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Monday
May032010

SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe--A Q&A with Kaffe and Liza


The SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett is in full swing. Click here for full details, plus a free pattern from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts to get you started. Join the SSSQ Quilt-Along group on Facebook here

Authors Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy are on board to provide inspiration, encouragement, and advice. Visit our blog the first Tuesday of every month for a special post from these superstar quilters. If you can't wait that long, check in on their blog tour for near-daily inspiration!

Today's post from Kaffe and Liza takes on the beginning stages of a project. Absorb their words of wisdom--then swap some of your own tips in the SSSQ Quilt-Along group forum.

Were any of your quilts inspired by something/somewhere interesting or unusual?

We are primarily inspired by traditional quilts. We don’t do reproductions but rather put a contemporary spin on old patterns. Some of our quilts are inspired by textiles that are not quilts: African wovens such as Kente cloth, Suzani textiles from the Central Asia, Kantha embroideries from India and Bangladesh.

The Haze Kilim quilt in Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts is a good example of what happens when we are inspired. Kaffe bought a simple kilim rug for his house in the late '70s. His first book on knitting included a design for a coat inspired by the rug, which was the first of Kaffe’s designs Liza knitted. Many years later, when she first proposed doing a quilt book with Kaffe, she attempted to make a version of the coat but failed, mostly because the fabrics available just didn’t work. Three books later she was still stubbornly holding onto the idea of doing that pattern. With Kaffe’s fabrics expanding in palette, it became possible. The pattern went from woven rug, to knitted coat, to quilt.

What is your favorite part of beginning a new quilt?

Color is always the most exciting part. Once we chose a pattern to try, usually a traditional one, going to the stash and beginning to build the palette is thrilling. It gets even better when we start to cut the fabric and place the cut pieces on a design wall to see how or if the color harmonizes.

What should beginners keep in mind when starting their first quilts? What might they find intimidating and how can they overcome that feeling?

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to cut well ironed fabric using a sharp blade and good rulers. We are not sticklers about perfect points and matching corners, but cutting well makes it possible to get very good piecing results. Practice rotary cutting until it becomes second nature!

When choosing a palette, beginners often choose too many different colors. Stick to just two colors to begin with and then expand from there. For example, choose red and green to make a quilt, then for reds, choose from the red family going to purple and almost orange; from green, do the same, going from teals to chartreuses. A good example of this would be the Floral Snowball quilt from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts(image at right).

One absolute must is a design wall. We mock up everything on our design walls. We arrange and edit and rearrange a pattern for days until it is as perfect as we can make it. Using a reducing glass to view the composition is essential.

How do you record your inspiration for future quilts (i.e. photos, drawings, written notes, etc.)?

We toss ideas to develop in the future into a big plastic sleeve. The sleeve is full of pictures, sketches, and comments. Inspiration is everywhere.

To find out more about Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, click here.

For more inspiration, watch this thought- and, hopefully, quilt-provoking book trailer.

For even more words of wisdom, reviews and show-and-tells from crafty bloggers, check out the blog tour.

 

Monday
Apr262010

Gift Guide for Crafty Moms

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9. If you haven't found the perfect gift yet, click here to see a brochure that includes all of our titles.  Or, check out this handy gift guide to some of our newest releases:

 

Eco-fashionista moms will find loads of inspiration in Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Studio Style.

 

Busy moms who love to knit will want to get their hands on Veronik Avery’s Knitting 24/7 and Leigh Radford's One More Skein!

 

Quilting moms will be mesmerized by the gorgeous designs in Kaffe Fasset’s Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts and Sarah Fielke and Kathy Doughty's Material Obsession!

 

Moms who like to be challenged by their knitting will certainly enjoy Reversible Knitting by Lynne Barr and Knitted Socks East & West by Judy Sumner.

 

And moms who want to keep everyone warm will appreciate the beautiful afghans in Berroco’s Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans and the unique scarves in Lynne Barr's Knitting New Scarves.

 

Need more ideas? Try Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin, and Quilting for Peace by Katherine Bell, or one of the many more choices here.
Wednesday
Apr142010

Announcing the SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett

 

To celebrate the publication of Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, Kaffe and co-author Liza Prior Lucy embarked on a U.S. book tour (details here) to great success! Now they are embarking on a virtual tour, and visiting us monthly for an exciting event! Announcing...

 

The SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett! 

What exactly is a quilt-along, you ask?  It's an online quilting bee. Take part in a modern spin on this age-old tradition by joining the SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett Facebook group and connect with fellow quilters in locations near and far, all while piecing together your own project from beginning to end.

Along the way, share photos of your work for a chance to get direct feedback from Kaffe and Liza.  You might even be the lucky winner of our SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett Giveaway.

Quilters of all levels are invited.  Creativity is all that's required. 

For Quilt-Along details, plus a free pattern from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, click here.

Thursday
Apr082010

Norah Gaughan's COMFORT KNITTING + CROCHET: AFGHANS Blog Tour!

April 8:   http://www.grumperina.com/knitblog

April 9:   http://blog.yarn.com

April 12: http://blog.yarn.com

April 13: http://goknitinyourhat.blogspot.com

April 15: http://www.craftgossip.com

April 21: http://to-be-charmed.com

April 22: http://www.houseonhillroad.com

April 23: http://www.knitgrrl.com

April 26: http://www.crazyauntpurl.com

April 27: http://www.thehookandi.com

April 27: http://www.belleepoquewhimsy.com

April 28: http://www.knitandtonic.net

April 29: http://whipup.net

April 30: http://www.alabamachanin.com/journal

To see photos of some of the 50+ afghans in this book, click here.

Monday
Apr052010

KNITS MEN WANT Blog Tour! 

 

Knits Men Want author Bruce Weinstein has been teaching knitting for over 10 years, and in that time, he's seen his fair share of well-intentioned gifts knitted for men--full of bright colors, crazy cables, itchy yarn, and...what?! Did you really intarsia yourself on his sweater?

Sometimes the response our gift gets depends on the man. But, according to Bruce, and considering the tales of Cringe or Crush? he's heard from his students and fans, there are tried-and-true rules we should be aware of before we stay up until 3am on Chirstmas Eve crafting our labor of love.

Rules, shmules, I say! Only, why am I now the proud owner of the giant, shawl-wide, extra-bulky scarf I knitted for my main squeeze? I mean, didn't he see that H&M ad with the guy in that enormous cowl-necked sweater? Doesn't he know that sporting the illusion of a shrunken head is très chic? And why did he wear my second, slimmer attempt all winter long?

Bruce will answer my burning questions, and yours, during the course of his blog tour this month. Follow the schedule below, and be sure to check out and contribute to our hilarious Cringe or Crush? Sweepstakes!  Grand prize is a signed copy of Knits Men Want and this 8'' x 10'' print from the book, by photographer Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed!

April 7: BUST blog contest kickoff! http://bust.com/blog

April 9: Review/Q&A - http://www.knitgrrl.com

April 14: Review - http://www.houseonhillroad.com

April 15: Their a$$ from their elbow - http://whipup.net

April 16: Husband review - http://goknitinyourhat.blogspot.com

April 19: Review/Q&A - http://www.purlbee.com

April 22: Boyfriend sweater curse! - http://blog.yarn.com

April 23: Review - http://to-be-charmed.com

April 26: Review - http://www.crazyauntpurl.com

April 28: The perfect project -  http://www.thehookandi.com

April 28: Review - http://www.knitandtonic.net

April 30: Top 10 knitting blogs - http://www.craftgossip.com

ENTER THE SWEEPSTAKES HERE!