Status Update:  Indie Modern Quilters Stretch Their Wings—Maybe You’d Like to As Well?

Some months ago, blogging sis Pati sent out query to quilters in our geographic area to gauge interest in forming an Indie Modern quilting group. As luck would have it, there was an enthusiastic response plus a quilt-shop owner who wanted to host regular get-togethers. We thought it would be a good time to update our readers about their activities—you might find a good model for a starting your own Indie Modern group in your own area.  ♥ Jennifer ♥

Setting Up an Indie Modern Group:  One Group’s Adventure

I have been a member of the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years now, and one of the things that repeatedly caught my attention was the curiosity and interest in the Modern Quilting movement in its neighboring county, but no resulting push to establish another guild.  Each time someone asked me about my guild, they lost interest when considering traveling to Berkeley or the Peninsula for regular meetings. That all changed once I spoke to Gina Chang, the new owner of Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA.  We decided to create an opportunity to gather enthusiasts once a month and to see where our efforts would lead us. I opted to call the gathering Indie Modern Quilters because I didn’t want to limit the group in any way and to encourage independent thinking and out-of-the-box-creativity.

The turnout was great for that first meeting and for each since! Typically, we start with a social hour/shopping, move on to a member’s tips-and-tricks segment, and then finish with Show-and-Tell.  As a new group, we are having fun creating something that fits everyone’s hopes and interests—and getting to know each other as well. After discussing our preferences, we decided that we don’t want to be a guild or a drop-in, but we would like to meet monthly as a group of like-minded quilters. We are slowly defining what we would like an Indie Modern Quilt Group to be!

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I am excited to announce that Wooden Gate Quilts has scheduled some dates this Fall for Indie Modern Sew Day drop-ins. Other items on our Wish List are field trips and weekend retreat getaways.  And of course, more challenges and projects to explore. Feeling independent? Give our group a spin! – Pati

The first group challenge was to create a small quilt in a modern style using only the colors in a selected paint chip sample, along with one tint + white, as a color palette.


The little quilts are beautiful! Wooden Gate Quilts graciously offered to host a mini quilt show of the work–they look wonderful hanging together!

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Don’t live in the area? No worries! Stop by SHWS on Friday and we will share all the wonderful quilts from the Indie Modern Color Challenge. For locals, Gina’ll give you a sneak peek if you stop by!

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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 . . .

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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!




Kim Andersson – Part 1: A Journey to Quilts

I would like to introduce you to Kim Andersson of  I. ADORE. PATTERN! Kim and I belong to the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild. She is talented, fun, and she bubbles over with creativity. We have asked Kim to be a guest writer for us this week, so be sure to visit again on Friday to learn even more about her.




Thank you Pati, for such a lovely welcome! I’m so excited to be a guest on “See How We Sew” and share with you my sewing journey. Six years ago my family and I moved to San Francisco from Sydney, Australia, and I was in awe of all the fabulous fabric and pattern books available here at very enticing prices! Blessed with a new baby that slept (my first didn’t), I bought a sewing machine and started to sew again! It was through wonderful quilting fabrics that my passion for sewing was sparked.

I was sewing mostly clothes and toys for my two boys. On a trip to NYC I came across the store, Purl Soho. In the window was an amazing quilt in fabulous prints. That gorgeous quilt turned out to be Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt in her fabric collection Katie Jumps Rope.

So started my love of quilting.

Soon I was reading books and searching online for various piecing and quilting techniques, taking classes at my local quilt shops, and discovering everything from hand quilting to improv piecing. I learned something new every time I turned on my sewing machine.

This search led me to join the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild 4 years ago, I really enjoy the learning and camaraderie of being a part of this group. I’ve gone from making baby-sized quilts to King-sized quilts with the wonderful support of my guild! It truly is amazing when you find friends that are as obsessed as you are :). Together we’ve created an annual quilt show, Stitch Modern, for the past 3 years. It’s been a wonderful show with some great events! If you live locally, pencil it in your diary for next year, it just get’s better and better.

“Diamond Life” Front and Back views. Stitch Modern 2013.

At the start of a new project I love image searching and researching for my quilt designs. This has led to a Pinterest addiction. My Quilt board is filled with gorgeous colors and shapes! The list of quilt designs that I’d like to sew is out of control!


I love working with a variety of fabrics, both pattern and solids in my quilts. I’ve used Quilting Cotton, Voile, Cotton Lawn, Linen, Denim…the list goes on.

Linen/Liberty Double Disappearing Nine Patch in process.

I recently finished the top of a Double Disappearing Nine Patch quilt that used lovely linen texture and tones mixed with some gorgeous Liberty of London fabric. Oh how I love Liberty and linen!!

My Linen/Liberty quilt top on s how at Stitch Modern 2014.
My Liberty Hexys are a work in progress… mostly worked on at the kid’s soccer practice.

Looking at all the gorgeous fabrics in my stash, I find I have fabrics of many different styles. I see that I can be drawn to fabrics that have a more defined graphic style or a lovely loose painterly style. The element that unites them all is their wonderful palettes. A fabulous color palette gets me every time.

Yes, my fabric stash is under control…well…sort of….

This love of fabric has also led me in a new career direction. I’ve been a graphic designer for many, many years and all this play with fabric has rekindled my passion for pattern.


My studio and my King size Half-Square Triangle quilttop on the wall. You can see more on my studio and design process here.

Last year I competed in a fabric design competition on “The Printed Bolt” called REpeated. Run by two fabulous quilt girls, these challenges were close to heart as we were making fabric designs for quilt fabrics! They had some very talented judges and the response from readers was fabulous!

Here are the links for my REpeated challenge designs and the stories behind them:

Challenge One: Folkloric Stitches

Challenge Two: Up In the Air

Challenge Three: Spring Dot

Challenge Four: Grandparents Garden

Final Challenge: Tidal Lace

So last October, with my collections in hand, I traveled to Houston Quilt Market (an amazing experience!). I met with some lovely and supportive fabric companies and quilty people and I’m pleased to say that my very first fabric collection will be released later this year! I’ll be sharing more with you soon and in the meantime you can see some of my design work at

Kim-Andersson-studio 2

I hope that you enjoyed reading a bit about me and my journey to quilts. Next post, I’ll show you some other sewing that I like to do, with a mix of clothes, toys and gifts…and maybe a bit more about quilts.

Let the stitchy fun begin!


Kim Andersson

If you want to see more I have sewing and quilting images over on Instagram. Another addiction?




Hari-Kuyo – The Ceremony of Broken Needles

In Japan, the Hari-Kuyo ceremony is held throughout Japan annually on the 8th of February. This 400-year-old tradition is held at Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples as a celebration of the small tools used by seamstresses, embroiderers, and housewives over the previous year.

It is believed that these inanimate objects have souls and by using them, some of their pain is released. Broken or worn needles, pins, and some small scissors are brought to the ceremony and thanked for their good service in creating sashiko, kimonos, or even for daily mending. Then they are gently laid to rest in a soft tofu cake.


Tofu is symbolic in this instance for rest and tenderness; a peaceful place for the tools retirement. In observance of the ceremony, no sewing is to take place on this day, as this gives time for  reflection and time to pray that sewing skills improve the following year. Audrey Yang tells of the ceremony in a beautiful online booklet- Hari-Kuyo: Festival of the Broken Needle.

Stitch Modern Ceremony

East Bay Modern Quilt Guild held a version of this meaningful ceremony last Saturday, February 8th, as part of a series of events connected with Stitch Modern 2014, their annual show.

Photo by Pati Fried

I found paying my respects and praying to console my broken needles a wonderful opportunity to share in a time honored tradition . I spend so much of my day with needle and scissors in hand. It was a moment to reflect on my year as a quilter and to be thankful of the accomplishments made with these tiny tools. I have always tossed them away without regard to their importance to my craft. This was an opportunity to change my thinking.

Photo by Pati Fried

The ceremony was thoughtful and welcoming. Birgit Hottenrott, the driving force to celebrate Hari-Kuyo at Stitch Modern, shared the history and lore that has evolved with this special day. While she spoke, many brought their broken needles to rest in the peaceful bed of tofu. Birgit ended the ceremony with the lovely poem by Emily Dickinson, Don’t put up my Thread and Needle.

Photo by Pati Fried

Thank you Birgit, for bringing this lovely tradition to our attention. As this year proceeds, I fully intend to keep a special place for retiring my used needles until February 8, 2015, when I will again, pay them the respect they deserve and celebrate Hari-Kuyo.

Photo by Pati Fried

ではまた。Dewa mata, (See you later).

Signature Cropped

Please Welcome our Newest “Blogging Sister”

Pati Fried_editIf you’ve been following us here at See How We Sew, you know that Christie Batterman, one of our original quartet of bloggers, left us at the end of 2012 to pursue other interests. As a result, Jennifer, Darra, and I have been carrying on for a few months while looking for a new blogging “sister.” Today, we ‘re excited and happy to introduce our newest member. Please join us in welcoming Pati Fried to See How We Sew. You may remember Pati from her guest post a few months back.

I first met Pati about 15 years ago while teaching a beginning quilting class at a local shop. We reunited two years ago at Quilt Market in Houston and I was so pleased to hear how her life had changed since that first class. She is now designing fabric and patterns and is very involved in two local quilt guilds: East Bay Heritage Quilters and East Bay Modern Quilt Guild. She describes herself as a Modern Traditionalist and we are thrilled that she will bring this point of view to our readers.

Without further ado, here’s Pati with a peek at some of her quilts and an introduction in her own words.

Pati's quiltsI am so honored to be joining Laura, Darra and Jennifer at See How We Sew! They are such a talented team and bring so much inspiration to the quilting world. I’m excited to work alongside them and to find my “spot” in such an inspirational blog. I look forward to your comments, feedback and ideas on what you would like to see in my post topics. See you on Friday.- Pati


Guest Post: “(Aspiring) To Be a Modern Quilter” by Pati Fried

From Laura: Our special guest contributor today is Pati Fried. Pati and I belong to the same mini quilting group, and I have enjoyed seeing the range of her talents through her quilts. Not only is she an accomplished quiltmaker, but a passionate gardener as well. Welcome, Pati!

Pati Fried_editQuilting has been my passion for a long time. There are oodles of trends that pass through our beautiful, quilty world. Some trends have created such an impact that they become a new style of quilting. Modern Quilting has definitely made that impact and has found a permanent home in the quilt world, alongside its friends: Traditional, Contemporary, and Art Quilting.

What is this fresh, new energy that is rocking our quilt world?  I was curious. My Pinterest Board started filling up. I found myself hovering over the solids, linens, and shot cottons in my favorite quilt shops. I started following Modern Quilt blogs and the first inspirational resource, Fresh Modern Quilts.

The Modern Quilt Guild writes:

Modern Quilting is inspired by modern design. It has many different characteristics, but often uses bold or solid colors and prints, with high contrast and graphics. It may include improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work.  Modern Traditionalism, or the updating of classic quilt design, is also seen as modern quilting.

That’s a pretty broad description. But ya kinda know it when you see it, right?

romance_1_red on chair_edit

My work never looked quite as traditional as I intended it to. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE traditional quilting, reproduction fabrics, and the rich history that makes quilting what it is today. It is classic and beautiful. A Baltimore Album quilt or tiny pieced HSTs (half-square triangles) will always make my heart skip a beat. To be able to balance that with what I was feeling from the Modern Quilts seemed like an answer to finding my own voice.

I joined the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild (EBMQG) about a year ago. It was right before their annual event, Stitch Modern, a month-long extravaganza of all things Modern Quilting. I am so glad I did. What I found was friendship, support, and a whole lot of inspiration – young quilters, new quilters, and a few seasoned quilters like me, all looking for a new perspective. I love this guild. It pushes me out of my quilted box. It encourages me to simplify. It reminds me to focus on what I really want to create and minimalize the rest.


So that’s the big question: What do I want to create? Hmmm . . .

quilt detail_editWith traditional quilting, my answer was simple – if I like something, I make it. I joke that it’s my “speak, dance, and sing” process. A fabric or a new technique will speak to me.  Then I do a little dance experimenting with them. The result is to create a quilt that–you got it–sings.

How would I simplify or minimize that? I don’t necessarily want to spend time on a quilt with a limited color palette or fabric selection. I live for prints, design, and color. That’s what drew me to quilting in the first place, that mixing and matching, making the fabric speak to me. I want to enjoy the dance as much as the finished product. I still want my quilt to sing – just in a fresher and simpler voice.Montage_editThe green medallion in the montage above was a Round Robin project in progress. The center block was created by Judy Miller, and I worked on the border. The Four Baskets medallion was also a Round Robin project in progress. I created the center block, and Nancy Paterson designed the border. The other examples are some of my first attempts at Modern Quilting.

This is the challenge I have given myself: to embrace what I have learned in twenty years of traditional quilting while continuing to push my skills by enjoying an eclectic mix of patterns, color, and texture. Oh, and did I mention that I want it to be a finished product that will reside in my home comfortably? Yeah, that too.

romance_stacked quilts_3_edit

Quilting is all about the journey for me.  Maybe I fit into the Modern Traditionalist group, and maybe not. To be honest, I am not sure I care what the label is, as long as I am enjoying the dance.

~Pati Fried

We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the “quilting journey” of this talented Bay Area quilter.  To learn more about Pati, and to see a gallery of her quilts, visit her website here. For a generous sampling of the Modern Quilts on display at QuiltCon 2013, the first international conference and show presented by The Modern Quilt Guild, check out Darra’s two-part eyewitness post here and here.

‘Til next time, happy stitching!