Top winners at QuiltCon 2015

Are you attending QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, Texas, this weekend? If so, count yourself lucky. Tickets to the second large conference produced by the Modern Quilt Guild  were a hot commodity before they even went on sale, and our Facebook and Instagram feeds have been “blowing up” (as the kids say) with #QuiltCon-tagged images and updates.

Winners in the juried competition were announced Thursday morning, and the top three prizes shown below demonstrate both how modern quilters define their aesthetic and techniques as well as how the movement continues to evolve. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

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i Quilt by Kathy York of
Austin, Texas, Best in Show at QuiltCon 2015

Best of Show went to Kathy York of Austin for iQuilt.

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Diving Geese by Katie Pedersen of Seattle, Washington, Best Machine Quilting at QuiltCon 2015

Best Machine Quilting was awarded to Katie Pedersen of Seattle, Washington, for Diving Geese.

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Coral Reef by Marla Varner of Sequim, Washington, Coats Award of Quilting Excellence at QuiltCon 2015

The Coats Award of Quilting Excellence went to Marla Varner of Sequim, Washington, for Coral Reef.

Congrats to all who showed their quilts at QuiltCon! We look forward to seeing more from the show and the people behind it.

For more, be sure to check out QuiltCon magazine and some fantastic modern quilt kits.

Even though none of us got to attend QuiltCon in person, we feel as if we’re there in spirit via collector Bill Volckening, whose collection of super-groovy quilts from the 1970s is one of the special exhibits. Bill wrote an article for our current February/March 2015 issue about the collection (click here to learn more) and is also doing a live web seminar called “Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s” on February 27.

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Polyester quilt top with rick rack, from the collection of Bill Volckening

“When I first saw 1970s quilts, I was completely infatuated with the strong colors, but there was something more,” Bill said. “The quilts were remarkable cultural artifacts representing a great quiltmaking revival in America. I think you will discover the quilts of the 1970s to be relevant as they are vibrant.” Join him* to learn more about this increasingly popular area of quilt collecting (before they become scarce and the prices go up!). Click here to learn more about the web seminar.

*If you can’t attend the online event on February 27, you can still register for the web seminar and access it afterward on-demand and at your convenience.

Posted in Mary Kate Karr-Petras | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stepping Stones Quilt Finished!

Do you remember the quilt top that I made on a whim recently? Well, in a fit of productivity, I went ahead and finished it! Would you like to see? Here’s the top, in case you missed it the first time around.

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Quilt top

For the quilting I did a combination of free-motion circles and wavy lines done with a walking foot. I put the circles in each of the little charm square patches first, so they sort of link all the way down the quilt. Then I switched to the walking foot to go back and forth across the surface, a whole bunch of times.

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Completed quilt. Stepping Stones by Gigi Khalsa

We can look at some spots up close, if you like.

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Here we are in the lighter section.

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More in the middle now.

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Now the darker section. I love how the metallic fabrics really pop with the quilting.

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Back to the lighter section, but now there are no squares, just strips and wavy lines.

I like the wavy lines a lot; they really complement the simple piecing, plus they are pretty much the least fussy design to do. If you veer a little to one side or another, it really doesn’t matter since it will blend into the overall pattern. I made sure to sew the wavy lines over the seams, both to keep them secure and to enhance the visual effect of the colors flowing in and out of one another. I’m kind of excited to wash it and see how that affects the look of the quilting.

Here’s the back!

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Quilt back!

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Close up of the fun pieced section on the back because why not?

It’s much more sparse but I didn’t have quite enough of the gray and pink print for the entire back, so I had to piece a part of it. I used leftover strips from the front, as well as strips I cut and rejected for the front because they didn’t really work.

stepstones6 Stepping Stones Quilt Finished!

Here’s some of the binding. When the binding is different all around the quilt, it’s difficult to take detail shots of it.

For the binding, I used leftover strips. Some colors, I just cut too many strips for the front, and others had little bits left over that would work. I tried to follow the general color and value placement of the quilt in the binding, but without too many different binding pieces.

I liked the quilt top so well that I had to finish it instead of putting it in a pile to finish later. Like Lori, sometimes I’m very distractible, except those times when I’m not.

How are your quilt tops coming along? If you’re taking a break from working on them, come visit us on Facebook, or Pinterest, or Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Have a quilteriffic weekend!


Posted in Gigi, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So Many Books Giveaway Part 7!


Around the Quilters Newsletter office, there’s been a bit of talk lately about making quilts to decorate a new home and projects that we can complete just over the weekend since we’re all so busy during the week (see what Lori got up to this past weekend). More than one of our co-workers across our sister publications and video team have had a baby somewhat recently as well, which makes all three sets of books we’re giving away this week a set that would help inspire currently relevant projects. If none of them appeal to you, you might be more interested in the quilting books in the staff picks section of our current issue, Quilters Newsletter February/March 2015, though I have a feeling the below giveaway might have something for everyone. Three lucky winners will each receive one set of three books.

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Set 1 includes Home Sweet Quilt by Jill FinleySet the Table — 11 Designer Patterns for Table Runners and Best Wall Quilts from McCall’s Quilting, all from That Patchwork Place.

Set 2 includes Sweet and Simple Sewing by Carrie Jung, Jessi Jung and Lauren Jung, Fabulously Fast Quilts by Amy Smart and Easy Weekend Quilts, all from That Patchwork Place.

Set 3 includes The Big Book of Baby Quilts, Cuddle Me Quick by Christine Porter and Darra Williamson and Modern Baby, all from That Patchwork Place.

To enter for your chance to win one of the three prizes, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm Mountain Time, Sunday February 22, 2015 telling us which of the three prizes is your favorite. As winners are randomly selected, we don’t guarantee you’ll win your preferred prize if chosen, but we’ll do our best! Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

To find out about more giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and to see all the beautiful quilts we like to share, join us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest, InstagramYouTube and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Contests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 285 Comments

Love Those 3-day Weekends

Isn’t it amazing how much extra you can get done in a single day? Weekends for most of us are busy with shopping, housekeeping, laundry, etc. If you are like me, you get some quiltmaking done but it has to fit around all those mundane tasks. And don’t forget the visits with the children and grandchildren. Give me an extra day and I’m in heaven.

This weekend I worked on my floor quilt. I talked a bit about it in last week’s blog post. Here is a photo of it hanging on my design wall.

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The Top Ready to Sew

The top is done. I’m sorry, I didn’t remember to take a photo of it all stitched together. It’s big, 6 feet by 9 feet, so as you can see it doesn’t all fit on my design wall. The bottom 3 rows are lying on the floor.

Let me explain to you a bit of my thought process when I’m planning a floor quilt.

  1. These quilts are meant to be walked on. I don’t want to use a really special quilt for a floor quilt; no Baltimore albums, no Double Wedding Rings, no special family quilts.
  2. I like to use big, simple blocks so the quilt will go together quickly.
  3. The closer the quilt will be to an outside door, the more I think about the color and pattern being able to disguise any dirt that might get tracked in.
  4. It makes sense to me that heavy quilting will make the floor quilt more durable.
  5. Most of my quilts are reversible. That’s an especially fun idea for a floor quilt.
  6. I do think about washability when making a floor quilt. This one is large enough I’ll have to take it to a large commercial machine when it needs laundering.
  7. Since this will be on a hardwood floor, I’ll have to put a no-skid backing of some sort under it. There are products you can paint on the back, but then it wouldn’t be reversible.
  8. Style can be anything that goes with your decorating style. My quilts tend to be pretty traditional but anything works.

We took a bit of a break after I had the top pieced and my husband and I went to the Home and Garden Show. It made me wish for spring.

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One Display at the Home and Garden Show

When we got home, I started pulling fabric for the back of the quilt. Because I’d used a layer cake for the quilt top, I didn’t have the usual pile of leftovers. The first thing I found was a piece of beautiful yardage. I hung it over the quilt top.

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Here’s a possibility.

I have 3½ yards of this lovely fabric but after thinking a while, I decided not to use it. It’s too pretty to just chop up willy-nilly. It needs to be the focus fabric for something beautiful. So I just got all the small pieces of brown, gold, tan, even orange, from my stash and started sewing them together. I put the pieces on the design wall to get a feeling for how much of the back was done.

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Beginning the Back

I started with the smallest pieces first and as I worked, I started incorporating larger pieces.

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Making Progress

At this point, I’d used all of the small scraps of fabric. I’d started picking my fabrics from the larger pieces in my stash. Toward evening last night, I added a couple of ½ yard pieces of dark fabric. I’m mostly avoiding light fabrics since this will be on the floor. I cut those ½-yard pieces in strips so they are not all in one big glob.

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Still Not Done

Do notice that I’m not sewing the rows together yet. I have the two rows at the top nearly completed but as I add new fabrics, I want to put at least a little of that new fabric near the top of the quilt so the colors/fabrics are spread throughout the quilt.

I have a ways to go before this is done. I really want to finish this quilt in the next couple of weeks so it will be ready when we move into our new home. I’m at that point where I’m thinking that 3½-yard piece of fabric was a good idea – why didn’t I go with that? That’s the one downside of piecing backs. I get pretty anxious to see the completed project by the time I have pieced both the front and the back.

One more thing about floor quilts. It’s really important that they lay flat so I make an extra effort when I bind them to make sure the binding fits exactly right and doesn’t make them curl. Binding is such an important part of the quilt. I can still remember when Mom looked at one of my finished quilts and said, “Would you like me to show you how I do my binding?” That was her diplomatic way of saying my binding needed help. If you’d like help with your binding technique, this evening (February 17th) from 6-7 p.m. Eastern Time there will be a web seminar by Jenny Kae of Jenny Kae Quilts entitled Machine Quilt Binding Made Easy. The cost is $19.99 and the finished look of your quilts is so worth it.

Do visit Quilters Newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website for the latest news, quilting fun and ideas. Be sure to check for more Web Seminars on, and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Lori Baker, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Patternless Flight

I have a little wall hanging in my cubicle that I designed and made quite a while back. I like looking at it, but I recently decided that it could be a perfect gift for a particular someone in my life, so I’m going to take it down from my wall and send it off to make that someone happy, hopefully. Before I ship it away, however, I’d like to share a little bit about how I made it, because it’s fun, fast and it doesn’t require a pattern.

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Gigi’s wall hanging – I forget if I ever titled it. It finishes at 18″ x 18″

Here’s the piece in question. It’s comprised of 18 horizontal strips; many of the strips are pieced. The piecing is what creates the image. I’ve made this particular design more than once, but like I said, there isn’t a pattern. But it’s not improvisational, either. I just used graph paper, my ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut all the pieces exactly the size they need to be. I start with my 18 different blue fabrics selected, arranged into a gradient, and my design sketched out on graph paper.

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Graph paper sketch to work from. Each little square on the paper equals 1″ in real life.

Each square of the graph paper is equal to 1″, finished size. In the sketch, you can see where I’ve drawn the heavy outline is where a seam will be. I’ve numbered the 18 horizontal rows so I can see more easily what each individual row consists of. Starting at the top, rows 1 and 2 are solid strips, so those will be cut at 1 1/2″ x 18 1/2″. We’re off to a great start!

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The next three rows, broken up into their individual parts. What we’re paying attention to is the large numbers on the angled patches, which is why I’ve circled them.

I’ve broken down the next few rows into their individual patches. I’ve written the finished size of the strips, so I know to add 1/2″ to each patch for seam allowance. Notice that the angled strips have a different measurement on the top and bottom, and that I’ve circled the larger measurement. I’ll cut my strips so they are the larger number, plus the seam allowance. So for row 3, I need a blue 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ strip, a black 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strip, and a blue 1 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ strip.

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The pieces needed for row 3.

The first blue strip is fine as it is. The next black strip needs to be angled. I keep my sketch handy at all times while cutting; it’s important that each angle is oriented correctly, just as it’s drawn, or you’ll waste fabric and have to cut it again. Ask me how I know. So, to cut the angle of the black strip, I use the markings on my cutting mat and ruler to trim the angle off the strip.

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Strip aligned just so on the cutting mat. I realize I cut this at 5 1/2″ instead of 4 1/2″. Very silly mistake. At least this is just for the photo and not a real project. But the technique works anyway.The little dotted marks are your helpful friends.

Place the strip on the cutting mat, and align all the raw edges with the 1/4″ dotted marks on the mat all the way around the strip. Making sure the angle is in the same direction as the sketch, place the ruler at a 45-degree angle on the corner of the strip. There are a few ways to check that your ruler is in the right place and at the correct angle.

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Get the ruler aligned just right, using both the marks on the ruler and on the mat. The purple line is helpful, but the red line is crucial.

There is a 45-degree line on my cutting mat, but it’s perpendicular to the angle I need to cut on this patch. So I can align one of the inch marks on the ruler with the mark on the cutting mat (see purple line). That’s nice, but the more crucial alignment is making sure the 1/4″ mark of your ruler intersects the corner of the strip, as well as the corners of the 1″ squares on the cutting mat (see red line). It’s in bold because it’s very important. This gives the correct cutting angle and adds correct seam allowance at the same time!

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Cut the corner when you’ve aligned everything as described above.

Alright! First angled strip cut. It attaches to another angled blue strip, so lets cut that one too.

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This blue strip will be joined to the black strip. We use the exact same method as before to cut the angle. See the red line intersecting the exact corner of the strip, as well as the corners of each of the squares on the mat.

Align the strip so that the raw edges are all touching the 1/4″ dotted marks on the cutting mat. Align the 1/4″ mark on your ruler so it intersects the corner of the strip, making sure it also intersects the corners of the solid line or 1″ squares on your cutting mat. Trim the corner off.

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Patches for row 3 all done.

So here are the patches for row 3. One really nice thing about this technique is that there are no dog ears on the patches; you can line up the angled sides of the strips perfectly using the trimmed corners.

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No dog ears mean that you can line up the angled cuts perfectly.

The following rows are done the exact same way, but pay close attention to the direction of the angles as you go! You can see pretty clearly in my graph paper sketch exactly at what dimensions all of the patches need to be cut, so don’t ask for the pattern. There isn’t one! But you can do it anyway!

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You too can make this flying bird without a pattern. In this case, row 3 used a cute star print.

As you can see, this little quilt relies heavily on a blue into aqua gradient, going from cooler, darker shades on top to warmer, lighter tones at the bottom. You can get a little more insight into using aqua and turquoise in your quilt in the newest Mary Fons’ upcoming web seminar: COLOR ME QUILTER: Aqua and Turquoise. It’s a really great series, and aqua is a good a place to start as any if you haven’t checked it out yet. If you’d like to see what other web seminars are available at the Quilt & Sew Shop, click here.

I hope you give this technique a try, with this design or a composition you design yourself. If you do, please share it with us, perhaps on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube or our website. Have an inspired weekend!

Posted in Gigi, Inspiration, Staff Quilts, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Love L.A.

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LAX’s iconic tiled wall by Charles D. Kratka leading from Terminal 4 to baggage claim has been featured in movies and ad campaigns

Last week my 3-year-old daughter and I went back to my hometown of Los Angeles for a short visit with my family and a few friends. I hadn’t been back in almost a year and a visit was long overdue, so when I saw some super-cheap airfares online I snapped them up first and then put in my vacation request.

The timing worked out well, as the exhibit Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters had just opened the week before at the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) on Wilshire Boulevard. I had already seen images from the exhibit when I included it in the “What’s New” section of our upcoming April/May 2015 issue, but I was happy I’d have the chance to see it in person. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

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Bougainvillea in February — yep, that’s a Los Angeles winter all right.

First off, I have to mention that the weather was gorgeous, in the mid-to-upper 70s and dry. I’m always surprised by how gardening is a year-round endeavor in L.A. whenever I visit in the winter.

I did mention that I made this trip with my 3-year-old in tow, right? She’s actually a very good travel companion, but she is transitioning out of having a regular naptime, so afternoon excursions with her, well, they need to be carefully planned.

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Page Museum at the La Brea Tarpits

The CAFAM is part of “Museum Row” on what is known as the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire. It makes walking in that part of town easy and enjoyable, so I found street parking a block away on 6th behind the Page Musuem and gave my daughter her first experience of the famous La Brea Tarpits. (By the way, I highly recommend rolling down the sloped landscaping surrounding the Page if you’re a kid or want to play like one.)

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The Page Museum

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The La Brea Tarpits, with a view of LACMA’s Pavilion for Japanese Art in the background

We continued across the street to the CAFAM — it’s pretty hard to miss.

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The Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles

As I said, afternoon excursions with my daughter can be fraught with potential meltdowns, and I was very grateful to the woman at the CAFAM admission desk who kindly discarded the cup of milk I’d been trying to get my daughter to drink during the walk from the car. It’s all about having enough fuel to get through the next few minutes, you understand.

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Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters gallery at the CAFAM

This was actually my first visit to the CAFAM, which I’m a little embarrassed to admit. It’s a small museum, and the Man-Made exhibit takes up the entirety of the third floor.

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Man-Made exhibit

Seeing some of the quilts on display was like seeing old friends — I got to tape a couple of episodes of Quilters Newsletter TV: The Quilters’ Community with Luke Haynes last year (click here for a preview of his longarming demo), and we featured a joint quilt that Haynes made with Joe Cunningham as our December/January 2015 “Photo Finish.” Even so, I’d never seen any of Cunningham’s solo work in person, so this was a pleasure.

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(The American Context #14) Madame X, 90″ x 90″, 2013, by Luke Haynes. Photo courtesy CAFAM

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NY Beauty, 71″ x 70″, 2014, by Joe Cunningham. Photo courtesy CAFAM

There were also three quilts by Jimmy McBride, about whom I wrote the “Meetin’ Place” feature for our August/September 2011 issue. McBride sent us photos of his space- and scifi-inspired quilts to use with that article and not the quilts themselves, so seeing them in person was like meeting a pen pal for the first time.

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Phobos V2, 48″ x 48″, 2010, by Jimmy McBride. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Other artists in the exhibit were relatively new to me. I mean, I’d heard of Ben Venom already but nothing can compare to seeing his heavy metal t-shirt quilts in real life.

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I Go Where Eagles Dare, 108″ x 60″, 2012 by Ben Venom. Photo courtesy CAFAM

My daughter thought Venom’s quilts were “a little scary,” but having grown up around a lot of kids who actually wore t-shirts like this, I was fascinated. And impressed.

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Falwell Quilt #2, 40″ x 67″, 2007, by Shawn Quinlan. Photo courtesy CAFAM

Shawn Quinlan’s work was completely new to me and gave both my daughter and me much to look at. While I was contemplating the symbolism in Falwell Quilt #2, she noticed that one of the arms appeared “broken.”


Living in a Dream World, 50″ x 26″, 2010, by Shawn Quinlan. Photo courtesy CAFAM

Of Living in a Dream World, she said “Everyone is having a party,” despite (or perhaps because of) the people with flaming skull heads.

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detail of the pieced back of Tears for Compassion, 87″ x 53″, 2012, by Shawn Quinlan — do you see the Simpsons novelty fabric?

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detail of Rags to Riches, 72″ x 84″, 2012, by Joel Otterson

I was struck by this hanging thread on Joel Otterson’s Rags to Riches, which I have to imagine is an intentional part of the piece. See the photo of the placard below for the full story behind this quilt.

IMG 0674 788x1024 I Love L.A.Other pieces in the exhibit not shown here include work by Aaron McIntosh and Dan Olfe. I’m sorry for not having much to tell you about their work (except that I liked it and wanted to see more), but my 3-year-old’s need to walk up and down the staircase suddenly could not be denied and I wasn’t able to linger over the art the way I wanted.

IMG 0671 768x1024 I Love L.A.She didn’t even want to play with the scraps on the interactive design wall.

So we bade farewell to the CAFAM, but not before I was able to pick up a couple of items from the gift shop, including Joe Cunningham’s “Buffalo Gals” CD (he’s a musician, too) and a picture book called Dog Dreams by Michael Wertz. I recommend both.

I had about 45 minutes left before the parking meter would expire, so we headed down the block so I could at least walk through the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA’s) campus.

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

I do miss this museum and need to make time for a visit next time I’m in town. Little known fact: LACMA actually has quite a large collection of quilts, many of which can be viewed on their website even if they’re not on display.

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Walking through LACMA’s Wilshire entrance


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Three-Part Reclining Figure by Henry Moore at LACMA

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Three Quintains (Hello Girls) by Alexander Calder at LACMA

These outdoor sculptures and the reflecting pool are in the Directors Roundtable outdoor space tucked right along Wilshire.

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Pavilion for Japanese Art at LACMA

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Food trucks parked on Wilshire

On our way back to the car I looked longingly at the line of food trucks parked across the street. Food trucks were not nearly the “thing” they are now when I lived there, and I was craving some unique L.A. food. Alas, I knew that neither my parking meter nor my daughter’s patience would allow it, so I put in on my list for next time.

If you’ve never been to Los Angeles, I just want to say “don’t believe the hype.” No, it’s not an easy city to live in, and yes, the traffic is soul-sucking. But L.A. has no worse enemy than Hollywood when it comes to depicting what it’s really like. It’s so much more than movie studios, Venice Beach, and reality shows featuring social climbers. There truly is something there for everyone, including quilters. Think about it: the Modern Quilt Guild was founded in L.A., and I missed being able to attend the nearby Road to California show, one of the biggest in the country, by only one week. I was living in L.A. when I decided I wanted to learn to quilt, and our family friend Kathy knew immediately what quilt shops and shows I could go to. There is as thriving a quilting community there as you’ll find in any small town in America. If you scratch the glitzy surface, L.A. is full of real people with diverse interests, and is much more family-friendly than you might think. It can be a crazy place, but I do love it when all is said and done.

As I said, we have details on Man-Made in our upcoming April/May 2015 issue, which will go on sale March 17, so keep your eyes out for it. To find out about giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and more, visit us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Mary Kate Karr-Petras | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mod Tex Giveaway


This coming Saturday, February 14th, happens to be Valentine’s Day. FebMar15Cover 200 Mod Tex GiveawayIn the world of silly holidays, it also happens to be Ferris Wheel Day. The quilt on the cover of Quilters Newsletter February/March 2015 is called Bohemian II: Ferris Wheels and Kites, and that makes it a wonderful quilt to spend Ferris Wheel Day learning about. That is, if you don’t have all-day-encompassing Valentine’s Day plans. Our February/March 2015 issue also has four gorgeous quilt patterns, an easy lesson on transferring marker drawings onto fabric with rubbing alcohol, a workshop on combining hand stitching with decorative machine stitches to spice up your projects, and much more. If you don’t already have your copy, you can find one at your local quilt shop, bookstore, newsstand, or online at Quilt and Sew Shop.

In the Staff Picks section of each of our issues, we feature four new fabric lines, and this week we have two fat quarter bundles from the Mod Tex collection by Robert Kaufman Fabrics from the February/March 2015 Staff Picks section which we’re giving away, one bundle each to two lucky winners.Mod Tex Mod Tex Giveaway

If you’re lacking for inspiration what to do with this wonderful fabric line, here’s a block made from Mod Tex. This is the hanging basket quilt block, which also happens to be our free Staff Picks quilt block pattern from Quilters Newsletter February/March 2015. You can find the free block pattern on our website. Mod Tex Block Mod Tex Giveaway

To enter for your chance to win one of the two Mod Tex bundles, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm Mountain Time, Monday February 16, 2015 telling us what quilting project(s) you decorated for Valentine’s or Ferris Wheel Day with. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

To find out about more giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and to see all the beautiful quilts we like to share, join us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

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Call Me “Distractible”

I’m going to give you a peek at my sewing life at home. I think when I’m done you’ll understand why I have so many PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks).  Maybe this is an effort to self-analyze.  My inability to stay focused on one project is mind boggling – even to me and I’m the one doing it.

Here’s a prime example. I began work on a small wall hanging mid-January and blogged about it. It’s a PIG so I felt good about working on it. As I told you in that blog post, we are purchasing a new home and this wall hanging is the first of the projects I’m making with my new home in mind. Our closing is at the end of February so I don’t have much time to finish those projects. But I wasn’t happy with the quilting in the borders of the wall hanging. I stitched straight lines in the borders and they were truly ho-hum. Susan (QN’s art director) had a wonderful suggestion. So I went home that night and took out the straight-line stitching in the borders.  The next night, I started free-motion quilting that was supposed to look like paisleys but instead looked like feathers. I’ve never stitched feathers without marking. But it was working. They looked nice.  I got the borders about half done and it was time to quit for the night.  Sounds good so far, doesn’t it?

Then, at work, we had the last flying geese exchange. A group of us have been exchanging geese for months. I’ve had the quilt that I will make with my flying geese in my head for some time so I “had” to see how it was going to look. I put about half of my flying geese on my design wall. There will be scrappy blue strips on either side of the sets of four geese. I’m not going to be ready to make this quilt for quite some time, but the flying geese are still on my design wall. And the wall hanging for our new house was just sitting there.

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Distraction #1

I always make a quilt for my grandchildren when they graduate. Two are graduating this year and one of those two has put in her color request. So I’ve been thinking and watching for ideas for her quilt. One evening, I got the fabric for her quilt out and put it on the dining room table.

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Distraction #2

But again, I’m not ready to start on this quilt. Why did I spend an entire evening sorting through fabrics for a quilt that I probably won’t start working on until after we are in our new home? And the wall hanging for the new house still wasn’t done.

Our new house has hardwood floors. So I’ve been thinking about needing area rugs. I’ve shopped a little and haven’t found anything that I am totally excited about so I have the idea of a couple of floor quilts floating around in my brain. It’s okay to think about other projects, isn’t it?

But at work on Friday, Mary Kate told us she had a few layer cakes that needed to find a home. So I chose one. It’s Petite Prints by French General for Moda Fabrics. The layer cake has lots of reds and browns and is the right color for my main living area in our new house. I took it thinking I could use it to make a floor quilt. I went home and found on Moda’s website a very easy (and fast) quilt that would use the layer cake. The only problem is that the quilt is square and I want a rectangle.

So I spent the rest of the evening playing in my Electric Quilt software. I added four rows to the middle of the quilt and experimented with color placement. At the end of the evening, I had a plan for the floor quilt.

Floor Quilt Call Me Distractible

Distraction #3

It will be large (6’ x 9’) and it will be scrappy. On Saturday, instead of working on the nearly complete wall hanging, I sewed and cut a stack of 68 half-square triangle units. I’m ready to lay out my floor quilt.

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Pieces and Parts of Distraction #3

But finally, finally, common sense and logic kicked in and last night I finished the wall hanging.

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26 and Counting

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Back of 26 and Counting

When I was trying to decide which should be the top of the quilt, I realized that I could cover most of the strip that is so very crooked with the hanging sleeve.

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Before the Sleeve


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After the Sleeve

See how nicely that works.

I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am. I love the quilting in the borders.

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Close-up of Quilting on the Front

Here is the back, so you can see the quilting more easily.

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Close-up of Quilting on the Back

Free-motion quilting is something I work on all the time. I want to be really good at it. Here are a couple of resources I found at, Leah Day’s book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs and Molly Hanson’s Free Motion Quilting for Beginners.

My wall hanging is done and now I can move on to the floor quilt without feeling guilty. I’ve never made such a large floor quilt before so if any of you have suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.

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Posted in Inspiration, Lori Baker, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Calm and Low Contrast

Well, instead of finishing quilts in progress, I went ahead and made another quilt top. It’s just so fun! Now I have one more work in progress that I’ll have to get basted and quilted, but I figure there are worse things to have so I’ll just put it on the list and hopefully get it completed soon.

What inspired me to start a new design was a little mini charm pack I received. It’s from Moda, and the collection is called Field Guide by Janet Clare. Precut fabrics are so great, I think. They come in a set of really nice, coordinating prints or colors, already cut to a specific size so they’re pretty much ready to sew. Cutting a bunch of 2 1/2″ squares isn’t hard, but it does take time, so I appreciate that fabric companies make them available and I can just get straight to work.

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A mini charm pack from Moda. The squares are cut at 2 1/2″ to finish at 2″. I had already put a bunch of the squares on my design wall before I realized I should photograph and document what I’m using to make the quilt.

The collection is very pretty and soft in neutral tones. It was arranged from light to dark in the bundle, which gave me an idea. If I could supplement the delicately colored gradient in the squares with strips of fabric from my stash, I could make a simple, quick gradient design that uses value, subtle color changes and texture to make a cool and calm composition. I started digging through my earth tone and neutral fabrics to find fabrics that could make my idea come to life.

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And voila! The squares helped me to pick fabrics, from which I cut strips. Then I sewed everything together! I like the little dark sections that add a bit of surprise.

And that’s pretty much it! Technically, it’s so simple, but I think the effect is very appealing. I just arranged the squares so they sort of meander in a jagged diagonal line, and the strips, selected to match the squares, create a sort of gradient horizon or abstract landscape looking thing. I knew that some of the squares would sort of fade into the background since they matched the color of the strips, and that would make the squares that don’t match the strips perfectly stand out even more. I took some close-up photos so you can see the strips and squares better.

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The very top is light and includes lots of shades of cream, wheat, ivory and whatnot. Even some glitter!

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We’re getting a bit darker as we move down, with more textures.

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Now the colors shift to cool grays and even hints of green.

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I think a number of these fabrics are from Northcott‘s Stonehenge collections.

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Now we’ve reached the bottom! The colors are deeper, richer (though still neutral) and have lots of variety in texture.

Another top made, another top to quilt. It’s funny to me that I spend all day at work thinking about, writing about and patterning other people quilts that one would think I’d want a break from it when I go home. But no, I spend so much of my free time thinking about and making my own quilts. Never too much of a good thing, I guess!

Speaking of work, however, I have a huge pile of it on my desk that needs attention. Maybe I can come back and look at the photos of my new quilt top if I need a moment or two of zen throughout the day. Or I’ll take a break and see what’s happening on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Then, back to work. Have a wonderful weekend!

Posted in Gigi, Inspiration, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Out of the Cold Giveaway


Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Monday — Groundhog Day for those who celebrate — predicting six more weeks of winter. Staten Island Chuck did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Other famous groundhogs (and one tortoise) predicted both, and one, Jimmy the Groundhog in Wisconsin, decided he didn’t like the whole ceremony and bit the mayor on the ear. No matter the prediction or the accuracy thereof, it’s been fairly cold and snowy outside in the greater majority of the northern hemisphere, and some of us could use an excuse to get in out of the cold, like quilting, or watching DVDs about quilting, or both. Which is why this week we’re giving away three sets of four quilting DVDs, one set to each of three lucky winners:

DVDs Giveaway 2 Out of the Cold Giveaway

Prize 1 includes Creative Fabric Techniques with Annette Morgan from Rainbow Disks, Lynn Koolish Teaches You Printing on Fabric from C&T Publishing, Jane Davila & Elin Waterston Teach You Art Quilting Basics from C&T Publishing and Barbara Olson presents Jumpstart Your Creativity from Nine Patch Media.

Prize 2 includes Colouor for Quilters with Christine Porter from Traplet Publications, Workshops To Go: The Nuts & Bolts of Quilting featuring Margrit Hall from Jukebox Quilts, Surprise Yourself! by Charlotte Angotti and Debbie Caffrey from Debbie’s Creative Moments, Inc. and Diana McClun & Laura Nownes Teach You Beginning Quiltmaking from C&T Publishing.

Prize 3 includes Workshops To Go: Hand Applique Featuring Andrea Perejda from Jukebox Quilts, Fun with Triangles with Joanne Middleton from Patchwork Schoolhouse, Judith Baker Montano Teaches You Crazy Quilting from C&T Publishing and Sharon Pederson presents Rose of Sharon from Nine Patch Media.

To enter for your chance to win one of the three prizes, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm Mountain Time, Sunday February 8, 2015 telling us which of the three prizes would be more useful for you. As winners are randomly selected, we don’t guarantee you’ll win your preferred prize if chosen, but we’ll do our best! Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

To find out about more giveaways, quilting news, tips, techniques and to see all the beautiful quilts we like to share, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, PinterestInstagram, YouTube and our website. Plus, see Web Seminars on and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and

Posted in Contests | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 353 Comments