Category Archives: Other cool blogs

Fabulous Floral Quilts – Old and New

Detail of Laura Fraga's Little Brown Bird quilt - incomprable!

Detail of Laura Fraga’s Little Brown Bird quilt – incomparable!

If you haven’t gotten down to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville to see the Quintessential Quilts – a Floral Fantasy show, you still have ten days to hustle down there.  I’ve worked with the museum volunteers to create a really beautiful collection of quilts which showcase flowers. We were able to gather quilts with flower appliques, flower fabrics, painted flowers, embroidered, embellished and everything in between!

We have fresh flowers delivered twice a week, compliments of our local floral businesses, gardening groups and stores. The rooms smell lovely and it’s a delightful little exhibit.

"Adam" in the Man Cave at the San Ramon Valley museum

“Adam” in the Man Cave at the San Ramon Valley museum

We’ve also been able to include some very interesting men’s quilts in the “man cave.” We wanted to be sure everyone know men quilt, too. Even if they don’t do loads of floral quilts!

My teacher Margaret Linderman and I will be doing a free demonstration and our raw-edge floral work on Saturday, September 28 from 11:00 to 12:00.  Come early to get parking. The farmer’s market is going on at the same time and it’s a bit of a busy corner of the world!

The 1850 Whig Rose quilt and vintage friends

The 1850 Whig Rose quilt and vintage friends

Jennifer Rounds' Zen Roses next to vintage quilts

Jennifer Rounds’ Zen Roses next to vintage quilts

Wonderful wall hangings and wearable art

Wonderful wall hangings and wearable art

Wonderful vintage doll and Sunbonnet Sue corner

Wonderful vintage doll and Sunbonnet Sue corner

Be sure to come by Saturday, September 21, to see the lovely Sandra Newman demonstrate hand sewing hexagons. She’s created some packets for everyone to try them out and then you can see her beautiful work, too! Also from 11:00 to 12:00.

New York Beauty detail, photo from Pati Freid

New York Beauty detail, photo from Pati Freid

This week I was delighted to read a blog post about the New York Beauty quilts and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textile’s current exhibition.

Take a minute to go over to the wonderful blog, See How We Sew, and read Pati Fried’s interesting views on these quintessential American quilts! http://seehowwesew.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/new-york-beauty-quilts-finding-inspiration-in-our-past/

Detail of Pickle Dish-Ish, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

Detail of Pickle Dish-Ish, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

I’ve always loved the New York Beauty quilt design and perhaps need to make one soon in my new quilted applique quilt series!


Must Have… fabrics for January 2013

Amy Butler Alchemy fabric

Amy Butler Alchemy fabric

It all starts with fabric.

And it all ends with fabric.

And it’s all fabric in between!

Now, I’ve been to four different fabric stores in the past week and NOWHERE did I see this fabric!

Since I got some fabric store time in this year, I felt it was time to “behave”, so I finally tackled my (285) unread emails, and I am glad I DID!

I came across this post from a great website called True Up (for the fabric obsessed). If you’re not a fan yet, you can subscribe and she’ll send you wonderful emails all about fabric.

Kim wrote about the new Amy Butler Alchemy fabrics and they actually stopped my tiny, cold heart.

As you know I can’t get enough of large-scale prints, so I’m really hoping that in person these prints are LARGE!

Over at Amy’s website you can view the whole she-bang and what a great line it is!

Even though I haven’t seen it on the shelves yet, but i did spy some online at Fabricworm and other places, so I’m going to stomp my tiny cold feet until I get some!!!

Amy Butler sketchbook roses laminated

Amy Butler sketchbook roses laminated

Look at this color! and it comes in laminated fabric – great for bags!

Amy Butler sketchbook roses cream organic

Amy Butler sketchbook roses cream organic

And it comes in organic!

Amy Butler victoriana:port

Amy Butler victoriana:port

And there are some great other designs in the line!

I wish I could just do all fabric all day long!!! Cut, sew, touch, buy, design, cuddle!


Yee Ha and Hopalong Quiltedy!

Strap on Your Spurs, little darlin’s I’m doing a Quiltalong!

Amy Ellis' blogger's Bar QuiltAlong block

Amy Ellis’ blogger’s Bar QuiltAlong block

Here’s Amy Ellis block for October 1 – Very Nice.

That means you read the posts and make some brand spankin’ new blocks for a creative project!

The lovely Scott Hansen of Blue Nickel Studios has invited me to join in on his Blogger’s Bar Hop Quilt Along… Won’t you join us in the fun?

Here is what Scott has to say about this little shin dig…

“This year, some bloggers and a bunch of new friends have returned for this autumn’s Blue Nickel Quiltalong.  This year we are focusing on using rectangles in our blocks and after much cleverness searching we came up with this title:  the blogger’s Bar Hop Quiltalong.

Now lest we offend some of you along the way with our reference to a Bar Hop, let us all remember that Bars come in all varieties.  Tavern/Pub bars, yes, but also: Candy Bars, Snack Bars, Breakfast Bars, Sand Bars, Tea Bars (okay, that would be a Tea House, I know…..) Ice Cream Bars, Behind Bars, etc.   So pick YOUR favorite Bar and Hop along with us!

The fabric we are featuring has been generously supplied by Clothworks from their European TaupeVIII collection by Kinkame.  Soft, subtle, and maybe just a little more “traditional” in tone.  We have fourteen bloggers with styles ranging from very modern to the somewhat more traditional side of the quilting street. We believe the “wall” that sometimes comes up between quilters on those lines should be torn down, so that is part of why the collection has been chosen. If you choose to make your blocks out totally modern or totally traditional, they will work just fine.  We love to see the variety of blocks that emerge from these quiltalongs!

Each designer was given four fat quarters from the collection and told they could add one solid and one print of their choice OR two solids and that was it. The other requirement was that they had to use at least one rectangle (bar) in the block  somewhere.  The blocks will all finish to a useful 12” x 12” size.  Feel free to post your blocks here as you hop along with us!

Here’s the line up!

October 1 Amy Ellis

October 2 Lynn Harris   

October 3   Heather Jones    

October 4   Jackie Kunkel    

October 5 Ashley Jones

October 6  Emily Cier 

October 7 Scott Hansen

October 8 Jan Peoples

October 9 April Rosenthal

October 10 Amy Lobsiger

October 11  Cara Quilts

October 12   Konda Luckau

October 13  Alethea Ballard - That’s me!

October 14 Charlie Scott

Hope to see you on the Hop!”

Well, there you have it! I like what Scott said about the softer color palette: “We believe the “wall” that sometimes comes up between quilters on those lines should be torn down.” I’m up for that – are you?

Stay tuned for updates and Join Me in the QuiltAlong!


Make Bombs Not War

Yarn Bomb from blog.craftzine.com

Yarn Bomb from blog.craftzine.com

Yarn bombs that is.

It’s only 23 days to International Yarn Bombing Day – do you have your arsenal ready?

What is a yarn bomb, you ask?

It’s where a regular person (or kinda regular person) prettifies the neighborhood by adding a bit of yarn here and there!

Yarn Bomber in action - she looks a wee bit sinister?

Yarn Bomber in action – Does she look even a wee bit sinister?

It’s a form of urban art (AKA graffiti). It’s also referred to as guerilla knitting.

Is this the most fun you’ve ever heard of?

Alethea and the knitted sign post

Alethea and the knitted sign post

Yarn bombing has been slowly creeping into my life. My first experience with it was on 4th street in Berkeley last summer.  I saw this pole adorned with knitting – I loved it and had a photo taken of me and the pole. Together.

I have yet to see a whole covered tree, but people are doing it – look!

Knit!

Knit!

Crochet!

Crochet!

knobbly knitting
knobbly knitting

I was going to just whip out a post telling y’all about the yarn bombing thing, and then I began to research and junk. Before you know it I had detectived a bunch of information about yarn bombing. (And this post is taking forever to write!)

1. Yarn Bombing has been around for more than 7 years – so I’m late to the party (again)

2. Lots of people knew about it before me (see #1)

3. Lots of people have blogged about it (see below)

4. It’s international (that makes it cool)

5. It’s illegal (that makes it cooler)

6. There is an international yarn bomb day and people cover things with yarn by knitting or crocheting something to fit over it. (Put it on your calendar – June 11th)

7. I want to do this! (see below again)

8. Don’t tell the Yarn Police (please)

Look!

Snake

Snake

Rail

Rail

roses

roses

sheep (Ireland)

sheep (Ireland)

party hats

party hats

bus, of course

bus, of course

So then the universe or someone invented Pintrest, and it was good.

So, there I discovered a whole world of things to look at including some yarn bombing photos. So then I had to make a Yarn Bomb board. Of course I did. Go see it!

So, while I’m a little late to the yarn party, other’s have been having a blast. Here are some blogs and articles about it:

Bay area legend: http://streetcolor.wordpress.com/

Canadian Crafty chick:  http://craftzillaconquerstheworld.blogspot.com/2012/03/yarn-bombing.html

Author of the book – eponymous and definitive: http://yarnbombing.com/

Oakland Museum brings yarn bombing to the museum and asks the question, “What’s the distinction between street art and fine art? How is art different from craft? Who decides? “: http://museumca.org/theoaklandstandard/yarn-bombing-omca

There’s even a facebook page (groan): https://www.facebook.com/yarnbombing

meter

meter

plant pockets from Heather Champ

plant pockets from Heather Champ

My favorites are the parking meter covers and Heather Champ’s plant pockets - Click! here for a nice plant pocket knitting tutorial and her lovely photos – you must see them! I’m going to bomb my own yard with those little babies!

the humble beginnings of my yarn bomb

the humble beginnings of my yarn bomb

For the big day, I’m starting small. This little gem is going to cover the stop sign post for my street (I think).

And last but not least, go to this blog and read Christina Lowry’s wonderful blog post about knitting, 10 Things I Have Learnt About knitting. It will warm your tiny (guerilla knitting) heart.

OK – really last and, yes, least. Pintrest has this whole invitation thingy going. Don’t be fooled – you don’t have to have a facebook or twitter to join. Just persevere with the signup until they ask for your email address.  You do have to have an invitation to join (sneaky buggers), but send me an email and I’ll invite the first ten of you who ask me. My email is maverickquilts (at) gmail (dot) com.


Art = LOVE

Detail of Yarn Monster, by Erica Sirotich; 2012

Detail of Yarn Monster, by Erica Sirotich; 2012

I am in LOVE!

It’s only happened a few times in my life – when I come across an artist whose work really blows me away — and that happened yesterday!

I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco, and, you know, wandered around, looked at all the booths, explored the stores in Japantown’s mall, and ate meat on a stick – yum!

Then I went into a big building that had an Atrist’s Village set up. Each vendor had a table with their art on display. Everything was super cool, I have to say! (The venue is a new three-story store called the New People Building, and you can go and see it next weekend, April 21 & 22. But no Erica that weekend. Boo, but see other options, below.)

And that’s where I fell in love with the most wonderful, whimsical, clever, intriguing prints I had ever seen!

detail of Yarn Monster, by Erica Sirotich; 2012

detail of Yarn Monster, by Erica Sirotich; 2012

They are the work of young and darling artist, Erica Sirotich.

This is my book letterpress, by Erica Sirotich

This is my book letterpress, by Erica Sirotich

Erica was selling many of her prints, cards, stamps, and letterpress art.

You have to believe me, there is something really special and exciting about this work.

I had the opportunity to talk to Erica a little bit, and I learned that she uses all archival inks and papers, as well as archival quality printing processes. She says that she draws the images, inks them, transfers them into the computer and then colors them in photoshop. Then she uses fine giclee printing processes to get archival-quality results.

Erica’s has sweet, creative drawings for children and children’s rooms. If you’re looking for something special for a child, she will personalize it especially for you.

She will also make personalized wedding or party invitations. You can see examples this work on her website.

And you won’t believe how reasonable the prices are!

Shrimp shadow detail, by Erica Sirotich

Shrimp shadow detail, by Erica Sirotich

Look at these Vikings riding a whale with their dog (who has a Viking hat), are you kidding! I’m in love.

While she creates many of the illustrations for children, there are also plenty of images made for a more mature audience. It is this work that makes me feel like a grown up child. Even with my adult experiences and foibles, the wit and whimsy of the work brings me to a sweeter, more curious, and absolutely delighted version of myself. I know there are many of you who know just what I mean and how rare it is to waken the little big girl inside of us. I find myself wanting to explore all of the details in the work, from the looks on the faces, through all of the little nuances and relationships of the characters, and to the delicacy of colors and designs.

Shrimp Shadow, by Erica Sirotich

Shrimp Shadow, by Erica Sirotich

Her Pajama-clad Vikings riding on the whale in this print are fabulous! My friend was lucky enough to get one of these as a gift for a friend – I regret not getting one for me!

I’m giving you some great links to see much of Erica’s work – you have to go and see these links. Click on ALL of these sites to see EVERYTHING! I have spoken!

Click here for Erica’s delightful website.

Click here for Erica’s lovely blog.

To see a different set of Erica’s work check out dribbble.com (and see more of Yarn Monster!).

Her work can also be found at the Collector Art Shop in Berkeley, California (Which I am adding to my Places I Must Go To ASAP list now that I’ve seen the website. It looks really great!).

Cuddlefishpress card

Cuddlefishpress card


There’s an App for that…

iPhone bird

iPhone bird

Or if you prefer… There’s a nap for that.

I have to admit to being an iPhone addict! My whole life has changed since I got mine over a year ago. I haven’t read a book. I haven’t gone to sleep even one night without playing solitaire – even when I am camping!

It’s appalling!

Check out this cute quilt.  My nephew sent me this link on my birthday in December, and in all the revelry I forgot about it. Thanks, Stewart for the link.

Kudos to the quilter for her fun work!


Design Seeds – a new way to look at color combinations

Square Dinkum, detail

Square Dinkum, detail

Ahh, color!  How do I love thee – let me count the ways..

Orange, green, and white – my favorite colors.

And red and green.

And yellow and white and magenta, and, and, and…

Not surprisingly, I have a lot of favorite colors, and (surprisingly) my favorites actually change over time.

Do you find that, too?

For a while it was pink and white (80s).  Then it was blue and yellow(90s).  Next came RED (zeroes), and so on.

I have joined some blogging rings recently and have been delighted to find some really exciting quilting work out there. (More about that later.) I am reading lots of blogs seeing the cool things others are doing.

One thing that the bloggers are all excited about right now is Design Seeds and their website, which is bringing quilters lots of inspiration. I have to say that I spent a looong time looking at the different palettes last night.

Here is an example of a palette you will find at Design Seeds.

CarrotHues - Image from Design Seeds

CarrotHues - Image from Design Seeds

The whole site is just full of these beautiful images along with the color swatches that are in the photo, and it is like eating dessert to look through all of them and devour the beauty.

I learned two important things from my exploration.

The first revelation is that what I love about color is not the actual color - not a single, individual color or even favorite pairs of colors – but the relationship that one color has with another and the conversation that takes place between multiple colors. For instance, I love green and I love orange, but the way each particular green and orange relate is different. Some combinations are exciting and intriguing, while others might not give me the same emotional charge. That is a new thought for me – I always thought I just loved color. Now I see that it is a combination of a visceral response to color and the mental play that occurs when looking at how the colors interact that is the attraction to “color”.

In my work I almost always find a medium to large-scale print and use it to direct the rest of my fabric choices. Only then do I begin to design a quilt for the fabrics. I choose how much of the focus fabric I want to see and in what shapes. Then the idea for a quilt begins to germinate.

For Square Dinkum, which is one of the projects in my book, Maverick Quilts, I found the poppy fabric. The deep orange and bright green on the white field sent me into raptures, and I snapped it up. What a joy it was to collect the half-a-million fabrics to go with the fabric. I really wanted to see the poppies in long strips along the sides and standing up correctly along the top and bottom. Creating each square-in-a-square was like opening a present!

Like using a palette like these from Design Seeds, you can use the colors in a beloved fabric to choose the companions it.

Square Dinkum, by Alethea Ballard; 2009

Square Dinkum, by Alethea Ballard; 2009

Design Seeds had several combinations that reminded me of this quilt; take a look.

HarvestHues from Creative Seeds

HarvestHues from Creative Seeds

 Isn’t it fun to see these?

Here is a wonderful palette that has some similar colors, but has a whole different feel.

ColorStalks - image from Design Seeds

ColorStalks - image from Design Seeds

Delicious!

The other thing that I realized in going through all of the palettes was that (for those who know my work – don’t be shocked) I really like grey. I like how grey works with other colors. Especially green.  Look:

Yum!

And this one…

ColorPatina from Design Seeds

ColorPatina from Design Seeds

Lovely!

Stay tuned for more thoughts on colors – soon!

To find Design Seeds, jump over here.


Cool blog post… street art utopia

Cut on the dotted line - image from streetartutopia

Cut on the dotted line - image from streetartutopia

Well, dear readers, sometimes I find something that I really like that I want to share with you.  I keep finding cool imagery of street art, and it really intrigues me. Here is a link to a collection of 106 interesting photos.  http://www.streetartutopia.com/?p=2014

I love the feeling of spontaneity and whimsy in many of these images.

I hope you like them, too

.

The flood - image from streetartutopia

The flood - image from streetartutopia

lego cornerstone -  image from streetartutopia

lego cornerstone - image from streetartutopia

washing line - image from streetartutopia

washing line - image from streetartutopia


Volkswagen Bug Quilt Update – Cool Applique Patterns Alert!

Barbie's Bug - pattern by BJ Designs

Barbie's Bug - pattern by BJ Designs

You asked for it… you got it.

I have been getting requests for information about my teacher’s pet’s Volkswagen Bug quilt. In fact, I get about a query a day about it on the blog. IN FACT, her quilt gets so many views that I am beginning to suspect that people like Chris MORE THAN they like ME! I hung it in the Quirkology of Quilts exhibit – so go there and see it, why don’t you!?!

OK, enough already!  I will tell you right here and right now!

Actually I had to do a little detective work to find the pattern. (I would have sooo been a detective if my career as a fashion model/teacher my hadn’t worked out). It turns out that it is from BJ Designs and Patterns out of West Des Moines, Iowa.

Morely J Moose III - Pattern from BJ Designs

Morely J Moose III - Pattern from BJ Designs

My friend and student Chris purchased the bug pattern and the moose pattern (left) at Ladybug’s Quilts, in Manteca California. You can visit them on the web at http://www.ladybugsquilts.com/.  Their website is really nice with cool links to quilting resources and a big list of charity opportunities! For those of you wondering how and or where to give time/fabric/quilts to charity, this site is a wonderful resource.

I haven’t had a chance to get by the store yet, but I am adding it to my list of quilting destinations.

I talked to Sherry at Ladybug’s Quilts and she welcomes you to come by or to contact her about the BJ Designs patterns that she carries.

For those of you who love the Dream Chairs, I think you are going to love Barbara Jones’s work from BJ Designs. I detectived out her website which is, “Your place to go for original fabric art and patterns.”

Boot Scootin' - pattern by BJ Designs

Boot Scootin' - pattern by BJ Designs

I was so excited to go to her website and to see the great applique quilts she has designed. Her quilts have wonderful fabrics and great colors. Her borders are right up my alley, mismatched, curvy, or quirky. I especially love her bold designs and her fun and creative approach. Just the right amount of whimsy for me!

I followed up the website visit with a chat with Barbara. It was lovely, and we got to talk shop about being in the “business.”

As she says on her website, “Her desire is to create patterns for fabric art that can be easily read and implemented by an intermediate-level quilter.”

For a look at all of her different patterns, you can visit her at http://bjdesignsandpatterns.com/index.html.  She has animal patterns and “other” patterns.  Her business is wholesale, so she only sells to fabric stores, but she has a list of stores that carry her work organized by state. (Click here BJ Designs by State) If you don’t have a store near you, I bet you could get your local store to order you up a passel of cool BJ Designs patterns.

Happy sewing!

Gotta' Love my Bus - pattern from BJ Designs

Gotta' Love my Bus - pattern from BJ Designs

 I love this bus quilt!


Marvelous Margaret strikes again!

Marvelous Margaret Linderman

Marvelous Margaret Linderman

I am supposed to be cleaning my sewing room, so I will blog instead!  It is much more fun…

Yesterday I went to a really fun class held at Woodengate Quilts with inspiring teacher and friend Margaret Linderman.

We made napkins in two different styles.  Of course, being the nutball I am, I had to pre-cut all my fabrics and then proceed to make two thousand and two napkins.  They look great!

There were square napkins with mitered corners…

Square napkins

Square napkins

Darling contrast fabrics

Darling contrast fabrics

Picnic, anyone?

Picnic, anyone?

I might have gone a little overboard!

How cute are these?

How cute are these?

The mitered corners are really easy to do and the project is really fabric-friendly.  A half yard of the inside fabric and 5/8 yard of the outside makes two napkins.  The directions can be found in several sources, but I know that another wonderful teacher, Laura Nownes, has pictorial directions on her blog. You can find them at: http://seehowwesew.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/ahh-sweet-spring/

Of course, Margaret had a special project up her sleeve.  She showed us how to make these cool, sort-of-half-circle-two-sided napkins…

Half circle napkin

Half circle napkin

Pretty contrast fabric and darling stitching

Pretty contrast fabric and darling stitching

You stitch and flip and topstitch and then…

Folds up into little trees!

Folds up into little trees!

They fold all cleverly up into little trees. I just love them. I made four napkins using this Art Gallery fabric to give as a gift to a special friend. They also look good in Christmas fabrics – just like little Christmas trees.

Between you and me, I don’t actually need to take a class, but the beauty of doing so is that you actually get your work done. You also see friends, get out of the house, and you always learn new things from your fellow students. One of the other students showed us how to use a threaded needle to pull out the corners; it works really well.

Besides all that, any chance to spend time with an amazing teacher like Margaret is just golden. Get out there and take a class! It’s fun!

Being a person who has to make absolutely everything out of fabric, I try to make gifts out of fabric for my friends and family.  Often I get a project organized but then get too busy to make them and end up not having gifts for anyone. Oops! Now I have the gift for this year organized, I will be making them for everyone I know… if they are lucky!

Special note for you blog subscribers: What do you think of my photos from the new “photo booth,” my bathtub?  Better color, eh?  No yellow wall in there!


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