Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A little Green for St. Patricks Day

This beautiful quilt arrived at my studio a few weeks ago and after a few back and forth texts with the maker, we finalized this as the quilting motifs. 

Pattern is Steam Punk by Jen Kingwell, and it was both hand and machine pieced.  The fabric choices are so lovely in this and the white sashing really frames all the colors and makes for a fresh look.

This scrappy green and white top has been created using the "bonus" blocks from a previous project.  I get to do "whatever" on these and it gives me a chance to play.  I love how this one turned out.


Here is the back.  I've had several requests for this freehand all over motif since posting it on FB/IG  One of my customers has named it Kansas Winds.

 This hand pieced quilt is the Brimfield Star pattern.  Bright colors layered on navy grunge make for a vibrant quilt.

The grunge background really makes this interesting, vs using a solid navy.  The very narrow inset border frames all the "stars" and each one shines as an individual medallion.
A bit of ruler work and some curves was all the blocks needed, but the maker wanted feathers, lots of feathers flowing all around and filling the background.  I kept the stitching out of the narrow sash, and did a separate border feather; one that starts in the corners and meets at the sides.   This method allows for the border feathers to travel in all directions.
It's always such a thrill to see the plain cloth become transformed with thread. I am moving my studio 1.5 miles down the road, but that still requires me to put my hands on my studio. Oh good grief, I have so many little things to pack, move, and relocate in their new home. Have you moved your studio? Any tips? I shall report back in about a month........ Keep stitching, Sharon

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Blue House on the Corner

The blocks for this quilt were pieced during my quarantine in Sept 2020  The pattern for this house block is from the October 2020 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. My initial idea was to make all the blocks in different colors, and after making a test block in blue, my fabric pull quickly turned into a stack of gorgeous browns and creams.

Some things got a little mixed up in the construction of the blocks and it seemed that I either didn't catch it, or didn't think it was worthy of a seam ripper.

This oops is so hard to see that I had to blow up the photo to figure out why I had it in this post!

When the siding went on the materials got a bit mixed up as well.  Being all browns, I guess it was a bit much to keep all the prints separated. Or becausse I was in quarantine and some things seemed to have lost their importance.

More mixed backgrounds

Mixed siding

Years ago I saw a house pattern with stars as the setting post.  I've had a photo kick around my studio for years, the houses were black and white, and the stars were red.   It was very striking.  My first house quilt had no corner posts and here was my chance to put the stars in the sashing.  And yet, I ended up with a 9 patch.  It would have been faster to strip piece these blocks, but they wouldn't have the scrappy charm that you get when you sew one square at a time.

Here is the pattern from the APQ issue.  Stars and scrappy houses and all, and yet, my top ended up brown.  With a blue house on the corner.  My first house was a blue house on the corner.  So when I put the top together, I kept that test block and added a little touch of blue in the 9 patches.

 The top is complete, I've done my scant 1/8" stay stitch all around the perimeter.  That stay stitching will keep the edges from stretching out, AND it will keep my seams from popping open when it gets loaded and stretched on the longarm frame. 

Have you made a house quilt? If not, why not? This one has a paper pieced roof and it came together with no issues at all. Build a house, build a village, build a city. There are so many great patterns out there. Keep stitching, Sharon

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Going Full Circle

The name of this pattern is perfect for these times. We have gone from going 90 mph to the mindset of "I'll make do" to "I can't wait to get out and do things again".  Pattern/workshop is from Sarah Bond, who can be found on IG under  #slbphilly and she's also on FB HERE.  The pattern is called Going Full Circle and it was offered as a workshop through the PNW Quilt and Fiber Museum in LaConner, WA

If you ever get a chance to take a workshop, either virtual or in person with Sarah, definitely grab a seat.  Her patterns are not available for sale..........yet.  She has some great classes, check her out.

I've been collecting orange prints for some time with the goal to make an orange quilt.  This one morphed into one with purples and fuschias but I couldn't be happier with it.  Sarah has a fantastic sense of color, scale and print.  Her use of dots and stripes encouraged some of my choices here.

Using the black and white setting on my phone was the best way to spread out the values and then I played around with the patterns.  There are three different blocks in this quilt and each one was a learning curve for me. 

Here you can see all three patterns.  Two are foundation paper pieced, aka FPP, and the swirling 2 section block was machine pieced with no paper.  I love each of them and I think a whole quilt out of one block repeated would be fantastic.  Sarah has several quilts that show very different prints and they are delightful and worth checking out on her social media sites.

Close ups of other print/color combinations.  Blocks are about 15" each so the top will finish  at approximately 75" x 75"

A few more.....  I used an orange grunge that has pink/fuschia splotches  and it was the perfect backdrop for these blocks.

This is a tricky block.  Not in the sewing or cutting, but in keeping your strips organized.  I mixed them up a couple of times, and I continued to confuse myself.  The end result was worth the effort.

These dots make you check your eyes, but they were too fun to pass up.

One last look as I headed downstairs. 

Details on making this. 

The workshop was the beginning of October 2019. We made one of each block during our class time, and Sarah has SO many fabric combinations to share with us. 

This piece is primarily FPP and that makes things easy to pick up and put down. I did a lot of cutting in advance, and then made blocks.  I looked at what I had and that drove my next color combination selections. 

Sarah is very "free wheeling" with her FPP method and I found it very liberating. I only worked on this at my secondary studio, aka The Shop. I have an old machine there that just sews a straight stitch, and having a project that can easily be left for over a month at a time was perfect for this new space. 

I sewed the "shoulders" on as directed, but I did trim them down to bring the circles a bit closer together. There are two sizes of shoulders and I went with the bigger size and trimmed. This gave me some leeway on my not so awesome machine. \

There will be no borders on this and the binding will be the background fabric. 

I hope this piece makes you smile as it certainly makes me happy...... and it's a finished top! Whoohoo to that. 

Keep Stitching 


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Quick Note

It's coming on the first of November, the month where we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Through all these trying times, this might be a good time to reflect back on 2020 and look for the things that we can be thankful/grateful for.  Make a few notes so as we move into the shorter and colder days, we can look at those notes when we need a little lift.  Or go online and look at pretty quilts.  I had to refold and go through my quilts and thought I'd just share a few of my favorites.

Hand quilted pre-printed panel

A mini version of my Cheddar Stars.  Machine quilted

This is all about the border fabric.  American Jane prints and I was obsessed.  I made this start to finish in a very short time as I worked exclusively on this once I started.

My Sarahs Revival blocks so far.  Back basted, needle turn applique.  Only 24 more to go. (one is missing from photo)

An oldie that has languished.  This is hand appliqued, marked, and basted.  The center feathered wreath has been quilted and ripped out, along with some outline quilting.  I've regrouped on my quilting ideas and it is sitting out so it gets into my queue.

This sampler was done in about 2003 and it resides at my sisters house. I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of it while I was there in Sept. 
This was a finish from earlier this year. I switched up the pattern on the border and this is the first time I have done an all over quilting motif right through the piecing and appliqued blocks. 
Here are my quilts all folded up and organized.  Yes, I fold them right side in, as I do not want the fronts to fade along the fold lines.  I know every quilt by it's back, so it doesn't take much to sort for various trunk shows.  The rest of my quilts are layered on the spare bed at home.  These are at my 'other' quilting space. 

Somehow the formatting has gotten away from me, and honestly, I just don't have the desire to spend the time to fix it.  It's a blog, not a quilt block!  That I would take the time to fix.

Keep stitching, stay safe and mask up!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Simply Scraps

This whole quilt has been made with left over blocks and scraps. Even the batting was cobbled together from leftover pieces. The fabric for the sashing and binding was cut from pieces in my fabric bin but one of them was the last remaining piece of wide backed fabric from my first bolt that I bought in 2005 when I got my longarm. The back was fabric I've had since about 2009 and the bolt was finished once I made this back.  And to be completely honest, the bobbin thread was lots of different cream/white last bits on bobbins that kick around a longarm quilters studio. 

Credit to ModaLissa as she posted a quilt on her IG that was my inspiration!

What I started with.  A bag of 1/2 sq triangles that were off cuts from quilts made from Bonnie Hunters Pineapple Blossom pattern that is free on her website.  I had hundreds of red and blue ones and all had been pressed and trimmed to 2 1/2"

Working out ideas on the design wall.  The 4 patches in the corners were from a stack of assorted cream 3 1/2" squares that are also used in the Pineapple quilt.  A 4 patch of them made for a perfect 6" corner.

Pondering ideas for the center of the blocks. Notice the pinwheel center didn't make the cut.

This pre quilted photo shows the border on both sides.  I didn't have enough 1/2 squares to make a top and bottom border and I was also trying to stretch it a bit wider.  After getting the sides on, I threw away a handful of 1/2 squares that were left over.  Yes, I truly USED up all that I had in the bag.

The binding was hand stitched while I was in my isewlation in BC.  I traveled there to see my family and literally packed up my sewing room and took it with me.  Trust me, 14 days isolation is a VERY long time when you are healthy and not recovering from anything.

I went to town with feathers on this one.  I haven't had a customer request for feathered wreaths in a long while, so I thought I'd keep my skills sharp and load up on this one.

 The end result makes me smile.  A true scrap quilt.  And do you see the mistake?  I did, but I certainly wasn't going to get out the seam ripper for that!  One more bag out of the closet and another quilt finished for a future trunk show.  Now to figure out what to do with the green and brown bags of these off cuts that are hanging out in my studio closet.  A tree styled block?

Are you getting any UFO's out of the closet and finishing them?  I hope so.  Get them finished and if you don't still 'love' them, they just might make a perfect donation quilt.  Winter is coming!

Keep stitching,


Saturday, August 8, 2020

To Give and To Recieve Swap Block

The latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting is hitting the newsstands and mailboxes this week.  I'm sure subscribers are anticipating this new issue, especially considering the times we are living in right now.  It's jam packed with great projects and I'm thrilled to be part of this issue.  I can't imagine all the puzzles the staff had to solve to get this to your doorstep.  I hope you enjoy every page of it!

 I first blogged about this project here.

Photo courtesy of American Patchwork & Quilting Used with permission © 

 First I must give a big shout out to Barb,  from Fun with Barb, who hosted this fantastic swap. I also have to thank my stitching pals who offered up their scrap bags so I could get such a variety of prints and colors for the 16 patch blocks.  Even Jody (editor of magazine) sent me a goodie bag of scraps.

The best part of participating in a swap is getting that envelop in the mail, and anticipating all the different colors and prints that will become part of a quilt.  I knew I could not let these star blocks get tucked away in a box or bag so I got busy right away.  Here I am testing out the 16 patch blocks with swapped star blocks.  Look at all those prints and colors!

Testing out more 16 patch blocks and realizing that I need to keep the lighter squares away from the corners of the blocks.
Once I had all my blocks made I started playing with the layout.  One challenge is balancing out both color and value.  The other consideration was spreading out the blocks based on whether they were all one fabric or two toned.

Using the black and white setting on your cell phone is the best way to work out the values of all the star blocks.

I love the name the team at American Patchwork & Quilting gave this quilt.  It's perfect for this swap block quilt.
Photo courtesy of American Patchwork & Quilting Used with permission © 


When deciding on the quilting, I wanted to keep it very simple and clean.  The fabrics are the star of this quilt and I didn't want to detract from the huge variety of prints and colors.  Straight lines and neutral thread did the trick.

The cover quilt is pretty fabulous, along with many other patterns in the issue.  "Meet the Maker" is also a great section to introduce you to quilters that might be 'new to you'  There is a lot going on in the design world right now, and AP&Q have captured a lot of it and packed it into this issue.

I hope that you take some time to enjoy this issue.  Maybe you will find a project of two that you can start prepping for and work on during the upcoming fall months.  All the staff at AP & Q have stayed hard at work under these challenging times.  A big thank you to them for always making my work look so good!  

Please share any projects and tag the maker.  Me, you can always see whats happening on my Instagram page #grassrootsquilting  Hop over there, follow along, and tag me on any of my projects.  I love to see how others interpret my patterns.

Stay safe, mask up and keep stitching.  We are all in this together!