Monday, July 24, 2017

Double Tall Skinny Vanilla

The honest truth is that way before I dug through the scrap basket and pulled out all my brown scraps, before I cut the first tumbler block, before I knew that my hope for the perfect photo-shoot would be dashed, this quilt had a name. A brown quilt had been on my list for quite a while, and when one day I got the inclination to make a scrappy tumbler quilt (you know, in my quest to lower the level of those scraps all the way to the bottom of the basket) the two ideas merged, and the name Double Tall Skinny Vanilla percolated up and did not go away.

And when that happened, I got the notion that the photo-shoot just had to be at one of my neighborhood Starbucks, preferable with a barista showing the quilt off through the drive-through window. I even considered a few different store locations, and picked the one with the best-looking siding as a backdrop.  Only problem was, Starbucks didn't like my idea as much as I did. snif. 

So I settled for the parking lot, strange as that may be. Some days it's worth settling when blue sky and nicely planted community areas are involved, right?

In case you missed it, I posted a tutorial for scrappy tumblers earlier in the month. They are really easy to cut once you know what size you want. And they piece together so quickly and neatly.

I chose to lay out my tumblers in a gradient of sorts, letting one lone 'cup' stand out and receive some singular quilting. I found several brown and green prints in the scrap basket, and I thought they added a fun nod to my favorite espresso stand's signature color. Two coffee-colored threads were used for quilting - Aurifil 50wt #2372 (Dark Antique Gold) for the cup, in an angular spiral; and the remainder a steam-symbolic wavy straight-line in #2226 (Sand).

Using stash browns and greens, I pieced a back - not my favorite thing to do but I used up more fabric!

And I chose a binding that is kind of striking and keeps your eye moving, a yummy brown wonky grid from Echo by Lotta Jansdotter.

So things didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped as far as the photo-shoot went, but otherwise, I'm more than pleased that I finally made a brown quilt, and having been inspired by my favorite espresso beverage kept me pretty stoked to work on it. AND, the fact that this is my sixth scrappy quilt this year was a bonus. Bottom's up!

Finished size: 56" x 56"

This quilt was on my 2017 Q3 Finish-A-Long list!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Improv Stripes Quilt-Along!

It's been a year since the Crosscut Quilt-Along, and high time to host another. Oh and yeah, I've been getting some prodding about that, so why not? So.... the Improv Stripes Quilt-Along will start on Instagram Monday, July 31!

This time around there won't be daily prompts, as you'll need just a little more time to make your blocks. But it'll be quick, and definitely feel free to participate as much or as little as your schedule allows. Want to try the block technique and just make a mug rug? Great! Find yourself getting carried away and can't stop making blocks and decide you want to make something larger? Awesome. I'll probably be somewhere not-too-small-but-not-too-big, so just decide what works for you as we go along.

Though I first tried improv stripes in my Greenery quilt, I totally fell for them while making Thinly Sliced.

So are you up for some easy improv? Try a new technique and make a quilt of your own design - whatever size fits into your life right now. Sewing in community is such fun, I hope you can join us!

We'll be using Instagram hashtags #improvstripesqal and #improvstripes so you can follow along!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Minimal Day :: Loop

I need to have my eyes checked. Seriously. So short story, I had a little trouble seeing the minute detail of this month's block block-of-the-month for Seattle MQG - a loop involving both some serious curves as well as a deep “v” in the loop itself.

So a few tiny stitches may be visible, but I'm ok with that because everything appears secure and basically as it should be.

So far, so good, and now to wait patiently for next month....

Friday, July 14, 2017

All Anew

Here's a little revisit to my Refiner's Fire that I posted back in April....

You may remember it was created for the Women of the ELCA Tenth Triennial Gathering with the theme "All Anew", a black and white plus one challenge finishing at 40" square. (Here's my original post if you missed it.)

Anyway, the gathering started yesterday, and this 'sneak peek' video was posted on Facebook:

Deb Westerberg/[@dulutheran] was kind enough to snap a few photos. Her quilt is the QR Code to the left of mine below.

And some wider shots...

Anyway, it's fun to see all the entries together - 47 of them. How I would love to read some of those artist statements!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Little Things

In amongst all the quiltmaking of the last few months, there have been a few smaller projects I never got around to sharing.

The Jane Market Bag is always a winner and I find it really fun to make. The pattern is from Alicia Paulson of Posie Patterns, and in this version, the denim colored chambray made for a pretty classic look. Dare I say my favorite features of this bag are the construction method AND those sewn down corners.

Needing a little gift last week, I turned to the newly-released A Piece of Me Pouch by Lucy Brennen/Charm About You. Again, there was a unique construction method, and with that outside binding, a fun and unique look. Quilting the panels of course gave it some nice texture. The pattern suggested fusible foam between the layers, or alternatively, fusible fleece or batting. I went with one layer of cotton batting. And come to think of it, I added to the length of my pouch just because my fabric choice allowed for it, so it's a good-sized pouch and just a tad larger than the original.

And lastly, I made another set of Log Cabin Hexi Potholders. I've made several over the years from the free Craftsy pattern by SewCanShe, but this was the first time with solids. Besides the fun hexie shape, I love that these are so scrap-friendly.

So there ya go! All lovely and relatively quick projects that I'd definitely make again!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Scrappy Tumblers

One of the scrappy projects I've started lately will be made of pretty much all of my brown scraps plus a few pulls from stash. I've had a brown quilt on my mental agenda for a while now, and suddenly, it needed to be made from tumbler blocks. I'm cutting my own and thought you might like to see how easy it is to cut them without a template or special ruler!

I eyeballed the size and shape I was after and began by cutting a fabric piece 4 1/2" wide by 6" tall. To create the tumbler, I found it worked well to place the rectangle exactly in the lower corner of the cutting mat along the axes and at the zero mark.

Place your acrylic ruler at the very top left corner so it also crosses the 1" mark on your cutting board. Cut along the ruler, trimming the left side off; discard. Similarly, place your ruler at the very top right corner so it also crosses the 3.5" mark on your cutting board. Cut along the ruler, trimming the right side off; discard.

Here's your tumbler block! See how easy that is? And if you'd like your tumbler shaped or sized differently than mine, just adjust your beginning rectangle.

Once you have your block design set, you can layer up your fabrics, cut multiples at a time, and start sewing!

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long :: Q3 List

Going out on a limb here and putting five projects on my Q3 Finish-A-Long list! That's alot for me, but I'm super psyched about all of them, so hoping for the best!

1. First up is my scrappy improv quarter log cabin quilt, totally started in an effort to whittle down those scraps. Those are 12 1/2" blocks, so the quilt will finish at 72" square. I've got a plan for a scrappy backing and am anxious to get quilting on this one.

2. Speaking of backing, I honestly joined in Amanda Jean/crazy mom quilts' June Quilt QAL to make a June quilt as a backing for #1 above. BUT after making the largest quilt top I've made in quite a while, I decided I just couldn't trim it down after all. SO I chose a big ole 108" wide back in dark coral, with a quilting plan to be determined.

3. Next is another scrap-involved project and probably the one I'm most anxious to work on. I've sewed just a little ways in prep for a {fingers crossed} improv strings QAL to be announced later this month.

4. Another one I'm really excited to make progress on is a scrappy tumbler quilt that will be a mix of all my brown scraps + stash fabrics as needed. Soon, I'll begin assembling this one on the design wall. Crazy thing, I already have a name in mind for this one, so I need to get to it.

5. And lastly is a baby quilt. I'll be using the Geo pattern by Samantha Green/Missy MackCreations. I've pulled from stash and also have a few more fabrics headed my way.

So I'm feeling good about this quarter's list, as well as the fact that I'm making good progress on sewing through the scrap basket. Here goes nothin!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Looking Up

One has to think long and hard when choosing a theme for the improv bee Bee Sewcial. Or maybe that's just me. At least I settled on one a couple of months ago, giving myself time to take some inspiration photos.

I'm hoping to encourage each of us to pause just a bit.... to notice the little things.... to be aware.... to look up.

The photos here are examples of what I've seen lately just randomly looking up when it crosses my mind to do so. I'm instructing my bee-mates: Please look up where you are. Base your block on what you see. Just tip your head back and look up!

I'd like one block from each of them, though I'm not particular about size - just the rough equivalent of two 12 1/2" blocks. The block can be square, or any proportion and orientation of rectangle. 

Another key element is the palette. I'd like all blocks to be done in grayscale - primarily using anything in the range from white to shades of gray, though small elements of black are fine.

And yet one more little request. When posting on Instagram or Flickr, please include ONE WORD to describe what your block represents to you. See in my Looking Up Flickr album how I have labeled my photos, each with a single word.

So relatively simple. Hopefully thoughtful. Minimal. Colorless. Just Look Up.....

Any and all of you, please feel free to sew along with us, posting on instagram with the hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Group Hug

Another month, another challenging Bee Sewcial theme.... This time, M-R/quiltmatters chose "Group Hug" - graffiti with an encouraging word.

I guess it's fair to say that graffiti isn't really my thing, and I was so hesitant about how to proceed.

But M-R's pin board gave me some clues, and I gave it a go - first with a symbol (above) and then with one of my favorite words (below).

Requested block sizes were specific - 8 1/2" x 16 1/2" - with a light gray background, to convey the idea of concrete blocks. So yay! M-R is happy, and I'll mail these off and get ready to post my theme for July later in the week!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long :: Q2 Finishes

With just two projects on my Q2 Finish-A-Long list, one with a deadline and the other a bee commitment, I was pretty sure I'd get them both done with time to spare.

The first was a stitch and flip quilt that was made for a Black & White + One challenge, and is still awaiting the show it was made for.

Considering I 'built' it on the design wall one block at a time, this one took a while, but it was really an enjoyable process.

40" square

The other project on the list was February's Faith Circle quilt. Inspired by Greenery, the Pantone Color of the Year, we used Jodi/Tales of Cloth's Squash Blossom block tutorial, which became a favorite for sure.

The mix of greens really made for a striking quilt.

48" x 60"

So yay! Refiner's Fire is in Minnesota for the upcoming show, and All the Greens has been donated to Valley Breast Center locally. I feel good about all that.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Minimal Day :: Facets

The latest block-of-the-month for Seattle MQG was inspired by three facets of an emerald cut stone and provided several new techniques: stitching points of varying degrees, overlapping appliqué pieces, and butting two points together.  The elements were also free-floating within the block, so we had to use an overlay to help with placing them.

I'd never used an overlay with appliqué before, so that was interesting - and good to know! I used a ziploc bag and a sharpie, and it worked just fine. My 'straight' stitched edges are just a tad wobbly, but that seems to be a peril using voile.

So this was our fifth block design, and I'm loving where it's taking me.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


May was my month to choose a quilt plan for Faith Circle of do.Good Stitches and I selected Kona Crossing blocks by JaceyCraft. Jacey's pattern makes 15 1/2" blocks, and I asked for just one from each of my bee-mates. I made a block in each of three background colors - Kona Midnight, Aqua, and Ochre. Crosses were made with those same colors, shades of the same, with the add-ins of Pink Flamingo and even a few scraps of teal-green. Not quite sure what I was thinking with this palette, but on the other hand, I think it works.

Piecing a top was so quick with blocks of this size! For the backing, I went with a single fabric, referring to How to Pattern Match a Quilt Backing from Aqua Paisley Studio, and I'll definitely be trying that again.

I really debated on how to quilt this one, and finally settled on an orange peel because I thought it would be relatively quick and fun. Plus with those 5" blocks in each 15" block, there would be no need for marking! In actuality, I thought what was chosen for its convenience ended up being a really good design for this quilt. Quilting was done with Aurifil 50wt #2805 (Light Turquoise) and it also proved to be a good choice, being subtle on the dark crosses, but still noticeable and distinct.

Binding was done in a coordinating gold solid, and the quilt finished at 45" x 60". As always, it feels good to have a finish that will go on to encourage. It'll find a new home soon!