March 09, 2020

Splashdown: Free Pattern for charm packs!

When Maywood Studio asked me to design fabric they let me know they usually offered a free pattern to go along with the fabric. They told me I could design it or they could. I decided I wanted to design it, because the whole collection felt like my baby, and this is what I came up with: a baby quilt that can be made with a charm pack!

The quilt measures 40" x 40". I called it Splashdown and it is a tribute to the way astronauts returned safely to earth in early space travel: their capsule would descend through the atmosphere, deploy parachutes and then land in the ocean. In the quilt, the center plus sign indicates the intended landing site, and the outward echoing half-square triangles represent the landing "splash"!

To see a PDF of the pattern, click here. You can then save the file to your computer if you wish.

Hot tip: the pattern is written for a single charm pack, BUT, if you have four charm packs (or a layer cake - a collection of 10" squares) you could make the pattern four times, for a larger, 80" x 80" quilt! Check out how that might look!

The thing I'm most proud of is making those diagonal geese in the corners easy to piece, without paper piecing. I'm sure other quilters have figured that one out before me, but all the same I was delighted when it turned out!

If you end up using the pattern I'd love to see how it turns out! Those of you who ordered fabric from me should be receiving it this week! Thanks for all the Moongate love!

February 27, 2020

All the news that is news!

Hi folks! I just got back from teaching at QuiltCon where I get to connect in person with folks I've taught through my books and online classes. Even though I taught 7 classes and gave a lecture, I came back full of energy. I love hearing about all the successes you've had with free-motion quilting from my classes, or how I helped you feel calmer about the whole thing. It's delightful. We are in this together!

I have a ton of updates for you. First, my new fabric is sooooo close to launching. If you follow me on Instagram you've seen a ton of it. Here are some photos!

Through this weekend only, I'm taking orders for precuts. Because of my well documented aversion to postal tasks, this is a one-time thing, and also I can only handle shipping to the US. As I like to say, I have a day job. But rest assured your local fabric shop can order this from Maywood studio or major distributors! Chat me up to your quilty folk!

To go along with the collection, I designed a bunch of patterns. By some oversight I haven't even showed the full shots of them here yet. Ridiculous! To fix that, allow me to introduce my quartet of quilts:

The photo above is my absolute favorite of the bunch. This pattern is called Hologram. It shows my new Horizon Ombres off in the very best light, with a shimmery glimmery magic. I am so proud of this quilt design. It's made with  a wedge template (you can't stop me with the wedges!) but it's all really simple construction in rows. Do not fear. 

Simple quilting on this one, just enough to reinforce the spirit of the piecing. You can make this with the 1/2 yard ombre bundle in the shop, and if you want you can add on the Hologram paper pattern. 

Next up is Hive Mind. This little lady got to hang at QuiltCon. My goal was designing a pattern that looks like it wasn't made from a pattern.  I think it succeeded! Bonus, this quilt is made from 2 1/2 inch strips, so if you have a couple of strip rolls, don't wait! It's a multisite pattern so you can go big if you want to. Here's a close up of the quilting:

And because Maywood studio said it would be good to design patterns that worked with precuts, I designed this pattern, Vista. It's cleverly designed to use just one strip roll. I love the modern mountains gleaming through, and how it really shows the color range in my collection. There is also a variation in the pattern to make a baby size quilt with half the strip roll, instead of the one large throw. As you can probably guess, this one goes together so quickly. 

I took my time quilting this one and tried rulers for the first time on my sort of new longarm. So satisfied with the results! A little straight line quilting and a lot of FMQ is just right for me.

Finally, one I finished just recently, Bright Journey. I got a great shot of it in the desert while visiting my family. Besides the solid this takes just four different ombres, 1/2 yard each. I love the way the ombres just naturally create sparkle. This twin size pattern is a good choice when you're quilting for folks that traditional quilting patterns aren't quite right for. It's really about the graphic geometrics and color play. All that negative space was dreamy to just quilt without thinking too hard. 

I can't believe I'm sharing so much good stuff in one little post!! Thanks for reading through it all! If you want digital patterns (or actual fabric), check out my shop on my fancy new website: Paper patterns can be ordered by your local quilt shop, I can't keep up with the post office trips to sell them myself. Tell your quilt shop what you want to buy; they like getting you what you want!

Bonus, for folks in the Pacific Northwest: If you happen to be in Portland March 6th, I will have a Moongate release party at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego. Register on their site to get free fabric and be entered into the door prize drawing! They're also offering a discount for all fabric purchases that night to attendees!

Happy stitching everyone!

November 14, 2019

New website reveal, and a pattern for subscribers

Wow, two blog posts in one week. How unusual! As sometimes happens, months of work behind the scenes leaves me with a bunch of good stuff to share all at once!

I've been tinkering into the nights on a website. I've gone for years with just my little blog and now my business is growing to look like a business, with an email list, and its own website!

I designed it myself and it feels bright and happy and personal. Sitting down to organize all the work I've done had me realizing: I've really created a lot to be proud of! I should have made this website long ago!

There are no changes to the blog planned, and you should be able to continue reading it however you do right now. But you can also find me at There you can find links to my classes and patterns as well as see all my recent blog posts, such as this week's scrappy quarter cabin tutorial. 

I have also started an email list, that allows me to send newsletters to my subscribers (without needing to post publicly, like on my blog). This will be a great way to share musings, special offers, and my favorite thing to share: inspiration.  As a thank you for joining my email list, I'm sharing a pattern I've previously offered for sale.

This pattern for quilted nesting buckets takes 1/2 yard of fabric and turns it into a cute giftable set, with some free-motion practice built in!

I stacked them for the photo but you'll see they fit nicely together. 

If you've subscribed to the blog by email, that is a different subscription. To get my newsletters and the link to download the buckets pattern, please go to the website and if the little subscribe form doesn't pop up right away, there is a link at the bottom of the page to join. If you subscribe to any other quilter's newsletters, I'd love to hear your advice about what makes you love a newsletter. I want to add good things to your inbox!

Curious cats might also take a peek at the new shop that I'm setting up. New patterns will be available soon and I'll be selling the digital versions on my site! I popped a couple in there already but haven't announced them yet.  

I hope I see you on the email list. Happy stitching!

November 11, 2019

Scrappy Quarter Cabin Tutorial

I promised a scrap busting tutorial and you all told me this was the one you were interested in! Wow there are so many pictures in here! If you enjoy this tutorial be sure to check out my new class on improvisational piecing, this is one of many ideas I share in the class!

The blocks in the piece above were made using an improvisational method based on a log cabin quilt block. It's a little different than a standard log cabin. Most people would call this a quarter log cabin. Ready? Let's do it. Starting with supplies.

Every log cabin block starts with a center. In the piece above I used charm squares (5" x 5" squares). True story about these squares: the very first time I went to quilt market I sat in on a schoolhouse session given by Cheryl Arkison and won a stack of low volume charm squares. That was six years ago and because I never get rid of anything, I finally put them to good use! You don't need charm squares, it's just what I used. Anything squarish or rectangley would work. If you like the sort of coordinated look of my piece, keep the centers all about the same color.

You'll also need some strips from your scrap bin.  I picked a desert sort of color scheme that helped me narrow down what to pull out of my voluminous scrap collection. (Sharp eyes will spot a couple prints from my advance yardage of my new fabric line, Moongate! I just totally love that my own fabric scraps are finding their way into my work now. It's truly the best feeling.)

Something that makes scrappy work sparkle is little pieced strips. I piece little bits of scraps (I call them "crumbs") into longer strips. (I have a whole lesson on crumbs in my class!) I pulled some crumb strips out of my stash that worked with my color scheme.

So now we're ready to start. You're going to see me build 3 blocks. 

I take each center (for a quarter cabin this will actually be more of a corner) and find a strip to add to the side. I trim the strip to about the length of the side I'm adding it to. We're not being finicky here. If you cut it a little too short or too long, no problem. This is improv. There are no wrong moves. Also, notice in the photo below I've got my scissors. When I started quilting I didn't have a cutting mat and rotary cutter. And you know what? I still made cool quilts. So if all you have is scissors and a sewing machine, you're ready!

After the strips are the right length, I flip them over onto the centers so they are right sides together. Then I stack all the centers with their strips on top of each other in a little pile. I place each block down a little from the block before so they will be easy to pick up as I go.

I stitch them together with about a 1/4" seam. Does it matter if your seam is not exact? No, it doesn't. We are not doing precision patchwork here. Low stress. Just sew.

When I finish adding one strip I just slide the next center and strip under the foot without lifting the foot or cutting the thread. This is called chain piecing.

After they're all added I press them open with my iron. I trim away any excess strips that extend past the edge of the block center.

Now let's do that whole thing again! Pick strips for the next side (going either direction) and trim them to size.

Stack and stitch again.

Press them open and now it's time to do it again. But wait! If this was a normal log cabin you'd go to the next open side of that center. But in a quarter cabin, we don't keep going around the center, we go back to the first side, leaving two sides without any strips added.

Also did you see me tossing in one of those pieced strips above? Yum. I usually get at least one pieced strip in each block.

As you trim your strips you will start to collect scraps. You might just sew some of those together to make your own pieced strips as you go!

When you get several little scraps sewn together, just trim up the edges to make them straight so they're easy to join.

Here's the next round I'm setting up.  Oh no! I want to use the green polka dots on the left but that strip isn't long enough!

So I join a few more scraps to it and yay! It will be long enough.

I trimmed the edge straight after sewing those bits together.

That round is done.

Let's do the next round. Here's a subtle thing to notice: the top block has something special going on. If I was strictly following the pattern I would always go from one side to the next and then back. But for that block the last strip I added was on the left side and now I'm adding another one on the left side. Can I do that? Of course I can! You only have to follow the rules you want to. Also, some unpredictability makes for interesting patchwork.

I also decided there was a little too much of that gold brown so I cut it narrower. No rules folks. Trust your instincts.

There we go.

And below there's another round finished. 

And now I'm starting to ask myself: how big do I want these to get? I think it's easiest when I trim each of these blocks to the same size. You don't need to do that of course, but it will sure make putting everything together at the end simpler. These are looking about the right size to me so I measure them. This one is 8" wide. That seems like a good size so I'm going to go with it.

But the other direction isn't 8" yet so it needs another strip or two added to make it big enough.

I picked out a few to bring the blocks to size...

After those additions they're quite big enough!

Using my quilting ruler and/or cutting mat, I trim all the blocks to 8" x 8". Notice in the picture below I cut off a significant bit of the center block. This is good. It creates variety in the centers so that even though I started with centers of the same size, I end up with different sizes at the end.

There they are! Three lovely scrappy blocks, trimmed to the same size.

Do that over and over and you get amazing patchwork!!

In the piece above, I set the blocks "on point". On point patchwork requires that you use some triangles at the corners and sides to fill in around whole blocks. I made my triangles by cutting up full size blocks. That's not how you would do it with precision patchwork because the triangles would be a little smaller than you needed for a nice smooth edge. But this isn't precision patchwork and losing a little bit of the edge won't be a big deal, so I recommend doing it the easy way unless you like quilt calculations. 

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! I would enjoy seeing anything you create with it! If you love improv and using up your scraps make sure to take a look at my class the Scrappy Market Tote on Bluprint. Happy stitching everyone!

October 30, 2019

Scrappy Totes!

New Class Alert: The Scrappy Market Tote!

(this post contains affiliate links, which help me get paid more for my creative work!)

I recently shared a bunch of scrappy piecing I did this summer. (and I still remember I promised a tutorial! Coming!) This week I can share what all that scrappy stuff was for!

I made a class with Bluprint that is all about improvisational piecing with scraps. As in, you take whatever fabric scraps you have and sew them together however you like. The class turned out great: fast paced and full of beautiful things to look at and ideas to try. 

In The Scrappy Market Tote we explore scrappy piecing in four different lessons. Using up scraps just makes my heart sing. And working without a pattern is so fun!! I show lots of variations of the basic ideas to get your wheels turning about something that would fit your style.

After making a scrappy panel, we turn it into a quilted bag that is just the right size and sturdiness for using as a market tote. I have used a pair of similar handmade quilted market bags for the past 6 years and they are still holding up. They start some lovely conversations in the checkout line!

I imagine there's a lot of ways this Scrappy Market Tote class will be used. Maybe you discover one particular technique that you love, and make a whole quilt out of it. Maybe you dip your toe into improv piecing for the first time, because making a bag is smaller and less intimidating than making a whole quilt. Or maybe you don't do the scrappy piecing at all, and you just use the included pattern to make yourself some sturdy quilted totes out of whatever quilted pieces you already have. 

I'd love to hear how you use the class! And how your scrappy totes are received in the world! I've  heard some great feedback about the class from some of you speed demons who already found it; thanks for checking it out and reporting back, you curious quilters! Bluprint subscribers, if you love the class you can choose it as one of your "keep forever" classes. 

I feel like I've just been full of big news. There's been plenty to celebrate. I'm looking forward to some quiet time to get back to my scrap bin. I hope you get some too. Happy stitching everyone!