Thursday, June 23, 2016


So far this summer we've managed to stay really busy! Too busy, but it's all good so no time to complain...

The first harvests from the garden have been tomatoes, beans and peppers. The squash and cucumbers and other varieties of tomatoes and peppers are looking very promising. I hope to have lots more harvest photos soon!

The boys got their senior photos taken and Kelly finally got hers taken too, even though she's technically a college freshman now. We had a great time and I even got a few photos with the kids' sweet friend Sarah included.

The sunsets have been stunning. I love that the view from my sewing machine faces the backyard to the west. Now if I had more time to sew, I could enjoy more of these sunsets. I am happy to take a few minutes at night just to witness the gorgeous sky.

The sewing I have done has been the prep and production of the steps for the Mystery Quilt that begins soon. I noticed while I was cutting fabrics for the mystery this sweet girl was on my right...

And this crazy boy was on my left. I guess he's not too curious about the mystery after all. He's probably dreaming of his next meal. 

Kelly went to Berry College for her freshman orientation and stayed in the dorm with her new room mate. They had a wonderful time and even decided on the color schemes for the room and their new quilts. I better get busy!

The boys have been busy taking campus tours in hopes of finding their future school. So far they've visited UGA, Clemson and Auburn and have liked them all! Next week we will tour Georgia Tech. These guys are going to love college, it's just a matter of deciding which one at this point. They may or may not choose the same one, that's another decision that has yet to be made. I have complete confidence that they will make the right choice. I just can't believe they are seniors!!!

I'm going to visit the Gwinnett Quilt Guild next week and share a program and workshop. Then one more workshop the next week at A Scarlet Thread (there may be a space or two left in the class, call the shop if you want to sign up!) and then I'm on summer break! Woo hoo!

I hope you are having a wonderful summer and staying busy with the people and things that make you happy!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Mystery Quilt Fabric Options...

Have you been thinking about your fabrics for the Mystery Quilt that starts next month? I know I mentioned a few ideas in the post last week announcing the outline of how things will work. I was fairly certain I knew what I was going to do, but that evolved over the week while I was looking at my options. The easiest option would be to just grab one of my fabric bundles and use it. My favorite bundle that I picked up at market is this one called Desert Bloom. I adore the colors and the airiness of the prints. It's so pretty I almost don't want to unwrap it!

Then of course I could actually use a bundle that has been broken into already. These fabrics are from the Bread and Butter collection by American Jane. They are fun and definitely provide enough variety of light and dark choices. But I still can't bring myself to make a quilt from one fabric line. It just feels like cheating to me. Do you think it's cheating?

Then of course I could go with black and whites and use a bright green for the accent color. I know this would really be vibrant and look amazing. I've just finished a black and white quilt recently though so maybe not just yet.

Or how about all polka dots with a rich red background. Using a collection of fabrics with a solid background would be awesome! I'm really tempted. Really, really tempted. But then again...

Maybe I should use up this gorgeous batik I found on sale earlier this year. I could use it for the main fabric and the borders. The teal would be perfect for the accent and the cream for a background. If you are thinking of using three fabrics, this would totally be the way to go! Using the same fabric for the big pieces and the border would work really well. Again, I know I would love this, but I'm feeling the need to go scrappy. (I say that all the time don't I?)

And then I uncovered this in the yardage bin. I buy yardage of fabrics that are on super sale and that I happen to love. This fabric had an amazing color combination and I thought it could be the perfect backing for a future project. It turns out, that it might be the perfect border as well! 

So I got to thinking, what if I use all creams and beige for the background fabrics? I have tons of scraps of these but this little bundle would ensure that I don't run out!

 And I would have to go with the dark aqua prints for my main fabrics. How perfect do these pick up the colors of those flower petals? I think I'm starting to feel it...

And now if I add some red scraps to use as some of the accent fabrics, what do you think? They do go really well with the red background in the floral, don't they?

So that just leaves the browns in the print to pick up. Oh these brown scraps might add nicely to the accent fabrics. So I could use reds and browns for the accents. And maybe throw in some more of the dark aquas as well. I am really starting to feel it now.

I think I've selected my fabrics for the Mystery Quilt...

Main Fabrics will be the dark aquas.
Accent Fabrics will be red and brown and aqua scraps.
Background fabrics will be creams and beige prints.
Border will be the red floral print if I have a border, if not, it will be a great backing!

So who's taking bets on me changing my mind again before we begin? I do really like this collection and it will work great, but so would any of the other options above. I hope this helps you make your fabric selections.

Now go fondle some more fabric choices, time's a ticking and July 1st will be here before we all know it!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Scrappy Mystery Quilt 2016

2014 Mystery Quilt, pattern available here.

The time has come to announce that YES there will be a summer scrappy quilt mystery for the summer of 2016! I'm so excited to get this started and to let you know when and how this is going to work. I've chosen a quilt that I've wanted to make for a long time. I drew up the block for this pattern a couple of years ago when I saw a commercial floor mat that inspired me. I find lots of quilt designs in floor patterns, don't forget to look down!

I will give you some information now, some color ideas, yardage and border options. You will have a couple of weeks to consider your choices before we actually begin sewing, so this is really just an introduction. I want you to have lots of time to change your mind over and over again, please tell me I'm not the only one who does that?

Here are the facts as they stand now...

1. The blocks will be 9" finished, the quilt will have 48 blocks.
2. The quilt will be 54" x 72" unless you add borders, then it will be 64" x 82".
3. Your quilt will be a large throw without borders or a twin size with borders.
4. It will be scrappy! I will give yardage in case you want to go less scrappy.
5. This quilt will be entirely strip cut, and strip pieced. It will be perfect for fat quarters.
6. There are no triangles or fancy shapes, just rectangles and squares.
7. Here's the fabric yardage you will need...

Main colors or biggest pieces (2 yards total)
Little scraps or accent pieces (1 yard total)
Background fabric or scraps (4 yards total)
Borders, optional (2 yards)
Binding (half yard)
Batting (twin size)
Backing (3 1/2 or 4 yards with borders)

Some things to consider...

I think the more fabrics you use the better it will look (but I always say that!) You can make this quilt with three fabrics. Or you can make this quilt with one background and one main fabric with little scraps for the accents. You can make this quilt with scraps for the main color and one fabric for the accent and one fabric for the background. I would suggest that there is a high contrast between the background fabric and the other fabrics. I would suggest that the background stay fairly consistent if it's scrappy. The largest pieces will be 3 1/2" square, so keep that in mind if you are digging through the scrap bin!

Next week...

I'll be back with some color options and ideas. I'll also answer as many questions as I can at that time. I haven't started sewing yet, and I am fairly certain what colors I'll use, but that could still change.

We will begin with the first clue on Friday July 1st! There will be five steps so we should be able to complete this quilt in July! It's going to be fun and easy. I hope you will consider joining in a sewing along!


Monday, June 13, 2016

R is for Repetition


Repetition is an often used concept in many types of designs. Repeating an item will give consistency and make a set of unlike things appear to belong together. Repeating a color, a shape, or a placement of a color or fabric will create cohesiveness where it would not otherwise exist. The third chapter in my new book Scrap Quilt Secrets focuses on this useful design element.

I like the quilt Fusion because not only are the two blocks repeated over and over but the secondary design (the stars) repeat where the blocks intersect. Take a minute to look at the quilt. Do you see stars now? Or do you see diamonds? The blocks are square in a square blocks and hourglass blocks. The repetition of colors in the same places in each block creates the stars.

A good border tip for a scrappy quilt is to use up the leftover strips from your quilt scraps. Keeping the border strips the same length as the blocks frames the quilt without distracting from the block design.

Sawnee Shadows

Repeating a shape over and over again makes fabrics that are not remotely related, look like they were meant to be together. In the quilt above, Sawnee Shadows, I was inspired by this simple shape that is often avoided in quilting because quilters mistakenly think it is difficult. I promise it is NOT. I simply used an angled ruler and cut the pieces from two sizes of strips. Sewing them together into units and then into rows is simple. The book has diagrams and tips for making these perfect every time. 

The zig zag border is a piece of cake too! Simply treat the outside corners like any quilt corner and the inside corners will lay flat and angle themselves by simply clipping the quilt sandwich with scissors almost to the sewing line. Again, diagrams are included in the book!

Paper Chains

This quilt is so much easier to piece than it looks. The blocks are simple four patches and drunkard's path. By lining them up in rows, and repeating the light at the top of the four patches, the dark at the bottom and the medium fabrics on the sides, the repetition creates the 'chains'. I love this quilt because it was many years in my imagination, and once I decided how to create the chains, it went together so quickly!

I loved making paper chains from construction paper as a child. The more colors the better! Making a quilt to remind me of those paper chains was inevitable. I'm going to make this one in other colors and sizes for sure.

I hope these examples of using repeating designs, shapes, colors, and fabrics will inspire you to look at your scraps (or your stash) and see new possibilities. Start pulling some fabrics and see what happens!

Enjoy every stitch!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Sewing

Last night I found myself home alone (the boys were at a movie and Kelly was at the barn as always) so I had some quiet time to sew. Granted the three dogs and the cat were staring at me wishing I was playing fetch or taking them on a walk or whatever it is that they wish for...

I remember last year or maybe even longer (?) that these flowering snowball blocks were popular. I finally got the Accuquilt die cut for them around Christmas maybe? So last night seemed like the perfect time to unwrap that baby and dust off the cutter.

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the Accuquilt. Granted, it's the only cutting system I've tried so I can't compare but I find so many things about it annoying. For example, why are the shapes for the different fabrics all included on one 'plate'? I have to precut the fabric to almost the exact size so that it doesn't get cut up by the surrounding shapes. By the time I've gotten it all trimmed and layered and lined up perfectly, am I really saving any time?

Also, it takes up a LOT of counter space. This is one reason why I postponed buying one for so long. I have to clear off an entire counter to make room for it and the ginormous die cut to roll through it. If the die cut were separated into separate plates for each fabric piece, it would not take up so much room.

Why are all the shapes at an angle? This is annoying as crap. I have to angle the fabric exactly the same way or my pieces won't be on the straight of grain? There must be a reason for this, but it irks me. Ok, rant over.

I did cut out a set of backgrounds and a set of petals, so I have a few more pieces to work with. I plan to make the next block scrappy to see if I like that look better. Hmm...

(and I've been playing with some 2" strips as well)

But first I have to do those fun Saturday errands like making returns and picking up orders and trying to convince my kids to clean their rooms. I'll need some luck on that last one!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The veggie garden grows...

This year I'm not bothering to pull the weeds. That's why it looks like a bit of a jungle. But if you look closely you'll see tomatoes and beans and soon-to-be squash. The mint smells amazing and the  tallest plants will be sunflowers. I love sunflowers.

I'll let you know if the veggies win or the weeds win. Fingers crossed!


Monday, June 6, 2016

And the Winner Is...

Kim won the book on the EQ7 blog this morning. Almost 500 entries and she was the lucky winner! I asked folks to give the name of their favorite local quilt shop and the responses were amazing. It really is worth the time to go read through the list of shops and reasons why they are favorites. I know I have just added a couple dozen to my list of shops to visit!

Thanks so much to Kim and everyone else who played along. I mailed her book today so she should have it by the middle of the week!

Enjoy every stitch!
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