Category Archives: Crafts

A Mini Step Down Quilt

*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view.

MiniSteps.TableTopper.Front010001A couple of months ago, signed up for Sarah Fielke’s Big Techniques from Small Scraps class on Craftsy and recently decided to watch some of it. The first class instructs the student how to do “step down” piecing – a technique that is a little tricky at first (it uses partial seams and has you constructing the quilt in sections rather than rows), but becomes easier as you get used to it.

What I like about the class is that Sarah teaches you the technique for a small project so you can see if you like the process. Her new book Quilting From Little Things, has bigger projects using the same techniques if you decide you want to do a larger project.

MiniSteps.TableTopper.SunShot0001I felt really inspired to try this project and pulled out some fabric I bought some time ago that I love:

StepDown.Lowvolume table topper.Inspiration0001I knew when I started cutting the fabric for the 4″ squares that it would have a look of a pieced block…so that really made me excited to see what I could do. I paired it with some low volume fabrics and pops of red to showcase the inspiration fabric.

MiniSteps.TableTopper.Folded0001Because the top was so colorful, I chose a cream fabric with tiny red dots.

MiniSteps.TableTopper.BackReveal0001I mimicked the step down construction with straight line quilting (you can see it best form the back).

MiniSteps.TableTopper.QuiltDetail0001…and then used some red/salmon diagonal stripes from Bonnie and Camille’s Scrumptions collection for the binding.

MiniSteps.TableTopper.Binding0001The final mini quilt is 16.5″ X 20.5″ – so either a cute wall hanging for the sewing room, or maybe a table topper.

Is it Halloween Yet?

*Click on any photo to enjoy a larger view

No? Not yet?

Oh well, with this Halloween inspired pillow I’m ready when it finally arrives.

BunchOfCrossesPillow.front0001The pattern for this pillow is from the wonderful Pillow Pop book and is called “Bunch of Crosses.” It uses 2.5″ squares to make the crosses and I decided to use two mini charm packs of the Comma collection by Zen Chic for Moda.

I didn’t have quite enough squares to make a the 20″ pillow that the pattern called for, so I just eliminated a horizontal and vertical row and transformed it into an 18″ pillow.

I used orange thread and quilted it with straight lines in both directions.

After I had stitched all the rows together, it struck me that these colors really read Halloween…and since we are not too far from that fun holiday, I decided to make this a Halloween pillow. I dragged out some of my stashed Ghastlie fabric (oh, how I love that stuff!) and crafted a pieced back.


BunchOfCrossesPillow.Back0001I fussy cut a little square for the top and used some charcoal peppered cotton to give the back a bit of a pop. It has a hidden zipper too.

Now all I need is a pumpkin or two…and a bag of candy!

Challenging Myself with Angles

TangentialClassPhotoWhen Rachel from Stitched in Color posted about her Angled class, I knew right away I wanted to join in and take the class (it has since sold out, but you can read all about it here). I love angles in quilts, but they can be tricky and this looked like the perfect way to hone my skills and challenge myself.

The quilt here at the top of this post is Rachel’s quilt named Tangential which is a queen sized quilt. There are a total of five quilts offered in the class (which began September 1st and goes through the end of October). It was a hard decision to decide which quilts I wanted to work on during the class period…but Tangential was definitely on the list! As part of the class fee, I will be getting all the lessons (including patterns) for all five quilts…so don’t be surprised if you see me making another one of these beauties in the near future.

Here are the fabrics I pulled for this quilt (click on the image for a larger view):

Tangential.Fabrics.010001Here is a better shot which highlights the inspiration for my color palette – a vibrant fabric designed by Anna Maria Horner in ocean blues, raspberry, and gold:

Tangential.INspiration0001This week’s lesson included cutting and piecing 60 degree (equilateral) triangles. It also included the first installment of the Tangential quilt.

Today I cut and pieced the top border for Tangential, and I am happy to say that it came out perfectly thanks to the great instructions provided by Rachel!

Tangential.TopBorder0001Stay tuned for future progress on this quilt and other projects in the class!

Pillow Pop Round-Up: August

BlogButtonThe Pillow Pop group is a really fun sew along over on Threadbias. We’re making pillows from the fabulous book Pillow Pop all year long.

To learn more about the group, visit this post.

We’d love to have you join us. If you’re not already a member at Threadbias, why not join – it’s free, and it is a great community of sewists.

We chose Jewel of the Sea (easy) and  Candy Coated Diamonds (challenging) as the pillows for August…and here are the wonderful finishes with links back to each sewist’s project page. I hope you will click through to see the entire projects as the backs and quilting on each pillow are also fabulous.

Jewel of the Sea – Narrow, foundation pieced strips give this pillow depth and interest.

Jewelofsea.Erica1 Jewelofsea.Erica2

Erica made two versions of the pillow - one in summery colors, while the other celebrates winter.


Karen’s pillow shines with Tula Pink’s Acacia collection.


Turquoise and pink make Cathie’s pillow pop.


My pillow celebrates red and orange with some accents of charcoal dots.

Candy Coated Diamonds – Paper pieced diamonds provide precision in this eye catching modern pillow.


Valerie didn’t quite complete her pillow, but since she was the only person this month who attempted it, I decided to go ahead and showcase her beautiful top that uses strong, saturated color to make a statement.



10 Quilty Little Secrets

10QuiltyLittleSecretsButtonAmy at 13 Spools has been encouraging quilters to share ten of their quilty little secrets…some of these are hilarious! If you follow the link to her post (above) you can get links to all the participating blogs.

So here are my “secrets” which are not really secrets for those who know me:

  1. I won’t rip a seam unless I’ve put part of a block on backwards or if the seams are so bad it will be obvious after quilting. I hate to rip. I have been known to throw away a block and start over to avoid ripping it out.
  2. I almost never close my rotary cutter while sewing. But I haven’t lost a finger. Yet.
  3. After a day of sewing I put everything away and neaten up my area. I like to start a day of sewing with everything in its place.SewingRoom.Organized40001
  4. I have lots of projects that are in process at the same time. I won’t tell you how many. Let’s just say there are more than 15. And sometimes I am working on two projects at the same time on the same day. I like to think of it as multi-tasking rather than mania.
  5. I am just a tad obsessed with pillows.RoundRobinMedallion.onbed0001
  6. I only clean the lint out of my machine when it starts to come up out of the little hole in the bobbin cover.
  7. I don’t remember the last time I changed my needle. I think it was when I ran over a pin and broke it.
  8. Negative space intimidates me.
  9. I love rulers. And templates. I keep buying them and maybe someday I will use them all.
  10. I rarely follow a pattern as written. Often I will add something different just to be different. Or change the size. Or maybe just use a part of the pattern.

That’s it – confessions of a quilter. No judging, please!

Flying Rainbow Pillow

*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view

Are you getting sick of seeing pillows? I hope not, because there are a few months left in the year and I am still Pillow Popping with my group over on Threadbias!

The “challenging” pillow for September is Flying Rainbow – a scrap friendly project that uses lots of white and clean quilting lines.

PillowPop.FlyingRainbow.Front0001I used lots of my Bonnie and Camille scraps – mostly from their collection Scrumptious – and decided not to worry that I would not have a yellow and purple goose…instead I substitute with pink and gray and am very happy with how it turned out!

PillowPop.FlyingRainbow.Side0001I quilted this per the recommendation in the book which echoes the geese and then has varying width straight lines moving horizontally across the pillow giving the illusion of the geese flying.

The back is pieced (I found a nice big piece of some Happy Go Lucky fabric for the bottom) and sports a hidden zipper.

PillowPop.FlyingRainbow.Back0001This pillow fits on an 18″ insert and makes a nice match with the Don’t Be Square pillow I made earlier this year.

PillowPop.FlyingRainbowWithSquaresPillow0001I could see a whole bunch of these scrap happy pillows with their cloud of white on a bed, couldn’t you?

Stitching for Charity

There are many reasons I quilt, but one of them is to bring joy to others. I’ve made a lot of quilts over the last five years, and I’ve given away many of them: to friends, to family, and to charity.

My first charity quilt went to Quilts for Kids in June of 2010. That same year, I made a special quilt for Green Fairy Quilts which was delivered to a child in Romania. I’ve also donated a bag to an organization in Oregon to help kids in foster care.

But three items in five years doesn’t seem like a lot. So lately I’ve been thinking about making charity quilts more routinely. I’ve joined a group on Threadbias and have been working on a charity quilt which is slated to be finished this fall:


I’ve also joined a group on Flickr (do. Good Stitches) which makes quilts for children in need. I am part of the Cheer Circle (we donate our quilts to Project Linus) and have volunteered as a “stitcher” … which means I’ll be making two blocks a month to contribute to a quilt.

This was my first month with them and here are the two blocks I made per the request of the “quilter” for August (one “warm” block and one “cool” block which are made with half-square triangles):


DoGoodStitches.August2014.CoolBlock0001Quilting is an art that can bring happiness and peace to others. There is nothing quite like wrapping oneself in a quilt made especially for you.  Which is why donating quilts to charity is important to me.

Stay tuned for more posts in the future about charity quilting!

A Scrappy Swell Quilt

*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view

Swell.onswing020001I’ve been busy finishing up some quilts lately. I don’t know why I waited so long to get this low volume scrappy quilt bound and quilted because I really love it.

The Swell pattern is from Camille Roskelley’s latest book: Simply Retro…and it is a super easy quilt to make. It is Jelly Roll friendly and (obviously) scrap friendly.

Swell.Pattern0001I had a Jelly Roll that I created by cutting 2.5″ strips WOF from left over scraps. When I do this, I try to color coordinate the roll as best I can (so I have a couple other self-made Jelly Rolls that have different color schemes).  I decided to use this scrap happy roll of fabrics to make the Swell quilt.

The quilt finished at 58″ X 70″ – an oversized lap quilt.

Swell.Draped010001I used fabric that I snagged for $2 a yard for the border and backing – amazing! And even pieced left over batting to sandwich the quilt.

Swell.BackReveal0001The quilting is free-motion loopy curves:

Swell.QuiltingDetail010001I made a small label just so I would remember when I made this one:

Swell.Label0001I really love the softness of this sweet quilt – and it is perfect for summer.


A Round Robin Quilt with Friends

*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view RoundRobinMedallion.front0001Way back in May of 2013, a group of quilts began their journey. They started with one block – a center block designed by the quilter who would claim that quilt as their own when the journey was completed. They carried with them a journal – a place for contemplation and explanation and expressions of friendship. No one really knew what they would look like after a year of travel…so it was a leap of faith to send them out into the world.

The quilt at the top of this post is my quilt. It started with that colorful center that I created…and passed through the hands of seven other quilters, each one adding a border of their choosing. In June of this year the pieced top arrived back in California – and I was in love!

RoundRobinMedallion.drapedonswing010001Round Robin quilts are not a new idea (there is a rich history of women working together collaboratively to make quilts), but they have evolved with the onset of the Internet and social media. No longer does one have to be constrained by geography. I met the group of women involved in this Round Robin through a site called Threadbias. But there are other on line avenues to meet up with like-minded people, including Flickr, Facebook and blogs.

Our group allowed for a generous 6 week turnaround from when we received a new quilt top to when we had to send it on to the next person. I was really happy to have that extra time as we followed no set patterns when constructing our “rounds” and sometimes I needed more time to come up with a plan.

A couple of weeks ago, I quilted and bound my quilt which measures approximately 76″ X 76″ – a good size for a double bed.

I backed the quilt with some Bella solid turquoise, and a large piece of my favorite fabric from the Happy Go Lucky Collection by Bonnie and Camille for Moda:

RoundRobinMedallion.backreveal010001I did a meandering stipple quilt pattern and then crafted a special label with everyone’s name and state on it:

RoundRobinMedallion.label010001I really love this quilt – not only because it is whimsical and beautiful and warm … but because it reminds me of the friendships I forged over the last year and the dedication of a group of quilters who overcame challenges to create an amazing bunch of quilts.

Many thanks to my friend Mary from Maine who allowed me to use her photo collage of all of the finished quilt tops together (you might notice that there are only six quilts represented here…over the course of a year we had a couple of changes in our group – some people dropped out for a variety of reasons – so these are the quilts that made it through the entire year and got completed):

RoundRobinCollageAren’t they gorgeous?

And just a couple more photos of my treasured quilt:


RoundRobinMedallion.quiltingdetail0001One of my favorites to date!

Pillow Pop Round-Up: July

BlogButtonThe Pillow Pop group is a really fun sew along over on Threadbias. We’re making pillows from the fabulous book Pillow Pop all year long.

To learn more about the group, visit this post.

We’d love to have you join us. If you’re not already a member at Threadbias, why not join – it is free, and it is a great community of sewists.

We chose Crystalized (easy) and Union Jack (challenging) as the pillows for July…and here are the wonderful finishes with links back to each sewist’s project page. I hope you will click through to see the entire projects as the backs and quilting on each pillow are also fabulous.

Crystalized:  A scrap friendly project that uses value to create a sense of vibrancy and movement.


Michelle chose some gorgeous fabrics from Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee collection to create a pillow with plenty of movement.


Carol’s pillow evokes sunshine and happiness with her use of orange, yellow pink and low volume grays.


Marsha decided on a patriotic color scheme for her July pillow.


Valerie’s pillow evokes summertime with its pretty nautical theme

Union Jack: Muted tones and a smart design gives an intelligent feel for your favorite “hipster.”


I made the Union Jack pillow, using soft tones and gray to give this one a more sedate feel.