Round and Round….

It has been a busy, crazy couple of weeks for me…which can all be summed up by the fact that all the photos I have taken of my quilts and things I have been doing were on a SD card which got corrupted.  I had photos of my quilt at Sisters Outdoor quilt show…photos of my works in progress and photos of the Kids quilt class I taught last week.  All gone.

After lots of tears and maybe a tantrum or two I dusted myself off and decided to let it go… so instead of sharing my recent adventures I am going to share one of my most recent quilt finish…

PMQG Medallion quilt

This week I finally finished my Portland Modern Quilt Guild medallion quilt.  Now to t be honest with you I did not do all the borders that I was meant too… partly because I wanted this quilt to be baby size and partly because I got bored with the pastel colour scheme!

Medallion detail 2

If you are interested in the pattern and process you can check out my earlier post about the quilt…which includes links to the free patterns we used.

novelty prints

To finish off my quilt I decided to do my first lot of circular quilting… using the walking foot on my new Bernina 550.   I thought that circular quilting would be perfect with this quilt so I started in the center of the quilt and worked my way out.

circular quilting issues

Now if I am honest with you the center quilting was a little tricky.  I took the above photo so you could see just how wonky I was at the start… I did end up unpicking quite a few of my stitches as they were so off kilter and I went back into the center using free motioning quilting (no walking foot) to get the center right.

cronder block

Once I got past the tricky center it was really fun to just keep going round and round and round and round…. it was easy to move my small baby quilt to get a nice rhythm going.  I know there is going to be more circular quilting in my future… I love how the quilt looks and feels with this type of quilting…


To finish it all off I used a selection of Kona pastel solid scraps to make the binding and hand bound the quilt…. and I was done.  As I was putting the last stitches on the binding the wonderful postman dropped off this for me…

Modern Medallion book

I kid you not, I took delivery of this book just moments after finishing my Medallion and I am now inspired to make another one…. this time not in pastel and this time maybe a little more modern.

Quilt Details:

Pattern:  PMQG Medallion QAL
Fabric:  Pastel and low volume scraps
Finished Size:  40 x 40 inches

Neon overload

This week I managed to finish my Neon pink quilt top…finally.

neon quilt topI must admit I procrastinated lots and lots about how to get the different sized blocks to work.  Finally two of my fellow PMQG partners in crime suggested the same solution… border the blocks with white and then cut them down to the same size.  Michelle and Kimberly’s genius idea saved my head from exploding from a math over exertion.

Neon quilt detail 3This quilt started life as two orphan blocks from a PMQG Michael Miller challenge last year – an 11 inch star block and an 11 inch modern line block.  They were too fabulous not to do something with… and so I made some supporting blocks.

Neon star blockYou can find paper piecing patterns for most of these blocks under the “free paper piecing patterns” tab if you are interested.  .

quilt top detailThe fabric used is all Michael Miller… the Neon range in pink, with Cotton Couture in Soft White and my new go to grey Fog.   The grey really does a wonderful job of toning down the Neon overload!


Quilting Bee Etiquette

A couple of months ago I joined my first quilting Bees.I had been thinking about joining a Bee for a while, and then the opportunity to join two different bees presented itself.   For those of you that do not know what a quilting bee is, it is basically a group of quilters who join  together (in person or virtually) to make blocks every month which are then made into a quilt.

A search of the web showed me there were dozens and dozens of different types of Bees, and lots of opportunities to join Bees.  There are short burst bees (like the 4 x 5 Bees), there are Charity Bees (like do.Good.Stitches), there are virtual Bees, Quilting Guild Bees and of course the “group of friends who want to set up a Bee” Bees (like the ScrapBeeLicious Bee I am part of).  What I could not find on-line was advice about being a “good” Bee member.  What is the etiquette for quilting Bees?

A couple months into my Bee block making This is what I have learnt so far…


Use good quality fabrics.  I always pull from my stash 100% cotton quilters quality fabric.  There are some Bee’s out there that specifically state no Joann’s or other chain store fabrics, but I tend to bend that rule a little when it comes to fabrics like the DS Quilts range and the Cloud 9 Organic range I bought at Joanns.  In my opinion it is about the quality of the fabric not where you bought it.

Just for fun I try and fit in Lizzy House’s Pearl Bracelets or Michael Miller’s Mirrorball into my Bee blocks, if I can.  I have a friend who tries to get Denyse Schmidt’s Chickopee into her Bee blocks.

Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets

Lizzy House’s Pearl Bracelet

Queen Bee:

If you are Queen Bee – that is if it is your month to set the blocks there are some extra etiquette steps you might want to keep in mind.

1.  Make sure your instructions for your block and how to make it are clear and include the block’s finished size, colour preferences and ideally a sample block that you have made.

2.  Respect other people’s copyright.  For my turns as Queen I made sure I used a free, easily accessible pattern.  Do not set a block out of a book unless you are sure that everyone in your Bee has that book.  It is frowned upon to copy a pattern out of a book and distribute it without the author/originators approval.

Always credit pattern or inspiration and/or quilter and link to the original source.

3.  When setting your block understand that you may be forcing people out of their comfort zone. I personally feel this is a good thing.  I set my do.Good.stitches Bee a paper piecing block which was a challenge for several people.  If it is a new or challenging technique make sure you include links to instructions on how to do that particular technique (paper piecing, curves, quilt as you go etc).

4.  If the previous month’s Bee block has been particularly challenging, consider making your block a little easier (this is particularly relevant with ongoing Bee’s like Do.good.Stitches where you do not want people to burn out too quickly).

The Blocks:

Follow the Queens colour inspiration/directions as closely as possible.  If you are struggling with a lack of a certain colour in your stash, reach out to your Bee.  I have found that members are more than happy to help if they can.

Make sure your finished blocks are accurately sized to the specifics the Queen has set (which is usually 12 1/2 x 12 1/2).  If in doubt, leave them un-trimmed and drop a note to the Queen that you were unsure so did not size them up.  Remember you can cut a block down to size easily but it is messy to try to size a block up.

Make sure your finished blocks are presentable – pressed and trimmed of loose thread.  I take this opportunity to apologise to the recipients of my first lots of Bee blocks because they were a hot ugly messy.  Sorry.

Exhibit A

The perfection I am striving for… not there yet


Communication is everything.  Whether you are communicating via email or Flickr make sure you are keeping your Bee informed. If you are communicating via Flickr make sure you check the Groups discussion boards regularly (this was a rookie mistake I made with one of my Bees).

If you are struggling, have questions, need fabrics or your block is going to be late, let the Queen Bee know.  No one will be angry with you, especially if you are communicating.  People become frustrated when there is radio silence and no reply to emails or discussions.

If your blocks  are not going to show up (everyone has bad months) let the Queen know.  The sooner you can let your Queen know that the blocks will not be arriving the better, as she will then have to make replacement blocks or re-adjust her design.

If you are going to miss more than 2 months in a Bee cycle, step down from the Bee, or suspend your participation for a cycle.  It is the polite thing to do.

Include a little note in with your blocks (another one of my rookie mistakes).  A little piece of paper with your name and a short note helps the Queen Bee identify who the blocks have come in from and is a nice personal touch.  Remember this is a social activity.

Posting your blocks:

Make sure you post your blocks with plenty of time to make the deadline.  With most Bees it is assumed the blocks will arrive by the end of the month, usually with a 2 week grace period.  Your blocks are considered late by the 15th of the following month.

Make sure you are accurate with your postage.  Most Bee blocks cost around $2 + to post out – if your envelope  has any sort of bulk to it the USPS considers it a parcel and charges more.  I have had to pay extra postage on a couple of envelops in the last month or so and now have a stack of change next to the door so I can easily pay the post person.

Now onto pretty…

To wrap up things up here are my November Bee blocks for Alyce of WonderlandbyAlyce, who requested the X plus block.

x plus quilt block

I had been wanting to try this block for ages and even though Alyce just asked for 2 blocks I got a little carried away and made 4.  I am not sure what the etiquette is on doing more than the number of blocks requested but I kind of figure you can use the extras for the back if you want.

Bee Blocks

Enough already…

I am sure that there are things that I have not covered, do not know about or have not yet encountered.  I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and advice on Bee Etiquette.

Appleville Quilt finished

I managed to finish my Appleville quilt this week… another Project Linus finish for October.    I started this quilt a week or so ago and it was a real challenge for me.

Appleville modern kids quilt

I was using a “cheater” panel for the first time and really wanted to highlight each of the individual illustrations somehow.  Once I had worked out my colour scheme and pulled some appropriate supporting fabric from my stash, the individual blocks came together easily.   My original post on the quilt was full of optimism.   Then  the struggle began for me with how to lay them out.

Appleville qulit detail

I had never worked with this much white/negative space before.  My design wall was a blessing as I moved the blocks around trying to find a flow I liked.  Once I had a layout I was happy with the real hard work began.  It was like doing a jigsaw puzzle piecing in the white Kona cotton.  The top part of the quilt took me ages to put together but by the bottom section I was an old pro.  There are even some Y seams in this sucker (another first for me).  I would love to hear from anyone who has advice, tricks or tips on doing this kind of piecing.  I know I have a lot to learn.

Appleville quilt detail

With the top all pieced I now had to fill all that negative space with quilting  First off I tried some hand quilting in red thread – I liked it but my wrist is not healed enough to handle that much hand quilting at the moment…. so unpicking number one.

Applieville quiltingThen I quilted  lines inside the blocks and tried a little free motion pebbles in the white space.  I did not like it, and again my wrist was not up to that much pushing and pulling of fabric through the machine… unpicking number 2.   In the end it was straight lines and boxes.

Appleville quilt detail 2

It does the job, but is not as beautiful as I would have liked.  I am still coming to terms with my quilting shortfalls (which is my actual quilting) and my current physical limitations (my darn left wrist).  I am chomping at the bit to do some proper free-motion quilting to build up my skills.

For the back of the quilt I used my favorite printed panel and made it the focal point.

Applieville quilt back

I think it is one of the cutest quilt backs I have done.  And it is all because of this little print.

Appleville quilt back detail

Appleville Quilt Details:

Style:  Modern free form

Fabric:  Appleville by Robert Kaufman & Kona White

Finished quilt size: 47″ x 57″


A Yummy work in progress

Last weekend I took part in the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meetup – quite a mouthful hey!  Guilds from around the Pacific Northwest gathered in Portland to meet, sew and basically have a great time.  It was a lot of fun and I meet some amazing quilters.  One of the events on Saturday was a charity sew day at Modern Domestic.  I spent several glorious hours using an amazing Bernina Sewing machine making these…

Yummy quilt block

As part of the goodie bag for the Meetup there was small packets 2 1/2 squares of Lecien’s “Happy Mochi yumyum” fabric (Monica, the designer of these fun fabrics is a Portland MQG member).

little bags of fabric

I gathered my packets, hunted down some of the spare packets that were left over and then bribed some more packets from some friends.  Finally when I thought I had enough, I went to work.

blocks in progress

I paired the fabric with some Kona “Snow” and happily sat chain piecing and ironing for hours.  I managed to get 4 blocks of 12 done during my time at the Sew Day, then bought the whole process home to finish.

work space

There is Yumyum all over my work space, which is fine with me.  It is such a happy fun fabric and works well in 2 1/2 inch squares.

design wall 2

I am hoping to have the top finished by Friday, so I am off to quilt some more.