Monday, August 22, 2011

Friends in Fabric, Redux...and a Give-Away!

I've written previously about the friends I've made through textiles, and it's time to mention two of them again. My buddies Mary Lou Weidman and Mel McFarland are not only two of the most down-to-earth, most fun, and most talented women I know, but they've come together to create a new book Out of the Box with Easy Blocks: Fun with Free-Form Quilting.

I've had the good fortune to hear about and see bits and pieces of the book as the quilts came together, and last fall in Lake Tahoe I even got to make a shoe block that wound up (on page 71, in case you're looking) in a quilt featured in the book's gallery of quilts.

Mary Lou's French fabric pineapple quilt
If you've read Pearl the Squirrel for awhile, you've heard the tale of how we all met—I interviewed Mary Lou for an American Patchwork and Quilting article and she wound up inviting me, a total stranger, to Quilt Market. And there I met Mel who turns out to live not too far from my parents in California. Since then I've had the opportunity to get together with them in Lake Tahoe (here and here) to sew. I also took a class from Mary Lou at John C. Campbell in January 2010. So despite our geographic differences, our paths have crossed, all thanks to fabric and sewing.

Mel & cow quilt at my parents' home in S.Cal
The new book really reflects Mary Lou and Mel's spirits—lots of cheerful imagery that celebrates special occasions and the everyday. The patterns give you an opportunity to create quilts for birthdays or babies and there are fantastic instructions to create the cow quilt, letters, cats, fruit, and more. After you've tried a few of them, you'll be ready to make just about anything you want.

So, in honor of my fabulous friends and their colorful, inspiration-filled volume, I'm giving a copy away. For a chance to win, leave a comment about one of your friends in fabric—at the very least, tell me her or his first name, and if you're feeling chatty, tell us a story about that friendship. One lucky commenter will be selected at random to receive a copy of Out of the Box with Easy Blocks!

Last day to comment will be Friday, August 26, so get cracking! I look forward to hearing from you.


36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've discovered a lot of inspiration from a number of quilting blogs, including yours. Everyone is so talented and so willing to share ideas, it's like having a get together with friends in front of my computer. I feel very lucky to have found your site. Your writing is very insightful and entertaining.

Karen L., a fellow Iowan

Katie Renee said...

I am a young woman who grew up in Iowa (Ames) and recently got married and moved to a farm in north-central Montana. I have been a seamstress for a long time specializing in apparel and have only recently taken an interest in quilting. It is such a lovely way to use my favorite media (fabric) to express creativity in color and pattern. I love how when I quilt or work with fabric I feel a connection to a long-standing American tradition, and I love how books like the one you write about above modernize this tradition and take it in new directions.

One of my Friends in Fabric, Stephanie, is a friend from my hometown who also moved away and now lives in Petaluma, CA. We are always writing letters back and forth, and each letter written always includes remarks about current sewing projects.

One of the most treasured wedding gifts my husband and I received was from Stephanie. She created a quilted and needlework piece representing our farmland, with the following phrase stitched around the border: "As we chose each other, we chose this land, this life. Always knowing as husband and wife, amidst labors never done, by love we three were wed: We and the land are one.

Miki Willa said...

One of my fabric friends is my sister-in-law, Willa. She inspired me to start quilting again after more than 30 years. Now, whenever we are able to get together, we share patterns, quilting tips, fabrics and new ideas. Unfortunately, she lives on the East Coast and I live in the Pacific Northwest. It is a good thing we have the internet.
I love Mary Lou's book and would love to win one for my fabric friend, Willa.

Unknown said...

Hi Linzee,
what a treat to have you share our book. We have a great story & I was just thinking how we went to amazing lengths last summer to meet up in Iowa during RAGBRAI. We are truly "friends in fabric." Thanks for being a part of the book, for following every step of the process & cheering us on. We literally couldn't have done it with out you or your "shoe" block!
xo,
mel

Maree in NC :-) said...

Met my absolute bestest friend in the whole world, Esther, and also a "friend in fabric", through an online group. We were both swapping and collecting fabric squares and wishes for One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts for our granddaughters who were all adopted from China. We are definitely connected by a red thread and are forever friends. :~D

Thank you so much for the chance to win Mary Lou and Mel's awesome new book. I love my copy and would really love to send one to Esther in AZ. :-)

mynanamaree@yahoo.com

gill said...

I had known Maggie for several years but we really only became close when my son died in 2008 - she was my rock and I don't know how I would have coped without her. She has continued to be a big part of our lives and I can't imagine her not being there

knitbysue said...

My virtual friend through fabrics is someone I've 'met' through the website mysewingcircle.com She never fails to notice when I post a new finished project and always comments. It's like having my own personal sewing cheering section.
Have you made a project from the book? It looks like it is full of fun ideas.

LynneP said...

Friends are soooo important in life no matter how or where I meet them. They challenge me, support me, balance me and love me!

BTW, it'd be great to win ML's book. Thanks for the opportunity.

Kathy C said...

I guess my first fabric friend would be my grandmother who taught me how to sew. She started giving me her scraps when I was seven or eight and I have never stopped sewing. Also my three children who get a new quilt every Christmas are fabric friends. One of them might pick a fabric they want to be in their quilt or one might tell me what color they want their quilt to be. I would love to win - I see a cow quilt in my future! cannons@gmavt.net

azcupcake said...

A couple of years ago some friends and I had a fly-in quilt camp. Four of us invited friends in fabric who'd moved a way or who lived where we used to live to come for a weekend of sewing. The fly-ins all stayed with the person that invited them, then we all got together at one person's house to sew and eat. I think maybe we should do it again and maybe do quilts from Mary Lou's book.

Dani Hecker said...

My best fabric friend was my Mom. We challenged each other with wild fabrics, shared stashes and celebrated ribbons from state and county fairs together. Another was my Nana, who inspired me to start quilting. Both of them have passed in the last couple of years, but i inherited their stashes and tools, so I can pass the quilting bug down to my three daughters.

caltexgal said...

I took a class from ML some time ago and fell in love with her hoochy mama ways. i'm currently doing the fish swap and can't wait to see what swims my way.
-Becki@the beach

Kris said...

Thank you for this very fun giveaway!! I started quilting about 7 years ago when I offered to help a complete stranger clean the house she was moving into. That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with my dear pal, Sue, who started me out quilting by teaching me to paper-piece!! It is still my favorite form of quilting but I love to try everything and anything new!! I joined Mary Lou's yahoo group and keep an eye on her blog as I love her flair and sense of color and the delightful wonkiness of her work!! I would love to win her book and hope to take a class from her someday!! Kris!!

Jill said...

I would love the book! My best fabric friend is my friend Shelley, who I have known for 15 years and for some reason neither of us remember is constantly looking for a quilt fabric with a goat on it. :)

Karen in Tucson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen in Tucson said...

One of my first fabric friends is now my hairdresser. We met during BOMs and applique classes at LQS in Tucson. I would love a copy of Mary Lou and Mel's new book.

Jill in McKinney said...

My fabric friend is Michelle. We are getting ready to go the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston! I love Mary Lou too!

Jill in McKinney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linzee said...

I love hearing these wonderful stories about your friends in fabric. Thanks so much for sharing them with me and keep 'em coming!

Pam Toombs said...

Took a class from Mary Lou at Empty Spools at Asilomar this year. Also met Mel. Enjoyed both! Am working on my third story quilt with more in mind. Love the new book. Will start a cow quilt as soon as I finish the fish for Mary Lou's fish swap.

Quilting Yai Yai said...

I really love a gal named Em Celebrates! who began a FMQ blog and invited me to be a contributer. We were to put on and CELEBRATE! Big Girl Pants! by FMQ for the first time. Through Em and the other wonderful ladies on that blog I finally FMQ my first quilt. So very exciting!!
Some of my best friends live in my computer and it seems that almost everyday I meet a new one. I'm a No. Cal. lady who lives in the mountains and I really want to make a cow quilt, and a shoe quilt and a chicken quilt....
Happy Quilting!
Deborah

Nancy said...

My best friends in quilting are in the small Bee I belong to. Judy,Wonda, Jane, Gerry and myself meet every Friday to inspire each other. We share all the ups and downs in our lives and carry each other through.
I know we would all enjoy this book.

Anonymous said...

How can you NOT leave a comment for Mel's Cow and ML's phycodelic pineapple quilt!
You Rock ladies and can always use Your NEW Bo0oks
Thanks for the chance
Robin in Leavenworth WA A HOOCHY MAMA!

Mary said...

My friend in fabric is Dolly. She gave me my first job at her fabric store when I was in high school and have remained friends for over thirty years. Now that I am retired from teaching we try to get together at least once a month to sew or go to a quilt show. We always have a great time and share a lot of laughs.
I'm a big fan of Mary Lou's and would be thrilled to have a copy of her latest book.

thecraftyquilter said...

My friend in fabric is Mary. Mary "taught" me to quilt by bringing a stack of fabric, already cut, and the pattern to me. That was over 9 years ago. Although I have moved away we continue to quilt, swap fabric and "inspire" each other through our quilting.

Vicky F said...

HI LInzee,
My fabric friend story is about a few of my quilt bee buddies. We never fight over fabric at the fabric store, and get along just fine, because we all like such different things. One friend likes all reproduction, muddy, faded colors, while another one is more into the 30's type of prints. I, on the other hand, am drawn to batiks, brights, and without realizing it until I took a Mary Lou class, I had collected quite a bit of ML's fabric (all bright and clear).
Anyway, I sure would like a chance at the Out of the Box book. Thank you.
Vicky F

Catskill Quilter said...

Oh, I have heard GREAT things about this new book! I have 2 very special 'friends in fabric' -- both of my lovely daughters! My older daughter was here this summer from Sweden, and I sent her home with 2 quilt tops to finish, and a pile of completed blocks and some fabric so that the youngest quilter in our group, Lina (my grand-daughter, aged almost 12, could make her own blocks.

Anonymous said...

I'ts fun seeing the photos and reading about MaryLou and Mel. It would be amazing to have a pal like that! So far I have no fabric friends but maybe one day. Hmmm I wonder how much it costs to run a personal ad? Anyway- thanks for the great blog! -Indiana Vonne

Rebecka said...

I really enjoyed your blog post. I loved all the inside information you shared about Mary Lou, the book, and your retreat.
I thought I would never hand quilt. But, I was given a hand quilting frame, the kind my Grandma used to use on all her quilts and the quilting she did with her church group. But, now I want to give it a try! I really appreciate it now. The utility quilting I think looks great with the funky blocks from Mary Lou and Mel's book.

Lynda McCoy said...

I am an Iowan at heart, it is where my husband is from, where lots of family still lives.
My quilting friends are all very special. We have a group that meets on Tuesdays called TARTS. Tuesdays Are Reserved To Stitch. We are wonderful support for each other through all of lifes troubles and joys.

Kathy said...

My friend in fabric has already been memorialized in two of my quilts. She was my best friend and the love of my life. Her name was Weezie and she was a pug. She would sit in her little bed next to my sewing machine and the two of us would quilt away the afternoon. She died on July 6 of this year and I miss her terribly. It took me a month before I could bring myself to get near to the sewing machine. But I am healing now and I have done two quilt tops in the last few weeks. On one she is pictured with a boy as it is a quilt for my great grandson who was born the day after she died. The other is for my brother and she will be on the back as the label. Someday I will find myself another companion to travel through life with me, but until I do, I am happy knowing that I had 16 years of joy and companionship in my sewing room.

Taffin said...

love the book, would love to own it

Bev C said...

Hello Linzee,

My quilting friend would have to be my Mum, she is always ready to lend a hand and say wether things should go together or not. Sometimes we just need that extra reassurance and she gives that to me.
Happy days.
Bev.xoxo

Mary Beth said...

I am blessed to have several fabric friends! One such friend, Charlene, is a real blessing to me. When I have needed a pick me up, she seems to know and a squishy care package arrives or a phone call or email. Also thankful for the opportunity to gather with fabric friends each year for a fabric related meeting at a quilt festival!

Anonymous said...

My fabric friend is Sylvia. We trade fabric, ideas, opinion and go on lots of road trips together. We have so much fun!

Theresa W

foleywestrup(at)hotmail(dot)com

Pam Toombs said...

What time is the drawing? Cant wait.