Category Archives: Patchwork

Anna’s 18th Birthday Quilt

It always sucks a little when one of your kids birthdays falls during lean times. It’s even worse when it’s a milestone birthday. With my husband not working and our income significantly lowered, we couldn’t afford to have a party or big gift for our daughter, Anna’s 18th birthday. It was time to get creative. It actually reminded me a lot of her first birthday. Fresh out of college with a baby, we struggled to make ends meet. For months leading up to her birthday I would buy a ball of cotton yarn on pay day and crocheted her a blanket. Because I added to it so slowly, the dye lots didn’t match, but it didn’t matter. That blanket went everywhere with her for years. Earlier this summer, every time she would catch me sewing (mostly bee blocks), she would ask when I was going to make her a quilt. I finally answered one day that I’d have it done by the time she graduated (next May) and she gave me a dejected “oh” and stopped asking.

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Back when I started sewing I participated in a Denyse Schmidt charm swap sponsored by Jill at Made with Moxie. I had two slots and cut into them right away to make some hexies. Anna in particular liked her fabrics, so I set the rest aside thinking I’d incorporate them in a project for her. Over time I added in 2 1/2′, 4 1/2″ and 6 1/2″ squares of Flea Market Fancy, Chicopee and several ds Quilts fabrics form Joann’s, with the intention of making a Magic Numbers Quilt for. So with nine days before her birthday, I decided that I would surprise her with a quilt. A queen size quilt. Once I realized how many blocks I would need I decided to add in some 12 1/2″ blocks too, to break everything up a bit. Two days later, I had this…

66099_10200899800269507_498236608_n Then came the big challenge…How to quilt it. Not only was I concerned about my ability to wrangle such a big quilt through my home machine, but I also wanted to double up on the batting, since she had asked for a heavy quilt. I have fibromyalgia, so I knew even if I were  to take it slow, it was going to be a stretch to get it done in time. With that in mind, I posted to my quilt group on Facebook asking for advice. The most incredible thing happened. The lovely Tara Evans, director of Golden Threads Quilt Club, offered to long-arm in exchange for a lap quilt to donate to a local Senior. Tara really connected with wanting to help me provide a meaningful gift for my daughter’s birthday and finished the quilting the same day I dropped it off.

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Since everything for this quilt had to come from stash, I used a backing I had originally intended for a different quilt and bound it in my favorite Chicopee plaid. Despite not “matching” any of the purples on the front of the quilt, I don’t think I could have planned a more perfect fabric. It had the depth needed to hold it’s own with the front of the quilt.

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The night before her birthday, I spent six hours hand sewing the binding to the back. As many different machine binding methods I’ve tried, nothing will ever beat the crisp clean look of a hand sewn binding in my mind. l especially love the perfect corners.

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I don’t know who was more excited for her birthday, her or me. I gave it to her within moments of her getting up and she wrapped herself up in it right away.

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Anna’s 18th Birthday Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Magic Numbers
Fabric: Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy,
Chicopee and ds Quilts prints
Back: 108″ wide purple blender
Binding: Simple Plaid in Charcoal
Finished Size: 90″ X 99″
Finished Date: August 2013

DSC_0923 DSC_0934Linking up to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Check back tomorrow to see the finished quilt I made for Golden Threads!

A Scrappy Trips Finish for Empower @ do. Good Stitches

The first week of September I sat down to make a list of all my WIP’s. With kids transitioned to school and new free time on my hands, my goal is to get as many done as I can before the end of the year. First on the list, was my month as quilter for Empower @ do. Good Stitches. A Many Trips Around the World quilt has been on my bucket list since Fall 2012. I have a tub of 2 1/2″ strips I cut from most fabrics that crossed my table that year waiting for me to do something with them. I had been waffling about how I wanted to go about it, so when my do.GS month and the Scrappy Trips craze simultaneously hit the internet, it was the perfect opportunity to experiment. I requested a palette of pink, orange and yellows with a single lime green strip down the middle to create a lattice effect. I also requested that stitchers include at least one low volume strip in each block to help create movement. I did a quick fabric pull to give everyone an idea of what I was looking for.

empower collageGiven the number of contributors with a block with a ton of seams, I was amazed at how easy this quilt came together. This group of ladies is a precise bunch and they chose the most RAD fabrics.DSC_0771Then, as these things go, the flimsy got tucked aside while I tried to figure out how to back and quilt it. I auditioned a bunch of different green fabrics, but nothing felt quite right. It wasn’t until I completely switched gears and pulled out some Kona Tangerine that it all fell into place. I also found a random print in my stash that had many of the same colors to widen it up at bit. My goal for the quilting was to soften all the sharp edges. I did a couple simple free-form wavy lines through each square with my walking foot and it was finished in no time.

DSC_0082My final decision was binding. Given how busy the top already was, I decided I didn’t want to add a new fabric. I still had enough of the print from the back and I’ve never done a binding lighter than the main quilt before, so this seemed like another good chance to try something new. I especially like how the the binding pulls out the splashes of lighter prints my bee mates included for their blocks.

DSC_0087Scrappy Trips for Empower @ do. Good Stitches
Finished September 2013

DSC_0090Linking to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

with love…

I think this is the first time I’ve ever finished a project within a few days of starting. Modeled off of Svetlana’s Pixelated Heart Pillow, with love… measures 28″ X 28″, was pieced from stash, quilted diagonally with variegated pink thread and bound in a print from Violet Craft’s Madrona Road collection. My take away from this project is that I really need to take the time to make a design wall, even if it’s temporary. There are a few fabric tweaks that I would have made if I would have had a different perspective when I laid it out. The girls love it though and it will make a nice addition to their room.

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Linking up to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
and TGIFF at Sewing By Moonlight

WIP 2.13.13: Instant Gratification

After a rocky start to February, I finally had a chunk of sewing time this past weekend. As much as I’m committed to clearing my WIP;s, I had a hard time getting excited about my current projects.

I’ve been slowly quilting my You’re Never A-Lone Star 1 and am happy with my progress. I decided to quilt the star in a lone star pattern which is requiring a lot of starts and stops. I decided early on not to bury my knots and am utilizing my machines automatic stay stitching feature. My one complaint is that it stitches 5-6 times at the end of each row, creating a sizable knot on the back. I’m using flannel for the back and don’t think they will show much, but I do wish my machine would allow me to change the number of stitches taken. As for this weekend, I wasn’t up for the heavy lifting required to quilt this project.

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The next project under consideration was my 1/2″ hexagon mini quilt. I pulled this project out at the beginning of the month and got the rest of my sewn strips joined. My current piece of patchwork is approximately 12″ X 18″ and I can’t decide if I want this portion of the mini to be bigger or not. I plan to add a border of charcoal hexies and then a final 3-4 rounds of the scrappy hexies to finish it off. Right now, this center section seems like it would be proportionally right given those plans. I also like the balance of color and value in this section. I’ve attempted to lay additional hexies out to see what it would look like bigger and can’t quite seem to keep these elements consistent. I also question whether a bigger center will add much impact given the extra time it would take. Which is to say I “think” I’m ready for the charcoal border, but am still indecisive enough, that this project was set aside for the weekend. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

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The rest of my early February sewing has centered around paper piecing bee blocks. I really love the Cartwheel Block from Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced that I chose for this round of the 4 X 5 bee and I need to get them finished up. For some reason, this just wasn’t the type of sewing I was looking for.

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I just didn’t feel like I had the energy to focus on paper piecing and was really wanting to feel like I was making progress towards a finish. What I needed was mindless sewing and instant gratification. A simple, straight-forward patchwork project was just what I was looking for. Fortunately, I had one on my  Q1 FAL list, cut and ready to be pieced. In the past I have chain pieced pairs of charms, then joined them into 4-square blocks, then continued doubling until I had rows and then doubled up rows until I ended up with a finished quilt. I remembered another chain-piecing technique I saw on a quilting show where you joined the first two columns and then added the third one on without cutting the thread between rows. You end up with all your rows formed and attached to each other by small lengths of thread. I’ve also decided I”m going to try minky for the first time on this quilt. Since it’s for a young child, I was able to keep it small enough that I won’t have to piece the back.

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Despite this quick finish (about two hours from layout to done), I wasn’t very happy with my final product. I knew I wanted to use solids to break up the charms, but didn’t have enough of any one color to use in the entire quilt. I thought these four colors would work well together, but I don’t really love it. Too sherberty for my taste. Fortunately, the mom of the little girl it’s intended for likes it, so I will go ahead and finish it up.

Since I was luke-warm at best with this side project, I was still feeling restless and unable to jump back into one of my other WIPs. What I really wanted to do was play with some of my favorite fabrics. I fell in love with Svetlana’s Pixelated Heart Pillow and having collected quite a few low-volume, neutral and text prints was itching to cut into them. My problem was I have been collecting them for specific projects, none of which would satisfy my desire for instant gratification. I didn’t want to cut into them randomly and end up short when I finally found time to execute my plans. With that in mind, I set out to liberate some scraps. I made a list of six different projects and the cuts required for each, along with some criteria to determine which fabrics would work best in each application. Only one project utilized them all and when I was done I had enough fabric cut for the neutral (used loosely) parts of 110 blocks (2 from each stack).

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I have to say that I was feeling a bit giddy looking at these piles of fabrics. There are just so many favorites here and I can’t wait to start on these blocks. In the meantime, after a full day of cutting, I took the scraps from the lightest of these fabrics, cut some 2 1/2″ squares to pair with squares of pink scraps and pieced together a Pixelated Heart Wall Hanging for Cate and Ava’s room.

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Ahhhh, that’s what I was looking for. There are a few misplaced squares (I really need a design wall!), but all told, I really love how this turned out. I’ve already finished up the quilting and have the binding attached to the front. I hope to get it sewn down while the kiddos are at their dance classes tonight and to have a post up for Finish It Friday. As an added bonus, this little bit of quilting was just enough to motivate me to jump back into quilting my You’re Never A-Lone Star 1, so I’ve come full circle.

On tap for the coming week….

  1. Finish quilting You’re Never A-Lone Star 1
  2. Finish up and send off 4 X 5 Bee Blocks and February Color Bee Shocked blocks

Linking up….

.WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

January: A Lovely Year of Finishes ~ You’re Never A-Lone Star 1 & 2

At the beginning of January, I linked up to A Lovely Year of Finishes with this photo on Flickr…

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I used Jeni’s Giant Star tutorial to make two quilt tops.

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I’m calling these “You’re Never A-Lone Star 1 & 2” and plan to quilt them in a diamond pattern to look like a Lone Star block. These tops are for a special twosome and the name couldn’t be more perfect for them. More when I get them quilted up and gifted.

This was my January A Lovely Year of Finishes goal. I’m linking up…

Finish It Up Friday

A Lovely Year of Finishes
Plum and June

WIP Wednesday 1.16.13 ~ Bee Boppin’ Along

Those of you who checked out my WIP list, probably noted my crazy number of bee commitments. January, in particular, is a big month with 16 bee blocks due!

Empower at do.Good Stitches

I made two sets of blocks this month… December’s Boy’s Nonsense blocks in goldenrod, yellow, lilac and tan, from Where the Orchards Grow and January’s Many Trips Around the World blocks from Quiltville. January also happens to be my very first month as the quilter. The colors I specified were pink, orange and yellow, with one strip of lime green for the middle of each block. I’m hoping that the green strips will create a lattice design when the quilt is assembled.

01 do.GSI didn’t have much in my stash of goldenrod, lilac or tan and it’s not a color scheme I ever would have thought of, but I love the sophistication of this palette and can’t wait to see the finished quilt. I have been planning a Many Trips Around the World quilt for months now and it’s on my FAL list. It’s been tough not jumping in on the Scrappy Trip Along happening on Flickr, especially since I have all the fabric cut. This gave me the chance to make a few blocks and experiment with how well an additional design element works out. Blocks have already started coming in and I’m excited to start assembling this one and thinking about with quilting ideas.

3 X 6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee

Hive 8 Sampler
This was my first quarter participating in this mini bee and I signed up for two spots. For my sampler blocks, I chose Jess Kelly’s Simply Woven block. I didn’t have many problems with it when I constructed my test block. But when I went to make them in my bee mates colors, I had a hard time keeping everything from going wonky.

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I think it was a combination of not being quite square when I made my secondary cuts and having a hard time lining up seams. I’ve become good at nesting seams, but with this block your matching seams across the 2 1/2″ strip you add in each step. I always seemed to be a hair off one way or another. I have also been working on making sure I press, not iron. I think with a block like this with long, narrow strips, that’s especially important to avoid distortion. I hope my bee mates aren’t too disappointed with their blocks. I really enjoyed working with color scheme’s I wouldn’t normally choose. I’m not ready to give up on this block yet. Since I have Jelly Rolls of Simply Color and want to make the complete quilt featured at Moda Bake Shop, I’m going to be making more sample blocks. On a side note, Jess is one of my favorite new designers. Not only is her Simply Woven quilt one of my favorites from the past year, but I also love her first independently published pattern, Lucky Squares.

Hive 4 Paper-pieced
For my paper-pieced block I chose Tallahassee from Quilter’s Cache. This was my first try at paper-piecing since the 90’s. This block appears pretty simple and straightforward, four colors and a background. It’s not necessarily difficult to construct, but I underestimated how time consuming it would be. It may just be a few colors, but each color is made up of four blocks and each block is made up of five pieces of fabric. That’s 80 pieces and a whole lot of trimming!

3X6 Q4 Hive 4They aren’t perfect, but I really love how they all turned out. I certainly don’t regret choosing this block, but I’m going to get a much earlier start on my paper-pieced blocks for the 4 X 5 Modern Quilt Bee next month.

On Tap for Next Week

  1. Color Bee Shocked ~ The Modified Bento Box we’re making is going to be a nice change after all the paper-piecing I’ve done this week. Hopefully, they will be finished and out by this weekend.
  2. Lucky Star BOM ~ Practice Block and January Block
  3. Gen X BOM ~ January
  4. Aurifil BOM ~ January
  5. January’s A Lovely Year of Finishes Goal ~ I have both Giant Stars constructed, but am considering adding a border to one of them.
  6. Madrona Road MQG Challenge ~ Our guild didn’t get our fabric until the beginning of this month, so we’re extending the challenge through February. If possible I would like to get it done and a picture submitted to the Flickr group by the national deadline.

Linking up…

WIP Wednesday

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Final Finish 2012 ~ Christmas Patchwork

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I’m finally posting about my last finish from 2012. As soon as this one came out of the machine, it was put into service. It my be months before someone tall is home on a sunny day for good pictures, so I decided to enlist my four-year old assistants.

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There’s not much to tell. Straightforward patchwork plus 1/4″ quilting on either side of the seams equals soft, crinkly, flannel backed goodness.

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Quilt Stats:
Fabric: 4 sets Christmas charms from Flickr swap
Back: Greenhouse Basketweave in Green Flannel by Erin McNorris
Finished Size: 66″ X 76″
Finished Date: December 2012

Someone’s just thrilled she gets to stand on the table.DSC_0412 (2)