Saturday, June 28, 2008

Moments to Remember:

These past few months have brought me some awesome experiences - the kind that make you know that you are in exactly the right place and doing exactly what you are meant to be doing. No one could ask for anything more than that!

Here are some of the highlights: first - I spent a week at the AQS International Quilt Show in Paducah KY (the largest quilt show in the country, I believe). I was there with three friends (two of whom I had not seen in almost a year). We had a blast seeing the show and visiting all the vendors as well as seeing the sights in Paducah. What great fun! But one of the best part of the show for me was when I had a chance to visit the owner of an online business, Batiks by Design, with whom I had formed a partnership of sorts. We "met" when I had my second pattern, "Carousel" tested and my tester, Peggy "introduced" me to her friend, the owner, Patti Oakley because she thought my designs would look wonderful in Patti's batiks. And she was SO right! Patti has been very successful selling my patterns at all the major retail shows around the country, as well as on line and I made some of the samples for her business with her fabrics. We have been e-mailing back and forth for a number of months and then I had a chance to meet her in person at the AQS show and see my patterns all made up in the most beautiful traditional batiks imaginable (imported directly from Indonesia). I can't tell you how cool it was to see my designs on display and being sold at such a major show!
I invite you to visit Batiks by Design to see for yourself the outstanding fabrics available on her site, as well as many really nice patterns (including three of mine!!)
The most recent very cool experience I have had involves the same pattern ("Moon Glow"). I was coming home from visiting in Maine for a few days and stopped by Knights Quilt Shop in Cape Neddick (a quilt shop well worth going a bit out of your way for), where I have been wanting for some time to introduce my patterns . I had just missed the owner but presented my designs and Quilt's catalog (my publisher) to the staff to pass along to the owner. One of these very friendly ladies saw my "Moon Glow" pattern and said: "I have seen this! Someone recently brought it into the shop to purchase the fabrics to make it and Michelle (the owner) saw it and loved it. I think we are going to order it!" Wow! How is that for a great reception and totally unexpected! Very gratifying.!
I guess I must be doing something right!
Cary Flanagan
Something Sew Fine Quilt Design

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gimme a "G", Gimme a "U"......

Last week I attended the Plymouth County Cranberry Quilters spring luncheon in Halifax MA, where I was honored to be asked to present my trunk show, "Perfection is Overrated". What a fun group they are! I have several times already retold a story one of my tablemates related about giving her husband's tropical fish a "vacation" in the goldfish pond only to learn that birds eat tropical fish; the story, and my tablemate, were just too darn funny. They are a talented group and seem to be very "challenge - oriented", with at least one if not up to three challenges going on in their guild at all times. In my world that would translate into way too many new UFOs in the pile, but more power to them.

As I take my trunk show to different guilds, I am seeing so many great ideas to attempt to instill in my own guild. Beginning with the (to me) fairly obvious idea that Show and Tell should be done at every meeting, no matter what the program is. My own guild, Squanicook Colonial in Townsend MA whom I love dearly and is fantastic and I don't mean to make it sound like I am being critical even though I am, only does Show and Tell when we don't have a speaker or other elaborate program, which this past guild year translated to only 3 or 4 times. So when we do get to have it, it takes a very L-O-N-G time. I want to be able to listen to what people have to say about their work and admire the quilts thoroughly without having my eyes glaze over, which can be done when only 10-20 people are showing and telling each month. When upwards of 50 do it because it has been three months since the last show and tell, I personally tend to lose focus after a while. And what is so wrong about having show and tell when a speaker is present? As a speaker myself, I say NOTHING AT ALL! I love seeing what other guilds are doing and all the talent in them. Anyway, I am incoming VP of our guild, and I smell a change in the air!

Update on my totally adorable puzzle challenge quilt that I was sure was going to win all sorts of ribbons at my June guild meeting: It won nothing. Nada. Not even honorable mention. But after seeing the other quilts, it didn't deserve to, for sure. I cannot believe the talent in my guild! Not just trying to kiss up due to my comments in the previous paragraph, I promise, I really do mean it! But I still love my quilt, which my three daughters are enamored with. Since I spend my days with three girls 5 and under, it was fairly easy to pick a theme for my challenge. Forgive the cockeyed state of the photo. One might think I took it after a cocktail or two. One might be right. In any case, you can get a good idea of how much fun I had coming up with blocks for it. The tree actually has a heart on it with "PC + GH" on it like it is carved into the tree - stands for Prince Charming + Greta Helfter, my almost 2 year old. It had been way too long since I created a quilt just for me and I now feel I have to do it more often. When I find the time......

Beth Helfter
EvaPaige Quilt Designs

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Pattern Announcement

Purple Moose Designs is proud to announce the release of their newest pattern! "My Pin Collection" is an easy-to-construct wall hanging suitable for any skill level. Once completed you have the perfect place to display your collectible pins, ribbons or awards. The finished size is approximately 20" X 22". The center panel and the border offer some great opportunities to use fabrics relating to your own pin collection. Some possible collections include quilting, sports, charity work, scouting, travel/vacations or ??? This is a fat quarter friendly design.

Pattern is currently available at our website and will be debuted at the Clamshell show July 19th and 20th.

Terri Sontra

Head Moose

Purple Moose Designs

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home again!

I am home again from a wonderful and truly relaxing week away. No radio, no TV, no computer or any other modern distractions. Only the sound of wind in the trees and little bird and animal noises in the surrounding woods. The large living room and dining area of the cabin face the lake with windows on three sides - what a fabulous studio! I always wish I could bring it back home with me at the end of our stay - especially the view of the lake! Our only concession to the outside world is our cell phones - DH's mother is 93 and we like to stay in daily contact with her. (She is a quilter also, by the way, something really nice that she and I have in common.)

Believe it or not I worked on five different quilt projects (out of the seven that I brought with me). I find that designing and creating are so energizing and yet relaxing at the same time that I always make them a priority for vacation. I am well on my way towards a couple of new quilt designs and new pattern samples. What a great feeling! (Of course actually finishing a project while on vacation is kind of beside the point - too much like actual work, if you know what I mean!)

I also finished reading a lovely book about an Amish family living in Lancaster County, PA (where so many beautiful quilts are made), and started reading a 700+ page novel which intertwines the early years of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation and the colonies on Cape Cod with a modern day intrigue. Great fun. What more can one ask for?

I, too, am v ery pleased and impressed that my idea for this blog has materialized so quickly and so well. Many thanks to Barbara C. for getting it up and running and for giving us "blog newbies" helpful tips for how to make it successful and interesting.

Please watch for new patterns coming soon and hopefully some photos of work in progress.

Happy Quilting!


Cary Flanagan
Something Sew Fine Quilt Design

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Works in Progress at Six Gables Designs

It's been a busy last couple of months. With shows coming up later this summer and fall, I've been working on patterns for some fun new quilts that will make their appearance soon.

My newest design (I just finished stitching the borders this morning) is as yet unnamed. It was designed to make use of those one-yard cuts you often see at quilt shows. I began with a packet of five fabrics I purchased at my last show. I'm very enthusiastic about this pattern- it's easy and lends itself to just about any quilt fabrics you can imagine. I chose very soft, feminine pale aquas and lilacs for my sample.

Currently being tested by my pattern testers Denise and Stacy is "Patty Piper Pieced a Pair of Painless Pointless Pinwheels". Again, this is a very simple pattern, with a bonus- you can piece TWO tops in a weekend (really). Also, both these patterns, with their simple piecing,  are great choices for flannel quilts.

Happy stitching and stay cool!
Barbara Chojnacki

Monday, June 9, 2008

Praise God for the computer savvy!

I am always so impressed by NEQDC's many talents, but today I am particularly impressed by our efficiency......four days ago Cary had an idea for us to set up a group blogspot, and with Barbara C's work we are already up and running! Thank you to both of you. As you will undoubtedly come to find out, computers and I do not get along well, and I love being associated with people who can do things so (seemingly) effortlessly.

Case in point - I am in the process of joining Quilter's Warehouse with my own EvaPaige Quilt Designs page, and as exciting as this is, I am also not enjoying my homework, part of which involves resizing photos from my pattern covers. Most normal people would be able to do this in their sleep, I however prefer to stress out about it and spend hours googling "pixel" and "resolution" in the hope of a sudden "ah-ha" moment which never comes. Sigh. Thankfully, most of the professional contacts I have that need to deal with me on some computing level seem to be putting up with me so far; I definitely need to be wary of pressing me luck!

EPQD's namesakes, my 5 year old twins Eva and Paige, have their dance recital dress rehersal this afternoon. They cannot wait to wear their costumes and dance on the stage (a tap number to "Stupid Cupid" which, in my not at all humble or unbiased opinion, is totally adorable). I only hope for three things: 1. No one passes out from heat exhaustion as it is forecast to be 100 this afternoon. 2. Neither of them (or anyone else in the class for that matter) fall off the stage - there is a lot of jumping involved and they all tend to jump a foot forward every time. and 3. Paige doesn't get stage fright, literally. The girl loves to perform for an audience, but gets freaked out when she looks at an actual stage head on. I am hoping I can sneak her in the back way so she doesn't have to see the stage.

Then I am off to my final guild meeting of the year. We have our "Puzzle Challenge" reveal tonight and I, again in a totally humble and unbiased way, think my quilt is fantastic. We'll see what the group thinks!

Beth Helfter
EvaPaige Quilt Designs

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Trunk Show

I recently gave a trunk show to the Cocheco Quilt Guild in Dover NH. It was my first invitation from a guild outside my local area to do a presentation and I was really pleased to have been invited. I brought quilts and samples from my very first quilt (from about 1992) to my current original designs and gave the audience a look back at where I have come from as a designer and where I am now. I got a great response from the audience and felt really good about the whole experience. I hope I get many more invitations like that!

Tomorrow I am off for a week's vacation at my family's summer cabin on a small lake near Conway NH. The cabin is secluded and very quiet - a really great place to relax and create. I have brought enough quilting projects to last me a month, but alas - I have only a week. My DH and I are also the caretakers of the place so I will need to spend time on opening the place for the summer season and all the work that entails. But I plan plenty of time to sew as well as time to simply relax, maybe swim, go for walks with the dogs and READ - a great luxury I do not have much time for normally.

I will write again when I return next week and will post a few photos for your enjoyment.

Cary Flanagan
Something Sew Fine Quilt Design