An Open Book


So I am a fan of the band Blue October and have been for years.  It started as a bit of an accident.  I had gone to a show with a friend to see another band I like and Blue October was the co-headliner. I was drawn to the music and the lyrics and have continued to follow them over the last 10-11 years seeing them in concert every time they either play in NYC or in London and on a few occasions in San Francisco while we were on vacation.


This year the lead singer, Justin Furstenfeld released an acoustic album of his songs and was touring the UK and Germany. “Open Book” is a mix of Justin singing and talking about his life.  The good, the bad and the ugly.



As I follow them on Twitter and Facebook I noticed this cool image that Justin posted before the album was released. I thought it would make a cool quilt.  As some of you know I have been making these pixelated portraits as of late.  I plotted out my image and began to figure out what to use for the black and greys.

Then it hit me, I have some older tour t-shirts that I don’t wear as much as I used to and placed them out to see if I had enough to do what I needed.


After pressing the shirts flat I started to cut them up.  As they are not quilting cotton I had to interface the back side of the shirts to keep the edges from rolling and fraying.





Once all the shirts were prepped I figured out the size I was going to cut them up into. After some quick calculations I thought my best best would be 2″ squares ending up with a 1.5″ finished square.

Let the cutting begin!!



I carefully chopped up the fronts and backs of the shirts into tiny little squares and separated them into color. Most of the squares were black but on some of the shirts I used the printed silkscreen image as varying shades of grey.

Now on some of the other quilts I just gridded up the entire project into 5×5 or 6×6 sections and pieced them together normally.  They were bigger squares and quilting cotton.  Since we were using smaller squares and t-shirts I opted for the fuse and sew method I have seen demonstrated by Oh Frannson! Off we went.



After a few days of careful planning while Haydn was sleeping I had a finished portrait of Justin.

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Will get to the actual quilting soon.  When I saw Justin in October I mentioned I had made this and offered it to him.  The full band will be back in February so I will plan on getting it to him then.

Choo Choo!!

I was asked by the Simon & Schuster Marketing Department to design a Pop Up for the 2014 Caldecott Awards Banquet. This years winner was Brian Floca for his book, Locomotive. Since S&S is the publisher of the book they get to create the Program that gets handed out at the event.  That means I got to design the Pop and the booklet.

Since many will never see the Pop Up, I thought I would show the construction of it.  I made a white dummy and sent the die line files to Brian and he made this amazing art overnight.

Have a look!

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Been a bit busy!

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late. I have been a bit busy.



Victoria and I welcomed Haydn into our family in March and everything has been a bit crazy since. Hopefully I will be getting back to regular posts soon.IMG-20140516-WA0000 IMG_0929 DSC_0021



Book Bound?

For the last week of so I have been working non stop on getting a last minute project finished.  At the beginning of Feb I was asked if I would be able to create a quilt for a book on Quilting by DK.  The beginning was a bit slow going until the fabrics were picked. The Editor, Kate picked the prints out.  Not really my taste of style but they are growing on me.

I started with a double pinwheel pattern I made up and sent it over to them for approval.

New Pattern opt1

The idea was so all the end points lined up but it would leave the quilt on a slight angle which I liked.  What they then asked for was a straight block with sashing around it.

Once the fabric arrived from Cotton Patch, I got to work using a paper foundation method. This would ensure all the blocks were exactly the same.



So today I managed to get all the sashing sorted and ready for pinning.  Figured I would head to class a bit early so I can use the tables to lay it all out and pin.



Should end up as a Double bed quilt.  Not to bad.


What the What?

I was walking down Clerkenwell Road not so long ago and found this. London is full of pretty cool Street Art. You can find them all over if you are looking.


At first I thought it was just a spray painted face on a wall until I looked closer. I walked past it completely until I got up under it and realized it wasn’t what I thought it was.


Have a closer look…


Keep looking…

IMG_0435 IMG_0436Pretty cool!

This is Me!

As part of the London Modern Quilting Guild we have decided to do a “Meet a Member” section on the blog.  As the new President I thought I would go first.  A few of us came up with some questions, both quilting and non quilting to answer for other members to get a better understanding about what makes us tick, likes and dislikes , etc.. This is mine.  You might also see if on the LMQG blog this week too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m originally from New York.  Victoria (my wife) and I moved back to London after we got married 3 years ago.  She is British and works for an investment bank who relocated us when her position changed.  I went to F.I.T. in NYC for Advertising and Graphic Design, not Fashion as the name suggests. When I graduated I took my first job designing children’s novelty books for HarperCollins. A few years later I was lucky enough to get to work with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, both have changed the way Children’s Pop Up Books were looked at.  After several years as the Art Director I moved to Penguin where I was given the chance to create and design my own pop up books.  My first book was the second place winner of the NY Book Show in 2010  “Everyone Says I Love You”.



In 2012 I designed and engineered another book called “Spin”which won the Novelty division.



Since moving to London I continue to design Children’s books for several publishing companies around the world.

What inspired you to start quilting?

My mom has been quilting for a number of years and about 8-9 years ago I asked her to show me how to sew.  I have a black dog and my mom didn’t want to spend many hours making something for me if Lily was going to lay all over it. Over one holiday break between Christmas an New Years she brought in her spare machine and showed me what to do. I have been hooked since then.  It feels like a combination of painting and building but with fabrics and if anyone knows me they know I love building things.  The perfect match in my opinion.

Mom and me at the Columbia Road Market. Mom and me at the Columbia Road Market.

What is your favourite tool or notion?

Going to have to say a seam ripper.  If you ain’t rippin’, you ain’t quiltin’.  I like to think I am fairly competent on my machine but no matter how good you are you will always make a mistake or find a seam that could be done better. My little Clover ripper is always near by.

What is your favourite fabric right now?


There are too many to choose from.  I am going to have to say my giant bundle of “Florence” by Denyse Schmidt given to me by Denyse herself on a visit to her Studio in CT.  I’m a bit afraid to open it but I think I will and can get over it. Here is my first quilt. DS all the way.

What’s your pet hate?

I hate people who stop walking, dead in their tracks on the sidewalk.  Especially when they stop to take a picture of a shop window.  It’s called a sidewalk for a reason, Walk!

Tea or coffee?


Tea, 2 sugars no milk


Do you stick to one project at a time or have several on the go?

I can’t stick to one thing at a time.  My office is a mess of things.  Both book jobs and quilting projects intermingling on the desk.  That goes the same for my knitting and cross stitch projects.  I like having the freedom to pick and choose what I want to work on and when.


Victoria and my wedding thank you cards. Victoria and my wedding thank you cards.
I was bored. Kay got a knitted skull jacket! I was bored. Kay got a knitted skull jacket!
my little x stitch version on my larger James Dean quilt. my little x stitch version on my larger James Dean quilt.

What are your vices?

I quilt while watching the UFC. Back in NYC I would stand at the island in the kitchen watching the UFC while actually quilting.  Don’t ask me why? That’s just the way it is.  Usually I bind to Law and Order because no matter where you are in the world you can always find an already viewed episode on TV.

Hand or machine quilting?

Machine.  Was lucky enough to get a Janome Horizon a while back. While I piece everything on the machine I do finish binding by hand.  I think if you are going to spend all that time and money on a quilt it should be finished by hand.

my baby my baby

What’s your favourite film?

That’s hard to say.  Growing up I was a Pulp Fiction fan. Have seen it dozens of times and each time you watch it is see something new. I would probably say most of the Fast and Furious movies.  Cut me some slack! I’m a guy and I like cars.  If you ask Victoria she would tell you my movie selections are on the girly side of things.  Who doesn’t like a good chick flick from time to time.

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Favourite band?

A number of years ago a friend had won some concert tickets from work to see a band that I liked and few that I didn’t really know.  We both ended up liking one of the not known bands and have been a huge fan since then.  If we have met in person at any time in the 3 years I have been in London you would have seen me in one of the dozen or so concert shirts I have from a band called Blue October. An Alt Rock band from Houston Texas. Since my first show I have probably been to at least a dozen shows both in the States and in London.


What do you do when your not quilting?

When I am not quilting I am building elaborate pop ups for different Publishers around the world. I always have a scissor and paper with me.

My 75th Anniversary Pop Up for Madeline. Out in early 2014 from Penguin. My 75th Anniversary Pop Up for Madeline. Out in early 2014 from Penguin.
A Pop Up Firetruck with Teddy Bears for the Book Company in Australia. A Pop Up Firetruck with Teddy Bears for the Book Company in Australia.
my paper monsters for Caterpillar Books. my paper monsters for Caterpillar Books.

I am also training for the London Nightrider again on a Bamboo bike I built.


100K through the streets of London at night raising money for Battersea Dog and Cat Home.  Feel free to Donate with the link above.

Victoria and I have been fostering since we moved back to London. We have had three amazing Staffies.

The big mush, Philip. The big mush, Philip.
the the “is that my ball” Leroy
and the 14 year old, Kay. and the 14 year old, Kay.

First live band?

My first Concert was Poison and Warrant at Nassau Coliseum back in 1990. I was 14 years old and my neighbor took me. Since then I have been to 100’s of shows. I’m a child of the 80’s. Hair Metal was what I listened to.

Radio 1's Hackney Big Weekend 2012 Radio 1’s Hackney Big Weekend 2012

Pins & Needles!

As part of the London Modern Quilt Guild we occasionally do swaps within the group.  This time was different.  We have organized a swap with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild in Canada.

I have never been much for making little things but I thought I would be a team player and make a little needle case for the swap.  After a few minutes of searching on Pinterest, my new favorite place, I found a great little tutorial from Jamie at Sew She Sews.

I love Skulls! and for me to be me I needed to make something to give away that had Skulls on it. Nothing like scaring a Canadian with a quilted Skull Needle Case. Following along with the tutorial I made this.




and even added P&P stitched onto the aida.


I liked the idea of keeping all my bits in one place (Victoria might have a heart attack if there wasn’t a mess on the table) so while we were wandering the Stitching Show a few weeks back I found this fun print and yes it has Skulls on it.

Fun Skull fabric found at the Knitting and Stitching show.

Fun Skull fabric found at the Knitting and Stitching show.

So I made myself a needle case because I was seriously considering not giving the other one away. Stitched in a cool Diamond pattern and some Orange and Blue pockets.  I also made it a touch bigger so I can get my scissors in easy.


diamond stitching!

diamond stitching!






Now to find all my little zip lock bags with pins and needles in them and give them all a new home.