Category Archives: Quilting and Sewing

Refuge Quilt Top from HOME Quilt Block

HOME.  What has it meant to you over the past year?  Does it mean more than it did before?  It does to me.  As I considered what I wanted to say in a house quilt, especially a house quilt made in the pandemic, an image came to mind.  I pictured a house, bright with light, and dark clouds pressing in on it.  Things like howling wind came to mind, and I pictured the house straining under the pressure of the storm.  But then the image zoomed in, and I saw my husband and myself working together to support it, both to keep it standing and to keep it bright in spite of the darkness outside.  In that moment, my vision for this quilt was born, and using this fun house/log cabin quilt block is perfect.  So today I present my Refuge Quilt top, made with my Home Quilt block pattern.

This Refuge quilt top is smaller than I usually make, because I plan to hang it in our home.  I used 25 of the 10″ HOME blocks for a 5×5 grid.  It finishes at 50″ square.  All the roofs are black, and the background pieces come from about 15 different gray solids, ranging from almost white to almost black, and with green, brown, yellow, and blue undertones to them. 

All these solids captured what I wanted to say about the world in the past year.  There have certainly been bright moments, but also an abundance of challenges.  Keeping the storms and the darkness out is hard, but essential work.  I have titled this quilt “Refuge” because that is what home is for me and my family.  My husband and I work hard to create a place of security and safety for our children.  It’s the best, most meaningful work we do.  I am grateful to do it with him, and we lean heavily on God for help.

I made the houses from solids and prints that (mostly) read as solids, with a light and dark in each house to emphasize the log cabin design.  The bright colors provide a happy contrast to the storm outside, and each one is different – just like every family is different.  I chose to make homes in two different sizes, and alternated them in my layout.

My refuge quilt top describes, in fabric, the strain and beauty of keeping home strong.  It reminds me to be consistent in my efforts, even when it feels like an exercise in endurance, because HOME MATTERS.  Family matters.  May you be blessed in all you do to strengthen yours, and may your home be a refuge from the storm, a place of security and peace.

HOME Quilt Block – a paper pieced pattern

I watched a lot of quilters make house-themed quilts in 2020.  It made sense!  Most of us now spend far more time at home than we once did.  I wanted to make one but didn’t see a pattern I was drawn to.  Then, in October, I suddenly remembered the quilt block I’d drawn up with my sister a couple of years ago, and it was exactly what I wanted.  Meet our HOME quilt block, available now in my Etsy shop

This foundation paper pieced pattern comes in three sizes:  4″, 6″, and 10″ (finished).  It’s a house, made log cabin style – which I LOVE, because log cabin blocks are like comfort food, but sewing.  And we need all the comfort we can get right now, it seems! 

The roof of the house makes the top corners reminiscent of pineapple blocks, as well. I guess you can say that the HOME quilt block combines three different blocks into one:  house, log cabin, and pineapple.  It’s a lot of fun.  Especially that tiny 4 inch one.

I imagine countless ways to sew these blocks, including making different sized houses, depending on where you choose to switch to background fabrics as you sew.  The first project I made was this mini quilt, made with nine of the 6″ blocks.

These blocks make a striking stand-alone project. They would also be fun in a row quilt, or a medallion quilt, or even dropped into a patchwork quilt.  I think the 4 inch blocks would make a fun set of coasters as a gift.

A quick note about my HOME quilt block:  this is a paper piecing pattern that assumes basic knowledge of foundation paper piecing, and also does not include instructions for a complete quilt.  It’s just a block, in three different sizes, ready for you to use in whatever way you’d like.  You need a printer to make the block.  If you don’t have one you can email the file to a local printer for them to print for you.   

And can I make a plug here for two amazing products I wouldn’t paper piece without?  First up, the fabulous Add-A-Quarter rulers, which come in two sizes.  I have both and use them all the time.  They have a nifty 1/4″ lip that sits right over the seam and folded paper for a perfect 1/4″ trim every time!  I highly recommend them. 

Secondly, I discovered the Clover Finger Presser after I made most of my blocks, and I’ll never paper piece without it again.  I was using a seam roller, which never left the fabric flat.  Mine also started leaking oil on my fabrics.  How does that happen?  No idea, but it did.  The finger presser leaves my fabric flat with less effort, which also leads to better accuracy!  It’s small, inexpensive, and my new favorite tool.  I will add, it seems to be made for a right handed person, but I’m a lefty and it is working great for me!

The HOME quilt block is for sale now in my Etsy shop, and I can’t wait to see what you make with it!  I’ll be back tomorrow, because I have a quilt top of homes to share.

 

My Grateful Melody Quilt Top

A few stitches here, and a block or two there…and 43 blocks have become 120.  My Grateful Melody quilt top is complete!  This project was wonderful:  a design and skill challenge, combined with personal memories in a quilt.

The Naive Melody sew along, hosted by Lucy Engels, is complete.  I’m happy to have finished my quilt top on schedule – something I often struggle to do.  

This project evolved as the weeks passed.  I started with a limited color palette, but added more as the mood struck and I used what I’d already cut.  Eventually I found myself with more than 15 fabrics as background, and even more variety in applique pieces.  Such fun!  

I added two shapes of my own to these blocks:  a tear drop, and a house.  I needed them there, for many reasons.  The obvious reasons are common to most of us over the past 11 months, but there were also deeply personal reasons for me and my family.  Isn’t it interesting how closely gratitude often sits to sadness and loss, and how tears often mingle with joy?  

My grateful melody quilt top tells the story of some treasured blessings.  It also holds some sadness I struggle to explain.  How grateful I am to have felt these feelings – to be alive and feeling enough to care so deeply!  In all, it’s a happy quilt.  Happy in color, in design and in making.  I cannot imagine ever being done exploring these possibilities!

This project tempts me to choose and begin my own 100 day project and see where it leads.  That is one creative challenge I’ve never done.  

For now, I’ve got commitments and unfinished projects enough to keep me busy for months!  Additionally, since this is my second quilt top finished in 2021, I’d better get quilting!

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