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Friday, September 19, 2014

Starring St. Nick!

We showed you Jackie Robinson's Father Frost collection the other day, and now you can see it done up in a quilt! Here's a peek at Jackie's design, Starring St. Nick, which is featured in the November/December issue of McCall's Quilting, plus a little background on the quilt from the designer herself.

"Starring St. Nick" by Jackie Robinson;
featured in McCall's Quilting November/December 2014

Tell us about your Starring St. Nick quilt.
It uses the entire panel except the trees. It's very straightforward to make, with reasonably easy piecing. The star centers are fussy-cut. (Note: And the magazine pattern includes a lesson on accurate fussy cutting!)

And all the colored stars? What a great way to highlight the fussy-cut squares!
Using different colored star points gave the quilt more interest. I played with the different colors with the different square backgrounds. The santas had to have blue around them because I wanted the points to match the background. I just love those santas! Then I moved the stars around a bit, layout-wise. The end result is an on-point square in the middle with the santas marching around.

What's your favorite part of the quilt?
Definitely the Santas that are in the stars. I seem to be a little wilder about these santas than others. When I was in Russia I bought all these things and I hauled them home. I love them. I also like the amount of blue that's there. It's nice to have blue in a Christmas collection.

Click here to read more about Jackie's Father Frost collection.
Click here to see the Father Frost collection.
Click here to find the kit for this project.
Click here to find the Nov/Dec issue of McCall's Quilting.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ready for the Holidays: Father Frost

The other day we shared Jackie Robinson's Glorious Hummingbirds fabric collection with you. Today we're still focusing on Jackie, but we've shifted to a different season--get ready for Christmas with Father Frost

The panel, featuring St. Nick figurines, ornaments, and more, 
ready for fussy cutting:

Some of the coordinates in the Father Frost collection:
Just why did this master of floral fabrics (and now bird prints too!) turn her attention to all things Christmas with a collection featuring dazzling trees, ornaments and St. Nick figurines? 

It all started with a vacation eight years ago... 

Here's Jackie:
In 2006, I enjoyed a spectacular trip to Russia with my cousin Doris. We took the River Cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg, with stays at both ends and various stops along the way. It was FABULOUS! We found the Russian people charming and gracious, and enjoyed visiting with them and learning that during the cold war days, they were as afraid of us as we were of them.

Here are some photos from my trip:
The Architecture was AMAZING! We toured the city of Moscow with several stops for museums and churches. Even on an overcast day the Domes at St Basil were outstanding.

We went to the Bolshoi Ballet one evening. BUT - the highlight of Moscow was a meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev. As you can imagine, our Russian tour guides were excited beyond their wildest dreams. We'll never know 'why' we got this special audience with him, though the thought is he wanted to meet with some non-political Americans. In this photo you see Mr. Gorbachev in the front center. See the man with the red tie on the left? I'm right behind his shoulder- glasses, grey hair. Doris is at the top of the photo, glasses and black & white jacket.

The trip along the Volga was terrific, with lots of stops along the way. One of my favorite stops was in Kizhi. The roof and domes of this charming old church is all old and weathered wood. The sun is what makes it look like silver.

In St Petersburg we enjoyed all the typical sights AND I had pre-arranged a meeting with a small group of quilters. They were at the way opposite end of town - a long way away - so we took a young helper from the boat with us to not only navigate the subways to reach them, but also to help interpret our visiting. Our visit was great fun! They shared lots of quilts with us, and I had taken one, plus a great amount of fabric to give them. This photo hangs in my sewing room and I see it every time I pick up my purse. That's me in the front row, 2nd from the left. Doris is standing at the right end of the back row.

I quickly fell in love with the painted Father Frost figures, and gathered a few along the way. I enjoy those wooden Father Frost figures each Christmas, and they, along with the designs painted on them, were the inspiration for this collection. It's the first time I've ever done Folk Art, and it was FUN!

Click here to see the Father Frost fabrics.
Click here to download a free pattern designed by Jackie featuring these fabrics.
Click here to visit Jackie's website and see what else she has designed using Father Frost.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Magic of Hummingbirds

Q. When you see this gorgeous floral stripe, can you name the designer?

A. If you answered Jackie Robinson, you're right! Well known for both her florals and her unique stripe prints, in her Glorious Hummingbirds collection, Jackie has branched out into birds. She combines these tiny creatures and morning glories into a classic line on both black and cream. Take a peek at the fabrics below and then scroll down to find out more about the fabrics!

The focal prints:

The coordinating tonals:

You're so well known for your floral prints…tell us about these hummingbirds.
I've been wanting to do hummingbirds for quite some time. I think they're interesting—they're so tiny—it's amazing what they do. I don't personally have any bird feeders in my yard because I have a cat who is a good hunter and it just wouldn't be fair. We do occasionally see some, and they're fun to watch. I've heard from so many people about how much they love hummingbirds since this fabric line came out.

And how did you choose morning glories to pair with the hummingbirds?
When I wanted to do the hummingbirds the next thing was to see what they liked best, flower-wise. Morning glories aren't the only flowers they like, but I thought they'd have more design capabilities than most of the other options.

How did you come up with the color palette?
The blue that's in the collection is my very favorite blue—close to a robin's egg blue. I like all blues, but this is my favorite, and I wanted to use it in this collection. Pink is the other main color, and then I chose both black and cream for the backgrounds. The cream is very sweet, but to me, the black is dramatic. I like the black the best because it has more punch.

Jackie's quilt, Garden Glories, is featured in the October-November issue of McCall's Quick Quilts magazine.

Garden Glories designed by Jackie Robinson,
pieced by Marilyn Eider, machine quilted by Aimee Mahan;
featured in McCall's Quick Quilts Oct-Nov 2014

What can you tell us about the Garden Glories quilt design?
It's a rail fence block set on point. A lot of my quilt ideas roll through my head before I sit down to design them, and I knew I wanted this to weave. I thought a rail fence block would work to show off the flowers in the stripe in larger pieces. I played with the width of the stripes to see what would work best, and I even tried using yellow and green (instead of the pink and blue), but the pink and blue are the predominant colors in the stripe. Using the different values of pink and blue gives the design more depth.The quilting was done by Amy Mahan of Splendid Stitches. It's what I call light custom quilting—not over the top quilting, but planned within specific areas, like the swirls in the pink and blue pieces.

What do you like best about the quilt?
I think it's just happy. It's smiling at me.

Click here to watch an interview with Jackie where she talks about her Glorious Hummingbirds fabric collection and other quilts she's designed using it.
Click here to see the entire Glorious Hummingbirds collection.
Click here to find the kit for Jackie's quilt (in two colorways!)
Click here to find McCall's Quilt Quilts magazine.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pick your palette: Paintbox/Shadows

Introducing Michele D'Amore's new collection:
An unexpected splash of color.
The flit of a Butterfly’s wing
And lines that are never straight.
It’s Shadows and Paintbox.

The same prints in two completely different colorways!


What's your palette? Paintbox brights or shadow neutrals?

And no, you're not seeing double--three of the prints in this collection come in two different scales, so you'll have options for projects large and small!

And of course, we have free quilt patterns you can download for each colorway!

Popart Palette by Stitched Together Studios

Greenhouse at Dusk by Heidi Pridemore

Click here to download the free quilt patterns.
Click here to see the entire collection.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Celebrating your favorite tool!

Today we celebrate the sewing machine! 

As quilters, sewers, or just plain fabric lovers, where would we be without this amazing tool? 
(Well, we'd still stitching by hand, which is great too, but...) 

From the early days of improving stitch efficiency to today's high tech options of computerized long arm quilting machines and embroidery machines, the sewing machine has changed this art form forever.

Did you know that the history of the sewing machine contains more twists and turns than you might imagine? Keep reading for a brief summary of some interesting facts (you'll be prepared for any sewing machine trivia thrown at you at your next guild meeting!):

When was the sewing machine first invented?
An Englishman named Thomas Saint invented and patented the first sewing machine design for leather and canvas in 1790, but no evidence remains that he created a working model, and attempts to recreate his design were unsuccessful. 

French inventor Barthelemy Thimonnier patented a sewing machine that replicated hand sewing in 1830, and planned to use it to make uniforms for French soldiers--the first machine-based clothing manufacturer in the world. Click here to read more, including why the factory was burned down before he ever started.

Why do we celebrate on September 10?
In 1846, Elias Howe received a U.S. patent for his sewing machine design on this date. 
Read more about his design, including a story about how he came up with the idea of placing the needle eye near the tip based on a dream that included a savage king, warriors, and death threats (seriously!), here.
Howe's sewing machine included three key features we still use today:

  • a needle with the eye at the point,
  • a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lock stitch, and
  • an automatic feed.

You can read more of the history of sewing machines here, from the International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society.

Have you hugged your sewing machine today?!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brigitte: Bright & Cool

Michele D'Amore's new Brigitte collection from Contempo features bright and cool color combos:
green & aqua
citron & gray
pink & orange
(or just use them all together!)

In this large collection (30 SKUs in all), there's something for everyone!

 Here's a closer look at some of the prints featured:

White & bright florals

And the reverse: bright & white florals

Leaf and vine stripes

A sketchbook-looking tonal print

A small floral stripe

A diagonal stripe

 Dandelion blooms

Tons of great prints in a variety of colors!
See larger swatches of the entire Brigitte collection here.

Below you'll find quilts designed in two different colorways using this collection. You can make these quilts just like you see them or substitute in your own color combination!

Tropical Breeze designed by Tailormade by Design

 Wonky Blox designed by Stitched Together Studios

Download these free quilt patterns here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Origins...it's calling your name!

There are some fabrics that are so striking, they captivate you. You find yourself returning to the same aisle in your local quilt shop, stroking them, and deciding what you're going to make with them, because you know you have to make something using them.

Origins, inspired by decorative arts of the Maori in New Zealand and other early cultures, is just that type of fabric collection. The shapes, the colors, the patterns--they'll call to you. 

The hardest question? 
Which colorway will you choose?

The deep blue colorway:

And the very cool stripe, shown here from selvedge to selvedge:

 And the large focal print:

The rich chocolate colorway: 
(notice how the white/black prints work in either colorway!)

And the very cool stripe, shown here from selvedge to selvedge:

 And the large focal print:

Be sure to head over to our website and download the free quilt pattern for Heidi Pridemore's Magical Mosaic quilt, shown here in the deep blue colorway. Check out her great use of the stripe and the focal print!

Click here to see the entire Origins collection