Thursday, May 26, 2016

It's Coming... Star Light, Star Dark QAL!

"Star Light, Star Dark" is a lap sized quilt (approximately 51" x 70") that features large and small traditional blocks (Friendship Star and Sawtooth Star) set in an alternative grid/modern layout. The focus of the QAL will be sewing together three colors worth of contrasting fabrics!

This is a FREE Quilt-a-long on Quilty Habit, all summer long! I'm so excited! Instead of writing up an actual pattern, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share knowledge about alternate gridwork, scale, contrast, and piecing traditional blocks.

Woohoo! Stay tuned for more about the schedule, sponsors, and fabric selection in June!

Quilty Habit

Will you be joining us? Let me know and grab a button to share! Copy and paste the HTML code in the box onto your blog. Thanks to Myra for her help in getting the button to work!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the big Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reflection - Modern Quilt Tutorial for Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Oakshott Lipari blog hop! Thank you to Lynne of Lily's Quilts and Oakshott Fabrics for this opportunity. This simple, graphic quilt design had been sitting in my sketchbook for at least a year, and when I saw Lynne's call for makers, it automatically popped into my mind as the perfect quilt to show off Oakshott shot cottons.

Negative space and alternate gridwork - my favorite!

I made two other projects with Oakshott before {Scandinavia Table Topper} {Star Within Table Runner + Tutorial}, and I've always been dazzled by the fabric itself. The Lipari line features 18 shot cottons interwoven with black. Shot cottons always look different depending on how you turn them, because the warp and weft threads are different colors. I love that!

Ooh, shiny. Photo courtesy of Oakshott Fabrics.

"Reflection" is a play on repeating blocks, combined with negative space and a diagonal layout. Every block is in the same place on either side of the quilt, and each side is quilted identically.

I quilted Reflection with the overall design in mind - I wanted that to be the star. Quilting can be the perfect way to emphasize a design element, don't you think? For example, an all-over design like spirals or pebbles would have been okay, but it wouldn't have been a spectacular choice to emphasize how each block is reflected across the diagonal (I demonstrate more of that below in the tutorial, if you are curious).

I quilted on my domestic machine (my beloved Janome Memory Craft 6300, Elsa), using my walking foot for the lines and my free motion foot for the purposefully wonky boxes and lines in the gray background. I used Aurifil thread #1158, a beautiful Medium Gray/bluish gray to achieve the background texture. Doesn't it look gorgeous?! The straight lines were quilted with #2024 (White) and a dash of #2745 (Midnight). I do love when my quilting shows! Why hide all that hard work? :)

Isn't it amazing how beautiful the shot cottons shine? I chose Stromboli (Lipari #12) for the backing and it did NOT disappoint. I've developed a bit of a soft spot for red!


If you'd like to make your own Reflection quilt, read on!


Reflection Quilt Tutorial 

This pattern is the perfect one to showcase large prints or beautiful shot cottons! You will create (2) blocks each of contrasting fabrics (small square and large square) to set opposite from each other in an alternate gridwork layout.

Level: Beginner and up!
Finished size: 54.5 x 54.5

-Colored squares: 14 Oakshott shot cotton fat eighths - each should pair with another that contrasts (I recommend first splitting into darker and lighter colors, and pair up from there)

*A note: Oakshott fat eighths are 10" x 27", slightly larger than a typical quilting cotton 9" x 21" fat eighth. If you are using quilting cotton, you will need to use fat quarters (18" x 22").

-Background fabric: 1.5 yards (sample:  Lipari #1 Pollara or gray)

-Backing and binding: 2 yards (sample: Lipari #12 Stromboli or red)

From 7 small square fabrics:
(1) - 5" x 10" strip from each - subcut into (2) - 5" squares

From each of the contrasting 7 large square fabrics:
(1) - 5" x 10" strip - subcut into (2) - 5" squares
(2) - 5" x 9.5" strips

From background fabric:
(12) - 9.5" squares
(2) - 9.5" x 18.5"
(2) - 9.5" x 27.5"  


*Sew all seams using a scant 1/4 inch seam.

1. Sew (1) - 5" small square to (1) - 5" contrasting square.

2. Press seam allowances to the large square fabric. This will make the smaller squares stand out!

3. Sew a strip of coordinating large square fabric (5" x 9.5") to any side of the block. Press to large square. You should have a 9.5" square.

4. Repeat Steps #1-3 for all 14 square blocks.

5. Lay out rows as pictured in the diagram below. Each block that you just sewed should sit in the same place - opposite the other across the quilt's diagonal (see picture).

Reflection Quilt Top Row Assembly

6. Sew blocks together in rows. Press seams open.

7. Match up the seams of the 9.5" blocks with pins to sew the rows to each other. Press seams open.

8. Baste, quilt, and bind as desired! Enjoy!

Please let me know if you make a Reflection quilt! Thank you again to Oakshott for providing the fabrics for this project! Make sure to check out the rest of the amazing Lipari projects:

5 May     Allison Dutton
10 May   Nicholas Ball 
12 May   Helen Purvis
17 May   Lynn Harris  
19 May   Kitty Wilkin  (now moved to 2 June)
24 May   Jessica Skultety 
26 May   Karin Jordan 
31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

The Fat Quarter Shop, one of my sponsors, is generously offering up one doozy of a prize today. Are you ready?

I chose this bundle to give away because of its bold, bright, saturated, modern colors. So many of you are always commenting and emailing about color schemes, and this seems to be a palette that sticks with you! There are lots of tone-on-tone and like-solid fabrics here. I have to admit that I wish I could win! Thank you, FQS!

Speaking of near tone-on-tone fabrics... have you seen this great new basic from Dear Stella Fabrics? It's "Tangerine Scallop Dot" from Foxtail Forest by Rae Ritchie. This just arrived in the FQS shop - there are sorbet, navy, and gray versions, too. Cool, right?!


To win the 20 fat quarters, you can have 1 entry for each of the following three options - just leave a separate comment for each!

  • Follow Quilty Habit via Bloglovin, email, Feedly, Instagram, Facebook, newsletter, etc. (just let me know one way you follow).
  • Sign up for the Fat Quarter Shop newsletter right here. I will confirm this signup when I pick a winner.
  • Leave a comment about why you love your favorite color. For example, I love purple because it's a calm, deep, rich color that has so many more possibilities than it's given credit for! Plus, it just plain makes me happy. :)

This giveaway will run from Mon. 5/23/16 until Tues. 5/31 at 7 pm EST, and it is open internationally. The winner will be chosen using the Random Number Generator - I will email them and post their name here (so please make sure you leave your email if it's not linked to your account).

Good luck! Please know that I normally respond to blog comments but I usually don't during giveaways (due to the sheer amount of emails) - I read every single one, though!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Traveling Quilter

The last two months have been a whirlwind of quilting-related events! I'm sharing a little bit about my experiences because I feel so grateful to be a part of them. Lecturing and teaching about quilting is more fun than I ever could have imagined (and I knew it would be fun!). For some reason, spring is always a popular time for lectures and workshops. The last two years have been so busy!


First up, I presented two lectures to the Colonial Quilters' Guild of Bethlehem, PA, which is right down the road from me! How amazing to only drive a few minutes to a quilt-related event (not the norm for me, out in the boonies of NJ)! I don't have any pictures of the first lecture, but the second one was the same topic at their quilt show ("Modern Quilting: What's All the Hubbub?").

They booked me twice so that their members could hear the lecture and save room for guests at the show. It was my first time speaking at a show, and it was a huge success! There is so much interest in modern quilting (and what it is, and what it isn't). Thank you, Colonial Quilters!

My guild friends Carol and Janet came to visit and support! Thank you!!

I also spent time at the quilt show, where I was pleased to see the "Vintage Goes Modern" category. One of the aspects I love most about the modern quilting movement is the breadth of its reach - modern can be so many things. It was enlightening to see how a mostly traditional guild interprets modern. Unfortunately, my phone was dying, but I snapped a picture of my favorite quilt in the challenge area - "Modern Mystery" by Lois Walters (below). Those colors! That quilting! Swoon.

Last but certainly not least, I spent the last weekend in the company of the Country Quilters Guild of Pine Bush, NY. What a fun weekend we had. We kicked it off with another "Modern Quilting" lecture on Friday night. One of the greatest moments for me was when one attendee told me that she almost didn't come because she didn't have any interest in modern quilting, but now, she was so excited by the possibilities!

Then, on Saturday, I taught an all-day Wonky Crosses workshop. I presented the lesson throughout the day and taught in small groups. It was such a relaxing and exciting experience to see so many guild members experimenting with improvisation and the infinite possibilities. Teaching an all-day class gives me the opportunity to really delve deep into the quilts (and techniques) with the students, and I feel like I got to know these quilters so well. We talked a lot about color play, contrast, and the improvisation mindset.

 Trisha experimented with varying backgrounds, slicing, and strip width. The evolution of this piece was amazing to watch.

 Thelma and I had some great discussions about color. I hope she adds in the extra color she was hoping to add (not pictured)!

 Barbara loved creating crosses beyond one size. Her solids were spot on.

Jill and I worked one-on-one throughout the day, and she created most of her crosses in assembly line format. We had no idea what it looked like until the very end of the day! I love her contrast!

I talked more about my personal experience in last weekend's issue of The Wonky Press. Thank you again to the Country Quilters for a wonderful weekend!

My teaching section has been updated with workshop photos (all of those from the workshop above), testimonials, specific pages listing my workshops and lectures, and a contact form. This overhaul took about a month, and I'm very happy with it! If you're interested in hiring me for your guild or sewing event, all of that info is now neatly organized. Right now, I'm starting to book events for 2017, but I still have openings through the summer and end of this year (probably October 2016 will be closed off except for those inquiries and contracts already in progress). Feel free to get in touch!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"In The Wind" - A Mini Quilt

This year, I was inspired to create a mini quilt to donate to the Quilt Alliance's annual fundraiser. If you have never heard of the Quilt Alliance, it's a fantastic non-profit organization whose goal is to document, preserve, and share American quilts. Meg Cox, a former board member and a friend of mine, is in my quilt guild, so I heard about the contest a while ago. You can see photos from all the past contests here!

 This year's theme was "Playing Favorites," meaning you could make anything that shows your current favorites in quilting. This was a no-brainer for me: orange peels, dense free motion quilting, and cool colors (including an eggplant purple binding, which I learned is very difficult to photograph).

I started the process by making a bunch of orange peels, laying them out in 4 different ways, and asking for opinions on Instagram. Many, many people voted overwhelmingly for A (top left). I ended up using that layout but turning it on its side. THANK YOU for your input! Let me just say that I'm very partial to the bottom left, too - don't be surprised if I make another orange peel quilt using that design... :) The other two designs are similar to my Scatter and Soar quilts.

 Choosing which threads to use for applique.

The quilting mimics the movement of the leaves. Free motion quilting for the win! Usually I use a light gray (Aurifil #2600) on solid white, but this time I used a very pure White (#2024). I wanted the quilting to act more as the background.

The tiny pebbles were a last-minute addition that I'm very pleased with.

The backing is a print from Katarina Roccella's Indelible fabric line, and it shows off the quilting well. I also sewed on a sleeve. All of the contest quilts, which are 16" square, will be exhibited all around the country and auctioned off near the end of the year! I'll let you know more when the time comes. :) I'm pleased that I was able to pass along something that is totally me, which will hopefully cheer up whoever ends up buying it!

It feels so good to share a finish around here! I've been working very hard on several projects that I can't wait to share with you soon. Plus, a big announcement is coming in a few days! If you read The Wonky Press newsletter this weekend, you already know! ;)

P.S. One of my favorite aspects of the Alliance is "Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!" They travel to major quilt shows and film the maker of a quilt for 3 minutes. Below is my contribution - I'm discussing the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild's award-winning banner at QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, TX.


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