Thursday, June 30, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Home Sewing Retreat Part II

I am camping out in front of the TV for a little mini sewing retreat again today.  I haven't done much serious sewing in a week but that is about to change!  I'm starting out by sewing together some flannel scraps I cut a long time ago. The first quilt made from these was in masculine, neutral colors. This one will be bright and fun. If I get bored of sewing flannel I have plenty to choose from.

In the basket are more units for the Bonnie Lass crumb quilt.  The jelly roll was gifted to me by a reader for a Covered in Love quilt.  Maybe a 16 patch? Or maybe something more string-y? I don't know yet. 

In the brown paper bag are assorted scraps.  My guild did a fun activity at our meeting last week. Everyone brought a gallon size ZipLoc of scraps and we mixed them all together then passed out bags of scraps. It's an exercise in improv where you set the clock for 30 minutes then blindly draw fabrics from the bag and sew them together. My first 4 blocks are below.

Next meeting we are all bringing our blocks back to think about how to assemble them into a top.  Part of the reason I haven't done much sewing lately is this sweet little face.  This is Rey.  She is around 7 weeks old and I found her on the side of the highway last week on my way to work.  Rory is not impressed by this interloper into her space, but I think at this point we're keeping her :)

One more thing! July's CiL block drive post went up this morning. I can't wait to see what you all come up with! Now, I'm off to sew the afternoon away.

Linking to "I May Have a Scrap Problem" at Sarah's blog. I don't think there is an "may" about it!

July Covered in Love Stars

Welcome to this month's Covered in Love block drive!  Every month I announce a block drive challenge so that quilters out in blog world can make blocks to help out CiL. Together you guys make several beautiful quilts every month to bring comfort to mourning families.

Mini lonestar

This month is a little different because I am not giving you a specific block tutorial. Instead, in honor of July 4th, I'd like 12.5" unfinished (12" finished) star blocks in patriotic red, white, and blue (think USA flag colors).  You can use 2 colors per block or all 3 and you can use any star pattern you like. You don't have to use white for the background, you can use the colors in any position. Solid or print fabrics are ok.

I've linked up several block patterns below. You can also make a block made up of several smaller stars, as long as the overall block measures 12.5".  If you're in doubt about the size, or you accidentally make an offsize star, err too small and add sashing to bring it up to size.

Delaware Quilts has LOTS of star patterns
Briawna collected some block links when my Bee did stars
Quilters' Cache also has LOTS of stars in this list
35 Star Quilt patterns
Wonky "Confetti Star" free on Craftsy
Paper pieced "Star Seams" free on Craftsy
...that's plenty from me, but there are lots more star blocks out there so don't limit yourself just to these.

Covered in Love gives quilts of comfort to the families of patients who pass away in the hospital.  If you would like to support us by making a block or ten, email me at or leave a comment below for a mailing address.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Long Overdue, the Ultimate Collaboration

At long last the January NURTURE circle do. Good Stitches quilt is done!  Back in January I asked the talented members of the my do. Good Stitches circle to sew up paper pieced blocks from Shape Moth's Forest Quilt Along.  The ladies and I made 10 paper pieced blocks from the Forest QAL (plus a stray orphan block of a bird one member sent in).

Now normally when it's my turn to be a quilter for do. Good Stitches I get the quilt done within a few weeks. Not this time, obviously. I really wanted to do justice to the time consuming, detailed, and truly beautiful blocks my group members had made. Finally in March these blocks came together on the design wall along with the leftover split 9 patch blocks from February's block drive.

Woodpecker by Dhia

Then, the quilt top sat for a while longer...  I wanted to quilting to be worthy of the quilt.  Fate intervened again in April when Judy from Quilt Paradigm wrote to me offering to do some quilting for Covered in Love.  After seeing the spectacular job she did on a couple of our tops I asked if she would consider doing the Forest QAL top and she said yes!

Red Panda by Jackie

As you can see, Judy outdid herself with the quilting on our quilt!  Beautiful wavy lines sprinkled with paw-prints, bubbles, and feathers.

The NURTURE circle makes quilts for Covered in Love

Flowers and snail by Lisa

Maple fox by Louise

Covered in Love provides comfort quilts for the families of patients who pass away in the hospital.  Thank you Judy, NURTURE circle, and block drive contributors for all your roles in this quilt and for patience with me to finally get it done!

Feathers by Briawna
Fern and flower by Gabby
Pine Marten by Gayle
Roaring deer by me
Squirrel by Libby
Trillium by Carla

The June quilt drive is still going on if you would like to contribute!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sun and Sea Design Wall

This month's Covered in Love block drive is a pretty blue and yellow block I'm calling Sun and Sea.  Quite a few block have come in but there is still lots of time left in June if anyone wants to contribute more blocks!  I haven't started putting these together yet but I have been playing with arranging them.

I think I like this arrangement best, which is sort of the inverse of the original layout, with some to-be-determined sashing in between.  Probably each quilt will be square, with 9 of these large blocks... We'll see.  At this point I am still just enjoying playing with them.  Last week and the weekend were very busy for me so I am looking forward to some relaxed  sewing time this week.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mindless Scrappy Sewing

This has been a busy week for school stuff. Sometimes when I'm listening to lectures I do some mindless sewing to keep my hands occupied. This time I pulled out the crumbs I've been working on for... almost a year now.  Just little 2.5"x1.5" rectangles joined first into pairs and then into four patches as in this Bonnie Lass pattern.

The first few four patches are done and I arranged some of them up on the design wall.  Since these are my scraps (for the most part, some of Judy's too) the color palette is overall blue-ish. ((If you're squeamish stop reading here, thanks for coming by!))

I actually did some school-related sewing this week.  We spent an afternoon in the classroom learning to suture! Perhaps unsurprisingly, being a quilter did not give me any particular advantage when it came to suturing.  We all brought chicken, cow tongue, or pig feet to practice on and it was a pretty fun afternoon.  The meat was not wasted, after all the sutures were removed it was taken to a local Tiger Rescue where the big cats were very grateful :)

Linking to Oh Scrap! at Cynthia's blog.

Friday, June 17, 2016

100+ Quilts for Covered in Love

Yes, that's right, Covered in Love just surpassed the 100 quilt mark!  Even more have been donated, but I base my official count off the ones I've taken up to the hospital to be passed out and with today's drop off we reached 104!!!  When I launched this charity in January of 2015 this was beyond my wildest dreams.  I delivered the first quilts on April 1st, 2015 and thanks to a lot of help things have grown and grown and grown.

This is a little late, but I'm showing off the second Covered in Love March quilt.  If you remember way back in March we made eye-spy novelty fabric blocks.  Everyone was so generous to send in such cool blocks, I was able to made two great quilts (you can see the first one here).  This second quilt is a tad bigger at 60"x70".  Great fun, interesting fabrics in this quilt, 168 of them!

Covered in Love gives comfort quilts to the patients of families who pass away in the hospital.  They way things usually work is that I make and gather quilts at home, then take them up to the hospital chaplains who pass them out.  Used to be I'd take 5 or 6 quilts at a time, now its closer to 20.  They used to pass out quilts as fast as I could bring them, now thanks to the H2H quilt drive we have a bit of a stash built up.

The Hands to Help quilts have been pouring in.  Thank you to Sara, Louise, Heidi, Selina, Myra, Julie and Irene, Paulette, Sandi, Marie, Amanda, Sherry, Judy, Teri, and of course Sarah who organized all this. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to CiL, this is your victory as much as mine :)

Our June block drive is going on now if you would like to contribute.  This month we're making a fairly traditionally designed, sunny quilt block in yellow and blue.  These block drives are a great way to sew at your pace, try different blocks, and help us out! Make as many or as few as you, every block helps.  Comment or email me at for a mailing address.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Little Bit of Scrappy Sunshine

A year or so ago I made a series of string scrap quilts to control my ever-growing string stash.  Four large quilts later things were in hand, but since then the strings have been multiplying quietly in their box on the scrap shelf... To prevent them escaping and taking over the sewing room Jumangi style something had to be done.

You may (or may not) remember the I pulled these strings aside while I was sorting strings for another quilt.  I folded and bagged them for a rainy day when I finally put them together using Cynthia's wonderful tutorial.

Lots of strings and some narrow white solid for sashing made a 50"x70" quilt.  I quilted it with an allover stipple and bound with more string scraps.  The backing is a fun tiki-style print I found on clearance at Connecting Threads.

This quilt of course is being donated to Covered in Love which gives quilts of comfort to the families of patients who pass away in the hospital.  If you would like to support CiL please check out the main page for more details or our June block drive which is going on now.  Donate a quilt, a top, one block or ten, or just send good thoughts our way. Everything helps!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Sewing Retreat at Home

Last Wednesday as I sipped my morning coffee I noticed there was a Cutthroat Kitchen marathon on Food Network leading up to the premier of the new season.  Cutthroat Kitchen is my latest TV obsession and I couldn't resist the draw of 9 straight hours of episodes.  Now I was supposed to spend that day on school stuff, so I decided that if I was going to spend an entire day not doing school it needed to be an exceptionally productive day!

Machine turned sideways to make room for cutting

I set myself up a sewing station downstairs right in front of the TV and prepped sewing and cutting projects to keep me busy.  There's something neat about this picture that I didn't realize until afterward:  that table.  That table is old. It used to sit in the corner of the kitchen in the house where my mom grew up.  It wasn't their eating table, it was for butchering chickens and that sort of thing, and has the cut marks to prove it.  Mom's parents both died when she was a child and this table was forgotten for years. Turns out some cousins had rescued it. They refinished it and a few years ago they gave it to us and it now sits in the corner of our living room.

My mom's mom is my only family connection to quilting, although obviously I never met her.  We have several of her quilts.  It's neat to think that decades later I can sit at the table of another quilter and work :)

Here's my tally from my personal sewing-retreat day:
sewed together the rows on a May block drive top
quilted and bound the blue and orange baby quilt
cut and sewed (112) 8.5" HSTs for an upcoming wedding quilt 
sewed up another May block drive top
 began sewing together the April block drive bonus blocks

Over the weekend I pressed and trimmed the HSTs and sewed them into flying geese units.  Here is my initial design wall layout.

These are Cotton and Steel fabrics (my first time working with those, in general I'm not a big fan of their designs).  This will become a wedding quilt for friends of a friend. I don't know the newly weds or what their tastes are but I was told they like "everything hipster" and the store Anthropologie.  I sent my friend a few snapshots of fabric swatches and the Cotton and Steel fabrics passed the "hipster" test.

Sewing downstairs (and away from the distraction of the computer) was a lot of fun. Definitely going to have to do more of that in the future!

Linking to Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Baby baby!

Happy Friday, and happy BABY to my cousin!  She's expecting a baby girl in October, her first, and I can't wait! 

This cousin has a few other quilts of mine. If you've been reading this blog a really long time you might remember the Harley T-shirt memory quilt and the jumpsuit Pockets quilts I made from her father's clothes.  The pockets quilt was a kid quilt, and at the time she hadn't even met the man she eventually married.  I made it thinking of future kids, and now one is almost here!

This quilt is made from the same tall nine-patch block that was the May Covered in Love block drive, just in a different color scheme.  These gorgeous colors with a subtle nautical theme are what my cousin has chosen for the nursery.  I quilted the top and batting with a stipple before adding the backing and ruffle.  I used the pre-folded sating edging and pleated it on, then attached the minky back pillowcase-style.

I top stitched all around the edge to anchor the ruffle and keep everything crisp. Because I knew the top would shrink and the minky wouldn't I deliberately made the minky a bit small and didn't add tacking stitches to hold all three layers together until after the first wash.

I was using minky remnants and had to piece together two to make it big enough. This turned out to be a happy accident because blue and white are the colors of the baby's father's beloved baseball team.

The quilt, along with some bibs and a lovie, has already been sent to its new home, now we're just waiting for a baby!

 Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday

PS- If you are looking for the June Covered in Love block drive you can find it right here!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Midweek Works in Progress

There has been a lot going ton lately around here.  All the H2H quilts have me so inspired! Last week I made backings for all the the tops I had built up, some from yardage and some from stash.  The 'to-quilt' list is bulked up again and soon I will have a quilting day.

Rory has also really enjoyed all the H2H quilt arrivals, primarily because she gets new boxes to lie in.  I've also started sewing together the May blocks drive quilts.


I decided to do several different layout for these blocks.

I love these simple blocks!  I have made 2 baby quilt variations of these blocks, too.  One is going to be my "Friday Finish" this week and the other is not yet done.

In this case I melded together the middle rows of small blocks into 4.5" squares.  This quilt is going to be the companion quilt to this one for a friend at work having twins.  That's what is happening around here, I hope you're having a good week!