17 August 2015

Vintage Picnic

Vintage Picnic quilt
Last month, I took a little trip to my Grandma's house up in the Colorado mountains. (As you may recall, it was my grandmother's beautiful flower garden and stories of gooseberries that inspired my newest fabric line with Moda Fabrics, Gooseberry.) I brought along my "Vintage Picnic" quilt--barely quilted the night before--and hand-stitched the binding on in the car. Once we arrived at Grandma's, I posed it in the midst of the hollyhocks so that the quilt could be at home with its source of inspiration.
The pattern was designed exclusively for Fat Quarter Shop which means you can only get it on their website. Purchase by clicking here for PDF and here for paper.
Vintage Picnic cover
I have such romantic ideas about picnics and so it had been on my mind for some time to design a quilt inspired by picnics. As I thought about my favorite elements of picnics, a couple of important images came to my mind: 1) fresh flowers, and 2) gingham.
Vintage Picnic quilt
As you can see, the block incorporates both of those elements--a flower sort of frame with a gingham/checkered sort of design within. The checkered design is incorporated into the border as well! It takes 9 fat quarters from my Gooseberry group (ships to stores in October) and comes together quickly, thanks to strip-piecing and easy connector corners. Fat Quarter Shop is already offering kits for this quilt for pre-order here.
Vintage Picnic quilt
I hope you enjoy making this one as much as I did. (I liked it so much I made another one for my daughter in Basic Grey's Fresh Cut line. More on that later.) 

06 August 2015

Freemotion Quilting

Hello friends! Today I'm sharing a couple more videos with you courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop. This first is all about quilting at home. I briefly cover how to use a walking foot for straight line quilting, but the focus is on freemotion quilting. Check it out here:

The other video is all about my favorite notions. Check it out here:
Make sure to subscribe to Fat Quarter Shop's YouTube channel for some of my other upcoming videos.

21 July 2015

Goody Goody {the Sew-Along}

Today is an exciting day because it's the official kickoff of the Goody Goody Sew-Along hosted by Fat Quarter Shop. Here's how to participate:
1- Check out the Goody Goody binding tutorial found on my blog here. I didn't invent the idea but was inspired by my friend Amy and her amazing Travel Sewing Kit. I've included additions like the fun zipper compartment (see above) to store binding clips.
As a fun bonus, here is a little video I filmed with Fat Quarter Shop in June! It talks a little about the Goody Goody binding kit assembly, but mainly shows just how easy it is to make the zipper compartment! If you've never sewn with a zipper, this is a great beginner project for you.
2- A bunch of my friends are sewing along too! It's so fun to see all the different fabric choices and customization going on--be sure to check them out on their blogs and instagram to get more ideas:
Kimberly of Fat Quarter Shop / IG @fatquartershop
Lori of Bee in My Bonnet / IG @beelori
April of Prairie Grass Patterns / IG @amrosenthal
Amy of Amy's Creative Side / IG @amyscreativeside 
Sherri of A Quilting Life / IG @aquiltinglife
Natalia of Piece N Quilt / IG @nataliabonner
Kailtin of Knot and Thread / IG @knotandthread
Jenn of Quilted Thimble / IG @jennthurston
Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane / IG @downgrapevinelane
Sherri of This & That Patterns / IG @sherfalls
Heather & Megan of Quilt Story / IG @quiltstory and @quiltstorymeg 
3- We want to see what you will make! Share your version on Instagram and check out what everyone else is making under the hashtags #goodygoodysewalong and #goodygoodybindingkit 

06 July 2015

Goody Goody Binding Kit

It is common knowledge that a quilter is in need a lovely binding kit.
I bind more than a few quilts every year, so a portable binding kit is essential for me. Whether I'm out on the road or at home, no matter the size of the quilt, I use my binding kit for every single project.

I recently made this one using my new Gooseberry fabric (ships in October) and have gotten a lot of compliments and requests to share some of the construction details so I'm posting the tutorial here today.
I didn't invent the idea--I was inspired by my friend Amy and her fabulous Travel Sewing Kit. It includes additions like this zipper compartment to store binding clips. I am not a fan of sewing with zippers but this was EASY. If you've never sewn with a zipper, this is a great project for you.

Before we get started, let's take a look at some of the other features of this binding kit. 
In the center section of the kit, there is a thread holder for your favorite Aurifil thread spools, a wool felt rectangle for needles, and a sweet strawberry pocket for a small pair of scissors.

You'll also find a nice spacious pocket for anything else you might want to tuck in there for binding time. Here are a couple of my "essentials" (and the reason I call it my Goody Goody binding kit):

Let's get started. 

08 June 2015

Baby Shuffle

Six months ago, you would have found me sketching, calculating, and testing pattern blocks for my newly released Gooseberry patterns. I typically make a couple tester blocks for each pattern--mainly to verify my math is correct. Rarely do I have enough time to test a full quilt since--well, there just aren't enough hours in the day. But today, you get to meet a cute little exception to that rule.
Shuffle quilt
This sweet pint-sized version of my Shuffle quilt pattern was made with Mixologie fabric by Studio M for Moda. I quilted it with a whole bunch of crazy, free-motion loops.
Shuffle quilt
Because I made it for a baby gift, I made a few changes that I wanted to share with you in case you'd like to make your own baby Shuffle. For this Mixologie version, I made 20 blocks (instead of 42) and arranged them into 5 rows of 4. It finished at 44 x 55". I only needed 3 yards of back fabric and 6 strips 2-1/2" x WOF for the binding.
Of course, if you want to make one a little bigger, you can make 30 blocks and arrange them into 6 rows of 5. It should finish at 55 x 66" and you will need 3-3/4 yards of back fabric and 7 strips 2-1/2" x WOF for the binding.
Now if you could just see how absolutely adorable the new owner of the quilt is. ;)

01 June 2015

Gooseberry Goes to Market

A couple weeks ago, I packed up all my Gooseberry quilts and flew to Minneapolis for Spring Quilt Market to show my new Moda group, Gooseberry. This group can be ordered by shops for the next few weeks (with an October ship date).
{I had way too much fun!} 
Quilt Market Mom
I had a booth in the Moda designer section:
So now that the craziness of market is over, I wanted to give a few more details about Gooseberry.
As usual, I have been using tons of Aurifil thread for all of my Gooseberry sewing projects. Here is the list of Aurifil threads to match Gooseberry fabric (all 50 wt.): White 2024 (I use A TON of this for piecing), Pink 2435, Green 2888, Robin's Egg 5006, and Navy 2775. 

You also might be wondering about coordinating Moda Bella Solids? I've got those for you as well, my friends. The list includes Bleached White 9900 97, Tea Rose 9900 89, Strawberry 9900 210, Fresh Grass 9900 228, Robin's Egg 9900 85, and Admiral Blue 9900 48.

Also, I have had a lot of people ask about the cute bags that were in my booth. I was lucky enough to have my friend Kaitlyn Pallas make this beautiful "Carry On" bag for my booth. It is a fantastic pattern from ByAnnie.com and uses ByAnnie's Soft and Stable (the best stabilizer on the PLANET for making bags). Kaitlyn is the QUEEN of making lovely bags. (Thanks so much for all your help, Kaitlyn.)

And if that wasn't enough, Kaitlyn also  made this adorable little zip pouch using the "Ditty" bag pattern (also ByAnnie.com) to match. 

To check out all the other market fabric lines, check out the entire Moda Piece Issue no. 13:
moda piece issue no 13.

06 May 2015

Made with Love {and Gooseberry}

I've been busy as a bee for the last several months plotting, writing, and sewing using my new line, Gooseberry. (It ships in October and will be available for order at Quilt Market next week.) But for those of you who won't be at Quilt Market, here is a look at the new patterns--all of which are now available in the shop in PDF or paper:

Before we take a closer look, I just want to say thank you to all my amazing quilters. I feel so blessed to know such talented ladies who make my designs really come to life. You are the best. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
Here we go. First up is Shuffle. It's a fun twist (literally) on a traditional pinwheel quilt and can be made using two charm packs OR seven fat quarters. Then, choose a colorful background to really make those pinwheels pop, or go for a more traditional white background to keep it simple.
The blue background--Bella solid 9900 85 "Robins Egg Blue"--is a perfect match to GooseberryAbby Latimer quilted this one with a Bread Basket pattern and it is just beautiful. (It's not the first time I have had Abby do this pattern. It's one of my favorites.)  Thanks, Abby!
The white (fat quarter) version shows off a more boyish side of Gooseberry.The wavy quilting sure makes me dream about a day at the beach and was quilted by Kaitlyn at Quilted Works

Next, come spend the afternoon on the Tea Party quilt. Make it scrappy with a layer cake, or make the two-tone pink version--both are real sweet.
Because the design is simple (and square), I really wanted the quilting to be a little more ornate and feminine. Abby Latimer quilted this one and came up with the perfect meandering flower pattern. You may notice I have used Abby's services a LOT and that's because she is amazing! She specializes in edge-to-edge designs and has a really quick turnaround. I sure do love the special touch she brings to my quilts.

Tea Party is quite a large quilt--a very generous twin-size. But can we talk about the two-tone pink version for a second? It never ceases to amaze me how playing with color makes things look so different. I could totally see this one living on a bed with lots of colorful pillows. (My mom disagrees and has claimed it for her living room.) I quilted this one with lots of freemotion swirls.

Are you ready to be mesmerized by the Kaleidoscope quilt? Make the scrappy version with a jelly roll--or make a solid version with your favorite Gooseberry print. Believe it or not, this one was the quickest for me to piece this time around.
This one really brightens up my day with its cheerful mix of colors. Jenn Thurston quilted it with a simple loop pattern and I love the how whimsical and sweet all the elements look together. Oh and Jenn also bound this quilt for me and I cannot begin to tell you how that literally saved me in these last couple days of madness before market!

The solid version is in the works and will hopefully be ready in time for market. Wish me luck on that one.
Now for one of my favorite quilts ever--Social Butterfly. It is made with 18 fat quarters and makes a really great block of the month or class project. One of the things I love most about Social Butterfly is that it's not actually a difficult pattern. The trick with this pattern is just keeping things organized. (I highly recommend using Fat Quarter Shop's Alphabitties labels.)
Social Butterfly RGB
This one is so much fun to make. My favorite part is choosing which prints to use for each butterfly.

And I'm kind of obsessed with the custom quilting! I have never had anything custom-quilted but had it in my mind that Social Butterfly NEEDED custom quilting. Around the same time, I discovered that the Natalia Bonner lives up the street from me. Kismet, people. Kismet. I'm so glad she added her magic on this one. (Duh.) I'm dying over the antennae made out of feathers. 

The back itself is a masterpiece. If you are at quilt market, come on over to my booth and drool over Natalia's handiwork with me.

Finally, I made my very first mini pattern and isn't she cute?! (I now understand why everyone is so addicted to the minis.) Welcome, Social Butterfly Mini.

Now I'm really thinking crazy thoughts like making a million of these into a lap quilt. 
Well I wish I could say I'm all ready for quilt market and that I'm just going to relax for the next couple of days... Not likely! I've got a few more things to wrap up--so back to the lair it is for me. But I'd love to hear your thoughts on all the new patterns. Favorites?

30 April 2015


It's not nice to mess with Captain Mike. 
Micheal 7
Attention Blogees (or whatever you call yourselves), this Blog is hereby commandeered by Capt. Mike, retired detective LAPD. I’m a naturally suspicious guy; suspicion goes with the territory and I’ve been full of it for the past several weeks as I’ve investigated this Lella Boutique and its proprietor, Vanessa Goertzen, a seemingly sweet young thing who I came to suspect of actually running a nefarious network that trafficked in illegal contraband. 
To digress a little, Vanessa is the daughter of my new wife, Miriam. Because Miriam had recently passed the Bureau of Criminal Information background check, I figured that I could give her daughter some leeway before putting her to the test. By the way, I earned my moniker with 30 years’ experience working the hard streets of L.A. so I wear it proudly. Miriam is the only one I have given permission who does not have to address me as “Captain”--at least when we’re at home and company is not present. 
Anyway, Vanessa brought her two children: Olive, age 4, and Lorenzo ("Bubba"), age 2, to our home a month and a half ago. The kids are cute but annoying. Apparently, Vanessa needs Miriam’s help as she prepares for an event called: “Quilt Market” that is scheduled for the middle of May in Minneapolis. It seems that this market with the innocuous title is in actuality a twice annual convention that attracts a mass network of companies and thousands of attendees each year. Vanessa is a designer for Moda (no, not that guy, he’s still in the joint); it turns out that Moda is a quilting fabric company based in Dallas—or so it claims.
My view this morning. #showmethemoda #quiltmarket
I learned through my investigation that Moda employs home-based designers like Vanessa, but I fear that something more sinister is at work here. Vanessa has turned our garage into her own work place that she always keeps locked. She works 18 hour days accompanied by a constant humming of some unknown machine. One day, when she came out for a quick lunch break, I got a glimpse of some sketched designs of butterflies and pinwheels in a notebook that never left her side. I paged through suspicious short hand and detailed instructions regarding “a project” that she wanted done. One note was particularly concerning: “the long arm is close-thank goodness, I’m nearly done.” Had Vanessa found out about my investigation and was she alerting her higher ups?
social butterfly3
It seems as the Quilt Market day approaches, Vanessa’s work has become more frantic. When she’s not in her work room, she is typing on her laptop or IPhone. And this is not the usual casual communication that is typically associated with Facebook or other social media—Vanessa is typing at a furious pace. And this past week, more big UPS and FedEx boxes began arriving on our front porch. My mind began to race with more questions. Is Moda really a fabric quilting company? Is Lella Boutique really a home shop for a fabric designer? And then one day, Vanessa slept in. At first, I believed that confirmed my suspicions. After all, the people caught up in the schemes that I investigated usually work late, with spurts of frantic activity, followed by days of sleeping late. Could Vanessa be in this “Breaking Bad” cycle? Maybe not.  I confided in Miriam some of what I have written in this blog. She looked at me with some puzzlement. I replied: “How do you explain Vanessa’s remark about the ‘long arm of the law getting close?’ Miriam said something about a long arm quilting machine that had just completed a quilting project and the results were magnificent. Hmmmmm. Perhaps, I should cancel the polygraph and background check I had scheduled for tomorrow. Captain Mike returns control of this blog over to the perpetrator, I mean the proprietor.
My stepdad cracks me up. And just so you know--he's a former news reporter-turned-attorney who has a knack for spinning yarns. Lest you believe I work 18-hour days, here's the skinny on what actually goes on. (I get a lot of questions from people wondering how I'm able to get so much done while wrangling two little ones so I'll tell you.) The truth is, I hardly get anything done during the day as far as "work" goes. Even during market prep. Most of the day is entertaining kids, catching up on laundry, and the like.
The trick for me has been making the most out of every single day--especially during a hectic time like quilt market prep. So here's what I do:
1. I plot. Before I go to bed every night, I think about what I need to get done the next day and schedule it. During market prep, I may attempt to cut some binding strips while the kids eat breakfast. Or trim half-square triangles. Or press a few blocks. But if I don't get them done, well I just don't get them done and it's fine.
2. I make the most of nap-time. When Lorenzo goes down for his snooze, Olive and I head to our workroom. I've got a workstation set up for her next to mine; she makes bead necklaces, draws pictures, plays with Barbies, etc. She loves it and it allows me to get a couple hours of sewing in. Sometimes she'll even show interest in helping me and I certainly let her. (I hope to make an addict out of her as well.)
When Olive wants to help bind a quilt, I just stick the needle
 where it needs to go and let her pull it through the rest of the way.
I've also learned that Lorenzo's nap-time is a good time to arrange blocks, baste a quilt, or take photos--a good time for anything I'd prefer to do without Lorenzo's "help."
3. I rely on late night hours. The vast majority of work gets done after everyone goes to bed. Most nights I don't get to bed until 1 AM. (I'm always looking forward to my Sunday nap.)
And that's it. Little by little, I get everything done. Thanks for reading, it's probably more info than you ever wanted to know!