I’m Back, Neighbor.

Several unplanned life events disrupted my sewing schedule so it’s been a couple of months, but finally, I’m back. After crapping out of The Splendid Sampler sew-along (too many hand-embroidered blocks) I found something a little more to my liking… the Moda Be My Neighbor 2016 event. This one is super-cute and it’s mostly machine piecing, so I jumped in with glee.

Here’s my first block.

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Most of my fabric is still packed up in the shed because I had to clean out my sewing room when my oldest daughter moved back home. One of those life events I mentioned. It’s ok though. Really. I love my daughter. (sniff, sniff) Anyhow, I had to run to the store and buy some. Darn it! Since I’m quite a ways from the local quilting store, I just grabbed a few things from Walmart. Don’t judge me. It was an emergency situation. I actually love the colors, and the red brick is especially adorable.

Sometimes you need a new challenge to rediscover your joy in quilting, and this project has done that for me. I can’t wait to do next week’s block. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to my Brother Dream Fabric Frame and finish quilting the orphan block quilt I started.

Mahalo y’all for stopping by.

 

Posies and Plaid

Throwback Thursday

This little lap quilt is another treasure from my Alaska days. The girls and I spent a wonderful year there while my soldier did an unaccompanied tour in Korea. Between hubby being gone and the bitter cold winter, I had lots of time on my hands, most of which I spent quilting and sewing.

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My 5 favorite things about this quilt are:

  1. The plaid shirting – a freebie I picked up at a fabric exchange. Oh, and that pink floral…I wish I’d bought a whole bolt of it. It goes with everything.
  2. Accuquilt friendliness factor – I cut every piece with my Accuquilt Go.
  3. Color scheme – The pinks and greens are delicious…like ice cream sherbet.
  4. Quick, easy piecing – This would be a great beginner pattern. It went together very quickly, but it still looks great.
  5. Beautiful quilting – My go-to long-arm quilter in Alaska, Mary Lou Frahm of Honeybee Quilting did a fabulous job, don’t you agree?

At about  57″ square, this quilt is the perfect size for the beach, or curling up on the couch. I think it would make a great baby quilt too. I might have to make a few more. 🙂

Mahalo, y’all, for stopping by.

The Beauty of Rejects, Leftovers and Foibles

Meet Annie, the Quilt

When I entered the quilting sisterhood, I did so with boundless enthusiasm and a charming naivety. It was cute how I assumed I would start a quilt, I would finish it in short order, it would be fabulous, and THEN I would move on to the next project. It would be as easy as – say – washing your hair. Lather, rinse, repeat… Hahahahahahaha.

It wasn’t long before I experienced the agonies of poor color choices, unrefined techniques and simple boredom. “Orphan block” and “UFO” became part of my personal quilting lexicon.

First there was the highly ambitious sampler quilt that exceeded my ability at the time. Some of the blocks turned out great. Some, not so much. I finally gave up in a fit of frustration. For years, I would pull the stack of blocks out periodically, shake my head, and put them back onto the shelf.

My most recent failed endeavor was the Splendid Sampler. A great project I joined with much anticipation. Five blocks in, I realized it wasn’t for me. Still, I made a few adorable blocks. I couldn’t throw them away. Onto the orphan stack they went.

There were MANY samples, mistakes and leftovers along the way. My orphan pile would likely have continued to grow, but I recently bought a Brother Dream Fabric Frame and I’m dying to try it out. Lord knows I won’t start with any of my real quilt tops, so I thought it would be a great idea to sew all my orphans together to make a practice quilt. I told myself, “It’s already ugly, so it won’t matter if you screw up the quilting.” Brilliant, right?

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As the idea gathered steam in my head, I began to research Orphan Block Quilts and found a wealth of resources. Books have been written. There are entire blogs dedicated to them. They are called by many names: Everything But the Kitchen Sink Quilts, Scatterbrained Quilts, etc. Some of them are really ugly. Some are more beautiful than my “pretty” quilts. I’m going for a semi-organized look with the black and pink polka dot sashing. I’m very excited about trying out machine quilting, but, surprisingly, I’m almost as excited about finishing this “ugly” quilt top.

Have you ever made an Orphan Block Quilt? Tell me all about it, and I’ll let you know how mine turns out.

I Need a Bigger Bed…

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Current Work in Progress – Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory is coming along nicely, except for one thing. It’s too big to lay out on my queen-sized bed. In fact, there’s not a space in my house big enough to lay out the entire quilt. When finished, it will measure a whopping 96″ square. I don’t know what I’m going to do. For now, I’ll just keep sewing.

I have completed seven of the 16 sections. Only 1,296 small squares left to sew – sooooo – I better leave you and get back to work.

Go Home Purple Geese…

An Original Design

Last night I finished the design for a new project. I’m calling it, Go Home Purple Geese, You’re Drunk. I realize I didn’t use purple for the geese on my first draft, but I decided to change to a different color scheme before I sew it up.

I haven’t bought any quilt design software, so for now I’m doing it old school – graph paper and colored pencils. At some point, I’ll turn it into an actual pattern.

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I’m anxious to start cutting and sewing this one, but I haven’t finished the top for my last design yet, so it’ll have to go on the back burner for now. In the meantime, I need to decide if I’m going super-scrappy on this one or choosing a few fabrics from my stash.

My current design, Chaos Theory, is a monster project. It has 16 sections. Each one is 12 by 12 squares. When I’m done, I will have 2,304 small squares. Here’s a look at Section 13. It doesn’t look like much until you see all the sections together, then the underlying pattern shows through.

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I haven’t finished all of the previous 12 sections. I’ve been skipping around. It’s easier to disperse the fabrics evenly that way. Also, I get bored and skipping around helps.

Here is another section…

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At this rate, I’m not likely to have a finished top to show you for several weeks. I think I’ll try something easier next time. 🙂

Mahalo, y’all for stopping by.

 

Earth Song

A Finished Quilt Top (Or Flimsy, If You Prefer)

My other New Year’s Resolution, besides the one involving my scrap tub, was to finish something old and something new every month. It’s a contract I made with myself after realizing my UFOs had gotten out of control and that I was going to die one day with a zillion unfinished projects if I didn’t do something about it soon.

My first instinct was to say I couldn’t start any new projects until I finished all the old ones, but a wise friend suggested I alternate one UFO with one new project to stave off boredom. It’s a system that’s worked marvelously. Thanks, Kelly.

Earth Song is my Something New for March. It was inspired by a quilt I saw on Pinterest by Adrianne Ove of Little Bluebell. It’s a bossy little quilt. It insisted on that hippy name. (Not that I’m denigrating hippies. Far from it. I have quite a few hippy tendencies. My two daughters are named after trees and I’ll tie-dye anything that gets in my way.) However, I’m not that great at naming my quilts, so I let this one have it’s way.

There’s a small scrap element to this project. The yellow center squares came from my famous tub. The yellow used in the sashing was a fresh purchase. 😦 🙂 Everything else came from my stash, which is great because I need to use that up too. Yay, me.

Now, when I say “finish,” I mean I finished the quilt top. It’s not quilted yet. I’ve been saving for a long-arm quilting machine, so for the moment, I’m stacking my quilt tops on a shelf and waiting patiently. Hopefully next year will be my year to really finish all my projects. Having said that, I welcome any and all advice on which long-arm machine I should purchase.

Skill Level: Beginner

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to beginner quilters. It’s not only easy, but it comes together quickly. More advanced quilters can take it up a notch by using a pinwheel as the center block (A) or incorporating a more complex sashing.

EarthSongPattern

Illustration 1, Block + Sashing

12-inch block w/2-inch sashing (finished)

  • A = 4½” x 4½”
  • B = 4½” x 4½”
  • C = 4½” x 8½”
  • D = 4½” x 8½”
  • E = 4½” x 12½”

Sashing

  • Yellow strips = 2½” x 12½”
  • Brown squares = 2½” x 2½”

Layout

  • 24 blocks
  • 6 rows of 4 squares
  • Finished quilt size: 58″ x 86″

Accuquilt Friendly: Somewhat 

I used mine to cut the 4½” squares, the 2½” sashing strips, and the 2½” sashing squares. I used a rotary cutter for the 4½” by 8½” strips and the 4½” by 12½” strips.

Precut Friendly: Somewhat

You can use a jelly roll for the sashing. A charm pack will work for the two 4 1/2″ squares in each block. If I were going that route, I’d probably adjust the size slightly and not trim the charm pack squares. And you could use fat quarters for the other three pieces. If you go that route, you’ll need:

  • 1 jelly roll
  • 1 charm pack
  • 12 assorted fat quarters

This will make twenty-four 13½” blocks. Finished quilt size will be 70″ by 105″.

  • A = 5″ x 5″
  • B = 5″ x 5″
  • C = 5″ x 9½”
  • D = 5″ x 9½”
  • E = 5″ x 14½”

I hope you like Earth Song. Mahalo, y’all.

Churn Dash Aflutter

Throwback Thursday

I made this quilt in 2011 while living in Willow, Alaska. I had given myself a challenge to make a quilt entirely from fabrics I had on hand, and I managed to do that with everything but the backing and binding.

I started with the butterfly fabric. I wanted to use large-ish pieces to showcase the beautiful colors and pattern. I only had enough for 10 blocks, so I alternated my showcase blocks with one of my favorite traditional blocks, the churn dash.

I consider this more of a utility quilt. It’s small – a lap quilt – and the fabrics aren’t ones I would have bought to use together, but I don’t know… I kind of like it anyway. I used flannel for the backing so it’s super-cozy.

Wondrously talented Mary Lou Frahm of Honeybee Quilting quilted it for me. I love the allover butterfly pattern she used. If you’re in Alaska and need a good long-arm quilter, you can find her here.

I did not use my Accuquilt on this project, but they’ve since come out with a churn dash die, so I’ll probably make another one soon. I do love that block so I think I can justify the cost.

Mahalo y’all, for stopping by.