X & Plus Block — DOUBLE-SIZE!

In 2013, I had my International Stashes Bee make me X & + blocks, using Badskirt Amy’s tutorial. Her tutorial makes 8″ unfinished (7.5″ finished) blocks. The Bee members used a lot of text fabrics and bright colors, and I LOVE the blocks; but it’s still a WIP.

Then, I saw THIS quilt by Karen:


Karen of CapitolaQuilter

When I saw that photo, I was SO grateful that I hadn’t pieced my quilt top yet–because I want a quilt like that to hang on my high, cathedral-ceiling wall in my living room! So, I’m asking my Sew Sisters Bee to make me 15.5″ (unfinished) blocks to go with my smaller blocks.

Karen did a great tutorial for her big blocks, but hers finish at 24″–too big to be companion size with my 7.5″ blocks. Her tutorial includes a GREAT tip for getting eight bonus HSTs (it was definitely a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment!).

SO anyway… for me it was back to the drawing board, to figure out cutting sizes for a block to finish at 15″ (15.5″ unfinished). Here you go:

15″ X & Plus Block cutting:
Plus Center (navy floral) = two 3″ squares and one 3″ x 8″ rectangle
Plus Ends (green print) = four 3″ x 4.25″ rectangles
Background (text print) = eight 4.75″ squares
X (tree print) = four 6.75″ squares (THIS SHOULD ACTUALLY BE 4 DIFFERENT FABRICS, I cut mine from the same print because each piece of my fabric varied so much)
X&+Block1Draw a diagonal line down the center of the wrong side of the 4.75″ squares. Match up to a 6.75″ square, right sides together (RST), sew along drawn line:X&+Block2

Trim seam to 1/4″, and press open toward smaller triangle. Repeat for opposite corner as shown here to complete each corner X unit (your corner unit should measure 6.75″ square):


TIP: You can chain piece all of the center lines on one side, then the center lines on the other side to make this go together a little quicker.


Sew two 3″ x 4.25″ green print rectangle to the two 3″ navy floral squares RST, press seam open. Add a corner X unit to each side of the green/navy floral units as shown above.

Sew a 3″ x 4.25″ green print rectangle to 3″ x 8″ navy floral rectangle. Join three sections to complete your block. Square up to 15.5″ if needed.

Here is my finished block along with the smaller blocks from my 2013 Bee:

X&+Block5I look forward to getting this pieced together and hung on my wall!

(EDITED: Vicki pointed out to me that I had the block sizes mixed up (good catch!)–the post is now edited; my blocks are 8″ unfinished and 15.5″ unfinished).

Happy sewing,




After the Rain

This finish has been a long time coming, that’s for certain. I’ve participated in at least five Virtual Quilting Bees; a group of 12 participants, duration one year, each quilter is assigned a month to send out fabric and request a block to be made for them. I even led two years of One Block Over, a Bee I created.  This is the first finished quilt from any of my Bees…

Love in a Mist Block

In July 2011, I requested Love in a Mist blocks (tutorial link from here) and I sent squares pre-cut from my scrap basket. I think I got all but one block back, and I made a few more to have enough for the quilt.  My friend, and business partner, Trina quilted it and returned it to me prior to moving in March, and it got set aside.  Yesterday, I finally got around to binding it:

Love in a Mist Quilt

I’m calling it After the Rain (the rainbow, the spectrum of colors, Love in a Mist is the block name…). The quilting is fabulous, as usual… (hey, look!  PURPLE!  I scrounged like crazy to come up with enough purple scraps for one block!)

Love in a Mist Quilt Block Detail

Quilting Detail

The backing fabric has been in my stash since roughly 2007, it’s Petal Power by Maggie & Sharon for Moda.  I had several colorways of this, but about 4 yards of this magenta pink color.  The full back:

Love in a Mist Back

Love in a Mist

For the inner border I sewed strips of scraps together and made a spectrum strip about 2″ wide around the blocks, and also added a wide strip to the back:

Love in a Mist Back

I added a fun Alexander Henry print called “bobby pins” for the outer border, adds to the rainbow of colors but still “reads as” white from a distance:Love in a Mist Border

12″ finished block, the quilt is roughly twin size…

Love in a Mist

(Don’t let the greenery in that photo fool you, it was covered in snow yesterday morning!)

Love in a Mist

Love in a Mist Quilt

I love several things about this quilt.  Every time I look at it, a different fabric or print catches my eye, and I’m reminded of the project I made out of that fabric, or of my beloved Gramma B (some of her fabric scraps went into this quilt!), or who I gave the quilt to that I made from that collection, or of friendships with long distance quilters.  This one is destined to be favorite…

Love in a Mist Quilt

Makes me want to get moving on putting together my other Bee quilts!

Have you ever been in a Virtual Bee?

Did you get all of the blocks requested?

Have you finished your quilt?

Bird Brained

Picked my mail up on the way off to retreat this weekend, and there was Carla’s One Block Over package (GREAT timing!) so the first thing I did once I got set up at retreat was make these two cute blocks… love the quilt idea, adore the birdie print!!!

The rest of retreat was spent creating bags…

Note the red sequins on the Ruby Slipper bags!
…and more bags…
I really like the way this MOMO fabric from Moda quilted up!

 …and a few more bags…

Love the Joel Dewberry fabric I used for lining on the birdie wristlet (sadly, it’s one of my last scraps of it!):

I’ve sewn three more of these wristlets since this weekend (more pics to come), to get ready to vend at a craft boutique this weekend.   Feeling bird-brained (pun intended) from doing the same thing over and over… I’m not much for mass-producing, or assembly-lining items, so, to me this seems like an unpleasant way to make a living, but I’m committed to two craft boutiques, so…

The best thing about all of these bags–and Carla’s blocks?  Almost everyone was made from fabric in my scrap bins!  I really didn’t cut into too much new fabric.

Have a favorite of my bags?

Ever done any vending yourself?  Or made many of something to sell?

Blogtoberfest Day XXIX–October Stitching

I’ve made 28 straight days of blogging–crazy.  (I missed October 1!)  Lest you think I’ve only sewn up Halloween themed things this month…

I completed a few more hand-pieced hexies for my Candied Hexagon Quilt:


I think that makes 71 completed hexagons now.  (33 to go…or something like that).  To view the rest, see my flickr set.  I made this tasty BEE block for Megan for One Block Over:

It’s only 6.5″ square, she asked for birthday cake blocks she is making a quilt of 60 of them for a friend’s 60th Birthday–isn’t that awesome?  Paper-pieced, of my own design–I embroidered the little flames on with my new obsession, Aurifil Wool 12 wt:

Here’s a sneak peek of my costumes for my sweetie and I, sorry sneak peeks only until after the party tonight!

Maybe you can guess what the ‘guise is with just this little peek?  I’ll be very impressed if you do…

Slice and Dice, and Sew Fun

Made these three fun and fast blocks for Linda last night, for One Block Over.  Her inspiration FQ is at the top, we were to pick three scraps from our stash to use with the grey solid.  I think this took me about 45 minutes, including reading the directions.  She has a great tutorial over here.

Can’t wait to see her quilt!  In other news, I’ve done a LOT of sewing on a project I can only show you sneak peeks of… some drawing… some editing… some raw edge applique…


More to come in the next month–promise!

I don’t usually purchase pre-cuts, I’m more of a pick and choose which pieces of a collection I like kind of girl.  But with this new Hometown fabric, I could not resist:

Now to decide on a pattern or a design…

Our Steering Committee (Executive Board) for the Des Moines, Iowa, Modern Quilt Guild got together for dinner last night to go over our bylaws and finalize the draft that will be presented at our meeting next week.  If you are in the central Iowa area, join us Thursday, September 15th, at 6:30 p.m.–More details on our website:  www.dsmmqg.webs.com (or click on the link in my right sidebar!)  I best get busy and finish up my Habitat Challenge quilt!

and I’m helping Madame Samm with the new Ghastlies blog–exciting things to come with our Blog-Hop!!!  It plays right into my Halloween obsession and my October plans for this blog–

Relax and Recharge

Typically my relaxation getaways, and recharging my spirit, involve quilting buddies and retreats… but this time it was our annual northern Minnesota lake trip, with two wonderful families, one of whom generously shares her family cabin with us one long weekend a year. 

We didn’t do much the three days we spent there, really… slept A LOT, swam a little, took a long walk with my sweetie every morning, ate home cooked meals that are way too good to be considered camping fare, took the paddle boat out for a long ride, road the ski boat and motor boat at least once a day; but mostly, relaxed and breathed deep.  On the last day we drove slightly north to Duluth to retrieve sweetie’s youngest, who spent her summer as an interpreter in Manitoba, and we paid a visit to my favorite quilt shop, Hannah Johnson Fabrics:

This was only my second visit, I first went there LAST August, but knew I needed to return… the shop is so colorful, full of inspiration, and potential projects:

I walked out with just a few yards of fabric and a new bag pattern, and thinking it’s probably a good thing (for my pocketbook, at least) that I live over six hours from the shop! 

The day before we left on our trip, I ran to Ames to pick my Janome Horizon up (finally had her cleaned!) and stopped in the antique mall across the street.  I bought a few vintage sewing patterns for practically nothing, a vintage embroidered luncheon set, and this gem:

It’s a plastic sewing box, c. 1950, (in my favorite color, no less!), that worked just perfect to hold my hand-piecing tools as I sewed on the drive North:

The pegs in front are meant to hold small spools of thread, but this time kept my thimble and scissors from sliding off my lap.   There is an intergrated pin cushion on the left, and a magnetic shelf on the right to hold my needles…ideal!  What a find for $4.00!  I made eleven more Candied Hexagon blocks on the trip, for a total of 67 completed hexagons (37 to go!)

A closer look…


Coming home is always hard, it’s not that I don’t “like” home, it’s the idea of returning to work and everyday life not-next-to-a-lake-in-the-woods.  However, finding a mailbox full of Bee blocks as lovely as these helped to soften the blow:

(notice Kato in the corner trying to decide which area of the new quilt to “settle in on”–he went for the yellow block)  Still waiting for my red, orange and green blocks… and looking forward to sewing this top together!