Monday, May 27, 2024

Folk Art Cats

My bee mate, Felicity @felicityquilts, chose "Folk Art Cats" as her Bee Sewcial @beesewcial prompt for May, and here's my first block. The cats are supposed to be primarily black or grey, with a scrappy background in bright, cheerful colors. This kitty block measures 12" x 18". I chose to leave it long in case Felicity wants to trim later.

My second kitty measures 10" x 16". He's inspired by a folk art cat picture I saw, though I'm not really sure he looks like it, but I tried! His eyes got a little out of control, but so goes improv sometimes.

For both blocks, I planned the kitties out first, then focused on the background. Not the most intuitive improv I've done, but hopefully they both fit in well with the rest of the clowder.

Friday, May 24, 2024


After finishing Snippets, I was determined not to toss the CF scraps into the scrap baskets, and they sat on my work table for days, just waiting patiently. Finally, over the weekend I had a chance to sit down with them, and honestly there wasn't much thought that went into the process. 

I first sewed like-sized pieces together. From there, I kept matching sets, then adding more of the same fabric scraps, and finally puzzled chunks together. When I was done, I had a very scrappy piece, 14.5" x 15". At that point, I wasn't sure I was done piecing or not. 

Apparently not. When I went back to it another day, I decided it needed a frame. Most of my improv work does not, but this scrappy piece did, but something out of the ordinary. I thought at first, maybe a lattice, but didn't like that. Instead, I incorporated just a small segment in with a couple of my favorite prints from the original piece. Each side is a different width, thus the funky mitered corners.

At 18" x 20", I decided that was enough, and I started in right away piecing a quilt back. Just more scrappy piecing fun.

For quilting, I did an uneven grid using Aurifil 28 2710 [Robin's Egg]. I really enjoy quilting a grid, especially on a small quilt like this one.

Binding was done with the last of my CF Doe Grid, and since I didn't have quite enough, a bit of that navy spiky print from Collection CF. All in all, that was a very fun diversion and took care of nearly all of those scraps that had been hanging out. I chose the name Mixtape, since there are a variety of Carolyn Friedlander collections represented. I just used whatever blues I had for both Snippets and Mixtape. The only bad part is they're pretty much gone now. Oh WELL.

Linking up with Quilting JETgirl's Favorite Finish Linky.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Knotted Stitches

It's been ages since I stitched a Dropcloth sampler - I think since I finished the Gingerbread Houses in January. Creator Rebecca Ringquist @dropcloth has a couple of new things out that I'm excited about; but also, the other day, she offered up a free sampler from her Stitch of the Month Embroidery Subscription, Knotted Stitches. Even though I don't have the subscription, I expressed my interest thinking it would be another fun sampler to stitch!

Well lucky me, Rebecca sent one to me straightaway, and I started right in stitching. I'm an old hand at French knots and the coral stitch, but the other knots were all new to me, so that was great. The French knots with tails and four-legged knots were no problem after looking up tutorials. But that bullion knot really tested my ability, and my patience, as there were so many of them!! I had previously done them on another sampler, but this time they really stumped me. After lots of practice and several different video tutorials, I found a method that worked well for me. Can't say I was sad, though, when the last one was done! For the border, I also wanted to try a knot stitch, and learned the double-knot stitch, or Palestrina, from Poongodi's Channel. Pretty sure I'll be using that stitch again. 

So Knotted Stitches was an unexpected treat. I stitched it with a double-thickness of Aurifil 12wt, basically because I love it. The sheen and silky-smoothness stitch so beautifully, even though the result is finer than using perle cotton or floss. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed that stitching, and luckily have a couple more samplers ready to go.

Friday, May 17, 2024


It had been a while since I'd made a Plus quilt, but when I did, I had a nice stack of 5" squares left over, knowing some day, I'd make another. So when I saw Jeni @jenib320 announce her Plus Quilt Along, I figured why not? Jeni has a Modern Plus Quilt Tutorial for a throw-size, though I used her Arithmetic Quilt Pattern to make a baby size to stash for gifting or donating. 

Most, if not all, of the prints were original Cotton + Steel. And actually, my squares were 5", a size not included in Jeni's pattern - her baby-size called for 4.5" squares - so my quilt became slightly larger than her baby-size. Being relatively small, I figured I could squeeze it in among other projects I wanted to do over the quilt along weeks.

As you can imagine, the top sewed up quite quickly. Unfortunately, I realized that I had a little error in the bottom right corner! Luckily it didn't take me too long to make that fix.

For the backing, I used a darling C+S print I'd been stashing for a while - C + S Welsummer Forage in Gray by Kimberly Kight. It didn't take much, but I used just a little of Ruby Star Society Sugar in Neon Pink by Sarah Watts to bring the back up to size. You may be able to barely see that - an inch or so - on the right hand side.

After considering several options, I settled on Aurifil 40wt 1148 [Light Jade] for quilting a grid. I started by quilting along seamlines, then went back and stitched in the middle of those lines of stitches, going completely by eye. For batting, I'm pretty sure I used Quilter's Dream Request, since I had it on hand. At any rate, the quilting and batting resulted in a very soft and drapey quilt.

Bound with a jade C+S Sprinkle, the quilt finished at 42" x 55". The coloring on the sweet label from sarahHEARTS just had to be included on this quilt, along with my standard label.

So that was a fun finish with sweet fabrics. With gifting Snippets to my daughter this week, the stole to my son, and now this finish.... well, it's been good to cross a few projects off the list!

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Green Stole

Pretty sure I hinted somewhere along the line that in making the blue liturgical stole for our son, Kendall, and the white one, that those wouldn't be the end of my stole-making. Though he's already acquired several in a variety of colors, he's hinted that eventually he'd like mom-made stoles in a whole range of colors. After taking a quick look at a liturgical calendar, I realized the next season, Time after Pentecost, was rapidly approaching. This season of the church year is the longest, running this year from May 23 through November 27, and is affectionately called the long green season.

At any rate, green was obviously the next color I needed to tackle, and for the exterior and lining fabrics I chose Essex Yarn Dyed in Palm and Kona Peridot. Somewhere, I'd seen a simple cross block that would work well in my improvisational style, so I did my best to create something similar, one for each side of the stole.

The improv crosses were inserted near the lower edge of the stole fronts, and otherwise, that Essex was the main feature.

Where with the two previous stoles - here and here - I'd interfaced with Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece, this time I tried something much lighter, fusible Pellon SF101. It's about my favorite interfacing, and I'm anxious to see what Kendall thinks about the weight and drape. For me, I was mostly trying to prevent some of the wrinkling that I felt happened on the white stole. At any rate, from first glance, it looks to have been a good choice.

For this stole, I ordered a Soft Gold Metallic Cross Applique from Ecclesiastical Sewing for the back neck. The cross is machine-embroidered, and 2" high and wide. It had an iron-on backing, so I did that to secure placement; and then used Aurifil Monofilament to machine-stitch around the edges

Thank goodness for the beautiful Aurifil 50wt 1231 [Spring Green] that matched the Kona Peridot almost perfectly, as sewing the weights in the bottom of the lining wasn't a perfect science. Due to the lighter interfacing, I sewed three weights (aka pennies) in on each side, so again, I'm anxious to hear from Kendall what he thinks about that for future reference.

So the stole just arrived to Kendall, and he'll be able to try it out in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping, of course, that it's a welcome addition to his collection of stoles.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Snippets + alphabet

Lest you think I'm only interested in quilt alongs, that's not quite true. But after making my AQT alphabet quilt several weeks ago, I had in mind to make another alphabet quilt, so why not?! Now if I can only find all those extra letters I had left from making the first one...

Found 'em! I only had to print out a few more before I was ready to start in. I already knew what fabric I wanted to start with, knowing full well that I might add more as I went. It was all Carolyn Friedlander, a mix of collections, and primarily in blues, grays, black.

The intended recipient was my daughter Rachel @snippetsofsweetness, so of course, her banner would say 'Snippets of Sweetness,' her social media name. Just like the first time, I followed Carolyn's lead of splitting the words into rows, which though maybe a bit awkward to read, is a lot of fun.

Snippets finished at 18.5" x 29", similar in layout to one of Carolyn's projects, as well as my previous one, with the back pieced with more CF fabrics, of course.

I quilted a 1" grid using Aurifil 50wt 2730 [Delft Blue] horizontally in the darker blue section; and 2612 [Arctic Sky] in the upper letter section, as well as all of the vertical lines.

I know I totally ignored the schedule of the sew along, but other projects were waiting for my attention. Plus, I knew I'd see Rachel yesterday, so why not finish it up and give it to her then? Come to find out, she's refreshing her sewing space, so this little piece just might be a fun addition.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Like, Totally :: May

Somehow, last week I went from having zero projects in the works, to several. And most of them have timelines attached, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed about how to proceed. Then this month's Seattle MQG BOM block instructions were posted, and everything began to fall into line.

Actually, I used the making of the BOM blocks as a little reward for making progress on another project. They were good incentive, plus relatively easy blocks, and I had them done in no time. Before I put that project away for another month, I decided to see how my Like, Totally quilt was stacking up by putting all of my blocks so far up on the design wall.

Very fun! I'm really enjoying my chosen palette, and the mix of low-volume background fabrics. So I'm feeling good about where this BOM is headed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

April Fabric Usage

After March's outrageous fabric intake, it was great to bring in just a few yards during April, and for a very specific project, at that. In addition, there were several yards used for:

All that resulted in some pretty respectable fabric usage numbers. Let's see if I can do as good in May!

April Fabric Usage

Used up: 14.83 yards [11.83 projects + 3.0 recycled/donated]
Brought in: 3.50 yards 
Net: -11.33 yards