Fresh Quilts - The Premier Issue has Arrived! by Riane Menardi

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The first issue of Fresh Quilts has arrived! I picked up a copy at Barnes & Noble yesterday and have been browsing through and loving every page of the issue. It's such an honor to be contributing alongside designers like Cintia Gonzalez, Pepper Cory and Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

Here's some of the work I did...

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These placemats were my own design, and my introduction to the wonderful world of sashimi hand-quilting. It's become one of my favorite styles. 

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This confetti quilt was so fun! Definitely making another soon. 

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I wrote three essays that forced me to delve into style, composition and mid-century modern design. Lifelong learning for the win. 

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Want to grab a copy? They're at bookstores and craft stores around the country. Launch party will happen in Des Moines in a few weeks!

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Holiday Handmade Placemats — Traditional vs. Modern Quilting (Or, How to Save Time on Cutting and Piecing) by Riane Menardi

This year I made placemats for a few people on my Christmas list. After going a traditional route for the first set, I realized I'd be sewing my fingers to the bone WELL past Christmas if I didn't find a way to hurry it along. 

Enter the best time-saving method ever: Modern quilting. I had three fat quarters of beautiful blue fabric ready to go, but it killed me to think about cutting it without measurements. But I took the plunge, made the first cut and hacked each one into four pieces. After piecing them with a neutral fabric and slapping on a binding, the modern mats became my favorite set!

So lesson learned: Save yourself time by cutting fast and trusting your gut when piecing. Striking ideas and designs will surely follow.

Here are the carefully constructed placemats — which came out great! Don't get me wrong. But they took forever... 

And here are the modern placemats, which went to my easy-going grandmother in Colorado...

I did also made placemats for the woman who taught me how to quilt (my other grandmother), but to make her proud they need to showcase my best work. Sooo, they aren't quite done. Turns out modern quilting doesn't solve all your time-crunch problems... :)

Happy New Year!

Felt Kitty Cats by Riane Menardi

Occasionally I house-sit for a wonderful crafty lady and her husband who have two precious kitties. So as a Christmas gift, I decided to make a few felted kitties for them. Here's Lil Bud and Huey in felt form!

I contributed a pattern and tutorial for these little guys for the very first Spring issue of Fresh Quilts, which will be available in early February. I can't wait to show you the finished project!

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P.S. When I was house-sitting for them earlier this month, I slept under the finished red and white quilt! The quilting turned out beautiful.

 

That time I made a 7' x 7' quilt top in 18 days... by Riane Menardi

 

Earlier this month, I was hired to make a sort-of-traditional, sort-of-modern quilt for the first issue of Fresh Quilts, which will come out in Spring 2014. (Pretty awesome, right?)

The catch: I was tasked with making a 7'x7' quilt top in less than a month — which included the time needed to select fabric and have it shipped. Yikes! Luckily a few fabricworm fat quarter packs made picking colors relatively easy. And after what seemed like 2,000 hours of measuring, cutting, pinning and piecing, it's finally done! I turned the beast in today to be quilted and photographed. PHEW.

I couldn't be more proud of how it turned out, but wow, am I glad it's done. Ironically, my editor asked if I could make another  modern quilt today (to be finished by Oct. 18). I'm still thinking about it, but I will probably say yes — apparently quilting is my new addiction. Thank goodness this next one is only 53" inches square...

What do you think? Have you ever speed-quilted before? I can't say it's my favorite way to do things, but now I know what I'm capable of! 

New in the shop by Riane Menardi

Follow me on instagram @rianemenardi!

Follow me on instagram @rianemenardi!

 I've been making a lot of felt things lately... After we designed square pincushions at Goodsmiths, I can't stop making my own versions. There's something about working in cubes (not cubicles, luckily) that is both constraining and liberating. Creativity loves constraints, I guess. Anyway, check out what's new in my little shop!

P.S. I've been working hard on some new projects for Better Homes & Gardens and Simple Quilts & Sewing.  Stay tuned to see a preview! 

clothespin burst mirror by Riane Menardi

This is one of my favorite things! I was inspired by a white version of this clothespin mirror by Tara Dennis. But I have a lot of paints in my stash and wanted to make a colorful version for my new apartment.

materials

  • about 64 clothespins, depending on the size of your mirror.
  • small mirror (I think I used a 4-inch mirror from Michael's) .
  • small wooden disc for the backing
  • hot glue

methods

  • Separate the clothespins by taking the metal parts out.
  • Decide what colors you want and how many clothespins you need.
  • Divide the number of clothespins by number of colors. The end number is how many clothespins you'll paint of each color.
  • Get painting! I used two coats on each pin. Set to dry.
  • Glue the mirror to the middle of the wooden disc.
  • Arrange the clothespins around your mirror in order. I found it easier to keep the clothespins flush together if they were already organized. 
  • Glue the clothespins in place and let it set. 

What do you think? What colors would you use to spruce up your space? 

Wine Bottle Mini Coozie by Riane Menardi

Last week, I got really obsessed with making t-shirt yarn out of old, need-to-be-upcycled duds. I also got sort of obsessed with these t-shirt yarn bowls by Francine Clouden on Kollabora. This is the result.

Make one of these wine bottle coozies, and you'll never worry about drippy wine again. They're easy to make, and they can be used as bowls, can coozies or other things as well. I was making a batch of bowls when my roommate mentioned that we could use one as a wine bottle coozie to prevent drips on our new, white countertop. Perfect!

Ch = chain
Sc = single crochet

Materials

  • 1/2 skein of t-shirt yarn (bulky weight equivalent)
  • 9 mm crochet hook (size N)

Method

  • Ch 2,  Sc 6 in the first chain. 
  • Slip stitch to join the round. Ch 1.
  • Sc 2 in each Sc from the previous round. 
  • Slip stitch to join the round. Ch 1. Use a stitch marker to mark your place.
  • Sc 2 in first stitch from previous round and Sc 1 in next stitch. Continue to the end of the round.
  • Slip stitch to join the round. Ch 1.
  • Sc 2 in first stitch from previous round and Sc 1 in next 2 stitches. Continue to the end of the round.
  • Slip stitch to join the round. Ch 1.
  • Sc 1 in each stitch to the end of the round. Slip stitch to join the round and Ch 1. Repeat for 3 rounds.
  • Tie off and weave in the ends. Done! Enjoy your new wine coozie.

Have you ever made bowls out of t-shirt yarn? I find that they're very sturdy — and the yarn is super fun to work with.