Thursday 24 March 2011

flower garden

I have it in my head to hand piece and quilt a queen size Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.  I'm still not sure if this is an inspired or insane idea.  Let's just say i'm looking at a very long-term project... 

The center of each flower is linen rather than the more traditional yellow, and some of the hexagons are fussy cut while others are more simple.   I am going for a completely scrappy look, using any and all color combos and fabric styles and hoping that in the end everything will pull together somehow.  The plan is to use Kona Snow hexagons to connect all the flowers and to add half flowers along the edges for a straight binding.

They really are addictive - one flower leads to another and another...  I also love their portability - something to keep me busy on car or train trips.  Best of all, I can keep working on them after my husband goes to bed.  We have a tiny apartment and the noise of the sewing machine keeps him up, so I can curl up on the couch and wind down with these before turning in.

The strawberries were mine, but I swiped the other fabrics from my mom's stash.

love this Michael Miller "Trailer Travel" fabric!

More Scotties, because I obviously have a problem...

A little leftover "Freebird" from the quilt I made for my sister mixed with some men's dress shirt fabric and a sweet orange seersucker..

Michael Miller's "Springtime in Paris" - I prefer this fabric fussy cut in small pieces.  I find it a bit busy in bigger cuts, but I adore the details.

Everyone who knows me is familiar with my fox terrier obsession.

More fabrics lifted from my mom...

I have a few more flowers in the works which I need to finish up, and then I need to dig through my fabric boxes and cut up the next series of flowers.  Hopefully posting my progress here will help motivate me to keep pushing on with this project.  

Monday 21 March 2011

block-a-palooza - block 16

The final palooza block is finished.  A slightly bittersweet sensation, as I have enjoyed this quilt along so much, but on the other hand I have stacks of other projects lined up in my mind and am excited to get started on the next one...

Block 16

This was a fun block to end the quilt along.  The scrappy pinwheels on the white background make a fresh addition to the group, and I was able to tie in the main red fabrics from the rest of the blocks. 

I constructed the pinwheels slightly differently than detailed in the tutorial.  I stumbled across a YouTube video by the Missouri Star Quilt Co a couple of months ago and was amazed by their handy tip for "fast and easy" pinwheels.  They simply sew two fabric squares face together around all four sides and then cut the square on both diagonals, resulting in four half square triangles.  On Friday, I read the HST guest post Christina Lane of The Sometimes Crafter wrote for WhipUp using the Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s method.  She has tackled the quilt math necessary to figure out what size square you need to cut to produce the desired HST.  I rounded up to be extra sure and used 4.5 in squares and then squared them all up to 2.5 inches. 

I really liked this technique and had no problems at all - the pinwheels pieced easily together with no issues; however, many commenters have pointed out that this method does create triangles with bias edges, so there is potential for stretching.  I starched my squares first and very carefully pressed them open and did not have any problems, but I don't know if it was just beginner's luck...I am curious to try this technique again.

Block 5 revisited

After I finished up the block 16, block 5 was still bothering me.  I felt the navy was too dominant overall and didn't want this block to be a focal point in the quilt top.  I am SO much happier with the new colors - and happy to see that my goose technique has improved since the original block 5!  The new block has a softer, sweeter feel than its harsher predecessor.

All 16 blocks !!!

I am curious to see the options for the final design today.  The sneak peek with the appliqued flower panel will obviously not work with these blocks, but perhaps one of the variations will be more appropriate. 

Friday 18 March 2011

block-a-palooza - block 15

The second-to last block already...only one more to go - pinwheels!

Block 15

This one was fun and quick to put together, and the double pinwheel is an interesting change.

I will be sad when this project is finished, but I am looking forward to discovering the final layout of the blocks and putting them all together.  Then there is the backing, quilting and binding to think about...we're not finished yet!

Thursday 17 March 2011

just one star

Here are the two stars I made for Moda's Just One Star challenge.  Even though I don't live in the States right now, projects like this help me keep in touch.

The challenge is to piece, quilt and bind 100 quilts in 100 days using the Flag of Valor pattern by Polly Minick and Laurie Simpson.  

So, all you have to do to help reach the goal of 1800 blocks is piece at least one star block in either red or blue with a cream background and send it in to Moda before May 1st, and your block will be included in one of the 100 quilts to be given to wounded soldiers and their familes.

Completed and untrimmed blocks can be sent to the following address :

United Notions/Moda Fabrics
Attn: Just One Star Project
13800 Hutton
Dallas, TX 75234

Wednesday 16 March 2011


  At first I thought that I would just quietly follow the Block-a-palooza quilt along organized by Quilt Dad and not share my completed blocks on Flickr.  I didn't have a Flickr account and I had never posted any of my projects online - I was feeling a little shy, but when I finished my first block and saw everyone's starting to pop up, I thought, why not?  For the past two months I have looked forward to the release of the new designs every Monday and Thursday and seeing how everyone else has interpreted the block.  My husband has helped me choose the fabric combinations and photographed the finished results, which has made the project all the more enjoyable.

Block 1 - and my first attempt at flying geese

I found this Aunt Grace flying scottie fabric (are they flying? is it just a bow? both?)  in my mom's fabric sash at Christmas when I was looking for scraps for a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt I am working on and fell in love with it.  My mom has scotties, hence a rather large collection of scottie fabric.  Anyway, we searched for more of this now out-of-print fabric online and ordered plenty more - plus to our delight, we also found it in giant scottie form!

Block 2

This block was a real challenge - so many tiny squares!   It was also the first time I pressed my seams open.  I really liked the results and will continue to use this technique - it seriously helps with bulk.

Block 3

I was so excited to find a way to incorporate the giant scottie into this block!

Block 4 - love the pinwheel!

Block 5

I am really disappointed with this one and am still thinking about re-doing it.  It took me FOREVER to get those geese even vaguely straight and they still aren't perfect.  Also, I fear that the sashing will clip some geese tips...I may keep the center 9-patch and just make new geese...we'll see, though I do think the navy adds a nice contrast to some of the other blocks.

Block 6 - and another giant scottie!

This one is perhaps my favorite - Monica's design is fantastic!  This was the only little scrap of heart fabric that I had leftover from the hexie raid on my mom's stash, and I think it goes to perfect use here.

Block 7

I love this fabric with the playing children.  I picked up a couple of fat quarters of it at a LQS in Houston over Christmas.  There are no selvages, so sadly i don't know what it is.  I had been waiting for an opportunity to encorporate this print in one of the blocks.

Block 8 - my first attempt at applique...

I am happy with the overall result of this block, but I am still not convinced applique is for me.  I went with the zig zag stitch rather than the blanket stitch because I found that I had more control keeping the corners neat.  When I practiced with the blanket stitch, there was always a random extra stitch past the triangle corners...I think I just need more practice...

Block 9 

 FOUR giant scotties!  What more can I say?  Faced with indecision, I had to put this one up to a family vote regarding the scottie position - all facing the same direction or flying around the block? Mom, hubby and sis unanimously chose option one.

Block 10

This is another one of my favorites, mostly because of the little red flowerpot fabric which I really think makes the design shine.

Block 11

It took me a really long time to choose the fabrics for this one, as i didn't want to loose the design in the prints.  The light blue was part of my sister's surprise fabric package, which came in really handy.

Block 12

Nightmare! I hated the red fabric I originally chose because it was too light and didn't have enought contrast with the rest of the block, so I ripped the entire thing apart and started over with 8 new geese, and I was never able to perfectly match all my tips again.  Oh well, it was worth it because I think the cherries look much better.

Blocks 1-12

Block 13

This one was fun and different;  I like the touch that the tiny border adds to the center 9-patch.  I hesitated using a more suble light blue polka dot for the background but am happy with the bolder red.

Block 14

This is the dot I almost used in the previous block, and I am glad i saved it for this one.  Initially I didn't find the design particularly inspiring, but giant scotties make me so happy that I love it now!

Well, only two blocks to go...

my first pillow

I am new to quilting, and there are just so many different patterns that I want to try out, but unfortunately having a full-time job seriously restricts my sewing time.  Pillows are a fun and quick way to learn new techniques without having to commit to an entire quilt.  This is my first pillow and my first spiderweb block (though definitely not my last of either!).

I used the spiderweb tutorial written by Elizabeth Hartman from Oh, Fransson! for the Sew, Mama, Sew! sew along.  Her technique uses a fabric foundation rather than a paper piecing. 

A tiny deer!  My sister makes fun of my love for baby deer in Japanese fabric...
       ...but nothing compares to my obsession with pigs!    
I first quilted on both sides of all the diagonal seams and felt that it still needed more but was worried that the center would have too many intersecting lines if I kept on going.  My husband suggested stopping the vertical and horizontal quilting just short of the center, and I am pleased with the results - much less busy than if I had continued the stitching straight through.

I added linen borders and bound the edges like a quilt.

I love this guy!

another detail...

The back is finished with an envelope enclosure and a strip of the binding to hem the opening. 

I've entered this pillow into this month's Blogger's Pillow Party.

Tuesday 15 March 2011


Luna helped me organize all of my new fabric.

surprise fabric!

A few weeks ago my sister sent me a huge surprise care package of fabric. She was in Santa Cruz visiting a friend and, while she doesn't sew herself, couldn't resist popping into a local quilt shop and choosing tons of fabrics she knew i would love.

She even made a "quilt" out of color photocopies of the fabric for the wrapping paper.

Her birthday was last week, so to show my appreciation I used some of fabric she sent to make her a little quilted coaster set from Rashida Coleman-Hale's I Love Patchwork!. 

I absolutely adore the little elephants. Actually, I love all the fabrics - the Beach Mod by Monaluna prints are just so soft! - but what thrills me the most is discovering different colors and designs that I might not have chosen personally and being inspired to create new projects with them. Thanks sis!