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Storing the GO! and its dies can be a bit problematic for some of us.  Especially those strip dies.  At 24″ long they are, to say the least, unweildy.

I have a pretty packed quilt room.  Too much fabric!  Too many books!  Rulers and thread!  I couldn’t add anything to my space. 

Then I had an a-ha moment.  Right next to the table I do my cutting on is a stacked set of closetmaid shelving units.  On the inside, they’re about 10″ x 10″.  Height-wise, maybe 36″?  You can get them on sale at Target all the time.  They come with two shelves to put on the inside, but if you take the shelves out, it’s perfect storage! 

The cutter sticks out an inch or two, but with where it is in the room it won’t get knocked into.  The dies are all nicely inside it.  It’s also right next to where I use it, which is important to me.  I like everything within arm’s reach.

I figure that I can get another 6 or so dies in there before I have to move the cutter onto the floor (under my cutting table).    You can barely see it, but I’m using the cutting mats to keep the dies separated right now.

I have two units stacked on top of each other.  The GO! is on the bottom of the upper unit.  I still had enough room for a narrow shelf on the top, which is where my rotary cutters go. 

Looking for Giveaways?  Right now I know of two: – ends today!

Simply Solids – ends Nov 20

Happy Quilting!  Deb

I have to make a baby quilt for a cousin’s new baby.  Generally, this isn’t a problem.  But because I just found out about the new baby two weeks ago, and it’s due this month, I’m feeling stressed.  And when I’m stressed I have a hard time making decisions. 

I finally grabbed hold of a star fabric I have, figured I’d use it as the background in a star quilt.  I finally decided on Lucky Star pattern from Atkinson designs, because it goes together in a snap.  I went with blues and greens.

I pulled fabric, and wasn’t in love with it, but started cutting anways.  This is what the blocks looked like as I was laying out the scrappy stars –

I’m having a problem with the way I think the blocks will look, but I forge ahead.  Everything’s already cut out, so what do I have to lose?

Here’s the first block I almost finished:

I’m feeling better now.  Unfortunately, it’s a temporary thing.  I’m under an illusion because it just so happens that the first block had blues and greens of similar values.

Because when I get more put together it looks like this:

See the value problem?  The lights are too light and the darks are too dark.  There’s too much of a ‘gap’ between the shades of blue.

But I’m persistent, and finished it anyways.   The top, I mean.  I pulled out some of the super-dark and super-light blues, but it’s still too jarring for my taste.  I’m really bugged by the ‘missing’ star points.  Maybe I could have fixed it by changing out more of the sashing?

So – what do you do with a quilt top that you really don’t like?  I’ve been quilting for 15 years and have had some real bloopers – though not one as bad as this in a while.  I send them away…which means that I give the top to the Charity table at quilt guild.  Someone finishes it, someone gives it away, and someone gets to enjoy it.  Maybe I should keep this one around for a while, to see if it bugs me less and I do want to finish it and find it a home on my own.

For the baby?  I made another quilt which I like much better.  The only thing is, I don’t know if the parents are into pirates.  Pirates?  I convinced myself that it was OK, because it’s a bigger quilt (40×60 or so), suitable for use into the toddler/preschool years, and what boy doesn’t like pirates?


Hi!  Welcome to my little corner of blogland, and to my entry into Sew Cal Gal’s Christmas Quilt Show!  Thanks for stopping by!

Years ago, I bought a pattern from Bee Creative Studios for a small tree quilt – appliqued, off kilter and fun.  I always meant to do it and never got around to it.  Other priorities at Christmas, you know!  When I finally decided to do it, and I wanted the rest of the patterns (Tree Trimmin’ was one of a set of four) they were out of print.  I could find one here, and one there, and nowhere for the last one. 

So I punted.  Punting is a technical term.  It has nothing to do with football.  It has more to do with creating a ‘make it work’ moment.

(Yes, I am addicted to Project Runway.)

On the back of the one pattern I had were pictures of the set of four.  I re-drafted the wonky backgrounds, then replicated the spirit of the fun blocks, replacing the last one with another Christmas thing altogether.  Then I copied it all onto freezer paper.  Ironed the freezer paper to the incorrect side of the fabric and started cutting.  Oops!  And, I barely remembered to add the seam allowance when cutting. 

Well, keep on moving, right?

So now I sew bigger-than-intended strips of green onto the background.  Applique the elements down, in the most casual sense of the word applique.  I straight stitched around the pieces.  Period.  No   turning under, no fusible, no anything else.   I did have the forethought to make the snowman a double thickness of white.  I though the snowman looked fine, but with the photography and the flash the green behind is shadowing through.

There’s a way to do a quilt in a day, and it doesn’t involve Eleanor Burns.  (I love Quilt in a Day patterns and shop.  But in no universe where you can’t bend time can a queen sized birds in the air quilt top be made in a day.)  The way to do it is to cut every corner you can possibly find.

Another oops.  (Move too fast and you can make a lot of these.)  I meant to trim the green, then sew on the red (to make the whole quilt top), then applique things on.  Oh well, it’s just a bit bigger now.  Then I lopped some off the green to make the blocks a bit wonkier.

So now I look at how much red fabric I have (1/2 yard) and figure out how to cut the ‘sashing’ and ‘borders’.  And, for that matter, how to sew them on!  I want to make this as simple as possible.  So I sew 2″ strips to two sides of each block (the inside sides) and 5″ strips to the other two sides.  The 2″ strips will end up being mock-sashing and the 5″ strips will end up being a mock-border.  I call them ‘mock’ because they’re really just logs around the centers.

I laid the blocks out on my cutting mat (good thing the top was small enough!)  and get everything lined up how I like it.  With my longest ruler, I take a deep breath and cut a straight line up the center, and through the middle.  I sew the four blocks of my quilt together.  Then cut again along the outside, making sure the outside ends up with straight sides and square corners.

Pin, quilt as desired, and bind!  I quilted this very simply – just a few straight lines echoing the outlines of the blocks.  The binding is this really cool Christmas fabric I just got – peppermint sticks, and it’s printed diagonally!  No bias binding!

Even with going to a guild board meeting, I still got this quilt done in a day.  And I love it!  It’s fun and bright and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Thanks to Sew Cal Gal for hosting this Christmas Quilt Show and allowing us to all participate.   There are lots of great quilts entered in this virtual quilt show, so why don’t you head on back to Sew Cal Gal and click on some more?


What ese have I been working on?  Well, a couple of trials at a baby quilt for my cousin’s new arrival, due later this month. 

 The first quilt didn’t go so well.  I mean, it sewed out and everything but it didn’t speak to me.  It screamed.  What did it say?  “I have a value problem!!!”  And my daughter agreed. 

So I stewed for a week, trying to figure out what else to do, and got the Dresden Plate die from AccuQuilt that had been backordered for three weeks.  I played with the die with some scrap fabric, and right now am sewing quilt number two using the dresden plate pointy-end blades and a striped pirate fabric.  It looks much better than it sounds!

North County Quilters’ Association, a guild that I belong to, is having their 25th Anniversary Quilt Show and Auction this Saturday Nov 6!   It’s in Escondido.  The doors open at 10, and the auction starts at 2.  There will be quilts (over 100!) to look at and maybe buy, silent auction, vendors, and a member’s boutique.  Directions and whathaveyou (that’s a technical term) are posted on the guild’s website, so give it a visit and come and give the quilts a visit this Saturday!  All net proceeds from the auction will be donated to local charities later this year.

I wish I had pictures to share!  The quilts donated are in every style and type.  I remember a tiki bar quilt, called, of course, Margaritaville, and also one (which no one but me is allowed to bid on) with turtles that looked Hawaiian-inspired.

See you Saturday!  Deb

Welcome to my entry into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!  I’ve made close to 100 quilts over my 15 years of quilting.   Many I’ve given away, either to friends or family or charity.  I still have dozens and dozens in my possession.

At my house, most quilts get used.  My daughter sleeps under one.  When she was younger, I sent one with her to preschool.  We take them to the beach and to picnics.  We set up tent cities in the front yard with them.  They get washed and dried and used again.

There are a few that are exempt from this love.  Sahara Sunset is one of them.  (And it actually does lie flat…it was folded up before I took this picture.)

A long time ago, 4 zip codes ago, I bought a yard of fabric at Hancock Fabrics.  (Not Hancocks of Paducah, the other Hancocks)  I loved it but didn’t know what to do with it.  A bit later, I started hand-dyeing fabric. 

Then we moved.  Most of our things went into storage, but I kept out my sewing machine and a few projects.  The fabric panel and a bunch of coordinating hand-dyed fabrics made the cut and went to temp housing with us.  We were newly moved, having taken a huge pay cut because I quit my job and my DH was doing a post-doctorate internship, trying to sell our old house while looking for a new one.    I had to use what I had.  First I finished off the baby quilt.  Then I finished off the Winding Ways quilt.  Then I was down to this.

It was either figure out this quilt, using what I had, or stop quilting.  To quote Tim Gunn, it was a “make it work moment”.  I sat in front of EQ for days, trying to design the right border for around this quilt center.  I tried and discarded dozens of blocks.  Then I found a simple block to use.  It completely worked for me.  That was it!  So I sat down and made the first cut.  And added spray starch.  And kept cutting and sewing, liking what I was seeing.  I added a tiny narrow flap of dark fabric to separate the center from the border.  When I had the quilt top done, I couldn’t bear to fold it up and put it away – I left it right there on the floor for a few days so I could enjoy it. 

In the meantime, things were coming together.  We found a place in our new zip code, and sold our old house.  I still wasn’t working, but with only one house payment we were where we needed to be.

I quilted it a few months later, once I found the right thread to blend with all of the colors of the sunset.  I outline quilted the silhouettes, and did a micro-stipple in matching thread in the sunset areas.  The border blocks have straight lines quilted along the same diagonals as the blocks.

I love this quilt!  It’s hanging in my quilt room right now.  Every time I look at it I remember that I had a shoebox of fabric and was able to come up with that, with my sewing machine on the floor, a dorm-sized ironing board, and a bit of perserverence.

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About Aspen Hill

Welcome to Aspen Hill! I'm Deb. Quilter, lover of fabric. Fan of completed projects. Quilt Pattern Designer. My blog is my space where I get to share quilting, sewing, and other creative pursuits. Come back often!

You can find my quilts, doll clothes, and patterns on Etsy.