Florabunda! by RJR Fabrics and ‘Connect the Dots’

I am calling this quilt, ‘Connect the Dots!’, because it does just that!

I made this quilt with several intentions in mind. First, I wanted to demonstrate how Florabunda! can be used. Then, I wanted to make connections with the offerings of my good friends.

This quilt pairs Florabunda! with Jamie Fingal’s Hopscotch. Hopscotch is a huge line of low volume prints in a plethora of colors and values. It was easy to choose fabrics from this line. Jamie’s prints help elevate the visual impact of Florabunda!

I couldn’t be happier to say, Jamie is a good friend of mine. Using her fabrics alongside mine is meaningful to me in so many ways.

Jamie and I often meet up and share a meal with friends at Quilt Festival, retreats, and venues we might teach at together. I cherish the friendships and female connection these dinners cultivate. We all meet up, as friends and fellow artists, to laugh and toast. We celebrate milestones together. We are good friends. Jamie curates a show called Dinner at Eight along with Leslie Tucker Jenison (also on this Hop and an RJR Designer). Jamie shows up and makes good things happen. 

Then, I have been improving my more traditional quilting skills by exploring Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s books, taking her classes and using her templates. I used Victoria’s Bow Tie template to make ‘Connect the Dots’.

In making this quilt, I learned about and fell in love with sewing curves. I thank Victoria’s teach style and skill for this.

If ever, you have told yourself that, ‘curves are too difficult’ for you? Buy the Bow Tie template along with the Mirror Ball Pattern, read the pattern from start to finish, twice. Cut one block, sew one block. That’s it. That’s what I did. It’s so easy. I am disappointed I ever told myself curves were difficult. I could have been making dotty quilts a long time ago! 

All of which is to say, I see love, and female friendship, and a shared love of quilting, when I see these fabrics and templates used together.

This truly is  a #quiltwithlove connection. 

The other things I learned in the making of this quilt? 

  • free-motion stitch in the ditch <—useful! At one point, the dots were PUFFY, no more.
  • free motion machine quilting <— I had been on a matchstick quilting kick, no more.
  • Franken-batting <—I had several 2′ strips of cotton batting floating around, time to use it up!!! I did not know there was a great descriptive like this though, so. I am using it!

Don’t forget to check out my post about my June 2018 Quilty Box! I am hosting a Quilty Box GIVEAWAY and think you should win it! The Blue without You GIVEAWAY is still open too. Please leave comments on both posts. 

Check out the New Florabunda! Pinterest Board! So many pretty projects there!

Debby Brown is giving an A La Mode Cutie pattern away too! 

June 7–Tiffany Hayes
June 9–Sara Mika
June 10–Lyric Kinard
June 11–Kathy York
June 11–Teri Lucas
June 13—Tiffany Hayes
June 13–Jamie Fingal
June 14–Debby Brown
June 14–Heidi Kelly
June 15– David Gilleland
June 15—Melanie Testa <— Here!
June 16–Melanie Testa <— Right Here!










Improving my skill set and building preferences

In the last two months, I have been a very busy quilt maker.

The image above shows that I have combined some sunflowers (the birds devoured the dried seeds within -Thanks Mom!) with threads for their nests. It seems like a win-win for our feathered friends! Food and nesting material, all on one NYC fire escape! What a great way to use up thread scraps!

Releasing a fabric line has been quite interesting! To experience these fabrics through the designing and print process, submitting them to a fabric house, and now, learning to effectively use them in quilts?

So. Much. Fun.

I will show this entire quilt top next week, during the Florabunda! Blog Hop Celebration. But for now, I would like to say, the pattern for this quilt can be found in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s Modern Quilt Magic. Like so many of my fellow quilters, I am smitten with Victoria’s innovative quilts, her solid skill set and her precise methods of teaching. This year, I went from trying out ‘y seams‘, to sewing the Cascade quilts’ soft curves, to jumping right into to piecing a Bow Tie quilt with quarter circles! All three quilts use Victoria’s templates (I am a total fan-click links above)!

Where previously, I had told myself these techniques were too difficult or fiddly, now, I am All-In! This is easy! And fun. It’s been a joy to learn new skills, while acquiring preferences in how to most effectively use Florabunda!

During the Blog Hop, I will discuss how these three quilt/tops helped me build preferences and understand how to use Florabunda! effectively. So please join us, on June 7th!






Machine Quilted Sampling with Florabunda!

Hello Good folk.

I am working on my Bow Tie Quilt. It’s been basted and a sample sandwich was made, so that I can try out machine quilting techniques. I am excited about this quilt. The colors dance and sparkle. Sewing the quarter circle blocks was great fun. And now, this great quilt is encouraging me to machine quilt in ways that I have not recently explored. 

Usually, when I quilt my hand printed quilt tops, I machine quilt in straight lines, in order to ‘level the playing field’ and place the focus on the handprints rather than the quilting. Check out my Lace Swirl Quilt with straight line quilting, here

But, straight lines won’t do this time! I want to stretch and learn, which is in keeping with this Bow Tie Quilt top anyway.

So this morning, I rounded up every spool of thread in the house and evaluated my stash. I posted to Facebook, asking about the different threads I rounded up and also, examples of free motion go-to shapes. (I love asking the folks on my feed for their advice! I get great information, differing views, links and photos! Book suggestions too!) Cindi G turned me onto Baptist Fan free motion shape, and Kevin S suggested renaming it Lava Flow, which I must say, I really like!! I have been to Hawaii, seen the volcano that recently erupted and I feel connected to its flow and outcome

I chose this thread and ‘Lava Flow’ or Baptist Fan, though I did need to purchase a large spool, I happily await its arrival. In the meantime, I will use up the spool I have.

This is a bunch of fun!





Learning to quilt again


 I have finally gotten to the point where I am using the cloth I have been printing all year long. I am very excited about this for several reasons. The most surprising of which is, I forgot how very much I like piecing and quilting. For years I have been ‘art quilting’, using thickened dye to create one of a kind wall art in a figurative style, as I wrote about in Inspired to Quilt . Over the years, I stopped making surface designed cloth for the fun of it, while looking at my storage bins and wondering for what or why I should keep them. Now, I look at those bins and I see potential. I want to tear through these bins and make throw quilts. I want a stack of throws, folded, stacked, pretty and ready for use! 

The photos you see here are the back of a quilt. I like two sided quilts and I think the backs should be as fun as the fronts, although I think backs should also be quick and easy.MellyQuiltsBernina

Because I have been focusing on multicolor printing this year, I have a criteria for what I would like to accomplish while piecing and quilting my cloth. I want the cloth and my designs to really show themselves off, it takes commitment and time to print cloth and I want my quilts to really show my cloth off to its best advantage. I am exploring different quilt blocks and settings to do this. Right now I think it is a good idea for me to work with bigger blocks of a simple nature, like 6″ half square triangles, 1000 Pyramids. I bet as I cut, piece and quilt the throws I am working on now that I will begin to see my way through the quilt block forrest a little better.

I am oh-so-happy to say, today I am heading over to Victoria Findlay-Wolfe‘s house for a day long class in 15 Minutes of Play . This book has been following me around for weeks, if not months. Victoria uses a technique she calls Made-Cloth, where she sews cloth together improvisationally, and figures out how to use it later. For my part, this is useful in that, because I have printed all of my own cloth, I want to use every last bit of it. Many of my multicolor printed cloth pieces are quite small, so I have been making Made-Cloth with it, but I am sticking with the same prints and colors, rather than using many prints in one Made-Cloth piece. Brilliant.

I will post and let you know about what I have learned in Victoria’s class. I look forward to meeting quilters, I can’t wait to see the synapse connections I make. I love learning.IMG_2583I uploaded this image because I like the hash marks. I also really like graffiti and poster art, so there! Enjoy.