Quilts and Creativity Rotating Header Image

This Was Not My New Year’s Resolution

2012 has not started out the way I planned. It was too early to even have a plan. We were enjoying my sons’ last day of the Christmas break last Tuesday and it was bitterly cold outside. We built a fire in our fireplace and we enjoyed a low-burning fire all day. I went into the kitchen to cook dinner and was cooking proscuitto in a skillet when I heard David say, “There’s a fire in the wall. I’m not kidding. Get out of the house and call 911.

There was no smoke, no flame, no spark to indicate anything was wrong, so I thought it was a false alarm. But David saw embers under the firebox, felt the wall and hit was hot. So he knew there was a fire.

He was right. We watched the firetrucks pull up and drag the huge hose into our home. The firefighters gingerly pulled the Old Glory quilt down from above my mantel and broke into the den wall. Flames leapt out of the wall, along with huge billows of smoke. We were still outside, but I could see my quilt studio on the second floor fill up with so much smoke you couldn’t see inside it.

We all got out okay, the fire was contained to the one wall of the house, and the firefighters put it out quickly. We have more smoke and water damage than anything. But guess what happens to my quilting fabric?

A textile cleaning company removed ALL of it from my studio, will be cleaning it and specially treating it, will fold it back up, and return it to my studio. Same with my quilts. Almost all of them.

So, I won’t be doing any quilting for a while, but I’m anxious to see my quilting fabric when it returns. Will it be the same? Better than new? Or not?

We are hugely blessed that this happened during the day instead of in the evening, when we normally enjoy a fire. So we’re looking on the bright side and not letting this dampen our spirits or get us down.

Until we deal with the insurance company. Our absolute favorite activity. ;)

Guess Who Decorated This Year’s Gingerbread House?

Guess who decorated the gingerbread house this year? I usually decorate with my sons, but they’re growing older and not as enthralled about doing crafts with mom as they used to be. So that meant I got to be really compulsive with my colors! Normally I’m totally hands off and let them play and put whatever they wanted on the house, but this year, it was all mine.

I was in a blue, red, and white palette mood for some reason, and I have been for a long time. Last year’s Christmas Cabin and Advent Tree table runners both used that color palette, and I’m still in love with it. So I gathered blue Dum-Dum suckers and crushed them for stained glass windows. Blue candy canes grace the roof and the path. Mentos dyed blue-green decorate the roof.

Then my eleven-year-old asked me to made tiny stockings for his cousins who are coming over on Christmas Eve, and since they’re all girls, they got the same palette. I couldn’t stop myself.

I’ve missed sharing with you over the past year. I haven’t been in my quilting studio as often as I’d like; in fact, I haven’t made a single quilt all year. Can you believe that? Life has its seasons, and I’m in one right now that calls me to a different place. That happened before, and Color Mastery was born. So who knows what’s in store for the future?

Until then, please keep in touch. I enjoy hearing from my readers, my subscribers, and friends. I’m on Facebook – Maria Hoath Peagler, on Twitter as SM_OnlineClass, Google+, and YouTube. Since I founded a social media training site, I’m pretty much everywhere. So join me!

Thanks and a Winner

I’m overwhelmed by all the wonderful comments and votes of confidence ya’ll gave me over on Facebook for Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle conference.  I’m thrilled to say I won!  I’m now on the speaker’s lineup and I’ll be presenting at the conference July 20-23, 2011.  I’ve not ever attended Tory’s conference in the past, but from everything I’ve heard, they are phenomenal and really produce results for the attendees.  I’m selective about the companies I align myself with, and I’m proud to be part of the Spark and Hustle team.

Now on to the fun part:  the winner!  I’m excited to announce two winners:  Debbie Snyder and Laurie Krauss.  Ya’ll get your choice of prizes:  either a lecture to your guild, or a social media course over at SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com.  Contact me at maria [at] colormastery.com and we’ll arrange all the fun details.

And the watercolor?  A fun folk art watercolor I did of some homemade cupcakes I made and created a still life with my Winter Bird table runner.  Art imitates life, inspired by art.  It’s all so beautiful!

I hope you are having a wonderful summer with your family and friends, and enjoy your July 4th holiday weekend.  Here’s my family enjoying some time at my sister’s lake house over Memorial Day weekend.

Help Me Get to Spark & Hustle and You Win!

I’ve posted an audition video over at Tory Johnson’s Facebook page to speak at her Spark & Hustle conference in Atlanta in July 2011.

The voting for Spark & Hustle speakers starts NOW and continues until midnight JUNE 14.
I need your help!
I need as many votes as I can get.
It’s super-easy to vote.
No registering for anything.
Just a few clicks and leave a comment.
Here’s what you do:
  1. Click this link: http://www.facebook.com/Tory#!/video/video.php?v=1866920030943&oid=98179626618&comments
  2. Comment on the video, telling Tory why you think I’d be awesome to speak at her event.
  3. You can vote every day until June 14th.
  4. I’ll be showing my appreciation by selecting one Facebook comment for a free lecture to his or her guild.  Yep, I’ll appear at NO CHARGE.  So recruit your guild members and get them voting!  You have one week.  Vote NOW!
That’s it!
Please share with your friends, family, guilds, and bees.
I APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT.  THANK YOU!

1-2-3 Easy Steps to Creating a Quilter’s Color Palette

Does it seem like we often over-complicate our lives?  Some things just don’t need to be difficult, and in that spirit, I’ve created a fun way to visualize creating your own color palette.  This simple chart includes two videos and the basic steps of creating the Renaissance quilt from Color Mastery.  Let me know if you enjoy this, and if you find it useful, I’ll make more!

I’ve been super-busy creating online classes in social media for other quilt designers, small business owners, and solopreneurs, and I’m discovering all kinds of fun tools for teaching online.  If you own a small business or know someone who can use an online class in social media, I’d appreciate your referral!  Tell them to check out SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com and take a look.

Winner of Inspired by Tradition – Kay Mackenzie’s New Applique Book

A huge thank you to everyone who shared the exciting news about Kay Mackenzie’s new book, Inspired by Tradition:  50 Applique Blocks in 5 Sizes.  We kicked off her 10-day blog tour with a huge turnout and quilters all over the globe are discovering that applique doesn’t have to be the “A” word!

Congratulations to Mary of Lake Pulaski who is the lucky winner of Kay’s fabulous book!  Mary – send me your address via email at maria@colormastery.com and we’ll get the book out to you ASAP!

Video Review of Inspired by Tradition – New Applique Book by Kay Mackenzie

Welcome quilters to Day One of Kay Mackenzie’s blog tour for her newest book, Inspired by Tradition:  50 Applique Blocks in 5 Sizes.  If you’re new here, allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Maria Peagler, author of the Benjamin Franklin award-winning book Color Mastery:  10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts.  I’m a workshop instructor and I’m thrilled to have a book like Inspired by Tradition for my students.

Watch my video review of Kay’s newest title, then read on for how you can win you very own copy.

Want to learn more?  Check out all 50 blocks at Inspired by Tradition’s Amazon page.  Check back daily at Kay’s page from March 23 – March 31 to see who will be hosting Kay on their blog.

Want to win your own copy?  Just spread the word about Kay’s new book, by sharing this page with your friends, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or sending an email to your guild’s Program Chairperson or Newsletter Editor.  I make it really easy:  simply click on any of the icons at the top or bottom of this post to share on your favorite social network or via email.  Then tell me here in the comments how you shared, and you’ll be entered to win.  Check back tomorrow when I’ll announce the lucky winner.

Quilter’s Bill of Rights, Spring, and Excitement!

One of my favorite rites of spring is Mother’s Tea at my son’s school:  we both look forward to it, but for different reasons.  I love seeing my son happy at school and talking with the other students and moms; he loves the brownies, bagels, baklava, and other treats the moms make!

Spring also brings busy publishing and teaching schedules for me and other talented quilt designers, authors, and entrepreneurs.  Tuesday, March 22, I’ll be kicking off Kay Mackenzie’s new blog tour for her book Inspired by Tradition:  50 Applique Blocks in 5 Sizes.  Mark your calendars and and don’t miss a moment, because you’ll be seeing inspiration and prizes galore, even if you thought you’d never applique.

On the teaching front, I’ve just returned from a two weeks of workshops and lectures, and my experiences couldn’t have been more diverse:  I taught three workshops at a guild that was delightful and welcoming, and I gave a lecture to another guild that was less so.  During each, I heard from students about their own experiences, both good and bad, with quilting teachers.

I also had my most challenging workshop ever:  I taught machine quilting to a group of about 12 ladies, three of whom were long-arm quilters and quite advanced, another student had a physical disability that made it challenging for her simply to do the basics, three students didn’t have the right feet for their sewing machines, and two more had new sewing machines they were unfamiliar with.  The result?  We had a delightful time and everyone was thrilled with what they learned.  How did I do that with all of those challenges?  Great students and a great teacher.

A few days later I gave a lecture to a guild that was unwelcoming, distant, and extremely unorganized.  Teachers and students deserve a good experience when they attend a workshop or a lecture, so here is my bill of rights for both:

Quilting Student Bill of Rights

As a quilting student, you have the right to expect a teacher who:

  • Arrives prepared with the appropriate supplies, is organized, and friendly
  • Can teach her method in more than one way, taking into consideration students have differing levels of physical abilities, different machines, and different goals.
  • Evaluates the progress of each student in the class and offering supportive encouragement and advice
  • Does not sit alone at the front of the class working on his or her own project during class time
  • Can explain a method in alternate ways if students have difficulty understanding a concept.  Teachers should never offer the “my way or the highway” approach.

Quilting Teacher Bill of Rights

As a quilting teacher, you have the right to expect a guild that:

  • Is organized, prepared for your arrival, and has payment ready for you before you leave
  • Offers safe, clean, and appropriate accommodations, either in a member’s home or a hotel.  If a teacher has a long drive ahead, offer accommodations after a long workshop day or if you meet in the evening.
  • Is welcoming, offering teachers a place to sit during the meeting, a hostess to meet and greet them and provide for their needs during the workshop or lecture.
  • Supports the teacher by purchasing books, patterns, or other quilting supplies provided, rather than asking “is it available online?  How long would it take to get it?”  Teachers go to great lengths to provide supplies to your class; don’t insult them by asking where you can get it for less.
  • Provide contact information, a cell phone number, street address for your meeting location, time, and date.  You’d be surprised how often I have to ask for these.

What else would you include as a teacher, student, or both, in your own Bill of Rights?  Let me hear from you!

Winter Wonderland

Six inches of snow fell late Sunday evening, and it has since turned to ice.  Our boys have been out of school all week, and won’t go back until Tuesday due to MLK Jr. holiday.

It was fun the first day, sledding, throwing snowballs, and hiking mountain trails in the snow.

The second day it was still fun, but the ground was icier:  better for sledding but more difficult to get around.

The third day the ground was covered in ice.  It was my son’s birthday, and he was stuck at a friend’s house after spending the night.  He couldn’t walk home because it was too icy (the snow was powdery enough to walk to his buddy’s house the day before).  He waited until the sun came out and tried walking home.  He fell a couple of times, but was slowly making progress when some friends picked him up in their 4WD Jeep and gave him a ride home.

I’m now officially over it.  I ran out of Coke Zero yesterday (a true emergency), but we still have milk, eggs, bread, and other staples.  Cabin fever has set in, and the kids are grumpy.  I got out all kinds of art supplies, science project books, and anything else I could think of to keep them busy.  They’re tired of sledding (as am I), and my husband can’t convince any of us that this is fun anymore.

Sounds like a great day to quilt, doesn’t it?  How has the snow affected you and how have you coped?  I’d love to know!

Quilting’s First-Ever Music Video

I’m so excited to share another quilting industry first with you:  quilting’s first-ever music video.  It features the 12 table runners in the Color Mastery Table Runner enhanced e-pattern series.  We had a lot of fun putting this together, and a big thank-you goes to my son, who really did the hard work.  He produced the original music in the video and put together all of the still photos.  He’s a talented guy, and it was fun to collaborate on this mother-son project.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did developing it.

Thanks for watching the Color for Quilters video. If you enjoyed it, please sign up below for my monthly newsletter that contains color tips, quilt designs, and a recipe. I promise not to use your email for any other purpose: I don’t like SPAM either.  As a thank you, I’ll send you 10 Color Tips for Quilters and a gift of a color wheel chart so you can get started with your own fabrics today!


Color Mastery Table Runners offers:

  • 12 table runner patterns, each 16×40″, featuring a different color each month
  • 10 short instructional videos where Maria shows you time-saving and accurate piecing and quilting techniques
  • 10 presentations offering professional quilt designers tips on each month’s color and how they used them in their own projects
  • table runner projects are great for mini-lessons and no UFOs
  • the most beautifully decorated table in your neighborhood!
  • great opportunity for group projects, bee groups, and quilt guilds. Enjoy a color challenge with different results each month

Click here to learn more about the table runner series:

I Want to Master Color

Maria Peagler Reveals Another Quilting Exclusive on Pat Sloan’s Creative Talk Radio

What a big finish to 2010 we had with the Quilter’s Favorite Things giveaway! We had so much fun with that contest and we had five lucky winners. This Monday, Jan. 10, I’ll be Pat Sloan’s guest on her Creative Talk Radio show. You won’t want to miss this interview, because I’ll be revealing a quilting industry first on her show, and her listeners will get the exclusive scoop.  Join the party to hear us chat about color, Pantone’s color for 2011, and of course there will be prizes! So tune in and don’t miss the fun. To listen in, visit her show’s website and click the listen live button. The show runs from 4:00 to 5:00, and I’ll be on the second half starting at 4:30.

To add even more to the fun, I’ll be posting live on Facebook during the show.  I’ll be asking questions and giving away prizes during the show, so listen in and answer the questions I post from the show to have even more chances to win!

Here’s to a colorful and creative 2011!

Win One of My Favorite Things for Quilters this Christmas 2010

Oprah isn’t the only one who likes to gift her favorite things every year! Here’s your chance to watch and win one of my four favorite things for quilters this Christmas. Be sure to watch the video all the way to the end so you know how to enter and win one of the best quilting products of 2010!

Vote over at the Color Mastery Facebook page to win one of these best products of 2010.

Christmas Tree Table Runner

Creative Quilters, I’d like to introduce you to Christmas Tree, the December edition of our year-long color-of-the-month enhanced e-pattern series:

A simple red and cream color palette, enhanced with turquoise Christmas ornaments.  The basic red and cream allow you to update this classic runner every year with a new set of colored Christmas ornaments every year.  Turquoise was 2010′s color of the year, but next year I’ll do something completely different.  That’s the beauty of this runner:  it stays contemporary and classic, but changing the ornaments with each Christmas season.

Christmas Tree also doubles as an Advent Tree, with 24 branches and ornaments.  Today, December 1, it starts out decked completely with all 24 ornaments, one of which will be removed each day, counting down until Christmas.  I’m writing on the back of my ornaments, listing Bible verses, community service projects, and where to find treats scattered around the house.

Next year I get to decide what ornament shapes to trim Christmas Tree with: will they be gingerbread men?  Angels?  Stockings?  Stars?  The possibilities are endless!

To order the Color Mastery Table Runners enhanced e-pattern. click here: I Want to Master Color

Blessings Tree Table Runner

Creative Quilters, I’d like to introduce you to Blessings Tree, the November edition of our year-long color-of-the-month enhanced e-pattern series:

Every Thanksgiving I long for a way to permanently record our blessings.  As often as I teach my children the lesson of gratitude and try to practice it myself, the daily carpool, school, work, dinner, and errands tend to take over, and we forget.  Here is a simple way to remember, record, and reflect.

The tree starts out bare, just branches, trunk, and buttons.  During our Thanksgiving day with extended family, we’ll catch up with stories of loved ones lost, children who’ve sprouted so tall you barely recognize them, and hugs and kisses all around.  As we cook, catch up, and enjoy time with those we love so much, we’ll begin adding leaves to the tree.

We’ll each write down on a leaf, with a gold metallic marker, what we’re grateful for this sign, sign and date it.  As more and more family members add their blessings, the leaves begin to accumulate.

Then, before we all sit down to the meal, everyone will add their gratitude leaf to the tree, until it’s overflowing with blessings.

Enjoy your loved ones this Thanksgiving holiday.  Cherish the time together, and continue to remember how richly you’ve been blessed with November’s Blessing Tree pattern.

Here’s a hint for next month:  count the branches on the tree.  Hhhmm, would be great for December, too, wouldn’t it?  Stay tuned and I’ll show you how to turn the Blessings Tree into an Advent Tree for Christmas.

To order the Color Mastery Table Runners enhanced e-pattern. click here: I Want to Master Color

Catching Up

Aaaaahhhhh.  It’s so good to be back.  It has been so long since I’ve been able to be here and chat with all of you.  Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you and saying “Ha!  You thought you had a plan?  Here’s where you’re going now . . . “  I know that each of you can completely relate.  So let me catch you up:

  • Yesterday David turned 45.  We celebrated with a yummy Old Fashioned Devil’s Food cake and Fluffy Chocolate frosting from The Cake Doctor by Anne Byrne (Jamie Lee Curtis’ favorite cookbook).  David said it was the best birthday cake he’s ever had!  Then we enjoyed a couple’s dinner out at Dahlonega’s Crimson Moon and listened to Tom and Julie sing the night away.

  • My younger son turned 10.  I cannot tell you how excited he is to be in the double digits.  He’s also wearing glasses now, and has become a voracious reader.  He’s so committed to reading he carries a flashlight in the car so he can read in the dark on the way to school.

  • My older son is carrying the 60-lb bass drum in marching band, and is needing chiropractic visits because of it.  As much as we love seeing him march and enjoy attending the high school football games, I will be glad when he’s done carrying that albatross.  He’s now in the habit of drumming on anything that doesn’t move.  A habit only a mother can love.

  • I taught a Color Mastery workshop to 70 of the  most wonderful ladies in the Crazy Quilter’s guild in Chattanooga.  Much of the credit for huge attendance goes to Sandi, one of my faithful and true quilt testers, who visited area guilds and put out the word that I was coming.  The guild made the workshop super affordable and even included a box lunch.  I dreamed the night before the workshop that we never got to the first exercise of three in the class because of the large group – a bit of a nightmare, really.  In reality?  I was truly amazed at how well everyone understood and applied the concepts of color in such a large class, and Sandi heard rave reviews all day.  Color is not an easy subject to teach, and it’s a challenge to do it with such a large group, but it was a perfect day for both teacher and students.

  • Took a long overdue “me” day and sewed to my heart’s content, making the reversible Market Bag from Tanya Whelan, two Wonder Wallets from LazyGirl Joan Hawley, and a purse organizer insert in anticipation of Joan’s new Suzi pattern.  I used fabric from Michael Miller and Westminster from Karen William’s new quilt shop in Jasper, Quilt Shop on Main.  I used one of the Wonder Wallets as a business card holder and even got a compliment on it from a guy at a social media conference I attended last weekend.  Wow.

  • I started a new business developing and implementing social media campaigns for small to mid-size businesses.  I’ve been so successful with social media in promoting Color Mastery that I’m helping fellow entrepreneurs do the same with their terrific products and services.  I am quite selective about my clients, and  partner only with people whom I believe in and I know put their clients first.

What does all this mean for my quilting, writing, and teaching?  It’s always my first love, but I’ll have somewhat less time to devote to it.  I won’t be posting on this blog quite as much, but you will find me on Facebook and Twitter every day, so catch me there at my personal page, Color Mastery page, or Willow Ridge Media page.

I will continue to write and teach, but will be approaching it all in a way unseen in our industry before.  I was a leader in publishing with many of the ways I reached out to my readers, being the first in the quilting world to do a blog tour, give away a chapter of a book, and have a YouTube channel.  I’m so excited about the new roads I’ll be forging in our industry, and all I can say is, “fasten your seat belts ’cause it’s gonna be a fun roller coaster of a ride!”

Pinecone Wreath Table Runner

Creative Quilters, I’d like to introduce you to Pinecone Wreath, the October edition of our year-long color-of-the-month enhanced e-pattern series:

October’s featured color is violet, a deep hue often seen in fall’s ever-changing outdoor palette.  Violet, or purple as I loved to call it, was my very first room color when I was old enough to choose.  At the ripe age of seven, I announced to my mother I’d like a purple room.  She painted my dresser purple, made ruffled muslin curtains dyed with Rit purple dye, and I was in color nirvana.

Here I orchestrated violet along with brown and green, all in medium values so you get no jarring contrast.  Just beautiful colors, blending well, and inviting fall’s cooler weather to your table.  And have you ever made a pinecone wreath?  Ouch ladies!  They are painful and your hands will never be the same.  Not so with this darling pattern.  No prickly pinecones, just soft fabric and fusible machine applique to make it quickly.

Pinecone Wreath Pattern Update:  $5.95 (delivered early and automatically to pattern series subscribers – keep reading!)  Add to Cart

If you can’t get to the quilt shop to select your own fabrics, no worries.  I’m offering Pinecone Wreath kit as well.  It’s best to choose your own fabrics for your color palettes, but we all have those times when life gets too busy and we just can’t get to it.  I’d rather you be able to do the lesson with a kit than not at all.  Let’s face it:  the holidays are coming and you’ve got a lot of sewing to do, so make it easy on yourself.

Pinecone Wreath Table Runner Kit: $21.95 Add to Cart

Learn by Doing

In addition to learning how to coordinate a fresh autumn color palette, you’ll also discover how to:

  • cut and place applique motifs
  • learn the best stitches to use for machine applique, including optimal stitch length and width
  • improve your machine applique skills by watching two step-by-step videos (COM Subscribers only)

So not only do you get a sophisticated and new original design, you update your skills as well.

To order the Color Mastery Table Runners enhanced e-pattern. click here: I Want to Master Color

Orange: September’s Color of the Month

Orange is a bit of a conundrum:  it harkens fall like no other color, yet quilters have a love/hate relationship with it.  More than any other, orange is the most challenging and disliked of all colors when I survey my workshop students.  However, those quilters who love orange do so with an unwavering commitment to it and find a way to use it in almost every quilt they make.

So here’s something for quilters on both sides of the orange fence:  if you have a passion for orange, you’re really going to enjoy this month’s show, which features stunning and innovative uses of it in quilt projects both large and small.  If orange is not your favorite and you tend to stay away from it, you’ll be surprised by what you see:  one of the quilters in the show felt the same way and unexpectedly found herself relying on it for her designs.

Get advice from the pros and see their quilt designs and fabrics using orange.  This month I host Edyta Sitar, Betty Alofs, Pat Sloan, Sarah Whitney, Geri Richardson, Faith Wellman, and Laura Berringer of Marcus Fabrics.  To view the show in Full Screen mode or to embed this slideshow in your blog, just click the Menu link.  Remember to support these wonderfully creative designers by asking for their patterns and fabrics in your local quilt shops!

Autumn Antlers Table Runner

Creative Quilters, I’d like to introduce you to Autumn Antlers, the September edition of our year-long color-of-the-month enhanced e-pattern series:

September’s featured color is orange, a perennial challenge for most quilters.  Orange, more than any other color, pops up as quilters’ least favorite color in my workshops.  Well, no more.  I show you, in Autumn Antlers, how to work with orange and make it one of your favorite colors in your quilt’s color palette.

Orange is one of the brightest colors in the quilt shop, and many only think of it for halloween, pumpkins, and garish college football team colors.  That’s about to change, because I give you artist’s tips on how to work with a challenging color and make it your own.  Eric Carle, author and illustrator of gorgeous children’s books, did this with colors he didn’t like, and they became his favorites.  Orange can become one of yours too.  Trust me.

Autumn Antlers design is fun, funky, and sophisticated, and evokes fall without limiting its place on your table to only the fall months.  This runner would be welcome in any season, any month, in any home.  Timeless design, innovative color, all in one stunning runner.

Autumn Antlers Pattern Update:  $5.95 (delivered early and automatically to pattern series subscribers – keep reading!)  Add to Cart

If you can’t get to the quilt shop to select your own fabrics, no worries.  I’m offering an Autumn Antlers kit as well.  It’s best to choose your own fabrics for your color palettes, but we all have those times when life gets too busy and we just can’t get to it.  I’d rather you be able to do the lesson with a kit than not at all.

Autumn Antlers Kit: $21.95 Add to Cart

Learn by Doing

In addition to learning how to coordinate a fresh autumn color palette, you’ll also discover how to:

  • cut and place applique motifs
  • learn the best stitches to use for machine applique, including optimal stitch length and width
  • improve your machine applique skills by watching two step-by-step videos (COM Subscribers only)
  • quilt a freemotion flame design to harmonize with the antler design

So not only do you get a sophisticated and new original design, you update your skills as well.

Last Opportunity to Subscribe and Buy Patterns

September is the last month you can buy a Color-of-the-Month subscription or individual patterns.  Why?  Because these beauties will be offered in a book, along with a bed quilt using the monthly blocks, that will be available in 2011.  I’ll still be sharing the monthly table runner projects for the rest of the year, but they won’t be available for purchase:  you’ll have to wait for the book!

To order the Color Mastery Table Runners enhanced e-pattern. click here: I Want to Master Color

Fall Fabric Winner

Thank you for all the wonderful comments about Arbor Lane.  The winner is Judith, who guessed it took 5 days for me to cut, piece, and applique this lovely medallion quilt.  The whole process of designing, testing, sample making, color palette selection, fabric selection and all that goes into this process took almost one entire year.  I also wrote the instructions, sent the cut pieces and instructions to my tester, Scarlette, and she thoroughly tested all of my measurements, details, and made sure the piecing and applique process would go smoothly for you.  I was impressed at how detailed the team is behind this product offering:  they made sure the instructions were accurate, the colors pleasing, and the fabrics just right:  they sent back several strike-offs of the fabric designs to make sure the colors and designs were just as gorgeous as they should be.

I’ll be sharing more about the process as the weeks continue, and look for the fabulous color-of-the-month offerings too.  You won’t believe the stunning projects coming your way!

Arbor Lane Initial Sketch

Arbor Lane’s humble beginning started with this lovely rough sketch.  Every one of my quilt designs starts with my own hand, pencil, and paper.  I spend so much of my day at the computer, I welcome the back-to-basics of sketching and playing in my journal.  And that’s exactly what I was doing here:  dreaming of a medallion design I would love to make.

I wanted it to be a quilt that a beginner could make, especially since the blocks are pre-cut.  While the piecing and applique would be simple, I wanted a sophisticated look to the quilt.  No sampler look here:  I wanted a beautiful harmony in the design.

Ten designs were ultimately offered to JoAnn’s, and they selected mine.  The process was much like Project Runway, but we were each in our own studio, sketching, measuring, coloring, and giving it our all.  Our own version of Tim Gunn would guide us in the right direction:  center design too similar to what had been done before, tweaking color schemes, sending block designs every week to my tester Scarlette for her wonderful work.  Every moment of dreaming, design, and making Arbor Lane was a joy.  I learned much and grew as a designer and an entrepreneur

See that vase and those birds?  While JoAnn’s didn’t use them, I did later in my table runner series.  The vase shows up in Petite Pineapples and a simple version of the birds is in Winter Bird and Petite Pineapples.  You never know where a creative journey will take you.

Remember, you have until the end of the week to guess how long it took me to make Arbor Lane:  cutting, piecing, and applique.  Some lovely fall fabric could be coming your way!

A Big Debut

I am thrilled I can finally announce my big news:  this beauty is mine.  Arbor Lane, JoAnn’s 2010 QuiltBlock of the Month quilt design, is mine.  My goal for this quilt was for it not to look like a Block of the Month.  I wanted to develop a design that had never been done before.  I love medallion quilts, but had never made one, let alone design one.  Why not?  A girl can dream, can’t she?  I must admit, the team was skeptical.  Designers had tried to fit a medallion quilt into monthly kits before, but it hadn’t ever worked.  Too many restrictions on shapes, number of pieces, and a lot of behind-the-scenes details.  But I was determined.  After all, nothing presents a challenge like hearing “that’s never been done before.”

Here’s are photos of the quilt top in my home, before it went to the longarm quilter to work her magic:


I’ll be sharing the genesis of Arbor Lane with you each day this week.  I give you a sneak peek into my design process, unveil thumbnail sketches, alternative color palettes, and designs that ended up on the cutting table and never made it into the quilt.  It’s going to be fun week:  don’t miss it!

To kick things off in a grand scale, let’s have a contest, shall we?  I’ll be giving away a fall color palette of fabric to the lucky quilter who can guess how long it took me to make this quilt.  Leave your guess in the comment section and I’ll award the fabric at the end of the week.

Boost Your Own Economy

The latest economic news is a bit glum, especially when you consider we’re about to begin the major quilting season.  Fall holds great promise with terrific quilt shows and conferences, cooler weather, new projects, and guilds getting back underway after a summer hiatus.  What’s a quilter on a budget to do?  Don’t despair – it’s Frugal Fabriholic to the rescue!

I’m announcing a program that lowers the price of the Frugal Fabriholic e-book to just $3.99 as long as the national unemployment rate stays above 7%.  As of July 2010, it’s 9.5%, so we’ve got a long way to go, and Willow Ridge Press is supporting quilters in this tough economy.  Be good to yourself and spend on your quilting passion without breaking the bank, using my 12-step savings plan as your guide to saving more cash for your quilting stash.

The e-book is available for anyone who uses a computer or e-reader:

  • Kindle bookstore at Amazon
  • iBook store for the iPad
  • PC, Mac, or any e-reader device at Smashwords
  • My own Quilts & Creativity online store.

Don’t have an e-reader?  No problem!  You can read the Frugal Fabriholic on your home computer, no matter what kind you have.  And for $3.99 -  less than one fast food meal, you can learn how to save over $13,000 on household expenses.  Learn more about the book at the Frugal Fabriholic website.

Blue-Green: August’s Color-of-the-Month

Since Pantone has declared turquoise the hot color of 2010, blue-green is everywhere.  I must admit, blue-green was never one of my favorites, as I’d seen it used badly in southwestern color palettes, but never in a color scheme I enjoyed.  So, I took my own advice from Color Mastery and worked with this challenging color (for me) until I loved it.  And I do.

You will too after you experience the luscious blue-green quilts offered up this month by indie quilt designers from the Yahoo Quilt Designers Collective.  Get advice from and see the quilts of Pat Sloan, Barbara Campbell, Sarah Whitney, Helen Stubbings, Marilyn Foreman, and Marcy Horswill. To view the show in Full Screen mode or to embed this slideshow in your blog, just click the Menu link.

Petite Pineapples Table Runner

Creative Quilters, I’d like to introduce you to Petite Pineapples, the August edition of our year-long color-of-the-month enhanced e-pattern series:

August’s featured color is blue-green, the hottest color of 2010.  Petite Pineapples combines tradition with trend, juxtaposing 19th century-style hand applique with trendy blue-greens of 2010.  This sweet runner uses a clean color palette of teal, aqua, brown, and cream, and bids a fond farewell to summer.  Not a hand-applique fan?  Happy for you, this project is machine-applique friendly.

Petite Pineapples also shows you how easy it is to get a completely different look by changing just one color.  This runner uses exactly the same fabrics as July’s Christmas Cabin, only I’ve exchanged teal for red.  By making one small change, I completely transformed this color scheme, and you can too.  I show you how.

The dogtooth border is a classic hand-applique treatment, and I show you an easy way to cut and applique it, getting perfectly sharp points without any worries.  Subscribers to the pattern series get exclusive access to a video on how make this border, so you can follow along with me.   The freemotion wavy echo quilting design is simple to execute but impressive in the final runner, and I outline exactly how to do it.

Petite Pineapples Pattern Update:  $5.95 (delivered early and automatically to pattern series subscribers – keep reading!)  Add to Cart

If you can’t get to the quilt shop to select your own fabrics, no worries.  I’m offering a Petite Pineapples kit as well.  It’s best to choose your own fabrics for your color palettes, but we all have those times when life gets too busy and we just can’t get to it.  I’d rather you be able to do the lesson with a kit than not at all.

Petite Pineapples Kit: $21.95 Add to Cart

Learn by Doing

In addition to learning how to applique the Petite Pineapples block and coordinate a fresh color palette, you’ll also discover how to:

  • cut and place applique motifs improvisationally, 19th century-style
  • make the applique process effortless with my Applique Checklist
  • make an impressive dogtooth border with my step-by-step instructions and video
  • quilt a freemotion wavy echo design for stunning results

So not only do you get a sophisticated and new original design, you update your skills as well.

Learn New Techniques

Improvisational cutting and placement are new to many quilters who rely on 21-century techniques that focus on precision, precision, precision.  This approach allows you the freedom and flexibility to give each block it’s own unique charm and eccentricities.

If you’ve only relied on freezer paper or fabric glue, let me introduce you to the world of needle turn applique by eye.  It’s a wonderfully relaxing technique that gives each applique motif an exceptional look while harmonizing with the project as a whole.

If you’ve been intimidated by dogtooth borders in the past, or always wanted to try one, this is your chance.  I give you a no-fail technique that details the process, step-by-step.

To order the Color Mastery Table Runners enhanced e-pattern. click here: I Want to Master Color

Confused about Color?

I put together a list of the many resources I’ve created over the Color Mastery journey and put them into one place for you.  Wow.  No excuses not to have outstanding color in your quilts any more!

Color Tips for Quilters by Maria Peagler