In 2013 I made a pledge that it would be the year of finished projects.  I was pretty successful, but by the end of the year I managed to bum myself out because I'd stifled my creative energy so much all year.  In 2014 I have been determined to follow my inspiration instead.  So I start a lot of projects, dream about finishing them, and then start something else new. 

I'm much happier even if some projects are just a pile of fabrics set to the side.  Here is my fabric pull for a Halloween quilt.  I keep waffling between pattern ideas.  Triangles have been calling me from the start, but now I'm considering wonky strips in with triangles.  I'm sure I'll ponder this pile well beyond Halloween this year.

I'm digging my fabric pull for #mybooqal

I am loving Carolyn Friedlander's Shirts pattern.  This is one that I made with some precious fabric from a friend.  I go in shirt sewing spurts and I long for another night of just stitching these together.

I love this little shirt made with Carolyn Friedlander's Shirts pattern

The most space, time, fabric and brain consuming project this year has been the Gypsy Wife Sampler.  I have all of the strip fabrics chosen now and a few of the small blocks sewn but I have a long way to go on this one.  If you follow this blog at all, then you know that I have a love affair with samplers and I almost never want the project to end. 

My Gypsy Wife Quilt so far

Have you been following your inspiration lately? Where has it taken you?

Hard to give away

Henry went off to his first day of school for this year, so I thought I'd try blogging again.  I'm behind on everything around the house, but why not procrastinate a little bit longer?

I have drastically cut back on my sewing bees and swaps--because I'm low on sewing time, my WIP's keep piling up, but mostly because it is stressful to sew for other people and equally stressful to send it away in the mail after working so hard on it.  Recently I saw the ice cream swap on instagram and I thought I'd give swaps another try.

The ice cream block comes from the 318 Patchwork Patterns book by Kumiko Fujita.  This book was recently release again in English and is for sale at the link (and I have no ties with the vendor).  I have loved that ice cream block since I first saw Penny's block (back in 2010!) and now I've finally made one.

ice cream pencil case swap

I used a bag construction technique found in a Suzuko Koseki book but then changed the dimensions to suit the pencil bag I wanted to make.  You quilt the front and back panels but use a separate lining and then you quilt a zipper gusset with the lining fabric.  Then when the gusset is sewn into the bag there are exposed seam allowances. 

 seam allowances unfinished

Then you stitch binding tape above the seam allowance by hand and then stitch it by hand again below the seam allowance but without wrapping the seam allowance.  This way the seam allowance is tucked down and that gives the bag more shape while making the inside cleaner. 

seam allowances finished

Here is a picture of the quilted gusset.


The finished zipper gusset,

gusset zipper

and the finished bag.  Yet again, I love the finished product so much that I really didn't want to send it off in the mail.  I'll probably be taking another break from swaps.  Call me selfish, but I don't seem to find time to make cute ice cream bags to stay here at home and I'll never will if I keep signing up for more swaps.

finished pencil case

For Pink Sakes

I am participating in the For Pink Sakes Blog Hop hosted by Anna of Life Sew Crafty.  Anna is collecting pink blocks to make a breast cancer quilt.  Her mother-in-law has been fighting breast cancer and she has more information about that here.

For Pink Sakes

For my block, I used the bra block pattern at Paper Panache.  I just fell in love with the duck and duckling fabric and now I wish that I had a bra like this.  Unfortunately, a bra made out of quilting cotton would probably be uncomfortable...

If YOU would like to contribute a pink block to Anna's quilt, please find more information on her blog.  Anna will also be hosting a giveaway on August 2 for anyone who has participated by reposting, sending a pink block, contributions, etc.  The giveaway items are pretty cool, so click through on this link and consider pitching in.

Now go check out the other bloggers on the blog hop!

May 10
Anna of Life Sew Crafty
Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Robin  Miscellaneous Thoughts
Kathy of Kwilty Pleasures

May 24
Jess of Quilty Habit
Melinda of quirky granola girl
Kristyn of Melon Patch Quilts

June 7
Amy of The  Calico Cat
Leanne of Devoted Quilter
Terrie of Quilting Nonnie

June 21
Carla of modern bias
Meli of Munchkin Quilts
Stacey of The Tilted Quilt
Julie of The Crafty Quilter 

July 5
Erin of Sew at Home Mummy
Lyanna of Blue Striped Room
Heather of Quilts in the Queue 

July 19
Katie of Swim Bike Quilt
Sarah of {no} hats in the house
Katie of Snuggle Up with a Dish from Karma

Baby quilt for a new little MQG member

Jessie, the president of the DC Modern Quilt Guild, just had a baby.  I was lucky enough to get to put together the blocks from the MQG members to make the quilt for the new little bundle.

Vivian and her quilt

I was inspired by Teaginny's Tiny Log Cabin Quilt.  So I asked for monochromatic log cabin blocks in each member's favorite color, out of their favorite fabrics and measuring only four to five inches.  I also asked each person to send some pale neutral scrap for the sashing.

Once I received quite a few blocks in the mail, I arranged them on my design floor.  I like to use the back of a picnic tablecloth.  The flannel side is very sticky and the other side is slippery so it is easy to roll up or fold and then flatten it back out without my blocks getting rearranged.

starting layout

Then I started improv piecing around each colorful block with whatever low volume bits I could find that worked.  Here is the first quarter,

1st quarter

the second quarter (after Henry trampled on it),

2nd quarter

the third quarter,

3rd quarter

and the fourth.

4th quarter

Once the top was all assembled I basted it,

needs hand quilting
and then did some quilting with white 20wt thread.

Then I added some black hand quilting around each block...





(that cerise block is mine!)

...and I hand stamped the back of the quilt with the first name of the person that made that block.


Linda attached the binding and hand stitched most of it and Anne finished the rest.  I'm so grateful that some people like to add binding because it is my least favorite step of the process.

Linda and Anne are awesome

I stamped DCMQG and wrote the year on it.


These are 11 of the 24(!) people that submitted blocks for this quilt.

some contributors on retreat

Patchwork Death Star Pattern

The pattern is posted to my blog. Link in my profile. Please please tag it #patchworkdeathstar.  I'd love to see it.

I was hoping to post this a couple of days ago, but it turns out that I'm not very tech savvy.  Thank goodness I finally pulled it together.  Here is the link for the pdf file for the free pattern and some instructions.

I have a couple of pictures that I took along the way that I'll post here.  If you do make a patchwork Death Star please please please post a link for me to see.  If you are on IG, please tag it #patchworkdeathstar.  Thanks!  I can't wait to see different versions.  I originally dreamed of this all in tiny Libery florals.  Wouldn't that be cool?

Well anyway, here is a shot of a few of my pieces after glue basting.

And here is a picture of the top half pieced and sitting on top of my first drawing of it. 
In process

The final pattern will make an 11x12" block.  The perimeter fabric can easily be made larger by extending the paper pattern.  The Death Star itself could be made bigger by bringing the pdf printouts to a copy store and enlarging them.

May the force be with you. 

Confirmation that I'm a geek

(As if you needed it.)

I sent this mini quilt off to a friend last week.  It is a Patchwork Death Star.

Patchwork Death Star

The inspiration for it started when my friend, Blair, sent me this most fabulous embroidery hoop.

I got a super sweet gift from the uber talented @silentblair.

Perhaps, more accurately, it started much earlier when we started talking about how smooth Lando Calrissian is.  Once it was determined that we were both Star Wars fans, the pins and tags just kept flying.  She is super sweet and talented so she made me that hoop of awesomeness up above.

It is really, really hard to craft for awesome crafters.  It took me a l-o-n-g time to decide what my theme would be.  And then I was stuck on making the Death Star all in florals.  It turns out that I didn't have enough small scale florals for my idea and getting the right value changes was going to be impossible.  But I have gray fabric up the wazoo.  Once I decided to do the pattern with English paper piecing things went pretty smoothly.  Some advice from Melissa and Jessie helped, too.

I really didn't think that there would be many people who would want to make a Patchwork Death Star of their very own.  But the requests for a pattern have been pretty insistent.  I still need to finalize how to print the pattern out, but I hope to have it up tomorrow. 

Have you ever shown your geeky side in your quilting?