On Trend: Moda Building Blocks

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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…

 

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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.

 

 

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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…

 

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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?

Inspired

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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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!

 

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

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?

Tips and Tidbits

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It’s actually been many years ago now that I received my first lessons in quilting from my grandmother, and many of the tips she shared with me on that sunny afternoon are bits of information I use daily in my quilting…twenty some years later. Here is a round-up of my favorite tips and tidbits to share with new quilters: these are review for seasoned quilters but are simple steps that can make a big difference for new quilters just joining in and learning all about this amazing past time.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This was the first thing I learned from my grandmother and one of the tips that helps me most in my daily quilting. It’s a simple rule, but it really does work. A good start…including accurate cutting and measuring…is essential to a good finish.

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Know Your Seam Allowance

My grandmother also told me to use a 1/4″ seam allowance for all of my quilting (unless directed otherwise by a pattern), but it was a few years later while taking a class at a local quilt shop that I learned what this really meant. A wonderful teacher showed me that my seam allowance was actually a thread or two bigger than 1/4″ which resulted in some of my piecing being just a bit off (those 1/16″ inch variations can really add up in a big quilt)! So measure your seam allowance periodically to make sure you’re on track. You can adjust your needle to the right or left if necessary, obtain a 1/4″ seam guide, or use painters tape to mark the true 1/4″ line on your machine.

 

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Keep it Together: Pin and Mark

Somewhere along the line pins seem to have received a bad reputation. While it does take a little longer to pin…the results can be wonderfully surprising. Although it isn’t necessary to always use pins, if you’re having trouble with matching seams or getting a lot of different points to match up, pins might be the best solution. While I don’t always use pins for simple chain-piecing, I always use them if there is something that needs to be lined up.

Properly marking is important, too. Use a pencil to mark on the wrong side of light fabrics or chalk for darker fabrics to mark lines for half square triangles and corner square (“flip and sew”) corners. While it often looks like it’s going to be just fine if you “eyeball” it, marking can also improve accuracy by leaps and bounds.

 

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Fabric Prep

Fabric preparation is another step some quilters like to skip: after all, most quilters love fabric so much they just want to jump right in and sew. But your fabric may need pressing before cutting, and this can be especially important when using pieces from fat eighth and fat quarter bundles. Just think of it as a little extra time you get to spend with the fabric!

Some quilters like to use steam when pressing their fabric for the first time. This can cut down on shrinkage later on–an important step especially when working with lots of pieces or smaller pieces. An additional step many quilters use is to both starch and press their fabrics before beginning any project. Whether or not to pre-wash your fabrics is another decision to make before beginning. Although I pre-wash only when I’m going to use fabric for garment construction, there are many others who pre-wash all of their quilting cottons.

 

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Handle with Care

Fabric can be stretched, and if your fabric is stretched enough your blocks might end up distorted. Use care when handling bias edges: don’t fear working with triangles for half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and flying geese … just handle with care to prevent stretching.

 

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I do have one final tip, and it’s my favorite one to share. Enjoy yourself while you are sewing and quilting. Your projects are yours, and they should bring you great joy while you’re working…quilting is the best hobby!

What is your favorite advice for new quilters…?

Marvelous Moda for Backgrounds

DSCN0154“Whit” pattern by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company; quilt pieced by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life

One of the first decisions to be made when planning a quilt is the choice of background fabric. Sometimes this is the hardest part of making a quilt: it’s easy to decide on favorite fabrics, but what type of background will really make them shine? Sometimes the choice is easy: solid white or a darker color might clearly work best. Sometimes two background choices have to be made as in the quilt above which features Moda Bella 9900-97 as the flying geese background with Moda Dottie as the secondary polka dot background.

2014-05-26 09.30.00And sometimes “low volume” or light prints included in a collection make the very best background choice of all. The two Schnibbles quilts above both use Moda fabrics by Minick and Simpson with the background selections for both quilts chosen from the lights in the various collections. There is also the option of combining solid background fabrics along with the lighter fabrics in a collection for even more variety.

 

DSCN0153“Tidbit” pattern by Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company pieced in Floral Gatherings fabrics

A variety of light prints from the Floral Gatherings collection was used for all of the backgrounds in the mini quilt above with the outer border pieced using the beige floral on cream.While use of these light prints for block backgrounds adds a lot of interest to this mini quilt, the prints are not overwhelming in these combinations and allow the block fabrics to stand out.

 

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“Nested Churn Dash” pattern by Jane Davidson pieced by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life

Sometimes the very best “low-volume” backgrounds come by using light prints from a variety of collections. The scrappy churn dash quilt above is king-sized and features fabrics from nearly every Minick & Simpson fabric collection. All of the lights and “nearly light” fabrics used for backgrounds also come from Minick & Simpson collections: every print is beautiful as it stands alone, and in combination, the variety of light background fabrics really adds an extra element of interest to the quilt.

When choosing fabrics for your next quilt remember to think about the variety of options for background fabrics. You just might want to pick up some extra yardage of your favorite light prints for the collection to use for part or all of your background!

More Mini Quilts

One Block Variation of Navajo Stars

Back in January I did a post on mini quilts with a few ideas and lots of fun mini quilts, and I’m happy to say that for mini quilt lovers everywhere the trend continues! Today I have some more mini quilt fun to share starting with a few of the new mini quilts introduced at International Quilt Market this May in Pittsburgh. Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Company introduced some individual new mini patterns; however, the “Navajo Stars” mini quilt above is actually just one block from a pattern that also includes a four block and a nine block version of a larger quilt.

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Fig Tree also debuted the “Blossom” Mini which can also be made using a single fabric along with a contrast background. This scrappy version uses fabrics by Bonnie & Camille from a variety of their collections.

 

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One of Camille Roskelley’s most recent mini quilt designs is her delightful Mini “Red Letter Day” which is an amazing design whether large or small!

 

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And this Mini Shine pattern is another new mini pattern–it also features fabrics by Bonnie & Camille.

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Fig Tree & Company also released a Mini Canned Pears quilt which is just as delightful as the full-size quilt version.

 

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And the Fig Tree & Company “Mini Stitch” pattern is an example of the mini version coming out before the full-size version. Watch for a larger version of this pattern coming soon!

Mini quilts are a perfect way to use scraps, charm squares, and even Moda Candy packs. They piece together quickly and also offer the opportunity for quilters to quilt these smaller quilts on their home machines. It’s a good way to play with mixing and matching various collections, and you can get a good idea of how fabrics will play together in a larger quilt by making a mini quilt with the fabrics being “auditioned.”

Why not make your favorite mini quilt today?!