Registration open now for the Minnesota Quilters Quilt Show & Conference!

Are you from the Minnesota area? Then I bet you're dying to think about summertime right about now, the nice warm sun and not a drop of snow to be seen for miles...am I right? The Minnesota Quilters are gearing up for their 36th annual show and conference this summer, and I'm super honored to be a faculty member for the event! Registration is open now and you can read the full show program right here to plan out your workshops and such.

I'm teaching three classes at the show, all of which are super reasonably priced for an all-day workshop, and they're going to be a ton of fun! Here's the details on what I'm teaching...

Thursday T04D - Discover the Joy of Paper Piecing, an all-day workshop where we'll be working on foundation paper piecing. I love teaching paper piecing, it’s such a fun thing to do in a group! We'll be making a Lucky Stars mini quilt using four Lucky Stars blocks and talking a lot about tips and tricks for easier paper piecing as well as for plotting out your color and fabric selections for maximum wow...
Friday F04D - Tame the Scraps, an all day scrap workshop where we'll discuss scrap storage solutions, ideas for putting your treasured scraps to work, and work on making a Rainbow Cakes scrap quilt, as featured in my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter. Rainbow Cakes is a great quilt to make as a quilters’ memory quilt, using bits and pieces of the many quilts you’ve made, all together in one harmonious quilt. This is a really fun quilt that can look quite different, depending on the plan of scrap attack you choose to work with...




Saturday S04D - Cutting with Confidence: The Monterey Square Workshop, where we'll work on the cover quilt from my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter. This quilt is near and dear to my heart for a lot of reasons, the biggest reason being that it's the first quilt I made for that book! In that quilt, I used one of my favorite fabric lines ever, Heirloom by Joel Dewberry. It was a challenge to find the right quilt pattern for that fabric line, as the prints are quite large and difficult to chop up. Monterey Square is perfect for those large scale florals and paisleys and such that have been waiting for the right project. Here's a couple of other alternative ideas for how this quilt can look. I'm totally planning to work on the sorbet low-volume version very soon!



If you're in the area or looking for something quilty and fun to go to this summer, I sure hope you'll think about registering! I'd love to see you in one of my workshops, they're going to be a lot of fun!! If you're already registered, tell me about it, I'd love to place a virtual name with a face when I meet you in person :)

Found in the pages...

It's been a good mail week thus far - I got two great new magazines to read and it's only Wednesday! It's always fun to find quilting magazines in my mailbox - don't get me wrong, I love my subscriptions to a few other magazines, but the quilty ones are always the most fun to read, so I get real excited when I see them in my mailbox. This week's mail included the new issue of

Modern Quilts Unlimited

and

Love of Quilting

I was super excited to see a quilt I haven't seen in a while in the pages of

Modern Quilts Unlimited

- my Dark Star quilt. I love this quilt to pieces, quite literally. It's sewn up in Modern Solids from In the Beginning, and I love how vibrant this quilt is, with the rich reds. It's a very simple quilt to piece, with just 12 blocks in the quilt, but I think it's super striking in its simplicity.

The new issue of MQU - Winter 2014

I must tell you about a bit of behind-the-pages drama with this quilt - I made a cutting error thanks to my chicken scratch quilt math and wound up wasting some fabric, and naturally, I was running out of time, so I needed the right fabric pronto, so I called the trusty staff at 

Pink Chalk Fabrics

, who went above and beyond to get the fabric to me in time to meet my deadline, so thank you ladies! You're the best! 

Pink Chalk

 has a great selection of the In the Beginning solids, if you haven't tried them before. They have a beautiful sheen to them, with a bit of a cross-weave type quality to them, and the hand is so super soft!

Dark Star quilt - in the new MQU issue

I'm also really excited about some the photography I did with this quilt, back in September before I sent it off to 

Modern Quilts Unlimited

. The full shot of the quilt in front of houses was certainly not my finest moment as a photographer, but it was a make-it-work kind of moment, trust me! On the other hand, I love this giant wheel I found in a field to take pictures with - but I'm sad to say that it's been removed from the field since, so I won't be able to use it again. Oh well. These are some of my favorite quilt photos in the history of ever, so at least I got these great pictures!

Dark Star quilt - detail shot - in the new MQU issue

Quilt Stats

name

: Dark Star

size

: 69" x 81"

pattern

: Dark Star by yours truly, in the Winter 2014 issue of

Modern Quilts Unlimited

fabrics: Modern Solids solid fabrics by

In The Beginning

quilting: all-over stipple in red (#2270) Aurifil 50 wt thread throughout negative space, and white wiggle stitches in white (#2024) Aurifil 50 wt thread

Love of Quilting magazine - February 2014 issue

In flipping through

Love of Quilting

, I spotted my book in their Book Reviews section, which was a great thrill. I still get tickled when I see a mention of my book somewhere, so if you ever see one, by all means let me know in case I haven't seen it!! There's lots of great patterns in this particular issue, too, and I love the quilt on the cover - so pretty!

Aww, that's my book!

Have a great Wednesday, and if you haven't yet entered the

Quilt Improv giveaway

, hurry up and do so! The giveaway ends tomorrow :)

What's a girl to do without her sew-jo? Show you something from her book of course!

Thanks for the well wishes the last few days! I'm finally starting to kick this cold to the curb, thank goodness, but I have a new problem. My sew-jo seems to have gone missing - it's been a busy week, but my evenings have mostly been free to sew, and yet I haven't sewn a stitch. Usually, when I find myself lacking the inspiration to sew, I like to look at pretty pictures of quilts and fabrics, and I realized the other day that I haven't taken the opportunity to show you many of the quilts from my lovely book,

Becoming a Confident Quilter

, so I thought this would be a perfect time to introduce you to one of my favorite quilts from the book...

IMG_8959.JPG

Naming quilts is always so hard for me! In the book, this quilt is called Precious Stones, but in the writing process, I called this quilt the Snake quilt. See that white zig-zaggy line moving across the quilt amongst the sea of squares? It reminded my son of a snake when I first sketched out the quilt, and the name kind of stuck through the writing and sewing process.

Precious Stones from my book

One of the fun things about this quilt is that it's entirely block-based. While it is pixelated and built entirely from squares, finishing one block at a time makes it feel so much more manageable. I love the fabrics in this quilt, too - most are from Washi, Rashida Coleman-Hale's older line for Timeless Treasures a few years ago, but there's some random stash builders thrown in to round things out nicely.

Precious Stones - the Washi fabrics!

This quilt is a pretty large one - it's a large lap quilt, and in the book there's also upsize information if you want to make it larger. Most of the quilts in the book are written that way, because I know people like the option to make different sized quilts, so I felt strongly about adding kind of information wherever we could fit it.

Precious Stones from Becoming a Confident Quilter - in True Colors
Precious Stones from Becoming a Confident Quilter - in Sun Prints

(l) Precious Stones in True Colors, (r) Precious Stones in Sun Prints

Speaking of my book, if you have a copy, would you mind popping over to

Amazon

to tell shoppers what you think of the book? I would love that oh so much :) And if you don't have a copy and would like to buy one, I just got in some extra copies in my

Pattern Shop

, so it's back in stock! All copies sold from my

Pattern Shop

are autographed, and I'm happy to personalize them too, just email me and let me know that you'd like your book personalized :)

Holy cow, that's my book!! It must be a good sign if my manicure from last week matches the cover perfectly, right?

Happy Friday to you! Have a wonderful weekend :) Here's hoping that I can manage to find my sew-jo for the weekend! Tonight I'm going to treat my missing sew-jo with an old wip that I'd really love to finish, my Kawaii holiday cross-stitch sampler - I'm hoping that maybe switching gears might just bring back my motivation!

Remember this wip????

Fall Quilt Market 2013 Recap

When you go to Quilt Market, you know you're in for a big, memorable experience, and Fall Quilt Market this year was no exception. I saw lots of beautiful quilts and fabrics, loads of fantastic people that I don't get to see anywhere near as often as I'd like, and generally had a blast, in spite of the Texas-sized blister my adorable but apparently heinously uncomfortable shoes gave me. It's always so fun to get to see all the amazingness the quilt world has to offer all in one place, from the fantastic people to the drool-worthy fabrics!

Denyse Schmidt has a new line of solids coming out for Free Spirit, Modern Solids, which are just lovely. I made a quilt for her booth using the new solids, my Sparkling Diamonds quilt, and got a chance to say hello to her during my time in Texas, which was awesome. I'm pretty sure that I was a geeky fangirl, because I adore Deynse's work so much, but she was positively gracious and so nice! Her new Ansonia collection of prints is also quite lovely, especially after seeing it in person.

Denyse Schmidt and me at her booth

Carolyn Friedlander's new collection, Botanics, is going to be the kind of collection that breaks the bank. With over 30 prints in the collection, each one more drool-worthy and stash-necessary than the last, this one is going to be really big when it comes after Thanksgiving. You can even preorder it with Pink Castle Fabrics right now if you want to make sure to get it before it sells out!

Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics collection

Cotton + Steel is going to be an epic new set of collections under RJR Fabrics. Some of my most favorite, talented designers all under the same label? Awesome!

Cotton + Steel's sneak peek boothWith lines like these, Cotton + Steel is going to be very big news!

Vanessa Christensen of V + Co is always so fun to see at Market. She was sporting a skirt made by her official skirt sponsor for Market, Miss Amylouwho, which was so darned cute. Every time I see the skirts Amy makes for Vanessa for Market, it makes me want to make a skirt. Then I remember that garment sewing scares the heck out of me and I back off! Anyway, Vanessa's new line, Color Me Happy, is so bright and fun, and uses the same principles we've seen in her past two lines in a new color scheme, so there's lots of great blenders and bold prints that you'll want to stash here.

Vanessa and her darling sewing machine quilt

Seeing Jen Kingwell's fantastic work in person was also a great thrill. If you haven't seen her patterns before, you simply must check them out. They are positively stunning.

Jen Kingwell's booth

My schoolhouse and signing for Becoming a Confident Quilter went really well, in spite of all my nerves! If you were at either and took photos, please do email them to me, I'd love to see them!!

Me before my book signing

In addition to presenting a Schoolhouse, I also got to attend several Schoolhouses, which was really fun. I think my favorite was for the to-be-released Vintage Quilt Revival by Katie, Lee, and Faith. You really need to make sure you've got this book on preorder! I got to flip through an actual copy, and it's just lovely, I can't wait to have a copy of my own.

Faith, Katie and Lee at their Schoolhouse!

There's more than one new must-have collection of solids coming out soon - Alissa Haight Carlton has a new selection of solids coming out with the In the Beginning Modern Solids group. Having worked with the Modern Solids solids recently for a magazine project, I can tell you firsthand how amazing the hand and drape of them is! Jacquie Gering and Jen Carlton Bailly made fabulous quilts for Alissa's new line, and I just adore Jen's. Jen makes me want to tackle curved piecing and own it the way she does!!

Modern Solids II by Alissa Haight Carlton for In the Beginning - quilt by Alissa
quilt by Alissa
Modern Solids II by Alissa Haight Carlton for In the Beginning - quilt by Jen Carlton Bailly
quilt by Jen
Modern Solids II by Alissa Haight Carlton for In the Beginning - quilt by Jacquie Gering
quilt by Jacquie


And because you can't go to Quilt Market without bringing home some loot, I actually shipped my clothes home and shoved my suitcase full of fabric and books!! Can't wait to get some sewing time to start working with all these pretties :)

Books and Magazines that came home with me from Fall Quilt Market The Fabrics and Notions that came home with me from Fall Quilt Market

For more pictures, pop on over to my Fall Quilt Market Flickr set to see loads more shots of schoolhouses and booths and such. I'm still working on labeling them all, so bear with me, but enjoy! And have a great Wednesday!

Less is More Sun Prints Style - finished!

I spent the day last Thursday free motioning my

Sun Prints quilt

. Making the back was easy. Basting was easy. But when I sat down to quilt, I was positively stumped. Maybe this is one of the reasons I don't make the same pattern twice very often. I didn't want to do straight lines like the original Less is More quilt, from

my book

- I kind of felt like "been there, done that," like it was a cop-out, which is totally silly, but it's the way I felt. So I tried to envision several different fmq styles, trying to think of an all-over design that would really work...and I just couldn't come up with one I was happy with.

Less is More, Sun Prints style - finished! Detail 1

I took a break and opened up iTunes on my computer, and made a playlist, with some newer tracks I've picked up lately, like Justin Timberlake's new 20/20 Experience Volume 2. I'm enjoying that album a good bit - it reminds me way more of the vibe from his FutureSexLoveSounds album than the first volume did, and it makes for some good quilting music. Music always helps me chill out when I get stuck, so I listened to a couple of songs, trying to clear my head, and then I decided that the panel of patchwork needed to have some different quilting than the negative space, to further set it off, so I got started stippling the negative space. I had thought about doing pebbles for a moment...only a moment before I remembered how much I absolutely despise stitchingthem...

IMG_7226rt.jpg

When I got to the patchwork panel, I started with a large figure 8 in the bottom and top part of the blocks. It's one of my favorite linear fmq styles at the moment. Then, when I got to the center strip of patchwork on the rows of blocks, I decided to just do a little loopy doodle stitch, which was a lot of fun. I like the contrast that these different stitches give the finished quilt.

Less is More, Sun Prints Style - FMQ Detail

This fab quilt is headed to Houston for Quilt Market in my suitcase in a few weeks, but right now it's hanging at Inspire Quilting & Sewing as a sample for my Less is More class, coming up next month. And if you're dying for this pattern, it's in my book,

Becoming a Confident Quilter

, which you can pick up at local quilt shops,

Amazon

, and my

Pattern Shop

as well. Thanks

Alison

for the gorgeous fabrics, I really loved working with them and can't wait to pick up some more of them! And the lucky winner of the Sun Prints bundle and Color Plus pattern is: #804, Stephanie Blair! Congratulations, Stephanie, I'll be emailing you shortly :)


IMG_7241rt.jpg

Quilt Stats

name:

Less is More Sun Prints Style

size:

60" x 70"

pattern:

Less is More from

Becoming a Confident Quilter

fabrics:

Kona Silver

and Alison Glass's

Sun Prints

quilting: meandering stipple in 50 wt Aurifil in color #2024 (white), figure eights 50 wt Aurifil in color #2024 (white), and loopy doodle stitch 50 wt Aurifil in color #2024 (white)

binding:

Kona Pewter

So tell me - do you make the same quilt pattern twice? Or thrice? Or more? Or are you a once is enough kind of quilter, like I am? I'd love to know if I'm the only one who has this little quirk! Have a great day today!

Book Signing Tomorrow!

If you're in the Florida area, you might want to stop by Inspire Quilting & Sewing in beautiful downtown Plant City tomorrow, because I'll be having my first book signing there!

Becoming a Confident Quilter - mosaic


I'll be at the shop from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, and I'm bringing lots of the quilts from the book as well! I'd love to see you there! I'll also be bringing my finished Less is More Sun Prints Style quilt, which will hang there as a class sample until it heads to Market in Houston. I'll be teaching a class to make that quilt on November 8th at Inspire. Have a wonderful weekend, and don't forget to enter the Sun Prints giveaway - a winner will be announced on Monday.

Packing up the trunk

Are you in the Sarasota area? I'm going to be heading down there this weekend to do a trunk show at the Sarasota MQG's monthly meeting, and I'd love to see you there! I'll also be bringing some books with me for a little mini-signing, so if you haven't picked up a copy, Saturday's a great time to do that! The meeting is at 1pm on Saturday, at the Fruitville branch of the Sarasota County Library System, at 100 Coburn Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240.

I'll be sharing some of the quilts from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, as well as some old favorites and the stories behind them.

Trunk Show this weekend - figuring out what to pack...

And if you're not in the Sarasota area, never fear, my teaching calendar is growing and expanding over the next several months, and I bet I might just be speaking at a quilt shop or guild near you! Have a great day :)

Two finishes for the price of one!

I spent a bit of time the last few days finishing up two little mini-quilts I've had in the works for the last week or so. The first one I'll be giving away at my schoolhouse in Houston next month. I really love how this quilt turned out, and in honor of its larger sibling quilt in my book, Polaris, I'm calling it Polaris Junior.

Polaris Jr - Full frontal

I'm really digging the way the low-volume background prints, all pulled from my stash, work together to create additional dimension and movement throughout the background of the quilt. I need to make one more of these for an upcoming class sample in the near future, and I might just make an exact duplicate for once because I so love how this one turned out!

Polaris Jr - Binding close up

The quilting is very simple, in a white 50 wt Aurifil thread, in an orange peel all-over design. I love doing that kind of quilting with grid-based quilts like this. I think for the next one, I might try my hand at some simple wavy stitches, see how that goes.

Polaris Jr - Side view

The second quilt I finished up is for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap. It's a mini using three of my Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks, and one that didn't make the cut (that might just be a part of next year's block of the month club!). My partner's favorite colors weren't colors that I usually like to use in my sewing, so it was a challenge for me to really try to put something together that she'll love, but I'm hoping I've done it.

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - full shot

Quilting this mini was a challenge - I was terribly indecisive about how to stitch, so I went with an all-over basic stipple. It may be boring, but it's my go-to stitch when I get stumped. I like how this quilt finished up, especially the binding, which is another Briar Rose print I picked up and wound up not really using much of in the mini. I also sewed up a little pleated zippered clutch for her and got the package in the mail yesterday.

In the mail to you, partner! A little mini and a pouch


Quilt Stats
name: Polaris Junior
pattern: Polaris, from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter (in stock at my Pattern Shop!!)
size: 24" square
fabrics: Scrap bag bonanza! Boatloads of scraps from my scrap bin
binding: The Road in Mist from Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda
quilting: Orange peel continuous line stitching in white 50 wt Aurifil

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - binding detail

Quilt Stats part two
name: SewSew Modern Swap Mini
pattern: Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks
size: 24" square
fabrics: several prints from Briar Rose by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics, Lime green leafy stripe from Simply Color by V and Co for Moda Fabrics, yellow Hex Box from Prince Charming by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics, dark pink floral from Darla by Tanya Whelan, background faux tweed fabric from Mod Century by Jenn Ski for Moda Fabrics
quilting: All-over meandering stipple in white 50 wt Aurifil thread

Happy Book Day!

If you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook, you probably know that I received a super awesome box yesterday - a box of books!!! I squealed at the UPS man as he handed the heavy box to me, and I'm sure he probably thought I was crazy, but I don't care a bit. I was so excited!

Yay for a big fat book box!!!

So, I can now say that my book is officially in stock in my Pattern Shop at the moment. If you pre-ordered, your book will be on its way to you today!

Holy cow, that's stacks of my book!

And because it was Happy Book Day, I couldn't resist making an old family favorite cake to celebrate - Brown Beauty Cake. It's a recipe that's been in my family for as long as I can remember. It's the cake that I had for my birthdays growing up, for any celebration, really, and often just because. I don't eat cake the way I used to anymore, so I debated whether or not I'd even bake a cake yesterday, but ultimately, I wanted to celebrate, so I went for it. Sometimes it's okay to indulge, right? :)

Happy Book Day cake!

Here's the recipe, in case you're so inclined to do a little celebrating of your own:

Brown Beauty Cake

Brown Beauty Cake
makes one 9" square cake

1/2 cup boiling water
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (I like Baker's)
1 cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1 egg
1/4 buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Pour hot water over chopped up chocolate and stir until fully melted. Set mixture aside to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x9 square baking pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a separate bowl. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in butter and mix well. Beat for one minute.
3. Add egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat for one minute.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted, and just a dense crumb or two sticks to the toothpick.

Frosting:
1/2 stick softened butter
Vanilla
Powdered sugar
Milk or 1/2 and 1/2

Mix softened butter with powdered sugar, to taste - I usually use around 2 cups. Add approximately 1-2 tsp of vanilla, 1 Tbsp of milk or 1/2 and 1/2, and a shake or two of salt. Frost cake after it has fully cooled, and enjoy!

Guest posting today at Stitch This!

Good morning and happy Tuesday to you! This morning, you'll find me guest posting and sharing loads of pictures (which are totally pin-able, hint hint!) from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter at Martingale's blog, Stitch This. I'm also sharing the story behind my first experience with foundation paper piecing, as well as the story behind the foundation paper pieced quilt in my book, Wham. Pop on over and check it out - you could win a copy of my book!

Wham quilt - from Becoming a Confident Quilter, my book
Wham!
from Becoming a Confident Quilter
photo courtesy of Martingale & Co

Sewing my way to Quilt Market

Quilt Market is coming up again in just over a month, and I'm going to be doing a schoolhouse and book signing during my stay in Houston. Eek! I'm both excited and frightened by the prospect of this. First off, can I actually talk for 30 minutes coherently about my book? I hope so. I need to write myself some talking points to keep me from veering off-topic and spending 22 minutes talking about my love for Denyse Schmidt's fabrics or something related and oh-so-not-related all at the same time. Secondly, I'm going to need to work on practicing my signature. Seriously! I have the signature of a seventeen year old boy who's going to grow up to be a doctor - sloppy, mostly illegible and not at all what you would call pretty.

Polaris mini in progress

Now thirdly, I have something to finish preparing that's way more fun for Market, and pretty, too - a mini-quilt that I plan to give away to one lucky attendee of my schoolhouse! I had a terrible time trying to decide which quilt I wanted to do in a mini, and after a ton of deliberation, I decided I wanted to do Polaris, a really fun, scrappy Ohio star quilt that focuses on teaching sewing quarter-square triangle units and making them as easy as possible.

Polaris quilt from my new book - Becoming a Confident Quilter
Polaris quilt from my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter
photo courtesy of Martingale & Co

For my mini, I made four blocks, so it came together quite quickly over the weekend. I started with a color palette that I was really digging, pulled some scraps and fat quarters based on it, and got to pressing and cutting. It felt good to just have some fun with fabric and some good tunes.

A little bit of scrappy fun

The best part was that I had good company while I was digging through my scraps - my munchkin loves to play in my scrap bins, and put random combinations up on my design wall. Yesterday he actually wanted to mimic what I was piecing, which was fun. He kept asking me to cut more triangles for him so he could create new patterns. I loved the way he kept trying to sing along with the songs on my playlist, that was adorable.

Polaris mini

I'm definitely planning to sew up some more minis, pillows, and quilts from my book soon, and I cannot believe that it starts shipping tomorrow. I'm hoping to get my first box of books soon so I can fulfill the pre-orders that many of you placed at my Pattern Shop. If you still want to pre-order a copy, you can do so right here or at Amazon - or you can pick up the latest issue of Quilt Sampler and take the $10 Martingale rebate form found inside on page 121 to your local quilt shop to pick up my book and get a great deal at the same time!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more book pictures, I'm so excited to finally be sharing them! Have a great day today :)