Monday, June 25, 2012

Counting Down the Days

Hi everyone:

While some of you who have young children are already enjoying their company at home, here in Calgary students are still in school. Well, at least the elementary students are and that means that I'm still working. Yes, while my daughter has already finished writing her exams and has been relaxing at home for the past week, my son and I have still been getting up and getting off to school. The last few days of the school year are an endurance marathon all focussing on just getting to the end of June. Final exams, provincial achievement tests (in french and english at my school), grade 6 farewell parties and assemblies, setting up records for the incoming fall students, it seems that it will never end.
Then, all at once, it does and you realize how much you'll miss those grade 6 students moving on to junior high and the parents who move on with them. But just when I'm starting to get a little weepy, I remember that there will be a whole crop of bright-eyed, fresh-faced five year olds joining us in a few months, along with their equally enthusiastic parents. And then I also remember...
that the end of school means two whole months of vacation, family activities and quilting!

Yes, I look forward to the summer to focus on my quilting designs and perhaps even complete some of my WIPs. Hand embroidery projects are first up in the queue since they are portable, followed by binding finished projects. Since I have long stretches of time (hopefully) uninterrupted by "real" work, I can truly focus on finishing up the myriad of half-done projects and patterns.
Seascape art quilt - needs lots of
embellishment and thread play
Bubbly Stripes - pattern almost done
Crookshank pattern from Castilleja Cotton
Needs to be stitched down and embellished
I'm not setting any goals for myself, other than to get up at a reasonable hour and work on something each day. That's my goal - just work on a project every day and before I know it, I'll have accomplished - something!
Teeka helping with my jelly roll quilt
(love those Kaffe Fassett prints)
Hope your summer plans are shaping up for you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review - S is for Scraps, Scrap-Basket Sensations and All-Time Favorite Scrap Quilts from That Patchwork Place

Hi everyone:

I recently participated in the Book-A-Round Tour to promote Kay Mackenzie's latest book, Scrap-Appliqué Playground, and created a version of her "Crazy Hearts" quilt with my fabric scraps using her crazy patch technique (click here to see that blog post). That experience made me look at some of the other books I have which use up those pesky fabric scraps. I usually just throw all my scraps into a box (I have 2 or 3 of them) and pull out pieces when I'm doing appliqué. Just think - I could also use some of these scraps to create pieced quilts!

Let's take a look at the projects in these three books.

Photo courtesy of Martingale
In S is for Scraps: 18 Great Quilts, Gayle Bong includes information on selecting, organizing and using your fabric scraps. She also describes her production techniques to help you finish your projects quicker - and I'm all about getting things done faster (increased the chances that I won't lose interest and abandon the project partway through!). 
Ahead of the Game from S is For Scraps
Photo Courtesy of Martingale
Sparkling Stars in Taupe
Photo Courtesy of Martingale
Make Momma Happy
Photo Courtesy of Martingale
She includes a variety of pieced projects, that are suitable for throws, bed covers or table toppers. There are quilts for beginners, as well as more advanced quilters, so everyone should be able to find a project that would suit their skill level. I like the quantity of information that is provided in the book, from construction techniques, to quilting motifs. 

Another book that uses scraps is Scrap-Basket Sensations: More Great Quilts from 2 1/2" Strips by Kim Brackett. 
Photo courtesy of Martingale
As the title indicates, these projects use scraps cut into 2 1/2" strips or pre-cut 2 1/2" strips (sometimes called jelly rolls). Kim also suggests taking some of those "what was I thinking of?" fabrics from your stash and cutting them into 2 1/2" strips to use in scrap quilts. What a great idea!
Nova from Scrap-Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Another organized quilter, Kim gives information about sorting and storing your fabric scraps and how to cut up "true" scraps into 2 1/2" strips. She provides construction tips and information about special piecing techniques, such as folded-corner units and split units. 
Tool Shed from Scrap-Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett
Photo courtesy of Martingale
The projects in this books are of the larger variety (think quilts, not wall hangings) and would be suitable for both beginners and advanced quilters. 
Scrap-Basket Paddle Wheel from Scrap-Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett
Photo courtesy of Martingale
All-Time Favorite Scrap Quilts includes several projects from various quilters, such as Kim Diehl, Evelyn Sloppy and Mimi Dietrich, just to name a few. It even includes quilts from Kim Brackett and Gayle Bong. 

Photo courtesy of Martingale
While the majority of these quilts are pieced, there are some appliqué patterns in this book as well. Information on construction techniques, as well as the various types of appliqué are included in the book. 
Fractured Diamonds by Gayle Bong from All-Time Favorite Scrap Quilts
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Whether traditional or contemporary, beginner and advanced quilters are sure to find a project to suit them. 
Jamie's Quilt by Le Ann Weaver from All-Time Favorite Scrap Quilts
Photo courtesy of Martingale
This compilation also gives you the opportunity to explore projects by a variety of quilting experts. If you haven't already picked up a book by one of these ladies, you will certainly want to after viewing their patterns.

Past and Present by Kim Brackett from All-Time Favorite Scrap Quilts
Photo courtesy of Martingale
So, have I inspired you to sort through your scraps and see what treasures they can become? I'd love to see what you can come up with - just as soon as I climb out of my pile of scraps!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

And the winner is...

Hi everyone:

Thanks to everyone who entered in the giveaway for Kay Mackenzie's fantastic new book, Scrap-Appliqué Playground. I loved hearing all of your scrap handling ideas and was glad to hear that some of you have the same system I do - throw them in a box!

Now, for what you've all been waiting for - the winner! Congratulations to Laurie of Maine, USA, who will be receiving her own copy of Kay's new book. Laurie, I know that you're going to have a great time creating the projects in the book and they will help you whittle down your fabric stash. 

I'd like to thank Kay Mackenzie and Martingale for generously donating a copy of the book for my giveaway.

Now, back to organizing my scraps :) 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Scrap-Appliqué Playground Book-A-Round Tour and Giveaway

Hi everyone:

Welcome to stop #2 on the Book-A-Round tour for Kay Mackenzie's new book, Scrap-Appliqué Playground.To see a complete list of participating bloggers, be sure to visit Kay's website. As each of us are focussing on a different aspect of the book, you'll want to visit each stop. 

I'm so excited to have an opportunity to review this latest book from Kay, her third one with Martingale. It's full of great ideas for using up your scraps and the projects are easy enough for a beginner to complete successfully. You'll be pleased to know that Martingale is generously providing a copy of Kay's new book as a giveaway. I'll tell you more about the giveaway a little later in this post.

If you're visiting my blog for the first time, let me introduce myself. I'm Kim Jamieson-Hirst, the principal designer and social director of Chatterbox Quilts in Calgary, AB, Canada. You may wonder about the choice of my company's name: well, I'm from Chatham, ON and love to chat, so Chatterbox Quilts it was! 

I've been quilting for about 10 years now and have been designing patterns for the past three and a half years. While I appreciate all quilt patterns (you only have to look at my quilting library to know this!), I tend to gravitate - and design - appliqué projects. I was delighted to discover Kay's appliqué patterns several years ago and appreciated her practical and easy to understand instructions - and I still do. Kay's newest book, Scrap-Appliqué Playground, provides more fun appliqué ideas, as well as helps you use up those scrap fabrics that I know you all have in your stash. 

In this book Kay shows you several techniques to use up those small fabric scraps that you've been collecting in the hopes that they can be used in a project some day. Well, now is that day! Kay explains her 3 Scrap-Appliqué methods: shrinking strips, building bits and bobs and crazy patch, which she then uses in the 8 projects included in the book. I decided to try her crazy patch method and create a version of Kay's Crazy Hearts wall hanging. Here's how the process went:

I'm really pleased at how the project turned out and had fun putting all my scraps together to create new fabric to use for my appliqués. Now I just need to add some hanging tabs and quilt it and I'll have a lovely new wall hanging.

I know that you'd like to have your own copy of Scrap-Appliqué Playground, and you'll have a chance to win one, courtesy of Martingale. Here's how you can enter to win your own copy. It's easy! Just leave a comment below with your email address before June 9 at 7:00 p.m. MST letting me know how you organize your fabric scraps. I will be announcing the winner's name in a future blog post. Sorry, but this giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. addresses only. 

Don't forget to check back with Kay at All About Appliqué so you can visit the next stop on the blog tour.

Oh, and if you don't win a copy of Scrap-Appliqué Playground, you can always find it at your local quilt shop or on-line at Amazon. Of course Martingale also sells it on their website (you also receive a FREE ebook when you purchase the "paper" book) and you can purchase an autographed copy from Kay herself. 

Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks to Kay and Martingale for providing a copy of Scrap-Appliqué Playground to be won by one of my readers.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Upcoming Book-A-Round Tour

Hi everyone:

I'm getting really excited about an upcoming event which will start on Thursday. Yes, in just a few days I will be one of the bloggers participating in the Book-A-Round Tour for Kay Mackenzie's latest book, Scrap-Appliqué Playground.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of Kay's book (thanks, Kay!) and have been having a great time going through all the projects and working on a special one for my blogpost. I'm really pleased by how it's been going and can't wait to share my project with you. 
Look what I got in the mail!
The Book-A-Round tour starts on June 7 and I will be stop number 2 - and the first one in Canada - on the tour. You can see all of the scheduled stops on Kay's website.

Make sure to mark your calendars so you won't miss out on any of the stops. There will be book giveaways at each stop, so you'll have several opportunities to win a FREE copy of Scrap-Appliqué Playground, courtesy of Kay and the publisher of the book, Martingale.

Now back to finishing up my project for the tour. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fabric Stash Overload

Hi everyone:

As you know, I was at the Heritage Park Festival of Quilts last week-end. What you may not know is that I bought a few things. Okay, if you know me, you would be surprised if I only bought a FEW things. Like most quilters, I love sales and find it impossible difficult to pass up a good deal (must be my Scottish ancestry). 
Wool, buttons and fabric, oh my!
While I enjoy looking at all the quilts, and I do look at all of them, I really love visiting the vendors' mall. I enjoy checking out the latest items and chatting with the vendors (is it a good thing that they all know me by name?), but I really think it is the high I get when I score a good deal that makes my day. And I had a good day last Saturday!
Just a bit more fabric
I could try to justify my purchases by saying that I'll use the fabric in future pattern samples or that they coordinate with what is in my stash, but is it so wrong to buy things just because I like them? I'll admit that I have fabric that has been in my stash for many several years and it still hasn't morphed into an actual quilt, but you know what? I still enjoy taking it out, seeing how it plays with other fabrics and imagining what it might someday become. I figure I get as much enjoyment out of playing with my fabric as I do from creating a quilt. Although it is a bit difficult to wrap individual fat quarters around yourself to keep warm!

Too much?
I'll admit that I went may've overdone it last week-end, but I won't be buying any more fabric for awhile. At least until the upcoming quilt show in Red Deer next week-end :)