Monday, May 18, 2015

Great Blowout Sale at Winter Creek Cloth

Dana from Winter Creek Cloth is having a huge blowout sale this week. I am a big fan of stores that offer discounts, reward points that apply to future purchases, ongoing sales, and end of bolt discounts. I am even a bigger fan of stores that make it easy for me to know about those sales and specials, by providing them with my e-mail address. Then the announcement comes right into my e-mail box. 


Each are full yard bundles. That's how much I loved these fabrics!!



Vignette - Orchid Colorway


Vignette - Aqua Colorway

I promise I will be writing my update and review of 30 stores that help fabric buyers with great sales in about 2 weeks, (around the first week of June), and will continue to update it biannually. Also with that will be the updated list of sources and stores for out-of-print fabrics.

I was happy to find Winter Creek Cloth. A few weeks ago Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts posted about this fabric line, Vignette by Laura Gunn. The colors and the prints were unique, modern with just the right touch of femininity for us. My husband loved them too, yay!! I knew I would find a pattern and use it. I had a hard time finding the entire line in many of my go-to online fabric shops.

I called Michael Miller Fabrics and they suggested I contact Winter Creek Cloth. Luckily, Dana the owner, had them at a great price. And as I am revising my online and brick and mortar shops that offer good deals, I asked her discounts she offers her customers, and I was impressed.



Here are the details of this great sale;

5-day Inventory Blowout Sale Monday, May 18, through Friday, May 22 

Fabrics are on sale at 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% off
Patterns are at 25% off.
Holiday fabrics are at 50% off.
Pre-cuts and bundles are at 30% off.
And they have a bits and pieces category.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Advice and Tech Help For New Bloggers Blog Hop 2015

Last spring I participated in The Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger's Blog Hop, sponsored by Plum & June.  The experience was priceless for me. I met wonderful quilt bloggers from around the world, that became colleagues and friends. I feel blessed to have met them, and continue to learn, grow, laugh, support, and share with them. 

Thank you to this year's hosts, who I was lucky to meet in last years Advice for New Bloggers Blog Hop; Yvonne@Quilting JetGirl, Stephanie & Michelle@ Late Night QuilterCheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs, and TerriAnn @ Childlike Fascination. Check out their blogs and be prepared to be wowed!!

I have 11 suggestions that I learned along the way, as well as some great advice from several other bloggers (alum) who participated in last year's New Blogger's Blog Hop, before 2014. Their blogs are full of inspiration and beautiful quilty items. Check them out too.

1. Make your photos extra large. Readers love to see big photos that are high resolution and artistic.







2. Consider taking a photography class. Before I began blogging, all I knew was "point and shoot." I learned some simple techniques, which were invaluable for making my blog look better. And, take your camera everywhere. (Thank you Christa@Christaquilts).








3. Because photos can sometimes be more important than text in quilt blogging, be sure that your text supports your photos, and your photos and illustrations support your text. Re-read some of your favorite picture books for great examples. 

4. Write in your own voice. (Another great Christaism from Christa@Christaquilts). If you're not sure what that is, you need to figure that out. I've been a professional author/writer for 15 years. BUT even with those experiences, I had to figure out how to stay true to my voice within this new platform; as a quilt blogger. 

I began by reading over 200 quilt blogs. I wrote practice posts. I didn't publish in the blogosphere until my gut felt they "rang true." You will know it, when you find it. I promise. And you probably won't have to read 200 blogs to discover your incredible and unique voice.

5. Try to keep your posts informational, upbeat and not too long, (unlike this post). If it feels too long, break it up into a series with parts; 1,2,3,4, etc. Readers today have so much information to read and absorb. I can't provide a recommend a word count, but.... 

Try this exercise; Read some blogs. Notice how long your attention span lasts. When you find one that is the length you feel works, copy and paste it into a word document. Then highlight all the text, and use the word count tool. Use that number as your benchmark average. Some days your posts will require more words, some days less, and that's okay too. There are no quilt blogging police.

6. I have broken the following rule, and sometimes it's okay to break your own rules. Don't apologize, from Molli Sparkles, advice to new bloggers. If your photos aren't magazine perfect on some days, it's fine. For example, it was a bad winter where we live this past year, and it was hard to get a good photo in our tiny condo. I've had a few major orthopedic surgeries, and I didn't want to risk slipping in the snow and ice, but I had to "make it work." Remember we're blogging about quilts here, it's not emergency room work. 




This was the only angle I could photograph this quilt with decent lighting. 




I couldn't get this photo with the correct lighting no matter how many times I tried inside, without building or purchasing some type of small light shed.

7. Link and give credit to others. If you were inspired by someone else's work, link back to them. They will be flattered, and you will feel good about yourself.

8. Don't be a no reply blogger. I learned this from  Molli Sparkles. I reply to all comments by e-mail.Then I answer questions in the comment box, and via e-mail. One exception - if I have a large response during a give-a-way. I make every effort to e-mail everyone, but sometimes it's hard to write back to 200+ e-mails. 

If the winner of a give-a-way is a no reply blogger, I try my best to find them. After a week, I have to pick another winner. If you do offer give-a-ways, follow-up with the winner to make sure they received their prize. 

In one instance, the sponsor of a give-a-way had a family emergency and had to go out of town immediately. The prize went out a week late. Fortunately, the winner and I were in e-mail contact, so I gave her the heads up, and it wasn't a problem. 

9. Write about what you know about, and what you love. Another Mollism. I never write about paper piecing, or review quilting books or patterns that use paper-piecing. I am a dyslexic, lefty, which makes it a difficult and frustrating process for me. (Not everyone). I stick to machine piecing and hand applique, and leave the paper piecing to those who are in love with it, and do it so well. There's something in quilting for everyone. 

10. Connect and participate with other quilt bloggers. Thank you Jess@Elven Garden. I belong to a guild an hour away from our home. And I participate with a small group of women who I have worked side-by-side with for over four years at Pins and Needles in Mt. Kisco, NY. Deb and Lisa, (25+ years of teaching experience), provide help, support and suggestions during our Friday morning clinics. As much as I love them, they are not bloggers. 

That said, quilt blog world was an enigma to me when I began two years ago. Leave comments for bloggers whose work you admire. If you feel uncomfortable leaving questions in the comments box, send them via e-mail.  Thank them. Be positive, because quilt blog world is a friendly and positive place, and people really like to keep it that way. 

Participate in linky parties and quilt-a-longs. Linky parties are easy and don't take a lot of time. Be sure to comment on at least three other people's posted links. Before the New Blogger's Blog Hop last year, I didn't know what a linky party was. Fortunately, a lot of kind bloggers responded to me and explained how they work and how it's a good way to learn, meet and be inspired by other quilters. You will meet many others who are like minded.

11.  I don't follow this as well as I should. Try your best to be consistent, (Thanks again, Jess@Elven Garden). I used to post every Monday and Thursday. 

Several months after I began blogging, my part-time job outside my home picked up, and I received more paid writing assignments from Make Modern, a new quilt e-zine from Australia. I am trying to get back on a regular schedule and set up posts in advance. But, as I said before, we are quilt bloggers, not emergency room doctors and nurses, and I'm not going to berate myself for increasing our family income. Priorities and life balance rule here.

A great example. We don't have kids at home anymore, and a lot of quilt bloggers do. God Bless you working moms because I am in awe of you all. You know where your priorities are, and so many of you never cease to amaze me at how you juggle it all. Quilting, blogging, designing and taking care of all your kiddos, husbands, pets and your home. I promise, If you go for 10 days without a post, the world won't come to an end, and readers will forgive you for it. They will even stick with you. Thank them.

You are about to begin an amazing journey. I wish you all the best of luck. If you have a question, feel free to ask and write me at acbeier71@gmail.com. 

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Most of all, have fun!!

Happy quilt blogging!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2015 Entry

I was so excited to see the hand quilting category in Amy Ellis's Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival. Her blog, Amy's Creative Side has been sponsoring this festival for several years. She runs the festivals during fall and spring quilt market. There are many wonderful online stores and vendors who offer prizes to the winners. 

I finished hand quilting this single size bed quilt in January, 2015. It took about a year to complete. I worked on it off and on.





Hand quilting is not as difficult as most people think. Once I got the hang of it, I really fell in love with it. It puts me in a very zen mood. It does take a long time to do, and I machine quilt most of my quilts. But I always have one on the side to do by hand. 

I like having something to hand sew when we're watching TV, or listening to music. And, although it's a bit cumbersome, it is portable!! I bring it to the pool in the summer, and work on it in the warm sunlight between swimming, reading, and visiting with my friends and neighbors.

The pattern I hand quilted on this piece is called the Bishop's Fan. It's one of my favorite patterns. The curves are very gentle, and it softens a quilt that is pieced using all straight seams or is angular. 



I try to make my stitches as consistent as possible. But this is hand work, and it's not always perfect. The imperfections really do give it a hand made feel. Over the many years I've been hand quilting, my stitch length and spacing has soared - practice really helps.


It's easy to see the fan shape in this photo. I mark the quilt before I begin the sewing using a template bought from a store, and use a number 2 pencil. I wash the quilt when it's finished, and the pencil markings that haven't worn off come right out in the wash. 

I used Prescencia Thread 60 wt., hand quilting thread, which is my favorite. I chose a neutral color that would show the stitches and pattern, but don't scream with color and overshadow the fabrics and distract from the overall pattern of the quilt.

There are many types and brands of "quilting between needles." I mostly use Colonial Needles, number 10. They also make a hybrid needle, which I use too. The eye is bigger, but the shaft of the needle is skinny, so it quilts through the three layers smoothly and easily.


It's easy to see the stitches on the front and back in this photo. I love this backing with the little hearts.

I dedicated it to our cat Emma. She sleeps on it when it's on the couch. We use it too for naps, and sometimes when we watch TV or read.

Check out all the beautiful quilts that other quilters have made. Click this link to link-up up with Amy's Creative Side Bloggers Quilt Festival, Spring 2015. I promise you won't be disappointed. The quilts can be entered into one or two of several categories during May 15 – May 21. You can vote for your favorites beginning on May 22. There are many great entries to inspire and delight you, and you'll enjoy discovering new blogs and quilters.  


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Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quilting WIP Jelly Roll Race

I have three WIP's, but this is the only one that is photographable. That last word might not be an official word, but I'm going to go with it, because I can, and it still sounds okay in the sentence.




Above is 3400 inches of Hoffman Batik Jelly Roll Strips sewn together. The first seam is done, equally two rows. 

Linking up with WIP Freshly Pieced.

Happy Quilting!! And enjoy the week.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Get a Layer Cake, Charm Squares and Jelly Roll Strips Out of a Fat Quarter

I am excited to share with you a little tip I learned. I recently bought a bundle of Aloha Girls Fat Quarters by Fig & Tree for Moda, which I shared in my last post. 




I am still searching for patterns, (and probably will be for a few weeks to come), to use these fabrics for a quilt I want to make for my cousin; a soon-to-be-second-grader, who lives in Chicago. 

This is a typical quandary I often have. Do I purchase pre-cut jelly rolls, layers cakes, charm packs, yardage or some other type of pre-cut? I don't like to waste fabric, and I am very budget conscious. That said, I usually purchase fat quarter bundles or yardage, when I find that, "must have" fabric, but I haven't found that "perfect pattern" for the fabric.

I searched the internet and found these diagrams that are helpful. The first one shows how to efficiently cut yardage into two fat quarters. A fat quarter is usually 18" X 22", so this is an inch shy of a true fat quarter.




This great diagram below, shows how to divide a fat quarter into 2 layer cake squares, (10" X 10"), 4 charm squares, (5" X 5"), and one jelly roll strip, (2.5" X 20" long).






Linking up with Late Night Quilter Tuesday Tips and Tutorials.

Enjoy this tip and the rest of the week!!  Happy Quilting.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Quilting Stash - Aloha Girl

It's always fun to come home and find a package from a fabric shop. I recently received a box from Fabric Shack with a fat quarter bundle of Aloha Girl by Fig Tree & Co.





I really love these bright, festive prints. I bought them with my cousin Hannah in mind. She's now about to finish first grade, and I'd like to make her a single-size bed quilt that she can use through high school and beyond. Like her brother, she still sleeps with the baby quilt I made her long ago, on top of all her covers. How much quilt love is that? More than I can describe.





Her family lives in Chicago, so these bright tropical, Hawaiian fabric patterns will keep her warm during those cold months. I love this whole collection, but these two are my favorite fat quarters. 



I haven't chosen a pattern yet, and am looking through all my books and sketches for inspirations.

If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them, so please add your suggestions in the comment box below.
I am linking up with  Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash.


Monday, April 20, 2015

A New Grown-up Quilt For My Cousin

One of my very special cousins lives in Chicago with her British husband, who makes me laugh in person, or when I read his fb posts. They have a son, Matthew who is in 4th grade, a daughter, Hannah, who is in 2nd grade, another son, Andrew, who just turned 1, and a large poodle, Dixie.

Of course all the children got baby quilts when they were born. Recently we were skyping. Matthew and Hannah spontaneously showed me their quilts, and told me how much they still love them. And they still sleep with them and put them on top of their blankets. Did I get that heartfelt warm and fuzzy feeling? Did I tear up? You bet I did. I never expected this, and I am so happy they are still enjoying them.

I decided that I would like to make each of them a single bed quilt that is age appropriate and larger. They can use the new quilt as they grow up, until they graduate high school,and bring to college if they want.

Today I am asking my readers for their opinion, and I am going to post the two options on The Late Night Quilters fb page too.

I've decided that I am going to use Aloha Girl, by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda Fabrics for Hannah's quilt. But I haven't decided on a pattern yet.

For Matthew's quilt I have two thoughts in mind. The first option is to use Heather Givens Succulents collection, with the Turning Twenty pattern.




Or I will use the Connect Four pattern from Country Girl Modern: 11 Modern-Traditional Quilts from the Junction, by Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken.


I love the simplicity of this quilt. It has a timeless, versatile style. 

So, please comment in the comment box below. Tell me which of the two you would make, and why. Thank you for your thoughts.

On a another note, I still haven't heard from Joycita, the winner of reader appreciation week, and she didn't list her e-mail or link it to her photo box in the comments section of this blog. If I don't hear from her by tomorrow, my husband will pick a random number, and I will announce another winner on this blog, and hopefully reach you by e-mail. Yummy chocolate is the prize.

Happy Quilting!! 
 
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