Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Blog Address

Check out the new Quilt and Needle Blog.
This blog will still be here, but all future updates will be posted at the new site.  See you there! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What's so special about February?

18 years ago this month, my sweetheart and I went on our very first date. We were 16 and it was Valentine's Day. He brought me the cutest little stuffed gorilla. He held my hand and opened doors for me. He made me feel like I was the ONE, which is a pretty cool feeling for a teenage girl. He's told me that his only regret that night was his choice of movie - Ace Ventura. Not sure what the thought process was there... As you can imagine, it's quite frustrating for a teenage boy when he leans over to sneak a first kiss, and the obnoxious fellow on screen unveils the "worst case of hemorrhoids ever seen!" Doh! Well, I'll always have a special place in my heart for stuffed gorillas and Valentines.

And I've long since forgiven him for the movie choice, since he truly embraces my little quirks... When I'm quilting, for example, I usually listen to music through my ear buds. And I sing aloud. Out LOUD. Listen, I don't have any vocal training. After 7 years of orchestra, I'm fairly certain I'm tone deaf and completely incapable of keeping a beat. So when I start singing, it's no treat. But I love it, and I am without shame when I'm belting out my favorite diva hits while cruising through an edge to edge design on Violet. There might even be dancing... It's not unusual for me to look up from my work and find my love watching me, with a crooked grin and unmistakable, sincere love in his eyes.

It's the same look he gets when I'm deep in the middle of figuring out a new design (like I have been every night this week), and he tries to talk to me. Sometimes I look at him like I'm listening, but I keep typing; often I mumble and nod at whatever he says until I notice that he's gotten very quiet. Then I focus on him. He's always got that same look on his face - complete adoration. He should be annoyed. Jealous, maybe, of my attention. But that's not how he's made. And it's contagious... It makes me love my work self too. When seen through his eyes, that girl's pretty neat.

Just sayin'... I'm pretty sure I'll always love February.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What's in a name?

Me at retreat!
Our yearly retreat is quickly approaching, and, as usual, I'm eagerly anticipating the reveal of another new mystery that weekend. I've lost track of the number of mystery quilts I've designed for our annual retreat in Tomball, Tx, but one of the first was Friends and Fellows. I love that name - it just has a lovely cadence and the alliteration makes it roll off the tongue well. Friends and Fellows. It's a name that originates in a partial block within the quilt and that embodies the camaraderie we find at a quilt retreat.

Jami C. at retreat.
Milica N. at retreat.

It's becoming increasingly difficult for me to come up with names for my patterns, especially when I design several in a short period of time. Good names, that is. Something not already overly used and something that applies to the design. Sometimes a name just lands on a pattern and I know it's right, that no other name could possible fit as well. Take Outside the Box, for example. When you say the name, you know the quilt. It just fits. The name actually paints a picture of that quilt in my head.
Nancy Feve
Lynn Makrin

Jami C.
I've sometimes resorted to having my quilty friends and forum members help me name a pattern. My good friend Ms. Pat (Life in the Scrapatch) thought up the name for Windsong. I immediately knew the name was right. In this case, the name actually adds to the romance and fluidity of this design.


Tonight I'm challenged with naming my new mystery design. For now I'm calling it "Frolic," because I like what that says about my design intentions, and because a good "Frolicking" friend of mine is on my mind tonight. I realize that I really must settle on a name before dawn tomorrow. So, for now, for the next few hours anyway, this one shall be "Frolic." What does that say to you about the pattern?


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

24 Hour Flash Sale - Annie's Fortune Digital Download Pattern!

on Annie's Fortune Digital Download Pattern!

Now through Midnight Wednesday, save 20% off the regular price of this newly released PDF version of our Fall 2010 Mystery Pattern, Annie's Fortune. 

Rated with an Advanced Beginner skill level, Annie's Fortune mixes a touch of traditional with a tad bit of modern to create a wonderfully delightful quilt!  Click here to order your Annie's Fortune now!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guest Blogger: Organizing a large quilt project

Hello Everyone, it's been awhile since I posted here, thought I'd shoot one at ya ;)

Jess's patterns are fantastic. I've been testing her mysteries for quite a few years now, and always enjoy it. But this one, well, this one overwhelmed me some. As I had a baby in the house.

 I'm talking about the Someday quilt that Jess designed as a mystery in 2011. This quilt is  78 x89" , and has 224 - 5.5” pieced blocks! That is a LOT of blocks.Jess is fantastic at giving you tips along the way. Like using baggies to keep your step pieces in, or using  sticky papers. A design wall also comes in handy, but some of us don't have one of those. So here's a few tips I put together for helping to keep your project in order, as you sew it.

I finished piecing all my blocks together, then had to set the project aside for another day. That day finally got here a few weeks ago. I laid out all my blocks and put them in piles of same blocks. (If you have a small side table you can put near your machine, that would work great. I just had to use the flap on my sewing cabinet.)

I started by looking at the directions for piecing together the finished top. I took the first two blocks, sewed them together and check marked them off on the piece of paper.

I continued to chain stitch all of the first row together.

Making sure I check marked each piece on the piece of paper.

I made all my rows, keeping them in a chain. When I got to the end of row one, I started row two, then sniped off row one and safety pinned a #1 to it. Then folded it up and set it aside. I did these with all the rows as I got finished with this step.

Then I took my row one, snipped all the blocks apart, and started chain stitching two by two. Leaving the last two by themselves.

Still working with row one. I then stitched two-4pieces together, and the 4 and 2 piece.

And then sewed those two pieces together.


I thin reclipped the row #1 sign to it, and started row two.

Repeat, another 14 times!

And when all the rows were sewn, I  took rows one and two, sewed them together; checked marked them off on the paper; and safety pinned their row numbers to them. Continue till all your rows are sewn together.

Pinning the row numbers to your rows and marking off the blocks on your paper, really made this project go by smoothly and easily. I constantly looked at the paper to make sure my blocks were in the right place too.

When you have your rows paired up and sewn, you take rows 1/2 and 3/4 and sew them together. Then 5/6 and 7/8. Etc. Just keep stitching the rows together and using your safety pins with the numbers on them. And pretty soon, I had my finished top.

Someday quilt pattern by Jessica JE Smith copywrite 2011

I hope my little tips can help you out when you are overwhelmed with a project.

Have a great day!