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First, a small vent.  Do people really live the lives they show on Pinterest?  Or are they spending hours styling something with the goal being just as much about good pictures for pinterest and the blog as it is about the event the pictures are being taken of?

Now, onto the first cut.

Thanks to the comments on my previous post reinforcing my gut, I went with the triangles.  I think it’s going to be the right call.  I’m varying from the published pattern (not a bit surprise…) by using narrower sashing strips than the original.

Ready, Set…









I can’t seem to pick up my rotary cutter.  I just can’t do it.

I have a baby quilt to make for a really special mother-to-be.  The shower is in 11 days.  I found the best fabric.  I love it, my daughter loves it, my husband loves it.

It’s some pink giraffe love by Michael Miller.  The mom-to-be has picked a girly jungle theme for her nursery, and baby things in pink and yellow, so I’m hoping that she loves it as much as I do.


I bought every bit that the fabric – 1 1/4 yards – and it will *just* make a quilt.  I’d planned on one pattern.  Squares and rectngles of giraffes, sashed in the yellow/oranges, then set together.  I hadn’t cut anything yet because I was a bit unsure about the scale.  The giraffes are pretty tall, and the pattern calls for 3″ high (finished) pieces.  I was worried that I’d end up with a 3×3 square with only giraffe butts in it and not enough fabric to set it aside.  (And while my daughter thought it was funny, and the mom would never notice, I’d know…and we all know that we obsess about things that others will never notice.)

But then last night my daughter picked up the book the pattern was in, and I saw on the back another quilt, made up of equilateral triangles that were sashed.  It takes just about as much fabric, but the pieces are bigger – 6″ tall.  On every piece I laid the ruler on I ended up with at least one giraffe head.

So now I’m paralyzed.  I can’t seem to make that first cut.  Ever been there?

I’ve also finished another quilt top for another new baby.  I haven’t quilted it yet, but I need to immediately, since I just decided that I’m heading off to see the new baby next week.  My 96-year old grandpa, who lives halfway across the country, is visiting to see his newest great-grandchild, only for ten days.  So kiddo and I are off to visit him, and see the new baby, next week for a couple days.  (And, lest I forget to mention it, my aunt lives over six hours away from me, so I’m heading off onto a hard slog through the desert without my hard-working husband to share the driving with.)

I haven’t done partial seams in a while.  I don’t know why I avoid them.  They’re simple.  I have a hard time with 3-fabric quilts.  I always want to add more fabrics!  Overall I think the quilt is cute, but if I make it again I’ll probably make smaller blocks.

Thanks for stopping by!

I was able to get in the tester’s pool for Kickin’ Stash back in January.  Beth over at EvaPaige Quilt Designs always has great ideas for new quilts, but I think this one takes the cake.

Kickin’ Stash is great for everything…from jelly rolls to layer cakes to fat quarters to scraps.  Real scraps.  Like those that have been collecting in my scrap bin for years.  Earlier this year I undertook the daunting task of sorting my scraps by color.  They may take up more space now, but at least I can see what I have!

Pink and blue are the biggest bags, so after stumbling across a 2 yard piece of an orphaned fabric with pink doodled flowers on it I decided to tackle the pinks.  (An orphan fabric is one that was bought specifically for a project, then not used for that project.  My blog, my definitions!)  I knew I didn’t have enough background to finish Kickin’ Stash to the pattern, so I figured I’d sew and cut until I ran out of fabric.  Which was after the first border.  Which is OK, because I have a quilt top that’s big enough for a toddler, fewer pink scraps, and one less piece of yardage in my collection.

I think this is going to stay a top for a little while longer.  I’ve got things going on, and it’s chilly outside (my pinning table is in the garage, and we’re going through a chilly couple of weeks), and I have a few other sewing projects to prep and/or outright finish before then.

AccuQuilt giveaways seem to be slowly making a re-emergence, though 2 in 2 weeks isn’t necessarily a trend – First Lady of the House is having one that closes later this week.  Have you seen the new zoo animals?  Elephants and Lions and Giraffes, oh my!

Linking this up to Scrap Attack

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Instead of a science fair, my daughter’s school has an Invention Convention whre the kids are encouraged to come up with an invention that solves a problem.  You see everything here that a kid can come up with.  This year my daugher participated, with her Super Small Guard Robot, “Sarge”, the ultimate in home defense.  So we’ve spent a lot of family time this week discussing Sarge – what he looks like, what he does, how to communicate this to others.  And then made a poster and model for her to share at school.  Sarge is the size of a tennis ball, runs around on 6 legs, has solar panels for power, an antenna for communication, a speaker for warning, and an eye to spot bad guys.  He was created from a decorative deck knob (body), 6 restaurant kids cup straws (legs), one googly eye (eye), a snip of pipe cleaner (antenna), markers, and enough silver spray paint that my garage still reeks of it.

I have been working on a few things.  So what’s my Work in Progress?  Probably the Kickin’ Stash quilt, because I’d like to get the top done in time for the Scrap Attack linky party at stitchedincolor.

Kickin’ Stash is coming along.  The blocks are pieced together, and I will probably have this top finished over the weekend.  Another quilt without a cause, just an exercise in stash reduction and true excitement over .  A true scrap quilt – the border was bought 2 years ago for a baby quilt (the babies turned 2 last November) and 80% of the pinks came from my scrap bin.  The rest came from already-cut-into pieces from my stash.

Other than that, here’s the list:

  • Twister – the top is done.
  • English Paper Piecing – long term project, making progress!
  • Dresden Plates – blocks are done, need to sash.
  • 2 BOM blocks – a bit of a struggle of my fabric vs the patterns.
  • Bricks and Blocks 2 – made one, loved it and let it go to its intended home, so I’m making another.  Fabrics are collected.
  • Embroidery – a labor of love.

I’m a bit overwhelmed!  I haven’t actually listed all my current WIPs in one place in a while… (note the word current…)

And, it’s been quite a dry spell, but there is a giveaway for an AccuQuilt over at Annies Ruby Slipperz – hop on over for a chance to win!

Well, I’ve finished sewing all my tops together.

And realized that as a result of my sewing frenzy I now have 4 tops to finish.  Looks like my pinning table and I will be seeing a lot of each other next week!  Should I admit that I do have enough pins to pin baste 4 quilts at once?  (When I basted my queen sized Bricks and Blocks quilt I probably used only 60% of my pins – I have two containers full!)  But I can’t pin until after I make backs, and 2 of the 4 will require pieced backs.

When I look at the photos, I notice 2 things – the first is that I need to press everything!  (I have a new iron and don’t like it – it seems to not press as well as my old one.)  The second is that the colors seem off.  I’ll try to get better pictures when the quilts are finished, but the light does feel very ‘yellow’ in my house today.

First finished, but not first started, is the tumbler quilt.  I started with a yard of a pink print I’ve had for years and started cutting up bits and pieces of pink fabrics to go with it with my mini tumbler die.  This quilt will end up being a NICU incubator cover at a local hospital, so I need a backing that’s bright and fun to go with it.

Next up is the hidden stars quilt.  Same drill as before only the theme fabric was a pink/black/white/aqua cat print that I made my daughter a skirt out of 4 years ago, and the die was a 3″ HST.  I’d intended a normal set, with all the triangles oriented the same way.  As I laid it out on the floor, I realized that if I rearranged the blocks, I could make stars.  If you look, there are sawtooth stars, friendship stars, and pinwheels all over the quilt top.  This one’s for charity also – the guild wants 30×36 for crib quilts, so I made this one 30×39.  Perfect!

Third to finish was the monkey quilt.  I had all of the fabric out from my last venture, so I started stripping again using the leftover bits and pieces.  I added a few new fabrics, but it will be nice to have one more fabric (the monkey print) gone out of my stash.  (I know some people track yards in and yards out – I feel happy when I completely finish a fabric and all I have left are bits for the scrap bin.)

First started, and last finished, is the Drunkard’s Path.  This one was put into 4-patch blocks at a sit-n-sew last month.  When I laid it out on the floor I didn’t like it.  So, after staring at it for a few days, trying to avoid the inevitable, I ripped them all back apart again.  A few more evenings playing with the layout, and I came up with something I’m happy with.

Thanks for following along!  This weekend I’ll be piecing backs, and maybe quilting on the littlest one if the weather cooperates and I can spray-baste it.

Well, quilts 2 and 3 are now done, too.  Though there are a few threads to bury and snip.  I’m saving the biggest one for last!

This one was quick and simple – a chunk (this one was about 12″) of fun monkey fabric sitting offset in the middle of a bunch of purple strips of random widths.  The one thing I would change would be putting a narrow border around the outside.  There’s a 1″ strip of a mottled solid purple framing the monkey print.  Then I used the same fabric as the binding, but I either need a narrow border or a wide binding to balance things out.

Fun and done!

Seems like AccuQuilt giveaways are still popping up everywhere!  This week I found the at The Pickedish Patch, At Second Street, and Gen X Quilters.

Thanks for visiting!

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!


We Interrupt This Post for a Blatant Plea. 

Help me win!!!  I’ve posted several times about AccuQuilt’s Barn Quilt contest.  Entries were due Sunday night, and already, today, they’ve narrowed their choices down to the top 100 and opened up voting!  Well, I got a block in the top 100!  Click HERE to vote for my block!  You can vote in two ways – by hitting the ‘like’ under the block or clicking on the block and giving it a stellar 5-star review.  VOTING CLOSES APRIL 19!  If my block wins, I will be having a party that they can hear at AccuQuilt Headquarters in Nebraska!  (And I’m a SoCal gal!)  If I win, I will be sharing my joy and excitement with giveaways for both AccuQuilt and non-AccuQuilt users!

Now, back to the post.  Thank you for your patience!

My sister has had her first baby – a girl!  All babies in my family – and extended family – get quilts when they are born.  No registries and shopping (at least in the baby deparment!) for me.  Quilting!  Fabric Stores!

I bumbled around for a while trying to figure out a pattern.  Months, actually.  Then I saw a quilt on flickr and knew I’d found it. Lucky me!  The quilt I saw is from a Moda Bakeshop pattern, Avignon Picnic.  I love the rectangles, and the links, and the flow across the surface of the quilt.   I decided to make it a bit smaller – the pattern’s for a 64″ square quilt, set with 4 16″ square blocks.  Mine is 48″ square, with 3 16″ blocks.

It’s a jelly roll pattern, but I didn’t let that stop me!  I shopped my stash, supplemented from the store, and away I went!  The nursery is pink and brown, kind of whimsical, so I let that guide me towards what kind of colors to choose.  I thought about a bright white background, but then changed my mind.  I went for a pink.  It’s something I’ve had for quite a while, a pale pink with lowercase letters printed on it in white.  My sister is a first grade teacher, so I thought it somewhat appropriate.  I had a few qualms about the directionality of the print, but let go.

Cutting was a breeze.  2 1/2″ strips, sewn together, then cut apart into 4 1/2″ blocks.  I used…drumroll…my AccuQuilt GO! to cut the squares.  Pulled out my 4 1/2″ strip die, laid the fabric across the blades (using a ruler to make sure that the fabric was perfectly perpendicular to the blades) and away I went!  It took some time to lay everything out, making sure that the seams were staggered and I was never cutting more than 6 layers of fabric, but in just a few big cuts I got 144 4 1/2″ blocks.

Laying it out took a bit more time.  And do you know what happens when you lay 144 blocks out on the floor, then your child decides to build a zoo?  Plop.  Poof.  Float.  No more nicely arranged blocks on the floor.

Once I got into the rhythm of it, the quilt top came together pretty quickly.  Then I pinned it, quilted it 1/4″ out of the ditch, and finished it.

I made too many blocks, so I used them to widen the back – the quilt finished to 48″ wide, so two rows of 4″ blocks made my backing fabric just wide enough!

I’m happy with it.  I hope my sister will like it!  All it needs is a label and washing instructions.


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.


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?


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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.