Friday, January 31, 2014


First off, I owe you a winner - the winner of a copy of Quilt Improv is... Susan M, lucky number #131. Congratulations, Susan! I'll be emailing you shortly!

I've been doing a lot of teaching the last few weeks, and I have to say there's one word that I keep hearing over and over again from seems, and the more I teach, the more I seem to hear this word from quilters.

I'm intimidated by {insert scary but gorgeous technique}.

I'm too intimidated to try [insert beautiful quilt pattern].

That machine intimidates me.

As a teacher, a big part of my job is to help quilters move past that intimidation to try new things, and to find a confidence they didn't know they had, and I love that part of my job. I really do. I love when students walk out of my classes feeling like they've really learned something, it's such a wonderful feeling. But, in teaching and interacting with more and more quilters over the last year of teaching, I feel like I'm hearing this word more and more from quilters, so I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about intimidation here.

Now, I'm human, so I'll admit it - I have definitely felt my fair share of intimidation over the quilting, in personal situations, and so forth, but with my quilting, I try my best to set aside that feeling because 99% of the time, it's thoroughly unfounded. Feeling intimidated isn't a bad thing - but the important thing is to move past that feeling and not to let that feeling paralyze you. You can't let intimidation keep you from trying something you're interested in.

Does foundation paper piecing intimidate you? You're not alone. It used to intimidate me, too, immensely. I had so much negative talk in my head about how it was a technique that surely was beyond my skill set that by the time I sat down to paper piece for the first time a few years ago, there was no way I could have had a good experience. I quite literally threw my block in progress across the room several times. And cursed like a sailor. Then, I'd start the block all over again, only to have the same exact hissy fit twenty minutes later when it didn't go quite right. I had to set it aside, and come back to it because I was driving myself crazy with the level of frustration I was feeling. I felt like I was clearly right when I thought that paper piecing was something I just couldn't do, that it was too advanced for me. I came back to the block a few days later, after calming down and trying to chill out. When I was able to stop flying off the handle and stop rushing, I was able to get through the block just fine, and that was the start of my obsession with foundation paper piecing.

All of this rambling really leads me to say one important thing: don't talk yourself out of trying something new because you feel intimidated. Try to set that feeling aside and try new things, whether it's in your quilting or in the kitchen or in whatever part of your life you've got that feeling. Because you might just find that the thing that once intimidated you might turn into something you absolutely love.

The Shazam Star - February 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club
The February 2014 Lucky Star Block of the Month: The Shazam Star
heading to subscribers' inboxes first thing Saturday, 2/1/2014

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Found in the pages...

It's been a good mail week thus far - I got two great new magazines to read and it's only Wednesday! It's always fun to find quilting magazines in my mailbox - don't get me wrong, I love my subscriptions to a few other magazines, but the quilty ones are always the most fun to read, so I get real excited when I see them in my mailbox. This week's mail included the new issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited and Love of Quilting

Dark Star - FMQ detail - in the new MQU issue

I was super excited to see a quilt I haven't seen in a while in the pages of Modern Quilts Unlimited - my Dark Star quilt. I love this quilt to pieces, quite literally. It's sewn up in Modern Solids from In the Beginning, and I love how vibrant this quilt is, with the rich reds. It's a very simple quilt to piece, with just 12 blocks in the quilt, but I think it's super striking in its simplicity.

The new issue of MQU - Winter 2014

I must tell you about a bit of behind-the-pages drama with this quilt - I made a cutting error thanks to my chicken scratch quilt math and wound up wasting some fabric, and naturally, I was running out of time, so I needed the right fabric pronto, so I called the trusty staff at Pink Chalk Fabrics, who went above and beyond to get the fabric to me in time to meet my deadline, so thank you ladies! You're the best! Pink Chalk has a great selection of the In the Beginning solids, if you haven't tried them before. They have a beautiful sheen to them, with a bit of a cross-weave type quality to them, and the hand is so super soft!

Dark Star quilt - in the new MQU issue

I'm also really excited about some the photography I did with this quilt, back in September before I sent it off to Modern Quilts Unlimited. The full shot of the quilt in front of houses was certainly not my finest moment as a photographer, but it was a make-it-work kind of moment, trust me! On the other hand, I love this giant wheel I found in a field to take pictures with - but I'm sad to say that it's been removed from the field since, so I won't be able to use it again. Oh well. These are some of my favorite quilt photos in the history of ever, so at least I got these great pictures!

Dark Star quilt - detail shot - in the new MQU issue

Quilt Stats
name: Dark Star
size: 69" x 81"
pattern: Dark Star by yours truly, in the Winter 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited
fabrics: Modern Solids solid fabrics by In The Beginning
quilting: all-over stipple in red (#2270) Aurifil 50 wt thread throughout negative space, and white wiggle stitches in white (#2024) Aurifil 50 wt thread

Love of Quilting magazine - February 2014 issue

In flipping through Love of Quilting, I spotted my book in their Book Reviews section, which was a great thrill. I still get tickled when I see a mention of my book somewhere, so if you ever see one, by all means let me know in case I haven't seen it!! There's lots of great patterns in this particular issue, too, and I love the quilt on the cover - so pretty!

Aww, that's my book!

Have a great Wednesday, and if you haven't yet entered the Quilt Improv giveaway, hurry up and do so! The giveaway ends tomorrow :)
Monday, January 27, 2014

Improv Piecing with Lucie Summers

I love quilting and crafting books, can't get enough of them. Over the past few weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through Lucie Summers' Quilt Improv book. The photography throughout the book is positively stunning, the quilts are gorgeous, and the step-by-step instruction is really in-depth, but also really inspiring, as you can see lots of different ways to vary the different blocks and techniques Lucie shows in the book. Another thing I adore about this book is seeing Lucie's drawings peppered throughout the book. If you're not familiar with Lucie as a fabric designer, having released two lines with Moda over the last few years full of whimsical low-volume line drawings, here's one thing you simply must know about her: she is an immensely talented artist, who sells her many of crafty goods on Etsy. She's got a fantastic sense of color and style, which comes across in her quilts beautifully. She also blogs regularly right here.

As soon as I paged through the book a couple of times, I knew exactly what I wanted to make from her book. Improv is often a challenge for me - it's hard to set aside my Type A tendencies sometimes - but I kept coming back to the Crazy Triangles technique. I especially loved how scrappy and vibrant Lucie's sample was, so I dug into my scraps to made a version of this super fun block.

I managed to find a boatload of DS Florence scraps and some teal triangles in my unsorted scrap bin, and I liked the way they looked together, so I went for it. I can definitely see myself adding to this to make it a bit larger and turn it into a pillow cover at some point for the living room. It's already 15", so it's almost big enough to be a pillow cover, and it was really easy to put together. I love how great improv can be with scraps, how varied and interesting it can look when you just throw caution to the wind and start sewing bits and pieces together.

A little crazy triangles block

For links to past stops on the blog tour for Quilt Improv and loads of other fun bits of improv related inspiration, click here. The wonderful folks at Stitch Craft & Create were kind enough to offer up a book for me to give away as well, so to enter the giveaway simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. A winner will be announced Friday morning. Have a great day today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nothing like a little procrastination for inspiration...

I've been brainstorming for the right project for my partner in the latest round of the Sew Sew Modern swap, hosted over on Flickr, and I'd been hitting a creative wall, a total lack of inspiration. That is, until I came across an idea in my sketchbook that I had early on when I started the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club last year - a medallion quilt. As soon as I stopped on that page, I knew it was perfect. The drawing was terrible, and totally the wrong color palette for my partner, so I took some time last night and redrew it, and I have to say, I'm really excited to start working on this.

A little idea for my Sew Sew Modern partner...

Now that my Juki has made it home safe and sound, I'm this close to being able to actually get the ball rolling on this one. I'm torn, though...I can't decide whether I should do this one up in all solids, or if I should use prints. I definitely want to use some low-volume prints in the background/gray areas, but I'm not sure about the actual focus fabrics. I think some nice tone-on-tone, small scale prints would be nice, but I'm just torn, I can't decide, so help a girl out - give me your two cents! Maybe that will help me make a decision and start cutting :)

Have a great day! Oh, and I almost forgot - Quilty magazine has a little poll going for their next cover, and one of my quilts happens to be featured on Cover #2 - take a look and take part in their fun poll! Here's a link to the poll in case you want to put your two cents in!

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm back!

Oh, it feels good to be home! My sewing machine, sadly, is not yet back from my trip to Denver, but it's supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to that. I had a great visit with my family, got to see my son play with his cousins on my side of the family for the first time, got to see some snow, and I-sort-of-filmed-a-class-with-Craftsy. Yep, that's why I was in Denver, and I have to say I cannot wait until I can share more about my experience with the fantastic people at Craftsy and more about my class, but for now all I can say is that I had a great time and the class is going to be awesome. I know, such a tease!!


I got to visit the adorable and beautiful Fancy Tiger Crafts shop while in town, which was awfully fun. My niece has her first sewing machine and is learning to sew, so it was great fun to introduce her to a real craft store, and teach her a bit about fabric. She picked out two beautiful Japanese fabrics to add to her growing stash, which I was more than happy to treat her to, and I found a few pieces of fabric I couldn't live without to add to my stash, too, so everyone left happy. Even my older brother, who's an amazing artist, had a great time in the craft store, having discovered knitting diagrams for the first time and appreciating the geometric beauty of them.

Fancy Tiger Crafts - Denver

Fancy Tiger Crafts - Denver

Now that I'm back, I'm back to teaching in full swing! I had a weekend free motion quilting workshop with the fantastic ladies of the Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild. I was super excited to discover that one of my favorite food bloggers just happened to be there in the workshop, which turned me into a total fangirl for a few minutes! If you haven't checked out Jaden Hair's Steamy Kitchen blog or cookbooks and you enjoy Asian food, you simply must click over and check her out. Her recipes are so approachable and easy, not to mention tasty, and she is so sweet in person!

FMQ Class in Sarasota over the weekend

Tonight I'm giving my What is Modern Quilting lecture at the North location of Keep Me In Stitches on N Dale Mabry. If you're in the Tampa area, I believe there are a few tickets still available - you can call the shop at 813-908-3889 to reserve a spot. I've also got a quilt workshop at the South location of Keep Me In Stitches coming up this Saturday, so plenty of chances to come sew with me! Don't forget you can always check my Class Schedule page to find out about my upcoming classes, there's quite a few of them coming up!

More upcoming classes!
Monday, January 13, 2014

A little Vintage Quilt Revival block

Just a quick little note this morning to share a block I made recently from the fabulous new book, Vintage Quilt Revival, by three super-talented ladies I'm happy to call my friends: Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt, Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced and Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts. If you haven't picked it up yet, I strongly suggest you do, because you'll get sound design advice, beautiful photography, and gorgeous patterns. You won't regret it!

This block is the Exploding Star pattern, which you'll find on page 106 of the book. I almost always use super bright colors in my blocks, so I wanted to try a different kind of color scheme for me, so I went with some really beautiful soft blues from Sweetwater's Noteworthy Collection paired with a bold gray Dear Stella print and my ever trusty Kona Snow. This block, and many others made by several other uber-talented quilty peeps, will be compiled together into sampler quilts for charity by Katie, Lee and Faith later this month. Stay tuned for more info on those, I can't wait to see how they come together!

I'm away this week on a trip to Denver, and will be back next week, so the blog will be a bit quiet this week. Have a fantastic week while I'm away, and if you need something wonderful to read while I'm gone, check out the rest of the stops on the Vintage Quilt Revival Blog Hop below:

January 13th (Monday):
Crazy Mom Quilts - Amanda Jean
Don’t Call Me Betsy - Elizabeth
Film in the Fridge - Ashley
Happy Quilting - Melissa
Noodlehead - Anna

January 14th (Tuesday):
I’m A Ginger Monkey - Katy
Quilting Is My Therapy - Angela
A Quilting Life - Sherri
Sew Mama Sew - Kristin
Tall Grass Prairie Studio - Jacquie

January 15th (Wednesday):
Christa Quilts - Christa
Diary of a Quilter - Amy
Quilting Gallery - Michele
Sew Take a Hike - Penny
V and Co. - Vanessa
West Coast Crafty - Susan

January 16th (Thursday):
Bijou Lovely - Holly
Don’t You Know Who I Am - Sukie
Lily’s Quilts - Lynne
One Shabby Chick - Amber

January 17th (Friday):
Swim, Bike, Quilt - Katie
Freshly Pieced - Lee
Fresh Lemons Quilts - Faith
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Close but no cigar

So, the holiday season has come to a close again...and sadly this wasn't the holiday season where I finished my Kawaii holiday cross stitch sampler :( I did make a good bit of progress, though! Check it out...

Almost finished my holiday cross-stitch sampler!

I've got just two squares remaining in the sampler, so I feel pretty sure that I will be able to finish it before next Christmas comes and goes. It was awfully enjoyable to work on it during the holidays, so I might just save working on it for the next holiday season. Maybe I'll start up a new hand sewing project in the meantime to tote around with me on my various outings.

A little quilt along perhaps? Check the blog for details...

Or maybe I'll work on some quilt math... I'm thinking of doing a quilt along later this spring, I've got a fun, simple block that can create several different fun geometric repeats, so stay tuned for more info on this in February! Have a great day :)
Monday, January 6, 2014

Whole lotta free motion going on!

If only my sewing machine had an odometer...I bet it would show some serious mileage from the last several days of nonstop sewing! Sewing machines really should have odometers, don't you think? It would be awfully fun to know how many miles you'd sewed, right?

Mod Clamshells in a staggered setting
Mod Clamshells in a staggered setting - tutorial right here!

In any case, I've been doing tons of free motioning the last few days. Miles and miles of it, actually. It's been a lot of fun to just stitch and stitch away, with some good tunes and tons of trusty Aurifil! I'd forgotten how relaxing free motioning can be with the right playlist! Do you like to listen to music when you free-motion? Or are you a fan of audiobooks or movies while you stitch?

A little flowery FMQ action

Speaking of free-motioning, I've added a bunch of new dates and times to my Class Schedule page, including more free motion classes, by popular demand. FMQ is such a fun thing for me to teach, I'm really excited to continue offering those classes. I've got quite a bit of classes and trunk shows coming up in 2014, including paper piecing and quilt workshops. It's going to be a ton of fun! Won't you come join me? :) Have a great day today!

Stacked wishbones
Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A few goals for 2014

After the last several weeks of sewing toward a big deadline that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for, I spent some time last night reflecting on what an amazing year 2013 was and thinking about goals and thoughts about 2014 and what kind of year I want it to be. I've always loved making lists, so whenever the new year rolls around, I always enjoy all the list making that seems to come along with the new year, from goals to plans to the to do's for putting away the holiday decorations.

my 2014 filofax

For 2014, I splurged on a new paper planner - a Filofax - for the first time in years. I've been using inexpensive yearly paper planners from Target and the like for the last few years, after years and years of using a Franklin Covey planner, and I realized I missed that hyper level of organization day-to-day. After shopping what Franklin Covey had available, I didn't really love any of the planners, so I hunted for some alternates, and fell in love with Filofax, after considering Arc and other competitors. Yes, the Filofax binders themselves are an investment, but the refills are pretty cheap compared to others, and I fell head over heels for this pretty yellow one (currently out of stock but available in purple, green and orange). I've been using it for a few weeks now, using the week on two pages paper format, and enjoying that so far. For 2014, I'll be using the page per day format, to give me the most space possible for my task lists.

nothing like a paper planner to make me feel organized!

While I'm normally pretty ambitious about my goals for the year, I decided I just wanted to set some personal sewing goals for the year - not necessarily big ambitious ones, just some things I really want to sew this year. I feel like I spent a lot of time sewing for deadlines this year, which is a fantastic and wonderful thing that I'm very thankful for, but I'd really love to find some time for some selfish sewing this year. I'm also hoping to make more time to blog in 2014 and not fall prey all the time to sharing things only on Instagram!

goals for 2014

Happy New Year to you and yours! What are you hoping 2014 brings?

this is the idea way to ring in the new year...
And don't you agree? this pup needs his own dog bed so he can stop hogging my couch pillows!

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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