April 28, 2015

Magic Carpets all around, with a giveaway!

It was a great delight to me that through the blog and Instagram there were several people who were interested in taking my new Magic Carpet pattern out for a spin. And today I get to show you what they did with it!

Kristyn at Melonpatch Quilts made this monochromatic version and I really love it! 

Beth at Cooking Up Quilts picked the perfect fabrics for a happy rainbow approach. Click over to her blog to see the beautiful quilting!

Karlee (sewinspired2day) chose an attractive color scheme with input from her 14 year old daughter. She said it's her favorite quilt she's ever made, what a compliment!

Debra Hamilton (rivergirlquilts) used a two color approach and it came out especially hypnotic.

And you may have already seen the quilt made by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. She whipped up this quilt and finished hers before I had even finished mine!

Finally, Jasmine at Quilt Kisses made the pattern with a few changes that she explains in her blog post, I love how her color scheme reads!

Isn't it fun seeing all the different ways the pattern can look with various fabric choices?

So now I'm a little embarrassed to say I intended to offer a giveaway of the pattern for sale when I posted it but I forgot. I am not the model blogger, it turns out. But now today's the day!

To enter the giveaway leave a comment here on this blog post (no emails please!) letting me know what your favorite salad is. I need some new salad ideas! (Oh, and if you've already bought the pattern thank you and you should enter anyway; if you win the giveaway I'll refund your money!)

The giveaway is now CLOSED! Thanks for the great suggestions everyone!

April 26, 2015


I'm doing a rare thing and quilting a quilt for someone else. This is about a once a year thing, and this time the quilt top is from Hillary at Entropy Always Wins.

I like Hillary's work and I was happy to be asked to quilt something of hers. I was also happy she wasn't in a hurry because I generally have about 6 hours a week to quilt and I had things already lined up for a few months.

But now I'm getting to her top and it's a lot of fun.

Hillary gave me a lot of latitude to do what I wanted on the quilt top. Mostly that kind of thing gives me a stomach ache. I'm sure professional quilters get used to it, but I am always second guessing myself with quilting someone else's work. Still, I'm glad for the experiment because it's letting me try my hand at some ideas, especially in all the negative space.

That last one is a shot from the back. I'll show more when it's finished!

April 19, 2015

The Magic Carpet Quilt

This quilt is done! And the pattern is too! I'm awash in the great satisfaction of completing a beloved project.

I was really stuck for naming the pattern until my friend Gail suggested Magic Carpet. I think it captures the idea of floating, which is really the very point of the quilt. I am thrilled with it.

The quilt is 69" x 75" and every square is quilted with a different design from Step-by-Step Free-Motion Quilting. I keep stopping to run my hand over the different textures. I know we'll love it for a long time. If I make this pattern again though I'll definitely be doing an all-over design. I cut and pieced the top in 6 hours but it took almost 3 times that to quilt it! Now I know!

I'm also nervous/proud to have the pattern up for sale on Craftsy as of today. That's thanks to a generous group of pattern testers: Karlee, Jasmine, Sarah, Debbie, Beth, Kristyn and Matthew. I am so grateful for their thoughtful feedback; they really helped me refine the pattern so it will be a good resource.

For instance, Karlee told me that she was struggling with picking fabrics and suggested a blank quilt design to color in. What a great idea! So I added that to the pattern. I also sent my testers some examples of how different color choices might look in the pattern. I love how versatile it is.

I'll gather the photos from the pattern testing squad and show you how lovely their quilts turned out later on. For now, it's off to bed for me to recover from Portland's epic sunny weekend! 

April 16, 2015

FMQ Weekly: Busy is your friend!

I've been stretching my FMQ muscles a little...on a long-arm!

I finished one of my grandma's unfinished quilts on the long-arm of my friend Nancy who rents time on the machine locally. 

Quilting on a longarm is so different from my domestic machine. It's very smooth and I'd say it shaved a couple hours off the time needed to finish the quilt. But things that I have so much control over sitting down, like travel stitching and echoing, just look bonkers so far when I do them on the long-arm. 

And that's ok with me. My students are willing to step into that discomfort of trying something new even though at first the results will be awkward. I can do that too!

With this quilt I decided to stretch my approach to FMQ a little. Mostly I'm experimenting with how to get different patterns to play together. How do you think I did? 

That's a trick question! Because seriously, can you see anything more than a few inches of quilting here or there? It's next to impossible! My grandma's love for these busy, colorful Kaffe Fassett prints resulted in a lovely quilt and a perfect setting for stretching a little beyond my skills: because as Nancy said "you could be quilting swear words into that quilt and no one would know!"

If you're ready to try FMQ, or to experiment with something new like a more complicated quilting design, might I suggest that you do it on some busy prints, with matching thread? Let the quilt be all about the fabrics. You get all the benefits of practice, and a beautiful finished project. 

(side note: Do you see that part above with the one strip that's red with white dots instead of orange with yellow? I'm pretty sure she didn't have enough of the orange (because I checked for binding fabric) and I just love that little bit so much. )

Here's a little view of the back: that's Kaffe too, naturally. 

There are two more quilts of my grandma's waiting to be quilted and I can't wait to get to them. I've decided to do both of them on the long-arm. Not that I'm shopping for a long-arm! We don't have the space and I can't imagine spending that kind of money at this moment in our lives. But I like the idea of at least being long-arm capable and it's fun figuring out how to get the long-arm to do what I want it to do. Because every now and then it does...

See you next week...my new quilt (and the pattern, love that you guys seem to be as excited as I am!) is almost ready....

April 09, 2015

FMQ Weekly: Influences

I wanted to show you a little bit inside my brain today, to give a peek at how I created some of the designs in my new book, Step-by-Step Free-Motion Quilting.  These are a case of taking inspiration from the art of others and translating it into continuous line designs. 

Here is picture from Fancy Nancy, Stellar Stargazer, by Jane O'Conner and Robin Preiss Glasser. 

I loved the way the spirals in her hair touched some of the adjacent lines. I played with that (keeping the hair reference!) and came up with "Rapunzel":

Here's one that I'm not sure was conscious, because I don't think I recognized the similarity until after the book was submitted. This is a page from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. See wavy lines and bubbles? 

What do you think? I think it might have resulted in this one, "Sylph": 

And finally, definitely deliberate, I love playing with pebbles and Lizzie House's "Pearl Bracelet" print looks like pebbles to me. 

So this is how I translated it into a continuous line design, "Bangle".

Does this inspire you to try creating your own FMQ designs?  I hope so!

April 03, 2015

In progress...

Now that my head is back on straight after my out of town trip, I'm getting back to a quilt that has been on my mind forever.

Here it is laid out for basting. I am a little stuck naming it but I got some great suggestions from my followers on Instagram!

Now I'm quilting it. A different design in each square. Each design is from my new book, Step-by-Step Free-Motion Quilting.

Some of my favorites:

This is definitely a bit of showing off, but I do love being able to show these designs in thread! It's taking a little longer than I planned, what with having to choose a new design for each square, but in the end it will show almost all the designs from the book, and I'm very happy about that.

I'm working on writing up a pattern too. Almost done with the illustrations and then on to some brave pattern testers!

I'll share it all here when it's done!