WIP Wednesday: Guest Hosted by Natalie from Greenleaf Goods

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Hi everyone! I’m Natalie from Greenleaf Goods, and I am so excited to be guest hosting WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced today!

Lee’s blog was one of the first that I started reading regularly, and I loved the idea of a weekly check-in to keep all of my projects in order. It’s amazing to see how it has grown, and I have “met” some of my favorite bloggers (and now friends!) through the WIP Wednesday link-up.

I’m sorely in need of a project check-in, as I have some WIP’s that have been languishing for quite a while! It’s very motivating to make a concrete list of ALL projects in progress, it helps keep me motivated to see things through to completion. Plus, I’m often surprised at how many things I have going on at once!

Here’s my current rundown:

hand quilting my single girl

1. Single Girl Quilt: 

I started my single girl quilt 2 years ago! This is definitely my longest-term project to date, but also one of my most special quilts.

single girl WIP

After finishing the quilt top up this past summer, I decided to hand quilt the entire queen sized thing. Crazy? Maybe! But I really love the process, and I’m close to being done! Hoping to finish this one in the next month or so!

fabric bundle from purl


2. Next up: A new project I recently began that is inspired by a vintage quilt top I saw on pinterest. I’ve been hoarding a gorgeous bundle of fabric from Purl that I received as a wedding gift 2 years ago, and it has finally found its calling. I pulled out a ridiculously large stack of fabric to accompany the bundle (some of which are pictured below), and I’ve been working on freezer-paper templates for the piecing.

fabric for vintage inspired quilt

Lately I’ve been feeling very inspired by vintage quilt tops—perhaps a good sign that I’ll love Lee’s new book!

voile patchwork quilt top

3. Little Folks Quilt Top: In the dead of winter I whipped up this bright voile quilt top. I’m thinking this will be my next hand-quilting venture, once I finish the single girl. I love the softness of hand quilted quilts, and stitching through voile is like stitching a cloud!

pow-wow quilt on the design wall

4. Pow-Wow Quilt: I began my pow-wow quilt last spring, but put it on the back burner when we moved in the fall. These bright colors would be perfect for a spring finish!


5. Holiday Quilts: This past year I also decided it would be fun to have some special occasion quilts, both of which need finishing! My 4th of July-inspired quilt is basted and ready to quilt.

Spiderweb Quilt..

My Halloween quilt needs quite a few more spiderweb blocks to be complete.

chicopee hoops

6. Last up: I’m sprucing up the bathroom in our house with some Chicopee patchwork! I have to finish a few hoops, and I’m planning to embellish a white shower curtain with some patchwork squares. The Chicopee just looks so good with black and white vintage tile in our bathroom.

Phew! That’s quite a list! Now it’s time for you to share what you’re working on!

Here’s how it works:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab the WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. This is the best part! Check in on your sewing and blogging friends for an update on their projects, and find new friends to follow! Don’t forget to leave some encouragement for others, blog comments make everyone’s day better!

Happy Sewing!


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My Love Nest Entry

Gen X Quilters

I feel kind of bad posting about this quilt again, since I think most of you have seen it plenty of times already. But I want to enter AnneMarie’s fun Love Nest Quilt Contest, and I only have two bed-size quilts to choose from. Of those two, this was definitely my choice for the entry.

And the fact is, I get more questions about this quilt than I do about any other. People love this pattern, and they want to know how difficult it is to make. Plus, there’s been extra interest in Single Girl quilts lately, since Katy, Nova, and Megan announced their Single Girl quilt-along. So maybe another post about this quilt isn’t out of line.

“Nature Girl” Single Girl quilt
King size (106″ x 92″)
Fabric: Kona Bleached White, Cherish Nature by Deb Strain, Neptune by Tula Pink, Al Fresco by Marcus Brothers, a few other scraps
Quilting: Done by the long-arm quilter at my LQS in the “Bubbles” pattern
Pattern: Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt

How long did you work on this quilt?
Forever. Plus a month or two.

For me, the most difficult part of making this pattern was making the templates and cutting all the pieces. Tedious, boring work. And it took way longer than I expected. Since I was making mine king-size, I made 20 of the rings. That means there are 640 pieces in the rings alone! All drawn with templates and cut out with scissors. (I’m very glad I didn’t tally it up before I started, or this quilt might not exist today!)

The most important thing during the templating/cutting step, in my opinion, is organization. Make piles. And plan on those piles being undisturbed for many days—possibly weeks. I also found it helpful to write (in pencil) the template’s identifying letter on the back of every fabric piece I cut. Just in case those piles got mixed up or needed to be moved at any point in the process (and they did).

Any “a-ha” moments?
Piecing this quilt was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. The rings came together very quickly (especially compared to cutting all those pieces). And the curved part of the piecing (attaching the rings to the white background pieces) really wasn’t bad at all, once I got the hang of how to pin it. Hint: Use twice as many pins as you think you need. Then add a few more just for good measure. : ) There’s a very good diagram that comes with the pattern about how to pin your pieces.

What inspired you?
Well, it started with me just wanting to make a quilt for my king-size bed. I love modern quilt designs, but every pattern I considered just seemed too boxy and geometric for my not-very-modern bedroom furniture. My headboard is arched, so I wanted something that would work with that. That’s when I thought of the Single Girl. For some reason the idea of doing a king-size Single Girl didn’t scare me that much—I think it was early enough in my quilting career that I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. : ) Which, in the end, was probably a good thing.

Have you made a modern bed-size quilt? Head over to Gen X Quilters to enter AnneMarie’s contest—there are awesome prizes for the winners.

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A Quilty 2011

As my Christmas sewing finally winds down, I’m turning my attention to the new year. And Elizabeth at Don’t Call Me Betsy is hosting a listy linky for 2011 quilting goals. Fun! So without further ado, here’s what’s on the agenda for me:

1. Surprise: More quilts! My mom has “commissioned” me to make a king-size version of Jennifer’s Intersection(s) pattern, using the fabric above. I’m also doing the girly companion for my boyish Modern Meadow baby quilt, I want to make bed quilts for Miss E. and my little niece, I still have my Urban Lattice quilt to do, and I’m thinking about joining the Bloggers’ Block-A-Palooza quilt-along. And those are just my immediate plans—I guarantee a few more will get added to the list as we go along.

2. Bees. I’m starting with four bees beginning in January:
Do. Good Stitches, a charity bee that I’m thrilled to be taking part in.
{Sew} Beautiful, a modern bee with some of my bestest blogging friends. My month is November.
String Me Along, a 16-month scrap-focused bee. My month is July.
• The 3 x 6 Mini Bee.

3. Swaps. I’ve only done one swap so far, but I would definitely like to do a few more. I would love a mini-quilt or two to decorate the blank wall behind my sewing machine—I spend a lot of time staring at that wall. It’d be nice to have something inspirational up there! So I’m hoping to join the next Doll Quilt Swap. I’m also interested in the Pillow Talk Swap and Modern Swappers. Both look like a lot of fun.

4. A quilt-along. I would like to try running my own quilt-along sometime in 2011, based on my Hope Valley quilt above. I’m thinking of starting it in February or March (although of course you will be able to join it at any time). I may modify the design a little (possibly to make it charm-square friendly) or I may do it just as it is, above. I’m undecided—if you think you might participate, feel free to weigh in!

5. Quilting for charity. In addition to my involvement in Do. Good Stitches, I’m making a quilt for the Wrapped In Hope project by Margaret’s Hope Chest. I’m also planning to make at least one quilt next year for Quilt Hope In, which benefits women and children in Haiti.

6. Holiday stuff for 2011. A tree skirt, stockings for the whole family, and a Christmas quilt. These are all things I wanted to get to this year, but didn’t. 2011 will be the year for them. No, seriously.

7. Learn to free-motion quilt. I need to get over my fear of FMQ and give it another shot. I’m not sure I’ll ever love it—quilting on my machine always feels like a wrestling match to me, trying to get that bulky quilt through such a small amount of space. That just doesn’t strike me as much fun. But it’s a skill I should have, even if I don’t use it frequently.

8. Rent the long-arm quilting machine at my LQS again. I rented a long-arm twice in 2010. My first time on the long-arm was a wonderful experience (I quilted the quilt shown above, for my 1-year-old). The second time was more stressful, because I had to load the quilt onto the frame by myself, and the machine got a little cranky with me (not my fault, I swear!). But it’s pretty awesome to take an unbasted, unsandwiched top and back into the store, and come out 3 hours later with a gorgeous quilt! So I would like to rent the long-arm again, and naturally, when I do, I plan to document the whole thing right here. : )

9. More finishes. For all the sewing I did in 2010, I only have five completed quilts to show for it. Two of those were sent out to a professional long-arm quilter. Outsourcing the quilting is convenient and quick, but it’s certainly not cheap. And there’s just something about doing a quilt entirely yourself, from start to finish, that makes the completed project that much more special. So this year, I want to finish more quilts: My goal is 12 quilts in 2011. That’s one per month, on top of my bee blocks, swap commitments, and other projects! And I want to finish more of those quilts myself. I won’t say all of them, but definitely more of them.

Um, is 2011 expected to be like 14 months long instead of the usual 12? Because if it’s not, I don’t know how I’m going to accomplish all of this. Oh well, nothing wrong with a little ambition, right? If I check off even three-quarters of the projects listed above, I’ll be a happy girl.

And with that, I’m signing off until after Christmas. With Miss E. on break from school, cookies to make, presents to wrap, and a few gift projects yet to finish, I need to take the week off from blogging and concentrate on reigning in the holiday chaos. So there will be no WIP Wednesday this week. But we will return to our regularly-scheduled programming on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Now hop over to Elizabeth’s blog to see what everybody else is planning in the new year. Happy holidays to you all, and happy sewing in 2011!



Thank you to everyone for your nice comments about my Single Girl quilt! When I started this blog I wasn’t sure if anybody would be interested enough to read it—there are just so many wonderful quilting blogs out there, it’s hard to imagine my brand new little blog would catch anybody’s eye. So I’ve really enjoyed the comments and feedback.

As far as the quilt, the more I look at the bubble quilting, the happier I am with it. I think I questioned it because it doesn’t look quite like I had originally envisioned it. But just because something is not exactly how I pictured it in my head doesn’t mean that it’s bad or wrong (in fact, sometimes quite the opposite). That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over since I started sewing and quilting. 🙂 One of these days it might even sink in!


Single Girl Quilt

I think the world may have just tilted on its axis. I have completed a bed-sized quilt.

A king-size quilt, in fact. Like, to use on a real bed. It will keep us warm when we are sleeping. Yes, it’s true: I have made something that is not only pretty, but useful as well. What a great feeling.

So, details: The fabric is mostly Cherish Nature (so I’m calling this quilt “Nature Girl”), but there is some Neptune, Al Fresco, and a few other odds and ends thrown in. If you intend to make the Single Girl pattern, you really do need 36 different prints—I had initially hoped to get away with fewer, but this quilt achieves its randomness in a highly organized, structured way, requiring all 36 prints. The quilt back is pieced as well. (And became even more pieced than I had originally intended when the back ended up being too small for the long-arm due to a measuring error.) It was quilted by the talented ladies at my local quilt shop.

Of course, because I must torture myself by second-guessing every design decision I have ever made, I’m questioning my choice of the “bubbles” quilting pattern. I’m thinking the circles-over-circles might be just a little too … circle-happy. Also, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that the pieced rings aren’t perfect circles (they’re more squared off), while the bubbles in the quilting are perfectly round. But I chose the bubbles because I wanted to do something other than stippling. I like stippling, but since there’s so much of it out there right now, I figured if I could do something different, I should. The only other pattern that caught my eye was a swirly one, and I didn’t think that would work with the minimalist, modern aesthetic I was going for. And you know what? Now that I’m talking through my reasoning for the choice, I’m feeling a little better about the bubbles. Ah, blog, you are serving your purpose already.

Now I just need to get going on some shams and throw pillows. And maybe some curtains. And some artwork. Oh yeah, and I still have to bind this puppy. Nooooo problem.


Single Girl Shapes Up

She’s shaping up!

Yes, all my quarter-blocks are sewn. I laid out the entire quilt on my dining room floor. (It’s the only room in my house with enough floor space—and that’s only after moving the table way off to the side.) I’m now in the process of sewing it together.

I have to say, laying out all of those quarter-blocks was one of the most satisfying moments I’ve experienced in quilting. This project came together exactly the way I had envisioned it. Plus, it’s king-size, and I’ve never done anything even close to this big before. To see a project this huge come together in its finished form made me feel like I’m really accomplishing something.

Also remarkable: The fact that I haven’t gotten sick of looking at the darn thing by now. Usually, by the time I get to this stage, fatigue has set in on the colors, prints, pattern, etc. But this makes two projects in a row that I have not been tired of by the time I’m done piecing. Makes me think my design decisions are finally on the right track.


My Single Girl

Oh, how I love Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl. I’ve been wanting to make this quilt for ages. I literally wanted to make it before I even knew how to sew. In fact, DS quilts are what originally made me want to learn how to sew. Single Girl is everything I love about modern quilting: Bold, geometric, scrappy, yet minimalistic. I’m going to employ a phrase graphic designers love to use to describe their work: It pops.

And now I’m finally making one of my own. But like most things in my life, there’s no part-way on this. I couldn’t just piece together a little baby Single Girl. I had to go and make it king-size.

Well, if I’m gonna make this dramatic design that I’ve been admiring for so long, I might as well do it up right. Right? This puppy’s going on my own bed. That means it has to be king-size. That means I have to make twenty of the Single Girl rings. Twenty.

And since I can’t spend more than an hour or two a day sewing, it’s been sloooowwwww going. It took me at least three weeks just to draw out and cut all the pieces. Now, for the past two months, I’ve been piecing the quarter-blocks. Piecing in the background feels like it’s taking forever.

But it’s getting there. Just five more of the outer background pieces, and it’s done. I can’t wait to piece together the quarter rings and see the complete top. And my thoughts have now turned to the back. A plan for that is definitely coming together in my head.