Friday, June 28, 2024


After finishing up a commission quilt recently, a new table runner, and a batch of quilted bookmarks, I was kind of at a loss at what to do next. Isn't it great when you find yourself with nothing pressing?

So I hauled out my bin of solid scraps, and started in on a scrappy thing inspired by some of Ophelia Pang's @opheliapangg works. Very few colors were rejected as I pulled from the scrap basket, making columns of multi-colored stripes of varied widths. I even added in a few black, white, and gray strips, and by some miracle, the happiest palette began to emerge.

I stopped when the quilt top nearly filled my design wall at 56" x 69". I hadn't really had in mind to make a quilt that large, but what did I expect? There are plenty of scraps left. I could have kept going and going. 

Instead, I opted to see what I had in stash for a pieced quilt backing, without being too fussy about it. Predominantly orange seemed to make the most sense once I found some good sized pieces that worked together. And on those fabrics I found a bit of a surprise - two especially fun selvages. I decided to trim those off and make them a focal point, which is something I very rarely do. But they just seemed to 'fit' this quilt, don't you think?

For quilting, I rummaged through my collection of small spools of Aurifil 40wt and 50wt, hoping to use a variety of colors both in the bobbin and as the top thread. Originally thinking 40wt for the quilting and 50wt for the bobbin, I ended up using both 40wt and 50wt for the quilting because of the colors I chose to use: Aurifil 40wt 2150 [Pumpkin], 2423 [Baby Pink], 4020 [Fuschia], 6722 [Crimini] and Aurifil 50wt 2115 [Lemon], 2886 [Light Avocado], 5006 [Light Turquoise], 7000 [Neon Orange]. This wild mix of thread colors made the quilting most enjoyable.

I used my hera marker to mark every 2" to 4" for beginning lines of an uneven grid. Once I had those lines done, I filled in randomly, ending up with lines .5" to 2" apart. I really like using Erica's @kitchentablequilting method for grid quilting. It always gives me such a great result, and this time was no exception.

This quilt was trimmed without much squaring or measuring. It just wasn't important for this particular project. Up to that point, things had been pretty relaxed, so why stop? For binding, I continued to pull right out of the scrap basket, odds and ends of other bindings from other projects. I think the scrappiness fits the quilt well enough.

Honestly, I loved the process of making this quilt, and the resultant finish, so much, I could easily dive right back in and make another. I probably won't do that, but one of these days, I may.... 

For now, I took my friend Erica's @kitchentablequilting advice, and had hubby take a photo of me with my finished quilt!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Floral Stitches I

Not normally one for subscription projects, I couldn't resist when I saw Rebecca @dropcloth of Dropcloth Samplers post about her new Floral Stitches subscription. The monthly floral designs are small - each flower 4" across - but I've been missing stitching the samplers, and I thought they might be a fun little project each month, heading into summer.

I signed up for six months, and we'll see from there. I have a couple of ideas of how to use the finished samplers, but that's a ways off. At any rate, I backed my first little sampler with Essex, hooped, and started stitching. 

No longer an Aurifil Artisan, I reverted back to a double-thickness of size 8 WonderFil perle cotton for this series. Not that I don't honestly love the Aurifil 12wt for embroidery - I definitely do! But I knew Rebecca uses mostly the perle, and I have a wider color selection in the perle. Plus, it's a change of pace. Both stitch beautifully with a wonderful result.

This little sampler actually took longer than I expected. Though the design is small, filling in certain areas was time-consuming. I may eventually go back and stitch that tiny scallop.... I tried twice, but didn't like how it looked, and removed my stitching. In the end, I just couldn't decide what to do quite yet, and I didn't want to cover it up. So for now at least, I'm leaving it as is. Next up in the Floral Stitches series is the unstitched sampler shown below. But first, I have a larger Dropcloth design I want to stitch, so I'll be back to share them both as they're completed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Kintsugi on Repeat

Four years after my first experiment with kintsugi, the table runner I'd made was deeply faded, as its 'home' has always been, by intention, in our living room window. Obviously, it had served its purpose and needed to be replaced, but I loved it so. Thus, I decided (obviously!) to make something very similar. Just for fun, here's the first one, that I made 

For fabrics, this time I used the same Essex Homespun in Natural for the background; but for focus fabrics, I chose several cuts from the Afternoon Bliss Fat Quarter Bundle from fabricBUBB that I'd gotten in March. For the contrasting joining lines, I used Kona Pimento.

I'd originally found the improv Kintsugi technique in Nicholas @quiltsfromtheattic's Inspiring Improv, and I referenced it again this time. I began by cutting 9" background squares, which was just a tad larger than what I needed, as after creating each kintsugi block, I trimmed it to 6.5". But that's fine, as it gave me plenty of wiggle room. I already knew I'd need a 4 x 7 layout of blocks, so that was nice not to have to do any extra calculations.

Once the top was pieced, I used the leftovers plus a couple more fat-quarters from the Afternoon Bliss bundle to make a pieced back. Deciding nothing too complicated was needed for quilting, I used Aurifil 50wt 2225 [Salmon] thread to stitch diagonal lines one-inch apart.

Bound in Free Spirit Tango, the runner finished at 24" x 42", and it feels great to have something new and fresh, yet familiar, on our living room table. Isn't it great to be a maker?

Monday, June 10, 2024

Summer Lovin'

Marci @marci_girl chose Summer Lovin' as her Bee Sewcial prompt this month. She told us, "Louisiana has summer and boy is it long. That doesn’t matter though, give me your summer vibes. Abstract blocks based off of tangible things/feelings/emotions. Invoke your feelings/experience of summer."

So for my first block, I was thinking about roasting marshmallows for s'mores. It's been a while since I've done that, but it's definitely 'summer' to me. If trimmed, the block would be about 13" x 14," but I think I'll leave it untrimmed, which Marci said was OK.

My second block is my improv take on a BBQ grill. Do you see it? This block measures 12" x 16" untrimmed. What a great summery palette Marci chose. It was definitely fun to work with these colors, and it didn't hurt that it was finally summery here in the PNW - blue skies and over 70-degrees, haha - while I worked on them.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Like, Totally :: June

Louise @imfeelincrafty, creator of this year's Seattle MQG BOM, looooves quarter circle blocks. So no surprise that a handful of them are included in this year's BOM. I can't say they're my favorite, but I don't really mind them, either. So once I got to a stopping point on my current project, I figured I'd take a break and get my June blocks done.

Fun that they were in two sizes! Also fun that Louise had us piece the block scraps together (not pictured), saying we'd be using them later. The less scraps the better, right? I could be wrong, but it would be just like Louise to encourage us to piece those 'extra' blocks into our quilt backs when the time comes. We'll see!

Monday, June 3, 2024

May Fabric Usage

Happily, May felt like another productive month fabric-wise, with three quilt finishes:

  • Snippets, made completely of my stashed Carolyn Friedlander fabrics
  • Plus, begun with squares of original Cotton + Steel fabrics left from a previous project, and filled in and finished with stashed C + S
  • Mixtape, made primarily with the scraps from Snippets

Add to that another nearly finished quilt, a new clergy stole for our son, bee blocks and BOM blocks, and let's just say the fabric usage added up. That said, I did bring in two cuts of fabric - 1) backing fabric for the aforementioned nearly finished quilt, which required something particular; and 2) a yard of CF Doe Grid, which I totally used up in Mixtape, and I couldn't bear to not have in my stash. Actually, what I got is in a different colorway, but was what I could find. I'll take it.

In addition to the fabric I used in projects, I also took several yards to leave on the free table at our recent guild meeting. Hopefully that old adage, "one man's trash is another man's treasure" rang true. Not that it was trash, but I thought someone else could use it better than I.

So here are the stats for May....

May Fabric Usage

Used up: 24.32 yards [15.63 projects + 8.69 recycled/donated/gifted]
Brought in: 5.0 yards 
Net: -19.32 yards

I'm looking forward to seeing where June takes me, as heading in, it is pretty commitment-free, sewing-wise. That said, assignments for June bee and BOM blocks have suddenly appeared, and I dove into a new project last night. So far, so good!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Woven Whispers

A few weeks ago, a friend contacted me with a possible quilt commission inspired by a blessing he had written in honor of his mom's retirement. She had been a teacher for many years, and after reading what he'd written, there were several words/thoughts that resonated.... threads, mosaic, changing shapes. I sent him photos of a few general quilt design ideas, and the one he chose was my Home Away from Home.

As for a palette, we settled on something subtle as a connection to the mentions of whispers, influence in quiet places, sacred hush, a silent promise, echoes, that he'd used in his blessing. "Fall colors and earth tones," he said, so from my stash I initially pulled a mixture of substrates and textures:

  • Kona Ice Frappe, Oyster, Snow
  • Diamond Textiles wovens - Top Stitch in Pale Jade, Crossed in Cream, Lined in Sage
  • Riley Blake Designs' Grid in Seaglass
  • a pair of textured solids

Once I got started, I knew I needed more solids, and brought in:

  • Kona Haze
  • Cotton Couture Powder Blue
  • Northcott Colorworks Pearl

I made piles of improv quarter log cabin blocks, and then puzzled them together similarly to my process with the inspiration quilt. For a backing, I wanted an overall design that would complement the front, and chose Rifle Verte in Cream from fabricBUBB, hoping it would work. And boy, did it. I couldn't have chosen anything better if I'd selected in person, right down to the bit of blue that went so nicely with the CC Powder Blue in the quilt top.

Due to the width of the quilt top, I chose to pattern-match the backing. Years ago, my guild-mate Matt @odditease had shown me how to pattern-match a quilt backing, otherwise I never would have thought, or tried, to do it for this quilt. But I think it's just what was needed. so I was glad I took the time to do it. And for your referenceSamantha @aqua_paisley has a terrific tutorial on her blog if you're interested in trying it sometime.

I used Quilter's Dream Select in Natural batting, a product I haven't used a lot, but I'm thinking that might be what contributed to the quilt's rich texture. Using Aurifil 40wt 6722 [Sea Biscuit] and 2021 [Natural White] along with Aurifil 50wt 2843 [Light Grey Green], I quilted a combination of straight any wavy lines to echo the journeys of one's life. 

Bound primarily in Kona Oyster, the lap quilt measured 52" x 54". Since the quilt was to be a gift, I thought it would be nice to deliver it in a coordinating fabric gift bag.

So that was an enjoyable odyssey into improv with intent.... but not overtly, obviously so. But hopefully my friend - and his mom - can be reminded of her influence over the years, the mosaic of experiences, and trust that even efforts that often went unseen, will continue to be felt.