Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Churnstile Quilt Finish!

I'm a quilter without a plan... that's just how I operate. Ok, well, I do from time to time make a plan for my ongoing projects, but a good majority of what I do, starts out with no real A to Z, start-to-finish, mapped out direction. Usually such quilting projects leave you with a pretty good story once you do finally make it to the finish line... so, are you ready for a sit back and grab a cup of coffee kind of tale?

I actually started my Churnstile quilt back in February of this year when I wanted to "audition" potential bee blocks for when it was my turn to be queen bee. It didn't take long for me to figure out that I liked the block so much, and had such a very specific color direction, that I decided to keep it for myself. After adding several blocks, I had my usual debate of layout and size. (I guess one could argue that since I do this with almost every quilt, that this IS actually the plan)

In the end, this quilt came with a nice surprise... it turned out way bigger that I thought it would, and even big enough to be a bed quilt! (I seriously didn't plan that one!?!) By summer I was able to get the back finished and the quilt basted just before our big move, but as you can imagine, pulling up roots in one spot, and setting them down in another can take some time to get adjusted. By the time I found my sewing table again, there were several quilts that had cut line, and it was hard to pick this back up since it felt that I wasn't really sure where I had left off. But there's nothing like the push of a deadline to put you back on track... aka end of the year Finish-A-Long.

For the backing I used two leftover blocks that didn't make it in the quilt top, and added two blocks of color. Somehow I really wanted a simple backing, and used a good bit of cream Basic Grey grunge fabric for the rest.

I kept the quilting pretty simple by following the extending lines of the blocks. Perhaps if I had stayed on track the whole time with this quilt, then I might have done something a little more creative... do you get that way too, just going with whatever gets the projects done? Well, I suppose that's not all bad because a finished project means getting to start on the next one.

Quilt: Pattern: Churnstile from Stitchery Dickory Dock, Churn Dash block from the January Sugar Block Club
Started: February 2016
Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton & Steel, Lizzy House, and various additional prints from my stash. Low volume with color background fabrics
Finished quilt size: ca. 66 x 82 in. (168 x 208 cm)

...behind the scenes shots are always such fun... can you spot my little helper? 

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and 2016 Finish-A-Long

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Best Of 2016

There's nothing more satisfying than being able to look back and actully see what you've accomplished in a year... especially when you see it it pictures. Firstly, I wanted to give a nod to the finishes that I've had this year I could hardly believe that I had finished six quilts this year! You may also have noticed a quilt finish in there that you've not seen before, and not without reason... this post bumped it from it's planned spot, but I plan to officially share next week.

The first "Best Of" category is the Quilt Finish With The Most Views. My Facing East quilt also gets the title of "Longest Quilt in the Making", and it's what I consider to be my epic finish of all time, and the project where I really fell in love with paper piecing.

Quilters always love to share tips, tricks, and techniques that make the whole process easier, faster, and more enjoyable... my Best Tutorial of the year I think hits all three. I've always been amazed that so many quilters list basting as one of their least favorite steps of quilting. I suppose that I can say that I really don't mind this step because my aunt showed me the best way to baste a quilt when I was just getting started, so I've spared all those years of aching knees and backs... and wanted to pass it on to you!

If you happened to read my previous post, you may already know that improv is not exactly my favorite technique. It's usually something that I avoid all together, but somehow I had these leftover snippits just begged to be turned into something improv... and you evidently like it too since my Jeweled Improv finish takes the title of Best Small Finish.

I had originally thought that finished projects are what draw the most views, and would qualify for the "Best Of" category, but evidently I'm wrong. Much to my surprise, to date, my top post for 2016 was actually a WIP that I had shared in spring. So, it looks like my April Design Wall is crowned with the Best WIP.

2016 was actually a pretty big year for me, and cannot go without mentioning that I released my very first quilt pattern! I am working on my second and third pattern and hope for a spring and fall release for the upcoming year. If you've ever worked on a pattern, then you know the amount of time and work that goes into it. Out of all the posts from the past year, my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern gave me THE most satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment once I had finally hit the publish button... so I added one additional category of the Proudest Reveal post. 

Thanks to Cheryl for hosting the Best Of 2016  Linky party... wishing everyone a great slide into the new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bee Blocks? Check! Check!

They say that it's sometimes the best thing to step outside our comfort zone... always stretching and pushing ourselves to come out of that place of familiarity and safety that keeps us there to begin with. Of course trying new techniques for any quilter can only build on already established skill levels, and if you really want to step outside that zone then improv is the way to go!

I realized as I was working on my last bee blocks for this year that I forgot to share the improv blocks that I made for Yara. (check out her progress here) For her, the bold colors were her big stretch. From time to time, I convince myself that I need to try improv, yet again. Usually after struggling and muddling through it, I remind myself that all the struggling and muddling is why I DON'T like it. Am I closing the chapter on improv? Well, I suppose I'll venture out again once I forget this short lived epiphony.

... and with the busy season coming to it's peak, I'm happy to say that I just sent off my last bee blocks for the year! I am really looking forward to what Vicky does with her cute fish blocks. Vicky is another make it up as you go quilter, coming up with her own patterns... and she has a keen eye for color and a great sense of design. (not to mention the most rockin' green chair that I've seen this year ; ))

She had requested ocean blues combined with yellow/chartreuse fish and grey/black accents. I decided to use paper piecing for the inner parts of her fish... who would have thought, right?!?

Looking back at my 2016 goals from last year, I'm really happy to have put the last two check marks on the done box. Ahhh... yearly goals, hmmm, that's coming up too.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Square It Up

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a flurry of half square triangles in the making. This is a fun little mindless sewing, scrap busting project that I started recently to rescue several cut away triangles from my last few projects. Now, I'm not exactly the epitome of a "never throw a scrap away" kind of girl, but some scraps are just too good to toss.

So, as with almost every project that I start... who needs a plan? Just make it up as you go, and if you're going to do it at all, then do it big! Go big, or go home, right? I've also been adding other scraps as well as a few of those this-fabric-was-just-made-for-this favorites. I've been saving this Heather Ross fabric for a long time for just the right project, and I'd have to say it belongs in this quilt!

I've been having fun experimenting with the endless layout possibilities of the most simple quilting unit out there. Here's a few that I've come up with so far. These first two have potential, but I'm not completely sold on either layout:

I've been thinking that I would like to do an Ocean Waves quilt. As an individual block I think it's nice, but I'm not so convinced when there are more units together... perhahps a little too busy and bright?

Speaking of busy, meet the "take the cake" version! I really like the layout of this block, but it just feels like it needs more thought about negative space to bring a calm to the bold contrasts.

So, in an effort to create more negative space, I tried this Bunting Block version. I like the idea of the negative space, but perhaps now there is too much negative space, leaving me with too many left over HST's.

Well, I suppose this just means that I'm back to the drawing board, but there are a few more favorite fabrics that "need" to be added to the mix...

Do you have any good half square triangle layout ideas?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Giveaway Day Winner!

I really wanted to give a warm thank you to everyone who participated in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. I really enjoyed reading your comments and hearing what you are making this holiday season. Some of you have a pretty ambitious list to finish before Christmas, so I won't make you wait any longer...

Congratualtions goes out to Laura Ferdal! ... and to the rest of you who joined in on the fun, good luck with your to-do sewing lists, whether it's a little selfish sewing or filling up those spots under the tree. Have a blessed Christmas and great slide into the New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

***This Giveaway is now CLOSED. Winner will be announced tommorw, December 13th, 2016.***

Every year, Sew Mama Sew hosts one of the biggest and best giveaway link ups that a sewist could wish for. And since it is the season of giving, I thought I would gift a copy of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern! (PDF pattern) In case you've not been here before, be sure to check out my "Freebies & Tutorials" section, which is filled with fun project patterns, how-to videos, and even includes a tutorial that I did for Sew Mama Sew last year.

My paper pieced quilt pattern is for the advanced beginner to intermediate quilter, is available in four sizes, and even includes a mini version, which can be used in a variety of ways including a pin cushion, or even a favorite pillow.

The pattern is so versatile that you could literally spend all day coming up with various color combinations and layouts. Here are a few of my favorites:

So how do you qualify to win?

* Leave me a comment letting me know if you are sewing gifts for others this season, something for yourself, stitching holiday decorations, or taking a break from the sewing machine and enjoying the Christmas time hustle and bustle. Please be sure to leave me your email so I can contact you.

* Giveaway starts December 7th and goes through December 11th, 2016. The winner will be announced by December 14th. A PDF version of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern will be sent out you via e-mail.

* If you decide to buy a pattern now, and win the giveaway, your money will be refunded.

* This giveaway is open internationally

Merry & Bright Pillow Finish

Searching through boxes and boxes of packed away things, it feels like I can only find about half of my Christmas decorations since our move. It's always a delight at the beginning of the season to pull out all those hand made pillows and other sewn things to adorn our living space. So needless to say, this pillow finish comes at the perfect time in the absence of my missing holiday decorations.

This project actually came to be because of a couple sick days on the couch. I already had it prepared for my Denmark trip, but without those "forced" days down, I'm not sure it I would have finished it this year. I decided that a radiating quilting design would highlight the wreath and draw focus to the center text.

Notice a trend with all my Essex linen pillows? (here, here, and here) It's actually THE perfect fabric to compliment those rich, deep, warm tones that match our living room so perfectly. 

Pattern: "Merry & Bright" by Minki Kim, as found in issue 40 of Love & Patchwork Quilting magazine.
Fabrics: Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton & Steel, and various additional scraps. Essex Linen, espresso. Cori Dantin,i Seeds (backing)
Finished size: 20 x 20 in. (ca. 50 x 50 cm)
Quilting Thread: Aurifil thread Sand 2326 

So, now that this is checked off the list, it's on to a couple present making projects... and you?

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and Scraptastic Tuesday

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Without sounding totally cliché, it really is amazing to me the connections that you make online... especially within the quilting community. When I first moved to Germany, I never would have imagined that one day so many of my daily contacts and friends would stem from relationships with people that I had met online.

Even just a few weekends ago, I spent the weekend with the ladies from our HH Modern Patchwork Treffen for a retreat in Denmark... all of them, with the exception of one, I had met online! 

I think I "met" Magda about the same time that I "met" Melanie... it was a WIP Wednesday connection, back when Freshly Pieced was still hosting. Before I knew it, the three of us were also in a quilting bee together, and Magda was joining us in Hamburg for our monthly quilting meetings... and coming all the way from Denmark!

Not long ago she shared with us that bundle-of-joy number two would be joining her in the world. Mell and I decided that it would be fun to ask our other bee members to add in a few extra blocks to make a baby quilt for her. We had pulled the colors from Magda's bee blocks, and added some greys and chartreuse to the mix. We scoured our Pinterest boards, and picked an easy block that would come together quickly, but with a nice design despite its simplicity. (inspiration design here)

I connected the paper pieced blocks together and Melanie quilted it. I really love the straight line quilting design that she used to finish this! And now this quilt is snuggled around ten tiny fingers and toes this winter... what a perfect way to stay warm.

Do you have any fun quilting community online connection stories to share?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.  

Thursday, November 24, 2016

THANKFUL Pattern Sale

Thanksgiving is not just a time to drool over the scrumptious and perfectly browned turkey, but I dare say your favorite fabrics and projects too! I've been drooling over the new Alison Glass collections, Seventy Six and her 2017 Sun print fabrics, and I can't wait to get my hands on them! You too? Can't you just imagine my Jeweled Kaleidoscope pattern made with them?

To celebrate the spirit of the holiday, I would like to let you know how grateful I am for your support by offering 20% off my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern November 24 - 28th! Simply enter the sale code: THANKFUL in my Payhip shop.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Merry & Bright

Are you a pre-holiday project planner? As much as I would like to say that I belong to this category, the honest truth about things is that I usually think about making a holiday project when I am already in the middle of that holiday.

On our recent sewing retreat to Denmark, I did, however, have to have several projects planned ahead of time, and I wanted to have a hand project in case I needed a break from the sewing machine... what was I thinking, right?!? a break from the sewing machine? HA! (big laughing here behind the scenes)

This past weekend, the traveling sick bug hit everyone in the family except for my husband. It's almost torture for me when I am too sick to make it to the sewing machine, but also too fit to just sit on the couch and do nothing.

It was so nice to just pull out my little project box since it was already prepped and ready to go... and who doesn't love Minki Kim's sweet illustrated sewing projects? I was really excited to see this great little holiday wreath in the latest issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. My oldest son, was joining me on the couch that day with the same yucks. He asked if he could make a wreath too... I had to say that despite feeling so bad, it was still fun to be snipping happily away together.

There's nothing better than a relaxing and fun scrappy project, don't you think?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.
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