Friday, May 22, 2015

A Very Special Quilt

I don't know about all quilters, but I think it's safe to say we make quilts for lots of different reasons:  a pattern we want to try, a combination of fabrics we want to see together, the sheer love of seeing how all that piecing comes together.  I know I can't stop.  There are constant rotating pictures in my mind of various shapes and patterns and color combos - if only there were time to make them all!  And of course, we make quilts for other people.  People we love - family, friends, new babies, (occasionally even ourselves!...)  And sometimes we get to make something really special, for someone we really love, to mark a really important time in their life.  We spend months thinking about patterns, agonizing over fabric choices, because this quilt needs to be just right.  This is one of those quilts.

My Dad recently retired after teaching New Testament at Seminary for over 40 years.  I knew this moment needed to be marked with a special quilt.  I wanted to make something that would honor him, represent his legacy of work, be meaningful to him and my mom, and be something useful to them in their home.

 Can I brag for just a minute on my Dad?  He is one of the greats in my life.  He is a highly respected scholar, teacher and speaker, which has led to many travels in the U.S. and abroad.  He is the author of countless articles and several books, which have been translated into multiple languages.   He's the kind of guy who just knows things.  He's like my own personal Google long before that was even a thing.  "Hey Dad!  We're shopping for a new car...what do you know about Diesel engines?"  And he would just spout off a three point lesson on things to consider with a diesel engine - like he had been sitting around just waiting for someone to ask him that very question.  He just knows stuff.  He can talk about anything, from what makes a tomato an heirloom to why we say "Amen" at the end of a prayer.  Do you have someone like this in your life?  I hope so...the sheer knowing that I can pick up the phone and call him to discuss anything about life provides an infinite source of comfort and security.  And oh how I hope and pray my kids find this in me and my husband.

And he would be the first to say that he could not do what he does without the support of my mom, who is another great in my life.  She loves everybody! I mean EVERYBODY!  I grew up with a constant example in front of me of what it means to really love other people.  To find the good in people, to love their quirkiness, to love in spite of mistakes, to show grace.  Her eyes litterally light up when she's talking to you, makes you feel like you matter, that your story is significant.  And God bless her, that woman can write you a letter that makes you feel like a million bucks!   She's the one that will remember you have a test or a doctor appointment or some big meeting, and she'll call to see how it went.  It was through watching her love and serve other people my whole life that influenced me to pursue a profession in Social Work.  I wish you could all know her, because she would love up on you and flash that twinkle in her eye as she greeted you with a hug.  You would love her!

See why this quilt had to be special?!

Everything about this quilt was carefully chosen:  The blue and gold are the colors of the university where my Dad taught.  The cross shape represents the calling and practice of their faith, the reason for all the hard work over the years.  Since the front had such a strong geometric feel, I wanted the back to be something unexpected.  I love this print used on the back from Leah Duncan's Gramercy line, it reminds me of the city streets of Chicago where they live and taught all these years, and the light blue being the color in the Chicago flag was just an added bonus.

Aren't they adorable?  (The quilt was presented at my Dad's retirement party.)

Pattern:  Ripple by the super talented Anne Marie Chany (The arrows are paper pieced)
Measures: About 61'" x 66" (I made mine a little bigger than the pattern because my Dad is super tall)
Thread:  Aurifil for 3/4 of the quilting and 1/4 Gutterman (A thread emergency when you run out of a specific color and there's no time to order more!  So thankful for friends who can come to the rescue in a pinch - thank you Nancy (Owen's Olivia) for having the perfect shade of blue that I needed!
Fabric:  Blue background is a Michael Miller Cotton Couture, various prints for arrows, and Leah Duncan Gramercy on the back.

I am linking this up with Amy's Creative Side Blogger's Quilt Festival - such a source of inspiration!
                                   spring 2015 BQF Button

Monday, April 6, 2015


I am so very thankful to all the people who have supported Quilt Lemonade with their time and efforts to lovingly donate a quilt to those in need.  I love you all!
The winner of the Jacquie Gering quilt is:
Congratulations Shirley!  (I will also post on Instagram as I know Shirley is likely to see there first).  I know you will enjoy and take good care of Jacquie's quilt!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Win a Jacquie Gering Quilt!

All quilts pictured here were made by Jacquie Gering.

I am so excited to announce the raffle of  a Jacquie Gering quilt!  Jacquie hardly needs introduction as a leader in the world of moder quilting, where, among many things, she is an amazing quilter, talented author, excpetional teacher, and she currently serves on the Modern Quilt Guild Board of Directors.  But perhaps more important on her bio than all those impressive things is that she is extremely gracious, funny, and kind-hearted, and I am blessed to call her friend.  If you have already met her, you know exactly what I mean and you are nodding your head in agreement as you read this. If you haven't met her yet, please listen to me and go and do so!   You will come away feeling refreshed and inspired.

Last summer while having lunch together in Chicago, Jacquie gave me a stack of quilts to send down to Guatemala for Project Quilt Lemonade.  We thought it would be fun to raffle off one of them for people who have donated a quilt to this charity!

A quilt to beget quilts = a win for one of you and a win for the people of La Limonada!

This is the quilt made by Jacquie Gering being raffled, named Selvage Spools:
(Ignore the Christmas decorations in the background - I snapped this pic awhile ago!)
The quilt measures about 33" x 49" and already has a convenient hanging sleeve :).  It would look super cute hanging in a sewing room and I'm thrilled it is coming to live with one of YOU!
I am so appreciative of all the support from this community of makers in providing quilts for La Limonada.   Thank you!  We are spreading JOY my friends!

So, would you like to win Jacquie's quilt?  Of course you do!   Here are the details:  Any quilt donated for Quilt Lemonade that makes it's way to me by March 31, 2015, will be included in the raffle.  To be included in the drawing, quilts must meet the guidelines for the project, as specified in this post .  Basically, we need new completed quilts of a usable size.  50" x 50" is a general measurement requirement - Of course we will accept larger quilts or slightly smaller as long as they are of usable size.  We want these quilts to be both a thing of beauty and function - something that will bring joy and warmth to those who could use more of both of those things in their life.  
Close up of Jacquie's Selvage Spools

And if you don't happen to win, Jacquie has a tutorial on her blog for how to make this cute selvage quilt.  It's perfect for all those fun selvages out there.  Is it me, or are the selvages getting cuter and cuter lately?!  
Good news:  If you have already donated a quilt, you are already entered!  
More good news:  Each quilt gets an entry, so you will have as many entries as the number of quilts you have donated.  

Another close up of Jacquie's Selvage Spools
Now, let's get busy making some quilts for La Limonada!  I'll draw a winner randomly at the end of March.  If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me.  Let me know when you are ready to mail a quilt and I'll send on the address.

And I'm sending out a  huge THANK YOU!  to Jacquie for sharing her quilts with Quilt Lemonade!  I am grateful.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

My New Favorite Quilt

OK, like many quilters, my favorite quilt is often the last one I've just finished.  This just means there is lots of opportunity for each quilt to have it's turn in the spotlight - the one everyone clamors for during family movie night- the one I find the kids have snuck downstairs to put on their bed before they go to sleep.  But truly, I think THIS quilt is my favorite.  I mean it this time. ;)

Everytime I walk through this room, my eyes find their way to all those colorful candy-like triangles, and it makes me happy.  It just does!

This quilt was made with the help of my dear friends from around the globe in The Stitch Tease Bee.  I have so enjoyed sewing with this group of talented women for the past few years and am so thankful to have a tangible reminder of our work together living wtih me in my home!  I came up with a panel of flying geese (see tutorial here) for my beemates to make with me and I love what they created!  There are so many special fabrics in here, including some of my all-time favorites, that it is easy to lose several minutes just looking at them all.  Eye candy at its finest.

And the back!  I've been saving this hoarded Ikea fabric for something special and had this quilt in mind from the start.  I quilted with a walking foot spiraling out from the center - worth the effort and sore shoulders if you ask me.  I love it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Scrappy Tree Mug Rug Tutorial

                 mug rugs christmas mug rugs a blog series at

Today is my stop on the Merry Mug Rug Blog Hop hosted by my dear friend Jennifer at Ellison Lane.  I'm bringing back the Scrappy Christmas Tree in mug rug form.  You can see the original version in an advent calendar I made a couple of years ago here.  I love that scrappy little tree and was excited to do a mini version.

Although I have the earlier tutorial for this technique, I'm including a quick run through of the basics so you can make one of these scrappy little trees for yourself!
First, gather lots of green scraps - we want a good variety of tiny scraps.  Of course, this little tree would be adorable made of a single small scale green print with a scrappy garland if you don't want to fool with piecing the tree.  But I like scrappy, so here we go!

Next, start building some green sections.  I never measure, just join and trim, join and trim.  Usually I don't even use a ruler to cut, so I can get some wonky lines which adds to the scrappy look.  I know! So liberating!
 You can stop once you have a general tree shape.
Cut out your tree shape:
Now my favorite part - the garland!  Get out your tiny colorful scraps and sew them into strips.
Then just start playing with where you'd like to place your garland on the tree.  
Take a deep breath and cut your tree so you can add the garland.  Just do it.  That scrappy tree is so cute on its own, and I do keep meaning to make one and leave it that way, but the garland adds so much!  
Then add your background fabric.  I just place the tree on top and use my ruler to line up the angle I need.  
I then make a quick trunk using a scrap of brown fabric (about 1.5 x 2.5 inches before sewing) and adding some background strips.  Center this piece on the tree.  

I thought it would be cute to quilt in little snowflakes.  I started with white but eventually decided I liked the contrast of teal snowflakes for this mug rug.  It's all about trying things out, right?!  I have to say, I had some issues when I quilted the flakes in and ended up having to rip it out.  The solution was to interface the mini quilt top, add the flakes, and then quilt with backing and batting.  This worked for this size project with just some light echo quilting around our little tree.  

Add a binding and you're done!  

I love this little mug rug and plan to give it to a friend this Christmas.  And I'm so addicted to this technique, that I have a pillow in the works for the couch.  I'll be adding red pom-poms for the trim - so cute, right?!  

 Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out all the other stops along the Merry Mug Rug Blog Hop over at Ellison Lane - cuteness overload!  While you're there, be sure to enter the great giveaway going on too!
stuff stocking graphicmug rugs christmas mug rugs a blog series at

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2014

                                                Fall 2014 BQF Button
Hello my friends!  I've been chatting with a lot of you on IG lately (find me there @valbetweenquilts) - which has led to fewer blog posts.  But it's Blogger's Quilt Festival time again, so that's got me running back here - I always love participating in that!

This time, I'd like to share a mini quilt I made for a swap I was in earlier in the year.  The Post Sew South Swap happens after the Sew South retreat and my partner this time was my sweet friend Kim.  I was so excited to make her something special and felt some paper piecing was in order.

I have been crushing on kaleidoscope quilts lately and decided to give the paper pieced pattern on Red Pepper Quilts a try.  It is a lot of tiny piecing, but I love the end result.  I think each block finishes at 4", so this mini quilt is 16"x16".  I love how the low volume background prints set off the rich teals and golds.  Every one of these fabrics makes me happy :).

 Short and sweet tonight folks - time to check out some more Blogger's Quilt Festival entries!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

At Last!

Can you hear Etta James in the background as you read this post??  Because I can, and certainly heard those sweet words as I danced around the house last night with my new bag slung over my shoulder: At last, my love has come along...

 Here she is in all her retro-vibey glory.  This is a tough bag y'all.  I have summitted my personal Sewing Everest. The Weekender Bag pattern by Amy Butler has turned in to a right of passage in the sewing community, and with good reason.  It is like luggage and certainly looks sharp with loads of professional looking details.
 Why, is that homemade piping made from bias strips??  Yes, yes it is.
Is that bag so sturdy it stands up all by itself??  Yes, yes it does.  There is enough interfacing in this thing I would not be surprised if this bag stood up and walked across the room to me when I called it.  (And it's such a smart bag, I should totally try that).  

 I did add a couple of pockets to the inside lining to make it more functional.

 And I did add purse feet to the bottom to make it more sturdy.

I also lengthened the straps to 54" and used webbing as interfacing for the handles because I wanted them to be really strong. Oh, and I followed the advice of my friend Christen  and topstitched the lining right over the zipper line instead of having to do that by hand.  Much faster and I'm so happy with the result.  I think those are the only modifications I made to the pattern.  Can I just say the zipper installation was GENIUS!  I was skeptical reading the instructions because I've never done a zipper that way before, but I went ahead and followed what it said (I know, shocker!  Actually following a pattern!).  I'm so glad I did!  The result is a clean, tight zipper line.

Y'all, I have wanted to make this bag for years. When I first joined the online sewing community back in 2011, I was amazed that this was a thing people could MAKE!  I've admired so many other's Weekender Bags over the years, and have so many favorite  - there are some beautiful bags out there and I've been inspired by them all.

I would never, ever in a million years have started this project without the serious hand-holding of my sweet friend Melissa .  We started this pattern together over a YEAR ago - her beautiful bag long being done and mine languishing in a sad pile of cut pieces for far too long.  The Weekender Sew Along hosted by some more sweet friends Sew Lux, Love By Hand, and Modern Handcraft was exactly the push I needed to finish this thing when I really just wanted to abandon it in a large pile of WIP's. And of course, I had constant support from so many IG friends who really cheered me on to finish.  Thank you to all of you - really,  I mean it! - I couldn't have done it without you.

                                 amy butler weekender sew along 2014

Now please excuse me, I am off to dance with my new bag...At Last!