Friday, July 7, 2017

Island Batik - July's Oh Baby! Challenge


July - wow!  I can't believe it's already July....this year is flying by - but for once I'm ahead of schedule with my challenge quilt :)   And this one is super cute ... you will definitely want to get the pattern and make it!

This month our challenge as Island Batik Brand Ambassadors is Oh Baby! featuring baby and crib quilts.

Well, I've got this one covered...  Earlier this year, I released my Rory Baby Quilt pattern.



Something I have discovered is that when the word gets out that you are "a quilter" and you are invited to a baby shower, there is an unwritten expectation that you will gift a baby quilt.  Well, I hate to disappoint anyone - so I designed the Rory Baby Quilt pattern to ease the stress of quickly needing to make a super attractive, gift-worth baby quilt.   The quilt is designed around the background fabric and then you pull stash fabrics to coordinate. It's a Beginner - Confident Beginner level pattern and the finished quilt measures 39" x 45".


For the background of the cover quilt, I used a white fabric with lime, orange and pink dots and then pulled fabrics from my stash to coordinate to make a super cute, little girly girl quilt. 

For our Island Batik challenge, I remade the pattern using a Dotalicious batik along with lots of scrappy bright colors.  This made the perfect gender neutral quilt. 

To keep the quilt super functional and to get it finished quickly, I machine bound it using the  same techniques I teach in my best-selling Learn to Machine Bind Your Quilts video class available at Annie's Craft Store




Print patterns for my Rory Baby Quilt are available in my Etsy store or as a pdf download  on Craftsy.  

I hope you are able to make a Rory Baby Quilt and I would love to see a photo when you are finished.  Happy Stitching !


Friday, June 30, 2017

Island Batik - June's Curvilicious Quilts

It's June and let's get our curves on!!  

Okay - well maybe like me, you are curvy enough already but let's get some curves in our piecing this month!




Our challenge this month as Island Batik Brand Ambassadors is curved piecing... which for me can be a love - hate relationship.  I love the way they look but I sometimes hate to piece them!  Do you feel the same way about curved piecing?  

Since I knew this project would take a little more time, I started thinking about it several months ago ... and I've been thinking... and thinking .... and thinking ...  yes, OVER thinking the project.   I wanted to make sure I was showcasing the batik fabrics but I was struggling to come up with a design.   My most success with curved piecing has been when I used a template to cut the pieces.  So I got out my trusty Uneven Nine-Patch cutting ruler designed by Darlene Zimmerman and made by EZ Quilting.  I have made several quilts with this ruler before and have had great success. 

So I settled on making a table topper (because who can have too many table toppers!) and I decided to go with a Christmas colorway (since it's 6 months away, I might as well be able to say I already have something finished for Christmas!).  I selected my Island Batik fabrics and roughed out a design in EQ7.   



In the quest to be different I wanted to showcase the curves just on the edge of the table topper and let the Holly applique be the focal point in the center.   I'm super pleased with how it turned out!  I hope you enjoy it too and stay tuned as I do plan to publish a pattern for my Holly Table Topper.  


 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Island Batik - May's Modern Batik Challenge


Our challenge this month for the Island Batik Brand Ambassador's was the Modern Batik Challenge.   This challenge started out rather challenging for me (hmmmm, maybe that's why they call it a challenge :) )  

Stereotypically, I normal design Modern Quilts with yards of white fabric, some random splashes of bright solids and lots of intricate quilting.  So the challenge for me was ME - I had to get outside my box and think PURELY about the design - and then plug the fabrics into the equation.  It took about a week for me to come up with the design... I had another design sketched that I kept playing with but it just wasn't coming together - then one night, right as I was getting ready for bed, this design materialized in my mind.  So I quickly grabbed a pencil and sketched it on graph paper.  In the morning I took one look and was sold on it!  At the studio, I started plugging in fabrics.  I had been saving my Lake Life collection of fabrics for this project and they fit effortlessly! (which was a good thing since I had spent a lot of mental effort on the design!)

So without further adieu - I present to you Modern Chain ....




The design has many of the same features as any other modern quilt - lots of negative space and a very strong design element.

From the precut 2-1/2" strips, I sorted out the blue strips for the binding, the dark green strips for one chain and gold strips for the other chain and the perfect muted green for when the two chains crisscross each other.   The background fabric features beautiful fish motifs that appear to be swimming around the quilt.

And in true confession style - I actually designed and pieced the quilt back in April and it has been sitting patiently waiting to be quilted.  While I had a very custom quilt plan in mind, I knew I didn't want to overwhelm the batiks with by quilting them to death - so instead I opted for an overall design that mimics the swirls in the background fabric.

As I was catching a few photos tonight, I decided to drape the quilt on the swing on our patio.  I hadn't even thought about how inviting it would look there! 





Like most things in my life, the "paw of approval" is very important and Miss Zoey says this quilt is a keeper :)







Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring Quilt Market - Part 1

As I start this post - I realize I'm not going to be able to share everything I want to in just one post!  So here is Part 1 of my trip to Spring Quilt Market!

This past weekend I attended the Spring Quilt Market in St Louis, MO.  I was really excited that it was being held in the Midwest this year, so I could easily drive.  Of course, it's summer - so that means orange barrels and construction zones :)



The Market was held in the Convention Center and is a wholesale only show for quilt shop buyers, designers, authors and media.  Since I was driving, I wasn't limited on luggage :) so I could take along all my new patterns to share with distributors, quilt shop buyers and fabric companies.



Spring Market is held in a different city each year while Fall Market is always in Houston in late October. And as a side note - you will learn very quickly that taking selfies is not my strong suit :)


Okay - where to start... I'm going to share photos of some of the fabric collections, designers and booths that caught my eye.   These aren't in any particular order.  Ready - let's go!

First up -  Island Batik !  As a brand ambassador for Island Batik, I couldn't wait to see all the new collections in person! I've been designing with the digital images for several months, but there is nothing like getting to touch, feel and fondle! 

The Sakura line is one of my favorites - keep an eye on the blog in the next few months to see what all I create with these beauties :)




Next up - Amanda Murphy who designs for Benartex Contempo line.  I first met Amanda in Houston a few years and love her designs.  I used her Carina collection in my Learn to Quilt with Precuts Video Class.  Here is her latest collection.  The photo doesn't really do the color justice (convention center lighting isn't the best!) but I love the clean and crispness of the line.



Another favorite of mine is The World of Susybee - if you haven't seen these panels, you must take a look!  They are so fun, colorful, whimsical but still realistic ... Lyon, the Lion has been my buddy lately as I as used him in my Learn to Quilt with Panels Video Class as well as a new trio of designs that will be released soon - so stay tuned!  I am enamored with the new Susannah Bee line - the florals are oh, so gorgeous!


I did take some time to slip away to walk down to the Arch ... I had only driven by it, but had never stopped to see it in person.  It was neat to watch the river and see the barges as they moved along.




To wrap up Part 1,  I want to share one of my favorite designers... I have heard her speak at several conferences and behind the amazing designs that we see on fabric is one of the most talented, businesswomen I have ever met - Tula Pink.  Her new collection is Spirit Animal. I'm not going to address any of the negative hub-bub related to the collection - it's not my place and other's have discussed it in length.  The fabrics typical Tula - bright colors that play well together but strong enough to stand on their own.


And as an added bonus - I was able to get a signed copy of Tula & Angela Walter's new book,  Quilt with Tula & Angela.   Photo Cred: Tula's amazing brother & social media genius Cameron.


So that's all for now - stay tuned for Part II ... and maybe even Part III!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere!

If you haven't checked out the "Patterns Available" tab on my blog -
what are you waiting for? 

By June 1st, I will have 17 - YEP, 17 new patterns released. 

I have been designing for magazines, books and fabric companies for the last 4 years and now I am also publishing designs under my own Masterpiece Quilting brand. 

The first four patterns are available on Craftsy as pdf downloads -

Many have introductory pricing - so you don't want to miss that.



My top-selling pattern is Blossom, which is a huge surprise to me.


Be sure to keep checking back frequently as new patterns will be appearing all the time!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Furry Friday

As an Island Batik Brand Ambassador, we do more than just play with mega cool fabrics (really we do!) 

We help spread the word about several initiatives including Furry Friday by sharing on our blogs about animals that are in need of adoption.   This weeks Furry Friday is brought to you by Benartex.

This week's focus is on two pets that are in need of fur-ever homes.

First is Chester - a beautiful male black and white cat.



Chester may look tough, but that's because he's a natural-born leader. Chester lives in a cage-less facility and uses his alpha personality to make sure all the free-roaming cats get along. In addition, he LOVES dogs, and makes sure his fellow felines are nice to them too. Still, Chester longs for a forever home where he can snuggle in your lap and help with the laundry (really!). Meet him at Animal Refuge Center, Inc., in Vine Grove, Kentucky.

You can learn more about Chester or any of the other cats available by clicking here.

Next is Ceasar, this beautiful pooch.



Spunky senior Ceasar is 10 years young and, no matter what conventional wisdom holds, he loves learning new tricks! (Although he already knows sit, down, shake and high five!) Caesar gets along with other dogs, walks nicely on the leash and loves to play with toys and cuddle with his person. Meet him at the Humane Society of Summit County in Twinsburg, Ohio. 

You can learn more about Ceasar by clicking here.

I totally understand that your family may not need a new pet (we have a 2 dog limit!), but there are still ways for you to assist pets who are awaiting adoption.

Kennel quilts are easy to make and can be donated to your local shelter or rescue for use be either cats or dogs.  Here is my Miss Lilly, who we adopted from a local rescue, along with Zoey, in the back, modeling some of the kennel quilts I made earlier this year.
 




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Island Batik Challenge


It's finally spring and what is more springy than a big ole bouquet of flowers?  I have lots of them popping up in my flower beds around the house and they are so beautiful.


As part of my role as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador, each month we are given a challenge quilt to make.  April's challenge is Adventurous Applique.  Well, I will gladly admit that I enjoy applique a whole lot more than foundation piecing, which was last month's challenge.  If you haven't read about my foundation piecing experience, then click here.



I am doing triple duty with this pattern - It's my Adventurous Applique Island Batik challenge, my Stitching Stars Blog Hop feature quilt and the first release of my new pattern line!  Talk about a perfect trifecta!

So without further adieu - I would like to introduce you to Blossom...






Blossom is a 21" x 21" wall hanging that is perfect for chasing away the winter blues and bringing a splash of Spring color into your home.  In addition to the Island Batik fabrics, I used Aurifil thread for piecing and Superior Threads for the blanket stitch around each of the appliques.  This pattern is a great stash buster with its scrappy border.

Here is a close-up of the quilting.  I quilted a free-motion swirl in the background around the applique and into the matching fabric sections of the border so it appears to be one area.  In the pieced border blocks, I used a curved line to accentuate the piecing.




To celebrate Blossom as my first pattern release, I have special pricing on this pattern at $5.95 for the entire month of April!  You may purchase it as a pdf download from Craftsy.   Print patterns will be available by May 1st.  Just leave me a note in the comment section if you are interested in a print pattern and I will connect with you.




Friday, April 7, 2017

Stitching Stars Blog Hop

Stitching Stars Blog Hop



As I'm writing this blog post, I must admit I'm a bit nervous ...  This is my FIRST blog hop to participate in as a blogger!  And I want to do a really good job, so it won't be my LAST blog hop post :)

The Stitching Stars are a group quilters and sewists who met last Fall at the inaugural Sew Pro Conference in Chicago.  It was an amazing time. I learned so much, gained confidence in my abilities as a designer & blogger and forged friendships that will last a lifetime.

Blossom is the theme of this Stitching Stars Blog Hop and I would like to introduce you to my new design, Blossom.




Blossom is a 21" x 21" wall hanging that is perfect for chasing away the winter blues and bringing a splash of Spring color into your home.   I used Island Batik fabrics, Aurifil thread for piecing and Superior Threads for the blanket stitch around each of the appliques.   This pattern is a great stash buster with its scrappy border. 

To celebrate the blog hop, I have special pricing on this pattern at $5.95 for the entire month of April!  You may purchase it as a pdf download from Craftsy.   Print patterns will be available by May 1st.  Just leave me a note in the comment section if you are interested in a print pattern and I will connect with you.

In addition to my Blossom quilt, I also stitched two blocks for our Blog Hop give-a-way quilt, Rising Star. This beautiful quilt was designed by Lissa of Lovingly Lissa and quilted by Lisa of Lisa and Loralai.


To enter, just follow this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway


This is the final day of our blog hop, so if you are just now joining us please take some time to check out the posts from my fellow bloggers this week.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each post and seeing how each blogger has interpreted the blossom theme.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Friday, April 7, 2017



A final few words before I close, social media is a powerful tool that has changed the way we communicate with others.  We all love likes, comments, fans and followers - so don't be afraid to share your love with all of us!  Here are my social media connects:

Facebook: Masterpiece Quilting or Masterpiece Home Décor
Instagram: @masterpiecequilting
Pinterest: MPQuilting


Friday, March 31, 2017

Black Eyed Susan - Quilter's World Summer 2017 Cover Quilt

Black Eyed Susan


It's the closest I'm going to come to being a cover girl... my quilt was selected as the Cover Quilt on the Summer 2017 issue of Quilter's World Magazine!




When I got my quilt back from the publisher along with a complimentary copy of the magazine, I didn't really pay much attention to the magazine right away...  then about an hour later I picked it up, looked at the cover and thought the quilt looked familiar....  Well a few seconds later it hit me and the happy dance began ......  MY QUILT IS ON THE COVER!

As a designer, it's always a special honor to have your quilt selected to be on the cover of a magazine or pattern book.   It's the first image a customer will see and hopefully it prompts them to purchase the issue.

A little bit about Black Eyed Susan ...
It measures 63" x 63" and can easily do double duty.  As shown in the photo, it's the perfect compliment as a bed covering and can bring a summery touch to a guest bedroom.  For summer gatherings, it could function as a table topper over a patio or picnic table and yet, still look stylish in the sunroom draped over a wicker loveseat.

It is predominately pieced but does have raw-edge fusible applique for the flower centers, stems and leaves.  The LeMoyne Stars are pieced with an assortment of yellow fabrics, so this is a great way to utilize some stash fabrics.




And the best part - these Black Eyed Susan don't need water and aren't going to wilt!




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mini Madness


I'm a college basketball fan, so this has been a busy month for me watching my bracket get busted all over the place!  But as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador we are celebrating Mini Quilts - with Mini Madness!


I love the challenges we get as Brand Ambassadors!  This month our challenge was to make a Mini quilt - smaller than 24" x 24" square and to use foundation piecing or English paper piecing.  Well, this was definitely a challenge for me on both parts - as I normally work with large quilts - 70" x 70" or bigger and foundation piecing, well to be honest, isn't my favorite :)

But challenge accepted as I definitely had to work "outside of the box"!

I started by scrolling through patterns in EQ and found one I liked, then made several modifications to really emphasize the spiral in the center.  Next I pulled in my Island Batiks fabrics for color options and came up with this preliminary sketch. 



The next step was to piece it! 

I realized I mentioned it earlier - but it bears repeating... I do NOT like paper-piecing.  I don't like tearing the paper off - yes, I know to use thin paper and a short stitch length, but I still don't like it.  But I have learned that I can use a water soluble stabilizer instead of paper and just wash it away.... I LIKE that :)   My product of choice is Ricky Tims Stable Stuff Poly....  No, I didn't get paid to say that - I'm just sharing what works for me, and that's what it's all about - finding what works best for you!

Any, back to my Mini!   I dove right in and had the middle section pieced right away...  it's looking good so far!

Next was the outer "wings" as I called them, they went together really well too... then we got to the finally assembly... As the following photo shows, it was a little scary at times but challenge accepted - I persevered !


Since this whole project was "outside my box", I decided to quilt my Mini on my domestic sewing machine  - which is TOTALLY "outside my box" since I'm a longarmer!  This is the first quilt I have EVER quilted on my sewing machine....  EVER!  

(I think that experience my warrant a blog post of it's own - stay tuned!)

I'm really pleased with how my Mini turned out and even happier that I took the challenge and tried something totally new.  I have decided to name it "Spiraling Out of the Box"!

  So, next question - is anyone interested in the pattern for "Spiraling Out of the Box"?  Reply in the comments and let me know. 



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paying it Forward to our Furry Friends

Paying it Forward to our Furry Friends


My furry friends have always been part of my life - the majority of my baby pictures have a dog or cat in them as well as me! So when I read this month's Island Batik Brand Ambassador challenge, I was eagerly excited to pay it forward for some furry friends.
 
 
 
As part of the Piece for Shelter Pets Initiative, Island Batik as well as The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Aurifil Threads, QuiltyBox, Benartex and Hancock's of Paducah joined forces to assist animal shelters and rescue groups across North America. One project included creating kennel quilts to help our animal friends in times of need, such as when disasters strike and pets are separated from their humans.
 
Since I have owned several rescue dogs in the past and currently have one, Miss Lilly, I knew I wanted to make several quilts.  I ended up making a total of 6!
 
 
The center two quilts are made using Island Batik fabrics and the remaining are made from orphan blocks from another project.  What a great way to utilize orphan blocks! 
 
 

And finally, the quilts must have a Paw of Approval before being shipped to Bark N Roll, a shelter currently in need in Louisiana.   Zoey, our solid black Cockapoo, was quick to test out the quilts and determined they are perfect for sitting!  Miss Lilly, our tri-colored Corgi-Chihuahua mix, is a bit camera shy but she finally joined in the fun and decided to pose for a photo too. :)


 
 


 
 
I hope these quilts provide comfort to the furry friends who need them.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Galentine's Day !

 
Whoa, wait .... Galentine's Day....  Yep, Galentine's Day!
 
 
If you’re not familiar with Galentine’s Day, a holiday created by the fictional character Leslie Knope from the TV show, “Parks and Recreation”, watch this video.
 
As Leslie explains, Galentine’s Day is a celebration of our best gal pals and lady friends, and it’s the day before Valentine’s Day. Why shouldn’t we celebrate our fellow females who encourage and inspire us?!
 
So regardless of how you refer to them - your tribe, your posse, your Ya-Ya sisterhood - they are the important women in your life.  The ones who keep you sane, the ones who comfort you and the ones who tell you to "suck it up and move on" and I'm incredibly thankful to have an amazing group of women who make up my tribe!
 
In honor of Galentine's Day, I've created a mug rug as a perfect gift for my gal pals. 
  
 

The design is 6" x 10" so it's large enough not only for a beverage but a snack or two.
  
 

It's super simple and really fast to make - about an hour from start to finish.  I selected three fabrics from the Valentine's Day group that arrived in my Island Batik Brand Ambassador Box.  First step was to cut the fabrics and lay out the pieces as they were to be pieced.



I stitched the center section and the end units together; pressing seams open so the finished mug rug wouldn't have bumps from the seam allowances.



Next step was to stitch the remaining seams, press and trim the edges even.



I went "old school" to create my heart template.  Using a method I learned in elementary school art class, I folded a piece of paper in half and drew a half-heart on one side, then cut it out and traced it onto a scrap of fusible web with paper release.



And here is my Galentine's Day finished mug rug top - complete with a raw edge fusible applique heart that I machine stitched in place using an applique stitch.  


The last step was layering the top, batting and backing and machine-quilting a few straight lines to hold the layers in place.  After trimming, I machine stitched the binding to finish. 

Super simple - fast and easy! 
 
Another tip that allowed me to complete this project quickly was the thread I selected.  Yes, the thread!  I used Aurifil Mako 50 weight thread in a matching color for the piecing, the machine applique and the quilting.  One bobbin fill and no top thread changes can save a lot of time!  It's great to be able to use a really versatile thread.

How you use your mug rug is up to you!  Whether for tea and cookies or like me - a Yeti of brewed ice cold tea, string cheese and a handful of almonds


 
So from all the Island Batik Ambassadors, we wish you and the important women in your life a very Happy Galentine's Day!