Peacock Quilt, front and back.

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I know, the photographic color is off, the tops are piled up and are not shown to the best advantage, but I don’t mind. I am just having fun over here and this is the evidence! 

I started the weekend off by focusing on making a back for the Peacock Quilt. At first I thought this would be a using all my favorite Heather Ross fabrics, from my stash. But I have so many great Heather Ross fabrics, that it seemed to me, like it might be a distraction from the front. I spent most of Saturday sewing and admittedly enjoyed doing so, before deciding the back needed something else, something less, something simple. 

Sunday, I woke with vigor for the task and decided to use Meadowlark fabrics as a base for making a back. At first, it was going to be a 62″ square of the blue, with 12″ of the tile fabric on all four sides. But… I still had some left over blocks from the peacock quilt top and the woodblock ditty went to well with the Heather Ross strawberries… That, well.

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I love backs that have an element of love and satisfaction. Back’s need to play nicely with the front but also need to be fun, and pleasing. Heather Ross’s work does that for me. There is something sweet and fanciful in her illustrations and being able to see them along side my own handprinted cloth is a treat.

That scant 1/4″

   

I continue to work on my Meadowlark Quilt Top. 

As I think back, I took my first quilting class at 19 years of age. This was 26 years ago! I recall, at that time, making a few quilts, I made one for my own bed, I made one for my parents, and a baby quilt for each of my nephews. Soon afterward, I began using cloth as a medium, trying out new techniques and ideas, making stuff up, having fun, as so many of us do. Piecing to make blocks to a specific size quickly went to the wayside.

Recently, when I started using the Quiltography for iPad app, I didn’t question my skill set compared to the shiny, beautiful, somewhat imaginary and easy to create virtual-quilt-top-ideas generated through the app. I just figured, yeah, I can do that. Until I tested out sewing a Half Rectangle Triangle and found that block to be a bit fiddly, being sewn along the bias and all. I researched rulers and techniques to get the job done. I settled on paper piecing, hence all of the ripped and torn scraps above.

One of the skills I forgot in the intervening years was sewing to a scant quarter inch. My machine is a Bernina 1001 and a scant quarter inch resides under and to the left of the 1/4″ foots outside edge. 

 

I am happy to say, most of these blocks measure the prescribed 10.5″ they are intended to be. Some still need to be ripped and resewn (Sigh). In the meantime, I realize that I need to sew a SCANT 1/4″. I will test out my machine, measure, and perhaps even place some tape in the correct position to obtain that elusive and scant 1/4″.  These blocks are loosely arranged (not according to the pattern). I am going back through them and measuring them to see if I swallowed up too much fabric when sewing them together. Ripping is the name of my game right now. 

When I first realized my mistake, I wanted to bury the project in the deep annals of all-things-unfinished. But I got over that. ✨ I am glad I figured out what I was doing wrong.

  

I  finished the first of the two borders, all of which turned out to be 10.5″, thank goodness.

It is now time to begin sewing, cutting and creating the final border. The one difference between the real quilt and the app’s representation of the quilt is that the tile fabric will not appear as lines perpendicular to the outside edge of the quilt. The app can’t quite parse that one out and I do not know how to compensate for that either. I don’t really think it is necessary. 

I look forward to seeing how this comes together. 

meadowlark, design, cut and sew?

I have been using, and loving, Quiltography for iPad. It has ‘potato chip factor’, which means, I open it, start designing and cannot stop. I think I have designed over 40 quilt tops using Meadowlark. But it is now time to begin making quilts using the information the app provides. As I have been doing this, I realize that, I have never designed, cut and made a quilt top in this manner before. Previously, I have done improvisational piecing or have used an established pattern. 

 

After designing the quilt top, I started by making a few sample blocks. This helped me to understand that the Half Rectangle Triangles used on the star block (photo below), were somewhat tricky. To get the HRT sewn well, it seemed that I should either paper piece or perhaps purchase a ruler specific to the task.

Although I continue to want the Bloc_Loc Half Rectangle Triangle, for whatever reason, I chose to use paper piecing this time around. Paper piecing is accessible and easy to do. I drew out my block, scanned that into my computer and printed as many as was needed to complete the stars in the upper left of the quilt top. As you can see, there is a bit of waste with this method, but it seemed to me by watching the video related to the ruler that waste is part of acheiving an elongated triangle, no matter what approach you use.

So I bit the bullet and proceeded with paper piecing. At the moment, I have all of the star blocks complete. Yeah!!

Today I will begin cutting asymmetrical border #1, which is all straight line stitching. I am excited to have found a Bloc_Loc Half Square Triangle ruler at my local quilt store, The City Quilter (which also carries my line-and sells online), so I bought in the 6″ size. If they had the Half Rectangle Triangle, I would have bought that too.  😉 

The yellow in this photograph appears a bit too bright, I will work on getting the color better in future photographs.

It will be quite interesting to see the entire quilt upon completion. It is interesting to use the Quiltography for iPad app to design, but as I make the quilt blocks, I keep thinking about the size of the screen and the images you are able to see as you design within the app, compared to full sized, made in cloth quilt. 

Designing a quilt from start to finish with the intention of making blocks to a specific measurement has been a very interesting experience. I like it! And, with my affection for two sided quilts, I may well be making quilt top #2, to back this one!

I look forward to spring, don’t you? And because I need distraction, if you are making something you are excited about, I would love for you to share a link to your blog. Please show me what you are up to!

 

Wow. My Quilt Top Challenge.

I am stepping back into my own and it feels good. 

Artistically speaking, I have been on ‘secret hold’ for more than a year. Meaning, I have not been able to show my art, talk about it, not much of anything really. That is a difficult place to be, when you keep a blog where you talk about what you make. As I resume my artistic trajectory, I have been circling several different projects, the quilt top challenge being among them.

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 So far, I have made 5 blocks, pictured in the first photograph of this post. This morning, I did the math for the cutting of the rest of the star blocks. I am calling this block the Squat Star, because the points of the star are so short. (But also because I love squats in weight lifting!!).

I have been fussing and fretting over how to most effectively make Half Rectangle Triangles while keeping strong points. I have settled on using paper piecing as my method of doing so. I am unsure this is economical, it seems to waste quite a bit of cloth, but, I have gotten the swing of this approach, so I will stick with it for now.

I feel somewhat lost in my ability to grab this project by the horns and just make the top! I haven’t made a quilt to a specific scale from start to finish before, designing, doing the math, cutting, sewing and quilting. Usually, I either freeform or use an established pattern. So this is really working my skill set. 

I have completed these 5 blocks:

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My next set of blocks will look like this:

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I need to make 12 of the above block. I really look forward to cutting and using the fruit print. I had a bunch of fun creating that multicolor set and seeing it printed in Meadowlark is a treat.

Want to know some inside information? The blueberries, seen in the lower right, were originally drawn while going to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I normally draw things out on tracing paper, I find it easier to work with because it is transparent and you can layer and shift it around, making it easier to see what you are doing. That piece of tracing paper was tucked into a journal from that period and when I started working this fruit piece, I knew I had to make use of the drawing. I has stuck with me through 5 moves and I still knew where to find it when I wanted to use it this second time around! If you have this cloth, check out the little crown where the blueberry flower would have been attached, I love how that area printed. The above photo, unfortunately does not show the detail well as it is a screen shot from the Quiltography for iPad app (which I curve!).  😎 

Are you making a quilt top (or any other item) using Meadowlark? If so, I would love to see your progress.

 

In the thick of it!

I found the Quiltography app just in time. I am a bit addicted. 

I love figuring out how to affectively use Meadowlark. And this app is robust, it is certainly a great and easy to use springboard. My line of fabrics at first glance is far reaching, this is not a match-matchy line. Rather it is cheerful, playful and eclectic and colorful. The patterns and color choices are like a rainbow, some reds, oranges and yellow, along with some blue, purples, greens. Looking at them as a group, it is not entirely evident how to gather them up and redistribute the goodness into a good looking quilt top.  This app takes all of that away and helps me to see the possibilities.

I don’t know if you noticed but the programmer commented on my blog! Exciting indeed. I bought the app mid week. I stumbled around it and got to know it. When I got up to speed, which really hasn’t taken long, I posted my initial thoughts, and the developer responded to my blog directly! I like that.

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The first thing to do is to use the database! I headed over to my designers page at Windham Fabrics. I scrolled through and saved each of the largest images of my fabric line, 26 images in total. I imported these into the My Stash section.

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Then, I opened the My Blocks and started playing around, placing my designs in the blocks and saving. Then you move into My Quilts. By this time, you have used the features and you are cooking with gas! It doesn’t get much easier than this.

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 The blue grid fabric seen here? omg. The white lines in the grid? Wonk it up, baby.  😉 


 

I get nothing for talking up Quiltography. I just found it and like it. A lot. Maybe you will too! I mean, go buy it. Upload my line and let’s play!!! 🙂

Designing we will go

Generally speaking (at least in the recent past) when I make a quilt, I do it on the fly. I use no plan, I just start sewing and see what I come up with. I might get it in my head that I want to make wonky stars, or work with zigzags, and generally speaking, when I work this way, I don’t care if the blocks are slightly off, or if the points don’t match. I just go with it. 

Otherwise, I have been doing straight up jelly roll race type quilts. Yes, you heard it, strip piecing jelly rolls. I love that. It is easy. Fun. And without much thinking, you soon have a great quilt or throw that you can cuddle up in.

I am just beginning to experiment with quilt tops for my challenge and for now, I have decided to try using the Quiltography app for iPad.  I would like to play around with my fabric and see what comes of it, without cutting into my lovely bolts (yes, I have bolts of my line of fabric, Meadowlark). Let me say that again, bolts!

This app is new to me and I plan to spend a bit of time just playing around with half square triangles in the hope of loosening up and having some fun. I don’t yet know what my other 30% of the fabric will be, I figure that will make itself known after I fall in love with a design.

In the meantime, I will tell you my initial thoughts on the Quiltography app. The app costs 15$, which is a lot for an app. I know a friend who uses it and she likes it, so I figured, why not? It is fairly versatile. It is easy to import images of your intended cloth. There are quite a few block choices to start out, in addition to a ‘design your own block’ section that I have not tried. It seems you can also use a photo to ‘pixilate’ a design, which sounds neat, but again, I have not tried it.

It is a bit clunky in one respect-if you place a fabric in your quilt block and save it, you cannot delete the saved blocks. Being a fan of tidiness, this is not ideal. I will write to the folks who designed the app with my concern. Beside that, it really did not take long to learn to use the app and to save this, my first design using it. 

I am not completely sold on designing and working with the app (I do like free-form piecing quite a bit), but I value being able to experiment before cutting! Perhaps I will combine the two for a more planned free-form approach.

P.S. Fran Saperstein made the first quilt top using my fabrics, and she posted it to social media. Please check it out!

meadowlark quilt top challenge, thoughts and ideas.

Half square triangles. I hadn’t really ever considered how simple and effective half square triangles can be in designing quilts. Above are 72 possible uses half square triangles in combination. 

I return to this image often when thinking about making a quilt top. 

I like the idea of mega sized quilt blocks. 

I caught a fancy for the ease of making a 60″ throw sized quilt. I find this size to be easy to complete and large enough to have space to play around and have fun with.  

I love having a pile of quilts in the living room in winter time. We throw a few on the floor, snuggle, watch Tv. We each have favorite quilts and lots of pillows. 60″ quilts keep me making more quilts, it is my sweet spot size. Adding to the collection is great fun. 

And oh! I kinda decided that all quilts should be two sided. Because real estate. (As always, we will see.)

So these are my initial thoughts on making a top for the challenge. It’s a bit cobbled together. It will come into focus soon

I have three unfinished quilts in the works right now! 🙂

Meadowlark quilt top challenge! (and giveaway)

Above is a pillow I made using original prints. This was a gift for my Mom, “Hello Mom!”. I find it easy to use my original prints in a patchwork manner. The fabrics I print are small by necessity, so I find thinking about them in terms of patchwork quilting the easiest path.

In this photo, you see a quilt medallion or central portion of a future quilt top. This one includes a commercial print, the line drawn floral. Beside that, all fabrics are again original prints.

Here, I am pointing to a quilt designed and made by Stephanie Forsyth, whose pattern can be found in Modern Patchwork. The quilt is made entirely of Meadowlark. It was quite interesting to see how Stephanie used Meadowlark to make a really appealing quilt

I have been thinking it might be fun to host a quilt making challenge using Meadowlark. I love designing and making the patterns used in my commercial line of fabrics, but… When it comes to using that cloth, I hesitate. Over the past year, I have asked friends and colleagues to make quilts or items using Meadowlark to fill my booth at Market. Seeing what other people do with my cloth is a surprise and a delight each and every time. So I wonder if I might ask you, dear reader, to work your magical eye over Meadowlark, using this criteria:

1. The quilt top must contain at least 70% Meadowlark. The other 30% is up to you. I would really like to see what fabrics you pair with Meadowlark.

2. I encourage you to make a throw measuring 60″ square.

3. Some aspect of the quilt block Or quilt top must have half square triangles, because I like them.

4. This challenge is time sensitive, your quilt top must be completed between January 1 and March 1, 2015.

My rules are not set in stone, they act as guidance. If you make a baby quilt, great. If you use 65% Meadowlark, that is ok too. I may need to set the quilt police on your tail if you choose to omit half square triangles, but I bet you would survive that too.

Here are some of my thoughts about the Meadowlark line: 

I would love to see the fruit fabric interpreted in a ‘French provincial’ style. I say interpreted because the fruit prints are pretty colorful, and I think it would be a loose interpretation. 

The bird print is ‘my baby’, so if you wanted to feature that, go for it.

I think the oval daisy dot is a sleeper, so if you wanted to feature those prints, I would love to see what you come up with.

The vine prints? I think they would make great border prints.

 

Read the fine print:

1. If you are interested in participating in this challenge, please leave a comment. If you have a blog, leave a link to your blog in the comments. I will keep a list of participants in the sidebar of my blog.

2. If you would like to help spread the word about this challenge, I will give away a fat quarter pack of the entire Meadowlark line in one weeks time (Saturay, January 10).  What you need to do to participate in the give away, is link to this post on facebook, Twitter, or any other social media and post a link to that here, in the comments.

Places to purchase Meadowlark online?

The City Quilter

Gotham Quilts

Amazon also carries my line.  

McCall’s Quilting Magazine and a Meadowlark Giveaway-a guest post

I am hosting a guest post by Stephanie Forsyth, my quilt designer for Meadowlark. We are both really happy that her delicate, groovy, lush, and chic designs using Meadowlark, are going live! What follows are Stephanie’s words:


 

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Ladies and gentleman, I am in McCall’s Quilting Magazine! I still can’t quite believe it!

This is the closest I’ve gotten to being a “Covergirl” so far! As many of you know, I was working on some quilts that I wasn’t able to share (this was for Market this past spring!) Well, I was designing and making quilts using Melanie Testa’s fabric from her Meadowlark line put out by Windham Fabrics. I’ve been sitting on this news since this past spring – and now I can finally share it with you!

This was an exciting process, as I was able to see Melly creating the line, and then her excitement when Windham picked it up. It’s a special feeling to be one of the first people to ever cut into, and create with a designer’s first fabrics!

The Meadowlark line is Melly’s way of raising awareness about the plight of the 20 Common Birds in Decline listed by the Audobon Society. She has a post about it on her blog!

The original name of this quilt is “Lark Star” for the Eastern Meadowlark on the list. For publishing reasons, the piece goes by the name “Starling” in the magazine. They are offering a FREE alternate pattern of the quilt in king size! (You can also order a kit of the 60.5″60.5″ from them, that has the fabrics I used!)

Starling

I wanted to really be able to showcase Melly’s fabrics, so I approached the design process asking myself “How can I show these fabrics as they are, and still cut them up and piece them?” The answer was “THINK BIG!” and I did. At 60.5″x60.5″, the blocks in this quilt are 15″ blocks! I might be biased (that’s not a pun, I swear!), but I am in love with this quilt!


 Stephanie has an AWESOME prize opportunity for a lucky reader! I have arranged for Stephanie to  give away a fat quarter of every fabric from Meadowlark! 

Leave a comment on STEPHANIE’S blog to win! She will close commenting on December 7 at 11:59 P.M. She will announce the give away on Monday, December 8.

I have closed commenting on this post, so click on over to Stephanie’s blog (<——click it) now!!

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Gather Your Sew-plies Sew Along Part 2

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Hi! I am finally back at it. I edited this video early last week and have been wanting to write up a post about it ever since. I am editing The Next Book, creating projects that are on the super top secret side, and moving into our apartment. It has been great, and also somewhat crazy, in a roller coaster-ish sort of way. It feels good though. Everything is settling into place and the emotional undercurrents are settling into manageable proportion. Phew.

The next installment of the Gather your Sew-plies!! Sew Along video series will be the most exciting, in my opinion. That is where I will talk about finishing the purse, making spaghetti straps, using the release clasp notion, making a thimble pocket, covering earth magnets with fabric. I love finishing these little purses, it is the best part.

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This is a Gather your Sew-plies purse that I have been embroidering and hand stitching, on-the-go. I find the small format of the Gather you Sew-plies!! purse to be quite a good surface to hand stitch. It isn’t so large that it becomes difficult to complete. I can stuff it into my back pack, (along with a fully kitted out Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, I will talk about what I pack into a purse next week as well) and easily sew wherever I am. That is  my personal goal in making these purses. I want to sew back and forth on the subway, at coffee shops, wherever. So my projects need to be quickly packable. I love working this way.

Last fall I was sewing on the subway on a return trip from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was one of two people on the subway. A young Hispanic man and myself. He had to see what I was doing. When he caught my eye, he indicated he thought the stitchwork was neat. I told him I like to stitch graffiti. He gave me a thumbs up. It was a very interesting exchange. I love public acts of stitch education. Fiber art education.

Plus, wearing these purses reminds me of Athena, Goddess of the Hunt.

I hope you too might also sew on the go. Do your own form of fiber art, quilt art, fabric art awareness. I want young’uns to come into the creative fold. Sewing on the go is a good way to get the message out.


 

KingFisherMTesta

King Fisher Child

12×12″ Pineboard

2013

I painted this series last year. This photograph does the painting no justice. My iPhone camera is broken, sorry. I will replace it soon. Anyway, apologies aside, This painting is a favorite. There is magic in the drawing and layering, acrylic paint is fun. It pleases me. 


 

I am planning a quilt top challenge using Meadowlak. Please stay tuned and know it is on the radar for a future post. Here is some eye candy in the meantime.

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American Patchwork & Quilting ((Podcast))

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I am really happy to say that Pat Sloan and American Patchwork & Quilting did an interview of me to discuss Meadowlark and some upcoming projects. I would love for you to listen to this podcast as you are able. You can subscribe by itunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting) if you weren’t able to listen to it live, and please check out Pat’s post on her personal blog here.

This was a 12 minute interview and boy do 12 minutes go by quickly. Because of this, I have decided to upload and answer some of the other questions that Pat might have asked me if there was time to do so.


 

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: Your fabric line Meadowlark is very painterly and is your signature style.. I love it! How did you develop the fabric line? (explain your motivation with the Audubon list of birds in Decline)

My line is named after the Eastern Meadowlark found within the bird print in the line. I have always been enamored of birds and when I found the Audubon list of Common Birds in Decline, I knew I needed to add my voice to those seeking to help save the birds and bring light to how to manage the habitat that supports them. The Eastern Meadowlark needs prairie grassland to lay eggs and nest. Smart management of both public and privately owned grass fields can really help. Mowing these fields in late August will allow Meadowlarks the time they need to help their babies jump the coop.

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: Did you have to narrow down the colors, or did that happen naturally?

After I shopped my portfolio at Market and was taken on by Windham fabrics, the folks at Windham chose the designs they wanted and asked if I might tighten up my printing and color choices. I thought about this for a while and decided the only way to proceed was to print a whole new group. I chose a new palette, mixed my dyes and printed a tighter, cleaner, more cohesive group of prints. At that point I thought I was finished. I met with the folks at Windham again and was asked to please print some tone on tone or semi-solids. And again, I went home, and printed more cloth. 

As you can tell, I went through a bit of a learning curve with this whole process. I trust my next line will be much easier to create, print, and submit to Windham because of this.

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: What is your favorite project you’ve made (or seen made) with your fabric so far?

Well, while you can see images of the projects on the Windham website (I can’t link directly for technical reasons), I love the quilt called Lark Star, designed and made by Stephanie Forsyth. I am happier still to be able to say, this quilt is being written up for an upcoming McCall’s Quilting. But this really isn’t a fair question. Many of my friends and sample makers made awesome work and several of them have been taken on for editorial placement in out favorite quilting magazines, Generation Q, Modern Patchwork, McCall’s Quilting and Fons and Porters Easy Quilt, and Quilting Arts too.

I feel blessed.

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: I’d love to know what style quilts  you drawn to?

The pretty ones!

I love modern quilting, which is so clean and crisp, but the textile designer in me balks at too much solid, unpatterned cloth. Because I like designing and printing patterns, when I begin to make my own quilts, I want to use lots and lots of patterned cloth. 

Recently an editor at a favorite magazine said that my quilts are contemporary. As a result, I have been researching what this means and how my quilts might fit into this category. I feel like the doors are wide open for me at the moment. I considered myself an art quilter for so long that now that my sites have swung back to my more traditional roots, the quilt world has become my oyster!


I hope you enjoy the podcast and my additions to the content. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

 

Confessions of an alleged quilter

(Helen is a quest contributor to the Meadowlark Blog Hop giveaway. The art piece that Helen made using trapunto features one of the 6 Common Birds in Decline seen in the Meadowlark bird print, the Greater Scaup. She will tell you about the making of the quilt below. I can tell you, Helen is a treasure, I am quite happy to get to know her and to call her a friend.)

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Sometimes you just have to say yes.  When Melanie Testa put out a call for help getting projects sewn for her Meadowlark launch for Windham Fabrics I instinctively said I would help.  Well, that was my first reaction.  My second was “What am I thinking?  Why did I say yes?  Now have to show up, meet new people, talk to them, be creative…oh my, what have I gotten myself into???”

The day arrived.  I had mixed emotions approaching City Quilter, arriving at the same time as Melanie.  We introduced ourselves and I was relieved to discover that she was as sweet and approachable in person as she is online and in her books.  I met the others in this crew of talented quilters and was excited to see the work that had been done the previous week as well as projects that individuals had designed and sewn.  It was intimidating.  But I was there and I was going to help.  All I had to do was help sew blocks together and then rows for the gorgeous string quilt as well as assist sewing the beautiful bird quilt together.  It was fun and a relief to get lost in sewing and chatting and doing.  Not worrying about work or life or anything – just putting one stitch after another.  Nirvana.

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The day ended too quickly.  I volunteered to bind the string quilt and make a sleeve.  There were scraps of fabric left and I asked Melanie if she needed any small wall hangings.  She did.  Again, I said yes.  I would make a wall hanging.  I pulled some fabric, said goodbye, and was on my way.  And then realized that I had committed to completing these projects in just about three weeks.  Here’s the thing.  I am an “alleged quilter”.  I start projects. Some of them get completed; most get almost completed.  It took me two years to put the binding on a quilt my sister made.  I began my first quilt in 1981 when I was working summer stock and my cat Maggie was born.  I finished it in 1998, the year Maggie died.  And lately, I hadn’t even been sewing.  I was drawing and painting and playing around paper.  Well, ok then.  Oh, hell.  Why not?  I said yes.  Now I had to do it.  

I work better if I don’t think too much so I took a bird square and centered it on a muslin backing.  Then I cut 2-1/2” strips of the other fabrics and started building out from the bird.  Once the muslin was completely covered machine stitched around all the elements in the bird patch, then I embellished the fabric around the center square with orange, purple, and aqua rayon thread to help marry the birds to the surrounding fabric.  This, of course led to the center not laying flat because, well, all of the stitching caused distortion.  The fix?  Trapunto.  I’d never tried this padded and raised quilt design before but thought it was worth a shot.  Why not cut the muslin and stuff all the elements in the bird square?  It might take care of the distortion and would make the birds really pop.  So I did. And it worked.  And I was excited.  I didn’t have enough scraps to make a border so I stitched it like a pillow cover.  And then pressed like crazy and added a sleeve.  Lastly, I made the pieced binding as well as the sleeve for the string quilt.  In less than three weeks.  All because I said yes.

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Melly’s Meadowlark fabric is a joy to work with.  The design, the color, the feel and quality of the fabric – everything about this line is exceptional.  And I got to play a small part in the launch.  I also met and worked with one of my design icons and other really talented women.  All because I said yes.  I can’t wait to do it again. Thanks Melly for letting me be a part of this adventure!

Please let me know what you think.  Just leave a comment for a chance to win a Fat Stack of 10” squares of all 26 fabrics in the Meadowlark line.  Melly’s also giving away 3 copies of her wonderful book “Dreaming From the Journal Page”.  If you missed any of the other posts in this hop just head over to the links below.  And don’t forget to leave your comments there, too. 

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting on Melly’s blog!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting on Melly’s blog!

Jacqui Holmes Calhoun on Meadowlark

Before Market, Windham Fabrics sent me two yards of each fabric in my line, Meadowlark. They asked if I might have a sewing bee in order to make samples. I agreed and after a call to Dale and Cathy, set up two consecutive Tuesdays at The City Quilter. Then I contacted the two guilds I am a member of, and asked if anyone was interested in helping out. Jacqui, the author of the following post was one of the people who showed up. Jacqui and I immediately hit it off and I am happy to say, we are already making plans to go to museum shows and to have lunch. 
Here are Jacqui’s words on working with Meadowlark…
 
Meadowlark Scrap
 
Hi everyone, and welcome to my guest post for Melanie Testa’s Meadowlark Blog Hop!
 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun here —artist, quilter, book and papermaker.
It was great fun working with Melly’s  new line, Meadowlark. This  fabric is very painterly, with a block printing-on-paper quality that was fun to play with in fabric form. The patterns are full of  rich color and the whole line has an energetic vibe. 
 
Check out my “Four by Four” nine patch quilt I made. 
I used 2.5″ squares to make the pattern- in- pattern. 
Love the dots…and the birds….and the grid….
I’m seeing  a book cover in my future.
 
JCH4x4
 
I love the 9 Patch block in all its many variations.
Did you know that the 9 times table is the only set that can be written
in reverse and upside down and always come out right?
 
From the top: Write down the right side #9 in descending (down) order…9,8,7,6, etc.until you get to 0.
 At the bottom next to 0 on  the left side write 9,8,7,6 etc. in Ascending order (up) and voyla! The 9 times table re-made as play!
 
For someone who is SO NOT a math person I  never forgot that game… and play I did with Melly’s Meadowlark stack. Oh, and then added a few more pieces for more fun. 
Speaking of adding….
If you add each line of the 9 times table it always adds up to 9!
  9,  18 (1+8=9),  27 (2+7=9),  36 (3+6=9)…..You get the idea,
so you see I just had to add those  purple dots. I couldn’t help myself.
 
——–
 
To win your very own Meadowlark Stack of 10″ squares (10 is a great number too don’t you think?) just leave a comment by JUNE 10, 2014.
 
Melly is also giving away 3 copies of her fabulous book “Dreaming from the Journal Page”, for even more inspiration.
 One will be given away on her blog and 
the other two will be given away at the end of the Blog Hop. You have to leave a post to have a chance to win.
 

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting here!

 

for the birds

The small quilt sandwich seen above is an accomplishment of conversational prints! It is a pun, do you get it? 

Armchair Birder. 

Total geeky cackle over here, this is great birding humor! 🙂 I got into textile design because I fell in love with conversational prints. So, I particularly like this combination of fabrics.  But I am also an armchair birder. My bird magazines come and it really is all about the pictures!

I mean. 

Just sayin’.  😉 

Years ago, I found the Audobon’s list of 20 Common Birds in Decline during an internet search. I sat reading the article, tears rolling down my face. But just as strongly as the tears themselves was the belief  that I could do something to raise awareness for these birds. I felt resolved. I don’t know how this occurred, just that it did. 

I began scouring the net for information about the birds’ habitats and the needs of that habitat (and it’s inhabitants) to maintain symbiosis with these 20 birds. I decided to make artwork for each of the twenty birds on the list. Meadowlark’s bird fabric contains six of the twenty birds on Audubon’s list. I have tried to contact their corporate office to inform them of my project, but they don’t answer the call.I wish they would because I don’t want to unintentionally misinform, but, oh well. I will do my best.

Cancer treatment really made me a different person. It is a big deal to go through. But it has also served to motivate me. It gave me time to think about what I wanted and to daydream about how I might achieve it. It showed me how little time I have and that I want to make a difference.  As I lay in bed during treatment, I watched David Attenborough’s Life of Birds. I watched it over and over, except for the burrowing parrots. (Those birds are mean little birds. I didn’t watch that segment hardly at all.) But I lay there watching and wondering how I could do to help the birds that I so adore. I drifted off to sleep, came back, watched more. It was dreamy. But in viewing the show and thinking about what is important to me, I kept coming back to the list of Common Birds in Decline that affected me so deeply.

I have been exploring the imagery of The 20 birds in all media, paper, cloth printings combined with hand embroidery. So when it came time to start designing fabrics for release in my line, of course, I decided to feature some of the birds on the Audubon list. I hope to be able to create a fabric for each of the birds on the list, we will see. 

I will be blogging about these new works and the birds themselves in the next few months.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings on the topic of birds. 

EMeadowlark

The Eastern Meadowlark is on the List, unfortunately.  It’s numbers have decreased by 73% in forty years.  Here is a good place to start learning about Eastern Meadowlark and what you can do to help this bird. 

And remember, I’m hosting a blog hop giveaway of Fat Stacks of the Meadowlark line, here is the list of participants (leave a comment on each posts related to the hop). Today is Leslie Tucker Jenison’s day to post and I must say, I love the ingenuity of her design! The quilt is more like a throw, it has a great ‘hand’, please go check out her post

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting here!

 

 

meadowlark blog hop give away

I am so friggin’ excited to finally be working in the textile industry and to have a line of fabrics coming out with my name on the selvedge. I mean, so, friggin’, excited. 

Spring Quilt Market 2014 served to ‘launch’ my premiere fabric line, Meadowlark by Windham Fabrics which will be officially release this coming October 2014. It is used to create ‘buzz’.  Talking about buzz, check out my ‘look book’! Or this video that Victoria Findlay Wolfe did at Market (she is part of this blog hop too)!

Being the interactive, show and tell driven person that I am, I set up shop at quilt market to demo the techniques I use in the printing of the Meadowlark line, and I surrounded myself with the most awesome, beautifully created samples that I possibly could. And I must say, I hardly sewed even a single stitch of the beautiful work seen in my booth. I feel absolutely blessed to be able to work with some of the most driven, detail oriented artists and quilters in this industry. 

I have been told that my sample team and I used the most fabric ever, in preparation for the launch of a fabric line. Woot!! If you ask me, too much is just about enough.

Market was a whirlwind of activity. I invited many of the superstars in our industry to come to my booth and print or to say, ‘Hello’.  I had so much fun and smiled so much that my face hurt at the end of the weekend. 

In celebration of the launch of the Meadowlark line, we are giving away Fat Stacks (10″ square of each of the 26 fabrics in the line) and 3 copies of Dreaming From the Journal Page. I will also be giving away some 5″ Charm packs from my own ‘stash’ (Windham cuts these as giveaway at Market and I nabbed some). I will give away one copy of dreaming here, the other two will be given to whichever blog on the hop that receives the most comments. We will use the hashtag #MellyMeadowlark, so if you want to spread the word on Facebook and other social networking sites please use this tag. Leave a comment to enter a chance to win some of my pretties and don’t hesitate to ask your local quilt store to carry my line. In fact, you might just forward a link to this post:

http://melanietesta.com/2014/06/meadowlark-blog-hop-give-away/ ‎

I honestly cannot wait for you to get your hands on my fabrics and show me your skillz. In the meantime, check out what my design team has to say on the matter…

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting here!

 

Toot, toot, toot!!!

Updates from the Meadowlark front:

Craft Garden Mom includes an interview of Nell Timmer, who works at Windham Fabrics. Nell talks about the history of Windham, the designers launching fabrics this week and of course, she talks about my fabric line, Meadowlark, and coming to my apartment to see where I work. She then goes on to drop knowledge bombs about how you might work with Windham utilizing your specia skillz…

It’s a lot of fun. Please check it out.

Modern Sewciety will be uploading their 25th episode on Friday May 16, which will feature interviews of each of the four Windham Fabric designers that are launching lines at Market this week-which includes me (bet you hadn’t caught that). This being a milestone episode for Stephanie, there will be give-away’s galore! I am told that a bundle of Meadowlark will be up for grabs. 🙂  I will do my best to post and toot, toot, toot my horn while I am at Market, but I thought I would catch you up on some fun stuff.

Oh! I have decided to use Instagram. Most of the posts are pushed to Facebook, but you might like to friend me over there too.

 

Meadowlark Blog Hop

Meadowlark Blog Hop Image
 
I am organizing a blog hop fabric giveaway to celebrate the release of my first line of fabrics! Please stay tuned for your chance to win!!! The ‘hop’ kicks off, here, at MelanieTesta.com on June 2.
 
 
Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 Blog-TBD
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-CHelen will be guest posting here!

 

Meadowlark by Melanie Testa

I am so very excited to announce my fabric line, Meadowlark. This is a dream come true and I could not be happier. Windham Fabrics has done a sensational job of interpreting my designs. The texture, color, and whimsy of the designs shines through beautifully.

If you have been reading this blog and you know me, you know that my ‘main squeeze’ in the art department is printing with Procion MX dyes. The subtlety and beauty of this medium is exquisitely captured in every print in the Meadowlark line. There are 26 designs in all. 11 main designs, in two color ways each and 4 semi solids. All were created using our favorite art materials, like fun foam, carving rubber, stencils and thermofax screens. I have been having so much fun creating this method of printing that using these humble materials contributes to my excitement in showing them to you. I hope you like them as much as I do.

I have been working with my design team, awesome friends who want to help Meadowlark succeed, and we will be having a blog hop giveaway of fat quarters in a few short weeks. More importantly, we will be showing off the many projects made that highlight what can be done with the Meadowlark line, and believe me, I couldn’t put every project in this teaser video.

Please don’t hesitate to ask your local quilt store to carry my line, and I know I am tooting my own horn, but I believe these designs are like nothing you would normally see in your favorite quilt store. Beside, there are birds, dots, fruits, high heeled shoes, all very iconic and fresh. 

I am just squealing with excitement to finally be able to talk about and show you what I have been up to over here. Once you get some of these fabrics into your creative paws, PLEASE show me what you do with them. I have been busy presenting these fabrics and now that they will be released into the world, they will begin to have a life of their own. That is amazing! 

Big Sigh.

MellyFatStacks

Hello. I have been a long time gone. Welcome. I am back.

I did it.

Heave a sigh.

Please! 

 

One day, in the very near future (May!), there will be a line of fabrics with my name on the selvedge. This is a dream come true. I am romantic about this step, I have wanted to ‘be’ a ‘textile designer’ for a very long time, so long, in fact, the idea has become personally mythical. To have actualized this dream feels good,

really good.

To say that I will have a line of fabrics? I need to pinch myself to remind me that I did it. This is real.

I will be part of printed textile history!

I love to paw through photographic repesenations, collections of textile designs. I love to read up on the artists, styles, color choices. Maybe one day, my prints will end up in books similar to my favorite. 

As a result of this hard work, I have lost my blogging voice in the process. All this activity and making stalls my ability to share and upload and post to my blog-but oh! My! Goodness! Soon, you will see what I have done! I am very excited. But, I miss sharing with you.  It isn’t that I don’t think about posting, I have just been very busy fulfilling deadlines. It has been great. I am doing the work I have always wanted to.

This means, life is good. Really good.

I am piecing and making quilts, using -my- printed cloth, which turns out to be

magical!

I love piecing, I love seeing the prints made smaller, cut, fitted and nestled against their fellows, once sewn, a simple four patch. I am on a mission to economically use as much of my printed cloth as is possible. I am cutting squares in 1.25″, 2″, 2.5″,25″ and 3.625″ squares.

Big fat stacks!

I want all of the usable cloth in this studio to be ON the chopping block. I am going to arrange them in gradations. I need more. Much more! Fat, fat stacks.

(I use the words ‘fat stacks’ in honor of Jessie Pinkman on Breaking Bad-I am somewhat obsessed with Breaking Bad.)

Oh! Plus there are soy wax resisted silk velvet squares mixed in there!

I need some wide whale corduroy…