Category Archives: Critiques

Quilt Inspiration Part 1

The laptop died so I’m using my old PC. I found some fun things on it like a quicklink to Neopets. There was also a folder with photos of quilts I liked back then. Thought you guys might enjoy seeing some of them. This is one part of a series so you can experience a few at a time.

I don’t have any makers’ information on these. If you have any information on them please contact me. I’d love to know and share it.

thumb-1279147150339-1 This is such a cool way to set sampler blocks. I also like the strict color palate.thumb-1271625013030-_004 Here’s a fun kids’ group quilt. It looks like each child was given a square to decorate then someone made them into a quilt.thumb-1271725197555-100_3672What a great man-friendly quilt. I love the sashing fabric. Simple and striking, this pattern would also be fun with novelty fabrics.

thumb-1271973642699-_carmel_lattee I love the movement this shattered style makes. This would be great over the fireplace in autumn.

thumb-1272048404413-img_3544It’s a log cabin! The blocks are diamonds and it’s stunningly beautiful.

What do you think of these quilts?

Don’t worry. I’ll have a studio update for you guys soon. I’m working on moving all of my stuff in there from the living room, kitchen, bedroom, multiple closets…

Sometimes I Need a Bit of Quiet

Sometimes I need a bit of quiet. Do you ever get that way? Life’s just so go-go-go noisy and it’s good to take a break to breathe. So that’s what I’m doing today on my 31st birthday. Hubby and I went grocery shopping and that’s really the only thing I’ve checked off my to-do list…. which is totally okay. We’ll cook together tonight and watch a RedBox movie. I’ll quilt a bit and fold a load of laundry. Maybe have a nice long soak in the tub. I’ll return those phone calls and emails later.

have to put clothes on

I’m getting real quiet and listening and learning about myself and my business. I’ve noticed that I don’t have a real clear direction and want to remedy that. One thing I have planned is to participate in a group read and discussion of The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano, a business book that many people have recommended to me.

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is to finish a UFO (unfinished object) so I’ve been working on the Turtles Quilt for my childhood summer camp. I’m up to the final border on the top. I’ll post some updated photos of that in a few days. It almost definitely won’t be finished by Sunday so I may work on a smaller project to submit. There are some great prizes that are randomly drawn this year and it always feels good to have a finish. If I don’t this week, well, I’m not going to stress about it.

turtle sees who can get home first

We’ve been doing some gardening this past week. Living in Southern California does have benefits! We loved the potatoes so much last year that we’re planting three times as many. So far we’ve weeded, pulled up some stumps, laid a brick path, transplanted the bird of paradise plants, painted some pots, and planted seeds that’ll be flowers.

tatobucket

I’ve linked an older post up to the Tuesday Archives link party. This week’s theme is nine-patch quilts. The last nine-patch that I made is in my etsy shop. It’s a disappearing nine-patch baby quilt with kids’ prints on a pink and orange background. pink d9p finished

Favorites Friday: Project Quilting Trees Challenge

favorites friday logoHere’s where you’ll find the link-up party for Favorites Friday. Share your photos and posts there! What are your favorites this week? http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=484077

I love my friend Kim’s community contest, Project Quilting. It’s one of my most favorite challenges. We’re now on season six and it’s my second year participating. We’re given a week to complete a brand new quilted item on a given theme. This time it’s trees.

project quilting

I spent most of my time on this project brainstorming. I had lots of ideas and points of inspiration. A triangle quilt mimics pine trees. Ripples look like rings inside a tree trunk. Wood-burning, staining, furniture making, tree houses, weeping willows, deforestation, the closing of a cut your own Christmas tree farm, my fireplace, climbing trees, tree swings, changing seasons and the colors of leaves, and a family tree were just some of the options.

I decided to go with the colors of leaves in the spring: the light and medium greens. I was given a bunch of batiks from a friend who got some scraps from Hoffman so I got that bin out and started playing. I sewed these strips together until I was out of greens and then asked the piece what it wanted to be when it grew up. Well, I expected something fancy but this one wanted to be a table-runner. The image that came to mind was of this on a white tablecloth with tulips and a bunny figurine for Easter. Okay. I can do that!

green runner selfie

Here’s the top which has been squared up and is ready for sandwiching and quilting. It’s kind-of cute, right? It could be seen as grassy or leafy and definitively looks like springtime. I look a little concerned in the picture but that’s because this was the 10th selfie I’d tried to take… and none of ’em were coming out the way I wanted them to. After this I called it good enough.

Quilters have until Sunday to finish and submit their projects. After that the voting begins! The winner gets a prize. There are also prizes drawn at random for everyone who participates. I won a pattern last season!

There’s a lot of activity over at the Challenge Quilts group on Facebook. One of my favorite things about it is we get to see artist’s work in progress. Another thing that’s awesome is that I’m seeing children get involved in making quilts this time around. Here’s Capri’s quilt top.

capri's tree quilt top

 

 

Favorites Friday: Katie, Fish, and Crumbs

favorites friday logoWelcome to my first Favorites Friday post. I’m hosting a link up party and invite you to write about some of your favorite things, people, memories, and projects. Share your blog’s URL in the party here:

http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=481499

One of my favorite things about writing regularly, like in this blog, is when it’s easy it’s good. Sometimes the story just leaps out of me onto the screen and before I know it I have a full post just waiting for photographs. Other times it’s the photographs that tell the story and need little explanation. I usually have at least a little bit to reword, remove, or rearrange in my first drafts before publishing. The best posts, however, rarely need it. They just come together in almost a magical way. I say exactly what needs to be said in exactly the way you need to hear it. Here are two of those posts from 2014.

Bad Quilt – It’s Not a Fish. This post tells of my grief journey and the art piece I made after having a miscarriage. not a fish whole

Home Grown Friends. This post is about time, friendship and a stubborn girl named Katie who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

katie wedding

 

Apparently, this just letting things out method works for video, too! This clip was shot in just one take. Ami Simms edited some images in but for the most part it was just five minutes at my sewing table.

Happy Favorites Friday! What are some of your favorite things? Share in the link-up below!

http://new.inlinkz.com/luprev.php?id=481499

15 Quilting-ish Goals for 2015

It’s almost New Year Resolutions Time. I quilt for myself, for pay, and for charity. In order to get more organized I’m joining Jetgirl and a few others in making 15 quilting-related resolutions for 2015.

  1. Get organized. Keep detailed financial records for my business. Rearrange my fabric stash so I can tell quickly what I have and don’t.
  2. Market my business. Do what I know and learn what I don’t. Make it a priority to really learn some new tricks. Try them out and see what works for me. learn-all-the-marketing
  3. Work on one charity project at a time. I have at least 3 charity unfinished projects and find great causes that need quilts or blocks all the time. Thing is, if my emotions are in charge none of these things will get done. One at a time and they’ll get finished and to the people that need them. First up is the turtles quilt for Crystal Lake Camps
    turtles blocks
  4. Teach some classes! I already have one class ready to go, teaching crumb piecing. I’ll work on getting that one booked at guilds and shops as well as having more classes to offer.
  5. pink crumb placematsTry new things. You know, stuff I haven’t done before.
  6. Finish a quilt for my own bed. We have store-bought blankets on there now, along with a gorgeous hand-quilted Amish quilt. Still, it needs one of mine. My husband has been bugging me about this for a while and this year I’ll turn one of the bed-sized tops into our snuggle covers.
  7. Give myself a raise! As a skilled worker, I will charge for my services like, well, a skilled worker. This year it goes up from $16.50 to $18 an hour. sew worth it
  8. Learn how to better communicate with my customers. For example, I recently discovered that a good question to ask with custom work is if there’s a preference for the backing fabric.
  9. Make another large crumbs quilt. I love my crumbs piecing! I have a LOT of 6″ squares and they’re ready to go into a large quilt. Maybe it’ll end up being a show quilt like this other one I made a few years ago. BAQS exhibit large
  10. Go to at least three quilt shows. Meet the vendors, be inspired by the quilts, refill my creative cup.
  11. Meet some of my online friends. I have some that I know only through blogging and Facebook. I’d love to give them in-person hugs in 2015!
  12. Be silly. Laugh. Allow myself to make things just because it’s fun. Inject beauty into my artistic life. 230126_7118653765_8586_n
  13. Say no. No to writer’s block. No to continuing with a project that needs to go into the donation bin. No to going to a guild meeting that’s designed to be exclusive. Trust my intuition and highest sense of self and say no when that’s the right answer for me.
  14. Quilt with friends! I’ve joined the Stash Bee and am looking forward to meeting some new online friends through that monthly activity. I’m also going to make an effort to sew in-person with mini-groups, sew-ins, at retreats, or just when my local friends have a minute to spare. stash bee
  15. Stop quilting. Know when to put the needle down. Watch a movie on the couch with my husband without my handwork. Stop the sewing machine when on the phone with a family member who’s letting me hear their secret thoughts. “One more block,” won’t do when I could be running errands before rush hour.

 

How about you? Do you have any resolutions for 2015?

Jasmine’s Wedding Quilt – In Her Words

My cousin Jasmine is today’s guest blogger. I got to sew simple log-cabin quilt blocks for her wedding guests to sign. Now it’s a treasured quilt. Here’s what she has to say about it:

 

 

 

Getting married to the guy you love is such an awesome thing.

jas time professional photo

But you know what was almost equally as awesome about our wedding day? That ALL the people we love came from all over the country to be there with us.

wedding party jas

Seriously – when else in your life does that happen? Everyone in ONE place??

fire jas wedding

So one of our favorite gifts we got was the signature quilt that Megan made for us. She put fabric blocks out for everyone to write notes to us on, and then quilted them together into this exquisite quilt. The colors match our wedding day – a beautiful red-orange-yellow fall day in Massachusetts. It’s super fun to read and re-read the messages all our loved ones left for us.

close-up photo of jas quilt

And the quilt itself is such good quality that I’m not worried about ruining it in the wash, or leaving it out as decoration on the couch. Thank you Megan, for such a thoughtful gift that keeps on reminding us of all the love in our life!

jas&timquilt

 

 

Self-Portrait Quilt for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival

quilt festival

It’s time for the blogger’s quilt festival! This event is an online quilt show. Here’s how it works: quilters who have blogs enter up to two quilts for the show. They are judged and the winners receive prizes. All entrants have a chance at the random drawing to win participation prizes as well.

 

My entry this year is a self-portrait for the mini quilts category. One thing I tell my customers when selecting their inspiration photograph is to choose one that they’d display. It can have good composition and lighting but most importantly be something that gives them the feels. This photograph was taken by my now mother-in-law after she took me to the salon to get my hair cut and dyed for my wedding. I had been blonde for a while but wanted my natural hair color for the big event. I remember feeling special, beautiful, and loved as this picture was snapped. big megan with photo

 

This photo is featured on my business cards these days. My quilt is literally the “face” of my quilting business and represents both what I can do artistically and how making art makes me feel.

I encourage you to go check out the other entries. I’m headed over there now and am sure to be inspired!

Vote for your favorites here: http://amyscreativeside.com/bloggers-quilt-festival/ The links for each category are under the quilt festival logo. The categories are: Mini, Small, Large, Appliqué, Art, Hand Quilted, Home Machine Quilted, Modern, Original Design, ROYGBIV, Scrappy, and Viewer’s Choice.

 

Treasure Hunt in the Crumbs

Crumb-pieced fabric is great for I-Spy or Treasure Hunt quilts! Finding the cute little things in my students’ made-fabric was one of the most fun parts about the test class I taught on Saturday. A BIG HUGE GIANT SMOOCHY KISS to my friends who not only allowed me to use them as lab rats, but who gave me invaluable input on how to do and not do things. Terminology matters and having clear examples does, too!

Anyway, on to the fun part of this post. Three of the artists in attendance sent photographs so I can share them with you guys. I’ll tell you about the fourth’s project first. We’ll call her “M.” Get your imaginations ready because *gasp* I didn’t have my camera in class. This talent made her crumb pieces in the leftover fabrics from working on an appliqued and embroidered mermaid. M is still working on blinging-up that center and will cut the crumb pieces into a 1″ border for it. It’s going to look so good!

Here’s a sample of Z’s creations. This quilter decided not to finish the crumb blocks into something, yet. Z said that the improvisational piecing technique of making these without a pattern helped her feel artistic. She making the pieces so much that (in the heat of the moment, maybe, but maybe not) they might make a fun bed-sized quilt. So Z is saving what she made in class to merge with more she’ll make during her home-sewing time.

Can you see the tiny triangle? It’s so cute! And no, it’s not made from a 1/4 inch piece of fabric… it’s all in how you sew the pieces together.

melissastinytriangleP made this little tree, inspired by a photograph a friend shared online. Like M, she used a limited color palate for her scraps. This time they’re all greens. P also worked on another tree, this one with little dancing ladybugs on the ground. We’ll see if they end up as wall art, a pillow, or something else!

Can you see three pigs? How about monkey eyes?
paulastree

“A” made two place-mat tops in class. I love the blue and tan that she used to keep them cohesive and clearly a set! By the time I asked for photos, A had made two more. So here’s her set of four very modern-looking different but the same place-mats.

Can you find the words “Bug Off” and “Moo”? How about a dog’s face, a circle of flowers, a bicycle and a stop sign?

advacrumbplacemat4 advacrumbplacemat2 advacrumbplacemat1

advacrumbplacemat3

What else do you see in these crumb blocks? I’d love to know which pieces catch your eye. One of Z’s scraps stood out to me because I used that same fabric in a baby quilt.

If you live in Southern California, I’d love to see you at my class in San Luis Obispo on November 7th. I may have more classes next year. Of course, I’ll keep you guys updated. 🙂

If you love the look of crumbs but aren’t a quilter, aren’t local, or just have too many projects on your list already, check out my etsy shop. There are lots of things in there that have these crumb-fabrics. I also do custom orders so if there’s something specific that you want just let me know!

That Crumb-y Pillow is Awesome!

I’m so blessed to have friends who will brainstorm craft ideas with me. This time it was the snowflake mini-group who helped me out. Soooooo… in addition to offering the super-cool letter pillows, state pillows are making an appearance in my etsy shop.

Founding snowflake, Trisha, ordered the first one so I could use it as a sample. She got a 16×16 inch square pillow cover. The crumb block is reverse-appliqued and in the shape of Wisconsin. Can you see the little heart? That’s over the city of her choice. I also hand-embroidered the word “Wisconsin” on it. Cool, huh?

Trisha's pillow cover

Here’s a close-up of that heart button. It’s sewn onto a yo-yo and is a little shiny so that it pops out and can be seen against those crumb fabrics.

city heart yoyo and buttonAnd here’s a close-up of the hand-embroidery.

one word hand embroidered

 

Trisha didn’t need it, but I also sell the pillow forms. Order from me and it’ll save you a trip to the craft store.

12 inch pillowform

You can have these be as simple or complex as you want. Just the state? Order that. The other options are add-ons for a few more dollars. What about getting a letter “J” pillow embroidered with Jaime’s name? I do custom orders! What’s your idea? Maybe a football with your team written on it, or a heart that says, “Will you marry me?”

Check out the pillow covers and more in my etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymegan

Follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/QuiltArtbymegan

Coming soon: an update on the turtles and turkey quilts for summer camp, a portrait quilt of a dog and her owner, some baby quilts, and giving new life to an old quilt. Stay tuned!

Customer Service 101: Active Listening

 

It is so very important to listen to customers and really hear what they’re saying. I made a portrait quilt top (not quilted, so it could be hung in a frame) for a customer who wanted to give it to her husband for Christmas. She described it as he’s in the military and she wanted something beautiful and unique featuring this photograph of his squadron.

Julianna 1I heard her… until I saw the picture. Dude! That’s the mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind! The one the kids were drawing and the guy made sculptures of because the aliens would land there. How cool that this is an actual real-life landmark! I’m such a sci-fi geek. And my first pattern draft focused on how awesome the mountain is… until I realized that I wasn’t focusing on what’s really important to the customer.

It doesn’t matter what I think is important (or cool!) in a photograph. It matters what the customer wants to feature. So I scrapped my drawing of the mountain in all its glory, which hides the planes quite well… and swapped that for a plain stripped fabric which brings the focus back to her husband’s squadron. I think it’s well done.

Juliana 2