February is for LOVE and BUTTERFLIES....
Last year while I was working on the finishing touches of SPRING SHIMMER projects, I was asked by Quilty Box, a subscription quilt kit company, to design a quilt for their February 2021 box. They fell in love with my Spring Shimmer line (previous post), especially the butterfly print. Delighted, I selected 15 fabrics and had a Union Square block idea in mind with added sashing to highlight the main print in the center and use a variety of values and prints for the HST. I love how it turned out. Simple. Joyful. Bright. I call it Butterfly Box. It's perfect baby size or lap quilt. Plus I have a story to share about women's resilience, challenges overcome, sisterhood and family which is represented by the mariposa mosaic mural behind my quilt in photo. I hope you enjoy my thoughts and wanderings, local as they may be. You know how much I love butterflies- the symbol of hope, rebirth and human capacity to soar! I am pretty sure you love them too, and we all have our own reasons.
It was a quiet winter day in Northern California, I was searching for some Napa city art to take a photo of my new quilt. Known for their outdoor murals, I meandered around empty streets weaving through downtown with my car windows slightly cracked to let the cool breeze in when I caught sight of this butterfly filled mosaic wall- a perfect backdrop to Butterfly Box. I pulled over and jumped out of the car beholding this surprising and perfect find.
With no photography partner, I was challenged to take this photo so I stood for a long time admiring the magnificent glass mosaics, appreciating the creative wall. Then, lucky for me, a woman walked by, who happened to be the head of the Cope Family Center (the building on which the mosaic is mounted) and kindly offered to take my photo. When I asked about the story behind the mural, I was amazed to hear such a powerful message. Serendipity had struck. I have paraphrased the story below so you too can learn about this moving art which was born from the hearts of NIMBUS ARTS and Mariposa(Spanish for butterfly): a young Latina women's school program. (they also have a young man's program: Bridging Brothers which are both a part of the Napa Valley Office of Education.)
I also show the various inspiration and steps to making this quilt and what I think about when designing this quilt. You can order this kit from Quilty Box and make your very own version. Either subscription month to month or just the one time, February Designer Box for around $48 I believe. I also have FQ bundles in the shop of the entire collections shipping now.
About the Mosaic: Located at Cope Family Center in Napa, Nimbus Arts partnered with Mariposa, a program offered to Latina girls in high school and middle school that promotes female empowerment and encourages girls to set goals to live a life without drugs or abuse. The latina girls learned to make glass mosaic butterflies from Nimbus artists, then went to local schools and taught others how to make the butterflies, which would be used to create a kaleidoscope of positivity and inspiration as a public mural.
The three women in the mural represent a mother wearing a traditional Mexican dress, a teenager representing the Mariposa girls, and a younger girl chasing a butterfly that leads to a sea of butterflies filling the sky. The dark tiles at the bottom you see broken hearts, buried dreams and alcohol bottles all symbolizing the difficulties Mariposa girls have risen above. The butterflies represent the girls breaking free from life’s negative influences.
Spring Shimmer has so many meanings and it feels right to elevate our quilt making to have thoughts about rising up, evolving, beauty and living a colorful life. I hope you make some spring quilts this year and enjoy the process. You can find the kit from Quilty Box or go to my shop to see more Spring Shimmer precuts. I have already donated to the Mariposa program and will continue to use a percent of profits from this line to help even more. My final addition here is a song my sister Les Sampou wrote and performs Hanging by a Thread. Check it out. All of us go through difficult times and it's important we help each other out to be seen and loved. Until next time....
Keep creating, it does the head, heart and hands good.
The making of this scrappy, delightful quilt in Spring Shimmer.
Have you ever made a log cabin quilt? This classic pattern is one of the most iconic blocks in quilting and so easy to make. I give you the PDF for free below, but here are the basic essentials for those of you who have a log cabin or two under your belt: 5" fussy cut center butterfly block. 1 1/2" strips pieced 7 times around center block. Make 16 of them in sets of threes with dark/light sides established and 4 corner light blocks....Add a windowpane bias 5" border and Viola! You're done... at least in concept :). Settle in, this is a longer post but it's fun and full of good information. Keep reading as I give you tips below, some helpful videos about trimming and little stories of life & California. This quilt, I made from my new Spring Shimmer which is in my shop and shipping world wide now in fits and bursts...as with many things in our Covid-19 era world.
Butterflies- A lifelong source of inspiration, symbols of nature, beauty, hope and rebirth. I love seeing human's interpretations, like the painted wall above, of one of God's most transformative creatures. My mother gave me a book, Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus when I was a child...She gave me many books she'd find while browsing the Wellesley book store and so many of them are ingrained in my head, heart and soul. They have shaped me- most of them about compassion, love and the incredible potential of the human spirit. Thank you Mom.
Fussy cutting the center blocks was so enjoyable. I really wanted to highlight the five gorgeous shimmery butterfly fabrics and this the perfect pattern to do it. The rest of the Spring Shimmer fabrics are used for the scrappy strip piecing. I loved repeating colors to add saturated areas of reds, oranges, yellows and blue. The PDF below gives directions with links to YouTube videos if you never have made a log cabin before. Give it a try! It takes just two FQ bundles. I have kits in the shop that include the Essex Windowpane border too!
Having my two eldest both at California Universities has been a blessing. Both close proximity to San Francisco yet still far enough away....and our pocketbook likes in-state tuition. I think back to my days at university- left Boston to go to Burlington VT and then NYC. I definitely liked NYC better :) Vermont albeit gorgeous, had too many cows and cold winters for me. My first introduction to California, was actually Santa Barbara. Our college soccer team was invited to play in a women's D-1 national tournament fall of '86 and it was a serendipitous trip...Even though we lost terribly, California won my heart. Oh, and the Beach Boys was my first album as pre teen. So yes, the dreams had been brewing for quite some time.
Cutting accurate 1 1/2" strips is key to block building. If your strips are wonky, your block will be wonkier...is that even a word? Pressing seams away from center block is also a good practice. Finished block measures 18 1/2" square.
If you want to learn more about the history of Log Cabin quilts, I include a link here. Feel free to share any interesting tidbits about log cabins in comments below :) Love hearing from you.
Above are three videos that cover trimming and piecing the blocks together. I love making and even though I aim to be super accurate, I don't get my shoulders all hunched up about it when things aren't perfect. The more seams one has in the quilt, the more possibility of it not really laying flat. Which is OK. My favorite part about playing with fabric is the color, texture and design part. Not the perfect seams part...haha. I am soooo OK with that!
Feel free to download and print this pattern. Make it with my Shimmer or use it for your own stash buster! It's a great pattern to have on hand. Due to the fact it's free here, I will not be expanding on the instructions or offering more information. If you have questions, please see the many wonderful YouTube videos on how to make log cabins. Wealth of tutorials already out there so have fun! If you missed last blog post, take a look. It gives a broad overview of lookbook for Spring Shimmer and video that was sent to all the sales reps and shops worldwide. It gives you insider info. Also the Log Cabin is the first dive into details of the projects represented in the lookbook. Sign up for my newsletter/blog to stay in the know and become a part of my colorful fabric tribe!! We have fun!
Remember last week, I talked about new CREATIVE SPARK Online Learning platform? It's exciting. If you have never taken an online class or want to learn more, watch YouTube LIVE presentation done last week. Here is the link. Plus I have a LIVE online class December 5th (3+ weeks away) and there are some spots left so join the party :) Hope to see you there!
Stay healthy and wear your mask!
Spring Shimmer Video: Enter my Art Barn and see what's BLOOMIN'
I'm having a virtual party right here, right now! Kick your slippers up and watch my video. Shipping worldwide as I write this, Spring Shimmer is supported by patterns and projects designed specifically for this collection and I can finally share them with you here. There are 26 shimmery cotton prints and my design inspiration showcased in the video. Plus 8 projects highlighted in the lookbook, and they are gorgeous...Sure to get you in the mood to start dreaming of honey bees, butterflies and warm sunny days. With all the goodness in video and lookbook, it's too much to digest all the details in just one post, so here's the plan:
1. Video highlights entire collection and design inspo plus the Kona/Essex Coordinate Precut Bundles. Purchase here.
2.Lookbook filled with 8 projects to get your creative thoughts stoked. Each pattern has info where to purchase and fabrics/yardage needed. Please support these wonderful makers who work so hard on very tight deadlines to make this available to you. Most of us are super small businesses and rely on your patronage. Makers listed here: Assembly Line tunic, Rachel Rossi Tiny Dancer, Noodlehead Poolside Tote, Hello Stitch Five Star. Then Came June also put together a wonderful blog post about her Shimmer Paper Cuts Quilt.
3. Future blog posts will show projects in more detail to help you create with ease.
4. If you are a shop and want to jumpstart your classes, kits, or need details a bit more quickly, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you info to be successful with your planning.
This lookbook was so fun to put together and FULL of ideas, inspiration and info about the makers and fabrics used. If you are a shop and buy wholesale, please get in touch with Robert Kaufman to purchase bolts and precuts.
Log Cabin Star Quilt will be highlighted and detailed in next post! It's soooo hard to wait! I'll hurry up;)
Then Came June Wrote a blog post with lots of great photos, details and pattern PDF.
Switching gears, I am part of a new platform called CREATIVE SPARK Online Learning and it's awesome. If you have never taken an online class or want to learn more about the teachers presenting, we have a FREE YouTube LIVE presentation this Monday, November 16th at 12noon PST. Here is thelink. Bring your lunch, brunch or dinner! It's open to the whole world! Plus I have a LIVE online class December 5th (3+ weeks away) and there are some spots left so join the party :) Hope to see you there!
Stay healthy and wear your mask!
AIRING NOW! TheQuiltShow.com #2706
LIVE STARTING TODAY!! You're invited to check it out as Alex and I talk about my history as a fabric designer, important quilts, SKY Ombre fabrics, how they are designed, printed and used, which includes a free download of SKY STAR OMBRE PILLOW. Plus a peek in my studio. Special guests also include the fabulous JULIE SILBER and JOE CUNNINGHAM.
First I'd like to share the behind scenes....There is a bumpy, circuitous story behind the planning and filming of my appearance on The Quilt Show #2706 which begins airing TODAY! Sept 6th 2020. A year ago I was getting ready to launch my new book, Ombre Quilts and SKY ombre fabrics was in Kaufman’s warehouse getting ready to ship to stores worldwide, Alex had let me know that my new stuff would be fun to share with her group. Normal stuff: Book highlights, Taping The Quilt Show in Colorado per usual, getting in touch with production team, figure out the project etc...
Our story gets interesting a few months later at the creative Craft Napa event, Jan 2020 when Alex and I spontaneously whisked ourselves to the middle of downtown Napa, squeezed into a crowded sushi bar, and luckily found an open cocktail table, wedged in between chatty diners. Even luckier to score two odd chairs, just happy to plunk ourselves down and absorb the vibrant surroundings: We were famished and ready to Join in! Like a couple of chatty Kathys, we were off and running about lots of industry news, what we were excited about, classes we were teaching and taking. Just happy to catch up....We have been friends for years- but you know how busy we all get and I have just come to accept it’s impossible to keep up with all, so an evening out, just the two of us, is a very special treat! I bet you didn’t know Alex had hosted a baby shower for me back in 1998 when my first born was an infant! That was a lifetime ago~ Look how young we were! Hahahahaha.
The Quilt Show production usually happens in Colorado, was now moving and there were LOTS OF UNKNOWNS. The way they worked and crew she and Ricky had to rely on was changing and would I be willing to be the first filming ginuea pig so to speak. “Sure” I said, we are all in this together! Let’s continue... End of January, we were at Quilt Con in Austin and we planned that my filming was scheduled to be in March with an audience or potentially a field piece in Texas, the new location! “I’ll roll with it. Whatever you guys want to do. Just let me know when and where to fly into!” Famous last words!
Then end of January arrived and my husband and I got really sick. For over a week with dry cough, fever and we felt like zombies. We hadn’t been this sick in years. Then we finally got better. Was it the flight? Was it the big show? The running narrative was that maybe we got COVID 19 while at Quilt Con??? We seriously didn’t think we had....but today I wonder.Our doctors don't recommend getting tested as it's completely unreliable. Anyway, filming was delayed and not just because we had been sick but the CDC information coming daily was serious and this pandemic was in the USA. Scientists and doctors giving us daily reports of the situation and NYC was a terrible mess. The Quilt Show could not film now and talk of May/June was on the table...Then it creeped into July...Stay tuned was the best we all could do. AND we did.
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE TRAILER!. The Quilt Show is a subscription base with hosts Alex Anderson and Ricky TIms. They bring you the friendliest interactive online community for quilters worldwide. Join today, they’d love to have you learn, share, create and connect with them. The Quilt Show episodes feature the best talent in the business! They have a $19.99 special going on now! I get to share next week a free online link if you aren’t a member, so stay tuned for that too!
PIVOT was a the new popular word in business. So, since we were quarantining, in our home state of California, Alex, Ricky and team decided in order to get this done safely....they focused on all the local talent in California and decided to film at her house! WIth a 40 minute drive, I could be there! Covid Testing was available and the guests list was fabulous! During all these twists and turns, our community was making masks in the millions, quilts for people in hospitals, PPE for doctors, nurses, essential workers....The whole sewing world picked up their game and we all focused on how we could help. It’s been amazing to see such effort. I love being a part of this huge group of people I call my tribe.
So in the end, it went smoothly, and yes, Alex has hosted a SAFE HOUSE PARTY in which you all are invited. Plus I offer a free pattern through both mine and The Quilt Show’s website that makes a super easy sawtooth star pillow with just one half yard of my ombre fabric. SO I hope you get a chance to watch and tune in. If you are not a member, I'll have the link which I am posting on Sept 13 and it’s live for just one week for free watching for my mailing list peeps, compliments of Alex and Ricky.
So amidst this terrible pandemic, lots of moving parts were happening with the excellent people of The Quilt Show and I are so proud to be a part of this historic time when Alex and friends are doing their best to keep upbeat, creative and sharing with all of you. Freddie Moran and Sujata Shaw is a favorite show too, a must watch and showed the one before me.
So if you like what you see, stop by my website and pick up a bundle of 6 fabrics to make the Modern Madras Table Runner I talk about, a signed book or any other treats we have. Hope you are all staying safe. California is still burning although many blazes are under control, one began last night called THE CREEK FIRE and it's already burned 40,000 acres and as I write this, we are at our cabin in Tahoe and the sky outside is an eerie brown. A colorway I definitely do not get inspired by. Keep your loved ones close.
Keep on making!
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