sew + quilt


Everything I’m excited about for my new book, Sew + Quilt!

S+Q presentation at PMQG!

I’m so thrilled to present at my guild on Thursday night to celebrate my new book, and I would love to see you there! I'll share the history of the four geometric quilt blocks I used in every project, plus lots of tips on working with color and designing quilts, from single blocks to full layouts. I’ve also gathered ideas from our generous PMQG community - on keeping a creative sewing & quilting journal and labeling your handmade quilts - to inspire all of us.

Susan Beal + PMQG February Presentation.jpg

I'll show all 18 quilts in the book, plus I put together special prize packages (including new quilt labels, sewing journals, and signed copies of S+Q) for three winners! Here’s a look at the prizes… including my new orange sew + quilt pencils (!!!) which I am beyond excited about.

S+Q prizes.jpg

The prize includes

Signed copy of Sew + Quilt!
Your own sewing journal made from a vintage craft book
2 S+Q quilt labels + kit
Three Schmetz universal sewing needles
My favorite little scissors
Post-it notes
Set of S+Q Coloring Pages
and a S+Q pencil

I’ll also have copies of all my books and sewing journals for sale, or please bring any of my books you already have and I’d be happy to sign them. Anyone who buys a copy of Sew + Quilt will take home a quilt label to use on their first project, and everyone who attends receives a free gift!

I hope to see you on Thursday!!!


Portland Modern Quilt Guild monthly meeting

St. Andrew’s Church

806 NE Alberta St., Portland, 97211

7-9 pm (lecture at approximately 7:15)

S+Q coloring pages + new log cabin classes!

One of my big dreams when I was working on my new book was to create some fun extras, like S+Q coloring sheets, when I was finally done with all the sewing, photo shoot, edits, and illustrations. I wanted readers to be able to try out color combinations and possibilities for their patchwork projects and quilts, from single blocks to overall layouts, with lots of ways to customize them and make them your own, before you cut - or even buy - your fabric. I am so excited to announce the first S+Q Coloring Sheet is here, and ready to download in my shop - free of charge!

Square Within a Square Coloring Sheets.jpg

Log cabin patchwork was the very first quilting I ever tried (like so many of us!) - I improvised mixing Denyse Schmidt’s brand-new-at-the-time Flea Market Fancy prints with recycled corduroy and loved how it all turned out. I had been so intimidated to try quilting, even after years of sewing clothes, but something about joining contrast strips around a striking center square - both the simple, meditative process (no angles or tricky cutting!) and the modern, playful result - just worked so beautifully. I’ve pieced hundreds more log cabin blocks for quilts, tote bags, potholders, minis, and especially pillows since then, and wanted to share a few easy and fun versions to try yourself, starting with my gold, blue, and brown “hero” pillow spotlighting Melody Miller’s beautiful Mustang print. The full Square Within a Square project tutorial - with colorful diagrams and step-by-step instructions - starts on page 72 in Sew + Quilt.

Square Within a Square Variations.jpg

I included three more versions of this simple, modern one-block pillow in the book, in different colorways, scales and arrangements, and with the bonus coloring sheets, you can mix and match all kinds of new ideas to make them your own! And that was all finished up a year ago (!), so of course I’ve made a few more log cabin pillows since then…

Square Within a Square Indigo Dyed Version.jpg

Last year I got to take a couple of super fun indigo dyeing classes, using different resist and pattern techniques, and started to sew and piece the organic designs I’d made into different projects. I came up with a super simple but beautiful indigo-and-white log cabin block, using the same proportions as my original horse pillow, but alternating squares of deep blue and crisp white for a totally different visual result!

Indigo Square within a Square and Sawtooth Star

So inspired by this spin-off design, I’ll be teaching a very beginner-friendly Square Within a Square Log Cabin Pillow as the very first quilting class at the wonderful Portland Craft Bar on March 10! Each of their classes includes all the supplies you’ll need (from beautiful fabric and pillow forms to thread, clips, and brand-new sewing machines), as well as lovely refreshments and lots of fun extras. My classes all include a signed copy of Sew + Quilt, plus I’ll bring lots of my favorite notions and inspiration pieces from home to inspire new ideas. You’ll leave with a beautiful finished pillow in your own style, and all the skills to make another one, or take on any of the other patchwork and quilting projects in the book!

PCB is also offering a Shibori Dyeing class this Wednesday, 2/13, and I can’t wait to try new patterns and dye fresh color combinations for patchwork that students can use. I’d love to have you join me in the Shibori class this week, to create your very own hand-dyed fabric in my Log Cabin class in March! Please comment here, or contact me, with any questions and check out the Portland Craft Bar site for lots more details. I’ll be sharing more soon (and more on the Sawtooth Star block that will be my second S+Q Coloring Sheet and second quilting class in the series, March 17!).

S+Q coloring sheets.jpg

To download the free S+Q Coloring Sheets, just visit the shop, click on the sheet you want to print, and go through checkout quickly by just clicking “continue” when it automatically asks a credit card number. The PDF will be emailed to you instantly to print and color, or just plan future designs around.

Hope to see you Wednesday in the Shibori class and March 10 in the Log Cabin class, both at Portland Craft Bar!

introducing sew + quilt!

I am so thrilled that my new book, Sew + Quilt, is finally here! It’s a collection of two dozen embroidery, sewing, and quilting projects, from mini samplers to colorful bed quilts, and all beginner-friendly - so even if you’re just starting out, you’ll learn new skills, gain confidence, and make these patterns your own, using your favorite colors and style. First, you’ll create two modern Sew + Quilt Samplers with just five basic embroidery stitches and four geometric quilt blocks… then, once you’ve gotten a bit of practice with these techniques, you’re ready to take on any project in the book and make it your own, from colorful embroidery to beautiful bed quilts!

flying in pairs quilt

Sewing and quilting changed my whole life, but I didn’t learn how until I was 26 - so I remember exactly how it feels like to be a beginner! I had no idea how to thread a machine, follow a sewing pattern, or piece a quilt block, and it all seemed so complicated and overwhelming, I didn’t even know where to start.

 Then my best friend Fiona came to visit me in Portland for a week, and taught me how to sew on a vintage aqua Singer I found for $20, with all the enthusiasm, patience, and kindness a beginner needs. I tried new things, messed up, ripped out the seams, pressed my fabric, and tried again. And once I got my confidence up, it was so exciting. I vividly remember that amazing feeling of suddenly being able to make anything I wanted - night and day from just a week earlier.

So whether you’re a complete beginner, just like I was… or you already know how to sew, but want to try some new patchwork quilting or embroidery projects… or you’re an all-around sewing superstar who’s looking for a fun and easy quilt to whip up in a weekend, sew + quilt is for you! I wanted to write the book I really wish I’d had when I was learning, so I asked some of my favorite quilters, sewists, and embroidery artists to share their best advice for beginners, too.

floating crosses quilt.JPG

I’m so excited to introduce sew + quilt at Portland Modern Quilt Guild on Thursday, February 21 - I’ll be sharing all my favorite tips and techniques, showing all the quilts, and offering lots of fun giveaways. You can buy a signed copy then or find it at your favorite local bookstore or online in the meantime!

sew + quilt at Powell’s!

sew + quilt on Amazon!

sew + quilt at Barnes & Noble!

I’ll be teaching quilting classes at Portland Craft Bar in March and for PMQG in April - check out my classes + event page for more about all these too! And coming soon, S+Q quilt labels (!) and downloadable coloring sheets to plan your fabrics and color combinations for every quilt in the book.