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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Quilts, Vines & Finger Lakes Wines Show

Greetings quilting family -- last week I promised to share images from our local quilt show "Quilts, Vines & Finger Lakes Wines" hosted by O'Susannah's Quilts and Gifts in Watkins Glen NY.

There were so many beautiful quilts that I couldn't possibly photograph all of them -- but I did gather a few of the most awesome applique and/or free motion quilted entries at the show.  I've included a few of my favorite entries below and all of the images can be seen by clicking here

First up: "Roses in the Vineyard" by Lynn Ink - Lynn hand stitched appx 700 grapes on this 16" mini and she also hand quilted it.  What wonderful talent. See more images here
"Roses in the Vineyard" by Lynn Ink
Next, "Belva's Fat Quarters Appliqued" was done by a friend and local guild member, Joan Thorpe - - and was inspired by two Kim Diehl patterns.   Joan created, stitched, and machine quilted (on her domestic) this little number -- you can see more images of it here.
"Belva's Fat Quarters Appliqued" by Joan Thorpe
The variety of quilts in the show was amazing -- some traditional, some modern, many applique and antique -- here is another one I just love...
This beauty was cross stitched and quilted by Vivian Pritts and entered into the show by her daughter-in-law Allison.   I seem to be drawn to cross stitched quilts -- you can see more images by clicking here.

In some cases the overhead lighting at the Community Center didn't get along well with my IPAD and I missed getting images of some fabulous quilts -- kudos to all the entrants in the show!!

I did take about 45 pictures of quilts at the show -- you can see all of them in this Post by Redbird Quilt Co.  on Facebook.  You don't need a Facebook account to view it, and please feel free to share  with your quilting friends -- you never know when inspiration will hit! 

If you would like to see my entries in the Quilt Show, and some lovely quilts from the 2013 show -- visit this post.

Finally, I've been trying to follow a suggestion by Mark Lipinski and the Slow Stitching Movement to keep Inspiration flowing, so, after I left the QUILT SHOW on Sunday, I broke out of my habitual route home and took a new path.  Check out the beautiful scenery I found on this route just North of Watkins Glen, NY.  
If you're interested, read more of Mark's suggestions to break out of your inspiration slump here.

Let me know if you enjoy posts like this.. I always enjoy looking at quilts -- do you?

Stay tuned for my entry in the "Around the World Blog Hop" on Monday, and some other fun announcements next week.

Have a blessed day all!
Hugs,
Karen

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Do you love to attend Quilt Shows ?

I sure do! 

If you're traveling to or live in or around the Finger Lakes Region of New York -- be sure to carve out a couple of hours this weekend to visit the "Quilts, Vines & Finger Lakes Wines QUILT SHOW" being presented by O'Susannah's Quilts & Gifts.
O'Susannah's is a lovely quilt shop located in Watkins Glen, NY, at the base of Seneca Lake (the largest of the Finger Lakes). 

O'Susannah's is not only an award winning, full service quilt shop, it is also home to the most fantastic retreat location in this area, "The Upstairs Inn".  

Wonderfully decorated, large enough to sleep 8 quilters, and setup with all the right features for the perfect quilt retreat, the Upstairs Inn is a great place to escape (especially in the fall when the local grapes are being harvested - ohh the aroma)...  

The image below is the living room at the Upstairs Inn - Isn't it beautiful ?   You can see and read more about "The Upstairs Inn" by clicking here. 

But back to the quilt show -- I entered and attended the 2013 show and there were some beautiful quilts to see -- I added about 30 images to this album on Facebook -- just click the link to see them -- you don't need a Facebook account.  

Here are a few of my favorites:

A Sharon Stroud design -- I'm sorry I didn't capture the quilters name -- all needle turn applique and hand quilted.  SO pretty!
Look at the corner of this mini quilt -- I think the entire mini was less than 12 inches square -- so beautiful!!   Hand applique and hand quilted -- WOW!
 ... and here is another mini -- do you see the pencil in the lower right ?  I put there there so you could get a feel for the size of this quilt.  Teeny Tiny.... Look at the size of those little birds!  Now this is one talented quilter !!
To see more of the quilts from the 2013 show -- click here to view the Facebook Album.  No need to have a Facebook account - you should be able to view the album without one.

Below are the quilts that I decided to enter into this years show...  I dropped them off today.

Wooly Wren --Pattern coming soon!
 Spring Basket -- Pattern available on my Craftsy Store -- click here.
Redbird and Berries in Wool -- cotton version of the pattern is available from the Moda Bake Shop.

The template for the wool version (slightly smaller) is available on my sidebar.
Last but not least...

Redbird Christmas Pillow - pattern available on the Moda Bake Shop  and the Applique Template is available on my sidebar.
This show is just for fun!  No judging going on -- but you should see the talent on display!

Well -- the weekend is nearly upon us -- Our nephew is getting married on Saturday so you'll find me at the Quilt Show sometime on Sunday.  You can get directions and hours by clicking here.

Do you enjoy going to Quilt Shows ?

Happy weekend everyone!
Karen

Sunday, August 10, 2014

McTavish Review Winner!

Many thanks to all that participated in the Book Review and Giveaway of Karen McTavish's "Mastering the Art of McTavishing - 2nd Edition - Expanded and Revised" book !
Your feedback and excitement about learning to "McTavish" was amazingly uplifting and encouraging.

Machine quilting is one of my favorite things to do -- and this stitch is so very forgiving -- even if you "think" you can't do it I would love for you to give it a try.

The best tip I would share would be to use a thread that matches your background color, and that is  very fine, so that your backtracking and mistakes are nearly invisible.

Next, use the same color thread in the top and bobbin so that slight variations in tension do not show.

I always turn to Aurifil Mako Cotton 50wt thread for my top and bobbin.  Quilts like a dream!

Use a panel as a practice piece -- if you like it when you're done -- turn it into a wall hanging or Envelope Pillow (as shown below -- see the tutorial here). 
Dense McTavishing makes applique pop -- so it's an awesome background filler on applique quilts.  You can see before and after shots of Winter Apple (by Blackbird Designs) here.
And the movement that McTavishing provides in a quilt cannot be topped.  I love the way it worked out on my Redbird and Berries Mini Quilt -- a free recipe you can download from the Moda Bake Shop (click here).
So don't be shy about giving McTavishing a try -- it's versatile, forgiving, fun and just beautiful!
Now -- on to the winner of the book....   Rafflecopter chose the winner randomly and came up with
Marly !!  Congratulations Marly - I've sent you an email and will ship your book and DVDs out as soon as I hear from you.

** Many thanks to Karen McTavish and On-Word Bound Books for providing a copy of Karen's new book to review and giveaway **

You can order your copy of the book at On-Word Bound Books by clicking here.

Thanks again all for participating -- stay tuned for another upcoming giveaway and more fun!

Have a wonderful week.

Karen