Wednesday, March 18, 2015

That's My Jam

"Hey Mom, I think we're out of jam."

"Oh, don't worry, I'm doing five lectures over the next three weeks. I'm sure we'll be restocked soon."
 "Yes, I guess we will."

It's definitely crunch time around here as I'm getting prepped to do more lectures in a shorter amount of time than I ever thought possible (five in three weeks, nine in seven weeks, good Lord in heaven I am insane) and at the same time trying to finish several patterns I really had hoped to have done by now. And then Paige hits me with the news that we are about to run out of jam. How much more can a girl take?

In most households, this would mean a quick trip to the store. In ours, it just means waiting to see first if the guilds gift me with jam. Because for whatever reason, about 40% of the time, I'm given jam as a special thank you gift by either the entire guild or an appreciative member of the guild when I show up to do a lecture. Sound weird? Maybe. Sound awesome? Of course it does. Because who doesn't love homemade jam? I've been given blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, various medleys of all four and some with a splash of rhubarb thrown in. I made a particularly amazing appetizer with some hot pepper jelly I was given once, although the girls were less than impressed with that particular offering, but who asked them? Did they give the presentation and deserve the special parting gift? No. Did I want to share the appetizer anyway? Heck no.

Want some jam making tips? - visit Nana Clare's Kitchen blog
I love my job. I love that it comes with more benefits than I ever imagined, and some, like jam, that I never would have guessed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DAGMT 2015 wrap up and prize patrol

Did you DAGMT? If so, you know this was a year in which adding the facebook page element for sharing made the event cohesive and crazy and insanely productive and put the social in social media. I am just beside myself over how adding that element literally made it run itself, and in a year in which I wasn't sure which end was up, that was definitely a welcome surprise. It also allowed for more participants, since not every quilter has a blog. I love that several bloggers still used that format and I only wish February in New England had not been out to kill me and everyone else or I would have used it more myself.

What I'm most proud of for my own personal DAGMT experience is that despite 6 feet of snow falling in the first two weeks of February, my children having exactly 5.5 days of school from February 1 to February 23, and my new job as Chief Snow Removal Technician and Ice Dam Watchperson (Hours: round the clock. Salary: 0 dollars ever. Benefits: Joy of running a snowblower in driving snow.), I was still able to fulfill this portion of my pledge:

"I pledge to quilt for at least 90 minutes while the children are at school, and if they are home for vacation, snowday, or weekend because really, let's be honest, they are never in school, to quilt for 95 minutes just to prove I can."

And I did. So there, February. Suck it.

A selection of the projects I worked on, just because everyone loves a show off:

Zippy pouch from scraps on the floor. It was a whole blog post of its own.

Got these babies made up into "Harlequin Shake"

The project I started at age 12 got some new color

Kickin' Stash sample from a jelly roll for my "Give it a Scrap Slap" lecture. It may be no surprise I don't love this quilt, but that's the whole point of my lecture.

 And in my favorite finish of the month, which didn't actually happen until March 2 but I do not care, I pulled out this top, which had been languishing due to me not thinking it was all that great, and decided to finish it. To my surprise, I absolutely love it. Really, truly, and forever and ever love it. Enough to tromp through the snow to get this cool photo.

Snow only about 30" deep here. I only had to sink in up to my nether regions rather than to my neck. Yay February!
I know there is a huge debate/disparity/discontent/probably other words that start with d in the quilt world about photos like this being used as pattern cover shots. There are those who feel a flat photo is the only way to go, ever, as it is the only way to see the whole pattern and know exactly what you are getting into. I tend to agree with that. But there are also those who feel a photo like this, one showing the definite feel of the pattern in a more artsy form, draws the eye more when it is on the pattern wall at the quilt store, and calls "Look at me! Grab me! Check me out!" a little bit more. I tend to agree with that as well. I'm considering giving this photo a go as a pattern cover (after editing out some of the snow) because I really really love it. I really love the snow, the sky, and that tree.  I feel like the pattern is pretty obvious in this photo; it isn't a complex quilt, and what you see here is what you get, and it is draping in a way that shows the pattern, not hides it. 

But what do you think? I'd really love to know your overall opinion. 

Whatever is decided, a photo of the baby size, in flat form, will be on the back cover. 

Oh, and I'm calling the pattern "Crystallize," mainly because "Suck it, February" might be considered offensive or inflammatory if you aren't a New Englander this year.
So overall, did I accomplish everything I wanted to? No. Do I ever? No. So we sigh and move on. But I did get more done on some things than I expected to, AND I got my business taxes ready for the accountant, AND I did not sell the children, so overall it was a successful month.

On to everyone's favorite part of the DAGMT wrap up - the Prize Patrol!

Thank you again to all of my amazing sponsors. You've all made my life so happy with your prize donations and you are about to make our winners even more happy.

And my PR angel, who wins a table runner kit donated by Quiltmaker magazine: Marlene Collella!

Congratulations all!

It's in the bag for this year. May next year be even more exciting. You know it will be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trash to Treasure Zippy Pouch

It finally happened - this weekend, after an intense February that was determined to remove every last bit of my sanity, my children got sick of me. Saturday morning around 11 am they just looked at me and said with their eyes "we need to be apart from you today," and blessedly found ways to keep themselves amused practically until Monday morning.

It was blissful.

It was also necessary for me to whip up a birthday party gift for one of their friends, which we of course collectively remembered at 6pm on Saturday evening for a Sunday at noon party and after a glass of wine (for me, not all of us. Just to be clear). But one of the joys of living in a quilting home is the ability to shop in one's stash. So down to the studio I went. I may or may not have taken the wine.

I've taken to making little zippy pouches for the preteen set. They are cute, they are quick, and they are getting to the age where they might want to carry makeup and stuff in their backpacks. My dancer daughter Paige likes to fill hers with her hair pins and bun wraps, which let me assure you is MUCH more preferable to her former storage method which involved throwing the wraps (think mini hair net) all over the floor of any room of the house so that from not much of a distance they looked like a dead mouse sprawled on the carpet. Even she freaked when she came upon one once, but did that stop her? No. Not until she had a cute pouch.

Armed with the wine and my sense of color I chose some fabric combos. Decided on the blue. Not that it matttered, in the end. Read on.
I use this tutorial from noodlehead. I have no idea where she got that name for her blog, but I do know that the tutorial is awesome and I've never made one that wasn't cute. Observe.

From a leftover block I couldn't figure out what I had done to make it in the first place.

Look! I can make my photos look just like noodlehead's!

Mouse trap, or Paige's pouch? You decide. Also made from a leftover block.

Front of bag

Back of bag. I mean come on. Cuteness aplenty.
Knowing I could make a cool zippy before my glass was empty, I grabbed the two blue polka dot fabrics I'd selected along with the teal zipper and headed for the sewing machine. But suddenly I was struck immobile right in my tracks. WHAT was that thing lying on the floor over there? Some might think it was yet another of Paige's bun wraps. It was not. It was this amazing cool leftover strip pieced border segment, and I could almost hear it crying "Use me! Use me!" 

So I did. It even went better with the zipper, so I was sold.
The only thing I really do differently than noodlehead (at this point I am wishing I knew her name because I just feel weird referring to her as what seems at least a nicer word for pasta face, but still) is to quilt the fabric I'm using for the outside before I cut the pieces or start sewing. So first I whipped out the 505 and layered it with batting, then headed for my trusty rack of variegated threads to choose the best, most yummy one.
Options one and three are actually NOT the same. The one furthest to the right has green in it. The other has more purple. One must look very closely to see any difference at all, though. Obviously it was imperative that I have both in my collection.
I went with option one, aqua/teal/purple but sans green. I was afraid the green would scream "LOOK AT ME!" but like it mattered, because let's face it:

1. You can't even see the green in the photo.
2. This was for a 12 year old girl. Is she looking at the quilting thread? No.

Once the random garbage I found on the floor strip set I so carefully chose from my vast collection was quilted, I was beside myself with glee to find this cool blue and green floral for the lining.
Perfection is overrated, but sometimes it shows up anyway.
Then came the fun of putting it all together, which honestly isn't all that interesting or any different from how noodlehead does it, so you can just refer to her blog to figure it all out. Then if you have problems you can contact her, not me. See how I passed the buck right back to her there? But I promise you won't have problems. It really is the best tutorial ever.

I didn't take any photos of the process of sewing it together except this one, because it cracked me up how as I was turning it right side out it ended up looking like a mushroom wearing a shower cap for a minute there.
Or not. It might have been the wine.
A few finishing touches like some topstitching and a zipper tag and voila! Is it not the cutest? Even if you don't think so, humor me.
Only drawback was it didn't stand out against my cutting mat, but that's what black fabric is for.

So there you go. The next time your daughters remind you they need a birthday gift in the morning (the preteen social equivalent of "I forgot to tell you I need 3 dozen cupcakes tomorrow" delivered at 9pm), remember me and my trash to treasure zippy. Remember noodlehead. And for heaven's sake, remember the wine.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Drop and Give Me Twenty, 1980s Style

It's mid month, which means Drop and Give Me Twenty 2015 is halfway over already, and this is only my second blog update. We can all gnash our teeth and wring our hands and call me lazy, but besides my 2-3 hours of sewing every day, I've also kept from throwing my children in the snow and leaving them there during the umpteen snowdays, snow storms, nor'easters (for those of you not in a coastal New England state, that's Yankee for "redheaded stepchild of a blizzard" big ass storm) and blizzards (yes, plural) as well as cancellations of all sorts of activities brought on by said weather leaving me scrambling to make our lives work in a vaguely smooth manner.  But 2-3 hours a day DESPITE ALL OF THAT, people. Which just goes to show you, there are no challenges that cannot be overcome if one has hands, the will to live, and the ability to feel no guilt as one tells one's children they will be in the studio and not to come looking unless someone is actively losing a limb. In which case, also, just call me from the kitchen so you don't bleed all over my carpet.

Much of my sewing this month has been of the variety my friend Kelli refers to as "secret sewing," a moniker I have adopted as it fits perfectly. Two of the projects I can't show in their full unfurled delight as they are patterns in progress, but I am thrilled with the progress as both tops are done and the patterns themselves are cruising along.

Pattern one, no name finalized as most of my testers hated the one I picked. I'm trying not to be insulted.

Pattern two, to be called "Harlequin Shake"
It only just occurred to me upon posting those that I'm into the hexi shape as a block right now. Next thing you know I'll be EPPing.

Oh I know. That was hilarious.

I'm also thrilled to be included in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11, hitting shelves in May, and not only does this mean you'll get me in another blog tour singing the praises of being an "And More!" but it also means I get the opportunity to create a project out of my block and submit it for the gallery pages of the issue. So in more secret sewing, this week I made a really cute little project using my block and these super springy and cute fabrics.

As many of you may have heard, 2015 is The Year of the EPQD/Polka Dot Mash Up.
 What I love most about this secret project that you all can't even see, is that it already had an owner even at this "pile of fabric folded with great whimsy" stage. When I posted this photo on my FB page a friend of mine, who is celebrating a big birthday this summer, mentioned casually (eg hinted strongly that her birthday is to be celebrated worldwide) that this would make a great gift, and you know what? I'm at the point where I am drowning in quilts around here, quilts that I have made for reasons such as inclusion in the QM 100 Blocks gallery, that then don't really get used or fit in my lectures and they just end up languishing. I want them to have love, but I don't always know who would love them for me. This one, because Jeanne was bold enough to claim it right away, will have love. Granted she hasn't seen it yet and maybe she will hate it, but there is potential, and at least we know she likes the fabrics. She may even get to brag to anyone who will listen that it was pictured in a national magazine, but here's hoping that won't make her feel like it needs to be displayed in a glass case. Quilty things are made to be enjoyed. So I am thrilled to know this one will be. Sometimes it pays to just ask.

But all of this does not lead us to the 1980s portion of this post, with the possible exception of the tealish Oval Element fabric in that last photo that smacks of sunken living rooms circa 1985. So without further ado, anyone remember this gorgeous treasure I vowed to make more interesting as part of my DAGMT commitment?
No? I'd be hurt, but let's be honest. This is about the most forgettable item in the UFO bin of ANYONE who is participating, I am sure. I mean look at it. First of all, we have 1982's Pantone color of the year, Half Dead Seagull Blue, as the background. (Actually, I tried to find out what Pantone's color of the year actually WAS in 1982 so that they wouldn't sue me for defamation of character. You'd think there would be a chart somewhere on line. In any case, I'm sure it was something similar to this, but with a much catchier name.) Then we have ivory thread being used to candlewick the top. For those who do not have the honor of being a mother to an eight year old history prodogy, candlewicking is a fancy, 1980s name for French knots referring to the actual candlewicks colonial women used to use to make these types of projects.

A couple of important things to remember about this project:

 - Back in 1735, this might have been the height of fashion. That makes me sad.
 - Back in 1982, when I was 12 years old and sitting on my Ocean Blue comforter in my bedroom with Peony Pink carpet and Dove Grey accents, I spent actual time candlewicking this thing. That almost makes me sadder, and some of that sadness is directed at my own 12 year old girls who live in such a different world when it comes to leisure time than we did.
 - I've moved about eight times since then, and somehow never got rid of this thing. Nostalgia? Maybe. Horror over the geeky child I was? Oh, definitely. Thoughts that I would someday turn it into something? Of course.

So this was to be the year. And inspiration struck me last week, and just last night I was able to initiate Phase One of "Playing With Fire" as I am going to call this thing. Get it? Candle wicks.

So this pile of scraps, trimmings from the Harlequin Shake quilt I was putting together, inspired me to VFW myself some new made fabric.(Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I've made her into a verb. I'm sure she doesn't mind.) However I didn't want to sew them all together. That would take forever and I wanted them to look like the crazy mess my life is this month, rather than all neat and tidy.

How was I to do this? Enter Mistyfuse. Enter a bit of a fight between myself, the iron, and what my daughter called "spider web stuff"; the next step was to lay out a bunch of trimmings on a sheet of Mistyfuse, throw another layer of MF on top, and fuse it all together. Randomness was my goal for the look of this made fabric, and I think I accomplished it.

 Once the fabric was all fused together, it should be noted that due to the haphazard way I created it, it was pretty unstable. Yet I cut out a bunch of petal shapes from it anyway. There may have been some swearing, but I was determined. I knew this would be cool and I would make this work.

I started laying out the petals inside of the French knot petal shapes, and of course all of them were way too big so I had to trim down even further. But it was starting too look pretty cool, honestly. It reminds me a lot of that Pinterest project where you take all your broken crayons and stick them inside a cookie cutter and melt them all together in the oven and make really cool new crayons. You do this on Snowday #1. By Snowday #4 you don't care if the children are shaving crayon ends into their lunches.

Eventually all of the petals were filled and I was oh so impressed with myself. I mean, come on. How much more amazing is this now?

And I'm only getting started! Now I have visions of bobbin work, not that I've ever done it before, and some crystals and OMG I need to finish this post so I can get back at it.

1980s - OUT, something I can see finishing - Definitely IN! Yay DAGMT!

Monday, February 2, 2015

(sarcasm font) Yay! Another Snow Day! (/sarcasm font)

That sound you heard yesterday? The one that sounded like we were under seige by a ginormous swarm of grasshoppers a la Laura Ingalls on the prairie? No need to duck and cover; that was just all 100+ of my Drop and Give Me Twenty participants firing up their machines at the same time.

The facebook page was ablaze all day long. I just can't keep up and like and comment on every post or I would never get any of my own stuff done. I was inspired at day's end, though, to create a poll, and check out these results.
Are we awesome or what?

Granted, it was a Sunday. Most people likely didn't have to work and therefore could spend blissful hours becoming one with their machines. Now that it is Monday we enter the real test period. Here's hoping they don't fall off the wagon that quickly. Also this is a fairly small representation of the group, and it is possible all the "Did Not Sews" just didn't want to embarrass themselves. But I'm still blown away. For my part I promise not to do a poll every day, but I think it was important to get them all hopped up, and also to give me a little ego trip. I mean really. Why not.

I pledged 90 minutes a day, one because I really need at least that long to roll all over my to do list, and two because I love to make myself crazy. February may be the shortest month, but it's also consistently one of the months wherein my daughters are in school on average two and a half days a week. If we are lucky. The other such months would be November, January, and June. Do they ever go to school, one may ask? The answer is me lying in a fetal position on the kitchen floor.

AND YET sew I must. EPQD will not run itself whether I am overrun by short people or not. I'm neck deep in two very active patterns in production and another is nipping at my knees. My amazing design wall is on overtime and the new shelving I bought may have changed my life. Three weeks in, and it still looks neat, tidy, and if I do say, quite pretty. There's really something to the idea of getting your stash up out of bins and off the stupid floor.

In the "Keeping it Real" category, I didn't vacuum for you before taking this photo.
I'm so excited about both neck-deep projects right now. The group project I start each January and use to develop a new pattern is probably my most favorite I've ever done, and I really cannot wait to show it off. The layout is just my favorite thing ever and that is saying something, because the layout possibilities are practically endless. Every tester/participant who has sent blocks has made me drool with their gorgeousness. I believe there were 45 testers, so that's a whole lot of drool. I may need to mop the floor before resuming my fetal position later today, Snow Day #5 for those who are counting.

Aren't they cool? And oh so colorful! I'm just in love.
It's like a crayon box exploded on my design wall.
I asked testers to make me four blocks, at least one of which needed to be solids, as that is what I plan to use in the cover quilt. Most testers sent me four solid blocks, but a few went crazy and made me all tingly with the gorgeousness of these blocks on prints.

Nom nom
 The solids layout will be up on the design wall just as soon as I get this other project off of it, which is scheduled for as soon as this afternoon. I love this project almost as much; it's currently unnamed but I'm leaning toward Grandma Dot. It's kind of a funky take on a Grandma's Flower Garden designed for my new lecture, "Give it A Scrap Slap."

It combines several of my favorite things - a block with a little personality, putting batiks with cottons in order to blow. the. minds. of the purists, and teal and purple. Obviously fabric choices will vary with the pattern user, but I'm loving my own version thus far.
This reminds me I need to find more of that background fabric, if only to hoard it forever.
My 90 minutes for today won't sew themselves, so I must get to it. I hope you'll all join me in your studios as soon as you are done reading this!

Friday, January 16, 2015

My own DAGMT commitment statement and what's up around here

By now you probably have heard - Drop and Give Me Twenty 2015 is well into the commitment and planning stages for over 50 participants already! With two weeks to go until February, when all of the official fun starts, I'm very proud of us. If you haven't heard about it, and would like to know more, pop on over to the official page here and also check out the new for this year Facebook page, where we will be sharing our photos of finishes and progress all month long! Also, if you have a blog and want to grab the button up there at the top of this post, I would so love it. Let me know you did so, too - there's a special prize drawing for PR Angels.

As for me, if I ask you do make an official commitment statement, I feel like I have to do the same. So here is mine:

"I, ( Beth Helfter, creative disaster and easily distracted quilter) am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's fourth annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for (at least 90 minutes while the children are at school, and if they are home for vacation, snowday, or weekend because really, let's be honest, they are never in school, to quilt for 95 minutes just to prove I can) every day of the month of February, 2015. In doing so I hope to (complete 3 current UFOs, start two new projects, and turn the candlewicking project I made at age 11 into a pillow 34 years later) and I think Beth Helfter is brilliant for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join."

Your own pledge can mirror this one, especially that last part - or if you want to go the extra mile and call me a Goddess of Creativity, I'm good with that too -  or you can make up your own entirely. Post it in a comment here, on the FB page, or on your own blog and you are ready to go!

In other news January is always a fun month for me as I leave the holidays behind and run myself slam into the wall that is the Annual Group Project, getting DAGMT up and running, and considering my overflowing bin of business receipts and getting my books together for the tax guy. This year I decided to add a test of a new pattern in there as well. Clearly I was not wearing a helmet when I threw myself at the wall.

I love this new pattern, the cover quilt for which I am currently working on myself, but I want one of my tester quilts, which are in the baby size, to be on the back cover. However, how can I choose - they are all so lovely! Plus in all honesty, my taste isn't always the same as the rest of my audience, so I need to see what you all love. Now through Sunday, January 18, please vote for your favorite (A, B, C, D, or E in order shown) on my EPQD facebook page. The post with the photos of the quilts is pinned to the top of the page for easy location. I am nothing if not trying to make this user friendly for you! The winner and the names of all the creators will be announced Sunday evening, and the winner will receive $50 toward the quilting and will have their quilt on the back cover of the pattern with full credit as the maker. Thanks to all who have voted so far.

In other random news, because what would a blog post by me be without some really random news:

  • Picked up this free crib off the side of the street one day last spring. Husband immediately had heart attack. But my purpose was not to expand our family because FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND RIGHT we are JUST FINE with the three, but I wanted to use it as a quilt display rack. Finally yesterday I gave up on the idea of hanging it on the wall, which had slowed me down for six months, and I think it looks adorable just as is. 
    Hey look! I made a baby size sample too! And also I have to remove those Shrek-ear-like things from the top of the rack.
  • My final Scrap Squad project is blogged and in the queue for next week, which will be my final appearance on Quilty Pleasures. I'm a little sad about that, because it's been a really fun year, but if I'm being totally honest, I'm ready to have that time back to pursue my own designs full time. It was a great diversion in a year where I was feeling a little burned out in the design ideas department, and has renewed me and my creativity, and for that I am immensely thankful!
    That's all I can show for now, but I love love love this quilt.
  • I've been working on a swap with several other ladies this past year, and needed to find some "large bright florals" for one of them in my stash this week. Granted, I don't buy a lot of yardage, and my scrap bins are by color, not style, so I didn't look in them, but THIS is all I could find and they aren't even bright.
    And yes, that is an open rotary cutter. No judgements, please, unless you want to mock my fabric with me.
     All of them squarely in the "old lady wallpaper" style and not one of them something I would use in a quilt in 2015. That top one there was even part of a kit I offered for my Confetti Toss pattern several years (but hardly several DECADES) ago. I guess it is just amazing to me how quickly styles change, which is another reason among many that the whole "modern" label annoys me. But that is an tangent for another day. So I headed to the store and fixed that problem.

    My world is right again.
      So that's what's up around here this week. Hope you'll join us for DAGMT 2015 and have a great weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Symphony of Solids group project 2015 - It's Go Time!

Syncopated Ribbons, group project 2010
I'm finally back and sort of normal after almost three weeks in Europe, visiting the husband and enjoying a big old family trip wherein each of my three daughters declared they will be living in Europe as adults. Clearly they have not heard about the VAT mess. Clearly I have to complain louder at home.
Update, though. I was able to keep my Craftsy store open by blocking all non-US currency at the PayPal level. I'm hoping to be able to narrow it down to just the 28 EU nations, but that is not as easy to do as it sounds, and currently our laundry piles are still threatening to eat us alive. Hopefully by mid next week I'll have been able to spend the reported 5 hours or so on the phone with Pay Pal that it takes to get this straightened out, and I will certainly keep you updated. Not that I want to block anyone, and I certainly hope no one takes this action I've been forced to take personally. Well, with the exception of the VATMESS organizers. They can feel free to feel my wrath all day long.

So Bonne Annee, Happy New Year, and Prospero Ano everyone! It's 2015, it's January, and that means a little snow, a little cold, and the opportunity to have a little frolic in your fabric to help me out with another group project.
Happy Jacks version 1, group project 2014
Happy Jacks version 2
 I'm so excited!

Each January, I like to ask the quilty world at large to join in and help me out with a new design by making some blocks for me using my directions, which are new and untested. Quilters are asked to create a certain number of blocks (this year, 4) in a certain color scheme or fabric style (this year, solids for one block, whatever you want for the other three), and let me know if the directions make sense. Then the blocks are mailed to me by a certain date (this year, mailing cutoff is 1/27/15) and I take one from everyone (this year, I'll be taking the solid block everyone makes) and create a group quilt that will be on the cover of a new pattern. The rest of the blocks are shuffled around, using a "throw them all up in the air and see where they land" method or similar, and each participant will receive three blocks back to use to start their own quilt, make a small project, or throw in their UFO bin to use later in life or to have their kids sell at a yard sale when they die. It's all up to the individual. 

I gave a lecture recently to Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild in Wellsboro PA where I talked about my group quilts, and I just love the member who raised her hand to comment at the end "This is so great! I'd love to make a group quilt, but I don't see how I could get people to give me blocks. I mean, you are YOU so you can just ask people to make stuff for you and they will, but I'm just little old me. But do people really do this just for fun and to help out? Do you give them anything in return?" (sic - I'm not sure of her exact words as I typically do not bug myself with a secret recording device during lectures, but obviously she loved it all and implied that I was famous which I basked in the glow of for days and this is the gist of it, so hopefully she won't sue me for slander.)

Kickin' Stash, group project 2012 and my bestseller of all time
I answered that I always am shocked and humbled by the willingness of quilters to help me out for fun, but also that I do always give all participants a shiny fresh copy of the new pattern at first printing, complete with their name listed as a tester, and that along with the block swapping fun that seems to do it. I love that quilting is such a social hobby and people enjoy a quick project and a swap enough to help me out!

I'm very proud to say that the patterns in my repertoire that have started as group quilts are consistently best sellers, and I couldn't do it without such amazing help! So I hope you'll consider joining the fun this year.

To review, key points about this year's project:

  • Four blocks to make. Unfinished size is 7 1/2".
  • One block MUST be solids and will be kept by me
  • Three blocks can be whatever you want and will be swapped
  • Each block takes about 15 minutes to make
  • Deadline for mailing blocks is 1/27/15
  • Participants can expect a pattern and swap blocks by the first week of March
Oh, you want to see a picture of the block I'm asking you to make? That might be nice of me.

OMG. There are points. Stop the presses
 This is a little different for me. There are points. I'm asking for solids, which is way modernesque of me, the girl who rolls her eyes at "modern" as a thing rather than what is available in the stores now. It may or may not be a block that appeals to most. But I cannot stress to you enough how much I am in love with the layout I have created for these blocks, and I cannot wait to sew it together!

So I hope you'll join me. To get started, all you have to do is send me an email to evapaigequilts@ and I'll send you the info and instructions and you will be on your way to a special place in my heart I reserve for my group quilt makers! I really could not do this without you!
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