Monday, May 23, 2016's been a while

I seem to have left my poor blog unattended for a while. Life has been a challenge lately and although I have been doing some sewing, I also feel like I have not accomplished much. So, I suppose writing this is a way to prove to myself that I have been productive.

My last post was the start of my participation in the Splendid Sampler. I'm sure that you know at least one other quilter on the internet that is doing this one. I'm amazed at how many there are. I've done the first 28 blocks and am up to date (the 29th was just posted this morning). I confess that my mother who is visiting me did the rabbit and the sewing machine - my tolerance for applique is very low. The last block also needs a stitched thread from the spool to the needle which I'll do sometime soon.

I'm please with most of the blocks, although a few of the earlier ones could use a bit more contrast. As I pull fabrics out of the scrap pile, I am discovering a more diverse range of colors that still fit in my palette. Throughout this project I am trying a variety of techniques - so the applique is done differently on different blocks. I'm just trying to choose the method that I think will work best at the time. I did some free-motion machine embroidery (first time) and have done some hand embroidery (it's been a while). My one complaint is that the 6" finished block size is small which makes some of the pieces really tiny.

I finished the Monday Modern brown challenge. I was a bit late for the deadline - I had the front pieced and quilted but didn't manage to get the whole cushion cover done. I like the way it turned out and also liked the fact that I didn't try to hide the ugly brown and made it the center-piece of the design. The cushion now shares the slightly-crowded day bed with all of my other cushions.

I really enjoyed quilting this one. The back of it shows the quilting detail.


A few months ago I thought I needed a hand sewing project. Hand sewing really isn't my thing, but I found that there are times when I want to have an on-the-go project to work on. I purchased a Fiskars hexagon hole punch a while ago, so I started an English Paper Pieced project using scraps. These hexies are pretty small (1-1/4" straight edge to straight edge). My 12-year old likes to pick out the colors and scraps for the next batch, but it's slow going.

There's no grand plan for this project, I will just carry on until I decide to stop. I've started preparing some light neutral pieces to go between the diamonds. I figure about 100 of the diamonds should do the trick!

Finally, I am once again working on the Cotton Robin round robin. Unfortunately, this one is all done in secret, so you will have to wait for the big reveal sometime in July.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A (big) new project

Against my better judgement I have joined in with The Splendid Sampler that started two weeks ago. I can't remember how I found the website - surely I clicked there from somewhere else. The project is for 1 year with 100 blocks designed by a wide range of quilt makers and designers.

The Splendid Sampler

I confess that I don't like samplers and I don't like quilt-alongs. So why did I decide to do this? I'm still asking myself that question, but I think I have come up with some answers:

  1. I was feeling bored.
  2. I was out of the habit of sewing regularly and wanted a project that would encourage me to sew most days, even for 15 minutes.
  3. Scrap-busting - all of the blocks are small (6"), so many of the pieces are small.

Although 100 blocks over a year is a big commitment, I haven't signed up for anything and can slow down if I want to. After delaying my decision to get started, I had 5 blocks to make today to catch up. I had the day off, so it was the perfect opportunity. As I admired my 5 blocks, a new one was posted so I finished it after everyone else went to bed.

My color scheme is pretty loose - basically blue with green. Any blues will do - I'm just pulling them out of the scrap basket and the stash. There will be some neutrals too but I'm not limiting those to anything specific - beige, grey, white, whatever.

Here are the first 6 and already there is quite a bit of variety. I'm not a huge fan of applique and was thinking about skipping them, but decided to go ahead and do them and was glad I did. I especially like the little pot of flowers and the dark background really works well.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Feeling brown?

The Monday Modern quilters seem to have a collective prejudice against brown. Oddly enough, brown shows up quite often in our quilts but is always declared "a nice brown" (not like those other browns).

Last months we were looking for a challenge and I thought that we should do a brown one. The idea: someone finds some clearance fabric in a not-beautiful brown and we all take a piece and do something with it. I knew that some of the girls might struggle embracing the brown, but I also knew that by mixing it with some other fabrics, anything is possible. The guidelines are simple: make something quilted using the brown fabric - the fabric must be visible and recognizable. That's it.

Liz took on the job of finding the brown and her little girl picked one out from the clearance rack - and here it is. It's a pretty normal quilting fabric from my perspective. It's a bit on the gold side (hard to see in the photo), and this could make it harder to work with.

When the fabric was initially posted on Instagram, I went through my stash and pulled (most) of my browns. I realized that there are a lot of them - strange, since I don't like brown. But, I've been collecting fabric for a while, and I guess they've just accumulated somehow.

I did consider a totally brown color scheme, but decided that I'd rather mix it up and use the brown as an accent. Yesterday I went through the stash again looking for some feature fabrics with a bit of brown and other colors too. I found this cute little owl fabric and tried to pick out all of the other colors from it. It's an unusual combination for me, but maybe that's why I like it.

My daughter went for a butterfly print and came up with a second color scheme. (The periwinkle looks a bit odd, but there is that color in the butterfly print, it just didn't make it into the photo.) I confess, I am leaning toward this option because I am planning to make a cushion and these colors match the decor better.

Coincidentally, the Block Lotto this month is also using brown. I made three of this month's blocks but thought it was all too much brown for me, so I'm donating these to the pot.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 finish alonq - Q1 list

A new year and a new finish along. I have a few hours before the deadline, so I better get on it:

Vintage Laura Ashley lone star: I've cut diamonds from some of the fabrics. A wayward order from has delayed my progress, apparently my package disappeared in Atlanta, GA somewhere. I should have contacted customer services earlier because they are resending and it's in Hawaii after less than 36 hours.

Scrappy chains: Started a while ago and made another square last night. Theses are supposed to be from 'scraps' but I think I was too calculated in my color choices and it's been hard to find fabrics for it. I might expand the color scheme a bit or start cutting into some fabric.

It's not a very long list. I have a few other things on the go, but not eligible for the finish along. There's the Cotton Robin round robin that is 'secret' so that will progress through June and a new brown challenge that Monday Moderns are doing - I don't have the inspiration fabric yet, so there's nothing to show right now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Monday Modern round robin

Back in August I organised a round robin with some of the members of the Monday Modern quilters. Nine of us made a center block that was added to by 3 other quilters and then quilted by a fifth person. This Monday, all of the quilts were returned to their owners and I have to say that we are a fabulously creative bunch!

Not everyone was as enthusiastic as I was, but I think that everyone learned something about themselves as a quilter. It is quite a challenge to collaborate with other people, do work that the owner will like, and still be true to one's own quilty voice.

Every month when we exchanged quilts, I would categorize them in my mind based on some characteristic - orange vs. not orange, round vs. pointy, animal vs. inanimate, calm vs. busy. It was so much fun to watch them change as different personalities added to them.

My quilt started with a red/pink and white checkerboard background and appliqued circles with birds on them. The finished quilt is so pretty with just a bit of a Christmas vibe - maybe because of the original bird fabric and the fact that I received it back just before Christmas.

On the back was a recycled green cat that had been part of the front (it's a long story).

I worked on 4 other completed quilts (in order: first border, second border, third border, and quilting/binding). I tried to do something very different on each one. I confess that I do have a favorite, but I'll keep that a secret.

And another one I did work on but was incomplete because someone needed to opt out halfway through, and the 3 that I didn't work on.