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STC Craft - On Our Way

It wasn't exactly planned, but we ended up taking a break from blogging here for a little while. We're back and we have a lot of news to share but before we get into that, I feel compelled to show you this photo of a beautiful bike I saw in Paris last week. It's not quite like the ones the Tour de France competitors were riding, but it caught my eye. I wonder who it belongs to and what she (he?) is like. What do you think?


The SSSQ Quilt-Along: June Update from Kaffe and Liza

Welcome to the third month of the SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy! We’ve been so impressed by the quilts in progress (not to mention Kaffe and Liza's brilliant advice and the enthusiasm of the participants) that we've extended the SSSQ Quilt-Along until July 31, 2010.

If you’re not quilting with us yet, now is a great time to begin. Click here for Quilt-Along details, including a free pattern from Kaffe Fassett’s Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts.

In this month’s Quilt-Along post, Kaffe and Liza offer their thoughts on the Quilt-Along so far and what they hope the next two months will bring. Scroll down to see some of the quilts in progress and check out all the gorgeous projects in our Facebook photo gallery. And now some words from the masters themselves...

From Kaffe:

"All I can say is more of the same exciting creativity, please! I love seeing works in progress and it’s very satisfying to see finished pieces with such exciting use of colour. What a stimulation it has been for me to see how many creative people are beaver-ing away in their own corners of the world. How good to see that some of you move away from the computer to make something! Thank you for the ongoing show."

The striking multicolored quilt at right artfully combines fabrics designed by Kaffe. So who better to give feedback than Kaffe himself?

"This dark grid and keeping all the elements of your graphic design constant you are really showing the variety of fabrics to advantage and getting a lot of punch from your colours."

From Liza:

"The Facebook Quilt-Along has been great fun so far. It is wonderful to see how many quilters are encouraging others with their generous comments. Over the next two months, I hope more people will post pictures of their works in progress. As much as I love to see the finished quilts, I really love seeing the ones that develop before our eyes. It is the exciting part of our classes when the design walls start to fill in and the quilts begin to bloom."

This creative take on the Striped Donut pattern from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts (shown at left) earned kudos from other Quilt-Along members.  Liza’s comment says it all:

Brilliant idea.

Some quilters started from scratch, while others revisited old projects (see right). Liza dispensed sage advice that any discouraged crafter should take to heart:

"...join the club! Sometimes you just need to walk away from a project for a while. Often when you go back to it, you find you like what you did."

By the way, did you know that Liza's preference for wildly patterned textiles is actually a family tradition? Click here for the full the scoop (and a priceless photo!).

As Kaffe and Liza tell all their students, they LOVE seeing quilters make their own color and pattern choices. One quilter began with the Haze Kilim project from SSSQ and created a "chintzd Up" version of her own.

Here's the quilt from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts. And here's the unique (and gorgeous!) variation.

The designs in Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts are inspired by geometric forms found in the everyday world. We challenge you to discover the colors and basic shapes around you. 

Quilt-Along members have mentioned marble floors, jewels, and fern trees outside a kitchen window as inspiration. Dream up a quilt inspired by your own world, then share your project with the group. 

Thanks to everyone for all of your brilliant contributions so far!


Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts Blog Tour! 

We've sure been keeping Kaffe Fassett and Liza Lucy, authors of Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, busy lately! They've barely kicked off their US tour-trotting shoes and have already tackled our first round of Quilt-A-Long questions.

Good thing they are a hardy pair, because not only will they be offering their inspiration, encouragement, and advice here on the first Tuesday of every month (last date, July 6th!); they are also extending their wisdom and influence to our friendly neighborhood blogs! Follow their wild ride through the blogosphere below, and be sure to get your free pattern and Quilt-A-Long badge and link to our Quilt-A-Long Facebook group from here!


May 3: Quilt-A-Long Begins! 

May 6: Review

May 7:  Kaffe and Liza’s Top Ten Quilting Blogs

May 10: Review and “Liza Lucy Stories!”

May 11: Podcast Interview with Kaffe and Liza

May 13: How the "Kaffe Fassett Collective" designs together   

May 14: Choosing Colors

May 17: Art vs. Craft

May 18: The Question of Dabbling

May 19: Choosing Patterns

May 20: Interview

May 21: Review

May 25: Review

May 27: Why a Design Wall and Reducing Glass  

May 28: Interview: Tradition Today

May 31: Interview

June 1: Kaffe and Liza's Quilt-A-Long 

June 2: Review

June 3: Quilt-A-Long Sharing

June 4: Review

June 7: Review


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.



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.