Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Giveaway and More at the Door

Marny.....Fall has arrived on my doorstep.

The weather has turned crisp and clear (for the most part.)  Mums are dotting the entire town with their color.  The woods around my home are starting to turn.  I find myself taking routes across town that go by the best maples to check their progress.  Some will be so fantastic I wouldn't want to miss the opportunity of seeing them at their peak.
I have purchased pumpkins to celebrate the change of seasons.  The mums and the pumpkins outside the front door make me happy every time I drive up to the house.

But something even better is cause for celebration inside the door. 

Yep, our patterns arrived early from the printer.  They look just the way we had hoped.   We are so excited to introduce them to everyone at the AQS show in Des Moines, October 6-9.  Their premier will be at the Quilting Connection booth #908.  Our samples will be hanging and a limited number of original kits will be available to purchase.  Come visit with us!  We'd love to show them to you.

The winner of Modern Quilt Relish Pattern #103 is Jan.  Please email us at with your mailing address so that we can pop it in the mail after October 6th.   To enter the drawing for MQR #104 please place a comment at the end of the post about your favorite part of fall.  Mine is the crisp, clear air and the energy it ignites in me.
And that energy is being applied to getting ready for the big reveal next week.  There are brochure sheets to design, patterns to bag and kits to tie ribbons on.
See you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Leaf Completion

It's almost officially autumn and it's raining - again.  I guess its better than snow.  Congratulations to Deb at Aspen Hill for her contribution of her fun plaid quilt to our flikr site.  She's the winner of MQR#102 (to be sent after October 6th).

I put my nose to the grindstone and completed the contemporary fall leaf project.  The part about quilting it all by myself hurt the most - I love to hand them over to a professional quilter but I did my best and it actually lays pretty flat.

After the leaves were cut, I pieced them into their backgrounds using the very narrow seam allowance that we had described in previous projects.  Some were pouchy so I had to take a bigger allowance and make the curve shallower,  then press them to make them behave.  I added a center definiton in a color different from that leaf.  When all four were completed, I tried different layouts.

 I have done many vertical orientations so I decided to go with  the curvacious square.

Layering right sides together, I cut gentle curves from strips and sewed them, alternating sides and fabrics.

 This gave me more size and a good way to utilize the remaining fat quarters.  After arranging, I cut new curves from adjoining squares and sewed them together.

I layered the top, cotton batting and backing.  I outline quilted just outside the leaves, through the center definition and then meandered in the background.  The binding was made from the fatquarter scraps cut straight of grain.  (I wondered if this would work on the gentle curves.  It did.)

So our comment challenge for this next week ( and winner of MQR#103) is to let us know if you are going to the October AQS show in Des Moines  and what you are interested in seeing/ purchasing.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giveaway Week Two & Modern Fall Leaf Tutorial

Congratulations Ethne!  Please send us your mailing address by emailing
You will be receiving MQR 101 Modern Pickle Relish after October 6th.  Thank you for commenting from afar.

Jill and I attended a gallery quilt show of Linda Andeberg's at the Ankeny Art Center.  Linda was a long time member of the Contemporary Quilting group we facilitated.  It was remarkable.  Particularly because she comes to quilting from a painting background.  It is wonderful to see her paintings side by side with her collage quilts and print techniques.  She is disciplined in her details and techniques.  The show runs until September 30th.  We encourage you to take a look.

Speaking of followers, Sarah has posted two quilts on our flickr site.  Thanks and who will be next???

Modern Fall Leaf Tutorial

1.  From four fat quarters (Batiks in our case) in a range of values cut 12 inch squares.
2.  Place your four squares right sides up, one on top of the other.
3.  Cut a simple leaf shape with gentle curves through the middle of your squares.

4.  Cut down the center of the leaf shape.
5.  Rearrange.  One of each fabric will be in your new square.
6.  With the needle clear over to the right, and a 2.5 stitch length sew the leaf shapes into the background.  You might take a larger seam if there is a lot of puckering.  Press (into submission.)
7.  Stack a pair right sides up, layering one side overlapping the other, cut down the middle to make them fit one one another.

8.  For a little center definition, add a 3/4 - 1 inch strip of one of the background colors.  Lay this under one side and cut along the leaf so that you can make the center vein fit.  Sew.
9.  Than add the other half of your leaf matching the endpoints as much as possible.  Sew along the leaf and the background. You will end up with a block.  Sections will not match and you might have to do some creative finishing with deeper seams and pressing.
10.  Trim freehand.  No rulers.
So this week's giveaway will be our second pattern, MQR 102 Bowtie Pasta with a Twist.  Enter the drawing by posting a picture of a quilt on our flickr site.  It can be following our leaf tutorial, a quilt you have in progress, or a completed project.  Can't wait to see what you come up with.

See you Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September in the Air

jill....Wow, Tuesdays seem to roll around quickly.  While I was cleaning (very much needed) my studio, I reflected upon my creative space and how lucky I am to be able to leave this space and come back to it - just as I left it. One of the trade offs of kids-out-of-the-house!  I really love my very large cutting table, (crafted by my husband), sewing table with ample space to the left to hold those heavy pieces of fabric and a "big board" to support my pressing and fusing.  All of these make for efficiency. And oh yes, my television that I use as a radio to keep me company if my dogs aren't under foot.  It would be nice to have more natual light but there are always variables that we can't control...

So I thought it would be nice to have some interactive converstations about tips and efficiencies.  Here's a starter....I totally gave up on matching thread (except when it shows) and using black thread on black fabric.  It's just too hard to see and unsew.  Imagine that.  Sometimes I even go rougue and leave a differnt thread in the bobbin.  Mostly, I match for just a little contrast in the value: light, medium and medium dark in either a brown tone or grey.  I press open most of the time, use a 2.5 stitch length, a scant quarter inch seam and a presser foot with a "fence" to help keep me on track.

The other tool  I use daily is my movable design wall.  It's two large sheets of celotex, light weight but rigid, covered in batting.

Marny....I like my design wall and my big board too.  Pressing on that nice large surface is terrific.  It helps to keep every thing flat, and is great for pressing fabric before cutting.  I change needles before every new project (and sometimes more often if it is a large quilt.)  I clean the lint from the bobbin and underneath the case after every project as well.  I am far from a neatnik, but these two steps give me trouble free sewing.  Auraifil thread makes my machine purr.  Mettler is wonderful too, and comes in lots of colors!

Wearing pedometers makes us aware that sometimes effieciency is not good for you.  You need to get up and move after every seam or so.  You can chain to some extent, but don't get "chained" down.   Every person should aim for at least 10,000 steps a day if they are able.  Staying active is what will allow us to keep on quilting (and keeping up with our families.)
So here is the thing, everybody let us know what your favorite tip or tool is.  We'll draw a random name next Tuesday to receive one of our hot off the presses new patterns.  The pattern will be sent after October 6th.  We have six new patterns, so expect lots of interactive drawings coming up.  Keep commenting and keep checking.

See you next Tuesday.