Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Maket Values: Quilt Top in Six Hours!

jill here....A couple of months ago, Marny and I offered a Market Values Mystery Class.  It was a pattern test: a chance to gain feedback prior to published print  AND to have a good time.  The quilters were given the ingredients to make their fabric selections before class.  They came ready to cut and sew.   What a cooperative group. We even had time for a tasty lunch!  Several sewers finished the quilt top within the six hour time period.

With helpful comments, Marny and I made some improvements to the finished product.


Lap sized Market Values in Daisy Janie's Shades of Gray
 Modern Quilt Relish kid sized Market Values
Market Values in Batiks

I cut out this top in 1/2  hour and Marny and I sewed it in 2 1/2 hours TOGETHER. What Fun!
It's new home is at Hen and Chicks in Conrad, Iowa.

'Till next Tuesday....

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Tutorial for Quick Decorative Towels

Marny here...
Recently the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild met.  Although I'd known there was to be an exchange of some sort of holiday item for weeks, I was caught with overly ambitious plans and too little time to complete them.  This simple little idea popped into my head.  I had the adorable Riley Blake precut 5" squares already and a quick trip into Target supplied me with the "finger tip" towels. 

They turned out so cute I thought I would share the steps I took.   
Start with 5" (Charm) squares.  Seven squares make four bands.
For my three towels (I made another they were so much fun) I used fourteen
charm squares.  No fabrics were repeated on any towel.
Or at least that was my intention.  I have some leftover bands to play with later.

Cut each 5" square in half.  You can stack them and cut them very efficiently.
Perfection is not required.  

Create two piles, each with one half of every charm.
This will give your strip sets a nice variety and keep like fabrics from
ending up too close to one another.

Chain sew pairs together.  Press the seams.  I press them open.

Then seam pairs together.  I really only needed seven fabrics across.
I got a bit ambitious and had to "unsew" a few because my towel
was only so wide.  So measure your towel relative to your strip sets.
You'll need a slightly longer strip set than the width of the towel so that you
are able to fold the ends in using the method described below.
Two additional inches should do it.
Cut the strip set in half lengthwise.  It will be 2 1/2" by the
length of your strip set.
I used one half on one towel and the other half on another towel.  

Next, press this unit in half lenghtwise.

Then, open it up again and press each edge in towards the center pressed line.

Line up the nicely pressed unit on the towel to see how much
the ends need to be folded under.  Press under that amount.
Next, fold the outer most corners towards the center to form a point.

Press again and no raw edges will escape while you are sewing.
The band you have created is probably an 1" to 1 1/4" or so wide.
My towels worked perfectly since they had bands to accommodate
the pieced units.  How did I get so lucky?
I increased my stitch length to a 3.0 (on my machine 2.5 is the default) and
stitched all the way around a bit more than an 1/8" from the edge.
To be truthful I used my trusty edgestitching foot with my needle in
position 6 (as far to the right as it goes).
This is a picture of the edgestitching foot ready for action.  It is hard to see here,
but it has a gate to the right that the fabric slides against.  This keeps the stitching
consistent and straight.  It is very handy for all sorts of sewing, especially for my 1/4" seam.

Each towel got two bands, each from a different strip set.

All ready for the gift exchange!  Very cute and lots of fun to create.
This technique could be expanded for larger towels.  You can cut your own 5" squares from your stash or purchase fabrics for your decor and cut those.   More importantly, use this idea to provide a happy excuse to purchase those wonderful Charm Packs of all sorts of holiday collections!  I'm going to be hunting for Charms appropriate for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July.  

Do any of you have simple holiday gift ideas you'd care to share?   Any tutorials you know of for fun items to link our readers to?  Can't wait to hear about them.  Thanks in advance for sharing.  Notice the Handmade with Love little bird on the top right portion of our blog.  Lots to explore there.

Speaking of sharing, feel free to share a link to this tutorial.

Till Tuesday...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hen and Chicks in Conrad, Iowa

Amanda of Kaleidoscope of Colors is our Robert Kaufman Stockholm fabric winner!

jill here... On a beautiful November morning, Marny and I took a road trip to mideastern Iowa.  Neat and tidy, those Iowa farms look prepared for the coming winter.  Traveling through the rolling hills and gentle plains, we arrived in Conrad where we were greeted at the Hen and Chicks Studio.  The quilt shop and retreat center, The Nest, will celebrate its ribbon cutting this Friday, November 18th.  The grand opening will continue through Saturday.  Heidi Kaisand, owner, has renovated this beautiful vintage building to house her dreams of scrap booking, quilting and creativity.  Many of you know Heidi as a former editor of American Patchwork and Quilting.  With her family close by, this studio reflects Heidi's entrepreneurial spirit.  She describes it as the perfect place to gather and devote time to your favorite hobby.  Should you retreat here, you will be well fed and inspired!

Beth, the manager, opened the door to welcome us!

Wall of patterns...relish the MQR designs.

Upstairs at the Nest retreat center.

Sleeping quarters.  Shhhhh.

Sewing center with room for twenty.

And the essentials outside of very modern facilities!

Heidi ready to help.

A brand new collection from Anthropology waiting to take shape into a Market Values.
Hope you can visit this cute Conrad shop with a great selection of fabrics.
Stay tuned next Tuesday for a series of Market Values to temp your taste buds!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Robert Kaufman Stockholm Fabric Giveaway

Marny here...
A few posts back we shared that Brioche and Baguette was being made up in a new line of fabric from Robert Kaufman.  The line is called Stockholm and the designer is Robin Zingone.

Here is the version we hung in our booth at the Houston Quilt Market.
The version we made for Robert Kaufman's booth is on a grey Kona Solid.
Unfortunately we neglected getting a picture of it hanging in their booth.
Here are the three wonderful colorways of Stockholm.
This is the colorway we got to use in Brioche & Baguette.  It will be on the new pattern cover.
This colorway is featured in a new project that April is quilting today!  It will be revealed at a later date.    Top secret for now.
Pinks and reds--very yummy and my personal favorite.  
A fat quarter bundle of Stockholm in the pink and red colorway is our giveaway this week. 

Please leave a comment about any pinks and reds you are seeing pop up in ads, fabrics, nature etc.  It is all around us. We can only mail to a winner living in the United States.  Postage is the stickler.  The drawing is open until midnight Monday, November 14th.

Till Tuesday....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Market: A Multi-tasker's Challenge

jill here......Market is a visual overload.  One does not realize that until after.....all the possibilities that were missed! Coupled with the fact that we have to sell our product, it's hard to do it all.  So the realization that we missed a photo with Jan and our "Salad Bar" quilt was astounding!  This photo below is Jan DiCintio, a wonderful fabric designer that we were so lucky to work with.  She is totally dedicated to the organic GOT certification.  We learned all about the production process at her schoolhouse session.  There should be a photograph of Jan with her new fabric line "Tilly" and our quilt...didn't happen.  Take a look on our site under the Pattern Shop and you will see the new design.  Better yet, go to Daisy Janie
Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie with her organic "Tilly" collection

The next few photos are of our booth.  Not many changes from Salt Lake except that we downsized.  Not holding true to our philosophy that less is more, we attempted more in less (of a space).  How does one compare?  There were just too many tales to tell and they seemed to fit in a smaller space.  Hope we didn't scare anyone away (it was Halloween)!

The good part of downsizing was we fit it ALL in my smaller hybrid car and traveled forty miles to the gallon.  We even had a change of clothes, for which you can be grateful.

Perhaps you can see (barely) that we remade a couple of our samples Brioche and Baguette in brighter, more graphic fabrics and a new Baby Nibbles.  Can you believe that we didn't get a photo of the new Stokholm fabric line at Robert Kauffman with our quilt ?  We'll post that soon.  We'll be changing the covers of the pattern on those two soon.

Marny and Jill thrilled to be in Houston.
One last comment.  Looking back on a week that was work, fun and inspiration all rolled into one,  I have to say it was the people that made it wonderful.  Quilters are great friends.  We were the newbies on the first aisle and they welcomed us and treated us like family.  Okay, we were surrounded by quilters from  Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, California and a crazy fun lady from Kentucky!  The staff at the convention center was exceptional as were all the urbanites. And, even the drivers were sane.  We traveled over 2100 miles safely and its good to be back home.  We'll blog again Tuesday.  Meanwhile, check out our  Pattern Shop for our two new patterns, Market Values and Salad Bar!