Category Archives: WIPs

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!

WIP Annihilation

I almost hate to do this to myself but 2013 is going to be the year of the WIP (works in progress) at my house. My WIP list is out of control, and I think it’s keeping me from sewing…well, along with the chaos of my sewing room. Every surface and nook is jammed with stuff.

Messy-Studio-2 Messy-Studio

I have too much stuff, but I don’t want to get rid of anything. First world problem. So my plan is to complete as many WIPs as possible…this will use up some of my stash and help me make space. Want to join me in this challenge? I’ve made a button so you know I really mean it. 😉 Check back with me every Wednesday to see how I’m doing.


Fall Fabric Stack

I’m in the mood for fall! Where is our sweater weather, Texas? I actually wore shorts today. Shorts! But the continuing heat hasn’t stopped me from thinking about fall. I picked out a pretty stack of Bella Solids to make a quilt:

{All Bella Solids by Moda Fabrics: Berrylicious, Boysenberry, Clementine, Longhorn, Mustard, Saffron, Dark Denim, Eggplant, Grape, Moda U Brown, Almond}

I bought half yards so I have enough for two quilt tops. I think I’ll mix in some prints for one but only solids for the other. I just need to decide on a pattern!

{added to my WIP list}

Vintage Sheet Quilt

I love this quilt! I almost love it even more on the beach. The colors just seem perfectly suited for the sand dunes and ocean and blue skies. {I took this photo in Orange Beach, AL while we were visiting for the weekend. It’s so beautiful there. The sand is like super fine sugar and the water is crystal clear.}

vintage sheets quilt

I’ve been wanting to make a vintage sheet quilt for a while now, but after searching some thrift stores I decided that it was easier to get the sheets from someone else. It’s a lot of work to wash and press and cut a huge sheet into useable pieces. I bought a couple of vintage sheet fat quarter sets from Jeni of In Color Order on Etsy. Then I cut them into 6-inch squares and mixed with Bella Solids white.

This quilt top is big – about  83″ x 92″ – so its definitely going off to Michelle for long-arm quilting. I really can’t wait to see what she does with it. {Fingers crossed that the vintage sheets aren’t too annoying to work with. They were mildly annoying to sew with. Lots of shifting and shrinking under a hot iron. I’ve gotten spoiled to quilt shop quality cottons.}

Another one off the WIP list!

Quilting: It is Awesome

I’ve been so focused on completing quilt tops lately that I haven’t done much quilting. This weekend I went to Friday Night Sew at Urban Spools and spent some time on the Handiquilter Sweet Sixteen. I have a couple of LARGE quilts that are basted and partially quilted, but I can’t face trying to wrestle with them on my Bernina. In just a couple of hours, I took this quilt from less than a 1/3 quilted to probabaly over halfway finished. One..maybe two more sessions and I will have her done. It took me a while to get back in the rythm of this particular FMQ design.

But once I got warmed up, I picked up the pace and it felt good to watch the thread appear in a pattern on the quilt.

On Sunday afternoon, I picked up a WIP from March. It’s a Confetti baby quilt. This was a complete top that took me months to complete because I was only working in little increments of time. Plus, I think I’d lost my mojo to “new baby syndrome.” I’m healed from that now. 😉 Anyway, I basted it and got the quilting finished. I even sewed the binding on! (still have to flip it and sew it to the back with a slip stitch. But I am going to do that in front of the TV since all the new shows start this week.) Here is a little peek before I started quilting:

{Oh, and a side note…THIS IS THE LAST QUILT I WILL EVER BASTE. I didn’t know that you could have your quilts basted on a long arm (useful for people who like to do their own quilting and handquilters). Now that I know, I am never crawling around on the floor with masking tape and safety pins.}

And a progress photo:

The binding is green and white hounds tooth from Paula Prass’s Summer Soiree. Super cute. Can’t wait to take photos of this quilt to share the FINISHED version. :)

Re-treated and Re-newed

I’ve been on lots of quilting retreats with my quilty friends from the Dallas MQG since we all met in February 2010 (probably close to 12 by now?). I even went on two quilting retreats early this year and brought my baby along since he was still wee and quiet enough to let me sew. But since he started crawling, then cruising, and is now taking baby steps (only one or two at a time, then plop!), life has become a lot busier. Ben is awake more, and I have us scheduled in lots of activities each week (MOPS, The Little Gym, picnics at the Arboretum, story time at the library, and play dates). The social activities are good for both of us, but my “me” time has dwindled. I was ready for a retreat, baby-free.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to a favorite local quilt retreat – 1890s House. It’s close, cozy, charming, and clean. The owner is easy-going, and even though it’s in a suburb of Dallas just minutes away from all of the strip mall shopping and restaurants you could want, it feels like you are in the country. This is a photo of the house from the first time I went (on an officers’ retreat for the Dallas MQG)

Isn’t it pretty? This view is the back of the house. The sewing cottage is just off to the left. It’s nice to have the sleeping quarters so separate from the sewing space since many people stay up late sewing and some want to go to bed at a decent hour.

I worked on several projects:

  • AB Belle Squared {from Piecing – Almost Complete to Quilting & Binding / my friend Michelle of Urban Spools is quilting this one for me on her long arm. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!}
  • Flights of Fancy {from Still in Pieces to Piecing – Almost Complete / This is a kit (shown below) that I bought at an LQS in McKinney (Happiness is Quilting) and it was literally still in the bag a few weeks ago. My friend Angie‘s mom did the embroidery for me and she brought it to me this weekend. All I had to do was press, cut the embroidered blocks, make the large 4-patch blocks, and piece. This one just needs the borders and then it is going to Michelle for some custom quilting. I would never have gotten this done without Angie’s mom.}

  • I finished all of the HSTs and squared them up for my Vintage Sheet HSTs Quilt {from Piecing – Lots to Go to Piecing – Almost Complete / My little pile of square-up trimmings is shown below. I just love those piles.}

  • I haven’t shown many pictures of my Ruby Star Shining Improv quilt, but the top is now complete! It’s a reasonable size so I’ll probably quilt this myself. Maybe….I will at least get Michelle to baste it on the long arm for me.
  • One of my big projects was pumping breastmilk, probably my most dreaded baby-related activity. If I had to work outside of the house, I do not think I would have made in these 10.5 months of nursing. But on retreat, I forgot the plug for the pump but THANKFULLY had the car charger plug. So I spent a lot of time inside the car on retreat. I took this photo on Sunday morning because the rain looked so pretty on the window. And let’s face it, there is not a whole lot to do when you are pumping. Thank goodness for iPhones.

The Big List of WIPs


Last week I decided it was time to take stock of my projects. I’m trying to whittle down the stash so it makes sense to whittle down the WIPs, too, right? Plus, I’d like to have a working list so that I can keep track for myself and prioritize the almost completed projects instead of always starting something new. I’ve broken it down into a few categories:

  • Quilts to Make: – An ever-changing list of quilts I want to make
  • Still in Pieces: Quilts that I have planned out and/or set aside fabric for
  • Piecing – Lots to Go: Fabric is cut, some piecing done, but lots of sewing to go
  • Piecing – Almost Complete: Just needs a few more blocks/sashing/etc.
  • Long-Term Projects: Quilts that will take a few years to complete
  • Completed Top: Time to Baste!
  • Quilting & Binding: Self-Explantory
  • Donated: A new category for WIPs I’ve donated to the DMQG charity committee. The steps needed for completion shown in parentheses.

I’m going to link to photos of each project and keep this list current. It’s mainly for me, but thought some of you might be interested in what I’m working on. You can see the list here.

Late Night Sewing

Since Ben has started going to bed alone (progress! We have been co-sleeping and it can be a roller coaster of good and bad), nighttime is my favorite time again. It means at least a couple of uninterrupted hours of sewing. Tonight I pulled out my courthouse step blocks from the Second Time Around the Block bee. Man, I love this quilt already!

Courthouse steps was perhaps not the wisest choice for a bee since it requires accuracy – or at least consistent inaccuracy – and that is tricky with twelve different quilters and machines. Most of the blocks are precisely 12.5″ or very close to it, some need a little fudging and some are way off. But that’s okay because they’re all beautifully sewn and the ones that don’t work on the front will work on the back. The steps pattern looks pretty obvious in the photo though it is less obvious in person. I’m hoping it will become more apparent as I get more blocks sewn together. I didn’t plan this quilt and I was expecting to have to make a lot of blocks to make the ones I received fit together, but I’ll only have to make six. If I had planned, the four color layout would be consistent and repetitive but I actually like the scrappiness of this no-plan version.


Favorite Fabrics

These are from my scrap basket of favorites. Does every quilter keep multiple scrap baskets? I have baskets and bins for big scraps (less than a fat quarter), 2.5″ squares, strings, 1.5″ squares, odd-shaped scraps, and favorite scraps. I decided that it was time to turn the favorites into a quilt. So I’m randomly piecing the scraps together into squares – anywhere from 8″ to 16″ finished. My plan is to make 36 squares. Then I’ll add sashing to the smaller squares to make them all 16  inches. The finished quilt will be 96″ square. I’m very happy my friend Michelle has a long arm now. This is definitely one that I will send to her!

I’m enjoying the process of random piecing. It’s soothing and satisfying, like putting a puzzle together. Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of concentration, which is nice because I only have short blocks of time to spend piecing these days.


DMQG Round Robin

One center. Five borders. Six months. Lots of amazing quilts.

The Dallas MQG hosted a Round Robin this year, and our July meeting was the big reveal. We were matched up in nests of 5 or 6 women and we passed our center blocks around each month for a new border from the other members in our nest. My center block was a modified Swoon block with a fussy cut bit of Far Far Away from Heather Ross at the center. That’s my good friend Angie holding my quilt up for the reveal. She paper-pieced the “Happily Ever After” border. WOW, right? She used Castle Peeps fabric and it’s the absolute perfect addition to the quilt. All the other ladies in my group did such a nice job, too. My other favorite border is the “Once Upon a Time” one. Love how they went with the fairytale theme from my starting fabric.

Here is everyone from my nest holding her own quilt top:

There were some truly amazing quilts at the reveal. You can see all of them in the Dallas MQG Flickr photostream.