4×7 Sewing Challenge

This February Sarah from Berry Barn Designs is hosting a fun challenge called the 4×7 Sewing Challenge to sew for yourself for 30 minutes each day during February.  I haven’t quite made 30 minutes each day – some were more and some were less – but I like trying to sew a little each day.

I’m trying to make my sewing more purposeful.  As in, choose projects that I really want to finish.  Finish the projects I start.  Do something with the scraps or throw them away.  Finally finish the quilt for my bed.  That type of purposeful.

I made two sets of leaders for my new velcro longer setup (which so far I am in love with, other than having to make leaders).  I watched Sharon Chamber’s youtube video on how she loads her quilts, and while some of it doesn’t apply because she uses a different type of machine than I do, I love her leader method.  It helps me attach the quilts to achieve a flatter surface which results in a more even stitch especially at the top and bottom of the piece.  It’s also easier to load because I can center the quilt easier – and if it’s off by a little, re-center much easier.  You can see the newest 50″ leader in action below.

new leaders for the longarm

I also pieced a little mini that I had started during the January meeting of the Quilting Circle I am part of.  I am really trying to not create new UFO’s so I pieced the top, made a backing (even attaching a label!), found a scrap of batting that fits, and it is in line for the longarm.

Spool mini quilt

I also made another block for the “Real World Red & White” quilt.  I was obsessed with that quilt last winter, and then as it warmed up my interest waned.  I had though about signing up for the 4×5 block exchange on flickr this winter to get more blocks for the quilt.  I did the 2014 Winter and 2014 Spring (received and sent) iterations and received some great blocks, but I have so many blocks that I want to make myself.  I had to really ask myself if I was going to sign up because I wanted to do a bee, or if I wanted a forcing function to get 6 more blocks done.  I really wanted a forcing function, so I’ve decided to just challenge myself to make 6 more blocks.  I would like to get it done by mid-March.  That’s one block a week, and seems do-able.  This week I started with the Stepping Stones block from Piece n Quilt’s 30 days of blocks.

Stepping Stones block from Piece n Quilt's 30 days of blocks

Week 1 was super productive!  Here’s hoping I can keep up the momentum with week 2!

Linking up to Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs, and some of the following: Sew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuilts, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric

Jewel Puzzle Paper Pieced Pattern

Jewel Paper Pieced Tutorial

Free paper pieced pattern for 12″ finished block that includes detailed photographic instructions on how to paper piece.

Today, my new Jewel Puzzle paper pieced block pattern was featured on Sew Mama Sew!  Head over to Sew Mama Sew for the Jewel Puzzle Tutorial.

Jewel Puzzle Block

This paper pieced pattern is probably a solid intermediate level… not too hard because there aren’t a lot of intersections to match up, but a lot of pieces for a true beginner.

I made this block to use a pillow in my daughter’s new room.  I wanted something bright and cheerful, and I think this block does just that.

I also made a version of this block for my Red & White Sampler.  It amazes me how different these blocks look with some different fabric and different fabric placements.

Red Jewel Puzzle Block


If you make this block, please let me know because I would love to see your work!  I’ve started an Instagram tag for #jewelpuzzle block, or you can email me a picture.

– Heather

Also linking up to:

WiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricShow off Saturday at Sew Can SheSewing Saturday at Simple Simon & Co,  Anything Goes MondayFabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart Quilts


Bee Blocks – Received!

It is always fun to receive bee blocks!  I try to do the 4×5 Modern Bee quarterly, which is nice because it has instant gratification as far as bees go.  You send your blocks and receive your blocks at the same time.  This spring I was in hive 3, and was fortunate to receive the following blocks to add to my Real World Red & White Sampler:

Spring 2014 4x5 Modern Bee Hive 3

1. Dawn, 2. Christina (illy23), 3. Brandy (Jade Rose), 4. Sarah (Coincidentally Quilting), 5. Cinda (Sewbusy64), 6. My Double Pinwheel

I am also part of the Stash Bee, which is a more traditional monthly bee where you send away a block each month, and then have to wait until your month to get all your blocks in return.  When it’s your month though – it’s magical!  Everyday going to the mailbox felt like my birthday.

Hive 12 did an amazing job on my blocks.  I requested that they do my Square Dance block using my paper piecing tutorial in gray and shades of aqua.  As you can see below, they did beautiful work.

Square Dance Quilt

Thank you to the ladies of Hive 12: Heather (Quilts in the Queue), Cheryl (Texas Quilting Gal), Jennifer (Taken Patiently), Michele, Kristel (Work in Progress Girl), Laura (Sew Frou Frou Quilter), Toni (Gypsygirl Wanderlust), Genevieve, Francis (Quilts n Stuff), and Willa.




Linking up to:

Anything Goes MondayFabric Tuesday @ Quilt StoryLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric, and Sewjo Saturday at My Go-Go Life.


Spring 2014 4×5 Modern Bee

I chose to make the Double Pinwheel Block from McCalls.

I think it’s a fun block, that isn’t seen very much around the inter webs right now.  It’s one of those classic blocks that can be modernized with fabric choices.  The only downside of the block is using the construction directions from McCalls there are a gazillion bias edges.  All you can do is starch like crazy and hope for the best.

Spring 2014 Hive #3 4x5 Modern Bee

Sarah requested aqua, lime, cobalt, and grey on a text or low volume background.

Double Pinwheel Block


Christina requested sea foam green, pale turquoise, pale gold, champagne, pearl white, and kona white background.

Double Pinwheel Block


Cinda requested aqua/turquoise, orange, yellow, and grey with a white or low volume background.

Double Pinwheel Block

Dawn requested red, turquoise, aqua and pink with a white background.

Double Pinwheel Block

Brandy requested purple and aqua with grey or low volume background.

Double Pinwheel Block

I continued with my real world red and white theme.

Double Pinwheel

– Heather

Linking to: Anything Goes MondayWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric, and Sewjo Saturday at My Go-Go Life.

Cora’s Quilts Spring Sampler

In my continuing quest to create a queen sized quilt so I can actually sleep under a quilt I’ve made, I started the Spring Sampler over at Cora’s Quilts.

Block 1 is Pyramid.  These are all 12.5 inch unfinished blocks, so a great size for bees or a sampler quilt (in my case!).
Pyramids (Cora's Quilts Spring Sampler)
Block 2 is Beacon.
Beacon  (Cora's Quilts Spring Sampler)
Block 3 is Tombstone.  I varied the fabric placement a little from her suggestion to make it look more different than Pyramid, because it is pretty similar.

Tombstone  (Cora's Quilts Spring Sampler)

So far, I’m enjoying these blocks.  Cora has done a good job making these tutorials available, and I can’t wait to keep making more!

– Heather

Linking up to:WiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric, and Sewjo Saturday at My Go-Go Life.

Star Fruit Paper Piecing Pattern

I had the opportunity to test a fun block for Diane of From Blank Pages.  It is her brand new Star Fruit paper piecing pattern, and it comes in 6 inch, 12 inch, and 18 inch sizes.  I chose to make a 12 inch finished block.
Star Fruit

This pattern is not one to pick for your first time paper piecing, but it is a very do-able block for someone with a reasonable amount of paper piecing experience.  It makes a really cool secondary design that I chose to deemphasize in the tan area, but it just depends what you want to do with it.
I decided to play around a little bit with Photoshop and see what an entire quilt made from this block would look like.
First up is the standard, non-sashed quilt.  It makes some really nice secondary designs, and I think I would actually have an easier time deciding how to quilt an entire quilt of this block than I will when this is part of a sampler.

Star Fruit Quilt

I really, really like this block set on point!  My husband saw this picture, and I think he wants an entire quilt made just like this.  This quilt isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but I agree that it would be beautiful.

Star Fruit set on point

Lastly, we have how this block will actually be used – as part of my Real World Red and White Sampler.  I’m up to 15 blocks!  Exciting, because my goal is for this to be a queen (long ways off).

Real World Red & White as of 28APR14

This block is available on Craftsy or Etsy.  Or you can leave a comment right here for a chance to win a copy!  I will leave comments open through May 5th, and announce the winner on May 6th.
Thanks for stopping by!

Teaching Quilting

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do something different – I was teaching quilting to my mom.

My mom learned to sew in the day of home economics for all girls, and made a substantial part of her wardrobe (probably from high school through her 20’s), so she is not new to sewing.  Teaching someone how to piece quilt blocks is a lot easier when the person already understands what a 1/4 inch seam is and why consistency matters.

Three generations of quilters in action!

Learning to Quilt
My mom and grandma did make a quilt at some point before I existed.  They used 4 inch squares of fabric leftover from clothes my mom made – a mix of fabric types.  They cut it out using electric scissors, sewed it together, and tied it.  My mom still uses it on the bed when my parents go camping.
Learning to Quilt
There are differences between quilt piecing and clothing sewing (or how she sewed when she did it a lot): seam size, using a rotary cutter, using 100% cotton fabric, pressing instead of ironing, etc.  Either way, she was a fast learner.

Block #2 We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler

For her first block, I chose a block based on 9 patches.  Straight lines in squares are always a good place to start.  I did selfishly choose colors that would work with my “Real World Red & White Sampler”.  We did the 9 patch block from Sewn By Leila’s We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.

Learning to Quilt
For her second block, I introduced half square triangles.  We did the Pinwheel block from the same sampler, which was really just adding some tips to the Pinwheel Parade Block by V&Co.
Pinwheel Parade Block
My mom’s visit was great, and went too fast as always, but I’m glad we got to spend some time together doing something we both really enjoy.Linking up to Whoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricSewjo Saturday at My Go-Goo LifeAnything Goes MondayFabric Tuesday @ Quilt StoryWiP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced, and Let’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuilts.

March Bee Blocks and BoMs

It’s the end of March, and I finished my March Bee Block and BoMs!

First up is the block for Stash bee, hive #12.  Jennifer requested the Arizona block from the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler at Sewn by Leila.  She wanted orange and turquoise, so I hope she likes this block 🙂  I think I am going to have to make another one of these in my colors!

Arizona quilt block
Up next, I am still working my way through the 2013 Lucky Stars BoM.  Below is the March 2013 block.  I had the absolute worst time with this block.  I don’t blame the instructions, it was completely me.  It seemed every piece of fabric I could cut wrong, I did.  Or sew on backwards.  Or run out of the fabric less than halfway through the block.  
Let’s just say I was very happy when this was done.  I am also convinced there is any easier way to get this look than the way this block was done.  If I didn’t have such a terrible experience doing it, I would probably figure out the easier way.  Instead, I just plan to have this be the one and only time I ever do this block.  
March 2013 Lucky Stars BoM
I am also doing other blocks for the sampler as I see ones that I like.  This is the January 2013 Aurifil BoM.  
Aurifil January 2013 BoM
I think this one puts me at 11 total… I did the math, and I think I need 36 with the sashing I want to get it the size I want.  Almost 1/3 of the way done!

Aurifil February 2014 BOM

To add another block to my Real Life Red & White quilt, I chose a little bit quicker one than I’ve been working on lately.  I chose the Aurifil February 2014 BOM.

February 2014 Aurifil BOM

In addition, I received two more of my blocks from the Winter 2014 4×5 Modern Quilt Bee, so it’s like I finished THREE blocks toward my goal!  Just kidding, I’m halfway to my first goal for the 30/30 challenge.  I still have some more projects I’ve been working on that just aren’t ready to show yet.

Enjoy the blocks I have so far below:
Real Life Red & White Quilt

To review my 30/30 Challenge:

1. Two ONE block for my “Real World Red & White” Sampler.  

2. A shirt for me.  I’ve been wanting to make my own clothes for awhile, so why not start?

3. Get ready for spring!  I need at least one pair of shorts for my daughter, preferable more.

4. Acknowledge that spring is not here yet, therefore make a couple pairs of pants for my daughter. 

5. Complete the March Stash Bee block – that’s not a real goal, more of a must finish, but I think it still counts (and makes this list a little less clothing heavy).

Berry Barn Designs