Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review - Modern Basics and Make it Sew Modern

Hi everyone:

Have you heard about these Modern Quilt Guilds that are springing up all across the country? While I initially didn't like some of the "modern" quilts that I was seeing being created, I've slowly come around to realize that there is something to these modern quilts. I'm enjoying seeing the larger prints and simpler styles that are being used to create these contemporary projects. I can see how these would appeal to those quilters who have a young outlook, as well as quilters who have little time to pursue their hobby and want to get a quilt done fast. So I'm changing my viewpoint on contemporary quilts and other items that are similar in style, such as bags and pillows. Luckily for me there are more and more books that have "modern" designs in them and I have two to review today.

The first one, Modern Basics: Easy Quilts to Fit Your Budget, Space, and Style, by Amy Ellis, has 14 different quilt designs, mostly pieced. 

Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
These are excellent projects for beginner quilters, who will appreciate the easy, yet effective designs. 

1, 2, 3 from Modern Basics - photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
More advanced quilters will also enjoy the geometric patterns, several of which create optical illusions with their fabric choices and careful placement. 
Knotted Squares from Modern Basics - photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
These patterns lend themselves to the large "home decor" prints that are so popular today. There are also several projects in the book that use solid cottons, which are also seeing a resurgence in the marketplace. 

Modern Maze from Modern Basics - photo courtesy of Martingale and Company

Amy gives advice on basic quiltmaking with explanations of the various tools involved and the process from cutting to quilting which would be essential for beginning quilters. I especially like her safety advice about rotary cutters - one of my bugbears (close that cutter!).

Make it Sew Modern: Gather, Twist, Pleat, Texture, by Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. is more of an accessory book, both for you and for your home.
Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
The book is divided into four sections: Ruffles, Twisting, Gathering and Pleats and includes several charming projects in each section using these techniques. There are patterns for everything from bracelets to wreaths, purses to pillows, all with a simple, modern aesthetic.
Twisted Fabric Bracelet from Make it Sew Modern 
photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
Many of these projects, dare I say all, would be wonderful as gifts. The projects are elegant and feminine and give the impression that they are more intricate and difficult to make than they actually are. I'm always looking for patterns like this! The instructions include diagrams and photos to aid in construction.  

Cascading Spring Scarf from Make it Sew Modern 
photo courtesy of Martingale and Company

I enjoyed the fresh feel of these designs and was thrilled to discover the Appliqué Doily Quilt pattern since I have a collection of doilies at home and now have the perfect pattern in which to use them. I can even do the quilting that they show on this project - it's one of my specialties!

Appliqué Doily Quilt from Make it Sew Modern
photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
Vanessa includes a section on Tips, Terms and Techniques specific to the projects in the book to help you complete them successfully. 

Both of these books would be great additions to your library if you're looking for modern quilt patterns and contemporary decor and accessories.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fabric Fundamentals - Episode 5 - Washing Your Fabric - or Not!

Hi everyone:

I know that this video is a day late, but that's because it was a holiday yesterday here in Alberta, so I took the day off. My husband and I were hard at work doing some filming in the extra few days that we had this week-end, so expect the next series of quilting videos to be available in a few weeks' time. 

This is the last video in the Fabric Fundamentals video series and it's all about that controversial subject of whether or not to wash your fabric before you piece it into your quilt. Watch my video to learn all about your options so you can decide for yourself.

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to view all of my quilting videos and ensure that you receive all future ones as well.

I'd love to hear whether or not you pre-wash your quilting fabric and your reasons for doing so - or not!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fabric Fundamentals - Episode 4 - Fabric Pre-cuts

Hi everyone:

Have you heard about layer cakes and jelly rolls? No, I'm not talking about pastries; I'm talking about fabric pre-cuts. You'll want to check out my latest video in the Fabric Fundamentals series to learn all about these already-cut-for-you fabric bundles. 

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to view all of my quilting videos and ensure that you receive all future ones as well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fabric Fundamentals - Episode 3 - WOF

Hi everyone:

Thanks for all the positive comments about the previous 2 videos. I'm glad that you're enjoying them and have even learned a thing or two. 

This week we'll be continuing our exploration of fabric and investigating that mysterious "WOF" or width of fabric. This is an expression that you'll hear and see over and over again in patterns and classes, but how much do you really know about it? Well, after viewing my video, you'll be an expert.

I'm currently working on another video series regarding studio organization and set up, so if there's a specific topic that you'd like me to cover, please let me know.

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to view all of my quilting videos and ensure that you receive notification of future ones as well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Free patterns for Valentine's Day

Hi everyone:

It's February already and according to Wiarton Willie we can expect an early spring - yay! Except for a cold snap a couple of weeks ago, we've had a surprisingly mild winter here in Calgary, so I expect that we'll be seeing some more snow and cold temperatures before spring actually arrives. 

With February comes Valentine's Day, which is fast approaching (doesn't it seem like we just celebrated New Year's?). To reflect this upcoming romantic holiday I've changed the background of my blog to something more appropriate - and also because I love the colour red. 
While I'm not working on a Valentine's Day project myself, I do have several free patterns available which are perfect for this holiday. 

You can find the tutorial for Vintage Hearts under the AccuQuilt GO! Fun tab on my blog or on my Youtube channel. It's an AccuQuilt GO! friendly pattern so you'll be able to make it very quickly. 

Vintage Hearts
FREE pattern from Chatterbox Quilts
Vintage Hearts detail
If you don't have enough time to make a wall hanging, you might have time for a small pincushion or shelf sitter. Again, the AccuQuilt GO! cutter comes to the rescue. You can find instructions on making these little projects here. While I used recycled fabric to make mine, you can choose any type of fabric that you have available - preferably in a red or pink shade.
Pincushions using AccuQuilt GO! cutter dies
If you enjoy hand embroidery, I also have a FREE heart-shaped pincushion or shelf sitter pattern available. The Flourishing Heart pattern can be found here.
Flourishing Heart pincushion or shelf sitter
FREE pattern from Chatterbox Quilts
I didn't realize that I had so many heart-related patterns! I hope that one of these will be exactly what you need if you're looking for that perfect Valentine's Day project.