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.

I’ve Got My Eyes on You – A MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt Part 2

I’ve Got My Eyes on You… The second quilt made from the fabric for the fabric challenge for Quiltcon, hosted by Windham Fabrics using their Artisan Cotton fabric line. I didn’t finish this one in time to submit, but I really like it! I like to think it may have had a better chance at making it into the show, but who knows!

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In case you missed the first quilt, you can read all about it here.

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Testing, the quilt I shared the other day, had A LOT of scraps. So much so that the front of this quilt is made out of about 98% scraps from the other quilt! I didn’t mind having so many scraps, because I loved the shapes that were being left over and I knew a second quilt was in the works from the beginning!

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The blocks coming together.

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Details! I just started sewing the circles on top of each other. All improv, no inset circles, no pins, no real planning. I just had fun. I made the basic oval shapes, then puzzled them together. After working on the previous quilt, tying to make something a little more precise, this was a fun exercise in just making for the pure joy of sewing things together to happy shapes!

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The back is pile of scraps as well! The scraps from the front scraps became the back scraps! But I did eventually run out of scraps and I had to fill in with larger pieces of my fabric pile.

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This is how the back started… Literally the last of the last scraps!

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And this is how the back finished!

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To me, I love the juxtaposition of these two quilts. I love how different they are. And I love that they are so different, yet both started from the exact same quilt block! Do you find that fascinating? Or is it just me?

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I’m pretty excited about this one!

Crimbo the Red Nosed Reindeer

A little holiday sewing for me!

I have been loving this reindeer pattern from Unicornharts for a while, and decide I was going to make it for me!

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This little cutie is paper pieced and came together quite easily!

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I think my favorite part is this guys big red nose! His whole expression is priceless!

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I used a solid piece on the back and an invisible zipper at the bottom.

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Have you sewn anything for yourself this holiday season? I’m actually working on another little pillow for myself tonight between sewing gifts for the family!

Happy Holidays!

Be Kind- a SMQG BOM Quilt

Here’s a first! I started a Seattle Modern Quilt Guild BOM quilt and finished it in the same year! I have NEVER done that before!

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This year the guild’s BOM quilt was titled ‘Salsa Medallion’. Each month they gave a theme for the medallion quilt border. Along with the theme came suggestions for different levels of involvement with the quilt. These levels were Spicy, Medium or Mild. You can find all the instruction here.

Of course, starting off I didn’t follow the directions. The first block I made was the center block even though it was technically one of the last pieces we made. I never really understood why you wouldn’t make the center first and build off to it, so I just didn’t think too hard and made my improv log cabin center block. It’s kinda big… Coming in at about 18″!

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The next two borders were designated as stripes and triangles. For the stripes border I used leftovers from my Balanced Courthouse Steps quilt. I added in a little bit of other colors to make it blend a bit.

For the triangles, I decided to do improv flying geese. I’ve done a lot of improv and I’ve done a few flying geese in my day, but I’m not sure I’ve done improv flying geese before! I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

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The next border prompt was ‘Text message’. I was full on ready to skip this border. I waited for the next prompt. I was convinced I didn’t want to put words in it. time went on and I remembered a meme I had seen online somewhere. And I knew I needed to quilt it:

Be Kind to Others, to Earth, to Yourself. Be kind of weird.

And that’s the text message I made. And it took a long time….

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The letters were all improv pieced. I didn’t follow a tutorial, I just made it up as I went along. I really, really like how they turned out!

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Each letter with a curved part started with a small inset circle using the freezer paper and glue method that I always use for the inset circles. You can read all about it here.

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The last two borders were circles and diamonds. Again, the improv versions for me!

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And the back. This one is on the more simple side for me. Using leftover fabric from the front.

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You can really see the quilting on the back! I started in the center and did an improv ‘square spiral’ all the way to the edges. Is a square spiral even a thing? I don’t really know if those two words work together, but I think it describes my quilting pattern just right! ha!

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Token quilt label picture!

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And that’s a wrap! Ok, not only did I start and finish this quilt in the same year, which is unheard of from me and our guild’s BOM quilts, but I also photographed and blogged about it in the same year! Woah!!!

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ – a mini quilt

I had to post the last post before this one, becuase this mini quilt uses the scraps from the Weeping Willow in Black and White quilt!

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Apparently I have a thing for improv quarter circle quilts! These are all minis that I’ve made using this technique!

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This mini quilt was finished this year as part of the Quilt Improv Studio’s Black and White Challenge. The quilt had to use black and white fabric with the use of an accent color fabric. I just happened to have scraps from the Weeping Willow quilt hanging out waiting for something to do, so I started with that!

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I also just happened to have a bunch of yellow scraps sitting on my desk for the my log cabin in pink, orange, yellow and red quilt that I’m slowly working, so I chose yellow as the accent color!

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I did a little string piecing for my quarter circles!

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And I ended up with this! And I LOVED it! Just like this! But this was only 10 inches or so square. The challenge only has two rules. Fabric choices are dictated and the size has to be a minimum of 24 inches square. So I had to decide… Finish to the right size? Or not play along with the challenge and keep it the way it is? I almost stopped at this! In the end, obviously, I decided to keep moving ahead. I had to break out some more black and white fabric, but the yellow stayed as scrap usage.

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The larger pieces on the side also started as scraps from my Loons Here and There quilt. Only this time I cut them in curves rather than straight line flying geese or flying loon blocks.

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The black is just a single piece of fabric. No piecing on the back on this one.

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I quilted it using straight line curves, my favorite. I picked two of the side pieces and followed the curve of that shape to start my quilting.

In the end, I just barely made the 24″ requirement. The quilt sizes out as 24×24, barely! ha!

I have my To Do List to finish all my WIPS, but there are a few projects that I have allowed to sneak in between the WIPs. Those are Curated Quilts mini challenges and Quilt Improv Studio mini challenges.

Loons Here and There

This doesn’t happen often! A quilt that I started this year, finished this year, photographed this year and am blogging about this year!

This one I’m calling, Loons Here and There. If you are a fan of Maria Shell, you may recognize it as a play on one of her quilts.

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I took Maria’s class, Improv Triangles: Perfectly Pointless, at Quiltcon From Home in February. I love a good improv triangle quilt and found the class very inspiring! I also have a bad habit of starting quilts at QuiltCon and never finishing them. (But thanks to the WIPs Be Gone Challenge, I’m going to change that soon!) But this class inspired me to get out of bed despite my broken leg and sew for a little while each day! I fell in love with Maria’s Break Up quilt and wanted to give it a go!

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She recommended pulling 8 to 12 fabrics for the fabric pull. I pulled 17, plus I added in brown later. I didn’t think much about the pallet, actually. I pulled a bunch of leftover fabric. Fabric that I had about a fat quarter’s worth of or so. Then got to cutting the squares.

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Once I had the squares, I cut them in stacks into triangles and then sewed them back together. The rule I made was that the sides of the triangles couldn’t be the same color. In keeping with improv, I only used the ruler to eyeball the size of my blocks. I did use it to get a straight cut on the triangles, but not to measure anything. Once I sewed all the pieces back together, I do trim the blocks, but just to give me straight edges, not a particular size. And I repeat this every time I sew blocks together.

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Then I just laid them out and played with contrast to place the blocks.

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I would sew them into smaller blocks and then added a few straight pieces as needed to get all the blocks to fit together. I love the quilting pattern I used. Again, using improv a bit. I laid out the diagonals first using a guide, but then went back in between adding the diamonds ‘freehand’ with the walking foot! I did have a little problem with the quilting and the fabric not staying put. I spray baste and I think it was a combo between the actual brand I was using and also with the the fact I sprayed and then it sat without being quilted. Anyway, once it washes, I think it will be just fine for a potential baby quilt for a friend.

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I did piece this back. I love how the orange block is reflected in the rock formation behind the quilt! You may also recognize this backing fabric from a few other quilts… The Spark and Tic Tac TIgerlily and Scatterlilies. I still have more so you may see it again!

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And my label shot. This also gives a nice view of the quilting pattern.

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And the cutest quilt holder…

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And that’s a wrap for this one! In case you’re wondering where this awesome ‘quilts in the wild’ photoshoot took place, I’ll tell ya! It was at Steamboat Rock State park in Eastern Washington. One of my most favorite places in WA!!! If you haven’t been, you should go!

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?

Red and White Quilt

It’s almost perfect for this holiday weekend! It’s just missing that Blue part….

This one was started way back in 2018 and finished last year. It is a paper pieced pattern that I did with my do.Good Stitches group back in the day.

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My group was usually not fans of my paper piecing obsession! But they played along nicely anyway. Well, some of them did. I bowed out of the group not long after designing this one and presenting it to the group. A few members never sent me their blocks… Oh, well..

There are actually 3 different blocks in the quilt and I had assigned different blocks to different people. The original quilt design was intended to be a little larger, but I think the size it ended up is just right.

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One thing I do love about bee quilts is the variation in colors of fabric. I love how this is a red and white quilt, but when you look closely each block is just a little different.

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And the back. I had a few blocks that were a little smaller than the rest so they went to the back. That is a typical problem when doing paper piecing. Be sure to always print your pattern with no scaling. If you don’t, different programs treat PDF’s differently and some scale up or down the image.

Anyway, they ended up being perfect for the back, so it all worked out in the end.

The little triangles in the top corners are not part of the quilt. I basted them on to make it easier to hold for photographs! And it seemed to help.

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I just really love this one! I did have a little trouble quilting it due to the bulk in the corners. I need to figure that out before I attempt this one again.

I’m also considering publishing the pattern one day soon. Yes, no?

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And my quilt holder fighting with the wind. You can see how he used the corners. Not my idea. I got the idea from my friend Debbie, aquilterstable, who got the idea from Zak Foster Quilts.

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It’s quite Red, White and Blue for the holiday weekend, but it’s as close as I could get! I hope everyone in the US has a great 4th of July weekend and stay safe!

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.