Finished: plus-sign quilt top

I am very happy to share my finished Napoleon plus sign quilt top! This quilt is large enough to cover my bed, and it’s wide enough that it will hide the box spring without a bed skirt.

Getting photos of this hasn’t been easy. Every time I had a chance to grab photos, the weather wouldn’t cooperate. When it was nice out, I didn’t have time. So, I event though I wanted to share more process photos with you guys, it wasn’t meant to be.

As you can see on the photo below, this thing is a monster. It’s 109 1/4×96 3/4 inches, which is not only ample enough, it also won’t matter once it’s washed if it shrinks a bit.

front-2Here’s a cropped shot so you can hopefully see the fabrics a bit better, even if the perspective is a little weird. The light was too perfect this afternoon to miss.

DSC_0017Course, it was also windy …

DSC_0019DSC_0020DSC_0021So much for my outdoor photos! Don’t worry, I have an idea for a straight shot that I’ll take once it’s quilted and bound.

What I love about plus sign quilts is that they’re a great way to show off fabrics and you can size them to suit whatever yardage you have on hand. At six inches for the top/bottom squares, these are bigger than most, but I think it worked well for large-scale prints. Next time, I’ll probably do something smaller with solid fabrics.

As for quilting, I plan to do something with curves to offset all the straight lines, probably a large stipple. Anything fancier would really be lost. Another idea might be to emphasize the plus signs and do some echo-quilting in each one. I could also do basic straight lines, too.

Since this isn’t a full finish, I’m going to link it up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.



WIP: Napoleon plus

While I’m giving The Carter Quilt a chance to relax and release some of its wrinkles, I decided I would go against my not-so-hard rule about starting new projects.

This is a simple one, though, and I’ve set a deadline for the top to be finished by my April guild meeting. Here’s where we start:

DSC_0003If any of you have been on my modern quilts Pinterest board, it won’t take you too long to see that I love plus-sign quilts. (Check it out for inspiration, I’ve got nearly 800 pins of quilty goodness!)

I’ve wanted to make one for quite awhile, and after I saw the large plus sign from Ashley over at Film in the Fridge, I knew it would be the perfect way to use some old large scale prints I had from my traditional fabric stash. These were from Sharon Yenter at In The Beginning, a great fabric store in Seattle that, sadly, is no longer in business.

I originally intended to use these fabrics in a blended medallion quilt that had a very Napoleonic look to it, but one of the things I love about the modern quilting movement is using traditional fabrics in non-traditional ways. And plus-sign quilts are a pretty quick cut and sew.

What’s making this go faster is that I’m not obsessing (hard to believe!) about what colors go where. This is just cut it, slap it on the board and get sewing.

DSC_0006(I need a step stool to reach the top row.)

DSC_0007I also need a third board to have a design wall large enough to do an over-sized queen bed quilt, which is what this one will be. Here are some detail shots of the fabric:

DSC_0009DSC_0016I love these little birdies!

DSC_0017This gold floral will make up most of the back.

DSC_0012This is the binding as well as a couple of plus signs. I just love the way stripes in binding look, don’t you? The style is so Empire, it reminds me of the kind of fabric Josephine would have had on one of her many boudoir chaises.

I hope to have the rest of the plus signs and partial pluses cut out and ready to go for a major sew-in this weekend. I’ll also have a few photos from this past Saturday’s Quilter’s Day Out in Louisville, Ky. Our guild had a primo spot and got nearly 50 emails from people interested in joining!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.


Finished: striped garter stitch not-so-baby blanket

After quite a few nights watching TV, along with a few relaxing weekend mornings, I’ve finally finished my striped garter stitch blanket.

3-9-14Finishing at 49×53 inches, I think it makes for a nice baby blanket, one that can grow with a child. It could also go to a toddler or slightly older child at that size.

What’s even better to me is that it used up the rest of my washable wool stash, not to mention I feel great about another finish!

I plan to donate it to Project Linus, who gives quilts/blankets to ill and/or traumatized children of all ages, from infant to teen. I’m sure it will find a good home, and I hope it brings a great deal of comfort. It was definitely made with love.


The Carter Quilt: day one

I’ve been keeping a little secret from you guys. Well, not exactly a secret, just not exactly admitting to something.

At the beginning of the year, I decided my craft focus had to be on finishing things. I’m notorious for being ADD when it comes to my projects, and I just have too many that are undone.

I didn’t want to say anything in case I didn’t make good on my quest. It’s the perfectionist in me, but it’s time to get over it and get to work.

But, you guys, wait till you see this. You’ll know immediately why I had to say yes to something new.

One of my friends at work, Carter, has heard me talk about quilting and happened to mention he had found a hand-sewn quilt top at his mother’s house started by his great-grandmother, who passed it down to a daughter (or daughter-in-law, he’s not sure), eventually winding up with his mother.

Since sometime in the 1970s, we figure, it’s been folded up in a plastic bag in a closet. Take a look at this beauty:

DSC_0001(OK, try to ignore the toile curtains and checked bed skirt – they are so going!)

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love all the solids in it and how even though it was likely started with fabric from the ’20s and ’30s, it has a really modern feel to it. Thankfully, the fabrics appear to be in terrific shape, just a few loose threads from the frayed edges on the back. Take a closer look at some of the blocks.

DSC_0002 DSC_0004 DSC_0008 I love this block – with its little S and star, almost like it was destined to come to me!

DSC_0007Here’s an interesting detail. All of the blocks are square in shape except for a row at the top, which looks like it was cut in half. (The blue stripe at the top is my Mariner’s Sky quilt.)


So, what happened? The cut is too clean to be an animal’s work. Was there a spill and the ruined part had to go? Or did the sewist think she didn’t have enough fabric to complete a full row of blocks? Carter said there’s another top and a couple of additional blocks at his mom’s house, so lack of fabric seems unlikely.

I love trying to determine the history behind something like this.

The top measures approx. 76×85 inches, great for a full size mattress. As you can see, though, there are a lot of wrinkles. I put the question out to the MQG community forum and asked for feedback on ironing/quilting/etc.

They suggested laying it out flat for a long time (up to a month) and smoothing it with my hands and let it work out some of the wrinkles on its own.

You’ll see what I mean when you look at the back. Stitching by hand, obviously, doesn’t give you the straight lines a machine will. Also, the seams aren’t consistent in direction, making pressing difficult. I think eventually I’ll try using my Clover mini-iron and see how that works.

backEveryone also agreed (as do I) that it should be hand-quilted, but didn’t offer any suggestions as to how. What do you think? This will clearly be a long-term project, and I’m so honored Carter would let me finish a family heirloom for him, so I’d love to know your thoughts.

I’ve done very little hand-quilting, although lots of stitching, but I think I’d like to do something very simple, like stitch in the ditch. But first, I need to decide what to use for backing – should I use a ’30s reproduction print or a solid? How about the binding?

I hope my excitement for this project will keep me going. Once I finish my garter-stripe blanket, it’ll be the perfect watching TV activity.

But just in case, it’s a really good thing Carter isn’t in any hurry for it.


Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Finished: black and white table runner

A few weeks ago, I posted some pics of a little mat I made for my someday black and white kitchen:

table_mat1I knew I wanted to make a new table runner and decided to use the same basic idea for it as the mat. Especially since I’m saving all the lovely black and white fabrics I’ve collected over the past 12 months for a bed quilt.

Well, there may be a few exceptions to that decision.

Like the mat, I did a pretty simple block design, focusing on the fabric than either the piecing or even the quiltin. And because people will look at it from all directions, I put the prints in all four directions.

Here are a few process shots:

IMG_0181table_runner1table_runner2DSC_0004Here’s the finished piece, with today’s lovely snow serving as backdrop (I tried to get indoor shots, but my kitchen is just too dark, even on a sunny day, to do the runner justice):

DSC_0002table_runner_backHope you’re staying warm wherever you are. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!




Get ready …

quiltcon2015I cannot begin to tell y’all (as they say around here) how excited I am about this announcement. There are so many fantastic sewing retreats, trips, cruises, etc., out there but this is the one I’m saving my pennies to attend!

The good thing is I have a year to calm myself down so I hopefully won’t squeal like a teenage fan girl every time I see one of my quilty heroes. Either that or not cry because I’m so happy to be there.

Really undignified for a middle-aged woman, but I may not be able to help myself, I mean, it’s …

QUILTCON 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take a look at who all is going to be there:
The quilters of Gee’s Bend, Denyse Schmidt, Weeks Ringle, Bill Kerr, Jacquie Gering, Elizabeth Hartman, Lizzy House, Angela Walters, Carolyn Friedlander, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Lisa Sipes, Maura Ambrose, Cristy Fincher and many more.
Special exhibits include The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, Quilts of the 70’s from the collection of Bill Volckening and The Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilts of the Month.

Member registration opens June 24, 2014. You can join the guild as an individual member for only $25. The general public registration opens a week later, July 1, 2014. You can also enter a quilt and there’s more than $10,000 in cash prizes.
The Modern Quilt Guild isn’t done announcing all the fun, so be sure to head on over to their site or be sure to follow my blog, since I’ll post updates as soon as they’re released.

So who’s with me?


Finished: for Abe and George

In honor of Presidents’ Day today, I have a little cross-stitch I finished yesterday that really encompasses both “Honest” Abe Lincoln and George “I cannot tell a lie” Washington:

honesty2This was another quickie, but the funny part (at least to me) is that I had this finished, all except for the G in my initials and the date, by late November. I’ve never done that with cross stitch or any other craft, i.e., gotten so close to the finish line and stopped short.

My reason? A pretty stupid one. I wasn’t sure I liked the G butting up against the L, but I also didn’t feel like taking the letters out and redoing them. Now that the piece done, I see how ridiculous that was. The initials look fine. Here’s a close-up:

honesty1The other funny thing (again, probably only to me) is George’s face. The instructions said to use the dark part of the variegated skein, Adobe. Guess the designers thought ol’ George got a tan while chopping down the cherry tree!

Pattern: Honesty, © Birds of a Feather (now out of print)
Stitch Count: 59H x 41W
Fabric: 32-count linen, Old Town Blend
Floss: Sampler Threads from The Gentle Art
Finished: Feb. 16, 2014

Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone.


WIP: striped garter-stitch blanket

Just a quick post to show you where I am on my striped garter-stitch blanket. I must admit, I’ve been enjoying working on this in the evenings after a long day at work.

2-15-14I’ve got about 4-5 skeins of yarn left, so when this is done in the next couple of weeks (hopefully), it should be a nice lap blanket for someone. I’m also going to use it try my hand at Portuguese knitting. Have you ever heard of this method or tried it? You can see  a video demonstration here.

It looks pretty cool, and after a quick attempt, I think I want to do more of it. Basically, how it works is you wear a special pin on your left shoulder that looks like a safety pin with a hook on the end. Apparently, this helps with the tension.

You can also wrap the yarn around your neck, which is what I did just to try it.

For right-handed throwers, like myself, you still hold the yarn in your right hand (over your middle finger) but the way you make the stitch is similar to left-handed or Continental knitting. The major benefit is less moving, so less strain on your body over time.

And, I dearly hope and pray as I look at the mountains of yarn in my stash, you get faster!

I’m going to give it a go this week; I’ll let you know how I do.



First finish for 2014: a little table mat

I took a little break yesterday from the easy striped garter-stitch baby blanket I’m working on (which has turned into the beginnings of a nice lap quilt) to make a little something for my kitchen.

Next to my stove, I keep a number of ingredients such as a small container for salt, one for flour, my pepper mill, a bottle of EVOO and a basket for my utensils. I wanted to make something to go underneath them not only to help keep the area clean, but to remind me that I want to paint/redo the space with a black/white look.

At the rate I’m going, I’ll have all the accessories done before the kitchen gets out of the 1990s. Yellow paint and a grapevine wallpaper border, anyone?

I used Premier Prints cotton duck that I bought at It’s is heavier than quilting cotton, which I thought would be a little sturdier and stand up to multiple washings. The squares are 6.5 inches unfinished, and I used a half-inch seam allowance.

table_mat1Since I wanted this to double as a hot pad, I added a layer of InsulBrite with the layer of batting. Then I did some quick straight-line quilting with the lines one inch apart. Here’s the back:

table_mat2The binding is quilting cotton, standard form of 2.5-inch strips folded in half, etc. I really like how the stripes tie the circles and chevron together. The finished size, approximately 11.5×22.5 inches will hold a 9×13-inch pan quite nicely.


Lola tried her best, but it was too dark to get a good shot of this in natural light, so apologies for the yellow afterglow.

All in all, it proved to be a quick and easy afternoon project!


An unexpected turn of events

DSC_0001 DSC_0002There’s a winter wonderland going on outside in my neck of the woods today, which has given me a welcome day off! I hope to get some sewing in or maybe a little bit of work on my striped garter-stitch baby blanket:

DSC_0004Of course, it’s far more realistic that there’ll be a lot of shoveling in my future …

Hope you’re staying warm wherever you are.