Gems of Andover – Serendipity Strikes A Quilting Adventure

For those of you who remember to back in December or January, a lot of folks on Instagram were looking for their key word for 2015.  I picked serendipity.   Why?  Because I felt that 2015 would be marked by the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.  And it happened!  Really!

A border I had envisioned for my recent Bunnies Gone Wild did not work out.  I had pondered doing a border of Chinese Lanterns, which you can see here: Chinese Lanterns.  So I stuck that paper piece template aside and merrily went with a four patch border.

But never a dull moment with moi!  I found myself with a blank design wall and was wondering what to do next.  When I looked over at my cutting table, the Chinese lantern pattern was sitting there, with a ruler on it, and serendipity!  I traced the line with a pencil and my gem block was born.  Of course, it looked wretched but it worked for me –  Gem 2 Original Pattern

And my Andover fabrics stash was calling me again.  As it usually does.  Because its pretty.  And fun.  And it needed to be used.  So the Gems of Andover were born.  The pattern is more simplistic than some of the gem blocks floating around these days – not as many facets and shapes.  But I was happy.

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So happy that I kept making them.  And made a larger one.  And people on Instagram kept encouraging me (bad move!).   I got to this point with six, and laid out six more.  I figured a dozen would do!








Then I decided some Alison Glass handcrafted for a big finish and VOILA!  I wound up with a most delightful project that has been a lot of fun.  I did some ditch quilting and some wavy lines and voila, Gems of Andover.

If you want to make your own gems, here’s the cleaned up PDF Gem 3 Updated Pattern.  The proportions for the top section are a little different than my pencil mock up, but it still is a gem of a block (I should stay away from puns or whatever it is I think I was getting here).  I even made a pattern cover – you know, just to get all fancy Gem 4 Colorized.

The finale!
The finale!


What Shade Are You – Quilting Adventures with RJR Cotton Supreme Solids

You know me, I spend far too much time on Instagram and not a lot of time on the blogosphere.  I probably need better time management skills, but figuring that out would just interfere with my quilting.

Back in March, I posted a piece I was working on and came across a comment from RJR Fabrics inviting me to participate in their What Shade Are You blog hop.  Well, you never have to ask me twice if I want to play with fabric!  So with a heartfelt Yes, of course, I received their Cotton Supreme Solids color card and began plotting my quilt adventure in earnest.

Blog Hop 2015 logo D
Head on over to the RJR Blog!

So in 25 plus years of quilting, I’ve used RJR fabrics before (yes, I have a fanboy thing for the mad skills of Jinny Beyer and if you’ve not checked you Patrick Lose’s Basically Patrick line, you are missing out), but believe it or not I had never discovered their solids.  And as with all things fabric, I was a kid in a candy store!  As you can see over at their site, the color range is fantastic.  Deciding on which ones to use was a bit of a challenge, since I just wanted them all!

I had for months been pondering doing an economy block piece.  There were lots of folks doing pieces with them earlier in the year, and I felt like I had been left behind – but not in a Kirk Cameron bad movie kind of way though.  And I had also become intrigued with Cotton and Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics.  I had been using their basics line and was happy with the colors and patterns.  Their fall 2014 line up included Tokyo Train Ride, Mesa, Cookie Book, and of course Mochi.  The bunnies.  Oh the bunnies.

Now to figure out the solids to go with them!  Here’s what I went with:  Citron, Raging Ruby (which btw needs to be obtained if for no other reason than it’s name), Denim, Riviera, Meadowland, Egg Nog, Meissen Blue, and Battleship.  I also used a Cotton and Steel solid called Moonlight.  Armed with these solids, I was ready to go.  Here’s the complete line up!


(Confession time!  I picked three others – Caviar, Jacaranda, and Bougainvillea, but I confess, picking fabric from a color card or on line has proven challenging for me.  I am old school I guess in that I really do like seeing fabric up close and personal.  Sometimes the color, particularly saturation, can be different.  Those three will have to await their quilting destiny!)

The RJR solids were great to work with.  Nice weave, texture, and sewing with them was a breeze.  So with a plan, I started in earnest making economy blocks.  The original design called for 60 of them – I called it quits at 48.  You know, those suckers become a tad tedious after four dozen (for me the number of blocks you have to make for a large quilt becomes more daunting when they start to take on epic proportions where you have to start referring to their count with words like DOZENS).  But I truly loved the results I was getting.  The square in a square let me focus on fussy cutting and the solids were perfect for setting off the centers.  And while the finished piece may to some not look like there is a lot of rhyme or reason to the layout, there is some distinct patterning that I put into the top (the center square are my zen bunnies – there is a perfect combination of bunny, Riviera solid, and Cookie Book ghost saltine navy in those blocks).

Bunny zen achieved.









I did have to alter my border plan – I originally had a diagonal stripe worked out that would have become triangles when put on.  But, since I caved on making any more economy squares, I put on a skinny border of the most beautiful grey I have used in a while – Battleship – along with the navy ghost saltine.  I then did a simple four patch combination of all the solids I’d used for an outside border.  I then used the inner border combination for the binding.  This is the third piece I’ve done lately where I’ve used more than one fabric for the binding and the results  make me pretty happy.  And of course a special shout out to my long arm quilter friend Sue who again worked her magical quilting skills on the piece.

The back of the quilt to show off the long arm quilting!
The back of the quilt to show off the long arm quilting!



Sue planned the quilting out with some quick sketches. It turned out perfectly!















And this is the finished piece.  I could think of no better picture than to have the bunnies out in the wild!

What Shade Are You?  Bunnies in the Wild
What Shade Are You? Bunnies in the Wild

So there you have it!  My What Shade Are You quilting adventure.  And the answer to that question remains a mystery.  As one of my Instagram friends put it, I tend to be dark and brooding with flashes of brilliant color (thanks @debpotteringabout!).  My color interests span the spectrum and I want to thank RJR Fabrics for letting me have some fun with their solids.


No quilt would be complete without a label!








And as a fun fact for those of you who have never met me in person – my eyes are green.  They can also turn blue, grey, and also a lovely shade of yellow (that is the ‘do not approach’  color!).  So even my eyes don’t know what shade I am!

Happy quilting adventures to you all!  I’m going back to working with the remaining RJR solids to make some more fun things!



Danger – Curves Ahead

I have been doing a lot of work with curves lately. This is my latest attempt at taking curves and building bridges between them. The following instructions are intended for your personal use. If you share it, make sure you give me credit. The piece unfinished is 35 ½ x 35 ½. I’ve provided a coloring sheet after the templates. Happy creating!


Fabric Requirements

I used 6 fat quarters of different Robert Kaufmann Kona solids in blues. I also used about half a yard of Kona grey (I think it is charcoal!) for the background. The fabric requirements will vary depending on what you wind up doing with the piece






Block Cutting

There are two blocks that comprise this piece. Both are 7 ½ inch unfinished blocks.  There is also a center block. To make this you will need:

16 drunkards path block

  • these are constructed using template A and template B on page 4.
  • You will need 16 of A and 16 of B.
  • In the design shown, I did 8 blue and 8 grey of each of A and B to get the design.
  • The seam allowances are included in the templates but not shown.











8 bridge blocks – for these you need to cut the following from your fabric


  • 8 pieces 2” x 7 ½” – for the design shown I cut four from the blues and four from the grey so that the bridges carry from the drunkard’s path block
  • 8 6 x 7 ½ – I cut mine from the blues








1 center square block 7 ½ x 7 ½ (I used the blues)

Sewing the Blocks

For the drunkard’s path block, you need to take one template A and one template B (I used my Accuquilt 7 ½ drunkards path die). Match the notch – I pin there. And I only use one pin J. I have the B piece on top. Start sewing, going slowly as you work around the curve. When you get to the pin, remove it and continue on to the end. Yes, it is that easy. I do not clip the curves. I press from the back and press the template A out.


You will have a total of 16 drunkard’s path blocks.

For the bridge blocks, you need to sew one 2 x 7 ½ piece to one 6 x 7 ½ piece to create 8 blocks.

Quilt Layout

The quilt is laid out in a five by five design as shown below. The top and bottom two rows contain the drunkard’s path blocks and a bridge block. The middle row has four bridges and the 7 ½ x 7 ½ center square.




Join the blocks together in rows as shown. This is a detail of the bridge block placement between the two drunkard’s path blocks.

When sewing the blocks into rows, I press the seams in opposite directions in each row so that the seams nest when the rows are joined together. Now join the rows together as shown and voila, you are done!




Drunkard’s Path Block Templates (seam allowances included but not drawn in – cut at the solid black line – consider template plastic or heavier weight paper to cut your templates. If you have an Accuquilt, I used the 7 ½ drunkards path.)









Coloring Block

Danger Curves Blank








And this and this was the original with a change up as I measured wrong!









A Quilting Adventure to Skopelos

Little did I know my quilting adventures would be taking me to a lovely Greek island!  I long ago had two friends from high school who used to go to the Greek islands for vacations – I was very envious when they would send postcards from Mykenos or Skopelos or some other exotic location while I hung out on the Jersey shore!

This adventure started with Katarina Rocella asking me if I wanted to have some fun with her new ArtGallery Fabrics line, Skopelos.   Well of course I said yes!   Then she e mailed me saying it was part of a blog hop.  Ummmmm, okay.  My blogging is sporadic at best, but I was game.  So here you have it, my adventure to Skopelos.

I knew right away what I wanted to make, so I asked for a couple of pieces from the line.  The wonderful folks at AGF sent me more than I could imagine, so my mind started to spin.  I would stick with my original plan, a quilt inspired from a wonderful book titled A Quilter’s Mixology by Angela Pingel.  You can find more info on the book here.   I’ve shown off some of the progress and pieces on Instagram already, but for the first time I give you the complete Skopelos adventure.

Let’s start with the obligatory group fence shot!  Yes, I wound up with four pieces.  It’s gorgeous fabric and as AGF says, you can feel the difference.






The inspiration piece I imagined as my little house on a Greek island.  One of the central prints from the line has wonderful details of houses, fences, chairs, and trees.  I used my Accuquilt 7 inch drunkard’s path die to cut the fabric (note to self – pay attention to the direction when you load fabric – yes, one of my house’s is upside down!) and then started the piecing process.  I used a light grey solid from AGF as the background.  A big shout out to both Intrepid Threads and Hawthorne Threads for supplementing my solids on this adventure!  And I asked my long arm quilter Sue to work her magic on the piece.  The swirls and curves helped to embody the island in the sea them I was going for.








The second piece was created with a very bohemian mindset – I wanted to continue playing with curves, so I cut into the fabric line and the coordinating solids and just started tossing pieces onto the design wall.  I am thrilled with it as the interplay between the Skopelos fabric and the solids worked (yes, even the bright pink!).  Though I know it will not work for everyone.  Aesthetics.  I get it.  And Sue did a great job quilting a circle/spiral starting from the center as well as some detail work in some of the areas.








And I was determined to use most every scrap of the fabric, so I made this piece – it is inspired by a stacked diamond design I did last year for a bee – I made the diamonds larger and then offset it.  I only made half a star – I’ve been intrigued with that concept since I first saw it on Instagram.  I quilted this one using straight lines of different Aurifil thread  and did the binding with AGF Prisma elements.








And last is my Tumbling to Skopelos.  I’ve had a Fat Cat ruler for over a year and never got around to experimenting with it, so I gave it a whirl.  I used the remaining pieces from the Paparounes and various solids.  I tried to follow the block shape in the quilting – there was a lot of turning and twisting in my Bernina, so a bit wonky in spots but overall I think it came out well.  And I love the backing fabric I found for this.  And of course it is demon dog approved so all is right with the world.

















Well, that’s it for my Skopelos adventure.  Thanks for coming over and checking things out.  A special thanks to Katarina and AGF for the opportunity to participate in the hop.

And don’t forget to check out all the other phenomenal makers for this hop.  The schedule and links are below.  Check out Katarina’s blog for an awesome giveaway!

2. ALLEGORY LANHAM – April 21st
3. ERICA TOOLE – April 22nd
4. RACHAEL GANDER – April 23th
5. AMY FRIEND – April 24th
6. MARIJA VUJČIĆ – April 25th
7. DANA BOLYARD – April 26th
8. ERICA JACKMAN – April 27th
10. SVETLANA SOTAK – April 29th
11. KATHLEEN RIGGINS – April 30th
12. APRIL RHODES – May 1st
13. PAUL HALLINGER – May 2nd
15. CAROLINE HULSE – May 4th
16. JANE DAVIDSON – May 5th




It was easy to title this post.  It is one I have been meaning to do for quite some time but somehow the days get away from me and I do not get to the blog as frequently as I would like.  Spending less time sewing and on Instagram (and at the day job) would help solve that dilemma.

A few months back I came home from work and saw a very large parcel on the front porch.  I panicked, because I knew I had not ordered anything in a while.  So I brought the package into the house and found that the wonderful folks at Artgallery Fabrics had sent me Katarina Rocella’s new Recollections collection.

For those of you who don’t know, my first adventure with Katarina’s fabrics were for the SDQAL which used her Indelible line.  I fell in love with her use of patterns and colors.

This collection is spectacular with a wide array of design and color.  I used a pattern from a That Patchwork Place book titled Easy Weekend Quilts called Confectionery.  I thought the pattern would give all the fabrics a chance to play together.   I used a cream and dark blue AGF as the main solids for the piece.

I’ve included pictures showing the final piece before the binding got put on.  The first shot shows the spectacular quilting Sue was able to do for me.  As always she was able to take the quilt to new heights with some wonderful quilting.

I also posted a few close up of the various blocks so you can see the design.  All in all I think this came out quite well!

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That Time Elephant and I Became Elephant and We

2014 finished on a sad note.  My cousin Arline passed away.  She and I were born 3 days apart in the same year, so we were very close.  She was an amazing person, and even when she was diagnosed with a severe lung illness 20 plus years ago, she persevered.  On steroids and many other medications, she took care of her two children, Michael and Nicole, and her husband Steve.  Michael was my godson, and he left us a couple years ago.  Arline was heartbroken.  So was I.  And then the day after Christmas I was heartbroken again when she passed away.

She also left behind two sisters, Connie and Cassandra.  The two of them lived in other areas but as is often the case, tragic circumstances brought them together for Arline’s funeral.  It was great seeing them together and catching up with them in person.  Seeing posts on Facebook and Instagram just isn’t the same as a good face to face talk session.

I returned home and decided that I needed to make Connie a quilt.  Connie has said she loves elephants, so I went online and googled elephant quilt patterns.  I found a fantastic pattern by Jennifer Sampou.  I had just recently purchased some of her Black and White line for Robert Kaufman, so I was interested to see what the pattern was like.  I was smitten.  Colorful.  Check.  Paper piecing – an added bonus!  I sent off for the pattern and it arrived in no time (well, USPS and a cross country trip!).

And so I went to work on the pattern.  I knew exactly what I wanted to use for the elephant.  I wanted to use the new Alison Glass Sunprints, especially the Grove pieces.  While I had done some small mini quilts using the fabrics, this would allow for greater use and show off the gorgeous colors of the prints.    I think he came out wonderfully.










The pattern comes with figures and I made one and placed it next to the elephant.  The elephant and I.  Now I could start on the background.  Maybe.  I didn’t like the figure’s hair!  So I made another one.  And I placed that down and there were two.  And then I was suddenly inspired to make and third and suddenly the elephant and I became the elephant and we.  As I wrote on Instragram, this quilt had become a story for my cousin Connie.

Once there were three sisters whose strength, love and patience kept them together even when apart.  And though one is gone from this world, her strength remains as they walk together along life’s path.











I could think of no better way to honor Arline and give Connie something I hoped would be both beautiful and meaningful.

I chose a variety of neutral pieces from my fabric collection (hoard some would say).  I even had some fabric from Jennifer’s shimmer line hiding in my stash (who knew!).  Here’s the piece at my long armer’s as she worked her magic.  The elephant and we!







I’ve been collaborating with Sue Kappes of Kappes Kreations for many years now.  We first met at the local quilt shop and she has done many pieces for me.  I asked her to make this magical.  My only guidance – I wanted the bottom section under the figures treated horizontally like ground and paths, while the area above should be rays radiating from the figures.  She added so many fantastic touches throughout with some wonderful modern quilting designs. I will tell you that I was very excited when I saw it.  Here she is telling me about some of her fancy stuff (sshhhh, she doesn’t know I took this picture!).











Here are some great shots of the phenomenal quilting:

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And today with snow blowing around outside I did a binding and I put a tail on the elephant, so my tale of strength and sisterhood comes to a close and I will send this off to Connie.

Sew on.


Andover Adventures – Handcrafted and Chambrays

Those of you who may know me from Instagram know I rarely pass up a good quilting adventure and every now and then the stars align and a quilting adventure comes your way that you cannot pass up. So I was very excited when I got the chance to explore and work with some great offerings from Andover Fabrics – Alison Glass’ new Handcrafted line  which you can see here at Andover as well as some wonderful chambrays. Did I use them together? You bet I did.

The Handcrafted  line is the upcoming collection from Alison and brings to mind the feel and look of a batik. The fabric is a wonderful cotton weight with a good feel. The four pieces I had the opportunity to work with had great colors and design. The designs do have some subtle color and print variations to them in line with what you would expect from a handmade piece of fabric. The fabric looks less machine produced than a lot of items that are currently on the market. The fabric also had good shape retention – you will see in the blocks I created that fabric that retains shape is important to me!

I also had four chambrays to play with too, though I branched out and brought in three additional ones for the pieces I worked up. The chambrays are a slightly heavier weight and the plain weave typical of chambrays lent a great contrast to the Handcrafted fabrics I was going to use. I was particularly taken with Pumpkin – maybe because fall is setting in! You can see the chambray collection Andover has to offer here – Andover Chambrays.

And there you have the fabric line up I was diving into. What to make? As many folks know, I tend to go a little out of the box sometimes. As is often the case when I am working with specific fabric designer’s efforts, I want to let the fabric remain the center piece of the design. The four Handcrafted pieces needed to stay front and center. And since I was working with materials that evoked a spirit of hand craftedness, I thought of stained glass. I then turned to my favorite piece of quilting software, Electric Quilt and looked through the collection of stained glass blocks available. I chose three to work with. The first I left in the same way I found it, though I did blow the block up to a 24 inch finished size. The other two took some twisting and turning of the blocks to get the 24 inch finished squares I used.

Once I had the block patterns developed, it was time to get to work. I am an FPP (Foundation Paper Piecing) fan. I have been quilting for about 25 years, and early on I fell in love with the work of Karen Stone and Carol Doak. While I can stitch a mean nine patch with the best of them and my geese can fly, I continue to be drawn to FPP for the ability to create intricate blocks without some of the mechanical challenges (I hate Y seams – it had to be said).

I precut as many of the shapes as I can, though some cutting is reserved as I work up the block when I want to fussy cut some of the shapes or designs from the fabric. One of the Handcrafted fabrics I had to work with was a gorgeous red with a white flying geese pattern, and those needed to be integrated into the block shapes in a specific manner. Once all the fabric was ready to go, I shortened my stitch length on my trusty Bernina and had at it.

And here are the results. The first block evoked a star in a star pattern for me. The second was designed to focus on the geese and for me had a very Pendleton look to it. The last is a manipulated quarter rose bloom block which I think worked well for the two pieces that make up the larger points on the outside. The final picture below has all the blocks finished, with binding and hanging sleeves.  A great big thank you to Andover for letting me have this opportunity and to Alison Glass for creating another great line for me to use in my quilting adventures.  I think I see a quilt out of the middle blocks in my future!

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Market Making

Those of you who know my antics over on Instragram have seen me create three blocks recently.  I was lucky enough to get some Andover chambrays and the new Alison Glass handmade.  I think these may be heading to market in October.  Wish them luck.

This is after they were quilted, bound, and I even put hanging sleeves on them.  I mailed them off to the big city this morning.








And here are the individual pieces.  For those of you who were interested in the bottom block, I’ve included the templates for those.  The PDF has both a 6 inch version as well as the pieces for the 24 inch block that I constructed.  I even did a coloring sheet.  The file is after these pictures.

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And this file is for you Rainbowkelf.

Rainbowkelf Block_NEW



Space Dust Quilt Along – Week Eight and a Farewell From Me

Welcome to Week Eight of the #SDQAL!  I am so glad you have been diligently sewing along with us and have gotten to a near finish!  This week I am going to cover adding the tops and sides to the quilt top, and announce a couple of giveaways.  John will be posting next week and covering the grand finale of finishing up, announce the giveaway winners, and share some birthday cake with us (Happy Early Birthday John!).

I will tell you that I removed all the papers from the quilt top at this point.  It made sewing the border to the quilt top easier.  Do what feels right for you.

So if you go waaaayyyyy back to page one of the pattern, you will be using those border pieces you cut.  There is a side set which are the border pieces you cut from the background fabric that measure 63 and 16 1/2 – you should have two.  Tula has great guidelines for adding these pieces in her tip on page 8.  You need to measure the center of the quilt and trim the  border pieces to that size (mine were not quite 63!).  Pin the border to the corners.  Find and match the center of the quilt top with the center of the border and pin.  As Tula notes, pin every 5 inches or so (I actually do every 2 – 3 inches but I worry about rippling).  Sew and press.

You now have a growing quilt top!  Only one more step to go.  You need to take those 90×181/2 pieces and do the same on the top and bottom as you did on the sides!

As you can see in the next shot, the borders make this grow to the humongous piece of beauty it was destined to become.








And some folks added the borders, others opted to not add them, and some folks used some great colors!   Kudos to the creators of these and many other great Space Dust pieces.

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And now for the really fun part!  Our friends at Quilters Square have provided a half yard bundle of fabulous ArtGalleryFabrics Pure Elements for you quilting adventures.   And I have a very special pincushion courtesy of my friend Kate Tracton Designs.   John will be announcing the winners next week on his wrap up post.








And that’s a wrap for me for the Space Dust QAL!  I want to thank John for letting me co host with him, Tula Pink for an  awesome pattern, Katarina Roccella and Art Gallery Fabrics for awesome fabric and the wondrous Quilters Square for providing the awesome kits.  And thanks to all of you who joined in the fun.

Oh, I almost forgot!  John is letting me announce the winner of the large Aurifil thread!  Phew, so much responsibility!  And the winner is angelabdesign.  contact me or john!

Space Dust Quilt Along – Week 6 – Row Five

Well heading into the home stretch!  This is the next to the last row that comprises the body of the space dust!

This row uses templates EE through LL.  Have those ready to go along with your fabric?  Then get to it and get it done!  John will be back next Friday to get week 7 and Row 6 all finished up.  Then on to the sides and tops and voila, space dust.

Here’s my indelible version with Row Five attached.

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John announced another giveaway last week – one lucky winner will win a half-yard bundle of Pure Elements solids, courtesy of Quilter’s Square and Art Gallery Fabrics. And I get to draw the winner!

Cue the music…and the winner is…See_Marj_Create!  Please DM me on IG or comment here with your details and I will get them to Quilter’s Square!

Don’t forget to check the blogs next Friday for Week 7 Row Six – John will be hosting and announcing another great giveaway!

And for those of you who found you love this pattern like I did, make another one!  Here’s my Version 2.

Photobomb courtesy of sister Xena Hawthorne!
Photobomb courtesy of sister Xena Hawthorne!