Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 9: Intro

     Hello fellow craft lovers! I’m Stasha and welcome to week 9 of the project. I’m Army veteran living near Las Vegas Nevada with my husband and our two fur kids. I’ve been sewing for a good while since my grandma, who I call “gma”, taught me how to sew when I was 5. I also made my formal dresses in high school, but it wasn't until I got out of the Army in 2011 that I started quilting. Mainly I needed to find  something that helped with my anxiety and PTSD. There was something about the combination of nostalgia, repetition and having a finished product that did the trick. I now have a small Etsy store, a FB page that I try to keep up with, and an IG account that I post on fairly frequently.

My first completed quilt 2011

My first international quilt 2016

I’m not sure what category of quilter I would consider myself to be. I enjoy making all types of quilts, but I prefer to make adorable baby sized or lap sized  ones so that they are manageable and I quilt on my Bernina. I love the traditional piecing but I’m slowly getting use to the negative space in the modern quilting as well and I learned EPP a few months ago and I was shocked with how much I liked it. 
My first contest piece in the Sew Yeah Olympics 2016.
I took 3rd place and this was my first landscape quilt!

I’m the type of person who has a really good time planning things, except when it comes to quilts. I’m more of a “buy the pretty fabric now and maybe use it later” than someone who finds the pattern first and then shops. I also do a lot of my quilt designing by the seat of my pants and just let them take on their own design. This can make my quilting a lot of fun, but it can also be extremely frustrating.             

Me as a PFC in the Army. Iraq 2009.
  Since both my husband and I are veterans and I’m a survivor of domestic violence, I do my best to be an advocate and a role model for suicide awareness and mental health. Most of my IG posts are tagged with “#preventingmy22” which is my way of saying “not today”. I also take a lot of classes at the VA for mental health information and occasionally teach therapeutic  art journaling. My current motto is “It’s never too late to change and it’s never too late to learn something new!” so being a part of 52quilters is part of my growth goal for the year and I’m excited to be involved. 

   I am a huge fan of traveling and I’m currently working on visiting all of the US National Parks. My hubby and I have most of the western states checked off the list, but we have an Alaska trip planned for next year and I have a west coast trip planned for this fall. We most recently moved to LV from Yellowstone,  and don’t plan on being here for more than a few more years, so we consider ourselves nomads.
Hubby and I, Day 1 Yellowstone NP,  May 2013
I hope you all are enjoying all these new tips, tricks and things about quilters from all over the world! I know I’ve added a few things to my “tips list” in my Quilter’s Planner. I’m looking forward to taking the lead this week and spending the rest of the year with new friends!

Week 8 Roundup with Sarah Lauzon

After a busy weekend at QuiltCon East - Sarah wanted to share a few more photos from her busy first time at the event.

Commuting by ferry from downtown to the convention center offered great views of riverside Savannah.

Day 1 pin trading and credentials.  I met so many fun people!

One of the panel discussions offered.  This was on creativity and hosted by Jen Carlton-Bailey.

Release the Geese paper piecing class with Sarah Bond.  This was a fantastic class experience.  Honestly the most relaxing time I think I had at Quiltcon and she is a wonderfully prepared and engaging instructor.

Your hosts for the last three 52 Quilters Quiltcon weeks.  Rene' Martinez, Silvia Sutters, and Sarah Lauzon.

Show floor on my last day. 

A tiny sampling if the amazing quilts. Impossible to narrow down favorites. Right to left: Juli Smith, Alexis Deise, Julie Elliot, Dan Rouse, Kim Soper, Catherine Butterworth, Emily Doane, Diana Vandeyar, Hillary Goodwin/Rachael Dorr, Anna Sullivan.

Thanks for a great experience MQG! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week Seven: Nadia Barksdale, Quilt Top Queen

Hi everyone! I'm Nadia, @nadiashae on Instagram, and I've had a blast as your Week 7 quilter. I sew and play with my dog in Columbus, Ohio, where I am an Academic Advisor at the Ohio State University.

I began quilting in 2013 as a way of coping with depression. My best friend introduced me to her new hobby - sewing - to help me, and it did! We both bought machines and dove in together, attempting to make our own outfits, sick of years of dresses and shirts from the mall not fitting our bodies well at all.

This didn't last long. I attempted a skirt and failed miserably. My measurement skills are miserable, and I didn't have a good grasp on seam allowances. But, I'd already invested in a machine, so I tried quilting, which wouldn't require me to measure my body at all! Here are my first sewn/quilted projects (don't laugh at me):

really had to dig through the IG archives for these - 189 weeks ago, or something like that
I hit the ground running and I've been quilting like crazy ever since! Just kidding. There's a running joke with my friends that I don't finish quilts. I guess it isn't a joke, since it's true. I'm a quilt top queen - cutting and piecing new quilts constantly, Instagramming them, feeling proud of myself, and folding them to put into my IKEA cart.

Since I started and moved on from quilted pillows, I've finished maybe 8 quilts, most of them baby-sized, even though I've started maybe 20 (probably more). The quilt top part is my favorite - I find measuring and cutting very therapeutic, a practice I enjoy as it reminds me of my original love, book-binding. Piecing is fun, especially since most of my projects are chain-piece-friendly. I can shove pretty fabric through a machine for hours while watching Netflix, and my day is made. For me, nothing beats the feeling of seeing the top done and running it outside to try to get a good picture of it. My pretty fabric is finally off the shelf and has been transformed into art! Instagram it! Add it to my Wordpress blog! Fold it! Shelve it!

and then I'm done.

I'm not sure why I am often so lazy with the next steps. I think part of it is that I'd rather spend my craft budget on the pretty fabric instead of the batting that goes between the sheets. I do know that a big part of it is that the only place I can really baste is my basement, and my basement is scary. I've had an aversion to basements ever since I saw Home Alone as a kid.

Here's my latest quilt top. I actually finished it this morning! The pattern is Jeni Baker's Vast from her Patchwork Essentials book on Half Square Triangles. These aren't usually my go-to colors but I was inspired by a random curated bundle I bought.

not sure when I'll finish this one... #quilttopqueen

So, I guess what fuels me isn't having something warm to snuggle. Mostly, it's deadlines. And it's probably got something to do with my love of design. I love huge blocks, large-scale prints, bold graphic statements, unexpected color combinations. I want to work on making this more apparent in my work this year. As a quilter, my style tends to run a little simple. A lot of the time, I'm drawn to basic or traditional blocks that I then make with modern fabric. I have a huge appreciation for the history of quilting and the meaning behind it. I'm really interested way that many vintage quilts weren't meant to be art, but ended up being art anyways (like those of Gee's Bend).

I'll share a few pictures of some of my favorite makes below. Like I said, I've had a great time this week on 52 Quilters! I hope you'll check me out as I head back to my own realms:

IG: @nadiashae

modified Swoon quilt for my little sister's college graduation 
Tula Pink Snow Globes quilt

Broken Dishes quilt in Carkai for Ben, just because

Saturday, February 4, 2017

RJR's What Shade Are You by Lesley Storts

Even though my quilting experience goes back many years, my use of solid colored cotton for projects was limited until a couple of years ago. I caught glimpses of people’s quilts with solids and realized that I wanted to play! Several projects have been started, some completed, and then I was asked by RJR Fabrics if I would like to participate in their What Shade Are You Blog Hop. The answer was a resounding yes! I had already sketched out a project that I wanted to make with solids and after reviewing the abundant array of colors on RJR’s color card, I knew this project would have the variety needed to pull it off.

Cowboy  383
Chocolate  199
Marmalade  304
Custard  265
Martini Olive  343
Neon  348
Grove  407
Chalkboard  382
Silver  125
Golden Topaz  285
Chili Pepper  49
Tangerine Dream  276
Banana Cream Pie  336
Lucky Green  406
Turks & Caicos  292
Jacaranda  317
Goldenrod  92
Electric Blue  296
Scarlet Letter  325
Aloe Vera  349
Rhododendron  181
Lake  427
Orange Crush  372

In answering the question, What Shade Are You?, my answer is that I am shade competitive...but just a shade. My solid fabric quilts have ended up being stories about my life and experiences. This quilt is no different and reminds me of happy times in life. My mom taught me to play backgammon and Chinese checkers when I was a kid and my aunt and uncle taught me how to play Othello (yes, that’s Othello in the bottom right corner). We played these games often. Just a quick round or two but mostly 3 because we wanted to see who won the best 2 out of 3. Growing up, I played cards with girlfriends at camp, at sleepovers, or solitaire by myself. When I was dating my husband, I was introduced to Euchre. It’s against the rules to live in Ohio and not know how to play this game. At least that’s what I was told when we moved here and I was just compliant and learned - haha! Our family and friends play all kinds of games on a regular basis when we socialize.

My quilt, Game Night, originated from these happy times. Backgammon was made from a foundation paper piece template that I created. Top right is the traditional block, card trick. Chinese checkers is based on the Star of Bethlehem block and I created a foundation paper piece template for the triangles. Othello is a classic checker board pattern.

RJR’s Cotton Supreme Solids are fantastic for many reasons. As mentioned before, the color choices are exceptional and just as vibrant in person as they are in the pictures. The weight of fabric and how it lays makes it so easy to quilt. There is minimal fraying or stretching. Using RJR’s solids for this project was exactly what I needed. 

Last year, a quilt friend of mine showed a “potholder” quilt at guild. I was intrigued. Potholder quilts date from the US American Civil War and were created from individual blocks that are completely finished and bound then stitched together. I had wanted to try this technique and this project was ideal.

Constructing the quilts was fun and sometimes challenging, but the quilting was the best part! I tried hard to elicit the feel of the different games through the quilting. Both backgammon and Othello have fairly minimalist game boards so there are a lot of straight lines. 

Chinese checkers is round! I was thinking and talking about how I could make the circular game board work and my daughter suggested quilting it in. Creating an image with the thread was especially satisfying. 

When I think of traditional playing cards, I think of the swirling designs on the card backs and tried to replicate that with free motion quilting.

The fabric is so vibrant it almost looks electric! The only rule for picking the back was that it be bright and fun. I love the way that RJR’s solid fabric showcases the quilting.

Are you ready to have fun playing with RJR’s Cotton Supreme Solids? Head on over to Instagram and find @rjrfabrics or me @lesleystorts for details about a giveaway with all of the colors I used to create Game Night. You can also find me on my blog at

Giveaway closes on both IG accounts at MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 7PM EASTERN STANDARD TIME.

Quilt Details:
Finished Size - 54" square
Fabric - RJR Supreme Cotton Solids
Thread - Variety of colors by Aurifil

Happy Quilting ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎

Friday, February 3, 2017

Thread Thoughts by Lesley Storts

In my previous post I talked about some tools that have helped me improve my quilting in the past couple of years. After the post, I wondered why I didn't include thread. Here are some thoughts.

My goal, when I first started quilting, was to make my money go as far as it could by buying all of my supplies on sale.  I was a young mom, staying at home and trying to be responsible with my money and to my family. I bought a lot of supplies at a national chain fabric and craft store and I was always happy with my purchases and what I was using. I had a large variety of thread colors and never really thought that using a different thread would make a difference in my quilts and quilting. So for almost 16 years, I sewed with the cheapest cotton thread I could buy. Fast forward to meeting my friend Shayne, a fellow quilter. Shayne swore by Aurifil thread. "She's just over exaggerating," I kept thinking to myself. She needed to be cost conscious because her husband was still in school but still swore that the cost was worth the thread. After several comments by her over many months, I was preparing to make my Any Direction quilt, and I decided to take the plunge and spend the "big bucks" on Aurifil thread.

Guess what happened? I never went back. It has been my goal to find this thread in as many colors as economically as possible. I watch for sales and have gotten great sets and deals on individual spools on Craftsy. But there have been times when I needed to get just the right color and headed to my LQS and paid full price. It's that good! And if you're wondering, no, Aurifil isn't paying me - haha.

Here's what I like about it:
  • Very little lint. Until I started sewing and quilting with Aurifil, I had no idea how much lint I was generating from the thread. I like less lint because it does not clog up my machine or get all over my quilt.
  • Minimal breakage. Here's the thing, I thought the thread breaking was something I did - not what I was using. Surprise! I do not have to deal with that issue hardly ever.
  • Long Lasting. Shayne told me I would be surprised at how much sewing I could do with a spool of Aurifil. It's a little like magic how long a spool lasts.
  • Very smooth. Silky. Soft. Frictionless. Okay, I will stop with the synonyms, but you get the point.
A year ago, I was searching for information about thread and came across this blog post by Nancy Purvis of Owen's Olivia. She has pictures of many threads magnified. It's really cool! From her article, I see that there are other quality threads I can try - and other quilty friend swear by other threads.

The biggest lesson I learned is that I should always listen to my friends. Wait...let me rephrase that. I should listen to other people who might know something more than me. ;-)

Happy Quilting >>>

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Week 5: Lesley Storts, Tools, and Techniques

Hello Fellow Quilters!

My name is Lesley Storts and I’m enjoying my takeover this week on 52 Quilters! I’ve been quilting for over 18 years. I started quilting right after my first child was born. My mom had been quilting for a couple of years, setting a good example and I was finally ready and had time to take the plunge. Utilizing the library, I checked out a lot of books and looked at the patterns and beautiful pictures. I found a simple star and 9 patch block pattern, changed the colors and fabric to a Christmas theme and made a quilt. I still use that quilt! I’ve learned so much since then, but I still love it and all that it represents.


In my quilting journey and becoming a better quilter, I decided I would share with you a couple of tools and techniques I’ve become acquainted with in the past year that have immensely improved my quilting.

Quality scissors are a must and the red scissors, on the right, are made by Karen Buckley. I’ve purchased several different scissors made by her, but the curved scissors are my favorite. The have a slight lift upward at the tip. When you are clipping threads on your quilt, you can get really close without jabbing a hole in the quilt. Additionally, they have a finely serrated edge which grabs the threads. You can find these scissors on Craftsy or watch MassDrop because they occasionally offer them for sale.

Have you ever heard of a spiral eye needle? It is a needle that threads on the side. I purchased them online here. 

I was introduced to the spiral eye needles through a fellow guild member when we had a demo at our meeting. The idea of burying threads in a machine quilted quilt was new to me. With this technique, my quilts immediately improved! I use to just pull the bobbin thread up, then holding the thread, place 2-3 stationary stitches. It was an okay technique for starting in the middle but almost always left nests on the back of my quilt. I knew there had to be a better way. Threading the needle for dozens of threads was tedious but worth it. Now that I have the spiral eye needle, it’s even faster. The image below is the from the first quilt that I buried threads. I would not have been able to be successful with this type of quilting without burying the threads.

The Clover Hera Fabric Marker is another "must have" that I use constantly while sewing, and especially quilting. I prefer to not use any pen, chalk, etc. when marking my quilt if I can use this fabric marker instead. To make the above lines on the yellow, I lined my ruler up and scored along the edge. You can even see some score lines on the green fabric where I sectioned off the block. The opposite end has a blunt point which is also useful.

The Ghingher scissors are a favorite and so sharp. And the golden picker - that’s my nickname for it - is actually brass and is weighted just right. But even better, it is the sharpest seam ripper I have ever owned. Absolutely indispensable! It is available on Amazon.

Do you have a favorite tool or tip? I love learning from others and would love to hear from you!

You can find me at my personal blog at on Instagram @lesleystorts and @stortsmarket, and also on Twitter @lesleystorts.

Happy Quilting ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎