Tag Archives: free motion quilting

Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake fabric challenge

I love a challenge, and I especially love the Modern Quilt Guild challenges. Be it national, or local, the MQG challenges always get me motivated to make something nifty. Personally I use it as a great excuse to make something for myself. For this challenge, Riley Blake Designs provided fat eighths from their Basics category. The guidelines were simple: make something quilted. It was not a requirement to use all the fabric provided, and there was an option add in any solids or Riley Blake printed fabric.

Riley Blake challenge quilt

Finished MQG Fabric Challenge #3: Riley Blake
(click on the photo to enlarge)

I purchased some “Happy Hexi” fabric from Riley Blake, which matched nicely five of the six fabrics we were provided. I also added solid gray and aqua. Drawn to “Happy Hexi,” I decided I wanted to include hexagons in some way.

Riley Blake challenge fabric

After letting the fabrics simmer in my mind, I started sketching some designs.

Riley Black challenge sketch

Using an AccuQuilt GO! Baby, I cut out the hexies from the provided fabric and sewed them onto the gray background. I drew out a grid for the wonky star, with the “Happy Hexi” fabric in the center. I knew I wanted to echo the star in the negative space and drew in the points with chalk.

Riley Blake challenge chalk outline

Then I quilted the points, mimicking the printed fabric in the completed wonky star: chevrons, polka-dots, stripes. As the wonky star has printed hexies in the center, I created a hexie flower in the center of the echoed wonky star.

Riley Blake challenge star pointsRiley Blake Challenge wonky star

Riley Blake wonky star echo

My favorite fabric is the orange dots. I like the contrast of the orange on the white, and the varied sizes of the dots. I used more of that fabric than any of the other Basics. To provide some visual interest, I shifted one of the hexagons down, and then used quilting to echo the fabric in the top spot of the hexie flower. I liked how the solid aqua grounded the movement in the surrounding hexagons.

Riley Blake orange hexie flower

When designing the quilt I wanted to include negative space to really frame the Basics fabric with quilting, and provide substaintial movement. I wrapped feathers around the squared-off wonky star, and varied the size of the swirls used throughout the quilt.

Riley Blake challenge quilting

I had a great time with this challenge, and it was a fun quilt to make. In Kansas City we had our challenge reveal in December, and as always, our members had creative, beautiful and inspiring projects for show and tell. I can’t wait to see all the projects from other guilds. A big thank you to Riley Blake Designs for sponsoring this challenge.

Vines and feathers

I took two classes at the Sewing Expo in Overland Park last week and couldn’t wait to try out the techniques Dusty Ferrell of Country Stitchin taught us. The first class was an edge-to-edge, with more backtracking that I’ve previously used. The second class was feathers, and in both classes Dusty gave us a great balance of discussion and time on the longarm.


Immediately after the first class I came home to practice the vine pattern on a luscious Ana Marie Horner voille panel. After Saturday’s feathers class I used the both the vines and feathers techniques on a customer quilt for Agnes H. Marking the spine for feathers using Dusty’s flourish ruler made a significant difference for the feathers in the quilt border. Great class, useful tools, sketching and practice, practice, practice make for fun, funky feathers.



Pieced by Agnes H.

“Alice’s Cabin”

My great aunt, Emma, gave my mother some fabric on a recent visit. There was a particular pattern that we thought was a bit strange, to say the least. Rather than passing it along to someone else, I decided to make something I liked out of the fabric I did not like.

Center: focus fabric for "Alice's Cabin" mini-quilt

Center: focus fabric for “Alice’s Cabin” mini-quilt

What was wrong with the fabric, you might ask. Cobalt blue is my favorite color, and I’m often drawn to blue fabric. Toile in and of itself doesn’t bother me, and mushroom fabric can be fun. The fabric feels a bit like linen, or a linen blend. All that said, I don’t really dig the scale of the full color mushrooms alongside the scenes in blue and white. Furthermore, the up and down direction of the print is not appealing. The small bunnies upside down next to the large mushrooms are difficult for me to visually reconcile. Certainly, taken on their own, I like parts of the fabric. But, as a whole, it doesn’t excite me. I added additional blue and white fabric, and decided to pair it with orange.

Log cabin blocks are fun to make, and really lend themselves to improvisational piecing. I wanted to fussy cut parts of the fabric I like, such as the mushrooms and the bird and bunny. As I was piecing and quilting, the mushrooms drew my mind to “Alice in Wonderland,” so naturally I named this one “Alice’s Cabin.”

"Alice's Cabin"

“Alice’s Cabin”

Detail: Flower on "Alice's Cabin"

Detail: Flower on “Alice’s Cabin”


“A New Day” – my first quilt show quilt

The first time I attended the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild they announced the national MQG Kauffman solids challenge. All of the color ways, except pastels, were taken by members. At the end of the meeting, Jacquie Gering from Tallgrass Prairie Studio (guild president at the time) was kind enough to allow me to have a charm pack when I promised to complete the challenge. Pastel wasn’t a popular choice, and it wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I was up for a challenge. It was a solids-only challenge, and I added some additional personal parameters. I decided I wasn’t going to purchase any new fabric, and also decided I was finally going to bind, rather than pillowcase a quilt. I left the meeting positively giddy with inspiration and couldn’t wait to get started.  It might be considered more of an art quilt than a modern quilt to some, but I’m a bit of a crossover. I used watercolor pencils to deepen the color of the pastel fabrics and appliquéd three coneflowers, using every bit of the charm pack. There is one flower to represent me, one for my husband and one for our daughter. I joined the KCMQG the next meeting and was happy to hang this mini-quilt in the Quilts on the Quad show on the UMKC campus. It was the first show for the KCMQG, the first quilt I’d hung in a show and the first quilt I ever kept for myself. This was pieced and quilted in 2011.

"A New Day" quilted in 2011

“A New Day” quilted in 2011

“16” for Alex

I am so happy to have made this quilt for Alex’s 16th birthday. Over the course of a year or more whenever we’d stop at a quilt shop Alex would pick out fabric she liked and we’d buy fat quarters. I pieced her quilt using a pattern called “Hokey Pokey,” modifying it slightly to include some large squares. Because of Alex’s interest in Japanese culture, I added the kanji for “16” in raw edge appliqué. My aunt Sherry was gracious enough to allow me to use her Tin Lizzie, so it was the first quilt I quilted on a longarm. Of course, I was instantly hooked. This was pieced and quilted in March 2012.

“16″ pieced and quilted in March 2011

“16″ pieced and quilted in 2012