Monday, May 14, 2012

Zakka Style Sew Along :: Week 7

Zakka Style Sew Along

Welcome to my stop on the Zakka Style Sew Along!  Not familiar with the Zakka Style Sew Along?  Fellow bloggers and my buddies Lindsey and Amy were so smitten with the new book Zakka Style: 24 Projects Stitched with Ease to Give, Use, and Enjoy by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Stash Books that they decided to round up 24 modern sewists to sew through every project in the book, Julia & Julia-style.  I was honored to be invited to join along in the fun.

(For more information on the tour, plus the full list of stops on the sew along, check out Lindsey's kick-off post here.  She also posted some great information on where to buy the book as well as the supplies used in the projects.)

Before I share my project, I wanted to say a quick word about this great book.  Rashida has done a fantastic job in bringing together a diverse set of sewists and crafters to provide the book's projects while still maintaining a very strong and cohesive aesthetic.  The book itself is beautiful and the photography inspirational, but it's not just a pretty book.  Nearly all of the projects are ones I can see myself making, especially because they strike the right balance of being advanced enough to yield an impressive final product while still being accessible to the beginning sewist.  Most of all, I think the items in this book fit the bill for quick gift ideas, and I can see myself returning to it again and again when I want to make homemade gifts.

Rain Cloud Mug Rug

I made the Rain Cloud Mug Rug, designed by Christie Fowler.  You can see Christie's original -- the one that's pictured in the book -- here.  This was a fun little project that I both started and completed in a single Sunday morning.  I used Essex Linen for the background and a small scrap of Kona Snow (both by Robert Kaufman fabrics) for the cloud.  I had intended to bind this mini quilt in a grey print similar to Christie's because I loved the serene feeling it gave off, but in looking through my scrap bin I decided to go with a more cheerful and sunny print -- kind of like the rays of sunshine through the rain cloud.

Rain Cloud Mug Rug

I adjusted the pattern a bit to meet my needs.  In her directions, Christie uses a needle-turn technique to apply the cloud to the linen background.  As my long-time readers know, I avoid handwork like the plague.  Instead, I traced the book's cloud template to a small piece of double-sided fusible interfacing, fused it to the Kona scrap, cut it out, and then ironed it directly on to the background.  (The more perceptive among you might notice that I didn't think to reverse the template first, so my cloud is the mirror image of the one in the book!)  I then free-motion stitched along the edge of the cloud shape.  This probably means the edges of the cloud will fray just a little bit over time, but I am totally cool with that.

Rain Cloud Mug Rug

With my darning foot & feed dogs down, I machine stitched the swirly, curly wind lines, trying to mimic Christie's style.  I put my regular foot back on and sewed the dense straight lines meant to represent the rain.  After machine stitching the small piece of binding to the mug rug, I was done -- less than 2 hours from start to finish.

If you make a Rain Cloud Mug Rug -- or any of the projects from Zakka Style -- I'd love to see it.  And since I'm giving this book a strong recommendation, I can't leave you without offering to give a copy away.  Simply leave a comment on this post and tell me if you've ever sewn anything that could be considered "zakka", and I'll randomly select a winner next week.

I've also got 5 sampler packs of Aurifil thread to give away, which brings my total number of prizes up to 6.

But wait ... there are more prizes to be won!  Lindsey has rounded up 24 fantastic prizes from some of the biggest brands in the quilting industry, and she's giving them away on her blog to people who are sewing along with us.  Be sure to check out LRstitched to stay up to date on all of her active giveaways.  This week, it's a $30 gift certificate to Zip It!

Please join me in thanking the following sponsors for supporting the Zakka Style Sew Along:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fat Quarterly Issue 9 (+ my Nightshade quilts!)

Hello, and Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms, grandmas, godmothers, aunts, sisters, friends, and caregivers out there.  I hope you're all having a wonderful (and relaxing) day!

Thanks to everyone for all of your nice words about Geared for Guys, and especially for my Urban Decay quilt that's featured in the book.  I'm thrilled to be able to provide one of you with a free copy of the book.  Congratulations to Kathy H., who said:

I am thinking of a quilt for my son when he graduates from college so this book will probably have a few good suggestions. Congratulations on making the cover.

Kathy, please contact me so that I can get your book to you ASAP.

I had a fantastic visit to the Triad Modern Quilt Guild this past week, and want to thank Karen Grey, Angie, Colleen, and the entire group for being such gracious hosts.  Since I was speaking, I didn't take any pictures ... but I'll try to steal a few from the guild members and post more fully about it soon.  (In the meantime, you can read a little more about my visit on Kelly's blog.)

Today, I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that Issue 9 of Fat Quarterly is now available!

Issue 9 is all about sewing for, and with, the children in your lives.  It's full of fantastic patterns and project ideas, including a feature on Project Linus.  For my contribution to the issue, I was VERY excited to have the chance to play with Tula Pink's new line, Nightshade.  Though "officially" a Halloween line, a quick Twitter poll confirmed my belief that this goth-chic line would be totally embraced by tweens and teens (and, I suspect, many of their moms) all year 'round.

Being the dad of twin girls myself, I decided to design a quilt pattern for twins -- that is, a pattern that's easy enough to make 2 in the time it might take to make another, single quilt.  The scale of the prints lent themselves to large blocks, so I focused on making big, easy blocks and then created two complementary layouts.

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble: A quilt pattern for twins!

Here's my version in the Absinthe (green) color way:

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble: A quilt pattern for twins!

And its twin, in the Evening Shade color way:

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble: A quilt pattern for twins!

I call the pattern Double, Double, Toil & Trouble, and I hope you enjoy it!  Of course, if you make a version, I'd LOVE to see it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Geared for Guys Book Tour

I'm so excited to be kicking off the 30 days, 30 blogs, 30 books tour to announce the release of a fantastic new e-book of 8 original quilt patterns called Geared for Guys.  OK, so I'm a bit biased -- author & fabric designer Emily Herrick (of Crazy Old Ladies fame) asked me to be a featured contributor ... and my quilt made the cover!

First off, if you're not familiar with Emily and her work, you really need to check out her blog.  Go ahead, I'll wait.

OK, glad you're back!  I'm sure you saw that not only is Emily an accomplished pattern designer, but a successful fabric designer with Michael Miller Fabrics.  (After the success of her first two lines -- Going Coastal and Hall of Fame -- Emily is all set to release her third line, A Shore Thing.)  And now, Emily can add author to that list.

Several months ago, Emily contacted me to see if I would be interested in collaborating with her on a new book project she was working on.  Of course, once she shared her idea of a e-book focused on quilt patterns  with "guy appeal", I was all in.  I was so happy to design a new original pattern to be featured in the book, and was excited to make my quilt with the Curious Nature line by David Butler.

Urban Decay

We decided to call this quilt "Urban Decay", and here's how I describe the pattern in the book:

This quilt, with its decidedly masculine colors and prints combined with a design with structural and architectural overtones, should appeal to a wide variety of men in your life. Equally suited for the dorm room or den, Urban Decay is sure to be a conversation piece for years to come. 
I purposely designed this quilt to be fairly straightforward in its design; however, the mix of primary and secondary shapes combine in a variety of ways to make the quilt visually compelling. At first you might just notice squares and rectangles with some triangles mixed in; then, a secondary pattern of octagons begins to emerge; and finally, you can begin to see a very modern take on traditional quilt blocks like the churn dash and spool blocks. 
As a play on the overarching structural and architectural themes of the design, I decided to let the pattern begin to “fall apart” towards the bottom of the quilt. Simply by swapping out some printed blocks for solid counterparts, I created the illusion that this structure isn’t quite as sound as you might think. Whether it’s still in the process of being built -- or in the process of (not literally) coming apart at the seams -- this unexpected design element gives the quilt some movement as well as some visual interest. 
Of course, these elements of “decay” are optional -- you could choose a more straightforward construction approach. (If you do, be sure to adjust your cutting directions accordingly.) And, although I’ve included the directions and diagrams to make your quilt exactly like mine, feel free to play around and customize your “Urban Decay” element as much as you’d like.  Have fun, and make the design your own.

Urban Decay

Urban Decay was quilted by my homegirl, the supremely talented Angela Walters!

I am, of course, excited to reveal my own quilt project from the book, but the other 7 patterns are really, really great as well.  I am confident in saying that there's something for every guy in this book, and Emily's patterns are so versatile that they would look great with many different fabric and color selections.

I sure hope that you want to get your hands on this great e-book, and I'm glad to be giving away the first free copy of the blog tour!  If you'd like to enter to win, simply leave a comment below and let me know if you're planning on making any quilts for the men in your life.  I'll randomly select a winner and announce it here on the blog shortly.  And be sure to follow along with the tour for 29 more chances to win.  Tomorrow's stop is at the Jolly Jabber, blog of the always fabulous Fat Quarter Shop.  Say "hi" to Kimberly for me!

If you simply can't wait to see if you've won, you can order the e-book (in PDF format) through Emily's Etsy shop.  You can also find all of Emily's standalone quilt patterns there, too.