Please join me in welcoming guest blogger Angela Magnan as she shares her quilting journey with us. Plus, check below for a "HOT" give-away from Angela. Angela doesn’t have a blog yet, but you can email her. Thanks Angela for being a guest here at the Quilting Gallery.

Greetings from Maryland,

Thank you so much for allowing me to guest blog. My name is Angela Magnan, I’m 31, and I’ve been quilting for about ten years. I started the hobby shortly after my mother did. She began quilting after being inspired by her mother-in-law, my grandmother, who everyone knew as Memere. My mother and Memere had long-shared a passion for buying and selling antiques, setting up at the same antique shows, and going to auctions together. When Memere starting making a Joann Block of the Month quilt, my mother was inspired by the fact that she wouldn’t have to cut any pieces. It was only a matter of time before my mother would overcome her fear of cutting and catch the quilting bug for good. And then she gave the bug to me!

Each of the three of us developed our own style. Memere was a pattern quilter and always quilted by hand. My mother also usually follows a pattern, prefers piecing and rarely does appliqué, and sometimes quilts by hand and sometimes by machine. She occasionally steps outside of her comfort zone and chooses fabrics or patterns that are a bit funkier than her normally conservative self.

I have my own style. I studied biochemistry as an undergraduate and was drawn to the mathematical and logistical side of quilting. More recently, I completed a Master’s degree in nonfiction writing, so naturally I am drawn to story quilts. A few years ago, I modified a pattern to design a quilt based on my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park (for which I’m still deciding on fabrics), and currently I am designing a quilt based on my ten day writing conference in Bar Harbor, Maine (for which I have the fabrics, but am undecided on the layout).

I enjoyed viewing the story quilts and reading the stories posted for last week’s contest. They represent well that the term "story quilt" has a rather broad definition. In essence, any quilt can be a story quilt as long as it has some unique characteristic that makes it different from other quilts. In some ways, all quilts are story quilts in that they are built in the same way as a story. You gather all the pieces and try to arrange them in the best possible way. And sometimes, just like writing a story, the unplanned or the unexpected results in a more powerful presentation than what you had originally planned.

My mother recently finished a hand-quilted Civil War quilt using all reproduction fabrics, most of which she bought in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, when she was down visiting me from Vermont. To make the quilt extra special she quilted the names of my two great-great-great grandfathers who were in the Civil War into the border on the top and the bottom. On one side, she quilted Grand Army of the Potomac and on the other she quilted The First Vermont Brigade. (Unfortunately, you can’t see the quilting in the photo.)

Mom's Quilt

Another quilt I have is a Joann Block of the Month quilt that Memere had started making for me. She had been making a quilt for each of her granddaughters, originally as wedding presents. After Memere died, I inherited the quilt, unfinished. The other night, I joked with my mother that maybe I shouldn’t finish it until I get married. She responded by saying that maybe if I finish it, then I’ll get married.

Memere's Quilt

I have yet to finish it, but in 2008, I made this story quilt for someone else’s wedding. It is the first quilt I have ever actually finished. Two friends of mine, Jeff and Lisa, both moved to Vermont from out of state, met there, and spent several years there together before moving to South Carolina. The quilt is the story of their life in Vermont.

J&L Story Quilt

The center block is paper-pieced and based on the house they lived in together, and where I also lived for part of the time. Their house was an odd shape, which made it necessary to design it myself. Each block surrounding the house, as well as the top and bottom frames, and each of the four corners, represents some aspect of their life in Vermont: their yellow lab Marleybone, the moose Jeff hunted, the chickens and geese they raised, the Martinis they often enjoyed (particularly when Lisa’s dad was in town), the pottery mug Lisa had made. In some of the blocks, the fabric is what tells the story: the sushi from their favorite local establishment, the cards we often stayed up late playing, the tomatoes and peppers they grew in their garden, and the hot sauce that Jeff put into and on everything. Jeff gave me a bundle of quilting fabric for Christmas one year, and each of those made it into the quilt somewhere as well. One of the corner blocks is perhaps my favorite block: it is a tent made from the chest insignia from one of my T-shirts that I wore when I worked at the state park job where we had all met.

When I started planning this quilt, I knew that I wanted the house to be the center of the quilt, and I merely had a list of possible blocks to surround it. I took this list with me when fabric shopping. Some blocks never happened because I couldn’t find appropriate fabric. Some blocks emerged because I found a perfectly appropriate fabric that I never expected to find, such as the sushi and the hot sauce. So the quilt planning process was a back and forth affair between my ideas and my fabric choices and how they melded together. Some of the surrounding blocks came from patterns I found in books, such as the dog, the chickens and the tree border. Others, I designed myself, such as the house and the martini glass. Finding all the fabrics I needed was the most time-consuming aspect of this quilt. Other than making decisions, which for me is always the hardest part of making a quilt, scaling the patterns to size was probably the most difficult aspect.

What I love about this quilt is that it includes so many different quilting techniques, regular piecing, paper-piecing, appliqué, embroidery, and embellishment. Additionally, you can do anything you want. There are no limits, and although it can be more challenging, it stays interesting because every block is different. One downfall, or maybe a bonus, is that you only use a little bit of each fabric, so you end up with a lot of fabric left over, some of which you may not have any further use for. Hot sauce, anyone?


How would you use these fabrics? (If you post within the next two weeks, and I like your idea the best, I will send the winner a packet of the above fabrics, approximately 1/8 to ¼ yard of each.)

And feel free to ask questions and I will try to answer them.


To enter the give-away, please leave a comment below with your idea(s) on how to use the fabrics pictured above. Angela will choose the winner July 7th.

Give-away now closed. Congratulations to #5 Garilyn for winning the pretty fabrics and thanks to Angela for the give-away.

Meet quilter Angela Magnan, and a “HOT” give-away
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21 thoughts on “Meet quilter Angela Magnan, and a “HOT” give-away

  • June 24, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    i would make cloth napkins with the fabric. The grandkids would love picking out their napkin for dinner when they visit…

    Love the civil war quilt. I am working on one right now with 121 blocks. I can’t wait for it to be finished. I am going to hand embroider names of my husbands family that fought during the war.

  • June 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I would use the tool fabric to make a tool roll for the car. I’ve seen them online made with denim. I would use this fab to add interest to the cover.
    THe hot fabrics could be used to make a recipe binder cover or hot pads for a friend who likes it hot!

  • June 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I would use the pepper fabrics to make a wall hanging for my son. (The tools fabric would probably be lining.) He is a Tabasco NUT! He puts it on EVERYTHING! I get really perturbed when he does not even taste my cooking but loads it up with hot sauce first thing…. and I AM a good cook, promise! Have you ever tried hot sauce on chicken and dumplings, or fresh-off-the-cob cream style corn? Me neither, but he does. Those are just 2 of his weird places to use hot sauce. There ought to be a law against this! Yep… he needs a wall hanging from these fabrics!


  • June 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I would use the tool fabrics for making work apron.
    And use the pepper ones for napkins and place mats.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  • June 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I think I would use them in a lap quilt for my brother. He enjoys grilling and making his own sauce for wings and other meats.He’s also a parts manager for a car dealership! He would love these!! I would also incorporate some other fabrics (dogs, hunting, etc) from other areas of his life.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win!
    blessed.mama4 at yahoo dot com

  • June 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I would make several aprons and have a street cook out and give all the grillling men an apron for appreciation then have fireworks to celebrate the event.

  • June 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Angela. Thanks for sharing your story with us. With the hot chilli fabrics I think I would make aprons, especially for use at the BBQ. The tool fabric would make a great little bag for a little boy to put his toy tools in!

  • June 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I think the hot fabrics would make a very cool table runner. And the tool fabric could be a pouch to keep in your car with tools just for us gals. You know how the guys are always swiping our screwdrivers or hammers! Very cute fabrics.

  • June 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Your fabrics remind me of my brother – once when he dipped his son’s pacifier in hot sauce (Mom intercepted it in time) and once when my husband helped him finish his basement. Not until it was done (and done well) did my husband admit he’d never done this before; only watched the TV shows! He hasn’t lived that down yet, tho my brother still asks for how-to help. Stories are an important part of life, even when we only call them memories. Thanks for reminding me – maybe there’s a story quilt here.

  • June 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I would definitely make a picnic or barbeque quilt/blanket! Those beautiful colors would surely get any appetite going. Or maybe some quilted placemats and napkins. Yum!
    The tool fabric is a bit more tricky – maybe part of play mat for little boys?
    Love the story and thanks for sharing Angela,

  • June 24, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    One of my sons is the unofficial summer caterer for every BBQ a neighbor throws, as he makes scrumptious meltaway finger licking yummy ribs in traditional and asian flavors. These fabrics made me think of his right away! I have wanted to make him a quilt that reflects what he loves, and this would be a super start! Thanks for the chance! – Mary (, I do giveaways too!)

  • June 25, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I love these fabrics, and I love your story of quilting. I have been musing over making my own story quilt about my family history, but it has a lot of thought to go yet.
    Those vibrant fabrics are really exciting – the chilli fabrics would make great bunting for a BBQ, but I would also use 5″ squares of each (including the tool fabric) in an I-spy quilt, with some of my other themed fabrics. I love to make I-spy quilts for children, as they can be a good way to start a conversation, and imaginative story-telling. The tool fabric would also make a good nail bag – like a laundry peg bag – for when you need lots of nails, and you are up a ladder. Fill the bag (I would line it with some sturdy canvas to stop the nails or screws piercing it), hang it round your neck and away you go with your DIY!

  • June 25, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Placemats with a pocket for a paper napkin…….several, in fact, for the ribs and chili……:) Cloth napkins would get too greasy……so cut fabric. I’d like to win it…..

  • June 25, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Oh wow those quilts are just beautiful, great work !!! I would fuzzy cut and use in a jar quilt…the bottom…..How much fabric is there of the tools on the bottom? if enough I would use it in the center , then add borders to match the colors in the center…
    9 hours ago ·

  • June 25, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Love the trees on the border-I think I’ll steal that for my next border!!!

  • June 25, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Wow! My decision may be more difficult than I anticipated. These are all great ideas so far. Keep them coming!

    Doreen: If you need a pattern, the tree border uses a template and came from this book:

    The “new” price on Amazon is a bit high ($65?!!). I think my mother paid about $25 for a new copy at a quilt shop. I suggest buying it used.

    The book has other great border ideas. I recommend it.

  • June 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I’d use the hot sauce fabric as a focal fabric in a Convergence quilt. The others would co-ordinate well. Would have to get something else to make one of the colors pop out. Don’t know about the tools? Great focal fabric for a wood workers quilt. I have a “Constuction Zone” wall hanging pattern I’d love to use that in.

  • June 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Lovely quilts you have there. I would use to material to make a real man’s quilt or else use the material to make some apron’s. My husband does a lot of cooking and he would look so cute in an apron. Happy days.

  • June 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you Angela for sharing your quilts and stories!

    The hot sauce and chili pepers would be great for place mats or hot pads. My husband and I love Hot Wings and we are stocking up now on Hot sauce for making our wings weekly for football seasons (NFL). We’d would surely use the place mats or whatever I made weekly for our enjoyment… maybe a bib! ;) The tool fabric… My father and hubby are in construcrtion so I’d make somethign for them or my son. That one I’d like to be creative with, depending how big it is. Thanks for the chanc

  • July 22, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I’m sooo excited that I won!! I can’t wait to put these fabrics to use!!

    Thanks Angela!

Comments are closed.