I just wanted to say that. I’ve been falling farther and farther behind on my sewing projects, but my flower beds are looking better and better.Ā  :DĀ  I hope you are all having a lovely summer (or winter!). Our whole little family has a nasty cold right now, but we did manage to take the little WIP to the beach for his first splash in the ocean. Someday soon I will get back to my sewing machine. Until then, I hope your life is full of good things quilty and otherwise.


Color Challenge: Coral/Peach

This month the Color Challenge assignment is “a mini research project,” in which we are to select a work of art that uses coral/peach tones, create a palette based on the work, and select fabrics from our own stash to recreate that palette.


While perusing artworks to use for this challenge, it seems as though even fine artists use these tones less than other colors. I got far fewer search results than with blue, green, or yellow. Nonetheless, making a choice was tough. Here are a few that I considered before making my selection: an Edgar Degas that some sites translate as “Ballerinas in Red” and others as “Dancers in Pink,” Kelly Tunstall’s “Plaid,” and a detail of a seraphim from a fresco at the Monastery at Saint-Antoine-le-Grand photographed by Pascal Deloche.

The palettes generated by these were pretty great, but I settled on my favorite artist, Gustav Klimt. This painting is called “Tannenwald,” and I chose it because the palette pushes the standard complimentary scheme from the blues over into the lavenders/purples. (In spite of the fact that I have a lot more blue fabrics in my stash, so that would have been a lot easier.)


The Bella solids recommended as matches are Thistle, Wisteria, Coral, Grape, Peach, and Graphite. Ochre was another color that popped up a lot as I moved the selector dots around the image. I chose to leave the green out of my palette.

I’ve only recently begun to use solids in my quilts, so I don’t have many of them in my stash. I was surprised to find, however, that I had a solid coral for this fabric pull.


Perhaps strangely, though I don’t own a lot of solids, I DO own a Bella Solids Color Chart, and these are the seven fabrics from my stash that most closely match the colors listed above.


Grape=an ancient fat quarter labeled “DAIWABO Selection for E.E. Schenck Company” in the selvage. Thistle=a Michael Miller fabric from a “Moonlit Shadows” collection likely at least a decade old. I have two fat quarters of the Wisteria selection, neither of which have any information on the selvage. Coral=a solid that came as part of a kit I never made–it feels like a Cotton Couture but I can’t be certain. The Peach polka dot is another fat quarter with no info in the selvage, but I know it’s newer than the others. I threw in the Ochre because I liked it. By Renee Nanneman of Need’l Love for Andover Fabrics, I discovered it at a very traditional LQS. Finally, Graphite=a Dear Stella print, but the name is missing from the selvage.

I liked this pull, but after playing with it a bit for photographs, I decided that the polka dots didn’t work. Not because of the color, but because of the print compared with the others in the group. I removed it and found the result more pleasing to my eye.


Do you agree?

One of the things I learned from this challenge has to do with color in context. Some of the artwork I chose ended up being yellow or red according to the palette generator. But because of the influence of other colors in the artist’s palette, the colors appeared differently to me. I’ve read plenty about this in articles on color theory, but this is the first time I’ve done an exercise where it turns out that my first impression of a color was flat out wrong.

Are you following along and/or participating in Michelle’s Colour Blog Series? Maybe you will be surprised by something you learn, too.:)


TGIFF: Dragon Flimsy


I’m not sure when I started this project, but I know that my husband chose the dragon fabric in the center in 2010, just after we moved to Vancouver, Washington from Reno, Nevada. I don’t think I cut into it until at least a year later, possibly two.


Initially, I had trouble deciding what to do with it because of the way the dragons were spaced and oriented on the fabric. I couldn’t cut around a dragon, including seam allowances, without cutting into its neighbor. I considered cutting more closely around them and appliqueing them onto something else, but then I would have lost all the beautiful color and design in the dragon fabric itself.


Once I determined how to handle the dragon fabric and created the center panel, I wanted to do something that would emphasize the beautiful colors without feeling “feminine.” The spikiness of triangles suited my purpose, but standard flying geese didn’t seem to fit the bill. Based on techniques I learned about ten years ago in a class taught by Joanne Belling, I varied both the center and outward points of the triangle in an attempt to evoke the movement of a dragon’s spine.

I love the way they turned out, but those geese took me FOREVER. I definitely learned a few things about designing my own quilts, such as to be grateful to all of those who do it professionally because it is HARD.


Around the time I was half-way through making all those geese, my husband wandered into my sewing room and asked if it was going to be big enough for him to cuddle up in. Umm…NO! Based on the size of the panel I’d been able to create, I was aiming for something he could hang on the wall in his office. WHOOPS!!! So that explains the massive borders.Ā šŸ˜€


He’s 6′ 4″ (193cm), so this thing is BIG. It’s about 85 by 102 inches right now. He doesn’t know I’ve finished it, so I’ll be excited to give it to him later this year once it’s complete. I had to utilize my intended backing fabric for the borders, so now I have to go fabric shopping. My stash doesn’t contain anywhere near enough coordinating yardage to back this bad boy.

The embroidered motifs are from Susan Briscoe’s book, “Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match.” I hope I haven’t committed any cultural faux pas, as I have no idea what–if any–region of the world the dragons are meant to be from. I just thought the motifs were beautiful and that my husband would like them.

I’ve lined up an awesome long-armer who is going to quilt dragons in the negative space for me. It will likely cost me an arm and a leg, but it will be worth it.

Linking up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, hosted this week by Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts. She’s made the most unique and interesting sports uniform quilt I’ve ever seen! Have a great weekend!


Color Challenge: Blue

colorwidgetThe Factotum of Arts challenge color for March is blue. My favorite(s). Blues of all shades, hues, and levels of saturation. Quilts I’ve made that don’t have blue in them are rare, and a fair percentage are dominated by blue, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to finish any of my existing WIPs for the challenge. Serendipity saved the day when a good friend tagged me in a Facebook post showing off the spring display window of a local antique shop. I plugged one of the photos into the palette builder at Play Crafts and came up with this:


That same friend had a birthday on March 20, and I know she’s been crushing hard on similar palettes lately. So, I decided to kill two porcelain parakeets with one clumsy bump of the hip and made my first zipper pouch.


I used the box pouch tutorial at The Seasoned Homemaker, although I increased the size to accommodate the paper pieced inserts I made.

The flying geese units finished at two inches wide by one inch high. I forgot to measure the size of the completed bag before gifting it to my friend, but I’m guesstimating 10.5 x 7 x 3 inches.


I also forgot to take a picture with the zipper open to show off the lining fabric–a cream ground with light blue and lime green squiggle-stripes.


If I were to make it again, I would make it a bit deeper, or take the dimensions back down to those recommended by the tutorial. At this size, the depth is a bit awkward. As my MIL said, it looks a bit like an old-fashioned tissue box cover. Haha! Also, I had never paper pieced anything this small. I feel like my seam allowances are disproportionately large and therefore noticeable in the finished product. It could just be due to the Pellon backing, but before I do it again, I will spend some time seeking out tips from people who frequently make small paper pieced things.


Those small critiques aside, I am pleased with the result, and it was the perfect size for two bags of Dove chocolates and a birthday card. Priorities, people! Also, all the fabrics came from my stash, but I did have to buy a sky blue zipper.

Be sure to check out the color series at Factotum of Arts yourself, as well as the guest posts. This month’s is from Ants to Sugar, and I am completely in love with her Little Tents quilt. It has officially been added to my “must make” list.


Sunday Stash: I caved.

I had not purchased any fabric since before Christmas. I had been tempted many times but resisted. I was kind of proud of myself. Then I had the opportunity to join the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (Yay! I’m so excited that my work schedule finally allows for this!), and while killing time before the start of my first meeting, I wandered into Modern Domestic, an LQS down the street. When I learned that they offer a 20% discount to members on meeting days, I was done for.


I grabbed a couple of fat quarters from Anna Maria Horner’s Fib’s and Fables line, to use in the planned quilt I wrote of in my last Sunday Stash post. I chose the Pegasus in aqua, well, because it’s Pegasus in aqua.Ā šŸ˜‰ I chose the second for the colors and that lovely little threaded needle. I’ll have to be sure not to chop it up.

I did exhibit more restraint than is my norm, especially given that I’d been “fasting” for more than two months. I need to get comfortable with restraint, though, given that I’m no longer working full time while Little WIP is still a baby. The simple fact is that I don’t have the fabric budget that I used to.


I picked up half-yard cuts of these two fabrics from my yellow mosaic in February. I’ve decided to make the quilt, though I haven’t chosen a design yet. Lower left is Drift in Pink from Rain Walk by Anna Graham for Cloud 9. Upper right is Village in Mustard from Alison Glass’ Abacus collection.

Though it’s not like I don’t have plenty of lovely stuff to work from in my stash already. I was already thinking along these lines when I stumbled across the Stash Manifesto at A Quarter Inch from the Edge back in January. While I doubt that I will put a manifesto of my own in writing, I am trying to be mindful of things like Jenn’s Articles 3 and 4 each time I think about buying fabric. In essence, using what I have to start new projects, and reining in my “recreational fabric shopping.”


My low-volume stash is small and lacks variety. It consists of mostly grey on white or white on grey. These are an attempt to remedy that without going overboard: Two more Alison Glass prints (Mercury in Cobalt and Grow in Sky) and one Jennifer Sampou from her Studio Stash 3 collection. Going overboard would be purchasing Grow in every color. I love it so much. It speaks to the biologist in me.

Another concept that is part of my unwritten manifesto is that I hope to actually get started–and maybe finish!–many of the projects that are already fully formed ideas. By this I mean I’ve already settled on the quilt design and pulled the fabrics I want to use and they are sitting in pretty piles waiting for some attention from my rotary cutter and sewing machine. Sigh.

Linking up with Sunday Stash, hosted this week by Patchwork and Pastry. Oh, and a pic of Little WIP because some days I just can’t resist.šŸ˜‰


Sunday Stash: AMH Mystery Bundle

Although I am trying really, really hard right now to resist buying fabric, I acquired quite a bit of lovely stuff during all that time off from blogging. So in order to have an excuse to participate in the link-up, I thought I’d share one of the more recent and (to my mind) interesting purchases I made. At least there’s more of a story behind the purchase than my usual, “I saw it. I thought it was pretty. I bought it.”

Craftsy usually has designer “mystery bundles” available for a pretty darned good price if you’re willing to take the risk. I thought about it for a looong time before doing it myself. What prompted me was this quilt, and a desire to challenge myself in terms of color and print choices. I have been following Little Island Quilting since before I started my own blog, and I LOVE how she puts fabrics together in ways that are so, so different from the way I do. But I’m kind of scared to try and imitate it.

Well, my experience in other parts of my life is that I learn and grow the most from experiences that are hard or scary. So it should work out that way with quilting, too, right? If I want to continue learning and improving, I’d better push myself! And what better way to do that than with a fabric selection that won’t allow me to fall into old habits?

AMH fabric2

This group is actually right in my wheelhouse.Ā :)

So, after being amazed by Alison’s quilt, I ordered the pattern and purchased the Anna Maria Horner fat quarter mystery bundle. (Craftsy doesn’t have any right now, but they have other designers available.) While AMH designs some fabrics that intoxicate me, she also puts together some color combos that are about as far out of my comfort zone as you can get, so I felt a mystery pack of her fabrics would offer the kind of challenge I was looking for.

AMH fabric1

I like three of these prints. I think the deer are weird. The colors, however, are NOT me. Perfect.

And I was right.

AMH fabric4

With these three, the roses remind me of my grandma, and I am not a fan of hearts, but again, the colors are right up my alley.

The mystery pack contained a good combination of prints and colors that I am always attracted to with others that I would otherwise never purchase or use.

AMH fabric3

I am captivated by the “Sinister Swarm” print in the upper right corner. I even tracked down some additional yardage. The other three, however, I would never have purchased. I like the upper left but wouldn’t have had ideas about how to use it. The other two? I wouldn’t have even stopped to fondle them on the bolt.

Since I don’t expect these fat quarters to be enough to make the whole quilt, I also ordered the Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton (Dark) fat quarter bundle, and will select some fat quarters from it to make up the difference in required yardage. I have also pulled all of the AMH from my stash to incorporate as necessary. (There isn’t a ton of it for the reason I mentioned above.) I admit, it’s a safety net to ensure that I will actually like the end product, but making a quilt you don’t like is no fun. I’ll push my boundaries a little further next time.šŸ˜‰

Late to the party, but linking up with Sunday Stash, hosted this week by Ms. Midge. Because Molli’s busy posing for the paparazzi, y’all.



I first mentioned this quilt as a WIP here, here, and here. It is the Beanstalks pattern from the book “Quilts from the House of Tula Pink.” In fact, it’s on the cover.


Apologies for the lighting. It’s been pouring rain for days.

It is for a very dear friend of nearly thirty (!!!) years, though we don’t get to see each other much since she lives in Brazil and I am in the United States. I met her during my junior year in high school as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. She worked as the maid/caretaker for one of my host grandmothers. She taught me how to speak her language so well that I confused people: “You have the face of an American, but you sound like a Brazilian!” She is a master at appreciating what she has while working toward something better. She loves her family and friends with zero reservations or judgements. She is one of the best examples of a human that I have ever met, and I am so glad she is my friend.

Cida papay2

She also introduced me to ripe papaya, fresh off the tree.

Two years ago, she won a house. You read that right. She WON. A. HOUSE! This quilt was supposed to be a housewarming gift, but due to life and stuff, it’s taken me a long-ass time to get it done.


As with most of my quilts, the fabrics in this one are a mix of new purchases and things that had been in my stash for up to 15 years. The background is Moda Marble Dots in Natural. It’s quilted with a hot pink and yellow variegated thread in a floral motif. Originally I wanted butterflies in either a cream or variegated orange thread, but the butterflies I found were too juvenile, and the other threads seemed boring.


Notes for Next Time:

  1. Select the recommended quantities of fabric in the pattern, but begin by only cutting and making the.Ā  strip sets and wedges from about two thirds of it. With this quilt, I cut all of my strips at once, and once they were stitched together I cut them all into wedges. This created two problems for me. First, as the long wedge assemblies grew, I sometimes found it difficult to keep them straight-ish and wished that I had set some strip sets aside where I could cut a wedge with the angle I needed to re-align things. Second, in spite of re-reading the instructions several times to make sure I was doing it right, I ended up with a huge number of extra wedges. I see this as fabric wasted, and that makes me sad. I did employ a good number of them on the back, but what you see in the flower/sunburst is less than half of the excess wedges. Again–sad. 027
  2. I would also increase the size of my wedges. The pattern recommends a minimum of 1.5 inches for the narrow end and a maximum of 4.5 inches for the wide end. I would bump this to at least 2 and 5 inches, and I’d cut a few as wide as 6 at the wide end. Variety is good.
  3. Finally, I would select a center stalk fabric that was more similar in value to the fabrics in my wedges. I love that green, but it’s stronger than I wanted it to be in this setting.

Do you own this book? Have you made any of the quilts? What was your experience with the pattern/instructions? There are several more I’d like to tackle, but my stack of ideas is already as big as my WIP list. You can relate, right?šŸ˜‰


“Grow” finished at 74 inches by 87 inches prior to quilting and washing. It is now 72 by 84.

Linking up to Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, hosted this week by Sunlight in Winter Quilts.