Monday, March 31, 2014

The No Girls Allowed Quilting Bee

A few posts back, I wrote about the collaborative project that helped maintain my excitement for sewing during an otherwise difficult period in my life. Today, I want to introduce another project that I am crediting with re-introducing me to sewing on a semi-regular basis. Like The Traveling Quilts, this is another collaborative endeavor … but one unlike any other with which I've been involved.

As my long-term readers know well, I've always been a fan of virtual quilting bees. Heck, I've been involved in many, many of them. And in most cases, unless Ryan or Scott were playing along, I was always the only guy in the group. I never imagined that the day would come when there would be a bee with more men than women in it … never mind a bee made up entirely of manquilters.

Well, that day has come!

Allow me to introduce the No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee (with, of course, its own hashtag: #NGAQB.) The admittedly tongue-in-cheek name (no offense, ladies!) celebrates a full roster of talented and modern male quilters that will be sewing with and for one another for the duration of 2014.

Each month, I'll be sharing the blocks I'm making for the other members of the group. And, I'll be featuring a short bio of each of the other guys so that you can get to know them as well.

We started the bee in January, so I have a bit of catching up to do with sharing the blocks I've already made. In the meantime, feel free to catch up and follow along via Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or any of the members' blogs (featured below.)

It's been a blast getting to know these guys already -- you should see some of the private conversations we've been having on Facebook! -- and I can't wait to see what the year holds for this fantastic group, as well as the majestic (and manly) quilts that are sure to come from it.

The #NGAQB roster:

January - Sandy Greenberg
February - Andrew Joslyn
March - Andrew Youngman
April - John Q. Adams
June - Chris Jones
July - Ryan Walsh
August - Shaun Abels
September - Giucy Giuce
October - Nick Ball
November - Scott Hansen
December - Joshua Helms
Honorary Mascot - Andres Rosales

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Look how big they're getting!

Just a quick note today to share one of my favorite recent pictures of my family. This is the shot we used for our Christmas card this past year. Since we spend most of our free time on the soccer field these days, it seemed appropriate!

Happy hump day, readers. What are you working on this week? I need some visual inspiration …

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Traveling Quilts (part 1)

Hello and happy first week of spring, everyone! (Wait, it is spring, right? This week, Mother Nature doesn't seem to agree …) I don't know if it's the change in the season, the fact that I'm settling back in to a bit of a routine after a period of great upheaval, or the impending release of my book, but I'm starting to feel like I just might be getting my groove back. I'm sewing a bit, browsing some awesome new fabric lines in my free time, and planning a friend's quilt that he commissioned me to make for him (a king-sized quilt -- eek!)

After the sewing bug bit, I guessed it wouldn't be long before the blogging bug bit too. I've been thinking for weeks about coming back to this space and starting to flex my blogging muscles a bit again. (Boy, are they stiff!) Truth be told, the longer I've been away, the more intimidating and overwhelming it's been to come back. Where to start? What to show? Am I ready to commit to this again?

Well, there's no better place to start then the page of draft posts that I started months (years?) ago, pick one out, and just get git r done. So today I'll start with a project that, in many ways, kept me engaged with sewing and quilting when nothing else could seem to.

My boarding pass!

Even though I haven't posted about it before, by now you may have heard about The Traveling Quilts project. I can still remember long, long ago when I was chatting with Heather about our shared desire to participate in a collaborative project, but something different from a more traditional online quilting bee or round robin. We decided on a slightly different premise: create something -- anything -- and send it to the next person in the group. That person can add on to your creation in any way they choose -- no specific block styles, sizes, shapes, or colors. They could add to one side, two sides, three sides, or all four sides of the quilt. Or no sides, meaning that they might choose to just create a standalone addition and leave it to a quilter down the road to figure out how to put them together. That quilter is allowed to let inspiration guide her. And once they feel like their contribution is complete, they pass it along to the next participant.

In the end, the person who holds the quilt before sending it back to its original home has a special duty. That person must quilt the finished piece and bind it. That way, every participant in The Traveling Quilts project actually receives a finished quilt in the end, instead of a collection of blocks.

The Traveling Quilts | A start ...

Once we hammered out the idea, we set out to assemble the group of quilters that we wanted to take this journey with. We were a bit worried that this new take on a virtual quilting bee might not be appealing to folks, but we shouldn't have worried. We ended up with an absolutely amazing group of people full of so much talent and creativity that it's almost intimidating.

Taking the journey are:

The Traveling Quilts | A start ...

For the start of my traveling quilt, I had a great time pulling together an electric group of prints that seemed very beach-y to me (without being overtly themed.) I was more inspired by the idea of sea glass than anything. I think these days it might be considered "low volume?" Anyhow, I absolutely loved compiling the muted tones and patterns and couldn't wait to see what everyone would do with them. I paired the prints with a pale blue and a pale green and took a stab at some 60-degree triangles. And with that, I sent it off to begin its journey with Amber in Hawaii!

Oh, one more thing: we each included a journal with our quilts for all participants to record a short note or memory of the experience and their additions to each quilt. Is it strange to say that I am as excited to receive that journal back as much as I am the quilt?

I was going to share my additions to the quilts that have passed through North Carolina thus far, but I think I'll save that for another post.

Happy Monday, and have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coming soon ... Fat Quarterly's Quilt Colour Workshop

I was very excited to see that the next Fat Quarterly book, Quilt Colour Workshop, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Tacha, Brioni, Lynne and I built upon the foundation of our first book, Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters, and turned our attention to color (or "colour", as the Europeans like to spell.)

It's another beautiful book chock full of great quilting projects ranging from easy (mine) to more difficult (everyone else's), and I can't wait for you to see it.

Amazon is showing the release date as March 31, 2014. Stay tuned for more!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lush Uptown Layer Cake Lemonade | A free pattern and discount

So, despite my lack of blogging, I have been doing a bit of sewing lately. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I can't share much of it with you yet. However, I can share a cool new quilt top that I recently finished up.

I was excited to be asked by Kimberly, Chelsea, and the team at the Fat Quarter Shop to help celebrate the launch of their newest free quilt pattern, Layer Cake Lemonade. This pattern is part of the FQS' Shortcut Quilts series, featuring patterns for quilts that are quick to piece and make good use of fabric pre-cuts. You can find the free quilt pattern here.

For my version of the Layer Cake Lemonade quilt, I decided to use the recent reprint of two of my favorite fabric lines -- Lush Uptown by Erin Michael for Moda. I knew it would be a great collection to showcase its beautiful large focal prints.

The pattern was well-written and a breeze to put together. In fact, I both cut and pieced this quilt top in just one afternoon. A Shortcut Quilt indeed!

The quilt top finishes at 48" x 61". I added a narrow 1" border using a solid Moda Bella solid in teal to frame the prints a bit more. I'm also planning on adding some additional solid borders in other colors pulled from the collection to make this more of a sizable throw quilt -- after all, I am 6'5" and I want to keep this one for myself. I'll post more pictures of the quilt top after I add those extra borders.

I'm always a big fan of quick quilt projects. And of free patterns. Lucky for us, this one hits on both counts!

As part of the pattern's launch today, Kimberly put out a great video with more information about the quilt. I've embedded it in the post below, but you can also find it -- and more information about the Layer Cake Lemonade pattern -- on the FQS blog today.

Once again, here is the link to the free quilt pattern.

Also, in honor of the release of the Layer Cake Lemonade pattern, the Fat Quarter Shop is offering 20% off of all layer cakes this week only for all of you that want to make your own version. Happy shopping!

Want to see a bunch more variations of the Layer Cake Lemonade quilt? Check out some other bloggers' awesome versions of the pattern:

  • Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts
  • Vickie of Spun Sugar Quilts
  • Kristyne of Pretty by Hand
  • Jo of Jo's Country Junction
  • Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew
  • Karrie of Freckled Whimsy
  • Brigitte of Zen Chic
  • Lisa of Primitive Gatherings
  • Polly & Laurie of Minick & Simpson
  • Karla, Lisa & Susan of Sweetwater
  • Barb & Mary of Me & My Sister Designs
  • Kate of Kate Spain
  • Lori of Bee in my Bonnet
  • Bonnie of Bonnie & Camille/Cotton Way
  • Tammie of Moda Fabrics

  • Thanks again to Kimberly and the entire team over at the Fat Quarter Shop for inviting me to be part of the celebration!

    Sew & Stitch Embroidery WINNER

    Thanks for all of your great replies to my embroidery questions. It's always great to see my love of a craft shared by so many others. Bog congratulations to the winner of the book giveaway, Julie, who wrote:

    JulieOctober 22, 2013 at 12:46 AMI stitched a sampler as a girl to earn a Girl Scout badge--hated every minute of it. Started stitching again a few years ago, and now can't get enough.

    Julie, please contact me with your mailing address so we can get you your book straight away. And if you're not Julie but love embroidery, I still suggest you pick this book up. I highly recommend it.

    Back later with a quilt top finish!

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Fat Quarterly Holiday Issue & some news

    Issue 15 of Fat Quarterly, the annual holiday edition, is out today! It looks to be yet another fabulous issue chock full of holiday project ideas and inspiration because -- whether you choose to believe it or not -- 'tis the season, y'all! So head on over to the Fat Quarterly site and purchase your issue or subscribe today.

    From Fat Quarterly Issue 15

    It's also the perfect time for me to let you all know that I am no longer an official member of the Fat Quarterly team. Stepping down from the magazine was an extremely difficult decision for me but, with the twists and turns my life has taken of late and the changing demands on my time, it was the best decision for all parties.

    From Fat Quarterly Issue 15

    Of course, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fat Quarterly and I love the ladies of the FQ team even more. Katy, Brioni, Lynne and Tacha have become some of my best friends in the world. This move was nothing less than love-and-hugs all around (and, in fact, I am already planning on some visits with the gang when I am in Europe!) I still believe in the mission of Fat Quarterly -- to be both of and for the modern quilting community -- and will support it to the end.

    Back tomorrow with the winner of the Sew & Stitch Embroidery book giveaway!