Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Why Otters Are the New Hedgehogs!

First it was owls. 
Then hedgehogs. 
The next hot new critters are otters! 
Our Otter Romp collection is packed with complete otter love, ready for your next kids' quilt, messenger bag, pillowcase, or even skirt! 

The cuteness begins here, with otter houses in the forest:

Bright coordinates of otter circles:

An otter stripe:

A modern take on toile--hand drawn scenes:

Our new favorite tonal coordinate--constellations! 

Could these hugging otters be any sweeter?

Trees with a transparent touch:

And a simple dot and floral mini print:

Love the bright palette of Otter Romp--use them all, or choose your favorite colorway!

See the entire Otter Romp collection here and ask for it at your local quilt shop.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sew Your Own Gemstone: MJ's Jewel Box Quilt

We're back with more sparkling inspiration from MJ Kinman. Enjoy her birthstone blocks as you read more about how she created them. (Good luck picking a favorite--they're all fantastic!) If you missed our first interview with her, find it here.

"Jewel Box" by MJ Kinman 

Q. Tell us about your Birthstone collection.
MJ: When I quit my day job, I knew I wanted to do something with the diamonds. I wanted to make art quilts, but I also wanted to make a block or series of blocks that people could do themselves. Everyone loves birthstones. The Birthstone blocks allow quilters to find success right out of the gate and also receive a few lessons on color and contrast. The Jewel Box is the quilt made from all 12 Birthstone blocks.

March Birthstone - Aquamarine

February Birthstone - Amethyst

Q. How did you choose the stones to use in the Birthstone collection?
MJ: I’m always looking for gemstones with interesting cuts and vibrant colors. The Emerald is an emerald cut. The Diamond was going to be a solitaire, but then someone suggested heart shaped, so I did that. Alexandrite is an antique French cut. It’s one of the simplest to put together, but so elegant.

May Birthstone - Emerald

April Birthstone -Diamond

June Birthstone - Alexandrite

Q. How did you translate your technique into a pattern that anyone can make?
MJ: My goal was to use as few pieces as possible but still achieve the sparkle; I didn’t want a 17” square pattern to have 800 pieces! 

January Birthstone - Garnet

December Birthstone - Tanzanite
Q. Tell us about the fabric in the Birthstone Series kits. 
MJ: They’re done completely with Painter’s Palette Solids. The kits contain between five and twelve different fabrics to create the design. 
August Birthstone - Peridot

October Birthstone - Pink Tourmaline

Q. Do you have a favorite of the Birthstones?
MJ:  The sapphire. It’s a scissor cut. I love blue, and I really like the way the lights and the darks play out.
September Birthstone - Sapphire

Q. What would you tell someone looking to try one of your Birthstone patterns?
MJ: Just do it! It’s designed for the confident beginner. Truly, the thing about my patterns is that they don’t have to be perfect. The seams are offset—they don’t have to come together. If you’re intimidated by traditional patterns where seams need to match, that’s not an issue here.
Diamonds and gemstones sparkle a trillion different ways. The image I use is one way it sparkles when the camera lens clicked. They don’t have to be perfect. No one will notice. It’s a technique where you can get away with a lot. There’s so much going on in your diamonds—the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Be fearless and just do it. I can’t wait to see the results!
July Birthstone - Ruby

Q. Where can quilters find the patterns and Painter's Palette Solids kits? 
MJ: Quilters can go directly through eQuilter.com for both the patterns and fabric bundles. I also sell the patterns on my website

November Birthstone - Citrine

Visit MJ's website to see and read more.
See all 168 Painter's Palette Solids colors here.
Find kits for the Birthstone Series here

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

...and amethysts, and emeralds, and garnets, and sapphires...

Meet MJ Kinman. This former project manager turned full-time textile artist transforms quilting cotton (like our Painter’s Palette Solids!) into dynamic, faceted gemstones that look so real, you’ll want to reach out and touch them. She used Painter’s Palette Solids in the Elizabeth Diamond (shown below), as well as in her Birthstone Series, which we'll be featuring later this week. 
The Elizabeth Diamond

We asked MJ to share her story with us.
Q. Why gemstones?
MJ: I love sparkling gemstones. When I was a little girl, my mom bought me a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs record. On the cover was a cart of gemstones (and seven dwarfs). I still remember it.  

In the early 90s, I received a mailer with a 12-facet diamond on it. I was intrigued—it was all straight lines—and I thought that there had to be a way to make this into a quilt. I started researching facted gemstones and different quilting techniques.

Q. How did you find your technique?
MJ: I looked at work by Ruth McDowell, Cynthia England, Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood and started using freezer paper to make foundation pieced work. I was hooked! I made my first diamond quilt about seven years after receiving the mailer with the gem on it.

Q. What is it that makes these gemstone quilts so realistic?
MJ: When you’re looking at gemstones, the important thing is the value contrast. That’s what creates the sparkle. With my gemstones, I really wanted to achieve the high value contrast because it allows the drama to come out.

Q. How do you choose the gemstones that you create in fabric?
MJ: I’m always on the lookout for images of dramatic stones. I study the image, and try to figure out what the cut is. Within the facets, I try to see how light is refracted and selected. I draft to scale. I have a small mock-up and then translate it into a larger one. I identify the key fabrics that will allow the stone to sparkle without breaking the bank (by having so many different fabrics).
"Jewel Box" featuring the Birthstone Series

Q. Tell us about the Elizabeth diamond.
MJ: It’s done in all blues. I’m also going to make it in yellows, like the citrine, and a pink diamond as well.
If you look closely, it’s nothing more than a four-patch—it has four quadrants and each quadrant is made up of sections. It has about 16 fabrics in it.

Q. How do you decide which fabrics to place where in your gemstones?
MJ: It’s partly based on the photo of the gemstone, partly based on my gut, and partly based on 20 years of making these. I study the gemstone very closely, and try to pick exactly the right colors for the right places, and sometimes I get it right. Sometimes it doesn’t sparkle like you want it to, so you try again. The first diamond I did laid there like a lump of coal. I revamped it and tried again until it sparkled like I wanted it to.

Q. You’ve worked with so many Painter’s Palette Solids. Do you have a favorite color?
MJ: Every single one of them was picked for a purpose—for its glow, its relationship to the others around it; of course you have to have the light lights and dark darks. I would say the go-to color in every single one is ebony. It’s the background that makes the gemstones pop.

Visit MJ's website to see and read more.
See MJ's Birthstone Series here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ring Ring FREE Quilt Pattern!

What will you make with the fabulous retro prints from
Hoodie Crescent's Ring Ring collection? 

How about the Linked Up Ring Ring quilt?
This modern quilt uses the dots and pencils in pink, green, blue and orange linked blocks, surrounded by alternating cool gray backgrounds.
Linked Up designed by Lisa Swenson Ruble

Download the FREE Linked Up Ring Ring quilt pattern here.
Ready to make it? Purchase the kit for the Linked Up Ring Ring quilt here.

Hoodie used her Ring Ring fabrics to make this hanging studio organizer, complete with pockets to hold pens and pencils, rulers, rotary cutters, mail, and more. 

Plan your project and find Ring Ring at a store near you. Use our Store Locator form here.
See the entire collection here.
Read Hoodie's interview about Ring Ring here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hello, Retro! Ring Ring by Hoodie Crescent

If you fall in love with one fabric line this year, we predict it will be Hoodie Crescent's
Ring Ring collection. A little bit retro, a little bit contemporary, this fresh take on nostalgia is so much fun! The fabrics are available in pink, blue, green, orange, tan and gray. 

We asked Hoodie to introduce us to her Ring Ring prints.

Q. What inspired your Ring Ring collection?
HC: I started with the telephone print. I have a phone that came with a my house—a retro design. I love vintage things that create nostalgia. But I wanted to create a new type of retro—more contemporary.

Q. Tell us about the palette.
HC: The colors are slightly vintage, but still colorful. Each print is featured in several different colors, so you can choose the color combo for your mood.

Q. We love the coordinates for the collection!
HC: Me too. I really love pencils. They’re the best tool for anything—even just doodling. I wanted the pencil print to be checked or striped, and striped worked better.

I’m a dots person. These are ring dots—like the name of the collection. We added in the numbers and it feels like typewriter keys.

I had the fountain pen idea, and we added ink splotches and the grid background to give it more of a retro feel.

The phone book print—I wanted a print that read pretty solid, but had more interest to it. I looked on eBay at Yellow Pages from around when I was born, because I wanted it to be authentic. I think it works well with the vintage look of the other prints.

Thanks Hoodie! 

Which print and which color do you like best?

See the entire collection here and ask for it at your local quilt shop.
Can't wait? Purchase a fat quarter bundle here to get you started!