In Honor of National Pet Day: Moda Designers Introduce Their “Special Helpers”

When you work at home, it’s sometimes nice to have someone to talk to, someone who never complains about the podcast you’re listening to or the music on the radio. It’s especially nice if that someone appreciates your work, even if that appreciation is expressed by rolling in blocks you’ve carefully positioned on the floor or stretching out on your ironing board, rendering it unusable. Continue reading

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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):

dp_minick-simpson

(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

singleblock

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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A Frivolous Post

BLOG TAKEOVER!!
Hello everyone, I am Moda-Lissa and I am honored to be taking over the blog today, but I must apologize in advance. I am not a word-smith like Carrie, but I do subscribe to Dictionary.com’s word of the day if that helps. I have tied Carrie up with Jelly Roll strips while I tell you a few things going on here in MODALAND. Even though Carrie is bound up, her brain never stops, right?
Aren’t you enjoying her wit and wisdom?
We sure are! (I don’t give up my office for just anyone! )
When Carrie came on board I felt strongly about giving her a few things to “make her own” and put her many talents to good use. One of those talents is evident in her musings on the Moda blog, the other talent I am going to talk about today is her eye for design. Did I say eye, I meant mind. She rattles off numbers, shapes and measurements like she was ordering a drink at Starbucks. “Then you will have a 2” by 6” piece left and if you cut carefully you can do this to the border or you can do this or you can do this or you can do that….Wow!!

Moda’s VP of design was interested in doing some more of our Moda Tin projects, so I thought this thought this was a perfect fit for Carrie. During one of her visits here we talked about this TIN project. I really wanted her to embrace it and
“make it her own”.
I challenged her to come up with a word. What would be the next Schnibbles? I asked.

RQC 483 Gertie pattern

Just look up the word Schnibbles in the Urban Dictionary ……

Don’t even think about leaving those schnibbles all over the floor, pick them up and throw them away! by Sweet Georgia Peach

If you type the word Schnibbles into any browser search, Miss Rosie Scnibbles is the only search result. Now Schnibbles is known for small bits of cloth and inspired a whole pattern line using the Moda charm squares.
Question: Which came first Schnibbles or Miss Rosie’s Schnibbles? I think a case can be made for both.

Frivols
Fast forward to FRIVOL
Friv-ol – 1865-1870; back formation from frivolous.
1. To behave frivolously, trifle.
2. Frolic.
We made it plural, Frivols so we could frolic more than once.
This is Carrie’s latest project.

Moda-frivol_1

 

Working with each of the designers to create a tin and a project that best shows their style. The Frivols 1 tin features Hello Darling from Bonnie & Camille and will be in stores mid August. I hear that lines will be forming outside of stores much like the launch of the Apple Watch. (that sounded like something Carrie would say so I threw it in there.)

 

 

Frivols – What are “frivols”?
1. They’re a series of collectible tins.
2. They’re a new Moda pre-cut only available in the tins.
3. They’re quilts.
4. All of the above.
There should be a fifth option – Frivols are about having fun. They’re what you get when you take Moda’s latest fabric collections, design original quilts using a new pre-cut, and then package the kits – and some extra little treasures – in a series of limited edition collectible tins.
Each month the tins will feature a different Moda design. We’re starting with Bonnie & Camille and continuing with Minick & Simpson, Brenda Riddle and Betsy Chutchian.

Moda-Frivols-1-4
The pre-cut. The first four tins will have 42 specifically chosen squares measuring 7” x 7”.  The quilts are not too big or too small, too easy or too complicated. Most are easily made in a couple of days. Some of the projects will require a few additional backgrounds, some of the projects  will just need binding and backing to be complete.
The tin. It’s big enough to fill with keepsakes, threads and ribbon, or a little sewing kit. Each tin is numbered 1-12.
It’s such a trifecta of perfection, you might need two… one to use and one to just look pretty on the shelf.
Let me just say that if you miss out on any of these tins I have a feeling they will be a much sought after item on EBAY. The Frivols tins are made in advance and have a limited run, unlike the million gillion collectible beanie babies out there.
I would say the majority of us have more fabric than we will use in our golden years but that does not stop us from collecting something fun and frivolous. Another bonus, the tins can be used to organize all kinds of goodies. Who doesn’t need a little help getting organized? That’s not frivolous at all!!
Carrie fits right in and has embraced “making it her own” by sharing her talent, creativity and generosity with all the moda readers as well as those of us that get to work with her everyday. It may sound frivolous but I am still the longest running president of her fan club!
Another thing I found on the Urban dictionary and is now my new nickname for Carrie.
You Schnibble-head!

So that is it for now. I am going to go untie Carrie and use that jelly roll for a quilt for market.

over and out,
Moda-lissa

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Bluebird of happiness…

Austin Bluebird.  I never get tired of looking at pictures of this quilt – I love everything about it.

Austin-Bluebird-Full

If you haven’t seen it, this is Laurie Simpson’s first Block-of-the-Month quilt.  It’s made using several Minick & Simpson fabrics, many of which were re-printed so this quilt could be offered as Block-of-the-Month kits through shops.  I really wanted to sign up… I even bought the pattern… but I know my history.  The only thing I’m good about is keeping all the kits together.

Do you participate in Block-of-the-Month programs?

I love them and wish I were better about keeping up.  I tried to count how many BOMs I’ve done – with “done” meaning “purchased the kits for” – and I think it’s nine.  I have two that are for the same pattern, just from different shops.  I loved what both shops had done and I couldn’t decide which one I liked best so… I haven’t finished either one.

I’m not currently enrolled in one but I am making want to make the blocks for the Snapshots quilt.

I’m told that one of the tricks to staying current is to cut the block out as soon as it arrives – within a day.  Make it a priority.  If the cutting is done, getting the block pieced seems less daunting.  It’s the easy part – the most enjoyable part.  I did get Block 1 cut out but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.  I’d better get busy because Block 2 is coming soon.

Do you have any tips for me?  Or am I hopeless cause when it comes to keeping up?

While you think on that, I’ll get back to Austin Bluebird.  I’ll admit to having a little bit of bias regarding the wonderfulness of the quilt because I like Laurie and her sister, Polly.  We went to the Infinite Variety – Red & White – Quilt Show in New York City together and while I can’t recall how it started or what Polly said, I remember standing on a street corner trying not to fall over because I was laughing so hard.  People who meet them always think that Laurie is very shy and reserved, and I suppose that’s true.  But that isn’t the whole story, the girl has a wickedly dry sense of humor.

I think her quilts show that… that and an independent spirit, she does it the way she wants to do it so that it looks the way she wants it to look.

The-Spirit-of-Sacagawea

When you started making this quilt, did you envision doing it as a block-of-the-month pattern?  Yes I did.  We’ve had requests for several years to do one and I finally decided to do one.  I’ve always admired 19th-Century sampler-style quilts that were all willy-nilly and quirky.  With this thought in mind, I spied the drawings for the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt on Lissa Alexander’s desk.  That quilt looked so great with all the different-sized blocks that I decided I wanted to do mine the same way – no sashing and each block a different size.  Though mine would have to have lots of appliqué.

Looking back over the entire process, was there anything you would have done differently?  Nope.  While I designed it on paper and made the quilt from my sketches, it was the inspired construction devised by our graphic designer, Lisa Christensen, that makes this quilt something special.  The month-by-month breakdown of the construction was her idea entirely and I think it’s brilliant that your quilt top is finished after Month 12.  It’s quite the morale booster to realize that once your blocks are done, the top is done too.  There isn’t a stack of blocks waiting to be put together.  We were lucky to have her creative input.

And… will you ever do another?  (Please say “yes”.)  Yes.  Even though I don’t have any ideas drawn up, the response has been great and I had fun designing this one.

Laurie's-Mrs.-Billings-Full

Last year, you made the spectacular English Paper-Pieced Mrs. Billings Coverlet quilt using Minick & Simpson fabric.  It’s entirely hand-pieced, and then you hand-quilted it.  What is it about handwork – hand-appliqué, hand-piecing and hand-quilting – that appeals to you?  I jokingly tell people who ask about it – that it’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.  Maybe it’s not such a joke.  I have always loved handwork.  I escape into it.  I find it so relaxing to spend the evenings working on a hand-stitched project – all the while engrossed by a ballgame or murder mystery on television.

(Laurie is a Detroit Tigers’ fan.  Murder mysteries and Tigers’ games… it might be the same thing.  Just saying.)

Laurie's-Mrs.-Billings

What’s the best part about the quilt business?  Easy – the people.  It’s an unusual little sorority that we have in this business – with a few enlightened men.  I’ve made great friends.

Don’t worry – I won’t ask you what the worst part is.  Instead, is there something you wish you could change about it?  I had to think hard about this question to find something that needs changing.  I’m still thinking…..

What is the one thing you wish you knew about the business before you started?  I wish I were a little bit more computer savvy, and that I knew about photography.  But it seems I can only wear so many hats.

What is the one thing you’re glad you didn’t know about the business before you started?  (That might be the same question.)  Yes, it sort of is the same question.  If I thought I had to know all the things that I’ve picked up and had to learn along the way I might have been too intimidated to even begin. Who knew that this path would lead to being a designer, author, business owner, accountant, and chief cook and bottle washer?

My favorite Vulcan Mind-Meld question… Name one person in the industry whose mind you’d like to read, whose brain you’d like to pick.  Why?  What is it that they do that you’d like to understand?  Wow, that’s a good question.  Polly and I have had this conversation a lot.  There are so many people who have amazing talent that we admire.  But if I had to pick one, it would be Kaffe Fassett.  We had the good fortune to spend some time with him when we did the Pour Amour du Fil show in Nantes, France.  His genius with color is obvious and when he talks about his process and obsession with textiles – it’s just so inspiring.  I hesitate to throw the label “genius” around, but he is deserving of the title.

Now you know why I like Laurie.

I’ll let you know how it goes with my Block 1.

 

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Here’s what Moda designers are sewing for the holidays

It’s that time of year, when you’ll find lots of us at our sewing machines, creating gifts for those we love. If you’ve got your pedal to the metal right now as you whip up items for the holidays, you’re not alone. Moda’s designers are stitching, too. Here’s what a few of them are working on right now.

Brigitte Heitland is sewing presents, but not just for Christmas. Her first grandchild is due in January and she’s stitching up a storm in preparation.

Brigitte Heitland baby shoes

Brigitte says: “I have sewn baby jeans and baby shoes. These are so tiny, that I guess they have to put them on the baby’s feet as soon as he is delivered; otherwise he will grow out of them pretty soon. I don’t think a newborn even needs some shoes, but couldn’t resist making these.

Brigitte Heitland Baby Pants

 

“I’m working on a diaper bag for my daughter-in-law and she was free to choose whatever fabric she liked. I love her choices from my newest line REEL TIME. The prints are “lenses” and “dots.”
Brigitte Heitland tote
“I also made a baby quilt—of course—and used a Layer Cake from SweetWater, Lucy’s Crab Sack. I used my own Zen Chic pattern, It’s a Plus.”
Brigitte Heitland Baby Quilt
“For my niece I’ve made a quilt from only solids. This is a super easy beginner quilt, the top was done in only three hours. And I made a step-by-step tutorial for newbies, it’s on my YouTube channel (in German). We also have there a link to the free downloadable pattern.”
Brigitte Heitland solids quilt
Vanessa Goertzen is excited about a gift she stitched for a family member. ‘I just finished this quilt for my brother-in-law using Amy Ellis’s Modern Neutrals fabric and also using her pattern Soiree.” On her blog she notes that it makes a great “man-quilt.”
Vanessa Goertzen Moda blog post holiday
Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson is making little coin purses. “I was inspired by this book I found in New York. I can’t read it, but I can look at the pictures. I made some coin purses with scraps from our fabrics. The paper hexagons were a gift from Edyta (Sitar) at the last Spring Market. I’m making a coin purse for myself, Polly, a neighbor, and whomever…. if I can make enough.”
Laurie Simpson Moda holiday post
Laurie Simpson Moda holiday post 2
Laurie Simpson holiday blog post 3
Laurie Simpson holiday post
Gina Martin has a very special project going. “I haven’t started it yet, but I’m planning on making a lap quilt for my 96-year-old grandmother for Christmas. She’s always loved sewing and quilting and is thrilled that I now design fabric for Moda! The quilt is made from sample yardage that I just got. It’s a Christmas collection called Tole Christmas that ships to stores next summer. I’ve decided to use BasicGrey’s Sweet Tea pattern because I think it will highlight the prints nicely!”
GinaMartin.ToleChristmas2
“Not only do I get to sew with my upcoming line, but I get to do it on my “new” little 1936 Featherweight that I bought for myself. It’s the perfect little machine for piecing!”
GinaMartin.featherweight
GinaMartin.ToleChristmas-2
Barb Groves of Me and My Sister Designs has a couple of projects going. “I’m totally in the unfinished stage with two of my holiday sewing projects. In fact I’m more in the ‘piles of stuff still to start’ phase! My goal is to make a heart ornament for all my neighbors. I plan to hang one on all the front door knobs a few nights before Christmas. It’s a really good thing that there are only 10 houses on my street!  I also need to make a holiday mug mat for the embroidery club I joined this year. The exchange is on the 19th so I’d better get started tonight!  It just wouldn’t be Christmas if I started my projects early! Merry, Merry! “
Me and My Sister Designs Barb
My sister Mary is trying to finish a project she started this past year. It’s something that she doesn’t want to become a UFO for the New Year’s resolution list! She’s making our Milky Way quilt in different blue Bella solids. The plan is to variegate her stars from light to dark. It should be beautiful IF she ever gets it finished!”
Me and My Sister Designs Mary Star
Joanna Figueroa is partaking of a holiday sewing tradition. “Every Christmas, I save a Christmas quilt to bind even though I know that it’s likely that I won’t quite finish it in time given everything else that is going on. It just makes me happy to sit on the couch in the evenings and bind something that is “in the spirit” of the holidays. This year I am working on one of our kits from last year, Christmas Lollies. Its from our Lollipops pattern and I think that its one of my all time favorite quilts. We have done it in at least 5 different ways now and I love them all! I hope you are getting to stitch something for yourself this season! Merry Christmas!”
Joanna Figureroa holiday post christmaslollies
Joanna Figueroa holiday post bindingthequilt
Come back on Wednesday, when we’ll show you what more of what Moda designers are sewing now!
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