Monday, September 15, 2014

Modern Solids Challenge with Denyse Schmidt and Free Spirit Fabrics

** thud**


OK, now that you've picked yourself up off of the floor, let me introduce you to the fabulosity that is the Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids box by Free Spirit Fabrics. What's inside this veritable treasure box? 75 fat quarters from Denyse's new Modern Solids line … and a whole lot of creative potential.


You can imagine the squeals of delight when Free Spirit contacted me a few weeks back to see if I would be interested in receiving this magical box in exchange for my participation in their first ever Modern Solids, Traditional Inspiration Challenge with Denyse Schmidt herself. Cue the immediate "D'UH … I  mean, YES!"


The challenge: make a 60" x 60" quilt with Denyse's Modern Solids Collection. In the spirit of Denyse's book "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration" (a personal fave of mine), the design should be inspired by – or be my own interpretation of – a traditional quilt pattern. And quite a challenge this is turning out to be. With a few weeks left to complete my quilt, I am still considering no fewer than 5 different ideas of what to make.

Gorgeous photo courtesy of Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts

And speaking of challenge, this isn't just a challenge against my own indecision. It's a full-fledges competition, with my finished quilt to be pitted against those of some other famous, fabulous quilt bloggers. And there will be prizes! Prizes that I'd really like to win!! (I'll be hitting you up for help on that later.) Rumor is, there will be prizes for you here on my blog as well ...

Though it's all been quite hush-hush cloak-and-dagger so far, social media breadcrumbs have revealed that the other challengers are:

          Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts
          Heather at olive and ollie
          Latifah at The Quilt Engineer
          Lee at Freshly Pieced
          Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations

A noted (and notorious) group of amazing quilters, for sure. Let the games begin!

Gorgeous photo courtesy of Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#NGAQB Mr. June: Chris Jones


Back today with another effort to catch up on the antics of the boys of the No Girls Allowed Quilting Bee. Back in June, Chris Jones asked us to help him create a totally unique Lone Star Quilt of some kind by making and sending him some Diamond Stack blocks. Let me tell you: these blocks were not for the faint of heart. Though my blocks turned out a bit … wonkier … than I would have liked, I am still glad I took on Chris' challenge. See my blocks below and, in the spirit of our #NGAQB posts, get to know more about my fellow manquilter Chris Jones.

--

When did you start quilting?
CJ: I didn't actually pick up quilting until I was in college and living with my mom's family. She comes from a strong lineage of quilters, and I thought I might enjoy it. I grew up with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. She taught me how to sew, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and many other things. 
When I graduated from college, I stopped quilting for a while. I was sucked in to the world of MMORPG, and barely had time for anything else but work. I picked up quilting again at the suggestion of a great friend at work. She introduced me to hand-piecing and I was in love again. I've done quite a few small projects, but I've yet to actually quit a top yet. I'm hoping that I'll get to take some valuable time-off soon and try my mom's new long arm or free motion quilting machines.


What do you do professionally?
CJ: Right now I'm a SQL Developer/Data Administrator for an online book company (nope, not that one – not that one either). I've been with the company for fourteen years; I started with them two weeks after I graduated college. I started in the Customer Service department, and quickly moved up to CS Manager. I've held a position in just about every department within the company, and if I haven't worked there, I work closely with them to generate reports or import data.

What other hobbies do you have?
CJ: Outside of sewing/quilting, I love to cook, can, and garden. I just picked up canning this year, and I love it. There's nothing more awesome than taking the things that you grow and preserving them to eat throughout the year. Though I don't typically eat it, I love making jam, the stranger the flavour profile, the more fun. So far I've made mulberry jam, strawberry balsalmic jam, grape jelly, wild berry (strawberry, blueberry, mulberry) and apple butter. I'm trying out recipes for pineapple rum jam and mulled red wine jelly. They will likely be part of the family Christmas presents this year.

Do you have pets?
CJ: Yep, I have three furbabies that are the love of my life. A scottie named Finnigan, a Cairn named Ursula and a German Shepherd named Zahara. Ursula and Zahara were both rescues. We're currently taking Zahara through obedience school right now.


What is your favourite color?
CJ: Orange, definitely orange. From pumpkin to safety vest, I love it all.

Which season is best?
CJ: Fall [Autumn] will always have a special place in my heart. I love the color of the season. But now, because I really enjoy planning gardens, and digging in the dirt, I'd have to go with spring. The smell of the air right after a spring rain ... it's invigorating.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be?
CJ: I'd love to see my grandfather again. He was such an amazing person. He was a short-order cook in the army, a recorded musician that wrote music, played the guitar, banjo and fiddle, and spent the greater portion of his adult life as a taxi driver. His routes ranged from around the block to across the country. He loved life, and never had a cross word for anyone. He, like my grandmother, really taught me how to “be” in this world and I love him for it. I'd love to see him again.


What is your biggest pet peeve?
CJ: I probably have too many to mention here. I have a touch of an OCD streak that rears its ugly head from time to time. Right now the biggest thing that bothers me are leaves. I was out in the snow raking them the other day because I couldn't stand seeing them all over the ground. As far as peeves from others, though, I don't like people that use others for their benefit. Gets in my craw every time.

What kind of music interests you?
CJ: I will listen to just about any type of music, except modern country. I just can't get into it. As far as favourites...the sugarier the pop, the better. As of late I've been bouncing between bollywood hits and electronica.

What book/movie/tv show can you not live without?
CJ: TV is a guilty pleasure of mine; I watch way too much of it. I'm a card-carrying fandom member for Supernatural and Teen Wolf – can't miss an episode. I don't read as much as I should, but I like fantasy, historical fiction and romance books. Bernard Cornwell, Gregory McGuire, and Diana Gabaldon are a few of my current go-to authors.

How would you best describe yourself?
CJ: I never know what to say with this question. I think the best thing that I can say is that my Meyer's Briggs personality type is INFP. I'm introverted, usually very quiet and reserved, or in my own world. Feelings and emotions are important to me, and I am usually overflowing with them. I like to daydream, and don't like strict rules.
--

Thanks, Chris! Get to know Chris more by visiting his blog and social media sites:
Chris Jones
A Dandy Man
IG:  kailichi
Twitter: @kailichi
Pinterest: kailichi

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour


 I'm excited to share a brand new quilt top that I just completed inspired by Nancy Zieman's new book, Quick Column Quilts, as part of her blog tour today. For those of you who are visiting as part of the tour, welcome! I'm glad you're here and I hope you poke around a bit. For my regular readers, Nancy is giving away a ton of amazing prizes as part of the tour, and nothing would make me happier than for a Quilt Dad reader to win a new sewing machine, some fun fabrics and sewing notions, or any of the other great prizes up for grabs. More on that later. But first, the book ...


For anyone who's looked through my book, Beyond Neutral, you know that I have a tendency to design and piece my quilt tops in columns rather than rows. It just seems to be the way my brain is wired. That's why I was excited to read about Nancy's approach to designing and creating column-oriented quilts.

Here's the description of the book from its Amazon page:
Modern. Streamlined. Quick. 
The benefits of quilting with columns are clear: in very little time, you can piece together a stylish, no-fuss quilt. This fresh approach to quilting from author Nancy Zieman is perfect for first-time quilters and anyone looking for a change from traditional quilt designs. Start small with the Dotted Columns Wall Hanging or go big with the Happy-Go-Lucky Chevron Column Quilt--with 13 quick and easy projects to choose from, you may just make them all!



I was inspired to create a new quilt top based on one of Nancy's quilts, the Happy-Go-Lucky Chevron Column Quilt. Rather than buying new fabric for the project, I shopped from my stash and decided to use a small collection of the Imperial Pheasant collection by Eleanor Grosch that I had in my stash. I've always loved the imagery and purple / navy / red color combination of this line. Because the pattern calls for a contrasting print for the narrow columns and borders, I used a favorite Amy Butler print that I had left over from a quilt back. I really like they way they play together.


Nancy uses solid fabrics for her quilt in the book, but I enjoyed playing with the contrasting prints. I only had a half-yard bundle of the Imperial Pheasant prints,which was not enough to make a full quilt top, so I offset the pieced section of the quilt with a wide swath of solid. It's hard to tell in the photos, but this is a purple Peppered Cotton that I absolutely adore. It's the perfect complement to tone down the busy pieced section, and its shimmery texture adds just the right amount of panache.


Can't wait to get this one off to a long-arm quilter to work some magic!


OK, are you ready for some giveaway prizes? 

First, I get to reward one reader with a free copy of Quick Column Quilts! Simply leave a comment on this post to be eligible to win.

For a chance to win something from the mother load of prizes, head over to Nancy Zieman's blog. Nancy will be hosting a grand giveaway of 15 prizes. You must comment on Nancy’s September 4 blog post to qualify for the giveaways. 


There's a chance to win a free book at every one of the Quick Column Quilts blog tour stops. Be sure to go check them all out!

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman
09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.
09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny
09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                
09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama
09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan
09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day
09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around
09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio
09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair
09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs
09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Good luck!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Space Dust Quilt-along | Week 7


Welcome to week 7 of the Space Dust Quilt-along! We're so close to being done. In week 7, we worked on the sixth and final row of the main part of the quilt. You can see my version above. I am so in love with this quilt! Not only do I feel a great sense of accomplishment for finally making it, but I learned a ton about both paper piecing and color placement. Really, I couldn't recommend Tula's pattern enough. If you're still sitting on the fence, I encourage you to make like Nike and JUST DO IT.

Here's a round-up of other quilters who have completed through row 6 as of today and posted their pictures to Instagram with the hashtag #NGAQB. Read to the bottom of the post for information about this week's giveaway!

My co-host Paul finished his version, using the Indelible line (like mine), several weeks early ...


… and proceeded to make another one! I love his second version, which uses one of the Indelible prints as a background:


Melinda used Indelible too, but chose a dark charcoal color for her background. Stunning!


Marj so beautifully used the full spectrum of the rainbow and placed her colors perfectly:


Chris shows us another inspired background choice. I always love a good Grunge solid:


Oh Shonna, you must know that Tula Pink fabrics will always capture my heart. Shonna decided to make her Birds & the Bees version into a Space Dust wall hanging:


And yes, that is a gasp-worthy 2-tone background on @jmylander's quilt (made with Tula's Foxfield line):


A great finish by last week's giveaway winner, Sharni:


Another version in yet another Tula Pink line -- Teresa's Prince Charming quilt:


No respectable quilt-along in 2014 would be complete without an appearance by the ladies of Cotton + Steel. Loving @jeepdog1's version:


And here's probably the most experimental quilt in the bunch -- Angela's stunning version in all solids -- which reads to me more as "Space Ice Chunk" than "Space Dust":


--

GIVEAWAY TIME!



Have you completed through row 6 of the Space Dust pattern? If so, post your pictures to social media (Instagram or Facebook) with hashtag #SDQAL, or to your blog or Flickr with a link in the comments below. We'll randomly pick one lucky winner to win a large box of Aurifil thread, the Indelible edition. Check out Paul's post next week for the announcement of the winner.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Space Dust Quilt-along | Week 6


Hello, #SDQAL quilt-alongers! (Or is it quilters-along?) I hope you were able to visit Paul last Friday for his week 6 post. In week 6 we worked on completing row 5 of the quilt. You can see my progress above.

I'm so happy with how this quilt is turning out. I think my concerns about the white and yellow in row 2 have mostly resolved themselves (though I would work color placement differently next time.) And speaking of next time, I am already envisioning 3 or 4 more of these quilts in my future ...



I'll be back with row 6 of the quilt-along tomorrow. There will also be more giveaways, so be sure to keep posting your progress through row 5 on social media (Instagram or Facebook) with the hashtag #SDQAL, or on your blog or Flickr.

Book tour stop: Lynne at Lily's Quilts


There's another opportunity to win a copy of Beyond Neutral over at today's book tour stop. Go say hi to Lynne at Lily's Quilts for your chance to win. And have a great day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book tour stop: Molli Sparkles



The book tour makes a stop down under today with the inimitable Molli Sparkles, a fellow member of the #NGAQB. If you don't know Molli, you should. Also, free book giveaway!