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!






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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!


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Time for Quilt-Along Panel 1- Blackbirds & Blossoms, Oh-La-La!

Panel 1(A) applique'Panel 1(B) applique'

It’s time for the next step of our Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La Quilt-Along! I’m hoping you’ve had lots of fun working on the center wreath over the past few weeks.

Panel 1(A) When Jennifer handed off her beautiful center block to Darra and me for the second round of our Quilt-Along, we decided to create whimsical vines on our 4 side panels. Darra had a sketch that we both agreed would be the stepping off point for the 4 panels. Sketch The first 2 side panels, Panels 1(A) and 1(B), are minimal in design, while the panels we will cover next month, Panels 2(A) and 2(B), are more layered and bursting with blossoms. The design process is outlined below. Links you will need: use the Patterns tab for instructions on the side panels, leaf and circle template and panel 1(A) and 1(B) appliqué sheets as reference for the shape of your vines. Also, refer to the split leaf tutorial for a decorative leaf.

Let’s start with the minimal designs first, Side Panels 1(A) and 1(B).

 Panel 1(A) applique'     Panel 1(B) applique'

I urge you to play with your fabrics and shapes to create your own original design that plays well with the fabrics you have chosen and your completed center wreath block.

Supplies for Side Panels

To keep a flowing curve, I decided to cut my vines directly in the shape you see, not using the bias strip method. Feel free to use the method that works best for you.


Fabrics choices for flowers

Cutting Instructions for Side PanelsLeaf and circle samples

How-To's- Side Panels

Panel 1(A)          Panel 1(B)

Okay! You are halfway there! I will show you tips on Side Panel 2(A) and (B) next month. Be sure to share photos with us on our SHWS Facebook page and I will pin them to our Quilt-Along Pinterest Board!

And the winner is…

Congratulations to Mary Helen of Oregon for winning Annie’s Pouch Pattern in Laura’s post last week!

Have a great week!

Signature Cropped

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Adding Special Touches to Wedding Accessories & Giveaway


L: Wedding Peony

With less than five weeks to go until the big  day, we are wrapping things up here with some small projects. As much work as it’s been, I’m excited by the attention to detail that my daughter has put into this special day. Everything is so thoughtful.



When considering the design for the ring bearer’s pillow, Molly was inspired by the bow tie I made to be worn by the young man who will have the very important duty of  carrying and presenting the wedding bands to the best man. A bit of research reveals that in medieval times, the wedding ring was presented to the bride on the tip of a sword to represent the seriousness of the rite, and also to present a warning against infidelity. Yikes, no swords at this wedding! Instead, take a peek at the pillow. It is made to match  the bow tie, with the addition of a batting layer to give it some poof.

L: Ring bearer's pillow

Accompanying the ring bearer down the aisle will be an adorable flower girl. Her dress is almost finished . . . just a few more details and I can share it with you! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek.

L: Brooklyn's dressThis  little basket  will be filled with rose petals and, we hope she’ll scattered them down the aisle. I say hopefully because in the last wedding I attended, the little girl got so excited she forgot to drop the petals. When she reached the altar, she simply turned the basket over and dumped the petals into one big pile. We all laughed . . . these are the sweetest little memories!

Just a little touch of bling for the flower girl!

Just a little touch of bling for the flower girl!

Here’s the last project I want to share with you today. It was inspired by a lovely little pouch I recently received from a friend. It is called the “Annie Pouch” by K Cotton Studio.

The adorable Annie Pouch by K Cotton Studio. Image taken from their website.

The adorable Annie Pouch by K Cotton Studio. Image taken from their website.

Molly loved the size and design of this adorable little bag and felt it would make a nice gift for her bridesmaids. I believe she plans to tuck a small gift inside each one of them. Her idea was to have initials and flowers embroidered on the front of each bag. Robyn Whitlock, a local machine embroiderer, helped to create the look Molly had envisioned for the design.

L: Bridesmaids Bags

The rest was easy. Simply construct the bag following the pattern. They are so cute, and so personal. I’m sure the girls will love them.

L: Bag2

1-Giveaway IconKeiko Clark of K Cotton Studio is generously donating one of her Annie’s Pouch patterns along with one magnetic clasp. To be entered to win, please leave a comment by end of day June 8th telling us one funny or interesting event that happened at either your wedding or one you attended.

Until next time, happy creating everyone!












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An Empty Spools Scrapbook in Words and Photos

Dates & Places-J:  Sunset Pacific Grove, CA

Kelp strand, Asilomar Beach, Pacific Grove, CA.

I think the downside of keeping many balls aloft is trying to launch another one without creating mayhem. That’s probably why quilting classes and retreats are rare for me:  they are difficult to slide into my routine. Although when they do pop up, I like to park those pesky balls and immerse myself in the experience.

That’s just what happened about a month or so ago when I went on a road trip with my compulsive quilt retreater friend Cyndy Rymer. We steered a course southward to the Monterey Coast for the last session of the 2014 season of the Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar.

What’s not to love?  Five days of quilting with a master teacher, camaraderie, seaside hikes, and, best of all, no daily grind at the office, no cooking, and no housekeeping! Perhaps I should stow those balls more often, but I can’t manage Cynderelly’s pace–she’s done +50 classes/retreats to my three!

She Came From the North Pole . . .

Dates & Places-J:  Judy Farrow at Empty Spools 2014Cyndy and I elected to take Canadian Judy Farrow who offered a design class for our week’s immersion.  Neither of us knew much about her so it seemed like a voyage into the unknown, which indeed it was . . .

Upon meeting Judy it’s all to easy to be deceived by her quiet nature and British reserve, but that would be a mistake. She’s spirited, passionate, and very funny. Still, it was surprising to learn that, some 40 years ago, Judy and her husband left comfortable Montreal to teach high school on Baffin Island, a remote and frigid Canadian island that straddles the Arctic Circle. While there, Judy and husband Malcolm travelled extensively by dog team and hunted seals to feed them! These days, after three decades in those northerly climes, she’s ensconced in more-temperate Vancouver.

Dates & Places-J:  Judy Farrow's Moose 2014 Empty SpoolsThat arctic imprint is unmistakable, especially in  her most-renowned quilts, and has served as the starting point for her evolution as quilt artist. (Remarkably, Judy learned the craft from home study of Laura’s curriculum outlined in Quilts!Quilts!!Quilts!!!) Nowadays Judy’s quilting vernacular is very broad and inventive, although still rooted in inspiration from the environments she has encountered.

Quilt-J:  Judy Farrow's award-winning quilt, Snowy Owl Meets West Coast Totems

Snowy Owl Meets West Coast Totems by Judy Farrow

At Work and Play by the Seaside

While communing with a teacher is the major part of the Empty Spools experience, sharing a classroom with a unique set of fellow quilters is the other side of the equation. It’s at once exhilarating and humbling to experience the aesthetics and skills of other quilt makers. It’s also liberating to hitch a ride on another’s point of view and see how she might tackle the same design exercise.

Dates & Places-J:  Judy Farrow design exercise Empty Spools 2014

You’d think 25 blocks would be easy to arrange, but 10 quilters with 10 ideas? Design exercise by Judy Farrow, Empty Spools, 2014.

Another Empty Spools feature is the Artist-in-Residence program. Gail Abeloe, owner of Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove, just down the road from Asilomar, wrapped up the 2014 program with an opening night talk and exhibition of her work. The rest of the week Gail repurposed orphan blocks from her past projects and created brand new quilts. I slotted in daily visits to Gail’s workstation in the main hall, just across the way from Carolie Hensley’s pop-up quilt shop, to see her progress. Wow! It certainly helps that she has the best stash ever (quilt shop owner–duh!) and a superb eye for color.

Dates & Places-J:  Gail Abeloe's posse Empty Spools 2014

Phew, Gail (right) survived her debut as Artist in Residence and shares smiles with her sister, Jill Abeloe Mead, an editor at American Patchwork & Quilting, and mother, Dorothy Abeloe.

Probably the hardest part of quilting by the sea is ignoring the call of the surf, especially when the sun is shining and the breeze carries that salty tang. On “good” days, Cyndy and I walked the shoreline morning, noon, and night, but sometimes we just couldn’t fit in a third stroll what with class work, making friends in the dining hall, and checking out the evening programs offered by Empty Spools.  Although, once we experienced one sublime Pacific sunset, we were hooked for the rest of our stay. See my sunset photo essay below. Three consecutive nights of the setting sun:  same time/same place–each distinct.

Here’s my parting thought about quilt retreats–go when you can and, if Empty Spools is on your horizon, do it!

Dates & Places-J:  Sunset Pacific Grove, CA #1

Dates & Places-J:  Sunset Pacific Grove, CA #2

Dates & Places-J:  Sunset Pacific Grove, CAJ-Signaturep.s.  Did I  forget to mention the picturesque town of Pacific Grove, just a mile or so down the road from Asilomar? Well, it’s eye candy central for many reasons, among them:  Kidwell’s Paint.

Dates & Places-J:  Window eye candy Kidwell's Pacific Grove, CA

Best paint store window ever! Kidwell’s Paint, Pacific Grove, CA.



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Start the Quilt-Along Today! Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La!

Welcome to the Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La Quilt-Along! I’ve got pleasure of delivering the first step: the center block decorated with a flower wreath. In my crafty past, I’ve been known to weave a wreath or two or three. In fact, I’ve even made a dimensional appliqué wreath based on the floral art of Pierre Joseph Redouté. Luckily, this Quilt-Along version builds quickly and much more easily!

Slightly cropped view of the center wreath block.

Slightly cropped view of the center wreath block. This image shows some of the preliminary stitching around the pattern pieces.

My blogging sisters and I elected to follow an improvisational approach to our collective project, although we did agree to a few parameters to keep the look consistent throughout the design process.

As I was the first, I downscaled my flowers and greenery in the center block, while they used larger sizes in the outer blocks. We also agreed to employ a raw-edged, fused appliqué method simply because it was much easier and faster for our mother-of-the-bride (and for the rest of us too). Choose your preferred appliqué method because the quilt is designed to flatter all techniques.

I’ve outlined my process below, but don’t worry about copying all those details.  Click the Patterns tab for the instructions for building the center block and the circle and leaf template pattern sheet.

Quilt-Along Wreath-J:  Supplies

Quilt-Along-J:  Cutting Instructions

Close to final draft of wreath layout--notice the stay stitching around the perimeter of the linen background block.

Rough draft of wreath layout–notice the stay stitching around the perimeter of the linen background block. (Yes, the wreath base is not centered on the background fabric–it’s an audition!)


Quilt-Along Wreath-J:  How-To's

Split leaves embellished with variegated green thread. Notice the flowers that I didn't use--turns out, less is more in this layout.

Notice the flowers that I didn’t use? Turns out, less is more in this layout.

Quilt-Along Wreath-J:  Split Leaf Instructions

I’ve made a short video to demonstrate how to make a split leaf. Click here for my directorial debut!

So, as I was finalizing the layout of the center block, I realized I needed a pop of something to jazz up the design. I’ve noticed that polka dots often add that jolt fun that makes a quilt happy.

Ah! Something dotty is just the ticket!

Oh! Something dotty is just the ticket!

There ya go, quilting peeps:  The first block of the Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! Quilt-Along.  Get crackin’!

p.s. Jennifer’s lessons:  less is more and layering is lovely.

p.p.s.  See the sneak peek of the next blocks (in process) below.



Once my block was done, we auditioned the setting triangles for the wreath block and the next set of blocks.

Once my block was done, we auditioned the setting triangles for the wreath block and the next set of blocks.

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Part 2–Tara Faughnan Shares Her Quilts

Welcome back to Part 2 of our guest post from Tara Faughnan. A busy quilter, Tara is a member of the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild, works for Michael Miller Fabrics doing in-house textile design work, and is very busy creating amazing quilts that seem to be surfacing here and there throughout the quilting world.

just for fun

Hello again! In the last post I took you on a virtual tour of my studio. You might be pleased to hear that I’ve done a bit of cleanup since then, mostly because I wanted to start on a new quilt of course! And, believe it or not, in order to start the process I do need a bit of calm and organization. It’s usually about midway through a project that things start getting flung about with abandon. The beginning, though, is pretty calm. Sadly, my husband took this photo over the weekend, where I am knee deep in mess again. The (sort of) clean period lasted approximately 10 minutes.

My newest quilt is in the early stages and tacked up on my design wall. Usually, the process follows many changes: I cut fabrics, piece some together, and then I throw it out and start over. I do this repeatedly until the idea catches and I think I’m on to something.  I DO finally get to an end result, which is a finished quilt, all stitched, bound, and ready to share. Many of the quilts I’ve been working on are going to publications somewhere, and otherwise promised to secrecy for now, and so I am limited in what I can show you.  But here is a sneak peek . . .

pic #1

Here are some of the other quilts I’ve made. This little one was made the day before Christmas for my nephew, because who can’t find the time the day before Christmas, right?  I did end up giving it to him in a semi finished state . . . The quilt is a smaller version of one I had just finished, so I used up all the leftover scraps from that project. Rhett’s Quilt (2013)

Rhett's Quilt by Tara Faughnan

This quilt I finished in early December and is titled Modern Log Cabins.  It is in the Spring 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine.

Modern Log Cabin Quilt by Tara FaughnanAnd, since I’m on a log cabin roll, here are a few more that I’ve made over the years. House Top Quilt (2010)

House Tops Quilt (2010) by Tara Faughnan

This is one of the first log cabin quilts I made, simply titled Log Cabin Quilt (2009).

Log Cabin Quilt (2009)

I tried my hand at Pineapple quilts also. I made this one for my parents, Pineapple Quilt (2007).

Pinneapple Quilt (2007) by Tara Faughnan

I really do love log cabin quilts,  and I have an idea for a new one brewing . . . I hope you do too!




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Tara Faughnan – Embrace Your Creative Mess!

Several years ago, Diana McClun introduced me to a darling young woman she met in a fabric design course. I remember being immediately drawn to her contagious enthusiasm for quiltmaking. She was young, spunky, and oh-so-cute. She was also the perfect helper to have around while we were making a DVD as she kept us smiling when times became a bit too intense or stressful.

I was delighted when Pati suggested asking Tara to write a guest post for us as I knew it would be something fresh with just a touch of humor. As I sit here looking around my own studio today, I can completely relate to her story. Thanks Tara for reminding me/us not to get down on ourselves for being messy creative types.

Now, please enjoy a peek into the life of Tara Faughnan, quiltmaker, pattern and fabric designer. - Laura

Welcome Tara!

Tara Faughnan

I am a quilter and freelance textile designer living in Oakland, CA. I started to quilt around 2002 or so, using a book my mother had given me as my guide. This book was a reprint of the 1931 edition of 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby Short McKim.  I had no idea such things as rotary cutters, plastic templates, freezer paper, etc. existed. I spent many happy weeks tracing around cardboard templates and cutting out my fabric pieces with a pair of scissors. When I told a woman at my local quilt shop how my first quilt was going, she promptly took me over to the wall of rulers, cutting mats, and gadgets and told me she was giving me a discount on all the accessories! Thus began a long love affair with my faithful rotary cutter. I still have her, she’s worn down and a bit squeaky, but she fits my hand like we were made for each other.

Last summer, my husband and I bought a house, and I had a real vision for how I wanted to set up my studio space. I dreamed about the colors, the decorations, and how the room would make me feel when I was working in it . . . I wanted clean lines, bright colors, vignettes of pretty decor.  Basically, I had a picture in my head about what kind of space would, in theory, support my creativity (you know what I mean–the kind of studio you see on Pinterest).

Well, we moved in, and I happily started setting up my studio. I unpacked my fabrics, my craft supplies, my books and decorations, and I started to create my space. Three weeks later, I was only partially unpacked and completely distracted by an idea for a quilt that I had to start IMMEDIATELY.  I quickly shoved all of my boxes into closets, pushed everything to the back of my large work table, and then I proceeded to sew. That was October. Fast forward to May, and  seven or eight quilts later, and this is how my studio looks.  Be warned, the following pictures are graphic and may disturb some viewers.

Picture #1 Picture #1a picture #1c

These carefully composed vignettes come only as the result of a fabric-cutting-and-sewing frenzy. And that project where I was going to cover that lovely horse in gold glitter? I had to paint it white first, but then I was struck by another quilt idea before I could finish it . . .  And that lovely thing I was going to do with all those old wooden spools, I got sidetracked (again) by a quilt . . . And I was definitely going to do something with all that gold ribbon, but I’ve forgotten what it was, so if I just keep it right there I might be reminded of it . . .

picture #2 picture #3

This mess actually looked this five minutes ago.

picture #4

If you look carefully, you will see some of the things I mean to hang on the walls:  a cross stitch sampler my aunt made forty years ago; a piece of vintage ribbon I want to do SOMETHING with; a thingy for hanging textiles that my sister brought me from Thailand. And then there is my grandma’s old candy dish . . . those quilt blocks I pulled off my design wall to make room for something else . . . and oh, those shoes I keep meaning to return to Zappos . . . and that box (I’m not sure what’s in it, but I had to get it out of the way when I needed space for basting a quilt on the floor) . . . and off to the left you can see a slice of my closet and, really, you don’t want to go in there . . .

picture #5

Well, I hope you enjoyed my studio tour! It took a lot of bravery to share these photos. We are so inundated with gorgeous, clean, tidy, and well-designed studios on Pinterest, and really, in theory, that really is how I want my studio to look. In reality, CREATIVITY is MESSY!! And, sometimes, this messiness can lead to wonderful and unexpected things. That pile of scraps in the picture above led to several unplanned and happy color choices when I was working on my last quilt. I was looking for a certain pink color and came up with red. I stuck it into the quilt and LOVED it. The whole direction I was going in changed due to that lovely pile of fabric. Maybe we should start to be proud of the messes we create while pursuing our single-minded focus on quilting. I want to validate the tornado that is my studio! I fling my fabric; I throw my scraps on the floor; I mix up my projects; my cats claim my piles and try to hide my rulers . . . and I guess I like it that way because, really, it never changes. Maybe these pictures will make you cringe, but perhaps they will validate your own personal creative messes!

– Tara Faughnan

Thanks Tara! Now are you wondering what magical things come from her messy creativity? Well, here’s a teaser:

Quiltcon 2015

Quilt in QuiltCon banner is “Fireworks” by Tara Faughnan

On Friday, we will get an opportunity to see some of Tara’s amazing work. You can also visit her website Tara Faughnan to find out more about her. Modern Patchwork Magazine Spring 2014 features Tara’s “Modern Log Cabin Quilt” pattern and more new patterns will be available in upcoming Generation Q and Modern Patchwork Magazine issues in Summer 2014. We can’t wait to see what she does next!





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Blackbirds & Blossoms – – Oh-La-La! Fabric Requirements for Our Quilt-Along.

A special thank you to Darra, who spent many hours working out the fabric requirements for this project. Come back and visit us soon, Darra! We miss you already!

Quilt Along Beauty Shot

Finished Quilt Size: 53″ x 53″ (plus binding)

What You’ll Need (Fabric and Notions):

Along with basic sewing supplies, you’ll need the following fabrics and notions to make this quilt. Note: If you’d like to make just the center medallion as a smaller wallhanging, or the center block or one of the side panels as a pillow, you’ll need only the fabrics identified for those areas in the labeled photo below.

Fabric calculations are based on 40″ fabric width.

Fabric A: 5/8 yard for center square (cream)

Fabric B: 1/4 yard for framing strips (red-orange stripe)

Fabric C: 7/8 yard for inner setting triangles and Birdhouse blocks (turquoise)

Fabric D: 3/4 yard for side panels (taupe)

Fabric E: 1 yard for center wreath, panel strips, vines, stems, and leaves (green)

Fabric F: 1 1/8 yards for side panels (taupe/dots)

Fabric G: 5/8 yard for outer setting triangles (white)

Fabric H: 2/3 yard for birdhouses (yellow stripe)

Fabric I: 3/8 yard for birdhouse roofs (purple)

Fabric J: 1/8 yard (or scraps)for blackbird appliqués (black)

Fabric K: 2 yards total for flower circle, dot, leaf, and birdhouse door appliqués (assorted brights)

Binding: 1/2 yard

Batting: 60″ x 60″

Backing: 3 1/2 yards

Lightweight fusible web: 3 1/2 yards (18″ wide)

Assorted threads to match appliqués

Black and white embroidery floss


Quiltalong diagram

The following photos show you the fabrics we used to make our version of the Quilt-Along quilt. We used the first group, Fabrics A – J, for backgrounds, framing strips, vines and center wreath, setting triangles, and corner birdhouse blocks. These fabrics include a number of “linen-y” solids and subtle tone-on-tone prints, with a few stripes and a coordinating polka-dot for visual interest.

The second group includes examples of the colorful prints that we used for the flower circles and other appliques. We recommend that you include some multicolored, large-scale prints as we did; you can fussy cut them for varying effects.

Fabric A - J

Quilt-Along Fabrics A – J

Quilt-Along fabric(s) K

Quilt-Along fabric(s) K

So let the fun begin! Jennifer will be starting us out with the center medallion as our first round of the Quilt-Along. Watch for Jennifer’s post at the end of May.

Signature Cropped               J-Signature          L1-Signature













Posted in Fabric, Patterns, Projects, Quilts | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Big Announcement! Join us for a Quilt-Along!

Right after I came on board See How We Sew last summer, conversations began to stir about designing a blog Quilt-Along. Darra, Laura, Jennifer, and I were excited to create something together to share with our readers. In reality, though, none of us were sure where to begin. A blank canvas is probably the hardest place to nurture inspiration, especially with a quartet of opinionated women. For us, a couple of little ideas sparked a true collaboration.

Before I reveal our wonderful Quilt-Along quilt, I thought it would be fun to share a bit of the creative process involved over the past few months and a behind-the-blog peek.  So read on . . . and no scrolling ahead!!!!

In our first brainstorming session, we decided on a layout inspired by a quilt I made years ago, Baltimore Yo Yo’s.

See How We Sew BOM

At the time, Laura and Jennifer were totally in love with the fabric line, Collage by Carrie Bloomston, so our inspirational fabrics and color palette were easy decisions.

Focus fabric

Collage by Carrie Bloomston

Jennifer was going through a “circle” phase then and so she suggested using circles as a recurring theme to give our quilt design continuity.

Circle inspiration

We began our project as a round-robin, building from the center and out. It was a given that our spherically motivated Jennifer should start us out with a center medallion. What an incredible job she did!

Center Medallion of See How We Sew Quilt-Along

Next would be four rectangular panels to wrap around the center. Darra and I decided to work together on this. For variety, two panels were designed with simple vines of circular blossoms, while the latter two were designed with fuller clusters of blooms.

Panel 1 of See How We Sew Quilt-Along

Panel 2 of See How We Sew Quilt-Along

Panel 3 of See How We Sew Quilt-Along

Panel 4 of See How We Sew Quilt-Along

To finish our colorful, whimsical garden, Laura took over to add the setting triangles. As  birds and birdhouses are a natural addition to a garden setting, Laura designed an adorable chirping bird and his birdhouse . . .

Birdhouse from See How We Sew Quilt-Along

And then, she repeated it for every corner:  there are no run-of-the-mill setting triangles for this project!

Row birdhouses from See How We Sew Quilt-Along

And this is how, dear readers, we came to create our whimsical Quilt-Along for See How We Sew. We hope you love it as much as we do. We also hope that you follow along over the next few months as we share our steps for creating . . .

Blackbirds & Blossoms – -Oh-La-La!

See How We Sew Quilt-Along

In Friday’s post, we will deliver the fabric requirements for the Quilt-Along. And then, each month, we will supply directions for each section and we will also share tips and tricks to bring your garden to life. Jennifer will begin our first round of the Quilt-Along at the end of May. Get your stash ready and mark you calendar.

Not interested in making the entire quilt? That’s okay! You might find inspiration for your own riff. We will be sharing ideas, projects and video tutorials along the way that focus on doable weekend projects using the individual blocks. So join us for all the fun! I can’t wait to get started! See you on Friday!

Announcing Our Lucky Winners!

The winners of the Modern Robe pattern from Laura’s post last week are:

Pat T and Katina Chapman

Signature Cropped

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