Another Simply Solid Block

Nov.Finished BlockMy month for the Gamboge Simply Solid Bee is November and I’ve already chosen my block.   It is inspired by a quilt by Amy Friend that can be seen here.

Spinning Wheel, by Amy Friend, is a paper pieced pattern that can be found in American Quilter.

I tried to get my hand on a copy, but it seems to be a magazine for members of the American Quilters.  I love how Amy’s version shows both the stars and the alternate square pattern.  (Amy commented below.  This magazine is now in stores.  She found hers at JoAnne’s.  While we don’t have a JoAnne’s, I bet Hobby Lobby, Hancock’s, or Books A Million may carry it.)

I want a scrappy version for my blocks and made up paper pieces and gave them a try.  I’m not trying for the stars effect and may actually have more of a kaleidoscope effect.  PDF can be found here.

When sewing these, notice that the small center square meets the pieced block where the pieced strips come together.  The pattern piece is marked to show placement.

  • NovBlockCollageAttach the small square to one pieced block.  The pattern piece is marked to show placement (see 2nd photo at right).  Sew half way through the small square.  (3rd photo at right shows a purple mark at stopping point.)
  • Iron the seam only at the sewn edge.   (This is the only seam I iron towards the small square.  Not ironing through the whole sewn seam will make it a little easier to join that last seam.)
  • Attach next pieced block by matching the small square to the corner where strips come together as marked on pattern piece.  (see center photo at right.)
  • Iron seams toward pieced block.
  • Repeat for all pieced blocks.
  • The last seam begins where the first seam stopped.  (Next to last photo.)
  • Iron block and trim to 12″.  (Note for Simply Solid Bee ….  I made a couple blocks that were a bit short of the 12″.  If yours is short, don’t worry about it.  Just don’t trim and I will trim all received blocks to the same size.)

And that’s it.  Writing tutorials is not my strong point, so if you have any issues with this block, please let me know!

Have fun!


Make It Right Challenge – Follow Up

Textures Make It Right Front 1Textures Make It Right Back 1 A while ago I submitted this quilt for the Make It Right Challenge.  The idea was to use Angela Walter’s Textures panel and Art Gallery solids to create an original design.  The winners were announced here.  You should visit if only to see the first place winner.  It was pretty darn awesome!

My quilt shown here was chosen for Best Use of Color!  I was seriously excited.  There were some wonderful projects submitted so it was an honor to place in this group.

Last week I came home to a box by the front door.  There were some seriously wonderful goodies inside. Take a look.

TexturesChallengeWinnings2Included is Quilter’s Dream batting which is what I have been using lately.  It truly is a dream to quilt with.  I have a piece of their wool batting that I will be trying in the near future.

The ‘pink’ fabrics are Art Gallery Nature Elements and there are fat quarters of Angela Walter’s Textures.  I’m actually working on a medallion quilt using Textures, cranberry tones, and other coordinating fabrics.  These are going to come in handy.

There’s a signed copy of In The Studio by Angela Walters.  Sweet!  I have both of her books already.  They are my go-to when trying to decide on quilting designs or just to play.  I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to play with free motion quilting.  My copy, which isn’t signed, is going to my niece who is just learning FMQ.  The signed copy I’m keeping!  I got to meet Angela at Quilt Con when I took two of her workshops and she is not only extremely talented, but a total sweetheart.

TexturesChallengeAurifilThen there is a Bari J Splendor Aurifil set.  Love it!  I’ve been wanting to try both the 28 weight and the new embroidery floss Aurifil just came out with.  This set is the 28 weight thread in some gorgeous colors.  I started doodling with it and they are great to work with.




Lighter than DMC embroidery floss, but it shows up really well in embroidery designs.  I can definitely see how this would be fun to hand quilt when you want the thread to show.   There was no tangling and it laid on the fabric beautifully. 

Not shown above is the coupon included for a free Craftsy class.  I’m a huge Craftsy fan.  I have taken loads of quilting and sewing classes from them and have found them to be a fantastic value.  I’ve been wanting to take the Tilton’s t-shirt class for a while and took advantage with this coupon I received.

So that was my early Christmas present.  😀

So much fun!



Star Surround Progress

ReidThis has been a busy week!  My daughter gave me a new grandson Tuesday before last and I have spent half days at her house this week giving her a hand.  I have loved being able to help her out and spend some time with the little fella.  I normally don’t post a lot of personal stuff, but I’ve got to include a couple photos.  How cute is he?!

IMG_1201_742 IMG_1200_741


This is big brother’s reaction.  I’m sure the sweet will wear off when little brother gets a little bigger and starts getting into his stuff!



Aug13 CollageWith everything going on, I haven’t gotten a lot of sewing done.  This weekend I tried to cram as much sewing in as I could.

I worked a little on a quilt for the baby.  I pieced this block in browns.  This may be a quilt for my son-in-law’s Christmas.  I’m thinking I’m liking it.  Then there was the churn dash block for the Gamboge-Simply Solid Bee.


StarSurroundHST2AND THEN…there was all of the half square triangles for my Star Surround quilt!  I’m making the 16 block version and I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  I’ve gotten all of my 4″ blocks sewn, cut and pressed and I have started trimming the blocks.  Man!  It’s been a chore.

I do think I’m going to like them though.  I’m going scrappy and I’m not always sure I’m choosing the right fabrics until the blocks start coming together.  I have high hopes for this one.

I was hoping this photo would give a sense of the mound of squares here, but it doesn’t look half as intimidating in photo as it does in person!

There’s other stuff going on like the vintage Singer sewing table I picked up (and now need to rebuild the top!), but I will save that for another day.

I hope you had a splendid weekend and have an awesome week.  Cheers!

BAM BOM Chevron Block

DSC_0116_216So, I volunteered (on behalf of NELA MQG) to put together a tutorial for the August block of the BAM BOM.  It was a simple chevron block.  Easy, right?  Maybe not.  Putting it together wasn’t so bad, but putting it on paper so others understand it was much harder than I expected it to be.

This tutorial is about the third draft, so forgive me it it’s still not clear.  I actually made my original version work by using a modified paper piecing version.  I used the paper template to piece the bottom chevron strips and help me place the middle and top chevron points.  That version gave some a lot of trouble though, so I’ve added some more room on all edges and reworded the template for straight piecing.  If you give it a try, let me know how it goes and what I could do (or say) better to make it clear.

There are two points I want to reinforce.

  • The first is when cutting chevron strips from print fabrics, be sure that you cut them either right sides together or wrong sides together.  This ensures you will have two pieces that are mirror images of each other.
  • Second, the bottom chevron point does not show on this block and the bottom triangle should be pieced to the bottom chevron from the outside points, NOT the center.  You will see in the tutorial, I have you square that center chevron to avoid that problem.

I want to thank Cheryl and Kimetha for trying my tutorial and for the great feedback.  Thanks so much.

If you’ve have good tips or seen a great post on creating good effective tutorials, please let me know!  Hope you enjoy this block and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Edited 8/3/13:  I have played with this block again and I’m still coming in a little narrow on this block!  Frustrating!!  I’ve added length to a few of the chevron strips hoping to fix this. 

If you paper piece, I strongly, STRONGLY recommend you use the paper piece template.  Start your block with the bottom triangle and chevron and work your way up that template.  By the time you get to the middle chevron, you are really using the paper template as a rough guide and the final block will extend off the end of the paper.  With paper piecing, you have a much better chance of getting this block right the first time!

Good luck!!

Star Surround Quilt Along

Scrappy version from fabric stash
Scrappy version from fabric stash

I’m still looking for ways to use up some of my fabric stash.  Recently I ran across a post by Melissa at Happy Quilting introducing the Star Surround Quilt Along.  This is my third QAL I planned to join with the intention of pulling from my stash.  I never got out of the box with the other two, but hopefully I will do better with this one.

I’ve at least made a start.  The fabric has been cut and waiting for the next step.  (The next problem is I’m just adding to my scrap bin!)

Crista’s Quilts and Intrepid Threads have put together some great fabric bundles for this QAL.  Below are only two of them.  You should go check them out.

Modern Patriotic by Christa’s Quilts
Sodalite and Citrin by The Intrepid Thread

Finishing the Drunken Path


Following the post yesterday, I finished putting these blocks together as shown here.  It reminded me of a couple things.

      • Cutting the blocks requires all blocks to be cut same size with the curve endpoints at the same distance from the edge of block.
      • There is a lot of bias edge to these curves and it’s hard to control how much overhang you have on the end of the arc seam.  Be sure not to stretch those bias edges when sewing seams.

Finding center point of the curves and sewing from center works better than estimating overhang and sewing from the end.  This way you salvage more or your finished block.

DrunkPathSquareBlockTo trim your blocks, lay all blocks on top of each other matching the end points of the arc seams (marked by red circles in photo at right).

To square my blocks:

  • I mark a line from end point to end point.
  • Using my 14″ square ruler, I lay the ruler with the 45 degree line over that drawn line.
  • Mark guide marks for your square to use with a long ruler when trimming block.
  • When finding your cutting lines, remember the arc seam end points should be the same distance from the outside edges and the block should be square.
  • The finished size of the square isn’t as important as all squares being same size.

For this quilt I plan to add some borders of small blocks much like you see in medallion quilts.  Next border will probably be small half square triangles.  I may let this one progress as it wants to.

Giant Drunken Curve


I recently made this baby quilt that was inspired by a quilt by Barbara Perrino that can be seen here.  Hers is still my favorite.  A Flickr friend recently asked what pattern I used.   I didn’t use a pattern but used the same principle as the Drunken Curve on a larger scale.  So basically it worked like this:

I started with 18″ squares because I was working with fat quarters (18″ x 22″).  If you are working with width of fabric, you can increase the size of your square for a larger quilt.

You will need four different fabrics and five squares total.  Decide which color you will repeat and cut two 18″ squares of that color.

Lay your five squares on top of each other with edges aligned.  Decide how far from the edge you want to start your quarter circle.  In the quilt to the right, I started about 3.5″ from the edge of the block.  I like it fine, but decided on my next quilt to cut closer the edge.  The cuts I have made on the blocks below start at 2″ from the top edge.   Notice that I will refer to the bottom corner as the ‘arc center’ of the quarter circle.  Although it is nowhere near the center of the block, it would be the center of the circle if these were complete circles.


So in these photos, the arc center is shown by the red arrow on the right.  The arrows at the left of the photos show the cutting mark.  You can see the ruler is lined up with the edge of the fabric and I have marked the 2″ mark from the top fabric edge.  At that point, I note that mark is 16″ from the bottom corner (arc center).  Keeping the ruler edge at the arc center, I will swing the ruler around and continue to mark the fabric at the 16″ mark to complete the cutting line for the quarter circle arc.  Be sure once you reach the opposite edge of the cutting line that you still have 2″ from the top edge of the square.  (The top edge is relative to the arc center which I refer to as the bottom.  I consider that arc as the top of the ‘block’.)

I mark that arc close enough that I can make a freehand cut and cut all fabrics at one time.  These cuts should be the same on all squares because you will be mixing up the fabrics.

DrunkPathLayoutMix your fabrics to get a layout you like.  You should have an extra arc and square end left over.  You can see here that I have cut two white squares.  I have used only one half of the orange, and I have half an orange and half a white block left.

If you have sewn drunken curves before, you probably have a favorite method that works for you and should work with this block as well.  The two favorites seem to be pin at center and work from there, or to offset the end and sew without pinning.


For the first block here, it might be a good idea to start from center, sew to end, flip, and sew from center to finish the seam.  That will give you a good idea how much overhang you will have left over.  Remember, since we are cutting the way we are, there is no seam allowance on these blocks.  The ends will not match.

DrunkPathPinEndsIf I know how much the overhang is, my favorite method is to estimate the overhang and sew from the end.  The quarter circle will be the shorter edge!  The corner piece will always be longer and overhang the end.

Here I have started a 1/4″ overhang (not enough for this block!).  Having the quarter circle on top will allow the corner piece to show on the right underside while the quarter circle pulls to the left on top.

DrunkPathSewCurvesAs you sew you will continually move that circle to meet the edge of the underside piece.  It is very easy to see the edges of your fabric with this method and it actually pulls together very well.

Press your block so that the quarter circle seam is flat and pressed towards the corner piece.  You will trim your block square again.    To keep things symmetrical, make sure the arc seam at the edge fall at the same point within the trimmed block.  Here, my seam is falling at 1.5″ from edge of the block.  The block is cut to a 17″ square.DrunkPathSquareBlock

Complete each of your blocks the same way and piece them together to complete your quilt.  My previous quilt finished at 30″ square.  It’s fine for a new born or for a toddler who likes to carry his/her blanket with him.

I will come back another day and post a photo of the new quilt once I have it pieced and quilted.

I hope this was clear.  It is actually very easy to put together.  If you try this, I would love to see your quilt.   Have fun!


Oriental Star, practicing hand piecing


After some disappointing stitching in my last hand pieced block, I decided I need the practice! This is a 6″ Oriental Star by Nancy Cabot using fabric scraps. There’s a little Tula Pink’s Parisville! 😀

My work is so much better this time around. I was more deliberate about tracing template edge and sewing on lines. Also used two strands of cotton thread instead of 50# Aurifil. The cotton tangled a bit. I’m wondering how 40# weight Aurifil Mako double stranded would work. The tutorials I’m finding for hand piecing don’t talk about single or double strands. Not sure what everyone is doing there.

Any suggestions?

The Latest Projects

I have really neglected my blog lately.  I intended it to be a diary of sorts to record what I was working on and I am so far behind.

Bring Me Flowers BOM by Jen Kingswell
Bring Me Flowers BOM by Jen Kingswell

I finished the first two blocks of the Amitie BOM.  I hand pieced as recommended.  They appear okay, but I’m not very good at it.  My stitches do not appear strong and I do not trust the work.  In the future I will machine stitch what I can.  There are some circles and curves that I know I will need to do by hand, so I guess I better practice.  If you have any tips on good craftsmanship when hand piecing, please share!

This is a baby quilt I finished for the grandchild of a dear friend.  HayesBabyBlanket

Inspired by a Barbara Perino quilt

Simply Solid 2This block is for the Simply Solid Bee.  This was paper pieced and I stayed with the color wheel on this one.  I really liked how it turned out, but can’t imagine making a whole quilt with these.  They’re pretty time consuming.  (Maybe I’m just lazy.  🙂

Molly’s Sketchbook found on Purl Bee blog.
"Molly's Sketchbook" in LSU colors
“Molly’s Sketchbook” in LSU colors

I have another baby quilt almost finished that I may try to post tomorrow.  I used a tutorial by Purl Bee found here and used LSU (Louisiana State University) colors.
I may try to do another marathon post of other things I’ve worked on lately.  I have too many projects!  I’m curious,  how do you keep the project under control?  I need to learn that lesson.

Happy Memorial Day!  and thanks so much to all our servicemen and women and for the sacrifices made to defend and protect our country.  God bless.

“Big Techniques from Small Scraps” with Sarah Fielke

If you haven’t taken a look at, you have GOT to check it out.  I have taken quite a few of their sewing and quilting classes and can confidently say their classes are well worth the money.  And then there is the fact that once you have bought the class you can watch it as often as you like and they don’t expire.  It’s just a great resource.

One of my most recent classes is Sarah Fielke’s (The Last Piece blog)Big Techniques from Small Scraps“.   I recently read a couple posts that raved about Sarah’s needle turn appliqué technique and I really wanted to give it a try.  Craftsy just ran some of their classes on sale, as they often do :-), and I signed up for Sarah’s class.  I’ve gone through two thirds of her class which covered applique and deconstructive piecing.  The class goes on to cover improv curves and working with 60 degree rulers.  Sarah does a wonderful job describing her techniques and has some wonderful ideas for using scrap fabrics.

Craftsy.FielkeBlockThis is my first attempt at Sarah’s needle turn technique.  It was surprisingly quick and I’ve really enjoyed it.  I did make one mistake and used a fabric glue.  Unfortunately it was a permanent glue!  Live and learn.  I think I will get away with it on this piece, but I will know better next time.

The pale green leaves on the two tulips(?) and the yellow tulip are too light for my taste.  I plan to hand quilt this piece, which is pretty much a first for me.  I will use thread to add color to those areas and perhaps add legs and feet to the bird.  I have really enjoyed the process.

I’m considering treating this as a center to a medallion quilt.  As of today, this class is still on sale.  You should check it out.

Tell me, have you taken an online class or workshop you would recommend?  I’m always looking something new to learn.