Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spring Quilt Market Redux

Last Monday, after packing the car in the morning, Marcia and I set out for Spring International Quilt Market in Kansas City, Missouri at around mid-day. Smiley Scrap came along to capture some highlights.

Our first stop: Cleveland, Ohio. The hotel offered free cookies at check-in for a quick snack. From the looks of it, Smiley agrees with the sentiment printed on the cookie bag!

The next day, we headed to Kansas City, Missouri, our destination. Along the way, we just HAD to stop for a cherry-lime route 44 at Sonic (forty-four ounces of yummy lime-infused cherry soda). You just have to take one look at Smiley to know we got the happy hour deal!

Of course, if you drink 44 ounces of anything, eventually, you'll have to make a McStop! (Wow, gas is pretty cheap here!) By the way, we were fortunate to have beautiful driving weather along the entire trip to Kansas City!

Ahh. The street banners are out to greet us in front of the Convention Center - the Quilt Market hot spot for the week end!

Booth set-up went pretty smoothly. Smiley's main role was to supervise and keep us happy. (It worked!)

Smiley took advantage of a little down-time in the booth to wander about. Many of the fabric manufacturers seem to be going 'big' with licensed images. Smiley met Darth Vader and Chewbacca at the Camelot Cottons booth.

You could find Linus and the Peanuts gang hanging out with the Quilting Treasures folks!

Smiley thought about joining the circus over at Michael Miller Fabrics. But you have to be so careful where you step!

Smiley clearly felt the most comfortable in the Andover booth, and Eric Carle's 10 Little Rubber Ducks fabric line. Now, these are critters she can really relate to!

After all that walking from booth to booth, a piece of scrap fabric can get worn out! A stop in Ellen Medlock's booth and a nice soft place to set a spell. Aren't the fabrics in Ellen's new line pretty? (The line needs a little more yellow, don't you agree?)

There's Kim DeCoste, Quilts, Inc. Manager of Education, and Shelly Stokes chatting at the Cedar Canyon Textiles Booth. I think these three are strategizing over how to get Smiley in on the Class Schedule for Fall Quilt Market! Smiley also really liked the Paintstik demo with Shelly!

Marti Michell stopped by the booth for a quick camera snap!

Hope you enjoyed the little tour. It's amazing how long it took to assemble the booth just right. And how quickly it was stuffed back into boxes and loaded into the car for the return trip.

Happy stitching! And Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Half-Square Triangles

Something Fishy Quilt

Two of the most popular ScrapTherapy patterns, Something Fishy (pictured) and Pick-A-Pair Pot Holders were originally written to incorporate Star Singles, a notion that is similar to Thangles. Thangles use strips of fabric to make half-square triangle units. Star Singles papers start with Squares. Star Singles papers are also similar to triangulation templates that you can print on your home printer.

I love using Star Singles papers. All the trimming to produce the correct unfinished half-square triangle size is done before pressing the seams. But they are difficult to find. 

On the "Good News" side of things I met Liz Eagan (the Star Singles designer and manufacturer) at Spring Quilt Market last week, and she tells me that she's got some plans to make Star Singles more accessible. So stay tuned, in the meantime, here's an alternative.

When ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps! was written, the Something Fishy pattern was included, but the pattern was re-written to exclude the requirement for any extra notions. Additionally, In the North Woods, from the book, incorporates a similar notion-free method to make eight Half-Square Triangle units from two 5" scrap squares.

Here's how it works.
Start with two 5" squares. Draw two diagonal lines, corner-to-corner on the back of one of the squares and place them right sides together.

 Sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of each lines. That's four seams all together.

Cut through the center, 2-1/2" away from the edge, twice. Like a big + sign. Then cut on the diagonal lines. Like an X. Try not to move the fabric in between cuts, so you can turn your mat and make four nice clean cuts.

Take the 8 resulting triangle units to the ironing board and press the seam toward one side or the other per the pattern instructions.

Then trim each unit using a small square ruler that has a bias line to 2" square. Use the 2" markings on the ruler to make sure you are trimming to the correct unfinished size, and line up the bias line on the ruler with the seam in the fabric.

Cut along the side and top, then flip the fabric square and trim the remaining two sides. Don't take a short-cut and trim only two sides, leaving the other two sides all wonky.



Eight perfect Half-Square Triangle units! Each Half-Square Triangle unit is exactly 2" square unfinished. Once sewn into your quilt, it will be 1-1/2" square.

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Oh, Shoot!

Last Sunday afternoon, I jumped in the car and headed southeast, toward Newtown, Connecticut, headquarters of The Taunton Press. I loaded about a kajillion finished quilts for the next ScrapTherapy book, a bunch of samples for the procedural shots, and my iPad, loaded with two audio books to pass the time on the five-hour drive. 

By the time I arrived in Newtown, a lovely, picturesque New England town, I was worn out. Last week, my time was dedicated to finishing up text and illustrations for the third round of book content submissions. So, imagine my delight to see my accommodations at the Dana Holcombe House in Newtown, right in the center of town next to a white spired church.
The Dana Holcombe House, Newtown, CT

The inn is surrounded by a beautiful garden, carefully tended by the inn's proprietors John and Jane Vouros. The lilacs, my all-time favorite flower were just starting to bloom.

The blue room, furnished tastefully with antiques, a fluffy bed, and lots of sunny windows was a welcome sight. I could have stayed all week! Don't you think a handmade blue and white quilt would make a lovely addition?

The next morning. I was off to Taunton headquarters. And found this bookshelf in the lobby - Cut the Scraps is on the bottom shelf all the way on the left!

Taunton offerings cover a lot of non-quilty territory - wood working, gardening, knitting, sewing.

My husband is the gardener guy at our house. So, after a strong recommendation from Jane at the Dana Holcombe House, I signed Dave up for a Fine Gardening subscription. Based on her garden, Judy seemed a good authority on gardening publications!

Renee Neiger and Shawna Mullen, my editors, gathered me up after a quick camera snap, to head to a studio building in an outer area of the spacious Taunton campus.

Burcu Avsar, or Buj for short, our fabulous photographer, met us at the studio. She immediately and expertly began creating an elaborate set-up of lights, tripods, cameras, and computer equipment so we could review each picture as it was taken.

In the meantime, Alison Wilkes, art director, and I sorted through scrap fabrics to pick some favorites to go into instructional photos.

The day flew by. I lost count of how many pictures we took. But we were on schedule and wrapped up right around 4 or 5 pm. The art staff used the rest of the day to sort through the quilts for potential book cover candidates for the next day's photo shoot, which I did not attend. So many choices!

This picture reminds me of my sewing studio when a quilt is in progress. Kinda messy, don't you think?

Seems such a long way off before the next ScrapTherapy book will be in hand! It's targeted for March 2013! I can't wait, how 'bout you?'