Thursday, September 30, 2021

September Fabric Usage

It's been a good month! Working on a variety of WIPs, I really wasn't needing or wanting to purchase any fabric until it dawned on me that October was right around the corner and it would be fun to make some new seasonal pillowcases for our granddaughters. 

It was a nice little diversion. I used the pattern from Twiddletails. It's straight-forward, with a wonderful French seam finish. Just plan for more fabric if you use a directional print like I invariably do.

Other than that, I've been working away at those WIPs, had a few small quilt finishes, and I'm pretty confident I'll have another quilt top (or two) to share before long. High hopes for October!

September Fabric Usage
Used up: 17.3 yards
Brought in: 5.5 yards
Net: -11.8 yards
Year to date: -15.2 yards

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

WIP Update

So almost a month ago, I posted about my then-current WIP list of six quilts. I've definitely make some good progress, and hope you don't mind my reporting in. 

1. Summer Sampler 2021 :: Haven't touched this one, but will need to settle on sashing fabrics and get them ordered. Since I'm choosing to (sorta) restrict my fabric purchases, I'll do that when the time comes.

2. Bee Sewcial fine-line pieced blocks :: One morning I woke up with a vision, and have found that the puzzling hasn't been that bad. There's been both some 'sashing' and block piecing necessary, but overall I'm feeling really good about this one. A ways to go, but I'm steadily working on it!

3. House Top blocks :: This one has been hard to resist. When I haven't had much time or focus, these blocks have been perfect. As the scrap sizes have been whittled down, I've pulled from stash just a bit - grabbing from the small (less than fat-quarter) pieces I keep there. In doing so, the palette has lightened up a little, which I think will work out fine in the long run. So I'm shooting for 72 blocks and I've got 60 made! Here's the latest 25.

4. QuiltCon Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge :: Oh yeah. Big success here. Striped Much is my challenge entry and also fit for the Connected Stripes Challenge. This one was a joy to create once I buckled down and got to it.

And then I got a bonus, choosing to deal with the scraps in the moment rather than tossing them in the scrap basket. Sequel was the happy result, and felt like a little respite from all things stressful. Scraps, improv, dense grid quilting, matched binding - I let this one encompass much of what I love about quilting.

5. Bowtie blocks :: These blocks are still safely set aside until the design wall is clear, so I can figure out a layout. Looking forward to more hand-piecing in my future, and seeing if 100 blocks will do or if I need to make more.

6. Seattle MQG Salsa Medallian BOM [aka my own Pantone challenge] :: I said this one would be the simplest and quickest to finish, so I did just that. Some Like It Medium was just what I needed to get me working through my list.

So two WIPs down, a bonus project, and two with major progress. I better get back to it!

Friday, September 24, 2021

At the Table

Coming right out and saying it.... I have a new foodie obsession. OK, I've only made them twice, but I'm scouring the internet for recipes and plotting when I can make them again. I'm talking about popovers.

The recipe that spoke to me so loudly that I went to purchase a popover pan in the first place was Half Baked Harvest's Parmesan Popovers with Crispy Sage Garlic Butter. Sage is one of the most prolific plants in our herb garden right now, so I know that was part of it. But also, popovers had been an enigma to me for ages. If I'd ever had them, I didn't remember, and on an impulse, I decided to find out more.

Let's just say that first batch of popovers was soooo tasty! A little breadier than I'd expected, and I later found out why. It's of vital importance to have the empty pan in the oven as it heats up. Somehow I'd missed that little detail. But no bother, they were still eye-rolling, lip-smacking good.

So my next try was again a HBH recipe, Salted Rosemary Popovers with Honey Butter. Oh yeah. Another trip out to the herb garden, some of our favorite Maldon flaked salt, and honey butter. This batch 'popped' a little better, and again, with a very happy and delicious result.

So. Have you tried them? Do tell! And if you have a recipe I should try, I'd love to hear about it, because I've been thinking about the next batch all week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


Guilty. Seriously, I had no intention whatsoever of starting a new project right on the heels of my QuiltCon 2022 Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge project, Striped Much. You know I've got a list of wips to work on, and I fully intended to get on with it. But there I was gathering the scraps of Striped Much into a pile to toss into the scrap basket, and the fleeting thought came to me.... just see what they can become right NOW. 

Since it was one of those weekends where my days allowed for that, I went ahead and started with the one pieced stripe section I had, and as if on instinct, it became the center of an improv log cabin 'block.' I had several long pieced strips from the backing of Striped Much after post-quilting trimming, and those began to wind themselves around the center. I especially enjoyed the secondary shapes that I was able to create.

At one point, I cut a few binding strips so I'd have them when I needed them, and kept piecing, until there wasn't enough for another side. And then it was time for quilting. Some fun quilting was definitely in order, and I quickly decided on a dense angled grid. They never disappoint, and it certainly didn't this time either. 

The little quilt measures just 13" x 17", but the amount of creative delight it provided was huge. Each of my seven cuts of Artisan Cotton are represented, though just one small piece of the Coral / Aqua made it in - part of that center striped section I started with. And just for the record, I pieced the upper stripes out of the smallest scraps to echo those in the center. In the end, I used all but a few inches of these beautiful fabrics. Mission accomplished.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Striped Much

Just for fun, I decided to combine the QuiltCon 2022 Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge sponsored by Windham Fabrics with the Connected Stripes Challenge. Of course for fabric, I needed to use Windham Fabrics Artisan Cotton, a cross-dyed quilter-weight cotton that reads as a solid. According to the Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge Rules, I needed to use at least 3 of the 4 challenge fabrics. 

Challenge Fabrics

  • 40171-68 Wine / Pink
  • 40171-47 Coral / Aqua
  • 40171-35 Aqua / Blue
  • 40171-12 Blue / Orchid

I opted to leave out the Orchid in making the front, but you'll see it on the back of my challenge quilt. We could add specific Windham Artisan Cotton neutrals, and I chose three.

Neutral Fabrics

  • 40171-1 Charcoal / White
  • 40171-55 Taupe / Light Grey
  • 40171-27 Black / Copper

I was able to find a good selection of these fabrics at Crimson Tate, which was great, as I already knew them to have good, quick service.

For the Connected Stripes Challenge, I basically just needed to make something with stripes, post progress on Instagram, and have it completed by October 3. Perfect! To start, I made a big ole striped slab. And then I made another.

I had in mind to create something reminiscent of Loosely Connected, but on a larger scale. The nested striped triangles went well enough, though what you see below - the finished top before quilting - is not quite what the finished quilt looks like. But those side gray edges at least gave me a close enough view of the end result to start in on quilting.

For the back, I used the largest leftover pieces of Artisan Cotton, plus 'scraps' from my first go at 'borders' for the front. Yeah, I was going for too similar a look to Loosely Connected, and it ended up the scale just wasnt right. So onto the back they went.

For quilting, I used Aurifil 50wt 2605 [medium gray] and 1125 [medium teal], echo-stitching inside of each triangle. On the gray edges, I marked triangles with my Hera marker, then echo-stitched inside of them too.

Once quilted and I went to square it up, the gray sides just didn't want to square up evenly. So the right one decided to be a triangle, which fit in, especially since I had quilted it as one. The more I look at it, the more I like the unexpected proportions. 

The binding had to be in an Artisan Cotton Challenge fabric or neutral listed above, and I chose Charcoal/White, with just a few inches of Aqua/Blue for some matched binding on the blue triangle. The quilt measures 23.5" x 32.5" and was a fun little foray, using a palette that I may not have otherwise chosen. But love the crisp finish of those Artisan Cottons, and how nicely they quilt up.

Monday, September 13, 2021


Oh this was a fun one! My ninth Dropcloth sampler, I know when I finished my last one, Paisley, I said I thought that would be it for a while; and in a way, considering it was three months ago, it was. I had no idea the Picnic Stitch Along was in my future, but it came at a perfect time. 

Begun on August 22, Picnic took just about three weeks to stitch, with a little stitching done nearly every evening. It even went on a couple of day trips, and it felt good to take my stitching out and about for a change. It had been a long time since I'd done that.

Unlike any of my previous samplers, I used a pre-chosen selection of #8 Wonderfil perle cotton, a delightful collection chosen by Rebecca Ringquist herself. That in itself was a fun change of pace. They were all variegated threads, which I have come to love. The design itself was about 8" square, and just four key stitches were used - the backstitch, straight stitch, French knots; and finally, some couching to finish it off. 

Oh and here's a picture of the back, for those that like such things. Can't say I worried much about that... ha.

Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed stitching Picnic! Kinda sad it's done, and seeing that Rebecca has some new sampler designs coming out this fall, I highly doubt it will be my last.

Friday, September 10, 2021

About those House Top Blocks

In several postings, both here and on Instagram lately, what folks have really loved (and wanted more of) has been the House Top blocks... scrappy and pure fabric play. They aren't my priority quite yet, but in response to questions about them, I thought I'd at least share a little more.

I was recently drawn to them as I was thumbing through Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley: May 15-November 6, 2011, a book my daughter, Rachel/@snippetsofsnippets, purchased for me when she was fortunate enough to view the exhibit. It was in this book that I found inspiration for Octo, and I was perusing it again for ideas for my overflowing scraps. There I found a couple of House Top quilts. A name new to me, it's basically a variation of the Log Cabin, and in the example I was drawn to [made in Mississippi in the 1920s], every block was improvisational, each different from the others.

These were not nice, neat, matchy-matchy blocks, but obviously pieced from a wide variety of fabrics, with 'logs' of various sizes. It was enough to get me started, and even though some of the blocks I've made so far are much controlled than the blocks that inspired them, I think they have the same flavor.

A tutorial doesn't seem like a good fit for these blocks, but I will share some of the approach I'm using as I construct them. Mine are all 9" unfinished; no good reason why, as obviously they could be any size. This size is seeming to work well with my scraps.

This first one's as basic as they come.... a scrap as the center, then two rounds of 'borders.' Note that the width of neither round is consistent, but it works. I cut the edges of the scraps to make straight seams, and sewed them to opposite sides of the center, then trimmed the edges and continued on.

This next one is much like the first, but with a fussy-cut center. I don't expect to fussy-cut many centers, but if the scrap calls for it, why not?

The one below has three rounds of borders, due to the skinniness of the scraps. Obviously with the dark round I didn't quite have enough to go all the way around, so I filled in with a coordinating print.

Not quite as neat as the previous example, I pieced the outer border on this one as needed to make it fit around. I could have used that fabric for a shorter border round, but what would be the fun in that?

For the one below, I used one fabric for two sides of the outer round, and another for the other two. The piecing order obviously wasn't the same as in the previous blocks, but that's improv. Note that for the blue round, the widths of the logs are none the same.

It might be difficult to tell, but in the block below, the stripes are all pieced scraps. It's fun to incorporate your pieced bits into other scrappy projects.

So there's a few of my first blocks. Hopefully that gives you an idea how easy and satisfying these blocks can be. I'll probably be working on these between other projects, but be sure and let me know if you have any questions, ok?

Monday, September 6, 2021

Some Like It Medium

This year's Seattle MQG block of the month, Salsa Medallion, has been a very enjoyable one, though I started late and am ending early. That wasn't intentional, but it is how it's worked out, and I think that's ok. I have no excuse for my late start, but I do know that I chose to finish now because I have a long list of TO DOs, and this one was the smallest thing on my list. Plus it suited my mood and time this last weekend. Made perfect sense to me at least.

One additional thing of note with this project, is that I chose to make it my personal Pantone Color of the Year challenge. So in focusing on Illuminating and Ultimate Gray, my key fabrics have been Kona Highlight and Cotton Couture Pewter, with Kona Punch added in as an accent. I also added in some stripes, a couple of other grays and yellows, and a few random scraps, including one lone piece of a  print by Yoshiko Jinzenji.

The monthly BOM blog posts themselves have been a wealth of information, each focusing on a specific element, while offering mild, medium, or spicy options every month, to go along with the salsa theme. These posts are available to anyone, so if you're interested in medallion quilts, or any of the techniques I've used, you might check them out

So once some general Planning was done, we focused on LinesTriangles, our Focal Block, a Text Message, the overall Design FrameworkCurves, and finally, Diamonds. September was to be the month to actually sew all your blocks into a quilt top, but I had decided early on to do that as I went. Considering my quilt top was small (26.5" x 31.5"), quilting and binding didn't take long, thus I was able to finish mine pretty quickly, and am now free to move on to the next project on the list.

One quick glance and you can see that mine is not a typical medallion quilt. Though I did begin with an improvisational Rocky Mountain Puzzle block as my center, most rounds after consisted of at least two, if not more, of the monthly techniques. Not sure why I decided to do that, but it became my own little challenge, and I knew it would help keep my finish on the smaller side. As I worked on the curves prompt, I made some New York Beauty blocks using a tutorial by Matt Macomber, that we had used for giving quilts last year. And in placing them up on the design wall, I realized that I liked them on the side with the "2021" better than I did my original cornerstones. Nothing a little time with the seam ripper couldn't fix. That didn't leave much room for diamonds; in fact I made the two I did out of scraps from earlier in the process. 

The backing was pieced with a few lone blocks and other leftovers from the front, featuring only the pair of Pantone colors. For quilting, I did an angled grid using Aurifil 50wt 2625 [Arctic Ice], which matched that Cotton Couture Pewter quite well. I wasn't too sure about that dark gray going over the punch and white fabrics; but in the end, I really like the effect, and the angles really seem to suit the graphic nature of the quilt's many shapes and angles.

Sincere thanks to our guild president, Katie/@sadiesews, for the comprehensive resources she's provided as we've worked our way through the block of the month this year. I know she's working on a post now for the assembly step, and though I skipped ahead, I'm really looking forward to seeing more of my guild mates' finished quilts. You can too at hashtag #SeaMQGSalsaBom.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Current WIPs

It's not often that I have this many quilts on the WIP list, so honestly, I'm not super thrilled about it. But the fact remains there is significant work left to bring any of them to a finish, so I'm debating just how to go about that. Here's what I've got going and what I'm thinking about each one:

1. Summer Sampler 2021 :: You know all about this one, and though the finishing instructions will be released soon, I already know it's going on the back burner. I just feel more of an urgency about some of the others. But stay tuned, it'll be back!

2. Bee Sewcial fine-line pieced blocks :: In a perfect world, I'd dive right into this one, and I just may, though I know A LOT of puzzling and improv piecing will be in order. This one will definitely require the most from me.

3. House Top blocks :: This was a random scrappy project and I may try to squeeze in a few blocks amongst the other projects. But then again, I see this one as purely play, and though I have a pile of scraps set aside for it, we'll just have to see.

4. QuiltCon Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge :: Yeah, this one is on a timeline, more than all the others, and I don't even have an idea yet! Though I MAY combine it with the upcoming Connected Stripes Challenge. In fact, the more I think about it, the better that sounds!

5. Bowtie blocks :: These blocks - all 100 of them - are hand-sewn, so I feel that the quilt top should be as well. The main problem currently, is my design wall is filled with those Bee Sewcial blocks, so until those come down, these can't really go up. So I'm kind of planning this as a fall evening handwork project, once I can settle on a layout.




6. Seattle MQG Salsa Medallian BOM [aka Pantone challenge] :: This one would be the simplest and quickest to finish, and I've currently got the fabrics out and making improv New York Beauty blocks, which fit with the July curves prompt. Next up are diamonds for August. The September prompt will be to assemble the top, which I'm actually doing as I go, so I might just continue on to quilting and get this one finished. Undoubtedly, it will all depend on my mood once the blocks are done.

SO.... I've got my work cut out for me, don't I? Of course, I feel like starting something new, but maybe #4 can fill that need. The main priority, for me, is that I work on one of these, so hopefully I'll have some progress to show soon! If this were YOUR list, what would you work on?