Author Archives: jennifer

Ice Cream Soda Quilt Blocks 1-10

I shared my first ever English Paper Piecing (EPP) blocks earlier this year, and now there are ten of them.  The block, designed by Jodi of Tales of Cloth, is called Ice Cream Soda and it’s been a great learner project for me.

I continue to use this project to practice fussy-cutting, both by showcasing certain images and also by using the fabric to create repeat designs as the sections are sewn together.  This is not a natural thing for me (it makes me cringe a little that fabric is wasted) but I do feel that with practice I am getting better at seeing new ways to use prints.

I am also trying to pull out favorite prints and include them.  I did this with a particular print that is out of print and precious to me.  I was so proud of myself for cutting into it and now I can’t find those block pieces anywhere!  I remember doing it and have searched high and low but cannot find them.  They were with the rest of the blocks I cut out at the same time and how one of them went missing is beyond me.  I really hope it turns up somewhere!  Such a bummer.

When I last posted about this project I had tried two different methods of sewing the pieces together.  I liked the way the flat back stitched pieces looked (because I couldn’t see any stitches) but I just couldn’t seem to hold them together firmly enough and my points were off.  It was also slower.  So I have gone back to the method of holding right sides together and carefully stitching along the edges.  The stitches are more visible but I am a little quicker.  On this project I believe the title “slowest sewist” is appropriate.  The schedule for the stitch along says I should have most of my blocks done by now, but I just finished the first month’s blocks.  Lots of slow catching up lies ahead, and that’s ok.  I am making these blocks to improve my skills in preparation for making a La Passacaglia quilt.

When I put the blocks together like this I feel excited, like maybe I”ll actually have an ice cream soda quilt top that I like when I’m caught up on all this stitching!  At this point I have no plan regarding color other than to use lots of it.  I figure I have plenty of time and blocks to go and I’ll be able to adjust as necessary along the way.

Rin Quilt: A beginning

Surprise, surprise!  Another Carolyn Friedlander quilt is underway.  This is her Rin Quilt pattern, and when a “Rin Along” quilt along began for this pattern back in May, I joined in.

I took the first two blocks with me on vacation over the summer and managed to finish both of them.  It made me really happy to tape them to the front door of my Grandpa’s beach house before we left.  That little house holds so much love, so many precious memories!

My version of the quilt will loosely follow the color scheme of Carolyn’s quilt, but my rule for myself is to pull all fabrics from stash.  This proved to be a little more difficult than I anticipated because generally the largest fabric cut I buy is a half yard, and the background squares in this quilt are 20 inches square.

I do love all shades of blue, so choosing fabrics for the applique pieces was fun.  The hand sewing for each block definitely takes time but I find it enjoyable.

My circles aren’t perfect and there are mistakes in the curves, but I’m hoping that once all nine blocks are finished I’ll be happy with the final product.  That’s part of the fun, right?  Handmade is perfectly imperfect (or so I’m telling myself).

I recently finished block three, as well.  One tricky thing about this Rin quilt pattern is how to fold both the background and the applique pieces so you can cut and have your sections form a circle.  If I could change one thing about the pattern, I’d ask for more clarity in this step.  On the third block I felt like I didn’t do well with the folding, ironing and cutting so I ended up making a second version.  The second attempt will do.

One thing is certain:  these blocks pack a lot of impact for something so simple.  The contrast between the low volume backgrounds and the blues is striking and makes me happy.

Currently I have these three rin quilt blocks finished, three more cut and basted, and the last three ironed and waiting for me to cut and baste the applique pieces.  I believe this is the 6th pattern by Carolyn Friedlander that I’ve started this year, and I still have several more I want to make.  I really love her work!  I also love applique, and that has been a fun discovery to make.

Jennifer

Seashell Banner

This seashell banner is a new slow sewing project.  For years I’ve been finding shells at the beach, and ones with tiny holes in them have always caught my eye.  I remember collecting them as a young girl, hoping to make necklaces with them.  The problem is, I’ve never done anything with them – until now.

Two summers ago I made a linen banner and sewed a row of shells to it.  I added a few more rows this year.  The broken shell at the top reminds me there’s beauty in broken things, that God loves and heals us and brings joy.

So far there’s no plan for the layout of shells; I’m adding them as I go and not worrying about anything else.  Just enjoying the beauty of each one as I spend a few minutes stitching it to the banner.

I find myself enjoying the simplicity of this project:  the natural colors, the contrast of supple linen against the cool solid of the shells.  Our annual trips to the sea are incredibly rejuvenating for our family and it makes me happy to create something simple to celebrate that.  I am a visual learner and I find that visual reminders are important for me to stay focused on what matters.  Much of the decor in my home is here not only because I like it aesthetically, but because it reminds me of something I desire to remember.

Soon more rows will be added and I’m eager to see how it looks.  One thing is certain:  I have more shells than will fit on one seashell banner.  Perhaps I’ll make another, smaller version for a mini seashell banner.  What else should I do with them, I wonder?

Do you make special things with vacation souvenirs?  How do you use them to preserve memories?  I’d love to hear!

Jennifer

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