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100Days100Blocks2018

If you don’t follow me on Instagram – you should, by the way 😉  – then you might not be aware of the #100Days100Blocks2018 Sew-A-Long going on right now. My friend, Angie, over at Gnome Angel, is the woman in charge and you can find all the pertinent information here.

banner 100 days

Basically, it’s a 100 Day sew-a-long making all 100 blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler book. You will need to book to participate but I can tell you that the instructions are easy to follow and the blocks go together very quickly. It’s a GREAT way to build some skills if you are a beginner and a fun quilt to make for quilters of all ages. Besides, it’s a block a day. You can handle that, right?

I made Block 54 – you can read about that here. Online, you can search using the hashtag #100Days100Blocks2018 to see what quilters around the world are making. It’s been fun to see all the blocks people are making.

You’ll have to follow the appropriate people to win – there are daily prizes and larger sponsors. I’m giving away a copy of my book!

And, between now and the end of the sew-a-long I am offering 20% off at my store using coupon code 100Days100Blocks2018.

 

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Tula Pink City Sampler, Block 54

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I’m really happy to be participating in the #100Blocks100Days quilt along, and hope you’ve been having a good time working your way through Tula’s City Sampler book (and blocks). Today I get to showcase Block 54, or as I’m calling it Block Studio 54. 🙂

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I love this block because it has Flying Geese – they are my favorite! The block was really quick and easy to put together, and I could showcase some fabrics I love.

I’m going to show you how I put the block together, and give you a few tips so you can have piecing perfection.

Tula has easy to follow directions at the beginning of each section. Block 54 is in the Triangles section, and you can find instructions on page 85.

Start by cutting out your pieces according to the directions on page 123 (no, I can’t give you that info – you’ll have to buy the book).

Once I had the pieces cut, I started by assembling the Flying Geese units. You can’t really make the block until they are made 🙂

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Once all four Flying Geese are made, sew them in a row. When I sew Flying Geese units together, I sew with the wrong side of one of the geese facing me. I do this so I can make sure the needle and thread go just above the point of the Flying Geese units, and I get a perfect point. This means I adjust my seam allowance, if needed, as I sew. I give myself up to 1/8” difference, so there’s a little wiggle room. This cheat means I can be a little off and still get a perfect point.

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Sew the Flying Geese units together, making sure you don’t do this.

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Once your Flying Geese units are sewn together, press them. I like to press towards the top of each Flying Geese unit (see above). I find that the fabric sort of naturally falls that way, anyhow.

You should have 3 sections that look something like this:

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IF your Flying Geese units aren’t quite perfect and square, go ahead and trim the edges. I take a small ruler, and run it along the side of my block between two points to make sure I am 1/4” from each point (look between my two fingers). Trim off any excess.

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Once you’ve squared up/trimmed any excess from either/both sides of the Flying Geese units, sew the left and right strips to each side of the block.

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You should have some perfect points to those Geese. If you don’t, that’s okay. Remember, you are better off having a point “float” instead of getting chopped off.

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See how the point floats a little? It’s okay. Leave it. No one will notice once it’s quilted.

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Voila! Enjoy!

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The Quilt Show!!

Y’all!! I’m SO excited!!! TODAY IS THE DAY!! It’s been 5 months since I flew to Denver to film an episode on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

I’ll start with the obvious:
Was it amazing? YES!!!
Was it fun?? YES!!
Is it a career highlight? A million times over it is!
Are Alex and Ricky as nice as they seem? ABSOLUTELY YES!! (the entire crew is really fabulous, as well!)
Should I have worn my SPANX? Yep

Now the story behind my days in Denver.

Mom came with me to the taping. She said she’d love to be a fly on the wall and, well, how could I say no??? She and I got to Denver, checked in to the hotel, then took all my quilts and supplies to the studio. I met a few people, saw the set up (it’s cool, y’all), then Mom and I headed out to have dinner with my cousin and his family.

Dinner was great and I loved catching up with my family, but shortly after we got there snow started to fall. And a LOT of it. Now, I know lots of people in the country (heck, the world) drive in snow all the time, but you know who doesn’t drive in snow? Me. Do you know why? Because I live in the South and we don’t do snow here. You see the clips of everyone racing to the store and clearing off the shelves? That’s legit. We don’t have the supplies and equipment to deal with massive snow (any snow) falling. 103 degree days with 90% humidity, no problem but send us some snow and we are out, plus it always turns to ice (I have driven on that and it is NOT fun). In the South we hunker down, make hot chocolate, and sled on ice or snow. We’re not particular if as long as the sled makes it down the hill.

Anyhow, the snow kept falling. For three hours I watched it coming down, and for three hours I enjoyed dinner but was secretly FREAKING OUT about how I’d get safely back to the hotel. Snow is covering the ground and, until March, I had never driven in snow. My cousin and his wife assured me that Mom and I would be fine. It’s a powder. Just go a little slower.

Let me tell you – going slower was NOT the problem. Seeing the road, however, was. I couldn’t see the lines on the roads and cars were RACING past me. I was SO glad Mom was with me to help navigate us safely back to the hotel. No way could I have listened to my phone navigate me to my hotel AND drive in the snow.

We made it safely back and, if I knew the next day wasn’t going to be so busy, I would have headed to the hotel bar for a cocktail. Instead, Mom and I wisely called it a night. Unfortunately, I had trouble sleeping. I was excited and anxious about the next day. Finally around 1:30 or 2, I got to sleep. You know, just in time for giant laundry cart bumper cars in the parking lot.

I kept trying to sleep but there was an awful noise in the parking lot. I tossed and turned and could not figure out why industrial laundry carts were being rolled around behind the hotel at 2am. When I looked out the window I realized it wasn’t hotel laundry cart bumper cars but the snow plow.

You know what I’ve only heard once in my life? A snow plow. And that was in Maine. I was 6 1/2 months pregnant with my oldest and was able to roll over and go back to sleep as pregnant ladies can often do. Anyhow, Mom stirred around that time and gave me a melatonin and some ear plugs. I fell blissfully asleep.

6 am came early, though, and I definitely needed a few extra cups of coffee. The adrenaline and excitement of the day helped, but wow! I was tired. It also turns out, unbeknownst to me, I was in the middle of a major health crisis that was wearing me down. Short version: my testosterone levels had plummeted and I was exhausted (like first trimester pregnancy exhausted) all the time and couldn’t recover AND, if that’s not enough, I needed to eliminate gluten and dairy from my diet – they were causing a myriad of issues for me (5 months later cue the increased energy levels, clear skin, and 15 pounds lost, and yes, I miss both those items of food).

Anyhow, filming was a blast but I was so nervous! I mean, I’m hanging out with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims!!! I had no idea what camera to look at, so there might be a few crazy eyes moments. haha! It was beyond thrilling and I loved every single second. We talked about my book, Piecing Makeover, I show some of the techniques I have in my book, and we briefly chat about my journey as a sewist and quilter.

You can see the episode here: https://thequiltshow.com/watch/current-show

I hope you like it.

Happy Piecing!

quilt, quilt block, quilt design, quilt patterns, quilting, quilts

News(letter) from the Nook

It’s been a while since I sent out any news. A long while, actually, so I’m going to hit the high points with a revamped newsletter. I hope you like it. Many of you already know the following because social media is great. If not, enjoy.

My book, Piecing Makevoer, SOLD OUT, y’all!!! C&T printed more and you can get a personalized, signed copy on my website.

After years of people asking, I finally took the plunge and have started to release patterns. I only have a few right now, but I’ll slowly add more. You can find the patterns here.

I traveled to Denver, Colorado in March to tape and episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. It was SO. MUCH. FUN!!! The episode will premier in late August. If you are a member at www.thequiltshow.com you’ll have access to the episode as soon as it airs. If not, though the site is FULL of valuable information so you should (hint, hint), don’t worry – you’ll be able to see it a few weeks later. You can read about the upcoming episode here.

Last but not least: I’m going to be participating in Gnome Angel’s 100Blocks100Days sew along. It begins July 7th and will end on October 14th. Angie has ALL the rules on her website (www.gnomeangel.com) or you can click here and get right to it.

I’ll be making block 54 and will share all my tips and tricks on August 29th. I’m excited to participate in this fun sew along and hope you will consider participating. There are a lot of talented quilters and sponsors this year, and I KNOW it’ll be great!

Happy Piecing!
Patty

make something, quilt, quilt block, quilt design, quilt patterns, quilting, quilts

What if I fly???

 

For a long time I have wanted to put my quilt designs into the world. Over the years I’ve had lots of people ask but I was never quite ready to take a leap of faith. I would dabble here and there, but it never went further than that.  Maybe I was scared? I mean, I’ll be honest. I was scared.

The past several months I’ve been pondering taking leaps of faith. Jump and a net will appear. What if I fall? What if I fly? Will people like what I make and actually buy my designs? They’ve asked; I just haven’t listened.

falling

Soooo, the impetus to this really happening, a sign I couldn’t ignore, was a shop in Texas reaching out to me. One of the employees made a quilt using my All Squared Up pattern from the Quilt Shop Sampler magazine in 2007. They needed patterns. Did I have any?  Well, yes, and no. The pattern was written – had been for 12 years – but I didn’t have any physical patterns. So, I moved quickly, grabbed the quilt from Intown Quilters so I could snap a photo, and voila!

It began.

I’ve been gearing up for this for a while, but if I don’t take a leap, it’ll never happen. So this is me at my jumping off point. Taking a leap. It’s exciting, and scary at the same time.

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I have five, YES, f-i-v-e, patterns in my shop. You can find them here. All PDF’s available for immediate download, and paper patterns/wholesale options available for shops (just email me).

A few are tried and true favorites patterns, and some are new. I have more coming down the pipeline. Take a look, leave a comment, and if you find an error, please let me know.

Happy Piecing, y’all!

 

 

make something, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilting, quilts

Please, Enter a Contest

I know I write and sing the praises of perfecting technique. I think it’s important and I’ve seen far too many quilters give up because of issues they couldn’t navigate. And it’s not that you have to be perfect with your piecing (except me, I admit I have a problem) but because it’s important to know how to trouble shoot and solve problems. I also think if you know how to do something correctly, then you gain the freedom to figure out other ways to achieve your desired end product, either correctly or not; AND that gives you a greater depth of knowledge if your wonky way works, or doesn’t.

That being said, I also think you should put your work, perfect or not,  in shows from time to time.

Seriously.

Judged, juried, judged and juried. I know it’s fairly intimidating to enter a quilt into a show. No one wants to have a quilt rejected from a show OR read negative feedback regarding their work. Heck, I submitted a quilt into Paducah and was nervous they wouldn’t accept it. I was also anxious to read judges comments about my quilt. BUT it’s important to get feedback away from your echo chamber and get new eyes on your work. If you want to improve your quilts, one of the best ways to do it is to get constructive criticism. Even if it’s tough to stomach.

It’s an honor to be juried into a show, and my quilt going to Paducah was no exception. I love my quilt, and AQS liked it enough to have it juried into the show. Big applause, right? My quilt didn’t get any ribbons though, so naturally I wondered what was wrong with it in the eyes of the judges.

When my quilt was returned last week I TORE into the box to see the comments. WHAT DID THE JUDGES SAY ABOUT MY QUILT?

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You can read the comments above but what it came down to was aesthetics. Some of the design elements of my quilt didn’t appeal to the judges and THAT IS OKAY.  I like my quilt as it is, and I appreciate the the judges offering their feedback.  While this quilt won’t EVER get changed, and I love it the way it is, the comments give me design options to consider in the future.

Will I ever make this quilt again? Probably not. Will I ever have dense border with some kind of intricate piecing? I’m not sure. But if I do, I have points to ponder from an aesthetic standpoint and if I know how to make the pieces fit together (see paragraph 1), then I (or you) have the ability to make your vision a reality. Possibly without a world of frustration, too.

Happy Piecing!

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Here I Come, Paducah!

When I was 18, I worked part time (summers, holidays) at a local quilt shop. One of the women that worked there had a quilt hanging in the shop. It was an American flag and the words to the Pledge of Allegiance were in the white stripes. The quilt had been to Paducah and won a blue ribbon – perhaps it even won best of show?? I can’t quite recall, and it’s been (ahem) quite a few years.

Anyhow, I remember all the fuss about the quilt from women that would come into the shop. Those ladies would go on and on and on about MaryAnn and her quilt. Keep in mind that at that time I was just starting my quilting journey and I was VERY impressionable. The quilt was lovely. Really, it was, and who doesn’t like an American flag quilt? but the thing that always stuck with me was what an honor it was to have a quilt juried into the AQS Paducah show.

Because of those early experiences, I really wanted to get a quilt into Paducah one day. It’s been a goal for a very long time. 25 years later and that hasn’t left me. Actually, being juried into ANY show is a big deal and a HUGE honor, but for some reason (see above) this show has always been in the back of my mind.

I’ve thought about it over the years, and have contemplated entering a quilt. Honestly, I was scared – what if they didn’t like the quilt?? Maybe getting over the fear (kinda) is something that happens in your 40s….you realize that the worst thing that’ll happen is they say no. And no is okay. Disappointing, but okay.

So, fast forward to December 1, 2017. I entered The Bride Wore Pink to the spring AQS show, crossed my fingers, and hit the submit button.

Yesterday I received an email letting me know that my quilt, The Bride Wore Pink, was juried into the show.

Y’ALL!! I’m so excited!!!!

The Bride Wore Pink

 

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Product Review – QuiKraft Spray Glue

My friend, Charlene, recently introduced me to a new spray glue that is coming to the US later this spring. It’s called QuiKraft Tack by Siliconi.

I am telling you, people, that you want a bottle of this stuff!

Seriously. You will want this as sewing room staple. It’s fantastic, and I will use it to spray baste for a long, long time.

Here are my thoughts on the QuiKraft glue, and some rambling about machine quilting, so bear with me. I promise it’ll make sense in the end.

For many years I have sent my quilts out to my friend Regina. She’s a longarm quilter, and her work is incredible! I’ve sent my quilts out for two reasons:

  1. The quilts actually get finished and
  2. I wasn’t willing to put in the time to machine quilt my quilts.

 

Number 2 is the real doozie here in that my unwillingness to do the work meant my work didn’t improve. My quilting was okay, but I always wanted it to get significantly better. Sooooo, since this year is about me finishing projects, I decided that finishing them on my own would be part of the package. I know that won’t always happen, but it needs to happen more. It gives me a chance to work on my machine quilting, so it’s not all bad.

One of the reasons I HATE machine quilting is the basting process. It is tough on my back, and crawling around the floor is just not fun.  I need a better table to baste (that’s coming soon) so I don’t have to suffer when I baste quilts on the floor….however, after using the QuiKraft I decided that I can stick to the floor for a little bit longer.

I decided to test the spray glue on Q man’s quilt. He painted the top, and I knew if I messed up he could paint another. That’s horrible, I know, but it’s also true. Like other spray glues on the market, it’s easy to use. You shake the can, spray about a foot from your project, and put the pieces together.

I started by taping my backing fabric to the floor (unlike this photo, remove threads that run across the center of your backing)

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then put my (franken) batting on top of the backing fabric. Also not pictured, smoothed out batting.

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Last, put your quilt on top to make the sandwich.

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Once that’s was situated, I folded the top half of the quilt top and the batting onto itself. The goal here was to work on one half of the quilt at a time.

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Shake the spray glue can well then spray it 10-12″ from your project. I sprayed the backing AND the batting. I sprayed about 6″ X width of quilt each time. After I sprayed, I carefully rolled/repositioned the batting that had been glued to the backing and worked my way up the quilt until I got to the top. I repeated this on the other side of the quilt to glue my batting to the backing.

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After I glued down the batting, I repeated the same process to glue the quilt top to the batting to complete my quilt sandwich.

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Regarding gluing the sandwich together:

  1. It’s MUCH faster to spray baste than pin baste
  2. This glue is VERY easy to use
  3. Low VOC, which is nice since I’m basting this on my basement floor. There is hardly ANY odor so I didn’t have to worry about passing out from fumes.
  4. It was very easy to clean up any over spray from my floor (truth – my kids may have done that with their socks)
  5. The glue works.

There are many reasons I liked working with the QuiKraft glue, but I think #5 is what sticks out in my mind the most (get it? sticks? glue?). I’ve tried other spray basting glues before and never felt they worked well enough for me, or I felt the need to iron my sandwich together AFTER spray basting to make sure all the pieces were secure.

Anyhow, working in 6″ X width of quilt was manageable and allowed me to smooth out any small inconsistencies in my sandwich as I worked. I didn’t have a huge area on my quilt, backing, or batting with glue and the inability to glue it down cleanly.  Smaller working space meant I could accurately spray baste my quilt and get it down securely.

I’m about halfway through quilting Q man’s quilt, and haven’t had any problems. No part of my sandwich has come unglued while I work and that’s made machine quilting significantly smoother than pin basting or having not-so-great-sandwiches come apart for one reason or another. I haven’t had any gumming on my needle, either. Another HUGE bonus.

Because my sandwich has been so secure, quilting has been a breeze. IMG_3126

I have 3 more rings to quilt. Knowing I’ll be able to tackle those with relative ease and no sandwich issues makes me significantly less anxious about the process.  The right tools make everything enjoyable.

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Close up shot. You can see where I needed to replace my stippling needle. You can also see my work on spirals. Spirals are the death of me so I’m really working to get those down. I don’t know why I have such a mental block on them.

I highly recommend this project, and I’m eager to spray baste another quilt later this week.

To keep up with news, I recommend you follow @quikraft_siliconi on Instagram. I know they have some fun plans for the spring, and this way you’ll be the first to hear!

Acrylic with fabric medium on PFD. Quilted on my Bernina 770QE with Aurifil 50wt. thread.  75/11 needles.

 

 

Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts, sewing

This Girl is Headed to The Quilt Show

My first (and currently only) school house was at Market in fall 2016. I was excited about my presentation, and was sharing the time slot with John Kubiniec. John was speaking about his new book, A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path, and had made some quilts using Alex Anderson’s new line of fabric being released at market.

Now, I knew I would be speaking with John, and he and I had spoken on the phone prior to quilt market. What I didn’t know was that Alex Anderson would be there.

Yep!

She was 5 feet from me. In the front row. I was equal parts ecstatic and terrified! You would be, too! Half of what I wanted to say went right out the window.

So, I make it through my presentation, and Alex was as kind and lovely as you think she’d be. She told me I did a nice job and congrats on the book, and so on.

The end.

Okay, not the end. Only the end until fall market 2017. I had a whirlwind trip to Houston that included finding out the hard way I had a sulpha drug allergy. So in addition to spending two days walking around George Brown being incredibly itchy,  I was walking around on Sunday tired from Benadryl.

Anyhow, about halfway through the day, my friend Charlene and I walked into a booth. Alex was sitting at a table helping someone. She smiled at us when we walked in, and Charlene and I continued to peruse. I was particularly interested in the EVA foam Cheryl Sleboda had because I had just made a not so great but kind of okay helmet for my son for Halloween. Charlene was checking out batting.

Anyhow, while I was looking around Alex must have finished what she was doing, walked over to me, smiled, and said hello. We started to talk, and in a complete “this is either a REALLY good idea or a terrible one” kind of moment, I said: so, do you remember….and launched into reminding her about my school house and how nice she was to me last year.

Alex asked about my book, Piecing Makeover, and, of course, I was happy to grab it from my bag and show it to her. She flipped through it and then asked if I’d want to be on The Quilt Show.

WHAT?! Um, yes!! No need to ask twice. I. AM. THERE!

Seriously, though. I am there. Well, I’m there in March and I am SO EXCITED! Y’all! This is ah-mazing!

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I’m super excited to go, and I’ll keep you updated on any fun developments. It’s going to be great!

Happy Piecing!

PM

family, make something, personal, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts

On Making Resolutions, Not Making Resolutions, and Sweet Things

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I have enough to keep up with on any given day and the thought of adding to my already lengthy list is daunting. Plus, it’s always a disappointment if I can’t keep a promise to myself for a year. Why set myself up for failure, right?

Enter being alone…sewing…head going…..then poof! I blew up that thought when I made a quiet resolution to myself. Dang it!

For every NEW quilt I start, I’m going to finish a work in progress.

It’s a good one, but this must have been a complete moment of weakness; or me looking around my space realizing I’d have more if I finished some projects.

The plan: if it’s been cut, partially pieced, blocks made but need to assemble the top, partially quilted, WHATEVER, then it’s time to finish that project.

I am allowing myself one small stipulation: finished tops don’t count.  I can fold them up and put them in my cabinet to be quilted on another day.  Fast forward to a year from now when I’m complaining about all the quilts that need quilting. Here’s hoping that’s not the case. Note: I’m grateful for long arm quilters. Anyhow, at least if the mess is off my floor, I’ll have some room to move. That’ll be nice. I could use more space. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

The first project I’m tackling this year is a quilt for my husband’s aunt. Several years ago she asked me to make a quilt from her children’s clothing. She has 5 (yes, F-I-V-E) kids and had a great, big basket of things for me to use. I cut a bunch of things into 5″ squares and put them together with a sashing and I never. liked. the. quilt.

It was somewhere between a large wall and small lap quilt. I didn’t like the pieces just sashed. There was no pizzaz, and I knew I could do something I liked FAR better. 4 squares were larger so I used them as cornerstones, but then the borders were too wide, and the quilt wasn’t quite proportional. I didn’t like my border choice for that quilt, either. Also, if I’m making a quilt from clothing from 5 babies, then said aunt should be able to snuggle up under it. I mean, those are years of precious memories. Diaper covers, cross-stitched bags, flannel blankets, and loads of other sweet, sweet things.

So I sat on it.

For two years I sat on a (small) almost-completed quilt because I didn’t love it. It was okay, but that’s not okay for me.

So I stewed, and mulled, and processed, and let it muster until the lightbulb went off. And THEN, when the inspiration hit, I was able to pull the trigger. Sheesh, y’all! This quilt is going to be ah-mazing!! I’m so excited about it. I can’t wait for you to see the finished project!

Let me also add (completely-ish off topic) that sometimes waiting is the best thing you can do for a project. I am one of the most impatient people I know, so that really means something coming from me. But it’s true. I am so glad that I waited and didn’t finish this quilt. It’s definitely worth it!

Back to the quilt. When the lightbulb came on at 3am one morning (thank you insomnia, Carrie Bloomston, and That Little Spark), the quilt came together.

I spent the last 2 days reworking the top. I have the center blocks assembled, and plan to sew them together today. Plans for the rest of the week include inner and outer border, then determining quilting situation.

Here’s a sneak peak.

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Enjoy!