Sunday, September 25, 2022

Nosy Kitten and Glamp = 2 UFO finishes

I took my two latest finishes,  Nosy Kitten and Glamp on a beach photoshoot.  Both are oldies but goodies and had stalled at the flimsy stage and it’s so satisfying to have them completed.  I'm preparing for a trunk show and they will be the perfect addition. 

Nosy Kitten 43"x 50" finish 22 in 2022

Scrappy color grouping of drunkards path blocks set on point was my take on Jen Carlton Bailey’s Secondary Design workshop in Pasadena QuiltCon 2018.   Mixing prints with solids and prepping parts without the endgame in sight isn’t for the faint of heart. 

2018 QuiltCon Workshop Progress

I set myself parameters to bring out the best in the combination of blocks rather than creating them in reaction to what was on the design wall.  Usually I reserve a final few to fill in as necessary and wanted the extra challenge.

Light Lilac Aurifil 50wt 

Jen was so smart to have us bring the blocks already sewn since it was a design class and time was limited.  My vision came together  and I found a bold background at home in my stash.  Having a composition that isn’t exactly uniform but is suggestive enough to read as intentional and interesting was my goal.

Dropcloth Sampler Needle Book from Debbie

Check out the gorgeous needle book gifted from my friend and fellow BeeSewcial mate and Aurifilartisan Debbie Jeske, A Quilter's Table- she's the best and so is her newsletter The Scrap Basket with 116 issued and counting!   

Aurifil 40wt Dark Turquoise was used to handstitch the binding down and would have worked fabulously for quilting but with the negative space, I wanted a higher contrast. 

Amy Butler and Heather Bailey backing

Backing and binding choices can almost as satisfying as all of those decisions making the top come to life.   I posted in my Instagram story I called the quilt Kitty Smiles from memory and then found in my old blog post that it was actually Nosy Kitten.  

Meet Glamp from Glamp Stitchalot

Glamp 41"x56" finish 21 in 2022

My sister and I attended Glamp Stitchalot in November 2015 in Ann Arbor MI. It was the first of many Quilty adventures together and we met so many wonderful people (blogged about HERE)

Fabric Pull that I brought with me

Six rock star instructors Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Sarah Fielke, Violet Craft, Jeni Baker and Katy Jones each designed a block for the Mystery Medallion and we chose our fabrics and layout.  


Major FanGirling

As you may have noticed, I use striped binding a lot.  It's good to keep in mind the scale that will show once sewn onto the quilt.  Even though the colors were bold and not necessarily matching, the tiny sliver fools the eye.  I took this photo below as an illustration to compare with the beach photo above. 


Both are quilted with Light Lilac Aurifil 50 wt even though their palette is quite different.   Here are a few more outtakes from the photoshoot just for fun.  The sky was a beautiful blue and the beach a picturesque backdrop but my stand was no match for the ocean breeze.  Good thing sand and a spray of saltwater didn't hurt a thing.



Friday, August 26, 2022

Appliqué - the invisible way



I’m wrapping up my 20th quilt finish of the year with a few feet of binding and a proper photoshoot to go but couldn’t wait to share all about (finally) using the spool of monofilament that came in my Aurifil artisan welcome package. 


The tumbler quilt started out a simple repetitive one block shape design. Well that didn’t last long with my attention span and love of changing things up. What better opportunity to give a new technique and thread a try as part of Aurifilartisan appliqué August challenge. 


Because I added the Dresden portion, I ended up with enough extra tumblers to insert a strip on the back.  The soft soothing palette called for a brighter bolder backing and the blocks tie it all together . 


You'll have to look closely to see the see through stitching but it's there.  I was a little nervous that monofilament might feel weird because it's not at all like cotton or wool but it sewed with ease and my Babylock didn't blink an eye.  

In previous Dresden projects I’ve inset-pieced the curves by machine with 50wt. I’ve also used 80wt for hand stitching them which is also pretty invisible because the thread sinks down into the fabric fibers hiding beautifully. 


This mid-make decision to include the Dresden shape in the center of the quilt creates a much more engaging composition. I didn’t concern myself with having the size match exactly, a slight jog fools the eye. I did however spend a fair amount of effort to position them so the center half circles were aligned. Hubby said they reminded him of the jumbo magnets that we played with as kids and I'd have to agree.


Even with three different “background “ greens, the overall color felt a bit dominant so I framed it with a fussy cut leafy edge to help the yellows pop. 


With the use of a tripod and delay timer on my iPhone and most importantly the help of a friend, we were able to get the picture below showing the entire quilt.  



Binding with a stripe at any chance I get is a given.  Inspiration is everywhere - even on my front porch. 


I hope you’re taking time to enjoy the flowers in bloom and also gives Aurifil monofilament a try. Be sure to check out my last few posts revealing many other recent finishes. 

Additional Aurifil threads used:
Piecing 2600 50wt cone
Quilting 5020 50wt cone 
Bobbin 6723 50wt large spool
Hand stitch binding 2437 40wt large spool 

76”x88” completed August 2022
Babylock Symphony 
Handiquilter Avante 
Hobbs 80/20


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Baby quilts and Big Bro too


We couldn’t be more thrilled with the news of a grandson on the way and in turn the big brother status gained, necessitating not only a baby quilt but a sibling one too.   I rarely if ever use panels but since he celebrated his 1st birthday at the aquarium and is a water lover, this one from my stash was perfect. 

I puzzled together a unique composition around the whales finished and gifted early because who can wait?, not me. 


Our guild has an accuquilt cutting system available for check out. At my suggestion, they purchased the Local Color and Drunkards Path dies.  I used them along with the log cabin and flying geese in these quilts, combining as I saw fit along the way. 


Design wall designing is my favorite process. I used much of the same fabric that was featured in the previous baby quilt and my sons bed quilt. 

Once again, my DIL and her sister are expecting with due dates close together so I made this one pictured below for her with fabric and elements that are intentionally  “related “. 



A modern traditional vibe mixing vintage and current fabric lines from stash. Playing with transparency makes me just want to explore more.  I didn’t sew a sibling quilt for her but did use the Tula dear in the center as a nod to the hexi quilt that was a fun memorable collaboration sewn with my DIL.


The drunkards path die cuts in two sizes and a minimal palette and design is what I focused on with this quilt made for my friends daughter’s baby. 

I know some makers work on one project at a time and I’ve never been one of those, preferring to multitask and have quilts of different kinds in various stages to keep my interest.   It’s unusual however to be juggling four start to finish simultaneously like these four. 

All the secret sewing now revealed - one long blog post for finishes 13, 14, 15 and 17 for a very productive 2022 seems appropriate.  You can read all about quilt 16 in my last blog post   

I hope you’re following me on instagram where I share a lot more pictures but if not here are a few more :







Friday, June 24, 2022

Skipping ahead to finish #16

I've been doing a lot of secret sewing lately and that means revealing finishes a bit out of order.   With three baby quilts yet to be gifted and not wanting any spoiler alert posts,  I decided to skip ahead and share the latest in a modern medallion series of original designs for my June challenge and the threads used from my 2022-2023 Aurifil Artisan welcome package.

Measuring 42" square with similarities and differences from the previous four modern medallions that came before, I am in love with the final layout.  To say that there was a lot of thought and decisions made in the making process is an understatement.  


The brand new cone of 50wt color #2600 was perfect for piecing on my domestic machine and with 6,452 yards it'll be serving me well for many quilts to come.  It isn't often that I hand appliqué and was glad to have been sent a spool of 80 wt color #5004 because my novice stitches sink into the fabric so well it makes me feel like a pro.



 Pulling from my tried and true stash of Aurifil,  I used Forty3 in Light Grey Green color #2843 for the matchstick quilting and color #5014 in a 40wt for the hand stitched binding.


You would think that working in a series would make for a quicker finish but there are so many options that even with having made multiple there's still too much that I'm trying to pack into one quilt. Editing is key and a skill that I continually work to improve. 


The fat quarter of fabric shown above is from our local quilt shop as part of an annual contest to "make something inspiring out of visually challenging fabric".  I really appreciate that despite the store changing hands, the new ownership has carried on the tradition.  



The original fabric pull shown above felt too literal and once I settled on the Tula Pink "Hare" as the center everything else fell into place.  Using the raspberry pink and tomato red with green risks reading as as a holiday palette which just makes the challenge more rewarding to pull off.  



I think that I counted 14 fabrics added to the FQ, all from stash.  I do know that there were piles and piles of auditioned pieces that did not make the cut and had to be sorted and put away - my least favorite step.  Having two “samples “ of the 4 made available for reference and pictures of the others that were gifted was helpful. 


Cohesive scrappy and symmetry for a modern traditional design occupies my creative space more so than improv lately.  I enjoy having a broad spectrum of what I make and what makes me happy. 



I'm especially excited that the corners lined up - four out of four!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Slice & Stitch: Handmade Barrettes



I’m so pleased to kick off the 2022 Slice & Stitch Summer Series, a collaboration with Aurifil threads and OLFA tools featuring small on-the-go projects.  You can read all about it on the Auribuzz post HERE.

I thought it would be nice to also post here on my blog a bit of the behind the scenes of making the barrettes and more pictures of the project. 



If you have an old not-so-pretty barrette laying around the house, it would work just as well the ones I bought at the dollar store. My fabric choice was a sample ombre linen that I had picked up at FabMo for a small donation and the scrap of bamboo batting was a strip trimmed off after quilting.


OLFA generously sent to me a 45 mm OLFA Quick-Change Rotary Cutter and 12” x 18” Mat in Aqua and I received the Stitching with Wool Aurifil Thread Collection by Jo Avery from Aurifil - lucky me :)


I had been eyeing Jo's new book ever since it came out and ordered myself a copy that arrived just in time. Of course I had to go on a walk to the beach for a photoshoot once I was done - but let's back up a minute so I can share how I made them in case you want to make your own.


It might have been smarter to use a temporary marker to roughly trace the rectangle shape onto the linen rather than just the circle motif.



Well you know me, I just started stitching a design somewhere in the hoop until it looked about the right size and then moved the hoop away from it and started stitching another.


When I got back home, I compared each of the them to the target size and expanded as needed to correctly position the hardware. I didn't want them all to be the same or fill the entire space, so there was some flexibility.



If you haven't tried Aurifil 12wt wool before, you really must. They come in such pretty colors and look at the visual depth of the fibers. I was pleasantly surprised how easy wool was to work with.



The first two were completely freeform so for the third and final one shown below, I marked a rectangle and had a specific inspiration for the abstract design - can you guess it?



Before attaching the linen to the barrette, I cut a piece of the bamboo batting and used tacky glue to stick it to the flat surface, flush to the sides. I suppose you could skip this step but having a cushion helps smooth the understitching.



Cutting the linen oversized so that I could wrap it around and whip stitch it by hand as shown in the picture above wasn't the perfect technique but did the job. If I knew where I put my glue gun I may have given that a try but I prefer to use thread anyway.


Be sure to head over to Auribuzz to read the full article and see a ton of pictures and the link to the OLFA expert's projects on their blog.

Playing tourist in my hometown was kind of a fun bonus. It was an honor to be featured and have the opportunity to expand my creativity beyond quilting.




Happy stitching - enjoy the summer, Karen