Quilt Photography

I love photography and I have a fairly nice camera. But having never taken a photography class (I have pinned a lot of good advice on Pinterest that I’m sure I’ll get to someday!), I’m always sorta winging it/fumbling around in the dark. I love the magic of a beautiful photo and improving my photography is a resolution I’ve committed to for 2014, but no matter how good you are at operating the equipment, you’ve got to admit that quilt photography is it’s own special challenge.

Lighting, angles, lenses….blah, blah, blah. I won’t even go there, but I will tell you the one thing that has made my life so much easier INSTANTLY! A photography backdrop stand.

My husband is not always the best quilt photography assistant (my parents are surprisingly good and quite entertaining) and it’s hard to take photos by yourself. Add to that the challenge of a yard that is mostly shaded by a huge live oak…but now I can move the stand to the perfectly lit location (in complete shadow adjacent to complete sunshine FYI).

Photo Backdrop Stand

The stand is lightweight, but definitely not flimsy. I can lift it straight up in the air with two hands while assembled with a quilt on it. And I’m very wimpy. I don’t recommend using one when it’s windy unless you like to see your quilt and stand go flying away like a giant kite.

I obviously still have some improvements to make (like, why didn’t I center the quilt over just a brick background?), but I’m super happy with the stand and it will make pattern photography much easier. It’s also pretty inexpensive – definitely cheaper than I expected when I went searching online. I bought {this one}. Just under $65 and free shipping with Amazon Prime. You will also need a set of clamps.

Christmas Puddle Jumping Quilt

Christmas Puddle Jumping

This one wasn’t ready in time to actually enjoy on Christmas but I have a major head start for Christmas 2014. Right?

Christmas Puddle Jumping

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to the holidays so red and white was an easy choice for a Christmas quilt.  The little pops of green for the sashing squares are a reminder that this is a Christmas quilt, not just a red and white quilt that can sneak into the house any old time of year.

The snowflake quilting echoes that message. I used a jar lid, a quarter, and a ruler to mark the snowflake design. It’s something I made up to fit in the block.  My initial thought was to do a different design in each one but marking was tedious enough. I struggled with the quilting on this one but I’m really happy with the result.  I did a smaller and simpler snowflake in the sashing squares and a loopy sashing/border design.

Christmas Puddle Jumping

This poor quilt has already been through so much abuse and it’s barely been finished a week. While I was basting it, my dogs trampled it with muddy paws and my toddler spilled apple juice on it. Then one or both of the dogs used it as a fire hydrant while we were iced in the house for four days.  But thank goodness washing it in the middle of the quilting process doesn’t seem to have caused any issues.

Christmas Puddle Jumping

The binding is a wonderful bias stripe from Bonnie and Camille’s Scrumptious line. It is absolute perfection for binding. You get the bias look without having to make bias binding. Thank you, ladies, for making me look like I worked harder than I did. I’ll definitely be buying yardage of that print in several colors to hoard for future projects.

Dimensions: 75″ x  75″

Fabrics:  scrappy mix of reds + green dot for sashing squares, binding is red Bias Stripe from Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille for Moda Fabrics

Pattern: Puddle Jumping by Camille Roskelley of Thimbleblossoms

Quilting Thread:  Aurifil #2024, 50 wt cotton mako

Quilting Design: Snowflakes + loops in the borders/sashing

Started: November 2013

Completed: December 2013

Quilts I Made in 2013

What a year! 21 finished quilts and several more started. The link below each photo goes to my original post about the quilt (except for the last three, which I haven’t blogged about yet).  I blogged about my 2014 goals on the My Stars blog on Monday so please hop over there to see what’s on my mind for sewing in the new year.

vmq vmq vmq vmq
Giant Scrappy Blocks Micah’s Quilt Cotton Candy Quilt Ben’s Quilt
vmq vmq vmq vmq
Red + Aqua Happy Go Round Stars and 4-Patches Vintage Summer
vmq vmq vmq vmq
Ombre Star Mod Circus Belle Squared A Tied Quilt
vmq vmq vmq vmq
Cool Charms Spring Storms Turkish Delight Midcentury
vmq vmq vmq vmq
Lucky Strike Bitty Bunting Quilt Christmas Puddle Jumping Aspen Frost
vmq
Daisy Chain Rail Fence

Christmas Labels

Are you still wrapping presents?! Don’t feel bad. I usually am, too, but this year I seem to be ahead of the game.
VMQ-gift-wrap-1 Gift wrapping is honestly not one of my favorite things to do but it really does look so pretty when you take the time to do a nice job. This year I put bows and ribbon on every package. I used this this candy stripe ribbon and this poly satin ribbon. The striped ribbon wins for cuteness but the poly is much easier to work with.

VMQ-gift-wrap-2

I usually DIY or print labels using one of the bajillion cute printable gift labels out there, but this year I thought I’d take the even easier route and print mine on label stickers (that I already had! WIN). I used Martha Stewart for Avery labels in white (these might only be available in stores) and kraft. (These are available exclusively at Staples, I believe. That’s where I bought mine.)

If you’d like to make your own MS labels, download the Word template {here}. You’ll also need {Prestige Elite Std} font and {A Gentle Touch} font or you can use two of your favorites. For the kraft gift wrap, you’ll need a roll of kraft paper (find it at the dollar store), white ink, and some holiday stamps.

Merry Christmas!

Tone It Down Quilt: Choosing Fabrics

Tone It Down by Lissa Alexander

It’s December 23 and I’m counting down the days to 2014! Think I can get in a couple more quilts before the New Year? I should probably focus on ones that are already in progress but coming off the organizational high of my destash sale, I am in the mood for playing with fabric and starting something new. There’s a beautiful quilt by Lissa Alexander called Tone It Down in the February 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It uses traditional piecing and a “modern” low-volume background. Read about Lissa’s inspiration for the quilt {here}. APQ is hosting a quilt-along for this project and I decided it would be a good sewing project for the holidays (chain piecing friendly = lots of audiobooks + mugs of cocoa).

I pulled fabrics for the quilt yesterday, using this retro-inspired Alice Apple felt applique art as my color palette:

VMQ-palette-crushing-on-kitschHere are my fabric picks:

Tone It Down | Fabric Stacks

A variety of pinks for the main blocks across the quilt (pink, orange, and red in the original)

Tone It Down | Fabric Stacks

Mustard + aqua + orange + grass green for the secondary pattern of circles

Tone It Down | Fabric Stacks

And a big variety of low volume prints for the background.

VMQ-palette-templateThis quilt pattern is very scrap friendly so I’ve pulled lots of things from my scrap basket to mix in with fat quarters and yardage from my stash. I want to make the mustard color more prominent so I’ll probably find a print or solid in that range to use for binding.

Are you going to quilt along with us? You can find the magazine at most craft stores or purchase a digital copy {here}.

Jumping the Gun

In the Studio | Dec 2013

I’m trying to get ahead of my New Year’s resolution to organize by starting before this year is even over.  How is that for motivated? My sewing room had gotten so messy that I didn’t even want to be in there. What’s a quilter to do? One word: destash. That mountain of fabric below is all from my latest destash sale on Instagram. It looks like a lot (and it is, let’s be honest) but I still feel like I could have purged a bit more. I’ll save it for the next sale, I suppose.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

Now my studio is about 75% tidy…I still don’t have room for all of my fabric so some is in bins on my sewing table but that will probably always be the case.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

I can live with that. It reminds me to sew faster!

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{Those bins are from IKEA in case you’re wondering.}

I added a bit of decoration while I was cleaning up…hanging up some old things that were just taking up room in drawers.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

And these putting out these cute new tins…

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{available here}

I don’t have anything in them yet but I  could not resist the vintage look. They’re from a company called Now Designs that also makes a few other retro-styled items for the home, like these tea + coffee tins.

All of this cleaning up is very motivating and I have lots of new projects tumbling around in my brain. Fabulous fabric combinations are everywhere.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{Lush Uptown + Botanics = YES YES YES! Just ignore the Urban Cowgirl bundle on the lower left.}

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{April Showers + Color Me Happy = Made for Each Other}

Ice Storm 2013

We had an ice storm just after Thanksgiving and you’d think that would be the perfect opportunity to sew but I hardly did. Four days in the house was rough on all of us but especially my Christmas quilt. It was peed on twice so I had to wash it. In the middle of quilting. With the safety pins in it and everything.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

It came out just fine and I’m almost done quilting it but I’ve now marked the whole dang thing twice. Horrid dogs.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Christmas Wreath

Yes, it really is December already. My door says so.

And he’s going to be here very soon. It seems like Thanksgiving stole a little bit of Christmas thunder waiting until three days before December to make an appearance. I still have pumpkins on my front porch (but there’s a wreath on the door!) I’m actually hoping the squirrels will polish off the pumpkins as they’ve been slowly eating them up since October.

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

I have been pretty consumed with projects. I’m actually a little bit panicky that 2014 is so close because I could use a bit more of 2013, please. Just two or ten more weeks.

Christmas Lights

Two very fun things are happening this week that will be a nice distraction – First, the Dallas MQG monthly meeting + ornament swap + cookie exchange. That is always such a fun meeting and um, cookies! Second, there is a Moda Holiday “Pin” Party tomorrow. There’s a party here in Dallas plus an online event for everyone else. We are all going to bring a yummy recipe from Pinterest and chat and share holiday pretty/tasty/fun ideas. I’m sure I’ll blog about it but you can definitely see what we’re doing on my Instagram feed. I need to Pinterest some hair and outfit ideas!

Tutorial: Fabric Waterfall

VMQ-layer-cake-waterfall-coverI have a SUPER SIMPLE tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop today. That cute little fabric bundle above was created using a layer cake but I normally do this with fat quarters. (Never Moda fat quarters because they are already perfectly folded and bundled!)

I call this a fat quarter waterfall. My two-year-old said ‘brella (for umbrella) when he saw it so it could be called an fabric umbrella, too. To make one from a fat quarter bundle, fold the fat quarters in thirds on the long side (21″ side). Then fold that 21″ long strip in half.  Lay the folded fat quarters and top of each other and fan them out so about 1/4″ to 1/2″ of each one shows. Then roll them up and tie with a ribbon. Fold over a corner of each fat quarter to create the waterfall look:

20130802-DSC_2702

Pretty, right?

I’m Thankful Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I’ve been so thrilled and overwhelmed by your support of my new pattern company. You guys are the best. To celebrate the holiday and say thank you to all of my readers, I’m offering my digital patterns at 30% through midnight on Monday. Just use coupon code TURKEYDAY at checkout.

sale-ad-turkeydayBrowse my patterns {here}.

For the Love of Sewing

You guys! Have you seen what Alyssa over at Pile O Fabric has going on? She’s launching a website for online sewing classes called the Pile O Fabric Sewing Room and the first offering is round 2 of her uber popular skill builder BOM (block of the month) series. I met Alyssa through the Moda Bake Shop and was pretty drooly over her cute website when I realized she does web design. The realization happened at the exact moment in time when my good friend Michelle was looking for someone to design her new website for Urban Spools. Fate. Alyssa also designed websites for the MQG, Lucky Spool, West Coast Crafty, and the brand-spanking-new home of Westwood Acres fabric shop. Alyssa has had so much awesome going on this past year that I honestly can’t see how she did it all. (Time travel?)

But I’m glad she did because I am in love with this project. The theme of this year’s BOM is “For the Love of Sewing.”

Gah! The cuteness! I’m five months into the Gypsy Wife BOM and it’s making me a little bit obsessed with the BOM concept. It’s a fun way to work on a quilt a little bit at a time. And it fits in perfectly with all of the other bazillion projects I have sewing on (see what I did there?).

I’m signing up for this BOM and picking my fabric this week because it’s too cold to do anything I would normally be doing. (If you live up north, do not even Google what the weather is down here in Dallas because you will probably be disgusted. By my wimpiness. ‘Cause it’s not even cold enough to snow.)

You can sign up for the cutest BOM known to woman {here}.