Quilting the green Peek quilt

I had set aside time this week to finally quilt the green Peek quilt, but I was struggling with exactly how to quilt it. I wanted to leave the skinny piecing un-quilted for added texture and depth for the design, but nothing that I was skilled enough to do looked right. I was running out of time.

And then I made a brilliant and stupid decision. I would free-motion matchstick quilt the blocks.

IMG_3098_2It’s brilliant because it really maximizes the texture. It looks beautiful. It looks special and gives it a real “wow” factor. I had admired all the dense quilting at Quiltcon and I think it got into my head.


It’s stupid because it. takes. FOREVER. This is not the kind of quilting to do when you have a deadline. Or kids with half-days off from school for teacher conferences. Or just about anything else you should be sewing (and the list is growing). Each block takes about an hour, though I’m getting faster.


This week I finished 10 of 25 blocks. That’s 40% of the way done.


The good news is that working in tiny spaces means not much quilt wrangling. I can position it and make small movements. The second piece of good news is that my backup thread (Aurifil #2920, Light Brass) has arrived and I’m ready to press on.


I’ve been using these photos as progress shots and inspiration to keep going.


I’ve also been using the brainless time to think up new projects and topics I’ve been wanting to explore here. But every spare moment until this baby is done will be spent going back and forth, back and forth. Back and forth. Fack and borth.

If you don’t hear from me next week send help.

Oh, and have a great weekend.

A Peek at student blocks

This week I got to finally share my Peek block with a group of six very awesome, very willing guinea pigs students at Rock Paper Scissors. The class was snowed out twice this winter, and not only was the weather mild, but we were all in good spirits, ready to tackle that pesky 1/4″ seam allowance and make some blocks.

peek student blocks

Large block by Barbara. Right column, top to bottom: Sallie, Ann, Terri, and Kari.

One of my favorite things about this block (and there are quite a few, as you know) is how different it looks in different fabric combinations. Fussy cut or not, large scale or small, solids or prints, the block can take on all kinds of different personalities depending on the sewist.

Here’s Terri’s block close up. I love how the darker fabric provides contrast and depth.


I’m ready to take this class on the road! I’ll be teaching at the Mid-Atlantic Mod retreat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on April 25. Then I’ll be back at Rock Paper Scissors for a daytime class on May 6. For those of you who aren’t local, I’m so excited that the PDF pattern is almost ready for sale.

In other news, quilting on the green Peek quilt will take place this week. I hope to have lots of photos to share next Friday.

If you’re celebrating a holiday this weekend, I hope it is a peaceful, happy one. Enjoy!

The week in quilting

Hi, blog friends! I’ve had a very busy, un-glamorous week. Lots of writing, collaborating, hustling, and preparation. All good things, most of them very fun and rewarding, but I’ve been itching for that one big, beautiful finish. The week still had its beautiful moments, though. Here are two of them.

My preparation for quilting the green Peek quilt happened in the glow of some beautiful afternoon light.


Yesterday I visited my older son’s Kindergarten class to talk to them about quilting. I showed them Trill, Love Letters, the Quilt Camp sample, and the Christmas quilt. My little man was so proud to show his stuffed Sharkray’s quilt. After that, the kids glued fabric squares to paper to make their own little quilts.



I hope you’re plugging on with your own projects, whether they’re quilty or not. Good things come to those who work hard.

[This week, the class schedule went live at Rock Paper Scissors! In addition to this Monday evening’s Peek block class, I’ll be teaching Building Blocks both during the day and at night in May. There will be Half Square Triangles, Quarter Circles, Flying Geese, and a new two-part finishing class called Quilting and Binding. If you’re in North Jersey, come join me. Check the Classes page for details. You can also see class updates on my Facebook page.]

Peek classes are here!


Just a quick update this week, about some upcoming classes (class updates, including schedule changes, are available on Facebook and the Class page above). I’m so excited that I’ll be teaching the Peek block three times in the next two months. Not only is the block super versatile and fun to put together, but it’s also great practice for perfecting your 1/4″ seam allowance.


The first chance is at Rock Paper Scissors on Monday, March 30 at 7PM. This evening class got snowed out twice during the winter, so hopefully we’ll be done with ice and snow by then! Call the store to sign up. There will also be a daytime Peek class on May 6 at 10:30 at RPS.


I am also very excited that I’ll be teaching Peek to a regional group of quilters at the Mid-Atlantic Mod retreat in Lancaster, PA at the end of April. The retreat itself– hosted by Central Jersey and Philly MQGs– is sold out, but if you’re signed up for the retreat and want to take the class, you can sign up there! There are a few spots available.


I don’t have many new pictures this week because I’ve been working on writing the Peek pattern! It’s all Peek, all the time around my workspace these days. The good news is that it will be available before summer and there will be three different versions– baby size, throw size, and modern layout (the one that hung at Quiltcon).

Have a great weekend!

Quiltcon resolutions and a Peek of green

It’s been three short, full weeks since I went to Quiltcon. Though I will continually process the experience and everything I learned in Austin, I feel like I have reached a place where I can figure out what I want to do about it.

So I am publicly posting my Quiltcon resolutions.

Research Quilt History – Quiltcon made me very aware of my relative new-ness in this world. I think that to truly appreciate and design and teach in it, I need to be more knowledgeable about the tradition and its history. Luckily, this resolution was already on its way when a lovely friend recommended I read American Quilts by Robert Shaw. Even more luckily, one of the librarians at our local branch is a quilter herself, they have the book there, and that shelf of the library is a wealth of information.

Learn Design Software – I have used EQ7 and enjoy its block-based tools, but in thinking more about quilts that defy grids and blocks, I’d like to learn how to play with design in Illustrator or Photoshop. I would also love to be able to make diagrams for my patterns and tutorials. I have to free up some time for this endeavor, so it’s not something I can jump right into, but I’m keeping it on my list as something to seize upon if I should find the opportunity. (Also, graphic design friends, which software do you prefer?) Heather Ross recommended it in her lecture as an investment in yourself and your personal tool box.

Keep My World Small – I am an introvert. I found for a while after the trip that I get a little overwhelmed thinking about quilters as a group and quilting as a movement. (“Where do I fit in?” “What is my aesthetic?” “What are my big goals?” “What does it all mean?”) It’s creatively paralyzing to me. And I find that I feel more creative when I maintain the illusion that my world is small in any way I can. What matters most to me is making what I love in a way that I love. Of course, I also find so much joy when I get up the courage to share my work. I love the community I find in my guild, my blog, and Instagram. So I just have to find the balance between those seemingly conflicting feelings. I think that’s easier said than done, but using social media in moderation is important, and maintaining relationships one-on-one helps. I don’t want to limit the number of people I communicate with, but if the communication can be meaningful and small, it doesn’t overwhelm.There is plenty of time for the big questions, and some of them answer themselves as long as I…

Just Keep Making – Even when I don’t feel creative, and especially when I have too many ideas, it’s important to just keep making. Listen to my gut, and even if a quilt doesn’t feel inspired, don’t get discouraged. Plug on. Build a body of work, learn from my mistakes. Work on technique. Keep building bridges.

Speaking of which, I had an amazingly productive week– I finished the top for the green Peek quilt! I posted these shots on Instagram and felt so much love from my awesome community.

I think this quilt, with its beautiful hues and simple elegance, helped me survive our brutal winter. And it’s very timely for a certain Irish holiday coming up next week. (P.S. Green is a really tough color to photograph! I’ve been trying out different effects and filters to get them to look more like it does in person, but as you can see I’m still experimenting a bit.)

I’m hoping to have the whole thing done before I teach the Peek block at Mid-Atlantic Mod at the end of April.