I am home again after being away for 2 weeks and playing catch up for almost another week. In the midst of chaos, I got to go to a Corgi Meet Up in Portland with my son and Colleen and of course, Korben, my “grand puppy”. He was 9 weeks old when I helped them move. Now he’s 4 months old! Korben was the only puppy at the Meet Up, but he loved it!
My niece L has a new baby (her third) so I must get going on his new baby quilt. My other niece asked her mother to make an “E” quilt for her. She kept twining her fingers, saying the E’s should interlock. I’m going to try out my drafted pattern so she and my sister-in-law can see if they like it. And of course, Pat and I are still working on our new challenge quilts for the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California in October 2016. Pat is painting-collaging-piecing the most beautiful trout ever- a sneak peek will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, here I am with Korben. I know, he’s not a baby, but he’s a sweet heart puppy with “glorious” ears. Click on the photos- you’ll see my face in the 2nd photo!
Inspired by the Unconventional Materials Challenge on Project Runway (an American reality television show on the Lifetime channel) in 2008, Pat and I challenged each other to make something with materials found in a grocery store. Pat’s quilt, “Sushi”, uses sushi grass, plastic, cupcake liners and other oddball stuff. Wendy’s tote bag includes Tyvec envelopes, fruit bags, mop strings and more. Who knew that these two items would lead to our new book, Creative Quilt Challenges, 2016, with C&T Publishing?!
Pacific International Quilt Festival 2016, Santa Clara, California, Oct. 13-16! Here are some sneak peeks of our “Creative Quilt Challenges” exhibit:
UFO Make Over Challenge: Both of us had a stalled quilt that we couldn’t find a way to finish. So we traded our quilts-in-progress, so the other person could finish the quilt, with total freedom. If you think this is risky, remember, these quilts sat around our sewing rooms for years. What did we have to lose?
Pat’s Original Quilt and Wendy’s Sneak Peek Make Over (in progress)
Wendy’s Original Quilt and Pat’s Sneak Peek Make Over (in progress)
We’ve both been working on other challenges. Wendy finished her quilt, Lightning Strikes, inspired by the Rail Fence pattern- see detail of the quilt. Pat challenged herself to make a quilt with the opposite of “low volume fabrics”, titled High Volume.
We invited a dozen or so quilters from Canada and the United States to join our Shape Shifting Challenge. The quilts must be 20″ by 20″ or less. The theme is open ended, of course. See Pat’s quilt, Encryption and Wendy’s quilt, U-Turn, (in progress). We’re so excited to include this group challenge (and another small group challenge) in our PIQF exhibit!
Neither of us can get a good angle on our sewing rooms in photographs, but we thought some detail shots might be fun to see. Both of us have big fat messes going on, but try to guess which group of photos is Pat’s or Wendy’s workspace.
Creative Quilt Challenges, Take the Challenge to Discover Your Style & Improve Your Design Skills, by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill, 2016, C&T Publishing
Thank You for Following us on the Blog Hop! Take the challenge to figure out which group of photos is Pat’s or Wendy’s sewing rooms OR tell us what you like about our new book and you’ll be entered into a random drawing for our book (digital copy for international readers) plus a surprise from Pat & Wendy. Leave a comment by April 12th to be included in the drawing.
Please join us on our Blog Hop!
Catch Up with previous posts and Keep Up with the new posts!
Monday, March 28: ctpub.com/blog
Tuesday, March 29: Maria Shell, talesofastitcher.com
Wednesday, March 30: Sandra Clemons, sandraclemons.blogspot.com
Thursday, March 31: Tierney Hogan, tierneycreates.wordpress.com
Friday, April 1:Gina at BOLT Fabric Boutique, boltneighborhood.com
Monday, April 4: Yvonne Fuchs, quiltingjetgirl.com
Tuesday, April 5: Kristin Shields, kristinshieldsart.com/blog
Wednesday, April 6: Paula Mariedaughter, paulamariedaughter.com
Thursday, April 7: Teri Lucas, generationqmagazine.com
Friday, April 8: Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, wendyhill.net/blog
I love being home! But there is always catching up to do.
I’m happy to announce that our book hit #5 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Quilts and Quilting list a couple of days ago, and today, it was #52 in overall rankings in Quilts and Quilting. Thank You Everybody! Thank You C&T Publishing!
Before I went out of town, I made good progress on one of the new challenges (with coauthor Pat Pease) for our upcoming Pacific International Quilt Festival special exhibit* Cooper the Cat let me know it was time for dinner on occasion, but otherwise I kept going! (* PIQF, “Creative Quilt Challenges”, Santa Clara, October 13-16, 2016)
I found a new book that is more than just a coloring book- it’s another way through the door of patterns found in nature. I spent some time doing the Flip Coin Coloring Game with my mother-in-law. Heads: Color a hexagon green. Tails: Color a hexagon magenta. The author promises we’ll find patterns in the randomness!
Finally, I got to see a wonderful exhibit of trompe l’oeil in Medford. This is French for “deceive the eye”. You might think of it as extreme realism in 2D artwork, such as the chalk paintings on sidewalks or walls that look so realistic you feel you might fall into a hole or walk into a cafe OR in paintings. But the allusion of realism found in trompe l’oeil is also used in ceramic reproductions of objects. My favorite: a plate of eggs, one partially peeled, ready to eat (if I didn’t know better).
The exhibit included a photograph of scissor earrings. I’m not sure it’s a classic example of trompe l’oeil, but I’d wear these in a hot minute if I had pierced ears. I googled “trompe l’oeil scissor earrings” and found them on Etsy, TheEdenCollective. You can find them too!
As a metaphor for life, I think you can figure out your own life lessons from the photograph.
As a practical guide to taking care of your sewing machine, don’t let this happen to you! When thread texturing, clean out the bobbin case regularly (no exceptions), change the needle every 3-4 hours of sewing, and don’t wait to hear the sound of parts grinding on parts to add a drop of oil.
Our First Editorial Review: yarnsandfabrics.co.uk, 1/28/16
Your creativity will blossom when you take the 7 quilt challenges presented in this fabulous book. Discover tools, tricks and techniques to develop your own unique style and improve your know-how. Find design decisions, colour and construction with new twists and ideas in using blocks, whole quilt, stitching, materials and more. This book is full of beautiful quilts that you can make but it is equally full of take-away ideas that you can develop. It’s all about discovering the quilt inside you, bringing your creativity to develop your own design. There’s even ideas for fabrics you don’t like and scrap bag fabrics. The techniques section is superb. The whole book is illustrated with fabulous photos and clear instructions. There’s enough ideas here to keep you going for months. In fact, one thing usually leads to another, so you might find enough inspiration here for years. Highly recommended.
But how did we get here?
It all started with an invitational special exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California in October 2013. (The Mancuso Brothers put on this wonderful show and many more: https://www.quiltfest.com/)
Our exhibit, titled “A Natural Affinity…”, presented 5 challenges by Pat Pease and me, Wendy Hill, plus a couple of individual quilts each. We had a great week!
A group of folks from C&T Publishing (ctpub.com) took us to lunch one day during the week at PIQF. They said “We want a book and we want it now”. Our book proposal, submitted 2 months later, got accepted in February 2014! Fast forward two years to the birth of our book in February 2016 (glossing over all the work that goes into a book by the authors and the publisher)!
When asked why write a book, I always answer “because I have something to say”. A copy of all of my books is stored in the Library of Congress: how great is that? My life will come to an end, but my quilts, my writing, and my 3 episodes on the Carol Duvall Show (Home & Garden TV) will continue forward. In fact, many of my contracts have granted rights “into perpetuity” and “throughout the Universe”. One day, in a galaxy far far away…some being might Take the Challenge!
But Earthlings, you don’t have to wait: Take the Challenge today!
P.S. Our book, Creative Quilt Challenges, has been ranked in the Top 20 of Hot New Releases in Quilts & Quilting on Amazon (amazon.com) for weeks now.
My Grand-Puppy Takes the Challenge!
You can Take the Challenge too!
I say I don’t have a stash of fabric and for the most part, it’s true. My ideas are specific enough I would never have what I’m looking for if I bought fabric on “speculation”. And yet, there are times I envy the eclectic collection of my coauthor and friend, Pat Pease. I credit (or blame) these habits on my Scottish relatives, in particular my grandfather, a thrifty building contractor.
I do have four collections of fabric I’ll add to because I know I’ll use them: 1) “shot” cotton, silk, rayon, or blend fabrics (one color in warp, one color in weft) AND 2) solids or solid appearing fabrics with interesting textures (think burlap, hemp, Osnaburg, cheesecloth, silks, Moda Grunge, etc; AND 3) contemporary Japanese fabrics such as Kokka, Echino by Etsuko Fururya, etc. AND 4) dots of all sorts.
I’ve been scouting out fabrics for new upcoming projects. In Central Oregon I went to Material Girls in Redmond, BJ’s Fabrics & Sew Many Quilts & QuiltWorks all in Bend, and the Stitching Post in Sisters. And I got to spend time at BOLT Fabric Boutique on a recent trip to Portland, before helping my son move.
REDS: One of the salespeople expressed surprise that my reds went from orangey to salmon to coral to raspberry to colorwheel red to dark red. Oh yes, they do! I talk about Wendy’s Color Neighborhood in my new book, Creative Quilt Challenges (with coauthor Pat Pease, C&T Publishing, c. 2016). If a color family is in a multi-story house, then you’ll need to look everywhere in the house for your red collection, including those storage areas under the stairs. You never know what you’ll find. Don’t forget to go next door or around the corner for fabrics in the analogous (side by side) colors around red.
Adding to the contemporary Japanese Collection: Sheep by Cosmo Textiles; Rabbits by Project by Cotton; Silver Foxes by Etsuko Fururya for Echino by Kokka; and Rabbits & Hearts by Kokka.
I started looking at Big Prints (including Alexander Henry and Kaffe Fassett) and I couldn’t pass up these Blues & Whites (by Cotton & Steel). Maybe this is the start of a new collection!
I finally finished the quilt! It’s a Rail Fence (or Fence Rail) variation, with irregular width rectangles and my self-made fabrics in two values (lots of piecing). I quilted the “new” fabric to batting first. After completing the quilt top, I added the fabric back and quilted in the all the ditches through all the layers. Facings and sleeves were next. (See previous Sneak Peeks #4A ad B to see the progression.) I still have to create the label and get it professionally photographed.
In the meantime, here is a detail snapshot of “Lightning Strikes”, along with all the way I made a mess of my sewing room. I went on a hunt for leftovers from the book fabrics in my Tub O’ Scraps and generally reorganized leftovers and new fabrics on my shelves. The last photo show fabrics from Fiber on a Whim (fiberonawhim.com)- beautiful hand-dyed cheesecloth, burlap, Osnaburg, and more.
Our books arrived! First thing on our list: ship out books to the companies that supported us during the making of the book. The list includes, but is not limited to: 1) photographers Gary Alvis of Bend, Oregon and Craig Howell of Brainard, Minnesota; 2) Michael Oakshott of Oakshott Fabrics in Gloucestershire, England; 3) Quilter’s Dream Batting; 4) Sulky of America; 5) Superior Threads; 6) Fiber on a Whim; 7) Aurifil Thread; 8) Kreinik; 9) Ranger Industries (and more). Thank you to all companies who support quilters and authors everywhere.
Our book includes a chapter called Special Techniques. I’m using one of those techniques (quilt to batting first) with my current quilt. See the previous post (Sneak Peek #4A) then pick it up here.
I quilted the fabric to batting, then constructed the quilt top. With seams pressed open, the seams get whipstitched through the batting only. This whipstitch is fast & functional, not pretty.
Now it’s time to layer the quilted quilt top to the back fabric. I taped the back fabric to my work tables first. After centering the quilt top, I basted by hand, with long (2-4″) stitches using Coats and Clark basting thread. (It’s relatively inexpensive and breaks easily.) Since I’m not going to wash this quilt again, I didn’t want to use spray basting and machine stitched water-soluble thread. I never use safety pins because 1) I’m self taught going back to 1971 and 2) in my opinion, it’s easy for the layers to shift and when quilting you always have to dodge the pins. With spray basting/basting thread/machine stitched water soluble basting thread, the layers are held solidly together and you can quilt with abandon.
After basting the quilt top, I stitched in the ditch through all the layers. This is enough to hold it all together.
I added batting around the outside the edge of the quilt so I could square-up to allow for a 1/2″ seam allowance with the facing. The wider seam allowance lets the facing lay flatter (than with a narrow seam allowance).
And now: the facing. You can also read all about our facing technique in the Special Techniques chapter too. We describe a way to get the batting out of the seam allowance, so the corner is not bulky, and has a better chance to finish as a right angle and not pointy like a hat. Read all about it in Creative Quilt Challenges.