Thursday, March 5, 2015

Supernova Friendship Swap Winners!

I was so excited when Stephanie and Michelle of Late Night Quilter decided a few months back to do a Supernova Friendship Block Swap! Supernova was my first quilt-along, four whole years ago now(!), and that design is still one of my sentimental favorites, so it was a delight to see it get a whole new lease on life with the Supernova Swap. All of a sudden, Supernova blocks were all over my social media feeds. And I loved that it was a friendship swap, too. So fun!

And Stephanie and Michelle were nice enough to let me pick the swap giveaway winners! It was not an easy task—check out the Supernova Swap Flickr group to view all the amazing finished quilts by swap participants. In the end, I chose the quilts by Jen Van Dyke of Jennifer Under the Juniper Tree and Kris Jarchow of Sew Sunshine as the winners.

I thought their color usage was amazing, so saturated and bright. And the back of Jen's quilt is like another whole quilt unto itself, so there was that. : ) I also loved how Jen's quilt had straight-line quilting at right angles, while Kris's was straight diagonal lines. The quilts are clearly a matched pair, but they're not identical, and I love that!

I also want to give a shout out to a few others that were favorites of mine, and gave the winners a real run for the money. I loved loved loved the hand quilting on the quilts by Ashlee Schnell and Kate Yates. I think those two may have convinced me to make yet another Supernova and try hand-quilting it! I also really loved the ones made by Maya Toscani and Cathy Ledbetter—there is some seriously amazing quilting on those two quilts as well! Check them out!

But really, I thought everyone did an amazing job with their blocks, so thank you all for participating in the Supernova Swap! And thank you to Stephanie and Michelle for organizing it! What a fun swap all the way around! : )

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday: It Never Ends

Welcome to another Wednesday, WIPpers! : )

How did it get to be March already? Now that QuiltCon is behind me, the next big event looming on my calendar is Quilt Market, the industry show happening in Minneapolis in May. I need to get a new pattern or two out by then, not to mention build an entire booth so that I can exhibit! Commence freaking out .... now. Right now. Because it's March already, you guys.

Between freak-outs, I'm turning my attention back to my Naturally Wisconsin quilt, made with Modern Yardage prints inspired by Wisconsin's natural beauty. I'll have a bit more about that project in a blog post on Friday, so stop back then to read all the details. I'm really excited about it!

I'm also trying to finish my kaleidoscope baby quilt and fit in a few other things while I'm at it. So, pardon me while I duck out of here early so I can bang out some sewing today. But please do talk amongst yourselves about your WIPs, as always! : ) See you back here next week, same time, same place!

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is Please hashtag #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jewel Box Quilt Tutorial in Liberty Lawn

Welcome to my stop on the Westwood Acres Liberty of London blog hop! Amanda asked a bunch of us bloggers to come up with project ideas using Liberty, and I was happy to oblige!

Have you guys had a chance to sew with Liberty Tana Lawn yet? It's like the fabric equivalent of a glass of lemonade on a summer day, so light and refreshing. I would say it falls right in between quilting cotton and voile as far as softness and consistency. I found it very easy to sew with—it may be a bit stretchier than quilting cotton, but not to the extent that it will cause you much difficulty. It's a fun option for quilting, and Westwood Acres' Give Me Liberty! Club is a great way to get a monthly fix of this gorgeous stuff! Every month, Amanda will curate 10 pieces of Liberty Lawn for club subscribers, so check it out.

Liberty prints have such a strong, recognizable look that I think they often work best with simpler patchwork. I just don't want to distract too much from the beautiful works of art that are the prints! So I'm going to show you a tutorial today for an easy Jewel Box baby quilt, which I think is just perfect for Liberty. This quilt sews up quickly and looks amazing. : )

Jewel Box Baby Quilt
Finished block size: 8" x 8"
Finished quilt size: 32" x 32" (4 blocks across by 4 blocks down)
(This tutorial makes 16 Jewel Box blocks, but you could triple it to make a quilt that is 48" x 64" - 6 blocks across by 8 blocks down.)

Fabric requirements
• 8 fat-eighths of various Liberty Lawn prints
• 2/3 yard of background fabric (I'm using Kona Steel)

Cutting requirements
From each Liberty fat-eighth -
(1) strip, 2-1/2" x 20"
(2) squares, 5" x 5"

From the background fabric -
(8) strips, 2-1/2" x 20"
(16) squares, 5" x 5"

Making the quilt

1. Sew a background 2-1/2" strip to each Liberty 2-1/2" strip, the long way. Press seams open or toward the background fabric (your choice).

2. Cross-cut each strip set into 8 pieces 2-1/2" x 4-1/2", as shown.

3. Sew together the cross-cut units into 4-patch units measuring 4-1/2" x 4-1/2".

4. Make (32) 4-patch units.

5. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of each 5" Liberty print square. Pair each Liberty square with a 5" background square. Sew 1/4" out from the marked line, on each side, to make 32 half-square triangles (HSTs).

6. Cut HSTs apart on the marked line and press open. Square up your HSTs to 4-1/2" by lining up the diagonal line on a 4-1/2" square ruler with the diagonal seam and trimming.

7. Each block is made up of two HST units and two 4-patch units. Sew together as shown, pressing seams toward the HSTs.

8. Arrange your blocks 4 across by 4 down and sew together. That's it! Told you it sews up quick! : )

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog hop for more Liberty inspiration. Enjoy! 

February 24th: Kick Off! A Crafty Fox
February 25th: Astrid at Red, Red Completely Red
February 26th: Svetlana at Sotak Handmade
February 26th: Andy at A Bright Corner
February 27th: Chase at Quarter Inch Mark
March 1st: Emily at Simple Girl Simple Life
March 2nd: Ashley at Film In The Fridge
March 3rd: Lee at Freshly Pieced (you are here!!)
March 4th: Audrie at Blue is Bleu
March 5th: Amanda at A Crafty Fox

Monday, March 2, 2015

QuiltCon: My Thoughts

By now, you've probably seen at least a dozen posts about QuiltCon (I know I have), so today my challenge is to attempt to add something new to the conversation! QuiltCon was amazing and thoroughly inspiring. But it was also a bit overwhelming and a lot of work for me, since I taught three classes. That means I didn't get to see or do everything I might have liked, and I certainly didn't take as many pictures as I should have! But I'll do my best to sum up my thoughts on the full experience.

Flame by Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts

There was a lot of discussion before the show (especially around the time people found out whether their quilts were juried in) of what type of quilts would be in the show. Now that we've seen them all, I personally think the full spectrum of modern quilting was well-represented at QuiltCon. In my own opinion, design is the single most important element of a modern quilt, and it seemed clear that the show organizers held that opinion as well. That's not to say quilting and technical skill aren't important, because of course they are, and the best quilts had all those things going for them. But there was no question in my mind that the quilts that were shown at QuiltCon were all examples of design at its very best, and as a graphic design nerd, I'm all about that. : )

Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft

If there was any one over-arching design lesson that we can take away from QuiltCon, I think it's this: Get creative with your layouts! If you aspire to make quilts that push the envelope and/or are worthy of a modern quilting show (not everyone does, and that's completely fine, but if you do), don't keep doing the same four-blocks-across-and-five-down layouts that we've seen over and over again since, oh, the 1800s. Easy for me to say, right? Since I taught a workshop on creating alternate layouts at the show. : ) But walking around the floor, it was pretty hard to miss the layout creativity that was on display. There is so much more you can do with the blank canvas of a quilt top.

Diamond Dust by Doris Brunnette of Made By a Brunnette

Maybe that's particularly important in my own little niche of modern quilting, Modern Traditionalism. I think the QuiltCon Modern Traditionalism category was trying to tell us that it's great to use traditional blocks in a modern quilt, but if you're going to go that route, you need to offset those traditional designs by getting really creative with the layout. I personally submitted 6 quilts for QuiltCon, and had 4 accepted into the show. The 4 that were accepted had alternate layouts, which used negative space and/or block structure in unexpected ways. The two that weren't accepted? Standard tiled layouts. And I don't think I'm the only Modern Traditionalist who had that same experience. And you know what? I think that's awesome. Because: Design, you guys. : )

What's the Point by Susan Slusser Clay

That's not to say that every quilt I make from here on out is going to have an alternate layout. The truth is that I enjoy quilts with traditional layouts just as much as the ones with more unique layouts. My Spin It Again quilt from my book Vintage Quilt Revival was rejected from QuiltCon. It's still one of my favorite quilts I've ever made, and I'm sure I'll want to make more like it in the months ahead. But a show like QuiltCon is supposed to inspire us, get our creative juices flowing, and move us in new directions. That's exactly what the show did for me, and hopefully many others. There were plenty of new directions hanging up in that convention center, and I can hardly wait to see what we all come up with next, thanks to this show!

Balancing Act by Amanda Hohnstreiter of My Sewcial Hour

In general, QuiltCon 2015 really was a whirlwind—with my teaching schedule, I barely had time to get through the entire show floor. I had literally NO time for shopping and came home without buying a single solitary thing (the horror!). And at times the show felt a bit too overwhelming and chaotic. The quilts were displayed in pod-like groupings, instead of in rows, and I really wish it would have been set up in rows, so I could have gone through it more methodically. All the beautiful colors and designs are distracting enough as you're walking through—I tried several times to get through the whole show and hit areas I had previously missed, but somehow there were still whole sections of the show that I never saw (including the Gee's Bend quilts).

Lovely Fishbourne by Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts (I liked Mandy's "Egg and Dart" quilt that was in the show even more than this one, but my picture of it is terrible, sorry!)

So I'm going to wrap up this post with photos of a few more personal favorites from the show. I really wish I would have gotten better photos, but .... yeah, whirlwind again. : ) Enjoy, and if you're thinking about attending Pasadena in 2016, well, book your hotel right now. If not sooner. LOL.

Modern Lily Bean by Claire Jain of Sewing Over Pins (I love how this one looks like Pyrex!)

Iceberg by Crystal McGann of Raspberry Spool

Percolate by Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks

Upstairs by Kristen Lejnieks
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Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

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