Friday finish: barn door II

I finished my barn door II quilt!


Sorry for the inside pictures lately. It is seriously -16 today and the snow is above my waist in our backyard.


I was so happy to finally use the Waterfront Park bridge print! I bought a whole yard of it because it’s so awesome, but every time I pull it out it’s not quite right. Until now! I guess the lesson is to be patient with those favorite prints; the right quilt will come along.


I’m really happy with how the back turned out too.

I’m curious how you guys think this second version compares to the first?


I’m not sure which one I like better.

Monday the final barn door quilt along link up opens! If you participated in the quilt along be sure to link up for a chance to win a Noodle-head divided basket handmade by me! I’ll even let you pick colors/fabrics. The link up will be open until Monday, March 10.

If you didn’t participate in the quilt along but would like to make this quilt, here’s the chart that basically gives you everything an experienced quilter would need to make the quilt: Barn door assembly chart. Just be sure to send me pictures!

A little extra blog business to tack on here: I owe you guys a book review winner! gave me number 55:

This book looks great, especially as I am not a solid lover either. I don’t buy them usually and have very few in my stash. My favourite quilt book is Sunday Morning quilts because I love the scrappy look. Thanks for a fun giveaway too.

Yay Kay! I’ll email you for your address and get that off to you right away.

Linking up for finish it up Friday!

Scots plaid block (a tutorial)


I am in the peace circle of the do. Good Stitches charity bee and March is my first month to choose the quilt design. How exciting!

I recently purchased 500 Quilt Blocks (love!) and for some reason this simple block is my current favorite.

Here is a little tutorial for my bee mates and anyone else who’d like to try out this block.


It is extremely important to note that the numbers in the graphic represent the finished dimensions of the components. For cutting purposes, simply add a half inch to each. For example, you would cut a 6.5 x 6.5 inch square for the large square in the bottom left corner.

To assemble the block:

  1. Join the 6.5 inch square to one of the 3.5 x 6.5 inch rectangles.
  2. Join a 3.5 inch square to the other 3.5 x 6.5 inch rectangle.
  3. Join the two pieces from steps 1 and 2.
  4. Join one of the 3.5 x 9.5 inch rectangles to the piece from step 3.
  5. Join the last 3.5 inch square to the last 3.5 x 9.5 inch rectangle.
  6. Join the pieces from steps 4 and 5.

The block will measure 12.5 inches when assembled and finish 12 inches in the quilt top.

Here are the 2 blocks I completed.



For the peace circle: if you can, I’d love the squares to be flowers (large scale if you have it, but medium or small is ok too) and the rectangles to be low volume (or light colored) dots or stripes. Other large-scale prints are good too (birds, trees, etc). Try to stick to the colors show here – purple, pink, green, yellow, orange, blue/turquoise. Just do your best, use what you have, and have fun! Oh, and please make 2 if you can.

WIP wednesday: barn out, gypsy in

I’m finishing up my barn door II quilt (quilt along here) and today I tackled the backing. I took more design time than usual with this backing, but I found that made the piecing go more smoothly. It took about a day, which is usually the amount of time I allow myself for a pieced backing.


I really like it. The only problem is that the design doesn’t necessarily take into account the trimming that will occur after quilting. I will lose a few inches on the top and bottom square. Next time I will have to remember to think that through sooner.


One quilt is ending and another is just beginning:


This is my first block for the gypsy wife QAL! (You can read about my fabric selections here.)

I have the fabric pulled for the next block but I just ran out of time. It’ll be really fun to come back to this after our vacation.

Speaking of vacation, since I won’t have internet access, I decided not to do the mid-month barn door link up. Instead, I thought I’d motivate you by announcing the final link up prize!

Remember these baskets I made for a giveaway/Christmas present?



I decided one of these would be a really cool and special way to commemorate our quilt along! But here’s the deal: you have to at least have a finished quilt top to be eligible. So get to work, my friends! The final link up will be March 3, but it will stay open for a week. If you link up a finished quilt or top by March 10 at noon EST, you will be in the giveaway. Please feel free to link up even if you’re not done! You just won’t be eligible to win.

If you have any specific questions, please email me. I’ll be able to check my email periodically and I’m more likely to see a direct email than a blog post comment.

Wish me luck on my trip! We’re leaving the kids in very capable grandparent care, but it’s still pretty hard. Perhaps a pina coloda will ease the pain… 😉

Book review tuesday for factotum of arts (+giveaway)

Before we commence our book review today, allow me to thank you for the thoughtfulness with which you responded to my unloved Friday finish. If you haven’t had a chance, you should definitely review all the comments (one of my most-commented posts to date). I really enjoyed the exercise and I’m so glad that you felt comfortable engaging in it with me. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to respond to so many comments (packing up my family to leave on vacation Thursday!) but please know that I absolutely read and thought about each and every one.


Now let’s review a book! Michelle from Factotum of Arts asked me to write a post as part of her Book Review Tuesday series and I was more than happy to oblige, particularly because it gives me the perfect excuse to go on about one of my personal quilt idols: Sarah Fielke.

I was first introduced to Sarah Fielke’s work when a couple of bloggers mentioned enjoying her Craftsy class. I was immediately taken with the photographs of her quilts and signed up for the class. After that I became somewhat of a super-fan and bought every single one of her books.

quilting from little things

The one that holds the most special place in my heart is Quilting from Little Things, if only for this quote: “You will notice that I don’t list solids as essential in my stash. That’s because, as a rule, I don’t use them.” I can picture how my face must have looked when I read that and the thoughts that must have gone through my head.

“What? Seriously? That’s allowed? Is that why these quilts look so interesting to me?” Changed my life.

Oh, you think I’m exaggerating? I’m really not. I was rather a newbie at the time and very influenced by traditional quilting decrees like “you must include solids so the eye has a place to rest” and then by modern decrees about “graphic areas of solid color” and “expansive negative space.” As always, I don’t mean to imply that those are not valid decrees. They just didn’t click for me. When I started using prints for my background fabric it was a big step toward finding my personal quilting style – making quilts that I love.

Generally I get more inspiration from just studying every picture and word of my quilt books rather than actually making the quilts. But I have made a couple of small projects from the book and the Craftsy class.


Applique and hand quilting project from the Craftsy class

Just looking at that makes me want to do another appliqué project! I blogged about it here.


Mini quilt using tulips from Sarah’s Night Garden pattern

In this project I was testing quilting with linen and voile. You can read about it here but don’t miss the follow up here.

It might be obvious (but it’s a book review so I guess I should say it): I would definitely recommend this book for your quilting library. I’d rate the projects as intermediate to advanced in difficulty, but completely doable for someone who has made a couple of quilts. It’s perfect, really, for quilters who want to try new and more complex techniques.

As part of Book Review Tuesday Michelle always gives away a copy of the book! How generous is that? So of course I will follow her tradition and give away a brand new copy of Quilting From Little Things. This giveaway is going to stay open a little longer than usual because I’ll be out of town and without internet access. I’ll draw a winner Monday, February 24 at 9 am EST.

The giveaway is open internationally and you don’t have to be a follower to enter. Just leave a comment. You can tell me about your quilt idol(s) if you want!

I’ll be back briefly tomorrow to share my first gypsy wife block and some words of encouragement for my barn door quilt along participants!

Friday finish: when you don’t love it

Today I’m trying to strike the right balance of positivity and honesty when I talk about this quilt.


I want this blog to be a fun place to spend a little of your precious time escaping from whatever it is that you are taking a break from.

But I also want it to be a safe place where I can tell you honestly how I feel about my projects so we can learn together and improve together.

So I’m going to be honest and tell you that I don’t love this quilt.


I’m not upset about it. I definitely like it. It’s definitely pretty. But I want to learn from this experience and figure out why I don’t love it.

I knew long before I finished it that it wasn’t going to be a favorite. It was still important to me to finish. I try to finish all my projects because I know the end product will always be useful. And I don’t want the ghosts of unfinished projects to haunt me when I start something new. I like to approach my new projects with the confidence that comes from knowing it will get finished and someone will use it.


As I’ve worked on this, I’ve tried to think about what it is exactly that went wrong. It’s not the simplicity of the patchwork. I love square patchwork. It’s what drew me to quilting in the first place.

I’ve come up with 3 main lessons about my personal quilting style:

  • I prefer more variety in fabrics
  • I prefer more variety in color
  • In a quilt featuring square patchwork, I prefer smaller patchwork (these were 5 inches unfinished)


Do you agree?

Go ahead. Tell me what you do or don’t love about this quilt. It’s ok to love it. It’s ok not to. Either way I want you to think about why so you and I can both benefit from it.


I hope to be back for work in progress Wednesday next week with my first gypsy wife blocks! I feel fairly confident that I am going to love those.

Linking up with Crazy Mom!

WIP wednesday: gypsy wife

I haven’t done a WIP post in quite a while because most of my blogging (and sewing!) energy has been going to the barn door quilt along. Now that that’s on auto pilot until the last linkup on March 3, I’ve got some time on my hands.

A lot of my amazing quilt friends are doing the Gypsy Wife quilt along. I was holding out for this reason and that, but yesterday I finally caved and ordered the pattern from Westwood Acres.


I also ordered this bundle of stripes because every time they post a new bundle of stripes my brain refuses to function until I order it.


Probably won’t be long until I get this one too.


So pretty. I just love the way that dots and stripes look with florals, and that just so happens to be the inspiration behind my first fabric pull for my gypsy wife quilt.


My fabric pulls often start with a simple desire to use certain (usually new) fabrics. I knew I wanted to use some of the dots & stripes bundles I’ve been ordering.


I knew I wanted red because I haven’t used it in any of my recent projects.


Bonus that I finally get to cut into Color Me Happy!


I’m in the mood for something a little softer and prettier after barn door II. I’m also trying to push myself to use more than just 3 main colors in a quilt.

Penny sampler was mostly peach-orange, teal-aqua, and a little purple.


Barn door II is primarily blue, green and orange.


I’ve gotten comfortable using a lot of different fabrics in the same quilt, but now I’d like to try more colors. This pull is red-pink-green-blue-yellow. Pretty colorful, for me at least.


I can’t wait to make my first block! You can bet I’ll be doing that within moments of the pattern’s arrival, which could be as early as Friday. It’ll probably pop up on Instagram first so come check me out (@sarahschraw) or keep your eye on the sidebar right here on my blog.

If you’re interested in the quilt along but would rather WIN the pattern than buy it, head over to WIP girl! She’s giving away a copy (giveaway ends Feb 11).

I’ll be back Friday to share an old WIP I finally finished. If you remember the “wish I had a girl” quilt, you’ve been hanging around here since the beginning!

Linking up with Lee.

Barn door quilt along: week 5

Let’s get some borders on this quilt!


You will need 46 strips, 3 1/4 by 8 1/4 each. (This information can also be found in the assembly chart I gave you in week 1’s post).

I used some of the leftover strips from piecing the X, as well as some of the fabrics from my fabric pull that I didn’t get a chance to use in the X.


I highly recommend pinning, as I discussed here.


You’ll need to be extremely attentive to your 1/4 inch seam. If you are even a tiny hair off this will happen:


Oops! Mine was about 1/4 inch off. If you sew even a little scant it can add up when there are this many seams in a single row. My solution was to choose a strip near the middle, get out my seam ripper, and trim off the amount of the overage. I chose a spot in the middle so my end pieces would still line up with the HSTs at the end of the last strip of the X.


I assure you if you only have to trim 1/4 inch it will not be noticeable.


If your overage is more than 1/4 inch, I would take it apart in a couple of places and trim no more than 1/4 inch from as many strips as necessary to make your border fit.

Once you’ve assembled and attached your 2 borders, your quilt top is complete! That is one of my favorite moments in the process.

When you’re ready, you might want to reference my tutorials on finishing a quilt:

I’m probably going to take the easy route on this one and straight-line quilt it 1/4 inch from each seam. That is a great option if you want the quilting to fade into the background and let the fabric and piecing take center stage. It’s also incredibly fast and convenient in this case because you can just follow the seams (no marking required). That is the same method I used for my first barn door:


If you have the skillz it’d be really cool to do a different free-motion quilting (FMQ) design in each strip. FMQ is definitely high on my to-learn list in 2014.

So that’s it you guys! I can’t say thank you enough for quilting along with me for my first quilt along. It’s been such a great experience and it’s truly an honor to think anyone would want to make something from my design!

I’ve decided to extend the date for the final link up to March 3. I’ll do another check in link up February 10. I can’t wait to see you guys finish this quilt!