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Alternate Layouts and Advanced Piecing with Me

With QuiltCon registration starting on Tuesday, I wanted to give you more details about the classes I’ll be teaching in Austin. I am beyond excited about these workshops!

My first class is “Advanced Piecing.” In this class, we’ll be using the blocks from my book, Vintage Quilt Revival,
as piecing bootcamp, and you will leave with mad skills, you guys. We’ll be covering foundation piecing, partial seams, and piecing with templates. If you’ve never tried these techniques (or even if you have, but need a brush-up), this is the class for you! And you’ll leave with a great start on a Vintage Quilt Revival sampler.

My second workshop is more creative and design-focused. “Off the Grid: Working With Alternate Layouts” will help you start thinking outside the box in terms of how you use quilt blocks. I’m asking participants to bring pre-made quilt blocks so that we can design and sew creative, unique layouts during class. We’ll be talking about negative space, asymmetry, scale, and much more. The goal will be for you to arrive with pre-made blocks and leave with a completed—and very modern—top.

If you’re planning to attend QuiltCon, I hope you’ll sign up for one or both! I’m looking forward to meeting you in Austin!

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Twin Quilts for Twin Girls

The twin baby quilts that I was working on last week for my soon-to-arrive twin nieces were finished and gifted to the mom-to-be over the weekend. What a fun challenge to come up with baby quilts that were a matched pair, but not identical—just like their future little owners. : )

I found out at the baby shower that they’re leaning toward Rose as a name for one of the babies, so it’s a happy coincidence that I pieced one of these quilts in rosy pinks. In fact, this quilt features one of my recent favorite Kona colors, Pomegranate.
And the other quilt is all in “my” colors—aqua and lime green and teal. I thought it would be a nice touch to do one of the quilts in warm colors and the other in cool colors.
The blocks in both quilts are paper-pieced blocks from Vintage Quilt Revival (of course!). The pink quilt has the Geometric Star block (I guess I’m kind of addicted to doing this block in solids, since I used it in this quilt as well). The pink quilt got straight vertical-line quilting.
 The teal quilt has the Exploding Star block, which has great dimensionality. I decided on angled straight-line quilting for that one. In case you’re curious how I do my quilting, in this case I marked the center quilting line with painter’s tape, using the 45-degree angle in the block and my longest ruler to guide me. I sewed right next to the painter’s tape for that first quilting line, then removed the tape and quilted outward on either side from there, lining up the previous line of stitches with the side of my walking foot. This kind of narrowly-spaced straight line quilting can take a while, but it’s so worth it!
I have to admit, the back on the teal quilt is a lot more fun. Yep, wood grain again—you know how I love my wood grains! This one is from Joel Dewberry’s True Colors collection from Free Spirit, supplemented by a Laura Gunn Painter’s Canvas print. Sadly, I didn’t have any good matching rosy pink prints for the back of the pink quilt, so that one got an Architectures Crosshatch instead.
And the best part of all: My sweet sister-in-law told me after she opened them, “I was hoping I would get a quilt from you! I didn’t even register for any blankets because I wanted a quilt!” I can’t think of a better compliment from a recipient of one of my quilts. : ) Can’t wait to meet these baby girls, and I hope everybody (mom and babies) enjoys their quilts!
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Spiced Chai Quilt

 I guess it’s a good sign that I want to make a whole bunch of quilts from my own book, right? Here’s another recent finish—my version of Katie’s Spiced Chai quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival.
This might be my favorite quilt in Vintage Quilt Revival. It’s simple, it’s quick and fun to make, and I think it should be a poster quilt for modern-traditionalism, because it’s got it all going on. A beautiful traditional block, plus so much of what I love about modern quilts—asymmetry, unexpected block flips and rotations, strategic color placement that emphasizes the design, use of negative space. The list goes on.
So I knew I needed my own Spiced Chai. And this was one of those rare instances where I didn’t feel the need to make a lot of design tweaks, because Katie’s quilt is kind of perfect just the way it is.
The colors in my quilt are similar to those in Katie’s version, just a little more subdued. I even used Katie’s quilting methods—except that I swapped them by putting the squiggly lines into the leaves, while the swirlies were the background. The only significant change I made was to use woodgrain prints instead of solids for the neutral blocks. Because I do love me some woodgrains. (These are from Erin McMorris’s Lush Uptown line.)
And look: more swirly quilting! After stubbornly refusing to do any FMQ other than stippling for about three years, I’m kinda proud of myself for branching out recently, can you tell? : ) Remember what I said in my last post about burying knots? This quilt totally helped me get over my fear of knots. All the more reason to love it.
Definitely one of my new favorites.
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Freeflow Quilt

Somehow I’ve accumulated a pile of finished quilts that I haven’t yet shown you here! That’s got to be a first in the three-plus years I’ve been blogging.

Anyway, let’s start with this one, which I’m now calling the Freeflow Quilt. It’s a variation on a quilt from my book, Vintage Quilt Revival.
One of the things I love love love about this quilt is that it demonstrates the flexibility of the patterns in the book. I used the Geometric Slide pattern—here is Faith’s original Geometric Slide quilt from the book. Faith’s quilt uses the Double Z block:
Photo from Vintage Quilt Revival
But as you can see, it’s really easy to mix-and-match blocks in many of the Vintage Quilt Revival patterns. Instead of using the Double Z block, I tried it with the Geometric Star. I love how it gives the design a whole different dynamic! I wouldn’t mind giving the pattern a whirl with some of the other blocks as well.
This quilt was beautifully quilted for me by Anne Books, who owns the Material Matters quilt shop in Thiensville, Wisc. I’m terrible when it comes to deciding how to quilt a quilt, so I gave Anne free range. She thought the blocks looked a little like box kites or even boats in the water, so she quilted it to give the effect of an object being pulled through water. I love the way it takes these blocks, which are all straight lines and angles, and gives it more of that flowy feel. And of course, she added some yummy bubbles and swirls throughout the negative space. Thank you, Anne, you did an amazing job!

I used all solids in this quilt, to highlight the complex piecing and keep the design crisp and clean. I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Orange, and the following Kona Solids by Robert Kaufman: Graphite, Azure, Ultra White, Valentine, Butter, and Cactus. The binding is Party Streamer in Dahlia by Alison Glass, from her Sun Print collection. It’s a great binding print!So if you have Vintage Quilt Revival, I encourage you to take a look at the book and see how you might want to mix and match some of the blocks and patterns. You could even swap in some other 12.5″ block that’s not in the book. So many possibilities! And if you come up with a great design from that, be sure to share it with the #vintagequiltrevival hashtag!

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Vintage Quilt Revival Blog Hop: The Big Finale

I hope you all have enjoyed the Vintage Quilt Revival blog party this week! I want to give a huge thank-you to all of the bloggers who graciously agreed to make a block for us. I love how everyone put their own unique spin on the blocks—color and fabric choices really do personalize these designs.

If I could sum up Vintage Quilt Revival in one sentence, it would be: Think outside the grid. We would love for you to make the patterns in the book, of course. But more than anything, we hope Vintage Quilt Revival will inspire you to get creative with traditional blocks. You don’t have to just tile them across your quilt in the usual way—mix things up a little!

So when we asked 20 bloggers to make blocks from the book, Katie, Faith and I thought it would be fun to split those blocks up amongst ourselves and make small sampler quilts with the blocks in fresh, creative layouts. We told our blog hoppers they could use any colors or fabrics they wanted, so it was a bit of a design challenge getting all these blocks to work together, but I think the three of us were up for it.

So, here’s my sampler! Half-blocks and staggering: These are a few of my favorite things … If you’ve been to any of my guild lectures recently, you can probably sing it with me. : )

Seriously though, I do love a staggered layout, where the blocks are laid out like bricks instead of in a traditional grid. This is such a simple layout tweak that anybody can do with almost any block—yet it can do such cool things to a quilt design, you guys! And half-blocks along the edges of a quilt are a perfect compliment to staggering, because they make it look like the design extends right off the edges of the quilt. It all adds up to a look that I return to again and again.

I made two blocks and two half-blocks to complete the design. The background is Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman in Eggplant. Quick stipple quilting in a nice medium gray thread, and we’ve got ourselves a charity quilt.


Love the Joel Dewberry floral on the back. Such pretty colors in that print!

I’ve got a couple of local children’s charities in mind to approach with this one—I’m hoping a little girl who loves purple as much as my 4-year-old does will get this quilt.

If you missed any of the block posts by our blog hoppers, the full list is below. Thanks again, everyone! Don’t forget to visit Faith‘s and Katie’s blogs to see what they did with their blocks! And another reminder: The Vintage Quilt Revival Block-Along starts next week on Sukie’s blogGrab a copy of the book and sew along. Oh, and be sure to check the #vintagequiltrevival hash tag on Instagram! People are making some beautiful things from the book already!

Monday, January 13:
Crazy Mom Quilts – Amanda Jean
Don’t Call Me Betsy – Elizabeth
Film in the Fridge – Ashley
Happy Quilting – Melissa
Noodlehead – Anna

Tuesday, January 14:
Quilting Is My Therapy – Angela
A Quilting Life – Sherri
Sew Mama Sew – Kristin
Tall Grass Prairie Studio – Jacquie

Wednesday, January 15:
Christa Quilts – Christa
Diary of a Quilter – Amy
Quilting Gallery – Michele
Sew Take a Hike – Penny
V and Co. – Vanessa
West Coast Crafty – Susan

Thursday, January 16:
Bijou Lovely – Holly
Don’t You Know Who I Am – Sukie
Lily’s Quilts – Lynne
One Shabby Chick – Amber

Friday, January 17:
Swim, Bike, Quilt – Katie
Freshly Pieced – Lee
Fresh Lemons Quilts – Faith

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WIP Wednesday: Lotsa Tops

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Hey, it’s Wednesday again, isn’t it? How did that happen?

You know, I always have a lot of WIPs going. What I don’t usually have are a lot of finished—but unquilted—tops. When I finish a top, I feel like I’m in the homestretch—so there’s no point in letting it sit once it gets to that point! I almost always manage to quilt them right away.

Which is why it’s so odd that right now I have no less than four unquilted tops cluttering up my sewing room. Unacceptable! I might need to have a Christmas vacation quilt-a-thon to catch me up.

Anyway, here’s one of two tops I finished this week—my version of Faith’s Geometric Slide pattern from Vintage Quilt Revival. But instead of using the Double Z block, as Faith did in her pattern, I used one of Katie’s blocks from a different project the book: the Geometric Star block. Geometric Slide + Geometric Star = Geometric Awesomeness. In fact, maybe that’s what I’ll call this one. And this demonstrates one of my favorite things about Vintage Quilt Revival: You can swap blocks within the project patterns, so there are an almost infinite number of ways to make these projects very much your own. Of course, now I just have to figure out how to quilt this puppy.

And here’s another top that’s finally finished after a whole year in the making. I had my friends in the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild bee make star blocks for me, out of Monica Solorio-Snow’s Winterkist line. I gave them all free reign to make whatever star block they wanted, and they really did it up, don’t you think?

My girls are so excited about finally having a Christmas quilt! I guess that means this one should be first on my “To Quilt” list.

My other unquilted tops are Wavelength (above – pattern now available here) and my Giant Vintage Star quilt made for me by the ladies of the Sew Beautiful bee. In fact, maybe I should set a goal to get them all quilted by January 1! Is that too ambitious?

So, what are you working on this week?
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

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Meet the “Vintage Quilt Revival” Quilts: Sugar Snow

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Good morning! Let’s take a look at another one of my quilts from Vintage Quilt Revival, shall we? And it might just be my personal favorite from the book.
“Sugar Snow” is a sentimental quilt for me. For the past five years, my girls have gone to a wonderful preschool at a nature center. Every winter, the whole class traipses out to a stand of maple trees on the grounds to collect the sap and eventually make it into syrup. This quilt was inspired by my visit to the maple trees with my older daughter’s class. In the time that has passed since I designed it, my older daughter finished preschool and went on to all-day grade school, and my younger daughter not only started preschool there, but is already only months away from becoming a pre-K graduate herself. Time flies like snowflakes on a gust off of Lake Michigan—which, not coincidentally, is exactly what this quilt is designed to evoke.

There’s more in the book about how I found my inspiration for this quilt and how I interpreted it into the design you see here. Inspiration is such an important part of the process for myself and many other quilters (both modern and traditional alike). So I thought it was only right to include some details about that in the book.

One of the best things about this quilt, hands-down, is the quilting, done by the super-talented and delightful Krista Withers. One of Krista’s signature quilting styles is quilting “ghost blocks” into the negative space of a quilt, and I knew that was just the thing for Sugar Snow.

Thanks for checking out Sugar Snow! Katie is up next, on Wednesday, with another one of her quilts from Vintage Quilt Revival, and you can check out my Stardust quilt right here.

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Cathedral Square Pattern Now On Sale

Cathedral Square quilt

My third (and final) pattern release of the summer is now available—Cathedral Square is ready to go!

• Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a PDF pattern •

• Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a paper pattern •

Cathedral Square started as a block from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks special issue, Vol. 5. Since then I’ve made two quilts from this block. The one above was for the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks blog hop ….

Chicopee Square Quilt

… and here’s my larger lap-size version, made about a year later for Quilt magazine.

Cathedral Square quilt

This is a fun design because it lends itself to so many different layout options. Both versions seen here—as well as the pattern itself—feature a layout with staggered blocks. (Staggering blocks is one of my favorite design modernization tricks.) But you can click on the 100 Blocks blog hop post to see several more possible layouts using this block. My pattern can be easily modified to use any of those alternate layouts.

Cathedral Square quilt

To make this pattern, you need to be okay with Flying Geese. Just saying. : ) To that end, the PDF version of this pattern includes two different methods for making your Flying Geese units—you can piece them traditionally using a special four-at-a-time method for speed and efficiency (a great choice since this pattern calls for a lot of geese), or you can paper-piece them for greater accuracy. So there’s an option no matter what your comfort level with geese! But keep in mind, the Flying Geese paper-piecing template and instructions are a special bonus for the PDF version of the pattern only. The hard-copy paper version does not include the paper-piecing templates—that version only includes the traditional-piecing method. So if you want to paper-piece your geese, you’ll definitely want the PDF version of this pattern.

Other than the geese, this pattern is pretty basic—the smaller squares are strip-pieced, while the four-patch units are just your standard patchwork piecing. Those four-patches are a great way to show off some favorite prints.
Chicopee Square Quilt

You can buy Cathedral Square from my shop and Craftsy.

I’m also starting to get distributors lined up for my paper patterns, so look for them in your favorite brick-and-mortar quilt shop very soon. If you don’t see them, please ask for them! : ) (Shops: You can also email me directly to order wholesale.)

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Cathedral Square Quilt

Chicopee Square Quilt

I’ve got another magazine quilt pattern out there! This is “Cathedral Square,” and on newsstands now in the April/May issue of Quilt Magazine (and now for sale as a stand-alone pattern – click here to purchase).

Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a PDF pattern

Click here to purchase Cathedral Square as a paper pattern

Cathedral Square quilt

You might remember my Cathedral Square block, which originally appeared in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks special issue. Same design, new fabric—and a lot more of the blocks. : )

Chicopee Square Quilt in Quilt Magazine

I think the design translates well to Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee line. I love the rich, bold colors in this line! The plaids are some of my favorite prints in the line, and think they serve really well here as neutral frames for the bright, fun four-patches.
Chicopee Square Quilt
This quilt was quilted for my by Cindy Fenske, who is a fellow member of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild. She came up with the fabulous quilting design, which included swirls in the negative space and a fun vintage-y pansy in the middle of each four-patch.
So pick up a copy of Quilt magazine—I found one at Barnes & Noble. This issue focuses on color, so there are lots of bright patterns to peruse, including a six-pointed star pattern. Enjoy!
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Trippy Chevrons

After jumping on board with the Scrappy Trip Along a few weeks ago, I ended up making eight blocks. Then, I guess I just wasn’t feeling the love anymore. They’re fun blocks to make, but I needed to move on to other, more urgent projects. Plus, I have my Warm and Cool quilt that I made in 2011, so I’m not sure I want another one of these scrap-explosion type of quilts around the house.

Trip Along Chevrons

Long story short, I started for looking for ways to use fewer of the Scrappy Tripalong blocks in a quilt. Why not lay them out like chevrons?

Trip Along Chevrons

I took apart three of my blocks so I could turn them into half-blocks. I cut the blocks in half diagonally (adding 1/4″ for seam allowance, of course) and then added a large triangle of the background fabric (Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in Flax). I like where this layout is going, so I’m rolling with it. There will be two vertical rows of chevrons and the rest of the quilt will be negative space. An entire quilt of these blocks felt too similar to my Warm and Cool quilt, but these bright squares on the linen background feels like perfection to me!

And I’m sure there are many other possibilities with this block as well. A single diagonal line of these blocks across a quilt would be cool. Or maybe some sort of giant asterisk pattern made of out of Scrappy Trip Along blocks? But I liked my chevrons too much to bother trying either of those layouts. : )

Of course, I didn’t have enough yarn-dyed linen for my new plan, and that yarn-dyed Essex is not so easy to get ahold of these days! Most shops seem to be sold out of it. Fortunately, Amanda of A Crafty Fox has it in her Etsy store, Westwood Acres (for the listing, click here). The project had to be put on hold while I waited for it to arrive, but it came in yesterday’s mail, so I’m hoping to get back to this one ASAP! I have other things I really should be doing more than this. Oh, well. Trippy chevrons, here I come!