Meet my newest quilt – Scrappy Geese for Quilt Theory

I’m so excited to share my latest quilt design, called Scrappy Geese! It is a super fun, scrap friendly, colorful flying geese inspired quilt. I designed it for a new quilt pattern company called Quilt Theory. The story behind Quilt Theory is a cool one… In February 2016, a group of quilters connected to cultivate relationships with others running businesses in the quilting industry. A tight-knit group was quickly woven together as we shared successes, answered questions, and supported one another. What started as a way to collect real-time insight and expertise quickly evolved into an opportunity to collaborate.

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The collaboration became Quilt Theory, a line of simple and modern quilt patterns printed on small cards and one-page PDFs. As a group, we have become a strong team as we worked through pattern writing, testing, editing, and quilting.

I think designing this quilt was the hardest part of the process for me. I went through at least 4 designs where I later found similar designs that were already out in the world. Frustrated, I thought it might be a good exercise to return to a standard block I loved and see if I could make something new out it. I’ve been very interested lately in using slightly different shades and tones of color to create depth and interest, and the rest just fell into place.

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Here’s a few iphone photos of the quilt coming together. I love those big, colorful flying geese blocks.

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I had the honor (and it seriously was an honor) to photograph everyone’s quilts for the pattern covers and the website. I have never spent so much time with such beautiful work. It was amazing. My favorite shoot was from this amazing store called Urban in Cashmere (WA).

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When I entered the store, it was like the quilts were begging me to live there. They just fit right in. How cozy does my quilt look on this chair?! And I have to buy that metal dresser to just hang quilts from! :)

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I also employed my “quilt slave” aka my husband to help me hold quilts on some of the shoots. No one tell him I posted this outtake okay. It just cracks me up and is a fun reminder of all of the great times I had photographing these quilts.

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PDF patterns are available now through our website QuiltTheory.com. Pattern cards coming soon to a local quilt shop near you! Let your local quilt shop know you want them to carry Quilt Theory patterns.

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I love how the pattern covers turned out. The Cotton Couture from Michael Miller Fabrics almost glows. And the straightline quilting with Aurifil Silver White Thread provides the perfect texture.

Thanks so much for learning a bit more about my quilt! Be sure to visit the rest of the Quilt Theory designers this week during our blog hop.

Quilt Theory Release Blog Hop Schedule

Friday 10/7 – Quilt Theory
Saturday 10/8 – Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
Monday 10/10 – Daisy @Ants to Sugar
Tuesday 10/11 – Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Wednesday 10/12- Kitty @Night Quilter
Thursday 10/13 – Michelle (You’re Here!)
Friday 10/14 – Stephanie @Late Night Quilter
Saturday 10/15 – Lorinda @Laurel Poppy and Pine
Monday 10/17 – Quilt Theory

Giveaway Time!

To celebrate the launch of Quilt Theory, I am giving away a copy of my pattern, Scrappy Geese (printed or PDF, your choice!) along with a PDF of all of the Quilt Theory Coloring Pages. Because my quilt is perfect for scraps, I’ll also send along my extra Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabric… enough to make a Scrappy Geese quilt top of your own! (Sorry I can only ship the fabric in the US, but International participants can still win the pattern & coloring pages). *If you buy my pattern and then you win it, I’ll refund you or let you pick out another free Quilt Theory pattern :)

To enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends Sunday, October 16th, at midnight eastern time and a random number generator will select the winner. Giveaway open to participants 18 years or older.

2016 Mid Year Review

Although I was fashionably late with my New Year’s goals, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl has generously invited anyone to join her mid year review link up. I think it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past 6 months and re-focus, re-tool, and get re-energized for the rest of the year.

2016 Mid Year Review

At the beginning of the year I was finally at a point in life (the baby actually sleeps!) where I could start to focus on quilting again. My goals were made with the idea that I would tie up some old loose ends and work on a couple of passion projects. What I didn’t anticipate was that jumping back into quilting would awaken some dormant creativity monster and I would explode with new ideas and directions for my quilting life. I can’t wait to share those exciting things with you all in the very near future.

Even though my goals have made quite the shift over the first part of the year, I still think it’s valuable to look over what I had and see how I’m doing…

Goal 1: My biggest goal is to let go of perfection (at least temporarily)

Needs Improvement: This goal was made to create more space for writing in the blog. I wrote a few tutorials I’m happy about, but I really haven’t had much time much because I took on some big projects. I’d like to get back on track with this soon.

Goal 2: Finish my quilt photography series

Nope. Still not done. Everything is there, I just need to take all of the photos. This stalled because I don’t have any of the quilts I’ve made in my possession. I gave them all away! I should be finishing some up here in the near future though so I’ll have something to work with again.

Goal 3: Write a quilt pattern

YES! Finally a success. I wrote and published my free Starbelt quilt pattern in February, my Xflower (name still needs some work) pattern in May, and have since designed several more that are still in top secret status. I have seriously caught the quilt pattern writing bug and definitely want to continue. I see 2017 as the year of quilt design for me. Can we just do 2017 goals now?!

I have some fun plans for this XFlower pattern

I have some fun plans for this XFlower pattern

Goal 4: Hook myself up with the quilty goodness.

No again. I still really want to make myself a quilt for my bed. And I want it done by Christmas. I have visions of something black and white OR I want to raid my entire Anna Maria Horner stash and just go color wild.

That’s it. So I’m totally rocking 1 out of 4 goals and I’m actually ok with that. It’s important to remember that changing course is not a bad thing and doing things in their own time, even when you are impatient, tends to work out for the best.

I’ve already started reading through everyone else’s goals and am so inspired by you all.

My Favorite Binding Tutorials

For months I’ve been trying to find time to write a binding tutorial. But I think sometimes when you keep pushing a task to the bottom of the to-do list, it’s a sign that it’s just not the right time for that project. What inspired me to write one was I wanted to have a go-to source for instructions when I teach my sister how to quilt this summer (yes, I’ve converted a family member to join in my quilting mania!!!!).

Instead, I put together this list of my favorite binding resources online. These seem to be the easiest to understand and have the clearest pictures. It will be nice to refer back to as I’m teaching… and there’s also I few techniques I’ve never tried. I thought I’d share to in case you are also looking and don’t want to wade through 100 different tutorials :-)

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Traditional binding & hand-stitching instructions (Crazy Mom Quilts)

Machine binding – with video! (A Crafty Fox)

Machine binding – with bonus tips (Wasn’t Quilt in a Day)

Finish attaching binding (Sew Inspired Blog)

Biased binding tutorial (Riley Blake Designs)

Binding a quilt with the quilt back (Cluck Cluck Sew)

Handstitching binding tutorial (Canoe Ridge Creations)

Tips for perfect binding corners (APQS)

How to fussy cut a quilt binding (Sew Mama Sew)

Flange binding tutorial – video! (Missouri Star Quilt Company)

Making Prairie Points (Quilting Digest)

Using decorate stitches on binding (Auribuzz)

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…

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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.

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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.

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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)).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.