Archive for the ‘Quilts’ Category

SEW KATIE DID | Improv Curves Workshops | Nine-Patch Flowers Full

Upon finishing a quilt my next step is always tidying up the studio.  It’s closure.  A chance to clean the slate and recategorize the design wall with what I need to focus on next.  Just enough to be excited about something new, but not so much that I get distracted.  I don’t need any help with that.

Part of this habit is organizing the ‘seeds’ or ideas that got me to that finish.  I use a box system.  Into the box goes all the ideas that got me (or not) to the finished quilt, along with photos and any other inspiration.

I save most of these ‘seeds’ to show students how nonlinear my process can be, even when sticking within the same technique.  That merging something we already know with new juice helps in developing our own ‘what,’ artistic voice/look, aesthetic or whatever you want to call it. Some ideas go in good directions, some just don’t work and more than a few are waiting for their time to come.

Artistically it’s all beneficial;)

SEW KATIE DID|Nine Patch Improvisational Flowers

I’m mentioning this because I started with Plan A and ended with Z, so much so that I had to dig through the archives to remember its origin, which was in another box altogether.

sewkatiedid/Stitch and Flip Triangle workshop

My original inspiration started with improvisational Stitch and Flip Triangles and these Supernova blocks in the photo above.  I had a curved flower build out idea that didn’t work as I’d envisioned.

I played with centers, outlines and other shapes after abandoning my original design idea.  I even made something that looked like the Easter Bunny threw up.

The nesting idea came after I  got a hang of sizing the curves.

SEW KATIE DID | Improv Patchwork Curves Workshop | Nine-Patch Ghost Flower

I worked fully from stash and no surprise liked my usual mixed background of texture.  Some shot cotton here, Kona, something else, plus some tone-on-tone prints brought it together.  I ran out right at the end and digging from the wastebasket placed the ‘ghost’ flower.  It’s those surprises that usually are my favorite part of the quilt.

sewkatiedid:9-patch flowers:impro curves

I also have an odd lot of Metler colored thread I bought for nothing years ago, so working from that I picked the colors of the flowers and added a grid of quilting.  I thought of going diagonal, but decided I liked the centers of the flowers plain.  Someday I’ll teach myself to hand quilt, I think the flower centers call for it.

SEW KATIE DID | Improv Patchwork Curves Backs

The color way was fully inspired by this flower print on the back.  Switching out the white for the green made it into a pretty bold looking quilt.

SEW KATIE DID | Improv Patchwork Curves Workshops | Nine-Patch Flowers back

I auditioned and cut the binding in blue.  It was sweet, but a little too baby, so I ended up switching it to the same print in green.  You might see the blue binding in the next finished quilt:)


It has Spring written all over it for sure.  I thought in celebration I’d make a new ironing board cover to match.

I had to throw in the towel when it came to posting this workshop before Spring Break, just too much going on, but have one two spaces left.  If I see there’s more interest I’ll add another date.  Since I have our annual Camp Runamuck retreat and a teaching engagement in Georgia, May will be dotted with Open Studios and a couple workshops.  I think the last time I was in Georgia I was 23?!

Happy week Peeps!

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Theses squares just reminded me of garden plots.  This quilt’s four blocks were constructed using a method I call Magic Numbers.  There’s really nothing magic about them, Magic Numbers is a system of using block sizes that automatically fit together for flexibility in design without alteration. That’s right, all tidy;)

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot Magic Number quilt quarter

It’s a great method if you want to hone your skills at designing your own quilts, pattern free, but aren’t quite ready to free piece it or figure out the math. It’s great for bringing improvisational pieced blocks together or for adding texture into a background with added seams instead of just one big block of fabric.

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot magic number quilt corner

The quilting is my standard run-off straight lines, a quarter inch from each side of the seams.  I used painters tape as my guide for quilting the lines into the wide purple sashing.  I could have used Magic Number blocks instead of sashing if I needed more texture, but I think the blocks held their own.

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot Magic Number Quilt Close

I’m stilling piecing backs from stash.  This improvisational back falls in line with my creative quilt backs post on building out on the design wall.  Most of these fabrics are flannel, with a little hit of some quilting fabric and linen blend.

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot magic number quilt back

I branched out and played with an uplifting and happy thread color.  As I was filling the bobbin with the orange, I became suspect about whether I would like the effect it would have on the fairly neutral back.  In the finish the vibrant color added another level of texture to the back that a blended color wouldn’t have.  What a happy surprise:)

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot Quilt side

The color way is crazy good and bold.

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot Magic Number Quilt Binding

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Quilt Magic Number Quilt Binding edge

I generally don’t pick binding out until the quilting is done, but as I was putting this fabric back into the stash it came to mind it might work and that’s how it came to be.  There’s not a lick of it in the quilt itself.

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot Magic Number Quilt detail

This is a real simple quilt.  Anyone can quilt using this formula;)  Seriously the hardest thing would be picking the fabrics or you could forget about that and just go scrappy.  I’ve now made several quilts using the Magic Numbers method and each has a unique look.

SEW KATIE DID:Garden Plot Magic Number Quilt Full

Here’s some other examples of Magic Number quilts I’ve created.   You can see more about this scrappy one here.

SEW KATIE DID:Scrappy Sunshine Magic Number quilt block tutorial

  This one below is a great example of bringing the background fabric into the piecing to give the quilt’s blocks a floating deconstructed look.  More about this quilt here.

SEW KATIE DID:Smitten Kitten Magic Number Quilt Tutorial

I think it’s fun to play with how different each design can be.

Instead of offering this as a workshop I’m providing instruction for this method in Open Studios where we can merge some projects like box pouches and invisible zipper pillows.  Really any project can be adapted.  Simply respond if you’d like to schedule.

Happy week Peeps!

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Ok, ignore that last published post with just photos if you subscribe.  Whoops;)

The winner of the Christmas fabric is Paddy Anne!  Thank you to all who contributed by adding their favorite patchwork gift tutorial.  I’ve created a ‘Gifts to Sew’ Pinterest board for you all to check out with my favorites of your suggestions.

Quite a few of you linked to box pouch tutorials, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to as a little end of the year post.


At our Birch Bay retreat we started making pouches.  The time spent building out the panels made me think about all the quilted stuff I had packed away just waiting to be recreated.


SEW KATIE DID:FavsQuilt As You Go Tote/sewkatiedidSEW KATIE DID/QAYG Pillow

 Some long forgotten pillows and bags have been reimagined into zip pouches that turned out amazingly.

SEW KATIE DID:Boxed Pouch circles

I think the improvisational curves one is my favorite.


I never liked these panels as a bag, but I’m loving their reincarnation.  I had used duck cloth to line these when they were a bag and their structure turned out to be the best of all of them, but a little more fussy when it came to boxing the corners.

SEW KATIE DID:Box Pouch:bird 2

This one just has so many great fabrics.

SEW KATIE DID:box pouches

I love all the color and details.  I used a mix of techniques I found in a load of online tutorials.

And guess what?  I created a Pinboard for those too:)


So I guess that’s it for the year Peeps.  We’ve had a good one.   With the challenges of ALS in our family, my brother in law’s smile at seeing us and the positive attitude he exhibits encourages us to take advantage of our happy places and ditch the rest.  While ALS has entered our lives so have his amazing group of friends, enlarging our family circle with impeccable timing.

In honor of Jeremy, I encourage you to “reach for your best feeling thought” each and everyday.

See you in the New Year:)


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I’ve always enjoyed teaching at Modern Domestic in Portland.  They sell quality fabric, Bernina machines and have an amazing classroom that doubles as their gallery space.  Of course I should mention the friendly and knowledgeable staff;)

They kindly asked me if I’d like to be featured.  It turned out December was the month I could manage since I have no scheduled trunk shows or classes.  I figured people are making and shopping to boot and would see the quilts.


  I pulled all of these wonderful images from their blog,

and Instagram.

I selected quilts from the series I created, my Value Quilt Tutorial and then a few that reflect my favorite technique workshops, like elongated and double-trouble triangles.



I loved this photo that Sometimes Crafter posted on her Instagram account.


It’s always so fun to “see” (I wish I could have gone) all the quilts hanging together, especially in such a light and bright space.

I’ve been working on holiday gifts that I’ll likely pop back in to share at the end of the week.  Maybe a Christmas fabric FQ giveaway??? Be sure to add your email to the “follow me around” button in the sidebar for that update.  I’ve got some out of prints you surely need;)

  This Tuesday, next Tuesday (22nd) and this Thursday I have a space in  Open Studio with requests to teach/work on double sided napkins and other holiday projects like the dopp kits and zip pouches I’ve been making and posting on my Instagram.  Drop me an email to join us;)

Happy Monday Peeps!

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SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt Section

This quilt is a long time coming, as in years…

Alexander Henry’s Merry Moderns fabric was THE Christmas quilt fabric for me.  I just fell hard for it the minute I saw it.


The fabric seemed a perfect merge for an improvisational technique I’d been brainstorming about.  A block that was a faster way to produce ‘crazy pieced’ looking fabric.  So I started playing with the block construction concept that became what I now call the Split Personality Quilt Block.  The method quickly produces multiple blocks allowing you instant playtime with it in endless design concepts.


Fabrics from the stash that would coordinate with a Christmas theme were pulled, auditioned and sewn.  Some favorites were eaten up in the process.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Block

 And so, all these happy fabrics have been living together as blocks for a few years, waiting for the perfect pattern to show itself.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt Fold

My friend Laurel showed up at an open studio to finish up an Arkansas Crossroads quilt.  I instantly envisioned my blocks in that design and the production began…last year;)

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt Full flat

The essex linen in a cross weave black stabilized the scrappiness.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas quilt awesome

Merging traditional quilt designs with improvisational techniques has really become where my process leads me.  I love the secondary designs traditional set blocks create.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt side

When it came to quilting I lived and breathed this quilt for days.  For once I didn’t overthink it and went with straight lines that ran off the edge and echoed the ‘Xs’ the secondary design created.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt Side block

I dreaded the thought that I’d have to add another horizontal and vertical line because my body was done with quilting, but in the end I dismissed the addition.  It has the perfect drape and isn’t over quilted into the luscious feel of cardboard.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas quilt back

Here’s a peek at the back.  Leftovers and flannel of course.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt Detail 2

SEW KATIE DID:Side:Split Personality Christmas QuiltThe binding is the small scale print in the Merry Moderns line.  It worked out that some faces landed on the front and back of the quilt’s edge.

SEW KATIE DID:Binding Roll

You can see more designs and concepts with this block in my Instagram feed and I’ve added this block onto my January calendar as a daytime, nighttime and weekend workshop.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and then of course there is spring!

Happy Happy Peeps;)

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SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Quilt Block

I’m still quilting my Christmas quilt made with blocks that I call ‘Split Personality.”  Both the vertical and horizontal quilting lines were finished over the weekend and I’ll move onto the diagonal lines once the week’s open studios and workshop are done.

I try to give my body a break from quilting every hour or so and since staring at my design wall is a favorite activity I’ve dedicated my move around time to these solid fabric versions.  Last season I was rather smitten with all the heart designs I’d been seeing and decided I’d really like to play with an improvisational variation of this shape.

The block’s effect is similar to what the crazy piecing technique in Quilting Modern produces, but this new technique is rather quick and without fuss.

SEW KATIE DID/Split Personality Hearts

These Split Personality blocks have evolved into the “what” with their heart shaped design element, but they have yet to find the “how” of their final composition.  I’ve been inspired by so many traditional quilts layouts where I could place this block, but am really trying to stay improvisational with this one.

SEW KATIE DID/Split Personality Hearts

I have plans at the end of the week to play with some I made that I’m not as happy about and see where an elongated heart shape might land me.  Pays to not always throw away the ‘not so goods’ eh?  Maybe in the end I’ll have some great trivets for Christmas presents at the least:)

Happy midweek Peeps!


I’ve got new Open Studio dates up and a few spaces in my design wall/improv workshop left.  Thanks to everyone’s feedback and response to my newsletter.  I’ll be working on an evening Open Studio and a Sunday monthly in the new year.  Hope to see you soon;)

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I’ve procrastinated quilting it long enough.  I thought I’d long arm this quilt with swirls, but couldn’t make my date with Sandie so I went ahead last week and basted the beast.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Quilt Block 2

I’m an over baster so I thought this time I would use my plastic template to draw out my quilting lines and get a visual on the best placement for the pins.  Less moving them around=more quilting time right?

It did the trick.

SEW KATIE DID:Crosshatch Quilting thoughts

The horizontal and vertical lines are nearly done.  I believe it helped stabilize the blocks a bit for the crosshatch lines that will come next across the Essex linen.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Quilt Block:Merry Moderns Quilt

I went a quarter inch from each seam and will use painters tape as a guide for the crosshatch.

SEW KATIE DID:Split Personality Christmas Quilt

My thought is that the quilting will echo the Xs and Os the blocks create in the secondary design.  There’s a load of piecing to contain and tack down.

SEW KATIE DID/Split Personality Quilt back

Sneak Peek of the back.  So glad I went with the Cotton and Steel flannel.

Perhaps next week I’ll have something finished to show!  I’m itching to play on the design wall with the same block in solids and get the workshop for this block put fully together.

Hope you’re having a great week peeps!


P.S. I’ve got one spot in my open sew Thursday, November 12th from 10am to 3pm and some spots in my workshops at Circa 15 fabric studio.  Give me a shout out if you’d like to join/sewkatiedid@gmail.com

I’ll try to keep my Facebook page updated with classes and sew ins until I get my website up and running;) or follow along with Bloglovin.

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