Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Best Advice I've ever Received {Behind the scenes at QNN TV}

About a month ago, I flew up to the Handi Quilter facilities in Salt Lake City to film an upcoming episode for Quilt It! A show on QNN TV.

Have you ever been so nervous that you forget to enjoy an amazing experience? Do you get to the end of "the big event" and say "that wasn't so bad. I want to do it again!"?

The Quilt It! and Handi Quilter folks and guests waiting for Pizza, yum!
Photo courtesy of Christa (Christa Quilts).

. . .

I was merely a Freshman in high school. A nearly unbelievably skinny 15 year old, who had grown tall and hadn't yet filled out yet. (I gained 30 pounds between Freshman and Sophomore years. Gosh I wish I had the picture still. I was laughably skinny.) It was May 1996 and we were at the State track meet and I was running anchor on the 4x200m team (I think). This was big. Huge! The State Meet? I was so outta my league. We all were really. Our team must have been overwhelmed with nerves. We must have been completely different kids - all quiet and reserved for nervousness.

That's when one of the coaches gave us (me) the best advice I think I've ever received.

Don't be so nervous that you rush through, forgetting to have fun and enjoy the experience. 

I was right. We were out of our league. We lost our race. Actually we didn't lose, but we finished in the worst place. The place where you are the first not to get a medal. If I remember correctly. I remember beginning to tear up as I crossed the finish line knowing we didn't get any precious medal.  An upperclassman comforted me saying there will be other races. Next year. We'll be back.

Even though we lost, I managed to remember to have fun and not let nervousness take control. Sure I was anxious. But it WAS fun. Running in front of all those people. Feeling the wind race by me. Running so fast I almost fell over. Competing at State as a Freshman. It was FUN!

. . .

It was this advice I took with me to Salt Lake City as I filmed my episode for Quilt It! The long arm quilting show on QNN TV.

My set is all ready!
For each guest, the crew changes out the machine as necessary and the quilts on the wall. 

Did I feel out of my league? Sure, a little bit. Was I nervous? Of course, but just a little.

Jodie Davis and me, right before "action". I d
do look a *little* nervous, don't I? :) 

I enjoyed the experience tremendously. The Handi Quilter folks, the production crew and Jodie and Vicky were an easy team to work with and everything went smoothly. And when it didn't go as planned, the team worked together to rework and fix what needed to be addressed.

The view from the back. 

There were many laughs behind the scenes and plenty chocolate. 

Behind the scenes at Quilt It! 

All in all it was a great experience. I remembered to have fun. But I still got to the end of it and thought, "I want to do that again!"

Behind the scenes at Quilt It! 

Of course, I've forgotten this advice periodically through the years as nervousness occasionally wins out over my rational thought. (Public speaking, shaking hands!) So I need to continually remind myself.

That's a big needle, y'all! And this is my "trying not to laugh face".

So I will say to you (and myself), be nervous, but not so nervous you forget to enjoy the experience. 

. . .

My episode will air in December. I'll talk more specifically about what you will learn in my episode closer to the air date. But QNN TV does have many many other quilting shows you may enjoy, including Tula Pink's reality show which just dropped (aren't we cool! heh). I'll be watching Tula tonight!

If you are interested in signing up for QNN TV, click here. You can join monthly for just $7.99 or annually for $69.99 (or $5.83 a month).

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lucy in the Sky {Modern Rainbow}

Well I sure stopped posting about my quilts from Modern Rainbow didn't I? I think I recall promising I'd share my quilts from the book, and I guess I stopped somewhere. Sorry about that! Let's get back to it.

To continue showing the quilts from my book, Modern Rainbow let's start with Lucy in the Sky. The design made me think of the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by a little ole' band named The Beatles. So naming this quilt was easy. Any drug reference is unintentional on my part, though the quilt does have a psychedelic feel. :)

Quilted by Angela Walters

Did you notice the octagonal shape of the quilt? Sometimes just that little unexpected detail makes a quilt extra special and irresistibly fun. Though I did include optional instructions to make a 4-sided quilt. Just in case you want a standard 4-sided quilt. 

This sketch shows the initial inspiration behind the quilt.  Personally, I love this quilt because it two favorites - beautiful colors and a star. 

(Color + Star = LOVE!)


The center rainbow portions are paper pieced. This block was my test block. For this block I used some of my favorite tone on white and tone-on-tone prints and the black Essex linen.  

Lucy in the Sky - Test Block

For my schoolhouse this past spring I made a mini using one block and a totally different kind of rainbow, a monochromatic rainbow. I would have loved to talk about monochromatic rainbows in my book, but I just didn't have the space for it. This mini satisfied that itch to make a mono-chromatic version. 

Lucy in the Sky mini

But since I gave this baby away I think I need to make another! 

Gosh, I love mini quilts. 

And rainbows. 

And stars. 

One last picture, here's Lucy in the Sky in her natural habitat. 

Lucy in the Sky - in use

If you'd like to purchase a signed copy of Modern Rainbow please visit my shop. Thank you! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Candy Corn Quilt {A Sizzix Halloween Tutorial}

Hi everyone, I've been sharing glimpses of my Candy Corn Quilt on Instagram and teases on my blog for weeks now. Today I'm showing you the finish AND the tutorial with you all. Yah! 

If you've been following along, you'll know that I've been working with Sizzix for a few months. They send me a set amount of dies each month and I share a tutorial with you all on here on my blog and a second one over at Sizzix's blog. I've had this quilt idea in my head from the get-go so I'm excited to finally have it finished on my couch and the tutorial to share with you all. 

Because October is my favorite. 


3 1/2 Yards assorted Halloween Fabrics (I'm using Spellbound by Cotton and Steel)
2 1/2 Yards black fabric
1/2 Yards for binding
4 Yards for backing

Sizzix Materials: 
Bigz Pro 2 1/2'' strip cutting die 
Big Shot Pro Machine
Bigz Pro 6 1/2'' Right and Isosceles Triangle die

First you are going to start by cutting 2 1/2'' strips by Width of Fabric (WOF) or selvage to selvage from the halloween fabrics. I sent my fabric through my Big Shot Pro Sizzix machine using my 2 1/2'' strip cutting die to easily cut my strips. Cut a minimum of 39 strips. This will make 13 strip sets. Since I recommend cutting more than the minimum for this quilt, let's say cut 45 strips to make 15 strip sets.

To cut the background triangles, first cut a minimum of 13 WOF 6 1/2'' from the black background fabric. Let's say cut 15 widths. These extra strips will account for any imperfections in the die cutting that may occur.

Next, using the Halloween fabric you are going to sew the 2 1/2'' strips into groups of 3. For my strips I tried to keep the colors going from light to dark to mimic a candy corn. But this is your quilt; you do what you love. But, be sure to keep that seam allowance a very scant 1/4''. Muy importante.

(The triangle die we will be using is 6 1/2'' wide so we want to ensure our strip sets are also going to be 6 1/2'' wide. Hence the scant 1/4'' seam.)

To finish off the strip sets, press the seams open or to one side. Do whichever you prefer. The strips sets will be 6 1/2'' x WOF. Make at least 13 strip sets. I recommend making more strip sets to account for any potential cutting mistakes in the next step.

Super fancy organization system for strip sets. 

Once all the strip sets are pieced, you are going to use your Sizzix machine and triangle die to cut the candy corn and background triangles. 

Let's start with the fun candy corn triangles first. I'm using the Bigz Pro 6 1/2'' Right and Isosceles Triangle die but I'm only using the Isosceles portion of the die. One important thing to mention is that you want line up the top portion of the strip set up with the top of the triangle. This is especially important if your strip sets aren't quite 6 1/2'' wide as they should be in theory. 

(Sometimes I lose focus on keeping my seam allowances that scant 1/4'', ahem) 

Now, to maximize the number of candy corn triangles cut from each strip set, you are going to fold the strip set accordion style over the triangle die. Adjust the folded fabric accordingly and then do a final check to make sure the strip set is still lined up with the triangle point. 

Double check to make sure you have the fabric in the Sizzix sandwich - plastic plate on bottom, die blades up, fabric, and then plastic plate on top. Then send your fabric through the Sizzix machine

Then carefully remove the extra fabric on the sides. You may need to use scissors to cut them apart.

Then unfold that extra fabric and realign it on the die cutter and cut more triangles from the excess. 

And send the Sizzix sandwich through again. 

From each strip set I was able to cut 9 triangles. (The picture shows 10 triangles, but realistically it ends up being 9.) 

Using the Sizzix machine and the 6 1/2'' isosceles triangle die, cut 114 black background triangles from the 6 1/2'' strips of black background fabric.  

After cutting the candy corn triangles and background triangles, all in all you should have 114 candy corn triangles and 114 background triangles. 

Ok, now for the sewing!!! 

First set aside 6 candy corn triangles and 6 black background triangles. 

Next, we are going to make 108 pairs of triangles. Each pair will have 1 background triangle and 1 candy corn triangle.

Because we are working with irregular shapes, you will want to line up the match points. (Match points are where the seam line will intersect.) So with right sides together align the match points and pin as needed. Sew the pairs together. Make 108 pairs. Press seams open. 

Now, you will be sewing the pairs into rows. Each row has 9 pairs. I wanted my rows to have a random, scrappy look so I used the paper bag method. That's where you throw all of your pairs into a paper bag and shake it all around like shake n' bake. Then whichever pair you pull out is the pair you sew. Pretty high tech. :) 

So, sew 12 rows each with 9 pairs of triangles. Then press seams open. 

Finally, to complete the rows, you will sew one more triangle onto each row. To six rows, you will sew a black triangle onto the left side of the row. To six rows, you will sew a candy corn triangle to the right side of the row. 

For quilt top assembly, first lay out your rows on your design surface and play with the arrangement until satisfied. (I just made sure my purples are mints weren't bunching together in one section.) Make sure all the candy corns are pointing up. 

Now we are going to sew the rows into pairs of rows. Get two rows and line up the points and get your pins ready (yah!).

With right sides together align and pin the rows together. Then sew the row together. Sew the 12 rows into 6 pairs of rows. Press seams open. 

Continue sewing assembling the quilt top by sewing the pairs of rows together. Press the seams open. 

To finish the quilt you can opt to keep the angle sides or you can square up the quilt top. I decided to square up my quilt top this time. 

Quilt and bind using your favorite method and enjoy! 

Thank you!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Quilting: you can do it! {MQWS Blog Hop}

Hi guys! I'm so happy to share Christa Watson's first book: Machine Quilting With Style, a book that encourages as much as shows.

I happily happen to know Christa in real life. In fact we met at the "get published" panel at the inaugural QuiltCon way back in the day of 2013. :) Let me tell you, Christa is passionate about quilting. Most of all Christa is passionate about empowering and teaching quilt makers to make quilts and make them their own. It doesn't matter if our quilts are perfect or if we don't have *the right machine* or *the perfect sewing space*, makers just gotta make. Don't wait for the right time and the right place or until you get your technique; just get started.

Christa and I agree on the "you can do it - just start" mentality. This encouraging and mentoring outlook is what differentiates Machine Quilting With Style from other books. And, whether it's straight line quilting or free motion quilting, Christa's book, Machine Quilting With Style, not only offers encouragement, but also tips, how-tos, and great quilting designs as well as patterns.

Personally here are two of my favorites....

Photo Credit: Brent Kane for Martingale

This one is called "Rain". I just love it. And straight line quilting is always a favorite, but did you notice the different color threads? That's a fun way to add subtle color. 

Photo Credit: Brent Kane for Martingale
And this one is "Focal Point". I love the off center design and the use of spiral quilting.

Ok, I have more favorites but I don't want to give away too much of the book. I'm sure you might be able to sneak a peek at some other projects and quilting by popping over to the rest of the stops on the blog hop.

Do you have a favorite quilt from the book? If so, let Christa know in this survey she's conducting. Christa is planning on starting a quilt along in January using the fan favorite quilt from her book.

If you're excited to buy the book, you're in luck. The book is back in stock (girlfriend sold out Amazon in a matter of days. Go Christa!) at Amazon or you can order a signed copy directly from Christa.