{shop} Alison Glass

 
My friend, Alison Glass, designs the most amazing eye candy lusciousness for Andover Fabrics.  Today she launched her very own online shop, with cards and art prints of her designs. She’s also released her “Spectrum” quilt pattern, with promise of more to come in the upcoming weeks.

To celebrate, she’s offering a surprise treat to everyone who orders from her shop TODAY! Go take a peek!  

Covering My Sister in Love

When my sister, Debbie, was diagnosed with breast cancer last December, I was frustrated that I couldn’t be there. I’m in Virginia, she’s in Florida.  I set out to make a quilt so she could be wrapped in love even if I wasn’t there to hug on her. Right after Christmas I had the opportunity to travel south and stopped at my cousins’ on the way so we could sew some Wonky Star blocks together. Debbie didn’t know what we were up to – it was going to be a surprise. 

My cousin Jessica shows 4 year old Katie how to sew a block together. After that she sewed the rest of her block without much help! Katie chose all her own fabrics, too – hers is block on the top right with the hearts in the center. 

 

I was with Deb at her post-op appointment when the doctor declared her officially cancer free. She’d still have to undergo radiation as a precaution. It was such a happy day, I showed her the colorful blocks and told her my plan for her to be able to take her quilt with her to treatment. It didn’t work out that way… but it was finished in time for her to celebrate the end of her radiation treatments. Now that it’s in her hands I can show it to all of you!

Front

 

Back

 

The entire quilt was sewn from fabric I had on hand. The blocks are 12″ finished and went together pretty quickly. For each block we cut one 4 1/2″ center and  nine 4 1/2″ squares of the background fabric, then used scraps for the points of the stars. The border is 2 1/2″ strips sewn together until it was long enough. Very scientific. 😉   I had this really cute brassiere fabric that I used on the back because I only had enough aqua left to bind it.  A close friend donated the batting and embroidered a beautiful label for it. One of the gals from the quilt guild quilted it on her long arm so I could get it finished faster. 


And Hurley made sure it would be comfy.  🙂

I think she likes it! 

“Modern” Quilting

“Colorfall” Created from commercial and hand-dyed batiks. Random strips
pieced together, cut into rows and assembled. Machine quilted.  

Last spring I joined a new Modern Quilt Guild branch in my area. It was encouraging to see how many quilters wanted something different. Even though it’s called “modern” quilting, its methods take us back to the origins of American quilting:
Use what you have.
Wonky is okay.
Get creative and make it your way.
Negative space isn’t bad.

I really like that.

These fresh, bold quilts are stepping away from the planned, sashed, bordered, “perfect” creations of the 80s and 90s. I like that, too. Not that there isn’t a place for those masterpieces.
Personally, I’ve never made one.  My quilting has always been more about free expression and artistic growth, and I feel like the trend has finally caught up with me. Over the years I’ve custom made some doozies to fit my kids’ interests and fill specific roles within my home. My mom thinks anything with batting in the middle is “country”, so if I was going to make anything for her my challenge has been to design ideas that appealed to her contemporary taste. I used to hear, “But you can’t…” a lot from fellow quilters. And I did what I wanted to anyway.

I also find it interesting that many of the “modern” fabrics available are retro re-creations of the fabrics I grew up with in the 60s and 70s – minimalist hand-drawn and geometric prints, large scale flowers and dots, stripes and chevrons. So modern isn’t so very modern after all… is it?

You can read more about the modern quilting movement on the Modern Quilt Guild’s blog.

If you’ve always wanted to quilt but have ever thought to yourself “I can’t do THAT!” – now is the time to jump in. Who knows – maybe you were ahead of your time? 🙂

A baby quilt using what I had on hand. 

 

More Ways to Help

I received an email from Quilting Gallery asking for volunteers to make blocks for Sandy victims. They also provide a list of other sites offering ways to help.  I won’t reinvent the wheel by listing them all again here – click on the image below to read all about it!

Sandy Quilt Block Drive

Needed ASAP: Quilts and Blankets

The Hunk and I had a WONDERFUL trip north! Our friends live in a wee place called Breinigsville, PA among rolling farmlands. Beautiful. We arrived just ahead of Hurricane Sandy. The men watched football and we gals sewed until the power went out. My friend and I wondered if her Amish neighbors were shaking their heads as people scrambled without electricity. 

The Hunk and I finished our vacation in Massachusetts with more friends. It was NICE to relax for the week and just enjoy each other. The crisp fall air and colors left me invigorated and inspired. 


Traveling up and down the coast we saw cherry pickers from power companies around the US…  Tampa (FL), Michigan, Texas… it choked me up each time to see the generosity of other cities rushing to where help was needed. We passed gas stations with lines that stretched for miles. On the ride home, New Jersey was only selling gas to cars with even numbered tags. My tags have no numbers! We waited and gassed up in Delaware.

We arrived home to life as usual, aware that so many are still reeling from Sandy and, now, this recent Nor’easter. 

Victoria Findlay Wolfe of the NYC Mod Quilt Guild  has put out a call for blankets to distribute to families left in the cold from Hurricane Sandy and this most recent Nor’easter. Blankets/Quilts can be store-bought or homemade – and any size.
If you’re concerned about who you send your quilts to, Victoria is has established ties with the people who can distribute these quilts. She’s the real deal. 
You can find the details HERE. Make sure to follow the directions carefully – I know you want your quilts arrive in the correct hands. 


I’d like to get this out to as many quilters as possible, so please pass it on
I know the media shows the worst on TV… and sometimes it’s tempting to downplay the severity of a situation. But we watched the local news while we were there – the stories you DON’T see when you’re hundreds of miles away. Not only is the devastation real, it’s worse for some than you can wrap your head around. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and all we take for granted, please give generously.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Peppermint Star Quilt

My local Modern Quilt Guild does a Block of the Month in a way I hadn’t done before.  Participants are assigned a month, and on your month you bring kits of blocks for your friends to assemble for your own quilt. I love this idea! September is my month. I bought this lime and red batik fabric that I LOVE – I wanted to make a happy quilt for Christmas.  The goal was not to buy anything new so I dug around in my stash and came up with these.



Choosing a block for others to assemble comes with a bit of risk – I wanted something sparkly and starry-like, but it needed to be a block everyone was familiar with. I chose a modified-Ohio-Star-looking block (does it have its own name?) with a Pinwheel center. I call it Peppermint Star.


The gave the center block a different background color to add some fun. I wasn’t planning to add sashing, but I’m toying with the idea to make the quilt bigger. We’ll see.


I ran out of the green swirly print – with four blocks needed – and I had just enough of this great Moda marble print that matched! Woo-hoo!  That’s a BIG DEAL for this little Miss Perfection pants!  But I was determined to let my limitation force creativity. I might make those four blocks totally different than the others, just for kicks.

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2012

This is the 16th year I’ve attended the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, and it’s never the same and never boring. Every year my buddy Valerie and I spend the weekend getting inspired, planning and shopping. I came home with a pile of lovelies, and I can not wait to start playing.

After all these years, I did something I’ve never done before – I took a class. Back in 2007, I had the pleasure of picking Vikki Pignatelli’s brain as I worked on this quilt.  I wrote about it here. I finally got to meet Vikki in person and learn her improvisation techniques first hand. Happy happy!  If you ever get the opportunity to rub elbows with this gracious woman, I highly recommend it. She truly inspires my inner artist to play unabashedly and leave the rules outside.

Vikki & Joy

I also had to opportunity to finally meet Jane Davila in person.  When we discovered we were birthday twins, Jane and I knew we HAD to be friends! It was so much fun to visit in person and laugh together. It’s a treat to meet the ladies who have inspired me online and through their books.

AND… you can’t talk about a quilt show without the quilts. These are a couple of my favorites:

“Star Struck” by Cheryl See
This quilt is made of thousands of tiny hexagons. Hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted!
She even included some fun prints to discover!
“On the Way to Grandmother’s House” by Sheila Riess
I love her subject matter, and her use of fabrics.
Metallic thread sewn with a long stitch length for highlights. Beautiful!
“Snapshot from Seaside” by Mary Kay Price
Another example of how simple fabric placement can produce beautiful results! No cheater fabrics in this quilt.
“Trick Chick – Miss Puff Ball on the Watering Can” by Georgia Bonesteel, inspired by Charley Harper

Red & Aqua Quilt

I saw this quilt over at Cluck Cluck Sew and the next thing I knew I was whacking stacks of red and aqua fabric. I had to have one!
This isn’t what I was supposed to be working on. I’m procrastinating – productively.
Here’s my version:

It went together lickety-splickety thanks to some old half-square triangle piecing tricks. Because I’m lazy (and why duplicate someone else’s efforts?), you can find a great tutorial at The Sometimes Crafter for super quick hourglass blocks.
 
I’m toying with the idea of adding a simple border to this. From first look at Allison’s finished quilt, I thought she used that dark fabric for her border… and I like the look! (Upon closer inspection, it was actually the back of the quilt peeking from behind the front…) I’ll wait until I have them pieced together to make a decision.
Play time’s over – gotta get to the real work now.

Vancouver, Here I Come

♪♫♪  I’m leeea-ving on a jet plane….  ♫♪♫♪
Saturday morning I fly to Vancouver for a week of this!
I’m armed and ready with Cynthia Morris’s Creative Toolkit for the Traveler and my nifty new back pack!

This little gem is the “Bicycle Backpack” pattern from Malka Dubrawsky at  A Stitch In Dye. What fun to make!  I used some of Malka’s saturated hand-dyed fabrics for a bright, whimsical tote – I expect to gets lots of compliments.  ;o)
I’ve packed my Moleskine journal, pens, travel watercolors and water brush to capture it all. I have a feeling it will be a week of input overload. 

Summer Projects

SUMMER! It’s still busy, but I’ve found a relaxing rhythm, and I’m enjoying the time to catch my breath and get some projects finished. I’ve been busy working on five (!) baby quilts and a super cutie wall hanging for the living room with these

And I’m binding this quilt.

Today I finished my postcards for 3 Creative Studios‘ postcard swap. The theme is Going Places. Talk about fun!

“This little bird is on his way,
He’s going places, leaves today!
Just one more stop to say goodbye,
To you, my friend,
Now – time to fly!”
For your creative genius: Cynthia Morris at Original Impulse posted this inspiring tidbit. Permission to let go of the stuff that bogs you down!!