February 25, 2015

QuiltCon Review Part 1

I'm slowly recovering from a fabulous time in Austin at QuiltCon 2015. It was amazing, overwhelming, inspiring, exhausting . . . you get the idea. I'm bursting with so many new ideas I don't know how to process it all let alone know where to start.

What happens in Austin should perhaps stay in Austin . . . but I'm sharing anyway. Yee-Haw!!!

who knew you could ride a sewing machine?

The best part of QuiltCon was meeting and making new friends and it started in the airport on my outbound flight. I just knew there would probably be a few quilters on my flight and sure enough I had the chance to meet five from both the Denver Metro MQG and the Front Range MQG. Even got to sit with one (Chris from FRMQG) on the way to Austin. We talked non stop. First time I've never bothered to crack a book on a plane ride.   : )

Met up with my roomie Cindy of Live a Colorful Life in the airport.  I'd never met Cindy in person and now feel like we are BQB (best quilt buddies).  I owe the fact that I even went to QuiltCon all to her. She gave me the kick in the rear I needed to actually commit to going when she asked me to be her roomie.  THANK YOU CINDY!!!!!

A quick hotel check-in and we were off to registration. There we immediately ran into Elizabeth of OPQuilt and her friend Leisa. Also Leanne of She Can Quilt and Marianne of The Quilting Edge, who are both from Canada. Plus there was Amy of Amy's Crafty Shenanigans from the UK and Stephanie of Venus de Hilo from Hawaii. How's that for spreading the quilty love? These were just a few of the quilters/bloggers that I already had a connection with prior to QuiltCon. I was happy to meet many more throughout the event by trading pins and a laugh or two. Quilters from all over the world attended.

Meeting some of my MidCenturyModern bee mates was definitely a major highlight. Wish we could have spent a little more quality time together. Maybe a MCM retreat is in order soon. I also had a great time getting to know some of the Boulder MQG members better, especially during a lovely dinner with Cynthia, Kim and Kim's sister-in-law Ruth. Sadly I didn't take many people pics. Here are just a few.

Cindy, Me and Elizabeth
MCM bee dinner with Cindy, Elizabeth, Debbie, Linda, Leisa, Rene',  Elizabeth, me and Michelle.
Rene', Linda, me and Cindy
walking back from dinner, Cynthia, Kim and Ruth

Trading pins with lots of people was so much fun and an excellent way to introduce yourself to total strangers. Although quilters are never really strangers, are they? My lanyard got so heavy I finally had to take all the pins off just to save my neck.

Giving and receiving handmade gifts added such a special touch to the whole experience. Cindy gifted me the most beautiful Sew Together bag. I've admired them from afar but have not been brave enough to make one. She nailed it with all the Kaffe fabrics plus it was full of little Kaffe charm squares. She knows me well. Linda of Flourishing Palms made the handy fabric tray to hold loose items on the night stand when you travel. I made use of this right away. Read more about them here. And Elizabeth handed out Washi tape that is so so cute. Can you believe I've never bought any Washi tape? Love them all . . . the gifts and the givers.

My talented daughter also gifted me with this custom quilty necklace and set of earrings before leaving. It couldn't have been more perfect. Thank you daughter dearest. You're the best. If you'd like a necklace or pair of earrings of your very own she'll be happy to make a custom one just for you. Choose your own quilty phrase and color scheme. You can contact her through her website. EmilyClaireStudio.com.

I made little fabric pin cushion rings for all the MCM ladies and all the Boulder MQG members at QuiltCon. Loved making them and can't wait to whip up some more. Each one became my favorite and now there are none left. Not even one for me. Time to cut more scraps and fill my bowl again.  : )

For the longest time, QuiltCon seemed so far off into the future . . . plenty of time to make, prepare, get ready and plan for the event.  Then it was here.   Now it's over.   : (  

It went by in a flash and I felt like I was in a complete daze the entire time. Let me repeat. A complete daze the entire time. Normally I'm quite the planner. Very organized, very structured. Not this time. Not at all. My apologies to anyone I met who thought I was a space case. I'm not. Believe me.

I'll be back with another post on my favorite quilts in a few days. Of course one of my favorites was my own called Matrix Blooming. There's nothing like coming around a corner and seeing your very own quilt hanging in a show.

I also designed the quilt made by the BoulderMQG for the charity challenge. My design, everyone's help sewing and Cynthia's fantastic quilting. I believe there were around 70 charity quilts hanging. That's a lot of charity quilts people.

I know this is a stretch, but pulling all my thoughts together really is my WIP for this week so I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. I had hoped to meet her in person but sadly didn't get the chance. Maybe next time.

SpringLeaf Studios

February 17, 2015

Ready or Not . . . Here I Come QuiltCon 2015

It's finally here. I leave for Austin in the morning.

Months ago when Cindy of Live A Colorful Life asked me to be her roomie I was thrilled. If it wasn't for her I probably would have procrastinated about committing and wouldn't be packing now. Thank you Cindy. Can't wait to meet you and the other MCM ladies.

QuiltCon seemed so far into the future at that time. I had thoughts of making all kinds of things. Gifts, new bags, maybe some clothes. Haha . . . very little got done. My biggest accomplishment was finishing a quilt entry and having it accepted. I'm looking forward to seeing Matrix Blooming hanging in the show. I'll share more about it after I get back.

I've also got a few buttons to swap. Would love to meet you and trade pins.

If you're going, I hope we get to meet.  If you're not, I'll be reporting once I get back.
Time for me to finish packing.  : )

SpringLeaf Studios

February 10, 2015

Rhythm & Blues

Remember my Rhythm & Blues quilt? 
Now you can make your very own version of my award winning quilt.

Toward the end of last summer, I received an unexpected email from the editor of Modern Quilts Unlimited who had seen Rhythm & Blues at the Chicago Quilt Festival. She wanted to include it in the winter 2015 edition of the magazine. I have been a subscriber to the magazine for a couple of years so it was a thrill to be asked.

Rhythm & Blues was originally made as an entry for the first QuiltCon Quilt Show in 2013 where I was honored to win third place in the Use of Negative Space category. You can read more about it here. Since it wasn't originally made to be a pattern, I hadn't written any sewing instructions, but thankfully I did have good notes. Directions and calculations were written and off the quilt went to Illinois for a photo shoot.

The magazine is on the newsstands now and includes many wonderful quilts. Here's one of my favorites called Global Threads by Laura Gilvin. Check out Modern Quilts Unlimited's Facebook page to get a sneak peek at other projects in this issue.

I'm also happy to report that I will have a quilt in the 2015 QuiltCon Quilt Show. It's called Matrix Blooming. I'll tell you more on that next week. I wasn't able to see Rhythm & Blues in person but this time I will be there and I can't wait. QuiltCon here I come.   : )

SpringLeaf Studios

February 6, 2015

Drunkard's Path Quilt Along 2015, Piecing

Welcome back. It's time to start sewing.

Hopefully, you've all had a chance to select your fabrics and maybe even cut one blocks worth of pieces. The template and cutting directions can be found here in case you still need to do that part. And if you missed yesterday's post on block design exploration, you really should check it out. Really. In the post I show four optional ways the drunkard's path units can be arranged for some amazing looking blocks.

You can also now link to every Drunkard's Path Quilt Along post by clicking on the button above or going to the Quilt Along tab found at the top of this page. So let's begin . . . 


I want to start by telling you not to be afraid of curved piecing. Even though it seems like it would be hard, I promise you it really isn't. You just need to be brave, find your quilting mojo, and jump in. You won't know until you try. There are many great resources available and many techniques, so do what works best for you. 

I prefer to use a minimum of pins and go slowly. If using more pins works better for you then by all means use them. Here's my method:

1.  Make a crease in the middle of both the quarter circle and leg pieces by folding each piece in half and giving it a good finger press. If you can't see the crease, try using an iron just on the edge for a stronger crease. I prefer to make my creases by folding the quarter circle right sides in and the leg piece right sides out. This way the creases nest nicely when the two pieces are placed together.  

TIP: if you feel more comfortable using more pins then I suggest you also make additional creases by folding the halves in half again so you have three creases to align. I've exaggerated the creases here so you can see them.

2.  With right sides together, align the creases and pin in place directly through the crease.

3.  Pull the short leg ends around and align them with the straight edges of the quarter circle. Pin in place close to the edges. I find pinning close to the ends helps keep the top fabric from creeping past the bottom one. It's going to look very odd, but believe me, it all will sew together just fine.


4.  Using a 1/4"seam allowance, sew the two pieces together. I prefer to sew with the leg piece on top so I can see how it needs to be eased into the curve. If you find it easier to sew with the circle on top that's fine. Try it both ways and do what works best.

I use my left hand to pull the leg edge into alignment with the curve while using the tip of my small scissors or a stylus to hold the two layers together just in front of the needle. It may look like you're going to sew in little tucks but most of the time it's just the excess fabric to the left of the needle. If it's a serious tuck, raise the presser foot and ease the top fabric into place.

As you approach the end, be sure the fabric is still aligned with both ends even with one another. This is where I find it tends to end up misaligned. That's why I pin close to the edge in such a way as to ensure the ends stay together.

5.  When you're done sewing it's going to look a little bunched up. Don't worry. No need to clip any curves. A good hot press smooths it all out nice and flat. Press the seam toward the quarter circle. This is very important because the seam needs to be out of the way when it's time to sew the units together.

TIP:  If by chance you did sew in a tiny tuck, try ironing it out with a little steam. If this doesn't work, you can usually rip out just a few stitches near the tuck and then resew that area by easing it into place.

6.  Trimming. Align a small square ruler so the 4 1/2" ruler marks line up with the corner of the quarter circle. Trim the leg sides so there is 1/4" outside the curved seam on both leg pieces. The finished trim size should be 4 1/2" x 4 1/2".  You shouldn't need to trim the quarter circle side unless it stretched a bit during piecing. The most important part here is the 1/4"seam allowance along the leg edges so when units are sewn together the quarter circles meet and no background shows.

7.  If you haven't seen the optional block arrangements in this previous post, now would be the time to take a look just in case you'd like to use one of them instead of the arrangement I'm using. Otherwise continue on . . .

Layout all 16 units into the block design using the photo below as reference. Take care to be sure the placement is correct with like red prints paired together and like green prints paired together including the matching green leg. It can be easy to get them turned around. 

Once you're happy with the arrangement, break the block apart into four quarters as shown below.

8.  Working one quadrant at a time, sew the matching petal units together; red with red, green with green. Press the seams open. Next, sew these two units together to finish the quadrant. Take time to match the seams in the center. Press the seams open.

TIP:  The bulk from the curved seam allowance has a tendency to push your foot off to the right as you approach the center. Taking it slow and watching for this helps.

Check to be sure that no background is showing where the two petal sections come together. If your seam has slipped over due to the bulk of the nearby seam, slowly sew over that area again and repress.

NOTE:  If you normally aren't an open seam presser, I understand. I'm not either. But in this case it really does make for an easier block to sew together plus a flatter finished block.

In the photos below, the first shows how the curves should join together . . . a nice, smooth transition where the curves come together with no background showing. The second photo has a sliver of the background showing. Not the end of the world by any means. With something as minimal as the second photo, I'd leave it alone rather than get too worried.

9.  Sew the units together by matching seams to complete the block. Press the final seams open.

Congratulations!  You've just finished your first Drunkard's Path block for the quilt along. Now it's up to you whether you feel motivated to keep piecing or make them one at a time each month along with me. I'll be posting my latest finished block each month here and on Instagram. You can add your blocks  at #DrunkardsPathQuiltAlong.

As the blocks come along, I'll also be looking at border options and other ways to finish up. And don't be surprised if I start another quilt too. I'm having so much fun with the design, it's hard to not start another.  : )

Thanks for sewing along with me.  I can't wait to see what you make.

February 5, 2015

Drunkard's Path Quilt Along; Block Explorations

Block Design Explorations;  A look at some optional ways to arrange the drunkard's path units. 

I know I said in the last post the piecing directions would be next . . . but . . . I just have to share these block explorations with you before we get into the piecing. I've also added a link to the button below that will take you to the main Quilt Along page so you can navigate to all the posts from one place.

Yesterday I made a Drunkard's Path block for one of my bee mates. I used a yellow/pink/coral selection of fabrics and found it quite fun to play with a different color grouping. I'm very happy with the results.  What do you think? It's got me wishing for spring and flowers and warmer temps.

In the process, I also played with some alternative arrangements of the Drunkard's Path units within the block. Today, I'd like to share those explorations before we move on to piecing. I think you'll find this quite fun and interesting and it will give you a chance to play around a little and decide which arrangement you like best before you sew your block together. Who knows . . . it might even be just the nudge you need to join the quilt along.  : )

The original block layout was designed with poinsettias in mind because I'm making a Christmas quilt. This arrangement makes me think of the pointy petals of poinsettias. This is the arrangement that will be used for all sewing instructions, but the sewing won't be much different for the other options. All the explorations use the same 16 drunkard's path units. The only difference is the way they are arranged in the block.

The following photos all include the seam allowance thus the little extra fabric on the leg pieces. Just remember the circles will come together with no gaps between shapes in the finished block. To help see the changes, think of the block in four quadrants with each quadrant having a red/green combination.

Original block:  the red and green units within each quadrant form identical petal shapes that are positioned side by side. Each quadrant in the block is simply rotated to get the overall design. This is my Christmas poinsettia. This design features red petals in the foreground with green leaves behind the red. In the bee block above, it's all petals and no leaves which works equally as well.

Original Layout

Option 1:  Rotate the position of the red units so they go in the opposite direction of the green. The result is a tulip shape of half red/half green petals in each quadrant. A green center results with this arrangement. The green units stay in the same position.


Option 2:  Leave the inner red units in the same position as option 1 but rotate the outer red units so red half circles are formed. The green units stay in the same position.

Option 2

Option 3:  Flip the entire set of red units so they meet in the center like a pinwheel. Be sure to keep the red units with the green legs in the center so they flow into the green units. The green units stay in the same position.

Option 3

Option 4:  Leave the red units the same as Option 3 and rotate the outer green units in the corners only so they form green half circles.

Option 4

I hope these explorations have inspired you to think about all the ways you can sew your Drunkard's Path units together. If you like one better than the original poinsettia version, then by all means make that one instead. If you like them all, then consider making a sampler type quilt? Or choose your two favorite block options and alternate them in your final quilt layout. Lots to think about. Lots to play around with once you start sewing.

The next post on piecing will follow soon. Don't forget you can go here to see all the previous Quilt Along posts.  Thanks for reading.

February 4, 2015

Mid Century Modern Bee on a WIP Wednesday / NTT

What happened to January? Seriously. Where did it go?

I actually did get quite a bit done in January, but sadly my January bee block wasn't one of them. Most of my time was spent writing posts for the Drunkard's Path Quilt Along and unfortunately I let my bee obligation fall to the bottom of the list. Sorry Elizabeth.

She requested a block of our choosing to put together her own sampler style quilt similar to the one previously done in our Mid Century Modern Bee by Carla. You can see more of Elizabeth's plan here on OPQuilt. She also has an amazing series on English paper pieced circles. Do check them out. They are all so beautiful and well designed.

When given free reign to make whatever you want with guidelines for color and size being the only parameters, I can find it hard to settle on what to do. In this case, I took advantage of the freedom and made another Drunkard's Path block. I have been wanting to explore other color and fabric choices for the design so this was an excellent opportunity.

If you saw my fabric options post for the quilt along, the you saw this version using spring colors instead of the red/green Christmas colors. I love pinks, corals and oranges and would love to make this version myself.

For Elizabeth's block, I decided to go with spring colors and do an all flower/no leaves block. I pulled fabrics in the yellow/pinky coral range and, because I'm such a huge Kaffe fan, included a touch of Kaffe. I often look for ways to use a bit of his fabrics in my bee blocks as a way of putting more of me into the blocks. Here are all 16 little Drunkard's units sewn and ready to join into the block.

And here is the finished block. I love this color combo. So fresh and springy.

And below with the signature block and an extra small block thrown in for good measure since I'm so late. Hope you like them Elizabeth.

I love my Mid Century Modern Bee group. Sadly, a couple of members opted out going into our third year, but happily we will be getting to know three new quilters moving forward. Spreading the quilty love.  : )  And better yet, there are 8 of us who will be gathering to meet each other in person . . . many for the very first time . . . at QuiltCon.  I can't wait!!!!

This was the major WIP of the week that I'm quite happy to have finished up. Going in the mail tomorrow Elizabeth. Promise. There are plenty of other WIPs in process too, including binding for two quilts, plus some QuiltCon projects. Time is running out to get those done so I need to buckle down. Fourteen days until I leave.   : )

If you're interested in the Drunkard's Path Quilt Along it's never too late to join in. You can find all the posts here on my Quilt Along page.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.