Friday, February 17, 2017

Flight Plan

Baby quilt- "Flight Plan", 

is a version of the "Flight Plath" baby quilt made in early 2016 for Nathalie. 

The general improv curved pricing is the similar, the colors and the proportions of the 3 sections are different.  By changing up small but distinct aspects of the quilt, each becomes an original version of a cohesive design set. On one quilt I added boarders, on the other I left them off. Nathalie chose to  hang hers rotated 90 degrees.

The quilting on this piece is different, horizontal matchstick quilting with color matching threads except in one section where the thread color changes to match the yellow-green portion of the quilt.

The Details:

Flight Plan (Flight Path variation No. 2)
36" x 38"
Fabric: All Paintbrush Studio Painter's Palette Solids, top to bottom (using the quilt for reference). Pale Silver and Lemon Ice, Haze and Frolic, Abyss and Wasabi.

Backing fabric: all stash: Anna Maria Horner Good Folks, lime and white large scale print.

Thread: Aurifil 28wt 100% cotton 2615, 5008, 5015 and Coats and Clark in Marine Blue.
Binding 2" SOG in Abyss
Batting:Hobbs 80/20 Cotton poly.
Quilting: Matchstick with color matched threads.

This current version of the Flight Path quilt is one of my #minimalseamquilt series. The quilt top was constructed with just 8 seams; 3 curved and 5 straight.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Wholehearted Block

I give you my heart, treat it kindly..........

The 3 seam #wholeheartedblock Tutorial, from my heart to your hands.

This heart can be made to whatever size you need requiring only 3 seams in its construction. It is suitable for use with solids and prints.

What you will need:
background fabric
fabric for your heart
sewing machine and 1/4" foot
thread for piecing and thread for quilting
iron and ironing board
sharp scissors
glue for basting
batting and backing, or whatever additional supplies you need to complete your heart project.

Choose your background fabric cutting it a inch or so bigger than your desired finished measurements.

Cut your background fabric (in half; in thirds) length-wise where you want to have your heart reside. (I chose a 9 x 8" of fabric for my project and cut it (almost) in half. I used scissors to accomplish this since the fabric piece was small. A rotary cutter and mat work well for larger pieces.

This next step can be accomplished one of several ways. You can be a bit spontaneous, like me, and put both pieces of background fabric right-sides together and cut a free-form heart with a sharp pair of scissors. You can also, using your favorite marking implement, draw a heart, or you can trace a heart if that's your comfort level. Cutting free-hand reminds me of grade school, when about this time of year, and before the commercial availability of Valentine greeting cards for school aged children, we folded colored construction paper in half and went to town with safety scissors. Harkening back to those times of creative freedom, I cut my heart halves freehand. It felt good. Go ahead try it.

Lay your cut background fabric side my side and admire your cutting skills. Adjust if necessary. (By cutting both halves of the fabric at the same time, you get mirror images of you heart halves.

Using your sharp scissors, cut little notches around the curved top halves of one of your 1/2 hearts. Keep those snips small and closely spaced together. Repeat on the other side.

Using a hot iron and working on the wrong-side of the fabric, fold and press along the clipped edge.

Here is where the magic happens. I strive to keep the pressed fold at around 1/4", but have allowed for some variability. These are improv pieced at heart, embracing that, I have allowed for each heart, to be unique, like us.

Repeat on other side.

Flip over and spritzing lightly (starch works great here, but any pressing agent, even water will suffice), press flat.

Gently lift the pressed heart cutouts and lay then on top of your heart fabric. Press again, making sure all the previously clipped and pressed seams are to the back.

Using your basting glue, gently lift a segment of the background (light colored in this picture) fabric and apply small dots of glue at the clipped edge. Keep the glue on the folded pressed sections. Lay back down on your heart fabric, press until dry. I find doing this in sections keeps all the fabrics flat. Repeat on other side.

Working carefully from the back clip heart fabric to edge of background fabric, both sides. Press again.

Depending on how dramatic your cut curves are, you may need to gently clip your hearts again. Use your previous clips as a guided clip if necessary, press again.

Now you have your 2 1/2's glue-basted and ready to be sewn.Don't worry about trimming center seams at this point. Trust me on this.

At your sewing machine, and using your 1/4" foot,  sew along the outsides of your hearts halves using the crease created by pressing as your seam guide. Sew slowly all the way around your heart halves, stopping and making adjustments at the curves as needed.  The smaller the hearts, the slower the going.

Take both sewn heart halves to the ironing board and gently press, then spritz and press flat. Even with great care, the block halves will need some trimming before the next step.  So off to the cutting board to trim the center seam allowance only. (We'll deal with squaring up later).

Sew center seam,  matching as closely as possible top and bottom sections of your heart.

Press sewn seam open, spritz if necessary. Admire your work.

Now that your heart is complete, you can decide it's fate. Oh, the irony......

If your quilting your heart, I suggest you do so before trimming the "block" as things will move a bit.

If you hand cut your hearts, no two will be alike, just like each of us.

Finish your block as desired. I bound mine, it is a mini quilt for a special Valentine.

Share the love; if you make a heart please post a photo on IG and tag me @spontaneousthreads and your project #wholeheartedblock

Fabric used in this project is a selection of solids from the Painter's Palette line by Paintbrush Studio, a division of Fabri-Quilt.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Breaking down big ideas

Sometimes one idea begets another. Case in point.


Although this quilt is only 18" x 19" it became the starting point for an exploration of scale based on this original design. I loved each section of this small quilt and decided to play with the idea of taking each quadrant and making a larger quilt from its sections.

"Quartered A, 1/x" resulted from that exploration

This study from the upper left hand section of the original smaller quilt finished at 42.5" x 42.5". Like it's smaller cousin the colors and flow of the quilt remain the same. Because of the expansive use of subtle minimalism extra care was taken in the thread selection for this quilt. 

Difficult to see, and subtle for sure, there are dozens of different closely color coordinated threads in differing weights and fibers (silk and cotton) that pay homage to the 3  main colors used in the making of the quilt. Up close you can see and feel the threads used in the matchstick quilting.
One of the ideas I still have brewing for this small quilt and her larger scaled cousins is to place hanging sleeved on all 4 sides of the larger pieces allowing for different arrangements of the 4 quilts when hung together. If I do my math correctly, the 256 possibilities would be interesting to explore.

Both quilts will be hanging at Quiltcon in Savannah, GA, February 2017. 

18" x 19"
Restricted seaming study (less than 12 seams) using Kona 100% cotton quilting solids in snow, steel, wasabi, tangerine, glacier, breakers, pool and bone.
Dense matchstick (echoed) quilting with Aurifil 100% threads, color matched. #2026, 2311, 4093, 2615, 5004, 2810. (50 wt for piecing, 28 wt for quilting).
Double batting (layered 100% cotton, 100% wool).
Self facing

"Quartered A, 1/x"
42.5" x 42.5"
Sub study of smaller quilt with only 2 seams. Minimalist aesthetic and study o f scale.
Kona 100% cotton quilting solids in pool, bone and snow.
Dense color coordinated matchstick echo quilting in numerous threads of differing weights (50 wt, 40 wt and 28 wt) by Aurifil (for colors see above), in addition off -white silk thread from Superior threads .
Hobb's heirloom 80/20 cotton poly blend batting 
Self facing

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bee Sewcial January: RESOLUTION

January’s PromptResolution

“ When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!” (author unknown)

Zaria Forman at work on her pastel landscapes of icebergs

This past year, 2016, has left many unsettled, uncertain and some afraid. The vibrating undercurrents of what next are palpable like the tingling of the air right before you turn on the lights, knowing the static charge of electricity awaits, it’s physical manifestation a certainty. 

With the new year comes the resolutions; the personal statement of a goal, yet to be achieved. There are several definitions of the word Resolution,  but, I’d like you to focus on this: “the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc. “

Please watch the attached Ted talk, not as a call to action on climate change, albeit a critical issue of our time, but as a story of passion, art, family, love, loss and resolution

Pay attention to the detail and scale of Zaria’s art, the laying on of hands, the colors, the personal journey…….

Working from a similar palette of colors (her paintings not her photographs)  I’d like  ” long”  block(s)- like a panoramic photograph for lack of a better analogy  (12.5” x 24.5”; 8.5” x 36”; 6.5” x 47”, etc…… you get the idea). The numbers are relative of course…… as long as it’s(they’re) rectangular, I’m good. 

Your work should reflect your personal resolution(s) for 2017, whatever that may be. It can reflect your makers resolution or something more personal. I don’t need to know your resolution, unless you’d like to share. 

You can depict that resolution however it suits you, you may mix-in any any solid fabric of your choice, (as long as it’s washable), but please keep those exotic other fabrics as composition punctuation marks, not as the composition base and limited to the color palette in Zaria’s Ted Talk (see above).

Texture is good (hence the use of other fabrics), I’ll even consider appliqué (all kinds)  as long as it can then be quilted by machine, (ie: it has to fit under the presser foot on my domestic sewing machine), are durably constructed (read washable and sturdy). Thread painting focally is OK to lend texture.  Focal embellishment with embroidery floss is also allowable.

Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Bee Sewcial members post with #beesewcial; if you’re creating along please use #inspiredbybeesewcial. 

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Heartland Blog Tour

Hello, Hi, Hej, Hei!
Welcome to my day on the Heartland blog tour,  it's very exciting to be sewing side by side with such fabulous makers and with the  Heårtland Fabric line by Pat Bravo  (Art Gallery Fabrics). Not only has it been a pleasure to use such gorgeous fabric but it's been fun to discover its versatility.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details- let me encourage you to check out all the makers and their creations as this wonderful event is now in it's 2nd week. The complete list  (just in case you missed them),  is at the end of this post, all with live links, so no excuses..... you will have to wait in real time to see what happens through the rest of this week, with Christopher ( the tattooed quilter) taking the lead tomorrow.

Story of my life lately; come up with what I think is a great idea and then change my mind. Sometimes the change is organic and sometimes it's situational. But what I've learned lately is not to fight it. Change is inevitable, and when it's heading your way, you have to embrace it.

I was so excited to get some of this gorgeous fabric that initially I though I'd make a quilt. (For those of you laughing right now, hold on to that thought). Immediately after settling on the quilt idea,  I went on an amazing trip to the land of fashion and food- Italy- and came back with so many more ideas, one of which was, why not try a wearable quilt. Really, why the heck not!

I live in a place that gets snow in the winter. My family, always trying to be the best stewards of the one planet we all live on, keep our house on the "cool" side during these winter months (my kids say cold, I say cool, tomato, tomahto). I have quilts on the couch and quilts on the beds.  With that thought in mind, I chose the Circular Vest Pattern, from Threads Magazine.  It is a pattern that I have been wanting to try (for a while). It's  also quick, easy and best of all it's free.  There is a minor amount of measuring and math, but if I can do it so can you. Best of all, it falls right into my sewing and quilting happy place;  a pattern that is as versatile as it is stylish and one, if you have the time, can be customized, which is exactly what I did.

Back shoulder details with inset organic shapes in Unn Cross Silver.
Droppar Moondust for the vest body and Trekant Rows Candid for the binding.

Front details:  Inset organic shapes wrap to the vest front.

Fabrics used : Art Gallery, 100% quilting cotton from the Heartland Line by Pat Bravo:
Heartland: Droppar Moondust, Trekant Rows Candid, Unn Cross Silver.  I used a pre-washed light weight silk, tencel and cotton lining and bias cut the binding because the pattern is basically a big circle and you need the stretch. The pattern calls for the binding to be applied by machine but this one is attached inside and out by hand, allowing for further ease around the circular vest. All the fabrics were washed prior to construction assuring the completed project will remain true to size and that the finished garment can be machine laundered when complete.

Thread used:
Aurifil threads in 50 wt, 100% cotton for the piecing and 28 weight, 100% cotton for the quilting. The quilting is kept simple and compliments the circular design.

Piecing and quilting details were inspired by a trip to Scandinavia several years ago, homage to the roots of Pat's Heartland Fabric line. I kept the piecing simple, organic and repetitive, limiting it to just the shoulder/collar.

Using a thick paper template and a freehand sketched organic shape,  I transferred the shape to the shoulder/collar area of the Droppar fabric by tracing using a water soluble blue fabric marker. This was repeated 9 times, paying attention to the spacing between the shapes. The design was then cut out leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. For stability, the Heartland Droppar fabric was fused to Freezer paper before starting.

In order to keep the curves smooth, small notches were cut in the curved area and repeated 9 more times. The freezer paper was then removed and the seam allowance pressed to the wrong side easing the fabric through the curves. Unn Cross in Silver was then glue basted to the wrong side. The inset pieces were then sewn in place using the pressed seam allowances as the sewing guide. Glue basting is critical- keeping the fabric in place while sewing through all the tight curves.

piecing, binding and quilting details
Finally,  the binding compliments the other fabrics with its pops of yellow and pink along with the grays found in the Unn Cross and the Blue-green found in the Droppar Moondust (vest body).

The quilting is linear but is not stitched as you might expect, top-to-bottom. It's actually stitched from the center (mid shoulder blade) in quadrants, which gives some play across the shoulders in a fabric that is not otherwise stretchy.
Quilting details. The linear stitching originates from mid shoulder blade (between the 2 bound arm openings) and is straight stitched in quadrants.

And because we're all having so much fun, I do have a small give away of some fabric I requested but did not have the opportunity to incorporate into my design.... (change is GOOD!). It's all contained in a simple drawstring bag (pattern modified to use fabric at hand from the Heartland collection).

If you'd like a chance to win this drawstring bag with some of this awesome new fabric, please leave a comment here on this post. Please use your fabric to create unique projects and make sure you let Pat know what you're making by using the following hashtags on social media. #patbravodesigns  #heartlandfabrics  #artgalleryfabrics  @patbravodesign on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to keep up with me, I'm here and on IG @spontaneousthreads.

Finally, a big thank you to Amy Friend for organizing this fun event and to Pat Bravo and Art Gallery for the gorgeous Heartland fabric and if you're looking for a fabulous quilt to make with these fabrics Amy has designed a beautiful one just for you!

Here is your stellar line-up of past and future makers, go see what they have been creating.

November 7: Debbie
November 8: Jess and
November 9: Jade
November 10: Amanda
November 11: Kari
Weekend break for sewing and creating
November 14: Me
November 15: Christopher ( the and the other amazing makers
November 16-18:
                        Kerry (
                        Nicole (
                        Krista (

photo credits: Ruchi Brunvand (@rbrunvand) (Yes, that's me in the pictures- shocking, I know!)

Monday, October 24, 2016


I may not be trending but I am #MightyLucky to be part of the 2017 line up of really incredible quilt makers, designers, artists and authors. In it's second year, the  2017 program follows on the heels of an incredibly successful 2016 season. For you just learning of this program, here is what you need to know.  

Mighty Lucky Quilting Club

The Mighty Lucky Quilting Club is the first monthly subscription club of its kind that focuses on challenging you with design concepts in the quilt making process. It's like a gym membership for quilters! From playing with improvisation and negative space to finding inspiration and creating your own compositions …and everything in’ll be challenged each month with a new skill to try, with pages of instructions, examples, and inspiration from one of your favorite quilters.
In the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club, a popular quilt designer/trainer each month will provide a challenge for you to work through along with materials needed, guided instruction, detailed techniques and plenty of inspirational images. You can try it once and set it aside. You can turn the challenge into a full quilt if you’d like. You can do the challenge more than once! And of course you’ll want to take photos and share your efforts with others in the club as you work through the projects each month #mightylucky on Instagram and Twitter and post to Facebook at
I am also fortunate to be able to give one lucky person a full years subscription to the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club. To be eligible to win you need to comment here.  The subscription is open anyone worldwide. Good luck!

I encourage you to sign up and to join me and others who are already #Mightlylucky.
So without further ado, here is the line up for 2017: (see I told you they were awesome!). Go, go now and sign up.

January- Amy Friend, February- Emily Herrick, March- Jacquie Gering, April- Krista Fleckenstein, May- Amy Smart, June- Kim Eichler-Messmer , July- Dan Rouse, August- Melissa Aversions, September- Emma Jean Jansen, October- Deborah Moebes, November- Camille Roskelley, December- Stephanie Ruyle

Monday, June 20, 2016

Life's Journey

For my father in law, after the death of my mother  in law.
His second quilt,  (first quilt here). A specific request granted.

"Life's Journey"

87" x 88"
derived from a Bee Sewcial block made for Marci

2016 theme of "scale" (from 12" block to 88" queen quilt)

Request: pink, somewhere in the quilt (pink was one of my Mother in Laws favorite color)

Original design
Kona cotton solids in various blues
Bernina #4 stitch stretched x4 mostly in light gray with 5 rows of neon pink (for the 5 decades of marriage they shared).
Pieced, mostly color matched,  2" straight of grain binding with 2 small pops of pink.

I also included a portion of one of my mother in laws famous prayer flag prints

100% cotton warm and natural batting.
The back is pieced to include fabrics that my in laws have purchased for me from their around the world travels, specifically Miramar, Australia and Africa.

The title "Life's Journey" is not mine. As I was piecing the back, I was pulling fabrics that coordinated, but also reminded me a bit of my father in law. I came across a very old cotton print with it's selvedge still attached. On that selvedge was the name of the fabric, "Life's Journey". There is no way I could have anticipated or chosen a better name.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ties that Bind

In my rather philosophical state of mind I chose a thoughtful and telling title for this quilt, which is a gift for another quilter who is making a quilt for me. We are working from a similar script with self curated selection of Kona solid fabrics.
Ties that Bind, a #twinsisterscityquilt
 Daughter, Doctor, Wife, Mother, Quilter, Traveler, Friend. These are 7 powerful words that describe more than a few people. These are 7 powerful words that I share with a friend. We are not old friends, but became instant ones; someone you are lucky to meet and like immediately.

We hatched a plan about a year ago to make each other quilts under the byline #twinsisterscityquilt (on IG). There is much in that name, overlapping similarities that cannot be ignored. Easterners that are now Westerners anchored by family to the Rocky Mountains, birthdays that easily morph one into the other, a quirky appreciation for rules and a daring spirit to break some of them.

My quilt has so many little things that she will appreciate, least of which are the threads. Over a dozen colors, some collected while we walked the miles and miles of vendor aisles at the International Quilt Festival. I won some, I bought some and I used them all on this quilt. Threads of differing weights, 28, 40 and 50 give incredible texture to the wavy line "matchstick" quilting. I even popped one row of neon pink into the mix. I deliberated about that thread for more than you would think necessary. I know, if you're reading this Kathryn, you remember that well.
Hard to see, but there are many different colors of threads used in the quilting
I bound the quilt with a subtle 2" straight of grain binding to which I added a tiny pop of the Kona color of the year, Highlight, and a sliver of my signature retroreflective glass nano particle fabric. I started the quilt in 2015, but finished in early 2016, so the nano particle fabric is my nod to 2015 making, like a hidden signature that Kathryn will understand.
binding details

I backed the quilt with fabric from Kathryn's favorite designer, Tula Pink, and kept  my deliberate inability to leave things alone (some quilting rule breaking), by incorporating improv circle replacements for some of Tula's polka dots. Just 3. Tula even approves!!!!
Ties that Bind, back
Lastly, the something new, my 2016, Wabi-Sabi, of this quilt is the hand tied threads, clustered and scattered across the top. They are tone on tone, one set in each color used on the quilt. They are closely cropped, lending 3-D texture to the quilts otherwise heavily quilted surface. These are the "Ties that Bind" . Ties of Friendship and Family, of shared passions and creativity, and of quilts.
some of the many threads in all kinds of weights used on this quilt

I suspect that over time they will fall off, leaving little color pops of spontaneously found threads (yes, this was deliberate) in unexpected places. Right now, for some many reasons, I'm loving the idea of impermanence and change. Kathryn when you find them, about the house, in the dryer lint bin, stuck in your vacuum,  I hope they make you smile.

"Ties that Bind" ( a #twinsisterscityquilt for Kathryn)
54 x 63"
Improv pieced, curated Kona cotton solids to a set script
Tula Pink Backing, Free Fall 100% cotton with 3 improv inset circles from fabric remnants from piecing the top.
100% wool Quilters Dream Batting
Quilted on a Domestic Bernina, modified #4 stitch (length 3, stretched 5x)
colored matched cluster of ties

Threads: Aurifil assorted colors in 50, 40 and 28 weights, 100% cotton; Glide "Hope" 100% poly (top)
40 weight Aurifil #2645 (bobbin). Other assorted threads, various manufacturers in blues, greens, purples, yellows and pinks.
2" SOG binding, color matched with incorporation of Kona 2016 color of the year : Highlight and glass, retroreflective nano particle fabric.
Nano particle fabric in the binding, photographed with the flash on.

Enjoy dear friend! It was made for YOU.