I Just Want Your Extra Time…

Kiss Kiss blocks
Remember that time, a million years ago, when I shared my almost-finished Kiss Kiss quilt top?  You know, the one I worked on at a weekend retreat?  At the end of that weekend, I only needed to sew my borders on for the top to be finished.  So, a couple weeks after that retreat I settled in at my brand new work surface/desk top to get those borders on.

New Sewing Space
 

It really took no time at all to have my quilt top finished but I’m glad I didn’t try to rush it at the retreat and just waited until I had more time to focus on it.

Kiss Kiss Blocks Close
I cannot wait to get this one quilted.  It is going out for custom quilting for sure.  In the meantime, I just had to share full photos of my (very wrinkly) top.

Kiss Kiss Finished
Isn’t she beautiful?!  I love how the Eye Drops border looks!

Kiss Kiss Finished Instagram
Details on this quilt:

Pattern is Kiss Kiss by Tula Pink; I made the Large version 82″ x 82″

Fabric is Parisville by Tula Pink in the Pomegranate colorway and Free Spirit Solids for the background

Started in 2012 and top finished in 2014.

Kiss Kiss Finished
 

And just in case you’re wondering what the title of this post is all about.
I am grateful for finally getting around to sharing pics of this quilt!

Oh Look, a Squirrel!

Tula's Squirrels

 

At the Dallas Quilt Show in March of 2013, I spotted this quilt in Material Girl’s booth.  I can spot Tula fabrics a mile away, so I was immediately drawn to this one.  I loved the use of the cool colorways from Tula’s The Birds & The Bees line, the pattern itself, and the use of a Denyse Schmidt plaid from her Chicopee line for binding and backing.  It paired perfectly with the Tula fabrics and I would never have thought to put them together.  They were of course offering a quilt kit for sale but it was outside my budget.  Months went by and I continued to obsess over this quilt.  I have a stack of The Birds & The Bees fabric to make Tula’s Cartwheels quilt, but it is only the warm colorways, so this seemed to be the perfect compliment.  I shared this quilt pic with Sylvia and she immediately fell in love too.  Some googling on the internet brought Sylvia to the free quilt pattern called Five Yard Wonder by Mill End Textiles, which is exactly the pattern used for this quilt.  There was much rejoicing once we knew the pattern it used.  It’s simple enough I felt I could have recreated it, but way easier to follow a pattern.  It is called the Five Yard Wonder because the whole quilt is made with a yard each of five different fabrics.  Time to order fabric!  Luckily, the Tula fabrics were still relatively easy to find so I ordered a yard of each and then enough of the Denyse Schmidt plaid for the backing and binding.  The hard part was the solid.  Sylvia ordered a couple different solids and was able to find one that worked.  I went to Hawthorne Threads’ website and used one of the features I love – you can choose a fabric (in my case I chose the squirrels) and then it shows you coordinating prints, the print in other colorways (if applicable), and then at the bottom coordinating solids.  Lo and behold, Citron was my color.  So I ordered my citron fabric and off we went.

Fussy Cutting Squirrels

I started cutting for this quilt in February of last year.  It was then I discovered a problem.  In order to fussy cut those squirrel blocks, I really needed more than a yard of fabric.  You may remember the podcast episode where I lamented the fact that only half my squirrel blocks had the squirrels facing each other, the rest were comprised of squirrel butts.  Not the look I was going for.  Of course, by this time two years had gone by and the squirrels were impossible to find.  I ended up buying two FQs from etsy sellers at the low price of an arm & a leg.  But, at least I now had all squirrel faces in the blocks.

Tula's Squirrels fabric

In May, I finally had my cutting done and started assembling my quilt blocks.  I had podcasts to keep me company while I sewed, in this case the Must Stash podcast where Dianne from Suburban Stitcher joined.

Sewing with Podcasts

Aren’t those squirrels adorable?

Squirrels

 

Squirrels with borders

Squirrel blocks done and bee blocks completed not long after.

Bee Blocks

And then in June of 2015 I attended my very first “In Town Sewing Retreat”.  This is a retreat put on by the Dallas Quilt Guild and it’s a fun weekend at a local location and we sew all day until midnight then go home to sleep in our own beds and come back the next day.  It runs Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.  So, I decided that working on my squirrel quilt was going to be my top priority.

In Town sewing

I managed to get all my blocks sewn and then started sewing rows together on the first day.

Oh Look, a Squirrel!

On Saturday, I had a completed quilt top!

Squirrel top complete

I’m seriously so in love with it.  But, it wasn’t until I went to send a photo of my quilt to two friends that I noticed the issue.  And strangely enough it was because I was looking at a thumbnail of the photo in the email that I realized something was amiss.  My pattern wasn’t working right.  Do you see it?

Tula's Squirrels quilt top

When I was sewing the blocks together I turned some of them intentionally because I wanted those center bees to be facing different directions.  It never once occurred to me that by doing that, I was also changing the direction of the corner fabrics.  So, I had three blocks going the wrong way.  Ugggghhhhhh!  It took me until September to finally feel like I could face ripping out those blocks to fix them.  And typical me, I went the hard way about it.  I sat down and started ripping off the inner and outer border and then started ripping back to the first block.  Eric saw what I was doing and said, “can’t you just rip out the seams on all sides of the block itself?”  So, I gave that a try and it worked.  I was able to get the three blocks ripped out, turned, and sewed back into the top in the right direction.  Perfect!  Now, time to take a photo of the corrected and complete quilt top.

Oh Look, a Squirrel!

Ummm, yeah.

Oh Look, a Squirrel!

Sure, come stand on that.  I’m not trying to take a photo or anything.

Oh Look, a Squirrel!

So, you’ll just have to take my word for it that all the blocks are the right way round this time and I’m thrilled with my quilt top.  One of these days I’ll take it to be quilted, I can’t wait!

I am grateful for squirrel faces and black spots on my quilt. 

 

Quiltus Interruptus

Dallas Quilt Show Buttons

Miss me?  My sincere apologies for leaving you hanging.  It’s been busy over here at Cozyegg central, and unfortunately there’s been little needlework happening too.  But, back to the good stuff.  When last we met I promised more photos of the lovely pieces I got to see at the Dallas Quilt Show and boy, do I have a ton of things to share!

I decided to volunteer at the show this year.  I’m not a member of the Dallas quilt guild, but am a member of the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild and I thought that volunteering would be fun.  I signed up for two shifts (two hours each) and spent the first shift at volunteer check-in and the second shift at the door prize raffle table.  When I completed my shifts I had lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the show.

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The Cloth Pocket is a great quilt shop that carries a ton of modern fabrics in Austin, Texas.  They came to the modern guild last year and did a trunk show/pop up shop that was so fun.  I was happy to see their booth at the show again this year.  I’m completely enamored with this Lion quilt by Violet Craft and this version of it is stunning!  I totally want to do it in these colors!!

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One of the other booths I spent a good bit of time in was Traditional Primitives by Missie Carpenter.  She was demonstrating her appliqué technique and had some great tools she offers as well.  I really want to give her methods a try!  One of the quilts patterns I completely fell in love with was her Gardens of a King.  It is stunning in person!!!

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Here’s a closeup.  Isn’t it gorgeous!  This one is definitely on my wishlist!

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While shopping the vendor booths and watching technique demos is a lot of fun, the best part of the show is the quilts themselves!  These are just a few of the ones that caught my eye!

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I love this Moda Building Blocks quilt and have the pattern to make it someday.  I’ve seen it done in prints and in solids and both ways it is equally beautiful.  There were a couple of these at the show, but this one was my favorite!

Opposite end of the spectrum – this sampler quilt in civil war repros was a stunner!

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I loved this diamond quilt.

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Done in batiks.

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And I can’t resist a hexy quilt.  I love the layout of the rings.  Lots of people saw this one from afar and thought it was all one piece of fabric…but no, it was all EPP hexagons.

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Here’s a closeup.  What I love about this is that it’s totally scrappy.  Fantastic!

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I think every year I go to the quilt show I fall in love with and take a million photos of a Phebe quilt (designed by Di Ford).  I don’t know what it is about this quilt that draws me in, but I just adore it.

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Maybe it’s the fuzzy sheep?

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Or maybe it’s the fantastic borders?Quiltus Interruptus

Either way, I’m totally adding this one to my to do list.

I’m always impressed with those quilts that have such masterful quilting that from far away it’s hard to tell that at least 50% of the quilt’s design is actually quilting and not piecing.  Like this one, that was called Stars on Mars.  I love the color palette.

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Here’s the closeup – all of that intricate quilting in white brings a whole new dimension to the piece, doesn’t it?  Just amazing.

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More appliqué that I love.  That blue background really made this one an eye-catcher!

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Tesselations by Alison Glass made by a fellow modern quilt guild member.  Love this one so much and especially love her use of solids and prints.

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Another great modern quilt.  I love that each year I seem to see more and more modern quilts at the show.

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This original design wholecloth quilt was the Best in Show quilt.  Pictures do not do this justice.

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This is another one where the quilting plays a huge part in the design, adding texture and interest.  I especially love that fern frond looking border.

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A beautiful Americana quilt by a friend of mine.  I love love love the muted color palette.

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And back to modern.  This quilt was really interesting from afar, but even more impressive up close.  This year’s theme was “Words and Letterforms” and this quilt is a perfect representation of that theme but you have to get closer to see why.

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Closeup…

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I wanted to include the description of what the quilter did to create this one.  Amazing!

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Loved this modern piece with the straight line quilting.

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Another civil war repro sampler.

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Love this one with Bonnie & Camille fabrics.

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And this Swoon was made by a good friend of mine.  She combined solids with Liberty-esque prints.  I love love love the little stars as the cornerstones in the sashing.  This quilt is HUGE too!  Each of those Swoon blocks is 24″ square!

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The quilting was perfectly suited to the pattern too!

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This was a super fun quilt, made entirely of triangles.  The background is really blown out in this photo, unfortunately.

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Here you can see that background a little better.  And the whole thing was quilted with just wavy lines!

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Another quilt by a fellow modern guild member.  This is her Chic Shells quilt that was a workshop the ladies from Sew Kind of Wonderful taught at our guild.

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Don’t you love the negative space quilting too?

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Love this red and white feathered star quilt.  Red and white quilts may be my favorite.

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Two Jo Morton Little Women quilts.

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One of these days I’ll get around to making the Jo quilts in my stash!

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And I was so excited to see a Project of Doom quilt in person!  If you don’t know about this quilt it is a free Harry Potter bookshelf paper-pieced pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein and published on her website Fandom in Stitches.  She also has a Facebook group that was started for the 2015 quiltalong.  I really really want to make one of these.  I love that the bookshelf is basically totally customize-able.  You can choose which blocks to include and how you want to arrange them.  There are also fun extras you can put next to the bookshelf like Dobby or Harry’s Nimbus 2000.  You can see there’s books galore, a cauldron, the sorting hat and Crookshanks, Harry’s glasses, Neville’s toad, a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, and even Hedwig.  I spent a long time looking at this one!

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The Monster Book of Monsters was made with craft fur, which was awesome.  You can see some of the book titles here too.

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I loved the quotes the quilter included as framed pieces next to the bookshelf.

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And the book on top with another quote.

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So, next to the Steampunk Baltimore quilt I shared in my last post that was my favorite at the show, the Project of Doom quilt was probably number 2 and then here is my third favorite…Tula Pink’s Butterfly quilt made with her Acacia fabrics.  Gorgeous and the first one I’ve seen in person.

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It’s basically a sampler quilt in the shape of a butterfly.  That Tula is so clever!  I really wasn’t in love with this quilt when it first came out, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of purple and pink.  But when I saw it done in her Eden fabrics I had to have it!  So, one of these days I’ll get mine started.  But this really is a stunner in person.  Beautiful!

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Another fellow guild member.  This quilt was from a Round Robin the guild did.  She had been collecting polka dot fabrics and so that’s what she requested in her quilt.  She made the center block and then each member of the round robin added a border.  Love how it turned out!

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Another guild member’s quilt.  This one I believe was from a bee the guild did a while back.  I just love how these Modrian-inspired blocks look like Rubik’s Cubes.  And that neon pink is so fab.  But the best part…

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She quilted 80’s references into the quilt – bands, movies, etc.  Love it!

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Another guild member, the same that did the Alison Glass Tesselation quilt.  Love this modern log cabin and the trapunto quilting she did that meets the show theme – not as easy to see in the photo as you can in person, but it says “Today was a good day”.

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Awesome, right?!

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More quilts in the show theme.  This one is so cool and is done in flannels.

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Here’s the explanation of her quilt – isn’t that creative?!

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Another show theme quilt, with runes.

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A Morse code alphabet.

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Love this one!  It was made by another modern guild member during one of the in-town sewing retreats I attended.

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This Clockwork Orange quilt was made by the same quilter that did the Modrian inspired quilt.  We had a challenge at the guild to choose a title of a book, movie, tv show, etc. and make something (didn’t have to be a quilt) that represented that title and then the members would guess what it is.  I love this quilt.  You know immediately that it’s A Clockwork Orange.

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A closer view of the quote.

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And look at the amazing graffiti quilting she did!

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Show theme quilt and it makes me laugh.

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Also show theme.  I really liked this one too.  She recreated her fingerprint and in between the whorls she added quotes that she loved and were inspirational to her.

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Whew!  I hope you enjoyed seeing the quilts from the show, even if this post was much delayed.  Now I’m feeling like I need to go do some sewing of my own!  For those of you in the US, I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

I am grateful for creative inspiration. 

Steampunk Baltimore

In my last episode of the podcast I promised that I would share photos from the Dallas Quilt Show that I went to a week and a half ago.  I finished up editing my photos this weekend and after looking through them I decided that I’m going to break this up into two posts.  In this post I want to share with you my favorite quilt of the show, and because it was my favorite I took a ton of photos.  In order to do this amazing quilt justice, I want to feature it in this post.  Look for my next post to see the other quilts that caught my eye at the show.

Here is the info about the quilter and her inspiration for this quilt.  Being that I love all things Steampunk, this quilt immediately stopped me in my tracks.  And the fact that it puts a twist on a very traditional style of quilt, a Baltimore album no less, just adds another layer of interest.  Baltimore album quilts have always intrigued me because of their beauty and the intricate appliquéd blocks.  And you’ll see in my next post that there were several beauties in this style that I loved.

Ok, so let’s look at the quilt.  Here’s the top half of it and you get a better look at the texture the quilting gives the quilt, especially in the borders with the gears.

The bottom half of the quilt.

And a closer look at the quilting in the borders.  I love the “screw heads” – they absolutely help to reinforce the spirit of this quilt.  And I love love love the bronze-colored thread used.  The other thing that really struck me about this quilt – notice the fabric she used for the sawtooth border.  Completely traditional fabric in a very unconventional quilt.

See how those screw heads pop, both in the outer border and also you can see them in the inner pieced border as well.

And here’s a closer look at the center of the quilt.  Notice the hoop in her left hand and the spool of thread in her right.

Closer look…

And of course you can see the heart locket opens, but I didn’t see a quilt angel nearby to give me a closer look.

And to the right of the lady is a little plackard with the name of the quilt.

Here is a closer look at her birdcage skirt.  The ribbon with the key dangling on it is attached to the quilt and is an actual ribbon and a key, not part of the quilt.

Now let’s look at the blocks, because they are masterpieces in and of themselves.

This one is unfortunately blurry, but was the only close up I had of this block.  The banner says “Industry”.

Imagination.  Notice the Edison bulbs that are in the center of the flowers.

The Steampunk goggles block that apparently were the leaping off point for the idea of this quilt.  And below the goggles is Hospitality.

Another blurry photo, unfortunately.  Loved the birdcage corset.

A ship on a barrel on wheels with fans at the back?

Friendship.  Notice the quilted key as well as how you can see the inner workings of the hand.

Mechanized eagle.

Harmony.

The textured quilting in the background of each of these blocks just make the appliquéd portions pop.

My favorite thing, a big stack of books!  Notice the key and keyhole.

Flight.

And here’s a last look at this beauty.  I could seriously sit and stare at this for hours.  Sure wish I could have brought it home with me!!!

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that this quilt was the Viewer’s Choice winner, as well as being a first place winner in the Master’s division.

I am grateful for something to aspire to.

Cliff Notes from 2015

Stitching Bags

Hello, friends!  Thanks so much for your comments on my last post!  For those of you who saw that post pop up on your blog feed and noted how glad you were I was back to blogging, I wanted to fill you in on what happened.  Last December I migrated my blog from Blogspot over to my own domain.  If you go to the old blog address you will automatically be redirected to the new location.  So, I’ve been blogging at my new location throughout 2015 but unfortunately it didn’t occur to me that my feed over at Bloglovin’ or similar blog readers never got updated to the new address.  So, if you were looking for updates via a blog reader, rather than heading to the blog directly, it appeared that I haven’t updated my blog in a year!  The feed should be fixed now, so you will get regular updates as I post.  So…please take a look back at my older posts if you’d like and see what I’ve been up to.  Also, you can subscribe to my blog by hovering over the Contact tab at the top and clicking on Subscribe to our mailing list, which will send you new posts by email.

So, since it’s January and since you may have missed several of my posts from 2015, I thought I’d do a little recap of what I’ve been up to.

Episode 5

The biggest thing I did last year in the Cozyegg universe was to start a video podcast!  So far I’ve recorded ten episodes and I am absolutely loving this new venture.  You can tune in via YouTube or right here on the blog.  I am working on getting my feed over to iTunes as well.  If you’re not familiar with podcasts (they are more prevalent in the knitting community than in the stitching or quilting community, I think), it’s basically a video blog post where I talk about what I’ve finished, what I’m working on, what I’m reading, any new stash enhancements, etc.  I talk about stitching, quilting, and knitting. You can watch the first episode here.

In stitching, I finished several things.  Early in the year, I stitched two of these little Faith ornaments that I turned into book weights.  One was for me, and one for a friend.  I made some color changes and used threads that I had on hand.

Eric and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary in April, which is the willow anniversary.  I wanted to stitch something for him and decided to stitch a block from Village of Hawk Run Hollow that had willow trees in it.  I personalized it with our wedding date.  Unfortunately, I haven’t taken proper photos of this one yet, so you get a screen capture from Episode 4.  I love how it turned out.

The biggest finish, though, was five years in the making.  I can still hardly believe it’s done.  This piece will definitely be getting its own blog post, but here’s a sneak peek… And They Sinned.  So, more to come on this one for sure, with details of the changes I made and the personalizations I did.

ATS

And then towards the end of the year I stitched a couple of gifts (photos to come in a later post) and some exchange ornaments for both guild holiday parties (you can see my ornaments here and here).

On the quilting front, my big finish was way back at the beginning of the year.  I decided to get moving on finishing off some of these old quilt WIPs that had been lingering around forever.  So, I started with the oldest one – my very first quilt from 2002.

If you’d like to see more of the quilt or read more about it, you can find that blog post here.  It was hugely satisfying to finally have this one quilted and bound.

I made several bags in 2015 too, starting off with a tote for a gift that featured the Hazel the Hedgehog pattern on both sides.

And it was so stinking cute I decided I needed a hedgehog too.  So, I made a mini quilt to keep.  Of course I mixed it up a little bit by giving my hedgehog a little bit of a punk look.  (Neither of these photos is really great, unfortunately but you can get a better look in Episode 2.)

I attended a few “in town retreats” over the year that were very helpful in getting a good bit of sewing done.  I started and finished this Tula Pink quilt top that I’d been drooling over since seeing a model made up at the Dallas quilt show a couple of years ago.  Please pardon those two black spots in the middle of it.  Seriously, you lay a quilt top down in my house and this is what happens.  I’m going to send this one out for custom quilting.

Tula Squirrels

Next up, I finished another old quilt top that is made entirely of novelty cat fabric.  I know, it’s so bad it’s good.  It felt good to check another one off my list.  I want to back this with some Lizzy House Catnap fabric or perhaps some Sarah Watts Cat Lady fabric, just to attempt to make it a little more awesome and a little less awesomely horrible.  Photos to come on this one (maybe).

Cat quilt

In November, I attended Glamp Stitchalot hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics and got to learn techniques from Katy Jones, Tula Pink, Violet Craft, Jeni Baker, Alison Glass, and Sarah Fielke.  I talked about my experience in Episode 10, but will also be doing a blog post soon.     Glamp Stitchalot

And finally, I finished yet another quilt top over Thanksgiving.  This was a BOM from like 2004ish called Pansy Park by Thimbleberries.  I worked on this over two weekends at the in town sewing retreat and when I took the photo below in November, all it was lacking was one side of the burgundy inner border and then the big leaf print borders on all four sides.  And then voila, it was done!  And it is huge, so I’ll have to find somewhere to take a photo of this beast so I can share.

Pansy Park WIP

And finally, I took up knitting last year.  I went to DFW Fiber Fest in the spring and I had set myself a goal of relearning to knit before I went, which I accomplished.  I posted about my knitting journey here.  And after knitting a few dishcloths and a garter stitch scarf, I jumped into the deep end of the pool and decided to knit my first shawl, the Weigh It Shawl #1 by Susan B. Anderson.  I will most definitely be doing a whole post on this project, but I couldn’t resist sharing it here.  It’s knit with Miss Babs Yowza in the Zombie Prom colorway and I love it.  I was determined to get it done in 2015 and I finished it on December 31st – whew!

Shawl

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little recap of my 2015 creating and explained what craziness happened with my blog feed so that you can get all caught up on those posts you may have missed.  I will be posting on a more regular basis in 2016 and will definitely be continuing the podcast too.  I hope that 2016 is treating you right so far and that you are enjoying your projects.  I’ll be back soon to share my plans for the new year and what I’m working on.  Have a great week!

I am grateful for my first shawl!

Mini Quilt Swap

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Last summer I signed up for my first Instagram quilt swap – the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap.  I’d never done any kind of quilt swap before, so I was really excited about it.  When I got my partner assignment, I spent about a week stalking her on social media and brainstorming on what to make for her.  I could tell instantly that she loved all things ocean and sea-related and even had an anchor tattoo.  So, of course I decided that Tula Pink’s Saltwater line would be the perfect fabric to use for her mini.  I opted to go with just the aqua colorway and ordered  some half yard cuts from a couple of different shops.

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Then the next conundrum – what pattern to use?  I looked around and turned to Instagram for inspiration and finally decided on making a clamshell mini.  Perfect pairing of pattern and fabric!  Of course I’ve never made a clamshell quilt before, but I didn’t let that stop me.  I actually downloaded the pattern for Latifah Saafir’s Glam Clam quilt from Craftsy to use as a jumping off point.  I ended up resizing the clamshells to be a better size for the mini and then basically did some sort of weird made up plan for sewing the clamshells, which was kind of halfway applique and halfway just hand-piecing.  Because, you know, I can’t follow directions.

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So, I cut out my templates from freezer paper, ironed them to my fabric. cut out my fabric with a 1/4″ seam allowance added and then started laying them out for placement.  I cut a rectangle of fabric for the top to attach the first row of clamshells to as well.  And, as you can see, I decided that it needed a pop of color from one clamshell in the coral colorway.

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I basically just appliqued that first row down to the background fabric, then appliqued each subsequent row to the row above it.  I actually really enjoyed the applique and would love to make a larger sized clamshell quilt for myself one of these days.

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Once I finished sewing all the clamshells down, I squared up the piece and then added borders in a beautiful charcoal grey solid that coordinated with the Saltwater fabrics because it needed to be a bit larger.  I decided to use the octopus fabric on the back, so that she could really see that print, since she also had an octopus tattoo I thought she would appreciate it.  I chose the Sea Stripe print for the binding, because how could I not?

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Did the quilting on my machine and basically just quilted some wavy lines across the clamshell portion to look like waves, then did straight line quilting on the border to frame it.  I took it with me to an outdoor jazz concert and enjoyed the music and my handwork.

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And here is the finished product!!!  I love love love how it turned out!

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Wasn’t that pop of coral perfect?!  Plus…octopus!

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Another closeup of the quilting…

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Here’s the back…

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And the label…

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The best though, was her reaction when it arrived!

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And in return, I received this amazing mini from Marie, @reespieces1 on Instagram.  The pattern is called Hexadaisy and she used Tula Pink Fox Field for the fabric.  Isn’t it gorgeous?!

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Here’s a really bad photo of all the goodies she sent.  Both dumpling bags she made were full of yummy things from where she lives.

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I absolutely love the back – stars are one of my favorite things, and the combo of the star fabric from Fox Field plus the quilting pattern makes my heart sing!

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Here’s a better pic of the two dumpling bags she made and she also included some Fox Field fat quarters too.  So beautiful, and I use those little pouches all the time for notions and stuff.  And look at the bright, vibrant colors.  I can’t get enough!!

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Too beautiful for words!!!

Anyway, it was so much fun to participate in the mini quilt swap and I may sign up to do another one in the future.  I loved being a part of this particular swap and it was so fun to stalk the IG hashtag to see what everyone was making and see the finished products when they arrived at their destination.  So fun!!

I am grateful for mini quilts that brighten up my walls!

My True Love Gave to Me

In 2002 a little quilt shop opened near me and I decided to do something that I’d dreamed of doing for years.  I signed up for a beginning quilting class.  I bought a sewing machine specifically so I could take the class and barely even knew how to thread it when I showed up on that first night of class.  Our goal was to do a sampler quilt that would teach us a variety of piecing techniques – strips, curves, applique, squares, triangles, you name it.  When I went to pick out my fabric, the shop suggested I choose a focal print and then choose coordinating fabrics from the colors in that print.  I chose a beautiful Christmas fabric that was full of partridges and pears, a little metallic gold accent, purple ribbon, and so on.  A decidedly Christmas subject, but not at all in the realm of traditional Christmas colors.  But I loved it.  I still love it, even though the fabrics are not something I would choose today.

Because I was a complete beginner, I wanted to practice my skills as much as possible so I chose to make two quilts.  That second quilt I worked on at home and I completed both tops about the same time.  You may recall my Pigwidgeon quilt (so named after the owl fabric I chose).     The Pigwidgeon quilt has long since been quilted and bound (I sent it out for longarm quilting), but my sad partridges remained unfinished.  I intended from the beginning to quilt this one on my machine, just doing a simple in the ditch quilting.  But being new to sewing I had no idea what the reality of wrestling a quilt this size through my machine would be like.  And all those angles and direction changes.  Ugh!  So, it languished in the closet for years.  At Christmas this past year I decided it was high time to get it out and finish it.  I knew it was going to be a huge pain in the butt to quilt, but I resolved to just take a deep breath and take it one block at a time.  Amazingly, it only took two afternoons.  And then I quickly sewed that binding on, and its label, and voila, c’est finis!

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have this one finished.  My very first quilt.  And as is often the case, the name for the quilt came to me while I was quilting it.  During the month of December I read the most wonderful book of short stories called My True Love Gave to Me.  I also got the best Christmas gift – Eric took me to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Twelve Days of Christmas display, which was wonderful!  So, it seemed appropriate that this quilt should be officially named My True Love Gave to Me.

After finishing the quilt, I think I drove around with it in my car for over a month waiting for inspiration to strike on the perfect location to take some photos.  And on a cold day in February, my wish came true.  We got snow!  So, I bundled up and trekked out to the park behind our house to take a few photos of my quilt.  And, while they are not birds that are featured in that wonderful Christmas carol, I had the good fortune to see a group of five cardinals.  I only managed to catch three of them in a photo, but what a gift to see so many together.

I’m so happy with my quilt.  It’s by no means perfect, and it’s by no means “modern”, but it’s my first quilt.  And it’s finished.  I couldn’t ask for more.

It even was christened with some snowflakes while I was out on my walk.  It is for sure a quilt, and a day, I will treasure and a wonderful reminder of my Christmas.

I am grateful for a snowy walk. 

Snow Day

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Several years ago, I bought some Kate Spain Christmas fabric to make some little Christmas gifts as well as make some dessert napkins to use for our annual holiday party.  I ended up with a bit of yardage left over but no clue what to do with it.

Then, enter Rachel from P.S. I Quilt.  She shared her Synchronized Squares quilt – in Kate Spain fabrics no less – and I was smitten.  Of course by that time a new Christmas line had been released, so I ordered a couple of charm packs.

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This quilt really was a joy to make.  I can’t get enough of Kate’s Christmas fabric (well, any of her fabric, if I’m being honest) and as you can see all her lines play so well together.

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I shared the finished quilt top back in February of 2013, but it took me over a year to finally get around to quilting it.  I bought the backing fabric for it last Christmas.  I completely and utterly fell in love with these hot cocoa mug with marshmallows from her latest line.  Using this for my backing was a no-brainer!

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I decided to go ahead and quilt this one myself, on my machine.  And luckily, since I was doing just straight line quilting it wasn’t too bad to wrestle.  I finished the quilting back in July and decided to use yet another of her Christmas lines (yes, we’re up to four now) for the binding.  How could I resist those little Christmas trees?!?  You may remember that fabric from some stitching wallets I made back in 2012.

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Everything finally came together and I finished sewing on the binding in August of this year.  I like to name my quilts and I’d been calling this one the “Kate Spain quilt” forever.  When I was quilting it though, its name finally came to me.  So, may I present….

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…Snow Day!

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I am so so happy with it, I really am.  The colors and the prints and the pattern just make me smile every time I see it.

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And the red binding was a perfect choice, if I do say so myself!

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As I said, I did some straight line quilting on this one – on the diagonal.  I’d originally intended to cross-hatch it, but I thought that the diagonal quilting in one direction looked a bit like a candy cane.

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And seriously, are those cups of cocoa on that icicle grey background not the cutest?!?  It even has a label (which makes it “official” in my book), made from the snowball fabric I used on the inside of those stitching wallets.

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This one was a labor of love, and maybe a record of Christmases past and a promise of Christmases to come spent snuggling under a warm quilt.  
I am grateful for snow days, cups of cocoa, and the joy of Christmas.  Merry Christmas to all!

Quilt Retreat

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Back at the beginning of summer (why do all my blog posts start with “way back six months ago”?!?), I was invited on a weekend quilting retreat in Van Alstyne, TX.  I’ve never been on a quilting retreat before, so I was super excited.  So excited, in fact, that I brought five different projects with me to work on.

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I can get all those done in three days, right?

On the way there, my friend Ava and I stopped in McKinney at two quilt shops.  First stop was Happiness is Quilting.  They always have the most beautiful things.  Look at this super gorgeous quilt.

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It is pieced but then has wool felt appliqué in the blocks and in the border.  Really stunning – this photo does not do it justice.

We also stopped at Quilt Asylum, and I picked up a few FQs for using in my Marcelle Medallion.  All my favorites – Lizzy House, Anna Maria Horner, Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, etc.  I maybe went a little crazy.

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The Alford Inn, where the retreat was held is a great place.  They have room to sleep about 16 people, I think, and plenty of room for sewing.  I had my crap spread out over two tables, I think.  Of course being a quilt shop and a retreat space, they had some beautiful quilts on the walls.  This quilt was fun to see.  A woman I used to work with made this quilt and I absolutely fell in love with it and bought the pattern for it.  It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for probably 10 years.  I think I need to get it out, don’t you?

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And I loved the straight line quilting on this one.

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Anyway, here’s a look at my “area”.  My main focus was my Kiss Kiss quilt.  It’s been languishing far too long and I really wanted to get the top finished.  It’s been so long since I’ve worked on it, just getting the blocks out made me happy.

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And the fun thing about a retreat in a quilt shop?  You can shop the whole weekend!  I could have gone really crazy, but I restrained myself (after the FQ extravaganza!).  But, they had a big metal washtub full of clearance fabrics.  And look at the treasures I found in there…

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Tula Pink Nest flannels!  Such a score!  No idea what I will do with them – but I certainly couldn’t leave them there!!!

On Saturday afternoon, we took a little road trip to another quilt shop – Kaleidoscope Quilt Shop in Whitesboro, Texas.  They had some fun things to drool over!

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Oh, French General, how I love you.

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And on Sunday, with barely an hour to spare before we had to check out, I finished my Kiss Kiss quilt top (minus the borders).  So happy with it!

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Isn’t it lovely?!

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And an empty spool to boot!

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I’m using the pomegranate Eye Drops print (under the spool) for my borders.  Won’t it be fantastic???

Such a fun fun weekend and I’m so glad I got to go.  Now, I just need four more of these weekends so I can get my other projects done, right?!

I am grateful for Parisville fabric.  

Le Printemps

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One of the things I purchased at the Dallas quilt show was some small charm packs of the Printemps line from 3 Sisters.  I loved the colors and how perfectly French it looked to me.  It was the perfect choice for a little thank you gift I wanted to make.  I saw a photo on Instagram of a table runner someone had made using patchwork squares in the middle, a thin border, and then a wider border, and I loved the look.  I knew a table runner would be a perfect choice for the gift.  I complimented the 2.5 inch squares with some yardage for the borders, binding, and backing.    
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It went together pretty quickly (a couple of sewing sessions) and then I was ready to baste and quilt it.  
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I chose to do some straight line quilting in one direction spaced further apart in the center, and closer in the borders.  
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I had a marathon binding session over a few nights between binding this table runner and the mini quilt I made for a swap.  
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Et voila, c’est fini! 

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I love how it turned out.  It was truly a gift from the heart as a thank you for having me in their home and I wanted something that represented the idea of home and family and gathering together.  
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And true to form, I rushed out the door to meet her in order to present my gift and my heartfelt thank you, only leaving time to stop and snap a few quick photos in the park near my house on the way.  
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A little view of the backing fabric, which matches the outer border.  I used the same fabric for the binding as I used on the inner border.  
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And the whole thing again…

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Thanks so much for visiting my blog and checking in to see what I’ve been up to!
I am grateful for secret projects.