Weekend in Wisconsin

Fresh Lemons Quilts

Last weekend, I drove up to New Glarus, Wisconsin for a little relaxation and creative recharging with some of my favorite Iowa, Wisconsin, and Upper Peninsula Michigan quilty friends (and a couple of Houston and Nashville ladies thrown in for good measure). Somehow, I have no pictures with any of them! I suppose we were having too much fun. We rented the house you see above, about 5 miles outside the downtown New Glarus area. I had no clue that New Glarus was like a mini Switzerland, so you can imagine my surprise when I rolled into town. Lucky for me, this meant cheese fondue was on the menu and yes, I indulged.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

The weekend was just perfect. I love Wisconsin with the rolling hills and beautiful farms. On the way up from my home in the Chicago suburbs, I saw lots of corn, lots of black and white cows, a huge sunflower field, and at least 15 quilt barns.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

Our house even had sheep! I’m pretty convinced I need to move somewhere with sheep now.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

I spent quite a bit of my two days there sewing, and managed to finished all the blocks for my current quilt. Jeni came up with the perfect name too – Picnic Point. I’m so thankful that I trimmed up all the HSTs before leaving. Everything went together easily.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

I threw the blocks up on the design wall for a quick photo before packing up to leave. I’m hoping to sew the blocks together this week and start basting!

Sewtopia Chicago

Sewtopia Chicago

Last weekend I spent my time in downtown Chicago at the Sewtopia retreat. It was super fun / exhausting! Organizers Amy Newbold and Jemellia Hilfiger and class assistants Rossie Hutchinson and Jen Carlton Bailly did an awesome job putting together a smooth running and really enjoyable weekend. The getaway was located at The Drake which is right at Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan. It was really the perfect spot and I just loved the historic hotel. I feel like I’ve driven by it a thousand times but never gone inside.

I arrived Thursday around lunch time. Most people were out on the shop hop so I did a bit of relaxing, walking around Michigan Avenue to pick up a couple surprises for my kids, and (of course) eating! Thursday evening was the Welcome Reception and open sew time. I stayed with two of my favorite sewing friends, Lee and Angela. They both live less than 2 hours from me but we don’t get together nearly enough! It was so good to see them. :)

Sewtopia Chicago

Friday and Saturday were filled with class time and open sew. Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts taught her Kansas Dugout block (HELLO y-seams!) Yep, I am going to brag for a moment. I-GOT-TO-TAKE-A-CLASS-FROM-RITA-OF-RED-PEPPER-QUILTS. I never thought I would even get to meet her, let alone take a class from her. Oh, and see her quality work in person. Just as amazing as it looks on her blog. She was just the kindest person as well. What a great experience!

Latifah of Latifah Saafir Studios (you may also know her as The Quilt Engineer) taught her Molehill pattern – lots of curves which she made non-scary and achievable! Latifah is not only crazy talented, but a born teacher. She just has this way of explaining techniques and the reasoning behind them that makes it look so easy.

Sewtopia Chicago

Between sewing time, we were able to go out and take in the (mostly) crazy beautiful weather for Chicago this time of year. I ate great good, had a lot of goofy laughs with friends, and just really recharged. I’m completely exhausted now…but it was totally worth it!

Sewtopia is a traveling retreat. The next event is in Portland and sold out, but they just announced the following city on their Facebook page. I definitely recommended attending!

318 Patchwork Patterns Blog Hop ~ And Giveaway!

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I was in Ohio for a few days to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. It was so much fun, and now I’m back catching up on grocery shopping, laundry, and my super-full Inbox. But before all of that, I’m here to share an awesome book with you this morning! Some of you may have heard of or seen people swooning over the book 318 Patchwork Patterns: Original Patchwork & Applique Designs by Kumiko Fujita. Until now, it’s one of those books that has been nearly impossible to get your hands on. And if you were one of the lucky few to have it, all the text inside was in Japanese. Which is perfect if you can read Japanese! :) But I can’t.

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This book has now been translated to English and republished! Yay! I was asked by the publisher to participate in a blog tour to celebrate. 318 Patchwork Patterns is a collection of crazy cute quilt blocks that can be made through freezer paper piecing, applique or foundation paper piecing. There are not directions per block. There are general patchwork template directions and applique directions. If you have never made blocks like this before, I’d highly recommend checking out the Very Kerry Berry blog for a little tutorial on how it is done.

The book is divided into block design categories by page. Just an example of the cute stuff inside…

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Everyone in the tour has selected a different set of patterns in the book, and made a project using them. I chose to make a project from the Vehicles page.

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This isn’t really my normal sewing subject matter, but my son hardly every gets anything made just for him…so I thought it was a great fit. I decided to focus my design on the rocket ship. I made a mini quilt that uses 3 rockets to make them appear that they are blasting off into space.

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I used a panel of fabric that I’ve had since I started quilting from Aunty Cookie in Australia for the heads of the astronauts. The background is an awesome (but sadly out of print) constellation fabric by Lizzy House. I placed wonky stars around the rockets.

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This was a really fun quilt to make. I foundation paper pieced the rockets. This was actually my test block (I ended up not cutting the rocket into so many piecings, and shrinking the block a couple inches for the final quilt). But you get the picture.

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The layout was entirely improvised. I made the 3 rockets, placing 2 of them at angles and stitching some background fabric around them to form a square. I made the stars all different sizes, added them to the design wall. Then I just started sewing all my blocks together, adding background fabric rectangles where needed.

318 Patchwork Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The whole thing is only 24″ x 15″. It would be perfect for a wall hanging. My son is pretending it’s a full sized quilt though, and trying to lay on and under it. :) I quilted it with a free motion meandering design in just the background fabric. I am quite happy with how it turned out!

And now for the giveaway! The publisher for 318 Patchwork Patterns, World Book Media, has generously offered to send a copy to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment here and I will pick a winner tomorrow (November 11th).

And if you’d like to see more really fun projects from these blocks, check out the stops on this blog tour.

October 20: Kerry from http://verykerryberry.blogspot.com
October 22: Penny from http://sewtakeahike.typepad.com
October 24: Angela from http://cuttopieces.blogspot.com
October 27: Amy from http://nanacompany.typepad.com
October 29: Amber from http://oneshabbychick.typepad.com
October 31: Latifah from http://www.thequiltengineer.com
November 3: Charise from http://charisecreates.blogspot.com
November 5: Leila from http://wheretheorchidsgrow.blogspot.com
November 7: Amy from http://duringquiettime.com
November 10: Faith – Me!
November 12: Caroline from http://www.sewcanshe.com
November 14: Rashida from http://iheartlinen.typepad.com

++ Closing Comments to Pick a Winner! ++

The winner is #159 – Sabra! Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you for your mailing address to get you your new book. :) Thank you for the kind words everyone!

Final Blocks and a Big Delivery

Modern Solids progress : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I hope you aren’t tired of seeing these blocks, but I have good news for you if you are. These are the final few! I am done with the paper piecing and will be completing the quilt top and quilting this week. I’m really excited to share with you the finished quilt soon ~ and the story about how I came up with the blocks and design.

Quilt Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Last week I had a big delivery on my front porch – many, many, many copies of my paper patterns. I am happy to announce I’ve been picked up by a few wholesale distributors (Brewer, Checker, and E.E. Schenck Co.). If you are a shop owner and buy through one of these companies, I hope you will consider carrying my pattern line. They are already listed at Brewer, Checker (search Fresh Lemons Quilts as the Vendor) and hopefully will be up soon at E.E. Schenck Co. And for you non shop owners, you can still buy patterns (paper and PDF) in my online shop here on the blog.

Bird Wings : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I spent a bit of time yesterday working with my daughter on her Halloween costume. She really likes these bird wings (found here and here). I usually don’t really make costumes – I know, I know. But this one seemed pretty straight forward and we are able to make it together. She of course picked out 2 of my most hoarded out of print fabrics (the orange Henna Garden by Sandi Henderson and the Pink Coriander by Amy Butler). Looks good in the wings though! If we don’t mess the project up too much, I’ll share the finished costume here next month. :)

Ok, back to work finishing the Modern Solids quilt!