[finished] Big Dipper quilts

Done and done! I finished not one but TWO quilts in the past month. I first had the idea for these quilts 3 years ago, and of course I immediately bought fabric. I wanted the stars to be different shapes and sizes, relative to their brightness in the actual night sky. I also wanted a lot of open space and just a few colors. I drew a couple¬†sketches, did a little math, and then put the project on the back burner for quite a while… until I had a new baby and a quilt show to motivate me ūüėČ


I designed paper piecing templates for the stars. All the blocks are the same size Р4 inches Рbut all the stars are a bit different. 

I used Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial¬†for the faux-piped binding. Looks complicated, but it’s not! This first version is a baby quilt, finished at 36″ x 50″.¬†


I was stumped on how to quilt this for a few days. I would’ve loved to do free-motion spirals or waves around the stars, reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, but that’s above my skill level for now. I settled on horizontal wavy lines, done with a walking foot. I carefully outlined the stars and made sure not to ¬†quilt through them. The result is a pretty snugly baby quilt!¬†I finished the quilt just in time to wash it and snap a few pictures before I sent it off to its new home.


The second version is a twin-size quilt for my son, and my entry into the “Minnesota Modern” exhibit for the Minnesota Quilters annual show. I still used just 2 colors for the stars, but I used 9 different batiks for the background – 3 waxed patterns, and 6 marbles. I really like the texture and depth! I enlarged the paper piecing templates to make 5″ finished blocks.

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The big dipper asterism (not a constellation) fits on the top of a twin mattress. I finished with a scrappy binding that blends with the background. Expect more pictures (and a pattern!) when I get it back from the quilt show!

[fail] Spring Training T-Shirt

I worked so very hard on this shirt, but it just didn’t work out.


You might not notice it in the picture above, but the hem is flipping up, the shoulders are bunching up, and the collar is standing up.


Definitely noticeable in this picture, though! The shirt is also pretty tight – I knit the 24 month size, but I had to squeeze it over Ethan’s 19 month head. He has an average-sized noggin. The sleeves were also quite snug. I’m not quite sure where things went wrong, but this is my biggest knitting fail in a while. I used a less-drapey yarn than what the pattern called for. I measured Ethan one day, but didn’t finish the sweater until about 9 months later. I made a bunch of mistakes and frogged repeatedly. I think I fixed the errors and followed the pattern, but I’m not going to double-check my work. I realized I don’t like the turned-hem with baby garments¬†– it took sooooo long to knit, and I think it looks odd with such bulky yarn and such a tiny garment. I would use a turned hem¬†on an adult sweater, though. I’m also pretty proud of the raglan seams. I would also use those on an adult sweater as well. So I’m looking at this as a toddler sweater fail, but successful practice for my next sweater for myself :)

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (blue) and Berroco Weekend (orange)
Needles: US5
Pattern: Spring Training T-Shirt

April Showers Embroidery Pattern

I finished stitching this embroidery hoop just in time for an overcast and rainy April week. I hung it on a very sunny Sunday and snapped a picture before the clouds rolled back in.


I used a couple rows of loose french knots to outline the cloud and satin stitch for the raindrops. I settled on using 7 different blue/green/violet DMC flosses for the raindrops, after much waffling between rainbow and blues.

I just put the PDF¬†pattern up on¬†Craftsy, and¬†I’ve made swatches available on Spoonflower¬†¬†(for those of you who hate transferring paper embroidery patterns).¬†For my hoop I used a Spoonflower swatch on Kona cotton.

Ticker tape canvas

It’s done!

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I’m so happy to be hanging my ticker tape canvas today! I started it¬†at the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild‘s February meeting. Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts¬†gave us a quick how-to and then we all got to work trimming, gluing and swapping scraps.

I started with the bit of Heather Ross bumble bee fabric, which I chopped out of a (previously uncut) fat quarter. So much for starting with scraps!¬†I feel a little guilty¬†every time I fussy-cut fabric – my grandma took me to many meetings of her church sewing group¬†where much time was spent carefully arranging and rearranging pattern pieces, trying to squeeze as many pattern pieces as possible onto a yard of fabric. I try to assuage my fussy-cutting guilt by reminding myself that fabric sitting on the shelf, uncut and unused for years, is also a waste.¬†I’m hanging this ticker tape canvas in my sewing room, where I’ll get to see it (nearly) every day.

I’m linking up to Amanda Jean’s Finish it up Friday post.

MidMod Starburst pot holders

I made this set of MidMod Starburst pot holders for a¬†friend who just finished taking the bar exam. ¬†A little “congrats and welcome back to normal life” gift. I used the 9″ block pattern and the last scraps from¬†a queen-size¬†pink quilt that she¬†commissioned about 6¬†years ago.


I quilted the pot holders following the lines of the starburst block. I especially like the offset lines on the left block. Such dense quilting makes the back of the pot holders look sharp, too!





MidMod Starburst Quilt Block – new pattern!

I’m happy to share my MidMod Starburst quilt block today!


I love the mid-century modern aesthetic. I’ve been reading Retro Renovation and dreaming of restoring our 1950s rambler, and scouring craigslist posts and thrift stores for the perfect set of 1950s/1960s dining chairs. This winter I visited an amazing time-capsule church to hear Larry Millet‘s talk on his new book Minnesota Modern. I’m a longtime fan of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.


All this exposure to mid-century design has crept into my quilting. I created the MidMod Starburst inadvertently, while doodling stars for a separate project (more on that soon). I think the design, particularly the blue+grey version, would look at home on a set of vintage highball glasses. Or a fondue pot. Or anywhere on the set of Mad Men, which I just finished watching and already miss.


I’ve created paper-piecing diagrams¬†for four block sizes: 4″, 6″, 9″ and 12″. The pattern includes assembly instructions, but assumes that you know the basics of paper-piecing. The pattern also includes ideas for block colorways, a few sample layouts, and a coloring sheet so you can experiment with your own colorways.

The MidMod Starburst pattern is for sale on Craftsy and Etsy for $2.50.

Valentine’s recap

I finished a couple projects in time for Valentine’s Day. The first is this set of heart pot holders, using a Martha Stewart tutorial. I used pre-made bias tape and scraps from my stash. They were kinda bulky to sew, but are great pot holders. I’m a fan of the pockets – cute and practical.

Heart-shaped potholders. Pattern from Martha Stewart.

The second is this little cross stitch robot that I purchased on a whim as an “add-on” item from Amazon. I made it as a surprise for Isaac. He wants to leave it up all year :)

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[finished] Happy Hexagon trivets


I love these trivets! This is at least the third set of Happy Hexagon trivets I’ve made. The pattern is from Patchwork Please. It’s so fun and easy, and they always turn out great. The fabric is Emily Herrick‘s Sodalicious, which I’ve admired since seeing it at Quilt Market last spring.¬†I’ve got another set of Sodalicious trivets in the works, and I’m working on fabric pulls for a couple¬†other sets, too.

[finished] MMQG Good Neighbors challenge

Members of the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild are working on the Good Neighbors Challenge this month. I just finished mine (6 days ahead of the deadline!) and I am so thrilled with it!

Table runner for the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild's Good Neighbors challenge.

I made a small¬†table runner (13″ x 30″) mixing Amanda Jean’s¬†Good Neighbors fabric with bits¬†from my stash. I wanted to make something scrappy, using a bunch of fabric lines, which is usually a stretch for me. But this fabric line is filled with great basic blenders, so it was easy to mix and match it with other fabrics. I used the Raspberry Kiss block tutorial by Wooden Spoon Quilts. The block is soooo cute, goes together quickly, and I have seen so many amazing scrappy projects made with that block lately!

I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday. This is the third project I’ve finished this month – I’m on a roll!

R2D2 hats

The small boss requested an R2D2 hat for himself. And then another one for “his baby”. I think he did this mid-December, and requested them for Christmas. Then he demanded them before Christmas, because waiting is hard when you’re five years old. I got the big hat done before Christmas, but the little hat wasn’t finished until January. The hats were fussy to knit, but so worth it. I love my two R2D2s!

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I used this free pattern on Ravelry. The pattern was written for intarsia, but I hate seaming knits and I hate weaving in ends even more. The finished product probably would’ve looked a little better, but there was no way I could finish weaving in 50+ ends (per hat!) in a month. So I modified the pattern to be fair isle, which was a different challenge – with such long blocks of color (sometimes 10 stitches) I had to worry about catching the floats on the wrong side. I can see where the floats are caught, and some uneven tension where colors switch in the finished hats. The construction was difficult, and the final product isn’t as neat as I’d like, but the kiddos love them. These took surprisingly little yarn – I have enough left for at least one more medium size hat.

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I used blue and white Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, and random scraps of black and red worsted wool. The big hat was knit on US6 and US7 needles, and the small hat was on US4 and US5 needles. I plan to make a medium with US5 and US6 for Ethan next winter.

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