Monday, October 31, 2011

Giveaway Winner and the Best Picture

The results are in... this one was so funny.  I do the random number generator and then I start counting.  I loved the results this time, it was #1.  How easy is that?

Blogger Lynn said...

I love a good mystery! I'm a follower.
October 23, 2011 6:46 PM

Okay, you better sit down for this one.   My dream is to go to Quilt Market and Festival in Houston.   If you are not quite as obsessive as I am about Quilt Market, this is where all the fabric companies, book publishers, and anyone in the business related to quilting go and showcase their products.

It is closed to the public.   Quilt shop owners and the like go and see what is new, order the hottest fabric lines etc.   It is the be all and end all of the quilt world.  Literally.   Some of Amanda's design team went this year.  Namely CandiceBrooke, Sally and Julie.

These girls were super friends before they went, but they have broken the 'amazing meter' by what they did while they were there.   This is where I should mention that a while ago, I was teasing them when they were making plans for market.   I told them if they ran into Pokey Bolton, the grand puba of 'Quilting Arts' magazine and so many other things, tell her I said hi.

Tonight when I opened my email, there was one from Sally with the subject line stating, 'Special for Jackie', upon opening the email was this picture:

That is Pokey on the left and Sally on the right and Julie taking the picture!!!   They went right up and met her and asked if they could have her picture for me!  Do I not have the best friends in the world?
I have no idea when I will get sleep again.    That is just so freakin' cool.   I could go on and on about this, but at some point you may get a little bored.  Feel free to email me privately if you would like me to continue gushing about the coolness of this event.

Do check back later this week.... just sayin.......

Friday, October 28, 2011

Having Fun with my GO!

I have been playing with my Baby GO!  I didn't think I would use it as much as I have.   I wonder if there is such a thing as a GO! addiction.  I may have it, if there is.  I think the treatment is probably to buy more dyes for it=)

When my kids were younger, I made them felt boards and literally spent hours cutting out shapes for them.  Last week I used my GO! to cut out shapes the board, in 3 minutes flat!  Now why wasn't the GO! around back then?  

Now take a look at this sneak peak of what I have been working on:

This is what I have been creating for Pellon.  Trust me when I say you have no idea what I have made this out of.   

You see that I have mentioned the GO! quite a bit, you may want to check back next week.  Just sayin'...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How To Improve the Juried Process

I mentioned before that I write for the national quilting publication here in Canada. I have my own column, it is a humorous approach to quilting.

To date, this is my all time favourite article I have ever written. I think because I do enter juried shows, and I do often get rejected from them. And I really want to get accepted. I did well in 2011, but still have yet to get into Houston or Quilt National. With Houston Quilt Festival just around the corner, I thought this would be an appropriate time to post it. Without further ado, here is my article.

How To Improve The Juried Process

Have you heard the term, ‘fat envelope’ and skinny envelope’?   If you have, then you  are definitely my group of people.  If you haven’t,  read on and I will enlighten you.  

Let me first explain how to enter a juried show.  You usually are required to submit photos of your quilt, provide an artist’s statement that describes the message the quilt conveys,  the size of it, and a fee.  This information has to arrive  by a specific date,  and a jury looks at all the quilts and decides  who gets accepted.  There is also a date that they will let you know whether your quilt  got in or not.  Typically acceptance letters are sent first, rejection ones second.

After you enter a juried show, you sit and wait to see if you are going to get a skinny envelope, meaning it is just the rejection letter inside.   Or a ‘fat envelope’ meaning you got in, and all the instructions to get your quilt to the show are included. 

I must tell you a story that happened to me over the years of trying to enter juried shows. 

It started when  I received an acceptance email regarding my entry.   I skimmed quickly over it… ‘Dear… Ms. White, your quilt… got in.’   Yahoo, elation!   Now I better read it over more carefully.   ‘Dear Ms. Joyce White’, hmm, that is not my name, oh must be a simple mistake… continuing, ‘your quilt ‘Around the Lake’, hmm, that is not the name of my quilt either. 

Oh dear, what exactly does this mean, I better email the jury coordinator.  Looks like I got this Joyce White’s acceptance email and she got mine.  

Later that afternoon I received an  email from the  jury coordinator, ‘So sorry for the mix-up, but as a courtesy I am attaching your rejection letter even though you will soon receive it in the mail.’   Well, that was thoughtful, now I  will have the pleasure of feeling like a loser twice.   When I opened up the attached letter it said, ‘Thank you for applying, we only accepted excellent quilts this year.’   That does make me feel better! 

They say you are to study the jurors and the quilts they make, so you know how to get your quilt accepted.  Why would I do that?  I am not making them a quilt.  It’s not their birthday.   They are not supposed to be picking quilts that they like for themselves.   If that was the case, they should have their own solo show.  

Then there is this entry fee thing. Can you just charge the ones that got in?   I realize it is to cover costs, but mine didn’t get in, so it’s not like you are paying to ship it back.  

Quilting is so subjective.   I am also a competitive swimmer so my ability  in this area,  is determined by my time.   If I go fast, I win.   Perhaps quilting can take on this attitude.  Instead of asking for the dimensions of the quilt, just ask how long it took to make.   And why not remove  the best workmanship award and put in a  speed award.   What?  You finished your  quilt in four days?   Red ribbon to you!
 Who cares if it looks like it should adorn the window on your outhouse.  You won!

I also think there should be a B division like in hockey.  If you don’t get into the big juried show, why not let those rejected quilts  get accepted into the B show?
And many shows often send the comments of the jurors along with the rejection letter.  I know this is the juror’s way of absolving themselves of guilt as to why they didn’t pick my quilt.   Here is an example of a juror’s comments I received, ‘Your quilt does not display symmetry.’  Okay, if I didn’t get in, chances are I don’t know what symmetry is.    Why not just say, ‘your quilt sucks’. 

And another thing, these artist’s statements, how much importance is given to that, versus the actual quilt?  I think if you can write a good story, it doesn’t matter what your quilt looks like.  I wonder if the jurors are so intimidated by the terminology of some of these quilters, that they just select them. Figuring their quilt must be really deep and wonderful, and they would be missing something if they didn’t  let them into the show.   Jurors, here is  a tip… we just make that stuff up to get in. 

 Let me give you an  example.  Picture a big piece of black cloth with a red strip running through it.  Here is the attached artist’s statement:  ‘This quilt is a reflection of when I rescued a dog swimming in the ocean with only one leg.  It made me realize that  we as humans are but a small particle on this planet. How  we come to struggle and survive without destroying the balance and harmony of this universe is a quest unknown.’
And you know what?  That quilt would get in.   I have no idea what it means, but neither would anyone else.  

I have tried to explain how I feel about the jury process. Now I would like to offer some suggestions to the jurors.  

If we actually manage to get in one year, can we please get a pass to get in for the next year?   It probably took us 10 years to get in and if we have to wait that long again, we may not be around the next time.  We are an aging bunch.

Instead of advising us to study the quilts made by the jury, why not publish their likes and dislikes so bribes can be sent in?  That is something a little more realistic and helpful.

Don’t mail the rejection letter, email it to us, we want to be able to delete it right away and pretend it didn’t happen. Who needs a paper copy to remind us we are a failure?

How about a free pass?   After 5 rejections, you get a coupon to get into the next juried show.

Why not mix it up a bit and have an ‘opposite juried show’?  All the ones that got rejected get to be hung in the show, and those that were good enough to get accepted, mail them the rejection letters.   Now wouldn’t that be a nice switch.

Can you just find a venue that can host all the entries?  Why do you always have to say, ‘We loved all the quilts, but we could only choose 4 of the 5,000 due to limited space.’   Find a bigger area.   That would be smarter.   Then when you cash all those entry fee cheques, you don’t need to feel guilty that half of them totally wasted their money applying.  

Lastly, can you please post on You Tube  the jurors doing  the  jury selection?  I just want to see that  they are not drawing names out of a hat. 

Now I must go and check my mail for a fat envelope… one can always hope.

This article was published in the Winter 2010 CQA/ACC issue.  Please don't copy without written permission.  Thanks so much!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway

I was recently contacted by Plume Publishing to do a book review of a quilting mystery novel that was being released this October.  I jumped at the chance to read a book that had quilting in it!  Who wouldn't?

Now, I know you are thinking I am going to give it a good review because I got a free book and that is what is expected of me.  My friends would laugh at that.   If it was bad I would just contact the publisher and tell them what I thought and not do the review.   In this case, my opinion of 'The Devil's Puzzle' was this:   TOTALLY FANTASTIC!

The first paragraph got me.   Clare O'Donohue has a sense of people and insight into them that she shares throughout the novel.  It just makes you really think.   The novel has quilting in it.  The author talks about quilting in such a personal way and sees an overall view that we as quilters, don't step back and take a look at.   The mystery is good.   I did not know until I was told, who committed the murder.
Here is the synopsis of the book:

Witchcraft in a small New England town typically harkens Salem, Massachusetts.  However, amateur sleuth Nell Fitzgerald finds the upcoming anniversary of Archers Rest, New York drawing out the town’s own dark history of witchcraft, as well as that of its residents in THE DEVIL’S PUZZLE.  Nell is thrilled when her grandmother Eleanor’s boyfriend plans a double surprise—restoring the rose garden of her old Victorian house, and a marriage proposal.   However, Oliver’s plans are put on hold when a skeleton is unearthed in Eleanor’s backyard.  Police Chief Jesse Dewalt launches an investigation, and for once, Nell vows to stay out of his way, instead focusing on organizing a historic quilt show as part of the town’s upcoming anniversary festivities.  When clues lead to questions about Eleanor’s past, Nell is forced to uncover the truth.  As the anniversary approaches, a chilling wave of vandalism strikes town hot spots, raising fears that witchcraft has returned, and revealing secrets that could change life in Archer’s Rest forever.    

I was so intrigued by Ms. O'Donohue that I asked the publisher if I could do a Q&A with her, and she consented.  

Your book starts right off being insightful of people in general and continues throughout the book. Where did you develop this instinct about people?

I suppose like all writers, I watch people a lot. I try not to be judgemental, and not bring my own biases into things, but just observe. People reveal a lot of themselves and as long as you stay neutral, listen and watch, you can learn a lot.

You have a real handle on art quilters vs traditional quilters and explain it in a refreshing complimentary way to both parties, please tell us about this?
I’m a big fan of both traditional pieces and art pieces. They both lean on a long history of using cloth for creative expression, and both are a way for the maker to showcase skills, ideas, and talents. I don’t really understand why there is a divide, but I’ve seen it. I think we all learn from each other.

I guess I should have started with this one. Do you quilt ? If so for how long and what type of quilting do you enjoy?
I’ve been quilting for about 15 years, maybe longer. I generally make traditional quilts. I love the log cabin, which is both very traditional and very modern, depending on the fabrics you choose. I’m hand piecing a grandmother’s flower garden at the moment. It’s been a while since I’ve hand-pieced, and I find it’s very relaxing. Though I generally piece quilts and sometimes machine applique, I’m doing more hand appliqué as well. Once in a while I’ll do an “art” quilt – but I’m usually following the pattern or influence of someone like Ricky Tims or Velda Newman.

Do you belong to a guild?
I don’t, though I’d certainly like to. I travel quite a lot for my day job as a TV producer, and I’m pretty active in the mystery writing community, so there’s not a lot of spare time. These days I mainly quilt on Sundays, and take my hand piecing with me on the road. But perhaps when (if) things quiet down, I’ll join a guild.

Are all your books mysteries?
Yes, so far. I really like writing mysteries because I think a dead body on the floor gives an immediacy to the events. You can’t talk about it tomorrow. You have to deal with it now. That sets things in motion. Plus, I think it’s always interesting to put characters into a crisis and see how they handle it.

My favourite line in the whole book is this, “You can hide who you are from much of the world, but when you quilt, I realized, your personality finds its way into the finished product.” How did you come to believe this?
That’s true, isn’t it? I think when you quilt you forget yourself, you focus on the work and in doing that, you are also focusing on what’s most interesting to you, what matters. So if you see tiny, even stitches, you can bet that person cares about precision. And not just when she quilts. If you see bold, bright choices, it’s likely a quilt made by someone who isn’t afraid of standing out from the crowd. I don’t tend to make the same quilt twice, because I really like to keep challenging myself. And my quilts have lots of little mistakes in them, which is a clear indication that I’m not a perfectionist.

What made you want to become a writer and why quilt mysteries?
I’ve always written. As a little kid I changed the endings to fairy tales to suit me, as a teenager I wrote short stories and a novella. After college, I began working as a newspaper reporter and later a columnist, in a small weekly paper in Illinois. Then I started working in TV, writing and producing documentaries and other programs. So I’ve always written. When I decided to try writing a novel, I suppose I took that old advice and wrote about what I knew, which was quilting. My other mystery series, The Kate Conway Mysteries, focuses on TV producing because that’s something else I know about. 

The Someday Quilts series includes The Lover’s Knot, A Drunkard’s Path, The Double Cross and The Devil’s Puzzle (Oct. 2011), and her Kate Conway series recently made its debut with Missing Persons.  O’Donohue lives in Chicago, ILVisit her website at and the Someday Quilts fan page on Facebook.

When I googled Devil's Puzzle quilt block, I found that it is a variation of the Drunkard's Path Block and could look like this:
Now I am lucky enough to give away this book to one lucky follower.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me you follow and I will pick a winner  next Monday October 31st.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Giveaway Winner and Other News

What a fantastic week! First thank you to all who entered the giveaway. A special thank you for all who are joining my blog. Welcome! And thank you to those who continue to follow. It is appreciated.

The giveaway winner is:

Blogger Kirsten said...

Congratulations on 500 posts!

I have to admit, and I'm still sometimes embarrassed by this, that my favourite colour is pink. It used to red... does that mean I've faded???
October 18, 2011 8:23 AM

I received a lovely email from the Editor-in-Chief of American Quilter magazine yesterday:

Hi Jackie,
Thank you for sharing your quilt story. I just posted it on the American Quilter magazine blog at Your grandmother must have been a very special lady indeed!

I was so excited when I read this and went right to the website. My quilt 'Bye Gram, I Love You' had just returned home earlier this week and was finally hanging back in it's rightful place. It had been travelling to 3 juried shows since May. So when I got this email, I just looked at my quilt and smiled with a tear in my eye. My Gram would have been so shocked to think that all this could have happened. Honestly, when I sat sitting on my grandmother's stool sewing on all those hundreds of buttons, I never imagined that this quilt would generate so much interest. I am truly speechless.

As you know, this week, our team launched Amanda's new fabric line Delighted. I did a talk at my guild and had almost 50 in attendance. We made the little pin cushions.

Here are a couple of them working away at them.

One of the ladies, Judy, came and showed me her block she is doing for the Tinners club at our guild. I was so astounded with it, that she let me take a pic of it. I believe she said there were over 150 3/4" strips in it. That is 1/4" finished strip, in case you were wondering how big each of those little pieces were.

Isn't it just the cutest block?

Stay tuned next week, I am doing a fun review and a giveaway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Delighted Launch Party!

Today is the launch party of Delighted fabric line by Amanda Herring.   The design team is launching online parties and offline parties.  I am doing my launch at my guild tonight, but will be back later with follow up to that.

At our meeting tonight, we are making these little cuties.
(All photos courtesy of Peas in a Pod and Silly Mama blogs)
If you want to get in on some awesome giveaways, then check out my fellow team mates blogs and their launch parties.






Amanda, the girl behind it all, fabric designer extraordinaire


And don't forget to enter my giveaway.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baby GO! Tutorial

I have been using my Baby GO! non stop.   I love it.  A.L.O.T.  And when I am not using it, I am looking on their website to see what dies I simply must have.  Okay, it is all of them.   But who's counting?

As you have heard me say a zillion times, I love circles.    One of the dies I bought was the 2", 3", and 5" circles.  Did you also know you can sign up to receive their newsletter and you will get 22 free patterns.  You don't even have  to have a GO! to use them.

Cute?   This was made using my Baby GO!  It was so fast and so much fun.   The best part is that I can put a little star on the top, throw some little presents underneath and it becomes a Christmas wall hanging.  Or I added a few little flowers on it.  I left it plain, as my kids are going to decorate it for me.       That is another great thing about the GO!, you can cut out shapes and have your kids decorate wall hangings for each season!

Here is how to make one.

2 fat eighths of green fabric
6" square of red fabric
3" x 6" rectangle for tree trunk
23" x 21" for background and backing
material for binding

Accuquilt Baby GO!
Rose of Sharon by Sharon Pederson, #55045 Die
GO! Circle 2", 3", and 5", #55012 Die
Sewing machine
Cutting Tools

I used fabric from the Delighted collection from Riley Blake fabrics for the greens in the tree, the red balls and the binding.

I fused Wonder Under to the back of two 8" x 6" pieces of the green fabrics.
I used my Circle Die and cut out 9 - 3" circles and 9 -2" circles from the two different green fabrics. 

Fuse Wonder Under to the back of the red fabric.  Using the Roses of Sharon die, place the red fabric on the 1/2", 3/4" and 1" circles.  You will need about 20 circles.   You will see I also used a bit of the binding fabric for my circles as well.  

Fuse Wonder Under to the back of the fabric for the tree trunk.  Cut out a trunk shape.  I just free handed it.   Place this on your background fabric and begin layering the tree.  You will start with the biggest circles at the bottom.    
Continue layering the tree, alternating fabric, until you use up all your green circles. 

Add the red balls on top and fuse in place with a hot iron following manufacturer's instructions.

If you want the flowers at the bottom, then use the Rose of Sharon die, and cut out some flowers and leaves.

The red balls can either look like apples, or if it is near Christmas, like holiday balls.   If it is going to be for Christmas, add a yellow star at the top and some cute presents at the bottom.

Square up your background.   Quilt and bind.   I did circle quilting on the tree and trunk.   And a large stippling in the background.

The GO!  really makes things go smooth and easy.   What are the highlights of the Baby GO! that I enjoy?   It cuts circles out perfectly.  And it does it quickly.   It is so easy to use and small to store.   It is a definite time saver and makes my quilts look more precise.    

Don't forget to enter my fabric giveaway, it ends on Friday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

500th Post and a Giveaway! Now Closed

This is my 500th post!

I can't believe it.   I had no idea I would ever get this far and have so much fun doing it.   I have so many upcoming things to share with you that I am bursting at the seams!

A giveaway is definitely in order.   To celebrate I am giving away 4 fat quarters of my hand dyed fabric.

All you have to do is be a follower of mine and tell me your favourite color.  So when I pick the winner, you will get colors that you like.   

I will draw a winner next Friday October 21, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby GO!

Guess what I have been keeping a secret?   Accuquilt has asked me to be one of their Official Accuquilt Bloggers!  

They sent me a Baby GO!

I chose these 3 dies:

Roses of Sharon, Circles and Feathers.  
GO! Rose of Sharon (55045)

I am working on the cutest little tutorial as we speak.   Of course I had the GO! working within an hour of it entering my house.  
I do have to say, it is so easy it is ridiculous!   We all know my slight obsession with circles, so it is no surprise that I have over 50 circles cut with my GO! already.

Stay tuned for more GO! excitement.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Laminated Cotton

Remember when the first fabric company took the plunge and put some of their quilting cottons into a laminate?   And the masses went wild?   Now you are hard pressed to find a company that doesn't put a few fabrics from each line into laminated cotton.

Compared to the laminates a few decades ago, these ones are a dream.  Soft, supple, easy to work with, can iron one side, pliable and oh so comfy.

The downside being you can't really pin as it leaves a hole, patching is tricky as it is thicker than cotton and without a teflon foot for your machine, you will be ready to pitch it into a corner.

Having said all of that, I had some gorgeous laminate from Amanda's second line of fabric 'Sugar and Spice'.   I finally got to work and made a rain poncho, complete with lined hood and trim around the bottom and a front pocket.

And  please don't comment that I am not 'model material', I already know that=)

On the quilting front, I have two on the go.   Next week, we better have a giveaway to celebrate 500 posts.   Two more to go till the big 500th one!

To all my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving!   Hope you put on your fat pants for all that turkey to be consumed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lost on the Block

My quilt is up on the Riley Blake website. 

I used the 'Lost and Found' fabric by My Mind's Eye.  This block I designed is so easy, yet the options are limitless.   Check it out and feel free to leave a comment here or on their site.  

In order to see the tutorial, when you get to the Riley Blake blog, just click on the 'Cutting Corners College' tab at the top and you can see the full instructions there.

I think this is my favourite quilt I have designed for them.  I know that my mom is going to use it when she does quilts for charity, as it is easy, fast and has a fun pattern when assembled.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A New Art Quilt

I am working on a new art quilt.   This one had me stumped for over two months.   This is what hung on my design wall during that time.

I knew it needed more, so I took it back down, mixed up some thickened dye and created this.

I put red circles all over it.   Then it hung for another six weeks.  I stared at it every day, thinking it needed something else, and not knowing how to put my focal point on it in a pleasing manner.   I knew what I wanted on there, and have that part made up (3D), but did not know how to get the quilt to flow together and look good.   

Last week, after flipping through books for inspiration, it came to me.   I was a little nervous because I have never cut up the background of a quilt before.   I also knew this had to be improved.  I took a deep breath, grabbed my cutter and closed my eyes.   Kidding!  I did not shut my eyes!

Here is what I came up with.

I am happy with it now.   The darker blue is my hand dyed fabric and the lighter blue is a linen I had in my stash.   I learned quickly that linen can really fray... fast!   

I now have a strong design in my sketch pad, did some work in my Paint program and got some photocopying done.   I am ready for the next step... this consists of circles and ovals.   I do have a thing for them right now.   

Will keep you posted as I progress to the next step.   I think I am only a few posts off till I hit 500, so will plan a giveaway for that celebration!  One more thing, I started a Facebook page, if you feel inclined, can you give it a 'like'.

Creatopia Giveaway

Hey Peeps!

Just got word Amanda of The Quilted Fish is giving away a Creatopia!   Go to her blog..... (there aren't that many entries right now=)

And a tip.... this isn't even the super awesome giveaway that I was talking about on my blog=))  That is still coming.