Friday, June 27, 2014

Essential Guide...It's a Good Thing!

Folks ask me all the time if I'm going to write a new book.  This one isn't all mine, but I wrote a chapter in it and I'm pretty pleased to be a part of a book like this, The Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making.

There are a couple of things I love about this book.  It focuses on technique and the "essentials" and it's a "guide" rather than a recipe for making modern quilts.  There are ten workshops in the book along with sixteen patterns.  The workshops are written by a group of well-respected modern quilt makers. 

My workshop in the book is on The Alternate Grid.  I'm pretty passionate about breaking the traditional grid structure and in my workshop I teach many of the ways I create quilt tops outside of the grid. Breaking free as I like to say.

My quilt in the book is "Burst".  It's a simple, black and white linear quilt with strong, graphic appeal.  It's so me.  

If you think this book is for you, now is the time to snap it up.  The Taunton Store will provide a 20% discount on your order with the code EGQM20.  The code is good from 6/23 - 7/21.  I think you'll love it.

Check out the tour and get the skinny  from the workshop authors. 
6/23 // Chapter 1: Principles of Color // Teacher: Kari Vojtechovsky
6/24 // Chapter 2: Working with Solids // Teacher: Alissa Haight Carlton
6/25 // Chapter 3: Working with Prints // Teacher: Dan Rouse
6/26 // Chapter 4: Improvisational Patchwork // Teacher: Denyse Schmidt
6/27 // Chapter 5: The Alternate Grid // Teacher: Jacquie Gering
6/30 // Chapter 6: Circles and Curves // Teacher: Cheryl Arkison
7/01 // Chapter 7: Paper Piecing // Teacher: Penny Layman
7/02 // Chapter 8: Large-Scale Piecing // Teacher: Heather Jones
7/03 // Chapter 9: Modern Machine Quilting // Teacher: Angela Walters
7/04 // Chapter 10: A Study of Modern Quilts // Teacher: Heather Grant

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It All Comes Full Circle

It all comes full circle

I left Kansas City three years ago and next week I'm heading back.  I don't call it home because right now Chicago is home.  Kansas City will be home again, but it's going to take some time.

When I arrived in Chicago, I was scared.  It was a new place, a huge city, an unfamiliar environment and I didn't know a soul.  My husband, because of his job had a built in circle of colleagues and soon to be friends.  I was alone in my little room with my sewing machine, but not for long.  Before I even moved from Kansas City I received this email:

Hi, I'm Beth, the current president of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.  Sarah let us know that you are moving to Chicago. How exciting!  I've lived here 14 years now and love it.  If I can be of help in any way with your transition, let me know.  I am a stay at home mom for the next year and have some time on my hands.   I know you were in town looking for housing. Do you have an idea of where you will be living yet?  I'm looking forward to meeting you when you get settled.  Again, if I can help in any way, let me know.

When I arrived in the city I received another email from Beth inviting me to lunch with a few other members of the guild.  I said yes and Chicago was no longer a very big lonely place.  I joined the guild and those women were my first friends in the city and though I haven't been a very good member of the guild (or friend) since I work on weekends and we meet on Sunday afternoons, but I've made connections and have been supported by my guild in more ways than one.  I've missed more meetings than I've attended but it doesn't seem to matter.  I've met some amazing folks and I'm grateful to each of them for being a part of my Chicago experience.

Thank goodness our apartment didn't have enough storage space.  I illegally put the giant box that my Bernina 820 was packaged in, in the front of our car in our parking space in the garage.  My friend Tricia, who parked a few spaces down in the garage spied my Bernina Box and reached out and asked if I sewed.  I did. She did.  I invited her to guild and the rest is sewing history.  I'll miss her terribly.

The other day I received an email from the current Chicago MQG President, Sarah, asking if we could meet for lunch so she could say goodbye.  Again, I said yes.  We talked family, quilty things and guild business.  It's like I saw her yesterday.  I reminded her that years ago she asked me to come teach in Chicago and we couldn't work it out because at that time the guild was so young with not much cash on hand for speakers.  She was the Sarah that told Beth I was coming to Chicago. 

It's always amazing to me the difference that one small gesture can make.  We say it in Kansas City, "the modern quilt guild changed my life."  It did back in KC and it did again in Chicago and I have a feeling it will again back in KC. 

Thanks Chicago.  Hello Kansas City!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

QuiltCon Registration Day....Fast and Furious

MQG member registration opened for QuiltCon 2015 today and like expected it was fast and furious.  I'm so proud of our staff for their efforts to make this happen.  As you can imagine it is no small feat.  There are a lot of moving parts and overall it went well.  There were a few glitches, but that's to be expected when computers and humans try to work together.  We're working to do the very best we can.
QuiltCon 2013  Fun!!!

Workshops sold fast, but there are still a few that are open.  Remember, workshops are only a small part of the QuiltCon experience.  There is loads of room in lectures.  At QuiltCon 2013 the lectures were my favorite part.  I learned so much.  There is the Quilt Show, the vendor hall for shopping and of course, so many quilters to meet, connect with and learn from.  I'd love to see you in my lecture:  The Art of Teaching:  Advice from an Expert.  You might get a tip or two and laugh with me.

And's an amazing city...lots to do.  Tattoo anyone?

I can't thank our members enough for their patience and support.  See you in Austin!! (I'll be the one in the cape!)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Finding a Nest

I know I'm a nester.  I don't like to be transient, I don't like not to be settled.  We've spent the last 24 hours in Kansas City on a marathon house hunting expedition.  I'm tired, it's hard, but I need a place to lay my head.  Pictures are worth a thousand words, but they lie too.  So many places are not what they appear to be.

I know I want it to be modern.  I'm not opposed to doing work.  We'd love to be in a neighborhood that is walkable, artistic and nut bread.  We want to be in the city.  We're not suburban people.  This is the one place we found that might work for us.  It's a foreclosure which is a risk and it needs work on kitchens and bathrooms but as you can see it's got an amazing view, some great spaces and the location is perfect.  Bruno will struggle with the stairs.

It's hard to pull the trigger.  Thought I'd share the possibility. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Because Dad Said.

It's Father's Day and I'm thinking that I'm a pretty lucky woman to have a great dad who reminded me today that I haven't posted in a long time.  Some times you do things because your dad says you should.  He's usually right. This is for you dad.

Can a life be updated in a few words in a blog post...maybe, but probably not.

Some of you know we're moving from Chicago back to Kansas City.  Long story, sad and happy all at the same time.  I love this city and I'm going to miss it, but what could be better than being close to your family?

We got the condo ready to sell, put it up for sale the day after Memorial Day and low and behold in four days it's sold and I'm supposed to be out of here in 15 more days.  It's hard to pack the studio I worked so hard to create, but I have to remember there's a new studio some time in my future.

No, we don't have a permanent place to live.  We're moving in with our children, though since they're on tour with the band, for a bit we'll have the place to ourselves.  No, they don't want to live with us either.

Since the last post I've...
Traveled to Newfoundland; London, Ontario; Asheville NC, San Diego, CA, Paducah KY, Wilmington, NC, and Orlando, FL
Met and taught so many GREAT people.
My new Craftsy class has gone from 0 to almost 7000 students since the last post.
Packed and unpacked a lot of quilts.
Spent a bunch of time in airports.
Saw my first iceberg.
Taught at Paducah and experienced The Quilt Channel in my hotel room.  Yes, they have a quilt channel on TV during Paducah.
Made a few quilts, but haven't had the time to share or write about them.  The quilt below is a variation on the Supernova quilt.  It's called Radiate and Jessica Levitt sent me this photo of it hanging at Quilt Market in Pittsburg.  Thanks Jess!
Had a new book come out that I wrote a chapter for, The Essential Guide to Modern Quilting from Lucky Spool Publishing.  I'm proud of what I wrote and the quilt in that book.  I'd share a pic, but the quilt is already packed and ready to move.  You'll see more of this book soon.
Oh, and I was named the 2014 National Quilt Teacher of the Year.  I'm pretty proud about that!

Had a really proud day today as a mom.  My youngest son, Jonathan wrote the freestyle music for his uncle and his dressage horse Zenith.  If you want to see something spectacularly beautiful and inspirational, watch Nick Wagman and Zenith perform here to music that Jonathan composed.  It'll make your day.  It sure did mine.

Speaking of kids, I've got two amazing ones and one of the reasons is that they have a great dad.

How did I do, Dad?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My New Class is Live

My new class on Craftsy is live today.  Use this link to get $10 off!  It's all about the quilting with the walking foot.  I'd had fun filming it and I hope you enjoy it too.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hexagon Quilt

I realized that I never posted this finished hexagon quilt.  The hexagons are machine pieced using my tutorial.  I love the soft colors and the texture of the quilting.  I'm working on getting the hexagon portrait quilt quilted this week.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Seeing the World Through Someone Else's Eyes

Sometimes I crack myself up.  This is what happens when I take a weekend off. The design was inspired by my new friend Candy's work in my stitch and flip class in Lincoln.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Sinking Sun

Sometimes experiments turn out better than I think.  Last spring I was playing with some precision slicing and inserting and this small quilt was the inspiration for Alissa's Bursting with Pride quilt that I made for Spring Quilt Market.  I decided to finish this up as another class sample.
 I think the addition of the fabric on the base turns these two blocks into an interesting design.  It reminds me of the sun sinking over the ocean.
 I quilted the semi circle to emphasize that there is a partial sun there.  I love how the quilting supports the design of this little quilt.
This piece is only 20" x 30" but I definitely think it has potential to be a much larger quilt.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Common Good

No pictures today...simply feeling like I have something I need to say.

Living in close quarters with a million or so other people as you can imagine is quite a change from living on your own property out on acreage in the country.  In my time in Chicago I have been learning much about big city life, Chicago style.  In the city and the country the people around you affect how you live and the quality of your life and of the neighborhood.  That effect is multiplied in the city due to the sheer number of people and their close proximity.

I've learned in Chicago during the winter, that folks who park on the street shovel the parking space where their car is parked after a snow storm and call dibs, you know, dibs, how kids claim seats in the car, swings on the playground etc.  They claim dibs by placing an object, a chair, a child's toy, or even some stray branches in their spot and expect the rest of the community to honor their spot.  There has been quite a discussion in the city about whether parking dibs should be honored and of course some dibs shovelers have had not so peaceful encounters with other drivers who have parked in "their" spots.  The philosophy of the dibs system is just the opposite of doing something for the common good.

With the amount of snow we've had this winter, you can imagine that getting anywhere on city sidewalks that aren't shoveled is a challenge at best.  Even though I have only a small area of sidewalk in front of our place, I shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled again.  It makes it easier for me, but also for everyone else who walks my little stretch of sidewalk.  As I see folks struggling to move around the neighborhood, I think about those who don't bother.  Our upstairs neighbor, who walks to the train everyday, complained to my hubby about the icy sidewalks and how tough his walk is.  He hasn't shoveled once.  There is no snow fairy.  One day the guy next door  (from the apt. management company) saw me out shoveling and zipped down my sidewalk with his snow blower.  What a guy! If each of us pitches in, it's better for everyone.

At least once a week I spent time in the alley organizing trash.  Yes, I said it, I organize trash.  I guess I am the trash fairy.  Winter is tough for people in Chicago, but it is party time for rats.  People shovel the area behind their garages and it's great to be able to get out of your garage, but they thoughtlessly throw snow on or in front of trash cans making them inaccessible.  Instead of working together to make things accessible, folks just pile on, and even where there are empty cans, people are too lazy to walk a few yards to use them.  And when the snow melts, you don't even want to see what appears.  I crush boxes to make room in the recycle cans and move other people's trash to empty cans. Every time I see a rat I work harder to keep the alley clean.

Twice this winter yellow pages phone books have been delivered in the neighborhood.  Can you guess where most of them still are?  Many times when Bruno and I walk the neighborhood, I take a trash bag with me and pick up things as we go.  I grew up with the Don't be a Litterbug campaign.  It's hard for me to walk past trash on the street and not pick it up.  As I watch folks walk up their front steps and over piled up Red Plum newspapers, yellow pages, and advertising flyers, I wonder, do they not see it, do they just not care?

I could rave probably don't want me to to talk dog poop.  It needs to rain for days and days to wash the filth away in the neighborhood.  Do we believe in the common good?
I know many people do, but it's gets hard sometimes to believe it.

I'm looking forward to spring and those people who plant flowers to enjoy in their yards, but also to share with those of us who need a boost and a little color and beauty to make it through the day. I'm planting a few for the common good.