Friday, May 28, 2010

Guess who's finally getting around to "the Market post"?? (Buttload of pictures enclosed)

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I promised a friend of mine that I was going to post this last night.  Unfortunately (well, really *fortunate for me*) I fell asleep around 7pm last night and didn't wake up until 5:30 this morning!  Wow, much needed sleep and rejuvenation.

Before I  continue on this post, I should mention that I am now a "professor" for the Riley Blake Cutting Corners College.  My first post hasn't gone up yet, but Melissa and I both took our items so that the powers that be at Riley Blake could have them for their booth.  We were so excited for that!  But I can't show you pictures of mine in the booth just yet, as the tutorial won't be going up until June.

Anyway, Market... was... a BLAST!  I'm not going to write anything about Melissa's  fabric because 1) It's not my place, and 2) you can read all about the excitement on her blog!

So yeah.  We got into Minneapolis, stopped off at the hotel to drop off our luggage and then headed straight for the convention center to check out Sample Spree (which should really be changed to Sample Stampede because holy shnikes!).  As we were walking in the door, a woman stopped me and pointed in my bag and said, "That's my fabric!!!"  I thought I was in some kind of trouble!  Turns out that it was Emily Taylor, the designer behind Felicity for Riley Blake, which was my fabric for my tutorial!  It was the most random and coincidental thing!

That's Emily showing off her newest line, Domestic Diva.  

The girls (meaning Marie and Christy) just went nuts at Sample Spree.  Melissa and I were a bit more conservative.  The only thing I actually bought was a cone of Sulky 30wt quilting cotton (which I just used on a Riley Blake quilt and love).  The girls got some great deals and were thrilled!
We headed back to the hotel for some shuteye and got up bright and early the next morning for the madness.  
Now, I'm not going to bore you with a bunch of details of every booth I went to, every person I talked to, everything I bought...  I will just show you the awesome pictures!

Amy Butler?  She's a giant!  But in my defense, she was wearing some (awesome) heels and I was in flip-flops!  She is SO nice. 

Valori Wells?  Yeah I bumped into her in an aisle and was so close to stopping her, but I'm glad I didn't.  Turned out she was on her way to lunch so I found her afterward in her booth!  She's super nice too.  I mentioned the article on her and her mommy in the Quilt Sampler and how they have their yarn displayed.  She told me to email her and she'd send me close-up photos!
 I also met up and had lunch with my super friend, Sarah Vedler.  I love her accent and she's so funny!
 Sandi Henderson and her husband have to be the *cutest* couple ever.  I've never seen a husband so supportive of his wife!  She also signed my copy of her new book, and the inscription reads:  "To Lisa, the cutest gal at Market!"  haha!  She liked my pink/blonde/black hair...

 Anna Maria Horner is sweet too, and maaaaaan does she look good for having a 1 year old little munchkin!  Her book is just as awesome as she is and to tell you the truth, it makes me really sad I can't have anymore babies and make myself the awesome things in it.  However, that's what friends are for!
 Now, throughout the entire show I kept walking around, seeing quilts and table runners and jackets and skirts and dresses and everything you could think of out of Heather Bailey's fabrics.  It was getting really depressing because I wanted to meet Heather Bailey!  She's the last person that we saw before we left that day!  I felt like a total dork walking up to her sheepishly asking for a picture but I wasn't about to lose the chance!
 I squeal everytime I look at any of these pictures, just so you know!
I was really disappointed that I never could find Linda Lum DeBono or Mark Lipinski, but I suppose there will be other Markets.
I also took pictures of my favorite quilt exhibits.
This, is my absolute favorite.  It's just pure perfection, and I want it!
This one I adore because, well...  how could you not?!  The colors are so vibrant and cheery.
 This is a funky one that I just fell in love with because of the design and colors.
 Now this one gets the honor of having two photos posted, because seeing the full shot does it no justice.  The thread painting on this piece is remarkable!

Yowza!!  And look at the detail on this one too!

Sooooooooooooo anyway...  That's my Market experience in a nutshell.  There aren't really words to describe it, I highly suggest jumping allover the opportunity if it should come along!

So I'm wondering, who is your favorite fabric designer?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SMS Giveaway winner and the birthday giveaway!

Pin It First of all, I have to apologize that I didn't post this yesterday like I'd planned.  I got home from Market around 7pm and WOAH.  I was greeted with birthday cake, gifts to open, a dinner to go to, etc.  I was SO pooped and was here at work until 2am.  So I hope you can forgive me!  Hopefully you'll be so happy with the giveaway that it'll make up for it. =]
Second of all, I am SO overwhelmed at the response this giveaway received!  I am amazed at the number of awesome people there are out there!!  I will be compiling a list of all of the tips you all suggested for everyone's (easier) viewing pleasure and including some of my own as well.
Now on to the winner...
Drum roll please?!..................

Debi!!  I will be sending you an email shortly to get your address from you!
I have to say that it's funny that she mentioned using the fabrics for charity quilts because that's exactly what I was going to make with them!
Debi is the winner of some gorgeous Amy Butler Midwest Modern pieces.  Now, I did cut each of the pieces down to a half yard so they'd fit in the box I'm sending them in.  One of them I was almost out of, and it's about 15 inches, so not quite a half yard.  The surprises I'm throwing in with it?

Debi will also be getting 1 1/8 yard of Nouveau from Moda, 3/8 yard of Panache from Moda, and a fat quarter of that pretty fabric on the end that I can't remember what it is!! 

Now onto my birthday giveaway.  Better late than never, right?
I have to say these are some of my favorite fabrics.  I bought them at the most awesomest quilt shop ever,  Quiltology in Chicago.  I loved them so much, I bought the rest of what she had on the bolts.  And the person that wins this giveaway is getting basically everything I have left of it, except for a few large scraps here and there.
Beautiful blue/green/brown/white Michael Miller fabric!

This giveaway is 1 yard of Feelin' Groovy, 1 yard of Lolli Dot and 1/2 yard of Candy Dot.  And of course, I will be throwing in a couple of surprises with this one too!
To enter for the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post.  If you want an extra entry, become a follower and leave me a comment telling me you did.  If you're already a follower, leave me an extra comment as a reminder.  ;] 
I will leave the giveaway open until May 29th, so you got almost a whole week to enter!
Good luck and congrats to Debi!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giveaway update and another giveaway announcement!

Pin It Okay, here's the deal:
The giveaway is supposed to end tomorrow, 5/20/10.  The problem with that is I'm leaving tomorrow for International Quilt Market in Minneapolis (squeeeeeaaaaaaal!) and I've decided it would be best to leave my laptop at home because I won't have time to even turn it on anyway.  I will be returning on Saturday, 5/22/10, which also happens to be my big 2-9.  Wow, my last birthday in my 20s (no squealing there!). 
Sooooooooooooooooooo...
I will be announcing the winner of the Sew, Mama Sew giveaway on Saturday evening, and also starting a new giveaway for my birthday!  So stay tuned for the winner, for another giveaway and for some awesome pretties and new things coming up!
I'll miss you while I'm gone!

Monday, May 17, 2010

May Giveaway Day!

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Today is the day for a Sew, Mama Sew giveaway link party!
I will be giving away a few prints from my Amy Butler Midwest Modern stash.
The cuts will be anywhere from a fat quarter to a yard for each print.  And I may just surprise you and send some others along with it!
Here are the ways to enter:
1) Become a follower
2) Leave a comment with your favorite sewing/quilting/crafting tip
3) Link back to this post on your blog and/or facebook page.

I've been known for surprises so you never know what you might end up with!
Your chances of winning will increase for each of your entries so don't forget to leave a comment for each entry!  Also, don't forget to check the Sew, Mama Sew page for the master list of all of the participants and see what kind of cool stuff you could win!

Oh, oh!  And while you're at it, you should hop on over to Leisel's blog and vote on your favorite quilt for the So You Think You Can Quilt contest.  One of them is mine.  Think you know which one it is?  =]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Pin It MY BLOG IS FIXED!!!!!!!  Kind of.
That is all for now.  You may return to your surfing now.  =]
(And I can keep adding more fun stuff too!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why I chose Spring Market above all others...

Pin It I want to mention that I wasn't going to post anything new to the blog until all of the bugs were fixed and my page no longer looked so wonky.  The problem is that I have things to say!  So for now, I will post and keep checking to see if I get this (or other variations of bX-(insert error extension here) every time I try to fix anything:
I will also say that this is better than the alternative problems Blogger users seem to be having right now.  Which is Blogger Bots marking their blog as SPAM and DELETING them.  I hope my readers are forgiving enough to overlook the wonkiness for now.
Anyhoo, back to the point...
I have been getting a lot of questions about why I'm not attending MQS this year.  Right now I should be arriving in Kansas City ready to take full advantage of all that IMQA has to offer.  My friends are scratching their heads in wonder as to what could be the reason for my not going.
I will miss seeing my wonderful friend, Sheryl.  She has been such an inspiration and source of support over the last year or so.  Without her nudging I would have probably never tried trapunto, which has become one of my favorite things to do.  And I'm also being asked to teach trapunto classes now.  She's an amazing person, inside and out!  Her ideas and creations are so beautiful.  She hasn't only helped me with quilting, she is also the first person I told of my medical issues and that I was having a hysterectomy, and she supported me through that.  I was so looking forward to seeing her this trip (Sheryl, if you're reading this, I have a gift headed your way that I dropped off at the post office this morning!).  I am even supposed to be spending tonight at a Rodrigo y Gabriella show with Sheryl and MY HERO.
Who is my hero?  The one and only Karen McTavish.
I was going to use a different picture so you could see her awesome sleeve tattoos (Victorian feathers), but decided to play it safe and use an "official" photo.  Karen is a huge driving force in the quilting world and also helped me through trapunto.  I have never taken a class, but her books and DVDs were an immense help in that journey.  I can't count the number of times I emailed or commented to Karen and Sheryl needing help and they were happy to offer their expertise.  Karen is also an inspiration in more ways than just quilting.  This woman has been through so, so much and has overcome more adversity than probably anyone I know. 
I'm heartbroken that I can't go to the show and spend the evening with these two.
I won't get to see Steve from Tomorrow's Heirlooms.  We bought our quilting machine from him, he is my go-to-guy for all things Gammill, and he's also my buddy.
I won't get to take my class with Dawn Cavanaugh that I was really looking forward to.
I won't get to stock up on all of my favorite quilting supplies from The Gadget Girls.
I won't get to see Claudia Pfeil, who comes to MQS all the way from Germany.  And I won't get to see her Cordoba quilt for this year's South Of The Border theme in person.
Pictures just do her quilts no justice.  Here is her quilt for Fire & Ice from last year, which had over 5,000 crystals on it:
There are many, many things I will be missing at MQS this year.  But that doesn't take away from my excitement for Market in Minneapolis.
Why am I going? 
I talk a lot about my wonderful friend, Melissa.  She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and her creativity is just amazing!  Melissa has let the cat out of the bag, so now I'm going to do the same. 
Melissa has designed her own fabric line.  She has appointments set up with several fabric companies at Market.  She asked me to go, along with two others and make stuff out of her fabric that she had printed independently.  So most of the things I've been making lately that I couldn't show you?  Yeah, it had to do with that.  The four of us are leaving on Thursday, and coming back on Saturday, which happens to be my birthday!  I'm more than happy to give up MQS to go along with her and be there for her for support and anything she may need!  And honestly?  I'm flattered that she asked me.  This is a truly exciting time for her and I'm so glad that I can be a part of it.
Other positives to this venture?
I will get to see (and am planning to have lunch with) my friend, Sarah Vedeler who is an embroidery designer.
I will get to see Alex Veronelli, the God of Aurifil thread.
I will get to shake hands with Linda Lum De Bono, a sweet as pie designer.  Also Alex Anderson, and too many others to list.  No word yet on whether or not Mark Lipinski will be there, with his current medical issues.  Maybe I'll even see the cutie that works for TroyCorp that I met at Fabriganza last year.
I will get to meet Cindy and the rest of the forces behind Riley Blake Designs (who I just got a package from because the Brown Santa loves me!), so that's the end of this post!
While I am sad about all of the wonderful things I am missing by not going to MQS, I couldn't trade going to Market for anything.  And I think you all would agree that the four of us are going to have an amazingly fantastical time! 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Errors abound...

Pin It My blog is experiencing numerous technical difficulties, so don't mind how funny it looks right now.  Everything has gone all wonky (and I didn't know it because I couldn't view my page!) and I cannot edit it.  I think the Blogger team is working on it so hopefully soon it'll look somewhat normal again!
*crossing my fingers*

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Borders 101: A flat quilt is a happy quilt

Pin It Whether you are a novice or expert quilter, chances are there are things that you have not been taught, or you've been taught incorrectly.  Have you ever been taught the right way to put borders on your quilt?
Being a longarm quilter, I quickly became acquainted with the reasons why quilting rules are so important.  Of course the three obvious rules:  proper and accurate cutting, proper seam allowance and proper pressing (not to be confused with ironing).  One rule that seems to get overlooked most often is proper border attachment.  This causes a lot of problems for your longarm quilter.  A good longarmer (you know, like myself!  haha!) can ease in problem borders with too much fabric.  But you can't be guaranteed that you won't have pleats or puckers, and why would you want that when the solution is so simple?
There are a lot of people that "sew and slash" their borders, meaning they take a strip of fabric, sew it on their quilt, and then cut off whatever is leftover.  This stretches the fabric and causes waves.  You wouldn't notice it unless you laid it out on the floor flat and you'd see what I'm talking about.  I am always trying to preach how to properly apply borders.  But because I'm 50 years younger than a lot of quilters, have pink hair and holes in my face, I couldn't possibly know more about quilting than them!? (In their defense, if the tables were turned I would probably feel the same way)
So anyway, back to this simple solution:
MEASURE.
That's it!  Just measure for borders!  That will keep you from having wavy, ruffly, unruly borders and you will have a square quilt.  And I'm going to show you how.
First it helps when your quilt center lays flat.  If your center doesn't lay flat, it means that you didn't follow one (or all) of the three rules I mentioned above.  That's another tutorial in itself.  To measure for your borders, first measure each side of your quilt at its edge.
Then, fold your quilt in half and measure it along the middle seam through the center.
My quilt's sides and center measure 36.5 across the board so there isn't much work for me to do.  We're going to pretend it was off.  Say it was 36.5 through the center and 37 on each side.  Add the three, 37+37+36=110.  Then find the average of the three.  110/3=36 2/3".  This is what you should cut your borders at (round off to the nearest 1/8").
Now I will say that if you have minimal difference in your measurements (up to 1/4-1/2 inch) between the center and the edges, it's usually okay to use the center.  If all else fails, use your center measurement.
Once you've cut your border pieces, fold them in half and mark their centers, and do the same with the side of the quilt that it will be attached to.
When you attach your borders, first match up your center pins between your quilt top and your border piece.
After you've done this, pin your ends together.  From there, pin the rest of your border on, working your way in from the outside edge to the center, easing in any fullness.
The second most important part of this process (you know, next to the measuring part) is to not stretch your fabric when you're sewing.  If your quilt top edge is longer than your border piece, sew the seam with the border piece on bottom.  If your border piece is longer than your quilt top edge, sew the seam with the border on top.  It is easiest to ease in fullness on the top with the feed dogs feeding the "correct" length through the bottom.  I use a pin to push my fabric forward gradually as I sew the border pieces on.
Repeat these steps for all four of your borders and you should have a flat, happy quilt! (I could've lined up the lines but didn't feel like it).
That quilt looks much happier than this sad quilt with too much fabric in its borders (that I have to ease in when I quilt it).
That is your lesson for the day!  =]

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"Who needs a pattern?" >= FAIL

Pin It I make all kinds of things without using a pattern.  Lots and lots of things.  Usually said things are rotary cutting projects or easily measurable projects that are quicker to whip up by just winging it than taking the time to draw out a pattern.  Not such a great idea when you're cutting out shapes.
A couple of weeks ago my adorable pin cushion up and disappeared.  I had it at work, in the classroom.  Someone either moved it to some really insane place that totally makes sense so I wouldn't even think to look there, or it somehow got thrown away (yes, this really happens a lot) because I simply cannot find the silly thing!  Which makes me sad because it had so many pins in it that still had long and healthy lives ahead of them.
As a result of this, I have been using one of my wholecloth quilts (gasp!) and a stuffed teddy bear as a pin cushion.  The wholecloth is just blasphemous and now has countless holes in its beautiful cotton sateen body.  The teddy bear?  It just makes me feel demonic to shove pin after pin into a teddy's tummy or forehead.
I've been meaning to make a new one but just haven't had tiiiiiiiiime.  Today I ripped apart a bag that needed the straps re-done.  Got that all done, and decided that if I'm going to make a new pin cushion, I will also need a new sewing machine mat.  Done.  On to the pin cushion.  I decided I wanted it shaped like a flower again.  I thought to myself, "surely, self you have enough ability to cut out a flower shape without actually drawing one out and making a template."  Gross over-estimation of my own talent.  The photo will speak for itself:
I refuse to go any further with it and will be making another one whenever my stomach stops hurting from laughing at myself over this one.  It looks like a deformed baby octopus.  Seriously.  Every time I look at it I laugh.  I will say, though that it is amply stuffed and works great for my pins!!!