Our Song, in Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass

Earlier this year, designer Alison Glass released her line of shot cotton solids, Kaleidoscope. I had the privilege of exploring these saturated colours in a second version of Our Song, Your ReflectionThe result was a blazing sunset on a contrasting cool colour palette for the water. This quilt is all about texture, texture, and more texture.

Listen to Meaghan Smith’s song that goes with this quilt.

Quilted by Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts. Photograph by Quilt Photography Co.

The Our Song, Your Reflection pattern releases October 11, 2018. Be the first to know about its release by signing up for the newsletter!

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Canned Pineapples: 2019 Quilter’s Planner Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2019 Quilter’s Planner Blog Hop! If you’re new to 3rd Story Workshop, I’m Andrea Tsang Jackson – a designer, artist, quilt maker, and probably some other things. Today, at the beginning of a summer long weekend here in Canada, I get to introduce you to my design, “Canned Pineapples.” A combination of small paper-pieced pineapple blocks and embroidery, this hoop quilt uses a small handful of scraps to produce a glowing group of fireflies.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

Do you remember being a young adult? Maybe you are one! That feeling of freedom to do whatever you wanted to do? No adults (or kids) dictating what you could or could not do… because you were the adult in charge? Eating supper in front of the television. Staying up late just because you could. Eating cake for breakfast. Taking off for a weekend with your friends to see a concert.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

That’s what my friends did every summer. We would go on a camping trip to Saratoga Springs, NY to see a Dave Matthews concert because often that was the closest venue to us on the band’s tour. We drove for a few hours, crossed the border, set up our tents, set off for the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, danced in the rain while enjoying our favourite band. One post-concert night, we stayed up watching fireflies under the stars which shone so brightly in the black night. It was magical.*

Of my paper pieced animal patterns, I have a land animal (Sleepy Fox) and a sea animal (Narwhals #1 and #2). I wanted to round out the collection with an air animal. Fireflies (or as I have learned, “lightning bugs” in the south) were the perfect inspiration.

I have seen a lot of beautiful pineapple blocks lately, both large and small (Karen LewisMelanie TuazonGiuseppe Ribaudo). “Canned Pineapples” uses the block’s radiating geometry to create a glowing effect with a gradient from bright yellow to navy. They aren’t too too tiny, so they’re very achievable. And with only three in the design you could put this together relatively quickly.

I am no embroidery expert, but I have done some in my crafty past. I liked exploring these different stitches to add some smaller fireflies to the composition.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

A project of this scale is so satisfying and I am thrilled to share it with you in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. You can pre-order your 2019 Quilter’s Planner here (U.S. customers), and your pre-order comes with some extraordinary goodies. Canadian pre-orders can order through Clinton Modern or Mad About Patchwork. Another U.S. and international option is Fat Quarter Shop.

*My future husband was there with me. I just didn’t know it.

There are plenty of amazing patterns in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. Follow along on the blog hop and see what’s in there:

Monday, July 23: Cheryl Brickey Meadow Mist Designs @meadowmistdesigns
Wednesday, July 25: Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter
Friday, July 27: Karie Jewell Two Kwik Quilters @karie_twokwikquilters
Monday, July 30: Mandy Leins Mandalei Quilts @mandaleiquilts
Wednesday, August 1: Megan Fisher @ayragon
YOU ARE HERE –> Friday, August 3: Andrea Tsang Jackson 3rd Story Workshop @3rdstoryworkshop
Monday, August 6: Trinia  Braughton Penguin Feats @penquinfeats
Wednesday, August 8: Lee Monroe May Chappell @maychappell
Friday, August 10: Karen Lewis Karen Lewis Textiles @karenlewistextiles
Monday, August 13: Isabelle Selak South Bay Bella Studio @southbaybella
Wednesday, August 15: Sylvia Schaefer Flying Parrot Quilts @flyingparrotquilts
Friday, August 17: Yvonne Fuchs Quilting Jetgirl @quiltingjetgirl
Monday, August 20: Kate Colleran Seams Like a Dream @seamslikeadreamquilts
Wednesday, August 22: Shannon Fraser Shannon Fraser Designs @shannonfraserdesigns
Friday, August 24: Kerry Goulder Kid Giddy @kidgiddy
Monday, August 27: Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

Our Song, Your Reflection

I have teamed up with award-winning songwriter and musician Meaghan Smith to create Our Song, Your Reflectiona celebration of community through music and quilting. The project gets to the core of what makes us tick as creatives — connecting people and connecting with people through our art. The project is structured as a crowdfunding campaign that invites contributors to be a part of the “Your Reflection” music video, to increase offerings associated with the release of the song and the quilt pattern, and to celebrate the “us” in our communities.

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Modern Marks Blog Hop + Giveaway

[GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED} Christa Watson‘s debut fabric collection with Benartex, Modern Marks, is filled with saturated colours. These fabrics are useful for a bold punch of hues wherever needed. The abstract markings are also in strong colours, making for some great colour combinations!

For the the Modern Marks blog hop, I chose a limited palette, as is my way of doing things. I was excited to use all the values of blue. I scaled up one of my new Dancing Narwhal patterns by 150% to 24″ square to let those prints tell their story. The “solids” are from Benartex’s Color Weave collection, which read like a solid with a bit of texture.

I decided to change Dancing Narwhals #2 a little bit to animate the background — the narwhal jumps out of some icy arctic waters. This will become a baby quilt down the road… (The road that leads well into 2018, that is!)

Modern Marks screams fun – think of all the rainbows and confetti you could make with these! In fact, there are a couple of colour-bright patterns that you can download for free, Rainbow Taffy and On Your Mark. I like that the assortment of 28 prints really spans the spectrum so that you can treat them like a painter’s palette.

Along with being a fabric designer, Christa is also a fabulous teacher. She is an expert in domestic machine quilting and she wants you to be, too. I learned a ton from her Craftsy class, “A Quilter’s Path”.

{Giveaway CLOSED}

Enter for a chance to win a bundle of 8-10 Modern Marks fabrics by leaving a comment on the blog post. The giveaway is open through Monday, December 4th, at 11:59 PM Eastern. Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents (sorry, compatriots!). Because of the size of the giveaway — 11 bundles! — Benartex is limiting it to U.S. only to keep shipping costs down. I will notify the selected winner and they will have 48 hours to reply with their shipping address. Good luck!

Visit all the stops on the Modern Marks blog hop!
Hollyanne @String & Story
Hilary @Aurifil
Andrea @3rd Story Workshop <– You are here!
Stephanie @Modern Sewciety


Sleepy Fox Quilt: Thoughts on the Client Relationship

Sometimes you come across a dream client: Someone who lets you explore as an artist, someone who wants you to succeed, someone who wants what’s best for them and what’s best for you. These people are hard to come by. This happened to me in early spring 2017, with the commission of the Sleepy Fox quilt.

A previous customer was now pregnant with her first baby and wanted a gender neutral quilt for her baby’s woodland nursery. She was following my work closely. She loved Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Fox and how I had paired it with improv birch trees. (tutorial here). And she loved wood grain free motion quilting. She wanted an original fox design in my own geometric style and — here’s the kicker — wanted me to design it so that I could sell the pattern later. She wanted the perfect keepsake quilt for her baby, and she wanted me to get the most out of the process.

Here’s how I have been approaching commissioned work, as of late:

  1. We discuss what the client wants: Design, colours, dimensions, rough timeline.
  2. I decide on a price for my labour (read some thoughts below), and I estimate the price of materials. The client pays for the materials separately.
  3. I specify the process: I will provide two preliminary designs. The client will pick one and we will refine that design with up to two revisions (different colours, design tweaks, slightly different layout, etc.). It is not an eternal back-and-forth.
  4. I state that I require a 50% deposit before I begin the work.
  5. I give an estimated date for completion of the work based on what else is going on in my work life and personal life.
  6. If the client agrees, then we proceed. I then give some intermediate dates – when I will send the preliminary designs, when to expect the finished piece with a shipping deadline.

How I price labour: I estimate how much time it’s going to take me to design and then execute a project. I charge a higher rate for design time and a lower rate for execution. There are a few factors that play into this decision. [Disclaimer: I have in no way, shape or form, figured out pricing, but here are my thoughts on pricing design vs. execution.]

Design work takes a certain skill set that is developed through specialized training and experience. I happen to have both formal training and experience in this realm. Also, I’ve gotten relatively fast at it, and I pay for software to allow me to do it efficiently and well. And there is no reason that I should be penalized for my speed, which comes from experience. Therefore I charge a higher rate.

Execution I charge less for. To be honest, I am not that experienced in piecing, basting, quilting and binding. I’ve only been seriously doing it for about 18 months. My workmanship is not top-notch, and as a result, my results are not top-of-the-line. I’m might also be slower at it than a more experience person and I make more mistakes that I have to fix. So why should my client be penalized for my slowness? Therefore I charge a lower rate.

The client and I shopped for fabric together at Patch and found the perfect combination of colours and a Dear Stella Pine Grove backing. I also had some hand-printed Keephouse scraps in black and white to add to the improv birch trees. The sky colour is Essex Yarn-dyed Linen; I love the texture of these linens, both visually and in a tactile sense.

Here is what I used:

  • Fox: Free Spirit Solids Apricot, Tango, White, Raven; Kona Solids in Paprika
  • Trees: Free Spirit Solids White, Raven; Keephouse Studio hand-printed linen in “Rows”
  • Ground: Free Spirit Solids in Silver
  • Sky: Essex Yarn-Dyed in Aqua
  • Binding: Free Spirit Solids in Malachite, White
  • Backing: Pine Grove – Fox, Deer, Owls by Dear Stella

It took me longer than I had estimated originally, but I had such a good time putting it together that it didn’t bug me, as it sometimes does. And also, I considered it part of the upfront time that pattern design takes.

The Sleepy Fox paper piecing pattern is available as a PDF download here.

A satisfied heart that was full of gratitude. That’s what I came away with. Lucky me.

Have You Met… Rhya Tamašauskas?

Quilting hit me like an unexpected delicious pie to the face…I’m in love with it. it feels cozy and warm, just like coming home. — Rhya Tamašauskas


Rhya Tamašauskas is a Toronto-based designer and co-founder of the plush toy company Monster Factory. As a design instructor at a Design Exchange summer camp in 2008, I crossed paths with Rhya while on a field trip to the Monster Factory studio, which closed at the end of 2016. Unbeknownst to either of us, we would each find ourselves drawn into the quilting world and cross paths for a second time almost eight-and-a-half years later on Instagram. Rhya’s paper-pieced designs are a combination of whimsy and quirk; one could never imagine doe-eyed root vegetables and frolicking kittens the way she has. Her work tells stories through textiles.

What kind of stories do you like to tell and why?

My stories come from my memories and experiences, and are then mixed with magic and of course seasoned with humor. Oh, and they are always bursting with wild characters. I am a passionate daydreamer and for as long as I can remember I’ve always loved the idea of magical realism, where our ordinary world can be heightened with wonder and enchantment. For example a regular old city street can be teeming with strange and endearing creatures or a root vegetable can come to life and join you for a picnic in the park.

Quilting allows me to capture tiny snapshots of these stories in a block, and then combine them all together to create a larger tale and world created from stitches and seams.

What are three words that describe your design and/or quilting style?

Modern, Folksy, Charming. 

And I think it would be fair to say that my work is both salty and sweet all at once, if that makes sense.

What drew you into quilting and why do you love it?

Quilting hit me like an unexpected delicious pie to the face.  My story begins with an invitation to create a couple blocks for a community quilt that would be gifted to the lovely Jacqueline Sava of Soak Wash. I was excited to contribute but wasn’t even sure where to start? My grandmother has always been an incredible quilter and I’ve admired her work since I was a little girl, but I had honestly never considered quilting as vehicle for my stories and designs until I faced this project. So I did as I always do, dove straight in, drafting up a design and then sewing away.

Let’s just say I was hooked immediately and that my stitch ripper got a real work out on that project! I finished those two blocks and I haven’t looked back since. Since then I’ve just been designing and designing. I’ve been reading and studying up like crazy about different techniques and tips and tricks. And I’ve also found a brilliant and supportive community of makers online. It’s been so wonderful getting to learn about this art, where it started and the incredible makers from past to present who make up this beautiful world of patchwork and piecing.

I love quilting and block design because it allows me to tell stories through stitches and textiles. And I love how the properties and challenges of drawing with fabric inform my design and the final product. I’ve been experimenting intensively over the last year with patchwork and paper piecing, trying to find just the right balance and shape of seams to make my work resonate with excitement and character.

I feel a little ridiculous saying this, but I feel obsessed. I wake up in the morning with ideas and can’t wait to see them come to life on my sewing machine. It’s enriching and fulfilling and my creative spirit feels like it is spinning with potential! And I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me next!

What other media do you enjoy working with?

I love illustration, specifically drawing with pen and ink and painting with gouache or watercolor. Before discovering quilting I was deep into experimenting with surface design, creating oodles of repeat patterns teeming with strange stories and funny critters. In fact, I feel as though my quilt designs are minimal and graphic version of my illustrations. And of course I think surface design and quilt design can go hand in hand. It’s impossible to not consider how a fabric design might heighten a quilt pattern I’m making, and how I could design the perfect one! For example if I’m creating a character who might be sporting a sweater or pants, I could see designing a repeat pattern to use for the clothing pieces. It would be a great opportunity to incorporate my illustration into the blocks and also another avenue to add more story and dimension.

And last but not least I still adore toy making. I’m currently tinkering with a doll design right now. A line I’m hoping to create using Spoonflower and potentially release as a pattern for others to download and make.But ultimately at this moment in time, my heart has found a home in a world full of dazzling geometric patterns and stories. I’m in love with quilting.  It feels cozy and warm, just like coming home.

Find Rhya on Instagram @rhya.