My Book is Now Available for Pre-Order!!

It’s real – it’s really real! My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon! So before I faint with excitement, please allow me to tell you a little something about it… 🙂

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My book is called Machine Quilting With Style: From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free-Motion Favorites. That’s quite a mouthful, but I couldn’t be more thrilled! As many others have said, it really is like birthing another child, complete with restlessness, anxiety and weight gain, LOL! 🙂 The “due” date is mid-September, about a month after my own birthday, so I really couldn’t ask for a better present.

It’s been a dream of mine to write a book since I began quilting many years ago, and the perfect opportunity came at just the right time. I had returned home from the first QuiltCon on fire with the desire to share my passion for quilting with a many people as possible. Coupled with my new-found love of the modern aesthetic, all the stars aligned in the best possible way to create this book.

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Promotional information by the incredibly talented marketing team at Martingale.

Machine Quilting With Style includes patterns for 12 quilts with step-by-step instructions on how to machine quilt them. It also includes a large section on setting yourself up for successful machine quilting, with plenty of motifs to practice. There are a total of 112 pages, and I’m so grateful to Martingale (aka That Patchwork Place) for believing in my vision and allowing me to write the book I was meant to write.

Now that the hurdle of writing and editing is over, I get to engage in the fun part: promoting the book, talking to shop owners about it, creating classes around it, and getting to share it with as many people as possible. I’m pretty sure I enjoy the “social” aspect of quilting just as much as the actual making. 🙂

book-editingThis is what book editing looks like!

Machine Quilting With Style is available for pre-order on Amazon at a discount off the cover price, which is always nice. You can also purchase it from your local quilt shop or favorite bookstore later this summer, or ask them to preorder you a copy when they attend quilt market this spring.

If you’d like to pre-order a signed copy directly from me, it’s just a few dollars more, and I’ll ship mid-September as soon as they come in.

Ok – I’d best get started on the next one, now! (Kidding-not-kidding!)

Have You Heard of Make Modern Magazine?

Hey guys, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a review but I wanted to tell you about this cool new digital magazine that just recently launched. It’s called Make Modern Magazine and is the brainchild of three super creative gals from Australia – Jane Kelly, Kristy Lea, and Lara Motta.

Make Modern Issue Three CollageMake Modern – Issue 3

I’ve known Kristy online for a couple of years. She’s an amazing pattern designer with a penchant for paper-piecing (say that 3 times fast) and I love everything she does! I do have to mention that I’m a little biased towards this magazine because I’ve been invited to share a pattern in a future issue (more details as that gets closer).

Make Modern is chock full of great article as well as patterns. I don’t know about you, but I really like “reading” quilting magazines, not just looking at all the pretty pictures, though it includes many of those as well. Some of my favorite issues have included tips on free-motion quilting (of course!), working with half-square triangles, and profiles of many of my favorite makers. Because I love being part of the online community, it’s especially fun to see well-known blogging friends contributing to the magazine.

MM Issue Two CollageMake Modern – Issue 2

You can purchase single issues of the magazine as well as 3 issue (6 month) or 6 issue (yearly) digital subscriptions. I myself ordered the yearly subscription to get the best discount and I get an email with a link to the PDF download as each issue is published.

One of my favorite things about this being a digital magazine is that it includes tons of embedded links that take you right to the pattern designer’s blog to get to know more about them. How cool is that? Each issue also includes some pretty generous giveaways just for their readers.

MM Issue One Collage

I invite you to check it out – I think you’ll really like it! And if you are an aspiring designer like me, I know they are always looking for submissions.

By the way, if you want to listen to Jane & Kristy’s awesome accents, be sure to catch their recent interview on the Modern Sewciety podcast!

Check out the Bee Hive – A Fun, Free Year Long Block of the Month

I love it when my quilty, bloggy friends do cool stuff. Have you visited my friend Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts? Not only is she a recurring writer for Make Modern Magazine and awesome pattern writer, she’s a generous designer as well.

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For all of 2015, she’s put together a fun, free BOM (Block of the Month) program that anyone can follow along with. It’s called The Bee Hive and she’s featuring not just one, but two block tutorials each and every month!

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January’s first block of the month features this awesome tic-tac-toe block!

Here’s how it will work:

The first block of the month will feature a unique 12″ finished block design by Alyce, that when laid out side by side forms a secondary design. Then, the second block of each month will be designed by a host of talented guest designers. Alyce’s blog will be the place to go to keep up with all of the tutorials.

20150110_beehive_tictactoeI love the modern, graphic look of these tic-tac-toe blocks set together!

I will be the guest designer for April and I’ve included the complete schedule below. Just think, if you follow along all year, you’ll have 24 finished blocks! As with any quilt along, you are welcome to work at your own pace and join in anytime. 🙂

The Schedule

January 12 – Tic Tac Toe
January 26 – Kristy from Quiet Play

February 9 – Chainlink
February 23 – Janice from Better Off Thread

March 9 – Houndstooth
March 23 – Jane aka Quiltjane

April 6 – Spinwheel
April 20 – Christa from Christa Quilts

May 4 – Busy
May 18 – Angie from Gnome Angel

June 1 – Bunting
June 15 – Anne from Play Crafts

July 13 – Abacus
July 27 – Jess from Elven Garden Quilts

August 10 – Homebase
August 24 – Joshua from Molli Sparkles

September 7 – In The Middle
September 21 – Jennie from Clover and Violet

October 5 – Magic 8 Ball
October 19 – Diane from From Blank Pages

November 2 – Alpine
November 16 – Melissa from Ms Midge

December 14 – Treasure Hunt
December 28 – Finale

When you do join the fun, Alyce has created a hashtag so you can share your blocks on social media: #thebeehivequilts. I can’t wait to see what everyone makes!

Christa’s Soap Box – Is Modern Quilting Just a Fad?

Is Modern Quilting a Passing Fad?

(No time for pics – words only today!)

I certainly hope not! Two recent instances have inspired me to explore this topic a little more, and to shout out an emphatic, “NO!”

(1) Recently I attended a local fabric trade show. I noticed one of the big distributors (a larger wholesale company that sells and distributes many different fabric brands to retailers such as myself) wasn’t carrying a certain newly created company’s fabrics with a modern flair (think horses and strong geometrics).

When I asked why not, they told me they had seen many fabric fads come and go and they weren’t hopping on that bandwagon any time soon. I was in shock. I was wondering where these people had been. Did they not see the huge spring market debut of this particular company? Did they not get online and hear the buzz and excitement surrounding this new company’s fresh ideas?

(2) I was recently emailing a friend and lamenting the fact that one of the larger quilt show venues I participated in this year is not including modern categories as much in their shows next year. At first I thought it was due to poor participation in that category this year. Upon further examination though, I found out the powers that be thought that modern quilts are just a passing fad. What the what?!

Tell that to the thousands of people that will be attending QuiltCon next year, and the thousands more who have created a vibrant online community that is not going away any time soon. Like I and thousands more are going to suddenly wake up one day and think, “Nah – I’m bored of these bold, geometric quilts. I think I’ll quit quilting.”

Seriously, what are these people drinking??

I totally get that the word “Modern” may be a little overused these days, and I acknowledge that the debate is still raging as to what may or not be considered a modern quilt. In fact, when I was doing some research on writing a book, I learned that some publishers feel that putting the word “Modern” in the title may alienate or split their target audience before they even open up the book to take a look. (Let’s save that discussion for another day.) So some of the hesitation to embrace modern quilting may stem from the fact that these large companies are looking to their bottom lines and are worried about the numbers.

However, I think the very same growing pains that the modern community is going through right now is exactly what happened in the art quilting community some 20+ years ago (um, yeah, I was there!) Although I’m not an art quilter, I certainly can appreciate the vibrancy of the art quilt community, the empassioned quiltmakers that are a part of that community, and the hugely profitable segment of the quilting market it has become.

Don’t these people learn from (quilt) history?

Christa’s Soap Box – More Thoughts on Modern Quilting

I just finished the biggest WIP of my life – my first manuscript, and the quilts are on their way to the publisher this week. So hopefully I’ll be back to a more regular blogging and sewing schedule.

I’ve been thinking a lot about modern quilting lately, why I love it so much and why it’s having such an influence in the quilting community. So here are a few of my random thoughts on the subject. I’d love to know what your thoughts are too – even if you agree or not. It’s always fun to discuss quilting, isn’t it?

20140905_optical_illusionA new design I am just itching to start, now that  I have a little more free time!

The Influence of Modern Quilting

I think modern quilting is gaining in popularity partly as a pushback to what I call the “fast-food-ization” of quilting. Although it’s fun to finish a quick project, many who embrace modern quilting seem to enjoy the process of slowing down, taking it one step at a time, and completing the entire project from start to finish.

On the other end of the spectrum, modern quilting’s influence could also be a response to the abundance of bedazzled perfectionist quilts that may take hundreds or thousands of hours to complete and, although beautiful, are usually not allowed to be touched. Many modern quilters embrace utility along with creativity, and feel that a quilt from the heart doesn’t have to be computer-perfect to be both functional and beautiful.

The current modern quilting movement was born online out of a need to share one’s own work and be inspired by the artistry of others, whether they live around the corner or across the globe. It has enabled quilters to break down communication barriers as well as redefine what constitutes a quilting bee or sewing guild. I’m excited to be a part of this growing community and I’m excited to see where the future of modern quilting is headed!

Quiltique Fall Teaching Schedule – More Modern Classes Coming Up!

I’m excited to announce my fall teaching schedule at Quiltique in Las Vegas. Based on the the popular response from last trimester, I will once again be teaching Modern Logs and Modern Machine Quilting. Check out the pictures below from last season’s classes – my students had a great time and made some gorgeous modern quilts!

modern_logs_purpleModern Logs looks great in blues and purples with a pop of green!

Here are the dates and times if you’d like to learn with me:

  • Modern Logs – Saturday October 4, 11, 18 from 2-5 PM
  • Modern Machine Quilting – Thursday, December 4, & 11 from 6-9 PM

modern_logs_studentsYes, you can quilt it yourself, and I’ll teach you how!

If you are in or near the Local Las Vegas area, I invite you to stop by to Quiltique’s Back to School Carnival on September 5th from 5-8 PM to check out the projects and sign up for classes! You can also sign up online after Sept 6th.

sara_fussy_logsFor even more variety – you can fussy cut your centers!

Hope to see you there!

Book Review – A Quilter’s Mixology by Angela Pingel

I just finished reading Angela Pingel’s book, A Quilter’s Mixology, so now it’s time to share it with you guys! I first met Angela when I took a curved piecing class from her at Sewing Summit last year. I love that she is so enamored with curved piecing that she’s been able to put a fresh spin on a classic technique.

Curves BlockMy version of Angela’s curves – she is a great teacher!

During class, I made this block which I think is way more interesting than a classic Drunkard’s path block (thought Angela is pretty good about teaching that method, too). The trick is in trimming up the pieces in such a way as to make part of the seams disappear, leading to a sleeker smoother look which I instantly fell in love with.

20140628_quilters_mixologyAngela’s book is chock full of fresh and fun quilts to make. She includes extra sections on choosing colors and fabrics, step-by-step curved piecing instructions with nicely illustrated diagrams, and tons of fabulous photography throughout.

20140628_qm_loosely_curvedLoosely Curved Wallhanging by Angela Pingel. Photo courtesy of Interweave.

Hands down, her Loosely Curved Wallhanging is my favorite quilt in the book. I love the graphic design, the bold colors, and the fact that she even quilted it herself. 🙂 I still haven’t tried the super-popular woodgrain machine quilting design, but it sure looks great on this quilt!

20140628_qm_flower_powerFlower Power Quilt by Angela Pingel. Photo courtesy of Interweave.

I love Angela’s Flower Power quilt for much the same reason. I’m drawn to quilts with a lot of negative space and blocks shown in different scales. I think the allover stippling complements the art-deco vibe of this quilt without over-powering it.

I can recommend this book for those who are into curved piecing as well as those that aren’t. There’s plenty of eye-candy in the way of color combinations and quilting designs that are sure to delight.

20140628_qm_detailDetail Shot of Orange Twist Quilt, Courtesy of Angela Pingel. Quilted by Krista Withers.

A Quilter’s Mixology includes a total of 16 projects spread over 143 pages, complete with full-size templates. I’m pretty sure you can also use die cut machines for several projects, too!

What other quilting books are on your summer reading list?

Fun Features – Sew Mama Sew, NQA, American Patchwork & Quilting Radio

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks as I’ve been preparing not only more quilts for publication and more samples for teaching, but I’ve been invited to share a little bit more about myself and my quilts in a few different places. Here’s a list of what’s currently happening along with what’s coming up. 🙂

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This week my Modern Logs quilt was featured on Sew Mama Sew as part of their month-long series, “My Favorite Quilt” curated by Jessica Skultety from Quilty Habit. And yes, for those of you who asked, I do have the pattern available here.

patternModern Logs is now available as a PDF pattern through my Craftsy store.

Jessica asked me a series of really thought-provoking questions about my quilt which was fun to think about and answer. Plus she wrote a really nice intro which made me blush (thank goodness you can’t see that online)! My favorite part of the whole series, in addition to the fabulous quilts that are being shared, is the chance for you to participate!

Sew Mama Sew is running a month-long linkup where you can share your favorite quilts, too! Just write a new blog post and answer the same set of questions I did, then click here and scroll to the end of the page to add your link. There’s even a giveaway as part of the series, so how cool is that?

20150615_naqI’m also in the member spotlight on the National Quilting Association’s website for the entire month of June. It includes a little background of my quilting, a picture (that’s a little too large for my tastes, LOL!!), as well as 17 pictures of my recent finishes, all done in the last couple of years. So I invite you to pop on over and take a look. Most of you who have followed me for awhile may have seen all or most of the quilts already, but it was fun to share them all in one place. 🙂

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And finally – pinch me please – the always lovely and talented Pat Sloan has invited me to be a guest on her podcast, American Patchwork and Quilting Radio, next Monday June 23rd at 4PM Eastern Time. We will be chatting about quilting (of course) and go a little more indepth into how my own quilting has changed over time. It should be fun!

Click here to listen to the podcast live as it happens.

You can also listen to past episodes of the show or subscribe via Itunes.

Christa’s Soap Box – I Love Teaching Quilting!

I love teaching quilting. I mean, I really, really love it! I just wrapped up a couple of modern quilting classes last week at Quiltique and I am feeling such a sense of satisfaction that teaching is a regular part of my life once again.

Quiltique_preview_dayA couple of my samples were on display during class preview day at Quiltique.

I first began teaching quilting about 17 years ago when my oldest was just 7 months old! My mom, whom I taught to quilt, had walked into a local shop at the time (which is now out of business) and the owner asked her if she had any suggestions for quilting teachers. Mom recommended me and the rest as they say is history. 🙂

Mom and MeLike mother, like daughter – we both love to sew!

The fact that I could get paid for sharing something that I would gladly do for free was just icing on the cake! I developed a series of beginner’s basics classes and outlined methods for teaching how to make an entire quilt from start to finish. As the local shop was beginning to go out of business, I moved my teaching to a nearby Joann’s where I quickly developed a loyal following.

I would get a new set of students each summer and most of them would take classes from me all year long until I cycled through my entire curriculum. It was such fun to see them not only grow as quilters, but to watch as they developed friendships with other students in the class. They were with me through the births of my last 2 children and we would joke about how I liked to sew barefoot (and pregnant).

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My daughter’s baby quilt, made by former students in 2003. She still uses it!

I had just started my online fabric shop in 2003 right before I had my daughter (who is now nearly 11) and I knew then that I would have to take a break from regular weekly teaching. On the last night of class, my students surprised with an impromptu baby shower complete with a quilt for my daughter. I was so touched it made me cry. No one had ever made me a quilt before!

Over the last 11 years I’ve kept up my teaching skills by sharing with friends, developing tutorials online, and offering occasional classes through my guild and at retreats. However, I’ve missed the interaction that regularly scheduled classes affords. Now that I’m back, it feels like old times! 🙂

log_cabinsA former student of mine, Ofelia with her first quilt – a traditional log cabin!

A highlight of my most recent class is that one of my original students (whom I hadn’t seen in about 14 years) came to join us. When she heard I was teaching again, she quickly signed up for my Modern Logs class. Just for fun, she brought in her first quilt that I had taught her to make all those years ago. And guess what – it was a log cabin. 🙂

sara_fussy_logsSara is showing off her fussy cut centers – aren’t they just adorable?

Although my methods have changed over the years along with my style, what hasn’t changed is the sense of satisfaction I get from interacting with my students. Seeing the smiles on their faces, and feeling their pride with a job well done is just priceless.

I don’t plan to take a break from teaching anytime soon. In fact, I’m expanding my reach and have already started booking traveling gigs for next year. It’s just too much fun to pass up! (And for those of you that are interested, I do sell my Modern Logs pattern here.)

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Barb is excited to baste and quilt her version of Modern Logs.

What’s the most fun class you’ve ever taken?

My Teaching Schedule – Modern Quilting Classes at Quiltique

I’m super excited to announce that I will be teaching a few quilting classes this summer at Quiltique, my favorite local quilt shop!

If you are near the Las Vegas area, I invite you to sign up for one of my three classes:

Modern Machine Quilting – Wed. June 4 & 11, 6pm – 9pm

In this 2 part class, learn to take your quilts to the next level by exploring modern machine quilting designs that will add depth and dimension to your quilts. The secret is learning to let go of perfection by quilting asymmetrical textures that require little to no marking!

You’ll learn how to create modern free-motion quilting motifs as well as some of my favorite “walking foot wonders!” This class is taught using a domestic machine.

Click here to register for my Modern Machine Quilting class at Quiltique.

colorful_chevrons_finishedColorful Chevrons – Tuesday May 20 & 27, 10am – 1 pm

Make this charming chevron quilt top from your favorite colorful prints or solids. Colorful Chevrons was on the cover of Quilty magazine and most recently, it won a ribbon at the AQS Quilt show in Paducah, KY.

I’ll teach you my favorite method for making half-square triangles so you can create your own show-worthy quilt! This class runs for 2 sessions during the day, so take time off work, or grab a babysitter if needed, and meet me for some fun sewing therapy!

Click here to register for my Colorful Chevrons class at Quiltique.

Modern Log Cabin – Thurs. May 29, June 5 & 12, 6 – 9pm

Learn how to make a modern quilt from start to finish in this 3 week class! Fun “homework” will be given out as you create your own interpretation of this classic design. Along the way, you’ll learn a little bit of modern quilting history along with what I think makes a “modern” quilt.

I’m working on my version now, and I can’t wait for the big reveal here on my blog!

Click here to register for my Modern Log Cabin class at Quiltique.

Bernina Test DriveTest driving my new machine at the shop – it was love at first stitch!

I first got to know the wonderful folks at Quiltique when I bought my new Bernina from them last summer. Later, I had the chance to interview one of the owners for my series on Making Quilting Your Business. One thing led to another, and now they’ve invited me to join their fabulous team of instructors, which I’m truly excited about. I love teaching others to quilt almost as much as I love doing it myself. 🙂

One of the reasons I’m so thrilled to be part of the Quiltique team is that they know how to create “the buzz” for their excellent classes and exciting events! In addition to amazing local teachers, they bring in “big-name” quilters all the time.

QuiltiqueQuiltique quilt shop in Henderson, Nevada

Recently, Quiltique has included special events and classes from names like Natalia Bonner, Camille Roskelley and Me & My Sister Designs. Coming up this summer they will be featuring embroidery classes from Sarah Vedeler, art quilt classes with Katie Pasquini Masopust, and a special Sew-apalooza event with Kay England. So – yeah, I think I’m in great company!

Click here for the current Quiltique newsletter and class schedule. Even if you don’t live in town, a summer road trip to Vegas may be just the thing to inspire your creativity!

For my complete teaching schedule, or to inquire about having me come to your group or guild, please click here.