StashBee 2015: March Block


This past October, I signed up to participate in a year-long quilting bee in an effort to grow my sewing skills and continue to use some of the fabric in my stash. The appropriately named StashBee2015 is quite different from the last quilting bee I participated in. This time, each bee member is responsible for posting once a month on the bee’s blog, sharing their selected tutorial on their assigned month, and posting progress photos on instagram/flickr. (You may have seen my instagram photos of the block I made for March yesterday.) Today, I’m sharing my March Block over at the bee’s blog.

Won’t you join me over here?



Josue’s Red, Beige, & Blue Quilt

Today I’m sharing the final quilt I made to take to my sponsored child Josuè in Ecuador week after next. (To see the other quilts I made for this trip click here or here.)JosueQuilt_5 First off, I love this quilt. It is busy and happy and so Josuè. I cannot wait to give it to him in just a few days. Following this pattern I used 2 sets of jelly rolls (one red and one khaki) and 7 fat quarters (3 baseball and 4 blue) to piece the top. I was originally not going to add the blue border, but after looking at the finished size, and thinking of my super-tall Josuè, it was clear that the quilt sans-borders was too small. JosueQuilt_3Like both Valeria’s and Emily’s quilts, I embroidered Josué’s name front and center. This one was a bit trickier because of the way the blocks are pieced, but I’m still thrilled with how it came out. For the actual quilting, I stuck to stitching in the ditch every 6 inches or so – I had planned to quilt both vertically and horizontally, but, when I got the verticals finished it felt like enough. Since Josuè lives on the coast, I didn’t want this quilt to be too heavy. (Plus, I’m not sure I can fit a heavy quilt in my bags at this point.) JosueQuilt_1Finally, I finished off the quilt with a custom label and red binding. I’m so happy with it! JosueQuilt_6

What have you been working on lately?

A Look at All 3 Duffel Bags

DuffelBagsAs part of the many gifts I’m taking to each of the three awesome kids I’m visiting in Ecuador, I sewed each child a Duffel Bag. When I visited in 2013, I took Emily and Josué a backpack filled with goodies – and that was the plan this year – but it didn’t quite work out. The backpacks we purchased back in August were deceptively small – and didn’t open wide enough to hold the amount of gifts I’m taking. Enter the Duffels.

DuffelBags_6I started by using this pattern and leftover fabric from each of their quilts. I thought it would be good for each of the kids to have a quilt and duffel matching “set” with their name embroidered on each piece.

DuffelBags_5The bags are fully lined and quilted with light-weight batting to give some support without being too structured.

DuffelBags_2Plus each bag has two end pockets, one zippered and one open, and a trolly sleeve for use in attaching the duffel bag to other rolling-luggage.

DuffelBags_4I was honestly surprised at how easy these bags came together – and I plan to make more of them in the future. The nylon strapping was easier to sew than I expected, and the supplier recommended in the pattern was fantastic. On a side note, I also got intimately familiar with how to thread my serger while sewing these. I have a love-hate relationship with the serger. I love how the finished products look, but man is it a pain to thread.

EmilyDuffel_6I’m actually using Emily’s Duffel as my “personal item” for my trip – and honestly, kind of want to keep it. It’s such a great bag! Plus, me carrying it, full of other items, is just about the only way I can get all the luggage issues resolved.

Have you crafted any thing fun lately?


Emily’s Anchored Star Quilt

Frequent readers will know I’m working on several sewing projects for my upcoming trip to Ecuador in April and Peru in June. These quilts will be gifts for the children my mother and I sponsor through Compassion International.

It took me so much longer this time around to decide on a pattern for each of my sponsored kids’ quilts. On my last visit, I made three of the same triangle pattern quilts – and by varying the fabric, ended up with very visually different quilts. This time, I wanted to find different patterns for each child. For Emily, I pulled out some long-stashed pink, navy, and white nautical inspired fabrics. And then I ran into a snag – I loved the fabrics, and loved how they worked with each other, but had absolutely no idea what to do with them. All I could think of was another triangle quilt (which would have been super cute, but not what I was really looking to do). So, I scoured through the many quilt inspiration pins I have pinned on Pinterest and came across this one. I immediately knew it was perfect. Since Valeria’s quilt was made up of mini swoon blocks, a full size swoon block as the center of Emily’s would give some continuity without being a straight copy.


Plus, the full-size swoon block at 2′ square made for easy measurements on the surrounding blocks. Since my inspiration quilt was the result of a sewing bee, there wasn’t an actual pattern to go off. So for the smaller star border blocks, I turned to google. I knew I needed to find 12 12″ star-themed blocks that utilized no more than 3 colors – and preferably functioned well with just 2 colors. I ended up using the following blocks: Memory A, Hunter Star, Moonlight Star, Rising Star (aka Nesting Star), Shooting Star 2, Love in a Mist, Martha Washington Star, Folded Star, No Name Star, Ohio Star, Ribbon Star, and a Weathervane Variation (similar to this one, but finishing at 12″). I had a set of fat quarters for most of these prints, with 1 yard cuts of the solid pink and white background anchors. I was able to get 2 blocks from each combination of fabrics – alternating fabrics between the “star” and the “background” for each set. I then arranged the blocks in around the center swoon putting white background stars in each corner and filling in the blue background and pink background blocks in between.


Like Valeria’s quilt, I embroidered Emily’s name in the center of her star-quilt. I also did quite a lot of quilting on this one, taking each block on its own and filling in either the background or the star to make the designs pop. There’s a ton of straight line quilting, concentric shapes, and swirls going on with this one. And honestly, I’m really surprised at how quickly it came together. Unlike Valeria’s swoon quilt, I didn’t feel bored with the blocks. Since each block is different, I felt like I was able to power through and crank it all out in just a few sessions.


I used some of the scraps from the front paired with approx. 1 1/2 yards of beautiful pink polka-dot fabric for the backing.

I then bound the quilt with a navy-colored bias tape. Overall, this is one of my most favorite quilts. I love how it turned out and I cannot wait to give it to Emily in April.

EmilyNavyQuilt5I also saved enough of the scraps to make her a coordinating duffel bag – which I’ll be sharing more about in a few weeks.

Until then, Happy sewing!


Valeria’s Swoon Quilt

I am so happy to be able to share the first completed sewing project for my upcoming trip to Ecuador. I made this quilt for Valeria, my mother’s sponsored child who I first met in 2013. For the pattern, I altered the swoon quilt pattern by Thimble Blossoms (which I have been swooning over for years).
ValeriaSwoon_1I used the fabric line April Showers by Bonnie & Camille. I only had a jelly roll and partial charm pack of the fabric, so I adjusted the pattern sizes to fit what was in my stash. For anyone else wanting to do this, the HST squares measured 2.5″ the solid squares ended up being 2″ and the rectangles ended up being 2″ x 3.5″. It took 1 jellyroll of printed fabric, ! charm square of printed fabric, and 1 jellyroll plus 4 strips of background fabric. I used 1 jellyroll strip and 1 charm square of 2 different prints and 1.25 strips of background fabric for each block.


For the Center Focus Block, I switched the colored center square for background fabric and then embroidered Valeria’s name with a crown. I quilted along the sashing and around each of the swoon stars. I also double-batted this quilt, since Valeria lives in the highlands of Ecuador where it can get quite chilly at night. I love this fabric, but I was concerned that the quilt would be too Christmas-y – but, when it was finished I was pleasantly surprised. The blues and yellows really balance out all the reds a greens. (But seriously, if you’re looking for a cute Christmas quilt, you should try a swoon with just the reds, grays, and greens from this line).ValeriaSwoon_2

For the back of the quilt I used a vintage sheet from my fabric stash that brought out the yellows in the fabrics. I love using sheets as backings – mainly because it’s so much easier than piecing a back.

But, wouldn’t you know it, I did have to piece the corner on this one since I cut the sheet a tad bit short. Nothing a scrap piece and label can’t fix. I bound the quilt using a wide red bias tape. ValeriaSwoon_6I cannot wait to give this to Valeria! I’ll be sharing more about the other quilts I’m sewing for this trip and the duffel bag that I’m creating to match this beautiful quilt in the next couple of weeks. My plan is to sew one quilt and one duffel bag per sponsored child I’m visiting.

Do you have any completed projects that you’re excited about?


Stash Bee 2015: February’s Block


This past October, I signed up to participate in a year-long quilting bee in an effort to grow my sewing skills and continue to use some of the fabric in my stash. The appropriately named StashBee2015 is quite different from the last quilting bee I participated in. This time, each bee member is responsible for posting once a month on the bee’s blog, sharing their selected tutorial on their assigned month, and posting progress photos on instagram/flickr. (You may have seen my instagram photos of the block I made for February yesterday.) Today, I’m sharing my February Block over at the bee’s blog.

Won’t you join me over here?



Giant Winter Swoon Quilt

It’s finally finished! My giant winter swoon quilt!

I’ve been working on this quilt for nearly 3 months – and honestly, I’ve had it finished for at least one month – just waiting on binding. I started out making this as a gift for a swap I participated in back before Christmas – except when I got it all assembled I realized two things. 1) This is wayyy to big to mail cheaply. 2) I love this quilt too much to part with it. So I kept the big version, and cranked out a mini for the swap.


With the snow we’re finally experiencing this week (yay snow!!!) I had some time to finish this beauty – and clearly Shinobi wanted to help. She does, after all, claim ALL quilts finished in this house. Seriously, this is a quilt-lovin’ cat.

Like I said earlier, I’ve had this nearly finished for a while. But I kept debating on adding more quilting to the piece. I thought about going around the snowman circles with quilted circles, and possibly adding a design in the plaid bits, but, after laying it out and looking at all of the straight-line quilting I’d done in the white areas, it just felt complete. Also, as always, finished trumps perfect.GiantWinterSwoon_2

The fabric is all from my stash (except the backing fleece) and includes leftover pieces from my Christmas Tree Skirt and a couple of fat quarters of fun, snowman fabric purchased at a local quilt shop.GiantWinterSwoon_3

For the quilting, I stuck to concentric lines in the all of the white areas, which turned out to me much more quilting than I’m used to – but I love it so much. It’s just crinckley and wrinkley enough to be cuddle-worthy without being too heavy.GiantWinterSwoon_6

For the back, I used some plaid fleece – which makes it extra warm and hides the bobbing threads.GiantWinterSwoon_5

Below you can just see the quilting on the back. Excuse the stray bits – the fleece really does pick up everything.GiantWinterSwoon_8

To bind, I first sewed the bias tape to the backing, and then went along the front edge with a zig-zag stitch. Again, this is not my normal binding method, but I do love how it turned out. It was a perfect choice for this quilt.GiantWinterSwoon_4And, as with all of my quilts, this one is finished with a label and lots of love. That makes another project I can cross of my to-sew list. Also, this one passed the great-quilt test, and was snatched up by my Dad as soon as he got home. The fleece backing did him in – I’m sure of it.

What have you been working on lately?