Saturday, February 16, 2019

when 100 days becomes nearly two years

In the spring/summer of 2017 I joined (probably) thousands of other quilters around the world and made 100 blocks in 100 days.  We used Tula Pink's City Sampler book for our block patterns.  I shared 1/2 my blocks 1/2 way through the project here.

It was fun participating and finishing all my blocks on schedule.

All my fabrics are from Carolyn Friedlander collections.  The online support and encouragement was quite something.  One follower even offered to share some Carolyn Friedlander fabric from her stash.  I declined at first but later thought better.  I offered to trade her for something she was in need of.  New fabric added new life to the project.  Bonus - it's fun to have a special friend I haven't met yet!

I had no plan for arranging my blocks when starting the sew along.  Tula's book offers several different options for finishing.  I figured if I used all Carolyn Friedlander fabrics, they would all go together, and I'd fit them into one of the designs with no problem.

That would have worked except along the way, while trying to choose a background fabric, I noticed that certain blocks would just sing on some colors and not so much on others.  I couldn't narrow my background down to just one or two colors.  So I made this my own way.  I bordered each block individually.  About a week after making this decision Carolyn posted her new  Wainwright quilt.  It made me think she'd approve of my decision.

I could write a book here telling you all the ways I considered arranging my blocks but that would be a waste of time.  Ultimately, I put them in order 1 to 100.  Seeing that Wainwright  quilt made this decision easy.  (Actually the quilt is 9 blocks wide by 11 blocks long so I left one block out.  I think #7.  I'll use it for something else, eventually.)

I quilted this row by row with an organic grid.  Organic meaning no rulers so nothing is exactly straight.  I started with vertical and horizontal lines block by block but it got extremely boring.  Sometimes when 2 of the same color bordered blocks are together the quilting runs 2 blocks.  Sometimes it doesn't because it was blending too much with the row above it.  So kind of random, kind of not.

The binding is 1/2 inch single fold.  It's my favorite.  The backing is Carolyn's 108"wide crosshatch print. 

Lorna, if you're reading this far, I used your link and ordered labels.  Do you like them?

Finished size is 73" by 89"  
Batting is Warm and White
Piecing thread is Aurifil 2021 50wt
Quilted with Omni thread in Natural White.

I'll link this up with Let's Bee Social.  
I'm really missing the Finish it Up Friday links and I'm wondering, what are your favorite links?

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

my sewing room and other projects

I've been working on several home improvement projects and have finally painted my sewing room so I thought I'd share a few photos of it with you now - while everything's clean and sorted!
My 5 year blog anniversary was this month.  I have rarely shared any photos taken in this room. It was a medium green but always so dark.  I love these now white walls.  The room is so much brighter and feels bigger.

This desk is an old one!  When my recently retired husband first started working the company was setting up cubicles and selling these out-dated executive desks for $10.  The pull outs, on both sides, are extremely handy for modern sewing.  I use them all the time.  The desk itself is extra deep so I'm able to use it as a cutting table, too.

My ironing station is a Kallax unit from Ikea.  I put this together last year - well worth it!  I keep patterns in those file containers on the bottom left...

...and works in progress (WIPs) in shoe boxes in the black felt containers.

This room is long and narrow so I'm able to fit a Handiquilter on an 8 foot frame.  I don't make huge quilts so this set up works for me.  

I've been updating all around our house, not just my sewing room.  Along with lots of painting I recovered my old dining chairs.  

The fabric is from Anna Graham's Forage collection.  It's an Essex linen-cotton blend.  My friend is an upholsterer.  I asked her to do this for me but instead she invited me to bring the seats to her house and work with her.  It was an amazing and fascinating day.  (I should have taken my camera!)  She has an iron that's on a high bar that spans the length of her work table.  It doesn't get very hot because it's all about STEAM!  Since this isn't official upholstery fabric we first steamed the yardage to pre-shrink it, then fused an interfacing she has that keeps the fabric from stretching.

I learned how to make piping, too!  
This project was much more involved than I thought it would be but really, when you work with people who know what they're doing, everything is.  (Like making quilts!)  
Before attaching the seats back onto the frames I sprayed them with a good amount of Scotch-Guard.  I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.

On this last day of January, how about I finally share a few Christmas sewing projects I gifted last month?
I made this pillow using scraps from my Kaleidoscope Plus quilt and Amanda Jean's  Chain of Diamonds pattern in her book No Scrap Left Behind.  

But then, since it matched the quilt so well I couldn't give it away, so made another with Denyse Schmidt scraps.  

I also made these fun vinyl pouches.  My first time sewing with vinyl - I hardly noticed.  I used a tutorial from the Moda Bakeshop but changed up the dimensions and didn't quilt the back.  I was needing a quick project.

And finally, more rope bowls!  Everyone loves these.  

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading through till the end!  
Hope you're keeping warm during this Polar Vortex.  

Thursday, January 3, 2019

a neutral pow-wow

A catch up post because I've finally gifted the 3rd baby quilt  I made and photographed last fall. For this little guy I used the  Pow-Wow pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew.  
I changed up the bright colors for these darling low volume prints from Lizzy House's Whisper collection.

I like how they look with the stonewash Peppered Cotton background.  

My favorite print!

The back is this Lizzy House constellation print.  It's actually a mint color in real life but my camera wasn't seeing it that way.  I had it in my stash and it works perfect for this little one.  We've shared many an evening in Northern Michigan looking at stars and watching for the Northern Lights with his family.

I went with the orange print for the binding because I think it looks like the stitching on stonewashed jeans.  I love me a pair of comfy jeans!

I used request loft batting from Quilter's Dream for the wonderful drape.  How pretty does this quilt look hanging in a tree?  Hopefully, it will make a fun tent draped over a few chairs someday!

I hope you all had happy holidays and were able to do a little catching up of your own.  Here's to keeping up in 2019!

I'll be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts 

Friday, November 30, 2018

tis the season...

for a finish!
I started these festive blocks in February of 2017.   Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts was hosting a Jolly Christmas quilt along.  I couldn't keep up with it last year but I didn't give up and I'm happy to have it finished now - only one year late!
I've been following Lorna since the Elephant Parade.  I'm always blown away by her darling patterns.  I've made several now.  (Here, here, and here!)  Her instructions are always easy to follow and, while some of the blocks challenge me, I'm always pleased with the results.

All the prints are from my Cotton and Steel stash.  Some were just bits from my scrap bin and some pieces were cut from full fat quarters.  These prints are so fun to play with.  The background is Essex yarn dyed in flax - a staple in my sewing room.
I framed each of my blocks and made my borders larger than Lorna suggested.  I'm always so afraid to challenge myself with quilting, especially when I've spent so much time on piecing blocks, but Angela Walters has been hosting a series on dot-to-dot quilting and I wanted to give it a try.  

I made my borders to finish at 3" wide.  I spent lots of time with my washable blue pen marking my quilt with dots and got much more comfortable using a ruler while free-motion quilting.  (Is it still called free-motion if you use a ruler?)

The backing is a map of London.  I needed more than one width of fabric so added this fun, colorful print to each side.  I like the colors and houses and think it looks like neighborhoods and life around the city.

Can you pick a favorite block?  

Personally, I love the mittens!  They were the first block I made.  We live in Michigan, the mitten state, so I'm a little obsessed with them!  
The sweater was especially fun to make.  It's from a prior year's QAL that I didn't participate in.  But again, I live in Michigan and my Christmas quilt had to include a ski sweater!

This poor little guy landed in the top corner so often gets out shown by those blocks on the bottom but I absolutely adore him.  

I hope you're enjoying your holiday prep and that your projects are finishes soon!
Thank you so much for stopping by.

I'll be linking up with:
and, of course, with 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


This one is for Piper's little brother.  If you know a Peppa Pig 🐷fan you'll understand the title. 😜
A simple rail fence block made with Riley Blake's Fossil Rim prints and Essex yarn-dyed cotton/linen blend.

I cut my fabric in strips both horizontally and vertically so all the dinosaurs would be oriented the same way.  I think because there's only one directional print here it would have really bothered me to have the dinosaurs going every which way.

The dinosaurs on the back are from the same line - I just love them. 

I used Lynn Harris' single fold 1/2" binding method from her book Every Last Piece.  I really do love how soft the binding finishes with this method.

So glad I took these photos when I finished it last summer, and not this month when it was finally gifted, because...sunshine!

I hope the sun shines on you this week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

august improv

Yes, another baby quilt!  This is the first of three I'm gifting this fall.
For this one I pushed myself and went improv which is completely outside my comfort zone.  I used this quilt by Ashley at Film in the Fridge as my inspiration.  I love everything Ashley makes.  

My blocks finish at 8 inches, like Ashley's, but since my quilt is baby sized I probably should have made them smaller so there would be more blocks.  Oh well, next time...

These prints are all from an original Cotton and Steel collection called August.  
I free-motion quilted this with randomly spaced somewhat straight lines.  I started going horizontal on the white background blocks and vertical on the print blocks.  I got a little bored with that so kinda changed it up in a few of the blocks - improv style!

The backing is double gauze - it's so cozy!
I used Quilter's Dream cotton Request loft batting so it's super light weight.  

The binding is from a newer Cotton and Steel collection.  I love this print and wish I had bought more of it.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  

I'll be linking up with 

Friday, June 22, 2018

tall tales

This quilt!
I had more fun making this quilt than any other.  And that's saying something!
This baby's parents are book worms.  For the shower they asked only for books.  Not just baby books but to please bring your favorite book.  They started a lifetime library before they met their little one.

There are several fun book related quilt patterns out there but when I saw a few Tall Tales blocks popping up on my Instagram feed I went straight to Kate Basti's Craftsy shop and downloaded her free pattern.

Then I rummaged through my scrap bins finding fabrics that related to favorite books of mine and classics that everyone loves.  (Baby's initials are on Little Red Riding Hood.)

Some of these books I can't think of an actual title to match but maybe they can.  Or perhaps one hasn't been written yet but will be in Baby's lifetime.  (Oh look, a Scouting Handbook!)

Can you read my quilting?
I thought long and hard about how to quilt these books.  I originally decided to challenge myself and quilt classic first lines.  I spent an evening Googling "first lines" and quickly realized determining spacing would overwhelm me.  

In that search I was reminded of this perfect poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  

I divided Invitation into 10 lines and quilted 2 lines per row.  
I was going for a subtle look but I may have taken that a little too far.  The quilting looks more like loops and lines than words but I'm okay with it.  My quilting cursive didn't ruin the overall project (and I didn't have to un-sew any of it!)

These glasses have been sitting in my stash for a few years now.  Aren't they perfect here?  The binding is from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley collection.  I picked it up in someone's destash awhile ago. I used Quilter's Dream Cotton Request loft batting and Aurifil 2021 50wt thread for piecing and quilting.

Here are just a few favorites from my book shelves.  I'd love for you to leave a comment telling me yours!

Linking up this Finish with: