Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quilt Bliss Swaps and Giveaway Winners

The Quilt Bliss retreat provides several swap opportunities, and in a moment of brief insanity I signed up for every single on of them -- a decision I later regretted (when prepping for them at the last minute) and then appreciated (when I was at retreat collecting my glorious swap goods).
Let's start things off with my mystery friend, Angela Bacon. She described her favorite fabrics as, "Anything Denyse Schmidt!" and in other comments she added, "I am really loving mini quilts for my sewing wall."  I decided to finally make use of the wide array of Chicopee fabrics I acquired in a Craftsy Freespirit Mystery Box. I cut triangles in short order using the AccuQuilt GO and AccuQuilt 3" Triangles In Square die. While there was admittedly more fabric waste, it was well-worth it in time savings, since I only wanted about four triangles from each fabric. I cut out an equal amount of solid cream triangles and arranged the shapes to gradate from cream to patterned blocks. The final shape ended up more table runner than mini quilt, but rather than backtracking, I decided to embrace the new direction. It was finished with an olive-green backing/binding and straight diagonal lines about 1/2" apart.
Delivery was amusing. I put my packaged gift on the dresser of my shared queen bunk room as a reminder to myself to bring it upstairs after dinner and seek the aide of the staff in locating my secret pal. When I went back to my room, one of the girls inside reported to me that her secret friend was a major chicken, who just dropped off her present to the room without acknowledging who they were. A quick glance at the now-empty dresser revealed who my secret friend was after all. Well, that solved the delivery issue.
I was well-pleased with what my secret friend, who turned out to be my car-pooling buddy, Melissa of My Fabric Relish, made for me. I had requested a Sew Together Bag since I would love one, but haven't mustered the guts to try my hand at it. (Bags are not my comfort zone.) Well, Melissa is a supreme bag-maker (and quilter, and little girl dress-maker) and delivered on my request in a supremely colorful fashion. 

I love it, and am quite sure if I didn't, throngs would line up to take it off my hands. But alas, I'm not giving it up. Just look at that dresden plate!
That's right, work your angles, Sew Together Bag!
The bundle of fat eights I acquired in the polka dot swap is a visual delight. My contribution was the white with mini gold dots (second from the top).
I ordered a little too much. It turns out that shopping online late at night has its consequences. Then again, waiting until the last minute and trying to make accurate measurements while two very active preschool children keep you company, is also not a recommended course of action. As it turns out, if your five-year old is talking non-stop about his rendition of survivor, cutting at the 27", 18" and 9" mat marks can been overly mentally rigorous. That's when your improper allotment of dotty fabric seems really clever after all.
I forgot to photograph the three fat quarters I submitted, but I am well-pleased with what I received in our White Elephant-style fat quarter swap. 
Small-scale animal prints cut into 10" squares were exchanged. I brought the turtles on the right. These cute woodland animals will make a fine quilt, but I want to pick something that will keep them fairly intact.
I'm thrilled about my pouch swap acquisition. I must apologize for neglecting to photograph my pouch. I really thought I had taken a snapshot, so if I come across the lost photographic evidence, I'll let you know. It was complete in a peachy-pink floral, and bedazzled with sporadic Swarovski crystals in hopes of counteracting my unfamiliarity with pouch-making. In any event, we used a Jedi Craft Girl tutorial. After a fun game of swapping with those who shared specified characteristics ("If you have more than one sewing machine, come to the center and swap."Etc.) I came away a happy camper with this beauty, hand-embroidered and filled with special quilting treats by Nichole Christoffersen of Scribbles and Stitches.  
To give whoever received my pincushion a taste of local flora, I created a cactus pincushion using a tutorial at the Sewing Lab blog. I used a paper funnel and straw to pour crushed walnut shells (aka reptile bedding from the local pet store) into the top portion before stuffing with Poly-Fil. It would have been so much easier if I didn't sew so far down and/or if I had used a 1/4" seam and a shortened stitch length. I used a tea light holder from Target (Dollar Tree probably has some too.) and landscaping gravel from my garage to plant it. I used a funnel to gradually pour Mod Podge over the gravel into it barely covers the rocks in gluey whiteness. I thought it would never turn clear, but one day, weeks later, it did. However, if you use the less permeable walnut shells instead of pebbles, it'll only take a couple days to dry clear.

In return, I acquired the most giggle-inducing pincushion. Unfortunately, I don't have information on his creator, but I assure you, I adore this little fella. I also found a free tutorial if you must simply have your own.
On an unrelated note, I have some giveaway winners to announce.
Kelly Wilson won the Wyndham mini charms and orange thread.
Shannon Conley won the Cuddle Charms and thread.
Pam Wisner won the Casablanca charm pack.
Sonja McLane won the batting, mini charm, thread, and solid fabric bundle.
Caity Thurman won the AMB and Moda mini charms and thread.
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Quilt Con Lecture Notes

The lectures from Quilt Con that I'm going to share with you fall into two main categories:
"I'm a fan girl of Angela Walters."
Windham Succulents Booth at Quilt Market, Succulent Path (quilted by Angela Walters)
"Is there any chance I can make enough money off quilting to support my fabric buying?"
Two lectures I attended addressed the first topic, Publishing Your Work and Maker to Making a Living. I found both to be informative, but not completely encouraging. Then again, it's better to be aware of the cold, hard realities up front, right? Let's get on to the notes, and then I'll follow it up with a few personal thoughts.

Publishing Your Work
  • Publishing companies are looking for people who:
    • teach
    • hold blog tours
    • have many followers
    • are published in magazines
    • show a willingness to self-promote
    • have a thick skin and are flexible
  • Make original work.
  • It costs a publisher $30,000-$50,000 to produce a book.
  • Books give you credibility.
  • Author profit is about $1 per book, so don't quit your day job.
  • Magazines pay about $150 per article.
Maker to Making a Living
  • Submit good quality photos, rather than EQ drawings.
  • Follow the book or magazine proposal directions.
  • Be a recognized and well-known expert in the field of your chosen topic.
  • Be unique.
  • Have clear, specific, well-written directions.
  • Magazines are the way to get noticed and become known.
  • Have a platform to show that you are serious about what you're producing.
  • How many thousands of followers you have will be considered.
From both lectures I gather that having a unique idea is essential. Making sure you have been conscientious about the quality of what you have written, and that you have abided by what has been requested, are also critical. 
However, I found there to be a major paradox. If you want to be considered, you are supposed to be wildly well-known and a marketing powerhouse. And yet, your financial compensation will not be very substantial considering the credibility and publicity publication will bring. But wait, how do you get thousands of followers, fame, and accolades without the notoriety of being published? Have any of you published a book or magazine article? What are your thoughts?

Becoming a Better Quilter with Angela Walters
  • You don't have to be perfect.
  • A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt top.
  • Don't compare your worst to someone else's best.
  • Don't point out your mistakes.
  • Don't forget the purpose of your quilt.
  • Practice consistently.
    • Practice on a quilt.
    • Practice designs you want to use.
    • Practice filling in areas completely.
  • Coping with mistakes:
    • Hide it by surrounding it with other stuff. It's harder to find a single element in a crowd of free-motion designs. (Conversely, dense quilting around something makes it stand out more.)
    • Make it again. Repetition somewhere else on the quilt makes a motif look intentional.
    • Embrace the mistake. Switch gears, and go with it. Just because it wasn't what you had in mind doesn't mean it's wrong.
    • Go "frogging". "Rip it, rip it, rip it." Use that seam ripper like you mean it.
Bauble by Emily Cier, Quilted by Angela Walters
Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters

Since Angela gave use the notes, I'm going to save a step and give you a peek.
Prior to Quilt Con, I enrolled in Angela's How to Machine Quilt Negative Space class on Craftsy. While Angela is an engaging lecturer, I found the ability to replay the class at my whim, and to actually see the process in motion (rather than still photographs of completed work) to be the better option for me. Besides, the Craftsy class is on sale now for $19.99. Considering the lecture was $12.75 with the Modern Quilt Guild member discount, I'd say that's a very nice value.
Have you been to any quilt lectures lately? If so, what was it, and what did you think?
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Giveaway Time and Big 500 Celebration

I've reached a major milestone here on Quilting Mod -- the big 5-O-O!
To show my appreciation for all of my wonderful followers who have made this possible, I'm having a giveaway. Actually, how about five? To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. If you aren't a follower, you can still become one to join in one the fun. Also, please leave a comment below letting me know which is your favorite prize. Here are the selections:

Cuddle 5" Charms Package with Coordinating Aurifil Thread
 Casablanca 5" Charm Pack
 American Made Brand Red, White & Blue Mini Charm, Moda Beach House Mini Charm, and Coordinating Aurifil Thread
 Two Windham Sampler Mini Charms and Orange Thread
 Quilters Dream Cotton Batting Sample, Moda Winterberry & Mixology Mini Charms, 1 yard of a Moda Bella coordinating solid, and Coordinating Aurifil Thread
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Craftsy Sale

If you haven't heard of Craftsy before, it's an online learning platform for quilting and other arts and crafts, such as cake decorating and photography. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, you sign up for a free account. You only pay for the classes you want, which are very reasonably priced and never expire. There's also a money-back guarantee, so you don't have to worry about being disappointed. I'd wager you're going to like their professional quality and clear navigation. I appreciate the 30 second repeat button, ability to add notes, and option to ask other students and the teacher questions about the course right on the screen.
Fortunately, Craftsy has all classes up to 50% off at the moment, which makes them a really great value. I personally recommend Angela Walters' Free Motion Quilting Feathers (currently on sale for $19.99) and Dot to Dot Quilting (currently on sale for $14.99). They have made a huge difference in my free motion quilting even though I don't use a long arm at all. Don't wait too long though, because the sale ends Monday.
They also sell fabric and sewing supplies. I really appreciate the greatly discounted prices they offer. I'll also let you in on a little secret, if they offer a lower sale price within 30 days of your purchase, they will refund the difference upon your request. It gives me peace of mind knowing that I don't need to wait and worry about an item selling out to get the best price.
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Good Fortune and Appreciation

It's long since overdue, but I'd like to thank some wonderfully generous folks who have donated prizes for giveaways that I was fortunate enough to win. There are some really lovely products that might be of interest to you.
First off, Jennie & Clara of Clover and Violet have brought the most primo of planners into my life. The folks at Erin Condren have thought of everything. Their planners are customized (You probably wouldn't chose my family to grace the cover of your own.) and a luxurious splurge.
 I love that there are both monthly and weekly calendar pages. Removable stickers and ample space for notes are other features I appreciate.
I also highly recommend the Clover & Violet blog. There are pages and pages of free tutorials and patterns; it is definitely worth a look.
I owe thanks for my Kona loot to Kristy and Shayla at Sassafras Lane Designs. They gave away their Diamond Detour pattern, along with a Kona charm pack and bag during the Kona 30 Quilts for 30 Years Blog Hop
You may have seen the Sassafras Lane Designs Arcadia Avenue QAL
It seemed to be the most popular quilt at Market, appearing in multiple booths. Here are a couple pictures I took at Schoolhouse and on the Quilt Market floor.
Breezy from the Breezy Tulip Studio donated one of her original prints for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. I chose "The Storyteller" because I think it's just precious. It also looks great in my daughter's woodland animal-themed room. 
The Storyteller by Breezy @ the Breezy Tulip Studio
Michelle Wilkie at Factotum of the Arts also participated in Giveaway Day. I was extremely fortunate to be chosen as the recipient of a bundle of her favorite quilting items. Please visit her post for product links.
I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle at Quilt Con. She is genuinely nice in person, and an extremely talented quilter. She even had two quilts in the show.
Thanks for putting up with my windfall bragging. To make it up to you, I'll be giving away some goodies tomorrow. Check back for the full scoop.
I'm linking up with:
Quilty Thankful Thursday
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

AQS in ABQ: Modern Quilts Part II

The monochromatic piecing of each larger subunit gives greater dimension to Curves of Color.

Curves of Color by Charlotte Noll

Second Encounter tastefully combines ombre fabrics, transparency,and geometric shapes.
Second Encounter by Shirley Gisi

Arrows have been ver popular lately. Put Me In the Right Direction is going to have to join my Pinterest Board of arrow quilts.

Point Me in the Right Direction by Diane Heimel
Modern Medallions has a beautiful, repeated design.
Modern Medallion by Rebecca Smith
However, it would be a shame not to show you how the quilting adds to the overall impact.
Modern Medallion by Rebecca Smith
Reflection is dramatic, with its high contrast and sharp edges.
Reflection by Erica Waaser
Taste of India is a lovely twist on the Log Cabin concept.

Taste of India by Christine Seager @ Quilting Mod
Taste of India by Christine Seager

Even without a rainbow of color, Reed has serious visual impact.
Reed by Weitske Kluck @ Quilting Mod
Reed by Weitske Kluck
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