May 22, 2015

More Spring Colors

Depending on how you count them, the waves of spring flowers are nearing their third or fourth crest here …. with the fruitwoods, magnolia, dogwoods, azaleas and lilacs handing off their buds to the iris, peonies, and allium.
The “winter sowing” milk-container experiment (which I wrote about in April here) produced very tender yet cold-hardened lettuces and spinach. I especially love the Vivian big-leaf lettuce and Bloomsdale spinach so far. Lots of others on the way.
Will be planting the eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and more this weekend. Speaking of which, happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you in the U.S.

An extra special note of gratitude to all those who serve in our country’s armed forces and to all those who have risked their life for America since the American Revolution. In Connecticut, where I live, we’ll be marking our official state hero’s, Nathan Hale’s, 260th birthday on June 6th. Hale was the 21-year-old Yale-educated volunteer captured by the British in 1776 and hanged in New York City. Just before he was executed, Hale is said to have declared, “"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” 

The Congressional Medal of Honor web site offers many stirring accounts of valor.

Speaking of valor...we're so proud of our local quilt shop, Christie's Quilting Boutique. Christie and a group of area quilters wrapped 6 local veterans in handmade quilts as part of the Quilts of Valor program. You can read about it here and here.

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touch by war with comforting and healing quilts. For more information, please visit the site.

And, finally, enjoy all or parts of a terrific recent "30 days of poetry" event by the New York Public Library. I really enjoyed it, just on in the background while I was working.

Have a beautiful, long and relaxing weekend!

April 29, 2015

Designing Fabric and Spring Market Preview by Franny

Hi, I'm Franny.
You might not know this, but I pretty much run everything that goes on around here. Lou and I just turned 4 this year and since I finally learned to type, I thought I'd take over Kate's blog to show you what really happens around here before Quilt Market. Lou and I have been training Roscoe to perform all of our responsibilities, so we'll have more time for napping. Pretty clever, huh?

So, before any fabric is even designed, I pick the color palette.
Lou usually supervises the whole drawing/designing process. Sometimes from above (seen here with Roscoe showing off the best vantage point):
And sometimes he needs a closer view to critique the details: 
Oh, it might look fun, but I assure you, Lou has quite a discerning eye and is pretty tough about which designs get his paw of approval. But if Kate works really hard, we let her take a break so she can give us treats. 
But not for long! Back to work...
Once the designs are completed and the strike offs come back to us, I select my favorite prints. Here are the ones I picked for Canyon..."Kate's" collection that will be showing in Minneapolis in May and will ship to stores in October.
These get sent back to Moda and then the long wait for printed yardage begins.
Lou and I told Roscoe he would have to stay on lookout 24/7 to make sure we didn't miss the UPS truck.
We didn't know how seriously he would take this part of his job! All throughout the winter, he kept watch. From the living room:
From the bedroom:
And even from the top of the staircase:
Then one day, the boxes finally arrive!
It's one of our favorite days, because we LOVE boxes! But that's a whole other story.
Whoops, got a little side-tracked there! Where was I...? Oh yes! The UPS delivery of fabric yardage finally arrives, then gets photographed. Here's Lou showing Roscoe how to work the ladder so they can stack all the fabric in a nice pile arranged by color.
Here's the photo I took of Canyon. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also take all the photos around here too.
Once the fabric arrives, it's time to sew quilts for Market! The studio is spotless when we start.
 And before anything gets underway, we inspect the equipment to make sure everything is in working order.
Ironing board, check.
Iron is plugged in, check.
Triangle papers, check.
Sewing machine is threaded properly, check.
And then the sewing begins! Flying geese are a my favorites. They're featured in one of the quilts Kate designed that goes with Canyon. She'll show that to you soon.
I love Lou's bird pattern. He's been studying them for some time and I think he helped Kate get it just right.
Kate helped with the pinning, because I kept getting my claws stuck.
And after a few hours of sewing, the studio looks like this:
And the floor looks like this:
But that's ok, because after empty boxes, our next favorite things are messes! Lou prefers scraps:
And I prefer piles:
It takes a while, but we eventually finish the quilt top/back and Lou gives them a complete overview and inspection. 
Then he figures out where we will need to ship the quilt.
We like to make sure the quilt is packed well. Here's Lou going over the finer points of bubble mailers with Roscoe.
And here's Lou teaching Roscoe about the various box sizes and shipping options available.
Finally our job is done! We're pretty tired from all that activity and need to rest up...
... because ... what's that??
The UPS guy is at the door with strike offs for our next collection!

Happy times to all of you heading to the Spring Market in Minneapolis! Wish we could be there, but please say hello to everyone at Moda and be sure to check out Canyon!

Be sure to visit these Moda designers today to see who has taken over their blogs!
Franny, Lou, Roscoe and Kate