Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Vinnie Loves Maude Quiltalong INTRO - Time to Open a Tinder Account for These Crazy Kids!

What do you do with a great pattern with lots of piecing, tons of options, and cool extras that wouldn't fit in the pattern? Start a quiltalong! In five sessions, we'll go from a pile of scraps, or yardage pulled from your stash, or the fodder from your latest trip to the quilt shop all the way to a finished quilt, with tips, tricks, size and design options, color theories, and yes, plenty of butt kicking to keep you going along the way.

Vinnie Loves Maude is one of my favorite patterns I've designed. When I first designed it, I had in mind a very modern looking quilt - imagine my surprise when the pieces of the cover quilt all came together with a bit of a "vintage" vibe. Cue the chickens and feed sacks!

Vinnie Loves Maude. Sometimes Tinder works out.

This block is so versatile, it can be made in different sizes, and a different color scheme can give it a whole different look. Different settings and sizes for the finished product make this a pattern you might just use more than once! Until you dig into the pattern, you just won't know what it is capable of! And that's where the quiltalong comes in - to fill in all sorts of extras that just won't fit into an 8 page booklet pattern.

Those of you who know me in any capacity (online through this blog or my EPQD FB page, you've heard a lecture or taken a workshop with me, you've tested for me, or you know me in person - and aren't you the luckiest of all?) know that I can chat. I can expound. I can actually teach stuff. But I can't do all that in a pattern and still have it be something I can print for less than a bazillion dollars a printing. So I've decided to take Vinnie Loves Maude, one of my newest (as of this second, which is midnight May 18, 2016) patterns, and turn it into a quiltalong and something of an online workshop.

Questions? Here are the answers:

How Much Does this Cost?: Yes, let's get that one out of the way immediately. The only cost to you for this quiltalong is a copy of the pattern. Buy the pattern on my website or Craftsy, or please ask for it at your local quilt shop, where I also encourage you to go to buy some fun fabrics to include! The actual delight of taking a virtual class with me is completely free, and the best money you will spend all year!

Where and when can I find all the tutorials? See the "Vinnie Loves Maude Quiltalong" page up there on the main bar of this blog? Hit that and it leads you to the main page, which will include the following schedule and links to each tutorial as they become available.


May 18 - Intro and Official Launch - You're here!
May 31 - Fabric Selection
June 14 - Cutting
June 28 - Piecing Blocks
July 12 - Spacers and Borders
July 26 - Quilting and Finishing

Bonus table runner - it's not even in the pattern, but it will be discussed in the QAL
What Can I Expect to Learn? Vinnie Loves Maude was my group quilt project for 2016, which means that the blocks were tested and swapped and the pattern written based on input from 45 people. As you can imagine, 45 quilters participating means 569 things coming up I never thought of. This quiltalong will address many of the items brought up, such as fabric selection for different looks to this quilt, cutting techniques to get the most out of your scraps, yardage, and focus fabrics, dealing with some of the smaller pieces without stress, fabric placement within blocks and efficient piecing of blocks, optional layouts or projects, and even quilting ideas. No "Quilt as Desired" for you! Also, you'll get butt kicking. A project with so many blocks can be daunting. I'll keep you on track and finishing blocks as fast as you are willing to stay with me. Sometimes just knowing someone is out there wanting to help you finish will do it for you. Let me be that person; let's face it, it makes me feel powerful. All will be presented in a lively manner as you've come to expect on my blog, and with any luck will be just like you are taking a class from me, but on your own time. It's like my very own online course.

What If I Don't Start On Time? On time? What is this odd concept of which you speak? While I'm known for being early to stuff in my real life, when it comes to quilt timing, I'm always late to the party or falling behind. The schedule above is when the tutorials will be released (all in 2016 dates, BTW, for those of you arriving here from the future), but starting and finishing "on time" is really just all relative. Yes, part of my plan is to do some virtual butt kicking so that you really CAN finish this quilt in five sessions. But I'm also not planning to travel around to your places of residence and do any ACTUAL butt kicking. You've found this QAL, so why not start now, finish when you can? The tutorials will be here forever and ever amen.

Do I HAVE to Buy the Pattern? While I will have no way of knowing if you do for real or not, I guarantee you that without it, you will be making things needlessly difficult for yourself. I will not be giving measurements or amounts in the tutorials for any aspect of this quilt because they are already in the pattern; the tutorials will enhance and expound upon the information in the pattern, and it will be referred to frequently as well as being the best source of information between tutorials. And the diagrams I slaved over are to die for, if I do say. I mean, we are talking frame-worthy. For those alone you'll want it.
Plus they are really cute.

Sticking with the QAL will allow you to finish this lovely quilt along with others doing the same. Wouldn't you rather have the fun and learning of working on this quilt with all the info at your fingertips rather than spending hours upon hours trying to figure out how I created this pattern, how big the pieces are, how many to cut, etc just from photos? As the designer, I already spent hours upon hours and weeks upon weeks figuring out all the details (as well as editing, testing, and writing it all) FOR you. Please respect the work designers put into patterns and use them rather than try to recreate them. We love doing it for you and appreciate your support!

Where Can I Share Photos? Am I Allowed to Blog About This? 

Share away! I've started the IG hashtag #vinnielovesmaudeqal, and share any time on your own FB pages or any other social media you like. All I ask is that you use the name of the pattern and/or my company name (EvaPaige Quilt Designs) in the posts. If you have a blog and want to write about your fun with this QAL, go right ahead! There's even a blog button (top right column of this blog) you can grab and post on your own blog. Link it to http://evapaigequiltdesigns.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html and everyone will be sent right to the main page to join in.

Also I have started a FB group, and if you care to join and share your photos, chat with others doing it, or get notifications from me about tutorials going up, etc, please join us!

Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm. It's going to be fun, so come on along! If you need the pattern, once again it's on my website, on Craftsy, or maybe even at your LQS. Pick it up today and be ready to go May 31 with the first tutorial - all about fabric selection and cool looks for your future quilt!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And More! Take Four....Hey, This Time I Can Make a Rhyme!

I may be an "And More...." again, but it's always fun to be included in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks no matter what. Let's be honest....most designers are suckers for seeing their name in print, and I'm no exception, so I'll happily take it.

There it is again!
What's become even more exciting for me with these issues is that I never seem to recall what I submitted, so when I receive the notice that my block was accepted, I get to wait with bated breath to see exactly what utter creative brilliance I sent for consideration. Between being the BOM Maven for my guild for the past two years and submitting these now and then, and having brain mush syndrome from having way too much going on in my world at any given time, it's easy to forget. Thankfully, as well as seeing my name in print, I also am a sucker for a surprise, so this way I get both every six months or so. I do love me some good multi-tasking.

Now, let's admit. When you first saw this block, you did one or more of these things:

1. Said "Huh."
2. Were freaked out that there were purple eyeballs looking at you.
3. Questioned Quiltmaker's screening processes.
4. Wondered when I had entered my Aztec phase.

Having only a vague recollection of creating this block, but knowing I own a quilt top where these scraps came from so I can believe it, I did all four, so don't feel badly if you did as well. Especially if you didn't have the proof in your home that I could have created it.

Here's your proof - the Carpenter's Star I made a million years ago with Debby Maddy's (Calico Carriage) awesome pattern, and while I love it, I still haven't gotten around to quilting it.
 So, aside from the pretty scraps, why exactly should you make this block? Well, I put this one in the category of what let's call "Boring-ish Blocks with Possible Potential." In fact, when I got to playing with it in EQ, I came up with this, and I just plain love it. Doesn't it really scream "Indian Corn!!!!" now? With four exclamation points, even?
Looks like I have a new project.

If I'm not your first stop, you know the drill....two issues to give away to winners, all you have to do is leave me a comment telling me how many projects you have going currently. An estimate is fine, because let's face it, we all have too many and I'm not about to spend time coming to your house to actually count, because my current 9 projects will not allow me the time.

All entrants will not only be entered to win one of the issues, but also, because I really appreciate you even coming to see this blog with such a strange block entry, as a thank you, every commenter will receive a coupon code to my web store -use it or don't, it's really just a thank you because I appreciate you being here, and it's also a way for you to double check that you are NOT a no reply blogger. MAKE SURE I have a way to e-contact you, and if you don't receive an email from me (evapaigequilts@charter.net) with your coupon code within 18 hours of your posting (I do sleep, and time zones funkify my work hours compared to your posting hours sometimes) you might want to double check your no-reply status. Because no-reply means you can't win not only my issue giveaways, but anyone else's either! Who needs that? 

Thanks for stopping by! Good luck!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Maggie's First Dance BOM - Will You Be Dancing?

Welcome all BOMers who figured they'd better check me out as a sponsor! I hope to do this lovely program justice and am also hoping to keep up with you all. So far so good, but then again I did get a head start. Which of course I waited until yesterday to make. But you know, good intentions.

So by way of introduction for those who don't know me, a few stats about me you might or might not find important:

  • Years as a quilter: 21
  • Age: Older than 21
  • Design Style: Scrappy and imperfect
  • Biggest pile in my stash: Teal
  • Almost non-existent pile in my stash: Red
  • How my children described me when I asked them what was interesting about me: "Loud," "Creepy," and "You talk too much."
  • What I'll be doing as soon as I finish this post: Researching boarding schools
  • Three random truths: I still have a baby tooth, I'm allergic to coffee, and I've traveled to all 48 contiguous states. (And I'll check off Alaska this summer!)  
If you just happened upon here and didn't know, Jacquelynne Steve's newest BOM (FREE BOM, by the way!) starts in June! It's called Maggie's First Dance and I keep thinking "I really must ask Jacquelynne who Maggie is..." but of course I think of this at really bizarro times, like when I am driving or in the shower. At some point we will get to the bottom of that mystery.

Maggie's First Dance BOM by Jacquelynne Steves
For now, head on over to her sight and check out all the details and why not sign up? Just go here:  http://jacquelynnesteves.com/maggies-first-dance-block-of-the-month/ and enter the deets. It's free, did I mention? It's a nice size wallhanging or lap quilt, so not an overwhelming undertaking even for newbies, and it's just six months long, so definitely doable! My first block is even already done, though you'll have to wait to see how it came out!

I haven't traditionally been big into stars in my design life, but lately I'm kind of digging them. I even used them in Scintillating Stars, my 46th (!) pattern that came out last month.

I'm excited about the stars in Maggie too, because they all look a bit different in each block. I do love a pattern that switches up every block just a little...keeps things fresh for me!

To celebrate the start of the BOM, Jacquelynne is doing a giveaway, too! As a blog sponsor I've offered up several of my Mod-ified Trees kits, which she'll be offering up at another time, but right now you can enter to win two of her own patterns, Merry Go Round and Amelia!
To enter, leave a comment telling me about the best place you ever vacationed or traveled to, because now that I'm so close to my bucket list of hitting all 50 states I'm going to need some new ideas.

I also invite you to follow me on Facebook and/or IG (@evapaigequilts), where throughout the BOM you'll get all sorts of first looks at my blocks as each new one is revealed!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Quilt Designer Who Needs a Personal Assistant

In the ten years (!) I've been a creative industry micro business owner, I've learned a lot of life lessons. Some days are so busy I can't believe it's already three o'clock and my children are reinvading the house, some days I am so slow I wonder if I'll be in business the next week. Some days I am full of brilliant ideas and can't sew fast enough, some days the thought of the sewing machine is just too much for me. Some days I'm starved for human interaction and some days I get too much of it - ie, my husband decides to work from home as well and has all sorts of brilliant ideas of his own that I must react to immediately.

Then there are days like yesterday, where I look at the day and think "Hope I get to sit down once or twice aside from when I'm driving!" Days the real winner is Exxon Mobil. But they are also the days that I know I'm moving forward in this business, because I have places to go and people to see. Days I just wish one of those people was a personal assistant. Maybe someday, in an alternate universe where I'm not too cheap to hire one.

So come along with me on what may not be a totally typical day in my EPQD life, but one that was crazy enough to make me think it might make an enjoyable blog post. Or at least be one to which I can refer anyone who ever asks "What exactly DO you DO all day?" or "Why don't you volunteer more at school?"

8:45 am - After throwing my youngest out of the house getting Greta on the bus, it's a short walk home to make a cup of tea for the road and get all the envelopes to the PO so I can finally ship my Vinnie Loves Maude tester/swappers their hard copy patterns and swap blocks. After all, I am Head of the Shipping Department among other things.

 9:00am - Arrive at the Pepperell Post Office. Isn't it all cute gleaming in the sun's rays? Don't you want to scream that after 5 months without winter it arrived on Monday April 4 with 6 inches of snow? I know I do. Normally there would be flowers. This photo is all snow. The cold wasn't the only thing that was bitter, I'll tell you.

So into the post office I go, with my big old shopping bag of 38 envelopes, all of which need tracking because apparently that's just what the PO does now. I let the two people who obviously just have quick things to do in line behind me cut me, and then once I hit the window I marvel at how the woman working there a) Doesn't look like she wants to murder me for not calling ahead and warning of my bazillion packages and b) Can multitask helping the sad people behind me in line find what they need all while she enters zip codes on my packages with reckless abandon. When I mention how impressed I am she looks me straight in the eye and deadpans, "It's my two X chromosomes." Dying. Especially amusing as we were the only two women in the PO at the time.

Nothing like the smell of fresh rack cards.

I apologize profusely to everyone behind me in line several times in the 15 minutes it takes to get me dealt with at the PO and promise to bring cookies next time. Everyone is very lovely and tells me it was no big deal. Small town living, man.

9:40 - Head to Ayer, a town about 8 miles south of me, to pick up 1000 new rack cards from a printer I was trying out. I must say I love this one, and they did an amazing job. The box, though, was rather heavy and I should have parked closer. Got my workout in! But don't they look great?

 11:15 - Arrive at MQX set up in Manchester NH. Yes, that's right, hotties - it's not even noon and EPQD has already hit two towns in MA and has crossed state lines to NH. Never mind that I can see NH from my house. It still counts. Manchester is easily 40 miles north of Ayer; I was definitely hearing the oil companies rubbing their hands together and shouting "Cha-Ching!" And I was only getting started in my day.

Dropped off two quilts for display and a bunch of patterns for sale to my friend Terri of Purple Moose Designs, who has a booth (#177) this week at the show. While we were standing there talking about all of our new adventures, I suddenly noticed that she had recently had a new sample of my Garden's Gate pattern made and it was staring me right in the face. Isn't it awesome with a GREY BACKGROUND? I think so.

While I'm there I drop off a stack of rack cards on the pickup table. Score one for the EPQD marketing department.

1:00 - Back to Pepperell after stopping at Panera for a well deserved takeout sandwich. If you have not tried the Roasted turkey BLT with Avocado on an Asiago bagel, you have not lived. I may have made it up or maybe others have requested it as well. It doesn't matter. They will make it for you and you must ask them to do so. You'll thank me.

 1:30 - Check email, send two contracts, pay an invoice, send an invoice....you know, all the stuff that's boring but still has to be done. Because among other things I get to be my own secretary.

I'm not the lightest traveler ever.
Put on my travel department uniform and pack car for trunk show lecture in Saugus later. I'd normally wait on that, but the afternoon was waning, and I knew what was ahead. It seemed best to just get it done.

BOMs, ready to go.
2:15 - It was my own guild's meeting night last night, and as we established in my last blog post, I'm the BOM Mistress. As I wasn't going to be there, it was necessary to head over to the Pepperell VFW and get my BOM wall hung and this month's and next month's blocks up and set up the table so that the woman who was filling in for me would have everything she needed.

 2:40 - Back home, time to change clothing for my lecture because even though it isn't until 7pm, this is my last opportunity to get it done before I leave.

3:00 - Welcome my older girls home, immediately start nagging Eva to get changed for dance because we are leaving the second Greta gets off the bus. Pack snacks and water for Eva and Greta, who because of the snow on Monday now have to make up dance classes on a Wednesday. Which is totally convenient because as we've established I have nothing going on and have barely been in the car all day.

3:10 - grab Greta off bus, throw her in car, and drive to Tyngsboro, 20 minutes or so away, and drop Eva for her 345 class. Take Greta for ice cream because we have time to kill and I'm the coolest mom ever.

4:15 - Back to studio, drop off Greta who will wait for her 445 class, but I need to get Eva home and grab Paige. So home we head again. I rarely get just one at a time in the car but it was great as 7th grade girl stuff can be best talked out one on one.

You really could not pay me enough to be 13 again. My children are rock stars, for real.

4:40 - Back home, Eva runs in to heat up and grab a slice of pizza for her dinner on the run, she and Paige jump in the car, and we head out again. Back to dance, with a quick stop on the way to drop Eva at a friend's for carpooling to play rehearsal.

5:10 - Arrive back at dance. In goes Paige, and I'm outta there on my way to Saugus, hoping my hair still looks okay since it's been two hours since I was able to freshen up and praying that the flow chart I have in place for Greta to be picked up by my husband in the next half hour will work out.

 6:15 - Arrive at Saugus Senior Center for my "Give it a Scrap Slap" lecture. As always, the best part of this job is being with the people and getting out of being mom for a little bit, and yesterday I just might have appreciated that a little bit more than usual!

So all told, I tallied just under 260 miles and 14 stops in my travels as a business owner yesterday. Mostly I loved every minute of it. I know the oil companies did!

Ready to wow them at Hammersmith. Only slightly loopy from my day.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Abdicating the BOM Throne

It's basically April, which means I only have two more months left in my one-year-that-turned-into-two term as Block of the Month Queen for my quilt guild. Anyone who's ever held a guild office knows that once you are tricked into filling said office officially the holder of such an esteemed office it is a commitment you must take seriously. And what can be more serious than a BOM program run by me?

Imagine a guild with a president who never felt like showing up, a refreshment chair who passed around a bowl of oyster crackers and called it a snack, or a program chair who thought the height of guild excitement would be never ending games of Quilt-o every month. So too did I have to step it up and come up with fantastical blocks that would appeal to everyone, be easy enough for most but challenging enough to keep the interest of the more advanced, and always be keeping things fresh and interesting during my term as the BOM Diva (or whatever - we'll try out a few other monikers in this post and something might stick).

Like any office, fresh leadership is what keeps things fun, and I'm now ready to turn over the fun to someone new. My impetus for signing up to be BOM Maven in the first place was I felt we needed to mix it up a bit, and I feel like I was able to accomplish that goal to some extent, with only a modicum of grumbling along the way. Whoever fills my shoes may have another goal, and I look forward to seeing what theirs is.

But before I abdicate the BOM throne, waving my sepulcher around during my parting parade and trying not to bonk anyone on the head with it, allow me to share some of my favorite BOMs I created, curated, adapted, or googled my way into during my time in diva-dom. Seriously, if you can google, you can be your guild's BOM Chiquita.

1. "Tom Cats Make Passes at Kits Wearing Glasses"

For real, have you ever seen anything so fun? Maybe you have, but humor me.

 After packing Greta's lunch one day, I was inspired to adapt this cat block from a free block on the Janome website and a pair of glasses I drew freehand. BOM-ers were told to make the background orange, the cat parts black tone on tone and the glasses with fabric wild and crazy as they could find. Eyes, nose, and mouth were up to them.

One of my winners came to the November meeting with three skinnies made from the BOM blocks, one for each of her children who loves cats. The fourth child did not get one because she does not like cats. Her loss.

2. "Verily Variegated"

Spool blocks have been huge in the last few years, and it seemed easy enough to draw one in EQ, so with hours to go before the meeting one month (my usual method, by the way), I whipped this little baby up. Scraps being my thing, and one of my goals as FLOBOM being to make sure most if not all of the fabrics for participant blocks could come out of their scrap bins, I decided to make the thread variegated. More scraps made it prettier.

 3. Exploding Block

This was actually the first BOM we did together with me as the newly installed BOM Head of State. A friend had told me about the Exploding Block tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company she had found on line and called them addictive, and I decided it would be a great way to introduce my brand of BOM to my guild - a little less tradition, a little more color, a little more regulated as far as fabric choices because who wants to win a bunch of blocks with nothing in common? Even just keeping the background the same color helps, but sometimes I went a little more bossy. As was the case with this block.

As you can see, I chose white to be used along with teal and coral prints or tone on tones. Modern, cool, stunning.

Well hotties, you would have thought I asked them to make it in chartreuse and eggplant, for all the gnashing of teeth over what the heck did I mean by teal and coral and where were they supposed to find fabrics in these colors? It was rather comical to me, given that half my stash is probably these colors and they were all over the internet in quilts and all over shelves at shops at the time. So while we were still at the meeting where this block had been assigned, I looked out over the audience and called names of anyone wearing those colors and made them stand up. Did I embarrass everyone? Maybe. Did it get the job done? Absolutely. Everyone made stunning blocks and knew they were in for it with me as BOM Diva.

 4. "My Dotty Valentine" - This tutorial for Amy Smart's "Be Good to your Heart" block was a quick and easy block for me to throw at people, because again it was like noon the day of the meeting and I had nothing planned. Participants were told to use grey background fabrics and any two wild, contrasting, and garish to the point of sunglass-needing-worthy polka dot prints for the two hearts.

If I thought Teal and Coral-gate 2014 was entertaining, Grey Governmental Overthrow was awesome. The amount of snide emails and remarks I got about the choice of grey was astounding, ranging from "Why? Why do you think this will look good?" and "ick. just ick."  and I read each with amusement while shaking my head thinking "I'm the boss, ladies. Deal." One woman adamantly refused to use grey for a background and told me so in person while handing off her blocks with bright blue backgrounds. Whatever. I didn't see her blocks get used in a quilt made by one of the winners, though, did I? Because they didn't blend. But if she was happier, it's all good.

 5. Scotties in Hoodies (Gangsta Doggies)

The next February it seemed smart to go with something less heart-y. One can only make so many heart blocks, after all, so I drew up a little Scottie dog block and colored it to make it look like he was in a hoodie, told everyone to use red for the hoodie part, and voila! Valentines day in the Hood!
This one was pretty popular. I only wish I had a better photo of the gang.

So, have I convinced you it isn't hard to be the BOM Executrix for your guild? Truly...if you can google, use Pinterest, draw a square, come up with a color scheme, or any combination of these skills, you are golden!

As I step down from my throne, I thank everyone in my guild who put up with me, showed enthusiasm, and made me feel like I was doing a good job. I know every block I received (even the blue backgrounded heart :) ) made me happy that you took part and I'll miss the job just a little bit. Because now whatever will I panic about at 11:58 am on meeting day?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Vinnie Loves Maude

TWICE IN A WEEK, HOTTIES! That's how often I've released a new pattern over the last few days. Can you deal with it? I, queen of taking forever and a day to get a pattern to completion, CANNOT!

Vinnie Loves Maude
If we are being honest, this latest is actually not QUITE ready for the printer as of this very moment, as I'm waiting on the all important cover photo editing (as you can see, it's a little washed out looking over there, and that will never do in print), but it's good enough for a $5 intro price PDF download on Craftsy. Let's face it, I could not wait any longer to share the joy of this latest group project pattern, because, as always, I do love it oh so very much and I hope you will too!

As with any of my group projects, this one started with a pile of scraps, a couple of cups of tea, and a dream. To be honest, the dream went through many permutations along the way, from "The Dream of Spending an Hour in the Studio Where No One Can Bother Me," to "The Dream of Coming Up With the Next Big Thing in Quilting" to settling for "The Dream of Coming Up With Something, Anything, I Can See Has an Iota of Potential." The design process is not all sunshine and roses, people.

Eventually, my penchant for round-ish patterned blocks and I settled upon this scrappy little number. And by little, I do mean the block is pretty small. 10" to be exact. Smaller than I might I normally design? Maybe. But as we all know, I refuse to be put in a box in my design world, so figured what the heck. Off to testers/swap participants it went, with instructions to use modern prints and low volume backgrounds.

Then I did something new - actually, two new things; for the first time in the seven year history of my January group quilt project, I gave the process a name - January Jumpstart, and created a secret Facebook page called "EvaPaige Quilt Designs January Jumpstart," where my testers could gather and share pictures and ideas on what is modern and what is not, debate for hours on end about "low volume" and what on earth was I talking about, and chat amongst themselves about my awesomeness or lack thereof. The beauty was we could share photos and progress and news without anyone else seeing it as the secret group was secret. Go ahead. Try to find it. You won't. It's very stealthy of me, no? Definitely a good idea on my part and I'll do it again next year! Now and then I'm a smarty.

Baby quilt using larger blocks.
One reason I run one pattern test a year this way, allowing more opinions in than a designer probably should for their own sanity, is I actually do really like to have a gut check every year to make sure I'm on track with what the quilting public is interested in making, and a larger cross section of quilters than two or three is the only way to do that. And often the bell curve being bigger leads to stuff I would not have thought of on my own; in the case of this pattern, two changes were made, one being a technical writing thing that is boring and I won't go into but was included in the final pattern, and the other being the need for two block sizes, as testers liked the 10" one, but wanted bigger too. So the final pattern has two block sizes and three layouts - and of course who is to stop you there! Make all sorts of layouts with the block and share them with me. I'd love to see!

I had pictured this quilt would end up looking very modern,  given the modern fabrics I was requiring. To my great surprise, the amazing setting I fell into had a rather unexpectedly vintage vibe, and lead to the name Vinnie (vintage) Loves Maude (modern). I added the tagline "Vintage style and Mod fabrics in a classic romance" just in case my fancy little word play wasn't abundantly clear to those quilters who don't live inside my brain. Be happy you don't.

Another by product of group quilt projects can be that much as if you get 43 quilters in a room you'll see 5739 different interpretations of a 1/4" seam, pulling these 43 quilters into a project led to a few blocks just not wanting to blend with the others for whatever reason. Let me be clear - this was not a problem, and no fault of anyone, and there was no love lost between myself and testers. Different stashes and different mindsets of modern can lead to blocks with different vibes...and that can lead to another quilt entirely. And so it did! I love this adorable little scrappy number made with nine blocks and so far everyone I have shown it to does as well. There really are no mistakes, just more design opportunities!

The round blocks in a round setting - I've died and gone to quilt setting heaven.
I won't lie, there are some small pieces involved in the smaller sized blocks, but using a tool like Clearly Perfect Angles by New Leaf Stitches makes things go smoothly. I didn't design this block with CPA in mind, but I will say I have used the tool for months, I love it beyond reason, and because I love it it is something I sell on my website and in person. A couple of testers decided to give it a go with this pattern and they were amazed by the ease! I will be offering a deal on my site for this pattern plus Clearly Perfect Angles for $18, just because I believe in it for use with this pattern oh so much - but once you own the CPA, you'll be sending air kisses my way constantly because it will make your life so happy with every project you are working on.

I hope you'll give Vinnie Loves Maude a try.

The intro price will last until Friday, March 25. Thank you as always for supporting small business and quilt designers everywhere; without you, we wouldn't be inspired to keep going!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Scintillating Stars

As if you hotties were not scintillating enough on your own, my latest pattern, one that I finally after almost a year of hemming and hawing got off my butt and released yesterday, has been named "Scintillating Stars." Scintillating, because that's as sexy a name as I would allow myself despite the fact that what I really wanted to name it was hands down amazing. It was also a name that would have caused half of quiltdom to reach for their smelling salts and immediately boycott my company due to the unladylike attitude of its owner.

So we stuck with Scintillating Stars. And I have to say, they are pretty scintillating. All that color! All those sizes! The cool border! Even the fun setting of the photo! 

 So where did this starry piece of wonderment come from, beyond the dark recesses of my overactive mind? After I made a triple star block for a swap several years ago, I became a bit obsessed with seeing just how many stars I could nest in a quilt, so one day I started nesting stars, using the biggest, brightest floral and polka dot fabrics I could find - no two fabrics in any given round of this quilt are alike, and I love it that way. I was kind of shocked and disappointed when five rounds was the largest quilt I felt comfortable with; I think a sixth round might have buried me in the studio for all eternity as it would have eclipsed the size of my available floor space, but it's pretty cool even with the five rounds.

So by now, you are likely looking at this pattern, loving it, wanting to buy it, but also thinking "She said this took forever to release. Why? Is she kind of incompetent? It doesn't look THAT hard to write up." The answer to am I kind of incompetent is obviously "For sure, now and then I am a hot mess." The rest of the answer is more the three pronged situation of because I don't want the pattern to be a hot mess, because I pride myself on my directions, and because I've been in this business long enough to know that quilters who buy this pattern are going to want to make it EXACTLY LIKE THE COVER. I'm not yelling, just vehemently stating facts, a fact I can prove with several months of showing this quilt in lectures, being told I needed to release the pattern immediately, but that yes, quilters wanted directions to make it just like the cover. Which means eight fabrics per round. Which means a lot of specific cutting directions from each of several different sizes of yardage to get the most bang for your buck and the most variety in your stars. And THAT, my dear quilty peeps, was a big old pain in the butt. However, I rocked the heck out of it, if I do say, with diagrams that will make you shed a tear due to their beauty.

 And bingo! The cutting directions in Scintillating Stars are written so that your stars will look like the cover - that is, eight different fabrics in each round of star points. If you follow them, you'll not only get your own awesome star quilt, but you'll use your fabrics the most efficient way possible. Should you want to go rogue and make the quilt with only four fabrics per round, I say go for it.

 Adding a scrappy, strippy, asymmetrical border gave it a little punch and made it not just another star quilt. Could you add the strips in every corner? Sure! I just like to take the quick way out, and I happen to like things just slightly off kilter. It's possible you've noticed these things about me.

The quilting was mostly done in pebbles, with some narrow straight line quilting in the stars, the combination of which almost killed me. There were many, many days that I complained nonstop about how long the quilting was taking me. I ran a contest on my FB page one day to see if anyone could guess how long it took to pebble one of the largest squares in the quilt. (49 minutes. For ONE SQUARE! Now I'm yelling.) The problem is, once you start pebbling, you are committed. By the end I was ready to well and truly be committed.

Cover photography was stealthily taken on a side street of my town while I prayed no cops would arrest me for thumbtack marks in the door of an antique schoolhouse. Every quilt pattern has a little risk to the designer, and with this one it was my sanity and arrest record, but thankfully both remained clear at the end of the process. The schoolhouse was a building on the third grade "History of Pepperell" project my older daughters completed four years ago in third grade, but I had forgotten about it until a week ago, when I drove by and realized what a great backdrop it would make. As long as I don't get arrested for defacing public property, I'm sure I'll use it again.
As a thank you to everyone who was so very very patient when it took me just under a year to get this project from start to finish, through Monday March 21, 2016, the pdf pattern is half price ($5.00) on Craftsy. Print patterns will be available just as soon as my printer can get them to me!

I hope you'll give Scintillating Stars a whirl!

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