I was given my very first Mollie Makes as a birthday present six years ago. It was love at first sight. The dreamy projects, the snazzy make and takes, the styled photography, the colour palette. I honestly could never get enough... and I have the back issues to prove it! I never dreamed one day my work would be on the cover!Read More
A few months back I interviewed Andrea Tsang Jackson on this newsletter. Since then she's created a new project called Our Song, Your Reflection. It's in collaboration between Andrea, and singer-song writer Meaghan Smith. Andrea created a beautiful quilt design and Meagan wrote a song that speaks about the importance of community and the human connections that we make. The song doesn't specifically speak of quilting, but there are references and it reflects the quit design. I was honoured that Andrea asked me to be a part of the project. To find out more about it, they have a great video you can see on IndiGoGo, HERE.
As I sewed my blocks, I thought about my community. I remember in art school, sitting in Art History, learning about the different movements. I longed for something like that. Artists meeting in cafes, encouraging each other, discussing different techniques, sharing information, swapping pieces of art work... jump ahead to 2010. A little tweet about the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild starting up landed in my lap. Shortly after that I co-founded the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild... and as luck would have it I'd have the chance to almost yearly visit the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild. I've traveled twice to Quiltcon and to Quilt Market. I had no idea back then I was joining a movement, all I knew is I wanted to PLAY!
And this doesn't even include the huge community on Instagram! Swaps are coordinated there, bee's are formed and challenges are announced.
I'm so grateful for each community and the unique people in them. I'm grateful for the ALL the things they've taught me, their humour, their encouragement, their talent and their friendship. Not to get to sappy, but I'd like to thank you for being a part of this community. It means the world to me! xo
RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAY LIST: Meaghan's song, Your Refelctions. Enjoy!
Our oldest son just turned 18 ...which is really weird because half the time I still feel 18. His birthday lines up with Canada's Victoria Day long weekend AND Quilt Market, e v e r y single year. Which meant no Quilt Market for me, even if it was in Portland this year (only five hours away). I had resigned the fact that he was only going to turn 18 once and I'd feel a whole lot better not missing his birthday. Funny enough a few days before his birthday we asked him "so what do you want to for your birthday?". His answer, "Why don't we go to Portland." What the?!? It was one of those, "Start the car!" moments, before anyone changes their minds. And so we did, which allowed me to pop into Quilt Market and blast through the show for a few quick hours on Sunday!
The show was significantly different than the one last year in St Louis. I suspect being that is was Sunday, the low key vibe was from everyone being pooped. Or maybe I was projecting my sadness about Cotton + Steel changing. I thought Kim Kight's wilted vase of roses by her Steno collection summed it up best. I'm heart broken for them BUT I'm also super JAZZED to see what these five ground breaking designers will do next. I am I'm prepared for them to bust out and blow our minds!
Oh! Hello Bob Ross! Or should I say, "Happy Painter". A booth that caught my attention right away was by a company called Quiltoni Superpowered Quilts. Ooh! Look they have a Wonder Woman too! ...I mean an Amazon Warrior.
I had a great chat with Daryl and Giuseppe (AKA Giucy Giuce) from Andover Fabrics. I'm super excited about Guiseppe's new (and first) collection, Quantum! I love the colour palette and I'm intrigued about the panels. Side note: isn't Guiseppe, a great name. We're done having kids but if we ever get another cat...!
Oh and I bumped in to Sandi, Craftyplanner in Alison Glass's booth (thanks for the churros Sandi xo!). You know what else if awesome about Sandi? She remembers to take photos. I get visiting, start oogling and then I forget-d'ohh!
I snuck in a visit with Suzanne from Camelot Fabrics and saw Elizabeth Silvers's Mod Blocks Collection. It looks super cute (and of course I forgot to take photos, see what I mean?). Speaking of these ladies, remember last Fall Quilt Market when I made the Game On quilt for Elizabeth's Game on Collection? I'm gearing up to release that pattern, called "WERD". It's an English paper piecing pattern. I'll be putting a call out for pattern testers on Instagram shortly.
Sticking with the "ADULT" theme... wait. That didn't sound quite right. Um, you know what I mean, right?! Since my son is now technically an adult (although he'll always be my BABY!). Recommended for your playlist: I'm An Adult Now, by the Pursuit of Happiness. I secretly want to learn the dance the guy in the red coat does!
P.S. We stayed in Seaside after the show, in a place called Grandma's House. It had a lime green salon dryer! How random is that?! With an authentic cigarette tray built in! I kind of fell in love with it!
Instead it's been three trunk shows and two workshops (minus Hugh Grant).
Last month the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild invited me to a do a mini trunk show for them. I was overwhelmed and grateful by their response. They're quite a talented bunch so that really meant a lot. I was also invited to do a workshop for them on "How to Create Your Own Paper Piecing Block". It was an intense day with big brain work. You know how paper piecing is right, it's like one big puzzle. They stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park! We all learned a lot... and there were tacos! Everyone walked away with their own pattern block to sew. A few people were partially done sewing their blocks but Jaydeen was there first one to finish her TACO block!
Next up, back to back trunk shows. The first one is today, Friday, May 11 for the Blue Mountain Quilters Guild in Port Coquiltlam at 7pm. Then tomorrow, Saturday, May 12th, there is a trunk show for the Northwest Quilters Connection: An International Quilt Group at 9:30am in Vancouver. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone and seeing their show and tell!
May 26th I'll be teaching one of my favourite projects, a Cassette Book Cover workshop for the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild. It's perfect for learning paper piecing and for finishing up a project in one day. We'll aim to make three sizes but I also have an alternative up my sleeve. There are still a few spots available. It's $40 for members and $45 for non members. Email Joan email@example.com to register. Hey, maybe I'll see you there!
As tradition would have it... RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: I can't get enough of this band! I'd recommend ALL their songs but today I'm going to go with THE LATE SHOW by the band called The Beaches. They're a Canadian Band out of Toronto and they're killing it! Sadly I missed them in Vancouver just by days. I won't make that mistake again.
Secret designing revealed-Yay! I had been sitting on this idea for a while now. I'd even started buying fabric for it but was never satisfied. It was so clear in my head how it should be. The idea was to invent the ultimate, snuggling on the couch, watching shows quilt, based off a North American test screen... Then I got another one of those emails I love! It was from Daryl of Andover Fabrics reaching out and inquiring if I'd be interested in working with Libs Elliott's latest collection called Mix Tape. Boy would I! And Mix Tape was a perfect fit! So perfectly, perfect! I'm thrilled to bring you "REWIND" a FREE pattern ready for download HERE.
I can't wait to get my hands on this new collection and sew it up!!! Until then I'll be pining away for Libs' Mix Tape collections of tiny lips, hearts, stars and skulls. Not to mention those selvages!!! Have you seen the selvages? Each print has THE BEST titles like: Tainted Love (Lysa Flower fun fact, it's my very favorite song!), Heart of Glass (YES!), Lick it up (my husband was a HUGE Kiss fan back in the day. I even did an embarrassing painting of Paul Stanley for him in high school. Maybe I'll show it to you some day... er maybe not, cringe, ha, ha!), Satisfaction (if you had to choose, Beatles or the Stones?), You Shook me (Hello AC/DC!), and more! OOh! My Cassette patterns are SCREAMING for these selvages!
Until we get the fabric in our hands to sew REWIND up, here are some RECOMMENDED TV shows for curling up on the couch with: Amazon Prime's The Marvelous Miss Maisel, The Night Manager and The Man in the High Castle. A show I watched on my own, on the nights when everyone was away, Good Girls Revolt (fingers tightly crossed they do another season!). Oh and we just started watching Sneaky Pete (totally binge worthy)!
RECOMMENDED for your play list (how could I not, this quilt is screaming for this song): The BUGGLES, 1979's Video Killed the Radio Star and here's their 2004 version. I think Prince Charles quite enjoyed it, don't you!
Before we start I have to take a moment and give a shout out to Stephanie from @simplesewendipity who BLEW MY MIND! And then I saw her flimsy! And then I saw it all quilted up! I've made my share of cassettes in my time but Stephanie made made 28! 28 Rainbow cassettes to border her Boombox quilt! UNBELIEVABLE! Love, love, love!
...Here's the latest UPDATE: I'm not sure where the time goes. And why does everything seem to happen all at the same time? Here's my best way to organize it:
SECRET SEWING: Postponed. Do you remember a few weeks back when I told you I'd be able to reveal my secret designing at the end of the month? We're going to have to hold on just a bit longer. Oh and to really make it titillating, I've recently been working on a second secret sewing project (dream project actually!... now that I think of it they're all dream projects)! Gosh, I'm so grateful for the things that have landed in my lap. Thank you universe, I sure appreciate it!
UP COMING TRUNK SHOWS, WORKSHOPS AND SHOWS:
- MINI TRUNK SHOW: Monday, April 16th for the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. I'm going to do my best Brene Brown inspired talk (gosh I love her!). Do you know her work about vulnerability? I'm going to open up and be really candid about my work and my journey on how I accidentally on purpose became a sewing pattern designer.
- WORKSHOP: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PAPER PIECING BLOCK. WHEN: Sunday, April 22nd hosted by the VMQG. WHERE: Croatian Cultural Centre, Vancouver. *There are still a few spots available-YAY!
- TRUNK SHOW: Friday May 11 for the Blue Mountain Quilter's Guild. 7pm
- WORKSHOP: Saturday May 26th for the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild. WHERE: Fraser Valley University.
- SHOW: VMQG Quilt Showcase. Saturday and Sunday, August 25th and 26th at the Pipe Shop (115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver). They put on a show two years ago (it was my very first Newsletter post on this site. You can see it HERE). It was fresh, modern and inspired. I was thrilled to have work in it last time and I'm super excited to enter work for this one too!
UPDATES ABOUT PAST INTERVIEW SERIES PARTICIPANTS (wow, that sounds so official, doesn't?!):
NATALIE SANTINI : : from NOV 2017 INTERVIEW SERIES PART 1 / PART 2 : : Recently was on episode 158 of Modern Sewciety Podcast. You can listen to it HERE. It's the next BEST thing to hanging out with her in person! She always brightens my day! Oooh and she also has a new messenger bag pattern coming out soon too. Be on the look out!
... and lastly...RECOMMENCED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: Two song this week. A call and response if you will. Ready?... Rick Springfield's JESSIE'S GIRL (quick question Rick, why the suit?! and isn't smashing the mirror a bit extreme? It does crack me up though!) and the Car's MY BEST FRIENDS GIRLFRIEND with a lovely intro appearance by Alice Cooper!
I hope everyone has had a chance to recuperate from heavy sugar consumption this past Easter weekend... because I have something pretty sweet for you! The second part of Andrea Tsang Jackson's (3rd Story Workshop's) interview series! Sit back, relax: we're going to start at the beginning...
1. What is the very first thing you remember making as a kid that you were really proud of?
In Grade 3, my friend and I made this picture of a butterfly and a flower out of tissue paper. It was outlined in pencil a big sheet of stiff paper (she probably drew it; I wasn't that great at drawing). We then "coloured it in" with little squares of tissue paper that we moulded on the end of pencil and glue onto the paper. The tissue paper stood up and the final look could be likened to a high-pile hand-hooked rug. It was in the end probably a couple hundred pieces of tissue paper. We got to stay in during a few recesses to finish it, because our teacher knew it was going to be an impressive piece!
2. You came to quilting when you were expecting your first child in 2011. What did you make? (Do you have a photo of it you'd like to share?)
I made a fairly traditional looking quilt with a gridded layout, sashing and borders. It was a block that I designed that depicted a crane, but one of the 12 cranes flew the opposite way to all the others. I had no idea what I was doing and I only visited one quilt shop and a chain store to gather my supplies. I hadn't a clue about the modern quilting movement. The back was sort of improvised with the leftover fabric and more "modern."
3. Are you self taught? For starting quilting in 2011 your work is very impressive, what has your quilting journey been like?
I am a self-taught quilter, but I have had extensive training and experience in the design fields. I think that this background has given me a relatively fearless approach to quilting. Anything can be made, it's a matter of whether it's worth making and how it should be made.
It's been two years since I started quilting seriously and I have learned so much in that time. There is a glut of information online to learn from, which is wonderful. I've learned so much from my guild mates, as well. The trickier part is determining what should be taken into my practice and what information or techniques are not for me.
Surrounding myself with community has been integral in pushing me forward; an encouraging word goes a long way and it's very motivating. I certainly would not have pursued quilting with such gusto had there not been people to back me. My journey has been entwined with people, both quilters and non, and that makes it worthwhile and enriching.
4. When did you start making patterns? Do you do wholesale?
I started designing patterns in early 2017, a year after I joined the MMQG. There were some people that had asked for patterns for the Gemology Collection I had launched and I thought this would be a way to add a different revenue stream to my work. The first patterns I designed were a set of four gemstones. Funny enough, the day after I release the last of the series, Princess Cut, Kat Jones' Bling won Best in Show at Quilt Con. I have since released three more paper-pieced patterns, which were spurred from commissioned works and wonderful clients. Later this month, I will release my first traditionally pieced pattern, Banner Year.
I am doing wholesale right now, mostly to shops in Canada.
5. What's next for you? Any exciting projects you can tell us about?
Currently, I am working on an exciting collaboration with award-winning singer-songwriter Meaghan Smith. I have gotten so much out of the local, Canadian and international community of quilters that I wanted to honour these people in a special way. Quilters are special people with such generous spirits, both with their work and their encouragement of each other. Meaghan, whose mother is an avid quilter, is writing a song about the quilting community and I am designing a quilt pattern to accompany the song. It will being crowdfunded through an IndieGoGo campaign. The project will be launched in late spring and to keep tabs on it, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE.
6. What would you recommend for our playlists. Songs or podcasts.
1) My favourite podcast is 99% Invisible. I think everyone should listen to it so they can understand how design influences every aspect of their lives. I have often said that design is only noticeable when it is extremely good or extremely bad. The vision for my professional life is that people will understand design and how it makes the world better, not prettier.
2) Wow in the World is an entertaining science podcast for kids with loveable characters Mindy and Guy Raz.
3) Since I am working with Meaghan Smith, I listen to a lot of her music. Well, to be honest, I listened to a lot of her music before I started working with her! Her current songs are all commissioned works through her "Our Song" project. They are very meaningful songs that honour, commemorate, and celebrate real people and relationships. Get your Kleenex out.
Perhaps you've seen her work in the pages of UPPERCASE magazine or in an issue of Curated Quilts for her "Log Cabin A". Or was it in Quiltcon 2018 issue for her "Everyone's Got an X"? Wait, maybe you heard her on Modern Sewciety's (episode 124) podcast. But then again maybe you first found @3rdstoryworkshop on Instagram. That's how Andrea landed on my radar. Her feed is pretty darn dreamy.
3rd Story Workshop named after her attic studio, Andrea embarked on an incredible project that won 1st place in the Group or Bee Quilt category at Quiltcon 2018. I saw it in person and it was jaw dropping so I think we need to start with that...
1. In 2017 you completed The Here and Elsewhere Bee (compiling nearly 1,200 immigration stories) as an Artist in Residence at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
A) How did this project come about?
For a few months, I had the idea in my head that everyone should know what quilting looks like today. When I saw Libs Elliott's Unity quilt from New York Design Week in 2016, I thought that a public, collaborative quilt would be a great vehicle for that. In early 2017, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 put out a call for proposals to engage their visitors in an art project that would respond to an exhibit they had on display. The project was selected through the proposal process and I had the opportunity to make the idea become a reality.
B) The project was inspired by the children's story book "Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt". How did you come across this book and can you describe your "ah ha!" moment, when you knew you had to do this project?
I had a friend introduce me to the book in 2016, which I had never encountered before. It was such meaningful story and I thought it would be a great way to do a modern spin on a traditional quilt block. When the call for proposals came out for the artist residency at Pier 21, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. I thought that this would be an excellent way to build a collaborative quilt and to relate visitors' experiences at the museum to their own personal story.
C) I would imagine the project and stories were quite emotional. How did that affect the work. And you?
It's amazing to think of what is behind a single little 5" or 2.5" block -- the people whose lives were turned upside down because of war, in search of opportunities, in the quest for a more peaceful life. People come to the Canadian Museum of Immigration often on pilgrimages to honour their family members that risked a lot to make a better life. When they came to my little studio in the museum, they had just absorbed an intense amount of information about Canadian immigration. But here was where they made it personal; they paused to think about what brought their families to Canada whether it was 300 years ago or 2 years ago. And yes, it was emotional: "My grandmother raised me; she came to this port when she was a little girl. And the life I lead now is a result of that moment."... "My father was 15 when he had a gun put to his head, and asked, 'Are you with us or against us?' My choices are along the lines of, 'Should I get this car or that one?' What he went through was all so that I could have freedom." The weight of what's behind the quilt is tremendous.
The emotional impact of the piece really hit home that what I'm doing as an artist isn't only for my own self-fulfillment. The project really forced me to turn outward and see how the work and the process could affect people's experiences. This project made me realize that for me, interacting with the public is an important part of what I will do from here on in.
2. When did you move to Halifax in Eastern Canada? Where did you move from? How has that move affected your work?
I was born and raised in Ottawa, which is also where I made my first quilt and had my first baby in 2011. We moved to Halifax a year later for my husband to pursue a graduate degree. It was not until early 2016 that I joined the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild and that's how I started quilting seriously. I had no idea about the modern quilting movement before that, nor had I encountered other quilters. The community of people that I have met here and that I have since encountered online has been a huge motivator for my work. To understand the range of voices represented and how I fit in the quilting world has been informed by jumping into the MQG world.
(Check out Andrea's ETSY Halifax Map/Darthmouth 12" x 12" quilted map and post cards!)
3. Do you do all your own quilting?
Mostly I do, but The Here & Elsewhere Bee was the first that was too big for me to accomplish myself, so I had Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts to do it for me on her long-arm. Moving forward, I will most likely do my own if it is a one-off artistic work, but if it is a pattern sample or something of the sort, I'll have it long-armed by someone else.
4. What makers tool could you not live without?
I wish I could tell you that it was more of a physical tool or notion, but I'm pretty reliant on Adobe Illustrator to make my designs come to life. It allows me to design and test ideas quickly without the commitment of cutting into fabric. I can work out how to cut the fabric and how much I need so I that I can execute a design relatively smoothly. Using Illustrator allows me to design with very few limitations -- which gets me into trouble sometimes when I'm actually sewing and creating, but I'd rather feel freedom first and then deal with the tricky bits later.
5. What's your favourite colour? What's your least favourite colour? And why for both.
I have a lot of favourite colours and they are all neutral! Black, white, grey, navy, metallic gold. I like that they go with so many other colours and in the way that I imagine them, they are decidedly modern. Moreover, when colour isn't central to the visual impact, the forms and shapes come through more clearly. These also never go out of style.
My least favourite colour is brown, but I love it when it's from a natural source like wood, leather or cork. Again, form can show through when it's a natural hue. Another one that I dislike is purple. I just don't know how to go about it. With it being this year's Pantone Colour of the Year though, I'm coming around to it by seeing its applications. I am just not sure how it will have lasting power.
6. What book are you reading right now?
Confession: I actually... dislike reading. For someone who went to school until they were 26, I am extremely slow at it and it frustrates me. I've taken to podcasts and that way I can keep my hands busy while taking in information. I will likely be getting into audio books soon.
AND A LITTLE SNIPPET FROM NEXT TUESDAYS NEWSLETTER, PART TWO WITH ANDREA ...1) My favourite podcast is 99% Invisible.
*All photos are by Andrea Tsang Jackson or Deborah from @debisthinking
This past weekend was KER-jammed packed with all kinds of GOODNESS. First off my Instagram blew up with all kinds of Lysa Flower Pattern finishes! Kim from @iadorepattern posted her finished embroidered and bias tape LOVE cassette block. You may remember me posting about her block this past summer. LOOK at all that pinning?! Now that's a good friend. Recently Kim gifted this block to Darci @darcialexis who moved away and had a baby. Darci quilted it all up and the results are stunning! I get all, "awe", when I see babies on quilts.
Next up Stephanie from @simplesewendipity belted out a whole BOOMBOX and a whack of CASSETTE TAPES during her #bostonmqgretreat2018. Seriously my mind was blown... I know how long those take. I can't wait to see it finished.
Then Ashely of @amueller recently gifted a Control Freak project she made and posted about it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what she did with the cord! I always hoped my patterns would be a jumping off point and I'd one day see people putting their own twists on it. AND it's happening AND it's even better than I imagined! High fives all around!
This past weekend was the Creativ Festival show. It was LOVELY to see everyone who stopped by at our the FVMQG booth. Sherri Chalke and I were the featured Makers and we loved meeting and visiting with everyone!
The FVMQG also had a group show. I swear the show gets better and better every year. Here's a few highlights:
Barbara Macleod's (quilt pattern Tula Pink and long-arm quilted by Kathryn Davies) "Ghost Blossoms".
Cathy Erickson's (pattern by Nydia Kehnle) "Dimensions". The FVMQG had clips on the quilts so you could look at the back. It's always so fun to look at them. I feel like it's learning someone's middle name.
Sonja Oblak's (a block study from the MQG) "Vintage Modern". I LOVE that Sonja used a vintage table cloth and look at that hand sewing!
Kathryn Davies's (pattern Celery Sticks by Jeff Gully & Marny Buck, in Quilts du Jour) Crossroads. Look at that quilting! I love the puffy squares
I didn't post all of the quilts because we'd be here FORever... but be sure I LOVED them all.
And of course there was A LOT of shopping at the show. I stocked up on all my goodies from The Steam Trunk Craftworks! Rainbow jars of rick rack! Be still my beating heart!
RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: I might be bending the rules here (but isn't that what rules are for?! wink-wink)... check out the Foo Fighters mash up of Imagine/Jump!
Secret sewing projects/designing is tricky because well... it's secret. I can't show anything yet even though my week was jam packed with secret sewing! The good news is the wait won't be that long, just to the end of the month... or worst case scenario, the first week of April. I can't wait to show you! I'm pretty tickled with who I was asked to collaborate with! Eep!
So if I can't talk about this week I'd love to tell you about March 4th. I drove up to Lions Bay and took a workshop with Lorena Uriarte. She was visiting from Australia and did a couple workshops while she was here. My only regret is I didn't take BOTH of her classes! I took her Ring Cycles class and we joyfully took on "Y" seams! Yes "Y" seams! They're really not that scary, which I can say now after taking her class. AND I realize I say this about every workshop I take. If you get a chance to take a class with Lorena, please do! You won't regret it. Hand on heart I promise.
Now on to next weekend... Creativ Festival is on March 16 & 17th! I've dropped off my quilts to the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild to hang in their booth along with Sherri Chalke's colourful, gorgeous quilts. I'll be there both day, Friday and Saturday at the booth. I've been attending the Creativ Festival show since the first FVMQG booth in 2011. It's where I stock up on all my cutting blades, needles, 505 spray, pretty pins/trims (for sending in swap packages) and the odd must haves for the year. There are deals to be had! And the FVMQG is also having another show of their quilts. If you're in town pop on by and say hi! I'd love to meet you and chat about all things sewing.
Also if you're heading into Abbotsford for the Creativ Festival show I highly recommend making a pit stop to the coffee shop Old Hand. I just discovered it myself and seriously, I could live there... and I don't even drink coffee! Two words Cinnamon brioche. BAM best I've ever, EVER had! Then after you've had your fill walk a few doors down to Confetti Floral and prepare to be blown away. When I first walked into her store my friend kept laughing at me because every time I turned around I'd gasp at something I thought was more beautiful than the last. I can't help it. I'm a sucker for colour.
Since last Thursday was international women's day My RECOMMENDED for your play list is REBEL GIRL By Bikini Kill. One of my (of all time) favourite songs. Ooh! and you know what else?! I'd highly recommend a documentary about Kathleen Hanna (co-founder of Bikini Kill) called THE PUNK SINGER. Check it out!
A few weeks ago The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild posted about the class that I'll be teaching. The workshop is called, "How to Design a Paper Pieced Block." Here's the write up and the details:
When I learned to paper piece (from VMQG’s very own Sonja Callaghan) my brain exploded with possibilities. There were a ton of great blocks out there already but the challenge to design my own blocks was too irresistible to not give it a whirl. I didn’t jump in right away though, it was intimidating… all those pieces!
People seem to LOVE or really not love paper piecing but I’ve never met anyone who feels indifferent about it. If you love the process and the graphic nature of it then I bet you’re ready to design your own block. All you need is a basic understanding of paper piecing and you can join me on April 22 at the Croatian Cultural Centre, as we walk through the process of designing your own individual paper pieced blocks.
Registration is open! email firstname.lastname@example.org to register or to be added to the waiting list.
When: Sunday, April 22nd
Where: Croatian Cultural Center
Cost: $50 members; $65 non-members (fees are non-refundable)
Also on May 26th, I will be teaching a workshop for The Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild. The location, times and price are all still to be announced BUT we will be making Cassette Tape Zippy pouches! Small, medium and large. Yay! And if we have any left over time, maybe we can squeak in a Match Book Needle Book too! Fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted closer to the date.
Speaking of the FVMQG, Sherri Chalke and I have been invited to be the featured quilters at their Creative Stitches booth on March 16 and 17th at the Abbotsford Tradex. It's coming up quick AND it was a HUGE honour to be asked.
So there you go, hopefully we'll bump into each other at at least one of those venues!
Okay now for HAVE YOU SEEN: Sarah Watts' Craftedmoon enamel pins? BACK THE TRUCK UP! They're the BEST! I may have bought a few at Quiltcon...or three...but who's counting: wink, wink! And for the record, I hope they get to open that mini golf course one day!
And Last but not least RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: When deep down a Youtube rabbit hole I discovered this band called the FRIGHTS. The song is called "You are going to hate this" BUT I don't! I HEART IT!
I've never been on a bender but I'm guessing this is what the aftermath feels like. Last week was Quiltcon 2018 in Pasadena, California. My phone is littered with ALL the quilts. My brain is full of inspiration and my heart is full of how much I love makers. And as you know I'm especially a fan girl of these two ladies: Melody Miller and Latifah Saafir! They were gracious enough to let me grab a picture with them in front of my Fangirl quilt. Melody designed the fabric and Latifah designed the Glam clam quilt pattern. I was the lucky girl who sewed it all together.
Quiltcon was busting with energy and I think the snaps I caught of Annabel Wrigley (my partner in crime at the show) summed up how we all felt to be there. She caught some good air there, didn't she?! Right after she landed that jump, security poked their head through the drapes to make sure everything was ok. Yes, indeed it was! One of her doodle quilts ended up on the banners for the show! Woo hoo! How snazzy is that!
There were SO many quilts, so many of them I loved but I was especially excited to see Lindsey Neill's Sewology quilt in the show. I had never seen it in person before and it certainly didn't disappoint! I've bought the pattern and it's on my to do list. It's supposed to be a monthly sew along but between you and me, I'm behind. In case you want to be behind with me, this pattern can be purchased on Craftsy.
The other quilt that especially caught my attention (I could have spent the whole day lost in it) was Carolyn Friedlander's Collection quilt. I think we can all agree her fabrics and quilt patterns are dreamy but seeing her quilting close up was stunning. Everything was so carefully considered, thoughtfully placed and gentle. Then we were given the treat of seeing her sketches and a peek into her process. I love that she's an old school paper and pencils girl!
I'm sure you've seen the Quiltcon pictures swimming around on Instagram all weekend. I didn't post anything as I was busy being overwhelmed. I did my best to drink in the show and live in the moment... and perhaps that's why I'm was left feeling like I needed to turtle and hide out for a bit (behind my CAUSE YOU CAN'T YOU WON'T AND YOU DON'T STOP quilt)... and why I feel like I've been on a week long dance party bender. Self care here I come!
This week's RECOMMENDED playlist addition: Party Rock Anthem. Which summizes the energy of Quiltcon! See you in Nashville next year!
I finished my Boombox bag! It's so sparkly!!! I wanted to make a subtle version of the Boombox. Question: if it's sparkly is it still subtle? I'm going to go with YES! For the inside I used all my favourite printed linens: Enchino's Deer with glasses and flowers, plus Cotton + Steel's Tiger Stripes. I'm smitten. I even made two bottle holders... why do I need two? I have no idea but it seemed like a good idea at the time!
I'm off to Quiltcon eek! I'm SO excited (I've got butterflies in my tummy). I put it off long enough but I finally took some photos for my #helloquiltcon Instagram post. Honestly, I'd really rather be behind the camera than in front (note to self try to look adorable). I quite enjoyed the bloopers - do you like my Rocky Balboa impression, "YO Adrian!"?!. So, if you see someone with Tin Tin (blonde) hair, Red Sally Jessy Raphael glasses wearing a Boombox bag, it's probably me! Please grab me and say hi! I'd love to meet you!
I had some more "I'LL STOP THE WORLD AND SEW WITH YOU" patches made up for Quiltcon trade-zees. In the one card photos you can see how sparkly the Boombox bag is. Tinkerbell eat your heart out!
Okay, RECOMMENDED BOOK of the week. I slipped into Opus last week and accidentally (on purpose, hee, hee!) found Andy J Millar's new book, Creative Pep Talk: Inspiration from 50 Artists. I recommended his podcast a few weeks ago. P.S. I think Erin Jang's, Make Work Play, illustrations needs to be a quilt don't you?
RECOMMENDED for your playlist: I have more than one song for you this time! Have you heard of Jam in the Van? Yep, it's a YouTube rabbit hole. So many possibilities!
Ten days until Quiltcon! That's nine sleeps! It seems like it's coming up fast. Maybe that's because I decided in December to go. I don't have any workshops or lectures booked. I don't even have tickets to get in. I'm just going to wing it! I'll figure it out when I get there. At least I have a place to stay... phew! And because I'm off to Quiltcon I also decided that I needed a new bag (perhaps for some fabric purchases? Maybe, just maybe). It was also the perfect excuse to go for an idea I've been sitting on for a while, a Boombox bag! I bought a Metallic Fat Quarter Bundle from the Fat Quarter shop. It has ALL the sparkly fabric I could ever need. The bottom half of the Boombox is done, now I'm on to the top... and making the bag part. That too.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS: For just winging it, one thing I have locked and loaded are cards for Quiltcon. I picked them up this week and I'm pretty tickled with them! I'm teaching some workshops this year so I thought I should have some to hand out. That and MOO Cards had a 25% off sale, wink! I also decided to get some greeting cards printed up. I missed sending out Christmas cards by a country mile so my new plan is to send out a few cards every month throughout the year instead of trying to do it all in the month of December. I was very pleased with Social Print Studio's speed and quality. I had never tried them before but I will be ordering from them again. They've got some really unique services and a killer sense of humour!
RECOMMENDED PATTERNS: One of my favourite designers is Berene Campbell @happysewlucky. Have you been following her tattoo quilt? It's amazing! It's full of love, wisdom and hope. Literately! She's mostly active on Instagram but she also blogs HERE. And if you love her work as much as I do you'll want to check out her Etsy shop HERE. I highly recommend her patterns! I've got big plans for mine but I'm still in the hoarding fabric phase. Keep an eye on this lady, she's amaze-balls.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here. My youngest son has introduced me to Kendrick Lamar and I'm absolutely in love with this SONG, "i". Turn it up loud and have a wonderful Valentines Day this week, much love to you! xo
OH WAIT! I almost forgot! This past week I discovered my Roller-skate surface pattern designed was posted on Print & Pattern's website, for Make it in Design's graduation round up. The discovery was well worth an all out happy dance!
I met Barb Mortell in the early 2000's through a mutual friend. In fact she was working at the fabric shop where I saw Amy Butler's first line of fabric! (You know the day everything changed!) Last Sunday I took my third workshop with Barb through the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild @vancouvermqg. You might know Barb or you might know her and not even know it. She was in Sherri Lynn Wood's book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guild to Creating, Quilting & Living Courageously. Barb's quilt is on page 38.
The workshop was appropriately titled Door Jam, based off a quilt of Barb's with the same name. Her inspiration for the quilt came when she was walking her dog around her neighborhood and noticed some beautiful yellow doors on grey houses. Volia, a quilt and a workshop was born. I brought ALL my fabric (when it comes to bringing fabric somewhere, dare I say, I'm never under prepared)... to only use three colours: black, white and pink. I was blown away by people's projects! @kristenandrews tiny green lines on a navy background made me swoon. @sherrichalke also made sun shiny doors and @dinkydoo, aka Alicia, got the most done. I just loved her doors! I, however, sewed, changed my mind, ripped apart my block, sewed it together again, ripped it apart, cut it and I'm still playing with the layout. I did end up with one block I liked but it's only 3"x 5"! And people say paper piecing is hard!!! Improv is the ultimate puzzle! While I haven't finished my block, Barb has a way of saying the right thing at the right time. She's very wise and I'll continue to take as many classes as I can from her.
And guess what?! You can too. Barb has started on a new adventure called ARTLEAP! She has classes that go even beyond quilting! But if quilting is your jam and I'm guessing it is if you're here please have a peek at what she's up to by clicking HERE.
RECOMMEND PATTERN: Valentine's DAY!!! I'm completely jazzed about Kam's @needleplusthread new cross-stitch pattern. Oh my gosh, she's crazy talented. AND if you head over pronto you still have time to enter and win it! Click HERE to enter.
RECOMMENDED NEWSLETTER: Abby Hersey! Check out her candy heart FREE pattern and her Galentine's Day FREE Downloadable cards. Find them HERE. I subscribe to her newsletter and I love it. She's my kind of gal!
Okay and it's that time... RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: I love you by SAID THE WHALE... sing it with me!... "you know, you know, you know, love you!"
A couple of years ago I read Scott Adam's book (the creator of Dilbert), "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life". I bought the book on a whim before my flight as I was flying home from Edmonton. I'm not even sure what made me pick it up... Dilbert was never my thing. Out of all the books I've read this one has really stuck with me. The biggest take away from the book was to create a system - not a goal.
The funny thing about creative work is the only way to get better is to make A LOT of it... and there are A LOT of things I'd like to get better at. Since the beginning of January I've taken a hard look at my routine and have decided that each week I need to build a system and make room for certain projects, like:
- make one surface pattern design every week.
- sew one 12"-ish free-motion block (there might be a lot of pot holders given out next Christmas, if any are worth saving).
- AND to draw/paint/experiment everyday. I've been taking Lisa Congdon's Creative Bug Daily Painting Challenge: 31 Painted Patterns class and I'm LOVING IT! It's been a long time since I've painted. I bought some very yummy gouache paints but honestly I hadn't touched them because they scared me... you know the way beautiful pristine white blank paper can. It's such a relief to finally be using them and to let go as I follow along each day.
Yep, so that's my plan: make little adjustments each week that nudge me in the direction I want to go.
This week I also have not one, but TWO recommendations! The first one being DARK POUTINE, a podcast by our friend Mike Browne (who, along with his wife Carol, are extraordinary photographers!). If you're into Canadian True Crime & Creepy Tales, Dark Poutine will be right up your alley. Personally I'm a fraidy-cat but my husband LOVES it! So put on your toque, grab a double-double and a Nanaimo bar... then scarf down some Dark Poutine!
RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST- Kiwi by Harry Styles. I love the song but seriously have you seen his floral suits? I'd watch the video for just that... and the food fight. That too.
My husband and I recently went to Mexico for a wedding. There were excursions, ruins, snorkeling, salsa, laughter and sand... lots of sand. But I have to admit my happy place (and not just when in Mexico) is when I'm tucked in somewhere with a book. It can be a journal, a magazine, even a great kids picture book. You name it, I'm pretty much in love with anything that has two covers with pages in between. So it's probably no shock that I created a Cassette Tape Book Cover PDF Tutorial just for you! It can be downloaded from HERE. I've also archived it under my "SEWING DESIGNS", for whenever you need it.
The first book cover I ever made (the yellow one) was for a swap at the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meetup back in 2015 that the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild had put on. It was so much fun and I got the chance to meet my partner in crime Jonna (my pattern tester extraordinaire)! Check out her floral version of the book covers. The centers of the cassettes are brilliant!
In writing the tutorial Jonna (@bespokeoutlaw) and I discovered if you enlarge the medium Cassette Tapes pattern by 15% on your printer it makes a perfect cover for a 5" x 7" notebook. If you increase the small pattern by 39% on your printer it perfectly covers a small moleskin! Just remember to increase or decrease the same percentage for the spines (cassette bottoms).
P.S.S. One of the benefits of being away on a trip is MAIL! Happy mail! I received my copy of Modern Quilts! Yay! And my packet from THRIVE MASTERMIND, a new group I joined. I'm super duper looking forward to it!
RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR PLAYLIST: Elvis Costello & The Attractions- Everyday I write the Book (the Lady Di and Charles look a likes are not too shabby!) ALTHOUGH my very favourite Elvis Costello moment was on Saturday Night Live, when he changed mid song and broke into Radio Radio (getting himself banned from the show for over a decade). AND then in 1989 he jumped into the Beastie Boys set on SNL and started playing... you guessed it... Radio Radio! Genius!
Last week we established Jenny Haynes is the creator of some amazing quilts. This week I think you'll find she's facing an exciting year. I especially loved her 2018 New Year post on Instagram encouraging us all to be brave and fierce, like her! Again many thanks to Jenny for sharing her stories and work with us...
1. What's one or two things about you that might surprise people?
I'm very messy and I've got a terrible memory for names and faces. Some of the mum's at my boys' school have had me introduce myself to them 3-4 times.
2. I'm crazy about your Curved Log Cabin quilt. Where did the inspiration for that come from? Now that I mention it where does most of your inspirations come from (ginormous question I know!)?
I work from restricted and minimal going outwards if that makes sense. I start with a shape (say the Drunkard's Path) and play with it, either in paper or in Touchdraw. I change the shape or size and play with it, see what comes out of one simple shape.
In the case of the Curved Log Cabin Quilt (I sometimes call it #sisteroftheotherone as there is now more than one) it started a few years back. I wanted to try to make a Log Cabin Drunkard's Path block for a Sunflower Block. I then made an oval version. A year ago Thames & Hudson publishing asked if I could make a quilt for a book for the Victoria & Albert Museum. The brief was to make my own version of a traditional quilt in their collection so I changed my Oval Log Cabin and made it with 50 different solids. The scrappy look and the big stitch hand quilting were references to the quilts historically made from re-purposed fabrics by hand. There was a suggestion in the book on how to make the quilt in a different way by using monochrome fabrics. As I wanted a quilt to promote the book and classes with and the original quilt was being kept in the shop for the book display, I made the monochrome version as well.
3. Who do you look up to? Who's your hero, quilting or otherwise?
Artists I follow with excitement on IG are: Robert Moya, Paolo Arao, Kels O'Sullivan and Chris Manton. I also go to architecture, ceramics (Lubna Chowdhary), furniture and print for inspiration. The IG community and makers like Hillary Goodwin and Sam Hunter have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and inspirational. I hope that I can give some of that back somehow to new makers through my teaching or support. We're in this together.
4. You design, quilt, sell templates, teach and you're a mama. How do you balance all those amazing things?
I think being busy feeds our creativity. I work best with deadlines and I've got plenty of them this year. I've got my first exhibition at the end of March (at Artyfact Gallery in Sweden), teaching at the V&A, also in March. #whatshadeareyou in Feb, a few pattern releases and I'm doing a BOM for a new UK Quilting website, on top of my normal teaching and two MQG talks. An exciting year ahead. I try to only work when the boys are st school but, as I love what I do, school holidays can be hard and I get a bit grumpy when I don't get to sew.
5. What's your best suggestion/pep talk for when a slump or a creative block gets in the way. How do you get back to being productive?
Just keep making. The group of quilts in working on for the exhibition have sent me through the (not yet complete) cycle of feelings, excitement close to euphoria, self doubt and disbelief in my own stupidity to agree on something like this to acceptance and persistence. I'm hoping I finish on pride and a sense of achievement but only time will tell.
6. Going back to the show your in this spring at the Aryfactgallery, can you tell us more about that, what the show is called and more about the gallery itself? It sounds very exciting!
I will be exhibiting a series of quilts at Artyfactgallery in Sweden March-April 2018. These exhibits are the result of a collaboration with one half of the colourful Artyfactygallery duo, Cecilia Bjork, and will be not only my first gallery showing but also my first time working in a series. This step forward, and the restrictions I've set myself in terms of colours and shapes used, are proving an excellent way for me to expand my creativity.
The show name: 'Art Quilt: Jenny Haynes and Cecilia Björk
The write up: 'Art Quilt is a colourful geometric exhibition and collaboration. Craft was historically the only creative outlet for many women and Artist was a title reserved for men up to the 19th century. If these textile pieces had been made by men, and in another materials, the art form would have received a much higher acclaim. In this exhibition Cecilia will be translating Jenny's quilts into a harder form, using wood. Piecing wood instead of fabric to create wall-hangings.'
About the Gallery: Just a few minutes away from the summertime location for ’Swedish Open’. The gallery is directed by artist couple Cecilia Björk and Patrick Agler and exhibits distinctive works influenced by illustration, photography, graphic design, graffiti, comic books, pop culture, and street art.
Have you ever been roaming around Instagram and then BAM! You come across someone and their work just grabs you by the eyeballs?! That's what happened when I came across Jenny Haynes account @pappersaxsten. Curves are her thing and in my humble opinion curves (along with piping, bathing suits and bras) are the pinnacle of sewing. So when I come across someone who can do them and do them really well... I go into a Wayne's World spin of I'm not worthy gushing. I just had to share her work with you and Jenny was kind of enough to chat with me and share about her world and her work in this two part interview (join us next week for the second part). Okay let's get started shall we!
1. How would you describe yourself? What do you want people to know about you?
I'm enthusiastic, loud, creative and empathetic. I dislike rudeness and like equality and inclusiveness.
2. When and how did you begin sewing?
As a young girl. I made my own clothes (weird, 80's contraptions) in my teens and (more normal outfits) in adulthood. I made quilts for gifts and soft furnishings for my first flat.
3. You studied Pattern Cutting and Tailoring plus Fashion and Textiles... how did you end up quilting? How long have you been quilting for?
I've always made quilts. Every family member has one. After studying pattern cutting and fashion I got disheartened about the fashion industry and had a break from making. When I got back into sewing, when my children where born I made quilts for my husbands family and loved it so I decided to try making quilts for a living.
4. Curves. When did you realize that was your thing?
I thought it was when I made my first Drunkard's Path block but looking back at my portfolio from my fashion studies, I realized it was always a favourite.
5. By looking at your Instagram account you do a lot of planning for your quilting. It also looks like you do mostly straight line machine quilting or hand quilting. Can you tell us a bit about your process?
The planing was mainly because I only had two hours a day and only during term time so I had to be really efficient with time. I realized I really enjoyed the planing and the quilt design in Touchdraw. I'm looking forward to get time for more play and experimenting now that the youngest is at school. I've been asked to join the Improv Bee Kathryn Upitis @kupitus has arranged. It's called #beeinspired2018 and includes some of my absolute favourite makers. They will push me out of my comfort zone I'm sure.
When it comes to quilting it's mainly down to lack of skills (I'm terrified of FMQ) that I stick to straight lines. I'm hoping to try out some templates for quilting in my domestic and maybe one day I can get a longarm.
6. Is there a sewing/creative tool or book that you just can't live without?
When I got hooked on curved piecing I did not know the block was called Drunkard's Path or that there were templates out there so I had my own made. I use them for most of my designs and if I need a different shape I have them made. There is now a Double, Triple and Oval Drunkard's Path template. I had some requests for custom templates and I've got some new shapes in mind.
To check out Jenny's Templates or some of her quilts for purchase you can check them out HERE.
7. What three songs would you recommend for everyone's playlist.
This is the hardest question of all for me. Being married to a musician and walking music encyclopaedia makes me analyse my music taste too much.
I'm a bit old school (Bruce, Van, Grateful Dead) and also a bit scatty with my music taste (lots of 80's like Eurythmics and Prince) so it could be anything from Old Crow Medicine Show- Wagon Wheel, The Smiths-This Charming Man to Depeche Mode-John The Revelator.
I'm back from my winter hibernation and I couldn't wait to check in with you before next Tuesday. I hope you had a cozy winter break. Happy New Year!
Over the break I snuck in some time to experiment with Adobe Illustrator. As inspiration I used some photos of zinnias I took last September at Krauss Berry Farms in Langley. I know it's a loose comparison but zinnia reminds me of Xena: the Warrior Princess. Do remember that from TV show from the 90's? I never watched it a ton but gosh I LOVED her battle cry. Zinnia's have strong stems, they don't apology for their bold colour and they're not delicate and frou-frou, like some flowers. Hello roses, such diva's needing to be pruned with all those testy thorns. See what I mean, zinnia's, they're Warrior Princesses! Like Lucy Lawless... and I bet they'd have the same battle cry.
Now I couldn't decide if I liked the black or the cream background best so I made both into PDF's for you. Click HERE for black and click HERE for white. Also when I was playing around I made a January calendar page for you! Click HERE.
Keeping with tradition of my RECOMMENDATIONS: I recently discovered Andy J Pizza's podcast "Creative Pep Talk" via the Jealous Curator. He's entertaining to listen to while working in the studio and he's always recommending other podcasts and books. Oh and he just published a book under the same title! Which reminds me, yesterday I picked up Lisa Congdon's new book, A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives. I'm excited about digging into it!