Friday, July 29, 2011

ought not two quilts ever be the same

Loretta Pettway, b. 1942
Four-block strip quilt. Circa 1960. Cotton twill
and synthetic material (men's clothing). 78 x 73 inches.
The Quilts of Gee's Bend, p. 74

I've been thinking a lot about improvisational quilting lately. It is honestly my favorite way to work. For me, it's much more exciting to create a quilt as I piece the blocks, changing the layout and designs as I sew, instead of following the precise instructions of a pattern. With improvisational quilting, anything works, so there's also less frustration if the finished blocks don't turn out "just right."

Some of my favorite improvisational quilts were made by the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama. I was looking through the book "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" and came across a quote by Mensie Lee Pettway (b.1939), who states:

Didn't use patterns for quilts, neither. None of this family have used patterns. We got a tradition of the old peoples' way...Everybody made their own designs. We was taught there's so many different ways to build a quilt. It's like building a house. You can start with a bedroom over there, or a den overhere, and just add on until you get what you want. Ought not two quilts ever be the same. You might use exactly the same material, but you would do it different. A lot of people make quilts just for your bed, or to keep you warm. But a quilt is more. It represents safekeeping, it represents beauty, and you could stay it represents family history.

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Modern Barn Quilt Paint Along Update

Have you been painting some Modern Barn Quilts this summer? If so, I'd love to see them! There are some gorgeous examples in our flickr group and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

This is Eileen's Modern Barn Quilt. Don't you just love the red and aqua together? Eileen blogs at BeanieG and she's working on some fun quilting projects, so hop on over to her site and take a look at all of her beautiful blocks.

This is Leslie's block. So fun, right? I love her use of color and I especially like those three little rectangles that pop out in the first and third logs. Leslie blogs at Fluff & Nonsense, so go on over to her site and take a look at all the adorable projects she's been working on.

This is Kristina's Modern Barn Quilt. Isn't this one stunning? I love all of the blues and the wonky angles! Kristina blogs at Beauty in the Blocks and she makes beautiful quilts too. Maybe she'll turn this into a quilt someday!


This is Katy's quilt block and the quilt that inspired it. I think it coordinates really well with the quilt. Katy is such an amazingly talented painter and creates beautiful Pysanka eggs, which are Ukrainian Easter eggs. Her gorgeous work can be seen on her blog Katyegg Design.

There are more photos, including some really fun process shots, in the Modern Barn Quilt Paint Along flickr group. If you've made one, or are making one now, I'd love to see it so please consider adding it to our group!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

QuiltAlbum: a new way to organize and document your quilts + a giveaway!

Are you familiar with QuiltAlbum? It's a new quilting software that allows you to organize and document your quilts, keeping all of the details and information about them in one place. You've spent so much time working on your quilts, you really owe it to yourself to document them too!

The amazingly talented Pat Sloan invited me to review the product a couple of weeks ago, and I was thrilled at the opportunity. Pat is the best! I'm not the most organized person in the world, so I thought this would be a great way to help me keep photos and details about my quilts together. And it really is.

QuiltAlbum is very easy to use. Once it's downloaded on your computer, you access it while you're online. When you enter a quilt into the program, it gets its own page in the QuiltAlbum. You upload a photo of the quilt, and then there are fields where you can ad all sorts of information about your work, from the name, the pattern, quilting method, etc., as well as a field where you can add personal notes about the quilt. It's that simple!

Another thing that I think is great about the program is that you can also print out pages from your QuiltAlbum in a variety of ways. You can print complete album pages with photos and details about the quilt, but also everything from postcards to mailing labels, and even labels that you can use on your finished quilt!

I've been using QuiltAlbum for a couple of weeks now and I'm really pleased with the product. It's truly a great way to document the details about your quilts, it's easy to use, and it's a nice way to organize and store everything in one place. Plus it's affordable too! You can download the program for $29.95, or if you prefer to have it on a disc, the price is $39.95. But, if you use the discount code BCX-UK you can save $5 at checkout! Just go to QuiltAlbum's site to order and add your discount code at checkout.

Would you like to win a copy of QuiltAlbum? As a special thank you to my readers, the folks at QuiltAlbum are giving away a copy of the program to one of you! Just leave a comment below to be entered to win. For an extra entry, please become a follower of my blog and leave another comment! I'll use the Random Number Generator to choose a winner, and the giveaway will be open until Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at midnight EST. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ruffles galore

I'm talking non-stop ruffles! This skirt was made as a special order in my etsy shop for a returning customer of mine. In fact, I've made each of her soon to be three-year-old daughter's birthday outfits! She was looking for something very ruffled and suggested the Nie Nie skirt by Pink Fig Patterns.

I had the pattern on hand, although I had never made it before, so we gave it a whirl. It wasn't too difficult to construct, although it was kind of tricky getting all of the tiers of ruffles lined up and spaced evenly. It also took a lot longer than I expected, but overall I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

I used a total of four different fabrics. My customer had requested Amy Butler's Fuchsia Tree in Carmine from her Soul Blossoms line, which is the fabric in the drop waist and the third and sixth row of ruffles. I added Sandi Henderson's Meadow Dots in Geranium from her Meadowsweet 2 line (in the first and fifth row of ruffles), Amy Butler's Honey Comb in Rust from her Midwest Modern line (second row of ruffles), and Anna Maria Horner's Cathedral in Zinnia from her Gold Folks line of fabrics (fourth row of ruffles).

This shot gives a better idea of just how full the skirt is. That will give some serious twirl action! I need to make one for Olivia now, because she absolutely loves to twirl around the house. I have a feeling that she would want a lot more pink fabrics in her version though!

Monday, July 25, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations, Sally!! You're the winner of my pink quilt from Linsay's fundraiser. With your help, we raised over $400 for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk! That is so amazing, and my deepest thanks to all who entered.

Friday, July 22, 2011

tutorial: how to choose solid fabrics for quilts using paint chips

The next time you're trying to pick solid colors for your next quilt, take a trip to the hardware store and grab some paint chips that match the colors you're thinking of working with. There are thousands of colors available at Lowe's and Home Depot, and if you go armed with your color charts, it's pretty easy to find a close match to the fabric. Here's how I did it.

Have you ever tried to design a quilt with only solid fabrics, using just a color chart card? It's tough!

Kona and Bella both make gorgeous charts that have swatches of all of their colors, but it can be kind of hard to determine if some colors will work together, especially if they are far apart on the chart.

How can I tell if Betty's Red will work with Summer Sky? One easy and inexpensive way is to go to the paint department of your local hardware store and pick up some matching paint chips.

This week I was working on designing a new quilt entirely out of solid fabrics, and I was having the hardest time figuring out what colors would work together with just my charts. I had a few colors in mind, but I didn't want to order fabric without knowing for sure if they would work together. So, after some advice from my husband, I ran to Lowe's with my Kona chart and grabbed some color chips. A lot of them! The color chips are little pieces of colored cardstock that are samples of all the different colors of paint that are available. They are found in the paint department and they're free little pieces of great color inspiration!

In my case I wanted to see if Kona Curry

would work well with Kona Stone.

So, I found a paint chip that was the closest match to Curry. It's called Santa Monica Blvd. Gotta love the names of paint colors!

And then I found the closest match to Kona Stone, which was a paint called toll booth.

Once the matching paint chips were found, I can easily put them next to each other to see if I think the colors will work well together in my quilt.

Next was Kona Butter. Deep Cowslip 2 is a good match for that one.

Kona Sweet Pea was a tough one to match, and the closest color I came up with was Olive 4.

Kona Olive is pretty close to Olive Grove.

Bee's Wax was the closest match I could find to Kona Mustard.

Once I found chips to match all of the colors I had in mind for the quilt, I put them all together. They are so much easier to move around and play with different color combinations this way than try to move the color chart around.

Here are my first color choices. I thought they worked well together, but I couldn't help but feel that they had a little too much of a 70s vibe, and not in a good way. I'm thinking Avocado and Golden Harvest appliances...not quite the feeling that I want in my quilt.

So, I switched out the green with another golden color, Bee's Wax, and I'm really happy with how these four colors work together.

The coordinating Kona fabrics for these colors in my quilt will be Butter, Curry, Mustard, and Stone. I think they work really well together, and I could never have determined that using only my color chart. I'm going to start keeping a stockpile of color chips to use in designing my solids-only quilts, and I hope these tips will help you in designing your solid quilts, and other sewing projects, too!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Generation Q Magazine

Today I'm so excited to share with you a guest post from the wonderful folks at Generation Q Magazine. I think they'll be an exciting addition to the Modern Quilt movement!

Have you heard about this one? There’s a new magazine out there just for us Modern Quilters!

Launched last week, Generation Q Magazine was started by Jake Finch and Melissa Thompson Maher (former Quilter’s Home Magazine editors), and Megan Dougherty (QH contributor and the hilarious talent behind The Bitchy Stitcher blog). These three crazy quilt gals, along with the addition of self-named Cabana Boy, Scott Hansen (of Blue Nickel Quilts) came out of the recent closure of Quilter’s Home shaking their heads at the notion that the only thing today’s quilter is interested in are pattern magazines.

It’s just not true, they said, and GenQ came out last week to raving reviews, and almost all of them good. Generation Q Magazine is a community of modern and contemporary quilters, sewists and fabric addicts who want to come together to play with threads and enjoy each other’s creativity. It’s about sharing and celebrating, and it’s fun!

While they’re starting online for now (as in free, people!), they will launch a print and digital edition of GenQ in the late spring. The online edition posts a new magazine-style article every weekday. There is a structured editorial calendar with a rotation of content, from honest media reviews to projects, full-length feature articles(sometimes broken down in a series), product testing, columns, news and more. It’s similar lifestyle content for which QH was becoming known. GenQ’s voice is cheeky and fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they seriously love their sewing and quilting and want to spread the fun around. After all, if there’s no joy in it, why do it, they ponder?

For now, all they ask is that you check them out and if you enjoy what you read, sign up for a subscription that will send you the day’s posting to your email. Also, as the website evolves, they’re looking for listings of shows, events, retreats, legitimate charity efforts and anything else that might be of interest for us quilters.

GenQ is found online at They are also on Facebook, where they give away an insane amount of quilty bribes to their followers, so “like” them and check in often. Lastly, they’re learning how to tweet (and man are they getting it!) and can be found on Twitter at @GenQMag.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lizzy House's 1001 Peeps

You know how much I love Happy Mail, right? I received Lizzy House's gorgeous book 1001 Peeps: five magical projects the other day and it's amazing.

First of all, the book itself feels like butter. Lizzy self published this book and she didn't leave out any details. The photography is stunning and there are a variety of projects from handwork to quilting. Her instructions are clear and precise with a lot of great diagrams.

Detail of the amazing quilting done by the extraordinary Angela Walters.

I love her logo! That little fox is pretty darn cute.

Lizzy also sent me a fat quarter bundle of the Dusk colorway of her 1001 Peeps fabric because I pre-ordered her book right after she announced the project. Wasn't that sweet of her? The fabric is gorgeous, and I especially love the Pearl Bracelet in Brown.

You can purchase Lizzy's book here. I can't wait to get started on some of the projects!

Monday, July 18, 2011

the newest addition to the Jones family

Is this little guy.

We needed a kitten like we need a hole in the head, but I couldn't resist when I saw this face at Petsmart over the weekend. He's about three and a half months old and was a rescue kitten that came from an abusive home. When the people from Purrfect Friends told us his story, it broke my heart, and Jeff and I decided to take him home. The kids were at my dad's house and they had no idea, so imagine their surprise when we came to pick them up with a kitten in tow!

He has settled in amazingly well, like he's belonged here all along. He loves the kids, purrs all the time, and even has found a new playmate in our dog, Rosemary.

And the kids are pretty darn smitten with little Spencer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

pink quilt fundraiser: keep the bids rolling in

It's not to late to enter the giveaway of my second version of my Anni Quilt to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation's 3-Day walk. For each $10 donation to Linsay's team, you get a raffle ticket for a chance to win this quilt. After you donate, leave a comment on Linsay's post here with your reciept and you're entered. The drawing ends on July 21, 2011 at midnight PST and the winner will be announced the next day.

Good luck, and keep the bids rolling in!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CMQG and the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge

The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild is taking part in the Habitat by Jay McCarroll Challenge, sponsored by the Modern Quilt Guild and Free Spirit/Westminster. The yardage in the Earth colorway arrived a couple of weeks ago and I spent yesterday cutting it up into fat eights for our eight participants.

At our meeting last night we decided to have a "sewist's choice" challenge, which basically gives us the liberty to make anything we want out of it.

The one stipulation is that only solid fabrics or additional yardage of Habitat may be added. We're giving ourselves a month to finish and we'll share our projects at our next meeting.

The fabrics are really beautiful, and full of unexpected color combinations. I especially love this print, appropriately named Drop Cloth. It looks like something that came out of Jeff's studio!

Here's a little video from Jay about the line and the inspiration behind it.

I especially like how he talks about how he wanted the designs to look like they came from the hand of an artist, not a computer. I think he succeeded! I can't wait to see what our members come up with for the challenge. I have no idea what I'm going to do yet, but I'll keep you posted, and I'll share the other projects as well. We've got a lot of talented ladies in our group, so I'm sure they'll all come up with fabulous designs!
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