Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Just Pat and Me, Hanging out Talking Quilt Naming

Sure, I was all on edge, sure I'd answer a question or two a little differently, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with Pat Sloan on Creative Talk Network yesterday afternoon. I'd been asked to talk about creative quilt naming ideas and strategies, and thanks to my weird brain and a great network of like-minded creative naming helpers, I had a few stories.

Having never done a podcast before, (and let's be honest, I probably never will have the chance again  again) I had no idea how QUICK the whole thing would be. I knew I would have about 10 minutes with Pat, I knew the basic outline of what we would chat about, but I had no concept of how quickly it all goes, or that I'd be called literally 15 seconds before I went on the air. No time to get nervous, just "Hi Pat, thanks for having me" and GO! Thank God two of my children were out of the house and the other was locked in the closet doing her homework in another room or we might have been able to subject America to a look not only at my naming process, but also to an impromptu sister squabble in the background. Those are always fun.

Now live at Creative Talk Network
As it turns out, my clock management sucked at the end, but live means one has to say "Whatever, I suck at clock management" and know that the rest of it worked out as well as could be expected. I love that the names of our first quilts that my new BFF Pat and I shared were clearly interchangeable due to color scheme. I love that she seemed to get me and told me afterward that I cracked her up. One can hope that's a good thing.

I was honored not only to get to chat with Pat, but how I got to be on with Mary Abreu (costumer extraordinaire) and Kathy Brown (adorable wool pattern guru) is a mystery that I will just enjoy. It really is rare that I get to rub such elbows.

 For those who listen/listened, now you can picture them: Feelin' Hot Hot Pink, Goose Poop, and Rampant Viral Illness.

Feelin' Hot Hot Pink

Goose Poop

Rampant Viral Illness
Thanks for being along for this crazy ride!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Will You Join the January Jumpstart Scrappy Block Swap?

So.....what do all these lovely quilty-type specimens have in common, besides being some of my more popular pattern titles?

They all started life as a January scrappy group project, with me begging here there and everywhere for enough people to make a few blocks, test my directions, and allow me to use one of your blocks in my cover quilt. I'm thrilled that each year I get some repeat participants, and even more thrilled to add newbies to the fun each year. And every year I am able to put the blocks together into a stunning, vibrant, and way fun new design. I truly love them all like they are my babies. Sometimes more than my real babies, depending on teen angst level at the time.

Well, it's January. So here I am begging. This year's group project has been renamed the January Jumpstart by a clever follower and here's hoping your scrap bins overfloweth and you'll be jumping on the bandwagon.

The working name for this scrappy piece of fun is "Tiara," because it's a little crown-y and don't we all need a tiara now and then?

So here are the basic details:

Each participant will be given directions to make the block. They will make four blocks, one of which MUST be in the color palette I specify in the directions. All four blocks will be sent to me by January 27, the one fitting my color palette will be used in the group quilt I will put together as a cover quilt for a new pattern, the other three blocks will be swapped randomly among the participants and sent along with a copy of the new pattern, featuring participant blocks on the cover and participant names as testers within.

New this year is a secret facebook page for all participants; totally optional to join, but I thought I'd give it a go as it might come in handy for asking questions about fabric choices, unclear directions (as if), and showing off finished blocks.

All details and directions will be sent upon request. If you've got some time, you like making scrappy blocks, and you'd like to participate, all you must do is send me an email at evapaigequilts@charter.net and I'll get you started!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Five's the Limit, Hotties. Hold Me to it!

So now that the festivities are over, and in this house the festivities of Christmas and the new year also include three of five of our family birthdays within the last 9 days of December, and NO we were not smart for having twins on December 30 but we enjoyed the tax deduction immensely, it's time to refocus. Reset. Reprioritize. And apparently set aside a little time to ponder why one cannot reproritize since it appears not to be a word.

In a consortium of creative professionals I belong to (you didn't think all this awesomeness happened without being vetted and discussed sometimes, did you?), the idea of a focus word for 2016 has been bandied about with great passion over the last few weeks. I resisted for a while, because my modus operandi is generally to wake up and figure out what I feel like doing creativity wise on any given day, and who wants to be tied down to a word to make me focus amongst my fabric? But eventually I caved, and I think it will be good for me.
Because let's face it, the current modus may be freeing, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to let the creative side of my business get too out of hand. As much as I love that I work so far outside of my box that I can't see the box most of the time, will try anything once (and probably fall in love with it and do over and again), and my design wall has to be huge because it's a rare day when it sees only one project on it at a time, I must admit that this whole "Squirrel!" fabric play mentality has become at times rather detrimental, as this past year I was probably more creative than ever but suffered by far the most episodes of burnout when it came to pattern completion of my ten year career. So it's time to change a thing or two.

My word of the year is FIVE. As in "I will not allow myself to be actively working on more than five projects at one time." Should a new project come along that I simply must start, then by my own new rules I simply must set a current one aside, and by set aside I mean actively put it in the UFO pile, not just shove it off to a far corner of the design wall stacked up with pins, where I can still see it and can still tell myself it's a project I'm working on. If I truly believe a design has potential, I should finish it rather than UFO it. If I truly believe a new idea has potential, it should be able to wait til one of the other five potentials is out of the queue.

I'm also actively considering using the word queue in public this year because my Anglophile daughter will go nuts with joy. But back to five.

 As of today, these three projects are on my design wall. All of them I believe in and will be completing, she said with conviction:

#1 -  Remember that free block pattern I had for a limited time early last fall? It's almost a top and WILL be a real pattern, because I believe in this project and will complete it, hopefully during DAGMT this February.

Missed the free block? I'm sorry. It was a limited time  thank you to my facebook followers. It's one of those you snooze you lose situations, and therefore I am not even showing it in full here so that you don't have to be all upset that you missed it. I'm always looking out for you, you know. The pattern will be even more fun than the block alone, of course. And it will be done because it is my top #1.
#2 -  Then there is the annual January Jumpstart group project. More details will be announced this week, and my sample block is done. In the "two birds" category, I'm also going to be using this block for my guild's Feb BOM. But as yours come in, this project will be a huge priority for me. If you've taken part in my scrappy group projects in January before, you know they are usually pretty quick and fun and you get your block on a pattern cover just for testing for me. I'm so thankful you all work so cheap.

There will be a blog post, a newsletter, and a FB announcement to join this group project, test, and swap on January 6. I expect to fill all 40 slots quickly. If you are interested, make sure you read one or all of those sources on Wednesday and let me know ASAP if you are in.

 #3 - Blue Nickel Studios "Painted Trees" pattern won me over. It's rare these days that I work on someone else's pattern, but I think it's important to do it now and then. Following another designer's instructions is pretty enlightening, both about what I could do better and where I rock it big time, thankyouverymuch. I'm thoroughly enjoying this fun scrappy pattern, and the color scheme definitely was an influence on the January Jumpstart block. This one will likely end up in the UFO bin now and again if I have to make way for other projects, but I do hope it will be on the wall more than it is off. Plus in the discovering of it I got to know the designer, Scott Hansen, a little better and he is a riot. Branching out (ha ha, pun with the trees) is always awesome.

So that's three, and that covers my design wall. #4 - is a free block I am designing so I can take part in Block Stock, and #5 is by far the most craziest piece of insanity I've ever decided to take on, but I'll be attempting a Millefiori EPP project using "The New Hexagon - 52 Blocks to Paper Piece" by Katja Marek. I've joined a FB group dedicated to the project, bought the book, and the end product should look something like this one, except with my fabric choices.

By Katja Marek
Because I'm crazy.

I'm not going to kid myself, this one will end up in the UFO bin now and again too. But I'm choosing to give it a go this year and am giving it a slot in my top five right now because I think it's going to be a great lesson and good practice in tone, value, fabric choice, fussy cutting, patience, and seeing just how many tiny scraps of fabric Mr Quilting Hottie can handle on the floor of the living room at any given time. My over/under is about 13.

So FIVE. Cinco. Cinque. It's my word of the year, and by limiting myself I hope to smash my own creative boundaries.

I'm so poetic, right?

Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 - A Very Colorful Year

It's time once again for the yearly wrapup of my accomplishments. Note that I create these collages each year not to brag about how prolific I am, but to prove to myself that I actually got something done this year. I love my job, I love working both from home and on the road and doing something I love, but there are days and weeks where I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. These collages show me I did a little more than that, although let's be amused by how the wheel shape shows up prominently this year, as if begging to be spun.

So what do I have to show for myself? Thankfully a few things. Taking it in columns, here we go:

Column One:

Big Old Star. This was the quilt that I decided to pebble, all 80" square of it. Then I decided to never do that again. It's all described in painstaking and snarky detail HERE.

Give it a Scrap Slap Debut. My newest and perhaps best lecture yet. Who couldn't love a presentation including the word "Granimally." Shout out to all the 1970s kids and moms! I can't wait to give it again in a couple of days.

Santa's Hat Trick. What do you know? Hexies make pictures too! Love this cute pillow and runner pattern.

Hexcited. 2015 was the year I stepped out of the box (AGAIN!) and tried English paper piecing. I don't know why or what possessed me. However this mini is divine, I must say. 

Column Two:

A Mini Nervous Breakdown. My block for Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 12. Miniaturized and made nine times. Because what else did I have to do that week?

Finally Finished. Started in 1982, when I was 12, this project is finally finished. It was one of those UFOs I for some reason just couldn't bring myself to toss, and I'm glad I didn't.

Teal Mini Swap swap quilt. I loved this cute little project, which went to my partner in TX, but I much more loved joining together with 200 quilters to raise over $2000 for Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Please consider joining us in 2016!

Facebook Freebie. In my never ending marketing research of what works and what doesn't when it comes to generating interest in my little business, this block was given away on my FB page for a short time in late summer. You never know when I might do something like that on a whim. Sometimes I don't even know.

Column Three:

Crystallize. Against everything the purists like when it comes to a pattern cover photo, I took this photo of this pattern in the snow, hanging from a tree. In this little bit of market research, I've discovered some like it, some love it, some hate it. Kind of like Every. Other. Pattern. Out. There. will generate an opinion about the cover photo. So in the end, I like it, and I'm glad I did it.

A Snowball's Chance. The final "inspired by" pattern from my Scrap Squad year. You'd never know I don't love pink, either from this quilt or from my stash and scraps. I do love this design, though.

Column Four:

Random EPP thing. I needed a space filler in this collage. True story.

Quilts from 100 Blocks. I called the block "Sun Shower," Quiltmaker called this quilt made from it "Floral Lunch" or some such thing, either way my friend Jeanne called it a 50th bday gift after it was published.

Hexies a la Mode. This was the 2015 pattern that almost killed me. Every year has one. 

Harlequin Shake. Is it possible it's almost time for another January group quilt ? This one made me happy last year!

So as it turns out, 2015 was a good year. Five new published patterns, a new lecture, some UFOs that desperately needed to become FOs, and a new technique to be obsessed with for a bit. Thanks for sticking with me through it all, and I hope your 2015 collage is just as inspirational! If you make one (I did mine on picmonkey.com), I'd love to be tagged on FB (EvaPaige Quilt Designs) or IG (@evapaigequilts) to see yours!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Quilty Misnomers and Other Pet Peeve-y-ness

And right there with my title I am sure I annoyed half of you with my constant need to make up words. The red underline and I are very close indeed. Believe me, I know I can be just as annoying as everyone else. But talk about the ways I am obnoxious and wrong on your own blogs. Today I'm talking about general wrongness in the quilting world as I see it. Because no one ever accused me of keeping my opinions to myself.

Quilty Misnomer #1 - The Half Square Triangle 
Oh I know. If you follow my FB page, you know we had a lively discussion yesterday about this that may have turned into my most engaging post of the entire year. Skip to Quilty Misnomer #2 if you are over it already.

 "BIZARRE PET PEEVE OF THE DAY: The half square triangle, or as it is affectionately known, the HST, is a staple in quilt design. We could sing its versatile and creative praises all day long. But....here is the thing: I think it's misnamed. I think it should be called a "half triangle square," as in a square made up of two triangles rather than a triangle made up of two squares as the current name implies. It drives me a little bonkers that we call something that ends up a square a phrase that ends with the word triangle. It may be just semantics, but the logic of it has always failed me. Am I the only one who sees this or does anyone agree with me?"

Crystallize, my only RATS pattern.
And to think I wrote it out and figured everyone would just dismiss it as me being persnickety and maybe a little PMSy. As it turns out, there is much passion in the quilting world about the phrase "half square triangle" and the semantic viability thereof. Some of my favorite comments:

 "I remember when I first learned what a HST is, I was very perplexed...." - Catherine S.

"I have a book that takes the coward's way out and refers to them as "triangle squares"." - Barbara C.

 "The half-square triangle block is made up of 2 triangles, just like the quarter-square triangle block is made up of 4 triangles. On the other hand, learning what it is is sort a "secret handshake" for quilters everywhere, proving that we're "in the know."" - Amy L.

"I have always wondered about that! Who named it the HST anyway?" - Diann B.

"Right Angle Triangle Squares? RATS!" - Arlyn P.

I believe Arlyn is totally on to something and I may start calling them RATS.

For all the joy an HST can bring, as an instructor I have seen the confusion of the term firsthand for newer quilters numerous times, and I am just here to say I am with you, it makes no sense to me, and if you'd like to join Arlyn and me in the RATS Revolution, we are recruiting now.

Quilty Misnomer #2 "Fabric vs Material"
 With the success of my HST statement confirming I am not alone yesterday, this morning I posted simply ""Fabric" or "Material." Which is your go-to word?" on the page. Why? Because the word "material" used as a quilting term makes me want to scratch my eyes out, if you must know my true feelings, and I just wanted to make sure once again that I was not completely crazy. Again, to me this is about semantics. Material is simply that...something to create with. Fabric is THE material we use to create quilts. Can you imagine home builders heading to the materialyard? Or plumbers joining the Material Fitters Union? (side note: Yes, I know I think way too much about some of this crap.)

Always a fine Scrabble play, though.

So far not one person has said they prefer "material" as a quilting term. One did say she uses it for other sewing projects like garments. That's as close as we came to tragedy.

"Material is like fingernails on chalkboard." - Stacey D.

"Fabric. But my husband says cloth when he wants to bug me." - Angie C.

"Material is what my 9th grade home economics teacher called it." - Darlene B.

Now, if you prefer material to fabric, or would like to wax poetic about the origins of the HST, I totally invite you to do so in these discussions. I wouldn't ask your opinions if I didn't care or respect them. But yes, I do love knowing so many agree with me, I won't lie.

Quilty Wierdness #3. Ummmm......?
So by now we've all witnessed Pantone colors of the year. "Rose Quartz" and "Serenity," colors first made famous by Crockett and Tubbs in 1983.


My house was built in 1986. We bought it in 1998. One of the first things we did was paint the pink living room walls and start removing the blue carpet throughout. I don't miss any of it in the least. So, yeah.

If you have a quilty or other pet peeve you'd like to share, please do so. To be annoyed by silly things is human. To find those who may agree with you, divine.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks giveaway winners!

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed every comment during last week's blog hop. By asking you to use the word "mini" in a sentence, I got lots of responses about mini towns, lots of compliments on my mini quilt (I knew I could drag those out of you), and many residents of Mini-sota were all clever in their semantics. I also thoroughly loved that by asking you all to let me know where you were commenting from, I could watch the world wake up as comments literally rolled in by rolling from Europe to Australia throughout the day. So cool! My winners are Loris from CA and Danette from PA. Each will receive a copy of 100 Blocks, volume 12. Thank you all for playing!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More "And More" Fun with the QM 100 Blocks Mag!

I did it again...I sent Quiltmaker a block, somehow was accepted into the "And More!" fold, and then forgot entirely what the block looked like in the interim. I have three children. My brain is already compromised remembering their names. Don't ask me to remember names and details of EVERYTHING I create. Besides, just like someday my roommate in the nursing home will be my brand new friend every day, I get to have a nice surprise when I open my advance copy of the issue and see what exactly I made that was so cool. It's exciting stuff.

In this case, here's what I got to see.
Look at that!

Once I saw it, I did vaguely recall whipping it up one afternoon, enough so that I could with 95% surety claim to have made it.

I also was thrilled to see my block in a setting in the Block Tester Gallery, page 80. Megan Ferris decided to enlarge it and use it in the center of her sampler. Very cool!

I keep forgetting to thank her. If she's reading - Thanks, Megan!
 If you've followed me at all here, or on Facebook, or you know me in real life, you may say "Well, I like it (hopefully you like it, I'm just over here putting words in your mouth anyway so I might as well make them complimentary to me), but it doesn't really look like something YOU would design."

In answer to that, I maintain that it is boring to have just one style. I love trying new things, learning new techniques, and I step out of the box so often that the box is empty most of the time. But I will admit - this one has a lot of pieces for me. Sixty four pieces in the block. Definitely a new personal design record.

This has been the year of the mini for me. As I always like to show my block in a practical usage in these posts, I decided to shrink it down to 6" rather than 12" and make a mini quilt with nine blocks.

Are you starting to do the math? If so, you are way ahead of where I was, which was exactly in the middle of La La Land, certain this would be a project I would have finished by lunch time. Three hours in and I had maybe one little section done. However, once I start a project, I generally go all in, and this was no exception. So even though the first pieces of the block I made (the outside corners) were at 2 1/2" square dwarfed by my littlest scissors, I took deep breaths and soldiered on.

All was well (or as well as it gets around here when math is involved) until I got to the pointy sections. At that point (ha!) I just could not figure out how to cut the pieces properly as the templates as printed were the wrong size for my mini. Even with resizing it in EQ I still couldn't get my templates cut properly. (Disclaimer: this is clearly a PICNIC error - problem in chair, not in computer, or in this case pattern. With me it's always a PICNIC error and I've learned to deal with it.) So I decided to paper piece them. Paper piecing for me is generally a last resort, so you know I was starting to get shaky, but at this point I was what felt like millions of little pieces into this mini and I was not stopping now!

 Eventually, all 576 - five. hundred. seventy. six. Hold me - pieces were together, and in the words of Buddy the Elf: "I'm in love! I'm in love! I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

18" square of wow I can't believe I pulled it off.

As you may notice, I recolored the corners of the blocks which created a cool look to the whole thing. If I'd left them the same as the block is shown in the magazine, it would have looked like this:

Yes, it's just an EQ mock up. Did you REALLY think I'd make two of these?
 Check out some of the other ways you can make this block look just by recoloring. Honestly, sometimes I impress me because I really love these.
Recolor everything pointy and look at it sing!

I do love bringing a design out into the border.
On to the giveaways! By now you know the drill: I'm giving away a copy of the magazine, and so is Quiltmaker, enter to win below yada yada yada....BUT WAIT! There's More! "And more," if you will, to celebrate my "And More!" status once again. I'm also giving away a THIRD copy on my EvaPaige Quilt Designs facebook page. So how do you enter for all of this magazine-y fun?

To enter to win one of the copies of from either me or QM here at Quilting Hottie Haven, please leave me a comment telling me where you are from, and include the word "mini." This does not all have to be in one sentence, unless you live in a really teeny town, and then bully for you with your two birds. I know that is asking you to include two things, and possibly write more than one sentence, but I'm giving away two copies here on the blog. I know you can work with me! To make it easier, I'll put aside my grammar police hat for now, and any spelling or interpretation of "mini" will be acceptable.

To enter to win the copy from my Facebook page, head on over there and enter at the pinned post at the top. There I'll be asking you to tell me your favorite and least favorite holiday songs; my playlist for the studio this season will thank you. So check it out for some ideas of your own, too.

One final note: since submitting my block and paper work about a year ago, I have had a website change. The website listed in the magazine is incorrect, but please stop by my new, much improved, and way more user friendly site at www.evapaigequilts.com.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope to see you again!
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