Category Archives: WIPs

Quilting Snowflakes

A couple of weeks ago I whipped up a Christmas version of Camille Roskelley’s cute new Puddle Jumping pattern. The whole time I was making it, I pictured snowflakes as the quilting. I got busy and didn’t get around to basting it until this weekend and then I jumped right in with the quilting.

Quilting Snowflakes

I came up with a simple snowflake design and used a quarter, jar lid, and a ruler to mark it on the quilt. It’s not fast quilting but it’s not dense so I can easily do a couple of blocks in one sitting. But now I’m second guessing myself. Can you even tell it’s a snowflake? Is it worth it to do such an intricate design when I could have finished the whole top in stipples in just a few hours?

Quilting Snowflakes

Quilting Snowflakes

You can see the quilting a little better on the back:

Quilting Snowflakes

Quilting Snowflakes

Should I continue with the snowflakes or tear it out and do something simpler?

Christmas Sewing

It’s almost that time of year! I’m getting a much earlier start than usual because I needed a few holiday props for family photos last weekend. I made a chalkboard sign…

Christmas is Coming

And started an advent calender (that I still have to finish)…

Christmas is Coming

I also started a quilt using lots of red from my stash and Camille Roskelley’s new Puddle Jumping pattern. (She also has an adorable mini version that I’m going to make with my scraps)

Christmas is Coming

(berry baskets from World Market)

I finished the quilt top in just a couple of days but sadly I didn’t have it ready to use in our photos. Next year for sure.

Christmas Sewing

I have a really nice red and white print I was planning to use for the backing, but I saw this flannel at JoAnn’s today and I could not resist.

Christmas Sewing

Snuggle Flannel Fabric-Farm Dog

It’s such a cute print and at only $2.98 a yard how could I not take it home? That’s just over $14 for a quilt backing. What?! Unheard of. I almost want to go back and get enough to make us all matching PJ pants. But maybe that’s too much of a good thing. We’d be camouflaged in our Christmas quilt.

Basting is happening tonight and I am so excited to quilt this. Not sure what quilting design to use, though. Any thoughts?

(And thanks to everyone stopping by and commenting on the blog hop. The giveaway is still open until November 22.)

Choosing a Binding

Help Me Choose!

I finished quilting a humungous quilt last night (85″x90″). It was a big accomplishment and I love the final result. But I can’t decide on a binding. Which one would you choose?

Help Me Choose!

Top to bottom:

Green geometric
Navy polka dots
DS Quilts 1
DS Quilts 2

The quilt is low volume patchwork and I can’t decide if I want the binding to disappear or frame it (like the navy polka dot). Maybe I need to bind it with a solid? Help!

Too Hot for Anything Else

Dog Days of Summer

The dogs days of summer are here (104 today). You know how dogs lay  around all day? It’s so hot this time of year that we’re all feeling that way. The only thing to do is something inside, in the air conditioning. That makes it perfect quilting weather.

I spent most of yesterday with a group of friends from the Dallas MQG at Sunday Sew at Urban Spools.  I used the long-arm to baste one of my WIPs and started the binding on this fella:

Too Hot

(quilted by Michelle Kitto – I’ll show more detail once the whole thing is done)

I could sure use something interesting to watch while I hand sew those 340 inches of binding. My son is currently obsessed with Dumbo and its pretty much playing on a loop over here. What are you watching this summer? I need a new show desperately.

GTSB Update

I put my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt away for a long time after I last posted about it.  For those who aren’t familiar with the pattern,, it’s one of Jen Kingwell’s brilliant patterns with lots of handwork:

I’m at my parents’ lake house for a few weeks and this project is perfect since I didn’t bring my machine this trip.  Here are all of my finished blocks so far:


I am almost finished with the applique and I have several hand piecing blocks prepped to work on next. If you’ve never done any hand piecing, its more enjoyable than it sounds.  Some of the blocks in this quilt could never be pieced on a machine (like the flower one on the upper right of the photo).. My process is a bit different from the template method she describes in the pattern book because I use my Silhouette Cameo to cut my template pieces from wax paper (read more about that process here).

I love Jen Kingwell’s patterns and just signed up for round 2 of her Gypsy Wife Block of the Month through Amitie Textiles in Australia.  Her fabric choices have that thrifted/vintage look that I love. Nothing looks like it was purchased to make one quilt but rather collected over time.

What summer projects are you working on?

Silhouette Cameo for Quilting

My Silhouette Cameo is one of my favorite crafting tools.  If you’ve never heard of the Silhouette Cameo, it is a digital cutting machine. I would describe it as a printer that instead of printing the design, uses a tiny blade to cut the design on paper, fabric, vinyl. etc. It even looks like a printer (it does have a sketch feature that I haven’t used). There is also a smaller (and less expensive) version called the Silhouette Portrait:

I got my Cameo last year and have almost exclusively used it to cut paper – banners, stuff for Project Life albums, etc.

2012-06-06 22.43.59

Moroccan tile film I cut for our bathroom cabinet

2012-10-18 12.13.27

Bat garland in our front window

It’s a really fun tool, and I’ve enjoyed designing graphics and word art for my Project Life albums and to hang on our walls. But I’ve found a new use for it that I had to share. I just started working on an applique-intensive project {Green Tea and Sweet Beans} and the thought of tracing all of the templates made me feel tired. So I did what any crafty gal would do and figured out an easier way. Freezer paper is my preferred method of applique so this may not be helpful to you if you do back-basting or some other method. (Here is a quick run-down of how to do freezer paper applique.)

1. Scan your templates.

2. Open up the scanned image in the Silhouette Studio software and crop out everything except the part you need.

3. Use the trace function to create a cut line for your shape. Ungroup or “release compound path” to clean up any little dashes or marks that don’t belong.

4. Trim some freezer paper to 12×12 (or whatever the size of your cutting mat).

5. Place freezer paper with the shiny side up on the cutting mat. Load in the Silhouette Cameo and cut! Use gentle cut settings. The built=in setting for 65lb pattern paper works okay for the shapes I was cutting, but I’ll go down to a 2 or 3 on the blade setting next time. You do not need to double cut.

Then all you do is apply your templates to your fabric with a hot iron and applique using your preferred method. I finished two blocks for my quilt last week:



My Little Helper

I’ve already cut the templates and started prepping some more blocks for an upcoming road trip I’m taking. I love this quilt!

WIP Wednesday: Jelly Roll Race


So for yesterday’s WIP Wednesday project, I tackled a quilt I’d named “Urban Cowgirl Around the World” and it turned into a completely different project. I had a trip around the world quilt in mind, combining an Urban Cowgirl jelly roll with a Bella Solids {warm} jelly roll. The color palettes aren’t an exact match, but they’re close enough to look good together. I’m not into matching anyway…I prefer coordinating palettes.

Instead, I decided to try the Jelly Roll Race (also called Jelly Roll 1600) method.

WIP Wednesday: Jelly Roll Race

It’s a fast and easy method to whip up a lap-sized quilt in about two hours. Some tutorials say one hour, but two hours is more realistic. Still, how many other quilts can be made in two hours?

WIP Wednesday: Jelly Roll Race

I can imagine all sorts of variations with this pattern. Given my considerable stash of jelly rolls, it’s very likely that I will be making one (or several) of these again.

As for this quilt top, I have half of each jelly roll remaining and I will probably use a similar method to create some borders (and save a few strips for a scrappy binding). And I’m going to have to rename the quilt. Jelly Roll Cowgirl? Urban Barrel Race? Urban Jelly Roll sounds like a city dweller’s muffin top, which makes me kinda like it best of all. ;)

WIP Wednesday: Quilting Espionage

I started writing this post in my head while I was looking through today’s photos, and I was thinking how I’d explain that my bad photos are the result of working in shadows. And that made me giggle because it sounds like I was doing something mysterious. Working in shadows sounds more exciting than starching and pressing quilt blocks.

Behold, my WIP Wednesday project for today:

This quilt started off as a stack of Bella Solids, and then I added some prints for interest. I’m making City Aviation from Cherri House’s City Quilts book. Here is her version of the quilt:

{photo courtesy Cherri House and Generation Q}

I have all of the solid blocks cut and probably 1/3 of the other blocks pieced. I’m going to keep at this one through the weekend and see if  I can get the top complete. On Monday I FINISHED last week’s WIP Wednesday project – my Giant Scrappy Blocks quilt. Fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate tomorrow and I can get some photos.

Before I go off the Bedfordshire, I have to share these photos of Ben from his bedtime tonight. I was sneaking photos with my phone while I read his bedtime stories.


His expressions crack me up.

If you’re reading along with my book club, tomorrow is my first book review of the year. Get excited. ;)

WIP Wednesday: Hello, Genius

I almost don’t want to admit this because it was such a “duh” moment. With one simple, simple thing, I made quilting so much easier on myself. What did I do? I got the folding table out of the garage and set it up at the end of my sewing table. Hello, genius…

So. Much. Easier. Why didn’t I do this ages ago? Behold the quilting acreage:

In an hour today, I quilted 25% of this quilt. I spent the last year thinking I had so little time to sew now that I have a baby, but I think I was just looking at the big picture…all of those projects I’ve started or want to start. But if you just look at it one hour at a time, it’s easy to make progress. Just a few more evenings after baby’s bedtime and this quilt will be DONE.

I’m using Aurifil #4657 to quilt it – at least half of the blocks. I’ll probably switch to my go-to light gray (Aurifil #2600) that blends with everything for the blocks sashed in navy. Maybe next week I can show off the finished quilt.

WIP Wednesday: Quilt Backs


Hello, WIP Wednesday. Thursday? No, silly, it’s only Wednesday. I have lunch plans with some girlfriends, and then I’m going to spend the whole afternoon working away on my huge list of WIPs.

Except that it is Thursday, which means my Wednesday did not turn out as planned. After a lovely lunch yesterday, my toddler refused to nap, and I spent the afternoon working instead. Why do toddlers fight sleep? If someone gave me a bottle of my favorite beverage, a warm spot to snooze, and said “just relax for a few hours,” I would not fight them. I’d take those hours and say death to any he that waketh me! But one of the defining characteristics of toddlers is their stubbornness in the face of reason so today is our fake, do-over Wednesday. It was a productive fake Wednesday, too.

I tackled my mountain of completed quilt tops and made backs for three of them. My stash of Pezzy Prints came in handy. That line is the perfect addition to almost any project. I think it should come in large widths for backing. Wouldn’t that be a dream? I combined it with a random sale rack flannel from JoAnn’s for the back of the GIANT Wonky Star quilt. And then I used only orange pezzy for the back of my Jumbo Scrappy Blocks quilt. The orange and that navy were MFEO (made for each other). I also pieced the backing for 1974 Hexagons & Swirls, which I don’t think I’ve ever photographed or blogged about.  I snagged a bolt of gray/purple plaid from Moda’s clearance bin at their Dallas warehouse probably three years ago to use as backing for that quilt. The fabric line is fantastic but OOP (out of print). (You can see it here: 1974 by Urban Chiks)

I contemplated the backing for a Daisy Chain Rail Fence quilt.  Are those mushrooms too crazy? The colors are right and I have about six yards of it. I think I’m going to be bold and go for it. Pink mushrooms it is.

All in all, I completed three quilt backs in about an hour today. It felt really good. I can now move these projects from {Completed Tops] to {Quilting &  Binding} on my WIP list.

One last thing…I’ve gotten several comments about my iron here on the blog and on Instagram. It’s a Black and Decker Classic Iron – either this one or this one. It’s really heavy (and vintage-looking, if you’re into that sort of thing). It is great for pressing clothes and big swathes of fabric like quilt backs. But in all honesty, it’s total crap for pressing your piecing. The steam holes are too deep with almost sharp edges that get caught on seams and corners. For piecing, I LOVE just a basic, cheap iron like this one. Seriously, just go to Target and buy the cheapest one off the shelf. Mine gets screaming hot, has a smooth soleplate so it doesn’t get stuck in piecing, and it doesn’t shut off. Plus it was so cheap that I don’t feel bad about replacing it (which I haven’t needed to do yet…going on two years). That is $6.99 well spent!