Designing Women: Quilt Designers Share Their Stories

Northern Lights—a Cake Mix quilt pattern designed by Carrie Nelson

Seems simple enough—you take some fabric, cut it up, move the pieces around, sew them back together and what’ve you got? A quilt top.

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Featured Shop: The Quilted Moose

The name of Debbie Robert’s shop, The Quilted Moose, is a tribute to Debbie’s last name when she was young: Mowinkel. For her classmates, it was a direct route from there to Bullwinkle, the four-footed cartoon companion of Rocky the Squirrel. “Everyone called me that,” Debbie says. “You just had to embrace it.”


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Marvelous Moda for Backgrounds

DSCN0154“Whit” pattern by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company; quilt pieced by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life

One of the first decisions to be made when planning a quilt is the choice of background fabric. Sometimes this is the hardest part of making a quilt: it’s easy to decide on favorite fabrics, but what type of background will really make them shine? Sometimes the choice is easy: solid white or a darker color might clearly work best. Sometimes two background choices have to be made as in the quilt above which features Moda Bella 9900-97 as the flying geese background with Moda Dottie as the secondary polka dot background.

2014-05-26 09.30.00And sometimes “low volume” or light prints included in a collection make the very best background choice of all. The two Schnibbles quilts above both use Moda fabrics by Minick and Simpson with the background selections for both quilts chosen from the lights in the various collections. There is also the option of combining solid background fabrics along with the lighter fabrics in a collection for even more variety.


DSCN0153“Tidbit” pattern by Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company pieced in Floral Gatherings fabrics

A variety of light prints from the Floral Gatherings collection was used for all of the backgrounds in the mini quilt above with the outer border pieced using the beige floral on cream.While use of these light prints for block backgrounds adds a lot of interest to this mini quilt, the prints are not overwhelming in these combinations and allow the block fabrics to stand out.


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“Nested Churn Dash” pattern by Jane Davidson pieced by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life

Sometimes the very best “low-volume” backgrounds come by using light prints from a variety of collections. The scrappy churn dash quilt above is king-sized and features fabrics from nearly every Minick & Simpson fabric collection. All of the lights and “nearly light” fabrics used for backgrounds also come from Minick & Simpson collections: every print is beautiful as it stands alone, and in combination, the variety of light background fabrics really adds an extra element of interest to the quilt.

When choosing fabrics for your next quilt remember to think about the variety of options for background fabrics. You just might want to pick up some extra yardage of your favorite light prints for the collection to use for part or all of your background!

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Quilt, Sweet Quilt: Honeycomb Hints from Bonnie and Camille

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There’s nothing like pre-cuts—jelly rolls, layer cakes, charm squares—to whip up a quilt or other quick project. Now there’s a new member of the pre-cut family: Honeycombs.

Honeycombs (so named because, yup, they look just like the honeycomb in a beehive) are hexagon-shaped, and hexagons are definitely hot these days. While they’re straight out of traditional quilting—think patterns like Grandmother’s Flower Garden—their graphic quality appeals equally to contemporary quilters. Sewing them requires a tweak or two, but it’s simple to learn. (For tips and techniques, check out this Moda Bake Shop post.) 

You’ll be seeing honeycombs from many Moda designers (with Bella Solid Honeycombs to match), along with patterns that help hexagons shine. The mother and daughter team of Bonnie (of Cotton Way) and Camille (of Thimble Blossoms) are here to share some of their new patterns that use Honeycombs. And while they may not have been stuck on that mysterious quilting island (link), they’ve offered to tell us about three of their favorite notions, too.
Tell us about how you like to use Honeycombs.

Bonnie: My favorite way to use them is raw edge. They look so fuzzy and soft when they are washed and are especially great for baby quilts. I love using the pack with all the different pieces from the line for a scrappy look.

Camille: I’ve worked on English paper piecing in the past and these were just so, so much easier! I love the plastic template that comes in each pack. It is almost like a little ruler and I used it to easily cut some additional hexagons. Now that I think about it, I’ll probably cut some hexagons from our previous lines to mix in a quilt, too!

What Honeycomb-friendly patterns have you created?

Bonnie: My Bundle Up Baby Boy pattern uses one pack of Honeycombs for both quilts. I’ve got an ironing board pattern with hexagons that give it a fresh, updated look. And I’m in the process of designing a table topper with hexagons, too.

Camille: I made my Juggle quilt out of my Happy-Go-Lucky Honeycomb pack and was surprised at how quickly and easily it came together.

And how about your favorite notions? What are three you can’t live without?


Thimble Pads—I love them for hand quilting and binding.  I have never been able to get used to a thimble, so when I discovered Thimble Pads, I loved them immediately!

Sewline Fabric Pencils—They have such a nice fine line and having different colors of lead makes it easy to mark on any fabric.

Polka Dot Petit Scissors—I always have a couple near my sewing machine, a pair in each of my project bags, and a pair by the ironing board.  They are so great for clipping threads and besides, they are so darn cute!

Camille: This is a tough call. I have lots of favorite sewing tools, but I’d have to say these are my top three at this moment:

Clover Wonder Clips—I love these little things!  They are just so handy!  I keep them in a little binding bag that I always have on hand.

Little House pins—My sweet friend Carrie sent these to me a few years ago and I haven’t used my old yellow pins since.  They are super sharp, great for piecing, and really smooth. I can’t live without them anymore (darn it, Carrie!)

Aurifil thread—While I realize this isn’t technically a notion, I love it. I piece with it, quilt with it, and buy it by the case.  Good stuff.

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