We’re so excited that Ruth is being inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame this summer. Her quilts are fabulous—from the range of subjects to the fabrics she uses, her quilts are truly works of art.
Images from Ruth B. McDowell’s Piecing Workshop, photos by David Caras
You can tell just by looking at her quilts, that Ruth is an amazing artist. What you might not know, unless you’ve taken a class from her or read her books, is how she has influenced and shaped a generation of quiltmakers with her techniques and teaching. As I am sure is true for anyone who has studied Ruth‘s piecing process, I know that thanks to her, I can piece pretty much anything that can be pieced—curves, inset circles and squares, sharp angles, you name it. That in itself, is an amazing thing. When you add to that, everything that we’ve learned from Ruth about design and more, you can see that her impact on the quiltmaking community has been monumental.
Congratulations, Ruth! This honor is so well deserved. Thank you for your extraordinary art and for sharing so much of your time and talent with all of us.
We are thrilled to be at Kidsfest, a fascinating day of discovery, imagination and learning for children and their parents. This year’s theme is Medieval! Costumes are encouraged, so bring your little knights and maidens and enjoy this festive day while your child has a blast exploring their creative side. Kidsfest is a not-to-be-missed event, and it’s FREE!
As a production editor at Stash Books, one of my jobs is to check in all the crafted photography models that are shipped to our office. These are sometimes quilts, sometimes garments—and, in the case of Julie Creus‘s upcoming book Adventures in Fabric—La Todera Style—sometimes an assortment of 3-D items.
Inspired by the practical attitude of the Midwest, where she was born and raised, and the unique styles of Argentina, where she lived for 9 years, Julie created her company, La Todera.
As the name La Todera (jack-of-all-trades) suggests, Julie makes a variety of different projects to make everyday life colorful! I was drawn to her household objects, like the Plumeria Placemat:
Julie shows you how to create striking projects—from blue puffy Christmas trees to multicolored zinnia brooches to a peacock pincushion! She even made an all-fabric chair: the Harlequin Star Pillow Chair, which can also be used as a stool, cushion, or ottoman.
But my favorite project?
It’s got to be the llamas.
Mama and Baby Llama, inspired by Julie’s time in Argentina, are in the book section that focuses on kids’ toys. The llamas have a rainbow coat of pieced, bright prints, and their eyes are fabric flowers to represent their long eyelashes.
Llamas also have long necks, and so these llamas were not very happy inside their shipping box. Mama Llama’s neck was getting a bit smooshed against the walls of the box.
As the keeper of the subjects, I had to do something about this. So I took Baby and Mama and propped them up on my bookshelf in my cube at work.
Mama’s neck is so long that she looks over several desks at work. She is constantly watchful and makes sure we all get our work done.
I love having the llamas around. They fit in great with C&T’s colorful, creative office.
My llama friends will soon be going home to Julie. By the time this blog is posted, they may already be gone. But for now, I’m going to enjoy their colors in my cube!
P.S.: It may be too late to claim that I predicted the Argentina/Germany match in the World Cup. But I did! Anyway, the llamas are a little sad, but still very happy to get second place. They like to look on the bright side.
We’re thrilled to kick off the Sew In Style blog tour with Erin Hentzel! She’s sharing a childhood story on how she began her sewing journey today. Take it away, Erin!
It was a summer afternoon when my dad walked into our house carrying an odd and battered piece of furniture, a sort of desk. He placed it in the living room, lifted the top and pulled out a black, ancient-looking sewing machine, a Singer Featherweight.
For the next several days, I watched my dad measure and sketch, cut and sew denim fabric into a perfectly fitted motorcycle seat cover, complete with a strap for his evening paper, which I collected for him almost every day upon his arrival.
After he completed his seat cover, he taught me to sew, first on binder paper, then a patchwork pillow. My dad spent just one Saturday afternoon helping me get started. I was hooked and the machine was promptly moved into my bedroom, where I had been hand sewing doll clothes and stuffed animals for years. That featherweight lived in my room for the remainder of my childhood and doubled as my writing desk, with bobbins, a seam ripper, and pencils sharing the space in the flip-out drawer in front.
Though I had no idea at the time, that summer I was given an important message. Or rather someone had forgotten to give me the message that sewing is hard. I readily sewed without patterns in middle school and high school, as well as sewed knits without a thought or a doubt that I could do it. It wasn’t that I was overly confident. I wasn’t that child. I just hadn’t been told that it was hard to do, and more importantly, no one had made me feel afraid to try new things. No one made me fear being wrong in my sewing.
When C&T suggested that I write a book for kids to learn to sew for their dolls, I began thinking a lot about my sewing as a child. I sewed in my bedroom, alone with my own ideas and thoughts. I spent many hours figuring things out and teaching myself how to make things.
I wanted to write a book that could help kids learn to sew on their own- a tool for kids to use to create things. Of course, it’s always good to be with help, but not everyone has an experienced seamstress available. I love teaching sewing to children and I hope my book helps to bring sewing to a younger generation. I hope my book helps kids to get hooked on sewing and gain that feeling I felt as a child, a feeling of accomplishment and independence that is free of judgment or right and wrong. As a child, it was just a feeling without a label; as an adult, I understand it was a feeling of empowerment.
Flattered, humbled, and just flat-out amazed also sum up my reaction to finding out that Sam Hunter, of Hunter’s Design Studio, made this amazing bucket for me!
Remember the thrill you got when you were young and found one of those personalized whatever-they-ares with your name on it? Well, I don’t! That kid was never me. My name was never among the selection of whatever cup, pen, necklace, keychain, or whatever that was for sale and on the very, very few occasions it was there, the spelling wasn’t right. I blame my mother, but then I went and did the same thing to my daughter so I hope she grows up to love her name as much as I do even though it never comes pre-printed on anything. All that is to say that I got the biggest thrill when Sam sent me a snapshot of this project from her new book, Quilt Talk.
The excitement over the snapshot was nothing in comparison to the thrill of having it arrive at my house! I love this thing and not just because it has my name on it. I love it because Sam took the time to make it. She made it using fabric from a designer I’ve known and loved for years (Patty Young of MODKID), and to top it off, the workmanship is nothing short of amazing. The letters are so detailed and crisp! I’m in love with a bucket. No, really, I am.
Her new book, Quilt Talk, offers up a full font. Yes, I know it says alphabet on the front of her book, but I’m going to take exception to this and say that really, come on, it’s a font. It has all 26 letters in both lower and upper case, a full set of punctuation marks, symbols, and numerals. AND, she includes 12 projects that are all as cute, clever, and cheeky as the author herself. Check it out. I dare you to not want to try out your own quilt once you get a glimpse inside.
Last but not least, thank you, Sam. My inner little girl is still gleeful!