Mini Series Courthouse Steps Pillow

AKA Terry’s Pillow!

For the last couple of years Giucy Giuce has teamed with Alison Glass and have hosted a sew along to sew his mini series patterns. Last year I signed up and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. A friend of mine loved the Halloween pillow I made four years ago. And I wanted to make something for her using this pattern.

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I didn’t end up sewing along during the actual sew along, but later I got to sewing and made a bunch of different sized courthouse steps blocks using the Mini Series pattern.

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I always have a problem with actually quilting these blocks. I debated on thread but ended up only quilting in the ditch with the cream fabric. But I love this picture to illustrate the scale of the piecing of these blocks!

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I chose a few details to zoom in on. Each of these blocks look a bit different, but they were all started using the same pattern. I varied the size of the center. And then some of them, I only did two sides (rather than all four sides) for some of the block. And I varied the placement of the orange and cream fabrics. By changing each one up a bit, it looks like I used a different pattern for each piece, but I didn’t!

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Check out my not so invisible invisble zipper! I should have used an orange zipper…. Oh well! If it’s sitting on the couch, are people really going to be checking out my zipper installation? I hope not!

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I used a single fabric for the back. Even though it’s a single fabric, I still also use a layer of batting and a backing piece of fabric. Then I serge the edges to keep the layers together. I feel like it gives the pillow a bit more shape.

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I thought it would be fun to share this pillow this week since it’s the second week of the Mini Series Sew Along and the Courthouse Steps block is one of the blocks to sew this week! Are you sewing along? I am! I’m back to Halloween fabrics for this sew along.

Transparency Mini

Back in March, I took a class about Color Transparency with Caroline Oneto hosted by the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild. I almost didn’t take it, thinking I have a fine sense of color. It was a really good class!

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The directions were to get 5 colors and a neutral. Which I did. As I was laying them out, I realized that the neutral just stood out like a sore thumb. I realized I wanted all color, no neutrals! And I’m glad I did. The idea is to pick two different shade colors, then a third color that would be the color the first two would make if combined together. I’m not sure that’s exactly how she described it, but it’s my thought process!

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We learned about some color theory, but she also gave some really good tips about sewing curves and putting curves together. You can even take her class online on your own time, here.

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The other aspect of this quilt that I wanted to play with was matched binding for the whole quilt. And since it is a mini, that was not a huge commitment. It was a fun exercise to make it all line up.

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The back, of course, doesn’t have a matched binding. But it made completely of scraps from the front of the quilt. And I love how it turned out. this little detail is my favorite bit of scraps coming together to make a great shape!

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My traditional shot of my label!

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What do you think? Do you want to make one? Caroline is putting together a digital quilt on IG with all the class pieces. Check out her Instagram and add your own! Can you see mine?

Sunny Sunglasses Case

It’s Labor Day here in the US, which means the summer is coming to a close. It rained a little bit this weekend and I realized I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer! It’s nice and sunny today though!

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I started this back in 2021 when I was bed ridden with a broken leg, dreaming of being outside in the sun! This pattern is from Cross Stitcher magazine, issue 333. This issue has a few summer projects I’d love to make. This was a fun and relatively quick project for me to do.

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The project in the magazine was a sunglasses case, but it was just open on one end. I wanted to use the flex frames that my friend Debbie had shared with me. These are the ones that you squeeze the ends of the frame and it opens. I used this tutorial by Betz White on you tube to learn exactly how to use the flex frames. Pretty simple!

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On the inside I used a bright orange quilting cotton fabric. For the back and ends, I just happened to have this blue lined on hand and it matched the colors on the front perfectly! Linen seems perfect for a summery, sunglasses case to me!

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I hope everyone is having a great weekend (long one here in the US) and soaking up some sun before it starts to fade away!

Over The River

Over The River is a quilt that was started in 2015! Yep, 7 years ago! I started it, only liked half of it, then put it in a box to get back to… I finally got back to it!

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Back in 2015, the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild hosted a class with Sherri Lynn Wood when her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters first came out. The class was called, Improvisational Patchwork Doodling. Sherri describes this doodling as a playful yet challenging approach to improvisational patchwork.

From the SMQG website: Letting go of expectations, plans or a preconceived outcome, participants will practice building patterns with simple shapes and negative space, while learning basic improvisational sewing techniques. It is a flowing YES, AND “drawing” that accepts and builds on what comes immediately before. Like a doodle it is not planned nor is it random – it’s responsive… and plenty of fun!

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After sewing we stopped and put all of our work on the floor and we discussed almost every piece. If only I could remember what Sherri said about mine!

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This is what I ended up with after the class! I loved the left side with the improv simple shapes and negative space. The right side I just didn’t like. at. all. So I just boxed it up. I did think about it over the years… But never enough to figure out how to finish it.

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Fast Forward to 2022 and I ended up taking another class with Sherri via zoom. This class was called Narrative Mashup: Maximalism! It was suggested to gather orphan blocks to mash up. I pulled out my original Sherri quilt pieces with my stash of orphan blocks. I don’t have many orphan blocks because I typically use orphan blocks on the backs of my quilts or use them to make a second quilt!

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NOT MY WORK and I don’t know who to give credit to. If you do, please let me know!

Sherri shared this image of a quilt showing a historic example of a maximalist mashup! I love this. can I recreate something like this? I don’t think so! I tried….

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During class we came up with five ‘materials’ to tie the blocks together. Our three materials were not really ‘materials’ per se, but design elements. We voted for stripes, blue/purples, 3 colors, rhythm and sowing the seeds. I added blue, green and white stripes. I didn’t follow through with the sowing the seeds aspect!

And I tried to mashup all my orphan blocks with the new design elements and I just didn’t feel it. I felt like maybe maximal mashup’s might not be my thing! ha! But I gave it a good try!

After the class we showed our work and I told my story. I showed the group what I started with and almost everyone agreed that they liked what I left class with in 2015! WHAT??? All these years I could have been finished with it??? But it’s really about me, right? And what I want my quilt to be, right?

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So I took out most of the mash up and ended up with this almost finished quilt…..

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I made a couple more changes… And finished it! And I like it!

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I always loved the triangles! But on thier own, they seemed like they needed something else. So I think the added stripes really is what this little quilt needed, even if it took 7 years and interesting learning process! And you may be able to see that the original right side that I didn’t like, ended up on the back!

And funny thing is that my label totally ended up on the wrong side! I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, but oh well!

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All in all, I actually really like it. And I really enjoyed the process it took to get here. Do you have a quilt with an extremely long process???

Wall Pocket Teacher Gifts

In my usual end of year Teacher Gift, I used my ‘I’m a Teacher, What’s your Superpower?’ fabric to make some sort of tote or pouch. This year ended up to be a Wall Pocket from SOTAK Handmade’s book That Handmade Touch.

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These turned out pretty cute. The pattern was super easy to follow and quick, too!

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I have these small rolls of leather that I love, but… Of course I know all school year when the last day of school was going to be, but I waited until the last couple of days before school got out to make these 6 teacher gifts, didn’t I? Yep! I did. And I just assumed I had all the materials, because I usually do. Low and behold, I only had enough of my favorite leather strap to make one! It’s the more orangey one in the top right of the picture. I knew I couldn’t get that leather (from Amazon) in enough time for me to be comfortable, so my dear husband stopped by our local leather store, MacPherson Leather, on his way home from work to pick some up… They didn’t have exactly what I needed, but they did have these purse straps and they worked quite nicely in a pinch!

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You can see they are all a little bit different! But that works, because the fabrics are all a little different as well! Four of them have outdoor or home dec fabric on the outside, but all the inside fabric is quilting cotton.

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The pocket is just the right size to include a gft card, a thank you note and command strip to hang the pocket on the wall.

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I added a little tiny label in each one, too.

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You can watch a timeline of the transformation that this fabric label has gone through in this blog post. I’m pretty happy with the wall pockets! I may just have to make these again!

Off the Path- A Mini Quilt Tutorial

You may recognize this little guy from some of my other quarter circle quilts. I do have a fondness for quarter circles! I’ve used this technique in my 2020 Temperature Quilt, Off the Path Version 1 and Weeping Willow in Black and White. Off the Path takes the traditional Drunkard’s Path down a windy, smaller road! In the spirit of small piecing this little mini quilt was born from some of my office doodles and from scraps from larger projects! This is an easy one to use up your scraps and make one for yourself!

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I realized I had not shared this mini quilt, nor had I shared that it was featured in Quiltmaker Magazine back in 2019!

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It’s been a while since I shared a tutorial, so I thought I’d share this one today. This mini finishes at 12.5 x 12.5 inches. And ot make it I grabbed (4) colors and (3) cream colors.

Cutting:

From Cream solids, cut:
15 (2.5” x 2.5”) squares
18 (3.5” x 3.5”) squares
3 (4” x 4”) squares
From Colors, cut:
24 (2” x 2”) squares

There are 2 different blocks in the quilt, a single and double quarter circle blocks.

Assembly of the single quarter circle blocks:

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  1. Pair a cream square with a colored square. Stack the two squares in the bottom left corner. Align the fabric squares with your cutting mat squares. (illustration 1, above)
  2. Here’s where the improv comes in! No templates needed to cut your curves. You will cut a curve in the two pieces of fabric starting at ‘about’ 1 1/2” and ending at ‘about’ 1 1/2”.
  3. Keep the colored quarter circle and the cream background piece.
  4. Sew the two pieces together, right sides together. Do not pin! Align the quarter circle about a ¼” in from the edge of the background. (illustration 2, above) To sew without pinning, as you sew the pieces together hold the quarter circle, which is on top, with your left hand and hold the background piece with your right hand and guide them through your machine. As the fabric moves through the machine, you will gently pull the two fabrics so the edges align as you sew your ¼” seam.
    Remember: These are improv quarter circles. You are not sewing a perfect quarter circle!
  5. Iron the seams toward the center of the circle.
  6. You will now have a pretty wonky block. Trim this down to a 2 ½” square.
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Assembly of the double quarter circle blocks:

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above, but for this one you will cut a curve in the two pieces of fabric starting at ‘about’ 1 ¾” and ending at ‘about’ 1 ¾”.
  2. Follow steps 3, 4 and 5 above.
  3. Trim the block to 2 ¾” square.
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above using the plus or minus 1 ¾” curve. Ideally you will have about ½” to ¾” between your cut and the previously sewn curve. (illustration 3, above)
  5. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 again.
  6. Trim block to a 2 ½” square

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Once you have all the mini quilt blocks completed, you can lay out and assemble your blocks. You can match my layout, so design your own! It’s a pretty quick and fun little design to play with.

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Once you lay out piece together all the blocks, quilt it however you feel most comfortable. I like to use curved quilting, but straightline and freemotion quilting would both work as well!

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My token label shot! This was the old black and white label…

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I love this picture and how tiny it looks! What do you think? Do you want to try it???

Radioactive Springtime

Radioactive Springtime is a quick little sew I made earlier this year! My goal this year to sew my scraps and finish my WIPs.

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I’m so excited that Spring is here and summer is on it’s way!

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So my idea is really to get the WIPs done first this year, but sometimes a pile of scraps just yells out… SEW ME!! I had this pile of triangle scraps leftover from the Triangle Mountain quilt from 2019. I kept moving them from one spot to another. Then just decided to sew them together into something! And was ok with it being something small.

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I also had some other scrap triangles that seemed to go together… Not all of the triangles were the same size. Instead of cutting them to all be the same size, I just pieced in little bits here and there.

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I didn’t want it to be the flower shape it was turning into, so I filled in with the cream and white background.

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The two-color blocks kinda look like the radioactive symbol, but it’s in the shape of a flower… Hence the name, Radioactive Springtime.

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The quilting is in the shape of 4 V’s coming together at the middle. It did warp it a little. I’m not sure why. I think I should have gone in a circle quilting the V’s instead of doing the top and bottom and then the sides last. I don’t know. I had to do a little mini blocking project to flatten it out.

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The back is a fabric from my stash from about 10 years ago. It fit perfect. It was an odd shaped piece of fabric, so I cut off a corner and sewed it back on and it fit perfectly! And it has flowers….. How perfect is that for a quilt I had already named Radioactive Springtime???

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I snuck a picture of my quilt holder!

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And he snuck one of me. I still get surprised to not see my red hair sometimes. Where did it go???

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I’m pretty happy with how it turned out for a quick weekend project!

A Bunny Embroidered Bag

And now for my third embroidery project!

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This project is a combo of two projects from The Love magazines! Since I’m still learning this embroidery thing, I’m enjoying following the directions from the Love Embroidery Magazine instructions.

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This pattern by Stacie Bloomfield aka Gingibear was featured in Issue 1 of the magazine, but it’s also online at Gathered. It was a pretty easy project, but the split stitch that I did to fill in the body took me forever! and it doesn’t have the same lovely texture as her project. Maybe I didn’t do it exactly right. Not sure!

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For the bag I followed the tutorial in Love Quilting Magazine for the Stitch and Stroll bag by Sotak Handmade. I forget the issue number, but it looks like her pattern is in now in her etsy shop, here. It’s called the Denver Tote in her shop. It’s a great little drawstring tote bag pattern. I’ve made it a couple of times now and it goes together quickly! In hindsight, I wish the bunny was higher up on the bag…. Oh, well!

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I choose to use some fun chicken fabric on the inside! I thought it was bright and fun and went well with the bunny!

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I gave this as a Christmas present, but maybe it should have been an Easter present! 🙂 ha!

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!