You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2011.

I know, I’m a visual person, too.

I’ve taken some pictures of my latest quilt, but for some reason the comuter won’t recognize the card reader!  I’ve tried every USB hub on the computer, keyboard, and moniter (who knew my husband had so many?!) and nothing is working.  So, no pictures.

Instead of pictures of my latest quilts – a Winding Ways, a simple diamond quilt, or a pink version of Moda Bake Shop’s Avignon, or the tale of my all-that’s-old-is-new-again Twister quilt, I will leave you with this: 

Contests!  Giveaways!

AccuQuilt’s Barn Quilt contest is still ongoing.  The deadline is April 10 to enter.  Click the box on the sidebar to get to more information.  I haven’t started mine yet!  Maybe this weekend…

You can also win an AccuQuilt GO Baby from Stash Manicure – deadline’s soon, though, so hurry!

Wish me luck for pictures next week!


Have you heard about barn quilts?  Growing up, we used to drive by a few barns that had things painted on their sides.  Crosses, pictures.  Never quilt blocks.  That would have been much more interesting!

In 2001, a quilter painted a quilt block on her barn to honor her quilting mother. Since then, there are several communities that have organized Barn Quilts.  There’s a Quilt in a Day book with that name as well.  Quilt in a Day’s store has recently put up several barn quilts on their building as well – and I have to say it looks great! 

Last year, AccuQuilt had a barn block contest, and got over 400 entries.  The winner got a great prize…and her block is now larger than life, on AccuQuilt’s building!  This year, they’re doing the contest again.   Another chance to design a quilt and win not only an AccuQuilt gift certificate, but a trip to AccuQuilt for the unveiling!  The contest ends April 10, so start your colored pencils now!  (And, even though I’m a loyal EQ fan, that’s what I’ll be using to start, since my laptop bit the dust…)


My laptop’s hard drive has bit the dust. Technically, it’s lost itself. “Hard drive not found” is the error message of the last few days.

Now my “technical consultant” and I need to figure out what the right new machine is, order it, wait for it, then reload it with all of my favorite pieces of software. This could take a while. Less, though, if I keep squatting on his computer…

It’s really too bad.  There are pictures of quilts that I’ve made and given away that don’t exist anywhere else.  Original copies of guild newsletters.  Pattern drafts.  EQ files.  BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE…even if the technical expert doesn’t.

So…this is take two at a baby quilt for my cousin’s baby boy.

I won an AccuQuilt GO! last year on a blog giveaway.  (be patient, it makes sense)  One of the dies I requested was the Dresden Plate.  As I was trying to figure out what to make for the baby quilt, I decided to spend some time with that die.  I also had it in the back of my head that I’d like to use one of the stripey novelty prints I had – one is robots/space, the other is pirates. 

I grabbed some larger fabric scraps and cut some of every shape with my new Dresden Plate die.  I looked at the flat-ended ones and thought they could go together like a tumbler.  So I sewed them together (in pink…) and thought they looked interesting.

I ended up doing this –

I cut out about 160 individual fan blades from probably about 8 fabrics.  More of some, less of others.  I kept most in the medium value, with very few darks.

Then I sewed two blades together into pairs, then pairs into foursomes.  Then foursomes into eight-somes, and into sixteen-somes.  (You get it – sixteen blaces, all in a row).  There I stopped, because it was time for trimming and I wanted to be able to cut with my 24″ ruler without folding.

This was where I had planned to stop – I was going to square up the ends, sew them into the quilt, and off I’d go.  I didn’t like the scale, though, of having a 5″ strip of wedges inset into a 3″ strip of pirate ships.  So I took one of the 16-somes strips and cut it in half.  I like the thinner strip better!  It’s a matter of the scale of it.

As you can see, not all the ends are perfect.  No problem!  The width of the strips is 5 1/4″ to 5 1/2″.  So I evened up one edge.  Cut a 2.5″ strip, then a second 2.5″ strip, then had another bit of scrap at the other end.  The strips look like they are made of wide and narrow tumblers.  Since I cut at slightly different places on every strip (based on where I had to cut to even up the edge), the patches are not all identical in size, but I like the individuality it gives them.

Then I sewed sixteen-somes into thirtytwo-somes.

Then I took my striped fabric, which happened to have these great stripes.  Very carefully, I cut the strips apart lengthwise along the fabric.  For one, I cut 1/2″ off the bottom of the black stripe.  I wanted to minimize the black and orange stripes, so I buried them in the seam allowance.  For the other, I cut exactly on the line between the yellow and red stripes.  Trust me…do this 12 inches at a time.

I alternated the theme fabric with the pieced rows – I ended up with one extra thirtytwo-some strip and one extra strip of shark fins but that was because I wanted to start with ships at the top and end with shark fins at the bottom.

You could wait to square it up until it’s quilted, but I went ahead and squared it up.  The top is about 40″ x 60″.

What works for me on this quilt is the scale and the value.  The scale of the patchwork strips is similar to that of the theme fabric.  When I laid the full-sized fan strips on there it was too much angled fan blade and the ships and sharks faded away.  Then I tried cutting the strips in half and sewing them back together (to get more of a crazy-quilt effect).  I didn’t like that much, either, because of the scale.  The pieced strips felt too tall for the print.  As for value, I made sure to keep the values in the medium range with only one foray into dark territory.


Scraps bug me.  I can’t throw them away, even if they’re too small for most things.  Scraps have ages and stages in my house,  If they’re big enough to cut a piece out of, they go in with their color.  (What’s big enough?  Depends on what I feel that day.  And how much I love that fabric.)  After that, they go in the scrap bin.  I share the scrap bin with my crafty kid, so it’s not uncommon to pull a nicely sized piece out of there with a hole cut in the middle.  Pieces tend to stay in there until they’re miniscule, at which point I reluctantly throw them away.

These pieces were still in with the colored fabric.  They caught a break – even though each was an oddly piece left out of a charm pack (Merryvale’s Zephyr line from a few years back) they were part of a set and that kept them safe.

So I fiddled and faddled and figured out that I could get 4-6 HSTs (half square triangles) from each one if I used the 2.5″ HST die on the value die that came with my AccuQuilt GO.  This was a messy and somewhat time consuming process, since I had to individually line up each remnant of fabric.  Though, using the GO, what would have probably taken 4 hours of measuring and cutting one piece at a time only took about 90 minutes.  With none of that adult language that happens when the ruler slips.

I randomly sewed a darker one to a lighter one.  This was kind of relative, since I had more darks than lights, so mediums went both ways…in a good fabric way.  I put them all in a basket and picked.  I rejected a few pairs along the way, and at the end I always dump the basket and make the best matches out of what’s left.

Finally chosing a symmetric layout that was 8 x 10 2″ (finished) squares in size, I rearranged it for a while then sewed it together.  My daughter and I decided that a medium, sage-y green was the best thing to finish it all off.  A 3″ cut border brought the size up to 21″x25″ .  A bit of straight-line quilting, and this is one for the books!

Thanks for reading!  Deb

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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.