Wednesday, October 31, 2012

blogger's quilt festival fall 2012

Just in before the deadline, here is my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side. This is my Silo quilt, and it's one of my favorite quilts that I've made to date. You may remember that this quilt was inspired by a large, metal silo that sits on a farm about ten miles from my house.

I've probably driven past that farm hundreds of times before, but one day last year I saw that silo in a new light, and I grabbed my sketchbook and pencil and began drawing.

I created the quilt for the fourth part of the Modern Quilt Guild's Project Modern, where the theme was to find your own voice as a modern quilter. That project was judged by none other than Denyse Schmidt, whose work I so greatly admire. I was incredibly honored when Denyse chose my quilt as a winner, and said, "This quilt is beautiful and striking in it's clear simplicity and strong execution. The translation of the idea/inspiration into a quilted medium feel spot on, and every choice the quilter has made--from palette, to structure, and quilting--supports this clear vision and intention. I'd love to see the back!"

I'm still amazed, and honestly a bit in awe, every time I read those words from Denyse. That was the real prize for me, and was well worth more to me than any of the other physical prizes that accompanied the win. And here's a shot of the back, for her and for you all to see.

The back of the quilt is very improvised, and I used leftover pieces from the blocks on the front and a lot of cream as well. My Silo quilt measures 64" x 67" and was designed, pieced, and quilted by me on my domestic sewing machine. I used only solid fabrics in the quilt: a creamy white, a pale blue, and a taupey gray. I quilted it with heavy straight line quilting, with the lines of stitches running horizontally across the quilt roughly a quarter inch apart, to echo the linear repetition of the grooves of steel on the silo.

My Silo quilt is also featured in the upcoming book, Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe, published by Martingale, and even made it to the cover! I'm so excited about this book, which will be available in December. 

Per Amy's request, we're supposed to categorize our quilts into a theme listed in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, but I honestly don't know where this one would fit. Although I don't consider it an art quilt at all, perhaps that would be the best category for it, considering its inspiration. But since this quilt is completely functional, and I don't typically think of art quilts as being functional, I'm not quite sure. I suppose it could also be in the favorite quilt photographer category, because I'm really quite pleased with the photograph of the front of the quilt that I shot, which is shown above. Any suggestions on where you think it may belong?

Thank you again to Amy for all of her hard work on the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Please be sure to check out more of the amazing quilts and be prepared to be incredibly inspired by them all.

a visit with Lisa Lam and a giveaway!

I'm so excited to be sharing a fun interview with Lisa Lam today. Lisa is one of the most talented designers I know, not to mention one of the kindest as well,  and she has written two amazing books on making bags, The Bag Making Bible and her new book A Bag for All Reasons.  I seriously think both belong in the library of any crafter because they are full of information on everything you'll ever need to know to make any kind of bag. Lisa's instructions are well written and easy to follow and her bag patterns are simply amazing. She is also the genius behind the U-Handbag shop and blog. I don't know how she does it all!!

 A Bag for All Reasons includes 12 new projects with full pull-out patterns and full-color, step-by -step images for each technique and each project. There are also great tips and techniques including how to choose fabric for bag making, attaching zippers and snaps, and much more. 

So, with out further adieu, let's get started with my interview with Lisa. My questions to her are italicized. 

When did you start sewing? Did you start making bags right away or did you begin by making other things?

I started sewing at a very tender age. I began with a child's cross stitch kit, when I was a very little one. I finished the kit in record time (mistakes and all) and an addiction to craft was born...   It was a little while longer before my mum let me loose on her grown sewing machine.  In the meantime I had fun trying my hand at all sorts of other crafts like: knitting, crotchet, making jewellery, playing with clay, making pasta pictures etc.  I was never any good at drawing though, it's still pretty bad to this day! 

Who taught you how to sew? When did you decide to turn your passion for making bags into your profession?

My mum was the first person to teach me to sew, and at one of my schools I had a slightly scary, but also inspiring textiles teacher and for the rest, I'm self taught.  To solve my sewing conundrums I like to experiment before looking up solutions in books or on the internet (I guess this does make more work for me sometimes, but I've found it a good way of expanding my skills and it helps keep me (reasonably) relaxed when I make mistakes.  I decided that my future lay in bag making in 2004.  I was successfully selling my hand made bags in my own craft market stall.  I couldn't keep up with demand (and that began to affect my income) so I thought that selling bag making supplies would be a good way to supplement my income and give me a little respite from the constant sewing.  I haven't look back since!

All of your projects in "A Bag for All Reasons" are great, and I'd seriously like to make each one of them. Do you have a favorite project from the book?

Thanks! I do actually have 2 faves: the Too Cool for School satchel and the Fashionista Baby Bag.  If forced to choose between the 2 I'd say it's the Baby bag.  The reason it's my fave is because, the bag was totally designed around feedback from my facebook pals.  I asked them what a baby bag should feature and they told me (in very exacting detail too!).  Now that I'm a mum myself I do find the bag is very, very useful indeed :)

You recently had an addition to your family, your sweet little Mabel! How has having a child changed the way you craft or sew, or your day to day work on U-Handbag?  

Thanks!  Oh yes, I now have no time to sew at all!  I feel that because a baby is a baby for such a short amount of time, I want to enjoy and experience that time as fully as I can, whilst it lasts. I do think about craft daily and I still check out crafty goings on the web, so I don't feel totally divorced from craft.  I do get pangs of jealously that I can't simply have a whole afternoon to eat a bar of choccy and craft to my hearts content, but hey, I'm a mum, Mabel is awesome and my sewing skills and sewing machine will still be there when Mabel is a little older.

I saw that you taught a workshop at  Liberty  this summer. Do you have any plans for more workshops in the future? 

Yep, it was great fun too, in very luxurious surroundings.  Heather, I bet if you were based in the UK you could definitely teach a workshop in  Liberty, they'd love you!   Yes, as it happens I am teaching the same workshop (cos the first one was super oversubscribed) next summer.  

Thank you so much, Lisa! I just love hearing how people got their start and how they work, don't you? And as I said, Lisa is seriously one of the most kind and generous people I've met, and I was so lucky to spend a day with her when she was visiting Cincinnati last year. I hope she comes back soon! Or, I'll just have to make my way to the UK to visit her one of these days.

And now on to the giveaway!!! F&W is generously providing a copy of Lisa's newest book A Bag for All Reasons, to give away to one of my readers. To enter, please leave a comment below, between now and Nov. 8, 2012. One winner will be chosen randomly; the contest is only open to residents of the US, Canada, the UK, or Europe, please. 

If you just can't wait to see if you'll be the winner, F&W is sharing some discounts and previews with my readers as well, in their Martha Pullen store.

  • Save 33% off of A Bag for All Reasons and more on all Lisa Lam products in the Martha Pullen shop with coupon code: “BAGS2012”

Pretty perfect since the holidays are right around the corner, right? Good luck and happy shopping! And thank you again to Lisa Lam and everyone at F&W.

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