It’s Out!!!

I’ve been WAITING to tell about my Zippy Star quilt, which appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, and here it is!

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Didn’t they do a great job of the “glamor shot”?  I love the setting

And the magazine has clear instructions with lots of helpful pictures.  OK, I wrote the instructions and their staff improved on my pictures, so both are pretty good!  There’s a pillow cover to go with the quilt, just for fun.


This is one of several pages of instructions

The Michael Miller company worked with me to choose fabric for the quilt and I’m very pleased with how it came out.  The central square fabric is called “Tara’s Fireworks” and is a print made from a quilt one of MM’s employees created with their Cotton Couture solids.  So of course the star points made from Cotton Couture solids match perfectly!

fabric for quilt

Some of the beautiful Michael Miller fabrics

The quilt is fairly small (48 x 58) so I quilted it on my home machine.  This was such fun and I’m so pleased with how it is featured in the magazine!

magazine cover

Here’s the magazine cover. It should be at Barnes & Noble and Joann’s soon!

10 Favorites from Vermont Quilt Festival

I really enjoyed the Vermont Quilt Festival in Burlington the end of June.  I expected a traditional quilt show, and there were some traditional quilts, but there were many modern quilts as well.  Here are 10 of my favorites for various reasons:

quilting detail

Look at the quilting on Love Those Liberties by Laura Clements!

pieced quilt

Rainbow Bricks by Melissa Rolfe–this was her second quilt ever!

pieced circle quilt

Full Circle by Rebecca Rohrkaste

pieced quilt

Patch of Swiss Chard by Ann Feitelson

quilt detail

Detail of Patch of Swiss Chard

pieced quilt

This quilt by Ruth Eissfeldt was all shiny metallic fabrics

applique quilt

These fish by Velda Newman were SO realistic!

pieced quilt

Tied Together by Timna Tarr–a modernized bowtie quilt

pieced quilt

Circles of Hope by Sylvia Einstein

pieced quilt

Kaleidoscopic XX by Paula Nadelstern

pieced quilt

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca–my FAVORITE!

detail of quilt

Look at her beautiful quilting!  I love this quilt!

Excitement x 3!!!

Woo! It’s been an exciting week!
My entry in the Quilt Alliance “Inspired By” Challenge won 3rd place! Here’s a picture of it, and below that is a link that will take you to a short video showing all the winners! I am SO excited!

modern art quilt

Whirlwind, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

And HERE is a link that will show you all the winners in a very short youtube video.

The quilt will now tour with the other entries and will be auctioned on Ebay next fall to benefit the Quilt Alliance.

And here’s a picture of the second excitement: [photo] I finally finished my quilt for the Michael Miller challenge.  It’s a packet of flower seeds with the new scanning code I now see on items at the nursery, composed of multiple colored triangles.  I don’t think you can scan mine; I designed it based on the code but didn’t copy exactly.

Michael Miller challenge quilt

Packet of Posy Seeds

Finally, I had a “very significant birthday” and my husband gave me a new Bernina

Bernina 550QE

Bernina 550 QE

for the occasion! I’ll be reviewing it after I’ve used it for a while. For now I’m just enjoying trying out all the features!
So, as they used to say on the radio, listen in next week…I’ll have pictures from the Vermont Quilt Festival, which was really good.

Quilt Design 4: Choosing your color scheme

Of all the things people think they need help with, color is mentioned most often. Indeed, color can be complicated if you want to make it that way, but my preference is to make it simple. So here goes…

quilt design

Example 1: Purple Quilt

A good starting place is your favorite color. You don’t have to think too much about what that is. So start with your favorite color and then add colors that you like to see with it. Never mind that stuff about analogous color schemes being restful and complementary color schemes being lively. Yes, they are true, but if you do it that way you’re likely over-thinking it. If YOU like the color scheme, then go for it!  I love purple, so that’s what I chose for this first example.  I like gold with it, and the thought process was “I like gold with it so I’ll use it” rather than, “Gold is complementary to purple so I’ll use it.”  However, if knowing it’s complementary helps you, by all means use that framework.  I chose a grey background fabric because grey is “good this year”, as my Mother would have put it.

But let’s assume you want a color scheme kind of worked out in advance.  A common piece of advice is to pick a print as your feature fabric and then choose your coordinates from the colors in the feature print. That works fine, but it assumes you want a multi-color print as the focal point of your quilt.

One of thousands of color schemes all ready to use at

One of thousands of color schemes all ready to use at

There are lots of other ways that work at least as well. Color schemes are everywhere you look, and they’ve already been worked out by many design experts, from Mother Nature to New York City advertising specialists. Flip through a favorite magazine and choose an ad with colors that appeal to you. Take a snapshot of something pretty and use the colors you see there. Go to to view thousands of color combinations.  You can subscribe to a free daily e-mail featuring some of them. Start a Pinterest board where you save color combinations that appeal to you. Above all, have confidence in your own judgment: If YOU like it, that’s good enough!

modern quilt

Color scheme is from a visit to southern New Mexico

Now, go practice by finding some color schemes you like and designing quilts with them. As always, designing on paper counts!  And if this wasn’t enough information about color to suit you, don’t worry–I’ll be saying lots more later!

The year so far…

Oops!  It’s the end of June already, so half way through 2014!  Therefore, here are pictures of a few of the things I’ve done so far:

scrap quilt

Quilt Alliance Challenge 2014


Detail of a quilt I submitted to an IQF contest

Next is the June “finish”.  I’ve been sending a finish every month to Aunt Marti at 52quilts because I need the motivation of her challenge to get some of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) cleaned up!  As you can see, this is pieced but not quilted; Aunt Marti let’s YOU decide what qualifies as “finished”!  And after 2 years staring at these HSTs (half square triangles), I think putting them together into a top for a donation quilt qualifies as “finished”!  So if you need motivation to finish some of your UFOs, click the link above and head over to her blog :-)

pieced quilt top

Donation quilt top is the finish for June!

improvisationally pieced quilt

In Fairyland, entered in the Vermont Quilt Festival

improv pieced quilt

Improv 9 Patch for Ronald McDonald House

As always, 20% of the projects took 80% of the time!  So it’s good to have the little pouches and swap blocks to be done relatively quickly!  What have you been up to?

Three Reasons to Love Pinterest

modern quilt

Delightful quilt from

I started using Pinterest a while back at the urging of my daughter, and have found it invaluable.  It replaces at least 3 scrapbooks/notebooks that have been floating around my house for years.

First, of course, Pinterest is great for quilting ideas!  When I find something I love, I don’t have to bookmark it or add it to favorites to be able to find it again.  I just pin it to one of my Pinterest boards–maybe Quilt Ideas, or Good Quilt Photos, or Design.  Then when I wonder, “Now where did I see that great quilt?” I can flip through my Pinterest boards and find the picture, which in turn has the link to where it was found.  This saves a LOT of fooling around looking for things on the internet and replaces the lists I had to keep previously.  It’s even partially replaced the notebooks full of clippings I’ve kept for years.

pieced modern quilt

T-Perspective by Linda Rotz Miller

Second, Pinterest is great for finding other quilters, their blogs, etc.  For example, I found the Cut To Pieces blog shown above because I admired one of the quilts from the blog I found on Pinterest.  But there’s more!  When you find someone whose taste is similar to yours (based on the pins you find from him/her), you can “follow” that person or just some of that person’s boards on Pinterest and get lots of great new pictures that he/she found.  For example, I found the picture here on the Pinterest page of Tricia Royal, a quilt artist from Chicago, so now I follow several of her boards.  You can also follow your friends’ boards to see what they’re pinning.  In fact, if you see something they’re pinning it may give you an idea of what they’d like to have for the next birthday!

modern quilt

Terrific design from Melody Johnson Quilts

Finally, you can simply search Pinterest when you need inspiration.  By putting “modern quilts”, “colors”, “art quilts”, or whatever into Pinterest’s search box, I’ve found many, many fun ideas.  It’s a great amusement in waiting rooms, while enjoying a second cup of coffee, or when in need of new ideas.  As a commercial for a product I’ve long forgotten used to say:  “Try it–you’ll like it!”

What to do with Beautiful Fabric?

I’ve been a fan of Moda’s Wildflowers collections of fabric for quite a while, not only because they are beautiful florals, but because they look just like spring in central Texas, where I used to live.Drunk-detail

Although this picture was taken to show the quilting done by my long-arm friend, you can see several of the beautiful flowers and get the idea.

But as always when I buy a piece of fabric I really love, the question is what to do with it that does it justice.  I finally had a brainstorm when working on a border designed by Karla Alexander for one of her stack-and-shuffle quilts.  It involved cutting gentle curves through several layers of fabric and then shuffling the layers before assembling the pieces.  Drunk-in-the-Garden

I chose some gold to go with my floral and cut large squares.  Then I cut curves in them freehand, shuffled, and sewed them together.

This quilt is called “Drunk in the Garden” and is intended to give the impression of a moonlit walk through the Texas hill country in spring.  Nature walks don’t go in a straight line, so the golden paths through the quilt don’t go in a straight line.  I threw in “drunk” because that comes to mind before “nature walk” when you see this wiggly path!

Best of all, I was able to use large sections of the floral fabric to show it off.

What have you done with favorite fabrics?


10 Donation Quilts!

stack of quilts

Ronald McDonald Quilts

I have a little group of quilty friends that I retreat with at least twice a year.  We all make quilts for Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati.  This last time, just 3 of us finished a total of 10 quilts!  Here are some of them.

R McD House of Cincinnati wants all quilts 40″ x 40″ so, as I’ve mentioned before, these are a good opportunity for a lot of experimentation:

  • Try new designs to see if you like them
  • Make orphan blocks into quilts
  • Try new color schemes

    pieced quilt

    Donation Quilt, 40″ x 40″

  • Use up fabric left from other projects
  • Use your scraps to make an improvised quilt top
  • Use up charm packs (yes, we’ve all bought a few extra!)
  • Make a simple quilt as a rest from challenging projects
  • Quilt the tops yourself for practice
  • Try out binding entirely by machine–makes the quilt more durable
  • Anyway, enjoy this little quilt show!  And check with your local Ronald McDonald House if you’re interested in donating quilts to them.
  • pieced quilt

    Quilt with teddy bears

    quilt back

    Pieced back


    Charm Squares



    Girlie Colors

    Girlie Colors

    More Charm Squares

    More Charm Squares–this one more of an I Spy design

    More leftovers--can you tell some group members have grandsons?

    More leftovers–can you tell some group members have grandsons?

    Boy Scout theme--there were 2 of these!

    Boy Scout theme–there were 2 of these–and look at the quilting, 1/2″ apart!

    My improv 9 patch

    My improv 9 patch

    Orphan blocks with improv sashing

    Orphan blocks with improv sashing


Your Inner Designer 3: New Blocks From Old

There is almost never anything new in design; indeed, the best designs probably are made with a sense of history.  So far we’ve modified overall quilt designs to make new ones; this time we’re going to modify blocks.  So here we go: 1.  Stretch it:

pieced star quilt

Quilt made with Block 3

pieced star quilt

Quilt made with Block 4

2.  Tilt it, or stretch and tilt it:

pieced quilt

This quilt is made from Block 1, tilted, with half the blocks tilted the other way

3.  Cut it and shuffle the pieces; rotate them if you like:

pieced quilt

This quilt is made from block 7, with the blocks rotated various ways to make the pattern

4.  Cut it and insert something.  This will distort the block and you’ll have to trim to make it even:

pieced star quilt

Quilt made from Block 10 and a plain block with strips inserted the same way

All of this fooling around might be a good use for some of those orphan blocks–what have you got to lose?  And If you find some modifications you really like, try them out in a quilt: Please make some designs and send them to me–I’d love to see what you come up with!

52 weeks and a May finish

pieced quiltHere’s the UFO finish for May, which barely got done among all the other projects in May! It is a donation quilt made out of orphan blocks; I’ve made a couple of similar ones in the past year because there were a LOT of these blocks!  I actually made the quilt top in September of last year to demonstrate use of improvised sashing, and then the top kind of languished.  When it came up as the finish for May I had already chosen the binding, so it was actually pretty quick to finish.

striped bindingI love the striped fabric for binding, an idea I got from Rita over at She makes beautiful quilts!

And WordPress tells me I have now done 52 posts, which would be about right for the 1 year since I started this blog! Thanks to everyone who is following. I also appreciate your comments–it’s nice to know somebody is looking!