If you wish you had gone to the retreat why not treat yourself to the next best thing?
Our retreat special issue is out now, and only $5. It’s packed full of projects, many of which were taught over the weekend, as well as additional bonus patterns and features! Find it here.
Amy has offered up the amazing pillow (pictured below) she made from Thomas Knauer’s Flock fabric as a giveaway. Her pillow is featured in the designer challenge from this issue, and you could win it!
Leave a (single) comment on this post for your chance!
GIVEAWAY CLOSED – the winner is (drum roll….) Lisa at Cottage Nest congrats Lisa – look out for an email from us!
We’re thrilled to welcome Amanda of Amanda Murphy Design as a contributor to Fat Quarterly Issue 6. Her latest line of fabric, Veranda, with Robert Kaufman (shipping August) is bright, elegant and perfect for Summer. Just look how those fresh pinks, aquas and green pop next to the white background.
Not only has she designed a pattern for the stunning Virginia Reel quilt pictured below (in issue 6 of Fat Quarterly, available for purchase 6/27), Amanda has also designed this delightful pillow which is available as a bonus pattern, with our compliments, to everyone. You can locate the PDF for download by clicking HERE.
And that’s not all, folks! Head on over to Amanda’s blog where she’s giving you the chance to win a VERY special prize!
Don’t forget: if you make a Virginia Reel quilt or pillow we’d love to see! You can share your projects in our Flickr group.
Some of you may have come across Victoria before and seen some of her amazing quilts. We were very excited to have her as part of our Designer Challenge panel in issue 3. I chatted to Victoria to get to know her better and to find out more about some of the projects she is involved in.
How did you start quilting?
Both my parents sew. My father has an upholstery business, and my mother always made quilts for family weddings, and her mother was a quilter. I would sit at my grandmother?s kitchen table with her tracing patterns pieces on fabric and cut them out for her. Sewing was a natural progression for me. I learned to hand sew patchwork in jr. high school, when they still taught those sorts of things. At the age of 19, I made my first quilt for my niece, It wasn?t very pretty, but it has been deeply loved!
Free form is the best description. I rarely have a clear idea of a quilt before I start. Like the way I paint, I start from the inside, and work my way out. I make decisions quickly and make what I have ?work.? My choices are based on instinct, and trusting my eye, and not over thinking. My favorite quilts start with random thoughts I’ve put together, like a stream of consciousness, I grab from a selection of fabrics and find a way for them to all live nicely with each other. I also like making fabric from bits of scraps, using them as found objects, and putting them together like a giant jig-saw puzzle. You can see more of my work here:
http://www.bumblebeansinc.com/or at my blog
That would easily be my “Everything but the kitchen sink,” quilt.
I grew up with my grandmothers crazy quilts on my bed, and I was all amazed at how they went together all willy nilly and yet worked! I wanted to make a quilt like that, so ten years ago, I made an attempt at doing so. If you look at the bottom of this quilt there is a 16″ band across it which is what I made in 2000. I took an old sheet, and arranged the pieces on top of it and machine appliqued them down. I got so bored, that I stopped and put it away for nine years. I pulled it back out a year ago, cut it off the sheet, and placed it at the bottom of the “new” quilt that I had laid out and arranged on my design wall. So, basically, I started trying to do it my grandmother?s way, and came back to making it in a way that was more exciting for me. I now see years of learning experience in this quilt. Simple piecing, machine and hand applique, scrap fabric making, and Y seams. But beyond that, color choices, balance, composition, the difference using lights, mediums and darks, movement, and plainly, instinct and trusting my eye, how to make it look pleasing to the eye, changing it till it works, and how pattern is as important as color. I also learned how letting go of a lot of “rules” can give you just as pleasing a look than planning an entire quilt with preconceived ideas.
What are your favorite colors / prints to use in quilts?
I use a lot of RED. I’ve made more red quilts then any other, and nearly every quilt I have made has red in it somewhere. That being said, I don’t intentionally go for red. When I walk into a fabric shop, I usually go the sale racks and buy what other might consider the ugliest fabrics they have. Odd off colors, weird color combos, strange prints. It’s easy to find a nice red, or nice yellow, but it’s the puke green, swampy browns, and sickly ochres that I am after, it makes for a well rounded stash. I don?t want to make rainbow colored quilts, I want the 1,000 tones and values in between red and yellow and blue. For me, there are no ugly fabrics
First and foremost is the beginning challenge. Finding the thing that says, OOH! I have to play with that! Recently, my 15minutes play group did a scrap swap, and in the swap, was a piece of made fabric from bits of batiks. It was already a great start. The lightbulb went off and I dug through my stash to find my 8 batik blocks I made the first time I played with batiks, and had never done anything with them. My blocks were very blue, and the piece I was starting with was very greens and purples etc… I put it up on my wall, and played. I stuck things up, and moved them around, and added different colors. What I thought at first would be the final decision was totally scrapped and I took off in another direction. I played until I heard that sound of angels singing in my head…. awwww!!!! Then I know I’ve reached my stopping point.
That part, that moment, is what makes me want to make another quilt…
Do you have any tips to share with our readers?
Yes, if you find you get hung up on making choices, play. Stop thinking, take your scraps and work for 15 minutes a day. Think of it like this, a runner warms up before he runs a marathon, a writer starts writing with run on sentences and no punctuation, and an artist does 30 second sketches to get his eyes trained for seeing. We can do the same thing, by working quickly and making “sketches? in fabrics. It makes you better at seeing, and you will find certain things that you find difficult will be easier and your sewing in general will become better, if you relax your brain. Trial and error is a great way to learn a new skill, make it up as you go, this leads to new ways, new ideas, and new quilts!
As I just mentioned, http://www.15minutesplay.com/ is a way to get yourself to loosen up. It gives you permission to play, just a few minutes a day, without have a “PLAN” as you start sewing. You make a block a day, you work out a new idea, you play with scraps do whatever you want, as long as you do it without thinking. After a while you have a load of blocks, and then you find you have something you might not have set about making to start with.. Now, how will you PLAY them to make them fit together? How can you keep the stream of consciousness flowing as you set the blocks? What other technique can you add that you wouldn’t normally do? Can you sash them, set them on point? cut them up again? It’s a site of play, and a place to share it, and bounce ideas off of, and show us your process for feedback. No patterns. Be willing to play and put the rules aside, just for 15 minutes a day and you will find making choice and trusting your eye will become easier.
This site is always open to more participants, the more the merrier. Just send me an email…
Tell us a bit about the NYC MOD QUILTER Guild. How can people join? What can people expect from being a part of a guild?
Amy of Commonplace Life and I started the NYC metro MOD quilters. We decided we wanted to see if there were other folks who were out there that wanted to find a community to share their work with. Everyone wants to find their community, so we set it up and quickly had 50-60 people. We had a couple of meetings and were feeling ourselves out, and at the last meeting we think we’ve found we are a GROUP of quilters who can come together, and share and bounce ideas with. We run it more as a group than a guild, we’re all equals, and we have started making group quilts. We meet the first Saturday every other month at my home, we bring our block challenges, and as a group decided how the blocks or strips will go together. Some say, too many cooks in the kitchen spoils to soup, but we found with more people working on a project, miraculously, we find a solution that is both modern and exciting. We are working on having a show the end of 2011 showing the quilts we have made as a group
We now have 108 members. Our group consists of all kinds of quilters. i.e. art quilters, traditional quilters, and beginners and anything in between. Show and tell is always exceptional and everyone leaves with a big smile on their face eagerly returning with their next months challenges…
You can join here:
http://nycmetromodquilters.ning.com/and you can follow our blog for inspiration here: http://nycmetromodquilters.blogspot.com/
After asking a friend of mine who runs a local organization if he could take a few quilts for his families, and he said, ? Do you have 700?? I saw a need and started the “BUMBLE BEANS BASICS QUILT DRIVE,” which gathers COMPLETED QUILTS to be given to families taken out of shelters, and are being put into the transitional housing by BASICS.
The drive is on going, there is no end, so keep the quilts coming. We have received about 120 quilts so far, and when we receive 200, We will draw a name from those who have donated a quilt for a chance to win a Janome Sewing machine.
There is always a need for quilts. There is no deadline. We will always accept quilts for the families.
November 10th, is our first distribution event where 50 families from one housing unit in the Bronx, will receive quilts. Photographs will be taken, the names of the person who donated will be honored, and hugs will be given…
Knowing that they will be warm this winter, brings me happy tears.
I?ve learned that one little idea can bring a whole lot of happiness to many people.
You can help spread that happiness.
Information for donating a quilt can be found at the quilt info link at:
You may well have already come across Marit thanks to her fabulous Spiderweb tutorial! Such a quick and easy way to make spiderweb blocks!
Marit took part in the Designer Challenge in Issue 2 of Fat Quarterly. We caught up with Marit to find out a bit more about her and her inspiration.
Check out more about Marit on her blog.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I am a norwegian woman, living in Stavanger, a pretty town on the west coast of Norway. I have always liked making things with my hands, and used to do a lot of knitting and sewing before I discovered my big hobby: quilting. I am trained as an architect, and quite interested in structure, pattern, texture and color…
How did you start quilting?
My start was a fascination with the Amish and their quilts. Reading about them, I got inspired and made a few small quilts myself. Years later, by a lucky coincidence, I was invited to join a local quilt guild and my fascination with quilting grew. Then I discovered the whole world of quilt-blogs, after reading about this new phenomena in a magazine. I am so happy to have found this online community of like-minded creative people sharing the love of quilting!
What is the favourite quilt you have made? Why?
It is not easy to pick just one! I like to try different techniques and patterns, and have been lucky to end up with a lot of favorites ; ) To name a few:
The short stories was made as a quilt-a-long with the lovely Penny of sewtakeahike.typepad.com. I loved trying a new technique and staring my favorite Heather Ross prints in colorful log cabin blocks:
My Mars & Venus is a playful star-constellation inspired by Bonnie’s Maverick star ( http://quiltville.com/ ) and my two playful kittens:
I love to take an old pattern and make it in fresh, colorful modern designer fabric. One of my favorite patterns is the spiderweb. When I made this scrappy spiderweb wall-hanging I discovered a nice way to make the blocks without piecing them to paper, saving a lot of paper-ripping hassle.
I put a tutorial on my blog. I love this pattern, and am planning to do it in different color-ways. There is a little stash of halloween fabric waiting to be cut into strips…
What is your favourite fabric line or designer?
I have many! I am very fascinated with color, and quickly fell in love with Kaffe Fassett and his designs, both patterns and fabric. I love the whimsy and cute Heather Ross fabric . Denyse Schmidt is also a big favorite. Looking at my stash, there is a nice contribution from all three… But there are so many young modern designers who makes fresh and colorful fabric lines, and I keep discovering new favorites…
Where do you do your sewing? Do you have a dedicated sewing area or do you use the dining room table?
I would love to have a little studio or room for my sewing. Instead I use the whole house. The sewing machine is set up on the dining table. I also have a removable design wall in the same room. A big piece of cotton batting is hanging from curtain gliders covering the wall. When this “design-wall” is not in use I display one of my quilts here. The kitchen nearby is where I do all my cutting and ironing. I love how the kitchen counter has the perfect hight to do so. Fabric is stored in the office, next to my computer. As you can imagine, there is a lot of setting up and taking down equipment. I even carry my office chair up the stairs every time I am using the sewing machine. It is worth it to get the best ergonomic position and rest my neck and shoulders as much as possible. I also like to quilt by hand, and often sit in the living room in the evenings, one eye on the television and the other on my quilt.
What are you working on at the moment?
I usually work on several quilts at the same time. Right now I have started making blocks for a lap quilt for a lovely 15 year old girl. I am also working on my 1″ Heather Ross hexagon quilt top, slowly sewing the small pieces together by hand. In the evenings I like to do some hand-quilting and am currently halfway done quilting a wall-hanging.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Caroline and I live in Corvallis Oregon with my husband of 19 years and our two children. By day I’m a scientist, I have a PhD in Plant Pathology and work full-time in the field. By night, I’m sewing, a lot! I sew almost every day during the evening as time allows but I also juggle the usual household pursuits, kids sports, activities, and so on. My online alter ego is Trilliumdesign and I blog about my sewing exploits at trilliumdesign.blogspot.com.
I just started quilting this year but I have been sewing all my life. My mother is an accomplished tailor and I remember using her scraps to make tiny purses for myself when I was a child. I spent many hours in her sewing room watching and later helping her and even started sewing clothes for myself when I was in high school. I put sewing on hold for a long time after college while I was studying and then working towards my career. I started back up a few years ago when my daughter was in the ‘princess’ phase and made her dresses and outfits which I realized I could do much more economically on my own. When she grew out of that, I realized I really enjoyed the process of sewing and designing not to mention the lovely fabrics and colors. So I moved on to making purses and bags for myself and still design those today. I am currently putting the finishing touches on my own purse patterns since so many people have asked me for the patterns for my designs. I’m hoping to make these available soon in my etsy shop.
I started quilting in January and made a few doll quilts for my daughter as practice pieces. They turned out so well, I was inspired to make my mother-in-law a lap quilt for her belated christmas gift and the quilt bug has stuck ever since. I’m entirely self taught thanks to the internet and countless helpful quilting bloggers, flickr members and you-tubers. So far I have made 5 quilts this year and am currently working on 4 more. My favorite quilt is probably the Mod blooms quilt I made earlier this year. I love the combination of colors on that one and the mod vibe.
Who is your favourite designer?
My favorite designer is a tough question to answer. I’m an avid fan of textiles and there are many designers whose designs I typically gravitate towards. Probably the most influential for me is Paula Prass. Her use of color and print design is really vibrant and fun and definitely speaks to me. Her Flights of Fancy line is a favorite of mine.
Do you have a dedicated sewing area?
I sew in our home office on an armoire that my husband modified for me as a sewing space. It was intended to hold both my machines and my fabric but in truth I have taken over much of the house with my fabric and supplies. My fabric collection lives in part on our living room bookcases. My family puts up with a lot from me. My daughter told me recently that as long as she hears the sewing machine she knows that I’m around and that is comforting to her.
My current project is a quilt I’m making for my son. He rarely benefits from my sewing skills, so he’s overdue for a nice quilt. I also have a couple of other quilts on the go and I always have a long list of projects on the horizon. I’m a planner.
My etsy shop can be found at trilliumshoppe.etsy.com where I destash, and sell my purses and other sewn goods. I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to share my love of sewing with everyone and would like to extend a big thank-you to the Fat Quarterly folks for inviting me to do so.