Thursday, February 28, 2019

My First Month As A New Author

It's the last day of February and with the release of my new book, Stitching for the Seasons, this has been an unprecedented month of firsts.



This month, for the very first time, I saw a book of mine for sale in a quilt shop.  Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH is a bright, beautiful shop with something for every quilter. It was a featured Quilt Sampler shop in 2011, but I loved it long before then.  A couple of weeks ago, I visited the shop hoping to see my book.  I walked all around the store without finding it and was working up a little pitch about the book when I caught sight of a rack of new books near the cutting counter.  I walked over, heart pounding, spun the rack around, and sure enough, found 6 copies of my book.  What a thrill!!  I introduced myself to the shop owner and we had a great conversation about the book, during which I found out that she has her own connections to the book's publisher, C&T Publishing.  The quilting world is a small one!



For the first time this month, I found a copy of my book in a big bookstore, the Barnes & Noble in Nashua, NH.  It was a single copy nestled in among dozens of other quilting books but the binding leapt out at me at once.  And I was reminded of spending a lot of time (and a bit of money) in bookstores when I first started quilting, thumbing through colorful books filled with gorgeous projects, trying to soak it all in—those books were my eye-candy and sources of inspiration.  It was a shock and a joy to find a book that I wrote in company with so many other beautiful books.



And just last weekend, I experienced my first book signing.  My local library, the Dunbar Free Library, hosted the book signing for me and it was an amazing culminating experience.  Several of my friends, who are not even quilters, but who are unbelievably generous and supportive showed up with books for me to sign.  Quilters from nearby towns came see the projects from the book and to share their stories.  And unsuspecting library patrons took time out from their morning errands to enjoy the quilts and to chat with me.  It was the highlight of my month.



I had a great conversation with a little girl scout who was trying to decide to which seasons the mini quilts on display belonged.  She made the connection that the quilts on the table were also in the book beside them and I told her that I'd actually written that book.  When she walked away with her patient dad, I was delighted to hear her say, "I've never met a real author before!"  



I also spoke with a couple of older gentlemen who had clearly come in only to exchange books.  Because I was set up near the circulation desk, they couldn't help but notice my quilts and both seemed compelled to talk with me about how their mothers were quilters.  And I was reminded in the most poignant way of what I love most about quilting—the tradition, the continuity and the shared experience.



So as I wrap up February, my heart is full.  I'm thankful that C&T Publishing saw promise in my ideas and helped me to bring this book into the world.  I'm so happy that quilt shops and booksellers are making the book available to quilters, new and old.  And I'm enormously grateful for the support and kindness shown to me not only by my family, friends and local community, but also by the larger quilting community online.  Truly I am blessed.

—jen

Friday, February 8, 2019

5 Sew Sweet Pillows for Valentine's Day

If you're looking for ideas for quick Valentine's Day projects for this weekend, here are five of my favorites:

1.  First off is my Have a Heart pillow.  I love the interlocking hearts in two shades of pink and best of all, this pillow looks just as cute flipped over to have the darker pink on top.  You can find the downloadable pattern for this 12" x 20" pillow (and notes for a 12" x 16" version) in my Etsy shop.



2.  Here's my Love Birds pillow.  Raw edge appliqué makes quick work of two birds atop a branch silhouetted against a full heart-shaped moon.  The downloadable pattern for this sweet project is also available in my Etsy shop.


3.  Next up is my Bee Mine pillow.  This pillow features simple piecing, raw edge appliqué and embroidery.  You can find the pattern for this little cutie in the January/February 2019 issue of Quiltmaker Magazine available on newsstands now.  Print and digital versions of this lovely issue are also available online through The Quilting Company.


4.  Here's Heart to Heart, a reversible pillow featuring scrappy hearts in pink and ivory.  You can find the free pattern for this simple pillow on my blog.



5.  And finally, if you're short on time, here's a sweet pin cushion (essentially a tiny pillow!) featuring a square-in-a-square block and simple stitching.  The free pattern for this little project is also available on my blog.


Happy Quilting and Happy Valentine's Day!

—jen

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Giveaway!

Who's in the mood for a giveaway?!



Quilting Quickly magazine has become Fons & Porter's Pre-Cut Patchwork!  And I'm thrilled to have my new quilt, North Star Trail, in the pages of the inaugural issue!  The January/February 2019 issue is available now both in print and digitally.



North Star Trail is a fun and easy pattern made with a charm pack of 5" squares and a yard of background fabric.  I made my version using the whimsical Way Up North fabric collection by Jill Howarth for Riley Blake and I love the colorful end result!


To celebrate, I'm giving away a bundle of Way Up North fabric to two lucky quilters!  Each bundle contains 18 - 10" squares of fabric—one from each fabric in the collection.  


I'll be giving away one bundle on Instagram and one on Facebook.  To enter on Instagram, follow me @jendalyquilts, like the giveaway post and tag a friend.  On Facebook, like my page and the giveaway post and share with a friend.  Enter by midnight on Friday, January 25th.  The winners will be selected on Saturday and notified via direct message.

Good luck!!

U.S. shipping only please.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

It's Here!!!

At long last, my new book Stitching for the Seasons has arrived!!



I'll make it available in my Etsy shop as soon as I can, but in the meantime for a sneak peek inside the book, click here.

 Sneak Peek Inside the Book


Happy, happy!!

—jen





Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Stitching for the Seasons: Living with Quilts

I had an idea in mind and 4 projects under my belt, but absolutely no idea how to write an entire book.  So I started by thinking about how I live with quilts.

My youngest son once commented that other peoples' homes don't have quite so many quilts.  It may have been constructive criticism, but I took it as a compliment.  He was right, I do have quilts everywhere!  Tiny quilts that I hang from door knobs, quilted pillows in chairs and on benches, mini quilts hung on the walls and displayed on tables, lap quilts draped on the couch or over the stair railing, and oh, the table runners... I LOVE table runners!!

And while I have a few favorite quilts that I keep out year round, for the most part, I change out my quilts depending on the holiday, the season, or even my mood.  I love the rhythm of packing away and pulling out quilts as the year progresses.

Think Spring Pillow

I decided that my book would have four seasonal collections of quilts, with projects that could be rotated as the seasons changed.  In addition to the Little House quilts, I wanted to make a pillow, a mini quilt, a table runner and a lap quilt for each season.

Strawberry Blossoms Mini Quilt

I wanted projects that would convey the look and feel of a season not only through the use of color, but with different quilt blocks and wool and embroidered embellishments.  I also wanted to make sure to vary the complexity of the projects to make them accessible to quilters of all levels.  And because I enjoy experimenting with different quilting techniques, I thought it might be fun to include a bit of paper piecing, raw edge appliqué and dimensional appliqué for quilters looking to try something new.

Pumpkin Spice Table Runner

In the end, I decided to just make what I love and what I wanted to have in my home.  The projects in Stitching for the Seasons make my home feel warm and inviting, and remind me to savor the season I'm in.  But there's more:  when I look at the quilts I've made, I remember the experience of making them and the sense of accomplishment that I felt when I finished and I'm inspired to continue creating.

Flurries Lap Quilt

It's my hope that Stitching for the Seasons will inspire you, my fellow quilters, to warm your homes with quilts, to personalize your projects with wool and stitching, and perhaps to try a new technique, but most of all, to celebrate not only the seasons, but your craft.

—jen

Friday, December 28, 2018

Stitching for the Seasons: Meet Little House!


Little House—Winter

Little House was born as a Christmas present for my mom.  My mom is also a quilter and the person who taught me to sew, bake, paint, knit and generally be creative.  And because she's a fellow maker, I wanted to give her a small handmade project that evoked the warm, cozy feeling of winter (and Christmas!) in New England.  I'm a sucker for all things miniature, so I decided that a little house, surrounded by little quilt blocks and little embellishments was the perfect idea.  (Hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe I was making the perfect gift for me?!)

I had so much fun making Little House for my mom and was thrilled with how it turned out, so I made a second one for my sister.  And because I was sad to part with the Little Houses at Christmas, of course I made a third one for myself.

And then I got carried away.  I started to wonder what life would be like at Little House during the other seasons—what color palettes, blocks and embellishments would best represent spring, summer and fall?  I sketched out ideas for the different seasons and experimented with color and stitching and over time Little House became a series.

Little House—Spring

I realized that it wasn't just the darling end result that I loved about the Little House series, but also the process of combining of my favorite quilting and handwork techniques in one tidy package.  Paper piecing made easy work of the miniature quilt blocks, and simple wool appliqué and embroidery added warmth and interest and helped to tell a story.  And as I worked away with the four seasons and quilting and wool and stitching circling around in my brain, I began to think that maybe I had an idea for a book.

Little House—Summer
  
I remembered once hearing an author say that she wrote the books that she wanted to see on her bookshelf.  And I definitely wanted to have a book of seasonal quilt projects that combined patchwork, wool appliqué and embroidery!  One that was full of color and charming details—eye candy that would get me busy creating and might even inspire me to try something new.


Little House—Fall


So with an idea in mind and a quartet of Little Houses that would inspire and inform my journey, I set out to write Stitching for the Seasons.



Stay tuned to read more about how four Little Houses turned into a book!

—jen

Friday, December 21, 2018

Deck the Halls QAL - Day 9

Update:  The complete pattern for Deck the Halls is now available for download in my Etsy shop.  The pattern includes material requirements, step-by-step instructions and full color diagrams to help you on your way.  Click here to view the pattern.

Welcome back for Day 9 of the Deck the Halls QAL!


For our final day we're going to be adding a ribbon border to our medallion quilts using the split quarter square triangles blocks that we made on Day 6.  I love how this surprisingly easy border frames and finishes the quilt—definitely worth the trimming we did last week!


Day 9:  Ribbon Border

You'll need to gather:

52 split quarter square triangle blocks ("split QST blocks") from Day 6
2 red print #1 half square triangle blocks ("HST blocks") from Day 6
2 green print #1 HST blocks from Day 6
2 red print #3 strips 1¼" x 30½"
2 red print #3 strips 1¼" x 32"



Making the Ribbon Borders:

Before sewing, make sure your split QST blocks are sorted into two piles—26 split quarter square triangles in one and 26 mirror split QST blocks in the other.  For the split QST blocks, when the red triangle is pointing up and to the left, the long edge of the green triangle should be on the right edge of the block.  For the mirror split QST blocks, when the red triangle is pointing up and to the left, the long edge of the green triangle should be on the bottom of the block.  (In the photo above, the mirror split QSTs are the stack on the left.)

1.  Lay out 13 split QST blocks in a row as follows.  Make sure that you orient the blocks correctly to create a ribbon effect.  The red triangle of the first block on the left should point up and to the left.  Join the pieces in each row to make a split QST border.  Press seam allowances open.  Repeat to make a second split QST border.

Make 2 for top and bottom.

2.  Lay out 13 mirror split QST blocks in a row as follows.  Make sure that you orient the blocks correctly to create a ribbon effect.  The red triangle of the first block on the left should point up and to the right.  Join the pieces in each row to make a mirror split QST border.  Press seam allowances open.  Repeat to make a second mirror split QST border.

Make 2 for left and right.

Finished ribbon borders.


Adding the Borders:


1.  Lay out your quilt center, 4 Ribbon borders, 2 red print #1 HST blocks, and 2 green print #1 HST blocks as shown.  Make sure that you orient the borders and HST blocks correctly so that the ribbon appears to wrap in a continuous unit around the quilt.



2. Sew the left and right ribbon borders to the quilt first, pressing seam allowances toward the red print #3 strip from Day 8.  Sew a red print #1 HST block to the left end of the top ribbon border and a green print #1 HST block to the right end of the top ribbon border.  Press seam allowances toward the HST blocks.  Sew a green print #1 HST block to the left end of the bottom ribbon border and a red print #1 HST block to the right end of the bottom ribbon border.  Press seam allowances toward the HST blocks.  Sew the top and bottom Ribbon/HST borders to the top and bottom of the quilt, pressing seam allowances toward the red print #3 strip from Day 8.



3.  Sew a red print #3 1¼" x 30½" strip to the left and right sides of the quilt.  Press seam allowances toward the red strip.  Sew a red print #3 1¼" x 32" strip to the top and bottom of the quilt.  Press seam allowances toward the red strip.  (Note:  You may be wondering why the outermost red strips are 1¼" wide rather than 1½". I chose to make them narrower so that when the binding is sewn on, the outermost strips appear to be the same width as strips in the interior of the quilt.)




Finishing the Quilt:

Layer the quilt top with batting and backing fabric and baste.  Quilt as desired.  I machine quilted in the ditch around all of the pieced elements of my quilt.  I used red thread in the star and around the ribbon border and tan thread for the rest.  I wanted to add a bit more detail in the center medallion, so I used green Valdani size 12 perle cotton to stitch a line down the center of each holly leaf and in the larger patches of the wreath.  I also used red Valdani size 12 perle cotton to stitch a line down the center of the lighter red "ribbons" between each set of holly leaves.



Bind your quilt using the 4 red print #3 binding strips.  Finally, congratulate yourself for a job well done!


I've loved making a medallion quilt for the QAL this year!  It was so much fun to see the quilt unfold with the addition of each border.  All that's left now is to decide whether to hang my Deck the Halls quilt on my wall:


or to display it on my kitchen table:


Hmmm....

And that's a wrap for the 2018 Deck the Halls Quilt Along!  It's been an absolute pleasure sharing this project with you and connecting with you via email and social media.  I'd love to see pictures of your quilts when they're finished, so please tag me @jendalyquilts when you post your quilts or even send a photo to me at jendalyquilts@gmail.com.

If you weren't able to quilt along with us this year, but you'd like to make your own Deck the Halls quilt, the QAL posts will be available on my blog through the month of January.  The complete (and compressed) pattern for Deck the Halls will also be available in my Etsy shop in the new year.

Thank you all so much for following and quilting along!  I wish you all Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year, and Happy Quilting!!

Cheers!  jen