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.

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.

 

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!

 

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…