Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hi-ho, hi-ho...

It's off to Massachusetts I go! I am on my way out the door to take a trip with my dad, my sister and my niece to go visit family back home in New England.
 I know that there's going to be lots of stuff happening at the shop- I hope someone remembers to take photos!!
See you next week. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Women of Valor

Last Wednesday found the classroom at AST filled with women with a common purpose- making quilts for the Quilts of Valor program. It is a wonderful program. Here is their mission statement:
The mission of the QOV Foundation is to cover ALL those service- members and veterans touched by war with Wartime Quilts called Quilts of Valor (QOVs).This foundation is not about politics. It's about people.
Here's a little history behind QOV.

Why Quilts of Valor?
Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts, began the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) from her sewing room in Seaford, Delaware. Her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved, provided the rest.
She hit upon the idea that linking quilt-toppers with machine quilters in a national effort could achieve her goal of coverall all returning service men and women touched by war. These wartime quilts, called Quilts of Valor (QOV’s), would be a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude. Since 2003, QOVF has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the home-front with our wounded combat warriors and veterans.
QOV’s are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts. Combat troops who have been wounded or touched by war are awarded this tangible token of appreciation that unequivocally says, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor.”
A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt (minimum of 55 X 65) made by a quilt-topper (the piecer) of quality fabrics and beautiofully quilted by a longarmer. After it has been bound, washed, labeled and wrapped in a presentation case, it is ready to be awarded. Quilts are awarded at many different levels: they may go to military hospitals where Chaplains award them to service members; there may be presentations of QOV’s to entire service units returning from combat deployments; they may be awarded at VA’s or presented individually. But no matter how a Quilt of Valor is given, the impact it delivers is unequivocal. As one recipient said “My quilt isn’t another military medal to be placed in a box and sit on my shelf. I was moved to tears.”
– SSgt RC, US Army, Iraq ‘05
Just how much of an impact has the Quilts of Valor Foundation made? As of February, 2011 there have been over 37,000 quilts awarded to service members/veterans.
So the answer to “Why Quilts of Valor?” is this: It is a wonderful form of National Service and anyone can do it!
National Service starts at home. Make a Quilt of Valor!

The valiant women who came to sew were from our local quilt guild, the Busy Needles.

They came ready to chat,

to laugh,

and work,

all done with a smile.

A vintage Featherweight pulled its weight as it was commissioned to sew, sew, sew.

Red, white and blue prevailed at each sewing station.

Nothing could stop these women. Nothing.

Red, white, blue and stars- just lovely.

Mary even came in on her day off to help.

Three cheers, to all of you who gave up your Wednesday to bring comfort to others.

You are all awesome. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bring and Brag!

One thing is for sure- when our customers come in the door with a quilt or other project they've completed, someone will be dashing off for their camera! We love to see them!

Here's Carol and her fantabulous purse made from this adorable shoe fabric. Love that big flower!

She is very, very clever.

Here's April, with Karen (aka Cookie or Cookie-Candy-Cricket) and her amazing hand-appliqued quilt. This is going to be a wedding gift for her niece and her soon-to-be husband. What a lucky couple!

Virgina (on the right) brought in a wedding ring quilt top made by her mother. She thinks it was made about 20 or so years ago. It is very pretty with lots of soft colors. Her friend, Yvonne, came along to help her choose a backing and binding for her quilt. What a good friend and what a beautiful quilt!

This is Jimmie who came to knock our socks off with her beautiful Crazy Curves quilt! Every single quilt that has come in from that class has been incredible. It's awesome, Jimmie, we can't wait to see your next quilt!

Pat is a bundle of energy andis alays so excited about starting her newest quilt. This one is made with Riley Blake's Play Ball. It's a simple strip quilt with big impact! Love those baseball mitts and baseballs!

Sweet Mona came in with her Katy Cupcake My Favorite Bag. Look at how cute this is! She chose Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas line to make her bag. I bet this goes on lots of Santa lists!

So, have you made anything lately? Bring it in, we'll snap your photo and post it here so your friends and family can see what you've been creating! One of us always has a camera ready.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stripward, Ho, Ho, Ho!

We celebrated the 4th of July and Christmas a little early at AST with an explosion of beautiful quilts! The Scarlet Strippers have been busy bees so far this summer and it doesn't look like they are going to stop any time soon.

This is Angie's Harvest quilt from last month, all nicely quilted and bound. Wait until you see the back-


How gorgeous is this? Angie had to use some math to enlarge the pattern and it turned out perfectly!

I think she learned everything from her sewing machine. ;)

Colleen stunned us with her beautiful French braid quilt with.......

hand appliqued flowers! Each one took about three hours to complete. That is a true labor of love. Wait until you see what she does with the July quilt. Shhhh, it's a secret. But, you are going to love it!

Yay, Stephanie! She made the quilt from last month using the Wine Country pattern. It looks completely different done with that brilliant blue background. We all loved it, every single one of us.

And how about Harvest made with a dark blue background? It's like looking out at your flower garden at twilight. It's just lovely, Stephanie!

Sweet Sandy hid behind her newest Twister quilt made using a Lollipop layer cake by Sandy Gervais for Moda. Cute, cute, cute.

And then she hid behind her All Stars quilt! I think she just wanted us to see how amazing it is with a purple background. Really, really pretty.

Have you had a chance to look at Annie's Farm Stand? We have about 100 bolts of this lusciousness waiting to be made into something wonderful. Like, for instance, this Basket Case quilt, displayed by Wendy. (And someone else who is hiding. We have the most modest strippers.) Harriette made this quilt using the Annie's strip set and the Pattern Basket's super-cute pattern. I've already snagged my strips! You'd better hurry to get yours!

So, what will we be making for our Christmas in July strip club quilt?
How about this?

It's Hashbrowns, using Anna Griffin's Georgette Christmas line. It is quite a departure from the traditional red and green that we normally associate with Christmas. Soft golds and shimmery silvers are the hallmark of this line. Accented with a black satiny background, this is the perfect quilt or highlighting embroidery- either by hand or machine!
I so cannot wait to see what the girls do with this quilt. I'm on pins and needles!
Come back by because we've had a lot of customer bring 'n' brags lately. Everyone has been sewing up a storm!
That's such a good thing.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Let's Meet the Lovely Laura Coons!

Ready to get to know a little bit more about AST's sweetheart and bundle queen, Laura Coons? Well, then, read on!
This is the place you can usually find her when she comes to the shop- in front of the bundle quad! Every single one of those bundles is full of potential and Laura has a way of seeing beyond that tidy little packet to a new and beautiful quilt!

When did you learn to sew and who taught you?
Though I learned to sew when I was younger, I didn't really take to it at first. I remember making a round pillow in Home Economics in Middle School, but I never made any clothes. I did watch my Mom sometimes when she would sew clothes, so I guess you could say I learned from my Mom and my Home Ec teacher.

All Squared- Laura's first bundle pattern!

How long have you been quilting?

I have been quilting for three years now. My Mom had been trying to convince me for several years before that, and I finally gave in and, I love it! Mom has been a great teacher... always giving me pointers and advice. It's great to share a hobby with her. I love piecing tops, and I'm looking forward to improving on the actual quilting part!

 How long have you been designing your own quilts?

I have been designing quilts for about a year and a half. I first started out with graph paper and colored pencils, and quickly became frustrated with the amount of time it took. Also, I wasn't able to modify the block once it was down. So, about a year ago, I purchased EQ7 (the Electric Quilt software), and my designing took off! The software is truly amazing, and I keep finding new features on it every week.

Stars and Stripes- perfect for the your Independence Day picnic!

From where does your inspiration come?

Well, firstly, I must give credit to God. He has blessed me with so much and I truly believe some of the inspiration comes directly from Him. I also get inspired by the fabrics and quilts that I see in stores and magazines. I always have to put my spin on it, though, which I guess could be good or bad. I took Mary's Stashbuster's class, and while I did use the technique she taught, I ended up rearranging the little pieces into something uniquely different! That's just who I am, and I'm thankful Mary was okay with it.

The back of stars and Stripes. A clever use of two bundles makes this quilt back as beautiful as the front!

 What part of the process do you most enjoy?

I love seeing a design come together after several modifications. I'm also a math geek, so I really love trying to work either five yards (i.e. the bundle) or forty strips (i.e the jelly roll) of fabric into one quilt top. It's challenging at times, but seeing the design come to life as I piece the top is truly rewarding.

Do you envision a color/fabric scheme before you start a design or do you
wait to see how it evolves?

I wait and see how it evolves on most quilts. All Square has gone through several color schemes. But that's what great about the EQ7 software. You can import fabric swatches from the manufacturer's websites and plug it right into your quilt. So, for any one quilt pattern, I can literally test a dozen different lines of fabric.

XOXO- the second bundle pattern in the series. Yes, I said series!

You're a busy mom of three children, how do you find the time to create?

I have a great family, and they know that sometimes Mom needs to sew. My husband is just the best, and he occasionally gives me the time I need by taking the kids on hikes and adventures. But also, I'm the type of person that lives by the expression, "Early to bed, early to rise, make a person healthy, wealthy, and wise." I'm usually in bed by 9:30, so I wake up each day by 5:30 A.M. Most of my best designs come together before the kids wake up!

Into the Garden- a pattern and quilt designed exclusively for Laura's mom from one of our bundles!

We know (and love!) that you design the new bundle quilt patterns at AST.
Do you have other patterns available and where can we buy them?

I do have other five-yard patterns, and they are available on my Etsy website: quiltlakeside.etsy.com

I am also branching out into Jelly Roll patterns. I have entered two into a competition, and if they don't make the final selection this month, I will make those available as well!

Do you have any other hidden talents? 

 I play piano and I was a gymnast growing up!

There you have it! Everything you need to know about Laura and her fabulous designs! Thank you so much, Laura, for taking time to answer a few questions for us and giving us a peek into your creative world!