Thursday, January 15, 2015

I designed a quilt!

Waaaaay back in the spring of 2013, I was driving to Wegmans with my husband on one of the rare days when he was off work but the kids were in school and we could go eat sushi and Indian food and shop for cheese without two shorties wondering loudly every five minutes when they would be rescued from this, their own personal hell. It tends to make us a bit giddy. He was driving and along the way, I happened to notice a truck for a printing company that had an interesting logo.  The picture that I snapped from the car is gone, but here is the logo:

Naturally, I started thinking about quilt blocks. As one does. After we got home, I sat down at the computer and contemplated the logo. I knew it wouldn't work as it was, as I didn't want to just copy it anyway. But seeing it from far away in a moving vehicle during a light drizzle made me start thinking about blocks that were essentially half negative space, and constructed like a log cabin block. Set on point. As I played, I saw that I didn't want all the strips to be the same width, I eliminated green from the palette entirely, and I didn't use as much negative space as I had first envisioned. There was a lot of mind changing. And mouse clicking. I ended up with two blocks, and I loved they way they worked together.

After I worked out the design on paper, I figured out my fabric requirements and wrote out instructions that I would then have to follow myself as I constructed the quilt, to see if it actually worked. And by some miracle it did. I called it Breaking The Waves.

I was still working for Generation Q at the time, and I showed the finished quilt top to the editors, who said that they wanted it as a project for the magazine. Crap! That meant I had to quilt it, and I really didn't want to do that myself, so I begged Lisa Sipes to fit it in when she could. Lisa was in such demand, I figured she might never get to it and this would effectively eliminate any chance of my creative effort put on display for the world to see and judge, which was a win as far as I was concerned. I'm still a little shy about these things sometimes.

She brought it to me all finished at spring Quilt Market last year, and I brought it home to bind and be-sleeve. (Technical term, that.) Despite the wait, GenQ still wanted it, so I took it to our local beach to photograph for them.

They scheduled it for the January/February 2015 issue, which has just been released and should be appearing on newsstands now. And not only is this my first published quilt pattern, they even put it on the cover!

Big thanks to the GenQ art director Lisa Lauch for making my quilt (and my photos) look so pretty on the page. I am obligated to tell you that you should totally buy this issue and if you can't find it in a local store you can buy individual copies here or go to this page to find an online retailer that carries it. And while I do hope you buy it, what I really hope is that if you see it on a newsstand somewhere, you will pick it up and wave it around while yelling "I KNOW HER! I KNOW THE WOMAN WHO MADE THIS QUILT! AS MUCH AS ANYONE CAN REALLY BE SAID TO 'KNOW' SOMEONE ELSE THROUGH BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA. BUT STILL." But after that they'll probably make you buy it or pay some kind of restitution or fine, so be prepared.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blog Tour: Fast-Piece Appliqué by Rose Hughes

First. I must say that I am very honored that Rose asked me to participate in her blog tour for her new book, Fast Piece Appliqué. Of course I'm always honored when anybody asks me to do anything, because I'm kind of used to everybody being scared of me ("What if she uses a swear word???"), but I'm particularly honored this time as Rose is truly such an accomplished quilter. This is her fourth book, all of which have, in one way or another, focused on her unique appliqué technique.

Before I get into that, I am going to tell you how I know Rose. Rose has been a reader of my blog for a while, and I did know her a little bit from there, but she is also good friends with one of my former employers at Generation Q. When we went to our second Quilt Market in Houston back in 2012, Rose stayed in the group of hotel rooms GenQ had reserved for staff. She hung out with us and on one night a bunch of us went out to dinner and then shared a cab back to our hotel. Our hotel was quite nice, and happened to also be situated directly next to a rather large, um, adult-oriented shop.

Naturally, we had to check it out. So, I am one of the few people in the world that can say I have been post-Quilt Market late-night sex store shopping with Rose Hughes. Well, sex store looking, as we didn't buy anything, but still—it was a bonding experience and I am sure Rose and I will be friends for life because of it.

It was around that same year Rose published her third book, Design, Create, and Quilt, and I bought myself a copy. I was incredibly impressed with that book because it was really a series of lessons in art and design and composition, with each project illustrating a different lesson. She even starts you out with a folder project so you'll have something beautiful to store all your art inspiration in.

So, when she asked me to participate in this tour for her new book, Fast-Piece Appliqué, I said OH YES PLEASE, not only because I'm happy to support her work, but also because I got a digital copy of the book and I couldn't wait to see what she had done this time.

As I said, all Rose's books cover the Fast Piece Appliqué technique, but this one really dives into it. She also explores in depth the idea of taking a scene, a photo, an idea and reducing it to its simplest elements in order to make a bold graphic statement—and a quiltable one.

I'm not going to spoil the technique here—you'll need Rose's book for that—but I will tell you that it gives you a way to make absolutely ANYTHING you can think of. It's all done by machine and there's no fusible web involved! I will also tell you the main thing you will learn that you may have never done or even considered before is couching—where you lay down yarn and attach it with a zig zag stitch by machine. It's not hard, so don't be scared of that, and when you read the book and see how it's used you'll be all, I CAN TOTALLY DO THAT.

Now, have you ever heard that old Schoolhouse Rock song, Three is A Magic Number?

The number three has a lot of interesting mathematical properties, none of which I will bore you with here, but to me an interesting mathematical property is pretty much the same thing as magic, and Rose clearly had magic in mind when she made her projects for this book. Each quilt in some way includes, illuminates, embodies the number three:

(images courtesy of Martingale publishing, photography by Brent Kane)

Some of them are three-panel quilts; others are single quilts with three main elements. Rose has clearly been communing with the divine.

If you have not been following the tour, Rose has a special love-themed project download at each spot, perfect for making a love-ly quilt or wall hanging:

Or some super sweet pillows:

Each blogger on the tour got to choose a word for her download and I chose...LUST!

Naturally, someone already commented, "Of course YOU would choose 'lust'!" I have absolutely no problem with anyone thinking of me as 'lusty.' Lust makes life interesting, especially when you are a silver-haired forty-something quilter. And hey, I'm trying to write a romance novel, so I better have a good love affair with lust! Also 'lust' was the naughtiest of all Rose's words, and you know I can't just be sweet. I have to add a little salt.

To download your pattern for LUST click here. And to win a digital copy of Rose's book, leave me a comment telling me who or what you lust after. Riches? Chocolate? A lifetime subscription to Biblical Archeology? Danny DeVito's furry tush? There's no judgement here, you know that, right? I love all you freaky weirdos, so TELL ME EVERYTHING.

I will pick a winner on Sunday, January 18 and announce on Monday, January 19.

Please visit all the stops on the tour to get all the word patterns and more chances to win:

Jan 5th-  KISS-- Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Jan 6th - SOUL-- Natalie Barnes
Jan 7th - SEXY --Maddie Kertay
Jan 8th - SWAK-- Teri Lucas-Generation Q
Jan 9th - LEAP-- Mandy Leins
Jan 12th- LUST-- Megan Dougherty
Jan 13th - HUGS-- Jenny Wilding Cardon
Jan 14th - FIRE-- Sam Hunter
Jan 15th - SING -- Rachel Biel-TAFA
Jan 16th -- Rose Hughes

UPDATE: Did you know it is already January 19th?  I have no idea how that happened. Anyway, the winner of the digital copy of Rose's book is Debby E! You kindly gave me your email in your comment, Debby, so I will forward that to the pertinent parties and you should have your e-book soon.