Thursday, March 5, 2015

Want a Rainbow of Your Very Own?

A little while ago, the good folks over at RJR Fabrics sent me a box of goodies. Inside was a bright collection of fabrics from the Basically Patrick collection. They were destined to become The Motley Wheel. Made of tone-on-tone prints with subtle, small scale motifs, the Basically Patrick Collection is perfect for a project like The Motley Wheel since the prints give a hint of texture without overwhelming or distracting from the main quilt design. In other words, they are great blenders!

RJR_Basically Patrick

Instead of the improv version I made originally (seen here), I stitched together a version with a solid background using the RJR Cotton Supreme Solids in Cream.

Motley Wheel_RJR

I went a little crazy with the stitching, covering the quilt in dense stitching. In the spokes of the wheels, I filled in organic wavy lines.  For the background, I stitched tiny paisleys.

Motley Wheel_RJR_Close up

I stitched the center last. I almost filled it with paisleys, but when I "listened" to the quilt, I heard it screaming for something different. I decided on a spiral to keep the theme of circles going.  I made this spiral with my walking foot. Usually I start stitching spirals from the inside out, but I find that it is quite challenging to start in the center. This time I started the spiral from the outside going in. It was much easier. Give it a try for yourself!

Motley Wheel_RJR_Spiral

It was fun working with this bright set of fabrics. Would you like to win a set of these rainbow goodies? The generous folks at RJR Fabrics are giving away a fat quarter bundle of 24 fat quarters to one lucky reader in the U.S. or Canada. I'm sweetening the deal and throwing in a free copy of The Motley Wheel mini quilt pattern to that lucky reader. Will it be you?

Leave a comment for a chance to win. I'll close the drawing on Sunday, March 8th at 9 p.m. EST and let pick the winner.

If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. To find out if you are a no-reply blogger, check out Adrianne's post here.

If you don't want to wait to win a copy of The Motley Wheel pattern, you'll find one in my Etsy shop.

Happy stitching and good luck!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The 8th Quilt

For February, I set a goal of finishing my youngest's daughter's eighth quilt. For more on the motivation for making the quilt, see this post here.

With all the traveling I did this month - 11 days out of 28 - I wasn't sure how I was going to finish it, but I did!

I adapted Thomas Knauer's Palimpsest quilt in his Modern Quilt Perspectives book. It fits her toddler bed perfectly.

Toddler bed

Since I already had the top put together, the major task was the quilting. I used my long arm machine to quilt all over flowers.


I've been wanting to try this quilting design for a while ever since I discovered it in Angela Walters' Free Motion Quilting book. I thought it would take a while since the design quilts up fairly densely, but it went pretty quickly once I got a rhythm going. It took about 3 hours altogether, not counting the stops and starts to take care of the kiddos. Plus, I did have to stop from time to time to stretch my arms and give my wrists a break from making the little arcs that form the petals.

This floral quilting design is pretty forgiving of inconsistencies in the spacing. Somehow when it's all done, they all flow together nicely.


I couldn't decide on one fabric for the binding so I went scrappy. I think it's perfect for this scrappy quilt.


I had some of the backing fabric left over and stitched up a pillow case to match. It only took about 10 minutes to make and kept me from adding to the scrap bin.


This quilt is another w.i.p. that I can knock off my list! Hooray!


Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A New Pattern: The Motley Wheel

One thing I love about teaching is getting to inspire people to make things that they have never tried before. But since I can't be everywhere, teaching through patterns is a great alternative.

My goal through patterns is to provide lots of detail and instructions so that my patterns teach when I can't be by someone's side. My patterns include lots of full-color photos for each step of the construction and assembly of the quilt to walk readers through what each step involves. 

While I have published patterns though magazines, I'm starting a new direction by publishing my patterns independently.  The first one is The Motley Wheel.

Motley Wheel Pattern Cover

The Motley Wheel is a mini color wheel that would be perfect as color inspiration for a sewing room or as a gift for someone who loves color. The pattern is 16 pages with more than 50 full-color photos to illustrate the step-by-step instructions. I provide lots of detail on the various techniques required to create The Motley Wheel, including sewing curves, improvisational piecing and paper piecing. 

My patterns also undergo testing before I release them. Testing is an important step in the process as it helps me to discover potential issues and address them before publishing a pattern. 

I was fortunate to have The Motley Wheel tested by quilters of great skill and talent.

Debbie of A Quilter's Table stitched up this beauty. For more on her testing experience, check out this post.

Courtesy of Debbie of A Quilter's Table
Svetlana of s.o.t.a.k. handmade made this adorable pillow. 

Courtesy of Svetlana of s.o.t.a.k. handmade
Karie of Two Kwik Quilters took things in a different direction using a bundle of Cotton & Steel fabrics. It shows that The Motley Wheel doesn't only have to be a rainbow quilt. 

Courtesy of Karie of Two Kwik Quilters
If you have any questions about The Motley Wheel, please feel free to ask. For more on the making of The Motley Wheel, please check out my previous post here

The Motley Wheel is available in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Motley Wheel

A year ago, I made this mini color wheel for my partner, Karie of Two Kwik Quilters. She said she loves rainbow quilts so I thought a little color wheel would be perfect. For more on the quilt, check out this post

DQS14_Color Wheel

That little quilt got quite a lot of love not just from Karie, but from some folks on Instagram. Some people asked me if a pattern was available. I can now say, "Yes!"

I've written a full-color, step-by-step pattern. I modified the original quilt, reducing the number of spokes from 32 to 24 and changing the background from a regular patchwork to an improv background.  The result is The Motley Wheel.  

The Motley Wheel

The Motley Wheel is a 20” mini color wheel. The colors flow from red and orange through yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and back to red. I love the contrast between the colors in the wheel and the low-volume of the background and center.

I had fun deciding what to put in the center. I chose a quote by Clem Snide, “Find love and give it all away.” The center fabric is from the Collage collection by Carrie Bloomston.

The Motley Wheel_Center Circle

For the quilting, I stitched wavy lines in the wheel and spirals in the background.

The Motley Wheel_Detail

I'm making the final edits to the pattern based on feedback from the testers. Once I'm done, I'll list the pattern in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Making Her 8th Quilt

I am on a mission to dwindle the size of my w.i.p. list. Next up? A quilt I started for my little one last year.

One night as I was getting her ready for bed, she looks up at me and says, "Mommy, the blankets for nap are too small. Can I take one of the quilts?"

"Sure, sweetheart," I said, but inside I was thinking, "Oh, my goodness! She needs a new quilt!" Never mind the seven quilts folded in her drawer. 

As soon as I said goodnight, I got to work cutting out a new quilt. I wanted to use a design that would be quick to stitch together. After all, my baby needed a new quilt!

I chose the Palimpsest quilt in Thomas Knauer's Modern Quilt Perspectives. The block comes together quickly with its big pieces.

Modern Quilt Perspectives_Palimpsest

I only needed 12 blocks to make a jumbo size nap quilt.  I used pink and yellow flannel scraps from my Anna Maria Horner magic numbers quilt, along with a few other flannels from my stash to make the top.


For the backing, I'm going to use this Forest Life flannel print by Michael Miller.

Forest Life_Michael Miller

Somewhere along the way, making this quilt top dropped off the priority list, but I'm ready to put it back on. All it needs is quilting and binding. I will get it done this month. My baby girl needs an eighth quilt! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Visions of Pink and Orange

Allow me to introduce my first finished w.i.p. of 2015!

Kaleidoscope Quilt

This Kaleidoscope quilt has been sitting for a year waiting for some attention.

It started with a request to my bee mates in the That Stash Bee to make two paper pieced blocks for me in pink, orange, and low-volume fabrics.  I made more until I had 30 blocks.

Kaleidoscope Quilt_Blocks

Then a top was born.

Kaleidoscope Quilt_Top

And then I quilted it using an overall paisley design.

Kaleidoscope Quilt_2

I love the bright colors of this quilt and the illusion of circles created by the dark and light values.

Kaleidoscope Quilt_3

On the back and binding there is more pink, a Flea Market Fancy print that I've been hoarding for just the right quilt.

Kaleidoscope Quilt_4

My bee mates were such sweethearts to help me make this quilt. I am grateful for the gift of their time and stitching to turn my pink and orange vision into a reality.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday and A Lovely Year of Finishes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Juggling Projects

Do you feel like there is not enough time to make all the things?

It is a constant struggle for me. I wish I could sew, sew, sew all day long!

I won't bore you with my to-do list, my w.i.p. list, or my sewing bucket list, but I will share with you my "what I'm working on now" list.

Right now, I'm juggling two projects.

The first one has me seeing rainbows. I'm revisiting the color wheel quilt that I made for my partner in the Doll Quilt swap, Round 14.

DQS14_Color Wheel

Since making that quilt, I've had some people ask if I were going to write a pattern for it. I started working on it a while ago, but am doubling my efforts to finish it up. This past week has been about testing different versions. Hopefully, I'll have more to share with you soon.

Color Wheel_Beauty

The other project is my Kaleidoscope quilt. It's more than a year old and ready to be done! Progress is slow as these blocks are paper pieced and that takes some time. But so as not to shame myself after making a public goal, I'm pushing to meet the January deadline. Plus, I really want to wrap myself in this quilt!

Kaleidoscope_paper piecing

In the meantime, if anyone has any answers to finding more sewing time, please share. I'm listening.