Sunday, January 29, 2012

Give-away #3 Winner!

The random number generator has spoken and the winner of the Darlene Zimmerman book is Jay!  

Jay, I'll send you an email, but I already have your address.  (Jay is one of the participants in the Cotton Robin this spring)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Give-away #2 Winner!

The random number picker for the baby quilts book picked Patty this time!  I've already sent an email...

Thanks for playing!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Give-away #3!

I totally forgot to post the give-away for the third book!  It is called "Fresh From the Clothesline" by Darlene Zimmermann.   The quilts are all shown in pastels and 30's prints, but the designs are nice and she has helpful information about quilts with scalloped or wavy edges.

If you'd like a chance at this book, please post a comment here.  I'll pick a winner on Saturday.

Give-away #1 winner!

I totally spaced out picking a winner yesterday afternoon, so here it is:

Joe Tulips has won my copy of Carefree Quilts!   I'll send you an email today...


Monday, January 23, 2012

still knitting

I credit Dianne for getting me into knitting lace -- somehow we started meeting up at a local teashop that's right next door to a yarn shop when she was in town on one of her fairly-frequent visits from Oz... and every time she had a wonderful lace shawl to show off!  

I started out small -- a garter stitch scarf with a ripple of lace around the border.  
Then a shawlette knit-along.
And now a full-blown shawl that measures about 65" across! I even bought a set of blocking wires, 'cause I know there will be more of this in my future...

It's the Stacy Shawl, from Wendy Knits Lace by Wendy Johnston. Made of Malabrigo Rios in the Pearl Ten color. Wendy writes terrific patterns, and her instructions are always impeccable...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

give-away #2!

First of all, let me remind you that you need to give me some way to contact you if you comment for the give-aways!  If you are a "no-reply" commenter, you must include an email address in your comment (or change your blogger profile -- there are tutorials here and here

Onnie and Marge -- that means you!

On to today's book!  It is "Quilt a Gift For Little Ones" by Barri Sue Gaudet.
This is completely different from yesterday's book! I didn't spend a lot of time reading it because it's not my "thing" -- but the projects are definitely cute. They all involve machine applique, with the main motifs being felted wool. Think bunnies, bears, flowers -- and all sorts of projects for babies.

I should also mention that all of the give-away books were provided by F&W Media, which is the parent of Krause Publications and David & Charles.

If you'd like a chance to win this book, please leave a comment on this post!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Carefree Quilts, and a give-away

A few weeks ago I received an email from a publisher’s rep in the UK, asking if I’d like to review a book called “Carefree Quilts” by Joy-Lily.  I have to admit that after an initial reaction of “how cool is that!” I had to stifle the impulse to ask “why me?” – after all, I don’t have the following of the bloggers who you usually see doing reviews.  I also didn’t ask how they found me… 

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I serve on a non-profit board with someone who, when he found out I was a quilter, told me that he had a friend named Joy-Lily who was also a quilter, and asked if I had met her. He sent me a link to her website, but that’s as close as we’ve ever gotten.

On to the book: the premise is that Perfection is Optional. Joy-Lily says that if you have to stress too much to make everything match perfectly, quilting won’t be fun for you. So she’s presenting techniques that allow for a little flexibility, in the form of a primer for newer quilters or a relaxing break for more experienced quilters.

 A side note here: I admire the absolute perfectionism of quilters like Sally Collins and Judy Martin, although I don’t personally want to expend the effort to get there. (I’d rather make my HSTs a tad big and trim them than fuss with getting them exactly right without wasting 1/8” of fabric.)  On the other hand, I always feel like it takes more energy for me to do “liberated” quilting than traditional.  So, I was curious to see how Carefree Quilting would approach the subject and whether I could get on board.

I liked the illustrations a lot! There’s a combination of photos of fabric and quilts, and jazzy drawings of techniques and details.  The first chapter deals with some basics of tools, color choices, and quilting rules – sort of the usual stuff, but presented in a fresh and engaging way.

The projects start out simple, but even the first stitch & flip flower is pretty cute. Joy-Lily’s use of bright fabrics, including lots of batiks, keeps things lively. There are a variety of projects besides just quilts: a table-runner, tote bag, apron, pillows and placemats.  In addition, all of her blocks finish at 12”, so it’s easy to substitute one for another or to create a sampler.

The book continues on to different sorts strips and  “stack-slash-rearrange” blocks, including some with curves. Along the way, the author provides lots of tips about sewing and techniques, and ideas about how to use the blocks in different ways.

 I, of course, decided to jump in to the final “combination of everything” project that Joy-Lily calls her Leaf Cover Quilt.  I’m a stickler for good and accurate instructions so I figured my review had to include some hands-on investigation!  Here's Joy-Lily's original,
 and my version:
If you follow the instructions from the beginning of the book, or have some sewing experience, then the instructions towards the end of the book will make perfect sense. If you're a brand-new quilter, then the last couple of projects probably shouldn't be the first ones you try, unless you have a sewing mentor or an appetite for adventure!

Overall, I think the book is well-written and a lot of fun, and would be a great starting point for those younger generations that we're always trying to lure into the quilting fold -- not to mention those of us who have been "coloring within the lines" for a while and want to take a break!

Did I say give-away?  What a concept!

The publishers were kind enough to send me several of their recent books and I'm going to give them away -- but it's probably easier to do it one at a time.  It makes sense that Carefree Quilts would be first.  If you'd like a chance to win this, please leave me a comment; feel free to share the give-away on your blog, but each person just gets one entry.  It's Saturday afternoon now, and I'll do the random-number thing on Wednesday afternoon, January 25.


Monday, January 16, 2012

deep thoughts

In the midst of all my fussing with the scrap bins, I came across a recent post from Wanda at Exuberant Color -- she says, "I have been thinking about the current obsessive trend that we have to use up all of our scraps.  I think I'm leaning toward cutting into my yardage so I can use the good, favorite stuff in my lifetime. "

Wow -- that's me! I have a ton of batiks, for instance, that I really want to use for a couple of specific quilts, but I keep thinking that I need to clean up the scraps first. Now that I put it in writing, it seems crazy...  I think I'll stick with my two easy rainbow ideas (previous post) just to keep things under control, but mostly move on to some newer things that I've been putting off for too long.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

big scraps, little scraps

It's the rainbow scrap challenge again this year, and this month's color is RED. Even though I used a lot of red scraps last year, the bin has filled up again so I'm going to do my best...

I started out with little scraps, copying an idea from Kathy -- but my block is 18" to her 12" one, so that I could use a bunch of 2" squares. This is Knot My Block by  Tina Curran from the 3rd Quiltmaker block collection, and I'm thinking I can do them in different colors and end up with a rainbow quilt at the end of the year.

Then I thought back to this quilt I made for my nephew last spring, and remembered that I had planned to make a single large block using 6" squares instead of 2" squares. This finishes at 36" square, which is a nice size for a newborn. It could have an extra row of blocks at top and bottom, too.

I decided to go for the red and aqua combination that's so popular right now. Once you get the fabric cut, it only takes about an hour to put the whole top together.  I may try to make a bunch of these in different colors, too, since it's a way to use some bigger scraps.

Coming soon: book review and give-away!

Monday, January 09, 2012

FOUND! Do you recognize this fabric?

Wonderful Nicole recognized the fabric right off the bat, and I've found a piece at one online shop!  Thanks, Nicole!
I'd really like some more of it, but I don't have a selvedge edge with the manufacturer's name on it...   that's a small pair of scissors in the picture; each little "ditsy" is about 1/4-3/8".  It's a little more muslin colored than yellow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

first finish

When I was rummaging around a few days ago finding things to give away 
(which by the way have all been claimed and put in the mail this morning, thank you so much!)
I also found a little baggie full of black and red drunkard's path blocks from a few years ago. I was going to include them in the give-away, but then I started playing with them on the table and ended up with this:
It's only about 14" x 16". I quilted it on my friend Catherine's sit-down Handiquilter, which I'm now in love with...  if I had any extra room I'd be out looking for a used one about now.

I also mailed off these three hats to the nephews and one niece up north today -- now I'm back knitting for myself again!

Monday, January 02, 2012

UFO challenge

for the last couple of years I've participated in the UFO challenge on Patchwork Penguin's blog, but I haven't seen her post about it for 2012, so I'm migrating to Judy's list.

Here is my official roster for 2012, as shown in the sidebar:

2012 UFO Challenge

  • 12)  black & purple diamonds - assemble
  • 11) black & batik - assemble
  • 10) tic tac toe #2 - quilt
  • 9) leaf RR blocks - assemble
  • 8) stocking blocks - assemble and quilt
  • 7) color blocks - assemble and quilt
  • 6) junior executive - quilt
  • 5) mola quilt - quilt
  • 4) Friday block party #1 - assemble
  • 3) black/multi birthday blocks - assemble
  • 2) black/white/orange top - quilt
  • 1) village quilt - quilt
The pick for January is #5, and it's already basted and ready to go...