Monday, October 20, 2014

#NGAQB Mr. July: Ryan Walsh

I'm pretty much caught up on my #NGAQB commitments, but I am still WAY behind in blogging about the block I've made for my bee buddies. (For more about the No Girls Allowed Quilting Bee, or #NGAQB, see here.)

July was Ryan Walsh of Ryan Walsh Quilts' month, and he asked us to make him a colorful block using Elizabeth Hartman's fun Knee Socks Block tutorial. I had fun combing through my scrap bucket to piece together this rainbow block for Ryan:

Ryan has been a friend and quilting buddy for years -- so much so, in fact, that I can still remember when he, I, and Scott Hansen were the only manquilters running in the modern quilting blog & Flickr circles. But for those of you unfamiliar with Ryan and his work, here is some more about him:
Ryan Walsh is a self taught quilter and quilt designer who enjoys taking classic quilt designs and updating them with a modern twist. He’s employed full time as a NYS Licensed Funeral Director and manages a funeral establishment in his hometown. A busy dad, the majority of his quilting adventures occur in the late hours of the night after his kids are in bed! (Boy, that sounds familiar.) 
Ryan uses quilting as a vehicle to satisfy his never ending need to be creative. His work is based around combining traditional piecing methods with free-style construction techniques. As a way to challenge his ability, Ryan participates in several online bees and quilt related swaps every year. 
When he’s not quilting, Ryan also enjoys photography, embroidery, collage, crocheting, sightseeing and spending time with his family. Ryan currently resides in the Catskill Mountain region of Upstate New York with his children. 
Instagram: ryanwalshquilt
Twitter: @ryanwalshquilts
Flickr: ryanwalshquilts

Happy Monday, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winners winners chicken dinners

It's time to close out a bunch of open giveaways that I've been hosting here on the blog. Are you ready to see if you're a lucky winner?


From my Beyond Neutral Blog Tour post:

A copy of Beyond Neutral (courtesy of Martingale) and a Nature's Elements fat quarter bundle (courtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop):


A Nature's Elements fat quarter bundle, courtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop:



From my stop on the Quick Column Quilts blog tour:

A copy of Nancy Zieman's book, Quick Column Quilts:



From my blog post celebrating the release of Sarah Fielke and Amy Lobsiger's book, Little Quilts:

A copy of Little Quilts, courtesy of Cico Books:



And from my Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration challenge post:

A fat quarter bundle of Hadley, courtesy of Denyse Schmidt and Free Spirit Fabric:



Congratulations to all of the winners. Please email me with your mailing information and I will pass it along to the appropriate benefactors. Thanks for reading and for your continued support of my blog!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Modern Solids Challenge | It's time to vote (and give away some fabric)

Hello & Happy Friday, everyone! And a special welcome to anyone who's visiting after reading about the Modern Solids, Traditional Inspiration challenge hosted by FreeSpirit Fabrics and Denyse Schmidt. I am honored to be competing against such amazing and talented quilters, who I am also fortunate enough to consider my friends.

I couldn't be more thrilled about how my quilt turned out. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I used Angela Pingel's Petal Pusher block pattern from her book A Quilter's Mixology as my jumping off point for my design. I let each block tell its own color story, and I weaved in some scraps from Denyse's many amazing fabric lines that helped tell that story. I then sliced up some of the blocks and rearranged them all on point, allowing the blocks to be oriented more in a diamond pattern. And while a diamond pattern can be considered traditional, I think the curves and the scrappy block composition help me achieve my goal of making it more modern.

I backed and bound the quilt in some dark prints from Denyse's Ansonia line, and enlisted the help of my friend Sarah's super long-arm quilting skills. Together, we decided on an all-over Baptist Fan quilting pattern -- a choice that plays with the curves in the quilt design and is both traditional and modern at once.

And now, friends, it is time to vote! As much as I would love and appreciate votes for my quilt, I would  sincerely be happy if you voted at all. I encourage you to please go admire the amazing work of the other participants and show some love by casting a few votes for the one you think best met the challenge. FreeSpirit Fabrics is accepting votes via their social media channels and voting will end on October 14th:

FreeSpirit Pinterest Board - 

I am also thrilled to be able to award one lucky Quilt Dad winner with a Hadley fat quarter bundle, designed by Denyse Schmidt and courtesy of FreeSpirit Fabrics. Simply cast a vote in the contest, come back here, and leave me a comment telling me that you've voted. The vote can be for any quilt in the contest, and you don't even have to tell me who you voted for! I will randomly select one lucky winner from the comments.

Thank you again for all of your love and support in my journey to bring this quilt from concept to reality.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jolly Bar Blog Hop with the Fat Quarter Shop

My friends at the Fat Quarter Shop are always up to something fun, and today is no exception. Today is especially exciting though, because the FQS gang is announcing the launch of their very own exclusive  PRECUT with Moda Fabrics, the Jolly Bar! The Jolly Bar precut is 5" x 10" (twice the size of a charm square, half as big as a layer cake) and I was lucky enough to get to play with one.

Jolly Bars are currently available in four Moda Fabrics collections, and each collection offers a different free pattern packaged in with the fabric. I made my quilt from the Persimmon collection by Basic Grey using the new Picket Fences pattern. I paired the Jolly Bar with some squares that I cut from a piece of orange Grunge fabric from my stash, though making this quilt with a coordinating charm pack would make the process even easier.

The colors of this quilt are PERFECT for the burgeoning Autumn weather here in North Carolina.

You guys, I love this new Basic Grey collection. There are some killer basic and blender prints in here that are totally stash-worthy. Can't wait to stock up on some more.

Want to learn more about the Jolly Bars? Here is Kimberly from the Fat Quarter Shop to tell you more in a fun video:

But wait … there's more!

For every Jolly Bar collection, the FQS sneaked in four Golden Tickets, and each is a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop! That means, there are sixteen total Golden Tickets that are up for grabs, but they are only in the first batch of Jolly Bars, so you must pre-order for a chance to get one. And I'm only requiring a small finder's fee for the winners.  :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Modern Solids Challenge | Progress ...

Finally took the leap and cut into my beautiful box of Denyse Schmidt's Modern Solids collection for Free Spirit Fabrics. I had been waffling between several different ideas for my entry in the Modern Solids, Traditional Inspiration challenge -- with this box of 75 full-spectrum fat quarters, the possibilities are literally endless! -- but ultimately decided to pick a direction and take the plunge.

Inspiration came to be in the form of my friend Angela Pingel's new book, A Quilter's Mixology: Shaking Up Curved Piecing. I fell in love with her Petal Pushers quilt and envisioned a version in Denyse's bright rainbow of colors, but with a few slight alterations.

First, I had planned on 3 shades of a particular color for each block. But these blocks are BIG! Finishing at 24", the fat quarters don't stretch quite far enough to make a complete block. No worries! I decided to dive into my Denyse Schmidt collection to pull out a couple of coordinating scraps to help complete each block. I thought this felt in the spirit of Denyse's classic log cabin blocks, but with a bit of a twist.

Second, I decided that I am going to assemble the quilt top with the blocks on point. As much as I like Angela's original layout, I prefer to look at these blocks tilted on a 45-degree angle. On point, they are more diamond in shape and remind me of paper lanterns.

I had mentioned previously that the challenge would also entail some fun giveaways, and I am so excited that Free Spirit has provided me with a fat quarter bundle of Denyse Schmidt's Hadley collection for one lucky Quilt Dad winner. Stay tuned for details on how to enter!

Little Quilts Book Tour + Swap

Have you been following Sarah & Amy's Little Quilts book tour? It's to celebrate their adorable new book, Little Quilts, of course. And, like any good party, the fine folks at Cico Books are making sure there are goodie bags for partygoers; this time, in the form of a free copy of Little Quilts. Read on for more on how to win.

Mini quilts aren't for everybody, but long-time readers of my blog know that I love them. I love to make them, swap them, and receive them. To me, they scratch an itch when you want to play with a particular fabric, or try out a new idea or technique, or create something from start to finish when you don't have time for a full quilt. Plus, the whole aspect of swapping lets you make design decisions with someone else in mind. And I LOVE giving gifts.

That's why I was so excited not only to peruse this beautiful new book -- and, lets face it, everything that Sarah and Amy make is spectacular -- but also to participate in the book tour, because the tour is also doubling as a little quilt swap!

With my secret swap partner in hand, I had to decide what quilt to make in the book. On first glance, I passed this quilt (called Not Quilt Hawaiian) right by. Gorgeous, but … applique? Not my thing. I was deciding between two or three of the other projects in the book, but my mind kept coming back to this one. I figured that a little bit of fusible interfacing and the blanket stitch on my Bernina could be my best friends. And, with my partner in mind, I envisioned the most perfect color and fabric combination to bring it to life for her.

Flowers. Cats. And a little bit of bling in the form of gold ink in the Cotton & Steel background. Perfect for my partner. Any guesses on who it could be?

Honestly, this might be one of my favorite things that I've ever made. All of that machine stitching took a while, but it was totally worth it. The way the teal of the floral print matches the background and the use of pink Aurifil thread just makes the whole thing sing.

And really, who can resist those peek-a-boo cats?

I'm totally not a cat guy -- AT ALL -- but this print won me over. I don't remember the name of the print or the manufacturer, but I picked it up at Pink Castle Fabrics when I was there a few months back.

My bottom line on the book itself? It's fabulous. But I didn't expect any less. Gobs of great designs and color and print inspiration -- definitely a book I'll come back to again and again. And it's all wrapped around a wonderful story -- one of two friends living oceans apart that were brought together by a shared love of their craft. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Want to win a copy of Little Quilts, courtesy of Cico books? Simply leave a comment on this post and answer one of these two questions:

  • Who do you think this quilt was made for? (Hint: all of the stops on the blog tour are listed on Sarah and Amy's blogs.)
  • What two fabrics do you think would make an amazing Not Quite Hawaiian quilt?
I'll randomly select one winner next week. Good luck!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Modern Solids Challenge with Denyse Schmidt and Free Spirit Fabrics

** thud **

OK, now that you've picked yourself up off of the floor, let me introduce you to the fabulosity that is the Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids box by Free Spirit Fabrics. What's inside this veritable treasure box? 75 fat quarters from Denyse's new Modern Solids line … and a whole lot of creative potential.

You can imagine the squeals of delight when Free Spirit contacted me a few weeks back to see if I would be interested in receiving this magical box in exchange for my participation in their first ever Modern Solids, Traditional Inspiration Challenge with Denyse Schmidt herself. Cue the immediate "D'UH … I  mean, YES!"

The challenge: make a 60" x 60" quilt with Denyse's Modern Solids Collection. In the spirit of Denyse's book "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration" (a personal fave of mine), the design should be inspired by – or be my own interpretation of – a traditional quilt pattern. And quite a challenge this is turning out to be. With a few weeks left to complete my quilt, I am still considering no fewer than 5 different ideas of what to make.

Gorgeous photo courtesy of Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts

And speaking of challenge, this isn't just a challenge against my own indecision. It's a full-fledges competition, with my finished quilt to be pitted against those of some other famous, fabulous quilt bloggers. And there will be prizes! Prizes that I'd really like to win!! (I'll be hitting you up for help on that later.) Rumor is, there will be prizes for you here on my blog as well ...

Though it's all been quite hush-hush cloak-and-dagger so far, social media breadcrumbs have revealed that the other challengers are:

          Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts
          Heather at olive and ollie
          Latifah at The Quilt Engineer
          Lee at Freshly Pieced
          Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations

A noted (and notorious) group of amazing quilters, for sure. Let the games begin!

Gorgeous photo courtesy of Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#NGAQB Mr. June: Chris Jones

Back today with another effort to catch up on the antics of the boys of the No Girls Allowed Quilting Bee. Back in June, Chris Jones asked us to help him create a totally unique Lone Star Quilt of some kind by making and sending him some Diamond Stack blocks. Let me tell you: these blocks were not for the faint of heart. Though my blocks turned out a bit … wonkier … than I would have liked, I am still glad I took on Chris' challenge. See my blocks below and, in the spirit of our #NGAQB posts, get to know more about my fellow manquilter Chris Jones.


When did you start quilting?
CJ: I didn't actually pick up quilting until I was in college and living with my mom's family. She comes from a strong lineage of quilters, and I thought I might enjoy it. I grew up with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. She taught me how to sew, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and many other things. 
When I graduated from college, I stopped quilting for a while. I was sucked in to the world of MMORPG, and barely had time for anything else but work. I picked up quilting again at the suggestion of a great friend at work. She introduced me to hand-piecing and I was in love again. I've done quite a few small projects, but I've yet to actually quit a top yet. I'm hoping that I'll get to take some valuable time-off soon and try my mom's new long arm or free motion quilting machines.

What do you do professionally?
CJ: Right now I'm a SQL Developer/Data Administrator for an online book company (nope, not that one – not that one either). I've been with the company for fourteen years; I started with them two weeks after I graduated college. I started in the Customer Service department, and quickly moved up to CS Manager. I've held a position in just about every department within the company, and if I haven't worked there, I work closely with them to generate reports or import data.

What other hobbies do you have?
CJ: Outside of sewing/quilting, I love to cook, can, and garden. I just picked up canning this year, and I love it. There's nothing more awesome than taking the things that you grow and preserving them to eat throughout the year. Though I don't typically eat it, I love making jam, the stranger the flavour profile, the more fun. So far I've made mulberry jam, strawberry balsalmic jam, grape jelly, wild berry (strawberry, blueberry, mulberry) and apple butter. I'm trying out recipes for pineapple rum jam and mulled red wine jelly. They will likely be part of the family Christmas presents this year.

Do you have pets?
CJ: Yep, I have three furbabies that are the love of my life. A scottie named Finnigan, a Cairn named Ursula and a German Shepherd named Zahara. Ursula and Zahara were both rescues. We're currently taking Zahara through obedience school right now.

What is your favourite color?
CJ: Orange, definitely orange. From pumpkin to safety vest, I love it all.

Which season is best?
CJ: Fall [Autumn] will always have a special place in my heart. I love the color of the season. But now, because I really enjoy planning gardens, and digging in the dirt, I'd have to go with spring. The smell of the air right after a spring rain ... it's invigorating.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be?
CJ: I'd love to see my grandfather again. He was such an amazing person. He was a short-order cook in the army, a recorded musician that wrote music, played the guitar, banjo and fiddle, and spent the greater portion of his adult life as a taxi driver. His routes ranged from around the block to across the country. He loved life, and never had a cross word for anyone. He, like my grandmother, really taught me how to “be” in this world and I love him for it. I'd love to see him again.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
CJ: I probably have too many to mention here. I have a touch of an OCD streak that rears its ugly head from time to time. Right now the biggest thing that bothers me are leaves. I was out in the snow raking them the other day because I couldn't stand seeing them all over the ground. As far as peeves from others, though, I don't like people that use others for their benefit. Gets in my craw every time.

What kind of music interests you?
CJ: I will listen to just about any type of music, except modern country. I just can't get into it. As far as favourites...the sugarier the pop, the better. As of late I've been bouncing between bollywood hits and electronica.

What book/movie/tv show can you not live without?
CJ: TV is a guilty pleasure of mine; I watch way too much of it. I'm a card-carrying fandom member for Supernatural and Teen Wolf – can't miss an episode. I don't read as much as I should, but I like fantasy, historical fiction and romance books. Bernard Cornwell, Gregory McGuire, and Diana Gabaldon are a few of my current go-to authors.

How would you best describe yourself?
CJ: I never know what to say with this question. I think the best thing that I can say is that my Meyer's Briggs personality type is INFP. I'm introverted, usually very quiet and reserved, or in my own world. Feelings and emotions are important to me, and I am usually overflowing with them. I like to daydream, and don't like strict rules.

Thanks, Chris! Get to know Chris more by visiting his blog and social media sites:
Chris Jones
A Dandy Man
IG:  kailichi
Twitter: @kailichi
Pinterest: kailichi

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour

 I'm excited to share a brand new quilt top that I just completed inspired by Nancy Zieman's new book, Quick Column Quilts, as part of her blog tour today. For those of you who are visiting as part of the tour, welcome! I'm glad you're here and I hope you poke around a bit. For my regular readers, Nancy is giving away a ton of amazing prizes as part of the tour, and nothing would make me happier than for a Quilt Dad reader to win a new sewing machine, some fun fabrics and sewing notions, or any of the other great prizes up for grabs. More on that later. But first, the book ...

For anyone who's looked through my book, Beyond Neutral, you know that I have a tendency to design and piece my quilt tops in columns rather than rows. It just seems to be the way my brain is wired. That's why I was excited to read about Nancy's approach to designing and creating column-oriented quilts.

Here's the description of the book from its Amazon page:
Modern. Streamlined. Quick. 
The benefits of quilting with columns are clear: in very little time, you can piece together a stylish, no-fuss quilt. This fresh approach to quilting from author Nancy Zieman is perfect for first-time quilters and anyone looking for a change from traditional quilt designs. Start small with the Dotted Columns Wall Hanging or go big with the Happy-Go-Lucky Chevron Column Quilt--with 13 quick and easy projects to choose from, you may just make them all!

I was inspired to create a new quilt top based on one of Nancy's quilts, the Happy-Go-Lucky Chevron Column Quilt. Rather than buying new fabric for the project, I shopped from my stash and decided to use a small collection of the Imperial Pheasant collection by Eleanor Grosch that I had in my stash. I've always loved the imagery and purple / navy / red color combination of this line. Because the pattern calls for a contrasting print for the narrow columns and borders, I used a favorite Amy Butler print that I had left over from a quilt back. I really like they way they play together.

Nancy uses solid fabrics for her quilt in the book, but I enjoyed playing with the contrasting prints. I only had a half-yard bundle of the Imperial Pheasant prints,which was not enough to make a full quilt top, so I offset the pieced section of the quilt with a wide swath of solid. It's hard to tell in the photos, but this is a purple Peppered Cotton that I absolutely adore. It's the perfect complement to tone down the busy pieced section, and its shimmery texture adds just the right amount of panache.

Can't wait to get this one off to a long-arm quilter to work some magic!

OK, are you ready for some giveaway prizes? 

First, I get to reward one reader with a free copy of Quick Column Quilts! Simply leave a comment on this post to be eligible to win.

For a chance to win something from the mother load of prizes, head over to Nancy Zieman's blog. Nancy will be hosting a grand giveaway of 15 prizes. You must comment on Nancy’s September 4 blog post to qualify for the giveaways. 

There's a chance to win a free book at every one of the Quick Column Quilts blog tour stops. Be sure to go check them all out!

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman
09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.
09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny
09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                
09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama
09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan
09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day
09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around
09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio
09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair
09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs
09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Good luck!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Space Dust Quilt-along | Week 7

Welcome to week 7 of the Space Dust Quilt-along! We're so close to being done. In week 7, we worked on the sixth and final row of the main part of the quilt. You can see my version above. I am so in love with this quilt! Not only do I feel a great sense of accomplishment for finally making it, but I learned a ton about both paper piecing and color placement. Really, I couldn't recommend Tula's pattern enough. If you're still sitting on the fence, I encourage you to make like Nike and JUST DO IT.

Here's a round-up of other quilters who have completed through row 6 as of today and posted their pictures to Instagram with the hashtag #NGAQB. Read to the bottom of the post for information about this week's giveaway!

My co-host Paul finished his version, using the Indelible line (like mine), several weeks early ...

… and proceeded to make another one! I love his second version, which uses one of the Indelible prints as a background:

Melinda used Indelible too, but chose a dark charcoal color for her background. Stunning!

Marj so beautifully used the full spectrum of the rainbow and placed her colors perfectly:

Chris shows us another inspired background choice. I always love a good Grunge solid:

Oh Shonna, you must know that Tula Pink fabrics will always capture my heart. Shonna decided to make her Birds & the Bees version into a Space Dust wall hanging:

And yes, that is a gasp-worthy 2-tone background on @jmylander's quilt (made with Tula's Foxfield line):

A great finish by last week's giveaway winner, Sharni:

Another version in yet another Tula Pink line -- Teresa's Prince Charming quilt:

No respectable quilt-along in 2014 would be complete without an appearance by the ladies of Cotton + Steel. Loving @jeepdog1's version:

And here's probably the most experimental quilt in the bunch -- Angela's stunning version in all solids -- which reads to me more as "Space Ice Chunk" than "Space Dust":



Have you completed through row 6 of the Space Dust pattern? If so, post your pictures to social media (Instagram or Facebook) with hashtag #SDQAL, or to your blog or Flickr with a link in the comments below. We'll randomly pick one lucky winner to win a large box of Aurifil thread, the Indelible edition. Check out Paul's post next week for the announcement of the winner.