Friday, December 2, 2016

Gifts for Quilters: 12 Ideas

Need gift ideas to share with your loved ones this holiday? Or perhaps you're searching for presents for your favorite quilter. Here are some thoughts, all either products I use and love, or ones that are on my own list!

1-Any quilter would love a subscription to a sampler box, like Sew Sampler or Quilty Box. I am itching to try one of these! I love the idea of getting a surprise in the mail each month.

2-One of the top items on my list is Bernina's new ruler foot. I'm always looking for new ways to quilt my projects and I would love to give ruler work a try on my home machine.

3-I love small, beautiful things. I've been intrigued by the hand turned seam rippers I see on Etsy. This one looks great!

4-I love, love, love the badges Moda released this year. They make the Girl Scout in me happy. I would love to find some in my stocking. Check out this adorable set!

5-I could use a good travel iron, and I'm sure many other quilters would appreciate this practical gift!

6-I've spotted some really adorable tins around. Quilters can always use some containers to house our notions. This set with a variety of sizes would come in very handy!

Quilters can never have enough notions. This list includes stocking stuffers, those little items quilters can never have enough of!

1-Wonder clips
2-Sewing machine brush 

And, if you're completely out of ideas, know you can never go wrong with fabric!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Neat and Organized

I recently shared a pattern for a thread catcher over at the Moda Bake Shop. It’s a quick, fun little project that is finished without any sewing. I find it’s handy to bring around the house with me when I’m sewing binding or burying threads in my quilts or working on any other activity that results in piles of thread! The borders are also a handy spot to stick needles or wonder clips.

I had a bit of the fabric I used for the thread catcher left, and decided to make a matching pop up bin for my sewing area using this great pattern by the Fat Quarter Gypsy. The pattern was well written and resulted in a bin that is the perfect size to sit on my sewing table for the bits of trash I accumulate while sewing. I like that I can fold it down and throw it in my bag to bring to retreats or classes. 

Happy sewing!

Please note: I purchased the product mentioned. I received no compensation from the company mentioned. These opinions are all my own!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Quilting can sometimes be monotonous and lonely. Some days, the monotony is welcome, and I find myself in kind of a quilting trance. Other days, I get bored and a bit antsy. I found an ideal way to ameliorate the boredom--audio books! I love reading, but my quilting time often comes at the expense of my reading time and vice versa. Audio books allow me to engage in both activities at once!

I love reading fiction, but I have found that I'm not keen on listening to novels. I much prefer non-fiction audio books. My local library is a great source for audio books (I use the Overdrive app). Recent selections have included GI Brides by Duncan Barrett, Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove, Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos, and I'm currently working on First Women by Kate Andersen Brower.

What have you read or listened to lately? Any suggestions for my next book?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Binding Trick

I happened upon an easy trick to keep your binding neat and tidy when finishing your quilts. My machine (a Bernina 350) has two spool holders--one vertical and one horizontal. The vertical holder is perfect for placing the rolled binding while you're attaching it to the quilt edge. The usually unruly mess of binding sits neatly and unrolls easily. Happy quilting!

Monday, August 1, 2016


We have a winner! Stacey is the lucky winner of the beautiful Flight fat quarters. Stacey, look for an e-mail from me in your in box!

Thank you to everyone who entered! I loved reading through the comments everyone shared about their favorite trips. Many of the comments hit on places I've dreamed of visiting--Iceland, Australia and Costa Rica--and others brought back memories of some wonderful trips I've been lucky enough to take. 

Happy travels, everyone!

Monday, July 11, 2016

New Pattern on the Bakeshop and a Giveaway!

Two exciting announcements to share! First, I'm thrilled to announce my third pattern is available on the Moda Bakeshop blog. This pattern was created using a new fabric line, Flight, by Janet Clare. The fabric is gorgeous, with deep reds and blues and lovely small scale prints. There are planes, clouds, an awesome diagonal stripe and all sorts of goodness.

My pattern is called "Runway" and it's inspired by the markings on a runway. I particularly enjoyed photographing this quilt. A trip to the Outer Banks coincidentally coincided with the completion of the project, so I took some photos of it at the Wright Brother Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. What a perfect backdrop!

After peeking at the pattern, I know you'll want some Flight fabric of your very own. I had some pieces leftover, which the awesome folks at Moda kindly allowed me to offer as a giveaway! 

To be entered to win, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below and leave a comment telling me about the best trip you've ever taken or a trip you've been daydreaming about taking. The prize is five fat quarters of Flight fabric in the delicious cream colorway. 

I'll randomly select a winner on July 30. U.S. residents 18 and older only, please.  

Click here to enter using Rafflecopter!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Selvage Surprise

I can’t say I’m a devotee of this whole selvage craze, but I am tickled by the creativity I’m finding on selvages these days. It’s such a fun little surprise to see something imaginative in place of the traditional color dot. Is there a name for that little circle of color? At any rate, there are so many imaginative variations that give that functional strip a little added joy. Here are some of the more delightful ones I found in my stash.

What's the neatest selvage surprise you've found?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Review: Wanderlust Quilts

I've long considered the connections between architectural details and quilting. Floors, mosaics, arches, tiles...these all have influenced quilt designs. The author of Wanderlust Quilts: 10 Modern Projects Inspired by Classic Art & Architecture takes this idea and runs with it. 

Author Amanda Leins studied classical Archaeology and her depth of knowledge is evident in her patterns and her descriptions of the thought process behind her design choices. I love Leins' assertion that modern doesn't mean simple. She employs many advanced techniques in her patterns, with contemporary results. 

This book is brimming with creativity. Several of the designs are irregularly shaped, and some of Leins' patterns are more descriptions of techniques that specific step by step instructions. She employs innovative piecing techniques and encourages a creative style of quilt-making.

My favorite project in the book is Aqueducts. It's a bright, happy quilt and I was intrigued by the idea of made fabric and her descriptions of getting together with friends to piece scraps. 

While there wasn't one quilt that jumped out at me as one I just had to make, the book is a great resource for the creativity it inspires. The projects really get the creative juices flowing!

Monday, April 25, 2016

I'm a Chef!

I am incredibly proud to have a quilt featured on the Moda Bake Shop. My Charming Peels quilt was a fun project. An orange peel quilt has long been on my quilting bucket list, and it did not disappoint. I love machine applique, and this quilt would be a great introduction to the technique! Check out my pattern, Charming Peels.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Secrets to a Perfect Half Square Triangle

I finished my half square triangle quilt and just love it. The quilting came out just how I envisioned, and it's a great size for my reading chair. Perfectly cozy!

I'm a big fan of half square triangles. Pretty much any fabric works for a half square triangle, you can make them big or small, and it's such a flexible block with so many layout possibilities. I figured the handy half square triangle deserved its very own quilt!

I always make my half square triangles a little big and take the time to trim them down to the size I need. It's a time-consuming extra step, certainly, but it's so pleasant to work with perfectly sized squares. I sure some quilters are able to achieve a perfect half square triangle without trimming, but I'm not one of them! Trimming is a nice task to do away from the sewing machine. I call them "TV-watching tasks." Trimming half square triangles is a perfect activity to do while you're doing something else.

Another secret to perfect half square triangle is to press before you cut the two halves apart. I always give them a quick little press with the iron before cutting them apart and pressing them open, and it seems to help them lay nicely. They, of course, take another trip to the ironing board after I press them open.

Here is the completed half square triangle quilt, featuring fabrics from several of Denyse Schmidt's lines.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Experiments in Marking

While planning my half square triangle quilt, I knew I wanted to quilt it with straight lines running diagonally across the quilt. I usually use the guide on my walking foot to quilt straight lines, but suspected that technique wouldn’t cut it for this project. The combination of having the lines running diagonally and wanting the lines to intersect with the peaks of the triangles meant that I needed something a little more precise.

I decided to mark my quilt. I have a hera marker and use it often for quick marking needs. I love that it will never run out and that it works on all colors of fabric. (For those who aren’t familiar with hera markers, they put a crease in the fabric that serves as the mark. I use this one.) For this project, however, I wanted to try something that would give me a clearer visual guide.

I tested two types markers, chosen based on positive reviews on Amazon. 

The three contenders!

The first were these pencils, made from clay, wax and pigment. I liked that there were three colors of pencils in the package. I also tried this pen. I was a bit hesitant to try a micron pen, since I’ve heard so many horror stories from fellow quilters. 

I drew lines on a swatch (including a line without any marking, for the sake of comparison) and quilted over the lines. The pink and blue were both fairly subtle on the cream fabric, while the pen was a shocking shade of purple. I felt downright mischievous drawing a dark purple line on such light fabric.

My marked lines.

The instructions for both types said to rub the marking off with a wet towel. Though most of the pink and blue markings came off, I had a difficult time getting them off fully. I think because I quilted over the line, some of the markings remained under the thread. I cold see a hint of color after rubbing. 

The ink from the purple pen disappeared completely! In fact, an area that I marked but didn’t wipe with water was gone the next day, as the ink is air soluble and truly disappearing ink. 

The lines after rubbing with water.

The clear winner for my needs was the purple pen. It worked great for quilting, with the caveat that you have to quilt your project very soon after marking, or your lines will be gone! I marked four to six lines at a time, quilted, and then repeated the process. The disappearing nature of the ink was a great bonus for me, as there was no work required to remove the ink after quilting.

The pink and blue pencils would probably be good for general sewing needs, but I did not find them great for marking quilting lines. I can’t imagine rubbing every line of quilting on a larger quilt—that would be quite time consuming! 

I'm glad I took the time to mark this quilt. My quilting lines are straight and evenly spaced. The time spent finding the right tool and marking the quilt top was definitely time well spent!

Please note: I purchased these products at a retail location. I received no compensation of any kind from any of the companies mentioned. These opinions are all my own!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Straight Up

I’ve spent a lot of time quilting straight lines lately. My fallback quilting choice is usually to stipple my quilts. I love how quickly I can get a project done with stippling and I enjoy how it flows. Lately, however, I’ve been inspired to try other quilting designs.

I recently finished a half square triangle quilt top. I quickly knew I wanted to quilt it with straight lines, diagonally across the quilt. I wanted lines to intersect the peak of each triangle, and figured out lines spaced 7/8 of an inch apart would be close enough together for the effect I wanted. This translated into a lot of lines.

Was quilting so many straight lines monotonous at times? Certainly. Probably a bit more monotonous than stippling, but not much. It went fairly quickly and was pretty easy to accomplish on a domestic machine. 

I love the modern look it gives the quilt. It adds dimension and texture, but works with the orderly look of the half square triangle quilt.