May Is For Makers Campaign

MayisformakersI am joining the May is for Makers campaign initiated by Lindsey from LR Stitched.  She is challenging us to buy one pattern each of the 5 weeks in May from indie pattern maker.  Why purchase a pattern from an indie pattern maker?  This is an issue near and dear to my heart as I work hard to build a career in design.  Designers pour so much of their creative energy and talent into their work, along with time spent designing, calculating yardage, testing patterns, photographing finished projects, writing, sharing, fronting the cost of printing the patterns on paper, etc. all in order to produce patterns that people love to sew.  While all that work makes us incredibly happy and fulfills a creative need, it is also work, and it should pay the bills.

Pattern sharing and photocopying is rampant and painful for designers.  Free patterns and tutorials have come to be expected yet take incredible amounts of time.  Every time you purchase a pattern from a designer, you are supporting them and their families.  You are thanking them for sharing their talents with you. You are providing them with an income so they can continue to create and produce great patterns.

I really feel like this is an important issue to highlight.  And I am happy to step up and join this campaign to show my support of 5 other designers.  I want to make sure no one thinks I am seeking pattern sales.  I am doing this to raise awareness and to show my support of fellow pattern designers.

So I pledge to purchase 5 patterns this month from indie pattern makers. I have started my search for patterns I might enjoy and look forward to sharing my purchases with you.  If you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!  What should I buy?

Who is in?  Join us!


Stash Happy Tote

Stash Happy Tote with Teacher's Pet block by Amy Friend

I wanted to share another project from my book today because I feel that it is timely with the end of the school year approaching.  I think that this bag would make a great teacher’s gift!  It’s called the Stash Happy Tote because I am hoping that you will be able to make it by simply pulling 3 half yard pieces from your stash for the body of the bag. I don’t tend to buy lots of yardage but like to purchase half yard pieces so for me, it works out well!


In the book, I offer 10 different paper pieced block patterns that all work for the front pocket of the tote.  You can customize it any way you like to suit the recipient.

Stash Happy Tote with Teacher's Pet Block by Amy Friend

I just made another tote today using the same block, perfect for a teacher or librarian or any book lover. It would serve well as a library bag even.  I plan to make more bags with some of the other blocks down the line and will be sure to share them when I do.

I have received word from a number of my readers that their Amazon orders of Intentional Piecing are arriving within the next couple of days!  That’s very exciting. I can’t wait for you to receive your copies and share your projects with me.  Please use the hashtag #intentionalpiecingbook on Instagram.  If you make this project, you can also use #stashhappytote and #teacherspetquiltblock.


QuiltCon 2017


I am so excited to announce that I will be teaching at QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah!  I have always wanted to to go Savannah so I am really thrilled that the MQG chose that location!

Take a look at all the other wonderful teachers and lecturers. I am honored to be part of this team.

Will I see any of my blog readers there? I hope so! And I do hope you will introduce yourselves. I would love to meet you.

Liberty Dress

Liberty Dress by Amy Friend, pattern in Intentional Piecing

My friend, Laura, said that she’d love to see the Dress paper pieced block from my book, Intentional Piecing, made in Liberty.  I decided that I wanted to see that too!  I just finished it up this morning.  I don’t have a large stash of Liberty–just a few fat sixteenths.  If you cut carefully, a fat sixteenth is more than adequate for this block. Give it a try!

Dress by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

This is the original block from the book.  The dress pattern was designed to show how effectively one could use a border print. I think it’s really special this way too.  I love the way the flowers are dense at the hem and then scattered through the bodice. I used a really pretty Kokka double gauze and I see that it is still available at Sew Me A Song if you would like to make a similar block!

Unfortunately, even though all the patterns were checked again and again, we let a mistake slip by. I noticed that the order of 2 sections in this pattern were incorrect.  Fortunately, it’s just a labeling problem and will only confuse the user but not prohibit them from sewing the pattern.  The pattern pieces should be labeled as they are in the diagram below.


My apologies!


April Aurifil Designer, Kate Spain

Aurifil 2016 Design Team April Kate Spain collage

It’s Kate Spain’s turn this month to share her block design for the Aurifil Block of the Month.  You can find all the details here.

Pat Sloan enter your aurifil block

In order to enter a photo of your block for a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread, simply link up your photo right in the blog post, on Aurifil’s web site.  Good luck!


I love the way Kate used color in the block–it looks dimensional to me. She has used her new batik collection called Latitude.


Tell Me A Story Quilt–Prizes!

Tell Me A Story blocks by Amy Friend

Initially, I hadn’t planned on sewing along and making more Tell Me A Story blocks…but I couldn’t resist!  I have made this group of 5 so far and have lots of fabric waiting in the wings, ready to become part of the story.  For this version, I am using a black crosshatch for the inner triangles in each block and then various low volume fabrics for the outer triangles.  The fussy cuts and borders are paired to tell a story.


As I explained in my previous blog post, I am inviting everyone to play along and make and share Tell Me A Story blocks on Instagram.  The first entry is simple and no purchase required–just repost my Instragram picture showing the image above to spread the word about the stitched story telling event.  You will find it in my IG stream.  Use the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #TellMeAStoryQuilt.  Every time you make a block and share it, using those hashtags, you are entered again!  The pattern is found in my new book, Intentional Piecing.  The book is currently shipping from my Etsy shop and will be shipped by Amazon and Lucky Spool very soon.


2 lucky winners will receive this bundle, provided by Sew Me A Song. The fat sixteenths bundle was selected for this project and is full of fussy cutting prints. Sew Me A Song just listed the bundle for sale, as well. If you buy the bundle and then happen to win, your purchase price will be refunded. The drawing will be held on June 1.

I can’t wait to see your blocks and hear your stories!


Tell Me A Story; A Stitched Storytelling Event

Tell Me A Story Quilt by Amy Friend

I am so happy to share my Tell Me A Story Quilt from my new book, Intentional Piecing.  In the book, I call this quilt a process quilt.  The idea is to enjoy every minute of making it!  I have lots of quirky Japanese prints in my stash and designed this quilt to use fussy cut motifs from prints like that.  The fussy cut centers are framed by borders so that they are actually octagonal, which is kind of fun and unusual.  Each block is meant to tell a story.

Tell Me A Story Quilt by Amy Friend

The stories can be simple or convoluted.  It’s up to you!  If you look at some of the details in this image, you will see what I mean.  There is a hot air balloon framed with birds flying in the sky.  There is a stack of tea bowls framed with lace; I picture a lace tablecloth under the tea set.  The little mice in their underground burrows are framed with woodlands-y tree rings.  The mermaid is surrounded by shells.  It’s really such a fun project.

Tell Me A Story Quilt by Amy Friend

When I photographed the quilt for the book, I wanted to continue the story telling theme. I did a little photoshoot at an alpaca farm in town.  As you know, alpaca fur is used for yarn.  So I imagined the alpaca viewing the quilt and saying, “I see you know a lot about quilting. I know more about yarn myself.”  Silly and fun, that’s the name of the game!

I would like to invite you to dig into your stash and pull out some of those prized “fussy-cut-able” prints and tell a story of your own.


Please share this image on your blog or on Instagram to spread the word.  For each block you make and share on Instagram (or each time you share the image above) using the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #TellMeAStoryQuilt, you will be entered into a drawing.  On June 1st, I will draw a random winner from the IG hashtag #TellMeAStoryQuilt to win a bundle of fabrics from SewMeASong that were selected just for this project so that you can make more blocks and complete your quilt top!

I cannot wait to see your blocks and hear your stories! I will repost and share them on IG and here on my blog too.


Intentional Piecing

Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend

I’ve been given the OK to share anything and everything from my book which has just started to make its way out into the world!  I am now shipping from my Etsy shop for those who would like a signed copy.  And I shared my book quilts out in public for the first time this week while visiting the Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild.  I am looking forward to sharing them again tomorrow in Maine at the Coastal Quilters meeting.  After months of secret, I want to share everything all at once but I am going to try really hard to pace myself!  I plan to share a project or so each week for the next several weeks–the book is packed with projects!  It includes 7 quilts, a tote bag with 10 unique and interchangeable block designs for the outer pocket, two clutches, an applique sweater, pillow, and pin tray.

Selvage blocks by Amy FriendYou might be wondering what I mean by intentional piecing.  It’s a conscious, deliberate process of fabric selection to suit a pattern design (or vice versa) or aesthetic.  In this book, I designed each project to show one of the numerous ways that different types of fabrics can be used to their best advantage–from fussy cut motifs, to border prints, stripes, gradients, textured solids and even selvages.  I also ask you to consider adapting your pattern for the perfect fussy cut and show you how!  I absolutely love selecting fabrics for my projects and considering the best pattern to show them off.  I hope that love shines through in this book and infects you too!

Magnetic Pin Tray by Amy Friend

This magnetic pin tray is the first project in the book. It provides a comfortable way to ease into fussy cutting using clear plastic templates to isolate and cut motifs from some of your favorite sewing themed fabrics.  I know you have them….probably in excess, right?  It’s time to fussy cut some of those buttons and sewing machines and thimbles and make a cute little tray for your pins.  This is a easy project to whip up and it makes a great little gift for sewing friends.

Next week, I will introduce the next project and sew along!  I hope you will join in and play.  All the details are coming soon!




Intentional Piecing Pre-Order


I have been asked by a number of long time blog readers how they can order copies of my book directly from me and signed for them.  I just added a listing to my Etsy shop. The books will arrive in quantities large enough that I can ship within a few more weeks. If you would like your copy signed, please make sure you make note of that in the comments section! Thank you for your pre-orders. I appreciate them very much!

Pre-order here.

Facets Quilt

Facets by Amy Friend

I finished my Facets Quilt late last night and photographed it early this morning before the rain started.

This quilt design uses 9 over-sized paper pieced diamonds constructed from templates that I created.  I started this project in a less intentional way than usual.  I had mocked up a block on the computer and liked the idea of using half solids and half prints.  I wanted the printed halves to be very similar in color to the solid halves but to be a slightly lighter shade or include some white in order to hopefully create a little bit of dimension.  It was only after making a few of the darker diamons that I thought that I would like to create a “faded” or pastel version of the block. I ransacked my stash and came up with some prints and solids that worked quite well.  I used a combination of Kona and Art Gallery Pure Elements solids from my stash along with a few older prints, some newer Carolyn Friedlander prints and just introduced AGF collections (including Fleet and Flourish, Essentials II, and Paint and Chalk).

Facets by Amy Friend

The layout was decided upon after playing around with the blocks on my design wall.  I knew I wanted to leave vast areas of negative space but wasn’t sure what fabric color I wanted to use.  My palette was pretty usual to start with but I am continuing with my personal exploration to use a variety of colors in my backgrounds rather than the easy fallbacks of white and grey. I settled on this Zucchini Kona.

Facets by Amy Friend

My quilt is quilted with a 50 weight Aurifil thread that was a close match to the background.  I stitched in diagonal lines and then a crosshatch in the lower left corner.  This is similar to the quilting I did in my last quilt but I liked it so I did it again!

As I was quilting this, I couldn’t help but think that I could never pull off wearing this shade of green.  Isn’t it fun that we can quilt in any colors we like?  Who cares if it doesn’t suit our complexion or a particular wall color. It’s satisfying to create for sake of design.

Facets by Amy Friend

I used this great Cotton + Steel print for the backing. It is just a few shade deeper and coordinated perfectly.

The quilt finished at approximately 54″ x 62.


Vintage Vacuum Paper Pieced Pattern

Vintage Vacuum Paper Pieced Block by Amy Friend

Four years ago, I made a vintage Hoover vacuum block for a paper pieced sewing bee.  The block was very complex with multiple Y seams and partial seams and tiny pieces so I did not offer it for sale.  I have had a number of requests recently to offer the block as a pattern, and I did love the original, sooooooo…I worked on simplifying it will keeping as much of the detail as possible.  The pattern is a little tricky because it does involve one partial seam and one Y seam.  But it is doable!  And at a larger size, 12″ x 12″, the pieces are reasonably sized.

Vintage Vacuum by Amy Friend

The woman who contacted me most recently said that she was making an alphabet quilt and needed a letter “V” block.  This block would be perfect and even has room for an appliqued V in the left corner.

If you are interested, the block is available in all my pattern shops and the links are in the sidebar.


Nibbles Paper Pieced Pattern Now Available!

Nibbles Paper Pieced Pattern by Amy Friend

I’d like to share my latest paper pieced block pattern with you today…just in time for Easter and spring in general!  This is Nibbles, a little bunny who can’t stay away from the carrots in the garden.  There is so  much room for whimsy in this block, especially in the soil. I used this great burrow print in my stash. It’s an older print by Birch Fabrics. I am not sure if you can find it anymore but I swear that I have seen some cute worm prints that could also work.  And honestly, the burrow print was just a lucky find in my stash. When I mocked up this design, I planned to use a Grunge brown for soil and a lighter brown for the bunny.  That will work too!

Garden Blocks by Amy Friend

I made this block 10″, the same size as all my garden themed blocks above so that they can be used together. If you prefer to use a 12″ standard block size, simply enlarge your pattern pieces by 120% on the photocopier.  Take note that the seam allowance as marked on the outer edges of each section will also be enlarged.  When you are trimming your sections down, just make sure you trim to 1/4″ rather than following that new seam allowance line.

Nibbles Paper Pieced Pattern by Amy Friend

I really had fun sewing this block and I hope you will too!  The links in my side bar will bring you to my Pattern Shop here on my blog, Etsy or Craftsy.  The pattern is now available for sale in all those places.

I can’t wait to see your version.  If you make one use the hashtag #nibblesquiltblock.


Chocolate Bunny Paper Pieced Pillow

Chocolate Bunny Pillow by Amy Friend

Art Gallery Fabrics sent me some of Pat Bravo’s new EssentialsII recently and I felt compelled to make my Chocolate Bunny paper pieced block using the floral print. It’s such a great print for paper piecing because the seams just disappear.  I used another EssentialsII print for the border.  I like the contrast of the geometric and floral.  If you’d like to make a bunny pillow before Easter, there is time! I made this in just one afternoon. The pattern is available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops as well as in my pattern shop here on my website.


A New Paper Pieced Diamond Project

Diamond WIP by Amy Friend

I have a new work in progress. I designed this large scale diamond paper pieced block and challenged myself to try to create dimension through my fabric choices. I used solids on the right half of each block and prints on the left that were pretty much the same color but included a hint of a lighter shade as well.  Then I tried to create a few diamonds that appear to be faded versions of the original diamonds. I think that I was pretty successful and I like the outcome. I have settled on this arrangement for the blocks and need to settle on my background fabric next. I have a fabric order arriving today that will hopefully allow me to complete the top!  Check back next week!


March Aurifil Designer, Christa Watson

Aurifil 2016 Design Team March Christa Watson collage

It’s Christa Watson’s turn this month to share her block design for the Aurifil Block of the Month.  You can find all the details here.

Pat Sloan enter your aurifil block

There is an important change to note. In order to enter a photo of your block for a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread, you no longer upload your photo to Flickr. You will breathe a sigh of relief to learn that you now simply link up your photo right in the blog post, on Aurifil’s web site. Hopefully that will prove easier for you!


After all the tiny half square triangles in last month’s beautiful block, this one will go together so quickly!  The center is improv pieced, surrounded by flying geese units.


Blueberry Park Giveaway from Fat Quarter Shop


Who wouldn’t love to win this Cool Blueberry Park Roll Up by Karen Lewis Textiles for Robert Kaufman Fabrics?  I have one to giveaway to a domestic or international winner courtesy of the Fat Quarter Shop!  All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what you would make if you were the lucky winner.

Karen just made a beautiful quilt using one of her roll ups and my Interlock pattern.  I might be biased but I think it worked out fabulously!

If you haven’t shopped with the Fat Quarter Shop before, I highly recommend it. I shop there all the time because they ship promptly and at a reasonable cost and have a wide selection of solids and prints from designers I really like.  It’s a good one-stop-shopping site.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Baker’s Dozen Quilt Pattern

Baker's Dozen by Amy Friend

I was fortunate to work with Moda to create this pattern using an upcoming collection by Sweetwater called Cookie Exchange.  I call this quilt Baker’s Dozen, playing off the Cookie Exchange theme of the fabric used and the fact that there are a baker’s dozen worth of Christmas trees playfully placed on the 60″ x 60″ lap top.  The quilt top is a fun sew for those who enjoy HST and QST units. I would think that it would be appropriate for a beginner to intermediate sewist.

Baker's Dozen by Amy Friend
While the pattern looks awfully cute made up in Cookie Exchange, it can also be made for any season by changing up the color scheme.  You could make a traditionally green forest on a sky blue background or have tons of fun with whimsical color choices.
Baker's Dozen by Amy Friend
Sweetwater’s Cookie Exchange is now available for preorder in several online shops, expected to ship at the end of May.


bakers dozen quilt pattern by Amy Friend

If you are interested in purchasing a pdf pattern for this quilt, you can do so in my pattern shop here on my website or through Etsy and Craftsy (links in sidebar).

Shop owners, my patterns are already available through Checker and United Notions. United Notions is also kitting this quilt for your convenience!

Thank you to Lissa Alexander for piecing this top and Maggi Honeyman for the pretty snowflake quilting.



Fleet and Flourish Blog Hop

I’m so happy to be kicking off the Fleet and Flourish Blog Hop today to celebrate my friend Maureen’s new fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. I love all the fabrics in this collection but her Roadside Guides print really caught my eye and inspired this quilt design. My quilt is made entirely of Pure Element Solids and backed in the Roadside Guides print.  I’ve named this quilt Possibilities.

Possibilities by Amy Friend
When I first saw this print, I knew I wanted to fussy cut it. I decided to do that in two sizes and made two corresponding blocks. I isolated just one log cabin design from the fabric and framed it with a solid for some of the blocks, and used groups of four fussy cut log cabins for the larger log cabin blocks.

Possibilities Quilt Top Detail, by Amy Friend

Because I love the fabric print on point, I designed the quilt so that my blocks are on point.

One of my personal challenges is to try to really mix up the colors I use for my quilt background fabrics–getting away from the safe white and greys. So here I used Pure Elements Grapefruit. I incorporated narrow sashing between blocks and irregular borders and played with the negative space around the edges, clipping the corners of the rectangle with my block placement.

As it turns out, the perfect Aurifil thread match for Pure Elements Grapefruit is #2420 Fleshy Pink. I used a 40 weight thread and stitched in diagonal lines spaced 1/2″ apart. I then stitched on the diagonal as well in the triangle formed in the negative space on the bottom left.

Possibilities with backing by Amy Friend

I bound the quilt in the background solid to keep the eye focused on the design and not to frame it. My finished quilt measures 55″ x 65″.

I completely loved making this quilt! Thanks for visiting. If you want to follow along with the blog hop, check out the following blogs in upcoming days:

Feb 22nd ~ Amy Friend : During Quiet Time { Blog & Instagram }  (you are here)
Feb 23rd ~ Heidi Staples : Fabric Mutt { Blog & Instagram }
Feb 24th ~ Amy Smart : Diary of a Quilter { Blog & Instagram }
Feb 25th ~ Amanda Jean: Crazy Mom Quilts { Blog & Instagram }
Feb 26th ~ Brooke Sellmann : Silly Mama Quilts { Blog & Instagram } Visit Maureen Cracknell Handmade for a Fleet & Flourish GIVEAWAY with Lady Belle Fabrics!!

Feb 29th ~ Amber Carillo : One Shabby Chick { Instagram & Blog }
March 1st ~ Nicke Cutler : Kiss Kiss Quilt { Instagram & Blog }
March 2nd ~ Nicole Daksiewicz : Modern Handcraft { Instagram & Blog }
March 3rd ~ Christopher Thompson : the Tattooed Quilter { Instagram & Blog }
March 4th ~ Alexis Wright : My Sweet Sunshine { Blog & Instagram } Visit Maureen Cracknell Handmade for a Fleet & Flourish GIVEAWAY with Llama Fabrics!!

March 7th ~ Jessica Stewart : Izzy & Ivy Designs { Blog & Instagram }
March 8th ~ Stephanie Kendron : Modern Sewciety { Blog & Instagram }
March 9th ~ Heather Bostic : House of A La Mode // Citizens of Textile { Instagram }
March 10th ~ Ali Brorsen : Because of Brenna { Blog, Facebook, & Instagram }
March 11th ~ Melissa Kelley : Sew Shabby Quilting { Blog, Facebook, & Instagram } Visit Maureen Cracknell Handmade for a Fleet & Flourish GIVEAWAY with the Intrepid Thread!!

March 14th ~  Maureen Cracknell Handmade { Blog, Facebook, & Instagram }

Barn Shot

If you want to see the whole collection of Fleet and Flourish, you can find it here.


QuiltCon 2016


I was not able to make it to QuiltCon this year but was lucky to receive photos of my quilts that are hanging in the exhibit from Tiffany who is at the show. She even sent me a screenshot of Pointed Statement (above) when it was announced that I had won 2nd place in the Piecing category. It was fun to hear about it so quickly!


She also hunted down my other two quilts. This is Puddling.


And this is Wings. I love how they look against the white drapes–so much better than black I think!

I am going to QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah. Will I see you there?

February Aurifil Designer, Kari Carr

Aurifil 2016 Design Team February Kari Carr

Pat Sloan has just introduced the February Aurifil Block of the Month, designed by Kari Carr.  You can find all the details here.

Pat Sloan enter your aurifil  block

There is an important change to note. In order to enter a photo of your block for a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread, you no longer upload your photo to Flickr. I know I was contacted by a few people last month looking for help with that since Flickr isn’t as popular now as it used to be. So you will breathe a sigh of relief to learn that you now simply link up your photo right in the blog post, on Pat’s web site. Hopefully that will prove easier for you!

Glam 1

Here is Kari’s beautiful block, Lake Life. Look at all those HSTs! Lucky for you, Kari has a tool to make sewing HSTs easier and you can read all about it in her directions. Have fun sewing the block this month!


Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2: Fletching

Scraps, Inc. Vol 2 Cover

I loved contributing to the Scraps, Inc. Vol. 1 book so I was eager to make a quilt for the new Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2 as well!

Photo courtesy of Nydia Kehnle

Photo courtesy of Nydia Kehnle

My quilt is called Fletching because it is a highly stylized depiction of fletchings, or the feathers at the end of an arrow.  I really enjoyed settling on the color palette and digging through my stash for lots of scrappy prints.  Remember, a scrappy quilt can still have a palette, in fact, I think it’s often the key to success!  I used a mint green solid for my background and prints in apricot, coral, pink, muted blue, teal, grey and green.  While the block is a simple repeat, the color placement is not and it really adds interest to the quilt and makes the design more dynamic.

Fletching by Amy Friend

I love the way the quilting came out on this quilt.  I quilted with horizontal, evenly spaced lines, with the exception of one section where I echoed the fletching, zig-zag shape.  All the turning was a pain but so worth it!

Photo courtesy of Nydia Kehnle

Photo courtesy of Nydia Kehnle

For a limited time, you can order this book from Taunton for 30% off using the code Scraps30.  The discount is good through Tuesday, February 16th at midnight, no matter what your time zone.
The sale doesn’t end until 2 days after the  blog hop so you have a chance to preview all the quilts before you buy!

Monday, February 8

Amy Smart, Diary of a Quilter

Nydia Kehnle, Nydia Kehnle Design + Photography

Tuesday, February 9

Amy Friend, During Quiet Time

Alexandra Ledgerwood, Teaginny Designs

Wednesday, February 10

April Rosenthal, April Rosenthal – The {Studio} Blog

Dorie Schwarz, Tumbling Blocks

Thursday, February 11

Erin Harris, House on Hill Road

Janice Ryan, Better Off Thread

Friday, February 12

John Adams, Quilt Dad

Kari Vojtechovsky, Craft Happy

Saturday, February 13

Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt

Kati Spencer, From the Blue Chair

Sunday, February 14

Melissa Lunden, Lunden Designs

Allison Harris, Cluck Cluck Sew

Sherri McConnell, A Quilting Life

I have one copy of the book to giveaway. I will end the giveaway on February 15th…that way you can still take advantage of the discount if you are not the lucky winner!

I think you will love this book. Thanks for visiting!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Maker Quilt Complete

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton, Charise Randell

There is so much negativity surrounding the internet but so many positives too. Without the internet, I never would have known Melinda Newton and Charise Randell who made this quilt with me.  For that, I am so grateful!  I explained a lot about how this quilt came to be in this post so I will not repeat it today. But these ladies went above and beyond, making beautiful blocks for my quilt.

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton and Charise Randell

I just loved piecing together all the blocks of different sizes and having a little fun changing background fabrics here and there.

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton and Charise Randell

Melinda made such a massive needle block…I knew I wanted to highlight it. I quilted the rest of the quilt with 1/2″ diagonal lines but within that block, I quilted in a diagonal grid. I added that quilting element in two other small patches on the quilt too but they really show on the mustard solid.

My finished quilt measures 47″ x 56″.


I am not always good about labeling my quilts but I am trying to improve in that department.  My backing fabric is a Hope Valley print from my stash, with a little scissor print inserted above the label for fun. The binding is a Carolyn Friedlander print of just the perfect color for this quilt!

Thanks again Charise and Melinda; this was such a great collaboration.

What to do with Vintage Quilt Tops: Suggestions from a Preservation Perspective

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother's house. Maker unknown.

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother’s house. Maker unknown.

Thanks for joining me these past couple of weeks for my quilt preservation series.  If you missed them, my earlier posts covered Quilt Storage and Quilt Display.  Today I would like to talk about vintage quilt tops…let me tell you why.  A few months ago, a neighbor approached me with a bag full of vintage quilt tops that were made by her grandmother.  She wanted to know if I had any suggestions as to how they should be finished.  I started mulling it over and had more questions than answers.

I started by thinking of finishing techniques–would it be best to hand tie, hand quilt, quilt on a domestic machine or a longarm.  Should the quilting pattern used be typical of the time period when the top was made?  How would the quilt be used and would it tolerate the handling, the stresses of quilting, etc.  Would it even be worth it in the long run to finish a top that might not stand up to the intended use?

These questions led to my discussion with Camille, the textile conservator referenced in my earlier posts, and we both had the same gut reaction. If these were our quilt tops, we wouldn’t want to finish them.  I think that reaction is unusual though and is the reaction of someone trained in preservation.  We feel like our role in preservation is to not make changes to the object that might be contrary to the maker’s intentions.

Hand tied vintage quilt. Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

Hand tied vintage quilt. Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

I told Camille that I knew there were people who would want to finish the vintage tops though and what might be the best way.  I was concerned that domestic machine quilting might cause too much stress on the quilt top. You know how the quilts tend to need to be pulled and pushed and otherwise wrangled while quilting?  She agreed that very often vintage tops can’t stand up to all that manipulation but beyond that, they simply can’t hold up to all the stitching and punctures caused by stitching.  I was missing that obvious point in my thought process. I thought that maybe the quilting would help secure piecing seams in top but Camille said that while stitching through vintage fabrics feels really great, it weakens them greatly.

So how can we finish a top then with the least damage possible?  Camille suggests finishing in a way that uses a minimum number of stitches.  Lengthen your stitch length and stitch along existing seam lines if you want to machine quilt.  Stitching along structural lines (seam lines) does not impose your design elements on the vintage quilt top.  Better yet, she suggests hand tying the quilt.  She asks that people “respect the original quilter’s vision” and recommends that you “think twice before you greatly alter their quilt top.”

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother's house. Maker unknown.

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother’s house. Maker unknown.

If a vintage top is finished, it needs to be treated as vintage. In other words, it cannot be used as a bed quilt without knowing that it will be ruined in short order. The fibers are simply not strong enough.  You might consider some of the display suggestions I made in my last article instead.  As Camille said, vintage quilts and quilt tops are one of a kind survivors.  If you choose to use the quilt, know you are using it up.

Please know that the views expressed in this post are mine, informed by my conversation with a textile conservator.  They are not intended to condemn others who make different choices but rather to express another point of view and share some recommendations made by someone with specialized training in the field.  I hope you find them helpful or at very least, food for thought!


Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop

Sister Sampler Quilts Book Cover-1

AnneMarie sent me a copy of her beautiful new book, Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks.  If you are a fan of GenXQuilters then you will love this book because it is just what one would expect from AnneMarie.  Her designs are a thoughtful combination of the modern and traditional.  In this book, she shares 3 modernized sampler quilts.  The samplers are designed to use “sister” blocks which simply means a set of two of the same blocks used within the same quilt–sometimes they are identical, sometimes made from different fabrics, and in the Vice Versa Sampler, AnneMarie makes the second sister block an inverse of the first. I have to say that I am smitten with the idea of the inverse blocks.  I think it is a fun approach and results in really interesting blocks.


I tried out the very first block in the book, Grandmother’s Frame. I was drawn in by the fussy cutting.  This block allows you to fussy cut a larger scale design, which isn’t as common as a small scale fussy cut.  So, that sounded like fun to me.

Grandmother's Frame by Amy Friend

Here is my version. I used Maureen’s new fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics called Fleet and Flourish for the fussy cut center. I then chose coordinating solids for the remainder of the block.  The book provided cutting instructions for two sizes for this block. I made the 9″ block and then set it on point with corner triangles.  The directions were clear and concise.

This book includes lots of basics like HST construction and binding for those who are beginning. But the design aesthetic and ideas will suit the most advanced quilter.  As I mentioned earlier, AnneMarie really has me inspired by the inverse blocks.  I would like to play with those in the future! 

If you are interested in a copy, here is all you need to know!

Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks

By AnneMarie Chany

Fons & Porter/F+W; $19.99

Please stop by the other blogs participating in this hop to see more of the book!

Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Introduction
Sara Lawson / Sew Sweetness
Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed
Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces
Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily’s Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time
Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts
Violet Craft
Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting
Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair
Thursday, January 28
Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft
Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Wrap Up

Quilt Display: Tips from a Preservation Perspective

This is the second installment of my quilt preservation and care series. In my last article, I spoke about quilt storage. Today’s topic is quilt use/display.

Antique Star Quilt Photo courtesy of Amy Smart,

Antique Star Quilt Photo courtesy of Amy Smart,

Before continuing on, I want to make clear that I am speaking from a preservation perspective (right up there in the title!). I know that many people make their quilts to be used and loved. It’s wonderful to see handmade quilts wrapped around people and I have made countless quilts that are used just that way too. I simply want to address the fact that quilts are ephemeral. This means that they will not last forever. If you make a quilt to be used and loved, just go into it knowing that it will not last forever. From the second it starts to experience use, it begins to wear out.  If you have a quilt that you would like to see passed through your family as an heirloom, or a collection of vintage quilts, or a quilt that won a ribbon in a show that you want to keep because it represents a special achievement to you, you need to think like a conservator.

Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

As I mentioned last week, I consulted with textile conservator Camille Breeze when preparing this article. She made the statement that “display is slow damage.” It’s very true. One of her top tips is to minimize the amount of time a single quilt is on display by changing them out often. Think of your quilts as seasonal. Allow them to spend part of each year in proper storage and then on display. Permanent display leads to irreversible damage.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio,

Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio,

Camille recommends “passive use” for quilts that you are attempting to preserve. You might display them at the bottom of a guest bed, in a room free of pets. If there is an area of damage on your vintage quilt, you could arrange it so the the damaged area is hidden within the folds.

Photo courtesy of Lee Heinrich,

Photo courtesy of Lee Heinrich,

Quilt racks or ladders are another option. However, wood can cause discoloration. One simple solution is to wrap the ladder or rack poles with a clear archival polyester (Melinex or equivalent). It is a thin, transparent polyester film that can be cut to size and wrapped around the poles and secured to itself with double sided tape. Melinex is inert and will not cause any damage to your quilt and will protect it from direct contact with the wood.


Hanging quilts is another option. You can use a sleeve for hanging but Camille’s favorite hanging method involves Velcro. She has a pdf sheet describing the process of attaching the Velcro to your quilt here. Basically, you need to measure the width of your quilt and cut a piece of twill tape to length. Then machine sew the soft side of a long strip of Velcro on to the twill tape. Hand sew the twill tape to the true horizontal of the quilt (as you would a sleeve). Often times, unless a quilt is perfectly square, attaching a sleeve or Velcro in a straight line measured from the upper binding, will not result in a quilt that hangs flat. In order to get your quilt to hang flat, which will put less stress on the quilt, you need to find the true horizontal with a T square. The rough side of the Velcro is attached to the wall using a slat system described here. Due to the nature of Velcro, you can adjust your quilt a bit to make sure it is hanging well. Other hanging methods include magnetic slats so there are many options to explore.

Photo courtesy of Missie Carpenter,

Photo courtesy of Missie Carpenter,

In all cases, whether your quilt is displayed on the end of a bed, a rack or the wall, you should find a location where it will not be exposed to lots of light and therefore prone to fading. You also want a fairly stable atmosphere, as discussed in the storage article. Keep your quilts on interior walls, away from heating elements, and in the main living areas of your home (not the basement or attic).  Keep a careful eye out for pests like insects or rodents.

As you are rotating your quilts between storage and display, it’s a good idea to gently clean them.  A light vacuuming is the safest way to clean vintage quilts.  You can use a regular household vacuum with suction control.  Just adjust the suction to the lowest setting. When I worked in museums, it was recommended that we vacuum through a screen.  Updated conservation practices ask that you not use a screen because contact with the screen can cause damage to the textile.  Using a soft paint brush, brush the dust off the quilt toward the vacuum.  Museum Textile Services provides a free pdf describing textile vacuuming procedures.

I hope that these ideas will help you to make careful decisions about how you display your quilts to preserve them for future generations.  Next week, I will be back with some thoughts about vintage quilt tops.

Aurifil 2016 January Designer of the Month, Heather Valentine

Aurifil4colI shared my news on Instagram, but I think I neglected to mention it here on the blog. I was invited to be an Aurifil Designer of the Month for 2016. Of course I said yes because I am a huge Aurifil fan! I use Aurifil exclusively for my quilting.

Pat Sloan has put together an amazing team of designers this year.  If you don’t follow these people already, you will want to!
Jan -Heather Valentine – The Sewing Loft
Feb – Kari Carr
Mar – Christa Watson
Apr – Kate Spain
May – Amy Friend
June – Jacquelynne Steves
July – Wendy Sheppard
Aug – Angela Walters
Sept – Lynn Krawczyk
Nov – Katarina Roccella
Dec – Amanda Herring

Over the course of the year, designers will share patterns for 12″ blocks in blue and white.  At the end of the year, you will have a quilt top!  Along the way, you have a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread, valued at $120 just by posting a picture of your block to this Flickr group.

Aurifil 2016 Design Team January Heather Valentine650

We are starting off 2016 with a block designed by Heather Valentine from The Sewing Loft.

Finished Block

I like the way Heather used value in this block.  If you’d like to make it and read more about Heather, you can find all this information on the Aurifil Blog.