Thursday, December 31, 2009

Workmanship survey results

Here is the breakdown in percentages for the Workmanship survey:
Saving time most important, 20%.
Saving fabric most important, 2%.
Accuracy most important, 77%!

Happy New Year! May you find all the time you desire in the new year to make quilts, and may they be all be perfect. And if they are, send TQL photos!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Workmanship matters

You surprised me! The survey about what's most important to you--saving time, saving fabric, or improving accuracy--showed that an overwhelming majority of you were concerned about your workmanship most of all. We tend to call the shortcut techniques "timesavers" but that doesn't paint an accurate picture of why we love them. More than three quarters of survey respondents valued workmanship most, and I have to count myself part of that group, too. Yes, saving time is important for those of us who have to work hard to carve out a time for quilting as often as possible. For me, saving fabric has value too, especially because I make scrap quilts. But when I want my patchwork to come out the way I envision it, that's what I want, and I will stand for nothing less. Accuracy matters.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Winter

As if we needed a reminder that winter was upon us! The last week has brought a snowy panic to travelers all over the U.S. In Denver, it means a white Christmas, which doesn't happen as often as you might think. The white part is good; the single-digit temperatures not so fun but definitely picturesque. Like the teeny tiny town of Cuchara in the Sangre de Cristo Range in southern Colorado. Last month, The Quilt Life's art director Joyce Robinson joined me on a trip down to La Veta for a photo shoot with Ricky Tims for our first issue. We were on the hunt for a suitable setting for a photograph of Alex Anderson's darling little quilt Love Letters, a pattern in issue 1. And we found the perfect spot in Cuchara.

This isn't it, but this view is right across the street from where we shot Alex's quilt. The town itself is only one block long! Very rustic with gorgeous views. When the issue comes out, you'll get another, and an unusual, view of this street corner with Alex's quilt in it. It took a few tries before we found the perfect setting. Below, Joyce (left) and I holding up the quilt for Ricky's approval (didn't get it at this site). We weren't exactly dressed for the cold and snow, but whatever it takes to get the best photo for our readers, we're game.

Take a look at the Table of Contents for the first issue now posted on the TQL website to get a closer look at Alex's quilt.

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Quilt Life. May you spend it enjoying the warmth of family and friends.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Choosing between time and fabric

In the first issue of The Quilt Life, two of the techniques recommended involve saving time and improving accuracy. One is the Fast Forty-Five technique used, for example, in making a Snowball block. For the pattern Burnished Chintz in the issue, lots of Snowball blocks must be made. The other technique is shown in the article "One-Seam Flying Geese." Both are quick and easy, and for me, way more accurate. But there is wasted fabric when you cut squares in place of triangles. Not a lot, but it adds up. The same is true for paper piecing. Just about everyone agrees that blocks are considerably more accurate, but that method does waste considerably more fabric than traditional piecing.
    So what's more important to you: saving time or saving fabric? I think I can guess which will win out with today's quilters, but I've been proved wrong before. Please take a moment to answer the mini-survey to the right. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More to look forward to

I'm revisiting the decision to tell you just a wee little bit about The Quilt Life's inaugural issue. I don't want to be a tease, so here's a little more of what you can look forward to. There's an impressive array of features, a couple by Alex, and Ricky, Judith Baker Montano (I find her work fascinating and beautiful), and the team of Elizabeth Scott (Late Bloomer Quilts) and Pam Vieira-McGinnis ( Melody Crust shares a favorite technique that has been keeping her occupied recently: making little embellished quilts, and I mean little! Three inches by four inches is a typical size, and they are fun to make.
   One of the regular features is the Cook-off. Rather than just giving you a look at Ricky and Alex's favorite dishes, we've injected a little competition into the mix. Friendly competition, that is. You're invited to try each recipe and then vote for your favorite at And to make it even more interesting, like a quilt challenge, the Cook-off has a theme. In issue 1, it's "Go green." That gets your imagination going, doesn't it? Do you have any suggestions for future Cook-off themes? We've gathered a big list for the future already, but if there's something in particular you'd like to see covered, please do let me know. Aha! There's another one for the list: "covered dishes" for potluck events!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Countdown to Issue 1

Welcome to TQL's blog! We're hard at work making Issue 1 everything you expect from Ricky and Alex: fun, thought provoking, and full of beautiful quilts. Thanks to all of you loyal fans who have already subscribed, without even seeing the full magazine yet. You won't be disappointed. It's not scheduled to be on the newsstands until the last week of February, which may seem like a long time from now for you new subscribers eager to finally get it in your hands. For us at the magazine—Ricky, Alex, our art director Joyce, and me—the deadline is quickly approaching when we will turn it over to the printer and probably celebrate the birth of our "new baby." And then dive full speed ahead into Issue 2.

We have a theme for Issue 1 and it's Inspiration. That's one thing that all quilters are familiar with. The features will show you where Ricky and Alex and other quilters have found it and what they do with it. And Libby Lehman is joining us, sharing her vast experience in many aspects of the quilting life in a regular column, Take It from Me. There are a couple of great patterns, techniques, lots of features and beautiful photographs, a look at quilting Down Under, and some surprises, too. There's lots more but I don't want to give away too much just yet. A little suspense is exciting!

Here's a chance for you to get involved in The Quilt Life: talk to us! Tell us what you'd like to see in the magazine. Do you know someone whose quilt life is unique and sure to interest the rest of us? Or a clever technique that you haven't seen before? An ingenious new product we all should know about right away? Let us know about all your ideas and requests. We aim to please.