Category Archives: Uncategorized

Whole Lotta Tote Bag Tutorial

I made this fun and huge bag using Lotta fabric. Yes, it fits 6 rolls of paper towels. I love this size bag, I’ve made a few more since. You can never have a tote bag too big. I want a tote bag you can fit a whole car in! We use this one all the time!

Whole Lotta Tote Bag Tutorial
Whole Lotta Bag instructions

I took about a million pictures of this bag. Including one showcasing all the paper towels that fit inside! Enjoy the show below!

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Converging Corners Rainbow Quilt

Converging Corners Rainbow Quilt
Occasionally my guild, the Columbus Modern Quilt Guild – has a block lottery where we all make a block (or two) and each block you bring gives you an entry – a name is pulled and voila! The winner gets a quilt! Our February block was the Converging Corners pattern by Film in the Fridge – I definitely recommend this block as a great option for group quilts.

I was pretty excited to win this beautiful rainbow of block at our February meeting! I decided to make 15 more blocks to make a 5×6 layout. I also made up a border to add a few inches. It’s just under a twin size now. I don’t love quilting huge quilts, but I love having them when they’re done! As soon as I was done with this one, I wished I’d done two more rows to make it 6×7. Future me is always wishing past me had worked just a little harder…

I’m entering this quilt in the rainbow category of the Bloggers Quilt Festival, which is a great excuse every spring and fall to spend hours admiring quilts if such things interest you – you are also welcome to vote for my quilt starting May 24th!

I quilted it using an allover feather pattern – lordy it took so much thread! Most of a spool. I also went through several needles, since the scrappy piecing plus the scrappy flannel on the back was a lot to sew through.

This is my second time quilting with feathers, and I kind of wish the feathers showed up better, but it’s probably for the best they are subtle. I used a pale yellow thread.

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Circus Swirl Block Tutorial

I’ve been playing with blocks made using the hypnotic random 9-patch block generator and saw the block below. I decided to make it! The bold colors I chose and the erratic dancing shapes it makes when pieced together reminded me of something one might see at the circus, hence the name.

Update – here are what some of the blocks look like together.
Simply Solids Bee blocks trickling in...I made 3 of them.

Note: I found it a little tricky to get the points to go the right way. I suggest you lay it all out before sewing it together. Unless you love your seam ripper or are impervious to mistakes.

Circus Swirl Block Tutorial

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Ohio Explosion Quilt Returns

Sorry to show this quilt again – but I am entering it the Bloggers Quilt Festival – into the applique category. The previous post is here. All the applique quilts in this festival are really different, which is neat to me! There are fun prizes, you should go vote for your favorite quilts! I also entered into the baby quilt category – another applique quilt.

Ohio State Map Quilt

 

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Cherry Blossoms and Other Berries

Kind of cheesy but I think that's ok. There's something endearingly tacky and overwrought about cherry blossoms in real life too.

I’m not sure exactly why I love cherry blossoms, since they are responsible for a terrible, horrible, no good sinus infection I got once while coordinating an event in DC. Luckily I had a good team that took over when I went down. Cherry blossoms 1; Dana 0.

These flowers are cheesy, but I like them. I keep wanting to think of ways to class them up, but maybe they are fine sweet and simple.

Goumi verdict: they are better the older they get.  They grow easy, fix nitrogen, and enough berries on one first year bush for a batch of jelly and a few bowls of cereal.

And in the realm of berries that don’t try to kill me, I got a goumi bush last fall, which apparently is invasive in much of the US! Very frustrating to learn that, but the berries were good and it produced a lot for the first year. They are astringent till the berries sit for a week and suddenly they are very tasty. And pretty silvery leaves, you can see. I made a few jars of jellies with them. I had hoped they would capture more of the sweet tart flavor but they kind of just taste like sugar.

I have been using Pomona’s Pectin to make Jellies recently and am very happy with it! You need wayyyyyy less sugar or even no sugar! I like Pomona’s Pectin because (I love lists!):

1. it’s cheaper – sugar gets expensive when the fruit is free! (and when you buy the organic sugar), and the pectin is about the same price, so that’s not much different.
2. It’s healthier – seriously, some recipes are over half sugar!
3. It preserves the fruit flavor better and
4. It sets more reliably.

In fact, I used pomona’s to make this Rose-Strawberry beauty too! I took roses and soaked them to make a rosewater and made some straight rose jelly as well as some rose-strawberry jam. Sorry for the terrible photography but you can see how rich the color is! I love preserving flowers and berries in this way. Spring time is over so quickly; you just want to capture all the smells and flavors in a jar. Luckily you can! (there’s a pun there!)

Strawberry rose jam aka #rose #berry

 

The strawberries are pretty much done for the year. Time for raspberries! I need to go mulberry picking too! It’s almost too late for that here, but I’ll be disappointed if I don’t try, since I do love them, especially a mulberry white wine sorbet!#raspberry are my favorite

 

Purple Crop Circles

Purple Crop Circles

And here just under the wire, I decided to spend the evening finishing up this long-standing work in progress and tuck it into The Festival of Strings. It’s another scrap quilt from the flurry of purple and gray wedding quilts I did last fall. I’d like to thank Project Runway and Call the Midwife, the two television shows that helped make this happen.
Purple Crop Circles
I pieced these squares together months ago, and apparently I threw in some scrap velvet which was a sweet surprise! I am loving different types of fabric. I think I am going to have to make a string quilt with satins, velvets, courdouroy and some cotton. Maybe a fabric foundation could help stabilize all the crazy?  I have a bunch of old vintage fabrics to dig into for it.

I have been loving the idea of quilts that look like fields from a plane. I think this one really captures it – especially out west where the fields are round!Purple Crop CirclesPurple Crop Circles

The quilted grids and geometric quilting hopefully bring that feeling out.

I don’t have a great picture of the back. I used the bird print from Tula Pink’s Bird and the Bees. It’s a pretty boring way to use the print. Purple Crop Circles

And in this picture you can see how much I need a lint roller! I am just sick to death of threads everywhere. But not thread, you know, just the scrap thread. I still love a beautiful spool of thread. For the record I did the chunky corner of variegated thread on purpose. I wanted it to look kind of weird. It worked!
Purple Crop Circles

 

Linen Diamonds

Linen Diamonds

Linen Diamonds

I’m happy as 10,000 clams with this quilt. I used Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed linen for the frame and ends and it is soooo pretty and the texture is so dreamy. And I used more of my shiny organic sheets for the back, which again, dreamy texture.

I’ve had this one and been making an odd block here and there for a while but got my rear in gear to finish it for the Festival of Strings – which you should check out!

I love string quilts and got extra inspired by the string quilts featured in this episode of Craft in America which featured Mississippi Cultural Crossroads quilting. Linen Diamonds

Linen DiamondsI wanted spiral quilting and had originally thought I would do one big spiral, but after I filled in one of the diamonds with one circle, I loved that! So I did a bunch of circles in the many diamonds.

I used two shades of yellow thread and the gold rayon here is just glowing in the sun. I hate hand embroidery with Rayon, but it worked really nicely in the machine.

I used an old sheet as the base for the strip piecing. I hate tearing out paper and I like the stability and texture of the fabric layered on top of the fabric.

It’s all scraps from the million recent shades of beige quilts I’ve done recently, plus random color scraps that are in my scrap bin. The new fabric is the linen mentioned above and the backing.

It’s always a puzzle in the quilting where to stop and start the overlapping echoes. This is the third quilt I’ve done in a similar style and I think it’s much more natural this time. It’s not as obvious where the circles meet, your eyes are drawn to it was badly in previous attempts.

Linen Diamonds

Linen Diamonds

Depending on the light I do and don’t like the frame – I really wish it was maybe an inch thinner? It’s so severe, but maybe severe is ok. Linen Diamonds

Simple Solids Bee Blocks

Simple Solids Bee Blocks

 

For those who may not be aware, a quilting bee is basically when some folks get together to work on a quilt together. Many hands make light work, as they say.

It’s a pretty simple and timeless idea to combine work with socializing – and this is the on-line version – each month someone picks a block and 12 people make that block. On the month it’s your turn, you get 12 blocks!

Simple Solids Bee Blocks - Falu - Feb

 

I have never actually been in an online quilting bee – but I have done on-line swaps. So I made an extra of each of my blocks for February and March because I know how likely it is for someone to have an emergency and not be able to make their block. It only takes and extra minute once you’re in the mode.

 

Simple Solids Bee Blocks

 

Plus both Feb and March chose fun improv blocks. Sometimes I hear from folks that improv is easier than traditional piecing because you don’t have to match points, etc. but I tore out seams in these way more than I generally do with standard piecing.

Simple Solids Bee Blocks - Falu March

I swear this are actually square – I think it’s the camera angle. I made them 13×13 so that the recipients could square them down to 12.5×12.5 just in case.

 

Quilting against slavery

I’m visitng DC for a conference and always try and hit a few museums…at the American History Smithsonian they have a few snippets of how quilts were used to spread anti-slavery sentiments. I love it, and it makes me want to think on more ways to intregrate my sewing and activism…

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Like this crossstitched pun – for an anti slavery craft fundraiser…and this amazing quote.  I am loving these radical history of crafts, something fun to explore for the modern craft movement…

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And this hard hitting poem about remembering that women are have their babies stolen from them as you cuddle your own. Heavy stuff.