Saturday, November 22, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by on the blog tour. I've read each comment and am eager to go back and read them all again. So much to be thankful for, this and every season.

Our winner is Cindy, who said:

I'm grateful for a brand new grandbaby that is on its way right now. :) Fun block.

Congratulations, Cindy!

I have a rare, unscheduled weekend! I think it's about time to start some present making, don't you?
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour & Giveaway!

The Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour kicks off today! And guess what??  I have a block in it!!

This is my first time submitting a block to Quiltmaker! How fun is that?

This issue (Volume 10, which means there have been 1000 blocks to date!) is chock full of inspiration and patterns so you can make the blocks as well. I already have a few that are on my must make list. I'm sure you'll recognize many of the designers names. So honored to be in their company!

If this is your first time here, Hi! I'm Heather. I've been quilting for over 25 years. I'm the founder of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. I teach and lecture in and around Baltimore, MD/PA/DE and Virginia. I'm also a contributing author to Classic Modern Quilts. Thanks for stopping by!

Here's the cover of the magazine, so you can recognize it easily when you're out shopping. (Or, if you're feeling lucky, see below to win a copy of your own!)

So, ready to see my block?

It's so artfully named "Pines and Spools." I started with an improv pieced pine tree, sat it on top of a tiny spool trunk, and topped it with a yo-yo star. Fun, right?

Would you like to win your own copy of? Just leave me a comment below. Since it's right before Thanksgiving, let me know what you're grateful for this season. For an extra chance to win, follow me on instagram. I'm @heatherkojan. Then come back and leave another comment letting me know you're a follower! Oh, and make sure I have a way to reach you, too!

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy all the other stops on the blog tour!

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Sunday, November 16, 2014


Just before I start a big project, I do a little housekeeping in the studio. I like having a clean slate of everything. I dust, I vacuum (floor and design wall), I put away the detritus of the previous quilt. Sometimes, during the cleaning up process, I'll find a small project to finish, or maybe to even start, and knock that out as part of the cleaning process. It cleans out a little space in my brain ~ the part that has the running "to make" list.

A few weeks ago I finished up two quilts. This one. Plus another (future blog post promised!) And then I decided I needed to make my October Little Amish. And then there were the ornaments. I signed up for the Trim the Tree ornament swap on Flickr. I haven't done a swap in ages, and this one has always been one of my favorites. Fortunately for me, I also signed up for Betz White's Holdiay Stitch-Along Ornament Club. The ornaments need to be posted by today, so finished those as well. (Again, post and pictures later.)

As I was cleaning, and making, and cleaning again, my eyes kept going to the scrap bin. The overflowing scrap bin. It was bugging me. So I made a quilt. Quilt top. A string quilt top, using up all the little bits in the bin. Not really all of them, but enough so that I made a good dent in the bucket. I certainly could have made more, but after 64 8" blocks, I was getting a little bored and finally felt like moving on.

Kitty feet and Katie feet
Don't you just love back lighting on quilt tops?

So today, I'm busting out the vacuum again. Putting the scraps back into hiding. I've got a new needle in the machine, and a new blade in the rotary cutter. New project: I'm ready!

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Little Amish Quilt, October

Well, you'll just have to trust me on this that I finished this in October. Or, at least I finished the top. I was kind of dreading this one, and had planned to skip over it and do an easier one. I couldn't figure out how to do simplify this one without doing a gazillion hsts. Okay, not a gazillion. But there are 154 triangles in this little 17" x 20" cutie. In the end, I just went with the quilt as planned and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. Once I got in the rhythm of matching up/off setting the dog ears, it all went smoothly. And after doing a few very imprecise, free form quilts, it was refreshing to try to do something where everything had to be precise. Not that this quilt is perfect. Far from it. Lots of chopped off tips. Although I do think it's more rectangular than the picture would have you believe.

Did I even post the minis for August and September? Sheesh. Blogging has been taking a back seat to real life, jobs, kids, husbands, oh, wait, that's husband, singular thank you very much.

Okay, so here's the past couple of mini quilts.


and September: 

Katie quilted this on our friend's long arm. Her first time free motion quilting. Actually, her first time quilting. Period. Thanks MJ!

I actually really enjoy making them. It's more like making a bound block, rather than a quilt.

Some people have asked me about fabric selections. Basically, it's whatever is laying around on the floor ~ scraps from whatever current project I'm working on. So yes, that means a red, white and black quilt is in the works!

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival, part deux

So, turns out I have TWO quilts to enter this year! I am a quilting machine!

I'm referring, of course to Amy Ellis' Blogger's Quilt Festival!

I'm submitting this in the Modern Category.

I made this using a variety of Half Square Triangle (HST) methods and I'm offering this as a class next year as well. It's my Half Square Triangle Master Class, where students will learn 10 different methods of making HSTs. Fun, right? Again, if you're a group or guild within a few hours of Baltimore, contact me and we'll set up a class!

Voting starts tomorrow! Be sure to visit all the other entries. There's plenty of eye candy there!

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Blogger's Quilt Festival

If you ever need any inspiration, this is the place!

I've been such a fan of Amy Ellis' Bloggers Quilt Festival for the past few years, but timing always got in the way of actually participating.

Until now!

In the Original Design Category, I'm showing my Improv Log Cabin Sampler.

Perfect for Halloween, eh?

I made a similar quilt to this last year,

and then promptly gave it away. 

I really wanted to explore improv log cabin blocks again, and this time 1. keep the quilt and B. make it into a class sample. (If you're in a group or guild and within a few hours of Baltimore, contact me and we can make this quilt together!) 

My friend Cheryl of Sweet Dreams Quilting did the quilting for me. Thanks, Cheryl!

Here are some more pictures with my quilt model Katie, on a very windy day.

Thanks for stopping by! Please be sure to visit the links the other amazing quilts. And, if you're so inclined, feel free to vote from November 1st through 7th.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Peppermint Swirl Christmas Tree Skirt Class this Saturday!

Hey All!

Just a quick plug here! I'm teaching my Peppermint Swirl Christmas Tree Skirt class this Saturday at Spring Water Designs in Columbia. Take this class Saturday, and have your first finish for the holidays! Or, make it in fun bright colors for a cute child's play mat, or match it to your kitchen or dining room for a table topper. So many possibilities! Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blog Around the World Tour

Hi friends!

If you're coming here from my friend Cheryl's blog, welcome! Cheryl is a friend of mine from the Baltimore Modern Quilt guild. She's a super talented long arm quilter and overall fun gal! We're cooking up plans for a fun collaboration in 2015! Stay tuned for that.

A little about me: I've been quilting for the past 25 years, on and off. Mostly "on" lately. I'm from Central New York (go 'Cuse!) and have lived in Houston (sadly, before I was a quilter), then Los Angeles, then Virginia Beach and now Baltimore for the past 4 years. I founded the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild 4 years ago. In the past year, I've started teaching and lecturing both locally and regionally and I love it! I hope to do more of it in 2015. 

When I'm not quilting, I love to read, write, cook and occasionally kayak. But really, it's mostly about quilting around here!

My husband Harvey and I have two children, Kyle and Katie, both in college, plus two cats and a rescue dog, Chase.

Ty and Chase getting in on a photo shoot!

What am I working on?

I'm just finishing up some sample quilts for new classes in 2015. After that, I'm writing a new book with my friend John. All the projects need to be finished by the end of December, so I'm sure that will keep me occupied!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, if I could figure out my genre, I'd tell you. I think my work is a blend of Traditional and Modern Quilting. I lean towards simple shapes, sometimes over-sized. I like to start with traditional blocks (I'm addicted to old quilting books) and give them an updated style. One thing I'm trying to do is edit my quilts, leaving some elements out, so I can put more quilting in. 

Why do I write/create what I do?

I need to make something every day. I get antsy if I don't. I work a full time job, so in order to get some sewing time in, I'll get up at 5:30. Yup, you heard me. 5:30 AM just to sew! I get a nice big cup of coffee, go down to my studio (in the finished basement) and sew for a bit. Sometimes just a few minutes. Sometimes an hour. I usually have a project set up in advance, so it's just simple straight lines. No cutting, no involved piecing. Just shoving fabric under the needle. It's my way to ease into the day.

How does my writing/creative process work?

If I'm designing a quilt, I'll typically start with a block or a shape for inspiration (again, those old quilting books!) Once I get an idea, I'll sketch it on graph paper, work on the measurements (I LOVE quilt math!) and then do a test block. After I have a block done, I'll bring it into Photoshop and play around with settings. I'll work on things until I'm happy with a look, then I'll go make the quilt. Because I do all the math ahead of time, the actual patterns come together pretty easily. 

The bloggers I've nominated are my friend Tammie Schaffer of Crafty Tammie Tammie and I have been on line friends for years, and finally met at quilt market last fall. We each have a project in the book Classic Modern Quilts.

I'm also nominating my friend John Kubiniec (see above!) of Big Rig Quilting. He's also in Classic Modern Quilts.

John, Me and Tammie

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to follow me in your favorite social media way!  Links all on the sidebar! 

Thanks to Cheryl for nominating me! It was fun!
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

TBT/Obligatory First Day of School Pictures

I still make them take pictures!

Here they are, first day of school 2001.

Third Grader!

Kindergarten Girl

Here's Kyle's last first day of school. He's a Senior at Virginia Commonwealth this year. Since he left for school about a week before he started, I asked him to send me a selfie.

And here's Katie, a freshman at Towson University.

One of the funniest things for me is that the sofa in the "before" Katie picture is now in Kyle's college apartment. Can't stop them from growing up, can we?
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Last Brown Quilt

When I first started quilting, waaay before the internet, way before blogs, instagram, face book, etc. this is how I'd choose a quilting project:

I'd go to my local LQS. I'd look at the samples on the walls. I'd pick one out, buy the kit and go home and make it. Lather rinse repeat. I made about a dozen quilts (some big, some small) that way. The shop I frequented (sadly, no longer around) was very primitive/traditional with lots of Thimbleberries, lots of Kansas Troubles, Civil War reproductions, home get the idea.

So back in 2000, Thimbleberries came out with a BOM. (I'm sure they come out with then all the time. This is just the first one that caught my eye.) It was a big quilt, with birdhouses, big blocks and lots of brown. I asked for it to be part of my birthday gift, and so it was.  I started out strong, and kept up for the most part, for the first 6 months or so. Then it got shelved for a few years, but picked back up again in about 2004. I made all the blocks. And it sat again. The ultimate UFO. I think I was just so intimidated by the thought of having to quilt it, that it was easier to just hide it away (which I did, in the closet.)

Then came blogs, flickr, the Modern Quilt Guild, and I said goodbye Brown Quilts. Hello Color!

But my little secret was still in the closet.

Then we moved. And I moved the BOM. Once I got my sewing space set up in the new house, the BOM went on the top of my to do list. Every single year. And still didn't get done.

Then, last year, I did a quilt for Classic Modern Quilts. And I did something I had never done before ~ I had it long arm quilted. Oh my! Once I gave myself permission to have other people (thanks Maria!) quilt my quilts, it opened up a new world for me.

I got to thinking, maybe I don't have to quilt the bird quilt. Hmmm.

So early this, I finally finished piecing the top (which took only a day or two ~ including 4 rows of borders!) and sent it out to Maria.

She did a fabulous job. And here it is (held sideways by my guys!)

Here is it is with the Kyle and Harvey (and Oreo!) sideways.

And here are some blocks close up. I'd love to do some these again in more contemporary fabrics!

I like the flower in the star! I think those are 1" hsts.

lots of triangles in this quilt!

quilted bird

Am I happy that this is finished? Absolutely! Do I love it? Eh, it's okay. But at least it's done. And I can confidently  perhaps say I've made my last brown quilt.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

August Mini Amish Quilt

Yes, technically still August! I've actually had the top done for a while. Getting to blog about it is quite another story.

This is the sketch:

And here is Gwen's version.

And here's mine. I must have been thinking about watermelons when I pulled fabric for this quilt. Maybe some gentle wavy lines for quilting?

Hope you have a great long weekend and get some last bits of summer fun in (and of course, some sewing, too!)

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Urban Runner Class

Hey All!

If you're local (Baltimore) I'm teaching my Urban Runner class Sunday, August 3rd at Bear's Paw in Towson. This will be the last time I teach this for a while, so jump in while you can! Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Little Giveaway for you!

Does your sewing space need a little lift? This might be just what you need! 

A few weeks ago I was  browsing through Instagram (I'm heatherkojan on IG. There's a handy little button over there on the right to follow me!) when I saw that Jodi Nelson had tagged this subway art that I created. I thanked Jodi, then promptly headed over to her blog. What a happy place! I spent the next few hours catching up on her posts. Then I emailed Jodi and suggested we do a giveaway of the artwork. She was all for it, so, here you go! 

To win, head over to Instagram. Find and follow Jodi (she's jodinelsons) and make sure you follow me on IG (heatherkojan). Repost the picture above, with the hashtag #subwayartforyoursewingroom, tag me @heatherkojan and tag one other friend. Sounds like a lot, but it's easy! Two winners will be chosen on 7/24.

Of course, I want each and every one of you to win. But, if you don't, and you really really want the artwork, I offer it here (in three colors!) in my Etsy store. (just sayin')
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Peppermint Swirl Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial on Moda Bake Shop!

My newest tutorial for Moda Bake Shop just went up! Truly a Christmas in July project.

This was a lot of fun to make (although the math gave me a workout!)

Here's a link to the tutorial. I'd love for you to check it out. And please leave a comment if your so inclined!

And because there are no Christmas trees to be found in my yard, here's a stunning shot of the basketball hoop skirt!

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