I hope you had a happy National Sewing Month in September! The highlight of my quilting adventures last month was attending the inaugural Sew Pro convention in Chicago.  It was a confab for people who work -- or aspire to work -- in the sewing industry.  There were presentations given by fabric designers, pattern designers, authors, bloggers, magazine editors, pattern printers and fabric company executives.  The attendees were friendly and motivated to move their sewing businesses forward.  And
Suzanne Zizzi Photography
the amount of valuable information provided was staggering -- even a bit overwhelming.  Fortunately, the learning will go on as an online forum was established where tips and resources continue to be shared. Kudos to the organizers!  Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness and Brenda Ratliff of Pink Castle Fabrics really swung for the fences when they decided to stage this event and they hit a home run.
And as an added bonus, the Chicago location allowed me to visit family and high school friends.  A win all around!

One of the presenters at Sew Pro was Tula Pink, a fabric designer whose work I've always admired and whose fabric often winds up in my quilts.  She walked us through the step-by step process she takes to bring a fabric collection to life -- from her initial inspiration and sketches to the digital
rendering of her designs and the final printing of the product.  Then, in a separate presentation, she laid out all the efforts she takes to help the manufacturer promote sales of her fabric lines.  Tula's job is a real balance of art and commerce.  Her most recent fabric collection, "Slow & Steady," can be seen in the photo above and made into a vibrant quilt on the left.  And you can see more of her wonderful fabric on her website.
What I'm Working On
Like most Sew Pro attendees, I came away inspired -- and with a mile-long to-do list. Among the items on my list was enhancing my computer design skills, so I have been learning Adobe Illustrator design software and refamiliarizing myself with EQ7, a software program specifically created for designing quilts.  And I've been able to put these computer design skills immediately into practice as coming out of Sew Pro I was invited to design some "virtual quilts" for one of my favorite fabric manufac-turers, Free Spirit.  Virtual quilts are made using jpegs, or digital photos, of yet-to-be-released fabrics.  My virtual quilts will be considered to be part of the marketing effort for the company's many fabric lines.  Since the fabrics are still under wraps, I can't 
share any images now. But when I can, I will, and I may even have the chance to bring a design to life and make an actual quilt from one of my virtual quilt designs.
The Fix-it Shop
My quilt guild is always in production on quilts that we give to various charities, with members pitching in on the different quilt-making steps.  The quilt top shown below on the left was turned in without its border attached because while the fabric provided for the border coordinated nicely, there was just not enough of it. The four segments were only 30" in length instead of 40".

Now we could have found another fabric to use for the border, but since the striped fabric worked so well with the quilt top, I adopted the effort with the intention to somehow salvage the border and finish the quilt.  Usually when borders are cut a bit shy, we would just add a different fabric in the corners of the border (as seen in the illustration below on the right) and call it a day.  But that was not an option with this border as the side pieces simply weren't long enough.
Knowing I would have to supplement the border with another fabric, I thought it might be fun to chop up the original striped border fabric, twist the orientation of the chopped-up bits to alternate the direction of the stripes (with some running vertically and some running horizontally) and then insert pieces of a complementary fabric in between the chopped up and twisted striped bits.  Figuring out how to do it with a limited amount of striped border fabric added to the challenge, but once I had the worked out the math and the design (below on the left), I sewed it up.  The results are shown below on the right -- a more interesting quilt, I think, than it would have been if the border fabric had worked out as originally intended..
Up Next
This month I'll be going to the Quiltfest Oasis quilt show in Palm Springs, CA
(show dates: October 6-8) with my lovely aunt -- and collector of my work  -- Cicely O'Donovan Gargaro.

And later in the month I'll be taking my trunk show of three dozen or so quilts (including "Wild Geese," shown on the left) to share with the members of the Inland Empire Quilt Guild in Corona, CA.
Enjoy your October!  If you want to check out past issues of this newsletter, use this link.  And before next month's newsletter, see if you can add some new tricks to expand your ability in whatever you talent you have.
Copyright © 2016 Art Quilts by Tina Curran, All rights reserved.

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