Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 7: A Divided Flock block

Good morning! Welcome to my stop on the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks blog tour for volume seven. I'm super excited to share my block with you today. It even made the cover, on the bottom left hand side!

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 7IMG_5356rt

My block, #658 found on page 50, is called A Divided Flock and was inspired by a pattern on a sweater that I saw and sketched in my design notebook eons ago. The colors, however, were inspired by a mess of my own creation in my sewing room. I love these rich, vibrant colors together, especially set off by the black.

A Divided Flock, my block for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 7

One of the things I love about this block is that it's forgiving - because of the stripes in between the sets of flying geese units, your points don't have to match perfectly, which is nice.


I also love how this block can be used in so many different ways, to create so many different looks, like this one with Summersville Spring, available at Pink Chalk Fabrics...

A Divided Flock in Summersville

And this one, with Zen Chic's Comma, available at I Don't Do Dishes, Intrepid Thead, Marmalade Fabrics, Pink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics...

A Divided Flock, in Comma

And this one, with Boho by Urban Chiks, available at Pink Castle Fabrics...

A Divided Flock in Boho

And lastly, this one with Road 15, the fall collection coming soon from Sweetwater...

A Divided Flock on point in Road 15

You can see another take on my block in the Block Tester's Gallery at the back of the issue - found on page 88. Marti Dyer-Allison made a quilt using my block in Shelburne Falls. I like how she turned just one block to give a little surprise pop to the quilt. I also really like the shade of blue she used for the background. You can pop on over to the Quiltmaker blog to see lots more sneak peeks of blocks before the issue hits newsstands on May 7th.


Would you like to win a copy of this issue? There's tons of wonderful designs in here, and I'm so excited to see so many friends in this issue like AnneMarie Chany of Gen X Quilters, Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter, Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts, and Cindy Lammon of Hyacinth Quilt Designs, and many, many more. One randomly selected winner will receive a copy of this issue. To enter the giveaway, simply tell me about your favorite quilt block, whether it's modern or traditional or somewhere in between. Two winners will be selected on Friday morning.  THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Good luck, and have a great day!
Monday, April 29, 2013

Slicing and dicing

It was a pretty busy weekend in my neck of the woods, but I did manage to find a bit of time to do some sewing. I'm really starting to make some progress on my Hope Valley improv quilt, it's actually starting to look like something, which is exciting. Especially after the initial dread I felt after chopping it up into pieces. Do you have a fabric collection that you can't bear to cut into? Hope Valley is one of those lines for me, I've been hoarding it, just waiting for the perfect project for it, until I decided that I just wanted to use it. I wanted something made out of it that I can enjoy, rather than walking by where it sits on my fabric shelves and eyeing it longingly.

Picking the solids

So I chopped it up. Eek! I'm using a pattern in Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen, one of my favorite quilting books. This pattern is found in the modern crazy piecing section, which is the section of the book where I want to make every single quilt! This one is called Winter Windows, and is done up in beautiful muted blues and grays in the book, so I'm hoping that my bright color scheme won't totally ruin this quilt.

The pattern

I'm happy with how it's working out so far. I've gotten to the point now where I'm starting to assembly the crazy pieced strips with background fabric and then with the accent solids. I'm loving these solids together - I think I might just have to do another project with this color scheme at some point!

My background fabric is Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax. I had initially intended to do a mix of fabrics for the background, subbing in some Essex Linen in Natural and maybe another light colored chambray, but I didn't like how they looked together ultimately. The colors are quite similar, but the other linens just don't sparkle the way the yarn-dyed one does, so I'm sticking with it.

Starting to look like something

I'm nearly halfway through putting the two swaths of crazy pieces together, so that means hopefully that I'll have a quilt top to share soon! Stay tuned! I hope you all had a great weekend, and have a wonderful Monday :)
Friday, April 26, 2013

Feeding my stash and my heart

The last few days have been spent feeding my stash and my heart, quite literally. There's a few quilty drives going on to support the people of Boston after the horrific events that occurred last week, and I wanted to make sure to take part. Like so many of you, I was glued to the news last week and it left me feeling not only saddened and hurt for those affected by the violence, but it left me feeling rather helpless. Enter two wonderfully generous charity drives led by two modern quilt guilds.

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilt blocks made in blues, yellows, grays, and whites measuring 12 1/2" x however wide you'd like. You can read more about the drive right here: Quilts for Boston. I've made two blocks so far, and might just make another before I send them off. I made a simple Mod Nine Patch block, based on my Moda Bake Shop tutorial from last year, and then I made a Double-Flip HST block, based on my old tutorial.

Blocks for Boston

The second project I worked on for Boston was a simple bunting flag for a great project that the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild has put together, called To Boston with Love. My local MQG is working on putting together several flags and I'm hoping to make a few more before we send ours off. All flags must be in Boston by May 31st. You can read more and get more inspiration right here.

Flag for Boston

In other lighter news, it seems my stash, although quite healthy in its own right, has been quite hungry lately, and I've been feeding it a steady diet of modern stash builders.

I was introduced to a great new stash basic, the tweed texture print from JennSki's Mod Century collection for Moda, by the super creative Marla of Sew Hungry at The Stash Bash. Marla used one of the tweed texture prints in her Happy Pills quilt, and after she found the selvage, I knew I had to have some.

Mod Century tweed texture fabrics

You can find the Mod Century tweed textures in stock at Marmalade Fabrics (although I'm sorry to say I bought up all the gray!).

The other modern basic I picked up is this fun print from Alice Kennedy's Matilda collection for Timeless Treasures. The chevron has a very sketchy quality to it, and I think it would not only make a great print to use in a quilt, but it would also make a great binding!

Matilda chevron fabrics

You can find Matilda in stock at Fat Quarter Shop and Hawthorne Threads.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend :)
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beginning Free Motion Quilting Class coming up on Friday

I am really enjoying teaching these days! It's so much fun to share my love of quilting with other people, and to share things that I've learned along my quilting journey. And quilty people really are the best people, so it's great to get to spend a morning with other fabric lovers. If you happen to be in the area, my monthly Beginning Free Motion Quilting class is coming up this Friday morning at Inspire Quilting & Sewing in Plant City, FL.

FMQ in progress
You'll see more of this project soon, I promise!

In this class, we get down and dirty with your machine to find and fix any free-motion troubles you may be experiencing, whether it's tension issues, needle issues, you name it. We also practice four to five different free motion stitches, two of which are all-over designs and three of which are linear designs. This gives you the opportunity to stretch both sides of your brain and find what feels more comfortable for you.

Clamshell Loop FMQ tutorial right here

Practice is the name of the game when you're getting starting with free-motioning. The first quilt I ever free-motioned seriously looks like it's quilted with creepy, long fingers all over it. You have to push through, and keep trying, rather than getting frustrated and defeated by your first attempts. They may not be pretty, but they're going to be, with practice and effort.

Close up of Zoology Baby Quilt
My first quilt, three years ago!

We talk a lot in class about different tips and tricks for making your early attempts at free-motion as smooth as possible, from choosing the right needle and thread for your machine to different techniques for holding and moving your quilt as you free-motion.

Beautiful stitches, without any muss or fuss

There's just a few seats left in my class this week, but if you're interested in joining in the fun, you can sign up for the class by calling the good folks at Inspire Quilting & Sewing at 813-704-4867. In the meantime, I'm going to be having fun stitching up a crazy piecing project I started at The Stash Bash, using one of my favorite fabric lines ever, Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley. Have a great day!

Hope Valley Improv project in progress
Monday, April 22, 2013

A recipe for Blueberry Buckle

It's officially blueberry season here in Florida, and at our house that means it's time to make all things blueberry, from muffins to pancakes to a cake we call Blueberry Buckle. The local blueberry farm not only offers up blueberry plants that you can grow at home, but they also offer U-Pick, allowing regular old folks to come pick from their bountiful trees.

This year's crop is quite beautiful, and on Friday morning, I headed over to the farm to pick a few pounds of blueberries. Almost all the berries are bright purple now, so it was easy to find loads of great blueberries, and quite a few of my son's favorite type of berries, "monster" berries - ridiculously large berries.

On Saturday, my son and I donned our aprons and got to work making blueberrry buckle, a simple coffee cake style cake with blueberries. This recipe works beautifully with fresh or even store-bought frozen blueberries and is  a simple treat to whip up. The tastiest part of this recipe, by far, is the streusel topping. And blueberries are chock full of healthy vitamins and minerals, so that makes this kind of a cake a bit of a healthier option than a slice of chocolate cake, right???

Blueberry Buckle - recipe on the blog today

Blueberry Buckle

Makes approximately 16 slices of cake, and freezes well

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk of your choice
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Streusel topping:
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan.
2. Cream softened butter and granulated sugar until well blended. Add egg and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients well with a fork or whisk. Add to butter/sugar/egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with your milk. Gently fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula, then transfer batter to your greased square pan.
4. To make the streusel topping: Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter well. This mixture will be a bit crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over the top of your batter.
5. Bake at 375 for 28-30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

I hope you have a great day today!
Friday, April 19, 2013

Loads of progress, not to mention fun!

I promise this is my last Stash Bash post! I'm starting to feel my hangover fully wear off, now that I've gotten everything unpacked and put away at long last. :)


Firstly, I have to tell you I sat with some seriously cool and fun people at The Stash Bash, who worked on some awesome projects. I sat with the Birmingham MQG gang of Katie, Marla, and Kim. Katie whipped up the beautiful quilt on the left here using Les Amis (and basted and quilted it!) and Marla stitched up the one on the right, from Elizabeth Hartman's Modern Patchwork book. These girls literally kept me in stitches throughout the weekend. So glad I got to meet them and hang out with them!


I also got some beautiful goodies from Katie, including this beautiful pouch, stuffed with a fun charm pack of Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie & Camille, in the pouch swap on Saturday. Katie also gave me a twin to this pouch along with a fabric covered clipboard. Seriously, how did she know that I love clipboards?!?! So sweet!

As for me, I packed a bunch of projects with me to work on at The Stash Bash, not sure of what I'd be in the mood to work on. Once I arrived at the sunny, yet cool and quiet location in Hampton, GA, I unpacked my car and set up my sewing machine.


I started right in on my Aeroplane bag first, and knocked it right out before we even had dinner that first day!


After the bag, I wanted to work on a new quilt, using some of the Urban Chiks' Dream On yardage and charm packs I've been hoarding for a long time. I used Jeni's great patchwork chevron tutorial from the Moda Bake Shop, but I upsized the quilt a bit to make it large enough to cover my bed. I haven't gotten a good picture of the whole thing yet because it's so big, but once I quilt it, I'll make sure to get some better pictures.


By Day 2 of the retreat, I shifted gears and worked for a bit on an improv project using Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley. I didn't get very far on this one before my quilty ADD kicked in and the desire to work on something else drove me to another project.

Hope Valley improv project in progress

My husband has requested I make him a mariner's compass quilt, using the same Madrona Road Memoir print I used in my A Light in the Dark mariner's compass mini, so I packed up some fabrics and templates to get started on that for him at The Stash Bash. I managed to get through one block, Which Way North. I haven't spent a ton of time plotting this quilt out, so I'm not sure exactly how many blocks I'll do just yet, but I would guess at least 16 or so, so you'll be seeing lots more blocks like this one in the coming weeks.

Hey @jdsal02 it's a block for your quilt!. #thestashbash #timeforastarbucksrun

Last but not least, I worked on a little bee block, using some beautiful Ruby by Bonnie & Camille. I made a simple zig zag block, and I can't wait to see how the whole quilt comes together soon. I got a sneak peek at the other blocks, and I can tell it's going to be a stunner!

Busting out a bee block before #thestashbash is over today...


I hope you've had a great week, and I hope you have a wonderful Friday!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's my Aeroplane!

Did I just put that Red Hot Chili Peppers song in your head? You're welcome ;) It was in my head the entire time I worked on a bag I've been looking forward to making, the Aeroplane bag, pattern by Sara/Sew Sweetness.

A finished Aeroplane bag

My Aeroplane bag was the first project I attempted to tackle at The Stash Bash over the weekend. I had spent a few hours piecing together a patchwork panel for the front and back of the bag, and quilting-it-as-I-went, and prepped all of my interfacing and other pieces before I headed up to Georgia.

QAYG panels

I was really surprised at how fast it came together once I got my sewing area all set up in the sewing room. I think it probably took no more than three or four hours to put the whole thing together, which is probably how much time I spent making the patchwork panels, so this is definitely the kind of bag you could tackle making in a weekend.

Hanging finished Aeroplane bag

I made the Long size of the Aeroplane bag, and it is truly humongous. The Regular size is just as tall, just slightly less long. I can easily fit everything I need for a weekend trip in this bag, no problem, with room to spare. I also really like how long the handles are, it's quite easy to carry around.

No problems with Aeroplane assembly

The directions for the pattern were supremely clear and easy to follow. The bag is literally assembled much like a zippered pouch, so it was fairly simple to put together. This was my first time working with Annie's Soft and Stable, which was really easy to use and did give the bag a lot of additional body. I will definitely choose to use it again for another bag in the future.

Adding the straps

Thinking about the construction of this bag versus the Weekender is a little bit tough - I used my Juki to put the Aeroplane bag together, and I used my Sapphire to put my Weekender together, so it's a bit like apples and oranges. The Juki is definitely way more cut out for bag-making, though. No broken needles, no difficulty shoving thick layers through the machine, just smooth sewing. I will say this: there are way fewer pattern pieces, no piping, and there are two inside zippered pockets in this bag that the Weekender lacks (though you could improvise and add them). I would say that this pattern is something that an adventurous beginner can tackle. And it's even more fun to tackle at a sewing retreat, for the record  :)

I hope you have a wonderful day!
Monday, April 15, 2013

I've got a serious Stash Bash hangover

I had such a fantastic time this weekend at The Stash Bash in lovely Hampton, GA! In fact, I had such a good time, that I'm literally feeling hung over this morning from all of the fun. There's lots to tell, but I'm going to start today with the stash side of things. A stash report, if you will, of all of the things that are now a part of my stash after this wonderful trip...

The view from one of the ironing stations at the Stash Bash
Add caption

On Saturday, we visited a beautiful quilt shop in McDonough, GA called A Scarlet Thread. It's a gorgeous shop, full of beautiful fabrics, sample quilts, and lots of fun, colorful DIY decor. I took tons of pictures of this shop because I enjoyed so much of the visual appeal of the shop.

Paint stick decor at A Scarlet Thread Paint cans filled with flowers made of Q-tips at A Scarlet Thread Gorgeous Joel Dewberry quilt at A Scarlet ThreadI adore this quilt shop! Awesome decor here at A Scarlet Thread in McDonough #thestashbash #ascarletthread

And naturally, I couldn't walk into a fabric store without buying fabric! I picked up some yardage of a Moda Bella solid for a quilt I was working on at The Stash Bash (stay tuned for more on that!), as well as some cuts of Dear Stella Ostara Stripe, Tim & Beck Bungle Jungle Ivory Stationary, Penelope Calligraphy, Penelope Salon, and Silent Cinema Starlet in Pink.

My haul from A Scarlet Thread

We also played an enthusiastic round of fat quarter swapping - modeled after LCR, if you're familiar with that. There was some vicious back and forth over a fat quarter of Constellations between myself and Amy/Needledfig! It was all in good fun, of course. Since I wound up with it, I think I might just make a little something for Amy with it, as a little Stash Bash keepsake.

top-bottom: Madrona Road Memoir in Black, Constellations Phases in Teal, Lilly Belle Lilly Bouquet in Light, Mama Said Sew The Block in Black, Splendor 1920 Knotted Trellis in Olive, and Madrona Road Morning Glory in Charcoal

And the sweet Beth of Stash Fabrics was not only a Stash Bash sponsor but she was also there in person, with lots of her shop's beautiful fabrics. I took home a boatload of it to lighten her load on her way home!

My haul from Stash Fabrics
top row L-R: Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax, Timber and Leaf Pine Stickers in Yellow and Pink, Summersville Spring Bloomsbury, Nursery Versery Piggies, Geekly Chic Glasses, Indian Summer Native Band in Apricot and Jade,  

While the road trip to Stash Bash was great, the road trip home was less than great. Between the nasty weather and the ticket I got for speeding in Georgia, the drive kind of sucked. But, thanks to a serious downpour, I did take a little side trip to a quilt shop in Lake City, FL called the Fabric Art Shop, which cheered me up a good bit. They had lots of fabric and notions to look at and I snagged a few fun stash prints. 

My haul from Fabric Art Shop in Lake City
L to R: P&B Textiles Color Weave in Teal, Mod Century Tweed Texture in Leaf, Boho Texture in Scarlet, and Juicy Blossoms Gray Dot

I can tell I'm going to be spending some quality time unpacking and putting stuff away today! I better get started!
Friday, April 12, 2013

A road trip playlist

I'm hitting the road this morning for The Stash Bash retreat, and I couldn't be more excited. I love road trips. Just me, the open road, and lots of great music to keep me company. Here's hoping I don't hit much traffic! And in case you need some tunes for the weekend, here's what's on my playlist for this morning...

The Unlikely Candidates - Follow My Feet

Imagine Dragons - Radioactive

Dan Croll - From Nowhere

The Postal Service - A Tattered Line of String

M83 - Midnight City

Tegan and Sara - Closer

The Mowglis - San Francisco

One Republic - Can't Stop

30 Seconds to Mars - This is War

Benjamin Gibbard & Feist - Train Song

Fall Out Boy - The Phoenix

OneRepublic - Counting Stars

Justin Timberlake - Mirrors

30 Seconds to Mars - Up in the Air

Grouplove - Tongue Tied

The Postal Service - Turn Around

OneRepublic - Something's Gotta Give

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farmhouse Patchwork Quilt

I'm gearing up for heading to Atlanta on Friday for the Stash Bash, so I haven't been doing a ton of sewing this week, but I do have another finish to share today! Back in January, I worked up a quilt for Quilt Magazine, and it's featured in their June/July issue, on stands now. Say hello to Farmhouse Patchwork!


This quilt pattern, also called Farmhouse Patchwork, is a super easy, scrappy quilt that you can easily put together in a weekend. The small patchwork squares are all pieced using simple, speedy strip-piecing, so this quilt blocks come together quite quickly and easily.


I used the new Charleston Farmhouse fabric collection by Felicity Miller for this quilt, mixed with a few Free Spirit Designer Solids. I just love the shade of coral in this collection, it's a gorgeous color that's sometimes hard to find in quality quilting cottons, and the Plumberry print, available in several colors, is a great stash print. You can find Charleston Farmhouse in stock at Pink Castle Fabrics.


So, head on out and pick up a copy of the new issue of Quilt magazine! I found my copy at my local grocery store, but I've also seen Quilt on stands on Barnes & Noble and Jo-Ann's. Have a great day!


Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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