Day 7 :: Karen LePage & Tia Curtis

Karen LePage is a wise, soulful friend and I cherish her. She’s the one I hang out with after a long day at Quilt Market, eating ice cream by the fire pit with our shoes off.

She is a shoes-off type of a person. I feel really good around her beaming, grounded energy. And she is a super talented seamstress. Is that OK to say? Is that a bad word now, like waitress? Should I call her a stitch server? How about Sewing Ninja Princess or Awesomeness? She’s more like a magician than anything– turning ordinary quilting cotton into this smooth, drapey substance that looks like high fashion couture. read more

Modern Baby book news!

Exciting news! I am thrilled to be included in a new book from Martingale/That Patchwork Place called modern baby: Easy, Fresh, and Fun Quilt Designs. My first ever quilt project in a book. WOot! Who doesn’t want to be in a book, right? Right. 

modern baby is a lovely, curated book with fun quilts for babies designed by modern quilters/ bloggerssuch as Shea Henderson (of Empty Bobbin) and Carolyn Friedlanderamong others.

The book is available for pre-order and will ship in April. Pre-order at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, or sign up at to receive an email notification when the book is ready for purchase.

  read more

Giggle & Squeak!

I have been sitting on my hands and my hat for months, but I can finally show you what I have been working on—the Giggle & Squeak™ quilt and pillow pattern! This adorable quilt for boys or girls whips up so easily using simple fusible appliqué techniques. You are sure to giggle and squeak as you are creating these friendly animals for the kiddos you love. Also included in the pattern are instructions for creating a piped pillow in two sizes and guidelines for making the pattern as a twin quilt. read more


We are rather excited about the release of our three newest patterns around here. I wanted to let you know something cool about the Good Karma Quilt pattern: when you purchase the Good Karma pattern, you’ll get good karma! A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every Good Karma pattern goes to benefit one of my favorite local charities, Phoenix Children’s Hospital . Good karma, dudes. Very good karma.

In honor of the release of our new patterns, how about a GIVEAWAY? I’ll send one winner a hot-off-the-presses copy of the Good Karma quilt pattern. Let me know you are here by joining this blog or Facebook as a follower, and if you already have, then just leave a comment here before January 15th at midnight.

…and here is a little quote about karma for us to chew on: read more

The Patterns are here!

Oh, I just love it when a plan comes together. Besides being a ton of work, this pattern business is absolutely so much fun. Even the hard work is fun. But there are exciting moments when months of effort, thought, and coordination come to fruition in one long-awaited PDF. It was all for this. All the designing, sewing, talking, quilting, photographing, more designing, much editing, and then here they are!   read more

Humility in the patchwork

Well, I just found my humility for the day. A four inch square of patchwork just took me down. No joke. If it were always smooth sailing, we’d get so bored, wouldn’t we? I’ve never met an art form that didn’t put me in touch with my humility in short order. But, $%@#!&*. I had to rip out the smallest corner of my new quilt FIVE or SIX times today and each time that little square of fabric became more and more of a mess. Weird, because it was for no technical reason or something that was beyond my reach…just simple, straight sewing. But if you lose your focus, things tend to collapse. The first time it happened I ripped it and sewed it again. By the third time, I thought of the buddhist monk raking his zen garden– the beautiful patterns raked into gravel and sand for hours and hours. And when he is done– he gathers a handful of fallen leaves and throws them onto his work. As if to say: I am not perfect. I am not in charge. I am not above nature. I am just a humble man. Things change. The wind blows…more leaves will fall soon enough. I LOVE stories like that– stories about man’s ability to attain humility and practice it is an art form. Like the Tibetan Buddhists hunched over sand mandalas for fifty or sixty hours creating elaborate patterns and images in sand. When they finish, they wipe their hands through it to symbolize impermanence. OK, so I didn’t mean to throw leaves at my quilt…but the results are the same. It is all fixed now and you can see the work in progress above. I am super excited about it. It is my newest pattern. It is the companion to my Wonky Little Houses™ Pillow pattern. The Wonky Little Houses™ Quilt pattern. It will be released and for sale in my etsy shop this month! Oh, and below are some monks making a mandala and then another erasing one.

Pin-cushion swap

I attended a fun pin-cushion swap today hosted by the Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild. Look how pretty they all are. I made one of Cindy Taylor Oat’s little cupcakes. It was sort of crooked so I just added some beads and hoped for the best! The last time I made these cupcakes I was in labor. Really. I made nine cupcakes to give to each of the women attending my baby blessing– but I was running late so I sewed late into the night the night before the shower. It was a few weeks before my due date but I was already in that altered state of birth the day of the blessing…and little Lu was born the next morning. read more

International Quilt Festival :: Long Beach

The other serendipitous occurrence during our vacation in southern California a few weeks ago was that we just happened to be there for the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach. It was huge- tons of fabrics, patterns, machines and quilting resources. As well as an intense show of antique quilts. The show was massive and there were people packing every aisle (prompting me to many times have this thought: “what crippling economic recession?” Seriously. WTF.) There were people spending tons of dough at this show. And my mom and I were among them. Let’s just say that she is my patron saint. This is not the place to express my gratitude and love for my amazing, fun, up-for-anything mom, but I will anyway. She was forcing rolls of hand-made Thai bindings upon me. Urging me on to more and more yardages of Japanese linens while she distracted my darling, over-stimulated and mama-needing daughter. But just behind a black curtain partition was a realm of museum-like calm and quiet. It was the America Collects Quilts Antique quilt show. And that is where I saw these. The first, the one that made me weep, is called Log Cabin – Streak of Lightning – by an unknown quiltmaker. All pieced and quilted by hand. It has a dark, boggy primitiveness…crazy power and optical illusion. So much work in this. I couldn’t stand even hand-sewing the binding onto my tiny quilt! I live in a world far removed from this kind of quiltmaking. It seems almost mystical. Look at what happens in the shades of black and darker shades. Crazy.
And the next one I loved is called Sunburst – made by an unknown quiltmaker in 1850. It is mystical,too… Tibetan mandala or Indian explosion. To me, this quilt felt filled with risk. What was the maker of this trying to say? Or rather, to scream? And in 1850? And a woman, no doubt. She was certainly in possession of her pure power as an artist and as a woman.
And then there was the sky quilt, of sorts, that we stumbled upon in San Diego the next afternoon. We all loved it. A thirty foot kite. One of those inspiring things.

quilt happiness…

Here it is. My first quilt. It sort of feels as momentous as birthing a child. Seriously.

There are so many layers to making a quilt and it really doesn’t become itself until the very end. Piecing the front and back of the quilt seems like the whole story but really, that story isn’t told until there is another story written on top of it which is the mark-making of the quilting. Those stitches can either repeat the story (hiding in the ditches of the design…so that the quilting honors the image by being somewhat quiet) or the quilting can sand-blast and obliterate the the image by meandering all over it and rewriting the tale…which I did. Either way, the tale is written yet again by the choice of the batting and how it behaves in the wash. I used batting designed to shrink 5% between the two layers of quilting. This creates a puckered vintage/antique look. I love that. Once, I read on someone’s blog (I wish I could remember which one) that her favorite part of quilting was throwing her finished quilt in the wash and getting it all crinkly. I remembered that all the way through this process and couldn’t wait to do that myself. This last step takes all your order and hard work and throws chaos into it. As for the over all look of the quilt, it isn’t nearly as loud as I thought it would be. But more is definitely more. It is bright and fun and happy. Perfect for my little boy. I based it on the adorable (and organic) new Circa 50 fabric line for Monaluna. The main fabric is printed with Vespas and VW buses and cars in a retro Richard Scarry style. And because of that, this quilt is called Things That Go in honor of Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (A favorite around here.) The funny thing is that as an abstract painter, my work tends to be organic, earthy, muted and atmospheric. Tonal ochres, deeply dark earth-purples, or veils of mist and washes. But when I sew, I seem to sew out loud. My choices are so different- much greater contrast of colors, crazy polka dots and prints- stark backgrounds. I am amused and curious about this difference in my voice so far. It reminds me of that Emile Zola quote: “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” This quilt definitely came to live out loud…and so did my precious little boy. And it would seem, so did I. The reason I am sewing in the first place is because it is fun and fresh for me…and that spirit seems to be alive in everything I make. Perhaps I have been making moody serious paintings for so long that my soul needs a break? I think that the real questions and emotions of human existence can even be solved and played with in quilts. And the thing is, at the end of the day, you can’t wrap yourself up and go to sleep in a painting. It won’t comfort your body- only your mind. So, quilts are paintings for the senses, the body, the soul. Here is what my paintings look like…

quilt :: part 4

I had a wee technical issue when I tried to quilt my quilt. So, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. Plan B: I went to my local fabric shop where the lovely ladies explained the situation to me (my machine will only stop in needle-up so I was getting these weird loops of bobbin thread on the back every time I pivoted…) and so they referred me to Dorothy. She quilted this for me in her signature meandering loops and stars. She charges .oo8 for every square inch. That means this quilt didn’t even make her minimum charge: $20. She doesn’t do custom work- only meandering styles. Yep…$20. Love it. As for the meandering…let’s just say that more is more. Here is a sneak peek. After I hand-sew the binding, it will be finished…