Monday, July 6, 2015

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters Blog Hop - part deux- and a Giveaway!!

It was December of 2013 when I first heard of Sherri Lynn Wood. A guild member had suggested her as a speaker. Curious, I popped over to her blog to check her out. I hadn't done a lot of improv quilting up to this point (that was about to change!) and was intrigued by her quilts. It just so happened she was putting a call out to quilters to test some ideas she had for her upcoming book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters

I'm a hand raiser. I said yes. A week later I was given my assignment.

I was to test her Bias Petals  score. Sherri gave us some general guidelines and links to helpful videos. Then it was up to us to create.

From the beginning, I knew I would improv piece the centers of my petals. 

From there, I figured I'd arrange them in a flower shape and call it a day. 

Eh, it's okay. Not great. I took the shapes to my design wall. There they were, all lined up like little kayaks. Or surfboards. 

This felt right. 

I'd love to say that the rest was smooth sailing (see what I did there?) But it wasn't. How to fit an oval peg into a rectangular hole, or something like that. I struggled for a while. Tried some things, ripped them out. Then I quit. ("I don't have time for this. I don't owe her anything. She doesn't know me. She'll have plenty of other testers.)

And after I talked myself off the ledge, I figured it out. 

But really, it wasn't until I got to the point of squaring up the rectangles, that I felt comfortable again. That's what improv (and this book) will do to you. Push you out of your comfort zone, make you try new things, make you make things you don't like, until you get to the other side and realize you love what you made.

Here's my quilt: Surf

I took a picture. Sent it off. Hoped for the best.

And a few months later got this email from Sherri Lynn: 

Thank you for submitting your quilt, "Surf". We love it and would like to publish it in the Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. There were 164 amazing submissions and 22 were chosen for publication. Congratulations! 

And there you have it!

Here's my page in the book ( I'm neighbors with the awesome Sarah Fielke I might add!)

About that giveaway.....would you like to win a copy of the book?

Just leave a comment about improv piecing. Love it, hate it, never tried it, etc. For an extra chance, follow me on instagram, then come back and let me know.  A winner will be chosen July 13th. Please make sure I have a way to reach you by email.

Please visit these other quilters included in the blog hop:

July 1: The Quilting Edge by Marianne Haak with giveaway!
July 6: Heather Kojan Quilts with giveaway! (you are here!)

Thanks for visiting and good luck!

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Small Projects, Big Ideas

That sums up my quilting lately. A few little things, like this mini quilt (that I'll be sending off to someone in the #textmeminiswap) 

and this bag, which I hope will develop into a class

and this journal cover, just because I haven't made a journal cover in a year or so

and this pouch, which will accompany the a fore mentioned bag.

And then the big ideas, like what to do with beautiful stack of fabric from Blank Quilting. (A blog hop and giveaway will be a part of this! Stay tuned.)

And when to finally learn this

And how to find the time to put together these (a graduation quilt for Kyle, who graduated 6 weeks ago.)

and the list goes on and on. 

I find that my quilting is like that. Big and small. Ebb and flow. I knock off a few things on my little's list, then dive into a bigger project. Usually there's a healthy portion of both on my quilter's plate. One thing for sure, I'll never starve for need of another project.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

100 Blocks Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Yeah!!! It's Blog Tour time and my giveaway day for Volume 11 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks!!

If this is your first time here, Hi! I'm Heather. I've been quilting for over 25 years. I'm the founder of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. I teach and lecture in and around Baltimore, MD/PA/DE and Virginia as well as with the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo.  I'm also a contributing author to Classic Modern Quilts. Thanks for stopping by!

This is my second time in Quiltmaker's 100 blocks, and I'm thrilled to share my bock with you: 

Strippy Scrappy Kisses (note: naming blocks and quilts is not my strong suit!)

Here's the cover of the magazine, so you can recognize it in the stores:

Oh, hey, there's my block on the cover! Left side, second one down!

For this one, I stayed with what I like: scrap quilts, improv quilts, string quilts. The block components are simple, and can be changed up in lots of ways.

Here's the original:

And here are some other ways to assemble the block. So versatile!

How about that giveaway? Would you like to win your own copy? Just leave me a comment below. Now that the warm weather is finally here, let me know what your favorite summer beverage is. (Mine is green tea lemonade: brew 8-10 green tea bags in about 2 cups of water. Add to a 2 quart pitcher. Add one sleeve of crystal light lemonade mix. Top with water and ice to fill pitcher. Delish!) For an extra chance to win, follow me on instagram. I'm @heatherkojan. Then come back and leave another comment letting me know you're a follower! Oh, and make sure I have a way to reach you, too!

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy all the other stops on the blog tour!
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Monday, May 4, 2015

English Paper Piecing with Snowflakes, Jessie and Faraway Road

Let me tell you about my sweet friend, Jessie.  I met her a few years ago when she was president of the DC Modern Quilt Guild and I was president of the Baltimore Modern QuiltGuild. She is one of the nicest people, and also makes beautiful babies:

Jessie and baby Vivian

About a year ago, Jessie and I were having lunch, and she told me about her idea for die cut, freezer paper English Paper Piecing pieces. Although I wasn't much of an EPP-er at the time, the idea sounded fantastic. 

Fast forward to now, Jessie has made her dream a reality!

Snowflakes Freezer Paper Pieces are now available!

A few months ago, Jessie offered to send me some snowflakes to try out. I was already making some 6 pointed stars, so requested 60 degree diamonds (Jessie offers 5 shapes, all in several sizes.) 

Aren't they pretty? I think I'll need about 100 for a decent sized quilt!

 There's so much to love about the snowflakes. First, they're much thinner than the shapes I was using, which, I think, will translate into more accurate piecing. Second, because they're freezer paper, when you iron them on to your fabric, they stick! No shifting! A huge bonus if you want prepare a bunch of shapes in advance. Also, no need for pinning or paper clips. So nice when EPP-ing in the car (as a passenger, of course. Do not sew and drive!) 

If you haven't delved into English Paper Piecing, or have tried it but would like some pointers, Jessie has a series of tutorials on you tube. Her ladder stitch tutorial makes everything so clear! 

So, are you ready for a new project?

Spring Basket

Go to Sew Mama Sew  for the tutorial for this darling Spring Basket. Jessie has some kits available in her shop as well.

I hope you'll give Snowflakes a try! (Oh, and they don't melt in the summer heat, lol!)

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Name Tag Swap

Don't you love a swap that's cute and practical?

We just had one with my guild, The Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. We did a name tag swap. A quilted name tag has been on my list of things to do forever. And yet it never gets done. So I was super excited for this one.

My partner was Kat. I was hoping to get her! She's super cool, and she has a short name, lol! Her only request was to make it green. I pieced her name using Tonya Ricucci's Word Play Quilts and couldn't resist adding one of my tiny improv log cabins to it. There's room on either side of the log cabin for a pin or two, and the back side has a pocket for business cards, cash, whatever. I made it lanyard style - easy on, easy off.

Deb got me as a partner. She knows me well - an improv star!

She got all fancy and had my name embroidered! Thanks, Deb! Love it! And I'll never be nameless at a meeting again.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

100 Quilt Blocks Blog Tour!!

I'm thrilled to have another block in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Spring Edition. This is Volume 11 if you're counting!

Hey, this time I'm a cover girl! (Left had side, second one down.) Stop by Tuesday for a chance to win a copy of your own!

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sheesh, January?

Yup, looks like that's the last time I blogged. I try to pop over to Instagram every now and then, but blogging has been slower.

I've been sewing here and there. But mostly I've been preparing!

Back in December I was contacted by The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo to see if I want to teach some classes for them.  Uh, yeah I do!

Classes, kits and patterns have kept me consumed for the past few months. It's one thing having a class idea in my head. Its entirely different when I need to write the pattern, print the pattern and kit the project. lol. All good though. Now that the heavy lifting is done, the getting ready part is much easier.

My first show was in Atlanta in March. I taught 5 classes over three days. What a blast! The Expo staff couldn't have been nicer, the students were wonderful. Overall, a great experience.

Next week I head to Worcester, MA for another show (scroll down to see my class offerings!) If you're in the Worcester/Boston area, I hope you'll come to the expo and I'd be thrilled if you came to a class!

Right after Worcester, I'll be heading out to visit the Old Kent Quilters Guild in Chestertown, MD. I'll be giving a lecture April 20th (Quilt Math!) and teaching my Half Square Triangle Master Class on April 21st. Looking forward to it, ladies!

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