Triple Treat Modern quilt

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One of the pattern books I go back to a lot is Happy Hour from Atkinson Designs. They all use up fat quarters and work up fast. They are especially good for showing large scale modern prints. I wish their site showed more of the patterns in the book. There’s really mostly three main ones, but she does three more in alternate block sizes, plus a couple bonus patterns. For this quilt, I did the Triple Treat pattern, which is basically a large square block divided into a small rectangle, skinny strip, then larger rectangle.

I dug through my stash and pulled out a variety of prints from various lines and designers but stuck to a loose color scheme of pink, light teal and this lime/ chartreuse.  I’d found a length of floral print that had all these colors in them. Some of the challenge here was using up odd bits from my stash that were not full fat quarters, and the other was being too enthusiastic and not completely following directions.


Either way, it still worked out and unless you compared the blocks to the actual pattern, you would never know this. While digging out pictures, I realized I started this quilt back in August of 2014 so I really have neglected to write about this one.

It’s got a nice wide border and is a decent twin size.


By the time November rolled around, I managed to have it quilted with just a plain white backing.


Closeup of some of the prints. The green is really not that brown, it was hard to get a decent shot that showed the green properly.


I can’t remember if Ron helped me lay this one out or not. Probably not.

For the binding, I tried out a new technique with a flange, sometime called double binding. I used a solid pink to pull out the pinks in the quilt, paired with a blue and brown polka dot.

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Totally impressed myself with the corners.


The quilting was an all over flower pattern, pretty easy, lots of bumps. You could use Lori’s peony technique explained here, it’s very similar. I left the borders unquilted.


Such yummy, yummy texture. And it works up fast!


Some memories in these prints – a top for Izzy as a baby, a purse, a tote bag, some leftover bits from Ayla’s quilt. An Amy Butler print and a couple polka dots that are hiding apples.


Those fold lines wash right out.

If you love this quilt, it is also for sale in my Etsy shop.

Houndstooth Quilt in black and white

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A few months ago, Susan contacted me about making a houndstooth quilt, just for her. She was pleasantly surprised to find the finally price was all inclusive. She didn’t have to pay extra for the pattern, the fabric or even the shipping.

I used this houndstooth quilt pattern, as it has multiple sizes included and supports a smaller indie designer. Since I would be making a queen size and thus using 12 yards of just the white fabric (since it is backed in white as well) I waited till my local fabric chain had a 50% off members-only sale on their quilt cottons. Their premium cotton is super soft and I’m pretty happy with it.

When starting with a new pattern, I often cut just a few of the first pieces and not everything at once. So I cut a few strips and squares first to get the hang of it.


Once I was happy with the process, including any starching and pressing processes, then it was on to cutting many many more strips.


And lots of blocks.


Testing the layout with what I had thus far. Looking good! This is gonna be huge.


Once I have it down, I chain piece and basically get into a groove of production sewing and wind up with stacks and stacks of blocks, all at the same step. Sewing, then cutting the strips.


But then I have to press them.  Thank God for Netflix and my ipad stand.


Then it was on to the block units. Lots of double checking everything is going the right way. I stack and pile, then sew.


After the blocks, it’s time to do the rows.


And admire the seams. Look at those nested seams – LOOK AT THEM.

So I bet you’re thinking this might be pretty boring or monotonous sewing, but I find this is really good low-stress, especially when you’re organized or tired. Then it’s pretty mindless. You can also focus on cutting or sewing accuracy too! I still had some pretty inconsistent seams but only had to fully repair one. So I thought that was pretty good overall.


Another layout check on the floor to see if I mis-counted. I’d rather cut too little than way too much.


WHEW! Finally the top was done. I pieced the backing, got the batting ready (50/50 warm & white), pressed everything all over again, layered and basted.

So many pins. o.O  I think it took an hour to baste, but again – Netfix to the rescue and my handy Kwik Klip basting tool.


Then it was time for quilting. Yes, I can do queen sized on my domestic machine. I did all the diagonal seams first with the walking foot, right in the ditch. I switched to the FMQ foot to go around the pointy bits the other way – the “ears” of the teeth if you will. Some parts I used rulers to go straight but eventually ditched that for speed. There’s a few wobbly bits but only if you look really close. 😉

I use a combination of rolling and smushing, because I find the rolling is sometimes not flexible enough. I did the quilting over two days and yes, my shoulders were a bit sore after.


I prepped miles of binding and wrapped it around a spool. Okay, not miles, but something like 400″.


Finally! All done and then tossed it on my bed for modelling. A quick run through the washer and dryer then I look it all over for weak seams, hanging threads, etc.. do any trimming or fixing up, sew on a label and off it goes. Susan is SUPER HAPPY with it too.

I would definitely make one of these again. All told, this took 3-4 months but that was also over the holidays.

A WordPress t-shirt quilt for James

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A while back, my friend Mason (owner of WP Valet) contacted me about making a quilt for one of his employees, James. Mason surreptitiously gathered as many tshirts as he could that he knew James also had. Then he secretly shipped them off to me.

We had decided on a queen size, which is why So Many Shirts! o.O I think there was around 30. I tend to fill in any needed space with blanks blocks to show off more quilting.

So, after I did the initial trimming of the shirts and cutting the largest size blocks from all of them, I started to lay them out on the floor for the best design. This is even after I do some math on paper to figure out completed size and square inches based on the pieces cut.


Even though I have a fairly large living /dining room, a queen size quilt takes up a LOT of floor space.  Some blanks spaces were left so I could figure out where to add solid blocks from tshirt backs.


Aha! A quadrant I can live with, and the solid areas filled in. Nothing is sewn together here. The challenge after that was getting the pieces off the floor and downstairs to me sewing room AND keeping things in the right order. That is why I take plenty of pictures.

Sometimes I pin sections together and take a small section at a time.


Finally! The top is all sewn together. Still takes up a TON of floor space.


Every quilt need a backing, so in this case I found this fantastic bright blue that just about matched WP Valet’s branding. That black strip down the middle? Makes a great artistic statement and breaks things up.

Or, it might be there to make the backing a bit wider. I’ll never tell.


On the basting.. layering the backing, batting, and top then pinning together with a bajillion little pins. My knees. Ow, my knees.

But then! Finally we get to the FUN part! The actual quilting. For quilts like these, I initially do some “stitch in the ditch” along the seams wth my walking foot to stabilize sections of the quilt. I tend to jump around by thread color, and not work completely from the middle out. I used a blue thread in the bobbin, and various colors of threads in the top needle.


I got a new book of free motion quilting designs and tried a new one on almost every other block.


Solid blocks sometimes get special treatment, where I can get fancy and do graffitti quilting like this.


Sometimes it’s a challenge coming up with a quilting design that compliments the theme of the shirt, but also doesn’t blend into the block next to it. If I do something round and swirling on one block, I may pick something very square or linear for the next one. I might even pull a design element from the print and repeat it in the background.


And sometimes I see blocks and think.. what if I tried this design? And sometimes it winds up super cool, like birds in the wind.


Sometimes all a block needs is something simple – like vertical lines. But it fits. I did use a quilt ruler here to get the lines SUPER STRAIGHT. I’m new to ruler work, but I like it. I followed the angles of the lightening bolts and just extended while outlining the cloud. The W logo is also outlined.


And sometimes I wing it. Warning: this is not a perfect block! GASP! And I left it anyway. 🙂 Most designs are freehand with no marking. For this I think I outlined the heart shape in chalk first. I was trying a feather ruler. I think I’d rather do feathers freehand.


Finally, I got it finished – just in time!


The front is one thing – but the BACK. Well, the back really shows things off. Especially after  I wash and dry it so everything crinkles.


Told you that black stripe was a great design idea… 😉


When I have a few solid blocks near each other, I treat that section as one block of negative space and fill it with feathers. I love feathers. Big swooping swirling feathers. I only marked the spine and did the rest freehand.


This was from a baseball tee. I thought it would be interesting to include this as a block because everything else is so square but now there’s this one diagonal line.

Plus I got to try curved cross hatching with a ruler.

This quilt was a surprise, so I couldn’t post any progress pictures on social media. It almost killed me. (not really, but that was the hardest part) So, I finally get to post All The Pictures here.


I mailed it off to Florida, and Mason gave it to James who was SUPER HAPPY about it. They unveiled it at WordCamp USA in Philly and laid it out on the conference floor. Plenty of space there!

Lots of people came up to look and ask questions. I was amazed so many non-quilters were interested in the construction and stitching details.

And since her class has been so helpful, a link up with Amy!

Amy's Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventures