BMQ YouTube Series – Ep. 19: Virtual Trunk Show #10

BLACK LIVES MATTER — Please click on the link to find out what you can do to help end the oppression and killing of our fellow human beings.

This trunk show video shows my version of the #BrooklynConnectedQAL challenge we put together for the Brooklyn Quilters Guild back in March and April of 2020 to help keep our guild members connected during the lockdown. I had made a few tutorial videos to give our quilters options as far as creating standard ruler-cut blocks or improv-pieced blocks. I decided to do both and then mashed them together! Watch the video to see the result!

BMQ YouTube Series – Ep. 17: Virtual Trunk Show #8

BLACK LIVES MATTER — Please click on the link to find out what you can do to help end the oppression and killing of our fellow human beings.

In this next trunk show video I talk about the creation of BK Snaps, which I created to hang in the 2020 Brooklyn Quilters Guild quilt show. Unfortunately, the quilt show had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this is your chance to see the quilt up close and personal!

BMQ YouTube Series – Ep. 16: Virtual Trunk Show #7

BLACK LIVES MATTER — Please click on the link to find out what you can do to help end the oppression and killing of our fellow human beings.

This is another long episode because I’m talking about six quilts. These are mini quilts, all created based on prompts. I love making mini quilts because I can really experiment with ideas and techniques without committing to a full quilt. I highly recommend making them!! I’ve listed the names of the quilts and the time they appear in the video in the Description box on my YouTube channel, just in case you want to jump to one in particular.

BMQ YouTube Series – Ep. 14: Virtual Trunk Show #5

BLACK LIVES MATTER — Please click on the link to find out what you can do to help end the oppression and killing of our fellow human beings.

This very special episode of my continuing virtual trunk show required a new location because my fifth quilt — Cabin Windows – Verona, PA ca. 1768 — was made as a housewarming gift for Shannon Reed and can normally be found draped on her bed. Similar to my previous quilt, Caged Cacophony, this quilt organically evolved from a very nebulous idea into what has become one of my favorite quilts I ever made. It was such a joy making this knowing that I would be giving it to my dear friend who would appreciate everything that went into it. Be sure to watch the video to hear about the process as well as to see some close-ups of the very dense free-motion quilting in all of the sashing.

BMQ YouTube Series – Ep. 13: Virtual Trunk Show #4

BLACK LIVES MATTER — Please click on the link to find out what you can do to help end the oppression and killing of our fellow human beings.

This fourth video takes us on a little tour of the first bed-sized quilt I ever made — Caged Cacophony. It kind of all happened without any real plan at the beginning. In fact, I didn’t even plan on making a bed-sized quilt when I first started working on it. I’m a big fan of flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to designing and making quilts, and this quilt epitomizes that philosophy. Watch the video to learn more!

BMQ YouTube Series – Ep. 11: Virtual Trunk Show #2

BLACK LIVES MATTER — Please click on the link to find out what you can do to help end the oppression and killing of our fellow human beings.

The Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month by Amy Gibson sampler quilt is the second quilt I ever made. I learned so many useful basic quilting skills and techniques, and I also used this as an opportunity to teach myself free-motion quilting thanks to Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting a Sampler class, also on Craftsy.

Heads up! This is a very long video because I say a little bit about each block of the quilt. I’ve listed the blocks with their corresponding time stamp in the Description box below the YouTube video, so feel free to skip to whatever block you’re interested in.

BMQ YouTube Series: Episode 7 – Shannon (again!!)

In this episode of my YouTube series, I sit down once again with Shannon Reed and discuss creativity and her writing process. Be sure to check out Shannon’s new book that is being released very soon and is available for pre-order now! What are your thoughts about the creative process? Feel free to leave any comments or questions on my YouTube channel or contact me here on my website. And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming interviews and videos!

P.S. This video was recorded almost a year before COVID-19 caused the worldwide lockdowns. Hence our non-social distancing.

Rooftop Water Towers

This quilt design was inspired by all of the rooftop water towers you’ll see as you perambulate around New York City. You might think the rooftop water tower is just some rotting old, unused piece of infrastructure from a bygone era, but after reading this article from 6sqft you’ll realize they’re just as much in use today as they were decades ago. As a result, the rooftop water tower has become a well-recognized symbol of NYC, appearing in graphic designs on hipster tees, screenprinted tea towels sold at outer borough flea markets, and stenciled graffiti walls throughout the city.

When I was working on my BK Snaps quilt, I wanted the blocks to represent different “snapshots” you would find around Brooklyn. Of course, I had to include a rooftop water tower. I used scraps to make my prototype block, and it was so cute I decided right then and there that I would design a whole quilt around that block at a later date.

A few months ago I finally started working on a bunch of different water tower blocks. I was determined to only use scraps for the blocks themselves and improv piece them so they were each unique. Once I made a few, I started thinking about the overall layout I would want for the quilt top and decided I wanted it to look like a gallery wall of “framed photos” of rooftop water towers. So I framed each block with matching solid strips of fabric and kept making blocks in different shapes and sizes until I was satisfied with the layout.

As I was piecing the quilt top, I began thinking about the overall quilt design. Because the blocks are scrappy and cutesy, I wanted the quilting to contrast — maybe something a little more graphic and urban. I decided to fill the white background sashing with various triangular shapes and sharp-angled polygons filled in with very dense matchstick quilting. Then every once in a while, I would break that up with a more open grid-like quilting design. I find the overall effect to have a graffiti-like quality, which I think is appropriate for the subject matter.

Because the majority of the quilting is very dense, I decided to keep the quilting inside the blocks very simple. I stitched in the ditch around each water tower and then quilted easy wavy lines in the “air” around each tower. I ultimately decided to not quilt inside the actual frames at all because I wanted a noticeable break between the dense quilting of the sashing and the very low-volume quilting of the water towers. (A distinction you might notice more on the back of the quilt.)

My final design decision was using a striped binding to frame the entire “gallery wall.” I was fortunate enough to have this fabric on hand, and the colors of the stripes are varied enough that they seem to match whatever colors are near them. And the colors of the binding are light enough that they don’t take the eye away from the blocks, which should be the focus of the quilt.

Et voilà! That’s my Rooftop Water Towers quilt! It took me FOR-EV-AH to finish, but I’m so happy with how it turned out. I really love how it combines urban imagery with a traditional crafting style. Have you ever been inspired by your surroundings and created something as a result? I’d love to hear about it, so please post comments and questions below. Share your own crafting stories, please! Happy making, everyone!!

BMQ YouTube Series: Episode 6 – Rooftop Water Towers quilt

I just completed a new quilt, and this video takes you from the beginning to the end of the process. And what a process it was! Whew!! I’d love to hear about your own quilting and making process, so be sure to leave any questions or comments here or on my YouTube channel so we can keep the quilting conversation going. And please subscribe so you don’t miss out on any upcoming videos!

My Christmas Tree Skirt

My Christmas tree is the most beautiful Christmas tree in the world. Many people disagree. They are wrong. I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, which is the Glass City due to its history of glass manufacturing for the past several decades. Luckily, that means there are amazing glass artisans throughout the area, and the Toledo Museum of Art houses one of the most impressive glass collections in the world. Many years ago, my mom began gifting my siblings and me with a glass ornament each Christmas, so I have an AMAZING collection at this point and I am deeply in love with each and every one.

One of the most beautiful characteristics of glass ornaments is the way they interact with light. Because of this, I decided I wanted a tree that allowed the natural sunlight to fully shine through them during the day and the Christmas tree lights to cause the ornaments to twinkle at night, which meant I wasn’t interested in a traditional tree with pine needles that would block the light. After MUCH searching, I finally found the perfect tree — a simple birch-style tree with built-in lights at the tip of each branch. I truly love how my ornaments shine and sparkle hanging from this tree.

This is all a very long build-up to explain how I came about creating my Christmas tree skirt. One of the ornaments my mom gave us a few years ago was a fused-glass star, which I use as my tree topper. It’s super modern and colorful and awesome, and it inspired me to create an improv-pieced tree skirt using up some of the billions of scraps I’ve collected over the last few years of quilting.

Because I have a very non-traditional tree, I decided I wanted a very non-traditional skirt. I really love Justin Stafford’s Squareburst quilt, and I thought a square tree skirt would work really well with my tree. So I took some of the craft paper that’s been used as packaging and that I save for moments like this. I decided on the size and drew out the pattern. I then cut it all up to use as templates.

Then I had to go through all of my scraps and sort them by color. That was a process. Oy. However, it was necessary and made the piecing process so much easier. I wanted to use all of the colors that are on my tree, which is pretty much everything, so I decided on red, orange, yellow, chartreuse, green, blue, purple, and pink.

I set up my improv piecing station, consisting of my Martelli Round-About Cutting mat and Rotary Ergo cutter on one side of my sewing machine and my ironing board on the other. At that point, it was just a matter of sewing, pressing, and slicing, sewing, pressing, and slicing, sewing, pressing, and slicing, over and over again in each of the colorways until I had pieced enough scraps to fit with the triangular template.

The trickiest part of this tree skirt was binding the center hole. I have never sewn a curved binding before, so I needed to look up a few different YouTube tutorials to figure it out. Other than that, everything went together pretty quickly and easily, resulting in what I think is a pretty darn gorgeous Christmas tree skirt!

This will most likely be my last blog post of 2019 as I will be traveling to the Glass City in a couple of days to visit my family for the next couple of weeks. Happy holidays to all and have a very happy new year!!