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!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

join me at the Cincinnati Art Museum this Saturday

If you're in the Cincinnati area, I'll hope you join me this Saturday, September 6 at the Cincinnati Art Museum. I'll be there as part of their Family First Saturday, a free program for children and families, talking about quilting, with lots of examples of my work. The theme of this month's Family First Saturday is Farm Livin', so you'll learn about all types of life on a farm through everything from artwork on display, to scavenger hunts, story telling, tours, hands-on art making, and artist demonstrations, which is where I come in. The program runs from 12:00-4:00, and for more information, please visit the Cincinnati Art Museum's site here.

I hope to see you there!
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