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English Paper Piecing – Double wedding ring style!

Good morning!  So many milestones going on in our household this week–our little girl turned 6 months last week (How has it already been half a year???) I celebrated my first mother’s day, started the baby on her first solid foods, and it’s my husband’s birthday this week.  Needless to say, it’s been super busy, and I feel like I’ve been to the grocery store almost every day this week.  Do they give frequent flier miles for multiple grocery store trips in one day?  I should also mention we live 12 miles from the nearest grocery store…  I’m sure you can relate to the feeling that you’re flying by the seat of your pants on household chores and checklists.  Laundry, dishes, etc., etc., but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

One of the many reasons I love English Paper Piecing is the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the process of hand sewing.  I also love combining multiple parts of the sewing and design process and planning out a project from start to finish.  There is something so satisfying in making something completely from start to finish…even if it sometimes feels like you’re recreating the wheel.  


I started by sitting down with my EQ7 software and designing a mini quilt for our local Modern Quilt Guild.  We recently had our first silent auction event and mini quilt show (SO FUN!).  Then I printed templates onto cardstock for the EPP pieces and started thinking about my fabrics.  I had a great charm pack of Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids that I had been holding onto for over a year, and thought this would be a great opportunity to use it.  I traced and cut out my fabrics, and then had to pause when I selected my background fabric. 


I knew I didn’t want white, and I really like the effect black and white patterned fabrics have with solids.  So I auditioned a few different fabric choices–I really thought I wanted to go with a black and white stripe, but I opted for a more solid-reading print instead.  I pieced together a few of the DWR pieces and then placed them on top of my background fabric choices.  Pictured below is what I thought I was going to go with, but I instead selected a Tula Pink True Colors black and white print.  Because…Tula!!!


From the basic design in EQ7 (They already have the blocks drawn up…I just sized them to fit my needs), printing the cardstock, then cutting the fabrics, I got to take a breath and piece in my leisure time.  HA.  Leisure time…You know what I mean.  The semi-quiet moments in the house when my hair wasn’t on fire 😉


Then I loaded the mini on my longarm and did some simple stitch in the ditch around the wedding rings and some loopy swirl combos on the black and white background that blend nicely.  It may seem kind of dumb to longarm a mini quilt, since you need a little bit more backing fabric than you would if you were to quilt it on a domestic, but I figured I paid for that huge machine and I’m going to get my money’s worth!  Plus, I had just taken a fresh quilt off of the frame, and I had to take advantage of it before I loaded my next quilt.  It made for a slightly quicker finish than if I’d done it on the domestic sewing machine.

I was thrilled with the results, and playing with the color gradation and high-contrast background was really a lot of fun.  But mostly, I was able to really enjoy the process and each step along the way.  I don’t know about you, but from the day I started sewing, I’ve always eyed the double wedding ring quilts.  I’m not sure I have the patience at this point in my life to see a full-sized quilt through, so this mini quilt was the perfect opportunity for me to cross a DWR quilt off my quilting bucket list.  I had also never taken the time to hand piece curves before, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.  Really, I had built it up to be this super scary moment, when all you really need to do is take a little extra time and carefully mark the centers of each EPP piece prior to piecing it, and make sure you line the centers up while adjusting the curves.  

I hope your sewing adventures take you somewhere awesome this week, and try to slow down and enjoy the process behind what you’re doing.  I know I really enjoy the projects where I can slow down a bit and take a break from the hustle and bustle of life.  Happy sewing friends!

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Embrace the Chaos Workshop with Libs Elliott :)

Libs Elliott was the guest speaker for the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild Meeting!  It was so awesome to have her lecture at our meeting and present a workshop the following day.  She was such a fun guest speaker (and even did her workshop for us on her birthday!)  
Libs delivering lecture at SAMQG meeting

The workshop Libs presented for our guild was “Embrace the Chaos” and was a great way to discover some planned improv piecing.  I know I have a lot of trouble just winging it and creating something without any planning.  Libs’ workshop was a really unique presentation on how to create something similar to her code method without the use of electronics.  

This is the quilt top that I ended up with (after I enlarged the blocks quite a bit)…these are 12″ blocks, so it’s roughly 60″ x 60″.

I’m waiting for a small break in my work load until I can quilt this for myself, so I’ll post an update as soon as I get it finished!  

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Charity quilt for SAPD

The back of the quilt

So on my birthday this year, only five days after bringing our little girl home from the hospital from being born, I have the tv turned on to some inconsequential show to help me forget how tired I am.  A news story comes on about a police officer in San Antonio being shot and killed while writing someone a ticket.  It is really disturbing that we keep having incidents like this happen, and even more so when you just had your first child.  It’s so discouraging thinking that this will be the world she grows up in–where good people who lay their life on the line on a daily basis are killed without rhyme or reason.  

The front


I am happy though, that I am part of a guild that has such a heart for charity and outreach.  I won’t name the individual who organized everything and made this happen, but I am so glad she did.  This is one of the quilts that was put together by members of the San Antonio Modern Quilt guild for the officer’s surviving family members.  I really felt priveleged to have a hand in this (even if all I did was the quilting–check out the appliqued back!).  I hope that the family is brought some small measure of comfort, or even feels a little appreciation for what their family member worked for.  And hopefully the good that people do will overpower the wicked people in this world. 
meandering heart quilting

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A little more FMQ

I love the understated look of Superior Threads’ So fine thread for busier quilts.  There’s just enough substance there to make the quilting do its job, but not so much that the quilt is overwhelmed.  


This isn’t a super involved post–I just wanted to share a quilt that some of the ladies in the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild put together for our past president who moved out of state.  This quilt was designed by Emily Robbins using some of the modern quilt block guides put out by Love Patchwork and Quilting this year.  Cotton + Steel prints were used in combination with various shades of grey.  It’s pretty difficult to see the quilting, but the real star is the quilt design and the fabrics.  

This was the finished quilt prior to the binding being put on.  Love the design, and I think Emily did a great job!

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Quilty friends are the best

I may not have come right out and said this yet, but as I type this, I am 37 weeks pregnant with our first child.  I’m kind of a private person when it comes to this kind of stuff and social media, so there haven’t been any baby bump pictures or ultrasound photographs or “facebook official” posts.   

However…I have to talk about my “tribe”.  The group of people I didn’t even know I needed until I found them.  I also have my church family to lean on and love (thank God for that!), but there is something to be said for your sewing friends that other groups don’t relate to.  

I’m a member of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and have been for a little over 2 years.  From the first meeting I attended, I looked around the room, and I could feel something different about the group.  It was mostly (I think ALL, then) women.  They were talking about things they made with their own hands, and they were supporting and encouraging each other.  There was laughter and gossip and friendship.  And they were all very different in their own way.  

Sewing can be a very isolating hobby if you don’t have a tribe.  And I didn’t know what I was missing out on until I went to that first meeting.  I immediately joined and can’t believe the friendships I’ve made in that short period of time.  There has been laughter, tears, good times, and bad.  And sometimes there wasn’t any sewing going on during this.  My point here is that sewing/quilting friends are the BEST.  They get it.  You can be talking about your dog dying one minute and the new quilting technique the next, and they don’t bat an eye.  

I feel like I got a little derailed there, so let me get back to my point.  Our MQG has a tradition that someone will head up making a baby quilt for expecting moms in the guild.  So several of the people in the guild got together and put this amazing quilt together.  I love everything about it, and it couldn’t be more perfect.  They had even finished piecing it back in August.  Which is the month our guild had booked Karlee Porter to come do a graffiti quilting workshop for us.  Somewhere in all of this, they were discussing the baby quilt in front of Karlee and discussing who would quilt it.  (I have to say here that Karlee is hands down the most authentic Sewlebrity I’ve even met.  She is real and such a great person to be around.  And AMAZINGLY talented.)

And Karlee volunteered to take it home and quilt it.  NUTS.  Not only did she take it home and quilt it, she couched my baby’s name in the center of the quilt with metallic yarn.  This post is more for me than anyone else.  I want to always remember how special I felt when i received this.  Emily presented it to me at our October guild meeting, and I had no idea that it was finished.  I wasn’t expecting it, and lately, I have been nothing but a bucket of raw emotions.  So they told me how they put it together, the amazingly special people that planned it, gave fabric for it, gave their time for it, and arranged for Karlee to help as well.  And I lost my shit.   (Pardon the french.  I don’t cuss on the blog, but there it is.)  I cried so hard that I nearly couldn’t recover to do the rest of the meeting (I’m currently interim President).  Ugly tears were seen by all, and I didn’t even care.  Because this group is my tribe.  And wouldn’t you know, I’m crying again while I’m typing this.  Seriously, I can’t wait for these pregnancy hormones to be gone!  

Anyway. I’m totally overwhelmed at the thought of being a new mom and have no clue what to do once Gemma gets here, but I know that she will be SO loved.  And already is if this group is any indication.  
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Graffiti Quilting workshop with Karlee Porter

This picture!!!  I had the awesome opportunity to take a 2 day workshop from THE Karlee Porter.  The workshop was in Castroville at the Quilt Shop, and I swear, it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.  Most of the time, when I take a workshop and the person putting it on says there will be about half a day of lecture, then we get to play… I’m usually a little dismayed.  But Karlee had an awesome program that I left with PAGES of notes and drawings for inspiration.  And it wasn’t like I was just writing stuff down to busy my hands.  I’ve referred to those notes and drawings at least a dozen times in the short weeks since I took that class.  

Karlee was so gracious in letting us ask unlimited questions, take pictures of all the samples she had, and she even did a trunk show at our SAMQG guild meeting.  This is one of her masterpieces–I  believe it’s called “Russian Mosque”, that literally takes your breath away.  

The principles Karlee taught can be applied to a domestic machine, sit down quilter, or longarm.  Since I started out quilting my quilts on a domestic, I liked that.  However, since I’ve been doing most of my quilting on a longarm in the last year, it took a minute for my brain to catch up that my hands were moving the fabric and not the machine 🙂

After Karlee taught us her important principles of successful graffiti quilting, she turned us loose and we were able to apply those principles to some small class samples.  This was the sample that I worked on, and although I’m not nuts about the thread colors I selected, I did like the high visibility of it.  

And of course, I had to include a picture of me and Karlee!  Not sure what I’m doing with my hand…is that a hook?  Anyway, I was seriously beyond excited that I had the opportunity to hear Karlee in Texas–and can’t wait to keep working on my graffiti quilting skills.  

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Finding time to give back #quiltsforpulse

 In the midst of tragedy, I am relieved that I belong to a group of people that goes out of their way to show love for others.  The group I’m talking about is the Modern Quilt Guild.  And even  more specifically, the San Antonio chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  The Orlando MQG organized collections to accept in progress quilts and completed quilts to show support and love for some of the people affected by the Pulse night club shooting.  I hate that I’m even writing a post about this, because it’s so disturbing the amount of violence we hear about on a daily basis on the news…but I want to focus on giving back and showing support for our fellow human beings.  



The SAMQG members are SO giving and generous with their fabric and time, that we’ve had a plethora of blocks constructed (most using the Heart pattern tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew).  A few charity sew-ins, and we’ve finished (I think) 5 quilts!  



I had the great opportunity to quilt a few of these, and wanted to discuss charity work in this industry.  I’ve done a little bit of charity sewing in the past, but not really donated much of my time or resources prior to getting my longarm.  And once I started donating my quilting, I kind of just rushed through the process, doing a stipple or some quick meandering design to get that top off my frame as quickly as I could.  But one night, I started thinking about the recipients of these rushed through pieces I had worked on.  Was I proud of the work I was doing on them?  No.  Absolutely not.  I was just FINISHING THEM.  There was nothing special or generous about what I was doing to add to the quilt.  And maybe those recipients don’t even look at the quilting.  But it really got to me that I was doing about 2% of my best work on something that was supposed to be making someone happier.  I decided to start doing my best work on every quilt top.  Whether it was a paying customer or not.  If I’m going to commit to working on something, why would I give anything less than my best?  And besides, if you want to look at it from a really selfish angle, it’s great practice and helps develop your skills even further.  


I really love the graffiti quilting style, and chose to do that on this quilt.  These blocks were pieced together by so many different people, with such love and compassion in their hearts.  It really does give me a little bit of hope for humanity.

Anyway, my two cents for the day is to think about where your heart is when you decide to do charity work.  If it’s in your heart, put your best foot forward and really give all you have.  Otherwise, what are you wasting your time for?  

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Mini Quilt Swaps

Mini quilt swaps are becoming all the rage!  You can find them everywhere, from private blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and even quilt guilds are becoming involved.  If you aren’t familiar with what a mini-quilt swap is–it’s usually created by one person, and then other people sign up to help moderate.  Partners are assigned, sometimes based on similar likes and interests.  You are given a deadline, and after you sign up, you are asked to create something awesome for your swap partner.  It’s on a small scale, normally the quilt sizes are limited to under 24″, so there is plenty of time for creativity and finishing.  

I “borrowed” this photo collage from The Houston Modern Quilt Guild Blog at houstonmodernquiltguild.blogspot.com and it shows some great examples of some minis:



Some of the more popular swaps are the #schnitzelandboo mini quilt swap (@schnitzelandboo), the #igminiswap and countless other swaps that include other items besides mini quilts.  Many of them have themes that you are supposed to stay within.  For example, The Strawberry swap has a strawberry theme, $itchesgetstiches (expletive) moderated by (@weenchaweena) has a swearing theme, and countless others are themed after seasons, holidays, etc.  

Typically, these swaps have rules and guidelines you are supposed to follow, and the intention is to make connections with other sewists across the globe.  

These swaps are so much fun to participate in, that I felt the need to do a blog post on them.  Many people don’t know where to start, but they are really simple to get involved in, and probably the most difficult part is meeting the deadline before the sign up closes!  Many swaps have limits for how many people can sign up, as they are usually free to participate in, and overseen by a Regular Jo with a real job.  

Here are some pointers I personally have for you if you plan on participating in a swap:  
1.  Plan ahead.  Have some ideas you can easily use and alter to fit your partner’s likes.
2.  “Stalk” your partner’s social media accounts to find out what they like.  This is really a lot of fun, and you can easily uncover favorite colors, patterns, and other fun things about your partner’s interests.
3.  DON’T BACK OUT!  Someone is looking forward to your handmade gift.  If you can’t commit to the swap, don’t sign up!  How disappointed would you be if you took the time to make an awesome mini for someone, and then received nothing in return?  
4.  Once you have your partner assignment, get your fabric and pattern early, and get to work!  Have your mini done way before the deadline so you don’t have to sweat not making the ship date.
5.  Put your personal touches into the gift.  Don’t forget a quilt label!  You want your partner to know where the quilt came from, who made it, and when.
6.  HAVE FUN!  These swaps are intended to be fun, so HAVE FUN!

I absolutely love making things for other people, and it makes it so much more fun when you don’t know them.  It’s awesome to have the challenge of making something for someone else by trying to find out what they’re interested in.  

The first swap I participated in was the Sewing Loft Blog Mini Quilt Swap.  Here’s what I made for my partner:


The pattern I chose was @Sewwhatsherlock ‘s Spiderwebs paper piecing pattern, which is available on her blog for FREE.  It’s an awesome pattern, and she really does a great job with all of her paper piecing patterns.  All of the fabric is Cotton + Steel.  I made this at one of our guild’s sewing retreats in Kerrville, Texas at Creations.  SO much fun!

The second swap I sign up for was the #IGMiniSwap moderated by @curly_boy1 and several other swap participants that signed up to help.  We haven’t reached the ship date for this one yet, but here’s what I made for my partner:

I’m not sure what the blueish smear is on the picture…it isn’t on the fabric!  All I can say is I’m definitely not a professional photographer 😉  The pattern I chose for this was “Swoon” by ThimbleBlossoms.

For my third swap, I wanted to offer a swap within our guild, The San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up “signing up” for this swap since I was doing partner assignments.  I didn’t want to know who would have me…so I opted to just oversee.  I can’t wait to see what all of the extremely talented guild members come up with.   You can see what they’re working on by checking the Instagram hashtag #samqgultimateswap .  

@weenchaweena has just offered a x-rated sort of swap, if you will.  It’s called $itchesgetstitches (expletive), and I also signed up for this.  I haven’t gotten my partner yet, but the  swear words/puns should be lots of fun.  This swap is probably not for everyone, but I have a fondness for “Debra” in the sitcom “Dexter”, and enjoy her needless use for random cursewords and how she strings them together.  I also have a different kind of humor, and enjoy seeing silly things like “poop” free-motion quilted into make up bags.  Like I said…not for everyone.

I’m currently waiting for @schnitzelandboo to offer a new swap sign up, and can’t wait to hopefully participate in it!

I’m not endorsing any of these swaps, just sharing my love of participating in them!