Friday, January 28, 2011

Moda Bake Shop Book + Precuts Winner

Wow, thanks to everyone who left comments on my biggest giveaway ever! It's so great to see how excited everyone is about the release of Fresh Fabric Treats, the Moda Bake Shop book that will be released by Stash Books later this fall.

I'm pleased to announce the winner of my giveaway for a copy of the book as well as a fat eighth set of an upcoming Moda Fabrics line, thanks to both Moda and Stash Books. The lucky gal is:

Jill said...19

This book looks like so much fun.

Congrtaulations, Jill! Please contact me at with your mailing information, and we'll get your prizes out to you ASAP.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Patterns now available!

Just a quick post to share that the two quilts that I designed for display at Fall 2010 Quilt Market in Houston are now available as free patterns on the Free Spirit site.

My Parisville quilt!!

NOTE: this pattern will look overwhelming to some ... please trust me that the construction is beginner-friendly, and it's only because the assembly is somewhat complex that the document is so long!

My David Walker quilt

If you make either pattern, I would of course LOVE to see your creation!

Enjoy ...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Block-a-palooza | Welcome & Block #1

Header graphic

Welcome to the first week of the first-ever Bloggers' Block-a-palooza quilt-along! I appreciate all of the excitement and enthusiasm that everyone has expressed over this project, and I know you're anxious to get started.

Thanks also for your patience and understanding as we've pulled together all of the final details for the project. As you may imagine, a project like this is not a small undertaking, and all of us involved have done the best that we can! I know there are some continuing conversations about fabric selections and requirements over in our Flickr group, so please be sure to join in all the fun happening over there. Oh, and post your blocks!

Regarding fabrics, with all blocks, please feel free to use the same fabrics as the block designer, or go out on a limb and make your own color combinations. I think much of this fun of this quilt-along will be seeing all of the different variations.

One more thing: we'll be posting 2 blocks per week -- one each Monday and one each Thursday. Understandably, this is a rapid pace for some, but you should not feel bad for following along at your own pace. The best thing about the internet is that these tutorials will live on for weeks, months, even years after we wrap up, so please don't feel any pressure to stay on track or feel any guilt if you fall behind. The most important thing is to HAVE FUN. I really, truly got into quilting only after I joined Amanda Jean's quilt-alongs. They were both educational and inspirational for me and, with this project, I hope I can do the same for other quilters.

Today, I am happy to present the tutorial for our first block. I'm calling this one Flying Over Fields, because I like the image of migrating geese soaring over patchwork fields. I kept to the muted yellow and grey tones of the "Sunkissed" line. I hope you like it!


Step 1

From a printed fabric, cut 6 squares measuring 2.5" each.

I used the yellow swirl print from the "Sunkissed" line.

Step 1

Step 2

From another print similar in tone to the squares cut in Step 1, cut the following:
  • 2 squares measuring 4.5" each
  • 6 squares measuring 2.5" each
I used a yellow gingham print to coordinate with the swirls in my first fabric.

Step 2

Step 3

Select another tone from your fabrics that provides a nice contrast to your first two fabrics. I decided to feature grey as my second tone to coordinate with the yellow. From a printed fabric, cut 16 squares measuring 2.5" each.

Step 3

Step 4

From a solid fabric, cut 8 rectangles measuring 2.5" x 4.5" each. I am using a Moda Bella solid in the "Feather" color to introduce a light grey that coordinates with the print used in Step 3.

Step 4

Step 5

From the 2.5" squares cut in Steps 1 & 2, create a pair of squares using one from each print. Place the squares right side together and sew along one side, using a 1/4" seam.

Step 5

Step 6

Open the blocks back up and press The seam towards the darker fabric. In this picture, you can see that I pressed the seam towards the gingham print.

Step 6

Step 7

Repeat with all remaining pairs of squares cut in Steps 1 & 2. This should result in 6 2-patch units. Take two of the 2-patch units and place them with like fabrics appearing in opposite corners, as shown in the picture below:

Step 7

Step 8

Sew the units together to create a 4-patch unit, and again press the seam to one side. Repeat with the remaining 2-patch units, to create a total of 3 4-patch units.

Step 8

Step 9

Now we will make some flying geese units. One each of the 2.5" print squares that you cut in Step 3, draw a faint diagonal line on the back (wrong) side of the fabric using a pencil and small ruler.

Step 9

Step 10

Align one of these 2.5" squares with the 2.5" side of a solid rectangle that you cut in Step 4. Sew a seam directly along your marked line.

Step 10

Step 11

With your rotary cutter and a leaving a 1/4" seam allowance, trim off the corner of the block. (We won't be using the pieces that were cut off, but many people like to save them to make half-square triangle units for future scrappy projects!)

Step 11

Step 12

Open the unit and press towards the printed fabric.

Step 12

Step 13

Step 13

Repeat on the opposite end of the rectangular unit with another 2.5" print square. Be sure that your diagonal pencil line is oriented as shown in the picture below:

Step 14

Step 14

Once it's sewn, trimmed, and pressed open, your block should look like this. Ta-da, you've made a flying geese unit!

Step 15

Step 15

Repeat with the remaining rectangles and squares that were cut in Steps 3 & 4. You will make a total of 8 flying geese units.

Separate your flying geese units into 4 pairs of 2 geese each.

Step 16

Step 16

Sew each pair of geese together, resulting in 4 2-geese units. Press your seams (if looking at the picture below, I pressed all of my seams towards the goose on the right).

Step 17

Step 17

All of your block components are now complete! All that's left to do is assemble your components in a traditional 9-patch layout. Refer to the picture below when laying out your pieces:

Step 18

Step 19

Sew the components together, first in rows:

Step 19

Step 20

And finally, join your rows to complete you're block. And that's it, we're done! Your block should measure 12.5". It will be a 12" finished block when sewn into the final quilt top.

Block #1  |  John's Block

*** UPDATE ***

I have now made a PDF version of the tutorial available for ease in printing. You can access it here.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial and have fun making your blocks! Please be sure to show off your blocks in our Flickr group.

The next stop on our tour will be with Elizabeth on her Oh, Fransson! blog this coming Thursday, January 27th.

Remember, details about the quilt along (including the full schedule) can be found here and at our Flickr group here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sneak Peek | Fat Quarterly Issue #4

I am very excited to show a sneak peek of my latest quilt and pattern to be included in Fat Quarterly magazine:

Carousel Quilt

I had a great time working with Kate Spain's new "Central Park" line for Moda, and with the issue's focus on working with solids, I was pleased to find 4 shades of shot cottons to coordinate with the prints.

Carousel Quilt

Issue 4 will be released this coming Tuesday, January 25th to our subscribers, and available for single issue purchase on Thursday, January 27th. Learn more on our website at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Art Gallery Fabric + Pattern Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway of Art Gallery fabrics and patterns, and an extra special thank you to Pat Bravo, who so generously provided the gifts. And now, the winners:

The winner of our 1st prize (a Nouvelle quilt pattern and a Chic throw pattern, and a fat quarter bundle of Art Gallery fabrics to get started) is #126:

Kelsey Rose said...126

I really adore this line, but haven't been able to get my hands on any yet. Here is to hoping my luck holds out. :) *fingers crossed*

The winners of our 2nd & 3rd prizes (a Nouvelle quilt pattern and a Chic throw pattern, plus one of Pat's signature scrap bags full of Art Gallery fabrics) are #215 & #309:

Katie said...15

My first visit to your blog AND you're having a giveaway? I'm in heaven! It's nice to see a man quilting. A friend's dad taught me to cross stitch, wish I could get my boys into something crafty but it's not happening.

mizme's mommy said...109

I'd love to see this material on my quilting table!!!

Please send me an email ( to claim your prizes.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Welcome to the Moda Bake Shop Progressive Dinner

I'm back, I'm back! Thanks so much for all your well wishes during my injury, surgery, and recovery. The surgery went well, though I will admit that the recovery has been a little rougher than expected. But enough about that. Even though I'm typing this post by "hunting & pecking" with my left hand (7th grade typing class term!), I wouldn't miss this post, because I finally get to share some exciting news ...


Fresh Fabric Finds is an upcoming title from Stash Books, and it extends the bake shop concept into book form. For those of you unfamiliar with the Moda Bake Shop, it's a wonderful online resource for free patterns & project ideas using Moda's pre-cut offerings, including fat quarter bundles, fat eigth bundles, layer cakes, jelly rolls, honey buns, and charm squares. I've been fortunate enough to have a few projects featured on the site (see them here), and I was both thrilled and honored to be included in the book along with 15 other talented "chefs".

To celebrate the launch of the book (scheduled to be released this May), we're hosting a Progressive Dinner Party and giveaway. First, the giveaway part. One lucky reader will win a copy of Fresh Fabric Finds and a fat eighth bundle (currently my favorite pre-cuts!) of an upcoming fabric line TBD. To enter simply leave a comment here on my blog, and I'll randomly draw a winner on Friday, January 28.

I can't say too much about my specific project for the book (yet), but I can give a hint
and tell you that it's one of the projects featured above.
Can you guess which one?

Want to win even more? To win the grand prize of over $200 of Moda pre-cuts, visit every blog hosting the Progressive Dinner Party, and comment on every post. Again, a lucky reader wil be selected from all who enter. Start here at the Moda Bake Shop, and be sure to visit all of the other chefs. Here's the schedule:

January 20
Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts
Roslyn Mirrington of
Vanessa Christenson of V and Co.

January 21
John Adams of Quilt Dad
Monica Solorio-Snow of The Happy Zombie

January 22
Kimberly Walus of Bitty Bits and Pieces
Melissa Mortenson of The Polkadot Chair

January 23
Natalia Bonner of Piece N Quilt
Vickie Eapen of Spun Sugar Quilts

January 24
Rachel Griffith of P.S. I Quilt
Lissa Alexander of
Moda Lissa

January 25
Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts

January 26

And now for the dinner part of the post. We were each asked to provide a favorite recipe. Now this may not surprise you, but I'm not much of a cook (even though a psychic once told me that I was a great Italian chef from Tuscany in a previous life!), but I'm going to share one of my wife's FAVORITE recipes. It might sound a bit odd and it requires a bit more work than a typical salad, but I promise that it's always a show-stopper and she's asked to bring it again & again!

Barley and Corn Salad with Arugula and Green Beans

Serves 6
*** NOTE: we always double this recipe!! ***

2/3 C. pearl barley

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 C. fresh white corn kernels (cut off cob)
4 large bunches arugula (about 4 oz. total)

1/2 C. olive oil
1/4 C. white wine vinegar
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced fresh thyme (this is important)
2 t. Dijon mustard

3 1/2-oz. package of Feta cheese (crumbled)

Cook barley in boiling salted water until tender (about 30 min). Drain; cool. Put in large bowl.

Cook beans in salted water until crisp-tender (about 4 minutes). It depends upon the size as to how long they take. Put in ice-bath, drain, pat dry, and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add to the barley. Mix in corn kernels. Coarsely chop arugula. Add to barley mixture. Add beans and cheese.

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme and Dijon. Pour the dressing over the mixture. Be careful not to put too much dressing on. Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Undersea Quilt

By the time you read this, I expect to be recovering from my elbow surgery. I'm taking this opportunity to catch up on a few blog posts I've been meaning to write for a while.

Undersea Quilt (so far)

Take a look at this beauty! It's currently the WIP that I am most excited about. A few months back, I organized a block swap for the members of the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild. We all started with a common set of fabrics (a selection of Momo's "Odyssea" for Moda Fabrics) and then made blocks for one another based upon each member's specific request. I asked for square-in-square blocks inspired by Denyse Schmidt's wonky style.

Undersea Quilt Block

Each member was allowed to add in fabrics (from any line) that they felt was a good coordinate for their blocks. I had a really great time shopping for fabrics from across the shop that I thought would look good with the Odyssea prints, and I loved picking specific fabrics that I thought would further the underwater feel of the quilt.

Undersea Quilt Blocks

I got back some wonderful blocks from the talented quilters in my guild. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, but after assessing the large stash of fabrics I still had on hand, I decided to give each block a 2.5" frame to really highlight each block. I think it was this decision that elevated this quilt top from "really like" to "really really love"!

Undersea Quilt Blocks

The only problem was that, at 12 blocks laid out in a 3 x 4 grid, the quilt seemed kind of small to me. Don't forget, I am over 6'4" tall, so what might be a throw quilt to some is barely even a lap cover for me! Because I loved the way this quilt was turning out (and also because I severely over-bought fabric and had a TON of leftover cuts), I decided more blocks were needed.

Undersea Quilt Blocks

I turned to my fabulous Twitter followers and put out a plea: would anyone want to make a block for my quilt? I was hoping to get 4 takers so that I could add one more row to the quilt top. What I didn't expect was the flood of responses I got from quilters around the world who were selflessly willing to make me a block. Based upon the response I received, I think I will be able to nearly double the size of my quilt!

Undersea Quilt Block

Some of the new blocks have already started to arrive. They're not pictured here yet, but they are AWESOME. I'm so very excited to receive the remaining blocks and finish this quilt up. It's going to be one of my favorites -- not only because it's just so cool, but because it will be made with love by both members of my local guild and also some of my favorite online friends.

Undersea Quilt (so far)

Stay tuned -- when I add all of the new additions to the quilt top, I'll post another picture and keep you posted on its progress!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quilt Along Updates

Header graphic

Right about now I should be heading in for my surgery (thank goodness for delayed posting!), but I wanted to provide some more information about the Bloggers' Block-a-palooza quilt-along.

I've created a blog page here, which is where I am trying to keep all of the latest and greatest information about the quilt-along.

I've also created a Flickr group where all of the quilters can share their block photos, ask questions, and report on their progress. If you plan on participating in the quilt-along -- or even if you're not, but want to follow along with the fun -- please join the group here.

Compiling the fabric requirements for the quilt-along has been much trickier than I had anticipated. I hope to have final fabric requirements ready ASAP, and they will be posted both on my blog page and in the Flickr group. In the meantime, I've added some early estimates as well as the final amounts for the quilt setting, backing and binding to the blog page.

I hope to have some news about kits as soon as the fabric requirements are finalized as well. I know we're getting close to be ordering kits before our start date of 1/24, but I am hopeful that those ordering kits (if available) can quickly catch up.

If you have any other questions, please post them in the comments below, or ask your fellow quilters (and all of the other featured bloggers) in the Flickr group.

Monday, January 17, 2011


So here's what you need to know about winters in North Carolina: it rarely snows, but it ices. And, in my opinion, that's a lot worse. It's difficult to clear, and it makes things treacherous. Like driving. And, yes, walking.

Case in point:

My broken elbow  : (
Can you guess what's going on in this picture?

Yeah. We had a pretty bad ice storm last week -- bad enough to close businesses and schools. And on the day that everything opened again, I had a bit of an accident. I was walking to my office from my car in our company's parking deck and had an encounter with a patch of black ice. I didn't even see it coming, and the next thing I knew my feet were up in the air.

Want to guess where I landed? CA-RACK!!!

My broken elbow  : (
See that black gap that's lightly circled?
Yeah, that's a clean break in the bone.

Directly on my right elbow, cracking the bone. I also bruised some ribs. And the only way to repair the type of injury I sustained is with surgery ... and fast. I'm scheduled to have a metal plate and screws attached to my bones early tomorrow morning.

So it's been a rough week ... and I don't think it's going to get any better for at least the next few days. I might not be around much, but I'm working tonight on pre-loading a few posts. I'll be sure to post with my status as soon as I can!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Giveaway with Pat Bravo & Art Gallery Fabrics!

Hello & happy new year, everyone! I hope your 2011 is off to a great start. Speaking of great starts, I'd like to kick off the year here on the blog with a fantastic giveaway.

Have you heard of Patricia Bravo? I've been a big fan of Pat and her company Art Gallery Fabrics for quite a while now. I first heard of Art Gallery fabrics when I picked up a few fat quarters of the Chic Blooms line at my local shop -- not for any specific reason, but because I was so taken by the beautiful designs that I just knew I had to work with them.

Well, those fat quarters turned into this mini quilt that I made for Marilyn as part of a private swap that we had:

Mini Quilt for marilynkb

Mini Quilt for marilynkb

Since then, I've been collecting bits and pieces of each of Pat's lines along the way. They are great pieces to have on hand, because they always bring a special little something to a project. Right now, I'm really crushing on the oranges and greys featured in the Modern Affair line -- I've got to get my hands on some of those! I'm also loving Pat's mini sewing patterns -- the Nouvelle quilt pattern (using a quilt-as-you-go technique) and the Chic throw pattern (with its fabulous twisted knot feature) are both really modern & unique.

You can see all of these and more at It's also where you can purchase Pat's goods online.

When I attended my first Quilt Market in Minneapolis last Sring, I had the pleasure of meeting Pat, who is as lively and energetic as her designs! Her booth was one of my favorites, as was her follow-up in Houston.

Imagine my delight when Pat reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in hosting a giveaway here on the blog. The chance to share some of Pat's lovely creations with all of you? Sign me up! On behalf of Art Gallery fabrics, Pat has generously offered to send the following to 3 lucky readers:

1st prize: A Nouvelle quilt pattern and a Chic throw pattern, and a fat quarter bundle of Art Gallery fabrics to get started!

2nd and 3rd prizes
: A Nouvelle quilt pattern and a Chic throw pattern, plus one of Pat's signature scrap bags full of Art Gallery fabrics.

Here's a note from Pat herself:
Hi everybody! I would like to thank you John for the opportunity of being on your blog and a big thanks to all your readers. Hope you love all my fabrics and patterns as much as I do! All my love, Pat

Have you made something from any of Pat's fabrics or patterns? If so, I'd love to see them! Include a link in your comment below. And even if you haven't had a chance to work with any Art Gallery fabrics yet, leave a comment below to be entered into the giveaway. You know how I roll: one entry = one comment, and I'll let the Random Number Generator pick the winner. I'll leave the giveaway open through next Tuesday, 1/18.

Big thanks to Pat! And best wishes you all of you as we begin 2011!