Not So Secret……

March 29th, 2014


So my dear friend Victoria Findlay-Wolfe came out with this line of fabric that came out last fall, so hopefully you can still find some.


Scrumptious, isn’t it? Lots of layers, my favorite thing in prints. The hand of the fabric is nice to work with too.

So to show off how the prints play nice with each other, I did what any normal and sane quilter would do. I cut up those big chunks of fabric into smaller chunks of fabric and sewed them back together again with some “solids” from the Blue Nickel stockpile stash. More Maple Leaf blocks of course.



That’s it for today.  I have more to catch up on, so the next few posts may be short but sweet, and of course, I will have pix to make your day brighter.


the hand embroidered haven….

March 28th, 2014

Have you heard of Megan Frock? By now, I bet more of you have, but just in case you haven’t I want to share with you something wonderful Megan worked on for quite awhile under the radar, and brought to the light of day last summer or fall I think. (or heaven help me if I forgot,  last spring??)


Megan sent me her wonderful book late last year….so bad of me, I don’t remember when….I loved it from the start, but like many, many things it fell behind the wake of my other adventures….which is no indication of it’s greatness to be sure.

I first met Megan when she was helping out our mutual friend Tula Pink at one Market. I barely spoke to her at the first one, I think I was crazy busy, and I think Megan was a bit overwhelmed by the amazingness of the whole event.  But at the last few Markets, I have had the opportunity to chat with Megan, and I tell you that each conversation is a treat in true Southern charm. Her accent is just delightful and her love of the craft it just as sweet.

the hand embroidered haven is Megan’s first book (I am sure she will have more!) and it is chock full of some great sewing projects with an emphasis on embroidery as a featured part of each project.

I truly love these zoomorphic framed projects below:


I can particularly relate to the Rabbit Ears on the TV…..had those all of the time growing up…We could only get three stations, sometimes we were lucky enough to get the fourth station from the border of Washington State and Canada.

And Megan also has some great instructions for stitches…including some I had never heard of but sound compelling. Like the Couched Filling Stitch.


And Twilling…I am sure I have seen this, but never knew what it was called. Love the full texture it brings to the needlework.


But as you know already, I rarely get to carving out the time to embroider. So of course my first loves in her book were the quilts  and these two are my favorites!



So that’s it for today. If you don’t already have Megan’s book, go right out and get it. You’ll be happy you did!

Oh, and the fabric behind all of these shots? Beauty Queen from Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit. New this Spring. Look for it, You’ll love it!

#NQAQB — March!

March 24th, 2014


So we are in the March segment of the by now completely famous #NGAQB, the man cave version of the traditional quilting bee. Our Mr. March is Andrew Youngman from New York state.  Andrew is our OTHER Andrew.  Yeah, we had 13 guys…..and TWO of them are Andrew…not Andy or Drew …..both are Andrew….so it was kind of confusing for me for awhile there. I seemed to get the right blocks to the right Andrew though (Andrew #1 was Mr. February) !!

So Mr. March Andrew wanted us all to make this block with colors inspired from this photo:

Andrews inspiration photo

These are what I came up with:

NGAQB March block 1


NGAQB March block 2

Now the first one is my third one actually because I discovered that with this much piecing, I really needed to be using a scant 1/4” seam.  Sounds elementary,  but the following picture shows why it was necessary.

NGAQB fail

My first block ended up being 12 1/4”  not 12 1/2” unfinished.  That was not going to work in the sharing type situation that we had going on.  So I re-did it. And my extra block will end up going in the back of some quilt down the road.

We also decided early on to have each one of the #NGAQB members talk about themselves in each blog post. So here are Andrew’s words about himself and his life in the Quilt-Universe:

I’m the other Andrew, or Mr. March. In a brief introduction about me, I would tell you that I sent to art school and concentrated in photography. I now work in healthcare, specifically as an aide in Intensive Care and Cardiac Services.

Quilting was introduced to me by my mother a couple of years ago when I asked her to teach me, knowing she wanted to get back into it. I made one small table runner and one lap quilt then put my machine away, only to pick it up again 6 months or so ago.

Thanks to social media, specifically Instagram, I started noticing more and more male crafters and quilters, and started to follow them and begin a conversation about an all-male quilt bee. And here we are.

I chose the Inverted Star block (available on because I haven’t yet worked with half-square triangles and wanted the challenge. And I asked for the color inspiration to come from a photograph I took on my last trip with my husband to Key West. We’ve been there twice in the last year and love it. I asked for the #NGAQB men to help me commemorate this new favorite place of mine with these blocks.

To my Brothers in the #NGAQB:

Thanks you all for the stunning blocks that I’ve already either received or seen online. The work you each produce is amazing and I’m glad to be a growing amateur in such an elite group of fun and talented craftsman!

Please note I’ve updated my Instragram handle: It’s now TESTOSTERSEWN

So those are Andrew’s words about himself so you can know him a little better. Mr. April is a good friend of mine from way back and you will be thrilled to see the block he picked out. I know I am. It is one I have wanted to do for myself for quite sometime, but never found the opportunity to make…..until now!

Later Peeps, Plenty to do around here…...The Studio has many things that need doing, and now Spring has come to the Pacific Northwest, so I am getting the call of the wild (yard)  for some taming down again.


Aurifil Designer of the Month — Amy Gibson

February 21st, 2014

And it’s time again for the 2014 Aurifil Designer of the Month…..actually,  it’s past time, but I am getting the word out before the month is over, so for me, that’s a win!

2014 Amy Gibson Feb Aurifil designer button

February’s featured designer is Amy Gibson of Stichery Dickory Dock.  Read all about Amy in Pat Sloan’s interview with her here.

Click on Amy’s Mother’s Day block below for the instructions.

Mother's Day 1 Feb aurifil DOM

And here is my version of Amy’s block. Again I used the Liberty prints I have been hoarding saving and some Wish Voile from Valori’s past line with Free Spirit. And yes, I used one of the Liberty prints for part of the background as well.

liberty February Aurifil BOM

So if you don’t know the deal with the Aurifil DOM program here it is… Make the above block, take a picture of it, post it here on Flickr and then you could win a big box of Aurifil thread ($120 value!). Pretty easy, huh!?

and I think I missed this last month, but I got it tossed on here today…Each Month Natalia Bonner will share a little tip on Machine Quilting. So here is Tip #2… I am still hiring out my quilting mostly, so I dont’ know much about the actual quilting proces….not even sure if I “like” that part of it….so this tip is for all of you who do that part yourself…..(I am working on some ideas on how to get some of it done here myself. I don’t really have room or funds for a long arm yet, so I am thinking about getting a table top machine to for the purpose.)

2014 aurifi feb machine quilting tip button


Here’s the list of ALL of the 2014 Aurifil Designers of the Month….make sure to stop and say hi on their blogs!

Jan – Brigitte Heitland

Feb – Amy Gibson

Mar – Emily Herrick

Apr – Angela Yosten

May – Amy Smart

June – Heidi Pridemore

Jul – Camille Roskelley

Aug – Michele Foster

Sept – Pat Wys

Oct -Jane Davidson

Nov – Scott Hansen    Hey you’re here already! Hi!!

Dec – Carrie Nelson

Monthly Machine Quilting Tip – Natalia Bonner
Host – Pat Sloan

So that’s it for today. I have pretty much booked the rest of my projects sewing and writing wise until Market now. I am pretty sure I have 3 quilts to make for fabric companies, FOUR of those patterns to write up for my Quilters Affair classes PRONTO! ( I was planning on having them done by February 1st…..and now I am looking at March 15th …and still not sure I get them all done by then!!.....good thing QA isn’t until July!! sorry future students for the wait!!) (Oh, and there is still some room left in my Monday and Friday classes there! Sign up while there’s still room!)


#NGAQB — February!

February 11th, 2014


And here is the February Installment of the Racuous Boy’s Club I have found myself in this year.  I have been really enjoying this bee because as all guys, we talk about quilting in different way  than we would talk about it with women I think. Well at least our off-topic topics are different.  We seldom talk about shoes.

So for February our Calendar Man is Andrew Joslyn from Pennsylvania:


I’m Andrew Joslyn, also known as Mr. February of the #NGAQB.  I grew up with an older sister and my parents and my family went back-and-forth between the Philadelphia, PA area and Tokyo, Japan.  Although more of my time was spent in the US, I always felt like Japan was a second home (maybe my “real” home?) to me.  I spent 4 years of high school at the American School in Japan and they were some of the best years of my life.  I am still extremely inspired by Japanese culture and art.

I owe my life of quilting to my wonderful partner, Chad.  He has an addictive personality, so he’ll get stuck on something and will put all his energy into that one activity for a relatively short amount of time in an obsessive way.  He usually drops that activity and moves on to a new hobby pretty quickly.  But a number of years ago, Chad began knitting.  He found a great group of other knitters to hang out with and he became hooked!  It’s the first time I’ve seen him stick with something for so long!  He was making such beautiful knitwear and I became quite jealous.  I tried my hand at knitting, but I absolutely HATED it.  I mean, it made me so frustrated I just completely gave up.  This didn’t really surprise me because I’ve never considered myself much of an artist or “maker.”

I didn’t want to give up on the making, though, so I started wondering whether there was something else that was more my speed.  I began with sewing, just making little things like zippered pouches, coffee cup sleeves, knitting needle “roll-ups” etc.  Although I enjoyed it a bit, I didn’t like the finicky work associated with this type of sewing.  I somehow got it in my head that I should try making a quilt.  When I found out that my sister was pregnant in early 2010, I thought that perhaps a baby quilt for my soon-to-be niece was a good place to start.  I taught myself using Alex Anderson’s “Start Quilting” and I got a lot of great help from my co-worker, who had already been quilting for a few years.

That first project was a challenge for me and I made some incredible mistakes and got extremely discouraged at numerous points in the process.  Normally this means that I’ll never do that activity again, but for some reason, I was so happy with the final result, that I kind of forgot all the pain and decided to push forward with more quilting.  My co-worker quickly convinced me to join a relatively new group called the “Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild.”  I met some amazing quilters and made many new friends through Philly MQG and within about 1 year, I became the president of the group!  I have been president now for a couple years and it is still a ton of fun.  I’m presently spending quite a bit of my time organizing a modern quilting retreat in Lancaster, PA called “Mid-Atlantic MOD” with a couple other awesome quilters from the Central NJ MQG and the DC MQG.

For my month of February, I asked the boys to make me blocks of their own design that incorporate flying geese of any size and color placed in negative space composed of solid neutrals, such as creams and grays.  A number of the blocks have already arrived and they are looking fabulous!  I absolutely love flying geese …

You can find me at the following places on the web (I post most frequently at Instagram).  You might notice on my blog that I do a bunch of other making too, like jams/jellies, pickles, and now I’m brewing my own kombucha and hard cider!

Blog   Momotaro Makes

Instagram:  andrewjoslyn

Twitter:  andrewjoslyn


 Here is a link to the block that was my initial inspiration.


So that’s what Andrew wrote about himself and his quilting life so far.

And here are the blocks that I sent to him last week:



It was fun just making different geese fit together every which way….and using assorted grey solids for the back ground. Every block in Andrew’s quilt will have different grey and light solid backgrounds, so I thought I would help out the variety and add some to my blocks as well.   The lighting was not so great in these photos, but I think the first block has 4 greys in it… Some of the guys have been showing their “geese” blocks in the group, and all I can say is this quilt is going to be very fun when it’s done!!

That’s it for today peeps!   Don’t forget to sign up for one of my remaining open classes in Sisters this summer.  Last I heard, Friday’s class had plenty of room and Monday’s was getting pretty full up now.

Quilters Affair 2014

February 7th, 2014

Quilters Affair street-462x306

I am so sorry that I didn’t post about this sooner!! I just found out that three of my  classes for the Quilters Affair this summer for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show are already full.
The good news is there is time for you to get in the other two classes still…..Both of which are my own patterns (soon to be available as a downloadable PDF….)

I am so excited about this great event. I taught there in 2012 and it was a blast!!

So here’s a quick blurb on the two classes left open….

Monday  July 7th—Flame On!

Flame on!

This  is the one pattern I taught there in 2012 from my very, very delayed book that I have been working on forever!! (and I am doing a sample of it in “cool” colors as well to show you that is has great potential in any palette) It is available again as this pattern (the book is finally back on track this year, after a two year “holding pattern” (no pun intended…well, slightly intended)

And Friday July 11th—New Glory

New Glory

I designed this quilt for the Quilted in Honor project that is touring the country right now.  I think that design is a fun, strong one even if you don’t use red, white, and blue.  I am hoping to whip it up in spring/summery colors before this summer to show how different it can look in another palette.


And here are the classes that are full, but I am sure you might be able to get on a waiting list??  (next year, I will try to get these posted earlier so you have more of a chance to get in!!)

Tuesday July 8th—Painted Forest

painted forest

Oh, I cannot tell you how much I am sorry I didn’t get to post about this before it filled up….Such a joy to create and so simple and versatile.

Wednesday July 9th—Fireworks

NLC Fireworks

This one is from the book Not Your Grandmothers Log Cabin and the only one that is not my own design. But it is always popular. I taught it in 2012 to a sold out class too…..way easier than it looks too and a great lesson in color and value.

and Thursday July 10th—Beauty in the Bark

Beauty in the Bark

I just love this one so much! Great exploration of value and color. Totally based on my love of birch trees and aspens and this print by Valori Wells.

So yeah…that’s it…I still have so much to share with you…and so little time it seems….but keep coming back. I have some giveaways coming up, and some more catching up with some fabrics from this last fall to share with you…Love, love this place where we can “get together” and enjoy this current golden age of quilting….I am hoping it lasts a really long time, don’t you??

Camper Quilt beginnings……AND Gooseberry Patch Book Winner…..

August 25th, 2013

So Linda and I have been discussing getting a camper like this or this down the road in our near future. And we are both kinda making our own quilts just for it. Linda has started doing some embroidery blocks that she has gathered along the way and her quilt is going to be made of those and a bunch of my reproduction-30’s prints that I found while I was cleaning up the studio.

My quilt is going to use a bunch of this line, Summer Camp, by Mark Cesarik:

summer camp 47  summer camp 45

summer camp 46
And some of these greys:


And these charm packs from Moda that I picked up at Market in Portland:

S'more Love 37    Road 15 38

And these Birch leftovers from a couple quilts I have worked on that you can’t see yet:

Birch  Camping 40

And any other “camping” themed  prints I find while I am working on it:


And knowing me, even more fabrics that I haven’t thought of yet.  I have a couple of  ideas in mind. I need something that will make good use of those charm squares.

I really thinking Summer Camp possesses a very unique sense of color. Not one I would typically associate with Camping for some reason. I really like the golds and browns in it, and in the past I might have stuck with an overall brownish bent, but I am kinda thinking I want to try it with the assorted grey solids and “almost” solids. I have this idea in my head that the gold and the grey will go well together…..still not sure about the brown aspect of it all…

Some of the Summer Camp prints are definitely “camping”  themed:

summer camp22

But some don’t necessarily have that feel when sitting all on their own:

summer camp 44

And some could work equally well for Christmas projects:

summer camp 43

I don’t know when I will get around to this project, but I thought I would share the line with you while it is in the stores so you can snatch some up while you still can.


And onto the second part of this post.

The Gooseberry Patch Book Winner…..

I had a bit of a mix-up with this. I had first contacted the winner, but I got back a message saying it was unsendable… decided to email another winner…..Well that same day AFTER I emailed the “second” winner, lo and behold IN MY SPAM folder, I found an email from the first winner (don’t know how she got my first email when my email said it was not sendable…..)  But never fear, the marvelous people at Gooseberry Patch said “no worries” and that they will send a copy to both of the winners.   Now here’s the catch, I haven’t heard back from the  second winner.

So here’s the first winner who should have her very own copy soon.

Karen wrote on 7/28/13 at 9:32am:

I would love to win the book draw. I like the little projects you have displayed in the blog. Karen

And if you are the second winner and got an email from me also regarding this….Just send me your snail mail address at and we will get you taken care of.

That’s it for now. I have more posts lined up…..but I just got a job from a fabric company that they want finished in….a week and a half?? So who knows if I will get those planned posts up in time….


World Tour Mystery Tour # 3

May 14th, 2013

And here is clue set # 3 for the Mystery Game we have been playing with Dave Butler’s World Tour line.

world tour clue 3.1

As in previous posts here at the Blue Nickel, the game works like this:  Check out these pictures and previous shots here, here, and here.  Then make your best guess as to what is in the center of the quilt Dave designed and I pieced (quilted by my friend Becky Marshall).

world tour 3.3


world tour 3.2

Make your guesses on the Free Spirit Facebook page at anyone of the posts there regarding this quilt mystery game.  The big reveal post will be here on Friday the 17th of May!  There have been some great guesses!! Can’t wait to see the next batch of guesses!!

As this post goes up….I am in the throes of last minute packing and getting things ready for Market and trying to make sure the house will be maintained and all the other “stuff” that happens when you leave the house with kids in charge….

Don’t forget to check out the blog Friday and Saturday for some great “surprise” posts regarding some of the projects I have been working on for Market…and then there will be more after too because I just don’t have time to get them all up before!

World Mystery Tour …. #1

April 30th, 2013

So the folks over at Free Spirit wanted to have some fun with Dave’s new World Tour line in conjunction with the quilt that I am wrapping up for them.  The quilt was designed by the fabulous Mr. B, and has a really unique feel to it, well branded into his Parson Gray aesthetic. The center of this quilt has something in the center that the Free Spirit peeps thought it would be fun for you to guess what it is…...AND give you a cool prize to boot!

Here’s the deets:

For the next few weeks before Quilt Market,  I am going to be posting some successively “revealing” photos of the quilt here on my blog, and then you get to go over and  make comments on Free Spirit’s Facebook page guessing what is in the center of the quilt.  Each post will reveal a bit more about the quilt, and on the Friday of Market, you will get to see the full thing here at the Blue Nickel, if you aren’t already down in Portland, Oregon for Market.  If you have the correct answer to the mysterious center of the quilt, then you will be put in a drawing for a fabulous gift package from Free Spirit!

world mysterytour1

world tour mystery9

world tour mystery 010

 So go ahead make your guesses over on Free Spirit’s Facebook page on this link.

Good luck, happy guessing, and all that good stuff!!

World Tour …….

April 17th, 2013


Once again I get to play with David Butler’s newest line for Free Spirit. This one is called World Tour, and yup…it’s his best yet!


The first thing that I noticed and absolutely love in this mix is the printed linen!!   First, it is just a bit thicker than the regular quilting cotton, but much more “substantial”.  And the drape and hand of this linen is just incredible!  It is perfect for bags and lightweight jackets, etc. I am thinking about getting a vest made out of it, but not sure if I will have time before Market which is when I want it for.


Each print is named after places around the globe, from Fiji to Canterbury to Osaka to Kashmir and they go great with his past lines. I am sure they will also play well with others even though I haven’t had much of a chance to do that yet.


The quilt that I am making for Market is David’s design, and you are going to love it! I am not allowed to show the full thing here yet, you are just seeing pieces of it today…...... I will post a photo of it here while I am at Market. It is great for those guys in your life! Very Dude-sanctioned!!

But I did have scraps, and you know how I can’t throw out any scraps! So I have been playing with this  “planned” improv piece tonight while the World Tour quilt is at the quilter’s, and I am waiting for the other fabrics for three other Quilt Market projects to get here.


Not sure where this is going, but this is where it is starting from.  I am thinking more and more that this one is going to be named Reykjavik. I added some hot pink solid I had floating around, and I have some  Curious Nature prints in mind as well as this red/burgundy Ombre from my stash by Blank Quilting


I have similar plans to do this with some Glimma from Windham fabrics that have been here in the studio for awhile that I have been wanting to feature…..and actually I had drawn up this idea for Glimma first…..but I had all these half-square triangles and skinny strips from fussy-cutting…..and well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…..  :)

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