Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meet Cory Allender!

Cory Allender is quite an amazing quilter!
It was kind of a happy surprise meeting her. I had gone to Las Vegas to visit a local guild, and Cory had driven down from Utah to be part of it all.

I knew almost immediately that she had ideas of her own, and I was thrilled that she wanted to learn how my own Fast-Piece Applique methods could be used to help bring her own designs into being. Then as our time together continued she shared a bit of the long arm (award winning – mind you) quilts she had been working on. I knew right away that Cory would be the right person to work on quilt for the book….I even knew which one!  It was great to work with her on Aspen Dawning, and I am over the moon in love with the motifs and quality of her stitching.

In the two photos below are the detail and full size views of the piece Cory worked on in my class.

As with most of us, things change from year to year – sometimes from day to day, so I pleased to share here Cory’s own words about her quilt journey.

How did I find quilting? 
My mother-in-law taught me hand piecing and hand quilting around 25 years ago and is probably rolling over in her grave knowing what I do now.  My husband's family goes back generations up in the mountains of the northeast corner of West Virginia. The quilting tradition is strong there and she was a purist.  She was still alive the first time I quilted a hand pieced top on my domestic machine and spent the last week of her visit trying to convince me that wasn't quilting.

Was I always drawn to the quilting?
Absolutely, positively, yes.  I immediately think of quilting designs when I first draw a design or hold a pattern.  It was a shock to realize not all quilters did. I taught domestic quilting in Las Vegas for three years before I switched to longarming and would ask my classes "while piecing do you think about the quilting or your next project?".  The split was 50/50.  I view the top as a canvass to add an additional design element too.
P.S.  I got the longarm because I have man-sized hands and found my design choices limited.  12 years ago domestic weren't available with longer arms until the Juki came out three months after my long arm was delivered.

What is my favorite thing, has it changed and am I at a fork in the road?
It's a progression so my favorite thing is what it's always been...the absolute blessing of working with design, color and texture.  It's been enhanced and refined by everything I've learned in classes and from generous people who believe in passing knowledge to those coming up behind them.  The last dozen years have given me the creative and technical knowledge to define the directions (note the plural!) I am pursuing in this art.  The time has also allowed me to grow very comfortable in my own professional skin.  Below are a couple of photos from collaborations that Cory quilted.


My directions/interests now are art, modern and applique quilts, not necessarily in that order.

My brain loves non-representational work and I think that's because it's not distracted by a subject and can focus on the interaction of color, value and lines.  Modern interests me, again in the use of value, but more importantly the place of quilting in the total design.  I've always viewed quilting as the final design element of the finished piece and knew I would never make it the major element.  Angela Walters perfectly demonstrates making quilting an equal, as opposed to major, design element in her work on modern quilts.  Applique is my dirty little secret...i love hand work. I also love trashing a traditional colorway, especially working with wool, and choosing a colorway that puts the work on steroids.

As of last spring I made a major decision to focus on my own work, and am please to share two of my latest here.

In closing, I know that my answer to Cory's question --
While you are piecing, do you think about
the quilting or your next project?

YES, definitely yes.... How about you?

while piecing do you think about the quilting or your next project?". 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Warm Up With this Sneak Peek

Ok, it is 13 degrees outside.
Another record making cold day.
A perfect time to remember some warmer ones.

With warmth in mind, this week I figured I would give you sneak peek at the quilt Umbrella Beach from my new book. This way I could also share a few images to warm me up.

The quilt Umbrella Beach was inspired from a walk along the boardwalk in St. Martin Island in the Caribbean. There the blue sky, met the blue water and the sandy beach was engulfed in bright orange and yellow umbrellas.

Throughout the islands you'll find lots of umbrellas -- in the streets, and markets. Islanders carrying them to keep out the sun.
A nice thought on this cold morning.
Yes, this last picture is of me that day --
walking through the shops.

The quilts that are most special to me are the ones that bring back a moment in time -- just when you need a bit of warming up!

Enjoy your day, and remember that if you have a special memory that you want to create in a quilt -- to keep it -- share it... Fast-Piece Applique may be the perfect method to stitch it all together.

Make it Sew!
Happily stitching,


Monday, November 17, 2014

Intersections on our Treasure Maps

We all set out on our paths and are constantly presented with new trails that lead off in a multitude of directions. The choices we make and where we end up, our journeys to get here or there have always intrigued me.

The paths themselves if mapped out would probably appear like treasure maps in our heads with a giant X marking the spot of our next treasure.

My treasure map may not be the same as yours, but our pathways surely cross each other creating inspiring intersections. When I met and began working with the longarm quilters who stitched on the quilts in my latest book, I felt a fun and powerful connection at those intersections.

When I began to think about sharing them with you I tried to think of them as longarmers, but very quickly found that they are all so different from each other – different journeys and different stories.

On Wednesday I will begin to share with you their stories,
and of course a bit about how each of their lives have intersected
with my own…making it special!

These special longarmers include:

Angela Walters
Cory Allender
Lisa Sipes
Maddie Ketray
Mandy Leins
Vicki Tymczyszyn
I am looking forward to sharing a bit about each of these amazing women, their stories, and about the treasure-map pathways each finds themselves traveling today.

Where does the X
lie on your own treasure map today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sneaky Stuff Here Today

The sun is barely up this morning as I sit down to write this. The temp outside is a balmy 57 degrees. The weather forecast though shows us climbing a couple of degrees before noon, then wham.... the cold will be upon us again.

This will probably be the death toll for all the remaining leaves that seem to have stubbornly declared they will not be forced out over the last few weeks.

It seems the perfect day to share with you all a bit of winter --
quilt style, of course.

The winter trees and the colors of the winter sky have taken ahold of me, and inspired this piece I call Sweet Dreams.
This quilt holds a special place in my heart.
When making it, it just called out for sweet hand stitched snowflakes, and I had a wonderful time making that happen.
It won't be long until the book with this lovely winter's wish will be available. Today we'll have to settle for a peek, but do remember that you get an extra pattern for pre-ordering your copy of Fast-Piece Applique.

Enjoy your day -- and Stitch-ON!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Help, Please!

Happy Monday everyone!
It has been a grand Halloween weekend. Started with being part of the hand-out over on Jefferson St. Big shout out to Kristen Williams (Ephemera) for letting me part of the fun. The count got up to 2385.... yes, that is the number of kids that stepped up for candy!

After the spooktacular celebration, the weather cooled really fast so I spent a really nice part of the weekend cuddled with Nikki & Edgar
... stitching away on the quilt that I you all have been helping me with... so, today I am happy to share the finished piece with you!
This quilt has a special mission... the pattern for this fun - easy to stitch piece will be given away to anyone who pre-orders my new book. And even better - this pattern- will be available through download on Nov. 14th. Kind of a prelude to Fast-Piece Applique.

Below are some of the pictures I shared along the way, and several where your choices helped get me here.

Now there is just one more question I'd love your HELP with...

What should I call this quilt?