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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



Thanks for entering!

Winners posted here!


A few weeks ago I was blog-surfing and stumbled across a cute little scarecrow button.   “Fall into Fall Quilter’s Bloggers Giveaway“, it said!  Always on the lookout for a good giveaway, I clicked on this guy:

Now, I’m sure that most of you are new to my blog.   Sit a spell, take a few minutes, and read some posts.  Don’t just click back to the list without even giving yourself a chance to figure out if you like it here!  There are almost 200 blogs to visit, but you have 15 days to do it.

I’m all about having fun while quilting.  Sometimes you’ll see me post about where I’m going, and what I’m doing.  Other times, neat tips and tricks that I like to use.  Tutorials are fun, when I have something unique to share.  If I can figure out how to do buttons, I’ll have that one that says “I took the process pledge.”  I have way too much fabric, too many books, and too many patterns.  I’ve been quilting for about 15 years, and it’s interesting to see what’s come around again, what’s still in, and what’s still out.

I’m giving away two patterns, to two lucky commenters.  One for the Modern quilters out there, and one for those that are a bit more Traditional.

If you’re a quick quilter you may still be able to get this one done in time for Halloween!  Jack-o-lanterns with – get this – rickrack smiles!  Rickrack’s even included!   Pieces from the Heart designed Five Little Pumpkins for a layer cake and it finishes a nice large 67 1/2″ square!

The second pattern is from Esch House Quilts.   It’s called Traffic Pattern, and it’s new.  The quilt is bed-sized, finishing at 80″x90″.  When I first looked at the pattern I couldn’t believe that I was looking at a whole-cloth quilt.  It’s not!  Debbie’s broken the design down into blocks to make it manageable for everyone.  I couldn’t do justice to the pattern cover no matter how many photos I took, so hop on over to Esch House Quilt’s etsy shop to see pictures of her finished quilt.  Beautiful!

Here’s how it works – leave me a comment with these three things:

  1. I’m looking for sites that showcase modern machine quilting, or pictures of great quilts with modern-style quilting.  I don’t want pantographs, or stitch-in-the-ditch, or stippling.  
  2. Tell me which pattern you’d like – Pieces from Heart’s Five Little Pumpkins, or Esch House Quilts’ Traffic Pattern.
  3. Make sure I can contact you!

 I’d love for you to suscribe or follow me, but only if you want to, not just because it doubles your chance of winning.  (Up at the top?  There’s a spot to subscribe by email, or RSS, and right along the top there’s a button that says Follow Me.)

Unscientifically, I’ll ask my daughter to pick two numbers – one for each prize.  Winner will be drawn on Oct 15 at about 9pm PST and will be contacted via email.  Sorry, no international shipping.


I have occasionally tested patterns and quilts for a few quilt designers.  It lets me try out new patterns, see how other designers think and write, and lets me edit something other than my own writing.

I was quite surprised to get an email out of the blue for someone I’d tested for before, almost a year ago.  Three of us took up the challenge, and a challenge it was because she needed edits and a finished quilt top in a week.  All zigging and zagging aside (see my post on Murphy’s Law!) I got it done in 6 days.

While I can’t show you the whole quilt (yet!), below is a super close-up of part of the middle.  The multicolor yellow print does have sequin-y things on it…your eyes are not decieving you. 

I like this pattern – I think it’s really flexible…it can be made in loads of sizes, colors, and from any type of fabric – charm packs, layer cakes, jelly rolls, FQs.  Just add a yard of this and a yard of that to all those scraps and watch it come together!

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. As I mentioned, I got asked to test a pattern for a clever designer. Somehow she zigged and something zagged and I’m quite confused! So I’ve got a perfectly clean sewing space, a bunch of half-pieced blocks, a deadline of next Monday, and can’t work on it!

Well, there is a silver lining. Since I’m not likely to get my clarifications tonight, I’m going to work on American Girl quilts instead. I should be able to get at least one set done tonight.

What to do with a pack of charm squares that you just can’t bear to cut up? 

Over a year ago I bought a charm pack of 5” squares – Swanky by Moda.  I loved them, and still do.  They were a splurge at the time.  How can a pack of charm squares be a splurge?  I’d just gotten laid off, not a surprise due to my company’s overall performance.  We’d just sold our house for less than we paid for it.  Had moved from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  And we wanted to buy a new house, believing in the sell low / buy low concept.  My old job required insane hours and was full of pressure.  I hadn’t seriously quilted in 3 years, so 90% of the fabric in my stash was 3-12 years old.  The colors in this charm pack were bright and clear.  The prints were fun.  And I wanted them.  So I bought them.

And there they sat.  On the bookshelf, in the quilt emporium, just above my book collection.  Waiting for an a-ha moment.

Which came, courtesy of a library book.  I love guilds – I currently belong to three, all different in style.  One guild has a great library, full of new and current books.  One of the books I checked out last month had a quilt that had rectangles bisected with strips.  I think it was intended for layer cakes.  I looked at the picture, looked at my charm pack, and knew what I was going to do.

The little quilt finishes to 27.5” square with 36 blocks set 6×6.  Each block finishes to 4.5” square. 

Fabric Required:

One charm pack.  Mine had 33 squares in it, so I added 3 random squares from my stash for a total of 36 squares.

Quarter yard (full length is better than a fat quarter) of white fabric.

Quarter yard for 3-2.5” strips of binding.

7/8 yard for backing

Cutting and Sewing –

Cut the white fabric into 1” strips.  No picture, I’m sure you can figure it out!

Subcut into 72 1″ x 5” strips.

Take the 5” squares and cut a 3.5” section off.  I cut through about 4 at a time.  Since I was cutting multiple squares at once, I found it easier to have more of the ruler on the fabric, which is why I measured and cut the 3.5” piece and not the 1.5” piece.

Sew a 1”x5” strip of white into the middle of the cut charm squares.  Press to the charm square.  The cool thing about insetting a 1” strip is that you have the illusion that the pattern continues.  This only works if you pay close attention.  To get this effect, make sure you sew the white strip along the edge you cut for both pieces.  In the picture to the left, that would be the edge of each piece with the blue/pink flower.

Cut, again.  Cut the block into a 3.5” section and a 1.5” section.  This time I only cut one piece at a time.

Sew, again  Inset the remaining 1” x 5” strips of white into your blocks.  When you sew, make sure that the seams for the original strip of white will line up when the block is finished.  See how the thread/seam line on the short piece lines up with the fold on the longer piece?  Press to the charm square again.

Lay out the blocks on your design wall or floor.  I laid mine out so that I ended up with continuous strips of white running through. 

I didn’t put a border on mine.  Of course, you can do what you want!

Baste, Quilt, and Bind as desired.  I quilted straight down the middle of the white bars.

Tadah!  Done and done.

Want a teaser?  I’m developing a pattern for this quilt with a shortcut piecing technique – look for it in my etsy shop, Aspen Hill.

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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.