Archive for August, 2013

My husband and I are getting excited and stoked for our upcoming honeymoon. We are going on a road trip through the Pacific Northwest. He’s bought a fly fishing rod, and I am envisioning long lazy summer days by a lake . . . where I will be . . . quilting! I started to look and think of a travel quilt project I could bring, which then led me to another quilting project to get ready for the quilting project!

IMG_6592English paper piecing is a great way to quilt while traveling. I came across this book and blog while browsing for paper piecing tutorials. The book is a great read and really inspiring. The author talks about her travel kit, using a pencil box to hold the supplies, and a smaller sewing pouch to hold the little pieces. Of course, I wanted to make my own!


This picture is for April – she said to me the other day, your blog pictures all look so neat and tidy! That’s because I often consciously straighten my table before I take a shot. Here’s a candid behind the scenes shot of my sewing area, filled with scraps, thread, tools, and piles of other projects currently in the works.

IMG_1251-2I wanted a small pouch that would fit inside the pencil box, with a zipper closing it on three sides. I settled on a four inch square size. I’ve been thinking and dreaming a lot of the wild geese quilting pattern, so I chose that for the outside. I sketched the pattern on tracing paper, and paper pieced by machine the blocks, to get that nice crisp look and because the pieces were so small.

IMG_1256-2For the lining, I took inspiration from the blog again. On one side, a small pocket to hold thimble, paper clips, and scissors. On the other side, a strap to hold a spool of thread, and pincushion to hold pins and needles.

IMG_6571The next step – the zipper – was a pain. I’ve never done a zipper like that. Something about zippers always confuse me anyway. I found a free tutorial for a pouch similar to mine online, and that helped a lot. Probably if I tried the same pouch again, it would come together easier.


I love the small size. Each piece is so tiny and simple.

IMG_6576This is one pouch that is ready to travel!

IMG_6580Now for the paper piecing. I learned a few nifty tricks from the book. For my project, I chose equilateral triangles. A simple repeating shape that is so lovely in its sameness.

IMG_6588I know I like paper piecing, because one winter I worked on this quilt each evening. But I wasn’t happy with how it turned out. I think I lost control of the color scheme, and the scrappy look just didn’t work out. With this new quilt, I decided I wanted to use my dyed fabric scraps. Browsing other equilateral triangle quilts, I found myself drawn to quilts that used multiple colors and were offset with white triangles.


I cut triangles of my dyed fabric and triangles of white muslin fabric (leftover from my wedding table cloths!). I cut triangles of cardboard to act as my templates instead of purchasing plastic ones. And I sewed a quick test run to try it all out. I’ll be making multiple units like this, piecing triangles into hexagons, and then sewing those together to make up the quilt.

IMG_6593All the pieces fit neatly into the pencil case.


Ready to throw in my back pack. Ready for vacation.

IMG_6599Have you ever taken a quilt on the go? What did you make?

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A few Saturday’s ago, our Out of the Box quilt group gathered in the morning to play with batik. Some of us had played with it before, some were completely new, and we all jumped right in.

IMG_6522I showed the ladies the batik method I learned from the book, Color your Cloth, where you take a cardboard box, stretch the fabric over it, and make your wax patterns.

IMG_6525Here, I did a simple repeating pattern of triangles, using a paintbrush dipped in the wax. I’ve had a thing for triangles lately! With the box, after you finish patterning the section, you remove the pins, adjust, and keep patterning.

PicMonkey Collage

Everyone was playful, trying different techniques and ideas. Margaret used found objects to stamp with, Cathy used patterned fabric, and Marilyn had some tjaps to try stamping on the fabric.

IMG_6519One of the stamps Margaret used was a canning jar lid!


I patterned two small pieces of fabric. The triangles I bleached after waxing, till the background was a lighter blue. The other, I did three layers, starting with a dark brown, adding circles of dots, bleaching, adding more circles of dots, and then bleaching out to its final color. Wherever the wax is on the fabric won’t change when you bleach or over-dye.

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{This post is part of a series. To see additional posts on the same topic, click here.}

August is always a frantic time for me in terms of sewing. Our local county fair entry forms are due mid-August, and the fair is Labor Day weekend. Around the time the fair book comes out, I suddenly remember all my in progress quilts, and make plans to finish them all(!) before fair time.

So when August came around, and I started thinking about what I might enter, I resolved to finish my mosaic quilt. I had six finished mosaic blocks, my first geometric block, my tulip collage block, my California poppy block, my purple mountains block, and my two potato stamp blocks.

Each block was already quilted, so I wanted a way to join the blocks without adding another layer of fabric on the back of the quilt that would cover the quilting already there. After much thinking and discussing with fellow quilters, I found this tutorial on line which was exactly what I had imagined in my head.

IMG_6504Here’s the finished view from the back. I used the same pale yellow to connect the pieces on the back as was used for the backing fabric.


For the front, I chose a golden brown colored fabric to connect the blocks. I was trying for a color that would complement the blocks, but not overshadow their color. I think it worked out well!

PicMonkey CollageI used the same lovely brown for the binding as well. Here I tried another new trick I saw somewhere online. Roll the cut and folded binding trips into well, a roll, and put on top of your sewing machine where the thread spool would sit. It is then easy to pull and unwind strips of binding as needed, while the rest sits spooled on the machine waiting.

IMG_6512Unstoppable me, with deadlines looming, I immediately sat down and hand stitched the binding. That done, I sat back, and enjoyed the finished product.

PicMonkey Collage2I am so glad I took the time to put the blocks together, that I had the fair as a motivator, and that the Out of the Box ladies of our Calico Quilt Guild encouraged each other in finishing our blocks. I didn’t make one for every chapter, and one part of me wanted to, but in the end, I am glad I have something finished from the blocks I did make.

IMG_6584Our sunflowers recently bloomed in our small backyard garden, so this evening I took the mosaic quilt out for a setting sun photo shoot.

IMG_6581Look for the mosaic quilt at the Tri-County Fair in three weeks!

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