Monday, September 28, 2015

Dreamtime Quilt | Quilt Now, issue 8

As a quilter, I can't think of many things more rewarding than seeing your quilts in print. Having one of my quilts featured in a book or magazine allows me to share my work with quilters from all around the world, and I get the warm fuzzies thinking that I might be delighting and inspiring others. And when it's not just a quilt but also an original pattern of my own -- one that others might also choose to make themselves -- it makes me downright giddy.

Recently, I've been fortunate enough to have a few of my quilts featured in an exciting and relatively new publication, Quilt Now magazine. Based out of the UK, Quilt Now is helmed by my quiltsister Katy Jones as editor and recently celebrated its first year in print.

Earlier this year I had my first quilt featured in issue 8 of Quilt Now.  Each issue of the magazine centers around a theme, and the theme for the eighth issue was "monochromatic quilts". I have kind of a love affair with grey prints, so I set about making quilt top with a scrappy mix of a wide variety of grey and white (aka "low volume") fabrics.

The quilt ended up being quite large -- nearly king-sized -- but I wanted to add a little something extra. I drew some simple jewel and gemstone shapes, made cardboard templates, and cut them from a mix of brilliant pink & regal purple solids. Inspired by the design of Casey York's Apiary quilt pattern, I arranged the shapes in the center of the quilt, forming a circular focal point. I fused them down and used a raw-edge appliqué technique for an easy finish. It was finished with some AMAZING quilting by the AMAZING Trudi Wood. (Thanks again, Trudi!)

I named this quilt "Dreamtime" because of the juxtaposition of the calming and relaxing grey background and the vibrant jewels that appear, as if part of a dream. Who wouldn't love to dream about being covered in jewels?  :)

Big thanks to Katy and the great team at Quilt Now for featuring the Dreamtime quilt! I hope you'll check out their gorgeous magazine and let me know if you decide to make a Dreamtime quilt of your own.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Welded Quilt with AGF Stitched and the Fat Quarter Shop

Hello everyone, and welcome new visitors! Just a quick post today to share one of my recent quilt top finishes and let you know about a fun new free quilt pattern offered by my friends at Art Gallery Fabrics and the Fat Quarter Shop.

You may have seen my post a few months back about the Birchen quilt pattern, the first in the new AGF Stitched series of free patterns and projects born out of a collaboration between Art Gallery and the Fat Quarter Shop. I was excited to be asked to join in the launch of the newest pattern in the AFG Stitched series, the Welded quilt.

I've had the chance to make my own version of Welded, and I can attest to the fact that it is a fun, beginner-friendly pattern that delivers great results. I always love a quilt pattern that is able to showcase my favorite large prints, and Welded certainly fits the bill.

The Art Gallery Fabrics portfolio of designers and fabric lines has grown so much that it's always difficult to decide what fabrics to use for these quilt patterns. For Welded, I decided to play with my good friend Katy Jones' line for AGF, Priory Square. That navy blue "clippings" print, with its collage-inspired mix of floral images and hand-drawn birds, is a new favorite of mine.

Though I finished the quilt top per the pattern instructions, I'm not quite done yet. I'm waiting for some more cuts of the fabric to arrive so that I can add some borders and increase the size of the quilt in order to make it a bit more queen-sized bed friendly. This one's going to be a Christmas present for someone!

I will admit that I found the on-point layout of the blocks and assembling the quilt top in rows a bit tricky. Actually, the tricky part was trimming the edges of the top once it was assembled. I had to trim a bit more off than expected, because my row ends didn't quite leave me a straight line for easy trimming. I'll chalk that one up to a learning experience.

As always, the Fat Quarter Shop team has done a great job putting together materials to make your quilt-making experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. These materials include the pattern, quilt kits, and a YouTube video that you can find below.

Quilt pattern:
Quilt kits (featuring Artisan by Pat Bravo):
Backing set:

There is a whole bunch of other talented quilters showing off their Welded quilts today. Go check 'em out and say hi!

AGF Designer, Caroline Hulse of Sew Caroline
AGF Designer, Katarina Roccella
Kitty of Night Quilter
Michele-Renee of Quilt Matters
Christina of Sometimes Crafter
Jess of the Elven Garden
Svetlana of Sotak Handmade
Natalia of Piece N Quilt
Megan of Quilt Story
John of Quilt Dad
Sinta of Pink Pin Cushion
Jemima of Tied with a Ribbon
Riane of Vessel Quilts
Kaye of Miss Print

Sunday, May 31, 2015

#maysmallworldQAL | Part 1

Hello, quilt-alongers! (Or is it quilters-along? I never know.) I am so sorry to be posting the week 1 post so late in the week. The truth is, I've been putting off writing this post in the hopes of completing my Part 1 but -- and I'm you see where this is going --  I wasn't able to keep up. No worries -- I'll still fill this post with tips, tricks, and plenty of eye candy for all of you playing along. And for those of you that make it to the end of the post, look out for a fun giveaway!

Now, the first thing you need to know is that the published pattern has a few errors. Quiltmania has been great about correcting diagrams and publishing errata. One of these mistakes is in section 1 and, more specifically, diagram 9 (pg. 61). Click HERE to download the correction for Diagram 9 and click HERE to download the other corrections. Or, you could borrow Kerry's great idea and simply print the diagram below and tape it over the incorrect one in your magazine:

Even though I haven't been able to complete my part 1 yet, I've certainly been following along with all of the action on Instagram at #mysmallworldqal. The general consensus seems to be that: (1) the piecing is quite small; (2) striking the right balance of low volume prints for the sky can be challenging; (3) participants are finding the small piecing to be quite time consuming; and (4) despite 1-3, this project is a ton of fun!

Since section 1 starts with piecing the patchwork sky, I've taken particular note of how people are handing that part. It's been interesting to see that some quilters are sticking to straight low volume, others are introducing bits of blue, others are leaning towards a sunny yellow sky, and at least one quilter that I know of (Angela of Cut to Pieces) has chosen to piece a fabulous dark night sky.

The best place to see all of the amazing work going on so far, of course, is to follow the #mysmallworldqal hashtag on Instagram. But for some immediate visual inspiration, I've collected a few beautiful work-in-progress shots from a variety of Flickr users:

Here's co-host Kerry's completed part 1. Amazing!

Part 1 completed by Karen C. / Flickr user @Spetziemom

Part 1 completed by Courtney / Flickr user @courtiepie

Partially completed part 1 by Flickr user @silort

Partially completed part 1 by Eva-Marie / Flickr user

Partially completed part 1 by Sherri / Flickr user @RebeccaMaeDesigns

For those quilting along, have any tips or tricks to share with your fellow quilters? As for me, I've been brainstorming some shortcuts that might make this daunting quilt a bit easier to tackle. First, I'm wondering if the sky has to be as scrappy as Jen Kingwell's version. I've got my eye on this print from the upcoming First Light collection by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9 fabrics to use in large squares rather than the tiny patchwork:

The other things that can definitely make life easier when making this quilt are cheater prints. If there are parts of the quilt that use techniques with which you are uncomfortable, or just want to swap out a complicated piece section for a single cut of fabric, a good cheater print will still give the look of the quilt without having to tackle every piece of patchwork. (For a good example, take a look at diagram 13 in part 2 of the pattern.) I've stocked up on a few colors of this great print by Suzuko Koseki for Yuwa (currently on sale at Pink Castle Fabrics!)

Here's another one that I found online at Superbuzzy (multiple colors available):

One thing I am definitely not interested in doing in hand-sewing hexagons. So when I saw diagram 25 in part 5 of the pattern, I knew this was a job for a cheater print. I found this great cheater print (also at Superbuzzy) that fits the bill perfectly.

Next, when I see all of the half-circle motifs throughout the quilt (see part 1 illustration 9, part 3 illustration 17, and the half dresdens in part 5), I can't help but think there's some way to use Melody Miller's viewfinder fabric from Playful (for Cotton + Steel) to create this effect.

And speaking of Playful, I know there's GOT to be some way to use this print to great effect in this quilt top. I'm just trying to figure out the best way how ...

And finally, if you're as terrified of / frustrated by handwork and things like needle-turn appliqué, then repeat after me: raw-edge fusible appliqué is your friend. If it's a technique you've never tried before, then a simple Google search will return lots of great tutorials to get you started. Here's one that shows just about the same technique that I use (though I prefer to use my machine's blanket stitch or zig-zag stitch rather than a straight stitch):

Are you quilting along and have finished Part 1? Join the link-up party below and share your quilt! I'll choose one post from the list below to win a special fabric giveaway prize -- some items from my stash custom selected especially to coordinate with your quilt -- sometime next week.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Small World Quilt-along

Want a button for your blog? You can find them on Kerry's blog post.
Hello, friends! I'm not sure if you've heard already, but I'm part of an amazing team -- along with KerryCindyMeganDanielle, and Lisa -- that has come together to co-host the My Small World Quilt-along. Not familiar with the My Small World quilt? It's a fantastic piece designed by the equally fantastic Jen Kingwell, who is an author, new Moda fabric designer, and owner of Amitie Textiles in Melbourne (an adorable little shop that I had the pleasure of visiting while down under back in March.)

If you're quilting along with us, now's the time to make sure you have your pattern and start pulling out fabrics for your quilt.
(Note: More information about the quilt-along can be found below, but Kerry has compiled a really comprehensive post that I highly recommend for more information. Check it out here.)

As soon as I saw the pattern, I fell in love with it. Does it have some small, fussy piecing? Yes. Hand sewing? Yes. Curves and dresden plates? Yes. And if you follow my blog, you know that none of those are my favorite things. But I am confident that I can work around some of those challenges and still enjoy the process.

For example, I will be relying on fusible, raw edge appliqué instead of hand sewing or EPP. Semicircles? I'll be fusing those down too. And I'm on the hunt for some great cheater prints (squares and hexagons) that might work in the some of the patchwork areas and instead of the EPP bits. If that stuff interests you, let me know and we can share tips and progress. And please share links to any cheater prints that you know of that might work in the quilt.

The pattern can be found in the Spring 2015 Special issue of Quiltmania magazine. It's not the easiest issue to find, but we've been compiling a list of shops and stores where it's been spotted. If you have any additions to the list, please let me know in the comments to this post and I'll update the list.
In the UK it can be found at:
  • Some branches of WHSmiths
  • Some  quilt shops and newsagents- those that already stock Quiltmania publications
  • Online at The Contented Cat.  They will also send overseas - a possible option for European quilters.
For Europe (and elsewhere) In USA
  • Joann's
  • Barnes & Noble
Australia/New Zealand
  • Order from local newsagent
  • Minerva in NZ
Photo courtesy of Cindy at Live a Colorful Life
The power of quilt-along such as this come from the community that is participating and the activity and excitement that it generates. There is already a great deal of activity carrying the hashtag #mysmallworldqal on Instagram, Twitter and Flickr, so be sure to contribute your progress pictures. 

Other things that have already spun up in the community include:
  • Fabric swaps for low volume prints to ensure scrappy variety in the patchwork sky portions of the quilt
  • Resizing tips to make the pattern (currently 33" x 52") into a bigger quilt
  • More information about shops stocking the issue of Quilt mania
  • Fabric and other giveaways from individual bloggers, shop owners, and quilters (caveat: all the hosts agreed that the emphasis is on a community quilt-along, so we have purposely not sought official sponsors, prizes or a commercial aspect to the quilt-along. If you see anything along these lines on social media, it is not linked to us but to the individuals offering a giveaway, kits to buy etc.  Instead, we wanted to host a fun, community quilt-along over the next few months and provide the motivation and a little help that we all need to get something we really want to do done!)

Jen Kingwell herself and the nice people at Quiltmania will be following along as well, so you may see some nice comments from the designer herself!

Courtesy of Charise Randall at Charise Creates
The schedule for the quilt-along can be found below. The pattern is presented in six parts, which is how we will be proceeding. We hope it's provides a comfortable pace with which to keep up, enjoy the progress others are making, and get any and all of your questions answered. We'll kick of the piecing next week with part 1 right here on my blog!

My Small World QAL Schedule
  • Week beginning 18th May - Intro post - All hosts will be posting!
  • Week beg. 25th May - Part 1 - John Adams - QuiltDad (me!)
(Note: if you're getting a head start on part 1, there is a mistake in diagram 9 of the printed pattern. Errata can be found on the Quiltmania website. Kerry had the great idea to print the correct diagram, cut it out, and washi tape it over the original diagram in the magazine.)

Will you be quilting along? Let me know! Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My local: Cary Quilting Company

Cary Quilting Company, Cary NC

I am fortunate to have a few great local fabric shops here in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. Located in an old house in a quaint little downtown area, Cary Quilting Company (Cary, NC) might just be the most unique shop in town, and also the most enjoyable to shop! (Cary Quilting company is on Facebook, too!)

Seeing that we're neighbors, I've had the pleasure of getting to know the shop's owner, Julianne Walther. It turns out that Julianne and I have quite a bit in common. Aside from a love of quilting, we are both parents of multiples (twins!) and spend the majority of our free time cheering our children along from the sidelines of a soccer field.

Julianne Walther and family

I wanted to showcase Julianne and her shop here on the blog, and she has been kind and generous enough to offer a discount to Cary Quilting Company for Quilt Dad readers as well as a fabric giveaway. Details on the offer & giveaway -- as well as a link to one of Julianne's free patterns -- are at the bottom of the post but, in the meantime, enjoy learning more about one of our community's local shop owners!


How did you get started with quilting?
My mother taught me to sew as a young child.  I made myself lots of clothing in high school in college, but I was often disappointed with the fit or drape.  In 1995, I decided that if I made a quilt, it would have to fit.  The bed wouldn’t gain or lose weight, and a two-dimensional quilt would have to be easier, right?  I bought myself a “make your own sampler quilt” book and I never looked back.

What made you decide to open a business?
In 2005, I had 4 kids aged 5 and younger, and I was a stay at home mom.  I don’t sit still very well, and needed something to do during naptimes and after the kids went to bed at night.  My husband created a little webpage for me, Patchwork Memories was born, and I started making t-shirt quilts for people.  Seven years later, Patchwork Memories had grown to a 10-person company in need of more space (that didn’t include 3 pets and a toilet that was used for aiming practice by three boys).  We moved the company into a beautiful historic house in downtown Cary.  The house had been empty for a couple of years and was was the prior home of Etc. Crafts, my local quilt shop.   Almost as soon as we had moved in, quilters were knocking on the door, wanting to know when we would be opening our quilt shop.  We got busy and a couple of months later, we opened a quilt shop!  Now, Cary Quilting Company operates from the first floor of the shop and Patchwork Memories operates from the second floor.  We also have a classroom and a long arm quilting machine on the second floor.
Cary Quilting Company runs a long arm quilting machine on its second floor

What are your favorite parts about owning a quilt shop?
I love shopping for new fabrics, and I really love when the boxes arrive!  It’s like Christmas day every time we get a new shipment of fabric.  It’s a little frustrating because I love everything that comes in (since I chose it!), and I want to make quilts and bags and projects with everything in the shop.  There’s just not enough time in the day.  I also love the people!  Seeing how proud people are when they bring in show-and-tell, seeing inspiration come to life, and helping people find just what they need for their quilts is so fun.
The wonderful staff of Cary Quilting Company & Patchwork Memories

What types of quilting do you enjoy?
I’m all over the map!  I love paper piecing, machine applique, traditional piecing, modern quilts, batiks, solids, prints, novelty, you name it!  I really love quirky fabrics.  Some of my recent favorites are Packmate Llamas by Michael Miller and Farm to Fork Bacon fabric.
An article about Julianne's business in our local newspaper

What do you do when you’re not at the shop?
My 4 little ones are now 4 bigger ones - aged 10 - 14.  I’m either in the car, at a soccer field, at the orthodontist (yes, all 4 are in braces!) or at gymanstics with the kids.  I also run half marathons and sometimes I even sew.  Don’t ask me to cook though - you’d regret that request pretty quickly! 


A fun bench pillow made from a mini charm pack and 1 yard of fabric.
Julianne's free pattern is featured on the Moda Bake Shop.

If you ever find yourself in the Raleigh area, make sure you carve out some time to go visit Julianne and the staff over at Cary Quilting Company. Oh, and be sure to contact me first -- I'm always happy to go fabric shopping, and I'll buy you a cup of coffee!

To receive a 15% discount off of all online orders, now through May 31st, simply enter the discount code QUILTDAD at checkout. (Local customers can use it, too -- simply choose "local pickup" as your shipping option and the order will be cut and ready for you upon pickup.)

Julianne also has some fat quarter bundles to give away! Want to win some free fabric? It's easy. Just do the following before April 30th:

  1. Like Cary Quilting Company on Facebook (if you don't already)
  2. Like the post on the Cary Quilting page with the Quilt Dad link on it
  3. Sign up for the Cary Quilting Company newsletter (link at the bottom of the Cary Quilting Company website)
A winner will be selected on Friday, May 1st. Good luck!

'Bathtime', Julianne's original pattern for the 2015 Row by Row Experience shop hop

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Your Story Begins at Home

Welcome to the Story party! I was so excited when Carrie (Bloomston, of Such Designs) asked me to make a project inspired by her new line for Windham Fabrics, Story, and I'm even more excited to be sharing it with you today. It turns out this quilt took on quite a story of its own. First, though, a bit about the fabric line.

Your Story Begins at Home

From Carrie's post: "Story is about community, connection and the essentials of life: home, family, love, garden, nature, stars, moon, sun, animals, friends. In Story, you’ll find archetypal building blocks of your personal narrative. What is your story? Tell us. Share it. Add to it. Make it yours. When we share ourselves with the world, we become whole."

Your Story Begins at Home

Not only did Carrie ask me to make a quilt with this beautiful line, but she invited it to be featured in her lookbook to help showcase the line. To be included, the quilt had to be back to Carrie in time for the photoshoot. I quickly sketched out my design and set myself a (very aggressive) timeline to get the quilt made and off to be longarm quilted in time to send back to Carrie before leaving for a 2.5 week business trip to Australia. It was going to be tight, but I was certain I could do it.

Your Story Begins at Home

With a fabric line so chock full of stories, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a sea of houses and build a patchwork town or city. Made from two very simple shapes -- rectangles and flying geese -- the quilt is abstract enough for anyone to inject stories of their own into this little patchwork town. I absolutely loved making it.

Your Story Begins at Home

Well, towards the end of construction, I was really down to the wire. The quilt top was (of course) taking longer to complete than I was anticipating, and the Saturday night before my business trip I settled down for a long night of sewing. As long as I got it to Mark and Suzan at Singing Stitches to work their quilting magic on Sunday, I could keep to my schedule.

Your Story Begins at Home

But at around 11PM I started having some pretty severe back pain. I've had back pain before, but this was like nothing I had ever felt before. And no matter how I moved or sat, there was no relief. To make a long story short, I ended up driving myself to the emergency room at 4AM to learn that I was experiencing my very first bout with kidney stones. It was NO FUN.

Your Story Begins at Home

Aside from the physical pain of the ordeal, there was no way I was getting the quilt done before leaving for Australia. I had to let Mark and Suzan know that I wouldn't be bringing them the quilt the next day. And I had to let Carrie know that the quilt would not be ready in time to be included in the lookbook photoshoot. I was really heartbroken, but also excited to complete the quilt once I was home without the stress and discomfort that I was beginning to associate with it.

Your Story Begins at Home

And so I present "Your Story Begins at Home". Like life, the story is both about the good and the bad. Though the story of this quilt so far has had more downs than ups, I am sure that will change as it makes its way to Quilt Market and does its part to showcase Carrie's beautiful new fabric line. And once it's home, we'll be sure this quilt is well used and well loved.

Be sure to check out all of the amazing Story projects, posted by your party hosts:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mochi Charm Box Quilt

Back today with a quick recent finish. I was happy to work with my friends at the Fat Quarter Shop to make their most recent (free) Short Cuts pattern, the Charm Box Quilt. I made mine using Rashida Coleman-Hale's new line for Cotton & Steel, Mochi.

This was really a quick, fun, and easy quilt to make. It uses 2 charm packs, plus less than a yard of a background fabric. The quilt finishes at 36" x 45" -- the perfect size for a crib or baby quilt, or even a wall hanging.

I loved working with Rashida's collection. The colors and prints are unique, vibrant, and lots of fun. Most of all, I've fallen in love with the background fabric I chose: Dottie's Cousin in Natural. It's got a linen-y look and feel, but is pure quilting cotton so that it sews beautifully. It's the perfect blender / neutral.

Here are all the links you'll need to make your own Charm Box quilt:
Enjoy! If you make a Charm Box quilt, I'd love to see it. Link it up in your comment below!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wanderer quilt progress

If you were to ask me to name the fabric lines I'm currently most excited to work with, April Rhodes' Wanderer for Art Gallery Fabrics would be at the top of the list. (For the record, so would Maureen Cracknell's Wild & Free line and Katarina Roccella's Recollection line. AGF is killin' it right now.)

So when April contacted me and asked if I'd like a bit of early-release Wanderer to play with, I did 3 back handsprings and sang a few spirituals (OK, not really) before answering with a resounding YES. I supplemented April's beautiful prints with a few coordinating AGF Pure Elements solids and began thinking about what I would make with them.

At around the same time, I finally got around to checking Craftsy out. (A bit late to the party, I know.) What a great resource for quilt patterns and ideas! I stumbled across a pattern called Goose Feathers by Sarah Wheelwright and, I swear, I heard fireworks going off. It's a great fit for what I wanted to do with my Wanderer stack.

I'm not quite done with my quilt top yet -- I've finished all blocks except for the paper-pieced arrow quills. Once I finish them off, I'll be back to post pictures of the completed quilt. In the meantime, here are a few work-in-process shots to whet your appetite:

Lots & lots of HSTs! I am using AGF Pure Elements solid in Sandstone for the background. I love the way the colors are all playing together and cannot wait to see this one come together.