WIP Wednesday with guest blogger Liz from Shush – I’m Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Hellllooooo quilty friends! It’s Liz here from Shush – I’m Quilting.* I’m talking as loud as I can in the hope that you can hear me all the way from down here in New Zealand.

I’m coolly okay about hanging out here at Freshly Pieced today for WIP Wednesday—I didn’t get all skittish or anything when Lee emailed to let me know the exciting news. Nope, I did not run into lounge room squealing at hubby that – yay – I’m guest blogging at Freshly Pieced (response: *blank stare* “what’s guest blogging?” Me: humph off to email my best quilty friends, who were much more excited for me). Anyway, it’s very nice to meet all of you who haven’t popped down to Shush before.

What have you been up to this week? I have just finished my straight line quilting on my lattice quilt. The patchwork portions have been stippled. This quilt has been such a roller coaster ride, but I love it now—I just want it finished. I’m soooo close though and I have a chocolate and white striped fabric just waiting to be the binding. See, it’s all ready to go.

Yippee. Quilting: tick.
Binding: all ready to go. Do you do this? Pop it on your machine’s spare spool. It stops binding tangle, I tell you!

While doing this quilt, I discovered a cool, new-to-me way to do straight line quilting around blocks. Instead of having to manhandle my quilt through the sewing machine to sew around the squares, I hit on the genius idea of quilting backwards once I hit the bit where you have to turn the wide part of the quilt through the machine. See:

Yep – I quilted backwards to get there.  Yes I did.  And it worked just fine.

I discovered that going backwards I have to lengthen my stitch length from 3 to 3.3 because my machine stitches a bit shorter in reverse (I quilt on a Bernina 550 QE)—but other than that, it saved me heaps of turning agony. You just need to remember to put it back into forward stitching once you turn the corner again. Or you might have a whoopsie and go back in the wrong place.  I totally didn’t do that. Not at all.

Tell me I’m not the only person who does this. I’m not totally alone in my craziness, right? Right?Are you still there?

Anyway, fingers crossed it should be bound by Friday and then I’ll have a real, grown-up finish. We’ll see …

Other than that, I have done a little more on my EPP diamond blocks. I love these, which is pretty surprising given how much I hate hand piecing.

Little birds trapped in cages for my fabricky pleasure.
No I’m not unpicking the one I sewed in upside-down!

Here is Princess** photo-bombing my blocks to show me her favourite one. No surprise there—it’s the vintage dolls. I think it’s my favourite too!

Is this my quilt Mummy? It needs to be bigger. Me: No kidding honey.

Anyway, that’s enough gabbling from me. I’m sure you’ve got something fabulous to show us. Pop on over to Shush if you want to have a look in at my gorgeous little fabricky and chocolatey giveaway. I’d love to see you.

* Why Shush, you ask? Well, because my day job is being a meany-pants banking lawyer and so we keep shush on my lovely nighttime quilty alter ego. My work mates just don’t get it, anyway!
** My fashion conscious and stroppy three year old. She thinks I quilt solely for her pleasure. She’s not far wrong!

What are you working on this week? Here are the linky rules:
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!


Modern Quilt Guild Pop-Up Show in Kenosha

Modern quilts were the stars at a pop-up show in Kenosha, Wisconsin recently. I wish you guys all could have been there, because it really was a fun and exciting event, but just in case you weren’t, I thought I would share some of my impressions. 

The Kenosha Art Association has monthly pop-up gallery shows, and June’s show, “Square Up for the Arts,” featured quilts made by members of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild. Margaret Heller from Ready for Bed Quilts and one of our guild’s wonderful members, Bethany Wise, worked tirelessly with the Art Association and other Kenosha community members to make it happen.

What I think was really special about this show was that it was a community event. So it wasn’t just for quilters. How awesome is that? As Bethany said in a Facebook post afterwards, getting quilters to come to a quilt show is easy. Showing quilts to the general public is much more challenging. But Bethany and everyone else who put together this amazing show did just that. In fact, I would wager that the majority of the people who came to the show were not quilters at all—and yet they seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing. That’s a huge win in my book. : ) I love showing people a side of quilting that they almost certainly didn’t know existed before.

Anyway, the Art Association lined up a really cool vacant storefront in downtown Kenosha in which to hang our quilts (supplemented by other artwork, such as these flowers made entirely from found items). A steady stream of people went through the entire evening.

Bethany did quite the job hanging all those quilts way up in the rafters of that extremely high ceiling! It was a dramatic effect—not to mention interesting how looking up at the quilts seemed to change the visual impact of some of them. The height gave me a whole new perspective on my Warm and Cool quilt (on the right).

Here’s a sampling of some of the quilts from the show:

By Erin Pann

A Summer Sampler Series quilt by Rebecca Bark

By Bethany Wise

Did I mention there was live music too? : ) This dude was rocking out under quilts by Beth Haferkorn (left) and me.

By Margaret Heller of Ready for Bed Quilts

By Barbara Mars

By Rebecca Bark (left) and Marisa McKee

My Sparkler quilt

By Beth Haferkorn

All those amazing paintings you see hanging with our quilts were done by local artist Eric Sosa.

Now who could have put those out? : ) (The books were door prizes.)

All in all, this was such a wonderful event. Thank you to Bethany and everyone in Kenosha for putting on a great show (and for coming out to see it)! I hope we’ll be able to have more events like this around the area in the future!

P.S. Tomorrow I’m headed to a very different kind of quilt show—International Quilt Festival in Chicago! I’ll be there with Faith, so if you’re there, keep an eye out for us!


QuiltCon Wrap-Up

So, QuiltCon. Wow. What can I say that hasn’t been said already? What can I show you that you haven’t already seen?

I’ll tell you what. Let’s keep it simple.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

Walking down Sixth Street in Austin with Kim, Faith, and a quilt. These two ladies are a riot. I couldn’t have asked for better companions for a walk down Austin’s weirdest street. (If only Katie and Sukie had been there!) Stop by Kim’s blog to read about our adventure. : )

“Quilting the Negative Space” with Angela Walters. Although I need a lot of practice at most of the designs Angela taught us, I’m looking forward to renting the long-arm at my local quilt shop and trying out some of my new skills.

Katie and I running into Jay McCarroll at the elevators of the hotel. I’m a huge Project Runway fan, and nothing can ever top Season 1 in my book, so chatting with Jay like he was “just” another blogger was surreal and kind of a blast. It was all I could do not to be a fangirl and accost him for a picture, but I’m glad we opted for a chat about Katie’s quilt instead. : )

Seeing this beautifully-styled shot of my prize-winning Lifesavers quilt in the EZ Quilting booth. I’m still blown away by the reception this little quilt has gotten out there in the world!

Laughing with my roommates Katie and Faith in our hotel room at the end of each day.

Top left: zigzigzag by Allison Chambers; Top right: 2+2 by Colleen Wooten; Bottom left: Neutral and Neon by Latifah Saafir; Bottom right: Big Love by Nova Seals 

Taking in the quilts at the show by myself, and just thinking about design. The Modern Traditionalism category might always be what feels like my “home,” but the graphic designer in me was bowled over by many of the more minimalist quilts in the show. My biggest take-away from QuiltCon is that I want to work on combining the Modern Traditionalism genre that I love with a more minimalist, pure-design aesthetic that appeals to me so much on a visual level.

Hand-quilted Single Girl quilt by Denyse Schmidt

Seeing Denyse Schmidt’s quilts, listening to her keynote speech, and thinking about how much her creative journey has affected my own. Would I have found my way to quilting without her? Hard to say. About ten years ago, I had never sewn a stitch in my life and had given exactly zero thoughts to quilting, when I saw a spot about Denyse on Martha Stewart Living. The moment I saw Denyse’s bold, graphic quilts, it hit me like a ton of bricks: I have to learn how to do that. Almost at the exact moment I had that thought, another emotion crept in: Who are you kidding? You will never learn how to do that. You don’t know the first thing about sewing. Figuring it all out would be a monumental task. But this weekend, I found myself face to face with the very quilts that inspired me to take up this hobby—and my own quilts were hanging just a few rows away, in the same show.

So QuiltCon reminded me that nothing is too monumental. Just ask the Modern Quilt Guild board members who for months poured their hearts and souls into planning this incredible event. Ask the attendees, who came from all over the country and the world just for this. The excitement and inspiration was palpable in Austin last weekend. I feel like modern quilting is truly on the verge of something big, and I’m just so very happy to be a part of it.

Thank you to all of the organizers and volunteers for putting on such an amazing event! And thank you to my wonderful husband for holding down the fort while I was gone. I can’t wait for 2015.

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Summer Sampler Series Anthology

Summer Sampler Series Anthology

Taking traditional quilt blocks and making them fresh and modern is all the rage these days. So if you’ve been wanting to make a traditional-to-modern sampler quilt, or if you’re just looking for a source for killer block designs, the Summer Sampler Series Anthology is now available!

For those of you who are newer to my blog, I co-hosted the Summer Sampler Series quilt-along in the summer of 2011 with Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts and Katie of Swim Bike Quilt. At the time, modern quilters were just starting to take notice of traditional blocks as a great source of design inspiration. (The Farmer’s Wife Sampler was huge around that time.) So in the Summer Sampler Series, we showed people how to make 12 traditional quilt blocks in modern, bright fabric. And here we are, a year and a half later, with a whole category of the Quilt Con show dedicated to “modern traditionalism,” so I don’t think this niche is going away any time soon!

Summer Sampler Series

Now, Faith, Katie, and I have gathered up all of our Summer Sampler Series tutorials, paper-piecing templates, inspiration, and more into one convenient package: The Summer Sampler Series Anthology. This 86-page(!) PDF includes step-by-step tutorials for making all 12 blocks, the paper-piecing templates, and some exclusive PDF-only content, such as a mini-lesson in value and color placement.

Summer Sampler quilt

I can tell you from personal experience that the Summer Sampler Series is a fantastic skill-builder for beginning and experienced quilters alike. Among the skills you will learn (or practice) when you make the blocks in the Series are: Half-square triangles, flying geese, bias piecing, paper-piecing, piecing equilateral triangles and diamonds, hourglass units, and string piecing. You’ll come out of this one skilled quilter, I promise!

Summer Sampler Series

You can purchase the Summer Sampler Series Anthology from any of the following sources:
• Craftsy
• My pattern shop
• Faith’s pattern shop
Katie’s pattern shop

Teachers, shop owners, and guilds: Would you like to teach the Summer Sampler Series as a class, or run it as a block-of-the-month series? Purchasing copies of the Summer Sampler Series Anthology for all of your participants gives you full permission to teach the series publicly, and we offer discount pricing on the purchase of four or more copies. Email Faith, Katie, or myself for more information.

And of course, all the block tutorials will remain available online for free—this PDF is for those who would like the convenience of having it all together and more easily accessible. Happy piecing!

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On Display

So, did anybody get to International Quilt Festival in Houston this past week? I am so proud that I had a quilt hanging at the Festival!

Photo courtesy of Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies

My Supernova quilt was part of the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase 2012. I’m honored that something I made was chosen to help represent “modern” to the rest of the quilting world.

Photo courtesy of Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies
I love that the Modern Quilt Guild included my blurb about my design process, which is taken from the application I filled out to enter the quilt in the show. I guess if I had known it would end up on a sign at International Quilt Festival for all to see, I might have edited it a little more carefully (“but yet”?). : )

I wish wish wish I could have seen my quilt there in person, but thank you to Heidi of Buttons and Butterflies for taking such great pictures and allowing me to post them here. It was almost as good as being there.

Photo courtesy of Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics

I was lucky enough to have a couple of quilts displayed at Fall Quilt Market as well. Here’s the quilt I contributed to the new Martingale book, Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. Apparently it was displayed at Martingale’s Schoolhouse session for the book—I didn’t even know they were planning to have my quilt there! It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen it myself!

Photo courtesy of Kati of From the Blue Chair

And here’s my little Lifesavers mini, which was my entry in the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild‘s EZ Dresden challenge.

Photo courtesy of Kati of From the Blue Chair

It took third place in the challenge and therefore got to be displayed in the Simplicity booth at Market. Don’t all those winning quilts look great?

It was fun to have some quilts at Market—it’s the next best thing to being there in person!


A New Quilt Design Tool

I have long lamented the fact that because I’m on a Mac, I can’t use the EQ quilt design software. I use Adobe Illustrator to design my quilts and patterns, and that works fine, but of course Illustrator isn’t about to do any quilty math for me. Nor does Illustrator have handy libraries of pre-loaded fabric swatches or traditional block designs.

But there’s hope for us Mac peeps (and everybody else): The online sewing community Threadbias is developing a web-based quilt design tool, which will be accessible to anyone (on PC or Mac), will be constantly updated with the newest fabric designs, and will be available for a monthly subscription fee (so no need to shell out lots of cash up front for software). There will even be a “lite” free version available. I’m so excited about this!

But Threadbias needs our help to get it going. They’re raising money on Kickstarter to fund the development of the program. If you’re as excited as I am about having a good alternative to EQ, please click here to donate. And if you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a great way to help small businesses grow—your credit card isn’t charged unless the company’s Kickstarter goal is fully funded, and you almost always get something in return for your donation. So it’s essentially like buying a company’s products in advance. Everybody wins.

Good luck, Threadbias!


Craft Book Month: Candy Coated from Sunday Morning Quilts

Candy Coated from Sunday Morning Quilts

Thanks for stopping by for my day on the Craft Books Month blog hop! My project is “Candy Coated,” the cover quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison.

If you haven’t picked up this book yet, you really should. I think I love every single pattern in there. So many I want to make, so little time! (There aren’t many books out there I can say that about.) In fact, it was difficult to choose just one for this post. Fortunately, this quilt is going to be a wedding gift, so I ended up choosing the one I thought the happy couple would like the most and started gleefully chopping up my scraps.

Candy Coated quilt
I followed the pattern in the book to a T, and that’s rare for me these days. (Another sign of how much I like this book!) I stuck with the three-color-scheme of the original quilt (although I used a different trio of colors), I cut all my string scraps to the sizes from the book, and I even quilted it the same as the original, with wavy lines going in the opposite direction of the strings.

Candy Coated quilt
The result is a fabulous scrap quilt that’s still modern and not overwhelming scrappy. : ) I pretty much cleared out my gray scrap bin on this one—in fact, I even had to supplement a bit from my stash. And this was such a fun, low-pressure project to sew. Sewing strings together in this way is low-key and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought or concentration, and that’s exactly the kind of project I needed last week.

Candy Coated - the back
The back is just pieced together sections of coordinating fabric from my stash.

Candy Coated from Sunday Morning Quilts
I think it’s a great fall quilt. : )

Have you been following all the Craft Book Month posts over at Craft Buds? So many beautiful projects from craft books have been featured over there! And of course: Prizes. Need I say more? Here’s the full schedule:

Sunday 9/2: Hopeful Threads / The Jolly Jabber
Monday 9/3: Stitchery Dickory DockMe Sew Crazy
Tuesday 9/4: Olive & OllieSew Sweetness
Wednesday 9/5: Fabric SeedsThe Busy Bean
Thursday 9/6: CraftFoxesStitched In Color
Friday 9/7: Katie’s KornerA Prairie Sunrise

Week Two
Sunday 9/9: Sweet Diesel Designsmissknitta’s studio
Monday 9/10: Sew TaraClover and Violet
Tuesday 9/11: Sew Fantasticamylouwho
Wednesday 9/12: Projektownia JednoiglecTwo More Seconds
Thursday 9/13: Ellison Lane QuiltsDon’t Call Me Betsy
Friday 9/14: Live a Colorful LifeLRstitched

Week Three
Sunday 9/16: Fairy Face DesignsCanoe Ridge Creations
Monday 9/17: Inspire Me GreyFreshly Pieced
Tuesday 9/18: Lindsay SewsThe Cute Life
Wednesday 9/19: The Littlest ThistleSew Crafty Jess
Thursday 9/20: Urban Stitchesimagine gnats
Friday 9/21: Sew Bittersweet DesignsThe Plaid Scottie

Week Four

Link up your craft book project at Craft Buds from Sept 23-30 from your blog or Flickr account, and enter to win prizes. Winners will be announced on Monday, October, 1.

Winner of the Modernology Bundle

Congratulations to Mahoo! You’re the winner of the Art Gallery Fabrics Modernology fat-quarter bundle, from my Easy Placemats tutorial post.

Mahoo said:

Look for an email from me! Thanks to everyone for entering!


WIP Wednesday: I’m Back!

Oops! Today is Wednesday, isn’t it? Between adjusting to the new school year schedule and coming back from my WIP “vacation” over the summer, I completely forgot to post this earlier! Ahh, so many things to think about, not nearly enough space in my brain for all of it. : ) Sorry about that.

At any rate, I’m thrilled to be back to hosting WIP Wednesday! I missed you all! But I have to admit, the break I took for the past few months was pretty nice. : ) And I hope you enjoyed “meeting” some new bloggers and seeing their lovely projects. I want to send out another big thank you to all of my guest hosts! In fact, this summer’s experiment went so well, I’ve decided to keep it up—I’m going to continue to have guest-hosts on the first Wednesday of every month. I’ve got a fabulous slate of bloggers lined up for you:

Oct. 3: Debbie – A Quilter’s Table
Nov. 7: Svetlana – s.o.t.a.k. handmade
Dec. 5: Elizabeth – OccasionalPiece-Quilt
Jan. 2: Heidi – Boys, Buttons, and Butterflies
Feb. 6: Jenelle – Echinops & Aster
March 6: Claire Jain – Sewing Over Pins
April 3: Natalie – Greenleaf Goods

But for now it’s all me. And what have I been up to lately?

Candy Coated from Sunday Morning Quilts

Here’s a fun project that’s coming together quickly—this will soon be my version of “Candy Coated,” the cover quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts
by Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg. Come back on Monday to see the (hopefully) finished quilt during my stop on the Craft Books Month blog hop!

Improv block with Oakshott Rubies
I’m still making lots of these little improv-y log cabin blocks with my Oakshott Rubies …

Stack of Madrona Road

And this week I cut into this massive stack of Madrona Road yumminess! This is one of those collections where the more I look at it, the better it gets. Pink Castle still has lots of Madrona Road in stock, but it’s going fast!

Your turn! What have you got going on? Here are the rules:

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 my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments? : )

Have a lovely week!

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Catching Up

After an insanely busy and eventful summer, this week has been … even more insane.

My oldest started all-day kindergarden this week, and like most moms, I’m feeling pretty conflicted about it. She’s old for her grade, having turned 6 a few weeks ago, so it was definitely time for her to go. Still, it’s been a big adjustment for everybody, including me and my younger daughter, who misses her like crazy! As I got ready to pack her lunch last night, I thought, “Seriously, she has to go there again tomorrow?” Guess I need to get used to this—it’ll only be this way for the next 13 years, after all.

My younger daughter started preschool this week as well. She goes three mornings a week, and I admit that I’m not as conflicted about this one. LOL. Three mornings a week is a welcome break from a strong-willed 3-year-old, but still leaves us plenty of time to play (and butt heads!) the rest of the week!

So lots of sewing-ish things are happening around here as well. I packed up my Supernova quilt and shipped it off for the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at International Quilt Festival in Houston! Supernova will also be traveling around the country with the rest of the MQG exhibit for almost a year afterwards, so I won’t see this little quilt again for quite a while, which makes me kind of sad. But I’m excited about the adventure it’s about to have! It’s not unlike my kids going off to school, is it?

Here’s another bit of excitement: My first-ever collaborative book project is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe
features quilts by 18 talented bloggers, plus their thoughts on modern quilting and blogging. I’m so honored to be included with all these amazing people! The book is gorgeous and it’s very exciting to be published in book form.

Candy Necklace quilt
My quilt is called “Candy Necklace.” The shapes and colors reminded me of those candy necklaces I used to have as a kid. You can pre-order the book right now, and it will be available in December.
And speaking of books, have you seen the news about Craft Book Month, going on all this month at Craft Buds? It’s a huge celebration of all things craft book-ish! I’m so excited to be participating in the blog hop this year, and can’t wait to show you what I’m working on, which is from Amanda and Cheryl’s amazing book Sunday Morning Quilts. (If you haven’t picked it up yet, please do—it’s packed with of great patterns for using up your scraps.) Today’s Craft Book Month posts are by Katie of Katie’s Korner and Sharon of A Prairie Sunrise, and my post goes live on September 17. Be sure to follow along, because of course there is tons of inspiration and giveaways galore.


Improv block with Oakshott Rubies

I’ll leave you with what I’ve spent the past day or two working on—I’m putting together a table runner with that beautiful stack of Oakshott Rubies that I got a while back. Yes, it’s wonky! I can hardly believe it myself. Have a wonderful weekend!