Creative Nudge – Sunrise… Sunset…Ombre Love

Tomorrow morning I’ll be off to the airport and if I’m lucky it will break into double digits as I pull out of the driveway. (As I write this, it is -1 degree) ….Anticipating we’ll have milder weather in Pasadena for the Modern Quilt Guild’s QuiltCon event!

Before I dive into the latest Modern Quilting trends this week, I’d like to share with you another trend we are seeing. You are probably aware the Pre-Cuts have become a huge trend in the industry over the last couple years. Quilters have been snapping up 5″ charm packs and 2 1/2″ strips like candy bars at the checkout stand.

Awhile ago I predicted that quilters would realize that it is kind of a pain to have zillions of tiny squares to sew together, and then you don’t end up with much at the end. Sewing with 2 1/2″ pre-cut strips is fun but hey… it gets old after awhile. So my prediction that quilters would start to move towards the larger 10″ charm packs, seems to be happening. We’ve had several suppliers confirm they are seeing this too.

So what about the strips? You may recall that after Market I was jazzed about wider pre-cut strips that were being offered – at 5″ or 6″ wide, cut the whole 43″ length selvedge to selvedge. There is just so much more you can do with a wider strip, right?

We have several of these in stock now, but many more on order coming in the next few months. But I can’t wait, so we decided to cut our own fat strips from our Digital Printed Ombre collection, with beautiful gradient shading and a crinkly faux-texture. It is so fun to play around with these long strips of Ombre and Gradient colors! With the delicate shading available from the digital technology, you get so many colors in just one strip!

So I am sharing an image of a sunrise from my recent trip to Africa, with a few of these Ombre strips. Of course we have lots of yardage in our Ombre categories, but I thought you’d like to know about these trends of bigger pre-cuts, and have a chance to get in on the action! They are yummy!

I will be at QuiltCon Thursday, and Friday morning. Flying home Friday afternoon to prep for Marty Ornish teaching in our classroom on Sunday.

sharing your Passion for Fabric…
Luana and Paul

* The photo above was taken at sunrise on the Serengeti on New Years Day, and the Ombre fabrics come from our exclusive Digital Printed line of gradient colors.

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Event & Travel Calendar:
Feb 22-25, 2018 – QuiltCon – Pasadena, California
Feb 26 – Marty Ornish CQC workshop @ eQuilter Classroom
March 17 – eQuilter St Patricks Charity Sewing Day! (Please RSVP!)
March 1 – May 15 – Registration for ‘Love Your Mother‘ Quilt Challenge
April 5-7 – SAQA Conference San Antonio TX
April 14-15 – Lisa Walton workshop @ eQuilter Classroom
May 11 – eQuilter Chromazone – Color Marketing Group @ eQuilter
Nov 13-19, 2018 – POLAR BEAR Tour – Register NOW!

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Free Pattern – Where the Wise Things Are

This week’s Free Quilt Pattern features the artwork of one of our favorite designers – with Dan Morris’ expressive Owls and rustic coordinates.

Start with a panel of Owl vignettes, cut them up and piece into a 66″ x 88″ quilt which could be backed with flannel for a small bed in your cabin, or hung on the wall to bring some North Woods ambiance into any room.

This is also a great gift for a Harry Potter (Hedwig) fan too! Remember you can design your own quilt and mix in other fabrics from your wish list… so feel free to audition Harry Potter or Forest-themed fabrics to customize this fantastic Owl quilt.

… from the ‘Where the Wise Things Are’ collection by Dan Morris for Quilting Treasures.

And don’t miss our popular ‘Fairy Firefly Wishes‘ and ‘Hummingbird Bouquet‘ quilt patterns!

Order the pattern as configured, or customize it to your liking with any of our thousands of fabrics. Just place your desired fabrics in your Wish List, and these fabrics will appear in the Fabric Selector below the pattern.

Click Here for a Video Tutorial of the Free Pattern Designer.
Download Instructions for the pattern at the bottom of the pattern designer page.

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New Voices Will Emerge

Gung Hei Fat Choi!
Happy Chinese New Year of the Dog!

In addition to Valentine’s and Mardi Gras / Carnivale this week, we learned that Westminster / Free Spirit is closing its doors forever. In case you didn’t read our Midweek Creative Nudge newsletter, you can see it here on our Blog page. The top designers will move to other companies, and I am sure we will hear news about where they’ve landed in the coming weeks. We are concerned about all the staff who worked behind the scenes, who are now without a job. It is a big loss for the industry.

It does however point to the fact that the market is over-saturated with a lot of fabric that looks the same. This is why we focus on truly unique fabrics where you can see the talent and the hand of the artist. The days of flat plain simple design is mutating into something new. I notice that Modern Quilting is transmuting into something that is freer and even more creative, which is a good thing. Everything must change in the realm of design, whether it is quilts, fabric, fashion, or home dec. That is the nature of the beast. We are drawn to what’s new. We are delighted by Design because it pushes us to think about Beauty and Life and Color in new ways.

When there is a disturbance in the industry, from the inside or the outside, there has been a tendency to return to what is safe… what is “known”…but from this return to sameness is the fertile place where those with a unique voice and ideas that were previously considered outlandish…will suddenly bubble up and take form as the new idea that is pleasing and exciting to the eye.

This is the way of all Design.

Watch what happens next.

I hope you will come and join us for one of our classes, workshops, or tours in the next year….so we can talk about this in person!

sharing your Passion for Fabric…
Luana and Paul

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Free Pattern – Woodland Fairies

We’re imagining a Midsummer Night’s Dream in
this week’s exclusive eQuilter Free Quilt Pattern.

These 2 stunning digital printed panels (exclusive to eQuilter) features 4 dreamy fairy portraits, which we’ve set into a border with Northcott Stonehenge textures, and a Hoffman Hand-Dye.

You can use this 60″ x 74″ quilt as a Double-Snuggle Large Lap quilt, a small Bed Quilt, or a fantastic large wallhanging! This would make a great gift for Shakespeare enthusiasts, or Lord of the Rings / Hobbit fans.

“tis almost fairy time…” – William Shakespeare
“away with the fairies…” – Gaelic expression
Pleasant dreams!

… from the ‘Fairy Land’ collection by the Rubin Design Studio, designed exclusively for eQuilter.

And don’t miss our popular ‘Fairy Firefly Wishes‘ and ‘Hummingbird Glory‘ quilt patterns!

Order the pattern as configured, or customize it to your liking with any of our thousands of fabrics. Just place your desired fabrics in your Wish List, and these fabrics will appear in the Fabric Selector below the pattern.

Click Here for a Video Tutorial of the Free Pattern Designer.
Download Instructions for the pattern at the bottom of the pattern designer page.

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Good-Bye to an Iconic Brand

Feb 16 – Chinese New Year of the Dog

Feb 14 – Valentines Day & Ash Weds

Feb 13 – Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday / Carnivale

Feb 12 – Westminster / Free Spirit Announced Closing

Yes it is true. On Monday Westminster Fabrics announced it is closing its business, including Free Spirit. Designers like Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler were traveling abroad, and woke up to the news in their Inbox like the rest of us. The internet has been boiling over with the news ever since.

There is plenty of public speculation going on about why this happened, but it is not my place to share any thoughts about the cause. There is likely a bidding war going on for their top designers, but we are also concerned for all the staff who ran the business, who are suddenly losing their jobs in the next few days and weeks. The company will close completely by May 1st. Some of the collections we’ve ordered will be shipped in the next few months. Many that we ordered will not be produced. We are stocking up as best we can, as this iconic designer label sails into the sunset… and these fabrics become collector items.

We feature plenty of their designers on our Designer page, including Kaffe Fassett, Jane Sassaman, Philip Jacobs/Snow Leopard, Tula Pink, and the recent William Morris reproductions. We have also carried Amy Butler, Brandon Mably, Joel Dewberry, Tina Givens, and just this week we’ll be featuring the new collection by Kathy Doughty from Australia…and so many other designer names. We do hope the industry will step up to absorb all of the talent that finds themselves headed for the door with a pink slip, including all the wonderful people from behind the scenes who ran the business.

Donna Wilder founded Free Spirit, and then it was sold to the Westminster/Rowan group. Donna is responsible for me applying to be a Bernina Fashion Show designer, which led to me becoming a BERNINA Ambassador. I am sure it must be heartbreaking for her, but I also hope that this leads to bigger and better things for the designers and staff, in a more stable and creative environment.

What we all share in common is our love of color, fabric, sewing, beautiful artwork, and the amazing creativity shared by the designers in our industry. Those core principles will guide us to the next chapter as our industry goes through another transition. For eQuilter, the most important thing has been to find and feature beautiful unique designs that showcase the talent of the artist. We will continue to seek out and provide this inspiration to you, as we support those affected by Westminster’s sudden closing.

We send our best wishes and also big hugs to all of you at Westminster / Free Spirit, and we wish you success and creative evolution in the next step of your journey.

sharing your Passion for Fabric…
Luana and Paul

* The collage above features several of the Kaffe Fasset / Westminster / Free Spirit fabrics that we currently have in stock.

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Event & Travel Calendar:
Feb 22-25, 2018 – QuiltCon – Pasadena, California
Feb 26 – Marty Ornish CQC workshop @ eQuilter Classroom
March 17 – eQuilter St Patricks Charity Sewing Day! (Please RSVP!)
March 1 – May 15 – Registration for ‘Love Your Mother‘ Quilt Challenge
April 5-7 – SAQA Conference San Antonio TX
April 14-15 – Lisa Walton workshop @ eQuilter Classroom
May 11 – eQuilter Chromazone – Color Marketing Group @ eQuilter
Nov 13-19, 2018 – POLAR BEAR Tour – Register NOW!

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Free Pattern – Space Dream Sleeping Bag

Sweet Dreams are made of Space Exploration … when you are sleeping in this Solar System sleeping bag … this week’s Free Pattern!

Pull back the starry cover and slip in between the Planets, in this 33″ x 57″ sleeping bag that is just perfect for a young rocket scientist or aspiring astronaut.

… from the ‘Space Walk’ collection by Yolanda Fundora for Blank Textiles and
the ‘Space’ collection by the Rubin Design Studio, designed exclusively for eQuilter.

And don’t miss our popular ‘Fairy Firefly Wishes‘ and ‘Hummingbird Glory‘ quilt patterns!

Order the pattern as configured, or customize it to your liking with any of our thousands of fabrics. Just place your desired fabrics in your Wish List, and these fabrics will appear in the Fabric Selector below the pattern.

Click Here for a Video Tutorial of the Free Pattern Designer.
Download Instructions for the pattern at the bottom of the pattern designer page.

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Guys Just Want to Have Fun

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the artists whose work I juried into the Men’s Quilt Show at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden. There were 96 entries and 41 quilts made it into the show. So much talent and vision! Every year this show gets better. The hardest part was deciding which pieces would not get into the show, because I know how much it means to have a piece in this exhibit. If you are coming through Colorado in the next several months, please make a point of stopping to see the exhibit in the Museum’s new location. It runs through May 26.

When you go, also look for the exhibit in the back room from the Wa Shonaji Quilt Guild. This is the African American guild in Denver who have been driving up for our Charity Sewing Days, and it was great to see their art quilts on display also!

Despite the snow, we had several ladies (and a couple husbands) driving to our Sewing Day today. Their drives are usually one hour so I can’t imagine how long it took them to get here. Artist Lea McComas even brought her parents, and the 3 of them sewed, quilted and bound a quilt! Now that’s what I call a great family activity!

Many thanks again to Blakeman Sewing and Donovan for bringing those beautiful BERNINA machines to the classroom today. Our next Charity Sewing Day is Saint Patrick’s Day – Sat March 17. Please DO RSVP in advance, especially if you wish to be provided with a Bernina machine to sew on that day.

Good news for those of you planning to attend one of our upcoming workshops: We have secured a corporate discount for our attendees, at the award-winning Hampton Inn which is one block from our offices. If you are coming from out of town, be sure to click through to the hotel reservation page with the discount code. You will see that going live in the next few days, for Lisa Walton’s workshop, the CMG Chromazone, etc.

As you can see, we are shifting our business to interact more with you face-to-face. We hope you can attend a workshop or creative retreat, enter a quilt in our challenge (maybe win that new BERNINA machine?!), or travel with me later this year. I left the garment industry and came into the quilt industry because, frankly quilters are just the best! I look forward to spending time with more of you this year, so I can share more of my creative passion and inspiration with you.

Speaking of which, did you see I posted another batch of quilts from Tokyo, on my photo pages?

We have also restocked the African patterns from Sew Fabulous, after the inspiration of my New Years trip to Tanzania. I love these patterns even more, after my trip to Africa!

sharing your Passion for Fabric…
Luana and Paul

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Free Pattern – Moonlit Painted Pony

This week’s exclusive eQuilter Free Quilt Pattern captures a breathtaking moment, with a gorgeous Paint horse rearing on a stony lookout point, the wind in his mane, a shimmering moon over his shoulder, and stardust in the sky.

We’ve set our exclusive digital panel in a simple but elegant frame of Northcott Stonehenge tonals and Hoffman Hand-dyes, but if you wish to create your own version, perhaps with a Native American flair for instance, remember you can put fabrics into your Wish List and then redesign this quilt to your own color palette.

This 56″ x 67″ quilt makes a great lap quilt (use Flannel for the backing for a cozy lap-warmer) but will also command attention in a room or entryway …wherever you choose to hang this beauty!

… from the ‘Magical Forest’ collection by the Rubin Design Studio, designed exclusively for eQuilter.

And don’t miss our popular ‘Fairy Firefly Wishes‘ and ‘Hummingbird Glory‘ quilt patterns!

Order the pattern as configured, or customize it to your liking with any of our thousands of fabrics. Just place your desired fabrics in your Wish List, and these fabrics will appear in the Fabric Selector below the pattern.

Click Here for a Video Tutorial of the Free Pattern Designer.
Download Instructions for the pattern at the bottom of the pattern designer page.

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Creative Nudge – The Molas of Fumiko Nakayama

One of the featured artists at the Tokyo Quilt Festival was Fumiko Nakayama, who is a master artisan and teacher of the Mola reverse applique technique, which is the traditional art form of the Guna people of Panama. The large retrospective of her work included The Tales of Genji, which I first shared with you on Quilting Arts TV in 2013.

Fumiko’s incredible work has a mind-blowing amount of detail in the hand-stitched mola applique and embroidery, and in this large retrospective, I was fascinated by her portraits of women from around the world. She lovingly portrayed the ethnic costume details of men and women from a wide array of cultures in this huge wall-hanging. (This is only a part of a larger installation.) Her individual portraits have such personality and colorful flair, you can’t help but stare at each one with a gaping grin.

I’ve uploaded more photos from Tokyo, including a sampling of Fumiko’s work. I had the honor to meet her in 2013, when I received her Tales of Genji book which you see in the QA TV clip. She is a gracious beautiful lady who has blessed us with her vision and talent.

sharing your Passion for Fabric…
Luana and Paul

* The image above features a detail photo of a quilt by Fumiko Nakayama, taken at the Tokyo Quilt Festival. Four hand-loomed Guatemalan Ikat fabrics are featured in a collage along the bottom of the quilt image – in stock now.

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Event & Travel Calendar:
Feb 10 – eQuilter Charity Sewing Day (Please RSVP!)
Feb 22-25, 2018 – QuiltCon – Pasadena, California
Feb 26 – Marty Ornish CQC workshop @ eQuilter Classroom
March 17 – eQuilter St Patrick’s Charity Sewing Day!
Mar 1 – May 15 – Registration for ‘Love Your Mother‘ Quilt Challenge
April 5-7 – SAQA Conference San Antonio TX
April 14-15 – Lisa Walton workshop @ eQuilter Classroom
May 11 – eQuilter Chromazone – Color Marketing Group @ eQuilter
Nov 13-19, 2018 – POLAR BEAR Tour – Register NOW!

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Free Pattern – Tool Time

It’s time to strap on that Tool Belt and plan your next project …
with this week’s Free Quilt Pattern designed for the Tool Nerd and Creative Maker in your life.

For those who love to tinker in the garage, make a mess in the basement on the tool bench, or who dream of having a tool kit of their own some day when they grow up …
this 60″ x 74″ quilt is sure to bring a big smile!

… from the ‘Tool Time’ collection by Art by Bernie for Blank Textiles.

And don’t miss our popular ‘Kaleidoscopic‘ and ‘I Like Your Cattitude‘ quilt patterns!

Order the pattern as configured, or customize it to your liking with any of our thousands of fabrics. Just place your desired fabrics in your Wish List, and these fabrics will appear in the Fabric Selector below the pattern.

Click Here for a Video Tutorial of the Free Pattern Designer.
Download Instructions for the pattern at the bottom of the pattern designer page.

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