Friday, January 19, 2018

Revising the Monkey Wrench

For me, part of the fun of modern quilting is taking a more traditional block and finding ways to make it look more modern. That can happen through fabric choice, playing with scale, or even just going wonky with it (like my Wonky Spirals quilt pattern, which is a Log Cabin variation).

The Modern with a Twist feature in Benartex's e-zine, Modern by the Yard, involves that same concept. In the feature, three different designers create their own modern version of the Monkey Wrench, aka Snail's Trail block. (As an aside...I always thought of the Monkey Wrench as the same block as the Churn Dash, but it's also another name for the Snail's Trail.)

I decided to play with negative space and only fill in the "curls" on two adjoining sides of the block. I used the All About Color collection from Kanvas, which has these fantastic polka dots in it! 

Just for fun, I mocked up a quilt using my wave block. I used two color variations. I really like the graphic punch it creates! This quilt is going on the "have to make" list!

See the entire Modern by the Yard e-zine here, as well as back issues!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 2018: Picking up where I left off

So the holidays got in the way and I didn't finish my December One Monthly Goal. Note to self: Pick easy goals for December! 

I finished making my heart blocks though. My January One Monthly Goal is to finish this quilt--pieced, quilted and bound. I think I can do it! 
Linking up over at Elm Street Quilts

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dot Crazy Blog Hop

Welcome to my day on the Dot Crazy blog hop featuring the Dot Crazy collection by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr!

 I love the infusion of color these fun prints have brought to my studio! Like Weeks and Bill, I too have a love affair with polka dots--check out this scrap quilt I made back in 2012, completely from dotted prints: 

(read the whole post, which also shows two other polka dot quilts, here)

For today's tutorial, I used a pinwheel of 2-1/2" wide strips and yardage of the Fun & Games print to make the Dots Squared quilt:

The quilt as pictured would make a wonderful baby or kid's quilt (42" x 40"), but you can easily add more blocks and rows to make a larger lap or bed-size quilt. The blocks sew up so quickly (thank you, pre-cut strips!). 

What I used: 
1 pinwheel (forty 2-1/2" wide strips)
1/2 yard Fun & Games print
2 yards backing print
1/2 yard binding fabric

Let's look at that pinwheel unrolled. Such fabulous color! I'm in love. Dot Crazy includes multiple sizes of dots, plus some fun coordinating prints that offer a little variety from our round little friends. 

I took a photo of these three strips because they have a little surprise in them--multiple kinds of dots! Look carefully and you'll see how I used these in the quilt. 

Cutting:
I cut the fabric strips one block at a time. I'd choose the three prints I wanted to use, decide on placement, and then cut the pieces. 

Per block, you'll need:
(the quilt contains 12 blocks)
Fabric #1
(1) 2-1/2" square 

Fabric #2
(2) 2-1/2" squares
(2) 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" pieces

Fabric #3
(2) 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" pieces
(2) 2-1/2" x 10-1/2" pieces

Additional Cutting:
From the Fun & Games print:
(12) 4-1/2" x 10-1/2" pieces

Make the Blocks:
1. Lay out the pieces for one block as shown. 

2. Sew the (3) 2-1/2" squares together in a row. Position the 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" Fabric #2 pieces on the top and bottom.

3. Sew the 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" Fabric #2 pieces to the top and bottom. Position the 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" Fabric #3 pieces on the sides.

4. Sew the 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" Fabric #3 pieces to the sides and position the 2-1/2" x 10-1/2" Fabric #3 pieces at the top and bottom.

5. Sew the 2-1/2" x 10-1/2" Fabric #3 pieces to the top and bottom to complete the block. The block measures 10-1/2" square. 

6. Make a total of 12 blocks, varying fabric placement. Choosing which fabrics to use together in each block was my favorite part! Here are my 12 blocks. This layout would make a fun quilt too, but I like the addition of the Fun & Games pieces to mix up the design a litle.

7. Lay out the blocks and (12) 4-1/2" x 10-1/2" Fun & Games pieces into four horizontal rows as shown. 

8. Sew the blocks and pieces into horizontal rows and join the rows to complete the quilt top. 

9. Layer the backing, batting and quilt top and quilt as desired. Bind the quilt to finish it (you'll need five 2-1/4" x 42" strips). 

Enjoy! 

For a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Dot Crazy fabrics, leave a comment below letting me know your thoughts on polka dots. Giveaway is open through Friday, December 22nd at 11:59 pm EST. Make sure I have a way to contact you! 

Head over to Benartex's blog to learn more about the Dot Crazy collection.

Friday, December 15, 2017

New Pattern: Calculate This!

In early November, I visited my good friend Diane in Chicago (hello, girls' weekend celebrating my birthday!). On her guest bed, she has a quilt made of book blocks, and then coordinating throw pillows with appliqued nerdy glasses. Inspired by her "nerd" decor, I came home and designed this calculator quilt, called "Calculate This." 
(shown below in two colorways)


The design is based on the little handheld calculator I use to proof quilt patterns. After I designed it, I knew exactly what fabric collection I wanted to use: Matthew's Mini Monsters collection by Matthew Pridemore for Contempo Studio. The LED Numeric Display and Circuit Board prints were perfect, and the tonal gear prints work well everything else! 


I'm using the LED Numeric Display print on the back as well.

Here's a photo of the completed quilt top. It measures 52-1/2" x 74-1/2". 
Such a fun quilt for your favorite mathematician!
Purchase this pattern on Craftsy here.

The pattern includes full-size template pages for the appliques. Once you cut out all the applique shapes, the quilt goes together pretty quickly. I love how realistic all the buttons look! 

If you love this quilt as much as I do, you can purchase the pattern and make your own version. 
Purchase the "Calculate This" pattern on Craftsy here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour!

I am happy today to be part of the Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living blog tour! Utility-Style Quilts is Sharon Holland's new book with Landauer Publishing.

I've known Sharon for about 5 years and met her in person for the first time this past May at Quilt Market. I worked with her for two years, so I felt like I knew her well, and neither of us could believe that we hadn't actually met before! 

Let me tell you a little bit about how Sharon made this book truly special. A great quilting book requires drool-worthy quilts, obviously. But there are two other equally important components for success--fresh, appealing photography and high quality patterns. 



Guess what Sharon did before designing fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics and writing Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living
She worked for a pair of quilting magazines--Quilt-It Today and Sew-It Today. She was a jack of all trades: photographing the projects, writing instructions, illustrating the patterns, and laying out the magazine pages. Most magazines use at least 5-6 people for those tasks. Sharon did it all. Which means that this book is the complete package! If you'd like to read more about her magazine days, check out her post here. I worked with her as a tech editor and eventually creating the diagrams for projects, and her post offers a realistic glimpse of what life was like. 

Photo by Sharon Holland
Here's another of my other favorite quilts from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living, called Sunday Paper:
Photo by Sharon Holland
Learn more about Sharon's book from this talented lady herself and see more photos of the quilts here.
For stop on this tour, I chose to make a version of Sharon's Midsommar quilt, shown here:
Photo by Sharon Holland

I reduced the measurements by 50% and sewed a perfect-sized baby quilt. I had so much fun with fabric selection in making this quilt! 

When I was digging through my scrap bins for palette inspiration, I grabbed my gray box. I thought I could create a similar look to the cream/low volume prints Sharon used in her version. Adding aquas to the mix was an easy decision--it's my favorite color, and I have plenty of fabric choices! 
Here's what I started with:

The most intriguing part of making this quilt? 
Playing around with fabric placement. I cut a variety of gray and aqua strips and started arranging and rearranging. With such simple piecing, value and pattern size was key. But it was a little...boring. It needed a pop. As you already know from seeing the main photo above, I went with a salmon/light red color. Great contrast with both the aqua and the gray, and a fun pop of color. 

Here's a quick snapshot from my phone as I was auditioning fabrics:

And the finished quilt, with a snowy backdrop. Paging through Sharon's book, I feel like she truly gives quilters permission--through words and her quilts--to mix and match fabrics, and to make do. If you don't have enough of one fabric, join pieces to make it work! Gray can be a tricky color to work with--it ranges from yellow-gray to blue-gray to purple gray. I usually try to choose match-y grays, but after seeing Sharon's quilts, I gave myself permission to mix it up and I love the result!

I chose straight line quilting that mimicked the strips and used a light gray thread. Yesterday's snowy weather was perfect for photographing this icy palette quilt!

If you'd like to take a test-drive, Landauer is offering a free pattern from Sharon's book: the Roman Stripe. Download the pattern here.

Find the book on Landauer's site here. You can also purchase a copy from Sharon and get it signed! Sharon and Landauer are graciously offering readers a chance to win a free copy of Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living! For a chance to win, leave a comment below letting me know if you made a scrap quilt in 2017. Make sure I have a way to contact you! Giveaway is open through Sunday, December 17 at 11:59 pm EST. US mailing addresses only, please.

Thanks for stopping by!

Make sure you visit all the stops on the blog tour--each day I've thought that I found a new favorite until I click on the next day's post! I hope you visited Jessica yesterday and plan to visit Cindy tomorrow to see what they've made! Make sure to check out Sarah's post as well--she also made a version of Midsommar which I really like.


Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt
Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time
Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble
Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs
Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios
Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View
Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J
Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift
Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World
Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife
Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project
Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K
Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety
Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter
Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Introducing the Hourglass quilt!

I received an email this morning that made my day (and no, it wasn't the one announcing that my kids had a snow day!). 
The subject line said "Cover Girl" and this was the image in the email:

Yep! That's my quilt, Hourglass, on the cover of the January/February 2018 issue of Modern Patchwork. I'm thrilled! 

A little background...I submit design ideas to magazines fairly sporadically. Every once in a while I make time, do a big push, and submit several designs at once. I had just such a productivity spurt in mid August. I submitted multiple designs (to a few different magazines) and had FOUR accepted. I was thrilled, but I was also committing to making four quilts in a pretty short period of time. 

Hourglass was the first. This is the largest quilt I've made in a while, and also the largest I've made for a magazine. I actually didn't intend for this quilt to be so big. I had the hourglass shape in mind and began designing with 2-1/2" wide strips. By the time I finished the design, it was 80" x 92"!

The quilt is made using five different colors of the Painter's Palette Solids from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics--three shades of teal, an orange, and black. 

It consists of forty 2-1/2" wide strips sewn together, each 80" across. So a lot of fairly boring strip sewing that took a long time. 
Did I mention that I had about 10 days to piece this?! My parents came to visit during this timeframe and my mom helped cut and press strips as I sewed, which was a huge help!
I took this photo at the end of September, before I mailed the quilt to Modern Patchwork.
This is not a great photo--I need to get my (tall) husband to hold it up for a nice flat shot. But you can see the entire design here. It's all about color placement. The medium teal diamonds pop from the darker background.

And I took this photo today, during our snowstorm.

Another snow shot:

You can see the texture here. My friend Diane Oakes quilted this using straight horizontal lines. We decided to use different thread colors--a gray/blue on the two darker teals, black on black, orange on orange and light teal on light teal. The stitch lines really blend into the fabric and allow the design to pop.

I'm looking forward to having the actual magazine in my hand soon! If you want a copy, it'll be on newsstands December 26th. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December OMG: A baby quilt!

My December One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts is to make a quilt from start to finish. Luckily it's a baby quilt! 
One of our friends had a baby in September--a little girl. My plans are a bit vague at the moment--I'm pretty sure I want to make a quilt with heart blocks, and I know it needs to have some pink in it. 

I'm thinking of doing something like this Simple Heart Quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.

And I'm thinking of using these charm squares from Amy Gibson's Meriwether collection from Windham. 

Or maybe scrappy pinks....

We'll see!