Monday, June 26, 2017

Alaskan Cruise! Will You Join Me?

A once in a lifetime opportunity came my way to teach on a cruise. When I saw that Alaska was one of the destinations, I grabbed it. I had no desire to go to the Caribbean. I prefer cooler weather and mountains!

Dates: Sunday, June 3 (launching from Seattle, WA) to Sunday, June 8. Here is some info in case you are considering a cruise, especially since it involves QUILTING! Four classes, taught by me, in a gorgeous setting onboard the MS Holland Amsterdam America. We quilt while out to sea.

Quilt and Cruise goes to Alaska!
Here are the classes, all kitted for you (in similar fabrics by the Blue Hen Quilt Shop in Newark Delaware):

First day at sea (June 4), we stitch up Patty's Summer Parasol. Sewing machines are provided by Janome. This is VERY easy paper piecing of those arcs. Then we attach the teardrops. Magically turn under the raw edges by machine. (Fabrics will be similar; not exact matches, but the project is the same.)
Patty's Summer Parasol: 42" x 42". 12" blocks
Here are some of the arcs:

Then we split up the next all day workshop (Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass) into two mornings (June 5 and 6). This way we go visiting Juneau (June 5) and the Hubbard Glacier (June 7) after lunch.

20" coffee filters are the basis for our mariner's compass!

Here's one done in Kaffe Fassett prints:
Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass (in Kaffe Fassett fabrics)
I think our class sample will tend toward the solids and we'll choose a different background print:
Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass in solids and gray
And my very first CF compass, done in traditional reproduction browns (so I could test drive my method).
Original Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass (32" x 32")
June 8, from 2:30 - 5:30pm we take our 3rd class: Half Hexagon Braids.This is not your ordinary French Braid technique (which uses rectangles and then you trim the vertical sides with a lot of fabric waste and inaccurate results). We cut half-hexagons with a simple acrylic template from 3" strips of batiks and as we build our rows from the bottom up, the short sides of the patches make the VERY straight sides. Very fun!

Half Hexagon Batik Braids Quilt: 34" x 48"
And our last day out to sea we have Pyramids and Jewels. The morning has us creating a Thousand Pyramids quilt from a 5" charm pack and a solid white/cream. Even those border strips come from the charm pack! You can transfer this technique to ANY stack of fabric squares. The magic is in the cutting, stitching and assembling.

Thousand Pyramids (21" x 23")
The afternoon we take the LEFTOVERS from the Thousand Pyramids, add some more solid fabrics, and we get Fractured Jewels:

Fractured Jewels: 27" x 34"
I am known for teaching TECHNIQUE. I love being in the classroom and taking my students on a learning adventure. I don't lecture; I take you into the lab!

This will be an awesome time of seeing the majestic beauty of Alaska, sharpening your quilting skills and having fun while doing it, AND taking a vacation!

Check out the Quilt and Cruise site for more information.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 26 and FREE pattern

Can you believe that 2017 is half way over this week? Where did all those days go? Here are 7 more blocks to entertain you with their beauty and clever photography, all done by Patricia Bryant of Australia. (She still doesn't have any plans on what to do with all of them!)

The FREE pattern is at the end, Old Glory Star, in a large (18") size. Enjoy the show!

June 25: Steps to the Altar
June 25: Steps to the Altar, 6"
June 26: Tic-Tac-Toe
June 26: Tic-Tac-Toe, 12"
 June 27: Tulip Lady Finger
June 27: Tulip Lady Finger, 12"
 June 28: Water Mill
June 28: Water Mill, 10"
 June 29: Woven Star
June 29: Woven Star, 12"
 June 30: Wreath of Hearts

June 30: Wreath of Hearts, 12"
July 1: Old Glory Star  (free pattern for 18" Old Glory Star)
July 1: Old Glory Star, 12"
Yes, click on that link and you can see a posting from 2015 and get a free pattern for my Old Glory Star block. Here is a picture of it:

18" Old Glory Star
Hope to see you back here next week! BTW - I do read every single comment left here. Unfortunately, 90% of the comments don't have a working email (they come through as "no-reply comment.") I will have more free patterns to share in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Technology and Quilt Magazines: How Far We've Come

WARNING: This is word heavy! But, there are a lot of pics, too.

As many of you know, I was an editor with Quilt Magazine for 14 years and enjoyed seeing hundreds of my quilts and close to 1,000 articles on "how to make . . ." published in those years. My editor, Jean Ann Wright, was the editor for 20 years and we both "got the boot" in 2007 with the publisher's quest to try (in vain) to become relevant in a fast paced technology/internet fickle world.

Harris Publications published Quilt Magazine and several other quilting titles for 25 years. They also had a few dozen hobby magazines. At one point, we were churning out 17 quilt magazines A YEAR! That's one every 3 weeks! I was like a hamster on a wheel, but the more I published the more I got a check. And the beauty of working with Stanley Harris was that he was NOT stingy. I even got a $250 bonus for every single magazine cover I had (and I had 24 covers in those 14 years). Yes, I learned to sew for the camera. They paid well, on time, and it put my oldest 2 daughters through college.

Here are a few of the magazine covers I graced:

My Carpenter's Wheel on the cover of Big Block Quilts
My Tasty Leftovers on the cover of Small Quilts
My Hearts on Fire and Asian Kamon on the cover of Quilt Almanac
My Girl Friends Quilt using RJR fabrics in Quilt Magazine
Now, why am I writing this blog post? I got a very interesting email from Jean Ann the other day when I discovered that there was NO MORE www.quiltmag.com online. Zero. Zip. Nada. The magazine/publisher closed the doors last August and 75 full time support staff got the boot. But the web site was still online until recently.

That web site was secret for the first two years in 1995-1997. Jean Ann and I decided that it was IMPORTANT to have a quilting presence online and we put up the first quilt magazine site! She billed Stanley Harris for 2 years under a different line item before he decided he wanted a web site! We knew it was important and I was the web master for those 2 years. We enjoyed a decade of awesome activity after that.

Then, as you are aware, magazines (and a lot of print media) would come to a crashing halt because advertisers would take their business to the internet and not the expensive printed page.

Back to my story. Quiltmag.com is gone. And here is what Jean Ann said to me that I found fascinating. Technology is both our friend and a potential enemy. Depends on what side of the aisle you are on.

"The internet is definitely devastating the magazine industry in America. The truth is, more jobs are lost to technology than to moving them overseas. Just think that when I first became editor I printed out all of the text, sent it to NY via FEDEX and they sent it out to typesetting shops that were located all over lower New York City. Hundreds of people did the old fashioned typesetting for magazines, books and newspaper. Also the messengers that took copy and text back and forth between typesetting shops and publishing companies were out of work. 

When text came back, art directors laid it out and pasted it up on big boards, those big boards were sent to printers via FEDEX.

Now everything is laid out on a computer, text, art the works. And don't forget the color photographs. To have color they used to do a process of separation with 4 glass plates required for each color photograph. These were sent to printers. Now this is done on a computer. FEDEX also loses out because everything is sent via email. I used to send a FEDEX to NY almost every day. That ended with the internet.

So while people are complaining jobs are going overseas, the truth is, most jobs are being lost to technology. But we complain about jobs going overseas because we don't dare point out it is both the internet and jobs going overseas. 


It is the technology revolution taking over in our time just like the manufacturing ended so much cottage industry 200 years ago. We won't be around to see what replaces the technology revolution."

So, what do you think? In some ways, I am very glad I was let go from the magazine staff in 2007 instead of 2017. I had to "reinvent" myself. I'm very good at technology. I mean, I used to build web sites using RAW html code!

Here are a few of my favorite quilts published in Quilt over the years. Jean Ann was very good to me. She published just about everything I made once I learned to sew for the camera (good contrast). Stanley Harris paid me well and all this began by me answering an AOL bulletin board ad back in 1993 asking for someone to sew quilt tops for publication. Big WOW!

I developed a technique I labeled Cookie Cutter Applique in early 2003. Here are a few of those designs:
Cookie Cutter Trees in a holiday issue of Quilt Magazine

Bread Quilt using my Cookie Cutter appliques

Cookie Cutter Butterflies
Cloissone Diamonds, also included in my book: Supersize 'Em Quilts
Hexagon Bullseye
I have hundreds of photos and of course, lessons and patterns from those days. The beauty of working with Harris Publications was that they were never interested in buying all my rights. They just paid me for "first North American publishing rights" and after that, the copyright belongs to me. That was an incredible gift they gave me as I went to other publishers who tried to sign me for "all rights" for a pittance. And NO ONE ever offered me a bonus for having my quilt on the cover. Fons and Porter offered me 2 copies of the magazine, though (ha ha). McCall's did the same thing. I was the FIRST book author with both American Quilter's Society (2004)and Martingale (2007) who even asked for digital rights once the book went out of print. No one had ever asked for that. I had to write that into the contracts. It was a mystery to them. I own ALL RIGHTS TO EVERY SINGLE THING I HAVE EVER PUBLISHED. Whew!

Back to technology and quilting. Those of us over 50 still have a love for a printed magazine. But, those days are fast coming to a close. We can pull up Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook, etc and look at beautiful quilts. And get free patterns. And never leave our home. Why bother with a magazine (even though they're very cheap).

OK. If I haven't lost you here, I hope you found what Jean Ann wrote fascinating. The world changes whether we want it to or not. I'm old and not interested in reinventing myself anymore. I like what I do and now am trying to figure out a way to protect everything I've ever created from being stolen and used after I'm go to that great quilt shop in the sky.

I think I'll show more of the quilts I've had published over the past 25 years. I think it would be fun to see the variety and maybe help me catalog things!




Sunday, June 18, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 25 and FREE Pattern

Are you still with me? These blocks seem to get better with each passing week. Thank you, Patricia Bryant, for not only sewing them but beautifully staging them with such creative props. (Bunnies, ants, beaches, you name it!)

June 18: Lover's Knot

June 18: Lover's Knot, 9"
 June 19: Santa Fe Trail

June 19: Santa Fe Trail, 9"
 June 20: Pansy Block
June 20: Pansy Block, 6"

June 21: Picket Fence
June 21: Picket Fence, 8"
I think the Picket Fence block can have so many possibilities in a wide variety of quilts. So, this is my FREE PATTERN this week for both the 8" and the 12" blocks. Here are 4 blocks together:

Picket Fence (4 blocks)
June 22: Reflections of Love

June 22: Reflections of Love, 12"

June 23: Ruins of Jericho
June 23: Ruins of Jericho. 12"

June 24: Star Flower
June 24: Star Flower, 8"

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Metropolitan Home Star Updated

Metropolitan Home Star? Is that related to the Metropolitan Home magazine? BINGO!

Hey, I had a hard enough time naming my three children, so naming my quilts was even harder. I found this picture of a vintage, one of a kind quilt, in a 1982 Metropolitan Home magazine (is this magazine still in print?). Here is the pic I ripped out and saved and carried with me through many household moves:

C. 1920. That's all that's known about this awesome design
I drafted it about 20 years ago and my daughter (15 at the time) saved it on my computer and called it "Spikey Thing" (she needed to get into my Adobe Illustrator program and wanted to close all the windows I had open at the time). That's what this is called in my 2nd book, Supersize 'Em Quilts:

Supersize 'Em Quilts book (2009)
And the full quilt:
Metropolitan Home Star quilt: 72" x 72"
These are not my favorite colors. But I was teaching a Kaffe Fassett Club at Intown Quilters in Atlanta at the time, and we chose some of those large scale prints. Here are a few other colorful versions of this quilt:

Batik Home Star with staggered stars
And a set of quilts from a cruise (that I cancelled due to sponsor "misbehavior", but she had already advertised this project and they had to get another teacher to step in . . .)

Metropolitan Home Star twin quilts
I wanted to update the block with some lush florals. Let's see a few of those "spikey" points in process (we are talking PAPER PIECING here).

Pre-cut fabrics for each patch and a printed foundation for those spikey points.

Print 4 foundations for each block. I like thin newsprint
 Step One: Trim light gray and then add purple strips for patches 2 and 3:

Patch #1 trimmed and then Patches 2 and 3 added
 Trim and get ready for Patches #4 and 5:
Trim Patches 2 and 3, leaving 1/4" seam for next patches
 Patches #4 and added:
Patches #4 and; 5 (light gray) added
 Trimming Patches #4 and 5:
Patches #4 and 5 added and then trimmed
 Last two patches added:
Last two patches added
 Pattern trimmed:
Pattern trimmed. Make 4 of these!

And combine these four points with five squares of a lush, large scale print. I also added 3" border strips for a 26" block. Love these blues!

Updated Metropolitan Star, single block
And using clothes pins to get a flat shot:

27" Metropolitan Star quilt (21" block)
I offer this four block quilt pattern on my Craftsy pattern page for $5.00. You can print as many star point pages for any size quilt, actually. You can also see all the quilts from what I show here. It's a great way to showcase some very large scale prints: Metropolitan Star Quilt on Craftsy.

Hope you enjoyed seeing all the steps!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Modern by the Yard, Issue #5 and FREE pattern

Benartex sent me some of their sun drenched Bali batiks and asked me to think of a way to make a traditional block modern. I thought of Log Cabins. They're traditional, very traditional, right? Here is a quilt I made last year with black, grays and red. Small blocks!

Log Cabin quilt with traditional red center
And my improv version (based on a pattern I created several years ago). I call this Fractured Jewels and it is patterned in the new Modern by the Yard eMagazine:

Improvisational Log Cabin quilt
This is a FREE eMagazine. And the cover is beautiful:

Modern by the Yard, Issue #5
Check it out via the Benartex blog website: Sew in Love with Fabrics. There are FIVE free patterns in this issue. What are you waiting for?