February 28, 2012

The last modular cathedral: Groove block

This block is basically the last block rearranged. I'm naming it after the fabric line "Groove" because it's what inspired this shape. It's the end of the line for the Modular Cathedral project. I think I may have saved the best for last!

four 5'' squares
eight 2 1/2'' squares
1 1/2'' strip for border (optional)

Fold all the small squares in half along the diagonal and press.

Use small dots of glue to hold them in opposite corners of the 5'' squares.

Construct the block. Press seams like your life depends on it.

Pin back the folds and topstitch.

Here's all the blocks I've made. Groove is my favorite I think, followed closely by the original. I could see making an entire quilt of either of those. I'll stitch these all together someday, though certainly not soon.

What a fun little experiment this was! I realized going back and checking my links that I never made a tutorial just for the basic block, or that flower one in the middle row, so I'll be back with those tutorials. Eventually.

February 24, 2012


I've pulled some fabrics for the To-Be-Named paper piecing project. I'm very happy that I'll have company from a few of you on this romp.

The colors were inspired by this piece of Kaffe Fasset fabric my grandma gave me. The orange and blue together have so much kick!

That guy really loves color, and I really love leaning on him for color schemes. I'm planning to pair all these with some Kona Sand that I have. It's been in my stash awaiting another use for far too long, so I re-appropriated it.

I reserve the right to totally change directions when I get the "Washi Tape" fabric I just ordered. I rarely feel compelled to buy fabric I've only seen online. But this one is so unique. Beautiful work Rashida! I don't often see transparency used in a fabric design and I really like it in this one.

I also pulled a winner for the book A Field Guide to Fabric Design. Congratulations Melissa at A Happy Stitch! Hope you find lots of inspiration in this book.

I had a fun day in the sewing room today. I'll fix up my pictures and share them this week!

February 22, 2012

Keeping my hands busy

I am a fidgeter who has a three day conference ahead of her. I can hardly sit still for a two-hour meeting, so I tremble whenever I have to sit down for a whole day. My answer to this conundrum is to keep my hands busy: English paper piecing to the rescue! And of course, I had to go design my own thing.

I love it already.  Each of the ring units should finish around 14 inches. Big and bold! The mock up is only to get an idea of the pattern. It will have more rings for a (60+ by 70+) throw quilt. 

This is the first time I've felt really excited about paper piecing. I can't wait to get to the airport and then stitch stitch stitch for three days.

Since I've gone and calculated yardage and finished size and exactly how I'm going to go about it all, I'm halfway to a quilt along, and I'd love to take you with me. Anyone else want to try this pattern? You may not get to see my finished quilt any time soon, but I'll get all the important steps out of the way up front so you can finish yours without me. Can't wait to cut up some fabric!

I'm stuck on what to call it. It changes twice a day. Glimmer? Starshine? Iris? I can't pick. Please point me in the right direction.

P.S. I just learned that some people like to read blogs by email. If that sounds like you, there's now a little box on the right side of the screen that will let you enter your email address to get automatic email updates any day I post something new.

February 20, 2012

A Field Guide to Fabric Design: review! giveaway!

The book A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight was recently released by Stash books.
I was thrilled to receive a copy to review, and now I'm doubly thrilled to tell you about it.

I had one reason to want this book: I wanted to know how you design a repeating pattern. Not knowing was very perplexing for me. As far as I could tell, the only way I could design a repeating pattern would be to wrap a piece of paper around a tube and draw on it. That sounded borderline ridiculous so I needed this book.

Kim's book satisfied my curiosity, (no tubes!) but it did so much more as well.

First of all, a week after I read it I ended up designing my first fabric. Coincidence? Absolutely not. This book gave me the lift I needed to go from a good idea to an actual design. It helped me understand some important concepts that I could apply to the tools I had available. In my case, an iPad with a simple illustration program, but whatever your supplies are, even if they are just pencil and paper, there are instructions for you too. Do you want to do screen printing or block printing? Do you want to design with Photoshop or Illustrator for digital printing? All the steps are explained for whichever way you'd like to design.

The book also prepared me for dealing with color variation between my computer screen and online printers. Information on printing processes, types of fabric, and color theory are in there as well. There is a lot in the book I didn't expect. Some of it may not be useful to me right now (for instance, things to consider if licensing your designs) but I have to say I'm impressed at how thorough the book is. I can see that whether I just want to create an occasional fabric design, or if I get bitten by the bug and decide to pursue it as a serious venture, I will refer to A Field Guide to Fabric Design over and over in the coming years.

So now, indeed, Stash books has generously, enthusiastically, offered a copy of the book to giveaway to a reader. And as an expression of the incredible appreciation I have for this book, I'd like to send the winner a fat quarter of my first ever fabric as well. To enter the random giveaway, please leave a comment on this post, having something to do with this book and why it interests you. I'll draw a random winner Friday. Oh, and if I can't contact you, you can't win, so make sure you leave an email address if it's not available on your profile. I'm ruthless. I'll just draw another number if I can't contact you. And you'll never know how close you came.

FYI, my contact at Stash let me know they have an email newsletter. I signed up for it last week, and they immediately emailed me a coupon for 20% off at the C&T publishing site. And that's all I've heard from them so far, so I can tell you they're not spammers. You can sign up here (over on the right side of the page) to stay up to date too. Thanks for keeping it classy, Stash, and thanks for the never-ending stream of fabulous books!

February 14, 2012

Leafy Branches: all over free motion quilting

Great news: I bought a Sharpie! You're worth it.

This is something I've been sketching over and over lately. It's so beautiful, and simple, and straightforward. I want to quilt everything with it.

Here's my first crack at stitching it:

Elegant, right?

Let me delight you with how easy it is.

Stitch a curved stem, put a leaf on the end.

Backtrack down the spine, stitch a leaf on one side.

Go down a bit more and put a leaf on the other side.

Do that all the way down the stem.

Now stitch back up the stem a bit, and send off a new branch.

Add the leaves, add a new branch off that one.

And do it over and over.

Boom. All over leafy quilting.

I love this so much I feel like I should send out a birth announcement! It really is a revelation about the ideal use of branching patterns. There are lots of simple, equally beautiful variations, that are just as captivating, and I'll get those up here soon.

Happy love day everyone!

P.S. You can see me stitching this design in my Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting class on Craftsy.

February 01, 2012

Selvage fabric rides again

Thank you all so much for the enthusiasm on the selvage fabric! I love having this place to share my inspirations and creations. Because, you know, it's different at home. When I asked my 3 year old, "Mama made this, isn't it pretty?", she frowned a bit and agreed, grudgingly, "mmm hmmm." Then she suddenly perked up and asked, "I could walk on it?"

So, it's nice to know people who appreciate what I do, without even getting to walk on it. You guys rock.

Now I have the smaller version also. I think I like it even better!

I quilted a piece of it with straight lines and made a little bag which is going to go with me everywhere.

I am really blushing that a few people have bought some of the fabric to use as well! The ultimate compliment! Here are the links for both fabrics: Selvages on steroids and Tiny selvage.

I can feel the early pregnancy fatigue lifting. Dishes are getting washed the same night we use them, and I found the floor in my sewing room. So, patchwork soon!