Bird Bed Quilt

This quilt probably sat as a wip longer than any sewing project I’ve ever done. Years. Kinda ridiculous, but I’m pretty stoked to finally have it done, so let’s not get hung up on how long it took me! I bought the pattern when I went to Sew Expo in 2010 from the Metropolitan Quilt Company. The couple manning the booth was super friendly, the quilts on display were super cute, and even though I had little to no interest in quilting at the time, I simply had to make this quilt! Unfortunately , the awesomeness stopped there. As much as I hate to say this about a small, independent company, I would strongly discourage anyone else from buying the pattern (though it does look like the company is no longer in business). It was really frustrating to work with the pattern because 1) Some template pieces are printed on …


Grandma’s Quilts

My Grandma Currie was a prolific maker of things. Sewing, knitting, quilting, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, watercolor, drawing…there wasn’t much she didn’t do. My dad and his sisters recently finished sorting out my grandparents’ estate and I was lucky enough to get three quilts. The first is my favorite. I absolutely adore this quilt. My Aunt Sue says “I remember the farm quilt vaguely. It was a model for creating a series of appliques when I was a young teen.” Therefore the quilt was my grandmother’s design (not a surprise) and probably from the early 70’s. My grandma used all sorts of different fabrics and embroidery stitches to give the blocks tons of personality. Some of the details were even terrycloth – probably cut from an old towel! The quilt has clearly been worn. My mom helped me to get out all of the discoloration and staining that was possible …


Evelyn’s blankets

Evelyn Rose is lucky to have a giant fan club of people who love her. She is also lucky to have so many crafty people in her life that have made her wonderful keepsakes. I’ve been awed by how many amazing blankets she has been gifted. As a fellow knitter/crocheter/quilter, I know how much time and love goes into such handmade gifts. Evie is in the amazing position to have a quilt made for her by both two of her grandmothers. Adams mom, while she likes to make things, has never been a quilter. However, when she was pregnant, she decided she wanted to make her baby a quilt so she pieced together hexagons into a Grandmother’s flower garden pattern. Adam used the blanket as a baby. 40 years later, Adam’s mom pulled the very worn blanket out of storage and sent it to my mom. My mom cleaned it up, …


Wedding Quilt Chuppah

The biggest gift we were given for our wedding was the gift of a handmade quilt that we used as a chuppah from my mom and her Quilty Ladies – from L to R  – Nancy, Judy, Ann, Mom, Miyoko, and Susie. An untold number of stitches done with love over an untold number of hours combined to create a stunning heirloom gift that we are so very honored to have. What is a chuppah, some of you might be asking? In our ceremony we explained: “In the Jewish tradition, marriages take place under a chuppah. A chuppah represents a home. Just as the chuppah is open on all four sides, so was the tent of Abraham open for hospitality. Thus, the chuppah represents hospitality to one’s guests – that’s all of you, our family, friends, and loved ones. This symbolic home lacks furnishings to remind us that a home …


Anne of PlayCrafts on Sew-viving Academia

Finally finishing graduate school this year was the hardest thing that I have done in my life. Working through the challenge, I learned so much about myself. Part of that was learning how important it is to me to sew – to work with my hands, to design, and to create. Sewing is my rock that gets me through hard times. Curious to see if others have had similar experiences, I asked some other sewists to share their personal connections between sewing and making it through graduate school. I’m excited to introduce Ph.D. computer scientist and quilter Anne of Play-Crafts. I started quilting when I was 8. I made the start of a row of log cabin blocks, declared it boring and moved on to the next shiny thing. Fast forward almost 30 years, and I found myself in grad school for computer science, going nuts from stress, long hours, …


Hst3 Degron Quilt

Science is beautiful in so many ways. A clean western blot lends itself so nicely to a modern quilt design like in this quilt, but what is most beautiful to me about this quilt is what it represents – my love for an amazing female scientist and friend whose support was instrumental in me personally getting through graduate school. This quilt is based on a piece of data from my friend Ellen’s thesis research and was a gift from me to her to celebrate her achievement of her Ph.D. (I’m making all my Girls quilts to celebrate their graduations, so check out Erica’s Ninja Cells Quilt for the first in the series.) I had a fun time quilting the quilt on my home sewing machine, and chose to use all white thread on a black backing so that the quilt design is visible on the back of the quilt. Triangles …


Tangerine Dream Table Runner in Sewing World Magazine May 2014

Oh me oh my! My first published quilt pattern! My first magazine article! I am all sorts of excited! You can find my Tangerine Dream table runner quilt pattern in the May 2014 issue of Sewing World Magazine. The quilt is made from Kona cotton solids in Brown, Tangerine, Papaya, Lagoon, and Cream. My wonderful mother quilted the quilt with simple, geometric designs to play off the geometric shape of the runner. She never quilts my quilts the way I ask her to, and they’re always way more awesome than if she had followed my instructions. I know that tangerine and turquoise isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I put together illustrations of what the quilt would look like in different colorways. Using all Kona cottons you can get these different looks with: Mulberry, Thistle, Steel, Shadow, and Black for a gray and purple colorway; Valentine, Kumquat, Kiwi, Cyan, and Canary for …


Oakshott Lipari Rainbow Stripes Tote Bag and Tutorial

This Oakshott Lipari is OMG gorgeous. They are jewel tones like none I have ever seen. After getting my hands on this fat eighth pack I immediately understood why quilters hoard Oakshott like garment sewists hoard good border prints. I was sent the Oakshott from Sew Mama Sew to make a tote bag, but I immediately started to rethink my original tote design so that I could use less Oakshott so I had more for other selfish projects. And then I had a stern talking-to to myself and told myself that I was being silly and greedy and I should go ahead with my original plan because I can always buy more fabric. Well, that bit about “always buy more fabric” was music to my ears, so I continued on with the plans for a large tote. To make this tote you need: 13 fat eighths of Oakshott Lipari, 3/4 …


Ninja Cells Quilt

There is no way that I could have maintained the shred of sanity to which I have clung through graduate school if it wasn’t for my Girls. I’ve been meeting 5 female classmates for dinner, every other week, for the last 6 years. I cannot even begin to put words to how much support, and love, and advice, and compassion, and help, and advice, and friendship they have given me. Epic amounts. Incomprehensible amounts. As my Girls are graduating one by one, I wanted to give each of them a special thank-you for the role they have played in this phase of my life. So, I asked each to give me favorite data and I used that to design and make a quilt for each Girl. My science inspired thank-you quilt series begins with Erica’s Ninja Cells. Erica took this image of two cells under a microscope years ago and …


Assembled 2012 BOM Quilt Top and Bottom

This project brings me an odd mixture of excitement and apathy. I finished piecing the top (and bottom) of my Craftsy 2012 Block of the month quilt! I learned so much from making each of these blocks over the course of (a bit more than) a year. It feels very satisfying to have all of the blocks finished and assembled into a quilt top. Although, as I’ve been saying all along, I’m not thrilled with my fabric choice, I think it comes together alright in the finished quilt. Unfortunately, the quilt just doesn’t speak to me, but I fully understand that not every finished project will, and I’m happy with what I learned in the process. I added 1″ sashing of the background fabric between each block. I think it makes each block distinct while still keeping the sampler feel of the finished work. As I think about it, I’ve …


Thrift Store Score: Paper Pieced Quilt Chunk

I found this cute little piece of a quilt at a vintage store in Napa and bought it for my mom (because I stash only garment fabric and she stashes quilting fabric although I may be known to steal fabric from her stash for each of my own quilt projects making it like a large extension of my own stash). It’s paper pieced, like the last set of blocks I did for my BOM quilt. The contrasting stitches that you see on the top of each hexagon are basting stitches. They sew the fabric to the paper and will eventually be ripped out when all of the fabric pieces have been pieced together. A talented and experienced quilter will sew the hexagons together so that no stitches are visible (unlike the multitude of grey stitches visible here). The lady at the store told me that the quilt piece is vintage, …


Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month October

Whew! I’m done piecing blocks for my block of the month quilt! Amy of Sew Well beat me (we’ve been encouraging each other’s progress on twitter), but I’m still way ahead of my mom. In fact, I can’t remember the last time my mom told me that she was working on these blocks, and we were supposed to be working our way through together. I’ll have to pester her about it! October finished the month-by-month building of techniques with English Paper Piecing. For those of you not familiar, this is a technique where you actually sew your pieces of fabric onto a paper background so you can get precise piecing of unusual or complicated shapes. I would brag about how all my points match on these blocks, but that’s the whole point of paper piecing, so I don’t really have much to brag about, unfortunately. I also made one final …


Purple and Neutral Hexagon Baby Quilt

I am a little embarrassed to post this just-finished baby quilt on my blog since there are construction flaws and honestly, the design is mediocre. But I’m learning. And I certainly learned from this quilt. And regardless of the finished product, it was made with love. And that’s what I wanted to send to my friend’s baby – a bundle of love and a story for daddy to tell. “This quilt was made for you, with love, by this crazy girl that lived next door to me in the dorms of my college during her freshman year. I had just transferred there from another school and wasn’t happy about being placed in a room with three freshmen boys. She was just starting college but, being an only child, wasn’t happy about being placed in a room with three other freshmen girls. I think she might have had a crush on …


Quilted Scrappy Red and White Baby Quilt

In the last week I have visited my grandparents, visited my aunt, bought a mattress, bought a bedframe, bought an engagement ring, and worked a 15hr day in lab (sidenote: the experiment worked so it was totally worth it!). What I have not done is sew or write a blog post. I knew that this month was going to be busy, but I didn’t realize quite how busy it was going to be! I can’t even say that it’s been full of wedding planning, which is how I would like to be spending my time if I don’t get to be in front of the sewing machine. Oh well. There won’t be a new Christmas dress this year. There won’t be handmade gifts. There won’t be an Archer for Archer Appreciation Month. But this month will contain time with friends and family, investments in our future, happiness, and holiday cheer. …


September Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month

Making these September Block of the Month blocks for the Craftsy 2012 BOM quilt was the first time that I have pieced curves. Fortunately, I didn’t find it as terrifying or challenging as I anticipated, and I’m pretty happy with how these blocks turned out. The top block is called a Chain Block and the bottom is Cleopatra’s Puzzle. Yet again, I’ve found that my use of stripes and plaids is less than ideal. I’m particularly not satisfied with the way the plaid doesn’t align in the large brown and green plaid above. And for the brown stripes,  I managed to sew two blocks with the stripes facing differently than the other blocks. Rather than unsew and resew them, I put them at either end of the chain. It’s not ideal, but I’m okay with it as it’s just one more imperfection on the giant list of imperfections that make …


August 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month Blocks

August’s block-of-the-month blocks for Craftsy’s 2012 BOM quilt were fun to put together and I like the way my rugged fabrics look with such traditional blocks. The combination of the rustic fabrics, muted primary color palette, and the stars strikes me as very masculine. The first block is an Ohio Star block and taught the technique of quarter square triangles. The second block is double star block (see the star within the star?) and uses the traditional “flying geese” shape to assemble the stars. When cutting out the striped fabric to use in the inner star, I didn’t think all the way through the way the pieces would assemble into the block, so not all of the stripes point the same direction. Fortunately, with a project like this, I can call it a design decision and, given the myriad of imperfections in this learning-process quilt, it probably won’t be noticed much, except …


July 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month Blocks

Dresden plates! Dresden plates were one of the first quilt blocks that I learned to identify when my mom took up quilting. I’ve always loved their look but had no interest in making them myself because of all the hand stitching involved. I’ve since started to enjoy hand stitching, so I was thrilled to make these blocks for the Craftsy July 2012 Block of the Month! I simply adore how my fabric choices look in this block (unlike many of the other blocks). The first dresden plate block is a very traditional dresden plate, with points on each ray of the plate. The class teaches the way to sew the rays so that the points are finished and you don’t have to turn them under yourself. Apparently it’s a very traditional technique, but a revelation for me as I had never considered the idea before. To attach the plate to …


June 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month Blocks

Okay, so I’m (very) behind in the Craftsy Block of the Month quilt that I’ve been working on. But this month marks the month I get it all back on track, I swear. My mom is caught up and Amy of Sew Well and I have challenged each other to catch up too. Two different metaphorical gauntlets have been thrown so I will arise to the challenge! The June blocks were modern 9 patches. I’ve always thought of 9 patch blocks as being very simple blocks, with 9 different squares making a checkerboard pattern out of two colors. It turns out that 9 patch can refer to any block that is made of 9 square pieces and those squares can have simple or elaborate piecing in them. So, I learned something new! The top block is called a Greek Cross and the bottom block an Octagon Block. Thanks to the stripe …


Red and White Baby Quilt

While I was visiting my mom this weekend I designed and assembled a baby-blanket-size quilt top using red and white fabrics that I pulled from her (insanely large) stash. All of the pieced blocks I put together using scraps of my moms (Does it count as stashbusting if I’m using someone else’s stash??). When she has just a bit of fabric left, she cuts it into 1.5″ or 2.5″ strips and throws it in a basket. It makes for super easy assembly of scrappy quilts, especially since she has a TON of strips to pick from! I started by making a classic rail fence block. I played around a bit with arranging the striped squares in the rail fence block to make this pinwheel shape. This was definitely my favorite block on the quilt, and no, that’s not just because I snuck in some pink! I put in several of …

How to Hand Quilt from an Expert

I recently learned to hand quilt. In sharing my story, I tried to describe hand quilting. I received a couple of questions asking for more of explanation. I really don’t know enough to answer them properly, so I reached out to Ann Rindge, the winner of Best Hand Quilting at the 2013 Vashon Quilt Guild Quilt Show for her description. Ann says: “The technique I am most comfortable with uses a rocking motion with the needle.  After I have buried the knot into the quilt sandwich, I balance the needle gently under the thimble of my top hand and the middle (or index) finger of my bottom hand.  The needle should be perpendicular to the quilt.  The thumb of my thimble hand rests on the quilt just in front of where I wish to travel with the needle.  I gently push down on the needle until I start to feel the tip of …


Vashon Quilt Guild Quilt Show 2013

The Vashon Quilt Guild Quilt Show, where I learned to hand quilt last weekend, had an amazing quantity of beautiful quilts. I thought I would share a small selection of them. Many of the quilts feature Kaffe Fassett fabrics because the local fabric store, Island Quilter, specializes in his fabrics. This meant that there were lots of bright and colorful quilts, right up my alley! The community quilt was on display. Every year for many, many years, Catholine Tribble has put together a quilt that features blocks made by different community members and is raffled to support Vashon Allied Arts, raising thousands of dollars to support art in the community. This year the theme was businesses of Vashon and includes a block made by my mom (and blocks made by two other Quilty Ladies, her weekly quilting partners-in-crime). The quilt blocks are appliqued by hand and all of the quilting …


I Learned to Hand Quilt

This weekend I went to the Vashon Quilt Guild Quilt Show (Vashon is the island outside of Seattle where my mom lives). During the two-day event, my mom and her friends – her “Quilty Ladies” who she stitches with every week – had a quilt frame set up with a quilt on it and were demonstrating how to hand quilt. The quilt had been previously basted (to hold the back, batting, and top together). The blue painters tape was put down so that the quilters had a straight line to follow (and replaces the need for chalking the lines). I was surprised that the quilt was not taught, but was told that it needed some slack so that your bottom hand could pinch the fabric. The large open spaces in the quilt won’t have straight lines across them but will instead be quilted individually in a decorative pattern using a …


May Craftsy 2012 Quilt Blocks

Don’t be too confused by my post title. This isn’t a time warp. It’s not actually May of 2012. Rather, I’ve been sewing along with the Craftsy 2012 Block-of-the-Month quilt. And I got behind by a month (about which I feel okay because my mom is even further behind). The theme of this months blocks was log cabin. These are two modern takes on the log cabin pattern, a very traditional pattern. The first one is supposed to be  a little wonky, with different size strips. I think I didn’t make mine different enough so it looks unintentionally wonky, not intentionally so.  But, this is a learning process. The second block is a five sided log cabin, again intended to be freeform and wonky. I think this one looks wonky with intent and I actually like it a lot more than I thought I would. This is a block where …

April Block of the Month

My April quilt block for my Craftsy 2012 Block-of-the-Month quilt. It’s a modern take on paper pieced hexagons, a very traditional technique. Paper piecing involves cutting out the finished shape of your piece (often a hexagon) out of sturdy piece of paper. (I used a manila file folder and I think it might have been a little too sturdy as it was hard to get my needle through it). You cut your fabric out to be 1/4″ larger than the template (although you don’t have to be super careful with this as you do almost everywhere else in quilting). You then baste the fabric around your shape, sewing through the paper, and press and starch your fabric in shape. You then whip stitch the edges together. See my tiny little whip stitches? Aren’t they cute? Finally, you sew the hexagons that you have sewn together as a unit onto your …


Craftsy Block of the Month – March 2012

I pieced my March Block-of-the-Month blocks. (One more project down on my too-many-sewalongs this month). These are by far my favorite blocks so far (Okay, I know there’s only two other months so far with which to compare them. Regardless, I like them). These are sewn one strip at a time onto my background fabric. I learned that, in the 1930’s, these kinds of blocks were called string blocks since they used long, skinny “strings” of fabric that were too small to use elsewhere. For this block I used strips of all of the colors I had of the same print fabric.

How to Sew Half Square Triangle (HST) Quilt Blocks

I’ve now made February’s blocks for the Craftsy 2012 Block-of-the-Month. Both blocks use all half square triangles (HST), but use different methods to make the HSTs, which I will explain below. For a video demonstration of the methods, register for the Craftsy class – it’s free! This is the Balkan Puzzle Block. I think this is a fun block and it’s fun to know that it was popular in the 1930’s.

Block of the Month Quilt

My mom and decided to do a long-distance project together. Since she’s always trying to get me into quilting, we chose to each piece Craftsy’s 2012 Block of the Month quilt, offered as a free video class. Yes, they have a 2013 quilt class too, but neither I nor my mom like the quilt as much. And, the 2012 quilt has an adjoining quilting class that teaches you how to longarm quilt using the 2012 block of the month quilt. I have to get the entire top pieced first and my mom and I are doing it month-by-month even though all the months are published, so don’t hold your breath waiting to see my first attempt at longarm quilting!

Mom Made Movie Theater Quilt Block

Every year, one woman on Vashon (the Island my mom lives on) assembles a completely hand-sewn community quilt that is raffled off to support Vashon Allied Arts. It’s been going for over 20 years. This year the theme is Downtown Vashon and Beyond. My mom was asked to sew a block for the quilt! She was given the Vashon Movie Theater. Her challenge was to capture the theater in a 14 inch square, entirely hand sewn, making sure to include specific fabrics. I think she did an amazing job! She makes the theater look mid-century modern and not outdated, the block is bright and fun while still being quite realistic.

Mom Made Household Dec

Welcome to my mom’s house! This is just a tiny glimpse of some of the lovely handmade touches she has added to her house to make it a home. Here is a shelf in her TV room. The folded quilt is all made of fall fabrics and is displayed seasonally. The red white and blue quilt and begonia applique (design by Primitive Gatherings by Lisa Bongean), while designed to be overtly Fourth of July, become more subtle and year-round when part of a broader decorating scheme that includes other colors (yellow) and lots of pattern.

Mom Made Quilted Baby Blanket

My mom made a blanket for her cousin Amilia’s baby. (Same cousin for whom I designed the Baby’s First Fair Isle sweater). The construction was simple. It is made from 3 – 1 1/2 inch strips sewn together dark-light-dark in what’s called a strip-set. Then the strips are cut into 3 1/2 inch squares. Mom rotated alternate blocks and then sewed them together. This makes a quilt where the finished blocks are each 3 inches square. Placing 10 blocks by 12 blocks makes a final quilt size of 30 x 36 inches – the perfect size for a baby.