Christmas Quilt

Monday, December 16, 2019

If you're like me—you've got a stack of holiday fabrics left over from Christmas' past.  Where there's not enough fabric left of an individual pattern to do much with and, oh yeah, the ones that in your scrap bin are from multiple years, so the prints don't exactly coordinate that well together either.

Sound familiar?

Quilt from christmas fabrics sitting in laundry basket on a dining room table

Well, this year I decided to do something about it and created the Christmas Ladders Quilt Pattern which you can download here for FREE.

This quilt does an excellent job using up scraps.  All you need to be able to do is piece together a 2.5" x 62" strip of a single fabric pattern.

photo of multi-colored quilt from christmas fabrics laying on wooden table
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This version uses 26 different fabrics.  But you can certainly repeat some fabrics if you have a larger stash of some.

The best part of this pattern is that it encourages you to use fabrics that you wouldn't normally use together, by creating groupings of more cohesive fabrics.  Adding scraps from solids is also a great way to build it out.

multicolored christmas quilt spread on a brown couch

This is a simple, fast, and—did I mention—FREE pattern for you to use this holiday season, next year or to attack some of your non-holiday scrap stash during the winter doldrums ...

Happy Holidays!


Table Runner

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday musings ... eclectic is probably the best way to define our home (I used to call it transitional until a client asked me for a "transitional fabric" and I looked it up and decided, we are definitely NOT transitional (though I love that look too).

Anyway, back to today's topic ... when we built it in 2009, it was a weekend place—and we furnished it with hand-me-downs and Craigslist finds.  I was all for going with more traditional pieces believing they would add a bit of character to a cabin that was a bit on the modern side. In fact, this was actually when I decided to learn to quilt ... little did I know quilting would become an obsession 😀.

In our dining room, the welsh dresser was an eBay find, the chairs came two different from Craigslist buys (my husband painted them all gray to make them a little more cohesive and make the captain chairs a tad more attractive), the rug is a hand-me-down from his mum and the super-heavy, trestle table is from a small, home-gifts store where it was used to showcase items, they were remodeling and sold it to me for $200 👏👏👏 (Oh, and yes, those are IKEA Billy Bookshelves peaking in from the hallway on the right which I blogged about here).  

Fast forward a few years and the cabin is now our full-time home and we also integrated some of our mid-century modern furniture when we sold our Seattle house and settled out here.  

So last week, I was making these awnings for a client.  

I use my dining room table to cut fabric for awnings and when I was trimming this fabric to center the print on the awnings, I ended up with a strip of fabric that looked down-right cool in the center of my table.  

After it sat on the table for a day and the edges didn't really seem to fray, I trimmed it up and created a little runner for the welsh dresser.  

I'm sure it won't last forever, but it's a great addition to the room, brightens it up a bit and  kinda makes it look like it belongs.  

I also love that that sometimes you can find something that you love completely out of the blue.

Hope you're having a great weekend and for those of you making your holiday gifts, that your production line is going well!



Slowed down but not stopped ...

Monday, November 25, 2019

November has been a slow month ... but I did accomplish a fair amount with the awning business. Testing and introducing a new hemline, completing and shipping a few sets of awnings and shifting the bulk of my awning fabric requirements to a new fabric supplier.

The first accomplishment is the new hemline called The Arch.  It's meant to echo the curvature at the top of the trailer.  As someone who isn't in love with scallops (though about 75% of my business is with scallops) I am always trying to come up with interesting alternatives and The Arch is one of my favorites and it's now available in my shop.

I do think that this hemline is going to look best with geometric patterned fabrics, but looking forward to trying it on other fabrics as orders come in.

But there's always room for some traditional awnings as well and this cute fabric.

And for the more geometrically inclined.

Finally, after 3 years of making awnings, I have had the opportunity to work with product from multiple outdoor fabric manufacturers.  The biggest challenge is quality, where the image is not printed straight on the fabric, which makes it quite difficult to use in a symmetrical application.  There have also been fading issues.  And finally, while not a fabric manufacturer issue, I have dealt with multiple shipments from where the fabric is simply stuffed into a poly bag and I have had to work really hard to get the wrinkles out— with one set of awnings, as seen in the image below, eventually having to be scrapped because I could not remove the wrinkles caused by how it was packaged.

After repeated ironing and steaming

Due to a shipping error this summer, I had to reach out directly to the Premier Prints (one of my favorite outdoor fabric manufacturers) to help resolve the issue.  It was through that engagement that I happily discovered that I can order directly from Premier!!!  They have both a retail and a wholesale site!  And most importantly, they actually take care with how they fold and ship their fabric.

So the slow-down this month was actually due to me finally capitulating and having the cataracts removed from both my eyes.  I have been continually told that I am extremely young (58) to have cataracts, and since I didn't really grow up in high sun areas, the jury is out whether the chemo or accompanying hi-dose steroids, may have driven the issue.

That said, it all went really well.  I opted to correct for close up vision (e.g. I won't need glasses for reading, computer work or sewing any longer!!!).  I will still wear glasses for distance, as I have done for the past 30+ years.   While correction is still required for distance, my "new eyes" have really added a LOT of clarity, definition, even at a distance, that I did not have before.

Very excited to get back at it this week with my final vision check on Wednesday and then no more restrictions!

Wishing everyone in the 🇺🇸 safe travels this week and enjoyable time with friends, family and chosen families.


Dancing in the rain ...

Saturday, November 16, 2019

This was a UFO that had been sitting in my pile since I launched the Connected Squares Pattern earlier this year.  I had purchased the fabric for the back, but just hadn't gotten to it.

Then last week we got the tragic news that, after a valiant 11-year fight with Leukemia, a friend's husband, Walt, had passed away.  Over those years, Walt had fought like a trooper—doing everything he could to find a cure and still, spend amazing, quality time with his kids, to make sure that the time they had together was meaningful and well lived.

I had made Walt a quilt back in 2016 when his cancer had returned.  This one is for his family.  His wife, 16-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.  I put a quote on the back (which doesn't photograph that well, but is easier to read in person):

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

This quote has so much meaning to me.  When my dad passed 3 years ago, my sister was going through his things and found he had written the quote down in a notebook.  It is exactly how Walt and his family have lived for the past 11 years and I wanted to share it with them in a meaningful way.

Together, they had purchased a mid-century modern home and the design of this quilt top, and even the color scheme, were a perfect match for that home.  I hope that the quilt will be continual reminder of the community out here that loves and cares for them and is here if and when they need us.

midcentury modern quilt white gray with a coral accent

The quilt was made from this pattern.  It's a pattern that is designed for the "new to quilting".  The backing is Cotton + Steel Jubilee Lanterns.  The front is all Kona solids and I believe it is white, steel and coral.

quilt back with cotton + steel jubilee lanterns fabric

quilt top in white and gray with a coral accent

The coral piece on the back with the quote is not appliquéd, it is pieced into the quilt.  I printed the quote on the fabric with my InkJet printer.

Note:  I have found that colored ink will come out in the wash, but black ink, when ironed for 60 seconds after printing, seems to set just fine and will stay put well.  You should ALWAYS run a test or two for your printer and wash several times before putting a printed piece into a permanent item like a quilt.

Sometimes I am really pleased that I have a hobby that allows me to create things to share with people that matter to me, whether it be to celebrate a momentous occasion or touch someone who has experienced sadness or loss with something that brings meaning and perhaps a little comfort to their day.

I hope that you are all having a good week out there.


Our Coast-to-coast-to-coast Adventure

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Well ... actually, we've been home for a little over a month ... but we had a LOT of catching up to do.

Our coast-to-coast-to-coast adventure turned out to be 62 days and +11,400 miles!!!

My first barn quilt!  (Manatoulin Island, ON)
A small 2016 T@b Teardrop Trailer, 2 kayaks, 2 adults, 2 English Setters.

We saw beautiful scenery, went to a family reunion (PEI), cheered on a friend for his first 1/2 Ironman (NY), visited more family (ON, DC, KS) visited my college roommate (MA) and my 4th grade BFF (CO), and saw SO many new and beautiful places!

Favorite Place:  Quebec City (me), Provincetown, MA (him)

Least favorite:  Cape May, NJ (the flies were relentless)

Would I do it again:  YES!!!

Will we do it again:  no

19 Unique States and 5 unique Provinces:  WA, ID, MT, ND, MB, ON, QB, NB, PEI, NB, ME, MA, NY, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, KY, IN, IL, KS, CO, WY, ID, WA

If you're thinking of driving across the 🇺🇸and/or  🇨🇦—GO FOR IT!

We were pretty strict on what we took and that made it a LOT easier for loading and unloading.  We had a few moments, mostly surrounding rain—two large, wet dogs isn't a lot of fun in a big space, let alone a little one.  But overall, we really enjoyed the ability to travel light, see so much new, and share something we really enjoy with our friends and family.

It also kinda makes us wonder why we need an 1800 sf house when we did just fine in a 60 sf teardrop trailer for 2 months 😎


Prince Edward Island

Lake Placid, NY Half Ironman

Washington DC



Prince Edward Island


Visits from wild horses on Assateague Island, MD

Shell searching on Higbee Beach, NJ

Kayaking in S Thomaston, ME

Sightseeing at Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, ME

Nostalgia at the world's longest covered bridge, Hartland, New Brunswick

History at State Capital, Commonwealth of VA

Discovery at the highest paved road in USA—12,000' Rocky Mountain National Park, CO


Perspective ...

And for those of you who have lasted until now ... wouldn't the colors on this blue crab make an amazing quilt?!?!?!

Assateague Island, MD

I am excited to be home and caught up on awning orders ... and looking forward to starting to share new ideas and work on this blog again!

Hope everyone had an equally fun introduction to fall!


Freja Quilt Pattern has Launched!!!

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Freja Quilt Pattern has launched!!!

Well, it actually launched on July 26th ... but when you're trying to host friends two weekends in a row, launch a quilt pattern during the week between those weekends and then leave 2 days after the 2nd weekend on a 2-month trip—some things get forgotten—and I forgot to post the pattern launch 😮

It's now available in my shop and you can find the pattern here

Freja is my fourth mid-century modern pattern behind Geometric Patchwork, Connected Squares, and RetroBlock.

Freja had been bouncing around in my head for quite some time.  And I finally got the first test quilt made in May of this year.  Once that was done ... I was in love.

My first effort was in traditional mid-century modern colors, but I was quickly able to venture into alternate color ways and started making them one after another.  While the pattern does require precision to carry off the angles, it really is a VERY fast pull together (e.g. I could cut and piece a throw size quilt in less than a day).

First it was Kona Ash with different golds/yellows/mustards for the first baby version.

Then I got this idea to make it a bit asymmetrical, but creating the crib version, but adding additional fabric to enlarge it to a throw with the design off center, in blues and grays.

Finally, back to the stash for some Kona Ash and a few colors that will go with mom's new mauve chair.  She got a new chair this summer that has an electronic control that lifts the chair up to help her get up easier.  I promised her a lap quilt to go with it.  Since she's one of our stops on our 2-month journey, my timing for an additional test quilt was perfect!

And then there are the quilt testers.  If you've read any of my launch posts before, you know that these are the true champions when it comes to launching a new pattern and the Freja quilters were no exception to that rule.

Check out the quilting texture on these two beauties!

Baby version (by Lyn @lyncauwels on Instagram)
Queen center version with smaller borders to create large throw (by Denise @Denise_Hamilton611 on Instagram)
And other beautiful test versions of this quilt ...

The Babies!!!  clockwise starting on left:  Susan @quiltmod519, Joanne @turtlequilterjo & Lyn @lyncauwels

And a few asymmetrical versions:

Asymmetrical Throw—Carolyn @micko_mum

Asymmetrical Throw—Cassie @cassie_quilts

Throw—Janine @lilbeanquilting
Throw—Amber @auntiekilljoy

I love their work.  Not just the beautiful finished quilt tops,  but the great work that they do to truly test out the pattern and ensure that when it's ready to launch, it is in great shape for all.  So my sincere thanks to all 8 of these great testers that worked on the Freja Pattern.

And yes—we are now on our two-month trip.  Today was a ferry trip across Lake Huron south from Manitoulin Island, Ontario as we head to visit family a bit north of the Toronto metro region.

Hope all is well with you guys!


My Interwoven Quilt

Friday, July 19, 2019

I will admit, there was a few minutes when I thought I might have bitten off more than I can chew with this quilt ...

Not that it wasn't doable, but more that I wasn't really sure I had the time right now to get the quilt completed.  I have a pattern to launch, 5 sets of awnings to finish, we leave for a couple of months in two weeks time AND we're having house guests for the next two weekends.

But I am SO glad I stuck it out!

This is for the daughter of a dear friend, L.  She just graduated from University of Southern California (USC) and is off to Harvard Law in the fall.  I have known her mom since before L was born.  John and I used to babysit for her when she was a tike and it's been a joy to watch her grow up to become such an amazing woman.

The color was based on school colors.  Crimson for Harvard and Cardinal and Gold for USC.  But because it is a quilt and not a school flag, there are other colors, eleven of them to be exact.  It was the first quilt that I used my newest Flexible Kona Color card on.

I had reached out to her mom with a couple of patterns that I was interested in trying and she liked the Interwoven Quilt Pattern by Lo and Behold Stitchery best. 

So I purchased the pattern, ordered my fabrics from Fabric Shack and waited patiently to get started!

I started with the lightest color.  Made my 5 squares.  And had to rip it all out again.

Turns out my scant 1/4" wasn't quite as scant as I thought it was.  The finished block needed to measure 10 1/2".  Mine didn't.

So I pulled out some scraps and fiddled with it until I had it right.  And then started all over again. 

A couple of lessons learned here, but one that I discovered that's worth sharing.  Don't rip the seams out and then sew back together.  Sew the pieces where you think they really should have been sewn and THEN take out the redundant seam.  So much easier.  Would have been even better if I had discovered that on the first block I had to redo.  😆

After that, I kind of just did a color or two a day (amongst all the other things that needed to get done).

Still trying to determine what I'll do with the extra half squares I trimmed off all the way around ... there has to be something I can do with them, right?!?!?

One thing I did, which I think helped a lot.  Because of the trimming, this quilt has a LOT of open ends on the perimeter (e.g. seams where you couldn't back-tack on them), so I did a large basting stitch at about 1/8" all the way around the quilt to hold the pieces together.

Ultimately, I got it completed!  Whew!

Then it was time for basting.  It was a pretty big quilt for my tight studio.  Again, I think the basting around the edges really helped here.

I can't believe I didn't get a photo of the back!  Here's the backing fabric that I used.  Which I pieced with some Kona Red and Kona Pewter to make it fit the back.

Someone said his arms were hurting from holding the quilt!

It is BIG!  57" x 71"

I am really happy with how it came out.  I think it's a nice vibrant quilt for a young woman and it really did stretch me to improve my stitching accuracy. 

While I don't know that I would jump in and make again right away as it is a time consuming pattern.  It is definitely a pattern I will hold onto.  I am kind of intrigued with the two color version that Brittany designed.  So I may yet find another excuse to make it come 2020.

Thanks for stopping by!


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