2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

Pantone chose Marsala as the Color of the Year.  The bloggers at Play Crafts and On the Windy Side are hosting a quilt challenge/competition to use this color in a quilt.

I pulled some fabric:

marsala stash

I did some sketching and that didn’t inspire any ideas. I looked through a few quilt books and got the idea to make some paper “snowflakes”, which turned out square:

paper cuts

I cut navy “snowflakes”, 15 by 15 inches, with marsala-inspired blocks as the background and vice versa:

sifter blocks

It seemed heavy. So I ditched the navy and went all out Marsala:


I liked the background but that was it. I started over. I went back to my sketches and found a design called The Three Bears with three Bear’s Paw blocks. I took that idea and created one, oversized, Bear’s Paw block I’m calling, “Mama Bear.”

mama bear block

I made a practice block to see what thread I wanted to use and to practice my free motion. I recently purchased the book, Shape by Shape, by Angela Walters. Using her book as a guide, I tried a few designs:

practice1 practice2 practice5 practice6

I didn’t like the pink thread and chose the wine color, Aurifil No. 2460, Dark Carmine Red, 28 weight, which looks more like the marsala color:

mama bear left paw5

This is the quilt, under construction. I had the idea to create “footprints” with pebbles filled in. So far I’ve quilted one of Mama Bear’s paws. I’m going to need more thread. The 28 weight goes fast, but I really wanted the stitching to stand out. By the way, Angela Walters uses Superior Thread So Fine in 50 weight in most of her quilting.

***My concern is that it won’t be “marsala” enough but too berry wine. I’m also concerned it won’t have the graphic impact I want. I’m too far in now to change Mama Bear’s mind, though.

Now that I recognize Marsala, I see it everywhere. I could see this blouse, seen on FleurBonheur’s site on Etsy.com, interpreted as a Marsala quilt:

Flamenco--romantic embroidered blouse, top, textile collage, wearable art, hand dyed, hand beaded details,


Paper Piecing Tips, and “What is an Outhouse?”

outhouse block

After completing my Aerial quilt, which was all paper-piecing, I said, “never again.” But, then I got involved with the Shirt Swap hosted by MayChappell blog, and I made some paper-pieced shirts. The next round of the Shirt Swap includes the Outhouse pattern by Carolyn Friedlander (shown above).

I’ve learned a few things:


I purchased Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper, 100 sheets for $9.95. This paper is better than heavy copy paper:

paper piecing


name it


For those long tiny pieces I use a glue stick to attach the paper to the fabric.


A pin works well, too.

use a pin


I use an index card to crease the stitch line. It’s a guide for my Add-A-Quarter ruler (below on the right). I slide the ruler lip up to the card and cut the one-quarter inch. Look at that perfect one-quarter inch.



For this block there are four parts which are attached ultimately with three seams. I tear away the paper from the seams so that there is less bulk when I sew the last two sections together.

remove seam paper

The finished block looks great from the back:

press open

I love this little house with the bright red door.

outhouse block

According to wikipedia and my own experience, an “outhouse” is an outdoor toilet.   Here is what Carolyn Friedlander said about the pattern on her blog:

Outhouse is new to my paper piecing line, and honestly, it’s just a fun pattern. I had the idea of simple but quirky little houses that you could further personalize and flavor with fun fabric choices. At my new place, I actually have a funky little outhouse that the previous owners built themselves. There’s a great view of it from my office, and so I’m sure that looking at it everyday has played into the speed with which I’ve been able to add this source of inspiration into my pattern line.

I have no clue if Carolyn’s previous owners built an outdoor toilet or just a “quirky little house.” Oh well, these houses remind me of the cellar from my childhood home. It was nestled into the mountain and stored garden potatoes, jars of blackberry jelly, green beans and vegetable soup, and lots of other goodies — maybe a spider or two.

“Mountain Cellar” is my new name for this quilt block.  It just smells better.

Shirt Swap.


May Chappell blog hosted a Shirt Swap last year. The shirts are made with the Shirts pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.

I made 8 shirts and requested 8 Pink shirts in exchange.

This one is from Karen in Franklin, North Carolina:


And these two are from Karen in Winston Salem, North Carolina:

IMG_5939 IMG_5951

And this one is from Jacey in Houston, Texas (she has a blog called Jacey Craft.):


These kangaroos and little bugs came from Emma in England:

IMG_5943 IMG_5947

This lovely print shirt is from Becky in Pendleton, Oregon (she has a blog called Solar Threads):


Last, but certainly not least, is this lovely graphic shirt from Cynthia in Winston Salem, North Carolina:


Finishing this quilt was one of my goals for 2015, and I am happy it’s now been quilted and hanging on the wall in my laundry/utility room (shown above).

By the way, I used silk pins to attach it to the wall. I hammered them in, making sure to avoid the studs. It’s a great way to hang quilts if you have sheetrock walls.

May Chappell is hosting another swap with a deadline in April. She’s added the Outhouse pattern by Carolyn Friedlander as an option for the swap. I have the pattern but haven’t made any blocks yet. I should get stitching.

Recycled Storage


Getting organized this month? I like using things I already have in new ways, particularly in my sewing space:

I. Glassware

I have zippers in a vase and in a glass jar:


I use bowls for yarn:


II. Ladders

I use a not-so-old wooden ladder as shelving for my scrap-made fabric bins:


I got the directions for the bins from the book, Sunday Morning Quilts. I made them all with scraps and used cardboard from cereal boxes for the sides and bottoms. If I made them again, I’d use heavier cardboard to give them more stability.

III. Crates

I have an old Coca-Cola crate for holding fat-eighths and fat quarters:


At one time in my life, these crates were used to return glass Coca-Cola bottles to the store for a new set of bottles. No one does this anymore.

IV. Wash tubs

For overflow scraps, I have this wash tub. It’s great for parties, too — just add ice and beverages.


You may want to visit this site for creative craft room storage ideas.

Happy sorting and storing,


Downsizing: stage three.


“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

–William Morris, a textile designer from the 1800s

In the first stage of downsizing, we moved into a two-bedroom apartment. The second stage was emptying the storage unit we rented when we moved into the apartment. I’m now in the midst of the third stage of downsizing.

It’s no longer about storage or efficiency. Everything fits nicely in our apartment. I feel this need, probably thanks to Pinterest, to create spaces which are more minimal. I want to appreciate every item I have around me.

I started with the kitchen:


I got rid of everything that was on top of the upper cabinets. I stored the cookbooks in the bottom cabinets. I kept the plates on the walls because I love them for their simplicity, but also because they belonged to my mother and grandmother. They have good memories attached to them. I know my mother touched them, and even though I’m not a very good cook I hope her things will channel a little good grace my way. The refrigerator still has photos and artwork on it, but it’s a start.

That’s where I am: in the middle. Just the little bit I’ve done makes me feel more calm. I’m struggling with finding a medium between minimalism and a comfortable home. Combining both beautiful and useful means balance between those two things.

2015: Shirts, Hexagons and Canoes.

My quilting goal is to finish three quilts in 2015:

I. Pink Shirts Quilt

Pink Shirts

I participated in the “Shirt Swap” hosted by May Chappell blog. I sent 8 shirts and received 8 shirts in return. It was fun to receive quilts made in fabrics I would not have chosen, but they add character to the quilt. I made 8 shirts to go with the ones I received in the swap. I added frames from solid scraps. The pattern is by Carolyn Friedlander.

To do: Quilt and Bind.

II. Hexies Quilt

Yellow Hexies

On the blog, Modern Handcraft I saw a modern quilt using hexagons as appliques and wanted to do something similar.

To do: Finish Hexies, Quilt and Bind.

III. Crossed Canoes Quilt

Cross Canoes

I love Crossed Canoes. I want to make a lap sized quilt. These are paper-pieced and I worked on them throughout 2014. I have a dozen or so to complete and assemble the quilt top.

To do: Piece, Quilt and Bind.

So that’s Shirts, Hexagons and Canoes.