Fabric Friday – Artisan Spirit Shimmer Metallics

I enjoy a good metallic fabric, don’t you? I love that fabrics with a bit of sparkle are making a comeback. When I first started quilting around 20 years ago, metallics were hot and everyone loved to call them, “quilter’s gold” because they added just the right touch of elegance to any project.

artisan_spirit_pinkHibiscus – Artisan Spirit Shimmer in Shades of Pink

Northcott has just come out with a beautiful line of shimmery basics called Artisan Spirit. The 9 piece fat quarter bundles include a carefully selected gradation of colors in several rich color families.

artisan_spirit_peacockPeacock – Artisan Spirit Shimmer in Shades of Teal

Aren’t they just stunning? I am a sucker for color, and I tend to prefer solid or tone-on-tone fabrics that “read” solid from a distance.

artisan_spirit_earthEarth – Artisan Spirit Shimmer in Shades of Grey

Click here to see the entire collection of Artisan Spirit Precuts

What’s your favorite color to play with?

 

Posted in Fabric | Tagged , | 6 Comments

How to Make Quilting Your Business #12 – Designing Fabrics

Today’s business of quilting topic – designing fabrics, is one I really don’t know much about. Therefore, I’ve enlisted the help of Moda fabric designer April Rosenthal to share a few of her experiences about the whole fabric design process. All quilt & fabric images shown below are courtesy of April.

20140721_ar_fabricBest. Day. Ever. designed by April Rosenthal for Moda fabrics

I think April’s candid responses are very informative so I wanted to include them in their entirety. My questions are in bold and her responses are below.

Please tell me a little about your fabrics and the inspiration behind them.

“When I think back on being a teenager, I remember how everything was exciting. Everything was new, and being on that precipice between child and adult was exhilarating. With each new privilege, each new experience, I was eager to learn and enthusiastic about the challenges. I felt like I could take on the world and succeed.

“Best. Day. Ever! is a reflection of this enthusiasm, this can-do attitude, this excitement for life–that I try every day to remember as an adult. With beautiful, saturated color, and bold, joyful patterns, Best. Day. Ever! reminds me of all I have to be happy about–and how much is still out there waiting to be experienced. My fabrics are inspired by trying something new, taking chances, and grabbing my dreams with both hands. My goal is to make EVERY day my Best. Day. EVER!”

20140721_ar_dahlia

Dahlia Quilt by April Rosenthal, Prairie Grass Patterns

What made you decide to design a line of fabrics?

“Fabric design is the perfect intersection of several of my passions: color, design, and physically making with my hands. While I get a lot of satisfaction out of creating digital things like websites, there is nothing quite like holding an actual product you designed.

“Designing fabric has been a goal of mine since I began my business in 2009, and almost everything I’ve done has been with that in mind. In fact, from the moment I discovered that there were moms like me designing fabric from their home–my heart beat a little faster, and I knew that was where I needed to be. At the time, I was consumed with 18 month old twins and was feeling pretty acutely isolated and uncreative.

“Prior to children, I was crafting, sewing, and making all the time. I was online looking for inspiration and hope that I’d get back to creating someday. That desperate evening changed my life path for me! I began drawing up a business plan and quilting patterns that same week.”

20140721_ar_modernhexModern Hex by April Rosenthal, Prairie Grass Patterns

How did you decide on working with Moda?

“Moda was the first fabric brand I noticed when I started paying attention to the different manufacturers and their fabrics. Consistently, I would pull fabric I loved from the shelves only to find Moda on the selvedge. I knew from day one that they were the company I wanted to work with, and every interaction I had with them only solidified that desire.

“I had several opportunities to design for other manufacturers, but I declined – not because they aren’t amazing companies in their own right, but because my goal was always Moda. As I became more involved in the industry, I was told I was crazy for turning down opportunities, and that designing for Moda was nearly impossible–but my dreams have always been big, and I’m willing to chase them down.”

How long did it take you from conception to completion of the line?

“I started drawing up Best. Day. EVER! in the spring of 2013. I delivered the files and swatches to Moda in late fall of 2013, and had strikeoffs in January. It was actually pretty expedited for this first line, I don’t think it usually goes that fast.”

Do you plan on designing other lines in the future?

“Yes! I have a second line in the works right now that will come out in 2015, and plan on many more after that.”

How hard is it to become a fabric designer? What skills do you need to be successful?

“At the beginning I thought, ‘How hard can it be?’ and just jumped right in by submitting a portfolio. It wasn’t accepted of course, because it really wasn’t any good. I was overconfident and pretty ignorant frankly. After being turned down I actually started researching and learning. I took art and design classes, I read dozens of books, I bought fabric just to look at how it was designed. I found fabrics that I loved and practiced creating art in those styles.

“I noticed that most fabric designers were also accomplished quilt or garment pattern designers, and so I began to learn about publishing patterns. What I learned then, and this is even more applicable now due to the economy – is that manufacturers need designers that will bring value and help sell the fabric. They need people who know the industry, who have the quilting or sewing skills to make the fabric look good, and who have the following on social media and online to drive sales. They’re not just looking for pretty pictures to print on fabric–they’re looking for someone who can bring sales to the table.”

20140721_field_guideA Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight is an excellent resource.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to become a fabric designer, but doesn’t know where to start?

“Learn. Learn everything you can about the industry, about design, and color choices, and the people who are decision makers. Learn how to quilt and sew accurately, and gain skills there.

“Make yourself the complete package. Find ways to get your quilts out there in magazines, contributions to books, and shows. Share your designs online, and gain a following. In the end, it comes down to what you know how to do, how well you do it, and who knows you can do it. If it’s something you really want, be persistent.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

“One of my best resources along the way were other friends in the industry. They were (and still are!) invaluable in teaching me, and helping me avoid major missteps. There are many, many, incredible people in this industry, and they are generous with their knowledge and time.

“My advice is to make sure you make friends, and not enemies in the industry. I’m a big believer in there being enough room in this industry and in life for everyone and their dreams–I am absolutely not competing with anyone. Be happy for others when they succeed, and be generous in helping others succeed. It will come back to you. Always do your own work, be honest, and learn. You’ll get there.”

Click here for the start of this series.

 

Posted in Business | Tagged | 5 Comments

Christa’s Soap Box – Make it Yourself, Make it Your Own

The more I blog about quilting, the more comfortable I have become in developing a sense of my own personal quilting style, and have been finding my “voice,” if you will. My philosophy can be summed up in this simple phrase, “make it yourself, make it your own.”

But what  does this mean, exactly?

First of all, it’s very inclusive. Rather than applying a set of rules such as “you can’t copy me,” which I would never do, I encourage my blog followers and students to discover what they like about a certain project I design – embrace it, and go for it! Sometimes that means their project will look very similar to mine. Other times, it may be completely different.

modern_logs_purpleA recent student making her version of Modern Logs. I love how she chose to make it her own through her choice of fabrics, layout and eventual quilting design.

By making a quilt your own it means you are in charge of it’s destiny from commencement to completion. You get to decide the colors, the pattern, the style, the fabrics, and the means for how to make it. You can decide how long you would like to take to complete a project. This means you get to work at your own pace, not mine. I’m there to guide and encourage, but not to dictate.

Making it your own is also very liberating. For example, I may choose to press my seams open (because I have the time and prefer a flatter look), whereas you may be in a hurry and need to quickly press your seams to one side or another and move onto the next project. Both methods are exactly right as long those utilizing them are happy about it.

grammieqOne of my quilt along followers with her version of Modern Trees. I love how she embraced the improv aspect of the design and chose scrappy pinks for the background!

Making it yourself can have different meanings, too. For me, I enjoy the entire process of creating a quilt. From prewashing and starching my fabrics to machine quilting my quilts and binding them by hand, I relish every step. That is why I’m so keen to explain every part of the quilt making process in my tutorials and in my teaching. I try to make it seem as un-scary as possible to make a complete quilt. After all this is supposed to be fun! :-)

I totally understand that finishing is not for everybody and I’m cool with that, too. Making it yourself can mean cutting, sewing or just playing with fabric for awhile. Some may enjoy designing and come up with dozens of virtual quilts that never get physically made. But does that lesson the importance of their art? Absolutely not. Remember that many times, the joy is in the journey.

20140715_qal_seasquares_lynnQAL follower Lynn’s adorable version of Sea of Squares. She worked at her own pace and finished this on her own time schedule, over a year after the original QAL began.

I often hear from blog readers who avidly follow my quilt alongs but never make the quilts. They enjoy reading about the process and get lost in their imaginations and the inspirations of others. I do the same thing when I purchase books about quilts I’ll never make. I still enjoy reading them just as much.

So I invite you to continue along with me on this journey of self-discovery. I find that the more quilts I make, the more I love to quilt. And the more I blog about quilting, the more I love to share my processes.

You don’t even have to agree with me and that’s ok, too – you can still be my friend! Just remember to be kind and courteous in any of your responses. It goes a long way. :-)

What’s your favorite part of the quilt-making process?

Posted in Soapbox | 30 Comments

Fabric Friday – Paintbrush Studio Fat Quarters

I’m excited to share a fun find for this week’s Fabric Friday. Please let me introduce you to Paintbrush Studio fabric bundles.

20140716_marbleheadMarblehead by Ro Gregg – 55 tantalizing tone on tone textures.

Designer Ro Gregg has created dozens of colorful collections including her signature tone-on-tonal Marblehead line, along with fun themed novelty groups.

I am a sucker for fun, bright geometrics…

20140716_bright_geomRio 12 piece fat quarter bundle by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush Studio

And classic black and white prints with a pop of red!

20140716_black_whiteBlack Tie Affair by Ro Gregg- 10 fat quarters

Neutrals have been making their way back into the quilting scene, and who can resist a modern floral bundle like this??

20140716_neutralsElemental Lines 12 piece fat quarter bundle.

You know, one of the reasons I love running my precut store is that I know I’ll never be able to make all of the quilts I want to. Playing with  fabric gives me a good excuse to imagine the possibilities, even if there’s no way I will get to them all in one lifetime!

Posted in Fabric | Tagged | 4 Comments

What I’m Working on Wednesday: Writing, Writing, Writing!

I’m working from the beach this week, which I think is the perfect setting for productivity!

Each year we travel with Jason’s family to Hermosa Beach, California for a week of fun in the sun. It was in the summer of 2012 that I discovered modern quilting and read my first modern quilting book on the beach! (See my 2013 beach pick here.)

20140715_beach_bookMy 2014 Beach Reading Pick – Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander

Last year at this time I was brainstorming ideas of what I wanted to write about myself, and this year I’m finally working on my own manuscript (which will hopefully be ready by next summer)! I’ve realized that even though  summer is a busy time with family and vacations – it’s the perfect time of year for some intense pattern writing and editing due to our relaxed schedules and long summer days. (And the scenic views help a lot, too!)

20140715_beach_runGetting in our daily run – Jason finds new trails for us to try wherever we are!

I’m also planning some upcoming work for a magazine series which I’m not quite ready to reveal yet, but will make an announcement about soon (once contracts are in order).

Never one to miss a moment to sew, I’ve brought along my Singer Featherweight and have set up a makeshift sewing station in our room. With 10 people in one beach house, space is at premium, but who says you need a large quilting studio to be productive?

20140715_beach_sew

A small machine and portable table can fit in nearly any empty corner!

Summer is definitely my favorite time of year for a working vacation!

 

Posted in Personal Life, Sew and Tell | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Christa’s Soap Box – Community Vs. Content

Today’s soap box was inspired by an earlier post from my friend Lee at Freshly Pieced. She very eloquently wrote a thought provoking essay entitled, “Are Blogs Dead?” referring to the idea that in some circles, Instagram my be supplanting blogs as quilters’ social media of choice.

Fortunately, her conclusion was that no, blogs are note dead – they are just different!

binding_clips1It’s been fun to use my blog to share tips, tricks and tutorials, like how to bind a quilt.

This got me to thinking about social media and why I am so attracted to it. I think it really is about the community and the content. I view my blog as my “Home Base” or my place to “be.” It’s where others can come find me, and see what I’m up to. It won’t change locations or format (unless WordPress does something very drastically different which I highly doubt). My blog is very reliable and I can choose to write as little or a much as I like.

I can be myself here, share the occasional peek into my personal life, and people can choose to read or not at their leisure. It’s also a place where I can store many of my ideas and thoughts as I quilt, along with tons of free content I’m happy to share. (You should see my WIP posts that have not been posted yet – they go on for pages and pages, LOL!!)

Running in Utah

I don’t mind sharing both my personal and professional life on my blog.

However, Lee did bring up a good point which I hadn’t thought of before. Blogs are becoming more of a one way content generator and less of a vehicle for two-way communication. I know from my stats that I get a lot of traffic and people reading my blog, even if they don’t comment as much as they read. Heck I do the same thing – I follow over 100 blogs on a regular basis but I read far more than I comment.

So that’s where other social media like facebook, instagram or flickr come in. I think people, including myself, like the instant gratification that a quick comment or “like” can generate.

For me personally, I just can’t get into facebook, and flickr has become really user unfriendly lately – but I love checking instagram on a daily basis (@christaquilts). It’s quick and easy to pop in for a few minutes to see what beautiful things others are making, and it’s fun to leave a quick message or get instant feedback on what I’m working on. I also think of it as a way to share real-time snaphsots of daily life, which I can then turn into a cohesive “story” later on my blog.

20140710_snippetsI love to share “snippets” of my life on instagram, – or the “in-between” posts.

So I agree with Lee – blogs are definitely not dead, but their use is evolving. Because I’m the type of person that likes to have everything neatly organized in it’s own little box, I love the idea of referencing blogs mainly for content, and using instagram for my daily dose of quilty socialization.

How about you – what are your favorite ways to utilize social media?

 

Posted in Soapbox | Tagged , , | 58 Comments

Fabric Friday – Reduced Prices on Precut Yardage Bundles

Jason and I have been enjoying managing our new precut store, seeking out new products and experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t.

If an item doesn’t sell as well as we’d like, we are not above discounting it to clear it out and make room for something new. That’s a win for us as it allows us to put our efforts into finding other exciting precuts – and it’s a win for you because you can get a great deal on some awesome fabric!

yardage_aqua12 yard bundles of chevrons, dots and gingham in a dozen different colorways!

While we loved the idea of selling precut yardage bundles (1 yard cuts of a 6-12 coordinating pieces), we’ve learned that most people would rather pick and choose their yardage; or if they want a full collection, the smaller more economical precut bundles are easier on the wallet.

yardage_lulaLula Magnolia Bundle – Under 9 bucks a yard! – Comes in 3 Colorways!

Therefore we’ve reduced the prices on all of our existing yardage bundles. The regular price for a 7 yard bundle retails at $77. However, ours are now selling for just $62 which is under 9 bucks a yard (which includes free US shipping)!!

yardage_halloweenThere are plenty of Halloween bundles on sale, too!

We have over 60 different yardage bundles, with more on the way from orders placed earlier in the year. However, once these have sold out, we won’t be carrying them anymore.

yardage_rocketThere are plenty of novelty bundles on sale – perfect for that next baby quilt!

Click here to see all our our reduced price yardage bundles and stock your stash with pretty prints!

 

 

 

Posted in Fabric | Tagged | Leave a comment

How To Make a Modern Quilt – Class Registration is Now Open!

I would love to invite you to register for my week-long class on How to Make a Modern Quilt at the John C. Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, North Carolina March 8-14, 2015.

Students will spend a full week with me as they learn how to make a complete modern quilt from start to finish using my Modern Logs quilt pattern.

20140702_folkschool_imagePage from the Course Catalog for 2015

Come spend the week with me in a retreat-like setting in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina! Class time will run for 6 hours a day from Monday-Friday with a break for lunch and plenty of time in the mornings and evenings for exploring your surroundings and enjoying extra activities (or additional studio time). Orientation is on Sunday evening when you arrive with a final show and tell on Friday evening before you depart on Saturday morning.

20140706_folkschool_trailI can’t wait to explore all of the beautiful nature trails when I arrive!

Here are the important details:

  • When: March 8-14, 2015
  • Where: John C. Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, NC
  • Cost: Tuition – $594 for the week, plus room and board (approx. $300-$700 depending on your choice of accommodations).
  • Travel to and from the Folk school is up to you.

20140706_folkschool_craftsThe folkschool craft shop features work made by local and regional artisans.

Here are some helpful links to learn more about the school and how to register:

Click here to read my class description and/or register for my class.

Click here for “what to expect” in a typical week (my class is 6 nights).

Click here for information on Lodging and Meals.

Click here to download the complete Course Catalog.

20140702_folkschool_housingExample of one of the housing locations at the Folk School – Isn’t it perfectly charming??

A supply list will be sent to you upon registration. You can choose to bring your own sewing machine or use of of the classroom machines. Class size is limited, so register early for a guaranteed spot! I can’t wait to see you there!

Posted in Quilt Events, Quilting Classes, Teaching | Tagged | 9 Comments

Christa’s Soapbox – More Thoughts About Teaching

So a few months ago I shared the fun news that I had been nominated as one of 9 finalists for Teacher of the Year presented by the Professional Quilter. It pleases me to no end that the lovely and talented Jacquie Gering was selected – she is amazing and is one of my modern quilting heroes, for sure! The rest of the nominees are some pretty outstanding women as well: Susan Brittingham, Lisa Calle, Amy Gibson, Pam Holland, Bonnie Hunter Liz Kettle, and Vikki Pignatelli.

20140702_toty1It’s so fun to see my name on the cover in company with other fabulous quilt teachers!

The way the process works is that each year, students can nominate their favorite teachers in the quilting industry on the Professional Quilter’s wesbite. (Thanks to whoever it was out there that took the time to write about me – it’s much appreciated!)

In turn, the teachers answer a series of questions about their teaching style, what influences them and why they love to do what they do. As Bonnie Hunter mentioned on her blog recently, she said it was sort of akin to writing a term paper. She was right on the money about that, LOL!! But since I love to write or talk about quilting whenever I’m given the chance, I was eager to respond.

teacher of the year image

Each of us was given a small summary in the magazine, so I thought it would be fun to share just a few of my answers with you….

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I encourage creativity by allowing students to make their own choices when it comes to choosing fabrics and try to offer a variety of techniques in the same class. I love it when students come up with a different way of doing things other than how I have chosen to teach it. After all, we all have something to share and can always learn from each other.

What accomplishments of your students make you proudest?

I am most proud of my students when they finish their own quilts. My favorite class to teach is a start-to-finish quilting class where the students learn every step of the quilt-making process from cutting to binding. Nothing beats the look of joy on a student’s face when he or she proudly proclaims, “I made it myself!”

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

I encourage my students to seek out independent study beyond class. I love to suggest books and magazines they can read, guilds and organizations they can join, and blogs and websites they can follow to keep up the inspiration outside of class. I also encourage them to make friends with each other during my classes. Over the years it has given me a sense of satisfaction to see students who met in my classes go on to be lifelong friends, encouraging each other and learning more about quilting together.

What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

I feel that my greatest contribution to quilting is fostering and encouraging a “can-do” attitude. I’ve seen so many students achieve growth personally, and with their quilting, when they finally believe that they can do anything they put their minds to!

Why do you teach?

I teach because it gives me a sense of personal fulfillment when another person becomes as passionate about quilting as I am. I want my students to feel the same joy I feel when creating a functional work of art with their own hands. I love it when their faces light up with that spark of excitement when considering the endless creative possibilities!

20140702_toty2There were about a dozen more Q&A’s which would be a little too lengthy to share here, but I hope you enjoyed reading just a few of the highlights. :-) As I begin my newest adventures in quilting by traveling to teach starting next year, hopefully I’ll be able to meet many of you in person!

Click here to see my current teaching schedule and feel free to email me if you are interested in scheduling me to come teach or lecture for your group or event!

Posted in Soapbox, Teaching | Tagged | 6 Comments

Fabric Friday is Pretty Potent!

Even though I’m out of town this week, I can still take time out to tell you about some fantastic new fabric finds! (I love our precut store – I can still be “in business” while I’m on vacation!)

20140630_pretty_potentPretty Potent is Anna Maria Horner’s latest line from Free Spirit Fabric. Seriously, I love everything she does! Her color sense and imagery knock my socks off, every time! I have both the 30-piece fat quarter bundle (some are duplicated) as well as the full-range design roll. (Unfortunately we aren’t carrying the charm packs – they are too small and too pricey for our tastes!)

20140630_quill_persimmonQuill by Valori Wells – Persimmon Colorway

Next up is Quill by Valori Wells. She recently switched fabric houses, designing for Robert Kaufman which I’m pretty excited about. Their warehouse is closer to us which means we can restock these guys in a hurry when they sell out!

Quill comes in three beautiful colorways shown above and below. Hands down, my favorite is Persimmon – I just love that orange and purple combo!

20140630_quill_cabanaQuill by Valori Wells – Cabana Colorway

Each precut bundle includes 6 or 7 fat quarters, plus a full 2/3 yard panel. Just think of all the luscious things you can make!

20140630_quill_vermeilQuill by Valori Wells – Vermeil Colorway

Oh yeah, and just in case you were wondering, Valori’s Blueprint Basics line of precuts are all back in stock, too – FQ bundles, charm packs, layer cakes, and half rolls.

20140630_blueprintsValori Wells Blueprint Basics

Happy Piecing!

Posted in Fabric | Tagged | 3 Comments