Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Bird's Eye Weave

Ya know, when I first saw the Summer Sampler announced, this block was one of the ones that I was really anxious to make. Designed by Heather/Quilt-achusetts, the Bird's Eye Weave block is a lesson in pairing stripes and curves. It was definitely one where basting the seams over the intersections to check placement was a lifesaver. That and using a Sewline Glue Stick (check it out!) on those curves made the block go together quite smoothly. It's one of my favorites so far. Funny thing is, those of us in the quiltalong keep saying that after every block we make. Definitely a sign of a great group of designers. And with the Bird's Eye, we're over halfway through the summer's sewing!

Week 10: Off Kilter [partial seams]
Week 9: Oasis [inset pieced circle]     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]

Monday, July 29, 2019

Oh Scrappy Day

Though participating in Nicholas/@quiltsfromtheattic's Inspiring Improv Instagram Tour was the impetus for starting this quilt, I had no trouble continuing to work on it, I was having so much fun. Creating scrappy slabs has long been a favorite of mine, and as Nicholas says in his new book, Inspiring Improv, "The slab technique is great for using what you have.'

The 'fabric pull' from the scrap basket - blue, gray, tan, and gray, with some low-volume prints and a mix of substrates - is one I'm drawn to time and again. Add in some black and white stripes, and I'm a very happy camper. I had quite a bit of that Carolyn Friedlander Doe grid that I'd trimmed off a quilt back, and it was perfect for both piecing into the quilt as well as a 'border' of sorts.

Let's say I didn't do much planning for the end result here, I just enjoyed the process and let it lead me along. For backing, I chose a length from stash, and then accented it with a strip of improv slab-work to echo the front. This was actually a fun backing to make, and considering the quilt is only 33" x 43", it didn't take elaborate piecing to cover the width, which is always a treat.

When it came time for quilting, I used Aurifil 40wt 2024 [white] to quilt a "Starcrossed" design from Jacquie Gering's book, Walk. Though it provided a less dense effect than I usually quilt, I do really like it, and it was a good challenge while still being enjoyable. For the record, I used a 3" wide ruler to hera-mark my grid lines, and then used a FriXion pen to mark the dots as a sewing guide. That all worked really well.

I used more of the Doe for binding, adding in some special 'matched' bits where the slab piecing ran off the edges of the quilt. I love how the simple grid design is mismatched.

If you weren't able to follow along with the Inspiring Improv Instagram Tour, do consider checking out the #inspiringimprov hashtag, or check back to my first tour post where I listed the participants and linked to their projects. I know you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


Last weekend, I had the chance to enjoy the local Mukilteo Garden & Quilt Tour, a joint venture by Mukilteo Way Garden Club and Mukilteo Lighthouse Quilters. Eight gardens and 152 quilts, the complementary workmanship was a sight to behold. I shared a mini-show over on Instagram earlier in the week, but there was one particular quilt I wanted to share again.

It was the first quilt I saw as I began the tour, and I'm so so glad I took a closer look. It was a yo-yo quilt!

With the unlikely but fitting name of "I Must Have Been Out Of My Mind," it was made by Bunny Cummins, "created over many years and hours of flying and waiting for someone or something." At 79" square, I find it extraordinary.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Off Kilter

This week's Summer Sampler technique is Partial Seams, and they were definitely the easiest part of this block for me. It seems the larger the piece of paper-piecing, the harder time I have, and I had to get out my seam ripper twice on those big HRTs.

But they were fixed easily enough and I was on my way. The block was designed by Faith/Fresh Lemons Quilts (you really should click on over to see her own block!), and it's a favorite. I really like that we got to use so many of our fabrics in this one, and I was able to include that larger-scale plaid. Fun times!

Week 9: Oasis [inset pieced circle]     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]

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....