Time for Stitch Modern!

It's almost here!  Stitch Modern 2015 will open on March 27th and run until April 25th at the Piedmont Center for the Arts.  If you live in the SF Bay Area, the show is not to be missed!  The opening, which is on March 27 from 6pm-9pm, is always a great party. If you don't live nearby, follow along on the Stitch Modern blog, or by following #stitchmodern.  Find out more about the show and all the events below.

Stitch Modern 2015 

The East Bay Modern Quilters are proud to present Stitch Modern 2015, our 4th annual quilt show at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. As a group, East Bay Modern focuses on modern design and personal expression through quilting. As a non-juried show, there are no hard rules - this is quilting our own way, whether it’s with the latest fabrics and traditional patterns, or free piecing with no pattern at all!

We hope you will join us! Click the links below to find out more about our exciting events.

March 27th - April 25th
Piedmont Center of the Arts
801 Magnolia Ave, Piedmont, CA.
Gallery Hours: 12pm-3pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. (The gallery will be closed on Easter, April 5th.)

March 27th: 6pm-9pm, Piedmont Center of the Arts FREE
Opening Reception - Join the artists for an evening of fun, food, and celebration. There will be a book signing with Sherri Lynn Wood presenting her new book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. Signed books by Roderick Kiracofe and Eli Leon will also be available.

April 12th: 12:00pm - 3:00pm, Piedmont Center of the Arts FREE
Stitch Up - An afternoon of sewing in memory of Deanna Davis Come and celebrate the life and passion of our friend, Deanna, by helping to make quilts for her favorite charity, The Children's Quilt Project. Fabric kits will be provided, just bring your sewing machine or bring your own fabric donation. People new to sewing are welcome!

April 16th: 7pm, Piedmont Center of the Arts
Lecture: Biased and Edgy: My Career in Quilts, a lecture by Joe Cunningham $10 collected at the door, doors open at 6:30pm

April 18th: 10am-4pm, Piedmont Center of the Arts
Workshop: Modern quilts with a message: Designing quilt blocks for today’s stories with Kathryn Clark. $85 (registration required)

April 19th: 12pm-2:30pm, Piedmont Center of the Arts FREE
Family and Community Activity Day - includes quilting demos

Quilts clockwise from top left: Tara Faughnan, Joel Ignacio, Linda Hlady, Stacey Sharman, Terri Carpenter, Patricia Smith, Kristen Takakuwa

Tutorial: Quilted Mariner's Compass Floor Cushion

Awhile back, I made a floor cushion for my friend Kim featuring her first fabric line, Tidal Lace.  Since her fabric is inspired by the sea, I decided that something featuring a Mariner's Compass block would be just the thing! Want to make one as well?  Although I didn't photograph every step of the process, I'll walk you through the basics of foundation paper piecing the compass block and point you in the right direction for good tutorials for the rest of the cushion.  I won't lie, it's not the easiest thing in the world to whip up, but you can do it!

To make a 24" square floor cushion of your own, you will need:



Rotary cutter
Cutting mat
Rotary Cutting Ruler
Sewing Machine with zipper foot and walking foot and hoping foot
Basic sewing supplies like scissors, thread, pins, etc.
Thread to match cushion
Printer & plain white printing paper
Washable glue stick 
Freezer paper
Spray Baste 505
Blue painters tape
Exacto knife


Download and print the PDF file for the Mariner's Compass block.  Make sure that the PDF is not scaled to fit the page or resized when you print it. You will need to tape the pages together to form the completed block, as seen in the picture below.

If possible, avoid taping over the dark outer lines of each shape.  You'll need to stitch through and rip out the paper along these lines later, so the less tape on those parts the better!

Cut your pattern apart, keeping each similarly lettered section uncut as in the photo below.


  • Fussy cut four 8" x 25" strips of the large border print that runs along the bottom of the Tidal Lace Coral fabric featuring the large, lacy tide-pool creatures for the sides of the cushion
  • 25" x 25" square of Tidal Lace Coral for the bottom of the cushion
  • 4.25" strip of Tidal Lace Coral, (using what is left over from your fussy cutting for the rest of the cushion *
  • 4" strip of Shimmer Aqua (along the selvedge edge as it's a directional print)*
  • 5-1/2" x 42" strip of Starlight Seafoam*
  •  4" x 42" strip of  Tide Pool Seafoam*
  • 5" x 42" strip of Tidal Lace Deep Sea solid blue
Cut the following in both batting and muslin:
  • 2 pcs. 26" x 26"
  • 4 pcs. 9" x 26"
    *I usually use each strip until I run out of it and then cut another, instead of cutting all the strips I will need for a project at once.  That way, if I've made a cutting or measuring mistake, it's not such a big deal! 

    Starting with the wedge labeled A1 - A4 complete the following steps:
    • With the printed side of the paper facing away from you, place a little dot of glue in the middle of the triangle marked "A1" with the glue stick.  Position the Shimmer Aqua fabric on the A1 triangle, sticking the wrong side of the fabric to the paper and making sure that the edges of the fabric are at least 1/4" over the black line outlining the A1 triangle (PHOTO A/B).  Hint: That line will be your sewing line, so you want to make sure you have enough fabric outside of it to get a 1/4" seam!
    • From the paper side, fold the A2 flap along the black line (PHOTO C).  I use a postcard to help me get a crisp edge when I fold the paper over (PHOTO D).
    • With the paper side up, re-fold the paper over along on of the black lines (PHOTO E).  Using a rotary cutting ruler, measure and cut 1/4" on the outside of folded paper edge (PHOTO F).
    • Do the same with the other side to create a triangular shape (PHOTO G).
    • With fabric right sides together, lay the strip of Starlight Seafoam over your triangle, lining up the cut edges (PHOTO H). Make sure that your Seafoam fabric strip overlaps the edges of the paper at least 1/2". Pin together.
    • Paper side up, sew directly along the solid black line. The fabric you've pinned becomes sewn together with a 1/4" seam allowance (PHOTO I).  Hint: set your sewing machine stitch a little smaller than usual, this will help you later when you rip out the paper.  Also, don't forget to pull your pins out before you sew over them!
    • Fabric side up, press your seam and then trim your fabric along the outside straight edge of the paper, making sure to cut 1/4" outside of the paper edge (PHOTO J).
    • Repeat with section A3 (PHOTO K).
    • Using scissors, cut along the curved solid line between A1 and A4 (PHOTO L). Set A4 aside.

    • Using your ruler as a guide, mark a 1/4" seam allowance on the curved outer edge of your paper.(PHOTO M/N).
    • Cut along the marking (PHOTO O).
    • Use this same process to cut along the bottom curved edge of A1 (PHOTO P).  (Remember that you always have to add the 1/4" seam allowance beyond the paper edge!)
    • Cut a 4" square from your strip of Tide Pool Seafoam fabric. Put a dot from the glue stick on the back of paper piece A4.  Stick paper to the wrong side of your 4" square.
    • Using the same method as show in photo M, mark a 1/4" seam allowance along the curved top edge of the fabric above A4.  Cut along the marked line.
    • Using your ruler, cut 1/2" from the outside straight edges of A4. (YES!  1/2" on these seams, not the usual 1/4".  Trust me on this one!) PHOTO R.
    • Fold A4 in half and crease.  Do the same for A1.  Right sides together, match A4 to A1, using the creased center (PHOTO S).  Pin together along the cut edges (PHOTO T). 
    • You can remove the A4 piece of paper if that makes things easier (it will) and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance (PHOTO U).
    • Using a hot iron, press the seam open with the paper side against the ironing board (PHOTO V).
    • Using your paper with A2 and A3 as a guide, trim the outside edges so that you have a 1/4" seam allowance all the way down the triangle (PHOTO W).
    • You now have a completed wedge! (PHOTO X)
    • Complete the above steps for sections B through H.
    Put a spot of glue on the back of paper piece I1 and center it on the strip of Tide Lace Coral.  Cut out the shape, adding 1/4" seam allowance all around.

    With right sides together, sew I1 to Section A and then to Section B.
    Complete with the remaining sections to create 4 large wedge sections that look like the photo above.

    Put a spot of glue on the back of paper piece M1 and center on the Deep Sea solid blue.  Cut out the shape, again adding the 1/4" seam allowance.

    With right sides together, sew to Wedge A/B.
    Repeat with the remaining 3 wedges.

    Complete the circle by sewing all of your sections together.


    Put a little glue on the back of paper piece Q1 and position it on the wrong side of your Tide Pool Ocean fabric, making sure to leave at least 1/2" extra fabric all the way around the outside of the paper.
    Mark your 1/4" seam allowance on the curved edge and cut.
    Add 1/4" seam allowance to the short sides of the template and cut.
    Add 1/2" seam allowance to the long outside edges of the template and cut.
    Repeat with the remaining three Q sections.

    • Fold one of your Q templates in half and mark with a pin along the curved edge. Then fold each half section in half again in order to mark each quarter section with a pin.
    • Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew the short edges of the Q fabric pieces together and press open.
    • Note that on your Mariner's Compass circle, each section is already divided into quarters with the "compass" points.
    • Starting with the upper left quadrant and with fabric right sides together match the curved inside edge of the Q template with the curved outside edge of the wedge, using the pins to help you align.  Pin the two together and repeat with the remaining 3 Q pieces.
    • Continuing with a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the Tide Pool Ocean fabric to the compass circle.
    • Press.


    Cut out a 7" square of freezer paper.
    Glue the R1 circle template to the top of the freezer paper.
    Cut around the template.  Keep the circle as perfect looking as possible!
    Using the tutorial here, create a circle with your Tide Pool Ocean fabric.
    Once you've removed the freezer paper, fold the circle into quarters and finger press to crease.
    Use the creases to help align the circle on your compass block.
    Pin in place.
    Stitch the circle to the compass by using a matching blue thread and straight stitching all the way around the circle right inside the folded edge.

    Gently remove all the remaining paper inside of your block, give it a press, and your block is complete!

    Completed Mariner's Compass block


    With the blue painter's tape, tape a square of muslin to a flat surface so that it is taught but not stretched. Mask the area outside of the square with some scrap paper, such as newspaper to avoid over-spray.  Using the Spray Baste 505, lightly spray the muslin.  Smooth a layer of the batting on top of the muslin and lightly spray the batting.  Place your Mariner's Compass block, right side up on top of the batting and smooth the quilt "sandwich" together, making sure there are no wrinkles.  Repeat this process with the Tidal Lace Coral 25" bottom square and each of the 4 Tidal Lace Coral long rectangular sides.

    Quilt the sections together using a walking foot for straight line quilting or a hoping foot for free motion quilting. For the Mariner's Compass block, I stitched in the ditch along all of my sewing lines to accentuate the pattern.  For the bottom square, I quilted in a simple diamond pattern.  On the rectangles, I free motion stitched following the drawn lines of the tide-pool creatures.

    Once the sections are each quilted, cut off the excess batting and backing fabrics, using a rotary cutter and ruler.  You should be left with two 25" squares and cut the rectangles so that you have four 8" x 25" pieces. 


    Now that we're moving on to sewing up the cushion, we will be using a 1/2" seam allowance!!

    You can find a great tutorial for making your piping (or welting) here using 2" bias strips. You need about 100" of piping for the top of the cushion and 100" for the bottom. (You will have excess, but it's better to work with more and cut it down than to have too little!)  Using the process outlined in the tutorial, baste the piping to the Mariner's Compass block and to your bottom square.  And don't worry, although they have a piping foot on their sewing machine, a zipper foot will work just fine.

    The next step is adding the zipper.  I chose to add an invisible zipper that is hidden under the piping.  It works so well that I forget that the cushion even has a zipper!  You can find a great video tutorial for that step here.  I added my zipper along the bottom edge of the cushion.  Make sure to leave a 1/2" unsewn space at the beginning and end of the cushion edge.* (See note below for explanation.)

    Once you've added the zipper, it's time to put all the pieces all together!
    • Make sure your zipper is open at least half way.  You will already have one rectangle attached to the bottom square where you've attached the zipper.
    • With right sides together (and remember to use 1/2" seam allowance!), pin and sew the remaining three rectangles to the bottom square, starting and stopping 1/2" in from the corners. Back tack every time you start or stop, for stability, but make sure that you don't go into the 1/2" zone at the beginning and end of each straight line of stitching.

    • Repeat with the top compass square so that you have an inside out box cushion with slits in the corner sides where the short ends of the rectangles meet.
    • Sew together the short ends of the rectangles. Remember to back tack at the beginning and end of your stitching.
    • Turn your cushion right side out and stuff with poly fill or have a piece of foam custom cut for it.  I have a lot of scrap pieces of batting, so I used those to stuff my cushion!
    Whew!  You did it! That was a lot of work, but look how cool your cushion is!

    Amish: The Modern Muse

    Awhile back, I mentioned that I had submitted a couple of quilts to an upcoming show at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  Well, they were both accepted!  So many wonderful quilts were entered that the museum has split the show into two parts.  Part I of the show opens on November 15th in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Antique Ohio Amish Quilts from the Darwin D. Bearley Collection, the quilts that were the inspiration for our show.  Part II of the show will open on January 10th.

    If you live in the Bay Area, I highly recommend you make it over to check out the museum.  I've only had a tiny sneak peak at the quilts in the Modern Muse show, but I know they're going to be wonderful, not to mention the stunning antique quilts that will be on display!

    The Carnival Quilt

    It's finished!  Just in time to post this on The Blogger's Quilt Festival, I finally finished and took some pictures of the quilt I made with Carol Van Zandt's super-fun fabric, Pop Rox. If you want to see some in process pictures, check out this post.

    I love how that last photo makes my sewing room look so bright and clean.  Ha!


    Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014!

    It' that time of year again!  Time for Blogger's Quilt Festival! I love checking out all the beautiful quilts over at Amy's Creative Side, Amy Ellis's blog.  Ages ago, I was a featured Blogger's Quilt Festival quilter and I love to go back every season and check out what's happening in quilt-land.  It's open to everyone, so you get a really great, international over-view of what people are making!

    My first entry this fall is my latest finish, the X Quilt, created for the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles' show, Modern Muse.  If you live in the area, you can see it there on November 15th!  I already wrote a post all about making this quilt, so if you want to read more about it, check out my previous post

    The X Quilt
    I love the back of this quilt!!

    You can see my second entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the next post!


    Inspired by Amish Quilts? Um, YEAHH!

    Recently, the modern quilt guilds of the SF Bay area were approached for an exciting new project.  The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles will be showing Ohio Amish quilts from the collection of Darwin D. Bearley and guilds were invited to submit Amish inspired quilts of our own for a simultaneous show, called Amish: The Modern Muse, curated by Joe Cunningham.

    Wow!  I didn't even know where to start designing because there's so much inspiration to choose from!  Well, I finally narrowed it down to wanting to work with triangles, so I chose the traditional Railroad Crossing pattern to work with.  I decided that I wanted to incorporate scraps and pieces of up-cycled fabric, so I visited SCRAP, a great re-use store in San Francisco that carries a huge variety of donated fabrics, and picked up a lot of small pieces of black fabric scraps.  As much as I love the wonderful prints of new fabric designs, I really enjoy the process of making quilts the way they were originally made - patchworked with small bits and pieces left over from other things that were too small for making clothes, but too dear to throw away.

    Once I'd but the quilt top together, I decided to use a wool batting, as I've been a bit obsessed with Welsh quilts lately, as well as Amish.  The wool batting gives the quilt some loft, so that when I quilted the borders, the design really shows through.  This is important on Welsh quilts, because they are often wholecloth, so the entire design comes from the quilting alone, plus, they have a lot of wool there!  Welsh quilting is AMAZING - kind of a bit chunky and archaic looking and so much fun! If you are on Facebook, follow Jen Jones' Welsh Quilt Centre as she occasionally posts photos of her collection.  Drool!

    So anyway, enough chatter about my quilt.  Here's what it looks like!

    X Quilt
    X Quilt, back
    X Quilt, quilting detail

    The Modern Muse show is curated, so it's possible that my quilt won't make the cut, but I've seen some of the other East Bay Modern guild member's entries, and I know it's going to be amazing!  If you want to check it out, the Amish show opens on November 15th and runs until March 1st.  If you can't make it to San Jose, you might want to get a copy of Darwin Bearley's book, Antique Ohio Amish Quilts.  He sells it personally through his E-bay site, so you could even ask for a signed copy.  That's what I did!  It's a beautiful book!

    In wrapping up, I'm excited to announce the winner of the Kim Andersson's Tidal Lace fat quarter collection is Nancy! Kim was on the Modern Sewciety podcast a few weeks ago talking about her design inspirations and you can really get to know her a little bit just by listening!

    Tidal Lace Blog Hop and a Give-Away!

    Who's my favorite expat Aussie? Kim Andersson of I Adore Pattern!  I met Kim awhile back when the fledgeling East Bay Modern Quilt Guild was still meeting in a coffee shop in the early days of the Modern Quilt Guild movement.  She has a great sense of humor and always has on the biggest smile.  I'm so happy I get to see her at least once a month for guild meetings!

    We were all very early supporters of her fabric design career, (as everyone who has seen a Kim Andersson quilt knows - she does great design!) and followed her progress on the The Printed Bolt fabric design competition without surprise when she did spectacularly.  I kept gushing that her Tidal Lace print was amazing and I MUST have it...and then guess what -- she got Windham Fabrics to print it for me!  Isn't that the best?!!!

    Of course, when her first fabric line came out, I snatched it right up and today I get to participate in her first blog hop, which is my first blog hop, too!  I decided to make a Mariner's Compass floor cushion, as it seemed fitting with the sea theme and I LOVE paper piecing.  (My dog keeps eyeing it lovingly, so it might go from fancy floor cushion, to pampered pet bed...we shall see...he's been stealing the cat's bed a lot lately.)

    Photos by Danielle Collins
    Want to make one of your own?  I'll have a pattern coming out soon and if you'd like to win a Tidal Lace fat quarter bundle of your very own, enter a comment below telling me what cool project you've got in mind for the collection.  I'll pick a winner at random on September 30th!

    Win your own Tidal Lace fat quarter bundle!
    In the meantime, check out the other posts on the blog hop to see more exciting projects, or check out Kim's beautiful look book!

    Monday, September 15  -   Windham Fabrics / Kim Andersson - I Adore Pattern
    Tuesday, September 16  -   Erin Harris - House on Hill Road / Amy Gunson - Badskirt  / Cath Mosley on Instagram
    Wednesday, September 17 –  Anne Sullivan - Play Crafts / Stacey Day - Stacey In Stitches
    Thursday September 18th –  Adrianne Ove - Little Bluebell / Terri Carpenter - The Quilted Fox
    Friday September 19 - Pati Fried - See How We Sew / Amanda Hohnstreiter - My Sewcial Hour
    Saturday September 20 - Ann Haley - Sew Messy / Madeleine Roberg - Domestic Strata
    Sunday September 21 - Cal Patch - Hodge Podge Farm / Rebecca Ringquist - Drop Cloth
    Monday September 22 - Alicia Wietholter - Swoon Patterns / Stacey Sharman - Peppermint Pinwheels
    Tuesday September 23 - Jen Carlton Bailly - Bettycrockerass / Miriam Blaich - The Berlin Quilter