Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your families! I'm excited to finally share a secret project I've been working on over the last month. See, my husband has tried for the last many years to convince our now almost eight-year-old son that he is indeed Batman - long before we heard of Batdad (who is quite hilarious in his own right), and this year, I got the crazy idea to make him a pixelated Batman quilt to go with his obsession. Naturally, the idea didn't dawn on me until just before Thanksgiving, so it's been a feverish kind of project that I've worked on in my spare moments whenever I could, and somehow I managed to pull it off.


I posted a few photos as I worked on Instagram, since my husband is one of the few people I know who isn't constantly scrolling Instagram. I chose to work in strictly white, black, and shades of gray, much like how Batman in The Lego Movie professes that he only works in "black and sometimes very dark gray."







For the quilting, I kept it super simple, sticking with a stitch I can do in my sleep, a simple stipple in lovely gray Aurifil #2615. Free-motion quilting while nine months pregnant is definitely not an enviable task, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, I was able to quilt with very few modifications to my usual work setup, so it went pretty smoothly.


I sure hope that the husband is pleased with his new quilt - I know I'm super pleased with how it turned out and the fact that I managed to keep it secret all this time, which will make the surprise when he opens it all the more special :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays again to you all, I hope you have a wonderful day with your families!
Monday, December 21, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Twenty

Holy wow, a finished top! Let me just say, I don't recommend trying to assemble a quilt top and take pictures of it while nine months pregnant. It's just a bit uncomfortable. But I was motivated to get this baby (ha, no pun intended!) done, so I kept on plugging away at it, all the while having to make weird little adjustments to get comfortable. I had to sit a little shorter than I usually like to, to try to get my bump under the lip of my table so I could get close enough to the machine, but it was worth it. I strongly suspect basting and quilting is going to have to wait until after the little lady makes her appearance in two short weeks, but in the meantime, I'm going to bask in the glory of having finished this top.


Don't forget, if you love these blocks, you can get all the patterns for the blocks I've made in this project by subscribing to the Epic Sampler BOM Club, where you receive 3 new block patterns per month. All of the blocks from my 39 Blocks for Baby project are included in your subscription. You can find out more about the club right here. Have a great week everyone!
Monday, December 7, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Eighteen

Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe it. I've officially made the last two blocks! That means I've got some serious row sewing to work through this week, which is often my least favorite part of the quilting process, so we'll have to see how far I get. I suspect there will be some heel dragging. That and my very-pregnant belly is really starting to get in the way of sewing - I bump into my sewing table a lot, trying to get a good view of what I'm doing, ha!



Isosceles Strip
While I have totally made this block, it's nearly impossible to photograph, so I'll show you how the whole thing's looking altogether instead. Oh my goodness, this sampler is quite possibly my favorite thing I've ever made!


Pennant Star
This star was designed eons ago - at least three or four years ago - and it sat around in my design notebooks because it's a five-gridded block. Five gridded blocks are great for blocks that would fit in a five times table, like a 10" finished block, or a 15", but more often than not, I like to make 12" finished blocks. That's exactly what this one turns out to be, thanks to the beauty of paper piecing. Paper piecing is a great cheat when you're working with a grid that just does not quite work for the block size you want!

Don't forget, if you love these blocks, you can get the patterns by subscribing to the Epic Sampler BOM Club, where you receive 3 new block patterns per month. All of the blocks from my 39 Blocks for Baby project are included in your subscription. You can find out more about the club right here. Have a great week everyone!
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Epic Sampler BOM Month #3

Epic Sampler BOM Subscribers, it's that time again! This month's pattern kit is winging its way through the interwebs to your inbox, with three new block patterns for the Epic Sampler quilt project. This month's blocks are: the Churn Dash, Exploding Star, and X Plus.

Block 1 - Churn Dash 6"

Block 2 - Exploding Star 6"

Block 3 - X Plus 6"



Have fun with these blocks, and don't forget to share your progress with me through social media - you can tag me on Instagram by using #epicsamplerbom or #dontcallmebetsy

If you haven't joined in the Epic Sampler Block of the Month fun just yet, no worries, you can still join in! You'll receive all of the past block pattern kits within 48 hours of purchase, as well as the current month that we're on regardless of when you purchase. You can purchase your subscription right here in my Pattern Shop or on Craftsy. Have a great day!!
Monday, November 30, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Seventeen

How is it December tomorrow? Where has this year gone?!?! I saw a sign at Target or Walmart a few days ago, telling me that it's less than 30 days until Christmas, which absolutely sent me into a tizzy. I don't know how this year has gotten away from me, but it absolutely has. Then again, I think most years I feel this way in December. It's been a good year, and I'm thankful for all of the wonderful things that have happened this year, but wow, it seems like each year passes faster than the previous these days.

Enough of that! I'm really nearing the end of my 39 Blocks Before Baby project, which is astounding to me. It felt so big, like it wasn't really possible, but I'm in the home stretch for sure at this point, with just a few more blocks to go after this week's two.

Ribbon Star
This star just screamed out for the use of a directional fabric, and the Joel Dewberry woodgrain print worked perfectly to frame this star up nicely. This star is another paper-pieced one, but it's fairly straightforward and forgiving, using four templates to create the ribbon effect around the star.


Basketweave Star
This paper-pieced star has been on my quilty bucket list pretty much since I started sewing, so I'm glad to finally tackle it. It was great to save toward the end of the project as well, because all I had to cut fresh were the background pieces - I had plenty of stringy scraps for the rest of the block! I really love this block, and definitely want to make more of them. Eventually. You know, when I don't have a newborn or something :)


Don't forget, if you love these blocks, you can get the patterns by subscribing to the Epic Sampler BOM Club, where you receive 3 new block patterns per month. All of the blocks from my 39 Blocks for Baby project are included in your subscription. You can find out more about the club right here. Have a great week everyone!
Monday, November 23, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Sixteen

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, my American friends! Do you have big plans? I know I do, but I also know that being this pregnant sure is changing the way I'm going to be able to execute said plans. I love cooking Thanksgiving, it's one of my favorite days of the year, but I know I'm going to need to be a bit more willing than usual to ask for help. Not my strong suit, but I know that turkey is not going to get in the oven this year from my two hands, that's for sure! I did manage to get through two more blocks this week, in spite of the impending holiday craziness, here's hoping I can keep up this pace and manage to get the rest of these blocks done throughout the busy holiday season!


HRT Star
This block I feel a little bit ambivalent about - I think I'm not loving the placement of the light teal, looking at the block critically and trying to understand what I'm not digging. Maybe I'd like it a bit better if the light gray were also a shade of teal, so it felt like those sections came together a little bit better? I'm not sure, but I do know that this gray pindot from Brigitte Heitland's Modern Background Paper collection is the kind of perfect pindot that you want in every color and in large amounts!



Star of Awesome 
You know you're running out of block names when you come up with one like this ;) I've been working mostly without a dark fuchsia in my blocks, because I didn't love the dark fuchsia I had shopped my stash and found, so when I was going through a pile of fabrics that needed to be bolted and put away and came across this gorgeous Yuwa print, I figured it was a sign that I needed to use it in this great block. I'm so glad I did, I think it plays so well against the medium fuchsia Denyse Schmidt Ladder Dot print in the center, not to mention the beautiful teals. This block is definitely going in the favorites column.

Don't forget, if you love these blocks, you can get the patterns by subscribing to the Epic Sampler BOM Club, where you receive 3 new block patterns per month. All of the blocks from my 39 Blocks for Baby project are included in your subscription. You can find out more about the club right here. Have a great week everyone!
Monday, November 16, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Fifteen

Getting ever closer to my goal, this week's two new blocks bring me to a total of 33! I've officially made more blocks than the number of weeks pregnant I am, so the end is in sight! Yay!


Kapow Star
This star first made its debut in the summer 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, in beautiful Modern Solids. It's one of my favorite minis in the history of ever, and lives in my sewing room where I love to look up at it. I resized it for the Epic Sampler Block of the Month Club (it was initially a 24" star, and for the club it's an 18" star), and got right to it with my pile of scraps and remaining fabric for my quilt. While this star looks crazy intense, it's broken down into templates that really make it a lot easier than it seams. And without a single Y seam to boot, in spite of some of the tricky shapes you create! Definitely a great block, and a personal favorite of mine.


Cat Corners
Funny story. When you're paper piecing, you often can do some interesting and different things with your pattern pieces to yield completely different blocks than perhaps the pattern you're following. Even when it's your own pattern. So this block is actually the same pieces at the Cat Corners block in the Epic Sampler Block of the Month Club, but I sewed the quarter-units together in the reverse, so I wound up with a completely different block. I didn't realize it until after I'd pressed the whole thing and removed all the papers, so I decided that was a sign to just stick with it as is, so that's the plan for now. Just goes to show you, "mistakes" really can be just "design choices" ;) You can check out the "original" plan for this block on the Epic Sampler BOM page, about halfway down. It's on the left side of the quilt.

Don't forget, if you love these blocks, you can get the patterns by subscribing to the Epic Sampler BOM Club, where you receive 3 new block patterns per month. All of the blocks from my 39 Blocks for Baby project are included in your subscription. You can find out more about the club right here. Have a great week everyone!
Monday, November 9, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Fourteen

Another week of making blocks brings me even closer to my goal of all 39 blocks before baby arrives. I think at this point in my pregnancy, I feel pretty ready - stuff-wise and mentally, at least - so making these blocks in my free time really helps the time pass by a little bit faster. This week brings two more stars to the sampler, the Faceted Star (previously seen as my Dark Star quilt in the Winter 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited) and the Love Wins Star.



Faceted Star
When I first made this block for Modern Quilts Unlimited, I used strictly solids, and really loved the results, so it was fun to get to remake this block using strictly prints and see what a different vibe it had. I love the crazy haywire yellow print, which sadly is missing a selvage, and my pregnancy brain is keeping me from recalling what collection it came from (Riley Blake something or another I think), but I really love the way that the crazy stripe brings added movement to the frame around the center star.


Love Wins Star
This festive star was one I initially made for the Love Wins Bee over the summer, and it was so interesting to sew this up in a more limited color scheme. Speaking of stars with different vibes, it just goes to show how much the color and fabric selection can absolutely change a block! I love this color combo, of the fresh teal and yellow, so I'm really pleased with how this one came together.

Don't forget, if you love these blocks, you can get the patterns by subscribing to the Epic Sampler BOM Club, where you receive 3 new block patterns per month. All of the blocks from my 39 Blocks for Baby project are included in your subscription. You can find out more about the club right here. Have a great week everyone!
Monday, October 26, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Twelve

This past week, I got to make one of my most favorite quilt blocks of all time - the spiderweb :) I've made quite a few spiderweb blocks over the years, and while it's a super tedious block to make, it's by far one of my favorites because of the sparkling effect you can create with them! I also made another block I've made a few times, the Crown of Thorns block, which is another great classic block that has so much vibrance to it.



Spiderweb
I adore this block. This is the first 12" spiderweb block I've made - and if you're an Epic Sampler BOM subscriber, you'll find out how exactly I managed to pull that off in a few months when this block pops up for the club - and I'm so glad I tackled that, because I think it's going to add so much to the finished quilt. It's also great for all those leftover bits and bobs from previous blocks!



Crown of Thorns
Loads and loads of HSTs aren't always my favorite thing in the world, but I do really love them in this block. They're worth the effort here, for sure. I especially love the mix of the blues with the yellow/gold center of the block - it's a color combo that I'm often drawn to, actually.

Have a wonderful week everyone, and a happy Halloween this weekend!
Monday, October 19, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Eleven

Just sixteen more blocks to go after this! So exciting!!!! I love adding more blocks each week to the design wall for this project, it feels like such an accomplishment every time I get through one and put it up on the wall. This week, I made two more paper-pieced blocks, Sunburst and Good Morning Starshine.



Sunburst
I adore the colors in this block. These darker blues mixed with the yellow and teal just make my heart happy. I think this block would also be super striking in warm colors, it'd be like a sunset almost.



Good Morning Starshine
The first of two 18" blocks in the quilt, this block is a boatload of triangles. Triangles, triangles, and more triangles! In spite of all of the pieces in this block, it's quite monotonous, with the same angles repeated over and over again, so it's really not as hard as it looks. The number of pieces is really the only time-consuming part about the block, but it comes together fairly quickly when you employ some handy-dandy chain-piecing.

Maybe next week I can manage to get a decent picture of all of the blocks together, because it's really starting to look like a quilt up there, which is super exciting. Have a great week!
Monday, October 12, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Ten

Ten weeks into this project, and I've officially more than halfway through! This week's two blocks bring the total number of blocks made up to 21, leaving me just another 18 more to make over the next two and a half months before baby arrives, so I'm feeling really good about wrapping up at least the blocks for this project right on time.

This week's two new blocks are the final 6" block, Color My World, and a 12" block, the Spunky Pinwheel Star.



Color My World
This block was originally a 10" block that appeared in a pattern of mine, but I've always loved the simplicity of it. This block is an awesome block to do over and over again, too, but in this quilt, there's just the one. It was mighty tempting to make a few extras for a mini or something, but since I'm really trying to stay focused on this project, I managed to restrain myself.



Spunky Pinwheel Star
I love a good star block - always have, always will - and this is no exception. I love the fun pinwheel in the center, especially with the pop of color the fuchsia XO fabric brings. This 12" beauty is indeed paper-pieced, and it was really nice to get back into the paper piecing groove this week. Call me crazy, but once you get the hang of paper piecing, it can be just so enjoyable!

So that's my progress for the week - I'm going to tackle one of the two 18" blocks in the quilt next week, so that should be fun. More paper piecing for the win! Have a great week :)
Monday, October 5, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Nine

Two more 12" blocks this week for my 39 Blocks Before Baby Sampler, to bring the tally of 12" blocks up to a nice round 5, of 22. Nice!


Pinwheel Star
A twirling, whirling kind of star is often the best kind. This paper-pieced star features a sample of each of the four focal colors I'm using in this quilt, swirling around a simple friendship star at the center. This one is paper pieced, but because the shapes are fairly large in the block, it's a quick block to sew up. I love the Cotton + Steel XO print in the background, I think it just makes the block sing!


Radiant Ring
This block uses a mix of paper piecing and patchwork to bring together this ring-effect block. I've made this block several times over the years, but I'm especially liking this one, with that loud pop of fuchsia in the center. I love a good pop of contrast :)

Next week, I get to make the last 6" block for the whole quilt, which I'm excited about - then all I'll have left to tackle are the 12" and 18" blocks. Have a wonderful week everyone!
Monday, September 28, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Eight

Another week, another couple of blocks added to my design wall for my Epic Sampler project. I cannot tell you how fun it is to be marking the weeks of my pregnancy with these blocks - it makes the time pass by so much faster. At this point, I feel pretty ready for the baby, at least in terms of stuff. We've got the baby's room mostly ready, we've got clothes and diapers and other necessities...but we're just about three months away from her arrival, so having a little regular sewing to do every week really helps my mind from just going crazy. It gives my mind something to do, which I so desperately need in my down time.

And we've got just a few days to go before the Epic Sampler BOM kicks off, hooray! Just a few more days to subscribe at the discounted pre-sale rate!

This week, I made two 6" blocks, the Patchwork Wheel, which you may recognize from a 12" block tutorial that's been on my site for quite a while, and Baby Paw, which is a super simple yet adorable block. Two non-paper piecing blocks in one week! It was nice to give my printer a rest and stick with some super simple piecing, but next week, I'll definitely be craving some paper piecing.

Patchwork Wheel



Baby Paw


So, that brings the official tally of blocks for this quilt up to 17, which means that next week, I could quite possibly hit the halfway point, hooray!!! In the meantime, though, this week happens to be the last few days that you can purchase a subscription to the Epic Sampler Block of the Month Club at the discounted pre-sale price, so if you haven't joined in yet, hop to it! The club kicks off on October 1st, and the pre-sale ends at that time, so act fast! You can find out all the details for the club right here. Have a super week everyone!
Monday, September 21, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Seven

Just one block to add to the sampler this week - I unfortunately didn't get quite as much sewing time as I would have liked, but I can always try to make up for it next week! This week's additional block is the Bowtie Mania block.


Bowtie Mania
This simple half-square triangle based block absolutely makes me think of Batman and the Bat-Signal. It almost looks like it could be the Bat-Mobile or something like that, in quilt-form. I went with a medium blue sketch print for the background, and created both light yellow and dark yellow/gold half-square triangles to set around the block. There's a touch of navy in the center with the gold, to give the block a bit more depth. I'm really liking how this one works with the others I've made thus far, which I gathered for a lovely group photo...


Fifteen blocks down, another twenty-four to go! Have a great week everyone!
Monday, September 14, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Six

Six weeks in, and there's definitely lots of progress to show here for my Epic Sampler. I finally dug into the 12" blocks this week, which was quite fun. I tackled two blocks this week, the Bear Paw and one I'm calling the Ninth Frame. I'm really loving these shades of teal and fuchsia and the way they work so beautifully with the royal blue and yellow. I cannot wait to get more of these blocks done and see how they look together!!

Bear Paw
This is a super traditional block, but it was the first paw I've ever made. I enjoyed it, and can see why it's such a classic block. I went ahead and brought four of the colors from my color palette to play in this block, which I think works really nicely and is all tied together with that center dark gray square, which adds a sense of calm to the block that I really like.



Ninth Frame
Did you get the bowling reference? Ha, this is a simple twist on a nine patch block, simply turning it on point and adding setting triangles to it, but I do love a good nine patch block. For this one, I went ahead and went tonal for all three rows of the block, but in the center, to do something different, I only used two fabrics, rather than three, and I really like that draws your eye to the center of the block. I think this block would make a fantastic scrap buster. Mental note!!



So I'm now fourteen blocks into this quilt, nearing the halfway point here pretty soon, which is super exciting as I've passed the halfway point of my pregnancy at this point so the clock is ticking! The clock is also ticking on the special pre-sale price for the Epic Sampler BOM Club, which will kick off with the first kit of patterns sent to all subscribers on October 1st, so if you're on the fence, time is running out to save! Sign up today in my Pattern Shop or over on Craftsy if you're so inclined, and have a wonderful week!
Monday, August 31, 2015

Baby Girl's First Girlie Quilt

And I say "first girlie quilt" because I suspect there will be more at some point. I have to say, finding out that the new baby is going to be a girl was really exciting for a number of reasons, one of which was thinking of all of the adorable fabrics that I've hoarded over the years that just haven't been right for the numerous quilts I've made for the munchkin over the years. It was fun to pull out loads of Heather Ross and Sarah Jane and Aneela Hoey fabrics to make the first girlie cutesy quilt for my daughter-to-be.

Deciding what exactly I wanted to make was hard, but I knew I wanted some simple patchwork. Don't get me wrong, or worry that the pregnancy hormones have somehow broken my love for paper piecing, I still love it! I just knew that for this quilt I really wanted the fabrics to be the stars, rather than the piecing, so I kept it simple and cut a boatload of isosceles triangles and started throwing them onto my design wall.




I stuck with the concept of keeping it simple for the quilting, opting for a simple meandering stipple in my trusty white Aurifil (#2024), and then bound it in a super sweet, soft print from Sarah Jane's Wee Wander collection, called Meandering in Petal. It had just the right amount of softness to bind the whole thing together, no pun intended!



Quilt Stats
name: Baby Girl's First Girlie Quilt
size: 40" x 48"
fabrics: assorted girlie fabrics, including Heather Ross, Sarah Jane, Aneela Hoey, and Lizzy House, as well as others
quilting: meandering stipple in white (#2024) 50 wt Aurifil thread
binding: Sarah Jane Meandering in Petal from Wee Wander

A super simple, but sweet finish, and I can't wait to give her some tummy time on this beauty in the new year! Hope you have a wonderful Monday, and I'll be back to my regular project, the Epic Sampler BOM, next week!


Monday, August 24, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Four

This week is a star kind of week in the 39 Blocks Before Baby project. I'm actually really proud of myself for getting this far with making only a few start blocks - this brings the grand total of star blocks so far to 3. I'm down to just another six 6" blocks to make after this week, which is amazing!



Double Star
The Double Star block is a simple one-template paper pieced block, very quick to put together, and very easy to boot. I can see this block making a great mini quilt - maybe in different rainbow shades...I should stop getting ahead of myself here, goodness! No need to come up with new projects right now!

Exploding Star
This classic goodie from the 2013 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club has been one of my favorite stars for quite a long time, and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into this quilt. I've made several of them over the years, but this might be my favorite iteration, mainly because of that gorgeous Joel Dewberry woodgrain print. Holy wow does it look fantastic in this block! I definitely see me using this print more in the blocks to come for this quilt.

Ten down, twenty-nine to go!! If you're interested in making this fun sampler along with me, check out all of the details of the Epic Sampler Block of the Month Club right here. Have a wonderful week everyone!
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Breaking News: The Epic Sampler BOM Starts October 1st!

Big news, friends! The Epic Sampler Block of the Month Club, the sampler quilt that I've been calling my 39 Blocks Before Baby project, will be kicking off October 1st!

Subscribe now and save! Subscriptions placed before October 1st will get the special pre-sale rate of $25 (regular price as of October 1st: $30)!



Spend thirteen fun months working on a beautiful sampler quilt that you'll cherish for years to come! Work at your own pace, or sew along monthly, creating three blocks per month. This block of the month project is perfect for quilters at all skill levels. All blocks are pieced either using traditional patchwork or foundation paper piecing, and detailed instructions are provided for each block, including cutting instructions, piecing instructions, and tips and tricks for each.

The block patterns are yours to keep, forever! Feel free to re-use them in other projects as you see fit. Take a peek at all of the beautiful blocks included in the sampler - so stunning!


2015 has been a mighty busy year, but I sure have missed working with you all on a block of the month program, so I'm super excited to get a new one underway. The Lucky Stars clubs for 2013 and 2014 still regularly bring me joy when I see you all making your beautiful blocks and quilts!

Never done a block of the month club with me before? Here's a few quick FAQ's to get you familiar:

How does it work?
On the first of every month, you will receive an email with a link to download the month's pattern. All emails will be sent to email address associated with the PayPal account used for payment. Each block pattern will include cutting instructions, step-by-step piecing instructions, and full-color diagrams. For this block of the month series, the three block patterns will be contained in one single download for your convenience. Download the file to your favorite computer and print it as needed for your piecing. For foundation paper pieced blocks, you'll see instructions in the pattern on how many copies of the templates you'll need to print, but not to worry, you don't need any fancy paper - regular plain old printer paper will work just fine!

What will I need to finish the quilt?
You can download the fabric requirements right here.

What if I fall behind?
No big deal! Sew at your own pace - there's no deadline to finish your quilt, so enjoy the process, and if that means taking a month off, by all means, do so!

What if I've never paper pieced before?
Then you're in for a treat :) You may want to warm up with one of my free paper piecing tutorials, but if you're ready for the challenge, then not to worry, as the patterns are beginner friendly.

Do I pay monthly for the club?
Nope, you just pay once! After you purchase your subscription, you're all done paying for this club.

Can I buy a subscription for my friend/sister/wife/babysitter/neighbor?
Absolutely, what a sweet idea!! Simply email me at elizabeth@dontcallmebetsy.com after your purchase with your name and PayPal email address as well as your gift recipient's name and email address. Their first email from the club will come on October 1st.

I live overseas/internationally/in another time zone - can I still join?
As long as you have an email address that works and a computer that you can check email on that also has a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat Reader, you absolutely can join! It doesn't matter a bit where you live :)

Okay, I'm in! How do I subscribe?
You can subscribe through my Pattern Shop here or Craftsy here, whichever you prefer!

Have other questions not addressed here? Feel free to email me at elizabeth@dontcallmebetsy.com and I'll be happy to answer them! I hope you consider joining in the fun and quilting along with me, these blocks are a lot of fun to put together!
Monday, August 17, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Three

Three weeks in, and I'm still loving this project big-time. I look forward to spending a few hours in my sewing room with my 39 Blocks Before Baby notebook each week, where I've got all my quilty math and such, and cutting and sewing a few blocks. And I'm loving how they are looking together so far! There's a total of 16 6" blocks in the quilt, so I'm making good headway making my way through that part of the quilt, so yay for that! Here's how they all look now...


Less is More
This block stems from my first book Becoming a Confident Quilter (signed copies available in my shop!). Granted, the pattern in the book is for a completely different block size, but the block itself remains the same. This one is paper pieced, not because there are unusual angles or anything, but because it's a five-unit block, and well, five divided by six yields some numbers that are less than fun to cut in my opinion, so I opted for paper piecing. I used a new background print that will be used intermittently throughout the quilt, a fun and simple white polka dot on a gray background.



Pineapple
The Pineapple block is quite a classic block, but believe it or not, I never made a traditional one. Just an improv one or two! The Pineapple is another paper pieced block, though it is possible to piece traditionally, I find the accuracy of paper piecing a must for a block this precise. I really love the way the teal and fuchsia play against one another, and I think it's making this one my favorite block thus far!


Good news to share too - I will indeed be doing a block of the month subscription club for this epic sampler, I'm just working out the details of how to spread out the blocks and such, since there's 39 of them! I hope to iron out the details over the next week or two and I'll likely kick off the club in October, though I'll announce all the details way sooner than later. 

I'm really having fun with this project, and I'm loving how quickly it feels like I'm making progress already. I'm officially eight blocks in - just another thirty-one to go! If I keep up this two blocks a week pace, I will for sure manage to make my goal, yay! Have a wonderful day, friends :)
Monday, August 10, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week Two

This week's two new blocks are the Churn Dash and the Courthouse Steps. Pretty traditional, but I love them all the same. There's such a rich history in traditional blocks that I thoroughly appreciate, and sewing them up in modern, fun fabrics is more than enough to make them look fresh and new for me. I did alter last week's Economy block as well, which I was feeling was just a bit too dark on the outer corners, so I took those off and added my most favorite-ist Chicopee print in fuchsia, and I think it really works :)


Churn Dash
Why is it that this beautiful shade of nautical blue is so tough to find in modern fabric collections? It's one of my favorites, and I was so glad to see Alison Glass use it in her recent Sun Prints collection. Another really simple block, but with these beautiful fabrics, I can't help but love it just as much as the more intricate blocks. Sometimes, I think really complicated blocks need some simple ones nearby to give the eye a place to rest that doesn't require as much effort.


Courthouse Steps
I love that my husband's reaction to this one was "It's like a log cabin, only way better!" Too cute. Indeed, I love a good Courthouse Steps block, and I was shocked to realize I'd never made one before! This little 6" version was probably enough to cure me of wanting to make a full quilt of them, though, as they are a bit fiddly at this size. Regular patchwork piecing all the way on this one, though you certainly could paper piece this type of block if you'd rather!


Six down, thirty-three to go! I'm still mulling over the concept of doing a block of the month club with this project, especially with the rate at which they're coming together, so I hope to have news about that soon! Have a great week :)
Monday, August 3, 2015

39 Blocks Before Baby: Week One

So, I mentioned last week about my hare-brained idea to make this epic sampler quilt before the baby is born, and I've gotten right to work on it. Combined with my Twirl block from last week (download the free tutorial right here!), I'm up to a total of four blocks thus far. Here they are in all their glory!


Each of these blocks will be 6" finished in the quilt. There are three different block sizes that I'll be making throughout these next many weeks - 6" finished, 12" finished, and 18" finished. There's seventeen 6" blocks, twenty 12" blocks, and two 18"blocks to make.

This week's three new additions are The Claw, the Friendship Octagon, and the Economy block.

The Claw


The Claw is a fairly traditional block known often as a Capital T block. I paper-pieced mine, although it's absolutely doable without that. When I get down to 6" blocks with this much patchwork going on, I often opt for paper-piecing to insure as much precision as possible. I love the shades of teal going on in this block, and it really solidified my choice of the fab Botanics Leaves print for my primary background print. There will be two other background prints that I'll use in some of the blocks, but the bulk of the blocks will use this print for the background.

The Friendship Octagon


The Friendship Octagon block brings in a new shade of teal as well as a new background print. This is such a simple block to put together, just a handful of half-square triangles and a center square, and it's done. It was so simple that I decided to throw in one more block for the week because I had extra time :)

The Economy Block


The Economy block is one I've made many times over, for lots of bees, and I've even made a pillow top for my home using the block. I used a deep, dark shade of fuchsia for the outside accent frame, and I just love the addition of this beautiful, rich fuchsia to the blocks so far! I have to say, this photo doesn't exactly do it justice, in spite of my photo editing attempts - today marks the 22nd day in a row of rain where I live, and the lack of sunshine has made photo-taking really difficult! This block is also easily achievable through traditional piecing, but I much prefer paper piecing when dealing with all those bias edges, so I paper pieced this bad boy.

Four down, thirty-five to go! I'm still mulling over the idea of turning this project into a super fun club, so if you're interested, make sure to tell me about it! Have a great Monday everyone :)
Monday, July 27, 2015

Introducing the Twirl tutorial!

Happy Monday to you! First off, thank you all so much for your kind words and congratulations about our baby news last week! It's such an exciting time, and your lovely comments really made me smile. Speaking of smiling, I'm really enjoying trying to get back into a regular schedule of blogging as of late. I missed blogging! Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram and sharing a quick snap here and there, but I miss words. I love words :) So here I am, and hold me to this, but I'm going to try to blog every Monday for the rest of the summer. Surely that will be long enough to build a new habit, right? Here's hoping!


So, in the spirit of sharing words with you all, I've written a simple new tutorial to go with a block you mostly recently saw in my Cotton + Steel mini quilt, the Twirl block, used in the border of that mini. The Twirl block is a fun paper pieced block and the tutorial is complete with templates and cutting instructions for a 6" and 12" finished version of the block, so take your pick! You can do a lot of things with this very simple block, here's a few ideas:


You can download this block tutorial from Craftsy, for free, right here. For those of you who don't use Craftsy, you can download the tutorial PDF directly here.

The best part about putting together this tutorial is that I've managed to bundle it into this new crazy idea that I've had. A 39-block epic sampler quilt with boatloads of patchwork and paper piecing, in different block sizes and loads of color...that I plan to finish before the baby is born. I know, I'm crazy, but I need a big, long-term project to channel my energy into in my "free" time, something that makes me happy, that I can work on bit by bit, and I think this is it. I've designed the quilt using some blocks that I've made in the past, and lots that I've designed and just not had the right project for, and others still that I've just always wanted to make. And my goal is going to be to finish at least two blocks a week from now until the first week of January when the baby comes.


Based on my calculations, that will definitely yield me at least all the blocks to finish the quilt top before the baby comes. It's entirely possible that the Epic Sampler quilt will become a new block of the month club, if I can manage to sort it all out properly and figure out how to break 39 blocks into a 12 month experience. What say you, blog-land, would you be interested in a new club, one that mixes paper piecing and regular old patchwork piecing?
Monday, July 20, 2015

A new finish for a new little person on the way

I'm pleased to finally have a summer finish to share that's fully quilted and bound and truly finished! The summer seems to be flying by, full of family time, work, trips to the pool, and very little sewing, but this project was a bit of a priority for me - because of the recipient.


We recently found out that our munchkin will no longer be a "lonely child" (as he calls an "only child") - I'm expecting a new baby early in the new year! All three of us are mighty excited, and naturally, I channeled my excitement into making a quilt for the baby. We don't know if it's a boy or girl yet, so I went with a simple bright, rainbow color scheme that will work well for either, and I picked a block that has been on my quilty bucket list for a long time - the X Plus block.

These blocks are SO addictive, and so quick to make! I dug into my scrap bins for the rainbow colors and pulled two of my favorite basics, an old out of print Lakehouse seed catalog print, and a cute tiny black heart print on white by Dear Stella, to mix them up with.

I love the simplicity of the piecing in this quilt, so I kept it super simple with the quilting and binding - just a simple stipple in my trusty white #2024 Aurifil thread and then I bound it using that same sweet heart print that I used throughout the blocks.


I adore the backing I used for this quilt, a new Cloud 9 print by Eloise Renouf called Passing Cloud from her line, First Light. This line is sooooo pretty! Navies and citrons and grays mixed with a pop of pink and a wee bit of teal, in beautifully detailed prints. Just the right amount of mellow softness compared to the bright quilt top!


Quilt Stats
name: Baby's X Plus Quilt
size: 36" square
fabrics: a wide assortment from my scrap bins, plus the Hearts print from Dear Stella and an out of print Bakehouse seed catalog print
backing: Passing Cloud by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9
quilting: simple meandering stipple in white (#2024) Aurifil 50 wt thread

This quilt will likely make a great tummy time mat for the new baby when he or she arrives, but I suspect there will be another quilt I'll make for the baby once we find out if it will be a boy or girl. I don't think I'll be able to help myself :)

Stay tuned next week for a new block tutorial, for the Twirl block last seen in my Cotton + Steel mini swap quilt, and have a great Monday!
 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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