#mommade

#mommade


I remember my mom making this years ago when I was much younger. Being a maker is definitely something gained from both my mother and grandmother. Grandma had a little closet off of the dining area that she had packed to the ceiling with note cards and paper and glue and a sundry assortment of crafting accoutrements. To me, it was like Grandma’s secret stash. I never saw anyone open that brown slatted folding door except Grandma. It was like her version of Mary Poppins’ bag. Of course, I was a kid and didn’t live close by, so I’m probably totally wrong and her stash was more likely spread all over the house, carefully tucked away. For instance, I recently inherited her sewing machine, and until my mom gave it to me, I never knew it existed. Which is crazy because she sewed stuff all the time, especially things like adult bibs and comfort pillows that her ladies group worked on together. But I digress. 

#mommade


Mom did needlepoint, cross stitch, crochet, garment sewing and crafting, and looking back I can see how she understood how things went together. I have a tendency to attack stuff because I like it and want to make it and I’ll figure out how to do it as I go. She seemed to have been a bit more methodical about it. She also had a stash of fabric and crafting supplies that I was obsessed with when I was growing up. The button tin was a favorite, as I’m sure it was for most kids of a sewist. 

#mommade


I think it was hard for her to teach me. I wasn’t very patient, and I didn’t want to start with basic stuff.  I remember her making clothes for me- shirt and shorts sets when I was younger, and my mermaidish prom dress with enormous sleeves when I was older. She was very good at garment sewing, and she taught me that if you don’t cut it out correctly, you may as well throw it away. 

Grandma doesn’t craft much anymore because she says it frustrates her that she can’t make her hands do what she wants. My mom doesn’t sew anymore either, but I wish she did. I keep asking her, and I will keep asking her. Who knows, one of these days she may get the bug again. I’m grateful to have a few things that she has made, but I’m even more grateful to have the memories of the things she’s made. I’m grateful for memories of Grandma sitting at her spot at the kitchen table by the sliding glass doors gluing together little Christmas broaches made of foam and pipe cleaners for her group of friends.  It matters to me. 

So, this makers gonna make.  Because they matter to me. 

Piecing with Patty

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Here’s the thing.  There really are rules to follow.  And there really are rules to be broken.

To me, one of the wonderful aspects of any art or craft is taking the wildness of creativity and mixing it with the rules of skill.  Notice I did not say taming it with the rules of skill.

Understanding the medium, the tools used, and the variety of desired outcomes means knowing how to bend all of those to the will of creativity.  One may begin by bending inspiration to skill in the process of learning, but eventually, the goal can be the other way around.

Enter Patty Murphy, author of recently released Piecing Makeover: Simple Tricks to Fine-Tune Your Patchwork from C&T Publishing.  This book is an excellent source for everyone from less experienced quilters to those who have been around the block a few times.  It addresses basic construction as well as how to deal with precision issues.  In other words, it gives all the rules, which in the end, gives all the freedom.

Speaking of freedom, how about a bit of improvisational quilting with Patty?  No, I am not confused.  Yes, I did just talk all about rules and block construction and avoiding issues, and yes, it does lead to improv.

I am really excited to host Patty at The Green Apricot Studio on December 3, 2016 for a workshop on her quilt, “Yes Ma’am!”  We’ll be exploring both improv and precision piecing, and talking about how to have quilt tops that extend into boarders.  We’ll discuss some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.  And best of all, we’ll bust some of our stash while we are at it.

And we’ll find out the story behind the name of this quilt.  Because I really want to know.

Click here to register for “Yes Ma’am” with Patty Murphy, 12/3/16, 9am- 4pm.

From Piecing Makeover:  “Patty Murphy has been sewing since she was six years old.  The first thing she recalls making is a pink-and-white seersucker pillow with the word Dad crudely embroidered on it as a gift for her father on Father’s Day.  Fortunately for everyone, her sewing and quilting have greatly improved since then, and so has her gift giving.

Patty loves to share her craft with anyone that will listen, and she teaches regularly at Intown Quilters in Decatur, Georgia, so she can share her knowledge and support her fabric obsession.  Her work has been featured in several books, on the websites of major fabric manufacturers, on blogs, and in magazines, including an original quilt design for Intown Quilters that was featured on the cover of the Spring 2007 Quilt Sampler magazine.”

Quilt Market, Fall 2016, Houston, TX

I’m not 20 anymore.
If you know me personally, you know that most of my life I’ve had this strange obsession with acting older than I am.  However, how I feel after this past weekend at Quilt Market in Houston is no act!  Candy, soda, and very little sleep for days catches up to you hard when you are no longer 20.  Or 30.  Or, let’s be honest, 40.  I tried Persian food for the first time (amazing), had some of the best tacos of my life (Cuban style), and the kolaches and donuts were on point, but I should have considered more water.  I’d say I needed more sleep, but late-night time with sweet friends was totally worth feeling like I got hit by a truck.  And I’d do it all again.
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Market was really fabulous.  I’ve been several times before, but I’d have to say that I felt especially productive on this trip.  While yes, it is fun and exciting to see all the new everything, it is also a lot of investment, and takes a lot of focus to make the trip truly useful not only to the business you represent, but also to your clients and customers.  I hear a lot of people say they wish they could go, and I think they would think it is fun in a lot of ways, but reality is that it probably isn’t exactly what 0ne would expect it to be.
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For most business owners and representatives, Market begins with Schoolhouse.  It sounds like you go there and learn how to make stuff, but really, you go there to learn about new product lines and how to market them to customers.  Yes, you get to see a lot of the designers  and their work up close and personal, but honestly, the presentations have a tendency to be rushed, and are kind of just a series of sales pitches all day long.  There are some giveaways, piles of papers, and you go through a lot of business cards.
There isn’t a lot of actual shopping at Market, with the exception of Sample Spree. Sample Spree is in a lot of ways is like Black Friday at Wal-Mart in Smalltown, USA where every resident of the town is there because they have nowhere else to shop.  The purpose of Sample Spree is for businesses to get materials they need to introduce products to their customers before they actually get a shipment of goods.  It takes time and money for shops to make samples for lines of fabric, and the precuts available at Sample Spree make it so that they have what they need to make a sample before the fabric line comes to the shop.  As you may know, The Green Apricot doesn’t sell fabric lines, but what does happen here are workshops.  Workshops that I want people to be excited about.  So, most of the fabric I buy there is to drum up a bit of excitement about what is happening in the studio.  Having said that, I also buy some just because I like it, just like most everyone else there.  I also look for the new products I want to review for guild presentations and the like.  I can buy one or two of these at Sample Spree, but have to buy multiples on the Market floor.
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The Market floor is all about merchandising.  It’s all about getting businesses to buy quantities of all that is new.  Shopping at Market is not like shopping at Quilt Festival, or other shows.  Quantity is the name of the game, and taking a chance that from the thousands of offerings, you’ll be able to choose what your customers want and need and thereby keep your business profitable.  What will you do if you buy 15 yards of a fabric, and only 2 yards sell?  How about if you buy the whole line, which is more like 300 yards?  It’s a risky business, and it’s a lot of money.  Vendors know this, and they work hard to display the merchandise in a way that helps retailers to say, “Oh, I see how I could show that to my customer.  I see how I can demonstrate how to use that.”  Every stop at every booth involves questions like, “What’s your show special?  What are your minimums?  Shipping rates?  Are you with a distributor?”  And that’s after you’ve already talked with them about what exactly it is they are selling.
 In other words, yes, Quilt Market is a lot of fun.  And it’s inspiring.  And it’s overwhelming.  And it’s an opportunity.  And it’s an investment.  And it’s a lot of work.

Churning Green

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I love quilting books and patterns to the point that it’s almost sick.  Like seriously, the obsession with everything about this industry is real.  I just can never have enough quilts or pictures of quilts or plans of quilts or thoughts of quilts or ideas of quilts.  It’s a bit concerning, really.

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And people like these two like to feed my obsession.  Meet Liz Evans and Elizabeth Evans, and if you are double taking over their names, you should be.  They are sisters-in-law, and cohorts in quilting.  Together they have written The Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting, and it’s a good thing they did.

I never get tired of a beginning quilting book, even after all these years.  Sure, I’m pretty familiar with most of the basic techniques, but I still love them for a few reasons.  This book is a good example of what I mean.

First, the fabrics and photos are updated.  Doesn’t seem like that’s a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I love that it helps to invite new quilters into “our world.”  Crisp, clear and modern constantly mean something different, and it helps to keep our creative blood flowing.

Second, the techniques do get updated.  A book written 50 years ago wouldn’t have included any information about rotary cutters because, hello, they weren’t invented for quilting yet.

Third, the projects themselves get updated.  I love that in this book they have a great mix of quilts and other projects- everything from a bunting to a bib, from a pouch to a pillow.  Love it!

So, here’s what I made.  It didn’t take me long to make the top, but it did take a while to quilt it.  I love the simplicity of this project as a background for some massive quilting, so that’s what I did.

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Churning Green

I had copious amounts of this fabric in my stash, and it was exactly what I wanted.  If you come to the studio/my husband’s shop, you will see it hanging in the bathroom.  This color combination appeals to me, as it reminds me of a lot that we’ve been seeing from prominent fabric designers over the last few years.  The main print is an older piece by Laura Gunn, and I’ve been hoarding it for a while.

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I started quilting it the day our youngest went off to college.  I wasn’t in the mood for a lot of chatter, and I for sure needed chocolate.  Juan and I worked quietly and diligently, and for the most part, all went well.  However, I did run into some technical issues that eliminates this quilt from being shown anywhere but the bathroom.  Let’s just say I learned a lot, and am grateful for it, but am really sad because this started out as a great quilt and could have done well.  I may have to try again.

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I artfully staged this pic so that the biggest offense is not that visible, but I will tell you that a bit of it is peaking out at the top right corner.  Maybe I will write a post sometime about using a Statler, and some of the things I’ve learned since bringing Juan home a year ago.  It’s been an amazing process.

The irony?  This book was written as a beginning quilting book, and while I may be all “I know how to do that already,” I still ended up getting a lesson in the end.

Pride goeth before a fall.  (Prov 16:18)

Simple Knit Dress Workshop with Chrissy Weeks

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You chose your dress or tunic pattern (some options listed below). And we will make them together. First we will make a sample and adjust your pattern for fit. Then we will make your dress out of your “for real” fabric.

Supplies: Bring your machine and basic sewing supplies. Thread to match your project, polyester is best for apparel. You can sew on a regular machine and / or serger. We will have a couple sergers available for class use, but limited thread color options. Please make sure to pre-wash and dry your fabric. Keep in mind when buying your fabric that natural fiber knit shrinks up to 40% be sure to buy extra if using a cotton or silk knit. Sample fabric needs to be similar weight and stretch to your “for real” fabric. Good quality fabric is easier to sew and will give you a nicer finished garment.

Pattern Suggestions:
Colette Patterns,  https://www.colettepatterns.com  (Monetta, Myrtle)

McCalls Patterns (M7382, M7432, M7407)

Sew Caroline,  http://www.shopsewcaroline.com/ (Out and About Dress)

Any dress pattern similar to these simple shapes is appropriate as long as it is a pattern intended for knits!

Best places to buy knits:
Stores:
Gail K, in-town and Norcross,   http://www.gailkfabricsinc.com/
Fine Fabric, Jimmy Carter Access Road 6218 Dawson Blvd Norcross, (678) 894-2067
Joann’s (has surprisingly decent knits)

On-Line:
Fabric.com
http://www.girlcharlee.com

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 9am- 4pm.  Nonmembers- $36, Members- 6 hours.  Click here to register.

Jus a lil lovins…

There are few things more productive and powerful than a crew of creators with a passionate mission. So many of us have seen it, on either side of the line. 

Recently a friend of ours, Nisha Bouri, had an unusual, and quite honestly scary, illness. Thankfully she is doing better now, and is on the mend.  

When word began to spread amongst a dozen or so of us in the quilting community, it didn’t take long for several to step forward to organize an effort to show her we love her in the best way we know how.  

Image creds- Kim Martucci, weatherkim


Full disclosure here, I have very strong, very negative feelings about group sewing projects in general, so I was quick to offer Juan’s quilting services rather than making an actual block. And in the end, I’m so grateful that the rest of the makers trusted us with their offering of kindness and love. 


The quilt top was just stunning, and Juan and I both brooded over it for days before jumping in. We debated about an all-over pattern to kind of unify the message of the quilt, but in the end knew that Nisha would love it best if each block, and in turn each quilter, was given their day in the sun.




Seen enough?  I don’t think so. 

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters

Photo creds- Karie Jewel, twokwikquilters


One more… The best one of all…

Photo creds- Amy Webb, amylouwhosews

“We’ll eat you up, we love you so!”*


I recently did a book review on Happy Quilts! by Antonie Alexander, which you can read by clicking here. At the same time that this title came across my desk, I also needed to make a baby quilt for a gift. And of course, being the efficient over achiever that I am, I also saw an opportunity to try a little something that Juan and I have been thinking about for a while. Three birds with one stone. Although I don’t really like killing birds, but you get the idea.

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From the book Happy Quilts!

I love children’s literature, and I love to give books as baby gifts. When I saw Alex’s pattern, “Wild Thing,” I was inspired, and wondered if I could do a small quilt inspired by both her pattern and the book Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


I had wanted to try quilting a background and adding raw edge applique after the fact, and the phrase “his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around” kept sticking in my head, so I thought I’d start there. I loaded the background on sideways into Juan’s arms and began searching for vine patterns. I found a few, and used a verigated thread that had green and brown in it (King Tut Bulrushes #910 by Superior Threads).


I took the quilt out of Juan’s hands and using fusible web, attached the applique pieces to the top. I used a Sizzix Big Shot Pro to cut out the moon, and hand copied three of the monsters from Alex’s “Wild Thing” pattern. I used colors that reminded me of the child’s book, and a very busy backing to hide any flaws in my little experiment.


Then I loaded the quilt back onto Juan so that I could use his programmed circles to stitch over the circle appliqués. Then I took the quilt away from Juan, again, and used a domestic machine (Ruthie) to blanket stitch around all of the raw edges.


I had some fine corduroy left from another project that was just perfect for the binding, although not the easiest stuff to stitch down by hand!  I use a thimble on my middle finger and a set of needle pullers on my index and thumb to help with the thickness.


I also made a stuffie from Alex’s book to go with the quilt, and he traveled around with me for a few days. Truthfully, he was difficult to let go of.


But in the end, I did let go, and I hope this sweet baby and his parents enjoy it!  Still, I might have to make my own stuffie.  Wild thing, you know.

*Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak