Category Archives: Year of Lovely Finishes

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

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

Just Under the Wire

After dithering about all week, I DID decide to commit to May’s A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Which is actually going to be a totally new project.

But it has been on my to-do list for several months. A family friend was expecting baby #2 in June. I say was, because he decided he wanted to show up in time for Easter. All is well, he’s happy and healthy and only a little bit little. Phew. I’ve actually only met mom and dad once, but, dad is the son of MY dad’s best friend. Oh, and did I mention, my dad passed away several years ago? When this couple had baby #1, the year after he died, I made them a quilt because it’s what he would have wanted.
Take only snapshots

I used fabric with alligators because they have super special meaning to me, because of my dad.
papa and alligator sign
I miss him.

Okay, enough self pity.

I also used animal fabric because the mom works for a nature nonprofit… And I decided to go the same route this time. When I was moving all my fabric, I found some jungle theme prints I bought years and years ago, when Annie was in her jungle animal phase. That’s way behind us, but the fabric still sits in the stash. Sigh.

So tonight I picked one as a theme piece, and pulled fabric to complement it.


Cute, right? I wonder if it needs a pop of bright blue?

Then I was puzzling over pattern, and realized that there’s yet another quilty-blogand trend that I never got around to- Jeni of In Color Order’s Modern Plus Quilt. These prints and colors will be so much fun in that pattern, and the piecing is simple enough to get done and out to the early little man ASAP.

So my May goal is to finish this quit, start to binding and done… Fingers crossed!

My Button


Filed under Baby quilts, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

Epic Modern Crosses

For April’s A Lovely Year of Finishes goal, I was realistic. I knew I would be moving my sewing room this month, and between that and our vacation, I lost over 2 weeks of the month. So I decided that my goal would be to finish the Modern Cross top that I started THREE years ago, and then restarted a few months back. Even though it was a minimal amount of actual sewing, it was an EPIC finish.


So epic that I stopped to photograph the final inches of the final seam.


These modern cross blocks look lovely, but I didn’t enjoy the process. I think I may have mentioned that a time or twelve. Too much trimming!  And too many blocks- when I decided to make it bed size, I went from 60 blocks to 100. Because I went up to king size, even though our bed is a queen. Two reasons: we’d really like to trade up to a king one day, and, I am a blanket hog- with an oversized quilt, my poor husband stands a much better chance of keeping covered at night… But 100 blocks is a lot- especially when I was trying not to duplicate any fabrics. (I did duplicate a few, but not as many as you might think. Maybe 5?)

I actually finished piecing this on the 13th, but it was so huge that I needed helpers to photograph it, and good weather…which I finally got tonight!

Are you ready for the grand reveal of my 3 year top?

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Can you see my helper peeking out in the 2nd photo?

Here’s my other awesome helper…


Rich is 5’9″, and even on a step stool, he couldn’t get this monster all the way up off the ground!

I also gave it a test run on the bed.

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Myrtle and I both approve…

And I feel amazing. It’s done. A weight is off my chest. The blocks are no longer sitting on top of my bookcase mocking me.

Of course, now I have to figure out how to quilt it. Or rather, to baste it. This is the biggest thing I have ever made! I have a stash of wonderful blue, purple, and green buttons- one for the center of each cross- but aside from wanting to do that, I have NO idea how to finish this giant thing. Wish me luck?

Linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes April Finish post at Sew BitterSweet Designs.

My ButtonAlso linking to:


Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog

And Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts


Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Modern Cross, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

A Lovely Year of Finishes: April Goal

I’m setting a modest goal for myself for April’s Lovely Year of Finishes challenge.

I missed the first 7 days of the month, in terms of sewing and blogging, due to a wonderful vacation*… No complaints at all here, but, that’s 25% of the month! Also,  I have some big big plans for the middle of the month: setting up my new sewing room. There’s IKEA furniture to be assembled, and walls to be painted, and STUFF to be moved. Who knows if I’ll get any sewing done at all…

So, without further ado, my realistic if not exciting goal for April 2014 is to finish the Modern Cross top that I finally returned to last month…

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One half of the king sized quilt is together already, one is on my design wall.

By the end of April, it will be one complete quilt top, darn it, and I will have a shiny new sewing room in which to plot the rest of my year’s finishes…

Linking up just under the wire for this month…

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* tune in later this week to be wowed by posts about that wonderful vacation… or, you know, don’t 😉


Filed under Modern Cross, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

Meow Mix, Top Done!

For the month of March, I set myself a goal of finishing all 25 Catvent kitty blocks for the Lovely Year of Finishes. (I’m #134 at the March kickoff linkup…) I admit I got distracted by my Modern Cross, but not so distracted that I missed making my goal.

The blocks went together very quickly, and often, the most difficult part was picking fabrics. I made the blocks nearly entirely from my scrap bins, with some very kind help from Cindy over at SeeLifeMarvels. Cindy sent me a wonderful pack of orange scraps to help bolster the weakest part of my stash…


As soon as Cindy’s package arrived, I got to work on my orange kitties.


I’m so happy with them! One of the brides-to-be receiving this quilt loves skulls, so sneaking in that fabric in one ear was just perfect! Also, not sure if you can see, but the orange-y yellow kitty right below? It has a teacup puppy, in a teacup, on its face. I found some of that wonderful old Heather Ross fabrics in my scraps. A kitty with a puppy on its face makes me smile!

I moved on to red/pink/purple next, and this was the most stressful part. I had a horrible time making the red to pink transition.


I really wasn’t happy with that iteration. I liked the kitties individually, but, the two in the top right corner seemed too similar. I was tired, so I went to bed, but when I approached it after work the next day, with fresher eyes, I found a solution.


SO much happier with that version! And, I got to make another funny kitty- the top left cat? Has flamingos on her face… (And, I plan to piece the “rejected” cat into the back of the quilt, maybe using her as part of the label, so all will be well there, too.)

Looking at my wild and crazy cats brings me to a point I’ve been mulling over lately. I was chatting via email with Cath at WombatQuilts who, btw makes the most gorgeous blocks and you should go visit her right now if you haven’t already. She was complimenting my fabric choices, and I was wondering if my love of prints and busy-ness means I am not a true modern quilter. I know that there many different ways to define modern quilting, but when I look around the blogosphere, I get confused. I don’t identify as a traditional quilter- that just feels like a bad fit to me. At the same time, I make quilts from patterns, and am very uncomfortable with improv or creating my own designs. That does feel VERY traditional to me. And then back to my fabric choices. I don’t like “traditional” fabrics, and  I do love loads of contemporary designers. But I also love using massive amounts of color and pattern- I’m terrible at minimal or low-key. These kitties contain everything from solids to Kaffe shot cottons, from batiks to novelty prints and from contemporary designers to random 10 year old scraps.  I think there’s even one piece of 30s repro.

So where do I fit? Do you struggle with these definitions at all?

Phew. All that deep stuff aside, look what I did!

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That’s right- I finished not just the blocks but the entire quilt top with 48 hours to spare. (I realize the month isn’t yet over BUT we head out on vacation at noon Saturday…) I even got it done before the sun set, so I could get a few photos before I totally lost the natural light. Of course, I didn’t realize how wrinkled the right side was until AFTER I took the photos. Oops. But the top IS done.

Now I can head out on my trip with a clear quilty conscience… Everything think warm, not snowy thoughts for us in Boston next week! (Also, there’s a quilt exhibit opening at the MFA while we’re there, AND the To Boston With Love flags with also be on display… so, hooray- for me at least, the kids are not so thrilled.) Hope you all did well with your own March goals. See you soon 🙂




Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Meow Mix, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes