Friday, December 29, 2017

Celebration - A Finished 60 Degree Triangle Quilt

I squeezed in what is sure to be my last quilt finish for the year - my 60 degree triangle quilt made from stash and light-weight denim.  The original pattern is called The Ladies' Stitching Club (free pattern on the Moda website). 

This pattern was on my to-make list for about three years, ever since I saw it on Hyacinth Quilt Designs, and I'm glad I finally got to it.  I used Cindy's modified instructions to make more efficient use of my denim yardage.  I finished the binding last night and took the photos this morning.   That's Mr. Main Street (aka the quilt hanger)  along with our Corgi, Dillie, standing in the foyer with sun coming through the dining room windows.  Final size of my version is 64" by 59".

Karen Thompson of Greenbrier Designs did the quilting using a panto pattern  that is roughly triangular.  I used solid gray Kona for the binding and a large text print for the backing, navy text on a white background. I've loving text prints for backings right now, and I think this one is by Art Gallery Fabrics, but am not sure as I no longer have a selvage.  The text is very large and caused my garment construction training to kick in; as a result, I tried to match the print in the two lengths I needed for the back and was somewhat successful.   

The words on the backing inspired my choice of name for this quilt:  Celebration

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Monday, December 18, 2017

Gift Ideas for Quilters

I celebrated my birthday three weeks ago and Mr. Main Street gave me a few quilting related birthday gifts.  He did not exactly choose these items himself but he is very directable, especially if I send him a wish list from  It you need a gift for a quilting friend for relative, I don't think you could go wrong with one of these items.

Charm School by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique includes directions for 18 quilts made from charm squares.  Most use two or three packs of charm squares, so this book along with a few charm packs or a layer cake or jolly bar would make a great gift.  The designs are quite original and varied, and most are beginning quilter friendly while all the designs can be made by someone with one or two quilts under her belt. 

Patches of Blue by Edyta Sitar is a tribute to the two-color quilt, featuring 17 designs all done in blue and white or cream.  Of course, you could substitute another color like red or green for blue to make them your own.  I've already put two designs on my to-be-made list, the sawtooth star quilt hanging on the cupboard door on the book cover and a super simple but striking pattern called Sleigh Trails.  The photography in the book is super, most of it done around Edyta's home.  There are also a number of antique quilts shown as inspiration.  

And here's something different, a set of mini clothes pins made by Moda. They are called For Good Measure. The ones I got each have a different letter of the alphabet and I plan to use them to keep blocks organized for sewing into the quilt top.  They don't appear to be available on Amazon any longer but some similar ones are here.  They are very cute and I think they might also work for hanging mini quilts from a curtain wire (the kind Ikea sells). 

Do you have all your Christmas shopping finished?  I have most of it done but need to pick up three items this week.  At least I know what I'm looking for so it should not be too difficult. 

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas and Birthday Gifts For the Quilter

I had a wonderful four-day break from work for Thanksgiving and spent some of it at my keyboard doing my Christmas shopping.  My in-box was stuffed with special discounts and sales from every website and retailer I've visited, Black Friday this and Cyber Monday that, including some of my favorite quilting supply websites.  I gave in to temptation at The Fat Quarter Shop and bought a little birthday present for myself.  I'm sharing in case it provides some inspiration for what to get the quilter in your life.

First, and barely visible in the photo below, text print quilt backing for a future quilt.  These wide backing fabrics are convenient, especially for larger quilts and when you don't have yardage to piece together for the back.  This piece is from Moda and I like the quality and silky feel.  Then a bundle of 20 fat quarters of solid fabric in a rainbow spectrum.  I'm not sure what I'm going to make with this but I've been obsessed with rainbow quilts lately and even have a Pinterest board devoted to them. 

I also got two patterns, SkyDust because it looks like it would make a good and fast baby quilt, and Hopscotch because this was the quilt that most interested me when I saw photos from the most recent Quilt Market.  Lastly, I bought the Clammy ruler to use to make the Glam Clam quilt.  The shop sent me a little bundle of fat quarters of Fig Tree fabrics in red and cream and some decorative ribbon as a free gift with my purchase.  I know I can find a use for both. 

I'll be back with Part 2 shortly, showing what other people got me for my birthday.  It was yesterday, a big, fat, round number, and my inner thirty-two year old is in shock at the thought.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Getting the Christmas Spirit With American Patchwork & Quilting

Someone posted a picture online of the cover of the latest edition of American Patchwork & Quilting; I couldn't stop thinking about the cover quilt and had to find a copy of the magazine.  I found it at my LQS but Barnes & Noble likely carries it too.

The cover quilt is called Snowfall and was designed by Wendy Sheppard.  I bet I have enough Christmas prints in my stash to make it.  The curved seams don't deter me but I'd like to find acrylic templates to use for the cutting.  Please leave a comment if you are aware of any good sources.  The pattern pieces are included in the magazine but I think it would be easier and more accurate to use acrylic templates. 

There are a couple of other projects in this December 2017 edition of the magazine that I like.  Arctic Circles, designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, is a variation on the kaleidoscope block.  Nine individual blocks come together to form a large 36" block and four of these larger blocks go together to make a 96" square quilt. Yes, giant!

There is a 10-page write-up on Meg Hawkey and Crabapple Hill Studio designs.  She has a signature soft look that combines piecing and embroidery, often embellished with beads and other materials.  Some great designs are showcased in the article and then comes Holiday Wishes, a 30" square table topper design.  I love it but am not sure my embroidery skills are up to the demands of the center square.  The magazine does include detailed directions for using crayons to add color to embroidery designs.

I'm sure I can't finish any of these projects in time for this Christmas, but as Christmas comes every year, there is always 2018.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Millefiori Quilts 3

Willyne Hammerstein has a new book out, Millefiori Quilts 3.  I bought it at my LQS as soon as it come out because I've been thinking it is time for me to start another hand project.  There's lots of great eye candy and more than a little inspiration!  Willyne makes all her quilts by hand, not the English paper piecing method, but with the instructions in the book, you can use either method.  (But machine sewing is probably not an option with these tiny pieces.) 

There are 18 new designs in the book.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Please excuse the poor photography; it is difficult to hold the camera with one hand while you hold the book open with the other hand. 

This is the cover quilt, Moncarapacho.  Really fantastic, and an unusual combination of colors.  I'm deterred by the fact that the center of each motif is a 10-pointed star.  Think of all those points coming together and the bulk of the seam allowances!

Nocturne uses a similar color scheme and also has a pieced border.  It looks a little easier too, with just six points coming together in the center. 

Le Grand Desert is her take on the dresden plate block, with the addition of smaller six-pointed stars.  And all fussy cut from one fabric.  It's like a mash-up of dresden plate and one block wonder and looks so impressive.

Belle Fleur, again an unusual color combination but so effective.  I've seen this block before, called Antique Rose Star (in fact, I have a whole Pinterest board on it, here), and it is very adaptable to different fabric types, from the 19th century reproductions shown here to modern prints and everything in between.

So now I'm looking for some color inspiration in the form of a possible border fabric, then I'll decide exactly which direction to take.  But another epp project is definitely in my future.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wildflowers Progress

I'm making good progress on my Wildflowers quilt.  The blocks go together pretty easily.  As long as I have the pieces cut and ready by my sewing machine, I can work on it for a few minutes each evening after work and have 10 blocks made by the end of the week.  I think I need about 60 blocks for the size quilt I want to end up with - a wall hanging.

The directions in the book instruct you to completely piece each hexagonal block and applique the center circle then sew the blocks together.  I think it will be easier to make half-blocks, arrange them as shown above, then sew together in vertical strips. 

So I keep each block in two pieces, like this. I'll add the centers at the end.  I'm going to use the two yellow floral prints from this collection for the centers of the flowers.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wildflowers Quilt by Kim Brackett - Test Block

A while back, I fell in love with this fabric line:  Garden Delights from In The Beginning.  I like the Liberty-like floral prints. 

Then I came across a quilt pattern, Wildflowers by Kim Brackett, in her book Scrap Basket Strips and Squares. 

So now I'm working on the marriage of the two - a Wildflowers quilt made from Garden Delights fabric.  I did some cutting...

...and made a test block.

My block is actually two half blocks because I am changing the construction method a bit to avoid having to sew set-in seams.  If it works, I'll do a tutorial in a later post. 

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Singer Sew Handy - Vintage Child's Sewing Machine

I mentioned in my last post that I recently visited my mom at her home in Michigan.  She's been doing some cleaning out, with thoughts of an eventual move to some kind of  "senior" living, and she came across this very old Singer Sew Handy child's sewing machine.  She knows it came from her parents' house but does not recall ever using it as a child.  My mom is not a crafter and does not sew and her own mom sewed only out of necessity during the Depression and WWII.  But Mom's own grandmothers were handy with a needle and one of them may have given this to her for a birthday or Christmas present.

It is an entirely metal machine, heavy for its size (cast iron I think), and works with a hand crank (the turn wheel on the right side).  It uses thread on the top, but not a bobbin, and sews a sort of chain stitch that appears to be formed by a looping mechanism from underneath.  

I took this photo with the rotary cutter to give you an idea of how small it is.  Also see below, where each square on the grid is 1 inch.

I looked for a date on the machine itself and on the booklet but did not find one.  I found a little history of the machines on a website and conclude mine was made after 1926 (makes sense as Mom was born in 1934).

While I can't see actually using this to sew, it is a fun little thing to have in my studio.  Please leave a comment if you know anything more about these machines.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Plantation Road/Country Road - A Finished Quilt

Finally, a quilt finish!

Quilt is folded so you see about a quarter of it here.

In July, 2016, I started working on a design called Plantation Road, from the book Tributes and Treasures by Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts.  I'd had a large piece of fabric in my stash for ages, a floral print from Blackbird Designs that I'd purchased with borders in mind, and this seemed like a good match.  All of the fabric in this quilt came from my stash, including the back which is a simple ecru tone-on-tone.  

The quilt has been finished except for binding for some time.  I took it along on a trip to visit my mom in Michigan thinking it would be a good evening occupation while there.  The season opener of Dancing With The Stars (Mom is an avid fan) plus some pre-dinner conversation time another evening and I had this one bound.

It's a very simple quilt.  Small nine-patch blocks are sewn into double nine-patch blocks then set on-point with alternating blocks of unpieced fabric.  My longarm quilter, Karen Thompson, found a panto design that is very similar to the motif in the toile-like fabric I used for the alternate blocks.  I think it looks good.

I made my version smaller than the original design in the book but at at 69" by 80" it is about twin bed size and will serve us well in our family room when two or three of us watch TV together.  And it's ready for use just as the evenings are getting chillier.  I'm calling my version Country Road.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Finimus Pariter Renovamusque Labores

We Finish Our Labors to Begin Them Anew*...the motto of my daughter's high school.  Perfect for the quilter, don't you think?  We finish one project to turn around and begin cutting fabric for the next.  But we probably don't call it "labor."

On Labor Day, I finished my 60 degree triangle quilt, The Ladies' Stitching Club.  It's a free pattern from Moda, with some revised cutting and piecing directions from Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  Except instead of white fabric for my alternating blocks, I made mine half lightweight denim, half pale gray print.  Then I mixed in aqua, lime green, and darker gray.  I'm pretty happy with the look and it's on its way to my quilter now.

I made some binding over the weekend too.  I have two quilts waiting for cooler weather so I can do the binding and call them officially finished.

And then there's the begin them anew part.  I starched the fabric for my next project so the cutting and sewing can start again.  Starting a new quilt project puts a smile on my face!

*  Sometimes more loosely translated as there will always be homework.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

60 Degree Triangle Quilt

Do you know the blog Hyacinth Quilt Designs by Cindy Lammon?  I've long been an admirer, especially of her quilt aesthetic which I call updated traditional. By that, I mean she uses traditional blocks but with color, fabric, background, and quilting design choices that make them decidedly modern.

One of her quilts, The Ladies' Stitching Club, has been on my to-make list for a while.  The 60 degree triangle is a new experience for me and I thought this project would be a good way to learn something new, expand my repertoire, and use fabric from my stash.  It is turning out to be exactly that!  The quilt was originally a free design from Moda but Cindy figured out a different way to piece it that results in less waste so I'm following her instructions and it is working out well so far.

But I really should call this project my Hyacinth Quilt Designs homage project because I also found inspiration in her color palette on a couple of other quilts, namely Triangle Hexies Quilt and A Plus Quilt Variation.

I'm using a color palette of aqua and lime green with gray and blue denim.  I'm using some fat quarters out of a little bundle I bought a while back from Pink Castle Fabrics, fleshed out with additions from my stash and some denim I bought for another project.  The denim is light weight, a little heavier than quilting cotton but not as heavy as jeans.  I starched all the fabric before I started cutting.  

Here are some finished blocks.  Two triangles are joined by an inch wide strip to create a trapezoid.  These units are treated as blocks and joined in rows.  I have some more blocks to make and then I'll start sewing them together.  The size is going to be dictated by the amount of denim fabric I have.   I'll post more on this as I make progress.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


A few weeks ago, I blogged about my love affair with a new fabric line, Garden Delights from In The Beginning.  I bought a little stash of it and turned to figuring out what to make with it.  I've landed on this design called Wildflowers by Kim Brackett.  I'm going to make it wall-hanging size.

The pattern is in her books Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares.  All the patterns in the book use pre-cuts or pre-cut sizes (2.5" strips or 5" or 10" squares).  Several other designs caught my eye, including the cover quilt, called Velocity.  I'm considering putting that one on my list for floral fabrics with denim in place of the gray solid.

And there is Magnolia Bay Gazette.  A while back, I went crazy for text prints and bought a few mixed bundles.  But how to use them?  I found an idea right here.

But I need to finish my current project before I start any of the quilts shown here.  More about what's on my work table in my next post.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Few Good Books

The 4th of July was a four day weekend for me.  It would be hard for me to say which I prefer, quilting or reading, and I did both over the holiday.  I know some of you are bookworms too so today I'm sharing a few books that I've enjoyed recently.

The Heirs, by Susan Rieger
Story of a wealthy family living in Manhattan and the upheaval in the lives of the wife/mom and five adult sons after the death of the husband/dad.  It would make a good choice for a book club.

The Wicked City, by Beatriz Williams
Beatriz Williams is one of my favorite authors but this is not her best book.  Intertwined stories, one set in the present, the other in the 1920's, but the historical part is vastly superior to the contemporary as the modern story lacks the excitement, drama, and danger of the Prohibition setting of the other story.  If you haven't read any Beatriz Williams, I recommend giving her a try but maybe start with A Certain Age.  Her newest, Cocoa Beach, is next up for me.

The Deepest Grave, by Harry Bingham
 This is #6 in the Fiona Griffiths mystery series.  I discovered the first about a year ago and quickly read through all four books available at the time, then reading #5 and #6 as soon as they came out.  Fiona is a detective with the police in Cardiff, Wales.  She is a complex and unusual character and events in her personal life unfold side-by-side with the murder mystery.  If you like mysteries of the procedural, not cozy, variety, I suggest you start with the first book, Talking To The Dead.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, by Jennifer Ryan
It is hard to believe this is the author's first book, it is so good.  It is about a group of women living in the same small village in England in the summer of 1940, some months into WWII.  With the men away, the church choir morphs into an all-women's group and becomes the bond between this otherwise eclectic group.  It is the best book I've read in a long time.

I'll be back soon with a quilting update.

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png