Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL

Ugly Christmas Sweater Quilt-Along

These are the blocks I stitched for the quilt along hosted by Lorna McMahon of Sew Fresh Quilts.  Lorna’s pattern is wonderful and honestly, I don’t think the sweaters are ugly.    I love that she used solids for the sweaters and was able to raid my Kona Cottons stash to make most of the sweaters.  I finished the first 15 blocks before running out of Peapod (green) and Papaya (orange) and need to order a half-yard of each to finish the quilt top.

I followed the pattern cover design pretty closely except for changing some of the collar colors.  I also pulled out my From Marti Michell templates and used them to cut the pieces for the 6″ sweater centers, the half-triangles of background fabric for the shoulder area, and to trim the sleeve connector pieces.  They made stitching the diagonal seams quick and easy, plus there was no need to trim afterwards.

Below are all the yummy Kona Cotton colors in my version of the quilt.  Most of the fabrics were left over from the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt or the Bauble quilt.

  • Background –  Sky
  • White – Snow
  • Green – Peapod
  • Red – Cardinal
  • Pink – Peony
  • Light Blue / Aqua – Capri
  • Dark Blue – Windsor
  • Orange –  Papaya
  • Yellow – Buttercup

I haven’t decided on the binding fabric, but the red sure looks nice!

Find this link in the side bar to visit Lorna’s Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL and make a few (not so) ugly sweaters of your own.

Christmas Sweaters button

Happy Quilting!



Smitten quilt top update

Smitten quilt top

Smitten quilt top

I have the blocks and first border pieced, arranged, and ready to sew together.  This is the top size per the pattern, but I have so much fabric left over that I’m going to frame this bit and add another pieced border.  Perhaps with some of those mini Smitten blocks I made using FMM set G.  Hmmm . . .

I offered this quilt as a class in 2015 and don’t know anyone who actually finished the top.  Several people dropped out and some stuck with the classes, cut out some blocks, but didn’t accomplish much sewing.  The quilt top is not hard to piece, even with the Y-seams.  Where the ladies got hung-up was in choosing fabric for their blocks.

*There is a Facebook group that used the English Paper Piecing method to construct the quilt top.  What an awesome idea!  Many of my friends take EPP to their day jobs to work on during breaks and lunch.  I’ve had several quilting friends become EPP lovers.  You can find the post on my favorite EPP tools here.

Some of my blocks are not perfect, color-combination wise, and I did make some replacement blocks giving me a few blocks that will go into an orphan block quilt.  The thing to remember with this, or any quilt, that it is okay to not like your color/fabric choices.  You can change them.  Yes, fabric is expensive, but don’t back yourself into a corner thinking you can’t change your mind.  We’re women!  Of course we change our minds.  Use those blocks in an orphan quilt, put them into a quilt for a women’s shelter, senior’s home, or veteran’s hospital.  Make some funky pillowcases that you can donate to fire departments (they give them to children), or sew some awesome pet beds for animal shelters and rescues.  You’re not wasting fabric, you’re repurposing it and gifting it with love to someone (two or four-legged) who is going to love it.

When you’re on the fence about your blocks, put them up on a design wall, leave them for several days (without looking at them) and then re-evaluate.  If they are not pieced, you can always play with the fabrics.  Again, take time to walk away and come back with fresh eyes.  You may not like them anymore than before, but hopefully, you will stop beating that dead horse and figure out ‘what’ you don’t like, and how you’re going to change it.

I have updated my Smitten quilt gallery if you’d like to see the individual blocks.

Several of my most recent blocks.

The pattern gives you a paper template for the setting triangles on the sides of the quilt.   I didn’t want to make a plastic template, or use a single fabric for the setting triangles, so I pulled out the From Marti Michell templates and found that they can be used to piece the setting triangles.  H52 is the large diamond that is used in nearly all the blocks.  H52b is a shape not used in the blocks.  I used it as the small setting triangles on either side of H52.  You will want the long edge of H52b on the straight grain to reduce stretch.  A 2 1/8″ strip of fabric (cut along the selvage) will give you a enough width to cut the triangles while providing a straight, non-stretchy edge.

Smitten drawing effect

Smitten drawing effect

Happy Quilting!


Harry Potter PoD update, May 2016

quilt progress 5/19/2016

quilt progress 5/19/2016

Last December I made a schedule for finishing this quilt.  The plan was to make a block or  side section per week and have the quilt top finished by the end of May.  Well, I was doing pretty well until it was time to make the alternate Lantern block.  I just didn’t feel like working on that block that particular week and instead of skipping it, I kept putting it off.  Well a couple of months later, and I still haven’t finished the lantern, although the books in that block are finished.  It also derailed me from my schedule, as I felt like I couldn’t move forward until the lantern was pieced.  Sounds pretty dumb, but I’m sure some of you know  exactly what I’m talking about.

The above photo is of the main bookcase to date, and you can see that I have 7 full blocks, and 3 partial blocks to piece and a lot of hand embroidery to do.  That wouldn’t seem like very much, but there is also Dobbie, the Gryffindor sword, Firebolt, Horntail dragon, Port Key boot, flying keys, bookcase feet, and an enlarged Nagini to make.  All of these are around 10″ x 20″.  I’m sure my mistake has been letting my son and daughter see the blocks and the quilt progress, because they keep telling me that it needs ‘this or that’ added to the design.  Since it is my sons’ quilt, I can’t really tell him no.  I mean, I could tell him no, but since he has been waiting on this quilt since 2011, he can easily play the guilt card.  He recently told me that Luna is his favorite character, so I’m adding the Quibbler and her Spectrespecs.  Please don’t let him ask for her Lion Hat!

Harry Potter PoD progress

Harry Potter PoD progress  February 2015  5 x 6 block layout

The drawing effect was a setting on my camera.  Quite interesting what patterns the camera picked out.

I’ve updated the PoD gallery and you can see all of the blocks here (PoD gallery).  Some of  the ‘books only’ blocks have been taken apart and reconstructed or parts used in other blocks, because I’ve pulled those from my original layout and didn’t want to waste anything.

A few of the original blocks and the reconstructed blocks.

A few recent blocks.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you’re probably wondering where I’ve been for the last three months.  Well, besides getting side tracked by the Lantern block, my Late Stage Lyme can out of remission and I decided to scale back my quilting projects and focus on what I needed to do for my health.   My husband had been suggesting that I go to a yoga class and see it that would help my pain.  After putting him off for several months, because let’s be honest, I don’t look like the yogis on the internet, and any exercise made my pain and fatigue worse, I finally went to a class.  After coming home and taking what I call a ‘yoga nap’ I felt a vast improvement in my mobility and pain the next day.  Yoga may not be for everyone, but it helped me tremendously and I’m well into my second month of classes.  I attend almost every day, thanks to a supportive husband who told me he didn’t care how often I went as long as I feel better.

Attending classes gets me out of the house, which has helped me feel better emotionally, but I also don’t have a problem getting in and out of cars and can use the stairs to get to my sewing studio.  And in the quilting world, it’s all about spending time with fabric.

Happy Quilting!