Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Modern Plus Signs Blog Hop: Message in a Bottle

photo courtesy of C&T Publishing
I first discovered Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs in time to join her second mystery quilt, Midnight Mystery, which started in June of 2015.  I became acquainted with Paige Alexander of Quilted Blooms during the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop when we were both participants, and I was in the group mentored by Cheryl. In addition to being amazingly talented quilters, both ladies are incredibly nice.  The two of them recently released a book they wrote together, Modern Plus Sign Quilts.  I was thrilled and honored to be among those asked to participate in their book hop.

I was lucky enough to get to see pictures of all 16 designs to choose the one I wanted to make.  There were three designs that I was really drawn to and all of them are patterns I know I will make at some point, and I even have fabrics in my stash picked out.  In the end, I chose one of the simplest designs in the book, Message in a Bottle, because I knew it would sew up quickly and make a fabulous donation quilt for Project Linus.  And I liked it so much that I made two!

My first version started with a blue floral print that was in a bag of fabric my friend Snow de-stashed and gave to me.  I knew I wanted a red & white polka dot to compliment the look of the small flowers and I when I saw the print from Red Dot, Green Dash, it fit exactly what I pictured.  I added Kona Tomato to tie it all together.

I quilted in straight lines in groups of three.  I used 2" wide painters tape to mark the gaps. This will be going to the Charlotte chapter of Project Linus.  One of the organizations that my chapter supports is a camp for children of wounded or fallen military parents.  They specifically want quilts in red, white, and blue. 

My second version uses novelty fabrics.  (Surprise, surprise!)  The two prints are from the Ahoy Primatey line that I believe was created for JoAnn Fabrics.  I got a charm square in an I Spy swap several years ago and loved the name, so I went looking for it.  (I love puns, Husband loves monkeys, it was an obvious fit.)  I bought 3 1-yard cuts from etsy.  There was more of the blue print in that de-stash bag from Snow, giving me enough for the background.  The solid is Kona Storm. Small or medium scale novelty prints work well for this pattern, especially if they are not too directional.

I used a cross-hatch for the quilting. My original plan was to donate this to Project Linus as well, but Munchkin has become quite fond of the pirate monkeys, so this may end up as one of his.  He's been very into blankets recently and plays nap time with his stuffed animals, and of course they need to be tucked in!

This pattern comes together really quickly.  I made these two simultaneously.  It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to do all the cutting for both and I pieced the two of them in two and a half hours.   That's two quilts cut and pieced in under four hours!  This would be a really great pattern to use to teach someone to quilt.  There are not a lot of pieces and the top comes together quickly so there is a bit of instant gratification.  It's also not overwhelming to pick out three fabrics that coordinate.  And at 48" square, it's a decent beginner size.

Modern Plus Signs features sixteen patterns.  Designs are ranked on three levels of difficulty and there is a really good mix; there is truly something here for every quilter from absolute beginner to advanced quilters looking for a challenge. Both Cheryl and Paige are selling signed copies in their etsy shops.  It's a book you'll be glad you have!

Here are my other favorite designs from the book.  Postage Plus will be a great pattern for my colorful I Spy scraps
photo courtesy of C&T Publishing

And I have an idea of something I want to try with Celestial.  This is one of the featured designs tomorrow on the blog hop and I'm really excited to see what other quilters did with it.
photo courtesy of C&T Publishing
Cheryl & Paige have daily giveaways on their blogs for the rest of the week, so be sure to check them out.  To see the other quilts on today's featured blogs, visit

Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Wanda @ Wanda's Life Sampler
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

Looking for the full schedule?  You will find versions of all of the quilts from Modern Plus Signs spread out over two weeks. 

Monday, March 12th
Tuesday, March 13th
Kitty @ Night Quilter
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Wednesday, March 14th
Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Abigail @ Cut & Alter
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun

Thursday, March 15th
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Friday, March 16th
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts
Christa @ Christa Quilts
Monday, March 19th
Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Tuesday, March 20th
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood  ← You Are Here!
Wednesday, March 21st
Anja @ Anja Quilts
Thursday, March 22nd
Friday, March 23rd

Cheryl and Paige are also planning a quilt along later this year featuring designs from the book.  I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March Bee Blocks

Last month I was right up to the wire with my bee blocks, so it's nice to be finished with all of them fairly early this month.

In Stash Bee, Queen T asked for a star block of your choice with blue background.  I went to one of my favorite sites for traditional blocks and as soon as I saw the Carpenter's Wheel, I knew I wanted to try it.  I'm not going to lie, it was challenging but I absolutely love how it turned out. You can find the tutorial I used here.

You all know I love novelty fabrics and when I saw that Hive 5's Queen Stephanie asked for Polaroid blocks with novelty fabrics, I knew I had to crash.  These blocks use 3 1/2" squares of featured fabric and that happens to be one of the sizes I cut from my I Spy scraps.  Stephanie linked to this tutorial.

Speaking of novelty fabrics, imagine my delight when Bee Inspired Queen Paige chose a rectangular block and asked for I Spy blocks appropriate for a teenage girl!  She gave us several choices of solids to use for the framing.  Even with reining myself in, I made 5 blocks!  There are strawberries, daisies, scenes of a bear in his neighborhood, unicorns, and fairies. 

Bee Inspired has two queens this month.  We are doubling up in March and September so that no one is queen during the busy holiday months.  Queen Jennifer created a shamrock block that will the border for the quilt she made out of last year's blocks, also her design.  And so on this St. Patrick's Day, here are my shamrocks for Jennifer:

It's nice to be caught up!  Now I just need to get these all packaged up and in the mail.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

OMG March

This year, I got a little over ambitions and picked out 2 blocks (meaning 2 different quilts) for the rainbow scrap challenge.  And I'm behind.  One of the things that I like about Rainbow Scrap Challenge is that it is very casual, so being behind is not a big deal at all.  Still, it will feel nice to catch up.  So I'm setting getting caught up as my OMG (One Monthly Goal).  That means green car blocks (blue from January pictured below) AND blue, purple, and green kitty cat blocks.  I have a lot of pieces for the kitties cut out but no actual blocks pieced.  Linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts.

Take me to the OMG March Link-up  

Monday, March 5, 2018

February Bee Blocks & recap

Yes, I know, we're almost a full week into March.  But February really took me by surprise, so I'm running a little behind.  I usually don't mind that February is so short but it really felt short this year. 

In Stash Bee, Queen Lori asked for Sister's Choice blocks.  This is a traditional block that I had never made before.  I enjoyed the block and could see making them again.

By now, I think everyone knows how much I love novelty fabric. Queen Darrel of Hive 7 asked for novelty blocks appropriate for teenage boys.  The tricky part is that each of the disappearing 9-patch blocks required 4 of the same novelty fabrics.  I was able to find a few that I thought would work and sent them off to Darrel in Australia. 

In Bee Inspired, Queen Ann asked for an improv block with strips of bright scraps.  We were to sew the small scraps onto a strip of muslin and then add 2 or more stripes into the block.  I made about 40" of my crap strip. I was worried about matching up my strips if I crossed them so I chose to have multiple strips that did not cross.

Inspired by Kate at Life in Pieces, I've been tracking how many days I spend at least 15 minutes sewing.  In February, I got sewing time 24 of the 28 days, for a total of 86%.  I'm also at 86% for the year so far.

I'm working on my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail.  Her challenge is to finish at least half of your unfinished projects AND finish anything started in 2018.  I have a list of 25 unfinished projects and must finish at least 13 to earn my PhD. I completed 2 projects from that list in February, both for Project Linus, plus one project that was both started and finished in 2018. That puts me at 5 projects from the UFO list so far.

Happy Weekender

Quilt for Neighbors
I used 11.1 yards of fabric in February, bringing my yearly total to 20.4 yards used. I also made my first (and so far, only!) purchase for the year of 4 1/4 yards.  The local quilt guild's annual show is this weekend and I think I'm going to go, so the number of yards purchased may go up.  I'm specifically looking for reds and hopefully I can limit my purchases to just red fabrics.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Happy Weekender (scaled down version)

I cut my novelty scraps into set sizes.  I feel as though no matter how many 3 1/2" squares I use in I Spy scrap quilts, I always have tons more.  I've been using the Dogwood Weekend quilt on my bed for extra warmth, and I realized that the pattern would absolutely work with 3 1/2" squares instead of the original 5" squares.  So I made this slightly-scaled-down version.

The pattern is Happy Weekender from Moda Bake Shop.  The background fabric is Kona Willow.  It's a scrappy binding--I was quite pleased at using up several "spools" of binding from my leftovers bin.

And, just for comparison, the Dogwood Weekend quilt (completed 2015) that uses the same pattern and the charm squares (5") as originally specified.

Happy Weekender was project #13 on my list of Q1 goals for the globally-hosted Finish Along.

This was also on my list of UFOs for UFO busing with Tish and a needed finish as I work toward my PhD (projects half-done) with Quilting Gail.