September 30, 2013

Is it your therapy too?

It is an honor and delight today on the blog tour to direct you to Quilting is my Therapy, the blog of the accomplished and friendly Angela Walters. This lady is truly amazing! Books, classes, quilting, fabric design. She gets a zillion things done every week I imagine. And I love that she approaches quilting not as simply finishing a quilt, but as extending its design, its message, into the texture and lines of the stitching. I've been so inspired by Angela's work. Today she's showing a sneak peak of a couple projects in the book! I hope you'll enter her giveaway and check out her free-motion quilting books as well.

September 29, 2013

Fall, and Pink Chalk Studio

Summer is officially over here. We ate our last watermelon and are onto pomegranates. There has been tons of rain. I fell asleep last night thinking about pumpkin hazelnut pasta. Ahhh. Time to get cozy.

I'm excited to point you over to Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio as today's stop on the blog tour. I'm someone who buys most of her fabric in brick and mortar stores, but when I get something online it's almost always from Kathy's store, Pink Chalk Fabrics. The selection is great and the shipping is fast. I love her little postcards with quilt sizes on the back and more than once I've turned to her "What goes with what?" series that matches recent fabric releases with coordinating solids. That's the kind of person Kathy is: the kind that thinks of things you didn't even know you needed! I love her classy and upbeat nature and I hope you stop by and enter her giveaway. Hope you're having a great weekend everyone!

September 28, 2013

Past President's Society

There's a running joke at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild that the last two past presidents each have a book out right now. I'm the other one. Susan Beal is the headliner. I'll be sure to tell you about her almost-out book when it's in my hot little hands but for now, I'll let Susan tell you about mine, because she's today's stop on the blog tour!

I feel so lucky to know Susan, with her friendly, soft-spoken, generous way. She gets so much done and makes such beautiful things and still keeps time for her friends and her family intact. She brought me the best food when our second baby was born. She gave me so much advice when I was staring at my first ever book contract. We live in the same neighborhood and our families sometimes meet on walks or at the park.  I hope you'll check out her post (with peeks at some of the book projects!) and then imagine us trying to have a sweet little talk about making raspberry sorbet while our four kids make/throw/eat a pile of chalk dust. Because that totally happened.

September 27, 2013

Step back! and Happy Zombie!

When I'm actually quilting is the time that I'm closest to my stitching. My face is less than a foot from whatever I'm working on and I can see every detail. Even when 95% of the stitches go where I want them, the other 5% torment me. But it turns out my feelings about my quilting are directly related to how close to it I am.

1 foot: We should burn this
2 feet: Was I drunk?
3 feet: Oh, hey, that looks good!

So that's my little meditation today. A lot of times we use "take a step back" to be figurative but when I take an actual step back from my quilting I find all my up-close distress melts away.

Today I'm just beside myself that my friend Monica at Happy Zombie is sharing a little bit about my book. If you somehow don't know her please go enjoy her gorgeous sewing, fabulous sense of humor and up-to-the-minute cultural references. This lady drives long distances to come to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meetings and we are so lucky to have her vibrant, joyful personality and design inspiration around us. She loves sewing and she's great at it but she doesn't take it too seriously. What an awesome combination. Monica is giving away a copy of First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting too!

September 26, 2013

QAYG, and today's stop!

The two meanings of "quilt as you go" (QAYG) cause a lot of confusion in the quilting world. Kind of like the two meanings for "paper piecing". I keep seeing the "stitch some fabric onto batting then add another" kind of QAYG on Instagram, largely because of this Craftsy class. Everyone seems to be doing straight line quilting but I wanted to see if you can do this with free-motion quilting (that would be FMQ QAYG!!)

Yes, you can!

The reason I think no one does this is you want a perfectly straight line to attach each subsequent piece of fabric but then you want to FMQ each piece, without having to switch back and forth between the straight stitch and free motion feet.  Well, here's how I did that: by using my square ruler as a guide. I just moved the free motion foot right along the edge of it as I stitched. No need to switch anything. Curiosity satisfied, I stopped the project there but I'll pick it up again I'm sure.

And now I'm happy to send you to today's stop on the First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting blog tour: Jessica from Life Under Quilts. Jessica's story of approaching a free-motion project will probably sound familiar to everyone.

I love Jessica's heartfelt nature, her steadfast commitment to her craft, and her really personal artistic style. Jessica is the person who started me thinking about myself as a potential author.  Without her, the book simply wouldn't have been written, or not for a long time, at least. What was even better was that while I was writing the book, Jessica was writing one of her own! Always nice to have a friend who gets it. Even if that friend is someone you've never actually met. I hope you enjoy Jessica's post and giveaway!

September 25, 2013

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting: it's on!

Hi everyone! I'm all aglow from some great quilting events last week, and thrilled to start off several days of book chatter and giveaways. I know I've been sort of quiet about what's inside this book. That was so I could let a bunch of fabulous bloggers tell you about it instead! I hope you enjoy what they have to show you.

The blog tour starts off today at my publisher, Stash Books. I have to tell you what great people they are. If you've ever thought about writing a book, please consider sending them your proposal! They were so thoughtful and caring every step of the way. They listened to all the ideas and concerns that I had and worked very hard to make this book as pretty and as thorough as I'd hoped. I even got flowers and cards from them on important occasions, like the birth of my baby and the arrival of my book (my other baby!). They are just such good, dedicated people.

Here is the entire tour schedule, full of people I adore:

9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog 
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts 
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie 
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty 
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio 
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy 
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts 
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts 
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did 
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps

We've had a productive sewing week here. My daughter was so excited about the book release party she felt it simply required a new dress. She fell in love with this Joel Dewberry print while at Modern Domestic (well, her first choice was a Liberty of London print and I had to explain that some fabric is not for us mortals) and we turned it into a little frock that she loves, just in the nick of time. 

You'll be hearing more than usual from me during this blog tour, as I point you to wonderful blogs and book giveaways. Go ahead and start right now with the sweet post and giveaway at Stash Books! See you soon and have a great week! 

September 14, 2013


Am I too into free-motion quilting? Possibly. I made these stickers and I think I'm going to put one of them on my car. My husband should love that.

Marital bliss aside, if you live in Portland, I dearly hope to see your shining face this week. There's two ways we could make that happen.

First, I'm the guest speaker at this Thursday's PMQG meeting. This is such an honor. I get so excited when I get to teach something that I feel really passionate about. It's the best feeling. Thank you PMQG!

Second, book release free-motion quilting event! We're going to have a little party at Modern Domestic. Would you like to try your hand at free motion quilting for a few minutes? Would you like to see me do free motion quilting for a few minutes? Would you like some advice on finishing a quilt top you're stuck on? Or maybe you just want to watch me squirm when someone asks me to sign my book because I still feel on some deep level that one must not write in books? All these things can be yours at Modern Domestic, Friday 9/20, 6-8pm.  Seriously, come lay down some thread with me. Is that a saying? Let's make it a saying. Lay down some thread. You don't have to do any stitching of course, but if you want to, you totally should.

We'll have some copies of the book at both events, so if you like to buy local, you're covered! I'll even give you one of my FMQ stickers if you want one. Have a great weekend all!

September 09, 2013

Scraptacular quilted wristlet

Anytime I'm left with a little quilted scrap from a project, I save it. I can't really say I advise this sort of hoarding. I've amassed a box full of flotsam waiting for months (years?) on end to be turned into something worthwhile. 

But today, folks! Today I don't look like a weirdo who can't throw things away. No! Today I am the wizard who knew there was life in those little scraps. Today I'm the mad genius who cobbled them into a franken-wristlet. Today rocks. 

I joined my little pieces into panels using 1" strips. I ended up not needing all the pieces, so I suppose that means I'll be making another one!

It's the first time I've gone all the way with using a clasp for the strap, it's not hard at all and it makes the bag look so classy. Or, it would have made the bag look so classy if I'd taken a little more time making the corners look good. Ah well, sleep is important too. 

Thanks all for the delighted comments about using a print fabric for FMQ practice. I'm glad you think it's a good idea, too! The random number generator chose #10, Terri Hessler, to receive that pretty fat quarter of "Koi scalloped edge".  Happy stitching everyone. 

September 04, 2013

Stitching on Koi - plus giveaways!

I think using a print fabric as a guide for free motion quilting is a great way to get a little practice coordinating your hands without being responsible for choosing the quilting design. There's a project in my book that utilizes this technique. I have been keeping an eye out for in-stock fabrics that would work well for this project, or for anyone needing an easy bit of free-motion-quilting practice.

This pretty fabric, Koi Scalloped Edge from Cloud9 Fabrics fit the bill. Look at those nice spaces between the scallop shapes. Just perfect for stitching around!

I stitched following the curves of the dotted scallops. The colorful scallops didn't line up as easily for stitching around them. 

I tried to stop on the peak of the curve when I needed to reposition my hands. 

It looks good from the back too! 

I'd asked Cloud9 Fabrics for a fat quarter of this print to show it all stitched up. They sweetly gave me the fat quarter I asked for, and another one in a different color way. Bonus fabric! Let's have a giveaway! If you'd like to be in the giveaway for a fat quarter of this print in grey, just leave a comment on this post. The giveaway is now closed.

Also, there is a giveaway of First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting going on over at Sarah's blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, through Thursday. Hop on over quick and enjoy how very much this amazing lady gets done. Seriously, it's like light speed. She's already made three of the projects from the book! Plus quilted probably twenty quilts this week. I am forever in awe. Hope everyone has a great week.