Finish: Big Swoon

Back when many in blogland were doing the Swoon Along (the host blog has been disabled), I had the same problem as Camille Roskelley: I liked them ALL! I stumbled upon the QAL too late to really join in, but thought I would make my own Swoon quilt one day. I just could never settle on the colors.

Then my sister was planning one for herself. She needed some help with the quilt math (more my strength than hers). So I sat down and drafted the block on graph paper and worked out the numbers for her and we talked about techniques to make the process as easy as possible. (She’s new to quilting.)

During that process, I needed to color in the shapes to keep things straight in my head. So I walked into my nephew’s room and picked up the first two markers I found: bright orange and teal. I came home and returned to my own projects, but I couldn’t get that little paper Swoon block out of my head. I was in love with that color combo. So I had my sister text me a photo of the block I’d drawn.


She texted me the photo on December 1, 2015. Isn’t it lovely how our handheld technology can tell us when stuff happened?

Then I decided I only wanted to make one block. One really big block. So I played around with it on my Quilt-Pro software. I did it in a couple of other colorways, just to be sure. I also swapped the positions of the orange and teal, but I still came back to the graph paper original.


Sorry about the sideways-ness of it all.

In no time I’d pulled a bunch of fabrics from my stash.


Some editing happened after this, but it’s pretty close.

And a few days later I’d cut everything out.


Yes, this was all from my stash. Which either means that I have too much fabric, or that my stash is perfect. 😀

And less than two weeks later I was at this stage, with all my HSTs sewn and my layout finalized. I was feeling pretty good about all this, since I had a newborn at that time. I thought I’d have the top all stitched together by the time my MIL was due to move in in the spring of 2016. Hahaha!


And then it took me another year to finish it! Oh plans, you’re such a good thing to have. I finally delivered the finished top and back to my long-armer in early February. It was supposed to be my February finish, in line with my 2017 goal of one finish each month, but then I got a nasty cold virus and I didn’t finish the binding until March 1. Close enough. 😉

I’ll just finish off this post with some slideshow images of the completed quilt and wish you all happy sewing!

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Oh! I also finished the top for my grandmother’s quilt in February. My aim is to have it be my April finish.


Grandma’s Stash–for real! 🙂

Linking up with TGIFF! Celtic Thistle Stitches is hosting this week, and taught me something! I’d seen Boutis before, but didn’t know what it was called. I think her first project turned out beautifully. Go check it out!


First Finish: Rainy Day Garden

Achieving my goal for January was easy, considering that all that remained for this finish was the binding.



You can tell from all the creases that it had been folded up for awhile.

This is “Rainy Day Garden,” and it is the reason I began my blog. As my entry for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid, I finished the top in March of that year. Then, because I wanted custom quilting but didn’t feel it was in the budget to pay someone else, I planned to quilt it myself. Which meant it sat in the closet for a long time while I thought about how I wanted to tackle it. I was getting closer to finalizing my ideas in early 2015, when I assembled the back, but then it got put away because we moved and had a baby. Then last year, my little sister’s boyfriend bought her a long-arm machine, and I decided to give it to her to play with.

While there are a few technical issues with the quilting, I am thrilled with her creativity! She did a leaf/scroll pattern on the grey print fabric below the flowers, and a rain-like line above, with individual designs on each flower that remind me of playing with a spirograph.

Regarding the technical errors–I knew full well that this would be a learning experience for her, and am totally okay with them. She and I are probably the only people who will ever know they are there, AND done is better than perfect! 🙂


The technique I used to create the flowers is from “Quilters Playtime: Games With Fabric,” by Dianne S. Hire.

This was the first time I’d ever attempted a “modern” design, but as a print-lover I didn’t want to make something that was all solids. I wanted, as much as possible, to use materials and resources that I already owned. The one thing I allowed myself in terms of purchases was a small range of solids that fit in with the Radiant Orchid color of the year. I believe I owned one solid fat quarter that was suitable, and I purchased three others in half-yard cuts. Everything else came from my stash.

Anyone who knows me would agree that the word “rebel” would never come to mind when describing me, but I thought I was being rather subversive in using a Jinny Beyer print (the grey-on-grey) in a modern quilt. The juxtaposition still makes me smile. In addition, a couple of those prints were purchased nearly 15 years before modern quilting became a thing.

While there are certainly exceptions, I like to think that “modern” is the way you use a fabric more than the fabric itself. I know there’s a lot of debate over the definition of modern quilting, (and that there’s a lot more to the discussion than what fabrics you use) but for my own quilting happy-place, that’s where I am. Admittedly, this is in part a financial thing: I cannot afford to discard the bulk of my stash just because it is older than “modern quilting,” no matter how much I love much of what is being labeled modern. That said, I also did not abandon my love of many “contemporary” or “traditional” quilts once I began to explore and enjoy modern quilting. I guess I’m just an equal opportunity quilter.

I’ll step down from my tiny soap box now and show you the back of the quilt:


Speaking of equal-opportunity, the WIP I am currently focusing on is nowhere near modern! 😀 It’s for one of my grandmothers, and is at least 90% from fabrics that were part of her stash before she downsized. As you can see, she has a distinct love of patriotic-themed fabrics.


Hope your quilty year is off to a great start. Linking up with TGIFF, hosted this week by Jen at Faith and Fabric. Go check out some of this week’s other finishes!



2016 wrap-up, 2017 goals

Since my last post I completed two quilts for new humans! Both are from Angela Pingel’s book, “A Quilter’s Mixology.” Not only am I really pleased with the way these quilts turned out, I highly recommend this book. The patterns are really great AND the instructions are clear.

The first is the Nine Patch Curves pattern, for a friend who really likes gender-neutral baby gear. After some thought I landed on red, yellow, orange, and aqua as a color scheme, amongst a low-to-mid-volume grey background. This was based in part on the sock monkey fabric you see below, and in part on the mushroom fabric in the upper right corner of the photo. The same sock monkeys back the quilt of baby’s older brother, so when I stumbled across a re-print, I had to have it. And my friend has a big love for tiny things, so I knew she’d enjoy the wee mushroom houses.


Considering the “help” I was getting from my “design assistant,” aka toddler, I managed to complete the quilt BEFORE the baby arrived. This might be a first for me.



I quilted it very simply, outlining the petal shapes twice–once inside and once out. Even though gender-neutral was the goal, I feel it turned out rather pretty. The baby is a girl, but I’m told big brother appropriated the quilt immediately, “until she grows up.” 😀


There’s that design assistant of mine, helping to get the photo just right!

Quilt number two is also for a girl baby, but her parents are more traditional in their aesthetic, so I went very girly with it. I chose the Medallion Baby Quilt pattern and selected colors to emphasize the flower shape created by the layout.

Regardless of how you may feel about curved piecing, this quilt comes together pretty quickly, as you have only ONE seam to complete for each block.


I’ve been thinking that it would be cool to make four of these in bolder, grown-up colors, and combine them to create a larger quilt. For, now, I’m super happy with this little beauty even though crappy winter weather here has kept me from delivering it.

To quilt it, I outlined each ring of the medallion, then created three floral templates with copy paper and an old needle, then used my Quilt Pounce to mark them on the fabric surface. I chose hot pink thread. I love the way it looks but it also makes my wobbles stand out. Only one was so bad I had to pick it out and start the motif over, though. 😉

This probably took significantly more time than the piecing, but I’m thrilled with the way it turned out an am confident the family will be, too.


I wanted to get at least one photo of the colors in natural light. This is post-laundry to get the Quilt Pounce chalk out. You can also see why I’ve yet to deliver the quilt–it’s sitting on about eight inches of snow. That may not be much for some of you, but we are not properly equipped to deal with it here.

Finally, my 2017 quilting goals should probably get a post of their own, but c’est la vie. I need to get them in writing sooner rather than later so that I have that extra bit of motivation to follow through!

  1. My biggest goal is to finish one thing every month. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be an old WIP or a new project or something in between. It doesn’t even have to be a quilt. I just want to bring more of my ideas–old and new–to fruition this year.
  2. Have a quilt included in my guild’s exhibit at the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show. I have wanted to attend this show since before I started quilting, and have never made it happen. Now I have an opportunity to have one of my own quilts in the show, which is ridiculously exciting! I just need to meet the deadline!
  3. Try some improv piecing. I took a class from Sherri Lynn Wood a few years ago, and recently some of her advice/guidance has really been resonating with me, so I felt I should re-visit improv. It should be a good break/challenge for me, as over the last few years I have been focusing mostly on precision and accuracy in my piecing.

That’s it for today! I’ve really been enjoying reading all of your quilty goals. Imagine me raising a glass of something carbonated to say: May we all meet all the goals we choose to! (Because life happens.) 😉

Linking up with TGIFF at the Devoted Quilter, where Leanne is showing off her mad quilting skills. I’ve got a long, loooong way to go before I attempt flowers like that! 😀


TGIFF: Stars Gone Wild

Glory hallelujah, I made some time to sew! This was made possible by my awesome husband, who helped me create a new sewing space. (My MIL moved in with us in February. Her space is what used to be my sewing space.)

In spite of all the WIPs staring at me, I chose to start something new. And then I finished it. Pretty proud of myself. Of course, it’s not large, not complex, and not heavily quilted, all making the finish easier to achieve, but it’s still a finish, y’all. So I’m celebrating! Even if the celebration is just me doing a little chair dance.


It’s a bit wrinkly after taking it to my local guild meeting.

The title, “Stars Gone Wild,” may seem obvious, but I’m liking it anyway.  🙂  This is for a little guy who just turned one year old. He’s just one week older than my own little WIP. The animal prints used for the stars are scraps from his momma and daddy’s wedding present.

Going Feral

“Going Feral” was a pre-blog finish for me. My girlfriend absolutely loves animal prints. This was one of my first attempts at modern quilt design.

Originally I’d planned to make a half-square-triangle based design like theirs, but then I realized his middle name is a star. So I started thinking about that….

That week, at our guild meeting, someone left the July/August 2012 edition of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine on the “free table.” It contains Elizabeth Hartman‘s “Sparkle Punch” pattern. Serendipity! I made my stars just a smidge larger and made significantly fewer of them, but the technique and interlocking layout is hers.


It’s backed and bound in navy minky dimple dot. I don’t cut a separate binding with the minky–I just fold the backing over the edge and stitch it down. It can look a little uneven due to the dimples, but I don’t mind. The important thing to me is that the kid have a soft edge to rub against his face if he so chooses. I do a semi-mitred corner and trim away the extra bulk, but that’s as fancy as I get with the minky. Otherwise I find it gets too bulky. Each star is quilted with a variegated blue/green/black thread which has lost its sticker label, and I stitched a few more stars in the solid ground just to hold the layers together and add a bit of interest for the little one.


I’d have to look back, but I think this might be my first true finish this year. It feels so good! With some good time management on my part, I hope to have much smaller intervals between future finishes.

Linking up with TGIFF, hosted this week by Quilt Matters, where everyone is doing the Carlton Happy Dance!? LOL!


Color Challenge: Pink

Well, so much for my goal of participating in every month of Michelle’s series.


I’ve missed Green, Purple, and Brown thus far. I was especially bummed about Green, as it is one of my favorite colors. I thought I would get to participate last month with Brown, and I was really excited about it just because it seems so under-utilized these days. Thanks to connectivity issues, however, once I’d created and lost three mosaics, I gave up.

Enough about what didn’t happen. On to pink! I really enjoyed Alyce’s blog post, and decided to dig out all my pink fabrics and attempt something similar.


This was a fun exercise, and I learned some things. First, I am more frequently drawn to the warmer and mid-range pinks than I am to the cooler, almost-purple pinks. Second, I definitely like the more saturated pinks. I have a whopping five fabrics in my stash that would qualify as pale or pastel pink.


Given that I agree with Michelle’s comments regarding shade and saturation providing balance, I will have to keep my eye out for a few more pale pink shades to add to my stash.

This month’s challenge is to create two palettes, one with a variety of pinks and another with at least two other colors. I’ll start with the mixed palette, one based on a quilt that has been percolating in the back of my brain for so long that it isn’t even remotely trendy anymore (that I’m aware of, but honestly I’m not that aware of trends anyway, hahaha!): pink, brown, and aqua. Plus this lets me make up for missing out last month.


And here’s my fabric palette for these colors:


All images are from Hawthorne Threads. 1) Courtney in Pink, from Michael Miller; 2) Pink Flamingo in Aqua, from Timeless Treasures; 3) Nature Elements in Hot Pink, from Art Gallery Fabrics; 4) Oval Elements in Chocolate Cherry, also Art Gallery Fabrics; 5) Beekeeping in Thicket, from Hawthorne Threads; 6) Timber in Twilight, I think I have a thing for Art Gallery Fabrics; 7) Mercury in Rouge, from Andover; 8) Clover Field in Robins Egg, also Art Gallery Fabrics; and finally 9) Medium Spots in Pomegranate, from Robert Kaufman, because I can’t resist bright pink polk-a-dots.

For the all-pink palette, I wanted to base it on this Magic Mermaid print by Sarah Jane from Michael Miller fabrics. Mermaids are a favorite of mine since childhood. As much as I wanted to follow Michelle’s advice about varying the saturation of the pinks, I found it really hard to choose brighter, more intense pinks that I didn’t think would overwhelm the very light/soft pink of my focus fabric.


Again, all images are from Hawthorne Threads. 1) Squared Elements in Rosewater, Art Gallery Fabrics again; 2) Plumage in Poppy, you guessed it–Art Gallery Fabrics; 3) Unicorn Forest in Blossom Metallic, from the same Sarah Jane collection; 4) Hills in Tulip, from Hawthorne Threads; 5) the focus fabric linked above; 6) Whale Silhouette in Tulip, from Hawthorne Threads; 7) You Are Magic in Pink Metallic, also from the Sarah Jane collection; 8) Ink in Grapefruit, from Andover; 9) Daydream in Pink, from Blend.

If I were to pursue this in real life, I think I might experiment with some brighter pink prints on a white background and see how well they play with the group.

When I uploaded the photos of my pink fabric stash from my camera, I discovered this photo of myself from last August and thought I’d include it since the theme of the day is PINK. Plus I think it’s a funny picture. We left for the hospital later that afternoon.


I think that’s enough pink from me. I hope you are getting all of the sewing time you wish for. 🙂




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.  😀  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.  😀


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.  😉 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. 😉