Thursday, December 12, 2013

Studio Stitches For You, Stanford Marshmallows, Pattern Sale, Yee-haw.

Ok-- I said I would get this post up last week.
I am a liar. BUT, I am a liar with good intentions and a heinous cold, and I do apologize.
Aaaaaaaand, since my brain is still slowly leaking out of my nose, this will not be a long and flowery post: Would you like to win a copy of this pattern? It is the result of much, much love, mixed with a potent combination of blood, sweat, and tears. Not literally, that would smell awful. I'm sleepy, can you tell?
THE POINT IS! This pattern is my baby, and I love it, and it has both iron-on and traceable templates and a TON of images and DIAGRAMS! Oh, the diagrams, I love them dearly. It's a great excuse to buy shiny happy floss and sit in front of a heater and watch movies and stitch away to your heart's content. I'mma do this differently than I have in the past-- for every 20 comments, I will give away 1 pattern, and each winner will be drawn from that specific segment, so you have a 1-in-20 shot of winning, no matter how many people comment! Sound good? Cool. This time I'm going to make it easy, you don't have to answer any questions, just comment with anything. Although, if you're an overachiever, you can comment with your favorite quote from a Christmas movie. Or any movie. Run with it. I'll draw on the 18th!
And, if you've decided you'd just like to get one, all quick-like, Empty Bobbin now has a shop with downloadable PDF patterns! Instant gratification-- it's pretty awesome. You can eat your marshmallows right now-- no harm, no foul.* AND, To christen the newly launched store, Shea is offering a 20% off code through Monday the 16th at noon on ALL of the patterns! Just enter the code GIVEAWAYDAY at checkout for 20% off your PDF pattern order. Check it outsies.
And now, I shall scuttle back to my lair and return to coughing up phlegm! Victoire!

*When I was a kid, my mom would always tell me about this study in order to encourage me to be a more patient and productive human being. I don't think it worked. And, apparently, no one elses' parents used this as a cautionary tale? My kids will know what I mean when I yell "Wait for your marshmallows, delinquents!"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Somewhat Sad-ish Sampler, or: How I Learned to Embroider, Kinda.

After deciding to dip my toe into the delicious-flossy-rainbow pool that is embroidery, I realized that it would be prudent to, well, uhm... actually learn to embroider? I think maybe I'd done it a few times before, but I can't imagine I had produced anything with any degree of aesthetic appeal or skilled craftsmanship. 

Which is to say, I sucked at it. Thus was born, The Somewhat Sad-ish Sampler! Shifty, shaky, and utterly without skill! It was insanely fun to make.
You could probably guess, but this was not a well-planned project. Basically, I decided to start randomly embroidering concentric squares in different stitches, and it just became a sampler by default. Did I have any idea what I was doing? No. But I DID have a book on embroidery, and a lot of West Wing episodes to burn through. Netflix streaming is the jet fuel of the 21st century crafter.

I think I learned a lot, because that's easiest to do if you know almost nothing. And it was just so much fun to play with pretty colors and spent almost no time thinking about what I was doing-- bumbling along, picking stitches at random and being generally unconcerned by the many, many mistakes and irregularities in the design. When you're in the habit of thinking about projects as (to some degree) commodities, it's really refreshing to make something so haphazard and unappealing that there would never be any question of re-making or marketing it. 
Clearly I'm still no expert, but it was great practice for the MANY hours that I would put into sewing up the Studio Stitches sewing machines, several of which I stitched multiple times before I had acceptable samples. More on those soon-- I promise, I really am getting around to giving some of them away; this week it IS happening.
(For the record, I didn't embroider it in this hoop, but since I had put no forethought into display, there's really no good way to do it. Stitch tension, heh, heh... it was an issue.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winner, Winner, Goose-y Dinner.

I must say that I greatly enjoyed reading all of the goose-names submitted, and if it were a vote, I think our collective goose would definitely be named Lucy (or Loosey, or other variations thereof), or Grey. Quilters and vodka-lovers, it seems that a venn diagram would have a significant overlap, amiright? Anyway, drumroll, please...
 Elizabeth! You have done won. I shall email you shortly.
I really do wish I had a bunch more to give away, especially since there were so many interesting and hilarious suggestions. A few of my favorites:


Awesome, right? And, even if you didn't win on this one, I hope you'll be comforted knowing that I'm going to try and give you as many chances as possible to get some free stuff in the next few days! If you haven't already signed up to win an Overdue Book Calendar, you can do so here. Also, I just received a nice stack of Studio Stitches patterns, and I am itching to get some of them flying out the door and into your hands... look for it soon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Baaaaaaaaack... An Overdue Overdue Calendar, and Another Giveaway!

 So, last year I didn't make one. I was indecisive, and really busy with fabric-schtuff, and then it was too late. But I felt a little sadness in my cold, grinchy, heart, and this year I was determined to bring my baby back: The Overdue Book Calendar.
 And if you're new around here, well, first of all, welcome! Thanks for coming! You can leave your shoes on, we don't have carpet! Are you allergic to cats? I hope not, because if you are, uhm, well, I need to go vaccuum. Wait, what was I saying? Oh. Yeah!
If you're new around here and not accquainted with the Overdue Book Calendar, it's something I started making a few years ago, inspired by the hilarious Raych, one of the most impressive library-patrons I've ever known. She reads A LOT OF BOOKS. And so I was thinking, I could do that, but I always forget the due dates, so...
The OBC was born. I'mma copy and paste some of the etsy listing, because I'm lazy. Skip over it, if you know the drill. Salient points are, digital download, so you have it IMMEDIAMENTE! Since it's a digital printable, you can print it a zillion times for all your friends and family, a super-cheap Christmas gift. And, did I mention super-cheap? It's $4. Other than pretty minimal printing costs, it's like the cheapest gift ever, besides gum. And gum is a LAME present, guys. Just sayin'.

Commence etsy listing text! And, if you're already convinced, buy it here!
Books make people smarter, it's a fact. I'm pretty sure that there is scientific evidence to prove it, AND that evidence is most likely located in a book. Bam.

And books are GREAT, but they are not free, and that is sad. But! Libraries exist! Which is awesome, because they let you read books for free! Unless you forget to take them back, and then books costs money again.

So I drew up this handy calendar to help you remember when to take your library books back, because that is a surprisingly hard thing to do, at least for me. Time moves forward, in a very logical and well-documented way, but somehow I manage to forget (or ignore) the consequences of it.

But ANYWAYS! Every month of this 2014 calendar has space for you to write in your library books (12-14 spots) with their due dates. You can also circle the due dates on the calendar to give yourself a visual reminder.

And, yep, I know, E-Readers exist. I have one. (I have two, actually. What a traitor.) But it doesn't mean you don't need the calendar! Just use the blank version of it as a record of the books you read. An heirloom, if you will, because without paper proof, how will your future (or present, I don't know,) grandchildren know you could read? Also, you can print two and keep a decoy calendar on your fridge that makes you look super-fancy, and keep the real one hidden away. I'm not here to judge.

Two versions of this calendar are available for you to download, the standard calendar as well as a blank version without the words "Due By", so that you are able write in your own text. This makes it possible to alter the calendar for many purposes, including recording books read or setting specific reading goals. Downloads for both calendars are included in this listing, so it's kinda like two for the price of one!

Also included is a completely customizable page of books with a single large space for you to fill up- perfect for any number of uses, like recording your favorite (or least favorite) books read during the year, or making up fictional titles for books you wish existed, or listing books you want to read in the future.

And if you are NOW convinced, it is still here. Woot!
But wait, you're saying, what's that about a giveaway? Welp, since I'm in the away-giving mood, and your duck names were all hilarious, I'm giving away 5 copies of the calendar, freesies. If you want the calendar now, you can go ahead and buy it, and if you win, I will refund your $4, I promise! I'll pick the 5 names and announce them on the 21st, and because I like to ask silly questions, we'll go with this: If you could alter the size of any wild animal and keep it as a pet, what would it be? Tiny hippo? Giant spider? (I reeeeeeeally hope it isn't giant spider.) Oh, and if you do the thing where you "like" or "share" or whatever on facebook, you'll be entered into the drawing, but twice more! Social media, I am harnessing it? Do so if you wish:
 Yay! I hope you win! No giant spiders!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Classic Modern Quilts: A Real Book, That I Am In! (And Of Course, A Giveaway!)

So, many months ago, which translates to two posts ago, I was all, I'm done made a quilt! For a thing! A book thing! For reals!
Well, y'all, I was not lying, and now I have the proof to prove it! (Yeah, I know that's a redundant sentence, but isn't it fun to say?) It's a book! With my name on the cover! Which is weird! But awesome! Exclamation point overload!
Classic Modern Quilts: 10 Quilts Inspired by Historical Kansas City Star Blocks
And it's a PRETTY book, my friends. There are some very fabulous quilts in here, so you should take a gander at it when you get a chance-- and definitely check out the blog tour that's going on from now until the 22nd, at the fabulous blogs of the other contributors!
Nov. 11: Lisa Calle,
Nov. 12: Lynne Goldsworthy,
Nov. 13: If you're reading this, You Are Here.
Nov. 14: Heather Kojan,
Nov. 15: John Kubiniec,
Nov. 18: Adrianne Ove,
Nov. 19: Trisch Price,
Nov. 20: Tammie Schaffer, and Tia Curtis,
Nov. 21: Amy Smart,
Nov. 22: Susan Strong,

And, the lovely folks at My Stars, the newest imprint of Kansas City Star Quilts, are letting us each give away a copy-- that's unlimited ganders, and all for free! Just leave a comment on this post before November 22nd, and I'll do one of those random-number-drawing-things to pick a winner! Of course, it wouldn't be as much fun if we didn't have a theme for the comments, so let's go with: If you had a goose, what would you name it? (Optional secondary question: Why would anyone want to own a goose? They are TERRIFYING.)
The theme of the book is taking traditional blocks and remaking them in a modern way, and I've got to say, I really enjoyed the challenge of it. I chose a block called "Many Roads to the White House", and to tell the truth, I'm still not sure how the original block was constructed, but I had a lot of fun figuring out how to recreate it in a way that's surprisingly simple, with no paper-piecing.
My goal was to take the relatively basic block and make it look far more complex, and I'm really pleased with how it came out, and especially pumped about the method of construction. Because yeah, it LOOKS like a lot of small pieces, but it's actually strip-pieced in a way that makes it MUCH faster than it would seem. I mean, I finished it, so it has to be pretty basic, ya know?
Anyhoo, it makes me smile. Now, leave your goose-name in the comments, and check out the other stops on the blog tour! Because, QUILTS! They are awesome.
And of course, so are photo-bombing cats. Named Baxter. Ahem.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I Love Embroidery Like Nobody's Business.

So it turns out, I freaking LOVE embroidery. Which is good, because it's, like, 90% of what I did this summer. Why, you might ask? Because, I was a-makin' somethin'...
Studio Stitches, A Sewing Themed Embroidery set! I'll post more details later, once I have them in my hot little hands, but this pattern was truly a labor of love, and I'm really really pleased with the way we set it up. Starting out with almost no embroidery experience allowed me to see elements that I wanted from traditional patterns that just don't exist, and try to make graphics that would explain things clearly, especially for visual learners like me.
How did it happen? Well, my friends, when Shea Henderson (the unstoppable force behind Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio), says to you, "You should think about doing this thing," LET ME TELL YOU  you should probably do that thing. Because, like a magical soul-seeing unicorn, Shea will direct you to things that you had no idea you would love, and she will gently nudge you with her unicorn-horn towards them until one day you're like, WHOA, I love this, how did I get here? and then you turn around and, Magical Unicorn Shea looks at you knowingly and then disappears into a mist. Or, something like that... I think I've read too much fantasy lately. (For the record, Shea does not actually have any horns.)
And, I have a so many thoughts about embroidery, because I've spent the past 6+ months becoming somewhat less terrible than I initially was at it-- but I won't go in to it all now, because 1) I can't remember most of it at the moment, and 2) I will be blathering about this a lot more when the pattern is officially out in the world, so I'll save it for then. But, man, I am EXCITED about embroidery. I am JAZZED. My SOCKS have been ROCKED. 
But because the pattern was hush-hush, I spent the entire summer desperately desiring to talk about embroidery all the time-- It was like spending WEEKS at French immersion camp, and then going home and not being allowed to let anyone know you speak French. And you're all, I can conjugate THAT verb! but you have to put a sock in it, or everyone will know what you're playing at. But now I shall conjugate all the embroidery-verbs! And loudly! I'm so happy that this is finally out in the world, and I hope at least a few other people do, too.
Lest ye should ever wonder how fake the interwebs are, and what it ACTUALLY looks like when I'm snapping pictures...

Monday, July 29, 2013

ADD, Whining, Project-Limbo, and an Actual Quilt.

I have the attention span of a gnat. Actually, I take that back-- I doubt gnats have enough of an inner monologue to BE distracted. Probably if they have a gnat-language, they're just thinking Don't die, fly around, eat things, continue not to die. Good thinking, gnats.
But me, I get distracted easily, and I am very good at forgetting things. And while I have almost 30 years worth of coping mechanisms (So! Many! Lists!) and a bottle full of (Legally acquired!) magic pills, I still manage to let things just fall out of my head; plop! shwish! gone.
 Which is a problem when I am working on projects that cannot be revealed during-the-makings. I want to be like, Look! I'm MAKING a THING! Do you like it? Is it awful? How should I do this thing or that thing? But I can't, because there are Timelines and Official Release Dates and whatnot. And, that's fine, but it means that by the time something can actually be shared, I've usually kind of forgotten it. Plop! shwish! gone.
And lately, it makes me feel like Nothing Is Ever Done, because even when it is ALMOST done, there is still editing and proofing and ok'ing and printing and whatever else to be done. And there's also the lurking possibility that it might never see the light of day, anyway. It's a pretty BLERG-y feeling sometimes, though for the most part it's not a big deal, because after all, what I'm getting to do is really fun. Fun! In limbo! Limbo-fun!
But TODAY, there is something that is not-done-but-enough-done to share at least a few photos, and I haven't even forgotten it yet! It feels delicious. So: I was lucky enough to be asked to submit a quilt for the first book published by My Stars, a new imprint of Kansas City Star Quilts, and while I can't show you the whole shebang, I can give you at least a few sneaky peeks. To prove, you know, that I actually still know how to sew.
 Look! I MADE a THING! Please note the almost-neat-ish nested seams, if you will. Those made it quite a bit easier to quilt, and allowed me to feel very smug. Perfect, they are not, but they're good enough for me.
I quilted it with wobbly-doodles. That's an technical term. Really.

And if you have a chance, check out the My Stars blog to read about the books other contributors, they're all totally better at quilts than I am, and I'm still surprised that they let me in. Also, Jenifer Dick, the exclusive editor of My Stars Quilts and my fellow KCMQG peep, will be on Pat Sloan’s American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast live today at 4 p.m. Eastern. Click here to catch the show live or listen later.

I've realized how much I overuse the word BAM, so today I'm going with something new.