Value Quilt

December 30, 2015

One of my biggest (and scariest!) goals for 2015 was to learn to quilt. I grew up sewing and collecting fabric, but I’d never made a quilt before. It’s no secret that I would love to design my own fabric collections one day. Part of being a fabric designer (at least for quilting cotton collections) is making them into quilt patterns and quilts, so it was something I needed to learn to advance my career professionally. It was also something I wanted to know how to do. I studied quilts a bit in college and incorporated elements of them into my painting and art work. I even made a quilt top in college (that turned out rather horribly! I wish I knew then what I know now!), stretched it, and painted on it for my abstract painting class final (it is hanging in our living room!). I love quilts and the history in them. I love the mix of fabrics and the ability to put time and effort into something that can be used to cuddle up on the couch with and also pass along to children and grandchildren. Such beautiful works of art! I had also amassed a nice collection of fabrics and needed something to do with them!


You might remember this photo (above) that I posted on Instagram around this time last year. Last year for Christmas, I asked my dad to buy me a couple quilting books I wanted (LOVE this one) and some new fabrics from a local (to Southern IL) fabric store (the amazing Hancock’s of Paducah) to use in a quilt I wanted to make. My caption on this photo was, Love, love, love all these new fabrics that I’ll be using this year as I teach myself to quilt! #2015 #makeithappen #starttoday” I’m so happy to say that I made it happen! I not only used those fabrics above (and more from my collection) to make this value quilt, but as you already know, this past summer I attended a Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Anna Maria Horner’s Craft South in Nashville with all the designers of Cotton and Steel. I learned some additional quilting tips there and pieced my Mod Hexagon Quilt. I did all the piecing on that quilt, but was nervous to do the quilting and binding myself, so I sent it off to a lady that I met at the workshop to long-arm quilt and bind it for me. It turned out wonderfully! But I’m happy to say that on my Value Quilt, I conquered my fears and did every single bit of it myself!! I pieced it (even designing a few of the fabrics myself!), quilted it, and bound it! I’ve done a lot of cool things this year, but making this quilt is perhaps my proudest accomplishment of the year!

Here are some photos from the process (with pretty afters!):

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Pulling out fabrics from my collection and organizing them into light, medium, and dark values.

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I had to set my old desk back up in my office to have a cutting table.


One of my greatest quilting fears was not getting the seams on the squares to line up correctly. I had a rather frightening experience with this when making the quilt top I painted on in college. But thanks to Alexia Abegg (one of the designers of Cotton and Steel), I did it! At the workshop I attended last summer, I asked her to show me her secrets to getting those intersections to line up perfectly. Turns out, it isn’t that hard! The secret is in making sure your blocks are the same size (I already knew that part), and then making sure you press your seams for the rows in opposite directions so that they nest into one another at the intersections. Before you sew, you nestle them together and pin in place. It worked wonderfully!


I was also really worried about whether or not I would even be able to quilt this on my basic Singer sewing machine. But it worked just fine! I did simple, straight line quilting on either side of the diagonals. Quilting it on a diagonal helped to reduce some of the bulk stuck under the neck of my sewing machine. Drew helped me pin baste the quilt sandwich together (you are the best, love!).

I also have to give a shout out to JoAnn Hinkle of In Stitches in Lebanon, TN. I fell madly in love with that black and white fabric (Faye Burgos of Marcus Brothers Fabrics, Medallion Trellis in Black from her Quartette Collection). But when I went to buy more of it online for the backing, it was out of stock everywhere! I guess it isn’t in print anymore. I searched the Marcus Brother’s fabrics website for retailers of their fabrics to see if I could find someone with it in stock. There weren’t any quilt shops that had it in New Orleans, so I looked around Southern IL (my hometown). Hancock’s of Paducah didn’t have it either. So I started looking at Quilt Shops in the Nashville/Lebanon, TN area (where my older sister lives). I got in touch with JoAnn of In Stitches and she tracked it down for me at a warehouse. Thank you so, so much JoAnn!


I had never made binding or bound a quilt before either, but it turned out wonderfully! These clips were great (there they are in a handmade bowl I threw in my ceramics studio!). The dark pink/wine colored thread that I used to hand sew the binding on the back of the quilt actually belonged to Marie, my first cousin twice removed (the daughter of my Papaw’s uncle Courtland). Her niece passed along a lot of her sewing things to me, mostly colorful spools of thread. Marie grew up on the same land that I did. Love that little extra bit of history included in this quilt.

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Drew holding the finished pieced top up in City Park in New Orleans so I could get a nice photo of the top!

And now, the after photos:

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This quilt is a memory quilt of sorts in that it contains fabrics from my collection through the years. Some of these I collected as a child for various sewing projects, some I bought in college for art projects, some I’ve collected as I’ve traveled – a cute fabric shop we went to in Portsmouth, NH on our honeymoon, some fabrics from Portland, OR, some from here, some from back home. It also contains fabrics from many of my favorite fabric designers, some of which I’ve had the opportunity to meet or get to know in the last year or two. I also designed a few of these fabrics and had them printed on Spoonflower. That rose pink floral on the eggplant background above is mine. That is a little rose I illustrated from the rosebushes we planted in the front yard of our apartment.

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The handwriting fabric, above, is my Mamaw, Evelyn’s, handwriting. It is her telling me “I love you” on a note she gave me when I was little. I turned it into a pattern and had it printed. There is also another fabric in this quilt that is my handwriting saying “I love you” back. The small blue and white check next to it is actually a bit of one of my Papaw’s shirts.

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I love the mix of colors along with bits of black and white (and metallic gold!). I have a slight obsession with black and white. I feel like you don’t see a lot of quilts that use black in them, but I love the sophistication it adds and helps to balance out the colors a bit. This quilt is so me!

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I just love the way it came out so much! I love the simple diamond pattern on the back from the quilting.

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I just finished sewing on the last bit of the binding last night. I can’t wait to snuggle up under it on the couch for movie nights! Violet loves sleeping under my last quilt, I’m curious if she’ll like this one just as much.

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The flowers my dad gave me for Christmas look so pretty with it!

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I put together this basic instruction guide on what I did, in case you want to make your own:

Value Quilt Plans.inddSome other helpful resources include: this tutorial on value quilting (with photos of some beautiful quilts), how to make binding, and how to hand sew the back of the binding.

Mod Hexagon Quilt

October 5, 2015

A month or so ago, I finished piecing my Mod Hexagon Quilt that I started at the Cotton and Steel Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Anna Maria Horner’s Craft South in Nashville. I was nervous to try quilting it myself (I’ll try that on the next one!) so I sent it off to a lady I met at the workshop to have her long arm quilt it for me (Elizabeth Beck Quilts). I got it back last week and I LOVE the way it turned out!

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I used all Cotton & Steel and Anna Maria Horner fabrics. I love the way the colored bits make little paper airplanes.

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The weather has finally turned a little cooler in New Orleans, so I’ve been enjoying snuggling up with it on the couch! This is my first quilt and I’m so pleased with the experience of making something that can be used for a practical purpose. Most of my “making” has usually been painting, digital design, decorating, or sewing things like curtains. All those are lovely, but they can’t be “used” in the same way that a quilt can.
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I love how sparkly that woven Loominous fabric is by Anna Maria Horner. It is hard to capture in photos, but it person it is so glittery! I think it really makes the quilt!

Bathroom Shower Curtain

October 19, 2013

The bathroom makeover saga continues. I left off, here, where I shared the simple updates we did–art, accessories, and some updates with paint. The main thing left on our list was to find fabric that I could use to make an extra-long shower curtain. The shower curtain needed to be roughly 72×86 inches, so larger than normal widths of fabric. The only other option that I could think of was to find a flat sheet I liked to make it out of.

A trip or two to TJ Maxx gave us a few options. I couldn’t decide in the store, so we bought a few, brought them home to see them in the space, then returned the two we didn’t use.

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The gray/teal/green patterned one was actually a duvet cover, then we had the blue/white patterned one, and the gray one on top. They were all pretty solid options, but in the end we went with the gray one:

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That one beat out the others for a few reasons. I wanted this small room to stay pretty simple. My ideal curtain would have had a subtle pattern on it, but the simple patterned sheet set we found was light blue and it clashed with the mint blue ceiling we have in here. The more highly patterned grey/teal/green one I liked, but it was the most expensive, was a duvet cover, so it would have been a little added work to make into a shower curtain, and I was worried that it was just a little too busy for the space. The gray one, however, was simple, a great color that went well with the existing patterned hand towel, gray plant pot in the shower, and gave a nice neutral backdrop for the bright colored painting/accessories. As if those reasons weren’t enough, it was actually only a flat sheet (instead of a sheet set, where we were buying a fitted sheet and pillowcases as well that we didn’t need) and it was on clearance for $15:

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It was a super easy project to turn it into a shower curtain. I only had to trim a few inches off one side, sew that seam back up, then I cut the band off the top of the sheet, hemmed that, and sewed buttonholes to line up with the holes along the top of our shower curtain liner. Finished it up in one short afternoon.

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Even though the sheet made a thinner shower curtain than most ones you buy, I haven’t had any problems with it since we also have a liner on the inside.

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Showering is so much nicer now! When we only had the liner up, the air would blow the liner onto you while you were in the shower. Now, with the outside curtain up too, that doesn’t happen.

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Perhaps down the line, we’ll get a patterned rug to go in here to break  up all the solid areas of color, but for now, I’m happy with our little bathroom makeover and how little we’ve spent on it!

Crocheted Blanket

December 29, 2011

I hope you all had wonderful holidays! I definitely have been busy the past few weeks! Visiting with family, taking my nieces to get pictures taken with Santa, shopping with my sisters for Christmas presents, baking cookies with my mom (these are my favorite holiday cookies!), celebrating Hanukkah and remembering our Savior’s Jewish roots, celebrating Christmas and remembering the night of our dear Savior’s birth, giving gifts, relaxing and wedding planning as well!

A while ago, I stumbled across this picture on the internet and decided that I wanted to start crocheting a blanket like this one over my Christmas break:

My friend, Tonya, and I used to knit and crochet all the time in middle school. We made tons of scarves and baby blankets, but I hadn’t ever made a large blanket like this. Luckily, my mom is super crafty and knows how to do all kinds of sewing things, so she refreshed my memory on my crochet stitches and read the pattern for me and showed me how to do it. It is really easy once you get the hang of it!

I ended up going to Walmart the day before Christmas Eve and bought 18 colors of yarn to work with. I seriously left the store with three huge bags full of yarn. ($50 worth!) I ended up wrapping them up for a Christmas present to me from my parents (they usually have us pick out things we want, wrap them and open them on Christmas) and then on Christmas Eve when we opened gifts, I looked like this:

My mom and I both started working on it that night and have been crocheting constantly for the past few days and have a pretty much finished blanket already!

We made lots and lots of circles before we started connecting them together.

We also tried to make sure that no two circles were alike so we spent a lot of time comparing the ones we were working on with the ones already done. We tried to make sure that we made the same number of centers out of each color and the same with the middle rows and outsides so that all colors would be well represented in the end.

It was harder than you would think to try to determine what circles to put next to each other to balance out the blanket!

We aren’t completely done, I still want to add a few more rows to make it a little bigger, and I have to go back in and thread in the tails of yarn, but so far we have this: (it is roughly 3×5 feet)

I think this blanket would also be really pretty made a little smaller for a baby blanket. It would also be pretty in a different color scheme as well.

I love the way the colors look together and I love the shapes. They look like little flowers. I also love the little star design that is made in the connecting corners between the colors (in the white part).

These are the colors of yarn that I used. The large white one on top is the connecting color. As you can see, the blanket is in the background, so this is how much yarn I had leftover after making a blanket this big. I still plan on making it bigger, so in the end I’ll use more of each kind than shown here, but you could easily make more than one blanket out of the yarn  bought for this project. I bought two of the super jumbo white one on top and we used all of one and a little bit of the one pictured here.

To make it, I used these directions, with a size H crochet needle. That blog also shows pictures that might be helpful if you haven’t crocheted much before. To sum up her words, this is pretty much how you do it:

ch chainst = stitch, ss = slip stitchdc = double crochet.

Start: make 5 ch, join with ss into a ring.

1st round: 4ch (=1dc,1ch), 1dc + 1ch 11 times. Join with ss in 3rd ch. 12 dc.

2nd round: Start in one of the ch spaces. 3 ch (= 1dc), 1dc, 1ch, *2dc, 1ch* in the remaining ch spaces. Join with ss in 3rd ch. 12 groups of 2 dc.

3rd round: Start in one of the ch spaces. 3 ch (= 1dc), 2dc in ch space, 1ch, *3dc, 1ch* in the remaining ch spaces. Join with ss in 3rd ch. 12 groups of 3 dc.

4th round: Start in one of the ch spaces. 4ch (= 1 tr), 1tr, 3ch, 2tr, (=1st corner), *1ch, (2dc,1ch,2dc) in next ch space, 1ch, (2dc,1ch,2dc) in next ch space, 1ch, (2tr, 3ch, 2tr) (=2nd corner)**, repeat * to ** 2 times, 1ch, (2dc, 1ch, 2dc) inthe next two ch spaces, 1ch. Join with ss to 4th ch.

I used the assembly line method so I made a lot of circles before I started the 4th round and then joined them like this:

Start in a corner. Crochet 2tr, 1ch,next ch through the corner of the other square, 1ch, 2tr. (The first corner is done). Side: 1ch,(2dc, 1ch through 1ch on other square, 2dc), 1ch (2dc, 1ch through 1ch on other square, 2dc), 1ch. Next corner (where you will join square to the square to the right and the one above): 2tr, 1ch, 1ch through corner of square to the right, 1 ch through corner of the square above, 2 tr. Do the next side as the first. In the next corner you crochet 1 ch through the corner of the square above. Finish the round as in pattern.

Final Border:  One row of dc first. On dc in every dc and one dc in every ch space. 5 dc in the corners. One row of sc in every dc of last round. make one extra sc in the corners. One row of loops: Start with one sc, chain 4, skip two sc on last round – all the way round.

Here, is some more info on the lady’s blanket who wrote the directions above and more info on what the final border looks like. She calls her blanket, “Flowers in the Snow.”

Happy Crocheting! :)

P.S. My mom and I were both crocheting pretty fast the whole time, have previous experience crocheting, and we seriously worked on it all day long and late into the night almost every day over the past few days, so unless you have unlimited amounts of time to give to it all at once, I wouldn’t expect to finish yours so quickly! I thought it would take me months to do when I first decided to do it. I can’t believe we got so much done already! :)


See the blanket completely done in this post, here

Altered Elephant Shirt

August 23, 2011

Can you believe it? I broke out my sewing machine again.

It seems like with most sewing projects that I’ve done before, I always get frustrated with the complications to the project that once its over, I don’t want near a sewing machine for a long time. Even though I’ve made some pretty cool things before and I’m usually always happy with the final results of the project. But it was the complete opposite reaction this time. I was so happy with how well my Drop Cloth Drapes went, that I went looking around the house for other things I could sew. (without coming up with a huge sewing project, because I have lots of other things I need to get done around here before school starts on Monday)

So, that’s where this shirt comes in:

I bought this shirt while shopping with my sisters in Nashville the weekend I ordered my wedding dress. It was sort of an impulse buy. It was at the end of the day and the little girls were tired and hungry and we were in a hurry to get out of the mall. I tried it on and I was in the middle of trying to decide if I should get it or not, and since I was rushing around, I just threw it in with the other stuff I was getting and went ahead and bought it. I do really like the softness and flowy-ness of the fabric and I really like the little pink elephants all over it. (My Mamaw loved elephants and they remind me of her.)

However, what I don’t like about it, is the fact that it is so big and open. It isn’t fitted at all. Some people really like that style, but it is a style that I don’t think looks very good on me. I have a rather large bust for my figure and if I wear clothes that aren’t fitted, then I just look as fat as my bust everywhere. Underneath all that unfitted-ness I do actually have a small waist. I think that clothes look better on me if they accentuate that fact. Plus, being so big it was also looking a little too nightgown-y for my tastes.

I thought it would look better more like this:

So, I figured what better small sewing project to tackle than this. You might think that the first picture above didn’t look so bad. Well, I do admit, it actually photographed a lot better than it looked in person. In reality, it looked about three times too big everywhere but in the sleeves. You can see how big it looks laying flat on my desk:

It looks big enough, that well, an elephant should be able to fit in it. However, I didn’t feel the need to cut down the size, I simply wanted it to make it look a little more flattering in the front. So what did I do?

I commissioned the help of this little guy:

A piece of light pink ribbon from my sewing stash. Just the right length for what I needed it to do. I cut it in two equal pieces, snipped off the ends and fray-checked them.

Then I looked in the mirror to see where I wanted the ribbons to go in the side seams to pull the front of the shirt a little tighter and put pins in to mark that spot.

Then I took it off, turned it inside out and measured down to see how far down my pins were and made sure both sides were down equal amounts.

Then I used my seam ripper to rip a small hole in my seam where I wanted my ties to go.

Next, I pinned my ribbon in, sewed across it several times and did the same to the other side. I trimmed off all my threads and then for safe measure, used a little fray check across the seam to make sure my shirt fabric didn’t fray in that spot. I turned it right side out again and I was done! Yay for 5 minute sewing fixes!

Here is my completed shirt.

It fits so much better. (Sorry for the crappy pictures–I was too lazy to get out the tripod and camera remote to use my DSLR) No more hiding underneath a huge shirt! I like the way the back looks even better though:

I love the little pink bow and all the soft, ruffly creases. So pretty and a thousand times better than before. :)