An Empty Sack

Can't Stand Upright



Ferol’s Bday Quilt

Wayyyy back in February, I made another quilt. Then my computer became non-functional and went to the doctor for almost a month and then youknowhowlifegoes I forgot to catch up.

So here I am, catching up!




B List Quilts

Husband (!!) brought home some shirts from his workplace, and asked me to make quilts with the logos/tee shirt material.

Problems I anticipated:

-Having only 2 shirts, and thus only 2 logos, I was apprehensive that I’d ruin both. I put off this task for a couple of weeks, because I still feel like my projects are crap shoots. Sometimes they’re better than I anticipated … sometimes they’re much worse. At some point I just said there’s nothing I can do about it, and moved in.

-Tee shirt material is stretchy. I am not practiced or good at working with stretchy fabric. How much was I going to end up warping the material? Husband is in woodworking. Straight edges are kindof their thing. Have I sewn a straight line even once?

-Tee shirts came in two colors: Black and Very Dark Green. Green that’s almost as dark as black, in fact. I decided early on that I’m going to use a decent amount of white fabric to break up and hopefully differentiate the colors. Ha.


They ended up being just about as bad as I expected! Of course, all of the tee shirt fabric stretched, near nothing is straight, and I even messed up about half of the corners. And I mis-read self-made patterns halfway through, so ended up with four separate mini-mini quilts, rather than one with four quadrants.


Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t start without a *clear* vision. Don’t start before you’re ready. Don’t start without actually doing something to address initial concerns.
  • Always bind back to font. Always always always.
  • Pins hurt. Make sure to pin the right way.
  • Tighten the quilter’s foot more. I broke a needle because the foot got loose and the needle came down on top of it.
  • Try to square things up more often somehow. … Figure out best way to quilt straight.
  • Care for each strip. Losing motivation halfway through breeds sloppiness.
  • Learn how to do the Sawtooth block. That’d be a cool replacement for these First Tries.



Quilt-gift for Pikachu. I think he liked it, though it must be hard for an 8 year old boy to muster up excitement for a quilt. He did *appreciate* it, which is something I appreciate about him. He also had specifically requested a quilt for his Pikachu, which was the inspiration for the fabric.

Lessons Learned:

  • Geometric patterned fabrics are hard to keep straight. Should pay much more attention and follow each line, every time (instead of like 4/8).
  • Quilting from the inside out is pretty awesome. These might be the straightest lines I’ve done so far.
  • Binding is getting better, but not quite there yet. Watch another video, plan out those mitered corners.

SugarSkulls Dance in my head


I started out trying to make a log cabin quilt. I found a guide online, and cut out all the strips. As I started to piece the first cabin block… I realized I must have used the wrong line in the chart. Nothing lined up properly. Rather than re-measuring and figuring lengths out on my own, I made this mini-mini quilt.

Lessons Learned:

  • Measure 3,000 times. Don’t rely on a formula; make sure it makes sense *every* time. Or else waste time cutting.
  • Black thread on white looks like a mistake. Don’t do that again.
  • Log cabin quilts really don’t look good with such busy fabrics. Try one out again, with some solid tones. Try the courthouse steps. But have a plan before you start.

Cloud 9 Lives


Another gift! (It *is* the season, after all).

I started this one by squaring off a number of fabrics I have/like. I made this entirely from scratch, cutting and sewing and attaching as I went. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, and I’m pretty satisfied with how it did come out.

Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t worry so much! Letting things evolve organically is a great way to learn.
  • Quilting from the top to the bottom for each line (rather than zig zagging) seems to help with the fabric twisting. As in, zig zags may yield twists.
  • Work more on cutting the sandwich straight before sewing the biggest border (before binding).

SuperCoralines, purple

20161218_18311620161218_18302320161218_183006A gift for a friend!

Lessons Learned:

  • A white border really makes everything look clean and crisp.
  • You *can* fold things in half before cutting them! Cleanup is necessary, but not as cumbersome as moving the fat quarter three times on the small cutting mat.
    • …. Also…. get a bigger cutting mat.
  • Learn how to sew straighter lines………

Tis the Season (and even if not)


I got a set of purple fat quarters from WalMart that has been burning a hole in my fabric stash for the past couple of weeks. I knew who the quilt would be for, but I didn’t have a pattern in mind. I ended up cutting out some squares, cutting some of those in half, and then choosing a white background to de-busy it a bit.

I chose the back because it’s a Christmas present. I don’t love giving Christmas decorations as presents (I generally don’t think it’s particularly practical, since it just gets stored for 11 months out of the year), but since the front is so non-seasonal, I couldn’t resist using this fabric from Granny. My friend loves cats and Christmas, so, she’ll love this.

Lessons Learned:

  • Think about how you’re going to quilt the sandwich even during the piecing stage. I like that I was creative on the spot with how I free handed the zig zag quilting. Most of the lines aren’t straight or perfect. That being said…
  • When eyeballing a line (which I shouldn’t do … but I probably will do …) put your finger on the end spot and point toward the needle. It’s easier to visualize the imaginary line when you have the beginning and end in place. At a couple of points, I was able to see the line I was following clearer than the distracting fabric underneath.
  • Doing two or three minis at once is much more efficient than doing one at a time. I did this one in conjunction with Red Headed Steps Child, knowing that this one is a gift. I was able to identify my weaknesses with Red Head, and make it easier for myself in this one.

Red Headed Steps Child



I started with a stack of red patterned fat quarters and  a couple of similar patterned black fat quarters. I just cut a bunch of blocks and made up the piecing on the spot. I like how the design came out. I don’t love that my blocks don’t line up mostly. I need to work on making sure everything is lined up. Most of that will only come with more practice, I imagine.

Lessons Learned:

  • Maybe, when ironing the binding in half, keep one side a hair’s length longer than the other. That way I can be sure the bottom layer gets sewed properly and no gaps have to be gone back on.
  • Before committing to piecing squares, consider off setting them on purpose. Or at least choose patterns that won’t highlight my shortcomings.

Mini Flapping Geese



So, I tried making a mini quilt with flying geese. I thought I was smart and didn’t have to use a guide, so I cut out a bunch of triangles and sewed them together. And the piece had bigger bows than Minnie mouse. So, in a Wednesday night fury, I cut out all new squares, and pieced them together using the basic (wasteful) method. There are still puckers and bunches, but overall, it looks like a First mini quilt.

[I’m always saddened by how well errors show up in pictures.]


Lessons Learned:

  • Triangles are hard. Put them off for a project or 4 and learn how to sew a straight line first.
  • That triple speed *looks* great. Do. Not. Use. Going slow is boring, but going too fast is where you get all that twisted fabric. For that matter –
  • Stop being lazy and IRON EVERY STEP.
  • Double check how square the blocks are before moving on to next step. When learning a new thing, check it out as you go, rather than doing them all the same and finding out at the end that they *all* suck.
  • Hang this one up anyway, and feel pride when you look at it. Finding all the wrong ways is a valid path to finding the right one.

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