Monday, November 7, 2016

Maggie is All Danced Out and Heading Home

When Jacquelynne asked if I would be a sponsor for this BOM project, I answered that I'd be thrilled to send prizes (which I did, in month 3)


Remember that?

 but that I really wasn't sure I could commit to being an actual blogging sewer. She convinced me otherwise and I'm so glad she did. I work best on deadlines, and I love having a little project on the side that is just for fun. This filled both slots for me, and to top it off everyone who has been lucky enough to enter the morass of my quilt studio in the last few months has exclaimed over it on my design wall. Even my 13 year olds.That is saying something, people. So thank you, Jacquelynne, for this lovely experience!

And thank you, readers, for showing up to see how I'm going to scrap up the quilt every month. Those of you who know me know I love to get a little crazy with a border. Emphasis on "little;" I'm not saying I go all nutso and avant garde and asymmetrical and artsy, but I do go rogue and change them up most of the time, generally adding a little piecing to long plain borders. Is there anything wrong with long plain borders? No. So why do I do this? 1. My scrappy heart demands it. 2. My limited supply of yardage demands it. Being a scrappy designer means the most I ever buy of most fabrics, even if I really really love them, is a half yard. Long borders generally don't work with half yards.

Sure, I could go buy more fabric. But that would mean I had started these borders in time to do so. Deadlines. I love them, I work well with them, but I like to test my sanity.

So that's what I came up with for borders to round out my scrappy version of Maggie. Let's see how I changed it up a bit from the original version.


Darn but I do love a good recolorization. Look at how different they look! I do love how the red triangles in the original evoke for me a feeling of an old photo album, which goes along with the old fashioned feel of Jacquelynne's version. So cool.

For my version, I didn't change anything about the construction of the first two borders. All I did was  recolor them. Instead of doing all the corner HSTs in grey with red, I did one each of grey with each color in my scheme of green, yellow, blue, and purple. Then instead of the long white borders, I chose to add long colored borders, again in the same color scheme. Placing the HST and long borders of the same color together on one end at each corner kind of blends it all together and makes it look like a ribbon changing color as it goes around the blocks.

Or not. That's what I'm seeing, you may see just some colored lines. Quilting, man. It's all in the eye of the beholder. But that's what I did for the first border.

The second border, the thin grey border. I left the same. I tend to have a lot of grey in my stash, because I use it as backgrounds. So I had enough to work with for that border.

The third border demanded I either go to the fabric store, which as we covered earlier wasn't happening for lack of time, or come up with a pieced border that would look like it belonged. As I'm better at doing the latter than spending time and money at crunch time, I dove back into the scrap bins to find two fabrics each in....say it with me now....green, yellow, blue, and purple! I think I may have you trained.


Made 16 HSTs out of my scraps and background, and turned one set of each color (if you don't know by now the colors, there is no hope for you) into a flying goose 4 1/2" x 8 1/2".

At risk of boring you to tears with this same picture AGAIN, I'm throwing it here one last time so that you can follow along without having to scroll up to look. I'm thinking of you. Really I am.

Also props to my neighbors Julie and Scott for giving me carte blanche to use their fence as a backdrop for photos.
Then I cut eight strips of background fabric 4 1/2" x 14 1/2" and sewed one to either end of the flying goose units. I sewed an HST to either end of these borders - check out the top border with the purple flying goose. It has a blue HST on the left and a yellow HST on the right. Then I could just add two of these borders to the sides, and throw grey cornerstones on the remaining two borders and smack them right onto the top and bottom.

"Smack." It's a quilting term.

Now, remember my purple situation with one of my blocks? Yeah, I'm over it. Yes, I still know which one it is. But at first glance, I doubt you do. And if you do, don't tell me. Moral of story - anything can blend if you throw enough variety of fabrics at it to deflect the viewer's eye.

I really enjoyed this project and I actually plan to finish it! Really I do! I think it will be a great springtime quilt to hang in my front hall, where I tend to put my seasonal ones. That means I have about 4 months to finish it, and I think I can squeeze it in.

Our prize today is one that I LOVE. I mean, LOVE beyond all reason love and use always and think the inventor is brilliant LOVE. The Clearly Perfect Angles by New Leaf Stitches.

If you have never experienced the sheer ecstasy of the CPA (and I'm not talking about your accountant), you NEED TO. You just do. I have forever thought that the most primitive method we quilters are still using in our work is drawing the $^&*$# corner to corner lines on squares that we are going to make into HSTs or flying geese or whatever. I mean OMG. It's the 21st century. We can do better. And you know what - Kari Carr DID! She invented this gizmo; it adheres to your machine with all sorts of cool guidelines so that you can always have a perfect 1/4" seam, always know where to place your block for sewing corner to corner or 1/4" away from corner to corner, can make 45 degree angles for foundation piecing or geese effortlessly, can join binding strips without fear of wonk (another quilting term)....I mean the list is long, people. It's the best $11 you can spend. I love it so much I'm going to be demo-ing it when I head to Tannersville PA next weekend to be the speaker at "Quilters Day Out" sponsored by Mountain Laurel Quilters' Guild. And I don't just demo anything, you know. I have to love it so much that I gush my face off. It makes for much more entertaining demo.

To enter the CPA giveaway, please comment below answering the following questions:

1. Have you been plugging along on Maggie's First Dance, and if so, how far have you gotten?
2. Favorite book you read recently. I know this has nothing to do with Maggie, but I read audible books while I quilt and I desperately need some new ideas.

I've really enjoyed getting to know so many of you over the last six months. I'm definitely going to miss our little monthly Monday morning chats. If you will too, please consider following me on my Facebook page, on IG (@evapaigequilts), or signing up for my newsletter. Any one of these places is a great way to be among the first to see where I'm going to be live and gushing about my favorite products, or to find out about cool projects I'm doing, like the Jingle Jumble Mini Mystery I have going right now. We're on week 3 today, but you can hop in at any time through 11/28 - and it's a "Mini" mystery, so you'll more than likely catch up quickly!

Thanks for sharing this time with me! I've enjoyed it! Hope to see you again soon!












Monday, October 3, 2016

Maggie's Swinging into a Square Dance

Month Five! For real! Can you believe it? The BOM has just marched on this year and it feels like every few days that I'm getting a friendly reminder from Jacquelynne to kindly get off my butt (my words, not hers) and make my blocks and blog about how amazing I am (again, my words, not hers). So here we are, and here we go!


Ha! Remember my butterfly sitch last month? I just noticed the butterfly is on the logo up there. The whole thing. Jacquelynne really is so much better than I am in all ways.

So this month we make five blocks. ACK! FIVE! Does this mean in month six I'm making SIX, because if so I better start now. I saved it all til yesterday and while they weren't hard, between picking out all my scrappy fabrics and cutting and sewing all five it was one of those projects that "expanded to fill up the time allotted," ie took me all day. However, I love my blocks, so well worth it.

I decided to add a little more color and scrappiness to my blocks, so I chose to use five different fabrics in each of my four main colors (blue, purple, green, yellow) rather than just yellow. So that meant a dive into my scrap bins.

I know many scrappy quilt designers like to preach that you should cut and order your scraps into special sizes, like 5" squares and 2 1/2" strips. To this idea, I always say "What happens when you need a bigger piece of scrap, or feel like doing something more exciting than using a couple of different sizes?" To my knowledge, none of the famous designers who order their scraps has actually heard me ask them this nor have they felt the need to answer me personally, but whatever. To each their own. My bins are scraps from tiny to just under 1/4 yard and I like it that way.

Actual randomly sized scraps found in my purple bin.
 I found what I needed and cut them all into the size given. Because I am a quilter, I own tools to cut things, and that is what I do. Doesn't bother me at all that they weren't all precut to 2 1/2" strips. Because now I have more of most of them in bigger sizes and I STILL got to use them in this project. #winning

You can probably tell my greys were all different too. Because why not. My middle name is Random.

Cutting and sewing for an afternoon lead to five blocks, three illustrated here, along with the cautionary tale of "If you store your scraps in jumbled bins as I do, they tend to be wrinkly even after pressing." Bad news: I was too lazy to repress them before taking this photo. Good news: I can and will press them to death before I put the quilt together.
What you can't tell is that all these whites are different, even within blocks. This is a truly scrappy quilt.
Remember my issue with that one purple last month, and my musing that, should I decide to care, it might not really go with the rest of my purples? Well, I think making these blocks scrappy has sufficiently rendered the point moot. One of my constant quilting mottoes, along with "Perfection is Overrated," is "Whenever possible, Deflect." I think all this color does that well.

I'm already kind of excited about an idea I have to add a little more color to these alternate blocks. This of course assumes I will finish it. Because as you can see, I don't even have the whole thing together although I should, and you likely will never return to my blog to see if I do finish it because this month has proven I am slacking. Here's hoping we can all just picture it for now. I do promise to have it together AND WITH BORDERS next month! You heard it here first.

Someone who never slacks is this month's giveaway sponsor - Christa Watson of Christa Quilts. I've gotten to know her professionally over the last couple of years and she is a wonder. She designs fabulous modern patterns and wrote the best book on machine quilting I've ever come upon (no money was exchanged for me to say that) "The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting," which she penned along with Angela Walters. Angela covers the long arm parts, and Christa covers the domestic machine parts. As I am a domestic machine quilter, or of as I call it the "roll, stuff, swear, drink, repeat" variety, her tips on quilting designs and using your tiny machine for big quilting impact are amazing.

However, disclaimer. The book is amazing but that is not the prize this month. Never fear, though - Her patterns are just as fabulous! I mean look how cute!


In order to win the pattern pack, you must leave a comment for me telling me your favorite fall soup or stew. Recipe optional; you know we are all just going to look it up on Pinterest anyway if it sounds good. I considered asking you to tell me your brand of iron given my nasty wrinkled blocks, but that was just boring. And iron is only good to eat in cereal.

Thanks for stopping by!











Monday, September 19, 2016

Bloggers Quilt Festival - "Snack Bandito"



As always, the BQF has snuck up on me. And as always, I don't have any sort of fantastic amazing quilt that might be remotely in the running for a prize. But what I do have is a little project I designed for a shop in NE to use as their Row by Row row (there has to be a better way to say that), which I just love and hope you will as well!



Many times the Row by Row row (there it is again) is designed by a shop employee, or a designer who lives nearby the shop, or even a famous designer. I fall in none of those categories, having designed this row for The Quilt Basket in York NE - NE standing in this case for Nebraska, not New England, mind you. So imagine my surprise when they contacted me and asked if I'd be interested. Imagine further my concern about whether I could design something they could be proud to use as their Row by Row row (hereafter to be referred to as the Triple R) when their vision was to have "a vertical Triple R featuring a corn row with a raccoon sitting at the bottom chowing down on an ear of corn." That may not have been the exact wording, but it for sure was the gist. I do love me a challenge, though, so I was happy to give it a go.

Don't you love the first step of the design or quilting process, which is fabric shopping? I was told to go with fabrics that were batik-y and tone on tone-y (my terms, not theirs, but I knew what they meant) so that when they were kitting the design, they could find easy substitutions to what I was using out here in the eastern NE.
 Found the greens, greys, and the best corn fabric EVER IN THE HISTORY OF CORN FABRIC. This will be much more obvious in the next photo.

I love designing machine applique, but have to admit I am a weird form of designer who really can't draw very well. Often my shapes end up much more realistic in fabric than they do with just pen and paper. The corn I figured I could fake okay by looking at photos of corn, but the raccoon could be an issue. Thank God for coloring books! Thankfully I found a cartoony looking raccoon I was able to use as a model and made my own for this row. Using Mistyfuse as my fusible, I was able to cut out all the various racoon parts and fuse him all together first, just to make sure I had the right scale compared to my row and corn size. Isn't he pretty cute?
AND LOOK AT THAT CORN FABRIC! PERFECTION!

Super extreme closeup. Because why not.
 The corn was less fun to make, but only because corn doesn't really have much of a sparkling personality. But it had to be done. I used a random piece of background to play with the scale of the corn vs the racoon and see how many leaves, etc, I would need to fill the space.

  

Once I was happy with the scale and shapes, I fused the corn and raccoon to my Triple R background, and the fun began! A little zig zagging around the raccoon parts gave him a personality - and some blue eyes.


A little thread painting gave my corn a little silk. I was pretty proud of that part, even if it may not have been exactly how corn is found in nature. But hey, it's a quilt, right? Of a cartoony racoon eating corn. Perfectly realistic wouldn't have blended with my brand of imperfection.

A little zig zagging to smack him onto the background and we had the design.


The Quilt Basket really only wanted the row as a row, but I took it upon myself recently to go ahead and finish it off as a wall hanging. He seems like he's pretty happy about being a real quilt now, not just a Triple R.

I do love an unbalanced border for a little interest. If you imagine hard enough, those little yellow squares can turn into corn kernels, right? Or maybe that's really stretching it. Either way, I like it.

A few close ups:
As always, I'm not a fabulous machine quilter, but I am a very enthusiastic one.


Now and then, the perfect back appears.
We used the name "Home 'Sweet Corn' Home" for the Triple R, but I'm calling my version "Snack Bandito." Right now all of the Triple Rs are "in the vault," so to speak, and if you missed out on getting the directions from The Quilt Basket this summer, you are out of luck until November 1, when the shop is allowed to sell kits. I believe they plan to do so. I also may release a pattern including the borders and finishing options early next year, or may even add a little something or someone to make it a bigger quilt. Time will tell. For now, though, I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the background of designing this Triple R!

Thank you for stopping by! I'd love to know if you participated in Row by Row this year! And especially if not only you participated, but you actually collected this row. And oh my goodness, if you participated, collected, AND made the row?? The trifecta! Please if so share a photo with me at evapaigequilts@charter.net! I don't think I can ever be tired of seeing my designs made up in actual fabric by amazing quilter peeps!

Enjoy the BQF!






Monday, September 5, 2016

Block #4! Maggie's Dance Card is Getting Full!

Well, thank God for this sew along. Otherwise, I obviously would have no need to blog! Have I mentioned August is not my favorite month? And clearly I had nothing good to say. So let's hope September is better and this isn't the only time you'll be hearing from me!

One of the reasons I was only too happy to lend my blogging and sewing services to this sew along is that as a designer, I rarely have time to work with someone else's pattern. Between all the designs in my own head and trying to work on those, weed out those that don't work, get a few out into the world each year, and sharing them on the road with lectures and workshops, along with these other people living in my house and demanding attention, it's honestly a real treat to just follow someone else's lead for a bit, and of course to put my own little touch on it in the form of scrappiness!

The green/blue/purple/yellow theme continues with block #4!

And you know what else continues? My overarching lifetime theme of imperfectionism.

Nice job on that butterfly placement! Woo hoo!

You might wonder if I noticed the problem before I added the grey corner. You might not be at all surprised that yes, I did, but my next thought after an expletive was "What the heck ever." Sometimes butterflies fly just out of our sight. Let's pretend I wanted to get all philosophical with this block and the meaning of butterflies we just can't quite reach, rather than the true fact that I suck at applique placement.

In other imperfect news, I am still trying to decide if I should redo the purple in block #2 - top left in this photo.

True to my word at the beginning, I've kept it scrappy and used different greens, blues, purples, yellows, and even different greys and whites in each block. It's all being pulled from my scrap bins every month. My actual yardage stash is likely feeling very neglected. In any case, though, the purple in block #2 is a bit more on the maroon side than the rest of them. Can I live with it? I'm not, after all, one to stress over these things or be one with my seam ripper. I am, however, one to be obsessive about color sense, and I think I generally have a good one.This purple just might not work. But I'm willing to do some alternate blocks next month and see if I can settle it down a bit.

I'm sure you all have opinions. Feel free to share them. I may or may not take your advice or my own even, but it's always nice to have options and ideas.

This month's giveaway is sponsored by Deanne of Snuggles Quilts. Who doesn't love a snuggle?


Win three of her beautiful patterns just by entering! In the comments, to celebrate the end of my least favorite season and the beginning of my favorite, tell me what you are looking forward to most about this fall. If you hate fall, that's okay, but I hope you can find something to look forward to in the next few months or life will just be sad. Sad like half a butterfly. We don't want that.

Happy sewing! 



Monday, August 1, 2016

Maggie's First Dance BOM #3


We're back! And guess who is not only your blogger of the moment today, but also the prize sponsor this month? OMG......IT'S ME! And my Mod-ified Trees kit! 


 So crazy, right? And here you all thought I was just hanging out behind the scenes, putting together my blocks and blogging wittily about the process. But as with all of us, in reality I'm so much more. This post should prove that by the end!

Let's get started on Block #3!

As you can see, mine continues in that blue/yellow/purple/green scrappy theme, and this time adds a touch of whimsy in the form of "I threw this thing together the night before I left for 10 days in Vancouver and Alaska and I didn't even bother to trim it before snapping the photo." But you get the idea. It's (basically) done and awaits only some machine applique thread work and trimming.

I'm going to show you in a second how I went about using the Transdoodle by Mistyfuse with my applique pieces because it might just be my most favorite new notion, but first let's point one thing out....remember my fancy little tip last month about flipping your fabric over and using the "wrong" side if it is just a little "too"? Well, this month my grey fabric was just a little too dark and features that little trick..and if you compare the photo above of the pieced grey pieces with the photo below of the grey piece I used for applique, you can totally see it. It's like two fabrics in one! Who wouldn't love that?

But yeah, on to the Transdoodle! Mistyfuse Iris is one of my sponsors for my Teal Mini Swap (more below) and in addition to sponsoring a blog giveaway, she also was kind enough to throw a Transdoodle in for me because I said I was a little bit fascinated with the idea of it. And then I used it for this block and man, I'm even  more so! It's a packet of tracing papers of different colors and tones (dark to light) with a powdery substance (not anthrax) (I'm assuming) on one side which you use to trace your applique shapes onto your fabrics prepared with Mistyfuse. No more #2 pencils and parchment! 

So here's what you do. First, rough cut your applique pieces (NOT THE SHAPES!) and fit them together as best you can on a piece of Mistyfuse. I used one about 10" square(ish).

It works much better if you can place the Mistyfuse on parchment first, but it is hard to see the Mistyfuse in the photo when I did that. So here's what it really looks like. I promise the Mistyfuse is there.


Then you are going to want to put a second layer of parchment over the top of the whole thing and press well. The Mistyfuse just kind of melts right into the fabric.

You can either cut your pieces apart once they are all fused, or just leave them together. I opted to leave them together and just line up my shapes with the fabrics I was going to use for them, but either way will work. Do what works best for you.

 To transfer the markings, I layered the Transdoodle sheet (I'm using white here, since I started with the flower, which is a dark color) on top of the WRONG SIDE of the fabric (ie the Mistyfuse side)
 Then all you have to do is trace with some sort of sharpish/bluntish object that won't make a mark, like a hera tool, a dry ballpoint pen, or raid the "weird tools" slot of your notions box and grab the kabob stick you use for turning tubes. That's what I used.
 I of course forgot to take a photo of the flower, but here you can see how the leaf shape turned out when I used the Transdoodle. Pretty cool, huh? Then all you have to do is cut it out and place it!

 Thanks Jacquelynne for another lovely little flower block.

Along with Maggie's BOM, I'd like to take a moment to talk about my current project, one that Jacquelynne was kind enough to help me out with by being a blogger and giveaway spot herself last week - My annual Teal Mini Swap. It's a mini swap (natch) and fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and I'm running it for the fifth year to coincide with September being Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Each year, I've been blessed to have quilters come together from all over the USA to join me in this event. Participants pay $15 to register, $10 of which is donated to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. The rest goes to my expenses, which thanks to the USPS are not insubstantial. Why OCRF? Simply put, they are leading the way in both research and awareness for this deadly horrible disease, and have been doing so ever since my mom was first in treatment 16 years ago. Even 14 years after her death I still receive their newsletters and am amazed by the advances, most of which might have kept her alive long enough to meet her first grandchildren in 2002 had they been available then....but it's still never enough. I don't want more women to be affected. I don't want quilters to have this disease happen to them. I can't prevent it, but I can use my  internet presence to make a difference each year. To date, my fundraiser has raised over 7000 dollars (including this year's registrations so far) for OCRF. Sure, it's not millions. But it's a start.

This year's fabric sponsor (I'm big enough for a fabric sponsor, anyway! Woo Hoo!) is Moda, and swappers all receive a piece of this fabric, modeled by me, to be used in the mini they will make for their partner.

 Registration began last week, and will continue until August 29. We've already got participants from 44 states and I'd love to turn the whole map teal!

Here's a few of the cool minis swappers received last year. You can see even more by scrolling through our Teal Mini Swap Facebook group. The talent in this group amazes me more every year.




Jacquelynne was lovely to help me out with the kickoff, so please check out her blog too! She just might inspire you. And if you want to register to join the swap, I certainly won't stop you! Let's kick ovarian cancer to the curb and run it over with the car for good measure.

But now back to this month's BOM giveaway, my cute little Mod-ified Trees kit. This silly little pattern is way fun to whip together and takes just an afternoon - FOR REAL! It's almost as much fun to pick out the fabrics, so I love putting together the kits!


It's even a really great pattern when done in country colors, like one customer made!
To enter to win the kit, please leave me a comment telling me if you like the color teal, or if you think teal is the color of gangrene. Or both. I suppose they don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive options! If you don't like teal, do tell me a color or palette you prefer to use instead when you create. We all have our favorites!

Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to Block #4 with you!
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