Happy Blog Year to Me

My blog just entered its 5th year, and I’m celebrating by linking to some blogs written by my blog-world friends.

First, two of my blog friends have nominated my blog for another Liebster Award.  This award was started by a blog called The Global Aussie as a way for people to find new blogs.  I have no idea how many times it’s gone around the world, but the Global Aussie keeps issuing new “rules” each year to keep it going.

I was nominated by both my friend Graciela, at Chela’s Colchas y Mas, and by another friend, Tierney, at Tierney Creates.  Both of them post on a variety of subjects, quilting and otherwise.  I enjoy them and would nominate them back if I could, but of course that would not be passing along the award.  So, I recommend checking out their blogs at the links above.  As an incentive, here’s a favorite picture recently posted by Tierney on her blog.  Isn’t it fantastic?

Photo by Tierney at TierneyCreates.com

I’ll answer a few of this year’s suggested questions in a minute, for those of you who may be curious about me.  But first, here are some blogs I enjoy and can recommend to you.  They are, therefore, my nominations for the Liebster Award.  I’m trying to get this out of one circle of friends who all read each others’ blogs so you can see something new.

  1. I enjoy Stephanie’s posts at My Imperfect Life.  She has a pointy sense of humor, and we have Texas in common, even though hers is an Aggie household (eek!). Oh yes, and she blogs about quilts, too.

    Here is one of Stephanie’s quilts. Photo courtesy of Stephanie at My Imperfect Life

  2. I also enjoy Crafting in the 21st Century, written by a couple who, like my husband and me, are a sewist and a woodworker.  I knew I had to follow them when they encased a bunch of fire ants in resin to make a blank for turning a pen. They’re obviously as crazy as we are.  In a good way 🙂

OK, here are my responses to a few of this year’s Liebster Award questions:

  1. Out of all the countries you have visited, which one did you like the most?  Canada.  The Canadians are mostly very sane, and they have some beautiful scenery.
  2. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?  Woo!  People who know me would say this is quite a contest.  But I think probably the winner would be working as a health care provider in a male maximum security prison.
  3. What/Who inspires you to travel this world?  The opportunity to learn something new every day!

And that’s it!  Check out the blogs who nominated me, and the blogs I’ve nominated. Spread the love!

 

 

Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild Show, Part 2

There has been so much going on (that’s good!) I haven’t had a chance to post the rest of my favorites from my local guild show.  Here are a few more of them.

Please note that this is a local show, so most of the quilts were made from patterns or workshops. I’ll list the source where I have it.

Jen Kingwell qult

Jen Kingwell design beautifully done by Susan Roper

traditional qult

Traditional design made “to use up scraps”

Our guild has a very active group making Quilts of Valor for men and women who have served in the military. The next two were made for that program.

Quilts of Valor

Inspired by a design on the Alycia Quilts blog

Illusions quilt

Design by Jenny Doan for Missouri Star Quilt Company

modern paper piecing

Design from the book Modern Paper Piecing was both pieced and quilted by Linda

Amish modern quilt

Debby designed and made this quilt after a study of Amish quilts

rainbow quilt

Quilt is based on a Mind the Gap design by Moda. Karen cleverly named it after her “mistake” in placing the green strips!

Gray quilt

Christeen designed this quilt herself, and I think the name should get a humor award!

Modern log cabin quilt

Betty designed and made this quilt for a log cabin challenge

Detail view. Pattern is by Kathy Wells.

From a pattern by Kathy Wells

I’m lucky to live near so many talented quilters!

Where Did You Wear It?

A couple of years ago I made a quilt based on the little triangle codes found on plants at my local nursery.  It sank without a trace when I entered it in a show.

But the idea stayed with me, and earlier this year, when I wanted to make a quilt with social significance, I decided on a QR code.

Since my “day job” involves a lot of treating conditions that condoms might have prevented, I wanted to make a quilt to promote condom use. It’s what we like to call “safer sex”. Now don’t get all huffy on me; sex is a fact of life.

When I went looking for a condom-related QR code, I found this one developed by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.

Where Did You Wear It campaign

The folks at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands were gracious enough to allow me to use their QR code

Back in 2012 they put this QR code on all their condoms in a campaign called “Where Did You Wear It?”. Those who scan the code are taken to a website where they can put a pin in a map to show their geographic location–where they wore the condom!

The site also gives some important facts about condom use. The point of their campaign, and my point in making this quilt for show, is to normalize, encourage, and promote the use of condoms when needed.

It turns out QR codes are robust little devils, so I was able to re-color it and develop a lively quilt design with the use of my trusty Electric Quilt program:

Where Did You Wear It campaign

Quilt Design from the “Where Did You Wear It?” QR code

Making this was quite a challenge!  At each step I kept scanning it to be sure it took me to the “Where Did You Wear It?” site.  (You can download any of several QR code scanners to your smart phone or iPad. I used QMark.)

Asheville Quilt Show

The QR Code quilt, ready for its first show. It will the in the Asheville Quilt Show soon!

When I discussed the project with my wonderful son-in-law, he helped me turn my blog address into a QR code, too!  That’s this blog address you see in the TINY QR code making up one block toward the bottom right of the quilt. Scanning it brings you to this post.

Please help me to encourage condom use when appropriate by sharing this post.

Crunchy Numbers

The WordPress people send me two statistical reports a year regarding my blog, and of course I can look at statistics on my administrative page at any time. I don’t stress it or check very often, so I was quite surprised when the recent report from WordPress said people from 61 different countries viewed my blog in 2015!

This picture of Iceland is from NordicFoodFestival.org

This picture of Iceland is from NordicFoodFestival.org

Most of the countries were predictable: the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. But there were views from every continent except Antarctica! The place I got the biggest kick out of was Iceland 🙂

This improvised log cabin block, which was made into a pillow, appears to have been the most viewed picture on the site.

improvised log cabin block

improvised log cabin block

Jo Glover, big stitch quilting

Jo Glover

And my most popular post was about Jo Glover, who first developed Big Stitch quilting but doesn’t always get enough credit now that everybody does it. You can find that post HERE if you missed it.

Another popular topic was my ongoing modern sampler quilt, and there’ll be much more about that coming up soon.  A few of those blocks are shown below.

The stats show my readership growing steadily over the 2-1/2 years I’ve been blogging. The growth is slow, but I’m blogging for fun (and I’ve kept my day job!) so that’s just fine. I’ve made some new friends, which is even better.

As always, I’m amazed by the power of the internet. I’ll skip the chance to philosophize about that and just wish anyone who reads this a very happy 2016!

What is a Liebster award?

liebsteraward-roses-tag_sewing1Turns out the Liebster award is a tag game for helping readers discover new and under-read blogs.  Wanda over at Wanda’s Life Sampler tagged me.  So thanks to Wanda, and I’ll be passing it on to some other bloggers. You can check them out at the end of this post.

Here are my answers to Wanda’s questions, but I changed some of them! The next folks in the chain might change them, too…

1. What one thing do you believe with your whole being?

It’s important to learn something new every day.  It may be positive or negative, but all knowledge is useful eventually.

Storm at Sea

I learned to make a sample block before cutting out the whole quilt!

2. What have you made lately?

I’m glad you asked that question!  This month’s finish is the top for a “Black and White and Red All Over” quilt for which I’ve been collecting fabrics for some time.

Lemon Pepper quilt pattern

This was made from a pattern called “Lemon Pepper”, but of course mine is more red pepper!

I also sent 5 donation quilts to the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House.  Three were finished this month, 2 previously.  Here are some of them:

3. Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or neither?

Presently neither.  Though I do miss having a cat right in the middle of every project and cat hair everywhere 😉cat

4. Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?

Retired from my “day job” and in my quilt studio full time!

5. Favorite dessert?

German Chocolate Cake!!!!

6. What is one thing you wish you were better at?

Always saying the right thing.

7. Describe your Dream Vacation?

The next one!  But I did recently have a great trip with my husband to Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

View from Clingman's Dome

View from Clingman’s Dome

8. Why do you blog?

To promote modern quilting, and North Carolina quilters in particular.  If you’re a North Carolina quilter and I haven’t featured your work yet, please contact me!

9. Your best sewing/quilting advice?

Do what you enjoy.  I used to make all my own clothes, but then I figured out it’s a lot easier to get a quilt to fit a bed than to get a garment to fit my frame!

10. What else is new?

Here’s a picture of Pat with her FINISHED table runner, started in a class I taught recently!

Improv table runner

Pat finished her runner in time to give it as a gift

And here are some bloggers I’m passing the “Liebster Award” on to.  I think you might enjoy them!

My Imperfect Life

The Accidental Hayseed

KnitNKwilt

Sandi Suggs: Finding Her Way to Modern

Sandi’s work was featured in a special display at AQS-Chattanooga, and I was lucky enough to get to interview her. I took some pictures, and if you want to see more of her work, check the links at the bottom of this post.

modern quilt, Sandi Suggs

Sandi designed this nontraditional arrangement of split 9-patch blocks

While I was waiting to interview Sandi, I heard her tell someone, “Any time I make a quilt, I do it to learn something.” My sentiments exactly!

modern quilt, Sandi Suggs

Sandi made this quilt from a pattern, adding modern colors to the design

Sandi started quilting over 25 years ago, using cereal box templates because rotary cutters weren’t yet used for quilting. She still uses templates when appropriate, but a lot of things have changed!  For one thing, she now uses freezer paper when she needs templates so she can cut several layers of fabric at once.

Quilt as You Go quilt

Sandi designed and made this quilt using her own quilt-as-you-go technique

Sandi teaches several classes, including her own version of Quilt As You Go. (I’m going to keep an eye on her website because I’d like to take that class if she teaches it anywhere near me 🙂 )

The AQS exhibit included both quilts Sandi designed herself and quilts she has made from designs by others.  This was a round robin quilt; Sandi made the final arrangement of sections and did the quilting:

modern quilt

Round Robin quilt by Sandi Suggs and friends.  Look at Sandi’s quilting!

A couple of hints from Sandi: she likes to use the multi-stitch zigzag (stitch #4 on Bernina machines) in her quilting.  She starches all her fabrics before cutting to make them smoother and less likely to fray.  She says starching also equalizes the weight of the various fabrics.  She likes to wash her quilts after they are finished to achieve a crinkly look that emphasizes the quilting.

Sandi Suggs modern quilt

Sandi does her own quilting on her home machine. This quilt is called “Roy G. Biv”

Sandi also has her own way to successfully select fabrics for a mystery quilt!  I’ve only done one mystery quilt and was unhappy with the result, so I asked her about it.  She showed the quilt below, designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr as a mystery quilt, and told me how she selected her fabrics.

Sandy Suggs

Mystery quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr demonstrates Sandi’s successful fabric selection

Sandi looked at the fabric requirements for the quilt and figured the largest fabric requirement was for the background.  Once she had chosen gray for the background, she decided she would need bright fabrics to contrast with it.  I think her decisions were very successful!

You can find Sandi’s blog at: www.FrogPondStudio.blogspot.com

She has many more pictures of her quilts there, including these five posts that show all her quilts from the AQS exhibit:

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice, Two

Finding My Voice, Three

Finding My Voice, Four

Finding My Voice, Final

 

Anniversary!

Zippy Quilts is now two years old! I’m still having fun, so I’m signing up for another two years.
Here are a few pictures of projects from the past two years and links to popular posts:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

This is “Rising Star”, a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance “Twenty” contest back in 2013.  It’s still one of my favorite quilts, which is why it’s still featured on the blog’s header.

Here is a quilt I made for Modern Quilts Unlimited, where they did especially beautiful photos of it.

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Readers seem especially to have enjoyed posts with pictures from various quilt shows, and I know I appreciate those posts when others do them for shows I can’t attend.  Here are links to a few of those:

Here’s a picture from the post on QuiltCon Fashionistas, which was popular:

QuiltCon Fashionista

Julia of the Houston MQG

And here’s one from the post on AQS Charlotte, where I found the talented Jean Larson and her tessellation quilts:

modern quilt AQS

This quilt by Jean Larson won the Original Design award at AQS-Charlotte

Finally, here’s one from the post on the Vermont Quilt Festival, one of my all-time favorite shows:

pieced quilt

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca–my FAVORITE!

In the coming year, I’m planning to update the blog, of course.  I’ll first revise my “About” page, then get to work on adding a gallery.  Please stay tuned!  I appreciate your comments.

Meet Lee Monroe of May Chappell Patterns

Images for this post are the property of Lee Chappell Monroe, May Chappell and used with permission.

Lee Monroe

Lee Chappell Monroe

Lee is a North Carolina quilter, designer, and teacher who came to my attention through her blog, which is titled May Chappell. Like a lot of other people, I initially thought May Chappell must be her name. Here’s her explanation of where the name of the blog actually came from:

Why May Chappell? There are always loads of questions about why the company is May Chappell and not Lee Chappell Monroe. You can read all about it here. The short version is that it is named for an awesome lady, my great grandmother.
Lee designs quilt patterns and sells them through quilt shops.  She went to quilt market for the first time last year, hoping to give her patterns a wider audience.  In addition to quilts, she designs pouches and “loves all things fabric”.  Like many modern quilt designers, she is trained as a graphic artist.  Here’s one of her quilt patterns:

May Chappell quilt

All Strung Up, a May Chappell design

And here are a few questions Lee was kind enough to answer for me, as well as pictures of more of her patterns:
tote bag pattern

Here’s a tote bag Lee designed to use mini-charm squares

Q:  Where do you think the quilting field is going?

A: This is a toughie. I usually see trends in the questions that I get from my students. I’ve had a lot of students lately that are self taught and they’re interested in learning more about precision. I’m a big believer that there is more than one right way to do things in quilting, but there sure are some wrong ways!
Q: What about your personal quilting future?
A: I have new patterns coming for Spring Market that I’m really excited about. I’m a terrible secret keeper so I usually want to put out the design right as I draw it!
Q: I know you took your patterns to quilt market, but where could I buy them?  I don’t see them on your website [Note: They ARE on her website, at least now.  Silly me 😉 ]

Eye Candy quilt

Eye Candy, one of Lee’s quilt patterns

Designer star quilt

Lee’s Designer Star Quilt. If you go to her website/shop you can see a picture of the whole thing.

A:  I love designing patterns and the printed patterns are available through local quilt shops. Because I also teach quilting at local shops, I’m a huge advocate for supporting local! Quilt shops are a huge resource for the sewing and quilting community. If your shop doesn’t have my patterns, they’re available through the distributors. You can also purchase PDF patterns through my website here. I teach all over North Carolina and I’m starting to expand out across the country. Teaching is my favorite part of my job; I’m passionate about quilting and I love sharing that. You can see my teaching schedule on my website, too.

Q: Show us something pretty you’ve made lately!
A: This is a table runner I made for my brother using my Blue Ridge pattern.
table runner quilt

Table runner by Lee Monroe

This post ran longer than usual, but that’s because I just HAD to explain a little about why Lee Monroe has a blog named May Chappell 🙂

Year End Review

For better or worse, I published goals at the beginning of the year, so here’s the review of my progress:
I met all the goals! (Does that mean I didn’t set them high enough?) I retreated with my buddies THREE times instead of just two! I attended 3 big national shows as well as 2 local ones (all were excellent). I took a couple of fun and useful classes, one of which I still need to write up here so you’ll know about it. I submitted several quilts to shows/contests and 3 were accepted. The one I donated to the Quilt Alliance even won something, and sold for $300 to benefit the Quilt Alliance!  And I had lots of fun, which was really the point of it all.

Here are pictures of a few of my projects from the second half of the year. The pix of projects from the first half of the year are in this post.

Spring Sun, a design by me, using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern!

Spring Sun, a design by me, using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern!  It took about 2 years, but it’s now DONE.

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Michael Miller challenge quilt

Packet of Posy Seeds, done for the Michael Miller spring challenge

modern quilt

Zippy Star I, which sold at the Asheville Quilt Show in September.  This was my “practice piece” for the MQU quilt shown above.

Improvisational quilt

Donation quilt for Ronald McDonald House.  I’m going to work more on using up orphan blocks next year.

And, despite the risk, here’s what I plan for the coming year:

1.  I’ll retreat with my buddies at least twice, probably 3 times again!

2.  I’ll attend one big national quilt show, maybe two.  I’ll attend at least one local show.

3.  I will limit much more strictly the shows and challenges I enter.  It takes too much time and effort that could be spent on making what I want to make 🙂

4.  I’ll continue to make donation quilts, including one for the Quilt Alliance.  Please consider making one for the Quilt Alliance yourself.  You can read about their mission here.  Click on “2015 Quilt Contest” to learn about this year’s challenge.

5.  I’ll continue my blog, and I think I’ll put up instructions for a few easy donation quilts just in case somebody is looking for ideas.

What’s coming up for you?

5 Favorites of 2014

1. Favorite quilt show I attended: Vermont Quilt Festival.  You can see some quilts from it here and here.  And here again is a detail of one of my favorites:

big stitch quilting

Detail of Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca, at Vermont Quilt Festival 2014

2. Favorite thing about blogging: Meeting new friends, both in person and online.  Read about a couple of them here and here, if you like.
3. Favorite modern quilt trend: some textures and low-volume prints (those that show more background, having the prints smaller and farther apart)  to get us away from all solids, all the time.  Some of my favorites include these from Carolyn Friedlander:

and these from Alison Glass:Alison

4. Favorite new (to me) quilt tool: Frixion pen.  It comes in lots of colors and erases when you iron over the markings.  Only drawback I’ve found is that you can’t see the mark on dark fabric.  For that I still love my chaco liner with yellow chalk.  Show below:  chaco liners on left, frixion pens on right.

5.  Favorite lesson learned:  I’d rather see my designs in print than at quilt shows.  Yes, I entered several shows and contests, and I won something.  But my favorite quilt of the year (from those I made) was the one that was published in Modern Quilts Unlimited.  So here is a picture of it again.Zippy Star 2

And what were your favorites of the year?