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September 12, 2021
Seasonals and Standards from My Quilt Infatuation

Hey there, friends!  I am so happy that today I get to give you a little overview of the final sections of my new book, Scrappy Improv Quilting.  The third section of the book is titled Seasonal Sensations and contains six adorable little seasonal quilts.

Every year, I go all out decorating for Christmas (I put up four trees!), but I don't have that same stamina when it comes to the other holidays and seasons.  Even though I don't decorate my entire house during the rest of the year, it is nice to have a little holiday touch ...

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May 22, 2021
Spring Broken from Sew Preeti Quilts

The best flowers are at the Keukenhof in Amsterdam. A bit out of my reach, mostly.

Tulips in Amsterdam, 2019

Keukenhof Gardens

The Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania are huge and absolutely beautiful, but still a few hours from me.

Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania

Water Lilies

The Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC are more accessible and I don't mind the long train ride although I will avoid the nightmarish parking in downtown DC. 

From 2008. My first time :-) 

So beautiful

Due to their popularity and the huge crowds (then), everyone was photobombing someone else's picture. The best pictures were taken ...

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May 16, 2021
Two More Quilt “Kits” to go from Heart Desire Creations

Last week I shared the flannel rag quilt kit I prepared for a week long retreat I’ll be attending. Of course one isn’t enough, so I now have two more ready to go!

First up is a string block kit. I pulled from some beloved batik greens and blues and one almost white and cut into varying strip widths. The plan is to sew them onto paper piecing paper doing a diamond design. I love to do string quilts! For me its both fun and therapeutic sewing. Sewing this quilt will also be perfect for a retreat as ...

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May 15, 2021
That's it for the Red and Yellow Squares from Fret Not Yourself

For what it's worth... it's never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. 
There's no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you've never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life ...

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April 28, 2021
Improv Hourglass Quilted from Fret Not Yourself

Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, 
and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.
~Charles Bukowski


Inner borders benefit from SID (stitch-in-the-ditch) to keep them straight and that's what I did first here. But what to do next? The improvisationally cut hourglasses don't lend themselves to diagonal stitching although straight lines could run vertically. That's one of my default quilting designs. 

Then I recalled the quilting design on kawandis. It's a simple squared-off spiral from the outside in. And usually hand quilted. Starting at the outside meant ...

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April 20, 2021
Improvising My Scraps from Fret Not Yourself

Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; 
rather, it means never losing awareness that we are connected to each other.
~Parker Palmer


Cleaning out every corner of my house has been a salutary lesson. For some reason there are stacks of squares neatly packaged in different shoe boxes. Six-inch, 5.5", 2.5", and 2". Who knows why now. And why in the world are these blocks half an inch different in size? I tried to simply toss the larger ones into the scrap bag but instead pulled out chunks from the bag and cut them into ...

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March 13, 2021
My first totally improv quilt from Elsie Quilts

This top is finished. It will go on the longarm in a day or two. I just love this one. The entire quilt is made from scraps that were in my scrap bins, finding a few other colors to spice it up. I love the shots of blue (not as dark as the photo, more of a teal) and the bits of orange and green. I pulled out a few yellow fat quarters but didn't use any of them. Even the binding is already cut from scraps and will be mostly the darker pieces in the quilt. The backing ...

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November 1, 2020
How to stretch a quilt over a frame from Stitch and Yarn

How to stretch a quilt over a frame by Stitch and Yarn

If you've been on a zoom call with me this pandemic, or indeed seen one of the interviews I've done recently, then you'll have noticed a large stretched quilt behind my head. That was my first go at this technique more than a decade ago – so much wrong with that one, and yet not enough to make me take it down and redo it.

In the last year or so I've been inspired to refine my process and develop something that doesn't look like my seams are going to pop any minute! Stretching a quilt ...

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July 14, 2020
Rosie Lee Tompkins from Fret Not Yourself

"Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

We had a three month delay in paying taxes here in the US. The new deadline is July 15. Tomorrow.

Chinese Coins

With so many little projects around the house there wasn't much time for quilting this week. Someone asked how to decide on the widths of Chinese Coin columns recently and here's what I wrote:

1. I plan the overall size (LxW) of the finished quilt because it helps me determine when I have enough columns and when to stop sewing onto a column. Believe ...

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January 27, 2020
Working the Border from Fret Not Yourself

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard a work worth doing."
~Theodore Roosevelt

Last week the black border didn't add anything to the conversation but the quilt still needed more contrast. I pieced more hourglasses with some black added to the pink and blues for the border then spent a while laying them out. This arrangement makes a striking zig zag but is much too strong for the weak center. {I'll have to remember it for another time.}

Zig zag border arrangement

Black to the outside and pink ...

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One Improv Hourglass Quilt Finished from Fret Not Yourself

"It has been said that patriotism is not a frenzied burst of emotion, rather the quiet and steady dedication of a lifetime." 
~ George H.W. Bush

After three weeks this "quick and simple" baby quilt is finally done. Wow, that's too long but it turned out well.

Improv Hourglass quilt 

Since my machine with the working walking foot was in for repairs I had to use FMQ only. No SID around the sashing. I tried using a ruler to make straight lines a quarter-inch inside the sashing with mediocre success. The lines wobble but worse is the way the ...

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January 20, 2020
Improv Tumbler Wall Quilt from African Wax Prints from Selvage Blog

This is one of my recent quilts in a series made with African wax prints, an improv tumbler design with a solid khaki (Kona) background. I source the fabrics on from sellers in Africa, the US and the UK. Buying a scrap bundle now and then adds even more variety to my collection.  Wax prints are a little bit shiny and stiff, but soften with washing. The fabrics come with large stickers attached. Sometimes it's hard to get the stickers off, and then there's the adhesive to deal with. So I just cut around the sticker ...

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December 5, 2019
African Wax Print Quilt from Selvage Blog

This quilt is the first in a series made from African wax prints. I love the African vibe that comes from using these bold colorful prints with solid black. The triangles are pieced, but the prints provide most of the design punch. I like that eye-catching sunflower in the middle.

This quilt is available for purchase on Etsy. Four are listed now, and more coming soon.

African wax prints are available online from Africa and the US. Etsy is a good place to start collecting wax prints. Most of these fabrics are offered for sale in 1 yard and 6 ...

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November 12, 2019
Woven and Felt Wool Applique from One Designer Pursuing her Dreams

That’s it! I’ve fallen down the wool applique rabbit hole. I’ve spent a good bit of my sewing time talking about ways to avoid hand sewing and here I am… HAND SEWING....

See more sewing and quilting adventures from Jen Eskridge of ReannaLily Designs

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  • improv quilt
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