Author Archives: Amanda Leins

When it comes to sewing curves, I would say I’m a visual learner. Such a visual learner that I need to see it actually being done! I use many different techniques for sewing curves, depending on the size of the piece I’m working on (and how patient I’m feeling). Jessee Maloney’s fantastic “Rainbow-Go-Round” (as seen in the Summer 2016 issue, available here) incorporates curves in a beautiful many-hued quilt.


The first video is by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces. It’s a nice, thorough video showing how to sew a Drunkard’s Path block, and also has some handy tricks thrown in.

The second video is by Leanne of she can quilt and is a quick little video showing how she sews a Drunkard’s Path without curves.

Do you have a favorite technique?  Let us know!

Follow Our Designers for Summer 2016, Part 2

Today I am continuing to share the social media handles and web pages for the current designers. Go give them a like and check out their sites! There are so many wonderful things to see. Toby Lischko An award winning quilter with a web site full of information, products, and patterns at Gateway Quilts &… Continue Reading

We have some amazing designers who contribute to Modern Quilts Unlimited, and they are active on their blogs and other social media! If you’re looking to learn more about them, make sure to check out the links to all the places they can be found. This post will cover half of our designers from the… Continue Reading

As I was looking for a project to make with my daughter for her first day of kindergarten, I went to my collection of Modern Quilts Unlimited. I love having access to both the digital and physical copies! Digital because it means I can take them with me without adding weight and bulk, and physical because it… Continue Reading

Sometimes cool tools come across my radar and I just have to share, them, especially when it’s a person whose work I admire! Jodi Robinson, a quilting expert who creates stunningly beautiful quilts with a mid-century vibe, has developed stencils and rulers that are perfect for modern quilts. If you’re not familiar with stencils, they… Continue Reading

You know it’s happened to you: there’s a quilt you’ve made to be used, maybe for a baby or maybe not, and it’s gotten dirty. So dirty, in fact, that it’s left a stain on your beautiful fabric choices and hard work! Is there a safe way to remove it, without special treatments or harming… Continue Reading

Stuck on a quilt and not sure where to go next? Sometimes a little knowledge about color schemes and great color combos can be all it takes to get the creative juices flowing. Jessee Maloney’s “Rainbow-Go-Round” uses analagous color schemes in each lovely circle to create a harmonious whole. An analagous color scheme is where colors… Continue Reading

Making Tiny Circles, Revisited

I’m on vacation, and as we all do when on vacation (at least, I assume we all do), we hunt down and visit the local quilt shop!  I had the pleasure of going to Jennifer’s Quilt Shop in Pinckney, MI, and found a new-to-me tool for making circles. I talked about that before here and… Continue Reading

An Easy Way to Keep Track of Strip Sets

If I had one notion I couldn’t live without, it would be my flat-head pins! Not only are they sharp and fine, but the flat head itself is incredibly useful: they come in a variety of colors, they can be used on a longarm (which I do) without making bumps on the bars, but most… Continue Reading

Grading Seams While Piecing

Seam allowances: we all have a different way of pressing them to reduce bulk and to prevent shadowing.  I first learned about grading seams from Sally Collins’ book Mastering Precision Piecing (available at many local libraries or as print-on demand). Grading seams is most often used in garment sewing, and is when one side of the seam… Continue Reading

Upcoming Quilt Shows Relevant to Modern Quilts!

It’s August! With the summer heat it can be hard to think about quilting anything, but there are a few shows and events coming up that might induce you to lay that special quilt across your lap and stitch that binding down. Why enter a quilt show? It’s a place where you can share your… Continue Reading

Making Templates for Piecing: Basic Supplies

If you’re working on a pattern that has repeated “odd” shapes (i.e. shapes you can’t easily cut with a rotary cutter), then you will find it helpful to make a template. Templates can be made out of a number of items, such as stiff cardboard, sandpaper, freezer paper and template plastic.  Cardboard and Sand paper… Continue Reading

Did you know that our next issue coming out around November is already wrapped up? If you’ve been following along on the Facebook page, you’ve seen some of the behind-the-scenes of the photo shoot. We’ll be adding more fun details about how the work gets done in the future, too! You can find our submissions… Continue Reading

There are times when it is necessary to photocopy patterns from a magazine, particularly when paper piecing is involved.  Our Block-of-the-Month Sampler has two blocks made with paper piecing,  “Log Cabin Plus” and “Tricolor Hexagon”. Because these two blocks are blended with pieced blocks, it is critical that the measurements be accurate! There are a… Continue Reading

Grainline and Quilting

In garment sewing, knowing how to place the pattern on the grainline of the fabric is key for a fit that behaves.  But what is grainline, and why do we need to know about it for quilting? For the same reasons: how we cut our fabrics for our strips, appliques, and blocks makes a difference… Continue Reading

Drawing and cutting BIG circles

Last week, I shared different ways to draft small circles. Modern Quilts Unlimited often features projects that showcase circles, whether pieced or appliqued, and sometimes the physical magazine doesn’t always have the space to print the pattern for big circles! While most of those patterns do end up under Web Extras!, it’s always helpful to know… Continue Reading

Drawing and Cutting Circles

What do you do when the circle size you need isn’t included in a pattern? Personally, I don’t know too many people who can draw a circle perfectly, let alone do it more than once. Here are a few ways to make templates and cut small to medium circles, easily and quickly: A compass is… Continue Reading

Adding Beautiful Borders

In our brand spanking new Summer issue(out now!) Angela Walters shows how to use her new “Fragmental” panel  in a number of projects, from quilts to bags to pillow covers. It’s a versatile print, and there are a ton of good ideas for using panels! Angela says, “Adding to the panel is especially helpful when… Continue Reading

Meet Laurie Baker, Editor of Modern Quilts Unlimited

I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Laurie Baker at Spring Quilt Market shortly after she was named Editor for Modern Quilts Unlimited. I would love to share my Q&A with her where she answers questions about her quilting, what her thoughts are about the magazine, and other interesting tidbits.  Enjoy! You’ve been part of the publishing… Continue Reading

A Simple Technique for Turning Corners

Last week I talked about how to add a zipper to a pillow. In that post, I also mentioned how I trim my pillow corners with a curve when I have a quilted front, but sometimes I make pillows that aren’t quilted (I know, I know.  It’s rare, but it does happen!) The folding method… Continue Reading

Over the years Modern Quilts Unlimited  has shared a whole variety of pillow projects. Many of these include directions for an envelope back, but what about adding a zipper? I still had my prototype for “Louisa May’s Ship” from the Winter 2016 issue, and thought I could show you how easy it is to do.… Continue Reading

Wedge Quilts and some Rulers to Make Them

I love quilts that use wedges. Dresden Plates and Wheels can be transformed into all sorts of interesting things: long curvy lines to half-circles and corner blocks. Michelle Muska’s  “A quilt for Baby Ida” used wedge in the Spring Issue. While our typical grid rulers can cut wedges with some fancy handling, it is often… Continue Reading

Enlarging a design by hand

The Spring Issue offered two patterns that called for pattern enlargement, the Bean Bag Chair and “Rusty’s Playhouse”, and while the full-size patterns are available under our Web Extras page for printing, sometimes you just need to do it a different way. You can take your magazine to a copy center or do it by hand, which by… Continue Reading

Yes you CAN design your own quilt!

I’ve been a big fan of Wise Craft Handmade by Blair Stocker for ages. Her quilts, projects, and thoughtfulness all inspire me to do good work, make beautiful and fin things, and just generally be creative. What I love most though, is how Blair is serious in her intentions to help people of all skill levels make… Continue Reading

Good Links for HSTs!

If you ever want to get people riled up at a guild meeting, ask what the best method is for making half-square triangles. Then ask them how to trim them! I’ve compiled a list of HST tutorials and methods below, which work well for small or big batches. Really big batches. Like 40 at a time… Continue Reading

Quilting Resources: Your Public Library

If you haven’t checked out your local library for all things sewing and crafting, you really should.  With the rise in the DIY movement over more than a decade, the sheer number of books published on a huge variety of topics from quilting to garment sewing, canning and chicken raising to upholstery is staggering. Recently,… Continue Reading

Quilting Funk, and How to Work Past It

It happens to all of us: sewing along on a project, feeling good, then suddenly, BAM! nothing. No desire to keep on with the project, not really interested in doing something new, a funk of epic proportions and the glow is off the quilted rose. I admit that I myself don’t usually have the best… Continue Reading

I am old school in many things, and have a huge number of books on quilting, stitching, and making stuff of all sorts (Never enough books.  Never.). Sometimes, though, having a tool on a smartphone or tablet can be incredibly useful and fun to play with when you’re waiting in some line somewhere.  Here are… Continue Reading

Favorite little thing: Story Patches

Now that I’ve decided what we are going to do for teacher gifts this year (a Tessa Basket filled with supplies and gift cards), I am turning my thoughts to having my son write something to go with it.  As I was thinking about how to label this project, it occurred to me that I… Continue Reading

Hide and Seek, Fabric edition

Sometimes you have stuff in your stash and you’d like more of it.  Or perhaps, you have a specific fabric and would like to find something close enough to make no never mind. As one does, I waited until three weeks before school ends to consider my teacher gifts.  Normally I don’t make things because… Continue Reading

Quilts of Valor and Modern Quilts

Over the long weekend, Quilts of Valor held an auction of quilts donated by known quilters to raise funds to continue the mission of the organization, which is to “… to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor”.  While the auction is over, I wanted to highlight something that… Continue Reading

Lines by Design, a New Book by Debbie Grifka

Debbie Grifka, owner of Esch House Quilts has been a designer of minimalist, modern quilts for a long time now, and her aesthetic is clean and lovely and well-developed. It was a delight, then, to see her new book with a number of designs that so reflect her work and sense of style. Lines by… Continue Reading

Some eye candy from Quilt Market

My big takeaway from Spring Quilt Market is this: If you’re a garment sewer, there are a ton of fabrics coming out in double gauzes and knits!  Almost every booth had a dress of some sort, either made from one of these fabrics or from quilting cotton.  These substrates are also being used to delicious… Continue Reading

Cuteness At Quilt Market at Vintage Door

Aside from all the new fabric lines, there are a variety of notions, tools, and trims that you may not stumble across otherwise.  Today I found myself returning to one booth in particular, by a company called Vintage Door, a Salt Lake City-based shop offering a delicious variety of decorative trims, from the wildly fanciful… Continue Reading

To Market, to Market we go!

While Fall’s Quilt Market and Festival is always in Houston, the Spring Market travels.  This year, it will be in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am looking forward to seeing new lines, new books, new ideas and techniques. Several of us from Modern Quilts Unlimited will be heading to Quilt Market this week (make sure to… Continue Reading

Adding Some Big Stitches

I’m a machine quilter, mostly, but I love the look of hand-stitched quilting. I don’t often do it, but sometimes a quilt just screams for some different texture and I turn to something so hot right now: big stitch quilting. In honor of our Spring Issue (available here) features two projects with big stitches and the… Continue Reading

Where Do You Go for Quilting Info?

Many of us modern quilters are learning to quilt in a time where there is a generational gap: our parents didn’t sew or quilt, and so we are having to teach ourselves the skills we want to learn.  There are a huge variety of resources out there, from paid classes online to free youtube videos… Continue Reading

Quilt Shows and Modern Quilters

More and more shows are adding categories for modern quilts, but what about the rest of the show and venue? Outside of the educational and aesthetic aspects of a show, the vendor hall is one of the big draws.  So, as a modern quilter, do traditional shows have a vendor hall for us? In a word:… Continue Reading

A whole post about winners, for Quilt Week and our giveaway!

Did you know there is a Modern category at Quilt Week, the AQS show in Paducah?  Well, there is, and I am happy to share some of the quilts with you thanks to the on-the-ground reporting by new editor Laurie Baker. I love that the thread color of the quilting was used as a secondary… Continue Reading

Modern Quilts Unlimited is an independent magazine, supported by designers who submit projects and subscribers  who appreciate that we provide quality projects and a wide variety of resources. Supporting independent designers is important to us, and today I’d love to share with you an initiative I came across that will kick off in May: “May Is… Continue Reading

Here’s Why You Need The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

You know what?  There are a ton of reviews about The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. And I pretty much agree with them, that this book is dead useful when it comes to learning such basics as dealing with borders on a longarm or a domestic machine, how these… Continue Reading

  One of the best reasons to go to quilt shows is to see how other people do stuff.  I think it’s the best way to see what’s out there, whether modern, traditional, antique, or brand spanking new.  Quilt shows can show us where we are in our craft, simply by how we look at… Continue Reading

  When it comes to applique, there are as many opinions about it as quilters about what their favorite is and how to accomplish it. If you’re looking to get into applique in a way that is fun and (relatively) simple, then you may want to consider raw-edge applique as your technique of choice. Raw-edge… Continue Reading

The fabric yo-yo has been around a long time, and has been used in all sorts of crafts (anyone remember those dolls with the arms and legs made from stacked yo-yos?) and quilt-making. Yo-yos can be used as either the main element of a top, or as an accent shape on a larger piece, as… Continue Reading

Resources for English Paper Piecing

There are some sweet quilts with English Paper Piecing (EPP) in the Spring Issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited coming out this month! A pillow “Gardener’s Prize” by the Wheel Block in Emily Herrick’s Block-of-the-Month Sampler Quilt feature EPP both use this fun way to piece. English paper piecing is the technique that uses paper cut… Continue Reading

Electronic Cutters and Modern Quilting

This is a continuation of my first post about die cutters that you can find here. Electronic cutters, which have been around for a few years now, are an interesting addition to the quilter’s tool kit. Rather than having a die for each individual shape that is to be cut, the electronic cutter uses a… Continue Reading

Die Cutters and the Modern Quilter

When I first started out with quilting, rotary cutting seemed like the only way to go when it came to cutting through my fabrics quickly and efficiently. Nothing beat lining up my ruler and cutting whole strips at a time, one after the other.  People were so clever to come up with this!And I still… Continue Reading

Foundations for Paper Piecing

Editor’s Note: ( Be sure to read Elizabeth Dackson’s in-depth technique article ALL ABOUT PAPER PIECING, and see her pattern “Circus Star”  in the Spring issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited.  Paper piecing is a fun way to make complex and precise designs. If you are not familiar with it, the basic premise is that a… Continue Reading

I’m happy to announce our giveaway winner, chosen by the Random Number Generator!  Here’s the selection, from 45 comments: Hey there, Gill!  Congratulations!  You’re our winner!  Drop me a line,  mandy _at_ mandalei -dot- com and we will get your book to you! Gill says: March 24, 2016 at 4:38 am Edit I’ve only done… Continue Reading

Circle Templates for Quilting!

There are times when I’m quilting that “roughly spherical” is good enough when I don’t mind my quilt looking a little “handmade” shall we say.  Other times, though, I want each circle to be lovely and exactly the same as the ones next to it.  That’s when I reach for the templates. I have written… Continue Reading

The Applique Book is here! And a Giveaway!

Welcome!  Whether you’re new to applique or an old hand, this book is really wonderful. Make sure to read through to the end for giveaway details! I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to know Casey York for a few years, when we bonded over a mutual love of art history and quilts. Passion and enthusiasm… Continue Reading

This is a fantastic guest post by Elaine Schmidt. Thanks, Elaine! By definition, a quilt is a multi-layer textile composed of three layers–the top, the back and the batting in the middle. When a quilt is completed, the batting is hidden and never seen. But out-of-sight should not mean out-of-mind when it comes to creating… Continue Reading

This is a guest post by Elaine Schmidt.  Thanks for a great article, Elaine! The Language of Batting As you start to compare battings, you may run into these terms. Wadding is what our English and Australian friends may call batting. Batting and wadding are the same thing. Loft is the weight and thickness of… Continue Reading

Meet quilter Monika Huelsebusch!

One of the best things about the internet is how it allows us to meet up with quilters and artists we’d never likely meet in real life.  Today, I’d like you to meet Monika Huelsebusch, a quilter from Germany who has been an avid follower of Modern Quilts Unlimited’s “Everything Old Is New again Challenge“. If you’re… Continue Reading

I’ve been doing a fair amount of hand work lately, and both kids (5 and 9) have been asking to give it a try. An easy project for everyone, this project uses simple materials that are easy to get or which you already may have on hand: Yarn or perle cotton (anything you like, really)… Continue Reading

Straight line quilting is so hot right now, from matchstick quilting simple straight lines spaced inches apart, it’s out there and isn’t going anywhere. Over time, though, this look is going to need a little updating as quilters seek to try new things and expand their quilty horizons. Personally, I know that one of the… Continue Reading

One of the standouts to me as I wandered the vendor hall for four days was that everyone seemed to have some kind of fabric available that wasn’t quilting cotton. Now, I know there is a steadily growing number of garment sewists out there who tend to cross over to the quilting world (and vice… Continue Reading

OK friends, I managed to save this as a draft instead of publishing it, so today (Saturday) we’re going to kick off our first “Final Friday”!  This is where you, our readers, can add a project you made from one of the magazines or something you found from our Web Extras! or here on the blog.… Continue Reading

I promise I don’t have a thing for purses, really, but you wouldn’t know it from my ever-evolving range of travel bags! I got to thinking last night as I was traveling back from Pasadena, though, that I seem to have an abundance of travel kits for sewing that fit into a variety of containers,… Continue Reading

One of the threads that runs through the fabric of quilting’s long tradition is coming together in a community and making quilts for others.  When I walked into the QuiltCon main hall for the first time on Wednesday night, I was greeted by what, to my mind, was one of the most powerful displays at… Continue Reading

While the complete list of vendors isn’t up on QuiltCon West, what is there is enough to do some serious plotting about where to go and what to see! Showcasing a wide variety of goods and services, it’s a good idea to take a look at the list if you’ve got limited time (or, like… Continue Reading

Sometimes you come across a tool so cool you immediately try and fit it into your quilting lifestyle.  For me, that happened at Quilt Market in the fall, when I ran across Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs demonstrating the Hot Hemmer and Hot Ruler, at the Clover booth.   These two handy tools, one a… Continue Reading

Just over a week away, my friends, and QuiltCon West kicks off! It’s going to be an interesting show, because two of my favorite quilters will be there, living and not: Gwen Marston will be the keynote speaker, and the work of Molly Upton will be shown. Gwen Marston has been a presence int the… Continue Reading

Meet Terri Ann Swallow, of Childlike Fascination I first got to know Terri Ann in a small online group and became impressed with her enthusiasm and interest in trying new things. A web designer by day, she shares her work and thoughts over at her blog Childlike Fascination, where you can find quilt projects, crafty bits, and… Continue Reading

Sometimes the world isn’t fair, and sometimes you have to tear out a lot of stitches. This one time, at quilt camp, I decided i didn’t like the binding on a quilt that I had just sewn down (thankfully, before hand finishing it!), and was faced with the daunting task of ripping out all those… Continue Reading

Are you Organized? And a Giveaway!

Because I know I am not.  Not really. I think I might want to be, though, in my deepest heart.  I’ve tried lots of ways to keep my fabric and threads organized (currently I have everything wrapped around comic book boards), but I’m pretty much a disaster when it comes to keeping all my thread… Continue Reading

I don’t always find wool in thrift shops because I want bright colors, and don’t work in primitive styles. Sometimes, though, there are interesting weaves and colors that I think I may be able to use. I’m going to walk you through what I look for if I do happen to find a wool garment that speaks to… Continue Reading

Quilting With Kids Doesn’t Always Mean Using Fabric

You know how it goes: you think about it all week, planning and smiling about the things you’ll make with the littles. I had grand plans for that “Crafturday”: we’d make doll quilts! Easy, simple, fun, and for the stuffies and dolls they love! But sometimes, our desires don’t match up with reality. It’s not… Continue Reading

It was almost audible, the wail of disappointment when the Pantone Color of the Year 2016 was announced. Not just one, but two pastel hues were offered up to guide the year’s color choices: Rose Quartz and Serenity.   Just like the quilts we design and make, color tells a story. Pantone writes “Rose Quartz is a… Continue Reading

Exploring Modern Quilts Unlimited and Trends This Year

January is a month chock full of goodness here at Modern Quilts Unlimited! The Winter issue will be out later this month, and there are some cool projects, techniques, and eye candy to check out. Make sure to look at out the Web Extras Section to see what’s going on in addition to the physical… Continue Reading

How do you organize your time?

If, like me, quilting occupies a huge space in your life (for me it’s both business and pleasure), then it is kind of important to make enough time to enjoy it as much as possible, right?  For me, that means I have to organize my daily life in such a way to maximize the quilty… Continue Reading

“Every new beginning comes with some other beginning’s end.” –Semisonic Welcome to a new year! I love this time of year so much: quilters and sewists everywhere are reflecting on the work of their hands, minds and hearts in 2015, sharing photos and words across the internet and allowing us insight into their lives and… Continue Reading