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Making A Beautiful Mess - The Quilt

Years ago I did a quilt-along with Old Red Barn Co. I bought the fabric recommended for the quilt along, Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass. I cut it up. I sewed it up. I made some pretty big mistakes. I tried to fix the mistakes and made more mistakes. I put the whole thing aside in frustration. It made me feel guilty.

Fast forward a few years(!). I decided I'm sewing this thing together. I don't care if it doesn't line up nicely. I don't care if it's wonky. I don't care if it's an odd size. It's going to be a quilt and that's it! The fabric is too pretty (and, ahem, expensive) to sit in a drawer. And the way it's all cut up in strips, it will look nice no matter. Just don't look too closely.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Last night I sewed all those uneven, crazy, wonky, strip-blocks into long rows. Tonight or tomorrow I'll be sewing those rows together (without a care in the world about matching points, because, why bother now? I'm not stressing about this quilt ever again. Period.) And then I'll have a quilt top. I already have the fabric for the back which will be pieced together in a simple, carefree manner.

However, my now-almost-11-year-old (who the quilt was supposed to be for) no longer likes pink and green. She likes purple and blue. So there's that. BUT, her 4-year-old sister likes butterflies. So, she'll take the quilt. If she can have the butterfly fabric face up. Which is the back. Oh. Well.

Inspiration: Star Quilts

Today I'm feeling inspired by the look and colors of these star quilts.

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Clockwise from top left:

Tutorial: The 3-2-1 Throw, A Quick & Easy Little Quilt

It's true! This really is an easy and fast quilted throw! Perfect for beginners who feel a bit intimidated about quilting, or for the more experienced who want to put something together super-quick! This quilt utilizes the "pillow-case" method of binding, so there are no bias strips to make. Please note, however, this method of binding quilts is best only for small quilts like throws and baby blankets.

The 3-2-1 Quilted Throw is made with organic fabrics and organic batting. I used fabric from the My Happy Garden collection by Cloud9 Organics. (Found at Modern Organic Fabrics Shop)

~My Happy Garden organic cotton fabric as follows:

  • Speckle Grass - 12 1/2" x 48"
  • Meadow - 12 1/2" x 24 1/4"
  • Speckle Sun - 12 1/2" x 24 1/4"
  • Speckle Sky - 12 1/2" x 16 1/4"
  • Toadstools - 12 1/2" x 16 1/2"
  • Flock - 12 1/2" x 16 1/4" 
  • Lines -  approximately 37" x 49" (this is the backing fabric, it is cut a little large at first and will be cut to size after the front is finished)

~Organic cotton batting: 
  Approximately 40" x 50" (cut a little large, will be cut to size when the front is finished)


~Rotary cutter & cutting mat (or scissors)
~masking or painter's tape
~sewing machine (or needle & thread) 

 ***1/4 inch seam allowances are used, unless stated otherwise***

Diagram is not to scale

~Step One~
Cut pieces for quilt front. Do not cut back to exact size yet.

~Step Two~
With right sides together, pin Speckle Sky and Toadstools together on one short side and stitch. Place Flock on Toadstools, right sides together, pin and stitch on short side. 

~Step Three~
With right sides together, pin Meadow and Speckle Sun together and stitch on one short side. 

~Step Four~
Place each column on the batting in it's approximate finished spot. Remove the 3-piece column and the 1-piece column. Pin the 2-piece (middle) column to batting.

~Step Five~
Stitch the middle row to the batting by stitching around the edge.

~Step Six~
Place the 1-piece column right side down on the 2-piece column. Pin and stitch long sides together (you are also stitching it to the batting).

~Step Seven~
 Flip the 1-piece column back, pin wrong side to batting. Stitch around edge.

 ~Step Eight~
 Place the 3-piece column face down on the 2-piece column. Pin and stitch long sides together (you are also stitching it to the batting).

~Step Nine~
Flip the 3-piece column back, pin wrong side to batting. Stitch around edge.

~Step Ten~
 Trim the batting to the quilt top. Make sure the quilt edges are straight and corners are squared up, trim if necessary.

~Step Eleven~
 Tape the backing fabric to a table or the floor right side up. Place the quilt top right side down on the backing and pin. Trim the backing to same size as top, keep quilt pinned together.

~Step Twelve~
Stitch front and back together, leaving a 4-inch opening on one short side.

~Step Thirteen~
Trim the corners. Turn quilt inside-out and use a dull, pointed instrument (such as a chopstick) to turn out corners.

~Step Fourteen~
Press edges. Sew opening closed (the best way is to hand sew it closed).

~Step Fifteen~
Sew around edge of quilt using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

~Step Sixteen~
You can be finished, if you'd like. This quilt is small enough that you don't have to quilt the back. However, this is a great little quilt to practice some machine quilting. I used a walking foot on my machine and stitched random diagonal lines.

~Step Seventeen~
Wash the quilt in cold water with a mild, eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry, or put in the dryer on low heat.

~Step Eighteen~

About Quilts In Progress

Can you call a quilt a "work in progress" if you've been thinking about it a lot but haven't done any physical work yet? Okay, good. I plan to use these pinks from Jennifer Paganelli's Queen Street and Amanda Murphy's Veranda, along with a few others (see that Cute Bots up there? I won't be using that fabric, but the colors work perfectly here so I plan to get some of the supporting fabrics from the collection). 

My inspiration for the quilt is this "Yellow Potpourri" quilt by Kaffe Fassett from his book Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts. I want to make a "color wash" quilt, rather than one with high contrast and this one has the look I will try to achieve. I do not plan to follow the instructions for the quilt as it is very improvisational and I think I'd rather do the improv myself. I also want to do the border differently. I do not own this book (checked it out from the library), so I'll just remember what I love about it and not have it there to copy. It will probably take me awhile (barring any huge mistakes) to finish, so I will take you along on the journey.

Huge Mistakes

Confession: I joined the Old Red Barn quilt along back in 2009. I messed up my quilt BIG TIME. Wonky strips, squares cut wrong, you-name-it. Over the years I tried different things to fix it, but kind of made it worse. I put it away and fretted over the years, too. Well, I'm getting it back out, saying "what the heck" and sewing it up in all it's messed-up-so-wrong glory. There's just too much expensive fabric (Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass - one of my favorite collections ever!) sitting there for my frugal self to scrap this project. It's gonna be done. And, really, other than you smarty pants, 95% of the population will not look closely enough to care about the seams and the wonkiness and whether it was done right. I have other quilts to make and they'll only get better. At least that's what I'm telling myself. And maybe I'll show you the finished product - do you want to see something done wrong?


Honey Child by Jennifer Paganelli - received complimentary from Jennifer Paganelli 
Veranda by Amanda Murphy - received complimentary from Amanda Murphy
Cute Bots by Rashida Coleman-Hale - received as a gift with purchase of her book, I Heart Patchwork (looks like her Etsy shop is no longer active)
Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts book by Kaffe Fassett - checked out from the library
Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass - purchased from Hawthorne Threads (way back when)

Round Up: 14 Organic Cotton Quilts to Inspire

organic cotton quilts

Today, a look at comfy, cozy organic cotton quilts.

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organic cotton quilts

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Quilts on the Beach

We've been spending a lot of time at the beach this summer. Though the kids sometimes prefer the pool, I like to encourage the beach when possible. I love the sensory experience of the beach with sand, sounds of the waves, sounds of people and music. They like the pool because they can swim and use their floaties. We try to strike a balance. And now that I found Martha's guide to building sand castles, we must go often and give her method a try! We live near the shores of the beautiful Lake Michigan, which is large enough to appear ocean-like (though fresh water, so no smell of salt), and quite cold so not great for swimming. We sometimes go "up North" here in Wisconsin to smaller, inland lakes and beaches and the kids enjoy those, too.

Anyway, I have yet to make a beach quilt and every time I lay out those old fleece blankets from the trunk of the van I think "I really need to make a couple of pretty quilts". Here's some great inspiration in case you're thinking the same.

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Christmas Quilt Round-Up: 12 Quilts to Sew

Another week of holiday sewing ideas! I'm starting the week with twelve ideas for Christmas quilts.

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Seven Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas to Sew

Continuing with the "get ready for holiday sewing" theme, I present you with seven ideas for eco-friendly gifts. Start gathering materials and felting sweaters!

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Quilted Throws: 10 Free Patterns or Tutorials

I'm just going to say it. If you plan to sew holiday gifts this year, it's time to get started. At the very least, it's time to start planning. This week I'm going to help you (and me) out a bit with some ideas to get your planning underway.

Quilted throws always make nice gifts, but even the easiest ones can be a bit time-consuming so don't wait until the last minute! You'll be trying to bake cookies and send (make?) cards in December, too, you know! Here is a round-up of ten free patterns or tutorials of quilted throws that I think could be made by beginners (also quick projects for those more experienced).

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 Clockwise from top left:


Giveaway! Swiss Chocolate Fabric & Quilt Patterns by Amanda Murphy

Swiss Chocolate quilting fabric quilt patterns Amanda Murphy

Yesterday I showed you Amanda Murphy's upcoming quilting fabric collection, Veranda. Today I'm giving away a fat quarter bundle of her current fabric collection, Swiss Chocolate.

Aren't those blues and browns lovely? With a pop of peach, which I've really been digging lately! But, that's not all! I'm also giving away a set of all six of her new quilt patterns! In addition to being pretty and vibrant, some of the patterns are designed to be used with certain cuts of fabric and are so labeled, such as fat-quarter-friendly and 2-1/2"-strip friendly. She goes through each pattern in detail on her blog.

So, there will be two winners! One for the fabric and one for the patterns. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and you will be in the drawing for either prize. If you'd prefer to be in the drawing for only one of the two prizes, you can say so in your comment.

Comments close Sunday night, July 10. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday. Good luck!

Picnic Blanket Tutorial Round-Up

There really is no shortage of fantastic picnic blanket tutorials for all levels of sewing ability and of many different styles. Here is a little round-up of some pretty fantastic ones.

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Inspiration: Beach Wedding (Part 2)

Inspiration beach wedding, part 2, all about the soft colors of a beach wedding. This board is geared more towards the guests, I think.

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Inspiration: Beach Wedding (Part 1)

Today's inspiration post comes in two parts, both inspired by a beach wedding with sandy tones, peachy pastels and clear blues.

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Inspiration: Cool Summer Garden

Today's inspiration post is brought to you by a cool, green garden in the midst of a summer heat wave.

Top row from left to right:



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