Thursday, December 08, 2016

Glutton for Punishment

I did it!  I finished Step One of Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery Quilt!

This is what 221 neutral four-patches look like:

The rest of my quilt will be very, very bright so these muddy neutrals will work well.

So, what am I doing now that I finished Step One?  Starting Step Two?

NOPE!  Because that would make sense.

Instead, I pulled out one of my many, many unfinished Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts.  This one is Lazy Sunday from Quiltmaker Magazine waaaaay back in 2013.

This is the only one of Bonnie's quilts that I chose to use yardage instead of scraps in.  It's going to take me a bit to read through the patterns to figure out what step I'm on, but this quilt needs some love and attention before I start with En Provence Step Two.  Pracrastinator?  Who, me?

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Searching for Scraps -- Getting Serious

Yesterday's search for enough neutral scraps to finish week one of Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery Quilt wasn't successful.  I have far to go before I hit 221 four-patches

Let me introduce you to my Cutie drawer:

I design Cutie Quilts using 16 fat-eighths of fabric, so I tend to cut my leftover fabric scraps into fat-eighths (9"x22") whenever possible.

I guarantee I'll find enough neutrals in here to finish week one's instructions.

There's no stopping me now -- bring on week two!

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Neutral Scraps -- A Search and Destroy Mission

I'm still plugging away at Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery Quilt and I'm still a week behind.  I used up all of my neutral 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangles but fell far short of the goal of 221 four-patches.

I dug through my 2 1/2" strip bucket and pulled out anything that looked remotely neutral:

I'm going to cut these, stitch these, and then recount my four-patches.

Please let there be 221.
Please let there be 221.
Please let there be 221.

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Monday, December 05, 2016

How May I Serve You?

Many, many years ago, I started making cloth napkins and we use them every day.  They make every meal a bit of an occasion!

By The Numbers published my pattern and it is called Serviettes.

I make them for all ages:

I make them for cupcake parties:

I make them to match kitchen decor:

I recommend Serviettes for those looking to stitch up a quick gift.  One yard of backing and 1/3 yard of feature fabric makes four napkins.  You can also use Layer Cakes and Fat Quarters.

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Quiltville's En Provence Mystery -- Calling All Scraps!

As I do every December for the last decade or so, I am participating in Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt.  This year, we are making a quilt called En Provence.  I'm making mine Black, Gray, Lime, Lemon, Neutral, and Hot Pink.  Fun, right?

Last week's assignment was to make 221 neutral four-patches.  I'm a week behind; don't judge me.  I am on a search and destroy mission in my sewing room to locate enough neutral scraps to accomplish this task.

The first place I looked was in a bucket of 2-1/2"x4-1/2" rectangles.

Why I have a bucket of pre-cut scrappy rectangles is anyone's guess.  I'm tickled to have removed some of the contents of this bucket in hopes of completely emptying it some day.

I am confident that I've pulled out every rectangle that can possibly be considered neutral.  I'll sew through these and see how many four-patches I can come up with before I tear my sewing room apart again looking for more scraps.

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Forever Homes

I make a lot of quilts and I give most of them away.  Two quilts went to their forever homes last week.

My aunt is having surgery and I hope this happy quilt cheers her:

The pattern is Sweet Tooth and I used Pat Sloan's Bobbins and Bits fabrics.

I had so much fun quilting this quilt because... Ribbon Candy!

If you want to see how I quilted the ribbon candy, watch the video HERE.

There's a party on the back of this quilt:

I kind of love the back.  All of the fabrics are polka dots!

I had to send a second quilt to my uncle, just so he wouldn't get jealous:

This was the original pattern test for Arbor, a current quilt pattern of mine.

I love the bold contrast of these rich colors:

I quilted this very simply, with all-over leaves and loops:

I hope my aunt and uncle love their new quilts!

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Testing, Testing ... 1, 2, 3

As a pattern designer, I test everything.  I design on paper, then in EQ7, then I make the quilt, then I write the directions, then I make the quilt again.  If everything goes well, the pattern will then be published.  Sometimes, patterns take a bit longer because the first (or second, or third!) version of a quilt didn't come out quite right.

Arbor is one of my newest patterns and it took three tries before it got to print.  This quilt was pattern test #2:

Is that red binding just perfect?  Or is it just me?

The quilt is fine, but the pattern wasn't quite ready for publication.  It will, however, be just perfect for a baby gift.  I am currently expecting double-digit babies in the first quarter of 2017, so I know this quilt will be given away soon!

I had fun quilting this quilt:

Ribbon candy and continuous curve are two of my "go-to" machine quilting patterns.  They look great together here.

I used one thread color throughout -- FabuLux Lullaby.  The thread is pink, blue, and lavender so it was no surprise that it looked great on the pink and blue, but it also worked well on the green!  I love watching colors play well together!

Arbor has been re-worked to use fabric more efficiently.  The finished pattern is available HERE.

This blog post is part of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge from

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Quilters, I Have A Problem

Welcome to the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge!

I hope to have some fabulous conversations with you during this month of blogging.  But first I need to tell you about my problem.

My problem is my sewing room.  I want it to be my "Happy Place," but I'm afraid it is more often "The Pit of Despair."  In my mind, I have a magazine photo shoot worthy sewing room that is light and bright and roomy and organized and dreamy.  In reality... much less so.

I have sizeable sewing room -- over 400 square feet.  It's the family room at the end of my house.  I have a gas fireplace, a bathroom next door, and windows on three walls overlooking a stream where the deer come to drink.  I have much to be thankful for.

So, what is standing between me and my dream studio?  To answer in one word:  stuff.  I have too much sewing stuff and no decent storage.  Solving this problem won't be quick, but I don't want it to be expensive.

I can't show you photos of my sewing room as it is now because it is more horrible that I can bear.  I will show you a small piece of the problem, though.

I keep all of my little bits of fabric trimmings in a basket next to my cutting table:

Often, the cuttings miss the basket.  Most of the time, the basket is overflowing.  Eventually, these trimmings are sewn into dog beds for the animal shelter, but I don't have enough scraps yet and this basket is merely one of the hundreds of problems in my sewing room.

I am not traveling for work for nearly three months and, in theory, will have time to work in my sewing room.  In my mind, I have the idea that I'll have a greatly improved space by March.  In reality -- who knows?

Check out the other bloggers who have committed to chat with you every day in December HERE.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Simple Life

A while back, Stephanie posted this pattern.  I instantly cancelled my plans for the day and made a 60"x72" quilt as I mentioned HERE.

It is finally quilted and bound.  My lights are terrible, (Oh when will it be spring/summer again?) but You can see the scrappy quilt and the scrappy binding.

I decided to quilt this Simple Life quilt... well... simply:

I grabbed one of my favorite colors of FabuLux thread, Olive Trees, and stitches swirls along long vertical lines.

The olive thread looks quite golden on black fabric, and that makes me very, very happy.

Thanks, Stephanie, for a great quilt pattern and a great reason to play hookie!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Teach Me To Machine Quilt Book Review

I am so excited about Pat Sloan's latest book, Teach Me to Machine Quilt.

I spend most of my time machine quilting and am always learning more about it.  I've read Pat's book through several times already, and I know it will live on as a reference in my sewing room.  She presents excellent information about preparing your quilt top for quilting, basting, thread choice, tension, and so  much more!

I spend most of the winter quilting in front of my fireplace and I have picked several projects from Pat's book to keep me busy until spring arrives!

Pat teaches how to practice quilting using decorative stitches.

I think I hear a few jelly rolls are calling my name!

She teaches how to free-motion quilt:

Pat also teaches some fun techniques like spiral quilting with your walking foot as well as combining quilting and applique:

Martingale is giving away 5 copies of Pat's book (ebooks for non US residents).  Click HERE to enter the giveaway by December 1, 2016.

Check out all of the stops on Pat's book tour:

Nov 18 
Nov 19
Nov 20
Nov 21
Nov 22
Nov 23
Nov 25
Nov 26 - My Birthday!!!
Nov 28
Nov 29
Nov 30

To keep in touch and see what's going on in my studio, sign up for my newsletter HERE.

*FTC disclaimer: A digital copy of Teach Me How to Machine Quilt was provided by the publisher for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"What Do You Do With All Of Your Quilts?"

I make quilts.  A lot of quilts.  A Lot.  A LOT!

People have recently asked "How many quilts do you make in a year?" and "What do you do with all of those quilts?"

Well, I make between 50-100 quilts in a year.  Many of them are pattern samples for the Cutie quilts I design.  Many of them are quilting samples for my quilting classes.  A rare one or two is added to my home.  Most of them, though, are given away.

I give quilts as gifts for Christmas or birthday or weddings or whatever occasion demands a gift.  I give quilts to babies, graduates, newlyweds, and those in need of comfort.  Sometimes I give quilts to people I don't know very well just because it feels like the combination of "right person, right quilt, right time."

In the last few days, I've given away several quilts.

I gave this quilt to a mom-to-be at her baby shower:

It is a scrappy version of my Stepping Stones Cutie pattern made with leftovers from this quilt.

I gave this quilt to a new momma for her baby:

This is my Share + Share Alike Cutie pattern and I wrote about the quilt and fabrics here.

I gave a scrappy quilt to a former-student-turned-missionary who recently got married:

More details about this quilt can be found here.

And I gave this quilt to my daughter-in-law so she can be happy and snuggly this winter:

I wrote about this quilt here.

In summary, four quilts left my house in about 48 hours and found their forever homes.  I don't do this every weekend, but this happens frequently.

Quilts are twice a blessing:  once to me, because I get to make them, and then a blessing to whoever receives them.

Do you makes quilts just to give them away?  Do you decide ahead of time who might receive the quilt, or do you wait until the quilt is finished and see what happens?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book List

I'm an unapologetic list-maker and a voracious reader.  When these two traits combine, I end up with lists of books that I want to read and lists of books that I've read.  I just turned the page on my book journal and wanted to share with you some of the highlights of my most recent reads.

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanegarne
This is one of the best books I've read this year.  Josh wrote his memoir about being a reader, a member of the LDS church, a man with Turret's syndrome, and a strongman.  This man has heart and I hope he continues to write about his life.  If you want a taste of him, watch this interview he gave at the Hartford Public Library.

The Amateur by Robert Littell.
This was an excellent read.  I read Littell's The Company and The Amateur was much faster-paced.

Deception Point by Dan Brown
I'm not a huge Dan Brown fan, but I read all of his books just to stay current.  This is the only book of his that I like.  It's rare that I get surprised by the story, but this book surprised me making it worth a mention.

The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer
I've never read any of his books before, but I will certainly read more of his legal thrillers.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I'm a sucker for any WWII novel and this one was beautifully written with characters I cared deeply about.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
I picked this one off the library shelf randomly and adored it more than I can say.  I read the entire trilogy.  It began better than it ended, but that could have been me and not the books.  Hard to tell.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
I don't remember how I came upon this series but I'm so glad that I did.  Now, I only wish that my library system carried the rest of this series on CD.  I think I'm going to have to buy them for the library just so I can borrow them.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Groundhog Day set in WWII.  I loved this book.  If only one life were recorded in this novel, I would have read it and loved it and enjoyed the beautiful writing.  My friends weren't in love with the ending but I couldn't have been more satisfied with any other possible ending.

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
I started reading this after watching the (less than satisfying) movie.  The book was better.  Way better.  And I'm a total sucker for angsty young adult fiction.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Be Cool Irresistible Quilt

Once upon a time I had a spool of thread:

It was one of my FabuLux threads from WonderFil, Be Cool.  It is a beautiful combination of gray, mint, and turquoise.

I took this spool of thread to the store and bought fabric to make my nephew a wedding quilt:


You can read more about it HERE.

Well, I had some fabric left from this quilt so I decided to make a pattern test/sample and see if it would work as a Cutie quilt.  It did!

This is a simple four-patch quilt, but the quilting makes it super-fun:

Would you like some machine quilting videos on how I quilted this pattern?  Stay tuned!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Mystery Quilt, finally finished

Waaaaaay back in time, my daughter-in-law and I went to Joyful Quilter for a mystery class day.  Here's the STORY.

My daughter-in-law made her blocks and handed it to me to finish.  Much time elapsed (lots!), but I've finally finished it!

I used wool batting and quilted it with overall leaves and flowers so it would be soft and snuggly:

I used FabuLux Wisteria thread.

The color from the spool didn't look like a great match for the quilt since the quilt is rather purple/gray, but once it was quilted it was obviously the perfect choice!

I'm so glad my daughter-in-law will finally get to snuggle with her quilt!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Deja Vu

This quilt is going to look familiar because it is made from one of my favorite patterns.  I make it from scraps and boy do I have a lot of scraps!

This time, I chose FabuLux Meditation thread.  It's a blend of olive, tan, and gray and I hoped it would appear neutral on the black fabric.  I think it worked!

I stitched pumpkin seeds in the cornerstones:

and tons and TONS of ribbon candy in the sashing:

and feathers in the squares:

I love how this quilt turned out!  This quilt doesn't have a forever home yet, but I'm sure I'll find one for it soon!

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Cutie Pattern -- Summer's End!

I try not to play favorites, really I do, but this is one of my favorite Cutie Patterns.  I am tickled to introduce Summer's End:

This quilt is 80"x92"and will eventually live on my bed; it needs to travel a bit first, though.  I used Victoria Findlay Wolfe's Mostly Manor fabrics because they are happy and bright.  I had been saving these fabrics for something special and I think they've found the perfect home in this quilt.

I really, really wanted the star points to stand out on this quilt.  I left them unquilted so that the batting would puff them up.  I also quilted diamonds into the sashing to emphasize and elongate the star points.

I wrote a short tutorial about how I marked the white fabric to quilt this sashing.

I'm already hard at work making another copy of this quilt with some April Cornell fabric.  Stay tuned for more photos!