Going Modern…

Not me – I’m already modern!

But someone else is “going modern” – Leigh Knox to be specific.  First, the girl went to QuiltCon – and didn’t come say Hi – but the randomizer picked her name from the list and so I’m sending her a copy of Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken’s Country Girl Modern.


Leigh – if you’ll check your e-mail box, I sent you a request for your address.

Thank you to everyone who participated, I wish I had enough books to send to everyone.  The good news is that you’ll find it at your local quilt shop – it’s a Kansas City Star publication so if they don’t have it, they’ll know who to call to get you a copy.  You’ll love it – it’s terrific.

Thank you to Jo and Kelli for asking us to hop-along with them.

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Modern Country Girl…

Make that Country Girl Modern.


This book – 11 Modern-Traditional Quilts from the Junction.  Petticoat Junction?  Nope.  Iowa.  Jo’s Country Junction – Jo Kramer.  Jo and her daughter Kelli – Kelli Hanken – have been making and designing quilts for ages, and they’ve finally published a book of quilts “inspired by country air, traditional roots, and modern fun.”

We – meaning more than just me, the Carrie typing this – have known Jo and Kelli for awhile and when she asked us if we’d join the blog hop and review their book, how could we resist?  There’s a quilt in the book named “Modalicious”!


How much fun is that!

So here’s the review.  The quilts.  They’re terrific – a few are such that a quilting-newbie will have great success, and a couple have enough pieces that even a long-time quilt-maven will be kept busy.  Some of the quilts need yardage or fat quarters, and others will put a big dent in your scrap basket.


This is Bohemian Rhapsody – it’s my favorite and the one that I’m itching to make with something… anything.  While it’s made with 1/2 yard cuts, I think this is one that would be great for scrap-busting.

The instructions.  They’re clear, concise and I love the “Quick Reference Chart” – that’s a genius idea.  It’s a “cheat sheet” of how many pieces / units you need to make the quilt.


Seriously.  This is a great idea.  (In pattern-writer-speak, that means it’s an idea absolutely worth “borrowing”.)

So have I convinced you that this is a great book and you should have one?  As your luck would have it, we can help with that last part too.  If you leave a comment here by Midnight on Sunday, March 15, you just might win a copy of Country Girl Modern.  Be sure to leave your e-mail address with your comment – and no, don’t put the e-mail in the comment, simply include it where and when the comment form asks for it.

Thank you to Jo and Kelli for asking us to hop with the Country Girls.  And Thanks to YOU for hopping too.


Really.  Thanks to YOU.  (That’s the name of this quilt.)

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Snow day…

As you read this, I may or may not be in the office.


While it was sunny and beautiful outside Thursday morning, there was a thin layer of ice under that snow so the roads are still a mess and probably won’t be clear until late Friday morning.  The good news is that this kind of day let’s me catch up on a few things – like my mail.

This book arrived last week and I finally had a chance to linger over every single beautiful page.


If you like scrap quilts, you’ll love this book.  It’s simple – the book is that good.

I can also get to some of your questions from the Tip Jar.

After I shared the tip about using fusible thread for bindings, a friend asked me if I was really going to do that for all my bindings.  No.  I think it’s a cool trick, and I know there will be times – like right before Market – when I will need a binding to look “finished” so it can be hung.  The fusible thread is perfect for that – as is glue-basting, another trick I like and use.  So I’ll still use my beloved binding clips, but I’m happy to know about this method.  It’s a great tool for my “toolbox”.

To answer two questions – no, the fusible thread doesn’t leave a hard edge on the binding.  The folded edge that you’ll be stitching down isn’t adhered to anything.  Only the underside of the fabric directly over the seam allowance is fused.  In that respect, I prefer the fusible thread method to glue-basting as that can sometimes leave the edge hard, especially if you I’ve had a heavy-hand with the glue.

And the method will work with bindings made with strips cut at 2 1/2″.  There will be a little more of the binding that isn’t fused but the thread is only there to hold the binding in place for stitching.

Cleaning your rulers – yes, you should be doing that.  Think about anything you handle all the time… like maybe your cellphone.  How often do you wipe off the fingerprints, grime and oil?  While you don’t see it on your ruler, it’s still there.  There will also be build-up on the underside from your hands, as well as any sizing or starch, soap residue for the pre-washers, and whatever is used to finish fabrics at the mill.  So every three or four months, I use glass cleaner to clean both sides of all the rulers I use regularly.  I also remove and replace any tape, sticky dots or whatever on the underside.  (Just so you know, I don’t do windows.)


I think you’ll be surprised that you will start seeing a difference – seeing being an operative word.  It’s like changing the needle on your sewing machine, it doesn’t take long before you notice the difference.

You are changing your sewing machine needles regularly, right?

Do I use the lines on my cutting mat to align my fabric?  Nope.  I know a lot of people who do with great success but I got better results using just the ruler, maybe because that’s how I learned… back in the olden-days before rotary mats had lines.  Old dog, old tricks.  (And the lines aren’t showing on my mat because I’m using the “wrong side” until it’s used-enough to need replacement.)

While on the subject of cutting mats, yes, you should soak your mat every so often to keep it moisturized – flexible.  Full disclosure – I’m not good about doing this.  Meaning, I think I’ve done tried it twice in twenty years.  I didn’t have a bathtub big enough and I didn’t have much success trying to use a kids’ wading pool.  As soon as I started filling the pool, Rosie climbed in because surely it was being done for her enjoyment.  The best information I’ve found on caring for your rotary cutting mat can be found here.

Tearing fabric?  Absolutely!  In fact, we’re working on the pattern for a quilt kit coming later this year that will require the border strips to be torn.  It’s simple – a good quality quilting fabric will tear well without much loss on the edges.  The higher the thread count, the better it tears.  I know it bothers some quilters to do it but I’ve never had any problems.  So I let her rip!

Snow day / sew day?  Maybe just a tiny bit.  I worked on some log cabin blocks last night – they’re for a Log Cabin book I’m contributing to that comes out next year – and I have plans to sew this weekend.  After I finish that quilt top, I’ll get back to these…


No. 1.  I only need a few more of the triangles for my pink and yellow strip project so these will probably be first.

No. 2.  I haven’t made any progress with my Repro Stars but I did get enough pieces cut for another 20 blocks.  I’m now officially behind – big surprise – so I’ll try to get caught up this week.

No. 3 and No. 4… I started a new project using Gardenvale and Bella Solids in Fog and Maize.  If you’re wondering why the Gardenvale squares are hanging, I decided to try something Lisa Bongean showed on her blog.  Instead of spraying the fabric with sizing/starch and pressing it dry, the fabric is sprayed and then left to dry.  Then it’s pressed flat with steam.  Genius.

I had the clippy-things from years ago and while they’re working well, I’m going to try using a couple of Command hooks to hang a clothesline over the bathtub so I can do more than one Layer Cake at a time.  I’ll let you know how that works.  I’m also going to need more starch.

Are the roads clear yet?

(Have a good, safe weekend wherever you are!)

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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!!
photo 2-2
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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