Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

I hope you and your family had a very happy Halloween! Jeff is out of town on business, so I took the kids to my dad's house for trick or treating. They had a blast!

Aidan was Captain Jack Sparrow. Even though we've never seen any of the Pirates of the Carribean movies, Aidan is obsessed with him. I made his costume using clothing that I found at the thrift store plus some things we had on hand. The shirt and vest are both Irish linen (score!) and the pants were actually a pair of Junior sized capris that I took in. I loved the weave of the fabric and the vintage looking brass buttons and I thought they made excellent pirate pants.

His lovely hair is actually two wigs, with a few strands of beads that I sewed in. Check out the view from behind.

Olivia wanted to be Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz. I originally purchased a McCall's pattern to make a traditional version of Dorothy's dress.

But I ended up making one with my own pattern that I designed myself. That way I didn't have to deal with a new pattern (and zippers!). Plus, with the longer sleeve length she would stay a bit more warm if it was chilly out.

Olivia is tall and skinny! I made her a size 5 dress, which is the size that I've been buying her clothes in lately, but my dress was really big on her. So, I made a little sash and tied it around her dress. Problem solved and she'll have plenty of room to grow into the dress, which means lots of dress up time for her in the future.

Of course Dorothy wouldn't be complete without Toto, right?

And those sparkly ruby red slippers....

Last year I was at Quilt Market during Halloween, so I missed trick or treating with them. They were both so excited about going this year...

but Aidan can be a bit reserved sometimes. He skipped all of the houses that had any kind of spooky decorations.

Olivia, on the other hand, is pretty fearless and had no qualms about any of the houses. Not even this spooky fun house that she and my dad walked through.

Aidan skipped that to play with a neighborhood cat.

Both of them have loads and loads of candy, so I have a feeling that they'll be riding a sugar high for the next few days. Wish me luck. ;)

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Fall 2011

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping by today to checkout my submission for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival Fall 2011. Thank you very much to Amy of Amy's Creative Side for organizing this fun event, and thank you to all of her sponsors for donating such generous prizes.

My entry for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival is my Silo quilt, which is one of the latest quilts I've finished. And most exciting to me, it was also chosen as a winner in the Modern Quilt Guild's Project Modern: Challenge 4. The judge was none other than Denyse Schmidt, my personal quilting idol and the mother of Modern Quilting, in my eyes. The challenge for this project was to find your own voice and create a quilt that speaks to who you are as a quiltmaker.

My quilt is an original design of mine and it was inspired by a large metal silo that sits on a farm about 10 miles from my home. I’m sure I've seen that silo hundreds of times before, but one day I saw something new in it as we drove by, so I grabbed my sketchbook and drew out a plan.

I tweaked the original sketch a bit and then grabbed some fabrics and went to work.

For this quilt I used three solid colors of woven cotton: cream, pale blue, and a warm gray. I really liked how the colors worked together, and the combination reminded me of how the silo looks at dusk, when the entire structure seems to glow in the setting sun.

The quilt measures 64” x 67”. It is heavily quilted with horizontal straight lines to repeat the design of the front, as well as the grooves of metal on the silo.

I feel like this quilt is truly a reflection of my voice as a modern quilter. I’m often inspired by everyday places and things that most of us wouldn't even notice, and I’m always excited by the challenge to translate that inspiration into my work.

It was fantastic to be a winner of the Project Modern Challenge, and even more amazing since I also was a winner in the first and second challenges, too. But the most meaningful prize of them all to me is Denyse's words about my quilt. She said

Amazing, right? And completely humbling to me. So for Denyse (and you!), here is the back.

While the design of front of the quilt is very regular and structured, the back was designed entirely improvisationally. I used some leftover sections of the blocks from the front and added some scraps and bits of fabrics, and I pieced them all together with more cream fabric.

Thanks again for stopping by from the Bloggers' Quilt Festival Fall 2011 and for letting me tell you a little about my work. Be sure to check out all of the amazing entries in the festival to be inspired by tons of gorgeous quilts.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I was recently asked to be a part of "Directions," an exhibition at Gallery Salveo in Cincinnati next month. What an honor! I will have three of my quilts on display, including my Yield quilt, pictured above, and two others, in addition to photographs of the places and things that inspired them. If you're in the Cincinnati area, the opening is Thursday, November 17 from 5:00-7:00 pm. Gallery Salveo is located at 3805 Edwards Road, Rookwood Tower, 5th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45209. I'd love to see you there!

Directions also includes works by Maureen Holub, David Rosenthal, John Humphries, and Jenny Grote. The exhibition runs through February 2010.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along : All a Flurry

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to share this block with you as part of the Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along. Thank you for joining me here today, and thank you to Michele of The Quilting Gallery for inviting me to be a part of this great project!

I love the holidays. I always have, but even more so since having children. My kids are now three and five, so they are acutely aware of all the fun festivities that go on at Christmas time.

We visit Santa (although without tears these days), we make candy and other sweets from scratch, we make handmade gifts, we decorate the house, we go to the zoo for the festival of lights, we go to live nativities...In a nutshell, we're all a flurry. It's a fast pace, but it's such a fun time of the year, especially with young children.

All a Flurry is also the name of my block for the Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along. It is an ideal pattern to showcase some of your favorite charm squares, although any fabrics will work. I've used some charm squares of Kate Spain's Flurry line of fabric and white Kona cotton for my block, but I think it would look beautiful in any combination of fabrics. All a Flurry is a simple block to construct and the bold graphic design and clean lines give it a modern feeling.

Please be sure to read all of the instructions before getting started. All seam allowances are ¼”. If you'd like to make a block of your own, the free pattern is available to download as a pdf here.

Cutting Instructions:

* Cut (4) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares (A) from your choice of fabric (note: I used a charm square here, cut in half lengthwise and then again width-wise to yield (4) 2 1/2" squares)

* Cut (2) 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles (B) from a solid fabric

* Cut (1) 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangle (C) from a solid fabric

* Cut (4) 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangles (D) from a solid fabric

* Cut (4) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares (E) from your choice of fabric (note: I also used a charm square here, cut in half lengthwise and then again width-wise to yield (4) 2 1/2" squares)

* Cut (2) 2" x 9 1/2" rectangles (F) from a solid fabric

* Cut (2) 2" x 12 1/2" rectangles (G) from a solid fabric

Construct the block:

Sew one square A to one rectangle B, right sides together.

Press seam open. Sew another square A to rectangle B.

Press seams open. Repeat with the other squares A and rectangle B.

Sew rectangle C to the pieced A-B-A. Press seams open.

Sew the other pieced A-B-A to rectangle C. Press seams open.

Sew one rectangle D to the top and one rectangle D to the bottom of the pieced square. Press seams open.

Sew a square E to both short ends of rectangle D. Press seams open.

Repeat with the remaining squares E and rectangle D, and press seams open.

Sew the constructed E-D-E rectangle to the left side of the pieced square. Press seams open.

Sew the other constructed E-D-E rectangle to the right side of the pieced square and press seams open.

Sew one rectangle F to the top and press open.

Sew the other rectangle F to the bottom of the pieced square and press seams open.

Sew one rectangle G to the left side and one rectangle G to the right side of the pieced square. Press seams open.

Square up block with a 12 1/2” ruler if necessary.

If you're following along, please be sure to add your block images to the Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along Flickr group!

Thanks again to Michele of The Quilting Gallery. Be sure to stay tuned for more great blocks in the Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along!

Celebrity Round-up: Pre-Cuts on Generation Q today

There is a great little discussion on GenerationQ today all about pre-cut fabrics. What is your favorite? I don't buy many, but I do love a stack of fat quarters. Go read why and see what six other designers picked for their top choice too!

And I think I might add this gorgeous bundle from Purl to my Christmas list...

Stockings for Kids

A few weeks ago I received an email from Lyanna, telling me about a project that she's working on. She works for the Bair Foundation, an agency that helps foster children in Central Virginia and they would like to give each child a stocking for Christmas that they can call their own. In years past the children were given paper stockings that were thrown out after the holidays. But this year Lyanna and the staff have made it a goal to give each child a handmade stocking, one that they can keep and use year after year. So she is organizing a stocking drive through her blog, Purple Panda Quilts, and her goal is to collect 50 stockings by December 1.

Can you help and make a stocking or two? Lyanna is posting weekly tutorials on various ways to make a stocking and there was a brand new one yesterday for a cute appliqued version. As an added incentive, everyone who donates a stocking is eligible for some great prizes.

I'm in! Are you? I'm hoping to make at least one stocking to send to Lyanna. For more information on Stockings for Kids, please visit her blog or the Flickr group.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

double wedding ring, simpli-ez style

I mentioned last week that I'll be working on some traditional blocks with the help of some templates that were very generously given to me by my friends at Simplicity. I finally got the chance to play with some the other day, and first up is the Simpli-EZ Double Wedding Ring Template, designed by Darlene Zimmerman.

The Double Wedding Ring is one of those traditional patterns that I love, but I've always been too intimidated to try. Here's why: lots of cutting, curved piecing, and y-seams, oh my! Seriously, there is a lot of irregular cutting and curved sections, and I couldn't even imagine doing all that with just a pair of scissors.

So, you can guess how excited I was when I learned about this template, which allows you to cut everything with a rotary cutter. Pretty cool, right?

For my fabrics, I used a solid white cotton and some charm pieces of Kate Spain's Flurry. I don't have the time to make a whole quilt right now, so I thought it would be fun to make a Double Wedding Ring pillow for Christmas out of one or two blocks.

The set consists of three templates: the large one that is used for the curved sections and the four-patch squares, and two smaller wedge-shaped templates that make up the rings. The manufacturer recommends that you use a 45mm or smaller rotary cutter, but I used my 60mm one without any problems. Just go slow!

Using the large template, you cut curves along each side of a square...

and you end up with this. In a matter of seconds!

The same template is used to cut the smaller curved sections in the block.

So in just a couple of minutes, you're well on your way to making your block.

This template also creates the squares that make up the four patch parts of the pattern.

And then there are two smaller templates for creating the parts that make up the rings. For this section, I layered a few charm squares on top of each other, so I could cut them out even more quickly.

It literally took me less than five minutes to cut all of these out.

Once the pieces are cut out, you can arrange them in the order that you like, and then begin to stitch them together.

Much easier than I had expected!

After the wedges are sewn together to form an arc, the arc is pinned and sewn to one of the smaller curved pieces.

But, you'll notice that it doesn't look like they'll line up, right? The arc looks a lot smaller than the white curved piece. At first I was afraid that I had made a mistake...

but if you line up and match both pieces in the center and continue to pin along the entire length

it works! The curve pieces ease together and it's a perfect fit.

That's as far as I got on my Double Wedding Ring block, because I'm working on some big projects whose deadlines are fast approaching. But I'm really pleased (and surprised!) with how easy it was to make with the templates. I can't wait to finish this one, and one of these days, I'm going to find the time to make a full size Double Wedding Ring Quilt.
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