Friday, August 22, 2008

And so it begins...

I was born in New England with a New England Dad and a California Mom. I grew up with the best of both coasts but have always considered myself a New Englander at heart. Whenever I have lived away from this corner of the U.S. I get most home sick during the fall season. I love the crisp air, cool evenings and the colors. In my opinion, Mother Nature saves her best work for the fall season. I guess it's no surprise that my fabric stash is predominately fall colors, my clothing too. For those who have never witnessed the fall foliage in person or who have only made brief visits to view its beauty, here's a tip: it's not a static thing to be viewed!

Here's a photo of how it starts, just a hint of muddy purple on the occasional leaf. To the newcomer it might be viewed as a diseased or dying leaf. With a little time though, it will be a thing of spectacular beauty. The process takes a couple of months to complete with many stages along the way.

Designing a quilt works much the same way, it's a process that must start small and build to a beautiful ending. Picking colors for a quilt can be helped by looking at the fall leaves as well. Of course there's the show stopping bright reds and yellows but they would not be so show stopping if there were no browns, muddy purples and dark oranges to set them off. Next time you see the fall foliage (either in person or a photo) take a much closer look at each individual color. Most of them are not that exciting by themselves and there are lots of boring "support" colors. So remember when choosing colors and fabrics for a quilt, a little "show stopper" with lots of boring "support" colors and you'll do fine, just like Mother Nature!

I'll keep you updated on the progress of the color changes here in the heart of New Hampshire. And did you notice the spider on the leaves? I didn't while taking the photo in my yard, only found him while editing the photo. Sorry if you're spider squeamish!!

Terri Sontra
Purple Moose Designs

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Really, honey, the lake did eat my camera!

After a fabulous vacation in Minnesota which included a 2 day air travel oddessey on one end and a 15+ hour one on the other, wherein I will forever boycott a certain airline which will remain nameless (but rhymes with Hair Ban), I am back and catching up on all my laundry, emails, sewing, and now blogging. For the second year in a row I took my traveling "bag show" with me and visited 7 shops along my travels, introducing each to the joys and wonders of EvaPaige Quilt Designs. I had wonderful experiences at each, but have to say my favorite was Bear Patch Quilting Company in White Bear Lake, MN, where several members of the staff suggested I should move to MN because my style fit in so well with their shop. Finally, people who understand me! LOL! I told them that every time I travel there in summertime, I almost think I could live in Minnesota, but then I go in wintertime and experience cold in the negative double digits and realize I would never survive. (My DH, the native Minnesotan, accurately states that the cold is how they "keep the riffraff out"; I happily admit to being riffraff.)

Although the family had a wonderful vacation, my camera did not fair quite as well. Within hours of our arrival, I managed to drop it off the dock into West Battle Lake, where it met its instant demise. My Brother in Law took one look at the circa 2001 antique digital and asked if it had really been an accident, leading me to realize the huge blessing this really is, and this afternoon I will be camera shopping! I think I know what I want and am very excited to have something that will photograph my quilts (oh yeah, and the kids too) in a much better, sharper, light. Stay tuned for lots more photos!

I get my own mini vacation this weekend when I head to Portsmouth NH for my annual Girls Weekend (our 16th!) with my best friends from college. We plan to stay at a spa, eat at some fabulous restaurants, shop, and give ourselves a walking tour of University of New Hampshire in Durham, where we all graduated from way back in the early 90s. Hoping to return Sunday evening refreshed like I have never been refreshed before.

Beth Helfter
EvaPaige Quilt Designs

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Introducing Kristi Parker

It’s about time I introduced myself to our blog readers! My name is Kristi Parker and I’m very pleased to be a part of the New England Quilt Designers Collective. I am the only member who doesn’t have a web site up yet, but it will be coming…eventually.

I made my first quilt at about age 12 from all kinds of sewing scraps. It included everything; polyester double knit, tie dyed cotton, felt, and even velvet!! Over the years I have taken classes from well known quilters, read every book and magazine about quilting I could get my hands on, attended umpteen guild meetings and quilt shows, and have taught many, many quilt classes. I guess I have come full circle. Now I am a Family and Consumer Science teacher at a middle school, teaching 12 year olds how to sew!
Besides teaching, I take care of 6 family members, I’m a professional clown (yes, you read that correctly!), and I design quilting and craft patterns.

My business name is Chicken Soup Designs. I currently have 4 patterns that Nancy Dill of is going to publish, market and distribute for me. I have published several other patterns which are available at some southern New Hampshire quilt shops and will eventually be on the website that I’m developing. You can e-mail me at for more information if you are interested.

I enjoy a challenge when I create quilts for myself. My favorite “block” is the Mariner’s Compass. I also love to combine piecing with appliqué. I love to do hand work, but find myself doing most of my piecing, appliqué, and quilting by machine. My quilts range from traditional to contemporary, and I enjoy using everything from antique feed-sacks to bright batiks (not in the same quilt, however!)
The photo at the top of the page is "Mariner's Jewels", a project that I hope to complete by the end of the year. My husband helped me draft the Center compass using a CAD program and plotter. This quilt has a lot of symbolism of my family history in it.

The second photo shows "Ode to Flossie Hill" a quilt I made from old blocks given to me by an elderly relative. I set them on point alternating with muslin and added appliqued flowers made from feed sacks.

As soon as my patterns are ready at, I will let you all know!
Until then, Happy Stitching!

Kristi Parker
Chicken Soup Designs

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What do you look for in a quilt pattern?

Here's your chance to tell pattern designers what you're looking for when shopping for a quilt pattern. New England Quilt Designers Cooperative is a group of six quilt designers who work independently on our own work. We pool our resources to market ourselves and our patterns at quilt shows and this blog. We each have our own style and vision for what we wish to produce and how we wish to run our businesses. We all have the same issues though when it comes to what the consumer is looking for and that's where you, the discerning consumer, come in. Won't you take a few moments to leave a comment and tell us what you think about when choosing a pattern? We would all appreciate it and it will help us to get the patterns to market that you are interested in.

What size quilt pattern do you generally purchase - wall hangings, lap, bed sizes? Is it important to you to have several sizes in one pattern?

Would you be more apt to purchase a pattern if it had an "extra something" included, such as a matching pillow or some other coordinating item?

Thinking back on the last few patterns you purchased - what drew you to that pattern? Was it the colors of the cover sample (what were those colors?), a holiday item (which holiday?), the simplicity/complexity of the pattern or something else?

Is there a particular genre of quilt patterns that you never see but are always looking for? Or perhaps one you are tired of seeing everywhere?

What price is too much to pay for a pattern?

Thank you for taking the time to give us a little insight into your quilt pattern purchases. We look forward to reading your responses. And who knows, you may have just played a part in getting the next hit pattern to market!

Thanks again for leaving us a comment,
Terri Sontra
Purple Moose Designs

and the rest of the New England Quilt Designers Cooperative!

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Patterns for Sale

Patty Piper and Five Yard Dash are up on my web site. 

Barbara Chojnacki