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Sometimes it’s better to be doing things instead of talking about doing things.  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing!  Several quilts have come and gone without even a thought that I should stop quilting and start writing about quilting.  There were 4 tops for the guild charity efforts, various bee blocks, a baby quilt, complete with personalized embroidery, and more.  It’s been a while of being on the go, dragged in several directions.

So, catching up.

First – there’s a Big Day for kids in just under 2 weeks. Last year my daughter went with Frankie Stein from Party City, but this year she’s requested Greek Goddess from Mom.  Of course, there’s no patterns for that, but we happened on a pattern (99 cents, advertises that the sewing can be completed in an hour) and a fantastic heavy white jersey (in the red-tag section, no less) and I’m off to the races.  Last night I cut it out, and today I sewed the shell together.  Now I’m waiting for my model to get home from school before putting in the lining.

(I love my daughter to pieces.  I do.  But she’s difficult to buy or sew clothes for because she’s two sizes bigger in height than she is in width.)

Every serious sewer/quilter has to have an assistant, right?  McKenna joined me last night should I need any small things done.  But then she got distracted by finger knitting…how just like a 10 year old!

Then I’ve been doing some stress-release / stash-reduction quilting.  When I just want to SEW, I do this.  Usually I grab my GO and the diamond die and go to town, but I’ve been liking equilateral triangles so much lately.  So I grabbed a triangle ruler, a bunch of remnants from a bunch of boy quilts, and I was off.  It’s topped, quilted, and I’ll have the binding done shortly.

I have six other things to work on, but I needed some more stress-release sewing, so as a way of avoiding the whole costume thing I started sewing SSQA blocks.  I have 18 of them done, and my blue scrap bag will be tiny after this!

My dresden plate quilt has been pinned since June or so.  I couldn’t figure how to quilt it, had no idea.  So now I’ve started, but then had to stop because it’s going to take forever and I don’t have any time for it this month.  Not to mention that we’ve been suffering with hot days for weeks and weeks, and if I can help it I don’t quilt large things when it’s hot.

My to-do list is much, much larger than the WIPs shown above.  I have a baby quilt to make for a favorite cousin.  Another large quilt that’s basted and ready to go.  Oh, and in note-worthy news, I’ve finally mom-ed up and finished the embroidery squares that I started over a year ago for a quilt for my daughter.  (Twin-sized minkee.  I don’t see that getting done before it cools off.)


I’ve joined, in spirit anyways, EPQD‘s Drop and Give me 20 challenge for the month.  It’s been going pretty good for me so far.  I’ve committed to myself 20 minutes of actual sewing every day.  (Note that it’s actual sewing, not sitting at the sewing machine watching Storage Wars on OnDemand.)  Seems like a good way to work my way through the projects on my mental to-do list.  It’s working pretty good, I’m 5 days in and have gotten at least 20 minutes in every day.

Wednesday, 2/1, I did some handwork on my long-term English paper piecing project.  The day got away from me, but I did sew instead of play games on my phone while waiting to pick DD up from school.

Thursday I cut out fabric for a top.  It probably took about 30 minutes, but when I was done, everything was cut.

Friday I sewed some of the top.  And spent almost 2 hours picking up the results of a leaning tower of fabric tumbling to the floor.

Saturday I sewed some more of the top.

This morning I finished the top.  And then made a pillowcase.  And then during the SuperBowl decided to work on my dresden plates  (note that they are now plates and not clocks!).  The plates have been done for a few weeks and need attaching to the backgrounds.  So I spent all night tonight doing that.  9 plates have been attached to 9 backgrounds.

Next up?  Sewing the 9 circles to cover the 9 block centers.

Thanks for visiting!

I learned an important lesson from my daughter a few nights ago.  Look at what you’re doing, before you get too far into it.

I am making a dresden plate quilt.  9 plates.  20 blades per plate – I’m using my AccuQuilt GO!  180 blades needed.  I had a 5-pack of fat quarters I was going to use, and pulled the darkest one to save for block centers.  Then I found a few more fabrics in my stash to round out the numbers.  A green polka dot, a green damask, a tan floral-swirley thing, and a brown plaid.

I sliced 180 pieces, and I sewed.  Ironed.  Trimmed.  Turned and pinned.  Pressed.  Sorted my 180 blades into 9 block sets, and put them in a bag.  Took them to a sit-n-sew, and sewed 5 of them together.  (See the finish on my table?  That’s 15 years worth of experience showing…)

Nowhere did I lay out my blocks and stand back.

So I showed them to my daughter tonight.  She tells me that the brown is too dark.  So I look again, from a distance further away than the distance between my head and my sewing machine.  She’s right.

(Insert groan here.)

What looked fine in a pile of fabrics looks not-so-fine in the block.  Can anyone else see the hands on a clock here?  The brown looks like a clock hand to me.  And the tan can be another hand.  10 minutes to midnight?  (top middle)  Gotcha covered.  8:00?  top right.  But wait…there’s more!  Rotate the plate, and the time changes!  11:50 becomes 6:20, just like that!

So…I found another green damask in my stash that works like a champ.  So I made the remaining 4 plates with that, and I’m pretty happy.

As for the original 5 plates?  Well, let’s just say that my seam ripper and I have a date very soon.

Thanks for reading!

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.


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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.