Book Review- Paper Pieced Modern by Amy Garro

PPM cover

I love paper piecing, so when the opportunity arose to review Paper Pieced Modern by Amy Garro (@13spools) I jumped at the chance! I have been following AMy for a while, and the tantalizing sneak peeks were driving me crazy. Then the blog hop for the book happened and I was rewarded with a visual buffet of gorgeous quilts. I can’t help myself from gushing, because there isn’t a quilt in this book that I wouldn’t make.  It was hard to narrow down my favorites. Luckily my top three were hanging at Quiltcon, and I got to meet the lovely Amy in person. She is modest, talented, and an all around great person to be with!

Now, I have been paper piecing a very, very long time. Almost everything I do is foundation pieced. I own 5 or 6 titles of paper piecing patterns and techniques.

Amy’s book is the most straightforward, comprehensive, and informative book I have read on paper piecing. I learned quite a few things to bring my piecing up a few notches.

Amy covers everything in a concise manner, from choosing fabrics and creating an ombre effect to her piecing techniques and helpful tips. She even covers what to do for each kind of paper you might try and use for piecing, from commercially available foundation paper to regular old printer paper.

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Diamonds and Emeralds II courtesy of CT Publishing

 

The technique she uses is well illustrated and easy to follow. Her writing is very easy to read and understand, making this book perfect for a beginner piecer. She explains the why as well as the hows, so an experienced quilter can make an informed choice when it comes to choosing a technique to use or adding to an already developed skill set. It also makes the patterns easier to understand and follow. Each pattern had a close up of her fabric choices and a blurb about why she chose them. There is even a small section on how to fussy cut your favorite prints for maximum effect, or what to do with a fabric that has an irregular distribution of the print, like the background of Apple Stars.

Apple Stars, courtesy of 13 Spools

Apple Stars, courtesy of 13 Spools

Each quilt also comes with multiple quilting suggestions to highlight different parts of the quilt or blend in. I love this small detail, it shows her careful attention to each quilt and I know I always balk when I get to the “Quilt as Desired” stage of a pattern. Her suggestions help take the fear out of this stage.

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Ceiling Tiles, courtesy of 13 Spools. This is by far one of my favorite quilts in the whole book. It was spectacular in person!

Her instructions include pre cutting the pieces for each section, so you know that the fabric will cover the entire section. She also outlines how to place fabrics for extreme angles and odd shapes, as well as stitching tips to keep the seams from separating when you pull out the threads.

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Faceted Jewels II, courtesy of CT Publishing. Another of my favorites.

 

Some of the quilts even have alternate layouts and color suggestions. For the designs that use an ombre effect she makes sure to outline exactly how to construct the blocks and the fabric placement for each to achieve the same effect, instead of leaving you guessing. I find that really helpful when choosing fabrics.

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Faceted Jewels I

The cover quilt is also a huge hit with me. Icy Waters looks exactly how icy water feels ( I have first hand experience with that). It was sneak peeks of this quilt that led me to Amy’s blog and book in the first place. Again in person, it is stunning. This particular beauty was quilted by the esteemed Angela Walters, and she really captured that watery feel and softened all the straight edges with swirls.

Icy Waters, courtesy of 13 Spools

Icy Waters, courtesy of CT Publishing

Overall, I would rate the book as Excellent. The instructions are easy to read and comprehend, the diagrams are clear and easy to follow, and there is a range of patterns for every skill set. Her tips on fabric choice, sourcing, color, sewing, finishing and teaching the technique are clear and well written. I would recommend Paper Pieced Modern to any skill level, from complete beginner to experienced. I cannot wait to start sewing!

Happy Stitching!

StaceyDay_Logo

 

 

Quiltcon: The Aftermath

Sounds like the title to a bad sequel doesn’t it? haha!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For me, Quiltcon was an amazing experience! Learning, sewing, socializing, eating, the whole experience was inspiring and a breath of fresh air for my poor dusty brain. The new year was filled with a number of personal stressors for me. Being able to attend Quiltcon was the relief, the break from ‘real life’ I needed to recharge my creativity and take the step back that I really needed. I didn’t touch my laptop the entire time I was gone! I was having so much fun that I even forgot to take pictures. Luckily my friends remembered, so I relive the memories through their IG feeds and blog posts. (if you want to find me on Instagram, I am @staceyinstitches)

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One of our daily coffee friends, Reginald. Reggie is an art collector from Sussex.

 

I was one of the lucky few who manage to get every class I wanted, and ended up with a waitlist bonus. I spent two days learning Piece-lique techniques with Cristy Fincher (@cristycreates) She is the daughter of the immeasurable Sharon Schambers (who is one of my personal quilt heroes). Starch and glue baste are my new best friends as a result. The first day I learned the Paper less Paper piecing. This has definitely changed my life! I cant wait to finish the rest of this quilt!

My paperless paper piece block.

My paperless paper piece block.

I managed to finish up a mini top in the second days class. It was great to be able to learn the technique the first day, then have the second day to practice the technique. I plan on adding a border around the mini to make it a larger wall size. Off center and quilted using the techniques I learned in my other classes of course!

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I was super lucky to have gotten into an evening class with Angela Walters. She is practical, down to earth, and I thought she was a great teacher. I had a lot of fun in her class, and wish I could have been in an all day with her. I also won a box of her Drift Aurifil thread! Woot!

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The next day was spent with Krista Withers, another amazing quilter. Her style is different, but I was able to find a happy place where I felt like I Was stitching well and I was happy with my samples. I took her Compositional Quilting class in the morning, and then Ghost Shapes in the afternoon. Definitely another set of classes that feed well into one another, and ones that I could have done every day!

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The best part of Quiltcon was being able to meet everyone in person. From QDAD to Moda to Windham, being able to shake hands and hug the people I interact with online on a regular basis was just tremendous. Kim Anderson @iadorepattern and I were roommates, and we sure had a great time. I also met up with Amy Garro @13spools and we lived it up. And went boot shopping. I love my boots and left a pair of old shoes in Austin in favor of my new kicks! I also developed an addiction to Tex-Mex. I recreated one of the dishes last night that tasted like it should, woo hoo!

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The highlight of the trip was our QDAD at Quiltcon meetup! We had so much fun. Amy @Badskirt wasn’t able to attend, but she was definitely there!

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QDAD at Quiltcon!

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In Anne’s defense, I may have been doing something with Amy’s head a split second earlier…

 

The entire experience is hard to explain in typing. I left feeling inspired, refreshed, brimming with new ideas and confidence and friends. I may never be back to Austin,(Quiltcon is now split into a yearly show that flips coasts each year), but I will never forget it!

So to summarize what I learned:

1. Tex Mex is the best food ever

2. Spray baste is awesome

3. Cowboy butts boots are awesome

4. I need a long arm

5. No, seriously, I need a long arm

6. Margheritas are acceptable lunch fare

7. Everybody likes buttons

8. Its okay to wave your arms and yell like a crazy person at someone you recognize (except maybe not in the TSA line)

9. 49.5lbs Checked bag= Winning

aaaaaaaand

10. Quilty people are the best kind of people! EVER!

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Happy stitching!

StaceyDay_Logo

 

 

 

Covergirl!

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EEEE!!!!!!! I am so happy right now you guys!! That is my quilt, Whirlpool, on the cover of American Quilter Magazine!! *happy dance*

Okay….breathe in and out….okay…I’m good!

This is one of the big things I have been working on in the last few months. After the book was canceled (see this post to read all about it)I started submitting designs to different magazines. The first place I contacted was American Quilter MAgazine. I have had a subscription to AQS magazine for years. I love every issue, there is always something for me in them. And the subscription comes with membership benefits, like digital content, web bonuses, and access to back issue articles and pattern files.

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My shelf of American Quilter Magazine. 4 years worth plus a random Jan 2007. I am slowly filling in my back issues as I find them!

I was stunned and thrilled at the reaction to my design submissions. Michele, the Editor in Chief, was so supportive and just awesome to work with. We played around with some ideas ( I had a lot!). Then Kim@I Adore Pattern told me she had sent some fabrics to AQS to help promote her line, Tidal Lace. So I decided to mock up another quilt using her fabrics and sent it off to Michele. Everyone loved it, so off to production we went. Whirlpool was a go! Windham was totally awesome and generously provided fabric for the quilt.

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One the top was done, however, I was a little stuck. How to quilt it? My usual long arm quilter was on vacation at the time.  A finished quilt post in one of the modern quilting Facebook groups led me to Mandy Liens of Mandalei Quilts. She is a super talented quilter in NY state, and I loved her work. We got to talking, and she came up with this amazing quilt job for Whirlpool! She took my quilt and brought out the best in it, which is what a good quilter does. She even has some Craftsy classes you can take for quilting (super talented!)

A snowy day

A snowy day at the park

The day of the photo shoot it snowed. Which is very unusual for Vancouver, but it was also the only sunny day that week ( its the rainy season. I have a half dozen things that need photographs. STOP RAINING!) So off we tromped to the park!

I am so happy with how Whirlpool came together.  The entire process was great! the March Issue hit newsstands today, so go out and get yourself a copy! Or better yet, become and AQS member! Because for the rest of the year, I have a web bonus series of patterns coming out with each issue! AND with a membership you can download an EQ7 design file to color your own version of Whirlpool! YES!! As well as get all the awesome content that is members only. You also get the 6 magazines a year. (Disclaimer: AQS did not ask me to promote for them, I just think it is an awesome publication and have subscribed for year and never been disappointed!)

You can order a copy of the magazine here, and if you want to make your own just like mine you can ORDER THE KIT HERE! YAY!!!!!! Thats right AQS loved the pattern and fabric so much that they decided to make it a kit! Kim and I were over the moon when we got the email, and I still cannot believe it!

I hope you all enjoy making Whirlpool as much as I did!!

Happy Stitching!

StaceyDay_Logo

 

The Big Secret

Last year, I wrote a book.

You won’t find it in any quilt shop, or at the bookstore, or online.

Back in October of 2013, I read an amazing blog post about one bloggers experience writing her first book. I had been sketching and playing with ideas for a while, and I was so inspired that I finally wrote up a proposal and submitted it to a publisher. The Aquisitions Editor at the company was wonderful. She was encouraging, friendly, and very helpful. She took my proposal to the submissions team, and came back with some suggestions and changes. More designs, and a change of topic. My first idea, while solid, was too niche. They asked if I could adjust the topic. So I did. After a month of back and forth, I has a contract, a book to write and 15 quilts to make. In  6 months. It was a very short time, given that most books are given 12-18 months for a deadline. But I had lots of support, lots of energy, and agreed.

Fast forward to May 2014. My manuscript was done, the quilts were in the binding stages, and I had planned my trip to bring everything to the publisher and finally meet everyone in person. My deadline had come, and I had met it.

And then I got the phone call.

During the months that I had been busy writing, sewing, writing, and sewing some more, the company had been purchased by a larger book publisher. Which meant changes to the direction of the company, replacement of almost all of the upper management , and a slash to the number titles being produced that year. Unfortunately, my book did not fit with the new image and direction of the company. It was cut from production.

Sitting on the other end of the line, trying to stay positive and keep the frustration, confusion, and sadness out of my voice was one of the most difficult things I have done as a quilter. Fortunately, the call came during one of the rare visits I am able to have with my grandparents. My Grandma, who taught me to quilt and encouraged me to try anything and everything, stood there and held me as I cried.

My son came running over at that moment and gave me a huge hug. And just like that, tears turned to smiles. We started brainstorming about what I was going to do with 15 full sized quilts.

My awesome Grandparents and little H

My awesome Grandparents and little H

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It still took time to regain some of my confidence. Although intellectually I knew it was nothing personal, because we put so much of ourselves into our craft as quilters, it was hard not to sometimes think why wasn’t I good enough. It was when I started actively looking for the silver lining that must be there somewhere that I started to really grow as a quilter and a designer. During my writing period, I was put into contact with several fabric companies. I reached out to them again, this time asking about designing the free projects used to promote new fabric lines. I also started shopping the patterns around individually and basically cold calling other fabric companies about designing for them as well. It was a HUGE learning curve. I suddenly found myself awash in technical writing, trying to produce professional quality illustrations and drawings, and full scale templates from scratch. I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite and learned to use Illustrator and InDesign. Am still learning to use them. And along the way, I found my creative voice.

A huge boost to my personal growth was joining the Quilt Design a Day facebook group, and meeting a wonderful group of creative, talented, like minded individuals. On a bid for advice, I opened a group chat with four other individuals from QDAD. That chat group now has almost 51,000 messages in it between the five of us. Everything from technical support to just shooting the breeze, we have covered almost everything in that chat. We have all gotten to know each other very well, and are looking forward to finally meeting at Quiltcon this year. I have been able to build a good reputation with the fabric companies- you can find many free patterns on the affiliate sites. Just look under the Free Patterns on my menu bar. And I have a few patterns coming out in magazines throughout the year.

I have been able to pull myself back together, but I never did get the chance to properly thank those who were a part of the process when I wrote my book. I want to take the time to do this now.

My wonderful husband for his unwavering support, taking care of the laundry and cooking, and reminding me to eat and sleep on occasion.

My grandmother for teaching me to quilt, and being the first person to tell me there are more ways than the “right” way to sew something.

My parents for being my biggest fans, cheerleaders, babysitters, and personal PR reps. (If a strange lady on the street hits you in the face with a quilting magazine, its probably my mom!)

Christine Osmers of Michael Miller Fabrics, Hayden Lees of Timeless Treasures Fabrics, and the team at Warm Company batting, for their support and for not fainting dead away at my requests.

Holly Broadland, Felicity Ronaghan, Amy Dame, Matt Wheeler, Stacey Murton, and Arita Rai, for making quilts and testing out my patterns and providing some very valuable support and feedback. I never would have made my deadline without all your help!

Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters, for taking on the huge amount of quilting in such a short time, being there last minute when I really needed it, and continuing to be there for me.

Finally, my son, who inspires me so much I can’t put it into words.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your love and support and inspiration on this journey.

Thank You Heart

I also wanted to pay back the support and sponsorship shown to me by Michael Miller Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, and Warm Company. They provided most of the materials for the book quilts. So I have decided that any quilt made with the sponsored materials will be a FREE PATTERN. I will be releasing them throughout the year. The first will be today.

Linked In- Fabric provided by Michael Miller Fabrics, Batting from the Warm Company

Linked In- Fabric provided by Michael Miller Fabrics, Batting from the Warm Company

Linked In is a beginner friendly quilt that uses rotation in the blocks to create the interlocking squares. I love interlocking blocks and was so happy to be able to come up with my own.

Quilting by Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters

Quilting by Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters

 

The pattern is available for free in my Craftsy Shop. I am working on a platform for patterns here on the blog, but for now, enjoy! Just CLICK HERE.

 

Thank you to all of you as well, for reading along with me over the years. I look forward to the next few, they are going to be awesome!

StaceyDay_Logo

Featured and a Fabric Giveaway!

Windham Fabrics blog is currently having a giveaway with the new Sarah Fielke collection Snippits. I love the Snippits collection, and had the opportunity to design not one, but TWO lovely quilts that are going to be free patterns on the Windham Website.

The first, “A Great Notion” is available soon! I have links to each of my free and off site patterns in the menu bar above under Free Patterns.

Coming Soon!  A Great Notion

Coming Soon!
A Great Notion

 

Pattern Release- Down by the Sea

Thats right!

Down by the Sea is finally ready and available! Just in time too, as Tidal Lace, the collection this quilt features, is shipping to stores now! Kim @ I Adore Pattern did an amazing job with this line, and I absolutely love it.

The pattern includes a size chart for four different sizes from Crib to King, as well as optional yardage cutting for a separate border and background. Down by the Sea is beginner friendly and easy to put together! I also have a free tutorial for using the triangle scraps from the quilt to make some pretty throw pillows! You can also relive the fun of the Tidal Lace blog hop from that link.

Tidal Lace Wheel, borrowed from Kim with permission

Tidal Lace Wheel, borrowed from Kim with permission

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You can follow the link HERE for the pattern, which is available in my Craftsy Shop.

 

This is just the first of many big things to come this year, so be sure to follow along!

Happy Stitching!

StaceyDay_Logo

 

Cirrus Solids BOM Challenge

I am super excited to share with you all my Cirrus Solids Block of the Month Challenge! 

 

Lattice Block

Image Credit: Cloud 9 Fabrics

 

Introducing the Lattice Block!

Back in July, Amy@Badskirt posted in the QDAD Facebook group about the Cirrus Solids BOM Challenge hosted by Cloud 9 Fabrics, to introduce their new line of solid fabrics.  Cirrus solids are a soft, supple and vibrant line of chambray weight cross woven yarn-dyed solids. There are 21 hues in the collection, and hopefully they will be adding more! The fabrics are 100% certified organic and the dyes are low impact, so not only are they gorgeous, they are ecologically responsible. So naturally the more you have the better it is for the environment, right? I am always up for a challenge, so I started playing with color combinations and shapes. Then life happened, and I had to step away for a while.

About a month later I had a brainstorm, and sketched out some block ideas on a sketch pad I keep on my nightstand (you never know when inspiration will hit). I drafted out a few blocks and plugged in some fabrics.

There are so many variations and options with this block. It creates unique shapes when placed on point or horizontally. You can mirror the blocks, play with the color, whatever you want! Super versatile, and you know how I love versatile!

You can download the pattern and instructions HERE on Cloud 9’s blog. The instructions include yardage to make a 16 block quilt. Below are some of the variations I came up with. You will need a few more than 16 block

Shorelines in Horizontal Deep Sea in On Point

I can wait to make something with my bundle of Cirrus Solids! I hope you all take the time to enter the challenge! The entries are rolling, which means your block could be picked any time, you don’t have to enter every month. You can also check out the past challenge winners here and here!

A big thank you to Cloud 9 for making this a great challenge!

 

Happy Stitching!

StaceyDay_Logo