Archive for the ‘do good stitches’ Category

Framed Cabins Quilt Top

This month I’ve been working on assembling another quilt top for Do Good Stitches, the charity bee I’m a part of. I wrote up these instructions for my bee-mates, and I thought I’d share.

These blocks are a variation on a log cabin, and the blocks are constructed so that each “round” of the block extends to create a frame of sorts for the inner rounds of the block.

framed cabin block

The blocks are made in an improvisational manner and are squared up when complete.

The blocks are made up of a combination of low volume/neutral fabrics and saturated, colorful fabrics. I recommend using colors that pop! It makes the “frames” really stand out against the neutral background.


How to make the blocks:

To start, I grabbed my bag of strings, and sorted into 2 piles: my saturated, bright colors, and my low volume/neutrals. I think these look best when using strips that are about 2 inches wide or less.

Next, match up one saturated strip with one neutral strip that are approximately the same length, and stitch them together along the long edge. I did this for a bunch of strips at once by chain piecing them. One they’re stitched together, press the seams. These will be all of the “logs” that make up the cabin.

To begin constructing the block, take one saturated/bright square and on opposite sides, stitch a neutral scrap. It should look like this:

Step 1

Next, trim one long side to be straight. Grab one of the paired saturated fabric + neutral fabric strips, and sew the saturated side to the center piece. (Here’s a pic to help explain):

Step 2

Press the seams, and continue adding the pieced “logs” with the saturated strip matching up to the existing block, like so:

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

As you can see, I just kept adding the pieced strips around the block until it was a size that I was happy with.

It’s a fairly simple block– just a log cabin made from the pieced strips, and arranging them as I described gives the “framed” look. I hope this brief tutorial was useful!

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dresden closeup

I love being part of the do good stitches quilting bee, it challenges me to design quilts that will be fun for my fellow bee members, and asks me to try new things when I’m sending in blocks for a quilt.

do good stitches bee blocks

I thought it was time to do a little round-up of recent work for the bee. These blocks I made for Rachel this month.

do good stitches bee block

Ara Jane asked us for courthouse steps blocks. These were so fun to make, and the sneak peek of the quilt she gave on instagram recently was gorgeous!

January bee blocks

Last month I asked for blocks I designed using a scrappy log cabin approach. This quilt has been so fun to put together, and I’m thinking I’ll do a little tutorial with my instruction for this quilt block soon.

DGS bee blocks

DGS bee blocks 2

I quilted my happy houses quilt, and am finishing up binding it by hand now. I love how it turned out, too– it’s a testament to the creativity and skill of the members of my circle!

Happy Houses Quilt Top

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Finished Half Square Triangle/Log Cabin Quilt

I’ve fallen a bit behind in blogging about my finished quilts this summer, but I wanted to keep a record of these finishes here. I’d guess I have at least 10 quilts I’ve finished that I haven’t blogged about– yikes! I’ll try to do some catching up.

Quilting detail on thr HST/LC quilt

Thanks for holding my quilt, tractor!

Wavy Quilting Lines

Do Good Stitches Log Cabin/Half Square Triangle Quilt

First up, I finished this quilt along with the help of the Love circle of the Do. Good Stitches charity bee. We usually send these quilts off to be distributed by the group Wrap them in Love, but this time I had a special request. My neighbor had been battling cancer, and I knew he was going into hospice care. I thought the quilt might lift his spirits, and the members of my bee agreed that this would be a good home for our quilt. Sadly he passed away just after I finished the quilt, but I know his family was very moved by the gift and continues to use the quilt.

July Quilt

July Quilt

Patchwork July Quilt Back

Next, I finished what I think of as my 4th of July quilt. I’m not usually into Americana, but there is something about the red and blue stars that I love. I also used one of my favorite ruler prints as a neutral in this quilt. It was good to get this one finished!

stacked coins quilt

stacked coins quilt back

My office mate at work was getting married this summer, and from the day that I hung a mini-quilt on our office wall she’s shown an interest in and appreciation for my quilting hobby. I made this simple stacked coins quilt for her and her new husband to enjoy. I used the colors from the Chicopee fabric line as my guide, and made each stack of coins centered around one color. I love simple quilts like this one, they are so enjoyable to put together.

stacked coins quilt

I have a few more finishes to share soon, including some quilts I recently wrapped up for the Lowell Quilt Festival. If you’re in the New England area you should consider checking it out– the Boston Modern Quilt Guild has an exhibit, and all the details can be found here. I’ll share some photos of those quilts once I go visit them in the show!

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wonky pinwheel quilt

I have been meaning to blog about this quilt for-EVER! I have to admit, I’ve had this done for a little while, I just have had my focus on work and family and traveling lately, and never seemed to find a minute to write about this quilt! And– I have to admit– when I would have a minute, I’d use it to sew.

wonky pinwheel quilt finished

This quilt was my own design, and I shared a tutorial for the blocks here on my blog. The lovely members of the Love circle of Do. Good Stitches all sent me these blocks, and as you can see, they did such a great job! You really can’t tell where one block begins and another ends, which is exactly what I was going for.

wonky pinwheel quilt scrappy binding

I also found that the mixed neutrals in the background really helped keep the quilt cohesive. I’m loving mixed neutrals lately!

wonky pinwheel quilt back

Although it will be hard to part with, this quilt is off to Wrap Them In Love. I’ll have to make another with my scraps to live at my house!

wonky pinwheel quilt

I was also *so* lucky to be able to meet some of my fellow bee members at the QuiltCon conference in Austin last month. We had a lovely breakfast, and I am so happy to be part of this group. If you’re thinking about joining a bee that makes quilts for charity, you can find more info about this particular organization here. I’m already looking forward to getting my blocks in the mail this month for my next quilt for the group!

Do Good Stitches Love Circle at Quiltcon

{From L to R: Ara Jane, Me, Kristan, Rachel, Jacey}

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HSTLC tutorial photo

This is a brief tutorial I wrote up for my fellow members of the Love Circle of Do. Good Stitches to use to make this month’s blocks. I was playing around with this idea in a quilt I made recently, but modified it just a bit for a clearer result. These are the colors I used as inspiration for my blocks:

fabric colors for March

These instructions are for making two 12.5-inch blocks.


To make these blocks, you need four 7.5-inch squares, and four 7.5-inch log cabin blocks. To make just one 12.5-inch block, you would only need two each of the 7.5-inch squares and 7.5-inch log cabin blocks– but making 2 at once allows for mixing up the prints a bit.

I used 2 inch wide strips to make the log cabin blocks, which worked well for the size block I was going for. However, you can also vary the width of the “logs” in your log cabin for a more varied look! To start, I cut a number of 2 inch wide strips for making the log cabin blocks.


To make the log cabin blocks, start with a 2.5 inch square for the center (I just quartered a charm square for this step, but you can also use different fabrics for the centers). Then I added a 2.5 inch by 2 inch strip to both sides of the center square and pressed the seams. Next, I added the other 2 sides, and so on.



I added 2 rounds to each log cabin block, and ended up with blocks that look like this:


Once these were done, I trimmed them to 7.5 inch squares.

Next, I took my 7.5 inch blocks (the non-log cabin blocks) and drew a diagonal line down the BACK of the fabric from one point to the opposite. This is the first step in a commonly used technique for making 2 half-square triangles at once.


Place your log cabin block together with one of the non-log cabin blocks (right sides together). Your drawn line should be facing up.


Pin these together so they don’t shift while sewing.

Next, sew a quarter-inch seam on EACH side of the line. That means you’ll sew 2 lines down the diagonal of the squares, each a quarter-inch from the center line.

Once you’ve sewn those two lines, return to your cutting mat and cut along the original line you drew.



This leaves you with two half-square triangle/log cabin blocks! Press the seams open to reduce bulk, and repeat for the remaining blocks. Using a clear ruler and rotary cutter, trim each block to be 6.5 inches square.


Once you have all your HST/LC blocks made, arrange them in a pattern that is pleasing to your eye. I have been loving all of the crazy HST quilts out there, so I arranged mine somewhat randomly, and that’s what I’ll ask the members of my bee to do, too.


Sew the 2 pairs of blocks together using a SCANT quarter-inch seam. I find this matters quite a bit when trying to keep the blocks at 12.5 inches when you are done making them– a generous quarter-inch seam will make your blocks end up being a little short of the 12.5 inch mark. Press the seams open, then pin the sets and sew again to make a block that encompasses all of your HST/LC blocks.

There are so many possibilities for this block– you could match up 2 log cabins to make half-square triangles for a scrappier look. You also could use fewer log cabins interspersed in your blocks for a calmer look that still delivers some visual interest. If you look closely, in one of my blocks I used 3 half log cabins, and used a “regular” half square triangle to break things up. There are also a number of other ways that these blocks could be constructed, I simply found this to be the easiest way for me.


I can’t wait to see what my friends in my sewing circle make, and if you make anything using this tutorial I’d love to see it!

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Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve had a minute to stop in here for an update! November kept me hopping, with travel for both work and family, and an extended stay at my sister’s house where I got to spend a good bit of time cuddling with my new niece. Now I can’t believe it’s December already! And although I haven’t found time recently to blog, it’s funny to see where my photos and work pop up around the internet– today I discovered my city reflection quilt over on BuzzFeed! It’s number 26 in the lineup of quilts to eye, create, or buy!

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

I finished up this quilt top for the Love circle of Do. Good Stitches a little while ago, and I’m now working on binding it– so close to being done! I love these bee quilts, because they give me a chance to reflect a bit on some of my favorite things about sewing. Receiving blocks from all across the country, and knowing that my bee-mates will take a leap of faith and follow the instructions I made up for the quilt, is awesome.
Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Everyone did *such* a perfect job with these blocks, and in the quilt top you can see how well they fit together– it’s hard to tell where one block ends and another begins!

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

I’ll be sharing the final product here soon, along with a slew of other projects I need to blog about! Baby quilts and christmas decor are piling up!

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October Do Good Stitches Bee Blocks

This month I managed to get my bee blocks done well ahead of the end-of-the-month deadline!

October English Paper Pieced Bee Blocks

It’s been a little quiet around my blog because we’ve been settling into the new house, I’ve been spending a lot of time learning new things at work, and I’ve been traveling for a the last few weekends to visit family. The bee blocks were perfect for all the travel, as they were english paper pieced using Rachel’s template. Perfect for riding in the car (or for a little stitching while playing Settlers of Catan and Carcassone!).

Hand stitching and settlers

More EPP and carcassone! I'll have my bee blocks done in no time.
My pile of quilts to share is piling up again, as are some crafty makings for other events, so I’ll be back to share more soon!

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hourglass bag

I was really excited when my circle of the Do. Good Stitches quilting bee decided to do a swap! I have only participated in a few swaps previously, because it can get overwhelming to load up on sewing obligations, and truth be told, I am a little protective of my sewing time! However, a swap among friends is always welcome, and I’ve loved getting to know the women in my quilting bee!

love circle swap

I was lucky to draw Rachel as my secret partner because I think I have a good sense of her style. Rachel loves rich, saturated color and patchwork, and appreciates text based prints. She also has expressed a love for linen as a neutral fabric– something I’m totally on board with! So, when I put this all together, I wanted to juxtapose the dense color with the black and white text, and soften it all with the linen. I got to business by making a bunch of hourglass blocks, and decided to form the front of the bag with these.

scrappy handles

I set one block in some patchwork for a pocket on the back, and I made the bag a little larger than usual so that it could hold a quilt or other sizable projects.
I love swapping handmade goods with friends!

Outer pocket on love circle swap bag

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Wonky Pinwheel Tutorial

This month it’s my turn to design the quilt for the Love circle of the Do. Good Stitches quilting bee. Each month, one of our members designs a quilt and all members make blocks from their own stash and send them to the quilter who puts the blocks together and finishes the quilt. Our finished quilts get sent to Wrap them in Love. I always look forward to designing the quilt, because there are so many quilts I’d like to make, and it’s awesome to have blocks made by so many friends roll in to see my design come to light!

Do Good Stitches September Colors

This month, I am asking my bee-mates to make scrappy, wonky pinwheel blocks using a range of fall colors. Did you catch all of that? They’re scrappy because I’m asking that the pinwheels are all made of different fabrics, instead of matching the 4 “pinwheel” sections. The pinwheels are a bit wonky, as the pinwheel sections are all pieced a bit free-form, and don’t all need to be a precise size. Finally, I thought that using a variety of neutral fabrics for the background (instead of just one color) would add to the warmth and patchwork-y feel of the quilt. So, how do I make this block? Glad you asked! Here’s what you do:


1. Cut 16 squares, each 3.5 inches, from neutral fabrics. (I raided my scrap bin for neutrals here, and came up with a few kona solids in different shades and a few essex linen/cotton blend fabrics, though any neutrals will work).


2. On the BACK of each neutral square, draw 2 lines emanating from one corner, and ending about halfway between the opposite sides of the square. We’ll be sewing along these lines to create our pinwheel sections, so be sure to vary how wide these sections are.


3. Next, grab a scrap of fabric and lay it down right side up. Lay down your neutral square right side DOWN (remember, we drew the line on the back of this fabric) and line it up such that you leave approximately a quarter inch of your scrap fabric above the line for your seam allowance. ** It’s important to note that you want to be sure your scrap is large enough to fully cover the corner of your neutral square once it’s sewn. You can test this by holding it in place and flipping it up over the corner, though I found that after a few squares of trial and error it’s easy to eyeball this. And if in doubt, grab a slightly larger scrap to start! **


4. Sew directly over the line you marked on the neutral square, taking care to make sure you keep your scrap lined up so you have a quarter inch seam allowance.


5. Flip your square over and press your scrap fabric up over the square. This is where you want to be sure the corner of your neutral square is covered!


6. Repeat steps 3-5 and add a second scrap to the square using your other line as a guide.


7. Press the second scrap, and lay your square face down on your cutting mat to trim. Using the neutral square as a guide, trim off the excess scrap fabric.


8. Using scissors, trim the extra scrap fabric off the back of the square, creating the usual quarter inch seam on the back of the blocks (this reduces bulk overall).


9. Flip your block over, and you have one small piece of your wonky pinwheel complete!

DGS 10

As I completed blocks, I laid them out following this grid to be sure I placed the blocks correctly. It’s pretty easy to see the pattern emerge once you have a few blocks done, but with the first few I was a little disoriented, so having this visual helped!

DGS 13

Once all blocks are complete, lay them out in the pinwheel pattern. You should have 4 pinwheels in the middle of the block, and a number of half pinwheels around the edges. When I join up all the blocks, these pinwheels will be complete! This was another reason that this block is a good scrappy choice, as this will help the pattern look continuous when the blocks are joined.

I sewed my blocks into 4 rows, and then joined the rows together. Be careful to use a *scant* quarter inch seam so that your block comes out to be 12.5 inches unfinished.

One small issue to address: On one block I veered off from my line slightly.

DGS 11

When I flipped the block, I could see the line through the neutral fabric. Yikes!

DGS 12

In this case, I simply went back to the sewing machine and re-sewed this line and it was fine. It would also be a good idea to mark your lines with a water-soluble or heat sensitive pen, as these lines will disappear completely when using steam to press your seams.

Wonky Pinwheels

And there you have it! A scrappy, wonky pinwheel block!

Wonky Pinwheel Block for September

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x & + Love circle August blocks

Today I finished up my Do. good stitches bee blocks for August. Ara Jane requested x & + blocks, and had us follow the popular tutorial written by Amy. These blocks are quite fun to make. I found that it was easiest to cut a number of 3.5 inch blocks as well as quite a few 2 inch wide strips, and then to sub-cut the strips as I needed to to make all of the 2 inch squares required for each block. This gave me a chance to lay fabrics out to see how they looked together as I went along to create the blocks. I like when there’s quite a bit of contrast between the different shapes in the blocks, so I used that to guide my fabric choices.

Love circle Do good stitches August blocks

It’s my turn to design the quite for September, and I’ve been working on a new block I’m excited to share soon!

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