The Bikini Island Bag October 18, 2013
You may not be able to wear a bikini anymore but you can still carry one! Have a little fun with this slightly slouchy bag that follows the classic lines of a bikini.
In addition to two outside pockets, the Bikini Island Bag has a surprisingly spacious interior with a roomy zippered pocket, an open-top pocket and a cell phone holder. It has a secure magnetic closure under the chunky accent button. The cushioned strap makes it comfy enough for an entire day of shopping.
Click on the picture to read more.
In The News
zig, Zag, ZOOM March 30, 2013
I've received some recognition recently for my quilt pattern called zig, Zag ZOOM! It was featured in two trade magazines over the summer. American Quilt Retailer did a write up as did Fab Shop News. American Quilt Retailer also showed off my Woolly, Woolly Bag pattern. That pattern features a bag to hold your knitting or crochet projects.
The Zig, Zag, Zoom Quilt is so easy that the blocks almost make themselves.
Zig, Zag, Zoom is made using Hoffman California Fabric 10" Bali Crackers (40 different ten inch squares). I've ordered the same ones used in this quilt for the online shop. Be sure to keep an eye out for them, they are absolutely gorgeous...Click on the picture to read more!
Me and My Baby Lock
Quilt As Desired July 5, 2013
"Quilt as desired", those are scary words, words that send the most stout hearted of us looking for the car keys so we can safely deliver our quilt tops, runners and the like to the nearest long arm quilter. That was me until I got my Unity sewing machine from Baby Lock.
Nothing used to terrify me more than doing free motion quilting. Snarly birds nests under my work, poor tension and breaking thread were the norm rather than the exception. My Mantra with machine quilting was 'As Ye Sew, Sew Shall Ye Rip."
Being a designer my samples needed to look pretty good. Not having much luck with my quilting at home I took my projects to the machine quilters in the area. After all, nobody likes the quilt police giving them a citation for messy work!
Enter the Baby Lock. Now I'm having fun with my small projects. I'm breezing through my work making bed runners, table runners, large and small quilted pillow tops. My friends are amazed - even the picky ones. Here's a photo of a pillow top that's part of my new "Crazy Love" bed runner and pillow set. I look forward to showing you the whole pattern soon.
"We Still Make Things By Hand" April 22, 2013
“We still make things by hand.” That’s the slogan I came across today in an ad for the John C. Campbell Folk School in the latest edition of the Mother Earth News Magazine. Funny thing is that just today I had been considering why so many of us still do make things by hand, especially things that are sewn. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about making things entirely by hand. Not many of us have the spare time in our lives to do that. Even craft schools use tools and modern mechanization. I have the Baby Lock Unity in my sewing studio and it can do practically everything but the dishes.
Think of all the sewers you know. There are the quilters and the bag makers and those interested in embroidery by machine. How about the fashion sewers and sewists who have taken their skills to the next level and make a living with a sewing machine. What keeps them going back to their spare bedrooms or that corner set aside in the basement to sew their hearts out? What’s the motivation behind the need you feel to make your own things? After all it’s so easy to drive to the store and buy what you need or just click on the 'Add to Cart' button.
I know why I get up each morning and head to my studio to sew. I just love it - period. I love the colors of the fabric, the quiet whir of the Baby Lock sewing machine, the fun of figuring things out. I love planning my next project. I love showing my friends what I’ve made. I really love it when you send me pictures of what you’ve made with my Among Brenda's Quilts patterns. And I am absolutely over the moon when you take one of my patterns and tweak it so it is perfect for you. That’s what I call a pattern with purr-sonality – your personality.
Personality could be the catch word for those of us who love to sew and create. Nothing that’s been purchased can ooze personality like something you have sewn yourself. You’ve picked out the pattern that suits your style, the fabric that suits your look and the accessories that say – “Hey this is me and I love the way I look.”
Are you the kind of crafter or sewer who totally ‘zones out’ when you make something? I know I am. Apparently our brainwaves change when we are creating. Sewing is a simple activity that encourages your mind to meditate. Your mind empties and while all this mental housecleaning is taking place there is space to come up with some fantastic new ideas. You’ll see the result of all these ideas at your next fashion or quilt show. Maybe this creative glow is what keeps you hooked on sewing.
Not sewing isn't an option for the likes of you and me. Not only does making things by hand promote mental health, a sharp mind, and a relaxed state of being it’s also a way to provide pleasure to yourself and to those around you. You can connect with others through sewing, you can look fabulous in your new dress with its matching trendy bag, you can provide some little one with a snuggly blankie, or offer comfort with a donated quilt. Or if you are like me you’ll keep on sewing because you just love it.
Making Samples September 28, 2013
As summer comes to it's inevitable close the days spent working in my studio get longer and longer. That's because every fall I travel to Houston, Texas for Quilt Market. Quilt Market is a wholesale marketing convention for all things 'quilty'. I'll be having a booth there, speaking a couple of times and generally sell, sell, selling. Shops from all around the US, Canada and abroad come to recharge, learn from their peers and find new patterns, fabrics and notions.
This year I'm trying to achieve a really tight look in my booth to tie in with my new branding. You can see the logo at the top of this page. Formally I was known as 'Among Brenda's Quilts'. But now,since I'm better known now for my bags, the word 'Bags' was added to the logo. I'm hoping I don't morph into a fabric designer as well. In that case my name would need to reflect that change too. Can you imagine it - 'Among Brenda's Quilt, Bags & Fabric'! Maybe I should have initially called myself 'Brenda's Favorite Things' or 'Brenda's Bags' or 'The Best of Brenda' those names would have left some room for future growth!
The booth at Quilt Market is going to be color themed this year, something I should have done years ago. My problem is I like all kinds of fabric, country, modern, vintage etc. But that garage sale look just won't cut the mustard at Quilt Market. That's why I'm making new samples for some of my things. The goal is a cohesive look. And that look is - young, fresh and bold with a hint of playfulness.
So out with the muddy colors and in with the brights. These are the colors I gravitate towards anyway. They are the colors I wear and the colors I look best dressed in. You probably all have your own color palettes you favor just like I do. An in the end that's your look, your color spot.
So I have a little stack of fabric to dig into to make several new bags. The sewing machine is all warmed up to make those samples. That'll keep me busy for an hour or two!
Talk to you soon -- Brenda
Pellon University April 1, 2013
Last fall, at Quilt Market in Houston Texas I filmed a video for Pellon Projects where I talked about their 975 Insul-Fleece product. I use it in many of my patterns.
The new Pellon website will open on April 3 and you'll be able to access a wealth of free information and projects like the Tag-along Tea Cozy that I show on my Pellon University video.
Click on the picture to watch the video.
Piccadilly Piecing October 9, 2012
Follow Brenda's 4 step lesson plan in your quilting shop when teaching the multi-sized Piccadilly Quilt (ABQ-167). Share these tips to keep beginners coming back to your store again and again.
Click on the image link to see this helpful video!
Youtube Videos! January 2, 2012
Here's an in depth look at how batiks are used as a background fabric for hand embroidery. Follow Brenda as she gives the scoop on the benefits of using Hoffman California's 1895 collection. Tips are given on how to line your embroidery fabric and how to combine lining with transfer pens and markers.