March Finish {ALYoF}: Dr Seuss Diamonds Quilt

I managed to finish my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes quite early, so this is just a recap for the sake of linking up and meeting my March goal requirements. I basically began and finished the Dr. Seuss Diamonds quilt during the month of March, which is nothing short of amazing! It just goes to show how much tiny little windows of progress add up to a completed project. As I’ve said in previous posts, I made this quilt as a donation to a fundraiser at my daughter’s preschool. Each grade put together a basket to be either auctioned or raffled off at a Poetry Jam that took place last night, and the Pre-K’s basket had a Dr. Seuss theme.

dr seuss quilt displayed for raffle
Here is my quilt, displayed under clear plastic (!!!) with the rest of the epically awesome Dr. Seuss raffle basket items.

I’m happy to report that the fundraiser Poetry Jam went really well! The school raised over $700 from all of the baskets, which for a small rural school of only 50-60 students is pretty stellar! One of my daughter’s preschool friends won the Dr. Suess basket (and quilt), too, so I’m happy that it will be well loved. I have no idea how much the quilt and basket helped earn, but the ticket box was stuffed to the brim with tickets. I’m pleased as punch at the outcome.

dr seuss fundraiser quilt finish

If you’d like to see more about the quilt, visit my post Friday Finish: Dr. Seuss Diamonds Quilt, or to see progress read When Duty Calls: A Dr. Seuss Raffle Quilt or Dr. Seuss Flimsy Finish.

I’m linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes, and I’m plotting what project to choose for April! I’m on a roll so far!


Color Inspiration Thursday {42}

Green, I need green! While the weather has been warming and mud season is almost officially upon us (yes, it’s a real season in Maine–it falls right between winter and spring), there is still a dire lack of green or signs of new life out in the world around us. So today I gathered all the green life I could find and had a little photo shoot. Sure, they are potted, but here is some springy green and life-filled color for your inspiration pleasure. Color palettes are created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs.

green color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Betty’s Brown, Kona Black, Kona Basil, Kona Grass Green, Kona Old Green, Kona Baby Blue

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
5013 – Asphalt
2692 – Black
5023 – Medium Green
5018 – Grass Green
2850 – Med Juniper
2612 – Arctic Sky

Green, glorious green!

marsala color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Coal, Bella Cloud, Kona Pewter, Bella Peacoat, Bella Brick Red, Kona Black

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1140 – Bark
2612 – Arctic Sky
2610 – Lt Blue Grey
1130 – V Dk Bark
2566 – Wisteria
5024 – Dark Brown

This may not be green, but it’s alive and beautiful. This lovely succulent is on top of the trends, since I dare say it’s sporting the lovely Pantone color of the year, marsala. Am I right? Even if there isn’t a solid that matches perfectly, I think if you mix Bella Peacoat with Bella Brick Red, that would land nicely on Marsala.

green color palette succulent

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Coal, Kona Basil, Bella Fresh Grass, Kona Celadon, Kona Medium Grey, Kona Sky

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1158 – Med Grey
5021 – Light Grey
2890 – Dk Grass Green
2845 – Lt Juniper
2625 – Arctic Ice
2560 – Iris

Glorious green. This succulent has seen better days, but I’m hoping that once the sun begins to shine more regularly, the temperatures warm, and perhaps I figure out the best succulent watering schedule for success, it will shine. I’m sure of it. For now, it offers promises for the days to come where green sprouts will be all around us!

Did anyone else notice that despite all the life in these palettes, “Arctic Sky” or “Arctic Ice” made an appearance in every palette!? I just have to laugh at that!

Alison Glass Mini Quilt Planning

Shortly after finishing the Schnitzel and Boo Mini quilt swap, a flood of other tempting swaps were announced on Instagram. Showing an unprecedented amount of willpower, I only signed up for one: an Alison Glass Mini Quilt Swap. I love the bright saturated colors in Alison’s fabrics, and am really excited about this mini. I’ve decided to make the Prismatic Medallions quilt, designed by Susan Kephart for Robert Kaufman.

Prismatic Medallion image from Robert Kaufman.
Prismatic Medallion image from Robert Kaufman.

The sample quilt is made with solids, but I think that Alison Glass‘s fabric lines will work wonderfully, too. Check out this gorgeous rainbow!

alison glass rainbow fabric

This pull is almost entirely comprised of Alison’s newest Sun Prints, both Grove and Mercury, plus some Bike Path from her older Sun Prints, with some Cotton & Steel basics and Sketch prints thrown in. I have a few little holes to fill, and am aiming to visit my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply sometime this week to remedy that so that I can get started piecing the top.

alison glass rainbow fabric

alison glass gorgeous green fabric

Prismatic Medallions is a free pattern (score!) and the cutting directions result in enough triangles to make two quilts (double score!). I guess I’ll just have to make a version for myself, too. Shucks.

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday.

Tutorial: Wonky Triangles FMQ for Narrow Sashing

Since the wonky triangle quilting I did in the narrow 1″ sashing of my Dr. Seuss Diamonds quilt was one I didn’t find elsewhere, I thought it would be helpful to create a quick tutorial on how to quilt them.

wonky triangle free motion quilting in narrow sashingBeing “wonky” certainly helps, since it means they don’t have to be–and in fact, shouldn’t be–perfect. For a beginner free motion quilter (FMQ) like me, this is the perfect pattern to play with when there’s a quilt full of narrow sashing to quilt!

The wonky triangles are great because:
-they can be used on very narrow sashing
-being wonky, perfection is not the goal
-they cross fairly smoothly for intersecting sashings
-triangles can be sized as needed, so it’s easy to fill even smaller spaces
-it’s a simple repetitive pattern that is perfect for beginners quilting on a domestic machine (or pros on a long-arm!)

Inspired by Amy Garro of 13 Spools, I’m going to use a pen and paper to show you how to create the wonky triangle pattern. When you are quilting narrow sashing, you can use your piecing as your boundary lines. I drew black parallel lines to represent the boundaries.

Step 1

FMQ Wonky Triangles Step 1

Begin at the top edge of one of your sashes. Quilt parallel to that edge (1 in diagram above), then turn along the sash boundary and quilt the second side of the triangle, approximately the same length as the width of your sashing (2 in diagram above). Since these are wonky triangles, nothing needs to be measured or perfect. Next, head back toward your starting point, creating the third side of the triangle but stopping before you actually get to the starting point (3 in diagram above). Next, quilt a little triangle inside your big one, following the same general shape. Once both nested triangles are quilted, continue your quilting line through the bigger triangle and extend a short distance.

Step 2

FMQ Wonky Triangles Step 2Quilt back toward your starting point again, keeping your quilting lines evenly spaced, to begin the next triangle (4 in diagram above). This first quilting line back toward your start is the first side of your second triangle. Continue quilting the wonky nested triangles along your entire length of sashing! Just be sure to always head back along your existing quilting after emerging from a triangle and it should smoothly progress to the end.

wonky triangle fmq tutorial
Quilting Intersections

If you are quilting sashing that intersects, here is how I crossed over. Begin quilting your first sashing line as described above.

wonky triangle fmq tutorial

When you begin to near the intersection, adjust your triangle size and spacing a bit (if necessary) to exit a complete triangle right at the edge of the intersection.

fmq wonky triangles tutorialQuilt straight across the intersection, creating a long straight line parallel to the sashing you are quilting. (Don’t worry, we will fill in when we do the crossing).

wonky triangle fmq tutorialContinue your triangle quilting, crossing intersections in the same way. Quilt wonky triangles all the way to the end of the sashing.

Note: Depending on whether you are approaching the intersection crossing from the top or bottom, you will need to begin your triangles a bit differently.

wonky triangles fmq tutorial

After you cross the intersection, if you are on a bottom angle of the sashing, begin your first triangle line perpendicular to the crossing, along the intersection (in blue above).  If you cross on the top angle of the sashing, extend beyond the intersection so that your line forms the second side of the triangle (in red above). See the diagram with step 1 above for clarification on what I mean by “the second side of the triangle”.

wonky triangles fmq tutorial

After quilting wonky triangles all the way to the end of the first sashing, begin quilting the intersecting sashing. As you approach the intersection, be aware of how much space you have and try to allow for a triangle to be quilted to completion right at the edge of the intersection. In my example, I cut it a bit tight, so my last triangle is on the small side.

Here’s where you have a choice, depending on both your level of skill and your desired look. If you are really good at tracing existing quilting discretely, you can use the line across the intersection as the edge of one of your crossing triangles. In that case, just trace the line as part of an outer larger triangle and continue quilting as normal.

wonky triangles fmq tutorial

If, like me, you are not a pro at tracing existing quilting, you can pass right through the line across the intersection as if it is another triangle edge and quilt your crossing triangles right through it. As long as you keep the distance between your quilted lines consistent, it does not change the aesthetic of the design all that much, in my opinion.

Continue your wonky triangles until all of the sashes are quilted. Easy, right!?

As with all free motion quilting, the more you practice this design, the more natural it will become to get your triangles consistent and your intersections smooth. During the learning process, don’t fret over little hiccups or half-triangles. After all, they are wonky, right? Triangles are pretty forgiving since you can make them as big or small as you need to fit in your space. As long as it has three sides and three angles, it’s a triangle!

I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips & Tutorials Tuesday. I hope you find this helpful, and please let me know if you try it! Tag me @nightquilter on Instagram, or link a picture here. I’d love to see!





QuiltCon 2015 Reflection: Quilts

I’ve been home from QuiltCon for a good month now, but I cannot let the experience pass without some mention of the amazing quilts that hung in the show. I wish I could say that I spent hours gazing in awe at every quilt there, but to be honest, I’m SURE that there are quilts I didn’t even see. Every time I turned around, I found another quilt I had yet to see.

quiltcon 2015 quilts
Best of show – i Quilt by Kathy York.

QuiltCon was my first quilt show, and it was an amazing place to begin. Every single quilt was just one more bit of inspiration, and made my brain swirl with possibility. There is a lot of talk about what makes a quilt “modern”, but I think that the quilts hanging at QuiltCon definitely fit the bill, as vague and openly as that “modern” label extends. Being fairly new to quilting, there were quilts where my gut reaction was, “wow, THAT’s a cool idea/technique!”, where I had not even fathomed the possibility of a quilt made in such a way or in such a design. Like I said in earlier posts, I didn’t take nearly as many photos at QuiltCon as I would have liked, so here is just a collection of a few of my favorites. Click here to see most of the quilts from the show, care of Sew Mama Sew.

quiltcon 2015 quilts
Akhaten by Shannon Page. Description said: “This resulted from deconstructing my original design. I cut up the original top to make this and I could not be happier with the result.” –Can you imagine!? Now THAT is a bold idea that resulted in a cellularly fantastic outcome!
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Iceberg by Crystal McGann
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Group or Bee Quilt: Churn Dash 2: Complementary by Martha Peterson, Deborah Ferguson, Chandra Wu
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Spiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts
quilts of quiltcon 2015
Deconstructed Lonestar by Amy Struckmeyer
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Museum Windows by Melissa Fontanese
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Catenary by Carolyn Friedlander: even more amazing in person, if it can be imagined!
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Holy Sh*t Sherlock by Kristy Daum

I debated waiting until the crowd in front of Sherlock dissipated, but decided I really liked seeing him peek out and took the photo as shown. This quilt was one that begged to be visited multiple times!

quiltcon 2015 quilts
Chess on the Steps by Krista Hennebury of Poppyprint
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Quilting Excellence Award Winner: Coral Reef by Marla Varner
Check out that quilting!
Check out that quilting!
quiltcon 2015 quilts
That Twitch by Cara Sheridan

Some may be surprised that I rank this quilt in my top picks, since one might think my typical OCD tendencies might twitch at the sight of this one. To be honest, it makes me giggle with glee. What a simple yet completely unique idea. It’s a collection of yellow squares, with one out of wack. Tell me it’s not brilliant!!?

paper pieced modern amy garro icy waters quilt
Icy Waters by Amy Garro of 13 Spools (pardon how cropped this one is. No excuses.)

In all the known quilting world, I find myself the most drawn to modern quilting and paper piecing. I’ve been designing paper pieced patterns for about a year, but still struggling with finding a way to mix the two: modern and paper piecing. Enter: Amy Garro. This quilt is from her new book Paper Pieced Modern*, and when I first saw it and realized it was from an entire book of awesomely paper pieced modern quilts, my reaction was, “Yesssssssssssssssssss!!!” Let the fun begin!

Modern Quilting Trends

A lot of quilter bloggers have written about trends in the quilts that were accepted into the QuiltCon show, and rather than repeat what has already been said, here are a few excerpts that I also definitely noticed in the show:

I most agree with Lee from Freshly Pieced‘s observation that “design is the single most important element of a modern quilt” and that “walking around the floor, it was pretty hard to miss the layout creativity that was on display.” Lee totally nailed my gut reaction mentioned above; the layout creativity blew my mind and explored design elements beyond my wildest dreams. Read her full post here. Of course, taking Lee’s Off the Grid: Alternate Layout class was an eye-opening highlight of my trip, so I may be a bit biased, but I really think that she hit the nail on the head regarding the direction modern quilting is headed.

Afton from Quilting Mod noticed a prevalence of dense free motion quilting, straight line or matchstick quilting, circles or quarter circles, pixelated quilts (swoon Sherlock), quilts with actual words, gemstones, architecture, bold saturated rainbow colors, and a more lenient look at perfect craftsmanship with more of a focus on design. I definitely noticed a strong prevalence of dense free motion quilting and matchstick quilting, which is one more motivator to improving my free motion quilting skills!

I also loved Christa from Christa Quilts‘ reflections on modern quilting post QuiltCon. My favorite bit of wisdom I got from her post was “…just because you enjoy modern quilts doesn’t mean you have to BE a modern quilter. And just because you consider yourself part of the movement doesn’t mean you have to make exclusively modern quilts.”  Christa mentioned being able to see the quilters’ heart and soul going into the quilts, and I agree that so many quilts not only were aesthetically gorgeous, showed masterful craftsmanship, and exhibited a thinking-out-of-the-box design element, but they also expressed emotion. Maybe I’m just a quilting sap who found my creative niche in the mostly-modern quilting world, but the quilts spoke to me. (No, I’m not weird. Just humor me, ok?) The quilts at QuiltCon were a huge inspiration for me to continue playing, creating, and stretching my boundaries.

Here are a few of the blog posts specifically about the quilts at QuiltCon, if you want to get a more in depth look at other bloggers’ observations and thoughts:

Bryan House Quilts QuiltCon in a Nutshell
Christa Quilts Christa’s Soapbox – My Thoughts About Modern Quilting Post QuiltCon
Christa Quilts My Experiences from QuiltCon 2015
Christa Quilts More Quilts from QuiltCon 2015
Don’t Call Me Becky QuiltCon 2015
Freshly Pieced QuiltCon: My Thoughts
On the Windy Side QuiltCon Recap 1: The Quilts
Quilting JetGirl QuiltCon 2015: Quilts!
QuiltingMod QuiltCon: Trends Part I
QuiltingMod QuiltCon: Trends Part II
QuiltingMod QuiltCon: Trends Part III
The Plaid Portico Multiple QuiltCon Quilt posts

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl has a pretty extensive list of quilt blogger posts about QuiltCon HERE.

Are you a quilter blogger who also posted about the quilts shown at QuiltCon? Let me know and I’ll add you to my list above!

*Amazon affiliate link included, which means if you buy Paper Pieced Modern by clicking through, I receive 4% compensation with no extra cost to you.

Friday Finish: Dr. Seuss Diamonds Quilt

Just in the nick of time, I finished the Dr. Seuss quilt for my daughter’s preschool fundraiser. As I mentioned in previous blog posts When Duty Calls: Dr. Seuss Raffle Quilt and Dr. Suess Flimsy Finish, this quilt was created from an old work in progress for a fundraiser raffle at our local elementary school. Every bit of fabric used was already in my stash, with the exception of the polar fleece backing. I am really happy with how the quilt came out, and finishing at 44″x51″, it is a decent snuggle size for a child to curl up under while reading a book.

dr seuss fundraiser quilt finish

Before I go into the details of this finish, I want to extend a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who commented on my previous Flimsy Finish post. You helped me to realize the true joy in giving that is involved in donation quilts, and to feel entirely positively about the whole experience. What matters most is that this quilt will be loved by a child, and that I have donated my time, skill, and materials to a cause in which I believe. Hopefully the school and PTO will earn a good sum thanks to the addition of this quilt to the raffle basket, but even if not, the joy that it brings to a child–and really, to me for having the ability to donate such a labor of love–is what matters in the end. So THANK YOU!

Now, the quilt!!

dr seuss quilt finish

dr seuss quilt finish

dr seuss quilt finish
Mr. Cat in the Hat likes it, too!

dr seuss quilt finish

I backed this quilt with gorgeous turquoise polar fleece so that it is extra snuggly, and decided to use that same polar fleece backing to bind the quilt. I wanted the binding to be extra wide, since it is so snuggly, so I trimmed the backing so that it extended 1.5″ from every side, then folded in half and then folded over the front of the quilt to make a 3/4″ binding, top stitched on the front. It was surprisingly smooth and easy, and I love the finished look!

The free motion quilting shows nicely on the solid polar fleece back, and I almost like the back of the quilt as much as the front!

dr seuss quilt finish back

dr seuss quilt finish back
Free motion quilting detail on the back of the quilt.

My free motion quilting (FMQ) is far from perfect, but I think it was an excellent design for this quilt layout. The wonky Seussical triangles I quilted on the narrow sashing crossed fairly smoothly, and the simple orange peel-esque diamonds hold it together nicely. I used a wide wiggle on the wide white borders (can you tell I’m a total FMQ newbie? “wide wiggle”!? haha), and couldn’t resist the urge to do a bit of free form Dr. Seuss FMQ in the corners. I roughly quilted three Truffala trees with “Unless” written beneath in one corner, two Seussical stars in two opposite corners, and I quilted my “tag” into the final corner, since I didn’t want to mar the beautiful back with a cotton label.

quilt label free motion quilted

I had my usual helper, Mr. Max, who couldn’t resist snuggling behind this quilt. Just a few cameos of my cutie pie helper and then I’ll share the official quilt stats

peek a boo Max dr seuss quilt
Peek a boo!

max and dr seuss quilt

max and dr seuss quilt

Quilt Stats

Pattern: Must Stash (Diamond Quilt) from the book Modern Designs for Classic Quilts by Kelly Biscopink and Andrea Johnson. *Amazon affiliate link*

Size: 44″x51″

Front: Dr. Seuss fabric by Robert Kaufman Fabrics with Kona White sashing and borders.
Back & Binding: Turquoise polar fleece

Batting: 100% cotton Warm & Natural batting

Thread: Aurifil 50wt 2615 – Aluminum & 2600 – Dove

Quilting: Free motion quilted on my domestic Bernina Artiste 730

Cutting diamonds (rough approximation): 3 hours
Layout and cutting of supplemental diamonds: 45 minutes
Piecing the top–aka sewing sashing: 7 hours
Squaring, layering, and basting: 1 hour
Quilting: 6 hours
Finishing (trimming to size, clipping threads): 45 minutes
Binding: 1 hour
Total: Approx. 19 hours 30 minutes

I’m linking up with TGIFF. I’m also going to link up with Yvonne’s Thankful Thursday since I’m truly thankful for you awesome quilting community, who helped me see the light about donation quilts. It’s all about the giving!

Color Inspiration Thursday {41}

You would think that by now, nearly to April, I would have a few signs of spring to share in this week’s color inspiration. But lo, Maine has not yet gotten the memo that spring begins officially tomorrow and the temperatures have been in the teens, with a rare high of 30. So I decided to embrace the winter for a little longer, and showcase some more of nature’s frigid beauty. Color palettes are created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs.

snow weather vane moon

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Peacoat, Bella Etchings Charcoal, Kona Silver, Bella Periwinkle, Kona Windsor, Kona Nightfall

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2785 – V Dk Navy
1158 – Med Grey
2615 – Aluminum
2524 – Grey Violet
1248 – Grey Blue
2581 – Dk Dusty Grape

Believe it or not, this cute little weather vane sits atop quite a large cupola that we removed from the chicken coop roof while winterizing it. The snow is still a good 3-4′ deep, but the beauty of the whimsical moon pointing toward spring with sunny shadows cast on the deep snow had to make its way into a palette. As cold as it is, I personally love this palette. Blues and greys will definitely become a Storm at Sea quilt one of these days. Perhaps I’ll use this palette for planning!

pine branch in the snow color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Bunny Hill Blue, Kona Pewter, Bella Fir, Kona Biscuit, Bella Lead, Kona Moss

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2560 – Iris
2610 – Lt Blue Grey
2372 – Dk Antique Gold
2335 – Lt Cinnamon
2370 – Sandstone
2905 – Army Green

A little pine branch, nestled in the icy depths. I was really hoping for a bit more green to read through, but really, the season for green is not *yet* upon us. This instead is an earthy, neutral palette, with just a touch toward green with that final Moss-Army Green.

blue sky buds color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Moda U Brown, Kona Mushroom, Bella Lt Blue, Bella Mauve, Kona Blue Jay, Kona Slate

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2630 – Pewter
2370 – Sandstone
2560 – Iris
2566 – Wisteria
4140 – Wedgewood
1310 – Med Blue Grey

Shhh don’t tell anyone that these magnolia buds are on the tree all winter long. I’m pretending it’s a sign of new life! Spring! Blue skies at the very least are peeking through. The warm sun shines, and surely, SURELY spring must not be too far behind. Right!?

What season are you experiencing right now? Are you eager for the next, or enjoying the current weather? I find it easy to enjoy winter until those first teaser warm days. Then my mind is on planting seeds, raising chicks, digging in the earth, and spending our days outside. Our entryway may be full of potting soil in the very near future!

Dr. Seuss Flimsy Finish

On Friday, I sewed the final white border on the Dr. Seuss quilt I’m making as a donation for my daughter’s preschool fundraiser. I am actually growing to really like this quilt, and now that it’s together, I’m almost sad to see it go. I just keep hoping that whoever wins the quilt will cherish it and know how much love and work has gone into making it.

dr seuss quilt top finish

I was able to get the quilt to stay up on the shed just long enough to take one photo before it blew to the ground.

dr seuss quilt top finish falling

Have I mentioned how ready for spring I am!? I am SO looking forward to bright light and green things, not to mention flowers!

dr seuss quilt top finish

The diagonal sashing, while time consuming, was not nearly as tricky as I imagined it could be. This is definitely a versatile pattern that would be a great way to showcase your favorite fabrics. You could go monochromatic, rainbow gradient, or even a scrappy arrangement like I did with these diamonds.

For the sake of time, I opted to trim the edges and add wide sashing to give it a little extra size. I know that cutting white diamonds would have allowed for all of the diamonds to be whole, but I just didn’t have the time. This quilt must be finished by this Thursday at the latest, and my sewing time is scant. While nursing my sick kiddo over the weekend, I was doubly glad I opted for the short-cut.

dr seuss quilt top finish edges

I like the boundary that the trimmed edges provide, too. It certainly makes it look more traditional, but I think the quilting I have planned will work well with it. I plan to free motion quilt the entire quilt, using a simple orange-peel-esque quilting pattern in each diamond, a dense triangle-rich quilting in all of the narrow sashes, and a wide rounded loop in the outside borders. I toyed with the idea of free motion quilting random excerpts from Dr. Seuss books, intertwined with Truffula trees and Seussical characters for the outside border, but both because of my time constraints and the end goal, I’m going with simple. At least, as simple as I’m capable.

dr seuss quilt top finishMy daughter immediately spotted the one spot where the diamonds “match” across the sashing, and said how much she loves the quilt. My son pointed out characters and said, “We have that book!” again and again. I’m hoping that the recipient of this quilt loves it even half as much as my kids do.

Have you ever donated a quilt to be raffled off in a fundraiser? I’d love to hear some insight, since I’m feeling torn about donating such a time-consuming creation of love to be raffled off with $2 raffle tickets. Initially, I thought that by adding a quilt to the preschool basket, it would warrant auctioning, like the other classroom fundraiser baskets. Ultimately, the PTO decided to still raffle off the preschool basket even with a quilt added, saying that they wanted the “wonderful contributions” to be accessible to all families in the school. I can’t argue with that. My husband even mentioned it over the weekend, though, asking why I said yes to this endeavor and hoping that I felt my time and efforts would be appropriately valued. Honestly, I am trying to look at it as a pure donation and an old work in progress out of the house, since when I think about the likelihood of the quilt being valued as little as a $20 blanket from Target, I feel a bit icky. If nothing more, this is a learning experience. Like I said, all I can do is hope that by being part of a raffle basket, a child who may not have any other special quilts or opportunities to be given one will win this love-filled quilt and will cherish it.

I’m linking up with  Monday Makers, Design Wall, and Making Monday. Next up is to finish the quilting, which I started over the weekend before my daughter fell ill, and finally binding!


Color Inspiration Thursday {40}

It seems the QuiltCon blog posts are starting to slow to a trickle, but the influence of the experience lingers on. Before heading to QuiltCon, I had visions of finding and photographing dozens of fabulously talented quilters in front of their quilts for future people palettes. I didn’t take dozens. In fact, I only took one. But it’s a fabulous one, and of a woman I’m so fortunate to have met.  Today’s star is Krista Hennebury, quilter, retreat organizer, and author of her new book Make It, Take It for Martingale, which is meant to feel like a retreat in a book–sewing fun things with friends. I was fortunate enough to meet Krista through our serendipitous pairing in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, Round 3 earlier this year. I was tasked with creating a quilt for Krista, and fortunately she has great taste! I had a blast, made this quilt for her, and gained a friend in the process.

krista hennebury people palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Black, Bella Brick Red, Bella Longhorn, Kona Cedar, Bella Etchings Charcoal, Bella Gray

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2692 – Black
2355 – Rust
2350 – Copper
2235 – Orange
5013 – Asphalt
5011 – Rope Beige

This palette features Krista in front of her gorgeous quilt Chess on the Steps, which hung at QuiltCon. I’m intrigued by this quilt, which she calls “improv under the influence”, since it’s a quilt with a very improv feel, but created using traditional chain piecing methods. Those who know me know that I struggle with improv, but I feel like this quilt may be the place to begin! Fortunately, it was the pattern of the month in September 2014 and is available for free for members of the Modern Quilt Guild.

I asked Krista to answer three short questions to help the world get to know the color inspiration star of the week a little more intimately:

Where do you fit into the worldwide family tree of quilting?
I describe my quilting as traditionally-informed modern quilting if someone really needs a description, but really, I just like making quilts. I’ve been blogging over 5 years, teaching for 13, running a day-retreat business for 11. I love my local traditional and modern guilds, where I’m an active member of both.

What is your first memory of being really excited?
The Haunted House at Disneyworld, age 9.

If you could choose anyone, who would you choose as your mentor?
Gwen Marston

Krista actually wrote a really great blog post just the other day about a weekend spent sewing with Gwen Marston, so if you want to hear more about the amazing woman Krista wishes could be her third grandma, read the post here.

You can find Krista in the bloggy quiltiverse here:

or go on a virtual quilt retreat with her by buying her book:*Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link above, which means if you buy the book by clicking through, I receive 4% of the sale.

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All color palettes are created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photo, taken at QuiltCon 2015.

Tutorial: Embroidery Floss Organization Made Easy

In the weeks leading up to QuiltCon (yes, I’m still talking about it), the Instagram hashtag #quiltconprep made it easy to see what others were doing to get ready for the big event. During those mad dash prep days, one of my IG friends posted a picture of a whole bunch of 2.5″ fabric squares of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics that she had cut in preparation for Carolyn’s Aerial Grove class. She noted that all she needed was a few squares of the architextures crosshatch and she’d have enough for a fully-Carolyn Friedlander aerial grove. What does this have to do with embroidery floss? I’m getting there! Long story short, I offered to give some squares to her at QuiltCon, and when she asked what she could give me in return, I said “knowledge.” I asked her to share a tip or trick that she found particularly helpful. It’s such a useful tip that I decided to share it here, with her permission, of course! Today’s tip was taught to me by Rebecca Cleaver (@cleaverr on Instagram), who learned it from Maura Ambrose (@folkfibers).

tutorial embroidery floss organization made easy

How to Organize and Store Embroidery Floss
So that it’s super quick and easy to use!

I’ve seen cringe-worthy photos of tangled piles of embroidery floss, and I admit that I am not that person. Even before learning this tip, I stored my floss on a wooden dowel, hanging in its original skein. This looked pretty, but when it was time to actually use a strand, that’s when it became tricky. I’d have to take all of the skeins off the dowel and gently and painstakingly remove a thread a tiny tug at a time (yes, I’m nutty).

embroidery floss organization tip

Here’s a much better way.

Step 1:

Embroidery floss tutorial Step 1- Remove papers and unwind skeinCarefully remove the paper holding the skein together and untwist the skein.

Step 2:

Step 2- Extend flossExtend the floss, holding the fully extended loop in your hands.

Step 3:

Step 3- Cut one endCut one end, cutting through all of the embroidery floss strands.

It should now look like this:


 Step 4:

Step 4- Divide into 3 equal sectionsDivide the floss into three approximately equal sections. This doesn’t have to be perfect; I didn’t sit and count out the strands to make it perfect. If that’s your thing, then feel free to do so, but just eyeing it will be sufficient.

Step 5:

Step 5- Loosely braid (1)Loosely braid the three sections together.  If you have a willing and capable helper, you could ask them to hold the looped end while you braid. My 2 1/2 year old was not willing today, so I used an “S” hook to hold the looped end while I braided. You can hook the “S” hook on just about anything, but I used the cuff of my jeans. Here’s a behind the scenes peek:

hook to cuff of pants to braid

Step 6:

Step 7-Using a separate, short length of floss, tie a knot around the end of your braid to hold it in place.

Now you have your floss,  ready to hang in an aesthetically awesome, organized way, AND ready to go whenever you need a strand.

Here comes the really awesome part!

How To Remove a Strand of Floss from your Braid

Holding the top of your braid, gently pull one strand away from the rest of the loop.

removing strand of floss from braidThen, get a bit better grasp on the rest of the braid–no need for a vice grip, just hold it steady as you pull out the single strand–and pull the strand out completely.

Pull strand of embroidery floss out of braidThe braid will bunch up when you pull, so don’t be alarmed. Once the single strand is out, just smooth out your braid again and you’re ready to go. Your floss is the perfect length for some hand quilting or embroidery, and the rest of your floss is sitting pretty in its braid.

Single thread removed from embroidery floss braid

Go ahead and braid all of your other skeins of floss, and you will never have a tangled pile of embroidery floss again!Rainbow embroidery floss braids

I think this method is genius, since now not only is my floss gorgeously organized and displayed, but I can get a single strand without even taking the braid off the wooden dowel!

rainbow floss braids on wooden dowelI just hold the braid right below the dowel, separate a single strand, pull, and viola! No muss, no fuss.

Many thanks to Rebecca for sharing this tip, and I hope you find it helpful, too. I’m linking up with Stephanie & Michelle’s Tips & Tutorials Tuesday.

Did you know about this tip? How do you store and organize your embroidery floss?