Playing Catch up

I didn’t think this would happen but I’ve finished one block of the month quilt and I’m all caught up on the other!

I finished my Long Time Gone quilt top!  I can’t tell you how happy I am since I thought it would never end.


Sorry the photo is a little dark but it’s winter in Germany and I don’t have professional lighting.

I have to admit, when I was adding the borders to this, there was a little problem with the square-ness.  I think anytime you have so many pieces, there can be problems.  I did the best I could and did some easing and took in a little here and there.  Once the batting and backing are added and it’s quilted, it -hopefully, won’t be so noticeable.


I also noticed this after I put it all together.  I think the checkerboard piece on the right should have been turned the other way and then I wouldn’t have two colored squares next to each other.  The checkerboard would have continued to the left piece.  However, at this point, I just didn’t care enough to take the whole thing apart and fix that!


It was a fun project and I’m glad I did it but I’m also glad it’s finished!

I also finished this month’s 40 Shades of Grey blocks!


Lots of applique, as you can see.  I looked at it when I got it in the mail and then I put it away thinking I would never be able to do these.

First of all, they didn’t include the purple fabric for the middle circle and after I went out and bought some – they sent an email saying that they forgot and it would be sent next month.  Also, the pattern called for 1/2″ hexagons and they didn’t include any pattern or anything for that.  So I was not too happy to begin with.

I found some purple fabric for the middle and made the circles using the perfect circles method.  Then I printed out some hexagons on card stock and hoped they were the right size.  This was a little excruciating to work with such small hexagons and to fussy-cut the fabric so you see little images in the hexagons.

After all that, I wasn’t about to hand applique – I have my limits.  So I used thread about the same color as the hexagon flower and just top-stitched it onto the purple.  Then used purple thread and top-stitched the purple circle onto the colored circle.  Then I used the thicker grey thread and a big stitch to sew the big circles onto the grey squares.



They look OK.  This is another busy, colorful quilt so maybe these little blocks won’t be too obvious.

I hung everything up on my design wall and they look good together!



One finish – two updates!


Now that the holidays are over I’ve been trying to catch up.  I finished hand quilting this house quilt and even got the binding on!  The big stitch quilting went really fast – well, faster than regular hand quilting.

I call this quilt “A House of my Own”.  It’s a scrap quilt with lots of black and white touches.  I quilted it with big stitches in a baptist fan design with thick Aurifil 12 weight thread in a grey color.


I just happened to see this thread on my visit to Hancock Fabrics last fall and I liked the color.  I didn’t realize that I had picked up the perfect thread to do this “big stitch” technique.  This will definitely be my go-to thread for this type of project.  It was thick but not too thick and was a joy to sew with – it just glided through the layers nicely.  I only bought one spool and was worried that I might run out but there’s a lot of thread on that spool!

Anyway, I’m so happy to have this fun project done and guess what – that was my last unfinished quilt top!


I think I’m caught up with my “Long Time Gone” block of the month.


However, I’m wondering if I missed a package or what because I still need to make one more block for section 5 before I can put it together (in addition to 6 more pineapple blocks).  And there are maybe 2 more blocks in section 6 before I can put it together.  I’m getting close to the end so I’ll just be patient.


And for my “40 Shades of Grey” block of the month; it was my worst nightmare – so much applique!


I’ve gotten this far and now I need to applique everything onto the block and add the border.  Apparently, when I fell in love with the quilt, I didn’t notice how much applique there was involved!  I’m just gritting my teeth and doing it although it might take me all month.  We’re making a million (maybe not quite a million) half square triangles this month as well.  They’re sewn together and will be fillers in various parts of the quilt.

I’m really trying to get caught up because I received a quilt kit for Christmas that I can’t wait to start!


40 Shades of Grey BOM

I’ve gotten caught up on my 40 Shades of Grey block of the month.  They’re nice and big and so far, have been easy to do.


The hardest block so far was this month’s log cabin with the applique flower pieces.


I hate applique so I had to make peace with doing these flowers and I see that these types of flowers are all over the whole quilt!  I remembered that I was taught a technique a few years ago to applique circles where you sew interfacing onto the back and then turn inside out.  I had to refresh my memory but that’s how I ended up doing these.


You draw your circle onto the “un-bumpy” side of the interfacing which is then sewn to the right side of your circle fabric with bumpy side down.


Trim fabric to a quarter or a half inch around stitching.


Cut a slit in the interfacing so you can turn it inside out.


Use a blunt pair or scissors or something to push sides out and then iron flat onto the surface you want to applique it to.


Then you’re ready to hand applique or I just top-stitched with similar thread.

My circles didn’t come out perfect but I think I’ll get better by the time I finish this quilt and I’m not heavily into perfection so I’m OK with the results.  I think these would look fine just as raw edge applique also but this is going to be a large quilt so it will probably be used on a bed often.  I think raw edge applique might not do well on a quilt that’s used a lot.

So that BOM is caught up.  I’m now 3 months behind on my Long Time Gone BOM but I think January will be a good time to do lots of sewing and I’m sure I’ll catch up then.

I have to share my progress on another project I’m finishing up.

I’ve been hand quilting my big houses quilt with a big stitch baptist fan design.


I’m free handing this so don’t look too close – did I mention I’m more about output than perfection?  This big stitch method goes very fast and with this thread that I’m using; the quilting is very soft.


Let me tell you how great it is to be under this quilt on these cold December evenings here in Germany watching all my favorite Christmas movies and finishing up another project.

May your holidays be warm and quilt-y!


Another finish…


Yay! I just finished another project!  This is my scrappy Aqueducts quilt from the “Wanderlust Quilts” book by Amanda Leins.  The quilt went together very fast – as fast as I could sew little bits of scraps together!  Sewing the curves took the most time.

One plus to this quilt was that I only had to buy the white fabric, everything else was pieced from scraps.  I think this is a technique that could be used to create other building/monument quilts.  I’m imagining the Brandenburg Gate with this scrappy look.  Maybe in the future…


I really liked the echo quilting that was done to the quilt in the book so I tried to quilt my quilt like that as well.  This took some time but I like how it turned out.  Now it’s back to the sewing machine to finish some more projects.



Quilt-y Travels

I realized it’s been well over a month since I’ve posted anything so I thought I should get busy!  I spent 3 weeks in the US seeing family and squeezing in some quilt-y sights.  My daughter and I took a little road trip to Paducah to see the National Quilt Museum.  It’s been on my to-do list for quite a while and it didn’t disappoint.  Plus, just spending time with my daughter was so much fun.

quilt museum

I wish I could share pictures from inside but photos are not allowed.  You just have to see it for yourself!  And from what I understand, the quilts rotate and there are always new exhibits so there’s probably always something new to see.

While we were in town, we hit the Hancock’s of Paducah store which also didn’t disappoint.  I probably made my daughter crazy going up and down each row and digging through all the remnants.  I found some good stuff though!


While I was in Jefferson City visiting with my mom I discovered that the local nature center was having a nature themed quilt show.

runge quilt show

Nature themed quilts – how cool is that?!  Mom & I had a nice afternoon looking at all the quilts and walking on the trails around the Runge Nature Center.


I returned home inspired and ready to get back to some sewing and was excited to hear that my friend, Lisa, had finished quilting my Christmas-y Kansas City Star BOM quilt.  I finished that quilt back in 2013 or early 2014 and I’m finally getting around to finishing it.


This was the block of the month project from the Kansas City Star newspaper in 2013.  It’s called “Rubies, Diamonds and Garnets, Too” and was designed by Bernadette Kent.  Since I used Christmas fabric for my sashing blocks, I’ll probably call it my Kansas City Christmas quilt.  2013 was a crazy year for me and this will always remind me of our short time in Kansas City.  I loved that the newspaper published a block every month.


I looked forward to getting my Sunday newspaper and finding out what the block of the month was.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe they do a block of the month anymore.  I think 2015 was the last year so I guess this quilt is a little bit of history.

My pile of unfinished projects is getting smaller although I tend to add to it very regularly.


French Quilty Trip

france patchwork show

This past weekend I finally had the chance to attend the European Patchwork meeting in France or Le Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork.  Even though it was my first time here, it  was the 23rd year for the event.  I booked a hotel in Strasbourg and dragged my husband along for the weekend with promises of great French food and some sight-seeing in Strasbourg after.

So the show actually takes place in 4 villages in the Val d’Argent area of the Alsace which was only about an hours drive southwest of Strasbourg.  We concentrated our time in the village of Sainte Marie aux Mines.  There were 9 exhibition sites throughout the lovely little town as well as a huge vendor expo area.  The exhibition sites were churches and other public buildings so, for me, it was a unique way to see the quilts.


The only drawback was that parking was hard to find with people streaming in from many different countries to these little towns.  We circled the town and were only able to find parking back at exhibition site #1 which felt like it was about 10 kilometers from the rest of the exhibition sites.  It wasn’t a problem when we got there and headed through town to see all the other exhibition sites but when we were finished and had to walk back to the car it was pouring rain and we were tired.

One of the featured exhibitions at this show were some Amish quilts.  It seems this area in Alsace is where the Amish started out way back in the late 1600’s/early 1700’s (I learn new things all the time).  Of course we know that they were later kicked out and landed in America where they became famous for their quilts (as well as other things).


The Amish quilts were displayed in an old church.

Another interesting exhibit was of Ian Berry’s denim art.  Ian is a British artist who uses denim to create works of art.

patchwork show6

I’m so glad I got to see them up close because I had seen his work in a magazine and thought it was applique since he is often lumped in with quilters.  It’s not applique but layered fabric.  Definitely textile art and more 3D than it comes across in photos.  Really cool stuff.

patchwork show5

patchwork show1

It always seems like the European quilters are into very modern designs and interesting concepts.

patchwork show3patchwork show4

There were lots of interesting “quilts” to look at.


patchwork show2

I thought this one was fun.  Traditional blocks on the right give way to something fun and different on the left.

It was a fun weekend in France and I’m so glad I finally made it to the European Patchwork meeting.



Fabric Play

I’m supposed to be quilting the basket quilt.  I’m soooo close to finishing but it’s hot and I don’t feel like wrestling with it in my quilting gloves.  I decided I needed a day to just play with fabrics and try something new. (This is probably why I have so many unfinished projects!)

I bought a book last fall called “Wanderlust Quilts”  by Amanda Leins.  We were still living in Italy and the quilts in the book really spoke to me – they made me think of Italy and our travels.  Also, the book was on sale so I just could not pass it up.

I fell in love with one of the quilts in the book called Aqueducts.  It’s a small quilt of scrappy arches on a white background.  I think I finally have enough scraps to make it so I got started.  The book calls for making fabric out of scraps, or just basically just keep sewing fabrics until you get pieces big enough.  I looked at it and decided maybe it would be easier for me to paper piece bits together.

The long straight pieces I just sewed together and cut to the right size but the arches, I did a variation of paper piecing to save fabric and get the right shape.  I’m not gonna lie, this project created a mess!

So the large arches went together very easily.  I pinned them like crazy, used the slow speed on my machine with the needle down and just took it slow.  I’ve only finished one row of the large arches but they all turned out very nicely.

The small arches were another story.  They were just so tiny that getting them in the machine and around the curve felt impossible.  I did one on the machine and the rest, I sewed the background arch on by hand.

It’s coming together quickly.  I have these two rows done and have to do two more rows of large arches.

It’s just what I needed though – lots of fabric play!  I’ll share more when I’m finished.


Moose Quilt

I’m making a big push to finish my UFO’s or unfinished projects and today I checked one more off the list.  I finished my Morley J. Moose quilt.


The top was all finished and I even had it stuck to some batting.  I just needed a back and to quilt it.  I had some bright yellow backing left over so I had to do some piecing to make it fit.  With the quilting, I got to use my darning foot or free motion foot for my Janome.  I bought it last fall but really hadn’t had a chance to use it.  It works great and this little quilt was small enough that getting it into my machine was no problem.


I played around with some different motifs inside the moose and then did a stipple in the background and some lines around the outside.  The whole thing was just fun.

I had stored some strips with the quilt and I assumed those were the binding strips.  I put them together and thought they seemed a little narrow.  I thought maybe the pattern called for a 2 inch binding which is smaller than I usually use but sometimes when it’s a small piece, the binding can be smaller.  I still thought they seemed small as I was sewing them onto the quilt but then when I got to the end and measured for the seam to close off the binding; I realized these were 1 1/2 inch strips!  I was really wondering if it would work at all but by that time – the deed was done.  Well, it took some ironing and some pulling but I got the binding sewn onto the back.  It’s not pretty but since it’s a wall sized quilt, it won’t get a lot of handling.  I don’t know what happened there.  I can’t find the pattern anymore so I don’t know if it called for small binding strips or did I completely goof and cut them the wrong size?  Anyway it’s finished.

My friend gave me her easy method for adding a label and I followed her instructions.


It was easy since you sew it in with the binding.  Plus, this white half-square piece of fabric just fell out when I was going through my unfinished projects – it was practically begging to become a label!


Baskets finished & Updates

I finished the Basket quilt-top yesterday and am washing the backing that came in the mail a couple days ago.  Hancock’s of Paducah was having a backing sale and it couldn’t have been a better time for me.  I found a old time-y looking neutral print backing that will be perfect for this quilt.

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Please don’t look too closely at the basket handles as I warned you that applique is not my thing.  I made it through 20 of these blocks and actually ended up hand appliquéing most of the handles.  It wasn’t too bad but getting them all in the same place obviously was beyond me.

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It’s a sweet quilt that will be a perfect lap warmer.  Now I’m trying to figure out how to quilt it.  I think I’ll just do some straight stitch-in-the-ditch lines.  I hope I can manage this size on my little sewing machine.

You might have noticed that I was able to hang my quilt to take photos.  I got my design wall put up!  I just made a little sleeve on the felt design wall I had and hung it up on a small curtain rod.  Easy!

I also wanted to share a cute block I made for a block of the month of my quilt guild.


How adorable is this Pineapple block?  I thought about making another one with orange fabrics.  For every block you make, you get more chances to win all the blocks and then you can make a quilt out of them.  (I’m also tempted to keep it myself and make a little pillow.)

And last but not least; I wanted to update you on my Long Time Gone block of the month quilt.  This month I got the fabric to finish this last block for section 3:


So now I almost have the left side finished.  I think I have to add section 4 to the bottom.  And then the whole right side is sections 5 & 6.


Whoa!  Right?  It’s a lot to look at.

Anyway, besides all this; I was inspired by the backing sale to dig out some quilt tops and get them finished.  I’ve got fabric coming in the mail and am making plans to finish my unfinished projects!


Long Time Gone July BOM

I get so excited when I get my block of the month fabrics for this quilt – and also a little amazed at how small the envelope is!  The pieces are very tiny so there’s not much fabric here.

This month we’re working on Section 3 of the quilt and I was a little upset that we didn’t get the fabrics to do the whole section.  BUT, I did what I could and here’s an update:


So this month we did the bow tie block and the courthouse steps blocks for Section 3.  I went ahead and cut my sashing and made the filler checkerboard pieces.  We’re missing a half square triangle block.


I’m not sure if I’ve ever made courthouse steps blocks but it looks like these came out a little “wonky”.  I’m hoping that when the whole loud thing is put together, no one will notice a few crooked blocks.

These fabrics are so fun and bright!  I have to admit, I’m having so much fun with this block of the month that I signed up for another one that starts next month called “Forty Shades of Gray”.  It’s another bright and busy quilt that I just couldn’t pass up. (Maybe we don’t tell my husband?)


These are the quilt pieces so far.  I feel like we’re about halfway through but the quilt is not halfway done.  I wonder how this will work out?