Our Top Tester Program is off and running! We are soon to be completing our first quarter of this new program this year and I’m happy to dedicate this page to our Top Tester Participants and their progress, see below and check back for more updates.
Top Testers are members of our Kinship Quilters Facebook Sew-Along Group and they submit their portfolios to be considered in this program directly to me, Deanna Nagle, group founder, designer, & moderator. For most of these ladies, I was already quite familiar with their work in watching them grow through our monthly block-of-the-month projects as we sew virtually together online. We are a paid club because fabric is not free, nor are patterns, nor is my time to cut all of the individual kits and ship them each month, lol. However, we’ve prided ourselves on impeccable design and fabric choices, and keeping our monthly kits as low as is possible to accomodate folks on even small budgets. We now boast over 19 different variations of monthly projects in our group. Last year, we did the same. Some clubs are specific to learning new quilt block patterns each month and some are more dedicated to speed-piecing or specific techniques such as paper-piecing, etc.
In addition to monthly / annual projects within our facebook group, Top Testers, once chosen and accepted are committed to sewing one-day / one-weekend quilt tops (very few do blocks only) and providing completed photos of their projects. Some have informally reviewed patterns as well. And, many are group leaders within our clubs. I am honored to share their talents here with the world and feel blessed to have them on my team. I have profiled each of them below and aim to update this page as their porfolios of work expand within our group, so please check back or subscribe to this blog feed for updates!
Ruth “babeyruth” Bass
Ruth Bass is a veteran member to our Kinship Quilters Facebook Virtual Sew-Along Group. She is now in her second year with us and I am happy to call her “friend”. Ruth shares my love for the San Antonio Spurs , though I try not to show any favoritism, lol. (wink, wink)
Here’s what she said about herself, when prompted for some background:
“I’ve been quilting for 20 years. I love color! I’m a Navy Vet currently living in Laurel, Md . working for Dept of Defense. I love fabric, classes and BOMs! It’s an addition! I hope to move back to San Antonio, Texas someday!”
Ruth is a fabulous all-around quilter and has made a huge variety of quilts for many ages and occasions. I trust her creative eye and love her flair for modern designs especially. She is a group leader in our Club 6 / Monthly Mile-A-Minute Scrappy Blocks Group & also a leader in our Club 3 / 4-to-9 Patch Monthly Quilt Blocks Group. She has tested for me in both as seen in the photos below:
For 2016-2017, she is a monthly member of our Kinship Quilters Book Club (#12). This is our first ever and she is the only member exclusively and purposefully doing it in a custom variation of NON-Kaffe-Fassett-Collective fabrics. She’s always open to new things and I love that about her! She requested that and I’ve accomodated, very eager to see what she will have designed by year end. She’s also a member of Club 5 / Scrappy PB&J Quilt-Along which focuses on using jellyrolls and 2.5″ strips, and Club 6 / Mile-A-Minute Speed-Piecing Quilt-Along as well as one of our block-of-the-month groups which is learning a new block pattern each month and 2 different half-square-triangle methods this year in Club 10 HST Block Club.
By May of this year, Ruth has tested 3 Patterns for me, some in multiple variations, as seen below. These patterns are one-day and some one-small-afternoon projects that render an entire quilt top. If you are interested in purchasing a kit, there may be some available in our etsy store located here. All kits are made and designed by me, Deanna Nagle. Thanks, Ruth, so much for your awesome work in piecing these fabric / pattern combos for us!
Ruth’s first peice within the Top Tester program was a one-day quilt pattern called “Chianti” , fabrics are an assortment of Kaffe Fassett , Brandon Mably, Philip Jacobs, and Martha Negley prints. See below:
Next, Ruth completed “Cloud Nine” in fabrics by the same designers in a citrus-colorway mix from Deanna Nagle. The results were quite cheerful as seen below!
If you’d like a “Cloud Nine” kit of your own, to make the top seen here, complete with coordinating binding fabric, simply click here.
Purchase a “Cloud Nine” pattern only by clicking here.
The most popular quilt top this year so far within the testing group has been the next one, which is “Moondance”. This is because it takes mere hours and is easy to make larger without hassle. Great simplistic modern design that packs a punch. Simply changing fabrics can make a HUGE difference in any sewing project. Moondance is a great demonstration of that. Thanks to Ruth for these modern gems pictured below!
The first “Moondance” kit shown here , is a unisex / masculine / modern version and if you’d like to purchase a kit of your own to make this, click here to be redirected to our etsy store, while supplies last.
You can purchase your own “Moondance” Aviary / Joel Dewberry themed kit as seen in the second group of photos by clicking here. The third “Moondance” kit pictured in this group is a bold floral combination, which can be purchased here. Want to buy just the “Moondance” pattern only? Click here!
Most recently, Ruth has tested the “Galaxy” pattern for our testing group, in 2 colorways as shown below, which will be available as kits in our etsy store soon! For the pattern only, simply click here.
To purchase the quilt kit on the bottom right, shown above, click here.
Ruth soon completed testing for the patterns “Native” (available for purchase here) & “Purple Haze” (available for purchase here). “Native” is a great fat quarter-friendly pattern and can be done in a variety of solids, prints, etc to achieve many different looks.
First, Ruth tested “Native” in a kit featuring spotted prints by Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett. The results are in the pictures below and exact kits to make your own are available here in our Kinship Quilters etsy shop.
Next up, was a version dominated by Amy Butler and Tula Pink fabrics in a very modern look. The results are quite nice, especially when compared to the original pattern! This kit is available exact as shown via this link here. The coordinating pictures can be seen below:
Ruth says these came together super fast and she enjoyed them.
As noted previously, “Purple Haze” was her next test pattern. We again used modern fabrics, as is her preference featuring prints by Kaffe Fassett for the triangles. This pattern makes use of 5″ pre-cut charm squares or layer cakes which have been cross cut accordingly. The two versions Ruth sewed are featured below:
Other quilts by Ruth! :
Selma is another “original” Kinship Quilters Facebook Group member. She’s also helped to model the vision of our group in becoming a true friend over these years. I have been so stunned by her growth since meeting her. Initially, she once touted herself as a “beginner” quilter last year as our projects began and is FAR from it now. She’s been a backbone to our testing and projects, placing full faith in my color and fabric choices and combos, even when well outside of her “comfort” zone. And, it has paid off! Seen below is her completed Block-Of-The-Month project from last year’s mystery monthly project where Selma challenged herself to use the advanced patterns in the Earth (blue/green dominant) colorway. The results were beautiful. Soon, she’d be making another as a paid piece , requested by a friend.
Here’s a bit about Selma, when asked to describe herself :
“When I was a young girl, my grandmother gave me a scrappy log cabin quilt made by my great grandmother. It was love at first sight!! I’m self taught and made a few quilts over the past thirty years. In the past few years, with more time on my hands, I have become addicted to quilting. I came across the Kinship Quilters Facebook Group and joined the Block of the Month club with them last year. I absolutely love the bold colors (new to me)! Now, I’m into my second year with Deanna’s group and loving it!! I’m also a member of the Quaboag Valley Quilters Guild & I often can be found meeting with several friends weekly to share patterns, techniques and our love of quilting.”
For 2016-2017, Selma is a leader and tester in several other Kinship Quilters Clubs including : Club 2 : Rainbow Checks , the Quilt Top Quarterly Club, and finished this fabulous top (seen below in the left photo) as our Club 6 / Mile-A-Minutes Scrappy Quilt-Along Club example! She completed a second quilt using the same concept and adapted a different cornerstone design within her sashing between blocks via Deanna’s guidance. The results were both stunning!
Prior to our second year, Selma was asked to be an exclusive tester for the Club 8 / Traffic Jam Quilt-Along group as led by Doris Rice, Quilting “Queen”. Selma tested the pattern completed in the “Modern” Colorway Option. See the finished top below:
Selma tested (4) kits for our Take 5 Quilt Top Quarterly Group, which makes a top in 3 hours or less using 5 fabrics as seen here.
In the testing group specifically, Selma is always testing unique patterns and bright color combinations. She’s requested specific Kaffe Fassett and related designer fabrics / florals be used in her kits from Deanna.
The first pattern she tested specifically for our Top Testers Group was “Pristine” in the photo seen below. As you can see, it was great!
To make your own “Pristine” quilt top identical to the one pictured above, simply click here. To purchase the pattern only? Click here. This top can be made easily in a long afternoon for someone with experience or a weekend for newbies.
Next up, was a more intricate pattern called “Lexington” seen via the detailed and vivid photos below :
The “Lexington” pattern can be purchased alone by clicking here. The “Lexington” kit has sold out before Deanna’s been able to even get it listed in the etsy store, every time she’s made mention of it on social media. We hope to offer it again in our Kinship Quilters Etsy Shop soon. If you can’t wait, email Deanna at firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiry.
In May, she tested a super easy pattern called “Spice Drop” in the blues color range with amazing results, proving that fabulous fabrics can be all that is needed for an outstanding quilt, the quilt pattern need not be complicated nor require oodles of time and cutting, as seen by her completed photos below:
Selma said that the photos simply didn’t do this quilt top “justice”! If interested, the pattern can be purchased solo by clicking here.
Currently, Selma is also a participating monthly member of 2 Kinship Quilters Facebook Virtual Monthly Quilt-Along Groups. Those groups are Club 4 / “Spotty” & our first ever Kinship Quilters Book Club (Club #12) Quilt-Along Group and serves as a leader in Club 3 / 4-to-9 Patch Quilt-Along for Kinship Quilters.
Other quilts by Selma!! :
Veteran member , Elaine, has probably sewn more blocks from Kinship Quilter’s Monthly Quilt-Along groups than anyone. She spends much time making charity quilts and using a wide variety of our kits to do so. Currently, Elaine is in her second year with us and serves as a Top Tester as well as a group leader in many capacities. She participated in our first year in multiple skills levels and colorway options and remains very active in her craft. I can always count on Elaine to be an anchor in our group and a mine of expertise for any given quilting or life debacle. Here’s a few words from Elaine, when prompted to share a bit about herself:
“I have been quilting off and on, nothing serious, for the past 8 years. I have 2 children, 1 grandson, and a grandchild due in September. I love sewing anything; and I also like scrapbooking and reading. Last year was my first year to join a BOM club and now I am hooked. Working with Deanna and anxiously awaiting to see what shows up in my mailbox next has been awesome.”
Elaine is a regular tester for Deanna’s team on many levels, and a go-to for feedback on all things “quilting” as she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. She’s been a wonderful addition to our group. Currently, she’s the leader and main tester for Club 11 / Gypsy Block-of-the-Month Group. She is leading and testing the pattern in all 3 colorway options each month, ahead of the group participants. She is a regular member and subscriber to the following monthly groups for Kinship Quilters : Club 1 / Chinese Coins & Log Cabins , Club 4 / “Spotty” Quilt-Along, Club 7 / Scrappy Kaleidoscope, Club 9 / Beginner’s Paper-Piecing Quilt-Along, & the Quarterly Quilt Top Group making tops in 3 hours or less.
As part of the Top Tester program, Elaine has tested the “Heirloom”, in the blues colorway as seen here:
To purchase a quilt top kit for yourself like the one featured above , simply click here to be redirected to our etsy shop. Or, if you prefer the pattern only, click here. The “Heirloom” pattern makes a fabulous wall quilt that pieces together quick and is great for showing off large prints.
Another variation that Elaine tested was the “Heirloom” pattern in a Reds-Themed fabric assortment as seen below.
Another super-speedy and fun pattern tested by Elaine is “Summer Song”, which is even more modern. Elaine tested it in both Kaffe Fassett Collective Classics prints with Brandon Mably fabric in the inside squares as well as a woven shot cotton solids / stripes version. Both can be seen below:
Soon, Elaine promises to show us her finished quilts for the pattern “About Face” she recently tested in a kids version for us and an alternate version. Until then, the pattern only can be purchase here on etsy.
More quilts by Elaine! :
Unlike the previous testers, Connie is not a veteran or “original” Kinship Quilters Facebook Virtual Sew-Along group member. Rather, she’s joined up with us for her first year with us just this year hopping “on board” as we began year 2 projects. She is a longarmer by trade and operates as an entrepenuer in her craft. She has dived in 100% and then some! It’s been a sheer delight to have Connie on board with us, especially as a Top Tester. She is the only Top Tester who has maintained 3 tops each month without fail thus far. Connie gets all her supplies at once, including her backing fabric (coordinated to match by Deanna Nagle for her & at her request), so that when her package arrives she just sets to work, often completing all 3 tops in just a weekend!
I asked Connie to share some background in her own words, and she replied with the following:
“I am Connie Schroeder and I love to quilt. I started quilting as soon as I retired 4 years ago and I very rarely miss a day of quilting, even if it is to just “check things out”. I enjoy all quilts with the except of the ones with little bitty squares but on the other hand I love paper piecing. I especially love quilters, they are special people. I have gone to several Retreats and learned a lot and enjoyed them all. I feel so lucky to have become a member of the Kinship Quilters Facebook Quilt-Along Group this year. Deanna is a wonderful person to work with. She is always there for me and makes me feel so special by being one of her testers.Also, I have met so many great quilters through being a member of Kinship!”
As a monthly Kinship Quilters Virtual Sew-Along member, Connie participates in the following groups : Club 1 Chinese Coins & Log Cabins (custom Pastel colorway per her request), Club 4 / “Spotty”, & Club 8 / Traffic Jam Quilt-Along w/ Doris Rice in the Freespirit Jewels mix.
Connie’s craft has grown LEAPS and BOUNDS still in the small amount of time we’ve had her as a member and as a Top Tester, as can be evidenced by her portfolio of growth seen here in just 4 months.
Often testing the same quilt pattern in 3 different colorways, she prefers speed and mastery when approaching her next quilting project. The first pattern that Connie tested was “Melody”, which can be purchased here.
Connie completed “Melody” in 3 colorways, all of which can be purchased now as kits in our etsy store. See the photos of her completed tops below, with links to follow if you wish to purchase your own kit to make this speedy weekend / afternoon project.
Click here to purchase a kit in autumn tones as seen in the first picture to the left. Click here to purchase the center kit featuring jeweltones on a neutral background and finally, click here to purchase a citrus / pastel themed kit like the photo of the top on the right.
Connie is new to digital photography also, but as her quilting and sewing has improved, so has her photography. The following test tops will speak for themselves in that regard!
The next pattern up for testing was requested by Connie and has been very popular among our Top Tester group and is called “Remember Me”. “Remember Me” is super fast and easy, yet allows for showing off large scale prints as well as small / medium prints. “Remember Me” is seen below as tested by Connie:
The top left photo is using a variety of spring and autumn florals by Philip Jacobs, Martha Negley, some Brandon Mably blender prints, and Kaffe Fassett fabric (specifically the backing). This kit may be purchased for a limited time here.
The top right corner photo is unisex and was designed this way intentionally. It features a great mix of modern prints by many Freespririt designers, with the main aviary bird print being from none other than Joel Dewberry. Other designer fabrics used in this version are Anna Maria Horner, Martha Negley, Brandon Mably, and Valori Wells, to name a few. This is a very limited kit due to the fabrics used which are now out of production. If we are sold out, please request a custom by emailing our etsy store owner, Deanna Nagle at email@example.com. Otherwise, there is at least one in stock at the time of this blog post and it can be purchased here.
Many of the prints used in our kits are retired, which means that the value of your finished project will only increase with time. And, we may not have these again, once they are sold out.. But, if we have kits in stock in our etsy shop, retired fabrics will surely be included.
Next, I challenged Connie to work with a kit requiring lots of pre-cut 5″ charms. Again, she shined. We used the “Sedona” pattern as can be seen & purchased here. We used Kaffe Fassett Collective Classics charms in the ochre color & red color ranges, framed out in a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton woven and print with a Robert Kaufman hand-dyed batik in the main foreground for one kit. Next, we used the Tula Pink “Chipper” charm pack as sold here (last one!) for another, framed with a Brandon Mably print using a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton woven in the foreground for a distinctly modern look. The results were nothing short of spectacular and Connie’s long-arm quilting added an exclusive “touch” as seen here in the pictures that follow.
Want the “Sedona” pattern solo so you can use your own fabrics? Just click here to purchase it. It’s wonderful for using up your 5″ charms and scrap pieces.
I feel it’s important to note that Connie also sewed and quilted 2 other patterns during the same time period in which she tested “Sedona”. One was for her Quilt Top Quarterly group in which 5 fabrics are used to create a top in 3 hours or less. This pattern will be available for purchase in our etsy shop soon. Here’s a photo of her completed “Take Five” quilt. :
Also, up on the machine was “Dublin” which is a very simple pattern finishing a top out at 54″x66″, it’s a variation of several basic quilt blocks but can be strip-pieced for speed as it uses 2.5″ strips like a standard jellyroll. Connie requested a pastel version, which is her favorite colorway and the results were great. We’ve since sold out of the kit she used for her project, but if you have interest in something similar please contact Deanna Nagle at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if she can design one for you. And, here’s Connie’s “Dublin” in the photos below, again with her fabulous long-arming. For only having quilted for 4 years, she’s really gaining expertise quickly. “Dublin” is available for purchase as a pattern by visiting here.
Finally in Month 4, Connie tested both the “Mojave” pattern and the “Lover’s Lane”. The “Mojave” pattern by itself can be purchased here, while “Lover’s Lane”is currently sold out in our store, though we hope to restock it again soon.
For “Lover’s Lane”, pictured below, Connie used several aviary / bird / kid prints provided by Deanna and chosen to coordinate for this simple pattern. These prints are by Valori Wells and many can be found in our etsy shop or by contacting Deanna Nagle directly at email@example.com for yardage. “Lover’s Lane” is also a super fast strip-piecing quilt pattern that comes together in mere hours to complete a nice top. We hope to also have these kits available for purchase soon.
And, finally, Connie tested “Mojave”, a unique but easy fat quarter pattern which can show off large prints well. Connie did a Freespririt fabric mix of a variety of designers coordinated by Deanna to include Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Valori Wells, Tina Givens, and Teri Mangat prints, as seen in the photos below. To purchase this “Mojave” quilt top kit, simply click here.
And her other “Mojave” kit used mostly Philip Jacobs, Kaffe Fassett, and retired Carla Miller and Anna Griffin prints as seen below , in spring pastels.
To purchase a kit identical to the fabrics that Connie used in this top above, click here.
Next Up for Connie? Kayla!
Kayla is a great quilt pattern to use quarter yards and fat quarters. It’s equally as great to use if you have large-print fabrics you wish to “show off”. The pattern is available solo, for purchase here. Connie tested this pattern in 3 versions as seen below. If you wish to purchase a kit just like any of these shown, inquire by sending an email to Deanna at firstname.lastname@example.org and stop into our etsy shop HERE for Kinship Quilters as it is frequently updated with new kits and fabrics. Many of the batik hand-dyed fabrics she used in some of these can be found for purchase in fat quarter sets here.
Again, Connie’s quilting was done via her own long-arm machine & business! Follow Connie Schroeder and her other quilts (yes, she has MORE!) on Connie’s Quilting Corner, tucked away on Facebook, click HERE to visit and see what else she’s up to or to inquire to purchase one of her quilted masterpieces or to take advantage of her local longarming services for your projects!
Summer of 2016 and Connie’s still busy , making expert handmade creations:
October 28, 2016…..with fall, comes a plethora of new completed quilts, way to go Connie!
Eleni comes to us from another part of the world which is Crete, located in Greece! While she is not able to actively participate in our monthly projects for the 2016-2017 year, she did complete 2 quilt tops during our first year and initially referred to herself as a “beginner” quilter. The Kinship Quilters Block-of-the-Month group last year ended up offering a total of 19+ options of blocks in various color combinations with 4 skill levels each month, all being a mystery pattern through the entirety of the 12 months! Eleni completed HER VERY FIRST QUILT TOPS AND BLOCKS via our group and took on 2 projects simaltaneously : beginner and intermediate blocks. By the mid-year point, Greece was a country declaring bankruptcy and we had to jump through hoops just to get her monthly fabric packages all the way to Crete, but we did wow(!), it sure paid off! Eleni’s intermediate churn-dash top is seen below , with the photo and caption she posted in our group upon finishing her 12 blocks from last year:
“This is 2015 BOM, Churn Dash Delight in pink tones. Just finished the quilt top and I would like to share it here also. Need some suggestions on quilting it if you would like to share some. I will also do some online research on quilting the churn dash design, there must be some variables. Apologies for posting it now, mixing it in the 2016 BOM’s, just wanted to share it. My first time I make a quilt top this size, churn dash completely out of my comfort zone as a piecing design and the fabrics, ohhh the fabrics, so worth it!!! Thanks to Deanna, I am making progress.”
Eleni also completed the Beginner blocks in Jewel-Tones, here are a few pictures of some of those blocks, seen, from last year.
It’s been a special joy to have Eleni in our group. Because of Greece’s continuing economic issues, she’s only been able to contribute as a Top Tester this year to date, but she’s continued to grow and shine as a quilter, crafter, and textile artist. She is always an uplift to the spirits in any communications posted. I hope she will continue to keep at her craft and also continue to test for us.
When I prompted her to describe herself , here’s what she wrote to me in reply:
“Hello. My name is Eleni, I am from Patras, Greece, currently living in Chania, Crete, Greece with my husband and our little cat family. My hobbies include sewing, patchwork, quilting, knitting and crochet.
I studied Architecture in Leeds Beckett University (former Leeds Metropolitan University), in Leeds, UK, and currently working as a freelance architect in Chania.
The earliest memory of myself holding needle and thread is being around 5 years old, trying to make a cross stitch cushion, using a needlepoint kit.
I also remember that my grandmothers and several great aunts were sewing, knitting or crocheting together, and my mum used to buy yards of white fabric in order to sew bed sheets and pillow cases in her Singer automated sewing machine. Of course my grandmother had one of the classic sewing machines, with the wood table and metal frame.
Anyway, growing up I had completely forgotten about this hobby, until years later I met my mother-in-law, whom I watched sitting by the fireplace after finishing all the house works, grab her needles and knit or crochet a different project every time we visited her. Eventually I told her I knew a bit, asked her if she could teach me, and I started from there knitting a scarf. Then I tried to crochet a traditional design white lace, and then I discover the endless designs online, printed them out and tried to recreate them.
And then a tragic moment in the family, the loss of my mother’s older brother, in 2008. I moved to Chania for a couple of weeks, right after the funeral, my husband was working all day, while I was staying in the house in the village. Crocheting a pattern that I had brought with me helped me through the mourning time, and I quit smoking of 11 years, in a week!
Finally, moving away from my hometown with my husband, made my mum realize that I would probably need a sewing machine to sew a zipper or two, hem trouser legs and similar things. Internet was my best friend again, showing me a craft I had seen before, but had not realized how much I would come to love in the next months. Sewing and patchwork.
That was back in 2009. Since then, I have discovered several blogs (both Greek and English), I follow classes in Craftsy, and a couple of years ago I went to the Xeirotexnika Craft fair in Athens and Heraklion, Crete, and actively follow a FB page, where Greek patchwork friends meet, talk, share and support our members. The first Hellenic Patchwork Guild has started, and we are very proud.
In 2015 I took part in one knit-along and three block of the months. One BOM was organized by the Hellenic Patchwork Guild, which had a theme of “Neighborhood”, and the other two were organized by Kinship Quilters and Deanna Nagle from Carolina, USA. I absolutely adored them all!!!
In 2016 I sew tops for Kinship Quilters and also take part in one BOM from the Intrepid Thread and the twice-a-week blocks from The Splendid Sampler.
I also knit and crochet occasionally, in between my sewing projects.
Thank you for reading it.
Eleni x “
This year, Eleni is testing a small / quick project monthly as she is limited on time and resources. Currently, she’s tested the ever-popular “Moondance” pattern in a variety of options and will be sending me more photos soon. Here’s her Moondance Kit done in an ochre colorscheme using a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton striped woven in the block centers and a retired floral Martha Negley print in the foreground and larger part of the quilt blocks as seen below:
To purchase the above kit, simply click here or request it via email to Deanna Nagle at email@example.com if one is not in stock.
Next, Eleni tested the same pattern in “pinks”, of her favorite colorway choices, and we used a retired Philip Jacobs floral in the foreground and complimenting Kaffe Fassett Collective Classic Roman Glass prints in 2 shades of pink as seen here:
When Eleni isn’t sewing or working in Greece, she’s blogging! Follow her and all of her crafts by visiting this online link!
Sonya is a new member to our group in 2016 but already hard at work. Recently, she was chosen by group founder, Deanna Nagle, to take on a special testing as a precursor to our planning for next year’s Kinship Quilter’s Facebook Group offerings. However, as a regular monthly participant, Sonya is doing Club 7 / The Scrappy Kaleidoscope Block Project.
Sonya is always eager to try new things and shares a love for all things fabric. When asked to give a brief bio on her craft, here’s what she wrote:
“I started quilting in 1990. I took a class for a small wall hanging called Harlequin Hearts. It had freezer paper applique and it was the only quilt I ever hand-quilted. I wasn’t sure that was for me, but stuck with it and finished the top. I then took another wall-hanging class for a trip around the world. That one percolated for about 15 years before it was finished!! I had done several small paper-pieced wall hangings and I love to paper piece. After I moved to Wisconsin in 2005, my daughter’s great grandmother gave me a box full of scraps, which I made into a queen sized quilt for her bed. She passed away about 4 months after receiving the gift, but slept under that quilt until that time. I have been quilting madly ever since, improving my skills and expanding my horizons in patterns and media. I do pieced quilts, quilts with photos, art quilts, t-shirt quilts, custom quilts, and also do hand-dyes and rust-dyes for my quilts. I don’t really have a favorite pattern or block, but I love batiks and jewel-toned colors the best. I love doing the top-testing for Kinship Quilters as it really puts me outside my norm in fabric selection. I love the surprise of getting a package in the mail and wondering what beautiful fabrics I get to fondle next!!”
Sonya’s first project as a Top Tester was to test the “Hot Tamale” quilt pattern. The result is shown below.
Also, Sonya has tested the “Moondance”pattern that has been so popular this year. Considering her love for batiks, it was designed accordingly and has since sold out. See the finished top she sewd for us in the pictures below.
Jennie is another veteran “original” Kinship Quilters Facebook Group member & is in her second year with the group. This year she is a particpant in 2 monthly clubs as a member, those being : Club 9 / Beginner’s Paper-Piecing and Club 10 / Half Square Triangles BOM in the Berry Sundae Colorway Option B. She’s also a tester and a group leader for Club 10 / Half Square Triangle BOM in the Split Pea Stew Colorway Option A.
When asked to share about herself, here’s how she replied:
“You can sum up my world in two words. Girl Scouts. It’s my passion. Quilting is my sanity and my escape from it all. When I’m not camping with my girls you can find me at my sewing machine.”
Jennie stays very busy and has tested one pattern as a Top Tester to date, which is “Midnight Blue”, as seen here:
“Midnight Blue” is a super fast pattern that goes together easily in an afternoon and works with fat quarters, fat sixths or 5″ strips, ideal for both newbies and experienced quilters alike. Kits like the one that Jennie tested above are available in our etsy shop by clicking here. Want to purchase just the pattern? Simply click here!
Linda is an original founding member from our Kinship Quilters Facebook Group and is in her second year with us. Currently, she is a tester and participant in our new Club 9 / Beginner Paper-Piecers and is the only one completing her blocks in non-spotty Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. She is also a regular participant in Club 8 / Traffic Jam Quilt-Along with Doris Rice and is the only one attempting the “modern nature” colorway version of that new quilt project.
When asked to introduce herself here, Linda sent the following:
“Hello, my name is Linda Faulkner. I first learned to quilt and sew from my mother. It wasn’t until I retired in May of 2014 I really jumped back into quilting. I have enjoyed learning this craft and am amazed how much it has changed since being taught by my mother. My love for this craft is running over to my husband for he is creating quilts now also.”
Linda has tested at least 2 patterns as part of the Top Tester program this year and is really enjoying it. The first pattern she tested was “Heirloom” in a new colorway. This is seen here:
On April 16th, I was tickled to see what Linda posted to our group online once she was completely done with her finished quilt. Here’s what she said and here completed photos of the final project, quilted and bound:
“Finished today the Heirloom quilt project. I am so proud of this. This is not the type of material and colors I would normally choose but boy am I proud of how it turned out. Stepping outside your box can turn out so good.”
Linda has requested to test quilts that are ideally sized for wallhangings. The next pattern she tested was “Opening Night”. She has done this in 2 colorway options as seen below:
The above version is using many retired prints by Martha Negley and is available for purchase as a kit here.
For her second colorway option on this pattern we chose bold summer florals from a variety of designers , as seen in the following photo:
Her completed top is as follows , after quilting, though the pictures are not as crisp as the fabrics are in reality, so we are working on getting some better photos of the final quilt. But, even still, Linda did a great job piecing this pattern and it’s super fast to sew.
EBB TIDE Pattern as tested by Linda! :
This tester holds a special place in my heart (as they all do), but she has been a great anchor to our group both last year and this year. I’m so honored to have her among us and to continue to have her as both a tester and a genuine friend. She’s always so very humble and when prompted to share a bit about herself, here’s what she sent back to me:
“Hi everyone, my name is Ginny and I live in NJ. I have been quilting for a few years. I love making quilts because it’s less complicated then trying to sew clothes for myself. I mostly like traditional type quilts!” ++
++(Disclaimer on the above quote: don’t be fooled, folks, there ain’t much this chick ain’t done or couldn’t do as she’s got some amazing talent!) 😉
Virginia has been with us from the beginning, though she came into our Kinship Quilters Facebook Group a tiny bit late during our first year, but she’s always kept up to speed and her eye for choosing fabrics never ceases to astound me. Last year, she took on at least 3 monthly blocks to make a huge quilt in our Mystery Block of the Month, allowing me to custom design her finishing kit and placement of fabrics and blocks via a hand-drawn idea. I love her openness to try new things and her blind trust in me as a fabric coordinator for top and block kits. She’s always sewing and is always gathering new stashes of fabrics and patterns from our sister group Quilting Inventory and Blowout Sale where I destash my stash often. Virginia simply has one of the sweetest spirits I’ve come to know on social media and is a model for all the things “kinship” that I had in mind when founding our group online in 2015.
As a monthly participant in our Kinship Quilters Facebook Sew-Along Group, Virginia is doing the Club 10 / Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month Group in the Berry Sundae colorway option.
Also, she’s working on a number of test projects for me & many of those will be revealed at a later date this year (stay tuned!). We are also eagerly awaiting some “themed” kits she’s sewing up for me(!)…thanks love! However, as a top tester, she’s completed another version of the “Opening Night” pattern thus far, as seen below:
We used the following group of fabrics for this version :
Another founding member of our Kinship Quilters Facebook Sew-Along Group who is also now a Top Tester is Naomi Fenton. It’s been a pleasure to get to know her the last year and a half. Naomi reminds me all the time that life is too short to stay stressed and is always there for encouragement, ready with just the right thing to say, a special quality you don’t find in folks often enough. In the beginning, she was a consistent member but remained quiet much of the time. Yet slowly, she’d emerge to grow and share her talents with me. I was floored to see the range of projects she had worked on and expect nothing less in the future. When I asked her to share some words on her own behalf, here’s what she sent back to me:
“I have been sewing for over 40+ years. When I got to home economics in high school there was nothing for me to do so I made my first quilt; 9 patch which I tied together. Life came and I didn’t quilt again until 10 years ago. I love all crafts, color and can’t wait to see the end result. I’m guessing that is why my favorite block is “stack n whack”. You can take one piece of material, cut, sew and come up with 5 or 6 different blocks. Most of my quilts have been gifts or donated to charity auctions ; my focus now is table runners, placemats and other smaller items that I can quilt myself.
I am truly grateful for having found this group. Recently I moved across country and was a little lonely. I enjoy seeing what others have done and the comments.
Working with Deanna is alway inspiring. With her color choices for our work she really has me thinking outside the box.”
Currently, Naomi is a monthly participant in our Club 7 / Scrappy Kaleidoscope Group
The first pattern that Naomi tested as part of our Top Tester program this year was “Paradise” in jeweltones and the results were stunning as seen below:
These were the fabrics used:
Naomi has done something unique, as she will often include a “review” when testing a pattern, which is so helpful to others. Here’s what she had to say about the “Paradise” pattern:
“So, the thing I would recommend is that your fabrics be sorted between light, medium and dark before you begin sewing. I think that planning and layout helps the flow of fabrics better.
Also, the pattern doesn’t tell you how to cut the fabric for the background fabric. I cut mine the width of the fabric either way the stripes are not long enough so my recommendation is to sew the strips together then cut to fit the width of the row. “
Next up for Naomi to test was the pattern “Remember Me” which as also been very popular so far this year amongst our Top Testers Group. Naomi completed a soft pink / pastel / floral option using mostly retired Martha Negley prints and allowed me to mix in some other nice quilting fabric designers. The results were beautiful as you can see.
She came away with 2 suggestions after completing her top above. In a final review of the pattern, they were:
“1. There is nothing that tells you what the size of square should be. For me it was 6.5”.
2. The pattern does not tell you how to cut the theme fabric whether selvage to selvage and piece it or the length of the fabric. There was enough fabric that I cut it as one piece length wise.”
She’d request a specific pattern for her next challenge and the results are amazing, especially when these tops are created in mere afternoons or weekends. This kit featured the “Dublin” pattern which finished out at 54″x66″. Using Kaffe Fassett Collective classics only in the dominant prints turned out to be an epic choice by Deanna. They were offset using a solid shot cotton from his wovens collection. See for yourself below that the results are great, making a colorful and playful quilt top.
Next up on Naomi’s machine for testing? “Ivory Palace”! And we eagerly await those results, so stay tuned!
Chiquita is another “core” member of our Kinship Quilters Facebook Sew-Along Group. In many ways, she’s like a “mother hen” to us all, ready to jump in and help or offer a useful bit of advice or suggest a nifty notion to preserve sanity as we are quilting along any project. She’s been with us from the beginning and I hope will continue to remain active. She’s probably one of the most, if not the most active participant in our projects, both upcoming and behind-the-scenes. She brings a wealth of quilting experience, making her ideal to lead in areas of our group, especially considering the amount of “beginners” or newbie quilters we have at any given time. Last year, she participated in virtually all of the mystery block variations we did. And, she’s since been still completing oodles of those block kits for her various charity projects. She loves the craft of quilting and it shows. Her compassion and empathy, friendship and kindness are as full as her wisdom in all things quilting. We are very blessed to have her on board in the Top Tester program.
When asked for a short “bio” about herself, in her own words, here’s what she replied:
“I have enjoyed quilting most of my life. Having a “farm girl” youth, I learned to sew very early. I love all color and styles. Lately I’ve become more interested in modern quilting. I am really mostly a “piecer”. In many instances I feel like I am constructing a pallete for our wonderful machine quilt artists. Much of my time is spent sewing samples for “Mamas Log House Quilt Shop”, a wonderful shop south of Fort Smith, AR. I belong to three guilds: Daisy Patch Quilters of Heber Springs, AR, Piecemakers of Clinton, AR, and Belle Point Quilters Guild of Fort Smith, AR. Being retired and now divorced for 20 years, I sew almost every day. Living in the woods, by choice, gives me peace and inspiration.”
Chiquita’s experience in quilting and daily habit to sew, makes her ideal as a leader within our circle of folks. She is the main tester and leader for our Club 10 / Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month in the Berry Sundae Option B Colorway alongside Jennie Barton (who is testing the Split-Pea Stew Option A variation). She’s often well ahead of the game and has been asked by Deanna to work on some special testing projects behind the scenes, so stay tuned on that front! As a regular monthly Kinship Quilters Sew-Along Facebook Group member, she participates in projects within the following clubs: Club 3 / 4-to-9 Patch Group & the Club 4 / “Spotty” Group. On her own, she decided recently to purchase some cutting floor scrap bags from Deanna and attempt the Club 6 / Mile-A-Minute Blocks challenge for which this tutorial on our blog here was written…..except that Chiquita, overacheiver that she is, created an entire top with sashing and cornerstones in the same weekend with her blocks! Her borders even were creatively designed and she reported being “addicted” to these super-speedy blocks. Her top is featured here below.
This project alone is a testament to what one can do with fabulous scraps!!! Epic job, Chiquita–as always!
As a Top Tester, Chiquita has tested 2 patterns thus far with nice results. First, she tested “Bees Knees” in 2 colorway variations. The first, the “blues” in florals is here below:
She reported that this top went together SUPER fast and easily without a hitch one afternoon. To purchase your own kit, visit this link to be redirected to our etsy store.
Another version that Chiquita tested and completed used Kaffe Fassett shot cotton wovens and a nice Philip Jacobs floral print as seen in the photo below:
If you’d like a kit of your own, it can be purchased also, via our etsy store using this link while supplies last. If you would like to try out this pattern only, using your own fabrics, click here instead.
Most recently, Chiquita tested “Seashell” for us , a 40″ wallhanging pattern easily sewn in a few hours. We used Kaffe Fassett shot cotton wovens in solids and stripes accented with charms from his Collective classics in reds. See the stunning results below of Chiquita’s work:
The kit shown for sale in our store comes complete with both backing and binding fabrics , see it here if you’d like to purchase it. Or, if you prefer to try the pattern out using your own fabric stash, you can find that here. Thanks again to Chiquita for all her hard work!
October 28, 2016…..Seen below are more of Chiquita’s Test Tops this year, look for updates and kits to be available on these soon!
Seen here is Crimson Glory, a fat-quarter friendly quilt pattern …..which finishes to 52″x 64″ , Chiquita commented that this would make a “great crib quilt” & she’s correct!
The next pattern Chiquita tried, was below, and called Rainbow’s End. In the first kit, she decided she’d have preferred a better line up / planning of fabrics….don’t we have that as quilters sometimes once a project is complete? So, we did it again! You be the judge of which you prefer….different strokes for different folks, as they say, lol 🙂
The top shown above was Chiquita’s favorite mix, to which she said “I love this one. Don’t know where my head was last time.” lol 🙂 Thanks, Chiquita~great work! If you’d like a kit to make these as shown, email Deanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our etsy shop HERE soon where it will be listed. 🙂
Delia is a new member to our Kinship Quilters Facebook Quilt-Along group for 2016. I was honored to meet her at the Charlotte Modern Quilt Guild. She was soon a member of our first ever Book Club. We have been thrilled at her joining and amazing participation and talent. Here’s a brief bio on our talented Delia, in her own words! ….
About the Quilter–
Seems like I’ve always been sewing something. I grew up sewing (my mom is a professional crafter) and I have been quilting for almost 20 years. I must confess that I am a reformed “topper.” The engineer and puzzle fiend in me loves the process of putting the pieces together. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t a “quilter” until I had over 40 tops completed and only a few finished quilts.
With the support of friends and family, I launched Willowlark Quilt Studio, LLC in 2014. I now have an appreciation for the total process and thoroughly enjoy making finished items. And I feel blessed to be able to express my creativity through quilting.
Now a bit about the Studio–
Willowlark Quilt Studio, LLC offers handmade quilts and provides longarm quilting services to create the perfect quilted solution for any occasion.
The Studio quilts are pieced either by hand or by machine. Many ask me what type of machines I use. I have several Janome sewing and embroidery machines that are used in the studio (wonderful to be an only daughter and get hand-me-downs from mom). The quilting is either hand-guided or automated by machine on an Innova longarm machine.
If you have a quilt top you have pieced and would like my help creating a finished item, feel free to contact me for an estimate on your project.
You can find out more on my website, http://www.willowlark.com. Follow me on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/willowlark.
As a Top Tester for Kinship Quilters, Delia’s talents have been obvious from the start. Her work may be seen below and soon kits to make your own will be listed in our Kinship Quilters Etsy Shop. Contact Deanna Nagle, sooner, at email@example.com if you just can’t wait that long! 🙂
Not knowing her style yet, a simple strip-piecing pattern called Limelight was chosen as her first “testing” project seen below. It’s fat-quarter friendly & here are Delia’s comments on the experience :
“This was my first top to test for Deanna. I had fun putting this simple pattern together. I didn’t overthink which fabrics went together, though I did spend a bit more time laying out the quilt:)
Not quilted yet–but going to use a circle and swirl pattern. Finished size is 53″x 68.”
Beautiful results, Delia!!!
Next up was a pattern called About Face & the results have been stunning! 🙂 This finished quilt has been traveling to local quilds with Delia and doesn’t cease to amaze. The longarm quilting is done in Delia’s shop in Landrum, SC. Kits will be available in the Kinship Quilters Etsy Shop soon, or email Deanna at firstname.lastname@example.org to put one together for you.
Here was Delia’s feedback on this project:
“I really enjoyed putting this together. First time working with Kaffe Fassett wovens. Spent a little time matching the blocks, but then it went together fairly quickly.
I was very careful cutting and piecing the wovens. I really liked using the orange color as the binding.
The quilting pattern is Retro Leaves by Anne Bright.
About Face is 37″ x 48″ as a top. “
Social Network was the next pattern that Delia would create, a stunning modern masterpiece, as seen below:
Delia really enjoyed this project. A variety of fabrics were chosen by Deanna Nagle, from Joel Dewberry, to Kaffe Fassett, to Amy Butler….proving that mixing designers can be a lot of fun and really pay off aesthetically!
Here’s what Delia had to say about her experience on this project:
“…Fun, easy, and didn’t fret over block placement:)”
“…Finished binding this late last night while watching Star Trek episodes. Quilt pattern is called Social Network. The quilting design is Wood Grain by Anne Bright. I used wool batting–love how light and soft it feels and how it shows off the quilting. I may just keep this one for me:)”
Stay tuned in our Kinship Quilters Etsy Shop to find a kit to make one exactly like Delia’s pictured above or contact Deanna at email@example.com to request one. However, for the stunning woodgrain quilting , you’ll have to go straight to Willowlark Quilt Studio & get a quote from Delia Dorn herself…(and yes, she ships nationwide!).
😉 Gorgeous finishing Delia and masterful piecing, kudos!