EQ Ambassador–Do you EQ?

EQ asked if I would consider being an EQ Ambassador for 2017 and I was happy to agree!  I purchased EQ7 at the beginning of 2012, five years ago now!  Just a few months prior, I had joined a the Cocorico Bee, a paper pieced bee.  I began designing blocks for the bee using paper and pencil and quickly realized that it would be in my best interest to look into a software program where I could make changes to my designs quickly and easily.  I started by using what I had, Photoshop. My first paper pieced block pattern that I released for sale was my iceskate. I drew it by hand and scanned it.  Then I drew over the lines in Photoshop.  Then came the truly difficult and tedious part, breaking apart the sections of the pattern to print separately.

At the end of that design experience, once again, I found myself looking for something different. Perhaps Photoshop could have worked for me but it is a complicated program and, at the time, I knew very little about how to use it.  I know that I lot of designers use Illustrator but it is costly and, again, a complicated program.  So I decided to try EQ7 hoping that it would be easier for me to learn since it was tailor made for quilting.

Within a couple of months, I released by second pattern, this vintage skier, using EQ7 to draft it.

I taught myself how to use EQ7, just referring to the manual and by Googling questions and looking for answers online.  I find the program fairly intuitive.  Tech support at EQ is excellent too and they were able to help with me a few problems that I encountered.  That said, if you have an opportunity to take an EQ class, I would certainly recommend it because it will help you to jump right in without frustration and to learn those little tricks that I have only discovered over time with use.

I continued to work on my paper pieced design skills by challenging myself to create a garden themed quilt with 16 original block designs.  By the end of this project, I felt that I understood the basics of paper pieced design in EQ pretty well.  My design skills had improved and my ability to use the program had also!

I really like using EQ7 for paper pieced block design. It allows me to upload scanned images that I have sketched, photographs, or other inspirational images, and use them as a reference as I overlay my block divisions.

Then I can color the image using solids, as I did here for my spring chicken, or fabrics that are provided by EQ or those that I choose to scan in and add to my Fabric Library.  I export these images to use as the block diagrams for my patterns.  Then I create the pdf foundation pieces by grouping and numbering my pieces and then choosing to print the foundation pattern.

This, right here, makes EQ worth every penny to me.  My sections are broken apart for me (in the groupings that I chose and numbered) and then I have the ability to move them around on the page prior to saving them as a pdf.

I use EQ7 for nearly all of my designs and honestly think that it is a great product.  I have added the EQ7 class that I will be teaching at QuiltCon to my workshop offerings if you are interested.  I would really love to share the step by step instructions with you to help you create your own designs. Of course, I do not use the program for only pictorial paper pieced blocks but also traditionally pieced quilts and paper pieced quilts. In my gallery of completed quilts, you can see lots of examples of my work, nearly all of which were designed in EQ.

Congratulations to Christa Watson, the other EQ Ambassador for 2017!  Have you seen Christa’s new Craftsy class?  If not, check it out here.

I look forward to sharing all my EQ creations with you this year.


 

 

Seam Rippers Coming Tomorrow!

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Tomorrow morning I will be listing 10 seam rippers, one necklace seam ripper and 4 new “basting buddies” (used to close safety pins when basting quilts).  You can find them in my Etsy shop and they ship in the US only.  They would be the perfect Christmas gift for the quilter who has everything!

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Pat Sloan’s Mega Fun Book Tour

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I am happy to join Pat Sloan in this book tour celebrating the publication of her millionth book (oh wait, I guess it is just number 30 something)!  She is one prolific writer/creator of all things quilting related!  This time, she is sharing basic information about machine and free motion quilting in her latest book titled Teach me to Machine Quilt. I think her book is a great resource for those who are interested in learning how to machine quilt their own quilts at home rather than sending everything out to a long arm quilter.  I agree wholeheartedly with many of her tips from my own experiences gained from quilting on my domestic machine.
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Since Pat is normally the person interviewing others on her podcast, I thought it might be fun to interview her after I read her book!  Here is our conversation.
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Amy:  Pat, first off, you like basting?  I am pretty sure you are the first person that I have ever heard say that.  What is it that you like about the process?
Pat:  Yes I really do like basting!  When I’m basting I think of it as kind of a ‘zen’ moment with my quilt. I find it soothing and relaxing as the way I do this is not stressful. I’m not crawling around on the ground.. I’m standing at a table ..looking out the window and enjoying the moment. Maybe I need a course in ‘zen basting’!
I guess I can see Pat’s point, though, I do crawl around on the floor so perhaps if I used her method I would find the process even more enjoyable. For me though, basting is a great time to consider quilting plans as your quilt is all smoothed out in front of you.

Amy:  I am happy to see that you emphasized the importance of basting. I completely agree.  Do you have a story related to an early incident that taught you the importance of basting?

Pat:  Not a recent one, but one from years past. I didn’t so such a great job of it years ago.. so when I flipped over my quilt there was this BIG fold in the backing.. ack! Being resourceful and not wanting to pick out stitches, I  appliqued the fold down flat.. fixed that problem! BUT I really didn’t want to repeat it.

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Amy:  I noticed that you state that you normally quilt with 10-12 stitches per inch using your walking foot. I have never looked at it that way. I normally use a stitch length of 3.5 -4 mm.  Is that comparable?  How long is your stitch?

Pat:  I like to use a ruler to show you how to check because it’s something that we can see and relate to.  Whatever stitch number on your machine produces that  distance is what I’d try first. Then adjust if it’s not smooth.

Amy:  I am glad that you give permission to tie off and start again if you run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a row.  I often debate that. Sometimes, I think it is worth ripping out and starting again. Do you ever do that?

Pat:  Oh my… really? You will rip out and start again? Honestly it never occurred to me to do that. That’s a lot of extra work Amy for … what?  Who will know? You can thread the tails and embed in the batting like a hand quilter does and it’s all hidden.

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Amy:  You mentioned the importance of keeping the weight of the quilt on the table and off the floor while quilting.  Again, I completely agree and actually had my husband build me a table where the machine is set close to the edge and I have a large span of table space to my left to hold the quilt.  What kind of set up works for you?

Pat:  This is a great set up! Plus I have my table up against the wall so that the quilt can’t fall off the backside. It puddles up against the wall allowing me time to rearrange it.

Amy:  Also, I love your tension trouble shooting section and will refer to it the next time I am in trouble.  I think it’s something that quilters often try to ignore but the fix is actually pretty simple, don’t you agree?

Pat:  In freemotion quilting people tend to stress over tension.. but you are right, it’s not hard. It’s a mind set. Just turn the knob a little and test again!

Thank you for the interview Pat!

Please visit the other stops on Pat’s Mega Fun Book Tour.  They are as follows:

Nov 18

Nov 19

Nov 20

Nov 21

Nov 22

Nov 23

Nov 25

Nov 26 – My Birthday!!!

Nov 28

Nov 29

Nov 30

Pat is offering a great giveaway too!  You have a chance to win one of five copies of her book.  To enter, follow this link. Good luck!

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Tell Me A Story Holiday Sewalong–Have you Joined?

I hope you have already ordered your book and fabric so that you can play along with my Tell Me A Story Holiday sewalong for a chance at winning some great prizes! All the details can be found here.  If not, you still have plenty of time!

Today I am sharing my second finished pillow.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

I’ve been sharing all the blocks that went into the pillow on Instagram and here is a round up with all their stories!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Fenwick the elf found the most perfect tree in all the forest for his Christmas tree.  With great pride, he set the star on top!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

This polar bear searched the forest floor for a perfect flower, untouched by frost, to give to his beloved.  But will she come?

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Bobby is staring at that bike, willing it to be under the tree on Christmas morning.  His dreams are not full of sugar plums, but rather, tires!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

The little elf held up his snowman chain and told his class, “Inspiration is everywhere!”

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

I let my Instagram followers make up stories for this one.  What a fun idea that turned out to be!  To read the stories on IG, just look for my photostream @duringquietime.  After that, I took a few names and sent a few direct messages and here are some more stories that they wrote for me:

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

@kidgiddy volunteered to write the story for this block:  The little reindeer were lost in the peppermint forest.  Even Rudolph was a bit concerned…until Vixen came along and reminded him that his nose could help them find their way home.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

@quiltyobsession wrote the story for this block:  Lola couldn’t wait until she was old enough to sing in the elf choir like her big sister Lily.  For now, she is just happy that she gets to ring the bell.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

@ tracybugcreative wrote: Noelle was often seen chatting alone with the little birds.  This one she names “Blue-ish.”  They met daily so Noelle could teach Blue-ish new songs.  Today, everyone was astonished when we heard Noelle singing Jingle Bells and Blue-ish echoed back a lovely refrain.  Everyone but Noelle!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Margaret skated around the frozen pond trying to catch the flakes of snow as they fell.

I hope you have been enjoying this sewalong!  Remember, you can play along and enter to win these great prizes!

tellmeastoryprizes

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Shibori Quilt

Shibori by Amy Friend

I’m so excited to finally share this quilt. I had a hard time making time for it with my busy fall schedule but, tada, it’s done!

This quilt was designed using the improvisational paper piecing technique that I outline in my second book, Improv Paper Piecing, that will be published in February.  I am so excited to share this book with everyone and teach you my technique!

Shibori by Amy Friend

After much hemming and hawing, I have decided to name this quilt Shibori.  While the individual blocks suggest leaves, the repeat, especially colored in this gradient, feels a lot like tie dye or shibori to me.  My fabric selections are all Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Shibori by Amy Friend

The backing is a Cotton + Steel print from the Print Shop collection by Alexia Abegg.  I love not only the awesome color match but the modern feel of the print and it’s touch of whimsy that compliments the graphic design of the quilt front.

Shibori by Amy Friend

I often use solids when I really want my pattern design to take center stage, which is what I did here.  Then I find myself wishing I didn’t have to quilt because I don’t like quilting that takes away from that bold statement.  I find that straight lines are normally the best option because they don’t tend to detract and I end up liking the layer of added interest.  Here I quilted in vertical lines using Aurifil 2600 (a light gray that I love) and Aurifil 1147 (for a pop of green).  I used a 50 weight thread for the majority of the quilting which is spaced at 1/4″ and 1/2″ intervals, but the green pops are in 40 weight so they stand out a bit more.

The finished quilt measures 48″ x 56″.

Shibori by Amy Friend

I’m also appreciative that the foliage cooperated for these shots.  Had I finished even one week later, I would have missed that gorgeous color.

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Cuckoo!

Cuckoo Block by Amy Friend

My friend, Melinda, shared these precious birds with me so that I could make another version of my Cuckoo Clock block. I adore them!  They seem made for this block.  The block is 10″ though and the fussy cut was too large.  How many times do we set aside the perfect fussy cut for just that reason?  I didn’t want to let that stop me so I enlarged the block to 16″ and now they are perfect!

I had fun playing off the primary color scheme of the fussy cut.  Red, blue and yellow are not my normal go to colors, but that’s what made it fun. They are undeniably cheerful colors too.

Detail by Amy Friend

Now I am mulling over what I am going to do with this large block.  It could be a pillow front as it is or with the addition of a narrow border.  Or I could design some German themed paper pieced blocks to coordinate with it.  I’m still considering!

If you would like this pattern, you can find it in my book, Intentional Piecing.

 

Teal Mini Swap to Support Ovarian Cancer Research and Aurifil Giveaway!

Beth from EvaPaige Quilts is running a Teal Mini Swap for the 5th time this year in order to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Research. The cause is so important to her because she lost her mom to this terrible disease.  Let’s help make the swap a great success!PicMonkey Collage-1

Participants pay $15 (US) or $18 (Canada) to register. $10 of that registration fee is donated by EvaPaige Quilt Designs to Ovarian Cancer Reseach Fund.  The remainder goes toward the expenses involved in running the swap.

Participants are sent an 8″ square of a swap fabric, supplied by Moda this year, along with information about their swap partner.  Partners are matched 1:1. The challenge fabric needs to be included somewhere in the mini.

Event timeline:

  • July 25 – August 29 – Registration open
  • August 15 – September 2 – Behind the scenes envelope stuffing and mailing of packets to partcipants
  • September 2 – September 30 – Celebrate Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month by creating a mug rug for your swap partner and mail it by the October 2 deadline.

Swap members can join the Teal Mini Swap FB page where they share their swaps as well as personal stories about ovarian cancer.

To register for this fun swap for a great cause, click here.

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Simply as a thank you for stopping by and reading about the swap, you are eligible to win one of the three thread collections above thanks to Aurifil.  We have Sweetly Stitched, Seascape and Moonshine Meadow. You can’t go wrong–they are all fantastic collections!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Quilt it Modern Mini

Quilt It Modern Mini by Amy Friend

I am happy to join in on the Quilt it Modern blog tour sponsored by Riley Blake! I requested a selection of pinks, a couple of shades of off white and a beige from their Cotton Solids collection. I guess I was feeling springy and inspired by peonies at the time!

Quilt it Modern Mini by Amy Friend

I created this mini from a self drafted foundation pattern. As my readers know, I am a paper piecing fanatic. It’s my favorite way to piece anything and everything! I had fun manipulating the pattern sections until I settled on this layout. I quilted in 1/4″ spaced lines with pink Aurifil thread and accentuated that arrowhead shape with a single line of echo quilting.

I haven’t made a mini quilt in awhile primarily because I don’t have a great mini wall, like so many quilters do, to display them. But they are awfully fun to make because you are able to explore a design idea without committing to a full quilt and, let’s face it, it sure makes basting less of a headache!

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you will be back!

#ModernQuiltTour

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June Aurifil Designer, Jacquelynne Steves

Aurifil 2016 Design Team June Jacquelynne Steves collage
It’s Jacquelynne Steves’ turn this month to share her block design for the Aurifil Block of the Month.  You can find all the details here.

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Her block is called Modern Delft…apparently both of us had similar white and blue pottery inspiration!   Jacquelynne went all out and provided you with multiple versions of her block too!

In order to enter a photo of your block for a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread, simply link up your photo right in the blog post, on Aurifil’s web site.  Good luck!

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Letting the Cat out of the Bag!

Yesterday, the QuiltCon 2017 course catalog was released! I already told you that I was going to be teaching there…so that isn’t the secret. But because the catalog is out, I get to spill the beans on some top secret sewing a little earlier than normal! I am working on a second book with Lucky Spool and will have the opportunity to teach from it for the first time at QuiltCon! We are working hard to get the book ready for Feb. 2017 because I wanted to teach this class at QuiltCon so desperately. It’s going to be so much fun!

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The book is called Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design.  I can’t fill you in on all the details right now but I can tell you that it is all about approaching your paper pieced block designs improvisationally.  You will design and sew your own block and work on a quilt layout based on one of the three approaches shared in my book.  I have used this design method for some of my favorite quilts in recent years and have refined it in this book and can’t wait to share. You should have a basic knowledge of paper piecing when you sign up for the class, an open mind, and it will be great!  It’s course 621 on Saturday from 9-5.

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I am also teaching two other classes, that I am equally excited about.

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One is course 620 Paper Pieced Block Design with EQ7.  I will guide you through the steps involved in drawing up this fun paintbrush block, exporting the image, coloring it, grouping the pattern pieces and printing them as a PDF.  You can use these skills when you get home to make your own designs.  For this course, you need to come with EQ7 installed on your laptop.

Crazy Eights by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

And finally, I’ll be teaching from my first book, Intentional Piecing, on Thursday.  It’s course 733 titled Fussy Cut Foundation Pieced Stripes with the Crazy Eights Quilt.  I think of this type of paper piecing as large scale paper piecing–piecing big sections with big pieces of fabric.  It’s often trickier than paper piecing with small pieces and I am going to share my tips and tricks and hopefully get you to fall in love with stripes, fussy cutting, and foundation piecing all at once.

The course catalog is available right here. MQG membership can register beginning June 25th and open membership opens July 1st. I hope I will see you there! Feel free to contact me with questions. Can’t wait to meet you!

May is for Makers-Week 4

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I can’t believe that we are already to Week 4 of May is for Makers!  May is for Makers is a campaign started by Lindsey Rhodes to bring awareness to the need to support indie designers. I have shared my three other purchases for the month in earlier posts.

Yesterday I purchased Sara Lawson’s new pattern, the Annex Double Zip Box Pouch. You can buy it here. I am looking forward to making it!

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May is for Makers-Week 3

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I can’t believe that we are already to Week 3 of May is for Makers!  May is for Makers is a campaign started by Lindsey Rhodes to bring awareness to the need to support indie designers. I have shared my two other purchases for the month in earlier posts.

Today I purchased the Drachenfels knitting pattern by Melanie Berg because I realized that Quilt Market is this week and I cannot stand to travel without a project.  My friend assures me that I can knit this shawl and that the color changes (which I haven’t done before) will not be a big deal.  Here goes nothing!  Now I just need to get the yarn before I leave.

Mayisformakers

Thank you to those who have reached out to me and let me know that they were supporting me this month as an indie designer with their purchase of a pattern or book. It truly wasn’t my goal when I decided to join in but I have appreciated each and every sale.

 

May Is For Makers Campaign

MayisformakersI am joining the May is for Makers campaign initiated by Lindsey from LR Stitched.  She is challenging us to buy one pattern each of the 5 weeks in May from indie pattern maker.  Why purchase a pattern from an indie pattern maker?  This is an issue near and dear to my heart as I work hard to build a career in design.  Designers pour so much of their creative energy and talent into their work, along with time spent designing, calculating yardage, testing patterns, photographing finished projects, writing, sharing, fronting the cost of printing the patterns on paper, etc. all in order to produce patterns that people love to sew.  While all that work makes us incredibly happy and fulfills a creative need, it is also work, and it should pay the bills.

Pattern sharing and photocopying is rampant and painful for designers.  Free patterns and tutorials have come to be expected yet take incredible amounts of time.  Every time you purchase a pattern from a designer, you are supporting them and their families.  You are thanking them for sharing their talents with you. You are providing them with an income so they can continue to create and produce great patterns.

I really feel like this is an important issue to highlight.  And I am happy to step up and join this campaign to show my support of 5 other designers.  I want to make sure no one thinks I am seeking pattern sales.  I am doing this to raise awareness and to show my support of fellow pattern designers.

So I pledge to purchase 5 patterns this month from indie pattern makers. I have started my search for patterns I might enjoy and look forward to sharing my purchases with you.  If you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!  What should I buy?

Who is in?  Join us!

 

Intentional Piecing Pre-Order

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I have been asked by a number of long time blog readers how they can order copies of my book directly from me and signed for them.  I just added a listing to my Etsy shop. The books will arrive in quantities large enough that I can ship within a few more weeks. If you would like your copy signed, please make sure you make note of that in the comments section! Thank you for your pre-orders. I appreciate them very much!

Pre-order here.

Facets Quilt

Facets by Amy Friend

I finished my Facets Quilt late last night and photographed it early this morning before the rain started.

This quilt design uses 9 over-sized paper pieced diamonds constructed from templates that I created.  I started this project in a less intentional way than usual.  I had mocked up a block on the computer and liked the idea of using half solids and half prints.  I wanted the printed halves to be very similar in color to the solid halves but to be a slightly lighter shade or include some white in order to hopefully create a little bit of dimension.  It was only after making a few of the darker diamons that I thought that I would like to create a “faded” or pastel version of the block. I ransacked my stash and came up with some prints and solids that worked quite well.  I used a combination of Kona and Art Gallery Pure Elements solids from my stash along with a few older prints, some newer Carolyn Friedlander prints and just introduced AGF collections (including Fleet and Flourish, Essentials II, and Paint and Chalk).

Facets by Amy Friend

The layout was decided upon after playing around with the blocks on my design wall.  I knew I wanted to leave vast areas of negative space but wasn’t sure what fabric color I wanted to use.  My palette was pretty usual to start with but I am continuing with my personal exploration to use a variety of colors in my backgrounds rather than the easy fallbacks of white and grey. I settled on this Zucchini Kona.

Facets by Amy Friend

My quilt is quilted with a 50 weight Aurifil thread that was a close match to the background.  I stitched in diagonal lines and then a crosshatch in the lower left corner.  This is similar to the quilting I did in my last quilt but I liked it so I did it again!

As I was quilting this, I couldn’t help but think that I could never pull off wearing this shade of green.  Isn’t it fun that we can quilt in any colors we like?  Who cares if it doesn’t suit our complexion or a particular wall color. It’s satisfying to create for sake of design.

Facets by Amy Friend

I used this great Cotton + Steel print for the backing. It is just a few shade deeper and coordinated perfectly.

The quilt finished at approximately 54″ x 62.

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Baker’s Dozen Quilt Pattern

Baker's Dozen by Amy Friend

I was fortunate to work with Moda to create this pattern using an upcoming collection by Sweetwater called Cookie Exchange.  I call this quilt Baker’s Dozen, playing off the Cookie Exchange theme of the fabric used and the fact that there are a baker’s dozen worth of Christmas trees playfully placed on the 60″ x 60″ lap top.  The quilt top is a fun sew for those who enjoy HST and QST units. I would think that it would be appropriate for a beginner to intermediate sewist.

Baker's Dozen by Amy Friend
While the pattern looks awfully cute made up in Cookie Exchange, it can also be made for any season by changing up the color scheme.  You could make a traditionally green forest on a sky blue background or have tons of fun with whimsical color choices.
Baker's Dozen by Amy Friend
Sweetwater’s Cookie Exchange is now available for preorder in several online shops, expected to ship at the end of May.

 

bakers dozen quilt pattern by Amy Friend

If you are interested in purchasing a pdf pattern for this quilt, you can do so in my pattern shop here on my website or through Etsy and Craftsy (links in sidebar).

Shop owners, my patterns are already available through Checker and United Notions. United Notions is also kitting this quilt for your convenience!

Thank you to Lissa Alexander for piecing this top and Maggi Honeyman for the pretty snowflake quilting.

Enjoy!

Possibilities

Fleet and Flourish Blog Hop

I’m so happy to be kicking off the Fleet and Flourish Blog Hop today to celebrate my friend Maureen’s new fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. I love all the fabrics in this collection but her Roadside Guides print really caught my eye and inspired this quilt design. My quilt is made entirely of Pure Element Solids and backed in the Roadside Guides print.  I’ve named this quilt Possibilities.

Possibilities by Amy Friend
When I first saw this print, I knew I wanted to fussy cut it. I decided to do that in two sizes and made two corresponding blocks. I isolated just one log cabin design from the fabric and framed it with a solid for some of the blocks, and used groups of four fussy cut log cabins for the larger log cabin blocks.

Possibilities Quilt Top Detail, by Amy Friend

Because I love the fabric print on point, I designed the quilt so that my blocks are on point.

One of my personal challenges is to try to really mix up the colors I use for my quilt background fabrics–getting away from the safe white and greys. So here I used Pure Elements Grapefruit. I incorporated narrow sashing between blocks and irregular borders and played with the negative space around the edges, clipping the corners of the rectangle with my block placement.

As it turns out, the perfect Aurifil thread match for Pure Elements Grapefruit is #2420 Fleshy Pink. I used a 40 weight thread and stitched in diagonal lines spaced 1/2″ apart. I then stitched on the diagonal as well in the triangle formed in the negative space on the bottom left.

Possibilities with backing by Amy Friend

I bound the quilt in the background solid to keep the eye focused on the design and not to frame it. My finished quilt measures 55″ x 65″.

I completely loved making this quilt! Thanks for visiting. If you want to follow along with the blog hop, check out the following blogs in upcoming days:

Feb 22nd ~ Amy Friend : During Quiet Time { Blog & Instagram }  (you are here)
Feb 23rd ~ Heidi Staples : Fabric Mutt { Blog & Instagram }
Feb 24th ~ Amy Smart : Diary of a Quilter { Blog & Instagram }
Feb 25th ~ Amanda Jean: Crazy Mom Quilts { Blog & Instagram }
Feb 26th ~ Brooke Sellmann : Silly Mama Quilts { Blog & Instagram } Visit Maureen Cracknell Handmade for a Fleet & Flourish GIVEAWAY with Lady Belle Fabrics!!

Feb 29th ~ Amber Carillo : One Shabby Chick { Instagram & Blog }
March 1st ~ Nicke Cutler : Kiss Kiss Quilt { Instagram & Blog }
March 2nd ~ Nicole Daksiewicz : Modern Handcraft { Instagram & Blog }
March 3rd ~ Christopher Thompson : the Tattooed Quilter { Instagram & Blog }
March 4th ~ Alexis Wright : My Sweet Sunshine { Blog & Instagram } Visit Maureen Cracknell Handmade for a Fleet & Flourish GIVEAWAY with Llama Fabrics!!

March 7th ~ Jessica Stewart : Izzy & Ivy Designs { Blog & Instagram }
March 8th ~ Stephanie Kendron : Modern Sewciety { Blog & Instagram }
March 9th ~ Heather Bostic : House of A La Mode // Citizens of Textile { Instagram }
March 10th ~ Ali Brorsen : Because of Brenna { Blog, Facebook, & Instagram }
March 11th ~ Melissa Kelley : Sew Shabby Quilting { Blog, Facebook, & Instagram } Visit Maureen Cracknell Handmade for a Fleet & Flourish GIVEAWAY with the Intrepid Thread!!

March 14th ~  Maureen Cracknell Handmade { Blog, Facebook, & Instagram }

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If you want to see the whole collection of Fleet and Flourish, you can find it here.

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Maker Quilt Complete

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton, Charise Randell

There is so much negativity surrounding the internet but so many positives too. Without the internet, I never would have known Melinda Newton and Charise Randell who made this quilt with me.  For that, I am so grateful!  I explained a lot about how this quilt came to be in this post so I will not repeat it today. But these ladies went above and beyond, making beautiful blocks for my quilt.

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton and Charise Randell

I just loved piecing together all the blocks of different sizes and having a little fun changing background fabrics here and there.

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton and Charise Randell

Melinda made such a massive needle block…I knew I wanted to highlight it. I quilted the rest of the quilt with 1/2″ diagonal lines but within that block, I quilted in a diagonal grid. I added that quilting element in two other small patches on the quilt too but they really show on the mustard solid.

My finished quilt measures 47″ x 56″.

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I am not always good about labeling my quilts but I am trying to improve in that department.  My backing fabric is a Hope Valley print from my stash, with a little scissor print inserted above the label for fun. The binding is a Carolyn Friedlander print of just the perfect color for this quilt!

Thanks again Charise and Melinda; this was such a great collaboration.

What to do with Vintage Quilt Tops: Suggestions from a Preservation Perspective

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother's house. Maker unknown.

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother’s house. Maker unknown.

Thanks for joining me these past couple of weeks for my quilt preservation series.  If you missed them, my earlier posts covered Quilt Storage and Quilt Display.  Today I would like to talk about vintage quilt tops…let me tell you why.  A few months ago, a neighbor approached me with a bag full of vintage quilt tops that were made by her grandmother.  She wanted to know if I had any suggestions as to how they should be finished.  I started mulling it over and had more questions than answers.

I started by thinking of finishing techniques–would it be best to hand tie, hand quilt, quilt on a domestic machine or a longarm.  Should the quilting pattern used be typical of the time period when the top was made?  How would the quilt be used and would it tolerate the handling, the stresses of quilting, etc.  Would it even be worth it in the long run to finish a top that might not stand up to the intended use?

These questions led to my discussion with Camille, the textile conservator referenced in my earlier posts, and we both had the same gut reaction. If these were our quilt tops, we wouldn’t want to finish them.  I think that reaction is unusual though and is the reaction of someone trained in preservation.  We feel like our role in preservation is to not make changes to the object that might be contrary to the maker’s intentions.

Hand tied vintage quilt. Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder, www.kidgiddy.blogspot.com

Hand tied vintage quilt. Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder, www.kidgiddy.blogspot.com

I told Camille that I knew there were people who would want to finish the vintage tops though and what might be the best way.  I was concerned that domestic machine quilting might cause too much stress on the quilt top. You know how the quilts tend to need to be pulled and pushed and otherwise wrangled while quilting?  She agreed that very often vintage tops can’t stand up to all that manipulation but beyond that, they simply can’t hold up to all the stitching and punctures caused by stitching.  I was missing that obvious point in my thought process. I thought that maybe the quilting would help secure piecing seams in top but Camille said that while stitching through vintage fabrics feels really great, it weakens them greatly.

So how can we finish a top then with the least damage possible?  Camille suggests finishing in a way that uses a minimum number of stitches.  Lengthen your stitch length and stitch along existing seam lines if you want to machine quilt.  Stitching along structural lines (seam lines) does not impose your design elements on the vintage quilt top.  Better yet, she suggests hand tying the quilt.  She asks that people “respect the original quilter’s vision” and recommends that you “think twice before you greatly alter their quilt top.”

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother's house. Maker unknown.

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother’s house. Maker unknown.

If a vintage top is finished, it needs to be treated as vintage. In other words, it cannot be used as a bed quilt without knowing that it will be ruined in short order. The fibers are simply not strong enough.  You might consider some of the display suggestions I made in my last article instead.  As Camille said, vintage quilts and quilt tops are one of a kind survivors.  If you choose to use the quilt, know you are using it up.

Please know that the views expressed in this post are mine, informed by my conversation with a textile conservator.  They are not intended to condemn others who make different choices but rather to express another point of view and share some recommendations made by someone with specialized training in the field.  I hope you find them helpful or at very least, food for thought!

 

Quilt Display: Tips from a Preservation Perspective

This is the second installment of my quilt preservation and care series. In my last article, I spoke about quilt storage. Today’s topic is quilt use/display.

Antique Star Quilt Photo courtesy of Amy Smart, http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/

Antique Star Quilt Photo courtesy of Amy Smart, http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/

Before continuing on, I want to make clear that I am speaking from a preservation perspective (right up there in the title!). I know that many people make their quilts to be used and loved. It’s wonderful to see handmade quilts wrapped around people and I have made countless quilts that are used just that way too. I simply want to address the fact that quilts are ephemeral. This means that they will not last forever. If you make a quilt to be used and loved, just go into it knowing that it will not last forever. From the second it starts to experience use, it begins to wear out.  If you have a quilt that you would like to see passed through your family as an heirloom, or a collection of vintage quilts, or a quilt that won a ribbon in a show that you want to keep because it represents a special achievement to you, you need to think like a conservator.

Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder, http://kidgiddy.blogspot.com/

Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder, http://kidgiddy.blogspot.com/

As I mentioned last week, I consulted with textile conservator Camille Breeze when preparing this article. She made the statement that “display is slow damage.” It’s very true. One of her top tips is to minimize the amount of time a single quilt is on display by changing them out often. Think of your quilts as seasonal. Allow them to spend part of each year in proper storage and then on display. Permanent display leads to irreversible damage.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio, http://thatsmyletter.blogspot.com/

Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio, http://thatsmyletter.blogspot.com/

Camille recommends “passive use” for quilts that you are attempting to preserve. You might display them at the bottom of a guest bed, in a room free of pets. If there is an area of damage on your vintage quilt, you could arrange it so the the damaged area is hidden within the folds.

Photo courtesy of Lee Heinrich, http://www.freshlypieced.com/

Photo courtesy of Lee Heinrich, http://www.freshlypieced.com/

Quilt racks or ladders are another option. However, wood can cause discoloration. One simple solution is to wrap the ladder or rack poles with a clear archival polyester (Melinex or equivalent). It is a thin, transparent polyester film that can be cut to size and wrapped around the poles and secured to itself with double sided tape. Melinex is inert and will not cause any damage to your quilt and will protect it from direct contact with the wood.

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Hanging quilts is another option. You can use a sleeve for hanging but Camille’s favorite hanging method involves Velcro. She has a pdf sheet describing the process of attaching the Velcro to your quilt here. Basically, you need to measure the width of your quilt and cut a piece of twill tape to length. Then machine sew the soft side of a long strip of Velcro on to the twill tape. Hand sew the twill tape to the true horizontal of the quilt (as you would a sleeve). Often times, unless a quilt is perfectly square, attaching a sleeve or Velcro in a straight line measured from the upper binding, will not result in a quilt that hangs flat. In order to get your quilt to hang flat, which will put less stress on the quilt, you need to find the true horizontal with a T square. The rough side of the Velcro is attached to the wall using a slat system described here. Due to the nature of Velcro, you can adjust your quilt a bit to make sure it is hanging well. Other hanging methods include magnetic slats so there are many options to explore.

Photo courtesy of Missie Carpenter, http://www.traditionalprimitives.com/

Photo courtesy of Missie Carpenter, http://www.traditionalprimitives.com/

In all cases, whether your quilt is displayed on the end of a bed, a rack or the wall, you should find a location where it will not be exposed to lots of light and therefore prone to fading. You also want a fairly stable atmosphere, as discussed in the storage article. Keep your quilts on interior walls, away from heating elements, and in the main living areas of your home (not the basement or attic).  Keep a careful eye out for pests like insects or rodents.

As you are rotating your quilts between storage and display, it’s a good idea to gently clean them.  A light vacuuming is the safest way to clean vintage quilts.  You can use a regular household vacuum with suction control.  Just adjust the suction to the lowest setting. When I worked in museums, it was recommended that we vacuum through a screen.  Updated conservation practices ask that you not use a screen because contact with the screen can cause damage to the textile.  Using a soft paint brush, brush the dust off the quilt toward the vacuum.  Museum Textile Services provides a free pdf describing textile vacuuming procedures.

I hope that these ideas will help you to make careful decisions about how you display your quilts to preserve them for future generations.  Next week, I will be back with some thoughts about vintage quilt tops.

Happy New Year

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I am posting a collage of a few of my favorite creations for this year. See that center image? So much of my work this year was for my book, Intentional Piecing. And that means that the best is yet to come! In 2016, I will be able to share images from the book that represent the bulk of my creative work for the year and I just can’t wait. I hope that you love the projects and are inspired to make some (or all!) of them. If you are so inclined, the book is available for preorder–link in sidebar.
Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and supports my work with your comments and “likes” in social media. Working from home can be isolating so all of that support means so much.
I wish everyone a happy and creative New Year!

PDF Pattern Sale–30% off!

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I don’t hold sales very often and this is my biggest one yet!  From 11/27-11/29 you will receive 30% off in my Etsy shop using the code “BLACKFRIDAY30.” There is no code needed for the same discount from my Pattern Shop here on my web site. Remember, if you live outside of the US, you will need to purchase your patterns from my Pattern Shop rather than Etsy due to the way I have things set up to monitor international sales for the VAT.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoys the holiday season ahead!  I am thankful for all of you…those who read my blog, who leave me comments, who click “like” on Facebook and IG, and who purchase my patterns.  Thank you!

Eiffel Tower Pillow with Small Wonders

Eiffel Tower Pillow

A couple of months ago, Mary Fons asked if I would like to work with her new collection, Small Wonders.  Of course, I said yes!  Mary has designed prints representing a number of countries: the Netherlands, South America, France, India, China, and the USA.   I received a stack of the “World Piece” France collection.  Mary’s goal was to create collections of small scale prints perfect for cutting into small pieces for patchwork.  You can read more about that here.

Eiffel Tower

The prints really are perfect for just that. I love the Eiffel Tower print the most so I decided to focus on it for the front of a pillow cover.  I thought I could paper piece an Eiffel Tower and fortunately, Sewhooked already had designed such a pattern which saved me some time!  You can buy the pattern here.  The two prints I used for the block were just perfect for paper piecing–not particularly directional and seam lines just blend away.

Eiffel Tower pillow back

I cut 2 1/2″ squares from the rest of the collection to make a patchwork pillow back.  As you can see, the print with a trio of crown, coat of arms and fleur de lis is the perfect 2 1/2″ square fussy cut.  The Eiffel Tower print could have been cut that way too but I didn’t have quite as much material to waste since I used it on the front as well.

I think you will find that Mary achieved her goal of making patchwork friendly small scale prints!  I look forward to seeing some of the other prints in the other groups in person.  I think a number of them will be great for paper pieced backgrounds–something I am always on the lookout for.  The red and white ditsy print above is one of those!

Thank you Mary for letting me play with this collection!

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Texting While Sewing 2 Winners!

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Penny from Sew Take a Hike had her work cut out for her judging this contest!  Penny narrowed down the top 10 entries to first, second and third place winners.  I am very thankful to her for all her careful consideration.

FIRST PLACE:

The talented first place winner is randomjeanius who made this gorgeous zebra bag.  Penny said, “The hidden zipper is ingenius and the zebra is beautifully pieced with the text fabric.  It’s stunning!

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The first place winner will receive all of the following:

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A $50 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song, a great shop for text fabrics and quirky Japanese prints.

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A $50 gift certificate to Zipit, that’s a whole lot of zippers!

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A $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop.

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A copy of Anna Graham’s new book, Handmade Style, offered by the author herself.

SECOND PLACE:

The second place winner is the creative saphre1964.  Penny writes, “Her use of text coming from the zipper mouth is creative and I love that she used such encouraging words for the text.”

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The second place winner will receive all of the following:

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A $35 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song

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A $35 gift certificate to Zipit.

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A QuiltyBox full of surprise quilting goodies.

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A Tulip Pin 6 Piece Gift Set from Massdrop.

THIRD PLACE:

The clever misterandmouse is our third place winner.  Penny says, “The pieced newspaper collage is visually appealing and whimsical. I adore this project!”

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The third place winner will receive all of the following:

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A $25 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song.

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A $25 gift certificate to Zipit.

HeatnBond-Giveaway

A prize pack including 1 pack of each: HeatnBond EZ Print in Lite, Feather Lite, StitchnSew Quilt Blocks, Pressing Paper, Liquid Fabric Fuse, HeatnBond Fusible Fleece and HeatnBond Lite from HeatnBond.

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A Creative Maker Supply Case Pattern donated by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness.

PARTICIPANT:

Our lucky, randomly drawn participant is heatherheidlage. Congratulations Heather!

Heather will receive:

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A $25 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song.

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A $15 gift certificate to Zipit.

Handturned Acrylic Seam Rippers

And one of my husband’s hand turned acrylic handled seam rippers.  The color will be a surprise.

A huge thank you to all the sponsors!
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Quilt Festival

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I’m so happy to have two of my favorite quilts hanging at the Quilt Festival in Houston as a part of the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase.

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Thank you to Paula Cheney for taking these pictures and sending them to me!  This is Puddling.

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And this is Pointed Statement.

I have seen pictures of the other quilts in the showcase and they are beautiful!  If you have a chance to visit the exhibit, please do!

 

Tim Holtz Projects for Market

Patchwork Bag by Amy Friend

I did not travel to Quilt Market this year but am enjoying seeing the pictures from home while celebrating a very important 10th birthday, among other things.  My friends at Tim Holtz asked me to make a couple of things for his booth.  The first was a modern, improv style log cabin tote with some matchstick quilting. I had to start with a fussy cut…and then add one more…I couldn’t help myself!

Bohemian Pillow by Amy Friend

They also asked for a pillow using my Bohemian Pillow pattern.  These are always fun to make!

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I like the way that black and beige geometric print works with the floral and text prints in the collection.  It adds a bit of a pop.

Be on the look out for this collection when it arrives in stores!

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