Gypsy Wife: September Blocks

Well, I’m just barely squeaking these ones in for September, but I just finished up my last Square in Square blocks for the month… So so so many square in square blocks in this quilt!

Seven more for September:

Square in Square blocks

I keep thinking I should put all my blocks up on the wall and see how the colours are coming out because I haven’t been planning anything. But maybe they’ll turn out okay without planning. I keep hoping that’ll be the secret to a good scrappy look.

Also not planned?

Lost her head

Chopping off Bicycle Girl’s head.

The other two blocks for September were two Puss in the Corner blocks.

Gypsy Wife blocks: Puss in the Corner

Like Hydee Ann at Splish Splash Stash – Hydee Ann is running the linky for this month and has some great tips for sewing up those million and one square in square blocks – I’ve got to wonder where the heck that block name came from. Maybe I should have found a cat fabric to put in the middle. (But then it would have had to be a tiny little cat because that centre square is only an inch, finished.)

Gypsy Wife September blocks

Anyway, that’s September in blocks… And only two more months worth of blocks left to go, then it’s time to start putting it all together.

As mentioned, this month’s linky is being held by Hydee Ann and the prize will be a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop, so if you’re sewing along, don’t forget to stop by and link up! (I know it’s the end of September, but it looks like she just wrote her post today too, so hopefully that means the actual link-up will run this week!)

GypsyWifeQAL

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong – August!

So I’m still ticking along with the Gypsy Wife Quiltalong. Sort of… I’m still months behind on my low volume version, but I am all caught up with the brights version. First up, a block I forgot to photograph last month. Not the most exciting block in the world, which could be why I forgot it…

Gyspy Wife

And then all my August blocks. Which are more of the not-very exciting same.

Gypsy Wife QAL August Blocks

Yawn. Eight square in square blocks, and then the central block is made up for four incomplete square in square blocks. Not so very exciting. But there’s a lot of square in square blocks to go into this quilt, so I guess it’s a good thing any time we get to knock a pile of them off the list. Maybe next month will be more interesting?

I’d really like to get back into things with the low volume version, but I think it might be left on the back burner a while. I’ve got a lot of other things I want to keep working on. Quilts to quilts, swap projects to swap, etc.

If you’re sewing along with us, come link up with Rachel at Farm Gal Designs. The prize this month is a Fat Eighth bundle of Netorious from Cotton + Steel basics and a hexagons pack of Figures from Zen Chic.

In other news, I’m out of town for the weekend, but when I’m back, I hope to get more comments answered from my birthday giveaway post. I forgot my cell phone at home, so I’ve only got internet access while I’m at the hotel (and we’re not here for too much longer). Yesterday the Tyrrell Museum and the HooDoos and Horseshoe Canyon, today… I don’t know. Atlas Coal Mine, anyway, but we’ll probably head back to Calgary before it gets too late. (I’ve been reminded this trip that my dad is getting old – we hiked down to the bottom of Horseshoe Canyon and back up and for the first time in my life, he needed more breaks than me.)

Horseshoe Canyon, Alberta


Horseshoe Canyon

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ClumsyKristel

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ClumsyPapa

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong: July blocks and Giveaway

Edited to add: The winner of the July Gypsy Wife Quiltalong giveaway was Crafty Kat, who is doing a very lovely blue and orange and grey version of the quilt that I’m really liking a lot! Go check out her blocks, they look pretty amazing!

So I’ve been AWOL for a while now, but not for reasons of not crafting (though a couple of weeks of too hot weather did put a bit of a damper on my desire to sew this month), just for reasons of not feeling like updating. I guess I needed a break! I could probably spend most of August just catching up on things I’ve been not writing about since April, but instead I’ll knock out three months worth of Gypsy Wife blocks right now. (Well, my brights version, anyway. I’m still three months behind on my low volume version…)

Gypsy Wife QAL - May

May Blocks

I’m pretty much in love with my Hope from Hartford block. I rarely love florals and I don’t even really love the one I used, but I love how it looks in this block. I loved how it looked with that teal Je Vous en Prie fabric and even though I don’t love the background fabric for the block, I think it’ll all work out in the end anyway; that background is hardly going to stand out in the face of all the bright and crazy mish-mash of prints and colours that this quilt is going to use. There’s a lot of blue Anna Maria Horner fabric going on in this little collection – you can always tell what’s near the top of the scrap pile with these blocks! – but there’s even more Heather Bailey, which I had been cutting into at the time for a different project that I’ve stalled on.

Gypsy Wife QAL  - June

June Blocks

I count another four Heather Bailey prints in this collection of blocks – definitely the scraps on top of the pile… I went a bit less crazy with my Crazy Anne block than was recommended and just maintained the same four prints around the outside of the block, rather than swapping in something different for each quadrant. This is another one where I was really pleased with the final look – I was so afraid of those half-rectangle triangles, but they came out almost perfectly (maybe 2-3 millimetres short). I’m not sure I love all these bordered square in square blocks, but I’m trying to remind myself that most of them will kind of disappear into the quilt and won’t be so noticeably off or awful.

Wind blown

July Blocks

Windblown!

Gypsy Wife QAL - July Blocks

I felt like I went too pink/purple and blue in the two previous months, so I tried to be really conscious about using other colours in this month’s blocks. But jeez… what was I thinking putting that same dark red-orange on the outside of two different blocks? These blocks won’t be too close together in the quilt (they’re in sections 2 and 8), but if they seem like too much, then I’ll probably pull off the straight borders and swap in something else (although that particular block features the only time I’ve sewn with that Corsage print and actually had a pair of scissors not get half-swallowed up in a seam allowance). Also, you’ll note, I stuck ANOTHER square of that blue Anna Maria Horner print into a square-in-square block. I’m definitely going to have to make sure those blocks all wind up spread out.

Normally I post a photo of my design wall with all my blocks up on it, but I’ve run out of design wall space, so they’re not up there at all. I think I’m going to take down my low volume blocks and start grouping all these brights blocks into sections on the design wall. I know some people are also working on this by section, rather than by the blocks Michelle set out for the month and if you’re having a hard time figuring out what goes where, I’ve made a spreadsheet that breaks down which blocks go into which section. (I took all the data from my previous spreadsheet, which breaks down which blocks we’re making each month. There may be mistakes in either or both documents, but please let me know if you find one!)

Now for the fun bit! Please link up your July blocks (Star block, three Square in Square blocks, and one bordered Square in Square block) and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate provided by our lovely sponsor Fat Quarter Shop. (A name will be chosen by Random.org on August 1st, but the linky closes late on July 31st.)

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If you are working ahead to put your quilt together in sections, just pull together photos of the July blocks and you can still enter to win:

Because I’m a WordPress blog, you’ll go away to another site to enter the linky. Best of luck!

Bits and Bobs (June Goals)

I’m feeling very talky today, so naturally I’m home alone all weekend AND I don’t have to work till Monday. No one to talk to! GAH. I’m going to go crazy. A little bit.

Anyway… I spent so much of May not sewing that I got way behind on my just-for-me sewing plans – I didn’t even look at my May A Lovely Year of Finishes goal (which was my Layer Cake HST Quiltalong) and I didn’t touch my Gypsy Wife blocks at all. So I’m behind by all of May and now need to get June done for two quilts… so that’s going to be my goal for the month, getting all those sets of blocks finished!

My Button

Here’s where I’m at:

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By the time I’m caught up, I won’t be able to fit all my blocks on the design wall any more! (And so probably I’ll wind up taking down the low volume ones and leaving the brights up instead.)

I’ve only got five more blocks to sew for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

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which means I could finish them by the end of the day if I’d just focus on them. But I’m too distracted! Too distracted by sewing up a block of the Infatuation quilt:

Infatuation block

I went and fished another solid out of my bin of solids, one which I fortunately had about three-quarters of a yard of (it takes 5/8s I think to make a single block). I really like this blue, but I think I need to learn to label my solids when they come in the door because I have no idea what colour it is. I’m pretty sure it’s a Kona cotton, but when I compare it to my colour card (which is out of date), I can’t decide what colour it is. I thought at a glance that it was Midnight or Nightfall, but when I put the fabric up closer it looks more like Navy or Indigo. I tend not to find the colour card all that useful in that way… the swatches are two small and I often think I have a match, then when I get it in yardage I discover that it’s really not at all what I thought. Anyway, I actually really like how it looks with a selection of fabrics from Lottie Da and True Colours (crappy Instagram photo):

Lottie Da, True Colors, and an indeterminate blue...

But whether I love it or not, I don’t know what it is to order more anyway! How much would it suck to make a guess, order 6 yards, and then find out I’d got something a shade or two off?

I’m starting to think that’s what’s going to happen is I’ll make four of these blocks, with four different backgrounds and I’ll either crap out and decide that a 60″ x 60″ throw is enough (or I could slap a border on it so that it’d be big enough to be useful… I’m short, but I like a quilt to wrap under my feet and over my shoulders) or I’ll find something much more neutral and make four coloured background blocks and five neutral ones so that I could mix them all into one quilt. (But then I’d probably not find it that aesthetically pleasing, so. I don’t know.)

Anyway, I also have five or six small things to make, a couple pouches and some hot pads (and I need to find my Insulbrite for those… I know I’ve got two opened packages of the stuff, so I really do need to look) and some other little bits and pieces. None of it sounds like so much when I lay it out like this, but I never seem to sew half as much as I want to, so I never can tell if these ideas of what I should do are realistic. In any case, these are only the things I hope to get done this month… and the Gypsy Wife stuff is the actual proper goal.

April Gypsy Wife blocks

So my A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for April was to catch up on all my blocks for the Gypsy Wife quilts, both low and higher volume versions. And hey – I managed it! (Largely because I was on holiday in the middle of the month, so I did a whole lot of block sewing…)

Since I was most caught up on the Brights version, I’ll start there. Here are all my blocks so far – February, March, and April:

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

I like having all the blocks up on the design wall because it does help a bit to see where I need more or less of a particular colour… but they are not easy to photograph like this!

For April we were sewing seven blocks (see a chart with all the blocks and when to sew them here), mostly Courthouse Steps blocks, but also a Square in a Square and a heart-shaped block, which I totally swapped out for something without a heart on it because ugh.

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong
Gypsy Wife Quiltalong
Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

There are a lot of small bits of fabrics in these blocks and I keep digging through my scrap baskets looking for stuff to use, rather than using the fabric I bought for it. Which is fine, even kind of great, but sort of makes me laugh because I probably could have gotten away without buying anything at all.

Gypsy Wife Quiltalong

This Granny Square block is the one I made instead of the heart block. I just needed a 6.5″ quilt block, and there it was! I’m pretty sure it’ll fit in perfectly with the aesthetic of the quilt, and it saves me from having a block I don’t like taking up space in a pretty awesome quilt. I used a tutorial from Why Not Sew, if you want to try out making one too.

So after that was all the catch-up for the lower volume version – I had to do all of the March blocks and the April ones because I fell behind! Here are all the blocks – February through April – so far:

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

So here are my March blocks:

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

The slightly scary Pershing block! As with my brights version, this block came out about 1/8″ too small. Which isn’t bad, but I still wish the pattern had a little more detail about what size the central units should be as you go along, so that I could have measured and saved myself losing that bit of size. I think I pressed this one with a little too much steam and Best Press because I pressed some wrinkles into it. I’ll have to wash it to get those out at this point, I think.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife
Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

I really love the fabrics on the outsides of both of these blocks. That red one surprises me because it doesn’t feel like a print I’d usually go for, but I just like what it’s adding to these blocks, with the bits of red but lots of neutral. The blue is such an interesting and strange print – I have a feeling it’ll pop up again before this quilt is through…

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

I question every decision that went into the making of these two blocks. Every single one. I mostly like the prints involved (I don’t like the star print, but I almost never like star prints), but I don’t understand at all why I paired those two blues and those two… whatever those other ones are. From a distance they just sort of blend into a block of nothing.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

For my April blocks I did do the stupid heart block. I thought that since I was making two versions of the quilt, maybe I should make one of them properly. I reserve the right to change my mind eventually a swap this out for something else entirely… A note about this one: you’ll be left with a spare hourglass from the construction process, which will be useful in one of the blocks next month – if you save it, you can trim it down to the required size and save yourself a little time.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

By and large I’m happy with these, although that peach number is another one that kind of blurs into nothing because the fabrics are two samey. (Also, I need to trim the borders on that one on the bottom left – I cut the outside ring too big.)

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

This block gives me some troubles. I keep trying to push myself a include bits that I don’t think are necessarily lower volume, because I’m afraid of the quilt falling flat if I don’t play around the the volume a little bit, but I’m not sure this was a successful experiment. I think it might just be too bright, regardless of how quiet they are compared to, say, a burgundy or a navy blue.

Lowish Volume Gypsy Wife

This one I think I pretty much got right, though. That blue is fairly dark, but somehow (in the group photo above) I think it just adds a little punctuation, without being such a misstep.

Anyway, next up is the Hope from Hartford block, 3 hourglass based blocks, and more square in square blocks! In the meantime, if you’re quilting along, come link up with Megan at Jaffa Quilts. Our prize this month is sponsored by the wonder Fat Quarter Shop:

gypsy-fatquartershop

Don’t forget to visit all our amazing sponsors who can be found here at Michelle’s blog, Factotum of Arts and check out the schedule to see where we are at! This is a very easy quiltalong to keep up with because there are only a few, often small blocks per month and usually only one slightly more complicated, intense or larger block to complement it. We’d love to have you, so just start sewing along and start linking up! (I don’t think anyone’s double checking to be sure you’re all caught up, so you know… dive in where we’re at and then backtrack through the previous blocks!)

So this is still my project because it’s very nearly May now, so I want to get started on my May blocks right away, before I have a chance to get distracted by all the other wonderful distracting things out there!

March Gypsy Wife

Well, it’s only taken me until April, but I’ve finished my (brights) Gypsy Wife blocks!

Gypsy Wife

Here are all my blocks – February and March (plus one bonus hourglass from the future…) – so far. You can see a tiny bit of a couple of my lower volume blocks too down at the bottom, but I haven’t started on those blocks yet…

Gypsy Wife

I started out with the easy blocks, more pinwheels, tiny little pinwheels (I think those central units are 2.5-inches… or maybe they were 3… anyway, small). I really like the framed pinwheels – it sort of makes me want to add more to the quilt somewhere, but then I’d have to start adjusting the sizes of other things to make things fit. The lovely Mari-Ann (@rockislander on IG) sent me some scraps in exchange for some Mendocino scraps I sent her and I bunch of those popped up in these blocks! I’m mostly aiming to cut into larger pieces of fabric for the big blocks in the quilt, but to use scraps in the smaller blocks. There are a lot of little square in square blocks in the quilt, so I think they’ll be great for using up random triangles and weird bits like that.

Gypsy Wife

This is the block that I let hold me up for a long time, the Pershing block. It’s… not as a bad to put together as I expected. But you have to be very careful of all those bias cuts and it helps to sew scant seams throughout and then trim the unit down so that it’s square before adding the next round. It would be really helpful if the pattern had more instruction, like what size each unit should be as you construct it. I kept thinking throughout that I was going to wind up with a too small block and that I’d have to add a half-inch border around it to bring it up to size, but it only wound up about 1/8″ too small all around, which I can live with. It would also be useful to have some instruction on how best to piece the block. I’ve done a lot of traditional piecing in my years of sewing, so I didn’t have issues getting it together, but I think if anyone who was fairly new to traditional piecing were to try it, it would be pretty intimidating. I think pattern writers always have to find that balance between too much hand-holding and not enough, but even just a basic explanation of what to do and when would be helpful for a lot of people.

Anyway, I think I’m going to try to get my April brights blocks done first, then I’ll backtrack and get into the lower volume ones for March and April – I have a week’s holiday in April, so it shouldn’t be an issue, I hope!

Linking up with the Gypsy Wife Quiltalong, being hosted by Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day:

GypsyWifeQAL

This month’s prize is being sponsored by Fresh Modern Fabric:

gypsy-freshmodernfabric

Why not come link up too! I know there are more of you out there stitching along than have popped by to link up!

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…):

mosaic5574cfc68196e492b4700c6faf416cc886004dc2

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.

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.

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…)

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!