Monday, September 29, 2014

Moda Bake Shop has a new face

Oh if you are a big MODA Bake Shop reader like me, I guess you have already noticed that it is now located on WordPress instead of Blogger. There's a new look and feel to the site as well. If you are not familiar with the site it lists great ideas and patterns/tutorials with what you can do with all of those gorgeous precuts available on the market. You don't just have to make a quilt; you could also make a table runner, or changing pad, or socks or any number of patterns available on the site. There is usually a post twice a week with a new "chef" presenting a new recipe! How awesome is that?

Don't forget to check it out. I was tickled to see my new picture as one of the "chefs" as well. I have two recipes already listed on the site as well as one in the works. I think it will be coming very soon! Stay tuned!

Keep your patchen on.
Karen

Friday, September 26, 2014

impressions from the european patchwork convention 2014

Unbelievable! Breathtaking! Unforgettable! Those are my impressions of the European Patchwork Convention 2014 (Carrefour Europeén du Patchwork in Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace, France).

This was my very first patchwork "field trip" so to say. A chartered bus was organized for our two patchwork groups en-route to the biggest patchwork convention this side of the Atlantic. Loaded up with coffee and cake (what WE Germans must have on a day trip!), we left our homes in the wee hours of the morning saying goodbye to our families for the next couple of days. We were excited and anxious!

With no big problems and great weather, we arrived shortly before lunch. We formed little groups or went alone to explore three different villages participating in the convention over two days. (Different buildings, usually churches, were exhibited the different patchwork artists. ) We started out at the village theater exhibiting the Amish Quilts. A very lovely collection of old and new quilts were shown. These quilts also had some polyester cloth patchworked in. Amazing!

Amish Quilts in the Theater
After a quick look around, we jetted off to the Silver Mine were there was a large exhibit of more modern quilts and textile art quilts. Every quilt amazed ME especially this hand quilted white on white see quilt. It was quilted by a man!! Chapeau! I could have stayed longer, but there was soooo much more to see!

Quilts at the Silver Mine (Silberberg)
After returning from the Silberberg to the main square in Marie-aux-Mines, we enjoyed our bagged lunches on the steps of the theater. It was captivating observing everything and seeing how much everyone enjoyed the event. Off to the next exhibit! We worked our way through the town from one building to the next. I think there were 15 different exhibit locations that we conquered on this day in the main village alone.

At the end of the first day, we hopped back on our bus on to our hotel room and a large buffet dinner. Tine to unwind. We were all so overwhelmed! I was overwhelmed the most. Everyone kept commenting on how it hammered me. So many impressions, so little brain capacity left!

On our second day, my dear friend, Katrin, and I decided to go it alone and a little bit slower - not to overload me like the previous day. We started out at the Villa exhibiting the most beautiful Japanese quilts. Again, I was stunned. We did take our time though to enjoy the quilts instead of just snapping a photo and then jumping on to the next display.

Japanese Quilts at the Villa
We hopped around from one exhibit to the next taking a break for real Elsäßer-Flammkuchen and a glass of wine.


Then we rounded the day off with a tour through the "Ladenstraße" or the Patchwork stands.


I was thrilled that I finally got to meet Brigitte Heitland. It was her first time selling at the Carrefour Europeén du Patchwork. She is such a talented and charming woman and artist!

What did I buy? I loved looking at all of the selling booths. Most displayed a trend towards "French Patchwork" as I would classify it - a Quiltmania- style. I love the look, but there is just too much handwork involved. What really caught my attention there was FELT. I loved seeing everything you can make with it. I virtually went crazy but kept myself under control.

Here is my loot! A little bit of fall fabrics, some scraps from ZenChic, some retro prints, number prints, lots of felt and felt patterns. I even WON the two spools of thread in a free ball throw into a jar game.


Thank you for joining me on my little tour of the European Patchwork Convention 2014 in Alsace, France!

I can't wait to get back to my sewing now! Whoops....I forget to mention the highlight for me. I met Kate Dowty and and spoke to her as well. I really love her work!! She is very inspirational. She encouraged me to start with landscape quilts. That is a definite must for 2015!


You can learn more about her and her quilts here.

Now back to my sewing machine!
Karen

Monday, September 22, 2014

around the world blog hop


I have been tagged! My dear friend, Katrin aka Cattinka has tagged me in the Around the World Blog Hop introducing yourself, your blog and a few things everyone should know about you. 

Katrin is not only a blogger friend, but also also a real-life good friend. We sew together weekly when time permits and belong to the same patchwork group. She loves to try out new things although her first love is to EPP. She's always fun to be around too; we love joking with each other and can be brutal at times! Don't forget to check out her blog if you haven't already. I am sure she is already blogging about our weekend in Alsace at the European Patchwork Convention.

But, are you curious to get to know ME a little better? Then to my mini interview.

1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on?

I am constantly working on something usually many things in parallel - no less than 10 projects. I jump around according to time, mood, weather, other responsibilities and priorities. Today, I am finishing up some samples for my first weekend retreat in the French Alps where I will be giving a demonstration into paper piecing using scraps. (I am such a lucky girl!) 

When I get that finished I will start on an exchange quilt for my current Doll Quilt Swap partner. Our theme for the month was Farmer's Market or Back to School, but we chose to go with Halloween. I love to decorate for Halloween, and it will give me a jump start to the process. 

Start of my thinking process - Halloween
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Now that is an interesting question! How does mine differ? In the past couple of years I have noticed a pattern in my style. I am a mix of modern and traditional. I like to use solids and prints. I like the look of unity and balance in my designs but also a center point or something asymmetrical or out of balance. I like to try out new techniques and bring them all together. I don't limit myself to just piecing or appliqué.  I love to take traditional blocks and change them. Most importantly, I like things simple and easy. If it is too complicated, I will lose interest. Those who know me and my work, know that I like to be precise. (If my seams don't line up, I am compelled to rip the seam.That's a tick of mine.) I prefer to be great at the simple things instead of mediocre with the complicated ones. I design a lot of my quilts with EQ7, but I also let my quilts evolve as I put them together. All of my graphics, designs, photography, text, instructions are written/made by me - from a quilter for a quilter.

Designing in EQ7 - a computer program for quilters

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?

I have a blog to seek out others who have the same interest - to exchange ideas, tips and experiences. Quilting used to be handed down from older generations to younger ones. I didn't learn quilting from my mother. I learned it from reading, reading, going to patchwork classes, talking to other patchworkers, reading, reading, looking at pictures, practicing, observing, reading, reading, trying out new things. I think I also have to write, because I did learn how to type in high school and had countless literature and writing classes in college. It would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

I create, because I have a burning need in my to do so. I have to create! I was always a creative person interested in arts and crafts. Art was my best subject in school just after math. I know there are a lot of other patchworkers out there with the same combo - math/art interest. I envy those who studied architecture, because their styles really appeal to me. So, I have this compelling need not just to create, but to think. I love to find solutions. How can I? What happens if? What can be done better? Simpler? Faster?

Starting the sewing process
4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I don't know how many times I have gone to bed at night thinking about designing new quilting blocks or designs. I usually start with something simple like a shape, and it automatically designs itself in my head. Sometimes it starts to unravel itself and turns in several different directions at once. (I should keep paper and pencil next to my bed to capture all of the ideas, but I think I would never get to sleep that way.) After I have designed for a while, I try to pick the best solution and keep thinking of it not about it. When the next morning comes, if the idea stayed, I write it down or try to capture it on paper or fabric. 

My writing reflects this constant tangent idea and branching out process. I have to rope myself back in to stay concentrated. And, sometimes I do have to make lists to keep myself on track.

I hope you have gained some insights to who I am and why I do the things I do. Thank you for dropping by. And if you are interested in riding the wave of interesting bloggers follow the paths below. They have been officially tagged! They will introduce themselves on Monday, September 29, 2014, if they have decided to take my challenge.

If you are curious to see the final Halloween mini quilt, stay tuned!
_________________________________________________________

Janet from What comes next?
She is one awesome (modern) quilter who is an active member of the Vancouver Modern Quilting Guild. She dazzles me with her geometric designs and quilting. Her color combos are so unified! Janet inspired me to immediately try out a cutting technique that I fell in love with.

Paula playing with Mud, Pies and Pins
We have exchanged quilts through the Doll Quilt Monthly and will meet up for the first time at the quilting retreat at the Peaks. Irish-born and living in CH, she uses her love of English Paper Piecing (EPP) to design the most exquisite mini hexies and butterflies.

Please join in and keep the fun going.
Karen

Thursday, September 18, 2014

it's all in the label, baby!

It is so refreshing to finish up one of my quilts especially the last process of closing the binding with hand stitches. I like to reflect about the entire process and whom the quilt is for. (Every process of the quilting making is crucial and takes planning. No step should be sped on through.) One of the very last steps should not be forgotten and should be just as beautiful as the quilt itself. What step you may ask? The labeling of course! There are lots of different ways of labeling a quilt, but the best one I like at the moment is ironing a self-made, computer-generated t-shirt label onto a solid piece of fabric and then hand sewing to the back of the quilt.

I set a template in Photoshop for a standard size of 10 x 15 cm and adjust according to the size of my quilt. If it will become a mini, the size will usually be reduced to maybe half the size - 7 x 10 cm or so. I like to incorporate some aspect of the design of the quilt usually by making a block or importing the block from EQ7.
 
Here are a few of my favorite labels and corresponding quilts so you can see which elements I captured fromt the quilt in the label:

Scrapkunst - the Doll Quilt Swap - "Let's go modern"


Prairie Star - Doll Quilt Monthly - "Diamonds are Forever"


 Crosses on Paper - Doll Quilt Monthly - "Try Something New"


Katzenpost - Doll Quilt Monthly - "Love Letters"

Tulips Upside Down - Doll Quilt Monthly - "In the Garden"?


Chess or Checkers? - Doll Quilt Monthly - "For Kids"


The elegant way of finishing up the label is to add a little binding to the edge. It really doesn't take that long and gives it an awesoming finishing touch. On my most recent label, I took one inch strips, folded in half lengthwise, pressed, and sewed to the tops and bottoms of the label (binding style - raw edges together) using 1/8" and press outwards. On the outer two strips, I folded the edges in 1/4" so the raw edge wouldn't show. Then I pinned in place and hand stitched around the edge. Voila!


I would love to hear about your favorite method of "signing your quilt." Please leave a comment and share with all of us. Thanks for dropping by.
Karen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

a new german patchwork magazine?!

Every now and then when I go to the grocery store I check out the new magazine section. I usually end up buying the latest cooking and baking "Hefte" with the latest seasonal recipes. (I would die for an awesome chocolate or pumpkin cheesecake recipe right now.) Once and while, I even scan through the patchwork magazines too. (Here, quilting is replaced with the word patchwork. I like the term better, because not everything I "sew" is or will be quilted.) Anyway, this new magazine caught my attention - Simply Kreativ Patchwork + Quilting - Sonderheft! Was it the bright colors of the cathedral wall hanging that caught my attention or that oh, so cool retro measuring tape with tin?

Ab und zu, wenn ich im Supermarkt einkaufen bin, ich stolpere durch die Zeitschriftabteilung. Gewöhnlich endet das damit, dass ich die neuesten Koch- und Backhefte mit den aktuellen saisonalen Rezepten mitnehme. (Im Moment würde ich wirklich alles tun für einen guten Schokoladen- oder Kürbis-Käsekuchenrezept.) Ab und zu schaue ich mir natürlich auch die Patchwork Magazin durch. (Das Wort Patchwork passt in dem Zusammenhang auch besser als das englische „Quilting“, weil nicht alles was genäht wird letztendlich auch „gequilted“ wird.) Egal, aber dieses eine neue Magazin stach mir ins Auge – Simply Kreativ Patchwork + Quilting - Sonderheft! Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob es die strahlenden Farben des Wandbehangs oder das Retro-Maßband waren.

Like all good things, I wait and savor something at the end of the day or when my chores are done. I like to store up a little anticipation. A couple of days later, I took off the plastic wrap to find this awesome magazine! I would honestly make or sew everything in it. That is not easy for me to say either! Usually I just toss a patchwork magazine to the side. Where has this magazine been the last ten years??

Wie für alle guten Dinge, warte ich gerne und hebe mir etwas Besonderes für den Abend oder für nach der Hausarbeit auf. Ich baue da gerne etwas Vorfreude auf. Ein paar Tage später, nahme ich also die Plastikfolie ab und fande dieses grandiose Magazin! Ehrlich, ich würde wirklich alles ausprobieren oder nachnähen, was drin steht. So was kommt wirklich nicht oft vor. Normalerweise landen Patchwork Magazine Ruck-zuck in der Ecke. Wo war dieses Magazin die letzten 10 Jahre gewesen?


The further I read on, I noticed all of the patchworkers were from either the UK or the US. I later found out that this great magazine is a copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 6! Interesting. I am not familiar with the English version, but a dear friend of mine brought it to my attention. What I really like about it is the great section on GERMAN fabric. Yes, quilting fabric is also produced by German companies and individuals. They are growing with the times too with more vibrant colors and designs. Here is a spread about our fabric designers:

Als ich mich so langsam durch die verschiedenen Artikel durcharbeitete, merkte ich, dass alle Patchworker entweder aus den USA oder Großbritannien waren. Später habe ich dann herausgefunden, dass dieses tolle Magazin eine Kopie von Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 6 ist. Interessant! Ich kenne die englische Ausgabe nicht, aber eine liebe Freundin hat mich darauf aufmerksam gemacht. Am meisten mag ich hierbei die große Auswahl an DEUTSCHEN Stoffen. Ja, es gibt auch deutsche Firmen, die Stoffe für uns Quilter herstellen. Es wurden über die letzten Jahre schon deutlich mehr und auch mit leuchtenden Farben und tollen Designs. Hier ein Seitenauszug mit deutschen Stoffen:


Okay now that I have done my research. This looks like a UK import. You can subscribe directly on their website if you prefer the magazine in English. It is published 13 times a year and comes with a free gift (such as my tape measure) with every edition. I will have to think now if I want it in English or German!? This write-up about German fabrics is awesome, and I wish more German magazines would put upcoming German designers and patchworkers in their magazines who have that trendy touch.

Okay, jetzt habe ich meine Nachforschungen hierzu abgeschlossen. Dieses Magazin ist ein UK-Import. Du kannst es dir direkt auf deren Webseite abonnieren, wenn du es in Englisch lesen möchtest. Es erscheint 13 mal im Jahr und hat immer ein kleines Goody in jeder Ausgabe (wie z.B. das Maßband). Ich muss jetzt wirklich überlegen, welche Sprachausgabe ich denn wohl haben möchte. Diese Zusammenstellung von neuen deutschen Stoffen ist klasse und ich würde mir wünschen, dass mehr deutsche Magazine über hiesige Designer und Patchworker berichten würden, die neue Trends setzen.

Honestly, if you are looking for a "new" type of patchwork magazine published in the German language, this is it. I highly recommend this magazine and look forward to the future issues.

Ehrlich, wenn du auf der Suche nach einem „neuen“ Typ Patchworkmagazin, in deutscher Sprache, bist, dann ist es dieses. Ich kann es nur empfehlen und freue mich schon auf die nächste Ausgabe.

Keep patching!
Karen

And thank you dear hubby for correcting my German translation! xXx

Sunday, September 7, 2014

my first patchwork at the peaks quilting retreat

from Busy Needle Archive  of Retreats 2012
Summer vacation is coming to a close here in Bavaria. Just one more week and the kids will be starting another school year filled with new events and a new teacher. Here in Germany, the kids usually will share the same teacher for the first two grades as well as the Third and Fourth Grades.We just have to get the back to school shopping done, and we are ready to get going again.

And when the kids are back in school, I too get to "play" a little too. I am very excited about two events: the European Patchwork Meeting from September 18-24 and Patchwork at the Peaks at the end of the month. Both of these are two new events for me, and I am totally excited about them! Two different events in the same month both in France. I am so psyched up!

The first Convention/Exhibit takes place in Alsace. I was told by my patchwork group that it is one of the most amazing events and locations to go to. The entire area (several villages) are decorated and cater to the patchwork scene. It must be amazing!! I can't wait to go.

And then there is the long awaited patchwork retreat in the most picturesque setting - a chalet in the French Alps! This is an unterstatement! This long awaited event takes place from October 2-5, 2014! I will be able to enjoy 100% sewing time in the most serene setting of changing leaves, beautiful fall skies, snow capped mountains, and enjoying a warm fire (maybe) in the fireplace in the evening followed a dip in the bubbly hot tub. No cooking, no cleaning, no kiddies, no spouses - just pure pampering and enjoyment. I will be greated and hosted by the charming and whitty, Elita Sharpe. She is another American who fell in love with European culture, enough so, to make it her home.

You are warmly welcomed and invited to the Patchwork at the Peaks Retreat! If all spaces are booked out, book in advance for spring or fall of 2015. Elita offers her fantasy retreats twice a year. Life doesn't get any better than this!


In preparation for the big event, I designed this simple paper pieced leaf pattern to demonstrate how you can use up all of those scraps in your scrap bin. My daughter and I whipped up this little zippered pouch just yesterday using the six inch leaf pattern. It is totally easy to make!
 

I have lots of more goodies to show at the retreat using this pattern, so stay tuned for more pictures and retreat talk.

Thanks for dropping by!
Karen
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