Bonfire Sampler - A Sister Sampler Quilt

I had the pleasure of hearing AnneMarie Chany of Gen X Quilters talk about her book, Sister Sampler Quilts, at a recent meeting of Columbus Modern Quilters. Her talk was inspirational, and her quilts were gorgeous! I picked up a copy of her book, and dove right in.

The book features traditional piecing methods and modern, out-of-the-box layouts and quilting. The premise of Sister Sampler Quilts is that each block in the sampler is made in pairs - giving you an instant opportunity to change the way you work with the colors and prints to achieve different looks. I chose a selection of fabrics from Elizabeth Olwen's Park Life collection, along with a few Kona cotton solids.

AnneMarie's directions are clear and very well-written - each pattern was easy to follow, and the technique tutorials really helped with some of the trickier bits (curves, for example). I learned some new things that are sure to show up in my future quilts.

I had so much fun making the Bonfire Sampler from the book, in part because I didn't have a chance to get bored. Since you're making just two of each block before moving on, you don't get burned out doing the same thing over and over. I'm pretty sure I finished this quilt in record time - for me, anyways!


Embracing this sampler as a learning opportunity, I opted to do something outside of my comfort zone for the quilting. Instead of doing a basic meandering pattern or straight line quilting, I did different types of FMQ (free motion quilting) for each of the blocks, with an orange peel sort of frame around them all. I used straight line quilting and a meandering pattern in the border, and while I can see I need more practice on the FMQ, I'm really pleased with the end result.


I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I think that it's a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment and guilt. Any time I've tried, I start off strong and fizzle out before Valentine's Day, and then the self-loathing sets in. I do understand the desire to start the new year fresh and how the future seems full of potential. I do believe in setting goals, and I've set some for myself this year.

I want to make my art a priority, and to devote time to practice and to develop my work while learning new things. I want to push myself and grow my portfolio. To that end, I've made two investments in myself for this coming year.

First, I signed up for a yearly membership to Skillshare. I took Elizabeth Olwen's surface pattern design class last fall and love it! It was truly inspirational, and it really motivated me to get to work. Skillshare has hundreds of amazing online classes across all sorts of creative subject matter. Here's a link to get a free month of Skillshare Membership and unlimited access to these classes.

Second, I signed up for Make Art That Sells Bootcamp! Last year, I participated in Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search and I've been dying to sign up for one of her classes ever since. I'm saving my pennies to be able to take some more intensive lessons her studio school offers, but Bootcamp has me pumped. Every month I'll receive a professional-level assignment, cutting edge trend information and inspiration, and my work will be published in a public gallery. In addition to having structure to keep me on track and accountable I will be able to participate in a supportive, inspirational community. I'm so excited to begin!

Market Fresh!

I recently signed up for a SkillShare membership. For those of you who don't know, SkillShare is a website where designers, artists, programmers, and the like offer self-paced classes in an online community where you can get advice and feedback on your projects. It's an inexpensive ($9.95/month as of the time I signed up) way to get inspirational, expert advice and direction on your own schedule.

The first class I signed up for is Pattern Design: Creating Inspiring Repeats, taught by the AMAZING Elizabeth Olwen, a surface pattern designer from Toronto. While I have been creating patterns on my own for a while, I wanted to get some guidance on how to improve my skills. I found Elizabeth's class to be engaging, inspiring, informative, and entertaining. I can't recommend it highly enough to those wanting to work on their repeat pattern-making chops.

As my class project, I designed a farmer's market-inspired pattern called Market Fresh.

This is a seamless, repeating pattern and I don't mind saying that I'm really pleased with how it turned out. If you'd like to see more about the class and my process designing this, check out my project page on SkillShare.

I've also posted this artwork to my Society6 shop on tote bags, wall clocks, and mugs.