Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Checkerboard quilt

I'm excited to share my latest magazine quilt, Checkerboard, which is in the May/June 2018 issue of Modern Patchwork. It's always a thrill to see my name in print! The quilt is made using Paintbrush studio's Painter's Palette Solids. They're my favorite solids to sew with--they're silky smooth and so saturated with color. You can see all 168 colors here

The cover: 

Find the magazine here.

I love improv log cabin blocks! They're fun to make, and each one turns out different from its neighbors. I made a smaller version of this quilt last year (below), but wanted to do more with the design. 

When I designed the Checkerboard quilt, I tried a few versions that were all log cabin blocks (in other words, a bigger version of what you see above) and it was just too much. The quilt needed breathing space. I really liked what the negative space above the below the block row added to the design.

I took some more photos of my quilt to share. 
If I'd taken them a day earlier, I would have had a snowy backdrop (ugh!). 

The full quilt:

I love how the transition of colors makes the block centers look like they're popping out (orange) and receding back (blue). I really enjoyed choosing the colors to use in these blocks, but it was harder than you'd think!

These next few shots really show off the quilting. Diane Oakes did a fabulous job! She quilted a spiraling square in each block, and then straight lines in the solid sections.

Blue block close-up:

Orange block close-up:

Saturday, April 7, 2018

April OMG - Rolling Waves

I didn't make my March goal. I might have been able to if I rushed the last day, but I went with quality over speed and didn't finish.

I did all the background (shades of gray) quilting, and I finished the straight line boxes in the green and orange blocks. I still need to do the purple and blue blocks and then do some wiggles in all the blocks. 

But that's not my April project for One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts. My April project is to complete the top of my Rolling Waves quilt, which will soon be a pattern. (Read more about it here.)

I have two blocks done: 

And 14 more almost done. 

Here's what the quilt will look like:

Can't wait to get it done!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Crossroads in American Patchwork & Quilting!

Happy April!
I've been eagerly awaiting this day for a couple weeks. The June 2018 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting goes on sale today, and I have a quilt in it! My quilt is called Crossroads, and it uses Sarah Fielke's Wordplay collection for Windham Fabrics.

Here it is! Don't you love that dark blue wall behind the quilt? 
Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine.
 ©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The cover quilt is pretty great, isn't it? 

Let me tell you how this quilt came to be.
I had the idea to use large log cabin blocks to make a version of an eight-pointed star. My husband and I were returning from a kid-free mini vacation last summer, and while he drove, I pulled out my laptop, enjoying the silence (there are usually three boys in the back seat!), and played around with a design. 

Here's what I came up with:

Okay, so maybe not a star, like I'd envisioned, but still cool! I thought it might be a winner, and started looking for a fabric line to use in the quilt. I knew I wanted the outer sections of each block to be a mix of low volume prints. Then I saw Wordplay and fell in love. These prints were perfect for my quilt! I plugged in the digital swatches, submitted it to American Patchwork & Quilting, and here we are, eight months later. This is my first quilt published in AP&Q--I was excited! 

I got the quilt back last week and took it outside for a short photoshoot. I love how the brights pop against the low-volume background. The contrast shows up beautifully in photography. I also love the variety of colors in the prints--several blues, bright green, red, was fun to choose which prints to use in the quilt. 

On our swing set's climbing wall:

Hanging over our deck railing:

I need to send a big thank you to two people involved in the making of Crossroads. 
First, my mom, Lindy, who happened to be in town for the weekend while I was piecing this quilt AND the hourglass quilt last September. She helped cut the first log cabin block strips and then pressed after I pieced. I love these prints, but we had to cut very carefully to make sure each strip was as straight as possible. The results were worth it!

And second, Diane Oakes, who quilted it so beautifully. She and I talked about a couple different motifs, and she varied them, stitching a design in each strip row. You can see some of the detail below. 

I have two more quilts featured in magazines coming out in the next month or two which I'll be sharing as the issues go on sale--you're seeing why I was so busy last fall! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March One Monthly Goal: A lot of quilting!

 My pile of unquilted tops is reaching staggering I'm going to start quilting my way through it! First up is this print fabric version of my original Diamond Drama solids quilt

My mom pieced this for me (thanks Mom!) after she and I selected the fabrics together. Here's a close-up of it. The entire quilt is rolled up in the throat of my sewing machine right now, so you'll have to wait until the end of the month to see the whole quilt! 

So my March goal for One Monthly Goal (thanks, Elm Street Quilts!) is to finish quilting my Diamond Drama prints quilt. 

The original Diamond Drama quilt was quilted by a super talented professional--Brianne Moores--so this version won't be as cool with me quilting it, but I'm excited to try it out and see what I can do, using the seams as guidelines. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

OMG: Wonky Spirals in Red, Black and White!

My February goal for One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts was to finish my third Wonky Spirals quilt top. I started piecing this version when I taught this pattern in a class at Bernina Sewing Center & Quilt Shop in Kalamazoo. 

I used Bittersweet from Paintbrush Studio's Painter's Palette Solids collection as my red background, and then paired it with black and white prints from my stash. 

I got addicted to making the mini spiral blocks--they're 6" square finished--so I added eight of them into my quilt top. I love what they add to the design! 

Now to quilt this...!

See other versions of my Wonky Spirals quilt pattern here
Purchase the pattern on Craftsy here.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tic Tac Toe Tutorial

Every year around Valentine's Day, I pull out my fabric Tic Tac Toe board. 

The game itself isn't valentine-y, but the colors are! And then I got inspired and changed the Os into it's ready for February 14th! 

You can find the Tic Tac Toe board tutorial here; go here to find the heart add-ons. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

OMG: RED blocks!

My February One Monthly Goal (thank you, Patty @ Elm Creek Quilts!) is, appropriately, red (and black and white)!
I started these red, black and white wonky spiral blocks to use as samples for my Wonky Spirals quilt class. I now have about nine made/almost finished. My goal for February is to complete the quilt top. 

Here's a look at my other two Wonky Spirals quilts; 
this version uses sashing and borders to help the spirals pop out even more. 

And the original design, shown here on my pattern cover; 
you can purchase the pattern on Craftsy here.

I've got a little different layout planned for this third version...
can't wait to see how it turns out! 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

OMG: Hearts Galore!

My heart quilt is complete! I even washed it to get that great crinkle look before I send it off. My January goal for One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts was to assemble, quilt and bind this baby quilt. 

I made the hearts using a tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew and a charm pack from Amy Gibson's Meriwether collection from Windham Fabrics. After I finished the hearts, my goal was to make the quilt bigger. So I added sashing strips with pink sashing squares and then four different borders. The green was a happy accident--I just happened to have it and it matched the green in the prints! The quilt measures about 33" square. 

I browsed online for some quilting inspiration and went with a diagonal crosshatch.I like how it looks (and it disguises the slightly-less-than-straight border issues I had). I finished the quilt with a pink flange to add a little extra color. 

The other happy accident with this quilt is the backing. I headed to my local quilt shop, hoping to find something flowery and fun that would coordinate. I'd gotten the charm pack back in May and hadn't grabbed any Meriwether yardage at the time. Imagine my delight when the quilt shop had this small green print! 

I love quilted texture shots...

A closer look at a few of the heart blocks. When I initially cut the charm squares in half, I cut quickly and blindly and somehow managed to cut each directional print in half the "wrong" way. Oh well...
One last confession: Besides liking the crinkly effect, I had to wash the quilt because I cut my finger with a thread scissors as I was adding the binding. I stubbornly chose not to get a bandaid before continuing, and yep! I bled on the white solid outer border in two different places. Dumb. 
But happily it came out...

Sending this quilt off to a sweet little baby in Ohio! 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Wonky Spirals class

I taught my first quilting class this past weekend. I've given demos and talked people's ears off before about quilting and my quilts (who hasn't, right?!), but this was the first time I've actually officially taught a class. 

I taught improv piecing for my Wonky Spirals pattern at Bernina Sewing Center & Quilt Shop in Kalamazoo. Eight guinea pigs (I mean, lucky quilters...) signed up for the class. We had a great time! A big thanks to Karen and Bernina for hosting the class. 
Here's the pattern! You can purchase it here.

Here's the original version of the quilt I made, using Painter's Palette Solids:
The quilt is a wonky log cabin block with careful color placement. The blocks are fun to make, and each one turns out slightly different! 

My goal for the class was to get people to the point that they were comfortable with improv piecing. Not everyone thinks that cutting without measuring and then randomly trimming off angled slices of fabric is fun. I think I succeeded in that goal. All eight ladies made at least four blocks each, and a few speedy piecers made seven or eight blocks. 
Action shot: helping Joanne decide if she needs more strips before squaring up.

I brought in both of my samples (with and without sashing strips and a border) to show, and then demonstrated the technique on my third go-around of the quilt, using red as the background and black and white prints for the spirals. 

Here's my second version, made using fun prints from the Uppercase collection with a dark gray background. This quilt has sashing strips between the blocks and a border, so the spirals jump out a bit more. 

And finally, a few of the red, black and white blocks I made as class samples. Aren't the little blocks adorable?! I can't wait to put this one together! 

Here's a look at some of the blocks made in the class:
Deb, wearing her blocks. Hers is going to be a quilt for a baby boy.

Jane chose a variety of blues and a dark gray background.

Joanne used brightly colored dot/circle prints with black.
You can see Teri's blocks in the background.

Laurie used a tiny crosshatch print with a mottled black.

Sue combined fun blue, lime and yellow prints with a green crosshatch.

Teri's spring palette mixed with beige. 

Margaret mixed a pretty solid palette with cream grunge.

I loved the batiks Sharon used. They really popped on the black!

I love seeing everyone's fabric choices--they're all so different! 

Great news! If you'd like to purchase the Wonky Spirals pattern, you can! It's available as a digital download on Craftsy. Kalamazoo friends, the paper version is also for sale at Bernina. 

And if you'd like me to come teach this class at your local quilt me and we'll talk! 

See all of my current Craftsy patterns available for purchase here

Friday, January 19, 2018

Revising the Monkey Wrench

For me, part of the fun of modern quilting is taking a more traditional block and finding ways to make it look more modern. That can happen through fabric choice, playing with scale, or even just going wonky with it (like my Wonky Spirals quilt pattern, which is a Log Cabin variation).

The Modern with a Twist feature in Benartex's e-zine, Modern by the Yard, involves that same concept. In the feature, three different designers create their own modern version of the Monkey Wrench, aka Snail's Trail block. (As an aside...I always thought of the Monkey Wrench as the same block as the Churn Dash, but it's also another name for the Snail's Trail.)

I decided to play with negative space and only fill in the "curls" on two adjoining sides of the block. I used the All About Color collection from Kanvas, which has these fantastic polka dots in it! 

Just for fun, I mocked up a quilt using my wave block. I used two color variations. I really like the graphic punch it creates! This quilt is going on the "have to make" list!

See the entire Modern by the Yard e-zine here, as well as back issues!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 2018: Picking up where I left off

So the holidays got in the way and I didn't finish my December One Monthly Goal. Note to self: Pick easy goals for December! 

I finished making my heart blocks though. My January One Monthly Goal is to finish this quilt--pieced, quilted and bound. I think I can do it! 
Linking up over at Elm Street Quilts