Interstellar Suite – Quilt Week Part II

NO, this isn’t about Interstellar or the Interstellar Suite – Movie Soundtrack scored by Hans Zimmer.  However, the Danish Symphony’s performance is impressive and Wikipedia says that Interstellar was one of the most pirated movies of 2015…

This is about a finish!
When I visited Paducah, KY for Quilt Week in 2017, my friend Kayla and I visited the National Quilt Museum.  We met artists George and Virginia Siciliano, both distinguished quilt artists in their own right, and George was giving demos of his miniature quilt designs!  He specializes in log cabin block variations.  By variation,  I mean twisted log cabin blocks.  These were not like any log cabins I had ever seen.   Check out his website.


It was wonderful to meet the United States Marine Veteran, musician, and quilter.  He is a wonderful teacher and seems encouraging and supportive to others who want to try their hand at his trade. I was smitten with the colorful designs and chose to purchase his tool and pattern called Interstellar Suite.

The unit has 180 pieces including my borders and binding.  I used some gradient dyed fabric, cut into strips with a solid black background.

Tips and Tricks for Miniature Foundation Pieced Assembly:

  • Pre-cut and organize your strips
  • 80 weight thread (fine)
  • 60/8 Sharp needle  (Note:  Cannot use most auto-threaders with this size.)
  •  Shorter stitch length – I used 1.8 – 2 mm
  •  1/8″ seam allowances  (His tool worked well for this.)
  • A sharp 45 mm rotary for trimming between pieces
  • A small wood wallpaper paint roller (mine is about 1.5″ wide)
  • Patience.  It grows slowly, but then finishes beautifully!

When I precut my strips, I cut my lengths slightly longer than the pattern indicated.  This may have created more seam allowance bulk, but did not detract from the design.  The wood roller was sufficient to press the seams between sewing.  I did not use a hot press until the block was completed.

To display the block, I used Soft & Stable as the batting so that it would not get creased or distorted over time.   I didn’t think this piecing needed any additional quilting to make it “POP”.

I definitely want to try to do more of these.  I may even get adventurous and try to create one without a foundation pattern!  I just need to decide which equal side shape I want to start with.  Or perhaps, I will make a full size quilt as one big twist.


12″ Interstellar Suite Miniature Quilt – Completed in 2018 by Elizabeth Brown                                 Pattern By George Siciliano

Here’s to Twisted Cabins!  Play on.


Mitten String

When I was a child, winter seemed to come with more snow. I love snow.

How many of you go to pull out your gloves, or your child’s gloves to come up with two left (or right) hands!  I even tried to buy multiple pairs of the same kind just so that when needed we could find one matching pair.  Alas.  I was a failure.  We still rarely come up with a pair.

My mom was one smart lady.  Mittens with no front or back can be either a left or a right hand.  Then, to prevent the inevitable loss of mittens on the playground, in a snow pile, lost at a friend’s, or carried off by the sock monster, she attached strings to them and put them through the coat sleeves.  We HATED it, but in hindsight, it worked!!

In honor of my mom’s solution, (which has of course been deemed a hazard by today’s standards – Can you believe any of us survive to become parents!) I give you MITTENS, by Lori Holt.


True to my task, I used a mix of vintage stash and new stash in the block.  I also added some sashing to size it up for use in my Farm Girl Vintage quilt.   The Mittens pattern is part of the book, “Quilty Fun”.    Lori has a fun behind the scenes trailer about the inspiration behind the book of patterns on You Tube.

If you make a full row, then you use a mixture of left and right hand facing mittens.  However, if you only make a block, you can just pick your favorite hand!  I picked the one best for a snowball fight!



Call the Kettle Black

I love idioms.  If this is the kettle, I must be the pot, especially when I tell them not to eat snacks before dinner!  I am certain my leftover cinnamon roll and cup of coffee was not on the healthy snack list today…

Mind you,  this kettle doesn’t look too bad, so maybe someday the “apple won’t fall too far from the tree” and my kids will turn out OK in the end!

The kettle block and the mixing bowl blocks are in the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet.  Keep tuned for another Lori Holt block this week!

For Lori Holt fans, I saw she has a sew-along going for a new quilt kit called Let’s Bake.  The sew-along just started January 22, 2018…  Hopefully, I can resist so that I get some of my other projects finished!

Bake On!



10 Karat Gems

I started the year strong in Quilting.

  1.  I completed custom quilting on a Queen Size Swoon Quilt for my mother.
    (Pictures later.  She gets to show it off first!)
  2. I completed piecing and quilting the King size Star Trek quilt (seen in this post.)
  3. I pieced the backings, and quilted some quilts for a good cause.

Then, after all of that big stuff.  I needed a couple of bite size projects.  I had two small wall hangings pieced that just needed quilting.

I’ll post the first one here.  Let’s call it Sewn Machine.


The is a paper piecing pattern, by Kristy @ Quiet Play, called “Geometric Sewing Machine Pattern”. I downloaded it from Craftsy HERE.

The pattern makes a 16″ block.  I decided to border mine with crazy pieced sashing to mimic the many angles in the design.  I used fabric from a layer cake, Wilmington Essentials line call Magic Colors 10 Karat Gems.  I purchased it a couple of years ago because I loved the rainbow mix.  They worked pretty well for this fractal design.  I have plenty left for some coordinating work.

If you are used to foundation peicing, where they tell you how large to cut your pieces to begin with, you may have a slower start with this pattern.  I call this freestyle paper peicing.  You have to determine how large your piece needs to be.  However, I do have a method to the madness.  I really don’t mind it, and for other similar projects, this let me use extensivley from my scrap stash.

If you fold your paper back on the sew line, and work over a light box, you can better estimate the size of the fabric you need.  Let me know if anyone would like a video demo.

I think all my new wall hanging needs is a hand embroidered needle and presser foot.  Here is a peek at it hanging on my wall, along with my other finsihed project, A Kaffe Fassett dresden plate.  They add some needed color to the area!

These gems are finished! 









Boldly Sewn.

Whew, finished!   Do you know that feeling?

This quilt was based on the zipper quilt that I saw in one of the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Block magazines.  You can watch Jenny Doan’s tutorial at the link below.

The Zipper Quilt – Quilting Made Easy

The main thing I changed was to start with 10″ squares (layer cakes) instead of charm packs.  I used one layer cake and some Star Trek yardage that my husband and I stashed away over the last few years.  The result is an extra long, king size, Star Trek zipper quilt.

A quilt of such Sci Fi magnitude screamed for a quilting design bolder than stipples, feathers, or simple geometrics.  I decided to digitize a point to point command Insignia.  With connected ends, every other one inverted, and nested the rows, the quilt has no top or bottom.

Admittedly I got carried away and had to remove one whole column before quilting so that I didn’t need to piece my backing and batting!

Sew Bold!



I have been sewing and quilting since the September retreat,  but many of those projects are still in progress!  (I haven’t been quite as frugal with my sewing time, and sleep has been precious! Are those good enough excuses…)

However,  I want to share this wonderful, just IN, case that my Father gifted me for Christmas!  Do you remember the Feathered Journey of the 1937 featherweight?

The case that arrived with it smelled, and looked like it was from 1937.  It has that distinct horse glue mixed with basement storage aroma and was only a little war-torn.   I wonder what its story was in the years of WWII?

I wasn’t feeling brave enough to tackle this one, but my dad thought he would like to have it.  I thought that he might fix it up for my mom’s featherweight.  However,  he surprised me this holiday when he asked me,  “how shall I stain it?”.

Look at the results!  How awesome is this to store and protect my green beauty?
Thank You, DAD!  You never cease to amaze me.


I am not sure of the entire process he followed to refurbish this case, but I talked to him about a few of the steps along the way.   This is how I understood the process;

  1. Painstakingly remove all of the old covering from the box.  Do not remove the riveted clasps, just do your best to remove the covering around them.
  2. Remove the old broken handle.
    It is actually stitched through the lid.   He found that the wood for the lid was not reinforced, which is why many of the old cases were probably cracked from carrying them by the handle.  (I wish I had a photo of it after removal!)
  3. In this case, the handle was not in any condition to save, but it was noted that the handle itself did have a curved steel plate to make it sturdy.
  4. He sanded the inside and outside of the case to remove as much of the old glue as possible.  This gets rid of most of the old smell.
  5. In this case, he stained the box green.  Several coats were required as the old wood (with glue residue) did not soak up the stain like new wood.
  6. He hand sewed a new handle to the box lid.  I think that he added some reinforcement, but I am not positive.  Take a look at that handle.  My dad is the master of upcycling.  So trendy and functional!  🙂

    My dad had an old, sturdy, red leather purse that had some awesome hardware.  He was able to use the leather, hardware, and straps to create a new handle and a strap for the case.   He used some nylon strapping to create a cradle for the box and attached the long handle to that.

    The inside was another story.

  7. The machine was a glove fit to the box, so he covered the bottom, sides, and top with felt so that the machine doesn’t get scratched when lifting and lowering it from the box.

The pedal is too large to fit on the left side of the machine, but I will be able to store the manual or some tools during storage and transport.

8.  Finally, he added a personal touch by hand painting Celtic scrolls to match the silver singer scrollwork on my machine!  Woo Hoo!  It is sew pretty.

Now, as if I wasn’t the luckiest girl in the world already, my mom iced the cake.  She gifted me a handmade “sew-together-bag” in Singer themed fabric to hold all of my tools and spare parts for the machine.  These babies take some patience.  It is beautiful!

I am so grateful to have such talented, loving parents.  These are such wonder.full gifts from the heart and make my machine even more special for my parent’s involvement in the project.  I will never forget.





Stashing Fabric – A Retreat Especial?

My partner in crime, Kayla and I hosted our first ever quilt retreat in September for a group we formed from people we have met in the quilting community.  For lack of a better name, we called ourselves the “Fabric Stashers”.

To tell you the truth, when we identified a location that had a minimum requirement of 10 people, we were not sure if we would be able to fill 10 spots since we are both newer to quilting.  However, The Quilting Community is just that;  A trusting, fun loving family!  Our little retreat filled to our maximum of 15 fast, with a waitlist.  I was amazed and daunted as I had never planned anything like this before.

We hosted the retreat at a remarkable bed and breakfast, the Blackberry Creek Retreat B&B in Rogersville, MO.  If you have not visited, I highly recommend it.  With location alone, we have set the bar high!  (Thanks to one of our Fabrics Stasher’s, Cathie,  for capturing some fun pics of the grounds! Can I make you the official photographer?)

After a 3.5 errrrrr, 7 hour?,  road trip (including the stop(s) at quilt shops and delightful lunch stops on the route) we were greeted by the sight of this lovely retreat.


No one was brave enough to take a dip in the pond…


I did the best I could with planning, and if anything, overplanned.  It turns out Quilters are pretty good at entertaining themselves!

Features of the 1st Annual Fabric Stasher Retreat;

  • Secret Sisters (a lead up to the retreat); Kayla Walker graciously organized this.
  • Themed T-Shirts for our group
  • Favors for a fun introduction & ice-breaker.  I loved hearing everyone’s story.  We were all rolling with laughter at points.
  • A Joint Charity Project with the KC Modern Quilt Guild, and our generous fabric donor, Massdrop
  • SewforGoodTagIMG_1384
  • Some ladies participated in Saturday outings to a local quilt shop, Merrily We Quilt,  and others to a local winery, Lambs & Vines, for wine tasting and a peek at the local wool yarn.  (We even had a special treat of meeting the Innkeepers, Mark & Dixies, new twin grandsons!)
  • Show & Tell
  • A lively game of “Strip” poker
  • Goody Bags on the beds and Door Prizes donated by quilting industry business
  • Door prizes donated by members of the Fabrics Stasher Retreat
  • Two hand toile painted quilt racks donated by Tom McGowan
  • A Deb Tucker demo (Kayla Walker)
  • A demo of Cake Mixes for the charity event (Kayla Walker)
  • June Tailor Charming Circles Demo (@duelingthreads)
  • Sew Kind of Wonderful Quick Curve Demo (@duelingthreads)
  • Massages by a licensed massage therapist – The Therapeutic Touch
    (I think some of us plan to stop through again just for a massage! Thanks Brandy.)
  • Fabulous breakfasts, dinners, and deserts! by our outstanding innkeeper, Mark!
  • Amish baked goods
  • And last but not least, sleep?… no, but


In hindsight,  we could have spent a little more time on the last one, but who could resist all of the other fun!  I’m not posting any more photos here, but you might find them on Facebook and Instagram.  The retreat was Sew Successful we have already set our date for next year… and have a waitlist!  I received some constructive feedback from the ladies, and while next year will be scaled down slightly, it is sure to be another outstanding experience!

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.

A Special THANK YOU to all of our quilting business and community supporters this year! Your generosity is not unnoticed.




Curve It Up – Finale

At long last, finally, or call it the Finale, my curve it up quilt is completed.  It has been waiting a while for quilting.  The pattern is called “Curve it Up” and also uses the Quick Curve ruler sold by Sew Kind of Wonderful.


If anyone out there actually followed my blog starting back in March of 2015 you will have seen some of my self-learned tips and tricks while learning to use this ruler.  I highly recommend the sampler pattern as it lets you practice with several curve sizes and layout.  Each of the blocks would make beautiful quilts if used individually in layouts.

I’m looking forward to sharing the ruler and technique at the Fabric Stasher retreat this September.

I hope you will go check out my blog posts if you missed them.  They are all linked to this special page on my blog called “Curve.It.Up”.



Sunny D

Did you know that Vitamin D activates the genes that release Dopamine and Serotonin, two of the neurotransmitters “responsible” for your happiness?   Me neither, but you can find anything on the internet these days!  In the end,  we are responsible for our own happiness.

But seriously,  sunshine does provide us with Vitamin D, and happy memories (seratonin release my friends! I’m learning… ) have a funny way of making me feel warm on the inside.

I found this kit at Stitch On Needlework & Gifts on a fun adventure to Mass Street in Lawrence, KS with my two kids.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to make it.  The “You Are My Sunshine” embroidery in the middle of the Dresden plate reminded me of my mom singing that song to all of her babies.  As the oldest of 5 and a 12-year difference between me and my baby sister, I heard that song for a long time, and it still makes me smile.  Mom has never thought she had a good voice, but she is wrong.  It always sounded pretty and I’m sure it calmed the babes.

Since the plan was to gift it to my mom for her mini quilt holder, I sized the pattern down to fit a 12″ mini quilt frame.   If you want to give the Dresden a little “3D” look,  try not stitching down the outside of the wedges, but tack it with a circle towards the center. In this case, I fused it in place with the embroidery circle, then stitched it to the quilted background when I blanket stitched the center circle.  Does that make sense to you?  It gives the appearance of a flower with petals sticking up.  The other mini with the red flower (in the featured image) was made a similar way.


I would not do this on a quilt, but for mini quilt or wall hanging, it will last for many years.

I needed some happy today, so I’m glad to share this with you !
I hope this made my mom as happy as me when I made it.

Happy Quilting!


Stripes with Stars

I decided that I should post what has been distracting me from most of my large projects lately.  These mini quilts are addicting, quick to finish, and simple to wrap your head around.  They also make great eye candy gifts.  I’ve been making some of these in threes so that my mom, my grandmother and I all have one to match!

These were the last two finished, and made it to their new home not long after posing for the photographs below.  I LOVE the fabric that I found at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival to build the flag. It is called Marblehead Valor Wavy Stripe Red/White, by Fabri-Quilt.  This mini is my own design!

Which background do you like best?  Night or Day?

The wavy stripes provided the perfect movement and scale for my patriotic mini’s.  (I wish I had bought more, but I think I have enough left to make one of these mini’s for me too.) The flagpole is bias binding, and the star section was cut to match the stripes using a light box and a chalk marker.  All applique is attached with fusible web and blanket stitched to the background.
They are quilted in variegated Red, White, and Blue Floriani thread using a fireworks design that I had in my Library from Wasatch Quilting.

My latest approach to mini quilts has been to longarm the background before completing the embroidery or applique.  This allows me to have intricate quilt designs all the way up to the embroidery and applique features without any backstitching.  It also lets me easily incorporate 3D features.

I have found that I can digitize any font using my embroidery software, Embird.  Once all of the embroidery and applique is completed, I spray baste a facing over the back in decorative fabric, and sew it on at the same time as the binding.  It just covers up the side underside of the stitches.  Does this make sense, or do you need photographs?

If I make many more of these, I might have to start hanging them in my cubicle at work to give the place some color…

Happy Quilting