Friday, January 29, 2016

Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop/The Name Game Special Edition: Gen X Quilters

I'm a fan of sampler quilts, so I have been a fan of AnneMarie Chany for a long time. She takes traditional blocks and incorporates them into the most creative settings. When she asked me to be part of a blog hop to get the word out about her new book, Sister Sampler Quilts, I didn't hesitate for a minute to say yes!
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you may be aware that every other year I make a king-sized quilt for an auction where all the proceeds benefit Third World Relief. I chose AnneMarie's Moccasin pattern for the upcoming auction in April. Isn't this an amazing setting?  I needed the quilt to be larger than the original pattern, so I included some Vice Versa blocks as well.
It's being quilted by my husband's cousin--we work in tandem every other year--and I can hardly wait to get it back!

I totally "borrowed" the fabric selection from Kristi Owens (@71 stitches on Instagram). She graciously gave me the list of fabrics she had selected and I was able to track nearly all of them down and duplicate the quilt she made.

I had originally planned on making the Vice Versa Sampler in shades of blue (before I was totally sidetracked by the Moccasin design!), and without a doubt, this will be made for an upcoming auction.

The premise of Sister Sampler Quilts is that blocks are made in pairs. In Sister's Ten Sampler and Bonfire Sampler, the blocks can be the same (identical twins) or made from different fabrics (sisters).

However, in the Vice Versa Sampler, one block has the lights, darks and backgrounds in the most common location, while the sister block is just the opposite. I LOVE this concept!
Vice Versa blocks, Bear's Paw
I decided that in addition to showing some blocks from AnneMarie's book, it would be fun to have her play The Name Game for her blog, Gen X Quilters. So here we go.
How did you choose the name for your blog?  

Does anyone actually start a blog on a whim?  ​Yes!  I did.  I didn't even really know what blogs were when I sat down at a screen and decided to invent one.  I had looked my cousin-in-law's photography blog as she started a business and decided I wanted to do one too.  So without a single clue, I created a blog called Quilting Chronicles.  I think I only lasted there for a month or 2 while I tried to figure out what a blog was all about.  Somewhere in there I discovered the reason I wanted to begin a blog: To meet other quilters.  I had been sewing alone in my basement for 5 years.  Alone.  Alone.  Alone.  None of my friends quilted, let alone sewed.  Every time I went into a quilt shop, I was the youngest one there by 20, 30, 40 years.  I realized I wanted to meet someone who was in my age group and also enjoyed quilting as much as I did.  At the time, I was a young mom and balanced my hobby between raising babies and growing new ones.  I decided to revamp and called the new blog Gen X Quilters as a desperate call for friends.  :)  I figured that no matter what phase of life you are in - your generation never changes.  And you have an inexplicable bond with those who grew up in the same times as you.  When I am 70, I will still be a Gen Xer, hopefully retired and looking for someone to go on the Quilt Shop Bus Tour.  I have met SO many wonderful people through blogging of all different ages.  And it's pretty clear that true quilters quickly become obsessed.....

Vice Versa blocks, Mosaic No. 5
 Were the other names you considered?  

Since most of the beginning of my blog career was done on a whim, I can't say I spent a lot of time brainstorming on a name.  I'm more of a jump-in-feet-first kind of person.  So I wanted to get writing and sewing right away.
Vice Versa Blocks, Shoofly
 Now that your are recognized by your blog name, are you happy with it?  Or do you wish you could change it to something else?  

Most of the time I'm happy with it.  There are days when I wish I chose a prettier, more flowery name.  Something cuter and feminine.  There are other days where I consider switching to use my own name. 

AnneMarie agreed to some bonus questions too. :)

What is the best piece of quilting advice you have received?

 I found my local long arm quilter in 2010.  From the beginning, she encouraged me.  At that time, modern quilting was getting started, but certainly didn't exist locally for me.  My quilts were always a little bit different from what she normally saw and she encouraged me to pursue something further.  I thought she was crazy.  I don't think I would have had the guts to showcase my work online without her commentary and advice in the back of my head telling me that my sewing was good enough.  I think we naturally doubt ourselves and our abilities.

What is your go-to snack food for quilting?

Ummmmm.  I'm a bit of a loony health nut.  I don't eat while I sew.  What if food got on the fabric?!?!?!?!!?!?  I drink a lot of tea in my studio. :)

Beyond designing, what is your favorite part of making a quilt?  

Hands down, piecing.  I absolutely love to sit at my machine and piece.  There is something about watching the blocks take shape that I just love.  That and the soothing hum of my sewing machine.

I hope you will check out AnneMarie's blog because there is a wealth of information, tutorials, block library.

Also check out her new book. Sister Sampler Quilts is beautifully written, Along with three creative samplers, there are some great tutorials--half square and quarter-square triangles, flying geese, curves, etc. It will make a great addition to your quilting library.

If you have missed any of these posts, there is a lot more inspiration so please check them out.

Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters - Introduction
Sara Lawson / Sew Sweetness

Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed

Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces

Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily's Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time

Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts
Violet Craft

Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting

Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Amy Gibson / Stitchery Dickory Dock

Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair

Thursday, January 28
Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft

Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life/You are HERE!
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters - Wrap Up

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 1/28/16

Let's start today with an addendum to the mostly Minnesota post from last week. Apparently, this is the latest rage--putting frozen blue jeans outside.

Mark remembers spilling water on his jeans when he was outside doing chores on the farm. His jeans froze too, making it really hard to walk. Who would have thought it would be art?

Last week we celebrated a 4-year-old birthday.
Happy faces.
Breakfast was in a town about an hour away and I had hitched a ride with Christa and the kids. On the way home, we stopped at Bravo Farms. They sell local produce and cheese they make themselves, among other things. They also have a great play area for the kids and a petting zoo, all in a rustic setting.

Funny signs all over the place.

Mark and I went for a drive Saturday afternoon. The clouds were just beautiful with the sun shining on them.
Mark saw this t-shirt while eating lunch.
I now have a little Legos sewing studio.
We went to the Harlem Globetrotters, always a fun show.
This was the sky yesterday morning. These pictures totally doesn't do justice to how gorgeous it was. No, we don't really have a railroad crossing in our back yard. Just lots of signs....

And this is my feeling as January draws to a close.
How about you?

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Name Game: Chasing Squirrels

I'm really happy to have Sue here from Chasing Squirrels. Don't you love that name? She was one of the first people to answer the call when I asked for submissions.

Welcome, Sue.
Wonky Baskets, a work in progress---currently have a challenge with Mary 

Elizabeth Kinch, who also has one, to finish these by the end of 
February 2016

How did you choose the name for your blog?
a work in progress, some DAMQG quiltalong blocks, going into a sampler inspired by Gypsy Wife by Jen Kingwell

I've been a quilter for a long time (about 28 years) and always loved it.  It's been a huge part of my life and pretty much affects everything I do---who my friends are, where I go, what I do, what I buy, how I spend my time (workshops, quilting conventions & shows, etc.)  I've also been in a traditional guild for 23 years and modern guild for 3.   But about five years ago, I got really fired up and focused on my work and had such passion and excitement.    A friend & I were talking about our art,  how many projects we wanted to make,  and she said something about the dog who is distracted  all the time, can't focus too long on one thing-----'look!  There's a squirrel!!' and in my head that went BAM!  That's me!  That's me quilting right now!  Start something, see something else, get all charged up & excited and start that too!  Now, I have always been a very prolific quilter & finish lots of things, but it also hit me that, hey, just because that's sitting there, you started it, there are no quilt police to make you FINISH it!  Follow your passion!  There are so many things in life that must be done a certain way, at a certain time, finish it, why on earth let that apply to our passion?   I decided right then that I would follow my muse and the excitement, and do whatever I wanted to quilting wise.  Life's too short not to.  I firmly believe that sometimes, you may get what you need of a project just by making a few blocks.  It's given you something.  Go ahead and try the next thing, it's ok!  Quilt with abandon!

How many of you relate to that? I know I sure do!!
 one of my favorite finishes ever, a Wagon Wheel quilt, 

quilted by Barb Lusk (usually I quilt all of my quilts myself)

Were there are names you considered and can you share any of them with us?
Chuck Nohara QAL, doing with an Instagram group
my sometimes-companion in the studio, Iris, my sweet cat

Nope---never thought of another!  I knew this was it.
 a work in progress, EPP, pattern is Fruit tingles by Sue Daley

Now that you are recognized by your blog/IG name, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?
Red and white quilt, for a challenge, completed November 2014

I only joined Instagram about 2 years ago.  I had joined a new chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild, the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild, and our President  Houseofduke1 (she's now a very dear friend) urged us all to get on Instagram, start establishing some relationships in that quilty world prior to Quiltcon 2015, and I am so glad she did.  The quilting world on IG has been HUGE for me---so inspiring,  vibrant and supportive, so much fun stuff going on!   Initially I didn't know WHAT name to pick, so I went with SLCQuilter, my initials----but then, some people at Quiltcon 2015 thought I was Salt Lake City Quilter, LOL!  So right after I got back I changed my IG name to SusanLorettaSquirrel to link it more closely to my blog. There's also been an ongoing joke about my name & I am frequently called Loretta, as that gets my immediate attention.  I love that IG name and don't think I would change it.  Instagram and my #DAMgirls are very important to me---they inspire me every day!

a few of us #damgirls in Austin for Quiltcon 2015 with my apologies to those not in this particular picture;

Thanks for being with us today, Sue.

You can follow Sue on her blog and Instagram @susanlorettasquirrel

Next Monday, Clare O'Rourke from selfsewn will be here and you won't want to miss it. I will also apologetically explain why it has taken soooooo long for Clare to be highlighted.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 1/21/16: The Mostly Minnesota Edition

I'm sure I have mentioned before that I married someone from Minnesota, as did my favorite cousin, Cathy. Also, Terry and Cathy have built a beautiful cabin in northern Minnesota.
They just returned from spending the holidays at the cabin (with lots of snow and super low temperatures).
Photo courtesy of Cathy Oberg
They brought back a few gifts.
Mark would agree that Minnesota is indeed God's country. They also included a hand made magnet in the shape of the state and some wild rice that we are anxious to try.

The Trader Joe's bag they brought back from Minnesota certainly has embraced the state as well. In case you need a lesson in local jargon, here you go.
Casseroles are always called hot dish.
Make sure to take note of this.
Paul Bunyon's boot.
And Babe, the Blue Ox
The bottom of the bag
I think most people who know anything about the state realize that it is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but here is a little lake trivia. Apparently there are 11,842 lakes. And it's hard to find unique names for that many lakes. While the numbers vary from website to website, there are approximately 201 Mud Lakes, 154 Long Lakes, and 123 Rice Lakes. 

While I was cleaning out a box a few weeks ago, I found this button. I took the picture on top of our Minnesota kitchen apron. With a name as long as Winnibigoshish, I can see why some of the lakes have much shorter names.
But Mark and Terry would undoubtedly both agree with the button. 

I found this on a super cool Instagram account, and have forwarded the picture to Mark's brother, who lives in St. Paul (keeping with the Minnesota theme this week) and is a cyclist. I'm sure he has the needed parts to make this lamp for me. I hope so, because I have just the spot for it. 
I love to see our son at work (he makes it on this Minnesota post because his father was born in Minnesota--works for me...). Here he is checking the eyes of the son of good friends--and showing him what the inside of his eye looks like. So proud of him, not only at how he excels in his profession, but more importantly the high priority of his family and friends.
Photo courtesy of Jane Isaac

And lastly, this. I have only one response: you betcha!!
What has your week been like?