On Trend: Moda Building Blocks


The Moda Building Blocks quilt which debuted at International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh last spring is trending right now in many different version. The original quilt with its bold and beautiful Bella solids is truly stunning. I plan to make this version exactly as is. But first…I had another idea in mind…



A red and white quilt has been on my “bucket list” for a few years now, but I could never seem to find the right pattern. After receiving my Moda Building Blocks pattern this summer, I started formulating a plan. I began by starting with a stack of my favorite Moda red and white fabrics.




I decided on scrappy backgrounds, too…mostly white on white prints with some solids, text prints, and low-volume prints thrown in for fun. And then I started sewing…



If you haven’t already made this quilt…it’s a “must make!” Make the original or make it scrappy. You’ll be happy you did. I was just going to sew a few blocks on the day I started and ended up sewing all of the blocks in the entire first section.


Here are a few hints:

  • Start with a group of your favorite fabrics
  • Decide on a background
  • Make the blocks a section at a time so you can play around with the colors and prints that will be next to each other in the quilt. You will want to have a good mix in each section, and that will help you to keep things proportioned well throughout the quilt.
  • Have fun


How are you going to make your Moda Building Blocks quilt? Will you make the original or use a combination of your favorite colors or designer prints?

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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 www.daysforgirls.org

Girls in Kenya receiving their Days for Girls kits

Girls in Kenya receiving their Days for Girls kits

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