Announcing the Winner of Our Tidal Lace Giveaway!


  And we have a winner!

Tidal Lace Collection by Kim Andersson

Thank you all for the wonderful comments you left on last weeks blog hop post. I LOVED reading every one of them. It is so nice to hear that everyone enjoyed the quilt so much. We are busy putting the finishing touches on the pattern and will let you know when it is available.

We had such an incredible response of favorite beaches, that I thought it would be fun to share ALL the 80-some beaches that were nominated. From Hawaii to Florida, the Bahamas to Oregon, Greece to New Jersey, and Mexico to Gilligan’s Island. There were favorites in Belgium, England and the lakes of Switzerland to California and the lakes of Michigan. They all sound lovely and I truly want to visit them all!!!!

Nicaragua beach

Ocean View, Half Moon Cay, Bondi Beach, Daytona Beach, Westport, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, Bear Lake, Hyams Beach, Coronado, Makena, Half Moon Bay, Cozumel, Kaanapali, Lake Erie, Sanibel Island, Wailia, Stinson Beach, Tuscanym Sardinia, Cecina, Pebble Beach, Nobska Beach, St Palais sur Mer, Long Sands Beach, Clearwater, Yacht Club Beach, Tacoma Chinese Garden Park, Sand Dunes Beach,  St. Augustin, Kanapali, Virginia Beach, Sugar Sand Beaches of Florida, Kikaua Point, Magens Bay,  San Jaun’s, Caladesi Island, Myrtle Beach, Coco Beach, Ocean City, Pismo Beach, Emerald Island, El Matador, Haceta Head, Lake Michigan, Sarasota, Sandy Point, Edisto Beach, Rainbow Beach, Ocean City, Sunoka Beach, Monterey, Long Island, Green Island Resort Beach, Devisl Beach, Jacksonville, Wasaga, Pebble Beach, Outer Banks, Clam Harbour Provincial Park Beach, Sunset Bay State Park, Cannon Beach, Van Buren Point, Piggots Bay,  Horshoe Lake, Venice Beach, Oahu, St. Petersburg Beach, Hilton Head, Siesta Key Beach, Fairfield, Sea Island, Baja, Sunset Beach, Ana Maria, Koksijde, Cadzand, Huntington, Hallwylersee, Northumbria, Lake Tahoe, Hug Point, Wildwood Boardwalk and Skaha Beach.

heart in the sand

Unfortunately, we had to choose just one. So, randomly picking from our trusty sand bucket -


“My favorite is Heceta Head, on the Oregon coast with a lighthouse and great tidepools.”

Congratulations Amorette – You will be receiving your bundle from Windham in the mail. Enjoy!

See you soon!

Pati FriedSignature

Yoko Saito Redux: English-Language Patterns Available Now + Giveaway!

Inspiration-J:  Summer Flowers
Happy summer solstice (a little tardy). My parents celebrated their 68th anniversary on the 21st–holy guacamole that’s a lonnggg shared history! Felicitations to all those June brides and grooms!

1-Giveaway IconLooks like I’m not the only Yoko Saito fan in search of English-language versions of her patterns. (BTW:  Here’s the link to my earlier Yoko Saito post.) World Book Media out of Salem, Massachusetts has entered the market with a Japanese Quilt Artist Series pattern line (translated into English) featuring Yoko Saito for their debut as well as Zakka Workshop projects–quick and fun scrap-friendly projects made in mere hours. Both product lines are available at World Book Media’s Etsy site.

Let’s take a look at the Yoko Saito quilt pattern fare:

Patterns-J:  Joko Saito Series

Would you like to see more?  Here are my top 2:

Love, love, love this pattern!
Love, love, love this pattern!

Yoko Saito creates evocative designs with such simple touches like outrageously perfect fabric choices. Also, her simple quilting motif enhances the blossoming cherry trees and stars without being overwhelming.

That melting snowman featured below is so charming and just a little poignant. (Plus she finds yet another perfect venue for her bare trees fabric.)

Isn't this the cutest winter mini quilt?
Isn’t this the cutest winter mini quilt?

The remaining trio of patterns are fun projects for personal use and home decor. The Afternoon Tea Mats pattern makes me laugh for the eccentric use of language–short . . . cake maybe?

Pattern-J:  Yoko SaitoPattern-J:  Yoko SaitoPattern-J:  Yoko Saito


Giveaway Details

I’m looking for 5 winners this week. Yup, 5! No guarantees which pattern you’ll receive.  Random drawing, random numbering on the patterns as well. Leave me a comment by Thursday, June 26 and I will announce the winners in my Friday post. Answer this question: Given the opportunity to win a pattern, would you go Yoko Saito neutral or color mad?

On Friday I’ll be featuring a small birthday project I adapted from the center wreath block of the Quilt-Along: Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! I hope you’ll stop by and find inspiration!


Gwen Marston Retrospective at See How We Sew + Giveaway Winner

Quilt-J: Gwen Marston Quilt Featured in Minimal Quiltmaking
“Turquoise” 41 x 45 inches, 2013, by Gwen Marston.

Hello dear readers! Gwen Marston is always a hit when we feature her at See How We Sew. Today we’ll take a look at more quilts from her latest AQS title, Minimal Quiltmaking, and revisit past posts about Gwen written by our blogging sister Darra. Gwen and Darra have been both friends and collaborators for years. In fact, Darra’s skilled editorial hand can be experienced in a number of Gwen’s quilting books. Keep scrolling to find the name of the lucky winner of Minimal Quiltmaking.

Throwback Posts

Darra gave us a peek into Gwen’s creative process back in February of this year in The Latest from that Amazing Quilter Gwen Marston.

And, before that in 2012, Working in a Series Gwen Marston and 37 Sketches.


Quilt-J:  Gwen Marston Quilt Featured in Minimal Quiltmaking
Minimal in Neutrals, 35 x 35 inches, 2012, by Gwen Marston

Giveaway Winner

And the winner is, Kathy in Florida–Congratulations! Many thanks to Gwen Marston for her continuing support of See How We Sew. Perhaps she’ll return for a visit soon?!? I hope so!

Final thoughts from Jennifer:  I’m taken by Gwen’s works of quilted art.  Can’t you just see these painting-sized quilts adorning the walls of a modern art museum? What if we started a grassroots movement to persuade our fine arts venues to open their galleries to our textile arts? Just a thought . . . we’ve got our Studio Art Quilters and any number of other art quilt groups. Time to come out of the shadows and into the limelight with the rest of the artsy crowd!






Gwen Marston Drops By to Share Minimal Quiltmaking (+ a Giveaway!)

We’ve got a special treat today at SHWS:  Gwen Marston is in the house! Yup, she’s going to review her latest and greatest quilting title, Minimal Quiltmaking. Sure, it’s unorthodox having an author write her own book review, but why not? She’s Gwen Marston and she’s super fabulous! Scroll to the end of the post for giveaway details–here’s a hint:  enter to win a copy of her new title.

Hello everyone! I’ve been invited to write a review of my new book Minimal Quiltmaking so let me say right upfront: it’s going to be very favorable!

Book-J:  Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston

It’s always a thrill when I get to see a just-off-the-press copy of my latest book for the first time. In the case of my most recent book, Minimal Quiltmaking (AQS Publishing, 2014), I couldn’t have been more pleased. Reviewers are calling it “beautiful” and I have to agree.

I’ve always been the “less is more” girl, preferring straightforward, uncluttered design so keeping it simple, aka minimal, is my natural default setting. This book includes both examples of my early minimal work and more recent pieces as well. It also includes the exciting work of twenty-two contemporary quilters (some are also quilt teachers) from across the country. I was so very pleased to be able to include their work in my book because it adds an indispensable flavor that makes it all the more tasty.

The book (95 pages, $24.95) has lots of full-page color pictures of the quilts and is packed with design and construction tips on how you can make your own original quilts without patterns using my “liberated”, intuitive, free-pieced methods. So, let me show you some of the quilts in my new book.

Discovering Lancaster Country Amish quilts in the early 80’s set me off on a virtual tangent of making quilts in that style as a way to understand the Amish sense of design and use of color. It also taught me the value of working with solid fabrics, which I’ve continued to do to this day.

ONE PATCH, made in 1990, was the first in a series of thirteen minimal quilts, all shown in the book, inspired by the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928).

Quilt-J:  Gwen Marston's Quilt One-Patch from Minimal Quiltmaking

I have a chapter about Hard-Edge Quilts, inspired by a California art movement from the 1960’s called “hard-edge painting”. MINIMAL COMPOSITION is in that chapter.

Screen shot 2014-06-11 at 4.48.18 PM

I talk about the process of designing minimal quilts, how to apply the principles of minimal art to create your own distinctive work, and give suggestions on where to find inspiration for working in this style.

And to whet your appetite, here is a small sampling of the stunning quilts made by made by contributing quilt artists included in the book.

Quilt-J:  Split Cherry by Marjorie Tucker in Minimal QuiltmakingSPLIT CHERRY, by Marjorie Tucker, from Boston, Mass, and MINIMAL PURPLE, made by Kristin Shields, from Bend, Oregon, are both contemporary quilt artists and teachers who have their own style and definitely know what they are doing.

Quilt-J: Minimal Purple by Kristin Shields in Minimal QuiltmakingI hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it. Carry on! GM

Giveaway Details Here!

Leave a comment by Thursday afternoon, June 19, answering the question:  What’s your quilting pleasure:  less is more or more is more? I’ll announce the winner of an autographed copy of Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston in the Friday post. We’ll also take a look a more quilts from Gwen’s new title and revisit retired blogging sister Darra’s past posts on Gwen’s quilting style.

See ya!


Another Wedding Update and a Giveaway too!

There is so much to share with you today, but I promised myself I would limit it to just two items. I’m sure I’ll have many more updates next month.

First, I want you to see the lovely robes I am making for my daughter and her  bridesmaids. They will wear them while getting ready for the big event. Can’t wait to see those photos! The one on the left is for my daughter. I used a Michael Miller fabric, Pattern #CX6056, Darling Mums. The bridesmaids are made from Rosewater #PWVM 109 Garden Romance by Verna Mosquera. It is Verna’s new fabric line for Free Spirit/Westminster Fibers.



I will be making a smaller version for the adorable little flower girl. Think I will add   some ruffles to make it a little different. For that one I’ll be using one of Verna’s coordinating fabrics, Rose Wreath #PWVM111.

brooklyn While working on the robes I saw a sample of an attractive “modern” robe on display in my local quilt shop, The Cotton Patch. The kimono style and all the professional details caught my eye. I had been searching for a gift idea for Carol van Zandt who helped me with the fabric designed for Diana McClun (see my last post).  I tried on the store sample and just loved the fit; it is both flattering and comfy.


The pattern has instructions for a variety  of sizes, both for women and men. There are many wonderful details that make this robe special:  a stand-up collar, side seam pockets, a hanging loop, inside ties, reinforced facings AND there are no set-in seams! Knowing that my time was limited with travel and wedding preparations, I decided to make the robe for Carol, but planned to eliminate a few of those extra details. During construction I found myself enjoying the design and sewing process so much that I decided not to skip one single step. It is simply wonderful just as Marina MacDonald has designed it. Being particular about patterns, I must say that I was extremely pleased with the clarity and thoroughness of her instructions. They are well written and include easy-to-follow diagrams. I wrote to Marina and told her how much I loved the robe and that I planned to write about it in a future blog post. She has graciously offered patterns to two of our lucky readers. Although this robe looks wonderful in Asian-inspired fabrics, it can take take on a thoroughly modern look with today’s fabrics. Please visit Marina’s website to see more examples of this lovely design.

If you would like an opportunity to win one of the two patterns, simply leave a comment telling us what fabrics you would use to make your Modern Robe. The cut off date for comments is the end of day, May 12, and winners will be announced in Pati’s post on May 13.

Oh my! Molly’s invitations arrived yesterday and she is over the top excited with them. Ahh, love the polka dot lining AND the scallops! Guess this little apple didn’t fall far from the tree. She is definitely her mother’s daughter.


I’m so taken with all the creativity and resources available today to help bring that personal touch to every wedding detail. Online design sites have an abundance of samples, inspiration, and templates to assist in personalizing cards and invitations.  Molly wants the addresses to be hand lettered and, since neither of us do calligraphy, she used her techie know-how to reproduce Old World lettering. Who would have thought? Cheating?  Perhaps, but oh so fun and pretty!

Invites11-Giveaway IconCan you tell I’m excited? It’s ALL so much fun. Many thanks for letting me share with you. Please remember to add a comment if you are interested in one of the Modern Robe patterns.

Until next time, happy creating everyone!




Spring Arrives with a Bounty of (Fabric) Blooms . . . and a Giveaway!

1-Giveaway IconWe’re more than a month into spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the evidence–both cultivated and wild–is emerging (and in some cases, exploding) around us in a shower of color and scent.

Nothing says "spring" like a bed of tulips! Photo by Darra Williamson.
Nothing says “spring” like a bed of tulips! Photo by Darra Williamson.
Floral "sunshine" dresses a white picket fence. Photo by Darra Williamson.
Floral “sunshine” dresses a white picket fence. Photo by Darra Williamson.
A swath of red enhances the seaside landscape. Photo by Darra Williamson.
A swath of red enhances the seaside landscape. Photo by Darra Williamson.
Delicate pink blossoms in the wild. Photo by Darra Williamson
Delicate pink blossoms in the wild. Photo by Darra Williamson
A single wild iris blooms against a Pollock-like tangle of greenery. Photo by Darra Williamson
A single wild iris blooms against a Pollock-like tangle of greenery. Photo by Darra Williamson
A "natural" display of color and texture.  Photo by Darra Williamson
A “natural” display of color and texture. Photo by Darra Williamson

Fabric Blooms coverToday, to celebrate this “blooming” season, we’ve planned a special giveaway. Lark Crafts has generously donated two copies of its brand-new, 128-page book, Fabric Blooms by Megan Hunt. The projects are adorable and doable–made from felt, cotton, jersey, and even faux leather!–and range from headbands and lapel pins to nosegays, wreathes, and fairy lights. Best of all, the patterns for all the flower parts are given full size. You don’t need to draw or enlarge a thing!

So, here’s the deal. Leave a comment below by noon (PDT) Thursday, May 1, telling us what you consider to be the first sure sign that spring has arrived, and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Fabric Blooms. The two winners will be announced in this Friday’s post.

A peek into the pages of Fabric Blooms
A peek into the pages of Fabric Blooms

Finally, an announcement of sorts. After three wonderful years of visiting with you here each month, it’s time for me to join my former SHWS blogging sister, Christie Batterman, as a See How We Sew Blogger Emeritus. Today marks my final post as an active member of the SHWS team.

While it’s difficult to say goodbye, the change is happily motivated. My husband Brooks and I are slowly beginning the lifestyle-changing transition from the bustling Bay Area to a small, off-the-beaten-track, incredibly beautiful, artist-friendly village by the sea on the Northern California coast. As a writer, I know I’ll want to write about the experience, so you can be sure that “I’ll keep you posted”–no pun intended!

Coming soon . . . Photo by Darra Williamson
Coming soon . . .
Photo by Darra Williamson

I’ve loved the time I’ve spent working, playing, learning, and creating with Laura, Jennifer, Pati, and Christie, and look forward to returning for a guest post now and then. Also, like you, I’ll be eagerly following the latest here at See How We Sew. I know there are some fabulous things in store!

So that’s it for now. ‘Til we meet again (soon, I hope), happy stitching!


Jennifer Sampou Debuts “Shimmer” Fabric Today at SHWS—Fabric Giveaway Too!

Handsome Freddy (last name Reddy, yes, Reddy!) guards our secret project.
Handsome Freddy (last name Reddy, yes, Reddy!) guards our secret project.

Hello readers! Today’s a shimmery day because we’ve got a peek for you into Jennifer Sampou’s latest line from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. Not only that, we’ve made a rather fabulous quilt with selected prints from Shimmer, and we are AGLOW with excitement! Keep on scrolling for all the exciting details . . .

Fabric-J:  Shimmer fabric

We count ourselves lucky that we can host today’s stop on the Shimmer blog hop—Jennifer Sampou is one of our locals and it’s a true pleasure to strut our “collective” creativity with such a pretty line of prints. She’s outdone herself with these pearlescent fabrics that gleam so wonderfully when light shines on them. Jennifer’s keyed in on a trend that’s making its way through interiors and fashion. We’ve certainly experienced our share of chintzy, glittery, metallic, and sparkly textiles at quilt/fabric shops, but these are altogether different fare: think of candlelight, not a slick sheen.

Jennifer’s Giveaway

Fabric-J:  Shimmer LookBook The color array and print variety are wonderful too. We’ve got a link to the Shimmer LookBook so you can take a gander at the collection. Don’t neglect to stop at Jennifer’s blog while you’re at it and Fabric-J:  Shimmer fabricsubscribe so you can qualify for the fabric giveaway (a fabric bundle!) she’s hosting right this very minute. Do not delay! We’re the tail-end of the blog hop, but there’s plenty more wonderful inspiration on the way–backtracking is a good idea too!

Shimmer Blog Hop Schedule

April 1- Robert Kaufman/Jennifer Sampou- announce blog

The SHWS Giveaway

As for our promotional events here, we have a giveaway as well. Jennifer has given us a Shimmer charm pack for one lucky reader. (Many thanks Jennifer!) You know the drill. Leave a comment by Sunday, April 20 answering the following question: Would you rather shimmer, sparkle, or shine? We’ll announce the winner on Friday, April 25. Our Big Announcement! Now here’s our main event to celebrate the launch of Jennifer Sampou’s latest and greatest . . . we’ve designed our very first See How We Sew quilt pattern and are showcasing Shimmer in the sample quilt. As quilt designers, it’s a real pleasure to work with a unified collection of prints and color palette. We had such a blast collaborating on this quilt that we’ve sparked an ambition to make more! And we are, in fact, launching a See How We Sew pattern line.

AchooPromoPostcard     Achoo! started with fabric swatches.

Our selection of fabrics from the Shimmer array.
Our selection of fabrics from the Shimmer array.

Then, with a partial sketch; quilting tools; a Shimmer fabric delivery from Jennifer; and precious time carved from busy schedules, we set to work. We send our thanks to Cyndy Rymer who came along for the ride and sewed miles of strips on demand.

Quilt-J:  Achoo! in developmentHmm, this block reminds me of something . . . what is it? Ooh, you’re right Laura, we’ve built Kleenex boxes! Maybe we should name the quilt Achoo!

Quilt-J:  Close up of Achoo Kleenex boxes Turns out that if you repeat the Kleenex box motif enough and throw in accent panels, you can make a spectacular quilt.

Quilt-J:  Achoo test layout with Shimmer fabric Long-arm quilter Kathy August added mod flair to Achoo! by deploying a grid design across the surface. Her choice of thread was genius:  Kathy turned to Fil-Tec’s Glide™ for a soft metallic-look thread that blended in beautifully with the gleaming Shimmer prints.

Quilt-J:  Achoo! Here’s Achoo! photographed outdoors–yes, those are my hands (my usual quilt holder is off to graduate school).

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 9.44.57 PM

Thanks for checking out the Jennifer Sampou Shimmer Blog Hop! Don’t forget to enter the giveaways!

signatures3 Signature Cropped

The Latest from that Amazing Quilter, Gwen Marston (+ a Giveaway!)

1-Giveaway IconAt one time or another, I suspect we’ve all had the experience of meeting someone new and feeling that immediate “click” of connection–the perfect description of my first encounter (in 1989!) with legendary and beloved Michigan quilter, Gwen Marston.

Gwen Marston
Gwen Marston

I wrote about Gwen, her then most-recent work, and her wonderful book, 37 Sketches, in a post back in January 2012. It’s a tribute to Gwen’s enduring popularity that this post remains one of our all-time, most-often viewed here at See How We Sew. Now, two years later, I decided it was time to check back with Gwen to find out what’s new. The answer? Lots!

First up: Gwen Marston, Contemporary Quilts, a solo exhibit at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, MI. This exhibit runs through April 27 and includes work that Gwen has created in the past eight years, in which she continues to simplify, to melt the elements down to their most basic forms, allowing the color to speak in a stronger voice. Some of the pieces are the Small Studies from the aforementioned 37 Sketches (2011).D_Jan 27_37 Sketches Cover(1) (2)

"Small Study 4 (9" x 11") made and machine quilted by Gwen Marston; 2010
“Small Study 4 (9″ x 11″) made and machine quilted by Gwen Marston; 2010

Others are from her earlier book, Ideas and Inspirations: Abstract Quilts in Solids (2008).

Ideas and Inspirations cover

Broken Dishes (38" x 37"), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008
Broken Dishes (38″ x 37″), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008
Three Triangles (35" x 36"), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2010
Three Triangles (35″ x 36″), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2010
Red Square VI (39" x 42"), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008
Red Square VI (39″ x 42″), made and hand quilted by Gwen Marston, 2008

Still others reflect Gwen’s ongoing explorations, in which she pushes even further, working in a decidedly minimal style. This fresh, exciting, stripped-down approach takes center stage in–more news!!!–Gwen’s brand-new book, Minimal Quiltmaking, scheduled for publication by the American Quilter’s Society on March 1!

Gwen's newest, publishing March 1
Gwen’s newest, publishing March 1

Wouldn’t you like to be first among your friends to own Minimal Quiltmaking? Well, it happens that we’ll have a copy to give away to one of our readers as soon as the book hits the shelves. Just leave a comment by noon (PST) Thursday, February 20, telling us whether you consider yourself a “minimalist” or “maximalist” quilter (for example, in style, size or variety of your fabric stash, reliance on notions, degree of advance planning) and I’ll announce a winner in my Friday, February 21 post.

Finally, here’s a special treat! The Dennos Museum Center has placed Gwen’s entire presentation from the exhibit’s January 18 opening reception on YouTube. Watch and enjoy!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!Darra-signature

Quilt Retreat Update and Iron Caddy Giveaway

Hope your year has gotten off to a great start. Just can believe it’s February already. So much has happened this past month! It began with the quilting retreat I mentioned in my last post. My plan was to make the silk wedding quilt for my daughter’s best friend. As you can see, I got a great jump start on it. Fortunately these young ladies like simple patterns. Phew! I’m so lucky she didn’t request a Baltimore Album! Here’s a quick peek at my progress so far. I plan to finish it soon and then off to the quilter. It will be so elegant; I can’t wait.

Eileen's quilt

I was on a roll with this quilt until several of the other gals at the retreat started working on this wonderful iron caddy. How could I resist setting my project aside and making one for myself (especially since I am always the pathetic one leaving class with my hot iron wrapped in a towel. Ugh!)?

Here’s the wonderful Caddy Pad pattern by Sisters’ Common Thread. I can see why this pattern has been their very best seller. It is easy to make and allows you to pack up your hot iron and go . . . no waiting for it to cool, no wrestling with dangling cords, or in my case, towels!

Iron Caddy
Iron Caddy

Iron Caddy

I contacted the talented design team from Wisconsin, letting them know how much everyone enjoyed their pattern, and they have graciously offered one free pattern to one of our readers. The pattern comes with the silver, heat-resistant fabric–enough to make one pad. Be sure to check out their website, as there are many options to choose from. For example, there are three different sizes of the Caddy Pad, as well as a larger one that they say has been great as a baby shower gift. It’s called a Diaper Dock, and is large enough to open flat and use as a changing pad.

Giveaway-GoldIf you would like to put your name in the hat to win a pattern of your choice, simply let me know by end of day Thursday, February 6th which pattern you would most like to have and why, and I will announce the winner with my next post the following day.

Another reason to stop by on Friday: I plan to give you a sneak peek at what all of us at SHWS have been working on for you.  You’ll love it!

Until then, have fun creating.