Moda U -- Reflections

Moda U was a delight, as I get a few days away from it I am reflective.

Sunday morning during breakfast at the hotel I met a great couple, they were at the retreat but I I never meet them. They also have an online store. Their store is very similar to mine and we spent 2 hours talking about the trial and tribulations of online shop ownership. I had my lap top so we looked at each others sites and talked about shopping carts and way to make our site more engaging. I am blessed that we met over breakfast. Moda worked exceptionally hard to make us all feel welcomed and important. I have very few things they could improve upon.

I would urge Moda to think outside the box. I enjoyed Professor Kelly on Friday, but due to the fact that I run an online store I will never hold a Moda U meeting like that. How about some fun stuff for online shops. How do we make the block of the month work for us? Or create a Moda University club. Moda has added a new internet provided that is a shopping cart with their inventory already in it. I am sure we would have loved to meet up with those folks. I am not sure I want to labeled Online or Brick & Mortar, etc but an organized bull session about using a blog to promote your shop would have been great.

All in all, Thanks Moda for stepping up to educate the shop owners and to get us excited about what we love, quilting.

Disappearing Nine Patch

Well I found this great tutorial a couple of weeks ago and I have lots of charm packs.

I pulled together about 6 of charm packs and separated them into lights and darks, removed the heavily blue fabric. I wanted to make a red, green and yellow quilt in honor of all the cool appliqué I saw at Moda University last week.

I picked 2 focus fabrics which I used in the center block of all 20 block (10 of each green). I love scrappy but I like to draw the eye with something that is consistent. When I put the blocks together I did a pattern (D= Dark, L= Light, F = Focus)


Then I sewed together super simple 9 patches

After you sew them up you cut them apart (my picture of this did not come out) and then you switch them around.

I trimmed the new blocks down to 6.5 x 6.5. Then I sewed it all together again. This is the tutorial I used.

This was a great quick quilt and I love to trim stuff down cause my blocks are rarely the same size.

Moda U -- Day 3

Oh, it all ends too soon. Saturday was quiet, with even more gifts from Moda. Mark Dunn spoke to us after breakfast, he talked about the future and education.

Moda is breaking ground on a new facility intended to to support their Moda University and to be an outreach for all those interested in the future sewing generation.

Terry Clothier Thompson closed out the retreat with a short talk about vintage fabrics and how to sell them, identify them , and enjoy them. She had her Louisa May Alcott quilt there and the book. I love this pattern and it may push me over to the appliqué side. I also love all the history included with her patterns. After reading the book I started looking for more information about Louisa and her family and friends. Terry also talked a bit about her Fabric Camp in Lawrence KS. I hope to make it next summer.

I did not spend a lot of time on what Moda U is, mostly because it seems to be more of a philosophy then an actual thing. As I interpret it, the philosophy is about supporting all shop owners with the tools we need to make quilting fun and to engage our customers in the ongoing pursuit of the next quilt. I left the retreat excited, pumped up and ready to get sewing, which is good cause I have 3 new UFOs.

Thoughtful Friday

"The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little."

Thomas Merton

Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Untitled (Boy in Old Man's Mask with Doll)
c. 1960

Moda University -- Day 2

Off we go to Moda! This morning is jammed pack. First up another gift box, this one was filled with goodies we would need to complete our inspirational project once we got home.

We started out in their computer class, met their web master and learned about Fabric Matcher. Please go play with this cool new feature. They have their newest collections as swatches and a bunch of the patterns they distribute. You pick your fabrics and your pattern to get a sneak at what your final quilt will look like. The program then generates a shopping list to help your find all of the things you need at your local or online shop, like mine. You can also enter to win their contest and receive your pattern and fabric free. Ya team. I could have spent the whole day playing with this, BUT we had to move on.

Next up: Cozy Quilts -- aka Daniella Stout

Who would think strips could be so fun (you should see what happened after supper). Daniella created over 50 designs for jelly rolls, along with a couple of cool templates, the stripe tube ruler and the 10 inch ruler. I am in love with her stuff and will be getting in some of her patterns and tools soon.

Onward: Terry Clothier Thompson

Of famed Kansas City Trouble. Terry is a world renown textile expert, she was showing off two of her templates, the vine line and the border line. Very cool additions to your tool box if you do a lot of appliqué.

Last but certainly not least: Laundry Basket Quilt -- Edita Sitar

She demoed raw edge appliqué using one of her striking floral designs and gave us a great list of pro and cons for which fusible she prefers for her work. She also shared a great pattern for making a book cover that is very similar to mine but even better because the front has a beautiful clematis design on it.

This day is no where near done - We still get to meet Professor Kelly. She runs Moda U at a quilt shop in Waco TX, and we spent the next hour having a mock Moda U meeting. What great fun: Fabric Jeopardy, Name that fabric category, infomercial about "new Products", an announcer and door prizes. I wish I lived closer I would be there every month.

Wine & Cheese and time in the "lab". This is my first mention of "The Moda Lab", this is their mock store, which is full of great display ideas. This is the holiday display.

Dinner and a Cabaret
To protect the innocent I will not go too far into this but there was a woman, hanging off the ceiling ala Cirque du Soleil style and a Moda employee, cash and a cummerbund. If they post pictures at the Moda site I will share, but I put my camera down.


Joss Whedon - Crochet Me a Hero !!

Crafters every where must unite to be freaky about Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and his most recent project Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

I have loved Joss Whedon's work almost as long as I have loved my husband and there has been a plea to help the folks at Crochet Me in their quest to be the crochet mag that snags the coveted interview with this impressive soul. Apparently last week in an interview Joss stated :
“Fact is, there’s been some buzz, but it hasn’t reached the places it would normally. Where’s our write-up in Crocheting Monthly? (I did a very sexy shoot for that one.)”
The request is simple, if he wants crafty buzz, we are all over it. So Kim at Crochet Me created an impressive list of reasons Joss should grant her the interview and asks that those of us odd enough to comply post a bit with a link to her original article.

So if you are as amused as I am both by Joss's desire to be a hero to all who crochet and by Kim's wish to interview the man, please go and read her blog entry and then post a link and blurb at your site.

Hopefully, we can get Joss's attention with out gun play or blood spillage.

Moda University -- Day One

Well, Moda U was an all out blast. We spent three days learning new stuff and meeting new people.

Day One

Thursday: We meet up at Moda in Dallas TX, had a bit to eat and were separated into sororities. I have never pledged a sorority, I went to art school. It was kinda fun to have house moms. We were off for a tour, my tour groups was lead by the man himself, Mark Dunn. The tour should be a post all in it self. They do all of the packaging right there on the Moda Campus, design, pack and play. After the tour my sorority received the first of many goodie bags. We were to alter and create a new look for our bag.

After play time we went upstairs and met Mark for a brief talk and introduction to the designer Moda brought in to educate and inspire us.

First up: Laundry Basket Quilts, Edita Sitar. She designs quilts and batik fabric for Moda. Her work is beautiful and her talk was about reason people quilt. Apparently there are a bunch of them;-). We have her Pathway Batik line, which is a wonderful collection because it has those hard to find light batiks. Edita is loves to combine batiks and prints. She mostly does appliqué and we will have her Shooting Star pattern with templates in soon.

After the lecture we had snacks and then supper. After supper we had a wonderful show featuring a great Elvis impersonator, cute. I was not close to the front and I was glad. Elvis zeroed in on Edita and proceeded to embarrass the crud out of her. Off to the hotel for a night of slumber.WAIT : they were picking us up at 7:45 the next am. I thought I was on holiday;-)

Dallas 2008

We we are home and the trip was great. I spent most of my time hanging with the cool cats at Moda and the girls, along with g'ma and daddy spent their time at the zoo, aquarium et all.

Exhausted world traveler.

I have loads to write about but I have serious brain fry. Stay tuned for pictures and stuff from the trip.

Thoughtful Friday

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Thomas Merton

Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Untitled (Michael in front of deteriorating wall)

Malibu Monkey Goes Australian

This may be one of the brightest quilts I have creates recently. I used the new pattern from Melly & Me, Billie and the Malibu Monkey line from Moda (with some Splish Splash and some By the Beach). The colors are great combo of primary, dots, diamonds, beach balls and strips and then just a hint of the monkey madness, laying about on the beach. The quilt is a stripe quilt and I was able to finish it in 3 short sets. The top has not been quilted yet so it will be off to the quilters later this week.

More Fun with Dick and Jane

Where do the cool kids go for summer fun?

Well, see Dick? See Jane?
See Dick and Jane went to the Fun Park with Mom and Dad.
Where's Sally?
Oh, there she is.
See Sally at the Fun Park with Dick and Jane.

So, we've updated our Dick and Jane page with a few more coordinates to get you running. Run. Run.

Rainy Day Fun -- Insect Window Shade

I won't claim that this idea sprang into being with out influence. While I was out trolling my favorite blogs I saw a post at More Ways to Waste Time pointing to mobile made out of old books, these mobiles were more elaborate and I think they used glue. They were lovely so I tucked the idea in the back of my head and there it was waiting to be made. So thunder and lightening crashing and flashing in the back ground the girls and I set about doing what we do best, making a mess and calling it ART.

We started with a lonely window.

We found one of my thift store books and began to remove the pages, lots o fun ripping up an old book.

We found all the summer bugs that you would not want in the house and started to cut out stacks of them with the Accu cut.

We found the crochet yarn (could not believe it when I ask my seven year old were it was and she actually walked away and returned with it), pulled off a length, halved it and tied a loop at the fold.

We punched 2 small holes in each insect (mostly me, cause the girls can't do the punch yet). Here is hoping slight friction will keep these paper insects in place for longer than a day.

We started stringing the insects onto the crochet yarn through the 2 holes. We placed the finished string onto the tension rod I picked up at Target this am.

All in all this was a great deal of fun, made the computer corner a bit more crafty and keep my girls from making me crazy while the rain keep us out of the pool. Good Fun.

Criss Cross Coaster by Allsorts

I found this tutorial by Allsorts last year a bit too close to Christmas to really make any, I filed it away as cool and revisited this a.m.

Coaster, you say, What is so exciting about them?

WELL -- Let me tell you!! These coaster walk, they talk, .... Just Kidding. They are fun, super quick and easy to make. At first glance they look like a regular four patch BUT NO they are folded four patches, so you can tuck a finger or a note inside of them.

Allsorts tutorial is great, since I originally used charm packs I did adjust the size of the square listed in her tutorial so I would not have to trim down my pre cut 5 inch square. I made this dozen in about an hour this morning.

The fabric used is a combo of Andover fabrics mostly from the Balarinji Whales & Tales line. I am making a table ensemble so stay tuned for matching napkins, napkin rings, and trivets.

Melly and Me

Hope you all are having a great summer. We are. We just checked in again at the Melly and Me blog and Melly's a new auntie and quite proud. The laptop bag she's working on ain't no slouch either.

Here's a link to their patterns. We love them so much and we're proud to be able to carry them for you in the US.

Starting Selvages: Moda Block of the Month

This month we are starting Moda University's New Block of the month program called Selvages. Last night I made the first block, a double nine patch. The nine patch is a filler block which is made every month, you need 12 nine patch blocks for the entire quilt.

For the next 13 months we will be sending out one of the block patterns and a free fat quarter with every purchase over 15.00. Selvages will make a great scrappy quilt or you can pick a focus fabric / line you want to play with. I am going to use a bunch of Lonni Rossi Fabric for my samples, partly because I love her fabric and partly because I had a bunch of strips left over form the other LR quilt I am working on.

We created a flickr group to share your blocks or other projects. Please sign up and post some pictures. Maybe we will have a block challenge and see what you can do with your free fat quarter.

Isn't Christmas Jolly -- Free Pattern

Our New Christmas Shop is up and ready for an amazing handmade holiday.

Isn't Christmas Jolly from Moda and Mary Englebreit is one of our newest lines. Chock full of pure reds and greens with black & yellow. Kinda unusual I think. The panel has a great Santa and some cute elves and it will make up a quick quilt or wall hanging no problem.

BEST of ALL Moda has a....

Here is the official spiel: Taffy, peppermint, candy canes and stars, is Christmas fun or what? From stockings full of goodies to Santa’s bellowing laugh, this new collection from Mary Engelbreit will have you wishing Christmas came twice a year. This palette is as red as Santa’s suit, green as an elf’s shoes, yellow as the stars overhead, black as a midnight sleigh ride and completely irresistible.
I personally can't wait to serve up some of this happy Christmas fun.

3 Bags One Pattern

Some patterns are so easy that you wonder why you get them but I was looking for a great introductory pattern for teaching a group of tweens to sew. The Kwik Sew 3597 Pattern hit the spot, an easy to make unlined tote with and an internal pocket attached to the top facing. This pattern will amuse you if you have been sewing for 20 years but if you are teaching some one to sew they will appreciate the thorough, easy to follow instructions and the quick results.

I used Corona Canvas as my base. I love this fabric. Corona canvas is a finely finished fabric that is thinner than most canvas. I originally purchased it to make pants, it comes in a bunch of great colors, but I use it for all kinds of stuff that needs a bit more body. The other fabrics are the scraps from other projects. All in all I love the bag pattern, I used the small size, which is great library tote or purse, I think the largest size would make a good shopping bag. This summer I am trying to get as many samples done as possible, so stay tuned, there are more quilts and bags on the worktable.

Cute Zippered Bag Tutorial

This is my happy design, last month I purchased 50 small zippers for a class, when the class fell through I started working on a small zippered bag / pouch pattern to share. The proto type was made for a four year old my daughter loves, for her birthday.

This is a great size bag for small gifts, or as a make up bag or as a large change purse. The top of the bag has a slight curve which I love and the bottom is boxed. I finished the tutorial the am but I am already thinking about ways to make the bag better. I think I might add a wristlet or a bit of ribbon to hook a key to. I am getting ready for the holidays and I am getting as much sewing done as I can this summer.

Find the tutorial here.I finished these last night, on my way to a handmade holiday.

Steno Pad Cover

We all keep lists, why not keep them in style, create this book cover with pockets and a stylish loop closure system that uses your pencil to keep your cover closed. You are always ready to take notes.

This is pattern is perfect for scraps. I include simple info on how I created this pattern so if you want to cover a different size notebook you should be good to go.

This is a great gift for yourself and others, pick 2-3 fabrics and get started.

Make one for your next sewing retreat or class.

This is my first official tutorial and it took longer to write out the directions than it did to make a couple of them. The PDF should be easy to download and print out.

Pretty Mold

I think this is mold, it may be something even better. In May, I was gung ho paper girl, but with the end of the school year and the start of summer I forgot some stuff, like this. It was fabric scraps sitting in soda ash and dye, what it now is your guess. Looks like it has been retting, I think it is done. I will give it a good wash and throw it in to the critter, my next batch of paper is purple, I hope.

Blue Ridge Kiwanis Fair

There are some childhood activities that parents simple endure, this parent anyway. My fear and aversion to amusement parks is deep-seated and kind of overwhelming but there I was on Thursday night with my mom and my 2 kids. Why? Peer pressure. Just because my parents could not keep me in tow as a youngster does not mean I will lose my kids right? I hope not. As a child, I spent almost every trip to an amusement park in the lost and not yet found. Granted my parents had 2 loud rambunctious boys and me, the quiet wonderer, who quietly wandered away often.

The Kiwanis fair is an annual event in Blue Ridge. My oldest daughter went last year with my mom and she speaks of it with all the awe and grace a 7-year-old can. This year I decided to put my fear aside and drive up for a visit and some quality time in hell (not the visit, my mom is great, the fair). This year there were animals, oh yeah, and lots of big rides that are only in place for 3 days, but during that time they sling hundreds of children high in the air to their screams of delight. We purchased our tickets and went into wonderland. To be honest, I could people watch here for hours but that was a not to be as the girls immediately attempted to separate and draw us to what interested them. Arabella is always my charge and Julia went off with Oma to buy tickets. My memories are certainly colored by my childhood , whereas the girls had a blast. No one got lost or terribly cranky. Arabella had the singular honor of using her first porta potty, which she did not enjoy. As we ran out of tickets a light breeze sprang up and we began to feel tiny droplets of water. Time to go. Thanks God.


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