Tuesday, October 31, 2023

October Fabric Usage

It's been a good fabric month, I'd say, considering most of my sewing time has been spent on the liturgical calendar project. Just days into October, though, I did place a small fabric order - several brown fabrics to include in this month's Bee Sewcial Coffee blocks, a striped Essex Yarn Dyed Classic Woven in Black for the Split Pouch sewalong, and a new-to-me Carolyn Friedlander print (second from bottom) just because. The stack didn't feel like I was overdoing it, but still gave me a creative burst I welcomed. You know the feeling, I'm sure.

As for fabric usage, it was mainly used for aforementioned split pouches and bee blocks, a back and binding for Albersesque, and of course the QuiltCon fabric challenge quilt, Split Second. Yikes. I obviously took several breaks from the big calendar project, but they were each refreshing in their own way, so it is what it is. I'm back at it now!

October Fabric Usage
Used up: 11.59 yards
Brought in: 3.50 yards
Net: -8.09 yards

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Split Second

All along, I'd planned on participating in the QuiltCon Windham Artisan Cotton 2024 Fabric Challenge, but let's just say I got a very late start. Jacquie Gering @jacquietps, the featured lecturer for QuiltCon 2024, chose the Windham Challenge palette this year, and I was plenty happy with it - enough that I had ordered all six fabrics back in June in varying amounts.

But I just seemed to busy myself with other projects. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I pieced a simple top reminiscent of A Neon Moment, which I made earlier this year. Not quite using all the fabric I purchased for the quilt top, I was able to piece a three-color backing from what was left.

For quilting, I originally thought I'd use threads of all the colors in the fabric palette. But I didn't have the full range, time was running short, and I settled on Aurifil 50wt 2515 [Light Orchid] for intermittent organic vertical straight-line quilting. Then I added some zig-zag quilting over the top in 2612 [Arctic Sky].

Finished off with matched binding, "Split Second" measures 36" x 48". Just in the nick of time.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Calendar Update V

And I quote, "This time next week, I hope to be able to say the end of the piecing is in reach." That's what I wrote a week ago today, and I'm happy to report Mission Accomplished! 

I just have this 'breezy day in the front yard' photo as proof, but at least the third panel of my triptych project is pieced. 

Backing fabric is purchased, as is Aurifil 40wt thread in all seven colors, and fingers crossed I have enough batting left on my roll. Next up is basting!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023


When my beemate Felicity @felicityquilts announced the Bee Sewcial prompt for this month, I had to smile. Coffee.... the first thing I reach for every morning. Felicity specified: "Rich browns in all shades, including very dark all the way to cream. Think roasted beans, a freshly pulled espresso shot, an iced coffee with swirls of cream, latte art." She also shared a small pin board for inspiration, and asked for at least two blocks that add up to the equivalent of our standard two blocks at 12" finished.

Right off, I knew I wanted to try my hand at improv coffee beans, using a mix of brown solids combined with Essex cotton-linen blends in Espresso and Nutmeg, as Felicity OK'd our use of additional substrates this month. After rearranging my "beans" for a while, I settled on the layout about, with a block measuring 14.5" x 17.5".

Since my first block was on the large side, I aimed for a smaller block for my second. What started as a bunch of improv espresso shots may or may not have become a row of coffee drinks on the counter at the local coffee shop. Depends on your viewpoint, I guess. But it's Felicity-approved, and measures 7.5" x 11".

After working for months on my own Bee Sewcial quilt finish in Albersesque, it was a fun breather to be able to work on these smaller improv projects and in browns even! Plus I'm looking forward to seeing what my beemates come up with for the coffee theme.

Monday, October 16, 2023


It's been months since all my Bee Sewcial Albersesque blocks arrived, and weeks even, since I've had a quilt top put together. But then I stalled out unfortunately. Bit by bit, here and there, I'd make another step forward, and finally.... finally I have a finished quilt.

The blocks created by my bee mates fit my vision perfectly - all inspired by the work of Josef Albers. In total, I had 24-9.5" square blocks to puzzle into a quilt top, and I chose to be inspired yet further by one of Josef Albers' own designs. All blocks were framed with Kona Bluegrass, then bordered on the top half by Kona Lapis, and the bottom half by Kona Canary. Sashing and borders such as these are not my norm, nor usually considered modern elements, but with these blocks, it only made sense to organize them in an Albers-inspired design.

Photo from Interaction of Color by Josef Albers,50th Anniversary Edition.

For the quilt back, another Albers-inspired design came to life. Beemate Leanne @shecanquilt had once published a pattern for this design called Canvas, and I referenced it as I settled on dimensions. I was happily able to use stashed fabrics for the center blocks, though purchased Kona Fern to bring it up to size.

Photo from Interaction of Color by Josef Albers,50th Anniversary Edition.

Once basted, I struggled over ideas for quilting (and thread colors!) and finally settled on yet another Albers-inspired design for my quilting pattern. I pencil-drafted the 'X on top of X' motif, then repeated it.

Photo from Interaction of Color by Josef Albers,50th Anniversary Edition.

It did require some hera-marked lines, but the 'X' design, which I set on an angle, felt worth it. I chose to just quilt the Xs and not the horizontal or vertical lines between them, which resulted in a less-dense result but I thought it served the overall quilt well.

quilt front

quilt back

I used several Aurifil 50wt threads in the finishing of the quilt - 2770 [Very Light Delft] for the quilting, 2840 [Loden Green] in the bobbin, and along with the Very Light Delft, 2115 [Lemon] for the matched binding. Albersesque finished at 55" x 78". 

Blocks were made by Bee Sewcial members Karen/@capitolaquilter, M-R/@quiltmatters, Leanne/@shecanquilt, Stephanie/@spontaneousthreads, Felicity/@felicityquilts, Marci/@marci_girl, and Kari @quiltsforthemaking. I'm really pleased with how many designs and layers we, together, were able to be incorporated into our Albersesque.

Here are links to my previous Bee Sewcial quilts - Mod MoodBaconrificLooking UpHomageModularRings, Lined, and Horizon Views if you missed them.

Visit beesewcial.com to see other Bee Sewcial quilts. And of course #inspiredbybeesewcial is always worth a perusal on Instagram.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Calendar Update IV

So since last week's report, I was able to stitch up the first two panels of the triptych. We tried to get photos, but unfortunately the lighting played games with us. So the colors aren't entirely true, but at least there's proof they are sewn together.

Hubby actually had the bright idea to set up a portable table so I could move my sewing machine off my cutting/sewing table, thus making it long enough to lay out the long strips for trimming and pinning. That helped SO much, and piecing the different colors together wasn't too time-consuming.

And then yesterday, I took the two panels into church and met with the project initiator, so together, we could make a semi-final determination on the length of the panels - 60" x 64". Once the panels are quilted, we'll look again and see if they need to be just a couple inches shorter. 

All that said, I did take a break from piecing the third panel to quilt my Bee Sewcial Albersesque quilt, but I'm back at piecing now, and am working on the largest section of the entire project, which needs to be 46" wide. Once it's done - which I expect to take several days - I'll just have three skinny strips left to piece. This time next week, I hope to be able to say the end of the piecing is in reach.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Calendar Update III

With a guild retreat day last weekend, I was able to spend the whole day making green improv blocks for a large section of panel two of the triptych. 

So once I got home, I was happy to find I had enough blocks to complete that section. That left one skinny white strip, and I was ready to start trimming and sewing slabs together.

Because of how I'd hung strips on my design wall, I actually began constructing the middle of the three sections first. I was actually pretty happy with that, since it has the most colors and the most pieces of any of the three sections. And though I'd hoped to have a completed quilt top to share today, it's still in the works with a couple additional seams to go. But I should have it done and be moving on to the next/first section over the next few days. Progress, slow but sure.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Participants in Yvonne's @quiltingjetgirl 2023 Planning Party are encouraged to do periodic check-ins, and it's time to review the third quarter. So here's a review of my goals from back in December. Note my current status/notes are in bold italics.

The Quilts

  • More stash-busting and scrap-using is definitely in order. In fact, I'm considering starting 100 Days of Scraps (or maybe I already have??), since I enjoyed my 50 so much this year. AND my scrap basket is truly overflowing. Again. My 100 Day Project100 Days of Scraps, was completed on June 1. Then in July, I joined the Mini Plaid-ish Quiltalong, so that used up a LOT more scraps. No worries, I still have plenty. 
  • There's one quilt WIP that I'm still working on finishing - the hand-pieced bowtie quilt begun in the 100 Day Summer Sewalong. I finished it! Every stitch of Bow Ties was pieced, quilted, and bound by hand. It took me over two years to finish, and it feels very very good to finally have it completed.

  • The goal of at least one finished quilt project a month continues to encourage me along, so I plan to continue with that. I really think I want to continue to go with the flow, though, about what those quilts might be.... whatever brings me joy in the moment would be my preference, and discovering what that might be is a big part of the fun. I'm still on track with at least one quilt finish a month, deciding as I go along what those might be. Below, One More Time saved project scraps from ever hitting the scrap basket; and In the Moment was created through participating in the #30DaysOfImprovQAL.

  • Bee Sewcial, an improv and solid-only bee, is heading into our 9th(!) year together and I'm up again to offer a prompt come spring. I have pieced this year's Albersesque quilt top and a backing is in the works.
  • I actually started in on creating a trio of quilted liturgical wall hangings for our church. I know the basic colors and themes, but no specific design ideas yet. This project will take some dedicated focus. This goal was added is my Q2 check-in, and it's actually happening! If you missed my A Different Kind of Calendar post, it shares the scope of the project. I'm about two-thirds done piecing the triptych but there's still lots to be done.
  • A new project on the list is a smallish quilt for the Women of the ELCA Twelfth Triennial Convention in September. I have a rough idea, and the beginnings of a fabric pull. I'll share more as I make some progress. This project was also added in my Q2 check-in, and happily, I finished Both Sides Now, and submitted it to the quilt challenge.

  • Plus I have a new project I plan to start in January - stitching a 2023 Gingiber tea towel along with Jen @stitchalongwithjen. And I do have a nearly finished cross-stitch project to work on too. I don't think I've touched the tea towel since Q2. Other handwork (including the Bow Tie quilt) have kept my focus.
  • I expect I'll continue to stitch the occasional Dropcloth Sampler, and have one in my 'to do' pile, as well as seeing what else new comes up. Since Q2, I finished the Log Cabin sampler, a Pencil sampler, and am currently stitching a second Pencil.
  • And I hope to hand-quilt that bow tie quilt, since it's all hand-stitched so far. It goes in and out of priority, and I guess that's ok too. As I mentioned before, it's done!

The Community
  • Regular, frequent posting on the blog here and on InstagramStill wishing I could master reels, but that takes some focus I haven't yet given it. Maybe it'll happen. I'm still averaging 2-3 blog posts a week, and posting most days on Instagram. 
  • I'll take The Scrap Basket into its 8th year, and monthly editions seem to make sense for the time being. This plan has gone pretty well and I hope to continue monthly publications.
  • Bee Sewcial has a new website, and I'm hoping to help with that this year, with updates, etc. Haven't done anything new, but I'm up for it as needed.
  • I was recently selected as an Aurifil Artisan for a second year. I've participated in monthly challenges during July, August, and September even as I continue to use a wide range of Aurifil threads in all of my projects. Specifically, I've been stitching my sampler embroidery with Aurifil 12wt rather than perle cotton, and I'm really enjoying it.

  • I'm probably not going to make it to QuiltCon in Atlanta, but just shipped off three of my quilts going in my place, which I'm grateful for. Nothing new to report for QuiltCon 2024.

So that's it for now. I know a lot of the check-in process is repetitious, since they keep referring back to my goals stated last December. But it's still good, I think, to be reminded of those goals. I'm feeling good about what I've accomplished so far, and there's still another quarter left to create. So back to it!

Linking up with Quilting JETgirl's 2023 Quilting Q3 Check-In.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

September Fabric Usage

I would have had another month with no fabric intake if I hadn't been at a retreat at a fabric store on the last day of September, and purchased a length of solid to finish the quilt back I'd started for my Albersesque quilt.

BUT, that in itself is progress, so I'm not complaining, and hope to get the backing finished in the next few days. 

Otherwise, I've been primarily focused on the liturgical calendar project, whose fabric stats I'm keeping separate. But just for interest sake, I purchased almost 20 yards of fabric to begin the project, and have since added 2.5 yards for the piecing, and another 5 yards for backing. So 26 yards and a lot more piecing to go before I'm done. Anyway, the fabric usage stats are pretty low-key this month for good reason.... just a handful of small projects sprinkled through the month.

September Fabric Usage
Used up: 9.61 yards
Brought in: 3.00 yards
Net: -6.61 yards

Monday, October 2, 2023

Split Pouch

So last Friday I was feeling some better after being down for most of the week. I wanted to sew for just a bit, but didn't feel up to the calendar project, so I settled in to try Carolyn Friedlander's new pattern for the Split Pouch.

I was limited by what synthetic zippers I had on hand, but of course I managed to find some Carolyn Friedlander fabric to coordinate with the zip I chose. I had a recipient in mind so that influenced my choice too! ;-)

Of the two stabilizer options - Pellon SF101 woven fusible interfacing or ByAnnie's Soft and Stable - I chose the SF101, basically because I love working with it, and prefer the less puffy result. And though I loved Carolyn's suggestion of colorful plastic snaps, I had some magnetic snaps on hand and used them this time - the easiest ever to install.

What an ingenious design Carolyn has created. I made the medium version, but will give the larger version a try once a supply of zippers arrives. This one is perfect for a hand-sewing project or as a small organizer by your machine.

I gifted the little pouch to my daughter, Rachel @snippetsofsweetness, when we were at a guild retreat on Saturday. A fellow CF fan, I was pretty sure she would enjoy it, and I was right. Gotta say, it was a joy to have a small finish after sewing pretty non-stop on the big calendar project these last weeks. Yay!