Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A New Quilt From Start to Finish - Chapter 2 Color

Now that I have the different sections of this
quilt chosen (check out this previous post about designing this quilt), I get to color it. Quiltster is a great tool for auditioning fabric. 
There is an option to choose fabric collections - Judy's fabrics, Kaffe, Bali Watercolor Batiks, and more. Excitement building, big time!

To give myself some limits, I only designed with the 1895 Bali Watercolors. Even then, there were so many to choose from. I would suggest identifying a color scheme and sticking with 4-6 hues and their cooresponding tones. I have a board on Pinterest reserved for color schemes. I saw these leaves and it immediately spoke to me. This would be my palette. 

Just for fun, I tried a few other ones. In this one I used peacock-inspired colors. I get a big kick out of coloring quilts that I may never make. It helps get me out of my color box.

So here is what I finally decided on. Not quite as much purple as in the leaf picture, but I like how it turned out. At this point, I still haven't seen the fabrics next to each other, so I'm taking it on faith.

Another cool feature of Quiltster is that it gives you a yardage chart - either total or by block. At Quiltworx University, we were the guinea pigs for the newest feature of the system - the fabric requirements were sent straight to the quilt shop that was hosting our event, Thimble Towne. So my fabric was cut into strips and was waiting for me when I got there. Although I do enjoy the fabric shopping aspect of quilt making, this feature would save lots of time. I'm not sure how many or which stores will be connected to Quiltster, but I'm excited to find out.

Check out Quiltster - even when you are not designing a quilt, it's a great creative on-line activity.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

My Favorite Designers - Chapter 3 Judy Niemeyer

I have just finished a terrific week in Bakersfield California at Quiltworx University with Judy Niemeyer, her daughter Judel and about 10 Certified Instructors. I’m writing about my project in separate posts. And boy, is there a lot to write about!

I’ve known about Judy Niemeyer for several years-most quilters have. I knew her designs were intricate, mostly paper pieced and I knew she had her own line of batik fabrics. WOW so little did I know! 

Judy designed and made quilts by hand for 20 years. Then she discovered foundation paper piecing and recognized the revolution that it could be to help quilters make complex looking quilts. Although I don’t know the exact history of how she got from then to now, I’m sure it’s been quite a journey.

Now she has 75 or so Certified Instructors that are trained in her methods that help quilters make intricate quilts in a very efficient manner, saving hours by using an assembly line approach. For those of you thinking that this might take the fun and tradition out of quilting, I would argue that the fun is still there, you just spend less time pinning and trimming. There are also hundreds of patterns, lines of batik fabrics, and a great on-line program called Quiltster that is absolutely going to revolutionize the design and fabric buying process. 

Both Judy and Judel are down to earth, easily approachable, smart
women. Quiltworx is a family company. Son Bradley does the computer based drawing and designing. The other employees and CIs are also like family. The family lives in Kalispell , Montana.  It’s not an easy place to get to, but WOW is the area gorgeous! Just outside the west side of Glacier National Park.

Every year or so Judy designs a technique of the month quilt that incorporated several techniques for quilters to learn and master. The last technique of the month was Vintage Rose and I fell for it in a big way. Vintage Rose was my introduction to Judy’s designs and techniques. The technique of the month patterns can only be done through a certified shop or a certified instructor. I made mine through a certified shop in Illinois - Peddlers Way. I went to a retreat center in Illinois, just over the Missouri border by Hannibal. It was a beautiful old farmhouse with a modern retreat center added in a separate building.

So here is why I like Quiltworx patterns:
  • Quilts can be designed in Quiltster so that you can visualize what the quilt will look like in different color ways.
  • Quilts can be designed with mix and match sections. Choice of 6 center stars, 9 borders, etc.
  • Papers are newsprint so they are easy to tear off. 
  • Papers can be stacked so they can be cut out in layers as opposed to one at a time.
  • Pieces are drawn to take advantage of grain line, so that each piece is either on grain or on bias as appropriate.
  • Fabric is stacked under template layout and cutting sheets so that it can be cut out in layers.
  • Fabric pieces are of a generous size so that they will easily cover the section.
  • Parts can be assembly pieced so you reduced thread, and needle up and down time.
  • Parts are put together with smart corners and transition points so they easily match up.
  • Appliqué piece templates are lazer cut on a sticky leave-in material that makes it so easy to prepare shapes.

They have thought of everything, and if someone thinks of something new, it can be easily incorporated into the next series of quilts and updated into older patterns.

This company has a great history, but more importantly, they are really pushing into the future with a vision. I can't wait to see what comes next. 
Check out Quiltworx and Quiltster! You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A New Quilt From Start to Finish - Chapter 1 Design

Most of the quilts you’ve seen on my blog are finished or in process. What I haven’t done yet is to document a quilt from idea, through design, stitching, quilting to completed quilt. I am just getting ready to start a quilt at a workshop, so I thought I would take the opportunity to document the entire process.

A while back an intriguing email arrived from Judel Niemeyer Buls about Quiltworx University at Thimble Towne in Bakersfield California. One of the quilt options for this workshop was an exclusive design called Cattail Mixer, meaning the it was a mix of several different patterns based on the Judy Niemeyer Cattails in the Meadow pattern. I immediately forwarded the email to a few friends to see if anyone wanted to join me at the workshop. No takers, so I decided to go on my own.

So here we are six months later and I am sitting in a hotel room in Bakersfield California waiting for the workshop to start. The process so far has been unique. Instead of going to a fabric shop and auditioning fabrics, my normal modus operandi, I designed the quilt on Quiltster.

This process of quilt designing on a computer is great in theory, but was way outside of my comfort zone. Not only did I have to choose between different centers and borders, I had to choose fabrics. I am one of those people who likes to pull 15 bolts from the shelves, lay them out and then choose 2 or 3 fabrics that work well together. Then I fill in.

Designing Cattail Mixer Queen was different. I had a couple of main designs to choose from. I choose cattails because it reminded me of my childhood - as we drove around beautiful California on weekend trips, my mom would ask my dad to stop so she could collect dried flowers, among them are cattails. They had to be just right - too “ripe” and they would explode. I don’t remember if there was a down side to not ripe enough. Mom would spray them with hairspray to a keep them intake as much as possible. She had taken a flower arranging class and make beautiful arrangements for our table and home.

I already had a subscription to Quiltster so I hopped on and got to work. For section A, the center section, I had the choice of 9 star points. Look at all those options, how was I ever going to choose? I wanted some action, but not too much. One iteration of the design looks much different from 8! So after trying out several of them, I finally decided on 84270. It gives the center a bit of interest.

Section B next. I knew I wanted cattails because, well, that was the name of the quilt and it had sparked fond memories. But there were 6 options so I could make another one later that looks totally different.

Section C was the on point inner border. Again, lots of cool choices!  I tired several and finally settled on 10713. A series of framed pointed triangles.

Outer borders, section D, came with 4 options. After auditioning, 96405 won the day.

So now I have a design and it’s time to work with color and fabric. That comes next.

Curious about designing with Quiltster?These small screen shots don't do it justice, so check out their intro video here!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Favorite Designers - Chapter 2 Ricky Tims

I jabbered all through dinner with my family about Ricky Tims' Luminarium that I just got home from. I'm full of wonder and speechless too. Full of ideas and inspiration. Full of gratitude for Ricky's generosity - he is willing to share all he has learned. His story, his music, and his quilts.

In addition to yards of gorgeous hand-dyed fabric and music CDs, I came home with a complete and useful syllabus of all Ricky's techniques. I'm psyched. I want to try it all - and Ricky knew I would. His last words to the 175 of us in the audience (although I was in the front row and I thought he was talking just to me), was to go home and before we start something new, we should finish something. I've got some binding to finish, so that should fit the bill.

OK, so why is Ricky one of my favorite designers? Let me count the ways!

  • The Quilt Show - I've been a subscriber for many years and I love it. I've started/done 4 BOMs and I really enjoy the shows.
  • Patterns - or rather I should say techniques, that lead the quilter through a process to design beautiful one of a kind quilts.
  • Hand-dyed fabrics that look like suede and have a wonderful hand to them.
  • Music that both soothes and elevates the soul.
  • He is nice, generous, talented. Oh, and by the way, soooo cute.

I've made one of Ricky's Convergence Quilts. I call it Kaffe Fassett meets Ricky Tims. I used Kaffe's fabric with Ricky's Convergence Pattern. It really is an easy pattern with lots of impact. I can see lots more of these in my future. I bought some of Ricky's hand-dyed fabrics that will look great in this pattern.

My next Ricky technique will be the Kool Kaleidoscope. I'm going to start this one in April when things slow down a bit and I finish a few things. I'm also getting on the list to go to LaVeta in 2019 for a small group retreat with Ricky. Can't wait!

The quilts, fabri
cs, and music are spectacular. But the real impact comes from his inspirational words and ideas: time is precious, carpe diem, quilting should be fun, know yourself, if you want to be a quilter - then get out there and just do it.

If you have a chance to go to one of Ricky's workshops, lectures or retreats, run, do not walk, to sign up. It will be well worth it.
Carpe Diem and Keep Curious!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Favorite Designers - Chapter 1 Tula Pink

Tula Pink rocks her name! She rocks fabric, quilts and color too!

I have lots of favorite designers, but I decided to start with Tula since she was just here visiting the Kaw Valley Quilters Guild. We were lucky to have her here, but unlucky in that the Tuesday morning group missed out due to an ice storm. 

Tula described her process of designing fabric. I am in awe of her creative talent. She draws all her precious creatures by hand on paper and then translates them into fabric with colors. I loved her statement that God used an aweful lot of brown in His designs, so she decided not to use brown, but rather to color the precious creatures of her fabrics in pinks, oranges, teals, purples, and greens. 

I also appreciate her design thoughtfulness and purposefulness in that she ensures her previous designs work well with current designs, which will play well with future designs. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on her 25th collection which should be in shops any day now. Tula's All Star line includes the special creatures from previous lines (recolored), dots, and stripes.

I imagine Tula must not sleep much. In addition to working on 5 lines simultaneously (in-head, drawing, production, selling to shops, selling in shops), she makes 40 or so quilts a year, designs books and patterns, speaks and teaches internationally, designs hardware (scissors, rotary cutters, and seam rippers), and quilting software. I was exhausted just thinking about everything she does and does expertly!

OK, so Tula is a gifted and prolific fabric and quilt designer, but what is she like? Funny, imaginative, colorful, and personable. I had the good fortune of taking a class with Tula a few years ago at the Sisters Oregon Quilters' Affair. The class project was Moxie. I used Tula's fabric line Elizabeth. It was fun laying the fabrics out and working on curved piecing. I just need to add some borders and get her quilted. 

At about the same time, I facilitated a group within the KVQG of members wanting to work on Tula's City Sampler - 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. Several members got theirs done and as a group we made one in black and white with turquoise sashing for the guild's opportunity quilt. I thought it was absolutely stunning. I'm sorry to say that I am still working on my 100 blocks. I'm using PB&J line in a blue/red/mustard color palate, with some other fabrics thrown in.

My next Tula adventure is going to be some fussy cutting for English Paper Piecing. I'm either going to make Tula Nova or Lucy Kingwell's (Jen Kingwell's daughter) Smitten using Tula's new All Stars. So look for an update!

You just have to be curious about Tula Pink! Check her out, you'll love her.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

My Favorite Colors - Chapter 1

What is your favorite color? Answering that is like deciding which one of your kids is your favorite - IMPOSSIBLE.

Before quilting, I used to have favorites - in my clothing, my home decorating, my car. I loved green and mauve in the 80s, blue and burgundy in the 90s. I wore olive drab everyday from 1979 to 1995. Not my favorite, but it brought out my green eyes.

Now that I am quilting, they are all my favorites - each one like a special, well-loved child. I have this feeling that since its not paint, an expensive couch, an expensive car (all cars are expensive these days) or clothing I wear, I can use any color I want. In fact I am trying to experiment with different colors and color combinations. I even have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to color schemes. 

I love rainbow, or I call them color-wheel quilts. I've got a couple of quilts going that include 24 colors of the color wheel. The first one I started about 3 years ago - Technicolor Galaxy. The other one I did with a small group from our guild and is called Eclipse.

Technicolor Galaxy by Alyssa Lichner at Pile O' Fabric is a absolute explosion of color and shape. I really enjoyed collecting FQ of lots of different colors. It was tough to find exactly the right shades to make that color wheel effect.  Yellow-green, red-violet, orange-yellow, turquoise-green. I even like saying the colors and imagining their deliciousness.  

I am almost done with this one - I just need to do 3 more outside corners, and then I am ready to quilt the sections. I quilted the center section a few weeks ago and I really like how it turned out.

Eclipse is a foundation pieced quilt by Kimberly of Main Street Designs. A small group of us in Kaw Valley Quilters Guild did this together and we are all showing ours at the upcoming quilt show. It is really cool to see how different they are in different colors. I used color wheel colors with a black background. It just came back from quilter Sandra Cockrum, and as usual she did an outstanding job. You can't see all the fabulous quilting in the pic, so come see it in person at the Kaw Valley Quilt Show on 7-8 April.

So, enough for now, but not nearly enough about color. I'll post later about the other colorful quilts in my studio. 

Keepin' it Curious!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Cheetos - No; M&Ms - Maybe; Good Quilty Snacks

I try not to take myself too seriously. I love thinking and writing about the techniques, designs, patterns, fabrics, and friendship of quilting. But sometimes, ya just need to be a little silly.

So this evening, I am sillyfying things up a bit and pondering the best snack(s) for quilters.

It was actually this photo I saw on FB that led me down this snacky road. I actually snorted when I saw it!

Quilting is a very hands-on activity. So the type of snack is very important. Cheetos, which I actually like, would be a no-go. All that orange gunk getting all over my fabric.

M&Ms would be a bit better - although they claim they don't melt in your hands, I know better. Also, I really need to reduce sugar intake, so even though they fit nicely in the tool tray of some machines, they would also be a no-go.

At our retreats, my friend Shari always brings Bugles and Veggie Dip. I don't usually eat this yummy combination at home, but I sure do look forward to it on our retreats, or when I go to her house for sit and sew.

I have to say I have not done a thorough, scientific study (might be fun) to identify the best snack to munch while quilting. However, I have returned several times to Target to get some yummy trail mixes. I crave this sweet dried fruit mix, but like M&Ms it has loads of sugar, so I try to keep my hands off.

My go-to mix then is this protein rich, carb-lite, TexMex Mix. Almonds, peanuts, spicy corn sticks, pepitas and sesame sticks - a good combo for me. A little salty, so a glass of something cool afterwards is called for. It even comes in this potentially reusable, handy size plastic jar that could be really useful for something, but I haven't figured out what yet. My current jar is down to the broken pepitas at the bottom, so another trip to Target is in my near future.

What is your go-to quilty snack? Maybe I should do a poll?
Just curious,