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I don’t know why I let myself get hung up on the things on my quilting list.  It’s all for fun, right?  I let that Halloween costume drag me to a standstill, even though it was super easy to put together.  Well, I also had to tear my quilting room apart because we had a garage sale last weekend.  I needed my card table, which I cut on, out to display items, and the loveseat, which was being sold, out in the driveway.

But since then I’ve been able to get back in the groove.  It’s so nice!

The first thing I did this week is a herringbone block for the SDMQG’s block bee.  We were linked back to Stitched in Color’s great tutorial and given a color palette.  Loved it!  The block went together very easy, and I only had to unpick one seam.   Don’t mind the backlighting in the picture – my design ‘wall’ is more of a window covering.

In the picture you can see part of the 2012 Quilt in a Day Block Party quilt – Quilts from El’s Kitchen.  A few weeks ago we got the LAST BLOCK for the quilt – now all we need is directions on the border, which we will get in class on Tuesday.  This has been a challenge for me.  I chose to do the small – 6″ – blocks, which means that I have had huge struggles with fabric scale.  The fabrics I chose were mostly Moda’s Sunkissed by Sweetwater, with a few other prints thrown in.  This morning I finished re-doing the last block!

It’s actually the Hearts and Gizzards block from February, but when I made it there was not enough contrast in the block.  I decided to wait until the very end to redo it, so that I could have the chance to balance out colors in the quilt.  So now that is DONE!  And I get to move on…

to more applique…because I realized that I never bothered sewing down the flowers on the center block.  I skipped doing this with the best of intentions – I wasn’t sure that I would be happy with the placement in the end, but I’ve decided to not overthink it.

I have four colors to applique down there – I’m most of the way done with the last flower color and only have leaves left after this.

Next up is sashing the blocks.  I’d love to stay glued to my sewing machine this weekend and get the top put toghether, but we’ll have to see what the weekend brings.  The class meets again on Tuesday, where Eleanor will give us instructions on her recommended outer borders.

Because I’ve been so distracted lately, I’m not sure if I’m going to get my SSQA quilt done for the 13th, but there are worse things.  My blue scraps are at the lowest amount they’ve been ever.  I have 30 blocks done and sashing picked out, but switched over to keeping up with the Quilt in a Day project and put them away.


It was Spring Break last week, so the kids were all out of school.  It also happened to be the week where a friend and I head off to the LQS for their block party class.  It’s more of a lecture/demo than a class, with a bunch of regulars who have been going forever.  This time I took my daughter with me, bribed that if she wasn’t disruptive she’d get Subway for lunch.  She was good, though I’m pretty sure that Eleanor Burns isn’t used to being ignored for a book.

At the end, I finagled her into showing her quilt off in front of everyone at the class.  It was a pattern from this class a few years ago, so they recognized it.  I made her do almost everything on this quilt.  She did all the piecing, quilting, and binding.  I taught her how to pin baste and rotary cut, though I did most of it.

She showed this quilt in a local show last fall, and we’re planning on entering it in the county fair.  She worked hard on this quilt!  It took lots of perserverence and patience on my part, since she’s big on planning and not-so-big on following through.

But, fresh from having her ego stoked by Eleanor and others, she decided that the time is right to start on her next quilt.  Being a big fan of Eleanor, she picked another QiaD pattern.  I’m thankful she ended up deciding on the 9-patch pattern – her original choice was Turnover Twist, which involves loads of QSTs.  And is bigger.

She picked out the border for her quilt, with consultation from me, deciding between themes of ‘jazzy’, ‘sweet’, and ‘nature’.  She went with ‘jazzy’, which is a huge graphic red/white swirly pattern.  I suggested red/turquoise for her colors, and she immediately agreed.  I guess they went with the ‘jazzy’ theme?  Phew!  The red’s a bit orangey, which we didn’t notice in the store, but just so happens to match perfectly with some of the fabrics I brought home from the quilt show last weekend.

Wish me patience!  And thanks for stopping by!  Deb

Earlier last year I made two or three scrap quilts – well, tops, anyways – in girl-ish fabrics from my scrap bin.  My bin went from bulging sides to just full.  I started cutting down blue/boy scraps right after, whacking my larger scraps into 4.5″ wide chunks to piece them into strips.  For months I carried around a storage bag to stitch-and-sews and measured and cut bigger pieces into little pieces.  Then I stuck the bag under my sewing table and promptly forgot about it.  I had started a couple of handwork projects, so why should I take that when I could be piecing?

Well, I found it.  And decided to turn those scraps into a top.  I sewed them together.  Into pairs,  then four-somes, then on and on until I probably had a piece long enough to stretch from the front to back of my house.  At which point I decided on a pattern that only required 14.5″ strips.  So then I cut it back down.  I ended up having enough for 2 large lap sized tops, once I set all those random scraps together with some navy blue, with a couple of feet of sewn together scraps left over.

Now, since I made my pink scrap quilts I’d been topping, and quilting, and binding for quite a long time.  Generating more scraps.  And when I finished my blue scrap tops I realized that my bin was overflowing, bulging sides and all, and I still had quite a lot of scraps that hadn’t been cut down and needed to be put in.

(this is the bin after 45 minutes of sorting fabrics out of it…can you imagine what it looked like when I started?)

Then I got the email.  Quilt in a Day had their large vinyl storage bags on sale for $2.  I love these bags.  I ordered 10 of them.  Red, orange/yellow, green, blue, purple, white/tan, black/brown, pink, novelty, block bits, and random..  (Yes, that’s 11, but I had the bag the scraps were in originally.)  The idea is sound – when I’m looking for scraps, I’m usually looking for a specific color.  This way I can go right for the colors I’m interested in.  And as an added bonus, the clear bags let me see much more than the bin.

So I started sorting my bin into the bags.  It was – is – a pain.  The bin was stuffed, so when I pulled out on a long scrap I was never sure if I was going to get just the string, or if it was tangled into something else and would be like a scrap-volcano erupting little pieces of fabric and tangled strings all over the floor.  After about 45 minutes, I was done for the night.  And had sorted just enough scraps out of the bin and into the bags that I could add the other scraps in and create…a full bin!

Phew.  This will be a few more evenings’ worth of work, because I’m overly inspired right now by sewing and don’t want to sort.  I just finished two baby quilts, and have a drunkard’s path to quilt, and started making dresden plates at a sit-n-sew last weekend.  (Ever seen dresden clocks?  Come back in a few days and you’ll see what one wonky value can do to a plate.)

Thanks for reading!

I love English Paper Piecing.  It’s calming, portable, and requires no marking or measuring.  I’ve rediscovered it this summer, and with all the travel and visitors and everything else, I’ve accomplished more stars in three months than I ever imagined I’d be able to.

(Process post follows…if I could make a decision I’d have a plan, and be working towards a finished project instead of making setting diamonds in every neutral in the book…)

(navy and turquoise)

Given the fact that I started with a set of coordinating FQs that I’ve had for years, I’m about to have to make a decision on setting diamonds.  ACK!  This is a hard set of fabrics to coordinate – it’s got strong yellowy/creamy tones – but not yellow – along with the blues and greens.  I went with lime green for the centers – I loved it at first sight, and now it’s done so I’ve got to re-figure out the rest.

(khaki and ash)

S0…which looks best?  I’ve made diamonds in a variety of colors, laid the blocks out on a bunch of fabrics, and can’t seem to come to a decision.  Originally I had the Kona Ash in mind –  but then I changed.

(ivory, black, and charcoal)

I’ve tried Ivory.  Snow.  Ash.  Charcoal.  Black.  Navy.  Khaki.  Turquoise.  And every time I look at it I change my mind.  What do you think?  Last week I was lovin’ the turquoise batik.  Today it’s the navy solid.


I have a theory.  When it comes to school projects, the kid does the work.  I am there to help – at times, to provide inspiration, to embellish or pare down a project, to teach the skills needed.  Not all parents seem to agree with me…at least not if the endangered animal diaramas just done by the 3rd graders are any indication.  I also believe that most school proejcts should be able to be made from items found around the house.  (As a crafty type with a crafty kid, believe me, we’re not going to run out of glue, popsicle sticks, or yarn any time this century.)

So when it came to an end-of-the-year thank you for her teacher and teacher’s helper, it was going to be something that she could make.

About a month ago, I saw the cutest mug rug.  (Of course, I can’t find the link anywhere!) It was quilted to resemble lined notebook paper, and had ‘thank you’ embroidered on it in red.  I showed it to DD8.85 at the time, and she liked it.

Last night, in just over an hour, we (she) knocked them out.  5″ square white fabric, 1″ strips (about 1.25 WOF strips needed for 2), 6″ square backing, batting, thread, and a fabric marker.  I cut the fabric and marked the lines for the notebook paper, she did the rest.  I decided to have her do ‘quilt-as-you-go’ because that way she could run the notebook paper lines off the end and not have to stop them at the seam.  We tried 3 pens – the gel pen was too hard for her, the fabric marker was way too thick.  Then she tried the “tee shirt pen” and it was just right.

One for her teacher, one for her teacher’s helper.  We rolled them up, tied with a ribbon, and she took them off to school this morning, where there were much loved.

You can’t see it, but those notebook lines are spot on.  The red borders are sewn nice and straight.  Way to go, kiddo!


Every once in a while it’s time to replace some of our basic quilting tools.

I’ve been looking for a new rotary cutting mat for a while.  Waiting for them to go on sale and be in stock at the same time.  I’ve been quilting for more than 15 years and am on my 2nd mat, so I figure replacing a mat that I can’t find the lines on, that has an odd texture, and looks like it’s got glue marks on it is OK.

This is my old mat:

And my new one.  I’ve never had a Fiskars mat before, so I’ll have to see what I think of it.  My first mat was an off-brand, and I loved it to death.  They don’t sell them anymore.  My second one is a Dritz, but I wanted to see what I thought of the Fiskars.

Don’t like green?  How about yellow?

I bought a new rotary cutter, too.  My so-called (grin!) friends were teasing me on Tuesday.  I was complaining about my rotary cutter not working.  The blade is jamming somehow.  My so-called friends pointed out that most of them have extra cutters.  Well, I do have 5 cutters.  A 60mm jumbo, 2 45mm regulars (one the blade keeps getting wobbly on, and this one that’s jamming), a 28mm small, and an 18mm micro.  But it’s the one that I use all the time that’s not working.  So, just so I don’t have to go back to my quilting circle on Tuesday without a functional 45mm cutter, I bought a new one.  And it’s light blue!  Who knew that they came in colors?  I had the basic grey in hand, then decided to go for the colored one, so I could tell it apart from the old one.  I have a Fiskars cutter.  When the first one went bad (the wobbly blade) they replaced it right quick.  This one, I sent in an email two weeks ago and haven’t heard anything.  I’ll follow up, using my lifetime warranty, but thought a spare cutter might not be a bad idea.

My next replacement tool?  A fresh seam ripper.  I do rip-it, but the majority of my seam ripper use is to separate chained pieces.  (Note my self defense there?)  And lately the seam ripper has been tugging at the thread instead of cutting it.  It separates the pieces eventually, but will often pull the threads in the piecing!  I’ve been using Clover seam rippers for ever – they were the first that I knew of with the larger handle.  I usually have a few new ones in storage, waiting to get desparate enough to pull them out.

And I figure while I’m at it I’ll replace some pins, too.  Those ones that probably have burrs on them because they don’t slide nicely into the fabric.  Those that are more than a litte bit bent.  And fill up my color wheel, too.  I use colored head pins to sort pieces and blocks while they’re in process.

In case anyone’s wondering, I’m doing great on my to-do list.  With any luck I’ll be playing with my new dies on Friday!


Don’t forget to vote in AccuQuilt’s Barn Quilt Contest!  Voting closes on April 19!  THIS is my quilt.  Or click here for all of the top 100.


Many moons ago, at a one-day retreat, there was a mystery quilt.  The quilters cut, and sewed, and drew, and cut, and sewed.  It was the best mystery quilt ever.  (Usually they can figure it out…sew the block units in whatever order you want, but there are only so many blocks that use hourglass units, right?)

At the end there was a great reveal.  Everyone was in awe!  It was this great interlocking pinwheel quilt.  Those who had done it were in love.  Those who hadn’t done it were jealous.  “Where did you ever get this idea?” we asked.  (I was in the jealous camp.)  From a book – Square Dance by Martha Thompson.  This was quite a while ago… (For the record…everything was done with the author’s consent.)

How do I know it was quite a while ago?  Because I made my own Square Dance quilt.  The book – in it’s first edition – was out of print, so I haunted ebay and was able to come up with a copy after a while.  Then the project had to gel.  Then I started it!  It is a bit fiddly.  You lay out your squares, sew them together, mark them with a template, cut them apart (with scissors, no less!), and sew them back together again.

When was this?  2002.  This was the baby quilt that we said would make the baby hyper!  Said baby is now 8 3/4!

Diggin’ the fabric?  It’s all out of print.  (Though I keep getting flashbacks…the border fabric is used in one of the cover shots on McCall’s 5554 pattern for 18″ dolls…as knickers…)

The book you can put your hands on – it’s been re-issued with more current fabrics.  My first edition has some quilts where you have to…look beyond the fabric, I guess…to see the charm of the design.

Imagine my surprise when Twister quilts started showing up everywhere online?  “That’s Square Dance!” I said.  While I had to collect my squares one at a time, the pattern is great for charm packs.  And my template?  Freezer paper with pencil lines on it.  I would have killed for an acrylic template!


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!


My guild has a block-of-the-month that comes with pre-cut fabrics. I did it this month, and was a little bit nervous because the block was flying geese with a pinwheel center.  Daunting, to say the least, since every one of the 24 pieces in the block is a triangle.  Triangles can often stretch just by handling them!

I pulled the pieces out of the bag, and noticed that the points had been cut off all the triangles.  Nice!

Looking at the instructions, sew this to that, sew that to the other, press, etc.  At the very bottom, “Pieces cut with an Accuquilt”.

So cool!  The block went together like a dream, bias edges and all.  I had the whole block done in about 15 minutes, no ‘easing’ required.

I have got to get an Accuquilt!

Anyone know what this block is?  I browsed through my EQ7 library and couldn’t find it.

We all know, too, that AccuQuilt is expecting?  What is it?  More dies?  A smaller cutter?  An electric cutter?  Inquiring quilters want to know!

I was so excited to get this email!  I have a quilt that I wanted to enter, but the quilt, the thread, and my sewing machine were not getting along.  Now I’ve got the push to finish it off again.

The email I received said they’ve moved the deadline from October 1 to October 15 for submissions for the 2011 Road to California show.

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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.