MQG Mini-Quilt Swap

by Stephanie on February 5, 2017

in applique,Mini Quilts

Post image for MQG Mini-Quilt Swap

When the MQG announced last fall that a global mini-quilt swap was being organized, I tried to convince myself to sit it out. Swaps and challenges have a sneaky way of consuming far too much of my quilty time, and it’s not like my WIP/UFO piles have been shrinking at any great rate lately. Even so, I caved and said yes to this one.

And I’m glad I did. My secret swap partner cited Anna Maria Horner as a top love, and included an applique project in her inspiration mosaic on Instagram, so I decided to head in that direction. There’s not much more than a few crumbs of AMH in the stash right now (something I’d love to remedy, but stash space and fabric budget are currently close to or beyond maxed out). So I decided to make an applique mini “in the style of.” It’s about 17″x17″:


The stems are part of the pieced background. The rest is needle-turn applique, which is one of my favorite things. It’s much faster than you might think if you’ve never tried it. Some folks think fused, raw-edge, machine applique is the way to go, but honestly, I’m not sure it’s all that much faster or easier by the time you’ve fussed with prepping and fusing and all that.

Couldn’t resist adding a wee bit of perle-cotton detailing in the flower centers:



And a couple of leaves needed little chain-stitch stems:


I do draw the line at hand-quilting, most of the time. It takes for-frickin’-ever, just when you really want to plow ahead and call the project done. I don’t know why I find it so much more tedious than applique, but I do. And honestly, there’s a limit to how much time I want to put into a swap project. Some quick machine echo lines wrapped this up expeditiously.

Many stash options were auditioned for binding, but sometimes only a stripe will do. This one has convinced me that there are not nearly enough stripes in the stash. We’ll put that on the “to be remedied one of these days” list.


January Pebbles

by Stephanie on February 3, 2017

in applique,Pebble 365

Post image for January Pebbles

Reporting in on “Pebble 365” progress, month 1. So far so good. I made a pebble almost every day in January, and easily doubled up to stay on count on the few occasions when I missed a day. Here’s where it’s at so far:


Yes, I do know that January has 31 days. There’s a pebble missing from this group shot because only 30 will fit on my portable design board, and the big design wall still has that outlined plus project completely filling it up. (Not much progress there, maybe it will move further forward by the end of February.)

I do plan to aim for a value-gradation layout of some kind, which means leaving the final layout and seaming for when I’m done making pebbles. Sigh. It would be much less tedious to seam these up into random rows or chunks as I go along, but that’s not the direction creative vision is taking me. I’ll just have to grit my teeth and do it all at the end. Hopefully that’s still a very long way off.


Post image for On the Design Wall, Jan. 2017

It’s been quite a while since I did a Design Wall post. Not promising it’ll be a regular thing, but it is nice to share the lovelies-in-progress from time to time, so here we go. This is not a layout yet: I’m showing off 25 completed 11″ “outlined plus” blocks, which are being stored in random order on the design wall while I make some “low volume neutral” (LVN) pieced sashing/background to space them all out more.

There is a pattern out there for a quilt that uses a similar block. Of course this project was inspired by pics on Pinterest and Instagram, and yes, plus quilts were all the rage a few years ago and I’m slow to catch on, so it’s a good thing I don’t give a hoot about being “on trend.”

Other than visual inspiration, I’m doing my own thing with this one, as usual. Starting with a good think about best construction method to deliver the result I’m looking for, and then drafting my own block for the size and proportions I have in mind, both of which are not quite what other folks have done.


This entire project was sparked by some generous strips of fabric leftover from cutting a backing for something else. If you’re a Kaffe fan, you’ll recognize his classic “millefiore” in a black colorway that is utterly captivating. I looked at my fat strips of leftovers and immediately envisioned this: a quilt of dark plusses, each with a different bright solid outline. I’m in love with the effect. That black print to me looks both like a portal to an interstellar galaxy, and a microscopic view of something intriguing brewing in a petri dish. Either way, it’s like there’s a swirling brew of ideas and inspiration going on in there.

I’ve been thinking about this quilt for a long time, and started stashing LVNs last spring sometime. And then promptly raided that stash for some other things, and then had to stash more. I had a general idea of overall yardage needed, but maximum variety is the key to this kind of thing, so now I’ve probably got enough LVNs on hand to make two of these. Such is the life of a quilter.

This is a for-me project, and has a special meaning that I’ll tell you about at some future point as things progress.


Post image for A New Project for the New Year

I don’t recall when I first came across this idea, but it’s a good one. And especially tempting when one variation or another popped up in my social media a couple of weeks before the end of the year. With New Year close enough to make the idea of embarking on a year-long, one-block-a-day project seem like a good one, I jumped in and started prepping a project box, ready to go on Jan. 1.

The plan, as as adapted to my inclinations and stash, is to applique a free-form circle — no template, just cut with scissors from pretties in the scrap bin — onto a 4.5″ blue background square every day in 2017.

I’m calling this project “Pebble 365.” Here’s Pebble #1, stitched up on the morning of January 1st:


Pebble #2:


I am in love with the wonky imperfection of these circles. Enthusiasm is high. Perhaps recklessly so, given that this plan overlooks the fact that my track record for following through on any kind of something-a-day is abysmal.

I’m telling myself that even if I only get a few of these done they’ll come together in a lovely way. And now, if you’ll excuse me, Pebble #3 awaits my thread and needle.


Holiday Star Pillows (new pattern!)

by Stephanie on December 8, 2016

in Patterns,Pillows

Post image for Holiday Star Pillows (new pattern!)

I’ve had so much fun  sewing up Octagon Star pillows from cute holiday fabrics!


Want to make some of your own? (there’s still time before XMas!) The Octagon Star Pillow pattern is now available on Etsy and Craftsy, and there’s even an expanded “pattern + tutorial” version for those who want ALL the details in illustrated step-by-step format.


Click here for all the info and links to purchase.

I’ve got waaay more pillows than space in my house, so these (and a few more, not-holiday ones) will be listed for sale in the VdeH Etsy shop very soon…


I just need to edit some pics and get them up there.