Friday, December 3, 2010

Eazy Peazy gargantuan giveaway!

Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy
Allow me to introduce you to a very nice new pattern designer I met at Quilt Market this fall in Houston: Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy designs. She has some wonderful patterns, including a special line for those who rely on wheelchairs and walkers. Her booth caught my eye because she had the most amazing encrusted walker on display, with a nifty saddlebag hanging on it. (That’s her, and it, in the photo above.)

Your Eazier Livin’ designs are fabulous… What inspired you to make them?  
They were inspired both by my mom and by a dear handicapped friend. I designed the Sassy Smock, and my special friend did the walker saddlebag and wheelchair backpack. I was happy to publish her two patterns under the Eazy Peazy name. It was inspiring to watch her write down her ideas, then the directions. All I had to do was edit and format them. All three were thoroughly researched and are functional for the handicapped.

It looks like you've had a LOT of people test your patterns. Why is this important to you? I do believe in testing of the patterns. Not all of the testers listed on my website test every pattern, but they are my “angels” and I especially appreciate those who will challenge every step and will test from the words on the page. It makes my product better. I admit to having nightmares about publishing a pattern with a bad instructions. My concept for my company was to have easy instructions that would be user friendly. Along the way I've improved my instruction writing. Little things like starting each step with a verb. Wish I had started it with the first pattern. I’m learning! One secret I have is a husband who is a golf writer who will edit for me. He has no idea how to sew, but can check grammar, tense, etc.  So, as you see, I have a “village” behind each Eazy Peazy pattern.

Tell me more about the Double Diamond Ruler you used in your beautiful Divine Diamonds Handbag. How does it work, who makes it, and where can you buy it? 
It was designed by Kim Templin of Bright Quilting Notions. It’s a fun ruler that takes out all the hassle of measuring and cutting exactly. You select either the 3.5" or 1.5" ruler (both come in the package). Fuse your medium- and light-valued fabrics with Heat’n Bond Lite.  Then fold and use your rotary cutter in the slots provided, fold back the diamonds, place on a dark piece of fabric and secure by quilting. It’s a great way to showcase your light, medium and dark fabrics.
Photo courtesy of Kim Templin/Bright Quilting Notions

Photo courtesy of Kim Templin/Bright Quilting Notions
You can purchase it from the Bright Quilting Notions website, other online retailers, and from quilt shops. (The retail price is $21.95.) Or keep reading, and find out how to enter for a chance to win Margaret’s pattern and the ruler, too!

You have another handbag (the Heavenly Textured Handbag) that uses Texture Magic. This is another material I've never used, but I've heard great things about it. Can you describe it a bit?  
Texture Magic is a great product when you want to play with fabric. It is a steam-activated shrinking fabric that can be used with or without batting and with fancy stitches and quilting methods. Without batting it resembles smocking and is great for garments. With batting, it is super in quilts and handbags. Another use is in art quilts with the varied textures which can be achieved. A version of the product has been used in the aircraft industry since the 1960s. In fact, in a recent trip to Fantasy of Flight here in Florida, a mechanic gave me a piece (but in a much heavier weight). Leave it to the quilters to find a way to repurpose an existing product! My Second Heaven Handbag pattern uses Texture Magic, too.

It looks like your patterns list exactly the products you use to achieve a designer look.   They do; here’s another example: I personally hate purses and accessories that have no “body.” Proper interfacings are key to achieving a beautiful product. The newest interfacing which found me by way of Annie Unrein at Houston Market is  Soft and Stable. You can buy it from Annie at her website, and I predict will be a big seller for quilting stores. It is a polyester-covered foam. The machine needle glides effortlessly though it, and it gives lightweight softness while providing super body. I'll be recommending it in future patterns.

You just started your company in 2009, and went to your first Quilt Market this fall, right? Yes. A year ago at this time, I had four patterns. Now there are 11, with the twelfth almost finished.  The decision to go to Quilt Market seemed to be the logical next step for growth.

What was your experience there like? It was amazing. Hard work but very rewarding… now I know some shortcuts for setting up a booth. I had the most fun meeting shop owners from across the country and Australia and Canada who were already stocking my patterns in their shops. It was gratifying to be able to thank them personally. The networking possibilities were endless. Going to Houston was one of the best business decisions I’ve made.

Have you been sewing for a long time? What other crafts do you enjoy? I've been playing with needles and thread since childhood. Fabric and sewing have always fascinated me.  Crochet is the only thing I've tried that has absolutely eluded me. My mentor and cheerleader is Marie Seroskie of Katie Lane Quilts. Marie helped me when I started quilting and continues to aide by answering questions via e-mail.

Is that Julie Creus from La Todera as a model on your pattern covers? She was in the booth next to yours at Quilt Market, right? Are you two friends? Yes, Julie Creus is a friend and fellow quilter. I twisted her arm to get her to pose for the covers! She just had the look I was searching for to represent my company. Julie and I jokingly call each other “Thelma and Louise.” We've been sharing information about pattern publication, printing, distributing, etc. as we grow our businesses, which we started at about the same time. It’s nice to have someone traveling the same road to bounce ideas off of. Together we swallowed hard, wrote our checks to go to Houston, loaded an SUV with our stuff and had a wonderful trip and experience at our first Quilt Market. 

Margaret has generously given me one of each of her 11 patterns to give away to my readers. Isn’t that sweet? She has a bunch of patterns for things that would make wonderful handmade holiday gifts (stuff like cell phone cases, coupon cases, and spectacle or rotary cutter cases). To enter this giveaway, please go to the Eazy Peazy website and take a look at Margaret’s patterns. Then leave a comment after this blog post and tell me which design you'd like to win, and why. I'll pull 11 names at noon EST on Dec. 10. 

The winner of the Divine Diamonds Handbag pattern will also win a Double Diamond Ruler, courtesy of Kim Templin of Bright Quilting Notions. (Thanks, Kim!)

I will also pull the name of a twelfth person to win a 18" x 58" package of Soft and Stable, courtesy of Annie Unrein of ByAnnie. (Thanks, Annie!)
Pattern and product photos courtesy of Margaret Travis.

Can you believe it? Margaret sent me another set of patterns. So lots of you are winners! I drew names at random, and when possible, matched you up with the pattern you liked best. 

Sassy Smock: MamaCrow and Tami@LemonTreeTales
Stroller or Wheelchair Backpack: Kathleen and Laura T. 
Walker Saddlebag: Robin C. and Debbie (Woolen Sails)
Bodacious Brag Bag: Jackie and Dolores
Divine Diamonds Handbag pattern and Double Diamond Ruler: Marcia and Rhonda G.
Second Heaven: TZel and Cara
Heavenly Textured Handbag: Mary Jo and Dinah T.
Spectacular Spectacle or Rotary Cutter Cases: Mimi and Karen
Captivating Cell Phone Caddy: QuiltNQueen and Sandee
Convenient Coupon Caddy:  and RustyBird
Luverly Luggage Tag and Marvelous MiniWallet: Fulvia and Gill
Soft & Stable: Di

I’m going to be on The Quilt Show!

I’m so excited… I’ve just been asked to be on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims! The filming will take place in April, and the shows will air starting in the summer. 

Don’t know about The Quilt Show? You should! It is “the world’s first full-servic interactive online video/web magazine created just for quilters worldwide,” according to Alex’s website. The web “TV” show is produced just like a television show, but viewed online for a monthly or annual fee. Each show features quilting inspiration and instruction from well-known quilters. Some of the episodes are shot in front of a live audience, and others are shot at interesting locations. You can watch a free show on the website before you decide to join.

When I first started designing quilt patterns, I dreamed on being on Alex’s “Simply Quilts” TV show, which aired on Home and Garden TV (HGTV) for 11 years. I watched it all the time, and I was so upset when it went off the air!

Alex went on to create this amazing new show with Ricky Tims, contemporary quiltmaker, author, musician and quilting teacher. The Quilt Show’s website is an online community of quilters nearly 70,000 strong. They have contests, projects, a quilt gallery, classes, and a store. They also offer some amazing block-of-the-month programs like this fabulous “Ruffled Roses” by Sue Garman (one of my favorite designers; I just adore her stuff!), coming in 2011: 

I’ve been a reader of Alex and Ricky’s wonderful Daily Blog for a while. I also love their new magazine, The Quilt Life, which is produced through the American Quilter’s Society (AQS). You can read more about it, and subscribe, here. It has great articles, very high-quality patterns and instructions, and to top it all off, it is really beautifully designed and the printing and paper are also top-notch (as a graphic designer, I pay attention to these things!)

When I was discussing my segments with Alex this morning, she told me that they are offering a free membership to The Quilt Show for the month of December. This is a great way to try it out for yourself before you decide to join. Just click here, fill out a short registration form, and you’re in. Enjoy!