My First Retreat

Last weekend I went to my first-ever quilt retreat, located at a fantastic old mansion on the bank of the Mississippi River.  It was a one-owner residence from the time it was built until it was donated to the city and the entire thing has been preserved as close as possible to how it was in the early 1900s.  I had to keep pinching myself to believe that I was allowed to be walking around freely in it, looking at and even touching things.  I stayed in that third floor room right above the front door.

My biggest take-away was that I need to bring more stuff with me!  Also, I probably should have started packing earlier, but I was so focused on finishing up my Halloween tote bag that I put it off until the morning of the day I was leaving.  But once I was there, I was ready to work!  I first made progress on two of my goals for the month.

I started with the rest of my non-scrappy blocks for the modern fans quilt.  The fabric for the scrappy blocks is strewn across my sewing room floor -…

One Quilty Goal - November 2018

My sewing room is getting a little too crowded with UFOs for my liking.  From the chair at my machine I can see eight different projects (and there are plenty more tucked away). My goal for the month is to clean it up a little.

First, I've mentioned this Modern Fans QAL before - I'd like to get the top finished on time.  I've got the top two rows made and just need to make two more.

Second, I've got these two quilts from 100Days100Blocks completely pieced, they just need to be quilted and bound.  I'd like to get at least one of these finished.

Finally, I want to get a start on my Christmas sewing list by making a Dwight pillow to match the Dwight Quilt I made last year.

So, can I finish one top, one quilt, and a pillow?  I hope so!  I'm linking up my goal with Elm Street Quilts.

Halloween Tote Bag Miracle

It was one of those months where I know that I sewed, but can't really pin down what I worked on.  I finished a secret sewing project that I can't share yet as well as my Modern Fans test block pillow.  I also got the first half of my Modern Fans quilt put together - look for a post on that soon!  But I realized on Saturday that I'd been neglecting my October monthly goal - making a tote bag to bring on my retreat tomorrow!  So I kicked my butt into gear and started piecing panels together; this took much longer than I expected.  Everything is improv pieced and the only rule I had was "use fabric I love".  On the "A" side I built everything around my lightning bolt block and on the "B" side I started with the giant polka dots that are always too big to use, which is the spirit of this tote bag - using big motifs!

I decided to go with straight-line quilting, but do diagonal lines.  Mine are slightly organic, but it doesn't bother me.  I go…

Ugly Fabric Challenge

A few months ago, everyone was asked to bring an "ugly fabric" fat quarter to our monthly guild meeting.  All the fabrics were thrown into a bag and each person blindly drew one out.  Mine was a floral piece featuring brown, baby blue, and lime green - not something I would have picked for so many reasons!  I was stuck on what to make with it for a long time, but then the solution fell into my lap.  Suzy recommended making a test block before starting the Modern Fans Quilt Along and I decided I might as well combine the two exercises.
I dug through my stash and was surprised to find that I actually had brown and lime solids that matched the floral.  I threw it in a bright blue for a little contrast and finished off the pillow with a brown stripe that was bought for a project I later abandoned.  The end result was surprisingly not ugly at all!

The floral fabric fabric grew on me so much that I used the rest of the fat quarter to finish the back of the pillow.

The pillow measu…

Sewing and Laundry Day

Today was a sewing and laundry day, with a little time loped off to take advantage of actual fall-like weather (we've had way too much rain and cold and even a little SNOW this month) and go for a run - a very welcome addition to my lazy day!

I had set quite the to-do list for myself, and I actually managed to get all of it done!

First, I made the plaid blocks that I need for my newest quilt-along, Modern Fans.  I've been wanting to sew curves again so when this quilt-along popped up I was all in!  Here's the first of my big blocks - untrimmed because my laptop was upstairs and I couldn't remember how big it was supposed to be.

I also caught up on my temperature quilt - we had company over the weekend and I didn't spend any time in my sewing room.  See all that purple?  I told you it's been cold!  Low 30s at night!

Lastly, I started off my October goal project by making this lightning bolt block.  I'm aiming for an eclectic mix of fabrics I like, but how I …

100 Days In the Book!

It's a big day today: the 100th day of the 100 Days 100 Blocks 2018 Quilt-Along!!  It wasn't all smooth sailing, but I successfully posted all 100 blocks on the correct days, ending with this sweet little panda block.  The panda butts are my favorites of all the pandas!

My initial reason for joining this quilt-along was a vision in my head of two patchwork quilts, one in all blue and one in all green.  These tops have actually been sewn together and are ready for basting and quilting.

The panda fabric was an impulse buy.  I wasn't sure how I would like the blocks, but I needed something to do with the other sixty blocks in the book.  And then I ended up liking them more than I liked my original vision.  Happy accidents are the best kinds!  I'm not 100% sure how these are going to get sewn together yet, but it will probably involve some sort of sashing so for now they are just going to hang out in my sewing room.

I am so happy to have finished all of these blocks and ha…

One Quilty Goal - October 2018

I'm going on my first retreat next month and I really want to have a handmade bag to haul my stuff in.  So this month I want to make myself a quilted tote bag from the Totes Amazeballs pattern in the Fussy Cutter Club book.  This has been on my list forever and keeps getting pushed back, but now its day has come!  So far all I've got is the pattern and a pile of fabric - hopefully making this my goal will make this bag a reality!

Wish me luck!  I'm linking up my goal at Elm Street Quilts.

Ricochet Quilt

I'm pleased to present the first Quilt Block Summer graduate: Ricochet!!  My quilt holders were all at school, so I had to do the best I could on my own to get a picture.

This is my second all C+S top, and it's a lot more restrained than the first one.  I used Sprinkle in Jelly Bracelet as my background fabric, and then stuck to all blue and green fabrics to make my blocks. The fat quarters I used span the entire life of the Cotton + Steel line.  You can see all of them together in this patch I made for the back of the quilt - it's all the extra centers from the blocks on the front.

My original plan was to make the back scrappy with different pink fat quarters, but then I realized I had almost enough Lucky Strikes Dime Store Dot Navy for the whole thing.  It fits so well with the front of the quilt that I decided to just use it all.  It wasn't my intention to make a double-sided quilt, but I did and it's one of my favorite backs ever!

The quilting is just a simple …

Quilt Block Summer Wrap-Up

My quilt block summer is over!  I was a little too ambitious with the number of projects started, but I made good progress on all of them so that's just a lesson learned.  I have 143 posts on my #quiltblocksummer hashtag and my actual block total is 301!

Temperature Quilt 2018
There were 127 days in Quilt Block Summer, and I made a temperature block for each of them!  Sometimes a day or two late, but they always got done.  This added just over seven rows to my quilt.

And the stragglers who aren't attached yet:

Harry Potter Bookcase
I added 12 blocks to my bookcase, doubling it in size.  I also got everything joined together!

Here's the row I'm currently working on:

2018 Summer Sampler
Another success and the backbone of the Quilt Block Summer timeline.  The last block is called Fish Rack and was the easiest and fastest block in the whole quilt.  I made the legs of my fish rack two-tone just so I didn't have to match the prints on the diamonds.

Here are all eighteen o…

My Small World - Finished At Last!

Look, look, look!

It's finally, actually finished!  This was one of my oldest works-in-progress and had been put away several times due to mental block. I still don't agree with all my choices but I'm so glad to have it off my list and done!

I experimented with it by adding some hand-quilting.  I love the texture it gives the quilt so I'm adding "hand-quilt an entire quilt" to my "someday" list.  My favorite piece is still the rainbow.

Another first for this quilt is the permanent hanging sleeve I put on the back.  This is going to be hung up over my cutting table (as soon as I find a rod I like to do so with) and it's a little too big for my normal process of safety pins and command hooks.  Putting on the sleeve was easier than I expected - please enjoy the artistic shot of the back my aspiring photographer took for me (we were shooting between rainstorms so I couldn't have him reshoot).

The pattern for this is My Small World by Jen Kingwel…

Quilt Block Summer Week 18

Welcome to this week's Quilt Block Summer Summary!  It's just about a week into the school year, and I am flying through my projects!  I am surprised at how quickly all my days are filling up though.  Not nearly as much free time as I thought I'd have, but that's okay - I'm definitely not bored.

Temperature Quilt 2018
The nights feel like fall and we are sleeping with the windows open again, no matter how warm it gets during the day.

Harry Potter Bookcase
This is a double block - Crookshanks and the Sorting Hat!  The Sorting Hat's face is there but hard to see, exactly how I imagined it in my head when I first read the series.  Like trying to find a picture in the clouds.

2018 Summer Sampler
Block 17 is the Chrysler Building in New York City.  Only one more block to go - this whole quilt-along has been so much fun!  I was using scraps for the center of my block so the diamonds don't match up in both halves, but just like last week, it's good enough to go …

Quilt Block Summer Week 17

Welcome to this week's Quilt Block Summer Summary!  The kids are back at school, the air feels like fall, and I'm declaring the next two weeks my "mom vacation" to do whatever I want!  After that it'll be time for my annual fall decluttering and cleaning (less fun, but satisfying when it's over).

Temperature Quilt 2018
I was hoping to use my red pencil fabric for the first day of school, but temperatures are falling here so I had to settle for some pink scissors.

Harry Potter Bookcase
A big week for Harry Potter!  I only had to piece a potion bottle and a book, but those two pieces finished off the fourth bookshelf!

2018 Summer Sampler
Block 16 is called Maois and fits in perfectly with the stripey blocks I'm making for #100Days100Blocks2018 this week.  I realized that I assembled it wrong right as I finished trimming the last side.  Grr.  I still think it looks good so I'm leaving it for now.  If it bugs me when I do the final assembly I'll fix it …