American Folk Art Museum

I was in NYC recently and I had the chance to visit the American Folk Art Museum. It’s a small museum but worth the visit. The exhibition alt_quilt highlights three contemporary artists: Sabrina Gschwandtner, Luke Haynes and Stephen Sollins. The artists could all be considered modern artists but had very different styles:

Grandfather's Garden by Stephen Sollins (2013)

Stephen Sollins (Brooklyn) started his career as a photographer and is not a quilter. His works are not quilts but paper  piecing made from components from mail, this includes envelopes and Tyvek. What is really neat is that you don’t realize they are made of paper until you are really close. According to the exhibition flyer, his works explore the “transition between evanescent modes of expression.”

Clothes Portrait #2 by Luke Haynes (2012)

Luke Haynes makes quilt portraits. I found his quilts fascinating since the background seem  traditional but the shapes superimposed are the portraits. The above quilt has a wonky log cabin with a man as the portrait.

Elk Head by Luke Haynes (2008)

This Elk Head Quilt is actually a portrait of a white-tailed deer but the artist had already named it and decided to not change its name.

The exhibition continues until January 5, 2014 and if you’re in New York City, I highly recommend you visit it. There is also free admission.




New Cordless Iron and Giveaway Winner

I have used a cordless Panasonic iron for over four years but that iron recently died. I started using my other iron which has a cord but it’s hotter. Unfortunately, my black cat , Felix chewed at the cord when I left the room. With the assistance of someone who knows electronics, it got re-wired and the wires were covered with duct tape. Felix is also in the habit of jumping on the ironing board and he has made that iron fall a couple of times in the last month. The first time it happened, the wheel fell off but I managed to put it back. But, the second time it happened, the iron just died. Since the cordless iron has a base, it’s less likely to fall off the board so the replacement iron was going to be another Panasonic cordless iron.


I really like the new shape with no front or back. It’s also really light. I prefer having the cordless iron because I find I get the cord tangled when I’m ironing large pieces of fabric and like indicated earlier, the base makes it less likely to fall on the floor when a naughty cat jump on the ironing board.

New Panasonic Iron

Giveaway Winners

Emmely has won the Batik strips from the giveway. Since I only had two entrants, I decided Pam should win some fabric as well. I’ll emailed both of you so if you could respond back to my email with your snail mail addresses, I’ll get them in the mail next week.

New Quilting Books

There are some new quilting books that I’m really impressed with. I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I bought this book based on the cover. I love the dresden-like quilt on the cover of Classic Modern Quilts . This book takes ten historical Kansas City blocks and various quilters reinvents the block into a new quilt pattern.

Classic Modern Quilts

I really appreciate the historical information on the block that accompanies each pattern. I also like how each contributor provides their view on what is modern quilting.

Back of Classic Modern Quilts

Another great book that came out this book is Brave New Quilts by the late Kathreen Ricketson. Each pattern is inspired by a 20th century art movement. Even though other books have written on design and colour theory, this is one of best chapters on the topic. For example, Ricketson associates moods with each colour as well as associates colours with the different art movements. This is also the first quilting book that I’ve read that places quilts as part of a continuum of art history.

Brave New Quilts

Both books are highly recommended and would be great additions to any quilting library.

Related Links

Baby Boom

I took a break from reading blogs and updating my blog for many months. I’ve been reading blogs for years and I think I just wanted to take a break. But, I’ve still been busy. In 2013, I’ve made six baby quilts so far and I’ve pieced a queen sized quilt. All the baby quilts except the irish chain have been designed by me. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Isla’s Baby Quilt – February 2013
I didn’t even know the gender of the baby or the preferred theme by the parents so I just had to take a gamble and make what I thought a hipster couple would like. The baby turned out to be a girl and the parents liked the quilt.

Front of Isla's Quilt

Jungle Irish Chain – March 2013
Once again, I didn’t know the gender and all I knew was that the parents wanted a jungle theme. They loved it.

Jungle Irish Chain

Blue/Green Zig Zag Quilt – May 2013 
Once again, I didn’t know the gender. All I knew was that my work colleague is very smart and he and his wife likes gardening. Because, they like gardening I decided to go for natural colours with a back that had a nature theme. The Thank you card got lost and I just got received it today. My colleagues wife really likes the design and wanted to know where I got the fabric.

Zig Zag Quilt on Patio

German Modern Baby Quilt – August 2013 

Once again, I didn’t know the gender and all I knew about the couple is that they live in Germany. I created the design and tried to make something really hip and cool since that what I think Germans would like. When it was hand-delivered to the couple, the mom-to-be couldn’t get over all the details and had a lot of question on the construction

Baby Quilt on Patio

Winnie-the-Pooh – October 2013 
I knew the quilt was for a baby boy and the parents wanted a Winnie-the-pooh theme. I designed the quilt as I pieced the top. I had pieces of Eeyore‎ in with grey fabric but I removed them since it didn’t fit in with the rest of the fall colours.

Winnie-the-Pooh Baby Quilt

Pink Quilt – November 2013 (designed by me)
This quilt is for a baby girl. The only theme advice that the father gave me was to make it “pink”. It’s very pink. I should have the binding done this week.

Pink Baby Quilt

Owl Quilt – December 2013
I have one more baby quilt to create for a baby boy to be born next month. This will be an owl themed quilt.

Safari Baby Quilt

It’s been a while since I blogged and since then, I’ve finished a couple of baby quilts.

Front of Isla's Quilt

This quilt belongs to Isla. I improved the designed and did echo quilting.

Isla's Quilt

The label was custom made by JennyLeeGeneralStore. You can contact her via Etsy.

Baby Samra’s Quilt was given at a baby shower last month for a baby who should be born sometime this month.

Jungle Irish Chain

There is label made for this quilt since the baby is unnamed so it will come later.

Baby Samra's Quilt Wrapped Up

I love buying ribbon that matches the quilt.

Organizing my Stuff

Binding four quilts last month caused some minor pain in my right hand so I decided to take a break. But , there’s always stuff to do. I decided to re-organize after being inspired by this fabric folding tutorial which uses comic book boards. You put the boards within pieces larger than a fat quarter to guide the folding process. The boards can be bought at most comic books stores and it should about $9-10 dollars for a hundred pieces of cardboard.

Folding Fabric

My scraps used to live in one bin but I find I often looks for scraps in a certain colour so I got new small bins (8.5 x 11) at Canadian Tire. The bins are shallow but there’s enough room. My bins are for red, orange/yellow, green, blue, purple/pink and neutrals (black, white, grey, brown).

Felix and Tiberius helping organize fabric

Relevant Links

Shopping by Colour

Most online fabric stores let you shop by collection, designer, manufacturer, material (cotton, flannel, linen, organic, etc) and sale fabrics. These various ways to search are known as metadata fields. For those of us that remember searching in card catalogs in libraries, we were limited to searching by title, author and subject. Keyword searches which search across all fields only became possible with computers. Searching by defined fields whether it’s a book title or a fabric collection is considered structured searching because you are searching defined search fields. I think keyword searches are popular because don’t often know the difference between various search fields – witness the popularity of the search engine Google.

I would consider searching by colour for fabric unstructured searching and I’m always impressed when fabric stores give you that option because I know that the website designer is going that extra mile to help us find our fabric. There are a lot of things to consider:

  • Does the fabric have to be predominantly one colour to be included in the colour search tool?
  • Should there a threshold (if it’s over 80% blue, it would be classified as blue?)

I started thinking about these issues when I noticed that Purl Soho released a colour wheel shop by color search tool. Once you search by colour, you can filter your result by category (knitting, sewing, needlepoint, etc).

Purl Soho Color Wheel Shopping

Searching for fabric by colour is a great way to search; it also makes you see how different online fabric stores have vastly different collection.

Fabric Stores with Shopping by Color Tools

Note: I am not affiliated with any of the mentioned fabric stores.

Are modern quilts just a twist on traditional patterns?

There is a big debate on what constitutes the modern quilting movement versus traditional quilting. In my opinion, modern quilting seems to use a lot of solids, negative space and funky fabric. When I saw this quilt picture in Flickr by  Trio Stitch Studio, I thought it was a perfect example of modern quilting. It’s a traditional design that’s been cropped and uses a lot of negative space. Just lovely.

Post Sewing Summit Swap - full reveal

I would make a quilt like the modern star above.

Relevant Links

Triangle Maze Straight Line Quilting

It makes me really happy to make a quilt using scraps and left-overs. I had a bunch of half-square triangles (HST) from the Pow-Wow Quilt completed in September. When I saw the Esch House Triangle maze pattern, I knew it would be a great way to use my HSTs. I didn’t know how to quit it for a long time and I finally decided to straight line quilting. Half the quilt is quilted on a 45 degree angle and the other half is quilted up/down to mimic a triangle.

Triangle Maze Quilt

I also lent my colour wheel quilt to the new Ottawa fabric store, Fabrications for display purposes.

Colour Wheel at Fabrications (Ottawa)

Relevant Links