Monthly Archives: September 2013

Book Review: Diamond Chain Quilts

As I’ve been contemplating my growth as a quilter (you know, when I sit around and wonder why I feel the need to work on quick projects all the time rather than devote time to practicing skills), I kept wondering what the “next step” for me should be. Pieced borders? Pieced sashing? Crazy small pieces? Wholecloth quilting?

So I got this book - it looks appropriate intimidating, right?

I’ve heard good things about Barbara Cline as a quilter and an author/teacher, so I wasn’t too intimidated. Plus, you know, I can do precision if needed.

What I like about the cover quilt are the fresh, modern colors, but I get why the techniques might not appeal to a more “modern” quilter. Primarily because lots of modern quilters aren’t quilters with years of experience, and piecing all these tiny bits can be intimidating (*gulp*).

Fear not, though, the rumors about Barbara are true! The book is well laid out as building blocks for techniques. It starts with the visual POW that diamond chains are like Irish Chains, but with diamonds (duh!) instead of squares. Then the techniques build through changing the elements in the centers of those blocks to make secondary patterns (the orange spikey stars or the blue stars in the picture on the cover).

Barbara also presents a couple different methods for piecing the chains - either using templates, cutting from strip sets, or the 60 degree triangle ruler I conveniently own from doing Attack of the Hexies.  She covers Y-seams (which I promise are really not that bad).  There are 20 pages of techniques before you even get to the first project, so you’re well prepared to tackle one of the quilts in the book.

My favorite pattern in the book is called Sea Shore, which looks like a hybrid of sand dollars and starfish.  In my head it’s the perfect companion quilt to Beach Walk, but would be usable instead of hanging prettily on the wall, forbidden from touching under penalty of No Minecraft For A Week (for my kids, anyway).

I also like that at the end of the book is section on how to create and size diamond sashing to put into you any other quilt you’re working on, and I think I might take advantage of that for my Dresden Plate quilt I’m currently working on.

So, if you’re looking to advance your piecing through a thoughtful, well-laid out book, I recommend Diamond Chain Quilts. I’m considering getting some of Barbara’s other books as well since they are technique focused with a smattering of projects, which is nice for a quilter who already has tons of ideas in her head.

Q3 Finish Along Wrap Up

Well, I made all my original goals, but fell short a bit on the one project I added on right at the end. I’m pretty sure I won’t finish it by the end of day today it’s just going to have to wait until Q4 to be done. Oh well - I’m still happy with my progress!

  • Dresden Plates Quilt – Plan developed, plates assembled, background being pieced. An excellent candidate for my Q4 FAL goals.

Sunday Stash - Dresden Stall

You can be really productive when putting of working on another project. Reminds me of college when I couldn’t possibly study in a filthy dorm room and had to spend hours cleaning instead of studying.  Anywho, the fear of messing up my Dresden Plate quilt from my workshop with Edyta Sitar was keeping me from working on it, so I did some other things.  The good news is I did finally buckle down and get my plates done this evening and am working on the background next.

  • Used this Week: 7.5 yards
    • 3 yd for 3 storage bags for various quilts
    • 0.25 yd for neckties for Fred
    • 9 yd for seekrit project
  • Used year to Date: 342.5 yards
  • Added this Week: 5.5 yards (actually from last week but I forgot to count it then!)
    • 5.5 yd of various Shop Hop purchases
  • Net Used for 2013: 180.5 yards
  • YTD Used for Charity: 134.75 yards (39% of total used)

See more stash reports at Patchwork Times!


HtbaS - Episode 148

Today I’m joined by Jaye from! After some tangents on funerals and holiday gift giving and decorating, we spend a good bit of time talking about inspiration and where we find it (and how it finds us).


WIP Wednesday: Of Cake and Bologna

I have many things to share today.

The first is a sad pile of squares. I call it sad because it’s just sitting there waiting to be sewn into 4-patches. 137 4 patches to be exact, for the Scrapitude quilt along.  At least I finished cutting them all!  That’s my actual work in progress.

Tricky StarsThe other thing on my machine in the picture is actually a storage pillowcase for one of the quilts I’m donating to Good Mews.  To refresh your brain, it’s Tricky Stars, the Cathedral Stars pattern from Bonnie Hunter.

I’ve just recently learned that you can buy raffle tickets for this quilt via the Good Mews website.  The drawing itself will be on October 6th, at Tricky’s Birthday Party (Tricky is cat that lives at the shelter who was a victim of domestic violence).  To buy tickets, go to the shelter website and click on the “Donate” Paw on the upper right.  Select “Other” for the donation type, and indicate “Raffle Tickets - Tricky’s party” in the Other box. Then email my friend Andrea at and let her know which prizes you’d like your tickets to go for (HINT: it’s the quilt!).  Then you can save your receipt for tax purposes since Good Mews is a 501(c)3 organization!

DERP: Forgot to say how much raffle tickets are! $1 for 2 /$5 for 15 / $10 for 40 / $20 for 100.

Now, in other acts of selfless promotions, my friend Chris’ next pattern has been released! I also helped test this one, and Jett has helperfully been a censor bar for it as well.

Her new pattern is Cut the Cake. It uses either a jelly roll or a layer cake, and I made my sample with the new American Jane line that’s due out in November (because I have sneaky means of getting things).  Here is Chris’ pattern and my sample, which has a weird dark shadow in the lower left - sorry:

Chris is offering 4 different sizes in the pattern (mine is the MONDO size, although that terminology might be my own), and it goes together super fast with some chain piecing.  It’s available for sale on Craftsy, Etsy and Fat Quarter Shop.

And finally, here is a picture of some Troyer’s Trail Bologna (similar to summer sausage) and cheese in the grocery store that my dad worked at as a teenager. This is a sure sign that I was in Ohio last week.

   WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

HtbaS - Episode 147

A surprise Monday episode! I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, and didn’t want to saddle my next Friday guest with going through double feedback.  Thanks to everyone for their kind words on my aunt’s passing.  I also talk about a couple books, making bags, and Scrapitude.


Sunday Stash - No Rest for the Weary

Owly Images

I am home after a short, albeit comforting, trip to Ohio to say good-bye to my aunt. I got to see a lot of other family that is still in the area, as well as my parents and sister and her children, so there is always a silver lining. Any chance to snorgle these cheeks makes it a good day.

This week I finished a quilt top which is another test pattern for a friend, and am handing that over to her for quilting.  I also finished my Aragon bag, which worked quite well for a carry-on on the airplane. I got a good bit of cutting done for the Scrapitude mystery quilt, but that won’t count as “used” until the quilt is done.

  • Used this Week: 7.5 yards
    • 4 yd for Jane’s Cake quilt top
    • 3.5 yd for Aragon Bag
  • Used year to Date: 330.25 yards
  • Added this Week: 2.5 yards
    • 2.5 yd for Aragon Bag, some of which went to stash
  • Net Used for 2013: 173.75 yards
  • YTD Used for Charity: 132.75 yards (40% of total used)

See more stash reports at Patchwork Times!

No Podcast Today

I’m in Ohio with family for the services, and didn’t get a chance to record last night like I hoped. I might record once I get back home, but am not promising anything! Otherwise you guys will hear from me (and a special guest!) next Friday.

Aragon Bag - Finished!

I was very happy to have an opportunity to recently test out Sew Sweetness’s pattern the Aragon Bag! Although referenced as a diaper bag, there are no diapers in my immediate future so I figured I’d make it as a project tote/meeting bag/all around Schleper-Of-Things.

I like this pattern because it’s roomy (12×16″ or so, and 6″ wide), and has a TON of pockets.  There’s a big pocket with a flap on one side, two elasticized end pockets (perfect for bottled water or even wine*), a zippered pocket on the other exterior side, a zippered pocket on the inside, and two elasticized pockets on the inside.  I actually left two additional interior pockets out because I wanted the room for a laptop or Kindle or general stuff to fit in there.

*Note, I would have photographed with a bottle of wine in the end pocket, but the only bottle I have in the house is a GIANT bottle that wouldn’t fit (and is almost empty - sad trombone!), but a regular bottle of wine would fit. Alternately, a box of wine would fit inside the bag, if you are klassy like that.**

** No judgement. I am Klassy with a capital “K”.

I love that Sara provided instructions for adding purse feet to the bottom. I usually remember too late that it would be a good addition, and have to fumble around and guess where to add them on the bottom.  I went the extra step of laminating my bottom piece with iron-on vinyl so it’ll be easier to clean. As if I ever clean the bottom of my purse, although I should!

I used a charm pack of Denyse Schmidt’s latest line Florence to make my side panels, and some Moda Grunge in grey for the rest of the exterior. I had a lime polka dot for the interior.

The pattern is available in Sara’s shop at Sew Sweetness online.

For those interested, this bag will fit approximately one (1) cat, size large.

WIP Wednesday: In the In Between

The good news is I finished up all my pattern testing commitments in time, thus freeing me up to work on some other things. I can offer a sneak peek of one of my test patterns, which was a bag that Morelli very helperfully offered to quality check for me.  I’ll have more about what pattern this is once it goes public, but I can heartily endorse it.

It’s very nicely sized for a carry-on bag, and I’ll be making use of it this weekend as I travel to Ohio for my aunt’s funeral. Thank you to everyone who has sent condolences my family’s way. We will miss her terribly but are relieved she’s no longer suffering.

Meanwhile, I can now turn my attention to two projects. One is my Edyta Sitar Dresden Plate project that I probably won’t finish this quarter like I planned; I’m making it a little more complicated than originally planned but I really like the plan I’ve come up with and hope that I can execute it the way I want.

The second is the Scrapitude Mystery Quilt that Sandy is coordinating for us.  I haven’t quite nailed down a palette yet, but will probably start cutting that tonight.  I contacted the Quota chapter that my aunt was involved in and offered to make them a quilt for their Spring auction in her honor.  Their colors are navy and white, and given the timing of the quilt along, I think I could make the Scrapitude Quilt in time for their auction.  The only question would be whether the palette should be scrappy or focused on shades of blue. I think I will need some contrast in there, so maybe blues, maroons, and greens? EDITED: I pulled out fabrics from my stash and am going with scrappy coolness in blues, greens, and teals.

Anyway, I also have a pantload of scraps to trim given all my recent progress, and Jett is exhausted just thinking of that pile behind him.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced