Improv medallion borders

Hi! Remember my Quilt Camp sample? It’s growing…


It got this thin scrappy border early in the week. It’s just 1/2″ finished, and I decided to make each scrap about 3″ long. I wanted to add a little space and structure before adding the next border, which was planned to be a thicker scrappy improv slab. I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from Elizabeth Hartman’s Aviatrix Medallion as I figure out exactly what this is becoming. I like the idea of varying the width of the borders.


Though some of the pieces got veeeery small in the process.


Whew! that was about four days of improv sewing, and while it’s very liberating, it’s also very thinky. See? I’ve used a lot of brain cells doing it. My vocabulary is shot. I used a lot of the things that I learned in Victoria Findlay Wolfe‘s class and book.

But check out the finished borders. Three inches finished.


Quilt Camp is just one week away! I can’t wait to see what my students come up with. These techniques are just so much fun. Right now it’s 31″ square.  I’m going to stop here for now.

Would you keep it as a mini, make it a baby quilt, or go bigger? 

Midsummer Moments

I’m so happy to have planned the summer the way I did, with camp for the kids in June and August and a month of unstructured summer time in between. (Even though it seems like all of our friends have done exactly the opposite.) It has given us a chance to have moments like this:


And it allows me to slow down and take in inspiration like this:


We have one more week left to hang at the town pool, get sticky with popsicles in the back yard, and play Go Fish until after regular bed times. Then the kids will go back to camp for a bit, I’ll get ready for classes, and work on some quilt designs that have been body surfing inside my brain. (They bob around in the back before catching that perfect wave of inspiration and flooding to shore.)

I started working again on the Quilt Camp sample, which should be done by the end of the week. It’s become a medallion mini-quilt, and I’m totally smitten.


I brought my machine in for a tune-up while we were at the shore, and after a week away, sewing is pure joy.

I hope your summer has had its own beautiful unstructured moments. (If not, there’s still time!)

Upcoming Events

Just a few updates and announcements while I’m spending some family time at the Jersey Shore this week.

NJMQG is honored to be hosting Heather Grant on August 4, and all MQG members can attend for free! Visitors are just $5. All info here.

Quilt Camp is August 9 at Rock Paper Scissors! It’s going to be so fun.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 10.58.13 AMAlso, I’m so honored and excited to be teaching two classes at the Montclair Art Museum this fall in coordination with their quilt exhibit From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine ArtsWe’ll be using the exhibit as inspiration for modern quilt appreciation and education. In one eight-week class, From Hall to Home, I’ll help each student design and make their own quilt inspired by the exhibit. In a two-day workshop, Modern Quilting 101, students will make a complete 20-inch mini quilt and talk about the entire quilt process. Both are through a partnership with Rock Paper Scissors. Registration begins August 4 for museum members and August 11 to the public. The entire fall course catalog, including dates and pricing, is available here

See you next week! 

Breeze – a Friday Finish

 Introducing Breeze, my entry to the Michael Miller MQG challenge:

IMG_9195This quilt was NOT a breeze to make. I remember getting the fabric and having absolutely no clue what to do with it. It’s not my usual palette, though I thought the prints were pretty, they didn’t send me in any one direction or another. So I left it in a pile for a month (or three) and waited for inspiration.

It didn’t come.

I must have absorbed the fact that the fabric line is called “Petal Pinwheels” into my subconscious, because when it came time to make some blocks, I started making quarter circle pinwheels. (I used Jen Carlton Bailley’s awesome templates, Etsy shop here.) It was only when I saw so many others in the challenge thread that I saw the name of the collection. Summer brain, anyone?

Anyway, the blocks were adorable! I decided to use coordinating Michael Miller solid charm squares for one petal of each pinwheel to add some interest Then I set them a little wonky, hoping it would add motion.


This quilt was an exercise in plugging along. Just keep working on a design until it’s done. Once July rolled around, there was no time to be precious about it. So I kept moving the blocks around until they looked right. I used lots of negative space and quilted a breezy texture (using a technique from my SMS walking foot tutorial).


I like that it was a little minimalist, so I decided to extend the blue into the binding. But that seemed like a LOT of blue. And I foolishly used all the remaining scraps of challenge fabric on the back.

IMG_9198So I decided to use some tiny scraps from my solid petals to make a little rainbow in the binding.


 It’s a little sticky sweet, but I love the detail, and it reminded me a little of my Rainbow Brite childhood. I’m going to try this again for sure.

Finished, the quilt is 32″ square. It would make a nice stroller quilt or baby play mat.  I’m happy with how it turned out, even though inspiration never struck in the way that it can, and it served as a good reminder of how I try to break out of a creative block. Just keep making.


Quilt Camp

I was teaching a lot of great skill-builder classes in the spring at Rock Paper Scissors, and during kids camp sign-up one of my students came in with a brilliant idea.

“Why do only kids get to go to camp? I want to spend a whole day sewing and making things away from reality just once this summer.”

Ding ding ding!

And a class was born: Quilt Camp. One day for adults away from responsibilities where we can sew and pick up a few new skills along the way. Three lessons, lunch included, surrounded by good quilty people and beautiful fabric, with wine and cheese at the end of the day. More than just a class. Less commitment than a retreat. Quilt Camp.

Here’s the plan: We’ll start of with some improv and move on to basic curves. After lunch we’ll tackle creating designs with walking foot quilting. If students would like, they will have time to finish a mini quilt or table runner with their work from class. Or they can use their work to apply to a bigger project at home. The third option is to replicate my sample, which I started last night:


I’m going to add an improv border before quilting and binding. I hope to bring it to the store ASAP. But I’ll naturally post the finished piece here too.


At the end of Quilt Camp, we’ll share a drink and the pretty things we’ve made. If you’re in the North Jersey area I hope you can join us– I’m really looking forward to it.

Quilt Camp – Saturday August 9 – $75 plus supplies

Rock Paper Scissors, Montclair, NJ

Call the store for details – 973-337-6759