Archive for the 'Virtual Quilting Bee' Category

A Bit of Random

I was up half the night with a sick little urchin so the best I can offer is a little bit of random this grey Monday morning:

For Sarah

– I finished this pillow for my friend Sarah. Now Martha’s pillow is safe from the threat of the pillow-napper.

For a Pair of Big Brothers

– I also finally finished these big brother gifts. That pencil case drove me crazy. It’s pretty cute though so I’m getting over it.

Virtul Quilting Bee - AugustVirtul Quilting Bee - February

– I finished my last two squares of the Virtual Quilting Bee. There is more to say as this project wraps up so I’ll save that for another day.

Knitting on Toothpicks

– I started a new pair of socks. The yarn — Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in Pinstripe– and the pattern — Jaywalker by Grumperina — were made for each other.

Happy Monday!

Catching Up

I realized over the weekend that I have a number of things I haven’t shared with you guys that I’ve been meaning to share — don’t get too excited, nothing major — so I think I’ll be doing some catching up this week on the blog before we start careening toward the holidays. First up, the Virtual Quilting Bee. The last block I showed you was from July. Well, we skipped August because Eren‘s fabric got lost in the mail but I finished up my September and October blocks yesterday.

VQB - September - Melissa

Melissa wanted trees. I really liked the trunk on the tree in Erin‘s block and wanted to incorporate that idea into my block. I originally though I might use yo-yos to make the tree tops but decided that would be a pain in the neck for Melissa and me both. Then I remembered this skirt that Melissa made a little while ago. Perfect. The fabric behind the white is not knit, as is typical in the Alabama Stitch style and the stitching around the leaves was done on the machine but it is definitely inspired by that style. The little bird was appliquéd on at the end.

VQB - October - Morgan

Morgan was looking for something block-y and a little bit crazy using Aunt Grace‘s style prints. She asked for the white block in the center too. I’m not sure I love this but I think combined with the other blocks it will make the quilt Morgan is looking for so I’m not changing it unless Morgan decides she doesn’t like it. It’s a great thing about the VQB, you have to create outside your personal style and that is a fun challenge.

And speaking of the fun of the VQB I get asked lots of questions about how the whole thing works and would I mind if you started your own Bee. I was certainly not the first person to think of a quilting bee in cyberspace so there is no need to get my permission. I love to see all the other bees popping up. I wish I could organize a whole bunch of them but believe me, one keeps me busy enough! Anyway, I’ve added an FAQ section to my VQB page with some info about how we operate. I hope that helps all of you with questions.

I’m Blaming Erin

Do We Like This?

Did I ever show you my block for the July edition of the Virtual Quilting Bee? Erin’s wonderful idea was to send each of us a different print from Denyse Schmidt‘s Flea Market Fancy line. We each made a nine-patch block with the fabric she sent as the center square on each side of the block. It reminded me how much I’ve loved seeing this line all over the blogosphere and that I had a good amount of the grey floral in my stash.

Then I was at my local fabric shop last weekend trying to find buttons for my long completed Juliet sweater — anyone know a source for two large natural-looking brown buttons? — and there was a bunch of the line staring me in the face. I mean, how could I resist, especially considering it was 25% off and in the colorways that coordinate with my stashed grey.

I'm Blaming Erin

As you can tell, resisting is not my forté. Now I just need to figure out what kind of quilt to make. I have 1/2 yard of each fabric except the grey floral which I have lots of. My favorite quilt show of the year is on Sunday so I may find some more bits to add to the stash, but then again I may not — this line has been out for some time. I’m thinking some sort of simple block that I can cut up and rearrange to look fancy — like the disappearing nine-patch. Any suggestions?

Virtual Quilting Bee – April and May

When Amanda Jean said she wanted a red and white quilt — only red and white — I thought, no problem. I have a ton of red fabric in my stash. Well, it turns out I didn’t have any of the right red and all the right reds had a little something else in them too — green, pink, tan. So I finally got myself to a fabric store last week and picked up a few red and white prints. I decided to make a star since Amanda Jean helped me begin to conquer my fear of triangles. I had to rip out the last seam about four times before I was satisfied with it. It is still not perfect but the points in the middle match so I’ll live with it.

Virtual Quilting Bee April

Courtney sent three solids and asked us to create a square that was bordered in the muslin color. Courtney said: feel free to tea dye, distress fabrics, or to pair them with things that appear just a little “off.” And if it’s a fabric that looks like it was your grandpa’s work shirt, or your grandma’s house dress even better. So I wanted my square to look like it was pieced together with little leftover or re-used scraps. I think I did it. Well, I hope I did.

Virtual Quilting Bee May

Intentional Wonkiness

It’s hard to achieve. This is my block for Kathy‘s quilt — the March quilt of the Virtual Quilting Bee.

Virtual Quilting Bee March

Kathy asked for the blocks to be log cabin in spirit and offered some Gee’s Bend quilt images and the quilts of Nancy Crow as inspiration. I knew I would have to use some solids and after seeing Anina’s block I knew I wanted to do wonky seams — coincidentally the tutorial for wonky seams is by Kathy. I really liked how the variation on strip sizes looked on this pillow top I made so I wanted to go with that design. My idea was for the seams to get wonkier as I progressed through the log cabin. The block ended up way too big so I had to cut it down. It’s hard to pre-cut for the wonkiness too. You can see more of how Kathy’s quilt is shaping up over in the flickr pool.


I’ve been feeling like I’ve been trudging along crafting away and don’t have much to show for it. I decided to stack it all up and see if it made it seem like more. Not really…


The only really completed thing is those pillows and they’ve been almost done for a long time. I just needed the zippers — an afterthought, I’m amazed they turned out — and I picked them up this week. The yo-yo flowers are a label for my Virtual Quilting Bee quilt. The mitten is actually looking like a mitten now but still, there’s only one, and the big seamless hybrid has a long way until it lives up to it’s name.

So, how was your week, did you get anything done?

Ladies, Start Your Engines…

Your sewing machine engines that is. Today I cut twelve fat quarters and packed them up to send. That can only mean one thing… the Virtual Quilting Bee is about to begin. My quilt is going to be first so I can be the guinea pig and work out any kinks in the system — as well as work out some participant nerves. So let’s talk about the quilt I’m hoping to have come March 1.


First off, the quilt is going to be for our playroom. This is where we spend a lot of time but the room is in our basement and it can be chilly down there in all seasons. My crafty area is in this room too so happily I’ll be able to keep a close eye on the finished quilt. As you can see the colors are bright — really bright — and the mood is fun. I love the idea of all of you making a quilt to wrap around my kids.

Ready to Send

As for the actual quilt, I’m up for pretty much anything as long as it will tolerate the washing machine. I love patchwork and appliqué; I think freezer paper stenciling is gorgeous; I don’t mind crazy patterns and textures. As for what I’m sending the group: the fat quarters are a busy, busy print from IKEA and I also included a 10″x10″ square of squash colored chenille. I’m planning to use the same chenille for the back. So, be inspired friends, I cannot wait to see what you come up with.

Quilting Bee


When I was about eight or nine years old my mom joined a quilting bee and learned to quilt. Each month was assigned to one person and during that month everyone worked on that person’s quilt. It was the early eighties and appliqué was en vogue so they each made an appliqué square with fabric and pattern provided by the eventual owner of the quilt. I think they all hand-quilted the squares individually and at the next meeting someone got all the pieces to assemble their quilt. After that my mom made a number of other appliqué quilts and I have two of them. In the last ten years she started doing patchwork — which I had been begging her to do for years — and I’ve been the lucky recipient of a bunch of those too. There is nothing quite like a hug from Mom even when it’s in the form of a snuggly quilt and you’re 33 years old.


I got to thinking about that quilting bee recently and was thinking about how fun it must have been. Something I love about hand made things is feeling the hand of the maker through their creation. How special it must be to have a quilt made by the hands of friends. I would love to participate in something like that but I only have a few real-life friends who are interested in any type of crafting and only one of them can sew. Then one day it came to me — I sure do have a lot of virtual friends who make all kinds of quilts and quilt-like creations. I wonder if they would want to start a virtual quilting bee?

Doll Quilt Swap 2 - Sent Closeup

Nervously, I emailed a small group and guess what? they loved the idea! I cannot overstate how happy that makes me. Starting in February we’re going to create one quilt a month. You can watch our progress here or on flickr. I am super lucky to count all eleven of these ladies as my friends and I cannot wait to see this project unfold.

flickr photos

Mama Urchin. Get yours at

With Friends…