Author Archives: sarah

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In June 2021, Ellyn and I started the Quilts Unscripted Bee. Currently we have 11 improv quilters and each month we create 2-3 improv blocks for one quilter. I've been so excited to see finished quilts and quilt tops in recent months that I wanted to share them with you. My beemates have shared their photos with me. Enjoy!

 

You may have seen Sarah Ruiz's Unscripted quilt that was awarded first place at QuiltCon 2022. She gave us a color palette and asked us to each choose letters so she would end up with an alphabet of blocks in a variety of improv styles.

 

Chris Davies chose the vibrant blue and yellow palette for summer blocks. I made the book and the (not a banana) hammock.

 

Chris Simon invited us to play with improv line in our choice of color.

 

Elizabeth Ray was inspired to have us create these long strips of improv sections with our choice of two vibrant colors. I used Kona Cerise and Peapod.

 

Ellyn Zinsmeister asked for improv log cabins in a set color palette which she set into buildings against a dark navy sky. I'll share about my blocks soon.

 

In March, I asked the group to make improv star blocks based on the traditional Sawtooth Star and featuring whatever improv styles and techniques the maker enjoyed. I love the variety of details in these blocks and look forward to putting them together once the last few arrive.

 

I really enjoy the fun and challenge of receiving a new prompt each month. This month I'll be making some improv letters. My wheels are spinning on what letter styles I will use.

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My mom passed away ten days ago. She was the beginning of my sewing journey, and really the beginning my path of creativity, craftiness, and handiness around the house. I don't actually remember learning to sew. I was an only child for the first 8 1/2 years of my life and that afforded me time to just co-exist with mom while she was in her sewing room. She made all my clothes in kindergarten, sewed Halloween costumes, worked at a sewing machine shop, and ran a craft business for years. And I had the front seat for all of it.

My very first sewing machine was the 1980 Romper Room Sew Easy -- "the sewing machine made especially for the very young -- that really sews!" I loved the yarn and foam sewing projects that I made. Eventually, I graduated to using mom's sewing machine, the same early 80's Viking that I sew on today. I don't actually remember learning how, but I'm so grateful for the skill that has always come as second nature to me. In addition to other small projects, I made a lot of scrunchies in the late 80's/early 90's which were sold at my mom's craft fair booths.

Mom made one quilt. It was on my bed as a kid. She didn't understand why people cut up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together again.

She spend her creative time on other types of projects. Her craft business with her mother was primarily lined picnic baskets for years.

In one of my last conversations with my mom I asked her to tell me the story of how she learned to sew.

She was 5 or 6 years old and found her great grandmother's sewing machine in her parents' garage. It was a treadle machine. She "opened it up, put the thread in, and just started sewing." That machine is still in my mom's house.

The sewing machine is a straight stitch only machine. She sewed baby doll clothes from patterns as a kid. In school she took sewing and cooking classes. Her first sewing project in school was an A-line skirt. She made it out of purple wool. It was required that her project have facing, pockets, and a zipper. She learned how to make facings and waistbands.

As a teen her dad bought her a sewing machine. Up until age 12 she "had a crummy machine." Her dad bought her all the fabric she wanted. In high school she sewed elaborate prom dresses and eventually she sewed her own wedding dress. She's pictured with her parents in that dress above.

Mom was always joyful about creating. I carry that joy with me when I'm at the sewing machine or figuring out how to make some new crafty thing work out.

I shared more about my mom in a recent Instagram post and you can read Margie's obituary.

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Rhythm & Repetition. This is one of those challenge themes that is so easy... but also quite difficult. So many things would work. Three of anything really. Three 4-patch blocks. Three chickens. Three triangles. The possibilities are endless! On my first challenge quilt this season I made a wholecloth quilt and toyed with making wholecloth quilts for each challenge. But then I used two fabrics for challenge 2. So here is my every other wholecloth quilt. I decided to take inspiration from Jacquie Gering and feature my repetition in the way of walking foot quilting. On a small scale. My initial grid is approximately 1/2" squares.

It sewed up quite quickly. I initially did no marking, using the edge of my walking foot as my guide fo the parallel lines and eyeballing the first horizontal line to be perpendicular to the vertical lines. Then I marked a small dot in the center of each square as my guide. I adjusted my stitch length for the zig zag quilting so I was taking exactly 3 stitches from corner to center of each square.

My quilt is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". Fabrics are KONA Splash (front) and Jade Green (back and binding). It was quilted with 50wt Aurifil Jade (#4093).

I'm linking up on Kim's blog for the Project QUILTING Rhythm & Repetition challenge. Check out my previous challenge entries: