Friday, May 29, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-The Realities of Having a Day Job

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Well, this week has been a bust for doing crafting or sewing of any kind. I'm in Boston for our annual conference on international education.  I'd like to tell you about how amazing and inspiring the city of Boston is, but all I could really describe for you is the inside of the conference center. Oh and Panera down the street from my hotel where I stumble zombie-like each morning in search of coffee and a bagel.

I brought along my English paper-piecing kit, all packed up in my little Yazzi, and I've managed to baste FOUR hexagons. That's right, four. Not even enough for my favorite little Grandmother's Flower Garden block. I was also hoping to get some work done on the blog, including drafting some blog posts about Quilt Market, but it just hasn't happened with the conference schedule, receptions and networking.

I'm heading home tomorrow, and hoping to get back to sewing ASAP once I'm back in San Francisco,  but the reality is that this is my life with a day job. Or at least life in a week with a cross-country conference.

Nonetheless, I wanted to be sure to put up THIS post so that people can link-up their blog posts. Please do take a few minutes to visit the blogs of the participants and leave them a comment. Comments really do make our day, even if it's just a note to say you stopped by to read the post.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-Inspiration from The Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Today's post follows up a little bit on our post on Six Ways to Find Inspiration and Renewed Energy for Quilting, Sewing and Crafting.

While I was home in Omaha helping my family we took a morning to visit the Lauritzen Gardens. Mom and Dad have an annual membership to this 100-acre botanical garden and conservatory, so they usually get there several times a year. The weather was a little chilly for this trip, but it turned out to be perfect once we started walking around the gardens.

Linda Chaney, Bill Chaney, Laura Chaney at Lauritzen Gardens

I hadn't been to the gardens for years (more than ten, at least), so it was really fun for me to see all of the plants, flowers and gardens that they have on display. Mom and I kept finding things that would be fun inspiration for a quilt! Mom was especially fond of these large round painted stones that she imagined making into a modern quilt.

Inspiration from Lauritzen Gardens

One of the gardens that made me especially happy was the model railroad garden! They had three or four different levels of tracks running through the garden along with models of various Omaha buildings. Below is a little trolley car running in front of the model of my high school! 

Model Train Garden at Lauritzen Gardens

We came away from this local field trip with some new ideas and inspiration. Even though this wasn't a quilting/crafting/sewing specific place, we definitely used the beauty and creativity of nature and the work of the Lauritzen Gardens staff to think outside of the box a little bit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday #38: Surrounded by Half Square Triangles

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Today's the last day that the full team of Prairie Sewn Studios is together in Omaha before I fly back to San Francisco. It's been a good visit home, and I'm happy I was able to come help my family. I've finally had a few minutes to do something other than working on Quilt Market prep/follow-up, so I was super happy I brought my current Work in Progress with me.

Chip on Design Wall

I'm still working on the "Chip" pattern from Little Miss Rosie's Quilting Company. I love how it's turning out, but there have definitely been some challenging moments, too. These Half Square Triangles are definitely challenging my orientation and design skills.

Wrong Chip Block layoutRight Chip Block layout

Mom was definitely called in on several occasions to help me try to figure it out, and I became very close with her trusty seam ripper, too.

Linda Chaney of Prairie Sewn Studios

All challenges aside, I am excited to be making more progress on this. The plan is to get the top pieced together into the block sections before I hop on a plane this afternoon. Lots to do! 

Sewing on Chip Bernina 930

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts. Looking for another link-up to share your crafting, sewing or quilting accomplishments? Check out our Crafty Comment Karma post that goes up each Friday for the following week!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Six Ways to Find Inspiration and Renewed Energy for Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Mom and I are back from our very first Quilt Market, and boy do we have lots of new ideas floating around in our minds! We're going to put together a more detailed guide to Market, but in the meantime we wanted to share six ideas for finding inspiration and renewed energy for your quilting, crafting and sewing.

Sometimes you walk into your crafting space or quilt studio and you just don't feel "it." This happens to everyone from the kitchen-table crafter to the professional quilter. Maybe you're low on sleep, or you've had a bad day, but sometimes there isn't anything you can identify as "wrong," yet you've still lost that creative mojo. Those are the times that it might be good to step away and try something a little different to give your mind a break. Here are six ideas that might help you revitalize your creativity!

1. Do an entirely different craft or project. Mom first picked up needle tatting as a new craft when we were working on Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories and she was burnt out on making containers!
Prairie Sewn Studios Heartland Lace Guild

2. Take a class doing something beyond your comfort limit or stretches your imagination. The Notan Class we took from Cathy Miller (The Singing Quilter) during Paducah 2015 Quilt Week is a great example, as it made me use paper (instead of fabric) with the permission to just explore!

Prairie Sewn Studios Notan

3. Leave your house/studio and visit a new quilt, scrapbooking or sewing store. Here are a few we've visited (and written about on the blog). Do a quick search online to see if there are any new ones in your area.

Linda Chaney Hancock's of Paducah

4. Read a good book; one that isn't related to to your sewing or crafting. Reading helps me escape into another world for a little bit, and sometimes I'll come up with an idea or solution to a sewing problem midway through a good book! Here are a few we've enjoyed recently.

5. Check out a quilt or craft show. Take a friend with you and spend some time just looking at the work of others and finding some new ideas. It doesn't have to be a big show, just any place where you might feel the creative energy of others.

Prairie Sewn Studios Paducah Quilt Week

6. Go out for coffee or a drink and talk about your latest challenge with someone else, especially if you're trying to solve a problem. If you can't leave your house, invite someone in for tea or coffee. Splurge and have something a little special-this is one of my FAVORITE Keurig cups that always cheers me up: Wild Mountain Blueberry, served with milk and sugar!

This person doesn't even have to be a crafter, and in fact talking about your sewing woes with a non-crafter might help provide a different perspective and a creative solution. Computer softwares use this technique frequently and call it Rubber Duck Debugging (although we prefer a real person to a rubber duck).

How do you get your creativity back when it's gone missing? Share your ideas in the comments. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-The Quilt Market Edition

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

We made it! Yesterday we managed to get through our first day at our very first Quilt Market ever. We're going to do a much more detailed recap in later posts, but I wanted to share a few quick highlights from our first day.

We gave a 15 minute presentation at Schoolhouse (the day of short presentations for shop owners about new and exciting products) all about our book Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Accessories

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Schoolhouse

We attended a handful of other Schoolhouse presentations, learning a lot not only about upcoming products, but also a little more about what it's like on the industry side of quilting.

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Schoolhouse

We went to sample spree, which is the opportunity to purchase fabric from upcoming lines of both fabric and patterns at wholesale prices. It was chaotic and wonderful all at the same time.

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Sample Spree

Today and tomorrow we're giving two more demos at the AQS Publishing booth, plus walking the expo hall to see what kind of trouble we can get into!

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Prairie Sewn Studios

And now onto the link-up!

Crafty Comment Karma

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#37: Quilt Market Prep

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

This week has been a busy one with lots of cutting, pressing, sewing and assembling as we get ready for our very first Quilt Market! Quilt Market is the industry trade show that happens twice a year, and is only open to people who work in or the business of quilting. We're attending with AQS Publishing to help promote our book Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories

I came home to Omaha last Saturday to spend some extra time here helping my parents deal with an ongoing health issue, which also means I got to spend Mother's Day with Mom!

Linda Chaney Laura Chaney

After that Mother's Day afternoon of tea and shopping it's been go-go-go during every spare minute as we try to figure out what we need to prepare and pack for Quilt Market. This prep work has DEFINITELY been our number one Work In Progress this week. Here's a few pictures of what we've been doing.

Spring Quilt Market Prep Prairie Sewn Studios
Prepping for Schoolhouse at Spring Quilt Market.
Spring Quilt Market Prep Prairie Sewn Studios Linda Chaney
Mom hard at work assembling Schoolhouse handouts.
We are super excited, but also super nervous about our first Quilt Market. We weren't entirely sure we'd be able to go due to the above-mentioned health issues, but we are go for launch! Just like our trip to the Paducah 2015 Quilt Show, I'll be sharing our adventure on Instagram (@PrairieSewn). If you're also at Quilt Market itself, we'd love to meet you.  Here's where you can find us:

Spring Quilt Market Prairie Sewn Studios

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts again. Be sure to join in the fun and see what everyone is working on this week! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Quilt Week Paducah 2015-Notan Class with Cathy Miller

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

One of the classes we took at the Paducah show this year was the Notan-Exploding the Square class taught by Cathy Miller. Cathy is also known as the Singing Quilter, and although we weren't able to make it (as it wasn't on the color-coded schedule) she even put on a concert on the lawn outside of the National Quilt Museum during Quilt Week.

Cathy Miller The Singing Quilter Notan

Notan is an art form that involves the juxtaposition of light and dark. The word itself is Japanese in origin, but you can find similar concepts across many different cultures. This class was different from many other classes we've taken at the Paducah show in that we didn't use fabric at all during the class, but just used scrap paper instead. 

In the picture below you can see symmetrical Notan with just one cut from a square. Each of the cut pieces is flipped out from where it was cut, making that contrast of dark and light. 


Cathy taught us several different kinds of Notan, allowing plenty of time for us to try explore the technique on our own and just experiment with different ideas. Here are some of the designs that Mom and I came up with using square symmetrical, circular symmetrical and a rectangular asymmetrical pattern.


This was a very fun class to take as it definitely got us thinking about fabric and shapes in a different way. We can see making little Notan shapes for the sides of containers from Contain It!, but I also have visions of Notan on throw pillows for my house!

Have you tried a new sewing or quilting technique lately? Tell us about it in the comments! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-New Logo for Prairie Sewn Studios

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Have you noticed the changes we've made on the blog in the last month? We have a new logo!

Prairie Sewn Studios

The logo was designed by 729 Solutions and we absolutely LOVE it!  We've slowly started incorporating it into out website, mostly through our new header (check it out above!) and watermarks on our photos.

We're also super excited to have snazzy updated business cards. I surprised Mom with them a few weeks ago when were at the Paducah Quilt Week.

Prairie Sewn Studios business card

We're hoping this is just one small step in bringing Prairie Sewn Studios to the next level in the crafting and quilting world! What do you think about the new brand and logo? 

And now... on to the link-up! 

Crafty Comment Karma

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#36

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

As always, I can never seem to work on just ONE project at a time. As I continued work from last week on my Chip wall-hanging, I also got the itch to make some coasters from Contain It!.  I think I was inspired by some of the nifty coasters that were posted during the blog hop. I'm going to add some pizzazz by using sparkle fabric paint on the top knob of each little umbrella. Because ever coaster needs a little sparkle.

Contain It Coasters

Using the Clover Wonder Clips instead of pins is definitely the way to go when working on containers. The two pieces of Peltex is just thick enough that pins are a bear to use. 

Contain It Coasters

I did also make progress on Chip, completing 96 half-square triangles.

Half Square Triangles

Which were then trimmed down and squared up to be the exact size needed at 2" square. 

Half Square Triangle scraps

I'm excited that I got so much done this week, although I always wish I had more time to create and sew. Linking up for Work in Progress Wednesday with Sew Fresh Quilts and Freshly Pieced.

Looking for another link-up to join? Join us each Friday for Crafty Comment Karma right here on Prairie Sewn Studios! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Quilt Week Paducah 2015-Heartland Lace Guild

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

This year Mom and I discovered a new event during Quilt Week, a demonstration and exhibit by the Heartland Lace Guild.

Heartland Lace Guild

One of the newest crafts that Mom has tried is needle tatting, which is similar in many ways to lace making or shuttle tatting. When she found this demonstration and exhibition was going on (and apparently  had been for the previous six trips to Quilt Week), we knew we had to stop by. Mom was hoping to chat with someone who had experience with needle tatting, and get some feedback on on the work she'd been doing on her own. 

The Guild had a very nice exhibit set up, including display boxes explaining the cycle of getting cotton seed to cotton thread and silk from and egg to thread.

Heartland Lace Guild
Cotton Seed to Thread.

Heartland Lace Guild
Silk from Egg to Thread.

They also had a great display of items created by their members. On the far left in the below picture we can also see the set-up of one of their members who is working on a cute little hedgehog! It was fun to watch her work for a bit and ask her questions about the process. 

Heartland Lace Guild

This was a great addition to our Quilt Week schedule, and we can't wait to go back again next year!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-Quilt Week Shopping Edition

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Crafty Comment Karma

To kick off this week's Crafty Comment Karma link-up I'm sharing a few of the items I picked up in Paducah during Quilt Week! I'm not going to share every purchase, but just few of the places we visited and the things we picked up.

Let me start by saying that Mom and I have gotten MUCH better about not going overboard and being more selective about our purchases. We have not had a repeat of Quilt Week 2013 when we  (combined) ended up with 150 yards of fabric; and that's not even counting the non-fabric purchases.

Hancock's of Paducah

Our first stop each and every year is the amazing Hancock's of Paducah. This company has a huge store, and during quilt week they mark hundreds (thousands?) of bolts down to prices around $5-7/yard. There truly is something for everyone in this store.

It was also super nifty to see their professional cutting station in the back. A large portion of their business is through online orders so they have to be efficient and their cutting to get shipments out quickly.

Hancock's of Paducah cutting table

Since this is our seventh year of the Paducah show, I'd like to think that Mom and I have the Hancock's shopping experience down to an art. 

We have three rules: 
  1. If you see it and even THINK you might want it you put it in the cart. Otherwise some other wise quilter will snatch it up!
  2. You go through the fabric in your cart MULTIPLE times before going to get it measured or cut. You always end up with more than you need/want, and sometimes I've even grabbed multiple cuts of the same fabric and not even realized it. 
  3. You stop (to follow rule #2 and then check out) if you are feeling tired, hungry, anxious, grumpy, claustrophobic, frustrated or impatient. A huge warehouse with hundreds of excited quilters is NOT the place to be when you know you need a snack break. 
Hancock's of Paducah fabric

In addition to fabric, another thing we always seem to come home with is books! Again, we've gotten much better at not going overboard with every amazing pattern or quilt book that we see, but a few always seem to sneak into our bags.

books from Quilt Week

And then there are always the odds and ends, the new notions or fresh paper pieces. 

Mom insists that this iron cleaner is the best thing since sliced bread and insisted on buying one for me. I'm excited to see how it works on an iron that has fused lots of 1/4" fusible tape in the writing of Contain It!

Bo-Nash Iron Clean

I'm pretty excited to branch out to diamonds and also try a smaller hexagon with my English Paper-Piecing! 
Paper Pieces

Again, these are just of the few things I acquired this year. Shopping at Quilt Week can definitely be an overwhelming experience. There seems to be a fabric store, shop or vendor around each and every corner not only at the show itself but all throughout Paducah.

Fabric Sale

And now.... onto the link-up!