Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Final Quilt of the Year!

What a year!  I'm pretty sure were all ready to be done with 2020 and are hoping that 2021 is a better year in so many ways.

I finished quilting my last quilt of the year and it feels like the right one to end with.  The top was assembled at the end of November (Frivolous Fun), but with many of my quilts it takes a while to come up with a quilting plan and call it done!

51 1/2" x 64"

I'm happy to have this as my last 2020 quilt!  It's a magically fun quilt that let's me believe all is well if only in my mind!

As far as the quilting goes I kept it pretty simple.  The largest circles were quilted with 1/2" lines using grey thread.  A simple but effective detail that pretty much is my go to design. 

The remaining quilting was a combination of vertical and horizontal lines in varying widths.  I used the black and white stripes as a guide for many of the lines.

And for a unexpected added detail, I quilted circles in three sizes randomly throughout the quilt.  That detail fit nicely with the overall design of the quilt.  Nothing fancy here!  

One of my goals for 2020 was to use as much of my stash as humanly possible!  It not only feels good, but my load has been lightened considerably!  I've had this Ikea number fabric for several years and decided it was time to let it go.  It makes such a great backing, don't you think?  The good news is I used it and have enough left for one more backing.  

The good old pile of quilt goodness!  

I wish you all a very Happy Healthy New Year!  Good-Bye will not be missed, Hello 2021!


Friday, December 25, 2020

Holiday Sewing :: A little Bit!

I'm not one to sew holiday themed things, or even things for holiday gifts.  On occasion the mood strikes and I can't help myself!   

Much to our surprise and delight, this year we will have my daughters God-Children and family at our home for 4-5 days starting today!  That means 3 kids...on Christmas Day!!  We usually see them after the holidays and celebrate then, but never with a sleepover and waking up to the screeching joy of children on Christmas Day.  SO yep!  I'm beyond excited.  It's been 20+ years since we've had little ones underfoot.

What did I do?  When I found out they would be here I decided they each needed their own stocking!

Luckily I had this striped fabric in three colors so each one had their own unique stocking.  I had just enough fusible fleece and fabric to finish each one.  The cuffs are sewn to the stripe and the letters are raw edge and fused on.

Vincent, Josephine and Esme will hopefully love their stockings filled with treats, gifts and love! 

The other gift I made was for baby Esme!  When she comes to our house she loves playing with my Cabbage Patch doll.  This year she will receive her very own!

Complete with a Hippo sleeper on, I think Esme will adore this little thumb sucker!  She also loves to cover her babies with a blanket.  When she is here it's an old dish towel...not any more!

'Snug as a bug', wrapped and warm!  Seems simple enough and honestly it was!

You are not seeing things!  There are two!  My idea was to make a big block and call it done.  I choose the block, picked the size and in no time I had a 24" baby blanket.  

The thing was way, way too big for the little doll!  I had no choice but to make another one.  

24" block

It took very little time to piece the block and we decided that Esme could use the larger one for her own lap.  She loves to cover herself up but has a heck of a time maneuvering large blankets.

16" block

Now her and her baby have matching quilts and can snuggle until the cows come home!

I love these kids to death!  I feel like a child on Christmas Day knowing that we get to spend the Holidays with them!  

I hope each and every one of you have a very Merry Christmas and that you stay safe!  It's a tough year for everyone.  While many people won't have their family or friends celebrating with them this year, it is for the greater good and I appreciate the sacrifice that is being made.

With every visit from the God-Children, both families have quarantined for a full 14 days.  I will never take any unnecessary chances with my family or theirs.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Circle of Love :: Heart of the Home

You all know just how obsessed I am with my mini Heart of the Home pattern.  I can't seem to stop making them!  The last 'home' post I shared the end of November had me thinking about a new way to scratch my itch and make something a little different.  And I did just that!

20" x 20 3/4"

Yes I went there!  First off, I can never resist a little rainbow magic.  The idea of having houses with rainbow hearts was how this all started and I'm pretty happy that it did.  

I started by picking eight (8) colors for the hearts, prints for the main house, roof, chimney and window treatments.  I really wanted each house to be unique, much like real houses are.  The only thing that is the same in all eight is the sky.  I'm going off the assumption that all of these houses are in the same neighborhood!

The house blocks measure 3 1/2 x 3 1/2" which makes the windows a challenge to work with.  Usually I try and put cute little critters or something in each window, but because of the size I decided to use tiny prints instead.  Matching of course to each house!

The background fabric I used is a white on white print.  As much as I like it the front was too bright, instead I used the back.  You can still see the variation of white, but it isn't as harsh as the front.  

I went a little crazy with the quilting!  The size of the quilt was too enticing not too, plus I could go Free Motion wild!

The center is a little medallion action that actually has four hearts front and center.  Hard to tell with the way I quilted them, but they are there!  

After the center I worked my way out and ended with a huge sigh of relief!  Each house is outlined in the basic of basic quilting.  

A little better detail of the overall quilting can be seen on the back.  I added hanging corners and used a dark blue fabric for the binding.

I really love how the quilting and each and every house turned out.  Having an idea and actually pulling it off is a feat in and of itself!  Idea buckets are always overflowing in my mind and now there is one less and that's a good thing!

I have to say I'm happy with the circle idea and how it came together.  It's a neighborhood full of diversity and tolerance that comes together for each other.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Vitality :: Improv Madness

I finished this quilt a while back but didn't get photos until recently.  It's a pretty large quilt and I was not looking forward to taking pictures of it!  Eventually the stars aligned and I found my wall along with the exact right time of the day for the light to work for me instead of against me!

I always have trouble taking photos.  But I can't let that stop me from sharing just the same. 

57" x 87"

What a year! 

Emotionally drained, social distance fatigue and election overload have taken a toll on everyone.  I needed a fresh burst of energy to continue the fight and do my part.  

Choosing strong energetic colors convey renewed vitality and give me the strength to take a deep breath and continue on.  This improv quilt starts and ends with the fading of color that represents exhaustion.  The center is vibrant and energetic which gives me renewed strength and hope to continue fight.

The top part is full of yellow that fades into light oranges.  Improv allows me to blend the colors creating an ombré effect graduating from dark to light.  Each block is first framed with Kona Natural and then a solid that completes each row.

The center is the most vibrant!  I love the combination of pink and orange so you know this made me happy!

I was hard pressed to find enough pastel fabric for the final fade.  Somehow I did and I couldn't be happier with the final results!

Well...maybe I could be happier!  I debated on whether I should add the top and bottom row of the lightest colors.  After several days I decided it was exactly what was needed.  Had I not, the colors in the quilt looked like a barrel!  Not what I was after!  The downside to adding the final rows was that it make the quilt much longer than I wanted.  

The positives out weighed the negatives.  I had to go with it.  

Let the quilting begin!  I machine quilted organic straight lines using mostly an off white thread.  The width between the lines varied as did the straightness.  In order to make sure there was some sort of consistency and I didn't go completely off the rails, I marked horizontal lines approximately 4-6" apart with my hera marker.  

From there I filled in with mostly the off white thread but included random lines of coordinating thread colors.  

I pieced together the back because I didn't have a single piece of yardage that would be large enough.  I'm a fan of pieced backings, so it was fine with me!

It coordinates with the front and that's really all that matters, right?!

You can barely see it but there is a section of binding on the top and bottom that brings the lightest sections to the edge of the design.  Always a nice touch to have pieced bindings.  At least this one didn't need to be perfectly matched as some bindings do!

Some quilts are a labor of love, and I can say this one certainly was.  I was wanting to do a large improv quilt for a long time and finally found the perfect time to scratch my itch!  While I think the size of this quilt got away from me, I couldn't stop myself and had to go with it regardless of the outcome.  Quilts are crazy like that.  They sometimes dictate exactly what is to be done and who am I to argue?!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Play Time :: Frivolous Fun!

I've been longing to make a quilt where I could let loose and have fun.  Not that most of my projects aren't fun.  I wanted a creative release and what better way than combining improv, scraps and circles?!

Enter Frivolous Fun!  And it was just that...a lot of fun!  I grabbed some Kona Haze for the background,

Flipped open my scrap bins, and began picking larger pieces for the half circles.  I didn't want to cut from yardage, so whatever was in the bins was what I was going to use.

Once the half circles were cut I began piecing background sections.  With each background I tried to use a different color.  And, since it was pieced together I could position the pieces so that they filled the curve section in a haphazardly way.  As long as I could cut the size I needed I was good to go.  

I ended up making five different circle sizes, 8", 6", 4 1/2", 3 3/4" and 3".  The largest being half circles and sewn together, but the four remaining sizes I wanted to use the six-minute circle method.  I love this method and have used it many times.  It's simple and very satisfying.  Who would have ever thought freezer paper could be used in quilting?!

I cut out background squares in four sizes for each circle, making sure that after they were inset I had enough border for trimming when it came time to assemble all the blocks.  I ended up making two solid circle sizes

The 6" and 4 1/2" circles were first pieced with scraps and then inset.  Keeping with the background of the half circle theme but different.  

Last time I made a similar quilt to this one I actually pieced together a black and white stripe because I didn't have fabric I could use.  I learned my lesson and ended up buying some 1/4" stripes just in case I might need it one day.  

This was the day!  I cut 1 1/2" (1" finished) strips of the stripe fabric and began the design layout.  After randomly placing my circles on the design wall (by randomly I mean I rearranged them over and over and over again) I started adding the stripes.  I didn't want to go overboard and add too much, so I slowed down and tried to think logically!

One thing about designing a quilt like this that needs to be puzzled together is I can trim my circle blocks to any size I need them to be.  As long as there is enough background, I can make each one work.  Which is the perfect way to make the stripe fabric work too!  

Since the stripes are 1/4" wide, I was able to trim the stripes so that they started and ended with black using the 1/4" to my advantage for the seams.  Because I allowed for extra background, I could trim my circles to the exact size needed to make the stripes work.   


Nothing is ever set in stone when 'puzzling' together a quilt.  Having the leeway to adjust and trim so that each circle or background piece fits together is both fun and stressful!  I try and plan out sections that line up without having to do partial seams...that would be a whole different level of brain power for me!  All in all, I'm pleased with the results.  I fulfilled my desire to have some frivolous fun!

I have the top pinned but will have to put off quilting for a few more days.  We have our quarantine partner family coming today!


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Where Did Time Go?!

I cannot believe it's been three weeks since my last post!  So much has been going on, yet nothing that has been earth shattering or newsworthy.  With the exception of the election!  

Halloween was filled with three happy children who trick & treated throughout our house.  Front door, back door, side door, bedroom doors...all the doors!  It was so much fun and we always enjoy and delight in the chaos that these children bring into our lives.  I will point out that our family and their family take every precaution when we get together.  We are extremely diligent and cautious with Covid protocol and we quarantine for two weeks before each visit.  Which is what we are doing right now for Thanksgiving.  Neither of our families are worried as we both limit our contact to a very short list of like minded people.

I just wanted to be clear that we are safe and therefore keeping everyone else safe.

I kept thinking I need to write a blog post.  I'd then tell myself I'll do it tomorrow.  And tomorrow, and tomorrow!  Before I knew it it had been three weeks.  So in order to get back in the swing of things I figure a small post about small things might be solution to get back on track!

5" X 5"

What better way than a Holiday Heart of the Home Neighborhood?!  I knew I didn't have holiday themed fabric when the idea came to me, but for the first time in 10 months I was able to hit a shop in person.  Besides buying a stack of sale solids (which is why I went in the first place), I was on the lookout for themed fabric for my tiny house windows.  Easier said than done!  

The windows are 1/2" x 1" finished  (1" x 1 1/2" unfinished) and finding the right scale is near impossible.  I was able to find this Snowman fabric and I immediately jumped in with both feet!  You'd never guess that I was obsessed with these mini houses, would you?!

Occasionally I like to add embellishments to the chimneys.  In this case a sweet little bird.  Fabric I also found on my outing!  

This version is with a smaller heart in the center.  The strip below the roof is perfect for selvedges from fabric.  However since I mainly use solids and never kept selvedges from the prints I've had, I don't have much of a selection to play with.  The skinny strip is 1/2" finished and about 5" long.  I've managed thus far and can always use the same 'house' fabric instead.

As you can see the main part of the house takes very little fabric.  Which makes it a good project for our scrap heaps!  I don't know about you, but I have a ton of scraps that I can't quite toss.  It still doesn't make the scrap pile dwindle down though!

The center hearts can be customized as well.  Red, pink, prints...all are fair game.  I'm having a rainbow vision that I hope to explore in the coming weeks.  

I'm always on the hunt these days for 'tiny' window coverings from animals to people.  Once you get something imbedded into your mind it's hard to let it go!

After so much time away from blogland, it feels good to be back!  I've got projects to share and I hope now that the gates have opened I can share on a regular basis again!

The PDF pattern for 'Heart Of The Home' is available here:  HEART OF THE HOME

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Scrappy Snowball Quilt

Here I go again!  Busting the stash!  This time I was inspired by a stack of white charm squares I've had for nearly a year.  The have been staring me down almost daring me to use it, and so I did!

But first I had to come up with a plan.  What would I make?  After weighing my options the idea of a snowball block smacked me in the head.  Not only could I use the charm pack, I could use more neutral scraps stash of 2 1/2" print squares.

34" x 43"

Knowing that the charm pack wouldn't be enough to make something substantial, and knowing that all whites are never the same white, I opted to use more neutral scraps to round out my plan.  The subtle variation of the white, snow, natural and whatever I had on hand is pleasing to my eye!

The first thing I did was trim the 2 1/2" squares to 2".  Crazy I know, but I felt that size would best suit the 5" neutral squares.  I was able to pick and choose which prints I wanted to use from my previously cut stash, plus I was able to use other scraps that I crammed away.  A lot of trimming and cutting, but I was sure it would be worth it.     

The white charm pack wasn't going to be enough as I needed 80-5" squares for this quilt.  I gathered other fabric and in no time I had all I needed.  

The basic block is simple.  Sew a square in each corner.  There was a lot of mindless chain piecing involved.  I didn't want to put too much thought into each block, so by randomly picking a print each time, I cut my 'overthinking' out of the process.

Once I had all the corner blocks sewn on trimming soon followed.  It seems like this was going to be the quilt that I wasn't going to stress about sewing, piecing or assembling.  I decided right from the start that if at all possible I wanted my seams to nest together.  That way I didn't need to worry about pinning.  I was hoping for the best!

With each block I pressed two opposite corners in, and the remaining two to the outside.  Nesting 101!  This was going to be a breeze to assemble.  

I guess the most difficult part of this quilt was making sure the blocks were oriented the same way in order to achieve the seam nesting.  Other than that it was stress free.  I rearranged a few blocks here and there, but for the most part it was totally random.  

There seems to be a cohesive 'modern meets vintage' vibe to this quilt.  Modern because of the open airiness and vintage most likely because of the mixed neutral background.  My opinion of course!  

Pile up!

This was my opportunity to add some FMQ ruler work by adding the circles.  With a small quilt I actually feel in control when I'm using rulers.  Not so much with large quilts!  I've never been able to maneuver big quilts with FMQ...ever!

You aren't seeing things!  The top and bottom are different shades!  This was another way for me to use more stash squares and keep the theme throughout.  

I've significantly depleted my scrap squares and I couldn't be happier about that!  I'm not sure how many more stash busting quilts there will be this year, but I know I have significantly worked through my stash.  From unloved fabric to fabric I love...nothing is off limits this year!