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Rocking Chair QAL: Week 3

Today starts Week 3 of the Rocking Chair Quit Along.  Once you finish this step, you are halfway there; can you believe it?  The prompt for this week is to make the next half of the log cabin blocks.  If you’d like, you can review last week’s post for tips and suggestions on chain piecing.

I thought this week I would take a minute and share a little bit more about this block.  You may have noticed that I refer to them as “log cabin style” or “modern log cabin blocks.” (Edit: This block is actually known as a Courthouse Steps Block)  That is because they differ from the traditionally-pieced log cabin block.  A traditional log cabin block places strips around a center square in a counter-clockwise direction.  The Courthouse Steps Block however, pieces the strips on top and bottom and then left and right sides.  

It’s a small switch but I felt like it made cleaner lines and gave the block a more modern feel. So, while there is not a new tip for your blocks this week, I think it’s fun to look a little deeper at the design details and how they shape a quilt.

The last step to include for this week is to cut up your blocks.  That’s right, several of your blocks now need to be cut in half!  I have never met a quilter who likes this part, and secretly I usually hold my breath too.  There is not a real trick to this step, just make sure that your ruler is straight and you cut from point to point on your square.  I promise it’s not hard, just a little terrifying after you spent so much time sewing the blocks together!

Next week is our catch-up week.  So if you need to slow down this week, feel free to take a breather.  However make sure to post a progress picture to Instagram before Sunday night because we have an awesome prize lined up for this week- a set of custom quilting pins from @seamssewme.

Rocking Chair Quilt Along: Week 2

It’s Week 2 of the Rocking Chair Quilt Along and this week we are sewing up our first blocks.

One of my favorite parts of this quilt design is its simplicity; aside from sashing, the entire quilt is made up of a variation of a log cabin block.  Eventually these blocks will be sewn together on-pointe for a more modern look – but we will talk more about that in Week 6!

The prompt for this week is to sew half of the log cabin blocks needed for your quilt.  My trick for making this go quickest is to chain piece as much as possible.  

  • For the Rocking Chair Quilt, this means to start with your stack of background squares and sew the 2”x4” strips to the top of each one. Just sew one right after the other without lifting your presser foot or cutting the thread.  
  • When you are done, you will have a long strand of pieces, just snip the thread between each and sew the remaining 2”x4” strips to the bottom of each unit.  
  • Once you are done, you can iron and repeat the process with the next step until you build the entire log cabin. 

When I made my ombre version, I chain pieced all the blocks in one color way before moving on to the next set of colors.  So, for example, this week you may choose to sew blocks with colors A/B and C/D and leave the remaining blocks for next week.  If you are making the traditional version, you can simply divide the number of blocks needed for your quilt size in half and save the second half for next week.

This photo is one of my finished blocks.  I am planning to gift this quilt shortly after the quilt along, so I am already starting to play with backing fabrics.  I’ve narrowed my choices down to the three in this photo, leave a comment below or on Instagram to help me decide!

I am really excited to see all the fabric pulls from last week sewn up into blocks. Remember to share your progress using the hashtag #RockingChairQAL by Sunday 9/18 at midnight to be entered to win this beautiful fabric bundle from Kristin Quinn Creative.

Rocking Chair Quilt Along: Week 1

I can’t believe it’s time to start the Rocking Chair Quilt Along!  When I started planning, September seemed like years away but here we are finishing our back to school shopping and getting ready to watch football on the weekends.

This is my first quilt along –like first ever—I’ve never taken part in one, and certainly never hosted one.  So please, have a little patience with me and know that I am so grateful that you are here!

We are starting the QAL off slow this week, just selecting and cutting fabric.  I decided to make another throw-sized quilt and I am planning to gift it to a friend (I can’t say much more than that right now!)  I’m using some of her favorite colors, and after trying several mock ups, landed on the traditional version (the Rocking Chair Quilt comes in two variations- traditional and ombre) in Kona Cotton. Here is the palette that I chose:

Background: Windsor

Fabric A: Doeskin

Fabric B: Honey

Fabric C: Shadow

And after working with these colors, I’ve discovered that doeskin is one of my new favorite neutral colors.  It is like the perfect shade of “griege;” sometimes looking brownish, sometimes looking like a gray, and definitely going to be included in some projects for my home in the future! (My photo looks more brown and doesn’t do this one justice)

The second step this week is to cut out the fabrics.  I used my XL Stripology ruler and was able to cut the fabric for my entire Rocking Chair Quilt in just one hour!  This ruler is by far my most used tool for saving cutting time and it works for just about everything needed in this quilt. 

Selecting fabric and preparing for a new project is probably my favorite part of the quilting process.  Which makes me very excited to see what everyone else comes up with!  Make sure to share your fabric photos on Instagram with the hashtag #RockingChairQAL by Sunday 9/11 at midnight.  I will be selecting one winner from the hashtag for this weeks prize, a free pattern from Jenny over at Fab Fabric Girl.

That’s all for this week!  I will see you over on Instagram, make sure to follow the hashtag (#RockingChairQAL) as well so that we can cheer each other on!

*This post contains affiliate links. I make a commission from sales, however all opinions are my own 🙂

The Rocking Chair Quilt Pattern is Here!

I can’t believe I am writing this blog post and that the Rocking Chair Quilt Pattern is finally here!  Writing my own quilt pattern and making this quilt has been such a long time in the making that it seems surreal to finally share it with you.

It has been over a year since I first sketched out the design on graph paper and even longer since I first envisioned it.  The inspiration for this quilt came from the patterns and fabrics in my son’s nursery that I spent hours reflecting on while rocking him sleep; hence the name “Rocking Chair Quilt.”  In fact, we even had another baby and moved homes in the time between imagining this pattern and actually writing it (which is probably why it has taken me so long!)

Like me, the pattern itself also went through lots of changes.  If you purchase the pattern you will see that it comes in two color way options: traditional (three tone) and modern ombre.  I didn’t set out to create an ombre quilt but in the design process I found that one of my favorite parts was creating mock-ups of all the fabric possibilities.  When I saw the mock-up of the ombre version, I fell in love and knew that I had to include directions for this version.  Every copy of the pattern has instructions for both traditional and ombre versions– it’s like two patterns for the price of one!

I am providing all the details for the Rocking Chair cover quilt below.  I did also make a traditional version using Kent chambray fabrics.  However I have not quilted it yet, so it will be a blog post for another day.  Both quilts are pictured below and both are offered as quilt kits, if you want to recreate them for yourself.  You can find quilt kits for my cover version at Just Sew Studio and for the more neutral, traditional version at The Cottoneer.

Here are all the details: (for the ombre version pictured above)

Pattern: Rocking Chair Quilt 

Quilt Top Fabrics: Kona Cotton in Deep Rose, Melon, Primrose, Bellini, Salmon, Peach, Marmalade, Mango, Grellow, Buttercup and Snow

Backing: Autumn Garden in Cranberry by Indy Bloom Design

Binding: Kona Cotton in Bellini

Batting: 80/20 Quilter’s Dream Blend

Quilting: Pantograph-Orange Dream, quilted by Paige Carothers of The Stitching Paige

Thread: Machine Piecing– Aurfil 50wt in White (2024)

All the Details on my Finished Deviate Quilt

Just two more weeks until our baby girl is due to arrive and I finally finished her last baby quilt.  This quilt was one that I pattern tested but didn’t really have a plan for until I got is back from the long arm quilter…then I knew that I had to keep it!

I have only pattern tested a handful of quilts in the past, but when Kiley from Kiley’s Quilt Room (and Editor of Modish Quilter) reached out to see if I would test her upcoming pattern, I was so excited!  I was a little nervous because this quilt was also my first attempt at Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP), but she promised it was a beginner level design and that the pattern would walk step by step through the process.  And boy am I glad I branched out!  I learned a new skill and found that I love the precision of paper piecing.  This was my first FPP quilt, but it won’t be my last!

If you are new to Foundation Paper Piecing, here are a few tips that I picked up while testing this pattern:

  • Use Foundation Paper.  I tried using regular computer paper, and this was so much easier to use. Here is the brand I used.
  • Shorten your stitch length.  I set mine to 1.6 and this made it much easier to peel the paper at the end.
  • I’ve also heard that many quilters like to use finer thread.  I used my typical 50wt thread and it worked just fine, but I am going to try a higher weight on my next quilt to compare.

As for the design of the quilt, the pattern that I tested was called the Deviate Quilt from Kiley’s Quilt Room and it is available now!  Kiley offered testers a fabric discount at one of her favorite online fabric shops, Binded with Love.  I took advantage of the offer and had them curate a custom bundle of soft blues and pinks and paired them with a white background (see below for all the fabric details).

Being so close to my due date, getting down on the ground to pin paste a quilt was a challenge so I decided to send it off to my friend Paige of The Dogeared Quilt for long arm quilting.   I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try using Shannon Minky as the backing fabric.  Paige used the pantograph called Sprawl and I could not be happier with how it came out!  I think it was the perfect design for this quilt and looks great on the minky back.

And because this was a quilt of firsts (first paper piecing, first minky…), I decided to try my hand at a new binding technique.  Rather than make binding and stitch it on, instead I trimmed the minky fabric about an inch wider than my quilt top and folded it over to create a cozy, frayed look.  If you are looking for guidance, I got my idea from this Instagram post by PiperAutumnFabrics.

All together, I love how this quilt turned out!  It was a quilt of trying new things, which made it perfect for all the new beginnings headed our way.

Here are all the details:

Pattern: Deviate Quilt from Kiley’s Quilt Room (made in the baby size)

Quilt Top Fabrics: Custom Bundle from BindedwithLove, Snow by Art Gallery Fabrics, Sandstone by Art Gallery Fabrics

Backing: Shell Pink Luxe Cuddle by Shannon Fabrics

Binding: Shell Pink Luxe Cuddle by Shannon Fabrics

Batting: 80/20 Quilter’s Dream Blend

Quilting: Pantograph– Sprawl, quilted by Paige Carothers of The Dogeared Quilt

Thread: Machine Piecing- Aurfil 50wt in White (2024)

My “After the Rain” Let’s Grow Quilt for Monthly Milestone Photos

It has been several weeks since I shared any finished quilts, but I have been doing a lot of sewing behind the scenes. I have two projects that I am waiting to get back from the long arm quilter, including the cover quilt for my first pattern.  I am so excited to share that with you in the coming months!

But first up, today, I am sharing my most recent finish, the “Let’s Grow” monthly milestone quilt.  We are expecting our second child, a baby girl, this month and I fell in love with this pattern the minute I saw it.  I purchased the pattern from Casey of Well Spring Designs, and despite all the different numbers that go into the design, it sewed up relatively quickly!  

And, of course, I did change the pattern quite a bit.  The original pattern did not have the rainbow in the center.  Our pregnancy came after a really difficult year and two lost pregnancies, so we will forever refer to this little one as our “rainbow baby,” and I wanted to incorporate this into the quilt.  I purchased the “After the Rain” quilt pattern from Quilter’s Candy and made the mini size (a single block with borders).  The mini size measured 22”x22”, which was just a little bit bigger than original block in the “Let’s Grow” quilt, so I removed the top border and trimmed the sides to make it work.

I planned to make this another pink and purple quilt, but my three-year old insisted that rainbows have more than just two colors (and he IS right…), so I decided to add all the colors of the rainbow to the border.  And because you can’t have a rainbow without some sunshine, I picked the most adorable sun burst fabric for the back.  I have all the fabric details outlined below.  

When it came time to quilt, I lengthened my stitch to 4.5 and made simple straight lines spaced 1.5 inches apart.

I absolutely love how it turned out! I am planning to use this quilt to take monthly photos of our little girl for the first year.  It will be so fun to watch our little rainbow baby grow on this quilt.  I am still looking for fun and creative ideas to mark which number month I am taking in each photo, if you have any ideas please send them my way!

Here are all the details:

Pattern: Let’s Grow Quilt from Well Spring Designs

      Center block: After the Rain Quilt from Quilter’s Candy

Quilt Top Fabrics: Kona in Melon, Mac and Cheese, Maize, Mint, Dusty Blue, Peony, Thistle and Snow

Backing: Blooming Sunshine in Afternoon Glow by Seamless Gal for Hawthorne Supply Co

Binding: Blooming Sunshine in Afternoon Glow by Seamless Gal for Hawthorne Supply Co

Batting: I used unmarked scrap batting I had on hand (This quilt is more for photos than snuggling)

Thread: Machine Quilting– Aurfil 50wt in White (2024); Binding– DMC Pearl Cotton Size 8 in Cream

FREE Pattern: The Reversible Gameboard Quilt

Today is an exciting day! I am releasing my first ever quilt pattern, The Reversible Gameboard Quilt!  The pattern is very beginner-friendly and can easily come together in one afternoon.  Fun, fast and free…need I say more?  

If you’d like the free download sent to your email, just click here and I will send you a copy.

My idea for a reversible game board- one side is checkers, the other is tic tac toe- came from a love of spending time outdoors with my family.  I wanted to design something fun, machine washable and that we could easily take anywhere from the beach to camping trips to backyard bonfires.  This pattern is very simple, so it was also good practice in pattern writing as I prepare to release my first full-sized quilt pattern this Summer. 

I have already made two different versions and I am sharing all the details below.  If you are looking to give this game board as a gift or just need an extra set of checkers, here is the link to the ones I have pictured.  Or you can get creative, my son and I used chalk to mark stones with Xs and Os for a game of tic-tac-toe.

Here are the details on my two finished versions so far:

Pattern: Reversible Game Board Pattern (20”x20”)

Quilt Top Fabrics:  Sevenberry Petite Classics in Blossom, Kona in Ballet Slipper

Backing: Kona in Ballet Slipper, Kona in Snow

Binding: Watercolor Gingham Pink from Bessie Pearl Textiles

Batting: Hobb’s Heirloom Cotton Batting (This is not so important since you won’t be snuggling under this quilt- just use scraps you have on hand!) 

Thread: Machine Quilting -Aurifil 50wt in White (2024); Binding– DMC Pearl Cotton Size 8 in Cream

Pattern: Reversible Game Board Pattern (20”x20”)

Quilt Top Fabrics:  Sevenberry Petite Garden in Black, Kona in Snow

Backing: Kona in Snow, Kona in Cardinal

Binding: Kona in Cardinal

Batting: Hobb’s Heirloom Cotton Batting (This is not so important since you won’t be snuggling under this quilt- just use scraps you have on hand!) 

Thread: Machine Quilting -Aurifil 50wt in White (2024); Binding– DMC Pearl Cotton Size 8 in Cream

All that is left is to sit back and enjoy a cup of iced tea while you play (or hot cocoa if you are playing fireside in the wintertime)!

Have the pattern sent to your email by clicking here and let the games begin!

3 Ways to Resize a Quilt Pattern

If you are anything like me, you have a knack for falling in love with a quilt pattern only to find it wasn’t written for the size you need. Bummer, am I right? But, while it might seem like you need to go back to the drawing board and find a new project, there are a few easy ways to modify your pattern to fit your project needs.  In fact, all three of the quilts that I have made so far this year have been modified from the original size in the pattern.  

I am highlighting some of my favorite ways to alter a pattern below, but keep in mind that these are not the only methods.  It is also important to note that not all patterns can be resized, especially very intricate patterns, but the ideas below are a good start for anyone looking to just tweak and bend their project a little bit.  

The First Step

The first step in resizing a pattern is to determine what size you want your quilt to be.  The chart below is a rough size guide if you are looking for a place to start.  However, there are really no exact standard dimensions.  If your quilt is close to one of these sizes, it will probably work just fine.

You may also find that your idea doesn’t fit any of these dimensions.  Sometimes I will resize bigger patterns to make even smaller projects than those listed in the chart…for strollers, car seats, table runners, etc.

Method One: Changing the Number of Quilt Blocks

The most common way that I alter a pattern is by adding or removing blocks.  This method only works, of course, if you are working with a block-based quilt. 

-To do this, you just need to know the finished size of the block and then deduct half an inch for seam allowances (once you sew the blocks together, you will lose a quarter inch on each side).  

-This will give you the size of each block in the finished quilt.   You can then take your desired length and width from the first step and divide them by the size of the block to determine how many blocks you need.

Example:  I recently finished an Irish Chain quilt.  The original pattern was written for a 66×66 quilt but I wanted to change it to a stoller-friendly size.  Each block finished at 6.5 inches, so when accounting for seam allowances, each block would end up as a 6 inch square in the completed quilt.  The original pattern was 11 blocks wide by 11 blocks long (6 inches per block x 11 blocks= 66 inches).

I decided to remove four rows and four columns of blocks to make my quilt 7 blocks wide by 7 blocks long, resulting in the final 42×42 inch quilt pictured on the right. (6 inches per block x 7 blocks = 42 inches)

Method Two: Adding/Removing Sashing or Borders

Perhaps the easiest way to change the size of a quilt is to add or remove borders and sashing.  This works best if the original size is already close to the size you want.  For example, I recently made a quilted pillow cover but the pillow form that I had was too small for the pattern, so I removed an inch from each of the borders to make the cover a little smaller.

Tip: If you chose this method, I recommend that you change all of the borders or sashing by the same amount.  Don’t take an inch off the top and two inches off the bottom, you would be better off removing and inch and a half from both to keep it even. 

Method Three: Highlighting a Favorite

What about giving the pattern a whole new look, by highlighting just your favorite block? This method is a little less straight-forward and should only be chosen if you are willing to really change how the final quilt will look.

The quilts below are an example of how I recently did this for a customer.  The quilt on the left is the twin size quilt that I made for my son using a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  A customer reached out and asked if I could make a travel -sized T-Rex quit.  My solution was just to make one T-Rex block and fill the rest of the quilt with negative space.  But the adaptations are endless here, I could have centered the dinosaur, surrounded it with half square triangles, etc.

*There is also a fourth method of scaling the original block. This is probably the most challenging way to alter a quilt size but works if you want your quilt to be the exact same proportions as the original pattern.  Scaling blocks involves a bit more math and could probably be a post on its own, so I will not go into detail here.  Please leave a comment if this is something you would be interested in learning!

You’ve probably heard the saying “Measure Twice, Cut Once” but when it comes to resizing your pattern, my best piece of advice is to triple check before getting out the rotary cutter!

All You Need to Know: Simple Irish Chain

At the beginning of the month it felt like I was struggling to complete any projects.  But then everything came together and I put the finishing touches on two different quilts in a week…this might be a record for me!  Although it feels a little bit like cheating because this Irish Chain was so simple and fast to put together. But simple patterns and low volume prints make for my favorite type of baby quilt- calming and cozy.

This is the second quilt I made for our little one coming this Spring, but I’m planning to use this one as a stroller, car seat, floor, everywhere kind of blanket.  And for a while, it will probably get more use than the crib quilt I finished last week.  

For those asking about fabrics and patterns, I am sharing all the details below (you can also scroll to the bottom for everything in outline form) 

I have been listening to old A Quilting Life Podcast episodes while I sew, and in several episodes they mention Irish Chain quilts.  I think this is where the idea for this project set in.  I searched through Instagram and found this free pattern from Penelope Handmade. The actual pattern has the requirements for making a 66 x 66”quilt, but it was pretty easy to remove blocks and rows and resize to a 42×42″ baby quilt.  

At this same time, I found the Sevenberry Petite Garden fabric collection and fell head over heels in love, and so I reverse engineered my fabric selection (I started with the backing and found solids to match for the front) to come up with the Kona solids that I chose for the top.

For the quilting, I went with simple cross-hatched lines spaced 2 inches apart. For this I also lengthened my stitch to 4.0.

And quickly becoming my favorite detail to any project is the binding.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post highlighting my favorite (and fastest) ways to make binding strips.  But it turns out there is an even faster (and easier!) way… for this quilt I purchased pre-made binding from Bessie Pearl Textiles.  I chose her delicate pink stripes and I am absolutely in love with how it ties the front and the back of this quilt together. 

All this to say, this was my first Irish Chain but I definitely won’t make it my last!  

Here are all the details:

Pattern: Irish Chain, free download from Penelope Handmade (resized to 42×42″)

Quilt Top Fabrics: Kona in Thistle, Kona in Snow

Backing: Sevenberry Petite Garden Bunches Pink

Binding: Delicate Pink Stripe from Bessie Pearl Textiles

Batting: Hobb’s Heirloom Cotton Batting

Thread: Machine Quilting- Aurfil 50wt in White (2024); Binding- DMC Pearl Cotton Size 8 in Cream

All the Details on my Completed Coralie Quilt

My Coralie Quilt is finally done!  My favorite thing about this quilt is how simple it looks at first glance, but all the precious details you find when you look close.  The quilt top actually sewed up rather quickly, but I took nearly a month to add all the details I am sharing below (scroll to the bottom for all the details in outline form).  The plan is to use this one in the nursery for our baby girl due in May, so I didn’t mind slowing down to make it extra special.

I wanted a simple and delicate look, so I chose a white background with a variety of pink and purple fabrics for the stars.  I chose mostly low and medium volumes, but did throw in a few darker shades for interest.

Because we are using this quilt in the nursery, I resized it from a throw size to a crib size.  I did this by removing a few rows and blocks.  My version ended up as 47x 50 with 7 Lemoyne Stars and 6 Sawtooth Stars.

When it came time to quilt, I again went with simple.  I used a ruler and hera marker for straight line quilting spaced 2 inches apart.  Next I embellished each star with some hand quilting using Aurfil Floss.  This is the only thing I would do differently next time!  I chose a soft pink color that did not stand out on purpose, but I do wish it was a little more visible.  Next time, I would use a bolder color thread but would have embroidered the stitches onto the top before quilting so that they would not clash with the backing fabric.

My last and maybe favorite detail is the binding.  I always finish quilts by hand but this time created my own criss-cross stitch pattern and I love how it came out!

Here are all the details:

Pattern: Coralie Quilt by Liza Taylor Handmade (I resized to 47×50)

Star Fabrics: (As photographed above) Kona in Foxglove; Cozy Ditzy in Plum; Pure Solids in Dried Roses; Wildest Dreams in Burgundy; Pure Solids in Cinnamon; Stay Humble Foresta; Flecks in Ballerina; Sevenberry Petite Lawn Flowers in Pink; Tapestry Lace in Blush; Pure Solids in Blushing; Romance Novel in Hardcover; Pure Solids in Sweet Macadamia; Favorite Sweater in Dusty Pink

Background: Kona in Snow by Robert Kaufman

Backing: Fern and Fungus in Almond by Bonnie Christine

Binding: Art Gallery Pure Solids in Blushing 

Batting: Hobb’s Heirloom Cotton Batting

Thread: Machine Quilting– Aurfil 50wt in White (2024) ; Hand Quilting– Aurfil Floss 12wt in Pale Pink (2410); Binding– DMC Pearl Cotton Size 8 in Cream