Monday, October 31, 2011

Celebrate Color October Winners!

Thank-you all for joining us in Celebrate Color - with your comments, your projects and your votes.  October was a great month with a lot more entries, which made for some really tough decisions all around.  For October's finalists, we had up to 952 votes!  And the winners are...

Fabric {Home Decor}

1st PlaceShape Moth's Brick Wall quilt and pillow set with 532 votes!  Winning a Candy Corn bundle from Robert Kaufman, the 10-piece Neutral Thread set from Connecting threads and a fat quarter set of the complete Outfoxed collection from Pink Castle Fabrics.



2nd Place:  The pretty Poof by Sewing Under Rainbow with 129 votes!  She'll enjoy a $30 Gift Certificate to Canadian-based Mad About Patchwork and her choice of 9 fat quarters from the Outfoxed collection from Fresh Modern Fabric.


Fabric {Wearables}

1st Place:  That adorable baby jacket by Tickle and Hide with 262 votes!  Winning 5 Yards of Flannel from Fat Quarter Shop! You get to choose.  I think some pjs are in order?  Plus, the Go Anywhere Bag and 241 Tote patterns from Noodlehead and 50 custom tags from Gutentags!


2nd PlaceMaureen Cracknell's Little Red with 196 votes!  You'll also take home both Noodlehead bag patterns and your choice of 3 Yards of Flannel from Fat Quarter Shop!


Yarn

1st Place: The Perfect Fall Sweater by Obsessively Crafting Disorder with 245 votes.  Kristie wins the Rio bag in Lapis Blue by Jordana Paige!  She also enjoy her favorite Four Seasons Hat Kit by Tanis Fiber Arts and a Knit Picks Zephyr Circular Needle Set.


2nd Place:  Girasole by Cozy Place with 167 votes!  Winning a Knit Picks Try It Needle set, 1 skein of fingering weight yarn and a pattern from Everything Old, plus 2 skeins of Cashmerino Sport from Sweet Fiber.


Needlepoint

1st Place:  Circles and circles by Jenny Makes Stuff with 257 votes!  Winning a 1 Yard bundle of Anna Maria Horner's just-released Needleworks fabric collection and both embroidery floss collections by Anna Maria Horner.



2nd Place:  French Knot Slippers by the Knottygnome Knits with 163 votes!  Choose 2 yards of your favorites from Loulouthi Needleworks and an Anna Maria Horner embroidery floss set of your choice form our friends at Freespirit.



Congratulations, ladies!  I so enjoyed browsing through all of your lovely work.  It's wonderful to see so many forms of creativity in action from all around the world!  Winners should contact me at racheleuphoria {at} yahoo {dot} com with your address for prize delivery, including notes regarding any prize choices.

Stay tuned for my announcement of November prizes in this week!  As a reminder, every single one of these prizes is being freely given to the fiber arts community by individuals who have chosen to support our event.  If you have a moment, consider visiting these companies to thank them for their support of Celebrate Color!











Friday, October 28, 2011

Vote! for Celebrate Color - October Finalists

Congratulations to each and every finalist!  To read more about any project or see larger pictures, click on the link to any artist's blog listed before each poll.  There are FOUR categories.  Please vote for your very most favorite in each one!

Thanks to Emma, Shannon and Mollie for choosing finalists for the Yarn, Wearables and Needlepoint categories!

For the Fabric {Home Decor} category, our finalists are:




    For the Fabric {Wearables} category, our finalists are:






    For the Yarn category, our finalists are:





    For the Needlepoint category, our finalists are:




    Voting is open through midnight, EST on Sunday, October 30th. Winners of the October prizes will be announced the following day!  Thank-you for voting.  There's just one more month of Celebrate Color left, so finish up those projects!  I hope you'll come see what it's all about and join in!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    September Swoon

    Your empathy on my "terrible awful" experience means so much to me! Yes, we have all been there, but it truly helps me to be able to be honest with you when I'm disappointed with my work. And then there's the happy fact that sharing something bad actually turns it into something good, because it gives us all perspective, ya know? So, thanks for that!

    Now today, let's enjoy the Swoon quilt!  This quilt is a collaboration of the members by the Faith circle of do. Good Stitches (for details on this charity quilting bee, see this post).  In September, each member made one super big Swoon block and then I added an extra one, so we have 9 Swoon blocks on the front and 2 for the back.  I really love how it turned out! 

    Swoon with Faith circle of do. Good Stiches

    The family to whom we'll be gifting this quilt recently welcomed a 4th baby. Although all tests looked good during pregnancy and baby looked fine when she was born, they had a serious scare when it appeared that her head was not growing. The doctors were concerned this was a sign of a serious mental and physical handicap, because the family's 3rd child does suffer from this condition. So challenging! Fortunately, since then the new baby's head has grown and all seems to be well with her.  All the same, I am glad that our circle is able to do something to bless and encourage this young family!

    The mother in this family often shares an encouraging Bible verse with those that come to her for advice and perspective. I have asked the best friend of this mother (who is also a quilter) to choose a Bible verse that would be a blessing to this family.

    lovely work done by a friend

    Miranda chose Philippians 1: 9-11, which is such a lovely family verse!  She free motion quilted it onto a fabric piece which I then incorporated into the quilt back. I know that this quilt will be an encouragement to the whole family and a marker that will remind them of God's faithfulness and grace as time passes.

    the back

    From the back, you can just make out the squared-off spiral of quilting that originates at the long rectangular verse (on cream) at the upper left side.  The quilt backing was pieced together from fabric already in my stash that complimented the periwinkle-ish blue of these two swoon blocks.

    quilting in a spiral, gah.

    I was glad to get to use some prints I've had for awhile and that Laurel Dot that I picked up in the Fat Quarter Swap at The Sewing Summit!

    worked in a little Circa

    I also got a kick out of using this new Circa 1934 Hayworth print in red to frame a swoon block.  It really seemed to fit the mood of the quilt back. 

    from the back

    And, by the way, this is the very first quilt that I've liked to photograph crinkly.  Usually I prewash my fabrics and press my quilts after washing so that things are much more flat for finished photographs.

    crinkled

    I think it was the combo of lots of unprewashed fabrics, my experience quilting and the somewhat traditional style of this quilt that makes me love it all crinkly.  This was also my first quilt that I would have been happy to see finished with a free motion meander.  Ack, good thing I didn't try that on my puny little machine!

    Swoon for do. Good Stitches

    Hmm... what else?  Oh, for the binding I pieced together two different gray tonal prints (because, naturally, I didn't have enough of either).

    the binding, front and back

    Here's a peak at the binding, front and back.  Would you believe that when doing the zigzag finish I had to turn the corners with the needle UP, because every time I tried to turn with the needle down it broke my bobbin thread?  What gives?  Oops, I wasn't supposed to complain today.  Sorry, that one snuck in.

    ready to go!

    So here we are, all finished and ready to go!  I'll be mailing this September Swoon to Miranda, who will be surprising the family with it very, very soon!  Thanks again to the members of the Faith circle for your hard work on this project.  And, thanks to The Warm Company who donated a full-sized Warm & Natural batting for this quilt, and for other do. Good Stitches quilts as well.  It's such a blessing to have your support!

    Fabrics:  Solids are Kona snow, rich red and ruby.  All three colors can be found in the US at Marmalade Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop or in Canada at Mad About Patchwork.  Blue prints on the back include Amy Butler's Laurel Dots in periwinkle and Freespirit's Houndstooth in hot house blue.  For the red prints on the back, I worked in Circa 1934 Hayworth, Anna Maria Horner's Mixed Signals in summer, and Ta Dot in Minnie.  Almost all prints are in stock at Hawthorne Threads

    Pattern:  The Swoon quilt design can be purchased at Fat Quarter Shop

    Finished size:  80" square.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Oh, and we have a winner!

    As of this moment I've had 736 responses to my little ol survey. You guys must like filling out surveys, eh? Or, you really, really, really want the Echo??? (Sponsors, take note).

    I love reading through your feedback. Thanks so much!!!

    The winner is survey entry #449, who looks to be Michelle Fox, based on her email address. Congrats, Michelle! I'll email you.

    When everything goes wrong..

    The short version:

    When everything goes wrong... complain and then go make something else.

    The long version: 

    Unfortunately, I'm talking about the Swoon quilt.

    this corner

    Yes, that swoon quilt.  It's a good one, I know.  Or at least I thought it was going well until...

    ** I finished basting and realized that I had made the backing slightly too small.
    ** I hadn't realized this before because I had not trimmed the backing edges evenly.  So, if you measured along the longer side, it was big enough.  Bad Rachel.
    ** In hopes of correcting the small bit of overhang, I moved the quilt top after spray basting.  I-yi-yi.  Sticky mess.  It's pretty hard to recenter a sticky quilt top onto a sticky batting. 
    ** I failed.
    ** Resigned to fixing the small overhang by enlarging the quilt back, I set off to quilt.  But, behold, there were puckers.
    ** Because I tried to move the spray basted top.
    ** Did I mention that this was a bad idea?
    ** Gritting my teeth I pushed through the puckers.  I prodded, I pulled, I smoothed and coddled. 
    ** I also decided that a spiral quilt design was far too ambitious on this 80" square quilt in my tiny, tiny sewing machine.
    ** Which was possibly shrinking.
    ** And when I finished quilting (phew!), I resolved to restore my affections for the quilt by making my lovely readers a step-by-step binding tutorial as I finished.  You know for my binding with the zigzag finish?  That finish that had turned out perfectly on the last two quilts I've made?
    ** The Swoon binding was not perfect.
    ** I was not shocked.
    ** I confess I also thought bad thoughts about my book while I bound that quilt.  We're all capable of bad thoughts.
    ** The pictures I took (at night, tsk, tsk) of the Swoon binding also turned out pants.  I just deleted them all moments ago.

    when everything goes wrong...

    But, it gets better!  Because, I then left the finished quilt in a crumpled mound on my table, like so.  I left it there until the following night, when I set it aside with a "hmph" kind of sound.  "I finished you. You can't hurt me anymore!"  And then I made stars.  

    Stars make me happy.

    And the stars were so nice.  They made me smile.

    And then, and THEN....

    crinkly and nice.

    Today I washed and dried the Swoon quilt, and spread it on my bed just to see. And what I saw wasn't the terribly, awful I saw before, but instead something crinkly and nice.  I could even see the good done there, for this quilt has been made to bless someone and a blessing it will be indeed.

    Tomorrow I'll have lots more pictures of the finished quilt.  Today I just wanted to clear the air about the terrible awful part.  And, to remind you to always, always make something else!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Celebrate Color {Delaney Dress}

    Eeek, do you have an adorable little girl that you've been trying to get up the guts to sew for?  Shannon from LuvintheMommyhood has another tutorial for us today as part of Celebrate Color.  This one would be a great way for those of us who are garment-sewing-impaired to get our feet wet.  The dress is made with quilting cotton and has no buttons or zippers.   Seriously!  You're going to have to see how she did it at the Tutorial post!  For little girls sizes 1-2.  



    Thanks for another great tutorial, Shannon!

    A little birdie told me that it's easy to forget that you don't have 'till the end of the month to enter your projects into Celebrate Color.  Yep, that's right.  You must enter your projects by tomorrow the 26th to be in the running for October prizes.  Be there, ok?  I've been looking through your entries today, and by golly there's a ton of good ones!

    I also want to thank-you for being so generous with your time in filling out my mini-survey yesterday.  Talk about a giveaway with hoops!  I promise not to be overly hoop-ie in the future, K?  It's so, so helpful to get a pulse for how you feel about events like Celebrate Color and quilt-alongs.  They're a lot of work, so I want to make sure they serve the community well!  Thanks so much for your feedback.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    a Good Weekend is...

    ** Crocheting on the couch with my girlie, whom I just taught to finger knit.  She's gone through that whole ball of yarn making a knitted chain twice now.  Oh how hard we fall!

    yarn-tending with my girlie

    ** Discovering the Google Reader "Next" button through tips from so many dear readers.  Thanks, all - I love it!

    ** Making a simple felt necklace for a sweet, sweet friend.  It's from Stitch Magic.

    a little project from Stitch Magic

    I replaced the felt ties with a crochet chain.

    for my friend

    ** Picking apples at Skytop Orchard.  What a glorious day to be handing down apples!!! 

    glorious day

    I had to insist we stop picking after we gathered all of 30 lbs.  THIRTY pounds people!  Guess what we'll be doing this week?  Drying, freezing and enjoying apples!

    apple picking

    ** Starting something new that I've been seriously anticipating, in Lotta's new collection.  Echo will be available very very soon here and here and here

    start of something new

    And, actually, I do have an Echo charm pack to giveaway.  Let's do that now, shall we?  To enter, please fill out this little survey about Celebrate Color vs. Quilt-alongs.  I mean, I was wanting to ask you to do that anyway, so this fell together quite nicely!  There are only 3 required questions (they're the first 3), and they're multiple choice, so you can totally do this.



    To be eligible for the Echo charm pack (courtesy of Windham Fabrics), please complete the survey by Wednesday at noon, EST.  Thanks so much, y'all!

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Blogs, Pinterest & Flickr... Playing Favorites

    "What's this?" you say.  Kind of a what-I-do and why-I-do-it.  With pictures.  Maybe you can jump in with your thoughts?  Your questions?

    We're so inundated with social media options that most of us take on a defensive stance - "I won't let that obsession happen to me!"  And then there's the fact that popular platforms come and go, leaving you wondering if you should follow the crowd, or not.  If you're anything like me, you need a good "reason" to jump on board, all the while considering that trump card we call time.  If you're on the fence about where to be online, this post might help you choose.  If you're firmly established, then why don't you spout off what you adore about your spaces?  You know you want to!  I'm listening!

    Blogs.

    Call me biased, but my #1 favorite place to be online is reading blogs.  It's kind of like the book series that never ends (usually) or the magazine that's honestly free.  Ok, it's a LOT like a free craft book too, since sewing blogs are peppered with awesome step-by-step tutorials. For a while there I thought I'd be content reading blogs, but it's kind of hard to make friends that way.  And, even if you don't think you'll make "real" friends online (I totally have!), there's the lure of feedback on your projects and opportunities to participate in quilting bees and fun swaps.  For many of these social sewing extras, having a blog may not be strictly required.  But it helps.  It helps people to know that you are real, and that you have some level of commitment to being involved.  Your blog doesn't have to be all about crafting either.  Your blog is what you make it.  How often you post, what you post about - don't feel that you should apologize for any perceived "shortcomings" in these areas.  Just enjoy it when and how you like.

    My blog is hosted by Blogger, which I'll recommend to you quite highly.   I've been on both hosted and self-hosted versions of Wordpress, and I quite like Blogger better.  With Blogger I don't get spam (which can be a HUGE problem, trust me!) and it's integrated with lots of cool things like Google Friend Connect (which loosely tracks "followers"), since Google owns Blogger. 

    For reading blogs, I use Google Reader.  Before Google Reader I used to try to keep up with email subscriptions, but that was pretty overwhelming to say the least.  Hard to focus on your task when fun emails keep popping into your inbox!  If you've never tried a blog reader, please do!  This one is a sanity-saver for sure.  I've not used any other readers, but usually you can't go wrong with Google.  Here's a peak at the dashboard:


    You can organize the blogs you subscribe to into categories, which is useful.  I know someone who keeps her favorite blogs in a "Must Read" folder so that she never misses a post.  The other blogs in her reader she may or may not read, depending on time constraints.  Anytime you want to, you can clear out your reader by marking all posts "read".  You can also star posts or email them to people right from the dashboard.  However, you do have to click to go to the blog itself to make comments.  And comments are so important!  Show some love!

    You can add blogs to your reader by copying and pasting the URL into the "add a subscription" tool in Google Reader or add new blogs by clicking "Join this site with Google Friend Connect", which shows up in the sidebar of many blogs and looks like this:

    Flickr.

    Psst... I joined Flickr before I started my blog!  If you're a crafty type and you're taking pictures of your finished projects, I know you're saving those pictures on your computer.  With a few clicks, you can upload pictures to Flickr for free to share them with friends and/or the online crafty community.  And the sewing community on Flickr is huge.  Massive! 

    That said, if you create a Flickr account and add your pictures but stop there, nothing much will happen.  I suggest you take 2 more steps.

    First, find bloggers you love by searching for them under "contacts" or finding a Flickr link straight from their blog.  Add these people as "contacts", which is a way of subscribing to their photostream.  Now you'll have a stream of photos coming in at you full of inspiration.  So, this is like following blogs, but pictures only.  A great way to keep up when you're crunched for time!  You can engage with your contacts by commenting on their photos, asking questions, even leaving notes directly on the images to talk about some particular part of the photo.  Here's an example of some of my "recent activity" where people have talked to me on Flickr and a bit of my contacts' recent uploads.  I check back with this Flickr landing page quite a bit!


    Here's my photostream, should you like to add me.

    Ok, the 2nd thing you should do on Flickr is check out the groups.  Groups are little clubs of sorts, but most are open for anyone to join.  They're a great place for inspiration, finding new contacts to follow and new blogs too.  Fresh Modern Quilts was one of my favorite groups getting started:


    I even use groups to check out a craft book before buying.  The Handmade Beginnings group, for example, gives you a good idea of the types of projects in the book.  There are also groups for fabric collections, so if you're not sure you'll like a fabric in person take a look at it in action in a great diversity of projects.


    And add your images to these types of groups so that people start finding YOU!  There are also lots of private groups on Flickr for organized communities like swaps and quilting bees.  Here's our page for do. Good Stitches, where you can learn all about the bee and apply for membership.


    You can see what groups I'm active in at the bottom of my profile to get you started.  If you're a sewing/crafting blogger and want to be active in the community, I think Flickr is a wonderful place to be!

    Pinterest.

    Pinterest is the new kid on the block, but she's definitely turning heads.  I joined Pinterest because I appreciate being able to keep virtual pinboards of inspiration.  You can have lots of different pinboards, so as to keep things organized, and you can "pin" photos from anywhere on the web through a button you add to your browser bar.  Pinterest tries its darndest to keep track of where images originate, so that you can always get back to the source.  Because of this, you can also use Pinterest to catalog your tutorial bookmarks.  Visual bookmarks are way better than the old-fashioned kind!

    The social aspect of Pinterest is following other members.  You can follow everything someone pins or just particular boards that interest you to keep your Pinner-stream relevant.  I'm pretty selective on what I follow for now, in order to keep things manageable for me.  I also rarely pin things, though that has been picking up as of late.  You can find me on Pinterest here.  If you need an invite to join Pinterest, this girl would be happy to help you out.  Add a comment with your email address!



    I like to search Pinterest if I'm looking for images, since they tend to be of such a high quality!  And, by the way, Pinterest is not something you need to "keep up with", instead it's just a place to go when you're in the mood.  And you can certainly find some perfectly delightful things!  In fact, my most favorite board that I keep is called "Perfectly Delightful".  These are not things that I'm necessarily planning to make at all.  They are the supreme things I'll dub perfectly delightful, and they are few and far between.  Maybe, just maybe, you'd like to come see?



    And so that concludes our tour of Rachel's social media brain. I hope you enjoyed the ride. If you have any questions about how to get involved, I'd love to lend a hand! And those of you out there who are already quite snazzy, don't be shy to share your thoughts. I always love a fresh perspective!
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