Monday, December 29, 2014

A Lucky Soul

The countdown to 2015 has kicked in...
This is the time of year that is normally (for me) spent coming up with ideas and plans for things in the new year. This year the ideas and planning started to take shape months ago.... so much is ready to go at the beginning.

Of course if you've been following me at all you'll know that my latest book is due to hit the streets right around mid-January. I've teased you with pictures of quilt projects and introductions to some of the great longarm quilters that helped me with some of the projects.

This book is really a culmination of #FastPieceApplique, and I'm doing some things to kick start things I have never done before.

To help get things rolling I've scheduled my Shaping Up with Fast-Piece Applique on-line workshop to start on January 2nd. This workshop is great on the basics and let's everyone in on the possibilities this method offers.

Then to keep the fun going -- I have a blog tour set to begin next Monday. Starting on January 5th with Victoria Findlay-Wolfe there will be great blog stops for you to visit. At each stop you'll have a chance to win an e-copy of Fast-Piece Applique-Easy, Artful quilts by Machine,

BUT...You'll also be able to pick up a free pattern for one of my #loveletterhearts

Visit all the stops, and me on the last day (January 16th) and you can download all 12 patterns being offered!

On Friday, January 30th will be the lead in reception/book-signing and trunk show presentation to kick off my Book Launch Weekend being held here in Paducah at Ephemera!

February is another story all together, but I hope you'll be able to find you want to be part of all or some of the fun we've got planned for this birth of a book kick-off.

Phew, and there's still a few days left until we officially RING in 2015.
I can hardly wait!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Starting the New Year Right

Doing both...BLISS!

2014 was one wild year for me. I finished up my latest book,
Fast-PieceApplique-Easy, Artful Quilts by Machine,
and I'm now only days away from Launch Parties, and shipping signed copies to everyone who has pre-ordered.

Another of my other BIG goals of 2014 was to get my 1st on-line workshop up and make Fast-Piece Applique available to everyone! Happily this first workshop ran in August and again in September. It is fun to be able to chat with and teach students from around the world as well as up the street.

The week between Christmas and the New Year has always been a time of contemplation... LIST MAKING… Is learning a fun, fast way to create your own quilt designs
on your list for 2015?
Or, are you ready to add the perfect construction technique to stitch together any shape, any curve to your tool kit?
Do you have an IDEA that you are struggling with how to MAKE IT SEW?

Well, you're in luck!
On January 2nd the doors open for my
On-line Workshop
through Academy of Quilting

You can kick-start your quilting fun for 2015
by adding me to your checklist;

and by following your quilter’s heart,
you'll be off on blissfully Happy New Year!
As 2015 unfolds there I'll be offering new workshops --
more plans to MAKE IT SEW!

Hope you join in.... and,
Wishing you all an incredible NEW YEAR
One where you FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

Stitching On,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tucked in/Awaiting Santa - Meet Vicki Tymczyszyn

I am really excited to share this final quilter with you, for she is a special friend. We met over quilts and chocolate, because of our mutual friend, Jake Finch. She is amazing -- an architect and mother, she is one that knows the value of family, friends and being organized.
I was a little surprised by her comments about the longarm quilting. (not the practicing part, but the dread part--below). Vicki was a prime member of the Generation Q Magazine team as they started, and still had time to be part of multiple book projects and was my savior stunt quilter on my last book, Design, Create, Quilt. Her list of accomplishments and abilities would not fit here so I'm not going to even try --- but, I do know that her love of teaching beginning quilters takes president over everything. Those quilters lucky enough to have Vicki teach them the basics shall not lack skills.

The project she quilted for Fast-Piece Applique is call Fields of Posies. The perfect get tucked in and await Santa quilt.

For this quilt I asked her to echo quilt around the flowers and create the background. Then when it was returned to me I couched around each of the flowers. It was a great team effort.

Below are Vicki's answers to the interview questions:

How did you find quilting? Or, did it find you?
I love the stitching part of quilting, not actually the quilting part. Hence, I am trying desperately to improve my quilting skills, my thinking being, if I am a better quilter, maybe I won't dread that part so much. (After all, I have worked hard on my stitching skills and now I am an accurate and fast stitcher-but that came with making literally hundreds of quilts.

Where you always drawn to quilting stitch? Or, was there another part of the process that pulled you in?
I have been a crafter and sewist most of my life and have tried crochet, knitting, needlepoint, embroidery and cross stitch. I had always wanted to learn to quilt, and since I knew how to sew, I was drafted to make memory 'quilts', really comforters, for many friends. I finally stumbled upon 2 quilting shows on T.V., Eleanor Burns and Georgia Bonesteel. I was hooked and enthralled! I wanted to make everything in sight!

What is your favorite thing about where you are today on your quilting adventure?
I love the excitement of picking out fabrics and colors for a new project and figuring out the perfect pattern for them, or vice-versa, sometimes the pattern pops into my head and then I go on the hunt for the perfect fabrics, but this is far and away my very favorite part!

Has this changed from when you first set off? 
Things really took off in my quilting when I discovered quilting guilds, I just happened to be in a fabric store when a woman dropped off a flyer for a new quilting guild. I was 8 months pregnant with my son when I attended that first meeting and joined that night! The organizers were hoping for 10-15 people, they got over 50, and the Santa Clarita Quilt Guild was in born. This opened up my world to all of the fabulous quilting stores, teachers, shows and speakers! I took as many classes as I could with my crazy schedule raising toddlers and having a husband that was gone half of the time.

Do you see yourself at a fork in the road? If you do, can you share about what direction you may be thinking about going?
Today, I teach, mostly beginning quilting, and I hope that I am encouraging and influencing many more to the joys of quilting. I thoroughly enjoy my students and learn so much from all of them. (Sometimes it's patience, but that's okay.) I am at a crossroads. I am constantly asked by my students, “what do I make next?” It would fun to develop a lecture on this topic and take my 'show' on the road. This is where my spare brain cells go these days.

If you are one of the lucky ones that live close enough to Cotton & Chocolate in Thousand Oaks, CA be sure to click over and check out Vicki's class schedule!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quick X-mas Tree Tutorial

With just a few days left before Christmas I thought I would share this quick to make Fast-Piece Applique Xmas Tree Landscape.
It is 11"x14", easy to stitch together and to make them go together even faster I had shopped for some ornaments that they have at the stores for miniature trees. These I glued into place. So in an afternoon I was able to finish 3 very easily.

These are my three:

I am including here a pattern for the little quilt and a piece sequence that you can follow to piece it together using Fast-Piece Applique. If you have never tried this technique I would suggest you watch my YouTube video, for it give you a full description of the process. Then come back here:

Copy & enlarge the pattern below for 11x14.

Following the stitch guide here, piece it together;
remembering to trim as you go,
Stitch pieces 3 to 7; 5 to 6; 8 to 9 and 10 to 11.
The stitch 3/7 to 1; 5/6 to 2.
Then stitch 3/7/1 to 4, and 5/6/2 to 8/9.
Stitch these sections to each other, and
Lastly, stitch 10/11 into place.

With the top done I used basting spray and made a quilt sandwich.
I then couched all the lines with yarn and metallic thread.

Then I placed the embellishments in place and using a chopstick I glued them into place.
This small pattern is a great way to try out Fast-Piece Applique.
I hope you enjoy it & have a wonderful holiday season!

Happy Stitching

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Peek & A Visit with Angela Walters

With just a few days left before Christmas I wanted to share one more quilt from my newest book & the wonderful longarm quilter who made it come to life.

While bringing this book together I worked with several longarm quilters and I truly discovered first hand the various styles of quilting that these artists provide. I walked away knowing three types. There was the overall patterning, pictorial and shape by shape quilters. Angela Walters is a wonderful shape by shape quilter and I loved the quilting she did on my Fan Fare quilt.
This simple design, inspired by a box-fan during a summertime 5 minute warmup drawing session turned out amazing with Angela's designs. Since Fast-Piece Applique is really a shape-by-shape construction technique her quilting really speaks to me. 

Below Angela answered the same questions posed to the other longarm quilters I have shared with you here. It is really informative and inspiring to chat with these artists.

How did you find quilting? Or, did it find you?
I kinda stumbled into it!! I started quilting over 10 years ago when my husband’s grandpa taught me how to make my first quilt. He was my quilting buddy and he was really patient with me. We hand quilted my first few quilts, but after a couple of years, he encouraged me to buy a longarm. Although I didn't know what I was doing, I quickly realized how much I loved it!

Where you always drawn to the quilting stitch? Or, was there another part of the process that pulled you in?

I really like the freedom and movement of quilting, so I think that is why I am drawn to it. I love all parts of the process of machine quilting, but the quilting is definitely my favorite part!

What is your favorite thing about where you are today on your quilting adventure?

I love getting to meet so many different people. Whether it's students in my classes, readers on my blog or my customers. I really love the interaction and the kindness of quilters in general.

Has this changed from when you first set off?

Kind of, when I started my favorite part was finishing the quilt and I still love it. But now that I know so many other quilters, it's such a fun part to me.

Do you see yourself at a fork in the road? If you do, can you share about what direction you may be thinking about going?

I feel that it's not so much of a regular fork, but a pitch fork. There are so many different options, all great, and it can be hard to know what to do. At this point, I am just enjoying the ride. But everything that I do, or decide to do, always comes down to my love of machine quilting!!

Be sure to check out Angela's website and her new book...
below is Fan-Fare from my new book (quilted by Angela).
The new book will be released in January, but you can still add it to your Christmas list. Pre-orders receive a signed copy and a free e-pattern when the book comes out.

the countdowns continue
stitching on,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Slipping in a bit of holiday baking

So much happening, so many quilts to sneak a peek at and amazing longarm quilters to meet. Phew, it turned out that today I was able to get a bit of holiday baking done. I chose something fun & easy, so I just had to share. This basic sugar cookie recipe is delicious -- thicker, melt in your mouth yumm. And, then it lends itself to a lot of different uses. I love making them into small cookie buttons so I can play with the color and decorating. Below is the recipe in case you want to give it a try:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour. Dough will be very stiff. To create buttons use small scoop. Scoop dough and press it firmly into the scoop. Release on ungreased cookie sheet 1” apart.

Once all in place take a glass with a flat bottom, dip into cold water and press each cookie.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.

Let cookies cool completely before decorating, and have fun!