Modern… with an “e”

Moderne.  It’s French.  So you know it’s cool.

Are you familiar with Quiltmania magazine?  It’s one of my favorites – okay, everybody in the office loves it.  In the Fall of 2011, Quiltmania introduced Simply Vintage devoted to folk art, primitive and vintage-traditional style projects.  Each issue has twenty or more projects of different sizes and types, created by designers and artists whose names are well-known for this style of work.  (If this is your style, it’s well worth getting an issue or two for a look-see.)

No 1 Simply Vintage

This was the first issue – it’s now quite collectible… which is why I intend to hoard stash save a couple extra issues of Quiltmania’s new magazine, Simply Moderne.


The quilt on the cover is Bubbles by Racheldaisy.

If you’re thinking “I’m not a modern quilter”… this magazine is still for you as it is a terrific introduction to the style, the mindset and the variety that exists in what is being deemed “modern quilting”.  You’re not alone if you sometimes wonder what “modern quilting” encompasses, probably because it’s so much more than can be defined in a single sentence or description.  It’s kind of like “quilt” – it isn’t just something you put on a bed.

The Introduction to this premiere issue is “How Modern Quilting Won Me Over” written by Meg Cox – an acclaimed journalist, quilter and quilting expert.  She’s been a passionate quilter for more than 25 years and has served on the board of the Quilt Alliance since 2005 – and as President since 2009.

Sew Vintage by Michelle Tucker  Gemstones by Konda Luckau

These are two of the gorgeous projects in the issue – Sew Vintage by Michelle Tucker and Gemstones by Konda Luckau.

QuiltCon 2015 in Austin is the featured exhibit-article, meaning that there is a story about the show, lots of pictures of the atmosphere, and gorgeous pictures of some of the best quilts in the show – that’s a Quiltmania magazine trademark.  There is also a great story about some of their favorite “finds” in Austin.  (Making mental note to follow the folks from Quiltmania when they go shopping in Pasadena and Savannah.)

Simply Moderne - Victoria

There’s a wonderful profile – called a Portrait – of Victoria Findlay Wolfe that includes a listing of some of her favorite places to go in New York City.  I had the opportunity to take Victoria’s “15 Minutes of Play” workshop at QuiltCon this past February – okay, only half a workshop, I also had some booth-duties and work-stuff – and she’s terrific.  Funny, knowledgeable and very empowering about why you should be making the quilts you want to make – when it comes to “who is the coolest quilter around?”, she’d get my vote.

There are more than a dozen projects in the premiere issue, including large pieced quilts, large applique quilts and a variety of smaller projects.

I’m convinced… I’m going to need at least two issues – one to save, and one to use, drool over and carry around in my bag for inspiration.

(If you’re looking for a copy of Simply Moderne, call your local quilt shop.  If they don’t have it in stock – or on order – ask if they’ll order a copy for you.)

Speaking of QuiltCon – did you know that QuiltCon will now be an annual event?  QuiltCon 2016 – QuiltConWest – will be February 18 – 21 in Pasadena, California at the Pasadena Convention Center.   The Keynote Speaker will be the amazing Gwen Marston.  Yes, Moda and the ModaBakeShop will be attending QuiltCon next February.  (QuiltCon 2017 – QuiltConEast – will be February 23 – 26 in Savannah, Georgia, and the Keynote Speaker will be the equally amazing Angela Walters.)

If there’s any chance that you can attend, I highly recommend going.  It’s hard to describe the atmosphere, it’s charged with energy and enthusiasm about sewing, quilting and making cool stuff with fabric.  If you’re thinking it’s not really your style, it’s also so much more than wonky seams and solid fabrics – the quilts in the show are made by quilters with serious, mad sewing skills.  The same goes for the folks presenting lectures and workshops.

That’s all for today… at least all I can remember.

If I remember anything else, I’ll save it for tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

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Taking Appliqué on the Road

I’ve written about hitting the road to visit barn quilts and quilt museums (and thanks, readers, for all the great additions to those posts). Now it’s time to think about what to do while you’re getting to those places. I find time in the car or on a plane the perfect opportunity to do a little hand sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc. And I’m not the only one. A lot of Moda’s designers are hitting the road this summer and taking their handwork with them. In future posts they’ll share tips for embroidery and hexagons on the road. Today, Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill, Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson, and Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Co. let us in on tips and tricks for enjoying appliqué while en route to their vacation destinations (or maybe just while taking the kids to the neighborhood park).

dp_bunny-hill Here’s what Anne Sutton has to say:

Applique is the perfect project to carry along to occupy those endless traveling hours, waiting time at the Doctor’s office or those hours while you watch your kids swim. You do have to spend some “prep” time before you leave, but it’s so worth it! I can’t sit still for a long period of time without going crazy and applique is my answer.

Applique Case (1 of 1)

  1. A good case to hold supplies is essential.   A friend made mine from a P3 Designs pattern. I love it so much that I now sell the pattern on my web site. With a fold over Velcro flap to hold everything secure, the case is the perfect travel size. Open it up and you’ll be amazed at what it can hold! It has lots of pockets designed to hold applique tools! This is my “go to” case at home and on the road. You are going to want one of these cases!Applique Case Pattern (1 of 1)
  2. Pin or glue baste your pieces to your background before you leave. My pins are the tiny applique pins that don’t catch the thread when sewing. You can glue baste using a glue made for applique (Roxanne’s or Appli-Glue). Just place a few tiny dots, or a very thin strip, on the seam allowance to hold your applique in place. As you can see from the photo mine has been glue-basted and is ready to stitch. I don’t have to worry about losing little pieces in the airport or on the plane. I’m ready to stitch! My favorite pincushion for traveling
  3. Pin a piece of wool to your pincushion to hold all those applique needles. This is such a simple thing but it works like a charm. I’ll thread several needles with different colors of thread and have them ready to go. I’ll pop my pincushion, travel case, applique and glue (keep the glue in a zip lock bag) and I am ready to travel. Don’t forget the thread.
  4. Here’s my final tip…bring along some little packages of Haribo Gummi Bears to keep your energy level up.Gummies (1 of 1)

Here’s Laurie Simpson’s take on appliqué-on-the-road (and this woman is not afraid to sew-on-the-go: when the power went out in her home recently, she checked into a hotel with her sewing machine so she could finish a quilt! You can read about it here):


(Laurie’s on the right, her sister Polly on the left)

I always try to have handwork ready to go—anywhere I need to be. It usually isn’t a problem since I always have projects going on that involve hand piecing, appliqué, or English Paper Piecing. Right now I am making the Austin Bluebird Sampler quiltIMG_2839

I’m actually re-making it—this one is all in blues. This is a large appliqué block in progress and here are all the tools I need. You can see it isn’t very many. Threads, a thread book with pins and needles, a needle threader, small scissors, basting glue, thimble, and Thimble-It sticky dots. I find these sticky dots helpful for my index finger. FullSizeRender-2

These tools are small and easily transported. I have used several different carriers in my lifetime. Bags, boxes, and custom-hacked lunch boxes. My current favorite is see-through project bags. I found these from a vendor at a quilt show and love them. Not only are they handy, but you can see at a glance which bag has what. The smallest bag holds my threads, the next smallest has the project with the needle case, scissors and such. The next largest bag holds some other tools that may or may not come in handy, bigger scissors, an extra set of eyeglasses, glue sticks, and even a tiny battery operated light that clips onto my eyeglasses. You never know when the power will go out. These 3 bags all fit in the largest bag. FullSizeRender-4

Another positive for the see-through bags is if you are taking these things through security at an airport I find that if they can see what you have (sewing stuff) it is much more likely to go through without a hassle. THIS IS NO GUARANTEE. Always take a pair of scissors through security that you wouldn’t mind leaving behind. Make sure to pack your good scissors in your checked luggage. Happy travels are much more likely if you have busy hands.

And finally, Joanna Figueroa shares her appliqué travel tales:dp_fig-tree-250x235

So, for me its kind of hit-and-miss these days whether or not I have an actual appliqué project in the works, but I always have some kind of circle or basket handle or other block portion ready for handwork, if necessary. I find that a little bit of appliqué here and there really adds a lot of visual happiness to a larger project!il_570xN.433747417_d2w7

This summer I am committed to finishing my summer version of my LOLLIPOPS quilt that I started several years ago when I was teaching the pattern as a class in Southern California. There is something about the combination of light butterscotch, orange, and peach with aqua and cream that just gets me every time. These fabrics are a scrappy combo of my Tapestry collection with many other MODA lines mixed in including Flats, Boho, Patisserie, MODA Solids and Avalon. I think it makes me think of sea glass, which I love.dresdens

Anyway… I have had these Dresden Blocks ready for quite a while and this summer I am taking the center circles with me whenever I get in the car so that I can finish it all up while its still summer and I can enjoy the quilt outside!starchappliquesupplies

One of the many reasons that I love the starch method of appliqué is because I can do all the prep-work ahead of time and take pieces that are pretty much completely ready for stitching with me. To make them all I need is my fabric, my freezer paper template, a small paintbrush and my little bowl of spray starch.finishedcircles



I prep the circle seam allowances by painting the spray starch onto them and pressing the seam allowances back onto the paper with my iron. Once done, I just remove the paper template and use it for the next circle. What I have ready to take with me are perfectly pressed circles that are ready for my summer Dresdens!blockpieces


Check in with me later this summer to see if I have finished the project! Hope you are having fun on your road trip… or wherever you are doing some lovely handwork!

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Hippity hoppity…

Why do blog hops always make me think of rabbits hopping along to I-don’t-know-where?

It seems like an odd association since I don’t have rabbits, and I’ve never had the balance or inclination to “hop” myself – pogo-sticks notwithstanding.  But I do like blog hops – I’ve always enjoyed them.  I like reading them and I’m always flattered to be asked to participate.  (Truth be told, given some of what I’ve written for past hops, I’m also a little surprised that anyone thinks having me along is a good idea.  Just ask Miss Canada.)

But Melissa seemed to think it was a good idea.


She wrote a book.  She?  Melissa Corry.  Happy Quilting Melissa Corry – Cut, Sew, Quilt, Repeat.  That Melissa.


I’m not sure when Melissa and I actually met, it might be one of those online things.  Except that when we see each other face-to-face at Market or elsewhere, it’s like we’ve known each other for years and years.  We were part of an online quilting bee a few years ago, and her name is one that I have seen several times over the years in magazines or on quilts at quilt shows.


As I was reading the write-up for this quilt I thought “Wait!… Melissa Corry. Utah. I know her!”  This was Melissa’s quilt at QuiltCon in Austin this past February – Back to Basics.

Now back to her terrific book… Irish Chain quilts.  Have you ever made one?  My second – or maybe it was third – quilt was an Irish Chain.  It was supposed to be a Double Irish Chain, at least that’s the name put on it in the home decorating magazine.  I didn’t know about quilt magazines yet, I just had a rotary cutter, some fabric and a rather misplaced belief that I could figure it out.  Long story short – my Double Irish Chain is technically a Compressed Triple Irish Chain.  Meaning, there isn’t quite as much “open” space in the alternating block as there should be, the result of wanting to machine-piece it and not wanting to have to applique that little square in the corner… so I improvised.

Blue and white.  Two fabrics.  I machine-quilted it myself.  It was a long time ago.

Since then, I’ve used a few Irish Chain variations in patterns but it had been awhile since I’d made a real – as in, traditional – Irish Chain quilt.  So I was looking forward to Melissa’s book.  Even the “Contemporary Twists on a Classic Design” didn’t worry me, I like that sort of thing and from the bee-days, I knew that Melissa was doing wonderful things with improv-piecing and contemporary design.

Then the book arrived.

I liked it – a lot.  The more I looked at it, the more I liked it… I’d love to make just about every quilt in the book!


This is An Irish Braid.  Melissa made it with Basic Grey’s Fresh Cut but I can see this in a blue-and-white color scheme – totally scrapped up, of course – or red-and-white.


This is Bitty Bits.  I love this version but reversing it so the background was dark – like maybe charcoal? – and using low-volume prints or reds for the chain would be very cool.


Charm Bracelet.  It’s a baby quilt so you’d think this one wouldn’t be on my list but (1) – I can make it bigger!  And (2) – there’s something about the wonkiness of the blocks that I immediately fell in love with.


Be. Still. My. Beating. Heart.  That’s not the name of the quilt – it’s End of the Rainbow.  I love this quilt and while I like the rainbow-part of it, I am already thinking about the scrappy medium and dark prints I’d mix for the chains and a scrappy background.  And reversing the values… I’ve been mentally thinking about what I’ve got and what I’d need.

So what did I get to make?  Or rather, what block did Melissa ask me to make…


Fractured.  At first, I was a teeny, tiny bit disappointed… this was very pretty but it didn’t “wow” me like the others had.  And then I pieced a “test block”.  I love this quilt and it’s now on the “I need to make this quilt” list.  Whether you used a Layer Cake – all the cutting will fit – or all your leftover strips and scraps, this quilt will work.  Single background or scrappy?  Done.

This is my block – Melissa asked me to make it with yellow prints and low-volume backgrounds…


Uh… oops.  Yeah, I kind of improvised a bit on those long rectangles.  It is an “improv” kind of block, isn’t it?

As Melissa writes in the book, piecing the “fractured” corners takes a little trial-and-error to get the hang of.  The best part is that there really isn’t any way to “mess it up” since seam allowance will off-set seams that look like they match, and simply turning a piece to the other side will also change the amount of “fracture”.

These are the same four pieces, they’re just turned around to make four different block possibilities.


After making my test-block, I did try one thing that worked pretty well for me to make sure my triangle flipped-over far enough to the corner.  I took a few minutes to press the 1/4″ seam allowance on the triangles.  Like so…


Is it necessary?  No.  Did it help me?  Yes.

When I was describing the block to a friend, she asked about bias edges.  Because of the way the pieces are trimmed off-center, there will be some bias-y edges, but certainly not enough to cause any problems.  Even if you don’t like any kind of bias, these were still straight enough that I wasn’t aware of any stretching.

So yes, I think you need this book!  It has fifteen great quilts, it’s full of terrific tips from Melissa and they’re Irish Chains!  As Melissa writes in the Intro, it’s probably a safe bet that many of us can count an Irish Chain quilt as one of the first designs we tackled.

If you landed here without making the trip to Happy Quilting first, here’s what’s left for this week:

June 16th –  Moda Cutting Table & Little Miss Shabby – Corey Yoder
June 17th –  Fresh Lemons – Faith Jones & V and Co.  – Vanessa Christenson
June 18th –  A Quilting Life – Sherri McConnell & Stitch This! – Jenny Wilding Cardon
June 19th –  Happy Quilting – Wrap-Up & Grand Prizes
And if you missed it, you can go back and catch up with these amazing quilters:
June 8th –    Happy Quilting – Blog Hop Intro & Grand Prize Entry
June 9th –    Moda Lissa – Lissa Alexander & Fat Quarter Shop – Jocelyn Ueng
June 10th –  Piece N Quilt – Natalia Bonner & In Color Order – Jeni Baker
June 11th –  Amy’s Creative Side – Amy Ellis & Sew Kind of Wonderful – Jenny Pedigo
June 12th –  Quilt Story – Megan Jimenez & Diary of a Quilter – Amy Smart
June 15th –  Freshly Pieced – Lee Heinrich & Christa Quilts – Christa Watson
For now, there are two things you need to know.  First, you need to know that if you go to Melissa’s blog – Happy Quilting – and leave a Comment with the word “IRISH” in it, you’ll be entered to win a prize.
The First winner chosen will receive a signed copy of Irish Chain Quilts, a complete Bitty Bits Quilt Kit and other goodies.  The Second winner chosen will receive a signed copy of Irish Chain Quilts, a bundle of fat quarters, an American Jane Lorraine Layer Cake and more cool stuff.  (Details at Happy Quilting.)
Irish Chain Quilts Blog Hop - Grand Prises
And if you leave a comment here by Wednesday night – June 17th – at Midnight, CST, you could win a copy of Irish Chain Quilts and a Layer Cake.  You just need to answer one question – Have you ever made an Irish Chain quilt?
Thank you Melissa for letting me “hop” with you!
The rest of you – have a terrific Tuesday!  Go Irish Chain!
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Eight seconds…

Someone in the office is fond of saying that “this isn’t her first rodeo”.

The phrase has stuck with me the past couple of weeks because while this wasn’t my first Quilt Market, it often felt as though it was.  It was still Quilt Market and I knew what I would see there, but my role and responsibilities would be different.  Bigger, faster, more.

I mean these folks actually have a plan when they set-up the booth – a schematic?  Can you imagine?  Bigger.  Faster.  More.


This little buckeroo was hanging out in the Basic Grey booth, he’s made with their new collection, Mon Ami.  (It was a big hit at Market… just saying.)  And yes, I’m in love with that pincushion too.

So Spring Quilt Market 2015 is done and let it suffice to say that I’ve been advised – for the sake of my health – not to mention anything about something similar happening any time soon.  It’s forbidden.  For at least the foreseeable future.

Everyone is back in the office and the crates have arrived, so there are quilts and Market-paraphernalia everywhere.  Most of the quilts are being gathered and organized for traveling, some won’t be back for months and months.  Folks are still a little tired and the office is quiet, in part because there’s plenty to catch-up on and partly because after the people-overload at Market, a little quiet and alone-time is much-appreciated.


Jen Kingwell‘s quilt, It’s a Small World from the Spring 2015 Special Issue of Quiltmania.  It measures 33″ x 52″ and it’s glorious.

(If you’re wondering about the pictures, these are a few of my favorite things from Quilt Market.)

Like this – this is a postcard size business card from Kathy Cardiff of The Cottage at Cardiff Farms.  It would take too long to explain but basically, with what she’s provided on the back of the card, you could make all of these projects with the diagrams and a little creativity.  Kathy has a lot of that, she does beautiful quilts and wool projects.  And she’s nice!  Her booth is always one of my favorites – she’s got that knack.


I also visited with Heather and Joel Petersen – Heather is the genius-designer-quilter behind Anka’s Treasure books and patterns.  They’re from Minnesota and Heather has skipped the last couple of Markets because she was busy with Carter and Max, their two adorable little boys.  I met Heather many years ago when we were invited to the offices of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine in Des Moines, Iowa to be on the committee to select shops for two issues of the Quilt Sampler.


This quilt and wall-hanging/tablerunner is from Heather’s new book, Angles With Ease 2, and it uses her terrific Triangler ruler.  The fabrics in the big quilt are from Fresh Cut by Basic Grey, and the fabrics in the small quilt are from Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille.


While the Triangler ruler is available now, the book will be in stores and at United Notions any day now.

I also caught up with Gudrun Erla of GE Quilt Designs – another one of my favorite people, I’ve known her for many years too.  Gudrun and I once sat next to each other on a flight leaving Market… only because I was willing to go to extreme measures to save a couple of seats for she and her assistant.  (Unless you think “accidentally” dumping out your purse a couple of times, faking coughing fits and removing your suitcase from the overhead bin and unpacking it on the seat sounds like normal behavior.)

This is Gudrun.  (She runs in those Ragnar relay races and is super-fit… but I like her anyway.)


That terrific quilt behind her is a pattern titled Strip Plus.  It’s made with 2 1/2″ strips – Jelly Rolls, anyone?  She cuts strips using her Stripology ruler.  It’s a terrific ruler for cutting and organizing everything from fat quarters and fat eighths to scraps.  With all those strips, you could make something from her two new books using 1 1/2″ strips.


Both books have six different designs in three different sizes… meaning there are 18 projects in each book.  (I used the calculator just to make sure.)

This is my favorite, it’s the 1 1/2″ version of the Strip Plus quilt above.


I think I’m going to need to make this quilt, except I want to make it bigger.  A bigger version of the smaller version… please tell me that makes sense.  (And if it doesn’t, little white lies would be much appreciated.)

There were a couple of “Miss Rosie” quilts in the booth – non-Frivols quilts.


On the ladder on the left, that’s Otis on the top and Full Circle on the bottom.  Otis is made with For You by Zen Chic, and Full Circle is made with Alice’s Scrapbag by Barbara Brackman.  On the right is Viola, it’s made with Farmhouse by Fig Tree & Co.  (The gorgeous quilting is by my sweet friend in Phoenix, Diane Tricka.)

I’m already thinking ahead to “that thing I’m not supposed to mention” and I’d like to know what you’d like to see.  You saw the set-up and take-down, a little bit of the Moda Party and Sample Spree, and the finished Moda booth and the Designer Studio booths, but what else should I take pictures of?  What did I forget?

I confess to being the sort who tries to take pictures of quilts and pretty-stitchy-things and usually winds up forgetting to take pictures of familiar people standing in front of those things so if that’s what you’d prefer seeing, let me know.

That’s it for today.  I hope you have a lovely Memorial Day weekend; I’m going to sew and start working on some quilts and projects for the next catalog, that deadline is in less than a month.

A nap.  I think I should plan on taking a few of those this weekend.

Long ones as that bull done wore me out.  But it was sure fun.

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A nip here and a tuck there…

I’m getting a face-lift!

Well, not me personally, as in “not on my person”, my physical self.  Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. is the beneficiary of this enhancement – the patterns.

I – we – need it.  And I’m pretty excited about it.


Aren’t they pretty?

Okay, they’re not done.  That’s not even one of them.  Think of this as a sneak-peek into the operating room.

Wee Hours?  It’s a new pattern but that’s not it on the cover, that’s the Collection for a CauseFriendship quilt from a few years ago that was used for context and to help with the visual.  Full Circle?  That’s it on the cover – made with Alice’s Scrapbag, the beautiful new collection by Barbara Brackman.  Susan is working on the layout and diagram now.  She’s the perfect person to work with me as she used to teach third-graders.  The one in back is Viola… more on her soon.

I wrote a little while back that the biggest challenge has been working backwards – at least it’s backwards for me.

Back in the day – it does occasionally feel like forever-ago – I would see fabric I liked and let it noodle-around in my head until I got an idea for what to make.  Then I would think about different sizes of blocks, how big each would make the quilt, “about” how much fabric would I need and so on.  That part is still the same, the difference now is that I used to make the quilt before I wrote the pattern.  Now I calculate the yardage, write the pattern, make some chicken-scratch diagrams and then pass it along to the computer wizards.  Sounds good, right?


It is. But it isn’t without a hiccup on two.  This is Otis – more on “him” soon too.

The problem – problems? – arise when something doesn’t work as planned.  One of the new quilts had yardage calculated based on getting six squares per strip.  Cut to size, it would add up to 20 1/4″.  It was a very tight fit… maybe 1/4″ to spare.  But many of us – including me – would cut those squares a little bit larger to allow for trimming – they’re for half-triangle squares.  I cut them at 3 1/2″ instead of 3 3/8″ and while it adds up to 21″ and “should” still fit, it didn’t.  I could only get 5 squares per strip.  So that pattern will need a little work, a revision or four.

Where I have to get better is keeping the drafts and revisions on the computer updated or, more importantly, making sure that whomever is working on that pattern knows that it’s been updated.  Learning to work with other people is really hard!

As we find a format and style that works for the new patterns, some of the “old” patterns will be updated, re-colored and perhaps even re-made.  As we go through this process, I’d like to ask for your help on two fronts.

First, are there any “old” Miss Rosie’s patterns that you think should be on the list for a makeover?

And second, if you were making a list of what absolutely, positively should be in a pattern for it to be good, what would you include?  E.g., pressing, little tips, why I’m doing it the way I’m doing it, etc.

I’m off to cut some fabric so I can finish Viola.

Then I’m writing the pattern.  Pray for Susan.


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