make something, quilt, quilt block, quilt design, quilt patterns, quilting, quilts

What if I fly???

 

For a long time I have wanted to put my quilt designs into the world. Over the years I’ve had lots of people ask but I was never quite ready to take a leap of faith. I would dabble here and there, but it never went further than that.  Maybe I was scared? I mean, I’ll be honest. I was scared.

The past several months I’ve been pondering taking leaps of faith. Jump and a net will appear. What if I fall? What if I fly? Will people like what I make and actually buy my designs? They’ve asked; I just haven’t listened.

falling

Soooo, the impetus to this really happening, a sign I couldn’t ignore, was a shop in Texas reaching out to me. One of the employees made a quilt using my All Squared Up pattern from the Quilt Shop Sampler magazine in 2007. They needed patterns. Did I have any?  Well, yes, and no. The pattern was written – had been for 12 years – but I didn’t have any physical patterns. So, I moved quickly, grabbed the quilt from Intown Quilters so I could snap a photo, and voila!

It began.

I’ve been gearing up for this for a while, but if I don’t take a leap, it’ll never happen. So this is me at my jumping off point. Taking a leap. It’s exciting, and scary at the same time.

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I have five, YES, f-i-v-e, patterns in my shop. You can find them here. All PDF’s available for immediate download, and paper patterns/wholesale options available for shops (just email me).

A few are tried and true favorites patterns, and some are new. I have more coming down the pipeline. Take a look, leave a comment, and if you find an error, please let me know.

Happy Piecing, y’all!

 

 

make something, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts

Please, Enter a Contest

I know I write and sing the praises of perfecting technique. I think it’s important and I’ve seen far too many quilters give up because of issues they couldn’t navigate. And it’s not that you have to be perfect with your piecing (except me, I admit I have a problem) but because it’s important to know how to trouble shoot and solve problems. I also think if you know how to do something correctly, then you gain the freedom to figure out other ways to achieve your desired end product, either correctly or not; AND that gives you a greater depth of knowledge if your wonky way works, or doesn’t.

That being said, I also think you should put your work, perfect or not,  in shows from time to time.

Seriously.

Judged, juried, judged and juried. I know it’s fairly intimidating to enter a quilt into a show. No one wants to have a quilt rejected from a show OR read negative feedback regarding their work. Heck, I submitted a quilt into Paducah and was nervous they wouldn’t accept it. I was also anxious to read judges comments about my quilt. BUT it’s important to get feedback away from your echo chamber and get new eyes on your work. If you want to improve your quilts, one of the best ways to do it is to get constructive criticism. Even if it’s tough to stomach.

It’s an honor to be juried into a show, and my quilt going to Paducah was no exception. I love my quilt, and AQS liked it enough to have it juried into the show. Big applause, right? My quilt didn’t get any ribbons though, so naturally I wondered what was wrong with it in the eyes of the judges.

When my quilt was returned last week I TORE into the box to see the comments. WHAT DID THE JUDGES SAY ABOUT MY QUILT?

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You can read the comments above but what it came down to was aesthetics. Some of the design elements of my quilt didn’t appeal to the judges and THAT IS OKAY.  I like my quilt as it is, and I appreciate the the judges offering their feedback.  While this quilt won’t EVER get changed, and I love it the way it is, the comments give me design options to consider in the future.

Will I ever make this quilt again? Probably not. Will I ever have dense border with some kind of intricate piecing? I’m not sure. But if I do, I have points to ponder from an aesthetic standpoint and if I know how to make the pieces fit together (see paragraph 1), then I (or you) have the ability to make your vision a reality. Possibly without a world of frustration, too.

Happy Piecing!

book, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting

Back in Business

My Post

Y’all! First of all, if you don’t follow me on social media (fact: I’m far more active on Instagram than any other platform) you may have missed my big THANK YOU! Thanks to everyone that has supported me and my book. It sold out late fall and I’m happy that it’s back IN STOCK at C&T. So if you’ve wanted to get your hands on a copy, you can do it now.

Spring break ended Friday, and I’m hopeful that I can finally knock out some items on my lengthy to-do list before school is out in May. It’s around the corner, and while I have done a lot this year, it’s not anywhere NEAR what I wanted to accomplish. So here’s to 7 weeks of insane productivity.

Speaking of, let me know if there’s something you’d like to see me demonstrate, or a tutorial and I’ll see if I can make it happen. Also contemplating a give-away of some sort, but I’m not sure yet??? Always happy to hear your suggestions.

featured, make something, quilt, quilting, quilts

Here I Come, Paducah!

When I was 18, I worked part time (summers, holidays) at a local quilt shop. One of the women that worked there had a quilt hanging in the shop. It was an American flag and the words to the Pledge of Allegiance were in the white stripes. The quilt had been to Paducah and won a blue ribbon – perhaps it even won best of show?? I can’t quite recall, and it’s been (ahem) quite a few years.

Anyhow, I remember all the fuss about the quilt from women that would come into the shop. Those ladies would go on and on and on about MaryAnn and her quilt. Keep in mind that at that time I was just starting my quilting journey and I was VERY impressionable. The quilt was lovely. Really, it was, and who doesn’t like an American flag quilt? but the thing that always stuck with me was what an honor it was to have a quilt juried into the AQS Paducah show.

Because of those early experiences, I really wanted to get a quilt into Paducah one day. It’s been a goal for a very long time. 25 years later and that hasn’t left me. Actually, being juried into ANY show is a big deal and a HUGE honor, but for some reason (see above) this show has always been in the back of my mind.

I’ve thought about it over the years, and have contemplated entering a quilt. Honestly, I was scared – what if they didn’t like the quilt?? Maybe getting over the fear (kinda) is something that happens in your 40s….you realize that the worst thing that’ll happen is they say no. And no is okay. Disappointing, but okay.

So, fast forward to December 1, 2017. I entered The Bride Wore Pink to the spring AQS show, crossed my fingers, and hit the submit button.

Yesterday I received an email letting me know that my quilt, The Bride Wore Pink, was juried into the show.

Y’ALL!! I’m so excited!!!!

The Bride Wore Pink

 

craft, make something, quilt, quilting, quilts, sewing

Product Review – QuiKraft Spray Glue

My friend, Charlene, recently introduced me to a new spray glue that is coming to the US later this spring. It’s called QuiKraft Tack by Siliconi.

I am telling you, people, that you want a bottle of this stuff!

Seriously. You will want this as sewing room staple. It’s fantastic, and I will use it to spray baste for a long, long time.

Here are my thoughts on the QuiKraft glue, and some rambling about machine quilting, so bear with me. I promise it’ll make sense in the end.

For many years I have sent my quilts out to my friend Regina. She’s a longarm quilter, and her work is incredible! I’ve sent my quilts out for two reasons:

  1. The quilts actually get finished and
  2. I wasn’t willing to put in the time to machine quilt my quilts.

 

Number 2 is the real doozie here in that my unwillingness to do the work meant my work didn’t improve. My quilting was okay, but I always wanted it to get significantly better. Sooooo, since this year is about me finishing projects, I decided that finishing them on my own would be part of the package. I know that won’t always happen, but it needs to happen more. It gives me a chance to work on my machine quilting, so it’s not all bad.

One of the reasons I HATE machine quilting is the basting process. It is tough on my back, and crawling around the floor is just not fun.  I need a better table to baste (that’s coming soon) so I don’t have to suffer when I baste quilts on the floor….however, after using the QuiKraft I decided that I can stick to the floor for a little bit longer.

I decided to test the spray glue on Q man’s quilt. He painted the top, and I knew if I messed up he could paint another. That’s horrible, I know, but it’s also true. Like other spray glues on the market, it’s easy to use. You shake the can, spray about a foot from your project, and put the pieces together.

I started by taping my backing fabric to the floor (unlike this photo, remove threads that run across the center of your backing)

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then put my (franken) batting on top of the backing fabric. Also not pictured, smoothed out batting.

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Last, put your quilt on top to make the sandwich.

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Once that’s was situated, I folded the top half of the quilt top and the batting onto itself. The goal here was to work on one half of the quilt at a time.

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Shake the spray glue can well then spray it 10-12″ from your project. I sprayed the backing AND the batting. I sprayed about 6″ X width of quilt each time. After I sprayed, I carefully rolled/repositioned the batting that had been glued to the backing and worked my way up the quilt until I got to the top. I repeated this on the other side of the quilt to glue my batting to the backing.

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After I glued down the batting, I repeated the same process to glue the quilt top to the batting to complete my quilt sandwich.

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Regarding gluing the sandwich together:

  1. It’s MUCH faster to spray baste than pin baste
  2. This glue is VERY easy to use
  3. Low VOC, which is nice since I’m basting this on my basement floor. There is hardly ANY odor so I didn’t have to worry about passing out from fumes.
  4. It was very easy to clean up any over spray from my floor (truth – my kids may have done that with their socks)
  5. The glue works.

There are many reasons I liked working with the QuiKraft glue, but I think #5 is what sticks out in my mind the most (get it? sticks? glue?). I’ve tried other spray basting glues before and never felt they worked well enough for me, or I felt the need to iron my sandwich together AFTER spray basting to make sure all the pieces were secure.

Anyhow, working in 6″ X width of quilt was manageable and allowed me to smooth out any small inconsistencies in my sandwich as I worked. I didn’t have a huge area on my quilt, backing, or batting with glue and the inability to glue it down cleanly.  Smaller working space meant I could accurately spray baste my quilt and get it down securely.

I’m about halfway through quilting Q man’s quilt, and haven’t had any problems. No part of my sandwich has come unglued while I work and that’s made machine quilting significantly smoother than pin basting or having not-so-great-sandwiches come apart for one reason or another. I haven’t had any gumming on my needle, either. Another HUGE bonus.

Because my sandwich has been so secure, quilting has been a breeze. IMG_3126

I have 3 more rings to quilt. Knowing I’ll be able to tackle those with relative ease and no sandwich issues makes me significantly less anxious about the process.  The right tools make everything enjoyable.

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Close up shot. You can see where I needed to replace my stippling needle. You can also see my work on spirals. Spirals are the death of me so I’m really working to get those down. I don’t know why I have such a mental block on them.

I highly recommend this project, and I’m eager to spray baste another quilt later this week.

To keep up with news, I recommend you follow @quikraft_siliconi on Instagram. I know they have some fun plans for the spring, and this way you’ll be the first to hear!

Acrylic with fabric medium on PFD. Quilted on my Bernina 770QE with Aurifil 50wt. thread.  75/11 needles.

 

 

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts, sewing

This Girl is Headed to The Quilt Show

My first (and currently only) school house was at Market in fall 2016. I was excited about my presentation, and was sharing the time slot with John Kubiniec. John was speaking about his new book, A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path, and had made some quilts using Alex Anderson’s new line of fabric being released at market.

Now, I knew I would be speaking with John, and he and I had spoken on the phone prior to quilt market. What I didn’t know was that Alex Anderson would be there.

Yep!

She was 5 feet from me. In the front row. I was equal parts ecstatic and terrified! You would be, too! Half of what I wanted to say went right out the window.

So, I make it through my presentation, and Alex was as kind and lovely as you think she’d be. She told me I did a nice job and congrats on the book, and so on.

The end.

Okay, not the end. Only the end until fall market 2017. I had a whirlwind trip to Houston that included finding out the hard way I had a sulpha drug allergy. So in addition to spending two days walking around George Brown being incredibly itchy,  I was walking around on Sunday tired from Benadryl.

Anyhow, about halfway through the day, my friend Charlene and I walked into a booth. Alex was sitting at a table helping someone. She smiled at us when we walked in, and Charlene and I continued to peruse. I was particularly interested in the EVA foam Cheryl Sleboda had because I had just made a not so great but kind of okay helmet for my son for Halloween. Charlene was checking out batting.

Anyhow, while I was looking around Alex must have finished what she was doing, walked over to me, smiled, and said hello. We started to talk, and in a complete “this is either a REALLY good idea or a terrible one” kind of moment, I said: so, do you remember….and launched into reminding her about my school house and how nice she was to me last year.

Alex asked about my book, Piecing Makeover, and, of course, I was happy to grab it from my bag and show it to her. She flipped through it and then asked if I’d want to be on The Quilt Show.

WHAT?! Um, yes!! No need to ask twice. I. AM. THERE!

Seriously, though. I am there. Well, I’m there in March and I am SO EXCITED! Y’all! This is ah-mazing!

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I’m super excited to go, and I’ll keep you updated on any fun developments. It’s going to be great!

Happy Piecing!

PM

family, make something, personal, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts

On Making Resolutions, Not Making Resolutions, and Sweet Things

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I have enough to keep up with on any given day and the thought of adding to my already lengthy list is daunting. Plus, it’s always a disappointment if I can’t keep a promise to myself for a year. Why set myself up for failure, right?

Enter being alone…sewing…head going…..then poof! I blew up that thought when I made a quiet resolution to myself. Dang it!

For every NEW quilt I start, I’m going to finish a work in progress.

It’s a good one, but this must have been a complete moment of weakness; or me looking around my space realizing I’d have more if I finished some projects.

The plan: if it’s been cut, partially pieced, blocks made but need to assemble the top, partially quilted, WHATEVER, then it’s time to finish that project.

I am allowing myself one small stipulation: finished tops don’t count.  I can fold them up and put them in my cabinet to be quilted on another day.  Fast forward to a year from now when I’m complaining about all the quilts that need quilting. Here’s hoping that’s not the case. Note: I’m grateful for long arm quilters. Anyhow, at least if the mess is off my floor, I’ll have some room to move. That’ll be nice. I could use more space. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

The first project I’m tackling this year is a quilt for my husband’s aunt. Several years ago she asked me to make a quilt from her children’s clothing. She has 5 (yes, F-I-V-E) kids and had a great, big basket of things for me to use. I cut a bunch of things into 5″ squares and put them together with a sashing and I never. liked. the. quilt.

It was somewhere between a large wall and small lap quilt. I didn’t like the pieces just sashed. There was no pizzaz, and I knew I could do something I liked FAR better. 4 squares were larger so I used them as cornerstones, but then the borders were too wide, and the quilt wasn’t quite proportional. I didn’t like my border choice for that quilt, either. Also, if I’m making a quilt from clothing from 5 babies, then said aunt should be able to snuggle up under it. I mean, those are years of precious memories. Diaper covers, cross-stitched bags, flannel blankets, and loads of other sweet, sweet things.

So I sat on it.

For two years I sat on a (small) almost-completed quilt because I didn’t love it. It was okay, but that’s not okay for me.

So I stewed, and mulled, and processed, and let it muster until the lightbulb went off. And THEN, when the inspiration hit, I was able to pull the trigger. Sheesh, y’all! This quilt is going to be ah-mazing!! I’m so excited about it. I can’t wait for you to see the finished project!

Let me also add (completely-ish off topic) that sometimes waiting is the best thing you can do for a project. I am one of the most impatient people I know, so that really means something coming from me. But it’s true. I am so glad that I waited and didn’t finish this quilt. It’s definitely worth it!

Back to the quilt. When the lightbulb came on at 3am one morning (thank you insomnia, Carrie Bloomston, and That Little Spark), the quilt came together.

I spent the last 2 days reworking the top. I have the center blocks assembled, and plan to sew them together today. Plans for the rest of the week include inner and outer border, then determining quilting situation.

Here’s a sneak peak.

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Enjoy!

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts

Matching a Fussy Cut Print

I wrote an entire book on precision piecing so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I love fussy cutting and matching prints. It’s been my experience that quilters either love it or hate it.  Regardless of your preference, I’m a fan, and think it adds great interest to quilts and blocks. I used it on this quilt border recently, and just love the look!

I’m also pretty keen on matching fussy cut prints in borders. I mean, if I’m going to spend the time accurately, precisely cutting a border strip, I darn well want it to match along the edges! It’s visually appealing, and once the quilt has been quilted you usually can’t see the seam, anyhow.

Here’s my two cents on how to fussy cut a print for a border, or at least this quilt.

First, look at the print. Once you determine your border width you can pick an arbitrary point to use for cutting for both sides of your border. I knew I wanted to have one fussy cut skull running down the center of my vertical pieces (sides) and one fussy cut skull running through the middle of my border (top and bottom). I also knew I wanted an approximately 5″ border.

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The repeat on this print made math simple. I could place my ruler 1″ above the top of the skulls and 1″ below the bottom of the skull that would run horizontally and I’d have a 5″ border.

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Use your rotary cutter, and cut along the edge of the ruler, adjusting as necessary. Here’s the trick: YOU WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR RULER. Several times, usually. That also means, cut a small bit, say 6″ or so, where your ruler is correctly aligned, readjust, then cut more. Prints are almost never perfectly on grain. That also means that your border won’t quite be on grain. That’s okay. You’ll have a 5″ border and make adjustments as you sew and quilt, as needed.

The image below shows you, using an upside down ruler, how the print isn’t perfectly on grain. See how it veers off toward the 5″ mark? No worries. Let your ruler do the work for you and adjust it.

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See how I adjusted the ruler below? If you do that, your print will line up exactly as you’d like and you’ll have perfect fussy cut borders. This technique works for horizontal and vertical borders. Pick a point, and use your ruler to get perfectly cut pieces running the length or width of the fabric.

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While it’s not entirely necessary, I usually use my ruler along the second cut for the border. Under normal circumstances, I’d like up my ruler along the cut edge and cut the border pieces to the size I want. Since this is a fussy cut strip, I want to make sure that the second cut is in the exact right spot. Normally it is, but an abundance of caution here is worth the extra minute or two to make sure your border will have the center skull (or whatever) in the correct spot.

So, what happens when you want to MATCH your fussy cut strips? Let your iron do the work for you!

I have two horizontal cuts.

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I pick a point on the fabric to match. I try to make it easy and somewhat obvious. For this print, I chose to use the center of the skull. I can use the center of the skull and have half the face on each side of my seam. Since the spot in the fabric is busy, it’ll be less noticeable when the top is quilted.

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I ironed the border strip back onto itself to create a line to sew along on another strip.

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Next, place the pieces together, FACE UP,  as you’d like them to be sewn together on your border. This one is basted because I forgot to snap a photo of that step, so imagine this without stitches. The skull lines up (almost) perfectly. You will want to sew along that ironed line.

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Gently fold back the top piece. I usually keep my hand on the folded part of the fabric being flipped so it doesn’t move. Here, the fold was big enough for me to keep my hand on it, while flipping the top portion. Then I place my hand/fingers on the other edge to keep it from moving, and let the left side of the fabric all the way out.

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Pin.

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BASTE along the ironed fold line. I like to baste to make sure the pattern is lined up exactly the way I want. If it’s not quite right, it’s easy to take out the stitches, readjust, then try again.

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When you have the pieces lined up as you’d like, sew them together. I usually sew over the basting stitches, and leave them in the quilt. Ideally, I’d have long threads to pull out the basting, but I don’t think it adds enough bulk in the border to cause any problems.

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Trim.

And press.

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Voila! Perfectly matched fussy cut borders!

family, friends, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts

All Squared Up – January Blues edition

Like many quilts, this one has a story. It began in November of 1974. I was 3 months old. We lived in a new subdivision in a suburb of Atlanta, and had neighbors with 2 small children. The youngest was 6 months old at the time. We grew up together and were the best of friends.

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Then we moved to Charlotte.

As luck would have it, though, my grandparents still lived in Atlanta so when we’d come to visit, I’d always have a spend the night with my friend. She even came to visit a full week one summer – brought her bike and everything – it was the best week ever!

Fast forward to 1987 when moved back to Atlanta. My friend and I were still in contact, and getting together was far easier now that we were geographically convenient to one another. We would talk for hours on the phone since we were thirteen and there were no long distance fees to pay. There was always a reason to get together, be it an afternoon, evening, or a night. I think it helped that our parents were friends.

I have fond memories of my friend and her family celebrating holidays together. They’d celebrate Christmas with us, and we’d celebrate Rosh Hashanah with them. Thanksgivings at my house, and 4th of July’s on a boat. Birthdays, weddings (me as her maid of honor and her as my matron of honor) and yes, even funerals.

We lived together our freshman year of college, and were just a few doors from each other in apartments in our early twenties….a half mile from each other mid-twenties….see? She was always around, and has always been an important part of my life.

Until she moved across the country. I didn’t realize how sad it would make me until she wasn’t around. It’s been 5 years.

Her son turned 13 almost 2 years ago. He had a Bar Mitzvah in Israel. I was invited to go, but couldn’t swing the expense. I’ve been wanting to make a quilt for him, but hadn’t found (made) the time. I wanted something appropriate for a young man, and, I’ll be honest, nothing really inspired me. Plus the book was just out….I was going in too many directions.

So, when I saw this Libs Elliot fabric I fell in love and immediately knew what I wanted to make! This pattern, All Squared Up, was designed for Intown Quilters when the shop was featured in American Patchwork and Quilting Shop Sampler magazine in spring 2007. I’ve added the scrappy inner border since, but everything else is the same. Skulls seem appropriate for a boy, and I felt much better when my husband told me this was one of his favorite quilts that I’ve made – and he’s seen a lot of quilts.

 

I know how lucky I am to have had a friend for (almost) 44 years. It’s rare, and it’s extremely special.  Next step, off to get quilted, then send it to Seattle. I hope you like, H! Much, much love….

 

Measures 64.5″ x 80″

pieced with 50 weight Cotton + Steel by Sulky

family, Uncategorized

READ

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This pillow represents 291,000 seconds, 4,860 minutes, 567 miles, and 81 hours in my sons life.

It represents the end of a difficult journey and a door to new beginnings for him – one where school isn’t so difficult and learning is a joy.
It represents my child going from a struggling student to one that excels academically.
It represents a family doing the extra work for a child when a school refused to help.
It represents what and how a child should be taught versus what and how they are taught.
It represents a parent going to bat for a child and getting treated very badly for it.
It represents how an amazing Orton Gillingham tutor can LITERALLY change the life of a child.
It also represents me finding my voice, and sharing and supporting my knowledge with parents that are struggling with a diagnosis or a school.

 

But mostly, this pillow represents success for my son because success now means success later.