Think Pink!  Think Market!

Think Something – Anything – But Market!


This is an antique Drunkard’s Path quilt I found on Pinterest.  It’s pink.  It’s pretty.  It’s in!

I think you can guess that given a choice of subjects for today, I’ll go with the first one.  It’s October and since 1985, it’s been celebrated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  But did you know that the pink ribbon symbol didn’t come until several years later?

In the fall of 1991, The Susan G. Komen Foundation had given out pink ribbons to participants in it’s New York City Race for the Cure.  Two years later, Evelyn Lauder of Estee Lauder Companies founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as it’s symbol.  If you watched any National Football Games over the weekend, you probably saw lots and lots of pink.

We were laughing about that this morning and that led us to asking how much “pink” we had in the office – meaning in the sample room and notions building.  There is some pink fabric – but pictures of pink Bella Solids didn’t seem as interesting as notions.


Sewline.  They’re easy – everything they do comes in pink packaging.  Thank you, Sewline!

That’s the Sewline Gift Set, it comes in a pretty pink case.  Do you use marking pencils?  Someone asked me recently if I did and I have to confess that I don’t.  I use the Micron fine markers for drawing lines and unfortunately, they don’t come in pink.  Red, but not pink.  (Who do I see about correcting that?)

I do like glue pens and Sewline’s is my favorite.  I’ve been using them to hold zippers in place while making zippered-bags, and for turning under edges for machine-applique.  (I’ll show you the circle quilt I just finished this weekend when it’s back from the quilter.)


There were a lot – more than I would have thought.

In no particular order:

Just so you know, the Peels, Tulips and Bobbinis only come in packages with blue, green, orange and pink.  I just pulled out the pink ones.

Do you know what this is?


I know.  It says it’s a Simple Seam Wheel.  They used to be pretty common in quilt shops… back in the day when templates were used for piecing a lot.  They’re not so easily found now but Jen Kingwell uses them all the time so she found a source and now sells them.  They’re very nice – heavy, thick and with a big enough hole for most pencils to fit into easily.

What’s it for?  It’s used to mark a 1/4″ seam allowance with templates – the sort used to make quilts like these…


These are from Millefiori Quilts  by Willyne Hammerstein.  The quilt in the upper left corner is the La Passacaglia quilt – fussy cutting required, templates required.  There’s also a gorgeous Millefiori Quilts 2 book… that Willyne is a busy girl.

That’s enough fun for me… I’ve got a binding to finish for Karen and some log cabin strips to cut.  And a backing to piece.

Pink is good but I need to think about that middle thing now.

Which reminds me… in addition to pictures of new things from Market, is there anything I should put on my list as a “look for”, “must see”, “get a picture of”?  (I need lists these days of I forget things.)

Happy Tuesday!

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Three weeks…

Twenty-two days.  That’s how much time there is between now – today – and Fall Quilt Market in Houston.

That means new fabric to fondle and ogle, catalogs to prepare, write-ups to write, quilts to make and patterns to write – basically, there’s plenty of “stuff” to do.

So I’m trying to catch up on a few things I’ve meant to share and keep forgetting about.


After deciding she needed a Halloween quilt too, Lissa pulled these fabrics a few months ago.  I knew I was going to make “something”, I just didn’t know what.  When trying to decide what to use for a quilt I’m contributing to a book, I remembered this stack and presto!  I know someone will ask so…

On the left, from top to bottom:

On the right, from top to bottom:

As for the quilt, that will have to wait until next year.

Have you seen the sew-along for the Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt?  I decided to sew-along and I’m happy to say that most of the ladies in the office are doing the same.  Some have pulled out the first Farmer’s Wife blocks they started several years ago with the goal of finishing – making progress – on that.  No matter… we’re awash in a sea of templates, little blocks and “big plans”.


Week No. 1 and so far, I’m caught up.  I think it’s all downhill from here.  But at least “I look good” with my spiral-bound book, don’t you think?  (FedEx Office or any office supply store can do this for a couple of dollars.  It helps a lot.)

I also took the plunge with one of the Zakka Workshop patterns-kits for a little coin purse.  I don’t know that I’ll ever really use the little purse but I was intrigued to see if I could manage to actually get one made.


This is the Simple Coin Purse and guess what?  It’s actually fairly easy to make.  One suggestion though – they recommend a toothpick for putting the glue in the clasp part.  Uh, no.  I found that a fine-tip for the glue bottle or a thin paint brush worked much – MUCH – better.  I want to make another one because it really was fun to make.  I might try the  Classic Coin Purse or the Vintage Clasp Wallet… though it has a pocket.  (After Market.)

A highlight this past week was the arrival of the first batch of Moda Match Maker for Bella Solids.

They’re.  Gorgeous.  Perfection!


The swatches measure 2 1/2″ x 5″ and the backing has the Bella Solid color number and name, as well as the number of the swatch.  It’s like a page number so putting it can be put back in order if you’re the sort who wants to take it apart.  (That would be me.)  The swatches are threaded onto a long metal tube that will allow for the swatches to be fanned easily.  When new colors are added to the Bella Solids, “swatch packs” will be available and they’ll still fit within the outer cover.  At least for the next hundred colors or so.


This is going to be so much better than my old method for color-matching…


If there was a prize for the “most trashed Bella color card” in the office… I’m a contender.  And in just eight months.

One last thing, something else I forgot – did you know that six years ago, Moda made a time-elapse video of the Fall Market 2009 booth being built?

It’s pretty cool.  If only it really happened in just a few minutes.

Happy Friday!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

I’ll be sewing.  Really, really fast.

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In print…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is about inspiration from Down-Under.  Ever since I first started reading Australian quilt magazines, learning about Australian quilters, and then acquiring books written by them, I’ve been in love with the work produced in Australia.  It inspires me in the sense that it expands my field-of-view in much the same way that traveling the world broadens our horizons.  It reminds us that there are options – other ways of thinking and doing.

(This is also a long post and if you like quilt books… it’s not my fault.)

If you’ve been quilting for any amount of time, you’ve seen the published work of Australian quilters.  You may not even have realized where it came from… though with “Australian” in the title of the magazine, that probably helps.  I think the first time I saw Australian Patchwork & Quilting was around 1995.


This wasn’t the issue – this is the latest.  I stumbled upon an issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting at a Ben Franklin store… before it became Craftsmart… before it become something else… before it went away.  What will remain memorable about the place for me is that it opened up a whole new quilting world for me… okay, and there were those Lang boxes that I still love and use.

In trying to find as many back issues as I could, I went to every quilt store in Phoenix – this was before the boom of “pj shopping” – and along the way, I found Australian Quilter’s Companion


… and Homespun.

Homespun AU

It’s hard for me to explain what was different about these magazines.  It wasn’t that they were better, they were just a different experience.  The quilts used the same blocks that I knew from traditional quilting, and sometimes they were using the same fabrics I’d seen in my local quilt shop… that I might have in the bins and baskets in my workroom.  But the feel of the quilts was different from most of what I was seeing in books, quilt shops and magazines at the time.

The only way I can describe it is like this – swimming is swimming.  You’re in a body of water, moving your arms and legs, trying to stay afloat and move from one place to another.  But swimming in a swimming pool is definitely a different experience than swimming in a lake or pond, or in the ocean.  There might be similarities but the view and challenges are not the same.  It’s a different experience.

Through the magazines, I learned the names of quilters whose work I loved.  When books by Australian quilters started showing up in quilt shops, and when Australian quilters started coming to Quilt Market regularly, I was all in.  It might sound shallow and very superficial but if a book was authored by an Aussie quilter, I was probably going to get it.


I may or may not have bought most of these books without looking inside, just because of the name on the spine.

I know that I’ll never make every project in each book, or even at least one project in each book… but the books still inspire me to think outside boxes, to consider a different approach to mixing color, pattern and style of fabric.  They inspire me in the same way that Freddy Moran’s books do, that Gwen Marston’s books do. In an odd way, these quilters and quilts remind me that what matters most is individuality.

Just so you know, I’m not the only one energized by the work of Aussie quilters.  This is on a co-worker’s “inspiration board” – Jamie.


The pillow is made by Jen Kingwell and this image is from her Quilt Lovely book. (This page come from a promotional piece – no books were harmed.)

I was going to pick just a few but I couldn’t bring myself to leave someone out, and if I was going to include one of their books, I wanted to include them all.  Choose a favorite?  As if!  With all the things I gave away while moving to Texas, there wasn’t any chance these books weren’t going to make the trip with me.  At least two in this stack were published after the move – but I still bought my very own copy.  (Drooling on “office” books is sort of frowned on.)


Books and patterns.  Mountmellick and Lollypop Trees are patterns.  Mountmellick is by Di Ford and Lollypop Trees is by Kim McLean.  Bring Me Flowers is by Jen Kingwell and Desert to Sea is a compilation book put together by Jane Davidson – QuiltJane from yesterday’s post.  All are examples of the kind of extraordinary workmanship that the best Australian quilters do.  Apparently “fast and easy” doesn’t translate well in the Aussie dialect.  Gidday?

Kim McLean is an extraordinary quilter who is known mostly her needle-turn applique quilts – and patterns.  If you’ve ever seen one of her quilts, her style is immediately recognizable for its use of color and pattern, and for the elaborate, intricate applique.  As it is with so many Aussie quilters, Kim’s quilts are embraced by both traditional and modern quilters as an example of the best kind of work they do.

Desert to Sea is a self-published book by Jane Davidson – QuiltJane.  The book is a compilation of ten quilts from eight Australian designers giving it a wonderful variety.  (If you read Linzee’s post chatting with Jane, you know that there are some terrific patterns coming soon from Want It Need It Quilt, Jane’s pattern company.)

I’m pretty sure the first real Aussie quilt book I bought was the first Material Obsession book by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.


It’s still a favorite.  The use of color and pattern still takes my breath away after all these years.  Okay, it’s not that long ago, MO was published in 2009.  Material Obsession Two came a year or so later.


Kathy Doughty owns the Material Obsession shop in Australia and has published a couple more books that continue to expand on her ideas of color, pattern and the vibrant mix of both.  (The shop and a class are on my “bucket list”.)


Sarah Fielke’s first book was Material Obsession and it was the first of five published books, soon to be six.  Old Quilts, New Life is based on quilts from the American Folk Art Museum and it will be published in October of this year.  (In about six weeks.)


Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched.  The first time I saw any of Anni’s work, it was in an advertisement in one of the Aussie magazines, it was for her shop.  I loved her line drawings and the quirky style she had mixing applique, embroidery and piecing.  She also makes everything!  Dolls and quilts, pincushions and little sewing needfuls, if you can make it with a needle and thread, Anni’s made it.  Her colors and fabrics were very different from the bright, bold fabrics used by some of the quilters I’ve already named, but it was still very original.  (She’s also very nice – and very cool.  I met Anni and her husband at a Quilt Market in Portland a few years back when we were back-to-back booth neighbors.)


Irene Blanck – this is one of the books I bought earlier this year, I’d been waiting for it.  I met Irene at Quilt Market last year and she’s the sweetest woman.  She was a little surprised that I knew who she was and could name many of her quilts and patterns.  She was a little worried when I told her that I’d seen a picture of one of her early quilt patterns, Floral Beauty, and that it had taken me quite some time to track it down at a shop in Australia.  Floral Beauty is included in Focus on Applique.

Michelle Yeo!  I met Michelle last Fall in Gretna, Nebraska at the Quilted Moose.  If you’ve seen her book, Of Needle, Thimble and Thread, I was fortunate to see most of these quilts in person and yes, they’re even more spectacular in person.  Michelle’s specialty is elaborately pieced – hand and/or machine – reproduction-style quilts, often made with templates and/or paper-piecing.

Di Ford’s quilts are also Reproduction-style combining traditional blocks and motifs in a way that is still distinctive.  Like many Aussie quilters, she’s a fan of fussy-cutting pieces to create secondary patterns, and for broderie perse.


This book wasn’t included in the other stack because I couldn’t find it before I left for work.  I had to take and include this picture later – at home.  But I found the book!  Brigitte Giblin – also a Reproduction-style – or vintage-inspired – quilter who combines applique, English paper-piecing, traditional piecing, embroidery, fussy-cutting and a host of other techniques to make spectacularly original quilts.

Will you ever look at your fabric the same way?


And finally, these books were all published in the last year or so.

Jen Kingwell.  Quilt Lovely.  ‘Nuf said.  I wasn’t at Jen’s first Quilt Market but like so many other quilters, I remember the first time I saw Steam Punk and Midnight at the Oasis.  They’re both on my “quilt bucket list”.  Someday, right?  Of course, every time Jen publishes a new pattern or book, that list gets longer.

Gail Pan!  What is it about Aussie women and embroidery?  Or hand-stitching?  They incorporate it into their work – small projects, quilts, everything.  And it’s always beautiful.  Gail is another one of the lovely women whose name I kept seeing before I had the pleasure of meeting her.

The last book is by the late Kathreen Ricketson.  I found Kathreen’s work through her blog, Whip Up and what I liked was that sense of a shared passion for making stuff.  I liked her “voice”.

That’s probably the common thread through all of these books – the authors – quilters – have something to say with their work.

Looking at these books, one thing is very clear.  Those Aussies are a talkative bunch.

Happy Wednesday!

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Bits and pieces…

Today is a “either-or” sort of day.

It feels like everything I’ve got going is either winding down or gearing up, and my calendar is full of “weeks and weeks away” or a rapidly approaching deadline.

Winding down – Christmas in July.  I’ll still be making and sharing some good-for-gift projects in the  coming months but the only thing left is to say – after one of the ladies in the office picked five numbers and I found the corresponding comment, I sent five e-mails.  If you didn’t hear from me, not to worry, this isn’t the last time I’ll have some surprises to share.  With birthdays, anniversaries and the holidays, there’s still plenty to celebrate.

While this doesn’t wind down for two more weeks, the deadline is looming.

August 18th – Spoonflower and Fabric8.  Are you putting the finishing touches on your artwork for Botanical Sketchbook?


Your name on a Moda selvage – it could happen.  But time-is-a-wasting!  You’ve got two weeks from today – get busy!

We are gearing up for several “events” coming soon, and just as it is with back-to-school, all the catalogs full of new “Fall” stuff, there are crates and boxes arriving in the office and over in the warehouse.  From fabric to notions, it’s all got the feel of “gearing up”.  It’s all rather distracting – partly because it’s intersting, partly because some of what is arriving are things we’ve been working on for much of the year, and partly because it’s all very new to me.

I’m also somewhat easily side-tracked.  It didn’t help that a couple of new “Christmas” books were dropped off in my office this week from That Patchwork PlaceMartingale.


Handmade Christmas Cheer by Pat Wys of the Silver Thimble Quilt Co. and…


Season’s Greetings by Anni Downs of Hatched & Patched in Australia.

Both books are terrific, and both books have projects that you can finish by the holidays.  (And yes, I’m sharing.  These books found their way into two of the “gifts” going out this week.)


By the way – today is National Chocolate Chip Day!

Not National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day – that’s May 16th.  But it’s a loophole – celebrating the chocolate chip includes chocolate chip cookies!  Of course, it also includes chocolate chip pancakes, waffles, muffins and bagels.  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – mint and “regular”, chocolate chip milkshakes and chocolate chip cake are worthy treats, as is any trail mix or granola bar with chocolate chips!

I’m sorry… I need a moment.  In the excitement over chocolate possibilities, I sort of lost my head.

David Leite's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I was distracted by this picture.

This was the recipe that resulted from David Leite’s search for the “consummate chocolate chip cookie“.  David Leite is an award-winning, renowned chef-baker-gourmet who writes for the NY Times and he wrote about this several years ago as the “Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”.

I’ve made these cookies – mine didn’t look anywhere near this perfect – but it’s a recipe that’s definitely worth trying if you love Chocolate Chip Cookies.  David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookie – Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I had a deadline this past week – and I missed it!  July 31st.  That was when I was supposed to have my blocks finished for a swap I’d been invited to join.  I finished them over the weekend and turned them in this morning… “finished” being an operative word.  That kind of implies that they were “in the works”.  Does having my fabric selected count as “in the works”?


These are my blocks – before I cut them into quarters.  The “center squares” aren’t in the center and really, they’re not supposed to be.  This can be a scrap-buster or a “I must buy lots of pretty fabric for my new project” kind of quilt.  (Mine was mostly the latter.  I know, you’re shocked.)


Have you ever participated in a swap?  I think this is my fourth.  Or fifth.

I won’t pretend that they always goes perfectly – that you’re always going to be thrilled with what you get back in the swap.  With the right group – like-minded quilters – and a few guidelines and rules, it’s a whole lot of fun.  Most swaps I’ve participated in are fairly specific about fabric – 100% cotton, quilt-store quality, color palette and sometimes even the style.  E.g., no novelty prints, all 30s or batiks, etc.

The benefit of blocks like these is that they can be squared up to uniform size to account for “variations”.  The quilt we’re all making is based on one from the Sunday Morning Quilts book by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison – and yes, we all have the book.  We were given a fabric and color-palette of – Bonnie & Camille meet Minick & Simpson.  No, fabrics weren’t limited to those two “designers”… let’s just say nobody had to dive into their stash of brown or purple.

Truth be told, half the fun is seeing what you get back.  Most are gorgeous – much better than anything I made.  But every now and then you get one that elicits this comment, “this block is from <insert the name of the sweet friend who you adore but are convinced is color-blind>… well, bless her heart.”

I’ll let you know how it goes.

That’s it for today – I hope you go celebrate the holiday and consider participating in a block swap of some kind.

Happy Tuesday!

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Taking Embroidery on the Road

I’m old enough to remember the last time that embroidery was “a thing,” and I’ve still got the overalls and chambray shirts covered with chain-stitched butterflies and French knot flowers to prove it. So it’s been a real pleasure for me to see the revival of interest in embroidery, along with all the lovely new threads, needles, and other tools that go with it. While embroidery’s great any time of the year, it’s especially perfect for travel. With summer vacation in full swing, several of Moda’s designers have offered to share tips and tricks for taking embroidery on the road.

First up are Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs. They have been traveling big-time this summer, teaching in Australia (you can see photos of their adventures via their Instagram account). Before they left, Barb was kind enough to share some tips.

Barb and Mary Photo Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs

I found this wonderful 3 pocket zipper case a few years ago and it’s become a favorite. I may have found it at the container store but I really can’t remember. It’s compact and slips into my carry on tote bag perfectly!
Photo One Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs
The first pocket holds my fabric …
Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs
The second pocket holds my supplies. My hoop, scissors and a small needle case made for me by Karla at Sweetwater!!
Photo Three Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs
The third pocket holds my floss …
Photo Four Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs
 And we can’t forget these!!
Photo Five Photo Two Me & My Sister Designs
 Safe travels!
Next up is Kathy Schmitz.
The thought of idle hands while on the road sends chills down my spine.  I might not remember to bring my toothbrush, but I will ALWAYS  have a project to work on.  If it’s going to be a short day trip I will pack up my little Bunny in the Briars notion keep.

Scissors, needles, thread and project all fit nicely in the zippered pouch.
unnamed-2However, if this is a trip lasting more then a few hours, this little pouch won’t be big enough.  I have a fear of running out of things to do, so typically I overpack where projects are concerned. For major road trips I bring a little suitcase just for projects.
I feel like Mary Poppins with all the stuff I can cram inside!
The only thing missing?  My favorite stitching companions… my kittens Sammy and Sosie. Sammy likes to chill under works in progress.
Sosie thinks the suitcase is a perfect napping spot for her.
Remember, it’s better to have too many projects then not enough!  So pack freely!
Finally, let’s hear from Kaari Meng of French General, who has been doing her stitching in France.
Ever since I can remember I have loved taking needle to cloth—it is something that I can do anyplace and take anywhere! This past year French General began designing stitching samplers, as well as a collection of embroidery floss for Cosmo Threads.
Our Chateau Getaway trips to the south of France every summer have us stitching in all the small cafés and bistros…while sipping a café au lait!

Floss-La-MerSo, how about you? Do you take embroidery along when you travel? Have any hints or must-have products to share with us? Happy trails!


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