Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My AQS book is now available!

Join me in a happy dance!!! I couldn't be more delighted to make this announcement today.

I am tickled to finally be able to show this and know that the books are really in existence!  Yes, printed with real ink.  Somebody asked me that last week at MQX, and I found it particularly amusing (though it feels like it was partially printed with my blood, sweat and tears).  

I spoke with my editor at AQS yesterday, and my book officially arrived to the Paducah, KY AQS warehouse yesterday from the printer.  It was news to me that AQS does not actually print anything. They are editors, not printers so I am told.  Either way, the book is here!!
The actual book cover is slightly different from the image shown above that I was sent many moons ago.   I really like the teal better than the navy blue anyways, as it pulls nicely from the color in the quilts.
Here's one of the pallets in the warehouse...that is all books.  I suspect that there are many more pallets too.
 And the truck that delivered them.   I know, this is a boring photo, unless you are my very excited editor.  The books will officially be at Paducah.  It kills me that this is the one year that going to Paducah just cannot be swung.  Even if I could somehow disappear for 2-3 days, I's probably never find a hotel anyways.  So...if you are going to Paducah and see my books in the AQS shop, please send me a picture.
With the Paducah show next week, and all of AQS busy with that production, I knew ordering books would be on hold until after the show.  So....I placed an order yesterday which will be arriving to me this Friday!  Yes, as in 2 days from now.  I have started preselling this book on my website MainelyQuiltsofLove.com today.  If sales continue, I may have to place another order before the end of Friday.

For the curious, this book was envisioned to be different, conceived before the end of AQS publishing. In all honesty, I think they were planning to print other quilters' stories in books similar to this one, but as it turned out, I am the only one.  It has more information about me, the quilter, how I got where I am, and insight into my journey.  I discuss the design process for each of the well known show quilts that are on the cover too.  Each of these quilts are completely patterned within the 160 page book.  There are also details on key quilting motifs and techniques.  At the very last minute, and after a bit of a grumpy standoff by me, they also added a dozen pages of closeup photography showing the quilting details.  This was truly of immense importance to me, and made me very pleased when it happened.

If you'd like to get one of the first of these books, visit my website MainelyQuiltsofLove.com.
You may purchase from AQS, and the book will be at some other distributors and select book stores too.  Remember, purchasing direct from the author profits the author the most.  Either way, I thank you for your interest and purchase.  They will only be autographed though if they come from me :-)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Back to the Grind

I am back from MQX, and have been quickly thrust back into the real-life of a mom and wife.  No rest for the weary I say.  For those of you that went to the show or are on facebook, you already know that my quilt "Taking the Unmapped Road" shown 2 posts ago actually brought home two immensely amazing and BIG awards.  It won the best longarm quilting as well as Best of Show.  I was more than blown away - so surprised on many levels.  The quilting world continues to surprise me at every turn. Quilts that I swear are say better don't do quite as well as I think they will.  As for this quilt, I really did not see these huge awards coming.  Happy?...absolutely.  Surprised - that too!

It was great to talk with Linda McCuean at the awards.  She was one of the 3 judges this yr.  She is the one I consulted many years ago when I decided I wanted to put a scalloped binding on Big Bertha.  Big Bertha was my other quilt to win BOS at MQX.  Linda is a phenomenal quilter; so inspirational to see her and thank her for what she has meant to me. With that zebra shirt, we should have met when The Twisted Sister unveiled!

I came home and dove head first into the backlog of client quilts I have.  This is an adorable "redwork" Halloween quilt.  The Halloween theme is subtle.
I quilted a crosshatch across the embroideries using a monolon nylon thread.  This is just perfect because it looks just like a white thread, but shoes nothing on the embroidery. 

 The quilting is light so as to keep the quilt still soft and snuggly.
 Sashings are quilted with a red Omni thread that matched the red of the embroidery.  The quilting on the black border was in a bolder green that pulled from the outer plaid.  Like I said, the Halloween theme is subtle.
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On the last day of MQX, I did a fun talk about getting kids into quilting.  It was late on the last day, so the crowd was small, but they were dedicated listeners.  My mom and daughter were there too.  I spoke to quilters about each of the 4 quilts I have done with my daughter, 3 of which have now won 1st place here (much to my surprise, she won 1st again this yr!).  I showed all of her quilts and gave my take on how I have inspired her at each age to learn how to sew and to quilt.
She was more than a willing ham towards the end of the talk, but  her eagerness was endearing to others seeking tips on inspiring their kids or grandkids. Here she is atop the pile of quilts she has made! (color coordinated no less)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mariner's Compass Quilts - Is there really an original one out there?

I've had discussions with several of my quilting buddies about exactly how original a quilt based on a well known and traditional pattern can be.  One person is hell bent on accusing me of stealing her pattern.  I still denounce these claims.  My quilt is my own personal creation.  I'm not getting into name giving here, and have no intention of making my blog anything but a dignified place of education.  

While my quilt reflects my sense of design and color, you can see how very many interpretations have been made by scrolling through some photos.  This is a mere small sampling of thousands of photos available too.  My apologies to the makers for not placing any credits.  I found these on pinterest for the simple task of showing that a mariner's compass quilt can be executed in many ways.  

Like most of my quilts, the mariner's compass is often seen in a medallion setting, with a series of spiked corners and borders.  The center star may have many spikes, or it may be of a simpler compass design.  Placement of the New York Beauty blocks around the border is well, not immensely uncommon.

I never found a quilt with my particular center star because this was my design.  The colors of my quilt were of my unique choosing too.  If it appeared to have been stolen, well, the judges that saw it last week would certainly have been the ones to have called it out.  They would have known.

So really, when working with traditional patterns that have been made for over a hundred years by quilters around the globe, there really is no purely original quilt.  They are all adaptations, with small details that make them unique to the maker.  



made 2010








 




Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Taking the Unmapped Road - a new show quilt

Meet my newest show quilt.  I call her "Taking the Unmapped Road".  It is currently at it's first show, MQX.  At the time I wrote this post, judging had not yet taken place.  By now, though, it is judged and it's fate is sealed.  I will find out on Wednesday evening if it ribboned or not.
This quilt is over 2 years in the making.  That is mostly by my own procrastinating though.  The quilting was nearly finished (all but the outer red border) 15 months ago.  At that point in time, I was accused of stealing this design along with many of the quilting motifs -- a threat that is completely untrue.  I have enough integrity and design abilities to do this my way.  I got so mad, I boxed it up for a year and finished The Twisted Sister instead. The quilt and I needed a cooling off period so that every time I looked at it, I was not reminded of the accuser.

I think the judging coordinator likes to get my heart racing.  She posts a photo from during the MQX judging for most categories. This is not the first time one of my quilts has popped up during judging on facebook.   I think that my Solo category is the last one being judged.  This popped up on my facebook feed - I nearly fell out of my chair.  It was initially entered in Custom Heirloom Show, which has a larger size requirement, but had to be moved to Solo because of the number of entries (not enough).  I really dislike this because Solo and Large Wallhanging are often large groups, and CHS is not. Boo Hoo.  Sure hope that the judges like most of it when the take a closer look.

This quilt is an original of my own design, created using EQ7.  In October of 2014 when I started it, it was conceived merely as a "filler" project.  I needed something mindless to piece.  I was just finishing Bouquet Royale, and I was tired of every detail.  I wanted something simpler.   In all honesty, I loathe paper piecing, but it's the best technique to ensure pointy triangles.  There was a LOT of semi-mindless paper-piecing on this quilt.
(finished but not painted.  It needed more!)

Somewhere in the mindless process, which was supposed to keep me from feeling invested in the project, I decided I really loved the quilt.  The colors were vibrant and powerful, and they were drawing me in.  It is hard to see from the photos, but there are a few silks, and the more chartreuse greens are almost luminescent.

(photo of first quilting on outer border)

This past fall, after Houston, I resurrected the quilt.  First order of business was to remove the quilting of the red border.  I never liked it, and had a new plan to try.  This new idea was a one-shot deal - there would be no removing this if I didn't like it! No risk of that, though, as I totally LOVED the effect.  It was different for me, but it looked great.
 This quilt has many things that represent change and growth as a quilter.  I hate seeing quilt after quilt by the same artist, and being able to know who did it before I see the card.  Some people's quilting signatures are always the same.  I strive to expand my abilities, to try different designs, to keep people thinking.  I know many are now thinking I am the one that will mix the fussy-cut cottons with silk (and that is fine, as I so love this look!). But this quilt is a little different, as the name implies.
 
This quilt was the last quilt I did on my old Fusion.  It was stitched with both 40wt poly threads (YLI Polished Poly, and Glide) as well as some silk in the super dense fills.  I used a Hobbs wool/cotton blend batt with another wool batt on top of that.  It has good loft in unquilted areas (but we all know I quilted it nearly to death).
 As late as a couple weeks ago, I was still hand appliqueing a metallic bobbin thread to certain areas on the top, just for a tiny hit of pizzazz.  It is hard to just stop, and declare the quilt done.
 There is some color infused purely with thread, as in the red above.
 Here's some very teeny-tiny matchstick quilting in a great herringbone design.  It makes a wonderful effect.

Lotsa feathers!
and crosshatching too... 

I finally got the nerve to paint this interconnected scallop border in late January.  I had to mix the colors to get the right shades.  THAT was nerve-wracking. Hindsight tells me I should have appliqued these, but I didn't even have these scallops on the radar until I designed the quilting.  THEN I got the notion that they'd look good colored.  Go figure.
The binding treatment is of my own conception.  I am not a fan whatsoever of prairie points, but I envisioned this quilted scallop-prairie point contraption as an extension of the outer row of NYB blocks.  It was finicky, but not as hard as I thought.  Each of these 3" scallops was initially quilted on my longarm.  They were then cut out and turned with another backing fabric on the DSM.  This sounds simple, but much experimentation on how to do this so that a beautiful, smooth-edge scallop resulted.  I wasn't going to do the edge treatment any other way.  The purple prairie points are done the typical way.
 Putting this edge all together, with the piping took a few genies and a whole lotta magic potion, but it  was all done on the machine, except for hand stitching the facing on the backside.  Stay tuned for an article later this year in Machine Quilting Unlimited on how to make this.
And so we are done with the pretty pictures.  As I write this (it's only Saturday), I wonder if it will earn a ribbon, and I wonder if viewers will enjoy looking at it.  To me it is much more.  It is a 2 year journey beginning with choosing fabrics at the Hershey and Houston shows.  It is a calming, cooling time for me to do simple piecing, without an end result really in mind.  This quilt was kind of designed as the blocks were stitched -- hence the "unmapped road".  The binding without a plan falls into that uncharted territory as well.
Just because I didn't know where I was ultimately going, and did not have a well-layed out route initially, in no way should imply that I was not going somewhere.  Remember, friends, the journey of how you get from conception to completion is what you will remember in the end.  Take time to wander, for it does not have to imply that you are lost.  This may have spent a year in a box.  I believe that on some small, secret level, the quilt needed me to move on, do something different so that I could return back and finish this with a bang!

Enjoy, and have a great week.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The April Fool

The April Fool of weather is currently striking  northern new England today.  We are getting a dumping of very wet snow.  There's about a foot on the ground so far, and it is supposed to snow all day.  It's just not fair!  I need spring so badly.

The response for my books has blown me away.  Thanks to all of you that have ordered, and to those that have left me wonderful messages about how you love them.  My 2nd order of both books is due to arrive this coming Monday and Tuesday, and I will get those shipped as soon as is humanly possible (April 10th).  This unneeded spring snowstorm has unfortunately delayed one of the orders until Tuesday, which means I cannot get the 150 books I have current orders for until after MQX.

But, I will leave you with a little more hope...

This is the cover of the current AQ magazine.  I have a small article in it that AQS has done as a promotional for the upcoming release of that book.
The article shows my Zen Garden quilt and talks about some of the decisions that went into the quilting of the outer border.  This quilt and 2 others are fully patterned in the book.  Decisions made as well as quilting techniques are shown in the AQS book.  My editor at AQS just got the proof book this week.  I still don't know what the resolution on the proof is - good, bad, issues, ready to go, etc but just know that this process is almost over.  I think AQS is under the impression the book will be on the shelves at Paducah since they have requested a quilt from me to hang in in the author's area.  If you are there, you can see Zen Garden in the flesh.  Six years after making it, I still think it is a pretty quilt.
The AQS book has 160 pages and sells for $26.95.

This past week, under the influences of a cold, I puttered around, not really accomplishing too much. I have dragged these blocks out that were started a year ago, and began figuring out the background. That purple is hand-dyed silk.  It unfortunately does not have the sheen it should because of the dye process this gal uses.  Hopefully, that can be rectified, or I may have to learn to dye it myself!  There just are not enough stock colors in this stuff.  Not sure exactly where this is going in terms of that black border, but I will figure it out later this spring.
Tune back in a couple days and I will try to show photos from my newest show quilt Taking the Unmapped Road after I hear that judging at MQX is over!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Books Update

The response for my books has been overwhelming today! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

To preserve stock of books so that I have some to bring to MQX in 10 days, only the next 10 orders will be shipped immediately. I will accept all orders, and they will be shipped in approximately 2 weeks when additionally ordered books arrive.

Thank you for your understanding.

Book Launch

Oh Boy, Today is the day I debut my 2 books on background fills!  I am nervous and excited (and seriously hoping there are not issues!).  They each list for $25, and may be purchased on my website MainelyQuiltsofLove.com.   If you are going to MQX, I will have them there in my classes (or message me).  I will also have a table to sell them at on Saturday 2:30pm after my talk (Meet me at the MQX Lecture Zone).

About the books... they high quality paper, laminated cardstock covers, spiral bound. Both books discuss threads, techniques for stitching, and general ways to better accomplish these designs.  Lots of photos and illustrations.  Designs may be quilted on BOTH longarm and domestic machines! Here is the direct link to my website where the BOOKS may be ordered.  If you want one autographed, indicate that in the "instructions to merchant".


1. Dense & Dainty (93 pg) is all about dense fills that can be stitched free-hand.  These designs require minimal marking and next to no template use.  Though patterns may be scaled to the user's desired size, I like them small anywhere you might be inclined to stipple.   Over 100 designs presented.
Here is a sample from the book...



2. Beautiful Backgrounds (91 pages) is all about grid-based fills.  You'll learn marking, basic fills derived from the Sashiko and how to beautifully embellish them.  There are LOTS of non-Sashiko fills too, over 80 in all.  Fills are for all grids including square, point, triangle, rectangle and hexagon.

  
Here are a couple samples from the book.

Lastly, for those of you that want to practice the grid-based fills, my Spoonflower shop now sells gridded fabric for 1" and 1/2" square and on-point grids!  Each FQ has 12 5" gridded squares, and each yard has 48 squares.  This fabric is a great accompaniment to the book.  Go to Spoonflower.com and in the search box at the top right, type "beautifulbackgrounds" to locate these fabrics.  Please note I will not have these at MQX or on my website.
The image above shows what is available on a half yard of the fabric.  These are awesome for practicing and completely eliminate the need to mark the grid.