What Shade are You? with RJR Fabrics

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Our home computer died and it’s been a long few weeks without it! We just got it back last week and my dear husband has reinstalled everything. Unfortunately, it happened during the time that my guest blog posting on the “What Shade are You?” tour with RJR fabrics came up. In trying to catch up on things I’ve missed, here’s a posting about that!

I feel like there’s a big misconception out there in the quilting world that fabric distributors look around and reach out to people to participate in things. Yes, this happens to some extent, but most of what happens is quilters reaching out to them instead. It is SCARY and hard, but I’m trying to be brave. A good friend once said, “They can’t say yes if you don’t ask.” Yes, you’ll hear lots of no’s, but you’ll also get an occasional yes as well!

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I reached out to RJR fabrics last October. This was possibly one of the scariest emails I had yet sent. What did I have to offer that was different than the big names that were already participating in the RJR “What Shade are You?” tour??? I sent the email just asking if they were still doing it and if there was space for me to participate in the future. They said yes, and my date was set for February 10th. They sent a color card containing a swatch of all of their cotton supreme solids and I went to town. They are such a fabulous company with which to work. They are so generous with their product. I picked a basic idea of what I wanted to do and then very nervously got to work. It is terrifying to do these projects for big name manufacturers for me. What if they don’t like it? What if they expected something better? What if what if what if????

In the end, I loved how things turned out. I had my dear friend Kaylene Parry (@quilterlove66 on Instagram) quilt it in this amazing graffiti motif using invisible thread. It is just PERFECT. My sweet 5 year old loves to use the “celebration” effect via iMessage and calls it Confetti Bomb. Confetti Bomb just seemed like the perfect name for this quilt and it will always remind me of my sweet boy.

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Be sure to stop by RJR’s blog to see a full write up and a million photos!

Be BOLD with your background fabric!!

This year I am trying some new things with my quilts: BOLD backgrounds! This all started when I made my Dresden Butterflies quilt for Moda Bake Shop. I didn’t want to just go with white. I instead chose to use Bella Mist solid, and man was I glad I did!! It gave the quilt so much more visual interest, without competing with the bold prints. It was a subtle difference from white that I think made this quilt so much more fun in the end.

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When I started seeing lots of Garden Snails quilts going around, I kept thinking I wanted something fun for the background, but I couldn’t figure out what to use. Then Robert Kauffman introduced their Kona Color of the Year, and I was sold. Hook, line, and sinker. I HAD to have some Pink Flamingo in my life and why not use it on my garden snails quilt??? It is the most perfect color of pink in the world. This photo does not do it justice. It’s not bubble gum or pepto bismol pink. It’s not too little girly. It’s not too bright. It. Is. Perfect.

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It turned out even better than I could have imagined. I feel like it really pulled me WAAAAY outside of my comfort zone as far as background color. This quilt would have been cute in white. I have a bolt of it ready to go so it would have been super easy. I am glad I went for the unexpected pink flamingo.

I have decided that for all of 2017, and possibly beyond, I am not going to use white as my background color, unless the quilt genuinely needs it. It will definitely take some work and some planning, but there are so many wonderful options out there. Essex linen, crossweave, chambray, peppered cotton, solids, the options are limitless.

Have you ever used a bold background and loved it? I’d love to hear about it. If white is your go-to, try something new and it just might surprise you how much you love not using white!

2017 Quilting

I’ve had this post in my head for a long time and I hope I can finally do justice to the thoughts I have.

2016 seems that it was the year of the Quilt Factory for many of us, at least to me. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not judging any of you for what you do or do not do with your quilting life. I truly do not mind how many quilts you’ve made, be it 1 or 50. I just know that I have a hard time slowing down and I will not publicly admit to how many quilts I’ve made, but let’s just say it’s over 20. Some of those were for family members, some were for blog posts, but most were just because I wanted to make “that” certain quilt that either I had been dreaming of, or everyone else was making and I didn’t want to be left out. As I’ve been evaluating my 2016 these past few months, it’s made me TIRED. I don’t think I’ve slowed down willingly except for vacations when I was literally out of my house. It’s been so fun to learn so many new techniques and make new friends who love to quilt as well, but I am wanting 2017 to be less frantic, especially after this season of holiday sewing madness.

I’ve been asking myself how I want to change my habits to get quilting back to a hobby, not what it has been for me in 2016. Here’s what I’ve decided to do. It will be a total experiment and it may fail miserably, but I at least want to try.

1- I’ve decided to limit myself to 12 quilts for me and my house next year. Yes, 12 is still A LOT of quilts, but it is one per month and that’s something I feel good about. This does not include any shop sewing I may do and I haven’t exactly figured out how blog-related sewing fits in, but it’s a starting point. I have a list all ready to go and here are my “must makes” for now. I’m sure it’ll change a billion times before 2017 even starts.

  • Gingiber Christmas kit
  • Snail quilt (or flamingo quilt)
  • Tinker toy
  • Cherry Tree Lane
  • C+S diamond in a triangle quilt

2- I want to branch out and make more bags. I’d love a poolside tote, a necessary clutch wallet, a sewing machine cover (not a bag, but still). There’s no need to keep putting off learning new techniques.

3- I want to embroider more. I loved making my Daisy Chain Sampler and I’d love to find something to do next to keep my hands busy. Embroidery is a bazillion times cheaper than quilting, so that makes it a major win in my book.

4- I want to finish up my last of my monthly mini quilts that I’ve been putting off for literally a year. I have March, April, and Easter to make.

5- To make it easier to not buy as much fabric, I’ve unsubscribed from some email lists. I know, it’s a little nuts, but it has helped ease the pressure so much.

6- I sold off some of my stash so it’s not sitting staring at me, begging to be made into beautiful things.

I’m really excited to see how it goes. It could be a complete flop, or it could be amazing. I find that by stopping to try and make a few goals and evaluate things as they are right now, it helps me a lot when things get craaaaazy, as they certainly will.