Wednesday, February 28, 2024

QuiltCon 2024

Considering I was home, watching from the sidelines while QuiltCon was taking place in Raleigh this year, I'll keep this post brief - basically a collection of quilts in the show that I had a hand in. First was my Duality, which hung in the Minimalist Design category. 

photo by Tina @itsme.tinad

photo by Tina @itsme.tinad

And then there were several Bee Sewcial quilts that I had contributed blocks to, shown below. Though I don't have photos of the placards hanging by them, I'll add their maker's statement under each piece. 

Subtle Secrets, by Felicity Ronaghan @felicityquilts, which won first place in the Group or Bee category

photo by Stephanie @spontaneousthreads

|| Using two fabrics with little value or colour variation, these traditional blocks were made improvisationally without rulers. Black batting was chosen to feature the seams and subtle colour differences of the light blocks and deepen the impact of the darker blocks. ||

The Essence of Sonia Delaunay, by Kenny Smith @thekingslacker, which won second place in the Group or Bee category

photo by Stephanie @spontaneousthreads

|| This quilt was a product of my time with Bee Sewcial. My bee mates were provided with a prompt to create a block that captured the essence of Sonia Delaunay (a 20th Century French Painter). Sonia co-founded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colors and geometric shapes. I believe that my highly talented bee mates did quite well in accomplishing this prompt. The way that I have arranged the blocks, the quilt has the feeling of Sonia’s painting series called “Rhythme.” The quilt was quilted with a domestic sewing machine with each fabric color being uniquely quilted with matching thread. ||

BeeConnected by M-R Charbonneau @quiltmatters - see M-R's post to see the effect of her retroreflective thread!

photo by Stephanie @spontaneousthreads

|| The prompt for this quilt was 'Circuit board,' using scrappy backgrounds of reds with circuit board-inspired features in grey and white. It was a fun challenge to piece the variety of block styles made by my BeeSewcial mates into a cohesive design. A base layer of matchstick quilting in a variety of reds also helps tie the whole quilt together. For a final 'circuit board' touch, I outlined the white and grey features with retroreflective thread, which gives an added metallic-like pop when photographed with a flash. Give it a try and see for yourself! In our technology-enabled lives, circuit boards play such an important role in helping us stay in touch and communicate with each other so it was easy to come up with a name for this quilt -- BeeConnected. ||

Connections by Karen Foster @capitolaquilter

photo by Stephanie @spontaneousthreads

|| A design element that I enjoy emphasizing is the connecting of parts to bridge one portion to another creating a visual flow for the viewer. The maximalist palette resulted in a feast of color and shape, a puzzling delight that is continued in theme with a freeform quilting motif. The two fold meaning of the title also represents the closeness of the group despite our physical distance and the "Connections" found by translating our personal interpretation of a prompt into fabric. ||

Additional contributing bee members included Stephanie @spontaneousthreads, Marci @marci_girl, Leanne @shecanquilt, Silvia @astrangerview, Anne @playcrafts Kari @quiltsforthemaking and honorary members Sharyl @itssewscottsdale and Christine @ccpquilt.

There was also a fifth Bee Sewcial quilt, Elements, which I did not have a part in, since it was created at a retreat I was unable to attend. But it was pretty cool to have such good representation from the bee. 

Gotta say, it wasn't easy watching from the sidelines. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the awards ceremony, perusing the app, skimming through QuiltCon magazine, and following the happenings via Instagram - participating in the ways that I could. And yes, I'm still reading every recap post I come across and crossing my fingers for next year!

Monday, February 26, 2024

The "Like, Totally" Quilt BOM

Nothing like finishing one guild block-of-the-month just in time to start another! I'm pretty excited, though, as this year's BOM is designed by my good buddy Louise @imfeelincrafty. This year, the BOM is more of a sewalong than mystery, for a change. With a bit of an '80s feel, it's called "Like, Totally" quilt.

Louise provided a nice swatch card for us, and in addition to swatches of the fabrics I'm using, I also added the names, in case I need more along the way. As you can see, I'm using Kona cotton solids in Raisin, Rich Red, Lipstick, Pacific, and Lupine, with a variety of low volume fabrics for backgrounds.

February's blocks were pretty quick to sew up, and are all trimmed to 8.5" square. 

It's been fun to see the reaction to Louise's quilt design, and even non-members wanting to join us in the sewalong. Which is great! The link is open to all if you happen to be interested too!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Hemingway Pouch

Have you seen the Hemingway Pouch? I'd been seeing a lot of them in my Instagram feed, and they were a very unique pouch style. Color me intrigued. So when Kristina @centerstreetquilts mentioned an upcoming sewalong, I figured that would be a good way to see how this thing was constructed.

I chose to use a batting scrap for my pouch, though another option would have been foam stabilizer. I was also making the large size, and the first step was to quilt up a quilt sandwich.

Zipper by the yard is kind of a novelty for me, and I thought it would be fun to try some that came with a variety of colors of zipper pulls. Mine were from Patterns By Annie, size #4.5. And honestly, the zipper installation was the easiest yet, especially when I followed Kristina's little tip of trimming off a few zipper teeth first.

The large Hemingway Pouch (9" x 12") fits my Kindle with room to spare. I may try the medium size to see if I like that fit better, but this one definitely works.

I still can hardly believe I put that zipper pull on myself! ;-)

As a little p.s., Kristina led us through making a small bonus pouch with the trimmed off section from our original! Mine is 5" x 6".

I can't say I'm thrilled with my choice of solid back zipper binding with that white zip, but live and learn. I still consider these a success. And it was fun to learn something new!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


When I shared about my recent finish, Golden Honey, I told you I was hoping to jump into another small scrappy improv project soon, and just a few days later, I did! This one got its name from the main fabric - Ruby Star Society Horizon, a cotton linen canvas by Alexia Marcelle Abegg from 2019. I think the color is Sand, though I can't find out much about it on the web. The pieces I found in my scrap bucket are left from when I recovered my pressing table a few years ago. Which reminds me, I need to do it again! And by the way, though the fabric is considered canvas, it's not super heavy, and was plenty easy to combine with quilter's cotton. 

Anyway, I struggled a bit deciding what other fabrics to use with the goldish print. There were just a few pieces of solid gold and orange I found, but then I tried red with it and really liked it. I'm thinking this would be considered an analogous color scheme - do you agree?

I really don't have much to say about the arrangement of the fabrics.... they just sort of evolved as I began piecing and playing with them. I do like what I ended up with, but I think what really makes this piece is the quilting. I began by quilting all of the red portions with Aurifil 28wt 2260 [Wine], one of my very favorite red thread colors. I quilted pretty densely, while playing around with stitching shapes also. It was all very fluid and in the moment.

Once the red was done, I went hunting for something that would coordinate with the canvas print, but none of the golds I had worked well at all. So I thought about using an off-white, and that's when I realized, my thread stash is realllly low on those. The best I had was an Aurifil 12wt 2000 [Light Sand]. That's a lot heavier than I usually quilt with, but I referred to the Aurifil recommended uses, and saw that machine embroidery was one of them. I figured the amount of quilting I was planning on this small (15.5" x 21.5") piece could qualify as embroidery, and decided to try it. 

It definitely worked! In fact, as I got started basically outlining seam lines and creating shapes, the 12wt became an integral part of the whole piece. It really stands out, and in a way, mimics the lines and shapes of that focus fabric. At first, I was going to leave all the red unquilted, but obviously changed my mind in a few places.

Obligatory quilt back photo comprised of stash bits and pieces....

Vista is bound in Kona Rich Red - another favorite red - and in a switch from my norm, the industrial feel of the piece made me choose to machine bind it. So that all made for a fairly quick finish, and was thoroughly enjoyable. I've got a few random sewing projects coming up this week, but in between all that, I already have an incentive for my next piece. In my basket of batting scraps, I found one that already had a backing. It must have been trimmed off a larger quilt project, and I'm excited to let it lead me into something new.

Monday, February 19, 2024

The Liturgical Calendar Triptych

Happily, the liturgical calendar triptych I finished in January is hung in its intended location! Last week, hubby and I delivered the trio of quilts to the church and chatted with the worship team about the pending installation. The next afternoon, I began to receive photos from the Minister of Music & Worship, who had commissioned the pieces in the first place. We both were pretty excited by what we saw.

So yesterday, I got to see the triptych in its new home.

Talk about gratifying. The significance of the triptych was shared briefly with the congregation, and not only was I acknowledged as the creator, but the triptych as art. After the service, many came to chat with me about the panels; and when I noticed folks going up to the quilts for a closer look, I went over and more good conversation ensued. The improv piecing within each color especially intrigued them, and I was able to share that in addition to being guided by the church year calendar, our Minister of Music & Worship had specifically asked for a representation of the calendar while still in my improvisational style. There were more questions about how I determined the widths of each section, how they were quilted, and how long the project took me. 

One final thing I want to share about this months-long project - something I don't want to forget - is that both yesterday in person, as well as with the church's social media posts about the project, so many of my fellow members expressed their thanks for what I had created. I didn't expect those expressions of gratitude. But I really appreciated them, maybe more so since they weren't expected. Indeed, a very sweet end to this unique project.

If you're curious to see more of the triptych in the space it was made for, see a short reel here.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Mini Log Cabin Bag

It was September 2022 when Alison Glass @alisonglass and Giuseppe Ribaudo @giucy_giuce hosted the Mini Series Sew Along. I made 15 - 4.5" unfinished blocks, with the intention of eventually making them into small gift bags. I'm finally ready to make that happen!

First up is also the first block I made in the sew along - a log cabin. Though I'm not following a pattern per se, I have the basic technique of the Project Drawstring Bag by Svetlana @sotakhandmade in my head, and am doing something very similar. Though of course, first, I had to remove the papers from the back of the paper-pieced block.

Fabrics for this first bag are Essex in Natural for the exterior, the Ledger print from Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures for the lining - which was also the background for all of my mini series blocks - and a coordinating stashed blue print for the casing. I'd made similar bags after taking a class with Giuseppe back in 2018, and for those, had quilted the exterior. I chose to do the same this time, and since I wasn't using interfacing or batting, the quilting kind of made the fabric pucker a bit. I pressed it after, of course, and actually like the texture the quilting adds. 

As a reference for future bags, I cut the exterior pieces for the front sides 2.5" x 4.5", and 3.5" x 9" for the top and bottom framing the log cabin. I sewed those pieces on, then quilted the front, then trimmed it slightly to square it up a bit. I cut the backing 9" x 10.5", quilted, then trimmed to match the front. The final bag measures 8.5" x 10", including the casing.

What fun! I hope to continue to make more drawstring bags with my mini blocks in between other projects. Already mulling over which block to use next. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Golden Honey

After finishing the big liturgical quilt project and last year's guild BOM quilt, I really needed a small quilt project. Something improv. Maybe even scrappy. Meet Golden Honey.

It all started when I dug through my yellow/orange scrap bucket the other day, one of Gwen Marston's books - Minimal Quiltmaking - open beside me. I was being inspired by a striped quilt therein, and randomly began to piece scrap strips together. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get a photo of them, but when I came back to the strip sets a couple of days later, it wasn't the striped quilt in the book that was speaking to me, but the one on the facing page, Untitled #2. That particular quilt had resulted when Gwen was inspired by a Paul Klee painting, Fire in the Evening. Anyway, here's how my strip sets initially came together, with more additions from the scrap bucket, and a few strips of Kona Emerald, which I chose after a glance at my color wheel.

There was something I wasn't happy with though, so I sliced across the upper third, fiddled with things a bit, and ended up with this.

Did I absolutely love it? No. But I did love that it was becoming something I hadn't really planned, a "sketch" inspired by something Gwen had made, improv, and scrappy. That all made it A-OK and worth continuing on.

So I found a partial fat-quarter that coordinated fairly well for the backing, chose some thread - Aurifil 50wt 2214 [Golden Honey] (thus the name) - and started in on some easygoing quilting, both straight-line, and wavy.

For binding, I didn't think too hard, reaching back into the scrap basket to find just enough of RSS Melody Miller's Spark in a bright yellow.

This piece finished at 10.75" x 15", and I want to make note that I used Hobbs Tuscany Supreme 100% Cotton batting. I have a stack of Hobbs sample sizes that are perfect for small projects such as this, so I'm going to try a few out. This one felt pretty luxurious.

Anyway, this was just what I needed, creatively speaking. I think I might just dive into another small improv, scrappy piece soon. What I felt in making this one, I want to hang on to for a while.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024


Invariably I have an immediate reaction every time a new Bee Sewcial prompt is announced, and I'm pretty sure on February first when my beemate Jen @jen.broemel announced her prompt, it was something like, "Oh, yeah." GRIDS. 

Requested in reds, whites, and blacks, making these two blocks felt so good. Block one, above, is 11.5" x 15"; and the second, below, is 10" x 13.5".

Creating improvisationally - yet with a tentative vision - in an engaging palette - was the most fun I'd had in the studio recently, and I'm grateful for it.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Diamond Flare Finish

Whew! It's always such a relief to have a year-long project done! Begun back in March of last year, another segment or two was made each month, until I had a finished quilt top by year's end 2023. The pattern, Diamond Flare, is by guild member Taylor Krz @toadandsew.

For a quilt back, I used pretty much every little left-over from my Diamond Flare quilt top. The green fabric on the right side and top corner was pulled from stash to bring it to size. But otherwise, those bits and lengths were all from the stack of fabric I started the year with.

I had originally intended to make the quilt back along with the MQG Quilt Back Challenge starting with gathering supplies - the inspiration print + leftover solids. As a reminder, below is a shot of my initial inspiration fabric for the quilt's palette, Annabel Wrigley's @littlepincushionstudio Color Wheel Confetti Green for Windham Fabrics. Though I got it back out to consider piecing into the quilt back, I decided to save it for another project. But I think I kept pretty true to the palette, no?

As for my approach plan back during the challenge - using off-cuts from the quilt front, with the combination of simple geometric elements and overall piecing the back improvisationally, I stuck with that too.

I had run out of my big roll of Warm & White batting, and was thinking of trying something different. First I was thinking Quilter's Dream Green, but it was difficult to find in the amount I needed, so I decided to go with Quilter's Dream Select, which I'd used and liked before. I'm not sure what happened, but I somehow mis-ordered and ended up with Quilter's Dream Request, which I love for hand-quilting, but that wasn't my plan here. I decided to try it anyway, lightweight as it was, and it quilted like a dream. 

It was hard to pick a thread color from my stash that went with the wide range of colors and values in the quilt, but finally chose Aurifil 50wt 2612 [Arctic Sky]. I marked a diagonal 3" grid with my hera marker, one quarter of the quilt at a time, and that worked wonderfully. 

Bound with more of the Kona Blueprint used in both sides of the quilt, it finished at 71" square.

Whew! This one feels big, and with the batting and quilting choices, it is super cuddly and cozy. I think that is the last of the quilt projects begun last year. I sure hope so! I'm ready to do something impromptu and much smaller. Curious what that may be!