Sunday, July 6, 2014

Some thoughts on Social Media…

Note: This is a very different post for me.  I normally don’t post my thoughts about these types of things online… but these issues have been on my mind in recent weeks.  If you just want to quilt, please skip this post!

Hi everyone,

The quilting community has heavily embraced social media and it has been a really great thing.  It is seems strange that something so big and all-encompassing has actually made the world seem like a smaller place, but I think venues like Instagram and Facebook have accentuated the similarities between us all.  We’ve seen amazing things happen on these platforms that couldn’t have happened ten years ago, from people sharing creative ideas and thoughts to online communities providing support to those who have been sick or are going through a particularly tough time. It has been nothing short of incredible.

But having a teenage son and daughter has caused me to think about the influence of social media a lot lately.  Our kids are growing up in an age where every aspect of their lives is public in a way they probably won’t realize for years to come.  And while the “selfie” phenomenon can be fun, its overuse is disturbing.  What does it say about our society, or even about the way our daughters (especially) perceive or choose to project themselves?  Comments like, “You’re perfect!” followed by “You’re more perfect” are so perfunctory they are almost meaningless, and yet their popularity says so much about our times and culture.

A selfie, however well-staged, does not project the totality of who person is.  So, what “post-able things” might be fun to share?

  1. The world around us.  Have you been somewhere amazing lately and just have to share?
  2. Friends.  What do especially value in a particular person or people?  (Not yourself.)
  3. What are your hobbies?  What do you like to do in your free time?
  4. Something funny that happened to you.  (My mother - hi Mom! -  is forever telling people about the time she sat on a frappuccino.  I’d worry about embarrassing her here, but she probably has already told you so no worries.)
  5. Something beautiful that you experience.  Maybe there was a beautiful garden you walked through or a store display that was really amazing?  
  6. Pay it forward.  If you have a great idea for making the world a better place share it!  Maybe this morning you helped someone feel part of a group or maybe they helped you!  Just thinking about these things may start a trend!


If you have teens (or if you don’t) what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear.

Thanks for listening.  Back to quilting the next time… I promise!  Have a good weekend!
Amanda

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"20 Fresh Appliqué Techniques" now on Craftsy!

I'm so excited to announce my third class with Craftsy - "20 Fresh Appliqué Techniques!"


As many of you know, I love machine appliqué and all the design possibilities it makes possible.  In this class, I cover the basics you need to achieve beautiful machine stitches and then we move on together to covering more advanced techniques.  You'll see so many possibilities for incorporating these techniques into your own projects!

We'll start with my swirl quilt, where we'll master the blanket stitch on convex and concave turns and inner and outer corners, which is really the secret to great-looking machine appliqué.  This is a quick, charm-square-friendly quilt and all the threads end in the seams so there is no need to knot them!



Next we will tackle my Cutting Garden Runner.


This features two types of appliqué - the large blossoms are appliquéd before joining the blocks and the small blossoms are added afterward.  And you'll learn how and why to "window" your fusible in this project.



Then we'll tackle my Flower Power pillow.  This is a companion piece to my Flower Garden pattern (available in Craftsy and in my shop).  We'll learn how to appliqué with speciality stitches, where to pivot stitches for a beautiful finish, and how accentuate your design with quilting to make it sing!






And along the way we'll learn three different methods you can use to create bias bars...


Finally, we'll add extra dimension to my Hawaiian Table Topper design using a Trapunto technique.  It is so much easier than it looks and you'll find uses for it in all sorts of projects!


And I'll teach you how to "face" an unusually shaped project along the way.

The projects are small and quick and make great gifts - and you'll learn lots of new things along the way.


I hope you will joint me in "20 Fresh Appliqué Techniques"!  

Happy sewing!
Amanda

P.S.  Ann.ost was the lucky winner of the Craftsy class.  Congratulations, Ann!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sundance Quilt: Part 5

This month I sewed Part 5 of the Sundance Sampler, available exclusively through Bernina dealers, with my Topiary collection for Blend Fabrics and Aurifil threads.  Part 5 is easy - just appliqué blocks!



I love doing appliqué with Aurifil 28 wt. thread in a variety of colors - it creates a lovely ridge around each motif.  For this project I used colors 2440, 5017, and and 2425.  I still use 50 wt. in the bobbin in a neutral color and lower my thread tension so it doesn't pop to the top.  I set my Bernina 780 to stitch 1329 and adjust the stitch width to 2.1, the length to 2.4 and the tension to 1.5 or 1.75.  (Lots more about appliqué in my upcoming Craftsy class, debuting tomorrow.)

I hope you are having a wonderful summer and get lots of time sewing this week!
Amanda

P.S.  Carrie P is that winner of the Garden Spot giveaway here on this blog.  I have lots of things happening all at once here and have subsequently had a lot of giveaways and am seriously behind on my replies.  I apologize.  I really appreciate all of your participation!

Friday, June 13, 2014

My new Craftsy class goes live on the 17th! (And they are doing a giveaway!)

Hi there,
I'm SOOOO excited because my new Craftsy class is going live this Tuesday, the 17th!





This time I'll be teaching fusible machine appliqué and we'll cover lot of different techniques!  I'll show you more Tuesday, but in the meantime Craftsy is offering a giveaway of the class to celebrate the launch.    To enter, all you have to do is visit this link and either create a Craftsy account or just login to your existing Craftsy account.  They will choose a winner on Tuesday.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy sewing!
Amanda

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Garden Spot - in Quiltmaker! (plus 2 giveaways)

Note:  This giveaway is now closed.  Carrie P. is the winner.  Congratulations, Carrie!

Today I'll be talking over on Quiltmaker's blog, Quilty Pleasures, about a quilt I designed for their July/August 2014 issue using my Topiary line for Blend Fabrics called "Garden Spot".



It is really fun to make and a great way to try a couple of different appliqué techniques!

To celebrate, we are doing a joint giveaway on my blog and theirs of a fat quarter bundle of Topiary, plus two of my recent patterns from that line - Love Birds and Forever.




To enter, leave a comment here telling me something you are looking forward to doing this summer.  For a second chance to win, be sure to visit Quilty Pleasures.  Deadline to enter in both places is end of day Saturday, June 14th.

Happy quilting!
Amanda

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ladybug Picnic! (And a giveaway too)

The winner of this giveaway is Kathy S., who likes lilacs.  Thanks to everyone for participating!

Well, it is day 4 of Sew We Quilt's Perfect Picnic blog hop and it is my day to post!

We had a "Ladybug Picnic"!  (Does any other child of the seventies remember a song by that name?  I think it was on Sesame Street maybe?)


This quilt was inspired by the ladybugs that always make their way into our daughter's room for two week in the spring.  They love her sunny window but drive her crazy!




I was interested in contrasting the traditional appliqué ladybugs and blooms with something really modern and came up with a herringbone idea.  I wanted the herringbone blocks to lead your eye travel around the quilt and be bold in scale - really quite different from the style of the appliqué.  (I thought about doing the herringbone blocks scrappy, but in the end I decided to make them symmetrical.  One could really do it either way.)



Because the motifs were fairly bold, I kept the colors soft.  The fabrics are from my Bella, Topiary, and Bonjour Mon Ami lines for Blend Fabrics, and some Vanessa Christenson prints, all thrown together.  I'm thinking that I might put this together as a PDF-only pattern - what do you think?


Riley Blake makes this wonderful polka-dot laminate in a variety of colors. The aqua matches perfectly.  I pieced it and turned under the edges and tacked it on the back of the quilt.  That way I can just remove it when it might need a wash!



For our picnic we had homemade lattes and sweet potato apple muffins!


And of course you have to choose a game that matches your quilt so it had to be Quads... (You can see the embroidered accents on the ladybugs in this shot.)



Now for the giveaway.  I'm going to be giving away a copy of my new pattern, "Flower Power".  Just leave me a comment on this post telling me what your favorite flower is, okay?  Deadline is the end of the blog hop - Monday the 9th at midnight.


Thanks so much to Cori from Chitter Chatter Designs, Mary from I Piece 2-Mary, Riley Blake Designs, and Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt for making this blog hop possible.  Don't forget to stop by and see all of the wonderful entries on the bloghop!

Monday June 2

Tuesday June 3

Wednesday June 4

Thursday June 5

Friday June 6


Monday June 9


Happy sewing!
Amanda

Friday, May 30, 2014

Modern Lace

Just received strike-offs for my new collection, Modern Lace, which is shipping in August!




I'm SOOOO excited about this collection.  I know we aren't supposed to have favorites, but if we could this would be the one!  Modern Lace ships in August and shops can place orders from Blend Fabrics.

Have a lovely weekend and happy sewing!
Amanda