Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ATCs: Five

To commemorate the beginning of the 5th Year of my ATC swaps, the January theme was "Five" (or "5," if you prefer). It was like Christmas all over again opening the envelopes containing these Fabulous Fives!

In true ATC (Artist Trading Card) fashion, there was a plethora of mediums (markers, paint, pen and ink, colored pencils, yarn, thread...) and techniques (drawing, painting, collage, weaving, felting, assemblage, mixed media...) used to create the cards this month. "Take five..." and take a look...
"Five is Green and nestles in Zentangles"
"5" A Magic and Mystical Pentagram.
The upward point is the Spirit.
The other points represent Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
Hand applique with machine and hand stitching.
Notice the hand quilted number 5.
"Five (by Five)"
Originally, using a hand print, this was a Valentine.
Commemorating the FiberAntics ATC swaps.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Fabric Rep Trek: Tiny Stitches

I hope you had an opportunity to visit YLS on Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day, January 24. If life's craziness stepped in, however, and foiled your best laid plans, check class and event schedules and see what's on the horizon at YLS (your local shop).

In my region of the country, the Greater Atlanta Shop Hop is coming up, March 14-17. One of the participating shops is Tiny Stitches, in Marietta, Georgia.
Tiny Stitches quilt shop in Marietta, Georgia
Shop owner, Maetha Elliott, took ownership of this 20+ year shop about 8 years ago. Before my Blank Quilting fabric rep days, I had been to Tiny Stitches a handful of times—on a quilters' bus trip, in conjunction with attending a quilt show, and returning home from a business appointment in Atlanta when I popped in with 15 minutes to spare to purchase the perfect red-and-black striped fabric for a quilt binding. [I knew of their great fabric selection, so was sure I would find something appropriate.] On my recent visit as a fabric rep, I was delighted to find the shop had expanded... adding a large, spacious classroom.
The large classroom at Tiny Stitches.
The diverse fabric selection was even more than I had remembered, and did not disappoint. Fabrics are sorted by color with plenty of focal prints and supporting blenders, ...
The penguins sit atop shelves of cool blue fabrics, feeling right at home.
by theme (reproductions, traditional prints),...
A great selection of the classics.
by style or print (florals, stripes, checks, geometrics, chevrons)...
Zingy geometrics and funky florals.
and batiks...
Oh, the batiks!
there is a full color gamut of solids...
A selection of solids greets you at the entrance.
and themed prints (holiday, Christmas, winter) with precut fat quarters near at hand.
Fabrics are sorted by color and theme.
Projects and quilts to inspire and delight are found throughout the store and in the classroom.
Left: blue and white house quilt hangs above the selection of whites and neutrals.
Right: a patchwork jacket and cowl among the batiks.
Are you ready for Valentine's Day?
"Let Me Call You Tweet-Heart" quilt above the classroom doorway.
What used to be the classroom, has been transformed into a fantasyland for the little visitors. 
Brights, novelties and panels abound.
The charming hand-painted mural features baby animals and friendly wildlife.
A mural adds to the fantasy and whimsy of the children's area.
Small quilts, panels and pillowcases hang from the clothesline strung between white-washed wooden fence posts.
"I Spy with my Little Eye" mural.
Brights, themed prints and novelties appeal to the young and young-at-heart alike. You'll find fruits and vegetables, popcorn, candy and cookies.... bugs, fish, frogs and spiders... 
Left: Fruits, vegetables, popcorn, candy and cookies.
Right: frogs, fish, spiders and other bugs.
elephants, bears, tigers and other zoo animals... dogs, cats and coordinating paw prints in a variety of colors and backgrounds... with coordinating stripes, dots, spots, whimsies and doodads of all sorts. 
Dogs and cats are featured with coordinating paw prints.
There are even shelves of landscape fabrics and animal prints. You can let your imagination run "wild and free" in here!
Landscape fabrics and animal prints.
A pint-size table and chairs is located in this room with several toys to keep little hands and minds entertained.
A small table and chairs with toys for children.
What was new to me were the woolens...
A selection of woolen plaids and solids.
and a large wall of snuggly flannels.
A wall of assorted flannel prints.
On the other side of the classroom wall is the book, pattern and notion center at the front of the store. It's complete with a "Husband chair" or two.
Books, patterns and notions.
The eye candy doesn't stop here. Another artist has painted and embellished the door and inside of the restroom with these glamour girls.
"Painted ladies" at Tiny Stitches.
"So, where's the sale fabric section?" you ask. 
Visit the Tiny Stitches Quilting Studio, two doors down from the main shop.
It's two doors down... at the Tiny Stitches Quilting Studio... with the Handi Quilter machines. (There are some fabulous machine quilting examples on the walls in there as well.)
Tiny Stitches Quilting Studio.
Whether or not you can make it to the Greater Atlanta Shop Hop, the Tiny Stitches quilt shop is a must-stop any time of year.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paper Piecing is addictive

There is another group of quilters that are now hooked on paper piecing! Yipee!  I love paper piecing, but I always have to stop to get my brain wrapped around this "somewhat backwards" technique before I put scissors to fabric. Once the process "clicks," I get into the paper piecing zone and it's lots of fun.

Today, January 24, is also Support Your Local Quilt Shop day, so stop in yours, sign up for a class, buy that new tool you've been wanting to try and add some Fat Quarters to your stash.

I taught the Twisty Star Paper Piecing class last weekend at one of my local sewing machine shops and immediately got photos of completed blocks emailed to me from my students before the weekend was up. Look at the beautiful color and fabric choices they made for their Twisty Star paper pieced project.
 Deb added an inner border to her project. Nice touch!

 I like Carolyn's placement choice for the powder blue fabric in her star. It adds a sparkle to the piece.

Here is Jackie's star. The black solid really sets off the star. One good thing about using batiks and solids with paper piecing: there is no right or wrong side to the fabric. One challenging thing about using batiks and solids with paper piecing: there is no right or wrong side to the fabric.

Sheila got two quadrants completed in class. She's got some bright colors and fun prints in her Twisty Star.

Elsie also completed two quadrants of her Twisty Star. She is using a stripe-like directional fabric in the center of the star... a little more of a challenge, but well worth the extra effort.

So, if you can count and sew a straight line, you can paper piece. Here is a scrappy version of the star that uses everyone's first paper pieced block. They are all Star Students!
Paper Pieced Twisty Star.
A sampler of students' work.
If you'd like to learn a new quilting technique and expand your skill set, check here to see upcoming classes that I'm teaching. Or, visit YLS and sign up today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Fabric Rep Trek: Cottontail Quilts

In a quaint part of Kennesaw, Georgia, where century-old houses are being transformed into small businesses through a community revitalization effort, is Cottontail Quilts. The shop's owner, Robin Jones, knew that this 112-year-old house was a perfect home for a quilt shop, and when you step inside, you'll know she was right.
Front porch at Cottontail Quilts quilt shop, Kennesaw, Georgia.
As you approach the front door, you can peer through the three front windows (those long, southern plantation-type windows that almost go to the floor) to see the colorful quilts, fabrics, notions and assorted accoutrements—all beckoning you to step inside.
Fabrics: whites and light neutrals, yellows merging into reds.
There are several rooms inside this large farmhouse building which are filled with a large assortment of fabrics on bolts, pre-cut fat quarters, patterns, kits and plenty of quilts to inspire and delight. Most of the fabrics are arranged by color...
Fabrics: greens, browns, light and dark grays.
 or by theme, such as the reproductions...
Reproductions and traditions prints.
dots, stripes and brights...
Dots, brights, florals and fun prints.
 or by purpose, such as the 108" wide quilt backings.
A shelf of wide backings.
A wall of books—providing inspiration and instruction for any kind of project—is displayed above a wonderful selection of black/white fabrics.
Books and a selection of black/white fabrics.
Robin had been designing quilt patterns under the name, Cottontail Quilts, for a few years prior to opening her shop of the same name almost a year ago. The black/white/red quilt above the books is called Square Daze, a pattern from the Cottontail Quilts pattern collection.
A selection of Cottontail Quilts patterns among others.
The shop is well stocked with Robin's patterns as well as those from other favorite pattern designers.
Bags and patterns (left) and a mantle topper (right),
called Marvelous Mantel Scarf, a Cottontail Quilts pattern. 
A large, spacious and well-lit classroom extends from the side of the house. There is a separate entry to the classroom with a ramp for easy accessibility—and for rolling those sewing machines into the classroom. 
The large classroom at Cottontail Quilts.
Among the quilts on display in the classroom was a handsome traditional sampler with a light background and a reproduction feel...
Traditional sampler quilt.
... and a eye-catching Saturday Sampler quilt showcasing the vibrant colors of the Splash blender collection set off on a black background. (This one is even more stunning in person!)
Saturday Sampler using Splash blenders.
So, if you are driving between Chattanooga, TN and Atlanta, GA, consider a short hop over for a visit to Cottontail Quilts. The owner and staff are warm and welcoming and ready to help.
Cottontail Quilts, Kennesaw, GA.
You'll see the sign with the bunny on the front lawn. 
Cottontail Quilts.
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