Friends in Fabric, Redux...and a Give-Away!

I've written previously about the friends I've made through textiles, and it's time to mention two of them again. My buddies Mary Lou Weidman and Mel McFarland are not only two of the most down-to-earth, most fun, and most talented women I know, but they've come together to create a new book Out of the Box with Easy Blocks: Fun with Free-Form Quilting.

I've had the good fortune to hear about and see bits and pieces of the book as the quilts came together, and last fall in Lake Tahoe I even got to make a shoe block that wound up (on page 71, in case you're looking) in a quilt featured in the book's gallery of quilts.

Mary Lou's French fabric pineapple quilt
If you've read Pearl the Squirrel for awhile, you've heard the tale of how we all met—I interviewed Mary Lou for an American Patchwork and Quilting article and she wound up inviting me, a total stranger, to Quilt Market. And there I met Mel who turns out to live not too far from my parents in California. Since then I've had the opportunity to get together with them in Lake Tahoe (here and here) to sew. I also took a class from Mary Lou at John C. Campbell in January 2010. So despite our geographic differences, our paths have crossed, all thanks to fabric and sewing.

Mel & cow quilt at my parents' home in S.Cal
The new book really reflects Mary Lou and Mel's spirits—lots of cheerful imagery that celebrates special occasions and the everyday. The patterns give you an opportunity to create quilts for birthdays or babies and there are fantastic instructions to create the cow quilt, letters, cats, fruit, and more. After you've tried a few of them, you'll be ready to make just about anything you want.

So, in honor of my fabulous friends and their colorful, inspiration-filled volume, I'm giving a copy away. For a chance to win, leave a comment about one of your friends in fabric—at the very least, tell me her or his first name, and if you're feeling chatty, tell us a story about that friendship. One lucky commenter will be selected at random to receive a copy of Out of the Box with Easy Blocks!

Last day to comment will be Friday, August 26, so get cracking! I look forward to hearing from you.