Thursday, February 27, 2014

Announcing Our New Book! "Quilting...Just a Little Bit Crazy"

Quilting...Just a Little Bit Crazy: A Marriage of Traditional and Crazy Quilting

Our new book is done and will be out in May!!!

Valerie Bothell and I are absolutely thrilled to be able to share our news with you at last.  We are so proud of our work with C & T Publishers to bring this new book to you.

Our hope is to reach out to both crazy and "sane" quilters--mainstream quilters, if you will--to show that crazy quilting can be for all quiltmakers!
In our technique chapters and in the 10 projects we present, you will see that embellishment is an option for these quilts--not necessarily a requirement. Learn that you can still incorporate machine quilting, and you can use all cotton fabrics, not just the "fancies", (though we offer projects in wool and silk as well). Embroider by hand OR'll still be crazy quilting.  We love both traditional and crazy quilting and you will learn how to combine them in ways that bring out the best of both genres.  You can speed up the process or take your time.....
Inspiring old time CQers to try new techniques and enticing first timers to give this liberating approach to quiltmaking a try, we've designed projects everyone can relate to.

Val and I live in different states and have very different styles in our crazy quilting. How we came to work together is a great story...and you can read about it on Val's blog.

I will say that this great lady, Carole Samples, played a most pivotal role in our becoming co-authors.

Our joined creative processes present a broad spectrum of working methods and sensibilities to our readers. We loved working together and just adore each can feel that on every page.  ;-)

We did spend a few days actually sewing together in the summer of 2012 (this book has been in the works a long time).  Val came to my home in Washington state--she lives in Kansas--and we had a great time.

She saw that my silk stash needed sorting....Val is very organized, one of her many qualities that I really appreciate.

We both got a lot of work done together that week.  For the next many months we relied on Dropbox and emails, with lots of imagery being sent back and forth.  It was so much fun.

There are some seriously delicious projects in our book!  This became "Morning Chores", in the chapter we call "Workingman's CQ"....

We have hand and machine embroidery techniques, several ways to piece blocks and a myriad of options for finishing your quilts. And there is one project that is so very, very special, in the chapter called "Historically Crazy".....You will just have to wait til the book comes out for us to tell you its story....all I can say now is that it started at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, NE....

We can hardly wait until May! (Though you can pre-order it on Amazon here.)
It feels so great to finally be able to tell you about it!

....with lots of love, (and great excitement!)
Val and Allie

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Inspired By..." A Modern Take on an Amish Crazy Quilt

The Quilt Alliance has a great theme for this year's annual fundraising contest: "Inspired By...". (The contest guidelines are here.) You all know that I have lately been deeply inspired by vintage crazy current project is a case in point.

But in the midst of that very long term project, I had occasion to try the Inspired By approach for a wedding throw quilt for my nephew Andy and his lovely bride Caylie.  You remember them, don't you?  ;-)  And the wallhanging I made for him to give to her (at his request) while he was wooing her, "Love by the Moon"?

They love bright colors, live by the beach down near Oceanside, and needed something cozy because Caylie gets cold!  So silks quilted onto silk fleece seemed perfect.

The quilt that so inspired me is from the Susie Tompkins Buell Quilt Collection.

I love the large blocks and solid shapes with the intricate geometric grid overall.  I had to try out my own quilt with these basic parameters.

Here is the beginning.  As always, my "blanks"--foundation muslins--are up on the design wall.  I like to see how the blocks are going together as I make them.  (Here I am using Method 4, Intuitive Applique, from my Craftsy Class.  Sign up for it here if you are interested, with a $20 discount!)

It came together very fast, and here it is under the needle of my beloved Sweet 16 from Handiquilter.
I didn't mark the quilting lines, but I did first quilt in the ditch in the seams between the blocks, using clear thread.  That helped stabilize everything (along with my basting pins) for the quilting to come.

Here's a better look at that quilting on the silk.  So yummy!

I loved diving deeply into my prodigious silk stash to make this quilt.  I didn't have to buy a thing.  ;-)

You know me and binding: we are not pals. I will do anything to avoid making a traditional binding.
So I love to use trim or lace; it is so quick, easy, and looks and functions great.

I had trimmed the edge of the quilt and am just covering the raw edge with the lace.  There won't be any fraying, and the quilt police were nowhere in sight....

To sew it on, I used a 9mm wide zigzag stitch in clear thread, with a strong yet fine matching thread in the bobbin.  I only needed to make one pass.  My kind of binding, for sure!

You can see it from the back, along with how cool that gridded quilting looks on the silk fleece.  And the label, of course.  Always label your work, please!

Let's look again at how my quilt was definitely was inspired by the Amish quilt.  Here it is again, so you can view them right next to each other:

(And just a reminder, when you are thinking about your Quilt Alliance quilt for "Inspired by", you must choose a quilt from the Quilt Index and site it in your entry.  We are hoping to encourage more people to explore the Indesx this way!)

Of course, I had to try my Inspired-by version out before sending it off to Andy and Caylie....

It works great!!!