Getting Published! Guess how many magazines I was almost in?

This is the cover of the July/August 2019 Quiltmaker issue. First off, no – I am not the cover girl.  Let’s not get up too high on that horse. Getting my quilt design in this magazine amazes even myself. I thought it would never happen. Read on . . .

First we need to travel back to 2016 on Instagram.  Maker Mama Adventures put out a call on Instagram about quilt fabric selvages.  (Search #selvagechallenge2016 to see amazing projects.) I knew I wasn’t the only fabric lover saving these! I love quilt challenges and here was one to use fabric, scraps, and selvages I already had.  I wanted to design something that really showed off the selvages and keep the color families together. Poof! My “Pop of Color” was created!  I love working in curves and had recently learned how to do inset circles.  Here was my match made in heaven.  Even though I didn’t win, I did fairly well in the competition and held on to this quilt and this design.

In late 2017 I came back to this quilt.  I knew there was something special about it.  I designed the quilt in EQ8 and did a lot of quilt math to figure out how to actually make it.  Since I did all that work why not enter it in a magazine! Well, if you have ever entered a design to a magazine it takes a while to hear back. But low and behold I did.

I am getting published in Modern Quilts Unlimited!

I had to rewrite my instructions to match their style, do a few step outs for photography, create a few other uses for the blocks, and had it all ready to go.  I literally had the entire thing created, emailed off my files and had the quilt in a box to mail to the editor.  I receive notice the very next day that Modern Quilts Unlimited is being cancelled. Nuts- I love their magazine. Double nuts – not being published.

Back to the design wall! There are other magazines, right? I found other submission guidelines and sent off again, to wait for a response I wasn’t sure I would get.  I knew it was a good design, but an intermediate one for sure. It’s not like this would ever show up in Quick Quilts, right?? So happy email to me when I hear I am accepted again!

I am getting published in Quilty magazine!

I told the editor that I already had everything ready. I just had to change my formatting to match their style and create a couple new graphics to help display the techniques per their request. Box ready. Mailed – Phew. That was a close one. No really. A month after I sent out my package I hear Quilty is being discontinued, shut down, kaput. Really magazine gods?? They already had the entire thing! Not again! But this time fate was on my side when I received an email from my editor that my project was being saved, sent to a sister publication.

I am getting published in Quiltmaker magazine!

This time it stuck. I did get pushed back a few months – but it came with a push back bonus! I received an email from my editor which I opened with trepidation. Please don’t tell me your being discontinued! This news was much better. Quiltmaker now has a new feature in their magazine called “Meet the Designer” and they chose me as one of the three for the issue. Happy dancing!! Published and a design spread?? I am so thankful to Quiltmaker to be in this issue and receive this spread. Good things come to those who wait.  7 pages to be exact. Like this will ever happen again!

If you would like to read my “Meet the Designer”, make my quilt design and 10 other great quilts, you can purchase a copy HERE.

2018 – UFO Finishes

As a quilter, as many of you are, I love to buy fabric, patterns and design and see all the amazing possibilities there are to create! But finishing them is another story.  I found the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO challenge a few years ago and it is a great way to stay on task.  There program is a lot of fun and really community building. You create a list of 12 and each month they randomly pick a number for you to work on.  There is a huge Facebook group to post your progress and cheer on your fellow quilters.

For those who are not familiar with this quilt terminology, a UFO is an Unfinished Object.  I wrote my list of 12 UFOs in 2017 and completed 4 that year.  A nice start, which led to some rollovers for the following year.  This year I completed 5 off my list!  See that? GROWTH! Let’s take a look:

Kandinsky Quilt

Origination: Fabric & Idea since 2014. Completed January 2018.


When I first started falling in love with quilting, I had eyes bigger than my skills.  I would buy fabrics, patterns, and kits that I would dream of making.  A semi-problem that has continued through my life, even though skills have definitely improved!  For this project, I wanted to learn how to sew circles.  You don’t see them very much.  But I didn’t want to do inset circles, I wanted to make reverse applique of circles.

During a cleaning session I found my little fabric pack I found of 4″ squares.  The fabric is Fossil Fern which I loved at the time and was perfect for my idea.  For a while the little pack of 112 squares went into my stash, hidden for a few years.  I wanted to create a version of the abstract artist Kandinsky and his color studies. This print of his is hanging in my entry hall and always thought it would be a good quilt.  This was the year!

I decided since it’s a mini and just for me, I would take the easy way out and do raw edge applique.  Organizing the fabrics, I stacked the lights on the bottom, added the next medium layer.  I sewed a small circle on the two layers and then cut out the inner circle.  I repeated the process for the next layer, and then pieced into a top.  Since the aspect was about the color and circles, it did not need a lot of quilting.  Simple quilt in the ditch was enough and I had my first UFO complete! The circles are not perfect, the raw edge a little tight, but I love it just the same.


SEW – Alphabet Soup

Origination: Letter S since summer 2017. Completed: May 2018

I’m not sure when I first found JayBird Quilts patterns, but they are my favorite!  She created two amazing rulers and a plethora of patterns to use them with.  I have so many of her patterns I keep a list on the ‘notes’ section of my phone.  If I spot a pattern of hers in the wild I can quickly check my stock to see if I have it.  This has saved me in double purchasing patterns I love!  I have 55+of her patterns which include the minis, the standard patterns, and her blocks of the month.  In 2017 it is time to start actually making them!  Since then I have now made 12 of her patterns. See that, more GROWTH!


The letter S was made for a class sample. I taught this technique at Happy Apple Quilts.  I love text fabric and when she created an alphabet pattern, I knew I would be hooked.  There are lots of little pieces and you need to use both of her rulers to create them.  The Hex N More and the Super Sidekick. The letters can have really great effects depending on the fabric you use.  For this one, I decided to use Carolyn Friedlander’s fabric of neutrals.  I knew the patterns would blur as one.  This now hangs in my sewing room. I am hoping she creates a miniature version!



Origination: March 2017, class at Lakeland Original Sewing & Quilt Expo  Completed: June 2018

We are very lucky here in Tampa to have access to lots of great quilt shows.  The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo comes every year in March nearby to Lakeland, Florida.  It’s a tradition of my mom’s and mine to go every year.  My guild even has a table and quilt show with them for the past 3 years!  This design came from a class there.  You start with a layer cake, create some triangles, and do a lot of chopping and rearranging.  Not difficult at all, and in class I had finished a few blocks.  But like most quilters, I became distracted and this beauty was put in a box.  I just loved the fabric and decided this year it needed finishing.  Fabric is by V & Co, her Simply Colorful line.  Orange is my favorite color.  It is so bright and cheery, and is well underutilized!

Snack Time

Origination: 2016, maybe? Completed: July 2018

Time for another Jaybird Quilts pattern! This Snack Time pattern works from a jelly roll and the crib size uses half a roll.  I didn’t want to make a huge quilt and I thought instead I could make two quilts from one jelly roll, and then donate these to my local Project Linus.  One reason I love JayBird Quilt patterns is they are super fast to make.  The Snack Time pattern took a little longer, due to lots of cutting and forming the ‘donuts.’  For a while it was my project I took to guild sew days which is really why it took so long to create.  I split the jelly roll into two color ways and chose different background fabrics. I really love how it made it look like two completely different quilts this way!





My final finish for 2018 was a major project, my Technicolor Galaxy quilt. This beauty deserves it’s own post.

I have my 2019 list created, with 6 rollovers and 6 new projects.  Here’s hoping to more growth next year!



Arch – Creating the Curve

This quilt design all stemmed from a scrolling session on Facebook. I follow Quilt Fest – Mancuso and found in my feed they had a new quilt design competition for two of their upcoming quilt shows. Mid-Century Mod Modern competition at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza and the Pacific International Quilt Festival in California. My first thought was that name seems a little repetitive. But hey, a modern quilt competition that is not put on by the national MQG is rare. So I took a look.

Mid-Century Mod emphasizes the look and feel of mid-20th century design. Artists are asked to draw inspiration from this period, reflecting their own exposures or from the work of artists such as Joan Miro, Piet Mondrian, Victor Vasarely, Frank Stella, etc. Where did you find the inspiration for your Mid-Century Mod quilt?

Their description sounded interesting so I used my favorite reseach tool Pinterest to look up some information on their selected artists. Instantly I was in love with the work by Frank Stella.  Curves galore!


Using his piece as a starting point, I turned to my good friend Pinterest again to help choose the color scheme.  I wanted a color scheme true to the time period that would show a good range of values.

First Up – Designing the Quilt

As a trained computer graphic artist, I decided to use Photoshop to design the quilt.  I was able to create a vector shape of the half circle and quickly change colors and duplicate.  Layering the shapes around is fun and added in a few quarter arches to break up the pieces.  I liked the double layering of arches to have multiple sizes as well.  Looking back at Frank Stella’s work, I wanted to create an overlap but not the exact same idea.  I liked his use of multiple different colors in the background but for me, orange is the way to go.  It’s my favorite color to use in a quilt and would work perfect as the backing here.  The color itself was a mid-range in the values so all the other curves would work off it.  When I first saw Frank Stella’s pieces, instantly I knew I wanted the bottom of the quilt to incorporate the arch.  Keeping it a square would not do with these pieces and made for an interesting design challenge.

Once I had the layout for the quilt, I created a black and white version with a color code system, so I wouldn’t waste a lot of ink in creating my layout.  I was going to print on regular size paper first, but ended up sending the images to Office Depot to be printed on architecture paper sheets. It was much easier to work actual size and tape them together.  Then I used a light box to draw the shapes onto fabric, to create the arches.

And then the very important questions, how do you actually sew it?

It’s not a drunkards path. The angles are different and all of the overlapping would require tons of planning to do it. I thought of the Sharon Schamber Piece-lique method of sewing curves.  It could work, but again tons of planning and I didn’t necessarily have all that time before the first deadline.  I decided to make it with applique. It was the simplest method to get my effect, but I would soon realize not as simple as I thought.

This wasn’t hard to create, but I definitely had to pay attention in what I was doing.  I was dealing with bias edges so careful to not overstretch.  Like needle turned applique, I ironed each side of the arches to create a nice edge.  I was contemplating sewing the pieces down on the orange first, with my domestic machine.   I wanted the edges to puff when quilting so each arch was glue basted until the quilting stage. That was a mistake.  I had a double batting for my great texture, but it was very difficult to keep the lines clean as I quilted them. It puffed just like I wanted it to, but the stitching was uneven. Lesson learned for next time!

Sending it off to the contest I could see the flaws.  I know you are not supposed to point out what’s wrong in a quilt, but I knew it was a Blue Ribbon winner. The quilt overall looked exactly the way I had hoped, minus the stitching on the curves.  I still had high hopes for it be accepted, but probably not win anything.  Well, I was wrong! The quilt was accepted and won Best Use of Color for the Mid-Century Mod Modern competition at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza! Even the judges mentioned the uneven stitching – lol.  Knowing all the issues I had with this quilt, the stitch technique errors I could see – I was completely surprised to win this!  It goes to show how research can benefit in quilt design.

And to my surprise when the quilt came home, the ribbon was blue.


Cherrywood Cafe


Have I mentioned how much I love fabric challenges? Cherrywood Fabrics is no different.  This is the third quilt I designed and entered with them, and the second to be chosen! And let’s just pat myself on the back and say my quilt was selected for the French Gallery.  This quilt will see more of the world than I ever will!

When most people think of Vangogh, the typical Starry Night or Sunflowers come to view.  These are amazing of course, I made a cross stitch of Starry Night.  I have a whole other quilt color scheme inspired from Starry Night.  But for this, I wanted to do something that was still great but not ‘the’ Vangogh piece.  I chose the cafe because I love how Vangogh made the night just come to life.  I also thought I could simplify the color scheme and block out the shapes.  I also wanted to do matchstick quilting another try, but on a nice small scale.



I first created a little 3″ sketch.  Then blew that up to a real scale drawing and color blocked it. Which then I started creating improv pieces based on these shapes. It actually came together really fast, and was really happy with it.

I entered and was luckily accepted.  These Cherrywood competitions get bigger and bigger each year! It’s great for them. But equally great, the French Gallery traveled to International Quilt Festival Houston last October. Which happened to be my very first quilt market.  So seeing it hang was awesome!


Not sure how I am going to handle the Prince theme for next year . . .

My First Ribbon

I won a ribbon. My first ribbon. I’m shocked. I’m thrilled. It’s going to be a good year.

I entered two quilts into Mancuso’s World Quilt Florida competition last fall, for showing this past January 2018. If you have ever been to a Mancuso Quilt Show, you will agree the quilts are exquisite.  And literally, from around the world! World Quilt Florida holds a special exhibit solely for Florida Quilters. So why not enter, right? My ‘competition’ is limited to the state. Gives me a good chance for being accepted, I thought! And well, I thought right. Both of my quilts were accepted. 

Octagon Shimmer on the left, Stepping Stones on the right. Both mine!

That’s all I want. For my quilts to be accepted and hang. The more people that get to see my work, I know something will happen. So I enter quilt shows and get lucky! This love of quilting I have can become something bigger. I longarm quilt for others, as a small side business. I would love for it to grow and have a continuing clientele.

For people to trust my work, it would be good for them to know my work has been in shows, right? So that’s why I enter quilt shows. To be seen, solely.  Win? Pfft, I’m just this little longarm quilter in Florida. I’m not Gina Perkes, I’m not Judi Madsen, nor am I Angela Walters. I’m just me.

So imagine my surprise to learn that I won a ribbon for Best Longarm Machine Workmanship for the Florida Competition for World Quilt Florida!

My co-workers at Happy Apple Quilts will tell you how loud I screamed, and jumped, and ran out to all of them, and made them stop working and come look at my computer. I took only a few moments to freak out. Then I sat amazed for the whole day. ME?  Can I tell you a secret? I love my Octagon Shimmer quilt, truly. But my Stepping Stones quilt is an original design and I worked really hard on quilting it. I entered Octagon Shimmer as a second quilt, my fall back. For this reason is why I was really floored when I won. I love the quilting I did, but never thought it was ribbon worthy!


Nothing will happen, if you do nothing. Hence my motto: Leap and A Quilt Will Appear.  And maybe, just maybe, it will have a ribbon, too.
















Factual stuff:  Pattern is Octagon Shimmer by Jennifer Sampou, fabric collection is mainly Heather Givan’s Paper Obsessed, with other fabrics mixed in.



Bandannas for the Win!

For my second project as a Springs Creative Ambassador, I was thrown for a loop.  We were told to use Bandannas in a form of tail gating / decoration approach. For those that know me, my level of knowledge for sports is the same as Emmet from The Lego Movie.  “Go Sports Team!”  So at first I was a little dumbfounded.  Than I thought, if for some odd universe I was to go to a game, what would I do? I normally get cold at the movie theater and bring a sweater. If I go to an outdoor game, I could imagine getting cold! Yes I live in Florida, I’m one of those weirdos that get cold when it hits 60 degrees.

With Daddy I’m a Quilter = Let’s make a quilt for a game! Now in this case, we were challenged on how to use Bandannas in a non traditional format.  I took this as the idea the fabric is being featured in utility, not in the actual print.  So in terms of piecing I could do something with small pieces.  I didn’t need to show off a specific print like I did in the Mary Fons Small World fabric. I took this as an opportunity to do a quilt pattern I never have and always wanted to: an Irish Chain quilt.  I planned out my quilt in EQ7.  I even loaded in the same images from the Bandanna website into EQ7 to use in my design! Choosing colors of the Bandannas was difficult not knowing sports, so I decided to choose the colors of the local football team. Can’t go wrong with Red, Black, and White! And I knew I wanted to feature the center of the bandanna print in my spacing squares.

Being Shy

Cheering Zoe

















I am very happy with how this quilt turned out!  But as I began thinking of the quilt, I tried to rethink about the project as a whole.  Is a quilt on its own fit for ‘tailgating?’ Not really, how could I make it better to the project?  So thinking of game arena seating or bleachers, they gotta be uncomfortable. I know some people bring their own cushions to games. Let’s turn the quilt into a cushion! I adapted the ‘Quillow’ project from Allison Harris’s “Growing Up Modern“.  It turned out perfect and utilized a full Bandanna as the carrying pocket.  Little Miss Zoe was at first a little shy in going to the bleachers where there was an actual game, so we pretended to watch at the empty field first. Then we slipped over to the actual game in play.

I’m really happy with how I was able to utilize the fabric and still hold true to being a quilter! Bring it on Springs! What’s next?


Quilts for Pulse

Zoe’s First Quilt