Thursday, January 16, 2020

From Virtual To Reality

When the quilting community where is you live is so small, it makes it worth your while to take the extra effort to make real connections happen. I think that it's safe to say, that the majority of my quilting friends and connections have come via the Internet. The even more exciting part of that, is that I've had the opportunity to turn many of those online connections to real life ones.

I have actually followed Rachel's blog, Stitched in Color for quite some time now... falling into the all too common "silent reader" category, and only later on Instagram commenting back and forth more frequently. Since she has recently moved to Europe, we now have the commonality of both being American expats. I have to admit, that I am really glad that I have some of those challenges of living in a foreign country already behind me. Each step was a process, and I know exactly what she is going through having made the brave leap.

Recently my husband and I traveled to the Netherlands for our anniversary. In the days before our trip, it dawned on me that Rachel could be somewhere close by... when I googled it, I realized it was only about an hour from where we were staying!?!

Since I had been mulling it over in my mind for months to send her one of my quilts, I decided that our travels would take us too close to not see if an in-person hand over would be possible (how awesome is that, that your husband takes a detour to listen to you "talk shop" on your anniversary trip?!?)

I found her to be very warm and pleasant, exactly as she comes across on her blog. I got the feeling that she really cared about the quilting that she was doing... especially since she knew that this was to be a very personal quilt, and planned to be used frequently in our living room! 

Needless to say, I am super over the top excited about how the quilt turned out. Since I am more into organic and natural shapes, the plumage design was my first pick. I had the idea to make the design a bit bigger to give it a more modern feel. It was actually very helpful for me to talk it over in person, not to mention that we had some other fun quilty conversations too.

Welcome to this small, but open quilting community here... you might have to dig deep to find them, but when you do, you'll find that they are gold!

... and if you happen to be in Europe, Rachel is offering a €20 discount on her quilting services this week! Just use the code: jumpstart.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Happenings For 2020!

The last months for me have been relatively quiet...everywhere. My days have been filled with economizing decisions, that left me having to brush social media to the side in order to meet deadlines for some of the exciting things that I have coming up in 2020! So much of the last part of 2019 has been planning for this year!

The biggest part of 2020 for me, will be several teaching events here in Germany. A lot of time and energy went into scheduling, planning, writing class descriptions, and simply emailing other details back and forth.I will be teaching all my classes in German, which is a fun challenge since it is not my native language, but I am lucky that most Germans find an American accent to be charming. 

This will be my third year teaching at Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe, Germany, and I am really excited about the two classes that I will be offering:

"Reverse Applique Method” for combining Simple Piecing & Pieced Blocks.You most likely know that starch applique is one of my favorite applique methods, but reverse applique is a very close second... there are so many possibilities, and as I've mentioned before, can be a big short cut for some curved sewing quilt patterns. This technique becomes really exciting when it is combined with simple piecing or pieced blocks.

Combining Felt Applique with Quilting or Paper Projects. Adding felt applique can be a fun way to add interest and texture to a quilting project... or even mixed medium projects. Delicate and filigree cut out shapes can be achieved and highlighted with fun quilting fabrics using a reverse applique technique for that extra added surprise detail.

.. and now my full teaching schedule for 2020. I'm excited to get to cooperate with so many great shops and sewing groups... will I see you there?

Now, let's talk pattern releases: This spring and early summer will be a very busy pattern launch time. In March, my "Fly High, Dragonfly" and "A" Is For Apple patterns release, followed by "Purdy Bird" in June.

"Fly High, Dragonfly" will kick off the beginning of my teaching schedule in spring. I have a second version in the works to demonstrate the various steps, which has a more subtle and subdued feel than this one. This quilt is the perfect combination between traditional piecing and simple applique shapes.

Even though you've seen "A" Is For Apple before, I had to do some fine tuning and tweaking before it was ready for release. The pattern hits several techniques, including reverse applique and XXL applique... I've got another version in the works that I will be sharing soon... Granny Smith, anyone?

You may have remembered seeing "Purdy Bird" in the November 2019 issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. Purdy Bird really is a mixed bag of quilting techniques, including paper piecing, curved piecing, and a New York Beauty block. The applique shapes are super simple, and this is the perfect project for an experienced quilter who would like to dabble in applique. If I have enough quilters that are interested, I am considering a Quilt-A-Long in the fall for Purdy Bird... are you game?

It's exciting for me to see the quilting community in Germany getting more connected to each other. Since quilting in Germany is not as well known as in the US, sometimes it can leave you feeling like a lone wolf. But now, because of groups like Das Quilt Kollektiv and Uta Hanson's Patchwork Online-Konferenz, more efforts are being made to connect online quiltling communities in Germany to each other.

I was so flattered that Uta asked me to be a part of her online conference, especially with her line-up of experts in the German speaking community. To sign up for the conference is free, and the interviews will be available for 24 hours. If you would like to watch the interviews after that, she has put together a package that you can purchase, and watch at your leisure.

You can hear my interview tomorrow on January 9th, 2020 (in German, of course) Find all the information on her website,

... so are you ready for 2020? I am!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Purdy Bird + Love Patchwork & Quilting!

I'm excited to announce the release of my latest quilt pattern... Purdy Bird is a fun quilt pattern that comes together quickly despite the fact that it is a mixed bag of quilting techniques. Drunkard’s path and paper pieced blocks are accented with easy applique shapes that are like the icing on a cake.

You can find my Purdy Bird (magazine title "Bird Song") quilt pattern and instructions in this month's Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. The Style Update issue #81 is on sale today!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Personal Space - Where I Work

I suppose it might be kind of obvious that I am a pretty sentimental person. For me, connections to others is one of the things that I value most in life. When I see certain objects, they are often linked with memories surrounding a person. Since many of those people that I hold near and dear are thousands of miles away, or no longer living, it's important for me to find a way to remember those connections.

Last year when I visited my aunt, I was quite taken with a little memory shelf that she has in her sewing area. There were several sewing items that had been in the family, precious pictures, and trinkets that are heavy in sentimental value. Afterward, I decided that I needed wanted something along the same lines.

I envisioned simple shelves, a wish my husband was all too eager fulfill... a reason for him to delve into a meditative wood project. Once the shelves were finished and hung, I was flooded with emotions, as I started adding each individual item...

As a young girl I remember staring into my grandmother's dining room vitrine and being fascinated by the pretty and delicate lady in a golden, ruffled dress. This dainty pin cushion, which was made by a family member of hers, makes my heart swell thinking of her, especially having lost her recently.

In another room in her house was a bookshelf that housed a few vintage children's books that had belonged to my grandfather when he was a little boy. Many of the memories that are linked to my grandfather are from his woodworking projects, but having a little piece of his childhood is very meaningful for me.

This small portrait of my other grandmother, flanked by these carved, brass animals which also belonged to her, is one of the very few items that I have from my mom's mother. She was a sweet soul, and the memories that I have of her was that she was gentle and kind.

It was my mom who taught me to sew, and many of those memories include her trying to teach me the "proper" way to sew, while I gave her the don't-bore-me-with-doing-it-right attitude because I was trying to make it the sewing machine as fast as possible... it's a wonder that she stuck with me so long?!? But out of those sewing sessions came creations like this teddy bear that I happened to make without a pattern... I like to think that he is long and lean just like my husband.

This sunny Matryoshka doll was given to me by my cousin and his wife when they came to visit us here in Germany almost ten years ago. Since he passed away a few short months after his return back home, it is the last memory of him that I have, and it a reminder of that visit.

When it was all said and done, it was quite a gush of emotions... piecing all my memories together - just the perfect touch to make my sewing space much more personal... and mine.

... I can almost hear my grandmother, saying that she never liked having lots of "knick-knacks and jitties" around the house because it meant that there was one more thing to dust... but if I'm being honest, I'll take the dust any 'ol day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

2020 Teaching Schedule!

I'm excited to share with you a little bit of what has been keeping me busy over the last months... and that is planning and prepping for a few classes that I will be offering in 2020!

The not so romantic part of quilt pattern writing, and in this case teaching classes, is all the behind the scenes work like writing class descriptions, supplies & materials requirement lists, emailing and telephoning with class hosts, researching printing options, loads of computer work... not to mention consecutively working on the patterns themselves. But with all those things neatly tucked away, let me just share with you what I've got planned for next year:

My "Fly High, Dragonfly" class, which is hosted by Quilt & Textilkunst in Munich, will be part of an exclusive pattern launch. If modern quilts and modern fabrics speak to you, then Christine's shop is where you will find it in Germany.

The end of March will be the second time that @nachtpedalquilts has hosted one of my classes. You may remember my class in spring with these fabulous ladies? This time I will be teaching my "A" is For Apple quilt, plus XXL applique techniques!

I meet Jacqueline two years ago at Nadelwelt, and was very impressed by the beautiful work that she does. Her shop looks amazing, and I'm really excited to teach my Lovebirds' Garden starch applique project in her inviting shop, which sits just on the German/Holland border. 

For now, these are just a few of the exciting things that I can share at this time... hope to see you next year in your little corner of the world.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

"Fly High, Dragonfly" Intro & Class

The past couple Wednesdays I was ready to sit down to write a blog post... but as I looked around, I only saw one secret project after the other. I simply didn't have anything to share. If you follow me on Instadgram, then you may have already seen my latest "cat-out-of-the-bag" project, "Fly High, Dragonfly". But here I would like to officially introduce her and take a little more time to tell more about her.

After I had shared this post, I decided to check back and see exactly when I had started this project... it was back in March!?! Perhaps you remember my first blocks from this project?  I've recently come to love working with an elongated drunkard's path block... it feels like it has more of a twist than the standard block. And my current mood is that every quilting block looks better with an applique dot on it, don't you think?

Currently my quilt is now with Iva from @schnigschagquiltsandmore for her to work her quilting magic. This is not the first quilt that Iva has quilted for me. I find that having my top longarm quilted, helps me get to the pattern release finish line a lot quicker. By the time to you factor in time needed for the pattern concept to making the top, the actual pattern writing itself, plus the time needed for testers, that puts you out quite a while, no matter how fast you are. Having it quilted frees me up to work on the not so glamorous behind the scenes computer work.

Even though I started this in March, I finished it rather quickly. If you are familiar with farming in Germany, then perhaps the background might give you a little hint of the time of year these pictures were taken? Even if you're not up on farming seasons, you may have heard me rave a time or two (or three, or four...) about my favorite time of year in Germany - canola / asparagus season...

Since this field is just outside my office, you certainly don't think that I could miss the perfect photo opportunity, do you? With all that being said, canola fields in Germany usually bloom between April and May, depending on how warm the spring season has been. I had the deadline of having this finished before I left for Nadelwelt so I could make the hand-off to Iva at the show. Started the end of March, finished in April, traveled to Switzerland in May... sharing now.

... and now for the really exciting part: As part of an exclusive pattern launch, I will be teaching my "Fly High, Dragonfly" quilt pattern March 7th & 8th, 2020 at Galerie von Quilt Et Textilkunst, in Munich, Germany! This class that will be a mixed bag of everything - paper piecing, traditional piecing, starch applique, and "go big or go home" - XXL applique! Hope you to see you there!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Ready, Set, Cut

I'm back! What?... didn't you notice that I was gone? This year we were blessed to be able to visit my family again in the US. Usually a few months before we travel home I notice that I feel like my emotional tank is almost on empty. Expat living can have it's challenges, and while I generally do I ok for most of the year in Germany, I find that I REALLY need time that I can just be me... effortlessly. without thinking. in my own language. in familiar surroundings. with people who are just as familiar as my own face.

With three airplanes, that are sandwiched in between two long drives, it might be easy to see why our travels are planned for such a long time. While I deeply savor the down time, and sliding back into the "just being me" role, I notice that shortly after jet lag is a passing memory, that my fingers start to itch.

During the summer I was able to get together with my aunt for a little "shop talk". I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her explain that she has the same "need" to create - it just has to come out! (insert image of me nodding my head vigorously in agreement during the whole conversation, while taking pleasure in knowing that I am not the only one who feels this way)

But what's a girl who has itching fingers, but no sewing machine supposed to do? Well, when her mini iron breaks, and applique blocks are no longer an option... then she buys fabric at half price, and cuts it up! 

I generally don't cut for a whole project at one time, but this one happens to fit that case. Next July I will attend a class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe. It might sound a little over the top to be preparing for it so far in advance, but since cutting fabric was just about the only thing I could do during summer break, I just had to go with it... not to mention that I pretty much have my sewing/pattern writing/teaching calendar planned through next summer!?!

So, make sure you get a good look at this project because you won't see it again until next summer. I have to say that I'm glad that I was able to get everything cut for this quilt, so I don't have to stress about prepping in the middle of an already busy schedule... when the time roles around for the class, I can just sit down and sew. Hmmm...

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Link-Up #summerstacksundays Summer Smoothie

When working on a fabric pull, just because there might be multiple colors in the inspiration fabric, doesn't mean that all the rest of the fabrics have to be packed full with just as many colors. She really IS the star of the show, and if there is too much competition for the center stage, the show doesn't run as planned. When the supporting fabrics are doing just that, even though there might be a lot going on in the inspiration fabric, she is somehow balanced.The supporting fabrics are supporting, and not trying to take over the show.

For the #summerstacksundays Link-up, I found that I ended up using several Anna Maria Horner prints that were my starting inspiration point. Her prints really lend themselves for being the star of the show. I have three designers that usually find a prominent spot in my quilts, and perhaps it's not hard to see why - her fabrics are the perfect combination of strong design and strong color. (a BIG win, win in my book)

For this week's fabric stack, I really wanted to focus on some of the softer shades. On the photo, this stack might appear to still be fairly saturated, but live it's actually pretty toned down. Cover up that last darker periwinkle fabric, and you'll see what I mean. What I like about a multi-color print like this, is that there are so many color options to consider. I could focus on the bright vibrant pinks, or I could have gone with some deeper aquas, and even pulled in more of the periwinkle blues.

This week's challenge: Start out with an inspiration fabric and try a pull with soft shades... and then try it again with deeper and more saturated hues. I would love to hear about it... start stacking!

Remember that anyone can link up their fabric stack, even if you are coming late to the party. Be sure mention that you are linking up with Campbell Soup Diary for #summerstacksundays. You can also link up from Instagram. The link-up runs from July 5th - September 1st.

Please take the time to visit/comment/like the posts from others who are linking up and be sure to look through the comments. If you happen to be struggling with your fabric stack, then just say so in the comments, so the rest of us can stop by and maybe help you out... sometimes a fresh eye can see something that might have been missed.  

I decided to leave the last two weeks as an open theme... let's see what you come up with!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
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