Sunshine & Shadow – Best in Show!


Hi everyone! I know I said in my last post that this next post would be about Brandon’s baby quilt, but I had to share some exciting news. Brandon was almost as excited about our chicken trophy as we were, so I know he’ll understand…


Our Sunshine and Shadow quilt won BEST IN SHOW at the Queens County Fair!




NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and the Queens County Farm Museum pres(?) director(?) presented us with a trophy.


Not just any trophy. A GOLDEN CHICKEN trophy. 🐥🐓🏆 The whole thing was pretty darn amusing. Official photos were taken. I blinded the audience with my legs.


My quilter-in-training and I had originally made this quilt for Timeless, and it hung in the Quilt Market booth in Spring 2015. The pattern is by Castilleja Cotton.


It made an appearance in the Keepsake catalog too. This quilt has been around!


We had a lot of fun with the mad-science construction. First, you cut out 1200 squares. We did this with our trusty rotary cutters, and yes, I have since learned better methods for doing it. My “quilt mom” Anita also told me about a snazzy fusible grid for this kind of piecing. But you can’t really appreciate those methods until you’ve tortured yourself the old-fashioned way, am I right?

As Jorge would say…



So then you do this wild & crazy chain piecing technique that is so mind-boggling I’m not even going to try to describe it. It starts off as a little tree and then gets bigger and bigger until you have all the rows you need to assemble the layout. This picture was taken when it was almost done. The final tree was too big to even hold up!


You clip off the biggest row, and that’s the center. Then you clip off two rows at a time and sew them to the either side of center.


Just keep clipping, just keep clipping, just keep clip-ping clip-ping clip-ping what do we do we clip! (and sew. and press.)

I know, I should be ashamed that I don’t have a handmade quilt on our bed in this photo. The situation has been corrected since last spring, when this was taken.


Eventually you get a real pretty radiating square of colors.


And it’s time to trim off the points and add the borders.


We used skinny masking tape to mark the straight line quilting. I stippled the borders because, ya know. I stipple everything.


A little binding and labeling and it was done and blowin’ in the wind!





I made the jacket I’m wearing in this photo! It’s the Indygo Junction Swing Jacket pattern.


This was the highlight of my day yesterday, but I must say, the Queens County Fair (hosted by the Queens County Farm Museum), is SUCH a fun event and I look forward to it every year. Last year, we navigated their “Maize Maze” with friends — it was no joke! We took our moms this time around, and we all enjoyed carnival food, live music, performances, and the impressive work on display in all the competition categories.

We met Yogurt, the 60 year old tortoise that lives at John Bowne HS (right next door to our alma mater Townsend Harris). She was quite the lady.


During the award ceremony we met the best in show winner for the livestock category — she was the owner of this adorable mini-lop rabbit.


I participated in a corn-shucking contest (I can peel an ear of corn in 8 seconds, not bad!), and Jorge, Rosa and Kiki did the pie eating competition. Rosa put Jorge to shame.


I’m already starting to think about next year’s entry. This was the first time I entered a quilt into a public show and had it on display. Ribbon or not, it was so fun to participate in one of my favorite local events and share our work with the community.


News from Paris Quilt


Another wedding quilt! This one was made for my friends (and neighbors) Kiki and Roland in June 2014. It was a quick finish — time got away from me, and I started it just a week before the wedding.

I used Paris-themed fabric, because that’s where they got engaged. There’s a key print in there too, a reference to the since-defunct “love locks” of the Pont des Arts bridge, which they had visited and incorporated into the event decor.

Jenny Baker’s Giant Vintage Rose Tutorial is perfect for showing off big pieces of fabric, and it comes together SO fast — it’s just twelve half-square triangles and four squares. Perfect for when you look at your calendar and go, “Oh, SH*T!! The wedding is in a WEEK!?” 😱 😜

Here it is on the design wall, before all the blocks were sewn together.


I free-motion quilted with stippling.


The binding was all done by machine as I didn’t have time to hand-sew it to the back. The first time I tried machine binding (on a quilt prior to this one), the results were disastrous. I had since avoided it like the plague, but because of the time limitation on the one, I conquered my fears. The method that worked best for me was this one and I love how it came out.




The method I had tried before this was the one where you apply the binding to the front, then fold it to the back, clip, and stitch in the ditch from the front, the idea being that you will catch the edge of the binding on the back… blind. I do like how it looks when done properly, but my feeling is, whichever method you can execute best will look best. I had a much better time catching the binding when I could see it, and it allowed me to use a nice narrow folded edge (rather than making the overhang larger in hopes that it would catch more easily on the reverse).


I used clear thread for the binding because I don’t like using different colors in the top and bobbin, and I didn’t want the black thread to be visible on the light-colored quilt back.



I wash my quilts before gifting so they get soft and crinkly. This label was sewn in with the binding to save time. Tutorial from Sassafras Lane here.


Two years and a baby later (I’ll share his quilt in my next post!), I hope this gift still brings Kiki and Roland warm memories of that exciting time.