Category Archives: The Business

Self-Portrait Quilt for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival

quilt festival

It’s time for the blogger’s quilt festival! This event is an online quilt show. Here’s how it works: quilters who have blogs enter up to two quilts for the show. They are judged and the winners receive prizes. All entrants have a chance at the random drawing to win participation prizes as well.

 

My entry this year is a self-portrait for the mini quilts category. One thing I tell my customers when selecting their inspiration photograph is to choose one that they’d display. It can have good composition and lighting but most importantly be something that gives them the feels. This photograph was taken by my now mother-in-law after she took me to the salon to get my hair cut and dyed for my wedding. I had been blonde for a while but wanted my natural hair color for the big event. I remember feeling special, beautiful, and loved as this picture was snapped. big megan with photo

 

This photo is featured on my business cards these days. My quilt is literally the “face” of my quilting business and represents both what I can do artistically and how making art makes me feel.

I encourage you to go check out the other entries. I’m headed over there now and am sure to be inspired!

Vote for your favorites here: http://amyscreativeside.com/bloggers-quilt-festival/ The links for each category are under the quilt festival logo. The categories are: Mini, Small, Large, Appliqué, Art, Hand Quilted, Home Machine Quilted, Modern, Original Design, ROYGBIV, Scrappy, and Viewer’s Choice.

 

It’s Tree Skirt Season!

It’s time to sew some Christmas tree skirts and get ’em up in my etsy shop. After Halloween, which is in just over two weeks, the focus changes to the winter holidays. For Christians, that means Christmas shopping. Want a cute tree skirt? There are three medium sized ones up in my shop. Check ’em out! Click the photos to get to their listings.

patrioticskirt1

redflowersskirt1

Tree skirt for sale 70

I have six more in-progress. Fabrics range from traditional Christmas to animals and patriotic motifs. They’re medium and large sizes for now. I’ll be adding small ones for tabletop trees too.

moreskirtsinprogress

The horses are getting basted to the backing and ready for quilting. This one already has batting. I re-purposed the panels from a bag I meant to make several years ago. There’s one unfinished project fewer and a cute winter horses skirt on its way.

horsesskirtbacking I’m pinning the binding on this one as I watch TV tonight. It’ll be listed in the shop soon. Binding’s the last step! Well, technically I need to photograph it once it’s finished too.
skirtbindingAs always, I love custom orders. Sheri L. ordered a skirt last year with her choice of fabrics and was thrilled with the result. These treasures are machine washable and super-durable for years of enjoyment.

I will also have Hannukah items in my shop this year. Perhaps winter solstice, new years’ and other holidays’ too.

Treasure Hunt in the Crumbs

Crumb-pieced fabric is great for I-Spy or Treasure Hunt quilts! Finding the cute little things in my students’ made-fabric was one of the most fun parts about the test class I taught on Saturday. A BIG HUGE GIANT SMOOCHY KISS to my friends who not only allowed me to use them as lab rats, but who gave me invaluable input on how to do and not do things. Terminology matters and having clear examples does, too!

Anyway, on to the fun part of this post. Three of the artists in attendance sent photographs so I can share them with you guys. I’ll tell you about the fourth’s project first. We’ll call her “M.” Get your imaginations ready because *gasp* I didn’t have my camera in class. This talent made her crumb pieces in the leftover fabrics from working on an appliqued and embroidered mermaid. M is still working on blinging-up that center and will cut the crumb pieces into a 1″ border for it. It’s going to look so good!

Here’s a sample of Z’s creations. This quilter decided not to finish the crumb blocks into something, yet. Z said that the improvisational piecing technique of making these without a pattern helped her feel artistic. She making the pieces so much that (in the heat of the moment, maybe, but maybe not) they might make a fun bed-sized quilt. So Z is saving what she made in class to merge with more she’ll make during her home-sewing time.

Can you see the tiny triangle? It’s so cute! And no, it’s not made from a 1/4 inch piece of fabric… it’s all in how you sew the pieces together.

melissastinytriangleP made this little tree, inspired by a photograph a friend shared online. Like M, she used a limited color palate for her scraps. This time they’re all greens. P also worked on another tree, this one with little dancing ladybugs on the ground. We’ll see if they end up as wall art, a pillow, or something else!

Can you see three pigs? How about monkey eyes?
paulastree

“A” made two place-mat tops in class. I love the blue and tan that she used to keep them cohesive and clearly a set! By the time I asked for photos, A had made two more. So here’s her set of four very modern-looking different but the same place-mats.

Can you find the words “Bug Off” and “Moo”? How about a dog’s face, a circle of flowers, a bicycle and a stop sign?

advacrumbplacemat4 advacrumbplacemat2 advacrumbplacemat1

advacrumbplacemat3

What else do you see in these crumb blocks? I’d love to know which pieces catch your eye. One of Z’s scraps stood out to me because I used that same fabric in a baby quilt.

If you live in Southern California, I’d love to see you at my class in San Luis Obispo on November 7th. I may have more classes next year. Of course, I’ll keep you guys updated. 🙂

If you love the look of crumbs but aren’t a quilter, aren’t local, or just have too many projects on your list already, check out my etsy shop. There are lots of things in there that have these crumb-fabrics. I also do custom orders so if there’s something specific that you want just let me know!

Red and White Challenge – Crumbs Pillow

Look what I made! This fun heart-shaped pillow is crumb-pieced from scraps of fabrics with only reds and whites. No pinks or browns, only shades of reds and whites. It was made for my friend Kim’s Project Quilting Challenge for this month. Of course, I got it finished in the nick of time.

heartonchair

When crumb quilting, I usually piece all my bits together regardless of color. Limiting it to only two was a creative stretch and I’m pleased with the final product. We’re not a pretty pillow household, so it’s in my etsy shop for someone to adopt and love.

Special pricing today only! The 25% off all made items ends with August. This pillow’s $42 but you can have it for only $31.50 if you act quickly. https://www.etsy.com/listing/201798075/pieced-heart-pillow-red-and-white-12×12?

heartback

Do you want to learn this technique? I’m teaching a class at SLO Creative Studio in San Luis Obispo, CA on November 7th. Sign up at http://www.slo-creative.com

Gifts of the Heart

It’s not homeless. My heart resides in a lot of different places… near the people I love most. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that treasured friend you can always be yourself around, the mentor who encouraged your journey, and books that became friends.

SALE! My etsy shop is stocked with high-quality handmade items. It’s time to make some room for new stuffs. Enjoy them yourself or give to those you love. All pre-made items are now 25% off their original price. Custom work is full-price and still a great deal.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymeganred heart pillow

Where’s your heart? Comment below for a chance to win this 12×12″ pillow sham. Drawing ends a week from today on August 6th at midnight pacific time. Good luck!

 

 

We have a winner! Congrats Janet Mease!

T-Shirt Quilt – Sewing the Top

Do you want to see how the T-shirt quilt is going? It’s spray basted and ready to quilt. Here’s how I made the top.

***I will write a father’s day post, just not today. Growing up, my Dad had a yearly meeting on father’s day weekend. So we never actually celebrated with him on that day. I’ll be celebrating my Dad (and the fathers I got when I married my husband) in a post later this week.

Okay, back to the quilt. I’m making a queen sized t-shirt quilt, so I was sent enough shirts to get thirty six 14″ blocks out of them. (Some used just the front of the shirt, others were double-sided.) After cutting the shirts apart and into big square-ish shapes, I ironed fusible interfacing on the back of each one. Why interfacing? T-shirts are stretchy and these ones had different thicknesses too. The interfacing stabilizes the fabric so blocks stay the size I cut them to, leading to a nice quilt instead of a puckery wonky mess.

I chose lightweight Pellon fusible interfacing. It happens to be the cheapest one available, which is nice, but it also has this cool feature. Can you see it? I ironed the interfacing to the back of the shirt AND the ironing board cover. You’re not supposed to do this. Also, don’t mess up and try to press it sticky-side-up. Your iron won’t recover nicely.

fusible ironed to towel

This lightweight fusible, however, peels right off the cover and leaves no residue. This meant that I could get nice firmly fused edges on all the shirts. Yes!
peels right off

Alright, so here you have your stack of shirt squares with the fusible on them. Once I’ve got the layout just right, I put sticky notes on each to know where they belong in the grid. So the one on top of this one goes in the fourth row (D) and the fifth column.

stack of shirt blocks

Then I trimmed the shirts to 14.5″. The extra half an inch goes into the seams, 1/4 inch on each side. I didn’t have a large enough ruler to measure out this size, so I combined two of them. To make it more likely I wouldn’t have mess-ups I marked the 14.5″ line with tiny sticky notes with arrows. When I could, I centered the motifs.
cutting squares with postit notes 
Here’s the top! It’s not a super-glamour shot but you can see the whole thing. Now it’s time to quilt it!
tshirttoponcouch

 

 

 

Head of Marketing and The Rainbow Bridge

I’m not unemployed, I’m self-employed. I’m the owner and artist-in-residence for QUILTArtbymegan. There. I said it. And I’m terrified. Why? Because, even with all the resources and cheerleaders I have, it’s really up to me. I’m the CEO, CFO, and head of marketing.

Marketing, ho boy. This means I not only need to promote my work, but myself. That gets difficult sometimes when I fear I’m made up entirely of unrealized potential locked away in self-doubts. This week’s blog post by Les Kertay addresses this problem head-on. It’s good to be scared… and to take the leap anyway. Oh crap, I’m human. Go read the blog post. Really. It’s intensely vulnerable and inspiring all at once.

I had a chance to talk with an amazing business woman in last November. She took her art from painting in her home studio to being wildly successful internationally. She spent some time to mentor me, tell me some things that helped her get where she is. As a shy artist who preferred to work alone, as so many of us introverted emotional artistic types are, she has a trick for marketing her work. She pretends that she’s selling someone else’s awesome stuff. I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently and think it’s a great tool to get out of my own way. So, in that spirit, here’s some of the cool stuff that’s available to you from QUILTArtbymegan and its amazing artist-in-residence.

Portrait quilts are unique, beautiful, fiber heirlooms. They’re great to celebrate any occasion, including memorializing the death of a loved one. This piece was a gift to someone who had recently lost her companion. Anyone who has ever loved a pet can understand the effect that their passing can have… especially since they were a part of your daily life for so long. This is a great way to honor that connection. Here’s the photograph that inspired the piece.

dog photo for PaulaHere’s the 12×12 art inspired by the above photograph. My customer asked for a top only, not a quilted piece so she could make this into a pillow.
Final Dog Sample

 

Here’s the final product, after it was given to the woman in the photograph, who’s mourning her friend. I’m so honored to be a part of this memory piece. The embroidery around the edges is from the book “The Little Prince”  by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and reads, “But if you tame me then we shall need each other… to me, you will be unique in all the world,.. to you, I shall be unique in all the world.” My customer also did the beautiful quilting before making the piece into a pillow.

Paula5

 

I am working out the details for another memory piece. This time, it’s a T-shirt quilt. The shirts are team shirts from college, which will be turned into a bed quilt. I enjoy every project but these memory pieces are extra-special to me.

That Crumb-y Pillow is Awesome!

I’m so blessed to have friends who will brainstorm craft ideas with me. This time it was the snowflake mini-group who helped me out. Soooooo… in addition to offering the super-cool letter pillows, state pillows are making an appearance in my etsy shop.

Founding snowflake, Trisha, ordered the first one so I could use it as a sample. She got a 16×16 inch square pillow cover. The crumb block is reverse-appliqued and in the shape of Wisconsin. Can you see the little heart? That’s over the city of her choice. I also hand-embroidered the word “Wisconsin” on it. Cool, huh?

Trisha's pillow cover

Here’s a close-up of that heart button. It’s sewn onto a yo-yo and is a little shiny so that it pops out and can be seen against those crumb fabrics.

city heart yoyo and buttonAnd here’s a close-up of the hand-embroidery.

one word hand embroidered

 

Trisha didn’t need it, but I also sell the pillow forms. Order from me and it’ll save you a trip to the craft store.

12 inch pillowform

You can have these be as simple or complex as you want. Just the state? Order that. The other options are add-ons for a few more dollars. What about getting a letter “J” pillow embroidered with Jaime’s name? I do custom orders! What’s your idea? Maybe a football with your team written on it, or a heart that says, “Will you marry me?”

Check out the pillow covers and more in my etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymegan

Follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/QuiltArtbymegan

Coming soon: an update on the turtles and turkey quilts for summer camp, a portrait quilt of a dog and her owner, some baby quilts, and giving new life to an old quilt. Stay tuned!

Prep Work

I painted my toenails just to stuff my feet into sneakers. I put lipstick on to sew in my pajamas. I do my hair up nicely to watch TV with my husband. I put a dirty fork on the counter so the sink can be empty. Aaand I cut up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together.

These things may be a little nutty but they make me feel good. What are little things that make you feel good? I challenge you to do one of those things today.

Speaking of cut up fabric that’s sewn back together, I showed a sample of my letter pillows in this post. Well, the time has come to reveal the etsy listing. Get ’em while the getting’s hot!

J Pillow

Here are the options on the pillow covers. I’ll be adding more sizes and colors as we go. They’re envelope-backed. And yes, as part of my prep work for launching these pillows, I made sure they actually fit into the pillow form. Who’da thunk?!

  • Four background colors to choose from: Black, Beige, Grey, and Teal.
  • Buy just the 12×12 inch pillow case, or add-on a pillow form to save you a trip to the store.
  • I can do any letter, uppercase or lowercase. For now, it’s one letter per pillow.

I used Sam Hunter’s time-tracking method to help determine pricing. These pillow covers are only $35 plus shipping! What a deal.

Prices increase on custom orders beginning tomorrow, February 1st. Everything that’s already listed as a completed item in my shop will stay the same price. New items and custom orders increase by 10% tomorrow.

2014 will be a great year for QUILTArtbymegan

Here’s a bit of a preview of what’s coming this year. First of all, I’ll be doing a bunch of portrait quilts. You know, those are the ones inspired by a photograph and then rendered into fabric. Coming up are twins, a dog, a snowy landscape, and more. Here’s a tracing of one I’m working on now which has holding hands and wedding rings showing. It’s in pencil so it doesn’t photograph beautifully just yet.

hands tracing

Also, one of my sample quilts this year has to feature my niece Mary. ‘Cause I love her and she’s flipping adorable. So here’s a photo from Halloween that I’ll be using as inspiration.

Panda Mary

Alright, on to the second category of quilts you can expect from me in 2014. I’ll be making more things with crumbs! Here are two quilts-in-progress that use crumb blocks in their design. (One is a super-close up because the whole quilt hasn’t yet been revealed to the receiver.) Crumbs heart crumbs with black

I’m also working on making my crumbs customize-able. I think they’re in the top two cool things I do with my quilting and hadn’t figured out a way to make them in a cost-effective way. Worth my time to make the stuff and worth your money to buy them. Enter the letter pillows! Soon these will be available to order in my etsy store. You can buy them individually or as a group to spell out names, holidays, important dates (numbers will be available, too), and more. I’m also working on a way to stretch these across canvas for an on-the-wall look rather than the pillows’ on-the-shelf thing.

letter pillow sample

Another thing I’ll be playing around with (and hopefully making beautiful wear-ables out of) is old wool, cashmere, and silk items. I’m experimenting with up-cycling in the style of the artist Katwise.

What else? Tons, I’m sure! I’m learning new things all of the time. I think as an artist it’s important to explore new things and learn from other artists. Plus just play around and see what happens. That’s what I did with this doll quilt piece that was entered into the Project Quilting Challenge this week. It’s made of strings, which are skinny long strips. I’m not in love with the final quilt but it was fun to experiment and stretch myself. There are bunch of quilts finished in this challenge that are gorgeous! See and vote for your favorites here. 

pinked dolls

I took the “Twisted Sisters” class from Ami Simms on Saturday. It was so much fun! I initially wasn’t thrilled with the quilt design but learned how I can make it my own and am sure I’ll love the thing once it’s all put together. I also learned a bunch of tiny tips and tricks that make all the difference when you’re sewing. For example, if your selvage strips have been cut off the way you find the straight of grain (which is parallel to the selvage) is to stretch a tiny section of the fabric with your fingers. The direction that has the least stretch is the straight of grain. Twisted sister

I predict this’ll be a great year for me personally and QUILTArtbymegan as well. Stay tuned! You won’t want to miss any of it.