Friday, April 19, 2024

Scrappy Batiks, Cool - Almost a Finish

 After the girls in our hive made our original Scrappy Celebration in a palette like the pattern, and a second one in brighter colors, and a third one in patriotic colors, we still weren't tired of making blocks. So we switched it up and went with black instead of white, and black-alternatives instead of low volumes. We combined these with batiks in bright and light shades for contrast. 

We were making blocks individually but using shared fabrics, and we ended up with too many blocks for a twin sized quilt. So I asked the girls to humor me and look at the blocks on the wall in a cool colorway and a warm colorway, and we liked it. Just a few more cool blocks were needed and we needed a lot more warm ones, so we decided to finish the cool version first. 

Linda assembled the top and did the quilting. The binding isn't sewn down, but we all wanted to see it anyway. She brought it to social sewing in PCQ's fiber arts room to show it off. 


We learned when laying out the previous versions that it's more pleasing to have the darkest blocks at the edges and corners, and the lightest blocks in the center. With the black contrast, this version has a luminous quality.

I love the quilting motif Linda used in these blocks. The custom rounded-square spirals complement the blocks perfectly. 

This is a donation quilt that will go to one of the charities that PCQ supports that need twin bed size quilts. 

It's been about a year since we started making the blocks for the first version. The the warm batik colorway is coming along, and after it's finished I think we'll be done with Scrappy Celebration blocks for awhile. We'll move on to something else; Edna already has a new project in mind for us. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts 4/19 and My Quilt Infatuation 4/25

Friday, April 12, 2024

Amazing Productivity at Retreat

It's incredible how much can be accomplished in two and a half days of sewing at retreat - especially when some of the prep or components are done ahead of time. 

Paula participated in PCQ's two BOMs last year, one with beginner-friendly blocks and one for advanced quilters. She was able to set them into tops at retreat. The easy blocks got an on-point setting with sashing, and the challenging blocks were set with hourglass alternate blocks.

Nancy worked on seasonal table runners with a lot of precision piecing. 

Deb C finished her rainbow top made with selvage blocks. She raided her extensive stash for many of those selvages, and her rainbor ombre fabric for the alternate blocks is perfect. 

Edna finished her very - very! - complicated cross pattern. It took focus and concentration to get it laid out right, but the results are amazing. 

Janet W likes to make smaller items at retreats. This time she made an ASU themed apron and some project bags. She also made some library bags and a Frieda Kahlo-themed pillow, but I didn't get photos of them all. 

Jeri finished a gorgeous low volume top; she had most of the blocks made and ready to assemble, but the on-point setting with border blocks was complex. Thank goodness for large design walls! She nailed it, and now she's considering how to quilt all that negative space.

Linda put together a plaid flannel throw; the flannel is the softest ever, from the retreat hostess's shop. Being plaid, Linda had to cut very carefully so the stripes didn't go wonky. Looks good!

I was able to finish tops for two small quilts. One is my Ruby Jubilee challenge and the other is a sea turtle themed toddler quilt for a great nephew. Stories to come in a future post. All the planning and cutting was done ahead of time, but both of these projects have deadlines, so I'm glad I got these tops finished.

Retreat was productive, but by no means was it all work and no play. We definitely enjoyed happy hour every afternoon, and lots of socializing. And as always, lots of helping and sharing. I'll be going again in July and I'm already looking forward to it. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, TGIFF


Monday, April 8, 2024

Design Walls at Retreat

 April retreat at Ritter was so fun! We had a new-to-PebbleCreek quilter with us and some regular retreaters, and we all had a good and productive time. I didn't take many photos, but here are a few in-progress pics from the design walls. 

Edna's very complex project

Deb C's rainbow selvage layout

Linda's paper piecing

Paula's blocks from last year's Advanced BOM series

Jeri's winter quilt (yes, we caught the upside-down unit; it's fixed) 

Debbie K's Bonnie Hunter blocks

Deb C's original take on 70 and Sunny blocks

My ruby jubilee blocks, story to come later

Much progress was made by everyone and there were quite a few finishes. More photos to come Friday.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Monday, April 1, 2024

Test Blocks

The "hive" (bee) I'm in is almost finished making blocks for the Warm Batik colorway of Scrappy Celebration, and Edna has a plan for our next project. I've been thinking about what we could do for a future project. 

Scrappy Celebration has no triangles in it. What if we add triangles to alternate blocks in such a way that they make stars? Here's an EQ plan, colored in the same palette we used for the first Scrappy Celebration. 

Hmm, the blocks are big in proportion to the corner triangles so the triangles don't really make stars. But combined with the dark pink churn dash blocks they kind of make a chain effect. Here it is in greyscale:

Interesting, but when a group of people are separately making blocks, can we control the value placement well enough to achieve this effect? 

I've always wanted to make a black and tan quilt. Many years ago I started collecting fabrics for it. Could this concept work in that palette? If I make it myself I rather than as a hive project, I can control the fabric choices and therefore the value placement to achieve the chain effect. 


I pulled fabrics from my stash. I was surprised at how little of the collected black and tan prints I had left after using them for other projects for so many years. The black and camel leaf print batik is the palette inspiration, and I've had that fabric for about 20 years. 

I made some test blocks but I'm still not sure where this is going, so I'll make a few more.

I definitely don't love that orange. In real life it's a brick red background print with gold, the same brick red as in the print above, but the colors combine to look orange and I don't care for it. My neutral is very beige here, I want more of a camel tan to be featured, so I'll have to make some more test blocks. I'll use camel and tan where I want the darker chain and beige where I need lighter values. 

This may or may not become something more than a pile of test blocks, we'll see. I really don't need a project like this, I need to salvage Road Trip, but I can see myself using this as a procrastination project in order to avoid dealing with Road trip. I will not take this to retreat, I'll take Road Trip blocks that need to be deconstructed and spend time unsewing them there. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Saturday, March 30, 2024

March Stash Report and Goals Update

Not much blogging happened this month; some non-quilting events occurred. My final color class was rescheduled due to a family thing, and I ended up teaching that lesson twice so all my students could make up the missed day. Prep for April retreat has been taking place, but I didn't take any pics, so nothing to show yet. PC Quilters went as a group to the AZ Quilt Guild show in Mesa, and that was a very enjoyable field trip. 

My friends and I finished the blocks for the Cool Colorway of Scrappy Batiks. I've been making a few blocks here and there for the Warm Colorway version, but again, no new pics. We should be able to get the top finished in April. 

One of the items on my to-do list for March was to make a new robe from some drapey rayon batik I got from a quilter's estate sale a while ago. I wanted it ready in time for retreat in early April. 

At the quilt show and otherwise, some fabric shopping happened this month, so my stash has grown. No problem since I was down so much for the  year last year. 

March Stash Report

IN this month: 16 yards (1-1/2 yards light pink for CSQ Ruby Jubilee baby quilt. 4-1/4 yards for sea turtle project. 5 yards at AQG show. 4-1/4 yards at 35th & Mulqueen's.)
OUT this month: 2 yards (1/3 of fabrics used for Scrappy Batiks Cool, estimated at 2 yards per EQ.)

IN YTD: 20-1/2 yards
OUT YTD: 9-1/4 yards

YTD Net Change: 11-1/4 yards added

Goals Update: 

March Recap: 

1. Make new rayon batik bathrobe. Done

2. Prep for and teach final color class. Done - taught twice because I had to reschedule and teach a make-up class. 

3. Prep project for April retreat. Done, prepped two, Ruby Jubilee challenge and Sea Turtle toddler quilt. 

4. Continue making warm color blocks for SC5. Yes, made several. 

5. Find sea turtle panel and start baby quilt for Emily. Yes, ordered panel, planned layout, and cut pieces to sew at retreat. 

6. Finish Kaffe gradient flimsy. No, not finished.

7. Work on revised layout to salvage Road Trip. Slight progress; rearranged blocks on wall but no decisions made. Purchased a mid-value background to replace the palest ground color. 

April Goals: 

1. Finish prepping projects for retreat. Go, and have a good time! 

2. Make and quilt Ruby Jubilee challenge/baby quilt, due May 1. 

3. Make and quilt Sea Turtle toddler Quilt. Finished quilt is due May 15. Long arm is booked for April 18 to quilt it. 

4. Continue making warm color blocks for SC5.

5. If time permits, finish piecing Kaffe Gradient top. 

6. If time permits, work on Road Trip.

So what is the Ruby Jubilee challenge all about? 

The guild I still belong to in Missouri is celebrating its 40th anniversary in May. 40 years is the Ruby Jubilee. The challenge is to make something featuring the color Ruby and/or containing 40 of some element, such as 40 blocks, 40 fabrics, etc. 

Makers have the option of making a baby quilt or anything else they'd like to make. Baby quilts will be donated to Operation Shower, the organization that gives baby showers to military families stationed away from home. 

I opted to make a baby quilt featuring Ruby and several pink, amethyst, and opal batiks. My first thought was to make it like a Kool Kaleidoscope, so I started making strata. But I didn't have enough of several of the fabrics, so from my partially started strata I cut triangles to make hexies. 

To test the plan, I made test blocks from some scrap strips in my stash: 

I think this will work using the Ruby, etc., strips that I have. Wouldn't it be cool if it turns out to be exactly 40 hexies! I didn't plan for that.  Actually I think it might end up being more than 40 hexies to be a suitable size for a baby quilt. 

I have a lot on my plate in April! I know I can get the deadline projects done but anything more than that, I don't know. We'll see. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Scrappy Batiks, Cool

 A Friday Finish, for the first time in ages! 

The girls in the Hive have been busy. We previously made the original Scrappy Celebration, then the second version in brighter colors, then the patriotic version. We weren't tired of making blocks yet, so we moved on to black and black-alternative blocks with bright batiks. We made too many blocks for one quilt so we split them up into Cool colors and Warm colors. 

The top with the cool colors is finished. Several of us worked on the layout on the design wall in PCQ's quilting room, with lots of input from our friends. Here's the finished version of the top, assembled by Linda:

Wherever the original pattern called for a white or a white-based low volume fabric, we used black or a very dark print. 

Here are some of the blocks I sewed in February. We ended up not using one of them because it stood out too much. 

The warm colors version is still in work; we need to make about 20 more blocks. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

February Stash Report and Goals Update

Life happens, teaching has kept me busy, and I haven't posted in awhile, so I'm late with my monthly recap. Here's a quick catch-up post. 

February Stash Report:

IN this month: 4-1/2 yards from a quilter's estate sale.
OUT this month: 0

IN YTD: 4-1/2 yards
OUT YTD: 7-1/4 yards 
YTD Net Change: 2-3/4 yards out

Warm Scrappy Batik Blocks made in February


February Recap

1. Continue prepping for and teaching weekly color classes. Yes, February classes went well, one more left for March.

2. Continue making blocks for SC4. Yes, we have enough blocks in cool colors for a twin size quilt. Need a few more in warm colors for a second quilt. 

3. Finish Kaffe gradient flimsy. Progress, only one more row to add. 

4. Figure out a plan for how to salvage Road Trip. Slight progress, I labeled the blocks and took them off the wall.  

Cool Scrappy Batik Blocks made in February

March Goals:

1. Make new rayon batik bathrobe. 

2. Prep for and teach final color class.

3. Prep projects for April retreat.

4. Continue making warm color blocks for SC5.

5. Find sea turtle panel and start baby quilt for Emily.

6. Finish Kaffe gradient flimsy.

7. Work on revised layout to salvage Road Trip.

That's a lot for this month and I don't know if I'll get to it all. Some of it is deadline-driven so those are the priorities, and Road Trip may have to be postponed for awhile. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

This is Not Working

My design wall is filled with blocks for my Road Trip quilt. The concept is to have the ones with all khaki backgrounds at the center, and lighter ones going outward toward the edges. 

It's not working for me. I don't like having the light blocks at the edges, they just kind of fragment apart and the whole thing fades out. It looks like I ran out of khaki fabric and had to use something else around the edges. 

Here are the upper left and lower right quadrants. The fabrics themselves are fine, but the placement of the blocks, and maybe the placement of lights and darks within some of the blocks, isn't working. It might work better with light background blocks at the center of the quilt and darker ones at the edges, to frame it and hold it all in. Or maybe sprinkle the lights among the darks so it's more evenly spaced across the whole top. 

I think I know what to do to attempt to fix it. I printed out the photo above. I'll number all the blocks on the photo and put corresponding labels on all the actual blocks. Then I'll cut apart the photo, rearrange the layout, and see if I can get it to work better. Then I'll put the blocks back up on the wall in the new arrangement. 

I may have to take apart and reconfigure some of the blocks. I have about 1/2 yard of the khaki Grunge left but I can't get more to match - it was leftover wide backing from several years ago. I have exactly enough of the license plate print left to cut four more 3-1/2" squares, so I'll have to carefully reuse what I already have made. There's enough of four of the five colors to make more block parts, as well as more of the small multicolor print. I have a few rejected blocks that I could bring back or cannibalize.

I fully admit I have been procrastinating on this. I've been doing other sewing in the meantime to avoid dealing with this, although it would be nice to have my design wall back.  

I welcome any ideas and suggestions you might have for making this work. I still like the prints, the colors, the general concept. Please comment. 

Link Ups: Alycia Quilts (Friday),  Small Quilts and Doll Quilts (Monday)

Saturday, February 10, 2024


Hello friends, 

I haven't been getting blog comments lately. They used to come into my email for moderation. I thought it was probably because I've been blogging less frequently lately, so fewer followers, and people have backed off from visiting and commenting. But it seems something changed awhile ago and the comments are there, they're just not showing up. I went into the comment section in Blogger and found comments going back as far as November. 

So if you've left a comment and I haven't responded, that's why. I'm sorry for the lack of response. Comments are always appreciated and I like to acknowledge each one. Since I missed so many, I can't go back and reply to them all.

I went into my Blogger settings and nothing has changed; I don't know why the comments stopped coming. So I will check in Blogger for comments every day and catch them that way. 

If you requested a charity pattern in a comment, please request again and I'll send it to you. Be sure to type your email address within the text of the comment so I can send the PDF to you. 

It's distressing that I didn't get all those comments in a timely manner, and again, I'm sorry I didn't reply. 


Friday, February 9, 2024

Edna's Stars, Pattern in Development

 Back in December my friend Edna made a quilt that she thought would be a good charity pattern to offer to PC quilters, easy enough for beginners and quick to make. She asked me to write the pattern for it. Here's her original, in her favorite palette of patriotic colors, intentionally very scrappy. 

I drafted the design in EQ and we reviewed it together, recoloring and adding borders until she was happy with it. I made a couple of modifications to it, enlarging the blocks to 12" from 10" and changing the construction from oblongs with flip corner triangles to half square triangles. The size came out to 56 x 68". 

We talked about how this pattern could work in other color combinations and how it didn't necessarily have to be scrappy. I showed her a couple of color options in EQ. 

To verify the pattern I made a test sample. Since I don't have much in the way of patriotic colors in my stash, I used what I had enough of. My version is one of the alternate, non-scrappy colorways I showed her, very girly. 

The placement of pink and turquoise is as she wanted reds and blues placed, with blue for the outer border. 

My test top came out fine. The pattern instructions have been written and are ready for someone else to pattern test. I did have a little trouble with some seams not nesting as I thought they would and further pattern testing could lead to suggestions for improving that. We'll offer it at PCQ's next meeting and ask for a pattern tester. It's intended as a free charity pattern and eventually I'll add it to the free charity quilt patterns tab above. 

Meanwhile, if you would like to make a test version of Edna's Stars and are willing to send me your comments on how to improve the pattern along with a photo of your top, I'll send you a PDF of the pattern. Please leave a comment, and be sure to type your email address in the text of the comment, otherwise I can't send the PDF to you. 

Link ups: Alycia QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, February 2, 2024

Friday Finish: Scrappy Celebration 3, Patriotic

Back in December the "hive" that's been making Scrappy Celebration blocks finished the patriotic ones, and Linda assembled the top. I had some yardage of wide backing in the right colors, so I passed it to her for the back. Last week she quilted and finished it. 


photo credit: Linda L. 

Like our other Scrappy Celebration quilts, SC3 will be a donation quilt. It's approximately 63 x 81" for a large throw. 

Did it bust any scraps? Didn't make a dent. I had so little red, white, and blue in my own stash that the girls shared theirs with me. I've ended up with more R-W-B scraps than I started with! 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January Stash Report and Goals Update

A new version of Scrappy Celebration with friends, this time in batiks with black, got me sidetracked this month. In addition, my color classes are mostly one week apart this time instead of two weeks apart, so a lot of my time has been spent reviewing and updating my previous lesson plans and prepping for teaching. Therefore, not a lot of progress was made on some of my other projects. 

Stash Report: 

IN this month: 0
OUT this month: 7-1/4 yards (Backing for patriotic Scrappy Celebration, 2 yards wide backing. Test blocks for Edna's pattern, 7/8 yard. Pattern test sample for Edna's Stars, 4-3/8 yards)

YTD Net change: 7-1/4 yards out.

Fabrics being used for batik Scrappy Celebration have not been counted. When the top is complete, we'll estimate the total consumption and divide by the number of participants. 

Goals Update: 

January Recap: 

1. Prep for and teach first two sessions of Color Class. DONE

2. Finish the Kaffe Gradient top. No, not touched.

3. Continue working on Road Trip. Worked on layout and filler blocks. Not happy with the result. 

4. Work with Edna to draft her pattern. Make test sample. DONE.

5. Work on a UFO or an Adopt-a-Quilt. Not done

Other: Made more than 20 blocks for Scrappy Celebration 4 in batiks with black. 

February Goals: 

1. Continue prepping for and teaching weekly color classes.

2. Continue making blocks for SC4.

3. Finish the Kaffe gradient flimsy.

4. Figure out a plan for how to salvage Road Trip.

I'm keeping the list short this time because it's a short month and I have four color class lessons to prep for. Wish me luck! 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Scrappy Celebration 4, Batiks with Black

 Linda, Edna, and I are at it again, making another Scrappy Celebration quilt, our fourth. Another friend, Nancy, will be joining in the fun. 

This time we decided on batiks as our palette/theme, and black instead of white for the ground color. We had a concern about big blobs of solid black being too heavy, To visualize, I carefully replicated the pattern in EQ, exactly as shown in the magazine, and substituted batiks for the colors and black for the white. Yes, much too much heavy solid black. So we're using "black alternatives" in much the same way we used low volumes for some of the whites. Here's my EQ rendering with some solid black, some "black alternative," and some very dark batiks.  

As long as we mix black alternative prints and batiks and keep our colors bright, I think it's worth pursuing the concept. Together we've made a few blocks so far. Here they are on the design wall. 

 We need more variety of colors, especially brights. We'll make some more blocks and see where this goes. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts