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2020 Project Recap

It seems that staying in more than usual made for a productive year. In 2019 I’d completed 11 quilts and thought that was a lot, but in 2020 I surpassed that and made 14! Of the 14, I gave 4 as gifts and I have a few on hand should a gift-giving occasion arise.

Other than having a queen sized quilt ready for longarming, I’d quilted the other 13 myself. That’s quite a bit as I typically have one or two done professionally every year. My goal for 2020 was to use what I had on hand, so I didn’t purchase fabric to make several of these quilts.

Here’s a look at the past year: These two quilts were gifted along with two others that I can’t show—one is to be published in the Quilts & More fall edition, and the other is a pattern currently in the works. The photo on the left is a free pattern, Lucky 13, and the other is an easy tutorial for a beginner, Checkered Baby Quilt.

This is the only two-colored quilt I’ve ever made, for me red and white were the obvious choice. 😉 It’s a free Moda pattern called Illusions.

My Twinkly Stars quilts are one of my favorite makes, shown in both throw and crib size. I guess with the ups you’ve got to have some downs…while I thought this was so cute and one couldn’t argue its originality, it didn’t sell well in my Etsy shop so I’ve since pulled the pattern. I still adore it and I’m proud to have brought my vision to quilt form, and I’d happily relist it if there’s an interest.

This Scrappy Four Patch Charm is the second quilt I’d made from this free pattern from Robert Kaufman. I just love this design and I wouldn’t be surprised if I make yet another one. For this, I literally took every 5″ square I had, cut a few more and threw it together. It was so fun and it used a lot of what I had on hand.

Both patterns, Westerly Winds and Radiant, were released last year.

My Holiday Hemlock quilt was a challenge and a joy to design, not to mention how fun it is to watch it come together. While working on this, I decided on a second, scrappy version for all the scrap lovers out there!

Sweet Stripes is the last of my pattern releases for the year. This cheerful pattern is designed with the beginner quilter in mind. It’s fat quarter friendly and there are 7 different sizes with two layouts versions to choose from. It’s quick AND easy!

I made this baby size Sweet Stripes quilt but I have no baby to give it to, so it’s currently for sale in my Etsy shop. 🙂

The last quilt finish of the year is my Christmassy Triangle Peaks. I had to make this red and green version for my annual holiday quilt. Even though I finished it mid-December, I’m already planning for this year!

I was surprised that I made only one mini; a section of my Holiday Hemlocks. I put together a center tree and star along with a shorter ribbon and it made a lovely wall hanging. It’s a great way to display part of the quilt if you don’t have time to make a whole one.

I also added another page to my website, color gallery. It showcases several photos with color tiles to help with your color inspiration. Thankfully my family members allowed me use their beautiful images for this project. I think it’s an excellent resource.

Other projects include pillows for my mom, a pillow case for my bird-loving husband, utensil wraps, colorful rope bowls and microwave bowl cozies.

I also added several tips, tutorials, charts and plenty of other quilty posts to my website. And lastly, I updated my logo and I love it.

Coming soon in 2021…a tutorial for the utensil wrap, a new quilt pattern and more tips and sewing inspiration. I’m looking forward to a great year of creating!

Christmas, modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Christmassy Triangle Peaks Quilt

Two years ago I made a blue and orange Triangle Peaks quilt for my daughter and had since planned to make myself one with red and green fabric—I guess all those triangles got me thinking about Christmas trees. So here it is, my last quilt for 2020 (of 14 total).

Last year I ordered this lovely bundle of red happiness specifically for this quilt. I used only half of the fat quarters by excluding the richest reds and replacing them with reds that were more in line with the lighter ones in the bundle.

For the background, I used Art Gallery’s Loved to Pieces Frost Topiary. This fabric isn’t completely white, it actually has a frosty hue and the tiny topiary trees are so cute! I thought a different type of tree would give this year’s Christmas quilt a different twist. The accent triangles are Kona Cotton Sage green, which BTW took around nine MONTHS to get! Pandemic online fabric ordering has been quite the experience. Lastly, the backing is Andover Fabric’s Teal Yuletide Holly accented with pretty gold metallic.

Triangle Peaks, by Emily Dennis, is one of the fastest makes out there. While it takes a while to cut the fabric (doesn’t it always?) there’s very little to do to make blocks. The large cut triangles are the main ‘block’ and the smaller triangles are simply sewn to the background. There are biased edges, but with so little to sew handling them sparsely is a given.

And chain piecing is always fast…

As always, choosing a layout is time consuming for me, I think I might tend to overthink it. Once the layout was determined, sewing the rows went quickly. Sewing the rows together to finish the top took quite some time, mainly due to pinning.

My absolute most dreaded part of quilting is cutting threads off the back. I will find every other non-related chore to do to avoid doing it. But, since this quilt has mostly biased edges that don’t fray, trimming was a cinch.

I decided to straight line quilt so pin basting was pretty intense. After my Quilting Disaster! I’m diligent about using plenty of pins. Lines were quilted 2″ apart giving it a clean, simple finish.

I used the remaining yard of the sage green for the binding to match the accent triangles.

After attaching my binding to the quilt and before sewing it down completely, I always give it a press. I find this helps it lie flat and makes it a bit easier to stitch down. 🙂

The holiday themed backing makes it complete.

And here it is!

Yet another festive quilt for the holidays. Merry Christmas!

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Rope Bowl Frenzy

Any type of maker knows that starting Christmas gifts early is necessary if you want things done on time. Since I’ve made quilts for everyone in my family, I’m always searching for new sewing projects to make instead. Luckily, sometime during the summer I saw an image of a rope bowl and thought they’d make great gifts, and I’d have plenty of time to make them, too.

I watched a few video tutorials to see how it’s done and I decided Mr. Domestic’s How to Sew Rope Bowls YouTube video was the most informative and it’s pretty funny. While he used craft rope for his, I wanted something more accessible and sturdy so I opted for braided clothesline. It’s readily available at hardware stores and it’s relatively inexpensive—one package costs around $6. While you won’t have a lot of color choices with clothesline, you should be able to find it in natural and/or white.

I definitely thought the bowls would make nice gifts, but I also liked the fun aspect of adding color with fabric. 🙂 They require 1″ wide strips in lengths of choice but there are no set rules! It’s all up to you—add as little or as much as you want. For the ones I made, I chose the recipient’s preferred color and went through my scraps.

As you’ll see in the video, starting the spiral can be tricky. Here’s a tip: once you pin your center, sew the X between the pins to completely miss hitting them with your machine’s needle. Then remove the pins and sew another X in the opposite direction. You may have to go back and stitch together missed spots, but this initial step makes it much more manageable.

I was able to get two bowls out of 50′ of clothesline. I made several, and the neat thing is that each bowl is unique. They differed in fabric color, placement, size and the tilt of the side’s angle.

While a lot of makers ended the bowl by sewing down a loop, I wasn’t able to do it very well. Plus, I wanted a bit more color on mine so I made a tab. To do so, I took a piece of the same fabric used in the bowl and cut it 1″ x 1 1/2″ long. I sewed about 1/8″ around the edge of the fabric piece, and using a pin I frayed the edges.

I stitched it on by hand on some, and on others I sewed it on by machine, securing it with an X. While it’s far from perfect, I like results because I think it gives an artisanal look.

I had a lot of fun making these bowls, it was kind of addicting too. 😉 I finally ended up making one for myself and I use it for carrying small quilting necessities…scissors, HST, fabric, pins, rotary cutter, etc. Not only are they pretty, they’re useful.

And with the little bit of rope left over I made a couple of coasters. Such fun and quick projects!

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Sweet Stripes Quilt Pattern

My Sweet Stripes quilt pattern is now available for sale in my Etsy shop! I’m excited about this one for so many reasons. First of all, it’s fat quarter friendly and designed with the beginner quilter in mind. It’s unique too, because the pattern has various size options in two different layouts. One option is a straight layout with four sizes: baby, small throw, large throw and full. The other option is an offset layout with three sizes: baby, small throw and full. Altogether there’s 7 different quilts you can make from one pattern—that’s a lot of choices!

And of course the pattern is all the better thanks to testers. As quilters, we know a lot of work, time and money goes into making one single quilt so asking someone to test a pattern is a big ask. I don’t know how I got so lucky to end up with such a wonderful group of ladies, but I sure hit the jackpot! I value their input beyond measure.

So, here are the testers’ quilts…

I literally gasped when I saw this photo. The black background with the vibrant colors are just WOW. It truly is a gem. Quilt by Amanda @quiltingadventures (on Instagram).

Amanda’s Sweet Stripes – Small throw size in offset layout

I don’t think I’ve seen a prettier quilt than this. It’s so fresh and clean…just one of those quilts you can’t stop looking at. Quilt by Vanessa @_vanessa.griffin_ (on Instagram).

Vanessa’s Sweet Stripes – Full size in straight layout

Dani made this for a baby boy and she nailed her color choices. The gray, blues and yellows are a perfect blend. Did you see that adorable giraffe fabric? Quilt by Dani @missdanismiles (on Instagram).

Dani’s Sweet Stripes – Baby size in offset layout

It’s gorgeous, right? I love how striking the rich toned one-color blocks pop against the white. And the longarming pattern is the perfect choice. Quilt by Janine @ lilbeanquilting (on Instagram).

Janine’s Sweet Stripes – Baby size in offset layout

So lovely and colorful…everything about this quilt makes me smile. It’s just delightful. Quilt by Carol @cjpunday (on Instagram).

Carol’s Sweet Stripes – Small throw in straight layout

Check out this festive beauty! The gray background compliments every color and gives such a cozy feel. And the scrappy layout adds to the loveliness all the more. Quilt by Barbara @thequiltedb (on Instagram).

Barbara’s Sweet Stripes – Small throw in offset layout

Here’s my finished quilt. I made the small throw in the offset design with Kona Cotton Solids for a cheerful look. And how about that bias striped binding?

If you’re looking for a fun and easy quilt pattern this may be your next one! 🙂

monday morning designs quilt pattern, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Quilting Disaster!

I guess bloggers are guilty of showing (mostly) the pretty side of quilting, but there’s another side and it isn’t always good! When I designed my latest quilt pattern, Sweet Stripes, I designed it in two different layouts—offset and straight. Between the two there are four different sizes so I had plenty to choose from when testing the pattern myself. Of course there will be changes along the way, but everything went smoothly for the first time around.

Once the quilt top was finished and ready for quilting, I decided to use a horizontal serpentine stitch. OK, easy enough, I’ve done that plenty of times before.

As usual, my starting point was the middle of the quilt. Using my hera marker, I marked and sewed a line every 2 ½” until I reached the top. Looks great, right?

But then trouble hit when I sewed the lines in between…

See that ugly pull in the middle? That’s definitely not what you want. And the thing about it is I didn’t even notice until I finished the entire half! Let’s just say I had to walk away for a while… 😉

I obviously needed to fix this mess. I figured since it went so well when the first rows were sewn, it was the middle rows that were the problem and needed torn out. There was a lot of them and it was time consuming and frustrating work. But there’s an upside. I made sure to pick every five or so stitches on the front so I could pull away the back thread without breaking it and keeping it fairly long. By doing that I was able to salvage a lot of thread!

Luckily those strands won’t go to waste because I can use them when I baste down my binding. Or should I say several bindings to come…

In the end, this was a good learning moment for me. I’m pretty sure the problem happened because I didn’t use pins. I thought that once I had the marked lines sewn the layers would be secure enough to sew through the middle. Not so. I think the space was too wide to sew without it being pinned down and the drag of the quilt, the tension, etc. made the fabric shift. Note to self: use pins!

After all that, I decided to change my quilting design. Instead of sewing every line horizontal, I quilted the same distance apart vertically making squares. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but I do. I think the puffy little squares are cute and compliment the design.

It’s done now and time to move on to the next one. This beginner quilt pattern is currently out to testers but it’s coming soon!

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Stashed Stacked Backing

Is stashing and stacking backing a thing? Meaning buying and stashing yards of fabric for unplanned quilt backs. OK, maybe it’s not properly named, but I’m pretty sure there are quilters out there who do this along with me, right? I’m not a quilter who has a lot of stash, for either the front OR the back, but it makes sense to me to have a few backings on hand because you never know when you’re going to make a quilt. 😉

While it may not seem so, there is a method to my madness! Since I don’t plan all (most) of my quilts and I can’t afford the latest print to be put on the back, I look for sales. I usually look for something that would work with a type of quilt that I’m likely to make. A good example is that each year chances are I’ll be making a Christmassy quilt, so I’m always scouting for something in traditional Christmas colors.

I found this vibrant red RJR fabric for 40% off (around $6/yard and my usual price limit) and at the time I had no idea what I’d use it for. Along came my Holiday Hemlocks quilt and it’s a perfect match! I’d stored this fabric for a couple of years and was happy that I had it on hand when needed.

As far as other backings are concerned, I like to buy fabric that will go with anything for anybody. Some of the time it means a neutral color, or something geometric if I’m gifting a quilt to a man. Sometimes I just get cute prints that I like in case the quilt’s for me. 😉

For my years of doing this, I found the best resource is Hancock’s of Paducah. They have a giant selection of fabric overall and they have a great selection of sale fabric, too. Sales run from $3.99 – $6.99/yard and because they have such a vast inventory, they have a lot of yardage which is useful when purchasing backings. The Fat Quarter Shop also has a big inventory and a nice selection. I love the FQS and get a lot of my fabric there, but sales typically aren’t as inexpensive as Hancock’s. For the most part these are my main two go-to places, but there are others I’ve bought from on occasion.

When I find something I like, I tend to buy 5 yards. That way I have enough in case I make a larger quilt and if I make a smaller quilt there will be some leftover that can be used for mini backings, etc.

Here’s my latest purchase: a print from Moda’s Harper’s Garden by Sherri and Chelsi for $5.99/yard. It’s 10 yards of loveliness that’ll be put on the back of my On Point Irish Chain quilt for my bed.

If you don’t stack backing fabric for future quilts, it might be something worth considering. If nothing else, looking at pretty fabric is a great way to pass the time.

Note: I am not endorsed by any business I have mentioned in this post; they are stores and fabrics I like, use, and wanted to share information on.

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My Swoon Quilt

My Swoon quilt is finished. And I love it.

I’d seen so many Swoon quilts on Instagram that I finally had to join the crowd and make one for myself. The minute I saw Moda’s fabric line Le Pavot by Sandy Gervais I absolutely had to have it. I received a fat quarter bundle for Christmas 2018 and made the quilt in 2019, so I’ve actually have had it done for over a year now!

I dove right in after receiving the fabric, and as always, it takes a good chunk of time to cut pieces. With the use of my stripology ruler (below) I was able to get the background strips done fairly quick.

I think what drew me to the pattern (by Camille Roskelley) is the large blocks, and to date these are the largest blocks I’ve ever made. They measure 24″ and the entire quilt has only nine blocks altogether.

I’m a huge fan of peachy, coral colored fabrics so I chose this adorable tiny flowered print for the binding.

I also favor the color teal. These two fabrics made the most gorgeous flying geese…

For the quilting, I decided to go with a different motif than what I’d usually choose—bubbles or swirls or something on the petite side. To mix it up I chose a big design to compliment the big blocks, it’s called seaweed. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Here it is finished.

The colors, pattern and quilting…all made for a lovely quilt. 🙂 And a new favorite.

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Hanging Sleeve for Quilts

I’d been putting off making a hanging sleeve for quite some time but I finally got around to it last week. It was very easy and it didn’t take much time so there really wasn’t a good reason for my delay. While I don’t intend to hang up my quilts permanently, I thought having a sleeve and a rod would be easier for my husband to hold up quilts for photography. Since it can be stressful finding the right location, dealing with lighting and weather conditions, I’ve decided to try indoor quilt photography in the future and a hanging sleeve will be a necessity.

Anyway…here’s what my sleeve looked like once I attached it to the top of my quilt.

The tutorial I followed was geared for sleeves to be attached to quilts for shows, therefore they’re supposed to be made to the exact width of the quilt. Because I’ll be using mine for multiple quilts, I made it about 72″ long (from leftover quilt backing fabric) and folded back the extra length before sewing it on.

I’m going to need a curtain rod for hanging, but since we were going to drape it over a railing we used a painting extension pole instead. Something this big around isn’t ideal if the quilt is actually held or if it’s placed on hooks as it distorted the top a bit.

Overall, it was much better. My husband said it was a lot easier to hold up the quilt and everything was straighter, too. Here’s a photo of my Five Squared quilt using the sleeve with the rod being held on the opposite side of the rail.

Whether you want to hang up quilts or need a sleeve for photography purposes, I highly recommend it. I followed the Hanging Sleeve Instructions tutorial from Quilt Week, it’s a great resource.

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Scrappy Holiday Hemlocks Quilt Pattern

As promised, here’s my scrappy version of Holiday Hemlocks! Scrappy Holiday Hemlocks is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Since we quilters love to use our scraps, I thought it would be fun to offer this whimsical quilt in an alternative pattern. It’s made the same as the original except for the stars and trees (see Holiday Hemlocks here). And as a bonus, it’s great way to stash down.

Since the holidays seem like forever away, but will be here before we know it, there’s plenty of time to have one ready for the season.

This throw size quilt measures 56″ x 66″ and it’s easy enough for the advanced beginner. Now that you’ve got two choices, pick your favorite and have some fun quilting!

Christmas, modern quilts, monday morning designs quilt pattern, PDF download, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Holiday Hemlocks Quilt Pattern

My latest quilt pattern is here! Holiday Hemlocks is available for purchase in my Etsy shop. This one was difficult to keep secret so I’m happy to finally share it with everyone. 🙂

The idea came to me in June and after the long process of designing, tweaking, making one, sending it out to testers, taking photos, etc.— keeping everything under wraps was tough! Plus, it’s the first throw size holiday pattern I’ve designed which made it pretty exciting.

Here’s some information about the quilt…it measures 56″ x 66″ and the pattern is a PDF download with detailed instructions and plenty of colorful diagrams. I would rate it easy enough for an advanced beginner. The best news is that it’s still August and the holidays are months away so you have plenty of time to whip one up. And I think you’ll agree with me on how fun it is to see this come together.

I made mine using traditional colors, but I think it would look great in non-traditional colors, too. How about teal trees and silver stars…

If you love scrappy quilts (as we quilters do) I have a scrappy version coming soon, so be on the look out for it if you want to use up some stash.

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I do! Happy holiday sewing. 🙂