Sunday, September 28, 2014

Giveaway Winner ~ Sneak Peek ~ Plus

Greetings everyone!

Many thanks to those of you who joined in the Giveaway fun for the Family Tree scraps! 

I loved reading all of the sweet comments on the post -- Thank you so very much.

Many thanks also, to those of you who follow my Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Craftsy, Twitter or Instagram accounts. 

Just loving how much we can share and grow in all of those Social Media outlets.  I'm honored to have gained 7 followers on Instagram --  Woot ~ Woot!   I'm pretty new to Instagram but LOVE that I can quickly post a picture of what I'm working on for others to see and comment.  Such fun.
Before we get along to the Winner -- I have a little sneaky peek of an upcoming quilt AND something to Crow about for my dear friend and mentor Wendy Sheppard.

Ya'll might know Wendy from her lovely blog Ivory Spring.  Wendy shares her awesome "Thread Talk" advice, makes and shares design after beautiful design, does all of her own free motion quilting on a domestic machine, is a mom and a wife - and just one really talented lady.

Crowing!!  In the next few weeks her new book "Recreating Antique Quilts" will be released by Landauer Press.  Can't wait for you to check out the gorgeous projects in Wendy's first book!!  

This week the great folks at Landauer interviewed Wendy for their blog AND it's possible that you could be hearing her on a Pat Sloan Podcast too!!  (Maybe?)

To learn more about Wendy, click the image below and you'll be taken to her blog where she shares her great news!  If you don't already follow Wendy -- you really should consider starting. 
Image Courtesy Ivory Spring Blog
Now here's a sneaky peek of something that I'm working on... I should be able to share more soon and there may even be a giveaway involved... be sure to stay tuned...

What I love about this little gem is that I was able to use a large amount of stash fabrics to create it.  I purchased a small amount of burgundy and a bigger amount of Antique Fair Rose.  

All of the fabrics are Moda and the fabric lines are OLD!!  The center panel is Collection for A Cause and most of the remaining prints are Blackbird Designs Antique Fair line for Moda.  I am in love with the birds in the center panel.  Do you like so far ?  I'm having fun!!
OK - now on to our winner -- at 9pm EST there were 79 comments over on the giveaway post.  I plugged the numbers into Mr Random.org and he came up with:


Lucky "57" -  OhioLori -- you're the winner of the bundle of Family Tree scraps.  Congratulations.  I'll send you an email so we can exchange addresses and get you this beautiful fall fabric to play with.  Yippee!! 
Thank you all again for playing...

One other thing -- A couple more milestones are brewing in my blog and Facebook accounts and I think I'm going to need another giveaway this week (separate from the sneaky peek above).  Stay tuned for more fun coming to a post near you!

Finally -- the weather in the NorthEast USA has been just Fall Fabulous!  Actually, it feels more like summer than fall -- but who's complaining?  

I leave you with this awesome Sunset Glow and Crescent Moon over our Finger Lakes cottage from Saturday night 9/27.   What a way to close out the day!
Happy Stitching all!
Hugs,
Karen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome Autumn - Finishes - A Giveaway!

Here in the Northern Hemisphere it's officially Fall! 

Quoting the Farmers Almanac:  "The autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on September 22 at 10:29 P.M. EDT. 

The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night."   The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.

From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights."

I know what that means to me -- more sewing!  Does it mean the same to you?

Soon the backyard trees will be showing these beautiful colors...  I can't wait!
With some fall lectures and trunk shows at a few local guilds I've been busy getting some finishing touches on a few old quilts.

Here is my "Milkbone" quilt before it was bound....  It was quilted "McTavish" style using #Aurifil Mako Cotton 50Wt thread -- gosh that thread works wonderfully for dense machine quilting!  No breaks, little lint and the backtracks are almost invisible!! 
And here are a couple of "after" shots...
and
 
It sure makes a beautiful table mat.   You can read more about "Milkbone" by clicking here and here.

The other piece I finished is a WAY OLD work in Progress -- Family Estate.  Family Estate is a pattern in the Laundry Basket Quilts book "Friendship Strips and Scraps".  
This little quilt was appliqued and pieced months before I quilted it on my domestic machine.  I used Aurifil Mako Cotton 50 Wt Thread for the needle turn applique, the piecing, AND the quilting.  I love the way it turned out!

To finish it up, I needed to complete the window curtains, the door panels and the door knob.  I used wonderful #Aurifil Mako Cotton 12Wt thread to hand stitch the curtain ruffle (french knots) and the same weight Aurifil thread to machine stitch the panels around the door!   12Wt, 28Wt, 50Wt thread -- the Aurifil never lets me down! 
You can read more about my Family Estate quilt by clicking here.  Many thanks to my friend Debbie Wick for the awesome door knob button.  Isn't it sweet ?

One more thing to celebrate and then we'll get to the giveaway. 

It's been almost a year since my first recipe was published on the Moda Bake Shop -- Can you believe it ?  In October, 2013 I created my first design and tutorial for the "Family Tree Quilted Envelope Pillow".   You'll find the free tutorial and PDF download by clicking here.
It was one of the most fun and enlightening steps I've ever taken in my Quilting career.  Design, applique, piece, quilt, write the tutorial, and publish on the Moda Bake Shop.  It was truly an honor!

So what better way to celebrate this accomplishment than a giveaway of the Family Tree scraps that have been sitting around the sewing room for nearly a year!
One lucky reader will win this pile of scraps, mostly strips, of Family Tree by Deb Strain for Moda.  If you're interested in making the pillow - perfect -- these scraps will go a long way to get you there.  They would also be beautiful for a simple strip runner for Fall (which is why I kept 'em).  Whatever the case, it would be fantastic to see someone putting them to good use!

If an international winner is chosen, instead of shipping you scraps I'll email you a PDF copy of my Spring Basket pattern.

To enter the giveaway leave me a comment letting me know if you are a follower (old or new).

If you follow me on other social media outlets -- let me know that in a comment too!

Did you know I recently started using Instagram ?  You can find me there at RedbirdQuiltCo.   I think I only have two followers... my granddaughter and my niece... lol.  If you start following me on Instagram leave me a comment and let me know.

Get another entry if you share this giveaway with your friends (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogger, Twitter).   Comment and let me know.

My giveaway will end this Sunday, September 28th at 9pm EST. 

One other thing... there is an awesome Quilt Giveaway going on until midnight Tuesday at my friend Angie's blog.  Click here before Tuesday at midnight to enter!

Have a fantastic week all - finishing up some more tutorials and fun projects -- will share soon!
Hugs,
Karen

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's a Finish - Let's Celebrate!

It's been an exciting week!

On Monday I was fortunate to share a mini trunk show and lecture with the Penn Yan, NY "Keuka Quilters".   What a lovely and talented group of ladies eager to share their love of quilting.  Thank you for having me Keuka Quilters -- it was sew much fun!
Prior to the program I worked feverishly to finish some things.

This is a Way Old Work in Progress (WOWIP) "Winter's Harvest Pinkeep" by Renee Plains as published in the Winter, 2011 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects.    Of course, with my love of Redbirds, I turned it into my Valentine's Pinkeep and I love it!

I've had it "nearly" complete for years but it needed the wings and body tacked down.

Yippee !  All done!  You can read more about my "Winter's Harvest Pinkeep" here.
To celebrate the finish I've decided to have a giveaway.  

I have a copy of the Summer, 2014 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine that I would like to share with one lucky winner.

This issue has one of my favorite projects in it ~ it's called "The House That Jack Built".  This beautiful Mini Quilt was designed and created by my friend Debbie Wick.    The magazine has beautiful shots of this sweet quilt.  It's a MUST make!!
To enter the giveaway, hop on over to the Redbird Quilt Co. Facebook Page and follow the giveaway instructions on this post.    If an International winner is chosen I will email them a PDF version of my first published wool applique pattern, "Spring Basket".  
Spring Basket is available for immediate PDF download from My Craftsy Store.   You can read more about it by clicking here. 

Stay tuned for other upcoming giveaways and thanks for your continued support!

Hugs,
Karen

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fall Is Coming, Are YOU Ready To Sew? Join Me At Quilters Corner, Ithaca, NY

Does life fly by at the speed of light for you?
It does for me!!  I've been running in circles trying to keep up with life lately -- some good things and some very sad things -- but this evening I sat down and outlined all of the things that are going on in the near future and thought: "How did I get here?" and "Why haven't I told anyone?"

Well,  now I'm sharing with you my excitement about being an instructor at Quilters Corner in Ithaca, NY, for my 2nd semester. 

In the fall semester I'm going to be teaching three fun Projects and hosting one Open Studio (where you can get help on any of my projects).  

The first class is "Redbird and Berries", created for the Moda Bake Shop.  I know I've talked about this Mini Quilt 1000 times before, but I'm really excited to be teaching it locally and had to share the image "one more time".  
Since this recipe was posted on the Moda Bake Shop, (Jan 24th, 2014), there have been nearly 30,000 views on their blog.  WOW -- that just blows my mind!  Will someone pinch me?

I wish I could tell you how many times the PDF has been downloaded from the Bake Shop, but I don't know.

What I do know is that since the tutorial in PDF format has been available in my Craftsy Pattern Store (April, 2014), it has been downloaded almost 3,000 times!   On average about 18 downloads per day!
For some that may seem like nothing -- but for this country girl on a dirt road to paradise -- it's really awesome!!

So....  the point of the story is:

If you live within driving distance to Quilters Corner in Ithaca, NY -- I would LOVE to have you join me for the Redbird and Berries class on Wednesday, September 10th and September 24th from 6pm to 9pm each night.

We will be covering some basic needle turn applique (for the Redbird -- unless you want to do him in WOOL - I can share a quick lesson in that too) and we'll also cover bias stems, perfect circle berries, and quilting options for your beautiful new wall hanging. 

Quilters Corners is a full service quilt shop that offers more than 75 classes per semester!  That is a fantastic lineup of classes.  You can peruse the list on their website, or by viewing their latest Newsletter here.

You can see the latest Redbird Quilt Co. Facebook post about the Class here.

You can jump over to Quilters Corner Website and enroll here.

Before you enroll, think about doing so with a friend.  If you enroll with a friend, you'll save 20% on Class Fees -- that is a great deal.

I'll share more upcoming class info in another post, but if you can't wait for that post you can see all of my Fall Semester classes at Quilters Corner by clicking here.

Have a blessed day everyone and thanks so much for your continued support!

Hugs,
Karen

Monday, August 25, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Yippee!!  Your stop today:  
Finger Lakes Region, USA.

Hi - I'm Karen Miller, chief blogger at Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals, and Owner of Redbird Quilt Co.  I'm thrilled that you stopped by to join me in the
"Around the World Blog Hop".
 
 I would love to be able to tell you where the Blog Hop started... but I'm not really sure.  If you know, please leave me a comment and let me know - I would love to give credit where credit it due -- such fun!!

I want to give special thanks to the wonderfully talented Raewyn from Northland, New Zealand, who tagged me for the hop this week.   
Raewyn has a sweet blog "LoveToStitch" and shares all things creative there.   
You can use this link to read Raewyn's Blog Post for the Around the World Blog Hop.  

Raewyn's projects and creativity are quite inspiring!     Look at this darling quilt she designed to be used as a Free Motion Quilting BOM at her Local Quilt Shop.  
Image Courtesy LoveToStitch blog and Raewyn Barge
Now do you see why Raewyn and I are friends?   The girl loves Redbirds and is a talented designer and instructor (not to mention wife of a dairy farmer, mum, and multi-talented crafter!).   
She is one busy lady!

One of the many things I LOVE about the blogging community is that we can live nearly 10,000 miles apart and still share, and celebrate, and guide, and laugh together each new day.  
We truly are blessed to have blogging buddies near and far!! 
Thank you Raewyn for inviting me to Hop Around the World with you!   
It's certainly My pleasure.

OK -- Moving forward -- per Blog Hop Protocol I will attempt to share the following things with you...

1. What am I working on? 
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
4. How does my writing/creating process work?


Lets get started....  

1. What am I working on ?

Now I might ask, how many of you think this is a loaded question ??  

I'll share though, that I am one of those people that has anywhere from 3 to 5 "active" projects going at the same time.  
I'm not sure if I suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or not, but I do know that I "enjoy" hopping from one project to another.     

My current "active" projects are:

a. Preparing a sweet little Free Motion Quilting Tutorial using 
Stonehenge Kids Undersea Adventures Panel 
by  Linda Ludovico for Northcott. 
This time I'm getting to play with a little bit of #Aurifil 28wt thread on my domestic machine.
OH MY I love it!!
  Stay tuned to the Bear Creek Quilting Company's blog for this future tutorial.  

b. A newly approved Moda Bake Shop recipe.  
The fabric showed up just last week so stay tuned for a sweet new pieced and appliqued pillow using the lovely "Hearts Content" fabric 
from Laundry Basket Quilts for Moda 
 and using
 some pieces of luscious 
Bunny Hill Pastel Wool
 
 c. An quilt sample and book review for a soon to be released Book by my very talented friend, Wendy Sheppard.  
Image courtesy ivoryspring.wordpress.com
You can read more about the book on Wendy's blog here -- and pre-order it here.  
Stay tuned to see my sample and review coming in September or October...

Congratulations my dear friend.

d. Completing the written instructions and pattern packaging for my latest (not "new" anymore) design "Wooly Wren".

e.  and finally.... 
Designing my next wool on cotton applique project for a spring release -- I think you'll love it!!  Sorry no images to share :(

On the side I'm also preparing and looking forward to three September/November Guild Lectures and Trunk Shows locally (lucky me!!)

...and working on my Quilting the Garden blocks (by Blackbird Design) 
The House Block
 A flower from the Winter Block
 A flower from the fall block
and all while working full-time as an Information Technology professional at Cornell University!   

WOW - how is that for an answer to "What are you working on?".

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre ?

Well -- I really struggled with this question...  There are many talented wool applique designers out there today -- like Michelle May of the Raspberry Rabbits who makes beautiful Whimsical designs with wool...
Image from theraspberryrabbits.blogspot.com
or Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings -- who makes awesome scrappy primitive designs with wool some of which may include a lot of piecing....  
Words to Live By -- from http://lisabongean.com/
or the fantastic Kim Diehl designs -- always scrappy - sometimes wool... always beautiful!
Image from Amazon.com
or the ever so talented Anne Sutton from Bunny Hill Designs -- Anne creates the most beautiful patterns and sells wool and fabric lines for Moda/United Notions.  
Image from bunnyhilldesigns.com

But at this point in my game what I'm working on is simple wool designs, almost always on a cotton background, sometimes including cotton fabric applique as well -- and using more traditional or old-fashioned construction techniques - less glue, no fusing, and focused on hand (not machine) applique.   

My designs are normally smalls or mini's - pillows, table toppers, wall hangings -- and they normally include some sort of bird on them.

I enjoy the process and I LOVE to encourage people to ENJOY THE PROCESS -- don't rush through.  
Kick back and enjoy. 

3.Why do I write/create what I do ?

I love these things - not necessarily in this order...

Songbirds
Fabric
Wool
Free Motion Quilting
Flower Gardens
Hand Stitching
Applique
Animals and Wildlife
Writing and Documenting

This is why I create what I do -- I've found a hobby/profession that allows me to mix and match all of the things I love.  It makes it easy to create -- to focus -- to spend time on creating.

4. How does my writing/creating process work ?


There are a couple of different answers to this question....

a. Let the fabric show you the way...

Sometimes I have a specific fabric that I want to use to create something beautiful -- you can see that with the "Family Tree Quilted Envelope Pillow".
I won the fabric from a Deb Strain blog giveaway and I wanted to create something with it.

In this case I study the fabric -- I let the fabric inspire my creation!
The tree, the birds -- they came from the fabric.   
The stripy offset log cabin design was an attempt to do something a bit different than a medallion center.   
I love the way it came out.
You can download the recipe from the Moda Bake Shop here.
 I use pencil and paper to start the process and scratch down a design -- erase it, play with it, it works for me.  I keep all of my designs in spiral bound notebooks. 
Here is my first sketched draft of the Family Tree pillow.
Often, when I get fabric in hand -- I'll mock-up the pattern I have in mind - especially if I have limited amounts of the end result fabric.   

You can see the mock-up of Redbird and Berries here (done in wool). 
The real Redbird and Berries was all done in cotton and published on the Moda Bake Shop as a Free Download. 

Speaking of Redbird and Berries...

b. Let an image show you the way...

I take pictures all the time - in buildings, of buildings, on campus, in the woods, on the lake, in a museum, outside my window, everywhere!!  
Redbird and Berries was inspired by an image of a Cardinal that I had captured outside my front window in the winter at home...
In this case I had the image and not the fabric.  To add to the Redbird design I was inspired by MacKenzie Childs Courtly Check pattern -- so I had this image too...

Cardinal and Berries and Courtly Check...   The resulting Redbird and Berries came from those images and I do think that Redbird and Berries has been pleasantly successful as a free download from the Moda Bake Shop and Craftsy.  
The pattern is fun,  a little challenging but, in the end, so very beautiful to display.   
(PS -- I am teaching this pattern in September at a LQS -- Yippee).
When I put the Redbird and Berries design to the computer -- I used MS Office Publisher to create the checkerboard border and hand sketched the cardinal by blowing up the target image on my computer.  

I then traced it onto paper, took a picture of it with my IPAD and adjusted the size of the image to the size border I wanted.
I used MS Paint to freehand add in the stems and the berries.  
Here is a shot of what I sent to the Moda Bake Shop for a proposal...   Neat huh ?  
I still can't believe they accepted it!!

 c.  Let the desire to Free Motion Quilt drive the design...

As was the case with this piece -- "Feathered Flower Fun". 
I really wanted to make a LONG table runner with feathers being the focal point -- I wanted to stitch them on my domestic machine and practice on a piece that wasn't throw away.
I added a bit of flower and a bit of wool and ta-dah!! 

 
 SO that's a little insight to me, my design process, and the things that make me tick.

What I failed to mention is that I also have a large family -- of which many (sisters and granddaughters) also love to sew and everyone, including my husband, provide endless support and encouragement
This makes me happy -- I'm so lucky to share my love with those that are important to me.

Now -- onto the next trip Around the World -- I want to tag these three ladies from the states:

The lovely Carole Carter who blogs over at From My Carolina Home.  
Carole lives in the mountains of North Carolina and is such a talented quilter, crafter and sewing enthusiast.  She also loves to work with wool, stamp, garden, hike -- you name it and she does it!   
Carole has tons of tutorials on her blog that you must check out.
You can see them by visiting her Tutorials page.  Fantastic stuff and sew much to learn!
I wish we lived closer to one another because I can see us stitching together for hours on end.  Welcome to the hop Carole.
Next is the talented Jan Manley who blogs over at SewandSowFarm and has an Etsy site Featherweight Quilt Company.
Jan is a hardworking farmers wife and country girl living in the mountains of beautiful North Georgia who I just "connected" with about a year ago.  
Jan is always sharing her beautifully paper pieced Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses blocks with us -- OH MY they are knock down gorgeous.  
Jan and I share a love of the country and of Aurifil Thread!!   We sew from two different ends of the spectrum but still have so much in common.  
Welcome to the hop Jan!   

Lastly, I would like to tag Angie Nudge who blogs over at A Quilting Reader's Garden.  
Angie lives in sunny California and has been blogging since 2009.  
Somehow, out in blogland, we hooked up when I first started blogging.  
Angie is one of those types who just always provide support and encouragement to those around her - she has for my journey and I am grateful.  Thank you Angie.  
Angie is always giving her beautiful creations to those in need -- and has a strong faith.   
She hosts linky parties and encourages you to share your eye candy each week.  
Welcome to the hop Angie.

These ladies will be sharing their creative process on Monday September 1st (or the 2nd as Monday is a Holiday here in the States). Thanks to all 3 of you for participating - I can't wait to read your posts!

Did you enjoy the hop ?  
Was is what you expected ?
If you participated in the Around the World Blog Hop please leave me a link in the comments - I would love to jump over and read it.
I enjoyed creating it but do want to apologize for being late :(   
Sometimes life just gets in the way of what I really want to do !!  

Have a blessed week all and thanks for stopping by.
Hugs,
Karen