Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Mini Series Sew Along :: Courthouse Steps + Diamond Sidestep

Well it's week two of the Mini Series Sew Along, and this week's blocks were just as fun as last week! I've really enjoyed choosing what range of my fabrics to use for each block.

First up was a Courthouse Steps block, one I've visited again and again on larger scales.

And then there was the Diamond Sidestep, a relatively quick block, with plenty of that fun background fabric.

Next week is a bonus sewing week - a time to catch up - though obviously I don't need that. ;-) I've been having the opposite problem... it's been hard to stop making blocks!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Red Cross Meets Very Peri

Scraps. Minimalism. Very Peri, the Pantone Color of the Year. Fabric Play. They all came together in this piece. I hadn't necessarily planned on such a small work (20" x 20.5") for my personal Pantone challenge this year; but when the urge struck, and I realized I only had a half yard of my chosen Peri fabric, I just went for it.

Months ago I had chosen Cotton Couture Crocus as a good match for Very Peri, and rather than cut it into bits, I opted to keep my piece of it in large chunks. I was inspired by a minimalist Canadian Red Cross quilt in Cassandra Ellis' World of Quilts: Reinterpreting Quilting Heritage from Around the Globe. I took Cassandra's advice to "Use any scraps that you have for the 'crazy' cross and enjoy making something beautiful out of very little." So for my cross, I used a handful of red scraps, print and solid, including a small portion of Kona Rich Red.

The quilt was pieced 'straight,' with quilting done in three Aurifil 50wt threads. I started with matchstick-quilting the cross with Aurifil 50wt 2250 [Red]. The bars of the cross weren't all the same widths, but with the quilting, I pretended they were. Then for the periwinkle sections, I used two Aurifil 50wt threads 2520 [Violet] and 4225 [Eggplant]. After attending a trunk show with Audrey Esarey/@cottonandbourbon recently, I loved her way of incorporating thread color as a design feature, and I experimented here by using the lighter thread horizontally in the top half and vertically in the right half; and the darker thread horizontally in the bottom half and vertically in the left half. Does that even make sense? The crosshatch measures 3/8" between each line. Can you see the result of the different threads? 

Just for fun - and since I forgot my plan on my recent Italiano antico - I had trimmed the piece at an angle.

The back was simply pieced using more scraps. 

And then I finished things up with some matched binding in Cotton Couture Crocus and Cherry. I still say that Angled Matched Binding is 150% more tricky than Straight Matched Binding; so yes, I had to refer to my own tutorial.

Simple as it was, I really enjoyed making this one. It was the kind of creative fun this quilting thing should be.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: New-to-me Thread Weight | Sunshine

So I just finished another DropclothSampler and I really changed things up this time. I've traditionally used size 8 perle cotton when stitching my samplers, but when I saw that this month's Aurifil Artisan Challenge was 'doing a project featuring an Aurifil thread weight you have never used before, or have not used often' I just knew I had to try using Aurifil 12wt to stitch the "Sunshine" sampler.

Let's just say it was lovely to use, and stitched the sampler beautifully. I used a double thread, and incorporated just a bit of 100% wool for the couching. The 12wt is the heaviest thread Aurifil offers*, and after trying it for hand quilting in my recent Italiano antico; and now here for hand embroidery, I'm definitely a fan.

As you've probably noticed, this particular sampler was printed on a yellow background, with all the stitch markings in different colors. It was surprising how the colors of the markings happened to be similar to the 12wt threads I had on hand. Together, they definitely played a part in my creating the palette for this particular sampler.

I had a hard time calling this one done, so I added in extra French knots and straight stitches. Over the course of stitching these samplers I've embraced the notion that I can 'add to' the printed design, and I've really enjoyed that.

As a kind of postscript, I want to mention that I was using a new hoop on this project. I've often had trouble keeping my work taut, and had recently purchased the 7" Morgan No-Slip Embroidery Hoop from Snuggly Monkey. It has a "unique tongue & groove design" that really did the trick. I heartily recommend it!

*P. P. S. I love that the Aurifil website has a page for each weight of thread they make showing suggested uses, as well as other helpful information on using that particular thread, such as needle recommendations and other tips. Good to know!

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Quilts of Bee Sewcial

If you've been around A Quilter's Table for a while, you know that I have been a member of the Bee Sewcial improv bee since it's inception in 2015(!). It's been fun, challenging, and sometimes even frustrating, but definitely a good thing, and it has really impacted my creative journey. In the process, I've made countless improvisationally-pieced blocks based on the most interesting of prompts; and so far, have completed seven quilts, with an eighth currently in the works.

Well after all this time, you can now follow Bee Sewcial on Instagram, as it has its own account! Expect to find our monthly prompts, blocks and quilts we create, and ....

some really exciting news for our bee! This November at International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, there will be a special exhibit: The Quilts of Bee Sewcial!

Industry sponsors: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Lucky Spool Media, Studio 39 Fabrics 

"Bee Sewcial is an international, improvisational quilting bee. Each month, the selected group leader provides an inspiration—a theme, palette, restrictions, etc.—for the members of the bee to follow when they design and make a block. The monthly group leader designs a quilt using the improv creation of each contributing member. Each quilt is unique, yet reflects the cohesion and trust they have toward each other."

Below is "Poster Pop," one of our Bee Sewcial quilts by Kari Vojtechovsky.  It has been selected as the Signature Quilt for the 2022 Houston Quilt Market. Thus, it will appear on the cover of the Buyer’s Guide, show program, postcard, and other online promotions. Pretty cool, eh?
"Poster Pop" by Kari Vojtechovsky

As for the Festival exhibit, 26 Bee Sewcial quilts will be featured, including 4 of my own. All the special exhibit quilts will be shown, in part or full, on the Bee Sewcial IG page in the coming weeks.

So we are excited! I hope you'll consider following our new Bee Sewcial account, and if you're at Quilt Festival in November, that you enjoy the exhibit!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


I'll be perfectly honest and say that I've never been a big fan of Halloween. I definitely did not enjoy dressing up as a child, though when my own children were young and they chose costumes, I was totally into it. Most of their costumes we assembled together, which often meant me sewing something. Now that was really fun.

That said, I am a fan of Nicholas Ball/@quiltsfromtheattic and his book, Inspiring Improv. Both have inspired me a lot in my improv journey, so when I saw Nicholas mention an October improv sew along, I was definitely interested.

Just a few days ago, he posted the list of upcoming prompts and yikes! I don't even know what to do with this!!

BUT. I'm intrigued. I have no idea where this is headed, but I intend to find out. It all starts on October 3. Are you with me?

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Mini Series Sew Along :: Log Cabin + Triangle Cabin

Well, the Mini Series Sew Along hosted by Alison Glass and Giuseppe Ribaudo/@giucy_giuce has officially begun! I didn't participate in the popular 2020 sew along, and had only made two tiny piecing designs in the class I took with Giuseppe years ago, so most of the designs I'll be making will be brand new to me. And so far, I'm enjoying them!

All my blocks will be 4" finished, just to give you an idea of the scale of things. First up was the Log Cabin block, definitely an old favorite of mine in any form. 

Then there was Triangle Cabin, a fun variation. 

One of the things to think about as I tackle each block, is what range of color I want to use. I have 14 fabrics in my original muted rainbow bundle, so depending on what each block needs, I'm selecting a sub-range from my overall palette. So far, I've kept the fabrics in the order I received them, but I don't expect that necessarily to be the case as I work through all the blocks.

Anyway, so far so good! With my machine all set up with its 80wt thread and 1.4 stitch length; and with my tools and fabric out and accessible, it's been hard to stop with just these two blocks. Let's just say I've already snuck into next week's block assignment.... and beyond.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Italiano antico

You may remember I shared with you several weeks ago about the Old Italian blocks I was making, and the dilema I was facing that would complicate the trimming later. I liked my plan, and spent the next several weeks making blocks, piecing a top, and quilting. But when that quilting was done, rather than trimming at an angle as planned, I trimmed the quilt square and proceeded to bind it right up that evening. It was only as I was editing photos yesterday that I remembered!! OH WELL. Hubby and I really like it as it is, though, so I guess it was meant to be.

So more about the quilt, as it really was an enjoyable process. It all began with a stash of crossweaves, chosen in an intentional analogous color scheme. All of the 6.5" X blocks were made with them, using a tutorial by Barbara Black/@bbquiltmaker. They made up pretty quickly, and it was fun to mix up the colors. Then came adding background squares to create the layout, in a part of the original plan that I actually followed through with! I cut squares in Kona Rich Red, Cotton Couture Paprika, Cotton Couture Cherry, Kona Red, Kona Cosmos, Kona Cardinal, Kona Pimento, and Kona Flame; and you may be able to tell that the colors change left to right across the quilt top.

For the pieced backing, I chose primarily Kona Cosmos, the 2022 Kona Color of the Year. I had stashed a couple of yards for a project featuring it, but after piecing the Old Italian quilt top, I knew it was too perfect not to use here. And I love it. As you can see, I incorporated several other solids, and a striped scrap that also found its way into the front.

So for quilting, I chose three Aurifil 28wt threads, #2260 [Wine], #2265 [Lobster Red], and #2270 [Paprika]. They were used in an orderly fashion, but unfortunately with the bold colors of the quilt, their differences aren't really obvious in photos. 

But the diagonal grid quilting went very well, and using a 50wt #2250 [Red] (not shown) in my bobbin worked nicely too. I did find I needed to stitch just a tad slower than normal, but I like the result.

I intentionally left the Xs unquilted, and later went back in for some big-stitch quilting with Aurifil 12wt #2260 [Wine]. Perfect it's not, but I love the look, and it was a pleasure to stitch.

The quilt was bound with a traditional hand-sewn binding in Kona Rich Red, and measures 56" x 56". Even though it's not quite what I had in my mind's eye at the outset, it was a joy to make, and I'm more than happy with the finish. That's more than enough, I think.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Tiny Pieced Chevron + Strings

Though the Mini Series Sew Along actually officially starts on September 12, two extra tiny-pieced block patterns were available through the Meander Quilt Guild hosted by Shannon Brinkley. There was a String block available with Giuseppe Ribaudo/@giucy_giuce's recent Tiny Piecing Trunk Show; and if you joined Meander, you could also access Giuseppe's Tiny Piecing workshop. (Note that you can join Meander annually, or by the month, which is what I did so I could access the workshop and see what Meander was all about. Let's just say, I was impressed.) With the workshop came the pattern for a Chevron block, which is actually the first one I made, after seeing Giuseppe demonstrate.

In addition to my fabric bundle, I had gathered the supplies needed - a seam roller (to use instead of an iron at each step), an add an eighth ruler (for trimming after each fabric was added on), and a small rotary cutter. Giuseppe also suggested 80wt thread, which I don't remember from my previous tiny piecing experience, but since I had the perfect-colored Aurifil 80wt 6722 [Sea Biscuit] spool, that's what I'm using, and it's working great, both as my top thread, and in the bobbin.

I'd been having trouble printing my pattern to the correct size. Even though my settings were set to print at 100%, the result was printing at just a smidge less than they were supposed to. So I actually made two versions of the Chevron block, but at least I finally got it correct. I found if I printed 103%, it printed just right. Still not sure what that's all about, but I can work with it. 

What I do know is that I'm happy to see how my fabric palette played out. The two blues in my 'muted rainbow' weren't needed in the Chevron, so I'll include them in subsequent blocks. But overall I'm really pleased with the result, and was happy with how the construction technique felt familiar pretty quickly.

Up next was the string block, and I started at the other end of my fabric color spectrum so those blues got a starring role.

Gotta say, I love the two blocks together! Coordinated, of course, but each with their own range of color. It'll be interesting to see as I make more blocks, how that range changes. I'm looking forward to finding out!

Monday, September 5, 2022

August Fabric Usage

It wasn't really necessary, but I did purchase just a bit of fabric last month (shown bottom to top) - half-yards of a few solids I had recently used up, the muted rainbow bundle to use for the Mini Series Sew Along, and then just a quarter yard of a Gingiber print I thought might be fun to embroider. 

It all seemed rather innocuous considering I had a quilt well underway completely made from stash, plus quite a lot of small projects I was working on too (bee blocks, Aurifil challenge, guild BOM, and other little projects). Happily, that all adds up!

August Fabric Usage

Used up: 13.57 yards
Brought in: 5.75 yards 
Net: -7.82 yards

Net Year to date: -63.112 yards
Total Year to date: -134.612 yards

Friday, September 2, 2022

Mini Series Sew Along 2022

Yup, it's true. Paper-piecing is not my first piecing language, but I love the mini series designs after being introduced to them in a workshop with Giuseppe Ribaudo and Seattle Modern Quilt Guild a few years ago. Here are the two blocks I made in our workshop....

and the projects I subsequently used them in. See how irresistible they are?

For fabric for this new set of blocks, I chose the Muted Rainbow bundle from FabricBubb's recent anniversary sale, which are all Kona solids. With them, as my background fabric, I thought I'd use the Ledger print from Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures, which I've kept long-stashed. 

So the sew along officially began yesterday, though we still have time to gather supplies. Here's the schedule if you're considering joining in:

Week 0 - Sept 1 - Bonus Sewing Week #1 

Week 1 - Sept 13 - Log Cabin and Triangle Cabin

Week 2 - Sept 20 - Courthouse Step and Diamond Sidestep

Week 3 - Sept 27 - Bonus Sewing Week #2

Week 4 - Oct 4 - Hexagon Step and Pineapple

Week 5 - Oct 11 - Triangle Geese and Bloom

Week 6 - Oct 18 - Bonus Sewing Week #3

Week 7 - Oct 25 - Stretched Geese and Criss Cross

Week 8 - Nov 1 - Curved Cabin and Rainbow

Week 9 - Nov 8 - Bonus Sewing Week #4

Week 10 - Nov 15 - Bonus Sewing Week #5

We'll see if I can keep up but it's worth a try!

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Ice Cream Social

Whew! It feels like the Ice Cream Social sampler took forever, but I guess I started it and finished it all during August. A sewalong was once again hosted by Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth Samplers, though my timing didn't always match up. 

I really enjoyed stitching up the cones, trying to do a few different stitching patterns. 

And from there it was figuring out all the ice cream flavors and colors! 

I struggled a little with choosing stitches for the ice creams, not really wanting to use satin stitch throughout. So you'll also see a little chain stitch, French knots, and brick stitch, with plenty of back stitch. From there, it was just filling in around the ice cream cones and adding a LOT of sprinkles!

And I know some of you love seeing the back, so here it is.... Honestly, I don't pay much attention to it as I'm stitching - obviously! 

Whatever, it's done! And with that, I'll hopefully be back to working on hand-piecing my bowtie blocks into a quilt top. Though I can guarantee you, I'll be back doing some embroidery before too long.