Category Archives: Quilt Alongs

Coming Home to the Start of Fire Season

Sad to say, Fire Season is a thing here. Each year everyone hopes for less disaster, fewer homes lost, and that the fire won’t be in their town. It is a very strange ‘season’ that did not use to exist. I have lived in this town for 26 years and while there was an occasional wildfire, it wasn’t an annual occurrence each Indian summer. Now, come August and September, it isn’t a question of ‘if’ a fire will occur, rather it is a question of when and where it will happen.

This morning I looked at the map for California to see where fires were burning and this is what I saw. We had a series of lightening strikes on Sunday and Monday nights this week and many (most?) of these fires were started by those events. There is a fire several miles from our home. It is far enough that I highly doubt we are at risk. There was a point where my parents felt nervous for their home and property so they came and stayed for a night at our house.

My son took this outside his home early this morning.

Up and down the state, land and homes are burning. The smoke and ash are just awful. I am ever so grateful for the responders, firefighters, Salvation Army (who feed everyone working on the fires as well as trying to help those who have lost their homes), the people who set up and run the evacuation centers (which are completely complicated by the need for social distancing and proper care for the Corona Virus), the sheriffs department who is tasked with alerting the neighborhoods that need to quickly evacuate. It is a huge issue and one for which there is no simple answer. Some people (looking at you President Trump) say it is because California doesn’t take care of land management properly and there is too much fuel. I don’t know the answer. But it is awful right now and I am hoping they get the local fire contained soon so we don’t have more homes lost.

Hugging my two girls the morning before we left.

OK – on to less depressing topics. Our trip to Seattle was just wonderful. We were there just over two weeks. We didn’t go out a whole lot – much of the time was spent with our grand daughters while my son and his wife house hunted. Fortunately they found a great place and are under contract for it now. Another 4 – 6 weeks and they will move in. I think it is the perfect home for them.

When I got home I needed to get organized – always so much laundry to be done, groceries to stock up on, etc. Now that is all taken care of so I am anxious to work on some sewing.

Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt, by From Bolt to Beauty

Just before I left, I finished this strip quilt. I had been loosely following along with Michelle, From Bolt to Beauty, who was hosting a quilt along for this free pattern on hers. It goes together so fast. I had about 1/2 of a jelly roll left over from the Postage Plus quilt I made. I added some strips from other fabrics to come up with enough for this lap quilt.

Aren’t these tiny polka dots a fun background?

While the colorful bits were all from my stash, I didn’t have any neutral fabrics in a large enough piece for the background. I decided to use the last of a bolt from the shop. These cute polka dots are from Maywood Studios’ Beautiful Basics line. I think they add a sweet element to this quilt top. I am not totally sure what I will use this one for but I plan to get it basted and quilted up. Otherwise it will be hung in the closet and forgotten.

My fabric stack for the Morewood Mystery Quilt

Last night I started cutting the pieces for the Morewood Mystery Quilt. I think this will be really fun and quite different from anything I have made, based solely on the fabrics I am using. The batiks are a stack of Anthology Fabric pieces that I have had for a really long time. The polka dots are the last of a bolt from the shop. The cut list for this mystery quilt looks super easy which makes me happy. I like easy! If you are interested in joining in, click here for the info. This event is hosted by Cheryl Brickey, from Meadow Mist Designs. Her Mystery QAL is a fun annual event. We are just getting started so you haven’t missed anything yet!

This morning the sun looked like a ball of fire due to the thick smoke. This was taken from my front deck.

OK – I think that is it for now. I am going to go work on a block for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge. I am a bit behind – July and August are both incomplete. Since we won’t be going outdoors for at least several more days, I will be able to get caught up. How about you? Tell me how you are doing and what you are working on? Sending good vibes and healthy thoughts to all of you!

Keeping Busy

June is winding down. Not sure how that is possible but really, it is best not to question things these days. Time passes, some days fly by and others feel so incredibly repetitive. Such is life during a pandemic.

I haven’t shared much lately so I need to get caught up! First off – a little crafting. Julia and I have been trying to spend some time together making projects. A few weeks ago, my son and his wife were here for a weekend (the first time we had seen them since Christmas!!). We spent some time painting small rocks Julia had collected outside. The goal was to place them here and there along a local trail so others could spot them as they walked. We pulled out some (really old) acrylic paints and started painting. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and we made quite an assortment.

Flowers, an avocado, a monster and some sweet daisies

A few days ago we lucked into a nice cool morning so Julia and I walked the local trail and tucked the rocks here and there as we went. Love the monster with the googly eyes and the avocado (my DIL painted). Pretty creative!

Clouds, Gnome, Ladybug, Flag and the scariest Shark EVER!

More fun! They look really cute out there. The shark is probably my favorite of this bunch. Plus he is sitting on the branch of a Manzanita tree and that curly bark is always fun to see. Julia and I will head back to the trail later this week. We want to see whether people leave the rocks there for others to see or if they pick them up.

A play fort

About half way through the loop, there is this huge old oak tree. I have pictures of Julia sitting in it from years back. This time, there was this play fort built around the base of the tree. So many branches were collected and assembled teepee-style around the base. We went and peeked in. So cute!! There were a few bits and pieces of construction paper with flowers drawn on them hanging on the inside with string. At the opening to the fort there was a bit of red glitter sprinkled on the ground. I just love thinking of the kids who made this. I hope it stays in place as it must have taken quite a while to gather the branches and assemble this. There is nothing like pretending in a fort like this. I know my kids would have loved this when they were young.

Vintage Simplicity Pattern

About a week or so back, I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook. I decided to make a summer dress. I have had this vintage Simplicity pattern for a long time now. It was printed in 1966. I thought this would be perfect for lounging around. The fabric is a voile by Art Gallery Fabric. I love their voiles because they hang nicely and don’t wrinkle after washing. Super soft and comfortable too. The voiles have been quite popular in the shop lately so I am running low. I just placed an order for more and cannot wait until they arrive (maybe another ten days or so?)

The dress took no time to put together. Four pieces to cut out and since it ties at the shoulder, no zipper to fuss with.

French seams to prevent fraying

I used French seams on the two side seams to prevent any fraying. These are super simple when dealing with simple, straight seams.

While it is certainly nothing fancy, it is just what I wanted. Cool and loose and comfy which is just my style. Whether it be 1966 or 2020, the pattern works just fine. Be warned though – sewing with vintage patterns is a little bit tricky. The sizing is very different. Don’t assume you are the same size with older patterns as with current. Rely on the measurements listed on the pattern – that will tell you what size you need to use. It was a fun dress to make.

The kick off for this year’s Mystery Quilt Along happens this week! I am really excited. Probably due to the lack of local quilt guild activity and community quilting (with everyone staying home during the pandemic), the sign ups for this years QAL increased greatly. If you have not participated before, I encourage you to give it a try. I love working with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, the host of this event and her patterns are always a hit. Without divulging anything I will tell you Cheryl described this year’s pattern as beginner friendly and it does not require any paper piecing or difficult techniques (eg the dreaded Y seams or curved blocks.)

Here are a few of the kits available. Pop over if you want to see the rest of them!

There are kits available in the shop if you prefer working from a kit rather than picking fabric yourself. Take a peek. They are selling like crazy and I have been cutting yard after yard of fabric this week!

Covid numbers continue to climb. Life is filled with this strange feeling of uncertainty even as we live in quarantine, doing the same things over and over with one day melting into the next. Hang in there, support each other and above all, sew something!

Mosaic Mystery QAL Quilt Top

I made it!! It is only the 24th of February and my quilt top is complete for the Mosaic Mystery Quilt Along. I have to tell you I had so much fun with this event – between selling so many great kits for it, meeting new quilters through Cheryl’s Facebook Group, completing this quilt top which I truly love, and seeing all of the different versions of the top. Cheryl’s QAL’s are extremely popular and there are now hundreds of Mosaic quilts in the world. The amazing thing is the speed with which some of these quilters can sew! Honestly by the time I read the next batch of instructions, there would be several (sometimes many) quilters posting their progress on Facebook. Lightening speed!

The bright sun washed out the colors just a bit.

As for me, I am thrilled to have the top complete by the time of the last link up! Looking at the finished top, I am almost completely satisfied with the fabrics I used. If I could make one change it would be to change the value between my off-white fabric used for the stars and the background. The stars don’t show up nearly as well as I would like. Value is something I continue to work on. It is something I need to consider more when choosing fabrics because truly it is what makes or breaks a quilt (in my opinion).

The stars are washed out for sure but I just love the rust that runs through in Irish Chain fashion. That bold pop of color is beautiful.

Floating in the breeze.

Another picture, just for fun. For now, I will fold the top and store it while I move on to some other projects. I can complete this at a later time.

The first few blocks of baby girl’s quilt.

I need to move on to the next project. I have a disappearing nine patch started for my new grand daughter who is due on March 12th. This little quilt is so sweet with farm animals and bright red and yellow colors. Maybe she will be able to sit on it out in the yard this coming summer or fall. It is a simple pattern which I will finish in no time as the pieces are already cut and some of the blocks are done.

I love a border print and this one is exceptional!

I also have this pair of pants I started a couple of weeks ago. They just need to be hemmed. I love this fabric and am anxious to get them done so I can wear them.

This week I have two fabric orders coming in. Both are completely different and I am excited to get them listed and available in the shop. Always plenty to do around here! How about you?

I am linking up to Patty at Elm Street for One Monthly Goal and also at Brag About Your Beauties as well as Cheryl’s final link up for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. Whew!

February Scrappy Projects

I started the month off by working on two scrappy projects. Kind of nice to play a bit and use up a few pieces from my scrap bins. Besides what else was I to do while the Super Bowl was on??

The first block I made is for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge. The color is blue and the block was a quick make. Coincidentally, I used polka dots again this month (I used them last month too, but in yellow).

These look so happy and it is making me wonder if I should try to go for a polka dotted theme with this quilt. I need to check the bins and see if I have enough dots though. I am NOT going to buy dotted fabric to make this happen. Sort of defeats the purpose of scrappy quilting, doesn’t it?? Jen does have the colors she will be focusing on listed on her blog. I will take a look and see how many dotted fabrics I have to decide if this might work.

After this block, I decided to pull my orange bin as that is the color for February over at Angela’s RSC2020 challenge. I had absolutely no idea what I was wanting to do with them but thought I should make something just to use some of the scraps up. Plus, I was in the mood to play around.

Somehow it popped into my head to make a Dresden block. I have seen lots of minis or wall quilts with a series of Dresdens of various sizes and colors, made to look like flowers. I think I will do something like this. I like the Dresden’s with the curved tips and might alter a few to look like that as well. It will be a fun thing to work on here and there.

This week was our monthly guild meeting. My friend Sophia encouraged the guild members to make tree blocks for Australia’s fire victims. The result was fantastic. There was a sew day with one local church group of quilters and quite a large stack of blocks was created.

Trees of all sorts.

The variety of blocks showed a great deal of creativity. It was fun to look through them since I didn’t attend the sew day. I did make two blocks though and you can see those here if you like.

Sweet needle turn appliquéd leaves.

There were lots of appliqué, many strip pieced trees and an assortment of traditional tree blocks.

This tree was drawn on the fabric which I thought was quite clever. If our little guild came through with all of these, I cannot imagine how many the Wollongong MQG is going to receive. Wow!

Now that my scrappy projects are wrapped up for the moment, I am finishing up the assembly of my Mosaic Quilt top. The main portion of the top is put together. I keep looking at it to see if some portion is flipped the wrong way before I put on the borders. It is much harder to take apart once the borders are on. It looks good to me but I am going to stare at it a bit more before I take that last step!

Linking to Oh Scrap! and Jen’s 2020 Monthly Color Challenge link (which I totally forgot to do with my yellow blocks!) Enjoy the week everyone!

February Means a New Goal

It is February!! A. new month means another goal to set for what I will accomplish in the sewing room. This month I plan to finish assembling the quilt top I am making with the Mosaic Mystery QAL hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.

The fabric pull for my Mosaic Mystery Quilt.

I have really enjoyed making this quilt and it is exciting to be this close to finishing up the top. Cheryl did such a great job with the drafting of this pattern. Her instructions were great. One would think this would make it easy for me to avoid errors. Well, what can I say? I haven’t had to rip many seams – I think just a few little ones. Where I made mistakes was not piecing all of the blocks she instructed us to. I think I get going too fast and then don’t read everything thoroughly. As I assembled the top, I found out I had totally skipped making a set of flying geese blocks. I should have been clued in by the extra unused pieces sitting in the project tub but I didn’t really notice. Anyway, I have caught up and made the rest of the missing bits.

A sneak peek of the quilt top as it comes together.

Let me ask you… when you are piecing a top, do you sew each row (eg all of Row A, all of Row B and so on). I don’t. I am impatient and want to see the whole thing all laid out. So I have been assembling the rows on the bed and then lifting them and stitching each row together. I love seeing it take shape like this. The design is wonderful with the rusty textured solid creating a bold chain pattern across the top. The dark floral will be used as the border.

So, it should be very attainable because I have over half of the top assembled. Just need to do the rest of the rows and get the borders cut and stitched on. Who knows? Maybe I will even get it basted?

Even though I live just a couple of hours from San Francisco, I can’t get too excited about watching the 49’ers play in the Super Bowl. Instead, I will be working on my Mosaic project. How about you? If you aren’t overly excited about the game, hop over to the shop and take advantage of the Super Bowl Sunday sale!! 20% off of all yardage, pre-cuts, kits and clearance/remnants. So many pretty fabrics to choose from!

Linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts, host of the 2020 One Monthly Goal.

Camden Road QAL – New Kits!

Being the start of the new year, there are all sorts of fun quilting challenges, projects and quilt alongs to take part in. Today is the kick off of a fun quilt along, the Camden Road QAL. Hosted by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs and Cindy of Hyacinth Designs, this might be just the project to start your new year right. The pace is a bit quicker than Cheryl’s Mosaic Mystery QAL which I have been sewing along with since late summer. As you can see in the picture above, the Camden Road pattern is gorgeous!

Prints from this kit are a burst of color!

Cheryl, the designer of the Camden Road pattern, curated several kits and asked if I would stock them. She based the kits on a floral print by Pat Bravo called Femme Metale Boho. (This vivid print with berry, teal blue and orange is available in the shop). From there she gathered other Art Gallery prints that look fantastic with the Femme Metale print. These kits are helpful for quilters who don’t enjoy putting their fabrics together.

Each kit creates a different look depending on the background fabrics used. For the purposes of this post, I am showing the kits in the smallest size of Camden Road – finishing out at 45 1/2″ square. The pattern also has options for a lap size and twin size quilt. What do you think of the version above with its mint green and off-white background fabrics?

Here it is with a background in Macadamia and Linen, which are a soft beige with pink tones and a creamy off-white. With these background fabrics, the look is warmer.

This version is lots of fun with two print backgrounds. The teal blue has tiny plus signs and the inner background fabric is a tone on tone white dotted fabric. Using small prints like this adds movement to the overall look of the quilt.

The Camden Road pattern is fat quarter friendly, uses lots of flying geese blocks and is a sure success. Cheryl Brickey is a pro at pattern design and her instructions are very clear. Through the 28th, the Camden Road pattern is 25% off if you use the promo code, CAMDENROAD. Click here to take advantage of the sale. For more details on the quilt along, click here.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Hope your week is off to a creative start! I took Julia back to the university yesterday and she started classes that afternoon. The holiday break went so quickly – now it is time to get back on track.

Push Pull QAL has Begun

You may have seen the promotions of the Push Pull Quilt Along on social media over the past couple of weeks. This quilt along is being hosted by Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl. She is well known for her striking use of transparency technique to achieve a look of layered colors in her quilt design. Her Push Pull design also uses transparency to achieve that effect.

I like the pace of this event. She is sending out instructions approximately every three weeks. It is different in that this is a purchased pattern. I bought mine this week and look forward to participating. At this point, I am debating using a dark blue palette and making it as a crib size quilt.

A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with Yvonne and we thought it would be fun to put together some kits with fabrics that create the transparency effect for this pattern. Yvonne chose two different sets of solids.

One collection runs from teal blue to a very pale mint green.

If you preferred the lighter tones, you can choose to use the mint green as the background. Isn’t it fun just to look at how the quilt changes based on the light versus dark backgrounds?

The other includes three stunning shades of orange. Again, this one uses the darkest orange as the background.

Here you see the kit utilizing the lightest orange tone as the background. Which one do you prefer??

These kits make it easy for quilters to work with this sort of color play without making the decisions about value or depth of the shades.

Yvonne’s pattern includes three sizes to choose from, small/baby, lap quilt or queen size. This quiltwould make a really dramatic statement on a queen size bed! I appreciate Yvonne taking the time to do the math to allow quilters to make whichever size works best for them. The kits are also available in each of the three sizes. Click here to shop.

Are you going to join in? I hope so – I love this sort of social on-line QAL. Looking forward to interacting with other Push-Pull QAL participants on the Quilting Jetgirl Facebook page or Instagram. See you there!

Today is the last day of my Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday sale. If you were debating picking up a kit, today is the day! It is 20% off through the end of the day, along with all other yardage, pre-cuts, notions and patterns. The sale may end tonight but kits will be available while supplies are available.

Quilt Shows and Quilt Alongs

Good morning all. I am enjoying a lovely, quiet morning here with coffee and some blog reading and I thought it a good time to catch up. It has been a while right?

Last weekend I spent a couple of days as a vendor at a fun show in the small town of Brownsville. I can’t say how much I enjoyed this little show. It was so relaxed and the people, quilters and wanderers both, were incredibly friendly. This guild has a membership of about 30 people with roughly half being very active. The town has a population of approximately 1300 people. It was quite nostalgic for me as my first husband’s grandparents lived in Brownsville and we spent many Thanksgiving weekends with them in their very tiny house. Grandma Ada cooked on a woodturning stove and was into quilting, crochet, and stamp collecting. I have one quilt of hers, all hand stitched hexies. It is in need of repairs, being made in the 1940’s and hopefully one day I will get around to it.

The toddler books and the sweet tape measures were a popular item during the show.

Back to the show! Because it was a very small show, I didn’t bring as much inventory as I normally do. There was a corner of one table with fun notions and projects. The toddler fabric books were a fun find for customers – I had a sample of each one available.

I pre-cut quite a bit of fabric into one yard cuts so I would have enough selection without having to pack and unpack all of those bolts. Not shown in the picture is another table which displayed a number of bolts as well as the pre-cuts.

Everyone wanted to pet Jack, an emotional therapy dog used by the Sherrif’s department.

Other than the friendly quilters, one thing I was really taken with was the presentation done on Sunday afternoon at the end of the show. This small group of quilters makes an impressive number of community service quilts each year. They get together every Wednesday to work on their CS quilts. The stack they had on display was just amazing. On Sunday afternoon, the representatives of the groups to which the quilts are donated are introduced and presented with their quilts. There was a representative from the Fire Department, Hospice, local Domestic Violence as well as the Sheriff’s Department. Most of the representatives told a heartwarming story of how the quilts are used before thanking the group and loading up with quilts for the year. There was an emotional support dog who came along with the sheriff that works with children who have been removed from scary situations. The idea of presenting the quilts in this way was really touching. Do any of you do this with your community service quilts? I think it provided a meaningful opportunity for the quilters who make all of these gifts to see how valued and appreciated their work is.

October piecing for the Mosaic Mystery QAL

Last week I finished up the October blocks for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. These were simple (as you can see) but I think this is truly the only sewing I did all week! At least I am caught up and can begin the November piecing now.

The Truckee River in November

My husband and I spent a couple of days away earlier in the week. We had to go up and check on our house in Downieville since we had not been up there for so long. Because of the power outages we had to toss everything in the fridge and freezer which was quite annoying. We also spent a day with my in-laws which was lovely. We took a long walk along the river and got a lot of visiting in.

Coming soon!

Finally, just in case you haven’t seen this yet – there is another great quilt along coming up. The Push-Pull Quilt Along begins next week. The schedule is very relaxed with prompts announced every three weeks. Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl is the host and as with the last QAL, it is a transparency quilt. This technique is so unusual and the results are always striking. Needle and Foot will be sponsoring some of the prizes for the link ups. Quilt fabric kits will also be available in the shop for those who want to choose a ready-made collection of solids. The kits were curated by Yvonne so you know they will be a stunning set of color. Photos of these will be shared in a couple of weeks.

This is a three day weekend for many in the US (honoring the veterans in our country). For me, it means Julia had time to come home from school. She is here until Tuesday early morning, when I will take her back down to school. She sent a list of foods she has been missing so lots of cooking is going on. This is what all of my kids seemed to do when they were home during college. “Mom, will you make XXX for dinner?” So spaghetti and meatballs, bbq pulled pork with slaw, and Baked Potato Soup are on the menu this weekend. Ah, a light and low fat menu to be sure!! I love feeding my kiddos. Hope you are enjoying the long weekend if you are in the US. Many thanks to all of those in Service who support our country now or did so in the past!

Mosaic Mystery Quilt Kits

It is the first week of July, so you know what that means, right? The annual Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt kicks off! Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs is back with her 5th annual mystery quilt, called the Mosaic Mystery, beginning on Thursday, July 4th.  This confident beginner level quilt along is completely free to join and has a relaxed pace with monthly instructions posted on the first Thursday of each month.  All quilt instructions will be posted on the Meadow Mist Designs blog and you can find all information about the quilt along on the Mosaic Mystery page.  Join over 3,700 other quilters in the friendly and quite active Meadow Mist Designs Facebook Group .  Cheryl is also offering a non-mystery option for those that want to join in, but would rather see the design ahead of time.  You can sign up for the non-mystery option here

This year I am involved on a couple of levels. Needle and Foot is sponsoring two different prizes during the event, one in August and another at the final reveal when the QAL wraps up. Additionally, Needle and Foot has two kits curated specifically for the Mosaic Mystery Quilt. This is really exciting! Cheryl and I worked together to create two kits, each with very different vibes.

For some quilters, a Mystery Quilt can be somewhat daunting. It might feel a bit nerve wracking to pick fabrics without knowing what the pattern looks like. To this end, Cheryl and I thought it would be nice to have kits available for you to choose from. Both collections contain a selection of fabrics from Art Gallery Fabric, with a solid as the background and three prints used in the quilt and as the binding.

One of my kits contain three prints from the Sun Kissed line. Designed by Maureen Cracknell, these fabrics are summery and so cheerful. The Sun Kissed kit is available here.

Going clockwise, there is Linen for the background, Summer Dress Dreams, Hazy Daisies in Scarlet, and Bandana in Grapefruit.

The prints include large and medium scales which just happen to work well with the design of the Mystery Quilt.

Above are the details on the Sun Kissed kit for your review.

This stunning kit contains print fabrics from Pat Bravo’s Matchmade line. Created by Pat as a line of blenders, the range of color used for the Matchmade fabrics is bold and saturated. To see more details, click here.

The background is a solid black called Caviar. The prints starting in the top left and going clockwise; Indication Midnight, Positivity Berry, and Positivity Midnight.

This kit is very modern with strong contrast. The prints are small scale and not the primary focus of the kit. The color is the focus – shades of teal and berry with a dramatic black background. Gorgeous!

Here are some details on the Matchmade kit for you to review.

I have had such a great experience working with Cheryl creating these two kits for you. If you are someone who is intimidated by the prospect of selecting fabrics for a mystery quilt pattern, be sure to take a look at the kits. Cheryl and I tried to create two very different kits, both modern with bold colors and yet each with a very different feel to them. Using strictly Art Gallery Fabrics in the kits means they are of the highest quality. Kits do not include the backing fabric or batting. However, I do have fabrics in stock that work really well for the backings for both kits. You can see backing suggestions when you click through to the kit links.

There are a number of each kit available in the shop. Come take a look! If you have any questions about the QAL – hop over to Cheryl’s so she can assist. Questions about the kits? Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email. And…. just to have some fun, let’s take a vote. Which kit is your favorite? Let me know in the comments. I am so curious.