blogger’s quilt festival: exodus :: modern category.

exodusThere’s a reeeeeeally good chance you already know that the Blogger’s Quilt Festival is happening over at Amy’s Creative Side. This year, I’ve decided to enter my quilt “Exodus” into the Modern Category.

exodusThe idea for Exodus came to me when I viewed a piece of art in which it seemed that small pixelated fragments were moving away from the whole. I wish I could tell you what piece I was looking at — I’ve since tried to find it a number of times — unsuccessfully. But it inspired me (thank you, whoever you are!) and I thought it would be fun to apply the concept to a traditional nine-patch.

I created eight blocks, each of which had a different “escaping” square. In the final block, the middle square is missing, but if you turn the quilt around. . .

exodusta da!

If you’re visiting here from the festival and feeling so inclined, you can read more about Exodus (and my sad scorching mishap) here. Or, you can check out my last entry to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Orrrrrrr, feel free to take a peek around at some of my other finished quilts (winky-smiley face)!

exodus

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit me! Be sure to check out all of the awesome entries on display at the Bloggers Quilt Festival! I believe voting will open on May 22nd and will remain open until the 29th, so, still lots of time to soak up inspiration and show love to quilters from around the globe!

the girliest quilt I could think of.

the girlies girl quilt

This past month I’ve been very quiet. I apologize, and thank you so much for bearing with me! I am finally typing this on my brand new computer, and though I am adjusting to the “newness” of some of its features, I’m super-psyched to be getting back into an online groove! I have many things I’ve been waiting to share with you over the past few weeks, so let’s get to it!

the girliest girl quilt

I recently had the opportunity to make a quilt for the sweetest little girl. She is a complete gift to her family after many hardships, and I wanted to make something that just screamed happy! joy! GIRL!

I think I accomplished that (wink).

I also think I had waaaaaaay too much fun making something pink! As a mom of three boys, it’s not often I get to make something exclusively feminine and sweet!

the girliest girl quilt

My goal was to work with value to create the illusion of the bottom right corner being lit up by the fireflies, and then as the squares graduated away from the “light”, have the fabrics become darker. Much like working with value on Diamonds in the Deep, I find that I tend to purchase fabrics that are way further apart in value than they should be to create the gradual shift that I intend to create. I definitely did not need to pick such a light of a pink for the bottom to create the desired effect.

the girliest girl quilt

In the end, I know the recipient is not going to care that my lights were too light and my darks too dark. And I know that with each project I am learning about color, value and hue. So I’m happy to wrap it up with a bow and know it’s going to keep someone that I love!

the girlies girl quilt

So happy to be back here! I’ve missed you! Hope you are having a great week! the girliest girl quilt

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and Quilt Story.

navy plus quilt.

navy plus quilt
Hi, there! Just stopping by to say that I’m still around, even though things have been quiet lately. My computer is suffering a major malfunction, and as I type this, it is burning hot and sounds like it is getting ready for takeoff. We’ve had a good run over the past 7 years. But I think the time has come to say goodbye. Until I can upgrade my tech, posting will continue to be limited, but I’m hoping to get back to normal again soon!

navy plus quilt
Enough about that, I’m here to share a quilt that I just finished up! It’s all ready to donate to my sons’ preschool fundraiser. Made entirely with Art Gallery fabrics (with the exception of the Kona solid plusses), it came together in a snap! That’s because I used almost every charm that I collected through the Art Gallery charm swap (hosted by Michelle and Chelsey). And to make the blocks, I used the super-simple Flickr tutorial by Wooden Spoon. You may remember the blocks I made for do. Good Stitches with the same tutorial here. I fell in love with Cath’s idea of the dark navy plus among the low-volume colored fabrics, and basically applied the same concept here with louder fabrics. I love how spring-y the fabrics feel all together. And yet the deep blue navy of the plusses gives it a sophisticated feel, in spite of all the pastels. I also have to add, the Art Gallery fabrics are soooooo soft! This quilt is perfect for the warmer spring weather!

navy plus quilt
I hope that the new owner loves it as much as I do. Happy Spring!

navy plus quilt
Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and Finish It Up Friday! Woo Hoo!

home.

Long Island Modern SamplerMy Long Island Modern Sampler Quilt is home from Austin. And I only wish this quilt could talk! I would ask it about all of the amazing people that it met and things that it saw — just the fact that Carolyn Friedlander and Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE magazine touched it is so freaking amazing!!!

Long Island Modern Sampler

I have to tell you — I am so proud and so excited — to have been a part of such an amazing experience.  And to have this ribbon that was handmade by Elizabeth Hartman, is the total icing on the cake! I told my husband that he is going to need to start sleeping on the floor, because the ribbon is going to sleep on the pillow next to me! Ha!

Long Island Modern SamplerI felt so honored that this quilt was even accepted into Quilt Con. I had never entered a quilt in a show before. And to have it win first in its category is, well, it was just beyond my wildest dreams. I will treasure it always. I am so grateful that something I made with my own hands, and using my own intuition, was received with such enthusiasm by the quilting community. There were so many phenomenal quilts that were a part of the show. There were so many phenomenal quilts that weren’t a part of the show! So, I realize how unusual and fortunate I am to have had my quilt chosen. I am just so grateful!

Long Island Modern Sampler

So, thanks for bearing with me and letting me gush a little about it here! And if you haven’t had the chance to see all of the Quilt Con 2015 winners, you check them out on the MQG’s website here.

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social. Hope you are having a great week so far!

what it’s like to {own a local quilt shop}.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}Angela Veeck is the owner of my local quilt store here on Long Island, named Pieceful Quilting. The business has two locations, and offers a wide range of fabrics to satisfy every facet of the quilting community. She’s probably not what you’d expect when you think “successful quilt shop owner”: Angela didn’t open her business due to a mad addiction to fabric. She approached it as a seasoned business-woman, who, through a series of smart decisions, found herself the queen of this amazing fabric empire! I had the chance to interview her to find out what it’s really like to be the owner of a quilt store, and I hope you are as interested as I was to hear what she had to say!

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q: So, before we get into your role as quilt shop owner, tell us a little bit about the woman behind the storefront!

I am married to the Sewing Machine Tech, Ken Veeck.  We have five children:  all grown and gone.  We also have two adorable grandsons, one upstate NY, and the other in Boulder, CO — not great places to have grandchildren when you live on Long Island — but I have no control over that!

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. How long have you owned Pieceful Quilting?

That just might be a trick question!  Pieceful Quilting started as an on-line business that carried only gifts for quilters. We did quite well. . . as no one else was doing anything like this. We also sold our goods at quilt shows (about 15 per year).  At the time (in 2003) I didn’t want to quit my day job, so this seemed like a good way to test the waters of retail.

In 2006 we had the opportunity to open a brick and mortar shop in Riverhead and I decided to “jump off the cliff” and get right into it.  We opened in a location that had been a quilt shop of sorts in downtown Riverhead for 23 years.  We expanded the space by 800 sq feet for a total of 2000 sq ft and off we went, equipping a fabric shop from bare walls.  After one year we decided to expand again by another 500 square feet and have a glorious classroom.

In 2008 we had the opportunity to open another shop because a BERNINA dealer was going out of business.  So I re-wrote my business plan and you guessed it – the bank was willing to give me a loan.  OMG, now I had to follow through.  It was not a great time in 2008 to expand the business, but I did it, and I’m glad I did.  We opened a second shop in East Northport in March of 2009.

Then when Super Storm Sandy hit us in Riverhead we pretty much lost the whole store with 24 inches of water inside and no electric for a week.  Lucky for us, we found a great space in Calverton where we are located today.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. How did you find your way to becoming a quilt shop owner?

I have had a long and winding career path, having done so many things.  I’ve been an art teacher in a school for troubled boys, a houseparent in a group home, a direct mail marketing manager, bookkeeper, business manager, executive assistant and fundraiser.  I’ve enjoyed all of it.  But at some point I really wanted to be responsible for my own work and decided it would be great to have my own business.  But what business would it be?  I had always sewn and quilted and I thought I could bring all I knew from my former jobs to make a retail shop successful.

I set to writing a business plan which is essential for any would be entrepreneur.  I sought advice from the Small Business Administration and from SCORE (An organization of retired executives) and with their blessing I decided to take the plunge.

I also attended Quilt Market, which is the place where retail quilt shops buy their goods and services and (more importantly) take classes on running a quilt shop business.  I also did a lot of networking and learned from more seasoned owners.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. Tell us the one thing you love most about owning a fabric store.

This may sound crazy, but being the owner of two shops does not allow me to do much quilting and sewing.  So the thing I love most is helping customers choose patterns and fabrics to express THEIR creativity.  I get a lot of vicarious pleasure from that.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. What have you found to be the most difficult aspect of owning a LQS? How has it surprised you?

Truly the most difficult aspect of owning a shop is juggling so many balls in the air.  Who would believe that there is so much to do in a tiny little retail store!?!   I have a wonderful staff who manages the day to day operations.  My job is to supervise that and work diligently on the marketing and creative side of the business.  I have a terrific bookkeeper, but again I feel the need to stay on top of the numbers and make sure that we are financially successful.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. I would imagine that it’s very exciting to walk into your store each day and be surrounded by all of that lovely fabric.  How do you make decisions on such important things like which fabric lines the store will carry for the next season?

I faithfully attend Quilt Market twice per year.  And I subscribe to two professional publications specifically for the quilt industry.  So I’m on top of what’s trending.   I also have a strict budget for how much I can spend on the various categories, fabric, notions, machines, etc.  I’m lucky to have my sister, Mary (who is in a much younger demographic) to help me make decisions.  But most importantly I need to listen to my customers so that I’m sure to purchase what THEY want.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. Can you describe a typical workday, if that’s even possible?

That typical workday starts around 8am and ends around 5pm.  I am a ferocious list maker, so I often make a list of what MUST get done that day while I have my coffee at home and then hopefully the top priorities get done.  Then I tackle the rest of the long list.  I also try to delegate as much as possible.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. How do you feel your business background has impacted your decision-making process as a quilt shop owner? Is there a skill you wish you had known that you would need before jumping into your role as small-business owner?

I think it would be very difficult to run a quilt shop with NO business background.  That being said, there are ways to learn through professional organizations, networking and listening to customers and staff.

I often joke that I wish I had some experience as a therapist!  There is always a need for hand holding and generally being supportive to both staff and customers.  If only I had an MSW!

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Q. What advice would you give to someone that is hoping to open their own fabric store in the future? 

The most important advice would be to create a business plan.  There are many places on the internet to get help with this.  Then I would get advice from professionals through the SBA or Quilts, Inc.  And finally I would tell them to network, network, and network.  I currently have a small group of quilt shop owners from all over the country and this has truly been my saving grace.

what it's like to {own a quilt shop}

Thank you, Angela, for that lovely insight! I wonder how many of you are harboring a secret desire to own your own fabric shop one day. How has reading this impacted your dream? 

the life-changing magic of tidying up.

the life-changing magic of tidying up

If you are a frequenter of lifestyle blogs, then chances are, you’ve come across posts about this tiny aqua book titled the life-changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo. Translated from Japanese, this quirky little gem has become a New York Times Bestseller because it offers simple and effective ways to decrease clutter and turn your home into the calm space you’ve always dreamed of.

While the book offers quite a few tips and tricks to paring down, the most significant piece of advice that I’ve taken away is to touch each and every item and determine if it sparks joy? If the answer is no, then thank that item for whatever it did teach you — perhaps it taught you what you don’t like or want in your life — and discard it without guilt or remorse. It’s so simple. And so effective.

This weekend, I am planning to apply this concept ruthlessly to my fabric collection. I will no longer feel burdened by the guilt of having paid full price for a yard, having received fabric as a gift, or having purchased fabric for a project I no longer want to pursue. Because I can thank the fabric for what it taught me — that I like small-scale prints in fabrics rather than large; that I like fabrics that are monochromatic or solid; and that I can have ideas for projects and not want to actually make those projects. 

I feel calmer already. What do you think? Would you ever consider destashing based on the simple concept of joy?

Happy Friday! I hope you have a great weekend!

exodus.

exodus

Over the weekend, I finished a quilt that had been in my WIP pile for quite some time. I had the idea for a simple nine-patch where one of the squares was removed from the group, and wanted to see how it would look when there were a few of them together. I think it’s a happy little quilt, made with Alison Glass’ Field Day collection. It’s funny, because when I look at the quilt, I see the lone-squares moving away from the nine-patch. But some people have told me that they see the square moving toward the group. I’m sure there is some kind of psychological analysis to be done here. . . but far be it for me to interpret!

exodus

I’m not entirely sure that the concept works. I think it might have had a greater impact (more movement) if the removed squares were more randomized, and if there were more nine-patches in the quilt overall. But, it was really quick to create, and an idea I may revisit down the line. For now, I have bigger regrets.

exodus

See my perfectly pieced back?  I scorched it.  I’m not even sure how! I was pressing the binding down quickly and my iron was obviously too hot, or possibly had some residue on it, and it left a light brown mark at the top of the quilt. I’m going to carefully try to spot-treat it with a few suggestions that I gathered from the experts at my LQS, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

exodus

Otherwise, the top will have to become the bottom of the quilt and I will be making a label to go over the mark! I guess that is one of the beauties of a symmetrical layout!

Wish me luck, and if you have any advice to offer (or just a story to commiserate), I’d love to hear in the comments!

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.

easing my way into curves.

Drunkards Path Cutting

Have you noticed it, too?  Curves seem to be everywhere lately!  Just this week alone, there’s been a blog hop for the release of Angela Pingel’s DVD on Sewing Techniques for Accurate Curved Piecing, Rita Red Pepper’s variation on the Drunkard’s Path, and just check out all of the amazing curves going on at Stitched in Color’s clambake quilt-along! It’s true: curved piecing is sweeping the globe!

As you already may know, I jumped on the curves bandwagon and am about halfway through Rachel’s Curves Class. I have been doing my best to stay on top of the projects, and am really happy with how the class — and my skills — have progressed over the past few weeks.

The latest project was an improv curves mini-quilt, titled Oh Christmas Tree.

Oh Christmas Tree

My first tree was *almost* a success. That was, until I assembled the last seam against the tree’s left side. For some reason, my seam line has a few puckers toward the center of the curve.

O Christmas Tree

Michelle (From Bolt to Beauty), who is also taking the class, recommended that I shorten my stitch length, which I did, and that helped to solve the problem. The shortened stitch forced me to slow down and gave me the time I needed to control the fabric. I realized that I had been tugging on the fabric to get it to pivot under the needle, rather than gently guiding it. Once the stitch length was shortened, I was able to hold the fabric with less tension on the curve, and this resulted in a flatter seam.

How do I know this, you ask? Well, that is because I made a second Oh Christmas Tree, though pared down a bit, just to practice the skills again.

O Christmas Tree

The next project for the class is the drunkard’s path block, which I am uber excited about! I have only made one so far, but I am already in love! Here’s a sneak peek of my first block:

Drunkards Path Block

The class project is to turn this into a pot holder, but I don’t know if I can stop at just one! Have you ever made a drunkard’s path quilt? I’d love to see, if you did!

And if you, too, are having a love-affair with the curve, I’ve compiled a pinterest board with loads of curve-appeal!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts. Happy Wednesday!

table for four, please?

Curves Class

Curves Class taught by Rachel at Stitched in Color is in full swing, and I am jumping in with gusto on my curve-y projects! The first project was *technically* supposed to be a machine-appliqued clamshell pillow, which I decided (in a state of delusion, apparently) to turn into a set of placemats. The truth is, we really aren’t in need of any pillows at this time (unless they are these pillows, which, I need so badly it hurts. But, I digress).

I decided to make the placemats 12″x18″, with a binding, which I now realize in retrospect is the equivalent of making 4 little quilts! Each placemat requires 14 whole-clamshells,  2 half-clamshells and 70″ of binding. So if you’re keeping track, that’s a total of 60 clamshells and 280″ of binding! Seriously, what was I thinking?!?

That said, I really think they look great, and I am learning a ton about sewing curves in the class. One totally geek-y thing that I’ve learned, is that wearing quilting gloves gives me a better handle on the fabric and makes it easier for me to manage sewing the curved lines.  One thing I’m still grappling with, is keeping an eye on my needle while I’m sewing, rather than relying on my 1/4″ seam guide.

If you’re interested in making placemats like these — with or without the clamshells — here’s a quick rundown of how I made mine:

1. Attach and stitch the clamshells.

Start with a piece of fabric 12″ x 18″. I used Robert Kaufman Chambray Shirting in Navy. I then attached the clams with Heat n’ Bond Lite. I found it to be more adhesive than Steam a Seam 2, which left me disappointed on a previous project. Here’s a picture of the back of my chambray after all three rows of clamshells were stitched down.

Curves Class: Project 1

2. Attach fusible fleece.

In this picture it shows the fleece cut at 11″x 17″, which is how I cut it for my first placemat. I don’t recommend this. I thought it would make the seams less bulky, but since I attached a binding by hand, it actually left very little for my needle to grab on to and so I found my stitches showing through the front more often than I’d care to admit. If you attach the binding by machine, i.e., if you’re smarter than me, then I’m sure it would be okay as shown. Otherwise, cut the fusible fleece at the same size as your placemat (in this case, 12″ x 18″).

Curves Class: Project 1

3. Make quilt sandwich and quilt.

I just did a couple of straight stitches to keep the whole thing in place and secure. I didn’t measure them out. They are in a different place on each placemat, just to keep things interesting.

Curves Class: Project 1

Here’s the backs. I used coordinating fabrics, so they can be reversible. I think they’re as pretty on the bottom as they are on the top!

Curves Class: Project 1

4. Make and attach the binding.

I prepped approximately 70″ of binding for each placemat.Curves Class: Project 1

Here’s the whole set in it’s current, various stages of construction.Curves Class: Project 1

And ta da! The finished product! (well, one, at least!)

Curves Class: Project 1

I also started the second project for class, which was to make a couple of improv curved notecards. I made mine out of the same chambray and some Liberty scraps. I figure, even if the curves are a bust, you can’t go wrong with Liberty!Curves Class: Project 2

And there you have it! My curve-y endeavors of late! Have you ever sewn curves? What sort of tips do you have for a newbie like myself?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts.

let’s catch up!

Anna Maria Horner EmbroideryOh, hello there! How are you? Can you believe we are already almost two weeks into the New Year? Time seems to be flying by as I am trying to get myself ready for the start of Curves Class with Rachel from Stitched in Color! I’m excited, as it was on my list of resolutions for this year, and my head is already spinning with ideas of things I’ll be able to make with my newfound curvy skilzzzzz!

Loves Me Bouquet

In order to get myself mentally ready for the class, I’ve been trying to get all of my other obligations and tasks out of the way. The first order of business was to finish the Anna Maria Horner embroidery project that I had started ages ago. It’s the first embroidery project I ever embarked upon, and I had NO idea what I was getting myself into! But I love how it turned out and can say it was definitely worth it in the end!

January do. Good Stitches

I also finished my blocks for this month’s do. Good Stitches.

I got a sleeve on this quilt, so that I can package it up and send it off to Austin!

Charm Swap Challenge

And started the process of teaching myself how to appliqué, as part of my entry for the LIMOD Charm Square Swap Challenge. (Wish me luck!)

drawing

The last thing I’ve been doing (which was also on my list of resolutions) is taking an online drawing class. I signed up through Creativebug for Lisa Congdon’s Basic Line Drawing AND her Sketchbook Explorations class (I know, it’s like I have New Year fever!), and I have already learned a ton! (I have tons to learn, trust me! But, here’s a few snaps of my first doodles!

doodles

more doodles

I’ve been watching the two classes in increments with my four year old, who loves to draw, and we’ve really been enjoying it! Obviously he is young to be grasping the technique, but he loves to watch her pen make shapes on paper, and even though he is not able to replicate her designs, he’s still absorbing the knowledge. Plus, it’s fun to snuggle with him while we watch the videos!

RoRo doodles

Okay, I think that’s pretty much it for now. How’s your year been so far? What are you working on? Are you gearing up for a big project? Already in the midst of a project that you started on the 1st? I’d love to hear what you’re up to, so please, catch me up!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday!