Friday, July 19, 2019

Just Walking Along

Jacquie Gering's Walk book has been a resource for me for a couple of years now, and I see her Walk 2.0 is coming 'soon.' Since I'm primarily a walking-foot quilter, I've thoroughly enjoyed finding new designs to try on some of my projects. AND I thought it might be fun to round-up which ones I've tried. So I'll just show a quick glimpse of each, with a link to the full project posts.

Diagonal Grid with Gentle Curves

Echoing In


Diamond Spiral

Fancy Straight Line

Diagonal Orange Peel

Radiating Diamond

Crosshatch Mashup

Sectioned Curves

Tower of Triangles

So I'm well-versed enough on regular straight-line, matchstick quilting, organic straight-line, and a basic grid. But do you have any other go-to walking-foot designs you love? We'd love to here about them in the comments!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Oasis

OH. my. goodness! This week's Summer Sampler theme is Inset Pieced Circle, and it's a doozy. In the best way possible, that is! I've done a single inset circle once or twice with moderate success, but anything with glue kind of gives me pause. At any rate, I survived, and am happy to tell about it.

The block design is by Stephanie Ruyle of Spontaneous Threads, actually one of my Bee Sewcial mates. And I've long admired Stephanie's knack for inset shapes. I wavered from her block instructions just a tiny bit by using my circle rotary cutter instead of a paper template when it made sense, and I'm glad I did.

My 'ring' turned out imperfectly perfect (my choice of outlook), and I think it would have been even more wobbly if I'd done otherwise. But overall, the technique is great, Stephanie's instructions spot-on, and imperfect or not, the block design is impressive, I think. Definitely worth the effort. And that diagonal? Totally makes the block.

So.... we're nine blocks in - not quite halfway - and I'm loving where this is going.

Week 8: Fierce [tiny piecing]
Week 7: Sparkler [transparency]     Week 6: Cul de Sac [curves]
Week 5: Rope Twist [paper-piecing]     Week 4: Victorian Tile [nested seams]
Week 3: Curious Crossing [improvisational piecing]
 Week 2: Pixelations [half-square triangles]     Week 1: Spring Fever [precision piecing]

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Inspiring Improv

I'd been following Nicholas/@quiltsfromtheattic over on Instagram for a while and admiring his work long before I heard he had a book coming out. A lover of improvisational quilting, like myself, I was pleased when I was able to pick up a preview copy of his Inspiring Improv at QuiltCon. I was immediately a fan.

"Warholian Cabbage" - Photos of book projects courtesy of @luckyspool.

One of the great things about Nicholas’ book is that it’s technique-based, with each being so well-explained, with plenty of diagrams. The focus is on six techniques - curves, inserts, rings, slabs, stacks, and triangles - all key skills to have in your improv toolkit.


So you can explore from there on your own, or choose one of 12 quilt projects as an opportunity for guided improv. Nicholas’ designs highlight how the various techniques can be combined, which is cool. All very good stuff!


So obviously, when Nicholas asked if I’d like to join his Inspiring Improv Instagram Tour, I was more than pleased and said YES immediately.

The technique I chose to dabble with for the tour was Slabs, which are so great and highly versatile. They are so conducive to scraps, and as Nicholas says, “the possibilities are endless.” Though Nicholas uses the slab technique in several of the quilts in his book [such as the three quilts shown above], I also enjoy using it more randomly… basically creating with very little forethought, making slabs and putting several together just to see what evolves as I go.

For my current project, I chose to use scraps in blue, gray, tan, & gray, including some low-volume prints and a mix of substrates. Minimalism isn’t my first inclination when building a design like this, but it’s always a lot of fun. “There are no hard and fast rules, so expect some trial and error.” Those are Nicholas’ words, but I echo them whole-heartedly.

So whether you’re new at improv, or it’s your primary sewing language, you’ll find inspiration in Inspiring Improv. From planning to piecing to puzzling it all together, Nicholas’ book really is a comprehensive primer on creating improvisationally.

Throughout the tour, you'll get a really good glimpse of the techniques, so I'm just going to list the round-up of makers here so we can all find them easily over the next two weeks. Meanwhile, I'll be working on finishing up my work-in-progress!

July 15 ~ Mathew Boudreaux/@misterdomestic
July 16 ~ Debbie Jeske/@aquilterstable
July 17 ~ Jo Avery/@mybearpaw
July 18 ~ Karen Lewis/@karenlewistextiles
July 19 ~ Kate Basti/@katebasti
July 20 ~ Latifah Saafir/@latifahsaafirstudios
July 21 ~ Chris English/@afullenglish
July 22 ~ Anne Marshall/@madewithmadness
July 23 ~ Rebecca Bryan/@bryanhousequilts
July 24 ~ Katy Jones/@imagingermonkey
July 25 ~ Nydia Kehnle/@nydiak
July 26 ~ Nicole Daksiewicz/@modernhandcraft
July 27 ~ Lucy Brennan/@charmaboutyou
July 28 ~ Sarah Thomas/@sariditty

Monday, July 15, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Fierce

I may have gulped when I saw that last week's Summer Sampler emphasis was on tiny piecing. I needn't have worried though. The block, "Fierce," was designed by Kitty/nightquilter, and her pattern was flawless.

That's not to say that first very tiny (1 7/8"!!!) star block didn't take some serious focus. I certainly wasn't the only one to experience it as the smallest block we'd ever paper-pieced. The second star, using the tiny one as its center, was still pretty small (4 1/2") but not as fiddly. And I'll confess I swapped out the print from my swatch card, and I'm really glad I did, as the scale of the planned one just wouldn't have worked as well. 

I wasn't sure about the fabric used for those center points in the largest star, but all I had to do was get out a couple of my previous blocks and I was satisfied. Nothing like a little reassurance to keep you going.

Week 7: Sparkler [transparency]     Week 6: Cul de Sac [curves]
Week 5: Rope Twist [paper-piecing]     Week 4: Victorian Tile [nested seams]
Week 3: Curious Crossing [improvisational piecing]
 Week 2: Pixelations [half-square triangles]     Week 1: Spring Fever [precision piecing]

Saturday, July 13, 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long :: Q3 List

Well it's time to face a new Finish-A-Long quarter! Thankfully I have just a couple of projects to finish up, since I'm really trying to leave some time for spontaneous sewing. Plus, I'm knee-deep in the Summer Sampler sew-along, and that will continue throughout this quarter and takes some dedicated time each week. So....

#1 is my Bee Sewcial Modular quilt. All the blocks from my bee-mates are here, so I just need to get inspired to start puzzling them together.

And #2 is a brand new one. It's Erica/@kitchentablequilting's brain-child. and I loved it the minute I saw it. Considering I've often chosen to make a scrap quilt over the summer, it didn't take long to plan my own Plaid-ish. I've only gotten as far as cutting up scraps - and that's not even done yet - but it's a start!

So hopefully those two can get finished up. Cuz there's so much more to make!

Linking up with 2019 Finish-A-Long Q3.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long :: Q2 Finishes

For some strange reason, both of my Q2 Finish-A-Long finishes were done in June, within days of the finish deadline. What's with that? Hard to say, but at least I got them done! 

First was Timeless, my Pantone challenge quilt. When the quarter started, I had fabric chosen, but that was about it.

My choice of the improvisational hourglass block was a satisfying one, and even though my palette was quite unique for me, I find it intriguing. My biggest lesson with this one was the transformation made by adding in plenty of tone-on-tone blocks. That really changed the quilt from something I liked well enough to something I love.

Then, I finally faced finishing my Courthouse Colour Play quilt, begun in a class with Krista Hennebury back in April.

I'd finished the quilt top shortly after class was over, but it took me until the deadline was looming before I got motivated to get it basted and quilted. SO glad that motivation happened along just in the nick of time!

Sadly, I didn't even touch my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World. I think I might as well try and face it again once fall arrives. So I'll settle for two out of three and start thinking about what to put on my Q3 list!

These projects were on my 2019 Q2 Finish-A-Long list! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Gifted Handmade

Last month when I made an On-the-Go Project Bag from Svetlana Sotak's That Handmade Touch, I told you it was my new favorite. So when I needed a handmade gift recently, I happily made another.

For fabric, I was glad to find I still had enough of this floral from Anna Graham's Forage fabric in my stash. I used another Forage print for the contrasting bottom, and one of Carolyn Friedlander's Harriot yarn-dyeds for the lining. Leather handles, once again, were from a 3/4" wide 56" length from Anna Graham's shop. This bag's shape and size (and those handles!) are really a nice combo, and I doubt this will be my last one.

For another handmade gift, I looked to 50 Little Gifts and chose the Fabric Basket designed by Jennifer/@EllisonLane. At 6" x 5" x 4", it's a sweet size, and has a fun and unique construction method. That hand-stitching, which was done with Auriful wool 12wt #8021, is actually what holds the basket together - decorative AND practical.

I liked it well enough that I dug back in my Cotton +Steel collection and found more coordinating prints and drafted a slightly smaller basket.

You'll have to look really closely (I probably should have used contrasting thread) but on the second basket, I hand-stitched X's, which I love.

So once again, it feels good to gift handmade....

Monday, July 8, 2019


Whew! Finished my Courthouse Colourplay quilt just in the nick of time to link up with Q2 of the Finish-A-Long! Begun in a workshop with Krista Hennebury and Seattle MQG back in April, it took me just a few weeks to finish the top. And then it sat.

There's always something else to do when it comes to a quilt top needing basting. I let the weeks roll by, occupying myself with other projects, then suddenly, it was nearly July, and time was of the essence.

I rummaged through my stash for backing fabrics, and didn't find any prints that worked. Then it suddenly dawned on me that I should use the leftover solids from the quilt top. oh yeah! That's what really set the finishing of this quilt in motion. A simple color-blocked backing was perfect.

I really loved seeing Krista's samples at our workshop, and the quilting she had done on hers was perfect for the quilt design. I'd planned to follow her lead, but the thought of free-motion quilting just plain stymied me, so I opted for another route. But seriously, isn't Krista's quilting a wonderful match for the quilt design?

Used by permission 

So anyway, drawing from Jacquie Gering's Walk, I chose her Tower of Triangles design. What's really unique about this one (at least to me) was that back-stitching was an integral part of the quilting design. That part was fun! I had hera-marked vertical lines every 3" across the quilt, then went back to fill in the columns with the triangles. There was still quite a bit of adjusting the quilt under the needle to get the angles needed, so that was a little tiring, but that said, I'm really very pleased with the overall look and the texture is beyond amazing.

For thread, I used Aurifil 50wt #1231 [Spring Green] which felt very brave on my part, but totally worked. It nestled right in on the brighter green fabrics, and added subtle interest to the other colors. I especially liked it on the light blue, above.

After my first photoshoot with the finished quilt, I realized it was too sunny to get the photos I wanted, but they still show off the quilted texture really well!

Binding was made with two blue/teal solids, also left over from block construction, and just for fun, I included a pieced bit over on the right edge, mirroring the pieced sections throughout the quilt. It finished at 52" x 54", and I am so so pleased with it! I'd been wanting to try Krista's technique for ages, so it's good to have now done that.

Even though my hopes for a fancier photo shoot didn't work out, I kinda like this final shot, taken in our backyard garden. Rain spout, dryer vent, hose and all, it's all very real, isn't it? For today, that feels just about right.

This project was on my 2019 Finish-A-Long Q2 List and I'm linking up my finish!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Begonia :: July

Round by round, it's growing!! Now 48 1/2" square with this month's row added, my Seattle MQG Begonia quilt continues to be a bright spot in my month. I think I mentioned that our hostess, Stefanie/@satterwhitequiltshas included HST assignments each month to equal out the construction load, so I still need to catch up on making my June and July blocks which will be used in future rows. But I'll squeeze that in-between other projects and trust I'll be more than ready once August arrives.

Check out the #begoniaquilt hashtag to see more!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Modular in Multiple

It happens every time! After a new Bee Sewcial prompt is announced, you have to give your bee mates a few weeks to be inspired, find a bit of focused time, sew their blocks of course, and get them in the mail. And then comes the big day you've been waiting for.... when all the blocks have been returned to you! 

You may remember that the prompt I gave my mates in May was "Modular." You can read all about it here. To say I'm pleased with the result of all their creative ways is an understatement. I have no idea yet where I'll take this project next, but I'm looking forward to it, and meanwhile, I'm perfectly happy to gaze at them all up on my design wall.

Makers are all tagged in the screenshot above: Karen/capitolaquilter, M-R/quiltmatters, Leanne/shecanquilt, Stephanie/spontaneousthreads, Ken/thekinglacker, Felicity/felicityquilts, Silvia/astrangerview, Marci/marci_girl.... every one an inspiration to me!


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Sparkler

Oh goodness! I'll admit I was a little apprehensive about facing this week's Summer Sampler block, but I needn't have been. Designed by Yvonne/quiltingjetgirl, it was no surprise that the focus of her Sparkler block would be transparency. That's one of the skills she is known for. She gave us helpful hints on choosing fabric, which was great, though working with a pre-determined palette and fabrics, I found myself conflicted somewhat. I did switch out one fabric, borrowing its swatch card neighbor, and I think that was a good decision. For instance, the fabric I would have used in place of the light blue fabric shown was a print with several colors that seemed to muddy the transparent effect. So it was good to be a little flexible.

Now what I really want to show off are those points!! I'm not sure I've ever gotten them more precise with paper-piecing. And it's all due to a tip I've used over the last few months (since I heard about it!), and I was glad to see Yvonne mentioned it too, because it really makes a huge difference. It's a little trick where you sew/baste a few long stitches over those intersections that are tricky to match up. I use a 4.0 stitch length, and sometime I pin, but on this block I just held each intersection with my fingers. Then you remove your block from your machine and check how well you did. If great, then move the stitch length back to 2.0 and stitch the seam. But if not, just do a little tug to remove the stitches and try again. That technique helped SO much with this block, as there were many places that needed matching.

SO! I'm super pleased with my Sparkler block! What I thought would be really challenging was actually a relaxed, enjoyable sew once I had the fabrics sorted. Yay.

Week 6: Cul de Sac [curves]
Week 5: Rope Twist [paper-piecing]     Week 4: Victorian Tile [nested seams]
Week 3: Curious Crossing [improvisational piecing]
 Week 2: Pixelations [half-square triangles]     Week 1: Spring Fever [precision piecing]