Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Minimal Day :: Reverse Quarter Opal

This month's block for Seattle MQG's block-of-the-month may just have been the quickest and easiest of them all. 

I kinda love the 'reverse' aspect of it and how it 'fits' with its predecessors.

More complicated reverse applique is up for next month, and though it's been a while since I've done that, I've actually done quite a bit, so I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted. Until then....

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Pincushion Parade Continues

The #pinnieparade, a daily pincushion party hosted by Cheri/@tinkerellen, marches on and has been such a good chance to try some new designs in miniature - some improvisational, and some with patterns created by others. Week one can be seen in a prior post, and here are the ones I've posted over the last week!

Day 8 - This little (3 1/2") #pincushion started with some tiny squares I found in my scrap basket and I really have no idea where they came from. But they were a perfect find for an improv nine-patch, and I had alot of fun with it.

Day 9 - This one is an oldie but a goodie using the Hexy Bee pattern from badskirt.

Day 10 - I'd been wanting to try Anna/noodlehead's Wagon Wheel Pincushion Tutorial for a while, and I'm glad I did!

Day 11 - From Amanda Jean/crazy mom quilts' Plenty of Pincushions Vol. 1 came 'Sailboats', one of my favorites so far, pieced from the scraps on my cutting table the night I made it. Oh yeah.

Day 12 - Another oldie, but still one I really like alot was miniaturized from Leanne/she can quilt's Canvas pattern, and a perfect foil for Leanne's signature matchstick quilting.

Day 13 - A second one from Amanda Jean/crazy mom quiltsPlenty of Pincushions Vol. 1 is the paper-pieced Pineapple block made from Anna Marie Horner voile. Yummy.

Day 14 - And finally for the end of this second week are Triangle pincushions from Carolyn Friedlander's Crew Pincushion Pattern. I made the larger one, and it was SO quick and fast, I had to try the medium one right away. I never would have guessed these were so simple to whip together!

So, nearly half-way through the month and going strong. Fingers crossed I can keep up the momentum.

Friday, August 11, 2017


Well the last two weeks have reminded me just how fun a quilt-along can be! The Improv Stripes QAL, over 90 participants strong, has been a fun ride, and it's been so delightful to see folks try improv for the first time, fall in love with stripes, and explore their own designs.

I created my own "variegated" by culling all my gray scraps and combining them with a bit of a wild solid color mix - just what appealed to me at the time. After trying several different layouts, I settled on this one - that if you start with the dark blue block and let your eye travel right then down - creates a sort of a spiral. At least it started out that way!

When it came time for quilting though, I went with both horizontal and vertical organic straight lines, creating a grid in several sections. Just for the fun of it, I used a handful of colored threads though that's not really obvious unless you look close.

Measuring 32" x 35", this one was especially enjoyable as I was sewing in community. Can't beat that!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Half-Square Headlines

It's not often I can say my name is in the headlines, but I can today! It's the Half-Square Headlines, an absolutely delightful newsletter published by Michelle Bartholomew.

Michelle's is one of just a handful of newsletters I receive in my email inbox, and for good reason.... the Quilter's Spotlight - a glimpse into the lives of fellow creators, a captivating round-up of interesting quilt-related links, "Quilt Crush" where she highlights a favorite beautiful quilt, and the clever "Text & Textiles," a new themed fabric-grouping each issue. And more! So nicely done and curated with care, I have no doubt you'll enjoy it too.

It's an honor to be the subject of Michelle's Quilter's Spotlight in her latest issue. If you'd like to get to know me better, see where I sew, or just take a few moments to enjoy a lovely collection of quilt-related content, take a look.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pincushion Parade

The day after the Improv Stripes QAL started, wouldn't you know it, another event started - the #pinnieparade, a daily pincushion party hosted by Cheri/@tinkerellen. I kinda couldn't resist joining in! Luckily, you can post either a brand new pincushion you've made, an oldie but goodie, or even one you received as a gift or whatever. So with those loose rules, I figured I could possibly keep up. And for future reference, I thought I'd share them here, a week or so at a time. So without further ado.....

Day 1 - First up was the Prettified Pincushion, one of my favorite makes from Ayumi Takahashi's Patchwork, Please! This one has obviously been well-used, but I'm still quite fond of it.

Day 2 - With scraps from my improv stripes project sitting on my cutting table, it was an obvious choice to use some to make a little pincushion. Quick and easy.

Day 3 - Ages ago, I crazy-pieced all my green scraps for a couple of different projects. Leftover bits were perfect for this little pinnie.

Day 4 - Here's one that was a gift from the talented Hillary/@entropyalwayswins. I kinda love it! Check out Hillary's #instatute for a tutorial.

Day 5 - Boy it was fun to make a Spool Pin Cushion Block by Faith/Fresh Lemons! Seriously, the piecing took under 15 minutes! Also Faith has tutorials for several more varieties of spool blocks on her blog.

Day 6 - Back in time again, to when grandgirl got her first sewing machine. Obviously she needed a pincushion, and I made her a Deluxe Pincushion from Heidi/@fabricmutt's book, Sew Organized for the Busy Girl.

Day 7 - And for this last one, I took inspiration from a triangle pincushion I saw on Pinterest by Jeni/In Color Order. After I made mine in a more improvisational style, I realized Jeni had written a tutorial for hers, so I've linked to that above.

It's been fun to create a little, as well as look back a little - work totally on the fly, as well as try some new-to-me designs. It's a good thing. Check out the #pinnieparade hashtag on Instagram for oodles more!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Improv Stripes Layout

So over on Instagram, we're considering layout for our final projects and beginning to sew up our quilt tops.. I just kept rearranging my blocks, taking a quick photo after each possible layout, until I found an arrangement I was happy with. Here's some of the options I cam up with.

I like to trim my blocks as I construct my piece. You may even find you'd like to cut some blocks in half and repiece to make longer, skinnier blocks. Or you might need to make a new block or add to one for the size needed for your design. The possibilities are nearly endless! Here's my completed quilt top. 

I'll confess, I've already started quilting, using several colors of thread to go with the multi-colored nature of my quilt....

We'll be sharing our finished quilts on Friday. For those of you at another stage of the process, no worries! Just keep sewing along. It's all good!! Love the wonderful work you all have been doing! A few of you have shared with me, and I've enjoyed seeing what you're done with your improv stripes!

If you're able, do check out the #improvstripesqal hashtag!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

An Apple a Day....

Once again I let cuteness get the best of me! I found this apple pattern by Pen + Paper Patterns pretty irresistible, and I just had to make it for my friend Sharon/@redapplestitches' birthday. She loves apples, obviously, and I was sure hoping she could find a use for this mini!

Talk about a fun little sew! The quarter-circles are large enough, they go together so easily. It was fun choosing the apple fabrics, and I basically chose Essex as the background because I knew it would be super fun to quilt with contrasting red thread. Even though it looks black in the photos, the Essex is really Indigo Yarn Died, and I kinda love it!

Obviously, quilting was done in an uneven grid, a current favorite, and I couldn't resist putting a little of that stripe in the binding.

My version finishes at 19" square - a little larger than the pattern suggests. Since I was making a mini quilt rather than a quilt block, I didn't see any reason to trim it smaller.

Anyway, this was a fun little diversion from larger projects, and I'm pretty sure Sharon loved it as much as I do!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Improv Stripes Progress

Just popping in with a bit of an update on the Improv Stripes QAL going on now on Instagram! Over 50 of us are sewing along together and what a gorgeous array of blocks are showing up in the #improvstripesqal hashtag! Not mandatory of course, but if you are sewing along, consider making some 'mixed' blocks if you haven't already. Or in some way, make a few that are different than the others you've already made. Whatever, have fun and don't over think it!

To you who are joining in, do keep me updated either in the comments here with links to your progress photos, or feel free to email me at aquilterstable@gmail.com. Come Friday we'll start considering layout for our final pieces!

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Improv Stripes QAL Begins!

So the Improv Stripes QAL begins today!

Start by cutting a bunch of skinny strips.

Lengths do not matter, but if you want a look similar to mine, angle your strips as shown below, with one end approximately 1" wide, and the other slightly less. It doesn't hurt to go as low as 1/2" on one end. When strips are sewn together, that strip basically disappears at the skinny end, and that's an interesting element to add into the mix. Of course if you want to work with wider strips, go for it!

Follow the same method in cutting your contrasting strips, and begin sewing pairs together. If you like, combine stripe sets to add even more variety, and do keep any little bits you trim as you go, as they may find a home in your finished piece.

Once your pairs are sewn, press them, then begin sewing pairs into larger sets. It's ok for the ends to be uneven. And it's also ok - good in fact - to have a variety of sizes of stripe sets.

If you like, combine stripe sets to add even more variety, and do keep any little bits you trim as you go, as they may find a home in your finished piece. Don't press again, though, until you have a stripe set totally pieced. See how it bubbles up a little? Flip it over and press all the unpressed seams - direction really doesn't matter. Unlike pressing patchwork blocks after each seam to make things lie super flat, pressing the section at this point will cause just a bit of a wobble, which just adds to the overall look of the block - in a good way!

So.... start cutting strips and making stripe sets - as few or as many as you like. I'll be checking in on Instagram midweek, and by Friday, we'll plan on sharing some ideas about how we might arrange our blocks. If you're on Instagram, post progress using hashtags #improvstripesqal and #improvstripes. If you aren't, let me know in the comments how it's going and where I can see your photos, ok? This is gonna be fun!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Improv Piecing :: The Class

Remember several weeks ago I shared that I'd be teaching a class on improvisational quilting at Gossypium Quilt Shop? Well yesterday was the day! 

Gossypium has a really comfortable and well-lit classroom, and it was perfect for our six participants - everyone got their own table so they could spread out, which is so great for improv.

Before we knew it, everyone had their first block - an improv nine-patch - up on the design wall!

It was an easy-going day, with everyone working at their own speed after beginning our time with some demonstration and a mini trunk show. We chatted and shared everyone's blocks through the afternoon, and it was fun to see how each was unique to the maker.

It kinda made my day when one of the students said, "You're a good teacher. You make it all so accessible." Oh yes.... precisely my intent. That was good to hear!

So all in all, it was a really terrific day, and as a first-time teacher, I was more than pleased. Good times.

 Sharon/@redapplestitches, Louise/@imfeelincrafty, Janey, 
Terry/@terrypeart, Carla, me, Ruth

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Improv Stripes QAL :: Gathering Fabric

Folks have been asking if they can start gathering fabric for the Improv Stripes QAL starting next Monday, July 31. There won’t really be a supply list – with it being improv and not really knowing how each of you will use the blocks, it’s hard to say.

But, if you just can't wait, consider starting with scraps.... I’ve enjoyed using coordinating solids with a variety of contrasting prints, but really, anything you like will be fine! Just two contrasting fabrics.... a crazy mix of solids.... a tangle of string strips.... a big ole pile of random scraps.... nicely folded fat-quarters.... all of these would be great options!

So give it a little thought if you must. Ignoring it till Monday is fine too. I'll see you then!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Double Tall Skinny Vanilla

The honest truth is that way before I dug through the scrap basket and pulled out all my brown scraps, before I cut the first tumbler block, before I knew that my hope for the perfect photo-shoot would be dashed, this quilt had a name. A brown quilt had been on my list for quite a while, and when one day I got the inclination to make a scrappy tumbler quilt (you know, in my quest to lower the level of those scraps all the way to the bottom of the basket) the two ideas merged, and the name Double Tall Skinny Vanilla percolated up and did not go away.

And when that happened, I got the notion that the photo-shoot just had to be at one of my neighborhood Starbucks, preferable with a barista showing the quilt off through the drive-through window. I even considered a few different store locations, and picked the one with the best-looking siding as a backdrop.  Only problem was, Starbucks didn't like my idea as much as I did. snif. 

So I settled for the parking lot, strange as that may be. Some days it's worth settling when blue sky and nicely planted community areas are involved, right?

In case you missed it, I posted a tutorial for scrappy tumblers earlier in the month. They are really easy to cut once you know what size you want. And they piece together so quickly and neatly.

I chose to lay out my tumblers in a gradient of sorts, letting one lone 'cup' stand out and receive some singular quilting. I found several brown and green prints in the scrap basket, and I thought they added a fun nod to my favorite espresso stand's signature color. Two coffee-colored threads were used for quilting - Aurifil 50wt #2372 (Dark Antique Gold) for the cup, in an angular spiral; and the remainder a steam-symbolic wavy straight-line in #2326 (Sand).

Using stash browns and greens, I pieced a back - not my favorite thing to do but I used up more fabric!

And I chose a binding that is kind of striking and keeps your eye moving, a yummy brown wonky grid from Echo by Lotta Jansdotter.

So things didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped as far as the photo-shoot went, but otherwise, I'm more than pleased that I finally made a brown quilt, and having been inspired by my favorite espresso beverage kept me pretty stoked to work on it. AND, the fact that this is my sixth scrappy quilt this year was a bonus. Bottom's up!

Finished size: 56" x 56"

This quilt was on my 2017 Q3 Finish-A-Long list!
Linking up with Finish It Up Friday!