Friday, May 19, 2017

big nines-a completed quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm not completely sure, but I think the month of May just might be the end of me. Man, it's been busy! If I've been sewing, it's mostly been something that I can't show yet. So, for sanity sake, I whipped up this little quilt top. I needed to see something completed, and quick like! Something bigger than a pincushion. Hahaha!
I used 10 different solid fabrics from my stash in this quilt. The white blocks are Kona cotton (Snow) and the solids are from a variety of different manufacturers, but mostly Kona.
The blocks finish at 16", so the quilt should finish at about 48" square. I'm excited because I already have a plan for quilting and binding. Figuring out a backing shouldn't be too hard.
You can find the block tutorial here, if you care to make one of your own! I think this would be super cute done up in subtle prints, too.

That's it for me today! Now, it's your turn. Please link up your finishes, and thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

moody quilt-the beginning

Well, I've started another WIP. That's a few in one week! It's a very good thing that I was on a finishing bender earlier this year. Ha!
For this quilt, I'm using Kona shadow for the background and a variety of mixed substrate scraps for the triangles. Many thanks to my friend, Anna, for the beautiful scraps! (Most of them are Essex linen, chambray, or lightweight denim.) I love the pairing and the moody nature of this quilt so far!
The pattern is based on my chain of diamonds quilt, which can be found in my book No Scrap Left Behind. For this version, however, I upsized the blocks so I could finish this quilt sometime in this decade. :) I cut the background squares 4 1/2" and the triangles are made from 3 1/2" squares that were cut on the diagonal once. I may or may not add in some navy and very dark blue solids for a little more depth.

I'm excited to see how it all comes together in the next few weeks! Hurray for scraps! :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

big nines-a quilt block tutorial

I get asked all the time, "If you always make scrap quilts, where do all the scraps come from?" That's a great question. Many people pass along their scraps to me, and I enjoy sewing them up. The other part of that answer is, I DO make quilts from the stash from time to time. Here's the start of one! As much as I love tiny pieces and sewing up scraps, sometimes a "palette cleanser" quilt is in order. This is a super easy block that, while simple, is still big on impact.
This is directly opposite from my mini nines quilt. This block will finish at 16"!! (color is Kona peapod.)

I thought I would share the measurements for the quilt block, in case you want to try one of your own. I bet you could whip one up in under 30 minutes! I didn't time myself making just one block, but I wish I would have.

For each block, you will need a fat quarter of background fabric and a 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of white fabric. (If you are using yardage, you will need 1/3 yard of each color, and you will have some scraps leftover.)
From the white:
Cut 5 squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

From the solid color:
Cut 2 pieces 5 1/2" x 16 1/2"
Cut 2 pieces 5 1/2" x 6 1/2"
Cut 4 squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"
(Cut the largest pieces first.)
 Sew 2 1/2" squares together into three strips, as shown. Press seams toward the darker fabric.
Sew 3 strips together to make a 9 patch block. Press seams toward the center strip of the block. (This will prevent as much shadowing as possible without pressing the seams open.) The block should measure 6 1/2" unfinished.
Sew the 5 1/2" x 6 1/2" pieces to either side of the 9 patch block. Press seams toward the outside of the block.
Sew the 5 1/2" x 16 1/2" pieces of fabric to the top and the bottom. Press seams toward the outside of the block. The block should measure 16 1/2" unfinished.

Easier than pie! :)
When I was making the blocks this morning, it occurred to me that it would be fun to mix up the colors of the 9 patch and the borders. It would produce a fun, but different, look. So many possibilities!

Monday, May 15, 2017

a great weekend

I had the opportunity to speak at teach at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts in Cedarburg over the weekend. Many thanks to the wonderful students that attended my class and lecture on Saturday. It was a very fun day!
The museum is a lovely little place in an adorable town that I've visited once before, when I took a workshop from Densyse Schmidt. The museum changes the display 4 times a year, I believe. This quilt caught my eye immediately. It was absolutely stunning and it drew me in!
The little cross blocks were pieced from a variety of solids. Each pieced block finished just over 1"or so. (I didn't measure. I didn't touch the quilt, either. :))
I loved reading the artist's description. There are 6,300 pieces in the quilt. (Which just goes to show you that I'm not the craziest quilter around. Hahaha! I mean that with absolutely no disrespect to the maker.)
I've been dreaming of immersing myself in a study of scrap play in solid fabrics for months now, so this quilt really struck a cord with me. I don't think I'm going to go this tiny with my piecing, but I thought it was very inspiring!
When I got home LATE Saturday night, I walked into a clean house, roses on the table and a pile of presents on the bookshelf. My family spoiled me for Mother's Day and it was a wonderful welcome home. I hope YOU had a great Mother's Day weekend as well.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, May 12, 2017

nine mini nines

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Is it just me, or did Friday come around awfully quick this week? ;)
I carved out some time to finish up the (9!) mini nines pincushions that I started a few weeks ago. I really dislike production line sewing, but having this many pincushions to photograph at once makes it ALL worth it!
I hand stitched the openings closed on half of these while my younger son was getting some teeth pulled, and I finished up the other half of them when I was waiting for my older son's band concert to start. Hurray for portable sewing! :)
I love the combination of the bright solids paired with the natural Essex linen. I'm ALMOST tempted to start another quilt like this.... almost!
One of my favorite parts about making the pincushions is picking the backing. Actually, arranging them in color order has to be the most fun! Picking the backing has to be a close second. :)

There is a tutorial here, if you'd care to make your own! You can see the entire quilt I made from this block here.

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. I hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


I've been working on my focus blocks as much as I can lately. It's been quite enjoyable to settle into another hand piecing project! Fussy cutting the centers is a great starting point for each block.
This narwhal block is a favorite! I've been digging deep into my stash to find just the right fabric combinations. I'm using even my most precious fabrics for this quilt... trying to work against my fabric hoarding tendencies a little bit at a time. :)
My finished block count is up to 28! Eeep!
This is by no means the final layout, I felt the need to lay them out to see how it was progressing. I think they are going to work just fine together. Hurray!
The templates are available here, and there is a post about EPP here, that may be helpful to you. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

No Scrap Left Behind book winners

Thanks for all your fun comments on my last post. I loved reading about your favorite colors/color combinations! Even those of you who like purple. :)

The winner of the hard copy of the book is: Material Girl from NY
The winner of the digital copy of the book is: puntadas de una peregrina from Spain

I also haven't heard from my winner from last week, Jill Leslie, who will be receiving a digital copy of the book as well. Jill, please email me.

Thank you ALL who left a comment. I hope you have a lovely and blessed week!

Friday, May 05, 2017

the subtle quilt

Welcome to finish up Friday AND the final day of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour. I appreciate all of the kind comments that were left along the way. It's been fun to finally show the quilts I worked so hard on behind the scenes for months on end. (Secret sewing is not easy!)

Today my friend Amy, of Diary of a Quilter, is sharing her beautiful take on the subtle quilt. Amy and I have been long time blog friends and we've even been quilt market roommates a time or two. I had to chuckle when she picked the subtle quilt, because it seemed like it would be right up her alley. It's fun to see the quilt sewn up in a different color way, too! She's giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to visit her here.

There's so much I could say about this quilt, I don't even know where to start. It's definitely a favorite! In a lot of ways this quilt reminds me of my grandmother. She was a simple, hard-working lady who loved the color red. She was definitely a make-do-and-mend kind of woman. This quilt is an homage to her.
This quilt started out with the idea of making a scrappy Irish chain quilt, but completely scrappy, not focusing on just one color for the chain. This is really embarrassing, but this was the start....
It was a very rocky start, I might add, but I liked the idea too much to let it go. In the book, I shared the process of how I got from the photo, above, to the finished quilt, below. I thought it was important to include a section in the book about what to do when things AREN'T working. (Because I know that that's my reality a lot of times. ha!) Sometimes it's quite a process to get from the initial idea to the finished quilt.... but it's always worth it!
I used up a LOT of scraps for this quilt. Especially my low volume stash. I love that there is so much variety in the patchwork. One could look at it for hours. All of the chain blocks are red and white polka dots. A classic and a favorite. I have a feeling that this quilt will age very well.
Steffani did the beautiful quilting on this one, as well. I chose a simple daisy pattern, which finishes it off quite nicely.
This quilt is a generous twin size...66" x 90", but it would be easy to adapt to almost any size.
Today, I'm going to do a giveaway as well! I'm going to be giving away two copies of my new book! One winner, within the US, will receive a hard copy of No Scrap Left Behind. One winner, outside the US, will win a digital copy of the book. If you'd like to win, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment, I'd love to hear what your favorite color (or combination) is at the moment. Be sure to include whether you are in the US or not, as well as your email address, so I can contact you in case you win. Thank you SO MUCH for celebrating my book release with me. I sure appreciate it!
edited to add: the giveaway is now closed. thanks to all who entered!
Ok, now it's time to link up your finishes for the week! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

All Sizes

Welcome to day 9 of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour. (Only one more day left!) Today's stop is Debbie of A Quilter's Table. Debbie is a very prolific quilter and from my vantage point, fearless. I love that she is willing to try a lot of different techniques. Her work always inspires me! Debbie is sharing the pillow that she made based on the All Sizes quilt. I hope you go check out her beautiful project and photos here.

I've made the all sizes quilt twice. The first version is bright and colorful, and is featured in the book. This quilt has been on loan to the publisher, so it's been hanging in the C&T booth at various quilt shows around the country. (It was hanging up at Quilt Con, which was fun to see.)
For that reason, and because I thought it would be fun to have the quilt made up in a completely different color way, I made the bruiser quilt. Same pattern, totally different look. I never get tired of seeing the variety that can come from a single pattern! I love the masculine feel of the bruiser quilt. Much like the quilt I shared yesterday, I pieced this quilt a little at a time. I would sew HST blocks in sets of 10, 20 or 50. Press, trim, add to the design wall. Repeat. Eventually the quilt gets finished!
Many thanks to the friends who have shared their not-so-bright scraps with me, that made this quilt possible. :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

chain of diamonds

Welcome to day 8 of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour! Cheryl, my good friend (and co-author of Sunday Morning Quilts!) is showing her version of the chain of diamonds quilt today. She made her quilt top two weeks! That's pretty intense, considering that there are 1709 seams in the quilt. (She counted them, not me. Ha!) I love that she used some of her Tag fabric in her quilt and that she put her own twist on the pattern. That's the way it should be! Her post made me teary-eyed in the best way. Please be sure to visit Cheryl and check out her amazing quilt! Of course, she is giving away a copy of the book, too.

This is one of the more intense quilts from the book, but I have to say that it was totally worth it! This is also the smallest quilt in the book, finishing at 50" x 60", which is still an appropriate lap size quilt. I wanted ALL of these quilts to be something that I could snuggle under!
This quilt utilizes the binding triangles... you know, the triangles that are cut off after mitering strips of binding together. (You can go ahead and groan.... I'm used to it!) I used a variety of whites and creams from the scrap basket for the background pieces, because I wanted this to be a true scrap quilt.
I pieced this quilt a little bit at a time. After pressing the blocks, I piled them in a basket and trimmed them in the evenings or whenever I had a spare moment. It helped to break down the tasks into little, bite-sized pieces. As the blocks were completed, I put them up on a design wall so I could see my progress. As the quilt grew, the motivation to keep going increased. (That is a very good thing!) It also helped me to see what colors or values that I needed to add.

If the quilt is a little too intense for your liking, this pattern would make a great throw pillow. The blocks finish at 2", so you wouldn't even need to scale down the pattern at all. Bonus!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

scrappy cards

Welcome to day 7 of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour. Today Tracy, from the Generation Q blog, is the stop on the tour. Tracy is knee deep in Quilt Market prep, but she is still joining in the celebration of the book. Be sure to visit her here and enter to win the giveaway!

This is the end of the line, right here...these cards use the smallest of scraps. If the scraps aren't large enough to hold a seam allowance, they can still be put to use as a part of a cute greeting card.
I had a lot of fun making a whole color coordinated set. My daughter and I have worked on making these together and we had the best time admiring and squealing over the cute little pieces. Plus, there is something soooo satisfying about sewing through paper. Just remember to change your sewing machine needle afterwards, as sewing though paper (or card stock, in this case) dulls your needle. (The needle sorter is very helpful for keeping things organized!)
I keep a vintage cup next to my sewing machine to collect these teeny tiny pieces and when I need to make a card, I'm ready to go. I love sending these cards out into the world. They are sure to bring a smile to the recipient. This is pretty hard core, I realize, so go easy on me, ok? :)
I've picked the winners from Friday's post....
The winner of the scrap bundle and pincushion is Pajtr (Pat T.)

And the digital copy of the book goes to Jill Leslie!

Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway!

Monday, May 01, 2017

june quilt

Welcome to day 6 of the No Scrap Left Behind blog tour! Today my sweet friend, Katherine, who has been a long time blog friend, is sharing her take on the June quilt pattern. Katherine was gracious enough to pattern test for me and I love her final quilt! It's so bright and happy. She used a precious fabric from her stash for the background blocks as a starting point and pulled fabrics from her stash for the rest of the quilt. (See, these quilts aren't limited to scraps ONLY!) :) The results are AMAZING! She did a wonderful job on the quilting, as well. I hope you go check it out here. Thanks for sharing your beautiful quilt, Katherine!

When making scrappy quilts, it's really easy to default to a light background, like white or cream or white with red polka dots. I know that I do! This background was a bold choice, but I love it! I picked it out in the month of June, when my backyard was a similar brilliant green color. I have no doubt that it influenced my decision.
I made this quilt large... it's 85" square and I intended for it to be used for picnics. It's large enough to make a quilt fort on rainy day, too!
These string blocks are a great project to work on when you don't feel like thinking too much. In fact, I had started piecing the strings together before I had a fully formed plan for them. I was happy to have a stack of them ready to go when I made my final decisions on the layout.
When it came to choose a binding for this quilt, I had quite a time deciding what to use. I felt like I had painted myself into a corner! I usually default to some sort of red, but that didn't work so well with the green background. I auditioned several fabrics before I settled on this sunny yellow binding. I think it finishes it off nicely.
I sent it to Steffani for quilting and she did a great job on it!
I've been thinking about hosting a quilt along based on this quilt in the month of June. (That's next month already!) If you'd be interested in joining me, please let me know.

Happy Monday to you!