Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fast, Fun & Flirty Quilts by Sarah Bisel

Fast, Flirty and Fun - Easy Quilts from Fabulous Fabrics! Sounds pretty darn good, huh? We live for "fast", we love "fun", and "flirty" is the cherry on top. That's what we thought when the author of this book, Sarah Bisel, emailed us to show us her cover, published by Martingale. Her book has finally arrived, and it does not disappoint! Whether you love appliqué or simple piecing, big focal prints or scrappy strips, modern fabrics or traditional favorites, this book covers it all. Sarah is our guest today on the Jolly Jabber to introduce her first book and to tell us how this big dream of hers came true! Comment on this post with one of your big dreams to win a copy of Fast, Flirty and Fun! We have four up for grabs! Winners will be announced next Wednesday, so good luck!

Hello to the Jolly Jabber crowd, I am so excited to introduce myself and my new book to all you quilters and "want to be" quilters. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Sarah Bisel. I currently live in HOT Tucson, AZ, but I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. I still return to SLC often, and I love quilting community there.

Most of my life is filled with mothering. I am the mother to 4 incredible kiddos ages 9, 8, 6, and 9 months. My life is full, my days are hectic, and my to-do list is ever growing. However, quilting helps me to relax. It gives me the opportunity to be creative, to show my personality, and leave a little mark in the world. Plus, I adore the satisfaction that comes with finishing a quilt, crossing something off the list, and then continually looking at this quilt I made and finished. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with a finished quilt.

There are so many people out there who want to learn how to make a quilt, but have no idea where to start. Many of my friends and family have expressed a desire to spend a day with me learning this fun art. I want to spread the quilt love to more than just family and friends. I want beginner quilters to feel safe, at ease, and comfortable quilting.

When beginning quilters are armed with the knowledge I gained after years of quilting, they are much more likely to feel successful. Seasoned quilters need inspiration too. I hope as they read my book they can look at quilting a new way, find a pattern they love, and be able to make a quilt quickly and love the results.

I have been asked a number of times, what made me think I should write a book? For years, I toyed with the idea of selling quilts, selling patterns, teaching classes, etc. I tried a couple of the ideas and found they really didn't fit in my time schedule. I looked into selling my own patterns and realized there were a lot of unseen tasks involved in that venture. My only avenue left was going to a publisher and pitching my idea. I told myself I would go for it, try it out. If the publishers liked it, GREAT! If not, then I should enjoy quilting as a hobby and move on.

Luckily for me, Martingale wanted to publish my book, even though I was, essentially .... a nobody. Being a first-time pattern writer was an adventure to say the least. Martingale did so much to assist me, and I feel blessed everyday to have had them as a guide in this process.

Of course, we all have our favorite quilts, and I'll show you some of mine.

This is called Cocoa Cakewalk. What I love about this quilt is the statement it makes. It is bold, simple, and it gives all of us quilters a chance to use large pieces of our favorite fabrics.

This quilt is called Sweet Silhouette. I love this quilt because it is so cheerful. I love the scallops and how they draw the eye to the middle of the quilt, where a great piece of fabric can shine.

Circe of Friends is a family favorite in our house. My oldest daughter keeps asking if she can have this bright quilt. I can understand why! Those fabrics are so fun, so fresh, and exciting. Great fabrics really make a quilt, and this quilt has some really fabulous fabric.

Up a Tree is another beloved quilt because it is so "wild." My non-quilting friends love this quilt because it is so non-traditional. It's free and fun, and reminds me to break the rules of quilting every now and then.

What's next for me? I have a number of designs running around in my head. Some of them are already quilts, and some of them are waiting for their time. I would love to write another book, it would be so fun to share more of what I love with others. I still have some big dreams, and would love to design fabrics.

Be Inspired!

Sarah Bisel
Fast, Flirty, and Fun

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pretty Bird by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics

Anne Maxfield and Valerie Pillow are a talented, vivacious duo designing fabric for Michael Miller. Both times we've met at Market, the first thing I always notice about them are their lovely, winning smiles. Then, you drink in their booth. It's always just the right amount of "wow" and "I want that!", where you'll want to sit and chat and pore over their little details. We saw their first line, Whimsy, last year, and it's been so popular, it continues to be re-printed in new colorways! Not just for quilts, it is especially delicious for apparel and home dec, and the newest colorway of blue and yellow has just arrived.

Right on its tail is their second line Pretty Bird, dunked in tropical colors and festive prints. Imagine lounging in a Pretty Bird tunic, shaded by the roof of a cabana, sand between your Banana Boat-coated toes. While that dream tropical vacation may have to wait, but you can definitely wrap yourself in Pretty Bird by Pillow & Maxfield all summer long! We have it in three different colorway bundles and all the yardage for your sizzling summer. Also, check out the fantastic project tutorial series Sew4Home is doing right now with Pretty Bird!

Whimsy is proving to be a well-loved staple at Michael Miller. How does this work for you guys; how do you pick the new colorations, and what are your inspirations?

We are thrilled with the fact that Whimsy is becoming a staple for MMF. We continue to love the designs so adding new color combinations just seems to be a natural. It's just too hard to put them away right now, so we like the idea of keeping a good thing going. The blue and yellow combination seemed to fall right into place. It's such a classic color combination, always looking so fresh and clean and happy. The lead design, Whimsy Doozie, is now also offered in black and white.

Do you feel like your style has evolved since starting with Michael Miller?

Not really, our style has been quite well defined for some time now. However, we will continue to evolve in terms of our favorite subject matters and of course the color palettes that we are craving at the moment.

What have you learned and changed about your design process?

We have learned so much about the fabric design process from Kathy Miller at MMF. Our designing before was more applicable to paper products. We're actually quite fascinated by this design process, notably the color grids for each collection and our anxious waiting time between strike offs. When we receive the strike offs, it's kind of like opening a gift.

One of the greatest pleasures is watching our designs jump from our computer screens to yards and yards of fabrics. It's kind of like watching something come to life, the designs become touchable, scrunch-able, soft and tactile.

This is when the fun really begins, they turn into a beautiful quilt, an adorable dress, the list can go on and on. Love it!

The Michael Miller quilt (for Whimsy) was shown at the May market in their booth. It's a free downloadable pattern on the Michael Miller website, or you can download it here!

What was the thought and feel for Pretty Bird?

The Pretty Bird collection is offered in three distinct and eye catching color palettes, an aqua and pink, a blue and olive, and an orange and brown. Each collection has 16 uniquely styled and easily coordinated designs that focus on a flock of charming birds, flowers and the garden where they live. The collection has a notably happy feel and is a true festival of color.

It just felt right for us to create this collection. Birds are such a natural and calming part of nature. It's easy to become inspired by their shapes, colors and free spirits.

What’s up next for Pillow & Maxfield? What is currently in the works?

We launched our new website in mid-May,, and would love for people to stop by and visit. Be sure to see our inspiration page. We will be updating the website shortly with even more new inspiration that will include the blue and yellow Whimsy collection plus new inspiration for the Pretty Bird collection.

Also, we have a new collection in the works that will be released this fall, it incorporates some really great features. We are anxiously awaiting to see the first set of strike-offs any day now. We're very excited about this new collection!

Anne Maxfield &
Valerie Pillow

Pillow & Maxfield

Friday, June 25, 2010

Christmas Magic by Kathy Schmitz

By now, Christmas is everywhere in quilt shops. There are so many stand-out lines for this holiday, but this year Kathy Schmitz's Christmas Magic is the one enchanting us. Grinning little (knee high!) snowmen, a magnanimous Santa Claus, and little bits of winter sprinkled all around these prints, are foolproof for a perfect winter wonderland. Add in the bright, rustic Christmas colors, and it really is magic. Check out the adorable panels for easy Christmas quilt ideas! We're stocked with yardage, all the precuts, and of course fat quarter bundles. Click here to see the full line!

I am a native of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Yes, it rains a bit here, but that's what keeps everything so green! I grew up in Oregon with two OLDER sisters (they don't like it much when I include the "older" part). Our mom always made sure her girls had an abundance of creative supplies - paper, felt pens, fabric, buttons, glue, tape, paint, and of course a sewing machine. My mom's sewing machine was ALWAYS humming away and it just seemed like a natural step to take a turn at the old Singer (the sewing machine, not my mom). My first quilt was a scrap quilt made up of 3" (or so) blocks. Some of the fabric came from dresses my mom had made and I had outgrown and some of the fabric was collected from neighbors. I was only 12 or 13 and it took quite awhile, but I finally finished it and of course, I still have it. It's an odd size, but that suits me fine!

If I had a particular style, I guess it would be immature. When my boys were in grade school I would volunteer to teach art in their classrooms. I absolutely fell in love with the simple unexpected art that came out of the minds of 2nd graders. Where they would place a chimney or how they would color a cat would just give me those big "AH HA" moments Oprah talks about. Children's art inspires me. Children's book illustrations inspire me. They tell a story. The biggest compliments I get are when someone says they want to "step into" a painting.

Once my boys started Middle School, for some odd reason, they didn't want me to volunteer at school anymore. This left me with too much time on my hands and a sudden realization that they would soon be grown and independent and I needed to do the same thing. With the blessing of my husband (or maybe it was a huge nudge) I decided to start my own business selling greeting cards with a quilt theme. My sister, Bonnie, and I set out for the Kansas City International Quilt Market in the spring of 2002. I had my freshly printed paper goods and she had her amazing penny rug patterns. Neither of us knew what we were doing, but there just comes a time to jump. We were very fortunate and we landed squarely in an industry we love and appreciate.

At my first Quilt Market, I nervously presented Moda my portfolio hoping for a shot at fabric design. Moda has been a wonderful company and I am proud to be among their talented designers. One of my first fabric lines with Moda was a Christmas line. Through the years I have painted over 100 Santas and Snowmen - my FAVORITE things to paint! It doesn't really matter what time of year it is. I can put on my Christmas music in summer and I'm good to go. My latest Christmas line, Christmas Magic, was the first line I ever painted away from home. I was on a family reunion vacation in Sun River Oregon in the middle of July! I would start the days playing gin rummy on the deck and then slip on my headphones and listen to Bing Crosby and paint for few hours before heading out for a bike ride.

Tradition is a huge part of my family life and one of the biggest traditions we have is at Christmas time. When my husband, Steve, and I unpack our Christmas decorations all of the memories of Christmas's past come flooding back. I hope my painting of the little snowmen Santa made in the Christmas Magic line, becomes a wall hanging, table runner or winter quilt that will become a part of another families Christmas tradition.

The first step in developing a line for Moda is a simple line drawing. I submit these drawing and then we might tweak them and go from there. As my stash of line drawings started adding up, I realized I liked the look of the black sharpie line against the white paper. I got out my needle and thread and tried to remember the simple embroidery stitches I had been taught way back when. I embroidered a drawing onto cloth (Moda Crackle fabric of course) and I found a new place of contentment - sitting with a needle and thread in hand. Cheryl at Moda had the brilliant idea of taking these embroidery images and translating them to fabric. The fabric line I am working on right now is completely inspired by embroidery. It's come full circle - from drawing for fabric to embroidery and back to fabric!

Kathy Schmitz
Kathy Schmitz's Blog

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Holiday Happy by Monica Solorio-Snow for Lecien Fabrics

Let's try this exercise. Close your eyes. Raise your hand if you've heard the name "Happy Zombie." Now raise your hand if you've spent an hour on her blog -- then accidentally spent another four hours clicking "Previous Entries." Now, I want you to raise your hand if you were drinking coffee/Dr. Pepper/something liquid and laughed so hard at her entries that you squirted said liquid through your nose. Now open your eyes! Look, it's all of youses!

All that to say, today's guest is no stranger to the land of quilt blogs, a cornucopia of magazines, Twitter -- she has even been on the Jolly Jabber before for our auction benefiting Haiti disaster relief via her celebrity quilt Bay Breeze.

But we finally get to have her on today to talk about her first line for Lecien, Holiday Happy! As soon as she told us about this fabric, I knew we'd been sucker-punched with the cutest line ever. (I normally steer away from using that word 'ever' but here I think it applies. I think you'll agree as you scroll down and gaze into the bright little eyes of Gnoma Clause.) Without further ado, I give you... Monica Solorio-Snow. *sparkly hand flourish*

I'm so excited to be a guest blogger on Jolly Jabber! When I was first asked to be a guest - I admit that I envisioned myself being interviewed on Seinfeld's Merv Griffin set...

and I was asked (begged) to do my world renowned Jan Brady imitation, "This is my boyfriend, George. George Glass". Bravo, bravo. Applause, applause - I'm basking in the glow of flicked lighters.

Ok, so it's not *exactly* that... but guesting on Jolly Jabber is a close second. Another thing - and no one seems to talk about it either... but Jolly Jabber Studios has an awesome green room! Crazy, I know. I've been stuffing myself with the finest cheeses and breads (which they fly in from Paris), hand-squeezed orange juice poured by Jay Leno... even the Red Vines are air ripened to perfection. Come to think of it... I think the rider I sent over to Jocelyn stated I wanted my Red Vines stale.

Team Fat Quarter Shop is amazing! (We're blushing!)

So the other man in my life besides George Glass (and my husband), is my little Gnoma. Gnoma Claus. Gnoma - all five sizes of him - can be found on a panel in my new Holiday Happy line by Lecien. Gnoma Claus ranges in size from just over 6" to a hair over 14", and he's got lots of room around him for ample cutting. I'm keeping it mum for now, so I'm only telling you - please don't let what I'm about to tell you get out. As the Holiday gift making season approaches (around November), I'll be doing a tutorial for 5 different sized bags... one in each size for each the Gnoma's on the panel. Holiday gift making just got easier... 5 gifts yielded from 1 panel. So get your panels now!

Even if you don't sew, you can still have fun with GC. Cut him out (careful, he's ticklish and may squirm), soak him for a few seconds in some (liquid laundry starch), and "wallpaper" him to a window, fridge, car, your cubicle cupboards, side of cruise ship. Wipe off excess starch and let dry. When it comes time to remove GC (around May or June), just peel off and wipe surface clean with sponge and water. Starched CG's can be used again and again. Really fun to do at the end of the season... have a reunion with all your Gnoma Clauses seated on the sofa - and have Andy Cohen interview them. As a precaution, I'd bolt down the coffee table.

Not your traditional holiday colors - Holiday Happy is a candy-colored Christmas in cherry red, Otter Pop blue, cotton candy pink, Lemonhead yellow and mint green taffy - which coordinates beautifully with Lecien's Flower Sugar II and Lecien's Color Basic!

Be sure to join Holiday Happy Flickr Group and add your photos to the HHFG. I'm not in the least bit shy to ask you post your photos of anything made with Holiday Happy... or if you spotted it some where... or just have a stash of it... or you've seen Gnoma Claus frolicking on the beach. Show off your projects and ideas... or be inspired by what others are doing. And my Gnoma... Gnoma Clause - can be your boyfriend too.

Monica Solorio-Snow
Happy Zombie Twitter

Monday, June 21, 2010

Designer Mystery Launch Post: Part 3 Winners

Alright alright, time to shut this party down.

*Collective 'awwwwww!'*

But it's okay, folks! There will be more excitement this week. LOTS more excitement this week! And judging from your comments, it sounds like you really enjoy seeing designs featured in small batches like this -- so we will do it more often!

For today...I get to announce our last group of pattern winners from our fantastic pool of Designer Mystery designers... (redundant, yes?)

Here we go!

The Me and My Sister Designs patterns go to... May!
The Anka's Treasures patterns go to... Teresamnj!
The Pieces From My Heart patterns go to... Doris!
The Bunny Hill Designs patterns go to... Kathie L!
And the Acorn Quilt & Gift Co. patterns go to...Dianne!

If you see your name/link up here, please contact jocelyn (at) fatquartershop (dot) com with your mailing address, and congratulations!

See you back here really soon, and thanks for reading! We'll have more giveaways soon, have no fear.

Friday, June 18, 2010

2010 Designer Mystery Launch Party: Part 3

Welcome to the final post of our Designer Mystery Launch Party. We appreciate you coming, and like all good times we've gotta wrap it up before the neighbors complain. But before you go we've got one last batch of prizes to give out, and the winners of these will be announced on Monday!

Before I show you the goods, just wanted to say that it's so awesome to see Kate's 12 Days of Christmas Flickr pool filling up with your blocks!! Yay!! If you're looking at these blocks and thinking about joining, we still have plenty of room! Pick up a finishing kit and backing set while you're at it -- those will certainly be gone before the last blocks are sent, so don't miss out while they last!

Up for grabs today...
"Table Talk" and "Simply Sweet" patterns by Me and My Sister Designs

"Diamond Diva" and "Sweet Pea" patterns by Anka's Treasures

"Spoolin' Around" and "All Things America" quilt patterns by Pieces from My Heart

"Dream a Little Dream" nursery and "Boutique Baby" quilt patterns by Bunny Hill Designs

And of course I can't leave out patterns by our finishing kit designer, Brenda Riddle!! "Apple Blossoms" and "Ellie" by Acorn Quilt & Gift Co.

Now for our winners of Wednesday's party patterns... (and may I just say, picking winners is my favorite part of this party)

Winner of Cotton Way patterns is... Elle!
Winner of Thimble Blossoms patterns is... Bruinbr!
Winner of Fig Tree Quilts pattern is... Molly!
Winner of This & That patterns is... Kimberly!
Winner of The Pattern Basket patterns is... Traceyjay!

Please contact jocelyn (at) fatquartershop (dot) com if you see your name & link up here! Good luck on winning today's fine prizes, and see you on Monday for the final winners!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 Designer Mystery BOM Launch Party: Part 2

Thanks for coming back to the party...have an hor d'oeuvres, grab some like the decorations? ;)

Today we're celebrating four more designers with blocks in our Designer Mystery BOM! Leave a comment on today's post and be entered to win some excellent patterns :)

Winners from Monday are below...if you are among them, please email jocelyn (at) fatquartershop (dot) com to claim your prize!

Starting with a twofer, so it'll really by 5 prize pattern packs today -- you can thank Bonnie & Camille!
"Polka Dot Parfait" and "Snuggle Up Pillowcases" patterns by Bonnie Olaveson (Cotton Way)...

...and "Simple Charm" and "Little Bitty Bib" patterns by Camille Roskelley (Thimble Blossoms)

"Madeline" and "Amelia and Me" patterns by Fig Tree Quilts

"Cotton Garden" and "Sew Pretty Apron" patterns by The Pattern Basket

"Simplicity" and "Sticks and Stuff Bag" patterns by This & That

Winners from this post will be announced on Friday, along with the last batch of patterns up for grabs!
But you're ready for the winners of Monday's post, right?

Picked with the help of the handy dandy, here goes!
Winner of the G.E. Designs patterns is... Kelly!
Winner of the Heartspun Quilts patterns is... Carol!
Winner of the Minick & Simpson patterns is... Béa!
Winner of the Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. patterns is... Helen!