Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Piecing for days


 Two ongoing piecing projects have unquestionably conquered my sewing room of late. Since at least a year ago, I've had a couple of traditional quilt blocks made from Anna Maria Horner fabrics sitting in a project bin. Ready for a new project, I pulled them out and started adding to the group with my stash of Oakshott shot cottons. Some of these will help with my new lecture, "Modernizing the Traditional Quilt Block," next weekend with the Wiltwyck Quilters of Kingston, NY.

I can't wait to put them all together! The colors and fabric selection are the most fun part. I'm also making different sizes of some of the blocks (see pinwheels, below).

The other quilt is for my husband. I was hoping to finish it in time for his late-February birthday, but when I realized how much time the cutting and piecing would take, he got a "whenever it's done" promise. He's okay with that though - it's not like we're lacking in the quilt department around here. :)

Anyway, I chose Elizabeth Hartman's "Awesome Ocean" pattern to make the otters (she calls them manatees, but I think it could be either!). This quilt takes hours of cutting (admittedly not my favorite of the quilting steps but obviously an essential part). The best way to organize myself was to place each otter in a separate Ziploc bag, with the parts labelled according to the pattern (there are alphabet letters A-U for each animal) and clipped with a Wonder Clip. As you might imagine, I very quickly ran out of Wonder Clips and had to use safety pins as well.

The 8 bags sat sadly in a project bin for a couple months, and it started to really bug me. This week, we had some pretty crazy weather (hello current blizzard status), so I decided to finish up my audiobook (After You by Jojo Moyes) and start piecing. I found it quickest to glue small pieces (we're talking 1" x 1" as the smallest) on top of larger pieces before sewing them, rather than using pins. I looked around in vain for a bottle of Elmer's glue and settled on a glue stick, which did the trick. This helped me stay focused and retain my sanity. Some of the otters came out a bit squinty-eyed since I ignored pinning. :) But I love those little faces.

Anyway, the otters are almost done, thanks to a few more enjoyable, nearly-thoughtless hours. Then I'll be ready to create the quilt itself.

What have you been sewing? Hoping it's better weather near you. Within the week, I'll share another quilt using parts of the "Awesome Ocean" pattern, which contained significantly less pieces! Woohoo!


  1. Oooh, the otters are super cute. I'm glad you are staying warm, cozy, and enjoying sewing time in that crazy weather!

  2. I love your use of prints in the blocks - you definitely have a good eye! i have no idea what a manatee is so I'd be calling it an otter too. I've always thought the fawn in the desert quilt is a kangaroo. It makes so much sense

  3. Oh my, the otters are so cute. I wouldn't worry about being squinty eyed, they just have personality. x

  4. Such wonderful blocks...both sets. I am absolutely in love with the Monkey Wrench block. I love the little otters and really....20+ pieces in each block!!!! Wonderful. Accompanied by an audio book, sewing can go so much faster. Oh and hubby and I finally started watching "The Outlander". It is so well done. Thanks for recommending it.

  5. The Anna Maria Horner fabrics are gorgeous, as are your blocks. The otters are also adorable. Our weather has also been kinda odd lately. Colder and even rainy. Well, just perfect days for staying inside and quilting of course, right?

  6. Jessica, you made my day! I had purchased Awesome Ocean just so I could make an otter pillow for a niece that loves otters. Then I realized they were manatees and lost some of my spark for the project. They are missing feet and hands!! But I saw otters when I looked at it! The otter project is back on!!

    1. Hi Mary! I tried to reply to your comment but you are no-reply, meaning there is no email address attached. Hopefully you come back and see this - anyway, I'm so glad that you are newly inspired to tackle your otter project. :)

    2. Me too! If two of us thought they were otters, then that's enough for me. I'll be looking out to see how your quilt progresses.


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