Happy Memorial Day!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day and has enjoyed a long weekend with family! 

My boys marched in the parade this morning with the scouts.  As we applauded the veterans, both young and old, I admit I got a bit teary eyed.  We must always remember and honor those who have given of themselves to defend our freedom and especially those who have fought in wars that haven’t been so clear cut.

More blogs about what I found at Market resume tomorrow!


Prairie Point Party

Prairie Pointer by Susan Cleveland

The first time I attended Quilt Festival in Houston in 2004, I fell in love with Susan Cleveland’s work.  Her quilt, Spangled Star Banner, hung in the In the American Tradition III special exhibit.  I loved how the perfect tiny piping, mini prairie points and bead embellishments gave this quilt perfect pizazz.  Afterwards, I bought her tool to try my hand at the piping, but admittedly never got my act together to try it.

Fast forward 6 years to spring 2010.  Before I left for market, I designed several new quilts based on the Double Card Trick block I created for Driftwood.  One of my favorites included a border with prairie points to mimic the paper-pieced triangles in the main blocks.  Mind you, I’ve never made prairie points before!  Anyway, as we were walking the aisles, suddenly we were in front of the “Pieces Be With You” booth with none other than Susan Cleveland, herself!  She was demonstrating her Prairie Pointer tool!  Do you believe in Kismet??  Of course I had to have one!  This time, I wasted no time trying out my new tool!

Here are my very first Prairie Points!  Not bad for a beginner!  I sewed the green and purple ones to the black fabric, but the pink/green one is just sitting on the black fabric.  I tried using a stripe as Susan suggested – neat idea!  The tool really does make it easy and Susan has some great ideas about how to make the Prairie Points fun and special. 

 Prairie Pointer by Susan Cleveland

Check out her website to see all her great products and ideas:  www.piecesbewithyou.com     Be sure to take a look at her beautiful award winning quilts!  Susan’s booth as well as her quilts are just like a party! 

A great pillow project using the Prairie Points will be featured in the August issue of McCall’s Quilting, due out in June. 

Until the next edition of “What I found at Market!” …


EQ7 – A must have!

As promised, here is the first of the must haves – the new EQ6 upgrade from Electric Quilt Co. – EQ7!


Shortly before going to Market, I had heard the upgrade was going to be available in June.  As you must know by now, EQ6 has been my favorite tool ever since I started designing my own quilts.  I had started with EQ5 and upgraded to EQ6 in 2007.  That was a significant upgrade.  The differences between EQ6 and EQ7 are not that dramatic, but if you are a serious EQ6 user the improvements are definitely worth the upgrade!

At Market, I ran into an old friend from my Chicagoland days, Barb Vlack.  Barb is an expert in all things EQ.  She is a technical advisor, has written a few books for them, teaches, and does much more, I’m sure.   Way back when in my Program Chairperson days for Pride of the Prairie Quilters, I had contracted Barb to do an evening program for us.   That’s when I learned that even though I used EQ extensively, I hadn’t even scratched the surface!

Anyway, Barb gave me a feel for a few of the great new improvements : 

  • The ability to edit and manipulate photographs, almost as well as Photoshop Elements without having to leave the program.  This includes the ability to manipulate scanned images of fabrics.  This sounds very efficient to me.  I hate toggling back and forth between the two programs.  Plus it opens up a whole new world of easily creating images/fabric with photos as I have seen done by other designers with much more complicated software.
  • A graph paper grid on the Custom Set Layout.  I love designing on Custom Set Layout, but it can be a pain to have place blocks on an empty piece of paper and have to do math in your head to get everything in the right place.  I think this was Barb’s idea!  Thank you Barb!
  • The ability to click and drag objects onto the layout.  This will give EQ more of the same feel as most other drawing programs out there.

I know there’s more, but these are the improvements that struck me.    Check out www.ElectricQuilt.com  for more information and to order yours today!!!!

I was lucky enough to pick up my copy while in Minneapolis, but, alas, carrying my laptop from here to there evidently jostled something on my DVD/CD drive and I couldn’t load the upgrade disc.  It was less expensive to order an external drive than to get the computer fixed – so here I wait!  What a tease to have the CD in my possession and not be able to play!  Hopefully, I’ll get to play real soon and upload some images of what I was able to create!

More Market must-haves tomorrow!


Scandinavian Sky debuts at Island Batik booth

I am so lucky to have been connected with the great people at Island Batik for the last year or so.  As promised, the next quilt in the Scandinavian Quilt Series is Scandinavian Sky.  Here I am, with Island Batik owner and designer, Moira Dewar, showing off Scandinavian Sky.   Although the designs in this series are pretty traditional, I loved using the batiks to give the quilts the appearance of texture.  Of course, that’s not to say they wouldn’t look great using some of the other great fabrics out there.

Scandinavian Sky

 The quilt measures 35″ x 48″ and just like Scandinavian Christmas, the top red border is also a rod pocket.  Keeping life simple and easy – there is no binding!  Get your pattern to see how it’s done!  Available June 1 from www.QuiltWoman.com


Just back from Spring Quilt Market!

Spring Market 2010

Here we are at the entrance to the 2010 Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis.  That’s my friend and pattern editor, extraordinaire, Connie, on my left!  Connie lives in Chicagoland and so now I only get to see her about once a year.  What a fabulous time we had spending the weekend looking at all of the new products, patterns and fabrics coming into the marketplace. 

We were also both very inspired by all of the beautiful quilts we saw.  I have lots of ideas spinning in my head!  The challenge will be where to start!

Over the next few days, I will blog about some of the things we saw and the new products we just had to have!  Stay tuned!


Scandinavian Inspired Designs

As you know by now, I am very proud of my Estonian heritage.  I am also very intrigued and inspired by the designs and color of the traditional handwork and folk costumes.   Last summer I posted pictures from our vacation in Estonia, including the colorful costumes from  the Dance Festival and the beautiful handwork from the island of Kihnu.   Much of my work to date has been influenced (albeit subconsciously) by these designs that have surrounded me all my life.  This spring, however, I decided to very consciously interpret these designs in my quilting. 

I have just finished two of a three quilt series that I am calling my Scandinavian Quilt Series.  Although one of the designs is taken directly from a traditional knitted Estonian vest, the patterns are what most people would associate with Scandinavian knitted sweater design.  In my opinion, Estonians are most closely associated with the Scandinavian peoples and their designs are very similar. 

In somewhat of a paradox, I chose to make these quilts from Batiks, created in a part of the world that could not be more opposite, Bali.  However, I really like the way these hand-dyed fabrics simulate the texture of the hand-dyed wools that are used to create the beautiful knits. 

Scandinavian Christmas is the first in the series.  Ironically, the green fabric which inspired this quilt was from a line called “Jungle Bean” from Island Batik, Inc.  However, rather than jungle foliage, I saw evergreen boughs.  Although, I colored the sashing the same as the star “backgrounds,”  I added cornerstones of yellow, reminiscent of candles burning on an old fashioned Christmas tree.

The pattern (HMD-105)  is now available at www.QuiltWoman.com.  Coming soon:  Scandinavian Sky