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Turkey Tracks: Amy Friend Workshop

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Turkey Tracks:  April 13, 2017

Amy Friend Workshop

You probably think I have deserted you since I have not posted recently.

But, I have been having Quilty Fun.

Amy Friend was just here for a workshop on Improv Paper Piecing.

Our brains are still spinning.  Mine is, anyway.

Here is Amy’s exciting new book.  She is such a good teacher.

We learned all about how to create our own improv blocks and all of us walked away with fresh design ideas that we are now making into quilts.  Our monthly all-day Sit and Sew at the Camden Lion’s Club was buzzing with Amy Friend projects in process.

First, Amy did a trunk show of quilts from the book–and some extras as well.  She used these quilts to illustrate the ideas in the book AND to show us what makes an improv, modern quilt.

So, I’m going to share those quilts with you.

The quilts are being held up by President Lynn Vermeulen and VP/Program Organizer Becca Babb Brott.  (Remember Becca has an Etsy store, Sew Me A Song, where you can find some really interesting modern fabrics, including the harder-to-find Japanese fabrics by Japanese designers.)

Note the jagged triangles–very modern.  This is an early Amy Friend quilt that is NOT in the book.  Amy used it to talk about destabilizing a traditional block, among other ideas.

I love this one–of course I do.  I’m a scrappy quilter.  These fabrics are all Cotton+Steel.  This one is a great scrap buster.

Funky stars done in a very modern black/white/green combo.

Simple is sometimes best.  That’s Amy on the left.  Here she talked about the use of negative space, an “open” block, and her color combos.

A modern hour glass.

Note that the dark blue does NOT evenly meet up with the light blue.

I LOVE this one:

Stained glass and the use of negative space with interesting quilting.


Modern objects–a road sign repeated.

Love this one too.

Mirror images.

These next quilts are not in the book, but were made along the way as Amy refined/defined what she wanted to share in the book.

My goodness!  I love this quilt.

And this one, seen some time ago now, probably from Amy’s blog, likely sparked my own design for the workshop.  It seemed like stained glass.

This one, “Twinkle,” is in a book named SCRAPS, INC. Vol. 1, compiled by Susanne Woods.  It generated one of my designs from the workshop (a separate blog post on those).  This quilt is probably my all-time Amy Friend favorites.  I think because it is scrappy.  I think I will make it one of these days.

Amy has her FIRST fabric line coming out any minute now.  She has designed “blenders” as she really likes to work with solid fabrics in her quilts.

Amy’s blog is http://www.duringquiettime.com.

So, more on my designs and plans next post.


Turkey Tracks: Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Blocks

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Turkey Tracks:  February 4, 2017

Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Blocks

Some Coastal Quilters have issued a new challenge for 2017 to members:  to make Tula Pink’s “City Sampler” from her book 100 Modern Blocks.

(We are sewing our Farmer’s Wife blocks into tops now.)



Again, we will do about 9 blocks a month, ending in December.

These blocks are all about the fabric and, unlike the Farmer’s Wife blocks, are pretty easy.  Indeed, they are FUN!

I am going to use Cotton + Steel in all of my blocks, but will allow myself some digressions with other designers mixed in, like some of the Japanese fabrics I like, some Carolyn Friedlander, and some solids, including shot cotton.

Here my first 9 blocks:


As with the Farmer’s Wife blocks, adding solids can work to sharpen other fabrics–which I did not do unfortunately.  The top left block needed some solids as the fabrics are too jumbled together.  What can be pretty when looking at big pieces of fabrics can…not be…when pieces are small.  You would think I would have learned that lesson after all the Farmer’s Wife blocks.  But, no…

The bottom right “jacks” block also needed more definition.  The aqua is too busy.

Having said that, as with the Farmer’s Wife blocks, they all look pretty when they get into a quilt top.

The main thing is to have some fun with each block and not to stress about perfection.  Some work better than others.

This collection came in the mail today, from Craftsy:  Cotton + Steel “basics.”  They should help with the basics problem.  If you haven’t discovered Craftsy fabrics yet, take a look.  Also, I like the Etsy store, Stash Builders for specific colorways, etc.  And, of course, I continue to love Becca Babb-Brott’s Etsy store, Sew Me A Song.



I got my first low-volume monthly shipment from Pink Castle fabrics, and it was beautiful.  I treated myself some time around Christmas.  I have since changed this fabric club to Cotton + Steel, but I really loved the first low-volume shipment from them.  Hmmmm…  I continue to be enchanted with low-volume fabrics.

I hope readers are having a good quilty winter.  I know I am.


Turkey Tracks: Sew Sweetness Aeroplane Bag

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Turkey Tracks:  January 21, 2017

Sew Sweetness “Aeroplane” Bag

I love this bag!!




The top is pieced in the “Becca Babb-Brott” style.  Becca helped me a lot as this bag was a huge learning curve for me.  I love, also, the way the charcoal shot cotton fabric looks for the bottom and the straps.

I had to put the top zipper in THREE TIMES before I got it right.  Oh my!!  Don’t even ask…why…  Dense seamstress who has not put in zippers in probably 30 years or more.  AND what I think is a kind of misdirection about how to handle the ends of the zippers in the pattern.  Probably everyone else who sews in the world “got” what to do or not do according to the type of zipper one had, but not me…

I also learned with this top zipper that one has to sew a generous quarter of an inch on the first basting in of the zipper or the inner lining will not come up far enough to be caught when one does the final top stitching.


BUT, I loved the way the inside zippers and red pockets came out.  Those I mastered right away.



Can’t wait to use this bag AND I can’t wait to make another one.

The pattern comes in two sizes; I did the LONG bag.

Written by louisaenright

January 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Turkey Tracks: Becca’s Kitty and Becca’s First Longarm Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  December 23, 2016

Becca’s Kitty and Becca’s First Longarm Quilt

Friend Becca has two half-grown black kittens that are hard to tell apart–brother and sister.

They are adorable.

They are coal black, but the female one has a white spot on her chest.  I may have finally learned to tell them apart.

I was over there the other day to admire Becca’s FIRST LONGARM QUILT all finished–she did it here on Lucy the Longarm, and it will be on a bed by now–and the female kitty begged and begged to come into Becca’s Etsy store, Sew Me A Song.  None of the family’s pets are allowed in the Etsy Store and especially not half-grown kittens.

Then we looked up to see this:

Here are some pics of Becca’s quilt–it’s her version of Bonnie Hunter’s “Scrappy Trip Around the World”–which is a free pattern on Bonnie’s web site Quiltville.com.  I LOVE Becca’s fabrics–so fresh and exciting and fun and so NOT like my older traditional ones…  I’m slowly switching over, and that is a totally wonderful journey.


Becca used a navy and white strip to bind this quilt and quilted free hand with a medium grey thread.  To see more of this kind of binding take a look at Red Pepper Quilts blog.

Here you can see Becca’s backing fabric and how nicely the grey thread is playing on both sides of the quilt AND some of the really fun fabrics Becca uses.  She had fun with this quilt.  She wrote names into it, made hearts, made all kinds of squiggles, and just played.


Here’s a pic of the “trip” pattern–which is really, really fun to make.  The blocks, when put together, start forming diamonds.


Here’s my “trip” quilt from a few years back.  It’s the difference of night and day:


I love mine–all made from 2 1/2-inch strip sets precut from other quilts and put into bins.  Each fabric reminds me of a quilt I made for someone.  And this quilt gets used every day.  BUT, I love Becca’s fabrics more.  Change is always good, and this change is providing me with loads of new joys–which include learning new things.

Turkey Tracks: October Farmer’s Wife Blocks

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November 3, 2016

October Farmer’s Wife Blocks


These blocks have been done since mid-October, but I have been…busy, busy.

No. 75, Nan

Cotton+Steel fabrics


No. 76 Nancy

Cotton+Steel fabrics


No 77, Nellie

Cotton+ Steel fabrics, but this one needed higher contrast in the pink fabric, which has some navy in it.  The center dark angles are not showing up properly.


No 78. Old Maid

Tula Pink ladybugs and Cotton+Steel plaid


No 79 Patience



No 80 Patricia

Cotton+Steel.  This one is subtle and probably could have used more contrast, but I like it.  I LOVED to play jacks when I was a girl.


No 81 Peony

Cotton+ Steel

I was sailing along and then hit this block.  The hand piecing version in the book made much more sense.  In the foundation piecing organization, everything swirls around that tiny central square.  It was a nightmare to sew.  Half seams, y seams, odd angles, and so on.  I really think whoever did the foundation piecing for this book did not do a great job.  There are tons of needless difficulties and seams that do not abut, which makes the blocks too bulky in places.  I had to go back and toy with seams or clip into them over and over.


No 82 Pharlemia

Here’s another very difficult block–needlessly made more so by the foundation piecing pattern.  I threw out the directions, but the way the pieces are combined in the foundation pattern is just plain ruthlessly difficult.


Friend Becca Babb-Brott (Sew Me A Song Etsy store) threw her Farmer’s Wives blocks up on a design wall at the October retreat (more on the retreat later) to check out color choices.  These blocks just went up randomly to try to get some visual notion of what is going on with color choices.  She does not have them all “up” here, but aren’t they wonderful?  The grey background looks flat in this photo, but it is shimmery and lively in person and is wonderful with the blocks.  This quilt is AMAZING.



Turkey Tracks: September Farmer’s Wife Blocks

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Turkey Tracks:  October 1, 2016

September Farmer’s Wife Blocks


There are actually a few extra blocks here as I wanted to finish all the “M” blocks.  AND I can see the end of the project, so I printed out all the remaining paper foundation piecing patterns.


No. 65 Mother:

Orange fabric is Japanese; others are Cotton + Steel.  I love the mix of these fabrics.

Friend Becca Babb-Brott carries the Japanese fabrics in her Etsy store, Sew Me A Song.  She puts together reasonably priced “bundles” of fabrics in all sizes, so you can experiment with these new designs without breaking the bank.


No. 66:  Mrs. Anderson

Yellow daisies are Japanese; not sure about the squares.




No 67:  Mrs. Brown

Mustard cherries are Japanese.


No. 68 Mrs. Fay:

Red is Japanese; neutral is Cotton + Steel.


No 69:  Mrs. KellerThis one was SUPER HARD.

All fabrics are Japanese.


No. 70 Mrs. Lloyd

Fabrics are Cotton + Steel.


No 71:  Mrs. Morgan

Aqua fabric is Japanese; rest are Cotton + Steel.


No 72:  Mrs. Smith

Orange fabric is Japanese; other fabric is Cotton + Steel.


No 73:  Mrs. Taft

The mustard fabric is from a new Cotton + Steel collection inspired by designers trip to Portugal.  The neutral is from Cotton + Steel.


No. 74:  Mrs. Thomas

The cats are Cotton + Steel.  The purple reads “solid” and comes in a variety of yummy colors–Hoodie Crescent for Stof Fabrics


On to No. 75–TWENTY FOUR blocks to go and three months to do them.

What a fun trip this has been.  I alway, always finish projects, but I’m not sure I would have finished this one if I had not been working with a group.

Turkey Tracks: Instagram Traveling Quilts and Foundation Piecing

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Turkey Tracks:  August 30, 2016

Instagram Traveling Quilts and Foundation Piecing

What fun!

Megan Bruns joined a group of people that formed on Instagram who are sewing on “traveling” quilts.  There are several groups.  There were rules about fabric quality, what each person would do on each quilt (like two borders only–maybe it was one?), and about when each quilt would ship back out again (a specific date of the month).  If you want to see some of these quilts “in progress,” the Instagram hashtag is #travelagentMaggie.

The quilt Megan has now is a Halloween quilt; the one she will get next is a blue and white quilt.  The group forms into a virtual circle, so the same person ships to Megan each month, and she ships to the same person each month.  And quilts are each shipped with a little memoir book started by the originator and commented on by each quilter as the quilt travels around.

Megan wanted to make a “boo” as part of her border on the Halloween quilt, so friend Becca Babb-Brott printed out some foundation patterns for her.  Megan came over Saturday and learned how to do foundation paper piecing.  The “b” was daunting for a newbie, but she did it, and it’s so so pretty:


The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember about foundation paper piecing is to start that first piece WRONG SIDE TO WRONG SIDE OF THE PATTERN.  A bit of fabric glue for that first piece is also so, so helpful.


We thought that the letters would have to be closer together, actually:


So one could cut back the pattern width right away.  Live and learn…

Here’s the quilt in progress.  I wonder what else Megan will do with her border(s) and where she will put the “boo.”  The half-square triangles on the right are three dimensional–very clever.  Love the pumpkin, too.


So, this project gives a quilter a chance to try a lot of different creative ideas in the course of  some months–nine if there are nine in the group.  And, to see a lot of new creative ideas.  Love the blocks in this Halloween quilt.  Those pin wheel blocks may be Japanese fabric???  Aren’t they pretty?

I can’t wait to see the blue and white quilt that will come next.