Monday, November 29, 2021


My latest quilt's predecessor, Octo, happily left a little pile of scraps, perfect for some additional fabric play before a deep drive into all things Christmas. My most cherished of the bunch, a bit of Martini in Mustard from Midwest Modern by Amy Butler was what drew me in. That and the color palette, which for some reason, I'm really loving right now.

For this project, I took inspiration from another vintage quilt from Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine RileyThe basic block, commonly known as an hourglass block, was called an egg timer block in the book. Alternated with squares, the design was a simple one, and though sashing and borders aren't currently my thing, I enjoyed incorporating them, pieced with multiple fabrics.

Straight-line quilting, both dense matchstick in the vertical sashing, and randomly wider-spaced everywhere else, were both in my original quilting plan, and I did indeed follow through on that. But then in the egg timer sections and the wider border on the left, I added some Fancy Straight Line from Jacquie Gering's WALK book. This time, though, I did two passes in each section, which reflected the egg timer block lines, but in a much more improvisational way. Whatever, I like it, and it was so much fun to do.

Quilting thread was Aurifil 50wt 2843 [light grey green], which showed up lighter on some fabrics than I anticipated, but even so, I feel like it was a decent choice. A little matched binding - matched to color rather than identical fabric - felt like the perfect finish. The quilt measured 24" x 33.5" once complete, and was a very enjoyable way to save some scraps from the scrap basket. I've a few more project-leftover scrap piles stashed about, so I expect to continue pulling them out as I head into the new year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


This month's Bee Sewcial prompt is "Ice," and thankfully, Leanne/@shecanquilt asked us to create INSPIRED by ice, rather than a literal representation. My first thought was a hole in the ice on a lake (probably because it's a huge fear-inducer), so I began with the "circular" bit. 

But from there it was all spikey icicles and frosty shards.

Absolutely loved Leanne's chosen palette - all the blues, grays/silvers, and white. Obviously I stuck mostly with the blues, and at Leanne's suggestion, even added in a bit of metallic, specifically some Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic in Water. The finished block measured 16.5" x 18.75" and boy, it felt good to do some real improv.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Snowflake Sampler :: L'Orange + Lacy Star

I got a little late start on my two block assignments for the Snowflake Sampler this month. Both were 11" blocks, and the first, L'Orange, stitched up pretty quick. Throughout this block of the month, we've mostly been stitching the base stitches in white perle cotton, and then weaving in variegated Aurifloss, but both of this month's blocks switched things up. For L'Orange, both the star stitches and weaving were done with the Aurifloss, and just the tiny tack stitches were in white perle cotton. Really makes for a rich colorful block, doesn't it?

Then for the Lacy Star block, the "snowflake stitches" were done in colored Aurifloss, with the weaving done in white perle. I find the Aurifloss, where I use all six strands at once, to be slightly thicker then the perle size 8, so that felt a little different, but I do like the result.

In case you missed my previous blocks, here they are!

X and O Star   +   Tiny Snowflakes   +   Lacy Flowers

Large Snowflake   +   Woven Star   +   Pearvocado

Classic Star   +   Simple Woven Flower

Favorite Coffee Mug   +   Small Classic Star

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Seattle MQG Giving Quilt

When the call went out that there were some Seattle MQG giving quilts that needed quilted and bound, I stepped right up to finish the smallest of the bunch. I didn't even know what it looked like, but the size (46" square) felt manageable to fit in amongst my other projects.

It just so happened to be a rail fence quilt top, with blocks made by my guildmates in 2019. [Random: The rail fence giving blocks I made at that time were actually used in another quilt which has already been donated.] I was given batting, backing, and binding fabric along with the quilt top, so it was easy to baste it up and get right to quilting. I did a simple three-way grid, and then on to binding.

For years, our Seattle MQG quilt labels have been screen-printed by Dionne Matthies-Buban, and I think they add the perfect finishing touch.

Monday, November 15, 2021


Begun back in mid-summer, Housetops was purely a chance for some scrappy fabric play. I had seen a House Top quilt in Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley, and it seemed like a perfect choice to use up some scraps. Plus, I just needed a project to play with in between the more demanding projects I was working on. Gotta say, it was perfect.

For no particular reason, I began making 9" blocks - not too big, not too small. I'd say about 90% of the quilt top really was made from scrap. Blue and gray prints were my key focus, including some scrap lightweight denim, though the range of blues grew as I went along, some natural linen-cotton blend was added in later on, even a couple of blue solids. Eventually I cut into some stash, as I needed some larger pieces. Obviously, it was simple to piece the top together once the 72 blocks were done, and I honestly did not overthink it. There were so many prints involved, trying to balance them in any logical layout seemed pretty pointless.

For the quilt's back, why not piece some jumbo House Top blocks, amiright? Piecing quilt backs isn't usually my favorite thing, but this one was really fun. Definitely used up some stash here!

A simple crosshatch seemed like a good idea, and easy to execute on a quilt this large with minimal stress. And more scraps for the binding of course. The quilt finished at 68" x 76". Dare I say, I'm kind of sad it's done. Then again, it's since been washed and crinkled, and I'm looking forward to putting it to use!

All my progress photos on Instagram were labeled with the #aqthousetop hashtag... if you're interested! A faux block tutorial can be found here.

Linking up with Meadowmist Designs' Favorite Finish Monthly Linkup!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Heart Ornament Sampler

Should I wait until my heart ornaments are completely done to show you my latest Dropcloth Sampler finish? Probably. But that could be a while, and I'm pretty pleased that the stitching is done at least. But don't worry. You'll see them again one day soonish.

Again, this sampler was stitched with #8 Wonderfil perle cotton, mostly from my Picnic collection. It was fun to have four small designs to stitch, each with their own palette. Simple stitches, choosing thread colors as I stitch along, is my modus operandi. 

Truth is, I'm still deciding how I want to finish these off. Dropcloth's Rebecca Ringquist shared some ideas in a recent Christmas Ornament chat, and I'm still mulling over my options.

So do you have a favorite amongst my hearts??

Monday, November 8, 2021


It was so good to be able to gather with family last weekend and celebrate not one, but three upcoming birthdays! Some handmade giftwrapping was definitely in order.

First up was one of Jeni Baker/In Color Order's drawstring bags. I went for the Easy Going (Two Fabric) Drawstring Bag from her Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern. I used "WildField" from Wrenly, an oldie but goodie from Valori Wells, for the colorful exterior, and Cotton Couture Isle for the interior. If you've never made one of Jeni's bags, she's hosting a Lined Drawstring Bag Sew Along very soon. It would be the perfect time to try one!

Next up was a tutorial by Jeni that I had not tried before - one for Fabric Envelopes. In our family, on those occasions when a gift hasn't arrived yet or is too large to transport to the party, we've been known to make a personalized gift certificate. The larger Coupon Envelope was the perfect size for the certificate I'd printed up for hubby. I chose two coordinating Carolyn Friedlander prints, and it was super quick to sew up. Plus, choosing one of Carolyn's border fabrics added some really cool detail on the flap! 

Rather than install a snap this time, I just tied it up with a bow. Perfect.

And lastly, I used Svetlana Sotak/Sotak Handmade's Drawstring Bag tutorial, one I've used dozens of time. I found some darling sea-inspired fabric for this one from Birch Fabrics' Storybook 2 collection. I loved that the dotted print coordinated so well with the sea print, and was perfect for both the lining and casing.

So that was fun! Plus it was a nice diversion from the large quilt I've been quilting. Love those small projects for a quilt finish.

Friday, November 5, 2021

October Fabric Usage

It was a good month! The only fabric I brought in was a wide-back for my latest Bee Sewcial quilt, Lined. It's not my norm, but it definitely helped me move that one forward to a finish.

I did piece a backing for the House Top quilt I'm currently quilting, though, which was a great stash-buster. But I kinda wanted to mention one thought about stash-busting though. It's about a piece I purchased impulsively in September when I was choosing fabric for pillowcases for my granddaugters. In addition to what I actually needed, I purchased a yard of Alexia Abegg's Heirloom Warp and Weft Shirtwaist in Goldenrod that made all the difference in the "Tears" quilt I posted recently. I put it in my cart only because I was curious what it was like, and wouldn't you know, I found the perfect project for it within weeks. So that felt like a very successful, small purchase that ended up really adding to the story of a quilt made 95% of stash and scraps. Pretty cool, right?

So while building stash willy nilly isn't quite where I'm at these days, adding thoughtfuly chosen pieces now and again - for me, especially different substrates or a unique-to-me color - usually proves to allow for design decisions I didn't necessarily plan for but really add to my work. Just a thought!

October Fabric Usage
Used up: 14.85 yards
Brought in: 4 yards
Net: -10.85 yards
Year to date: -26.05 yards

Tuesday, November 2, 2021


"Tears" is my third experience with Visio Divina in the last several months, the practice of contemplating with the eyes, ie. through visual art. It has indeed been a unique opportunity to create quilted liturgical pieces in response to upcoming worship texts. To share this project with as wide an audience as possible, I'm choosing to print the actual artist statement that will be shared with my church congregation in italics; more general quilt info in regular font. Feel free to enjoy it however you like.

This upcoming Sunday, November 7, will be recognized in many denomination as All Saints Sunday, among other things, a day to remember those loved ones who have passed away. Both of the texts our church will be using (Isaiah 25:6-9 and John 11:32-44) speak of tears. In my use of fabric in responding to these texts, I couldn’t not keep thinking of all the tears, thus I used a silver metallic fabric as the basis of the pieced blocks to represent those tears. With the varying yellow and gold fabrics, I was, in short, trying to convey hope, despite the grief many experience.

Both texts for All Saints Day speak of tears. In Isaiah, “God will wipe away the tears from every cheek;” and in the Gospel of John, there was much weeping at the death of Lazarus, both by his family and friends, and even by Jesus himself. In my use of fabric in responding to these texts, I couldn’t not keep thinking of all the tears, thus I used a silver metallic fabric as the basis of the pieced blocks to represent those tears. With the varying yellow and gold fabrics, I tried to express the life – both here on earth and the hereafter - the hope we have in Christ Jesus, a glimpse of the glory that God offers each of us.

The silver print was Mark Hordyszynski's Mirror Ball Dot for Michael Miller Fabrics - remember that old favorite? The solids were a mix of yellows, golds, and gold-greens, chosen solely because I liked them together and they were so cheery. The triangle and solid blocks both measured 3" x 4.5". I had a tiny Nifty Notions triangle template (1.5" x 3" tall) that got me started, but then it was improv until time to trim the blocks to size. By the time the top was done, I had started to think about binding, and when I found the piece of Alexia Abegg's Heirloom Warp and Weft Shirtwaist in Goldenrod in my stash, I knew it needed to be included. 

I was also drawn to the last part of the gospel lesson where Jesus said, “Untie him [Lazarus] and let him go free.” Not only does this command speak of new life, but it was striking that Jesus didn't unwrap Lazarus himself, but instructed the crowd to. The inclusion of the community there felt important, and I chose to represent that community – the ‘us’ in the story – by the striped fabric used in the quilt’s binding. Imagine us all surrounding and supporting our siblings in Christ in their grief, as in their life.

But before I got to that, of course, a quilt back was in order, and I let the stripe become a key player. In my mind, I used the single solid sample tear block as a start, surrounded and supported by more 'tears' (the dot fabric) as well as the community, (the stripe). With the quilt back expanding on the story of the quilt front, I love it just as much.

For quilting, I used two Aurifil 50wt 2115 [Lemon] and 2140 [Mustard], stitching a mix of straight-line, organic straight-line, and matchstick quilting. Always a fun mix.

For binding, in addition to the stripe, I also used Kona Grellow and Cotton Couture Citrus to keep with the mood of the piece. At its finish, it measured 25" x 36.5"

And knowing some of you would want to see how the quilt was being used, here is the graphic that is being used on the bulletin for Sunday's service. 

Photo graphic by Josh Judd-Herzfeldt. Used by Permission.

The quilt will also be displayed for the congregation to see. And so I added a postscript to my artist statement that is also being shared in the bulletin, encouraging them to check out the back and experience the rest of the quilt's story.

P.S. Once I thought of using the striped fabric to represent the community standing in support, I was regretting not using more of it in the quilt’s front. Since it was too late for that, I included it as I pieced the quilt’s backing, where one single tear block is suspended, not only by a sea of tears, but supported by the strong ‘arm’ of community. I invite you to feel free to glance at the back of the quilt if you have a chance, and be reminded of the part we all play in God’s promise of hope and resurrection.

See A Storm Story and Born from Above if you're interested in my previous liturgical quilts.