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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Updates

Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you know a few updates that I am doing on my website.  Many people have asked if I would put a little bio of myself on my website and a picture.  At first I didn't want to do this because it is embarrassing but after several different companies and people have mentioned it, I thought about it more.  One of the things that I do when I'm looking at a website, blog or even a book, is I check to see what someone looks like and a bit about them.  So, I thought, I should include a picture with my bio. 

Another thing that C&T Publishing mentioned is that I need to put testimonials on my website of my patterns.  So...I'm asking you.  Can you comment on some of my patterns, if you like them or what you like about them?  I would really appreciate the feed back.  If you make a positive comment, I will email you a special pattern just for you!  So, that means, I need your email address too.  If you prefer not to post your email address, please email the comment and your email address to me at:
info@opengatequilts.com  I hate to ask people for favors but I'm not above bribing you guys with something special!  :)

Meanwhile, Christmas is in full swing at my house and here in the office.  (yes, I do have another job)  We have lots of cookies, everyone's happy and in good cheer.  Lots of dinners out and visiting with friends and family.  Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.

I did get to sew last weekend and here are some yummy fabrics that I am working on.  I love the combination of pinks, reds and creams and these are from a Fench General line Pom Pom de Paris.  Yum!  One of my favorite parts of quilting is the choosing and planning of the quilt.  The anticipation of how it will look, the colors, the hunting for the perfect fabrics.  So much fun! 

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One more picture of Tillie - this is how she looks when I leave the room and she is waiting for me. 

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Well, take care and I will blog next week. 

Monique
11:06 am est          Comments

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quiltmaker Interview

When Ballyseede came out in Quiltmaker magazine, they asked me where the inspiration for the quilt and the name came from.  When I told them, they then asked if I would do an interview for their blog.  I agreed and they posted it last week on their blog.  Here is the interview:

Monique Dillard’s Ballyseede Quilt

The Jan/Feb issue of Quiltmaker features a quilt called Ballyseede by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts. We asked Monique to tell us about the quilt’s inspiration.

Ballyseede by Monique Dillard from Quiltmaker Jan/Feb 2011

Ballyseede by Monique Dillard from Quiltmaker Jan/Feb 2011

Ballyseede is an unusual name for a quilt. What is its origin?

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A couple of years ago, a friend and I traveled to Ireland for a tour of the country.  We stayed in a castle in Tralee and the castle’s name is Ballyseede.

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The tile floor in the entryway had a beautiful design.  I thought it was perfect inspiration for a quilt.

Please tell us a little about the trip: its purpose, your traveling companions, places you visited.

The purpose of the trip was purely pleasure.  I lived in Germany for two years.  My parents taught for the military and were based in Lahr in the Black Forest about 30 miles from Strasbourg, France. I had many opportunities to travel in the main part of Europe but not Ireland. I had always wanted to go there and definitely want to return.

About three years before we went, my friend Sue and I started saving for the trip. We planned for months and gathered opinions from friends who had been there. First we spent 3 days in London and then we flew to Dublin and headed straight for the countryside.

One of the things I like to do when I visit another country is to bring small handmade gifts for people that we meet. If they are particularly helpful or friendly, we will give them a gift. The first time that I did this, my friend and I made small wool table mats and for this trip to Ireland, we made pillowcases.  The recipients were very pleased with their gifts and it felt good to show our appreciation.

What did you find inspiring during the trip and how are those inspirations finding their way into your quilts?

The tile works and scenery were so inspiring!  The beautiful greens of the countryside were admirable. There were tile floors all over and the possibilities were endless. I have named several of my quilts after places that we visited in Ireland. The town of Kinsale was inspiration for one of my quilts.

Our favorite village, Inistioge, was also an inspiration for our Block of the Month book. Up the hill from Inistioge is Woodstock Gardens. We named one of the quilts after this stunning place. The trees, shrubs, flowers and grass areas were unbelievable.

What travel recommendations would you make for others going to the same places? What would you recommend that people not miss?

Stay in B & B’s so that you can talk to the owners of the establishments and learn the best places to go. Take time to stop and have a beer and talk to the locals. I loved the small towns, the history and the scenery. If you are brave enough to drive, do it! The roads are very narrow but it is worth being able to go wherever you want. We saw many things that would be hard to see from a train. There were times when we stopped just to take a picture or wander around.

Places that shouldn’t be missed: Adare, Kinsale, Kenmare, Dingle, Inistioge, and Doolin. Sites not to miss: Woodstock Gardens, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Countryside views.

Anything else about the quilt, your work or yourself you’d like our readers to know?

I grew up sewing with my aunt and I loved Home Ec. I was born in Canada. When I was 21 and I moved to the U.S. to marry my husband, I told him I wanted two things: to get my degree and to get an Old English Sheepdog. I did both.

My degree in mathematics plays an important role in my quilting career. I use math in my patterns to figure yardage, cutting and the geometry of the quilts. I have designed three rulers and math plays an important part in designing them.

I have designed over 75 patterns, three block of the month books with my friend Sue, one baby book and a line of fabric with Maywood Studio. My love of antique textiles, tapestries and tiles gave me inspiration to design my fabric line, Olde World Style. Traveling throughout Europe and seeing the beautiful architecture has been inspirational.

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Remember that I told you that I would have pictures of Tillie and Sadie?  Well, I do.  They had a blast.  At first, Tillie wasn't sure what to do with Sadie because she has so much energy but she soon figured it out.  They chased each other, ate snow, jumped, barked, had a blast.  That night, Tillie was exhausted and I want to know when Sadie can come back for another play date!!!!

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LeAnne, LeAnne's daughter, Sami, Sadie and Tillie

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Tag, you're it!

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Aren't we playing anymore?!

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Sweet Sadie

Thanks for dropping by!

Monique
12:40 pm est          Comments

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weekend of Sewing

I am so excited!!  I am going to have 3 whole days to sew, sew, sew!  I have Fridays off from my "real job" so most of the time I am home.  It just seems like lately, I am running errands on Friday, working on the computer, or trying to get things done around the house.  So, I've decided that everything is going to have to wait until Monday and I'm going to sew all weekend.

The only problem is...Tillie.  If I am in my sewing room, she can't be there.  Why?  You ask.  Well, if you have a puppy, you know exactly why.  If I give her a toy, she chews for about 10 seconds and then she's looking for something else to do.  Of course, my sewing room is not exactly the neatest place, especially when I am working on a project so she immediately is looking for something else to get into.  Then she is put back in the family room with Bill.  Lots of crying goes on and then about an hour later, Bill comes in and says "Tillie and I are lonely!"  Oh boy!  So, I go into the family room for a while and hang out with them.   This is my day.  Of course, I wouldn't change them for anything but it sure is hard to get things done lately.  My goal this weekend is to start early, take lots of Bill and Tillie breaks and get some sewing done.  I am working on a project in my favorite colors...red and creams.  Here are some pieces.   I can't show you the whole block but wanted you to see how wonderful the fabrics are.  Made, of course, using my Fit to be Geese ruler!

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We had our first snow fall this past weekend and Tillie loved it!  Here are some pictures of her playing in the snow!  She had a blast running and jumping. 

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Tillie and I are getting some visitors tomorrow.  LeAnne Olson, my awesome talented machine quilter is bringing her Old English Sheepdog, Sadie over to meet Tillie.  I am so excited.  Tillie will have a buddy that's not an old grump (no offense to Maple because you know I love her but she's old and doesn't want anything to do with Tillie)  Sadie is 4 so she is full of energy and will run Tillie like crazy.  Love it!  Will have some good pictures of them.

Have a great weekend!

Monique
12:21 pm est          Comments

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fat Quarter Book!

I am so excited!!  My book is starting to be advertised.  I received the C&T Publishing catalog and I'm in there!  It is such a thrill to see your name in print.  Here is a picture of the cover for my book. 

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This is a synopsis of the book, straight from C&T Publishing:

Fat Quarter Winners
11 New Quilt Projects from Open Gate

What makes this fat-quarter book different is the emphasis on using every last bit of each piece of fabric.  From block to backing to binding, nothing is wasted.  Each project includes Monique's "clever shortcuts," as well as streamlined techniques for easy piecing.  Each pair of blocks creates interesting secondary patterns when they're combined to reveal a more complex look

- 11 classic quilt designs to make with favorite fat quarters

- Create great two-color quilts with coordinating blocks from just two different fat quarter fabrics

- Multiple quilt sizes are included for each project - just add extra fat quarter-based block to go from a lap quilt to a king-sized bed quilt.

Here are some of the quilts in the book: 

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Pinochle

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Crazy Eights

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Rummy

Are you wondering where the names came from?  I named the quilts in the books after the card games that I grew up playing.  It's a great reminder of my childhood and I still play cards with my husband and our families. 

My book is the first in a series that C&T is publishing.  It is called the Quiltmaker's Club - More Patters for Less.  They have gathered projects from established patternmakers into affordable books.  The book retails for $14.95, great deal! 

The release date is April, 2011.  We will have more details on pre-order on www.bundlesandbolts.com soon!

Talk to you soon!

Monique
11:57 am est          Comments

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December is here!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait for Christmas?  I try to remind myself of this whenever the holidays get overwhelming and you feel like time goes too fast.  It's a great way to keep yourself grounded and enjoy the holidays.  Whatever holiday you celebrate, remember to take the time to enjoy.  I'm trying to stop and enjoy the moments in life.  Last night, Sue and I went over to my friend, Joyce's house and we sewed Christmas gifts.  We laughed, ate and talked.  When I think about it now, what a great way to spend an evening. 

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Sue and Tillie's sister, Mini

Tillie is growing like a weed!  She is getting taller and taller and her nose can now stretch to sniff what's on the table.  Of course, we are trying to keep her from doing that but you know how puppies are!  She is a very playful puppy and she thinks that Maple and I are her playthings!  Maple is getting much more tolerant of her so things are getting calmer at our house.  Here are some new pictures of Tillie.  Okay, question of the day, what do you do to help the teething?  She is constantly chewing on everything, especially my fingers!  I've tried yelping like a puppy, grabbing her mouth, saying "No!", giving her a toy to bite...any other suggestions from those "dog whisperers" out there?  She is a great puppy but her mouth is going 24-7. 



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Let's play!

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Whatcha doing, mom?!?

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Sweet Face

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Look how long she's getting!


Did I tell everyone that I am writing a book for C&T Publishing?  It is due out April, 2011 and it is a fat quarter book.  This is my first book that I have written for C&T.  It was an awesome experience and I am enjoying the whole process.  C&T is both professional and supportive.  There will be 11 projects in the book and with most of the quilts, I've included a chart with multiple sizes.  The book is called Fat Quarter Winners and I based all the names of the quilts after card games that I grew up playing.  Can't wait for it to come out and for you guys to see it.  I will be posting sneak peaks in the months to come. 

Well, that's it for now, don't forget to comment on help for my teething puppy! 

Monique
12:50 pm est          Comments


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