Trinkets from the Beach Quilt

I want to share a quilting moment I’m thankful for this year:  my Trinkets from the Beach quilt visited the ocean.  Just typing that makes my heart clench a little in my chest.  

Each block in my Trinkets from the Beach Quilt represents a specific memory, image, or tradition from our annual visits to Newport Beach, CA.   My grandpa bought a beach house there when my mom was a little girl, long before Newport Beach was a popular destination.  My mom played at this beach, and then my parents took me and my siblings there, and now my children have been there every summer of their lives.

I’m so grateful we were able to go again this year, in spite of everything.  The house, the sand, the egret I love to watch in the mornings, were all more dear because of this strange year.

As for the quilt, I turned the paper pieced blocks into economy blocks, and arranged the fabrics in diagonal rows.  I only made one of each block and I enlarged the pattern.  The economy block setting allowed me to make a larger quilt without duplicate blocks.  I also wanted to emphasize the blue.

I quilted along the seam lines on my machine, and added big stitch quilting in each trinket block.

These Tula Pink Zuma fabrics make my stomach hurt, they’re so pretty.  Just like the beach.  I couldn’t choose just one, so I made a scrappy binding and it’s perfect.

For the backing I used a Moda bouy print, combined with solids and a Rifle Co stripe. I like the mix.


My grandpa lived in this house for many years.  It’s precious to me, a place I will never tire of.  Taking photos of my quilts in front of it give me hope that someday, when the house isn’t ours anymore, the quilts will help with the ache.  I hope they will keep Grandpa close like the house has.

Taking this pattern, making it in this way, trying to sew my memories, was a creative exercise I loved.  I’m trying to do more storytelling, to put more of ME into my quilts.  It’s exciting to try.

This place has my heart.  And I hope my kids will treasure this quilt.

Improv Log Cabin Quilt

This Improv Log Cabin Quilt has endured a long, slow journey to completion.  Several years ago I went to a Ralli Quilt exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art with my sister.  To say we were moved and inspired by the exhibit is an understatement.  We decided to each make an improv log cabin quilt, inspired by the work of those amazing women. 

The projects began at Quilt Bliss, a quilting retreat we attended together, where we each made a quilt top.  We shared fabrics and advice with each other as we sewed.  Then, still inspired by the exhibit, I decided to hand quilt mine.  I also wanted to return to the neon matchstick quilting of my Modern Maples Quilt, so I decided to do a mixture of the two.

And the momentum died there.  I did a little matchstick quilting to serve as both basting and as guides for the long rows of straight stitching.  But it was so much work to pull the thread through the length of the quilt!  I made very little, and very slow progress.  Before long it was a project that I picked up for an hour or two, only once every year or two.  It was definitely stalled.

Enter the Alison Glass 2020 Stitch Club.  I decided to join, and the June project was all about the running stitch.  In it, Alison taught how to quilt those long rows with one strand of thread.  It was illuminating and motivating!  I got to work, and in a few weeks time, finished all the quilting I hadn’t done over the past 5 years.  

I’m really happy to have this Improv Log Cabin Quilt finished.  The combination of modern and vintage fabrics still feels fresh to me.  I LOVE the texture and color of the quilting!  This one will live in my bedroom so I can enjoy it every day.  

Also, I’m kind of obsessed with log cabin quilts right now.  I want to finish up some projects and start one or two more with this block.  It’s like comfort food, but sewing, you know?  And comfort is something we can all use this year!

20 in 20: May-July Report

Well, the world has sure changed in the past several months, and my 20 in 20 project has evolved along with it.  When I posted my last report in April, finding time to sew was a struggle.  Who could have predicted all this?  With so much social unrest in the US at the end of May, I decided not to post my monthly report.  (And then I may have accidentally abandoned posting at all for a while!)  Gratefully, however, I’ve kept with my resolution to sew for at least 20 minutes every day in 2020.

My 20 in 20 quilt is now more than half sewn, with rows for almost seven full months attached.  It’s colorful and happy and I’m SO GLAD I decided to make a quilt to track progress.

Sewing has continued to be a wrestle for me; either I can’t settle on what to sew when I have time, or inspiration strikes and I can’t get to my machine.  Family demands have shifted and I’m still adjusting.  Gratefully I can usually do some hand sewing, and frequently it’s an applique project that allows me to get 20 minutes in.

I settled on a solution for marking days.  Writing the event/memory in pencil, then stitching over it with two strands of black embroidery floss is working well.  The highs and lows are now marked for me to remember.  It’s becoming more of a journal, but it feels appropriate.  

It’s been months since we’ve had a reliable schedule at our house.  So many things changing all the time leaves me with little time for sewing.  But as I suspected, 20 minutes does add up.  It also seems to be enough to keep me from dropping the habit entirely.  I’m excited to see how August goes, and what sort of schedule we come up with as school starts again.  It should be interesting!

Keep sewing!


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