Mini quilts are such a wonderful way to try something new! I have made several over the past few years, participating in guild challenges, swaps and magazine submissions.
When I discovered Curated Quilts, I was immediately drawn to one of their features . Each issue has a challenge to make a mini quilt with a specific palette that fits a certain theme. Their second issue’s theme was “Log Cabin” and this was the palette.
You can go here to see all of the wonderful minis that were submitted. I love the log cabin block, so that wasn’t too much of a stretch for me, but the colors were definitely a different combo. I decided to explore some of the improv ideas that began in workshops with Maria Shell @talesofastitcher last summer. Here is the mini that I submitted and I was very excited to have it included in the magazine. If you haven’t seen a copy of Curated Quilts, yet, check it out! It is definitely a quality, no advertisement publication.
The past two years I have participated in the MQG swap and I love the #makeaminimakeafriend concept. Check out the hashtag on Instagram to see many of the quilts that were created and swapped.
A fun feature of this opportunity is that you have the option of swapping in person at QuiltCon. Last year in Savannah, I received a wonderful mini from Sandra Kaye @sandieloves2quilt . That mini started her on a whole new “Happy Dance” adventure and she made a larger version which won a big prize at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena!
This year I made “Confetti” for my new friend, Jules @julesquilts, who said she liked pink! You can see the design is a continuation of the ideas I used in Summer Cabin.
It was so fun to meet her in person. She made a beautiful mini for me using her hand dyed fabrics and it is quilted with her elegant stitches.
How grateful I am for these two new quilting friends! I love all the little quilts that I have received from friends over the years. They decorate our home and are daily reminders of our friendships.
Today I am working on a mini for the Bainbridge Island MQG’s annual challenge. The theme this year is “Log Cabin” and it is a good opportunity to finish up an idea that has been languishing on the design wall since last summer. (And it’s another project where I can practice my free motion quilting skills.)
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a mini (or two) in your future. They are small, but they might lead to something big!
How exciting it was to receive this book in the mail! Each day I spend a little time enjoying the quilts and thinking about their makers.
Modern Quilts: Designs of a New Century is a beautiful, hardcover book that celebrates modern quilting in the context of the Modern Quilt Guild. It was curated by Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight Carlton and Heather Grant. The retrospective includes over 200 quilts, a brief history of the modern quilt movement and descriptions of characteristics found in modern quilts.
Two of my quilts were selected for the book: Coral Reef and Trestle Nestle. It’s a bit of a thrill to have them included and to see them in the company of so many quilts I admire.
Coral Reef appeared at QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, the first major quilt show that I entered or attended. What a surprise it was to win the Quilting Excellence Award that year! All those lovely hours of hand quilting make this one of my all time favorite finishes. You can read the rest of the story about Coral Reef in this post.
The large format of the book allows the quilts to take center stage.
Trestle Nestle was selected to go to Savannah last year for QuiltCon East 2017. Improvisational piecing and hand quilting, my favorite techniques, are used in this quilt.
The motif was inspired by a local railroad trestle on a wonderful walking and cycling trail near my home. Here it is on Christmas day, decked out in its festive finery.
It has been so interesting to read the backstories of many of the quilts included in the book. Below you’ll find links to all the sites in case you’ve missed some along the way.
When you purchase directly from the MQG, 100% of the profits and royalties of your purchase benefit the Modern Quilt Guild, a non-profit 501(c)3.
This weekend I’ll be at a retreat with my friends from the Bainbridge Island MQG and I’ll be taking my copy of the book so they can enjoy it, too. I’d love to hear your comments and I’ll reply just as soon as I get back home.
You know how it is when you neglect something for so long that it is embarrassing to get started again? Since my last post featured snow, this one will be a quick recap on some spring activities and hopefully get me motivated to continue blogging on a more regular schedule!
The end of February brought a trip to Savannah and a wonderful time connecting with friends at QuiltCon East.
If you missed out on the fabulous quilts on display, Kristin Shields has provided a series of posts highlighting many of the amazing quilts. Check out her excellent recaps by category and enjoy her beautiful quilts, as well.
Besides viewing quilts, I was inspired by the many lectures I attended. It was a privilege to hear long time friend, Anna Boenish @quiltingqueerly share her creative journey and personal insights into leading an intentional life.
It was my first trip to Savannah and I enjoyed the architecture and riverside attractions in this historic city.
In April, quilting friend, Stan Green, had a solo exhibit at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. It was a wonderful opportunity to see a retrospective of his beautiful work.
Spring colors get my creativity flowing and I enjoy watching the plants awake from winter.
If you follow @pennylanequilts over on Instagram, you can find photos of my quilting projects during the spring. Now that I have “broken the ice”over here in blog land, I’ll share details on some of those projects soon. Thanks for being patient with me. It is so hard to sit down at the computer when there are stitches to be sewn!
The first week of the new year began with getting a couple of quilts prepared for QuiltCon East in Savannah and getting them shipped. I am very excited to have two quilts juried into the show this year.
The first one is titled “jubilant” and it is entered in the Small category.
The second quilt is called “Trestle Nestle” and it is entered in the Handwork category.
The shapes for this quilt were inspired by a local trestle on a trail where I enjoy walking and cycling.
Sleeves and labels were attached, and instructions printed.
It always seems to take me longer than I expect to prepare for shipping! The first hurdle is finding a box the correct size. In the past, I have been happy with a box that I was able to purchase at the UPS store, but they didn’t have any in stock this time around. (The recommendation by shows is that you put the quilts in a new box because boxes can become weakened when used.) Since I wasn’t able to locate a new box, I ended up reusing a box, but I reinforced it with a LOT of packing tape.
Then there is the plastic bag to keep your quilt safe from the elements. Recently, I have been using XLarge Ziploc® bags. They are sturdy, reusable and measure 2 ft x 1.7 ft.
It always makes me a little nervous when I drop that package off at the post office. I sent it with a signature required, so I will be tracking it today and making sure it arrived safely!
It won’t be long before I will need to get myself ready to travel to Savannah.
A friend encouraged me to participate in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy of Amy’s Creative Side. I’ve decided to enter one of my favorite quilts, Coral Reef, in the Hand Quilted category. This quilt was completed a couple of years ago, but it will always be a special finish for me. It was made before my blogging days, so this post is an opportunity to share its story.
It began as a pile of half square triangle units created while at a retreat with some local quilty friends. (The nearby Seattle MQG members had recently hosted a bicolor challenge which is what got me thinking about trying a two color quilt.) After much arranging and rearranging on my design floor, I decided on the final layout.
When it was basted, I started machine quilting it, but after a few lines of quilting, I changed my mind and decided it would be more fun to hand quilt. So I dug out all my aqua and orange threads, put it in my hoop and started stitching. It was the perfect canvas for dense hand quilting with a variety of thread types and weights. (It was also a great excuse to buy some new threads!) I took an improvisational approach and made up the designs as I went without marking. It was so.much.fun!
Planning to attend QuiltCon for the first time in 2015, I decided to enter the show, so I worked feverishly to finish it up before the deadline.
It was accepted and I was very excited to have it in the exhibition! What a thrill it was to learn that it had been chosen to receive the Coat’s Award of Quilting Excellence and to see it hanging there at the show. (My husband was even impressed to learn that it was possible to make money with a quilt.)
Coral Reef was exhibited in our local North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival last fall, and is currently traveling to some AQS Quiltweek shows in Grand Rapids, Chattanooga and in the upcoming Des Moines, Iowa event. I’m looking forward to having it back home soon!
This quilt remains one of my favorites, not because it won a ribbon, but because of all the hours that I spent lovingly stitching its layers together. I know many of you have seen this quilt before, but I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about it. I currently am hand quilting away on another quilt, but Coral Reef taught me that I need to pace myself with hand work. Hopefully I will have the new one finished well before any deadlines…we’ll see!
Last night, while watching a wonderful MQG webinar featuring Anna Boenish, I was reminded of the many benefits of English paper piecing.
First of all, it’s portable. I keep my kit ready to go and it’s the project that I throw in my bag when I know I’ll have spare moments waiting for an appointment, riding a ferry, watching a ball game or being a passenger on a road trip.
Secondly, because you only need a few materials and hardly any space, it’s ideal for stitching in any location. Indoors or outdoors, you can literally use this technique anywhere!
Another great benefit is that EPP, like other handwork, lets you be social and visit with friends and family while still making headway on your project.
EPP is also a slow process. Now this could be seen as a benefit or a drawback, but in my opinion, slowing down is often a good thing.
If you have a design that requires precise or intricate work, EPP is definitely a way to accomplish this. It is also well suited to fussy cutting.
I had never really thought about it until I listened to Anna’s talk, but another thing that appeals to me is that you can begin without a plan. In fact, some of my traditional quilts were actually improvisational using this technique.
I often make units and just keep putting them together until they morph into something.
That’s how my current project is evolving. The template pieces for my epp plus quilt were created by Mollie Johanson and she provides a free template and tutorial on her blog Wild Olive. Check out #eppplus on Instagram for photos of folks using this pattern. You might even see pics of me basting in the truck while heading over Snoqualmie Pass.
If you are interested in learning how to English paper piece, just do a search of the topic. There are great resources and tutorials available.
And, if you’re a MQG member, but missed Anna’s webinar, log into the Community section of their website. Under the Resources tab, you’ll find a list of all the past webinars available. Just one of the perks of being a member! You can also find her work, and the unique ways she uses English paper piecing on her website Quilting Queerly or follow her on Instagram @quiltingqueerly.