Saturday, May 31, 2014

love liberty? and aurifil? read on!

When I first started collecting liberty last summer to make my double diamond wedding ring quilt, I scoured etsy and ebay for little charm packs to get a small sampling of what evolved into a collection of hundreds of prints.  And then while in Europe for my cousin's wedding last fall, I picked up some celebratory prints from the London mecca itself.

It turns out regularly ordering yardage or crossing the Atlantic every time I need a little more liberty in my life isn't in the cards for me.  But I certainly am open to the idea of picking up a fat quarter bundle every now and again.  And guess what?  Remember how I told you about Massdrop last month and the classic bundle they had on offer?  You know the one...

Well there's another one up for grabs(!)  And guess what? Yours truly picked out the prints (...nervous silence.)  Yay...? Nay...? (Eep!)  But really, tell me what you think or what you'd rather see next time :)  Pretty please?

And as you might've guess from the rather prominent "Print Set B," they're re-offering the classic bundle as well ;o)

So if you missed out last time or are looking to bolster your collection with some new prints, then head on over to the group buy page and join now or commit!  Only need a few more to unlock the lowest price :)  And while you're over there, you might notice that they're rerunning the Aurifil drop, too.

And just kicked off one for OLFA cutters and blades.  So go on!  You know you want to...  And of course spread the word, because the more is truly merrier when it comes to Massdrop ;o)

Friday, May 30, 2014

in LOVE {AMB blog tour :: Indiana}

I have to say, I was pretty ecstatic to get Candice's invitation to participate in the American Made blog tour the other month.  My mind immediately started off in a million directions.  (...One might even say it was racing.)

At one point I was considering jampacking all-things-Indiana into a checkerboard layout; as in, sixteen snippets of Indiana-isms, each in its own 1.5" square package.  (I do have an affinity for tiny piecing, after all!)  Because really, there's so much to choose from!  Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home, Hoosiers and basketball, home to Raggedy Anne, James Dean, and the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post; a small town in Indiana even stakes a claim to the former "Circus Capital of America."  What's not to love about all that?

But at the end of the day, I decided on something a little more, shall we say, straightforward...  simply in LOVE:

Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE symbol embossed on a checkered flag (a nod to the ever-popular Indy 500, which just celebrated its 98th running this past weekend).  A big shout out to my friend Amanda who encouraged me to use our state's abbreviation rather than the full name ;o)  To mix things up, I jotted it down in lowercase cursive, and then used a gray perle cotton that my friend Heather gave me.  (Aren't creative friends the best?)

And because I couldn't make just one, I also started a little red, white and blue tribute...

American LOVElies.  Which are soon to be joined by the full spectrum of colors, as I couldn't resist cutting into all 50 hues that AMB sent my way!

Want to make one, too?  Great!  The only special items you'll need are template plastic, your paper-backed adhesive of choice (I used Therm O Web HeatnBond Ultra), and the 5.5" LOVE template, which I will upload soon, so check back in over the weekend for that :o) Just remember to print at 100%!

Here you can see my various stages of progress:  
reverse LOVE template (bottom right) | traced+pressed LOVE emblems (left) | (partially) cut out LOVE (top right)  

The quick (as can be) and dirty for a 6" block:
Using 2" squares, piece two sixteen patches, pressing seams open as you go.  One of these will be for the LOVE lettering, and the other for the background.  Then, after creating a plastic template of the LOVE symbol, use it to trace the *mirrored* lettering onto the paper side of the adhesive.  Loosely trim around the symbol, leaving a little room beyond the letter lines (you'll cut more precisely once it's fully bonded to the fabric).  Next, center the adhesive on the *wrong side* of the sixteen patch (the one you made specifically for the lettering), and press according to the setting instructions.  Once it's secure, carefully cut out the symbol and then remove the paper.  Finally, overlay and line up the checkered LOVE symbol on the background block, press to secure, and channel your inner Casey York and finish the applique in your method of choice!

The block will finish at 6" x 12"
And if you're lucky, you just might be able to get started on your own American Made love... because the AMB folks are giving away a pack of eight fat quarters!  (And not just Indiana, but one for every state in the whole U.S. of A., so go check out the other states'  plates!) 

To win here, just leave a comment on this post :o)  Easy peasy!  A winner will be announced June 3.

Edited to add:  Congrats to No. 63 Carmen N.!  

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

attention new bloggers! {and new quilt blogger blog hoppers}

Plum and June

Beth of plum and june's New Blogger Blog Hop holds a special place in my quilty heart.  (My intro post from last year is over here.)  For those of you who aren't familiar, the New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop is a really fantastic way to meet and connect with a group of bloggers with whom you share one major thing in common:  newness!  Which, to be fair, carries with it a certain disconnect (at least until you get more solid footing and a little followership).  So when Beth wrote asking if I'd share some advice for new(er) bloggers—thanks Beth!—I immediately started thinking about all the things I wish I'd known before hovering over the "Publish" button for the first time.

As Erica mentioned in her advice post, quality visuals are a definite plus.  In that spirit, I've scattered a few throughout this post ;o)

Link up!
For as vastly distributed as we are across the globe, there are a surprising number of spots where you can really feel like a "regular" every week if you just take a look around and put yourself out there.  By way of example (this is by no means an exhaustive list!): WIP Wednesday at Lee's, Needle and Thread Thursday at Kelly's, Finish it up Friday at Amanda Jean's, Paper Piecing Party every weekend at Kristy's, and Sunday Stash over at Molli's.  And then there's the semi-annual Blogger's Quilt Festival (going on now!) over at Amy's.  And don't even get me started on the quilt alongs...

Link to!
That's right! Were you inspired by something you saw on flickr? Pinterest? Another blog? Or, are you talking about a project that you previously posted about? Click the "Link" tab, highlight that text and show me exactly where to go.

A sketch from my high school doodling days.
Because I like it.

Be genuine.
It'll come through.  Of course at first you might struggle to find your voice.  (I distinctly recall not really knowing who exactly I was addressing—...myself?—when I first started blogging.)  You're at a really great advantage having a solid group of peers (and onlooking alums!) stopping by via the hop, but also give some thought to your dream audience, and write to them, too.

Feel the love.  Spread the love.
I've found that (most) quilters are inherently welcoming.  Embrace it.  Emulate it.  The end.

This is a mock-up of my *January* do.Good Stitches design.  (Or, how not to be accountable.)

Be accountable.
No one wants to start a quilt along only to be left hanging and without full instructions at the end, right?  Try not to be that person.  Or at least communicate that life has gotten in the way and you have no choice but to be that person in that moment (by doing so you'll actually still avoid being "that person").

One of several free patterns in my craftsy shop.  Clearly not overly concerned these days about giving anything away ;o)

Figure out what works for you.  And be willing to adapt.
When all is said and done, you have to carve out your own place in the interwebs—preferably one that you'll stay motivated to maintain.  I initially started blogging as a complement to my Etsy shop, where I planned to sell only quilts, not patterns.  (In retrospect... Ha. Ha. ...Ha.)  So for whatever reason, I swore early on that I'd never post WIPs because (1) I didn't quite understand why other people would want to see my process to begin with, and (2) in a world marred by copycats, I was nervous about "giving too much away."  Let me tell you, after I started blogging (in a vacuum) those two points went out the window about as fast I came up with them, leaving me with a completely (and somewhat frighteningly) blank platform.  But you know what?  That forced me to explore other blogs I admired, and really helped me make this my "happy place."

#opgivewarmth is one way I try to give back, along with giveaways, free patterns and free palettes.

Give back.
(In whatever way is meaningful to you.)

And finally, think outside the blog.
I have to say, I avoided joining Instagram for the longest time. As far as I could tell, friends joined IG and (their words, not mine), "basically stopped blogging." Gasp! Determined not to let that happen to me, I avoided IG altogether. And then I met my coworker-blogger-friend (not in that order) Amanda of Material Girl Quilts, who—within a day, tops—told me that I *had* to get on IG.  So I did.  And between that, flickr, and the blog, I've ended up with a nice little trio for getting (and staying) connected.  I encourage you to explore outlets beyond your blog if you're anxious to get more engaged in this ever-evolving community.

And that's all I've got to say about that!  Thank you again to Beth for organizing such a wonderful event.  I very much look forward to meeting some new friends over the next few months.  And for those of you who are interested but haven't yet signed up, you can check out the hop guidelines and leave a comment expressing said interest on Beth's post over here.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

BQF: marley of the sea {scrappy}

My second entry into the Spring 2014 Blogger's Quilt Festival (scrappy category) has certainly gotten less face time than the first.  But it's still one of my favorites.

This quiltMarley of the Seawas my first design as "quilter" for my do.Good circle (Believe).  For starters, I have to say I can't really take credit for the quilt as the majority of the blocks were stitched by my incredible beemates.  So right off the bat, shout out to the (old) group, who channeled their "inner Cath of Wombat Quilts" (my most telling request) with great success:  Allison, Ben, Big Mama Quilts, Debora, Lisa, Nicole, Tara, and Vanessa.

Now, back to the quilt.  Per usual, my first course of action as the 6" blocks came in was to sort by (background) value:  light gray, medium gray, dark gray.  As the three little stacks grew, I cut a few more blocks to even them off and then started to think about layout.

Julie's original Marley ("Three Little Birds") block

I originally intended to use Julie of 627handwork's exact block layout, but with 20-some odd blocks together there was a little too much chaos with the directional change alongside the haphazardly distributed blues (hard as I tried, in the end I was only able to color sort by one of the two block colors—the blues lost out).

But rather than abandon the layout entirely and start from scratch, I quickly turned the blocks so they all faced the same direction.  Just to see how it looked. And prestochaos contained.  So I stitched the top together, straightline quilted it with Aurifil 2021 and then snapped these wintry shots.

The only thing left to do—aside from dusting off the snow :o)was to stitch in a label and send it off to My Very Own Blanket in Ohio.  And I'm happy to report that that's the last time I'll be shipping a blanket to the organization, because yours truly has volunteered to be the the local (Indianapolis) coordinator.  Which means that all future do.Good and #opgivewarmth quilts that come out of this house only require a quick car ride to reach equally deserving foster children in our local community.

Thanks again for stopping by, and I hope you have (or have had) time to peruse the other quilts "hanging" in the show :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

welcome and a winner! {SMS giveaway day}

First, I just wanted to say WELCOME(!) to all of you who've recently started following this hatless-ness optional house.  Glad to have you and hope to see more of you around these parts.

Second, to those of you who (1) "have never gotten around to doing paper-piecing" (2) get "bad frustrating results," (3) think it "wastes too much fabric", (4) are still "intimidated" by it, (5) "hate it," (6) "enjoy it," (7) "love it," or (8) "absolutely love it," I've got a little something for everyone up my sleeve.  I've still got lots of planning (and patterning) to do, but don't be surprised if—in a few month's time—you start to hear me blab about a "bootcamp" of sorts.  ;o)  Oh, and unless I lose my job or something inconvenient like that by then, it'll be on the house.

And now on to the real reason you clicked through this post to begin with—(and I hope *not* the reason you'll hit the "unfollow" button!)—the winner of the SMS giveaway goodies is no. 638 of 1235...

Afton of Quilting Mod!  Who, crazily enough, was the very first person to comment on my gradient fill layer cake sampler post that went up during the SMS giveaway week chaos.  Love it when the stars align :)

So glad to be sending this little stack of favorites southwest.  Truthfully I wish I could share it with all of you, but if history is any indication (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII) it's safe to assume there will be more where this came from.  Case in point?  Gypsy Wife quilt along participants already have another shot coming in November!

And for those of you who don't have any liberty en route to your corner of the world just yet, I have it on good authority that Massdrop will soon be offering not only the same liberty bundle as last time (FQ, F8, or half yard), but also a *new* mini-collection of 10 different prints.  (I may or may not have had a hand in selecting said second batch... so I may be a bit biased when I say they're pretty ultra.)

Anyway, if any of this has piqued your interest, head on over to the drop page to request a reminder for whenever the second round goes live (sometime next week, I think).

Till the next time... ;)

Friday, May 16, 2014

BQF: liberty and justice and whatnot {roygbiv}

As I'm at a real risk of oversharing this one (...again), I'll try to keep this post brief. 

My first entry into the Spring 2014 Blogger's Quilt Festival? "Liberty (of London) and Justice for All."

For reasons that are likely already apparent to my followers, I'm entering this quilt in the ROYGBIV category. 

And for those of you who are new around these parts, I've assembled a compilation of sorts with you in mind :) 

You can find out more about my process in these (teaser) posts:
*something old...
*something new.
*something borrowed... (which, incidentally, didn't make the cut for the DWR challenge quilt)
*something hued.

...And then there's the post-finish hooplah:
*liberty (of london) and justice for all (if you click through only one of these links, make it THIS one)
*oh dear, what to do with these diamond wedding ring remnants? (asked and answered:  the king version is back in play and in the works!)
* way.
* modern patchwork(!)

And that's not even counting my experimentation in tiny piecing last summer...  (See why I'm reluctant to get into too much detail here?!)
*diamond dresden
*tiny-ness take tw:  round vs. square? (spoiler alert:  "round" wins)

And that (I think/hope!) just about does it.  Thanks for stopping by, and please take a look around the other categories in the show!

While you're off doing that, I'll be trying to decide which one to enter next :o)  ScrappyOriginal designMini?  Help!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

gradient fill :: layer cake (along) sampler

It's hard to believe that almost three months have gone by since Amanda @ Material Girl Quilts wandered into my office (yep, we're irl coworkers!) and asked what I thought about a Layer Cake Sampler she'd just designed.   Within no time, she had whipped up not only the original, but a second version of that beauty, and then drafted something like a dozen posts for the QAL.  I—on the other hand—worked at, um, a snail's slightly different pace.

When I got Malka Dubrawsky's "From Outside In" in hand, I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed by all the color.  Totally infatuated, don't get me wrong, just a little a bit intimidated by the fact that this lovely line involved contrasting (!) color ways.  (Resident analogous designer here.)  So I did the first thing I thought to do:  color sorted a gradient from red to yellow to green to blue.  And then pulled my all-time favorite oakshotts (the tan/brown earth element series), cut them into 10" squares, and sorted them by value.  You know, to ground all those vibrant colors :o)

Starting off with the lightest oakshotts—natural/beige—in the red corner, I paired up those earthy tones with the colorful layer cake squares until the darkest browns reached the blue corner.  After that, I sewed and cut each pair into eight HSTs.  (Evidently I was operating with at least some sense of urgency back then.)

Fast forward to mid-May... and after one (sweatshop) weekend those 320 HSTs were pressed, trimmed, and ready for a whole 'nother round of sorting (my favorite pastime?).

And just like that, I had a spiffy new quilt top.

...That is really quite large.

...and has somewhat astonishingly matchy points.

Now... how to quilt it?

Linking up with Amanda, who has some pretty sweet prizes for the QAL link up this weekend, and crazy mom quilts for my first May finish!

Monday, May 12, 2014

a few (more) of my favorite things {SMS giveaway day}

Somehow, half a year has gone by and once again it's time for Sew Mama Sew's semi-annual Giveaway Day Week!  (!)

Much like last time, I've grouped together another trio of favorites.  Think of it as a trifecta of sorts:  fat (or skinny) sixteenths+ of 21 jewel-toned liberty and oakshott fabrics, plus a miniature arsenal of neutral 50wt aurifil in 2024, 2021, 2000, and 2325 (that gracious Mr. Veronelli slipped in a few extras and I couldn't help but share my good fortune).

You might recognize some of those liberty tana lawns.  That's because I just gave away a FQ set on behalf of the lovely folks at Massdrop.  And guess what?  By popular demand, the classic 10-pack will be making a reappearance in a few weeks, along with a *new* assortment of 10 more prints.  Just go here to sign up for a reminder when that buy is back on :o)

Right.  So getting back to THIS giveaway.  You have three chances to win*:

1.  Leave a comment on this post.  Anything at all.  Need help?  Tell me your thoughts on paper-piecing.  I'd love to hear them ;o)
2.  Leave a second comment if you are a follower (old or new, just tell me how you follow:  Instagram?  Bloglovin'?  Feedly?  Email?) (optional second entry)
3.  Help spread the word!  Then leave a quick (third!) comment telling me how you did that. (Pinterest? Facebook?  Instagram? Tag me @nohatsquilts!) (optional third entry)

*International entries welcome.  Void where prohibited by law.  Because hats or not, we follow the law in (and out of) this house. :o)   

This giveaway will be open until 8 pm EST (5 pm PST) on Friday, May 16.  The winner will be notified by May 18.

Best of luck, and if you haven't already, be sure to check out all the other amazing goods up for grabs!

xo Sarah

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

AMB blog tour {american made}

Like what you see?  Good!

Because from May 19 to June 20, there will be plenty more where that came from coming to a blog near* you.

*Literally.  ;o)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

selvage play

As some of you know, I'm on a self-imposed, non-necessity fabric buying ban until I make a dent in my selvage stash.  Back when I made that commitment, I envisioned finishing the selvage 16-patch I started last spring and calling it a success.  (The idea being that it'd be impossible to finish that particular quilt if I kept adding new selvages to my "collection").

Then along came Victoria Findlay Wolfe's workshop prep for SewDown Nashville.  First up on the supply list?  "Scraps - a nice big, generous bag of colorful scraps."  Turns out the only (organized) scraps I had on hand at the time were about a dozen ziplocs full of color-coordinated selvages that were either too skinny or too short for my 16-patch project (I'm using 2" x 8.5" strips for those blocks).

So naturally, I gathered them up and took the whole grocerybag-ful down south last month.

Being me (and thereby predisposed to monochromatic color schemes), I initially set out to make my 15 Minutes of Play fabric from one bag at a time.  And then as I found myself working from my cool blue bag, my (hilariously entertaining) workshop neighbor Jessica (@alittlegressica) offered me a purple Lizzy House print.  I hesitated a moment, but figured what the heck, purple and blue are analogous, so I used it right away and switched back to my blues.  And then another purple came my way (this time an AMH).  And a few minutes later, Jessica handed over a generous selvage off of a mustard AMH print she was using for her own "made" fabric.  I again happily accepted, but this time proceeded to dig around for the appropriately-hued baggie so I could put it where (I felt) it belonged.

But before I could catalog that scrap, a little voice in the back of my mind said something along the lines of, "Self, VFW's whole idea of 'play' is about breaking out of your comfort zone and facing your fears head on."  So I took that mustard scrap and nestled it right next to the blue and purple strips I'd been using.  

And you know what?  I kind of like it :o)  And while I won't have Jessica around to throw in any more contrasting curve balls, I do have a nice little assortment of selvages that Daisy of Ants to Sugar just sent, so I'm thinking random pulls from those will be a nice (albeit less witty) substitute.

Of course I have absolutely no clue what these will ultimately become, but it's safe to say I'll be crossing things off my "not to do" list with each new little panel of "made" fabric.

Here goes nothing!