Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011 - Part 4

How many things that you make do you actually keep?  We all love making things as gifts, but isn't nice to RECEIVE a handmade gift?  Since that rarely happens with us crafters and sewists, we've decided to do something about that.  We will be holding several SWAPS in the coming year. 

Our first swap will be Pincushions!

Here's how it will work:
  • You agree to make a pincushion to be swapped with someone else at The Quilt Asylum.
  • The deadline to sign up is 7pm, Monday, January 24.
  • Pincushions will be exchanged at our Swap Party at 6pm on Monday, February 7.
  • If you cannot attend the Swap Party, you agree to turn in your pincushion no later than 5pm, February 7.  TQA will swap on your behalf.
  • You can make any size, style, or type of pincushion, but you agree to do your best work and create something that you would be proud to own.
  • You will need to turn in an info card with each pincushion (you will receive a blank info card when you sign up).
  • You can make and swap more than one pincushion, but you will need to attach an info card to each one.
  • If you default on your commitment to participate, you will not be allowed to participate in the next swap.
We encourage you to have fun with this swap!  It's a great opportunity to try something new, make new friends, and receive something handmade all in the same process!  If you have any questions, or wish to sign up to play with us, give us a call at (972) 562-2686.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011 - Part 3

Welcome to our 3rd installment of Looking Ahead to 2011!

How many of you have heard of Quilts of Valor?  This is a national program whose mission is to cover all our service men and women touched by war with donated quilts.  You can read all about this fabulous organization here

Marianne Fons (of Fons and Porter fame) became interested in working with the Quilts of Valor foundation and has succeeded on two fronts:  1) She convinced 9 different fabric companies to create American Valor fabric collections specifically benefitting QOV, and 2) She created the "Under Our Wings" program to pair an experienced quilter with a "rookie" quilter to make and donate a quilt to Quilts of Valor.

The American Valor fabrics will begin shipping in March, 2011.  We have purchased two of the collections:  one by Timeless Treasures and the other by Pat Sloan for P&B Fabrics.

The "Under Our Wings" program is really pretty cool.  We haven't worked out ALL the details just yet, but the basic premise is for an experienced quilter ("Coach") to be paired with someone who has not made a quilt before ("Rookie").  The Coach brings her sewing machine and tools.  The Rookie buys a quilt kit.  The Coach teaches the Rookie how to sew a 1/4" seam.  The Coach does all the cutting, pinning, and pressing - while demonstrating each step to the Rookie.  The Rookie pieces simple patchwork blocks.  Rookies have a great first-time quiltmaking experience under the protective wing of an avid quilter.  The best part is that our military personnel benefit from this partnership!  The QOV Foundation even has a list of longarm quilters who will dontate their time to complete the quilt.  Isn't that great???

We will begin having QOV/Under Our Wings workshops beginning in April once the fabric arrives.  Until then, think about becoming a Coach.  Talk it up among your friends.  Surely you know someone who would like to serve their country by sewing a quilt?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011 - Part 2

Here's another fun thing we're going to be doing beginning in January.  If you are a frequent shopper in our store, you've probably seen the small block kits we have next to the register.  For the past several years, we have had kits that used Thangles half-square triangle papers.  This year, we are going to do something different.  We're English Paper Piecing!

If you know me, you know that I am crazy for EPP. It's easy handwork that I can take anywhere; it's quick and doesn't take much concentration.  If you've never tried EPP before, I plan to have a tutorial here on the blog in the next few days.  A step-by-step tutorial can be found HERE.

I made this quilt with the hexagon diamonds last year.  Most of it was pieced while I was at school events or private lessons or in the car... you get the idea.  On evenings when I am too tired to concentrate at the sewing machine, I sit in front of the TV and paper piece.

Anyhoo, we will have kits available on January 3.  Each kit will have the pre-cut fabrics and the 1" hexagon papers to complete one double diamond block.  If you prefer to make the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden flower, you'll simply omit some pieces.  We plan to stay within the "Fresh and Modern" color palette, and we'll put out 2 blocks per month for $4 each.  This is a no muss, no fuss program - just pick them up when you feel like it and make as many as you desire.  I really encourage you to try at least one - and maybe you'll become as addicted as I am!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011 - Part 1

I know it's been a long time since I blogged.  This fall has been moving along at a whirlwind pace, and I can't believe there's only 10 more days left in 2010!!!  Much of the past couple of months has been spent on planning fun ideas and events for the new year, and I hope to spend the next few days sharing what's coming up.  We are so excited - and hope you will be too!

Ya'll know we are just a tad bit crazy, right?  We do work at the Asylum, right?  Well, here's a way you can jump on the crazy train right along with us....we're starting a Fundamentals Block of the Week on January 3rd!  Yes, you read that right - a BLOCK OF THE WEEK!  Below are samples of the first 4 weeks....

Here's how it will work.  Each Monday morning, we will release a new block kit.  Each block kit will contain your pattern and fabrics to make one 7-1/2" finished block for $3.  We are featuring the Kaffe Fassett Collective (Kaffe, Brandon, and Phillip) in our fabric selections along with a lovely Moda Bella Solid to tie them all together.  The program is written so that over time you will continue to learn new piecing skills, hence the name "Fundamentals".  If you are a new quilter, this program is perfect for you!  If you don't pick up your block by Saturday at 5pm, the price for the block goes up to $3.75.  You can also sign up to have the blocks regularly mailed to you - every 4 weeks for $15 plus shipping.  We'll even give you a pocket card so that you can keep track of your blocks!

There will be 52 blocks issued during 2011.  We will show the setting for this quilt in early December, and you can place orders for a setting kit then, if you wish.

So, do you want to play along with us?  Give us a call if you have any additional questions or to sign up!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Market, To Market.....

And we're off!  Yep, we're headed to Houston for Internation Quilt Market.  We'll do a bit of "market research" today, we have a business breakfast and a Schoolhouse presentation tomorrow, and the shopping begins on Saturday and continues through Monday.

We're taking all our technology toys with us, so if you aren't fans on Facebook or following us on Twitter, sign up now!  We'll be broadcasting real-time news and photos through those two media.

Now, get out your calendar.  Turn to Sunday, December 12.  Write down "Must attend Market Review Party at TQA at 2pm".!

You're all set! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pillowcase Sew-a-Thons Scheduled

In order to help us reach our new target of 800-1000 pillowcases for the Samaritan Inn by the end of the year, we have reserved several dates in our classroom area so that you and your friends can come in and help us sew!  These dates are:
  • Tuesday, October 19
  • Tuesday, November 16
  • Tuesday, December 14
Bettepat has graciously cut up some of her stash and made kits for us to sew up!  All you need to do is bring your sewing machine and put the pedal to the metal!

We had a couple of friends join us last Saturday, and they made 15 pillowcases.

We'd love to have you help us with this project!  If you have a group of friends who'd like to sew here on a different date than what we have scheduled, just give us a call.  We'll see what we can work out!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shoofly Shuffle Table Runner Challenge

Entertaining season is upon us, so we are issuing a challenge to get you motivated!  Our Shoofly Shuffle table runner pattern by Pieced Tree is so simple, yet very versatile.  This runner can be made in a couple of hours using just two coordinating fabrics.  The squares are large enough to highlight your favorite focus fabric.

**Edited October 11
We had our first participant in the challenge!  Diane Vasil brought in her Halloween Shoofly Shuffle and received a free Pieced Tree pattern of her choice.  Will you be next?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Birthday Party and Quilt Giveaway!

We just held our drawing for our 10 quilt giveaway!  Our classroom was turned into party central!  Sarah made us a fabulous cake pop birthday cake - she's so talented.

Some of our winners were in the shop to receive their quilts!

Michele Gluckman
Wendy Hackward

Michelle Gowen

Tana Campbell
Melissa Henderson
Joanne Migon

P.A. Hansen
Other winners include:
Lee Ann Turninsky
Nancy Smith
Carol Cornett

Congratulations to all the lucky ladies!

Groovy Girls Club Meeting #2

Our 2nd Groovy Girls Sewing Club meeting is this Monday evening (September 27) from 6-7:30pm!

The theme this month is "travel" - we have a new bag pattern to share with you and several new techniques to show you!

Meeting fee is $10 - there's still plenty of room for you if you'd like to attend.  Give us a call at (972) 562-2686 to reserve your seat.

See you on Monday!

Birthday Bash Specials - Final Day!

Today is officially our 10th birthday, and it is the last day of our weeklong Birthday Bash.  The party starts at 3pm with our Ten Quilt Giveaway!  Sarah will be baking, so you know it's gonna be good.

Today's specials are:
**  10% off all Fat Quarters  **
With over 14,000 fat quarters in stock, there's a style and a flavor for everyone.

Today's free pattern is Serpentine:
This modern quilt uses 2 charm packs, a background and a border.  Free-style cutting makes this quilt a snap to piece.

We've had a great birthday week, and I want to thank every one of you for being part of our family.  Ten years is a long time and we're just getting started!  The best is yet to come, and we're tickled pink that you will be with us!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Birthday Bash Specials - Day 5

The week is almost over - and we have had a great time seeing both old and new friends!  There's still time to get your name in the bucket for our big quilt giveaway tomorrow!  TEN QUILTS will be given away!  Wouldn't you like to win one?

Friday's Specials are:
** 10% off all Kits **

Today's free quilt pattern is Almost Insane:

This is one of those "slow burner" quilts:  it uses every last little scrap you have and you build it over time.  But it's certainly a stunner when it's finished!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Birthday Bash Specials - Day 4

The week is halfway over!  It's been great so far, but we still have a lot more fun to come.

Here are Thursday's Specials:

**  10% off all Patterns  **

The free pattern giveaway for the day is Trip to McKinney.

This child-sized quilt is quick and easy.  Plus, if you've never set a quilt on point, this is a great quilt to practice on because there's no variation in block size and it's small enough to finish quickly.

See you at the shop!  And, don't forget, our online friends get the discount too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good Morning Texas

Well, we survived our television debut this morning!  We were invited to appear on Good Morning Texas, which is a local lifestyle show that follows Good Morning America.  Here's the backstage dope.

We arrived at 8am; the show airs live at 9am.  The studio is located in Victory Park in downtown Dallas, just outside the American Airlines arena where the Stars and the Mavericks play.  The unmanned lobby (which is really not much more than a vestibule with a couple of chairs) was beginning to fill up with all the day's guests.  Within minutes, one of the cameramen/producers came out and called for us to set up our prop table in the studio.  While we were setting up, the local weatherman (Greg Fields) was in front of a green screen doing the weather after the local anchor finished doing news cut-ins.  All of this was taking place in roughly a 20' x 30' room.

Susan and Sarah at the prop table 
After setting up, we went into the break room right outside the studio.  Greg Fields was sitting on the sofa taking a catnap!  I guess in between cut-ins, he doesn't have much to do, and there's no telling what time he has to report to the studio in the mornings for the local news.  I'd take a catnap too!

We were supposed to present pillowcases to Lynne Sipiora of The Samaritan Inn, but we received word that she was involved in an auto accident on her way down.  So now, we had to rearrange the shot.  We spoke with Paige, our host, and reviewed our materials.  She was just the sweetest - so down to earth and friendly!!  We found out that we were scheduled during the first segment of the show; no time to get any more nervous than we already were!

Lynne arrived at the studio, but it was too late to squeeze her in.
Susan, Lynne, and Bridgette from LuckyU PR
Before we knew it, it was time to go into the studio.  We were set up 8 feet away from the first guest.  Kinda weird to be standing that close to live TV.  The next guest was filmed outside while they turned the camera around and prepared for us.  Paige was right there with us being calm and reassuring, and then BAM! we were on!  Probably the fastest 3 minutes of my life!  While we were filming, Nanci was outside taking photos of us on the Jumbotron on the AA Center.  How cool is that?

We then packed up all our props, visited with Paige a little longer, and headed to our car.  We were back on the highway by 9:30.  The funny thing is, I started shaking once we got to the car.  PTSD??

It was a great experience.  It was interesting to see how they utilize such a relatively small space for a variety of guests and setups.  I still feel like a dork, but apparently we did a decent job.  Who knows?  Perhaps they'll invite us back!

If you didn't see the show, you can watch our story here.

Birthday Bash Specials - Day 3

The fun continues!  If you haven't been in yet this week, we still have something for you!  We have a fabulous trunk show by Kathy Brown of The Teacher's Pet - TEN quilts from her Take 5 book!  Wednesday's special is:

**  10% all Yardage **

Today's Free Pattern:  In-Spur-Ation

This quilt features a surprise on the back - a pieced backing using 2 leftover blocks!

Also, don't forget to tune into Good Morning, Texas [WFAA] this morning at 9am to see us present pillowcases to The Samaritan Inn!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TQA is Going to Be on Tee-Vee!!!

Can you believe it?  Susan and Sarah will be guests of Good Morning Texas (WFAA -Channel 8) tomorrow morning at 9am!  We'll be talking about the current trends in quilting and sewing and we'll feature our participation in the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.  We'll even present pillowcases to a representative of The Samaritan Inn on air!

So, Dallas-area peeps, don't forget to set your DVRs.  I just hope we don't look too terribly dorky.......  Wish us luck!

Birthday Bash Specials - Day 2

The Birthday Bash continues!  Here are the specials for Tuesday:

**  10% all Threads  **

Free Pattern:  PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Quilt

This little quilt is our take on a "rag" quilt - just straight seams and no quilting required!  Great for the new seamstress, a lightweight cover-up, or a toddler's drag-along blankie!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Birthday Bash Specials - Day 1

It's finally time for our week-long celebration of our 10th birthday!  Here are Monday's specials:

**  10% off ALL Books!  **

Free Pattern:  Just A Jelly Roll - Checkerboard

Remember, we're giving away 10 quilts on Saturday!  For every $10 in merchandise that you spend, you will receive an entry into our drawing!

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Hot Dog" Pillowcase Tutorial

The Quilt Asylum is proudly participating in the One Million Pillowcase Challenge sponsored by American Patchwork and Quilting.  We are collecting pillowcases through the end of the year benefitting The Samaritan Inn - Collin County's only homeless shelter.

Pillowcases are a great way to clean out your stash, teach a novice seamstress how to sew, or coordinate your bedroom linens with your quilts.  Our "Hot Dog" pillowcase method will have you making professional looking pillowcases with no raw edges in only 3 seams!

Materials Required:
3/4 yd focus fabric for body of pillowcase
1/8 yd (cut to 2" x WOF) for optional accent trim
1/4 yd fabric for cuff

If you are adding the optional accent trim, cut a 2" x WOF strip and press in half with wrong sides together.

On your table, layer your cuff fabric face up [this is the "bun"], the optional trim strip with the raw edges toward the top, and your pillowcase fabric face down.  If you are using a directional print, make sure you pin the BOTTOM of the fabric.  The left side of this photo shows the layers in the proper order.  The right side shows all the layers even and pinned along the top edge.  Don't worry about the selvedges.  We'll take care of that later.  Just line up everything even on the left side and let the right side be uneven.

Roll or fold up the pillowcase body fabric [this is the hot dog], stopping just below the pin points along the top edge, leaving the cuff fabric flat on the table.

Bring the lower edge of the cuff fabric up to the pinned edge and pin all 4 layers together (cuff, trim, body, cuff), making sure that your "hot dog" is out of the way of the pinned seam. 

This is what your rolled up and pinned "hot dog" should look like.  Take your "hot dog" to your machine and sew the raw edge with a 1/4" seam.

Once you have sewn your cuff/trim/body seam, you'll need to turn it right side out.  Pull the cuff fabric with your left hand while pulling out the body fabric with your right hand.  Once everything is right side out, you will have a completely enclosed cuff seam.

Press the cuff flat with your iron, keeping the trim pointed towards the body of the pillowcase.

If you chose to include the optional trim piece, and you want to topstitch it down - now is the time. 

Now you need to clean up the selvedge edges.  On your cutting mat, fold your pillowcase in half matching the raw edge of the pillowcase body to the folded edge of the cuff.  Cut the selvedges off both sides.

It's time to sew the first part of a French seam.  This will encase the raw edges of your pillowcase.  Fold your pillowcase in half lenthwise [wrong sides together}, and sew the edge and the bottom with a 1/4" seam, pivoting in the corner.

Trim the corners and turn your pillowcase wrong side out.  Press the folds of the seams.

Sew a 3/8"or 1/2" seam over the original 1/4" seam, again pivoting in the corner, making sure that you are completely enclosing the original 1/4" seam allowance.

Voila!  You're finished!  Turn your pillowcase right side out and press!

Wasn't that easy???

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday Bash!

It's gonna be fun.......

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Pillowcases

Wow!  Beverly Jensen brought in 32 pillowcases for our part in the One Million Pillowcase Challenge benefitting the Samaritan Inn here in Collin County.

Beverly says that she's not done yet - I can't wait to see what's next!

Give Beverly a big round of applause!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What's The Name?

Does anybody know the name for this block? Or would like to suggest a name for this block? I've written a pattern using it, and I don't know what to call it! Help me, please!!! If I use your idea, I'll give you a prize!

** Edited 9/13/10:  The winning name is In-Spur-Ation.  If you commented/suggested an idea, send me an e-mail and I'll send you a free copy of the pattern!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Groovy Girls Club Meeting #1

We held our first Groovy Girls Sewing Club meeting last night - and we had an absolute blast!

The theme of the evening was Bag Ladies, and we demonstrated Terry Atkinson's "Zippers are No Big Deal" technique for inserting zippers into her Cash and Carry and Zippy Strippy bags.

I think everyone made a new friend!

Sarah walked everybody through the demo book on how to make a Cash and Carry bag with the easy zipper.  We have this demo board available in our shop for anyone who'd like to see it.

Of course, what would a Quilt Asylum event be if Sarah didn't bake goodies?

Sarah then debuted the Stand and Stow bag pattern by Atkinson Designs.  By inserting Peltex into the sides and bottom, this bag stands open on its own, plus it folds up like a grocery sack when not in use. 

This pattern is only available at Groovy Girl shops - you won't find it anywhere else!  Stop by and see the samples in all 3 sizes.

Sarah then explained how to sew an "X" into the handle when attaching it to the bag to make it more secure.

We then played a game and everybody won an Atkinson zipper of their very own!  We even challenged everyone to make a bag using their zipper and to bring it back for Show and Tell next month.

All in all, we had a fabulous, groovy-good time!  The next club meeting is scheduled for Monday, September  27 at 6pm.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, give us a call to sign up.  We'll save a seat for ya.....