My first year of teaching (nine years ago! Wow!), I was fortunate enough to work for an amazing administrator. My teaching friends and I still refer to those years as our “Camelot.” One of the things that principal said has stuck in my mind for years. He said, “One of the strongest indicators of job satisfaction is if you can say ‘I have at least one really good and true friend at work.’”
Well, I am no longer teaching and that principal has moved onto a role as a superintendent. Nevertheless, that thought still hangs in the back of my mind. And in the sewing industry where we largely work as individuals, it would be easy to say I couldn’t apply his statement. But! I can!
Angela Walters quilts my quilts, yes. (The first quilt she ever did for me was back in 2003, which seems like forever ago.) But, she is also one of my best friends. Having a friend who ‘gets’ what I do is so awesome. Having that same friend also understand what on earth it is like to do this gig at home with kids running around is even better. The photo above was taken when I was still living in San Diego and I got to hear her speak at Sew Modern in L.A. Between her book coming out soon and her busy speaking/teaching schedule, she is reaping the rewards of years of hard work.
I could go on for quite some time about how much we value the friendship that we have, but that’s not why I am here today! I’m here to tell you about this little nugget:
Angela’s first quilt design for Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio! It is a quilt (in three sizes) called Bleachers. The story of how the name came about is one for another day. For the majority of the pattern writing and testing phase, she and I referred to it as “The Man Quilt.” When you see the full pattern, you’ll see why we did that!
She approached me last fall with the idea and we both love how the final pattern came out. It is her design and my instruction writing. Angela and I have been so patient about waiting to share this fun venture with you. It’s so rewarding to work with someone you respect and admire. I cannot wait to show you the finished pattern and all of the images from the photo shoot. The patterns arrived this week and are headed out to stores tomorrow. I will get to show you all four of my new patterns next week!
In the meantime, here are a few sneak peeks of Bleachers…
A lap size sample made by Carla, one of the stellar pattern testers:
A pink baby size quilt made by Mary Anne, another prize winning tester:
Oh, I cannot wait to share this pattern with you. It has so many things we love including fast piecing and negative space. It even has nifty scaled blocks so each quilt size gives you the same design look!
So… I’ve told you that the quilt was nicknamed “The Man Quilt” for a while. Every single tester said, “My husband really likes this one!” Do you have a man (or boy!) in your life who is in need of a quilt? If so, stick around! We’ve got something we think will work for you!
It’s a good thing I love to bind a quilt. It’s true. I do! That number in the post title? That would be the number of inches of binding that I’ve hand sewn down in the last couple of days. That photo up there? That’s only a portion of the bindings I used! In all I bound nine quilts. I was binding whenever and wherever I could- including sitting on my driveway and in my neighbor’s backyard.
My new patterns were sent off to testers in January, sewn up in February and I’ve been gathering them in small batches from my friend Angela to bring home for binding.
Before I print a pattern, I have every single size option made by a tester (which also gives plenty of color options inside the finished pattern). I ask my team of (awesome!!) testers to prep the binding strips and send them along with the finished top and backing, then I sew them all down to get them ready for the photo shoot once Angela has quilted them. It is a pretty great little system. It’s like our own quilting relay race. (Or marathon, if you’re Angela!).
Every last stitch of binding is down. Huzzah! I’ve got a photo shoot today with my photographer friend Sarah and we are shooting all of the images for four new sewing patterns. Two quilts and two smaller sewing projects. I am excited to show them here soon!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do something OTHER than binding…
The Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild is hosting someone special in two months!
Weeks Ringle from Modern Quilt Studio will be in town to give a lecture and trunk show at our May meeting. If you are in the area (or can stay an extra day after Quilt Market!), we’d love to have you join us.
I have admired the work of Weeks and her husband, Bill Kerr, for several years now and have blogged about making quilts from the patterns several times- they have such great design and fantastic instructions. A fun highlight was getting to Skype with them a while back!
We are so so so excited to hear her talk about their work and see the quilts up close. We hope you can make it, too!
All the details about Weeks’ visit can be found on the KCMQG blog.
I’ve joked with some friends before about the ‘issue’ of quilts made by people who don’t blog about them. I asked, “If a quilt is made and not blogged about, is it like a tree falling in the forest with no one around? Does it actually exist?” (kidding, of course!)
My darling and talented mom is a blog-less quilter. So, to help her quilts see the light of day here on the interwebs, I’m sharing them with you today!
This one is her Cross Quilt, made after she saw Carla’s Anniversary Crosses quilt at a guild meeting. It was part of an online bee, actually. I was in the bee and someone dropped out, so she took the open spot. She got about 24 blocks that way and filled in the rest. The colors are great because they are simultaneously the team colors for the high school in my hometown, the college where my parents met AND also the university our state is excited to cheer on this month… the Mizzou Tigers!
I love what she did with the back!
But never ask my husband to “show the backside” or this is what you’ll get:
Note how our daughter is learning his sassy ways!
Up next…. this giant log cabin block quilt was made for a little baby boy born to a family friend. My mom made it right around the time that Susan Beal spoke to the KCMQG about her book Modern Log Cabin Quilting.
She used the backing fabric as her color guide, then cut strips and put them in a paper bag (a la Denyse Schmidt). Whatever she pulled out, she used next.
You can see her quilting a little better in this one. Straight lines in the white and a block-y looking stipple in the rest. I am pretty sure those blocks are about 18″ square and the white is about 5″ (or something close to that).
She does a great job, don’t you think?