Courthouse Steps

June 10, 2024 Leave a comment

I have a list of classic quilt patterns I want to make one day, and Courthouse Steps has been on the list for a while. Today, it gets checked off as done!

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This quilt features Denyse Schmidt’s Bonny fabric and Ruby + Bee solids.

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You may recall I made Denyse’s version of Courthouse Steps, called Courting Steps, back in 2021 for the launch of her Darling collection. It was photographed for the look book and you can read about it HERE. Ever since then, I’ve known I wanted to make my own Courthouse Steps quilt and I thought Bonny would be perfect.

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I love this pattern, love this fabric, and I’m overall pleased with how it turned out.  I was a little hesitant to include the solid really dark fabrics, which when you step back really stick out, but I think it’s okay. Thoughts?

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I tried to spread the dark fabric evenly throughout the quilt so it looks balanced. I also just really liked some of the Bonny fabrics paired with the dark colors. And if there’s anything I always say when quilting, do what you like. Who cares if someone else doesn’t like it!

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Going into this project I had a stack of Ruby + Bee fat quarters that has now shrunk. I’ve cut into it a bit for previous quilts but this one really used a lot of the fabric.

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The Ruby + Bee colors are so good and I know they’ve recently expanded with even more color options. I might have to invest in a new fat quarter bundle to keep in my stash. Isn’t it nice having the right solid color on-hand when you need it?

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That’s all for now. As always, thanks for being here and reading; I’ll be back later with more. In the meantime, you can keep up with all my recent happenings over on Instagram.

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Blue Ribbon

May 8, 2024 Leave a comment

The name of this quilt might be a bit misleading. To be clear, I have not won an award or ribbon for this quilt top, but hear me out. These pictures were taken at the fair grounds, where blue ribbons are awarded, and notice the Indoor Arena sign?

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I think it makes sense to name it the Blue Ribbon quilt! The minute I saw the sign I knew that’s what I was going to call it, and later I noticed this blue background that was so pretty and it all came together.

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This quilt is a version of the classic Trip Around the World pattern. Fun fact, the first-ever quilt I made as a teenager was a Trip Around the World quilt. I don’t think I’ve ever shared it, and honestly the fabric I chose would now make me cringe, but teenager me loved it!

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I much prefer the fabric in this quilt, which is a lot of Alison Glass and whatever else I had in my stash that I thought would work.

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I originally planned to make this quilt a little larger, but it’s mostly a scrap quilt and my fabric didn’t stretch as far as I thought it would. This is a common occurrence for me, since I usually approach quilting as ‘let’s get started and see what happens.’

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Later on I did find more fabric so I could add a few rows to make it a little larger, but I’ve already moved on to my next project and I’m thinking all let this one be as is.

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Speaking of, I need to get back to my current project, which to be honest is not going as planned. Can I save it and make it better? Time will tell.

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Mill City – Finished

April 10, 2024 2 Comments

My quest to turn my stack of quilt tops into actual finished quilts continues! I’ve made some good progress the last couple of years and I can check another one off the list with my finished Mill City quilt.

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I made this quilt top back in 2017 and shared it at the beginning of 2018. As I’ve said before, some quilts take longer than others. LOL

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Every time I pull one of these quilt tops out that I haven’t seen in a while I ask myself, “do I still like this?” The answer for this one is a definite yes.

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I still really like the colors and pattern, which is quite simple with a combo of Ohio Star blocks and nine patch squares. This is a scrap quilt but it’s mostly original Cotton + Steel fabric.

BTW, this next picture makes me laugh. It looks like no one is holding the quilt!

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The back of this quilt uses a large piece of the much-loved Fairy Dust fabric from Tula Pink’s True Colors collection.

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My last blog post was about quilt backs and I mentioned the lack of good extra wide fabric available on the market. The good news is this fabric is available in extra wide. The piece I used obviously is not, as I had to piece the back together, but FYI in case you like it. I believe there are other colorways available, too.

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I think I have 2-3 more old(er) quilt tops left to finish. To be clear I do have more that that, but the others are from the last year+ so I don’t count those. They’re practically new!

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As always, thanks for reading. I’ll be back here again soon talking quilts.

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Baby Got [Quilt] Back

April 5, 2024 1 Comment

Love it or hate it, part of the quilting process is choosing what kind of quilt back to use. Some people enjoy the process and put a lot of thought into making their quilt back as special as the front, while others don’t care as much and treat it as an afterthought. There’s no right or wrong way to approach it. But depending on what you like or what you’re trying to achieve, there are different quilt back “looks,” if you will.

I’ve made quite a few quilts in my day and have done all sorts of backs. Below, I’ve rounded up some options for those of you looking for quilt back ideas that don’t require buying standard width fabric and sewing it together. I have done that before, but I really don’t like it. The seam drives me crazy, and if you have a patterned fabric it’s even more work to try and match it up.

So if you’re like me and always looking for new ideas and inspiration, here you go.

 

Extra Wide Fabric

By far the easiest quilt back is to use extra wide fabric. It doesn’t require piecing anything together and is the least complicated option, albeit the most expensive. Extra wide fabric costs more but saves you time and work.

Unfortunately, the selection for extra wide fabric is limited. Fabric manufacturers have amazing fabric designers putting out beautiful collections, but rarely do they include an extra wide backing as part of the collection, or even a one-off option. Plus, the extra wide fabric that is available often isn’t that great, in my opinion. Some is! But my overall feeling is meh. I’m begging you, fabric manufacturers, give us more extra wide fabric to choose from!

That said, here are a few I’ve used.

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A plain white back may be boring, but with the right quilt top it makes sense. Plus, extra wide white fabric is readily available and more affordable than a pattern.

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These two Little Folks voile fabrics from Anna Maria Horner are silky soft and voile is wider than standard quilting fabric, making it a great backing option. Don’t sleep on voile as a quilt back!

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You may think you’re looking at the front of this quilt but it’s actually the back. I purchased this quilt at an antiques store and the back is essentially a cheater print, something I’m seeing more designers start to offer. Extra wide cheater prints can be used on their own as a quilt front, or if you want a double-sided quilt try them for the back.

 

Leftover Quilt Blocks

Have you ever had extra blocks you didn’t end up using? They don’t have to go to waste! Of course you can use single blocks to make pillows, but I love incorporating them into a back.

This is also a great solution for using standard width fabric but dividing it with quilt blocks so you don’t have that annoying seam I mentioned earlier.

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These butterfly applique quilt blocks were made by my grandma but never finished into a quilt. When she passed, I made the quilt but had a few leftover blocks. I could have added another row to the front, but the quilt was already so big I chose to use them for the back instead. Using the blocks, along with two pieces of standard width red fabric, made the back large enough.

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Reminder: You don’t have to divide the back right through the middle with leftover blocks. You can add interest by placing them wherever you choose or however you need to depending on your fabric availability.

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This quilt back is a bit chaotic but it’s meant to be! I was gifted these red quilt blocks and I had three leftover after making the quilt top – but not enough to add another row. The front of the quilt is intentionally wonky so I used the leftover blocks to make the back wonky as well.

 

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Piecing scraps of fabric together for a back does take more work but it’ a great way to use larger scraps from your stash. There are no rules for this method. Do whatever you like! I sometimes use leftover fabric from the front as well. I think it’s a good way to give a nod to the front by using what’s left in the back.

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Fabric Blocking

I don’t think fabric blocking is a thing but that’s what I’m calling it. The idea is to intentionally piece – usually two different fabrics – together. Some might say this is simply a scrappy back, and it is, but it’s being more intentional with how you piece your fabric. It’s a more deliberate way to put your quilt back together, if you will.

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Put a Strip in It

This is one of my favorite ways to stretch fabric and extend the length of a quilt back. Similar to the leftover quilt block method, adding a strip of fabric between two standard width pieces will usually give you enough length. Make the strip as wide as you need or want and you’re in business.

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This is a 1-yard piece of fabric I used for the back of a baby quilt. I needed just a touch more length so I added the strip of purple.

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Here I have two different cuts of the same fabric that I joined together right down the middle with the white strip.

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This is an example where I used both leftover fabric from the front of the quilt to make a strip, which stretched the length by dividing two standard width pieces of fabric. A win win!

 

Vintage Bed Sheets

Using vintage bed sheets has really been my thing lately. It’s essentially the same as using extra wide fabric but at a more affordable price.

When I’m not quilting my other hobby is thrifting, and whenever I go to a thrift store I always check out the linen section for vintage bed sheets in good shape. That’s the key. You don’t want anything faded, thread-bare, or damaged. You want to look for barely used or even brand new vintage sheets, which do exist. It’s also good to check estate sales, rummage sales, or raid your aunt’s linen closet for old sheets, if she’ll let you!

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This vintage sheet was a fitted sheet rather than a flat sheet and ended up being a bit too small once I removed the elastic. I added some coordinating solid fabric to make it work.

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New Bed Sheets

If using old sheets gives you the creeps, you can also purchase new bed sheets from your favorite home goods, big box, or online store, which I’ve done before. Some places even sell individual flat sheets so you don’t have to buy an entire bedding set.

Look for 100% cotton sheets, but if you like something that’s a cotton mix I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Most of the vintage bed sheets I’ve used are a cotton/polyester blend and I’ve never had a problem with them.

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This was my first time using a flannel sheet and it worked great. It’s heavy but very warm.

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When in doubt, buy a solid color bed sheet!

And with that, those are the different types of quilt backs I’ve done. Any questions? Or what am I missing? Have you done anything creative for your quilt backs? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Five + Ten – Finished

March 27, 2024 2 Comments

I made this quilt top back in 2022, and in my original blog post I wrote about how hard it was to make. It was a really challenging pattern and I had some hiccups along the way. But now that it’s done and quilted, I really like how it turned out.

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This quilt features Denyse Schmidt’s Five + Ten collection along with a few Ruby + Bee solids that I needed to stretch out the fabric to complete all of the blocks.

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This pattern is not Irish Chain but similar. (I probably made it more difficult.)

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Even though it was difficult to make, it’s always good to try something new and push ourselves to make things that are hard. It’s how we get better!

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I also have to talk about the back of this quilt. The blue floral is a piece of fabric that was in my grandma’s sewing supplies. She passed a number of years ago and I inherited all of her fabric.

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The blue fabric goes perfectly with the front, but when I was measuring it out it barely fit; there were zero inches to give in the length. But was that going to stop me from trying to make it work? No. I knew it might be a bit short after it was quilted and cause me problems, but I decided to try and make it work.

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Well, readers, it did cause me problems. LOL. There were a couple spots where it came up short, less than a half an inch. It was a pretty easy fix though. I had a few thin strips of the blue fabric left after I trimmed the quilt and I was able to patch them in. You really don’t notice unless you examine the back closely.

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My quilts are rarely “perfect” and to me this is in the spirit of generations of quilters who ‘used what they have’ to create beautiful quilts. And I think my grandma, who was very thrifty, would approve.

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As I wrap this quilt post up, shout out to my quilt-holding friend who helped take these photos with me. It was a windy day and standing on a bridge trying to get pictures was not easy! But nothing with this quilt was so it’s quite fitting.

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Wildflower – Finished

March 18, 2024 1 Comment

I’ve slowly been accumulating a stack of finished quilts and quilt tops to photograph, patiently waiting for my quilt holder to have time to take some pics. We cleared our schedules and were able to head out last week to take some pics, and now I have some new projects to share. First up is my finished Wildflower quilt.

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I love this fabric (Wildflower by Kelly Ventura) and I love how the quilt turned out.

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It’s a simple pattern that makes a big impact, in my opinion.

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It’s a repeating pattern of square-in-square blocks followed by patchworks squares, all at an angle. Easy!

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When I first wrote about this quilt top I mentioned how the fabric leans a little more traditional than I normally choose. But I have to admit I’ve been gravitating towards some more traditional fabrics lately. I still like what I’ve always liked, but I guess I’ve been adding some traditional looks to my stash.

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The back of this quilt also leans a little more traditional, complementing the front perfectly.

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Like I often do, I used a vintage bed sheet for the quilt back. It’s a floral print like many of the fabrics in the Wildflower collection.

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Unfortunately, my stash of vintage bed sheets is getting low! They make such great quilt backs so I’ll have to start working on replenishing my collection.

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You can often find them at second-hand stores, but finding ones in good shape that have never or hardly been used, like this one, can be challenging some times.

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I think this quilt turned out beautifully and it’s been getting some use this winter, but I’m starting to get antsy for the Spring-looking quilts. Who’s with me?

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Until we’re through March, I’ll keep this one out and enjoy it a bit longer. But Spring is coming and so are more blog posts with new quilts to share. I’ll be back again soon.

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Lodge

January 3, 2024 1 Comment

What do you do when someone asks you to make them a “lodgy” or hunting themed quilt? You know what you don’t do? You don’t buy camo fabric, because you have standards. (No offense if you like camo quilts.) Instead, you get creative and find something a little more sophisticated, shall we say.

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Not only do I present to you a “lodgy” quilt, but also the largest quilt I’ve ever made, which was completely unnecessary but let me explain.

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But first, let’s talk about the back. My brother, who is very different from me, is an avid outdoorsman. He lives in Denver and likes to do outdoorsy things. I like doing indoorsy things, like quilting, but I digress.

Anyway, he asked me to make him a quilt that was something hunting or “lodgy,” which I took to mean like a hunting lodge or cabin type thing. I didn’t want to piece the quilt back, and I knew it would be next to impossible to find extra wide backing fabric that wasn’t camo but still hunting or lodgy, so I started searching for a bedding set I could use the flat sheet from for the back. And ta-da! I found the perfect set of sheets.

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I bought these Eddie Bauer sheets on Amazon and you can find them HERE. I wasn’t looking for flannel, but that’s what they had, so a flannel sheet back it was.

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Originally, I was only going to buy a twin set, but I realized that would be wasteful. I didn’t have use for the leftover twin fitted sheet or pillowcase, and neither would my brother, so instead I bought a king set. He has a king bed so he could use the fitted sheet and pillowcases…and that gets me to the size of the quilt.

Since I now had a king flat sheet for the back, I thought I might as well use the whole thing rather than trim it and have a lot of waste. And that, my friends, is how I ended up with a giant quilt that couldn’t even be shown in full in the photos because it was too big for two people to hold. LOL

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Before I go, I should talk briefly about the front. I did a simple pinwheel pattern, which is one of my go-to patterns for quilt gifts. I wanted to match the khaki color from the back, but I couldn’t find a solid that worked. I thought for sure Kona would have something but they didn’t. I checked a few other brands but I didn’t see anything even close and I didn’t have time to order a bunch of samples and still make the quilt in time for Christmas. Instead I pulled the green from the khaki and I love how it turned out. The green color is Moss from Kona and I really like how it contrasts with the back.

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This quilt is now with my brother in Denver. It’s so big he can use it as a bedspread and there will be plenty of drape since it’s so large! Plus, he has the matching pillowcases and fitted sheet. I think he liked it.

One last thing. I did have a few little scraps left so I made a pillow for his dog. Look at this sweet girl.

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Happy New Year, and cheers to lots of creativity and projects in 2024!

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2023 Holiday Gift Guide

November 24, 2023 Leave a comment

I haven’t done a gift guide in a few years, but I thought I would bring it back in case you’re looking to buy a gift for the quilting person in your life, or even the non-quilting person. I include ideas for both. And if you don’t see something for a loved one, maybe you just want to treat yourself!

With that, here’s what’s catching my eye right now.

2023 Holiday Gift GuideDon’t make the same mistake I made and keep buying the Omnigrid square rulers separately. Instead, buy the Value Pack that includes a 2.5”, 4.5”, 6.5” and 9.5” ruler. They make squaring up quilt blocks so much easier. Buy the Value Pack HERE. ($25.99)

Just like sitting on an airplane for hours isn’t good for leg circulation, neither is sitting at a sewing machine. I love wearing compression socks and highly recommend. They also lessen pain and decrease swelling. I like the stripe socks from Comrad, but they have other colors and patterns available too. Buy HERE. ($28)

I love a red lip and my favorite lipstick brand is NYX. And if red isn’t your color, they have many gorgeous shades available. Buy  HERE. ($7.99)

I live in these slides at home, but for winter The Cloudies slides with a furry liner look perfect for hours of standing and cutting fabric or chores around the house. Available in a variety of colors HERE. ($39.99)

It’s the time of year when dry skin is upon us. It’s tough on the hands, especially if you are a hand quilter like I am. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm has always been my favorite, but I also really like the Hand Salve and Cuticle Cream. You can buy a gift package with all three HERE. ($11.99)

When it comes to entertainment, I have a deep love for British crime dramas. It is my favorite genre and there is nothing I like more than working on a quilt and bingeing a good show. To watch many of the good international shows (not all of them are crimey) a subscription to Acorn TV or BritBox is the way to go. If you are buying for yourself and have Amazon Prime, you can add them as one of your channels or download the app to your TV or favorite device. For gifting, an Acorn gift subscription is available HERE ($69.99 for a year) and a BritBox gift subscription HERE ($89.99 for a year).

Speaking of which… I cut the cord a long time ago and the Amazon Fire Stick lets me watch all my favorite streaming services. I have a small TV with a Fire Stick next to my sewing machine and it’s great. Buy HERE. ($19.99)

You can never have enough charging cords for your phone, and 10 ft. cord comes in handy for reaching you wherever you are. Buy HERE. ($23.99)

The Jewel Tone Ombre Taper Candles are so fun and remind me of a quilt. They’re available in two different colorways, and like them both. Buy HERE. ($30)

Denyse Schmidt is one of my favorite fabric designers and her latest collection, Bonny, has a cheater print that’s perfect for making a wholecloth quilt. It’s a Tobacco Leaf pattern and it’s pink. Enough said. You can find it on her website, and it’s available for purchase at local quilt stores or online. (Approximately $12 per yard)

For the holidays, Target has a partnership with iconic British brand Marks & Spencer. Little known fact about me, I’ve lived in London…twice! I used to work right across the street from a Marks & Spencer and it was a frequent stop for me. You can check out the all the offerings HERE, but I think the Hot Chocolate Light Up House Tin is very cute. Buy it HERE ($9.99) or the Shortbread Biscuit Bus Tin with the famous double decker bus is cute. Buy it HERE ($14.99). Plus, when you’re done with the food, you have a cute tin to store all your sewing bits and bobs.

Do you like to collect Pyrex like I do? It’s a good thing I have limited space, otherwise I would go crazy collecting it. This shirt is fun and funny and perfect for the Pyrex lover in your life. It’s available in white, black and gray. Buy it HERE. ($24)

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Midsummer

August 14, 2023 Leave a comment

I found myself wanting to make something easy(ish) this summer, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted it to look like. So I did what I often do, and I came up with a scrap quilt.

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I finished this quilt in the middle of July – about midsummer – hence the name.

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I should note I only had one quilt holder for these pics but I really needed two people. Next time when I show the finished version, I’ll be sure to recruit a second holder. But nonetheless, my friend made a valiant effort this time around. LOL

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Back to the quilt. If you’ve ever made or seen a Trip Around the World quilt, this quilt kind of has those vibes, a little.

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My goal was to use up scraps, even small ones, and also incorporate solids. If you begin in the center, it starts pattern/solid/pattern/solid etc. etc. as you work your way out. I end with a solid navy blue fabric around the edge.

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The patterned fabric is Denyse Schmidt and the solids are a little bit of everything, with mostly Ruby + Bee and Kona Cotton.

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One thing I didn’t really take into consideration when I started was how much of the same fabric I would need as I worked my way out. I had to use up some of my bigger scrap pieces so that I had enough, which was great, but I hadn’t really thought it through in the beginning. It worked out because I’m always trying to shrink my scrap pile!

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I took photos of one other quilt while I was out with my friend so I will be sharing that one soon. Talk to you then.

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Jacob’s Ladder – Finished

July 10, 2023 1 Comment

Sometimes you just want to make a classic quilt pattern, and Jacob’s Ladder fits the bill.

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I have a list of classic, traditional quilt patterns I want to make one day, and I’m glad I’ve checked this one off the list. It’s a simple block to make and I like that it’s easy to adjust for whatever block size you want. I went for a larger block than I typically make and made mine at 12” square.

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Like so many of my quilts, this is a scrap quilt. It is made with all Denyse Schmidt fabric, because that’s what I have a lot of and I’m trying to use the fabric that I have.

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The back of this quilt is a vintage bed sheet my aunt gave me. This quilt is pretty large and luckily so was the bed sheet, but it juuuuuust fit. I had maybe an inch to spare. Maybe. I don’t recommend this! LOL

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I have one more vintage bed sheet identical to this one from my aunt, so the other one will make an appearance at some point on another quilt. As you’ve seen from other quilts I’ve finished, I really like using vintage bed sheets as backs. It’s a good way to repurpose them, and it’s an affordable option that’s also really beautiful.

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I’m calling this quilt done and putting it away in my quilt closet. Yes, I have a quilt closet and it’s glorious!

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