WIP – Medallion Quilt

A couple weeks ago, I came home from vacation to find a book I’d put on hold at the library was waiting for me:  A Quilter’s Mixology by Angela Pingel.  It’s gotten great reviews and I was excited that my small local library had a copy.

I’ve been wanting to try curved piecing and as a “modern traditionalist”, I was eager to see what Angela could do with just one block:  Drunkard’s Path.  I was not disappointed.  There are 16 projects in this book and I counted at least 4 that I wanted to do right away.  I will definitely be buying my own copy of this book.

I’m starting with the Medallion Baby Quilt.  The thing that caught my eye right away was the fabric Angela choose:  Katie Jump Rope, one of my all time favorite lines.  I have only scraps of it left and I’m hoarding it, ha!  But I also love the simplicity and symmetry of the quilt and decided to make it first.

I photo copied the templates (included full size!) and glued them to cardboard ripped off the back of last year’s school notebooks.  I pulled out some bird fabrics that had been languishing in my stash and found coordinating prints.

It took about an hour to cut out the fabric.  One thing I noticed is that the book is very generous when it states how much fabric is needed.  For example, on this Medallion quilt, it says you need a yard of the fabric for the middle rings.  I only needed about 22″, or a little less than 2/3 of a yard.  Not a big deal, but it’s helpful to know if you are trying to use what you have and you don’t have a full yard.

I spent about 3? hours piecing.  I tried to keep track, but was interrupted several times by my darling squabbling children.  This was one of the first times I’ve done curved piecing for a quilt.  I’ve done some while sewing clothes, so it wasn’t totally new to me.  I’ve heard there are many ways to sew curves like these, and the way I found works best for me is a 2-pin method.

I fold each piece to find the center of the curve and pin.  Then I match up and pin the tail end of the curve.  I pinch together the two pieces at the top of the curve, with the L shaped piece on top and slide them under my scant  1/4″ foot.  I sew a few stitches, the ease the two curves together, using my fingers to hold them in place and sew to the center pin in one smooth motion.  The I do the same for the bottom half, using an awl to guide the last bit of the fabric under the foot it doesn’t slide away.

Then I put all the blocks into rows and the rows together into a quilt top.

I’m not planning to quilt this right away.  I’m going to be taking a class on free-motion quilting next month and want to practice before I tackle this project.  So I’ve pulled fabric for another quilt from the book, the Nine Patch Curves.

I can’t wait to see how this one turns out!








Whirligigs — The Michael Miller Challenge

I finished it!  It was a challenge…a real challenge, but I did it!

This is my entry for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge with the Modern Quilt Guild.  I’m calling it ‘Whirligigs’ and it is the first modern quilt I’ve designed and finished!

The line of fabric from Michael Miller is called Pinwheels, and that name reminded me of the yard decorations that twirl around when the when blows.  Some are shaped like windmills and some are of people and the legs spin in the breeze.  So I wanted to do something that showed that sense of motion and also using traditional blocks in a modern setting.  From making my twin car seat quilts, I knew I could use the same block to mimic spinning blades.

Cutting into the fabric was a little nerve racking, but I measured carefully and went to work.

First there were three…

then five…

and then finally eleven…five pairs of two and one that was not exactly like the others…


I auditioned about a dozen layouts, most of which I did not take a picture of and even the ones I did, I won’t bore you with the unchosen options.  In the end, I picked a layout and started adding the gray background.  The background fabric is Kona Steel.

Finally, the top was done!

The next big challenge was the quilting.  I wanted to do something really amazing, something full of swirls and swooshes…but I was running out of time and even more critically, I simply don’t have good free motion quilting skills yet.  I’m working on it, and I’m going to be taking a class next month, but for this, I needed to stick to what I could do well.

I cut a strip of swedish tracing pattern and scribed a wavy line using a quilting ruler that I had in the back of the rack.  I pinned the template to the quilt and carefully stitched along it across the middle of the quilt.  Then I used the arm thingie that attaches to the presser foot to quilt lines in dark gray thread about 2 1/2 inches apart from the middle to the bottom of the quilt.  I flipped the template around to make a mirror image and did the the middle to the top.

But the gray wasn’t dramatic enough.  I grabbed some brighter colors from my thread bins and did lines in between the gray lines and that made all the difference.  The quilt looked happy.

The lines aren’t as nice as I wanted them to be.  But I was coming up on the deadline and I was determined to finish before the last day!!

It took a few hours on the last afternoon to sew down the binding by hand and them the final hurdle:  taking a good picture.

The weather here had been sunny for days…perfect picture taking weather…until the day I finished.  Then it rained.  So we set up some lights in the living room and my daughter helped take some lovely pictures.  I do still want to take a couple more outside sometime…

It was done at last!  I posted it on the Modern Quilt Guild forum and went to bed!

Finishing this quilt has given me a real sense of accomplishment.  I know I did a good job, even though I won’t be a finalist or winner.  I’m very much looking forward to the next MQG challenge!












A Wall Quilt in Turquoise & Brown

I didn’t realize how much turquoise fabric I had in my stash until I started this project.  A young couple in our church were getting married and I wanted to make them something, but not a full size quilt.  I didn’t have time for that!  But I’d had my eye on a wall hanging from the book “Skinny Quilts” by Kim Schaefer, and I thought it would be perfect for this young couple.  The quilt is called Fiesta.

After looking up their online registry to find out the colors they were planning to use in their new home, I started pulling fabric.  The fabric pull came together very quickly…I had more turquoise that I’d known.  I was surprised, because I don’t really like turquoise or teal when it comes to what I wear…but apparently fabric is a different thing!

This was the initial fabric pull, but I ended up adding several more prints along the way.

The blocks are simple rectangles with frames, some have just one frame, others have two.  I used a different layout than the book, I made my version a little smaller and even did a couple blocks with scrappy, pieced centers.

For the quilting, I did wavy lines up and down the length of the wall hanging…I was trying to give the impression of rain drops running down a window.  I don’t know if that’s what someone would think, but I do like how the quilting turned out.

Overall, this was a fun and quick project that I would love to do again in a different set of colors.  I’ve got a blank wall in our entry way that needs a wall hanging like this.  Maybe in greens and cream/tan…or dark red and browns…or maybe bright colors to enliven the space…

Twin Car Seat Quilts

My daughter’s flute teacher is expecting twin girls in a few weeks and her baby shower was held last week.  I love making baby quilts, but wanted to do something a little different for this mama-to-be.  We attend the same church and I knew the Ladies Quilt Guild would be making crib quilts, so I came up with these.

They are about 22″ wide and about 30″ long…just big enough to cover a baby in their car seat without dragging on the ground.  (Of course, it was cloudy and threatening rain when I needed to take these pictures!)

I started with a fabric that had little pennant flags hanging on a line in colors of pink, turquoise, green and red (seen on the triangle in the center bottom of this photo).

Then I added prints that coordinated with the flag colors and other pink and purple prints.  Purple is the mama-to-be’s favorite color.  I sewed WOF strips together and then cut them into triangles.

On the other side, I had this super cute flannel with turtles in bright colors.  I added each girl’s initial on the lower right corner of the back.  When the quilt is in a car seat, the end will flip over and the initial can be seen.

I was running out of time and did just simple straight line echo quilting of the seams.  I like the little star this makes at the intersections.  The binding is purple camouflage, in honor of the daddy-to-be, who is in the military.

These got lots of oohs and aahs at the baby shower and I can’t wait to see them in use!



My Quilt History

(subtitle: Wherein I Try To Be Brief And Fail Spectacularly)

I must have been about five years old, I can remember standing next to my mom, watching as she sewed.  The fabric was red with little yellow flowers and it would become a dress for me…or maybe for my sister…she often made us matching outfits when we were little.

It would be 20 years before I got close to a sewing machine again.  I needed curtains, and couldn’t find what I wanted at a price I was willing to pay.  I borrowed that same machine from my mom, oiled it and through much trial and error, figured out to thread it and made curtains from a set of old sheets.

About 5 years after the curtain making, I was the mom of two little girls whom I wanted to dress in matching skirts and dresses…not just matching, but also modest.  The then-current styles for little girl’s skirts were pretty skimpy.  So I dug the machine out of the closet and looked at patterns and taught myself how to sew clothes for little girls.  Like this:

and this:

Around 2004 or 2005, I tried quilting.  This is the first block I ever sewed…by hand.  It is hanging on the bulletin board in my sewing room.

Then I decided to make a quilt, but using a machine.  I found a quilt magazine at the library, saw a pattern I liked and dove in.  I cut out many many little squares and started sewing.  I don’t remember what took my attention away from this project…it was probably a baby…but I did make several blocks and I have still have the small pile tucked away.

In between babies (6 in 9 years!) and making girly dresses and skirts, I started sewing bags, purses and aprons and sold them to whomever would buy them.

This is an apron I designed and still make for brides to be!


Around 2009 or 2010, I came back to quilting.  The Ohio Star quilt was no longer calling my name.  I wanted to do something different, something brighter and less fussy.  By now, the internet was full of information and inspiration.  I made and gave away many quilts.  Sadly, due to a computer crash a few years ago and an unfortunate loss of an sd card, I don’t have many photos.  Which is one reason I’m starting this blog…to have a complete record of what I’m doing.

I tried several quilting techniques and styles along the way.  A few highlights:

A small wall hanging, a one time experiment in “stained glass’ style, never to be repeated.  But I still like the bold colors I choose.

A doll quilt.  Just a bunch of squares, some fussy cut, and then zig zag appliqued onto the background.  Cute, but still not my thing.

A reds and browns table runner for my dad and his wife, using the disappearing nine-patch block.  Getting closer to my thing.

A lap quilt in beach-y colors for my mother-in-law.  This is me.  Bright colors, lots of solids.  Very simple quilting, though.  Made in late 2010.

***Here is the gap created by computer crashes and sd card loss, but I did find a few pictures I had posted on Facebook***

This is actually a WIP, started sometime in 2012.  Still waiting to be pieced together. A little too scrappy for my taste, but a fun experiment.

A lap quilt I made for my sister-in-law.  I choose the colors because they are the colors of the Pacific Northwest…blue and green and gray and gray.  The quilting is simple, just square spirals.  I love it.  I need to make another one to keep!

So after five years of quilting, I have found my niche…modern traditionalism.  I like traditional blocks, set in modern layouts with bright, bold colors and simple, elegant quilting.  It’s been a journey to get here, and I’m eager to share my work.





My Sewing Room is finally clean!

We moved into this house almost 2 years ago.  And I’ve finally found the time, energy and motivation to get my sewing room completely almost clean and organized!  Look!

I can see the entire top of my table.  I have my sewing tools organized in a silverware tray and I bought a ruler rack for my collection of rulers…no more hunting around for the seam ripper or my 6″ square.  Everything is at my finger tips.  I do need to attack the shelves above my machine someday, but since most of the mess is in bins, it doesn’t bother me much.

Before, I had a stack of odds and ends piled at the end of the table and my tools laying around, rolling behind things.

The machine on the left is my daughter’s and her things were also starting to wander around.  So I found a bin for her and now that area is tidy, too!

I also organized my stash.  It wasn’t too bad before…the problem was that while yardage was on a bookshelf, smaller pieces and scraps were in other areas, including the big pile at the end of the table.  I added bins and stacking shelves and by decluttering a few fabrics and re-arranging. I’m now able to have all my quilting fabric together on this one shelf.  Each white basket holds pieces of fabric smaller than a half yard of the color they are next to.  Can you tell what is my favorite color?




This is my first post on my new quilting blog.  I’ve been wanting to start a new blog about my journey into my style of quilting, which many call modern traditional.  I hope to have many more posts in the future!