Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop

Paige Alexander at Quilted Blooms and Cheryl  Brickey at Meadow Mist Designs have a new book, Modern Plus Sign Quilts. They asked me to make a project from the book and share on my blog. I was very excited for them. I met them when I participated in the 2015 QuiltCon Charity Challenge. I got to meet them in real life at QuiltCon 2018. They are awesome folk.

I’m one of many who are participating in the blog hop for the book. Paige and Cheryl are having giveaways, so go to their blogs for details on that.

Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

I chose the quilt, Cute as a Button, from the 16 projects in the book.

This is my version:

Cute as a Button Quilt cropped

The pattern uses machine raw-edge applique for the “buttons”, but I used needle turn applique because I enjoy the handwork more. I also used some of my hand-dyed indigo fabric.  The button template was simple, and I just added an eighth of an inch to the template for the needle turn. I cut the template out of freezer paper and ironed it on before cutting it.


I hand quilted it and emphasized the plus-sign pattern in the quilting. I took the photo above along the Appomattox River at the Old Brick House in Colonial Heights, Virginia. (An ancestor was an indentured servant there). I’m using my new photography skills, but I haven’t mastered that blurry background effect yet.

The quilt measures 30″ by 30″. I plan to hang it on my living room wall.

Cute as a Button up close2

This is Paige’s pattern in the book.

Photo: C&T Publications

Photo: C&T Publishing

As you can tell, this is a versatile template and offers options for playing with color. Each block is 6″ square finished. The button template uses a 5″ square — great for pre-cuts. The quilt measures 39.5″ square.

You can purchase the book from Paige at her Etsy shop or from Cheryl at her Etsy shop. Just click on their names. It’s also available on Amazon.

Also there are other bloggers who are sharing their projects from this book:

Tuesday, March 13th

SomaWhims and Fancies
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Kitty @ Night Quilter
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Shelley @ The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts

 Wednesday, March 14th

Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Jen @ A Dream and a Stitch
Abigail @ Cut & Alter
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun

Thursday, March 15th

Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Liz @ Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @ Stacey In Stitches
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog

Friday, March 16th

Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts
Ruth @ Charly and Ben’s Crafty Corner
Christa @ Christa Quilts

 Monday, March 19th

Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Cindy @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter
Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

 Tuesday, March 20th

Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats 
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

 Wednesday, March 21st

Anja @ Anja Quilts
Kate @ Smiles from Kate
Sue @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Carole @ From My Carolina Home
Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts

 Thursday, March 22nd

Debbie @ Esch House Quilts
Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts
Janice @ Color Creating and Quilting
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne
Modern Plus Sign Quilts Cover

Photo: C&T Publishing


Eyes Wide Shut Workshop

The all-day workshop at Studio Two Three promised to combine text and print to tell my story. I had never tried printmaking, and the workshop was part of the Rock Star Series. Emmy Bright was the first Rock Star on the calendar. I signed up after going to QuiltCon. I needed to explore other art forms.

The class started with a writing exercise — just write without stopping for eight minutes. Then we pared that down to a 100-word autobiography.

We kept paring it down until we had a three-word autobiography. When I reached my three words, I cried. My autobiography has been wrapped up in pain and loss. And death, grief and depression were in my story before I pared it down. The story in my head says I cannot control my life story. I fear breast cancer; the monthly checks, the yearly mammograms and MRIs, combined with the occasional breast biopsy.

In this paring down of words, I could eliminate that fear and choose other defining words. Striking through death was empowering. That’s why I cried. It made me happy to strike through those words.

The process for making the letters and the prints was relaxing for me. I made the letters L, E, S and Z in the smaller set. (by the way, no one’s autobiography included the letter Z)

make an E cropped

I like imperfections. When I was making them, I didn’t stress at all.  Others were more exacting and wanted to create the perfect alphabet. Ah, a metaphor for humanity. It takes all types to make type.

eyes wide shut alphabet

Here’s Nick, who was already a pro and had carved letters before, so he was chill.

lino print making cropped

Hands at work are beautiful.

The class also screen printed on white sheets of paper and on the Autobiography sheets. We made simple shapes and some more complicated shapes/stencils. This process was less relaxing. It required more technique and agility — plus arm strength. We weren’t trying to produce a finished work. We were playing.

I did the pink blob on this one and someone else added the cat blob. My stencil was off and that little pink stripe in the corner makes me very happy.

eyes wide shut pink and cat

Joy, Learning and Love. That’s my story.

Mod Drunk is part of Best of QuiltCon Traveling Exhibit

The Modern Quilt Guild selected Mod Drunk as part of the Best of QuiltCon 2018 Traveling Exhibit. I was pretty excited when I got the news! I’d love to go where my quilt is going. Anyone up for a world tour with me?

Here’s the current schedule (subject to change). I got it from the executive director, Alissa Haight Carlton, in an email, but it is different than the upcoming events calendar on the MQG website.

Mod Drunk at Quiltcon 2018


QuiltCon: Learning

QuiltCon is a great quilt show, but it is also offers the most amazing courses and lectures. When I was looking at the options, I didn’t want to do any sewing. I just wanted to go to lectures and immerse myself in all the quilts.

Two classes caught my eye– Advanced Quilt Photography with Michelle Bartholomew and Kitty Wilkin and Adobe Quilt Design with Daisy Aschehouge. And, well, they didn’t involve sewing.

Adobe Quilt Design

I had never used Adobe Illustrator. I had a meagor understanding of Photoshop, which my daughter had on her computer, and I used Adobe InDesign during a one-month trial (I didn’t renew).

We promptly began at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, thus 5 p.m. Eastern Time, and I felt like it was late in the day. Perhaps that explains my unraveling during this class. The pace was very fast and thankfully my fellow classmates at my table pulled me through it. When you say, “I think I’m going to cry,” quilters dive in to rescue you.

Daisy had nice instructions on each of the things we were doing such as Making Quarter Circle Squares and she had a lot to cover in three hours. But I like to take written notes as I’m going and I couldn’t listen to the next thing and take notes at the same time. By the end of the class we were learning how to estimate yardage for strange/irregular shapes. I patiently listened, hoping it would all make sense in the morning.

A week later, at home, I opened Adobe Illustrator. My chicken scratch made sense enough that I could open and create something new. With Daisy’s written directions, I made a Quarter Circle Square. I played with it until I had a quarter circle with rings in it. My guild is having a design challenge this year and I picked Modern Traditionalism from the bag. I want to use quarter circles in a new way and I want to explore color. I want to use shades of the same color. I gravatate to pink but this time I wanted to use red.

Once I’d made my quarter circle with rings, I copied it three times and tried hard to make all the circle/squares line up, but the gridline background kept showing through. So I added a blue background and misaligned the circle ring blocks.

My lack of precision led to this. I just love it.

Wider Circles

Thank you to my classmates and to Daisy.  You were patient beyond what you needed to be.

Advanced Quilt Photography

This class appealed to me because I only use the auto setting on my digital camera, most of the time. I had learned to set the custom white balance when I used a tripod for photographing quilts on the barn in my backyard. I didn’t change any of the  settings when I was taking quilts. It’s a miracle they were as successfull as they were. I used a manual camera for years. I bought this digital one in 2013. I wanted to improve my digital skills.

The class was sufficiently slow for me. I learned so much and they had wonderful outlines to follow. It will take sometime for me to adjust all the settings each time I take a photo. I am very excited to photograph all my work. I’m waiting for an overcast day

QuiltCon: Mining for Gold

I attended four lectures at QuiltCon. I tried to find a nugget of gold in each one. It was California, after all.

From Fine Art to Functional Quilts

By Kim Eichler-Messmer

I knew Kim from the Slow Stitching Retreat, but her lecture gave me her story as a fine art student/teacher to a functional quilt maker. I gained insight into her process, and it inspired me. Her quilt journey showed how she took fabric collages from her student days and her personal struggle with grief, where she participated in the 100-Day Project, to create large quilt blocks. They reflect her experiences and incorporate her current experimentation with natural hand-dyed fabrics.

What did I take away from this? Fabric as sketches. I could see myself making mini quilts before committing to a large project with that design. My work reflects what I’m internally thinking and I don’t have to know that at the time I’m making the quilt.

Made in Japan: Quilts, Cotton and Indigo

By Teresa Duryea Wong

This lecture explored the history of cotton, weaving and indigo in Japan. Teresa’s presentation was beautiful. I could stare at iconic textiles all day. Teresa explained the expertise of Japanese manufacturers and why textiles produced there are so fine.

What did I take away from this? Thank you Japanese manufacturers. You inspire me. Teresa said quilters use a taupe palette — they want to reflect nature and whisper.

You Make the Rules: How I use Design to Guide Work and Life

By Carolyn Friedlander

The lecture was a personal story of design and the humble beginnings of this quilting super star. I felt I knew all of this because I have her book, Savor Each Stitch, and I follow her on all the platforms.

What did I take away from this? I left the lecture, thinking “no nuggets.” Later when it was quiet in my hotel, I forced myself to replay her lecture in my mind. The advice, Start Where you Are, Start at Home, was the big picture from her lecture.

I began to think about where I am and where I call home. I live in Colonial Heights, but when I think of home, I think of Southwest Virginia. I wondered what ideas I had about Southwest Virginia.

I sketched a few ideas and I can see some of these becoming quilts. I wrote these ideas: underground, ghosts, the company store, addiction, coal keeps the lights on, and we’re feeling f–ing unappreciated, quilts, it’s beautiful here, bluegrass, the crooked road, back of the dragon, take me to church, cornbread, . . . . I envision a series called Living Appalachia.

Living Appalachia sketches

Lessons from Art Critique

By Chawne Kimber

I also met Chawne at the Slow Stitching Retreat. Her story was also new to me. She described a young life immersed in art museums and the study of art. She shared tips on critiquing art.

What did I take away from this? The biggest advice from her: spend time with art. Look at it, think about it, ask questions.

I didn’t take her advice at the quilt show. I wanted to see all the quilts!

Except, I did spend time looking at Victoria Findlay Wolfe‘s first-place quilt, Color Play H1, in Modern Traditionalism category. At first, I had that, “well, that’s nice” response. Perhaps it was the simple design repeated with different solid colors. It is the traditional herringbone pattern. After studying it, I realized she used white on the borders and there is magic in how the “bones” recede because of the color choices. Also straight line quilting is balanced with the ribbon candy quilting. At the same time, it made me dizzy. There is one repeating color– the orange on the right border. That’s the only repeating color. And the craftsmanship is stellar. The quilt reflects patience and good design.

Color Play VFW close upColor Play VFW

Final Thoughts

When I returned from QuiltCon, my brain felt fried — like the commercial– this is your brain on great quilt art. I am excited to put my inspirations to work and see what I can buy with my nuggets of gold.