Monday, December 9, 2013

Giveaway Day + Sewing for all Seasons

It is  Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I am super excited to give away a copy of Susan Beal's Sewing for All Seasons and some fabric to make the sewing organizer that I designed for this book.  Just leave me a comment about what you are sewing this winter and a way to get in touch with you if your profile does not link to an email address, and you are officially entered to win! I will draw a name on December 13th at 5pm PST.

Last year Susan asked me if I would be interested in designing a project for a book she was working on. Susan had the vision for a Sewing Organizer project and we collaborated on the details. It is super handy to take to sew days: I use mine often!

I also have a second project in the book: Cozy Wool Slippers. I have designed footwear in my past life and so I took on a slipper project. I will say, this was a challenge! The criteria was to make something pretty that didn't need a pattern. That was a little different than designing shoes for pro-tennis players!

I was thrilled when the slipper project showed up as the cover shot on an Apartment Therapy best books selection. Susan had picked wool for this project and I was talking about it with my friend Stacy at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store one day. She is one of those folks who has really clever ideas about how to make stuff. For the record, it was her idea to use those shoe inserts you get at the drug store as the interior for this project. Brilliant!

I love how Susan signed my copy of the book. It is such a thrill to work with her and to be a part of such a beautiful publication. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Make sure to visit all the other great giveaways over at

Update! The winner is #157! I plan to reply to comments which will change the numbers, so Congratulations Rhonda D! And thank you everyone for all your terrific comments. I enjoyed reading them! I am inspired by all your creativity!
Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And the Winners are...

Thanks everyone for all your fun comments! I enjoyed reading all of them and visiting many of your blogs. The winners of the magazine and fat quarters are:

Debra Lee

Valerie Reynolds
*Please note - when I added in my two comments it changed everyone's numbers. These numbers reflect the order before my two comments. Sorry for any confusion.

Valerie I have sent you an email. Debra please let me know how to contact you I can send your goodies to you. I look forward to meeting you both! 

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilters' Blog Hop Party and Give-Away Day!

Oh I love Quilters Blog Hop Party and Give-Away Day! I have been saving up something super special to give away today! 

I have two copies of Modern Patchwork 2013 Spring Magazine that I am pairing with three fat quarters from Freespirit: one each from the new Botanical, True Colors by Joel Dewberry and Designer Essentials Solids collections. 

This issue of Modern Patchwork is out of stock but never fear, I have two copies that I am willing to part with. It has so many great projects you won't know which one to make first! For me it is a toss-up between Alyssa Lichner's 'retro rubies wall hanging' and Jacquie Gering's 'lava lamp revisited' quilt. 

Please leave me a comment with your favorite solid color to quilt with and why, your name and contact information (if it isn't connected to your profile) and I will draw two winners on Tuesday November 26th by 9pm PST. Thanks for visiting! Good luck! Happy Hopping!

Visit the blog hop party for a gazillion other fun give-aways by clicking the image below.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Downton Abbey Modern Block Challenge

 Generation Q Magazine Modern Block Challenge

Last spring I started working with Generation Q Magazine. I curate the ads for them and also get to work on projects and participate in editorial meetings. One of the projects I have been helping with is the Downton Abbey® Modern Block Challenge that launched today. To kick it off I made a block called the Highclere Cross Block with the new Downton Abbey® Collection by Andover Fabrics.

Highclere Cross Block
The instructions to make the Highclere Cross Block and a little background about my inspiration for this block design are on the GenQ website. The instructions are for two sizes, 12" and 24" finished blocks. I can also see this made in reverse, lights in the cross sections and darks in the ground so the eight-pointed star stands out. How would you make it?

There is a fun line-up of talented bloggers and quilt designers who are also making blocks for this challenge! Make sure to visit the website and check those out! Oh, and did I mention there are prizes? All the details you need to play along can be downloaded here as well.

And check out the Mystery QAL hosted by Ebony Love of Love Bug Studios. She has a really great quilt planned with new blocks revealed each week leading up to the start of season 4. I know I am looking forward to that and am going to sew up some blocks and join the fun

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

She Walked a Crooked Mile (at Quilt Market...)

Just back from International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas and feeling super inspired! I had the pleasure of traveling for Generation Q Magazine. I joined as their advertising manager: or as I like to say, Product Curator for their non-editorial pages, back in May. Our days ran from about 6 am to midnight and while it was exhausting, it helped work-off those free cookies I absconded in the media room.
Hanging out with the Gen Q Team. We got to hand the issue to some of the folks who graced the pages and see their reactions! Left to right: Me in the booth, Ebony Love and Karen of Sizzix, Pat Bravo and Tracy, Melissa and Jake at the Bad Ass Quilter's Society Sugarland event, and Melissa and Tracy looking over Jake's shoulder as she tries out a little FMQ on her 'dream machine.'
This was my second quilt market with Gen Q and I loved getting to see so many familiar faces. I had a ton of appointments on my schedule, but the one thing I wanted to do the most was visit the Soak booth. I had been following Lizzy House's posts about her 'Pearl Bracelets' nail polish colors and I completely geeked out about it when I got there ( I'm from the Valley, so I speak that way...) I even made it on the Soak IG feed alongside of some very familiar faces!
Pretty nails were first priority in Houston!
As much as my feet were killing me, I must have said 'I love my job' a bazillion times over the four days that I was there. I ran into so many folks I knew, including Michelle and Lupine from Modern Domestic (my other awesome day job!) Amber, the editor of Stitch magazine who had just emailed me last week to tell me that a project of mine had been accepted, and a whole bunch of friends from PMQG (and beyond) - Christina, Teresa, Jessica, the MQG gals Heather and Alissa and two of my quilting gurus Jacquie and Victoria.
Running into friends and colleagues is one of the best parts of Market!
Left to right: Amber , Jessica, Teresa, Tracy, Victoria, and Christina
It was fun to event hop all weekend too. I got to go to multiple media events and meet-ups around town. It started with Fabric 2.0, then off to a Bernina event where I consumed more marshmallows than I care to admit (and another Bernina breakfast the next morning) There were more school houses than I could get to (but I did my best!) a Cotton & Steel Party that I had an invite to but I missed (sad face...) and a MQG meet up. I loved the photo booth shenanigans (and table runners Teresa!) at the Robert Kaufman party and the super 70s vibe of the room at the Aurifil 30th anniversary party (this is where I should mention getting scolded for jumping the buffet line with Tracy, Vicky and Victoria, but I think I'll leave it at that...) The highlight for me was the salon-style speaker event that Maddie from BadAss Quilters Society hosted in a super cool art space in Sugarland, Texas.
Inspiration and talent around every corner! Denyse Schmidt, Valori Wells, Anna Maria Horner and her daughter, Brandon Mably, Amy and David Butler, and Caroline Friedlander.
I always think I am taking a ton of pictures but they don't really capture the vast aisles full of beautiful and inspiring booths and hugs and smiles that are the penultimate market experience.  Thank you Vicky for loaning me a second suitcase to bring all the goodies I collected back home (yes Tracy, you were right!) I miss everyone already. See you in Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Urban Chicken Block

This month I designed the block of the month for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild based on the logo I designed for our Pacific NW MQG Meet-up. I named it the 'Urban Chicken Block' (it's a Portland thing!) and a friend pointed out that means a finished top can be called a 'coup!'
Meet-up logo that inspired the block design
We made this block during our meet-up charity sewing event, sponsored by Quilters Dream Batting and held at Modern Domestic on Saturday, Aug 17th. There were about 40 people who dropped in and together we created four quilt tops for the ALS Hopes and Dreams Challenge.You can see some of our blocks and quilt tops on Instagram under #mqgmeetuppdx #urbanchicken. We hope to donate ten quilts to the challenge, so please join us in making these if you can! 
Finished Urban Chicken Block is 12"

Here are the instructions for making the Urban Chicken Block
*the photos I took for the tutorial are very dark, so I promise to add better ones to this post soon.

For each block:

Cut 1 each of 4 different shades of the same color solid or low contrast print 3 1/2" wide x 14" long 

Cut 1 WOF of white or off-white solid fabric at least 2 1/2" wide

*All seam allowances are a scant 1/4"

Make The Square Units

1. Cut one 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" square from each strip and set aside. *DON'T SKIP THIS STEP!

2. Sew the four 10 1/2" strips together using 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seams to one side in the same direction.

3. Sew the long ends together to form a 'tube'. Subcut the tube into three 3 1/2" wide units. 

4. Carefully use a seam ripper to open each unit at a different place. Arrange the three rows as you like, nesting the seam allowance and sew together. Press these seams open.

*note: you can also precut twelve 3 1/2" squares and arrange them into three rows of four squares and sew them together.

Make the 'Chickens'

1. Place the white fabric strip over a 3 1/2 x 3 1/2" square right sides together at a angle starting from the top - just past center, to the right side at the bottom or along the side. Stitch along the white fabric with 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat on the remaining three squares.

2. Press the white fabric open and trim the units apart. Square up the units to the original 3 1/2" size. Trim the excess colored solid or low contrast print square (do not trim the extra white off!) leaving 1/4" SA.

3. Repeat on the opposite side, overlapping the white strip at the top to create the top of your triangle. Press and trim

4. Arrange the Chicken units as you like and sew together to form the fourth strip. Stitch that to either side of your square units in what ever direction you chose.

*note: try drawing some 3 1/2" squares with asymmetrical triangles on freezer paper and using it as a base pattern. Add 1/4" seam allowance to your fabric before you cut it out.

Urban Chicken Blocks on the design wall at Modern Domestic.
If you would like to make a block to add to a quilt in our challenge please mail it to the 
Portland Modern Quilt Guild
P.O. Box 6431
Portland, OR 97228

We will accept block donations until December 31st, 2013. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PMQG WIP Wednesday

Today we are having the first every PMQG linky party! I am looking forward to seeing what our guild members are working on and blogging about. Here is a round of some of the projects that I've worked on and have been working on lately. 

Two years ago I took a class with Susan Beal after her book Modern Log Cabin Quilting came out. I finished the first quilt I made in that class, which was a wedding gift for my sister. I have had plans to finish the second quilt I started to bring to our annual PMQG summer picnic. I better get cracking - that is only two weeks away! 
The first log cabin blog I made with the sweet kit that Susan gave away at a book signing in Sisters two year ago. Has it really been two years?
My 'Spirit of '76' picnic quilt blocks. Getting there!
We recently had a container swap with our guild members at PMQG. Here is the one I made for my swap partner: she said she wanted something for knitting and that she liked primary colors. Silly me for not taking a picture of the finished piece. 
I used the lining fabric for inspiration for the piecing. 
Here is the container almost finished!
At the end of May I took a paper piecing class with Carolyn Friedlander at Modern Domestic. I used the Olive Pattern to make a thank you gift for the staff at my daughter's school.
A close up of the block from Carolyn's pattern
The finished mini quilt.
And I want to share this wonderful project that was made by Kathy Vulcan using my One Way or Another quilt design that is currently in McCalls Quick Quilts. She sent me the photo and a lovely story about how she made this to cheer up a friend. Thanks so much for sharing that with me Kathy!
A colorful version of One Way or Another!
So, to answer the question, what am I working on right now, I'd like to quote my 14 year old daughter and say, 'IDK, OMG - like, what am I not working on right now?' 
Back to work!

Monday, June 24, 2013

One Way or Another

Isn't it hard to wait sometimes? I waited to talk about this quilt for 9 months! I designed this quilt for my Sister when I found out she was having her first baby. I know, she was the one who did all the 'real' waiting. And it was worth it!

So Miss T (aka Baby W) this one is for you!
by Auntie Michelle
One Way or Another
I found out back in January that it was going to be featured in the August/September issue of McCalls Quilt Quilts . It was a hard secret to keep! I really wanted to show everyone, but I also wanted it to be a surprise. The only folks who saw it were a few of my PMQG friends and the talented Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts who quilted it.

The inspiration for this design was to create something fun and playful. I started by playing around with the arrow shapes which are made with uneven HSTs. The other concept was to make this using the same block and rotating it. It was a bit of a puzzle but I finally figured it out. Oh, and I admit the name of this design was influenced by a certain song that I've heard a few million times (love ya Blondie!) 

The magazine will be available on July 2nd and you can get it online now! This is my second quilt for McCalls. The first one was Fast Fun Flannel featured in October/November 2012 issue.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blue So Blue [block for Boston] Tutorial

I have been thinking of making this block for a few years now. Back in 2011 I had the good fortune to be in NYC while there was a Sonia Delaunay exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. The show, Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, was immensely inspiring. I thought they might have ask me to leave the museum for drooling on the exhibits. Fortunately that didn't happen -- but this did!
Blue, so Blue Block
Blue So Blue Block
The original artwork that inspired this block was this  Pochoir print from the 1930s. I thought the best way to approach this design was to paper piece the smaller blocks. I don't have much experience with paper piecing, so it was a fun challenge!
Sonia Delaunay Pochoir print
When I saw the call for blocks for the Boston MQG Quilts for Boston project, I thought of this block and knew I had the perfect reason to make it! Here is the template and a quick tutorial for the block. Enjoy!
Print four for each finished block

Steps 1-4 (from left to right)
 1. Place the center blue [a] strip right side out on the back of your paper template. Place a white [b] strip over one side of the center blue strip. Stitch on the paper side (this takes some getting used to and feels a bit backwards at first). Trim off excess seam allowance. Flip your template over and press the white [b] strips out so the right side is facing up. Add the blue [a] strips to each side of the white strip the same way, stitch together, trim and press.
2. Add the second set of white [b] strips and the last blue [b] strips in the same manner.
3-4. Trim the unit to 6.5" square.
Steps 5-7 (from left to right)
5-7 Carefully tear off the paper in each section.
Voila! Now make three more and sew them together to form the block!

For a more detailed tutorial on how to paper piece check out this:
Paper Piecing Tutorial - Fresh Lemons Quilts

Originally I had added in the extra white sashing between the 6" blocks but then took it out so it would work for the 12" finished measurement for Quilts for Boston.

I am going to make a a whole quilt eventually using this block. It will be fun to collect blue fabrics and throw in a few prints here and there. I would love to finish it by summer for our PMQG NW meet up. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

and the winner is...

Congratulations Stephanie at Quarter Incher! You won my giveaway! I will be sending you the Stitch with Style magazine and the three quarter yard cuts of the three Kaffe Fassett stripes that I used in my High-Low Chevron Skirt pattern featured in this issue. Thank you EVERYONE for your fun comments and for participating in this giveaway. I loved reading about your favorite era of retro fashion - hands down the 1950s win!

Next week Quilt Market is in Portland and I will be posting lots of good stuff about that! I will be there working with Pendleton, and representing the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and I will have another exciting announcement to share by next Wednesday.
Happy Mother's Day!
Thank Sew, Mama, Sew! for the fun giveaway!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Happy happy joy joy -- it's giveaway day on Sew, Mama, Sew! There are so many fantastic blogs and giveaways that I have no idea how I will get any work done today!
In honor of worthwhile distractions, I am giving away one copy of the latest Stitch with Style magazine and three quarter yard cuts from the Kaffe Fassett Wovens collection by Westminster Fabrics from the fabrics I used to make the High-Low Chevron Skirt (in this issue!).
giveaway day goodies
Stitch with Style 2013
To enter, please leave one comment telling me what era is your favorite for retro style. I think I would have been happiest in the 1920's as a performer in a Wild West show. I dig those long split skirts, satin western blouses and gigantic brim hats!
hem powder
Best hem powder ever!
One winner will be chosen on May 10th, 2013 at 5pm PST. The winner will be contacted by email, so please make sure to leave your name and email address in your comment if you are  'no reply' or anonymous. The winner will be chosen using
High-Low Chevron Skirt
I will ship internationally. Good luck! Thank you for stopping by!

Have machine, will travel


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Boston on my Mind (and Machine)

Sometimes It is always important to put aside time to do the projects that really matter to you. When I started to see the posts about making flags and quilt blocks for Boston, my second thought was, I have no idea when I am going to fit that in. My first thought, of course, was I can't wait to do that! Guess which thought wins today!

Top of my WIP list was to make a pair of flags for The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's To Boston with Love project. I was hoping for company and was so excited when my friend Tanya said she would love to help out. Did I mention that Tanya has this cool Phaff embroidery machine and lots of great embroidery designs? (Don't worry T - I adore you for more than your machines!)

Bee wip

First we stitched out a Bee ('B' for Boston, get it?) on a piece of off-white cotton. It was from a red work design she had and she isolated the bee from the design and enlarged it quite a bit.

Bee Flag wip

I brought over some fabrics that I wanted to work with. I took a little liberty with the color palette because I was really feeling the red, orange and grey thing for some reason. Oh well, gotta go with the inspiration when it strikes, right?

Heart Flag

Then we embroidered this Scandinavian-esque heart. Tanya has that Danish-design flair and this heart was just was so her that I insisted we use it. We played a bit with the layout of the piecing: I sewed the flags together and Tanya did all the pressing (she has a magic touch with an iron, I swear!)

Flag pair finished

Here are our finished flags! I am going to work on my quilt block next for the Quilts for Boston project. I think I am going to use a paper piecing pattern I designed a while back based on a blue Sonia Delaunay painting.

I'll end on this note today: I was franticly trying to finish a quilt at the beginning of the week. My sewing machine was was acting like my dog when he doesn't want to come in from outside (are sewing machines like dogs? who knew...) It seemed like the feed dogs (aha! you knew that pun was gonna happen!) were not working quite right, so I opened it up and took a look inside. About twenty minutes later, every machine part was on the table as well as a gigantic pile of lint (Monica from Happy Zombie acurately called it a 'lint harvest')

Spring Cleaning

I think I am also going to take my machine in for a full spa treatment. After WIP wednesday, though. I have a few things to sew first...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
#98 on WIP Wed today :-)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quilting for Boston

I wanted to share two projects for quilters who would like to do something for Boston. Click on the links of these projects for more details and information.

To Boston with Love
The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a bunting project with the theme of 'love, hearts and peace.' There is a full tutorial on their blog for how to make the flags. The deadline to have these in Boston is May 31st.

Send bunting for To Boston with Love to:
Amy Friend
PO Box 774
West Newbury, MA 01985

Quilts for Boston
The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is asking for quilters to send quilt blocks that they will turn into quilts. They are also accepting donations for quilt backs and binding. They would like the blocks to measure 12 1/2" tall by the width of your choice and made in the colors Blue, Yellow, Grey and White. Deadline is May 24th.

Send blocks for Quilts for Boston to:
Quilts for Boston
P. O. Box 79225
Belmont, MA 02479

You can also make donations to The One Fund Boston, an organization that is accepting monetary donations for the victims.

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area you can bring flags and quilt squares to the next Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting on May 16th.

Peace be with you,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

A while back my Design Camp [think outside the block] Bee mates and I made mini quilts for the Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative (AAQI). They are now all for sale on the AAQI site. There are hundreds of wonderful mini quilts on the site in addition to  the ones we made. All the titles on the photos are links to the quilts with descriptions by the artists and links to learn more about them. There is also an easy purchase button so you can buy them and make a donation to the AAQI!  All the proceeds go to fund research for Alzheimers.

Thanks to all the DCBee campers who contributed to this project. Combined the sales from our quilts will raise $235.

AAQI Mini Quilt by Michelle Freedman
13,074 - Swimming With Thread by Michelle Freedman (me!)
AAQI Mini Quilt by Susan Beal
13,083 - Improv Rays by Susan Beal
AAQI Mini Quilt by Suzy Boyle
13,072 - Trying to Make the Pieces Fit by Suzy Boyle
AAQI Mini Quilt by Christine Horlbeck
13,073 - A Red Letter Day by Christine Horlbeck
AAQI Mini Quilt by Dustin Cecil
13,070 - Around The Well by Dustin Cecil
AAQI Mini Quilt by Deb Brown
13,071 - Crossroads by Deb Brown
Have machine, will travel
-- Michelle