Staff Blog - Part 2

Picture This! Pillow Inspiration


In the August 2016 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, we explore photo inspiration with Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co.  In the magazine, Joanna shares eight tips to take photos that can serve as the muse for your next project. Then she challenged herself and fellow quilt designers Laurie Simpson and Vanessa Christenson to design a project inspired—in color, texture, or pattern—by one of her travel photos. Two of the quilts (Joanna’s Photo Finish quilt and Laurie’s Just Rosy quilt) appear in the August issue, while Vanessa’s Frill Seeker pillow, above, appeared in the June 2016 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.


See the travel photo that inspired the pillow:

Photo credit: Joanna Figueroa


 Can you see where Vanessa drew her inspiration from?


1. The color: The purple color of the flowers in the photo translated to the purple fabrics of the pillow.

2. The motifs: Beautiful flowers in the photo appear as fabric rosettes as the pillow embellishment.

3. The texture. The building in the photo shows a gradation of brick colors. Vanessa used an ombre print for the fabric rosettes to mimic the gradation.

4. The shapes. The photo combines straight lines of the building and paths and the curves of the water. The pillow showcases an overall square shape and circular flowers
5. The focus. The photo has a heavy appearance of purple flowers in the top left corner, which draws the eye. Vanessa arranged her flowers in the top left corner of the pillow to draw the eye in a similar fashion.
Where else do you find inspiration? Share your ideas in the comments. Or share your pics with us on Instagram (find us at @allpeopelquilt).
–The Editors

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags:
No Comments

Our Splendid Sampler Block!

I’m so excited to release our The Splendid Sampler block, Pieces of Friendship, today! When I first started working at American Patchwork & Quilting I couldn’t sew (I know, it’s crazy!). In my years working for the magazine, I’ve not only learned to sew from my talented co-workers, but have become an avid and passionate quilter. I owe that passion to the American Patchwork & Quilting community. I love seeing what our readers are creating, what they’re inspired by, and what they’re learning! As the online editor, there are so many talented quilters that I get to interact with every day, and their different interests inspire me, push me out of my comfort zone, and teach me so much. I had that diverse community in mind when designing this block. Just like the different colors, patterns, and shapes come together in this block to form something beautiful, our quilting community also comes together in an amazing way to support each other. This block goes out to our lovely readers!


If you’ve been following my The Splendid Sampler blocks on Instagram so far, you know I’m using Lizzie’s Legacy by Betsy Chutchian for Moda Fabrics. (Brown is my favorite color, so I can’t say no to a deep and rich color palette.) But I  couldn’t resist the Summerfest collection by April Rosenthal of Prairie Grass for Moda Fabrics. Since my block is being released at the start of spring, I wanted to play with something bright and happy!



Piecing tip: If you’re like me, you like to be safer than sorry when piecing triangles. I cut my coral squares 4″ before cutting them into triangles, so I had a little extra wiggle room when trimming them down.


Piecing tip: I always use leader strips when working with triangles so my machine doesn’t eat my triangle points (and yes, I didn’t forget a few times and had to rip out a few stitches!).


I love the secondary design this block makes when you have multiples sewn together. Pinwheels are so fun for spring! Want to make the mini shown above? Here are the instructions!


You will need:

  • 4 — Pieces of Friendship blocks (get the block pattern here)
  • 2 — 4-1/4″ squares of Fabric A (light yellow print). Cut twice on the diagonal to yield 4 small triangles.
  • 2 — 4-1/4″ squares of Fabric B (dark yellow print). Cut twice on the diagonal to yield 4 small triangles.
  • 4 — 3-1/2″ squares of Fabric D (blue print)
  • 4 — 3-7/8″ squares of Fabric E (red print). Cut once on the diagonal to yield 8 large triangles.
  • 8 — 3-1/2″ squares of Fabric E (red print)


Note: Fabric A, fabric B, and fabric D correspond to the fabrics in the block pattern download.



1. Using Fabric A small triangles, Fabric B small triangles, and Fabric E large triangles, refer to Block Pattern Steps 1 and 2 to make eight square units total.

2. Sew together four Pieces of Friendship blocks in two rows. Join rows to make the quilt center.

3. Referring to photo above for placement, sew together Fabric D squares, Fabric E squares, and pieced square units to form borders. Sew short border strips to opposite edges of the quilt center. Add long borders to finish quilt.

Finished quilt: 18″ square


How do I get involved?


We can’t wait to see your blocks! Our editor Lindsay Mayland will be blogging regularly and posting pictures on her Instagram, so make sure you follow her at @lindsmayland and us at @allpeoplequilt to see her progress!

–Lindsay Mayland + American Patchwork & Quilting

Linda’s Quiltalong

I love all of the #APQquiltalong projects, so it was difficult to choose just one to make. (Confession, I didn’t choose just one—I’ll be blogging again soon about my other choice.)


While I wondered what the Quilts and More Easy Addition quilt would look like if I used just three colors, I ran across the perfect fabrics! I chose Peppered Cottons by Pepper Cory for Studio e Fabrics in Pepper (31) for the background, Morning Glory (28) for the corners, and Midnight (82) for the plus sign. If you’re not familiar with Peppered Cottons, they’re considered a shot cotton. Shot cottons typically have one color of warp threads (lengthwise threads) and a different color of weft threads (crosswise threads). So the thread ends you see on the selvedges will be a different color than the threads ends you see along the cut edges. In the fabric drying photo below, you can see the threads along the selvedges and how different they are in color from the finished fabric. From bottom to top: Pepper has the tan weft threads and black warp threads, Morning Glory has aqua weft threads and magenta warp threads, and Midnight has black weft threads and blue warp threads.




Following the tips on the information sheet about Peppered Cotton, I prewashed my fabric (with my beloved Shout Color Catchers), dried it partly, and let it airdry the rest of the way. I’m not typically a prewasher, but felt it was wise to follow the tips from Pepper Cory and Studio e Fabrics on this one. Also, following the information sheet’s suggestions, I starched. I do feel that prewashing and starching helped to make the fabric easier to work with and less wiggly through the process and gave it a little more body.


Then it was on to cutting and arranging the sample block and the math. Why math? First, because I wanted to make the quilt wider by two rows of blocks (so basically, square). Second, I thought since I was using only three fabrics, I might be able to do some strip piecing to make the construction go faster. Third, I’ve worked with cross-woven taffeta before (woven like these cottons are) and I remembered that sometimes the fabric looks different depending on the directions of the warp and weft threads. That caution was also mentioned in the information sheet. So I had to rethink the cutting so that I was treating each piece as if it were a stripe and that I wanted the stripes to all be running in the same direction. In the end, I’m not sure this step was necessary, but that’s just the way I work.


Then it was on to the sewing! I did end up making strip sets for the centers and side pieces for the corners, as you can see.

With all the sections put together, I was ready to make the blocks.


And here’s one finished!


I’m still not sure if I’ll bind it in the Midnight color or the Pepper, but I can’t wait to have it all together and on the longarm! Now to dream about how to quilt it…


How’s your APQquiltalong project coming?


–Linda Augsburg, editorial content chief

Lindsay’s Quiltalong Quilt

I’m so excited to participate in this year’s APQ Quiltalong! This is my third year doing the quiltalong and every year I’m overwhelmed by my choices! This year has 4 (seriously!!!) amazing projects to choose from. I made the pillow project to start (you can get instructions here), then decided to tackle one of the quilts (get more quiltalong info + see the featured projects here.)


I pulled inspiration from Grand Total, the stunning Pat Bravo quilt on page 46 of the American Patchwork & Quilting April 2016 issue (shown above). Pat used a slash-and-sew technique to add strips to squares, then joined all the squares to create one mega plus sign! I fell in love with this quilt the first time I saw it, but knew I wanted it smaller than the original. The original quilt uses 729 squares total. My smaller version uses only 144.


This quilt gave me an excuse to play with my mini charm squares. The original quilt used 3″ squares, but I chose from my 2-1/2″ squares for a no-cutting quilt design! I separated my charms by color and decided on this rainbow palette. Then I narrowed down my selection to my favorite prints (trust me, it was hard to choose!). I decided to arrange the colors so they made a gradient across my quilt in a counterclockwise direction. It look my hours to find the right arrangement. I took a lot of photos with my phone, and used the photo to see which prints stood out too much and which ones didn’t look right in their placement.


After arranging the plus sign colors, I choose scrappy neutrals for my background. I pulled mostly from one white-and-gray polka dot print, but added a few tan squares and a few gray squares to add interest. I added a few pieced background squares in each background corner for a fun burst of color.


The squares were just begging for straight-line quilting, so I did a cross-hatch design in the white corners and a chevron design in the plus block. I finished the quilt off with black-and-white binding! The fabric is the fun Sketch Basic Whiteblack from Timeless Treasures. I think the binding really helps the colors pop for a standout look I love!


Are you joining in our our Quilt Along? Share pictures of your progress with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #APQQuiltalong!


–Lindsay Mayland, multimedia editor

The Splendid Sampler Materials

Sunday is Valentine’s Day. While many women may be waiting for chocolates and flowers, I’m excited to start The Splendid Sampler! The first block is released that day and I’m in LOVE! If you’re like me then you’re definitely too excited to wait that long (I know it’s only four more days, but still…). There are a few things you can do to get prepared, though, and it’ll help you get off to a flawless start when The Splendid Sampler starts.


Step 1: Choose your fabrics. The fabrics I chose are above. They’re the Lizzie’s Legacy collection by Betsy Chutchian for Moda Fabrics (they’re being released in March, so if you want them, hold tight!). My favorite colors for quilts are blues and browns, so this palette (with its pops of yellow, pink, and red) is perfect for my traditional taste. The fabrics have a variety of creams (perfect for background prints), both light and dark fabrics so I can play with value, and a mix of large and small prints to add texture and interest. If you need more guidance picking fabrics, there is a great blog post on The Splendid Sampler site with tips for choosing fabrics + other supplies you should gather before the Sampler starts!


Step 2: Be prepared to learn. The 100 blocks include traditional piecing, but also paper-piecing, English paper-piecing, embroidery, and appliqué. I’m very much a traditional piecer and have never ventured into any type of paper piecing. I may be a little nervous, but I’m approaching this Sampler as an opportunity to learn new skills and practice them. It’s very easy to learn new skills when it’s on one 6″ quilt block. That way, I can take my time to learn and if I mess up, it’s not a large investment in time or fabric. If you need more encouragement, here’s a great blog about being open to learning AND where to find resources if you need help.


Step 3: Mark your calendars! Blocks will be released every Sunday and Thursday from February 14, 2016 — February 2, 2017. (You can see what designers are posting each day here. Our day is April 7!) Block patterns will be available for free until March 2017, so make sure you’re downloading them and sewing along!


Step 4: Get to know the designers. There are 83 amazing designers participating! They have such talents and I’m so excited to be working beside them on this project. Make sure to visit their blogs, “like” them on social media, and follow them along the way. There are fun tips from each designer on The Splendid Sampler blog, so you can get to know them. You can read our tips here! Also, make sure to “meet” our fearless leaders Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.


BONUS! Want to start sewing right away? Jane and Pat designed this bonus project that’s also super useful for this Sampler! It’s a cute folding block station, which includes a design board, a pressing station, and a pocket for your 6-1/2″ square ruler. While this project is totally optional, it’ll be handy for keeping small pieces in place while making your blocks. Get the free pattern here.



How do I get involved?


We can’t wait to get started sewing and we hope you join us! Our editor Lindsay Mayland will be blogging frequently and posting pictures on her Instagram, so make sure you follow her at @lindsmayland and us at @allpeoplequilt to see her progress!

–Lindsay Mayland + American Patchwork & Quilting