April Nurture Circle block for do. Good Stitches

carla Charity, Quilting 2 Comments

This month I’ve decided to take a more free-form approach to the blocks for do. Good Stitches. I’m asking my fellow Nurture Circle members to create blocks that feature diamonds. Size and shape are up to you.

Here is my color palette:



and my sample blocks:

Sneak peek of April blocks for #nurturecircle #dogoodstitches - blog post coming tonight.

There aren’t a lot of rules, but here goes:

  1. Use the palette below to construct your blocks – navy, teal, white, orange, and lime green.
  2. Make sure the finished size of your block are even numbers – this will help me with final construction
  3. Include at least one diamond
  4. Ensure the diamond is vertical in your finished block
  5. You can make as many or as few blocks as you would like, but please make sure they cover the equivalent of two of our normal 12″ blocks (ie 288 sq inches).

You can use any method you want to construct your blocks. The one on the left is paper pieced with a border added, the one on the right I made using the sidekick ruler.

If you feel like paper piecing I threw together some quick patterns if you’d like to use them.

Lastly, here are some more inspiration photos from around the crafting universe:

Block by QuiltyHabit

Quilt from Pie Lady Quilts

Quilt from Pie Lady Quilts

I can’t wait to see what you guys create! Thanks!

carlaApril Nurture Circle block for do. Good Stitches

Finished: Belts & Buckles (Pattern Release and Giveaway!)

carla Finished in 2015, Finished Projects, Quilting 8 Comments

Hello everyone! I can’t believe my last post was on New Year’s Eve! Where does the time go? Work has been absolutely insane, but I was able to carve out time to test a quilt pattern for Rebel Craft Media called Belts & Buckles, designed by Melissa Kirk (aka Tension Issues on Instagram).


In celebration of the pattern release my quilt is being featured over on the Rebel Craft Media blog, but I thought I’d give you a more in depth look here in my own space.

I’m not the neatest quilter when I’m in the midst of sewing something, so my pattern pages were scattered around, but always within arms reach for a quick note or to consult the directions.

Just a few more seams. #beltsandbucklesquilt #sewmystash2015 #sewingathomecon #notgoingtoquiltcon @tensionissues @rebelcraftmedia @stitchykelly

For my version I’ve used a black and white polkadot for my background and various solids and semi-solids for the foreground. Here is the finished quilt top.

Braved the cold and the wet to get some photos of my finished #beltsandbucklesquilt top. @tensionissues @rebelcraftmedia

And a closeup so you can see the pattern.

A closeup of #beltsandbucklesquilt showing the pindot background. How would you quilt it? @rebelcraftmedia @tensionissues

Of course, this wouldn’t be my blog without some gratuitous cat photos along the way. Rosalyn has swiftly taken up the mantle left vacant with Jewel’s demise as resident quilt inspector. She was sure to test the quilt in all stages, from top to finished product.

It's already been inspected and approved. #kittysupervisor #beltsandbucklesquilt @rebelcraftmedia @tensionissues

Not. Helping. #catsonquilts #catswhoquilt #catsofinstagram

I decided to quilt it using a variegated teal thread from Aurifil in a big spiral from roughly the center out. It turned out to be a fairly “organic” spiral – read wobbly – but I love the texture it created and the way the curves break up the straight lines of the piecing.

Belts and Buckles Finished - Front

The backing was made with some pieces of Barcelona that I purchased when it first came out because I had to have it… only to never actually use it. I really like how it matches the scraps of Cotton and Steel from the back of my Night Sky Quilt. (Which I still have yet to blog about!).

Belts and Buckles Finished - Back

The quilt was bound with some leftover Anna Maria Horner Social Climber print. I like how the flowers aren’t necessarily recognizable in the binding, but the orange and teal go well with the overall color scheme of the quilt.

Needs a wash and the weather to cooperate tomorrow and that's all she wrote. #beltsandbucklesquilt #scrappybacks @tensionissues @rebelcraftmedia @stitchykelly

Rebel Craft Media has generously given me a copy of the pattern to give away. There are two ways to win. First, leave a comment telling me what fabrics you would use to make this quilt. Second, you can visit Rebel Craft Media on Facebook and check out the awesome photos and links they post. Be sure to mark your entry in the Rafflecopter widget to be entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for stopping by! Here’s one last picture of me with the quilt where you can see the spiral quilting a little bit better. You can also see the washing machine in the background because due to the awful snowy weather we’ve had in the mid-atlantic this year I wasn’t able to get outdoor shots of my finished quilt in time. My friend Steve lives in the building and is a semi-pro photographer and came to the rescue with a backdrop stand to help hold the quilt while we got some photos of it.

Belts and Buckles - with me


Quilt Stats
name: Belts & Buckles
size: Lap Size, approximately 59″ x 69″
pattern: Belts & Buckles by Melissa Kirk
fabrics: Scrappy solids, black and white polkadot background, AMH Social Climber for binding, Barcelona and Cotton + Steel scraps for backing
quilting: “organic” spiral quilting

carlaFinished: Belts & Buckles (Pattern Release and Giveaway!)

First Night

carla Finished in 2014, Finished Projects, Quilting 4 Comments

As we get ready to leap into 2015 I wanted to post a quick note reflecting on my year and wishing everyone a happy new one.

This has been an exceedingly tough year for me. My grandfather died in February, I had shoulder surgery in April, Jewel (my cat) got sick in August and I finally had to have her euthanized just before Thanksgiving.

I then jumped headfirst into a kitten-mama role when I went to the shelter just to “look” and came home with two 6 month old kittens. They are slowly helping me heal.

I also submitted 5 quilts to QuiltCon and had every one of them rejected. That really hurt. I know there were a ton of entries but I thought at least some of mine were good enough.

And then this week to finish the rollercoaster I found out my Rainbow Triangles quilt I made for the Nurture Circle at do. Good Stitches has been selected as one of 12 to represent the organization at QuiltCon!


Overall I produced less this year – only 18 finishes verses the 25 from last year.

I also produced a ton of bee blocks for do. Good Stitches and pieced two quilts for the group.

I’m looking forward to 2015 and my first finish which will be my Night Sky quilt using fussy cut Cotton and Steel. I’m making a king size (because of course I don’t make small quilts) but I’m over halfway there. 15 more blocks to piece, then sashing and stitching the top together. I hope to have the top finished by the end of this holiday weekend. Here are a few sneak peaks.


I hope you have a safe and peaceful First Night of 2015. Cheers!

carlaFirst Night

Finished: Modern Alphabet

carla Finished in 2014, Finished Projects, Quilting 1 Comment


For this quilt I used Tula Pink’s Modern Alphabet quilt pattern. I made this quilt for my friend Laura who was pregnant with her first child over the summer. This quilt was really simple to put together, which was good, because I made it while I was in the early stages of recovery from my shoulder surgery. I probably shouldn’t have done as much as I did, but it was important to me to make this for her.

I had a good time going through my fabrics and finding I Spy type prints that I thought would appeal to kids. I personally love putting animals in kids quilts so there are sheep, raccoons, cows, deer, bunnies, etc.



I did fairly minimal quilting on this one – which I’m hoping I won’t regret. I already told her I would make her another one if it fell apart but there was only so much I could handle with my bum shoulder. I stitched in the ditch around each letter block, and straight line quilted in the horizontal sashing and the vertical border. The quilting actually reminds me a bit of ruled notebook paper. It’s a fun effect.



I made a scrappy background and binding out of larger cuts of blues and greens to match the front.




Quilt Stats
name: Tula Pink Modern Alphabet
size: Lap Size, approximately 64″ x 76″
pattern: Tula Pink Modern Alphabet
fabrics: Scrappy blues and greens, Essex yarn dyed in Flax, scrappy background and binding.
quilting: Straight line quilting in horizontal sashing and vertical borders

carlaFinished: Modern Alphabet

Finished: Waterfront Park

carla Finished in 2014, Finished Projects, Quilting Leave a Comment


When I first saw the line Waterfront Park I knew I had to have it. I tried to restrain myself and only bought about half of the colorways. At the time I was making this quilt this past spring I was considering writing a pattern for the design I came up with for the Nani Iro quilts and this one. I still have all the diagrams and I may write a pattern some day, but not today. The blocks are all different but all based on a 20″ square. I like the complexity you get from mixing different size pieces together, but the ease of construction when they all turn into blocks the same size. No partial seams here.

I took some photos in Rock Creek Park in DC, near the water. I thought it fitting.



I was also lucky to find helpers to hold up the quilt after a guild meeting after my shoulder surgery when I wasn’t supposed to lift anything.





The quilting was done by my friend and longarmer Sarah in upstate New York. I chose a peacock feather pattern for this since I planned on keeping it and peacocks are one of my favorite animals.



The quilt now lives in the trunk of my car, ready to use for a picnic, outdoor activities, the beach, or if my car breaks down in the winter. We’ve already used it at the beach. Any tips on getting sand out of / off of a quilt? :)




Quilt Stats
name: Waterfront Park blocks
size: Full/Double – about 80″ square
pattern: My own design, the same as Nani Iro #1 and Nani Iro #2
fabrics: Waterfront Park, backed and bound in Widescreen in blue
quilting: all-over peacock feather pantograph by Sarah R, New York

carlaFinished: Waterfront Park

Finished: Rainbow Triangles for do. Good Stitches

carla Charity, Finished in 2014, Finished Projects, Quilting 2 Comments

My quilt for the June edition of the Nurture Circle of do. Good Stitches is finally complete. This summer has had some serious setbacks for me, but I’m absolutely thrilled to have this done. I think it turned out amazing and I have my bee-mates to thank for that. I asked for brightly colored blocks and I received enough to make a rainbow. Who doesn’t love a good rainbow? while different from my plan, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.


Nurture Circle for June


I asked for blocks that were made up either in log-cabin fashion, or sewn together using a 60 degree angle so that all of the angles would match up in the end. I got some really great blocks which called for really great quilting. For each color block I used a different thread color and extended it out to the edges of the quilt. It is a bit hard to see, but there is red thread in the far left, orange in the center, green at the top right, and yellow in the bottom right. The quilting is “organic” straight lines, around 1/2″ apart. I used the edge of my walking foot as a rough guideline.

Nurture Circle for June

Nurture Circle for June



Unfortunately I received four blocks that were not the right size or angle. To solve the problem I recut them and created this pyramid shape as the centerpiece to my backing.

Nurture Circle for June


I hand bound this quilt while I was on vacation at a family reunion in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (not something I normally do). It went faster than I would have expected. After each meal I got it out and started working on it while people were chatting, a couple of lengths of thread at a time. I also stayed up later than the rest of the adults so I was able to get in some quiet time after they went to bed to finish it up.

Nurture Circle for June

Quilt Stats
name: Rainbow Triangles
size: Lap Size, approximately 68″x70″
pattern: 60 degree triangle log cabins and 60 degree triangle shapes.
fabrics: Scrappy brights and low-volume, backed in essex linen yarn dyed in black and flax, bound in widescreen in black
quilting: straight line quilting on the diagonal, changing colors with each colored triangle.

carlaFinished: Rainbow Triangles for do. Good Stitches

Finished: Mosaic for do. Good Stitches

carla Charity, Finished in 2014, Finished Projects, Quilting 1 Comment



This quilt was formed from blocks collected as part of my month for the Nurture Circle of do. Good Stitches all the way back in March. I used the Mosaic block which is a paper pieced pattern. I asked for brights, a fussy cut in the center, and low volume intervening rounds. I really like how bold this quilt turned out. There are so many great coordinating fabrics!

I backed it with a duck print from Cloud 9 for JoAnn and had it bound in an airmail stripe. I really love the binding on this one! It again was longarmed by Sarah R up in New York.






Quilt Stats
name: Nurture Circle Mosaic
size: Lap Size, approximately 56″ square
pattern: Mosaic Block (free on Craftsy) 
fabrics: Scrappy brights and low-volume
quilting: all-over leaf pantograph by Sarah R, New York

carlaFinished: Mosaic for do. Good Stitches

Finished: Denyse Schmidt Wedding Sampler

carla Finished in 2014, Finished Projects, Quilting 2 Comments

You may remember that just before my surgery, during Mid-Atlantic Mod and the week afterward I pushed hard to finish my Denyse Schmidt wedding sampler top. Well, it was finished beautifully by my longarmer up in New York and I was able to take it with me on the plane to Santa Fe, New Mexico when I went to their wedding in June.

I took some photos of the quilt in Rock Creek Park here in DC and I was also able to talk my guild mates into holding up the quilt in the rain after one of our meetings so I could get a full shot.

The quilt is all Denyse Schmidt fabrics and the blocks are a mix of those from the book Vintage Quilt Revival and 501 Rotary Cut Blocks. To make it king-sized I made 36 on point with square-in-a-square setting squares in between and on the edges. I love how it came out. The quilting is an organic leaf shaped meander that gives amazing texture to this quilt. My friend really liked antique-type quilts, so this is really a reproduction antique in a way. They are all classic blocks, made with fabric that is inspired by feed sacks and other vintage fabric, and quilted in a way that gives great texture. I’m thrilled with how it came out and I think my friends really like the quilt.







Quilt Stats
name: Denyse Schmidt Wedding Quilt
size: king-size, approximately 102″ square
pattern: Blocks from Vintage Quilt Revival and 501 Rotary Cut Blocks
fabrics: various prints from Denyse Schmidt’s lines both for Free Spirit and JoAnn’s.
quilting: Leaf meander longarmed by Sarah R.

carlaFinished: Denyse Schmidt Wedding Sampler

100 Quilts 4 Kids – 2014

carla Charity, Quilting 2 Comments

Welcome to my stop on the DC Modern Quilt Guild’s blog hop for 100 Quilts 4 Kids. This is a quilt drive started by our friend and former guild president Katie Blakesley of Swim, Bike, Quilt. Since Katie moved away this summer, the DCMQG’s treasurer Heather from Quilts in the Queue stepped up to host.

100 Quilts for Kids

Last year I was able to accomplish a lot – 10 quilts total for 100 Quilts 4 Kids! I was also on furlough from the federal government, and had a good shoulder. :) This year hasn’t been quite as productive, but I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.

I have four quilt tops to show you!



The first is my second quilt this year for the Nurture Circle of do. Good Stitches. I asked for pieced saturated triangles along with 2 pieces of low volume from each person’s stash. I supplemented the rest with low volume from my own stash. I love this setting and I can’t wait to quilt it. I have a fairly complex idea so I hope I can achieve it!



The second is a UFO from a few months ago. This is another Giant Star (tutorial by Jeni Baker) that uses up many of the scraps from my Nani Iro quilts. I finally pieced this together at a DCMQG sew in back in July. The back will use up the rest of the watermelon shot cotton and I will bind it in the rest of my teal social climber. Then I will be done with pre-washed fabrics again for a while. I think I will quilt this one rather simply, maybe in a blue color and a pink color.



The third quilt is a fun exploration of squares, half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and a mix of prints and solids. The prints in this quilt are all from the new Violet Craft line Brambleberry Ridge. It has a lot of metallics and I’m using a mix of metallics on the back as well. For quilting I think I’m going to practice my free motion quilting on this.



The last quilt I have to share is another very old UFO – my first foray in to paper piecing. These are the first few Lucky Stars BOM from 2013. I never got past this point. At the same DCMQG sew-in where I finally pieced the Nani Iro star I also put this together. It’s funny, I didn’t like it until I accidentally rotated it 90 degrees! I love the stars as a horizontal stripe. As a vertical stripe they just felt wrong. I may use some loops or cloud-like structures to free motion quilt this one.

Now it’s your turn! Just make a quilt and donate it! If you do, you can link up on Heather’s blog to win one of many amazing prizes from our sponsors this year. Each finished quilt is eligible to be entered to win a prize. If you’re stuck on where to donate, take a look at the list Heather has put together. She’s also created a pinterest board full of ideas and tutorials!

Thanks for supporting 100 Quilts 4 Kids!

carla100 Quilts 4 Kids – 2014

What I did with my summer vacation

carla uncategorized Leave a Comment

It’s that time of year – kids are heading back to school, I’m knee deep in work and I’ve realized the whole summer has gone by in a blink of an eye.

Sadly, that means I haven’t been posting on my blog very much. Instead, I’ve focused on Instagram.

I’ve also had some setbacks that have complicated my ability to keep up with this blog. If you have followed me in the past, you know I had shoulder surgery back in April. While the recovery has gone fairly well so far, it was much slower than I would have liked. Four months out my doctor and I decided to do a cortisone shot in my shoulder. It has only been a few days but it seems to be helping me break through the last plateau of pain I’ve had.

Happy caturday from Ms. Jewel. She hasn't been feeling well lately and had a tough day at the vet yesterday. All the tests came back negative except her intestine walls look a little thick on the X-rays. Starting with antibiotics and probiotics this week.


My constant companion, Ms. Jewel —
Before she got sick, when she was still allowed on quilts.

Also if you follow me on Instagram you know this summer has been tough on another personal level. After a month or so of vet visits, tests, and uncertainty my cat Jewel was diagnosed with a form of cancer in her gut called small cell lymphoma. While this was a difficult diagnosis to hear, the good news is it can be managed to some extent with medication. We started chemotherapy pills at home, steroids, and other medications about two weeks ago. She already seems better – her usual ravenous appetite has kicked into overdrive.

The general prognosis in studies of her type of cancer show survival / remission times of around 1-3 years, so I think it’s worth medicating her to keep her around as long as she isn’t in pain nor is she scared. She hates going to the vet, so I’m very thankful that I am able to treat her at home. Pill pockets have made a world of difference in getting her to take her pills.


Emotionally this has been difficult as Jewel is my constant companion. I got her just a few weeks after I moved to Washington, DC just after college in the summer of 2007. My whole life in DC I can measure in her life.

I’ve found a specialty vet that has been nothing short of a god send during this time. They are open 24 hours a day (since they are a hospital) and have answered all of my questions and concerns anytime I’ve had them. I’ve gotten far more than my money’s worth with them. If you’re in the Washington, DC area I highly recommend Dogs and Cats Veterinary  Referral and Hospital.

The downside to my cat’s illness is she is having some bathroom problems. I’ve had to pack up all of my quilts and be even more careful than I usually am about what fabric and projects I leave lying around. I’ve avoided most mishaps, but I have a big pet stain on one of my Nani Iro quilts to deal with. Do you have any sure-fire suggestions? Someone told me to leave it soaking in oxy-clean for a couple of days in the bathtub.

In any case, I’m going to make an effort to get caught back up on my blog. I have several finished projects to recap, a stop on the 100 Quilts For Kids blog hop, and a few more assorted things! Thanks for sticking around!

carlaWhat I did with my summer vacation