EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

Over the summer, the folks at Tsukineko sent me some of their All-Purpose Inks to play around with on fabric. And I immediately knew I wanted to combine them with EPP – adding washes of color to patches.

A great deal of Life happened in the interim, but I'm finally here to report: these inks add all kinds of fresh possibilities to EPP! The inks won't stiffen the fabric at all, so you can apply color and then easily hand or machine-sew.

Let's use that colorwash on a holiday ornament, shall we?

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

You'll Need

  • • 1 1/2" 60-degree diamond templates (which you can print here, or use what you have on hand)
  • • 3/4" hexie template (also printable at the link above)
  • • Large scraps of 2 quilting cottons (I'm using simple black/white and grey/white prints, but you can also use solids)
  • • Small scrap of a bright, colorful print (for the center hexie)
  • • White thread for basting and sewing
  • • Hand-sewing needle
  • • Small pins (like applique pins)
  • • Paper scissors
  • • Fabric scissors
  • Tsukineko All-Purpose Inks and Fantastix applicators
  • • Small spray bottle of water
  • • Paper towels
  • • Removable fabric marking pen (I prefer a heat-removable one here)
  • • Chipboard scrap (from a cereal box is fine)
  • • 9 x 12 sheet of stiffened felt
  • • Binder clips or Wonder Clips
  • • Scrap of embroidery floss for hanging

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

OK, so first, and this is super important, you'll need to prewash your fabrics. I'm normally an off-the-bolt girl when it comes to EPP, but trust me: the dyes work best on prewashed fabrics. You need to remove the sizing so the inks can flow smoothly. See the difference in the colorwashes above?

Press the fabrics after they come out of the dryer.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

…Then baste up the patches for your star. You'll need 6 diamonds from your "star" fabric and 6 from your background fabric. (I also recommend basting a few extra test patches to use while you get the hang of the inks. This downloadable template contains those extras for you.)

For this project, there are a few special basting instructions:

• Baste through the fabric only, not the paper. (That's the first method I cover in this video.) You don't want any basting stitches showing on the front of the patches – those stitches will interrupt the flow of the ink.

• Use plain white cardstock for templates. We'll be moistening the fabric, and you don't want any printing inks from your templates to bleed onto the fabric.

• Pin the template to the fabric, don't use glue stick. Sorry, I'm usually a glue stick fan, too. But when you moisten a glued patch, the glue spreads to the surface of the fabric and really screws up the flow of the ink.

So far so good? When the patches are all basted, remove all those pins.

Now, we'll apply color to each patch, and it's easiest to show you that process in action. So check out this video.

A few tips that might be helpful:

  • • I recommend dampening only a few patches at a time - otherwise they dry out too much before you can get the ink on them
  • • Keep lots of paper towels handy for blotting.
  • • Remember, you're working with ink! Work on a protected surface that you don't mind staining. It's great to cover your table with paper, but also put something plastic underneath so the colors can't bleed through the paper onto your table.
  • • Keep in mind that we're working wet here, and won't have 100% control over what the ink does. Relax and let it do it's thing.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

When you have the colors as you want them, leave the patches on a stack of paper towels to blot and dry. See how much ink can travel from those patches at this stage? Protect thy table!

Drying will take a few hours. Once the patches are damp, you can speed the drying process by ironing.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

Here, you can see just how much the ink will migrate as the fabric dries. These two patches were inked exactly the same way. The one on the right is wet, the one on the left is dry.

This is also a good place to mention that, with inks and colorwashes on fabric, you are dealing with a lot of variables. Some ink colors will dry much lighter than they appear when wet. It's a bit harder to make a soft color gradation with darker color inks. Some inks look very different in the bottle than they do on the fabric. Different fabrics will allow different amounts of color bleed. And so on.

So, make test patches, let them dry thoroughly, and make adjustments before you dive into inking the patches for your project. You can always add another wash of ink to a too-light patch.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

When the patches are dry, sew them together. Here's how I like to approach that.

If you find that, when making stars, you have trouble getting the center points to match up nicely, try that center seam in two sections, as shown in Step 3 above. Makes all the difference in the world.

(And if you need sewing basics, watch this video.)

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

Press the finished star to flatten out the patches and heat-set the inks. Fold any little bits of seam allowance that stick out to the back and press them.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

While the templates are still in place and the star is nice and stiff, trace it onto the wrong side of the backing fabric. Cut 1/2" outside your traced line.

Trace the star onto some stiffened felt, and cut right on your traced line.

Trace the star onto batting, and cut that about 1/4" inside your traced line. So the backing should be larger than the star, the batting a little smaller, and the stiffened felt the same size.

Once those pieces are all cut, you can remove all the templates. Press the star again afterwards.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

Baste up the little hexie now. I like to use a high-contrast print that picks up some colors from the inks. Baste the template, press the hexie, and remove the template. Now it's a precise little applique piece.

Pin the batting to the wrong side of the star. Then center the hexie on top of the star and pin that. Then machine stitch 1/8" from all six edges to applique it down.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

Now you can quilt as you like. I played around with straight lines down the centers of the diamonds, but you can totally do something fancier.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

Then, take the backing fabric and the stiffened felt, Baste the fabric around the felt just like you would with any hexie template. Baste through the fabric only. All we're doing here is creating a neat edge around the outside.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

From here, the construction is exactly like we did for last year's Hexie Holiday Ornament tutorial - sandwich those two pieces with some chipboard in between and whipstitch around the outer edges. It's all well-documented in that tutorial, so link on over.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial

…Aaaand you're done! I'm so excited about this inking thing, you're going to see more of it in future.

EPP Colorwash Star Ornament Tutorial


Magnifying Glasses

Image by Philip Chapman-Bel, via Flickr

I hope you won't mind one more book-writing post. While it's fresh in my mind, I want to expand on something I said in the previous post:

"Because a publisher has access to markets beyond what you can reach on your own, a book can be a way to reach new potential customers for another business you already have. (Assuming you get good marketing support from your publisher, which is something you should look into before you sign a contract.)"

I thought that idea deserved a little focus because unfortunately, not all publishers are created equal when it comes to marketing support. As always, that's not a case of publishers being nefarious; it's a case of them facing steep business challenges and cutting costs.

Glass Marbles

Image by med-i, via Flickr

My publishing experience has been a mixed bag so far: I've had pretty good marketing support for one book, almost no support for another, and very good support for my soon-to-be published third book.

Here's what I find interesting about working with a publisher: when I put a book proposal together, I always have to include a section that details all the things I'm going to do in order to market that book. I have to list all the traditional and online media contacts I have, all the online promotion I plan to do, the events I'll put on, etc.

Does the publisher have to provide me with similar assurances that they'll market my book as hard as I will? No, not currently. That's always been treated as a given, but increasingly in publishing, it isn't. I've had so many friends, especially in the last two years, who've gone through the work of making a book only to discover that their publisher isn't doing much to market it. I've even had friends whose publishers ended up eliminating their marketing teams!

Long Hot Road

Image by arbyreed, via Flickr

Why is marketing support important? Because marketing is a rather hidden and perfectly enormous part of writing a book. And it's an ongoing job. Many new authors think only in terms of the big launch, but if you want your book to sell and bring you the other benefits we discussed in the last post, then you actually need to be promoting it over and over again, until it's out of print.

…But let's face it, marketing is a very different skill than the skills you used to make your book. Maybe you're great at marketing and don't need anyone's help. But if marketing's not your strong suit, then you need the support of a professional marketing team.

If you're an aspiring author and you're considering working with a particular publisher, here are some very good ways to assess that publisher's marketing skill….

Red Bud

Image by Théo, via Flickr

Things to do way before you have a book idea to sell:

• Subscribe to publishers' consumer email lists. You can go to a publisher's website and look for invitations to sign up for "updates on our new titles." See what kinds of email newsletters the publisher offers, and how targeted they are to a specific audience. Then, subscribe and pay attention to the emails. Is the content interesting to you? Are new books presented in an engaging way? How often do you hear from the publisher? This is all good information to have.

• Follow publishers on social media. Same idea here – what is the publisher saying on its social media channels, how interesting are they being, and how often are they posting? Check for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest feeds. Subscribe, and see what you think of the content as a consumer.

Blogging deserves special mention here. Some publishers are maintaining active special-interest communities through blogs, and some seem to be pasting press releases into boring corporate blogs. You'd have awesome and ongoing opportunities to market through the former kind; not so much through the latter. Subscribe to lots of publisher blogs and see who's doing what. (And incidentally, in many RSS readers like Feedly or Bloglovin, you can even see how many subscribers a feed has, which is good information.)

Blogger, after Guy Orlando Rose

Image by Guy Orlando Rose & Mike Licht, via Flickr

Things to do if you're a blogger yourself:

• Become a book reviewer. Reviewing books on your blog is an excellent way to create relationships with marketing people at various publishers. And from those interactions, you learn a lot about how a book of yours might be presented to other bloggers.

Many publishers have some kind of blogger mailing list. Check websites to see if there's a sign-up form, or if not, look for a contact email for marketing and write a nice note to introduce yourself and your blog. You should mention what kinds of books you're interested in reviewing and your blog's current readership. (Another good tactic: post a review of a book you already own, and then email the publisher's marketing contact with a link.)

5/365 - Reach Out {Explored}

Image by Susana Fernandez, via Flickr

• Observe how you're treated as a blogger. Once you're on a publisher's blogger list, you can see how good a job they do at reaching out for marketing. Let me give you two examples from my experience:

  • - Publisher A has a super nice publicist who sends me an email whenever he has a title coming out that he thinks is a good fit for my blog. He always offers a cover shot and any other images I might need. He even sends me a thank-you email when my review posts.

  • - Publisher B has been sending me knitting books for the past two years. I've tried asking several publicists there to stop, since I don't know how to knit and never blog about knitting. But there seems to be a revolving door of new publicists there, and each one has assured me they'll get the problem fixed. And then they don't.

…So, which publisher do you think might do a better job marketing your book?

El Productor: La verdad sobre un rol distorsionado

Image by, via Flickr

• See how good their marketing ideas are. When publishers contact you about blogging their new releases, are they using the same tired blog-tour/giveaway formula for every book, or are they coming up with more interesting promotions?

• Watch the comings and goings. When you have a blogger relationship with a publisher, you have an inside view of how committed that publisher is to its marketing team. Are people getting laid off frequently? Are interns handling the marketing, or dedicated publicists? That's all good information to have.

On Target

Image by, via Flickr

Things do to once you have a book proposal:

Backchannel, backchannel, backchannel. The best place to get a good picture of how a publisher handles marketing is to talk to other authors. Go to a publisher's website and look at the books they've published within the last year. Find a few titles that are related to your book idea. Then go to the author's website. find an email address, and contact the author. Explain that you're considering doing a book with her publisher and ask about the marketing support she received. Most authors will be more than happy to discuss their experiences.

• Be freaking direct about it. When you find yourself in conversation with a publisher, ask point blank: How much marketing, and what kinds, can I expect your team do to for my book? See how specific they get in their answer. See if they can give you examples of good marketing they've done for other books similar to yours. See if they offer to put you in touch with someone on their marketing team. See if they HAVE a marketing team.

I hope this is useful, aspiring craft-book authors. I'm not saying you shouldn't work with a publisher who doesn't offer much marketing support. I'm just saying that this is information you need to have before you sign a contract.

And of course, in the 18 or so months it takes to make a book, a whole lot can change. So you're not exactly handing yourself a guarantee. You're just minimizing your future surprises. Right?


Miss A Writes a Song

Image by Denise Krebs, via Flickr

For the past five years, I've heard from lots of people who are interested in writing a craft book. But interestingly, the questions these folks ask me are starting to shift. I used to get asked how to break into writing craft books. Now, the question is more likely to be, "Is it worth it to write a craft book?"

Obviously, any question of whether something's "worth it" needs you to define what worth-itness means for you. But since I don't know your definition, I'll speak generally (and honestly): craft-book-writing is worth it in many ways, but probably not in the monetary one.

I'll get to the ways craft-book writing IS worth it later in this post. But first I'd like to wade into those financial waters and give you a real-life picture.

... and so on

Image by Niklas Barsk, via Flickr

…But before I do, let me also say this: I don't mean any disparagement to any publisher here (and especially not my current publisher, Storey, whom I dearly love). I'm not trying to tell you that publishers are out to screw you, nor am I warning you against writing craft books. What I am saying is that the craft book market is up against real challenges, and as a result there just isn't much money in writing books anymore.

Anyway. Let me illustrate:

Payday advances sign

Image by HelenCobain, via Flickr

Let's Talk Advances

I feel like the folks who approach me with questions are getting savvier about what a book advance means, but let me run over some basics, just in case.

First, a book advance may seem like a big chunk of cash, but you can't actually have all that cash yourself. A bunch of things have to come out of that check:

  • • Taxes (which take up to a third of that check)
  • • Agent fees, if you have an agent (That's another 15%. So, that plus taxes eats 45% of your advance right away.)
  • • Supplies for writing your book (These vary wildly, but might include expensive equipment, software, and contract services as well as craft supplies.)

Puff Daddy George, 1/2

Image by Eric Gjerde, via Flickr

…So, by way of example, I received a $10,000.00 advance for Kanzashi In Bloom. Some of you will think $10K is a huge amount, and some of you will think it's tiny. I think it's worth mentioning that, unless you have a huge online audience, book advances in general are shrinking. For the last book proposal my agent shopped to various publishers, I had some offers in the $5000.00 to $8000.00 range, even though I was already an experienced author. I've even heard that some publishers are forgoing the advance altogether, but personally, I would never take that deal.

Anyway, back to that $10K Kanzashi advance. By the time I paid the taxes, my agent, and supply bills, I had about $4700.00 left. (I could have saved on supplies by asking companies to donate them in exchange for a credit in the book, but I didn't know this yet.)

tiny books

Image by Kelly Taylor, via Flickr

Now, when you take what's left of your advance and divide it into the number of hours you'll spend actually producing that book, there's where things get pretty grim. Because it takes hundreds of hours to write a book, what with all the designing, making, and manuscript prep. Depending on the book, there might also be weeks of photo shoots, or weeks of illustrating.

Once the manuscript is done, there are more hours to come: several rounds of edits/proofing, and then many hours of marketing activity, including building and maintaining a book website, planning events, travel, etc. When it's all said and done, you'll be lucky if you end up having earned minimum wage. (I earned about five bucks an hour writing Kanzashi In Bloom.)

Self-penalty system / 20090815.10D.51563 / SML

Image by See-ming Lee, via Flickr

Here's another thing about advances that not enough people talk about: they are unlikely to be paid out in one lump sum, or for that matter in "advance." When I did Quilting Happiness, for example, my advance was paid out in five installments – and two of them happened after the book was published. So not only is your advance smaller after expenses, it's also sliced into even smaller chunks and you might not have access to all of it while you're writing the book.

(You can negotiate to some extent for a payment schedule that meets your needs, but generally speaking, the bigger the advance, the more pieces your publisher will want to slice it into.)

Technically speaking, the advance is supposed to help cover your costs and living expenses while you produce your book, but given all these slices and dices, it really can't do that. Which brings me to another potential financial problem with book-writing….

#ds308 - Out of Luck

Image by Sharon Drummond, via Flickr

Your earning ability while you're writing the book

This is another subject I don't think enough people talk about. If you make your living as a freelancer or an online shop-owner, then writing a book can actually be step backward financially.

Here's what I mean: I've had an average of ten months to produce each of my three books. Typically I've worked part-time hours on a book for the first seven months while maintaining my other business on the side. It's those last three months that become financially problematic. If you have some kind of steady paycheck coming in, you can weather them pretty easily. But if you depend on irregular income, then those final months of all-consuming book work will squeeze out your ability to produce other money.

Super Nervous

Image by Andrés Þór, via Flickr

As a freelancer, I can tell you that there's been a point near the end of every one of my book projects where the advance money I've been paid has run out and, because I've been so busy with the book, I haven't been able to bring other income in. So not only am I on book deadline, I'm scrambling to pay my rent. And once I turn the book in and begin producing my regular income again, there's a month (or more) of lag time before I get paid for that work. So it's usually a pretty thin and stressful time.

Honestly, I'm getting to the point where I recommend book-writing primarily for people with day jobs! Or, that freelancers sock away a good chunk of savings to cover them through the interim.

Feline Royalty

Image by Shaeree, via Flickr

…But you get royalties, right?

I think people are getting savvier about royalties too, but just in case: Sorry, the answer is "not that often". I was lucky enough to see Kanzashi In Bloom "earn out" its advance and start earning royalties. The book was published in 2009, I received my first royalty in 2011, and I've received two royalty checks per year since. (The first was over $1000.00, and they've declined a bit in size each time since then.)

On the one hand, this is awesome. But it's important to understand that I still have to take taxes and agent fees from each of these checks – so essentially, again, they're cut nearly in half. But whatever - I'll happily take all the royalties Kanzashi has left in it. K and I like to joke that, thanks to the royalties, I made $6.00 per hour writing that book instead of $5.00 per hour.

Quilting Happiness, on the other hand, doesn't look likely to earn out. I love and believe in that book, but let's face it – the quilting market is very crowded and celebrity-driven right now. Every new quilting book has so much competition, and publishers are pumping out new ones all the time. So it's harder to get the sales you need in order to earn out.

(There weren't any U.S. books on Kanzashi when I wrote Kanzashi In Bloom, however, and that really helped sales.)

Of course, there is one easy route to earning royalties, and that's taking only a tiny advance or none at all. But I don't like that gamble. I don't believe anyone should do hundreds of hours of work up front for no money, based on the promise of possible future money. Regardless of how well or poorly a book sells, the writing and design work deserve compensation, period.

Fotoserie: Gezichtcollage

Image by Marco Bijdevaate, via Flickr

So why don't publishers pay more?!

There are legends from 2005, when the new, irreverent brand of crafter got $50,000.00 book advances. Those were good days... for authors. Unfortunately, the books didn't sell well and those big advances started shrinking. And that's not because publishers are greedy.

You have to consider what a publisher is up against in this craft-book landscape. As I've pointed out in other posts, your publisher is making a huge investment in your book. Aside from the advance payments to you, they're funding several kinds of professional editors and designers. They're often paying for professional photography, and sometimes for professional illustration. Oh, and they're funding the print run. And they're paying the costs to sell and ship those books to retailers.

Why aren't advances bigger? Because a publisher can only make so much investment in a new book. If that book never sells enough copies to cover costs, then the publisher loses money. If every craft book sold millions of copies, there'd be a lot more money to spread around, but every book doesn't sell millions.

…Which brings us, of course, to the internet and how it's affected craft book sales. Simply put: are you buying more craft books than you did ten years ago, or fewer?

The way we crafters consume how-to information has irrevocably changed. We may love the idea of real craft books, but we also rely on them less than we used to. And therein lies the rub, both for publishers and authors.

Jackpot Winner

Image by Christina VanMeter, via Flickr

So, what DO you get from writing craft books?

OK, so with all that said, remember that I'm not telling you that you shouldn't pursue writing a craft book! I'm just hoping to clarify the financial part so you can make a more informed decision as to why you're writing.

Here are the benefits of craft-book authoring I see:

  • • Because a publisher has access to markets beyond what you can reach on your own, a book can be a way to reach new potential customers for another business you already have. (Assuming you get good marketing support from your publisher, which is something you should look into before you sign a contract.)

  • • Book-writing pushes you creatively in a big way. In the process of writing a book, I always end up developing a whole set of other ideas I end up using professionally later on.

  • • Having a new book out gives you an excellent reason to participate in craft industry events and trade shows, where you can make beneficial new connections.

  • • A book is a good member of a connected universe of products and services that you offer. If someone likes your online shop, they might buy your book – and vice versa. A book is also a good "calling card" for introducing yourself to editors and gatekeepers who might hire you for freelance work.

Magic Wand

Image by Carol Alejandra Hernández Sánchez, via Flickr

…But none of these benefits of book-writing is magically conferred on you as a result of being a published author! They all require a lot of careful planning and elbow grease on your part to materialize – not to mention, some viable way of keeping a roof over your head while you're materializing.

I think that, for craft-book writing to be "worth it," you need to have some kind of long-range plan for how that book will help you do something else. Craft book-writing in itself is not a path to a sustainable income. But it can help you get there.

My books have all felt "worth it" in this sense.


Grandmother's Cutting Garden Quilt

So, if you get into English paper piecing, sooner or later you'll discover the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. It's an old design, dating back to the 1930's, that involves a quilt top pieced entirely from little hexagons, all arranged in a pretty flower pattern.

I loves me some Grandmother's Flower Garden. I've started four of these quilts over the years. But the problem is, making a Grandmother's Flower Garden involves sewing about a thousand hexies together, and I always peter out long before that number.

Grandmother's Cutting Garden Quilt

…And that's why I designed this pattern. It's my way of getting a beautiful hexie flower quilt, but with way less work.

I decided that I wanted the fun of making the flowers, but stitching a whole mess of plain background hexies to connect them… not so much. And so I figured out this straight-row design. it's reminiscent of how a typical cutting garden of flowers is planted, in wide rows for easy access to the blooms. And it sneakily fills the quilt top with flowers, but without so much hand-stitching.

Grandmother's Cutting Garden Quilt

For this quilt you need just 18 English paper-pieced hexie flowers, plus some hexie stems to connect them. When you finish the EPP, you machine applique it to a simply-pieced quilt top. Add some quilting and a scrappy pieced binding, and you have it!

I had a wonderful time making this quilt. And best of all, there was never time to get bored. :-)

Grandmother's Cutting Garden Quilt

Grandmother's Cutting Garden QuiltThe pattern is now available in my shop, and you can get the deeper details of materials and such over there.

It's a bit of a whopper at 48 pages, but I wanted to cover every facet of the EPP and quilt-making processes in a beginner-friendly way. If you've never tried EPP or quilt-making, you can totally make this quilt. If you're an old hand, then you'll just enjoy how quickly it all comes together. Happy Stitching!


Reversible Color Crochet Review

I'm really excited to see this book come out at last. I met Laurinda Reddig in person a couple years ago, and I could tell then that she'd what I'd call "the real deal" – a crafter who possesses deep technical skill, but also thinks in very original ways.

Laurinda Reddig Mystery MachineIn Reversible Color Crochet: A New Technique, Laurinda shares a colorwork method she developed from watching her father knit intarsia. Her technique allows you to make beautiful multicolor designs in crochet, using half-double and double crochet so you also end up with fluid fabric. Lest you question her cred, she's the woman who crocheted this Mystery Machine afghan, which you can read all about here.

Reversible Color Crochet Review

First, the basics. The ins and outs of this kind of colorwork are documented in many illustrations, accompanied by Laurinda's well-written text. She has a wonderful way of making everything seem extremely simple. And she offers up so many good tips on managing multiple balls of yarn, weaving in ends in colorwork, troubleshooting problems, and more.

Reversible Color Crochet Review Reversible Color Crochet Review
Reversible Color Crochet Review Reversible Color Crochet Review

This book represents one of the very best integrations of instructional content and projects I've seen this year.

First, the book walks you through eight colorwork blocks, which start simple and gently grow in complexity. Each block gets very detailed coverage, so that you can learn precisely how to carry the colors and how to manage color changes for specific kinds of shapes. Along the way, you gain a whole range of basic reversible colorwork skills.

Reversible Color Crochet Review Reversible Color Crochet Review Reversible Color Crochet Review

Laurinda then adds a little more complexity, and walks you through eight more blocks, some with complex angles and some based on traditional quilt block designs.

Reversible Color Crochet Review

Reversible Color Crochet Review

…And then later in the book, there are two patterns that let you combine these teaching blocks into pretty, modern afghans. I'm a big fan of this model, where the projects are designed as teaching tools while still managing to be beautiful.

Reversible Color Crochet Review

Reversible Color Crochet Review From there, the book covers two series of "picture squares," which are also combined into afghan patterns. This space-themed blanket is just the cutest thing ever. (The other picture-block project is garden-themed, with flowers and dragonflies.)

Reversible Color Crochet Review

Reversible Color Crochet Review

Once you've mastered your colorowork skills, there are six more afghan patterns that make creative use of the blocks you learned earlier in the book. And I love the look of all of them – so bold and modern.

With the weather changing, I've started to yearn for my hook again. So you can bet I'll be spending some evenings with this book on my lap, learning the ways of colorwork.

(Disclosures: Interweave/F+W sent me a review copy, and the title link above is an affiliate link.)


Things to Watch While Stitching

Honstely, I've been in a bit of a funk lately. So this volume of Things to Watch While Stitching is all about the funk-busting. Bust, you lousy funk. BUST!

Rainn Wilson on How to Solve Creative Blocks

These four minutes offer up some big, chewy thoughts on what it means to be creative, but my favorite part is about valuing the personal experience of creativity over the external rewards that might come from it.

Jessi Arrington: Wearing Nothing New

This is an older TED talk, but one I dearly love. Jessi Arrington traveled to her speaking gig at TED having packed only seven pairs of undies – everything else she wore during her weeklong trip, she found at local thrift stores. This is a fun, colorful meditation on conscious consumption, personal style, and authentic self-expression.

ZeFrank; An Invocation for Beginnings

If you have a big project you're afraid to start, or an ongoing project you're stuck in, or a dream you aren't chasing, watch this video and get fired up.

(A little warning: some salty language in here.)

We Cause Scenes: The Rise of Improv Everywhere

If you're not familiar with Improv Everywhere, watch this video and this one. It's like a combo of street theater and spontaneous playtime among strangers. And this recent documentary film digs into the origins Improv Everywhere and documents some of its most wonderful projects. (It's on Netflix, iTunes, and Hulu Plus.)

…So, let's go forth and make things, eh?


I could also title this post "What I Was Working On During the First Half of This Year, When I Was Too Busy to Blog."

recent-mags5 Anyway… lately I've had the great fun of seeing a bunch of my magazine projects published, and I thought I'd share.

First up, the Fall 2014 issue of Stitch, where I have two projects. Up above there, the Hexie Border Blanket, which is a fun customization for a standard IKEA throw.


In the same issue, these Cozy Bandwidth Placemats, which offer a fun opportunity to play with random piecing. (Don't you love the styling here? That twisty red dish is the coolest thing.)


recent-mags1 Next up, I had so much fun making this Lava Lamp Pillow for Threads' special issue, Quick Stuff to Quilt. This is EPP, using some beautiful Art Gallery fabrics, including The new Emmy Grace line.


recent-mags3 …And finally, yippee for Christmas projects! I did this Starry Night Table Runner for the Stitch Modern Holidays issue. It's also EPP, which makes all those angle seams a breeze.

(And again with the awesome styling!)

I've seen all three of these at my local Jo-Ann recently, so if you run across them, do take a browse! There are beautiful ideas from lots of talented designers in all three.