American Quilter

Look what came in the mail today! The latest issue of American Quilter Magazine – November 2014.

aqs cover

Why am I so excited about this particular issue? Linda Hungerford of Flourishing Palms wrote an article about my book, Accentuate the Negative. I made all new quilts for the article – so there are not any duplicates from the book – using each paradigm from the book. They asked me to design a pattern to be featured with the article. So I designed a quilt called ‘Spiraled Squared’.

spiraled squares

It was quilted by Tammy of Quiltin’ Kaboodle – she has detailed photos of the quilting on her blog. Another Tammy, this one from Marmalade Fabrics, has put together a kit for the pattern. If you would like to purchase the kit from the exact fabrics that I used, click here. If you would like a kit, but you’re not keen on the colors, you can just send Tammy a message and she can work with you to make up a kit in a palette you would love – she is great with colors!

spiraled squares - outdoor


If you make this quilt, please let me know. I’d love to see photos!

Fall Quilt Walk

One of the guilds that I belong to is having a quilt show in a couple of weeks. I love this guild because we are made up of all kinds of quilters: modern, traditional, contemporary, art – you never know what you are going to see at show and tell! Well, we are going to be showing our quilts off on October 11th at the Overland Park Arboretum. We will have quilts hanging from the fences, information about our charity projects: Quilts of Valor and Safehome, and a series of bed-turnings. Some of the bed turnings include:

Ida Houston – ThreadPlay
Barbara Bruce – Petal Play
Trisch Price – Modern Quilting
Joan Nicholson – A Quilting Journey
Carla Timberlake – Quilting with Scraps
Nikki McDonald – Finish What You Started
Shirlee Vieria – As the Applique Turns
Shirley Peterson
I’ll post the final bed-turning schedule soon! I’m hoping to add one more!
quilt walk

Creative Mojo

I was interviewed on Mark Lipinski’s Creative Mojo earlier this week. Mark was great and he even likes Modern quilts now! YAY! If you want to listen to it, click here (it’s the April 23rd show). At the end we were talking about making quilts with fabrics other than cotton. The Silk Bricks quilt in my book is made of silk dupioni and linen. The silk was a breeze to work with. I didn’t have to do anything to it – however, everything in that quilt is cut on the straight of grain so that helps. The only thing I found necessary for the silk was a lint roller!! The linen was a bit of a pain. I used regular linen used for garment sewing because I loved the look of it. Even after starching it, it still loves to shift. The biggest issue with the linen is the quilting. It really misshapen it. By the time I was finished with the quilting, I had a 3-D quilt! So, I blocked it. I had to avoid getting water on the silk – I used a lot of reds and they all were prone to bleeding. I just laid an old towel over an insulation board, sprayed the linen until it was pretty wet and then pinned it down everywhere. Here are a couple of pictures of the blocking.


Waves Before Blocking

Lots of Pins!

Lots of Pins!

In the end, it’s nice and flat and I still love the look of the linen. However, if I was a beginner, I’d consider using Quilter’s Linen instead!

Mod Roses – The Quilting

When I originally conceived the idea for my book, Accentuate the Negative, I never envisioned it as a book about how to quilt negative space but rather a book about how to make negative space and use it to its fullest. I have come across a few comments from quilters that are interested in the quilting. Given that, I’ve decided to write a little about the quilting of each of the quilts. I’m going to start from the back of the book and work to the front! So, first up: Mod Roses.

The background of this quilt was generally quilted with an all-over, simple meandering leaf motif. Nestled in the leaves are quotes about roses – there are six quotes on the quilt.

roses 7Each improv rose is framed as is each of the pieced leaves. I just did SID around each of the frames and chose to leave the frames free of quilting. As far as the roses, I just quilted wiggly-concentric circles starting in the center of the rose and working my way out to fill the space. The leaves in the rose blocks just got a little swirl and SID around the outside. I filled the background with horizontal and vertical lines – that was my only rule. I didn’t use any rulers, and everything is randomly spaced.

roses 6I filled the background of the leaf blocks with pebbling.

roses 8





Another Giveaway!

Kansas City Star’s My Stars is sponsoring a book giveaway on their facebook page. They are giving away four sets of four modern books – my new book, Accentuate the Negative is included in the set as well as the book that I was in last fall, Classic Modern Quilts! All you have to do is ‘LIKE’ their facebook page! To make it more convenient, just click this image, or the button on the right side of the page. Good Luck!


Quick Tip Tuesday – What’s What?

I rarely make block-based quilts. On the up-side: my attention doesn’t wane; on the down-side: I tend to design quilts with lots of different pieces that are rarely the same size. Which means I have a lot to keep track of! I’ve tried several different ways to do this: stacking the pieces in order of dimension, writing the dimensions on the back with chalk, etc. I’ve finally settled on stickers! I love those little, round garage-sale stickers. There is just enough adhesive to keep them on without leaving a residue. I avoid hitting them with the iron – but I have done so many times and it has never had any effect.

20140324_090228When I start a project with lots of pieces, I write each size on a sticker – if I’m cutting several different fabrics at once, I’ll note the fabric as well. This way, I can just take my stack of stickers to my cutting table and use them as my guide. I transfer each sticker as I cut each piece. When all the stickers are done, I am done! I also use these stickers when I have a bunch of improvisational blocks to make of specific sizes (as in the pictured project).



A New Year and A New Book

I really didn’t mean to ignore my blog for so long! Between the holidays, snow-days, and my new book time has just flown by! So, first things first, when I last posted I was giving away a copy of Classic Modern Quilts to whomever got the closest to picking the colors that I love for 2014. The winner was ‘usairdoll’ with smoke and dark violet. I love that shade of gray and my personal favorite purple or pink, or whatever color you want to call it, is cerise. I finished the quilt top and my sister (Quiltin Kaboodle) is quilting it for me. I’ll post a sneak peak when I get it back. I’ve seen some of the quilting that she is doing and it’s phenomenal!

On to more current news: my book is out and I think it’s just beautiful. The photography and the layout alone are enough for me to stare at it for hours! I am so excited to have it in my hands! The book is laid out in six chapters each addressing a different way of using negative space. Each chapter includes three quilts and patterns for each demonstrating the technique. I’m looking forward to seeing what other quilters will do with these techniques. Here are a few peaks inside the book.

Technically, I guess this is not an ‘inside’ peak! Isn’t this cover awesome!

AtN-front-coverHaving a sister that is battling breast cancer, it is always on my mind. This quilt – ‘Aware’ – can be made to represent any awareness by changing the colors.

Aware_WatermarkThis quilt – ‘String of Pearls’ – was inspired by Lizzy House’s pearl bracelets fabric. The quilt uses two charm packs and a few extra pieces. I love the way it turned out. It was quilted by Ida Houston of Cowtown Quilts – the quilting is amazing!


This last peak is ‘Savanna Nights’. I have a weakness for Echino prints in general and this Echino print was the inspiration for this quilt. All of the blue solids are In The Beginning Modern Solids.


If you would like to purchase a signed copy of the book, you can click on the button on the right side of the screen!

Double Wedding Ring Challenge

Anyone who knows me as a quilter, knows that I have a problem passing up a challenge. I’m trying to resist them, but I still get sucked in. This time, it was the Double Wedding Ring Challenge from NYC Modern Quilt Guild. I’ve always wanted to make a double wedding ring quilt. Add to that, my 25th wedding anniversary is this coming year. Add to that, a little Kate Spain fabric collection that needed a project. Add to that, an idea sprung into my head. Obviously, I had to do it – and I’m now nine months ahead on a project … that NEVER happens!

The quilt I designed has 25 rings, one for each year. To make the years more distinctive, I ventured from the traditional design and made each ring distinctive. Each is improvisationally pieced using three different Kate Spain fabrics in the same color family. No three combinations are repeated. Then I added ‘I Do’ down the side and our wedding date across the bottom.

Double Wedding Ring ChallengeThe challenge required a minimum of four rings … so, I made a king size quilt! I took the photo on my driveway, standing on a ladder, holding the camera as high as I could. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering about me!

Inside each ring, I quilted something significant that happened during that year of our marriage – new house, kids, dogs. Once those were exhausted – I devolved to family vacations. Some just have symbols or words. Here are the kids – taken with a flash, so they aren’t great:


 dwrTyler dwrkileyThat’s the project in a nutshell. I’m happy to have the double wedding ring pattern off of my list!



Classic Modern Quilts – Leave a Light On

So, it’s my turn on the blog tour! The traditional block that I selected was Airship Propeller (also known as Steam Punk, now-a-days!).

I was drawn to the curves in the block. I spent a lot of time sketching and breaking the block into different components. I wanted the quilt to be inspired by the block, not dictated by the block. I almost always start with graph paper – which is pretty ironic given my technology background. But, there is something that I love about pencil and paper when it comes to designing. Here is my original design.

20130313_145708When I showed it to my sister, she said ‘I see a toilet plunger’! Thanks! I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t read that way in the end – so I just laughed it off. Next, onto colors. At first I was thinking of using a complementary scheme. So, I experimented with purple and yellow.


I liked the colors, but I didn’t think one section came forward more than the other. So, I ditched that idea. The next try was pretty much the final scheme.

20130313_103032The shape reminds me of a simple hanging light. I love the Ty Pennington print for the lamp shade – it’s an older print that came from my stash. The other fabrics were all from Marmalade Fabrics. Here’s the final quilt.


I had a great time being involved with this project and am so happy to be in such great company with the other nine designers. Some I know personally, some virtually, and I’m looking forward to meeting each of them in person some day!

Of course, I have to end this with the giveaway! Mine will be based on comments. So, here goes. I’m always looking at color trends and trying to see what’s coming and what’s going. I have a quilt designed that will be published in a year or so. To that end, I need to decide on a color scheme … something that will be relevant in a year! I have an idea of what it will be, but I’m always open to new ideas. So, leave a comment suggesting a color scheme: one neutral plus one color (Kona cotton color names would be great!). The winner of the giveaway will be either the person who comes the closest to the color scheme that I have in mind – or the one who suggests one I like better! Bottom-line: the person who suggests the color scheme that I go with will be the winner! You have until the end of the blog tour – this Friday, November 22nd! Good Luck!

Quick Tip Tuesday – Cutting with Templates

Usually I glean these tips from whatever I happen to be working on at the time. Right now I’m making a modern version of a double wedding ring quilt – I’m woefully behind! I rarely use templates, but with this pattern I couldn’t imagine cutting it out any other way. The problem with templates: they like to slip. Then my sister gave me this fabulous tip: rubber cement! WOW! What a difference. Just apply a fairly thick coat to the outer edges of the templates – especially any corners or points. Let it dry thoroughly. Place the templates with the rubber cement facing the fabric and cut. Amazing!