Saturday, August 31, 2013

Planning a Sampler

This Fall I enrolled in The Penny Sampler online class taught by the talented Rachel of Stitched in Color. The main class project is a beautifully designed Scandinavian sampler quilt which Rachel named, "The Penny Sampler." The class focuses on developing skills in three areas:
  • machine applique
  • precise piecing
  • machine paper piecing
Rachel teaches these skills through mini stand-alone projects. The first skill we are working on is machine applique with various techniques to choose from. 

Dogwood Blossom~practice project
I chose to try the stitch and flip method to create my dogwood petals and then use sketch stitch applique to attach them to my quilted-in-advance background fabric. I seem to be on a grid-quilting roll lately...really like the look of it. It is super fun to sketch stitch! I think I've found something I will continue to enjoy and will add variety to my quilting skills :o) I ended up using my darning foot and free-motion quilting for the sketch stitching. I love the "slightly" messy look of freeing! (Note: this is a stand along project...not part of the Penny Sampler quilt top. It can be used as the front of a pillow, although I may just set this aside for now and try making a quilt-as-you-go mini medallion quilt with it.)

I used three online color palette builders to help me select the colors for my Penny Sampler quilt top. The photo I used for my inspiration is not mine so I'll not post it for public viewing. However, I will show you the rich, beautiful colors that resulted from it!

Fabric Pull!
I am really loving these colors! Deep, dark chocolate browns, teal (this word does not even need any's super all by itself!) rich eggplant purples blending into lively magenta's, mustard yellows, and creamy neutrals. Sounds good enough to eat!

Rachel provided us with a black-line master of the quilt top so we can color it in to help balance out the use of color across the quilt.

Sketching out plans
Clearly I need more depth to the variety of shades in my colored pencils :o) I just have basic colors so the shades don't match up too well with my fabrics, but I do get an idea where I want to put my main colors. 

This is going to be a fun Fall! Hope you have a great Labor Day weekend~I'm off to work on my next class assignments :o)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Reflections

One thing I especially love about being a teacher is the cyclical pattern of the years. It appeals to me to have starting, pausing, and stopping points. It is exciting to begin each new school year with all it's potential stretching out before me. There are long-standing holidays and breaks throughout the year I anticipate and enjoy. Finally, comes the end of the school year with the prospect of summer fun and relaxation. Students are not the only ones who enjoy this pattern of life. Looking back over the past couple of months I've enjoyed working on several projects during the summer break.

Modern Chevron Baby Quilt

The first project of summer was this Modern Chevron baby quilt for my great-nephew {pattern by Rashida Coleman-Hale}.This pattern is such a fun twist to zig-zag quilts. I used straight line quilting in the solid white areas and left the colored fabric unquilted to make a nice soft quilt. 

Pinwheels Baby Quilt

Next, I made this pinwheel baby quilt as a silent auction donation to benefit a children's charity through my professional teaching organization. I made these pinwheels with squares of fabric left over from the Modern Chevron quilt shown above. I have to admit that I am really smitten with this quilt...pinwheels are just so classic. I am thrilled that it raised $150 for the charity :o)

Yellow Ribbon Quilt

Woven ribbons is a quilt to symbolize that none of us stand alone. Our lives are intricately woven together with those we love. This yellow ribbon quilt is for my dear friends who are separated by a military deployment for the next year. {pattern by Melissa @

African Flower Coin Purses~Finished

I'd been seeing the sweetest quilted frame purses on flickr and fell in love with their charm. When I found frames at my local JoAnn's store I thought the shape and size would be a perfect fit for crocheted African FlowersCrochet has always been a great love of mine. It is so soothing to sit with yarn and quietly crochet. These two little purses made sweet little gifts for a meet up with college friends.

Faith Circle of do. Good Stitches

Once all of the scrappy triangle blocks arrived from my bee mates in the Faith Circle of do. Good Stitches I set about putting them together into the quilt top. It needed to be a bit longer so I requested input from friends. Melissa, our bee leader, suggested the wonderful staggered squares for the top and bottom borders. I am so pleased with how this quilt turned out! We make our quilts for Restore Innocence. {scrappy triangle block by Ashley of}

Divided Basket :o)

Towards the end of summer I started working on this divided basket for my dear friend. This is the perfect project to use fun fabrics! I thought the subtle apple print on the front pocket fabric would be the perfect background for grid quilting with red thread. I was so happy to find just the right project to use the Meadowsweet polka dots (lining) that has been in my stash. {pattern by Anna of Noodlehead}


Using fabric scraps from the basket I made up four little coasters to tuck inside along with some fun apple treats ;o) {apple design by Charise of Charise Creates

Lanyard   Quilt Fabric = Perfection!

Finally, just in time for the start of a new school year I made myself a new lanyard. After  contemplating my fabric for quite a while I decided that Mama Said Sew would be the perfect choice...a great way to share a little about who I fun!! I am super thrilled with how this turned out ;o)

It's nice to look back and see finished projects! I also have quite a few additional starts and a whole stack of work-in-progress. Enough to keep me busy through the fall and winter :o) How about you? I'd love to hear about what you worked on this summer...maybe what was your favorite finish? 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

For the love of Epp {English paper piecing, that is}

Last summer I was introduced to the wonders of English paper piecing. It was love at first stitch. The more I quilt the more I love hand that hand stitching, applique, or hand quilting. Here are a few of the Epp projects I've been working on:

English paper piecing work

The jewel star pillow is the only complete project so far. The mini lone star is the focal point for a wall hanging and the grandmother's garden hexies will be a small pillow. I just love very single stitch from the basting to the joining of the various shapes. Please ignore the fact that I am showing you a photograph containing unfinished projects while I continue on to write about yet another project I'm getting ready to start :o)

When I saw the Mini QT Swap group on flickr had selected Epp and foundation piecing for the next swap round I just knew I had to ask to participate! I'd participated in a swap round with this talented group of ladies before when the theme was True Mini. Here is the quilt I made for that round. 

I was so excited to find out that I'd been paired up with Jen of SewWhat! We are both middle school teachers and if that does not make us two birds of a feather I don't know what would :o) After spending some time looking through her photo pool and reading her blog I'd made some notes on what I thought she may like in a little quilt. Now it's time to dive into the design process!

Mini QT EPP Swap!

I thought I'd try sketching out some designs to see what I was going to be able to do in a 12"x12" (maximum size} quilt. I found a lot of inspiration in the photo pools for these flickr groups:
Ferris Wheel Along
English Paper Piecing/Foundation Piecing
60 Degree Diamonds

English paper piecing templates

After working out a layout I'm pretty sure will work I used the incompetech Web site to draft template paper. This is a great site for making almost every shape used for English paper piecing. Now I've cut out all of my template papers and I'm ready to begin selecting fabric.

The current state of my fabric

I am really fortunate to have a well stocked stash. For several months I participated in the Stash Stack Club sponsored by Pink Castle Fabrics. You can find information about the club here. It was a really good way to build up the blenders in my fabric stash. I'm happy to say that I've really been putting them to use!

I'm off now to pull fabrics. I'd love to hear about what you are working on!