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I’ve been wanting to make a brown, black, and tan quilt for months now.  I couldn’t figure out what I wanted it to be, however.  Simple and modern, for sure.  The pattern?  No idea.

Then I saw it.  The quilt I wanted to make, and it was HERE.  Scroll down, and there it is, on her design wall.  I was smitten.  I still haven’t figured out what the pattern is, or where she found it.  (Though I have one friend who said she’d seen it in a magazine.)

I cut, and cut, and cut some more, because this was to be a queen sized quilt for the local guild’s quilt auction.  Not having a pattern, I winged it, and decided that it had to be made from 2.5″ strips.  To make an 80×88 quilt, I needed to have 440 bricks that were 2.5×6.5, and 440 blocks that were 2.5×2.5.  That was lots and lots of cutting.  I tried using my AccuQuilt and the 2.5″ strip cutter, but ended up using my rotary cutter – I was dealing with scraps, and bits, and all sorts of odd-sized pieces so it was easier to just cut them with a ruler.

There’s most of the top, draped over the railing. Laying it out was a bit of a challenge.  I ended up using the queen-sized bed in the guest room, laying 75% of it out, then adding rows on at the end.

Basting it, oddly enough, went much quicker than I’d imagined.  I’d thought that using spray baste would be the thing for this big of a quilt, but I just ended up with wrinkles everywhere.  So I pulled it apart, pulled in my pinning table, and got started.  I was able to pin baste the whole thing in under 2.5 hours.  My pinning table is great for me – it’s about 40×50 without putting in a leaf, so I did have to shift this quilt a few times, but there are no wrinkles anywhere on it.

Because this quilt needed to be done quickly, and was for an auction that’s known for bargain-hunters, and I needed to do it on my home machine, I stipple quilted it.  Add some binding, my favorite part of the process, and I got it done with days to spare!

I love this quilt…however, I didn’t get to enjoy it much at all.  But that’s OK, because while I wanted to make a quilt in this color way and really love the quilt, it was never intended to stay with me.  I hope that its new owner loves it as much as I did!

Somehow I think I’ll be making this quilt again…it went together so easily, and makes such an interesting pattern.

My child is blessed to be the daughter of a quilter.  She’s been around sewing since her youngest days.  When she was 15 months old, she would play with ‘balloon’ pins in my pincushion.  At 2.5, she’d bury herself in fabric.  Before 4, she’d designed a quilt and helped to make it.  She’s been using sewing machines since she was 5.  I always decided that if I could involve her in my hobby(obsession), I could have more time for my hobby(obsession).  And have more quality time, and encourage her creativity, and… the list of rationalizing goes on…

Last summer, she won a pattern at Quilt in a Day’s store – Cinnamon Swirl.  She decided this was going to be her first quilt, because it was her pattern.  Fine by me, because as it’s a log cabin variation, it’s something that she could do.

In the spring, we found a Honey Bun she liked – Birdie by Moda.  It had been out for a while at that point, but we were lucky enough to find some matching yardage for the borders at the same shop.

Slowly, slowly, we worked our way through the quilt.  Learning about WOWies (wiggly seams that must be ripped and/or resewn), and easing fabric, and lining up edges.  Pinning.  Rotary cutting, which still scares me but she does it better than pinning.

At the end of May, her quit looked like this:  5 blocks done, 10 blocks in progress, 5 blocks unstarted.  Quilts had to be turned in Sept 5!

When the day came that the top was done we rejoiced with glee!  And sent it to school.  DD’s teacher last year had a helper that is a quilter.  I was sure that she’d get lots of prasie for it, and I was right.

It took us a while to figure out how to quilt it.  There were a few false starts, and I ripped out several blocks for her while we figured out how she could best tackle the quilting.  We ended up with something that she could do, though it wasn’t either of our first choices.  It was her first quilting project ever, and she did good.  Sure, there’s variability on the stitch length, and there were a few toe catchers that had to be fixed, but she did it.  Herself.

She finished it just in time (with prodding from me).  We’d entered her quilt into the San Diego Quilt Show that was last week.  The night before the quilts had to be turned in she was stitching on the label.  She did everything on this quilt.  She sewed it, quilted it, and bound it all on her own.  I helped with cutting, pinning, and basting, but made her try those skills too.  Pinning seems to be her worst subject!

She got it done, and her entry was hanging there for everyone to see!  They had the kid’s quilts in a different place this year.

But, they backed right up to the featured quilter’s area this year.  Eleanor Burns was the featured quilter this year.  She was so kind to my daughter!  Knew the quilt, and said she’d been mentioning it in all of her Strip Tzzz lectures.  We ended up staying for one of the lectures, and Eleanor recognized my daughter in the audience.  Called her up front.  Then Eleanor proceeded to toss her own quilt up on to the crossbar, tug the drapes apart, and flip my daughter’s quilt through from the back for all to see.  Loved it!!!

Afterwards Eleanor went around the corner with us and had a picture taken in front of the quilt with my daughter.  So great!

My daughter is proud of herself, rightfully so.  I’m proud of her, too!  You go, girl!

Hi!  Welcome to my little corner of blogland, and to my entry into Sew Cal Gal’s Christmas Quilt Show!  Thanks for stopping by!

Years ago, I bought a pattern from Bee Creative Studios for a small tree quilt – appliqued, off kilter and fun.  I always meant to do it and never got around to it.  Other priorities at Christmas, you know!  When I finally decided to do it, and I wanted the rest of the patterns (Tree Trimmin’ was one of a set of four) they were out of print.  I could find one here, and one there, and nowhere for the last one. 

So I punted.  Punting is a technical term.  It has nothing to do with football.  It has more to do with creating a ‘make it work’ moment.

(Yes, I am addicted to Project Runway.)

On the back of the one pattern I had were pictures of the set of four.  I re-drafted the wonky backgrounds, then replicated the spirit of the fun blocks, replacing the last one with another Christmas thing altogether.  Then I copied it all onto freezer paper.  Ironed the freezer paper to the incorrect side of the fabric and started cutting.  Oops!  And, I barely remembered to add the seam allowance when cutting. 

Well, keep on moving, right?

So now I sew bigger-than-intended strips of green onto the background.  Applique the elements down, in the most casual sense of the word applique.  I straight stitched around the pieces.  Period.  No   turning under, no fusible, no anything else.   I did have the forethought to make the snowman a double thickness of white.  I though the snowman looked fine, but with the photography and the flash the green behind is shadowing through.

There’s a way to do a quilt in a day, and it doesn’t involve Eleanor Burns.  (I love Quilt in a Day patterns and shop.  But in no universe where you can’t bend time can a queen sized birds in the air quilt top be made in a day.)  The way to do it is to cut every corner you can possibly find.

Another oops.  (Move too fast and you can make a lot of these.)  I meant to trim the green, then sew on the red (to make the whole quilt top), then applique things on.  Oh well, it’s just a bit bigger now.  Then I lopped some off the green to make the blocks a bit wonkier.

So now I look at how much red fabric I have (1/2 yard) and figure out how to cut the ‘sashing’ and ‘borders’.  And, for that matter, how to sew them on!  I want to make this as simple as possible.  So I sew 2″ strips to two sides of each block (the inside sides) and 5″ strips to the other two sides.  The 2″ strips will end up being mock-sashing and the 5″ strips will end up being a mock-border.  I call them ‘mock’ because they’re really just logs around the centers.

I laid the blocks out on my cutting mat (good thing the top was small enough!)  and get everything lined up how I like it.  With my longest ruler, I take a deep breath and cut a straight line up the center, and through the middle.  I sew the four blocks of my quilt together.  Then cut again along the outside, making sure the outside ends up with straight sides and square corners.

Pin, quilt as desired, and bind!  I quilted this very simply – just a few straight lines echoing the outlines of the blocks.  The binding is this really cool Christmas fabric I just got – peppermint sticks, and it’s printed diagonally!  No bias binding!

Even with going to a guild board meeting, I still got this quilt done in a day.  And I love it!  It’s fun and bright and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Thanks to Sew Cal Gal for hosting this Christmas Quilt Show and allowing us to all participate.   There are lots of great quilts entered in this virtual quilt show, so why don’t you head on back to Sew Cal Gal and click on some more?


What ese have I been working on?  Well, a couple of trials at a baby quilt for my cousin’s new arrival, due later this month. 

 The first quilt didn’t go so well.  I mean, it sewed out and everything but it didn’t speak to me.  It screamed.  What did it say?  “I have a value problem!!!”  And my daughter agreed. 

So I stewed for a week, trying to figure out what else to do, and got the Dresden Plate die from AccuQuilt that had been backordered for three weeks.  I played with the die with some scrap fabric, and right now am sewing quilt number two using the dresden plate pointy-end blades and a striped pirate fabric.  It looks much better than it sounds!

North County Quilters’ Association, a guild that I belong to, is having their 25th Anniversary Quilt Show and Auction this Saturday Nov 6!   It’s in Escondido.  The doors open at 10, and the auction starts at 2.  There will be quilts (over 100!) to look at and maybe buy, silent auction, vendors, and a member’s boutique.  Directions and whathaveyou (that’s a technical term) are posted on the guild’s website, so give it a visit and come and give the quilts a visit this Saturday!  All net proceeds from the auction will be donated to local charities later this year.

I wish I had pictures to share!  The quilts donated are in every style and type.  I remember a tiki bar quilt, called, of course, Margaritaville, and also one (which no one but me is allowed to bid on) with turtles that looked Hawaiian-inspired.

See you Saturday!  Deb

Last weekend was the Back Country Quilt Show.  It is, as you can guess, in the back country.  After spending two weeks quilting, I needed a break, so off I went.

You have to want to get to Ramona from where I live.  Take the highway, to the logical end.  Keep on going.  Turn right.  Go for 16 miles.  Down – up, mostly – a twisty turny 2 lane road with mountain to one side and a guard rail to the other.  No gas, about 2 pulloffs, blind corners where you hope the guy coming at you stays on his side of the double yellow line.

I’d missed last year’s show, and wanted to get out there this year.  I spent a nice few hours looking through the quilts, boutique, and vendor booths.  There was a wide variety of quilts there, from a pre-1900 heirloom to quilts made by kids – modern, kitchy, and everywhere inbetween.  To give you an idea of the variety, my three favorites are pictured below.  Enjoy!

For a cute and kitchy vibe, there was this apron quilt done in 1930s fabrics:

For a more modern vibe there was this quilt of saturated reds, pinks, oranges, and purples.  Very cool!

For pieced patchwork, this quilt was it for me.  It’s an X-Block quilt, which I’ve never tried, but the block gets lost with the fantastic quilting!

My AccuQuilt GO! cutter came today!!!  When the doorbell rang I figured it was my daughter home from school, but she came about 2 minutes later…before I could even get it inside.  The girl who can’t carry her socks upstairs had it inside in 2 seconds.  And you’ve never seen a kid more motivated to pick up her room, do her homework, and go to the library than one who knows that the shipping boxes won’t even be opened before we’re done.  She’s taken it over, the GO! and my sewing machine both, so I’ll try it out after she goes to bed tonight.  Here’s a look at the new addition to my quilting room:

(See that arm?  Unless she was at the sewing machine that’s as far away as she got from it.)


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.