EZ Double Wedding Ring Challenge

Welcome to my stop on the EZ Double Wedding Ring Challenge blog hop!

If a Double Wedding Ring is on your quilting bucket list (I know it’s on mine), you’ll want to hear about this. The NYC MOD Quilt Guild has teamed up with Simplicity, Interweave, and Juki to sponsor this quilt challenge. Put your own twist on the classic DWR design to win serious prizes.


You might remember last year’s version of this challenge, the EZ Dresden Challenge. My Lifesavers quilt, which I made for the Dresden challenge, placed in both the challenge and at QuiltCon. So I can vouch for the fact that a contest like this can really push your creativity in new directions and inspire a project that you may not have come up with otherwise.

And I can also vouch for the amazing prizes that are on the line. : ) My winnings last year included batting, fabric, more rulers, a book, and an entire rainbow of thread in its own cabinet—and that was for third place! This year’s prizes include a Juki sewing machine, gift certificates, and much more. So put this one on your to-do list!

Just like with last year’s challenge, there are various categories that you can enter. It doesn’t have to be modern (there’s a traditional category), and you don’t even have to make an entire quilt—just one ring can qualify! To enter, images of your entry must be uploaded by December 1. For all the details, visit the NYC MOD blog. 

And to get you started, I’m giving away not one but two sets of EZ Quilting’s Double Wedding Ring templates. Just comment on this post by Wednesday, July 24, for a chance to win.

Don’t forget to visit all the other stops on the blog hop for more chances to win. Good luck in the challenge! I can’t wait to see everyone’s creative interpretations of a double wedding ring!

July 8th
NYC MOD Quilters –
Interweave –
July 9th
Emily Bailey –
Shelly Pagliai –
July 10th
Amy Ellis –
Faith Jones – Me!
July 11th
Amy Smart –
Monica Solorio-Snow –
July 13
Jenny Cameron –
July 14th
Jane Davidson –
July 15th
Joanna Wilczynska –
Jackie Kunkel –
July 18
Pat Sloan –
Jessica Alexandrakis –
July 19th
Jacquie Gering –
Lee Heinrich –
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Modern Mirage Quilt

Modern Mirage

Well, I made it! I completed my new quilt in time to enter it into the Quilt Con show, and with a few hours to spare, no less.

Quilt Con quilt
It was not without its challenges. This quilt fought me tooth and nail into existence. First of all, piecing it was a BEAST. I knew extreme accuracy was going to be crucial, so I paper-pieced some of the small units, but when it came time to do the traditional piecing, it was still tough to get all those seams and points lined up. I didn’t count the number of times I had to tear out stitches and re-do, but I can assure you it was a lot. The top took forever!

Modern Mirage
Then, I started quilting it by outlining the vertical wavy pattern the design makes between the stars. But straight-line quilting isn’t my strong suit, and this type of quilting was kind of straight-line plus. Straight enough to require a walking foot, but with some turns that were so slight, it was hard to decide whether to turn as sharply as possible or to make it more curvy and flowing. And it ended up looking like a mish-mash of both. : ) So after four rows, I decided to change strategies and do loose wavy lines instead. That meant all the previous quilting stitches had to come out. You should have seen my family room yesterday. It was seriously covered in all these tiny little pieces of thread! Ugh!

Then, just because I apparently needed an extra challenge, when I finished my wavy line quilting yesterday morning, I turned over the quilt and found this—a huge crease on the back! Really??? The feeling when you work your butt off and then discover something like that is The. Worst.

This was my first real spray-basting fail. For some reason the 505 I use just didn’t seem all that sticky this time around. After basting, I noticed I didn’t have to clean up nearly as much overspray residue as I usually do—I guess that should have been a warning sign. Then the whole back of the quilt seemed to come loose during quilting. It’s totally weird, I’ve never had that happen with 505. Maybe I didn’t shake the can enough? It was a new can, so I hope the entire thing isn’t defective. Or worse yet, that there’s been some sort of formula change. Anybody have a similar problem with 505 lately?

(Updated to add: I just heard from my friend Katie at Swim Bike Quilt that she often has basting problems with Art Gallery fabric—and that is exactly what I used on the back of this quilt. Ironically, I think it’s the fact that Art Gallery is so high-quality and has such a nice sheen to it that accounts for this problem—spray-basting doesn’t work on voiles either, probably for the same reason. But at any rate, if you’re using a lot of Art Gallery fabric in a quilt, be aware that you may want to pin-baste.)

So I ripped out 5 more rows of quilting and re-did it all, and finally finished the quilt with no further incidents at around 3 p.m. Whew. So here it is—I’m calling it Modern Mirage. I entered it in the “Modern Traditionalism” category, which is the category I was most excited to see included in the show.

Modern Mirage
The design originally started with a variation on a traditional star block. I set that on point and liked the vaguely “Storm at Sea” feel it gave to the quilt. To modernize it, I gave the design some negative space on each side, but off-center (because I love me some off-center designs!). Then, when I was playing around with the colors, I came up with this palette, which gives it sort of a transparency effect, and I loved it! And I thought the wavy line quilting added sort of a “heat-haze” feeling, so that’s where the “Mirage” name came from.

For those who have asked about a pattern—um, we’ll see. : ) I have to admit, I’m a little sick of this design at the moment! It would be quite the complicated pattern to write up, with all the strategic color placement and what-not. And I don’t know how many people want to buy a pattern with such nit-picky piecing! But give me a few months, and then maybe I’ll want to revisit it.

As far as Quilt Con, since we were allowed up to three entries, I decided to throw two older quilts into the mix as well.

Shattered Spectrum
I’m now calling this one “Shattered Spectrum,” since “HST Mini” didn’t quite have that show ring to it. I entered it in the Modern In Miniature Challenge sponsored by Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine. I gave this little quilt to the lovely Susanne earlier this year as a thank-you for driving all the way from Madison to take my headshots and pictures of my family. But she was nice enough to give me permission to enter it and said she would ship it back to me if it gets accepted into the show. Thanks again, Susanne! Here’s the full blog post about this quilt.

Third Quilt Con entry
And I’m also entering my Lifesavers mini, since that one did so well for me in the EZ Dresden Challenge. I entered Lifesavers in the “Minimalist Design” category. Honestly, I’m not sure if it really qualifies as minimalist, but since I’d already entered something in the mini challenge, it seemed like the best fit for this one. Here’s the full blog post with more information on Lifesavers.

I was quilter #435 to enter the show, and my quilts were #587, #595, and lucky number #600! Wow! That’s a lot of competition for this show. I’m just hoping that at least one of mine gets accepted, and I cannot wait to see the entire show in Austin in February. Good luck to everybody who entered!

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WIP Wednesday: Last-Minute WIPing

Happy Wednesday! And welcome to my week of last-minute scrambling!

Quilt Con quilt

In case you haven’t heard, there’s going to be an epic modern quilt show at Quilt Con in February, and the deadline to enter is this Friday. Unfortunately, other commitments have kept me from making any quilts specifically to enter in the show—until a few days ago, that is. Five days to create a quilt for the most important modern quilt show to date, with thousands of dollars in prizes on the line? Sure, why not! I don’t know if it will be accepted (I don’t even know if I’ll finish it in time), but I have to at least try. Because yes, apparently I am that crazy.

What’s on your to-do list this week? Whatever you’re sewing, link it up here! Just remember 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 great week—get those Quilt Con entries in!

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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!


Modern Mini Challenge Inspiration

Welcome to my stop on the Modern Mini Challenge blog hop, hosted by Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts. We’re here to inspire you and get you ready to make your own mini masterpiece for the Challenge!

My favorite mini that I’ve made? Definitely this little guy, which I made for Suz of Patchwork and Play as part of Doll Quilt Swap 10:

DQS10 quilt finished


Complexity. It’s one of my favorite things about mini quilts. You can do things in an 18″ square quilt that wouldn’t be possible at a larger scale. A full-size version of this quilt would be stunning, no doubt about it. But would I have the patience for 30 or more 9″-square paper-pieced New York Beauty blocks? Hardly. : )
DQS10 quilt finished


But in my opinion, what really makes this quilt special are the fussy-cut centers—the beautiful swirly circular motifs from Tula Pink’s Parisville collection. Without that fussy-cutting detail, this mini would be pretty standard. But those centers give it movement and drama. Which brings me to another thing I love about minis: A small detail like this might get lost in a larger quilt. But here, it’s the star of the show—as it should be! Fun, right? So many design possibilities in something so small.

Okay, so are you getting ready to make your own modern mini for the challenge? Don’t forget what’s up for grabs—gift certificates to the Fat Quarter Shop and bundles of Flea Market Fancy! Squeal!! You have until March 4 to sew your own mini to enter in the Challenge. Click here to learn more about the schedule, the requirements, and the prizes!

And don’t forget to keep following along with the blog hop. Happy sewing!

Feb. 6 – Stitchery Dickory Dock
Feb. 7 – Fairy Face Designs and Amy’s Creative Side
Feb. 8 – Lily’s Quilts
Feb. 9 – Patchwork Notes
Feb. 10 – Don’t Call Me Betsy and Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle
Feb. 11 – Sukie, Don’t You Know Who I Am?
Feb. 12 – Freshly Pieced
Feb. 13 – From the Blue Chair and Poppy Makes
Feb. 14 – Needles, Pins, and Baking Tins
Feb. 15 – Mon Petit Lyons and Felicity Quilts
Feb. 16 – LR Stitched and Random Thoughts Do or Di
Feb. 17 – Life’s Rich Pattern and Twin Fibers
Feb. 18 – Cut to Pieces and Sew Sweetness
Feb. 19 – Swim, Bike, Quilt


Connecting Threads Results Are In!

And I didn’t win. The winner is Virginia Odien’s Laundry Day—congratulations, Virginia! It’s a lovely line and I’m sure it will be a big success!

Obviously I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. But the fact is I’m looking at this as an opportunity, too. To be completely honest, from the start I wasn’t sure that I was a good fit aesthetically with Connecting Threads. But this contest gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to actually design an entire line of fabric, something I probably would not have done any time soon otherwise. And your many positive comments have given me the confidence boost I needed to believe that maybe I really can do this. Only time will tell!

I’m considering shopping this line around to some of the major fabric manufacturers—the work is already done, so I might as well. (I just need to figure out how exactly to go about doing that!) But even more so, I’m looking forward to starting on my next fabric line. That may sound weird coming from the person who didn’t win, but the entire time I was designing this line, I couldn’t help thinking that I was going about the process backwards. I designed the focus fabric for the contest without really thinking about an entire line—then when I ended up in the top five, I built my line around that focus fabric. For my next line, I want to take the opposite approach. I want to spend the next month or two thinking about the inspiration, the mood, the story I want to tell. I already have a few ideas floating around in my head—I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here. Lizzy House’s ebook, How to Enter the World of Fabric Design, has been a huge help to me already and no doubt will continue to be.

Thank you to Connecting Threads for hosting a great contest and giving us unpublished designers a chance to get our work out there. It was an amazing opportunity with or without the win. And thanks to all of my readers for your tremendous support and lovely comments. I don’t feel like any less of a winner today than I did yesterday. : ) I hope you’ll stick with me while I keep slogging away at this particular dream!


Thank you!

WIP Wednesday is coming up momentarily, but before we get to that, I wanted to take a minute to say thank you for all of the wonderful comments about my fabric line. All I can say is … wow. Obviously I had hoped it would go over well, but the reaction has been beyond what I expected.

I really feel like I put myself out there with this fabric line. That may sound odd coming from a blogger, but somehow these designs feel a lot more personal than what I write and post about here. Maybe that’s because fabric itself is so personal and, to borrow a phrase from some of my favorite HGTV shows, “taste-specific.” There’s not a fabric line in existence that everybody will like. So I can’t do anything other than design for myself—and hope that others happen to like it too. I’ve never been so nervous hitting that “Publish Post” button as I was when I unveiled the collection! That you guys have reacted so well to it means the world to me and makes me almost not care about the outcome of the contest. Almost, but not quite. : )

I also want to thank all the other bloggers who have posted, tweeted, etc. about my collection and helped me get the word out about voting. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without all of your help! And last but not least I want to thank the always-wonderful Elizabeth, who was my one-woman focus group, sounding board, and motivational coach. : ) Whenever I started to doubt my ability to do this, she got me back on track! Where would I be without you, girly?

Connecting Threads has started posting the finalists’ collections on their blog, Notions. Virginia Odien’s adorable Laundry Day is the first one to be featured, so head over and check it out. Thank you again!


Introducing Kaleidoscope Lane

Well, here it is … what I’ve spent the last month working on! I’m pleased with it, and I hope you all love it too.



Kaleidoscope Dot

Glazed Tile


Medallion Stripe

Garden Path

So now it’s up to the Connecting Threads staff to decide whether my collection is the one they want to produce and sell. Connecting Threads will be featuring all five of the finalists’ collections on their blog, Notions, in the coming days, and will announce the winner in the next few weeks.

I haven’t seen the other finalists’ collections yet, so I have no idea how mine stacks up, but regardless of what happens, I’m so glad I did this. I learned a lot about designing a complete line of fabric, including many lessons about how to approach the design process next time (if there is one). And since I’m happy with the end result, I feel like it’s a win for me even if my line doesn’t end up being produced. But of course, fingers and toes crossed that it will be!


Two More Days …

If you haven’t yet voted in the Connecting Threads fabric design contest, there’s just two more days to do so. I almost don’t even want to discuss how my design is faring at the moment, for fear of jinxing it, but: Right now I think I’m in first place!!! Eeeeee!!! Shhhhhh!

But of course, anything could happen in two days. I keep thinking it could be like ebay, with my competitors racking up thousands of votes all in the last five minutes. So if you have not yet voted, I would be so grateful if you would take a minute or two to do that. Click here to vote (my design is “Flourish,” fourth row down, far right). If you have voted, you’ve already reached maximum awesomeness. Thank you, and carry on.

And you all will know the final results as soon as I do. : )


WIP Wednesday #41

It’s a post-vacation WIP Wednesday for me. I did many things in the past week—saw Lyle Lovett in concert (awesome), rented bikes on Mackinac Island (so fun), fed apples to bears at Oswald’s Bear Ranch (thanks, Angela, for sharing that one on Pinterest!), and spent lots of quality time with my wonderful family. What I did not do in the last week was sew. So my post this week is mostly a re-run, but such is life in late August.

And don’t worry, there’s plenty of sewing fun in my future. Tomorrow I’ll be at an all-day improv piecing class with the fabulous Malka Dubrawsky. And one of my fellow classmates will be my Summer Sampler Series co-host, Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts. Sooooo excited! I’m sure I’ll be telling you all about it on Friday.

Ongoing projects:

Connecting Threads fabric design contest – with one week to go in the voting, it’s a total cage match for the top 5 spots. I’m leading the field right now(!), but only by the tiniest of margins. So if you haven’t voted yet, please just take a few seconds to do that by clicking here. I’m only 10 or 20 votes ahead of some of my competitors, so every vote really does count! My design is “Flourish,” which is in the fourth row on the far right. Thank you!

Skill Builder Sampler Quilt-Along – still need to do this week’s block

Farmer’s Wife Quilt-Along – currently caught up

Didn’t make any blocks this week, but I’m still on track. I might try to do one extra block next week.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:

Summer Sampler Series top

Hexing Around (for Do. Good Stitches)

Hope Valley (the original Supernova)

No progress:

Kaleidoscope QA
Secret project (on hold while I reconsider fabric selections)

Figgy Pudding quilt

Wonky Log Cabin

This week’s stats:

Completed projects – 0

Currently in progress – 10

Your turn! Link up any post from the previous week featuring something that is unfinished. Remember to link back here and comment on some of the other links. Happy sewing!