mixture of prints used in grays and tans and pinks looks much more harmonious in real life (I promise, pinky swear). When you pair all of those warm tones with that deep dark red, the red is so bold it blends together the rest of the fabrics even when normally you'd think they may not work together.

Now with keeping it subtle, you want your scrappy pieces to be individual enough to stand out on their own when mixed in a grouping like this. If your fabrics all look too similar and don't stand out a bit in the mix, you could sabotage yourself and make it look like you only used three fabrics when you used 20... Why go through all of that work to have it mush in the end?

I elaborate more on this topic in the book and much more with several tips and tricks like I had in my first book, Seamingly Scrappy. I could go on forever about color choices and scrappy quilts, but I will share all of that with you little by little.

Annabelle was one of the few quilts that was named quite easily. I have such a hard time coming up with names for all of my quilts and this one made it easy. Well, easy if you can follow my logic:

* I'm a car girl living in NE Ohio... There are several classic car shows in the area almost every night of the week during the summer (you have to show off those cars when you only have three months or so out of the year to do it!)

* Annabelle has a classic look to me but she's got some spunk with that deep cherry red... it reminds me of those classic cars...

* One of my favorite movies had a ton of cars that were named for identities (Gone in 60 Seconds)

* There used to be this diner a few towns over that was THE PLACE for classic car cruise-ins when I was growing up and it was called Annabelle's Diner.

* Annabelle. Consider this quilt named!

Sometimes the quilt name has little actually to do with the piecing or the design rather than the feeling it exudes. I honestly wish I didn't have to name quilts and could just label them Quilt No. 45, but that's pretty boring, so I look at coming up with names as a brain exercise. It pushes my creativity in a completely different way.

Annabelle is the largest quilt in the book, but one of the easiest to make. The pattern calls for fat quarters and some yardage for the red, but this quilt could take on a completely different feel by switching up the color scheme to suit your needs.

I hope you like this quilt! I know I LOVE it!!! Annabelle and 13 other quilt patterns will be in Seems Like Scrappy, my latest book due out in June (at the moment). Check back here every week as I show you a new quilt from the book up to the release date!

3.22.2015

Other sights at the Farmpark

Each year for the quilt show, the timing usually coincides with lots and lots of baby animals being born on the park property. Right behind the desk at the entrance they have a list of how many babies they have and when each was born. It's neat to have other sights to see for those people traveling with you that may not be super interested in quilts (yes, they exist, no I don't think there's something wrong with them - we just haven't convinced them how cool quilts are...yet)
 When you walk into the main building (there are several buildings) it's set up like a "U" shape. If you travel to the left and head down the hallway, there is a Dairy Parlor complete with cows. Danny wanted to milk a cow soooo bad and see how they are milked by the machine. First thing we did was head to the parlor and her got his chance to milk a cow!
 They also had two baby cows that are twins about two months old in the Dairy Parlor. I think Danny wanted to take them home. He's been asking for a cow for Christmas for a couple of years now, the differences in wish lists when you live in the country on a farm!
 We took a short walk to take in the sunshine and found a large barn that housed pigs and sheep and goats and horses and and and... This four-horned sheep was interesting...
 I hope you can see this, it didn't photograph as well as I hoped... Ombre lambs! It went from white-ish to brown to black and I thought it was adorable!
 There were lots of little piglets in the one pen (just one litter) and by now there's probably a lot more piggies. The pig in the next pen looked quite large and uncomfortable and seemed like she was nesting...
Our favorite babies to watch were this pair of lambs. They had jumping beans in their legs I swear (hence the blurry mid-air action shot). They never walked... always bounced like little Tiggers. All four legs leaving the ground at once and hopping everywhere. I should have taken video, but it wouldn't have turned out well because I was laughing so much...

They have other barns and buildings we didn't get to see, but this park is amazing! They have a greenhouse, a sugar shack that's making maple syrup this time of year! In the summer they have a tractor/machine building showing kids (and adults) all of the different engines and equipment used on farms. 

Plus they hold exciting events all year round, like the quilt show! They use food coloring to dye the sheep in the spring before they harvest the wool for a Fiberfest, they have working dog weekends, Horse Days, tractor weekends, haunted hayrides in the Fall... And on top of all of that, this park is fun and educational. Everything is designed to be a learning experience and I remember going to this park on field trips when I was in school. I have to say it was tons of fun with kids along this time around! Seeing them smile and giggle when the goat was nibbling on their fingers and seeing how they responded to the different animals was so much fun! 

So think, if you're in the Cleveland area each year between mid February and the end-ish of March... Head on over to the Lake Metroparks Farmpark and you can see the show and check out all of the animals. Bring the family and you can send them all out to the barns to see the animals while you take a look at the quilts by yourself... Oh, did I mention there's a cafe? You could stay all day if you wanted to! If you'd like to learn more, you can see their website here

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour of the Farmpark, quilts and all! I usually never get the chance to experience the whole park and honestly we only saw about half of it this day. I guess we will have to go back! So much to see and do in one place!

3.21.2015

Happy Worldwide Quilting Day!

Just wanted to pop in really quick and tell you that today is Worldwide Quilting Day! Many shops and retailers are holding special events, so you just might want to go out for a shopping adventure and see what fun you can get into!

How will you be celebrating? I am celebrating by not sewing... It's not on purpose, I just didn't know about it until recently and I will be traveling all day. So what I plan to do is to read some of my magazines I just picked up and plan my next quilts and see what inspires me within the pages. That's as close to quilting today as I can get!

Have a great day!
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