Every February, I join some dear friends for a quilt retreat on the coast of Oregon. With COVID we will not being retreating. I am bummed to miss my friends, the laughter, the stories, the food, drink and the scenery. I will also miss the time to work on future projects. The last retreat I was working on a project using Daybreak by 3 Sisters, which is shipping to stores now. So many projects I work on I can’t really show until the fabric is available, but I can share now.
Daybreak fat quarter bundle
I had all my pieces cut and ready so I could just sew, sew, sew. If you have not been to a retreat there is usually tons of laughing and talking, so not having to concentrate for cutting is usually best.
3 sisters fabrics always include romantic florals as the focal pieces and I knew I wanted to highlight the bigger prints in alternate blocks. One of my all time favorite quilt blocks is the sawtooth star and decided to use a couple of variations of that block to create a vintage feel.
The pop of navy fabrics was something new for a 3 sisters collection and I love the combination of the pinks and blues together.
Can you say Paisley? I knew I had to use that for the backing.
Quilted by Maggi Honeyman, Binding by Susan Stiff
While I will miss the retreat in 2021, I will always have this quilt as a keepsake from 2020.
To download the pattern to make your own Daybreak quilt, click here.
I love the colors.
I love the pattern.
I love the quilting.
I love, love, love it.
Someone asked me about the pattern and colors so I thought I would share it here. When I went to hunt down
the good pics, I remembered it was featured in the April May 2013 QUILT magazine. So here are their nice styled, color corrected pictures from 2013.
The background could be anything but I used 9900-182 Porcelain (4 1/4 yds.)
Pick your favorite 12 colors, add background of your choice.
The possibilities are endless. Choose all shades of greens and browns for trees, blues and greens with a little white on top for snow capped mountains, 30’s prints for a retro quilt or just a combination of all your funky favorite fabrics as a scrap buster!
During the pandemic, several different people on social media starting having outdoor quilt shows by showcasing one of their quilts in their yard or on their front porch, etc. Jenny Doan starting doing this also and I thought I would do the same each weekend.
I dug this schoolhouse quilt out of my stack to symbolize the return to school, even though it was virtual.
Several of you have messaged me wanting this pattern so I decided to do a quick blog post
so I can share it with everyone.
This is what our family always called our Charlie’s Angels picture. The picture was taken one summer of my mom, my sister and myself. I was about to be a freshmen in high school, Angie was about to leave home and would be a freshmen in college. When she left for college I got her room. In her closet was a piece of paper that she listed what she wore each week. This list lasted for an entire month, every month. She worked to not wear the same thing for an entire month. She did not have a large wardrobe but she would make new things just to make sure she kept it fresh.
Fast forward…. my sister graduated with a home ec teaching degree and went on to get married and have 3 sweet sweet boys. The first year that Angie and Joel were married they decided to make a quilt as a wedding gift for some friends using the quilt as you go method. Angie lived in Lubbock and I lived in Dallas so we mailed the blocks back and forth so I could help piece the blocks. Joel helped quilt them and I remember he had the most beautiful small stitches, 12 to the inch just as he had been instructed.
A few years later Angie’s family moved to Ft. Worth which is about 30 minutes from me, so we got together often. At the time we both had 2 kids each under the age of 4. It was a miracle we got anything done. I even joined a quilting friendship group there in Ft. Worth so we could get together often. We did many block swaps, made things for arts and craft shows and even gift shops would sell our wares.
My sister passed away in 1989 at the age of 31 which was 31 years ago. I tell you this story because I have finished several of her unfinished quilt tops and shared them with her family. I have one more quilt top to complete.
We did a friendship swap for the square in a square block and she pieced the pink sawtooth stars to complete the designs. Each of us had the same swap block and would create completely different quilts.
I have had this quilt top for 31 years. I cannot believe that. I hadn’t completed it because I was on a mission to find enough of the navy fabric for the fourth border (shown in upper corner) I did not have to have the exact fabric just something that matched. Believe it or not this is such a rich deep navy that I had a hard time making a match.
I finally found a navy plaid that was close enough and finished the top. My quilter often has a sale on quilting during her birthday month so I was going to be ready.
I took the quilt outside to get some pictures and poked a hole in my finger.
All this time I did not realize that the back of the quilt still had the names pinned on the blocks.
Many of the swap blocks were hand pieced. Each block had to use tan in the middle, greens, then pinks and cheddars and navy on the outside. There was a plan.
I guess this is a good reason to leave your selvedges on since I can now identify the border as a Cranston Print Works/ V.I.P fabric. I don’t really recommend leaving selvedges on.
I looked through the names trying to remember each person in this particular swap. I was thrilled when I came across this block with our good friend Roxi’s name on it. After my sister passed away Roxi and I continued our friendship and that makes this quilt top even more priceless.
I am kind of sad to finish this quilt top knowing that it is the last piece of Angie’s work that I have. The quilt will go to a good home and I will always have the memories of each of the quilts.
Quilts tell a story and they last long after we are gone!
It is finally finished. I had made the goal to share this before the first pumpkins were out and I think I made it.
When I asked some of my friends to join me in the Sisterhood of Scraps project, I was very honored that Barbara Brackman said YES. She shared her Orange Zig Zag antique quilt that had been on my bucket list to make. There was no time like the present to reproduce her version.
I am in love and I can cross something off my bucket list.
I am ready for the pumpkins.
Aren’t all the shirtings so yummy?
Shirtings are generally a reproduction fabric but I am seeing more and more new styles of shirtings with the popularity of low volume styles growing in popularity.
This is what I can do all day every day!
Play with Fabric
These are just a few of my lights for this quilt. I really tried to get some bold stripes, tickings and other vintage inspired pieces. I added some dots since I think 100% of the quilts I make have dots in them.
Fig Tree and Co. has the yummiest collection of fabric, All Hallow’s Eve and I was hoarding the Orange, stock #20354-11 from this collection. This fabric was the perfect piece to use for this quilt.
These are available late 2020 and would be terrific Christmas gift to yourself!
Here is a page example from the book courtesy of Electric Quilt. I own her original book and can’t wait to get my hands on this one. This book is great for designing, as a resource and historical information.
Today is Jen Kingwell’s turn to share a quilt block pattern. The name of her block is Proposal and it has a great story behind it. To get the pattern and learn more about the block, visit Jen’s blog, HERE.
Using Jen’s inspiration for her block, I decided to use all lights to represent a diamond. My Diamond is not perfect and since there is all different qualities of diamonds I left the imperfections!! Another thing I learned while pulling fabric for this one is I must love white/cremes with tan or grey dots.
If you follow me on Instagram of Facebook then you probably have seen some of the pictures of my only daughter’s wedding. I wanted to share another story which seems fitting on the topic of proposals. My daughter has always been a city girl but she met and fell in love with a country boy. He proposed to her by carving the words into a tree on their land. The night he was planning on proposing she was late coming home from work which also meant she was tired and probably a little cranky. He insisted on going for a ride and he had something to show her. While she wanted to wait until the morning, but she went ahead and this is what she saw. (picture was taken in the morning)
I had help along the way. Do you sew in your swimsuit?
So when it came time to make her a quilt for her wedding, I could think of no other pattern than a tree block. I sent blocks out to some of their friends and family for messages and well wishes.
I think they were pretty surprised! For a few days this was their wedding quilt, now we call it the Babymaker. No pressure!!
Just in case you are wondering I used a tutorial from Amy Smart for this block. You can find the info HERE.
Visit each of the designers listed below for their take on the Proposal block.
If you have been following along on my Sisterhood of Scraps stories, then you probably know about my love of the color Orange.
One of the Orange quilts that have been on my “MUST MAKE Pinterest Board” is this antique quilt from Barbara Brackman’s quilt collection. I was so excited when she let me include it in the Sisterhood series of books. Then comes along All Hallow’s Eve by Fig Tree and Co, and I became obsessed with the orange’s in this collection, the color is officially named pumpkin. Not too bright or not too orange….just right.
I knew I had found the perfect fabric to remake Barbara’s quilt. Stock # 20354-11 just in case you want to rush to the store to get some.
What really is the hardest decision in the quilt making process is how to quilt it. Finding a quilter that can work their magic takes some time. Several of the quilts in Sisterhood of Scraps were quilted by Maggi Honeyman, so I asked her to do a post about how she goes through the process of quilting scrappy quilts.
When Lissa asked me to write a post about quilting scrappy quilts, I knew it was a subject that is right up my alley. My quilt-making journey has been about scrappy quilts from the beginning. The more fabrics that are included in one quilt top, the better! So, when it comes to quilting them, I feel at home. Over the 19+ years that I have been quilting on a long-arm quilting machine for other individuals, there has been a big transformation in how we approach quilting scrappy quilts. When I started, doing an all-over repeated pattern on most quilts just wasn’t the preferred option. This has changed recently, particularly on scrappy quilts.
I am a very traditional piecer and my quilting style definitely tends towards traditional patterns, whether on scrappy or more fabric specific quilts. I always try and let the quilt suggest to me what it needs in the way of quilting when the piecer is unsure of how they want their quilt finished. The types of fabrics or the block design are a couple of ways a quilt can talk to you. Sometimes it takes getting the quilt loaded on the machine; and other times, the quilt speaks for itself. Feathers and crosshatching are always great go-to-patterns for custom quilting. For the more modern quilts, it has been a bigger stretch for me artistically. When deciding on ideas for quilting, I will use a piece of Press-n-Seal to carefully draw on top of the quilt, which helps me visualize how my idea will actually look on the quilt. There is also a multitude of long-arm machine quilters who have written fantastic books with design ideas, as well as internet resources, that have lots of ideas for custom quilting on all types of quilts. These books and the internet have changed the machine quilting world immensely.
Having said this about custom quilting, all-over/edge to edge designs have become much more acceptable, just as machine quilting is more acceptable than it was 20 years ago. When looking at scrappy quilts, I feel that the fabrics and the actual piecing pattern make the biggest or most important statement for a quilt. On these quilts with so much interest in the fabrics and design, the quilting simply needs to add texture and dimension. I will pick an all-over design for scrappy quilts as often as choosing to quilt it custom.
As with scrappy quilts, I have always loved pieced backs. My philosophy is to use what I have and that includes pieced backs. But what I really mean is if I don’t use what I have, then I can hardly justify buying more!! So, when customers bring pieced backs, I am quite ok with that. However, when there are lots of pieces used for the back, it is very easy for the back not to be “square”. Careful measuring and piecing is just as important for the back as it is for the front so that you have a nice flat back. While quilting the top, I can see when a bit of adjustment is needed and I can attend to it. When the back has some less than square properties, it is much more difficult to see and correct while quilting. Many of my quilts have pieced backs, as it adds another artistic element, and making quilts is very much an artistic outlet for most quilters. When I piece my backs, if I am not using some of my leftover blocks for part of the back, I use a ½” seam allowance with a slightly shorter stitch length and then press the seams open.
As far as pressing seams prior to quilting, when a piecer chooses to press the seams open, they should know that any stitch-in-the-ditch quilting is more difficult. Also, stitching in an open seam runs the risk of cutting the piecing threads with the needle while doing the quilting. If the seam is pressed to one side, it gives you the ditch to stitch in, which provides the stability and structure that stitch-in-the-ditch is intended to give. Having said that, open seam allowances allow for much flatter intersections to quilt through and over. Thicker seam allowances always benefit from very good steam/heavy pressing to ensure they are the flattest they can be.
I hope these thoughts have given you some insight into my quilting process for scrappy quilts. Everybody has their own process, but in the end, we are all makers in one big sisterhood of quilters. This is first, a way to relax, express ourselves, belong to a group, and have fun. There are no hard and fast rules and there is no perfection. Make it yours and know I truly love quilting with you!
Thanks so very much for quilting with me,
Thank you Maggi for always making my quilts SING! and sharing such great tips.You can find Maggi on Facebook.
and Instagram @sewmaggi
Join me back here tomorrow as I share what Maggi has been working on lately.
** Sisterhood of Scraps is available NOW from your favorite book retailer.
Today’s post is a guest post from the uber-talented Susan Ache. Susan is one of the contributing artists in my new book Sisterhood of Scraps. Susan shares with us all about hibernation and what she does in THE cold month in Florida. ( one little hiccup- that I am posting this in February but I think you will get the gist and enjoy Susan’s process.)
Susan’s quilt from Sisterhood of Scraps, Scrap Diving.
It’s not something I get to say often, but, I am a “guest blogger”. Thank you, Lissa, for inviting me to your space. Let’s get some introductions started. Happy New Year to everybody, I’m Susan Ache (pronounced like hockey without the H) and, I play just about every day on Instagram @yardgrl60. I live in Florida, sewing by day and stitching by night.
Now that you know all about me, let’s talk hibernation. I am not about to spend my fun blogging time talking about new year resolutions cleaning and organizing my sewing room with tips and hints. I am going to talk about how I turn my air down really low, throw food in the crockpot and hibernate in my sewing room for the month of January and sometimes February. Florida gets a few cold days in February while the rest of the country is bundled up and snowed in during January. Well, I like to be a part of that fun, so, let’s talk about what I like to spend my time doing.
Hibernating January is such a quiet month to plot and plan new quilt projects from my inspirations I have saved over the year. Let’s not even begin to think that I write it down or count the number of things I want to get done, I just like visuals to let me know that it’s all there for me when I want to start. You know those tabs you put in books to mark your favorites, or if you are like me, those patterns you put in a file, so you will never forget you want to make them. January is my time to sit and re-evaluate what I really want to get done and what I really have in my stash to accomplish that. I do love playing in my scraps, so most of the time, I am lucky enough not to have to cut into the “real” fabric, but, I do like to know that when there is something special I do want to make, I have the materials on hand. The best part about my process is that I don’t actually “kit” my projects. I get everything together, make little notes, and take a quick snapshot of it. I keep that little “kit” photo in an album in my camera phone and will always have exactly what I pulled that day right at my fingertips.
Here’s the thing, I love, and I can’t even begin to say how much I just love to sit down at the machine and make a quilt block. Hibernating January is my time to do this from all of my “kits” that I have pulled. There are three main reasons why I make a practice block. The first reason is that I like to see if I like the construction of the block and if there is possibly an easier way for me to construct it. The second reason, how many times have you started a quilt and realized halfway through that you don’t really even enjoy making the block. Well, by making just one or two blocks, I can pretty much tell if it is something I will enjoy making lots of. And, finally, my favorite reason of all, I have an extra block to throw in my “orphan” basket of quilt blocks, which always come in handy when I want to make a sampler quilt.
Having Hibernating January is also my time to play with all of the templates and rulers that I have randomly picked up at shops, shows, or online. Taking the time to see what those things can do certainly helps me have more fun during the year when I finally learn how to use them. Years ago, I found an entire little box in the back of my cutting table filled with all sizes of drunkards path templates. I spent Hibernating January figuring out how to make curved piecing more comfortable for me, and to this day, it is one of my very favorite features of a quilt or a quilt block, and I feel confident making them because I carved out some quiet non-stressful time to practice.
I want to Welcome Barbara Brackman today as she does a guest post about her quilt in my new book, Sisterhood of Scraps.
“When Using Stripes and Plaids Buy Extra Fabric to Match.”
Someone ignored that good old HomeEc advice to make the Orange Zig-Zag. Lucky for us.
The quilt top came from a Topeka, Kansas thrift store in the 1970s. I asked church ladies in Garnett, Kansas to hand quilt it in the ‘80s. I’d guess the quilt dates to about 1920 due to two fabric style characteristics. The oranges are all cut from the same solid and it looks like a 20th-century dye, not chrome orange, a 19th-century dye. It’s not really lightfast. I hung it too long one winter in Seattle where there’s not much sun; yet the orange faded a bit.
The light fabrics are shirting stripes and plaids, which were quite popular for everybody’s clothing in the teens. Even the giant black and white stripes were probably meant for a snappy men’s shirt, worn with a celluloid collar.
Ad from 1910
I’ve enjoyed hanging it over the years to the envy of my friends who decided to make their own. You might want to use Lissa’s pattern beyond the advice I gave them:
“Get a bunch of orange prints & solids and white stripes & plaids. Make a 60-degree diamond template. Piece rows. When you get bored piece some half diamonds along two sides.”
That’s how I do things, but my friends bought a 60-degree ruler and counted.
We had an orange-fest at our quilt show a few years ago. The quilt on the left is by Kathe Dougherty, a faithful copy. Karla Menaugh’s on the right was done in a Kaffe Fassett workshop.
Kathe was really able to match the look of a century ago.
Orange Zig-Zag by Carol Gilham Jones (Not Orange)
Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your quilt in the Sisterhood of Scraps.
Here is my version that primarily uses the Lollies fabrics by Jen Kingwell. I want to make a quilt exactly like Barbara’s and probably still will.
Please share your version by using the hashtags #sisterhoodofscraps.