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…
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.
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…
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
Basic Grey’s Fresh Cut collection was another inspiring breath of fresh air.
And Janet Clare’s More Hearty Good Wishes brought a delightful touch of the sea to the designer row.
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!
Another delightful and colorful booth was Pat Sloan’s display featuring The Sweet Life.
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!
The Sweetwater booth featured Feed Company…another collection I fell in love with at first sight.
And Me & My Sister Designs had a delightful display featuring Bandana!
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.
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.
Jen Kingwell’s beautiful Gardenvale fabrics were beautifully displayed in her stunning quilts.
And Lisa Bongean’s Lakeside Gatherings was presented beautifully in quilts large and small. She also debuted her new beautiful flannel collection.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I always tell people that I am not much of a gadget girl… I’m really not. Usually I find something that works and I just stick with it. I have had the same beloved Bernina machine since I became serious about quilting and I still use it every single day and still love it like I did the first day I bought it. I am completely committed to my rulers, cutters and mats and I don’t feel the need to go looking for new ones very often.
However, the same cannot be said of thread. When I first started sewing, I used the cheap chain store brand that many of you probably did. I then switched to the standard ones I found at my quilt store and I thought everything was fine. Until the day I met Aurifil thread. Hello!
I decided to give it a try since several of my friends seemed so adamant about how great it was. Oh my goodness, I fell in love with it in the first stitch. I loved how it felt, how it looked, how nicely it behaved in the machine and most importantly how little lint it produced in my machine. I have never used another brand since that day, not for piecing or quilting or sewing. I love it. Really love it.
So when the opportunity presented itself to work with Aurifil, it was a total no brainer. The hardest part was choosing – or more accurately eliminating- colors to choose the final 12 that would go into my FIG TREE COLLECTION. As many of you might know, I am crazy about color and I have so many favorite “Fig Tree” colors that it was really, really hard eliminating some of my favorites in order to have the final 12 that would go into the box! Of course I am in love with the grouping that I ended up with. It just makes me want to sew every time I open the box and look at all that color yumminess in one place!!
And then there was more! As an extra project, I got to do something even more fun. Or at least equally fun !! The idea was born to make a little Fig Tree/MODA/Aurifil kit. What could possibly be better?
It would include 7 threads, 1 mini charm and a free pattern. I went to work! This was a bit easier than choosing the main color collection since the colors had to coordinate with my upcoming SOMERSET collection. Once I had the thread colors and the Somerset Mini Charm, the free pattern came to me almost automatically… of course they had to be spools! So I settled on two different spool shapes and went to cutting! I added several of the colors of thread for the quilting itself too! Not sure if you can see that on the monitor but its there, I promise!
So here is our little piece of fabric and thread heaven… “MY AURIFIL SPOOLS” made with Aurifil thread and SOMERSET fabric by Fig Tree for MODA! All in one sweet little box, it is the perfect little kit for you to enjoy or as a surprise for your favorite sewing friend! Although once you have one, I am not sure how you would ever give it away LOL!
Kit boxes will be available in September as will the entire Somerset line!
As soon as we finished putting this little project together, I decided that we wanted to do a special contest and promotion with it! We want all of you to join in the fun! It is a great chance to play around with a little design of your own and win some amazing prizes at the same time!
WHAT: A contest using the new Somerset Thread Box by Fig Tree & Co. for AURIFIL. Using the fabric and thread goodies in the box, design your own original mini charm pattern and submit it to us to win fabulous prizes!
Winners will receive a fat eighth bundle of our upcoming SOMERSET line, a packet of our brand new patterns, Fig Tree nail polish and Fig Tree Fabric Spray by Soak! If possible, we may even publish your pattern!
WHEN: Submit a photo of your quilt with a story of your inspiration and how you used the mini charm and the Somerset threads by November 30, 2014.
You can reserve a kit HERE or click HERE for more info on the contest itself!
And just in case you need some more inspiration, we recently debuted a line of our own FIG TREE MINIS and joined in all the MINI pattern fun! I know that so many of you have joined too and I have seen so many wonderful minis out there each day on the web and from people’s photos. Keep going with all that creativity ladies [and gentlemen]! But just in case you haven’t joined in yet, here are a few shots of our mini patterns to get you started…
MINI CANNED PEARS
… our full size version of CANNED PEARS is also available as a pattern.
… the original size of this pattern is from our WITH FABRIC & THREAD book and comes in both scrappy and 2-color version so we used both in our MINI too!
MINI CHERRY PIE
… the full size CHERRY PIE is also a stand alone Fig Tree pattern.
… there is no full size pattern of STITCH yet, coming soon!
As we speak, we are working on yet more new MINIS as well… because, well we are just a little bit addicted. Because they are a little bit addictive! If you want to follow along and see what other folks are doing with our MINIS, the best place to do that is to follow us on INSTAGRAM. We are figtreeandco. Or come see me on my blog, Fresh Figs anytime.