Llamas and lions…

Llamas on the loose are funny. Snow? Ice? Freezing temperatures? Not so much. That March-lion can go away, and he can take that varmint Phil with him.


I’m a weather wimp. It’s not that I lack the fortitude to “tough it out”, it’s just that I’m a much happier person when my feet are warm. And if I’m happier, everyone around me is happier. Who knows – world peace might come down to something as simple as whether everyone has warm feet.  (Photo courtesy of the Dallas News.)

Still… I do like March. March Madness. Spring Training for baseball, and the push for the playoffs in hockey and basketball. Daylight Savings Time – that’s this Sunday and it’ll be new territory for me as Arizona doesn’t partake. And March is National Craft Month.

I think that calls for a cake – a layer cake.


As much as I love the other kind of layer cake – especially Carrot Cake – I’m more in love with these cakes right now.  From left to right – On the Wing by Abi Hall / Nomad by Urban Chiks / Color Theory by V&Co. / Aloha Girl by Fig Tree Quilts.

After a weekend spent writing patterns – don’t ask… but yes, new Rosie patterns are in the works – I’m in the mood to make something. And thanks to Aneela Hoey, I have two places to start.

In addition to designing beautiful fabrics for Moda, Aneela creates wonderful little “stuff” – embroidery and quilts, bags and nesting trays, and other lovely little needful things.

Aneela Hoey Bloom Aurifil

This is Blooms. Because I need a little Spring right now, I’ve downloaded the pattern and I’m trying to decide on colors. The pattern is available as a free download on the Aurifil blog – Auribuzz.

I think I might brighten up the colors of floss a bit…


I’ve already printed out my pattern.  Ready, set, stitch!

Here’s where I got into some trouble… I wanted to read more about Aneela’s Blooms patterns so I followed the link to her blog.  Do you see that cute tray holding Aneela’s embroidery?  She made that – it’s part of a set of nesting trays.  There’s a pattern?  You can see where this is going, can’t you?  It just occurred to me that I forgot to get the pattern for the tray… I bought this one instead.


The Hold It All Pouch. It’s why the word “needful” came to mind; as soon as I saw this, I was full of need for it.  The pattern instructions are terrific and as of right now, I think the pattern is only available on Aneela’s website as a PDF download.

(The fabric is Nomad – the feathers for the outside, the floral print for the inside. )

So it’s March and I’m getting crafty.

Today should be warmer weather which fits right in as today is also National I Want You to Be Happy Day.

It’s also If Pets Had Thumbs Day.

I wonder if that’s how those llamas got loose…

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More holiday sewing from Moda’s designers

On Monday we peeked at some wonderful projects Moda designers were sewing for the holidays (and beyond). Here are a few more:

Vanessa Christensen is stitching gifts for her children’s teachers.

“During this season I always want to make gifts for the special individuals who spend a lot of time with my children, helping them grow intellectually, but because this is also the season to be super-crazy with Christmas parties and family and all other things we try to cram into one month, I wanted to make something cute but fast for the teachers. This is what I came up with. It’s my Color block zipper pouches with an added embellishment of the teacher’s name and I used Sandy Klop’s Potluck Ruler fabric which was perfect for this project!!
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photo 3


Barbara Brackman says this time of year is a good one for sewing, but not for the reasons you might think.

“I usually get more sewing done in December than any time of the year because December is slow for free-lancers—few deadlines, few new writing requests. This December I’m working on reproduction quilts. I just moved across town and moved a metric ton of fabric (well a lot of fabric.) Before I put it all away in boxes labeled Prussian blue and Turkey red and forget about it I thought I’d make some stars in vintage-looking prints. Some of those prints go back 30 years, they are now vintage reproductions I guess. I’m also using lots of my recent Moda collections.


“The other project is snipping a triangle from every one of these prints in my repro stash and making a triangle charm quilt by hand. That should keep me entertained all of 2015.”



Christmas sewing and home dec projects have kept Sandy Klop busy.

“My son got married  in August so I made a Christmas stocking for Heather. Now we have 14 socks to fill!” Sandy Klop image-3   “I finished a floor cloth for the bathroom to match the shower curtain.”

Sandy Klop image-2


“The most fun is getting ready for a retreat in January. I pull out unfinished projects, but then I often finish them! The stars are civil war blocks I traded with friends, so I added a lot of French and now I love it!”

Sandy Klop image-4


“This one just needed sashing. I had to barrel-roll to get it done!”

Sandy Klop image-5


“Now I must clean my  sewing room because my three grandsons sleep there for the week of Christmas! Happy holidays!”


Brenda Riddle, unfortunately, isn’t getting much holiday sewing done.

“I thought I’d send you a photo of what I got started on making for Christmas… but then I fell & broke my wrist, so now I’m having to settle for looking at the one block and will have to be content to finish it after the holidays and have it all ready for next year!

“This is a block from my new pattern ‘Star of Wonder’ that United Notions will have at the beginning of January… shipping patterns has been delayed a bit as well! The little quilt in the back is the mini version, using some of my Ambleside fabrics, and for the block I used Bella Solids. The plan is to make a quilt for a special place in my kitchen/breakfast area all in reds and greens… so we’ll see!” We hope you heal quickly, Brenda!



Holiday sewing isn’t the only kind of stitching Moda designers are doing. Several are working on project for new books, or creating new quilts with their fabric lines.


Pat Sloan is working on quilts for her upcoming book—her 32nd—which will be published by Martingale. But she did make one holiday purchase.

“It seems that I have a mad compulsion to buy Christmas fabric in… mmm…December! Like I’m REALLY going to make this up, but I always have great intentions! This is Basic Grey’s 25th and Pine and I’ll be making up my ‘Stitched’ Quilt with it..maybe I’ll even start this month!  I’d be ahead of the game wouldn’t I?”

pat sloan xmas fabric


Janet Clare claims she doesn’t sew any gifts. Instead, she’s got other projects going.

“This is an appliqued penguin on fabric from A Field Guide (the fabric line on sale now), which was the free pattern for my email club subscribers’ December newsletter. I have a subscribe button on my blog should anyone which to join (shameless plug!) My 10-year-old, Henry, also embroidered a penguin.”

Janet_Clare_Applique Penguin SE

Janet_Clare_Henry Penguin SE

Other than that I am slowly working on my fifth book The Wordsmith which will be published in the summer. I am making a story and memory quilt for the book, a quilt you can pull out and sit under and use the fabrics and blocks to prompt your telling of your family stories. The book is alphabetical in structure and I have just finished the letter ‘G’- goldfinch and gingham. My boys have a dead goldfinch in the freezer which they are hoping to taxidermy one day. The poor bird was found dead on the golf course and was carried home in their lunch box. I told this story at Spring market and have had lots of comments about it since! The boys and their nature collecting was the inspiration for my A Field Guide book. And the gingham is to remember our summer school uniform dresses—every school girl wears a gingham dress here.”



Alma Allen, who along with Barb Adams is Blackbird Designs, has a project for a book underway, too.

“I’m working on  an applique quilt for our new book Country Orchard, for Star books. It will be released this spring, in April. We use quite a bit of our new fabric line Country Orchard, which will be released in March. I am enjoying doing this applique. Applique is relaxing for me during this busy time of the year. I like the story applique can tell. The organic shapes filling the blocks seem just right—placement of shapes can be whimsical and the results dramatic.”


So, there you have it—a bit about what Moda designers are up to now. How about you? Do you have any holiday projects stacked next to your sewing machine? Let us know!

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Here’s what Moda designers are sewing for the holidays

It’s that time of year, when you’ll find lots of us at our sewing machines, creating gifts for those we love. If you’ve got your pedal to the metal right now as you whip up items for the holidays, you’re not alone. Moda’s designers are stitching, too. Here’s what a few of them are working on right now.

Brigitte Heitland is sewing presents, but not just for Christmas. Her first grandchild is due in January and she’s stitching up a storm in preparation.

Brigitte Heitland baby shoes

Brigitte says: “I have sewn baby jeans and baby shoes. These are so tiny, that I guess they have to put them on the baby’s feet as soon as he is delivered; otherwise he will grow out of them pretty soon. I don’t think a newborn even needs some shoes, but couldn’t resist making these.

Brigitte Heitland Baby Pants


“I’m working on a diaper bag for my daughter-in-law and she was free to choose whatever fabric she liked. I love her choices from my newest line REEL TIME. The prints are “lenses” and “dots.”
Brigitte Heitland tote
“I also made a baby quilt—of course—and used a Layer Cake from SweetWater, Lucy’s Crab Sack. I used my own Zen Chic pattern, It’s a Plus.”
Brigitte Heitland Baby Quilt
“For my niece I’ve made a quilt from only solids. This is a super easy beginner quilt, the top was done in only three hours. And I made a step-by-step tutorial for newbies, it’s on my YouTube channel (in German). We also have there a link to the free downloadable pattern.”
Brigitte Heitland solids quilt
Vanessa Goertzen is excited about a gift she stitched for a family member. ‘I just finished this quilt for my brother-in-law using Amy Ellis’s Modern Neutrals fabric and also using her pattern Soiree.” On her blog she notes that it makes a great “man-quilt.”
Vanessa Goertzen Moda blog post holiday
Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson is making little coin purses. “I was inspired by this book I found in New York. I can’t read it, but I can look at the pictures. I made some coin purses with scraps from our fabrics. The paper hexagons were a gift from Edyta (Sitar) at the last Spring Market. I’m making a coin purse for myself, Polly, a neighbor, and whomever…. if I can make enough.”
Laurie Simpson Moda holiday post
Laurie Simpson Moda holiday post 2
Laurie Simpson holiday blog post 3
Laurie Simpson holiday post
Gina Martin has a very special project going. “I haven’t started it yet, but I’m planning on making a lap quilt for my 96-year-old grandmother for Christmas. She’s always loved sewing and quilting and is thrilled that I now design fabric for Moda! The quilt is made from sample yardage that I just got. It’s a Christmas collection called Tole Christmas that ships to stores next summer. I’ve decided to use BasicGrey’s Sweet Tea pattern because I think it will highlight the prints nicely!”
“Not only do I get to sew with my upcoming line, but I get to do it on my “new” little 1936 Featherweight that I bought for myself. It’s the perfect little machine for piecing!”
Barb Groves of Me and My Sister Designs has a couple of projects going. “I’m totally in the unfinished stage with two of my holiday sewing projects. In fact I’m more in the ‘piles of stuff still to start’ phase! My goal is to make a heart ornament for all my neighbors. I plan to hang one on all the front door knobs a few nights before Christmas. It’s a really good thing that there are only 10 houses on my street!  I also need to make a holiday mug mat for the embroidery club I joined this year. The exchange is on the 19th so I’d better get started tonight!  It just wouldn’t be Christmas if I started my projects early! Merry, Merry! “
Me and My Sister Designs Barb
My sister Mary is trying to finish a project she started this past year. It’s something that she doesn’t want to become a UFO for the New Year’s resolution list! She’s making our Milky Way quilt in different blue Bella solids. The plan is to variegate her stars from light to dark. It should be beautiful IF she ever gets it finished!”
Me and My Sister Designs Mary Star
Joanna Figueroa is partaking of a holiday sewing tradition. “Every Christmas, I save a Christmas quilt to bind even though I know that it’s likely that I won’t quite finish it in time given everything else that is going on. It just makes me happy to sit on the couch in the evenings and bind something that is “in the spirit” of the holidays. This year I am working on one of our kits from last year, Christmas Lollies. Its from our Lollipops pattern and I think that its one of my all time favorite quilts. We have done it in at least 5 different ways now and I love them all! I hope you are getting to stitch something for yourself this season! Merry Christmas!”
Joanna Figureroa holiday post christmaslollies
Joanna Figueroa holiday post bindingthequilt
Come back on Wednesday, when we’ll show you what more of what Moda designers are sewing now!
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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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Quilter’s Block? Get Inspired with 318 Patchwork Patterns by Kumiko Fujita

318 Patchwork cover_hires

We are excited to announce the release of 318 Patchwork Patterns by Kumiko Fujita. First published in Japan, this incredible book became wildly popular with quilters around the world. Now available in English, 318 Patchwork Patterns features over 300 original patchwork and appliqué blocks from designer Kumiko Fujita. This collection shows off her amazing talent for constructing detailed, realistic-looking motifs with deceptively simple shapes.


Designs are included for a variety of themes, such as holidays, letters and numbers, animals, flowers, food, and more. These beautiful motifs will inspire you to create countless projects…the possibilities are endless!


To celebrate the release of the book, we stitched up a few blocks using some of our favorite new Moda fabric lines, including Best Day Every by April Rosenthal, Modern Neutrals by Amy Ellis, Persimmon by Basic Grey, Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille, and One For You One For Me by Pat Sloan. It was so much fun to experiment with all the different prints and patterns. Moda’s Layer Cakes are great to use when making these blocks since they contain an assortment of coordinating fabrics that are perfectly sized for these patchwork designs.

#3 cake block: Amy Ellis’ geometric brown and cream print was perfect for the cake layers

#3 cake block: Amy Ellis’ geometric brown and cream print was perfect for the cake layers

#133 dog block: Pat Sloan’s grey curlicue design evokes the texture of dog fur

#133 dog block: Pat Sloan’s grey curlicue design evokes the texture of dog fur

#42 sewing basket: This Basic Grey fabric mimics the woven texture of a basket

#42 sewing basket: This Basic Grey fabric mimics the woven texture of a basket

#89 ring block: April Rosenthal’s yellow striped fabric suggests the shiny reflection of light bouncing off a gold ring

#89 ring block: April Rosenthal’s yellow striped fabric suggests the shiny reflection of light bouncing off a gold ring

#5 ice cream block: Combine a variety of bright colors and playful patterns to represent different flavors of ice cream

#5 ice cream block: Combine a variety of bright colors and playful patterns to represent different flavors of ice cream

#49 lipstick and nail polish block: This pink, aqua, and gray color scheme was inspired by Bonnie & Camille’s Miss Kate collection

#49 lipstick and nail polish block: This pink, aqua, and gray color scheme was inspired by Bonnie & Camille’s Miss Kate collection

318 Patchwork Patterns will be released on October 15, 2014 and is available now for preorder. Ask your sales rep for more information. And don’t forget to stop by the United Notions booth at Quilt Market to check out more samples from the book!

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