Category: Scrap Quilt

January 1st, 2018 by amy

News flash, People… narwhals are NOT fictional characters. They actually exist. Maybe you knew that, but until today, I did not.

Just in case you are even less informed than me, narwhals are whales with a unicorn-like horn. Google them. They’re fascinating.

So basically, I just experienced a paradigm shift. My mind has been blown. On one hand, I’m horrified I remained so ignorant for so long. On the other, I’m enchanted to learn these magical creatures are more than just a fairy tale.

My introduction to narwhals was an adorable quilting fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics.

Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller

Perhaps you can understand my confusion. Who could guess these unicorns of the sea were based on real animals? Not I, my friend. NOT. I.

Now I am not a stupid person, but I’ll be the second to admit I don’t know everything. (My mother-in-law would be the first.) That is especially true when it comes to quilting, so one of my top goals for 2018 is to expand my skill-set.

I recently purchased Modern Quilt Magic by Victoria Findlay Wolfe and am going to spend the next few months learning to sew partial seams. I also want to continue my adventures in straight-line quilting using my digital dual feed foot. I had a great experience with that while working on Positively Scrappy.

Do you set sewing goals every year? If so, what do you have planned for 2018? Perhaps a lovely narwhal quilt?

Happy New Year, My Friend.


Posted in Did You Know, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

December 25th, 2017 by amy

I love the week between Christmas and New Year. I enjoy reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the coming one. What’s amazing is that I’m not super depressed by all the goals I didn’t accomplish this year. The list is long, but staring at the face of a fresh, new beginning, I can’t help but be optimistic. Take a look back with me…

I was planning to go from size XL to size M by year’s end. That didn’t happen. In fact, I’m on the verge of XXL at the moment, but that’s okay. I’ll add it to my list for 2018.

I put 24 books on my 2017 reading list and read only 6 of them. That didn’t go as planned. Too ambitious. If I keep it at 12, I feel confident I’ll get it done this time. Probably. Maybe.

Happily, I did pretty well on my sewing list. I got my studio set up at my new house, which was a major accomplishment. I machine-quilted Positively Scrappy. And – just today in fact – finished my Girlie Mod quilt top. I also made significant progress on Chaos Theory, despite f-ing up several sections as I discussed here. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but… oh hell… that’s NOT a lot. It is, however, something, and that’s better than nothing.

SO…Merry Christmas, y’all. I hope you have an amazing holiday season and an even better New Year. I’m about to write down my 2018 New Year’s resolutions. They will probably be over-ambitious like always, but who knows. This could be the year I discover the secret of life, accomplish all my goals and become fabulously rich and famous. My last fortune cookie certainly gave me hope.

Until then, here’s my latest finish…Girlie Mod, part 1 of my 3-quilt Mod Squad series. I will be posting the pattern next month. In fact, it’s the first item on my 2018 resolutions list. 🙂



This finished at 60 inches square, making it a nice lap quilt. Another resolution that’s going on my list… learn to take better pictures. 🙂 Aloha, y’all.

Posted in Chaos Theory, Girlie Mod, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, The Mod Squad Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

December 18th, 2017 by amy

The person who invents a self-sharpening rotary cutter is going to be a multi-billionaire, no joke, and  I will be her biggest fan.

Today I trimmed a thousand half-square triangle blocks. It was really only 72, but it felt like much more, because I cut half of them with a dull blade. Sheer foolishness. Most of you probably are smart enough to change your blade as needed but I tend to be stubborn about such things. I mean, they’re so expensive for one thing, and I recently moved my studio so I wasn’t even sure where my fresh blades were located. 

Finally, I made myself step away from the cutting table. Sure, I had to search 20 minutes but once I found the blades and installed a new one, I was glad I did. I went from sawing through a chunk of wood with a dull blade to slicing butter with a hot knife. Amazing difference. So much so, I cut the second half of squares in less than half the time. 

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to never cut with a dull rotary blade, ever again. As a thrifty quilter, that statement makes me cringe a little, but hey, that’s what coupons are for, right?

I am still plugging away on Girlie Mod, the first in my 3-quilt Mod Squad series. I’m almost done with the quilt top, despite my crazy holiday schedule. Are you guys making time to sew? Are you using a fresh rotary blade when you cut? I hope so.

Aloha y’all.

Posted in Girlie Mod, Scrap Quilt, The Mod Squad, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , , ,

November 20th, 2017 by amy

I began work recently on a new, original pattern series called the Mod Squad. There will be three variations:

  1. Girlie Mod
  2. Mod and Manly
  3. Mod One, Mod All

Here – obviously – is the beginnings of Girlie Mod. This adorable fabric – Chérie by designer Masha D’yans for Clothworks – is just about as girlie as it gets. It’s been sitting in my stash for several years. I picked it up in Wasilla, Alaska, around about 2011 but haven’t used it until now because with it’s large-scale design it doesn’t work for typical, traditional quilt blocks. With such a large center block, Girlie Mod needed something big and bold. Win-win all around.

These pictures don’t do it justice but I’ll get better ones next week when I finish. In the meantime, let me just say, I am absolutely loving this pattern. I’ve been sewing 2½” squares for nearly two years, so it was a delight to work with bigger pieces. I would have finished the entire top in a day, except I’m waiting for my new Accuquilt 4½” half-square triangle die to arrive. I did NOT want to cut those by hand.

Speaking of Accuquilt, except for five large-ish pieces, this pattern can be cut entirely by that method, which makes me so happy. I despise cutting fabric with a rotary cutter.

I can’t wait to show you the finished top, AND start the quilting, AND share the pattern. 🙂 

Aloha y’all 

Posted in Accuquilt, Girlie Mod, Scrap Quilt, The Mod Squad Tagged with: , , , ,

November 13th, 2017 by amy

Today, I machine-stitched the binding to the front of my Positively Scrappy quilt. All that remains is a few evenings of Netflix binging while hand-sewing it to the back and the quilt will be cuddle ready.

I love this quilt for many reasons, even though it’s probably not the most beautiful one in the world. 

  1. It’s a visual representation of my sewing history. It contains literally hundreds of memories. I used scraps from just about every cotton item I’ve sewn over the past 35 years, so it is to me what a photo album would be to a normal person. 🙂
  2. This was my first large-scale project using the Brother Muvit digital dual feed foot and I am so thrilled with how it performed. I almost regret buying the Dream Fabric Frame because I enjoy straight-line quilting so much more than free motion now that I discovered the dual feed foot. However, I’m sure there  will come a time I yearn for free motion quilting again and the Dream Fabric Frame will be there for me.
  3. Speaking of the quilting, I did a 2-inch grid pattern over the entire quilt. I considered quilting in the ditch but decided I wanted to be able to see the lines so I sewed about an eighth of an inch from every seam. It turned out great. The gray thread was a spool of Simplicity Pro 50 wt that came with the machine. No complaints there.

I like to review one or more binding tutorials before I start binding a new quilt and there are SO many to chose from. Here are a few that I like:

Well, here it is…Sunday evening again. I’m off to bed and tomorrow I’ll be back at my day job for a few days, so Aloha for now, Y’all. Thanks for stopping by. 

Posted in Accuquilt, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , , , ,

November 6th, 2017 by amy

Can I hire someone to baste my quilts? Is that a thing? I want to do the quilting myself, but I do NOT love putting together that quilt sandwich.

Today was the day to begin quilting Positively Scrappy, so I eagerly spread out my backing, batting and quilt top on my sitting room floor. I gingerly lowered myself to the ground and began the tedious task of pinning it all together. It hurt. A lot. After all, I am on the dark side of 50, my knees are shot, my back aches and I’m fat. After a half hour I felt like I’d been doing intense yoga for several days.

I got about halfway done and said, “forget this crap,” except maybe with a little saltier language. I remembered that I had a can of spray baste in my sewing room. Praise the Lord!

I sprayed the remainder of my sandwich. What a hot mess! There is still fuzz on my fingertips from that little adventure. At one point I thought about taking it all over to the local long-arm quilter, but my daddy always said I was tenacious. He actually used the word stubborn, but I knew what he meant.

Here’s what I learned from this morning’s endeavors:

  1. I’m too old to crawl around on the floor like a baby. I need a couple more folding tables for laying out quilts.
  2. Pinning is painful and I have the bloody finger to prove it. If I try it again I’m definitely buying some quilt basting pins.
  3. Spray basting is sticky, messing and frustrating but it doesn’t draw blood, so there’s that.

How do you baste your quilts? Or do you hire a professional sandwich maker? Also, can you send me his number?

Posted in Accuquilt, Positively Scrappy, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

November 6th, 2017 by amy

The Chaos Continues

I’m beginning to feel like this project will never end, so I have to remind myself of the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course, is, “One bite at a time.”

Today I finished Section 12. I did Section 13 some months back, so I now have three left, notwithstanding the three or four I must redo as mentioned in my last post because of inaccurate seam allowances. I’m not counting those today, however, because… well, because I don’t want to. It depresses me.

Despite setbacks, I am quite pleased with how it’s turning out. I can’t wait to finish it and get the pattern ready for release, which I plan to do by the end of 2017. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. 🙂


Posted in Accuquilt, Chaos Theory, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , ,

October 30th, 2017 by amy

Block 11 of Chaos Theory. It’s not quite finished but unfortunately this is as far as I’m going to get this week. I do love my day job but it interferes with my quilting. 🙂

Aloha y’all. I have a confession to make. I don’t have an accurate quarter-inch seam. I THOUGHT I did, but it was all hubris. I discovered this lamentable fact whilst in the middle of my monster project, Chaos Theory. I’ve been working on it since 2016. I was supposed to finish it by the end of 2016 but for many reasons it didn’t happen. 

What did happen is that I switched sewing machines in the middle of the project. Big mistake. Huge! Turns out my quarter-inch seam was a little big on the first machine and a little small on the second one, a fact I didn’t discover until I had completed two-thirds of my project. Did I mention what a beast that quilt is? Two thousand, three hundred and four tiny squares. It’s taken me nearly two years to get this far.

There were tears when I discovered my mistake. Maybe even some gnashing of teeth. Definitely a few F bombs. I was ready to throw in the towel, because I knew I was going to have to redo a lot of it.

It was absolutely essential that I perfect my quarter-inch seam before sewing another stitch, so that’s just what I did. I read a few excellent tutorials online, which I’ll share with you at the end of this post, but I kept thinking, “My Brother Innovis VQ2400 was freaking expensive. It should practically sew an accurate seam without me.”

To my delight, it does. 

Maybe y’all know all about this quarter-inch quilting foot. I was woefully ignorant until now. If you don’t have one, go get one right now. It will save you a lot of heartache. If you can’t lay your hands on one, though, that’s okay. Here are links to some excellent tutorials that will help you achieve a dead-accurate quarter-inch seam.

One final note. It doesn’t matter how accurate your seams are if your cutting is off, so your first step to a beautiful quilt is to cut your pieces as perfectly as you can manage. I use the Accuquilt Go cutter whenever possible. I know a lot of you prefer the Sizzix or some other machine and that’s perfectly fine. Do whatever it takes to get perfect cuts every time.

In closing, don’t be like me. Make SURE your seam allowances are perfect before you begin your next project. 

Posted in Accuquilt, Chaos Theory, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , , , , ,

October 12th, 2017 by amy

Quilting inspiration comes from many places: a photograph, a shape, a memory even. For me, it almost always begins with color. One of the reasons I love fabric so much is all the scrumptious eye candy. It’s like a painting you can cuddle.

In this series, we’re going to discuss awesome color combinations, and we’re going to begin with one of my all-time favorites: red and brown.

All the Feels…Color always sparks some emotion. Blue is calming, yellow, uplifting. Red on it’s own can be angry or passionate, but pair it with brown and it becomes cozy, warm, (sometimes) rustic. And who doesn’t love being warm and cozy? That’s why it’s the perfect combination for a quilt.

Here’s what I’m currently doing with red and brown.

This is basically a fence-rail block with a pinwheel in the middle. It’s a UFO from several years back. Maybe, probably, hopefully — no, dammit — I WILL finish it one day. I think this would have been just fine without the orange, but I ran out of my reds and browns so being the innovator that I am… haha.

How do you feel about red and brown? Have you ever used it in a quilt? I’d love to see it.

Thanks, y’all, for stopping by.

Posted in Scrap Quilt, Winning Color Combinations Tagged with: , , , ,

July 1st, 2016 by amy

Throwback Thursday

This little lap quilt is another treasure from my Alaska days. The girls and I spent a wonderful year there while my soldier did an unaccompanied tour in Korea. Between hubby being gone and the bitter cold winter, I had lots of time on my hands, most of which I spent quilting and sewing.

My 5 favorite things about this quilt are:

  1. The plaid shirting – a freebie I picked up at a fabric exchange. Oh, and that pink floral…I wish I’d bought a whole bolt of it. It goes with everything.
  2. Accuquilt friendliness factor – I cut every piece with my Accuquilt Go.
  3. Color scheme – The pinks and greens are delicious…like ice cream sherbet.
  4. Quick, easy piecing – This would be a great beginner pattern. It went together very quickly, but it still looks great.
  5. Beautiful quilting – My go-to long-arm quilter in Alaska, Mary Lou Frahm of Honeybee Quilting did a fabulous job, don’t you agree?

At about  57″ square, this quilt is the perfect size for the beach, or curling up on the couch. I think it would make a great baby quilt too. I might have to make a few more. 🙂

Mahalo, y’all, for stopping by.

Posted in Accuquilt, Scrap Quilt, Thrifty Quilting Tagged with: , , ,