The Sweet Mystery Quilt

Sweet Mystery Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

Here is the sweet mystery quilt I talked about in the last post!

I finished up the binding during a sew day with a good friend & somehow managed to sew on the binding while holding Teapot.  (Granted it took about 4 hours, but I still got it sewn!)

Sweet Mystery Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

So here’s the story of this quilt (I honestly can’t remember if I’ve shared this, so here it is again.)

I picked quilting back up while living in Alaska right after getting married & right before J deploying (circa 2006).  I spent the bulk of his taking classes & having a permanent quilting retreat in our dining room- you know just making the best of the situation.

During that time I discovered the quilting groups on YahooGroups (ahhh, YahooGroups, life before Facebook groups!)  One group I joined hosted mystery quilts throughout the year & I knew they were going to have one over Christmas.   This seemed like a great idea in October, before J had come home & I picked out my fabric (completely from stash!).  Then J came home, then Thanksgiving happened, then it was Christmastime & somehow life exploded into us hosting a wine tasting on Christmas Eve & then Christmas dinner for anyone & everyone who didn’t have a place. (Side note here, this is the aspect of military life I love- the impromptu family gatherings where one person/family creates a homey atmosphere with an open invitation.  I still remember who came to that dinner & the coziness that filled our home.  One couple is now married with a little baby, another friend lives near us & we still see her regularly, another woman we haven’t kept up with her, but I think about her.)

Ok, back to the quilt story, so we had a lot going on between the Christmas Eve wine tasting & Christmas dinner complete with turkey & me being me of course, still wanted to participate in this mystery quilt!  So between cleaning, cooking & being social, I pieced this quilt as the clues were released.  Needless to say I was exhausted at the end of the weekend & I had to go back to work on the 26th (I was working in Finance at the time & I swear all major holidays fall at the beginning of month-end or the end of month-end!) & then it just sat as a flimsy (unquilted top) for years!!  This was partly because I had one block turned wrong & it needed to be fixed & I was too distracted with other things to make that change & partly because I had grand custom quilting plans.

But now we’re here & my studio is small & I really need to make some space so I decided to quilt it with an edge to edge design (popcorn!) & move on.  This decision was incredibly freeing!  It gave me the motivation to switch that one block around & pop the quilt on the frame & get it done!  In the end I must say, having it done is much better than waiting to come up with the “perfect” custom quilting design & the Popcorn design adds to the sweetness of this quilt.

Sweet Mystery Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

The timing of coming to this realization & finishing this quilt seemed to be almost kismet.  My friend that joined me on that sew day knew a midwife who was gathering supplies to take with her to Haiti.  The timing couldn’t have been better & it serves to remind me that things do happen in time for their own reasons.

Longarming and UFOs for the 4th

We had a great 4th of July weekend around here!

I worked on my first customer quilt post baby! It was an adorable baby quilt for a new customer’s 3 year old son.

Dr. Seuss quilt longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts
She’s also a knitting designer.  If you knit you should absolutely go check out her patterns.  They are amazing.

Here’s a detail picture of the stars & loops design she choose.  Perfect for the fun Dr. Seuss fabrics.

Dr. Seuss quilt detailed longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts
I also worked on “mastering the art of maximizing nap time.”  Most of the time I’ve used nap times to nap myself, but Friday she took an extra nap & I found myself with a little bit of time & no dishes to clean (yay for J being home!)  So I was playing in the studio & pulled out a UFO & realized the only reason I hadn’t quilted it was because a block needed to be turned.  See?

Prissy Baby Quilt Before by Ormond Beach Quilts
So I took the 10 minutes & finally turned the block!  Ahh, that looks much better!  (It’s amazed me how it sat like that for 7 years….. it’s the little things that can really hold us back…)

Prissy Baby Quilt After by Ormond Beach Quilts
I also prepped the backing & it went on the frame Sunday morning!  Quilting is almost done & I can’t wait to show you- it came out great!

Prissy Baby Quilt on the fram eby Ormond Beach Quilts
How was your weekend?

Linking up with Design Wall Monday.

Easy Patriotic Star Table Runner Pattern

Easy Patriotic Star Table Runner by Ormond Beach Quilts

Let’s talk about designing quilts.  I probably design half of all the quilts I make for various reasons- most of the time though they are for the classes I teach.

When I’m teaching I like to emphasis only one or two new elements at a time.  I find this works best when teaching adults in the evenings- everyone’s had a busy day with work and family and life & let’s be honest- quilting is supposed to be fun.

For that reason I found myself creating lots of home decor type patterns- they are small in size, yet large enough to let the quilter experiment with the new technique.

Easy Patriotic Star Table Runner by Ormond Beach Quilts

This is one of my favorite patterns- The Easy Patriotic Star Table Runner.  I love this pattern because it looks like a complicated star that requires y-seams, yet in reality this is a great way for quilters to practice their precision piecing through flying geese and half square triangles.  And with only 3 blocks, you can finish this in time for the holiday weekend!

Easy Patriotic Star Table Runner by Ormond Beach Quilts

This pattern is now on sale at Craftsy & is on sale through July 4th for $2.00!  As with all my patterns I include lots of diagrams to help the beginning quilter on their journey.

If you make this , please email me a photo at I’ve love to see your version!

My Favorite Quilt

I’m very excited to be a part of Sew Mama Sew’s “My Favorite Quilt” with Jessica of Quilty Habit & to share with you *my* favorite quilt!

Tell us about your favorite quilt. When did you make it? What pattern did you use? What fabrics?

Western Star by Ormond Beach Quilts

My favorite quilt has to be the Western Star!  This was actually a class I took at the Quilt Tree & the pattern is by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.  I’ve always been drawn to star quilts & I loved how the scrappiness of this quilt made each star striking in its own way.  I used what I call “watercolor” batiks- that’s to say, batiks that don’t have a “print” so much as they appear to be hand dyed.  I love the subtle variations this brings to each piece in each individual star.  I remember standing in the quilt shop & pulling what had to be about 20 or so bolts of fabric & ruthlessly culling the choices until I only have the most vibrant fabrics remaining.  The most difficult fabric choice was finding the right light background- all the cream batiks were too muddy, yet white was too stark.  I ended up with print that looks like paint brush strokes & actually makes the dark batiks “pop!”

Have your shown it at any quilt shows or entered it in any contests?

Western Star by Ormond Beach Quilts

No- I actually haven’t shown any quilt of mine in an official show.  I should really get onto that :)

What memories or people does the quilt make you think of?

I think of 2006  & all the emotions I couldn’t express in any other way than through the vibrancy of these colors- living in Anchorage, Alaska, being newly married & living with a husband deployed, adjusting to life as a military spouse, listening to the daily reports of service men & women dying, taking a dear friend to the airport as she deployed, becoming physically active for the first time & biking along the Cook Inlet, hiking near Mat-Su & being in awe of the Chugach mountains, learning to kayak, quilting for the first time with fabrics I bought & thus discovering my style, focusing my mental energy on more difficult quilt patterns, accepting that quilt making was my canvas.

This was the first summer I feel like I lived in the world as an adult, where political decisions suddenly impacted my life & where I discovered I wasn’t physically awkward, & when I rediscovered my love of quilting through my own style.

What do you like best about the quilt?

Western Star by Ormond Beach Quilts

I love how every star is vibrant in of itself & yet they do not overshadow each other when combined.  It reminds me that all parts of ourselves are vibrant & they won’t overshadow each other when we let them be in their fullest.

How did you grow as a quilter while making it?

As a quilter I finally nailed cutting 60 degree angles with a regular rotary ruler & I learned the value of having a top custom quilted.  This was the first quilt I ever “sent out” to a longarmer & when I picked it up from Val (my quilter), I was stunned at how she managed to make it even more beautiful.  I fell in love with custom quilting at that moment.

If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently?

Western Star by Ormond Beach Quilts

I’d add another column to make it wider.  It just barely covers the top of our bed.

Where is the quilt now?

In the closet!  We use it as a summer quilt because it has a silk/cotton batting & since we’ve had a long winter, and then Teapot came, I haven’t switched out quilts yet.

I hope you liked reading about my favorite quilt, so I have to ask you now- What’s your favorite quilt?

Meet Teapot!

Baby on Western Star

I’ve been waiting & waiting to write this post & here it is!  On May 3, I gave birth to our little girl, affectionately known as “Teapot.” ( Our little one was in a funky position shortly before birth & while the Midwife was trying to figure out what she was doing, one of the midwifery students (also our Doula) said she’s “kinda like a teapot.”  I loved the name the moment I heard it!)

Life is pretty darn amazing now around here!  We’ve been spending the past 2 1/2 weeks snuggling, napping, nursing, changing diapers, & mostly taking it easy.  Mornings are my favorite times (yes, you did read that correctly!) now & I love to wake up just to see her smile & squirm!

I’m still taking a break from quilting, but every week we’re able to do more, so who knows, maybe I’ll be back in the studio next week?  In the meantime I *plan* to post pictures of quilts I’ve longarmed but have never shared!  (please keep in mind I *planned* to write this post for over one week!)

*this newborn photo was taken by a sweet friend, Jennifer Larkin, if you’re in the DC Metro area, I highly recommend her!

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/16/14

Happy belated National Quilting Day!  Did you get any quilting done?  I sewed some bibs then decided to enjoy the beautiful weather- maybe I’ll get some quilting done tomorrow during the expected snow!  Onto the weekly roundup!

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them!


Happy Garden by Kona Bay Fabrics

copyright Kona Bay Fabrics

Happy Garden Sunshine Quilt by Kona Bay Fabrics (Part Trip Around the World, part Irish Chain, it doesnt matter- I love this layout!  I think it would also be a great way to showcase a beautiful border print!)


Layer Cake QAL

copyright Material Girl Quilts

Layer Cake Sampler QAL by Material Girl Quilts (This is currently going on now- she’s up to block 8.  While she’s using 2 layer cakes, I could see this being a great scrap quilting project!)


Patchwork Bunny

copyright Lilac Lane Patterns

Lilac Lane Patchwork Bunny by Melissa Stramel (Another cute Easter pattern & I love the idea of making it scrappy!)


Seashell Bag

copyright Come Together Kids

Seashell Collecting Bag from Come Together Kids (I know it’s hard to believe, but summer will be here quickly & if you’re planning a trip to the beach, this might come in handy!)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/9/14

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Hexagon Tutorial by Art Quilt Maker (this is an excellent tutorial on how to easily cut large hexagons & how to piece them.)

DIY Dino Toy by Imagine Gnats (this is an adorable soft toy for children!  She uses fleece, but cotton would work fine as well.)

Easter Rabbit Basket by Oliver + S (Lent just started this week, but it’s not too early to start planning as Easter will be here before we realize!  You do have to buy the book, Zakka Sewing, for the fabric basket pattern, but Liesl provides the free template for the ears )

Poltam Skirt with lining from Widi Creations (If you’re interested in learning garment sewing, but don’t want to make the dowdy gathered skirt, check out this tutorial.  You have to click through a lot of links for the complete tutorial, but it’s worth the effort!)

Also, are you participating in Scientific Quilter’s March A Long?  I’m trying but there’s lots of baby stuff still to do & I’m finding my energy decreasing……

However it’s a great way to make progress on some UFOs & maybe you’ll be able to enter them in Very Lazy Daisy’s 2014 UFO Challenge!

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Dancing Nine Patch for Paul

When J & I moved back here to Northern Virginia, I was fortunate in that I was able to rejoin my wonderful knitting group.  A dear friend in that group introduced me to another woman who also was having her first baby.

Turns out we were actually due withing 3 months of each other & much more in common than we ever expected!  We started hanging out, doing our daily walking together, as well as scouring all the local baby consignment stores for good deals.

Well she was due the end of January to give birth to a baby boy they had already named Paul, & I knew I wanted him to have a special quilt.  Since she & her husband both enjoy the outdoors, I wanted to make Paul a green quilt & I was in love with the Dancing Nine Patch pattern Bonnie Hunter had recently released.

Dancing Nines Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

I dug into my bin of green men’s shirts I had started collecting for Nick’s quilt & sure enough there was plenty for a quilt for Paul!  (And probably enough even another Dancing Nines quilt!)

Dancing Nines Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

It was very enjoyable to piece & since the pattern was very “square-ish,” I used the pantograph “Waterworld” by Jodi Beamish to add movement & soften the quilt.  I used a forest green flannel for the backing, & Warm & Natural 100% cotton batting.  This is definitely a snuggle quilt!

Dancing Nines Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was with how this turned out!  It’s the perfect size for a baby to grow into & use for several years.

I gave the quilt to Amanda during one of our group’s knitting days & she was loved it too.  (I wish I had gotten a picture of her face- it was the happy smile all quilters love to see!)

Dancing Nines Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

Paul decided to come into this world in the beginning of February & is the cutest little boy!  I hope he grows to play, nap & love the Dancing Nines quilt.

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/2/14

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Star Quilt Block of the Month by Piece N Quilt (this BOM is from 2011, but somehow I missed it then, or forgot about it, or something.  Either way the tutorials are excellent & still available.)

Spectrum Candy by Robert Kaufman (this is a great use for 1 1/2″ precut fabrics or scraps from your stash or even a large piece of striped fabric can give the same effect.)

Fabric Storage Boxes by Make it & Love It (I’ve seen lots of patterns & tutorials for fabric boxes & they were all far more involved than what I was willing to put forth- but their method is ingenious!  I can’t wait to make one or two of these!)

Frozen Fox Ice Packs from It’s Taylor Made (Cute, adorable & practical.  Even if you don’t have a child to make one of these for, you might be tempted to make one for yourself…)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Tuesday Tip! Slow but Steady

Slow Progress is Better than No Progress

Today’s tip isn’t so much a tip, as it is a bit of encouragement.

If there’s ever a time of year to get “stuck,” it seems to be about now.   It’s the last Tuesday in February & at least here in Northern Virginia, it was snowing again (much to the chagrin of many of my fellow neighbors who ready for Spring!)

It’s also been long enough into the new year that you may find yourself distracted or burned out from your New Year’s Resolutions.  I know I had great plans for the early part of this year- wanting to get several UFOs completed before the baby comes, but reality is I’ve done very little to nothing on those projects.  Something else is always getting put ahead & there seems to be a hundred things on my plate that need to get done this week.  The typical tips to get out of this rut irritate me- encouraging me to “refocus” as though I need a huge priority shift.  While I’ll say yes, sometimes we do need to make large shifts, I’ve found that if I just make a small shift everyday, I can make progress.

Slow & Steady.  These are the words I need to remind myself of in these times.  Instead of looking at that box of Scrapitude pieces & thinking that top will never get pieced before April, I need to start saying “today I’ll work on 15 minutes of piecing, which I can do while dinner is baking.”  Instead of looking at that UFO that’s still not fully quilted, I need to start saying “today I’ll quilt the purple, then tomorrow the blue, etc.”

Slow & Steady.

I may not be able to get as much done in one sitting as I’d like, but little bits over time will make all the difference.

Where can you start making small changes?

(Also, did you notice the new header!!!!  Yes, slowly even the blog/website is being transitioned into something more!)

edited to add: Just found out that Darla, the Scientific Quilter will be hosting her March A Long again! This is a great support group for sewing 15 minutes a day!