Friday, November 22, 2013

What's a girl to do without her sew-jo? Show you something from her book of course!

Thanks for the well wishes the last few days! I'm finally starting to kick this cold to the curb, thank goodness, but I have a new problem. My sew-jo seems to have gone missing - it's been a busy week, but my evenings have mostly been free to sew, and yet I haven't sewn a stitch. Usually, when I find myself lacking the inspiration to sew, I like to look at pretty pictures of quilts and fabrics, and I realized the other day that I haven't taken the opportunity to show you many of the quilts from my lovely book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, so I thought this would be a perfect time to introduce you to one of my favorite quilts from the book...

Precious Stones - close up

Naming quilts is always so hard for me! In the book, this quilt is called Precious Stones, but in the writing process, I called this quilt the Snake quilt. See that white zig-zaggy line moving across the quilt amongst the sea of squares? It reminded my son of a snake when I first sketched out the quilt, and the name kind of stuck through the writing and sewing process.

Precious Stones from my book

One of the fun things about this quilt is that it's entirely block-based. While it is pixelated and built entirely from squares, finishing one block at a time makes it feel so much more manageable. I love the fabrics in this quilt, too - most are from Washi, Rashida Coleman-Hale's older line for Timeless Treasures a few years ago, but there's some random stash builders thrown in to round things out nicely.

Precious Stones - the Washi fabrics!

This quilt is a pretty large one - it's a large lap quilt, and in the book there's also upsize information if you want to make it larger. Most of the quilts in the book are written that way, because I know people like the option to make different sized quilts, so I felt strongly about adding kind of information wherever we could fit it.

Precious Stones from Becoming a Confident Quilter - in True Colors Precious Stones from Becoming a Confident Quilter - in Sun Prints
(l) Precious Stones in True Colors, (r) Precious Stones in Sun Prints

Speaking of my book, if you have a copy, would you mind popping over to Amazon to tell shoppers what you think of the book? I would love that oh so much :) And if you don't have a copy and would like to buy one, I just got in some extra copies in my Pattern Shop, so it's back in stock! All copies sold from my Pattern Shop are autographed, and I'm happy to personalize them too, just email me and let me know that you'd like your book personalized :)

Holy cow, that's my book!! It must be a good sign if my manicure from last week matches the cover perfectly, right?

Happy Friday to you! Have a wonderful weekend :) Here's hoping that I can manage to find my sew-jo for the weekend! Tonight I'm going to treat my missing sew-jo with an old wip that I'd really love to finish, my Kawaii holiday cross-stitch sampler - I'm hoping that maybe switching gears might just bring back my motivation!

Remember this wip????
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nothing has the same healing power as awesome fabric - plus a winner


My ever-growing Wonderland stash - thank you swapping friends!!!

It's been a long week. A nagging cold has turned into a super fun case of laryngitis, so I've spent most of the last week wildly gesturing like a not-so-masterful charades player and trying (mostly in vain!) not to talk. My voice is starting to make a comeback, ever so slowly, and I'm attributing most of that comeback to the healing power of fabric! Hopped up on cold medicine, I managed to cut into my stash of MoMo's Wonderland at long last this weekend!

Ack! I've cut into my Wonderland!!! But it feels good :)

I've chopped up some of my fat eighths, along with some various solids I've pulled together that surprisingly coordinate nicely with Wonderland, and I'm making a Garden Lattice quilt from Cindy Lammon's Simply Modern Christmas book, which is a really fun holiday sewing book I've been enjoying recently.

Latticing it up!

One of the things that awesome about Cindy's Garden Lattice pattern is how quick it is to stitch up! I pulled these blocks together pretty quickly, in just an hour or so after loads of pressing and cutting. I've got an idea for putting a little twist on these blocks that I'm hoping will make this quilt even better, but we'll see how that turns out.

A little bit of piecing with my prized Wonderland stash

And I haven't forgotten - today, I get to share the winner of the copy of Electric Quilt! Welcome Christine Sherman to the EQ Club, I'll be in touch with you via email today! Have a great day :)
Thursday, November 14, 2013

A new member of the family...

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of the family...and before you jump to the conclusion that I've added another pet to the household, I have to tell you that my neurotic beagle wouldn't take too kindly to that! And there's no bun in the oven, either. But what is now at my house is...

Hello new friend :)

A new laptop. A shiny, happy Mac Book Pro that I'm head over heels over. I've often toyed with the idea of upgrading to a Mac over the years, especially with how hard I seem to be on PCs. I tend to be bad about shutting down my computer, I run several memory intensive programs at the same time, and I use my computers a lot, so PC laptops usually have about a one year lifespan with me before I start cursing them and griping incessantly about how sluggish they are and how many blue screens I'm getting. The HP one I bought earlier this year only managed to last nine months before it started to give me trouble. So I trucked over to the Apple store, and came home with this pretty Mac.

Already a workhorse

Admittedly, I don't love Mac's price points when compared to PCs. They're just not as affordable, no matter how you slice it. But to some extent, I've started to wonder if I've been getting what I've been paying for, so I'm giving this a go. I will definitely keep you guys posted, but so far, it's been a mutual admiration society here with me and my new Mac. I've even installed Parallels on it so I can run any Windows based program I want (like EQ!) whenever I want, without having to even shut down my Mac. It's kind of awesome.

A little taste of fall

I think my Juki might be feeling a wee bit jealous, though, with all the Mac love that's been going on the last several days. She's been pretty lonely, without nary a stitch sewn since I bought the Mac last Friday. I'm hoping to change that today though - I cut out these pretty strips to make myself a nice little fall wreath for the door. I'm usually not much of a fall person. I mean, we don't get "real" fall in Florida, it's more like not-so-hot summer in the fall here, although today it actually feels like fall with a cold front that's brought windy 60-degree weather to my door. Even so, I'm trying to get in the fall spirit by using Jeni's awesome and super easy wrapped wreath tutorial. Here's hoping it actually gets done before Christmas is upon us! Have a great day :)

Pssst - If you're looking for my Electric Quilt software giveaway, it's right here!
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Heart EQ - A Giveaway!

Do you EQ? I do!

What is EQ? EQ is short for Electric Quilt, and they're one of the most popular software developers for quilters. Electric Quilt is a quilt design software, previously just available for PCs but by the end of this year, it will also be available for the Mac platform. I first got EQ some time last summer, but didn't start using it heavily until late last year, when I figured out how to use it to build foundation paper piecing pattern templates.

Ferris Wheel EQ Sketch
My Ferris Wheel quilt sketch in EQ

My Ferris Wheel quilt
My finished Ferris Wheel quilt

Previously, I had used Adobe Illustrator mostly for templates and for virtual quilt mock-ups, but it was always a challenge for me. Illustrator is a big piece of software, with loads of tools and brushes and things that a quilter doesn't need. EQ, on the other hand, has everything you need, and no excess bells and whistles to confuse you. There is definitely a learning curve, especially in moving from Illustrator to EQ, but it's totally learn-able. Honestly, EQ was a lot easier to learn than Illustrator! I used lots of videos to help me get used to the way the software works, and these days I feel pretty confident that I know it quite well. There's also the Do You EQ website full of lessons and tricks for using the software.

Wheel of Fortune EQ Sketch
My Wheel of Fortune mini sketch in EQ

DQS - Rainbow Wheel of Fortune
My finished Wheel of Fortune mini

There's lots of things I love about EQ, but one of my favorite parts is the way it lets me experiment with color and fabric selection, so that I can find the most effective color palette for my designs. It's as simple as a click to change a color or fabric, so it's infinitely easier than trying something out physically and having to unsew! I find that I am a lot more willing to think about colors and fabrics I wouldn't have otherwise tried in the virtual setting.

Sparkling Diamonds EQ Sketch
My Sparkling Diamonds quilt sketch in EQ

Sparkling Diamonds quilt in DS Solids
My finished Sparkling Diamonds quilt

Take my Showstopper mini that I made recently for a swap and turned into my newest pattern. It started out looking like this...


And in my second attempt at coloring it, it turned into this, with a color palette inspired by Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee...

Then, I had the idea to give it the rainbow treatment, and it turned into this...


And when I sewed it together, it was just fantastic, and I knew it would be because I had EQ to help me visualize it.

Showstopper mini - all finished and on its way to its new owner

The lovely people at EQ have given me a copy for you to win! This copy of EQ 7 up for grabs is for PCs only, so please keep that in mind. To enter, simply leave me a blog comment about how you design quilts now and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. A winner will be selected next Monday at 6am EST. The winner will be announced via the blog as well as via email.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!
Monday, November 11, 2013

I'll Be on Pat Sloan's Show Today!


I am pinching myself this morning - I'm excited to tell you that on today, Monday, November 11th, I'm going to be chatting with the delightful Pat Sloan on her American Patchwork & Quilting radio show/podcast!


The show is at 4pm EST today and you can listen live by clicking on one of the photos on today's post, or you can listen after the fact if you're busy right at 4! You can find the show on iTunes, by searching for American Patchwork & Quilting, or on Pat's website. If you've never listened to a podcast, you ought to give this one a try - it's just like listening to a radio show, but this one's even better because it's about quilting! I love listening to podcasts while I'm quilting, so it's a real kick to think that I'm going to be on this one today. Wish me luck and I hope you'll listen!
Friday, November 8, 2013

Hello Showstopper!

You know that feeling when you get really excited about something that you're making? When you want to drop everything else on your plate so you can just keep working on it? This Showstopper mini has been that project for me this week. It's been a couple of long nights at my house, sewing away, but they have been oh so enjoyable working on this gorgeous mini!

Showstopper mini - all finished and on its way to its new owner

I am just over the moon with how these blocks came together. I had initially planned to work with some small scale tonal prints for this block, but I'm glad I switched gears and went with the solids - it just makes the piecing so crisp and bold. Not that I dislike my original plan, I think that the solids just add that extra pow to these blocks.

The original plan vs what I wound up doing
Prints vs. solids
For the quilting, I really wanted the piecing to shine, so I took a very minimal approach to the quilting, simply quilting an orange peel in the center of each of the four blocks with my trusty 50 wt Aurifil, and then quilting some loops and pulleys in the white diamonds and triangles that come together when you repeat this block. That's one of my favorite parts about the block, so I wanted to accentuate it.

Showstopper - FMQ detail

It was terribly hard to pack it up and send it on its way, but it's officially winging its way to its new owner, and I can't wait to see what she thinks of it. I'm hoping she'll love it just as much as I loved making it. Now if only I could knock the crazy notion I'm having of making another just for me :)

Showstopper - FMQ detail 2

And if you're dying to make one of these for yourself, I'm thrilled to tell you that the Showstopper Block PDF Pattern is now available, both in my Pattern Shop and on Craftsy! The pattern is nine pages of full-color diagrams and thorough instructions every step of the way, with complete cutting instructions and templates for both a 10" and 12" block. I wouldn't try to go smaller than 10" on this block, just because of the extreme intricacy. But, this block pattern is written in such a way that even someone with little paper piecing experience can do! If you make something using this pattern, please do share it with me! You can share it with me on Flickr in my Flickr group or on Instagram by tagging me (@dontcallmebetsy) or using the hashtag #dontcallmebetsy. Check out some of the cool variations you can put together with this block, both with solids and with prints...

Look at all the things you can do with this new block pattern!

Quilt Stats
name: Showstopper
size: 24 1/2" square
pattern: Showstopper Block by yours truly
fabrics: assorted solids and Violet Craft's epic Memoir print in white from her Madrona Road collection
quilting: loopy FMQ, pulleys and orange peels in white (#2024) Aurifil 50 wt thread
binding: Kona white to match the bits of white in the piecing

Showstopper - side
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just a little paper piecing...

I've been working hard the last few days on my mini quilt for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap. The shipping deadline is fast approaching, and thankfully, I had a plan, I just needed time! So, I started pressing and cutting away on Sunday night, and got right to piecing on Monday.

I managed to piece the first block and a half on Monday, while I caught up on Project Runway All Stars. I was really thankful that I had something pretty to look at during this past week's episode, with all the bugs the designers were using for inspiration!!

Blocks in progress

I'm thinking of calling this block Showstopper, and yes, I am definitely planning to write a pattern for this block. Because the block is so intense, I can't see anyone making a whole big quilt of them, so I think what I may do is write mainly a block pattern. I haven't done that before, but I have to say, this block is a challenge! Twelve pieces of fabric per template and eight templates per block, that's 96 pieces of fabric just for one block. What do you think about that?

Templates, templates everwhere!

Last night, I worked on piecing the remaining template pieces. Full on chain piecing frenzy! That's one of the things I really like to do when I paper piece - I like to sort my templates and chain piece each different template, which sometimes makes progress feel painfully slow but at the same time, it keeps me from making mistakes with my fabric placement, so chain piecing is a good thing for me.

Stacks of pieced templates

I've got all the templates pieced now, I just need to finish sewing all of them together today so I can quilt and bind this bad boy and get it in the mail to my partner! I sure hope she likes what I'm making - I think it's going to be one of those swap gifts that I'm going to have a hard time parting with! That must mean that I'm making a good swap package, right? Have a great day!
Monday, November 4, 2013

Heading to Nashville Next Spring for the MQG's Sew Down!

The Modern Quilt Guild is having another fantastic Sew Down shindig, this time right here in the south - in beautiful Nashville, TN! I love Nashville - haven't been since a high school marching band (yes, I was a band geek!) field trip during high school, but it's still a fond memory of mine. With workshops from Carolyn Friedlander, Anna Maria Horner, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and Angela Walters, you definitely don't want to miss this one. The craziest part is that I'm going to be giving a lecture there, along with Alexia Abegg. I'm honored to be included in such a talented group of quilters!


Did I mention the most amazing part? A studio tour with Anna Maria Horner herself!!! Ever dreamed of seeing where she creates? Now you totally can! Registration opens Monday, November 11th, and you can find more details on the MQG's blog and website right here.


Definitely some fun news! I'm super excited about it. I've also updated my teaching calendar with this event and a few others that have been added to my calendar recently. I've been having such a great time teaching and lecturing and sharing what I know with others. Have a fantastic Monday!
Friday, November 1, 2013

November Lucky Stars Block of the Month: Star Crown

Welcome November! November happens to be one of my favorite months of the year - it's one of the few months of the year where the sweltering Florida weather usually starts to mellow out, but more than that, it's the start of the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving, though I tend to grumble a little bit about all the cooking and the cleaning that goes with Thanksgiving during the actual event, I do really love it. What about you?

And because it's the first of November, that means it's time for another Lucky Stars Block of the Month reveal - the Star Crown block...

November - Star Crown block

I love the way this block came together, from the fabric selections to the piecing. I'm really crushing on the way the stripes of the red AMH Innocent Crush fabric makes the block just sing. Definitely a great example of the right fabric in the right place - but honestly, I didn't have any idea that it was going to have such a big visual impact when I was picking out my fabrics, it just happened to be the exact right shade of red I was looking for!

This block is officially on its way to all Lucky Stars 2013 members. If you have not yet taken advantage of the fantastic 2013/2014 deal, you've got just a few more weeks before that deal wraps up. Until November 15th, you can sign up for both the 2013 and 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, totaling 48 block patterns, for just $25. Pretty amazing, right? To sign up for both, click here to be directed to my Pattern Shop.

Up on the Blog Today - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club!!!! Stay tuned :)

Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend everyone!
 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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