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!



Tuesday, June 9, 2020

My Next Big Quilt

Will I ever finish this quilt?  I can only say I have a partner who is very prolific (inspired_by_fiber is on IG) and I'm hoping that we can keep each other motivated and on schedule.  This is Sarah's Revival, the pattern is by Sue Garmon.
It was offered as a BOM but you can now purchase the whole pattern at one time. Full picture of the pattern that finishes at 80 x 80.  It has an interesting border pattern and there are techniques in this quilt that I have never tackled before so a learning curve is in my future.   I'll be posting a bit on my IG #grassrootsquilting and on my FB quilting page at

There are 36 blocks in the center of this and the applique pieces can be as skinny as a 1/4" so the scale of the print was important.  Here is my stack of fabrics that I'm starting with.  My photo is a bit orange but I have varied the tones.  I stayed away from the bright reds and burgundy tones.  I shopped for some and Kathy sent me another batch so I have a great variety so far.  1/3 yard will make 3 blocks so fabrics will be repeated.  

My background is RJR French Vanilla.  I decided to test out back basting for a few blocks.  Fabric was folded on the diagonal and I traced out the pattern in 4 sections.  Lots of other ways to get the pattern to the block, but so far, this is working well for me.

After 15 minutes of drawing, I had about 2 hours of back basting.  Maybe my stitches are too small and that's why the time? I think it's just that detailed and taking my time on this part of the prep work makes for a better finished result.

I made the commitment, I cut all the backgrounds and have started doing the edge stitching on this stack.  Here the colors of red look much closer to reality.

Here is my first finished block.  The plan was to start this in June and complete 4 blocks per month.  That was the BOM schedule and I honestly thought that was a good goal.  After timing myself and realizing it would take me almost 5 hours to do the needle turn applique, we have decided to plan for 2 blocks per month.  For scale, the block finishes at 10".  Time invested in each block 7-8 hours.

I will keep you posted on my progress. If you'd like to join in, let me know and I will share here. Kathy is on IG and if you don't follow her, you might take a peek at her feed, it's pretty fabulous. She constantly inspires me.

Keep stitching,

Friday, May 29, 2020

String Flowers Revisited

String Flowers started to come together in a Gwen Marston workshop and ended up being published in American Patchwork and Quilting.  This class was titled as Strings, so I didn't bother to read any the the class supply/info list and showed up with my string patches, an idea and Gwens String book.  I knew Gwen would give me "hands on" instructions/inspiration, and I couldn't wait to get started. With her guidance this was the end result.  This version was hand appliqued and hand and machine quilted.

None of the string petals are stitched to a foundation.  I strung together enough fabric to cut out my petal shape and appliqued them down.  If you look closely, you will notice I cobbled together different greens for the leaves. The stems are all going in different directions, the leaves placed in various positions. The fun of working this way is that you don't make 4 identical blocks, but you make something that is creative, and uniquely your own design.

It turned out that the class required yardage! Oh well, I was able to make a few sample blocks to take home and play around with the class technique.  I ended up using the class technique that Gwen taught as the outer border for this second color version.

Here is my second version that was machine appliqued.  I also faced this piece. Instead of appliqued leaves, I used a 12 wt thread matching the stem and did some big stitch embellishment.  Notice that I machine quilted right over the big stitch.  The stems were machine stitched along the edge while the petals were machine sewn with a blanket stitch. The flower petals were hand quilted to add a bit more texture.

I tried out some new to me tape.  3M Scotch brand green tape for ROUGH SURFACES.  It's a painters tape, but I was able to stick quilts to a concrete wall and the side of our condo.   I tucked this in behind a blooming rhododendron. It was vibrating with so many bumble bees buzzing in and out of each blossom.

So many bees that it was quite easy to get this photo.

The link to another version and the pattern is at the beginning of this post. Here is APQ's second colorway that they showed.

So get buzzing and string a few patches together to create your own string flower garden. There are no rules, just guidelines and ideas when working with strings. If you string your favorite fabrics together, cut shapes you like, then the quilt will be your unique creation. Just have fun.
Keep stitching,

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Color Collective 6 Pointed Stars

This post could also be titled "Five Star Review" for Sewtopia and their 6 month Color Collective. For six months you will receive a bundle of solids along with a pattern by Tara Faughnan.  The one I'm sharing today is from the first season.  It was the last pattern and I wanted to hand piece these stars.

I made about 65 stars and I pulled fabric from previous months to give me a larger variety.  Here I am contemplating putting a large hexagon between the stars, but the quilt seems to be so large.

I went with using a diamond between each star.  The next part was choosing a color for the setting diamond.

Taking a quick look using the black and white setting on your phone/camera  will help determine dark sections in your layout.

Once I started joining the stars with the black diamonds I realized that piecing the whole row together might be a bit awkward when joining all the rows together.  I decided to work in chunks.  

Here I have the top section pieced into  quadrants.   Putting 4 quadrants together was much easier that working with full rows.  Once this was together, I worked on finishing the edges.

Two hours of pressing resulted in every seam spinning and laying nice and FLAT.  That's the beauty of hand piecing.  You can manipulate your seams. For this reason,  I never press hand pieced units until they are all together.

Oh, the sweet satisfaction of my star centers!

So what's so great about the Color Collective?  Let me show you.  Here is my own selection of solids that I've accumulated over the years.  Notice how many greens, creams, and cheddars to browns I have?

Here are the untouched bundles of the selections that Tara curated for Season 1 and 2.  Notice all the berries, limes, aquas and purples?  Yup, she pushed me over the edge of my color box.  I have worked with combinations I would never have chosen, and making decisions based on a selection of colors chosen by someone else is quite freeing.  The patterns are definitely aligned with working with solids and you have to up your game as every seam shows. 

I have done hand pieced 6 pointed stars before, so this technique was not new to me.  Making all the centers as good as I could mattered when working with solids.  This series was about was trying new color combos, learning new techniques (as I have with many of the other monthly patterns), and stretching my boundaries.   I've done 2 series, they have a private FB page, video demos, FB chats, IG chats and the pricing is excellent.  Plus members get a discount for the 6 months on any other purchases from Sewtopia.  If you are not familiar with Tara's work, check out her patterns.  They are clearly written, great line drawings and her social media is a wealth of inspiration.

This piece finished at 62 x 64.  When oriented this way, it can look more like Tumbling Blocks.  Any way you look at it, I think it's fantastic.  Once it's quilted, I will trim back the top and bottom edges, I used pre made stars along the border, ones that were extras that didn't make the cut for the center.  Black batting will be used and I am going to hand quilt it.  (who know when!)

Keep stitching,