Category Archives: Quilts

Hand Piecing = Slow Progress

I haven’t been doing much sewing lately but I did take my Green Tea and Sweet Beans project on a trip to my parents’ lake house a few weeks ago. Since it’s made for hand sewing,  GTSB is the perfect quilt for those times when I don’t want to or can’t bring a sewing machine.

2014-03-15_1394919001The arm of a sofa is the perfect work surface – add in a TV tray or a little end table and you’ve got it made. Don’t forget the coffee!

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Garden Path block in progress above. Lots of y-seams but fun to sew. See one of my completed Garden Path blocks {here}.2014-03-18_13951034422014-03-19_1395247434 My GTSB quilt is primarily from a kit that I bought at QuiltCon. It’s been over a year now that I’ve been working on the quilt (in very small segments of time) and I’ve sadly realized that I don’t like many of the kit fabrics….at least not together. Only one or two of the prints in these blocks is from the kit. It’s a good thing I have so many scraps to add in so the final quilt will be to my taste.2014-03-19_1395247527 2014-03-19_1395247605See the rest of my blocks {here}.

Gypsy Wife BOM

This is the first block of the month (BOM) that I’ve actually (mostly not really) kept up with and I’m really enjoying it. BOMs tend to cost you more than just buying the materials and pattern outright but part of the fun is getting a new mini project in the mail each month. Plus just working one or two blocks a month makes it easier to keep up with. Supposedly.

(P.S. The colors are way over-saturated in that photo. The fabrics in the BOM aren’t really that bright or even quite those hues.)

Gypsy Wife is another wonderful pattern from Jen Kingwell. Like many of her patterns it started as a unique BOM at Amitie Textiles in Australia. It’s now available stateside as a pattern booklet (a far cheaper alternative than a BOM from Australia!!!)

Here are my completed blocks so far:

Gypsy Wife BOM

There are lots of fabrics and fabric combinations I wouldn’t have picked but I know the end result will be fantastic (Jen Kingwell can pretty much do no wrong fabric-wise). There’s only been one print so far that I hate too much to use:

Gypsy Wife BOM

Would you have used it? I know that every time I looked at the quilt I’d see that one fabric and it would make me crazy. It’s just too weird and sorta 70s in a bad way. Most of the fabrics are Japanese and/or very difficult to come by in the US (I tell myself that every month to justify what the BOM costs…it doesn’t seem like all that much each month but when you add up the total for the quilt it’s pretty shocking. But maybe all quilts are that high and I’ve just been in denial because I never see the materials broken down quite like that?)

Month 7 just arrived in the mail late last week as I was in the throes of a hideous cold but now I’m feeling up to finishing it (and months 5 and 6, as well!). It’s good to be back doing some normal things after spending way too much time with my TV and sofa last week.

Economy Blocks…Hello, There

Economy Block Quilt-Along

The Economy Block Quilt-Along (perhaps better known stateside as the square in square block) is in full swing. It’s 2014’s version of the crazy popular Scrappy Trip-Along that started about this time last year. (Raise your hand if you’re still working on the quilt!).

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I usually let these quilting trends just pass me by because they distract me from other projects, but given my need for fun sewing this year, I jumped in with both feet.

Ages ago I went through my Munki Munki stash and pulled out bits that were fussy cut or duplicates. I set them aside with some coordinating scraps thinking someday I’d make an I Spy quilt…one day. The economy block is absolutely perfect for this!

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I’m doing the 5″ block pattern from Red Pepper Quilts, but if that’s too small for you, there’s a handy calculator for making the block at your preferred size. I pre-cut dozens of blocks and have them in a basket next to my sewing machine for easy access (see this post for more info).

Table Top Sewing

Are you making these blocks, too? Link up in the comments so I can see yours!

More inspiration from the quilt along in the {Flickr group}.

It’s Been a Slow Journey

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

My scrappy trip around the world journey, that is. I pulled all of the 2½” strips from my basket of fabric strings…probably about a year ago to start this project. I made six blocks at one of my small group retreats last year.

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

And then I packed up my pile of a bajillion strips and that’s how it stayed until last week when I had the {table top sewing} epiphany. Wroking on this project in small snippets is  no-brainer – once you’ve made one, you literally never need to look at the instructions again. And these blocks are really fast to make. If you’re working with pre-cut strips like me, you could easily make the quilt top in a weekend.

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

I re-sorted my pile of strips into some more manageable sets, ending up with enough for three different quilts. The pink-ish version is the one I’m working on first. I sewed 18 srips sets while watching Clue on Amazon Prime video last week (that movie is still as awesome today is it was in the 80s Maybe more because I’m sure there were joke that totally went over my head when I was a kid.).

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

Two helpful things to have on hand while you’re making these blocks – a pair of spring loaded scissors to quickly snip off excess length from strips and Clover Wonder Clips for keeping the strip sets together after you cut them.

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

(If you aren’t making this quilt, you have to seam rip the strip sets at one point – a good activity to do while catching up on your DVR shows).

My other piles of piles of strip sets are very different color-wise; one is more boyish with lots of green and orange:

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

And the other is a very limited palette for me (only 5 or 6 colors!).. I didn’t photograph it but I’ll do that next time I update on this quilt project.

Funny how one “easy” scrap quilt project has now turned into three different quilts…

Aspen Frost Improv Circles

Aspen Frost Improv Circles

I made this quilt as a sample for a demo I did at QuiltCon in February 2013. Yes, it has taken me almost a year to photograph and blog about it! I was kinda busy last year.

The binding is Pezzy Prints (goes with everything!) by American Jane and I quilted it with a free motion Christmas tree design that I just made up. It does require you to be able to quilt the design upside-down, as well. I’m sure there are better digitized Christmas tree quilting patterns out there, but I couldn’t find any for domestic sewing machines (i.e. free hand!).

Aspen Frost Improv Circles

This quilt may look tricky with the improvisational curves but it’s pretty easy to get the hang of the technique. It used 90% of a layer cake plus about a yard of coordinating solids for the quilt top.  This was the first-ever Christmas quilt I made. My son was about 14 months old when I was working on it and he was obsessed with the snowman print. The fabric line is Aspen Frost by Basic Grey – a good modern Christmas line that you can probably still find in stores.

Dimensions: 51″ x  60″

Fabrics: Aspen Frost by Basic Grey,  Pezzy Prints by American Jane, and Bella Solids by Moda Fabrics

Pattern: Original design by Lisa Calle {free tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop}

Quilting Thread:  Aurifil #2600, 50 wt cotton mako

Quilting Design: free hand Christmas trees

Started: February 2013

Completed: February 2013

Christmas Puddle Jumping Quilt

Christmas Puddle Jumping

This one wasn’t ready in time to actually enjoy on Christmas but I have a major head start for Christmas 2014. Right?

Christmas Puddle Jumping

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to the holidays so red and white was an easy choice for a Christmas quilt.  The little pops of green for the sashing squares are a reminder that this is a Christmas quilt, not just a red and white quilt that can sneak into the house any old time of year.

The snowflake quilting echoes that message. I used a jar lid, a quarter, and a ruler to mark the snowflake design. It’s something I made up to fit in the block.  My initial thought was to do a different design in each one but marking was tedious enough. I struggled with the quilting on this one but I’m really happy with the result.  I did a smaller and simpler snowflake in the sashing squares and a loopy sashing/border design.

Christmas Puddle Jumping

This poor quilt has already been through so much abuse and it’s barely been finished a week. While I was basting it, my dogs trampled it with muddy paws and my toddler spilled apple juice on it. Then one or both of the dogs used it as a fire hydrant while we were iced in the house for four days.  But thank goodness washing it in the middle of the quilting process doesn’t seem to have caused any issues.

Christmas Puddle Jumping

The binding is a wonderful bias stripe from Bonnie and Camille’s Scrumptious line. It is absolute perfection for binding. You get the bias look without having to make bias binding. Thank you, ladies, for making me look like I worked harder than I did. I’ll definitely be buying yardage of that print in several colors to hoard for future projects.

Dimensions: 75″ x  75″

Fabrics:  scrappy mix of reds + green dot for sashing squares, binding is red Bias Stripe from Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille for Moda Fabrics

Pattern: Puddle Jumping by Camille Roskelley of Thimbleblossoms

Quilting Thread:  Aurifil #2024, 50 wt cotton mako

Quilting Design: Snowflakes + loops in the borders/sashing

Started: November 2013

Completed: December 2013

Quilts I Made in 2013

What a year! 21 finished quilts and several more started. The link below each photo goes to my original post about the quilt (except for the last three, which I haven’t blogged about yet).  I blogged about my 2014 goals on the My Stars blog on Monday so please hop over there to see what’s on my mind for sewing in the new year.

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Giant Scrappy Blocks Micah’s Quilt Cotton Candy Quilt Ben’s Quilt
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Red + Aqua Happy Go Round Stars and 4-Patches Vintage Summer
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Ombre Star Mod Circus Belle Squared A Tied Quilt
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Cool Charms Spring Storms Turkish Delight Midcentury
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Lucky Strike Bitty Bunting Quilt Christmas Puddle Jumping Aspen Frost
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Daisy Chain Rail Fence

Tone It Down Quilt: Choosing Fabrics

Tone It Down by Lissa Alexander

It’s December 23 and I’m counting down the days to 2014! Think I can get in a couple more quilts before the New Year? I should probably focus on ones that are already in progress but coming off the organizational high of my destash sale, I am in the mood for playing with fabric and starting something new. There’s a beautiful quilt by Lissa Alexander called Tone It Down in the February 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It uses traditional piecing and a “modern” low-volume background. Read about Lissa’s inspiration for the quilt {here}. APQ is hosting a quilt-along for this project and I decided it would be a good sewing project for the holidays (chain piecing friendly = lots of audiobooks + mugs of cocoa).

I pulled fabrics for the quilt yesterday, using this retro-inspired Alice Apple felt applique art as my color palette:

VMQ-palette-crushing-on-kitschHere are my fabric picks:

Tone It Down | Fabric Stacks

A variety of pinks for the main blocks across the quilt (pink, orange, and red in the original)

Tone It Down | Fabric Stacks

Mustard + aqua + orange + grass green for the secondary pattern of circles

Tone It Down | Fabric Stacks

And a big variety of low volume prints for the background.

VMQ-palette-templateThis quilt pattern is very scrap friendly so I’ve pulled lots of things from my scrap basket to mix in with fat quarters and yardage from my stash. I want to make the mustard color more prominent so I’ll probably find a print or solid in that range to use for binding.

Are you going to quilt along with us? You can find the magazine at most craft stores or purchase a digital copy {here}.

Jumping the Gun

In the Studio | Dec 2013

I’m trying to get ahead of my New Year’s resolution to organize by starting before this year is even over.  How is that for motivated? My sewing room had gotten so messy that I didn’t even want to be in there. What’s a quilter to do? One word: destash. That mountain of fabric below is all from my latest destash sale on Instagram. It looks like a lot (and it is, let’s be honest) but I still feel like I could have purged a bit more. I’ll save it for the next sale, I suppose.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

Now my studio is about 75% tidy…I still don’t have room for all of my fabric so some is in bins on my sewing table but that will probably always be the case.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

I can live with that. It reminds me to sew faster!

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{Those bins are from IKEA in case you’re wondering.}

I added a bit of decoration while I was cleaning up…hanging up some old things that were just taking up room in drawers.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

And these putting out these cute new tins…

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{available here}

I don’t have anything in them yet but I  could not resist the vintage look. They’re from a company called Now Designs that also makes a few other retro-styled items for the home, like these tea + coffee tins.

All of this cleaning up is very motivating and I have lots of new projects tumbling around in my brain. Fabulous fabric combinations are everywhere.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{Lush Uptown + Botanics = YES YES YES! Just ignore the Urban Cowgirl bundle on the lower left.}

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{April Showers + Color Me Happy = Made for Each Other}

Ice Storm 2013

We had an ice storm just after Thanksgiving and you’d think that would be the perfect opportunity to sew but I hardly did. Four days in the house was rough on all of us but especially my Christmas quilt. It was peed on twice so I had to wash it. In the middle of quilting. With the safety pins in it and everything.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

It came out just fine and I’m almost done quilting it but I’ve now marked the whole dang thing twice. Horrid dogs.

Quilting Snowflakes

A couple of weeks ago I whipped up a Christmas version of Camille Roskelley’s cute new Puddle Jumping pattern. The whole time I was making it, I pictured snowflakes as the quilting. I got busy and didn’t get around to basting it until this weekend and then I jumped right in with the quilting.

Quilting Snowflakes

I came up with a simple snowflake design and used a quarter, jar lid, and a ruler to mark it on the quilt. It’s not fast quilting but it’s not dense so I can easily do a couple of blocks in one sitting. But now I’m second guessing myself. Can you even tell it’s a snowflake? Is it worth it to do such an intricate design when I could have finished the whole top in stipples in just a few hours?

Quilting Snowflakes

Quilting Snowflakes

You can see the quilting a little better on the back:

Quilting Snowflakes

Quilting Snowflakes

Should I continue with the snowflakes or tear it out and do something simpler?