Showing posts with label Andrea Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andrea Johnson. Show all posts


Score at the Extravaganza

I went to the Springfield Antique Extravaganza yesterday and scored these beauties. twenty one of them! They're 15.5" wide and ready to be appliqued. They look like they date from the late 20s/early 30s and I've counted 42 different fabrics. I don't know if I got a good deal on them as I'm not someone who buys things like this often, but I don't really care - these will be made into a quilt for my family and maybe a few pillows for gifts or to sell on Etsy. So excited to get moving on this baby!

Kelyy and I were discussing how to set these - thinking I need to go the traditional route. I had it in my brain that maybe I could pull off some Ausiie-inspired awesomness (a la Material Obsession 2 Jazz Hands by the famous Sarah Fielke) but I after talking it over with my Kelly (via text messages) I think a hint of modern with a heavy does of traditional is best.
I don't really own many Depression-era reproduction fabrics, so I'll have to visit The Fabric Shack (cue angel trumpets in the background) to fill in the pieces for a cohesive project. So looking forward to working on this. 
I've made a decision to back away from the commercial side of quilting for awhile. Sewing and quilting for me is therapeutic, it quiets my brain. And when I  add the business aspect to it, it sucks the joy out of it for me. I've prayed about this a lot and it's taken me a crap ton of obsessive "what should I do?" kind of questioning to get to this point.  I've driven myself a little batty, honestly.
I want to keep teaching and writing patterns, but the intention of doing this as a business is gone. If I make some money...great...but I just want to sew and be creative and put out patterns as it strikes me. I thought I wanted to build a quilting empire with notions and patterns and a TV show and fabric and write more books. But I've realized I just want to buy fabric and sew and hang out with my quilt guild buddies. 

Anyhoo, I've been working on some other stuff - a postage stamp quilt, some paper-piecing projects and another St. Louis 16 patch. Will share those as I make some progress!!


Modern Yardage Crib Quilt

So I've cut out some yummy triangles from the fun fabric that April and her team from Modern Yardage sent me. This project is gonna be pretty dang cute, but I'm moving kinda slow on it. It's a lot of precise piecing and keeping track of which piece comes next - two things that tend to take me a little longer than the average quilter.

 I met April at Quilt Market last October - and her adorable husband - through Kelly. April and her hubby started Modern Yardage last year and have been incredibly busy building their business and finding the right people to be a part of the MY team. The concept is pretty cool - it's print on demand fabric. And the website is very easy to use - you can shop by color, theme and scale. Yes, scale. I love that! If I need a tiny print because I'm doing an intricate paper piecing project, I can shop their tiny prints. And if I'm making a tote bag and want a large, blue print - well, I can find it without going through the whole dang website. Me likey that.

April and her team have been adding new designs and new designers all the time, so the selection is getting better everyday. And I'm so excited to support April in this endeavor. She's good people.


Free Shipping for MDCQ!

For the rest of June, purchase an autographed copy of
 Modern Design For Classic Quilts
 from my Etsy shop and receive free shipping in the U.S. !

Visit my Etsy shop and order one.
Like, right now.


Quilts Matter

I work on the Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing sick kiddos - precious ones with bald heads and tubes coming from their chests and noses, tethered to poles with pumps pushing toxic meds through their little bodies. It's a punch in the gut when you see them trying to carve out a childhood among the monotonous day-to-day routines of being a patient.

But remarkably, they still laugh and ride Big Wheels in the hallways and paint pictures and act silly. Just today one of our little guys got to walk outside for the first time in months. And it was like a party in the hallways seeing him off to the elevator so he could go "see the sky". Sigh.

A tidy stack of quilts on the linen cart.

I'm a quilter, so every time I see a quilt making a statement or holding a place of honor in someone's life or space, I notice it. On our unit, as many other units do, we get a linen cart everyday that's filled with sheets, blankets, gowns, bed pads and scrubs. It also carries a neatly folded, tidy little stack of handmade quilts.
Most of them are made with hideous Christmas and cheesy novelty prints, but some are sweet and simple and cute. They're not very big - just enough to cover a toddler - but big enough to snuggle for even the twentysomethings that frequent our unit. The quilts are donated to the hospital through the hospital's sewing room (yes - we have our own sewing room!) and are made by volunteers.

I gotta share this story with you because it's the perfect illustration for why quilts matter.

Awhile back, we had a patient named Hannah*. She was a fiesty, blond haired and blue eyed four year old little firecracker. She had a complicated family situation - she was born to a teen mom and was being raised by her grandparents. Hannah was diagnosed with a rare blood disease that literally makes the body attack itself, causing damage to large organs and the nervous system.

As Hannah's disease progressed and the longer she stayed in the BMT, she became increasingly more anxious about the everyday routines of being a patient. Vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, weight and oxygen saturation levels) and daily rounds of the medical team became a time of panic for her, a time that she became non-compliant and combative. Getting her vital signs was nearly impossible and physicians and nurses couldn't get an adequate assessment of her. Over the course of about 4 months, it got to the point where she would scream if anyone even knocked on the door.

One of the Patient Care Assistants, Tracey, was one of the only caregivers that could even get in the room with out Hannah having a meltdown. Tracey had managed to find out how to approach Hannah and even befriended her a little. One of the responsibilities of the PCAs is to change the patient's linens everyday, which includes bringing them a clean quilt from the cart. Everyday, Tracey would bring Hannah a quilt and Hannah would give her opinion of the quilt, telling Tracey it was either ugly or pretty. When Hannah became very ill and was in a lot of pain, Tracey changed her strategy to picking out the prettiest quilt in the pile for her, making sure Hannah knew that she got first pick on the entire unit. Hannah thought this was the best thing ever and it very quickly became their daily routine. Tracey started negotiating pretty quilts for good behavior when Hannah needed to get her vitals taken and get examined by the medical team. It was the only tactic that worked. A team of behavioral therapists couldn't get Hannah to comply like a pretty quilt and a clever PCA could.

Hannah's conditioned worsened and she was eventually transferred to the PICU. Problem - the PICU didn't have quilts on their linen cart and Tracey wasn't there to bring Hannah her daily dose of quilty goodness. So Tracey, everyday, would nab a quilt from the BMT cart and take it over to the PICU and lay it in Hannah's bed. And even when Tracey wasn't there to do it, someone else would take a quilt over there for her.

A quilt waiting for a new patient on the BMT.

Hannah passed away in the spring. She was a very sick little girl who suffered a long and painful death. Even though I have strong faith in God's plan for everyone, I sometimes question these outcomes. I question why that little girl was turned inside out and had to suffer. I just don't get it.

But what I do know is that a quilt, made with love and delivered daily with hands that care, was a bright spot in the life of a sick little girl. A quilt made a garbage dump of a situation not as stinky. A quilt got a frightened child to feel safe and warm and calm. A quilt mattered to her.

And that's only one of the quilt stories on our unit. 

*Not her real name.


Diner Love

I love diners, especially old-school joints with a classic feel and a simple concept. I went to visit my dad a few weeks ago and he took me to an awesome little gem called the Cove Diner in
Fallston, PA.
It's owned by a guy named Ron and he's turned this vintage truck stop into a 50s themed diner with a car repair center on the other side. According to my dad, this was THE truck stop in the 50s and 60s, complete with sleeping rooms upstairs and full-service truck repair/fueling station. My dad says he and his friends used to frequent the 24-hour diner as a teen after a night of mischief.
It's so stinkin cute, y'all. It's homey and vintagelicious and just plain fun. Who doesn't want to eat their scrambled eggs in retro booths and checkerboard floors?
The counter is original.
Oldies in the jukebox. Elvis, Frankie Valli, and Chubby Checker.

Cheap eats. The best.


This is hanging next to the jukebox.

The front of the Diner side.

The back patio.

If you find yourself in Beaver County, Pennsylvania anytime soon, be sure to drop in to the Cove Diner.
And tell Ron that Joe's daughter sent you.


My Tank is Full

Back from vacation today. We (by we I mean I) drove all night and pulled in at 7am to the cold, brown southwest Ohio landscape.


I've had 7 days of beach, sun and good southern food to rejuvenate my winter-blue soul. I've never been more ready to get home and sew and create and write and just plain be creative!

Which is good, because I was beginning to worry about my creative mojo. It kinda went on hiatus this winter, only to leave me feeling lost and confused and....a little inadequate.

So is the nature of my self-esteem, a delicate matter and a thing of high maintenance.  It is what it is, and I've become accustom to the ebb and flow of its requirements. But every once in awhile, it does throw me for a loop and I wonder if I've fallen off some imaginary cliff.

I'm not one to take pictures of my food to publicly share, but I cannot - I repeat cannot - convey the absolute amazingness I experienced on Wednesday night. We went to Fisherman's Corner in Perdito Key, about 45 minutes from where we were staying. The whole way there we all kept saying we hoped it was worth the drive.

Holy shrimp and grits, y'all.

This place is perfect.
It's a total dive - it's a little shack, on a dirt road, under a bridge, next to a fish processing dock. It looks like it's been beat to hell by the heat of a thousand suns. If you drove by it, you prolly wouldn't stop. But you won't drive by it....because it's under a bridge. The best meal all of have had in years. Really - it's that good.

So, back to work.
With a full tank of mojo.

I have some fun stuff to giveaway this week. The fun starts on Monday!


Can We Talk About Plagiarism?

Back in November of 2011, I made this quilt and shared the pattern for it here on my blog.
I did this tutorial as part of an Accuquilt GoBaby giveaway. It was also a spin on a variation of another tutorial I had done for the R2T block , one of my favorite blocks due to its versatility.
This quilt was fun to make and fun to share. It also got picked up by Jacquie from the MQG as an example of color for the MQG's 100 days of Modern Quilting and pinned quite a bit, so this little sucker has gotten some press time.
Fast forward to last week and my daily browsing of Pinterest. And I stumble on this:
This isn't the actual pin. The one I saw had the thief's blog address on it.
And I think "Aw! How exciting! Someone made this quilt from my pattern! So I looked up her blog (which I will NOT mention here)
And yes!! She used my pattern! And she gave me credit! Oh man, this is killer." (insert big, goofy grin here)
This is a screen shot of her blog.
And she shows more pictures of it. It's really pretty. Love, love the colors she used.
And then at the bottom of her post, she directs readers to her Etsy shop, where the pattern for "her" version of my quilt is for sale.
(insert WTF?! face here)
Is this real life?
So, I hop on over to her Etsy shop and sure as sh*t, she's selling this pattern for $6.50 a pop.
For real.
Like, 80 times.
That's about $500 she's made off of "her" pattern.
And people seem to be viewing this pattern quite a bit.

 So, I sent this woman an email and told her with as much grace as I could manufacture that she needed to remove the pattern because even though it was a free tutorial, it's still my property.

And I even went so far as to say - hey, you like his pattern, redo it! Make it your own. Make it bigger, more blocks, different measurements. Have at it.

Well, she didn't agree with me. She instead proceeded to tell me that even though the quilt was inspired by mine, other factors influenced her design, such as her world travels and university studies. (Annoying ASB) She also argued that she did, in fact, redo the pattern by using different fabric and having her points match instead of the way mine overlapped significantly.

Hmmmmm.  Had to marinate on that one a bit.

No - mama don't think so.

Let me use a hypothetical to argue why this gal is infringing on my copyrighted pattern.

Let's say I send this tart a copy of my book on the house. And she makes every single project in it, only changing fabrics and maybe only tweaking a small element to each one - maybe adding a quarter inch here and there or adding a border.

And let's say this tart then decides to release a new line of patterns, patterns that she "designed" using my patterns as "inspiration".

Is this legal?


What would happen if I took Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl quilt pattern, made it in my choice of colors and added a border and then turned around and sold that "reworked" pattern under my own brand? (or Etsy shop)

You think Denyse might get a little hacked off if I did that?

Uh, hellz yeah she would.

But here's what I'm struggling with....I wrote a book, I'm probably gonna write another one and I'm currently writing patterns. This is gonna happen - people are gonna pick up elements of my stuff. It's part of the business. We all do it.

Do I go after every person who I think is stealing from me? Or worse yet, someone charging people for a pattern that they can get for free? Do I spend the time and energy in takes to make sure nobody gets away with this kind of crap? Even if it's on a small scale like this? And in this case, am I even right? Is she stealing?

I'm stuck here in gridlock as to how to deal with this situation.
Do I go after this nitwit-skank-blowhole? (Dear Baby Jesus, forgive me for that outburst)
Do I let it go and just chalk it up to feeling sorry for someone who has to plagiarize free patterns from blogs for income?
Do I get Etsy involved?

I'd like to know what you guys think. And be honest. I like honest.


Lessons Learned from QuiltCon - Lesson #2

Let me start this post by giving you one of my favorite sayings:

Attention Seeking Behavior or ASB.

Examples of ASB:
  • Bragging about achievements and personal skills.
  • Creating drama. This means that the individual turns everything into a big deal where they're at the center of things.
  • Falsely claiming to be a victim of bullying in order to gain attention.
  •  Name dropping
  •  Manipulating facts in order to gain respect or status.

  • *Courtesy of

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I was forced to watch QuiltCon from the sidelines through Twitter and Instagram.

    The fun part was watching the delight and joy of those who took classes with people like Lotta and Valori and Jay and were wide-eyed at the quilts that were hung and the craftsmanship on display. So happy that some of my favorite bloggers and a handful of my guild friends got to go and be a part of things. That was fun to follow - like watching little kids at quilting Disney World.

    On the flip side, it was hard to stomach the ASB during and after the event.

    There was a smattering of quilt bloggers and designers out there who were a bit uncensored in their work and what they said on their blogs and on Twitter. Hey - you wanna show your ta-tas and drop the f-bomb and talk about how badass you are? Knock yourself out. Personally, I think I have a great rack and sometimes I have pottymouth and occasionally I get pretty full of myself. But I guess I'm a little shy about posting my girls on Instagram. That's just me.

    But I think what's triggering my gag reflex is less obvious than nudity or profanity. I'm not that bothered by that stuff.  I think what I'm feeling is a mild allergic reaction to the self-consumed, the pontifical and the pseudo-intellectual ASB.

     Let's be honest - those of us who blog and write books and Tweet/IG regularly have some part of us that needs the attention it brings. I own that I like to be the center of attention every once in awhile. I understand the need to feel special and unique. I understand the need to assert your own brand of personality to draw readers and customers of your product.

     But I don't really understand the need to bloviate about the why's and how's of your personal quilting and the self-inflated value of your talents and why your artsy-fartsy tendencies or post-graduate degree makes you more qualified to quilt than everyone else.  That seems to me to be...well.... annoying ASB. Spare me.

    So it leads me to Lesson #2:

    I value humility. True humility. I value sharing my gifts, being part of a community and being an active participant in a movement. I value being confident enough in myself and my skills to share with others.  I'm learning to embrace self-promotion as a form of ministry to others so I can share my story and my gifts and to teach others about something that has brought me joy and purpose and community. And honesty is paramount. I don't bill myself as something I'm not. I don't pad my resume or assign myself  titles that I haven't truly earned. I don't claim to have a superpower that enables me to quilt in my own special way.

    Bottom line, watching the ASB has taught me about myself. Really examining my agenda and motives to be active in my guild or the online quilting community or why I want to teach and lecture has led me to understand that I just wanna sew with my peoples. And I wanna teach people to sew. And I really want people to value themselves and others enough to actively practice humility and promote community over seeking "fame" in a niche market.

    I realize opining here about ASB puts me dangerously close to the over thinking of our craft that has chapped my hiney in the last few weeks- this fact is not lost on me. But there's no call to action here. There's no "look at me I'm so fabulous and badass".

    And I realize this might come off as superior or uppity. It's not my intention at all. And it's certainly not my intention to throw anybody under the bus. That's not really my style (unless you plagiarize my crap - then I'll throw you under the bus after I kick you in the jimmies. More on this story later this week.)

    Just wanna talk about what's going on in the quilting scene with some humor and candor and tell you what I've learned about my little ol' self.

    Humility and honesty. I dig 'em.

    *Okay - so I closed comments on this post because I think we need to move on. My intention isn't to bash anyone, rather my intention is to be introspective and find a little humor in something that I think is pissing a lot of people off.  
    Thanks for your support. Let's just buy fabric and cut it up and sew it back together however we like, mkay?


    Quilting Gallery Blog Hop!

    Who doesn't like free stuff?
    I'm participating in the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop!
    There's so much good loot being given away - make sure you visit the party page on the
    Quilting Gallery website.
    But first, check out the loot here:
    Uh, hello? Of course I have to give away my book!

    A signed copy of my book!

    And I'm also including a scrap pack of fabrics that come from both my scrap bin and fabrics that were used for some of the quilts in the book.

    Can you tell I like rainbow color order?
    This is about half of what you'll get. And all of the pieces are at least 5"x5".

    So, if you win you get an amazing (hee hee ) quilting book with 20 project patterns and a gallon bag stuff with the best of my most coveted scraps.
    To enter the giveaway, leave a comment.
    For a second* chance to enter, subscribe to or follow this blog me and leave a comment that you follow.
    And for a third* chance to enter, follow me on Instagram or Twitter and leave a comment that you follow.
    Reminder: If you're a no-reply blogger, make sure to leave your email addy in your comment.
    *I check these things. Seriously. Don't leave a comment saying you follow me if you don't - that ain't cool. And don't leave a comment saying you don't use Twitter or Instagram, but if you did you'd follow me. That's cheating. Play by the rules and nobody gets hurt.
    You dig?
    This giveaway is open until March 14!

    **Comments are now closed.**
    Thanks for playing, kids!
    Winner announced on Saturday March 16 at noon!


    Lessons Learned from QuiltCon - Lesson #1

    I'm so glad I didn't go to QuiltCon.


    I couldn't go  - I had other stuff going on that prevented me from going. I'm pretty bitter I didn't get to go, but I think I'll get over it. Eventually.

    I learned a few lessons about myself, my quilting and the modern quilting community by watching QuiltCon from the sidelines through blogs and Instagram.

    I had a quilt in the show....

    It's my In The Clouds from Modern Designs For Classic Quilts book. This quilt was made to go on my queen size bed and was inspired by a quilt by Gwen Marston. This piece wasn't made to be a show piece but rather to be used in my bedroom. When Kelly and I got serious about writing a book, this quilt was one of the pieces I thought would be a good example of a modern design that would be a beginner level pattern.
    When I asked Jill to quilt it, I asked for a very specific pattern that was inspired by Sashiko stitching that I saw in a book. And she did exactly what I asked for.
    This quilt has surprised me by how much attention it's gotten from people who've bought the book. It seems to be an accessible design for those wanting to venture into modern quilting or someone who wants to make a large modern quilt without a lot of fuss.
    And I really love this quilt - I love the colors, I love the use of juicy, graphic prints for the geese, the use of navy as a neutral, I love the minimalism. I just love this thing.

    But, as I expected, it didn't win anything at QuiltCon. I didn't make this as a show piece - it was made for personal use that got a second life as a pattern for my book. When it got accepted to be in the show, I was super happy that it would hang as an example of "Use of Negative Space". 

    But up close, the judge said she saw tension issues, but I'm not sure what she's talking about. I've never noticed them.  And I got some feedback about the use of colors and prints for the geese and the background - the judge said they seemed unrelated.

    There were good things said, too. The quilting design was well executed, which Jill should be proud of. My workmanship, piecing and binding were judged as excellent, which makes me feel really good.

    So where's the lesson in this?

    Lesson #1:
    If you want to win prizes at a quilt show, make a piece that's perfect show worthy. Everything should be up to snuff - fabric choices, binding, backing fabric, quilting design and execution and overall craftsmanship. If you enter a casually-designed-and-made-for-personal-use quilt in a show at  the very last minute, kind of on a whim and just to see if it gets chosen, don't expect to win best of show.

    I'm so happy I entered it, win or no win. And I'll use the feedback from the judge to get better, to push myself to make pieces that I could show in a major quilt show. That's just me - I'm kind of competitive like that.

    Which leads me to Lesson #2, which may take a day or two to think about how to word so as not to piss too many people off.  Standby....


    Magazine Love

    My hexie quilt, Ali's Lullaby, is being featured in
    Love Quilting and Patchwork Magazine
    It's a British publication and it so lovely and bright and cheery - just the kind od publication I like.

    Kelly's cover quilt, Urban Cabin, is being featured, too.

    And the hexie pillow project that goes along with the hexie quilt, is in there also. Lots of good info, patterns and eye candy.

    Find Love Quilting and Patchwork Magazine in shops and on Apple Newsstand.

    I'll be doing a giveaway of a copy of this baby very soon, so stay tuned!


    American Patchwork & Quilting Radio

    Kelly and I will be talking to Pat Sloan!
    Monday, January 28
    4 pm.

    Join us on American Patchwork and Quilting Radio to talk about our book Modern Designs For Classic Quilts.

    It won't change your life, but we'll be entertaining.


    Join us on Annie's Quilting Stash!

    Tomorrow {Tuesday} afternoon, you can hear our interview with Annie Smith of Quilting Stash podcast!

    Kelly and I got a chance to talk with her last night and the interview will be available on her Simple Arts website tomorrow. It was so fun talking with Annie - what a sweet lady! And Kelly and I got to do the interview together via Google Hangout, which is almost too cool for words.

    We talked about a few of the quilts in the book and Annie suggested we post some pictures of the ones we discussed.

    This is Effie's Web, the spider web quilt Kelly talks about. She's currently making her own version, which I cannot wait to see! I really enjoy this quilt because it's a riot of color. It's busy, but it works.

    This is In The Clouds, which we talk about being a great example of modern quilting. I *love* this quilt: minimal effort with huge eye-candy payoff. This quilt is a queen size, so there's a ton of negative space.

    This is Midtown Girl, the NY Beauty. I refer to this piece as my quilting opus, which is to say it's the most impressive piece I've made to date as far as a project chock-full-o'-techniques. I'm going to make another version of this quilt later this year with a completely different palette. Can't wait!
    I have to say that Kelly and I were much more reserved in the interview than we are in real life. We frequently have conversations that lead to laughing fits and shannigans, and I was proud we kept it together. Although, at one point Kelly did have a bit of a giggle, which she kept quiet but I could see in the video, which of course made me start laughing. Love that girl.
    So leave me a comment and tell me what ya think of my radio voice. Is is smooth? Do I sound smart and sexy? Or do I sound like a rube?
     And visit Annie's site for a chance to win a copy of the book!


    Buy The Book

    I know I may begin to grate your nerves about schlepping my book, but....tough.
     I wrote a book with one of my bestest friends and it's beautiful and fun and the projects are cool as heck and totally doable and I'm kinda crazy-proud of myself and Kelly hope we sell a million of these suckers.

    So, as of today, signed copies of
     Modern Designs for Classic Quilts
     are available in my Etsy shop.

    Click here to go to my shop and buy one...or five.

    I'm feeling a little sappy today and my emotional cup overfloweth.  All kinds of thoughts going through my head about where this book will take Kelly and me. We've been in talks with so many wonderful people about all kinds of future projects and I'm just so dang excited I could throw up. For real.

    I want all of my quilty people to know that I cherish each of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me and being my virtual friends.


    Quick Flying Geese

    One of the patterns in my new book is a minimalist Flying Geese. There are 33 geese in the block - all made from different fabrics against a navy background. I had to make each one individually, which was fun, but there's just no quick way to do it.

    However, I'm making a new version of this quilt with 4 fabrics against a creamy white heavy muslin background. This is a chance to use a quick cut-and-sew method I learned from the Connecting Threads
    website which inspired the quilt pattern's small side project in the book that uses 4 geese for a placemat. I love this method as it's quick and easy and, with my pattern, will make for a super-fast quilt top with minimal effort. Love that kind of project!

    So I'll walk you through each step with pictures, but you can get measurements from the Connecting Threads website. They have a great formula for sizing your blocks.

    Remember this floral fabric? Upcycling, people. Makes my tummy tickle.

    Start with one large square and 4 small squares {using the CT formula, you determine your sizes}

    Just so you know...
    The background fabric is used for the small squares.
    The large square is for the geese.
    {I screwed up the first time I made these and flip-flopped them. Duh.}

    Mmmm. Flying Geese.
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