Crossroads and Intersections- A Mini Quilt Pair

Or is it a diptych? I’m not sure it’s quite a diptych. I think it’s more of a pair! I made the pair for the Curated Quilts challenge for their Negative Space Mini Quilt Challenge. Other than the colors, the design direction was described as: ‘Please use gap as inspiration for your negative space mini quilt design.’

The mini quilt on the right was the initial design for the challenge. The original design came from a Quilt Design a Day sketch I had done ages ago. With Crossroads, I was exploring the idea of negative space and what happens when the positive space comes together, ever so gently, to squeeze out the negative space. The space that resulted in this experiment was the X shape that is separated by the light blue background.

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To me, this mini quilt, Crossroads, fits the design challenge with the gap (or the negative space) created by angled pieces. Apparently, Curated Quilts did not agree, becuase it was not juried into the Mini Quilts Gallery! Or maybe that’s not true. Maybe they did see how it met the challenge they just thought others met the challenge more. I’ll go with that!

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To make these angled stripes, I made long straight stripes and folded them, then stitched down the center of my fold. I did end up with a couple of Y seams, but they weren’t too bad!

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And if you know me very well, I always like to make a second quilt out of my scraps. And that’s what this second mini quilt, Intersection, is. once I trimmed Crossroads, both the in the middle and on the edges, I was left with the these really cool triangles of scraps. The only thing I could do was sew them together!

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I did submit this one to the mini challenge as well. I was thinking there is a bit of negative space in this one. Not so much a gap, but yes to the negative space. Unfortunately, this one didn’t make the cut either!

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The backs aren’t all that exciting, but they match! Keeping the pair thing going here.

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Even though neither of my minis made it into the magazine, I really love them. And that’s what matters, right?

Waves- A Mini Mini Quilt

As you probably know by now, I really enjoy quilting challenges! I love the Curated Quilts mini challenges because they are minis and a fun break between larger projects.

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This challenge was called Utilitarian and the challenge was to use ‘accessible fabric’. I had a little problem with the term Utilitarian because to me that means it needs to have a useful purpose. And Mini quilts, typically are not very utilitarian. I even googled it. ‘Utilitarian Art is art that has function as it’s priority and yet is still aesthetically pleasing’ according to my google search. I thought about making it a hot pad/trivet or an oversized pot holder, but I just ended up going with a plain ‘ole mini quilt!

My mini quilt has no real function…

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But! My mini quilt does incorporate ‘accessible fabric’ which is defined on the challenge page as scraps you have on hand, significant fabrics that you treasure, or thrift shop finds. My husband just happened to have cleaned his closet out and had this shirt as a throw away, so I grabbed it and headed to the sewing room! And the green is fabric from my stash.

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The challenge also had an inspiration fabric, Candlelight Woven in Ocean by Ruby Star Society. It was requested to use this fabric or let it inspire the color selection. I let it inspire my mini, because buying new fabric didn’t feel very accessible to me…

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I used the inspiration fabric for both the color and the design. I designed a little paper piecing sketch to mimic the zigzag pattern in the fabric. I didn’t actually paper piece it necessarily, but improv pieced based on the little pattern piece.

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I mimicked the wave shapes in the quilting, even in places where the waves aren’t there!

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I also added in some white contrast pops! I initially though the white should be grey, but I couldn’t quite find the right grey in my stash so I moved to the white. I actually like the brightness of the white.

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For the back I had this matching print fabric in my stash that I decided to use. The piece finished at 12.5×12.5 inches. A mini mini for sure!

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I submitted! We’ll see if it makes the cut… Either way, I enjoyed making it. Did you make one?

Up and Over

Up and Over is my quilt entry for the Quilt Improv Studio Primary Challenge. I love participating in these challenges with people from all over the world! For this challenge the ‘rules’ were to use primary colors and to use the graphic element of lines.

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Not only was this a Quilt Improv Studio Challenge, but it’s also a Quilt Design A Day to Reality quilt! I don’t do it as much as I used to, but I love doing the Quilt Design a Day challenges. This design came from one of my QDAD designs from years ago. 6 years ago, actually!

I was thinking about using a black and white stripe for the applique lines. Then I remembered this black and white fabric I have also had about 6 years as well! This is fabric from the Spring 2016 Modern Quilt Guild Fabric Challenge. Yep, 2016! It’s the Sashing Stash Fabric by Eleanor Dugan. I had grand plans for this fabric back in 2016, but they never came to fruition. I didn’t want my straight stripes to be just black or just white, so this fabric ended up being perfect for this challenge.

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I quilted the red, yellow and blue before adding the bias tape applique. After quilting I sent back and hand appliques the bias tape.

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This is my first experiment with using facing as the binding technique. I kept debating which color to use as my binding and nothing worked. I realized it was because the lines needed to be framed in. Perfect time to try the facing technique. I used the tutorial by Cotton and Bourbon and it went smoothly. A little slow since I kept changing my thread color, but I’m hoping next time will be quicker!

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I’m really happy with how it turned out! It’s not quite my usual improv style, but it was a fun experiment!

Disposable- An Upcycled Quilt

Or as they say on Project Runway, an Unconventional Challenge.

Not too long ago I saw a call for the UW Recycling Trash Art Contest. As soon as I saw the call, I knew what I wanted to do. I had to make a quilt from all the disposable masks.

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When the pandemic hit, I made a ton of masks. I HATE the nature of the disposable masks. I’m that person that also hates to buy anything that is individually wrapped. No single servings pre-packaged for our lunches. And the same with the masks, no one time use in this house. Then I went to work in a hospital and the disposal masks are required as a way to slow the spread of Covid. But honestly, it makes me cringe to see all these disposable masks strewn about the streets. In addition to the disposable masks I also used a neighbor’s worn out scrubs and disposable gloves. Not a single bit of new fabric was harmed in the making of this quilt!

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For the round blocks I used my used masks and my neighbor’s scrubs. I cut the masks in half and made a quick template for the outer piece. The problem I realized with these materials is that the masks melt if you try to iron them. So, no ironing the seam allowances!

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I made this block out of my husband’s masks, the neighbor’s scrubs and a disposable glove. I love the secondary shapes the masks make. In the end, as much as I love this block, I didn’t love it as part of the quilt, so it ended up being left out of the quilt.

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And the half square triangle blocks made with disposable masks and disposable gloves. I sewed together two masks and cut out about a 5.5″ square and sewed the two together around the edge. Then cut down the middle to get 4 HSTs. Or course, no ironing here either!

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The quilting inside these masks represents the germs bouncing around inside the masks, but not being shared with those around me. The circular quilting around the masks represents the germs staying on the outside, another reason we wear the masks. I quilted the circular blocks first, then the mask blocks. It was a pure, happy accident how this quilting came together in the corner.

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One of the questions for the Trash Art contest was to explain how this art piece is relevant to my personal and/or UW campus waste? 

This quilt is relevant to my personal experience in so many ways!  For the last 10 years I have worked as an architect in the healthcare industry in local hospitals, including UWMC and Harborview. I have always grappled with the irony of all the disposable items used in healthcare to keep our patients safe and healthy versus the amount waste these same items make in order to also keep our patients safe and healthy. When I transitioned to an employee at UWMC last year, I had to give up my handmade, washable face masks for the disposable one time use masks. Every day on my walk to work, I pass mask after mask disposed of on the ground of the UW campus. This quilt is literally made of my own personal, disposable trash being upcycled into a work of art.

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And the back….

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I used the last ‘larger’ piece of the scrubs on the back. And in good upcycling fashion, I just happened to have these blue and white striped sheets in my stash waiting to be used.

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ok, maybe I didn’t tell the truth… I did use one small piece of new fabric. The label is new. The binding is, again, worn out scrubs.

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I had this idea to take these pictures hanging on the side of a building next to a dumpster. That situation didn’t exist where I thought it did. But my husband spotted this recycling dumpster and it was perfect for my photo shoot. It did make it a little hard to get the color perfect in the pictures though.

Testing- A MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt Part 1

Every year the Modern Quilt Guild hosts a fabric challenge for Quiltcon. This year the fabric challenge was hosted by Windham Fabrics using their Artisan Cotton fabric line. If you sign up fast enough, they send you free fabric. I didn’t sign up fast enough, so I actually ordered my own fabric to play along!

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There were 4 main fabrics you could choose from. You had to use three of the four. Then there was a list of other fabrics that you could incorporate. I ended up ordering some that had nothing to do with the challenge and I’m really excited about the colors! For ‘Testing’ I used the four challenge fabrics, Wine/Pink, Coral/Aqua, Aqua/Blue and Blue/Orchid plus neutrals Stone/Lavender and Navy/White.

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I actually ended up making two quilts. ‘Testing’ was my submission to Quiltcon because I finished it in time. The second quilt, ‘Eyes on You’, I’ll tell you more about later. It wasn’t completed in time, so it didn’t even get submitted. But today, I’m just telling you about ‘Testing’.

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image via https://www.design-seeds.com/
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Do you remember way back when I used to design quilt patterns with the Quilt Design a Day FB group? I’ve made 6 quilts from those designs: Running Away, Rabbit Hole quilts, Raindrops of Wildflowers, Left and Right, Triangle Mountain, and Bright Tide Pools! And now we have number 7, ‘Testing’!

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It started as succulents. Once the design was translated in fabric, the quilt took on a different persona. Gone was the nod to the succulents. The quilt now takes it’s que from the ‘off the air’ TV graphics of a bygone era when screen time wasn’t available all day and actually ended at a certain time each day. 

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I started in the center and with each layer, I created a piece made of different colored wedges. Then I used my inset circles technique to layer and layer one on top of the other. The picture above is actually the scraps from each layer, but you can see what they started as.

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When I quilted the circles, the mini quilt became a little wobbly and doesn’t like to hang flat. You can really see it in the picture of the back. So maybe it’s a good thing it didn’t get picked for the Quiltcon show! For the back I used stash fabric that I happened to have. I love that it picked up not only the grey from the front, but also the circles!

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And that’s my ‘Testing’ Mini Quilt! Did you submit a fabric challenge quilt to Quiltcon?? I can’t wait to show to you my next one! Stayed tuned for Part 2!

Weeping Willow in Black and White, a mini quilt

Another quilt I never posted…

This mini quilt is from 2019! I made it for a the Curated Quilts mini challenge for the Black and White issue.

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I have a mild obsession with improv quarter circles. For this one, I wanted to see how small I could go to piece improv quarter circles by machine and I ended up with 1″ finished squares. As I was laying this one out, by using the positive and negative space of the black and white improv quarters, the image of the flickering leaves of a Weeping Willow was the image I couldn’t stop seeing. Do you see it?

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And it made the cut to be featured in the Mini Quilt Gallery! I really love making and submitting mini quilts for these challenges!

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I mirrored the quarter circles with a wavy quilting. I also felt like it gave it a little windy feeling, like the leaves flickering in the wind.

What do you think about these pictures? Usually, I edit my pictures to get the colors as close to real life as possible. For these, I am in love with the sunset on the red rocks of Utah. And I love the sunset reflected in the white of the quilt. A little bit different!

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This little guy finished at 16 inches.

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I have so many quilts and things that I’ve made and not shown you. I’m hoping to get better at posting! I used to post 3 times a week. I don’t know how I did that! I don’t have the mental capacity to go back to that, but I’m so excited to show you everything I’ve made! Including more quilts and some fun Christmas present ideas!

The Spark- A Mini Quilt

If you follow me on IG, you know I have a to do list this year to get my WIP completed and my sewing area purged. I also have a list of exceptions and one of those exceptions is to participate in the Quilt Improv Studio’s quilt challenges!

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This challenge is Monochrome Dreams!

“Monochrome dreams” is our new improv patchwork game, aimed to let you play with one hue in many shades.

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Originally, I had a plan for a pink quilt. I’m on a bit of a pink kick right now. Not that you’d know if from what I’m sewing, but you would if you saw what I’m buying! 🙂

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Then, I was sorting through scraps I had pulled for an ongoing scrap project I’m working on, I found all these orange scraps that were already pieced…. I couldn’t resist! They are the leftovers from the Improv Flower Pillow I made a while back.

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I didn’t have quite enough to hit the 24″x24″ size requirement, so I also pulled more orange scraps to get me to the right size. I also cut way more squares than I needed for another quilt I just finished and will tell you about soon. So I pulled those orange squares and started cutting into them too, making flying loons.

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I was going to cut out the yellow (or the very, very light orange hehehe) pieces, but in the end I decided to keep them in. They are what give the quilt it’s name. The Spark!

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I usually am not very creative with my quilting thread. This year I participated in the monthly Aurifil 2021 Color Builder program. Mostly to get the awesome wildlife paper piece patterns by Cassandra Beaver. But the ones I just recieved happened to be orange, so I used them!

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Some detail shots….

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The back was almost just one piece of fabric. Which isn’t really my style, but for the smaller ones, I don’t piece as much. This one I cut the back wrong, so I had to add the orange anyway. And you know me, I always like to throw in a picture of the label!

I know there are a bunch of pictures, but I also wanted to share a few behind the scenes…

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My kiddo did the quilt holding. We did 4 photo shoots. Two just didn’t turn out quite right. Then we found these fields! The pup looked happy to stop and smell the fresh air!

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And that’s my Spark for the Monochrome Dreams Challenge! Are you participating? What color would you use?

Courthouse Steps Mini Quilt

My first quilt finish this year.

I’m off to a slow start this year with my broken leg in January, but I’m hoping to catch up soon!

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I started this one to submit to the Curated Quilts Mini Challenge for the ‘Stripe’ issue coming out later this year. The challenge was:


Please use “balance” as inspiration for your quilt design. Balance can be interpreted at many different levels and we encourage you to explore what balance means to you. You can improvise or paper piece your mini quilt. We love seeing how creative everyone is and appreciate all forms of piecing in your mini quilts. The color palette we would like you to use is included in the image above, soft grey, jade green, bright pink, bright blue, purple, and highlighter yellow. 

Originally I was going to make a striped mini, with circles cut into it and in the circles the lines were going to go in a different direction. Maybe I still will make that one, but I saw a lot of others using circles and I didn’t want to anymore. But I kept making my stripes until I figured out what I wanted to do!

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Balance was the inspiration…

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I started my stripes picking out some of the colors from the challenge. Well, all of them except green and purple. I started with paper piecing the stripes, still unsure where this was going.

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I drew lines on a large piece of freezer paper and started sewing. The lines are spaced in 1/4″ and 1/2″ increments.

Doing this wasn’t very quick and it gave me time to realize where it was going.

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To balance the color, I went all grey. To balance the precise straight lines, I went improv.

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It almost killed me, but I finally got up the nerve to cut into all my stripes. They were so pretty just the way they were that I didn’t even want to cut them!

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The traditional courthouse steps quilt pattern was my third ‘ode to balance!

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I was falling in love with this mini quilt and knew I couldn’t keep it small enough to submit it for the challenge and that was perfectly fine with me! The challenge submissions can’t be bigger than 16″ square. This one ended up about 24″ square. Maybe one day they will do a Courthouse Steps issue and I’ll submit this then. in the meantime, I’m just loving on it!

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I also got new labels this year. Similar to all my other ones, but these are put together a bit different than last years version. Maybe I’ll do a blog post one day! I think these are my favorite.

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I love a good challenge to get me trying new things! I had never freezer paper pieced anything, much less small lines. I wouldn’t have picked these colors together, yet I love them! I had a great time making this one, even if I struggled for the design for a while.