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.

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!

qslogo15

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.

IMG_2924

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.

IMG_2906

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.

IMG_2907

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.

IMG_2908

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.

IMG_2910

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.

IMG_2893

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.

IMG_2895

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

IMG_2896

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.

IMG_2902

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.

IMG_2899

Pin.

IMG_2900

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.

IMG_2901

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.

IMG_2903

Trim.

And press.

IMG_2898

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.

IMG_2912

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

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

Mimi’s Modern Flower Garden

As usual, I started this with just a concept in my head. For the most part it worked. Until I got to the borders. Then it got tricky.

IMG_2147

And that’s saying something since the borders are just kinda borders, right?

Well, now they are.

If I actually sat down and drew out a plan (either on paper or my computer), I would have seen that extending the hexagons into the borders wasn’t going to work. At least not with this size hexie I was using. I mean, it would have been really cool, and it’s something I might use in the future.

You know, when I have the math all sorted.

After I had the center pieced, and had attached the inner border (which took much longer than expected because I had to variegate it), then I got to move on to the outer borders.

Originally my plan was to extend the hexagons from the center to the outside, but, like I said a few paragraphs ago, it didn’t work because I couldn’t make the corners fit.

bad corner web

See? I’d have to chop off too much of a hexie.

I also wish I’d realized that BEFORE I put on the top border.

top border web

It looked awful because I couldn’t halve the hexagons along the top – I had to have a hexagon at the corners – but I was not going to have ANY of that.

border test

I tried a few different things like having a grey variegated border, but I wasn’t a huge fan of that either.

So, after fussing for a few days.

Daaaayyysss, y’all, daaayyysss….

I decided to get a print that reads as a solid and call it a day.

My hope is that when I (or someone else) quilts it, the borders will have some fun thread work. Perhaps I’ll have the quilting follow the color pattern of the quilt, going from red to pink to purple to blue to green.

Maybe.

I should probably make a plan for that before I start.