Monday, May 22, 2017

spring quilt market 2017

Last week/weekend I had the opportunity to go to spring Quilt Market in St. Louis, Missouri. Quilt market is a twice-yearly trade show which is only open to people in the quilting industry. It's a lot of fun, but it's also tiring and completely over stimulating. I went to promote my new book, so I gave a schoolhouse presentation and I did a few book signings. I roomed with my long time blog friend, Thimbleanna. All around, it was wonderful!
(I actually remembered to take a quick photo before the signing started! Hurray!)
This booth by Sandra Clemons was amazing. There were hundreds of butterflies folded and individually pinned to the booth. It was really stunning. I wish I would have taken a close up shot of a butterfly, but I completely overlooked that. I would have loved to talk to her about the process, too, but she wasn't in the booth at the time that I was there. I'm glad I have a few photos!
And if the previous photo wasn't stunning enough, there are hundreds more butterflies in front of this quilt, too!

This quilt called Patchwork Garden by Sherri McConnell caught my eye. I'm sure that comes as no surprise! I love all of those little squares!
Sorry for the poor photo of this quilt, but I wanted to share it anyway. It's called Girl Next Door, by Louise Papas, who I've "known" through the blog and Instagram for a long time. It was hanging in lovely Jen Kingwell's booth. It was fun to see the quilt in person!
There was a bit of a shoe theme at market. Starting with this quilt called Girls Night Out by Terri Degenkolb.
This quilt is called "Kicks" by Latifah Saafir. I really, REALLY want to make this one.
And there was also a roller skate quilt in the Cotton + Steel booth. So fun!
Lori Holt always makes cute quilts. This one called Bee Happy is going to be a sew along quilt this summer, I believe? My local quilt shop is going to be participating in it, so I think I just may join them.
I need another project like I need a hole in the head, but the cute little plaid thermos detail was most certainly the tipping point for me. EEEEP! SO cute!
 I loved this basket of rolled up quilts in Lee Chappell's booth!
 These two quilts from Sue Daley caught my eye. I would love bed sized quilts of both of them!
 I really need to try a clam shell quilt someday...even if it is just a mini.
Amy Smart had her first booth to promote her first line of fabric called Gingham Girls for Riley Blake. We were twinning, so we had to get a photo! It was so fun to see friends from the blog in real life again and catch up! It's definitely one of the best parts of market. (I'm on the left and I'm wearing my washi dress! Amy is on the right and she's wearing a tova tunic.)
My friends talked me into going to sample spree, which was QUITE an experience. Below is what I purchased, which shows incredible restraint if you consider the temptation and the excellent prices. One of the bundles is for a friend of mine. I've got plans for the pink flamingo Kona cotton that I'm pretty excited about!
Since I did a schoolhouse at market, I took 7 quilts to show during my presentation. Anna and I slept under different quilts each night. Hotel beds never looked so good! (All the quilt patterns are in my book, No Scrap Left Behind!) I'm so very glad that I made these quilts big enough to sleep under. That was my original intention, and it's nice that it paid off.

Night one...
Night two....
Night three...
I apologize for the quality of some of the photos in this post. The lighting in the convention was truly awful, but I hope that the photos are inspiring nonetheless.

I'm mostly deadline free at the moment, which is super exciting. It's been awhile and I'm excited to sew FOR FUN again. It's going to be great!

Happy Monday to you!!!

Friday, May 19, 2017

big nines-a completed quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm not completely sure, but I think the month of May just might be the end of me. Man, it's been busy! If I've been sewing, it's mostly been something that I can't show yet. So, for sanity sake, I whipped up this little quilt top. I needed to see something completed, and quick like! Something bigger than a pincushion. Hahaha!
I used 10 different solid fabrics from my stash in this quilt. The white blocks are Kona cotton (Snow) and the solids are from a variety of different manufacturers, but mostly Kona.
The blocks finish at 16", so the quilt should finish at about 48" square. I'm excited because I already have a plan for quilting and binding. Figuring out a backing shouldn't be too hard.
You can find the block tutorial here, if you care to make one of your own! I think this would be super cute done up in subtle prints, too.

That's it for me today! Now, it's your turn. Please link up your finishes, and thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

moody quilt-the beginning

Well, I've started another WIP. That's a few in one week! It's a very good thing that I was on a finishing bender earlier this year. Ha!
For this quilt, I'm using Kona shadow for the background and a variety of mixed substrate scraps for the triangles. Many thanks to my friend, Anna, for the beautiful scraps! (Most of them are Essex linen, chambray, or lightweight denim.) I love the pairing and the moody nature of this quilt so far!
The pattern is based on my chain of diamonds quilt, which can be found in my book No Scrap Left Behind. For this version, however, I upsized the blocks so I could finish this quilt sometime in this decade. :) I cut the background squares 4 1/2" and the triangles are made from 3 1/2" squares that were cut on the diagonal once. I may or may not add in some navy and very dark blue solids for a little more depth.

I'm excited to see how it all comes together in the next few weeks! Hurray for scraps! :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

big nines-a quilt block tutorial

I get asked all the time, "If you always make scrap quilts, where do all the scraps come from?" That's a great question. Many people pass along their scraps to me, and I enjoy sewing them up. The other part of that answer is, I DO make quilts from the stash from time to time. Here's the start of one! As much as I love tiny pieces and sewing up scraps, sometimes a "palette cleanser" quilt is in order. This is a super easy block that, while simple, is still big on impact.
This is directly opposite from my mini nines quilt. This block will finish at 16"!! (color is Kona peapod.)

I thought I would share the measurements for the quilt block, in case you want to try one of your own. I bet you could whip one up in under 30 minutes! I didn't time myself making just one block, but I wish I would have.

For each block, you will need a fat quarter of background fabric and a 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of white fabric. (If you are using yardage, you will need 1/3 yard of each color, and you will have some scraps leftover.)
From the white:
Cut 5 squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

From the solid color:
Cut 2 pieces 5 1/2" x 16 1/2"
Cut 2 pieces 5 1/2" x 6 1/2"
Cut 4 squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"
(Cut the largest pieces first.)
 Sew 2 1/2" squares together into three strips, as shown. Press seams toward the darker fabric.
Sew 3 strips together to make a 9 patch block. Press seams toward the center strip of the block. (This will prevent as much shadowing as possible without pressing the seams open.) The block should measure 6 1/2" unfinished.
Sew the 5 1/2" x 6 1/2" pieces to either side of the 9 patch block. Press seams toward the outside of the block.
Sew the 5 1/2" x 16 1/2" pieces of fabric to the top and the bottom. Press seams toward the outside of the block. The block should measure 16 1/2" unfinished.

Easier than pie! :)
When I was making the blocks this morning, it occurred to me that it would be fun to mix up the colors of the 9 patch and the borders. It would produce a fun, but different, look. So many possibilities!

Monday, May 15, 2017

a great weekend

I had the opportunity to speak at teach at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts in Cedarburg over the weekend. Many thanks to the wonderful students that attended my class and lecture on Saturday. It was a very fun day!
The museum is a lovely little place in an adorable town that I've visited once before, when I took a workshop from Densyse Schmidt. The museum changes the display 4 times a year, I believe. This quilt caught my eye immediately. It was absolutely stunning and it drew me in!
The little cross blocks were pieced from a variety of solids. Each pieced block finished just over 1"or so. (I didn't measure. I didn't touch the quilt, either. :))
I loved reading the artist's description. There are 6,300 pieces in the quilt. (Which just goes to show you that I'm not the craziest quilter around. Hahaha! I mean that with absolutely no disrespect to the maker.)
I've been dreaming of immersing myself in a study of scrap play in solid fabrics for months now, so this quilt really struck a cord with me. I don't think I'm going to go this tiny with my piecing, but I thought it was very inspiring!
When I got home LATE Saturday night, I walked into a clean house, roses on the table and a pile of presents on the bookshelf. My family spoiled me for Mother's Day and it was a wonderful welcome home. I hope YOU had a great Mother's Day weekend as well.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, May 12, 2017

nine mini nines

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Is it just me, or did Friday come around awfully quick this week? ;)
I carved out some time to finish up the (9!) mini nines pincushions that I started a few weeks ago. I really dislike production line sewing, but having this many pincushions to photograph at once makes it ALL worth it!
I hand stitched the openings closed on half of these while my younger son was getting some teeth pulled, and I finished up the other half of them when I was waiting for my older son's band concert to start. Hurray for portable sewing! :)
I love the combination of the bright solids paired with the natural Essex linen. I'm ALMOST tempted to start another quilt like this.... almost!
One of my favorite parts about making the pincushions is picking the backing. Actually, arranging them in color order has to be the most fun! Picking the backing has to be a close second. :)

There is a tutorial here, if you'd care to make your own! You can see the entire quilt I made from this block here.

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. I hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


I've been working on my focus blocks as much as I can lately. It's been quite enjoyable to settle into another hand piecing project! Fussy cutting the centers is a great starting point for each block.
This narwhal block is a favorite! I've been digging deep into my stash to find just the right fabric combinations. I'm using even my most precious fabrics for this quilt... trying to work against my fabric hoarding tendencies a little bit at a time. :)
My finished block count is up to 28! Eeep!
This is by no means the final layout, I felt the need to lay them out to see how it was progressing. I think they are going to work just fine together. Hurray!
The templates are available here, and there is a post about EPP here, that may be helpful to you. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

No Scrap Left Behind book winners

Thanks for all your fun comments on my last post. I loved reading about your favorite colors/color combinations! Even those of you who like purple. :)

The winner of the hard copy of the book is: Material Girl from NY
The winner of the digital copy of the book is: puntadas de una peregrina from Spain

I also haven't heard from my winner from last week, Jill Leslie, who will be receiving a digital copy of the book as well. Jill, please email me.

Thank you ALL who left a comment. I hope you have a lovely and blessed week!

Friday, May 05, 2017

the subtle quilt

Welcome to finish up Friday AND the final day of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour. I appreciate all of the kind comments that were left along the way. It's been fun to finally show the quilts I worked so hard on behind the scenes for months on end. (Secret sewing is not easy!)

Today my friend Amy, of Diary of a Quilter, is sharing her beautiful take on the subtle quilt. Amy and I have been long time blog friends and we've even been quilt market roommates a time or two. I had to chuckle when she picked the subtle quilt, because it seemed like it would be right up her alley. It's fun to see the quilt sewn up in a different color way, too! She's giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to visit her here.

There's so much I could say about this quilt, I don't even know where to start. It's definitely a favorite! In a lot of ways this quilt reminds me of my grandmother. She was a simple, hard-working lady who loved the color red. She was definitely a make-do-and-mend kind of woman. This quilt is an homage to her.
This quilt started out with the idea of making a scrappy Irish chain quilt, but completely scrappy, not focusing on just one color for the chain. This is really embarrassing, but this was the start....
It was a very rocky start, I might add, but I liked the idea too much to let it go. In the book, I shared the process of how I got from the photo, above, to the finished quilt, below. I thought it was important to include a section in the book about what to do when things AREN'T working. (Because I know that that's my reality a lot of times. ha!) Sometimes it's quite a process to get from the initial idea to the finished quilt.... but it's always worth it!
I used up a LOT of scraps for this quilt. Especially my low volume stash. I love that there is so much variety in the patchwork. One could look at it for hours. All of the chain blocks are red and white polka dots. A classic and a favorite. I have a feeling that this quilt will age very well.
Steffani did the beautiful quilting on this one, as well. I chose a simple daisy pattern, which finishes it off quite nicely.
This quilt is a generous twin size...66" x 90", but it would be easy to adapt to almost any size.
Today, I'm going to do a giveaway as well! I'm going to be giving away two copies of my new book! One winner, within the US, will receive a hard copy of No Scrap Left Behind. One winner, outside the US, will win a digital copy of the book. If you'd like to win, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment, I'd love to hear what your favorite color (or combination) is at the moment. Be sure to include whether you are in the US or not, as well as your email address, so I can contact you in case you win. Thank you SO MUCH for celebrating my book release with me. I sure appreciate it!
edited to add: the giveaway is now closed. thanks to all who entered!
Ok, now it's time to link up your finishes for the week! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

All Sizes

Welcome to day 9 of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour. (Only one more day left!) Today's stop is Debbie of A Quilter's Table. Debbie is a very prolific quilter and from my vantage point, fearless. I love that she is willing to try a lot of different techniques. Her work always inspires me! Debbie is sharing the pillow that she made based on the All Sizes quilt. I hope you go check out her beautiful project and photos here.

I've made the all sizes quilt twice. The first version is bright and colorful, and is featured in the book. This quilt has been on loan to the publisher, so it's been hanging in the C&T booth at various quilt shows around the country. (It was hanging up at Quilt Con, which was fun to see.)
For that reason, and because I thought it would be fun to have the quilt made up in a completely different color way, I made the bruiser quilt. Same pattern, totally different look. I never get tired of seeing the variety that can come from a single pattern! I love the masculine feel of the bruiser quilt. Much like the quilt I shared yesterday, I pieced this quilt a little at a time. I would sew HST blocks in sets of 10, 20 or 50. Press, trim, add to the design wall. Repeat. Eventually the quilt gets finished!
Many thanks to the friends who have shared their not-so-bright scraps with me, that made this quilt possible. :)