Monday, December 31, 2018

Best of 2018

Cheryl Brickey from Meadow Mist Designs is once again hosting the Best of 2018 Linky Party, and I almost didn't join in this year, but after seeing everybody else's posts, I decided it would be fun to come up with my own top 5 list.

Most Viewed: Beach Retreat

Beach Retreat is a quilt I made for Kelly Young from My Quilt Infatuation's blog hop to promote her book Stash Statement. It was so fun to play with improv in a controlled setting, and I love the quilting ideas I did for this quilt!

Most Commented: Postage Plus

Postage Plus is a quilt I made for the blog hop promoting Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander's book, Modern Plus Sign. I really really loved using all the hot pinks in this quilt! Figuring out how to quilt the background was challenging, but I'm super happy with how it turned out.

Most Challenging: Feathered Star

Feathered Star is a quilt along that Rebecca Bryan from Bryan House Quilts hosted over the summer, and despite a lot of apprehension, I decided to give it a shot. It's definitely one of the biggest challenges I've done, and I felt like I held my breath as the quilt assembly came together because I was never sure it was going to work. But ... I did finish the top and it turned out pretty well!

Favorite Top: Cityscape

Another quilt along I participated in over the summer is Tula Pink's City Sampler quilt hosted by Angie Wilson of Gnome Angel. This was a huuuuge quilt along on Instagram with daily posts and tons of participation, and I decided to work on two quilts simultaneously. Of the 2 tops I ended up with, they're both among my top favorite projects of the year, but if I have to pick one, I have to pick Cityscape. It's just a little more me. (The other one is Trellis.)

Favorite Finish: Skyways

I'm very surprised myself that I picked Skyways as my favorite finish of the year. But I fell in love with the inspiration of the machine quilting design, which is a futuristic city with all these pathways intersecting in the air above a lush landscape, and given the fantasies in my head of living in some place like this some day, I have to pick this quilt as my favorite finish of the year!


Thanks for visiting, and thanks especially to Cheryl for hosting this linky party!

Goodbye 2018!

It's the end of the year, and I just couldn't resist writing a summary post. It's so fun to look back on the year and see what I managed to do. Overall, it was a pretty exciting year, and I don't think it will be easy to top this one!

In Numbers

Completed quilts (throw size and up): 19
Runners, minis & mugrugs: 4
Charity quilts: 8
Bags & accessories: 7


  • In February I went to QuiltCon in Pasadena and met my quilting idol, Angela Walters. To say she changed my life would be an understatement!

  • I finished my longarm room so now it's a beautiful, airy, and bright studio. It does seem to attract spiders so I have to vacuum often, but otherwise, it's wonderful and I feel so blessed to have it.

  • My quilt guild, Prairie Star, brought in some amazing teachers this year, and I took classes from Karen McTavish, Tara Curtis, and Jacquie Gering. (I was also signed up for a class with Sharon McConnell, but I couldn't make it due to a blizzard that hit us the day before.)

  • I participated in 3 blog hops, to promote the books Modern Plus Signs and Stash Statement, and also my last year participating as a New Quilt Blogger.

  • I worked on some challenging projects that I didn't think I would be able to do. Among them, a large English Paper Pieced quilt, curved piecing, and a complicated quilt with lots of bias called Feathered Star.


    It's always fun to look over what I've completed and pick my favorites, and sometimes I'm surprised by my reactions. There are quilts that I thought was only okay when it was a top, but became a favorite after quilting. And then there are quilts I thought I would love oh-so-much, but got relegated to the back of the closet when it's done. But of the finished quilts, these 4 are my favorites of the year:

    Top row: Critical Sunshine and Urban Cabin
    Bottom row: Skyways and Tangerine Dreams

    But that's just for finished quilts. I found a lot in my WIPs list that I just have to share, because these are some of my overall favorite projects of the year:

    Top row: Candy Dish, Pick-Up Sticks, Supernova
    Middle row: All Stars, Postcard Row, Feathered Star
    Bottom row: Trellis, Cityscape, Lantern Lane

    Each one of these is very special to me, but I can honestly say that I don't know when I'll finish them. Sometimes, I think I enjoy the idea that they're there waiting for me to finish them, more than the idea of finishing and using them ...

    Beyond Quilts

    I love to make quilts just for the process of making them, but I don't really worry about whether they will be used beyond their point of completion (and photography). When it comes to bags and accessories, it's the opposite. I don't enjoy making them nearly as much, and I do it for the end product more than the process.

    From top right, going counter clockwise: Desktop Cubes, Retreat Organizer, Hanging Travel Organizer, Renegade Bag, I-Spy Pouch, and Grab and Go Laptop Sleeve.

    These projects are also a constant way to challenge myself and my sewing skills, as I tend to find them more difficult than quilts. And when they're finished, they sure get a lot of use.

    Achieving Balance

    Another change I made to my quilting life is that I decided to quilt less. During the summer, both my children were in summer school, and suddenly I had more free time than I've had in ... well, ever. I was ecstatic, and I thought I would spend all my time quilting. But ... I didn't.

    After just a couple of hours, I start to burn out, and want to do something else. That's when I realized that I can't just quilt all day, as much as it might have been a fantasy previously. It's much more enjoyable when I come to it in bursts, interspersed by other activities that I love. So I decided to get more balance in my life by dividing my free time between quilting and my other passions (yes, I have them!), as well as to more healthy life habits. It's been a few months, and I can say that it's been a very positive change.

    Onto 2019!

    One of my yearly indulgences is the Quilter's Planner. It's big and expensive, but it reminds me of one of those old Mastercard commercials:

    Quilter's Planner: $49
    A more organized life that allows more guilt-free sewing time: Priceless

    Having been a digital planner for most of my life, I wasn't initially sold on the idea of a paper planner, but now I really feel the difference, because it's just harder to procrastinate on paper than it is to do it digitally, since literally, it leaves a paper trail. Of course, the sheer beauty of the planner, the fantastic photographs, and the great projects it comes with is just the icing on the cake. I'm definitely excited to start using the 2019's Planner!

  • Friday, December 14, 2018


    Paradox is my last quilt finish (and likely last project) of the year, and I think it is a very good one to end on! When Zen Chic announced the Fragile collection almost 2 years ago, I squealed with excitement because I was head over heels in love with it. But then, when the fabric eventually arrived, I could not cut into it. It was just too beautiful.

    Around the same time, I saw Fat Quarter Shop offer a quilt kit called Paradox using Fragile precut into jolly bars. I immediately went for it so that I could get a beautiful quilt using Fragile but not having to cut into my bundle. (This would become the first of several Fragile kits I eventually bought ... but I digress.)

    This quilt was basically flying geese, flying geese, flying geese. I find flying geese tricky, but in this case, I had no choice but to make it as good as I can because I can't make them bigger and cut them down, as the precuts were already the right size. They seemed to turn out alright, though!

    Since this quilt is very very fabric and pattern heavy, I didn't need to quilt it to death like usual. The border is the only area I can really play with, and I put in a fun border design just for an extra touch of spice. I think it ended up being my favorite part of the quilt, though!

    The main part of this quilt offered a lot of opportunities to combine blocks, because the arrangement of the flying geese and the color placement created some interesting geometric shapes. I quilted feathers and a dot-to-dot design in chevrons, and did a flower in some of the diamonds.

    Possibly my favorite design in the block is this ferny feather design from Angela Walters. It's my very first time quilting it, and I'm happy to report that it's a lot easier than I expected. I love how it stretches and fills all the available areas, and I combined it with a geometric design on the bottom for some contrast.

    I love this quilt, and I'm so happy to end the year with it! Thank you to all my readers and friends for your support and lovely comments this year. I'll see you in 2019!


    Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

    Friday, December 7, 2018

    Minikins: Desktop Cubes

    Several months ago I was in Walmart with my husband and sister-in-law and I saw a little black / gold fat quarter bundle that I was immediately attracted to. But then the snob inside me came out and said, "Walmart fabric? Really?" But they were so pretty and shiny ... and pretty cheap, that I couldn't pass them up.

    When I was auditioning fabrics for making a trio of nesting Desktop Cubes from Sew Sweetness's Minikins collection, these immediately started screaming, "Use me! Use me!"

    I made 3 of the cubes, one in each size, because I figured making 3 is about as much work as making 1. Well ... that wasn't entirely true, but once the cutting (the worst part ...) was done, the rest of the steps I did in an assembly line style, and pretty soon I had a set of nesting cubes.

    Well, I really love them. Black and gold is one of my absolute favorite color combinations, and I think these are just so glitzy and glamorous looking. This is my 3rd Minikin, and so far I've been incredibly happy with all my Minikin projects. Previously I made a laptop bag and a vinyl pouch, and I use them pretty much every day. I'm sure these will get tons of use, too!

    Friday, November 30, 2018

    Flight Path

    My latest quilt finish is Flight Path, a pattern from Alison Glass. For the fabric, I picked Alison Glass fabrics from the HandCrafted collections to give all the geese a glowing, jewel-like look.

    I used to have a lot of trouble with flying geese, and they always seem to come out undersized. In this quilt however, I think I finally got comfortable with them. Apparently, the trick to perfect flying geese is the same as for perfect half-square triangles ... make them bigger and trim them down!

    For the bright geese, I used dot-to-dot designs. It does double duty as quilting them and holding them down, but not overwhelming the fabrics.

    I filled the backgrounds very, very densely. One of the sections is a matchstick quilting design. This is my first time using the matchstick design, and I quite like the way it looks.

    Even though pebbling was my favorite design when I first started free-motion quilting, I got sick of them and haven't used it by itself for quite awhile. But here they are, and there's no denying that the texture of pebbles feels great under my fingers.

    As much as I enjoy the front of the quilt, I like the back even better. I love using solid backing as not only is it cheaper than printed backing, it provides a wholecloth experience!


    Linking up with: Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting

    Friday, November 23, 2018

    Mugrugs & Coasters

    Mugrugs were actually the first quilting-related projects that I was attracted to. (At the time, I didn't like the look of patchwork quilts. I know, I know.)

    So when I have a lot of flippy corners or triangle cutoffs, I end up with a slew of half-square triangles that I just have to make into mugrugs. Luckily there are so many ways to arrange half-square triangles!

    The first one came out of my Night & Day quilts, the Day version. I really like how bright and cheery it looks! Another reason I like mugrugs is that they give me an opportunity to do walking foot quilting. One of the things I hate most about my sewing machine is that the presser foot pressure is not adjustable, and it presses down too hard, which causes a lot of distortions and tucks if I try to do walking foot quilting on an actual quilt. But at least on a mugrug, it's small enough that it's not noticeable.

    My second mugrug uses a black-white striped fabric. I thought these striped fabrics are really cool and they create an interesting effect because it looks like I pieced when I didn't. I had a lot of fun doing all kinds of arrangements before finally deciding on this look.

    But I actually had some extra HSTs leftover, so I made them into matching coasters. I wasn't about to bind the coasters in the normal double-fold French binding though, as that would have made me cry. Instead, I just did a turned edge finish. It doesn't look as tidy as a bound edge, but serves the purpose just as well!

    These were quick and satisfying one-day projects, which is perfect because it's Thanksgiving weekend and I've got meals to enjoy and fabric to buy!

    Friday, November 16, 2018


    Several months ago I revealed the Waterfall Runner which I mentioned used cut-off corners from a different quilt. Well, I finally quilted the original quilt from which the pieces of the runner came from.

    The pattern is called Peak designed by Modern Handcraft, and for the fabric I used an ombre bundle from Craftsy that uses blues, greens, and yellows. While I love blues and greens together, the yellow is what really adds sparkle to this quilt.

    I knew what I wanted to do with this quilt as soon as I loaded it on the frame, and I pretty much stuck to my plan. I knew that I wanted to use a variety of linear designs in the rectangular strips, and I threw almost everything I knew on there. When it comes to quilting designs, I always believe more is more. But I also quilted a lot of strips with just straight lines to give the eye a place to rest.

    In the white triangles, I tied everything together with the same design: a tight swirl. These are my favorite swirls right now to do, as not only are they elegant looking, but they're very quick to do.

    Even though it's no longer summer, this quilt is like a slice of summer to me!


    Linking up with: Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting.

    Friday, November 9, 2018

    Night & Day

    I've found myself into house quilts lately, so when I saw the Suburbs quilt (by Cluck Cluck Sew) colored in Tula Pink's De La Luna colorway, I was instantly attracted.

    I got to sewing it as soon as the fabric arrived, and I really enjoyed putting these houses together!

    The more I looked at it though, the more a narrative began to form in my head. I started imagining a little village that looks sweet and idyllic during the day, but when the sun goes down, activity within the houses brew up and the real nature of the residents are revealed. These houses are actually haunted! (The version using De La Luna is the haunted version, of course.)

    But I needed to make a day version. I went searching in my stash for sweet, cheerful looking fabrics, and I decided to use a collection from Simone Bradford called On Your Mark. I saw Simone present this debut collection at QuiltCon in February of this year, and I fell in love with it. I tracked her down after the presentation to get details on where I could get my hands on it, and as soon as it was available, you can bet I jumped on it!

    And this is my day version. The colors are the right amount of bright and cheerful but I had to add in a few black houses for the edgier residents.

    Here they are side-by-side. I love them both!

    Friday, November 2, 2018

    Urban Mod

    I love a good hunt. When I was browsing through Art Gallery Fabrics (who has a fabulous and inspirational website!) I discovered a collection called Urban Mod that I fell in love with. It had a really great retro look, and I thought the colors and prints were fantastic. Unfortunately, it has been out of print for several years.

    I hunted high and low all over the internet and managed to pull together a fat quarter of this print, a half yard of that print, until I had most of the prints in the collection. I paired them with a pattern called Tokyo Terrace by Robin Pickens.

    This is one of the easier patterns I've worked on because the pieces are big and there are very few seams to match. However, it's a twin sized quilt so as it grew, it became more unwieldy. I didn't really know how I wanted to quilt it, but I did know I wanted the quilting to look organic and not so planned. I took the inspiration of a brick wall with stone details and plants growing all over it.

    There's nothing like a feather to elevate the aesthetics of a quilt, so I quilted giant feathers on there. I love to surround feathers with tiny fillers to really make them pop!

    I had a really hard time with the foreground fabrics, though. I decided to try something I've never tried before: quilt along the fabric. The polka dot fabric became bubble wrap, the serpentine fabric got serpentine designs, and the flowery fabric got a flowery meander.

    These little square blocks are a sort of resting area for this quilt as they're the only thing not quilted heavily. In fact, I think these little blocks are the best part of the quilt, as it would be rather boring if it was just large panels.

    I had lots of fun quilting this quilt, and I like to think that at the end of every quilt I'm X hours better because I spent X hours quilting it, but it's never as true as when I tried so many new designs.

    And this is the back of it. I showed more photos of this quilt than I usually do, but it is sort of commensurate with the amount of time I put into this quilt!


    Linking up with: Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, and Powered by Quilting.

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Lantern Lane ~ A Love Affair with Paper Piecing

    Since the beginning of my quilting journey, I've loved foundation paper piecing. I learned the technique very early on, and because I was told by the instructor that it was easy and forgiving, I believed her. Since then, I've always seen it as the gateway to perfect points intricate piecing.

    And so, when I saw Lantern Lane by Sassafras Lane, I knew I had to make it. I could see the inspiration of Chinese lanterns so clearly, and I also immediately knew what I wanted to use for the fabric: a collection from Connecting Threads called Captiva. It consists of blues, yellows, grays, and I've been saving it for a while waiting for the perfect pattern, and this was it!

    I usually take the time to pre-perforate the paper, but this time it would have taken far too long. So I dug out my tracing wheel from my brief stint as a garment sewer to perforate it. It worked really well, except it left some marks on my cutting mat that doesn't seam to "heal". It didn't seem to affect the cutting mat's function, at least.

    And here are the blocks, so perfect! Originally I was very worried about having to match so many points, but this pattern was brilliant in the way it's assembled and pressed, so that everything seam locks together perfectly with little effort.

    Here's a little sample of the rows I assembled so far. The whole quilt will have 49 blocks, but I'm so loving how it looks so far!

    Friday, October 19, 2018

    Tangerine Dreams

    I have gotten into the habit of putting quilt tops away after I'm done with them and not taking them out to quilt until at least several months have passed. I call it marinating, and somewhere, somehow, I hope that ideas can come to me for how to quilt it as I'm happily doing something else. Another benefit of marinating is that once the quilt top isn't so fresh, I will have become detached and hence less afraid to mess it up during quilting.

    And that's exactly what happened for Tangerine Dreams. I pieced this top several months ago, and since this is a quilt of my own design (using the dynamically generated pattern Haphazard) I felt extra pressure to make the quilting really good. But last week, while idly browsing through some photos in my library, I suddenly got a vision in my head of how I wanted the quilting to go. So, it finally got quilted!

    I wanted to try something on this quilt that I never tried before: lots and lots of straight lines. However, I wanted them to run in different directions, so in the orange spaces, I quilted straight lines running in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines that run parallel to one of the seams.

    In the gray / white spaces, I started introducing curvier designs, and I did a lot of feathers and continuous flowers. I also added one design that is a pretty new one for me, but which I really have fallen in love with: wavy lines.

    And last but not least, in all the big open white spaces I did a feathery swirl. It's my first time trying this design as well, and I'm happy that it seemed to turn out well!

    My mom asked for my first Haphazard quilt and took it to Shanghai with her. I've been wanting one of my own since, and now I have one. This one I'm keeping! It totally goes with my decor, doesn't it?


    Linking up with: Crazy Mom Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, Sew Can She, Powered by Quilting, and The Devoted Quilter.

    Friday, October 12, 2018

    #100Days100Blocks2018: Cityscape

    Cityscape is the 2nd of my #100Days100Blocks2018 quilt tops, using the Skyline layout. I've always had a thing for skylines, so naturally I was very attracted to this layout.

    While I love black and white and gray and would have no problem making a quilt with just those colors, I absolutely love the pops of neon in this quilt. I had just enough for one "colored" floor for each building, so I placed it in the floor below the penthouse unit for each building.

    I ended up using all but 2 of the blocks I sewed for this top. I had to grit my teeth a bit through the assembly process because it really wasn't very fun. But ... assembly rarely is!

    I now have two beautiful tops from the #100Days100Blocks2018 challenge. I'm not sure which one I love more, Trellis, or this one!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...