Kaleidoscope Design and More

The November UFO project was to design a quilt to use these beautiful Jane Sassaman fabrics. Here’s my “final” decision on the layout. (“Final” in quotes because It isn’t over til it’s over).

My notebook wasn't big enough for the whole layout, but you get the idea!

My notebook wasn’t big enough for the whole layout, but you get the idea!

You can see paper mock-ups of my blocks showing the fabric HERE, but here are a couple of examples.  Of course, the one with 4 wedges would have 6 if this were the real blocks instead of a paper mock-up.

I think I have enough fabric to make 4 central patches with 6 wedges each, though I’ll check before I cut (one of my husband’s favorites is, “measure twice, cut once”). Then I’ll fit in as many of the 4-patch kaleidoscopes as seems reasonable while leaving adequate negative space.

The Back-up Plan (must have one!) is all 4-patch kaleidoscopes if it turns out I don’t have enough fabric for both the 6-wedge and the 4-patch designs.  That would be fine, too, though I like the variety of sizes in the design I’ve chosen.  (Will I like it as much when I’m trying to sash those varied shapes and sizes?)

I’m thinking I’ll use soft green fabric for the background; this seems to want to be a green quilt with pink and blue accents.  The background probably will be a solid fabric, since these blocks have a lot going on.

I’ve made two more projects this month, but they aren’t quilts.  One is a crib sheet from this fun arrow fabric by Maureen Cracknell.  The other is a changing pad cover in this “Indian Summer” fabric by Sarah Watson.

There are several places on the internet to get free patterns for crib sheets and changing pad covers, and they were easy to make.


November’s UFO

As you probably know, I’m playing along with Aunt Marti’s UFO Challenge for 2015. This month’s UFO is a group of gorgeous Jane Sassaman fabrics I’ve had for several years. I want to make a queen sized quilt, but I’ve been debating the design for a long time, since I want to make the most of these fabrics.

Need to design a quilt for this wonderful fabric

Need to design a quilt for this wonderful fabric

Luckily, a quilter who is a better designer than I came to visit this fall, and she helped me look at ways to make kaleidoscope blocks from these fabrics.  So November’s challenge is to come up with a design for the quilt.  I’m not even requiring myself to CUT any fabric, just decide on a design.Sassaman book

Jane Sassaman’s book suggests making paper copies of the fabrics to cut up in order to try designs.  I scanned the fabrics to my printer and made many copies, then cut them up to make either 4-part or 6-part kaleidoscope blocks.  Of course, that limits my trials to typing paper size pieces.Sassaman-papers

I printed at low resolution to save ink and still used up my color cartridge!  Here are a few of the trial blocks cut from paper and taped together:


Here are some blocks made from 4 squares

And here are some partial blocks made from 60 degree triangles:

Finally, here are all my trial blocks made of paper so far:Sassaman-group

Any suggestions for making the most of these prints, either with or without kaleidoscope blocks?

New Quilts from Old

This is a quilt I made a few years ago to practice cutting curves freehand. It never looked as good as I thought it should, for various reasons.

I loved the quilted leaves, but I thought the golds should have been more similar in value; the light ones stood out too much. It always bothered by husband that the curves didn’t line up from block to block. Anyway, it never got much use.

Then I decided I needed more placemats, and hit on the idea of cutting up this quilt into placemat size pieces (18″ x 12″).  So I trimmed off the binding…Placemat from quilt

And used my extra-big square to cut pieces 12″ x 18″.Placemat-8

Then it was time to search for binding.  Of course, I had no more of the fabrics that are in the quilt, since it was made several years ago.  Eventually, I decided on the second combination:

Here are a couple of the finished placemats:

Even some of the backs were interesting, and showed the quilting better:Placemat-13

There was only this much left over:Placemat-4

So, if you have a quilt that didn’t quit work out, maybe it would make good placemats!

Artsy Table Runner

YP1I’ve been looking at lots of beautiful pictures of art quilts. Also, the monthly challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild of Franklin (NC) was to make something including prairie points.

For years I’ve had Susan K. Cleveland’s Prairie Pointer, intending to make something with prairie points “any day now”. (Raise your hand if you DON’T know how THAT goes!)Susan KThe stars finally aligned, and here is my first crack at a table runner combining all of the above.

As expected, Susan’s Prairie Pointer tool worked beautifully. I’m a big fan of her techniques, and teach some of them in my classes.  The starting squares for the prairie points ranged from 1-1/2″ to 2-1/2″ in size, so they were all pretty small.

Prairie Points

Prairie Points

I like this runner pretty well, but I just KNOW I could do better! So here goes with another idea I’ve meant to try for some time: working in a series. I’ll keep you posted :)

What is a Liebster award?

liebsteraward-roses-tag_sewing1Turns out the Liebster award is a tag game for helping readers discover new and under-read blogs.  Wanda over at Wanda’s Life Sampler tagged me.  So thanks to Wanda, and I’ll be passing it on to some other bloggers. You can check them out at the end of this post.

Here are my answers to Wanda’s questions, but I changed some of them! The next folks in the chain might change them, too…

1. What one thing do you believe with your whole being?

It’s important to learn something new every day.  It may be positive or negative, but all knowledge is useful eventually.

Storm at Sea

I learned to make a sample block before cutting out the whole quilt!

2. What have you made lately?

I’m glad you asked that question!  This month’s finish is the top for a “Black and White and Red All Over” quilt for which I’ve been collecting fabrics for some time.

Lemon Pepper quilt pattern

This was made from a pattern called “Lemon Pepper”, but of course mine is more red pepper!

I also sent 5 donation quilts to the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House.  Three were finished this month, 2 previously.  Here are some of them:

3. Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or neither?

Presently neither.  Though I do miss having a cat right in the middle of every project and cat hair everywhere ;)cat

4. Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?

Retired from my “day job” and in my quilt studio full time!

5. Favorite dessert?

German Chocolate Cake!!!!

6. What is one thing you wish you were better at?

Always saying the right thing.

7. Describe your Dream Vacation?

The next one!  But I did recently have a great trip with my husband to Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

View from Clingman's Dome

View from Clingman’s Dome

8. Why do you blog?

To promote modern quilting, and North Carolina quilters in particular.  If you’re a North Carolina quilter and I haven’t featured your work yet, please contact me!

9. Your best sewing/quilting advice?

Do what you enjoy.  I used to make all my own clothes, but then I figured out it’s a lot easier to get a quilt to fit a bed than to get a garment to fit my frame!

10. What else is new?

Here’s a picture of Pat with her FINISHED table runner, started in a class I taught recently!

Improv table runner

Pat finished her runner in time to give it as a gift

And here are some bloggers I’m passing the “Liebster Award” on to.  I think you might enjoy them!

My Imperfect Life

The Accidental Hayseed


Asheville Quilt Show 2015!

The Asheville Quilt Show isn’t juried, but it always has some outstanding quilts. Here are a few of my favorites this year.  I was particularly struck by how many modern designs there were, even in the categories that weren’t designated “modern”.

Jean Larson

Jean Larson won second place in the Modern category with “Off Center”

Connie Brown

Connie Brown, who is a beekeeper as well as an outstanding quilter, made this lovely miniature, “The Hexagon Life”

modern quilt Asheville Quilt Guild

“Singing in the Rain”, by Elizabeth Allen, was one of many modern-style quilts entered in other categories. Love the rain-texture quilting!

Asheville Quilt Guild Show

“Sonoran Skies”, by Jolene Stratton, made striking use of some striped fabrics and effective use of quilting to reinforce the design

Asheville Quilt Show 2015

Phyllis Tarrant stated her “Geese in the Parking Lot” made use of principles taught by Joen Wolfrom. Wow!

Asheville Quilt Show 2015

Heat Wave, by Cathy Nieman, made striking use of shape and color

modern quilt Asheville

Amster-daze, by Terri Jarrett, was the most unusual quilt in the Modern Style category

modern quilt show

Tuesdays, by Lisa Heller, had fun colors and design

Asheville Quilt Guild show

Back in Time, by Linda Hallatt, isn’t modern but it is very striking and well done. I just had to take a picture for my husband!

Asheville Quilt Guild Show 2015

Purple Haze, by Connie Brown,. She says she made it many years ago, but I think it looks contemporary.

art quilt Asheville 2015

This clever art quilt, “Fit’ting-ly” by Dale Williams, was in the modern category

modern quilt

Drunkard’s Path the Modern Way, by Linda Fiedler, was an exceptionally beautiful quilt in the modern category

modern quilt

Cats for Jed, by Diana Kantor, a talented member of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville

traditional quilt

Though traditional, this quilt of 1700 Pyramids by Kathryn Weston certainly caught my eye

modern quilt

Geez Louise, by Connie Brown, was a fun quilt in the Modern category. I wondered about the background fabrics with their mottled look.

art quilt, modern quilt

Pathways & Passages, by Diana Ramsay, was in the art quilt category but looked very modern to me.

art quilt, modern quilt

Finally, Jocassee Sunrise by Lynne Harrill caught my eye. Not modern, but certainly beautiful.

There were many more wonderful quilts, but I limited myself to the modern ones and those I especially liked.

Narrow Accents!

Modern Quilts Unlimited just published my article on how to add narrow accents to your projects.  It’s a very easy method for sewing crisp, even accent strips from 1/8″ to 3/4″ wide.

Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

Notice the Narrow Accents article featured on the cover, along with the beautiful quilt by Bev Getschel

There are so many uses for narrow accents!  Here are a few of mine:

narrow accents, Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

This is a corner of the piece I made to illustrate the MQU article

These blocks from my modern sampler all include narrow strips:

The samples I made for my improvised table runner class all include narrow strips, as well.  Here is one of them:

modern table runner

Here is one of the samples for my improvised table runner class

modern quilt design

Here’s a Mondrian-style block I made several years ago with narrow inserts

There are options too numerous to mention!  Go get the magazine and make some accent strips, then please send me pictures of your creations.

Sandi Suggs: Finding Her Way to Modern

Sandi’s work was featured in a special display at AQS-Chattanooga, and I was lucky enough to get to interview her. I took some pictures, and if you want to see more of her work, check the links at the bottom of this post.

modern quilt, Sandi Suggs

Sandi designed this nontraditional arrangement of split 9-patch blocks

While I was waiting to interview Sandi, I heard her tell someone, “Any time I make a quilt, I do it to learn something.” My sentiments exactly!

modern quilt, Sandi Suggs

Sandi made this quilt from a pattern, adding modern colors to the design

Sandi started quilting over 25 years ago, using cereal box templates because rotary cutters weren’t yet used for quilting. She still uses templates when appropriate, but a lot of things have changed!  For one thing, she now uses freezer paper when she needs templates so she can cut several layers of fabric at once.

Quilt as You Go quilt

Sandi designed and made this quilt using her own quilt-as-you-go technique

Sandi teaches several classes, including her own version of Quilt As You Go. (I’m going to keep an eye on her website because I’d like to take that class if she teaches it anywhere near me :) )

The AQS exhibit included both quilts Sandi designed herself and quilts she has made from designs by others.  This was a round robin quilt; Sandi made the final arrangement of sections and did the quilting:

modern quilt

Round Robin quilt by Sandi Suggs and friends.  Look at Sandi’s quilting!

A couple of hints from Sandi: she likes to use the multi-stitch zigzag (stitch #4 on Bernina machines) in her quilting.  She starches all her fabrics before cutting to make them smoother and less likely to fray.  She says starching also equalizes the weight of the various fabrics.  She likes to wash her quilts after they are finished to achieve a crinkly look that emphasizes the quilting.

Sandi Suggs modern quilt

Sandi does her own quilting on her home machine. This quilt is called “Roy G. Biv”

Sandi also has her own way to successfully select fabrics for a mystery quilt!  I’ve only done one mystery quilt and was unhappy with the result, so I asked her about it.  She showed the quilt below, designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr as a mystery quilt, and told me how she selected her fabrics.

Sandy Suggs

Mystery quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr demonstrates Sandi’s successful fabric selection

Sandi looked at the fabric requirements for the quilt and figured the largest fabric requirement was for the background.  Once she had chosen gray for the background, she decided she would need bright fabrics to contrast with it.  I think her decisions were very successful!

You can find Sandi’s blog at: www.FrogPondStudio.blogspot.com

She has many more pictures of her quilts there, including these five posts that show all her quilts from the AQS exhibit:

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice, Two

Finding My Voice, Three

Finding My Voice, Four

Finding My Voice, Final


New Class

I had the opportunity to teach my new class, “Try Improv!” recently for the Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild in Franklin, NC. It was lots of fun and everybody made a successful table runner using techniques that were new to most of them. Here are a few pictures.

modern table runner

Here is one of the samples for class

Although I made 3 different samples for the class, there is no pattern. The goal is for each student to start with a few fabrics and improvise a table runner from them.  Of course, I provided some guidelines and lots of assistance as needed.

Improv-Susan-2Susan brought Christmas fabrics and made a  successful design by distributing several triangles on her template and then filling in with accent fabrics.






Susan's Christmas table runner in progress

Susan’s Christmas table runner in progress


Nancy’s runner started out as a fan, then she cut it up to improvise further and make it a rectangle



Nancy has been improvising for a long time, and said, “This is what I do all the time!”  She chose a beautiful collection of iris-themed fabrics for her runner.



MaryAnn made a halloween-themed runner and zipped it up by adding some purple!


MaryAnn's runner, in progress

MaryAnn’s runner, in progress

Maggie chose a fall theme; her fabrics had a nice variety of scale and coordinated well

Maggie’s runner




Maggie chose a collection of fall fabrics with a good variety of scale, then picked a coordinating green for her accent strips.









Chris had a nice bundle of blacks and grays as well as a stunning coral-pink fabric for accents.

Chris's runner in progress

Chris’s runner in progress

Pat made a lovely red and black table runner, but decided to model it rather than lay it on the table!Improv-PatAs you can see, a good time was had by all!


10 From Chattanooga Quilt Week

Despite a change in plans, a friend and I got in a quick trip to Quilt Week in Chattanooga to see the quilt show. No time for classes this year, but we had a great time. I was especially happy that there was a large section of modern quilts. Here are 10 of my favorites.

modern quilt

Celebrate, by Jean Larson of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild

Modern quilt

A Slice of Pi, by Connie Griner. This quilt has the numerical value of pi quilted into the border to umpteen decimal places!

Modern quilt show

Love in the Digital Age, by Kristin Shields

modern quilt

Motik, by Mary Ramsey Keasler of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild

modern quilt show

Tiki Dilemma, by Jodi Robinson.  She says her “quilting designs were chosen to add interest without overwhelming the overall design of the quilt”.  I like that!

modern quilt show

Door Into Summer, by Joni Morgan

I see that gray backgrounds are still very popular!  (You KNOW who I’m talking to!)

modern quilt

Forgotten Chicago, by M. A. Cramer. She asks whether the object shown here is rising or falling!

modern quilt

Pink Flamingos with Lemonade, by Connie Brown of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville

modern quilt show

Through the Open Window, by Amy Anderson of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville

modern quilt

Initial Inspiration, by Vista Scruggs Mahan of Rising Fawn, Georgia (just outside Chattanooga)

Of course, we had a little time for chocolate as well, but what’s done at Quilt Week stays at Quilt week ;)

Later on, I’ll have an interview with Sandi Suggs, whose quilts were a special exhibit at Chattanooga Quilt Week.