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A Prize For Me and a Prize For You!

Good morning! I’m totally on a post-QuiltCon high today. So many great things happened to me in the past week, I can hardly count them all, but let’s start with this:

First place at QuiltCon! : )

My Lifesavers quilt took first place in the Modern Traditionalism, Small Quilts category. To think that this little quilt would rank up there with the other amazing work on display at the show is honestly a dream come true for me. Not only that, but my prize was … wait for it … $500. All this from my first quilt show. Wow. It’s overwhelming! To see more QuiltCon winners, Leanne has a post up, and Christa has posts here, here, and here.

I’ll have a full report on QuiltCon in the next few days, but in the meantime, let’s celebrate with a giveaway. How about another copy of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe? Just comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of the book from Martingale, which includes my Candy Necklace quilt pattern.


Candy Necklace in the book!
I’ll announce the winner on Thursday. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
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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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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!


Lifesavers Quilt Places Third

Lifesavers mini quilt
Remember my Lifesavers quilt from the EZ Dresden Challenge blog hop? Well, guess what? It took third place in the challenge!

I am just floored that out of all the fabulous, creative, beautiful quilts entered, my little quilt placed. Even third place had the most amazing prize package—100 spools of Gutterman cotton thread in every color of the rainbow, a Sidewinder bobbin winder from Simplicity, two fat-quarter bundles from Robert Kaufman, batting from Fairfield, and rulers and a book from Darlene Zimmerman. And my quilt will be displayed in the Simplicity booth at Fall Quilt Market. Wow!!

It’s been quite a month for me. My Supernova quilt went off to Houston to hang at International Quilt Festival, an honor I still can’t quite believe. A quilt of mine is appearing in a new book coming out from Martingale. And now this. Seriously?? I can’t believe all of this is happening to me.

Lifesavers mini quilt

I love designing and sewing quilts. I would do it even if this blog didn’t exist, and even if I didn’t have these amazing opportunities to see my quilts published or be selected for awards. Most of the time I feel like I just lucked into all of this. I mean, take a look at Pinterest or the Fresh Modern Quilts Flickr group—there are so many talented people out there, making some incredible quilts. The fact that my quilts have been singled out for some of these honors feels like it’s due as much to happenstance as anything else. I was just in the right place at the right time. Or maybe my blog was. : )

But at the same time, I know I’ve worked hard on my quilts and on this blog, occasionally wondering why exactly I put all this time and effort in. I’ve stayed up until the wee hours of the morning sewing and blogging, because that midnight-to-2-a.m. slot was the only time I had that day to get anything done. Then things like this come along to make me feel like that time and effort was well-spent. So thank you, Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild, the EZ Dresden Challenge judges, and the sponsors. You made my week!

You can see all the other EZ Dresden Challenge winners right here. The grand prize-winning quilt by Jenny Cameron is stunning! Congratulations to all.



WIP Wednesday: Guest-Hosted by Bethany

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Hello! My name is Bethany and I blog over at Make Me A Quilt. I’m so excited to be the guest for this week’s Work In Progress Wednesday—a big thank you to Lee for having me! 😀

I live in Holland, Michigan with my fiance and our two cats. I work full time as an industrial designer for an architectural company. It’s a fun job—some of our buildings are even manufactured with (huge) fabric roofs. It isn’t quilter’s cotton, but it’s still pretty cool!

I made my first quilt two years ago, and it was kind of a disaster so I took some time off. Eventually I figured it out and I’ve been quilting away for about a year now. 🙂

WIP #1
I love patchwork. I started a patchwork quilt a couple of weeks ago and decided to try something different. I’ve always loved The Sometimes Crafter’s Retro Flowers pattern.  Put those two together, supersize it, and this is what I came up with. Halfway done, and I’m loving how this one is turning out!


WIP #2
I made some elongated/half log cabin blocks without knowing what I was going to do with them. This past weekend I added blue fabric, with the intention that I will have some more elaborate than usual quilting with colored thread in that area. I have more half log cabins to add to the right side, but I’m not sure how to finish it. Maybe repeat the design, but with a color other than blue (maybe orange?).


WIP #3
This crazy mess is my EZ Dresden challenge quilt. It’s a really tough one to photograph – it’s nicer in person, even if it does look like I’ve spilled my stash all over the floor! I’m glad to say the top is finally done. 🙂  I’m planning on straight line quilting it in the shape of an 18 degree wedge. It’s going to need a bright color for the binding to balance out all that dark gray.

No progress

Okay, it’s your turn! What have you been working on this week? Here are the rules for linking up to WIP Wednesday:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP)
2. Somewhere in your post, 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 links—because what fun is a linky party without comments?


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New York Beauty Pillow

Even though I swore off swaps a while back, I couldn’t say no recently to a little New York Beauty swap among friends. Sukie (Don’t You Know Who I Am) organized it and apparently that girl can talk me into anything (including 3 a.m. breakfasts at Quilt Market, after I had already tried to go to bed not once but twice).

NY Beauty swap pillow

So I finished up my swap item for my partner, and mailed it off last week. As usual, I hemmed and hawed and changed my plan eleventy-two times before coming up with this little pillow. Then, right after I finished this one, my partner favorited my photo of the fabric I decided not to use. Of course. But there was no changing the plan again, since I was already pushing it with the deadline, so … hopefully my partner will like this one, too. Fingers crossed.

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Those are some of the new Moda Bella Solids colors in the rays, and the gray background print is Lotta Jansdotter. I did wavy-line quilting again (last seen in my Lifesavers quilt).
NY Beauty mini
(This photo courtesy of Elizabeth)
And looky what I got from Elizabeth! Those are Oakshott shot cottons, people!
Check out Elizabeth’s stellar quilting. And those itty-bitty HSTs around the edges. This little beauty is headed for my inspirational wall of mini quilts that hang above my sewing machine. Elizabeth was also nice enough to send along some extra Oakshotts to play around with myself, and I’m really looking forward to that.
Lifesavers mini quilt

And since I mentioned my Lifesavers quilt earlier, let’s give away an EZ Dresden ruler, shall we? Congratulations to #140, Marion, who said, “I have a serious Dresden plate crush! This challenge is going to be awesome!” Marion, I’ve sent you an email—enjoy the ruler!

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Lifesavers Mini Quilt

The dresden plate is my kind of block. Uber-traditional and perfectly beautiful in all its vintage goodness. And yet, so open to interpretation. There are an endless number of ways to make a dresden unique. And it’s so darn easy to transform this block into something very modern. It never ceases to amaze me that something so traditional still looks fresh and of-the-moment, right here in the 21st century.

Enter the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild’s EZ Dresden Challenge. Have you heard about this yet? The Salt Lake MQG is helping Simplicity and a boatload of other sponsors celebrate Darlene Zimmerman’s twentieth year of designing rulers, by highlighting the versatility of the dresden. So you’ll be seeing a lot of dresden quilts this summer—and there are some insane prizes on the line for the best of the bunch. Including a new Singer sewing machine!"Lifesavers" mini quilt
So here’s my take on the dresden plate: my “Lifesavers” mini-quilt. No centers to applique, no points to make—just stripey rings.

"Lifesavers" mini quilt

I got hooked on the idea of fussy-cutting my dresden wedges, but I didn’t want to do something that required yards and yards of fabric just to make a few blocks. I thought about using chevron fabric, but the scale wasn’t quite right. Then it hit me: Stripes! So easy to fussy-cut—I just cut my wedges from vertical strips of fabric, lining the ruler up with the stripes.

EZ Dresden Challenge project

I ended up using one yard of Michael Miller’s Bungalow Stripe in Citron (that one yard made all of these blocks). Since it’s a variegated stripe, every set of wedges I cut looked a little different. I turned both the top and bottom raw edges under before I pieced the wedges together, which made it super easy to applique the finished plates onto the blocks—I just stitched them down with a straight stitch. I finished it by quilting with easy-peasey wavy line quilting. (I didn’t bother cutting out the background fabric from behind the dresdens after they were stitched down. I know that might be technically “wrong,” but it didn’t seem to effect my quilting.)

So, are you up for this challenge? Just make a quilt using the EZ Dresden ruler (or any 18-degree wedge ruler). It doesn’t even have to be a dresden—there are lots of other things you can do with wedges, too! There are three categories for entries: Mini-quilts, traditional designs, and innovative designs. You’ve got all summer to work on your entry—just link up your finished quilt on the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild website the week of September 1. The top three for each category will win some amazing prizes. Up for grabs are a Singer sewing machine, a photo of your project in Quilting Arts magazine, a quilt made by Darlene Zimmerman herself, and tons fabric, rulers, and thread! There will be three random-draw prizes as well. Click here for more contest details.And to get you started, I’ve got an EZ Dresden ruler to give away to one winner right now! Just leave any comment on this post, and I’ll draw a random winner on Tuesday.

Keep following the EZ Dresden Challenge Blog Hop over the next two weeks for lots more inspiration to get you started on your own entry! Good luck!

June 1 – The Sat Lake Modern Quilt Guild:
June 2 – Lee:
June 3 – Katie
June 4 – Victoria: and Tanya:
June 5 – Val: and Leigh:
June 6 – Amy: and Elisa
June 7 – Katie: and Emily:
June 8 – Melissa: and Brooke:
June 9 – Nicole: and Amy
June 10 – Elizabeth: and Colleen:
June 11 – Faith: and Deonn:
June 12 – Angela: and Barbie:
June 13 – Amy:
June 14 – Jessica:
June 15 – Salt Lake MQG: Wrap-up


And thank you to all the EZ Dresden Challenge sponsors!

WIP Wednesday: Scattered

I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions this week. Miss E finished preschool (sniff), I spent the weekend battling the weeds in my backyard (and I haven’t won the war yet), I’m still a little disoriented after my re-entry from Quilt Market, and I spent more time than was probably necessary crafting my finely-honed gangsta image. And at the end of the day, all I really wanted was a glass of wine, but I got a little sewing done too.
New Projects:
EZ Dresden Challenge WIP

EZ Dresden project – you’ll be hearing a lot more a new contest called the EZ Dresden Challenge next week. (Hint: There are prizes. And they are major.) And I’ll be blogging about this project as part of the challenge kick-off blog tour, so stay tuned.

Bee Block in progress

Bee Blocks – two down, one to go! Woot!

Ongoing Projects:

NY Beauty Swap project

New York Beauty Swap – this one’s basically done. I just need to finish hand-stitching the trim/binding, and off it goes to its new home. I hope my partner likes it.

• Gen X Quilters’ Charmed Prints QA
• Halloween quilt
• Farmer’s Wife QA
• Figgy Pudding quilt

This week’s stats:
New projects – 2
Completed projects – 0

Currently in progress – 7Now it’s your turn to link up! 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, 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 links—because what fun is a linky party without comments?

Have a wonderful week!


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Bloom Pillow

First finish of 2011! And it’s only January 6? That’s crazy talk. But it’s true. Well, okay, it’s just a pillow. But still! January 6!

My little pink practice Dresden block for the {Sew} Beautiful Bee turned into this happy flower pillow for Miss E.’s room. Per Cherie‘s instructions, I made the original pink Dresden using this tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman on Sew Mama Sew. The only difference is that we are using the Fat Cats ruler instead of the Easy Dresden ruler, which is recommended in the tutorial. The Fat Cats wedge ruler makes a Dresden with 12 petals instead of 20.

After making the pink Dresden, I made a second Dresden in green (with wedges a half-inch larger than the original), and doubled them up, offsetting them so that the green petal points were between the pink ones.

Then I top-stitched around the edges of the Dresdens, and attached both of them to the background so that the ends of the petals weren’t sewn down. It gives it a little texture and dimension that I like. (I quilted the white background with wavy-line quilting before attaching the flower.)

Miss E. loves it! I’ve been meaning to make her a throw pillow or two for ages. Thanks, Cherie, for finally making it happen! Miss E. thanks you, too. : )

And, I’m joining the Bloggers’ Pillow Party at Stitched In Color! This pillow is my January entry. Head over to Rachel’s blog to see lots more pillowy goodness.