Tidbits: One may be for you

1.  Here is some beautiful fabric that just arrived from the Michael Miller company!  It’s for my next magazine project (for Modern Quilts Unlimited).  I love to use batiks for the “solids” in my quilts because of the texture and highlights they give to the design.

Michael Miller batiks

Michael Miller Batiks

2. Who wants these selvages I’ve been saving? I know the author of one of the blogs I read commented that there is a selvage quilt in her future, and I’m pretty sure there’s none in mine.  Comment or e-mail me if you want them.Selvages

Melanie, whose blog is

Melanie, whose blog is Catbirdquilts.wordpress.com

3.  For those who may want  more traditional lessons on color than the ones I’ve provided in my design series, my friend Melanie in Iowa has some nice posts.  You can find them here and here.  I think you’ll like them!

Zippy Star quilt by Mary J Puckett

Zippy Star I, which was sold at the Asheville Quilt Show

4. Woo!  I recently sold a quilt at the Asheville Quilt show!  And it’s a good thing, because–

5. My digital camera somehow got a little piece of lint inside (at a quilt show, of course) and I can’t get it out!  Any recommendations for a good replacement?

6.  I aim for a blog length of around 350 words.  I figure my attention span is short, so yours may be too 😀

7. And the more pictures in the blog, the better. So here’s my October finish, another quilt for Ronald McDonald House.  I quilted it on my new Bernina 530QE. There’s definitely a learning curve to that BSR, but I’m pleased with the result.

free motion quilting

Free motion quilting with my new Bernina





Meet Jo Glover–The BigStitch Quilter

big stitch quilting

BigStitch Quilting by Jo Glover

Big Stitch quilting has gotten to be a big deal in the past few years, so I was thrilled when Jo Glover, who published the original directions for BigStitch Quilting, spoke to our guild last year.  She agreed to be interviewed for this blog.  Here’s what she said about her development of the technique:

Jo Glover photo

Jo Glover

“In 1988, when I started quilting, I was more interested in the line designs of the quilting, rather than the patchwork.  It frustrated me that my fine hand quilting–natural thread on muslin background–didn’t show.”

“In 1991, I went to Japan and saw their sashiko with its strong visual impact.  Thick light thread on solid dark fabric.”

big stitch quilting

Another sample of Jo’s BigStitch Quilting

 “Upon my return to the US, I started using a high contrast #8 pearl cotton, longer stitches, with the traditional rocker motion of hand quilting with a hoop and thimble.
I was pleased to find that larger scale designs looked good with the longer, thicker stitches.  The new needlepunched cotton battings permitted a longer distance between quilting lines.”

BigStitch quilting

Jo Demonstrates BigStitch Quilting

“BigStitch was coined in the booklet I wrote and copywrited in 1993 (under my name at the time, Jo Walters).  It still sells.”   [You can get a copy of Jo’s booklet directly from her for $7.50; just e-mail her at GloverGirl52 at gmail dot com for her mailing address, and of course give her your address.]
 “To reach a wider audience, I uploaded a series of BigStitch lessons.  They are available at no cost on YouTube; just search “BigStitch Jo Glover” for the 5 lessons and Gallery.  I’m for the preservation of hand quilting.” [Here is the link to Jo’s YouTube lessons.  I am so impressed that she did this!]
BigStitch quilting

Matisse’s Goldfish, by Jo Glover

 “Right now, I’m stitching straight lines about 1/3 inch apart, using crochet thread AND NO HOOP OR THIMBLE, ssshhhh.  My friend Jane Cole brought this style, called chiku-chiku, to my attention.  (Chiku-chiku is the sound a sewing machine makes when stitching) Jane got it from Quiltmania magazine, issue # 100, in an article featuring the originator, Akiko Ike.”

Jo Glover quilting

Pillow with close lines of BigStitch quilting by Jo Glover

 “Mixing fine hand quilting, BigStitch, and machine quilting (and now, chiku-chiku) in the same quilt is fantastic.  I do prefer solids or hand dyed fabrics to showcase the hand stitching.  I see many Modern quilters featuring their machine quilting on solids, and that’s great.”
Quilt by Jo Glover

Amerika Blooms by Jo Glover

 “Quilters I have known and loved include Gwen Marston, Jonathan Shannon, my friend Jane Cole, the Gee’s Bend quilters, Fran Skiles, Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen, and Yoshiko Jinzenji.”

5 Things I’m Grateful for in Quilt-World

Gratitude is always a good exercise, as I was reminded when I met with an old friend the other day. So, here are 5 of the things I’m most thankful for in my quilt life:

1. Good friends! Some of my best buddies are people I’ve met through quilting, and, as I’ve mentioned before, joining a quilt group is a great way to make friends.

quilt group

Some Quilty Friends

2. New challenges. I count any day in which I learn something new as a success.

Amish design quilt

I made this quilt when we lived in Pennsylvania.  The biggest challenge was to design and produce the stencils for the quilting.

3. A creative outlet. Like many quilters, I’ve had careers with a scientific focus. It’s nice to have the opportunity to do something that engages my creative side.

applique art quilt

This leaf, made in class with Laura Wasilowski, was a fun way to be more creative than I am when I make bed quilts

4. The opportunity to help. Giving a quilt, whether through a charity or through a personal contact, gives me the opportunity to do something for someone. Often it’s a situation in which there’s no other way to express my concern.

modern quilt

One of my quilt groups makes quilts for Ronald McDonald House

5. The circle is unbroken. When I quilt, I feel connected to my ancestors who made quilts, to friends who use my quilts, and to people all over the world engaged in similar activities. I don’t think about this very often, but it is definitely part of my quilting experience.

wheel of mystery quilt

I made this quilt to learn curved piecing.

So, what are you thankful for?

Your Inner Designer: 3 Formulas for Modern Quilts

It seems to me that, when learning a new skill, there is often a “formula” or basic idea that, once mastered, provides a way into successful practice of the new skill.  So here are 3 ideas for you to try.  See if one of them helps you create designs that you like.

1. Use lots of “negative space”, and start by making this background space in a shade of gray.  (The person who brought my attention to this “rule” of modern quilting has asked to remain anonymous 😉 )  Here are some examples, but I’m sure you know of lots of others:

modern quilt

Shades of Gray by Terry Aske. 2nd place award in the Modern category, Quilts Canada 2014

modern quilt

Found on lilysquilts.blogspot.com

2. Another common way to “design” a modern quilt is to make it an obvious take-off from a piece of 20th Century art (or occasionally more recent art).  My design below is by no means an exact copy of any of Piet Mondrian’s work, but it certainly is an imitation of him:

modern quilt design

Thanks, Piet! by Mary  J. Puckett

Sometimes I do see modern quilts that are a direct imitation of an artwork.  However, my preference is to look at a lot of work by one artist, or by a group of similar artists, then close the book and draw something original that “references” the works I’ve studied.

For example, here’s a print I found at an Etsy shop called “Handz”.  Compare it to the quilt just below it.  It’s not a copy, but it could have been based on the print.  Or they could have both been inspired by another source altogether.

modern art print

Mid Century Modern Art print found at Handz on Etsy

modern quiilt

finished – modern drunkard’s path by m_soto on Flickr

3. Just start with modern fabric.  One of my favorite “modern” quilters is Rita at Red Pepper Quilts.  Many of her quilts are traditional designs, but she uses bright, modern, fabrics and her quilts always look fresh and modern to me.

modern quilt

Spools and Nine Patch Quilt by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts

Here’s a detail of another of Rita’s quilts:

modern quilt

Detail of a quilt by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts

Give some of these ideas a try, and let me know what you come up with!