Color Stack {a finished quilt}

My Color Stack quilt is back from the quilter and finished in time to enjoy during the fall season.  I am grateful for this quilt.  It captures my love of color and also brings back memories of making it.  The exercise of pulling fabrics to try different combinations, looking for the unexpected pairs, was healthy and freeing for me.  I might make another!

Color Stack Quilt by Hopeful Homemaker

Fall is a celebration of color and this quilt perfectly captures it.  You will find my free tutorial for making your own here.  Additionally, you can download the full-color pattern in my Etsy shop for just a few dollars.  I’m excited to announce that I’ve re-worked the pattern to add a second option for a Baby Color Stack quiltThe instructions for the baby quilt are only in the pattern on Craftsy.  Two patterns for $5.00 is an amazing deal!

Color Stack quilt at

Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting quilted this for me in a succulent clamshell pattern, and the design was larger than I pictured when I dropped it off.  I was delighted to see it finished – I love it more than I expected and the large scale is perfect for this quilt!

succulent clamshell quilting on Color Stack quilt

I couldn’t resist a flannel backing on this quilt.  A bright pink woodgrain won out, making this a particularly soft and cozy quilt.

bright pink woodgrain flannel for quilt back -

Another picture because I just can’t help it.  I mean, look at all that happy color!

Color Stack quilt pattern available at

My decision on binding fabric wasn’t easy.  I had several options I really liked but in the end I selected the black and white because it echoes the skinny black and white strips in the quilt.

black and white binding at

The Color Stack quilt is beautiful and easy to make.  Use pre-cut jelly rolls or push yourself and choose colors of your own.  It’s a great pattern for a last-minute quilt.  Get your pattern today!

Color Stack quilt at

Happy Sewing,

Rin Quilt: A finished quilt top

My Rin quilt top is completed and I am pleased.  These blocks were enjoyable to stitch and went with me as my hand sewing project for many months and to many places, including the beach.  I love how unique this quilt pattern is with it’s simple yet bold design.  I enjoyed mixing the various sizes of scallops and circles in my blocks.

rin quilt top by Hopeful Homemaker

As I’ve noted before, this is a quilt pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.  I have made many of her patterns in the last year or two, including:  Catenary, Collection, Botanics, and Aerial Grove. All of these quilts are applique, so I hand stitched each one until it was time to join the blocks together with my sewing machine.  The Rin quilt was no different.  I enjoyed selecting fabrics from my stash to use in this quilt, including many Carolyn Friedlander prints I had saved.

Rin quilt top by Jennifer Harrison

Sewing concave circles is quite easy for me and I am usually happy with the outcome.  Convex curves are another story.  I struggle more with my applique skills on the convex curves, so this project was both challenging and relaxing at times.  I still have much to learn about needle turn applique!  Carolyn’s pattern writing style is unlike most other patterns I’ve used.  It takes focus to understand the instructions but execution is simple.

Rin Quilt top, stitched by Jennifer Harrison at

I find I spend a lot of time waiting in the car for my children, especially before and after their sports events, and it is nice to have something I enjoy doing while I wait for them.  It also helps me avoid feeling impatient with coaches who never end on time!

Rin quilt blocks, hopeful homemaker

This will be fun to quilt!  I was originally unsure of my plan but I have decided that straight line quilting would look great with this pattern.  I look forward to finishing it on my new Juki TL-2010Q machine which quilts like a dream.


Light: A Traveling Quilt

Allow me to introduce you to my traveling quilt.  I almost can’t believe it’s mine.  I only made a small part of it, and then it spent more than a year traveling among my friends.  Now it’s back and all I can think is that I’d like for you to meet my quilt!

traveling quilt with theme of light

Muriel Rukeyser said, “The world is not made of atoms.  It is made of stories.”  I want to say of this project, “The quilt is not made of fabric.  It is made of stories.”  To truly introduce you to my quilt, I would have to introduce you to my friends. They are remarkable women.  A lot happens in 14 months.  As the seven of us sewed we lived and worked and changed.  Some children started school, some left home.  The blessing of this project is that I now have a piece of these amazing women in a quilt that I will always treasure.

I have a friend – several, actually – that I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for quilting.  It happens to all of us:  an interest leads to a path and to friendships with people we wouldn’t otherwise know.  People we can’t imagine not knowing.  I love that life gives us this gift.  One such friend of mine also happens to love collaborative sewing projects.  With a push from her, a small group of us began a traveling quilt project.

What is a traveling quilt?

A traveling quilt is a quilt project that is passed through a group of quilters, with each member of the group taking a turn to contribute to the project.

We each started 2017 with a quilt block and a theme.  We made our own starting block, gathered a few fabrics and wrote down our theme, and then began 14 months of sewing and passing the growing quilts until all of us had contributed to each person’s quilt top.

Facing East blocks, pattern by Carolyn Friedlander, used as start for improv traveling quilt about light

My theme was light.  My starting block was two blocks from Carolyn Friedlander’s Facing East pattern, found in her book Savor Each Stitch.  I added a floral border to my blocks, put it in a bag with a stack of fabric I loved, and wrote this:

“I am thinking about light; all the effects of light, of contrasts between light and dark, of what grows with light, of the colors of sunrise and sunset.  Consider the light of happiness and the act of seeking light.  For this project, explore light.”

Then I sent it off to travel from one sewing table to another.

lone star added to corner of improv quilt

How did the quilt grow?

I received the finished quilt top this year and I’m in awe of the beautiful work my friends did to capture their thoughts about light.

JoyLyn chose to focus on the lyrics to a hymn, “Oh how lovely was the morning, radiant beamed the sun above… bees humming, sweet birds singing…”   She added songbirds and a beautiful lone star in the corner.

look up text added to traveling quilt about light

Anna added words:  LOOK UP.  A reminder to look up to the source of all light.  The heart represents the love God has for all of us, and a row of flying geese point the way up.

light house made from strips of fabric for traveling quilt about light

Kristin added a light house with lines, a reminder that we learn and grow a little at a time, line up on line.  And the light house to honor the special times my family has at the beach.

eclipse blocks made for quilt about light

Pam added a beautiful New York beauty block plus a strip of  low volume snowball blocks that remind me of both the phases of the moon and the awe-inspiring solar eclipse of 2017.

new york beauty block

Jennifer added half circle applique blocks, a continuation of the eclipse and moon themes.  They also remind me of the crescent-shaped shadows during the eclipse, which I loved.

half moon applique shapes on quilt about light

Jill had the quilt during winter months when she craved more light.  She found herself pondering the creation of the earth, and added this large section at the bottom that moves from darkness up into light.

darkness rising to light, bottom of "light" traveling quilt at

We all decided to trust each other at the outset.  We let go of the final outcome and believed our friends would do something beautiful.   My quilt evolved in ways I would never have thought of.

look up, traveling quilt about light at

I couldn’t be happier with it.  I look at it, and I see the light of friendship.  A reminder to look up!

improv quilt with theme of light

I see my friends, each of us in various stages of unique lives.  It is a gift to have a lovely quilt top to remind me of them.

improv quilt with theme of light

How to start your own:

If you have a group of sewing friends and you’ve never made a traveling quilt, do it!  You will push yourself, improve friendships, and end up with a quilt that reminds you of them.

Choose a group of quilters you know and invite them to participate.  Make sure everyone is committed to seeing the project through to completion, and let everyone be honest about their time constraints or real-life burdens.  Decide when you will start, and decide how much time will be allowed for each rotation.  In our group, we had two months to finish.  Decide how you will trade the quilts.  For my group, we met together for a sewing night and did it then.

This project takes a lot of trust, and it also requires grace.  There were months when things didn’t go as planned and someone fell behind.  In our group, the friendship mattered more than the project, so we were patient with each other and everyone caught up.  We also decided in advance that we were open to whatever the group members did.  If we had strong feelings about a few things, we wrote them down to be passed along with the project.

In all, I loved the experience and I would happily do it again – even with the same people.  It is exciting to see the directions a project takes when you put it in someone else’s hands to add to it in their way.

"light" a traveling quilt at

And there you have it, “Light,” my traveling quilt.  Wherever you are, whatever circumstances you are in, remember to look up.  There is light and goodness and happiness ahead.  You are going to make it!

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