Monthly Archives: May 2014

Black to Basics

If there’s one thing I love about blogging, and sharing my quilts with others, it’s getting feedback from all you fabulous quilters. I asked for advice on the binding for my Jungle Quilt- and there were so many different opinions. I love that! Each of us think differently, and are drawn to different colors and patterns, and that is wonderful- especially because hearing your ideas helps me develop new ones of my own. It helps me to see my own projects through different eyes, and without my built in biases. Thank you!

Tonight I met up with my 3 friends who are doing the Tula blocks along with me. Over munchies and drinks, we admired one new baby (so cute) and 4 sets of Tula blocks. We’ve all gotten through between 30-40 so far. And everyone is using 100% different color schemes. Mine, which you are over familiar with by now. K’s are soothing grays, beiges, and soft yellows. E’s are amazing, a collection made from scraps from many lines and many years, and S’s are all stunning batiks.


And just like my friends’ Tula blocks, your ideas for binding were all different- but all great. Each one would have given the quilt a different flavor…

In the end, I was inspired to a different idea than everything any of us came up with before. My instinct was still telling me that the many patterns and textures and colors needed some taming. I chose not to go with a print, even though I did very seriously consider the leopard. But I also chose not to use the dark green solid. Instead, I remembered that I have nearly an entire bolt of Moda solid black tucked away (purchased when an LQS went out of business a while back…) So, the black was dramatic yet calming, and also didn’t add any new patterns. And, was free since I already owned it 😉


I think it works nicely. And also, thanks to the lovely E for quilt holding before happy hour today! (Fortunately, the bar was located next to a shop with lovely red walls.)


Also, victory, the quilt is washed, and it did very well. All seams intact and no color bleeding. That’s always the last moment of truth for me, the test before I send my creation on to its new home…


I especially like the black binding on the back, as I feel like it really makes all those little monkeys pop.

Now I can pop it in the mail to the new parents, and it should arrive just about on the baby’s actual due date- totally not MY fault that he came 5 weeks early, so I consider the quilt still basically on time. (Also, I can be a bit jokey as he went home from the hospital super fast and is growing and thriving even after being so early.)

AND- it was my A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for May (Link #133- only 2 shy of being last), so, that’s all good as well!

Linking up with ALYOF May Finish post, Finish It Up Friday, and TGIFF.


Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Quilts, Tula Pink QAL, Year of Lovely Finishes

Tula Not-Quite-Tuesday: Blocks 39 and 40

Having Memorial Day off left me a bit confused this week, and even though I had my Tula blocks done for this week, I managed to forget to post them on time! Ooops. But here I am, with two more blocks, thus completing my ten blocks for May- I’m 40 down with 60 to go…


Argh, triangles. The 1.5″ squares are not my friends.

Block #39 was fine… my only regret is that the 2 sides of the cube are too similar. See?

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The colors looked different enough in the light when I cut them. But when the block was pieced, I no longer felt that way. But, I am very happy with the way I made that Anna Maria Horner print work in the center of the block!

Block #40 and I didn’t get along at all. I may go back and redo it. I am very, very happy with my fussy cut Fox Field centers. But… the green and lavender are way too different (which is funny, considering what I am complaining about in the previous block!) And my triangles are TERRIBLE. You won’t even have to look closely to tell.

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If I do redo it, I’ll replace the pale purple with a different, darker green. And probably even replaced the deep blue triangles. Maybe everything But the centers.

And, oh man, there are so many triangle blocks yet to go 😦

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-40

What about you? Working on any Tula Blocks? Link up below if so!


Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL

How big is big enough?

I recently learned that my aunt, my mom’s sister, is having some major surgery next week. Nothing life threatening, just majorly life improving… But she’s going to have a 2-3 month recovery, and that doesn’t sound fun. She’s far from me, in Pittsburgh, so there’s not much I can do to help out.

But I CAN send a quilt to snuggle under during this prolonged recovery, right?

I realized that I would have just barely enough time to crank one out before the big day- and I had the perfect fabric in mind.

Do you remember last year, when the one and only Amy Butler came by my favorite local crafty store?

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I won that fabulous charm pack of Cameo– and it’s been waiting for the right project ever since. I love it- but the colors aren’t 100% me (the coral, specifically), and I never know what to do with precuts.

BUT! The colors are just right for my Aunt… And I realized I could make something quick but lovely with HSTs. So my mom, who agreed to “sponsor” the coordinating solid, backing, and batting for this project, and I headed out shopping. We ran through a number of greens that weren’t quite right before settling on grey. It compliments all the may colors in the Cameo squares, and also looks sophisticated.

I got down to HST business right away.

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I was truly living dangerously on Saturday night- wine AND rotary cutting!

I ended up with 60 5″ HSTs.

Time to play with the million and 1 possible layouts…

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But both, while they looked great, were waaaaaay too small.

So I tried adding in solid grey squares.

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But I didn’t find the layouts nearly as visually pleasing with the extra grey- and, I admit, I was totally afraid of trying to quilt in those blank solid areas!

So, next idea: make more HSTs with coordinating solids.


This solution was better but not perfect. More visually pleasing to me than the grey squares, but, the Cameo pieces looked better all by themselves, I think.

What do you think?


(PS that’s a moot question, because …)


I put the top together already. It measures 36×45. Still not as big as I wanted- but I didn’t want to add even more solid blocks. So now I have 3 choices- and I’m asking for your input.

1) Leave it alone. It looks lovely as is, and the weather will be warm to hot while she’s recuperating, so it’s more for cheering up than warmth.

2) Add a border of solid grey to some or all of the sides.

2) Add a border of one of the cameo prints- I have a yard of this one:


(I was planning to use it for binding but I could sacrifice to make the top bigger…)

4) Something I haven’t thought of yet.

And, in case you are wondering, the backing is going to be a sage green minkee. Super cuddly and comforting… My hope is to have this totally done by Sunday and in the mail on Monday, so it will arrive just in time.

Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas with me!

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.


Filed under Brushes with Greatness, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Skullduggery- Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entry #2

Hi, and thank you for visiting my humble blog 🙂  For my second entry to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, I’m selecting the Large Quilts category.

I made this quilt earlier this year, and it’s especially funny that it’s in the large category, as it’s a baby quilt… The fact that I simply didn’t process how huge this quilt was going to end up was a great source of chagrin/amusement to me. I picked the pattern because the mom and dad are VERY punk rock, and they needed a nontraditional baby quilt.


And a nontraditional baby quilt they got! The pattern is in the book Dare to Be Square Quilting by Boo Davis. I had wanted to make it for years, and this finally gave me an excuse. You can read about the process here.

This is one of my favorite projects ever. Aside from size, it turned out just how I wanted. And I made it at the end of a very long dry stretch- making it truly felt like a journey that helped my mojo return.


The print greens all came from stash; I did have to purchase the solids. I bound it in purple batik because that made me smile. And I even did a decent job quilting it on my home machine.


I did tight echo quilting inside the skull, funky spirals in the eyes, and radiating lines on the green section.

Hopefully this little one will enjoy it for years to come…

skull and baby 2

(PS Did I mention that I picked a fabric covered in tiny skulls for the back?)

skull and baby 1

Thank you for visiting from the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!



Filed under Baby quilts, Bloggers Quilt Festival, Gift, Quilts

Gone to the dogs… Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry #1

For the first time this year, I’m on the ball enough to enter the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.

I thought long and hard about what to show you… and what category it would fit into. Finally, I decided on what might be my favorite project ever- Annie’s doggy quilt. I blogged about it ages ago, but that was before my giant blogging break, and I bet most of you have never seen it (especially as it was over on my old typepad blog, which I stopped paying for, and so now looks terrible.)


I decided to submit it to the Scrappy category, as every block was made from stash scraps- except for the centers. The center of each block is from a different piece of fabric featuring dogs. Many I bought myself, but other quilt bloggers sent me pieces as well. The fabrics in this quilt represent my tastes so very very well- mirror gal dots, kaffes, herringbones, batiks, and bold graphics- and color! Lots and lots of bright color!

I intended this to be a gift for Annie’s 9th birthday, in 2010. We redid her bedroom that year, to make it more grown up- a desk for homework, bookcases instead of toy bins, etc. And we repainted from the purple I’d picked for her at age 3 to the blue she really wanted now. i actually made her an entirely different doggy quilt first- but I really wasn’t happy with it. (Apparently I was so unhappy with it I never took a photo of the finished top!) So I started over!

I approached each block as its own unit- picking the fussy cut dog for the center first, and then pulling fabrics for the block. I deliberately made each fussy cut center a different size, and tried to keep the surrounding fabrics to different widths. I chose 2 or 3 fabrics to complement each doggy.

And for some reason, this process took me FOREVER. Annie did not get this quilt until Christmas Eve 2010, many months after her April birthday.

annie dog quilt

Fortunately, even with the delay, she was thrilled by it! I made matching curtains, and eventually pillowcases as well. The framed prints on the wall came from a local thrift shop for just a few dollars each- score! (And on a side note, god, she’s grown sooooo much. But she still sleeps under this quilt. In fact, I had to steal it from her bed to take some new photos for this post…)

The entire family seemed to approve.
Bob T. Cat on the Doggy Quilt


I thought I’d show you a few of my favorite of the 40 blocks…

This purple one- I love the way the Brandon Mably fabric worked.
mably purple chihuahua

This one, featuring that Heather Ross fabric that I love so much (and just got autographed by her!)
doggy blocks- orange and pink

This little blue guy, because I love how graphic and bold it is.
scruffy blue dog

And finally, this one, even though it’s super simple and more low key. Because when I was younger, we had an Old English Sheepdog named Spencer and he was the
3 more dog blocks  down...1 to go


If you have any desire to check out all the blocks up close, you can check out this Flickr set of mine. They’re all there.

Since I bought so many pieces of doggy fabric, only to chop up tiny bits of them for block centers, I used the leftover bits to create the back. I even used bits from the pieces I couldn’t make work on the front.


I used big squares, as well as 4 patch blocks, and while it’s super busy, it was a fun economical backing…

The binding is a fun blue-green polka dot, I think a Michael Miller, that I also used in the curtains.

I truly wish that my machine quilting skills had been better then- they’re only marginally better now, but I think it would have made a difference.  I just did some straight line quilting, near the ditch. Probably not enough, actually. Still, she’s happy. And I do truly love this- it makes me smile every time I look at it. Each block was made with love, and each one is a combination of my favorite colors and prints.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with some more photos.

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Thank you for visiting, and I hope the doggy quilt made you smile, too!


Filed under Bloggers Quilt Festival, Quilts

In a Bind

I realized later that maybe this was bad karma for a baby quilt, but, I spent Sunday holed up in my studio, watching the Rosemary’s Baby remake (if you care, I only found it to be eh) and working on my jungle boogie quilt. Hopefully the dark subject matter didn’t seep into the project…


First off, my least favorite, basting. Can I just say that after packing tape, the iPad is my favorite basting invention? I have to use my living room floor to baste, and with the iPad, I can stream entertainment while I work. Then I can pick it up, and take it to the studio, and keep watching while I quilt! (Usually my choices are marginally better than the Rosemary’s Baby remake.)

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I quilted it with a simple cross hatch design- I love it because there’s no need to mark the top- and it worked well with this pattern. I happened to have a spool of medium green thread sitting around, so, by default, that’s what I used. That way I didn’t need to make a trip to the store before I got started. On the black and dark green fabrics, it’s ever so slightly brighter than I would have liked, but it blends with the rest nicely. And it disappears into the back.

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My middle stripe isn’t lined up as perfectly as I would have liked- I thought I had it centered during basting, but not quite. I still think it works.

And now comes the big decision:


What would you choose? I have enough of the solid kona green, the black batik with silver squares, both the giraffe and leopard prints, and also the olive green chevron-ish stripe. OR, I had originally thought maybe a bright blue solid, to pick up the blues in the parrots. Would a blue be too much, or just fun? Or, do you have a totally different idea? Please, let me know.  I won’t have time to work on the binding before Sunday, but I am hoping to get it all done then.

Linking up with Needle and Thread ThursdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social


Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Tula Tuesday: 37 and 38

Another week, another few Tula blocks. But before we go there, I wanted to tell you how very flattered I was to be included in Alyce’s Sew Cute Tuesday round up this week! Do you visit her on Tuesdays? You should- and other days, too! (PS I’m linking this post up with her this week!)

This week was 37 and 38- more of the triangles.


Block 37 has some of my brand spanking new Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent. I almost got the bird perfectly fussy cut… The outer border is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton. I generally love them, but they are softer and more flexible. That makes me nervous- too much room for errors.

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Block #38 looks like it uses the same shot cotton, but it’s actually a blue solid. Much sturdier and less likely to cause piecing issues… And I worked back in my feature fabric.

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Neither set of triangles gave me trouble this week, hooray. Next week has some 1.5″ half square triangles coming up, so that should be fun.


tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-38

So, did you make any City Sampler blocks recently? Link up below…


Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL

Sunday Stash- now with books!

No new fabrics around here this week. And extra funds might have been expended on tickets to Godzilla for later tonight…

But, I did add a book to my stash, and also enhanced an existing piece of fabric. What? Maybe this will help explain it…


My new book is How to Catch a Frog by the one and only Heather Ross! She is touring to promote this book, a collection of tales from her unconventional childhood and artistic life, and this past week, she was in Denver. I’m never one to pass up a book signing by someone I like, and even less so the chance to meet a crafty goddess. So with a good friend in tow, I headed out to hear her.

Heather read two stories from the book, and she is clearly a wonderful writer- I highly recommend it to anyone… During the Q&A, people asked about her life, and of course, her fabrics. Interesting fact we learned: she had been looking at a partnership with JoAnns to reproduce one of her lines- but they said no, because it was too naughty. Which line? Mendocino! The topless child mermaids were considered to risqué. Also, Medocino is her favorite of her own lines. And lucky me has a bunch of that one in my stash.

But my faves are her older fabrics- the matryoshkas, gnomes, dogs and others from West Hill and her other oldest lines. And so like a total groupie, I took a piece with me, and asked her to sign it. And she did!


I’m such a silly girl. I have a collection of 8 small frames that I’ve been thinking of filling with some of my favorite fabrics and hanging on a blank spot on a wall in the studio. Maybe this specially autographed piece will be one of those?

Linking up with Sunday Stash


Filed under Brushes with Greatness, Sunday Stash

Pillowcases: The Final Frontier

Do you remember a Sunday Stash way way back (okay, just back in March…I’m a drama queen) when I showed you some fabulous nerdy novelties?


I *finally* busted out the Star Trek fabrics for their intended purpose, to make pillowcases for Henry. He’s now got a super nerdy bed, what with the Trek pillowcases and the Minecraft blanket




I think he likes them…

Meanwhile, my husband REALLY liked the fabrics. I don’t really want Star Trek on our bed, so I came up with another idea. I’ve long wanted to make place mats for the entire fam a la this blog post by Weeks Ringle. But then I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to have the kids help pick their own fabrics and sew their own slabs? (Thank you, Cheryl, for that term and technique!) And lord knows, we have enough bits of leftover novelty fabrics to make that very wild and fun. So Rich can have a Star Trek place mat, and our bed can stay matchy matchy, so, win win, right? Maybe we’ll even start that this weekend.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday, TGIFF, and Fabric Frenzy Friday



Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Henry, Sewing (not quilting!)

Jungle Boogie

Not a very original name, I know. Suggestions welcome!

I took advantage of a snowy Mother’s Day, and then a snowy Monday home from work with a sick kid, to get cracking on my new baby quilt.

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The Modern Plus tutorial by Jeni at In Color Order is wonderful. The hardest part was deciding on layout. I went back and forth a few times, removed one fabric, added another, etc, and ended up with this:


It’s more orange than I intended, which is funny, since the orange section of my stash is TINY. (And tinier after this, lol.) I love the mix of fabrics- novelties that I bought maybe 10 years ago, batiks, kaffe stripes, modern prints from the likes of Joel Dewberry, Denyse Schmidt, and more… I’m pushing myself to fall back in love with my (huge) stash. I’ve been tempted away by all modern prints, all the time, but in my heart I know that you can still have fun with other fabrics. They seem to play nicely together 😉

I even got the back done. I *think* I could have gotten away with a solid back- I had enough of the jungle print left to pull it off. But I decided to use the leftover squares from the front and liven it up a tiny little bit.


I’m hoping to get it basted and start quilting this weekend!

And then I’ll be back to ask for binding suggestions…

Meanwhile, linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.


Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday, Year of Lovely Finishes