Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where it all began....

This old, primitive picket fence, turned on end, is one of my favorite decorating "finds" and displayed on it are some of my favorite quilts!  As I was thinking of listing them all for you, I realized that most of my favorite designers are also represented! So, starting at the top is "Union Moon" by Cherie Ralston, "Friendship Garden" by Blackbird Designs, one of my own favorites, "Crazy Bears", "Serendipity Sampler" by Kim Diehl, at "Young at Heart" by Brannock & Patek.  On the rocker is "Hugs N Kisses" by Sherrie Saffiote-Payne.  Both "Union Moon" and "Young at Heart" were made back in the day when I was paper piecing.  I've never liked making and cutting out templates, so I usually opted to convert a pattern to paper piecing if I could.  And, for me, since I like to use lots of plaids in my quilts, and didn't always like having the plaids going every which way and bias on the outer edges of my blocks, paper piecing wasn't a perfect piecing method for me but, to my way of thinking, it was better than the alternative of templates!  
Young at Heart

So, after paper piecing all those hexagonal hearts and stars and setting in each and every seam as I stitched the zig-zagging vertical rows together for Young at Heart, I needed to let my mind rest!  I had lots of  left over fabric, which I can't stand to waste. So as Pam likes to to tell you at our trunk shows when asked just how we came up with our "Crazy" technique of piecing, I'd been paper piecing, had a bunch of leftover fabric and decided to sew my way out of my sewing room one Christmas break. 

Which is exactly what I did and "Buggy Barn Crazies" was born!  Recognize those fabrics? And 15 years later we are still going crazy!  I use to worry about what I was going to do next; I didn't think we'd be able to keep coming up with ideas but since I'm in the middle of designing & writing our 20th book, "Still Crazy" (hopefully due out in May), I've tried to let that worry go, since stress makes me stupid and then I can't hold two thoughts together!  However, I do like to ponder and think things over. 

One of the most important things I learned in college I learned from my Fluid Dynamics professor, Dr. Watts.  He always suggested we read through the entire test before starting, and then begin and solve those problems you absolutely knew how to answer, while your mind worked on solving the ones you aren't quite sure how to answer.  And he was right!  It really works!  I'd leave the "holy crap I don't know how to do that one" questions till the end, and lo and behold, by the time I worked my way to that question, the light bulb would turn on!  So whenever Pam gives me a suggestion for a crazy, that I think is going to be impossible to cut up, it usually takes several months of pondering before the light bulb finally turns on!  Last week was a good week: the light bulb finally came on and I was able to finish up this turkey she wanted, added some gourds, and now await the "Pumpkin Pie" fabric so we can get him made up!  Having the design done and instructions written are a major victory for me and "Yes!" I get to put an big old X in the done column!  However, my chart appears to still need quite a few more of those "X's"!!  So best I get back to work!  Happy Quilting!

p.s. my Pumpkin Pie strike offs just arrived!  Don't you think Mr. Tom will look so much better made out of these?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My fingers are itching.....

I brought this kit home, and with the new snow today, my fingers are itching to break it open and get started on my "Snowflakes" quilt.  It's a wonderful combination of gray plaid homespuns (that unfortunately look cream in the photo, sorry!) and wool; it's sitting on my counter calling my name....Unfortunately, so are about a dozen other things!! 

Pam finally  got tired of waiting on me and she took over the "Merry Christmas Quilt" that was also sitting on my counter.  It's so cute!  We are running it as a block of the month; here's our first month, the first row, and the first month's kits are ready to go home with you!  It should be on the site later this week!

Meanwhile, I continue to work on new projects for our next book, new fabric lines, and in the evenings I can sit and stitch on my last section of "A Little Porch Time".  But I just might have to set it aside so I can break into that Snowfalke kit!  Will keep you posted! Just FYI, I hope everyone realizes that the words in blue are links to our website; you should be able to click on the words and they will take you where you need to be!  Happy Quilting!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Heart Crazies
 I hope you'll all be spending time with those you love this Valentine's Day!  Our kids want to go to dinner tomorrow, and so, knowing my husband, that's gonna count for Valentine's Day!  So, in case you'll be like me and have a date with your sewing machine, Pam & I decided, at the last minute of course, that it would be nice to offer you all a discount on our heart quilts!  So between now and Feb 14th,Valentine's Day, place an order on line or by phone for any heart pattern, kit, or book with a heart pattern and you will receive a 14% (Feb 14th!) discount on those items.  You'll also receive the discount on these items in the shop on Monday.  Just to help you out, I can think of these two pictured plus
 "Crazy About Hearts and Stars", "Heather", "Hearts", and "Circle of Love".  Oh- and how could I forget "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"?  I"m sure there must be more....but this gives you an idea; we have both traditionally pieced hearts and our crazies to choose from!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Blaze's Heart

This is a quilt I did when my nephew, Blaze, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  He's good now, cancer free, but this is still one of my favorites!  It's a small quilt, traditionally pieced, and would make a great baby blanket.  I'm saving it for my grandchildren, that I don't yet have!  But some day!   Did you also know that it's American Heart Month?  So I guess I better go get on the Nordic Track and be good to my heart!  I can't wait until the weather is nice and I can exercise outside!  But for now, we have great quilting weather so it's off to the Torture Track I go!  Happy Quilting!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hey! That's my line!

"Convenience" quilt yardage from "Pumkin Pie"
 There's nothing better than taking a moment and sitting down with my favorite quilting magazine, American Patchwork & Quilting.  I didn't have a moment but wanted to find the quilt our friend Eileen Houchin had published (congratulations, Eileen!)  in the April edition.  So as I was flipping through, I noticed they have added "Expert tips" on some of the sidebars and saw a picture of our friend Cherie Ralston so stopped to read what she was recommending.  As I continued down the column, I read "If you can bind, you can applique" and thought, "Hey! That's my line!" and guess what? It was!  I'm such a dork! But really, it's true!   If you can sew on binding, then you can applique. I love to piece, but I also love to applique.  Not only is applique portable, but it's easy to pick up and set down.  It was perfect when I was a young mother of two busy boys!  There's no "Now where was I?" with applique because I was right there where I left my needle!  Even though I'm a one project at a time kind of girl, I still have both a piecing project and an applique project going at the same time. If you've been afraid of applique, click on the YouTube links under the header for more applique tips.  Part 1 is mostly about the tools, Part 2 about preparation, and part 3 is stitching and tips.  For those of you who really don't want to applique, we have a "cheater" fabric in our "Pumpkin Pie" fabric line that's due to hit the stores in May.  We think it'll be great for backings, too!  But speaking of applique.....

Here is Gloria's current applique project, "Evening Bloom", another Block of the Month that she is making for us.  Isn't it tempting?  This one has large pieces which are usually easier to applique: no tiny star points in this one!  It's going to be a beautiful quilt!  The background fabrics are from French General and are just beautiful.

And if you don't like needle turn applique, what about wool applique?  No turning under required!  This is a wool applique project that Donna just finished up- she sure has been a busy bee!  Here she is with "I'll be Home for Christmas".  This is another kit I'll be taking home with me!  She and Lynda picked the wool for this project, and they've been teaming up on several different wool projects, including "Sheep in the Willows" and "Barn Chicks".  Aren't we all lucky to have such talented ladies at the Barn!  Happy Quilting!