Work-in-Progress Girl


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WIP Wednesday: Rainbow Text Mini

I’m on vacation from work this week, so I’ve been trying to spend my time working on a mini that’s due to be sent out by August 31. It’s for a swap that requires us to use at least two text prints… I’m using quite a few more than that.

A mini I'm working on for an Instagram swap

I rotated through at least a half dozen options before finally settling on this pattern, Glam Garlands by Elizabeth Hartman from her book Modern Patchwork. My partner seems to be a fan of rainbows, so I dug deep into my collection of text prints to create (most of) a rainbow.

A mini I'm working on for an Instagram swap

I’ve got it all basted and have spent the last 4 hours not quilting it, even though I could probably be (nearly) done by now if I’d just get going on it. I’m a little torn about how to quilt it though – I had been thinking about long lines down the length designed maybe to look like crepe paper garlands or something like that. But then I wondered if that was too boring and thought about maybe emphasizing the garlands by stitching in the ditch round them and then densely quilting the background with pebbles or stippling, so that it sits back and the garlands pop out. I really just need to make a decision because I’m planning to be out of town for three days and it needs to be finished before that so that I’m not rushed in the last day before it needs to be sent.

Anyway, it’s my birthday this week, so it’s time for a giveaway. Basically the winner – who can be from anywhere – can choose from one of two prizes.

The first prize I haven’t really put it together yet, but I’m going to make a scrap bundle of text prints:

Fabrics for a mini I've been working on

This scrap bundle might include bits of all of these fabrics (or it might not – some of them I don’t have enough left to call them scraps really) as well as some of the rest of my giant collection of text fabrics.

And the second prize will be a charm pack of all the prints from Lizzy House’s Constellations line of fabrics.

Both prizes will contain similar amounts of fabric – I’ll aim to have them both approximately the same weight. To enter, follow the prompts on Rafflecopter:

(Deleting the Rafflecopter link.)

(Ugh. I clearly didn’t edit that well. Forgive the misspelling. And make sure you follow the prompt – I will be checking!)

Edited to Add: I can’t figure out how to make this work on WordPress. They do NOT like script based HTML. So let’s skip that.

Same deal, just with me using Random.org to figure out a winner! Please leave a comment below telling me which of the two prizes you’d rather win. That’s it! I’ll be accepting entries until 11:59pm on Tuesday, September 1st and will draw the winner the next day when I’m home from work. Anyone anywhere around the world can enter.

Also, please don’t enter this giveaway into any giveaway aggregate services. I’m happy for anyone at all to enter, but I’d rather it be organically found by followers and people who’ve also linked up via one of the below Wednesday Link-ups.

Linking up with all the Wednesday link ups – check the sidebar for additional links to Work in Progress Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.


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The Pink and Orange Quilt

So I’m kind of at a boring stage in the making of things… by which I mean I’m putting the top of a quilt together, but it’s not really much fun to show because it’s kind of neither here nor there right now.

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Right now the sort of… central body of the quilt is in three parts. That’s two of them, pinned together and ready to be sewn. It’s been sitting on my table for a couple days because it’s been so cold and miserable that I haven’t felt like sewing (and have only felt like taking hot baths and/or sleeping and/or cooking warming things like stew and Cuban Smashed Potatoes), but I’m determined to get at least that centre part sewn together by Thursday afternoon.

I really need to press that again, but that Best Press is actually not scent free and smells so bad that I hate using it. (I feel like my lungs are full of the stuff every time I use it, even if I only use it very, very lightly.)

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And here is the other third of the blocks of this quilt, along with the borders, which are as thick as the blocks are themselves! It’s going to have a… non-standard setting, in a way, which lead to the exceptionally wide (for me) borders. I don’t love big borders… I never know how to quilt them. But I think I’m just going to do the same all over quilt job, borders, blocks and all. This isn’t really a quilt that I think I’m going to love – when I see individual blocks I like them and I basically like all the fabrics involved and I like the block pattern that I chose, but I find the colours overwhelming when they’re all laid out together pink! coral! orange! floral! – so I’m thinking of it as good practise and I’m going to use it to practise quilting spirals. Just a pretty basic spiral type thing. I need to watch some more Craftsy classes and find one of the ones where Leah Day shows how she does them.

Anyway, here I am talking about it:

You won’t learn anything from that video that I haven’t already told you, at least I don’t think so, but I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be more interesting(ish?) in person?

Linking up to many and various WIP Wednesday type link-ups: Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced, Let’s Bee Social with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, and WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network.


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WIP Wednesday: Cushion covers

So I’ve been working on cushion covers lately. Quite a while ago, like months ago, I’d cut out all the pieces for a 16″ quilt block that exactly matched one I’d sent away for the Stash Bee and then it sat around for a long, long time without me doing anything with it. And then I got bit by the free motion quilting bug because I was working on that baby quilt I just posted about the other day and I started watching Craftsy videos about free motion quilting – I’ve got several, two with Leah Day, one with Elizabeth Dackson, one with Angela Walters, and one I haven’t watched with… Wendy Butler Berns – and that got me wanting to do some more practise. But I hate just using random fat quarters (and I hate wasting my “good” fabric for it, but I don’t have all that much ugly fabric any more either) so I made up that quilt block and turned it into a quilted cushion. Which is the one on the right, here:

WIP and a finish

Once I get it washed up, I’ll write a proper post about it with some decent pictures, but for now it’ll do. Part of the process with that one involved my (weak) attempts to FMQ smooth curves, and that got me watching another Craftsy class, that one Jacquie Gering’s class about quilting with a walking foot. (I’m feeling lazy: I’m not sure I spelled her name right and I can’t recall the exact name of the class, but it seems like too much work to look it up!) And so there’s a little bit of walking foot quilting in that finished pillow, and then a little more on the pillow-in-progress on the left. It’s so very sweet and pretty, isn’t it? That’s so not my usual wheelhouse and I’m not at all certain what I’ll wind up doing with it, but there it is.

I’ve been thinking for the last little while about what my “style” is as a quilter (or as an artist if you want to take it in that route – I’m talking less about the mechanics of it and more about the look of the finished things I make) and I don’t really think I’ve got one. My brain sort of flits around from this to that and I like to try a little of everything, but I don’t think anyone would ever, in a random line-up of stuff, be able to point to the thing I made and feel certain it was mine. I think that’s true of a lot of quilters I know, that we haven’t really found our niche in a way, but then some people you really do recognize straight away. I suppose it just takes time to find that place that belongs to you and the flitting around is just part of the process.

Linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social, The Needle and Thread Network, and finally Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Sew Fresh Quilts wipwednesdayneedleandthreadnetwork WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And a belated Talk to Me Tuesday. The later half of this video is directed at the other video makers/posters at the Livejournal TTMT community who posted videos in September.


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Work-not-in-Progress Wednesday (plus Birthday! plus Giveaway!)

Work NOT in progress? Yeah. Well. You may have forgotten, but back in March I got my hands on a Juki straight stitch sewing machine. Which wouldn’t work for me. It took me half an age, but I finally took it in to a sewing machine repair shop in mid-July to have it looked at. I’m not honestly sure what they did with it – the feed dog lowering mechanism was broken so they repaired that and they got it stitching again, but it didn’t seem as if they needed any parts to get it working again. They did charge me for (and sent me home with) a packet of specialty needles, which I’d read in the manual that it needed, but which I didn’t know if I was using (because I just used a needle from one of the packets that the former machine owner had stashed in the ziploc baggy full of spare machine parts). So maybe it was as simple as swapping the needle!

In any case, I brought the machine home and I sewed an entire quilt top on it and it was great and running smoothly and happily and I was impressed and pleased and all things wonderful and good. Until I switched to a new project, which was going to be a quilt from John Q Adams/Quilt Dad‘s Beyond Neutral quilt book (not an affiliate link). It’s using all that green fabric I showed off on Sunday and 5 yards of a blue I’d bought for something, which it turned out not to work with, and I was really excited to get working on it. Until something weird started happening:

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I started getting runs in my fabric. It’s just like when you catch a toenail on a pair of stockings and suddenly there’s a run up the side of your leg, except it’s my fabric that’s being ruined! My exciting new project!

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Looking at it from the reverse, it looks like the needle is catching a single strand of thread on the fabric, pulling it through to the back (the biggest loop here is the pale blue you’re seeing the wrong side of in the top photo), thus pulling a run into the fabric. In fact, all those little loops of whitish looking thread are blue from the front. It’s not just ruining one of the fabrics, though, it’s ruining both layers — all the fuzzy looking blue blobs are bits from the bottom layer of fabric (bottom when it’s run through the machine, top when you’re looking at it above), which are pulling runs into the bottom as well.

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I think this is the worst one I had — it pulled the thread through so far that it pleated/puckered the fabric!

My only real thought as to the cause is that there must be some kind of flaw in the needle, maybe some kind of rough spot that is catching the fabric on the way by and causing the runs in the fabrics. It’s the same needle I used to sew the aforementioned quilt top (which you can see in my Instagram stream or can wait to see when I finally get it quilted) and it didn’t cause any problems then, but it seems (to me) the most likely cause. Feel free to prove me wrong, though! I tried to do a google search on the subject, but I didn’t really find any suggestions or answers!

In any case, since I have no work in progress to show you, I might just as well jump on to the next part of today’s post: it’s my birthday!

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And birthday’s mean giveaways around here! Last Sunday I talked about buying a nice big stack of (kinda sorta) peridot coloured fabrics from Mad About Patchwork and some of that bounty of greens could be yours… or possibly better yet (I dunno… maybe you hate green?), you could pick out your own fabrics to celebrate my birthday!

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(The very lovely) Pam at Mad About Patchwork is sharing a $50 gift certificate with one of you to help me celebrate! Just think what you could do with $50 at a fabric shop….

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You could pick up a kit for Lorna McMahon‘s adorable Fox & Friends quilt pattern.

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Or you could pick up a Chasing Fireflies curated bundle of Fat Quarters.

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Or you could curate your own bundle, as I did with my collection of greens (though, admittedly, I did also pick up a green stash bundle to round out my choices.

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Or you could save it for a little while (yeah, right!) and pick up something from the coming soon section, like this Kate Spain Horizon jelly roll. In any case… I don’t think anyone would have too many problems finding a way to drop $50 at a shop like this one!

Greens

I haven’t been flashing this green around for nothing, though, because if you don’t happen to win the gift certificate, you might just win a Fat Eighth bundle of all 18 fabrics that I picked up from my last virtual shopping trip at Mad About Patchwork. (They’re all approximate cuts, by the by. I took the super scientific approach of not pressing the fabric and then just cutting them up the fold line in the middle, so they’re… approximate.) I don’t know what you’ll do with them, but my brain flashed through a dozen options before settling down on the pattern I mentioned above. Green is awesome – you can do something fresh and spring-like with leaves or trees or you could add reds and go holiday or add a bunch of blues for a more soothing watery palette or add purple for something floral and vibrant…

So if you want to enter: please leave a comment below. Maybe tell me about your birthstone and if you like it (or don’t) or (if you read my Sunday Stash post) about your favourite gemstone for jewellery or about your favourite famous piece of jewellery. (Yeah, okay. So I’m not a very girly-girl, but among my favourite blogs are From Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault and The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, which I mostly only like when they’re talking about jewels. I’m not a jewellery person, but I do like to look at all the amazing sparklies locked up in the royal jewel vaults of various European houses.) Or maybe you could tell me about the kind of day you’re having – I’m writing this post a day ahead, but I can almost certainly guarantee I’m at work and grumpy about it while most of you are reading this. I was supposed to be on vacation this week, but my back-up broke her foot and is off work, so I had to cancel and… well, I’m a little bitter about it! Maybe you could tell me about your up-coming weekend. I think I’m going to go check out the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaentology, which I haven’t been to in years (and years and years…). In any case, the point of all this: leave a comment. I WILL NOT count your comment if you only say “thanks for the chance” or anything along those lines – I’d like to hear something a bit more interesting than that! You don’t have to wow me with your witty repartee, I’d just like something more interesting to read!

I will draw the winners on Tuesday, September 2, so enter sometime before then! (Or anyway, sometime before I come home from work that day. I usually get home around 3:30 pm MST.) The first name drawn will win the gift certificate (unless you’d prefer to win the fabric bundle, in which case: say so in your comment!) and the second name will win the fabric.

A very, very special thank you to Pam for providing the gift certificate (and for always providing me with the sweet, sweet hits of fabric that I sometimes need to get me through a crappy week like this one, when I’m meant to be on holiday but am not).

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And finally, finally… linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social, The Needle and Thread Network, and finally Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Sew Fresh Quilts wipwednesdayneedleandthreadnetwork WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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A Lovely Year of Finishes May Goal

So I’m still way behind on posts that I started to write in mid-April, but I decided to scrap one of those draft posts and rework it into my May Goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes: my unfinished Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong blocks/quilt top. While I was on vacation, I got seven more blocks done and I’ve done two more since then, but I think I still have five more to go. Here’s the newest finishes:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

(Yikes! I forgot to take pictures of the last two blocks! I’ll add them in tomorrow or you can probably see them in my Instagram feed thing on the right. Unless I’ve taken pictures since then, but I don’t think so!)

Maybe I should say more about these blocks, but there’s just too many to really talk about them all! But to say what I’ve said in the past: the prints are all from Basic Grey’s Eva line of fabrics and the off-white is a Moda Bella solid.

I’m pretty sure I’ve got five left to sew up in order to finish all 20 blocks, so my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to get those blocks done and to get the quilt top pieced… So I still need to cut out the sashing and figure out what to do for cornerstones (it isn’t easy to find more of this fabric and I’m not sure how much Eva fabric I’ve got left in my stash). And of course piecing all of it. It’s going to be quite a big quilt top, really, so it’s the kind of thing I love to put off and never finish…

Linking up to WIP Wednesday with Lee of Freshly Pieced, WIP Wednesday with Needle and Thread Network, Let’s Bee Social with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, and finally Sew Bittersweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts A Lovely Year of Finishes


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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

You know, I keep thinking I should have more to show because I’ve spent SO MUCH time crafting this month, but so much of it was absorbed in the beginning of the month with the Radiant Orchid challenge mini-quilt, that once I was finished with that, nearly all my time went into making things I had to make – bee blocks and swap projects. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that, but I still have so much more I wanted to finish this month!

It’s the last day of March, for example, [or the first day of April, even… I fell asleep before I could finished editing this post yesterday] and I didn’t even touch my Gypsy Wife booklet! Not a single Gypsy Wife block sewn in March! But if I get them done by the weekend, I’m still linking up with Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

This (rather dreadful Instagram photo in a too-dark room) is where both my Gypsy Wife quilts are at. I’m really, really wanting to get working on these, but that Pershing block is really kind of scaring me – I’ve been having issues with details lately and none of my blocks lately have been working out quite like I hope. Pershing is not a good one for when you’re feeling wibbly about your sewing skills.

I’m also six blocks behind on the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong! Six blocks!

Layer Cake Sampler QAL... so far...

This is where I’m at though! Loving how this is coming together, although I do feel a little bit like it’s too pink. I’ll have to wait till I have more blocks together, but maybe I’ll need to sash it in a dark purple or burgundy or something. I think I have a bunch of yardage from this line (Eva by Basic Grey), which was meant to be used as backing for a different Eva quilt-in-progress, but depending what the fabrics are, maybe I’ll be able to use it for finishing the quilt.

So what have I gotten done since finishing my Orchid quilt? Well… a couple bee blocks:

Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block

Neither one of them turned out exactly as I’d hoped – I don’t know… the first one came together pretty well, but that second one is a mess of bad points and it’s a little too small and I was really not happy with it. But I kind of love the colours – that domino dot was a great match for that centre print, although I think it’s a lot more green than the recipient was looking for. In any case, I had changed the needle (and thread) in between sewing the first block and the second and it was just a fight to get anything to work properly. I’m not sure what’s the culprit – maybe the bobbin is wound crookedly, maybe the needle has a bad point or it’s slightly misshapen or the wrong size or maybe I’m a poor craftsman who is blaming her tools. In any case, I’m going to start swapping things out and see if something helps.

I also finished a few things for the 4S swap on Flickr… I don’t want to write a full post about those yet, but here is a shot of the drawstring bag I created and the pincushion I tucked in along with some other treats (fabric and candy and chocolate…):

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I feel like there must be more, but I’m drawing a blank on it, so I guess that’s what I’ve been up to with all my 30 minutes (and more) of crafting every day for the last while! Truly, the majority of the month was taken up with this guy, time hog that it was:

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

Linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. In general I was pretty successful with the 30 minutes a day thing, I think I only missed once on a weekend when I was unexpectedly working nights (but had expected to have time off). It feels like not very much stuff, considering the time I put into it, but crafting really can be a huge time suck. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a speedy thing, even when something moves along quickly.

Berry Barn Designs

Linking up also to WIP Wednesday at Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts


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30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


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Work in Progress Wednesday

I have been working on things, but you wouldn’t know it, following my blog – I’ve been so quiet lately! I’m having time management issues. I’ve been doing so much crafting I haven’t had time for anything else. Seriously: I had over 100 blog posts to catch up on today (I’ve got it down to 87 at the moment), I’ve got several open tabs for things I want to be doing or linking up to or commenting on… but when I don’t spend time on the internet, I get a lot of stuff done! (Sometimes I think I should cancel the internet for a couple months, see if I could blast through some of the piles and piles of unfinished things I’ve been adding to my WIP collection. But I’d probably just spend more time on my phone…)

Berry Barn Designs

For the 30/30 Sewing Challenge, I’ve been working on my Pantone Quilt Challenge project.

Pantone challenge project...

These pictures are quite old – there’s a whole lot more done than I’m showing here, but all the other pictures I’ve got are Instagram photos – and since taking this picture, I’ve made use of all the threads in this picture, as well as one new one that I had to buy because I ran out of a couple of these. (Sampler packs are brilliant for getting some of a lot of different threads, but not so brilliant when you want to make extensive use of them!) All these threads came from Colour Complements and were one of the sampler packs. I’m really enjoying working with these (except for the sparkle chainette, which I have been using stitched through fabric, but which is too stretchy really to be a good stitching choice. I went and checked out Lorraine’s blog today for more information about it and she doesn’t recommend stitching with it, but using for surface decoration, like weaving through other stitches. It doesn’t surprise me!

Pantone challenge project...

I used this green because it was included in the bundle of threads I’d bought (it wasn’t part of the sampler pack, just an extra little bit to play with) and it’s a little too bright, really, but I’m also not going to pick it out and change it for something different! Since taking this photo, most of the bottom half of the quilt has gotten another 3 rows of stitching between each of the rows you see here. It’s taking forever and ever and ever…

…but it’s keeping me going on the 30 minute challenge thing! And in fact, I’d say I’ve spent significantly more than 30 minutes a day working on it. (It’s almost scary to think about just how much time goes into the making of things. And this will eventually be hung on a wall to be occasionally exclaimed over and then someday put in a garage or estate sale for a couple bucks before disappearing into the ether like it never existed.)

I’ve also been working on Material Girl’s Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong, though I’m currently two blocks behind:

Layer Cake Quiltalong

Layer Cake Quiltalong

I’m using a layer cake of Basic Grey’s Eva line, which came out several years ago. I’ve had this layer cake (and a charm pack) sitting around in my sewing room for a long, long time and since I had enough of that white fabric in the background to cut up into 10″ squares for these blocks… I thought Why not? It felt like a good time to use that pretty fabric. Best to do it before I someday stop liking it, right?

Layer Cake Quiltalong

Layer Cake Quiltalong

I’m really enjoying the process of making these blocks. I’m going to get the next set done today or tomorrow and can’t wait to add to the little pile of finished blocks. Love these things!

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts