Feathered Star Best in Show!

Well, that was an unexpected hiatus! Things have been crazy busy this past year. Quilting, traveling, wedding planning (!)… oh my poor neglected blog. Better late than never though, right?

OK, so let’s go back in time to 2014. I attended a Judy Niemeyer retreat led by Jackie Kunkel. For those of you unfamiliar with Judy Niemeyer, she’s the lead designer behind Quiltworx, a pattern company that specializes in beautifully intricate foundation paper-pieced patterns. The technique allows you to achieve angles and points with relative ease.

The project of the weekend was the Feathered Star. I chose the 60″x60″ wall hanging size because, let’s face it, I was already in over my head. (The Queen is 96″x96″ and has a curved border.)

Jackie is an amazing instructor. Paper piecing really is one of those mad science techniques that makes no sense verbally, but when you see it, it’s like a thousand lightbulbs firing in your brain. I can still remember the collective gasp that came out of our mouths when Jackie revealed that first sharp point to us.

The design comes together in wedges, not blocks, so Jackie walked us through one entire wedge. That way, we could familiarize ourselves with each unit before going home to complete the quilt. Once I got home, it was a few years of on-and-off chain piecing, getting all the units done for each wedge, and putting those wedges together. You cut and sort everything into bags (by chapter) at the beginning, so keeping track of things is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.

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Look at that Y-seam! They didn’t all come out this good. Yes I am still afraid of them.


Slowly but surely, it all came together, and I tore all the papers out. I sent it off to Rebecca Silbaugh, who did a great job longarm quilting it. I normally quilt everything myself, but was too afraid to touch this one!


I got the quilt back and bound it just in time to enter into the Queens County Fair last September. It won best in show!


We now have this quilt hanging over our sofa at home, and I have a 2nd chicken trophy.


David & Taylor’s Wedding Quilt

I just got back from our long weekend in Florida to celebrate a family wedding! My cousin David married the lovely Taylor and of course I couldn’t resist making them a quilt to commemorate this milestone.

Another thing I couldn’t resist… going to the beach to take some photos “on location” before the event!


The wedding colors inspired the fabric selection, which came from my stash.

The center section is a simple nine patch + snowball combo. I came across it on Pinterest one day and liked how the design hinted at rings. I was short on the fabrics I would’ve needed to extend that concept throughout the entire top, so I stopped at a panel-sized section and worked out the borders through a bit of trial and error. The asymmetrical border inspiration came from here. The patchwork corners complement each other without being exactly the same — just like the bride and groom!




It’s hard to tell in these photos, but the border fabric is actually a directional scallop print. I was extra careful to cut all the pieces so that the orientation was upright throughout.


I love re-purposing selvages as ribbon for quilt gifts…


Congrats to the newlyweds! What a special day. 💙



My Sew Sturdy Essential Backpack!

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Last Fall, I made this Sew Sturdy Essential Backpack, but I never had a chance to capture any photos of it. Until today! The cherry trees are blooming, the weather was warm, and I had the perfect excuse to go frolic in my new sundress and enlist Jorge to be my photo assistant.


I’ve been carrying this bag around for months and it’s held up beautifully. I get tons of compliments on it, and love telling people that I made it. 😎



I discovered this super cute Japanese fabric (by Cosmo Textile) at QuiltCon a few years ago. I had actually picked it up for my friend Kara. I think of her every time I see panda fabrics because of her amazing hand-appliqué panda quilts.


After I gave the fabric to Kara, I totally regretted not getting any for myself, and figured my window of opportunity was closed. But then, my dad & stepmom went on a trip to Japan, and I sent them a photo on the off chance they could track it down in Tokyo’s fabric district. And they actually did! They came back with yardage for me and I was beyond thrilled. I stashed it for a long time, waiting for the perfect project. And this backpack was IT!!


The construction was challenging (mostly toward the end when lots of layers were going through the machine) but manageable thanks to Annie‘s fabulous techniques and teaching skills. And of course, her Soft & Stable interfacing! This was my 2nd time working with it and I love the structure it provides. She also has a very cool method for making the straps.

Here’s some behind-the-scenes from the construction process. This backpack serves up a generous helping of card compartments, slip pockets, and zipper sections. I made a slight adjustment to the magnetic snap style (so I could use the kind I already had), but aside from that I followed Annie’s instructions to the letter.

The mesh was cut and repurposed from a delicates laundry bag — I was quite pleased with myself for that little bit of upcycling. I used three different scales of black and white polka dots for the lining/accent fabrics. Because when you can’t choose which polka dot to use, just use them all!

My absolute FAVORITE thing about this bag (aside from its size and how lightweight it is) is the large zipper compartment in the back. I spend a lot of time on the subway and like most native New Yorkers, I keep a close eye on my belongings; it can be unnerving to carry things behind you. With the rear pocket, I can keep my valuables close and secure. My wallet – a medium size Pocket Party Pouch – fits perfectly flat, and is easy to grab when I need it. The interior slip pocket is also just the right size for a snappy coin purse (I keep my headphones in one).


The Sew Sturdy Essential Backpack Class by Annie Unrein is available on Craftsy. Having carried this around for an entire winter… I can certainly say, “essential” was the right word to describe it. And I have a hunch that won’t change this summer! 🌳🌼🌸🌷🌻🍃




Kids’ Fundraiser Quilts + A New Machine

Recently Jorge and I took on a fun contract sewing job for a school!

It’s a local day school for ages 2-5. Every year the students all make blocks, which get turned into quilts for auction at their annual fundraiser. Each quilt combines the work of one class.

A friend who teaches art classes there reached out for help with the project. Our job was to sew together the blocks with the provided sashing. It was several weeks of marathon sewing and delivering tops. The quilts were tied and bound by the school’s director, so we could focus on cranking out tops.

We made five out of a total of eight. It was so cool to see all the work that these little kids did for the blocks! We had lots of laughs as we sewed up the rows. Little bee quilters in the making. 🙂









This was the first project I worked on with my new-to-me Bernina 910. This machine belonged to my friend and coworker who passed away last Fall. Emily was a wonderful mentor to me when I started sewing. She was incredibly smart and passionate about sewing, art and education. I think that she would get a big kick out of this project and all the creativity coming from the little ones.

The machine’s original table was MIA, so I outfitted it with this shiny new SewSteady. I was surprised at how easy it was to fix up the table situation. The original part runs on eBay for about twice the cost of the SewSteady!


I just got the machine – and the Bernette serger that also came to live with me – serviced and cleaned. I’m going to try to attempt some garment sewing… we’ll see what happens!


QuiltCon East Recap + Quilt Inspo!

A few weeks ago I attended QuiltCon! I had a wonderful time in Savannah and got to hang out with lots of fellow mods, plus catch up with many industry friends that I usually only get to see at Quilt Market. I was there for work, but this was the first time I got to actually got to spend time attending the show and exploring the surrounding area (rather than running a booth) so it was a very different experience! Totally inspiring.

First of all, I need to go back to Savannah and spend more time there. I only had a couple of days but it was long enough to fall in love. Ghost tour is first on my to-do list for next visit!

The vendor booths were jam packed with quilters. I tried not to shop too much, but resistance was futile. I bought a few indie garment patterns to try, a couple of fabrics that made me smile, and a Quick Curve Ruler and Chic Country quilt pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful. I see that quilt pop up now and then on Instagram and love the circular illusion. Hope to find the time to make one this year!


I also managed to snag a sweet pincushion from Fish Museum & Circus to give my stepmom for her birthday. I saw later that all her pincushions were sold out halfway through the show, so I felt lucky to get one in time!


I could hardly get photos of the pincushions in her booth as the little gems were being swiped off the shelves left and right. I think this little guy found a home just as I snapped the pic. (And how sweet are the little customized pins she includes with each cushion!)


And the quilts in the show… oh. my. lordy. Every corner I turned as I walked through the aisles, I found myself gasping in awe. It’s a pretty random smattering below, as the show was huge and picking favorites is totally impossible!

These four are group quilts. There were a lot of great ideas for collaborative/group projects throughout the show.

The maker’s statement on this one really made me chuckle. It won 1st place in the Minimalist Design category. She used the muslin strips that estheticians buy for waxing! Apparently they come on 50 yard rolls. “Wax and Wane” by Susan Kyle.

Best in Show! Bling by Katherine Jones. Foundation paper pieced.

This was some of the most playful quilting I saw in the show. Mountain Baby by Katie Larson.


Also by Katie Larson – Whatever. 1st place in the Small Quilts category. Inspired by one of the maker’s favorite pieces of advice: You can do whatever you want to do.

This one was a joy to explore close-up. The combination of hand embroidery, hand quilting and machine quilting was unbelievable. It won the Best Machine Quilting award. Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton, quilted by Natalia Bonner.

Folksy Fish by Sarah Sharp. Quilted by Karlee Porter. This one reminded me a lot of a painting that my grandfather made of fish in a very similar style. I texted a pic to my dad and that was the first thing he said too!

Say Anything by Lysa Flower. Paper pieced with only horizontal, vertical, and 45 degree diagonal lines! Too cool.

3rd place in Minimalist Design category. Mod Blocks 2.0 by Betsy Vinegrad. Inspired by Dutch graphic artist Wim Crouwel. Love the matchstick quilting, I know I’m late to the game but I soooo want to try that.

Two more techniques I’ve been wanting to try. Hand quilting/hand-tying, and facing instead of binding. The texture of the tied quilting here is just oh my god, so pleasing. Forever Tied Together by Jen Broemel.

1st place in the Piecing category. Ode de Yoshiko by Marilyn Farquhar. She mixed many different fabrics for this including hand stamped and signed Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric.

A handful more… click for info!

Now, time to run to my sewing machine and put all that inspiration to work. ❤


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Art Deco Faster Fourteen

This is a quilt that Jorge and I made about two years ago, for Spring 2015 Quilt Market — a sampling job for a beautiful Timeless Treasures art deco fabric collection called Charleston. The pattern is Faster Fourteen by Hunter’s Design Studio. Sam wasn’t kidding about the “Faster” part; we made this in just a couple of days, as the sample yardage arrived about a week before it was time to fly out for the show.


The quilt lives on our sofa now and gets a lot of love. I’d never had a chance to take a proper photo of it though, and the weather was so gorgeous this weekend — perfect excuse to enlist Jorge for a picture-taking walk with me! Without any clouds in the sky or leaves on the trees, I was getting discouraged on my hunt for open shade… until we came through this perfect Station Square overpass on the way home.


Aside from being a fabulous pattern designer and all-around pleasure of a human being, Sam Hunter is an incredible advocate – and resource – for makers and creative professionals through her We Are $ew Worth It movement! So I was extra excited to stitch up one of her designs.

We used a dense metallic floral for the back, which made the free-motion stippling a bit of a drag. Those gold flowers added friction and weight. It worked out OK in the end, but lesson learned!



Here is the quilt hanging in the Timeless Treasures QM booth in 2015. I was pretty excited about coordinating the display. Leslie used May Chappell‘s Clutched pattern to make those awesome purses hanging out in the corner. And the framed swatches are the actual antique fabrics that were used to develop the collection!



I’m still totally in love with these fabrics, and actually planning another project this year with what’s left of it in my stash. Stay tuned!


Handmade Christmas: Part 2 (and Baby Ethan!)

Whoa! Time flies! I mentioned in my last post that I would be summarizing all my holiday makes in three posts… but seeing as how it’s almost Valentine’s Day and my Christmas spirit has officially fled, the revised plan is to cram the rest of them into this post.

Before all that though, I just have to share that my nephew, Ethan, was born on January 24th and I am officially an aunt! We got to spend some together on Sunday and am toooootally in love. 😍


Here he is on the quilt I made for him. Squee!


And a few days earlier… snug as a bug in the blankie I made for him.


Over the holidays, I was inspired by a few projects that I spotted in Instagram. It seemed everyone was making rope bowls (I’m looking at you Nicole)! I made lots of them as gifts for family and coworkers. The best part about these is they are fast, easily customizable, and there’s no cutting before you start. You just grab some clothesline and zigzag around! Now I just need to make some for myself.





I found Wonder Clips to be the easiest way to get them started (finickiest part).


I also saw these woven stars online and loved the look of them. I made a few and still got confused on the second half of the weaving each time. They’re a bit of a brain bender, but I got through them in the end!



I also made this laptop sleeve for Jorge’s brother, Mike. This is one of those projects I’ve been trying to get to for years and it kept slipping away from me. Part of me is glad it did, because he just got a new laptop, and it’s the same one I have! So, you would think this made it a cinch since I didn’t have to worry about the dimensions at all, right?


Wrong. It was a problem child. It was too tight, and I had to rip out binding and seams and re-do them so many times I lost count. Eventually I took apart all the pieces and completely re-imagined it, adding a gusset. And I must’ve changed the closure style three or four times. Winging things is not my strong suit.


The quilting was the most enjoyable part because this fabric is just so dang cute. The quilting lines are the only original stitches on this project that actually survived!


For Jorge’s mom, Rosa, I caught up with another project I have been meaning to make for a while. Placemats! It’s a set of eight, and each one is reversible. I used 16 different Timeless Treasures fabrics (most are from Fresh Cut by Michele D’Amore) — no repeats!



Jorge caught the rope bowl bug and made a nesting set for her. We coordinated the fabrics to match the placemats so they could be used together. Here she is beaming with her new table set!


So, I was a busy elf this past holiday season! And before you know it, it’ll be time to do it all over again. 🎄