The 2014 International Quilt Market held this fall in Houston, Texas was inspiring as always. And of course, there was no place like Moda! From the beautiful cross-stitch welcome sign to the whimsical fabric yo yo’s to the incredible displays in every single Moda designer booth, the decor delivered as promised…and inspiration was around every corner. Although I wasn’t able to get photos of every display,  here is an inspiring sample of the booths by the Moda designers.


Kate Spain’s “Tradewinds” quilt pieced in her Paradiso collection was a striking backdrop for her booth which featured two other quilts, accessories, and fabrics!



The Fig Tree booth featured full size and mini quilts pieced in the upcoming Aloha Girl collection. And the “Get Comfy with Moda” tee shirt was a fun reminder of the delightful Moda Schoolhouse presentation.



Basic Grey’s Fresh Cut collection was another inspiring breath of fresh air.




And Janet Clare’s More Hearty Good Wishes brought a delightful touch of the sea to the designer row.



The beautiful Color Theory booth display by Vanessa Christensen also featured a variety of projects: quilts in a variety of sizes, clothing and accessories were beautifully pieced in a splash of color!



Another delightful and colorful booth was Pat Sloan’s display featuring The Sweet Life.


And while there were many things to see in the Minick & Simpson booth, their upcoming block of the month quilt, the Austin Bluebird Sampler quilt was stunning. I’d seen this quilt on-line and could hardly wait to see it in person!


The Sweetwater booth featured Feed Company…another collection I fell in love with at first sight.


And Me  & My Sister Designs had a delightful display featuring Bandana!


I didn’t get nearly enough “people” pictures at this market, but I’m so glad I was able to get a photo of Bonnie & Camille. It was so wonderful to see them together with their gorgeous quilts featuring their upcoming  Daysail colleciton.


The Laundry Basket Quilts booth featured Edyta’s upcoming Sticks & Stones collection. She also had her new book, Handful of Scraps and a gorgeous journal as well.


Jen Kingwell’s beautiful Gardenvale fabrics were beautifully displayed in her stunning quilts.


And Lisa Bongean’s Lakeside Gatherings was presented beautifully in quilts large and small. She also debuted her new beautiful flannel collection.


Finally…a quilt market post just doesn’t seem complete without a photo and a mention of the beautiful and completely awe-inspiring Ruby Jubilee Celebration of beautiful breathtaking red and white quilts. As soon as I arrived at market I heard about this collection, but I waited to visit this part of the show until just before I headed home…it seemed such an appropriate way to head home…refreshed, inspired, and ready to quilt!

Which of these upcoming collections most inspires you?

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Sewing for Days for Girls

Most quilters are lucky: we’ve got our basic needs met and can spend time (and a little money) on a hobby that brings us pleasure. Quilters don’t hesitate to use that hobby to bring comfort to others. Making something to give to someone else is at the heart of so many sewing projects.


One organization that benefits from the skills of quilters and helps girls and women meet their basic needs is Days for Girls. The organization was founded in 2008 by environmental educator Celeste Mergens. Back in the U.S. after working at an orphanage in Kenya, she realized she’d never asked what products the girls used when they had their periods and was stunned to hear the answer: “Nothing. They wait in their rooms.” She soon realized that girls around the world were missing up to a week of school each month and eventually dropping out, and that women were not able to feed their families because they were missing work, all because of a lack of feminine hygiene products. “Having a basic biological function becomes a devastating handicap,” says Celeste.


Celeste Mergens with girls in Kenya

Celeste was scheduled to return to the orphanage and she and a group of volunteers started stitching. “Some sewed until their fingertips bled,” says Celeste, but in three weeks they’d stitched reusable pads for all 500 girls. Using input from the girls, Days for Girls (DFG) has honed their designs: each girl now receives a kit containing a colorful cloth drawstring bag that contains a pair of panties, two moisture barrier shields, eight tri-fold pads, two zippered plastic bags, a washcloth, soap, and an instruction sheet. The kits are distributed through organizations like the Peace Corps, Rotary, and educational and church groups. They’ve been distributed on six continents, in more than 60 countries, including in the United States (the New Orleans school district contacted DFG for kits last year).


Some of the kit components: Drawstring bags, shields, and tri-fold pads

Sewing events organized by DFG chapters and teams are held around the country, and the world. (Individuals also contribute their efforts to the organization.) We’ve held two DFG sew-ins in my area, a one-day event at Home Ec Workshop and three-day event, held at both Home Ec and Inspirations in Hills, Iowa, for which Moda donated some lovely fabrics. Top quality quilting cottons and flannels are important for DFG items: they hold up to repeated washings (kits will last up to three years). Patterns are useful for hiding stains, and Celeste notes that often these kits are the only thing a girl owns and that like girls everywhere, they appreciate bright, pretty fabrics. It’s easy to imagine the smiles these beautiful Miss Kate, Best. Day. Ever, and Fancy fabrics will bring to girls’ faces.

DFG Linda2

Days for Girls sew-in at Home Ec Workshop, Iowa City

It isn’t just the girls who benefit from these events. Participants who came to sew pads, attach snaps, and cut out the waterproof PUL fabric are of all ages and backgrounds. There’s lots of conversation, laughter, and camaraderie—people come with old friends and make new ones. This project is one that appeals especially to younger women, who identify with the kit’s recipients and the impact that having nothing to use during their periods would have. The classroom at Home Ec Workshop is small and at one point we had 20-plus people elbow-to-elbow, sewing, serging, applying snaps, cutting, talking, and laughing. People came for an hour or stayed all afternoon—some were shop regulars, while others were first-time visitors: nearly 50 volunteers came on one or more days.


At the end of our three-day sew-in, participants had created 134 bags, 886 liners, and 433 shields. The satisfaction they felt was clear: people asked to be notified of other sew-ins and many said they’d love to get together monthly.

DFG items2

Some of the completed kit components

And the need, of course, is ongoing. As DFG founder Celeste Mergens notes, whenever a family has to choose between buying food or buying feminine hygiene products, food always wins. Celeste admits that she never imagined she’d spend her days talking to people about menstruation. But she also never imagined that something so simple could provide dignity and help break the cycle of poverty for girls and women worldwide. “We all deserve to have what we need for our basic biological functions, and if we don’t it affects how we feel about ourselves,” she says. “These pieces of fabric literally transform lives and help women and girls say ‘I have value.’”

Days for Girls sew-in at Inspirations in Hills, Iowa

Days for Girls sew-in at Inspirations in Hills, Iowa

For more information about Days for Girls and having a sew-in, visit their website

Girls in Kenya receiving their Days for Girls kits

Girls in Kenya receiving their Days for Girls kits

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I’m Missing Market Swag Bag Giveaway

Are you stuck at work or at home, daydreaming about Quilt Market? Have you been liking every image to pop up in the #quiltmarket Instagram feed, and swooning over the new fabric collections, award-winning quilts, and new sewing tools showcased in the various schoolhouse sessions? Well, you may have to miss Market, but you don’t have to miss out on all of the fun!



To enter-to-win, follow the steps below. Entries will be accepted from now through 4pm on October 27th! Good luck, have fun, and happy creating!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Makin’ it Cute Heart’s Delight and Butterfly Bliss


Me & My Sister have done it again, designing two more “Makin’ it Cute” patterns,

Heart’s Delight and Butterfly Bliss.

Fat Quarter Shop ask moda to join the blog hop showing

different ways to make and use these new products.

Wow what a cute idea, for embellishing anything and everything.

First up I used all the Heart’s Delight templates and created a country quilted heart ornament for the tree or a package.

The fabric is Petite Prints by French General (shipping in December)

and two of the hearts are made with Kraft-tex,

a washable paper fabric product that has all kinds of possibilities.

I love piecing mini quilts so the first heart used 1” squares pieced

and quilted with batting.

Can’t you just see a Christmas package wrapped in red with this as a tag or ornament?


To brightin’ up my little granddaughter’s denim jumper,

I used Butterfly Bliss and Catalina Batiks (in stores now).

The templates are so easy to trace and use with all kinds of materials,

such as old denim jeans.

The big flutter-fly as my three year old granddaughter calls butterflies,

was made with scraps of old jeans and Timtex as a stiffener

in the middle of the two layers of denim then sewn together and trimmed to size.

I wanted it to look like angel wings on my sweet baby girl.

Then I appliqued the smaller flutter-flies in batiks to jazz up the front of the jumper.

The smaller denim one has the Kraft-tex in the middle layer which is also nice and stiff,

great for bows or a chew toy for teething.

Make sure you check out all the other blogs for more great ideas on using

“Makin’ it Cute”

One last thing, leave a comment below and two people

will be chosen to win the two charm packs shown.

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Brenda Riddle and Ambleside

Brenda Riddle

Brenda Riddle’s Ambleside fabrics evoke a lush country garden. Surprisingly, she creates her verdant designs near Tucson, Arizona, in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. But her early, mobile years provided her with plenty of exposure to more leafy landscapes.

Seedlings quilt - in process

Brenda’s Seedlings quilt, in process

Brenda (or Bren, as she’s known to friends) grew up in San Diego, where her mom taught her to sew. “I made most of my own clothes back then and loved it,” she says. She spent her college years in Minnesota and the San Francisco Bay Area, studying architecture, interior design, and art. After working in those fields and spending a year with a hunger-relief organization in southeast Asia, she moved to Arizona to get a teaching certificate. “I thought I’d be here for two-and-a-half years, but that was 23 years ago,” she says. She taught art and design at a private school for 15 years, and six years ago left teaching to focus on her design career.

Ambleside Pre-cuts

“From the get-go, I’ve always loved interiors, even in high school and before,” she says. “I’d make a new bedspread, a pillow, and change my furniture all the time.” She describes her style as cottage farmhouse, balanced with a rustic look. “My house has a light, airy feel with softer colors, but I also like crispness,” she says. “That’s what I love in quilts, too.” She believes this affinity comes from the quilts her grandmothers made and that surrounded her when she was little. “I’d see them stacked on the linen closet shelves, scrappy quilts with light-colored backgrounds. When I see that in a quilt, I’m immediately drawn to it.”

Star of Wonder blocks

Star of Wonder blocks

Around 2004, Bren’s love of fabric led her to ponder opening a quilt shop. She visited Quilt Market and noticed people walking around with bags stitched from Seaside Rose. “I didn’t know anything about fabric companies at that point, but I knew I had to find out who’d made that,” she says. She visited Moda’s booth and became an ardent fan. The quilt shop never materialized, but over the years, even as she designed fabric for other companies, she describes Moda as “a magnet.”

One of Brenda's counted cross-stitch patterns

One of Brenda’s counted cross-stitch patterns

“They work so well as a team, they work really hard, and it shows,” she says. “They ran with my designs and I’ve been on cloud nine ever since.” She recently got her sample yardage of Ambleside, and was delighted. “When you see the precuts and how they’ve arranged the colors, it’s exactly how I wanted it to be. One of the honest-to-goodness blessings is their attention to detail and presentation. As a designer, you couldn’t ask for more.”

Brenda's buddy, Bailey

Brenda’s buddy, Bailey

Brenda’s currently working away on her Quilt Market samples in her home studio. She lives with her “buddies,” her father and her little dog, Bailey (for more about both, visit Bren’s Little Acorns blog). Along with fabric, she also designs quilts and needlework, and she’s started Quilted Comfort, an organization that provides quilts for seniors who live at the care centers her brother manages, and who have no visitors.

Bren's studio

Bren’s studio

Bren is grateful to have quilts in her life. “Quilting is obviously a creative outlet for me,” she says, “but it’s also a connection to the women in my family who came before and I hope, those who come after—one of my nieces recently requested a special quilt. Quilts have a utilitarian purpose, but they also comfort people and bring them joy.”

Brenda's A-Cuppa quilt

Brenda’s A-Cuppa quilt


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