Tuesday, June 20, 2017

blogging is dead

Wow! It is hard to believe that I have not blogged in ages, actually a couple of months really. Why haven't I been blogging? Well, after I blogged a couple of months ago and received almost no comments, I became discouraged. With the ease and instant gratification of Instagram, I learned I no longer had to write long, informative blog posts to get people's attention. I only had to make a bit of eye candy, and I received a few comments without the hassle of writing long text.

Not that I mind typing. I actually enjoy typing on the computer, since I know how to type with all ten fingers, even on the German keyboard. I get frustrated with that little keyboard on my tiny mobile or smartphone. I really hate the auto correction on it too. I am not a thumb-typer, either and think it is totally funny when I see the younger generations typing this way. My son is 12 and learning how to type in school. I wonder how he will type in the future when he starts using his smartphone for messaging.

Okay, now that I have gotten that out of my system, do I really have anything to blog about? Yes! I've actually been quite busy. I've been so busy that I would overload you if I put everything into this one blog post! So, let's start out slow.

I started my own business. Yes, I decided to take that big leap. I've been designing my own patchwork and writing my own patterns and tutorials since 2010, I think. I've designed so much, I can't keep it all straight anymore. I've overloaded the computer with designs and have about 200 files in EQ7 not to mention the different quilts in each file. Have I made all of them or published them? No. I can't get to all of them. My daughter saw an old file on our tablet where I used to put sketches of quilts. She told me I never made the quilts she saw. Yep, sometimes I just can't get to them all. Sometimes, I even outsource the quilts. I don't really like to do that, because if I am the designer of a quilt, I want it to be written precisely and accurately. How will I know if it is written correctly if I don't follow my own directions? It would destroy me if I knew someone would say, "that Karen, she knows nothing about quilting. She just designs something without thinking."

Okay, I am rambling today, but that is good. I am getting it all out of my system just like in a diary. I assure you, there will be a little bit of eye candy today. Back to my own business. I published my very first printed pattern. Yes, it is very scary, because they are printed. I spent my own money and went to a publisher and had my pattern printed! If they don't sell, well, then, I am out of the costs, not to mention the cost of everything else!! And believe me, after I take out all of the money for expenses, there isn't a lot of money left. I know why quilt shops go bankrupt. I really feel for them too.

I've been publishing downloadable patterns for years now and not asking for a lot of money, just a few dollars or euros. In today's world, everything is quicker, faster, more redily available. No one wants to pay for anything anymore. I am very sad about that and fed up too. I give a lot of information, patterns, and tutorials away to really help others. There isn't a lot of thanks nor is there appreciation. That really hurts, but I am the type of person that likes to see the good in others. So I decided to start writing patterns and having them published for those who really want a great pattern. My patterns are well thought out, well written and concise too. Don't you get a little discouraged when you print out a PDF pattern and you have to tape ten thousand pieces together or enlarge?? I do! A lot of times when I download patterns I think to myself, "why did I buy this?" This person was not thinking when they wrote the pattern. I can make this myself without the pattern! If you know me in person, you've probably heard me say this too. There are very few people with patterns that I truly admire, but here are a few Gundrun Erla of GE Designs and Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. These ladies really rock. They've been doing their stuff for years and are still loving it (I hope.) They may not be at the top of the peak like Tula Pink but they are doing their thing. Thanks ladies!

So, back to that pattern company and business. I designed a New York Beauty with some really awesome Geogram fabrics from Samarra Kjaha for Lecien Fabrics.

The quilt was presented in Karlsruhe at Nadelwelt by Quilt ét Textilkunst in their booth. Nadelwelt is one of the larges quilt and crafting fairs in Southern Germany. Ms. Christine Köhne and her lovely staff sold my patterns, and kits and sign-ups for a class in their shop in July in Munich. Can you believe that?? I am so tickled!!

I wrote patterns in English as well in German, because I feel there aren't enough modern, patchwork patterns here in Germany. Most of our patterns are English imports. My German friends want patterns in German! Go figure. (laughing)

So, if you are looking for an advanced foundation paper pieced pattern with instructions, all full-size templates and all foundation papers to make this lovely 32 x 32 inch wall hanging, just shoot me an email. Or check it out on my website. www.easypatchwork.de Yeah, I have a website! I even updated it a couple of weeks ago. I hope you like the improvements. There are loads of free stuff there too!

Oh, and if you are looking for a more floral wall hanging, check out this lovely eye candy! This Long Island New York Beauty was made with a 10" Layer Cake of Acreage by Shannon Gillman Orr for Moda instead of yardage from Lecien. It looks just as lovely as the first too, if I may say so.

I even wrote free instructions on how to cut up the layer cake and uploaded them to Craftsy FREE, FREE, FREE! Did I mentions this was free??


I promise, I am going to write a few more posts in the next couple of weeks with a giveaway too. Please stay tuned. Oh, and please support your local patchwork store. Buy printed patterns so we can keep on doing our thing! Thank you!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

retro bathing suit

I have been very, very busy lately designing new patterns for magazines, shops, and patchwork groups. One of my projects this year is help design a Row by Row with a specific scheme. I will let you figure it out yourself just what that theme is. ; ) In the meantime, since so many of you ask about my patterns, I thought I would start to share them with you as well. You can find all of them on Craftsy.

This cute little retro bathing suit is foundation paper pieced. You might think it is too small to sew, but I know you love a challenge. You can always blow it up if you need to. I am really curious to see what you can make with this too. I found it is the perfect size for a journal cover made by the talented Sandra aka Hohenbrunner Quilterin. She has a fantastic tutorial on how to make them.

I would love to see a mini quilt out of these!! Here is a little glimpse of how a mini quilt could look designed with Glamping from Moda. I just love the look of this!

Here is another close up of the the assembly. The block is made with just three sections. Believe me, it is a lot simpler to make than you might think. And no, it's not too small. I worked on an ice cream cone with three scoops of ice cream in the same size as this week that was rather tedious. This you definitely can manage. So hop on over to Craftsy to download your new Retro Bathing Suit FPP Quilt Block.I would love to see what you make!!

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

my last pillow

As the year comes to a close so does the Pillow Swap Four Seasons. This swap started two years ago as an idea shared by Sandra at Hohenbrunnquilterin (Munich, Germany) and myself to bring a little bit of seasonal cheer into our homes and the quilting/swapping community. We envisioned the group as a forum to share creativity and help with the sewing/pillow-making process.

We met a lot of really great ladies who participated in the group, shared their design-making process, and delivered amazing, excellent quality decorative pillows. It was a wonderful experience! I know I am repeating myself from my previous post, but I am going to miss this group!

I wanted to share the last pillow that I made in the group for my partner, Andrea.

Sneak Peek of Last Pillow

A lot of time and thought usually goes into my pillows, quilts and designs. I generally design specifically for my partners or recipients, because I want them to be happy and enjoy what I have made for them. Sometimes, I get it right, and sometimes I totally miss it. That can happen. : ) For my last Pillow Swap Partner, I decided to go with her inspiration mosaic completely and picked one pillow in particular which she had also posted on a previous mosaic for another swap. Can you guess which one it is?

Since my partner loved traditional red and green for Christmas, I knew my direction and wanted to complete the design with a scrappy look.

Starting Fabric Palette

I still had some lovely Kate Spain Charms as well as "Evergreen" leftover from last year's pillow that I made for Rosemarie in our swap.

Double Cathedral Window Pillow for Rosemarie - PS4S 2015

I analyzed the design from Andrea's mosaic and recreated it with EQ7 - my great program to design quilts and print paper piecing patterns. I have the full-blown designer version, but there is a new, mini program on the market which costs half as much and is great for beginners and newbies wanting to design quilts - EQ Mini. The Electric Quilt Company is always having sales, so you can usually find great deals too. If you live in Europe/Germany, I am thinking about providing training classes to those of you who have the program and want to learn how to use it. : )

Here is the design recreated by me. I do not know who to credit for this design; there was no credit information on Andrea's collage. If you know who originally designed it, please tell me, so I can give credit where credit is due.It reminds me very much of the first pillow I made in our pillow swap in 2015.

Framed Kaleidoscope - Recreated in EQ7

I didn't want to use white fabric in this pillow, but decided on a shimmering, metallic Essex Yarn Dyed Linen that I bought from the Fat Quarter in the summer instead. Please be careful when ironing any RK linen fabrics; they have a tenancy to shrink if your iron is too hot. Some of you know I don't like to iron my fabric too much....I like a warm iron without steam when pressing my patchwork. For straightening my fabrics and getting rid of creases, I use steam but I still use a warm iron. I actually have a non-steam iron that I use when creating patchwork.

I don't normally pre-cut fabric templates when foundation piecing, but when you try to make those scraps work one more time, you get a little creative.

My Chaotic Mess when Creating

The sixteen 4 1/2" FPP (foundation paper-pieced) blocks were made in a couple of days. I was extremely early making the pillow, but I knew I had a lot of appointments in November. I felt really good about the way it was coming together.

16 - Four and One-Half Inch FPP Blocks

Although the design is scrappy, I decided to keep a unity in the middle with two green triangles and two white/silver triangles. It created a slight challenge in the end to balance the entire pillow top and still maintaining the unity of the center squares.

Keeping in mind, I only had one FQ of Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen, I had to precut my strips to make sure I had enough in the end. This is probably one of the first times, it actually worked too.

As for most pillows, I love the look of piping especially in a contrasting color. I thought this pillow would look lovely with piping as well. I always have a bit of trouble when making piping. I know I should make 1 3/4 inch piping from bias strips, but I am too frugal. I make straight 1 1/4 inch piping and always get myself in a pickle when trying to apply it to the pillow top. I know there is a tool out there too for cutting your piping to exact size after it is made, but again, I am too frugal.

On to the quilting...I used a clear mono filament top thread and polyester white bottom thread and stitched in the ditch. Usually before quilting, I sandwich my top, batting (fusible Pellon 987F thin) and a white inexpensive (IKEA) cotton fabric. I increase my stitch length to 3.0 from 2.5 standard on my Pfaff 2046 Quilt Expressions.I opted to quilt in the ditch to really let the design come out.. That lovely "hand-stitching" is a special quilting stitch on my machine. I have tried numerous times to get it to work for me, but it never would.

**Stitch #27 is a traditional hand quilting stitch.**
To achieve this look correctly, you will need to use clear mono filament on the top and a thicker thread on the bottom. Decrease the tension on your spool about 1/16 to 1/8 of a rotation or five degrees counterclockwise if you can do so on your bobbin spooler of your machine. The red thread you see is actually the bottom bobbin thread....not the top thread. The top thread is clear and becomes invisible on the linen.

Machine Stitching all the Way

For the back of the pillow, I decided to go with a cute pin-striped fabric with traditional red/green. I love striped fabrics and usually save them for binding or piping, but this looks terrific too.

Back of Pillow with Covered Zipper

The stripes got a little wonky in the end when putting in the zipper, but still matches (for the most part).

Covered Zipper and Matching Pin-Stripes

So there she is ladies and gentlemen. You can start to see just a bit of the shimmering fabric from the front in the previous photograph, but it sparkles so much more in natural lighting. Sorry I couldn't capture it better.

The Full Monty - Christmas Framed Kaleidoscope Pillow for Andrea

It was really a pleasure sewing for Andrea. I didn't put myself under pressure when sewing this pillow and allowed ample time to finish. It takes time to make beautiful, quality items. It makes me happy to sew for others and to warm their hearts. I think Andrea enjoyed the pillow as well.

Happy and Safe Holidays everyone! May your days with family, friends, or quality time for yourself bring you peace and joy. We'll see each other next year!

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