January 2011 - Posts

FREE e-book on Modern Quilting

Just for you, Q-bies...a FREE e-book about Modern Quilting! Plus, three great patterns exploring the best of this fun, fast, bold style of quilt design. Just follow the link and the directions to sign up for your very own downloadable copy.

The e-book's patterns showcase some of the best, including designers Scott Hansen, Elizabeth Hartman and Modern Quilt Guild co-founder Alissa Haight Carlson. We'd love love love to see what you do with these trendy patterns! When you make your very own versions, send us a picture and we'll post it on our blog and Facebook page. Deal?

Modern Quilt Primer e-Book | Quilter's Homewww.quiltershomemag.com While traditional piecing is still all the rage with many quilters, one of the hottest quilting trends right now is modern quilting. Spurred on by easy-to-make quilt patterns, block designs and bold prints, modern quilting is set to be your new favorite type of quilting!

Ty-ing one on


So, have we mentioned that the life of a magazine editor is hard? There's the planning, the deadlines, the unexpected problems, the complaints and the budget (oh, the constant budget), which is constantly never enough. Yep, woe is we, we say.

            Then again, there is nothing cooler in the world then getting paid to do what we do! And that has never been so obvious as this week, when we finally get to spill what we've been doing at Quilter's Home.

            You know that hottie, Ty Pennington? The Mr. Blue Eyes of the Home Remodeling world who hosts ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?

Well, he's not just a pretty face. He's a trained graphic designer who has worked in the décor field for years. He's also pretty artsy-crafty, and he used his artistic talents to design a new fabric label for Rowan, the company that brings us Kaffe and Amy through Westminster Fibers and Heather and Valori through FreeSpirit Fabric (along with many, many other fabulous designers).

            So Ty Pennington's Impressions collection is cool, but it isn't all that newsy. Here's a few snippets (in order of appearance-- Moorish, Wave and Foliage):

The line debuted at Fall Quilt Market last October, and he's been making the rounds in some other quilt mags during the last few weeks. What IS news, however, is that we have him, but big, in the upcoming April/May 2011 issue of Quilter's Home Magazine! Yep, we roped that baby in a humongo way and we promise you'll have as much fun with him as we did.

            We grabbed the first batch of Impressions off the boat and had the phenomenal Scott Hansen of Blue Nickel Studios whip up an original quilt with Ty's threads.

  (Here's Scott, in case you don't know this very talented designer.) 








Scott's "Ty take" just rocks! The quilt, Brick House, is bright, bold, completely hip and modern with a touch of class--pretty much like Ty. This beauty will be offered as a pattern on our website (and we're the only quilt mag to have a Ty-exclusive quilt). Look for Brick House to pop up there at the end of March, about the same time as the April-May 2011 issue hits the mailboxes and newsstands. There's much more Ty-ness inside the mag, too, but we're gonna keep some of that 4-1-1 to ourselves for now, because, hey, we're such q-teases. We'll show some mercy in the coming weeks, though. We'll dish a little about what it was like to work with The Man himself.

            Sigh....Anybody got a cigarette and a light?



Move over, Mr. OCD!

We've all got our private rituals for detoxifying from the holidays and starting the New Year with a fresh mind (and a few extra pounds). Me, well, I take stock of what I've managed to accomplish over the last 12 months, and what I haven't--but fervently wish--I had finished. And in terms of my quilting life, man, is there a lot to be said!

As an editor of Quilter's Home, a quilt magazine that's lived through many major changes over the last two years, it's a crashing understatement to say that my partner, Melissa, and I have been busy. It's also obvious to say that in doing this job, we seem to eat/sleep/breathe quilting and creativity in all forms. But it seems we don't get to do it as often as we'd like.

And that's a big fat problem. See, I'm a list maker. I've kept copious, anal-retentive-symptomatic check-offs for years. One of my favorites is my list of finished projects. (My husband, Mr. OCD, just laughs when he sees me making lists. Hey, two can work at this organization thing!)

When I was working on my first two books, my list of projects done topped two dozen or more per year for three years running, including quilts, small crafts, knitted scarves and more than I could carefully detail and rest in the assurance that yes, I was creative.  


It's not just a number either. The more I create, the easier the creativity muscle is to flex. My projects become more sophisticated and better put together as I design and make more. (I'm not trying to get all metaphysical or anything. Just go with me for a minute.) When I'm regularly sewing or crafting, I'm more relaxed and my sense of personal pride elevates. It's the textile equivalent of an antidepressant, with a whole lot fewer side effects!

This hasn't happened for a couple of years now. I've put one or two things on the "finished" list lately, but that's a weak victory, people.

There's an old writer's motto that says, "Writers write." Well, I'm a writer and I've certainly earned the designation over the last decade or so. But I'm also a quilter and a crafter. I make things and while my preferred method of creation comes through needle, thread and fabric, I never turn my nose up at paper, jewelry and other make-it-mine joys. It's time to reclaim my identity.

So I'm officially declaring 2011 as the year of "This Quilter Quilts."

I have at least a dozen almost-finished quilts lying around my sewing room. My goal is to finish one quilt a month for the next 12 months. Because many of these are already half quilted, and have been for (in most cases) years, how hard can this be?

Here's just a peek at what awaits the needle in my house:

I'd love to have your help. To stay honest, I'll take pics and document my progress, or lack of. But if you wouldn't mind slapping me upside the head when I seem to be slacking, or throwing the occasional "atta girl" at me, it will help. And, hey, I can return the favor. (I'm really good at that head-smack thing-comes from having a hubby who likes to get in trouble!)

Melissa and I love pouring inspiration and motivation into the pages of QH, encouraging you to find your fabric bliss. But I'm gonna claim some of that for myself this year, too, and I hope you'll join me on my renewed dedication to the needle. I'll show you mine if you show me yours, deal?

Check in next Monday for my progress on the January project: Finishing the rabbit quilt, three Easters later...--Jake Finch



Quilty encounter in Kansas

My sweet dog, Priscilla, and I took a break from Quilter's Home biz and headed east for New Year's to Wichita, Kansas, where we rang in 2011 with my family and friends. Wichita--nicknamed Doo-Dah by many residents--is my hometown, and the location of one of my favorite sculptures, The Keeper of the Plains.

This iconic 44-foot sculpture designed by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin is is even more impressive in person. But then I digress...

The Wichita holiday fun included a so-elegant luncheon where my dear friend (and foodie) Earlene Todd introduced me to one of her fellow foodies, Betty Clark. The two belong to the same gourmet club. (Now isn't that always the way....that quilters and great food go hand in hand?)

Betty's been quilting for about 20 years and knows her way around the Wichita q-scene. Some quilty Doo-Dah lore: The Prairie Quilt Guild has about 800 members, pretty evenly split between the afternoon meeting and the evening meeting. And the best shop in town is reportedly the Picket Fence Quilt Company, over on the west side.

Betty's claim to needle fame is her uber-precise hand quilting and needle-turn applique, both techniques that she teaches in local quilt-shop classes. (And she's good, people. I saw the evidence!)

Betty and her sister, Nan, had a sweet deal worked out for bjn original, their co-owned business that produced custom handmade sewn heirlooms for clients. Nan--who lived variously in Minnesota, Illinois or Texas--would create designs on her EQ, and e-mail the files to Betty so she could review them in her own EQ system. They'd consult by phone, tweaking the design until it suited. Then Nan would machine piece it and mail the top to Betty, who would work her manual magic.

The sisters also traveled widely to national quilt shows and on various personal q-quests, including one DIY mystery trip where Betty dropped hints about each destination to her sister via cleverly written daily clues.

The tandem fun stopped in 2009, when Nan died from cancer, but Betty keeps on quilting and creating, frequently making opportunity quilts for the American Cancer Society and other charities. She's branching out, learning to piece by hand and starting to create her own designs. She's even thinking about learning authentic Hawaiian appliqué. (Click here if, like Betty, you want to know more about this amazing style of quilting.)

"I cannot stop. It's an addiction," says Betty. "If I don't have anything to quilt, I'm not a pleasant person." (Says who, chica? Great meeting you, Betty!)

--Melissa Thompson Maher