"modern quilt guild"

Arkison in Australia

So, I went to Australia for 2 weeks. It was rather incredible. My first, but hopefully not my last time! Enjoy a quick slide show of my trip. I was there to teach at a couple of amazing events organized by The Creative Retreat. Jules did everything to create a space for action, imagination, creativity, and laughter. More on the creativity in another post.  A few highlights:

... I had no idea how fitting it was that one of the first images I would see would be a sheep photoshoot in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House. You cannot even imagine the number of sheep in Australia.

... After a morning in Sydney and sleeping off my jet lag in Canberra we went on the road to our first retreat location: Kangaroo Valley. A glorious spot among farms, Fitzroy Falls, and creating by the fireplace. 

... The birds! I never thought of myself as a birdwatcher, but now I am totally obsessed. To see a million different kinds of parrots, rosellas, cockatoos, plus kookaburras was phenomenal. Then to spot and hear the unique Lyre bird was mind blowing. I am totally obsessed with birds now.

... After Kangaroo Valley we made our way towards Melbourne, stopping in country towns where I was introduced to the pie shops, RSLs, old buildings, and what counts as mountains in Australia. Road tripping is awesome, my favourite.

... 48 hours in Melbourne! A city I really would like to explore more. They care about architecture and public art in a way I've never seen before. We ate well, we played with Leslie at Maze and Vale (that's a whole other post), and visited Jen Kingwell at Amitie Textiles.

... The second retreat was in Point Lonsdale. The ocean!!! Long time readers know how I love the ocean, no matter which ocean or where. There I was taking my morning walks along the Pacific, but seeing the sun rise over it instead of set. Mind blowing. And, of course, I went for a swim! How could I not? Such a lovely location and another group of hysterical and creative women.

... More roadtripping and then the long flight home. (Right after that last photo Nicole Kidman walked by.)

Such a amazing experience and I am forever grateful to this job. These sorts of trips are so appreciated and I get as much out of them as my students. Their work, commitment, and creativity is inspiring. Thanks Jules, for making this all happen!

Sewing Machine Quilt Reveal!

Sewing Machine Quilt 

50'' x 50''

It feels like I should have a more creative name for this quilt, but that's exactly what it is. Truth in Advertising. I'm so excited to share this with you. And the news that the pattern for this quilt should be coming in the next month, if all goes well with pattern testing and printing. The pattern will have both improv and precision piecing instructions.

I owe a lot of credit to this quilt for bringing me out of a long slump. For months I was down and not terribly excited about sewing. Sure, I was still sewing, but it was like going through the motions rather than fun. I met my deadlines and plugged away at projects, but I wasn't feeling a lot of joy. But with this quilt I felt joy and excitement. I may have jumped up and down a little even.

A friend of mine pointed out that it was telling that it was quilted sewing machines that got me excited again. You know, I never thought of that! It's so true though. I'm not generally one for symbolism, but this can't be ignored. The sewing machine is how we do our work, where so many of us find peace, and the main tool of our craft. For me to get my mojo back via a sewing machine is about as perfect as it gets.

I revealed this quilt in The Modern Quilt Guild's Webinar I delivered: Improv With Intent. In the presentation I went into great detail about the process for creating this particular quilt (and another one I'll share next week). Look for the Webinar to be posted for Modern Quilt Guild Members on their site later this week.

This quilt was done quite quickly for me. From start to finish in a month. I can't remember the last time I worked so fast! But

when that inspiration takes over

you have to run with it. It helps that

I had long arm time booked

and a desire to play with that new tool. It also helps that Le Tour was on when I had hand stitching on the binding to do.

Because this is an improv quilt each sewing machine is a bit different. That's the joy! But it does become a challenge to make them all still look like sewing machines and to solve any little glitches on the fly. Perhaps that's why it got me so jazzed, the little blips in sewing that improv provides are tiny little hills that you have to push yourself just a little bit more to get over. They aren't frustrating, only motivating. And you are always rewarded with the results!

The block below is one of my favourites. Most of the fabrics I chose are favourites, but this one especially so. I've got quite a bit of it hoarded and pull it out often. So glad it is in here.

Don't be afraid to tackle a new idea. Get your fabric out, sketch out the idea, cut and get to sewing. Even if you never make more than the one block you will be rewarded!

Improv With Intention - Modern Quilt Guild Webinar

When it comes to Improv one of the approaches is to throw a whole bunch of fabric in a bag, and along with it, any decision making. Just grab and sew. This is an awesome technique. But sometimes you get an idea or want to use Improv to translate an inspiration. Knowing and understanding that you can do this is truly liberating.

Join me for a discussion of on Improv With Intention, a Webinar hosted by The Modern Quilt Guild.

July 30, 2014
7-8:30 pm MST

It is free for all Modern Quilt Guild Members. And if you can't make it for the live show, a recording will be available on The Modern Quilt Guild site 48 hours later.

During the Webinar I will be discussing step by step, how I use Intention to guide my Improvisational Piecing. I'll be using examples from multiple projects to show a range of approaches. You can ask questions and chat while I talk too. And if you've got questions but can't make the show, you can submit them in advance to The Modern Quilt Guild.

Oh, and I'll be debuting my Sewing Machine Quilt, all finished, during the Webinar.

Quilting With a Modern Slant (Weekend Reads)

When you say the words Modern Quilting I find there are three basic responses:


Hard to put an exact definition on it and full of its own contradictions, not to mention definitions applied and reapplied and adapted. It can be difficult for the curious (quilter or not) to really figure out what modern quilting is to the community.

Quilting With a Modern Slant doesn't necessarily define it either. But what it does is share a group of quilters who lead and inspire quilters. It profiles 70 quilters and their patterns/techniques that inspire modern quilters. Some may be modern quilters themselves, some may identify differently. It frankly doesn't matter really. The book is chock full of inspiration for nearly any quilter. Interspersed within the profiles are a handful of patterns as well as some basic quilting info.

If you are the Yay! kind of quilter then this book will be an excellent introduction to quilters you may not know, not to mention the eye candy.

If you asked Huh? when modern quilting is mentioned this book will serve as a great peek into the community. Of course there are a million more quilters doing a lot more things, but you can't get them all in a book. And while it won't define modern quilting for you, it will help with the 'knowing it when you see it' response.

For the non quilters who come across this book I think it serves an excellent introduction to the craft and the community. In fact, if this had been offered as more of a coffee table book and the profiles expanded a little bit more then the audience would have been wider. But with the emphasis on the profiles and quilts, and quilting info running like a television ticker on the bottom of the page, it would have been great as a solid resource as opposed to a soft cover.

If you answered Ugh. when asked about modern quilting then I wouldn't dismiss this book either. It would do well as way in to the community or at least trying to understand the aesthetic. I have books on Baltimore Album quilts and art quilting because I believe in learning about the tradition and craft, regardless of my personal tastes in making. If you feel this way too, or are open to exploration, then this book would be a good start.

Rachel May is based in Boston and is one of the founders of the Modern Quilt Guild there. She clearly knows a lot of people in the community and worked to follow and discover more. She's compiled a pretty extensive list of artists. Most were familiar to me, but there were certainly some new artists that got me pretty excited.

My one complaint about the book is that the profiles are pretty lean in most cases. Now I can appreciate that the choice was likely made to have more quilters over more detailed profiles, but I would have liked to learn a bit more about people. If you follow some via their blogs then this book doesn't really provide anything you don't already know. Then again, not everyone reads blogs.

I do have one mention in the book (I am not profiled). Rossie Hutchinson included a pattern for her Fraction Quilt, which was, in turn, inspired by a quilt I made called Your Parents Are Cool. Her profile in fact focuses on the importance of identifying and sharing your inspiration. With so much eye candy in the book, there may be people sourcing the book a lot in the future.

Full Disclosure: Storey Publishing provided a copy of the book for review. And Rossie was kind enough to share a copy as well. And I, in turn, shared one with a friend.