Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ThatCrazyQuiltyGirl in the press!

Pin It I've mentioned before that I don't handle attention very well.  It's really true.  When people compliment me on anything, my usual reaction is along the lines of shuffle-my-feet-and-say-awww, shucks, thanks.  I just can't handle it!  Which is why when I was asked to give an interview about my competition quilt, I was a little hesitant.  I like to be sort of anonymous and go about life in the shadows.  Honestly.  I really do. 

But, I agreed.  My other worry was this:  I'm usually able to convey what I'm trying to say fairly well through written (or typed) words.  However, it seems like 90% of the time I open my mouth to speak the same words I could easily write, I end up with diarrhea of the mouth.  So I was worried about having to actually talk.

I was pleasantly surprised by the article!  It is so well written, I have to give major props to Christina.  I appreciate her humor and her style of writing, for sure!

Sooooo, anyway.  Here's the Article!  (I'm leaving a few small bits out for my own privacy and also the privacy of one of my customers, kkthnxbi!).


Self-Taught Quilter Finds Great Success

What do you think of when you envision a quilter?
Do you imagine a smiling grandmother with skilled hands, working meticulously on a beautifully-blocked quilt with cross-stitched ducks and floral motif?  Update your imagination because there is a new quilter in town and she doesn't fit the mold.
Lisa Sipes has bleached and pink streaked hair, a piercing above the lip and another on her chin.  She is vivacious, a snappy dresser and isn't shy about telling you like it is.  She is also a semifinalist in the 2011 American Quilters Society quilt show and contest.
Sipes's quilt, "BeDazzleder!", named for its 2,000 Swarovski crystals, was chosen along with 229 others for the annual contest at the Iowa Events Center from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1.  First, second and third place prizes will be given out in five categories, along with five overall awards.
The contest will give out more than $44,000 in prize money; $10,000 for best of show and $5,000 each for best hand, machine and long-arm workmanship.  Regardless of how BeDazzleder! places in the final judging, it will be displayed at the show which is expected to draw more than 15,000 people.
"This year's quilts show off the artistry of quilters in traditional as well as innovative techniques." stated the American Quilters Society president Meredith Schroeder.  "Whether you live viewing quilts like Grandma made or want to see what new ideas and designs are being stitched into today's quilts, there will be quilts for everyone to enjoy.  This truly is an art show of quilts."
Quilts were entered from 41 states and seven countries.
Sipes became a finalist after receiving second place at her first-ever competitive quilt show in May.  Then the same quilt received an honorable mention at a show in Ohio in June.
"The Kansas City contest that I attended in May was the first one I've ever been to," she said.  "I had absolutely no expectations and entered my quilt so I could learn something new and get feedback from critics.  I didn't even attend the awards ceremony because everyone told me that I'd never win anything at my first show."
She found out that her quilt placed after seeing a Cirque du Soleil show.
"I had a lot of angry messages on my phone for not being there to receive my award," she said.
Now her novice quilt is stomping on seasoned professionals across the country.  It will be displayed next in Milwaukee in August, in Des Moines in October and in California in January (edit from me, that California part is a mis-print!).
Sipes has only been quilting for two years and she taught herself everything she knows.
"Frankly, I have no idea what I'm doing," Sipes joked.
She has become so engulfed with quilting that it is now her full time job, having completed more than 150 quilts for customers from all over the United States.
**entire paragraph left out :)**
One of her latest blog posts is about "UFOs."  It is not a posting about bizarre objects flying around in space, but about "Unfinished Objects" and the remnants of quilts that are started but never finished.


Well??!!  What do you think?  Pretty neat, huh?
I just have to say, I'm not so sure about the part mentioning my quilt stomping on seasoned professionals, but it's an awesome word-choice, if only it was true!  =]

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along Week 4: Square in a Square

Pin It Happy Monday, everyone!  Today we have the newest tutorial for the Rockin' Robin Quilt Along, the Square in a Square block with AnneMarie of GenXQuilters.  I love this block!  It's super easy and goes together pretty quickly.  Mine looks a little different than the tut, as I made some measurement mistakes, but that's the glory of it.  It can be done in whatever measurements you want, really!

If you're just now joining in, here are the tutorials to the previous week's blocks:
Week one, rectangles.
Week two, stars.
Week three, cute little houses!

Here's a picture of my row of the Square in a Square block.  I love how it turned out!


I cannot WAIT to show you all the finished quilt!
Again, the tutorial for this week's row is here and don't forget to add your progress to our flickr group!

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UFOs??

Pin It In my ever-so-limited computer time of late, I've been browsing around the interwebs at all things quilty.  From shows and festivals (deadlines, mostly) to the new and fabulous Generation Q Magazine  (the new home of Quilter's Home editors and columnists), to chat sites and message boards.  I like to see what's going on in the world and try to see if there's anything new that I haven't heard of.  What am I talking about?  Of course there is!  I just can't keep up anymore.  But apparently, a lot of quilters can't keep up with themselves.

What the crap am I talking about?  UFOs.  I've been hopping around MyQuiltPlace, FacebookLand and several other places and one thing seems to remain constant:  Quilters have so many projects started, they don't even know where to start when it comes to finishing all of them.  I'm talking dozens.  Some have said they have over 50 projects that have been started and are nowhere close to completion.

I don't understand this one bit.  Not at all.  Nope.  No.  I just don't.  My brain doesn't work that way.  When I have a project started, I will work my ass off (and there isn't a whole lot to spare) until it's done.  I usually will dream up a quilt in my head, choose my fabrics, cut it out and start piecing it in the same day.  Typically, it's done within a week. 

I cannot stand to have things laying around unfinished.  First of all, who has the space to have 3059830948230958 projects cut out and half-sewn together?  How can you even find everything when you decide you want to finish it? 

I like to have something to show for my work.  I like to have things DONE.  So that I can show them off, and then eventually give them away.  I will work until 4am for 5 days straight because I know the end is in sight. 

It is in this way that I'm wired completely differently than my mother.  That woman (I love her, I swear) starts things.  The end.  She starts them and never finishes them.  It drives me absolutely bonkers.  The mounds and piles of "stuff" that she has accumulated over the years of being a serial "starter" is very overwhelming.

So my question is this:  Are you a UFO quilter?  If you are, why? 

I can certainly understand that there are just so many things out there that interest you and you want to do them all, but why do they never seem to get finished?

I'm certainly not speaking badly about UFOs.  I seem to be the only person in the world (okay, a bit dramatic and not at all true) that can't stand UFOs.  I look at it this way:  If I want to do something but don't have the time to do it, I won't.  When my time frees up and I can start a new project, I will.  If it isn't that project I wanted to start a few months ago, maybe I wasn't meant to do it anyway.

How many UFOs do you have (It's okay to be honest, this is a safe place.  Promise!)
If you had a guild or group focused specifically on social sewing time to finish up UFOs, would you join?
Would a UFO challenge help  motivate you to complete those unfinished projects?
When you're making quilts with a specific purpose (gifts, charities, etc.) do you have more motivation to finish them?
Do you have a hard time finding fabrics to go with your projects from a few years ago (colors really do change!)?

There's a reason I'm asking all of these questions.  As I'm sure you could've guessed.  :)

Anyway, I'll share a couple of recent projects with you just for the fun of it.
This first one I call "The Blue One".  I made it for someone special to me!  I made it in about a week.  Now, I pieced this quilt in a waaaaay more difficult way than I needed to (but there was for a reason too).  It's made entirely of triangle squares in graduating shades of blue with a grey solid background.  I could've just strip pieced around the center square on-point, mitering my corners as I went.  But, I decided I wanted the seams from the triangle squares to use as registration lines when I quilt it.  SO, to save myself an hour or two of marking to quilt it, I spent days longer making the stupid thing than I needed to.

Don't mind the millions of yards of batting and crappy angle.  It's the biggest quilt I've made in quite a while (96x96) and don't have much room left for laying them out for photos!  I'll be making a bunch of decorative pillows in all kinds of fun shapes.  Circles, stripes, more triangles.  Lots of pillows.  Think, Along Came Polly.

Next up is my new embroidery project.  It's Sarah Vedeler's newest design set, GO! Bloom, which she kindly sent to me as a gift.  She's also having a sale this month! Much smaller and "easier" than BeDazzled.  I say that in quotes because it's really difficult to work with so much fabric at once.  You embroider this as a wholecloth, and it's more difficult to position correctly where your applique goes.  But it's MUCH faster than BeDazzled!  Almost done.  I chose to do this one out of dupioni.


You can see that the two flowers on the left have no stitching on them yet.  (Actually, I got one done last night!)  I thought the outer tulips made this too orange, so I decided to make my daisies hot pink and light pink.  Unfortunately, all of the thread makes them look orange anyway!
This little lady will be done by the weekend.  What do you think so far?

What are you working on?  Is everybody having fun with our Rockin' Robin Modern Quilt-Along?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along Week 3: Houses!

Pin It Hello, everyone!  Are you sewing along with us for the Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along?  If so, don't forget to add your pictures of your progress to the group pool on Flickr!

It's week three, and this is my favorite row in the whole quilt.  Heather and Megan at QuiltStory whipped up a tutorial for some adorable house blocks.  Like the stars block, you are given size options for this block.  Here is my row of the houses blocks:


I wasn't overly thrilled with the lack of contrast between the larger houses and the background fabric, but when you see the whole quilt (soon, grasshoppah!), it looks better.

So you know the drill!  Go on over to Heather and Megan's and get the tutorial here.

Don't forget to also check out what the other designers did for their rows.  Really cool stuff!
There's Anne Marie @ GenXQuilters
Melissa @ LilacLane
And Jen @ ReannaLilyDesigns

We are having so much fun with the quilt-along.  Even if you're behind, it's not too late and I hope you'll join in with us.  Happy sewing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along Week 2: STARS!

Pin It It's that time again!  Today we reveal Melissa's row in this modern quilt sew-along.
If you're just joining us, you have plenty of time to sew and catch up.  This quilt goes together VERY quickly, and if you get your top done and pictures posted to our Flickr Group, you could win some pretty *Rockin'* prizes!  Even if you're not quilting along with us, you should still totally check out the Flickr Group to see the awesome things that everyone is doing with these tutorials.
In her tutorial, Melissa offers three different sizes of stars you can do.  You can make all of your stars one size (like I did, due to time restraints), or you can mix and match and use up more of your scraps!
Here's my version of her row (except mine has another block on each side.  Just wouldn't fit in the picture!):


To see what the other designers did for their rows, you can check out their blogs here:
Heather and Megan at Quiltstory
Jen at ReannaLily Designs
AnneMarie at GenX Quilters

And of course, Melissa's tutorial is here!

If you're sewing along with us, don't forget to let us know how the tutorials are, if we're nuts, or if you're having fun!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cruisin' With Riley Blake Quilt Contest

Pin It Are you a Riley Blake fabric addict like I am?
If you are, then this is the contest for you!
Riley Blake Designs is having a fantastic contest!!!  To enter, all you have to do is submit a picture of a quilt you've made from Riley Blake fabrics.  The prizes are so awesome!

I will be entering my Rockin' Robin quilt once all of the rows are revealed.  I was almost tempted not to blog about the contest, because I want to WIN!  =]
Have you made a Riley Blake quilt you'd like to enter?  I'd love it if you left a comment so I know to look for your quilt in the entries section of the contest.
If you enter, best of luck to you!

Luck, or something like it

Pin It I've been thinking a lot over the past few days about how lucky I am.
There are always things in life that will bring us down.  To what degree they bring us down is up to us.  What's important is to focus on the things that lift you back up.
I have wonderful, beautiful, creative, funny, inspiring, supportive friends.  When I'm doubting myself, when I have problems (and am actually willing to share them, which is usually not the case), when I need an ear, they're there.  I will be the first to admit that I can be flaky at times, forget to call you back, forget to reply to your email for two months, etc.  That doesn't mean I don't think of you often.  And my true friends understand. 
I get to spend my days doing something that I love.  Of course there can be negatives to that too, but again, the positives far outweigh any negative that I'm faced with in my work.  I spend my life making people happy.  More and more people are telling me that I inspire them.  Um, WOAH.  I've always been happy being inspired by others.  Never in a million years did I think that I would also inspire others. 
I get to wake up every day and create.  Create beauty.  I get to make the world a more beautiful place, one quilt at a time.  I get to invoke smiles.  I get to receive hugs. 
I've been fortunate enough to achieve some level of success in a career that I've been working at for only a short time.  Knowing that I am worthy of competing in my work, with people that I look up to and admire, is the most amazing feeling in the world.  I don't handle attention very well.  When I receive congratulations or compliments, I will usually try to change the subject.  But not because I don't appreciate the praise.
I've always been more of an academic.  I didn't think I had a creative bone in my body.  It was purely by chance and misfortune that I was thrown into this crazy whirlwind that I now call my life.  I'm grateful for the misfortunes that led me to this place. 
The last year has been so full of positive experiences, I feel like I'm just bursting at the seams.
One thing after another.  One good thing after another.  I cannot articulate in words how awe-inspired and humbled I've become through all of this.
If you're reading this, I consider you a friend and I'm thankful for you.  From the bottom, top, and each side of my heart.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along, Week One!

Pin It Hello, all!  I hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July weekend and feels rejuvenated and ready to SEW!  Because it's that time.  Oh, yes.  I'm so excited to see what everyone comes up with for their version of this quilt.
The first week of the Quilt-Along is my week for a tutorial of rectangle blocks.  I wrote this tutorial in a bit of a hurry, but I know that the other designers in the Quilt-Along were able to make the blocks.  I did forget to mention in the tutorial that the first frame of the block is 3-D!  So hopefully that'll help it all make more sense to you.
Without any further ado, here is the tutorial for my row of this adorable quilt.  Don't forget to check back next week for the next row!

Row Robin Baby Quilt Row 1: Rectangles
Row Size: 12 ½ x 48 ½
(Note, yardages and suggestions given are for a 4-block-wide quilt row. I made my quilt six blocks wide, just because (it worked better for fat quarters). If you'd like yardage for a larger quilt, feel free to ask!)
Fabric Requirements:
Background fabric – 5/8 yard
Contrast solid – 1/8-ish yard
Scrappy – Either several scraps measuring at least 3 ½” long, or 8 strips of fabric, 1 ½ x WOF
Cutting Instructions:
Background fabric:
(4) 1 ½”x8 ½” rectangles
(8) 2 ½”x6 ½” rectangles for frame
(8) 3 ½”x12 ½” rectangles for frame
(For frames, it is okay to be generous with your cutting, and trim down to a 12 ½” completed block)
Contrast solid:
(8) 1”x6 ½” rectangles
(8) 1”x8 ½” rectangles
Piecing instructions: Since I strip-pieced my scrappy section, that is how I will give instructions! Also, you may press your seams to one side or the other, toward the light or toward the dark, or open. Whichever you prefer. I press my seams open because I get a better, cleaner press! This is the layout for your blocks:

*Piece all of your 1 ½” strips together, then sub-cut your strip pieces in 3”x8 ½” sets *Piece one 3”x8 ½” strip set to one 1 ½”x8 ½” strip of background fabric. Press. *Sew another 3”x8 ½” strip set to other side of 1 ½”x8 ½” background piece.

*Press 1”x6 ½” contrasting solid rectangles in half lengthwise, so you have ½”x6 ½” rectangles. Repeat with 1”x8 ½” rectangles. *Meet the raw edges of your contrasting solid with the raw edges of your block. Baste these strips around your block in a clockwise fashion, approximately 1/8” inch from the edges. If you don't have a built-in basting stitch on your machine, increase your stitch length length as high as it will go (usually 6.0).






Next, sew your 2 ½”x6 ½” strips of background fabric to the top and bottom of your block (Don't forget to decrease your stitch length! But I suggest only taking it down to a 2.5 or 3, to make a regular stitch through all of the layers). Press.

*Sew the 3 ½”x12 ½” strips to the sides of each block. Press.


Repeat to make four blocks and sew your blocks together in any combination of directions you like.
FINISHED! =]

Don't forget to add your pictures to the Rockin' Robin Flickr Pool so we can see everyone's progress!
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