Monday, February 23, 2015


Welcome to Keep It Simple, Make It Fun!

All this week, I have been binding 5 quilts.  So, not too much to show you as they are patterns that haven't been released yet.

Thank you for your patience when I got behind by one week on the QAL and all of your good wishes.  Yes, my exam went well enough, I scored 87%, so I'll take it!  I was telling my husband last night I'm not sure why I am attempting graduate school with 4 kids, preparing our yard for horses and still quilting...just a little nutty!

Also, I still have the fabric giveaway open until March 14th.  Your comments have me laughing so hard!

Some of the funniest ones so far:

Machine quilting is like.....

Like wrangling a small child into a sweater that they're on the verge of growing out of!
eating chips, just one more motif before I quit. Aggghhh! Ran out of bobbin!
...wrestling an octopus.

Ketty Nester

machine quilting is like a scary story... I want to do it, but don't know how it will end!  
Pretty funny stuff!
My favorite project shown on KISMIF last time was by Afton Warrick.  Her pillow to accompany her Layer of Charm blog hop quilt was adorable and a great use of leftover half-square triangles. I'm choosing to feature her this week and as such she can choose a free PDF download pattern from me by scrolling through my Craftsy and Etsy shops.

Now it's your turn...what have you been up to do "Keep It Simple and Make It Fun" (KISMIF).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Charm Square Quilt Along Part 6-Diamond Block

Hello folks!  I apologize for missing last week's installment.  If you remember from the beginning, I am currently working on a Master's Degree and said the schedule was "tentative" pending on any crazy things that may come up.  A combination of a major exam and myself and my children fighting Bronchitis--well, it didn't happen.

But this week is great!  here is this week's next installment.

I changed the diamond block from the original diagram.  I like this version better.

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along

To get fabric requirements and ideas, click HERE.

STEP ONE: Layout your HSTs.  If you look at the original quilt layout, I have rotated the four corners.  Initially they pointed in to the block and I changed my mind and made the block with them pointing out so the diamond is more visible.  Use your creative license to do this to fit your personal preference.
STEP TWO: Sew the columns together.  Sew column 2 to column then, then column 3 on to column 2 and then column 4 onto column 3.  Do not clip threads.  This trick will keep your HSTs in the proper orientation for pressing, pin-matching and later sewing the rows.
STEP THREE: Press your columns.  If you have done the previous blocks, you know that I like to look for places where the threads will cross each other to make an "X".  I call this "X marks the spot".  You can simply press seams of rows in opposite directions, but you will miss the "X".  This block is complicated and you will miss some "X".  I choose to press my seams to show as many as possible.  Even if you can't see the "X", you can look at the right side of your HSTs and see where the "X" would be.

The goal of pressing the seams is also to nest as many seams as possible.  Sometimes this doesn't work out.  In the yellow circles, the seams will not nest.  Do your best to pin-match

Purple arrows are seams to press up.  Green arrows are seams to press down.

A close-up of "X marks the spot".  Some of these will not be visible in this block.  the seams will have been pressed over.  However, you can still see where your thread "X" is and pin through that spot.
STEP FOUR: Pin match seams.
STEP FIVE: Sew rows together and press open.

Now it's your turn to share your work.  Thanks for participating!

Also, don't forget to enter my blog's giveaway.  More details can be found HERE.

Share your projects here:


Link party:

Fabric Giveaway Time!


I have a Charm Square pack from Moda Fabrics to give away this month! It is open through March 14th, 2015 and winners will be announced that day.  It is Lulu by Chez Moi for Moda.  I love the colors in this pack, it is so cute and will make a great project.

Okay, so I am just laughing today!  I just met with a machine quilting customer and she asked me to explain how I machine quilt using my Mix 'N' Match technique by free-hand.  I don't use a computer and can get more accuracy by using rulers and other things.  How do I describe it?

Humm...machine quilting is like....cursive hand writing?

Kinda...but unless I'm doing an "e's and L's" border--then not quite so much.

Humm...machine quilting is like....being put on hold on the phone and you're bored and doodle? Yeah, it's a lot like that, but who wants to admit that you're only half-way paying attention?  LOL

So, to enter this drawing, leave me a comment answering the statement:

"Humm...machine quilting is like..._________________."  I love good humor!

Please, if you are a no-reply blogger, leave me your email address.

To get an additional entry, sign up to be a new follower and if you are already following, let me know by what service you use.  And last but not least, I finally created a Facebook page for my quilting company and you can "Like" Modern Tradition Quilts on Facebook. and leave a comment there too.

BTW, you can find more fabric giveaways here:

The Giveaway Roundup!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Machine Quilting Practice

My favorite quilters are Judy Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts and Angela Walters of Quilting is My Therapy.  There is something amazing about the work they do.  I've spent the last two months pouring over Judy's book (Quilting Wide Open Spaces) and Angela's classes on Craftsy (all of them).  There is just something special about their modern style of quilt-work that just sets their quilts apart.  I often thought Judy's were just sprinkled with her "green fairy dust" and somehow Angela had the same magical powers.

While I admit I have learned a lot in the past 5 years of machine quilting, I still have a lot to learn.

1) Understand the difference between "negative" and "positive" space. I had to look these up in a drawing-techniques book.  In short, "positive" space refers to the part of the quilt your eye is drawn to--the colorful quilt block.  The "negative" space is the back-ground of the blocks, or the sashing where they connect.  (In the blocks below it is blue).

2) For starters, I had to get over my fear of ruler work.  Both Judy and Angela separate dense sections of free motion quilting using straight-line rulers and bump-back feathers.

Here is my attempt at practicing continuous curve quilting.  If you look at the bottom LHS corner, you can see I also did continuous curve quilting, but it is lost in the tight micro-swirls; yet in this center square it stands out.  Why?

3) In Angela Walter's Craftsy classes she talks about using "echoing" a lot.  At first, I did not understand the concept.  However, it finally clicked in the back-ground space in the center of the above block.  After I continuous curve quilted the triangle portions of the blocks, only for it to get lost in the tight micro-swirls, I got it!  She meant to leave an un-quilted area that echoes--or frames what you are trying to do.  Here, I can see the continuous curve quilting because it is framed.  Both Judy and Angela separate quilting spaces into--what I think of now-- as picture frames.

 4) I have a mid-arm, not a long-arm machine.  I frequently thought, well, I just can't do what others do because my quilt-throat reach isn't long enough.  Well, after watching Angela quilt her motifs on a home sewing machine, I realized that I don't have an excuse.  In her class, she says she uses echoes (or as I understand it picture frames) to separate micro-quilting work spaces.  They also use feathers to separate areas (with echoes around them).  I have yet to try that.

5) Straight lines and organic/curved lines create contrast.  No doubt about it.  Look at the back of this quilt!  I wouldn't be able to tell from the back that this simply is a scrappy quilt using two techniques (Angela Walter's dot-to-dot--just one of them; and a back-ground filler).

This is the back of my Scrap-A-Dealy-O Laye Cake Quilt.  You can see the contrast created between straight and curved lines.

6) Back-tracking is important.  I admit that in the past, if back-tracking was required, I just chose not to quilt that style on the quilt.  I was really missing out.  Look how great this back-ground filler looks as it appears to disappear on top/over and under itself.  This trick is all due to back-tracking.

Front of my Scrap-A-Dealy-O Layer Cake Quilt.  Look how the swirls appear to tuck under and over one another.  I couldn't have done that without getting over my fear of back-tracking.
Well, that's my analysis.  I hope my next quilts go from an intermediate level to "amazing".  Wish me luck!

Sooner or later, I'll get this pattern written up.

Until then, enjoy the quilting.  This turned out better than I expected, thanks to reading Judy's book and Angela's Craftsy classes.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Keep It Simple Make It Fun # 39

Hello Everyone!  Sorry my link party is up and running a little late this week.  I hope I didn't miss any of you.  Sometimes life just gets busy.

This week I would like to feature the Broken Herringbone quilt from Simply Pieced.  I love it!  As a mom of three boys, I'm always looking for "masculine" quilts.  This one hits nail on the head--perfect, I think.

Now it's your turn to share your projects!  And remember, if I feature your project next week, you can choose a free pattern from my Craftsy or Etsy shops.