medallion quilt for charity, round-robin style.

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

If you follow me on Instagram, then you are probably familiar with The Long Island Modern Quilt Guild’s medallion quilt challenge. Each member was asked to make a medallion center, which we brought to our June meeting. At the meeting, all of the medallions were thrown into a large grab-bag. We each selected from the bag (if we pulled our own, we couldn’t keep it!). And then, over the summer, we were required to add 10″ of border to the piece we selected.

This is the medallion center I pulled (this photo shows it straight from the bag!):


I was immediately drawn to the pink and green tones of the Amy Butler fabrics, and knew that I wanted to stay away from the brown and orange of the Anna Maria Horner print. With that decision made, I started pulling fabric. I added in some yellow and grey, some red-orange and pinkish-purple and before I knew it, I pretty much included every color in my stash! The center blocks looked like arrow tails to me. I’m not sure if that was what they are intended to be? But that was what I saw, and so I went with it.

Thus, inspired by the arrow “theme”, I created a border using Carla at Grace & Favour’s Arrow Block combined with some colorful flying geese. If this block looks familiar to you, it should! A few years ago, I included this block in my Long Island Modern Sampler.

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

This first border, however, was only 4″ when finished. I still needed to add another border (or two) that totaled an additional 6″ in width. That was more of a challenge. I really loved the first border and wanted to enhance it, not distract from it.

My initial thought was to make a border of 6″ blocks that coordinated with one another, but were all different. However, it felt too busy to me.

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

I liked the crisp look of the small arrow tails in the upper-right hand corner, so I made a few more. And by a few? I mean, 45. But I still wasn’t sure it was quite right. I was stumped on how to pull it all together. So I put a call out to my friends on social media! Sarah (Smiles Too Loudly) suggested that the arrow tails needed room to breathe. Melanie (Mel in the Attic) agreed. Kirsty (Bonjour Quilts) suggested a strip of white between the two borders. So I auditioned not one, but all of those ideas. And some others, as well!

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosIn the end, Kirsty’s suggestion aligned best with my original plan. . .well, my second original plan. . . so that is the one that I went with.

medallion quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

And I really, truly, love it! I wanted this quilt to fall in the category of “Modern Traditionalism”. I know that this quilt is going to another member of the guild that might not be as far along on the modern spectrum as others. I feel like this medallion quilt bridges the gap between modern and traditional quilters.  I can’t wait to see what *direction* my guild friends take it next!

improv-pieced feather mini quilt.

feather mini quilt by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

Summer. I wait for it all year long. I adore it so much that I awake early to watch its sunrise and will get out of bed in the middle of the night to see its perseids. I live it so thoroughly that two months can go by and I won’t even notice that time is marching forward. I’m in Summer-Mom mode. I’m zen, baby! I’m in the summer-moment! But as I purchased the kids’ school supplies yesterday, the realization sank in that we will be back to the routine of school and sports before we know it.

Which, then reminded me, that I need to fill you in on some of the things that have been going on around here. . . Because, while I haven’t been in this space documenting my happenings, things have been happening, nonetheless!

The first bit of news is that I am now the president of the Long Island Modern Quilt Guild. We’re looking to grow the guild and to join as an official chapter of the National MQG. We’re moving to a new location, meeting on a new day of the week, we have a new logo, and have hosted some charity events and fundraisers. It’s been exciting — and a lot of work! One of the fundraisers that we will be holding this week, is a raffle for mini-quilts that were made by our board members. The feather (above) is my contribution.

This mini quilt measures approx. 12″ x 20″ and was entirely improv-pieced based on a feather from the Painted Dreamcatcher pattern by Sarah Elizabeth of {no} hats in the house. Her pattern is paper pieced, which is not really my jam. So I improvised and came up with this.

All of the board members made their minis from the same group of fabrics so that when they hang together, they will look like a cohesive collection. I think it’s going to be great, and fingers crossed, it will be a successful fundraiser for the guild!

Other than the feather, I’ve been continuing to plug away at Lincoln, as well as working on some other charity projects, like this and this. I’ll also be participating in the Cloud 9 New Block Blog Hop, so look for that post on Monday, September 12th. And be sure to check out all of the amazing blocks created by all of the participants in this event! The fabric is seriously gorgeous, so I think it’s going to be an exceptional hop!

2016 New Quilt Bloggers

Hope you are having an amazing summer. What have you been up to? What are you doing to savor these last days of summery goodness? I’d love to hear!

happy panic: mqg riley blake fabric challenge.

Leland Ave Studios Submission MQG Fabric ChallengeBy the hair of my chinny chin chin, I submitted an entry to the Modern Quilt Guild’s Riley Blake Fabric Challenge.  If you’re not familiar, MQG provided a 3/4 yard cut of Riley Blake’s Sashing Stash fabric and we had to make something quilted using that print mixed with Riley Blake solids. I chose to work with the HST sashing print as well as the checkerboard pattern, which I incorporated into my binding.

Happy Panic by Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosHappy Panic is the ultimate quilt resulting from one “happy accident” after another. My initial design for the quilt would have taken me far past the deadline, so, while I may still make that quilt some day, I had to change my thinking if I was going to get this one done in time.

Happy Panic by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

As I worked, I realized I was dangerously close to running out of white fabric. I officially ran out of white thread (yup, it’s actually quilted with cream–and it totally works!!). At one point, I was afraid that the spool of cream would run out, too,  so I added some quilting in blue, to save the cream if I needed it at a later point!  I decided to use the checkered print from the Sashing Stash collection as my binding — but guess what? There was not enough of that either! So again, I added some blue to pick up the blue in the quilting and get the job done.

Happy Panic by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

In the end, I am happy with the result! But the process was not without anxiety. Hence the name, Happy Panic!

I must admit I was hesitant to participate, but I really feel like working within the parameters of the challenge forced me to come up with solutions I would otherwise not have settled for. And in the end, I think it made the quilt more interesting!

So now, tell me: did you submit something for the challenge? I’d love to hear about your process and how you thought about using the prints in the collection if you did!

formation: an art quilt.

Formation by Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosIt’s Friday, and I’m excited to have a finish to share with you! This is Formation. A wall hanging that I made for over my fireplace. It measures approximately 30˝ x 40˝, and is densely matchstick quilted by machine with (OOPS) hand quilting thread!

Apparently this is not good for my machine, and I should not have done this.

IMG_5685But it looks sooooooooooo good!
IMG_5670I finished this quilt with an “art quilt”-style binding, rather than a traditional binding (see the clean edge?), because I wanted to emphasize the minimalist nature of the design. In order to make the binding, I followed Victoria Gartenbach’s tutorial. The tutorial was excellent, but I ran into some trouble due to how dense the quilting was on Formation. It made it harder to turn the edges and press them to the back with a clean edge. In the future, if I am planning to make an art quilt-type binding again, I will remember to end quilting a quarter inch from the edge of the quilt. That would make it much easier to press the edges to the back, as there would not be so much body to the quilt — especially in the case of matchstick quilting.


This is what the back looks like, just so you can see how the binding looks. Victoria’s tutorial does not use mitered corners, which I assume some art quilt bindings may, but given that you don’t see the back when it’s hanging on a wall, I’m not too concerned!

Formation by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

This was the first time I’ve ever matchstick quilted, and the first time I’ve ever made an “art quilt”, so I’m really excited with the results. I think there is more of both in my future.

And before I sign off, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who left comments — both here and on Instagram — about my Lincoln quilt. Your support and encouragement means the world to me and put things back into perspective! The beauty of working in textiles is that if we do make mistakes, we can just use our seam rippers! You’re all so right! I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the kind words. You guys rock!

And now, here’s to a great weekend ahead! Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday!

on fear and creating.

Lincoln by Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosI’ve been working on a project that means a lot to me — for almost a year now. I have rarely shared it on social media. And I have yet to share it in this space as an assembled quilt top, until today. Sometimes, when things mean too much, they end up walking side by side with fear. And occasionally, that fear takes over — bringing the project to a screeching halt.

Lincoln by Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios

Such has been the case with Lincoln. I am so excited about how it’s coming along. I am thrilled that I am able to use my vision for Improv With Intent to create a recognizable image that is neither paper pieced nor appliquéd. But because I took the time to step back and admit that am happy with the progress, I am terrified of going one step further. Fear, negative and destructive fear, has taken a hold of my rotary cutter and left me in a state of paralysis. It’s been months since I’ve made any new blocks for this quilt.

Lincoln by kim soper/lelandavestudios

I started this blog as an online diary — a way to keep track of my projects and what my thoughts were at the time of making those projects. I never knew if anyone would read it except for myself. But some of you did. And some of you stayed. And I thank you for that. Now, I am sharing this with you for a sense of accountability. And, because I am hoping that by making my fears known to the Universe, I can turn them into something positive: motivation.

Thanks for sticking with me through this pep talk. I know I just have to get the scrap bin out. Get moving. And make a mess. I’m hoping that now that you know what I need to do, I can get started. My inner critic is a loud talker. Sharing with you here will hopefully help me to push through the negative thoughts and get to work!

Linking Lets Bee Sewcial.

hourglass at sunset: new block tutorial

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperThanks for joining me on the 2016 Paintbrush Studio New Block Blog Hop! This hop’s palette (from their new line of solids Painter’s Palette) was inspired by an ocean sunset, and this block takes advantage of that theme using an easy-peasy “hourglass” foundation — with a twist! Let’s get started!


Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper(1) 7 1/4″ square in Coral

(1) 7 1/4″ square in Daydream

(1) 7 1/4″ square in Peach

(1) 7 1/4″ square in Midnight

(1) 5 1/2″ square in White

You will also need a rotary cutter, self healing mat, ruler and a pen for marking.  All seam allowances are 1/4″. Unfinished block will measure 12 1/2″ square.

The How-To:

Step 1. Make Half-Square Triangles.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperPlace the Peach square directly on top of the Coral square (rights sides together). Similarly, place the Daydream square directly on top of the Midnight square. Using your pen, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back side of the Peach and Daydream squares.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

Sew a seam 1/4″ on either side of the marked diagonal line. Repeat for both squares.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

Cut each of the sewn pairs on the marked line.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

Press the seams open.


Step 2. Make the Hourglasses.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperOn the back of one of the half-square triangles (in each color), draw a diagonal line between the corners that are perpendicular to the seam.

Place the blocks right sides together making sure to match opposing colors on top of each other. (i.e., Peach will be on top of Coral/Coral on top of Peach. Midnight on top of Daydream/Daydream on top of Midnight).

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperSew a seam 1/4″ on either side of the marked diagonal line.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperCut on the diagonal line.

Press seams open and square up each block to 6 1/2″.


Step 3: Mark and Slice the hourglasses.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperPlace your hourglass blocks on the cutting mat in an arrangement that is pleasing to you. In my case, the Midnight triangles are on the top and bottom, and the Coral/Peach blocks are perpendicular to one another.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperFind the 2 1/2″ line on your ruler, and place it on the center seam line of each hourglass block. Mark the diagonal line. Make sure before cutting that all of your diagonal lines meet to form a diamond.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperCut on the marked lines.


Step 4: Cut and attach the white triangles.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperMark your White square across one diagonal from corner to corner, and then do the same across the other diagonal. Slice the White square on the marked lines so that you have 4 triangles.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperAttach a triangle to each of the hourglass blocks on the cut edge.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

Press seams open and square up the block to 6 1/2″.

Step 5: Assemble the block.

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim SoperUsing your quarter inch seam, attach all four hourglass blocks so that the White triangles meet in the center to form a diamond, and the matching hourglass blocks are diagonal from one another.

And you are done! So easy! And if you’d like to see the layout as a whole quilt, I’ve got you covered:

Hourglass Sunset Quilt EQ7

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and I appreciate you stopping by! And now for a giveaway!


Ocean Sunrise Palette

For a chance to win a half yard bundle of the Ocean Sunrise palette, please follow the Inspired by Fabric blog (either by email or blog reader) and leave a comment for Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl. For a second entry, follow Paintbrush Studio on Instagram (@pbstudiofabrics) and let Yvonne know about it in a second comment. The giveaway is open to everyone (international entries inclued), and the giveaway will be open through Friday, April 1st at 11:59 pm EDT. Good luck!

Hourglass Sunset by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

Please make sure to visit all of the other bloggers participating in the block hop (listed below). And a huge thanks to all of our hosts: Yvonne @Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs, and Stephanie @Late Night Quilter.

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs

Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Andrea @The Sewing Fools
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Tish @Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Abby @Hashtag Quilt
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @The Zen Quilter
Wanda @Wanda’s Life Sampler
Jayne @Twiggy and Opal

neon nova quilt.

Neon Nova by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

This is the quilt I made (with so much love) for my son’s room in our new house. Meet Neon Nova.

A little backstory: my son (who is 7) is obsessed with neon yellow. When we moved into our new home in November, he wanted his room to be neon yellow. While I knew that was never going to be an option, I also wanted to give him some neon yellow, so that he would feel excited to move into his big boy room (which was a huge departure from the old house, where he shared a room with his two younger brothers).

Neon Nova by Leland Ave Studios/Kim Soper

We painted a bookcase and the molding around his windows neon yellow. But the walls were painted a neutral beige. My husband was as unhappy with the yellow as my son was with the beige, so I knew it was the perfect compromise.

As we continued to fill his room with furniture and things that he loved, I decided to make a quilt that would tie everything together. There was a quilt (maybe a comforter) at Urban Outfitters a while back that I had liked, and I decided to try to recreate that pattern while incorporating the newly announced Kona color of the year — Highlight.

Neon Nova by Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosThe finished quilt measures approximately 63×90 (a generous size for a twin). The entire quilt is straight line quilted with 3/4″ apart lines. The quilt-front is is made using solid Kona cottons — celestial, ash, white, indigo, and (of course) highlight. The back is a mix of the fabrics used on the front with mostly Carkai in Navy by Carolyn Friedlander.

neon nova by leland ave studios/kim soper

I love it.  Imperfections and all.

That’s pretty much all I have to say. Oh, and it took about 6 weeks longer to finish than I had originally anticipated. So, um, poor planning on my part! Especially when you are setting expectations for a 7 year old! But other than that. I love it. He loves it. And that is exactly how I hoped this story would end.

neon nova by leland ave studios/kim soper

inspired by art: meredith gaston.

Improv Girl by Kim Soper/Leland Ave StudiosIf you are not familiar with her, Meredith Gaston is the author and illustrator of the book 101 Moments of Joy and InspirationIn addition, she is an extremely talented and accomplished artist. Her art is light and whimsical. I encourage you to check it out — it will just make you smile.

I made this girl on a lark after looking at some of the illustrations in Meredith’s book. I thought, “wouldn’t it be fun to turn an illustration into a quilt.” And just like that, I started cutting.

girl. by kim soper/leland ave studios

She is entirely improv pieced. Overall, I am pretty happy with the results. One of the only regrets I have is that the girl appears unhappy — even though I went into it with every intention of making a lighthearted and joyful composition! But with each misstep is a lesson learned, so, I’m still considering her a win!

While there are some areas that I imagined looking a little differently, there is also a “letting go” of sorts that I have to allow for when making this kind of quilt. Even when improv is done with a plan, or intention, one can merely guess at the final outcome.

You might remember from previous posts that I am currently exploring the idea of making a *completely* washable “art quilt”. It is the driving force behind the Lincoln project, and it continues to be an idea that I am trying to wrap my head around in a way that works for me.  This mini quilt was a way to try out the process in a more fun way, without getting too far sidetracked from the other WIPs I have going.  From start to finish, this girl came together in just a few days, and she’s now hanging proudly on the wall in my sewing room. Hooray for inspiration that strikes quickly and leads to a quick finish!

So, let me ask. Have you ever tried to improv piece with the intention of creating a specific image? If so, I’d love to hear all about it! ‘Cuz I’m kind of obsessed!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and Finish It Up Friday, because, well, it’s been a while!

out with the old, in with the new.

No longer a WIP, Leland Ave StudiosI’ve had a pile of WIPs in a basket in my sewing room for as long as I can remember. Not that this is a surprise, as most quilters do.

Every so often I would take these WIPs out. Mull over them. Possibly add something to them. And then quietly give up on them and stick them back in the basket.

The thing about these WIPs, unassuming as they are, is that they take up space. Both physical and mental clutter. And there is a certain amount of guilt associated with each one. The money spent on materials. The time spent on getting started. And the feeling that no work should be left incomplete.

And yet, there is a reason they remain endlessly “in-progress.” Perhaps the process became less interesting as the work progressed. Or the task of completing them required time or skill that we either don’t possess or we no longer want to dedicate to the project. And so they sit. Taking their toll, ever so silently, on our psyche.

The WIPs in this quilt were a little bit of all of the above. The improv pieced stars began in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play class. I was too intimidated to finish the quilt we started that day, back in July 2013. So there they sat. I picked out the polka dot fabric with Victoria, specifically for that quilt, and I felt obligated to finish it just as we had planned.

The triangles were from an entire quilt I had cut using the E-Z triangle ruler, long before it became a sponsor for QuiltCon West. Except, I hadn’t read the directions. So I cut them ALL WRONG. An Entire Quilt Worth. I tried to sew them together despite my mistake. And none of the points were matching up. Tips of triangles were getting cut off. Not so E-Z as planned.  Sooooo I abandoned it; disappointed in myself and the wasted fabric.

The navy and polka dot stripe quilt was made because I was inspired by Maura Ambrose. I finally decided to use that fabric I had picked out with Victoria, and I thought for a noble cause. It was simple, it was pieced precisely, but it wasn’t really me. Because I was trying to be someone else — someone who makes perfectly simple quilts using perfectly simple hand-dyed organic fabrics. Of course it fell flat, as is bound to happen when being someone you’re not.

And finally, all of that glorious Doe fabric. Just waiting to become an Oodalolly quilt from Rachel Hauser’s Curves class. But I fell behind in the class, and with Oodalolly being the last project, well. . . it just never happened. I quit before I got past the second block, and moved on to other things.

You can see how bringing all of these perceived “failures” into one quilt that is utterly “me” has been cathartic. Not only am I clearing out the clutter from my sewing room, but I’m clearing out the guilt and the shame associated with each of these unfinished projects. It’s like a fresh start to move forward with new ideas that are entirely my own.

Will the WIP pile add up again some day? Probably. But for now, I’m starting 2016 with a clean slate, and it feels like the possibilities are endless!

Again, a very Happy New Year to you! My wish for us all: that the creative ideas from the universe find us and guide us to bring them to light in the new year ahead! Hooray 2016!

No longer a WIP, Leland Ave Studios

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday.

hell-o-o? it’s me. . .

I was wondering if after all these months you’d like to read. . .

Version 2Um, so, hiiiiiii. How are you? How were your holidays? Were they good? I’ve missed you. I hope (maybe?) you missed me, too? Whatcha been up to? I’ll tell you where we’ve been. We moved! Just a short move, really —  two miles down the road or so. But it took place in that short window of time between Halloween and Thanksgiving. So as soon as we (*ahem* I) got our heads above the boxes, it was time to prepare for the holidays. And before I knew it, I hadn’t sewn a thing in months! And, well, this being a sewing blog and all, there’s not much for me to talk about when I dont have sewing stuff to share! But I’m hoping to make things happen in 2016. I’m not exactly prepared to make a list of resolutions this year (we see how that ended up last year). But I am ready for whatever 2016 has to bring, and I have a new sewing studio to do it in!

I’ll share more as it gets into shape, but for now I’ll leave you with a sneak peek that I shared earlier on IG.


Happy New Year, friends! I hope you’ll forgive me for the radio silence. I also hope this transition from 2015 into 2016 finds you in good health, good spirits and looking forward to a beautiful year to come!