Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Here's another do.Good Stitches finish - the latest from Faith Circle. I asked my bee mates for a mix of half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and half-square plus quarter-square triangles - a mix I really love.

You'll find great tutorials for all in Emily Dennis' How to Sew a Perfect Quarter-Square Triangle on Craftsy. They are a fun easy sew, and as you can see, look great in a solid and print combo.

I pieced just a few extra blocks into the backing, along with some stash solids. And then! Quilting.

I think this was the most fun I've had quilting in a while! I was at a loss at first, but finally cracked open Jacquie Gering's Walk book and settled on The Boomerang design. Let's just say it looks more complicated that it really was to execute. I tried Cotton + Steel 50 wt thread #753-1095, which provided a little contrast yet still blended really well.

The quilt finished at 48" x 56" and will soon be headed off to Valley Breast Center. And I'm happy to be caught up with my "outside" commitments, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wedge Slabs

About a year ago I wrote a tutorial for Wedge Slabs as part of a giving quilt project for Seattle MQG. Our finished quilt, Play It Cool, is shown below. It measured 48” x 60”, with slabs created by many of our guild's members, and then I put the top together. To finish, it was quilted by Dionne Matthies-Buban and bound by Deborah Christiansen.


So I thought I'd bring the tutorial - short and sweet as it is - back to my own blog, where my followers can find it more easily. This tutorial creates a wedge slab 6 1/2″ tall, and you can make it as long as you want. The guild made slabs 18 1/2″ and 24 1/2″ long, though obviously your quilt plan could be easily adaptable to other sizes.

Start with two pieces of fabric approximately 8″ tall. I started with a length (navy shown) just to help keep the orientation straight, but it doesn’t really need to be that long. Layer one fabric on the other as shown, and cut at an angle on the left side of the ruler. Discard the excess bit.

Flip the top fabric over onto the left and line up the raw edges, sewing 1/4″ seam along that cut edge.

Press seam and position fabric with right-side up. I find it helpful to line up loosely with the corner of my cutting board. That way I can make sure my slab is relatively straight as I continue to add to it.

Repeat first step of layering, cutting, flipping, stitching, and pressing until you exceed your desired length slightly.

If you have a 6 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ ruler, it’s perfect for determining your upper and lower trimming cuts.

Next trim your block ends to bring your block to length.

You might remember I also asked for multicolor wedge slabs from Faith Circle not long ago.

The result was Jazzy. Each palette is its own wonderful mix, don't you agree? I'm thinking this might be a good way to work thru my solid scraps. Hmm....

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Versailles

After last week's paper-piecing challenge, this week's Versailles, designed by Karen/Quiltaposy Studios, was sweet relief. Inspired by the tile floor in the Ch√Ęteau de Versailles in France, the simple geometric piecing made for a quick, satisfying sew. Karen included step by step pressing instructions, and rule-follower that I am, I went along.

I know some folks swear by pressing seams open, but years ago I was taught to press to the dark side, and it's a hard habit to break. In more recent times, I discovered how helpful a tailor's clapper can be in that effort. If that's a new-to-you consideration, do check out SuzyQuilts' recent post.

For this block, I liked the idea of using a print as the background fabric considering there was alot of it, and that solid blue was very intentional too. I've used it in a couple of blocks so far, and it seems a little more conspicuous, so I wanted to make sure it 'works.' After this block, I'm pretty sure it does.

Gotta say, I'm so enjoying #summersampler2018. The quilt block designs, the fabrics, the  #summerroadtrip theme, the community.... all so good.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Today is my day to share on the Stash Statement blog hop, inspired by Kelly/My Quilt Infatuation's new book. I love that the book is a mix of beginning improv technique, scrap-busting, as well as sharing patterns that combine the two. For me, improv and scraps go hand in hand.

As often is the case in a blog hop, I got to choose which pattern I wanted to make from the book, and I chose Regatta, though I did make just a portion of the pattern into a baby-size quilt. And because of the quilt's theme, I pulled greens and blues from my scrap basket for the 'water' background.

I chose to use the panel method for my scrappy construction, where I basically kept piecing scraps together until I had two slabs each about the size of a fat-quarter. Then I cut out the squares I needed to continue on with the quilt top. With the 'scraps' from that process, I pieced them together to make more larger pieces. Such is the way with scrap quilts - use the little bits to make larger bits.

The 'boats' in my little regatta are made from Kona Cyan, chosen after I pieced all my scrap blocks. I couldn't resist using my few extra blocks to piece one last 'boat' into the back of the quilt.

I quilted a loose (about 1" apart) grid using the bold and beautiful Aurifil 50wt #2810 (Turquoise). Then the quilt was finished with a print+solid scrappy binding and measures 36" x 42", where the book's original version measures 60 1/2" x 60 1/2". Most of the book's quilt designs have a flexibility of sizing for using scraps one might have on hand, which really is a bonus.

The genius of Kelly's book is that it takes improvisational piecing and makes it very approachable. And as Kelly points out, her designs in Stash Statement are definitely scrappy, but without the overwhelm that sometimes results. The quilts here provide some uniformity, making them appealing to a wide audience. 'Structured' improv is definitely a good way to become comfortable with it.

Here's a list of all the blog hop stops. Where projects have already been posted, links reflect that. Enjoy the tour through Stash Statement. You can also check out Kelly's version of Regatta!

4/16- Grand Bazaar 

4/23- Louvered 

4/30- Precarious 

5/7- Beach Retreat 

5/14- Fire Pit 

5/21- Detour 

5/28- Murrina 

6/4- Scattered 

6/11- Bloom Chicka Boom 

6/18- Regatta 

6/25- Catch a Falling Star 

7/2- College Prep 

7/9- Take Flight (bonus digital pattern) 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Points

Oh goodness! One glance at this week's Summer Sampler block and I knew I was in for a workout. Points, designed by Kristy/Quiet Play, was inspired by "one of the most iconic places in Australia - the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House." And it was definitely worthy of that inspiration!

I confess I kept telling myself, "the worst is over"... 16(!) segments of paper-piecing, then piecing those together into quadrants and then adding in a curve. That wasn't too bad - I just went pretty slow and am happy enough with the results. THEN came piecing my quadrants together, and for some reason matching up those triangles in that step was the fussiest part. (Read: I had to use my seam ripper a few times.)

That said, I'm happy enough with the result. Perfect? No, but good enough to live with, and I'm loving it with my other blocks.Pretty cool how far-flung the inspiration is for our blocks, don't you think?

Someone asked exactly what Carolyn Friedlander fabrics I am using, and it's just a mix of what is in my stash... selections from Botanics, Doe, Carkai, Friedlander, and Gleaned. Basically a little of this and a little of that - whatever felt right as a grouping. And I'm totally happy with my choice.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Dessert First

Sometime you gotta do what you gotta do, and in this case it was starting a new project with the trimmings from a project I hadn't finished yet. Got that?

Up on the design wall had been my Color Play 'blocks' from the class I took from Tara Faughnan at QuiltCon. They've been waiting patiently for me to finish a few other things, but for some reason when I had a few hours free last weekend, it was the scraps of that project that called to me. And I listened.

With the vague notion of creating a log cabin variation with the 'scraps' paired with some stashed purple, before long I had a design that intrigued me.

For quilting, I perused Jacquie Gering's Walk book, as one does, and decided a Diamond Spiral would suit my creation, so I started in. For thread I'd chosen Aurifil 50wt 2520 (Violet) AGAIN, which was a perfect match in some areas, and a perfectly nice contrast in others.

The quilt ended up at 25" x 26", and again, this kind of impromptu creating was just so satisfying. It didn't hurt that much of the multicolored sections were done for me, but I'll take it.

Fern Royce deserves a little shout-out for calling what I did here for what it was and prompting the quilt's name, Dessert First. Fun times.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Carrying On

Progress on my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World has been slow but sure!

I still haven't gotten into the habit of taking it everywhere I go, so it's usually just the occasional tv-time project, but at least it's still growing, now 20" square.

With the piece larger now, it's much easier to press the back - which in itself is a bit of a reward for all this hand-piecing, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Giza

At first glance, I was a leeetle concerned about this week's Summer Sampler block, Giza. Designed by Faith/Fresh Lemons Quilts and inspired by the Great Pyramids of Egypt, I assumed it would be paper-pieced, and was right there. Let's just say it looks trickier than it was!

One thing I tried this time was using a wooden roller to flatten the seams as I went along, then giving the segment a good press once the piecing was done. It worked really well!

Though the mix of fabrics on this block are a little more out there, I think the blocks look great together. So far so good!

Friday, June 1, 2018


It's my turn to host the Bee Sewcial improv bee this month and I'm kinda excited about the prompt I've settled on. Over the last three plus years, we've been inspired by a shape, by minimalism with meaning, by a season, and even by a food item. And so much more. But as far as I can remember, we have yet to focus on a person. Well that changes now.

photo by Kathy French, courtesy of John French

Enter (I wish!) Gwen Marston. Retired now from teaching, I sadly never had the opportunity to take a class with her, but she's influenced my work a great deal. I 'met' Gwen late in her career - too late to do much other than enjoy a lecture and start collecting her books. And of course be inspired by her and her work.

So I'm asking my bee-mates to create a "sketch" focusing on Gwen's techniques and designs. Gwen is known for her "painterly" use of solids in bold colors and combinations. Rather I'd like us to focus more on shape and composition while minimizing the color. Basically, think red and white. But by red, I mean redS - a variety of them such as the Konas shown below. No orangey-reds or pink.

If you're familiar with Gwen's liberated patchwork style, you'll know exactly the aesthetic I'm after. If inspiration is needed, consider listening to this Crafty Planner podcast, peruse this pin board, or devour a few of Gwen's books: A Common Thread: A Collection of Quilts by Gwen Marston, Minimal Quiltmaking, or if you're lucky enough to have nabbed a copy before the price became exorbitant, 37 Sketches. Make one block, either minimalist or maximalist, but pieced blocks only please.

To those of you who aren't in Bee Sewcial, feel free to explore with us using the hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial, or if nothing else, listen to the aforementioned podcast and get to know Gwen just a bit. Chance is, you'll be as inspired by her as I have been.