Archive for the ‘Scrap Quilt’ Category

This weekend I played with my hand-dyed fabric and paper piecing. I pulled out various yellows, oranges, and greens. I wanted to sew a second mini poppy wall-hanging like I did a few months ago. This is an item I’m hoping to sell in my etsy shop.

photo (3)This is a color pallette that I’ve been in love with for a while. Yellow and orange on their own can be quite bright and overbearing, so something about the light greens complements them so well and makes the whole mix pleasing.

photo (1)I love paper piecing with my hand-dyed fabrics as well, each little pop of color is so joyful to work and cut with. It is fun to use many many shades of different colors to make the composition more rich. Sixteen colors were used in this little 7″x7″ quilt!

photo (2)I even love the color of my scrap piles! I have to almost force myself to throw the colorful scraps away. There is a lot of trimming, ironing, and cutting with paper piecing. My ironing board is high enough so that I can stand while ironing and cutting. I find it comfortable on my body to sit at the machine, then stand to iron, then to sit.

photoAnd after a few hours, the little quilt was done. I haven’t used any batting or done any quilting on it. I’m thinking I want to make one more, to test out if I like it with those features. I also want to make a quilt pattern of this paper piecing, to also sell in my etsy shop. So many ideas so little time! I also have a charm pack of the sixteen fabrics cut to sell along with the pattern, in case you want to use the same color palette I did!

My goal is to have my etsy shop, Sierra Oak Threadworks, open in April. I’ve been working on the background foundation pieces, my shop policies, how to ship packages, things like that. I’ve started a twitter feed, and you can follow me at https://twitter.com/SierraOakThread. Look there for more updates!

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The quilt that travels continues to grow, though now from home, not from the road. With the time change, cooler weather, and darker evenings, I find myself enjoying picking up a little hand sewing each evening. The quilt and sewing kit sit by the couch, ready for a few minutes of sewing.


The quilt has now grown to be 24 inches square!


Amazing how just doing a little bit each day can grow so quickly.


And suddenly I needed more supplies. So this morning I took some time to restock my sewing kit. I jotted down some notes because I couldn’t remember how big I originally chose to make my triangles, and wanted to figure out a quick way to cut more.

IMG_7646I needed more templates cut from cardboard. As the quilt grows, templates need to be left on the edges to connect more triangles to. So my pile of templates has been dwindling as more and more are left in the quilt. I raided our recycling, and cut more from thin cardboard.

IMG_7652I also needed more triangles, and discovered if I cut rows and then use the 60 degree triangle ruler, it goes quite quickly.

IMG_7647And after a little bit (I’ll admit, these things don’t just happen in a few minutes, it does take some time), I had a couple of piles of scrap colors.

IMG_7648A few other things I’ve discovered: regular thread I use on the machine can be challenging to hand sew with. I end up with these monstrous knots and have to cut the thread, knot, restring, restart . . . I’m thinking I might try using quilting thread for the hand sewing whip stitch parts, because that is where I seem to run into the most trouble. I’ll continue using just simple white machine thread for basting the triangles into squares, because that uses a large amount of thread. Now my sewing kit is stocked for another few weeks of stitching triangles!

IMG_7653I will admit, this will be my first, entirely hand pieced quilt. I love to sew by hand, and have quilted by hand, but have never pieced a quilt by hand!

IMG_7661Taken at a glance, it seems like a tremendous amount of work. But taken piece by piece, bit by bit, it isn’t hard at all. I feel like there is a parable for life in there somewhere.


How big will it grow? Nobody knows!

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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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Browsing Pinterest one evening, I came across this pin of a paper pieced flower block. I was struck by the simplicity of the design and smallness of the block. One Saturday morning I headed to my studio, pulled out some of my hand dyed fabric scraps and gave a try at my first paper pieced block.

20130421-090931.jpgI used all blue tones with a beige background and just love how it turned out! The process of piecing it was so meditative, snipping small scraps of fabric, stitching them to the paper, trimming and ironing, repeat, all using fabric the size of a quarter. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do another, and then another.

20130421-093511.jpgKeeping to a color set, for the next block I pulled out various values of a deep red, keeping with a beige background.

20130421-093654.jpgI found that the blocks came together quickly if I cut the squares and pieced all four blocks at the same time.

20130421-093914.jpgPiecing this way sped up the cutting, and trips to use the iron.

20130421-094042.jpgI used tracing paper which worked well. After printing the pattern from the website, I made as many blocks as I needed by tracing the pattern onto the tracing paper. After each block was stitched and trimmed, the tracing paper was easy to rip off the back.

20130421-094240.jpgAnd, in about two hours, I had a finished flower that measured about three inches square. Time to start on another!

20130421-094346.jpgI decided to piece four, and then see them into a small square together.

20130421-094431.jpgI wanted to emphasize the fabric and design of the flowers, so decided to try an art quilt binding I had been wanting to try, where the binding is pulled to the back, leaving only the quilting in front. I like its effect, what do you think?

20130421-094628.jpgOf course, being hooked, I couldn’t stop there. I had the idea to use the blocks as tiles, and flip and rotate them to different positions, changing the look of the original block. And as I looked at the shape and design of the quarter sized block, I thought, California poppies! So I pulled out some oranges and greens I had dyed some while back just for an opportunity like this.

20130421-094906.jpgStill keeping with the no border idea, I nonetheless wanted a border to surround the middle square of poppies. Again, playing with color and orientation, using still the same original paper piecing design, I made 12 blocks to surround the original four. I put dark orange poppies in the corners, and light golden poppies on the edge. All floating in a sea of green grass.

20130421-095147.jpgI liked the no binding look of the first quilt, so used that same technique again. This small square now has a sleeve to hang it with, and will soon be for sale in my Etsy shop.

20130421-095350.jpgYes, I’m opening an Etsy shop! It has been a dream of mine for a while, I made it a New Year’s resolution in 2012 and 2013, and now it is really close to becoming a reality. I have a few more details to set up and will be ready to go live! More on that coming soon.

P.S. Sorry for the low photo quality. I took all these photos with my iPhone, because it was quick and handy and I wanted to see if the wordpress app would be an easy work flow. I think I’ll switch back to taking photos with my camera from now on, and am completely unimpressed with the wordpress app. Back to the desktop I go!

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For those summer traveling trips, involving planes, trains, and automobiles,it is nice to have a hand sewing quilting project along, for all those moments when you hurry up and then have to wait.

I remembered learning to make Cathedral Windows when I was a little girl from my grandma, though at the time I didn’t have much patience beyond one or two squares. I love the many layers of folding involved in making each square (very much like origami), and the need to use a needle and thread! Here is my first square:

I have been collecting chicken themed fabric for some time, look at all these beautiful patterns!

And then, once all those squares were cut and ready to travel, I realized I wanted a small bag to carry all the pieces in: scissors, thread, thimble, needle and squares.

So I made a bag! This pattern has been on my mind since I first saw it in a book. Their pattern included making the patchwork fabric, but in the interest of time, I used this delightfully cute patchwork fabric I’ve been saving in my stash. It came together really quickly, and I think has a charming look!

And on the inside, I made little pockets and attachments for all my items. One great thing is that when opened, the bag lies flat, so I will be ready to work on any surface anywhere!

Note to quilters who fly: don’t bring your precious scissors on the plane! I like to bring this doohickey (anyone know what it is called?). Each slot has a small piece of metal that you can cut thread on. Perfect!

Yay for summer adventures!

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Serena's Hexagons

The beginning of my scrap quilt, joining hexagons together.

Over the holidays I discovered a great project to take on the go, and have now become hooked. Commonly known as Grandmother’s Garden, here is my scrap quilt of hexagons.

I started by drawing a hexagon, using a penny! Trace around the penny making a circle. Make six more circles around the first circle. Draw a tangent line on the outer edge of two circles, continuing around until you have six sides! Cut out as many paper hexagons as possible. Baste fabric to paper with large stitches. Whip stitch two hexagons together. Continue! Once a hexagon has all six sides pieced, snip your basting threads and pull out the paper to reuse.

I’m almost through my stash, and will soon be raiding yours! My goal is to have a true scrap quilt, with no single piece of fabric repeating. Call me crazy, but it does pass the winter hours.

Paper Pieced Hexagons

A few paper pieced hexagons ready to sew onto the quilt.

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