MIA – Yes, Scott is “Missing In Action” from the blog today. Pay careful attention to the word ‘action’ though. He is so busy preparing for the launch of new fabric lines on May 1 and Quilt Market in St. Louis May 19-21 that today he missing from his space on this page. Believe me though, he is still in action.
Comment below if you missed him today. (It will make him feel guilty.)
On a recent Friday, Sandra Magsamen gave StudioE a few minutes to catch a glimpse into her life and work. She was in route from her home and studio in Vermont to visit family in Maryland. She was at that moment a perfect passenger with hubby at the wheel and plenty of time to chat.
I commented on how many of her recent Instagram photos were in Paris! Sandra’s daughter Hannah has been living there for the past five years, having completed grad school, she followed with a certificate from Parsons Paris in painting and dedicated herself to becoming fluent in reading and writing French (says proud Mom).
Sandra joined her daughter in Paris for a month-long visit in January and had her own reflection period. The kind that one can only get in a distant place. Fine French food and fabulous museums doesn’t hurt, either. She jokes that she ate her way through Paris. And the happy outcome is that daughter Hannah decided to move home too, to start putting roots down closer to family.
At the core of Sandra’s time in Paris, during her personal reflection period, she got to think about what excites her most which is; connection from the heart. She immensely enjoys her work writing for the young.
That is where her soul is drawn. In a larger sense she is a giver, and creates all things in her art to give to another for the sole purpose of making a connection with a heartfelt message.
In a moment, she was happily talking about the books she has designed for Studio E Fabrics, and shared how she imagines them being used.
She has fond thoughts of mothers or grandmothers making them for their children, or perhaps for a new baby. She imagines a young mother reading a fabric book made with love to her new baby. From the creation of her designs, to the selection at the store, to the making of the books and the final act of sharing, Sandra’s hope is for connection.
Sandra’s compassion began at a young age when she herself went through her own trauma. At 12, she was accidentally pinned underneath a piece of one ton farm equipment. She credits her twin sister, Susan, for supernatural adrenaline and the power of love to lift the equipment off Sandra to save her. Sandra spent a year sheltered away, first in the hospital and then home convalescing to recuperate. During that time, her very close family encouraged her to make things to send to school to her school mates that she missed. With four sisters to help serve as messengers, Sandra’s days were spent making drawings, knitting, painting, sewing or crafting up all sorts of things, to be delivered to those whom she wanted to keep connections.
That beginning is the legacy of her work. “Ultimately, we all want to connect to be loved”, she says. While much of her book writing (over 55 now) has been dedicated to the very young, she has found that all of her art is about finding that language of encouragement. She has been an art therapist working with deaf children, as well as older adults who are facing difficult seasons of depression or mental digressions. She has also written cards for Hallmark.
So, what’s next? Sandra wants to enlarge her sphere of influence to begin writing for the young school-age child. She recalls the books we read as children ourselves that influenced us toward transformation. She envisions sharing through nature and metaphor that a young child should begin by believing in the wonderful grown up person that a small person will become.
She also excitedly shared a local community project that her and her husband have undertaken by partnering with a local school and delivering a horticultural program for young students by way of a community garden.
Sandra Magsamen has lots of fires burning on all fronts; creatively, in business, in her community and for her family. Her calm soft voice communicates that she is confident and clear of them all having a positive outcome. She is lucky, she says, to be able to follow her dream and to have had the experiences and travels that she has enjoyed.
All her experiences can be summed up in the mission she describes quite simply; to connect one heart with another.
The following is a reprint of Pepper Cory’s post, originally published on http://peppercory.blogspot.com/
For the past couple of years I’ve been associated with StudioE Fabrics, the independent stores’ niche in the Jaftex Company. Other Jaftex holdings include Blank Quilting, Henry Glass, and A.E. Nathan among others.
The line of shot cottons we designed called Peppered Cottons has sold well for the company. Explaining just a bit here: ‘shot’ means that the warp (lengthwise threads on the loom) are one color while the weft (the thread carried from side-to-side by the shuttle) is another. The blending of two colors can produce fabrics that are either subtle or occasionally startling.
If the colors in a woven shot cotton are related, such as royal blue plus turquoise, when woven together they create an intense medium blue. The new shade coordinates with both true blue prints and all the aquas and turquoise-related colors.
Sometimes the blending of colors creates shades that are quite delicious and rare. Seen here: Grellow (yellow woven with grey) that shows as a light strange off-shade of green.
Or Morning Glory, a purple plus blue blend.
But sometimes a quiltmaker hungers for a pure color, an intense and strong shade, and it’s difficult to achieve that effect in a true shot (bi-color) weave. Red, in particular, is a color people love. When they want a real red in a quilt, they don’t mean Cherry Red or Burgundy Red. They mean RED. Sometimes only a pure color will do. Enter yarn-dyed true colors. Yarn-dyed means that the fabric is not first woven and then dyed red (the usual steps in solid color production). Rather the very threads, before being even warped on the loom, are dyed red. The red dye deeply permeates the very fibers of the fabrics and, when woven with the same red in the warp and weft, the process produces an intense color.
While formerly Flame was our only true color in the Peppered Cottons lineup, at this Spring Quilt Market, we’re introducing twelve new colors and four of them are true shades.
Meet Deep Space,
a black that’s blacker-than-black and its opposite–
White Sugar. Sorry that the white looks like a hole in the blog–it’s just super-white! And adding to the basic color wheel here’s True Royal
a truly happy strong yellow.
Then I realized those true colors are the palette of many of Piet Mondrian’s masterpieces.
So if you’ve been wanting to do a Mondrian tribute quilt, we’ve got your colors!
Have you seen StudioE’s new Color Catchers collection in your local quilt shop yet? A free quilt pattern using this collection is available here, but this plush, two-sided fabric can inspire beautiful garments too!
Our guest blogger today is Marilyn League, a creative seamstress and art quilter from Memphis, TN. Marilyn has extensive experience in tailoring, garment sewing, pattern making, fitting and alterations that includes mens- and womenswear, bridal attire and even costumes for the royal court of the acclaimed Carnival Memphis.She seeks out unique construction techniques and has a library of books and reference materials to prove it. Marilyn has served on the Board of Tennessee Craft-Southwest, is a member of the Uncommon Threads quilt guild and member and Past President of the Memphis Sewing Guild. Living by her philosophy that every day should be a learning experience, she shares a sewing adventure on the StudioE blog with a tutorial for creating a ruana with Color Catchers.
An Exotic Sewing Adventure with Color Catchers Guest blog post by Marilyn League
When I saw the Color Catchers yarn-dyed flannel collection from StudioE Fabrics, I knew I had to make something fabulous!! But it had to be simple… to show off the rich colors and imbedded softness of the yarn-dyed weave. One of the best garments I’ve ever seen for its simplicity and elegance is the ruana—an ancient wrap from South America, worn by natives in the Andes Mountains. The shape of the ruana lends itself to easy-sew projects for sewers and weavers, as it is basically a rectangle with an opening in the front.
There are commercial patterns available to make a ruana, but using a template to cut the front opening is simple enough. I started with a two-yard length of the most luscious lime green—which in my mind and in my wardrobe is the “new neutral”—or you can choose another color or weave pattern from this enticing 20-piece collection. First, I cut a paper template three inches wide and 36 inches long, tracing around a small plastic cup to obtain a smooth curve for the neckline.
Then, I placed this paper template along the lengthwise fold of the fabric, so the curved edge was halfway to the middle of the two-yard length.
Once you’ve cut the front opening, the raw edges need to be finished in some way. I serged the front and lower edges, but left the selvedges as they are. Why make extra work for yourself? Plus, the selvedges look very nice on their own.
After serging the raw edges, I used a sewing machine to turn them under and straight stitch them. If you so desire, the serging can be left on its own as an edge finish. If you don’t have access to a serger, the edges can be finished with a double-turn rolled hem on the sewing machine.
Then you are finished! This took less than one hour to complete. You’ll have a lovely wrap that’s perfect for a chilly day, an overly air-conditioned restaurant or a car ride so you’re not so bundled up in a coat or jacket. And you have a variety of options for wearing your ruana. Wear it with jeans and a T-shirt to dress up a bit. Wear it over a simple dress to give it some drama. Throw one side over the other shoulder for REAL drama! Notice that Color Catchers is a two-sided fabric, so BOTH sides look good.
The choices for constructing or customizing your ruana are endless. Here are some ideas:
Instead of cutting the edges straight across, curve them.
Use a contrasting thread for serging all around.
Zigzag stitch with a coordinating or variegated thread on your sewing machine.
If you have gobs of time and want a really special garment, buy extra fabric that matches or contrasts, and finish the edges with bias strips. Oh, wouldn’t that be runway worthy!
I hope you have enjoyed my little sewing adventure. Stop in your local quilt shop or independent sewing center, buy a few yards of Color Catchers by StudioE Fabrics and get inspired to have an adventure of your own.
Today, the StudioE blog shines the spotlight on an exciting new quilt, called Choreography, that features fabrics from Brushstrokes by Pepper Cory and the Just Color! basic line by Studioe. Choreography is designed as a Block of the Month (BOM) program and is available exclusively to independent quilt and fabric shops. To tell you the story behind the creation and design of this graphic, modern-style quilt is its designer, Julia LaBauve, of JML Colors. Once you’re smitten with the quilt and its story, dance over to the JML Colors web site to order patterns and contact your Studioe direct sales representative or go to the Studioe website to place your fabric order… and let the music begin!
Choreography Written by Julia LaBauve
We all dance to our own music….
It amazes me how ideas form and how they become something that I can hold, touch and use. Initially it seems simple: a design “bounces” around in my head and I can imagine that it would look pretty good as a quilt. Easy! The design takes shape, I audition the fabrics, make final adjustments and there it is! My newest creation! Make the quilt top… write directions…. and a new pattern is born. But wait, the quilt top has to be quilted. Arrange for that. And there is the testing phase… and… who will test? Go find the appropriate tester. In the midst of this process, I’m hopeful that the timing works out so that while the top goes for quilting I can finish writing and then send it all to the tester. After that, corrections… reviews… it seems it will never be finished! And while all this is happening, my fabric friend and local Studioe Fabric rep, Veronica Hofman-Ortega, is waiting to see the finished project. You know…no pressure at all!
This is how Choreography was born. I had in mind a design that reminded me of the tile work I see when I visit my family in Spain.
The idea took form and the pattern was born. But at the write-quilt-test stages, it felt like we were all dancing together to some particular rhythm. If one of us missed a step, we would all stumble and the timing would get all messed up. Thanks to the fabulous quilting work of Pat Yearwood (Stitch’n Quilt) and tester Patricia Kelly-Flis, Choreography is now a beautiful quilt, available to quilt and fabric shops as a BOM program.
Choreography was designed with Studioe Fabrics in mind. I wanted fabrics that were modern and vibrant.
Fabrics that “read as solids” were the perfect choice to highlight sharp points and angles without worrying about competing fabric motifs. They also create a pleasant background to the stronger graphic design. I chose Brushstrokes, a beautiful new collection by Pepper Cory, and Just Color!, one of Studioe’s popular blender lines to achieve these goals. This was especially important when working with the paper-pieced blocks. These are slightly more complex than the rest (don’t worry, block size is 10” x 10” finished so the pieces can be handled comfortably). I wanted each piece to be clear and visible. Paper piecing is too much work for it all to blend and the design disappear in to the block!
I love how the orange stands out, but does not seem to overwhelm anything. I especially enjoyed using a variety of blues. Choreography became a study in color – because they are “solids”, fabrics do not compete with each other and it is the color that creates the designs. And the same goes for the rest of the traditionally pieced blocks – sharp contrast that creates a strong graphic design.
I hope you take a look at Choreography and choose to do the BOM. Shop owners should contact their StudioE direct representative for fabric orders and the JML Colors website to order the BOM patterns. I encourage quilters to visit their local quilt shop to request the program. This quilt was fun to make and see the design grow as blocks were added to the design wall. Now I am ready to find my next “bouncing idea” and to start “dancing” again.