All posts by Brenna Riley Gates

Embellish small projects like potholders with the chicken scratch embroidery stitch.

Chicken Scratch Embroidery Stitch: A Beginner’s Guide

I’ve always associated the expression “chicken scratch” with handwriting. Specifically, the spiky, sloppy, and near-impossible to read markings of kids still learning the craft of penmanship. With that as my sole reference to the phrase, I was astonished to learn chicken scratch is also the name of an embroidery stitch. I first learned of this…

Portrait quilt by Laurie Ceesay embellished with yarn, beads, and more

Let Your Hair Down: Portrait Quilt Techniques to Try

As the daughter of a hairstylist, I constantly find myself looking at hair–whether it’s people in movies, photographs, or in person, my eye is naturally drawn to their tresses. The cut, the color, the texture—there is so much to look at and everyone’s hair is different! With such affection for hair, I can’t help but…

Learn paper-piecing with this fat quarter-friendly quilt project

5 Patchwork Quilts Perfect for Spring

Spring is finally here! The trees in my backyard are starting to bud with leaves, my tulips have begun to make their debut, and the weather is warming here in Colorado.  In celebration of this season full of new beginnings, I’ve gathered a handful of patchwork quilts inspired by blooming gardens and spring break travels.…

A modern panel quilt featuring the members of Kiss.

Contemporary Quilting with Fabric Panels

A couple months ago I would have been the first to admit fabric panels were not my favorite. I’d always seen panels that were old-fashioned and generally reminded me of log cabins.  Plus, I had no idea how to use them in contemporary quilting and sewing projects. Boy did my perspective change when I took…

Mix curved and stripped piecing to create a graphic modern quilt.

Modern Quilt Patterns: Captivating Curves

I don’t know about you, but I am completely captivated by modern quilt patterns that feature circular shapes. I’d love to be a quilter who has conquered curvy quilts, but in reality, I’d classify myself as new and nervous when it comes to curved piecing. Quilts with curves have become quite popular in the realm…

Modern Quilt by Katherine Jones

Trends in Modern Quilting: QuiltCon 2017

I am just back from QuiltCon and still basking in the glow we all shared at this unique show. For those who were lucky enough to attend, you know what I mean. For a few glorious days, we “Moderns” were surrounded by others who get our obsession with fabric and thread. And thanks to the…

Pet portrait of a dog using complementary colors.

Pet Portrait Quilts: Choosing a Dynamic Color Palette

Portrait quilts, especially pet portraits, make some of the most intriguing art and memory quilts. You can make them using a variety of techniques including appliqué, piecing, or thread painting.  They can be realistic, abstract, or somewhere in between. Make them as small as a postcard or as large as your heart desires. Whatever size…

Gorgeous machine quilting by Dawn Cavanaugh.

Longarm Quilting: Making Muscle Memories

Machine quilting, whether it’s on a longarm or a domestic sewing machine, takes practice. Of course, you can do this sitting at the machine, but you can also work on machine quilting exercises which don’t require a needle and thread. Dawn Cavanaugh shares a few ideas I’d like to try. I mean, you can’t go…

watson-machine-quilting

Top 10 Tips for Domestic Machine Quilting

Like many of us, I machine quilt on my domestic sewing machine. As much as I’d love to own a longarm machine, I don’t have one yet. Of course, sending quilts to professional longarm quilters is a fantastic option that yields magnificent results. Unfortunately, I’ve never left myself enough time to make that happen before…