Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I can't say this is my favorite finish ever. All the components going into it were just fine; it's just the end result I'm not that fond of. 

Using Adrianne/Little Bluebell's darling Modern Butterfly pattern, I started in on this month's Mighty Lucky Quilting Club challenge: Building Blocks of Effective Contrast with Amy/Stitchery Dickery Dock. It began with 12 Contrast Studies, which were very interesting and gave me alot to think about. I had purposely chosen a block design that I thought met the basic criteria of the challenge yet was small and fairly quick. The further I got into the challenge though, the less compatible my block and my fabric pull proved to be. The block was a tad too simple, and since I'd pulled fabric from stash, in some instances what I had didn't really fit the bill. Still all a good learning experience, but.

I used half of the 6 1/2" blocks I made for my final 17" quilt top - the ones I liked best and showed off the butterflies. You may notice that not all of the butterfly blocks have that accent stripe that is so unique to Adrianne's pattern. That's due to the contrast study for that particular block. Anyway, I tried to make the best of things by tilting the blocks ever so slightly, using my favorite Essex linen in natural as a filler, and quilting with organic wavy lines to add some movement. 

So yeah, I'm saying "mission accomplished" on this one and moving on. End of story.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.

Monday, May 30, 2016

May is for Makers :: Modern Butterfly

With this post, May is for Makers is a wrap. Of the five patterns I've purchased, two have resulted in finished projects already, and 1 is in the works. Not too bad, eh?

So I've been using Adrianne/Little Bluebell's Modern Butterfly pattern in the current Mighty Lucky Quilting Club challenge. The block is very simply paper-pieced, and I love the contrasting 'stripe' in each wing. I find Adrianne's finished quilt quite endearing - just really light and fresh.

Used by permission.

Stay tuned, and tomorrow I hope to show you what I've done with this little block!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Crosscut Blocks

After I did what I did to create blocks for my bee-mates in the Bee Sewcial Swap, some folks asked for a tutorial, so I made a new piece and took the time to take process photos. The result is a very informal tutorial, straight from the cutting table.

With a variety of low-volume fabrics, cut a 9.5" square from each. Nothing needs to be exact at this point, and obviously nothing needs to be pressed either. We'll neaten and trim in a later step. [For my original piece, I used 6 - 9.5" squares to get 14-15 - 5" squares. This time, I used 9 - 9.5" squares to get 16-6.5" squares.  So you can make adjustments accordingly for your desired size.]

Stack several low-volume squares and cut all on a diagonal. Repeat for the remaining background squares.

Also cut a bunch of 1" colored accent strips. They can be various lengths, and scraps are perfect for this. Piece strips end to end as you go, if needed to get the lengths you need, or just to add some interest.

Now make your initial cross blocks. Sew one accent strip along the diagonal of one background square and press.

Add the corresponding half of the square, or mix them up if you like. I lay the second triangle down along the accent piece, approximately centered on the first triangle. Sew the seam and press your block open.

Cut your new block in half diagonally, opposite of your first cut.

Sew in another accent strip. If matching up the 'arms' of the strip is important to you, pin where you think the arms will match up....

Then lift the top triangle to see how close you are. Adjust as you wish. Then sew that seam, removing the pin as you come to it.

Now it's time to trim up your block to your desired size, mine being 9.5". I aim to have a corner of my ruler along each 'arm' of the cross, but not perfectly so. Repeat for all your pieced cross blocks.

Arrange your blocks, sew them all together, and press well, using pressing spray if you have it.

Now is where it gets especially fun! Take a smaller ruler (mine is 6.5" square) and cut blocks from your piece of made fabric. 

Arrange your ruler as you go to get accent arrangements that are pleasing to you.

Just keep cutting, to get as many small blocks as you like.

One look is to just piece the small blocks back together in the order you cut them from your made fabric.

I chose to shuffle my blocks a bit, mostly to mix up those low-volume prints.

At this point, I was on a mission to just get on with it and quilt this baby up! I chose an organic zig-zag design, very similar to what I'd used on my Emphasis table runner last year. Marking every 6" or so with my hera marker did the trick, then just winging it in between. For thread, I started out with a gorgeous variegated Aurifil 50wt #4660 (Pink Taffy) and debated briefly whether to continue on and quilt the entirety in pink, or keep it as an accent. In the end I chose to finish with #2000 (Light Sand) and daresay, I like it alot.

I'm not sure what brought to mind that I should quilt the binding to get more of that pink thread in, but once I thought of it, there was no other option. If you've never seen that before, check out Stephanie/Spontaneous Threads' post for another example.

Basically this was one of those projects that wasn't even in my mind's eye 4 days ago, but there you go. Honestly, when a project just sort of strikes like that....well it's some of my favorite kind of sewing.

If you try the tutorial, feel free to use the hashtag #crosscutblocks

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Different Kind of Swap

Apparently, the Bee Sewcial members who were able to meet up at QuiltCon decided we should have a swap! Of course it couldn't be any routine kind of swap! When I heard what they had in mind, I think I had two simultaneous thoughts: 1) well that's different! and 2) oh, this will be fun! The inspiration was solids or prints: low volume background, with a pop of colour. The plan was to each make a single original design, then cut it up to share a piece with each of our bee-mates.

I started by doing different small improv blocks, which I really liked, but I just lost momentum.

So I chose one block I really loved, and made several larger ones (9" square).

I pieced six blocks together and then .... as directed, I cut it all up.

So I've got 5" squares cut from a single work, plenty to send one to each of my bee-mates plus keep a couple for myself. Once we all receive the snippets from the other participants, we'll make our own creations with little pieces from each other. I can't wait for that day.

Check out #beesewcialswap to see more....

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Bee Sewcial prompts never fail to intrigue. M-R/Quilt Matters directed us to one of Stephen Von Worley's maps coloured by orientation for our inspiration this month, with the overall theme of "Direction". Remember we use only solids in this bee. For background, we were asked to use medium to dark grays. In a single color per block, we were to create aerial maps of 'neighborhoods' in two 12.5" unfinished blocks. The thinner (1") strips indicate residential roads; the thicker (up to 2"), highways.

I zeroed in on two separate neighborhoods on Mr. Von Worley's map, and attempted to recreate them to some degree, pulling from my scrap basket for all the colors. These were truly very enjoyable blocks to make, and seeing them with others on Instagram [#beesewcial] leaves no doubt that this is going to be a stunner of a quilt.

Next up was a piece for a Bee Sewcial swap [#beesewcialswap], and it has morphed into something quite unexpected...such as a recreation and possible tutorial. Yeah. So stay tuned....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Half Baked Clams

Is it bad to say that making a clamshell quilt wasn't on my list? Not that I didn't love them. I was definitely intrigued by them, and when daughter dear made one for grandgirl, I was duly impressed. But I still didn't feel the need to make one myself. That is until Latifah/Latifah Saafir Studios came to town. Oh yeah.

I've admired Latifah's work for a long time, briefly been in a bee together, and enjoyed seeing her at QuiltCon 2015. Of course I wanted to take a class with her when she was in town visiting the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild. The workshop I chose was an inaugural presentation of Glam Clam II which offered instructions for several pieced clam variations. With my The Clammy 12" ruler in hand, I chose the Half Baked Clams. And let me say right up front, that Clammy is awesome, and I can't imagine doing this quilt without it. Having a 14" rotating cutting board helped alot too.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had taken a stack of Cotton + Steel prints with me, having used the viewfinder's as my focus fabric when I pulled other prints from my stash. I'm really pleased with my choice, as they make such a colorful and fun quilt! For the backing, I chose Melody Miller's Jacks from her Playful collection, and thankfully, I had plenty for the binding too. Quilting was 1/2" horizontal lines, simple yet striking.

One thing Latifah verbally shared at our workshop was a couple of ways to make her signature chunky binding (1" finished). I stumbled my way through on making it for this quilt, and though I need to perfect my technique, I'm super pleased with how it turned out and think it really adds something special to this particular quilt.

Finishing at 52"x64", I'm glad to have conquered the clamshell! It has a piecing technique so different from the traditional 'blocks in rows' quilt, and I found it enjoyable and relatively quick. 

The connection of taking a clamshell quilt to the beach for a photoshoot was lost on me until I was already there, but I must have subconsciously known it would be a good choice. All-around, a pretty satisfying make.

This quilt was on my 2016 Q2 Finish-A-Long list!

Monday, May 23, 2016

May is for Makers :: Slats

Time to sew has been really slim lately, but I've still been thinking about what to sew! And once I get a couple of time-critical items out of the way, what I really want to do is make some new pillows for my living room!

I purchased a digital copy of Debbie/Esch House Quiltsbook, Lines by Design Quilts: 17 Projects Featuring the Innovative Designs of Esch House Quilts because I'm smitten with her "Slats" pillow pattern and think they'll coordinate nicely with my Chaotic Order quilt now hanging in said living room.

photo courtesy Esch House Quilts; used by permission

So that's the plan! Hoping I have something to show off soon!

Monday, May 16, 2016

May is for Makers :: Cordial on Sunday

My latest purchase for May is for Makers is a quilt pattern by Amy/Badskirt - Cordial on Sunday.

Photo by Amy Gunson; used by permission

I'm still debating what fabric choices to go with. I was considering hitting my overflowing Cotton + Steel stash, but then again, maybe solids is the way to go. So time will tell....

Have you checked out the  #mayisformakers hashtag recently? It's fun to see what other makers are up to!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Back It Up

The other day, my heart stopped briefly when I wasn't able to get into my blogger dashboard. After a few minutes of panic, I realized I was logged into a different Google account than the one my blog is connected to. whew! So all is well on that front, but it was a good reminder to back up the blog regularly. Admittedly, I do it only quarterly at best, and I'm curious what you do, if at all. If you never have, it's super quick, as you'll see below.
Note that this is for Blogger only. Do research if your blog is on another platform.

Step 1. SAVE YOUR TEMPLATE: First, go to your blog's dashboard just like you were going to edit a post.

See way over in the upper right corner where it says "Backup/Restore"? Click there.

Choose "Download full template." A file full of code will be downloaded. Save the file and I suggest, rename it to include the current date. 

Close the Backup/Restore window. Step one is done.

Step 2. SAVE YOUR CONTENT: Still on your blog's dashboard, click "Settings" in the left hand column, then "Other." See under "Import & back up" the choice to "Back up Content." Click there and another file full of code will be downloaded. This one will take a little longer than the template, but not long. Save the file and again, rename it to include the current date. 

That's it! Seriously, it'll take you ten minutes or so. And give you a whole lot more peace of mind.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Modern Sampler :: Block I

It seems that every block in the Modern Sampler quilt along is its own kind of challenge. Block I was the challenge of many small pieces. Rather than piece each triangle one at a time, I opted to paper-piece each strip - still tedious but much more manageable, and a terrific way to use some scraps.

So I'm three-quarters done! Even with decent natural light, these blocks don't photograph easily, but you get the idea. And though I'm really liking the blocks with more color that I'm seeing under Instagram's #modernsamplerquiltalong, I'm still equally pleased with my decision to go very, very low-volume.

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday and the Modern Sampler monthly linkup.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May is for Makers :: The Hazel Pouch

While I won't use the pattern I purchased in week one of May is for Makers just yet, I dove right in for this week after choosing The Hazel Pouch by Jennie/Clover & Violet.

I chose to make the large version (12” w x 9” t x 2 ½” d), and used some lovely fabrics I had forgotten about in my stash. Funny how that happens!

All three size options in Jennie's pattern include an interior pocket and a sewn-in divider, a feature I don't remember doing before. The main panels and sides/bottom (one piece) are all quilted, but not with fusible fleece or batting - but flannel! As Jennie says, it "makes the bag sturdy, yet still soft and flexible." And it's true! Funny confession though .... the only flannel I had in-house was covered with mittens and mugs of cocoa. So beneath that bright geometric print is something very sweet and homey.

I found Jennie's pattern easy to follow, and the only truly challenging bit was not the zipper, but the binding. I had chosen a green linen as my accent, and I didn't take into account the added thickness of that fabric. So once I had the binding sewn on, it wouldn't fold over to the inside as it should. So off it came, I recut adding a 1/2" to the width, and back on it went. You can see it's hand-stitched along the top of the bag. I finished by adding a fabric 'ribbon' to the zipper pull. Since it was a 'purse zipper' as the pattern called for, it had a hole large enough to accommodate that, which was nice.

Though I made the 'plain' version of the Hazel Pouch, I did want you to see that the pattern also includes instructions for darling patchwork versions as well. What nice options, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Colour Blocks

Of course it would have been smart to pay attention early on so you could participate too, but it didn't happen that way. Last night I was scrolling through my Instagram feed after a long work day, enjoying among other things, all the stunning color collections for the
#colourblockchallenge. I realized that it was the last day to join in, so went to Angie/Gnome Angel's blog post to see what it was all about.

Basically, to participate in the Colour Block Challenge, you were to make an inspiration block then stylize it with same-color found items per Angie's guidelines. Why not? So I grabbed a block right off my cutting table to see what I could do.

Fun! Kind of random but whatever. Even though my block was pretty neutral, it was an interesting exercise, and I like what I came up with in short order.

Go glance at that hashtag! I'm pretty sure that even though the challenge is over, you'll be able to add your own style to the collection so give it a try!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Chaotic Order

I looked it up, the definition of chaos: complete disorder and confusion · disarray · havoc · turmoil and on and on. And though the recent class with Libs Elliott included a very unique (and fun!) method for us each to design our own distinctive quilt, the end result seems to me quite the opposite of chaos.

The beautiful and textural Irome Muji cotton/linen blends by Kokka was for me, just perfect for this quilt, a joy to both sew and quilt. I took inspiration from a quilting design from Ashley/Film in the Fridge, rotating her original 90-degrees, which require marking every line, which seemed time-consuming at first, but in actuality went very well.

For thread, I started out using Aurifil 50wt #2000 (beige), and after a break of several days, inadvertently continued on quilting with another color, #2021 (natural white). Oops! Rather than unpick the whole thing, I kept using both threads, switching them out every several rows. Maybe not ideal, but I can live with it.

Finishing at 48" square, I expect this quilt finds a happy home in our living room, where it coordinates well with our 'wild' chair. It seems meant to be.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and Finish It Up Friday!