September Challenge:: Week 3

dress 2

It’s September 15. You know what that means?

Cue the Bon Jovi, ” Ohhh, we’re halfway there….”

Yep, half of 30 is 15.

I’m not going to lie to you. This challenge can be difficult at times. I have a lot of projects in the works, but not all, hell, not most, are ready to be photographed. And, though I had that handy little cute story for Friday’s post without pics, I probably can’t get away with that too often.

Sometimes I have to wake up super-duper early to make sure I’ve finished up what ever it is I’m planning on featuring here.

That can be difficult, but it pays off.

Check out what I saw this morning:

morning sky

Try to imagine it without the telephone wires and it’s even prettier. Also, why in 2014 do we still have telephone wires above ground?

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to see that, but it just might be worth it.

Along with taking pictures of the sky I also finished this:

dress 2

I’m not exactly sure why I like this slightly odd picture. I think it has to do with having recently listened to Haruki Mirakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and feeling a bit surreal.

Anyway, this is the second version of the dress I made last week, but this time

A. It’s made out of one of the prints from my soon-to-be-released line, Poems from Pebbles


B. I remember the pattern name and number, Simplicity 2473.

If you and I were in the same room you could literally hear me singing the praises of this pattern, practically belting out how easy, straight forward, and flattering this pattern is. Both the versions I’ve made have been in quilting cottons, but this would be terrific in linen or a beautiful Liberty of London print. Oh, man, it would look amazing in a Liberty print.

Only about six weeks until market and a little more than three before I go to film my CreativeLive class, so no new Liberty dresses for me…yet.


Winners and More

Criss Cross Half Yard

For the record, I’m not supposed to be posting today. It’s not on my September calendar. But, I know you guys are eager to know who won the giveaway fabric and I have some new-to-my-store items to tell you guys about, so here I am.

First, the winners.

Can I get a drumroll, please?

Debra says:

I love the bright colors! Thanks.


Shauna says:

I love the bright colors of your line!!! I follow you with bloglovin


Vanessa says:

Beautiful fabric!! I’m a new follower on Bloglovin’ – thanks for a chance to win :)


Susan says:

The colours in your fabric are so vibrant. I love it.

Congratulations! Please email your addresses to

One little side note though. If you’re international I have to bill you for postage. Shipping overseas is super expensive and I can’t afford to ship internationally.

Now on to new shop offerings:

I’ve added a few new fabrics.

Traveling Triangles Quarter Yard

Traveling Triangles Quarter Yard

Criss Cross Half Yard

Criss Cross Half Yard


Criss Cross Fat Quarter

I’ve also added one of the pillow covers I created as part of my recent tutorial for Sew, Mama, Sew.

red diamonds listing for etsy 2

If you’re interested in any of these items or to see what other goodies I have in my shop, just head on over to



September Challenge :: No Pictures, but a Wee Story

I’m going to share a little story today to explain why, despite the fact that I don’t have pictures to share today, I’m still posting.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m a runner. Well, the other day a couple from my running group mentioned that they had taken on a challenge of their own. They were going to run at least three miles a day, no matter what. I should note that this couple runs a marathon just about every month and that their challenge would mean that even the day after a marathon they would lace up their shoes and head out to run.

As a side note, for those of you saying something about how young and foolish these two must be. I can’t dispute foolish, but I would point out that they’re both in the mid 50′s to 60′s range. Not spring chickens, but they have the hearts of real adventurers, no matter the age.

Anyway, a few days later I was discussing this challenge with another running group pal and she told me about a similar challenge taken on by yet another runner. This guy managed to run (however he defined that) every single day for two years. Was he stopped by injury or illness or not finding new running shoes in his size? Nope.

One day, he and his family were moving and in all the hustle and bustle and moving vans and boxes, he came to the end of the day and realized he had just plain forgotten to run. According to my friend, he was beyond disappointed, though he soon took up the pledge again.

What is the moral of my story and how does it relate to my challenge? Well, you guys are smart; I think you know the answer to that.

I’ll just say that my challenge was to post every weekday, preferably something of beauty or interest, but, no matter what, every weekday.

Today is apparently a “just 3 mile day”.

Have a fabulous week, friends!


September Challenge:: Big Treat

Wall of Sound, 2014

I don’t think my title exaggerates because you guys are in  for a big, dare I say, super-big treat today.

Why? Because, for those of you not familiar with her work and for those of you who are but want to see and learn more, I’m featuring a wonderful textile artist and quilt maker here on the blog today: Maria Shell.

Let’s just start with a bit of eye candy, shall we?

Wall of Sound, 2014

Wall of Sound, 2014

Pinterest introduced me to Maria’s work. I’d see a quilt here or there, add it to my Inspirations board, and wonder about the artist behind these amazing quilts.

So, I did the next logical step and checked out her website. It was then that I decided I wanted to feature her words and work here on my blog. Maybe everyone else is already familiar with Maria’s work, but when I came upon it, it felt so fresh to me that I felt like I had “discovered” something.

So sit back, grab a cup of tea, and I’ll let Maria’s and her creations speak for themselves.

Me: Tell me a little about you art background. Did you start out making quilts or did you come to them from another media?

Maria:I started sewing when I was four. My mother did not sew, but she would let me use fabric from old clothes to make dolls, pillows, purses, whatever I could come up with. She promised me I could have a sewing machine when I turned ten and she kept her word. At that point, I started making my own clothes. I continued sewing all the way through college, working in the costume show for the theatre department, and making clothing and costumes for myself and friends. The entire time, it never crossed my mind that I could use my technical skills to make art. I always thought I would be a writer. I majored in journalism as an undergrad, and I have an MFA in creative writing. When we moved to Valdez, Alaska in 1999, I decided that I was going to learn how to quilt. I took a Mystery Class at the local quilt shop and stayed up all night sewing. That was it. I was quilt maker from that evening on. At that time, I focused on mastering complex traditional quilt patterns which was very satisfying and gave me the skill set I now use daily. In 2009, I was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award <> to travel to Baltimore, Ohio to spend three weeks studying with Nancy Crow. Studying with Nancy gave me a strong foundation in improvisational piecing and color work. All of these things–my love of sewing from an early age, my grounding in the traditional quilt world, and my introduction to improvisational piecing and color theory, have led me to this spot on the plant. I am eternally grateful to all the stitchers who helped me on my journey.

Good Vibrations 2010

Good Vibrations 2010

Me: Do you work primarily with commercial prints or is hand dyeing fabric part of your process?

Maria: I work with any textile that responds well to being cut and pieced. My fabric collection includes vintage and contemporary prints and solids, as well as fabrics I have hand dyed. I like to combine all of these types of fabrics into a composition. I also have a good collection of lightweight upholstery fabrics that occasionally show up in my work especially the artful oven mitts I make.

Artful Oven Mitts

Artful Oven Mitt

Me: I sense an interest in architecture in your work. Is that accurate? What are other sources of inspiration?

Maria:I would say that I am obsessed with pattern, repetition, and the traditional quilt block. I also love curves, but because of show obligations, I have not been working with them in the past few years. I am very inspired by industrial components of architecture–pipes, grates, windows, bricks–anything that repeats itself is inspiring to me.

Habanero 2012

Habanero 2012

Me: I really love your chair series.Could you discuss the process of abstracting something so recognizable?

Maria: The chair series came from taking Lisa Call’s online class Working in a Series <> If you are interested in going deep into a subject matter, it really is a wonderful class. For the class, I wanted to select an everyday object and really figure out how to piece it. And then I wanted to see if I could use that everyday object to say different things. I think the thing that really helped me work through the construction issues of abstracting chairs into pieced cloth was drawing them over and over again. If you can draw it, you can stitch it.

Hipster 2012

Hipster 2012

Sewing Chair 2012

Sewing Chair 2012

Me: Where do you see yourself fitting in to the multiple quilt worlds? I definitely feel like your quilts resonate with modern quilters, but would you consider yourself more a part of the art quilt world?

Maria: This is a good question. I am grounded in the world of classical quilt making. My early teachers were traditional quilt makers. I was obsessed with learning how to make beautiful complicated traditional quilt patterns. From there I moved into the art quilt world. I spent many years with my head down stitching–trying to manifest what I wanted to say with my work. When I looked up, I realized there was this new quilting community out there. I love what the modern quilt world is doing and many of the classes I teach are geared towards modern quilters. I especially enjoy the emphasis on stitch, composition, and color.

September Challenge:: What I’m Working on Wednesday

house top sample 2

I mentioned here a few days ago that I was slated to teach a class through CreativeLive, 10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting.

I also mentioned that you guys would get previews of some of the projects I’ll be teaching/demonstrating during the two-day workshop.

Well, today is Wednesday and a perfect day to post about what I’m working on for my class.


house top sample 2

Simple strips whether in string quilts or log cabin variations are perfect for improv piecing. I’ve made versions in the past, like this and this, but I’ve never made this particular version. I call it House Tops, but if someone else knows a more accurate name, please pass that along.

house top sample detail

I see this as a single block, but I gotta think it would look so amazing as many blocks. I love seeing the secondary patterns that come up with repeats.

house top sample 5

I’d love to make a bed-sized quilt like that, just not this month.

What about you? What are you working on?


September Challenge:: Week 2 Day 2

ovals in a field progress 3

It’s 2 and 2 day, 09/09. Gotta love the symmetry.

Today my sewing machine has been humming along piecing up a new pattern I’ve designed specifically to feature my soon-to-be-released line, Poems from Pebbles.

ovals in a field progress 3 ovals in a field wrong side 2 oval in a field in progress 1 hexies pieced

This quilt is going to be pretty big, about 66″ x 98″. I wanted it to have a fair amount of impact from a distance since I plan to display it front and center in my booth at Quilt Market. The blocks are large, so, despite the size of the top, there are only 24 blocks.

This is the first quilt I’ve ever completely drawn out in Adobe Illustrator including adding scans of the fabrics into specific spots. I feel like putting it together is akin to paint by number or a jigsaw puzzle. I don’t make any fabric decisions as I sew. They’ve all been made ahead of time. My job is to put the pieces together according to the diagram so that my final product will look just like the picture. Strangely though I’m liking the process. The difference between the drawing and the actual quilt are so stark that I feel like it’s being re-born on my design wall. I simultaneously know what I’m getting yet am constantly surprised. Not a bad way to work.

Stay tuned for more in-progress shots as my September challenge continues.



September Challenge:: Week 2 Day 1

test dress 3 resized

It’s September, inevitably followed by October. And the end of October brings Quilt Market in Houston. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve got a new collection premiering at Market and part of prepping for that is crafting all manner of items to show off that fabric.

When I design a collection I often do so with the end use in mind. I ask myself, “Would I use this fabric in a quilt, a pillow, or a garment. If the answer is no I probably won’t include that particular print in the collection. A lot of that is because I’m going to need to make a quilt, pillow, or garment with the final fabric and I don’t want to make something, in fact it’s almost impossible for me to do so, I wouldn’t want to use, gift, or wear. I just can’t sustain the interest to cut, press, and sew something I wouldn’t want in the first place.

All this preface is to tell y’all that the making has begun and you’ll be seeing a lot of those results here during the month of September.

Starting with today…kind of…in a way.

I made a dress, a dress I plan to make again, at least one more time in a Poems from Pebbles print. But, first, I made it like this:

test dress 2 resized

This is obviously not my fabric. It’s Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern. I’ve had for a bazillion years. That’s right, a bazillion years. Anyway, this is my muslin of sorts.

test dress 4 resized

It’s a muslin in the sense that this is my first test of the pattern and it’s not in my “final” fabric, but, it’s not a muslin exactly because it’s finished in every respect and I plan on wearing it…a lot.

I  love this dress!

test dress 3 resized It’s a Simplicity Pattern, though I don’t remember the exact number and I’m not writing from home so can’t check on that information. I promise to include that info when I feature the “final” dress crafted out of my Poems from Pebbles line.

What I can tell you is that this dress is easy to sew, quick to put together, and looks so great on. My plan is to have my wonderful friend, Nan, take pictures of me wearing version 2 so y’all can fall in love with this pattern too. Considering that I’ve already cut out the dress for version 2 (always the least exciting part of dressmaking) that should be very soon.


September Challenge:: Day 5

Found here:

First week in the bag. That’s a good sign.

This challenge has already forced me to push myself a little, always a good thing. I’ve had to plan and imagine what I would like to feature here and be more proactive in making that happen.

Today’s post maybe a first for me. I say that a bit sadly because, having gathered the images for it, I realize I should be doing this on a regular basis.

One of the many perks of what I do is getting to see other people use my fabrics or re-interpret my patterns to make something that is special to them and uniquely their own. Oftentimes, these folks will actually take the time to email me with an image of what they’ve made. I try as hard as I can to respond to those emails as I’m truly touched and inspired by their creations and appreciative of their effort to share those creations with me.

In the interest of tooting the horns of a few folks who’ve crafted with my various Moda fabrics, I’ve gathered a few images both sent directly to me and some discovered via Pinterest. Wherever possible I’ve credited those folks with a direct link back to the original site of the image. Some of these projects even come with free tutorials so I would definitely recommend checking them out.

So, enjoy these beauties and, if you’ve made something with a stitch in color, Simple Marks Autumn, Simple Marks Summer, or From Outside In and want to share it with me, please feel free to email me a pic along with a brief explanation about you piece. You can send those to

Amanda from Crazy Mom Quilts

Amanda from Crazy Mom Quilts

Found here:

Found here:

Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper

Heather Kojan

Heather Kojan

Found here:

Found here:

Found here:

Found here:

The last quilt I’m featuring today was sent to me just this week by Janet.

Happy by Janet Monahan

Happy by Janet Monahan

She created the quilt with the intention of raffling it off to raise money in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Both her daughter and daughter-in-law suffer from this disease. Along with the quilt image, I’m including a link to her direct donation page if you’d like to participate.

Have a super fabulous weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!


September Challenge:: Day 4:: Moda Blog Hop

from outside in 3

Ok, that’s officially the world’s longest title, but I think it gets the point across.

It Blog Hop time and I’m in!



In keeping with the love theme, I thought I’d talk about some of the people/things I love.

These three:

my girls

My girls. They’re no longer little.

They’re more like this:

sarah and rachel 1

and this:

abi 2

but that picture of them as wee ones is the one I have by my bedside and look at everyday.

Also, this guy:

me and eliot

I love him too.

And, like most of you, I LOVE making stuff, being inspired by a pattern or color or place and designing and crafting something in response to that inspiration.

I LOVE designing fabric for Moda. Sometimes I think about what an amazing opportunity that is and how lucky I am to have that creative outlet.

You know what else I LOVE?

Making stuff with the fabric I designed.

love block mini quilt 2 resized

love block mini quilt detail resized

I love that center block, don’t you? It’s the 12″x12″ version of the LOVE block featured in here.

There are 3 versions of this block, each one just right for one of the Moda pre-cuts. The 12″ x12″ works perfectly with the small 2 1/2″ charm squares. You can also use larger charm squares or the layer cakes to craft the other sizes.

I wanted my block to be the center of a mini quilt and to get a chance to mix my fabrics in with a variety of others.

So, I bordered my block with some denims, a bit of homemade shibori, and lengths of a vintage tablecloth I bought a while back.

And I think it all works well together.

Want to try your hand at this pattern with some of my From Outside In prints that you won here?

from outside in 3

Good news! I also LOVE giving stuff away, so all you need to do is subscribe to my blog and leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the drawing for the fabric.

While you’re at it, check out all the other amazing designers participating in the blog hop. I guarantee you’ll LOVE them.


Amy Ellis –

Eric +Julie Comstock-

Stephanie Ryan Design Studio –



Malka Dubrawski –

Blackbird Designs –

Lauren + Jessi Jung –

Lella Boutique –



Basic Grey –

Fig Tree and Co. –

Pat Sloan –



April Rosenthal –

French General –

Minick and Simpson –



Cotton Way –

Sandy Gervais –

Primitive Gatherings –


SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

Bunny Hill –

Deb Strain -

Kansas Troubles –


SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

Kathy Schmitz –

Laundry Basket Quilts –

Zen Chic –


SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

Me and My Sister Designs –

Jan Patek –

Sweetwater –


September Challenge:: Day 3

poems from pebbles sample 3

So, the next two days are dedicated to fabric. That’s probably not that unique to this blog, but these posts are focused on a specific aspect of my fabric world, the commercial lines I design for Moda Fabrics.

Today is all about the future, that is the line I’ll be premiering at Quilt Market this Fall.

Let me introduce y’all to Poems from Pebbles:

poems from pebbles samples 1 poems from pebbles sample 3

I am so excited about this next collection and have a very special quilt designed to spotlight it.

I was so jazzed about the fabrics that I cleaned off an entire shelf in my studio so I could lay all my sample bolts neatly and be able to look at them for inspiration.

You’ll be seeing plenty more finished items that feature these guys over the next month or two.