MORE from Katie's Modern Nest

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where's Your Mama?

Ok, life got in the way of my best intentions to begin the "My Mamma Taught Me" series on Monday.  In the vein of not stressing too much and enjoying turkey day with my family we'll start "My Mamma" next week. 
It isn't too late to jot your favorite quilting tip learned from your mamma (or grandma or friend) and send it to me:

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Planning for Pillow Talk 4

What do you think?  My partner likes dresdens.  For the Pillow Talk Swap I am toying with ideas on how to take a very traditional block and deconstruct it into something more contemporary.  Here are my doodles.  It is a saturday morning and because I have to keep an eye on my "into-everything-8-month old" I cannot actually cut or sew anything at the moment.  But I can plan...

By the way, I HATE the turkey idea...what was I thinking!  However I've given myself permission to try out dorky ideas, because if you are afraid to mess up, you prohibit yourself from pushing your designs into an interesting and new place.  No design boundaries!

How bout some help from my readers...which design should I pick?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend in San Fran {quilts are everywhere}

It was a beautiful weekend in San Francisco!  We packed up the whole family and headed to the bay area to visit my sister for her birthday.  Have you ever seen Alcatraz looking so...visible?  Usually there is a thick blanket of fog hiding it from view, but on Saturday it was out in all of its majesty.
After walking from embarcadero down to the Ghirardelli plaza, we did some wine tasting at Cellar 360.  I totally recommend it.  Because wine tasting in Napa is exquisite, but wine tasting in Napa after a 90 min drive with a screaming 8-month-old-baby is exhausting.  So we opted to stay in the city and drink some lovely boutique wines while enjoying views of the bay.  Fabulous!

Before returning home we grabbed brunch at a restaurant (and I cannot remember the name for the life of me) called Park Chow (thanks Claudia!) where we had lovely, locally grown organic dishes.  My brother-in-law opted for the small Thai salad...
While I decided to chow down on huevos rancheros (hey, I'm on vacation, no judging my's organic anyway, so that means its healthy right?)

And because I always have sewing on the brain to some extent, when I saw this funky-clashy color combination on a building, I had to snap a picture.  Can you see the quilt here?  A graphic design of bubble gum pinks juxtaposed with candy apple red and sashed in grey?   

Quilts are everywhere just waiting to be seen. 
When was the last time you "saw" a quilt around town?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Keep 'em Coming

You have cool Moms (and grandma's and friends)!  It sounds like many of you have great stories about the women in your lives who taught you about sewing, knitting and quilting.  Remember to get your posts up and your tips to me by Thursday 11/18th  to be included in the series.

"My Mamma Taught Me" will kick off Next Friday and I'll post the top 10 tips over the next 2 weeks.  Remember to grab the button below by pasting the code from the box into your blog post.

Start thinking about what you'll make with that FQ of FMF if you are one of the 10 readers featured in the blog.

 Take Care!  Katie

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Mamma Taught Me...

My Mamma Taught Me... {with a side of Flea Market Fancy}

{My Mom, the best quilter I know}

In the old days, we learned how to quilt from our mothers and grandmothers. They taught us how to make a knot, find the straight of grain and how to pick a properly fitting thimble. However as “crafts” fell out of favor during the era of mass production, many of our mothers lost the knowledge.

{a quilt made by my mamma}

More recently, a woman (or man for that matter) looking to reclaim the lost art of quilting turned to classes at the local shop or large tradeshows. But we are at the edge of a revolution. Today we empower ourselves and learn to create whenever and wherever we want…on-line.

There are plenty of tutorials out there that talk about the basics of quilt making: the quilt sandwich, paper-piecing and machine stitching bindings. From A to Z we can learn to quilt online. But can we truly learn as well on line as from another experienced quilter in person? Pictures are wonderful, but can they show you just how to pile the quilt on the table to minimize the tug when you are machine quilting? Can a tutorial remind you to keep your wrist relaxed when hand stitching so that you don’t get carpel tunnel? Maybe a good tutorial can.

My point is this: there are many fine elements to quilting and I’d like to start a discussion on a few of the things my mamma taught me. I am fortunate to have a mom that’s quilted for decades and she has passed many of her tips and tricks to me through lots of hours of joint sewing. So we are going to push ourselves to share on-line, the wisdom we have learned in-person from quilting experts.

{Thanks to Victoria at Silly BooDilly for the great picture from a vintage needle book}

So begins a series of posts by me and by you on what “My Mamma Taught Me” about quilting. If you have a pointer that you learned from your mother or grandmother about quilting, I invite you to share it with us.

To participate in “My Mamma Taught Me"

  1. Write a post with what your "Mamma Taught" you between Nov 11-18th
  2. Link back to this blog using the button on the right (just copy the code into your post)
  3. Leave me a comment and then send an email to me with your tip and pictures
  4. You can also post pictures and tips in our flickr group: 
  5. If your tip is included in the "My Mamma" series I’ll include a brief bio of you, link to your website and share your story.
The best part, if your tip is featured as part of this series, you will win one Fat Quarter of Flea Market Fancy!

“My Mamma Taught Me” kicks off on Monday, so Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are you a Straight-Liner?

How do you decide on your quilting pattern? Do you default to a certain method? Maybe you are a stippler, or a straight-liner or even a grid-er.

My default is anything I can do on my machine with a walking foot.

I have to admit, I am intimidated by free-motion quilting. I think that will be my new year’s resolution: learn to free motion quilt and don’t be afraid.

I digress. Here is a mini version of “Hexies-in-a-Hurry” and I decided to embrace its small size and try out some more detailed quilting. As you can see, I am using a concentric hexagon echo pattern. At first, I did each hexagon separately, which means burying the starts and stops of your thread. That was a huge pain in my “you know where.”

So I changed tactics. Think of a snail’s shell. Got it? That kind of spiral has one start and one stop, but it still looks like concentric circles. That is how I approached my hexagon quilting and it sure made the process more enjoyable. And that is what quilting is all about, right? Enjoying your time as you create.

Do you have a favorite quilting method? Why?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Halloween...a little late

We had a great Halloween at the our house.  Early in the day his Mommy and Auntie got a hold of Max and dressed him in a "cutie-pie" pumpkin costume.

However,  my husband felt that his baby needed to be something strong and tough, so his "official" costume was the indredible hulk ;-)

Which costume rules?  You be the judge.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


It's Baby Season! Our good friend's Beth and Ryan are expecting a little girl around Christmas time. It is about time that someone started having girls, because I sure have a lot of cute pink fabrics ;-)
When I heard "its a girl" I thought of this quilt, show above, that I have been working on for ages...see it here. It was my first foray into wonky-star piecing and I had so a blast making each block. It was so much fun that I made about 10 extra blocks that didn't end up fitting into the quilt (more on that later).  


Inspired by Ann, I decided that wonky stars would be a great project for practicing my hand quilting. Though I find the sewing really rewarding, hot summers and hand quilting warm quilts just don't mix. That means it has been several months and only 1/3 of my hand quilting is done.

I thought “here is the perfect excuse to get the quilt back out and finish the hand stitching,” Right? Wrong! For three weeks I have been walking by my pink stars and about 10 times a day thinking “I’ll start it tonight.” I bet you can guess how much progress I have made…zip.

That brings me to Plan B (which turned out to be an A+++ idea)

Instead of putting myself under a hand-quilting deadline I turned to my extra blocks.

Voila! Insta-baby quilt. Except a 3x3 quilt with 9" blocks is only about 36" even with the binding. Having a little tyke myself, I know how nice it is getting under that quilt WITH the baby for midnight-nursing. In my opinion, a baby quilt is perfectly sized at 45-50."

There are three ways to make a quilt bigger 1. More Blocks (not going to happen) 2. Sashing 3. Borders. I had a lot of ground to make up (about 10-15" in each direction) so I set out to sash and border my 9 blocks.

I felt a little torn about the borders. Though they frame a quilt nicely, I think they take a little of the modern edge off of a quilt. That said, Beth is a traditionalist, so I think she'll like the more "trady" feel of this little star.


While piecing the back with this cozy flannel, I used some of the scrap for a quickie side project: Burpies! This was a matter of measuring the center panel of the cloth and adding a 1/2" seam allowance on each side. Fold each edge under 1/2", press and then top stitch to the cloth. Total time from start to finish: 5 minutes for two burpies.

This is the first time I have machine quilted using a contrasting thread.  Though by no means am I an expert, I am starting to feel a little bit better about the quality of my quilting.  I straight line quilted a grid 1/4" from each of the blocks and then echo quilted around each of the stars. 

Before the quilting, I felt that the stars blended into the light pink background just a little too much.  With the quilting, there is just the right "pop."  The border is a poka-dot with cream, pale-pink and blue dots.

Hope little baby girl loves snuggling with her "Starla" quilt.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Coloring Outside of the Lines  Originally Blogged Here

This is my entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival


This is my first modern quilt. 
This is my FAVORITE modern quilt. 
This is the quilt that inspired my new passion of creating asymmetrical, non-matching eye-catching quilts. 

With the birth of my son Max, came the unavoidable nesting phase.  Except I had no desire to mop and organize…I just wanted to create.  Build, form, bring together…sewing a baby blanket satisfied my emotional need to MAKE something that matters. 

Inspired by the beautiful work of Denyse Schmidt, I began this quilt dreaming of the little baby who one day snuggle under its colors.  In my mind he would lie peacefully in his crib, sucking his thumb and smiling gratefully at is uber-talented mother while caressing the quilt.

Then reality sunk in.  Max does LOVE his quilt, but not for snuggling.  This baby gets dragged around the kitchen floor...

shared with the dog...


 acts as a launch pad for his latest gymnastics...

and is perfect for playing trucks and for chasing the sock monkey.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Few Friends


My best friend is having a birthday bash for her 1 year-old daughter and her 3-year old son. These great kids are like family to me, so I wanted to do something special for them. Most of all, they want to continue swimming lessons at the local pool. So we gave them a couple months of lessons.

But what kid likes opening a gift card? What a downer, to be all excited about your birthday and to get a piece of paper. So...I found this precious pattern for stuffed toys here and got to work.

I'd like to introduce you to Geoffrey the giraffe and Dottie the dachshund…ta-dah!

These cuties were a lot of fun to make. My favorite part by far is Geoff’s neck tie. What a great use for this scrap of Katie Jump Rope plaid. Little Dottie is looking sporty with her flea market fancy accents and a scarf made from some fabric I found at a real flea market.

Check out the buttons that hold together the arms and legs (no buttons on Dottie, because her new owner is too young for those small parts).

 This project was a fun change from quilt making, and the little guys just loved them.