Fat Quarter Shop, Sew Sampler Box

Fast and Flurrious Table Runner and Wall Hanging

The colors and patterns of this Cider fabric are something I wouldn’t have immediately chosen, but I grew to love them as I worked on this project. The fabric and table runner pattern came in a Sew Sampler box.

This was an easy, relaxing project and it was perfect to bring along to a quilt retreat I attended in September 2021. It’s comprised of two different types of blocks, so it was nice to assembly-line sew these and then lay them out to create the rows.

The table runner pattern was written to be even longer, but I modified it and used the remaining fabric to make a wall hanging.

I cycled through a few quilting designs for each shape and added some simple straight lines to the border.

Finished Size: 18.5" x 58.5" for table runner, 26.5" x 27" for wall hanging
Pattern: Fast and Flurrious exclusive to the Fat Quarter Shop Sew Sampler Box for January 2021
Fabric: Cider by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots, Simple Whatnots Club 11

Twist and Turn Mini Quilt

Last year I discovered pattern and fabric designer Kim Diehl who specializes in traditional style, mini quilts and applique. When I tried out one of her patterns, I was hooked! I absolutely love working with tiny pieces! I learned that each year she releases a new line of fabric and a set of mini quilt patterns for her Simple Whatnots Club. The 8-month club is only available through quilt shops and the shops provide the patterns and the coordinating fabric kits. I signed right up when I found it is offered from a local shop near me.

My shop offers a monthly meeting for the members where we receive that month’s pattern and tips and tricks for how to make it. We also share our projects with each other. In the January meeting we received our first pattern: Twist and Turn. For this project I spent about half of the time cutting out all these 1.5″ wide pieces and pairing them up to create a scrappy, but coordinated look. The main blocks went together pretty straightforward being all squares and rectangles.

Once it got time to assemble the blocks together, I had to think through the steps a bit more. This on-point layout with a triangular border was new to me. I had not done anything like it before. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out correctly!

I experimented with some detailed quilting in the border and some additional outlines in the blocks.

I can’t wait for our next meeting to share my work with the group and get the next pattern!

Finished Size: 16.5" x 22"
Pattern: Twist and Turn from Simple Whatnots Collection 11 by Kim Diehl
Fabric: Right As Rain by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass
Anka's Treasures, This & That

Feathered Friends Spring Pillows

After winning the February pattern for the Front Porch Quilt Shop Stash Buster contest last month (check out my previous post here), I got to work on the project in hopes of entering the next contest. With only two participants last month and my free pattern there was nothing to lose! The Feathered Friends – Spring pattern features that cute bird again, but this time sitting on a flower in a basket. I chose summery bright colors this time around.

One of the goals of the contest is to show creativity, so instead of making a wall hanging per the original pattern, I decided to turn it into a pillow. But, my couch needs a pair of pillows… and I didn’t want to make the same exact scene for each! Coincedently that week I had also received Anka’s Treasures Wildflower Sampler pattern which included a flower very similar to the flowers in the bird’s basket. I made two of the flowers for the second pillow and it rounded out my pair of pillows nicely!

I’ve made pillow covers before, but I wanted to try some new techniques this time. I had come across the idea to quilt the pillows, which strangely I had never thought of doing before! Adding the batting and quilting really makes a more firm cover and it turned out great. I also added yellow binding around the pillows courtesy of a technique I saw in the Pillow Talk book by Edyta Sitar. Having never bound my pillows before, I found I really love the look. All my future pillow covers will be quilted and bound!

I had fun trying out new quilting designs! I tried to go for a whimsical look on the background and petal designs.

The results of the February contest are in and I won first place! Besides winning some credit to spend at the quilt shop, I will be getting next month’s pattern for free. Expect to see Feathered Friends – Summer soon. 🙂

Finished Size: 18.5" x 18.5"
Pattern: Feathered Friends - Spring by This & That and Coneflowers from Wildflower Sampler by Anka's Treasures
Stitching with the Housewives

And To All a Good Night Cross Stitch

I’m learning my favorite cross stitch patterns include cute houses and this And To All a Good Night pattern is no different! For over a year I’ve been working on a large cross stitch project with 12 different Christmas houses (it’s going to be my masterpiece when it’s done), but I took a little break from that and worked on this one for a quicker finish. I’m so happy with how it turned out! It’s a little too late to hang it up now, but it will be fun to display next Christmas.

I used all the called-for thread colors from the pattern, however, I used a different fabric. I decided I didn’t want to use the black fabric it called for, so I found this awesome Basalt Splash 25 Count Lugana in gray with white splotches that happen to look like snow! Besides being easier to stitch on than black, it was also a big win because it already has the snow falling. I skipped out on stitching the snowflakes in the sky from the original pattern and I don’t feel like I miss them.

Original pattern

Overall I enjoyed this pattern and will try out more of the Stitching with the Housewives patterns.

I thankfully found the perfect-sized frame to frame it in! The frame I used is the Thin Collage Wall Frame found at Target. The opening is 24″ x 8″, which gives the perfect amount of space around the stitched piece. Next time, though, I’m going to take pictures of my cross stitch works before I put them under glass. I couldn’t take a straight-on picture because there was too much glare!

Finished Size: 20.5" x 5"
Pattern: And To All a Good Night by Stitching with the Housewives
Fabric: Basalt Splash 25 Count Lugana by Zweigart, stitched over 2 with called for DMC
This & That

Feathered Friends Winter Wall Hanging

I’m always up for a sewing challenge, so when I heard about a “Stash Buster” monthly challenge at a quilt shop and saw January’s pattern featured a bird I bought it and got to work! The idea is you make the pattern for the month using fabrics from your stash and you have creative free rein to make whatever modifications to the design you’d like. Then, during the following month, you post your picture on the shop’s Facebook page and whoever’s picture gets the most “likes” wins $20 to spend at the shop. I noticed only a few people submitted entries for the previous month, so I had a good chance to win something!

Choosing fabrics for this was quite different for me, as I usually make quilts from kits where the fabric is already chosen. I stretched myself on this and got to use some of my scraps. The mix of greens for the tree was fun to pick out. I decided I wanted a dark background so it would look like a midnight scene out in the stars. Well, I found some midnight blue glittery fabric scraps leftover from a dress I made my daughter and knew it was the one! I chose the blues for the birds in hues similar to the sky. I used neutral grays for the gift and borders because I wanted the focus to really be the bird and the tree.

I quilted subtle echos around the stars to try to bring them out and for the bird I did some angled lines. The quilting for the tree was my favorite part. I knew I wanted to represent the layers of branches somehow and when I came up with these curves I was so pleased! They add a bit of whimsy and make the tree more interesting.

In the end, I got second place (out of two total entries). No big prize money for me, but I did win next month’s challenge pattern for free. Coincidentally I also won $10 from the shop in a random drawing the evening of the contest results, so I came out good on this! The next pattern is “Feathered Friends – Spring” featuring this bird in a flowery Spring scene. Looks like I better get working on my next entry!

Finished Size: 22" x 23"
Pattern: Feathered Friends - Winter by This & That Patterns
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots, Simple Whatnots II Book

Double Dutch Stars Mini Quilt

I love to see a secondary design pop out and add some interest to a quilt. For this Double Dutch Stars pattern, I can’t help but see the diamonds between the stars. As this little runner is a gift for my mom, I chose green fabrics to go along with the color scheme of her living room. It turned out just how I’d hoped!

For the quilting, I simply followed the seams. I did add a little loopy motif inside the large squares inside the stars, but I’m finding with any of the smaller areas and busier fabric it isn’t worthwhile to do extreme quilt designs. They get lost.

I was surprised to find this mini fits perfectly on my sewing desk! It’s the perfect size, but it needs to go to its new home. This gives me a great idea to make more minis to switch out for this desk, though!

The year 2022 is going to be the year of the minis. 🙂 I have joined the Simple Whatnots Club through a quilt shop where we will be getting a Kim Diehl pattern each month. My goal is to keep up and make them all!

Finished Size: 10.5" x 25.75"
Pattern: Double Dutch Stars from Simple Whatnots II book by Kim Diehl
Fabric: Gratitude & Grace by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass
Robin Pickens

Little Bird Song Table Runner

When making a gift for someone I’ve learned it’s just as much about the process of making it as it is about the finished product. First, you spend time picking out the perfect project idea and pattern for the recipient: what are their likes, what is their style, would they use this gift? After that there is much thought and consideration about the fabric selection. Their tastes might not match your own, so you need to consider their favorite colors and what style of fabrics they would like. Then while making it, you try to make everything “perfect”, sometimes ripping out and redoing many seams so the recipient will be pleased with it. It’s more pressure than what you are making something for yourself!

But another thing that goes on during this process is spending time thinking about the person. You picture them using this gift and imagine them surprised and happy to receive it. To handmake something takes a lot of time and you hope the person appreciates the work you put into it, but I’ve come to realize even if they don’t understand all that you’ve done it’s ok. You get to experience the joy of making it and thinking about them and appreciating them which is a gift to yourself.

This is exactly how my Little Bird Song table runner came to be. I decided I wanted to make a Christmas gift for my brother and his girlfriend and thought a table runner would be something useful for their pristinely decorated house. Their (her) style is modern and color palate is exclusively black, white and gray. They enjoy watching birds at their bird feeder, so I thought featuring a bird would be a special touch. I searched for modern bird quilt patterns and came across Little Bird Song by Robin Pickens. Perfect!

The pattern is actually for a wall hanging, so I had to figure out a way to adapt it to a table runner. I started by making two birds and then tried to figure out how to lay them out in a way that made sense for a runner. Through some trial and error (involving sewing and unsewing them multiple times when my ideas didn’t work out), I finally got them situated facing each other on their branches.

After completing my layout design and sewing it together I realized the empty space between the birds would be a perfect place for a candle or centerpiece! It looks intentional but it definitely wasn’t! 🙂

I used various black, white and gray fabrics from my stash, hoping to add interest through a mix of fabric designs instead of using color.

I kept the quilting simplistic using straight diagnol lines because I really wanted the birds to be the focus.

Though this modern design and color scheme aren’t my style, I am very happy with how it turned out! It was a good challenge for me and allowed me to excersize my design skills instead of simply using the exact pattern and fabric choices from a kit. It was an enjoyable gift to make!

Finished Size: 12" x 37"
Pattern: Little Bird Song by Robin Pickens
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots, Simple Whatnots II Book

Matchsticks Mini Quilt

Just as promised, here’s another mini quilt! I bought Kim Diehl’s Simple Whatnots II book and plan to make my way through most of the projects with a stack of her Gratitude & Grace fabric line. Quilt number one is unlike anything I’ve made before! Its scrappy look with vibrant colors, dynamic design, and tiny 1-inch wide strips (before sewing together!) were all new to me and I’m very pleased with the result.

First off: 1-inch strips and 1-inch squares! I tried to cut as accurately as I could with those teeny things! I’m wondering now if 1 inch is the smallest pieces I’ll encounter in this mini quilt journey or will they get smaller? Everything went together well, though! I took a little bit of extra time trying to make sure the same fabrics didn’t touch each other — you know, “controlled scrappy”. 🙂

For the quilting I used some brand new rulers I wanted to try out: Baptist Fans Expansion Pack from Michael Davison. They were surprisingly easy to use after I watched his YouTube videos. A great all-over quilting look for someone who doesn’t have a computerized longarm. Since this was such a small quilt I actually did the quilting using my regular sewing machine with free motion.

Baptist Fans Expansion Pack from Michael Davison
Guest appearance from Mindy!
Finished Size: 16.5" x 17"
Pattern: Matchsticks from Simple Whatnots II book by Kim Diehl
Fabric: Gratitude & Grace by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots

Pint Size Mini Quilt

While visiting a quilt shop during an end-of-summer road trip to South Dakota, I spotted a sample of an adorable mini quilt on the wall. I think it was a combination of the colors and the tiny squares that drew me to it. I knew immediately I had to make it! They had kits all made up and ready to purchase, so Pint Size came home with me.

Pint Size at Quilt Connection, Etc. in Rapid City, South Dakota

I had previously spent time trying to perfect my quarter-inch seam allowance to become a more accurate quilter. I’ve improved so much in the last few months that I felt ready to tackle a mini. A miniature quilt is defined by the smaller blocks and the overall size of the quilt being less than 24 inches. The smaller pieces and higher number of pieces in a block are generally a little more difficult to make successfully so they can be daunting, but I was up for the challenge.

I really enjoyed making this one! Piecing all of the 1 and 1/2 inch squares together went well and it was fun to use a variety of fabrics for this scrappy look.

Now, as I pieced my Pint Size blocks, they were coming out to be the correct size, however, as I added the borders and sewed the rows of blocks together some became a little askew… I’m not sure what happened but I’ll just have to work on this technique more in another project! I think it adds a little character. 🙂

As I was making this, I wanted to know more about the pattern designer, Kim Diehl, so I did some research. It turns out Kim has an annual “Simple Whatnots” monthly pattern club dedicated to these small quilt patterns, which is where this pattern came from, and she designed the fabric in my kit as well. She has also written a couple of books with these Simple Whatnot patterns, so I ordered one and now my goal is to make a bunch of these minis! I also plan to join the next pattern club starting in January 2022 for a whole year of minis with her newest fabric line.

Prepare for more minis to come!

Finished Size: 19.5" x 19.5"
Pattern: Pint Size from Simple Whatnots Club Collection 3 by Kim Diehl
Fat Quarter Shop, Sew Sampler Box

Starflower Table Runner and Wall Hanging

This fresh, bright floral fabric along with this playful pattern were in my April 2021 Sew Sampler Box from Fat Quarter Shop. I had more than enough fabric for the table runner in the pattern so I made a coordinating wall hanging out of the rest!

I had fun quilting the main octagon shapes using a curved ruler which made perfectly fitting orange peel designs. I also played around with creating a secondary diamond shape design in the negative space surrounding the shapes.

I did similar quilting for the wall hanging for extra practice!

Finished Size: 16.5" x 56.5" for table runner, 30" x 27" for wall hanging
Pattern: Starflower Pattern exclusive to the Fat Quarter Shop Sew Sampler Box for April 2021
Fabric: Sunday Stroll by Bonnie & Camille for Moda