Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cindy Grisdela Trunk Show

I had the pleasure of attending a trunk show with Cindy Grisdela, courtesy of Hip Stitch, a local quilt shop here in Albuquerque that has been bringing in some great presenters lately, such as Sariella.

Cindy is the author of Artful Improv (affiliate link).

Cindy had some fun quilts and tips to share, and I figured you wouldn't want to miss out.

For this piece, Cindy explained that you could turn it to make whatever side you wanted be the top. She mentioned her customers have personal preferences about how her art is oriented, which even affects sales.

Pastel isn't Cindy's go-to color scheme, but she challenged herself to tackle less saturated hues. She did dense quilting in the top right corner of the piece below to add interest.

With regard to free-motion, Cindy suggested, "Nobody knows what you meant to do, so don't take yourself so serious.

Her pieces illustrated the beauty of minimalism.

To help even out the tension for free-motion Cindy uses 40 wt on top and 50 wt in the bobbin.

She suggested coming up with new quilting ideas by asking, "What if..."

Cindy encouraged us to enter shows and explained how each venue varies in what they are looking to include. "If you aren't getting rejected, you aren't entering enough shows," she said.

Cindy is adept at taking a coordinating color scheme and adding a few outliers to make the overall effect work.

Uneven Bars by Cindy Grisdela
Cindy sells her work at shows, and had prepared some pieces for hanging by mounting them onto canvases painted black and adhered with gel medium (affiliate link). Her binding on these is a pillowcase-style facing.

I like this style of presentation because...

If you want to get some pointers from Cindy, check out this YouTube video. You could also pick up her book.

Thanks Hip Stitch for the fun evening!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wonderland Quilt Along Block #1: The Hat

Let's get this tea party started! In case you missed my announcement, each month I'll be introducing a free block pattern for my Wonderland Quilt

We're starting things off with The Hat. Instructions follow, but you can also download a printable pdf on Craftsy.


Main Hat Fabric ( I used a random scrap. Let me know if you can identify the print.):
C- 8½” x 2½”
D- 5½” x 5½”

E- 5½” x 3”

Background (Daisies & Dots by Piece O'Cake Designs for Robert Kaufman):
A- (2) 8½” x 2”
B- 5½” x 1”

I used Aurifil 2600 (Dove) for piecing. It's light gray, and makes a nice neutral.

All seam allowances are ¼”.


1. Attach B and E to opposite sides of D.

2. Attach A rectangles to each of the 8½” sides of BDE.

3. Attach C to the bottom of the existing unit.

Your unfinished block should measure 8 1/2" x 10 1/2". Don't forget to follow Quilting Mod via e-mail or a blog reader of your choice, so that you don't miss out on any blocks. Socialize with others and share your blocks at the Wonderland Quilt Along Facebook Group. Share your progress by using #WonderlandQuiltAlong on Instagram and linking up below.

Disclaimer: Aurifil has kindly sponsored the thread for this project, but it would be my thread of choice regardless. Also, there are some affiliate links above, which will not cost you any extra if you make a purchase. While I appreciate any buying you'd like to do through my links, my main purpose is to help provide information about products I use in case you're interested in trying them out yourself. No pressure.
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Wonderland Quilt Along

Hooray! I am starting a Wonderland Quilt Along next week.

Do you remember the quilt?

I originally made it up in C + S Rifle Paper Company Wonderland fabrics, which you can find at The Confident Stitch or Fat Quarter Shop. Riley Blake's Wonderland Two at The Confident Stitch (also at Fat Quarter Shop), Blend's Wonderland, or Springs Creative Disney fabrics would be nice options too. My Quilt Along rendition will be in Angela Pignel's Curious Dream for Windham, which you can find at or Fat Quarter Shop.

Fabric requirements are approximate, as the amount needed will vary depending upon your familiarity with paper-piecing (since many of the blocks employ this technique). Using non-directional prints (no matter how you turn them, they still looks equally upright) will also make things easier and more efficient. I recommend using quality quilting cottons that feel nice and will wear well whether you purchase at a local quilt shop, online, or a big box store. I like to stick with quality brands I trust including Art Gallery, Robert Kaufman, Wyndham, Michael Miller, Cotton + Steel, Riley Blake, etc.

Background: 3 yards (Choose something that contrasts nicely with your other fabrics so you can see your piecing. It typically works better if you avoid large-scale prints.)

Black and White Solid: 1/8 yard of each

20 Coordinating 1/4 yards (such as a fat quarter bundle)

I'll be using the coordinating Aurifil thread collection. Whoo hoo!

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Today's Tidbits

I have an announcement! No people, I'm not pregnant, even if that's what Amazon thinks. I'm going to be a guest on American Patchwork & Quilting hosted by Pat Sloan. 

Tune in to see how many skeletons I can pull out of the closet in a dozen minutes flat. It's a live show, so there won't be any editing. I hope this doesn't go down like on Project Runway when a designer neglects to use a discerning eye and the judges start to question the contestant's taste level.

In other news, I finished my block for Simone of Quiltalicious. She designed a foundation paper-pieced Grand Teton block. I decided to go with a food theme.

Cade turned two. His skills include taking off both shoes and socks in the van and launching them into the best hiding spots, as well as 100% accuracy in making sure that the one button he pushes in an elevator is the one that calls the emergency operator.

Declan is coming up on his third month. He's nursing better, thank goodness. He's gained three pounds, bringing him up to the first percentile. Way to make it on the chart, Wee Smidgeon.

My seven year old lives for Minecraft and the four year old made it into a free charter preschool. They wear uniforms. She insists on wearing her khaki skirt backwards so it looks like a pencil skirt in the front with pleats in the back. Even if you get her righted out in the morning, she'll twist the thing around the first time you let her sneak off to the restroom.

The Blue Moon Quilt Group had a recent, moon-themed swap. I decided to bust out my silk stash. Except, you see, I don't know a thing about using silk. But I do like how well it shows off the texture brought out by quilting. I discovered that it's prone to puncture wound via needle, likes to fray, and doesn't respond well to a glue stick or seam ripper. I wanted to highlight the free-motion, and used Dale Fleming's method for piecing the circle. You can see the other quilts at Renee and Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl's posts.

Photo by Renee of Quilts of a Feather

At times, I feel like blogging mommy topics, but it's a tricky realm to not get wildly controversial, as options vary widely. (Maybe it's my heart's secret desire to YouTube myself trying out all the toys so I can justify having them. 😉). There's a local group that tackles parenting topics with more tact than I'm prone to have, the Albuquerque Mom's Blog. The group recently organized a much-anticipated Mom's Night Out at the Spur Line Supply Company, which is like a well-curated Pinterest board come to life. I am very grateful to have won Invisiline treatment donated by Cornali & McDonald, and am looking forward to straighter teeth.

Another event I recently attended was the Femcity Business Expo, which brings up a question for all of you. How do you go about introducing non-quilters to what you do without it taking a, "I have this giant bag of t-shirts..." direction? While I respect the craft of making t-shirt quilts, it is in the same way as I appreciate a fine pant hemming.

I hope you will all listen to the verbal workings of a sleep-deprived fabric enthusiast come Monday.
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Making Connections: A Free-Motion Quilting Workbook Review

I'm excited to be joining in the Making Connections Blog Hop. Dorie Hruska of Forever Quilting was kind enough to allow me a sneak peek at her practical workbook. 

Making Connections introduces an entirely new approach that can be applied to specific shapes or open spaces marked with a grid. Dorie shows you how to employ 12 different connecting designs while minimizing starts and stops by using intentionally planned continous paths. She walks you through the steps with numbered diagrams and spaces for you to sketch out the designs. The cover quilt pattern is included and ties all the skills within the workbook together. Dorie's aim is to help you build muscle memory of the process, as shown in the following YouTube video.

I enjoy quilting that accentuates the piecing in a quilt or creates a meaningful secondary design, rather than simply going over the top with no regard for the piecing. Making Connections gave me new tools for making that happen.

I also appreciate how Making Connections made me more aware of more efficient options for charting my course across a quilt top, which saves me numerous lose threads to tie off or a whole bunch of backtracking.

Whether you're very experienced or a free-motion newbie, Dorie's workbook pushes you to add skills to your repertoire. You can scratch the surface by trying out some Connecting Loops or Connecting Curls on a charm square quilt. (The following two images below belong to C & T and are sections of Dorie's work.)

Or you can navigate complex piecing without tying off using an assortment of multi-path designs.

You may remember my shamefully put-aside floral sampler quilt I finally wrapped up. I was able to test out the Connecting Waves design in the red squares. Unfortunately, since they were isolated squares, this quilt did not take advantage of all the book had to offer.

Eager to try out my skill at navigating a continuous path, I began quilting another member of my UFO society, my Hungry Caterpillar quilt, with the Connecting Brackets Design.

So what's next? You may have picked up on a continuing theme here --- UFOs. I have another Saturday Sampler that's been hanging out (in the literal sense of being on a hanger in my sewing room closet) waiting for me to give it the time of day in terms of free-motion. This one is especially suited to Dorie's technique for approaching pieced sections. I opened a photograph of one of the blocks in Preview (a Mac app) and ran through a connected path using free-motion designs introduced in Making Connections. Every block is different, so I'll be doing some more playing around in the days to come. Drawing helps me chart a course so I'm mental prepared when I approach the actual quilt. Fortunately, I'm more steady with fabric under a machine than I am with the mouse pad on my laptop.

I received an electronic review copy of the book, but I would recommend choosing the non-electronic version since it is a workbook filled with practice pages that will otherwise need to be printed to complete. If the idea of marking in your book feels too rebellious for your tastes, use an overhead sheet placed on the page and a wet-erase marker to practice the designs while leaving your book as good as new. Another option is to practice in a graph paper composition book.

You can purchase a signed copy of Making Connections from Dorie, or buy the book from C & T (30% off when you sign up for the newsletter) or Amazon (affiliate links).

Also, check out the wonderful projects all the other participants have been making.

Friday September 1st
Monday September 4th
Tuesday September 5th
Teri Lucas Blog@genqmag on Instagram
Wednesday September 6th
Thursday September 7th
Katy S Blog@katyquilts on Instagram
Friday September 8th
Monday September 11th
Tuesday September 12th
Wednesday September 13th
Thursday September 14th
Friday September 15th
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