Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kevin's book on tour and Giveaway

Today I am so excited to welcome my son Kevin to my blog to tell you a little about his new applique book.  But first a little Mommy bragging is in order, after all how many dedicated quilters can say their son has just
had his first quilting book published.  Kevin has always been a gifted writer, with a keen wit and easy to read writing style that truly makes his book stand out.  Sure it is filled with great tips and interesting projects but reading along you are sure to be amused by his unique sense of humor.  He was always interested in drawing  as a child and by the time he was in 5th grade he was illustrating a brochure for his school using his, at the time, signature Cinder dog character.  So I guess it should be no surprise that he combined his love of writing and design when he started quilting and and was soon publishing his patterns in magazines.  But it was surprising.  He certainly had no love of quilts while he lived at home and never touched a sewing machine or needle and thread until he was living across the country in his own apartment.  But somehow the seed must have been planted because the quilting bug took hold of him and he has never looked back.

I know I am biased but this really is a super applique book.  For those of you that regularly read my blog, I can assure you that the techniques Kevin discusses in his book are the techniques I use.  And so it is my great pleasure to turn my blog over to my talented son Kevin.

The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop
By Kevin Kosbab
Interweave/F+W Media; $26.99
The Quilter's Applique Workshop

If you’re a regular reader of my mom’s blog, hello! Thanks for letting me interrupt your regularly scheduled programming. If the Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop Blog Tour brought you here for the first time, meet my mom, Heather! Have a look round at all her fantastic work. Appliqué must be in the blood.

Neither of us knew while I was growing up that she was nurturing a nascent interest in quiltmaking. If you told my high school self that in 15 years I’d be making my living with quilts, I’d have thought you needed significant psychiatric intervention. In fact, I wanted no part of the quilt Mom was planning for my graduation, fearing that my college friends wouldn’t think it was very cool. (Teenagers are such ingrates.) Even when she bought me a sewing machine to make curtains for my first apartment, quilting didn’t seem to be on the horizon…nevertheless, I ended up making several quilts before I ever attempted the curtains, and I haven’t stopped since.

I’ve got a lot from my mom since I started quilting, and not just free sewing machines, long-arm quilting, and sample sewing. I’ve lost track of all the tips and “have you tried…” conversations we’ve had. Even living on opposite sides of the country, it’s fun to have a sort of fabric buddy who can share in the delight of tracking down that absolutely perfect piece of fabric to complete a block. When I know Mom’s looking for a particular color combination or style of fabric for a project, I can keep an eye out for it while I’m making the quilt-shop rounds, and she often spots new lines that are perfect for me. If we lived closer, we’d probably be raiding each other’s stashes regularly—though with her head start of a decade or two, she has a little more to offer!

Of course, if you compare our quilting styles, you might wonder what we have in common. While our styles are pretty different, we work in much the same way, generally preferring needle-turn appliqué for the streamlined process and minimal preparation. We both love a good fussy cut and, in our own ways, have been playing with broderie perse lately, Mom for a mystery quilt she just showed (among other recent projects) and me in the Garden Allotments Quilt from my book.

Garden Allotments Quilt

Rather than being a barrier to our quilting camaraderie, the difference in our styles is actually an extra benefit. We each get to see quilts through each other’s eyes, which gives me ideas I wouldn’t have thought of on my own (and I’d like to think I’ve given Mom a few ideas, too). If our quilts looked the same, we wouldn’t stretch each other in unexpected ways—the quilts might inspire us to imitate, but not to innovate. Diversity is far more fruitful than homogeneity.

In the book, I mention my mom’s teacup quilt as inspiration for one of my projects, so I asked her to take a photo of it to show you here. Some of her teacups are fussy cut to resemble actual teacups from her mother and grandmother, which I thought was cool even as a teenage ingrate.

Her quilt planted the seed for the book’s China Cupboard Wall Quilt, which depicts dishes in a way that reflects my graphic quiltmaking style and the more mid-century tableware I collect. I suspect the fun for both of us was mainly picking the fabric: Mom in finding just the right prints for each teacup, and me in searching out dish prints related by style and color. (For both of us, a love of dishes is second only to a love of fabric.)

China Cupboard Wall Quilt

I’m lucky enough to benefit from my mom’s quilting experience, and I also love to browse through non-quilting needlework books, read up on historical processes, and see what quilters of other ages and perspectives are doing—I’m always asking, “How could I adapt that technique or design element?” I hope that, whatever your personal style, you’ll look at my book that way. More than just putting together a book of nice appliqué projects, I wanted to suggest ways to use appliqué that readers might not have thought of. I can't wait to see what people sew up from the book, whether they just change the fabrics of a pattern or jump off from a basic idea to go in a totally new direction. The best part of appliqué is its freedom, so I hope the book will help people open up new possibilities in their quiltmaking that I haven’t even dreamed up.

Thanks Kevin.  We really do have fun together in our quilting journey.  In honor of the publication of the book I am having a giveaway here in addition to the one on Kevin's blog.  Just leave a comment on this blog post and on Monday I will draw for a copy of Kevin's book.  Please make sure you are not a No Reply blogger or leave your email address so that I can contact you.

Follow along with the rest of the blog tour, and you can also go to Kevin's blog for another chance to enter to win a signed copy of the book, a bunch of appliqué patterns, and more!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Di Ford Mystery quilt

Thanks so much to everyone's kind comments about my son's book. I have not yet had a chance to respond as I have been out of town but I will hope to do that soon. And please come back on Wednesday when Kevin will be doing a guest post!

After seeing several posts about the new Di Ford mystery quilt in Quiltmania magazine, I knew I had another "must do" project for 2014. I have cut down on all my purchases this year but Quiltmania magazine is something I will continue to purchase. I just love the magazine, it is filled with inspiration and patterns that I love but it can be difficult to find. As it is published in France, we usually don't see it here until it had been out for a month or two. It usually hits the quilt stores first and then sometimes a month or two later can be found in bookstores of JoAnn's. I am so excited that I finally found a LQS, or at least one 1 1/2 hours away, that carries it so I can be sure to get each issue. And as soon as I found this year's first issue I began the mystery.


As you can see some broderie perse is involved. In the original mystery a Dutch chintz is used but it is the same chintz that I am using in LE so I wanted to use something else. And I really am hoping to make this out of my stash so I was delighted to find a piece of Lately From London by Moda that had these great flowers. It is on a tan background but with some careful stitching it works.

I may need to tweak a few of the diamond points as I am not happy with them, but I really hate unstitching appliqué so they may just stay as they are.

Unfortunately I do not have any of the stripe that is used to border this medallion but I did locate a promising stripe in my stash. I am thinking that I may alter it somewhat as it seems a bit too drab but will wait for the next installment before making that decision. And my hexagon flowers for the corners are not utilizing that stripe either.

So far I am having lots of fun with this one. Utilizing my stash is quite rewarding and it is fun trying to create something in the spirit of the original while still making it my own.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Exciting Quilty news

Last week I received a very exciting package in the mail. One that I had been looking forward to for such a long time. It is a wonderful new appliqué book.

But this is not just any book to me. Besides being a terrific "how to" bible for all kinds of appliqué techniques ranging from fusible to needleturn, it is written in a humorous easy to understand way, by my son Kevin Kosbab. I am just so delighted with the finished product! We spent many an hour on the phone discussing this book from its initial concept to completion and I am thrilled to have been a part of it. Since Kevin and I work in much the same manner it certainly reflects my appliqué techniques. Though the projects included in the book have a distinctly modern flair, the techniques themselves are applicable to any style of appliqué. And while I did machine quilt a few of the projects in the book, the rest of the work, including all of the appliqué was done by Kevin himself. Have I mentioned how excited I am and how proud!!

Next week, on Feb 26, I will be included in his blog tour and Kevin will be doing a guest post. I hope you will stop back then and get to know more about the book and my terrific, funny, creative son. Oh, and we'll have a giveaway too!

Finally just for a little eye candy, here is some of what I have been working on. First up, a few more pomegranate blocks have been stitched.

And part 5 of the Soupçon quilt is complete.



Monday, February 10, 2014

Feeling Blue

Not sure if it is the weather or the general uncertainty in my life these days, but I have been feeling rather blue. And what could be a better pick me up than starting a new project, unless it is returning to a lingering UFO. I haven't played with these Sue Daley "This Goes With That" hexagons in awhile and this weekend, when I felt myself in the need of a little EPP therapy, I made these. I had cut several the last time I worked on this project, so they were all ready for some stitching while watching the Olympics.

I now have 60 completed and I am starting to think about how I want to assemble them. I laid them out on the bed in the master bedroom (I will keep these Master Bedroom colors in the next house) in an effort to help me decide. Originally, I thought I would assemble them side by side much like the popular Candied Hexagon quilt.

But I am also considering adding triangle in a solid Snow White so the hexagons are separated and can be more easily seen as individuals.

I really can't decide as I like both options. I would love to hear what you think, though the picture quality may make it too difficult for you to get a good idea.

Another house showing today and one tomorrow. I sure am getting tired of trying to keep the sewing room tidy!

Oops, one of the photos posted twice and I cannot figure out how to delete it. Sorry!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LE center complete and a bit more stitching

Last week I spent lots of time prepping blocks for appliqué. But for me that is a daytime job so the evenings were spent stitching and I finally finished the center of Love Entwined. I am so much happier with my color choices now that the center is all together. I am now thinking about my approach for the borders but first I am basking in the glow of the center!

Here is a close up of the final corner vase. If anyone is working on Di Ford's mystery from Quiltmania magazine, you will notice that my broderie perse is done using the same fabric that she selected to use. I had planned to purchase a bit more if needed but now, due to the excitement over her mystery, it is sold out where I purchased it. So I will make do with what I have and hope I have enough to add some of the flowers to the border vases. I do love Di's quilts and hope to make the mystery quilt myself but I will be selecting a different fabric as my starting point.

I also stitched the second block in the Benjamin Biggs Quilt BOM. I am really enjoying these simple green and red blocks.

Now that all the pomegranate blocks are prepped for my Jacobean Elegance quilt, I could not resist stitching the first one. While stitching I realized that I am no longer intimidated by all the tiny curves of the leaves. In fact they were really fun to needleturn. I think the tiny details in LE have helped my appliqué!

And finally, for a bit of quick machine stitching, I put this block together for the Quilt Doodle Designs BOM. I did simplify the construction of the block due to my use of more modern fabrics. The original design is rather scrappy but I am liking this look with my bright colors.

Still no house sale so I will be back in the sewing studio this week. Trying to save money means no fabric store trips, no eating out and no excursions that are not free. So happy that I have a large stash, free online patterns and all my blogging friends to keep me busy. Thanks to everyone who stops by, you really help to brighten my days!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Soupçon part 3 and more Benjamin Biggs

I spent the weekend doing a little stitching. Once the mess that I showed in the last post was cleaned up, it was hard to getting back to prepping appliqué. Seemed a shame to mess up that room again. Sadly the people that viewed our house are not interested so it will be a mess again in no time! The first thing I stitched was my first Benjamin Biggs block.

I am happy with how it turned out but after stitching someone posted on the FB group that in the first pattern the buds are going the opposite way as in the quilt. Well, if I had more carefully read the instructions I would have seen that as it was clearly mentioned. But I did not as I was so excited to get this block ready for stitching. No problem as I now know I just have to reverse them for the rest of the blocks and I did realize it before I prepped this next one. I decided to add a bit of solid into the quilt as I think the only fabric I will have enough of for the swags is a solid and I think that solids would have been mixed in at the time. I am treating each block totally separately, not trying to match the bud fabrics as I am imagining the original to be an album made by many people using their own fabrics. I found a few more reds and greens in the stash today so I feel confident that I can make this whole top from my stash!

I also finished part 3 of the Soupçon Hexagon mystery. I am having such fun with this mystery. Each part has been able to be completed in a few hours, that is once the difficult task of selecting fabrics is complete. So far I really like how this is looking. Wonder what will be added next?

Well, time to get back into the studio for a little more prep work.

Happy stitching!