Monday, July 6, 2009

FAQ's, plus my Deer Valley quilt

Before getting to the quilt blocks of the subject line, I wanted to get a few random thoughts out of the way ...

I absolutely love getting comments, and try to respond whenever possible ... but it never seems to fail that readers with specific questions have their accounts set to "no-reply"! I'd love to answer your questions, but often can't. However, I've noticed that two questions keep popping up over and over again, so I thought I'd answer them here:

  1. What do you do with all of the mini quilts that you receive as part of the swaps you are involved in? Great question. I am planning a re-do of the room that currently doubles as our home office / sewing room, and would love to create a mini quilt wall like the amazing ones shown here, here, here, here, here and here. But for now, they are all neatly stacked near my machine, and I look through them OFTEN. Every now and then, my kids will swipe a few of them for their dolls ... and I am TOTALLY cool with that! : )
  2. How can I find out about new swaps or quilting bees that might be open to new participants? I can only recommend following the same path that I did -- check out the Flickr groups and watch the discussion threads for open groups. Monthly swaps are a great place to get started -- I recommend the 6-12" Mini Quilt Swap Group, or Swap Til You Drop. Other mini quilt swaps, like the Doll Quilt Swap or the Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap, aren't quite monthly, but are usually open to new swappers. Finally, the best resource for info on quilting bees is Erin's Quilting Bee Blocks group. It has become the go-to place for both people who are recruiting and those looking to be recruited for a bee! And if all else fails, and you're feeling sad that you're not being invited to any groups, do what I did: start your own! That's how SewConnected was born!

Is anyone else as addicted to as much as I am? I LOVE it. However, the combination of Pandora + iTunes is EXTREMELY dangerous to my checkbook ... it's way too easy to discover new music and, one click and $1.29 later, it's yours forever. For quilting & sewing, it's usually a toss-up between "Josh Kelley Radio", the very similar "John Mayer Radio", or "Black Eyed Peas Radio". The Peas have been winning more often than not lately.

Any readers in AUS / NZ interested in a trade? I'd love to get my hands on this book. Let me know ...

OK, speaking of Material Obsession, I recently got the first book and I dig it. So much so, in fact, that July is my month to send out fabrics for Rachel's bee inspired group and I drew my inspiration from one of the quilts in the book.

I always admire pineapple quilt blocks, and "The Big Pineapple" quilt combines this traditional pattern with very modern, contemporary fabrics. It got my mind racing, and I quickly decided that I wanted the group to help me make a modern pineapple quilt.

First, I had to decide what fabrics to use. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of Joel Dewberry's designs and I've been anxiously awaiting his Deer Valley fabric line for quite a while now. It didn't take long to decide that this was the perfect fabric line to fulfill my vision.

I scoured the 'net for a free pattern that I could include with my fabrics, but could only find paper piecing patterns. And as y'all know, I don't paper piece ... so I'm sure as heck not going to ask 17 other people to do it for me! Some more searching and I found the perfect solution: Bonnie's Pineapple Blossom quilt pattern over at Great pattern, easy enough for the various skill levels in our group and, best of all, all traditional piecing.

I made four practice blocks to show the group just how easy it is ...

... and I am THRILLED with the result! I know that you lose the pattern somewhat with so many different fabrics going on, but I wanted the end result to be scrappy and I think (hope) that the pattern will come through when it's all together. Even if it doesn't, it will still be a kick-a** quilt.

I can't wait to see it all come together.

Anyone else working with Deer Valley yet?


  1. Hey John!
    I ordered that MO book through London on ebay. much cheaper.. so fun to flip through...
    the pineapple blocks look fun! groovy fabric choices...
    wanna help me with a block again? swing over, I'm sending out fabric for a new gather...

  2. Thanks for the shout out & the link to the QBB group! I hope that it's a "go-to" place. ;)

  3. Hey there. I'm new to your blog, but I'm now following it! You are NOT the only one addicted to listen to it all the time when I'm home, especially while quilting. Lately, my Nine Inch Nails radio has been winning. :)

    --Meg in CT

  4. Oh, I totally LOVE Pandora! Listening to it now, actually! Great blocks... I have the Deer Valley fabrics, and I know what I'm going to do with them ( is pretty close to my plan! ~ Jennie

  5. I'm being pulled towards Pandora, but right now I'm using to do similar. it's GREAT!

  6. PS- my "Evanescence" station is my usual choice on Pandora!

  7. Yes, I just started on a half square triangle Deer Valley quilt! It's not on my blog yet, but it will be soon. I combined the persimmon color scheme with some pumpkin Kona. LOVE IT!

  8. I LOVE that deer valley fabric. LOVE it. I'm planning a few projects, pillows and an ottoman out of that fabric for our living room. However, I am broke at the moment so I'm praying that I will make bank at my upcoming street fairs.

  9. Hey John! I LOVE pandora too. I find myself doing the same thing with itunes. I now have a long list of songs "TO BE DOWNLOADED" on a pad next to my computer.

    I just mentioned your deer valley blocks in a post on my blog yesterday. This line is wonderful. I still like Chestnut Hill the best, but Deer Valley will be a big hit I'm sure. Now to work up the nerve to slice into those FQs.

    Thanks for the mini quilt wall links. I am in the process of converting our extra sitting room in to a quilt studio. I just joined a number of the flickr groups you mentioned and love the idea of a display wall. I finally feel good enough about my work to be able to do some sewn swaps. Looking forward to swapping with you some day!

  10. Hey John. If you want me to send you MO2 just email me.

    Thanks for the random thoughts. Great to see what's going on inside that head of yours!

  11. Beautiful blocks and they really show what a difference fabric choices make!

  12. Just found your blog through Sis Boom's and I think your work is outstanding. I love your choice of fabrics and how you partner everything its always nice to see another guy sewing and blogging about it. Take care

  13. not a paper-piercer either. love your blocks; the fabric is delicious

  14. I have made a few of those pineapple blossom quilt blocks, but I always seem to not pick contrasting enough fabrics. Quitville is one of my favorite resources though!

    Great work, I adore the blocks and the fabric and also--thanks for the FAQ! I have been wondering what the heck you would do with all those mini quilts.

  15. John, have you tried paper-piecing? Get someone to show you how if you haven't. It is really easy to learn. But, if you have tried it and just don't like it. Well, I understand that too.

  16. Love your pineapple blocks. Wow!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Have a great day.

  17. I LOVE Pandora! I'm a huge advocate...I've told everyone I know about it. I start it up in the morning and just let it play all day long.

    I really like your pineapple blocks! I like that they have fussy cut centers but are still interesting blocks...usually blocks that you can fussy cut are boring! I've been looking for a block pattern where I can fussy cut some large floral fabric that I have...I'll have to check this one out. Thanks for the link.

  18. That quilt is going to look REALLY awesome!!! I too have become addicted to Pandora... it's got the "Boom, Boom, POW!

  19. Hi I'd love to do a swap for the book just let me know. I love your blog and although I wasn't going to get the fabric I will now. Marg

  20. Oh, I love the Material Obsession 2 book, a freind of mine has it, and brings it to quilt class for me to drool over. The patterns are wicked! I would offer to send it to you but it $52 NZD plus about another $20 to send. That's one big swap :-0

    Love your blocks!!

  21. I love the wall quilt idea!! And I, too, think Pandora is AWESOME! Luckily (or unluckily) I don't have an ipod, so I haven't suffered financially from my Pandora addiction yet.

  22. Hi John

    I left a comment (long one!) back at the SMS giveaway. I was delurking a lot then and didn't know how to be sure I was leaving myself open to reply. I settled on having a Google ID with my email in the profile. Do you mean something more about being repliable?!

    Nice to see you back posting - I'd just got up to date with your blog when you disappeared! Thanks for the Pineapple block - that looks doable - I'm not keen on paper piecing either.

    WIP Wednesday - Even a WIP WEEK wouldn't cover me - I teeter on that line between WIP and UFO! I have no blog of my own yet, but I'm working on it!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. I want to buy the Joel Dewberry Deer Valley line too. I'm a huge fan too!

  24. John, just discovered your Blog and think it is great that you quilt!
    Try this link for the book
    They ship anywhere in the world FREE and I have used them a few times with no problems.

  25. Hi John, I hope you manage to get your hands on a copy of material obsession two. I've just caved and bought myself one. It is wonderful. I'd love to swap, but I'm with Highwaycottage, postage is very steep from NZ. However there is another way to get hold of Sarah Fielke Designs. Look for Quilts Downunder. The magazine has a free online subscription and often features the designers from Material obsession. There is a great Sarah Fielke design this month. Think of it as a sneak peek at Material Obsession 3.

  26. Hi John

    Did you mange to sort out a swap for Materail Obsession 2? I caved in and got one, let me know if you still need one, I can have this one in the post tomorrow (I'd just get another for me). I'm glad I got it, the patterns are gorgeous!!