Meet the Patchwork Juggler!

‘Patchwork Juggler’! Ha! Ha! That’s what I feel like at the moment! Throwing patchwork projects in the air and catching about two out of five as gravity does it’s thing. (For ‘gravity’ read ‘time’ and ‘inclination’!)

Let’s start with the projects I have managed to keep juggling rather than the one’s I’ve dropped…

Plaid-ish was completed in time to be gifted 🎉

On social media I’ve seen many quilts made to this pattern by Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting. A current Plaid-ish QAL hosted by @jessicaquilter over on Instagram finally shifted my thinking from ‘one day I’ll make a Plaid-ish quilt…’ to ‘I’m going to make a Plaid-ish quilt NOW!’

Most of the fabrics are from my stash. I did have to purchase some fabrics for the dark blocks and, to fit in with the limited time available,  I chose to buy an extra wide backing rather than piece a backing. I made all the Blocks required by the pattern but decided not to use the bottom two rows as I was worried the 64″ x 82″ quilt would be difficult/impossible to squish into a standard front-loading washing machine. I’m hoping this quilt will be used a lot and therefore require regular washing 🙂 So this Plaid-ish quilt measures 64″ square and does fit into a standard washing machine.

I used Bosal 80/20 wadding and 50wt Aurifil 5005 turquoise blue thread for the quilting.

The corner label was stitched into the binding.

The binding fabric, from my stash, proved to be a great colour match for the patchwork of fabrics on the front and the muted backing fabric.

The Plaid-ish quilt definitely counts as a squirrel project – it certainly wasn’t in my plans for the first quarter of 2022 – and deciding to gift it was the best incentive to keep it moving forwards, not stopping until it was well and truly finished 🙂

Other projects that have been thrown in the air and continue to be juggled are the baby quilt design that I’m going to be using as the pattern for the up-coming Beginners Course at Purple Stitches. It’s all been a bit of a rush but I’m discovering that sometimes deadlines can be my friend rather than the source of my project downfall. I finished the shop sample of the quilt last week and I’ve been pounding my laptop keyboard, writing and revising the class tutorial version of the pattern.

I’m also writing the ‘Trip Around the Stars’ pattern for ‘general release’ – the design is slightly larger than the class quilt and includes instructions for strip piecing Four Patch Blocks as well as the Snowball, Star Point Blocks.

Of course revising the design and writing two patterns means I need to make another sample quilt! I must confess to having got into a bit of a muddle at this point… Thinking it would be OK for me to get ahead of myself by cutting out the fabrics for the planned ‘general release’ pattern whilst continuing to write and revise the Beginners version of the pattern. Hmm! I should know the limits of my brain power by now! 🤯 Let’s just say I will be shopping for some extra yardage…. 😏

Somehow in the background I’ve managed to sort and cut fabrics for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge Bullseye Courthouse Steps blocks. Here are the completed January blocks. The February RSC colour is aqua/teal.

So that’s the projects that have been/are being successfully juggled.

The projects that have been dropped include the original Trip Around the Stars quilt and the Modern Fans quilt, both of which are partially quilted. I did manage to publish the first in my mini-series about accurate piecing but have yet to complete the second blog post. Regular readers will know the weekly Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts have been dropped too *sigh* and there’s not been many other social media updates either. Once I have the Beginners Class pattern finalised and the larger Trip Around the Stars pattern ready to be tech-edited I will be scurrying around picking up the dropped projects, ready to share and nurture (my word for 2022) once more.

Linking this post to Wendy’s Quilts & More for the Peacock Party, Alycia Quilts Finished or Not Friday and Michelle’s From Bolt to Beauty Beauties Pageant.

Happy Stitching!



Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (281)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your projects and take part in the sharing of inspiration, news and views with our Worldwide Quilting Community. Use the links to visit blog posts. To be part of the sharing don’t forget to leave an encouraging message in the comments boxes 🙂

In my last post I shared some details of a baby quilt I’m making. It’s a new design with beginner quilters in mind. I concentrated hard on making the skill set and layout accessible to newbie patchwork quilters. In doing that I kinda lost sight of the overall size of the quilt. Once I’d added the borders the top measured 43″ x 52″ – not a great match for a standard baby quilt which should measure 36″ by 54″.

Hmmm! What to do? Of course I stalled, indecision reigned. After a couple of days I thought I could:

  • 1. Remove the outer border from the sides, making the quilt measure 34.5″ x 52″ – still not perfect and it might look a bit odd?;
  • 2. Make the quilt anyway – after all I had already cut out the backing fabric and the wadding;
  • 3. Count this as a test run and redraft the pattern to more closely fit the standard size of a baby quilt 🤔

I’ve gone for the second AND third options. I pin basted the quilt yesterday – borders and all – and began free motion quilting a broad meander with whimsical stars.

As for the revised design, I have drafted a pattern using slightly smaller blocks in a 7 by 11 layout rather than the original 7 by 9 layout. The finished quilt would measure 38″ x 54″ so not too far off the standard baby quilt size.

A 7 x 11 layout does make for quite a lot of cutting and piecing… Do you think this would be too much for a beginner to deal with? I’d value your opinion on this, thank you!

I’d like to finish quilting the odd sized baby quilt this weekend. I have some fabrics left over from making the quilt top, I haven’t yet determined if there’s enough of any one of them to make the binding. If not, I think a scrappy binding will be acceptable.

Here are a few links to help you find your way into the goodness being shared by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community:

Patty’s Temperature Quilt for 2021 is stunning and provides an interesting comparison with the temperature highs and lows of 2020 recorded using the same colours in her previous quilt. Patty has also posted a quick tutorial to get you started making a Buffalo Plaid Quilt which really does look very effective.

Jayne’s working hard to reduce her stash and has been researching quilt designs derived from a basic nine patch block. Her gallery of examples is well worth a look.

Thanks to Sarah Goer for providing the link in her newsletter to this quick guide to the language of colour. I know I need to be reminded of the difference in meanings between a ‘shade’, a ‘tint’, and a ‘tone’ when discussing colours!

Using an app to try out different colourways on a digital image of a quilt sounds great but a bit complicated for a tech-challenged quilter like me. Yvonne Fuchs to the rescue! Check out her tutorial for the ‘Recolor App’ to find out if this could become an option in the sometimes tricky process of choosing a colour scheme for a quilt.

If you have a collection of large(ish) scraps (think FQs or Fat Eighths that have just had a strip of two cut out) and like modern quilt designs then you might well find Karin’s Zephyr QAL is just the project to get those scraps out of storage and pieced into a quilt. Find the exact fabric requirements and QAL schedule here 🙂

Another fascinating instalment of her ‘Expat Chronicles’ can be found over on Rachel’s blog page. Settling a family into another country and learning a new language is quite a task! In this edition of the chronicles Rachel focus’ on building friendships in a new land. Much of what she shares is great advice on being intentional in our friendship building whether we have recently moved or not.

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday. Alycia is delighting in a finished quilt – great use of large scale prints and large triangles 🙂

Happy Stitching!  Ooo! Please do leave your thoughts on my baby quilt design, is it too much piecing for beginner patchwork quilters?



A negative sandwiched between two positives: Overcoming the deadline blues

A sandwich of a blog post – two positives surrounding a rather negative filling!

First positive layer:

Here is the progress I’ve made with a couple of the projects I have on the go:

  • Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along: I made the twelfth and final block. Came home from Purple Stitches with fabrics for the sashing and cornerstones… I hope the rusty orange will provide enough of contrast without being a distraction from the blue blocks 🤞

  • English Country Garden cushion covers: Finished! 😁

The negative filling:

I’ve been getting a little stressed by deadlines lately. Not quite sure why, but I’m the run-up to Christmas (complete with it’s own set of requirements combining deadlines and perfectionism) along with heightened anxiety around Covid infection rates as invitations to social events begin to mount up are two of the causes. In my more rational moments I’ve been able to make sensible decisions about what to do and what to let slip but then (especially when I get tired) I have other times when I get overwhelmed and can think of nothing more appealing than shutting myself in my sewing room and not venturing out again until 25th December (when all the deadlines will have gone away!).

Bernie the Bernette

My coping methods at such times are unhealthy and expensive. On Thursday I ate so many biscuits I could hardly face my dinner and last weekend I blew my money on a whim – purchasing a sewing machine 😳 Totally mad! I decided I really needed a small, easily portable machine for sewing days. I chose a Bernette B35 which is a mechanical machine so it’s uncomplicated with no computerized workings to go wrong. When it arrived I felt ashamed of such an indulgence, leaving the box unopened under my sewing table for a couple of days! I have now unboxed the neat little machine, read the instruction leaflet, played around with a few scraps of fabric getting a feel for how it runs. Of course, one purchase leads to another, so I have ordered a quarter inch foot and a walking foot to add to the accessories kit…

Through the past two weeks I have continued to sew, but I have not been reading blog posts. My inbox reached overwhelm, social media was getting me down – so many Black Friday deal messages that any normal, friendly sewing messages were just lost in the deluge. And that left me feeling quite disconnected, lonely in fact. Does that make sense? Perhaps I was experiencing the virtual equivalent of feeling very lost and alone in a large crowd?

Anyhow, on Thursday I reached the bottom of the low, being overtired after a busy start to the week, I hit the biscuits, struggled to share a pot of tea and conversation with my lovely parents, fell asleep with my head on a table, woke up just in time to cook a dinner I didn’t want to eat, went out to a meeting only to find it had been cancelled (I’ve since found the 3 day old cancellation notice on Facebook – Facebook notifications are not a reliable means of communication), came home, escaped into my sewing room (again) before sloping off to bed.

Second positive layer:

Thankfully, a good sleep and a gracious God provided me with a New Morning on Friday. I finished stitching the walking foot quilting designs on the Modern Fans quilt – looking good even if I do say so myself 😉

– then pottered around doing a few chores before donning my weatherproofs and setting out to hand-deliver a card to a friend. Despite being elbow deep in pumpkin flesh she kindly welcomed me in for a cup of coffee and we had a good chat as we watched the birds flitting around her garden.

Strava tells me my walk was a 5.6 mile round trip, surely long enough to get a good dose of positive-vibe endorphins circulating through my system? 

Have you been experiencing emotional ups and downs? Has patchwork quilting or another creative activity helped you to steady your thoughts, regain perspective or give you respite from a difficult situation?

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday and with Gail who is hosting TGIFF (Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday).


Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (275)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Please do bring along your projects(s) and join in the sharing of tips, news and inspiration by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Use the links below to jump down into the rabbit warren and find your way to some like-minded makers or enjoy the challenge of looking into less familiar branches of the craft of patchwork quilting.

I have had my mind set on pushing three separate projects to a finish. My motivation has been a desire to clear the project clutter from my sewing room. I need to give my mind space to rest before moving on to something different. I actually don’t know what I want to make once these three are finished. This is a new and rather strange place for me to be. Usually I have a whole list of shiny new projects I’m itching to

Read more