Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hexi(e)s + Summer = Hexi(e) A La Mode

At long last, I can finally announce that this pattern, the one I started oh maybe eight months ago but it feels like seven years ago, the one I have gnashed teeth, spit nails, and generally banged my head against the wall over, the one nameless for so long I figured at one point I might as well name it FTLOG (For The Love of God) for all the pain and suffering it was causing me.....well, it's done. Cue the fanfare.

I know that description of the fun I had with it makes you want to run right over to Craftsy and purchase a download-it-before-you-can-get-it-in-print version, right? Before I lose you entirely, it's  important for you to know the sources of my frustrations, which were NOT the writing of my directions (so yay!) or the way it fit together (yay!) or the general ease of construction (triple yay!). Oh no. Those are really fine, and were tested by five fabulous women who confirmed it was a good pattern. The problems were all about the cover, and were enough to inspire a new song by Meaghan Trainor if she were a quilter (its all about that cover, 'bout the cover...... it's TROUBLE!). Let's break them down:

Problem 1: Mental block over the name

This was the biggest problem, so we'll list it first. Naming a quilt is hard. But if you've ever named a quilt PATTERN, you know that is a whole other beast with seven extra heads. You have to strike the right tone of generic (ie no mention of colors or specific fabric patterns because you risk swaying users to stick with only those colors or fabrics; no words that might limit the use of the pattern for only one segment of the population, etc.) while appealing to the entire feel of the design itself. Then if you are me, you have to Google the name to see if anyone else has called a quilt pattern something similar, because who needs to compete with Terry Atkinson or Mary Fons? Sometimes a name comes to you before you even start cutting your pieces. Sometimes it takes eight months. Unfortunately, this was one of those times.

It wasn't for lack of trying. I've shown this quilt at my own guild show and tell, at several lectures, and more than once on my EPQD facebook page, asking for name ideas. While I got some that came close, none were really grabbing me enough to make me stand up and yell "YES THAT IS THE NAME!" Which I actually do do most of the time, so excited am I to have a name for a pattern. It may be that this was not the first time I struggled, I won't lie.

So how was this problem solved? Last Friday I just said to heck with it. I went with the best name I had come up with and said some bad words. Done.

Problem 2: Photographic issues for cover quilt

I love including more than one size in my patterns, because with the going average price for a pattern at $10, I want you to get as much for your money as you can. If you only make the pattern once, that is awesome, but it won't be for my lack of trying to convince you that you need to make it in at least two sizes and for every member of your family plus the dog. This also means that I like to show two of the sizes included on the front and back covers, and normally I like to put the larger size on the front cover. It's just my thing. You probably don't care or notice the size on the cover, but now you will.

So I made a twin size version for the cover, all in lovely polka dotty black/white/teal/purple shades with some batiks thrown in, determined to throw it on the cover. Somehow over the years, I had forgotten that b/w prints are a beeyotch to photograph. And by beeyotch, I mean just kill me now.

Photo session #1 - My photo fixer is good, but she isn't a miracle worker on the same plane as God himself, and that's what this one would have taken.
Photo session #2 - While the feet lend to the caterpillar effect (a popular name theme suggestion) it's overall a sad display of photo fail.
Photo session #3 - Finally, an overcast day and a borrowed clothesline. Photo chick could have cropped out all the background, but she couldn't have fixed the main problem - the psychedelic polka dot horror.

Photo session #3A - Found a cool rock on my way home from the House of Borrowed Clothesline. Climbed up the rock (top of this quilt is about 12 feet off ground) while wearing my cute new shoes which while adorable are NOT cut out for rock climbing, then climbed all over my car and hung out the door frame while squishing myself in it to get the camera at the right height and angle. The things we go through for a decent photo, but still those dots are killing me.

Cute, yes, hiking/rock climbing worthy, no.
Finally, I gave up. This is the face of defeat and the smushed boobs of the desperate. (Note - "Boob Tube" was also suggested as a name more than once.)

Admitting that I was not ever going to get a photo that did this quilt justice and made for an attractive cover lead me to the next problem:

Problem #3: What DO I put on the cover?

Short of making another twin sized quilt or hiring someone to do it for me, I was not going to have two sizes. But what I did have were five testers, who had made me beautiful tops, one of which was chosen in a viewers choice contest to be on the back cover to illustrate the baby size.

Because I had the pink/green version at the top of this post in hand and quilted, and a photo of Laura Piland's (Her blog is here!) winning teal and brown version all quilted and ready to go, I put an end to the madness. I asked Laura if she minded being a cover girl instead of a back cover girl, to which she replied "excuse me while I go run around the house screaming." So I guess that was okay.

I'm coveting this barn wall or whatever it is, especially after this photo fun I've had.
The final cover is as pictured above, and the pink/green version is on the back cover. Directions still include twin size requirements and layout as well as the baby size, but my life is much happier now that I have decided it is just plain okay to not include a photo of that particular size. After all, most of my scrappy patterns actually have 3 or 4 size options, but I only show two on the covers. So how is this different? I have decided it is not. If you don't agree, I respect that. However this solution is working for me. And since NOTHING about this cover process was working for me for so long, I'm good with my solution.

If you are still here with me, I cannot thank you enough just for sticking around and reading of my plight. My final issue is one you can help me with, and I hope you will:

Please comment - is it Hexi or Hexie? Both are rejected by spell check, so we as quilters must decide. Before I send it to the printer I want to know if I am doing it the proper quilty way!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thread Tail Thread Tales

One of the reasons I love my EPQD facebook community oh so much is I never know what is going to come out of it when I post some random thing. Sometimes I get a few likes, sometimes I get a few comments, sometimes we have some laughs....whatever happens, it's all good.

But then there are the times I post something completely random out of no where on an otherwise boring day, and all of a sudden people I haven't heard from in months or years are weighing in with passion on the quilting topic du jour in a post seen by triple the number of people who normally see my stuff - at least if we believe the numbers according to FB. Yesterday, that topic was the tail end of spools. I know. Riveting stuff indeed!

It all started out innocently enough as I was moving my two new Aurifil collections from their boxes to my thread racks. There is nothing like a nice full thread rack, spools brilliantly gleaming with the hopes of all of the projects yet to be, am I right?

Quilter porn
In the process of sorting my quilting threads (shown above in all their sexy glory), I came upon several sad, deflated, less than studly spools, and was torn. Should I throw them away? Should I be the frugal quilter that I am for the most part and try to use them up? This seemed best dealt with by the crack quilting community of the EPQD page.

I do love me a good screenshot
Within minutes, impassioned responses from both parties, aka the "User Uppers" and the "Tossers," started pouring in. From those who claim to use "every last bit" to those who answered with nothing more than "TOSS!" screaming at me in all caps, it was a bit like a very civil Civil Thread Spool War. I was thoroughly entertained by how a silly photo of what might as well have been my garbage sparked such discussion.

My favorite responses:

From the do as I say not as I do department: "I would toss them as they are nearly empty however I have thread that is older than my 38 year old daughter."

From the I'm just a girl who can't say no (to your face) department: "I happened to be cleaning out and organizing my thread collection when my sister was visiting. She made me keep mine but.........then she went home Toss them! Life is too short and so are those threads!"

From the department of avoiding creating more problems: "Those are tossable. They'll only bounce around in the drawer and tangle."

There were also several ideas given for how to best use up the thread ends, ranging from prepping it for the birds to use as nests (an idea that became very popular with the entire group) to thread basting (yeah, no. 505 spray all the way), to fusing them all together and using them as thread art. My guess is the thread artist is way more creative than I could ever be.

But there were two responses that got me thinking, even as my hand holding the almost empty spools hovered dangerously close to the garbage can:

 "I use up those little odds and ends for piecing scrap quilts, where the color doesn't really show or matter. That's also how I reclaim bobbins that only have a little bit left on them. It makes for slower going, with frequent re-threading, but the frugal Yankee in me finds that to be an acceptable trade-off." 

"If you ever looked at the back of my tops you would know I use every bit. May use 5 or 6 colors to piece some tops."

Okay, I am both a scrap quilter and an open presser. These threads should both blend in no matter what fabric I'm using, and it won't remotely show on the back anyway. Therefore WHAT IS MY EXCUSE? I can use these things up. And so this morning, I did.

SSDD - Same spools different day
Yes, I had to rethread about a million times (or seven, if we are being specific), but it isn't like doing so added hours to my project. While I like piecing with grey or beige, it's okay to mix it up once in a while, and it made for prettier seams. At the end of the sewing session, I had added two sides to these blocks and used up all these spools AND cleared out plenty of room on the racks for the yummy new Aurifil. Win win WINE! - typo but I'm leaving it because come on. This is me. It fits far too well.

You can't tell, but there are about 30 blocks in this pile. So adding two sides to each means those thread ends added up to 60 or seams.
 However, all this gleeful using up of spools still didn't make me feel one bit guilty about tossing some of the really old stuff that probably belonged to my mother, and is older than me, and I'm older than the daughter mentioned above. Plus I got to actually post a photo of my garbage after all.

I think they will be happy there. It's kind of cozy and all.

 So in the end I ignored the sage advice of  my friend Michelle, who obviously was so hung up on this that she was thinking about it constantly and texted her thoughts to me personally, hopefully not while she was driving:

"Did you realize that 10 yards of that Aurifil thread we bought is less than 3 cents? Toss those little bits. Your time is worth much more than what it would take to do anything extra with them."

Maybe, but my 60 seams probably cost me even less than a penny. For a cheapo quilter, that's pure ecstasy.

 And where do all those empty spools end up? I'm amazed by how many extra yards of bindings I always manage to create, and believe it or not I actually do end up using a lot of these little pieces for mug rugs, pillows, edging a shrug my daughter made out of a long sleeve tee the other day, etc. 

So I wrap them up on the spools and imprison them in mason jars.

 So there you go. The great thread debate may rage on, but my solution worked for me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

100 Blocks Winners - In the Presence of Superstars

Thank you to everyone who stopped by during the blog hop! I seem to have asked a rather difficult question for the comment section (Who is your celebrity doppleganger?) as only about a third of you were able to come up with one, but what can you do? It's still always enjoyable to see so many new faces, famous-looking or not, on the blog tour! I did get lots of answers saying people looked like their moms or sisters, which is delightful and sweet and always made me smile and marvel at DNA, and a few stories of people who were apparently molded from one of heaven's most popular molds and are told they look like everyone under the sun were very cute.  I also thoroughly enjoyed a few dorky fangirl stories some of you shared about meeting a famous quilting personality. I'm right there with you and only hope Rob Appell doesn't still have nightmares about me attacking him in the aisle outside my booth or Bill Kerr doesn't lose sleep over me making him take a selfie with me because I have an uncle Bill Kerr and I thought it was funny. Thanks to all who played along!
He didn't call in the bodyguards, anyway.

 I had two prizes to give out and am all hopped up to announce my winners this morning. I'm doing it now, before the ridiculous heat of this May day melts my brain. I begin to regret naming my block "Sun Shower" as I could do with a little less sun beating down today as it is already close to 90 at 10 am. I'm much more excited about my winners than to be back in the season where I will complain that I am sizzling hot (like you didn't know it) all the time.

Winner of the 100 Blocks Volume 11 plus a $25 GC to Gotcha Covered Quilting - Paula Dalby! Paula was not only my winner drawn from the comments on the blog post, but she also shares something in common with me aside from quilting - tone deafness, as evidenced by her actual comment: "My husband thinks I look like Brenda Carlisle of The Go-Go's. I think he's crazy, but we both agree I can't sing, so that's something. :-)," and this lovely sentiment in item number six from this Mother's Day gift from my eight year old:

Note the font three times larger than the rest of the page. She loves me.
 It's like my minister always says - "If you can't sing, just sing louder." Enthusiasm will get you everywhere with me anyway! Congratulations, Paula!

 My second winner is Loriann Fish, who entered the extra giveaway by being a member of the EPQD facebook community and posting on that particular page in the entry post. She will receive a copy of the 100 Blocks issue as well plus a "Harlequin Shake" pattern and charm pack from me. Thank you, Loriann and everyone else, for allowing me to feel all special over there too!

I'm also excited that thanks in part I am sure to the love you were showing my runner I made with the Sun Shower block, QM will be including it in their next "Quilts from 100 Blocks" issue, which I believe is due out in December. Did you know that if YOU make a quilt, any quilt, from any block or set of blocks from ANY 100 Blocks issues and send QM a photo, your quilt very well might end up in one of these "Quilts from 100 Blocks" issues as well? THEY REALLY MIGHT! So if you DO make a quilt using any of the blocks, make sure you show Quiltmaker! They want to see them - and they just might want to share them with the world.

No one says they have to be complicated, either.
If you haven't found a copy yet of 100 Blocks Volume 11, you can grab one over on the Pattern Shop page of this blog. Be sure to check out both the Pattern Shop and the Kits and More pages, especially if your LQS doesn't carry my patterns yet. Someday I will succeed in world domination, but world domination takes time.

Have a wonderful sew-y week! I'm off to Cape Cod this evening to spend some time with a guild there, and then will head to spring quilt market in Minneapolis on Wednesday for just a couple of days. Maybe I'll have an embarrassing fangirl story or two for you next week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11 - "And More!" Take Three!

It's that time again - Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11 is out on newsstands (aside - do newsstands exist outside of Europe anymore?) and I'm honored to have a block in this issue. As I am wont to muse, I'm also thrilled to once again be sitting at the lunch table with the cool "And More!" club referenced on the cover. But wait.....OMG! This issue it looks like I almost made it past the final day of sorority rush to get a bid at Nu Omicron Gamma ("Name on Cover") because what's that I see? My BLOCK made the cover! Woo hoo! Beta Omicron Gamma sister-up ceremony commencing!

It's the little things. Literally. I apologize for how this photo is so small.

Yes, along with many blocks much more amazing than my own, Sun Shower #1006 is a cover girl. Or boy. You know, I never asked. Either way, made me happy!

Welcome to everyone stopping by: if you've been here before, you know I can be a little wacky, and if you are new, my opening paragraph wackadoo-ness is pretty much what you find around here. I love designing, sharing, opining, and being a part of the Quiltmaker community and I'd love to have you stop by now and then. Mostly I'm thrilled you are here right now so let's get on with block stats:

Name: Sun Shower
Number: 1006
Piecing Method: Machine Applique (don't panic! It's fun! It's easy!)
Star Sign: Scorpio
Likes: Polka dots, fancy decorative stitches, long walks on the beach
Hopes and dreams: To be a part of a quilt you create for someone you love, up to and including yourself.
Fabrics used: Art Gallery Fabrics Oval Elements and Chromatics (stick around here enough and you'll learn I'm a bit addicted to AGF.)

Here it is in all its glory right in the magazine. I'm pretty sure Quiltmaker must use a better camera than the one on my iphone; their photos always look so yum.

It's really a fun little block and a great intro to machine applique. The shapes are simple (and found on pattern sheet 1 of the issue), can be cut from scraps (yay! scraps are my other obsession), and have a cool little geometric look to them. The key to getting those corners right, as you will see in the issue, is cutting the background larger than 12.5" and then trimming down. It's really the only trick to the block, and I think we can all agree that that is hardly a tricky trick.

I'm hoping you also got to see the runner I created in the gallery on today's Quilty Pleasures post.
Look at the cuteness. You too can do this!

Perhaps you notice something is missing. Yes. I, creator of the block, screwed up and forgot the little edge pieces in the corners when I made the thing. We could call it Creative License, but let's be honest. The real term this time is Abject Airheadedness. So we all must pretend they are there.

In any case, I figured a runner using three blocks could be cute. So I pulled some fabrics...

Hmm. More AGFs. Shocking!

Sewed some strips together.......
And then marveled at how they were so blendy with my cutting mat. Show of hands - Who thinks I am WAY overdue for a new mat??? I'm almost horrified, but not really. Stick around and you'll also learn I'm a really cheap quilter.
 Photo from the design wall might show it better. As you can see, I cut the strips random widths before sewing them back together. Who needs accuracy when you can trim down?

No measurements, no problem.
Here we are in progress. This project is a great representation of what will come to be known by future generations as "EPQD's Year of Grey and Polka Dots." Future schoolchildren will write reports in art class about my obsession-bordering-on-fetish, I am sure.

Would it have been more fun with the corner pieces? Probably. But too late!
The runner is going to be given to a friend who celebrates a big birthday this summer, simply because she saw the fabric pull photo on my EPQD facebook page and fawned all over it. I need another runner like I need more thread scraps hanging off me 24/7, so I was happy to tell her it was hers when I got it back. Do I often give things away randomly over there? Well, to be honest, not usually that easily. But sometimes there are giveaways for sure. And also fun discussions. And also breaking news about projects. And also daily quilty snark. In short, it's a fun little community and I'd love to have you join us.

So time for the giveaways. That's right. GiveawayS! Woo hoo!

Giveaway #1 - Copy of the magazine from Quiltmaker and a $25 Gift Certificate from my lovely blog sponsor, Gotcha Covered Quilting. She's an online shop so you don't even have to get dressed to spend your winnings, and you'll definitely find something you love because she has the most fabulous taste in fabrics!

Giveaway #2 - Copy of the magazine from me, along with a Harlequin Shake pattern (because it's new and awesome) and a Kona solids charm pack to get you started on making the quilt.

Charm pack is solid brights in all shades of the rainbow

To enter the giveaway, tell me who your doppelganger is in the comment section. This was always a fun question for my guests when I did the Hottie Hotseat interviews, so why not. At any point in your life, who have you been told you look like? Everyone seems to have someone! If there is a funny story to share (Did you get a good table at a hot restaurant because the hostess thought you were Angelina Jolie? Did someone ask you for your autograph in an airport because they mistook you for Tula Pink?) then share it! Also acceptable are stories of you acting like a dork in front of a famous quilting personality, because those could be fun too. Such as the time I practically forced myself upon Rob Appell as he walked by my booth at market and attached a Quilting Hottie button to him. But that's just me. Either way, we'll have a lovely list of entertaining stories I am sure.

For a second chance at the giveaways, head on over to my EPQD facebook page and leave a comment in the pinned post at the top letting me know you are a member of my community there, whether you have been for a long time or just joined today.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Send in the Hedgehogs

Ah, April break. A week off of school clearly not planned by a quilt professional due to its proximity to Quilt Market, but whatever. This year I just gave up on trying to get the final design I wanted out to Checker before market done. And by done, I mean, get a frickin frackin decent photo for the cover because everything else is done and has been done for what seems like years but is really only months. It's been a pitifully comical horror show, really.

Even my magical photo woman was unable to make this work.

Thankful for the loan of a clothesline, but just no.

Yeah, no.

Not straight on enough, although I do like the rock itself.
 It's just been so much fun. It also does not help that my camera (nee iphone, upon which I have taken all of my previous cover shots for four years and they all look great) does not love polka dots as I do. Unfortunately this is not destined to be a great cover, but the quilt itself is quite pretty. It's a sad thing.

The trials and tribulations of a designer. So moving on....

Troop 11009 and their cool breast cancer recovery pillows.
Several weeks ago I volunteered to host a cadette Girl Scout troop in my sewing studio (basement) and auxiliary sewing studio (dining room table) so they could make some breast cancer recovery pillows for a local organization. They did a great job, and everyone wanted to come back and sew some more, specifically everyone wanted to make a hedgehog from the pattern featured on the polyfil bag. Those crafty polyfil marketers. But because I have not completely lost my mind, I allowed my daughters to each invite one of them to come hog it up during an otherwise cold and windy and icky April break day. I would have loved to have all of them as I enjoy each of these girls greatly, but I am not insane.

I wish I had gotten a photo of the whirlwind of fabric picking for their hogs; while I don't have the stash of some/most quilters, to a 12 year old girl I guess it's fairly impressive. At least a 12 year old girl or two who aren't my own. In any case, after much fabric auditioning, callbacks, rejection, and casting, the pieces were cut and we were ready to move to the auxiliary studio, all set up with my two sewing machines.

This was the moment I blew their minds. How, you ask? Well, clearly it wasn't my abilities to make sure a picture is hanging straight on the wall. No, the truth is I possess an incredible and amazing skill bordering on the "magical" (their word) I like to call "winding a bobbin." There was ooooo-ing and aaaaah-ing the likes of which I haven't heard since pretty much forever.

Look at the joy I created. I rock.

 For those of us who put pins in things (preferably not our children) on a regular basis, it may come as a bit shocking that the population at large, as represented by preteens, has no idea how to put them in. So that was another lesson. I was very impressed, though, that they totally understood why the pieces had to be sewn right sides together, and also why the hedgehog spikey thing had to be sewn inside the little pillow as part of the seam, probably more so than you do right now because it is very hard to describe what I mean.

The actual sewing portion of our day-o-hedgehog-fun vascillated between forgetting to put the presser foot down, sewing at the speed of light, screaming with joy and/or fear of the needle, and happily lots of working together and laughing at and with each other.

A rare moment of serious sewing. Paige actually looks like she knows what she is doing.
Anneliese's "OMG I might be going too fast but I don't really know OMG OMG OMG" face.

Eva practicing surgery through handsewing.

Julie attaching some ears, because a hedgehog who can't hear you is just sad.

Eva is all excited about eyes she glued on. Anneliese is all "Girl, look at the mess you made on the table."
 Eventually the hogs were done, so we took them outside for a photo session. Like you do.

How many hogs can you fit on a tire swing?

If nothing else, the dying tree in the yard makes for a great photo backdrop.

Joining the hog treefest.

They needed a snack, so we stuck them in the grass to let them dig for bugs.
So did I get much work done over break? Do I ever? But I got to sew with some cool chicks who might actually sew something on their own someday because they will think back on Hogfest and say to themselves "I want to be cool like Paige and Eva's mom" so it's all good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Win 100 Blocks Volume 11 Before You Can Buy It!

I've done it. Somehow, through no skill or action on my own part, I have received the honor of having my block on the cover of the upcoming issue of the 100 Blocks collections put out by Quiltmaker Magazine! As we say in New England, I'm wicked excited.

This is the third 100 Blocks collection I am lucky to be a part of, and I feel like getting a block on the cover deserves a special celebration. I mean really, they had so many gorgeous, fun, adorable, stunning, what-have-you blocks to choose from to stick on the cover, and I get to be one of them. That's pretty cool, I must say, even if I have no idea why. For all I know they chose out of a hat. But I'll take it!

The official on-sale date for this issue is May 5, but I just happen to have several copies so I figure it's a great time to do a giveaway, which is in process over on my EPQD facebook page. These 100 blocks issues are always so much fun to look at and so inspiring with all of their, well, ONE HUNDRED blocks and cool settings shown for some and galleries by testers, etc. If you haven't discovered them yet, I really think you need to enter this contest.

I have told only one person in the world which of these blocks is mine, and she is sworn to secrecy. I've narrowed down the cover to include my block, and all you have to do is guess which one it is. Guess as many different ones as you like, but each guess must be in a different comment so that I don't inadvertently miss it.
I'd claim any of them, but only one of these lovelies is mine.

I'll pick a winner from amongst those who have guessed correctly on Sunday, April 26. And I'm just saying, but NO ONE has guessed correctly yet, so your chances of winning are pretty good.

Feel free to comment here about anything under the sun, including how fun I am, and/or how much you want to win, or what you had for breakfast, but the only entries to the contest which will count are those on the FB page post. It's been pinned to the top for easy reference.

I know someone can get it. Hopefully more than just one, because you know how I love a good drawing. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let's do a little Scrap Slapping, Shall We?

I have a new favorite lecture, and its name is "Give it a Scrap Slap." Kudos to Kelli Fannin, who helped come up with the name; it's both edgy and fitting for what I would loosely describe as a rollicking romp through my scrap bins over a year. Read on for a tighter description of the fun!

I've been planning this lecture since the moment in December 2013 when I found out I was on the Quiltmaker magazine 2014 Scrap Squad. Scrap Squad, for those who aren't aware and have clearly not been reading this blog over the past year, is a group of Quiltmaker readers selected each year to scrap up one assigned project per QM issue, and the projects are then highlighted on the Quilty Pleasures blog. Since I am not a huge fan of "fabric line" quilts (again, hello to anyone who finds this news!) and when I see a magazine project I immediately think "How can I scrap this thing up?", it was really like Scrap Squad was created just for me and it would have been a crying shame had I not been chosen. Thankfully QM realized this, right?

I spent much of 2014 and early 2015 creating quilts to show off to the hoards and masses that I sincerely hoped would flock to this lecture. I started advertising it on this blog and in my newsletters last fall for bookings May 2015 and beyond. As April 1, my first practice lecture date, approached, I was in a total tizz of planning, excitement, and that fabulous mix of ego trip and self doubt known intimately by artsy people the world over. Could I pull this off? Was it going to be as amazing as it was in my head? Would the actual people in the audience enjoy the talk as much as my dining room chairs seemed to when I practiced? As seen in this photo, we can at least surmise they paid attention as the woman in read is staring transfixed straight ahead.

We can also surmise that my hands never stop moving. Ever.
 "Give it a Scrap Slap" is a delightful (if I do say) presentation of not only why I really love a quilt made from as many fabrics as possible, but how a quilt transforms from a pattern in a magazine to a masterpiece, or at least a quilt with some more vim, vigor, and velocity when a quilter takes the bones of the project, adds their scraps and flair, and runs with it. It also shows how each project inspired me to create other quilt projects or designs of my own, based on either the colors I had chosen for the scrap versions or some element of the design taking on a new life and begging to show off. Observe the premise of the lecture:

Start with this, "Pup Tents" by Janice Averill, one of our assigned projects.

Definitely my most challenging assignment. Find out why by seeing me in person!
 Scrap it up and do a little "block rotation and switcheroo-ing." It's a thing. Haven't you heard of it?

Eva does have a head. Really she does.
 Put the whole project away for months because you are so sick to death of flying geese you could swear them off for all time, but eventually become inspired by the basic idea of them, do a little more block rotation and switcheroo-ing (See, told you. A thing.) and voila! A new design entirely.
I call it Harlequin Shake. Again, welcome to the newbies who haven't seen it yet!

April 1 arrived, and with it my Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild meeting. This group of close to 150 members had graciously agreed to the first humans to hear my thoughts on how I had taken the assigned Scrap Squad projects up a notch. Even though I was brutally honest as I walked to the front of the room, warning them that I had "no idea what is about to happen, so brace yourselves," we could not have had a better time. They were so open and accepting not only of my often brazen disregard for proper staid and upright lecture conduct (actually, I'm kind of known for that disregard and it works, so consider yourselves warned) but they were also seriously fascinated by my thoughts on the whole process of being given a project and told to change it, and how I went about each project and made them my own. Not to brag, but what the heck I'm half way there already, members used words like "hilarious, down to earth, authentic and so creative" (actually one member used all of them, so there you go.), "very talented", and "super entertaining." I was blown away, considering I didn't even have to pay them to say these things.

What I was not expecting, but what I absolutely loved about this dry run and I hope it continues for other groups, was all the give and take from the audience. They were not afraid to ask questions along the way, offer what they might have done differently, or suggest names for some of the projects that are still nameless. In all honesty, if I had to describe them as an audience, I'd call them "delightfully rapt" and I hope all audiences will be so! I'll find out soon enough - this lecture is heading to a couple of local guilds in the next two months, as well as flinging itself off to Wisconsin Quilt Expo and Tucson Quilt Fiesta with me in tow over the next 10 months. I seriously cannot wait to start sharing it with audiences everywhere as one booking in, I can already declare this to be my favorite lecture and finest offering and I'm really proud of it. Can you tell?

So how to do you get me to come share the scrappy fun with your group? The best place to start is HERE, where you can read descriptions of all of my programs and workshops and see my current schedule. I'm hugely in favor of guild sharing, so if you have a guild or two in your area who might be interested in discounts or combining your meetings to host me, let's talk! I'll be the one using my hands while we do!

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