Crochet Boutique coverWith Shannon Quinn-Tucker, guest Needlearts blogger

Recently released, Crochet Boutique is filled with fun, trendy wearables and accessories that will take you through this fall and beyond! Here, author Rachael Oglesby shares her thoughts on modern crochet. Don’t forget to download a FREE PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion at the end of the interview.

Who would you say has been most influential in your life when it comes to crafting, and why? That would certainly be my mom. She’s the one who taught me to crochet to begin with! And it was my grandmother who taught her. I appreciate that I have this link to the women in my family that has made its way down to me.

How would you describe your aesthetic? What inspires you in creating your designs? I would describe my aesthetic as classic with a twist. I love simple, basic items you can wear repeatedly yet are updated in a way that gives them just a little something extra to make them special. It can be something as simple as a color that pops or a beautiful unique yarn.

Rachael OglesbyWhat was your favorite part of authoring Crochet Boutique? My favorite part was selecting the projects for the book and also working with my photographer and friend, Emily Ogden, to bring it all to life. I knew when I was first approached for the book that I wanted Emily on board, and I was ecstatic when she agreed. I also enjoyed fleshing out the initial direction for the book—thinking of my audience and deciding what it was exactly I wanted to accomplish and present.

Crochet Boutique contains a variety of items, some of which people might find more typical of crochet projects (scarves and hats) and some they might find unusual (laptop sleeve). What was your favorite project in this book? The rainbow throw holds a special place in my heart since it’s inspired by a clouds and rainbow motif afghan my mother made in the early 80s. Her blanket is one of my earliest memories of crochet and I remember really loving that piece when she finished it. It’s one of the first pieces that left me wishing I could crochet my own, so my rainbow throw pattern is an homage to hers.

Who are some crochet artists whom you admire, and what is it about each that you find inspirational/exceptional? I am more inspired by the everyday at home crafter than I am by any of the big name artists I can think of. The DIY movement that has rapidly gained strength over the past few years has been empowering and therapeutic for many, myself included, and I believe the online community and the sharing of ideas has fostered that. It’s amazing to be able to share and talk about your craft with so many other crafters at any given moment, and I’ve made some wonderful friends over the past few years through such interactions.

granny square cushionGet inspired to create by downloading a free PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion! And don’t forget to check out Rachael’s Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/softspoken or her blog, http://softspoken.blogspot.com/, for even more of her fabulous style!



The 12s on Quilt Festival: Kristin La Flamme

October 28, 2011, 12:03 pm  Posted by needlearts

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Kristin La Flamme 

What Festival is this for you?
This will be my second time coming to Festival. Last year was completely overwhelming, so I’m looking forward to being less discombobulated this time.

Fellow Twelve Deborah Boschert introduced me to Judy Coates Perez, whose blog I’ve enjoyed reading for years.

Where will you be and when?
I will be at the Twelve by Twelve exhibit Thursday the 3rd and Friday the 5th from 12 until 2, plus Friday from 2 until 4. We’ll end the day in our booth at 6:30 Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. I’ll probably also call our area Home Base and come and go throughout each day. I’ll be volunteering at the SAQA table as well on Thursday from 3 until 5 and on Friday from 12 until 2.

What are you most excited about this year?
I am most excited to meet all the Twelves I have not yet met in person. I’m a little sad that three of our four international members won’t be in attendance, but that still leaves four Twelves to meet for the first time, and four that I get to hang out with again and get to know better!

My favorite moments last year were the ones socializing in person with online friends. Finding out that most people are just as interesting and friendly in person as they appear on their blogs is wonderful.

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The 12s on Quilt Festival: Brenda Gael Smith

October 25, 2011, 12:17 pm  Posted by needlearts

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Brenda Gael Smith

Lorikeet Circus – from the Lorikeet Colorplay Challenge

What Festival is this for you?
This will be my very first International Quilt Festival. Gulp.  I’m starting to think I should have done some proper training for the event.  Perhaps fellow Twelve Nikki, who recently completed her first half marathon, had the right idea!

Where will you be and when?
After 24+ hours in transit from Australia, I hope to make it to the tail end of preview night on Wednesday 2 November.  Then I will be at Festival every day, mostly at the Twelve by Twelve exhibit (look out for the roster on the Twelve by Twelve blog) but also a stint on the SAQA Booth from 3-5pm on Saturday.

What are you most excited about this year?
After collaborating online in the Twelve by Twelve International Art Quilt Challenge for over four years, I am most excited to be joining so many of the Twelves in person.  I’ve met Diane before a couple of times but this will be my first meeting the other American Twelves.  It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

• Pohutakawa Toanga (Pohutukawa Treasure) – my contribution to the Textured Treasures exhibition

On a related note, just how excited are you to see all the quilts together?
Seeing the Theme series quilts for the first time, when the exhibit toured to Australia and New Zealand in 2010, was an extremely moving experience.  I thought my heart would burst.  To be able to share all the quilts from the book along with the new Colorplay series, a total of 288 quilts, with so many people at Festival is a great thrill and honour. I extend a huge thank you to Del Thomas for her kind sponsorship of the Twelve by Twelve exhibit through the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection.

Is there one piece that you’re really excited to see in person?
I want to see everything! I am looking forward to studying each and every quilt from the Colorplay series and renewing my acquaintance with the Theme series.  It is wonderful to be able to view the quilts online but real life presents a whole new dimension in color, texture and detail. I’m also keen to see the exhibits of my Australian compatriots – Destination Texas by Sue Dennis and Textured Treasures presented by Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for Quilting Teachers Award Winner Lisa Walton.

What’s your one must-take item for Festival?
For me, the most important items in my hand luggage will be my camera and iPad combo. That, plus wifi, will set me up for recording and blogging about my first Festival; the people and the quilts.

Read more about Brenda at http://serendipitypatchwork.com.au/blog/. And be sure to enter the giveaway happening over on the Twelve by Twelve blog! http://serendipitypatchwork.com.au/blog/2011/10/17/twelve-by-twelve-book-giveaway/


The 12s on Quilt Festival: Terri Stegmiller

October 20, 2011, 11:56 am  Posted by needlearts

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Terri Stegmiller

What Festival is this for you?
This will be my third time at Festival.  I attended in 2007 and 2008.  I’m anxious to take it all in again.

First-Class Chartreuse

Where will you be and when?
The only definite plans I have at the moment will be to take a turn at attending the Twelve by Twelve exhibit each day.  The time frame varies each day but I plan to be exhibit sitting on Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m., Friday from noon to 2 p.m., and Saturday from 6 to 7 p.m.  I have also volunteered to help out at the SAQA booth for a two-hour period on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.  During the rest of the time I plan to be roaming around the convention center taking in all the beautiful quilts and perhaps doing a little shopping.  I’m hoping to catch up with some friends as well.

What are you most excited about this year?
I am most excited about getting to meet most of the Twelves in person.  To date, I’ve only met one of the Twelves in person, that was Deborah.  She and I met when I attended Festival in the past.

On a related note, just how excited are you to see all the quilts together?
I’m so excited I could pee my pants.  Okay, I won’t, but I think seeing the entire grouping of quilts all in one location will be very breathtaking for me.

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Spring Studio Stroll: Cynthia Shaffer

April 06, 2011, 13:23 pm  Posted by needlearts

Hello and welcome to my home studio. I am a crafter, quilter, garment-maker, paper-lover, painter, constant learner, knitter, and photographer. I live in Orange, California with my husband Scott, sons Corry and Cameron, and the girls…my two adorable Boston terriers, Harper and Berklee.

What is your favorite part of your studio?

Oh this is difficult to answer because I do really really like all the parts of my studio. My computer area is so convenient, set up right next to where I do so much of my photography, and there are large windows that let natural light in. My sewing machine is actually sitting on my high worktable and therefore I am able to stand and sew. This saves me time, since so many of the projects I work on are small and need to be photographed as they are being created. I love that the shelves that hold my bins of stash fabrics, ribbon, paper and on and on, are

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Interview: Laura Zukaite

October 14, 2010, 08:10 am  Posted by needlearts

Laura Zukaite is a graduate from Parsons School of Design who has had her designs published in many major knitting magazines. She is also the author of Luxe Knits (2009) and the brand-new Luxe Knits: The Accessories. We caught up with Laura earlier this week.


Laura, how would you describe your knitwear design aesthetic? And how else does that sensibility show up in your life?

I would like to say that I am a modern knitwear designer, but I like to explore and play with the “old” and already established elements in search of new forms, shapes, and textures. I like to stay away from being “crafty,” but I like the actual craft of making. In my everyday life I have a great appreciation for functional elements, so I also design with function in mind. I always get involved in discussions of, “a beautiful painting or a beautiful chair,” and I always defend the chair!

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Q & A – Sew Much More Tina!

October 06, 2010, 09:00 am  Posted by needlearts

There is just too much Tina Givens goodness to cram into one week, so we’re extending our celebration of the release of Sew Tina! just as long as we possibly can. A couple of weeks ago I chatted with Tina about her glorious life, and in case you missed it, read about it here. This week read part 2 of my interview, and don’t forget to hop back to last week’s Free Project Friday, where you can follow Tina’s blog tour and download some freebie bonus projects. Best of all, you can sign up for a chance to win the book and some cool Tina stuff.

What’s the process of designing a fabric line like? Do you begin with an inspiration, or a colorway, or something else?

There are lots of luscious Tina fabrics on display in this outtake from her book.

It starts with a story, or a place, and then it evolves. If I take myself to that place I start to sketch freely. But at the same time I research; I look at what’s current in color, what’s up in home decorating, I read almost every home and fashion magazine you can think of on a global scale. My favorite mag right now is Selvedge, oh my it is delicious! Back to the process—I think while I am in the midst of creating a collection, all the other aspects of my life intercede and the collection evolves, from color palettes to scale and pattern. Designing a collection the way I do is like a puzzle. I almost always start with the lead design, the one I fall in love with the most, and then with scale and color I manipulate the others into a group that seems to work together. It’s almost a three-dimensional puzzle because maybe the collection has nine prints, but I am also working within three to six color palettes.

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An Interview with Trice Boerens

September 29, 2010, 13:57 pm  Posted by needlearts

From quilting to felting to scrapbooking, Trice Boerens is a designer who can handle it all. Over the years she has created for a variety of companies, including her most recent book with Lark, 45 Quilt Blocks: Flowers. We were lucky enough to get a minute of her time this week to find out more about the woman behind the designs.

Trice, how did you get your start crafting and quilting?

My Mother was pretty handy and she had me convinced that she could do anything. A female MacGyver with a 60’s bubble-cut, she once restored a torn page from library book with glue, wax paper, and an emery board. Each year when spring rolled around she felt that it was her duty to make Easter dresses, and with four sisters that meant a lot of fabric scraps. I claimed the scrap pile and started making crazy quilts. Not crazy quilts, but crazy quilts. Free-form, asymmetrical quilts made from cotton, eyelet, jersey, or polyester (depending on what we saw in Seventeen magazine that year). Sidebar, on my To-Do List is: “Write a proposal for a quilt book titled Insane Crazy Quilts.” Is that offensive? I hope not because it practically writes itself!

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The De-Stash Diaries, Vol. 12—So Tina

September 21, 2010, 08:00 am  Posted by needlearts

front cover

We’re all about designer Tina Givens here in the needlearts group. We’ll celebrate of the release her first book, Sew Tina!, with lots of fun posts beginning this week. Look for the book on October 5; until then stick around for an interview, some sneak peeks, a free project or two, and info about Tina’s blog tour. Today I decided to see what the clever folks at Etsy have been making from their stashes of Tina-designed fabrics.

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Q&A with Fabric Remix photographer, Patrick Fox

September 01, 2010, 16:31 pm  Posted by needlearts
Q&A with Patrick Fox, photographer for Fabric Remix

Patrick Fox, Fabric Remix photographer

Patrick Fox, photographer for Sandy Stone’s new book, Fabric Remix, sat down with us to talk photography, flying, and what it was like to work on this beautiful book. Check out Patrick’s portfolio and blog for more of his photography and high-flying adventures.

How and when did you get started as a photographer?
I have always had an interest in photography. When I was a child, my father flew to Japan frequently and he would always bring back cameras. When I was 13, I got a paper route and saved up to buy a nice SLR camera. As a high school freshman, I was encouraged to apply for—and got—a photographer spot on my high school newspaper. I went on to get a BA degree in photography from Brooks Institute. After college I moved from California to Minneapolis and assisted in photography for a year. I started my own business in the late 80′s, and have been very fortunate to work for great clients both locally and nationally.

When did you start flying, and what kind of planes do you have?
I got my pilot’s license in 1990. My father was a pilot for the airlines, and I have always loved to fly. I have over 1300 hours flying, and I still enjoy learning something new and the adventures it brings. I own two airplanes. One is a Piper Supercub, and the other is a Cessna Skywagon. Both airplanes are called tail draggers, which have an older style of landing gear. Instead of a nose wheel they have a tail wheel in the rear. That allows for both planes to land on grass or other unimproved landing areas. The Supercub has skis on it for winter lake landings—a real bonus in the Northland! The Skywagon is a full instrument airplane, so it can be flown in most weather conditions.

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