The House That Scrappy Built

I’ve always been enamored of house quilts. Houses and quilts seem such a natural pairing, both speaking to the utmost in coziness and comfort. I’ve made a couple of them before now and those, I cherish. After my latest one though, I began to consider how I would go about designing my own house quilt.  

It’s such a popular motif I didn’t want to offer a pattern if I couldn’t bring something distinctly my own to the table. I wanted it to be fun and modern, but also quick and easy, and that starts with the cutting.

  • This pattern can be cut 100% with one of the *Accuquilt systems.
  • Alternatively, and almost as quickly, it can be cut with the *Stripology XL ruler by Creative Grids.
  • Even if you don’t own one of the above, it’s really quick to cut with an old-school rotary cutter/ruler.

Second, the blocks are enormous. You only need 20 for a very generous-sized throw. You can make a twin/throw from start to finish in a weekend – with time to spare.

Finally, the striped effect gives it a cute, modern look. AND, it’s fun to create whether you’ve made one quilt or 50. There’s something about the design that lends itself well to holiday quilts as well as school-themed ones. Christmas Cabins, anyone? Haunted Houses? Love Shacks? Frat Houses? Honestly, I can think of at least a dozen I want to make right now, including, of course, a scrap-happy version.

I hope you’ll give it a try. You can purchase the pattern at my Etsy shop. Do let me know how it goes.

* I’m not compensated by Accuquilt or Creative Grids. I am just passionate about these products. Full disclosure, I DO have an affiliate account with Accuquilt, so if you click that link to the right and buy something, I might make a few pennies but I haven’t done so yet.

 

Another Quilt Is Born – The Full-On Scrappy One

In a recent post, A Quilt Is Born, I talked about one of my bucket-list quilts, the giant gingham. I mentioned the one I made is moderately scrappy and I quite like it, but I decided to make a full-on scrappy version and a totally non-scrappy one to compare and contrast.

Today, I started my super-scrappy one. It’s going to be black/gray/white. It’s hard to form an opinion based on such a small sample but, as you know, I’m pre-disposed to love super-scrappy quilts so I predict I will be happy with it.

As I was sewing this section, I was thinking,”how would this look with improv-pieced blocks?” so I might have to give that a try next. I think it would be fabulous. 

Here’s the one that began this obsession…

Looks like I might be sewing gingham quilts for a while. Have you made one yet? I would love to see it. 

Here are my take-aways for the giant gingham quilt…

  • Super-easy, quick quilt
  • Can be completed in as few as 3 hours (non-scrappy, baby size)
  • Great for beginners
  • A lovely way to study color values

 

A Quilt Is Born

For months now, I’ve been working on a couple of projects that seem never-ending. This weekend, I wanted the satisfaction of a finish, so instead of doing what I know I should have done, which is to continue with my WIPs, I started something new. I did end the week with a finished quilt top, which was enough to make me happy and give me the impetus to go back to my older quilts next weekend. I hope.

The design stage is my favorite part of quilt-making so I’m always interested in the genesis of a quilt. How did it get started? For me, it begins with the fabric usually, but that’s not what happened this time. As I mentioned, I wanted a quick finish, and I remembered something that’s been on my quilting bucket list for a while – the giant gingham quilt, sometimes called the buffalo plaid. You probably know the one. It lit up Pinterest a couple of years back and everybody made one. Except I didn’t. But I wanted to, so I put it on my “Someday” list. 

I also remembered The Fat Quarter Shop has a video tutorial that claims it can be done start to finish in three hours. Challenge accepted. With my pattern chosen, it was time to pick the fabrics. Most of the online pictures show these quilts with solid fabrics as opposed to prints, but I don’t have many solids in my stash so I needed prints that kind of read as solids, i.e. small scale with limited colors.

The first thing to catch my eye was this gorgeous, vintage blue print. (top and bottom)

It has such a painterly quality, it reminds me of a Monet. I knew I wanted it for my mid-tone and it has a touch of white and Navy blue so that dictated my light and dark tones as well.

Here’s the thing with vintage fabrics – they’re not always the same width as modern ones. This piece was about ten inches shy so things got scrappy real fast. I pieced together as much of the vintage as I could, but I ran out of scraps before I ran out of rows so I had to substitute a couple of solids and some leftovers from another quilt, Birdie in My Cabin.

It’s definitely noticeable in the finished top but I don’t make perfect quilts, and I’m ok with that. It would probably drive some of you crazy, so just make sure you start with a whole yard of your light and dark tones and two yards of your medium tone.

I didn’t have a whole yard of anything I liked for the darks, so I used two different pieces. The batik was leftover from Rock N Roll All Night. The other came in a purchased scrap pack. I’m very satisfied with how they look.

All of my lights are leftovers from various quilts I’ve made. I used these pieces in particular because they all contained a touch of a very similar blue to my mid-tone fabric.

I would call this quilt moderately scrappy. It’s not quite as gingham-y as if I had limited myself to three fabrics. The pattern is a bit more subtle, but it’s definitely there. I’m curious to know how it would look if I were to go full-on scrappy. I think I’ll try that one day so I can compare and contrast. I suppose I need to make a totally NON-scrappy one too, in the interest of science, ya know. Damn, that means I need to go fabric-shopping. The horror! For my husband, not for me. Haha.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, that video I mentioned… they used 5.5” squares in an 8 x 10 setting. That gave them a 40” x 50” finished product. I wanted a bigger quilt so I used 6.5” squares. I made 12 rows of 10 squares each for a finished quilt size of 60” x 72”. You can make your squares any size you want, of course. I mean, who’s going to stop you?

By the way, it took me a little longer than three hours to finish this, but that’s mostly because I scrapped it up a bit. I feel confident I could do it in three hours if I stuck with the three fabrics.

 

Another UFO Bites the Dust – A Story about Long-Arm Machines

Y’all, I did something… I bought a thing, and I’m not sure exactly what it is. I’ve seen it called a mid-arm machine but I’ve also been told it’s a tiny long-arm. At any rate, it’s Uber-fun to drive. (Yah, it’s called “driving.” I didn’t make that up.)

Meet Quita. (Because anything that costs this much $$ should have a name.) She’s a Q’nique 15 Pro from the Grace Company and she sits on my 5-foot Brother Dream Fabric Frame, also made by the Grace Company.

I bought the frame as a package deal with my Brother Innovis VQ2400 but I really liked sewing on that machine so I took it off the frame, which I’ve been using for fabric storage for a couple of years. Meanwhile, my finished tops are stacking up faster than I can quilt them using only my VQ2400.

Enter Quita. Already, I finished my orphan block quilt started in 2017 and just yesterday, I finished quilting another long-time UFO – my Stripey Hawaiian baby quilt. I’ve gotta come up with a better name for that quilt. Maybe while I’m binding it, I’ll think of something.

This quilt already has quite the story to tell. My cat ravaged it, I fixed that problem, then started quilting it on my Brother machine using some echo quilting. See below. But that wasn’t going well, so I folded it up and threw it in a corner until Quita came along. Now, voila, it’s done except for the binding. 

I know… it’s pretty terrible, but I have a few more small quilts to practice on, so hopefully I’ll get better soon. Until then, I’ll probably still send out my best and biggest quilts to my favorite long-armer, but one day… one day, I too, shall be a great long-armer. Maybe. I hope!

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Asian…

… and also something blue.

I am so super-stoked to have finished this quilt top today. It’s a UFO from waaaayyyyy back – about 2013 to be more specific. I started it when I lived in Peyton, Colorado.

“Something Old” is most of it. The red/brown/cream daisy fabric was my original inspiration. I loved it then and I love it now.

“Something New” is the backing fabric, which I adore! It’s Pastiche in flame orange from In the Beginning Fabrics. It’s a perfect match to the fabrics I used on the front. With it’s rich, vibrant colors I’m tempted to call it the quilt top. 

“Something Borrowed” is this little bit of cherry blossom fabric donated to my quilt guild’s freebie table by a friend. With it’s Asian vibe and coloring, it fits right in and adds to the quilt’s story in such an impactful way, I’ll never look at it without thinking of my guild and my friend.

And check out that creamy kanji fabric (above). I bought it when I visited my soldier hubby while he was stationed in Korea. (What a trip that was. If you ever get a chance, you must go. The fabric district is A-mazing!!!) I don’t have a clue what the kanji means. Hopefully nothing awful. Haha.

As I mentioned, the project has a great oriental vibe, hence the “Something Asian.” It reminds me, not only of the aforementioned trip, but also of the six years I lived in Japan. Of course, the “Something Blue” is self-evident. I just need to finalize the placement and iron those buggers down.

I have a strong love/hate relationship with this project.

I hate that it’s so imperfect. I never make perfect quilts but this one is quite, quite flawed. My skills were definitely less impressive in 2013, which you can see clearly in some of my pinwheel points. My aesthetic has also changed and I’m not as enamored of the pattern as I once was. I wouldn’t say I hate it, but… I don’t love it. In fact, I almost chucked the whole thing, but I had completed more than half of the blocks so it would have been a terrible waste.

So, what do I love about it? I mostly love that it’s nearly finished. 🙂 I love the colors and the fabrics and the story. Ugly though it may be, it’s a keeper. I can’t wait to snuggle beneath it, thinking about my quilting buddies and reliving my adventures in the Orient.

Mahalo, Y’all, for stopping by.

 

Accuquilt Block Design Contest

Aloha, Y’all.

I did a thing… I entered the Accuquilt Block Design Contest. Here’s my entry.

If you sew with me, you know how much I love my Accuquilt Studio, right? So when I saw the contest, I was super-excited. There’s some stiff competition though. I would love it if you would take a moment to vote for my little block. I think it’s kind of cool. Just look what happens when you put it into a quilt…

Those secondary patterns are so pretty, aren’t they? This block is something of a skill builder. It’s got some curves and Y seams, but it’s also got a lot of easy, straight seams so you can learn without stressing yourself too much. haha

I just ordered that chisel die for the pieces that make up the y-seam. As soon as it arrives, I’m going to start sewing this quilt, and trust me, I need a lot of work on my y-seams, so it might take a while. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

I first called this Central Square, but driving home from work yesterday, I came up with a better name: “Y U Seam So Drunk.” Because of the Y-Seams and Drunkard’s Path pieces. Get it? Haha. Anyway, thank you for looking, and remember… vote early and vote often. 🙂

Mahalo!!

 

My Cat…Asshole or Quilt Designer?

I’ve been working on this quilt for quite a while. I was going to call it “In the Stacks” because it reminded me of rows of library books. It was to be a gift for a friend who recently had a baby. My plan was set.

 

My cat had other ideas…

 

What an asshole she turned out to be! Albeit a very cute asshole.

 

Luckily, appliqué can cover a multitude of sins, and Accuquilt makes it super-easy. This is the Go! Critters Die (#55030), which also includes a dragonfly and a bumblebee. I use it a lot. Butterflies are very much my thing.

 

This was my first attempt at echo quilting with my walking foot, and I still need a lot of practice, so I don’t know if I’ll end up giving this quilt to my friend, but…

 

…to be honest, I like the design better now, with the butterflies. Don’t tell the cat. She already suffers delusions of grandeur. She’ll start thinking she’s the better quilt designer.

New name: “Flight Lines.” 

Aloha, Y’all.

Ugly Quilts

Aloha, y’all.

I have a confession. Sometimes I make ugly quilts. On purpose. Not for nothing though. That would be crazy, right? 

You may be asking yourself, “Why would anyone intentionally make an ugly quilt?” Believe it or not, there are several reasons. When I made Churn Dash Aflutter, I was living in Alaska with my two daughters while my husband served an unaccompanied tour in Korea. Money was tight so I challenged myself to create a quilt top using nothing but my stash. I wanted to make the kind of quilt my great-grandmother might have made. Something practical and warm using whatever materials were at hand. I had a small amount of one gorgeous fabric, the butterfly print, and that became my starting point. From there, I focused mostly on color, so some of the other fabrics aren’t true quilting fabrics, but they do kind of match. Also, I didn’t have a good quarter-inch seam at that time so my churn dash points are cut off. Lesson learned. Overall this quilt is ugly, yes, but it has its good qualities and I love it despite everything, because of the memories it evokes.

My latest finish is ugly as well, but it’s also quite beautiful in it’s own way. I call it Found Treasure. I didn’t even make most of it. A stranger did. See, I have this quirk. I cannot leave fabric at a yard sale or thrift store. If I find it I buy it, and occasionally I score real treasures, like these colorful strips – sometimes called Chinese coins. 

When I pulled them out of the bag, I thought, “How sad. Someone spent a lot of time making these strips and for whatever reason, didn’t finish them.” I set them aside for months but kept thinking about them – and their maker. Finally, I knew I had to finish this unknown woman’s quilt. Maybe her spirit was compelling me. Maybe I’m just weird. Whatever.

It took me several months to come up with a design, then a few more to sew the top. I set aside the finished flimsy for over a year, but eventually, I got started on the quilting. I worked on it here and there until this month my quilt guild had a day-long sew-in. That gave me just the time and motivation I needed to “git er done.”

I have a name for my ugly quilts. I call them Picnic Quilts. They’re the kind I don’t mind taking to the beach or on a picnic – if I EVER decided to go on a picnic. Which I probably won’t. Ants. Flies. Need I say more? But that’s what I call the quilts anyway, because Ugly Quilt is an over-simplification for these wonderful, beautiful, slightly unattractive creations.

Have you ever made a Picnic Quilt? I’d love to see it.

[NOTE: Better pictures to come in a few days. It was too late when I finished to get any good ones and I just couldn’t wait to write about it. :)]

 

Friday Five

When it comes to quilting, I love all the things. I WANT all the things. I buy as many of the things as I can afford, and maybe a little more. I justify this because I don’t buy jewelry. I wear flip flops almost exclusively, so I don’t spend much on shoes, and my annual budget for makeup is minuscule. I am mostly a low-maintenance gal, except for this one area.

As I was sewing today, I was thinking about my most favorite things of the moment and decided you probably want to know about them too, so here they are in no particular order…

Dritz Quilting Crystal Glass Head Pins I’ve never been infatuated with a pin before now, but these are just gorgeous. The picture doesn’t quite capture their luminescence. A friend had some at a recent sew-in and – after deciding it would be rude to steal them from her – grilled her like a cheap steak until she told me where to buy my own. I included the link above so you don’t have to resort to desperate measures.

 


This current WIP, which was a UFO for a long time, but which I recently got back into. I should finish it this month and it will only have taken two years. Yay. I call it Chaos Theory and I adore it. Is it bad form to tell people how much you love your own work? I hope not, because I just can’t help myself. I love it. This is Block 15 of 16, so I’m almost there.


Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea, 50 Tea Bags This tea is not technically a quilting supply BUT… I’ve been drinking the shit out of it while I quilt and it’s damn good, so I’m counting it. It’s also a hell of a deal over on Amazon. I bought three boxes and I’m thinking about buying more just in case there’s an unexpected zombie apocalypse or something. I mean, anything could happen at any time and I like to be prepared.


Accuquilt Studio Dies Working on Chaos Theory has made me appreciate my Studio cutter more than ever. All those 2.5″ squares and half-square triangles would take eons to cut with scissors or a rotary cutter, but with these two dies I can cut enough squares for several blocks in about 10 or 15 minutes. 


Modern Quilt Magic: 5 Parlor Tricks to Expand Your Piecing Skills – 17 Captivating Projects This book by Victoria Findlay Wolfe is really, really great. Look at this pillow I made from it. It’s so cute and even though it has partial seams, it was super-easy thanks to VFW’s wonderful instructions. As soon as I finish Chaos Theory, I am going to make a king-size quilt to go with my new pillow. Hopefully in a more reasonable time frame. BTW, I also love her double wedding ring book. I haven’t attempted that yet but she gives me hope I can do it one day.

Making a Zipper Pouch in 5 Easy Steps

Happy Easter everyone. All two of you. 🙂 Love you, Mom. Haha. My audience may be small right now, but I have faith…

Anyway…it’s been a busy weekend quilting-wise and that means it’s been a GREAT weekend. 

I decided last-minute-like to make my daughter a little Easter gift so this morning before she woke up, I whipped up this little gem.

If you need a quick gift, you really can’t beat a nice zipper pouch. They are so easy to make and can be customized to the recipient. 

Step One The hardest part is picking out your fabrics, but that’s also the funnest part. (I know that’s not proper English, by the way, but proper English can be so tedious.) Aren’t these kitties the cutest things ever? That fabric is by Cotton Kobayashi. The black lining fabric is Ink and Arrow’s pixie dots.

Step Two Quilt as desired.

 

Step Three Add a binding to the top.

Step Four Add your zipper. Yeah, I could use some practice on that part.

Step Five Sew around the sides and bottom. Ta da. I like to add a little ribbon tab too. Makes it easy to grab and go. And it’s cute.

Those instructions aren’t exactly detailed, but let’s face it…there are loads of zipper pouch tutorials out there and I’m not in the mood to reinvent the wheel tonight. Sorry gang.

I also made a pillow…

And made great strides in quilting Found Treasure. But I’ll tell you all about those things next time. Have a lovely week!