by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter

PQ6:3 Orpan Blocks…for Bear

February 7th, 2015 | Posted by Emma in All | Challenges | Quilting - (3 Comments)

Project Quilting Challenge 6:2 went by while I was going crazy trying to get my oldest son’s birthday quilt done. Now I’m so close to finishing it, I surely have time for a little break! Anyway, the challenge this week was “Orphan Blocks” and I had a cute little basket of happiness calling my name! Can you believe all these cute little quilt pieces were in homeless until now?! (more…)

Christmas Crafts

December 26th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Crafts | Inspiration | Quilting | Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Ok, before I tell you about my marathon of Christmas gifts, I have to say that I was still crafting today after making no less than 16 unique gifts this season! I just wanted to be back in my studio making stuff, so that’s what I did.

That and my friend Sherri’s suggestion to check out Pinterest was a good one. I had this inspiring pin board to get me crafting!

So I went to this tutorial at Retro Mama and made these little houses with Christmas fabrics. I have to say I like her fabric choices a lot better, but I started them with my Christmas bin of fabrics and they just turned out.

For Conal:

For Brennan:

For Dave (with Woodstock in the window):

And for me (yes, I wanted one too!):

They were really addicting and easy to make multiples of. I had to stop myself from sewing more of them and go play with my boys a bit!

If you want to get into Pinterest too or have already discovered the wonders…

Follow Me on Pinterest

Here’s another quickie project I did…by watching a video. They are just 4-strand braids in a ball, I’m going to add ribbons and make them into ornaments.

It’s still Christmas and the boys are happily playing with their new toys, I think I’ll go back to the studio! (Maybe I should clean up rather than making something this time, though!)

Sashiko Round Take 2

October 16th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

As soon as I finished the purple and blue “Violet Sashiko” quilt (or probably even before I was done), I knew I wanted to make another in a different colorway! It was so much fun to make and I could just see the possibilities before me.

So here is the next version!

With yo yos and an appliqué instead of folded flowers, it’s a little different, but still alot of fun, I think!

Here was the first version, in case you missed it.

I’m working on writing the pattern for it. I hope to share it with you soon!!

Violet Sashiko Round Quilt

July 31st, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Looks like I took July off from blogging! I didn’t mean too, but I guess it got away from me. Isn’t that how summer goes?!

But I’ve had a fun summer so far. We just got done with Grandma Ginny’s second visit of the summer. Here’s a photo of her with the boys, in front of a lovely fairy tale quilt she made for Brennan a while back. We didn’t get much time to sew together this visit, but we did have a good time.

On my sewing table right now is a small group/guild project, a quilt for a veteran. Here is a not very flattering photo of the work in progress. Each of my small group members made a set of blocks, now I am sewing those into the rows and adding borders.

I’m also making yo yos in any spare moments I’m sitting down with my hands free…so here’s a basket with my progress. I’m half done with the count I need for my yo yo quilt!!  I saw a blogger with a  yo yo sew-along that I considered joining, but hers calls for more than 1,000 yo yos!! I’m thinking 409 is plenty for me for one project. I’m already itching to get stitching them unto a background. But then I have to decide which color the background will be and buy the yardage! I’m a little afraid of making that decision!

Now for the project I previewed in my last post…the Violet Sashiko Round Quilt. I need a good name for it still, obviously. But I designed this fun little circle quilt for my small group’s “Solids Challenge” to use solid fabrics in a project. I broke the rules with the binding…but I think you’ll agree, it was worth it. The binding has a purple and white dotty design that shows off the sashiko stitches fabulously!

I really wish I had a cute little round table to put this on!

The flowers are the Folded Rose from Rebecca Wat’s Book “Fantastic Fabric Folding.

Well, that’s all I have to show you for now, have a great summer Sunday!



Project Quilting Challenge

April 18th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Kim Lapacek from Kim’s Crafty Apple issued a challenge on her blog called Project Quilting. In the spirit of “Project Runway” she gave a tight deadline (a week), limited budget ($10) and an inspiration (the shoofly block) and this is the project I came up with…

(Click photo to see it bigger)

I used some funky, highly-contrasty, geometric prints I had in my stash. The design is a large shoofly block in the center, turned on point and then surrounded with smaller shoofly blocks and one in the center. The challenge also specified that it had to include a stripe. I was originally just going to bind it with the stripe, but I am glad I decided to really highlight that stripe in the large shoofly block.

I’m excited to say that I learned a new technique for the quilting of this project!! Charlotte Warr Anderson’s Book “One Line at a Time” described how to quilt those repetitive geometric quilting lines, following a template and stitching around it one line at a time. It was really fun to do and I like the way the quilting echos the geometric qualities of the fabric prints.

Here’s a look at the back so you can really see the quilting lines.

I’m so proud to have gotten this done in a week, that is highly unlike me! I usually let things sit a while in between stages and flit between projects before getting anything done. This one was a straight through, plow! (reminiscent of the retreat…perhaps I should run with this new trend!)

If you’d like to see what other quilters did with Kim’s Challenge, here is the link to the Flickr Pool.

Kathmandu Embroidery

March 5th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Here is the beginning of my Kathmandu project. I just couldn’t wait to show you! It’s going to be a wholecloth quilt, embroidered and embellished into a colorful banner-size wall-hanging.

The fabric is that ruddy red with gold designs printed in blocks (I’m going to use 2 blocks x 4 blocks; from the Katmandu line by Mark Lipinski for the Troy Corp.). I’m going to fill in those lines with embroidery, then sandwich and quilt it and later embellish it with beads, sequins and/or shisha mirrors.

It’s so exciting to start a new project!! I know this will be a long project that I will work on many, many hours…but it is already fun to look at and enjoyable to do, so I’m looking forward to working on it a long time.  Some projects I do because I want the finished product, but this one I’m really doing for the process…and I hope it will be a beautiful masterpiece in the end.

Thanks for looking!

Keeping This

January 30th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

I got all excited about two weeks ago when I thought up a new product (A Quiltie Pillowcover) and the first one turned out great! But wait, there are no pillowcovers in my shop?! Well, it turned out too great! I’m keeping this.

My rationale is that I got that brown flowered fabric as a Christmas gift from my mom. And I love it! I have two other quilties in the works using other fabrics from that bundle, but I don’t want to give them ALL away! So, I think I’m going to be making more pillowcovers. It’s a great idea, practical-minded and just as easy to make as a quiltie (frankly, easier!), so I’m excited to have come up with a new product. I’m just not ready to roll it out yet.


Paintstik Fun

May 6th, 2009 | Posted by Emma in All - (2 Comments)

I was just going to say how fortunate I was to take a fabric painting class from Nancy Kazlauckas last week, but then, I really only got to be there for a short time (due to a plumbing disaster!) but after the sump pump got fixed, I did get to do some painting…and it was really fun!!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Nancy Kazluackas, a native of my hometown, has made a name for herself in the quilting field by making beautiful quilts with Shiva Paintstiks and also Thread Calligraphy. She gave lectures and workshops for the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild this month. The Painstiks are oil paint in solid form that are fun to use for stencilling and rubbing permanent designs unto fabric. Nancy has plastic texture plates that make beautiful designs, most notably, her leaf pattern quilt.

Here’s my progress on that project:
paintstik leaves

If you haven’t already, take a look at my tutorial on stencilling with paintstiks and the finished quilt with that technique.

Learning to Faux Batik

March 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

I was fortunate enough to take a class from Dawn Cavanaugh last week and I have to tell you I had so much fun!! I learned technique I had never tried before. We stamped fabric with foam stamps and water soluble resist, then dyed it by painting on thickened dyes.

Besides a really fun morning spent with friends from the Des Moines Area Quilter’s Guild, I also got 6 really great fat quarters of batiked fabric (and two not so good, but that’s ok).
Here they are (you can click to see a larger view):

dyepurple fuschia golden purple2 red green

Aren’t the colors luscious?! I was surprised at how brilliant they turned out! The square within a square stamp is one I made from foam tape! The rest were from Dawn’s collection. She had so many to choose from, that was almost the best part! Washing the fabric was the worst part…very time consuming.

Dawn really wants to see us make our dyes into quilts and show her photos…so you should see these fabrics again, in a quilt or two!! Hmmm. Any suggestions?

Oh, I have to say that Dawn was an amazing teacher! She was enthusiastic about the project, fun to listen to and really clear in explaining how to do each step. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to go to her class in Background Quilting, because she is known for her amazing machine quilting…but this dyeing project was no disappointment. THANKS SO MUCH, DAWN!!

New Fabric & Quiltie in Progress

February 12th, 2009 | Posted by Emma in All - (1 Comments)

I got some pretty new fabric and promptly started another quiltie!


I hope the embroidery stands up to the border fabric, though. I’ll have to make sure to quilt it right so that it stands out!