Monday, August 25, 2014

Around the World {Blog Hop}

My friend Heidi, of Fabric Mutt, invited me to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. Thanks Heidi! *waves* The blog hop is a casual get to know you blog hop that goes from one blogger to another with the aim of getting a peek inside how our creative brains work.

Maple leaf minis

Just how do I do what I do? What is it that I do? Who am I?! (Do you know? Please tell me! But seriously, do you ever feel like that? Everyone seems to know who and what they are, and I am just over here flailing about. I know others are like this so let me come out and say... I'm still figuring it out. And I'm fairly comfortable with that. Or I'll let you know when I get to the end!)

Maybe I'll just attempt to answer the questions? Yeah...

Maple leaf minis

1. What am I working on... 

This month, I'm finishing up 2 quilt patterns for release. I'll be self-publishing them as PDF downloads in late September, hopefully. I'm SUPER excited about them. Right now, awesome pattern testers are giving the patterns a whirl. In a few weeks time, I hope to be posting sneak peaks but for now I give you the quilt back of one.

Favorite quilt back ever.

Sorry that is obnoxious, but it could be my favorite quilt back of all time.

I did just finish the mini maple leaf quilts pictured through out! *high five*

Maple leaf minis

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre ... 

In short, I differ because I am me - whoever I turn out to be. I think what makes my work unique is my use of color, I like it. I like most of it. And I like a lot of it. I also like to work with a lot of singular shapes, not that that is all that unique.

I think what makes me really unique, is my tendency to straddle many lines. I love many genres, many specific and possibly unrelated parts of many genres. While I used get frustrated because I thought myself wishy-washy, frenetic, indecisive, and boring for not being able to identify a "style". Now I've embraced this part of myself as not a weakness but a strength. If I can't decide on whose category to fit myself into, then I will make my own category and take everything I love and moosh it all together to make one new awesome category that I love. And maybe indecision is a "style" after all because I'm not sure I want to be all that predictable.

But in the end, it turns out my style resembles a lot of what is being sold in the Crate & Barrel catalog. (Ironies and hypocrises abound!) So maybe I don't differ that much at all. ;)

Maple leaf minis
This one's my favorite mini maple! 

3. Why do I write/ create what I do? 

WHY!!!!???? I ask you, why!!??? There are many times where I've run myself ragged doing what I do and I find myself asking why I do this to myself.

The answer struck me hard in the gut last year, while working on my book proposal. At the time, I didn't know if my proposal would be accepted and I was constantly bothered by the doubting questions, "What if all this work is in vain? What if my proposal isn't accepted? What if everything I was working on was a sand castle waiting for the tide?"

The answer came quietly and poignantly one day... I create because it is who God created me to be. Be it a masterpiece or complete garbage, the act of me creating and making are to glorify Him and for me creating/ making can be a form of worship. You know that sweet spot where creating can feel almost like a tangible, ecstatic energy? That but also the drudgery part of creating and making.

From that day on, I knew that I create because of God. I am His brush, he is the artist. He may use me as He purposes and I will (try to) be obedient.

Maple leaf minis

4. How does my writing/ creative process work? 

There are probably a few different ways I approach a project, but I'll talk about 3 because they are most salient.

It could be weird, but usually I get a flash or a vision of a shape or color scheme I want to work with. I can't think about it too hard or directly otherwise it will disappear. I try to approach the vision peripherally if that makes sense. Once I have the vision, I sketch it out - first on paper then in illustrator. Sometimes, my sketches just stay in my sketch book to simmer or fester. Once, in illustrator I will make my virtual test blocks, play with layouts, and work out the math. Then if I like what I've been working on, I will make an actual test block, tweak the math or pattern. Then I will make the quilt. Sometimes, I will succeed in meeting my vision, but often times the finished product resembles my initial vision only slightly.

Other times, I just have an idea or a question that I want to work out without a finished product in mind. It's more like me asking a question and making/ creating my way to an answer. What would happen if ...? So I'll give myself some constraints or rules, and let the creativity go from there.

And other times, I just want to make. Not necessarily create anything new. Take the maple leaves. Nothing new, I just wanted to make some maple leaves.

Maple leaf minis

So that's that. Now for next week's Around the World hop ... I've tagged Kristy of St. Louis Folk Victorian, who is just a riot and smart and stuff. Christa who shares her quilty adventures over at Christa Quilts. And finally Allison of Little Island Quilting.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Paperless Thangles {Tutorial}

Many of us have a love hate relationship with Half Square Triangles (HSTs). The fact that countless quilt patterns can be made from just HSTs makes them quite appealing. But making them can be QUITE the chore. There are several ways to try to diminish the work, but alas they don't make themselves.

I've found that you really just have to pick your poison when it comes to making HSTs. And today, I'm going to share with you a poison, er I mean a paperless Thangles tutorial! (Download the PDF here!)

A Vintage Christmas

Have you ever tried Thangles before? They are really fantastic. I first used Thangles when I made this red and white ocean waves quilt. I really think using Thangles to make HST works beautifully when making several (hundreds?) HSTs from a limited fabric palette. While I loved Thangles because I literally made around 400 HSTs in a few hours, I then had to remove all the papers from those 400 some HSTs. Which took a long long long time. Thus in the end, I'm not sure I saved any time at all.

Then my friend Amy suggested that I just mark my fabrics with my own grid. So I did. And that worked well. So that's what I'm sharing with you today.

Paperless thangles tutorial

I'm going to be showing you how to make thangles without paper. In this example, I made 40 HSTs, 2 1/2'' finished, in about 30 minutes (apart from trimming). I use 2 colors - Kona White and Kona Wasabi. In general you will be marking the fabric with a box grid and diagonals, using the diagonals as sewing guides, and then cutting along all the marked lines.

After the tutorial there's a chart with a bunch of different HSTs sizes for you to pin and save for later.

Step 1: Cut a single or double width of fabric depending on how many HSTs you need to make. Since I am making a bunch of HSTs, I am going to show a double width.

For 2 1/2'' finished HSTs I cut a strip 6 3/4'' x WOF (Width of Fabric, selvage to selvage) from each of my white and wasabi. (If you are curious that math is 3 7/8'' x 2 for a double width.) Then I cut the widths at the fold and separate the two pieces. (Note: to maximize the number of HSTs you can get from a WOF don't cut it in half.) So now, I have 2 wasabi pieces and 2 white pieces.

(Not shown but for a single width, cut a strip 3 3/8'' x WOF. It should yield at least 20 HSTs.)

Paperless thangles tutorial

Step 2: Mark the grid on the two pieces of darker fabric. In my case, I marked on the wasabi pieces. 

First mark the vertical line, which will be parallel to either side of the fabric and for 2 1/2'' finished HSTs will be 3 3/8'' away from either side, or the exact middle. (Skip this part for a single width.)

Paperless thangles tutorial

Then mark the horizontal lines. For 2 1/2'' finished HSTs draw a line 3 3/8'' away from the edge of the fabric.

Paperless thangles tutorial

Then mark a second horizontal line 3 3/8'' from the first line.

Paperless thangles tutorial

For finished 2 1/2'' HSTs continue marking horizontal lines 3 3/8'' away from the previous line until you've used up all the space on your strip.

Paperless thangles tutorial

Tip: Use a fabric marking pen that erases easily just in case you were to mess up. Ask me how I know. :)

Paperless thangles tutorial

And finally, complete your grid by adding diagonal lines through all the boxes. (I wised up and used a darker pen to show you.)

Paperless thangles tutorial

Step 3: Then pair colors right sides together and pin. Remember I'm pairing white and wasabi. Tip: Pin away from the marked lines.

Paperless thangles tutorial

Step 4: Sew 1/4'' away from the diagonal lines on both sides. Tip: Because you will be cutting into your seams, decrease your stitch length so that the stitches are less likely to unravel.

Paperless thangles tutorial

I'd like to take the time to say that I love the color Wasabi, but it doesn't photograph with my sewing notions does it?!

Paperless thangles tutorial

Once all the sewing is finished your strip will look like this.

Paperless thangles tutorial

On this darker color you can see the seams better. (would it have been easier to change thread? Perhaps, but how else would I have know that Wasabi + Everglade = not the best?)

Paperless thangles tutorial

Step 5: Cut along all the marked lines. And tada! Forty(!) HSTs in no time.

Like this:

Paperless thangles tutorial

Or, like this:

Paperless thangles tutorial

Step 6: Depending on your pressing preference, press seams either open or toward the darker fabric.

Step 7: For maximum accuracy, trim each HST down to 2 1/2''.

As with any HST triangle technique, paperless thangles has it's downsides. One being you have to do some math to figure out where to mark your grids. I've tried to make it a bit easier by making this table of common HST sizes for you.


Now, who will invent something that trims HSTs for us?!

Paperless thangles tutorial

Thanks for stopping by! I'll answer questions in the comments...

Download the PDF here!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My magazine debut {Love Patchwork & Quilting}

While I'm mostly a book gal, there are a few magazines I love. One of which is Love Patchwork & Quilting. I think it's the fun mix of home decor, lifestyle and of course patchwork and quilting.

Wildflower Pillow

I am so honored to let y'all know that my Wildflower pillow is featured in Issue 11. Yah!

Oh, and lookie there, that's my project in a magazine. Weeeee!  @lovequiltingmag

I had to recreate some of my pillow for step out shots, so I had a few extra blocks. Needless to say, these singular Wildflower blocks make up the cutest mini mini quilts. If you just want a taste of English Paper Piecing. Sometimes, just a little of something can go a long way! (Trying to tell myself about that little taste of chocolate right now. A little is good right?!)

Wildflower blocks!

If you are interested in making a wildflower block or two or nine, the templates are available over at Love Patchwork and Quilting.

Wildflower blocks!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Emailing with the Tattooed Quilter

Hi guys!

I'm featured on "emailing with the tattooed quilter" today. Chris (he's the guy with the tattoos) is relativiely new on the blog circuit, but he's already established himself with this lovely series. I'd love it if you'd pop over there to hear me wax on about my most embarrassing moment and other quilty philosophies.

Today on "emailing with the tattooed quilter" is me! To read my interview hop over to @nyc_christopher 's blog. (Links in profiles)

Read more interviews and stay and check out Chris's blog and quilts. He's a SewvivorThis quilt might be my favorite of his. This one too. And, aside from quilts, he also has some thought provoking posts.

Have a great weekend!


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