Catching up – June

This month was bananas. There were so many events and great things, both quilt-related and not, that I just didn’t have the spare moments to write about them here. Before the calendar turns to a new, quieter page, I wanted to make sure that I had a record of them. Apologies for lumping it all together, but with a backlog like this, I would never catch up!

The first weekend in June, I was so excited  and honored to teach a walking foot quilting workshop at the Central Jersey MQG. We met in the gorgeous Hopewell Train Station on a warm, breezy day and shared some fun sewing time.

              Most of the students tried out the improv waves technique. Look at how beautiful their practice is.

The next weekend was the birthday at Rock Paper Scissors. We had to make a trip to visit family, so I made a mini quilt to celebrate the place. I wrote about it here, but I never showed the finished mini. Here it is!

A few days later, I was lucky enough to go to a class and event billed as “An Intimate Evening with Denyse Schmidt.” Denyse is such a talented artist and influential person in the quilting world, and it was inspiring to talk quilting with her. We ate dinner in a beautifully restored historic house and chatted before sitting down to sew. She led us in an improvisational exercise to make blocks from her pattern A Different Stripe using her Modern Solids collection from Free Spirit.

At the end of the exercise, we all laid our 18″ blocks on the floor to make one gorgeous spread of color.

Some of the students donated their blocks to the NJMQG so that we could use them in a donation quilt. I’m looking forward to assembling the top later this summer.

And speaking of NJMQG, the next night was my last as president of our guild. The last two years have been such a valuable experience, and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to help build the group into what it is. I met so many lovely and talented people. I’m certainly not going anywhere, but it was so bittersweet to conduct the elections at our June meeting.

And throughout the month my family participated in all of the milestones and events of the end of the school year. There were taekwondo tests, a fantastic Kindergarten play, a preschool field trip to the zoo, Father’s Day, and school picnics. I sewed most of the boys’ teacher gifts.

The wallets are from a pattern by Valori Wells and the bags are from Jeni Baker.

The summer’s schedule is a bit erratic, but I’m hoping to have some nice stretches of time to sew while kids are at camp. Thanks as always for visiting and keeping up with me.

Lauren’s quilt

There’s a thing that happens when you tell someone you’re a quilter. Nine times out of ten, the person will ask if you make t-shirt quilts. My standard answer is no for many reasons; because it’s an arduous process, because I have next to no experience sewing knits, because I’m afraid I’ll ruin a beloved heirloom. Because once you start taking commissions like those it’s a tempting and slippery slope into a time-consuming job.

But there are things that change all of those circumstances. In the fall, my extended family lost a beloved man very suddenly. Tom was my aunt’s love for decades, a second father to my cousins, a man whose warmth and joy brought so much humanity to family gatherings. My aunt and cousins have been dealing so well with this life-changing event, but naturally they miss him a lot.       In the winter, my cousin Lauren, who played volleyball for Rivier College not long ago, asked if I knew anyone who might be able to make her a quilt from Tom’s Rivier t-shirts. He and my aunt were her biggest supporters, and there were eight shirts in his XL size. I said, yes, you ask your cousin the quilter. I couldn’t imagine anyone else making this quilt, and I took the job very seriously.

Luckily, those eight shirts made a beautifully heavy 60″ square throw. I cut 12 1/2″ squares from the front and back of each shirt, using the leftover strips to piece 12 1/2″ blocks until I had 25. I used Pellon Shape Flex as interfacing so that the fabric would be stabilized with something that would behave like my usual quilting cotton. I used ball point needles and crossed my fingers. It came together surprisingly well. I was sure to take my time and sew mindfully, both for technical purposes and because I wanted it to look and feel good for Lauren.

I realized in making this quilt that this is why the memory quilting tradition is such an important one.It helped me grieve his loss in process. It gave many small things one big purpose. Most importantly, this quilt lets Lauren have another hug from Tom.

I am still not ready to take on t-shirt quilts for anything but very special situations, but I’m so so thankful I got to make this one.

Rock Paper Scissors Love

I am lucky in so many ways, but one of those ways, in my quilting life, is that I live so close to an awesome local fabric shop, Rock Paper Scissors.

In fact, I would not be a quilter without Rock Paper Scissors. It is where I took my first sewing lesson as an adult (with Beth, the owner), where I have spent countless hours picking fabric, and where I have hung out if I have a free hour or two for the last three and a half years. It’s also a place where I get to teach and be a part of the awesome family of women who work there.

This weekend RPS turns five years old. They are having a party and a sale, and I can’t make it. I couldn’t figure out how to tell Beth, and so I decided to do it in the best and only way I know how.

With a quilt.


It’s a mini, and it’s not quilted yet, but I’m going to finish it and bring it in next week. But I just had to share with the world in the hopes that maybe you are nearby and can wish RPS a happy birthday for me.

The paper pieced scissors are paper pieces from a pattern by Julia Eigenbrodt. The paper is inspired by Elizabeth Olwen’s Sonnet quilt (pattern coming soon from Cloud9!). The rock and heart were made with stitch and flip applique.

Resurfacing

I took an unscheduled week-long break from Instagram and the blog world this week. An intense month of activity got to me, and I decided to buckle down and focus on the things that needed to get done. Things like a project that involved signing a contract (!), organizing our guild’s May meeting and elections, and the traditional end of the year school events for the boys. But I wanted to resurface to share some news and stories I haven’t posted yet.

First, some announcements. I have some upcoming classes at Rock Paper Scissors in Montclair NJ that still have spaces to fill! The kids may be getting ready to finish school, but we adults can still pick up new skills in the month of June. Check out my Classes page for full images and descriptions. There are classes in the Building Blocks series, including half-square triangles, quarter circles, and flying geese. I put lots of class updates on my Facebook page, so like it and make sure your settings allow you to see updates. All single classes are $25 plus fabric for one block. If you’re interested, call the store at 973-337-6759 or pop in to sign up! You can register over the phone or in person. 

Mason's quilt, made with quarter-circle blocks

Mason’s quilt, made with quarter-circle blocks. We’ll make quarter circle blocks at RPS on June 3 at 10:30 and June 8 at 7PM. Join me!

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Ok, with the business out of the way, I get to share some pictures from the first weekend in May, when the one and only Heather Jones came to visit us at NJMQG (I blogged about it for the guild over here).

I don’t think it’s breaking news that Heather is super talented and sweet. As her guild chauffeur, I had the privilege of chatting with her in the in between time, and I think I’ve thought just as much about her insights on art and the industry as her lecture and workshop.


On the day that she was planning to leave, there was a housewarming party at Cloud9 Fabrics. We enjoyed the company of the lovely ladies who work there and ran into some of our friends: Beth from Rock Paper Scissors,Daniela from Modern Stitch Studio , and Melissa from A Happy Stitch .

 And I was just so tickled that my Spaced Out quilt design was hanging in the office’s entryway that Heather humored me and took a picture with it.  

Heather has a new book coming out this fall, with a mind-blowing 40 projects in it. It’s called Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday (with 40 projects). I’m so inspired by her accomplishment and excited to read it myself. It was edited by Melanie Falick, whose work I really admire. They’re truly a dream team.

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June holds a lot of teaching for me (something I enjoy and look forward to), and the boys will be winding down their school-year activities. I’m hoping that July and August will be a little calmer, but I can’t complain about all of the awesome things that have happened this spring (not the least of which is launching my first pattern!). I’m especially excited for a Walking Foot workshop I’ll be doing with the awesome quilters of the Central Jersey MQG and the Garden State Quilters Show this weekend (Peek, Green Peek, and Love Letters will be hanging).

So for now, I’m continuing my productive streak while looking ahead to lazy warm afternoons and collecting hand sewing projects for our annual trip to the beach.

Oh, and one more reminder… voting ends tomorrow at Amy’s Creative Side for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Thanks to everyone who voted for Green Peek and Trill and to all the new visitors!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Trill

I decided over the weekend to enter one more quilt into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side. It’s my own quilt, the one that I use all the time, the one that will be my next self-published pattern. I’m entering it in the Large Quilt category— it’s 57″ x  68″

I like to call it Trill.

Trill

Trill

I designed Trill in October, a few months after I became obsessed with curved blocks. I was trying to find ways to make quarter-circle blocks interesting, and I had issued a challenge to myself to make the curviest quilt I could think of.

IMG_7410The fabric is Elizabeth Olwen’s Wildwood collection from Cloud9 Fabrics, and the solid is Cirrus Solids in Ocean. It is so ridiculously soft, and the organic straight line quilting about 3/4″ apart gives it such a delicious texture. Living with a husband and three boys, anything pink in the house is automatically mine. And though I’ve never LOVED pink, this coral is just edgy enough and just feminine enough for me. It has become a favorite color, and the quilt is mine, all mine.

IMG_7400

The brightest coral was a favorite print, and it popped with so much more saturation that I made it a focal block in the bottom right corner.  I couldn’t resist a little teal binding to round the corner as well.

IMG_7411This quilt helped me to learn how to make curves blend into other blocks. and I’m so excited to share my secrets next month when I release the pattern. I’m also planning to show my glue-basting technique for speedy pin-free curve sewing.

Until then, thank you for visiting, and be sure to check out all the amazing quilts being shown at the Festival!