Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Valley of the Kings

We just added a new fabric collection today.... may I present.... Valley of the Kings from Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

This stuff is stunning!  If you like Asian fabrics, you'll like this.

We have it by the yard or in a fat quarter assortment.

Here are a few of my favorites:

I think this would make a great kaleidoscope quilt.... maybe one of the Quilt Moments patterns.

The background looks black in the photo, but it's actually a super deep purple.

All of these are prints with deep color saturation and metallic gold highlights.  

I put this collection on the website today and sold 10 yards right off the bat.

 I saw this on facebook.... gave me a good chuckle.  I couldn't resist.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jacqueline de Jonge on TQS!

Alex Anderson, Jacqueline de Jong, and Ricky Tims

Those of you who are long time readers of this blog may recall that I have posted pictures of quilts made by Jacqueline de Jonge.  Jacqueline's patterns are marketed through her company- Be Colourful.  She is a gifted artist who hails from the Netherlands. A few of her patterns are traditional piecing, but for the most part, her designs are all paper pieced.  I had the great pleasure of meeting Jacqueline and her brother, Harm, at quilt market a few years ago.  She is a delightful person as well as a talented quilter.  Her smile lights up a room!  Harm is the business manager/ marketer, etc.  This brother and sister make a great team.  Outside of their contributions to the quilting world, Harm is a banker and Jacqueline is a nurse.

The Colourful Quilt

Jacqueline is appearing in this week's episode of The Quilt Show, which is an online quilt show and MUCH MORE.  I have a membership in TQS and I love it!  It's a complete quilting resource- weekly shows featuring an amazing array of quilt artists, blogs by both Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, educational videos, tutorials, a Block of the Month, a gallery of reader quilts, free patterns, and soooo much more.  It's well worth the annual fee.

Curling Colours

I have to put in a quick plug here--- I carry ALL of the Be Colourful patterns on my website.  I've been getting a lot of orders for them this week, but I have more on order and expect them very soon.

 Elements of Nature

And I have to tell you a cute story about the time I met Jacqueline.  With her increasing popularity, she has since had to accept help from long arm quilters, but at the time that I met her, she was still HAND quilting all of her own quilts (Yep- believe it or not!).  She had several hanging in her booth and no kidding- they were jaw-dropping.  I wanted to look at the back of one, and asked her if she would mind if I touched one to look at the back. I was expecting her to turn the corner for me, but that's not what happened.  She gave me one of her big, warm smiles and said, "Of course!  They're only quilts!".

Only quilts.  Yea.  Right.  These things are works of art.  The quilting world is a better place, thanks to Jacqueling de Jonge.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some Recent Knitting Projects

I'm still working on my 2 quilt tops (the ones from the Karla Alexander workshop).  In the meantime, I thought I'd show you a few knitting projects I finished over the last few months.

 This shawlette is called "Chadwick" and was designed by Stephen West.  The yarns are 50-50 silk and merino wool.  It's soooooo soft around my neck!

 This is what it looked like when i was blocking it.  To block a knitted piece, you wet it (I soak it in cool water with a few drops of a good wool wash).  Then you work it into the desired shape (on towels or blocking boards) and then let it dry

I had the pleasure of meeting 2 of my knitting friends, Laura and Cindy,  for a nice lunch and an afternoon of knitting together on Wednesday.  It was so much fun!  We met on a chat board on Ravelry.  If you knit or crochet, you HAVE to check out Ravelry!

 Here's another scarf/ shawlette I finished recently.  It's called the "Seaside Shawlette" designed by Wendy Gaal.  It was hard to stretch it out and get a good photo, so I bunched it up a bit for the photo.
This is a close up of the center.  The yarn is merino wool, hand dyed (Knitters Brewing Company).  It's a beautiful denim color.

And a fun scarf- the pattern is called "Molly".  Another really soft wool- Liberty Wools.  The ruffles are knitted in "short rows".  I got a new pair of purple fleece gloves.... for those dreary winter days!

And OF COURSE.... socks!  I still have my little sock knitting addiction going.  This one is very special.  The pattern is called "Totem" but Kerstin Bettig. The pattern is newly published.  Before it was available for sale, Kerstin asked me to "test knit" the pattern.  Pattern designers typically ask a few knitters to test the pattern and give them feedback.  This is the only time I have ever test knit a pattern.  I was honored!  Now I need to make the second sock.

 This is called "Leftovers Socks" by Wendy Gaal.  It was make with multi orange, gray, and white leftover bits from other projects.

 These are "Simply Twisted".  The yarn actually has a little silver woven in it so it has a bit of sparkle!

And these are just a plain ol' pair of socks.  The yarn is self-striping so it looks a lot fancier than it is.  The yarn is a bamboo blend.

That's it for now!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More of Karla Alexanders' Designs

Here's my progress on "Argyle".

This is sooooooo much fun!  The curves are really easy-- I'm not kidding! The blocks are all  made and I'm in the process of sewing them together.  I'm going to do a navy blue border.  And here's my big news... I only used one pin for each curved block!  I'm the original "pin queen".  My motto has always been, "If one pin will do... 7 pins are better!".  But Karla challenged me to use her technique of sewing curves without lots of pins.  WOO HOO!  It works!

For my giveaway this month, I offered an extra entry to anyone who sends me a picture of a quilt they made using one of Karla's patterns or books.  Here are a few REALLY pretty photos I've received:

This quilt is Wanda Hanson's "Crooked Squares".  Wanda's blog, Exuberant Color, is one of my favorites.  She has made more amazing quilts than you can shake a rotary cutter at!  Thanks for sharing this one with us, Wanda!

Lisa Marie sent this photo.  She used one of Karla's earlier books for her inspiration.  The blocks were made using Karla's "stack the deck" method... cut.... and then reassembles after another shuffle.  STUNNING, Lisa!  I love the animal prints.  Thanks for sharing and good luck in the pattern giveaway!

Does anyone else have a quilt they made using one of Karla Alexander's books or patterns?  Send them to me and receive an extra entry in the giveaway this month.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Workshop with Karla Alexander

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilt Company.  The workshop was sponsored by my guild, which does a wonderful job of scheduling creative instructors and inspirational classes.

Karla is an exceptional instructor.  She had great visuals and samples prepared, and she showed us lots of examples of what she was describing.  She knows that we quilters are "visual creatures".

I loved looking at all the samples she brought- and the many full sized quilts that are pictured in her books.  They look great in the books, but they're SOOO much prettier in person!

This one is called, "Argyle".  It's one of the quilts I chose to make.  It was a 2 day workshop, focusing on different techniques each of the days.  We were able to select a different quilt each day.

What amazed me is that we had a large list of options for each of the days.  Karla was able to guide us each through our choices- keeping us all straight and remaining calm- keeping us all on task. 

For the Saturday class, I chose to work on "Funky Curvy Rail".  I selected a variety of green and black prints. 

Karla taught us how to use free form cuts, or use one of her new rulers to cut waves, then stack and shuffle our "decks" of pieces.  This gave us a good shuffling of colors for our scrappy quilts.

She also taught us how to sew the curves without a million pins!  This was a big deal for me.  I'm the original "pin queen".  Do you see the little piece of foam tape beside the strips I'm stitching?  It was used as a guide to keep our seams at 1/4 inch while feeding the curved pieces through.  Worked like a charm!

Here's my progress so far.  Fun, huh?!?

On Sunday, I opted to work on "Argyle".  This is sooooo pretty!  I just love how this quilt is turning out!  And the curves are NOT difficult the way Karla taught us to work with them.

Obviously, we were all working with a lot of different pieces.  Everyone has their own methods of keeping things straight.  I was struck by the organization of one of my fellow guild members.  Isn't she amazing?  She has everything all lined up... all neat and tidy.....

And then there was my pile.

I want to share some photos of friends' quilts.  They were all gorgeous!

Thanks for an educational, inspirational, and FUN weekend, Karla!  Now, to finish my quilts!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nanaimo Bars recipe

I've had some requests for this recipe lately.  I posted it a few years ago.... click here.  These are absolutely killer decadent.... but worth it for a treat.  No baking.  The recipe originated in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, BC.  YUM!

Reader Diane wrote to tell me that Nanaimo is actually north of Victoria.  She said that the traditional Nanaimo bar has walnuts in the base (not almonds). The custard powder she uses is Birds.  I assume it's available in Canada but I haven't located it in the U.S.  The recipe I posted was from the BC Tourism Bureau, so I guess there are different variations.  I'll definitely try it with walnuts the next time I make them.  Thanks for the info, Diane!

Another Edit:
Patty in Oregon said she found Bird's in the specialty food aisle of Fred Meyer.  Thanks, Patty!

November Givaway- Free Pattern by Karla Alexander!


For November, I'm giving away a pattern by Karla Alexander (Saginaw Street Quilt Company).  I currently have 10 of Karla's patterns on my website.  Pick which ever one you like!  Here are just a few....


 Cups! Cups! Cups!

 Feature Presentation

 Great Pumpkin Harvest Table Runner

These are just a few of her patterns. You can select any one of Karla's patterns on my website.  The winner will have a hard time choosing!

The winner will be selected at random on December 1, 2011.  To be entered, simply leave a comment to THIS POST and just tell me you want to be in the drawing.  That's it!

For a second entry, be a follower of this blog.  It doesn't matter if you are a long time follower or if you have just joined us.  But you MUST make as SECOND COMMENT to THIS POST and tell me that you are a follower.

For a third entry, tell others about the giveaway.  You can blog about it, Facebook, tweet or whatever- just let others know.  Come back here and leave another comment to THIS POST to let me know.

This month, there's a way to get a fourth entry--- send me a picture of a quilt that you have made from any one of Karla Alexander's patterns or books.  I spent all of this past weekend in a workshop with Karla and I'll be posting photos of what we made.  I'd love to add your photos!

Good luck!