Mt. SohCahToa {a finish}

When designing a new quilt design, I am usually inspired by things around me and what I have seen. This time was no different. This past year (April 2018), we had the most amazing road trip in Utah and a smidge in Arizona. We visited 7 national parks and a couple of other parks in 7 days (Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Monument Valley, Glen Canyon Dam, Horse Shoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon @ml.wilkie_adventures).


More images of our trip you can check out my other Instagram account (@ml.wilkie_adventures)

It was such an inspiring trip. One of the images that made me think of a quilt design was one of the La Sal Mountain range seen from Arches National Park. The continuous looking peaks lead me to a design using lines of angled triangles. The color’s represent the snow-capped peaks and rock base. These colors are also inspired by the color of the mountains from a distance.


I submitted the design to the MQG for a Quilt of the Month and it was released in December (lucky last of the year).  Knowing that I had to make a pattern from this, meant I actually needed to consider repeatability and provide measurements that when making  I wouldn’t normally worry about.


After some trail and error, I paper pieced the triangles as accuracy of those triangles were important to the overall design. In a hilarious conversation with friends on working out the length of those rows, I broke out my math skills. As these are isosceles triangles, I divided a single triangle down the middle and worked out 1/2 Base using the right-angled triangles using some geometry (Soh-Cah-Toa). This gave me enough to calculate the length of those rows for you all but more importantly a few laughs with friends. When it came to naming the quilt, this conversation lead to the name.


For quilting, I used a light blue grey Aurifil thread for some 1/2″ straight line quilting. I used the horizontal lines of the triangles as a guide. As a surprise, adding more interest, some echoed triangles were stitched randomly into the quilting lines. You’ll find these not only within the triangles but also echoed in some of the negative space.


Lastly, I wanted to highlight that last horizontal lines (the base of the snow line). I did this using two different colors in the binding and color blocked it to match the fabric color palette in the design.



Name : Mt. Soh-Cah-Toa
Design by myself
Fabric: Paintbrush Studio’s Painters Palette Solids.
Binding: Paintbrush Studio’s Painters Palette Solids
Dimensions:  60″ x 60″
Quilted: Straight Line 1/2″ with inset echoed triangles

If you are an MQG member, you can get this free pattern from the resources web page here.


Correlation {a finish}

I am not very good at following through on activities that require something every day, whether its following a diet and tracking, or doing a 30 day or 100 day challenge. However, I was given an opportunity to participate in a 100 day showcase, and decided to take it. I had this idea that had been percolating for a while.


The idea and initial limits were:

  • Use a variety colored angled blocks together in one quilt
  • Use of two colors and white per block
  • Angles for each color were cut without planning (improvisation).
  • Use my Denyse Schmidt Free Spirit solids box that I had been saving in a draw for years.

The process of creating blocks was very interesting and a few additional design decisions were made along the way:

  • By day 20, I already felt overwhelmed by the angles and color and thought it needed more balance. So, single white blocks were incorporated into the design to provide much needed negative space. I think this is a great example of how to use negative space and how it can interact and be part of the overall design.
  • I added two additional block modifications. I included 3 blocks with one color and white, more as accent pieces. I also included 3 blocks with just two colors and no white.
  • I alternated the direction of the blocks to create some great negative space designs.
  • I also started positioning them on a diagonal gradient like a scatter plot / correlation (hence the name and relates to my day job).

I loved how it turned out. I love the color, the balance and the fact there’s always something to find in the blocks. Check out #100daysofcoloredangles for progress shots.


For the quilting, I knew I was going to use straight line quilting. I also though about the quilt as a single block, so the quilting was done at angles like one of the original single block designs. I taped out the angles I was going to use, and leveraged the 1″ think tape as border lines for the 1/2″ quilting lines. In each area the lines follow various angles. IMG_5156

The binding was matched to one of the accent pieces, which I am super pleased with how that turned out.

I have multiple ideas now for additional quilts of this nature and will probably make one or two more. It was fun and very happy to add the easier negative space blocks to the quilt. It made the 100 days much easier to complete.


Name : Correlation
Design by myself
Fabric: Kona White; Denyse Schmidt, Modern Solids, Free Spirit
Binding: Kona Aruba
Dimensions:  55 x 60″
Quilted: Straight Line 1/2′ quilting with Aurifil 2021.


Manicured Gardens {A finish}

Manicured Gardens is my first finished project for my book. I am so happy how it turned out. Each of the blocks are made using needle-turned appliqué.  As my book will be on design, I am going to make you wait for my book for more details on inspiration, fabric selection, and other design choices. I am hoping will be done this coming year (such a tease I know). I have made my book the focus for 2019, and in doing so limited my other commitments. I really want to have it done so I can share it with you all.


I asked Suzan from Singing Stitches if she could custom quilt it, as I had seen her amazing work on a couple of other quilts (made by a friend of mine). We had a great conversation on what I was looking for and she did an amazing job.

I did decide to enter it into our local state fair recently where it placed first in Dual quilts and also received one of the top four prizes. I was so excited it placed well. This quilt is so hard to capture in photos, it’s so much more in person.


The photos are courtesy of my husband and son, as I cannot stand crowds. So the boys went to the State Fair for me and took a few pics. Aren’t they amazing!!


Anyway, I get asked about a pattern for this quilt….The pattern will be available for this quilt as an exclusive add-on/supplement for the first 100 or so copies of the book. I then plan to sell the pattern as an individual release in a couple of months following the book release.


Name : Manicured Gardens
Design by myself
Fabric: Alison Glass Fabrics with white on white/cream fabrics
Binding: Alison Glass
Dimensions:  50 x 50″
Quilted: Suzan deSerres, Custom quilted


Snowfall {A finish}

I am excited to say that Snowfall, was released last month in Love Patchwork and Quilting. I love how this quilt turned out.


The idea behind the design and quilt was discovered when looking at a wall divider in our local art museum (NCMA). The wall divider had this slight gradation of negative space. That idea and shapes lead to this diamond based quilt.


I wanted to keep the design simplistic so you can focus on the change in shape size and the decrease in Negative space. This led also to the dark grey and white colors and use of solids.  The slant direction adds interest due to the two variant shapes that can be seen in the negative space.


As this is a repetitive block design, it is perfect for chain piecing. You will need to find a way to speed up to get through this 12 x 12 block configuration (144 blocks).

The current quilting was done by Cathy Kirk @thequiltingcowgirl, a 3 in. grid in keeping with the minimalistic style. I do plan to add in some hand quilting to highlight some of the star patterns in the negative space.

Finally, the back adds a little bit of spice/interest. It is a pieced back made from left over great/yellow prints.


Name : Snowfall
Design by myself
Fabric: Kona Cotton (White, Steel)
Binding: Kona Cotton and Carolyn Friedlander print
Dimensions:  60 x 60″
Quilted: Cathy Kirk, @thequiltingcowgirl  Straight Lines ~ 3 inches apart

Book Journey {an update}

Back in December, I started letting you all know about the my goals and timelines for my book. Well, let me tell you I am really impressed by those that can get a book together in 6-12 months. Let me say with full-time job commitments, family life, other quilt project deadlines and teaching events, giving the book the priority it needs has not been easy.

As I am writing this, I am telling myself constantly that it is ok. As my lovely editor says “Your book will be ready in August”. August when, who knows. Obviously not 2018. I hope it is definitely 2019.

The biggest discoveries I made:

  1. That to have a book the projects really need to be finished, before you can finalize content.
  2. Support from your circle is important. In June, I was able to share more of my ideas and direction with my inner circle helping on the book. It was good to get feedback and reinforce the direction is going the right way… matter how slowly.
  3. This touch point was fantastic, and I feel it helped clear my mind somewhat and refocus.
  4. Capturing good notes now as I develop each quilt, has been extremely important in telling the story for each project.

Where am I at, you might ask….

The Introduction – Notes and Outline are complete, photography concepts included.

Tools chapter – Notes and Outline are complete, photography concepts included.

Project 1 – Manicured Gardens quilt is complete, I’ll post about it shortly. Graphic Design/layout rough draft reviewed.

Project 2 – Group quilt binding is underway. This will be for a side bar; group activity segment.

Project 3 – Rotating Spokes Quilt is being quilted.

Project 4 – Art Deco Medallion quilt is being pieced. Friends are helping out with some of the hand work based blocks.

Project 5 – Broken Trellis Quilt is being pieced. Friends are helping out with some of the  block piecing.

Project 6 – Coliseum quilt top is complete.

Project 7 – Cairns quilt design is complete. This was a major break through this past weekend and inspiration from Leon Polk Smith’s work helped this go in the right direction.

Project 8 – 12 are still percolating and evolving.

A list of photo shoot places is underway (though some maybe wishful thinking ;-)):

  • Downtown Apex at the white brick wall
  • Biltmore Estate Gardens (visiting in May next year)
  • Yates Mill Historic Park
  • Rome (Coliseum) / back up location would be the ruins in Beaufort, SC
  • NC Old Barns both wood and corrugated iron backgrounds
  • Lisbon, Portugal (just b/c its my favorite place)

To keep this project moving forward I need to set a couple of goals for the rest of the year. So, I want to do the following and have these goals done by the end of the Christmas break:

  1. Finish first draft for introduction chapter
  2. Finish first draft tools chapter
  3. Touch base with my editor and graphic designer.
  4. Complete Project 2 (1 3/4 sides of binding to go).
  5. Complete Project 3 (Quilting and binding)
  6. Complete current border for  Project 4.
  7. Complete Project 6 (basting, quilting and binding)
  8. Project 7, trying out the design concepts on a test project.


Why take a break from Social Media??

This year, I have felt like I’m in some kind of funk.  I have been lacking motivation and ideas. I get in front of my sewing machine, sew a couple of lines and then take a break. As the year progressed, I noticed the time spent on social media (especially Instagram) increased and by the beginning of June it was at least 2 hours a day. The constant visual stimuli of Instagram, and watching what others were producing (which felt like over productivity) was feeding the inadequacy I was feeling. I was feeling anxiety about not making progress around my own work.


With my birthday being around the corner, I decided to take a break from social media for the month of June. My hopes were to take time to find me again. My goals for this month were:

  • Take some me time
  • Take an Instagram break
  • Work on my book for 1 hour each day
  • Spend a minimum of 1 hour sewing every day

Everyone was so supportive about taking a break. I lost only 2 followers on Instagram after the announcement. Those that might be wondering about how it all turned out, I got some mixed results. The biggest lesson I learnt was I need to expand it to all electronic use, unless I need to use it to accomplish the tasks I sent forth. Why? Well, you might all of a sudden binge watch all episodes of House and Dawsons Creek. 😉

Some of the positives, I was more present and more focused. I found I was more open to some design inspiration and did collect more of my book thoughts. I got some quilt this done but not as much as I would have liked (due to the binge watching).

Being Present

I did manage to add a new cubby to my solid fabric storage and its all stored based on color card order.


I was more present in my life. I visited Saxapahaw, NC for my birthday …


…and my little one graduated elementary school. So proud of him, as he was awarded the technology award for his track and grade.

Quilt Design

I did find that my mind is more open, so designs came fast and hang around in my head until I got them down on paper. I found my expressing some of my feelings in some of these. Captions are provided to explain some of the inspiration.


Crack of Light – inspired by hope of light that shines through when times are dark.


Pressure – pressure on an object causes it to give, become divided or split.


Road markings inspired by temporary lines that were drawn due to road closures.


Inspired by a image of a vintage tractor grate.


Playing with lines, inspired by volume sound bars.


What my minimalist Log Cabin design would look like.


Improvisation lines and frames inspired by ladders steps



I did make some progress on a few quilts. I have multiple projects in different stages.

I worked on some binding projects. Two of which are book quilt finishes.

…finished a couple of quilt tops.


Coliseum Quilt – A book project


Correlation Matrix – work on my 100 days of colored angles.

… worked on some straight line quilting for my rotating spokes book project.


…and finished of one quilt that was shipped off to a magazine. It should be published in November, when I will have a big reveal.

So, all in all pretty productive. I will definitely be considering another one this year. I am thinking that it should be something I do at least once every six months.

Have you tried a social media break? What worked and what didn’t work?

Phased Circles {Pattern Release}

Phased Circles is a very special quilt for me. It was the first quilt that truly identifies who I am. It really made me realize quilting is something I want to do, its something I love.


It was designed from a doodle and plays with color and volume. I recently had a great time teaching the block at Cary Quilting Company. It was so great what other people could do with the pattern using their fabric choices.

Now, it can be your turn. The digital pattern for Phased Circles is now available for purchase, in both my Payhip shop and on Craftsy.

I would love to see what you make, so tag me on Instagram (@ml_wilkie) and use the hashtag #phasedcirclesquilt.