Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cobblestones quilt

Cobblestones quilt finish

Cobblestones quilt finish

Cobblestones quilt finish

What started as an exploration in tiny scrappy improv has finally come to fruition in a finished quilt!  I'm pretty happy with how it came out, most of all with the delicious Kona Kale sashing combined with those black cornerstone blocks.  I think those details set a cozy vintage mood that really makes the quilt for me.  The scrappy block-work is just a cherry on top. 

Progress was far slower than I would have liked, interrupted as it was by behind the scenes class quilts and a vacation and early pregnancy fatigue.  But, the saving grace was that my mom claimed this quilt early on.  That's the best kind of motivation. 

Cobblestones quilt finish

This is one of my better backings, I think.  It has a balanced composition and the big pieces allow the quilting to show off.  I need to remember to use solids on my backings.  So often I focus on using up big yardage pieces and forget that solids play along nicely.

Cobblestones quilt finish

I used some pretty fabrics on the back, including all the rest of my Chicopee Duet Dot (sniff) and Crescent Bloom from Anna Maria's True Colors.  For quilting, straight lines along each sashing seam created a large grid.  Over each cobblestones block, I free motion quilted a large floral design inspired by Erica at Kitchen Table Quilting.  It's more of an elegant design than I might normally do, but I knew my mom would love it.  Today I'll be bringing it home to her!

I wonder, hasn't every quilter made her mother a quilt?  It seems to be one of those quintessential quilter moments.  Here's to our gift of giving!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

done Good {Love Circle}

do. Good Stitches is a modern online community that quilts for good.  Over the years the bee has grown and grown, so that these days I find myself struggling to keep current with all the beautiful work being done.  I'm taking up the habit of cheering for them from here, in the way of finished object posts.  About once a month, I'll share some "done Good".  Today please forgive me for putting my own circle in the spotlight.  I couldn't resist sharing this quilt!

happy little Village

When Natalie of Greenleaf Goods asked for a quilt made up of "happy little houses and trees," I knew just what I would make; or, what I would re-make, as it happened to be.   Natalie had granted our circle total freedom in the design of our blocks, only asking that the color scheme landed somewhere bright and scrappy.   After seeing so many charming renditions of my Penny Sampler Little Village, it was great fun to make remake the block for the Love circle in bursting bright colors.

Happy Houses Quilt

But, let's be honest... the blocks my other bee mates made really take the cake.  The above is a house by Jaceycraft, so beautifully detailed.

Happy Houses Quilt

And this peaceful farm scene was crafted by the talented Amanda at My Sewcial Hour.

Happy Houses Quilt

Ara Jane's greenhouse is an unexpected delight!  I can't resist that vivacious floral print or the delicate black lines.  As you would guess, most of these blocks were paper pieced.

Under Natalie's talented hands, they certainly came together!  For me this quilt represents something inspiring about quilting bees - how each member can bring the best of her talents, personality and even fabrics to create something so completely special.  This quilt would never have existed if we weren't working as a team: sometimes leading, sometimes following, always sharing the same ultimate purpose.  Without question, it's a joyful quilt full of love. 

Do Good Stitches: Happy Houses Quilt
all photos of finished quilt are by Natalie of Greenleaf Goods

I recently received a note from Ellen at Wrap Them in Love, where our circle and several other do. Good Stitches circles send completed quilts.  She said, "Please let all of the wonderful quilters who help you with the quilts know how much we appreciate your beautiful work. The quilts from do Good Stitches have provided much comfort to many children in the US and around the world."  I'm so blessed to be a part of this effort!

Well done!  Congratulations to the entire Love circle, which includes myself and Flickr names:  Greenleaf Goods, AraJane, Jaceycraft, LittleMamaD, Ups & Downs, My Sewcial Hour, Antstosugar, Jenelle@E&A and A Little Gray.  Plus, at the time of this make included Doodledodesigns, Alia PS and Blue.Crab.

p.s. Learn about do. Good Stitches here.  While quilts of all styles are wonderful acts of charity, this bee intends to bring together active Flickr-users who enjoy sewing with modern fabrics.  To join the wait list, please use this form.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

a new Nightgown

a girl's nightgown

When I made that nightgown April of last year, I couldn't have known how it would be treasured.  I don't think Aria has worn anything else but her Little Folks gown on warm (or even warmish) nights ever since!  She's spoiled now for anything but voile in the summer.  I've repaired the straps a few times, but the pretty piece finally gave way to a humungous rip this week.  With no hope of repair I promised to make her a new one soon. 



a new Nightgown for Aria

To signify my good intentions, I even pulled out a large piece of voile for the effort.  Yes, even if it is my last sizeable piece of Anna Maria Little Folks voile.  Sniff.  Loved that collection.

a new Nightgown for Aria

Well, somehow today became the day!  Starting with the same 30" x 54" rectangle as last time, I journeyed once again through that somewhat vague, yet adequate tutorial.  Above we have from left:  2.5" x 9.5" straps, 2.5" x 18" strap ruffles (cut to a gentle curve) and the main nightgown pieces with underarm cut outs.  Basically, you eye everything and it magically (luckily) works?

a new Nightgown for Aria

And in one afternoon or less you have this!  Seriously, this is one of the fastest projects I've ever made.  Certainly the fastest clothing item, By Far.

a new Nightgown for Aria

So... maybe this wasn't top of my "to do" list today, but it sure feels good to completely finish something and banish a fabric pile all at once.   And, it seems I even have some energy left to start binding that quilt.  Today is a very good day!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Indian Blanket for ::Angled::

 Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

In the coming weeks I'll be sharing quilts that I've designed and made "behind the scenes" as part of Angled, my upcoming online class.  It's such a pleasure to finally unveil them!  A few stowed away with me to Maine for some seaside snapshots.  Hope you enjoy!

new quilt

Remember this fabric pull?  It was inspired by that whimsical Ikea fabric spread out on my sewing room floor.  These colors practically taste like summer, don't you think?

Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

This, my first quilt for Angled, is a study in simple triangles.  The design plays with different sized triangles, but all equilateral in shape.  It's a fairly easy quilt to cut and sew, and will give students a fantastic perspective from which to move forward into masterminding their own triangle adventures.

Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

I've dubbed it "Indian Blanket" because the triangles remind me of rugged mountain ranges and some Native American patterns.  I original thought to make it in reds, blues and earthy hues, but the call of the season won out, as it so often does. 

Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

My inspiration print makes playful appearances on the quilt front and also serves as backing.  Notice how different sized triangles can nest together?  These are the "aha" details that my inner quilter loves!

Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

Days before we left for Maine, I finished hand quilting my Farmstand Indian Blanket, following those peaks and valleys in chunky pearl cotton size 8.

Indian Blanket for ::Angled:: class

The finished quilt is a comfortable throw size.  But, Indian Blanket would be super easy to modify.  Make it bigger by just lengthening or adding rows.  No reason not to go bed sized here! 

We'll use leftover equilateral triangle scraps from this project in a liberated quilt block that makes an especially nice boy's quilt.  I'm keeping those liberated blocks under wraps so that Angled students can enjoy some surprises as we work our way through the course.  Equilateral triangles are indeed our first week's lesson.  It's a great place to start with learning to cut and sew Angles.

p.s.  Looking for more details?  See the introductory Angled post here.  Registration opens August 18th!

Friday, July 25, 2014

my Purge quilt

Hello there.  Morning!  I have some Purge quilt progress to share.

the Purge quilt

Yesterday I did some strip piecing with my purge fabrics and came up with four new blocks.  It was surprising how fast they went together like that, as opposed to working with smaller scraps.  Here's all my purge blocks, en masse.  I'm only making 3-4 blocks per week, in between other projects, so the progress has been slow.

the Purge quilt

This morning I've reached a point of critical mass, whereupon I can look at what I've made so far and say, "Why, yes, I will definitely like this quilt."  When you're going truly scrappy, each block as an island can tempt you to desert.  All together this morning they finally have a happy-scrappy-nonsense vibe that I can dig.  Phew!

Going truly scrappy takes guts.


Things have been looking and feeling chaotic lately.  This is actually my sewing space on Tidy Mode.  Somehow I have piles of fabric everywhere that shouldn't be put away.  I feel surrounded.  They're reminding me of progress that should be, could be occurring if I didn't need to take so many dang naps.  I honestly don't like naps, but I am taking care of myself.  Promise.



p.s. looking forward to showing you at least one finished quilt next week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


This class has been brewing for a long while, friends.  In fact, ever since Curves, I've been pondering a class on sewing angles of all types, diamonds and triangles galore.


I LOVE angles, with their movement and personality and endless fascinating combinations.  Getting to know them can be tricky, intimidating even.  But the results are impressive!  And freeing too.  How many gorgeous classic quilts include angles?  So many!  With curiosity, time and much experimenting, I've come to know them well and to also understand how to include them in my quilt designs.  I'm eager to share this with you via Angled at Stitched in Color this fall!

This is a class for quilters.  It's for developing quilters, ready to stretch their wings beyond the basics.  It's for more experienced quilters, interested in expressing themselves in original designs or curious about liberated piecing.  It's for all lovers of traditional quilt blocks, young and old.  And I hope it will be for you!

I've designed this a new online course for the confident beginner or intermediate quilter.  Prerequisites are basic cutting and piecing skills, with experience sewing rectangles, squares and rows.  The class has 3 main elements:
  • {Piecing Skills} learn to accurately piece ANY angle, from classics like the diamond to compound angular blocks, and truly any random triangle shape
  • {Design Skills} understand how to incorporate equilateral triangles, diamonds, half square triangles and flying geese into your own, original quilts
  • {Scrappy Skills} enjoy using triangular scraps from our projects in playful, liberated quilt blocks, with the option to donate your blocks towards collective charity quilts

light + color

Our journey spans 9 weeks.  I'll be presenting 5 weeks of lessons, alternating each lesson week with a week "off" to give you time to digest the concepts and make sewing progress - 5 weeks of lessons, 4 weeks off.  All instruction is delivered via a separate password protected blog that allows you to access the lessons at your leisure, with posts delivered day to day during instruction weeks.  The private class blog interface remains open 1 month after lessons conclude, during which time I'll be very actively answering your questions.   Before the class blog closes, you'll receive a PDF eBook of the entire course for your permanent reference. 

What's Included?

In the past my classes have included a few quilts and many small projects.  With Angled at Stitched in Color our focus narrows to the quilt-making skills of piecing and design.  As such, the class is composed of 5 original quilt patterns (4 throw quilts, 1 queen-sized quilt) and an additional 5 liberated scrap-utilizing blocks.  Each lesson week begins with design/piecing information, followed by an original quilt pattern that uses the week's angle in a creative way.  I'll also point out classic quilts that you can make with your new-found skills.  Each lesson week concludes with a liberated triangle block designed to utilize scraps from cutting that week's angled shapes.

Take that, triangle scraps!

on my mind

Let's get practical.  Only a quilting superhero could make 5 quilts in 9 weeks!  Instead of attempting every project, you'll want to identify 1-3 quilts to make during class itself.   I'll be previewing all quilts before class starts so you can zero in on your favorites.  No matter which ones you choose, read all concept posts to absorb the quilting principles as we go.  And remember, all students receive a pdf eBook of the entire course.  Return to Angled via the eBook to access those other patterns and concepts later on!

Good news for hands-on learners!  Remember that queen-size quilt I mentioned?  It's actually a cumulative quilt, including 4 angles we'll study during class.  Each week you can make an installment in this quilt, while practicing the week's skill.  This is your chance to make a masterpiece for your bed, a fantastic surprise for your parent's anniversary or a very special wedding gift!

 Liberated piecing for Angled (my next online class!)

More good news!  I want you to have fun with those liberated blocks without the pressure of having to make a bunch of them.  If you like, you can donate yours to our collaborative charity quilts.   I'll be collecting and finishing quilts made up of liberated blocks from our first 4 weeks of instruction.  Won't that be fun to see!

Key Dates?

Registration opens Monday, August 18th.  At the time of registration, students will find complete materials lists for all 5 quilts posted at the class blog.  Lessons begin September 1st.  We'll finish up two months later, at the end of October.

Well that's enough info for now!  I'll be popping back in with weekly quilt previews between now and registration.  I hope that your interest is piqued.

Once again, I am totally humbled to have the opportunity to develop and teach classes online.  It is such a blessing!  I hope that the things that I am passionate about making, continue to be inviting and interesting to this community.  I am determined to always and only teach from my passions, because that's where I'm able to do the best work.  Thank-you! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

simple Love

This July in the Love circle of do. Good Stitches, bee mate Ara Jane is leading our group quilt with her usual jaw-dropping talent.  Her concept is refreshingly simple, yet intriguing.  She asked for 4", 8" or 12" blocks made up of neutral backgrounds with warm-colored stripes, no larger than 1" finished.

July in the Love circle

During rest time today, I made a total of four blocks all from neutral and string scraps.  Love that, love that, love that!  They were quick, yet satisfying.  The placement and personality of the stripes offering just that bit of artistry that keeps one engaged, waiting to see how it will all turn out.

simple is good

My largest block is made with Essex natural linen/cotton.  As a precaution, I sewed 1/2" seams on this block.  Take that, linen!  No unraveling seams here.

do. Good Stitches bee blocks

These blocks have such an beautiful minimalism, don't you think?  To see more incarnations, check out the Love circle photostream.  As with all our Love circle quilts, this one is destined to brighten a child's life through donation with Wrap Them in Love.  I'm so glad to have this opportunity to bless others while doing something that nourishes my soul.  It's the simplest way to love.

p.s. Learn about do. Good Stitches here.  While quilts of all styles are wonderful acts of charity, this bee intends to bring together active Flickr-users who enjoy sewing with modern fabrics.  To join the wait list, please use this form.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome, The Loopy Ewe!

When Sheri of The Loopy Ewe contacted me about sponsorship, I was jazzed to be hearing from a yarn shop!  Turns out The Loopy Ewe also stocks an impressive array of fabric, but I remember them from my crochet phase.  Of all online yarn shops, I had landed on The Loopy Ewe as my choice for Cascade 220 back in 2011.

sun squares brighter

Ah, yes, the crochet blanket that never was, and yet someday still may be.  Maybe you have one too?

Anyhoo, what started in a basement in 2006 is now 7000 square feet of gorgeous yarns and fabrics in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where locals can even shop in person.  As a longtime sewist and quilter, Sheri knows her fabrics.  She stocks lots of organic fabrics (Cloud 9, Birch and Monaluna), Moda, Riley Blake and more.  Today my head is turned by Riley Blake's Honeycomb dots....

What a great basic - especially those tone on tone versions.

Browsing the shop, I also noticed lots of cute baby and children's novelty fabrics, including Ed Emberley's  Happy Drawing (I've used those lions a lot!) and his newest collection, Picture Pie

Besides selling fabrics by the yard,  The Loopy Ewe offers affordable 8-piece bundles called short stacks.  You can buy them in color themes to bulk up your stash of yellow, for example, or in themes based on collections. 

Cloud 9 Grey AbbeyBirch Fort Firefly, Birch Marine Too, Birch Charlie Harper

I don't think I had come across Grey Abbey before (top left).  It has a Scandinavian feel, don't you think?  Love the flat, repeated motifs.

And then, let's not forget the yarn!  Check out the Loopy Cakes collections, affordable superwash merino presented in color themes like Rustic Barn, Starry Night and 80's Totally Awesome.  How fun!  I really can't even choose which ones to feature.  For the sake of color-love, go look at them all.

The Loopy Ewe has a sweet rewards program which gives you a $25 store credit, every time your orders accumulate to $250. (Plus other fun rewards - you can read about the program here.)  So that could come in handy... especially if you both yarn and fabric cravings.


In celebration of their new sponsorship, The Loopy Ewe is giving away a Short Stack fabric bundle of your choice.  Anyone can win, anywhere in the world.  To enter the giveaway, add a comment now through noon (eastern time) on Thursday the 24th.  Tell us if you work in fabric and yarn, or just fabric.  I bet there are lots of us who dabble in a bit of both!

********Comments Closed*********

Our lucky winner is #165, Kchabr55. Congrats! I'll be in touch.

Friday, July 18, 2014

{the Purge} Soy Amado + Links + Prizes

Purge buttonAre you purging along?  Come one, come all to show us purge progress for your chance to win from Canton Village Quilt Works!

But first... have you heard of Soy Amado?  If you're a quilter with some history, perhaps in the form of some abandoned quilt blocks or pesky pieced scraps, then Soy Amado is your ticket to un-clutter and do good all at once. 

Soy Amado is a quilt drive for children's homes in Mexico and Tanzania.  Quilters all over the world are sending 12.5" quilted blocks to Little Island Quilting, who is assembling and donating the finished quilts to outfit whole children's homes with glorious color and warmth.

This is SO cool and so doable for all of us.  There are no color or design rules.  What a fantastic opportunity!  You do need to QUILT your blocks before sending, which is a great way to practice free motion quilting or any quilting style you've been pondering.  Here's how it works...

bits and bobs

First, root through your drawers to unearth those bits and bobs that you've been.... well.... ignoring.  I found a smallish log cabin block with curved seams (hey, those were my first curves!) and some pieced scraps from a quilt I made way back when.

Purge your orphan blocks!

Next, piece together your bits and bobs to make about 13" square blocks.  Baste them with batting and backing.  You could use any unwanted fat quarter for the backing.  Whoot!

experimental FMQ

Ok, now quilt those babies up!  I tried out some straight lines without a presser foot on my first block.  I'd been wanting to see how straight lines would feel free motion.  It was... adventurous.  I identified a quilting pattern I like and another I don't like.  Plus, yielded a very durable block!

QAYG Blocks for Soy Amado

On my second block I experimented with some floral motifs.  Fun stuff.  I purposely kept my quilting away from the edges, factoring in trimming and joining blocks. 

Purge unwanted fabrics

After quilting, trim your blocks to 12.5" square.  Leave a comment on this Soy Amado blog post, to request an address from Little Island Quilting.  Then send your blocks on their way to make a little one smile.  Hooray!

p.s. Don't forget to take a photo of your Soy Amado blocks to link up on a future Purge post!

{the Purge} Link-up and Prizes

Have you been purging along?  Add a photo that documents your purge progress to enter to win this week's prize.  Maybe you've made some blocks for a purge quilt, sold or donated some fabrics, cut tons of scraps into useable squares - anything that you've done to Purge your stash or sewing cupboards this July counts!  Have you donated fabric AND started a quilt?  If you're participating in more than one purge effort, feel free to add more than one photo for more chances to win.

This week's prize is donated by Jackie of Canton Village Quilt Works.  Jackie stocks lots of Kona cotton in yardage and precuts at very attractive prices.  I thought to myself, "Self, what could be healthier for our stash than a shot of Kona cotton?"  So, out with the unloved, and in with the bright, shiny useful!

This week we'll have two winners.  Each winner will get to choose one Kona cotton roll-up from the stock at Canton Village.  These rolls of assorted 2.5" wide solid strips are versatile quilt basics, great for sashing, strip piecing and log cabins, to name a few.  In fact, you could even use them to make The Purge quilt, tutorial here!

Kona Jelly Rolls

Psst... Canton Village is having a very special sale this Saturday and Sunday only.  All Kona will be 15% off, no code needed.  What a great excuse to stock up!

Add your photo(s) now through midnight (eastern time) Wednesday, July 23rd to enter to win a Kona Roll-up of your choice.  You may upload a photo directly from your computer, no url necessary, no blog necessary. Click the blue "Add your link" button below the photos to add your photo.  Winners will be contacted by email on Thursday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Side by Side

On Thursday nights, about the time when my kids head off to bed, Heather parks her car in the meadow and lets herself in.  Our night begins with yoga, followed by hours of conversation, something chocolatey and sometimes sewing.  This weekly ritual has knit our hearts together in friendship as only time and secrets can.  If I wake up groggy on Friday morning from an especially late tete-a-tete, I never regret it.

In February Heather fell pregnant with her first child.  The news was wonderful, though simultaneously difficult given that Brandon and I were also trying.  Eventually I came to accept that our stories would be different and time made my joy for her grow.  Now at 7 weeks pregnant myself, I am beginning to feel inside that I've really joined her, that I really do get to be a part of this pregnancy fun from the inside out.

to make.. nesting cubes

This project is a symbol of that shared joy.  We started it in June, when I began feeling pregnant, even if that was just a precarious hope at the time.  We are each making a set of six stackable, nesting cubes from Anna Maria Horner's book Handmade Beginnings.

Nesting Cubes in progress

Each Thursday night after-yoga-sewing session is about 1.5 hours long, with lots of chatting and water breaks.  When you break up a project into these short, specific bits it's easy to notice how long handmades take.  The first night we mainly just cut fabrics - 60 squares each to be exact.  I pulled random happy fabrics from my stash (above), while Heather is using a gentle organic collection from Cloud 9 (below).

Nesting Cubes in progress

On our second sew, I cut the fusible interfacing into tidy piles, we did some easy sewing steps and then pulled out ribbon.  Alice of Fresh Modern Fabric sent me ribbon trimmings leftover from making her pretty ribbon bundles.  I love these neutral striped ribbons!  They're a nice contrast to all the satiny ribbons available in big box stores.  

Nesting Cubes in progress

These ribbons are pinned to what will be come the top of each nesting box.  They'll stick out to entice little fingers... and little mouths too. 

Nesting Cubes in progress

It's fun to see the two versions of the same project emerge side by side.

Mmm... I do think side by side sewing is the best of any kind.
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