New Pattern Launch -- RetroBlock Quilt Pattern

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hooray Hooray — it's pattern launch day!!!

Super thrilled to announce the 3rd pattern in the Mid-Century Modern quilt line—RetroBlock has launched!

You can purchase it HERE !!!  

A mid-century modern quilt hanging over a railing with water and mountains in the background

RetroBlock quilt is a reimagined mid-century modern design—from an era where sleek lines were juxtaposed with organic shapes, resulting in bold, large-scale patterns.

My first two mid-century modern quilts (blogged here and here) didn't scratch my retro itch, they merely accelerated it, and I see at least 1 or 2 more patterns in my future along these lines.

As with the previous quilts, RetroBlock also meets the essential elements of mid-century modern:
  • — Minimal ornamentation
  • — Form follows function
  • — Uncluttered, sleek lines with both organic and/or geometric shapes
  • — Mixing different, and sometimes, contrasting colors and/or materials.
I have been looking to create THE mid-century modern pattern ever since I had this learning experience.  This may not be the replacement quilt, but it is clearly the quilt that I was meant to design and create.

For me—as with most of my quilting—the nod to the mid-1900's comes with a look to solid fabrics in vibrant colors.  Putting a retro vibe onto the backs of both quilts.

But as I learned from a group of very talented, creative, gracious and committed quilt testers—there's a lot more to mid-century modern than solids baby!

Clockwise from top left:  Janet @patchworkandpaws, Jenn @mountainviewquilts, Julie @jwestin1959, and Brenda @endofthebolt 

Clockwise from top left:  Susan @quiltmod519, Roxane, Janine @lilbeanquilting, and Carolyn @micko_mum

Clockwise from top left:  Cassie @cassie_quilts, Lyn @lyncauwels, and Monica @monicab96

Time to take a minute to acknowledge quilt pattern testers.  They are truly the unsung heroes in a quilt pattern launch.  

Quilt pattern testers give freely of their time, material, knowledge and expertise.  They quickly help you understand if any key dimension are mis-typed, find what spell check missed (or rather mis-corrected), they catch inconsistent hashtags, let you know when you do something right and when you do something wrong.  These talented people provide me, and you, with versions that help get our creative juices flowing and they provide feedback on what level (beginning, intermediate or advanced) the pattern should be targeted to quilters.  

In a nut shell, quilt pattern testers are the ones that ensure that when you purchase a pattern, you are buying something that has been well thought through, revised for clarity and tested for accuracy. 

๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘  and ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ for quilt testers!

Thanks for joining me today to learn about the RetroBlock Quilt Pattern.  It's available in my shop.

Have a great weekend!


Awnings Awnings Awnings

Monday, April 15, 2019

So, as I shared back in early 2017, John and I purchased a T@b Trailer (it's a small, 13' tear-drop trailer) to travel the western US in.  In 3 short years, we have had some amazing adventures, traveling off to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alberta and British Columbia.

This year there is a 2 month cross-country journey planned!

As fun as the trailer has been.  Equally fun, has been the small business that I launched as a result.

I make window awnings for T@b Trailers and sell them in my Etsy shop ... over 140 sets so far!

It started out as a way to make a little money to pay for my quilting passion.  And over the past 3 years, it's grown into a fun little business where I get to make a fun accessory for people who are out living their dream and traveling the country.  I call that a win win!


In addition to adding a lot of character to a trailer, these awnings are great at providing shade (while allowing a breeze to move through the trailer) as well as privacy.

The awning design is not mine.  I was able to secure the permission from the creator of the pattern to sell awnings, based on her design, in my Etsy shop.  She was very gracious, granting me permission to do so, and a small business was born.  I've since modified the pattern to make it more robust in wind as well as created new patterns for different size T@b Trailers.

Spring is here ... and campers are getting their gear set up for summer, so it's been a BUSY couple of weeks.  You know, busy in a good way ... but busy!

Hopefully back to a little quilting this week!


Opal's Quilt

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

You know when you get to make a quilt for someone very special and you just don't want to screw it up ...

This is that quilt.

This is Opal's quilt.

Opal came into this world in February—and in her first 3 weeks of life she showed the world what a little fighter she can be.

A friend of mine, H, friends with Opal's grandmother, commissioned me to make this quilt for Opal.

She knew that she wanted the colors from an opal stone ... but was open to the rest.  I directed her to my Baby Quilt board on Pinterest to get an idea of what she did and didn't like.  She came back with 3 quilt patterns:  1, 2 & 3.  Proud that #1 was my quilt pattern, I none-the-less steered H towards #3—the Modern Fans quilt by Suzy Quilts.

She had indicated that the parents were a bit more modern, I felt the circles echoed an Opal a bit and I was bound and determined to get over my fear of making a quilt with ⭕️'s in it!  I had taken a curves class a few years back and never made it past week 2 ๐Ÿ˜’.

Starting with an image of opals ...

I pulled some fabric swatches—H preferred the bolder versions and we agreed that a light gray would make a good background.

For a label, I designed a label on Adobe Illustrator that had a lavender label floating over some sheet music—Opal is blessed to have joined a very musical family.

Then I started making the quilt.  I am pretty confident that I have never used a seam ripper as much as I did on this quilt (ok ... maybe once when my quilting became a hot mess on the last 3rd of a quilt). 

Quite honestly, the biggest challenge I had with this quilt top was NOT the circles ... it was getting the points to match on the purple center pieces.  That took a lot of trial and error.

And a made a couple of blocks that just didn't work with this color palette—though unfortunately I didn't figure that out until the quilt was completed.  The circled block ๐Ÿ‘‡had to go ...

But then my doubts settled in.  This was SO different from what I typically make and in a color palette that was a little foreign to me.  So I ended up snapping a pic of it and sending to a fellow quilter I have met through Instagram for her opinion—her honest opinion. 

She was on board, it was me, not the quilt that was the problem.

While waiting for the label to arrive from Spoonflower, I set out to find the perfect back.  Well that turned out to be a LOT easier than I had intended.  I went to a couple of online fabric stores (remember, I live in the middle of nowhere) and searched for opal.  The minute that this one showed up ... I knew I had found it.  The fabric description reads, "this cotton print fabric is digitally printed and features layers upon layers of circles to create multidimensional colors like you'd find in an opal, colors include white, mustard, orange, purple lavender, shades of blue and green, pink, pale pink, magenta, burgundy, peach and coral".

If that wasn't the perfect backing for this quilt, I would probably never find it.

While I started with the Modern Fan Quilt, I had also found a reference to a blog post by Suzy Quilts titled "How to Edit Colors of Quilt Mockups Using Adobe Illustrator".  While I wouldn't call it easy ... it did allow me to play around a bit and end up with the quilt that I wanted.  

It shipped out to H this morning.  

I am honored that I was given a chance to work on this.  I am hopeful for Opal's future.  I am grateful for a quilting friend who encouraged me to keep going . I am thankful that there are so many talented quilters out there who share their knowledge and help us become better quilters.  I am pleased that this is not a quilt that I screwed up!

Hope you all have had equally productive weeks.


New Cedar Closet

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Time for a Saturday Musing (on Sunday) and time to get back on track with the Blog. 

We had an AMAZING time in New Zealand.  Spending a month, about half of it visiting my husbands family and the other half wandering around the south island on our own, heading from Dunedin > Gore > Te Anau > Queenstown > Wanaka > Geraldine > Hokitika > Nelson.  Our trip to Geraldine was unintended, but resulted from a slide on the west coast highway that shut the road down for 4 days.  But we found the MOST FABULOUS cheese shop in Geraldine ... so since I am married to a Brit ... all was good once he discovered that!

It was a beautiful country and we enjoyed our trip immensely.  It was terribly sad to see the act of terrorism in Christchurch a week after our departure.  But it has been beautiful to watch an amazing leader in their Prime Minister step up, backed by the gentle people of New Zealand.  And I have watched with amazement as the quilting community worldwide has also stepped in to support the KiwiQuilters in their effort to make 50 - 100 quilts for the families of those slain and injured.

So on to far more mundane events here ...

I got a cedar closet.  Mind you, 3 boxes of cedar planks have been sitting in the garage for 3 years. 

But as we were getting ready for our trip to New Zealand, and headed into the closet in the guest room for seldom worn clothes, I discovered that a beautiful Jones of New York wool cape that I had gotten an AMAZING deal on about a decade ago had been eaten pretty significantly by moths.  Pretty confident that they were either still there or would definitely be back.  Decided that it was time to get the cedar out of the garage and into the closet.

So 5 boxes (2 additional boxes had to be added) and one Saturday later ... and I have a cedar closet that smells VERY aromatic! 

We started with a relatively small closet (5') that already had double hanging rods and a set of shelves in it. 

My husband, aka the Construction Manager, removed the doors, shelving and rods. 

He started with a blank slate and began installing the cedar.  He installed it on the back and two side walls.  The ceiling is sloped in this closet, so we opted to forgo that and there is carpeting on the floor.  The following pictures are from my check-ins as Project Supervisor. 

Turns out that the hardest part of the whole thing was rehanging the doors!  The Construction Manager took the hanging hardware off.  And when he went to put it back on, he didn't realize that the door in the front had a different offset then the one in the back, so he used half of the wrong hardware on the wrong door.  That took half a day to figure out ... 

Super pleased with the end result and happy to have somewhere to store the silk and wool clothing year round that doesn't smell like moth balls!  When you open the doors there is definitely a strong scent of cedar coming out and fingers crossed that will be effective. 

The whole project cost $125 (for the 5 boxes of cedar).  He does have an electric miter saw and a pneumatic nailer that were used in the project.  But I suspect the project could be done without either as the cedar planks are thin and soft, which would make it relatively easy to put a nail through with a hammer and to cut. 

Back to quilt blogging this week!

All the best,

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