Friday, July 25, 2014

Olfa Winner! selected the winner for the Olfa prize! That winner is #130:

Thanks for all who participated and thanks to Olfa for the great prize!

Congratulations to Emily! I'll be emailing you.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Olfa's 35th Anniversary and A Giveaway!

Olfa is celebrating 35 years of creating rotary cutters! I think most of you could agree that this tool is one of the primary quilting supplies you'd never want to do without. To celebrate this anniversary, Olfa asked me to participate in a fun project to create a quilt celebrating Olfa rotary cutters. I received a supply kit to create a 6" quilt block. These blocks will be sewn together into a quilt for display at the Fall Market in Houston.

Olfa sent me a 6.5" frosted ruler, 28mm rotary cutter and a rotating mat. Ironically, I've been eyeing a revolving mat and smaller rotary cutter for some time. I was so excited to open the package. 

After much debate I opted to make an economy block for send in for the display quilt. The only two requirements for the block were a 6.5" unfinished block with some yellow fabric. Rita's tutorial over at Red Pepper Quilts is fantastic for this block, but her pattern is for a 5.5" unfinished block. I redesigned it in Photoshop for the correct size. I chose to paper piece this project to ensure it was as perfect as possible. 

I kept my fabric choices simple.

This was the perfect project to test out my new rotating mat. It works perfectly!

I loved the Olfa frosted ruler when trimming my block. It didn't slip on fabric when trimming seams or the paper when trimming the back..


Just a few of my favorite Olfa products that I use nearly every day!

Giveaway! Closed

Olfa has offered to send one reader a new rotary cutter and a small cutting mat. Leave a comment telling us your favorite sewing tool, and Mr. Random will choose a winner on Friday! Please include your email if your comment if it is not linked to your profile.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in conjunction with this post. The giveaway is sponsored by Olfa. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vintage Star Sampler Baby Quilt

This one has been done for a while, I just can't seem to get around to blogging about it! When I started this quilt, I intended to make all 20 blocks from the Vintage Quilt Revival Book. After eight blocks, I still wasn't loving it. I just don't enjoy samplers. I made one more block to make a baby quilt and use the blocks I created. I feel better now that it's done, but didn't enjoy making this one as much as I'd hoped. I still intend to make a couple of the quilts from that book. I just won't be making any more samplers for a very long time. With the sashing this quilt finished up about 40" square.

Swirly quilting, which has become my standard "fancy" quilting.

I backed it with my favorite Katie Jump Rope print. I would be so thrilled if this line were reprinted someday. It's my favorite line ever.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Quilter's Mixology Winner!

It's time to announce the winner of a copy of Angela Pingel's book A Quilter's Mixology!

The winner is #76:

Congrats Leanne!

I'll be sending you an email to collect your info for Interweave.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Even More Sew Together Bags

This will be the final round for a while. I've now made nine. I actually still have more cut out and ready to sew, but I think I'll be taking a break from making these. It's been so fun giving this bag to teachers. They really are a great gift.

This one is my favorite! I love this colorway of Modern Meadow. I used up nearly all my scraps cutting out two bags.

 That's all for now. I promise!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review and A Giveaway: A Quilter's Mixology

About a month ago I received an email from Interweave offering me a review copy of Angela Pingel's new book, A Quilter's Mixology. Since this book was already on my Amazon wish list, I was certainly excited to receive a review copy.

Honestly, when I first heard about Angela's book concept, I was skeptical. A whole book of quilts created only from Drunkard's Path blocks? I wasn't sold. That being said, I'm now completely sold on this book. I really enjoyed reading through it. I think Angela has done a great job coming up with extremely creative uses for just one simple block. 

A Quilter's Mixology has a good mix of large and small projects. This Loosely Curved Wall Hanging is one of my favorites in the book. It would be a great place to start if you are unsure about sewing very many curved blocks. I love the use of solids in this quilt. Another great benefit of this quilt--it is created using the Drunkard's Path Die and Go! Cutter. 

Photo Source: Interweave Publishing

The Flower Power Quilt is one of my favorites as well. This quilt also happens to utilize the Go! Cutter and dies (both sizes of this die). I think this quilt would be fantastic in all solids!
Photo Source: Interweave Publishing

I asked Angela a few questions about her book:

Blue Chair: What drove you to write your book?
Cut to Pieces: I have always loved quilting books. I taught myself to quilt in high school by following a pattern from a book, and my very first job was working in a library. (The second was in a fabric store). So writing a book has been a dream of mine for well over a decade.
I went through a number of ideas for topics before I settled on curved piecing. I felt I had something unique enough to say to warrant a book on the topic.

Blue Chair: Do you have a favorite quilt in the book and why is it your favorite?
Cut to Pieces: I really love them all. That's ridiculously generic but true. But there are a couple of patterns that I've either already made again or want to make again. Nine patch curves is a favorite because I love how well it combines traditional blocks in a new way. I could make that a hundred times and still want to make more.

Blue Chair: What would you tell others who are scared of sewing all those curves?
Cut to Pieces: Like anything else, it takes a bit of practice. Also, it is really not that difficult. If you are really scared don't start with an all curved pattern. I have plenty that just use curves in small doses, such as Butterflies or Teleport. Also, the Ombré Drunkards Path Pillow is great because there are no seams to match!! And it is a little project. Perfect for dangling your toes in the world of curved piecing.

Photo Source: Interweave Publishing

I decided to dive in and start a project of my own from A Quilter's Mixology. I opted for the Arabian Nights Quilt shown above. As usual for me, I can't leave things alone and follow the directions exactly. I am thinking about mixing it up and arranging the design as shown on my design wall. I used the True Colors line by Anna Maria Horner. I'm loving it in these blocks. The original pattern calls for templates or the Sizzix 4" die, but I opted to use my Go! 3 1/2" die rather than use the templates. This will give me a smaller design, but I'll keep rearranging things until it's just right.

Pros of the book:
  • Great photography with full photos of each quilt. 
  • Easy to read text with tips scattered throughout the book. 
  • Angela's creative approach to this block is truly impressive. I am amazed at how many different ideas she came up with using one simple block. The designs range from traditional to modern.
  • Every quilt pattern (obviously) requires curved piecing. This may not be for everyone, but as Angela said, start with a pattern that requires a minimal amount of curved piecing. Also consider making a mini to begin and go from there.
  • The templates (which are a necessary evil for quilting). I'm still debating on how to approach this. I hate template plastic and as such am not looking forward to cutting out many curved pieces using a template. I'm considering having acrylic templates professionally cut to make the process easier when I'm ready to start a new quilt. If any of you have gone this route before, I'd love to hear how it went and what company you used to cut your templates for a project. 

In case you don't follow Angela's blog, check out Cut to Pieces for full images of each quilt included in her book:

A Quilter's Mixology in Review: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5

The Giveaway! Closed

One winner will receive their own copy of A Quilter's Mixology courtesy of  Interweave Publishing. Please leave one comment on this post to enter the giveaway. To make it more interesting, include your current favorite fabric line that you might use for one of the quilts in the book or a tip on sewing curves! If your email is not linked to your account, please also include your email in the comment so I can contact you if you win.

If the selected winner is from the US, he/she will receive a hard copy of A Quilter's Mixology from Interweave. If the winner is from any other country, a PDF copy of the book will be provided by Interweave.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Interweave Publishing to review, although I have provided my honest opinion regarding the book contents. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On Being Creative

I've often said that I don't do all of this sewing stuff for the resulting quilts. In fact many of those quilts end in a box until I decide I can part with them and give them away or sell them.

I love to create. I love cutting all that fabric up and making something that wasn't there before--something that another person will never make make exactly the same.

I shared the following Ted talk in my Improv Quilting class. I found this particular talk so inspiring when it comes to creating, and sometimes destroying my projects. I've thrown projects in the trash before because they weren't turning out as I hoped, but at the same time, I've always learned so much from those discarded projects. Quilting and creating isn't about having the most fabric or the best equipment; it's about doing something you love with what you have at that moment.

I needed a creative boost today and watched this talk again while the kiddos were in quiet time. I've felt extremely uncreative lately with few ideas or projects in my head. I'm not sure if it's the craziness of the summer or my lack of down time since the kids are home all day, but I haven't felt like creating at all. I needed to watch this to remind me why I do all of this. I hope this inspires you as it has me!

I have embedded the talk in this post, but some programs don't recognize embedded videos. If you are having trouble viewing the video see the direct link: Embrace the Shake, by Phil Hansen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Small Town Quilt Show Recap

A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity of teaching a great group of women at the Small Town Quilt Show in Midway, Utah. I taught Improv Piecing, which I love. I especially enjoyed the chance to teach this class locally for me as that meant bringing more quilts to share in person. After teaching this class a couple times now, I'm learning many things to improve the class. I'm not sure I'll have another opportunity to teach this again, but I would love to have the chance.

Luckily, my laptop played nicely with the projector. My little netbook is OLD and slow. I was worried it might not handle things well, but it all worked out.

I filled a suitcase full of quilts. I included pictures of all my quilts in my presentation, but quilts are always so much better in person.

Working away on improv piecing.

On a whim I asked a few fabric companies to donate "small" bundles to giveaway in my class. And did they ever come through! Robert KaufmanArt GalleryRJR Fabrics and Timeless Treasures each sent a few bundles for me to giveaway during my class. I still have one or two bundles left over which I'll be giving away in the next week or two. Check out my Instagram feed later today! I'll be giving away one bundle on there. I'll be sharing another fabric giveaway here on the blog next week.

The winners with their prizes!