2016 New Quilt Bloggers Hop


The 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Hop: The Sewcial Network

This spring, I signed up to participate in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Hop run by Quilting JetGirl and LateNightQuilter.  There are 17 of us who will be posting about our dreams, projects, lessons learned, favorite stuff and more. As one of the relatively new quilt bloggers, I always want to improve my blogging skills and post quality information.  Through our members Facebook page, I’ve already learned a lot about having a successful blog.  I discovered things that I was doing well, and things I can definitely improve on.

At the end of this post, I’ve put links to my Hop partners who are posting this week.

Some Facts About Me….

For those of you who don’t know me, here are a few facts about me:

  • I started quilting over 20 years ago. I am self-taught originally but then met and joined the African American Quilters of Baltimore  [AAQB] and they taught me many of the basics about making a quality quilt. Their annual show is in August 2016–check out their site for details.
  • When I started quilting, I knew nothing and I used patterns from magazines and books — but then I got really bored and started making my own designs. This was back in the day when traditional quilters were just…puzzled…by anyone who wanted to change things up.  So, I became an artquilter and started exhibiting and selling my work. Fortunately , my AAQB sisters were very welcoming and wanted to learn about artquilting and they continued to challenge me to improve my skills.
  • I just published my first book, Madly Modern Quilts: Patterns and Techniques to Inspire Your Quilting Creativity.   Click HERE to purchase and I’m offering a 20% discount until June 27th.  Here’s the code:  C2RW2QQL to use at checkout.  It is also available at Amazon (but you can’t use the discount code on the Amazon site).

Madly Modern Quilts










modern quilt pattern

Improvisational rail fence project from my book, Madly Modern Quilts.

modern quilt pattern

Detail of project from Madly Modern Quilts.  This quilt is a great variation on the 4 patch block project also in the book.


modern quilt pattern
Detail of Layer Cakes and Rail Fence quilt in my book.







Being a Modern Quilter

I was a modern quilter waaaay before the community found itself thanks to Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr.  Just a few short years ago, the clever and resourceful founders of the Modern Quilt Guild started an organization that is supporting our movement. I am so totally at home in this world!

Disclaimer–I’m on the Board of Directors of MQG and I co-founded the Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild.

From my earliest quilting days,  20th Century abstract art has influenced and inspired me.  Back in the 1990’s, I began experimenting with negative space, asymmetry and other elements of what we now call the modern quilt movement. Angularity #1 [pictured below] is from a series of quilts I designed about 15 years ago.  It–and others from this series–is the inspiration for a new series of quilts that I started working on over a year ago.  Some of these quilts will appear in my forthcoming book–Madly Modern Quilts 2: Fibonacci and More.  Look for that book in early 2017.

Modern Quilt
Angularity #1–one of my very, very early Modern Quilts with negative space and asymmetry.



I LOVE CURVES!! I especially love free hand cut improvisational curves. I use my rotary cutter because scissors tire my hands too quickly (a bit of arthritis).  But, I can use my rotary cutter to make the most wonderful eccentric curved shapes.   I love curves in all sizes and shapes.  Like these!!

modern quilt Alison Glass fabric
In progress blocks from a mini challenge quilt I made a few months ago using Alison Glass fabrics. All freehand cut. No templates allowed.  See more about this quilt here.
modern quilt
A detail from my Mini Quilt inspired by my Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild Charity Quilt for QuiltCon2015.  I used leftover scraps and blocks from our charity quilt and added some of my stash fabrics.


modern quilt
More curves–detail of a quilt in progress.












Some Favorite Tools

1/4 inch foot in action
1/4 inch foot in action

My favorite tools are my walking foot and quarter-inch piecing foot.  Ha!  You thought I’d say seam ripper or rotary cutter?  Well I love them too, but these two feet make it possible for me to piece more accurately and to quilt smaller projects at home, on my own.

My quarter inch foot keeps my seams more precise and accurate when that’s important.  And, it’s also really helpful when I piece curves.




Walking foot quilting on a gentle curve
Walking foot in action while I quilt a gentle curve

I know that free motion quilting is not [ever] going to be part of my skill set.  I love to make eccentric, improvisational quilting lines with lots of randomness and my walking foot allows me to do that with relative ease.  You can see examples of my walking foot quilting  here. And, I’ve posted  examples below.  I sometimes mark long straigh lines with masking tape.  Most of the time, I don’t mark because I’m going for a more fluid, organic and eccentric look to my quilting.   You can also see that I like to add big stitch hand quilting using No. 5 or No. 8 perle thread (an embroidery thread).







modern quilt pattern
walking foot quilting and hand quilting (pattern in Madly Modern Quilts )


modern quilt
Detail shot of a mini–no marking–just randomly moved the walking foot around the quilt.









And a Random Fact…

I totally, completely love movies like the Fast & Furious series.   I know…it’s a shocker.  I like movies with fast cars, lots of action, robots that act human, stuff blowing up.  I mentioned my not-at all-secret pleasure to a (younger) friend recently and she said, “I totally didn’t see that coming!”  In my youth, the first ‘adult’ books I read were all science fiction and fantasy–so Blade Runner tops my list of classic sci-fi movies.

When I’m in a gentler mood,   I also really like good animation films like Ratatouille, The Box Trolls, UP, Finding Nemo, Coraline, A Monster in Paris, The Nightmare Before Christmas…..

My Favorite Books…

My favorite novels are Cane by Jean Toomer and The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  One is an old classic and one is a new classic.

Otherwise, I’m all about good murder mysteries with deep character development and real ‘whodunit’ plots.  I don’t like torture books or ‘stalker/women in peril’ kind of stuff.

Quilting Confession…

I really hate to free motion quilt on a sit down machine.  It is just too tiring for me.  I’ve tried long-arm machines—-better but not really fun for me.  So I send my larger quilts (over about 40 inches square) and a check$$ to my talented longarm quilter buddies and let them do their magic.  They’re happy–I’m happy–the quilt is done.  Quilt by Check$$$ for the Win!!

Quilting Tip for Curved Piecing

Beach Bound Mini Quilt
Beach Bound Mini Quilt–lots of improvisational curves

There are so many tips that changed my ability to make quilts faster, cheaper and better.  And, since I mentioned curved piecing, here are a couple of tips I’ve found helpful when I make curved blocks with or without templates:

  1. Don’t starch the fabric before you cut and piece an improvisational curve.  You actually need a little bit of give in the fabric so that you can iron it nice a flat.
  2. Sew slow.  Repeat…sew very slow.  I set the speed control on my machine to ‘very slow’ because I’m naturally a speed demon.
  3. Clean your machine before you start–especially the bobbin case.  Dust and lint will cause the machine to hiccup and that really gets in your way when you’re sewing a steep curve.
  4. Use a regular stitch length.  Tight stitches will actually do more harm–and probably create permanent puckers.
  5. Use good quality fabric like the wonderful fabrics you can find in your local quilt shop and online.  I threw away some cheap stuff I was using because I couldn’t get it to behave properly.  No sense wasting time with bad fabric.
  6. PRACTICE…PRACTICE…PRACTICE!  The first few will be awful.  The next few will be better.  Then, you’ll piece an awful one.  It happens.  Freehand curves are all unique.
  7. Love the Curve!


My New Quilt Bloggers Hop Partners This Week

Please visit my New Quilt Bloggers partners at their sites this week.  Click the link to go visit and get to know them.

Anne at Said With Love

Beth at Plaid and Paisley

Jennifer at RV Quilting

Quilty Questions –Comment to Enter the GiveAway

My Questions:   Answer ANY of these questions–your choice!

  1. What kind of modern quilt pattern would you like to see published
  2. What kind of modern quilt workshop would you like to attend?  It could be about a technique or anything else that comes to mind when you think of modern quilting.
  3. What is your favorite 2 color combination in a quilt? In other words, what 2 colors do you like to see paired up?

If you comment below, you have a chance to win some fabric if you live in the USA.   On June 30th at 9 a.m. Eastern, I’ll pick 3 random winners and send each of you a mystery packet of 5″ charm squares of prints and two fat quarters of Moda Grunge!  Comments closed for this drawing.

Thanks so much for visiting, and Happy Quilting!






79 thoughts on “2016 New Quilt Bloggers Hop”

  1. Oooohhh curves…. I have only done one block with curves and, as you said, it wasn’t the best. I want to make some time to make more and practice. I love red and white/cream in a quilt 🙂

    1. Hi Abigail and Anne, I love improvisational curved piecing. I’m starting a new patriotic modern quilt this week that will have curved blocks (it’s for book #2 coming out in 2017). For improv piecing, it’s important to start out with a much larger block than your finished size. So, if I’m making an 8-1/2 unfinsihed curved block, I usually cut my starting square at least 10-1/2 inches. Seems like a lot, but those pieces I cut off usually end up in other improv blocks. And, making it bigger gives me options for exactly where to cut the target size. I have some photos in the book. You just have to practice, ummm, I mean, play…a lot….smile….

  2. Hi Carole – lovely to be able to learn more about you and your quilts. I love all your curved piecing – I am only just gearing up to giving that a go and improv is definitely on my list. Will also be looking up your book recommendations!

  3. Good Morning! I love blue and brown together and purple and teal. Modern Quilting intriques me!

  4. I like blue and white together (actually any color and white). I like a lot of “modern” quilts I see, but there are a lot I don’t like. I am still not sure what determines if a quilt design is modern or not modern.

    1. The question of ‘is it modern?’ comes up all the time so, Susan, you are not alone. the good news is that it’s not an either/or question–and that can be a bit confusing at times. If you look at my book, or if you visit http://www.themodernquiltguild.com, you’ll see a list of modern quilt design principles. When you’re looking at a quilt, ask the question this way: “Which modern quilt design principles do I see in this quilt?” Do you see negative space or contemporary graphics and colors in the fabric? Did the quilter play with scale? Remember, every modern quilt will not have all of the design elements but if you see two or three, then I’d say…it’s modern! I’m planning a series of blog posts this summer where I’ll talk about the design principles with examples. Thanks for asking!

  5. I love your quilting style! I also like the new look to your blog ( I think I’ve been here once before) but bigger pictures please, if you can manage it. I think my friend Cheryl who lives up here in Canada and goes to Florida a lot has taken classes with you so I’m going to ask her to pick up a copy of your book for me. I love blue and orange but I need another combo because I’m getting tired of it.

  6. Great to read about you and I love your improv quilts – that would be a workshop that I think would be immense fun to do! at the moment I’m loving a pale fog blue with a smokey grey!

  7. I love the whites with bright colors in unusual layouts and thoughts. Sometimes I find it a little difficult for modern design as I really like patterns for intent and symmetrical! Sometimes I tend to confuse ‘modern’ with ‘organic’ …

    1. Organic is a term coming into vogue. It is a term that I sometimes like to use when I describe my quilting stitches. Or I call those quilting lines “eccentric”. Both to me mean that your cutting and sewing is guided by your vision, and your sense of line, proportion and balance.

  8. Carol, What a wonderful post…it was great getting to know all these wonderful quilters. It is so inspiring to me of the quilters that have been published. I love to hear this. I still such a newbie that the curves kind of scare me…but thank goodness for youtube and books that I am able to study and learn before jumping in. Have a super week. Hugs, Heide

  9. Carole, it is so wonderful to get to know you better and especially know more about your deep quilting background. I love all your tips for sewing curves – I would add one more. For those new to sewing curves, bigger is better and a gentler way to get started. Once a bit of confidence is gained, then try smaller / different sizes! I have a lot of 2 color combinations that I love to see in quilts, but for some reason peach and coral are currently speaking to me. 🙂

    1. Yes Yvonne, that’s a great tip! As you gain confidence and ‘muscle memory’, you can get really small…that’s my current challenge for myself. How small can I cut and piece a curve?

  10. Wow Carole! So wonderful to get to know you better. Your improv style is so lovely. My favourite two color combination at the moment is pink and orange. I don’t live in the US but wanted to comment anyway.

  11. Carole I love your quilting style. I’ve just entered the world of modern quilting and yours is amazing. I would like to learn to take a traditional block and turn it modern. My favorite color combo right now is teal and white. Happy stitching!

  12. Carole, I would have to go with question 3, I love black/white with a dash of color. I would love to see these colors with a curved pattern.

  13. Thanks for all the great tips on sewing improv curves, Carole! I’m one of the members of the Virtual Quiltcon Charirty Quilt Bee and so enjoyed getting to know you better! I share your love of walking foot quilting. My favorite color combo is green and turquoise- any shades or tints or hues! ? I’d love any class on improv!

    1. Hi Sue!! It’s so exciting to see the blocks already starting to arrive. I can’t wait to get them on the design wall to play. I think I’ll do a few layouts and take photos and let the group decide! That keeps everyone involved in another step of the process.

  14. Nice to meet you Carole! Thanks for quilting tips! My favorite color combination is green and purple.

  15. Love your blog, Carole! My two favorite color combinations right now are orange & turquoise and purple & turquoise. They make me think of summer, which is my favorite season. 🙂

  16. Carole, you’ve got some beautiful improv going on! I’m a big chicken where improv is concerned 🙁 Your post has a lot of great ideas–thanks.And thanks for being a pioneer in the modern quilting movement. My favorite color combo at the moment is aqua and gray. Have you read any of the Wallender mysteries by Mankell? One of my favorites.

    1. I have read them and watched the original series (with subtitles–but it was so good I forgot I was reading subtitles) AND the english language version. Yes, I’m a fan of those dark, brooding Scandinavian writers.

  17. Hi, Carole – what a great introduction. I have not done any improv quilting yet. I’m rather uptight, and the idea of starting a project without knowing where it will go is daunting. Maybe I will have to loosen up a bit and try some improv curves.
    My current color combination that is calling out for a quilt is grey and turquoise.

  18. Hello, Carole Thanks for the interesting post. I am experimenting with pairing grey with almost every color. Since the greys have different background hues (yellow, green, blue etc) it is fun to see how a specific color (eg yellow) pairs with a specific grey. Lots of fun for me. I tend to do this with improvisational blocks once I find a combo that “sings”.

  19. These days, I’m all about Red and Navy. Congratulations on all your successes in quilting. I love the boldness of your quilts!

  20. Hi Carole! So nice to meet you. In some ways we are the same and in others, quite different. But that’s what makes this journey so interesting! When it comes to modern quilting I’m partial to those with negative space that allows the quilting to show. So if I took a class, it would be on quilting–specifically graffiti quilting since that simply fascinates me. I also like blending traditional quilting designs with modern quilting ideas because that makes them fresh and contemporary to me.

  21. Nice to meet you, Carole! I find curves hugely intimidating, so that would be my choice for a class. Color combo: purple and gray. I just recently did some inpov piecing for the first time and found that I liked it more than I thought I would. Still not sure it’s completely for me, but I don’t immediately associate it with “no!”

  22. I’m not sure if I would attend a modern workshop. I tend to be fairly traditional. That being said, I LOVE, LOVE LOVE all the bright colors of the modern fabrics so maybe there is a touch of modern in me? 🙂 I think my favorite color combo is red and white; red, white, and blue; red and aqua . . . are you seeing a pattern here?

  23. Hello to another Carole! I am not much into modern quilting, although I have made one or two. I do more traditional patterns and a lot of scrappy designs. I have a longarm for quilting. Congratulations on your book!

  24. I could never pick a color as my favorite. I love all colors. I love scrappy quilts–the scrappier the better.

  25. Nice bio. I need more practice with curves. Two colors I like together are red and white.

  26. Hi Carole. I remember your name from back in your art quilter days and so I was surprised to see you turn up here! Congrats on publishing a book. I loved the look of all your quilts, I’m very drawn to that sort of style. Thanks for the curved piecing tips and I had to laugh when I read your practice tip. It very much applies to quilting in general! I’m going to answer question 1 and say MINE *wink*

  27. I love your curved piecing– something I am vowing to learn/ practice soon! Also appreciate seeing walking foot quilting when it seems free motion is everywhere! I love navy and yellow together.

  28. Great interview! I like getting to know more about the bloggers I follow.
    One technique I want to get comfortable with is sewing curves. I see you are an expert and love it! I’d like to get to that point.
    A color combo I really enjoy putting together is purple (my favorite color) with lime green. The two just look so good together!

  29. I’m not a new quilter-but still have problems doing a straight stitch. I’m forever ripping stitches out. But I love to sew. Your work is beautiful. Maybe someday I’ll get it all together. But if not–I’ll continue to sew anyway.

  30. Rochelle Summers

    Hi Carole, I like all the background and you sound like a very diversified person…quilting, reading, movies…all up my alley. I’m all about red and black but any color (the brighter the better) with black works too. I plan to see more of your blogs in my future.

  31. Good Evening Carole! I am so new to Modern Quilting, Yvonne is the very first modern quilter I have really had the pleasure of getting to know and learn from and WOW have I learned some marvelous stuff from her. I am slowly trying out some of the things that she discusses in a small scale sort of way and having a lot of fun doing it. Your questions are actually very hard for me to answer because their are so many items that I want to learn about Modern Quilting but it would be so incredible to take a class on how to design a modern quilt, plus thinking about it since I love scrap quilts so much it would be an extra challenge to design it using only two fabrics. This would be a marvelous quilt class to take, but I would be a very troublesome student asking questions all of the time! It has been very wonderful getting to know a tad bit about you, I am going to check and see if I can sign up to follow you! Have a fantastic creative day!

  32. I love curves but it is a mindset. You just have to do a couple. I like blue and lets see green or purple or yellow or red or you get the idea.

    1. I’m working on a yellow, grey, black and white quilt right now!! I love it. The grey I’m using is a Moda Grunge–it gives so much texture to the negative space.

  33. Carole, congrats on the new book and the second in the works. Nice to get to know you a little better! I know black and white technically are colors, but I’m loving that combo right now. And thanks for seeing curves tips! I’d like to get better at sewing them.

  34. I at the moment have a bulls eye quilt hanging on my design wall. Reminds me of your curves… I too love modern quilts, my eye goes right to them. I love the artful look of them. thank you for the chance to win some new fabrics, it would be a great addition to what I’m finding right now to be a small boring stash I own, hehe

  35. An interesting and thought provoking post Carole. I don’t have favourite quilting colours as such, apart from the quilt I am making at this minute, but I am getting thoughts of navy blue and a zingy yellow/green.

  36. Love the combo of brights with black, so stunning. I’m new to quilting, participating in the #summersampler2016 which has taught me a lot and introduced me to a wonderful world of generous, interesting women! I’d love to see (and if I can’t, I’ll create it myself: lightening bolts!

  37. I love your blog! I would most like to take a curves class — eek! Scary! I’m into odd color combinations these days. If I were limited to two, I’d want to either break the contrast rule and go with two dark shades (like dark gray and dark teal) or just do something out there, like sage green and bright pink.

  38. Favorite colors together…neon green and black. I have a question for you…how did you get that button for Quilt Con? I am also going and would love to put that button on my website. Wouldn’t it be fun if a group of us would meet at quilt con?

  39. Great intro post. I loved learning more about you and your quilting. I am very partial to orange and aqua. In the last couple of comments, I see lots of QuiltCon chatter. I’ll be spending much of my time at lectures because I usually buy the lecture passes. It will be fun meeting some of our fellow bloggers in person.

  40. Great post and fantastic work! I actually just finished reading the book that BladeRunner was based on (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). Have you ever read it? I found it really fascinating, and completely different from the movie.

    My favorite two color combinations are usually half 80% grey. A nice, rich, dark, almost-black grey looks good next to almost any color.

    Lovely to have e-met you!

    1. Hi Seven, I think I read that book a very long time ago. I used to read a lot of scifi but not anymore for some reason. I may have to get the audio version to listen to while I’m sewing. I have a LOT of studio time ahead for the rest of the month, working on finishing some projects so I can send them out for quilting. Love your IG feed! just read your post on custom EPP–something I may have to explore.

  41. Great post. Thanks for sharing your story. I always like when a person’s personality shines in their quilts. 🙂
    I think my favorite color combination (at least today) is deep, rich teal and red. I recently made a little basket with these colors and I am still loving it.

  42. This was such a great post, Carole! I’ve been following you for a while but now I really feel like I got to know you a bit better. I knew you had one book that just came out but I didn’t know you had a second one on the way! Congratulations!!! My favorite color combo in a quilt is blue and yellow. 🙂

  43. I am waking up to modern quilting. A basic getting atarted with modern quilting workshop would be great! And better if it was an online course or webinar.

  44. Wow! Amazing quilts! I’ve made one quilt with curves. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, ha! I will make more…someday.

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