Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Piecing Makeover


I've never written a book review before, but when I saw this book during a quilting event last weekend, I fell in love. 

I've been teaching quilting for more than 15 years and this is one of the best books I've ever seen that gives a detailed, pictorial solution to sewing's little problems. I've long said that quilting is 10 percent talent and 90 percent troubleshooting. Patty Murphy takes all the trouble out of trouble-shooting with clear, close-up photographs and well-written, detailed instructions for making a variety of common quilt units – strip piecing, four-patch, nine-patch, half-square triangle, quarter-square triangle, and flying geese. Patty then expands those lessons into classic block instructions – Dutchman's Puzzle, Square-in-a-Square, Log Cabin, Pinwheel, Sawtooth Star, Ohio Star, Ocean Waves, and LeMoyne Star. Patty concludes with modern favorites such as Drunkard's Path, Bear's Paw, Hexagon, Half-Rectangle Triangle, Diamonds, Equilateral Triangles, and Kansas Dugout blocks. The "Problem, Diagnosis, Solution" format is brilliant. 

Well done, Patty Murphy!

I probably need to add that I promoted this book so heavily at the event that the publisher gave me my own copy. I also need to add I would have bought it anyway! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Best of Show

In March, I taught Grandma's Surprise to a group of students in Wenatchee, Washington. Students get the option of making the quilt in two different sizes using my first three quilts as design inspiration. They also receive a coloring page and math help to design their own if they'd like to make additional changes.

One student loved the pattern, but didn't want to make a wall hanging, so she took full advantage of the coloring page and colored a queen size (92'' x 92'') design!  We had a good laugh over how long that quilt was going to take to cut and sew, and off she went. In June, I received a progress report:

She also shared a photo of why she hadn't sewn more... a new addition to the family:

This week, I received another update -- her quilt won Best of Show at the North Central Washington Harvest of Quilts show in Wenatchee! Liz Arbaugh, your quilt is fabulous. I can't wait to see this in person the next time I'm in the area.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Quilting in the Garden

Those of you that know me well will laugh when they see the title of this post. Quilting, yes, gardening no. I've tried to garden during various times of my life and I'm just not successful. My terrarium in the 1980's survived just fine until I moved to Texas (and I left it behind). While we were living in Florida I read an article that was titled "Six houseplants even YOU can't kill!"  They were wrong. I picked one of the plants, put it in a window with full sun as advised. It was burned to a crisp when I got home from work that day. Guess I never considered Florida sun being different from Oregon sun. I always felt like a true gardener, or someone with the gardening gene, would know that intuitively. So, I made a deal with my husband... if he grows fruits or vegetables, I will can them. If he grows flowers, I'll enjoy them.

No, this Quilting in the Garden is a fabulous show in Livermore, California held at Alden Lane Nursery.
(photo used with permission of Alden Lane Nursery)
Here's what their website has to say:
Presented by Alden Lane Nursery & In Between Stitches – September 24 and 25, 2016
Each year Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery is special, unique and amazing. Hundreds of quilts from celebrated artists and the quilting community are hung for display throughout the nursery.  Our enormous and beautiful heritage oaks serve as both support structure and background for this wonderful 2-day display of color.  The quilts go up by 9:00 each morning supported by dozens of quilt lines. Quilts come down each night.  Every year the show features a well-known quilter and a guest artist as well as quilts submitted from the quilting public.
I'll be having three quilts in the show this year... and I'm thinking about a little road trip to see them. Have any of you ever been to this show or the In Between Stitches shop? Visiting shops would certainly be a bonus of my trip. Any other local shops I should visit?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stars Upon Stars -- Month 1

My little bundle of fabric finally arrived and I tore right into it!  Once I read the instructions, I was a bit disappointed we were making such a small bit of the quilt. Boy was I wrong. I'm so happy all we did was a small bit!

Working on this corner allowed me to practice on every single component of the quilt. I made notes in my pattern about what I did differently that worked better for me. I made a paper-pieced pattern for the sashing. I had templates made at Tap Plastics of the small and large diamonds so it would be easy to cut and trim pieces.

This is not going to be a rush-through-it quilt, that's for sure. I love the results and can't wait for next month. No, I haven't sewn these parts together yet. I'll wait for the whole quilt to be finished to get happy with the balance of colors.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

C&T Publishing

My first book was published under the Kansas City Star imprint and they were great to work with.

Right after I got a contract for my second book, however, I found out that Kansas City Star (KCS) was closing its doors. C&T ended up buying KCS and I got a new contract for book #2.

Last July I started making quilts like crazy... six quilt tops in 26 days! I don't recommend that pace EVER.

I have to say I've really enjoyed working with C&T and they have made me feel like I'm part of a huge extended family. When my brother Dan passed away, an office full of people who have never met me signed a card full of caring and compassion. It was very touching.

The experience has been different as well. With KCS, I worked with one editor and really got to know her. With C&T, I've worked with a bunch of editors. Different style, equally enjoyable. Turns out that the technical editor (Nan Powell -- you rock!) on the second book is the same person who edited the first, I just didn't know it.

If you'd like a second sneak peek at the new book, head over to C&T and see what my production editor Jennifer Warren had to say about this quilt:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Block of the Month

Once upon a time, I swore I'd never do another block of the month (BOM). That resolve only lasted until I saw Edyta Sitar's pattern Stars Upon Stars being offered as a BOM through Homestead Hearth in Mexico, Missouri.

How could I say no to over 100 fabrics being shipped to me over an 18-month period? I figured even if I never made a block, I'd be happy just getting little packages every month in the mail. Win, win! I just received notice that my first installment is on its way. Woo hoo!  I can hardly wait. 

A little confession -- I bought the pattern early and tested one of the eight-pointed stars in the corner of the blocks. I'm glad I did as mine did not come out exactly to size. I know where I went wrong, so I plan to use the Jan Krentz method for making those tiny little jewels. Yes, even quilters who have been at it for over 25 years (!) need to practice sometimes. The finished quilt measures 64" x 74" and will contain about a million gazillion pieces. :)  Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quilt Conundrum

I've followed Moda Rosie's quilting career for quite a while now and always find her entertaining and informative. I even bought fabric from her one time that was languishing in her stash… and it's doing the same in mine. I think I have a plan for it, but we'll see. (Moda Rosie is aka Carrie Nelson and Miss Rosie of book and pattern fame.)

One of her ideas really hit me, though, about collecting layer cakes for scrap quilts. I thought that was genius!  If a pattern calls for one blue fabric, ten may work just as well.  As you can see below, I've taken her advice to heart. These are all Civil War reproductions that will blend well with other fabrics in my stash.


That original fabric purchase?  

Yes, I've taken these apart several times to play with them. My first idea was French Kisses by tracyjay quilts.

I've had several ideas since, but think I've settled on HappyDance by Me and My Sister. I'm going to add a narrow background sashing between the blocks to make construction a bit easier.

I'm also going to change the number of blocks so this can go to Camp Erin (a free bereavement camp for kids aged 6-17 who have experienced the loss of someone close to them). Each camper also receives a teddy bear with a hand-knit outfit and I plan to donate my quilt and bear as a matched set for the 2017 camp.

But wait, I just saw this Arabesque quilt on Moda Bakeshop:  

 But wait, there's more! How about a Layer Cake Lattice quilt? This is the one, the final one. J

Maybe this is why the fabric is languishing… I just keep finding great patterns!  Oh well, back to the drawing board... or cutting table in my case.