Last fall I saw an interesting Facebook post by Quiltmaker Magazine. They were looking for block testers and if you e-mailed them at the listed address in their post, you could be one of those people. Guess who e-mailed Quiltmaker Mag the next moment?! This lady! Yup, I could have sucked, good thing I don’t, but I was notified that I was going to be a block tester for Quiltmaker Magazine’s 100 Blocks Volume 7 issue. I was so excited and announced it to friends and family. A couple of weeks later the process began. I tested nine blocks using different techniques, some which were intimidating, and really enjoyed the process.
A few weeks later, I received an e-mail inviting block testers to take on an additional responsibility. I responded immediately to the request and was now going to be making a quilt for the magazine using some of the blocks I had tested. Quiltmaker provided the fabric for the quilt and the quilt shop I work at, Quilter’s Quarters, sponsored the quilting. There was a chance that my quilt would be photographed and published in the issue. I didn’t have a guarantee, but I knew the quilt would hang in Quiltmaker Magazine’s headquarters in Golden, CO. Well, I am thrilled that a picture of my quilt was published in Vol. 7 of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks magazine!! I received an advance copy of the magazine as well as a mug with all 100 blocks pictured on it. How cool is that!?! It is sitting in a place of honor on my bookshelf in my studio.
Here are some pics of the blocks I tested as well as my favorite ones of the bunch.
Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 7 will be on newsstands and available for purchase online and in quilt shops tomorrow, May 7th. I hope you’ll go out and buy it and then try some of the beautiful blocks yourself. Keep an eye out for my quilt! I named my quilt “San Joaquin Valley Sunset” and I hope you like it.
Friday morning I woke to a new email from the lovely Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock & The Sugar Block Club. It was March already and time to make another block. I still can’t believe that we are now four days into the third month of 2013, but we are and so, here’s my March block. It’s called “Forget Me Not” and it is adorable! Now, as a surprise treat, Amy has shared the pattern for March’s block in her recent blog post. Click HERE to check it out. If you like it enough, I hope you’ll sign up for The Sugar Block Club and join in the fun with us!
I whipped this block out quickly and really liked the on point assembly. It took me forever to select which fabric combo I would use, but after some hemming and hawing, I decided on these. Like I’ve said before, I am using Kona Snow and a FQ bundle of Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy. A couple of weeks ago I picked up the four bundles of Denyse Schmidt’s Quilter’s Quarters collection that is available at Joann’s. Ironically, this is also the name of the quilt shop I work at here in Hanford, CA. The quality of the fabric of course is not as nice as the quilt shop quality that Flea Market Fancy is made with but the prints are great and blend perfectly with Schmidt’s “fancier” lines. I was able to blend some of the Quilter’s Quarters fabrics with my Chicopee FQ bundle as well as Flea Market Fancy.
Here is a pic of one of the sets. I love how cleverly these FQ’s are sold. It’s one solid yard of fabric that has been divided in four FQ quadrants that are printed with four prints. BRILLIANT!
Like I said, the Sugar Block Club’s March block came together very easily. I am LOVING how the blocks are looking together and can’t wait to see this quilt in it’s finished state at the end of the year or beginning of 2014. (I can’t believe I just typed 2014.) Here’s a pic of my first three SBC blocks. They are so CUTE!
What have you been working on lately? Of course I have too many projects in the pipe line right now but that’s what keeps me busy and life interesting. I’m always learning, even from the seemingly simplest patterns.
Friday was a happy one for Sugar Block Club members. It brought us the February block from Amy Gibson and for some, a bit of a surprise. A paper-pieced pattern! For the second block, it sure threw some for a loop. Two of my girlfriends who signed up for SBC per my recommendation have never paper pieced in their life and expressed concern to me about whether they could be successful with this new block. I assured them that they will be just fine and I will help them.
Yesterday I hosted an All Day Sew event at Quilter’s Quarters here in Hanford, CA and my two friends were in attendance. After I had served a delicious lunch of Jambalaya (not planned to tie in with Super Bowl weekend and New Orleans, but a perfect coincidence), mini corn bread muffins and a Banana Cream Trifle, I set up a little sewing area and showed the ladies how to paper piece the SBC’s February block.
North Star is a great block and the paper piecing was simple for the most part. I just have to remember when cutting my fabric in preparation, I should cut a bit larger than the cutting instructions say. Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 and inch larger on all sides, just to be safe. I think it’s a very approachable and doable pattern but if the fabrics don’t cover that given 1/4 inch seam allowance, it may be discouraging for the novice.
After an exhausting day I somehow caught a second wind last night and finished up the North Star block. I think it turned out pretty darn cute, not perfect, but cute and that’s good enough for me. I know not all my seams are matching and whatever, but I can live with that. If I really want to remake it at some point, it doesn’t take a lot of fabric so that won’t be a problem. Again, I’m using a fat quarter bundle of Flea Market Fancy, Kona Snow and some random fabrics from my stash to round out the color palette.
Funny thing is, I look at it now that I have uploaded this photo to this post, and I think my points and seams look pretty good. Sometimes I just takes a fresh perspective!
Wednesday already?! OMGoodness! It’s been a cluster f*!k of a week in the craft room. I’ve tested blocks for a magazine, worked on organizing some fabrics and then got back to work on my Underground Railroad Sampler. Oh, and we took a field trip to San Simeon, CA to see the elephant seals at Elephant Seal Vista. It’s breeding and birthing season for the seals. Because of that, I don’t know what there were more of. Seals or people who came to watch all the action. We got to see some “action” and we weren’t disappointed, though we aren’t sure what exactly we were seeing. We even took Rocky with us! He definitely smelled the seals, but I don’t know that he knew what he was looking at.
On our way home we stopped in Paso Robles for lunch and I popped into Birch Fabrics aka www.FabricWorm.com. Whenever we go to Paso Robles I like to check out the FQ bundles that the staff puts together. I had two in my hands that I loved but I narrowed it down to one since this Saturday I’m heading down to The Road To California Quilters Conference & Showcase in Ontario, CA with a friend of mine. I can’t imagine what goodies are in store for us there!
I digress. Underground Railroad! The book for this sampler is by Quilt In A Day and the beloved Eleanore Burns. I made the sampler already and am currently teaching it as a class at Quilter’s Quarters, where I work, here in Hanford. The book provides instructions for both 6″ finished and 12″ finished blocks, as well as finishing suggestions/directions for large and sampler size quilts. I chose to make the sampler size and have decided to make a second one with intentions of submitting it into a local quilt show, either this spring or next spring.
I have made six of the blocks so far. Actually, I’ve made seven but I need to remake the “Monkey Wrench” because my points are non-existent. I will be working on this today and through next week since I really want to get the blocks assembled. Then I can decide what fabrics I want to use in the sashing, cornerstones, border and binding. I already have a backing fabric in forest green and brown in a bold print. I think I want to stay away from the black this time around just to be different. I love the black though since it really frames the blocks. I was looking at some blues and greens today that could work.
What are you working on today? Tonight I’ll be teaching some awesome ladies in part 3 of the Underground Railroad Sampler class.
Be sure to check out what others WIP are this week. Thanks to Lee @ Freshly Pieced for providing this great way to share with y’all!
Amy Gibson, aka Stitchery Dickory Dock, aka Craftsy.com’s 2012 BOM Instructor, aka ROCK STAR, has a great BOM program she’s offering in 2013. It’s called The Sugar Block Club (SBC) and it is wonderful!
Well, I’m all signed up and I received the January block & recipe. Yes, RECIPE! Not only is it a BOM club, but Amy sends a favorite recipe along with the BOM. Score! I completed the January’s block, ”Snow Blossom”, and I LOVE IT!!! I finally got my hands on a FQ bundle of Denyse Schmidt’s “Flea Market Fancy” and knew it would be the fabrics I would use this year for SBC. It is PERFECT! I’m using “Kona Snow” as my background fabric and today while I was at work (I work in a quilt shop! Lucky me!!) I bought some “Kona Papaya” and some Riley Blake ”Orange Dots”. I already own some of the Riley Blake ”Gray Dots” so I’m adding that to my SBC fabrics too. There’s a blue tonal polka dot fabric I have in my stash which I will probably add too.
Can’t wait to see what Amy has in store for February!
I’ve decided to participate in Freshly Pieced weekly feature, WIP Wednesday, here in my Craft Room. I think it will be a great way to log progress in ongoing projects! I’m excited to share with y’all the projects I’m working on weekly, and believe me, I don’t think I’ll run out of projects to share. I am insane! LOL
Anyway, this week’s priority project is a baby quilt for one of Hubby’s employees. We were thrilled when we learned she was preggo and the due date is late winter/early spring, so Baby will be here before we know it. I wanted Hubby to feel involved in the process of making this baby quilt so together we picked the pattern for the quilt. It comes from a great new book called Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. The quilt pattern is called JIGSAW and it was designed and written by Amy at Amy’s Creative Side Blog. Over the weekend we went to see that romantically lighthearted romp, ZERO DARK THIRTY, in a town east of ours. Before the movie we popped into Beverly’s Fabrics (which we learned is closing its doors in that location) and Hubby helped me pick out an adorable print and complementary Kona solids. I don’t usually like to use children’s fabric when making baby quilts but these little lions were too cute to ignore.
The pattern came together quickly and simply. The jigsaw pieces are a perfect size and the primary colors I am using really make the quilt pop. I am not making the full size quilt which would be a 54 1/2 inch square, but instead have shrunk it down to a 33″ x 24″ rectangle. I feel it’s a good size for a crib, car seat and just to lay on the floor and put baby on it. I am following the pattern and not putting a border on the quilt and will bind it in the blue fabric. The backing fabric I got is from the same lion collection as the pieces you see above. I am still deciding ona thread color to quilt it with. I will probably just use my walking foot and quilt straight across the quilt so as not to distract from the jigsaw pattern of the piecing.
What are you working on this week?
Paper piecing was a new-to-me technique that I really enjoyed learning in 2012. I had signed up for Craftsy’s Quick Strip Paper Piecing class taught by Peggy Martin when it became available. I didn’t start the lessons right away, but instead read the material and watched the first couple of class videos. I purchased some foundation paper for the projects, selected fabrics from my stash and took a deep breath. OMG, I LOVED IT!! What a fun process strip paper piecing is! I love the assembly line process that Peggy Martin teaches. I have since learned that paper piecing is not always so simple and straight forward though. I have gotten discouraged with other patterns I’ve tried but I know it can be done.
The following pictures are of wall hanging sized projects I made using the first two lessons in Peggy Martin’s class. The precise and crisp points are so gratifying.
I haven’t made anything larger than these using the paper piecing technique but it’s only January. I did sign up for Don’t Call Me Betsy’s Luck Star BOM Club last week. I love the idea of supporting fellow bloggers, especially when they have such wonderful ideas and products. We’ll see what comes out of that. Her PDF’s look great and I love her blog so I’m not too worried. I just have to figure out which fabrics to use!
Have you paper pieced? Do you love it or hate it? If you’ve blogged about it, please share the link in the comments below. Thanks!!