Monday, November 18, 2019

Quilt Magazines...do you subscribe?



Image result for quilt magazines
(photo found on web, no source info available)

Back in the day...a long, long time ago, I loved to read quilt magazines! I subscribed to almost all of them and I was lucky enough to be published in many of them.

Changes

Then things started to change. A few of the magazines went out of business one by one. Then it seemed all of the magazines that were left in the US were bought up and published by one company. This resulted  (in my opinion) that they all began to look the same. They were almost all geared to beginner quilters with fast and easy projects.

Image result for quilt magazines


And now

The current state of quilting magazines in the US is definitely in flux. The buy out and the sale and purchase of the magazine publishing houses in the US (for quilting magazines at least) seems to in a constant state of upheaval. I'm not even sure which magazines are still publishing and which ones are gone. I do know that when I look at the options at the local magazine seller, I'm usually disappointed. I never seem to find any US published magazines that have anything interesting to offer.

Image result for quilt magazines

There's hope

International magazines seem to be a different story. Currently, I subscribe to Quiltmania and Quiltmania's Simply Moderne, and I also subscribe to the UK publication Today's Quilter. When I see the current issues of Quilt Now and Love Patchwork and Quilting I will often purchase them.

The only US magazines I subscribe to at the moment are QuiltFolk (so gorgeous!) and I am still a faithful reader of American Patchwork and Quilting even though I miss the good old days when they had projects that were featured step by step over a year or so because they were so complex and needed to be done in a series. And I really love Primitive Quilts and Projects even though it's very genre specific, I always find inspiration and fun tidbits by the contributors.

I would love to know what you are reading and what magazines inspire you these days? I would love to find out about some secret gems that I am missing. Please share your suggestions or preferences in the comments.

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Under the Mistletoe


I will be teaching this fun quilt at Tiny Stitches Quilt Shop in Marietta Ga soon! If you are local don't miss this fun day! The full day includes a catered lunch, individual design assistance, and step by step techniques including: making freezer paper templates, sew and flip paper piecing, sewing curves, pinning for precision, and much more! Make the quilt or table runner in any size you prefer.


Where: Tiny Stitches Quilt Shop  2518 E Piedmont Rd, Marietta, GA 30062
When: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 from 10-5, lunch is included
Cost: $100 plus pattern purchase

Call the shop at (770) 565-1113 to sign up now!
Request a kit in any color scheme, and I will hand select it for you!

This is my last workshop of 2019, I hope to see you there.
Diane


Monday, November 11, 2019

BTQ...Looking Back & Looking Forward

(first banner on my blog back in 2013)

The First 5 Years (actually 6+)

This whole crazy adventure started back in 2013 with a request to write a pattern and teach a workshop based on a quilt I had designed and entered into a local quilt show.

Then it evolved into quilting magazine submissions and getting published in a book. At which point I decided it would be fun to write a book of my own, so I did. And then I wrote a second book.

All the while I was a content writer for Craftsy and produced dozens of tutorials and a Block of the Month for them. When they became Bluprint, I got fired along with all of the other content writers (as far as we can tell, because we never got fired so much as we were told we were being given a 'break' and never heard back from them and that's been a few years now...)

I went to my first Quilt Market, and then the next one, and the next one, and so on...

I started working at a local (50 minute commute) quilt shop 3 days a week for 2 years, then down to 2 days a week for a year and now I show up once a week. I love my coworkers and the wonderful quilters who walk through the door but that commute is a killer!

And because I had some patterns and now books, I was being asked to teach locally and around the country so I started traveling and teaching, a lot. I was visiting quilt guilds from FL to MI, PA to CO. I am driving trips around the south and taking more trips to the airport with my two 50lb suitcases of quilts than I can count.

I had the thrill of attending the Pour L'Amour du Fil quilt show in Nantes, France, and the Sydney Quilt Show in Australia! Bucket list experiences for sure.

Just last year, I got my first Handi Quilter Amara longarm and quilted every ufo in sight. And then I quilted all of my friends ufos. I attended Handi Quilter Academy in Utah! And then folks started asking me to quilt for them. And then I realized I was long arm quilting at least a quilt a day, almost every single day.

At the same time, I was watching my 3 kids graduate from high school, go off to college, and chase their own dreams. And my husband was busy flying around the globe for his job as an airline pilot.

And it all left my very happy and really tired.

Exhausted actually.


Currently

I decided it was time to take a break and re-evaluate. I needed to ask myself a few questions.
  • What am I doing that is most rewarding? 
  • What am I doing that isn't? 
  • What can I do better? 
  • What can I eliminate? 
  • Why am I doing any of this at all? 
I took the summer of 2019 to just rest and reflect. I spent lots of time with my family. I went to Pilates almost every day. I stopped quilting almost completely. I was still longarm quilting for others almost every day, but not really designing or quilting for me at all.

What have a learned from this self-imposed hiatus? Some things need to change and other things need to stay the same. I am certain about what some of those are and not so sure about others.


The Next 5 Years

I have teaching and guild visits planned for the next two years. I would love to add your group or guild to my schedule. I am also now book through 2022. (As crazy as that sounds!) I love teaching and visiting guilds. As exhausting as the travel is, the rewards are so great. I know that teaching, encouraging, and connecting with quilters is one of the best parts of my quilting experience, and I always feel so inspired by the fellow quilters I meet and spend time with. I am learning to pace myself and my schedule and by limiting my travel days, I can be better at everything else!

I have a few quilt patterns in various stages of development. Some are on paper, some are already in fabric and some are still just in my head. But there will be more designs and patterns for sure! There will be no more books. Not in the near future anyway. For lots of reasons, I need to take a break from that process. In the future, if I do write a book, it will be a very different sort of experience and I dream of a different format, look and style that will be completely different from my first two.

I want to make a quilt show quilt or 2 or 3. I want to create the time and energy to really make some quilts that teach me about my love of quilting rather than just making quilts that are good for teaching specific quilt techniques. (I hope that doesn't sound selfish.) I just want to see what I can do and stretch myself creatively for the sheer joy of it.

I love my longarm and I am so thrilled with the skills I'm learning. I have signed up for more creative classes from amazing teachers to build my skills and learn new techniques. I am going to limit the number of quilts that I take on as customer quilts to allow me the time to expand my knowledge.

I have dreams of going to the Tokyo Quilt Show and the Birmingham Quilt Festival as well as returning to the Pour L'Amour du Fil show. I would love to go to Paducah again (it's been way too many years!) And I would love to go to Quilt Festival in Houston (I've always had to leave right after market to go teach somewhere!)

My kids will be graduating from college in the next two years and my husband will be retiring in 2023. I want to consider what those changes will be like and how my 'little business' will be affected by those transitions. If you've ever met me, you know my family always comes first. I want to arrange my life so that I can be available to them and chase my quilting dreams at the same time. Sometimes that requires hard choices.

If you've made it this far, congratulations! That's a lot of information and probably more than you every wanted to know. I find that I am better at 'follow through' if I put my intentions in print. I feel like this year has been a time for me to 'pivot' and refine my focus. I hope my efforts result in more creative space and fewer 'deadlines'.

The quilt industry is always rushing forward to the next new thing and every wonderful effort or idea is just a 'one and done' and 'what's next'?  It's easy to get swept up onto that speeding train, stepping off of it is quite a challenge. Being mindful about making choices that are a good fit for me (and my family) needs to remain my focus. By doing so, I hope to create more amazing quilts, meet more awesome quilters and rediscover this love of stitching that we all share. Now lets go quilt something!

Enjoy every stitch!

Diane

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Seeing Stars Sew Along Step 3



Step 3

6’’ hourglass block

Block as it appears in the quilt.

Cutting:
Background fabric- cut one square 7 1/2'’’ x 7 1/2’’*

Other fabric- cut one square 7 1/2’’ x 7 1/2’’*

* this will result in blocks that are almost exact size. If you prefer to oversize and trim, cut squares 8'' x 8''

Cut the center line after sewing.

Repeat with HST units.
Sewing:
Layer the squares right sides together and mark on the diagonal.
Sew ¼’’ away from the marked line on both sides. Cut on the marked line.
Press the seams away from the background fabric.
Layer these two units, right sides together. Background fabric should be facing other fabric, with the seams nested.
Repeat marking the line in the opposite diagonal direction.
Sew ¼’’ away from the marked line on both sides. Cut on the marked line.
Pinwheel press the seams. This method results in 2 blocks.
Trim blocks to 6 ½’’ x 6 ½’’.

Make 1 block for each panel.

Options:
Use any method you prefer for making hour glass blocks.

Or choose any 6’’ block you like to make.

Please post a photo of your blocks to the group Facebook page (link) and tag it with #seeingstarssewalong and #butterflythreadsquilting

or send a photo to me at
Butterflythreadsquilting (at) gmail.com and I will post it for you!

Go here for a printable version of Sew Along Intro Information
Go here for a printable version of Step 1 
Go here for a printable version of Step 2 
Go here for a printable version of Step 3

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Reading List



Get the book here.

This is such a sweet book! I got it from the library and read it in one day. It is a short tale of an elderly widower and how he fills his life and his home in unexpected ways while mourning his wife. The characters are interesting and entertaining and the relationships are fragile but honest. Please read this book if you want to put a smile on your face.


Get the book HERE.

I don't typically read romance, or 'chic lit' but this book was fun and fast and downright hilarious in places. I feel that you should know there is a lot of s*x in this book. It's the story of a woman with a desire to learn more about how to have a successful relationship, particularly in the bedroom. So she hires a male escort and you can imagine the awkward and often funny situations that arise. It is very graphic and descriptive, so if you are put off by that at all, skip this book. If you love a good laugh and are don't blush easily, you'll like it.


Get the book HERE.

This is an epic historical fiction, that by now you probably know is my favorite kind of book. I found this through the Book of the Month club that I joined and I was quickly drawn to it. Many of the reviews said how long the book was and that made me want to read it even more! The characters are real and flawed and beautiful and the descriptions really transported me to early 1900's Asia. The writing is amazing and the relationships in the book are strong and touching and sometimes heartbreaking. If you like historical fiction, this won't disappoint!


Get the book HERE.

Another book found through my Book of the Month club came with overwhelming great reviews. It was nominated for their book of the year (I think) and while it seemed a bit like another light romantic read, which is usually to fluffy and cute for me, I decided to try it and it was a good story. I liked the characters and I liked the relationships. While it wasn't the best book I've read this year, I would recommend it.

Get the book here.

This booked became available on my library request list so I picked it up. I was in the mood for something deeper to sink my teeth into after a few 'fluffy' books and was hesitant to start it. I'm glad I did. I love the main character and the way the story is told. It's a young Korean-American boy growing up in California and the cultural ideas of his parents vs. the reality of his own world provide the setting for his struggle to figure out who he is and what he wants. It's heart breaking and wonderful at the same time. I fell in love with Frank (the main character) and I really liked the sincerity and earnestness of the family and friends he was surrounded by. I read the book in 2 sittings so that means I would highly recommend it. 


Thank you so much for each click and purchase through the above links! Thanks to y'all, I earned 3 free books last month through my Amazon associate account. Your support means so much to me, and I love that we can share our love of reading as well as our love of quilting.

Enjoy every page!
Diane

Monday, October 28, 2019

10 Minute Tip ... for a better sew along experience


Sew Along Tips

1. Select a container to keep all of the fabric, scraps, printed instructions, and finished blocks in. This will make finding what you need easy and allow you to use scraps from previous steps before cutting new pieces of fabric. It will also keep finished blocks organized and easy to admire. The printed instructions won't get lost and you will be able to sew your step the day it comes out, or any day you decide, without having to search for anything!

2. Fabrics chosen may or may not be needed for the current step, but having plenty of options and enough yardage all gathered together in one place (container from tip #1) will make each step easier and reduce time for making selections.

3. Print out the instructions the first time you see them, or screen shot them on your phone. This way they will be available when you sit down to sew. Reducing time to find/ print them increases sewing time!

4. Keep your scraps that are usable sizes in a baggie together. I fold all strips of one size together, and then keeping them in a baggie (inside the container from tip #1) will allow you to use up these pieces before cutting new ones. Saves time and saves fabric, who doesn't love that?

5. Keep an eye out for sales during the sew along for possible backing and binding fabrics. If you don't already have them chosen, sales are a great way to get a good deal on yardage for backings!

6. Take photos of your progress, including fabrics, cut pieces, and finished blocks. Share them on social media using hashtags for the sew along and the host (in this case #seeingstarssewalong and #butterflythreadsquilting) and also tag your friends, so they can see what you're up to!

7. Speaking of friends, you have invited them to sew along with us haven't you? If not, it's still not too late! Share your photos with them or send them the links to the steps. Quilting is always more fun with friends!

8. Take a look at your other ufo's and see if they could benefit from some of these tips. If you collect the items needed for a ufo and keep it near your sew along, you can challenge yourself to 'sew along' a block or two from a ufo each month as well. It will give you two finishes instead of one!

9. Plan ahead for future steps by winding bobbins, changing your rotary blade and clearing off your cutting mat. It's always more fun to sew if you don't have to take care of these little chores first. Having them done after you finish a step means you are ready for the next one!

10. Enjoy the process! Don't think of it as another thing to check off your 'to do' list and don't compare your progress to anyone else's. Think of it as an adventure to see what happens next, and then share it! I know I'm loving what's being shared by all of you on social media.



To see more 10 Minute Tips click HERE.

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Seeing Stars Sew Along Step 2 Progress

I absolutely love everything about this quilt, but what's the most fun part? Seeing the amazing blocks and fabrics that you share on social media using the hashtags...

#seeingstarssewalong and #butterflythreadsquilting









It's not too late to join the fun! Go here to join us! Thanks so much for sewing along and sharing your gorgeous blocks! I am loving every single one of them.

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane
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