Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Because I Love You Sew Blog Tour + Giveaway!

I'm so honored to be a stop on the blog tour for my friend Trish Preston of Two Peas in a Pod to celebrate the launch of her new book, Because I Love You Sew, published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T. I'm lucky to know Trish in real life, and as she is another Ohio girl, we are fortunate to be able to get together in person occasionally, although I wish it were more often!  Her new book is such a great glimpse into her life and the love that she holds for both her family and her craft.

Because I Love You Sew contains complete instructions for 17 projects that are designed to give as gifts, although they all can certainly be gifts that you make for yourself, too. Trish has included adorable bags, projects for new babies and children, holiday decorations, as well as items that will become instant family heirlooms, such as the Family Tree Crazy Quilt, which happens to be my favorite project in the book. Here's a fun video that Trish put together to give you a sneak peek of Because I Love You Sew.

Here are two more of my favorite projects in the book, Trish's Sewing Kit, shown above, and her Father Knows Best Bag, below. I just may be making a few of these bags for Christmas gifts if I have enough time!

Trish writes in the introduction to the book, "For me sewing is spiritual, peaceful, and a connection to people in my life whom I have loved and who are gone. It is also a connection to people I love in my life right now, who inspire me, encourage me, and surround me with an energy that absolutely feeds my soul." I love this, and I feel exactly the same way.

Keeping in the spirit of giving gifts, C&T is generously giving a copy of Because I Love You Sew away to one of my readers. To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite item that you have ever given as a gift. Please leave your email address as well, if it's not in your profile, so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner. The giveaway will run through December 10th at 5 pm ET and I'll pick one winner randomly. 

Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour to learn more about the book and for more chances to win your own copy. Here's the schedule:

December 3rd: Heather Jones
December 8th: Generation Q Magazine
December 9th: Sew Cal Gal
December 13th: Bernina
December 15th: Trish Preston

Monday, December 1, 2014

Join me in Lexington at the Quilter's Square

I'm so excited to be teaching at Quilter's Square in Lexington, Kentucky this Saturday, December 6! There are still a few spots in my class, so I hope some of you can join me. I'll be teaching how to make my Luminosity block, which is shown above. It's such a fun block to make and in class you'll
tackle half square triangles and learn how both color and value placement affect an overall design with this quilt block. We’ll discuss the basics of color theory and interaction, and then create this large quilt block as a study of color and fabric placement. I'll guide you through fabric cutting, consistent seam allowances, accurate piecing, and precise pressing skills. At least one block will be created in class that can be finished as a mini quilt or the start of a larger project, and we’ll discuss a variety of ways that they can be finished. 

The class runs on Saturday from 10:00 am- 5:30 pm. For more information and to register, please visit Quilter's Square site here. See you there!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quilting the New Classics winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway of Quilting the New Classics by Michele Muska. The winner was lucky number...

who happened to be...

Congratulations, Karen! I'm off to email you now!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quilting the New Classics

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the new book by Michele Muska, Quilting the New Classics. The book features twenty projects that are inspired by ten different quilting patterns, each one made in both a traditional and a modern version. I was so excited when Michele asked me to make a quilt for her book last year, and I'm even more exited to finally be able to share it with you!

For my project I designed this modern version of a traditional rail fence quilt. It's no surprise that I used solids for my quilt, and in this case I used three different FreeSpirit Designer solids: Dogwood, Cosmic Blue, and Natural. I really love this combination of fabrics and Dogwood, in particular, has become a favorite color for to me use.

Traditionally, rail fence quilts are made out of strips of fabric that are cut to uniform sizes. The inspiration for my design was a quilt made by Plummer T. Pettway of Gee's Bend, although I varied the widths of the rails throughout the layout to make it my own. As you can see, some of the strips are wider, some are more narrow, some are longer, and some are shorter. I really love the movement that all of these different sized pieces add to the overall composition of the design.

And here is some more information on the book by Michele herself: 

All quilters draw inspiration from the past. But how do today's artisans put their personal stamp on classic patterns? Twenty influential quilters from across the stylistic spectrum present their unique creative vision of timeless designs. Each pattern, Double Wedding Ring, Crazy Quilt, Dresden Plate, Bear Paw, Log Cabin, Nine Patch, Hexagon, Yo-Yo, Flying Geese, and Rail Fence, comes with step-by-step instructions for two adaptations, one traditional, the other modern.The book also includes a history of each pattern, images of heirloom or museum-quality quilts for inspiration, easy-to-use templates and essential quilting techniques.Forwards by Meg cox and Janneken Smucker.

I've also got one copy of the book to giveaway to one reader. To enter, please leave a comment below telling me what your favorite quilt pattern is, modern or traditional. I'll choose one winner randomly on Monday November 3. 

Be sure to follow all along the blog hop too! Here are a list of participants and dates:

Oct. 20th Michele Muska
Oct. 21st Leslie Jenison
Oct. 22nd Janneken Smucker
Oct. 23rd Valerie Bothell
Oct. 24th Kaari Meng
Oct. 25th Elisa Sims Albury :
Oct. 26th Heather Jones
Oct. 27th Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Oct. 28th Amy Smart
Oct. 29th Jackie Kunkel\
Oct. 30th Pat Sloan
Oct. 31st Shelly Pagliai
Nov. 1st Allie Aller
Nov. 2nd Kristin Omdahl
Nov. 3rd Jacquie Gering

Sunday, October 12, 2014

just a few more days to vote!

There are just a few more days left to vote for me in the 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards. Thank you so much for all of your support so far. I really appreciate it! Please keep it up and remember that you can vote up to six times a day.

And then don't forget to enter my giveaway, as a thank you for your vote. All of my pdf patterns are still on sale as well. To receive the 25% off discount, please enter the code "AmericanMade" at the checkout in my etsy shop.

And speaking of voting, if you're so inclined, feel free to vote for your favorite quilt in the Modern Solids, Traditional Challenge, hosted by FreeSpirit Fabric. You might remember that I made the improvisational pineapple quilt, and I think I'm the only challenger to use all 75 colors in their project! To vote, please leave a comment on the Challenge Facebook album. Thank you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

join me at the Labryinth Arts Festival in Cincinnati

Cincinnati area folks, I'll be at the Labyrinth Arts Festival at Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church in Anderson Township tomorrow, Saturday, October 11, from 10-4 and I hope you can join me! I'll have a booth set up and all sorts of things for sale, from finished quilts to hand drawn illustrations of my designs, and a lot more. 

It's a great way to get a start on your holiday shopping! For directions and more information on the festival, please visit their site at

Monday, September 29, 2014

my finished improv pineapple quilt

It's finally done! Here is my finished improv pineapple quilt that I made as part of the FreeSpirit Modern Solids Challenge. As a reminder, a handful of designers and bloggers were asked to create a quilt that was a modern interpretation of a traditional quilt pattern, using Denyse Schmidt's Modern Solids fat quarter box and additional FreeSpirit Fabric. And it was quite a challenge, but I had a great time making it, and I'm really pleased with the result. 

I choose the traditional pineapple quilt block as my inspiration, but instead of following a pattern, I made my blocks improvisationally. I really love the irregular shapes and movement that this type of construction lends itself too. This quilt took me about two weeks to complete, from start to finish.

The blocks each measures 12" square (finished) and the quilt measures 60" x 60", as specified by the design challenge. It took me about an hour to make each block, and I'm proud to say that I used all 75 colors of the bundle in this quilt. That was a challenge in and of itself, especially for someone like me, when I typically use only two to four fabrics in each of my projects.

I backed the quilt with FreeSpirit Designer Solids in Raven, which is a gorgeous, deep dark gray. 

As I said above, I used all 75 of the colors that are included in Denyse's Modern Solids bundle. While we were not asked specifically to use all of the colors in box, I made that part of my design challenge as well.  I used an additional four FreeSpirit Designer Solids throughout the blocks: Winter White, Mist, Arctic White and Natural. So, all in all, this quilt contains 80 different colored fabrics.

Another design stipulation that I gave myself was to use the colors straight out of the box, that is, to create my blocks using the fabrics in the same order as they are arranged in the bundle. Each of the twenty five quilt blocks is made up of three colors, so this was an easy way for me to make sure that I was able to use all 75 colors. I arranged the blocks in five rows each consisting of five blocks, starting with the upper left; for the second row, the orange block on the far right side follows the yellows in the box, and the order continues from left to right. Then row three continues the order from right to left, row four runs left to right, and finally, the last row runs right to left. 

Here's what my box looked like after all of my blocks were finished. I kept all of the fabrics in the same order as they were originally, as a fun visual reference to the layout of my quilt. 

During the construction of the blocks, I pressed all of the seams to the side. This was quicker than pressing them open, but there are some areas where there is a but of bulk from the seams.

I quilted it on my long arm machine last night, using Coats Machine Quilting thread. For the design, I used a freehand figure eight pattern that has been my go-to technique for the past few months. I really like the organic quality of this quilting design and I feel like it doesn't distract from the design of the quilt itself. 

And I burned the midnight oil to get it bound last night, too. I used Natural for the binding because I felt like it would frame all of the colors of the front nicely.  

Thank you, Denyse, for designing such a gorgeous palette of solid fabrics. They were a delight to work with and I feel like they are certainly a must have for any modern quilter. 

And thank you to all of you who have been voting for me everyday. Please keep it up! And don't forget to enter my giveaway as a thank you, as well! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hadley giveaway winner!

The winner of the gorgeous Hadley fabric bundle is lucky number 175!

And that is...

Congratulations, Mary! I'm off to email you now.

And thank you all for continuing to vote for me in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. Winning a prize like that could really help me grow my business, and I so appreciate you all taking the time to vote for me (up to six times!) each day. Don't forget to also enter my giveaway of one of my all-time favorite quilts, too, and take advantage of my discount on my patterns as a thank you. For more information, please check out my post here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thank you, and a huge giveaway!

I have honestly been blown away by all of the kind words and support that I have received since I announced on Monday that I am a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made awards. I'm incredibly thankful that so many of you have taken your time to vote for me, and I would like to offer something to you in return.

You may remember this new quilt of mine. I shared it last week here on my blog as well as my Instagram feed, and it really is one of my favorites. As a thank you for voting for me in the American Made contest, I will give this quilt to one lucky winner. Delivery will be in December, as this quilt will be included in an exhibition of fiber art at the University of Dayton next month.

Here are some detail shots and more information on the quilt for you. The quilt measures 50" x 72", so it's the perfect size for a lap quilt. It's made with 100% cotton (FreeSpirit Designer solids in Natural and Freedom Blue) and the orange squares are a linen cotton blend (Robert Kaufman Essex in Orange). The batting is 100% cotton (Pelon Legacy) and it's quilted with Aurifil thread.

It is completely made by me. I quilted it by machine in my freehand design of a loose figure eight pattern throughout the entire quilt. The backing and binding, which is sewn by machine, are both made in the blue cotton fabric. 

Here's how to enter the giveaway: 

1. Please vote for me on the American Made Awards site. You can do it up to six times, per email address, per day, now through Oct. 13, 2014. Just keep hitting refresh until all of your votes are used up. Thank you!

2. After you vote, please come back to this blog post and fill out this Google doc for each vote that you cast for me that day. Since you can vote for me six times each day, you will also have up to six entries for the quilt each day. I've put up the Google doc to make it a bit easier on my end, and I really appreciate you taking the time to fill it out. 

3. For an additional entry, share my nomination with your friends and let me know that you did so by filling out the Google doc again. 

The give away will run through October 14, 2014, so be sure to vote for me and enter each day through then as well. One winner will be chosen randomly, and the giveaway is open to international readers.

I'm also offering a discount on my pdf quilt patterns in my shop as a thank you to you as well. Please enter the code AmericanMade to receive 25% off of the purchase price at checkout in my etsy shop.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, so very much! And good luck!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm an American Made Awards Finalist

I'm incredibly honored to announce that I have been hand selected by Martha Stewart and her panel of judges as a 2014 American Made Awards Finalist in the Crafts category. Martha Stewart’s American Made is a nationally recognized awards program that celebrates new rising stars of the growing nationwide maker community who have turned their passions for handcrafted, well-designed goods into small businesses and proudly make their products in America.  To say I'm humbled would be an understatement.

And I could also use your help. Part of the voting process involves asking my community to vote for me. While I'm not one to typically as for help, the winner of this award will receive $10,000 to grow his or her business. That would allow me and my small business to do some really amazing things, and I've got lots of ideas brewing if that should happen.

Voting is open now and runs through October 13, 2014. You can vote up to six times per day, and please feel free to share with your friends and family if you feel so inclined. Here's a link to my profile.

Thank you, so very much, in advance for your help!

Friday, September 12, 2014

headed to the Cincinnati Maker Faire

This weekend I'll be at the Cincinnati Maker Faire, where I'll have a booth in the Handmade Marketplace set up to sell some of my handmade designs. I've got quilts, pillows, mini quilts, and even some hand drawn sketches of my designs that are perfectly suitable for framing. Here's a sneak peek of some of the goodies that I'll have with me.

The Maker Faire runs Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14, from 11-6 pm at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Admission is free! I'll be in the lower level of the museum in the Crafty Supermarket. Hope to see you there! For more information on the show, please visit

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Modern Solids, Traditional Inspiration Challenge, and a giveaway!

I've been so busy the past few weeks, wrapping up deadlines and photo shoots for my book, working on some finished quilts to sell, and this fun little project, the Modern Solids, Traditional Inspiration Challenge. A handful of designers and bloggers were asked to participate in this challenge to make a modern quilt, inspired by traditional design, with this gorgeous box of Denyse Schmidt's Modern Solids by FreeSpirit Fabric. You may have seen this collection before which consists of 75 fat quarters of FreeSpirit Designer Solids that Denyse curated and it's the perfect stash builder. It's pretty amazing just to look at too, honestly.

The idea behind this design challenge is Denyse's latest book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. It is, hands down, one of my favorite books (I've shared my love of it before), and it beautifully illustrates how Denyse combines her fresh designs with traditional patterns.

I'm busy working on my quilt for the challenge, and I can't wait to share more photos of it with you. Check back here for some photos of the work in progress, and you can find some in my Instagram feed as well. The quilt will be finished by the end of the month when it will be posted on FreeSpirit's blog and audience members will get to vote on their favorite one.  So exciting, right?

But what is even more exciting is that I have a giveaway for you, too! FreeSpirit has generously provided a fat quarter bundle of Denyse's new line, Hadley, for me to share with you.

 I must say that I'd really like to keep this myself because it is so gorgeous--seriously, the gold color way is perfection---but of course, I won't do that.

This bundle contains forty fat quarters, including fourteen solids that coordinate beautifully with Denyse's prints. 

To enter, please leave a comment below telling me what you'd like to make with the Hadley collection. Be sure to include your email address, so I can notify you if you win. The giveaway ends next week, Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 5 pm ET and I'll choose one random winner. US residents only, please. 

And be sure to follow all of the design challenge fun by searching #ModernSolidsChallenge on Instagram and Twitter. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

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