Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour!

I am happy today to be part of the Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living blog tour! Utility-Style Quilts is Sharon Holland's new book with Landauer Publishing.

I've known Sharon for about 5 years and met her in person for the first time this past May at Quilt Market. I worked with her for two years, so I felt like I knew her well, and neither of us could believe that we hadn't actually met before! 

Let me tell you a little bit about how Sharon made this book truly special. A great quilting book requires drool-worthy quilts, obviously. But there are two other equally important components for success--fresh, appealing photography and high quality patterns. 



Guess what Sharon did before designing fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics and writing Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living
She worked for a pair of quilting magazines--Quilt-It Today and Sew-It Today. She was a jack of all trades: photographing the projects, writing instructions, illustrating the patterns, and laying out the magazine pages. Most magazines use at least 5-6 people for those tasks. Sharon did it all. Which means that this book is the complete package! If you'd like to read more about her magazine days, check out her post here. I worked with her as a tech editor and eventually creating the diagrams for projects, and her post offers a realistic glimpse of what life was like. 

Photo by Sharon Holland
Here's another of my other favorite quilts from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living, called Sunday Paper:
Photo by Sharon Holland
Learn more about Sharon's book from this talented lady herself and see more photos of the quilts here.
For stop on this tour, I chose to make a version of Sharon's Midsommar quilt, shown here:
Photo by Sharon Holland

I reduced the measurements by 50% and sewed a perfect-sized baby quilt. I had so much fun with fabric selection in making this quilt! 

When I was digging through my scrap bins for palette inspiration, I grabbed my gray box. I thought I could create a similar look to the cream/low volume prints Sharon used in her version. Adding aquas to the mix was an easy decision--it's my favorite color, and I have plenty of fabric choices! 
Here's what I started with:

The most intriguing part of making this quilt? 
Playing around with fabric placement. I cut a variety of gray and aqua strips and started arranging and rearranging. With such simple piecing, value and pattern size was key. But it was a little...boring. It needed a pop. As you already know from seeing the main photo above, I went with a salmon/light red color. Great contrast with both the aqua and the gray, and a fun pop of color. 

Here's a quick snapshot from my phone as I was auditioning fabrics:

And the finished quilt, with a snowy backdrop. Paging through Sharon's book, I feel like she truly gives quilters permission--through words and her quilts--to mix and match fabrics, and to make do. If you don't have enough of one fabric, join pieces to make it work! Gray can be a tricky color to work with--it ranges from yellow-gray to blue-gray to purple gray. I usually try to choose match-y grays, but after seeing Sharon's quilts, I gave myself permission to mix it up and I love the result!

I chose straight line quilting that mimicked the strips and used a light gray thread. Yesterday's snowy weather was perfect for photographing this icy palette quilt!

If you'd like to take a test-drive, Landauer is offering a free pattern from Sharon's book: the Roman Stripe. Download the pattern here.

Find the book on Landauer's site here. You can also purchase a copy from Sharon and get it signed! Sharon and Landauer are graciously offering readers a chance to win a free copy of Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living! For a chance to win, leave a comment below letting me know if you made a scrap quilt in 2017. Make sure I have a way to contact you! Giveaway is open through Sunday, December 17 at 11:59 pm EST. US mailing addresses only, please.

Thanks for stopping by!

Make sure you visit all the stops on the blog tour--each day I've thought that I found a new favorite until I click on the next day's post! I hope you visited Jessica yesterday and plan to visit Cindy tomorrow to see what they've made! Make sure to check out Sarah's post as well--she also made a version of Midsommar which I really like.


Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt
Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time
Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble
Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs
Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios
Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View
Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J
Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift
Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World
Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife
Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project
Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K
Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety
Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter
Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Introducing the Hourglass quilt!

I received an email this morning that made my day (and no, it wasn't the one announcing that my kids had a snow day!). 
The subject line said "Cover Girl" and this was the image in the email:

Yep! That's my quilt, Hourglass, on the cover of the January/February 2018 issue of Modern Patchwork. I'm thrilled! 

A little background...I submit design ideas to magazines fairly sporadically. Every once in a while I make time, do a big push, and submit several designs at once. I had just such a productivity spurt in mid August. I submitted multiple designs (to a few different magazines) and had FOUR accepted. I was thrilled, but I was also committing to making four quilts in a pretty short period of time. 

Hourglass was the first. This is the largest quilt I've made in a while, and also the largest I've made for a magazine. I actually didn't intend for this quilt to be so big. I had the hourglass shape in mind and began designing with 2-1/2" wide strips. By the time I finished the design, it was 80" x 92"!

The quilt is made using five different colors of the Painter's Palette Solids from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics--three shades of teal, an orange, and black. 

It consists of forty 2-1/2" wide strips sewn together, each 80" across. So a lot of fairly boring strip sewing that took a long time. 
Did I mention that I had about 10 days to piece this?! My parents came to visit during this timeframe and my mom helped cut and press strips as I sewed, which was a huge help!
I took this photo at the end of September, before I mailed the quilt to Modern Patchwork.
This is not a great photo--I need to get my (tall) husband to hold it up for a nice flat shot. But you can see the entire design here. It's all about color placement. The medium teal diamonds pop from the darker background.

And I took this photo today, during our snowstorm.

Another snow shot:

You can see the texture here. My friend Diane Oakes quilted this using straight horizontal lines. We decided to use different thread colors--a gray/blue on the two darker teals, black on black, orange on orange and light teal on light teal. The stitch lines really blend into the fabric and allow the design to pop.

I'm looking forward to having the actual magazine in my hand soon! If you want a copy, it'll be on newsstands December 26th. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December OMG: A baby quilt!

My December One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts is to make a quilt from start to finish. Luckily it's a baby quilt! 
One of our friends had a baby in September--a little girl. My plans are a bit vague at the moment--I'm pretty sure I want to make a quilt with heart blocks, and I know it needs to have some pink in it. 

I'm thinking of doing something like this Simple Heart Quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.

And I'm thinking of using these charm squares from Amy Gibson's Meriwether collection from Windham. 

Or maybe scrappy pinks....

We'll see! 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

OMG: November Complete

I finished my November One Monthly Goal early! My goal was to sew a drawstring bag for my niece for Christmas. I used charm squares from Allison Harris' Hello Jane collection (though I chose a different palette than in my original photo!) and a coordinating solid. 

Here's the bag gathered: 

And flat: 


And, a little public service announcement...the drawstring bag was to hold 26 Alpha-Bots, which my youngest also received during our Thanksgiving/Christmas weekend. If you have a 3, 4, 5 year old who you need to buy a present for, buy these! They're a plastic alphabet collection, and they "transform" into robots. All three of my kids (8, 6, and 3) love playing with them. And it looks like I'll be making another drawstring bag to hold our Alpha-Bots. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November OMG: Patchwork Drawstring Bag

Christmas is coming soon--we all know that--but it's coming even sooner for me! We are celebrating Christmas with my husband's family over the long Thanksgiving weekend this year. Which means that more than half my Christmas shopping needs to be done in less than two weeks! 


My sister-in-law asked me to make a drawstring bag for my niece. I'm going to use these fun 5" squares from Allison Harris' Hello Jane collection. My November One Monthly Goal is to finish the bag. I think the rest of my gifts will be purchased this year...at least the ones for early Christmas! :) 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

OMG quilt finished!

My October OMG was to machine quilt and bind my Angled Stripes quilt, made using Painter's Palette Solids. 

I actually finished this quilt on October 10th--I just didn't blog about it until now! I used three separate quilting designs--one in the gray/white columns, one in the aqua/green columns, and one in the orange/purple columns. The widest columns were the most challenging--I had picked my quilting motif and considered doing multiple vertical rows of it to fill the space, but ultimately decided to just increase the motif size. It was hard to quilt big! 


Here's a close-up of the different quilting motifs I used:

Happy to have this one done! 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

OMG: Quilt it!

This quilt, which I'm so far calling "Angled Stripes," has been in my head for a while, and I finally turned it into fabric. My OMG for October is to machine quilt it. I'm excited to see how it turns out!