my creative pursuits with quilts and knits

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I was putting together the blocks for the 2014 Mod Mod Sampler from Block Lotto, and here is my epic fail at sewing curves.  I have successfully made Drunkard’s Path blocks with quarter circles, but these semi-circles were too much.

I needed to come up with something else for that space in the quilt.  I looked at some traditional blocks, but this is a Modern Modular design.  So I improvised, first trying string piecing.


Then I turned to my favorite bit of quilting, the 2-1/2″ square.  I had a stack of red and blue squares and I needed a 7×7 grid to make my 14″ block.  Here is the arrangement I came up with.

imageNow I just need one more 14″ block and I can finish the sampler.

I keep sewing the split 9-patch as my leader-ender project.


I have sewn 76 blocks, and I want 120 to make a quilt top.


Pattern Shop open!

for sale sign

My love of the quilting process has led to designing patterns.  You can find the details on a separate page of this website, just look for the button at the top right corner of your screen.  I am selling these pdf downloads through Craftsy.  I hope to have several more available over the coming months.

Happy stitching!

Random Wednesday

Here is my knitting hack:

image I bought my daughter new bed sheets, and the plastic case is perfect for my new knitting project!  It even has an interior pocket where I can store the pattern.  No, of course I didn’t finish any of my current knitting projects.  I really did try to resist another mystery knit along, but when I saw the shape of Stephen West’s 2014 shawl, and contemplated my stash…he’s like the Borg – resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.  Check out the ravelry group for spoiler pictures.

I finished a couple more Split 9-patch squares:

image image

I am trying very hard to mix in a wide variety of neutral/light fabric instead of always using white or cream.  But I do like the strong contrast of dark and light, so the alternate nine patch is from my stack of “medium” rejects.  Those pinks and yellows don’t play well in this project.  Any suggestions on what to use them in?  And if you ever want to swap a bundle of fabric, just leave a comment!

I sewed a couple more Block Lotto pieces for my Mod Mod QOV:


The October pattern was Woven Bars.  I am hoping to work on this project on my days off this month. My school district went a little crazy, and we have both Monday and Tuesday off for Veterans Day, then a whole week for Thanksgiving.  Yay for quality sewing time, boo for the choppy teaching schedule.  Back to the QOV plan…I had trouble with the curved piecing back in June, so I have to come up with an alternate plan for those blocks, and I missed September also.  You can find all the patterns in the Block Lotto archives, using the keyword Mod Mod QAL.


Freebie Friday #4 – Charm Squares

This week’s prize is a set of 100 charm squares (2 1/2″)


I recently participated in a swap and I have some extra sets!  The winner will receive two identical sets of 49 squares, plus a couple odd balls to reach the magic number of 100.  You can see the sets I cut for the swap pictured above.

I will ship internationally.  THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED.

Freebie Friday – Books!

This week, I decided to dust off the book shelf.

imageI have 9 Patch Pizzazz by Judy Sisneros, Beyond Baltimore by Brenda Henning and Stitch and Split Appliqué by Jayme Crow and Joan Segna.

I hope you can give these books a new home.  Just leave a comment and tell me your favorite quilting method – traditional piecing? Improv? Appliqué by hand or machine? The contest is open until Thursday Oct 23rd at 8pm PST.

Other Fiber Hobbies

Once upon a time I was at a guild meeting with no knitting.  After a stroll through the vendor area, I came back to my seat with this:


Punch needle embroidery is a simple technique using a special tool to punch the thread through the fabric.  It’s kind of like coloring since you work from the outside in and fill in all the space.  The first picture is the back of the work.  The front is fuzzy:


I have several bags of abandoned cross stitch patterns and lots of DMC thread, so I am ready to go if I ever get the urge to pick up the punch needle tool.  It’s been on my mind since my daughter doodles alot…


Wouldn’t that flower make a lovely needlework design?!?

Quilting, knitting, punch needle, cross stitch – are you a monogamous crafter or multi-craftual?

Freebie Friday – Fabric Giveaway

I dug into my stash this week and found some Fossil Ferns Charms (5″ squares).  I have a set of 22 charms to give away!


To enter, please leave a comment on this post with ideas for using charm squares.  Do you leave them whole or slice them up into smaller bits?  I am making scrappy blocks from 2.5″ squares, mini charms I think they are called, so I would take these straight to the cutting table!

Comments have been closed.  I will use a random number generator to draw a winner, who will be announced on Monday Oct 13.  Good Luck!

Stash Part 2

Get two or more quilters in the same room, and soon you will witness the Pre-Wash Debate.  I am not a purist and I think both sides have some valid points.

Here is a bin of brand new fat quarters:


Some quilters feel that the fabric is easier to cut when it has that fresh-off-the-bolt crispness.  With modern technology, we do not have as many of the problems with shrinkage and bleeding as in days past.  When I worked in a fabric store, on a slow Saturday afternoon, I would pick out fabric for a new sample and start cutting right away.

Here is a pile of washed and folded fabric:


Some quilters are sensitive to the dyes and chemicals used in processing the fabric, and who knows what has touched the bolt before it gets to you, so I am leaning towards pre-washing everything.  Most of my quilting is done with the intention of sending the finished project to charity, or as a block exchange with other quilters.  In both cases, the preference is for pre-washed fabrics, so there are no surprises.

Unfortunately, my scrap bin is a mix.  Time to find a lingerie bag and throw it in the wash!image

Stash Part 1


My mom owned a quilt store for 4 years.  It was so much fun!  These are a few bolts that I adopted when the shop closed. One bolt is a green and blue grid that makes a fabulous blender.  I had grand plans to make a skirt from the floral print, but I have not made the time to sit down and seriously attempt garment sewing.  Maybe next summer vacation?!?!

I am very lucky to have our spare bedroom devoted to my quilting hobby.  It is filled with bins of fabric…occasionally I pull out the older bins and toss them in with the newer acquisitions.  I have a pile of scraps next to the cutting table  – the discards from my Women of the Bible quilt blocks.

I do try to keep things somewhat organized by size and color.  I keep yardage in one stack and pieces smaller than a fat quarter in another.  And then the drawers…I have a desk and a dresser chock full of fabric.  One drawer is small kits and another is I-spy fabric.  I can definitely sew from my stash for a good long while!

Looking Ahead

I need goals to get things done.  I was spurred to a recent quilt finish by a UFO challenge.  I quit procrastinating about a pile of grading when I rewarded myself after every 5 papers done.  Yes, as an adult, I should just do the things I know I need to do, but sometimes we all need that little push.

 I have always wanted to be an author.  I dabble with writerly efforts, and every November an event called NaNoWriMo rolls around…National Novel Writing Month.  I have participated for several years.  My first attempt yielded 5,000 words, well short of the professed goal of 50,000 words in a month.  As the plague victims in the Holy Grail claimed, I am getting better! (LOL, gotta love Monty Python)  Last year, I was up to 18.000 words.  This year, I have a solid idea and I have begun outlining my story.

As a warm up exercise, I declare this will be Blog-tober.  You will find a new post, yes, with quilty content, every day in October.  I have my list of topics ready, and I am looking forward to sharing alot of fun quilting ideas in the month ahead!

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