Podcasts, Photography, and Facing Fear

I have exciting news to share! My interview with Pat Sloan for her American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast airs today. She was so warm and welcoming and we had a fun chat about quilting and photography. I hope you go have a listen! If you just found my blog after listening, welcome! I’m so glad you came to check out my work. Here are a few photos you’ll run into while checking out my blog…

about the blog

A lot of you may not know, but I’m a VERY quiet person and hate being the center of attention in any way. In fact, I almost didn’t agree to do the interview. But I’m so glad I pushed through my fears and put myself out there to get to know people in our awesome quilting community. However, after the interview was over, there were several things I wish I had said differently or shared more eloquently (I’m guessing we all feel that way some times). So I thought I would use this post to expand on a few things we chatted about, add in some fun photography stuff, and hopefully give you all a chance to get to know me a little better.

First, I thought it would be fun to show you my dad’s art. He has been pursuing getting his art published since I was a kid and has always been such a good example of following your artistic dreams.

dad-art

As you can see, his work is very different from my quilting, but I think it allowed me to see making art as an option in life. It is something I want my daughter to notice as well as she watches me create. Since no one else in my family sews or quilts, I’ve made it a goal of mine to be that person who creates quilts for everyone. I hope that they will become heirlooms and special pieces that can be passed on in our family.

Also, I’ve never really shared much about my past as a professional photographer before, but I thought it might be fun to show a few of my photos from the eight years I spent photographing weddings.

letterm-photography

Over those years I shot more than 200,000 photos. I think it’s important when you’re starting out with quilting or with photography, not to compare yourself to others. Everyone is at different places in their journey. For fun (and a little embarrassment on my part), I’ll show you a few photos from my first wedding vs my last. (This is not any commentary on the awesome people in the photos, just my photography skills (or lack thereof)).

firstvslast

On the left is a bridal portrait and on the right is a shot of some flowers. The photos from my first wedding are the ones I put in my portfolio on myspace (lol) at the time…so they were the best I took that day. Yep.

What’s interesting to me when reflecting on this is the bridal portrait from my last wedding is not one of my best, even though it is WAY better than my first bridal portrait. I love that even when you are feeling like you really understand a subject (like photography or quilting!) there is always room for growth. That is so exciting!!!

I am excited to see how I grow as a quilt photographer from my first quilt photo to my last (in about 100 years! ;-)). I have been working on a basic quilt photography how-to series for a while now, and I just need to put the finishing touches on it. In the series, I will show you simple ways to improve your photos with whatever camera you have. If you follow my blog, I promise you’ll be the first to know when it comes out later this year!

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit more about me and my photography!

Michelle

The Minis Blog Tour Quilt

About a month ago, Pat Bravo put out the call on Instagram for quilters who wanted to try their hand at a mini quilt combining her Dare and Essentials II fabric collections. It sounded like such a fun challenge, and I was thrilled to be selected as one of the quilters for The Minis Blog Tour.

Pat-Bravo

I was sent the “Dare to Be Funky” colorway from Dare and the Azure colorway from Essentials II. I wanted to design something for this mini quilt that really emphasized how the two collections worked together. After more trial and error than I’d like to admit, my (yet to be named) design finally came together.

Pat-Bravo-Mini-Quilt-X

I generally do not use a lot of prints in my quilts so this felt very different for me. But it was such a good exercise in going out of my comfort zone and I’m so happy with the results.

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The Essentials II fabric was the perfect amount of low volume and blender fabrics to really help the Dare fabric shine. I am seriously obsessed with the Essentials II fabric. I already have another full quilt planned that uses it. I feel like it was designed just for me!

Pat-Bravo-mini-quilt-7

Here’s a side-by-side of the front and the back. I never done a pieced backing for a mini and I love how it looks in the fabric I had left over. I added striped hanging sleeve pockets to the top. Now to decide where to hang it!

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The binding is the Open Doors print from Dare. If you looked at it, you might not guess it is the same fabric. I love the chunky stripe look it creates.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve taken out a quilt for a proper photoshoot and I had so much fun capturing all the color and pattern in this mini.

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And no photoshoot would be complete without help from a tiny assistant. I’m hoping she’ll catch the quilting bug, and by the look on her face, I think it just might happen.

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Thanks so much for checking out my mini!

We’re a little over halfway done with the tour. Faith from Sarana Ave and Lesley from Storts Market posted some serious cuteness yesterday. Today, Ellen from 3DHandmade is also posting. And be sure to check out Kate Basti and Kate from Modern Makerie tomorrow as I know they are going to have something amazing. To see the full lineup, head on over to Pat Bravo’s post for links on all the makers.

Beginner’s Guide to Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)

Half Square Triangles are my favorite quilt block! They are fairly simple to make and together they can make so many different designs! Just to get an idea, take a look at my favorite HST quilts.

If you are new to quilting, the standard method of making HSTs is the “two-at-a-time” method. I’ll show you the process step-by-step below! After the tutorial, we’ll discuss the other ways of making HSTs. Ok, here we go!

HST-GUIDE

To start, you will need two fabric squares. Take the finished sized of the HST and add one inch if you want some wiggle room (I do!). **The standard practice is to add 7/8″. I’m just lazy and it’s so much easier to just add an inch and trim extra. But it’s up to you! Check out this handy HST cutting chart if you want a cheat sheet for the 7/8″ math.**

Here are my two squares. I’m starting with 5 inch charm squares, which will finish at 4 inch HSTs. On the left, you see the right side of the fabric. On the right, is the wrong side.
right side wrong side fabric

Use a pencil to draw a diagonal line from one corner to another on wrong side of the lighter colored square.
draw line on center

Place the two squares right sides together with the lighter color on top.
right sides together

Sew ¼” from that line on each side of the line. (If you have a lot of HSTs to make, it’s best to chain piece them during this step.)
sewing

right sides together

Cut along the line you drew to split the square in half.
Cut HST

Open and press to make two HSTs.
On the left, I pressed it open. On the right, I pressed it towards the darker fabric. How you press is a matter of preference. I prefer to press them open for flatter seams. But many people like to press to one side so they can nest seams.
pressing options

Trim to exact size needed (in my example, 4 inches). trim HST

Tada!!! Two perfect Half-Square Triangles!!
Half Square Triangles

One of my favorite things about quilting is people are always sharing new methods and techniques to making piecing faster. Here are a few other ways to make Half-Square Triangles. After you’ve mastered the “two-at-a-time” method, try a different way and see if you like it better!

Quiltcon Recap Post Roundup

Here are some of the wonderful Quiltcon recap posts I’ve been reading this week. I seriously cannot get enough!

Amy from Diary of a Quilter gives a great overview of Quiltcon with some really fun behind the scenes photos. Plus a video!

Yvonne’s posts on Quilting Jetgirl are always an insightful read. Here, she takes on Quiltcon from three different angles: Volunteering, Her Quilts, and a Final Recap

If you are trying to restrain yourself (like I am) from buying a vintage camper, do not read this recap from That’s What She Sewed.

Even quilt shows cannot escape controversy. I appreciate when people can disagree without fighting and even bringing larger topics to ponder to the table. Read Katie’s questions and opinions here.

I love Christa’s thoughts on what makes Quiltcon different from other quilt shows. Bonus: her post also has great photos!

If I watch a video about Quiltcon, I can pretend I was actually there, right?!

Oh the photos in this really make me swoon. I love seeing the quilts next to each other. It somehow changes their look from just seeing a picture of the individual quilt. Plus there is a promise of a part 2 blog post!

Jenny from Quilt Skipper has a really fun post with several quilts that I didn’t see pictures of anywhere else.

Nicole from Modern Handcraft’s award ribbons seriously stole the show. Someone needs to make her a ribbon for her ribbons. Amazing.

 

Free Pattern and Newsletter Launch!

I’m beyond excited to be launching my modern quilting newsletter, Half-Square Headlines!!! Each month, I’ll have an exclusive interview with an awesome quilter, share the latest news from around the modern quilting world, plus include tons of inspiration. And I’ll definitely have freebies and fun giveaways along the way.

To celebrate, I’m giving away my first free pattern called Starbelt to all new subscribers!

Free Quilt Pattern

I spent weeks designing and putting this exclusive pattern together just for you. I hope you love it. And I think it would look just as fabulous in prints as it does in solids!

Join in the fun. Get a free pattern. Sound good? Let’s do it!

Don’t wait. This pattern won’t be free forever. And if you think a friend would love it too, please use the share links below to spread the word.