Archive for the ‘Improvisational Quilts’ Category

SEW KATIE DID:MOD Pinwheel side

I’m continuing my documentation of projects that haven’t yet made it to my Quilts Page for one reason or another.

Mod Pinwheel is another quilt pattern Jacquie and I created for Quilting Modern that didn’t make the cut, but is available as a free e-book.


The adjective Mod is a little off for this quilt in my opinion, but we named it years ago.  When I look at it now it speaks to the traditional side of quilting that I love, with a taste of something a little different.

SEW KATIE DID:MOD Pinwheel Quilt Detail

It’s these ‘eyes’ that are the twist, removing it one step from a traditional straight set layout.


Hanging this quilt up gave me a new appreciation for it.

As always, I have a love/hate relationship going on with this quilt.  A little more thought with the value and color placement might have elevated the design, but truly I think this is a pattern that speaks to going scrappy, something we stayed away from in the book, but where my heart really is in quilting.


I see myself playing with this foundation pieced block again with a bin of scraps to see if my vision is true.  What a great baby quilt it would make.

SEW KATIE DID:MOD Pinwheel Binding

Teal dot for the binding and a delicious red dot flannel for the back.

SEW KATIE DID:MOD Pinwheel Detail

If I had to pull one component that I love most in this quilt it would be the quilting by Angela Walters combined with the flannel backing.  Oh wait, that’s two.


I pulled out some sample blocks to dream up something new with, but ‘been there done that’ set in and cutting seemed necessary.

You can make your own Mod Pinwheel with the instructions posted here.


I went ahead and ordered the flooring on the right for the studio.  We’ll hopefully install it and paint in the next few weeks.  Three Berninas have arrived for student use and tool kits are collected.

Things are coming together;)

Have a great week peeps!

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SEW KATIE DID:Psychedelic Baby Block:Don't Box Me In Quilt

To make a quilt a quilt you eventually have to baste it through your choice method.  I’m a pin baster.  I also have OBD (Over Basting Disorder).

SEW KATIE DID:Quilt Sandwich

 If I’ve already over thought my quilting design then I try to land my pins in areas that won’t interfere too much with it.

SEW KATIE DID:Psychedelic Baby Full

In my life basting a quilt is a good excuse to clean my floor, have a beer, and soak in a few episodes of whatever TV series I’m currently chain-smoking.  I’m having a marathon with Scandal today.

Here’s a list of my tools for basting a quilt.  A nice container to store them all together in makes for easy transport to my basting spot.

SEW KATIE DID:Quilt Basting Tool Kit

::Basting Tools::

  • Basting Pins-  I’ve run into a load of poor quality basting pins in classes.  If you’re going to bother pin basting buy good quality, your quilt top will thank you.  Heavier thread count material can also make sharp pins even more important.  I prefer the smaller curves ones.  They are about 1.5″ long.
  • Kwik Klip   This little tool helps close pins.  I don’t know what my problem was that it took me so long to purchase one of these.  If you are going to pin baste this tool is also an essential in your toolbox.  Trust me;)
  • Painter’s Tape  Use this to systematically tape your quilt back right side down to the floor.  I work by alternating sides as I tape.  Beginning from the midpoint of the sides.  Don’t stretch, but it should be flat.
  • Shears  For getting rid of excess batting.  I fold the batting back onto itself and cut away at the fold to an inch or so smaller than my quilt back.  This gives me a visual to run my quilting off the quilt top and secure it into the backing.
  • Snips To rid quilt of stray threads.
  • Lint Roller  Don’t forget about the back.  If the quilt has been handled a lot the back will have longer stray threads.  It generally isn’t even a problem, but if I have a light color on the front and a dark thread gets quilted behind it it will show through.  I find this annoying after putting so much work into perfection.


This is by no means a concise tutorial on all aspects of making a quilt sandwich or basting, but I’ll fill in the blanks at some later dates.

I also am a true believer that there is no need to reinvent the wheel, so I’ve pinned a Whole Cloth and a Quilt It Pinboard with a load of great tutorials on quilt finishing such as basting, quilting and binding that wonderful people have put together for wonderful you;)

Any tools you can’t live without?

Happy Week Peeps;)  I’m off to quilt and fold a mountain of laundry.

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Remember this quilt?

SEW KATIE DID*Psychedelic Baby Quilt

I showed and sold Psychedelic Baby at Quiltcon 2013.  It is still one of my favorite quilts and block workshops to teach.  I love blocks that provide so much design potential.

SEW KATIE DID*On Target Quilt

 I instantly wanted to recreate Psychedelic Baby a little differently, so I upcycled the leftover bits into a new quilt with a little different take.

I’ll call it On Target.

SEW KATIE DID*On Target Quilt Detail

 Just as with any quilting I learned some things.

SEW KATIE DID*On Target Quilt Bottom

The amount of linen and shot cotton meant some stretching would occur and my choice of quilting didn’t help.  As I reached the smaller outer edge with my “V” things started puckering.  If I was to do it all over again I would stitch in the ditch between the blocks that create the “V” shape and then go back in between with the fill lines on the blocks.  This likely would have stabilized it a bit more.  I was also lazy on switching directions when quilting the same side and this certainly didn’t help.

But let’s not take things too seriously, it’s just a quilt.

SEW KATIE DID*On Target Quilt Back Full

On the back I showcased an Alexander Henry print that I love.  This was all I had of it and I’m continuing on my path of using what I have to create quilt backs.

SEW KATIE DID*On Target Quilt Back Side

The binding I made twice.  I wanted to reproduce the feel of the original quilt and selected the light blue with out auditioning it.  Poor choice.  This quilt needed the drama of the dark purple.

SEW KATIE DID*On Target Quilt

(Thanks Rachel of Wooden Spoon for the photo;)

I finished it up just in time for Anja and Paul of Island Quilter to take it with them to Quiltcon for their booth.

This year was Quiltnon for me, but three of my quilts made it;)
SEW KATIE DID/Pigeonholed

AND I have another layout in process to add to my Psychedelic Baby Quilt Block workshop samples.

I’d think it might never end, but I’m officially D-O-N-E with this color way.

Happy Week Peeps!

(p.s. thanks to my friend Krista for being my quilt holder;)

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sewkatiedid/somewhat circular hexagon quilt

Regardless of my best intentions posting anything here gets pushed to the back.

I have a new season of lectures and workshops coming up and am always hoping to finish up at least one more sample for design options.  I love this practice as it allows me to reacquaint myself with a technique. Often I’ll gain perspective to share with my students that I didn’t originally think of.  Design wall time is invaluable to my process and a main focus of my workshops.  Leftovers from the original project are generally my go to, but more often than not, one project’s scraps merge into another project.

But it’s that desire for a finish that keeps me from here.  What I need to get over is always wishing to post that finished project.  Especially since I sew way faster in my head than real life.

So I think my intention for blogging this year is to focus on process AND post about it.

Marketing workshops is at the forefront of posting too and I wanna say I’m lucky that my classes fill as if late, but I also have to give myself credit that I’ve been working hard to figure out what people are inspired by, it’s not an accident.

sew katie did/somewhat circular hex

But if there’s a spot I like to make sure that I’m working on a sample. And that’s just what happened with this hex quilt.

There’s some quilting that needs to come out here and there, but I’m pretty happy with it. The trend and my love for dense quilting however isn’t fitting for the utilitarian use of baby quilts in my opinion, cardboard comes to mind, but we’ll see how it washes out.  I probably could have helped it out by selecting a type of batting that would be more supple instead of just grabbing a scrap that fit.

sewkatiedid/throwing stars

My To the Point workshop is full, but I’m working on a sample from the hex scraps for it.  They’re wee and currently being quilted.  Hoping for that finish today along with hanging sleeves/labels for Quiltcon quilts and squaring or at least picking out binding for the hex.

Thanks for reading, I’ve obviously got things to do;)

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sewkatiedid/modern patchwork workshop series II

sewkatiedid/modern patchwork block workshops series II

The first group that joined me in my modern patchwork series made it so fun and I enjoyed making the samples so much that I’ve decided to run it again in the new year AND I’ve added a second part to the series.The color combo is so wacked and I’m 100% smitten with it.

Each of these pillows I’ve made with techniques I love to use and teach.  One of the things so enjoyable about quilting is figuring out new ways to do things and I’ve certainly learned some good tips to pass along with these.

Here goes (and if you were wait listed or unable to do all of the first session than you can also sign up via The Quilting Loft).

sewkatiedid/modern patchwork workshop series II

-Exploring Inside a Box-

Modern Patchwork Series II

Please sign up via The Quilting Loft’s site.

Take one session, or the whole series, to explore the merging of traditional and improvisational patchwork techniques, one block at a time. Katie Pedersen, author of Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts will guide you through the techniques and skills needed for each block, variations in block design, and the secondary designs multiple blocks create. While we’re at it, we’ll get friendly with our design wall, touch on color and value theory, and cover the advantages of constructing a block that is either precise in piecing, or more willy-nilly.

*Even if you are a seasoned quilter you can up your patchwork game by adding improvisational techniques to your knowledge base.

sewkatiedid:modern patchwork workshop/series II/ equalateral triangle

*Session I- To the Point Triangle Workshop- Thursday, January 22nd from 6-9pm Learn the proper techniques for cutting and piecing equilateral triangles to create sharp points and a design with the most impact. How design is affected by color value, scale of fabric and placement will be covered in this skill building workshop. All levels of sewists welcome. sewkatiedid:Psychedelic Baby Modern Patchwork Workshop/Series II *Session II- Psychedelic Baby Block- Thursday, February 26th from 6-9pm This modern block workshop combines improvisational strip piecing and a traditional foundation paper piecing technique to create unique string blocks that are both chaotic and controlled. Once we’ve constructed some blocks we’ll cover color and value placement so that we can play with the block’s unlimited quilt/pillow design potential. sewkatiedid:modern patchwork workshop/Series II *Session III- Improv Curves- Thursday, March 19th from 6-9pm Fear the curve no more with this no pinning, no templates and no stress approach to the curve. This session gives you the class time to master improvisational gradual curves to be later built into curved emeba blocks (See Emeba Workshop below). Free-handing improvisational curves are manageable even for beginners. Sewkatiedid:Amebas/modern patchwork workshop series II *Session IV- Tipsy Amebas Block- Thursday, April 23rd from 6-9pm (An Improvisational curves workshop must be taken to sign up for Amebas (March 19th or April 21st to sign up for this workshop) Now that you’ve mastered improvisationally pieced curves without pinning a thing it’s time to move on to creating organic shapes. Watch your ameba multiply as we cover a chain piecing technique to make more than one at a time and follow up by learning how to bring your blocks together on the design wall without noticeable block construction. Hope to see you there!

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sewkatiedid/Happy Snowballed Sunshine quilt

There’s no sugar coating it, our family has had a full dose of life reality lately, so it wasn’t a mistake that I pulled this bit of happy colored sunshine out of the pile of unfinished tops to quilt.

I needed some mind occupation.

sewkatiedid/happy snowballed sunshine quilt

It seems that each quilt has a memory of its making somewhere along all its steps, and not in a bad way, but quilting and binding Happy Snowballed Sunshine will remind me for a time of my father-in-law John passing.

sewkatiedid/happy snowballed sunshine quilt

This quilt and its association with this particular time reminded me of quilting Supernova.  Supernova was the quilt that I was working on four years ago yesterday, the same day John got his kidney transplant.

 There were tears of joy quilted into that quilt and a few sad ones for the donor’s family too.  That generous lady knew that in her passing she could gift a family some of those ‘best of times’ as we call them.

And she did.

sewkatiedid/happy snowballed sunshine

But quilting this also made me thankful that I have creative things to do that occupy my mind when I need them.

sewkatiedid/happy snowballed sunshine

It also solidified something that seems so obvious, but I’d never really thought about it. My love for fun and funky color combos that lift my mood to happy when I see them, even if the times don’t match.

sewkatiedid/Happy Snowballed Sunshine

And the prints that are hard to cut into?  Now is the time to use them.

sewkatiedid/happy snowballed sunshine back

I’ll gift this bit of happy at some point.  This quilt hasn’t found its person yet, but that baby will add another dimension to the quilt memory.

john best

(thanks Sounders FC  instagram for photo)

And for my happy memory I’ve been reminding myself to remember the healthy John.  The John that would sit on my couch drinking a martini telling me funny stories.

 He would have liked my happy quilt and he definitely loved sunshine;)

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sewkatiedidI told Jefe to calm his excitement over the fact that we have a Christmas themed sham for our bedroom.  He puts up with me.

sewkatiedid/sparkle punch shamI’m a little obsessed with this Alexander Henry Merry Moderns fabric and equally obsessed with Elizabeth’s Sparkle Punch quilt.

DSCN0070I thought about making another sham, but I think I’m just going to go all out and make a Christmas quilt for the couch instead with some wool batting and flannel back.

I’m trying to do the ‘two birds, one stone thing.’  Combining class samples and gift ideas at once.  Thus the stitch and flip triangles/Sparkle Punch fusion.  I like to have as many examples as possible to inspire students beyond Quilting Modern’s quilt layouts.  It really makes a class more fun.

sewkatiedid/qaygI’ve got Secret Santa gift and oven mitt class samples covered.  I forgot to put in two layers of batting, so I guess it’s a mug rug instead of a potholder

sewkatiedid/patchwork oven mittsConsidering I’ve got a ton of these patchwork squares left over from the oven mitts I think I might make some nesting baskets for class samples while I’m at it. Pssst…there’s one spot left in that class if you need a gift idea and some time on your hands Sunday.

Off to obsess more.

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