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My Millefiori

You can probably tell that I like to dabble in all things quilty.  Last summer, I decided that I wanted to conquer English Paper Piecing.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that EPP is extremely addictive because you can take it anywhere…it’s easy to do on the couch while watching tv, great for road trips (when you aren’t driving), and can also be done at social gatherings.  

When people hear “EPP” or English paper piecing, many probably envision little hexagons, endearingly called “hexies” pieced together with traditional or reproduction fabrics that may end up looking a little dated.  I’m not crazy about that look, but I LOVE Willyne Hammerstein’s book Millefiori Quilts.  (And now there’s a second book to follow the first.)  In the first book, one quilt pattern in particular caught my eye–the “La Passacaglia”.  It combines pentagons, triangles, diamonds, and other shapes to create a myriad of rosettes that are breathtaking.  I will say there is a slight drawback if you are using the practice of fussy-cutting (positioning your templates on specific motifs on the fabric to create another design), and that is using fabric yardage inefficiently.  But you’ll be making scraps for other projects as you go, so really, it’s a win-win!  

Here are a couple of pictures of some of my completed rosettes.

These all show really great examples of using fussy-cutting with your epp. I really can’t wait 
to finally finish my quilt top.  I have all the pieces sewn together for the standard design by Hammerstein, but didn’t like the fact that I would be chopping several rosettes in half to square up the top.  So I opted to fill in the rest of the quilt to be even with the rosettes that stick out…the quilt top is really pretty small when you consider how much time and cutting goes into it.  

I laid out my quilt top on a piece of foam board and pinned it so it wouldn’t shift, then used the paper pieces to fill in around the edges.  I probably should really look into documenting the layout better than I did, but for now I just have some pictures on my phone.  I’ll share those with you once I have completed and know the layout works, so if you want to do the same thing you can!  

I started this project in December 2014 and finished Hammerstein’s layout in September 2015.  I’m not sure when I’ll finish the fill-in part, but hopefully it’s soon, because I am dying to quilt this thing!  

If you’re looking for other pictures of some really awesome La Passacaglia quilts, you should check out the following Instagram users: @kamiemurdock, @lilabellelane, @izy_sewbusy to name just a few.  You can also search the hashtag #lapassacaglia for some really inspiring pictures! 


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Mini Quilt Swaps

Mini quilt swaps are becoming all the rage!  You can find them everywhere, from private blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and even quilt guilds are becoming involved.  If you aren’t familiar with what a mini-quilt swap is–it’s usually created by one person, and then other people sign up to help moderate.  Partners are assigned, sometimes based on similar likes and interests.  You are given a deadline, and after you sign up, you are asked to create something awesome for your swap partner.  It’s on a small scale, normally the quilt sizes are limited to under 24″, so there is plenty of time for creativity and finishing.  

I “borrowed” this photo collage from The Houston Modern Quilt Guild Blog at houstonmodernquiltguild.blogspot.com and it shows some great examples of some minis:



Some of the more popular swaps are the #schnitzelandboo mini quilt swap (@schnitzelandboo), the #igminiswap and countless other swaps that include other items besides mini quilts.  Many of them have themes that you are supposed to stay within.  For example, The Strawberry swap has a strawberry theme, $itchesgetstiches (expletive) moderated by (@weenchaweena) has a swearing theme, and countless others are themed after seasons, holidays, etc.  

Typically, these swaps have rules and guidelines you are supposed to follow, and the intention is to make connections with other sewists across the globe.  

These swaps are so much fun to participate in, that I felt the need to do a blog post on them.  Many people don’t know where to start, but they are really simple to get involved in, and probably the most difficult part is meeting the deadline before the sign up closes!  Many swaps have limits for how many people can sign up, as they are usually free to participate in, and overseen by a Regular Jo with a real job.  

Here are some pointers I personally have for you if you plan on participating in a swap:  
1.  Plan ahead.  Have some ideas you can easily use and alter to fit your partner’s likes.
2.  “Stalk” your partner’s social media accounts to find out what they like.  This is really a lot of fun, and you can easily uncover favorite colors, patterns, and other fun things about your partner’s interests.
3.  DON’T BACK OUT!  Someone is looking forward to your handmade gift.  If you can’t commit to the swap, don’t sign up!  How disappointed would you be if you took the time to make an awesome mini for someone, and then received nothing in return?  
4.  Once you have your partner assignment, get your fabric and pattern early, and get to work!  Have your mini done way before the deadline so you don’t have to sweat not making the ship date.
5.  Put your personal touches into the gift.  Don’t forget a quilt label!  You want your partner to know where the quilt came from, who made it, and when.
6.  HAVE FUN!  These swaps are intended to be fun, so HAVE FUN!

I absolutely love making things for other people, and it makes it so much more fun when you don’t know them.  It’s awesome to have the challenge of making something for someone else by trying to find out what they’re interested in.  

The first swap I participated in was the Sewing Loft Blog Mini Quilt Swap.  Here’s what I made for my partner:


The pattern I chose was @Sewwhatsherlock ‘s Spiderwebs paper piecing pattern, which is available on her blog for FREE.  It’s an awesome pattern, and she really does a great job with all of her paper piecing patterns.  All of the fabric is Cotton + Steel.  I made this at one of our guild’s sewing retreats in Kerrville, Texas at Creations.  SO much fun!

The second swap I sign up for was the #IGMiniSwap moderated by @curly_boy1 and several other swap participants that signed up to help.  We haven’t reached the ship date for this one yet, but here’s what I made for my partner:

I’m not sure what the blueish smear is on the picture…it isn’t on the fabric!  All I can say is I’m definitely not a professional photographer 😉  The pattern I chose for this was “Swoon” by ThimbleBlossoms.

For my third swap, I wanted to offer a swap within our guild, The San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up “signing up” for this swap since I was doing partner assignments.  I didn’t want to know who would have me…so I opted to just oversee.  I can’t wait to see what all of the extremely talented guild members come up with.   You can see what they’re working on by checking the Instagram hashtag #samqgultimateswap .  

@weenchaweena has just offered a x-rated sort of swap, if you will.  It’s called $itchesgetstitches (expletive), and I also signed up for this.  I haven’t gotten my partner yet, but the  swear words/puns should be lots of fun.  This swap is probably not for everyone, but I have a fondness for “Debra” in the sitcom “Dexter”, and enjoy her needless use for random cursewords and how she strings them together.  I also have a different kind of humor, and enjoy seeing silly things like “poop” free-motion quilted into make up bags.  Like I said…not for everyone.

I’m currently waiting for @schnitzelandboo to offer a new swap sign up, and can’t wait to hopefully participate in it!

I’m not endorsing any of these swaps, just sharing my love of participating in them!
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A&M T-Shirt Quilt

It’s been a while since my last post!  I have been a busy bee trying to get lots of projects done in time for my first market days (like a trade show/craft fair).  I finished my sample t-shirt quilt that I’m planning on displaying.  I don’t have much time today, but just wanted to put some pictures up of the finished quilt…I’m reallly glad I get to keep this one 🙂

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Texas Tech Quilt

This is a quilt I recently made for my brother, who is a Tech Alumni.  Hopefully he doesn’t look at this blog ;).  It’s a little bit difficult to see in the photos, but I used red and silver thread to quilt the double T logo on alternating squares.  The other squares are filled in with the TT gun.  The border detail is random quilting in red. 

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Baby’s first birthday quilt

My cousin Holly recently requested a quilt for her niece, who will be celebrating her first birthday in just a few days.  I updated my labels (that I do myself) and was pretty pleased with the result.  I also took my first shot at applique…it still needs some work, but hopefully practice makes perfect!

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Simple patch baby quilt

This is a baby shower gift I am working on right now.  The parents are waiting until the baby’s birthday to discover the gender, so they had chosen bedding from Crate and Barrel’s The Land of Nod.  It is bedding with dark grays and yellows, so the quilt colors reflect that. 

Before border was sewn on

With border (border coordinates with back)

Just before quilting…more pictures to follow!