Pint Chip Challenge – Have You Ever Made a Mini-Quilt?

My quilt guild is having a paint chip challenge. I didn’t know what that was, but soon found out. There are two cards, each with four very different color combinations printed on them. I chose this one, which was actually the better of the two in my opinion. It’s all so subjective.

The other had a lot of brown in it and some orange. Although we had rules, we didn’t have to stick to solids only, and the measurements didn’t have to be exactly 22.5″ x 22.5″, but it did have to qualify as a mini quilt. I looked at so many books for inspiration.

And to throw one little monkey wrench into this project, I came to the party a month late. In other words, chop, chop – I have to make this in a hurry. That said, I found all the fabrics in my stash. Yay!!  I did buy Fun-Size Quilts; 17 Popular Designers Play with Fat Quarters, compiled by Karen M. Burns, from 
Pins and Needles in Mt.Kisco, NY.

I chose this pattern, because I thought it would be fast and easy. It measures 17.5″ x 22.5″ but I am going to make it a bit wider to finish at 22.5″ x 22.5″.

The gray will be the background and the squares and rectangles will be in the teal fabric, with white markings, the light blue solid and this pink and gray leaf print fabric. This is now my 4th WIP. Let’s see how fast I can get this done. Wish me good luck.



Stretching Into Modern Quilting – 100 Modern Quilt Blocks – Tula Pink’s City Sampler – Book Review

I began quilting a little over 20 years ago when modern quilting did not exist as a new part of the quilting world. The patterns I chose to make were ones that appealed to me and my husband. I am not a super traditional quilter, and I don’t chose fussy embellishments because we have pets, and our quilts go into the washer and dryer.

When I discovered modern quilting a few years ago, I read blogs, looked at many books and magazines. I poured over google images and pinterest pages.
My style is still always evolving and changing, and I’m sure I will always create traditional and modern quilts. 

I recently came across an outstanding book, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks, by Tula Pink. For me this is a book is perfect tool, that is helping my eye transition to create modern quilt tops, and inspired my creativity in general. (My observation is that the more books and magazines I read about quilting, my creative thinking tends to grow and widen).




This book is divided into two parts; “100 blocks,” and “The Quilts.” 

The 100 blocks section are divided into patterns of 15 crosses, 20 rectangles, 20 triangles, 15 blocks made from stripes, 15 squares and 15 Haiku blocks. Tula encourages readers to use the pages of the book as their own. Each design is shown finished on the right side of the page. The left side shows how the pieces of the blocks would fit together using a piece of graph paper. It includes the numbers of different fabrics needed to make the block and how many pieces the reader will need to complete the block. Very easy to follow, clear and clever.

There is a place for the reader to name the block. The right side provides an area for the reader to add notes and footnotes on the page, which I personally love. I do that in all my quilting books. But I really appreciate, (actually I love it), that the author/designer left me room to do that and in the introduction encourages the reader to do that. 


Graph paper side for notes.




Love this illustration of how many different fabrics needed to make this block, and how many total pieces.


In part two of this book, Tula covers three methods for choosing colors that eventually translate to three quilts that are made using these blocks with different themes; a Trellis Quilt, a Gridlock quilt, (which is scrappy and uses all 100 blocks), and a Skyline quilt, which uses neutral colors. 

This section also discusses sewing tools, finishing techniques and quilting. There is great information for a beginner and intermediate quilter. I like when an author does this, because she or he is sharing their personal opinion of what works for them.



The photos of the blocks and quilts are the stars of the show. And what makes this book spot on, is that the text is perfectly spare and clear. Along with this, the layout and flow I found myself thinking creatively in a different way.

I have not yet had a chance to make a few blocks based on the directions. But I am looking forward to doing that in a future post in the next month or so. Look for a few blocks from these beautiful pages. It’s hard to choose which ones to make!!

This book is smart and Tula inspires the reader to be creative, inventive and make these blocks the reader’s own. For someone who has been doing much of the same type of quilting for 20 years, and is trying to stretch their aesthetic, that is a great book.





Make Modern – A New Quarterly Quilting e-zine From Australia

I am excited to share some amazing news, which I have been keeping a secret for a few months. I’ve always been good at keeping confidences, so I am very excited to finally share with you a new, bi-monthly, quilting e-zine, Make Modern, from Australia. Everything in this e-zine is fresh, crisp and relevant. 




I am one of the contributing writers, so I may be blogging a little less. The  article I wrote for this issue is called, “How to Develop a Great Relationship With Your Longarm Quilter.” 

But this blog post is not about me. It’s about the e-zine and everyone, including the three editors, Jane Kelly, Kristy Lea, and Lara Motta, who worked so hard to make this happen. It takes a dedicated team of people to create an amazing publication.  

The premier issue is full of creative quilting and home decorating patterns, informative articles, projects, resources, technology, and stunning photographs. Read the about page on the Make Modern web site, because you may just see yourself in the text of that page, as I did. To see and sample the preview issue go to Issuu.  At the bottom of this post there are links about how to subscribe.

A Short Review of What’s Inside This Issue


As many of us know, quilt math can be pretty tricky. Alyce Blyth clearly explains and shows us with examples, how to use it successfully in, “Upsize, Downsize, Resize Any Quilt Block.” No more fuss or frustrating computations that cause complicated equations that end up resembling algorithms. 

Instagram has always been a bit puzzling for me. I keep thinking; Why do I need it? Why do I want it? Do I need to post to IG and facebook? 

However, “Instagram for Quilters: A What, Why and How Guide,” by Kristy Lea gave me a way to experience it differently; think about it more as a fun and enjoyable social media option. By not experiencing it as another “must do item” I need to check off my “to do” list every time I post to my blog, the stress factor is gone. Creative thoughts are beginning to come my way. And maybe, or not, in a few months I will have figured out a way to integrate it with my blog. In the meantime, I’m just having fun with it. On another note, any publication that includes an article about relevant technology in my field always grabs my attention and gratitude.

How many times have I machine quilted in the ditch, and had a hard time keeping my stitches in that ditch?  The number is far greater than my age, I can tell you that! Melissa Gottliebsen wrote an outstanding article, “Straight Lines; Introduction to Straight Line Quilting.” There are other, and possibly better ways to achieve the “stitch in the ditch,” look and feel, without having to “stitch in the ditch.” I can’t wait to try her method. The creativity in this article awesome.

A fellow blogger from The New Bloggers Blog Hop, from the Spring – Summer, 2014, Jo King, shares with readers her cat, and her pattern for “Memory Cats,” which grew out of a QAL she participated in, using Elizabeth Hartman’s pattern. Extremely cute. 

Make Modern includes a few give-a-ways, and ends with a library, which includes some of the best modern quilting books published. And there is some information about what’s coming in the next issue too.

Overall Make Modern has it all – 112 pages of what Jane describes in our mini-interview below, and some. Take a go at it!

Mini Interview

Jane Kelly, one of the co-founders and editors, and I finally had about five minutes to do a mini-interview. (The magazine was about to launch on the internet, and I was about to leave for a long vacation). We sat down at our computers at the very end of August, a little more than thirteen hours apart, and a half a world away. I’m very happy to share this with you here;

Anne: Congratulations on the debut of Make Modern. Tell us how the e-zine came about.

Jane: Make Modern was born when Kristy (Lea), and I (we are in a real-life quilt group together), were lamenting the lack of modern quilting publications in Australia. The few locally-produced quilting magazines here are very steeped in tradition, so we saw a gap in the market. 
With my background in craft magazine publishing and Kristy’s experience in blogging, pattern writing and design, and our involvement in the social media side of quilting, we realised we were as good a candidates as any to bring a modern quilting publication to fruition. We roped in one of our business-minded quilting besties, Lara (Motta), and the Make Modern team was born.
Anne: What is the mission of this new modern e-magazine?
Jane: Our goal is to raise the profile of modern quilting in Australia, and to provide a quality source of fresh, modern patterns each month. We also have lots of features each issue so it is more than just patterns. 
There is a lot of very cool stuff happening in the modern quilting world and we want to bring a bit of that to our readers. We also have a fair bit of practical information, because everyone wants to become better quilters. The few locally-produced quilting magazines here are very steeped in tradition, so we saw a gap in the market and plan to fill it.
Anne: Describe what the content will be like.
Jane: Of course, social media and the online community is such a huge aspect of modern quilting that the magazine’s content will be international, to reflect the community. But we really want to do what we can to build the modern quilting community in Australia. 
It is very much about community for us and hopefully readers will feel like the magazine is their magazine, they can share their ideas with us, they can connect and contribute via social media etc. We want to work with our contributors to help them grow their crafting businesses/blogs etc too.
So far, we have had a fantastic response to our concept, with so many people telling us how excited they are about the magazine. Given the first issue isn’t even available until next week, (beginning of September), that’s very reassuring and shows us that our gut feeling about the gap in the market was correct.

Launching any new quilting endeavor begins with a great blog hop, doesn’t it? And I am more than honored to be a part of this list. Please visit the blogs of these very talented quilters and contributors.

The blog hop started when I was traveling abroad, and the technology wasn’t cooperating with me at all. I hope you check out the blogs of these very creative quilters, many of whom we all know, or have heard of.  I am honored, and feel so lucky to be among them.

1st September                   Make Modern
3rd September                   Kristy @ Quiet Play
5th September                   Where Jane Creates
7th September                   Gina @ Party of Eight: Our Story
9th September                   Molli Sparkles
11th September                 Juliet @ The Tartan Kiwi
13th September                 cat&vee
15th September                 Ruth @ Ben and Charly’s corner
17th September                 Kelly @ Kelliotmagic
19th September                 Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
21st September                 Serena @ Sew Giving
23rd September                 Melissa @ Ms Midge
27th September                 Anne @ Hudson Valley Quilts
 

It takes a strong team with dedication and “a fire in the belly,” type of effort and attitude to produce an e-zine that’s this good. 

This is how you can purchase a copy or subscription, or go to the Make Modern home page where you can shop and subscribe to the newsletter for the blog.

Interview with Amanda Murphy

I am really excited to share this interview I had with Amanda Murphy. 

About six months ago I reviewed her book Color Essentials. Amanda is also the author of Modern Holiday: Deck the Halls with 18 Sewing Projects Quilts, Stockings, Decorations & More.


Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself and your sewing and quilting career.

1.    Tell us about your family, kiddos, husband, pets.
 
I live with my husband and two kids in North Carolina. 
 

2.    I read that you started quilting at an early age.
Well, I started sewing at an early age, but I didnt start quilting until    after my kids were born – about a dozen years ago.

3.   Tell us the story of how did you get started? Did someone influence you?  What was the tween Amanda like?
As a child my two favorite subjects were art and math, so I guess the fact that I like quilting and fabric design is no big surprise!  I also always loved history – decorative arts museum are my favorite.

4.   Where did you grow up? Where did you attend college, and did your major in fine arts help you with your quilting career ?
I grew up in Virginia and attended college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA.  I was actually an industrial design major but ended up working in print multimedia.  That experience has definitely helped me in terms of being able to keep up a website, put design patterns, etc.

5.   What inspired you to write Modern Holiday and Color Essentials? Are there any other books on the horizon?
Modern Holiday was inspired in part by all those gorgeous holiday fabrics that are now available!  I wanted to do a holiday book that was very graphic in nature – bold and fun.   
    Color Essentials is reflective of the work I did with color in college and also the incredible range of colors in the Kona cotton line. It walks the line between art and quilting for me. (And there are more projects on the horizon, but I cant talk about them yet.)

6.   Tell us about your relationship with Craftsy. How did it begin?
Craftsy originally recruited me at Market to teach classes in machine embroidery.  Now I also teach an appliqué class!

7.  Tell us about your classes with Craftsy, in particular your newest one.
I have two classes in the machine embroidery category – Elegant     Machine Embroidered Bags and Elegant Machine Embroidered Quilts.  It is so fun to pick threads to match quilting fabrics to make something really unique.
 
My 20 Fresh Appliqué Techniques is just that!  I teach your a variety of techniques that will really make your machine appliqué sing!  

 

Some are traditional and some are more unusual.  We make 4 small projects – all with a modern flair.  And we learn to embellish with thread and stitches beautifully!

  

8.   Are appliquéand embroidery your favorite sewing and surface techniques and what draws you to them?
They are some of my favorite techniques – yes.  I tend to love whatever I am working on at the moment!  Im fortunate to work in such a creative industry.

 9. Please show and tell us about your favorite project to date? 
My favorite project to date is my most recent quilt, Flower Power!  It uses a lot of the stitches and techniques I teach in my Craftsy class.  (A coordinating pillow is part of the class.)

10. How did you begin your business Amanda Murphy Design, and how did you grow it?

    I began by sending some design ideas to fabric companies and then started designing patterns. The books, the classes, and my relationship with BERNINA followed.
Modern Lace Fabric – Cool Tones Designed By Amanda Murphy                              
Modern Lace Fabric – Warm Tones Designed By Amanda Murphy

11.What do you see as emerging trends in fabric and quilting in the next 1-2 years?
I see a merging of the modern and traditional movements.  The modern aesthetic is definitely having an influence in the traditional quilting world and the techniques familiar to traditional quilters are seeping into the modern movement.  Also, the embracing of technology by the quilting community is bound to continue and it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Thank you so much for spending this time with us.

Thanks for having me.

Amanda has generously offered a give-a-way; a free link to her recent Craftsy class – 20 Fresh Applique Techniques.  In order to enter, please leave a comment in my comment box telling us what your favorite pattern line is

I will announce the winner on this blog on Friday, July 18 in the morning, EST. Please be sure to leave me your e-mail address so we can get in touch with the winner. Good luck!!
On Another note, Plum & June’s New Quilter’s Blog Hop is containing. I participated and posted on June 3rd. There are many more great quilt bloggers to meet, so please click on the Plum & June Button on my sidebar.

Building Your Fabric Stash Without Breaking Your Budget – Part 4

Building fabric stash is fun. It seems that most quilters love quilting because of the fabric, or it becomes one of their favorite parts of the quilting process. 

There are large prints, small prints, blenders, tone on tone, text, geometrics, and solids. I have always been attracted to small prints. The example in the photo below is typical of the fabrics I would buy, as is the yellows below that, It’s one of those personal preferences. Now with modern quilting and vintage modern quilting, I am slowly beginning to buy more modern prints, and solids, because my eye is getting used to them. 

I still tend to shy away from geometrics and large prints. I am venturing into  some large rose prints I recently discovered by Stephanie Ryan, a new designer at Moda, and Kate Sprain because I love flowers. I am experimenting with them as well as with some geometrics, and my old style is beginning to evolve into something new.

The other part of the fabric journey, that you’ll notice is that you will tend to purchase more of your favorite colors. In my case that is yellow, and purple as a close second. Those are my go-to colors, and over time I have filled in with the entire wheel of color choices.

In part 5 of this series, I am going to focus on fabric stash building with backing fabrics, and part 6 with border and binding fabrics. I have a  few strategies I’d like to share about how to build those, especially during fabric sales. 

A few posts ago in this series, I wrote about stretching your dollars. For example at http://www.connectingthreads.com/Quilting.cfm there is a great sale on batting right now. Of course I stocked up, and hope I won’t need anymore until this time next year.

Re-Purposing Scrap Fabric; A Block for a Modern Quilt Guild Memory

I am really happy I joined the Modern Quilt Guild of Hudson Valley at the beginning of this summer. The members are terrific, fun, kind and are challenging me. I am loving Modern Quilting,and learning so much. The contemporary fabrics and quilt designs are challenging my thought process, and giving me so many new ideas for things I want to make. 

I made a postage stamp block for one of the members today, using my scraps. The only request was that we had to use one strip of 2 1/2 X 16 inch fabric, and it had to be red.  Here’s the color palette I chose;

 

Then I realized I needed six strips. It’s a good thing I noticed that before doing the next step, which was to sew the long sides together, right sides together, creating a tube. So I added some green.




After I sewed the tube, I cut it into 6, 2 1/2″ units, and open them carefully with a seam ripper. Then I sewed all six strips together to make the postage stamp block.

And, the block came out looking good. There is a tutorial on uTube, and I will post that in case anyone wants to try it. On Saturday, it will be in the mail on it’s way to become a beautiful quilt.

On Monday I will post Part 2 of Building Your Fabric Stash Without Breaking Your Budget.  And I think we have a special fabric give-a-way planned with Cuts of Cotton in honor of Veteran’s Day.  Have a great weekend!!
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