Monday, August 31, 2020

Summer Lines

Soooo.... after The Original Dropcloth Sampler, and The Red Striped One, I moved right on to Summer Lines. In addition to using #8 perle cotton, I also used a bit of embroidery floss, though I think I'll stick to the perle cotton on the next one.

That aside, I really enjoyed having this sampler at the ready in between quilt bindings and my Stitch Club projects. Measuring 7 1/2" x 9", and with its future use not really of importance right now, I finished it simply with a running stitch and called it done.

And... I'm already working on the next sampler!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Summer Sampler 2020 :: Glimpse

Another week, another Summer Sampler block, and the latest is "Glimpse," designed by Faith/
Fresh Lemons Quilts. It's a nice combination of simple foundation paper piecing for the center, then traditionally pieced units to finish things off.

I especially love that the last couple of blocks have incorporated that stripe in decent-sized chunks, don't you agree? Before long, I'll be piecing a quilt top together!

Week 1: Trellis     Week 2: Infinite Pinwheel
Week 3: Lakeside     Week 4: Tide Pool
Week 5: Brae     Week 6: Convergence
Week 7: Diverge   Week 8: Direction
Week 9: Midsummer     Week 10: Zephyr
Week 11: Swamp Rabbit     Week 12: Orbit

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sticky Sweet

The current Curated Quilts Mini Challenge was a tough one for me. When I heard the theme, "Plus," I was pleased and ready to dive right in. I pulled some solid fabrics from stash for the required palette - mint green, soft pink, peach, grey-blue, and aqua - and mulled over my options. Unfortunately, my vision for a design I loved never really materialized.

I made a fresh start with three different concepts, and none of them really spoke to me. Finally, I forged on with idea #3, realizing that I was working with a very limited supply of the grey-blue fabric, my favorite of the bunch. So it came to me to add the idea #2 blocks as sort of borders, and the idea #3 blocks were easily incorporated into a pieced back. So maybe this little quilt should be named "Conglomerate," eh?

I used Aurifil 50wt #2805 [Light Turquoise] to quilt an echoed curve, and if anything, that helped bring the other elements together. Though said elements weren't a natural fit, the idea of an obvious 'plus' or two along with a handful of less obvious, definitely improv, plusses suited me at least.

And for the binding? The very last inches of the grey-blue matched with the four pastels in their appropriate places made sense at least. The binding, cut at 1 1/2" wide, finished at a precise 1/4". And the mini itself, is 12 5/8"square of maker's perplexity, but sometimes that happens, so I can live with it.

25 mini quilts are selected for each issue's feature, and I don't have high hopes for being chosen. Maybe I'll try my hand another day, maybe this is it. Whatever will be, will be.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Note to Self

When the MQG announced the MQG Modern Classics challenge a while back, I went perusing through the collection of Quilt of the Month patterns and was reminded about Karen/CapitolaQuilter's "Note to Self" from October 2016. Here is the note that accompanies the pattern: "Things don’t have to be complicated to be interesting. One simple block takes on a different look depending on color placement and those shapes immediately surrounding it. Add in one solid square and one pieced block and the impact is quite significant."

I figured 'why not?' and decided then and there to make my own version and promptly ordered Bella Solids in Violet, Petunia, and Mustard. There IS a specified palette for the Modern Classics challenge, though this quilt only needed 3 of the 7 suggested.

The quilt top was a quick sew, though then I unfortunately let it sit for several months. But suddenly last week I was ready to face it, made a pieced quilt back, and then mulled over quilting designs. My first thought - in fact even months ago when the piecing was done - was a tumbler shape, much like I had done with my Modular quilt last year. But then when it was time, I doubted myself, and considered all sorts of other options. I kept coming back to the tumblers though and a variation on that theme finally won out. Echoing some of the quilt's shapes, I settled on a 'tumbler' that was 12" tall, 3/4" at one end, and 3" at the other. It's not my norm, but I hera-marked all of the quilting lines, using a fabric template I'd cut. Not ideal, but it worked just fine, and I was quilting in no time, using Aurifil 50wt #2520 [Violet] thread, which I thought was a perfect choice. It was subtle enough to let the design show through, but just 'fit' the palette well.

I decided to bind very similarly to how Karen had bound her original - with two colors, and matching fabrics at the most major sections.

So, Note to Self finished at 48" square, and as was my plan, I'll be entering it in the special MQG Modern Classics exhibit for QuiltCon Together 2021. Wish me luck!

See more of the MQG Modern Classics here!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Summer Sampler 2020 :: Orbit

You may have noticed that I don't make that many block-based quilts these days. The fact is, I kind of get bored with them. But that's one of the things I enjoy about the Summer Sampler - all the variety.... a new block, a new designer, every week.

This week, it's "Orbit," designed by Erica/Kitchen Table Quilting. I think fabric placement really makes this one, both the fussy-cut center and the 'circular' shape the blocks create. Plus I got to use the Essex Yarn Dyed in Seafoam for the first time, and I love how it anchors the block in the corners.

Hard to believe, just four weeks to go!

Week 1: Trellis     Week 2: Infinite Pinwheel
Week 3: Lakeside     Week 4: Tide Pool
Week 5: Brae     Week 6: Convergence
Week 7: Diverge   Week 8: Direction
Week 9: Midsummer     Week 10: Zephyr
Week 11: Swamp Rabbit

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


For her Bee Sewcial prompt this month, Marci/@marci_girl chose '2020 Pandemic', suggesting we share how Covid has affected us. Yikes. So many feelings! Actually, the prompt was wider than that: "Anything associated with the pandemic this year. A word, a feeling, an image. Really however you want to interpret Coronavirus and what it has done to you personally, our society, the world." 

But my first thought went right to our family, who we've hardly seen, with the few connections being defined by caution and separation. My first block, 13.5" x 14", started with lines representing us in our separate households. The family 'circle' got twisted a bit, with connections still being made, they just look very different.

Marci also had suggested that we could make a 'quarter Covid' block as one of our responses to her 2020 Pandemic prompt. It took me two tries, basically because I messed up on the background fabric on the first, but even I am really happy with the second. It measures 12.5" x 12.5", and I'd be inclined to make more if it wasn't what it was. But it gave me some ideas for some other fun shapes, so I'm looking forward to exploring those.

Check out the Bee Sewcial hashtag if you'd like to see more of the bee's work - there are even a couple of new quilt finishes!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Stitch Club :: Couching

So the Stitch Club adventures continue, with August focusing on couching. I already had some experience with this basic embroidery stitch, but there are variations to enhance it, and one thing I hadn't done was to do it using different weight yarns. Luckily Alison Glass had some yarn sets available in her shop, so that made it nice and easy to try some out.

My first project used Mariner Cloth as a stitching base-cloth, and that worked extremely well. With my stitched piece, I made a big ole 5" pincushion. I considered a variety of styles, but decided the most basic would be best, considering all the fancy stitches. I kinda love it.

Then I had another - much larger - project in mind. But after couching on a pretty good-sized piece of Kaleidoscope in Iris, I realized I'd rather make more smaller projects instead. SO I cut it up and first made another flex case using the pattern in Aneela Hoey's Stitch & Sew.

Lastly, I finished up with a Streamliner Pouch, a new-to-me pattern by Elnora Chambers/@elnorac. Gotta say, I love this simple little pouch with its rounded corners, and it went together in no time. I'll definitely keep it in mind for the future.

So that was really enjoyable, and I'm glad I got to try couching in a variety of new ways. Stitching over yarn probably won't be something I do alot of, but it's good to have done it. Trying various stitching techniques is what Stitch Club is all about, and gotta say, I'm loving it.

If you missed my previous Stitch Club projects, you'll find them here and here. A quick glance at my projects can be found here.

Thursday, August 13, 2020


So the quilt top that was pieced and hanging on my design wall when I got distracted and made Sidetrack is finally finished. Begun as a gray 'scrappy strings' quilt, it evolved a bit to include black and white and tan, as well as just a few subtle gold-laced prints towards the end. I actually thought of making the gold even more visible, but at some point let that idea go.

What took the most time was the 'block construction' - sewing strips together over and over again, cutting some of the lengths, and just playing with layout on the design wall. And then when I was ready to move forward, a quick pieced quilt back gave me some momentum again.

The best fun in making this one actually came through the quilting, which isn't something I often can say. I used two Aurifil 50wt threads - #2975 [Brass] and #2620 [Stainless Steel], varying grid densities from nearly matchstick to 1/2", 1", 1 1/2" and 2".

The most dense was done in the gold thread, slightly off from center. At first I had in mind to create a few of these dense spots around the quilt, but the one didn't show up as well as I'd imagined, so I just left it there. Then I traveled around the quilt with the gray, quilting each 'side' a different density. Not sure how well that shows itself off in the photos, but in person, I think it adds alot of interest to the quilt.

Due to the different densities, the quilt's edges were quite wavy when quilting was complete - too wavy. So I did what I've rarely done - I blocked the quilt before trimming and binding. Rather than totally dunk the quilt, I sprayed both sides pretty well with my spray bottle, then laid it out on the floor and pinned it 'square' and left it overnight. That helped a whole lot.

The trimmed quilt finished at 45" x 47", and was bound in Kona Pewter. The orientation in the first photo was what I had in mind as 'right,' as that's how I built it on the design wall. But considering it got turned during its photoshoot, you can see if you like it better this way. <wink>

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Summer Sampler 2020 :: Swamp Rabbit

The name of this block definitely needs an explanation....and that is that it's named after a biking and walking tail near the home of designer Cheryl/Meadow Mist Designs. I liked it well enough when I saw it was part of the Summer Sampler 2020 sewalong, but after making it, I'm pretty smitten. 

It was fun to construct, and I really love how many different fabrics it uses, including a stripe I used for the first time. Do you see it?

Week 1: Trellis     Week 2: Infinite Pinwheel
Week 3: Lakeside     Week 4: Tide Pool
Week 5: Brae     Week 6: Convergence
Week 7: Diverge   Week 8: Direction
Week 9: Midsummer     Week 10: Zephyr

Monday, August 10, 2020

Flex Case + Petunia Pouch

Recently, I wanted to make a small gift, and when looking around for something I hadn't made before, I came across the Flex Case in Aneela Hoey's Stitch & Sew: Beautifully Embroider 31 Projects. I was drawn to it by the hand-stitching, and measuring 4 1/2" x 8" x 3/8", I at first thought it was an eyeglass case. And it could indeed be used as that, though its size might be somewhat generous. So I think it could be much more functional than that. 

I used Wash Away Stitch Stabilizer to mark where my handwork would go, and that worked really well. I had used something similar years ago so it was a bit déjà vu, and the stitching was enjoyable, making it up as I went.

Using Indigo Essex Yarn Dyed for the base cloth gave the case some nice structure. And installing my very first bag frame clasp was a cinch - who knew!?

Then this last weekend, I needed a quick finish, just because. Trying Svetlana/SOTAK Handmade's Petunia Pouch had been on my to-do list ever since she published it, so that seemed a logical choice. And it was an enjoyable and pretty quick sew! 

I hit pay dirt with the scallop print from Carolyn's Harriot for the pouch exterior. After making the pouch once, I know next time how I'd adjust the placement of that scallop a little better, but still. I think it's an inspired choice for this pouch. Though you can barely see it, the lining of the bag is from the Doe collection - I love how nicely Carolyn's different lines mix and match so well.

So both of those projects I'd made again.... and maybe I have [wink]. Very fun little makes.

Friday, August 7, 2020

July Fabric Usage

I don't exactly know what to say about July. I brought in a few yards of fabric and didn't give a thought about taking a photo. You got to see just a bit of it in one of my Sashiko projects, but most of it got added to the still unknown project stack that I mentioned last month. I need to just buckle down and decide what I'm doing with it, though I think I finally have a clue. Here's my me-made bundle so far....
But I did use a good amount of stash, mostly on small projects. And I guess not every month needs to be monumental. It's just good I'm still heading in the right direction, right?

July Fabric Usage
Used up: 11.11 yards
Brought in: 5 yards
Net: -6.11 yards
Year to date: -77.425 yards

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Summer Sampler 2020 :: Zephyr

Well this week's block was especially fun. Super quick with big easy quarter circle curves and HSTs. It's a design from Katie/swim bike quilt and I think it's a great addition to my Summer Sampler 2020 quilt!

Week 1: Trellis     Week 2: Infinite Pinwheel
Week 3: Lakeside     Week 4: Tide Pool
Week 5: Brae     Week 6: Convergence
Week 7: Diverge   Week 8: Direction
Week 9: Midsummer

Monday, August 3, 2020


I was making really good progress on my latest scrap quilt. In fact I had finished the top, made a pieced back, and even had it basted with a quilting plan in mind. And then as I was clearing off my cutting board to make way for the quilting process, I stopped a few feet from the scrap basket with my hands full of the project leftovers, and made a pause. As in I retraced my steps back to my cutting board, and started arranging the odds and ends, with a new idea forming.

Seriously, I had meant only to sew a few pieces together to see if I liked where it was going. In fact, I did very much, and before I knew it, I had a small quilt top pieced (24" x 25"). I stopped when all the gray 'leftovers' were used up, though I would have happily carried on if there had been more. The gold and browns were ones I had planned to incorporate into the ahem, 'current' project, but had not. Then the neutral scraps were new to this party, but were nearby as always, and invited in to help pull the new design together.

A pieced back went together in no time, as you can imagine. I love that small quilts such as this also baste up so quickly and easily. Soon I was in the midst of quilting a wonky improv spiral, and even that didn't take long.

Figured I might as well just sit and bind the thing.... 1) cause I was enjoying moving right on through the process so much, and 2) the sooner this was finished, the sooner I'd be back to the 'real' project at hand. So this little one was totally unplanned, but I guess it's what I needed. Whatever, it pretty much made my day, and I'm not going to complain about that!

P. S. I've shown it both ways and am curious which orientation you prefer - the gray bits at the top - or bottom. Let me know in the comments!