Saturday, June 21, 2014

Smocking Template Winner

The winner of Cheryl's Smocking Template and a copy of my book is Flo@Butterfly Quilting! Flo, I'll be sending you an email to get your address so we can send you your stuff. Congrats!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Smocking, the Khaleesi, and Awesome Hair

Is "smocking" a noun or a verb, or both? When you are going to sew something in such a way that the end result is smocking, did you smock it? Can you say, "I smocked the living hell outta that fabric" and go on your merry way, confident in your word choices? There is such a thing as a smock. Is it related in any way to smocking? Were smocks once traditionally smocked? And can one be known as a smocker?

These questions all came to mind recently because I was asked to be today's stop on the blog tour for Cheryl Sleboda's new DVD, Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today's Quilter.

You'll notice there's no "smock" in that title, which I think was a mistake, but I am not here to criticize. I am here to praise and let me start with two extremely important elements of this wonderful DVD:


I have a massive crush on this woman's hair. IT'S GLORIOUS. Funky, yet feminine. On a good day, I look like David Lynch. Cheryl looks like a freaking rock star.

Hint: I'm on the left.


I cannot show you a picture of my nails in comparison because I do have some dignity and have no desire to scare anyone, so let's just say that it's a good thing no one is knocking down my door to have me do a DVD of my sewing techniques because the audience would look at shots like this and go, "Is that chocolate? Oh, god, I really hope that's chocolate."

I felt it best to prepare you for these two aspects of the DVD ahead of your inevitable purchase of it, because you can easily spend the whole time going, "How does she get her hair all those colors? And what is the color of that base coat? I MUST KNOW." Public service, in other words.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you about the DVD. Cheryl teaches you about four basic fabric manipulation techniques: smocking, pleating, pintucking, and gathering (or smocks, pleats, pintucks, and gathers). The smocking is all done by hand, and this is not the kind of smocking you see on little easter dresses at Target. This is like stuff you see on costumes from Game of Thrones, y'all:

Cheryl calls that one "Arrowheads." I call it KHALEESI.

There are several other smocking techniques and they are all extremely cool. They are created by drawing a grid or a series of circles on the back of your fabric, which creates a kind of map for you to follow with hand stitching that draws up the fabric. The different ways the grid or circles are laid out creates different effects with the fabric gathers.

Cheryl also shows you how to use a gathering foot and a pintucking foot on your sewing machine, two things which I had never seen in action before. She also goes over pleating, and the different, dimensional effects that can be produced from a series of pleats. Check out this little sampler quilt made from all the techniques in the DVD:

Pretty cool, huh?

Cheryl has even made a neat tool to speed the grid-drawing process along. It doesn't come with the DVD, but is available in her Etsy shop:

Click here to order.

And THAT little piece of magic, my friends, has the word "smocking" right on it. As all quality products should.

Now, if you want a more concrete testimonial for how good this DVD is, do not despair. Were you despairing? Well, stop. I watched the DVD exactly ONE time, and based on that one viewing, I managed to do this:

Just call me Mother of Dragons, yo.

AND IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR - you get to enter the giveaway! See, there are advantages to putting up with me. Cheryl is giving away one of her smocking templates (not the DVD - sorry!) and I'll sweeten the deal with one of my books. (Even though I know you ALL already own several copies—one to keep by the bed, one for traveling, one to loan, and one for the bathroom—but everybody can always use another one, right? Right?) Just leave a comment here swearing your eternal allegiance to me, Khaleesi, Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, and David Lynch impersonator—or which tells me your favorite TV show. Whichever.

I will leave the giveaway open until midnight EST on Friday, June 20 and I will announce the winner on Saturday.

Here are all the dates and stops for Cheryl's tour. Check 'em out!
June 9 - Susan Brubaker Knapp -
June 10 - Maddie Kertay -
June 11 - Faith Jones -
June 12 - Lynn Krawczyk -
June 13 - Julie Creus -

June 16 - Catherine Redford -
June 17 - Megan Dougherty -
June 18 - Pokey Bolton -
June 19 - Jamie Fingal -

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Forty-three down, six or seven hundred to go.

In case you are having writer's block and can't think of what to write on your Laughter Quilt blocks (which you are making, right? RIGHT?), here is a list of what the people who have already sent blocks have written on theirs:

  • Minor dukes!
  • Monty Python quotes
  • Alliterative euphemisms for masturbation
  • My friend Megan
  • Crazy Snowflakery
  • Robot fabric
  • Witty one liners
  • "You have enough fabric" Ha!
  • Extra long meetings that never seem to end
  • My dogs
  • Steve Carell
  • Jim Carey
  • The Bitchy Stitcher
  • Listening to someone learn a new language
  • Farts
  • Chevy Chase
  • John Cleese
  • The tactless truthfulness of my grandchildren
  • Dogs that smile
  • No empty nest! Fill it with fabric!
  • Everybody should believe in something. I believe I'll have another piece of chocolate...
  • I love a good meal, so I don't cook. - Maxine
  • Lucy McGillicuddy Ricardo
  • I'm sick of reality! I want a fairy godmother.
  • OMFG!
  • Fuck twerking! Can your ass cook?
  • Y2K Fabrics
  • Laurel & Hardy films
  • Quilting with my "Quilters by the Lake" friends...always something funny!
  • Baby animals at play
  • Richard Scarry books make me laugh
  • Telling old stories with friends
  • Seeing myself in the mirror after a shower
  • D.B. Cooper w/Dollie
  • "Sparky"
  • My grandson saying, "Nana, you are so beautiful!"
  • My grandchildren
  • "Life"
  • What makes me laugh is when someone says or does something totally unexpected!
  • Things shaped like penises
  • The antics of my pets
  • The move "Elf" no matter how many times I've seen it.
  • My granddaughter singing "Let It Go" at the top of her 2 yr old lungs! Oh, and sass & snark...

As you can see, there are all kinds of interpretations in there, from names of comedians/comedic actors to actual jokes to completely cryptic things we can only guess at. And yes, there was a little butt kissing too, but we'll overlook it and save those for the Butt Kissing Quilt. I have to say, though this is not a competition, the absolute winner here is "alliterative euphemisms for masturbation." I am very, very tempted to turn that into some sort of a contest, just for the hell of it.

Forty-three blocks is fantastic and I'm so grateful to everyone who has sent them so far. But I still need more - lots more! I'll be posting reminders periodically, and if I come speak at your guild (see my new Lectures page for info) I'll bring instructions for the blocks to pass out to members. I hope this list gives you some inspiration and shows you that ANYTHING is fair game as long as it it something that makes you laugh.