Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Hurray, the piecing has begun!

beach riot rows

My goodness, simple squares really are fast and fun.  They're a classic for good reason!  This is my first simple squares patchwork quilt.  I have all 9 rows of 9 blocks stitched up, for a generously-sized square beach blanket.  I do love a square quilt.  So satisfyingly balanced!  Too bad rectangle-shaped quilts are usually more practical.

Beach Riot Rows

I did add an equal sized square of muslin under each madras square.  The muslin should give the lighter weight madras some strength to last longer combined with the quilting cottons. Thanks for helping me brainstorm that idea.  I just love that give and take on blogs!  The collective knowledge in the blogging community is a wonderful thing!

piecing at last!

Time to source a backing!

Monday, May 30, 2011


"Brewing" is exactly the right word for designing a quilt.  My ideas tend to emerge gradually, getting richer and more complex the longer I let them sit.

Beach Riot Quilt

After our trip to the beach, I pulled a few fabrics right away to capture the mood of a beach blanket quilt.  Here's what I started with from top left and across in rows:

1.  Eliza Stripe by Jennifer Paganelli
2.  Up All Night by Anna Maria Horner
3.  Mod Trees by Liz Scott
4.  Walls by Tina Givens
5.  Mod Trees by Liz Scott
6.  Mikeala by Jennifer Paganelli
7.  Tarika by Dena Designs
8. Danielle by Jennifer Paganelli
9. Walls by Tina Givens
10. Buds by Liz Scott
11. Cathedrals by Anna Maria Horner
12. Lindy Leaf by Heather Bailey

I wasn't entirely sure the fabric mix was spot on until I took the time to pull a lot more fabrics!  I'm seeing a simple patchwork pattern of 8" squares in a riot of prints and color.  I hope the effect is completely over-the-top happy and almost scrappy for all the fabrics included.


Then this weekend I picked up some madras! These soft, lightweight cottons are on sale just about everywhere today. Thanks, Anna of Noodlehead, for the inspiration! My only concern is how well they will hold up combined with the sturdier quilting cottons. I guess I could add interfacing to the madras squares or simply zigzag quilt around the madras seams for extra support. What would you do?

hoping to cut today!

Crossing fingers that I get everything else done today so that I can cut into this pile!

Friday, May 27, 2011

little treasures

Last evening Aria presented me with this basket of little treasures...

Aria's treasure box

jewelry, a shell, her painted rock - just little things she thought I would enjoy.  Sincerity is all over that precious face, am I right?  So, mama accepted graciously.

And then this morning, another box of treasures arrived.

Anna Maria's treasure box

"An inspired pallette" indeed and in such a nice box too!  This set of 9 Anchor pearl cottons is one of two pearl cotton sets in Anna Maria Horner's new needlework collection - due to release soon.

Reflecting Pool Threads

This is the "reflecting pool" colorway, which I'll be working with this weekend for a little something project that you'll hear more about this winter.

a little something

May your weekend be full of stitchy goodness... and friends and family and food and fun!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


What was I supposed to be doing today?  I don't know, because I've been dreaming in Loulouthi all morning.  Anna Maria Horner's new collection (see Anna's colorways here and individual swatches here) has hit the shelves, my order is in and I can't wait to get started!  Loulouthi is shipping now from Sew Love Fabrics!

Last week I put together an assortment of 13 prints, picking and choosing from all three colorways, and created my own little set of favorites.  I've been thinking of them as Loulouthi Morning:

Loulouthi Morning

Do you like my favorites?  I'm positively smitten.

I went out on a limb and asked FreeSpirit fabrics if they would be interested in partnering with me.  You know, they provide the fabrics, I make the quilt...  And, I'm so excited because they said "yes"!!!  Oh my gosh, how fun!  And so as not to be selfish, I'm also going to create a free quilt pattern for you in whatever design I produce.  Oh, and there might be some kind of giveaway from FreeSpirit.  Just sayin.

So today I'm playing with quilt ideas. Whatever I do must have large cuts of fabrics to show off Anna Maria's gorgeous oversized floral motifs.  And, I'll also be incorporating touches of hand quilting using Anna's enticing new pearl cotton boxed sets in geranium wall and reflecting pool. 

Here's the first idea that came to mind, since I've been thinking in circles lately...

Loulouthi circles mockup

This seems like a baby quilt to me.  I see hand quilting around however many of the circles feels right and machine quilting in a double grid pattern, following the block seams. Maybe we could add a Loulouthi border as well, framing the dottie center like a huge log cabin block?

Loulouthi tiles mockup

What about this one for a larger scale quilt?  I like how the large rectangles allow some of my favorite large scale prints to shine and how all these straight edges would be a cinch to stitch up.  White or cream sashing creates a tile effect and could even be a fun place to add some hand quilting.  Or, I've also thought of enlarging the white sashing around the focal blocks (so making the focal prints slightly smaller) and adding stripes of hand quilting through the enlarged white sashing just around the focal blocks. 

Ok, so I probably should have done a mock up on that variation, but I'm starting to remember all those things that I am supposed to do today, so that's going to have to wait.  For now, I'm just excited to show you what's cookin and I'd LOVE to hear back from you on which design you prefer, whether or not you think you might want to use the pattern yourself.

Hey, and if you like my picks from Loulouthi, speak up.  I could see about getting a "Loulouthi Morning" bundle set up for you too! 

I do love new fabric.  Yes, I do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bottled Rainbows {Rainbow Stacks}

This post is part of a series Bottled Rainbows {ticker tape quilt along}. You can join in anytime. We're going at a leisurely pace and using up our scraps! Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

How goes your Bottled Rainbows?

Turquoise Bottled Rainbows

Today I completed the Turquoise block, which lives on the far right row of the Bottled Rainbow color grid, beside Teal.  Turquoise or aqua is a color that abounds in modern fabrics, so this was another Bottled Rainbow block for which I had more than enough scraps.

Turquoise Owl

I really enjoyed the angles that played into this block, as well as the appearance of yet another Anne Kelle owl.

Bottled Rainbows 005small

See, there's also one on the yellow block. Most of my blocks have either an Anne Kelle owl or an Alexander Henry butterfly.  It'll be a fun discovery for some little person!

hello summer!

I love how each Bottled Rainbow block embodies such a lively, distinct color.  Have you ever tried using yours to play with color schemes?  My last three completed blocks have a happy-go-lucky summer vibe that I hope to channel into my brewing beach blanket quilt.  The Kona cottons that border these blocks are Peacock, Buttercup and Cerise.  I love them together, but I'll definitely be adding fabrics in orange and lime as well to round out my beachy color mix.

Oh, and if you're thinking of joining the Bottled Rainbow quilt-along and are looking for the recommended Konas, you can find the complete set here at Marmalade Fabrics. 

rainbows stacked

I have just 4 blocks left of the 16 needed for a complete Bottled Rainbow quilt.  But, I'm having so much fun with my rainbow stack that I haven't pieced any more rows together since that first post on joining blocks.  Maybe next week...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Metal Clasp Pouches

Swap received!

from Emedoodle

This pretty little pouch was made for me by Emedoodle who blogs at Mommy's Naptime. I couldn't be more happy with the colorful plus patchwork!  Even though she had never made a metal clasp purse before, Emedoodle very kindly bit the bullet and made one for me.  And look - it's perfect!

from Emedoodle

Lately it's been holding my camera and accessories, which tend to get lost in my purse.  Thanks, Emedoodle!  You can see how to make a sewn-in metal clasp purse like this one here

When I decided to take part in the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap I really had my heart set on a metal clasp purse.  I kind of felt silly wanting someone else to make one for me, but not giving it a go myself.  So, I decided to take the plunge.  Thinking that glue-in frames look a tad bit nicer, I ordered a set of five 4.5" frames and Gutermann glue from While Baby Naps.  I love that she ships from Ohio, so that supplies arrive fast.  It seems like everyone else ships from out of the country.

There are lots of online tutorials for glue-in metal clasp frames, but my favorite was "Purse Frames De-Mystified" from U-handbags (a supplies store located in the UK).  Although I was super-tense and paranoid when gluing in my first (and second) frame, the process went without a glitch.  And there really was room for error, at least with the Gutermann glue.  The glue comes off the frame easily and didn't get all over at all.

first metal clasp!

Here's my first pouch, which I made with a print from Garden Party by Anna Maria Horner that never seems to find it's way into any projects. See, it looks decent, right?

in Garden Party by AMH

I wasn't super pleased with the shape of the pouch, but it's not too shabby.  Could definitely be more puffy.

choice of lining?  it was late.

As for the choice of lining... it was late.  In the morning light I was a little surprised at myself because the cherry red in this Tutor Stripe (from Fresh Squeezed Fabric) doesn't match the berry in the print one bit.  But, hey, it's a practice bag. No worries. 

So, now I am unafraid of the metal clasp purse.  Which is good, because there are definitely more in my future...  How about you?  Have you been wanting to give metal clasps a try?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hunting Island

camping on Hunting Island

Thank-you for your well wishes as we headed off to Hunting Island on Friday!  How is it that I spent f.o.r.e.v.e.r packing for camping and yet still forget so many things?  Yes, we were "really" camping - in tents and everything.  This is our yearly haunt, where beachfront spots mean maximum time enjoying sand and surf on a blissfully uncrowded beach.

down trees

This year we were surprised to discover so many down trees along the beach.  We have heard that Hunting Island is among the fastest eroding islands on the east coast.  Sadly, it looses 15 feet of sand per year.  Not far from our spot on the beach was this enchanting stack of trunks and limbs.

a natural jungle gym

a natural jungle gym enjoyed by every single one of us.


Though the pictures of grown-ups balancing are not nearly so cute.

 Erin, Myself and Laura

I am not a huge fan of camping.  But, camping + beach + friends = a wonderful trip!  I'm the one squinting in the center ;)

Hunting Island Beach Erosion

Awhile farther down the beach was a forest in ruins - really quite eery and worthy of film.  The tide rolls in and out amongst huge oaks, pines and palms lying stacked and half-buried with roots exposed.


Recent storms?  Ongoing erosion? Probably both. 

lovely, lovely

It's a sad vision, and yet filled with such beauty.  All the textures and shapes of nature are endlessly fascinating. 

Hunting Island wildlife

I can't help but notice, though, that people bring the color to the beach.  The otherwise muted tones are injected with a riot of umbrellas, fluttering  kites, blankets, towels and a parade of printed swimsuits.  I came home from our trip determined to make our family a large patchwork beach blanket in bold, summer-inspired prints.  Nothing too complicated, just really happy.  I hope to have some fabric ideas to show you real soon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

gone camping.

gone camping.

Early every summer, we camp at Hunting Island state park on the southern coast of South Carolina. It is a most delightful place to be, with ocean front camp spots and so much wildlife.

embroidery in hand

I hope to enjoy the road trip as well! Fingers crossed for sanity.

Yellow Bottled Rainbows

Before leaving today, I worked a bit on the yellow Bottled Rainbow block. Thanks to some donations from my friend Mary Claire, I had so many lovely scraps to choose from.  Looking forward to stitching this up when we return!

Enjoy the Weekend!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

a Box of Crayons

My friend, Melanie of Texas Freckles, is leading the quilt for the Love circle of do. Good Stitches this May.  Her quilt already has a name!  "A Box of Crayons" will features 2 blocks from each member of our circle, with each  member creating in one crayon box color.  So, you know I got....

for a Box of Crayons

This week I felt like trying something new, so I decided to make a block of 60 degree triangles.  These triangles have 3 equal sides, each 3" long.  Piecing them is lots like piecing half square triangles.  I machine pieced them in rows and then joined rows.

Here's a little shot of what chain piecing looks like. It's just a way to save thread and keep your little bits organized. When you're ready, you snip the connecting thread, press seams and continue piecing.  

piecing notes

Check out how much smaller the rows are once pieced!

piecing notes

When piecing any kind of triangle, you have to maintain that vital bit of overlap in the seam allowance. The overlap is there so that when I piece these rows together, the triangle points won't be chopped off.

piecing notes

When piecing triangle sets into a longer row, you must keep the points matched.  It's not so intuitive. Here I'm matching up the pointy bits that stick out. And, because of the seam allowance this keeps my row straight. I like to check one to see that things are ship-shape before piecing up lots of sets!

3" Triangles from scrap

And so, that's how we ended up here. A good use for scraps! The cutting and piecing are a little fussy, but I really love the effect.  Definitely inspired by Penny's pillow.

for do. Good Stiches

By now I was ready to move things along, so I brainstormed a different block design for block #2. I wanted to echo the theme of the first block, but invest minimum time. And that's where this picture came in...

I was just planning a simple zigzag applique block.

applique cheater block!

A bit cheater perhaps? Well, it gets the job done.  So that's my contribution to "a Box of Crayons".  Thanks for the fun project, Melanie!


I'll definitely be revisiting these triangles one day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's what's on my table today...

for do. Good Stiches

Box of Crayons

I'll be back with the finish tomorrow.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a quilt top

So, I'm finished juggling rainbows!  It took a good bit of perseverance to work through all the irregular sashing shapes while trying to maintain the light-to-saturated color scheme.  In fact, I believe it took about 3 solid nights of work! 

Rainbow Craze Quilt Top

I haven't measured the finished quilt top, but that's my husband doing his best to hold it here. It's definitely a big one!

After Kona Sky and Banana, I used Kona Aritchoke sashing and some Kona Peridot in the far left corner.

To be honest, I'm still not in love with the layout I created.  But, I'm thinking that this is going to be the kind of quilt that's more fun to examine on a macro level, rather than from afar.  And, I suppose, that's how quilts are enjoyed anyways - a piece at a time on your lap.  I'm sure the family who receives it will be blessed!

this corner

Since you can't see the saturated corner very well in the first pictures, here's another view.

 Cross Block by Alecia Sharp

Ooh, and I had a little fun with this one!  Alecia Sharp (Beauty in the Details) made the petite little cross block without any border.

a little stripe block

I found that I had too much green space in the saturated corner, so I enlarged her block using this this little stripe block I had made last month.  Love the way the colors blend so well!

I'm looking forward to seeing this "Rainbow Craze" quilt finished and off to it's new family as soon as I get past some upcoming deadlines.  Thanks for your patience, friends in the Faith Circle!
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