Category Archives: Quilting and Sewing

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.


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!


Coastal Quilt

I saved my Coastal Quilt for our beach trip so I could photograph it in the setting that inspired it.  My husband, who uses a drone to film his mountain biking, thought it would be fun to lay the quilt on the jetty and fly the drone over, so here’s a quick video of a coastal quilt in it’s natural habitat!

Now for some photos!

When I decided to make a quilt that reminded me of the beach I pulled fabrics largely from two collections:  Sharon Holland’s Coastline collection, and a collection by Lewis & Irene for Makower called Coastal.  Both of these collections have some prints that I just love and I enjoyed putting them together with a few other prints from my stash.

I started making half square triangles and soon a layout materialized, one that makes me feel like I’m looking out to sea.  I keep thinking there’s probably a name for this layout, but the closest I’ve seen is the ocean waves design which uses more rows of small half square triangles between blocks.  Perhaps this is a variation on it?  (If you know, help me out and tell!)

Setting everything on point was fun and the Joel Dewberry print – from his Atrium collection – turned out to be the perfect background.  It continues the geometric design of the quilt without competing with the center design, and I really didn’t want so much negative space in just a solid.  When I pulled out the fabric my heart said YES!

I pieced the backing from fabrics in my stash, which always makes me happy.  Those little beach huts make me smile.  I’ve saved them for a long time and am glad to have included them in this project.

I quilted it very simply and used my favorite Lewis & Irene wavy print for the binding.  I think I bought that fabric three or four times while there was a bolt at my local quilt shop!

These pictures make me ache to go back to the beach!  I love how perfectly matched it is to it’s surroundings, which is precisely why I made a coastal quilt.  A little reminder of my favorite place to curl up in on days when I’m trying to remember.

I have a few scraps and a few more beachy prints I didn’t use in this quilt, and I’m thinking it would be fun to make another coastal-inspired quilt to take with me next summer….

For now, I’m enjoying this one as the days get cooler at home.

Have a great day!


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