How procrastination led to a happy accident

I love a good challenge; and I jumped at the chance to join in the Riley Blake Challenge. These fat eighths (approx. 9″ x 22″) were given to us in October (photo courtesy of the Boston MQG website):

Riley Blake Challenge Fabrics

So I had three months to make something quilted using these prints, solid fabrics and additional Riley Blake prints. The deadline even was extended at one point.  But naturally, I started cutting into them about five weeks ago, a full 3 months after these prints were given to me. I had grand ideas to do something to play up the radial design in the orange print, akin to what Linda did. But I changed my mind many, MANY times. An elaborate design, including many small circles, was NOT going to happen in five short weeks.

When I did finally cut into the fabric I was still undecided, so I just cut a bunch of squares and started piecing half-square triangles using Riley Blake stripes, chevrons, ombre dots, a few prints from an Ashbury Heights charm pack I had, a fun red jigsaw puzzle print, and a few different grey/taupe solids from my stash. I focused on using the orange, navy and the greys from the original fabric pack.

Rile Blake Challenge HSTs

As I sewed my squares up into HSTs, an idea popped into my head, so I sat down and drew it out on graph paper. Then I scooped everything up and took it with me to retreat that weekend; where I sewed, pressed, and trimmed for two days straight.  The final design is a throw 64″ x 75″:


UPDATE 2/19/14: My quilt was selected as one of the Top 10 in the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Design Challenge, here! Lots of beautiful entries–I’m honored & humbled to have my quilt chosen.

Once I had the top made and a back pieced together, I passed it off to my business partner, Trina, to quilt on her long-arm. Trina had just gotten a copy of Judi Madsen’s new book that week, and she wanted the opportunity to play with the large areas of negative space I created. She outdid herself…







See how she created shadow HSTs, including quilting the chevron design, the polka dots, and the jigsaw puzzle fabric design? Seriously amazing.


I used many of the prints from the front to piece the back, along with two cream solids from my stash:




The binding is navy solid. These pics were taken before the quilt was washed an blocked. Now it’s washed, soft, crinkly and oh so beautiful! Had I not procrastinated, and started this challenge before the holidays, I would have ended up with a very different design. And Trina probably wouldn’t have asked to quilt my challenge quilt. And I wouldn’t have ended up with this amazing quilt. Serendipitous.


Happy Sewing,



Mums for Melissa – my quilt in Quilty Magazine

Our latest pattern is Hot off the Press!

It’s one many of you have been waiting for–a pattern for the quilt I was holding in the Quilty Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013 issue:

Quilty Magazine Meet a Modern Quilter Doris Chrysanthemum Quilt

Here it is:

Mums for Melissa Chrysanthemum Quilt Block Modern Quilting

To read more about the making of this pattern and to purchase your copy, visit Row House Creations today!

Vintage View: Pieces of the Past


I’ve always had a thing for vintage quilts, even when the color or style doesn’t really appeal to me, I appreciate them for the stories they can tell about the time period they were made, and the technique used to make them.  Just like an old house or building; “if these quilts could talk…”

I’ve heard some of today’s modern quilters (self-proclaimed Modern Quilters) make the statement that they don’t care for vintage quilts, or that vintage quilts lack creativity, etc.  To me, those statements seem narrow-minded.  Our modern quilting, or contemporary quiltmaking, wouldn’t be what it is without the patchwork quilts of the past, the innovation of new block designs spread across the nation and world through newspaper features and mail-order, and the individual re-interpretation over the years of these same designs.

Two color quilts?  Very common in vintage quilts.  Solids?  Yep, especially white and off-white.  This blue and white quilt has 256 8-pointed stars.  11 of them are pieced using 8 diamonds, Lemoyne Star style.  The other 245 stars are made using v-shaped, or chevron shaped pieces with y-seam settings.  (You might be able to see the two different methods if you click on and enlarge this photo:)

These English paper-pieced diamond blocks use some of the most contemporary and fun looking fabrics!  It’s a wonderful quilt; I could see this being made in 2012 and posted to a modern quilt group on flickr, couldn’t you?

See, fun fabrics–this quilt had novelty critters, florals, geometrics, text fabric, solids…

And Grandmother’s flower garden, all the modern EPP hexies we see on blogs and flickr… well, it first appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book (a journal) in January 1935.  How cool is it that this design has lasted the test of time and is still considered creative, clever, fun, and worth making!?!

Of course, I don’t know too many Modern Quilters, myself included, that would take the time to finish the binding like this quilter did:

The fussy cut fabrics in this quilt are extremely well done:

Now, I’m not suggesting as a quilter that you have to like every quilt you see.  Lord knows, I don’t.  But acknowledging that many of our contemporary quilts are reincarnations of past designs and styles, and giving a nod to the history of our craft, doesn’t make our creations any less creative, any less “modern”, or any less.  Period.