Monday, January 23, 2017

It's A Challenge

Thistle Thicket Studio, 9-patch quilt block, quilts, quilting, 9-patch
A new year brings a new challenge in our quilt guild. In recent years, a new year long challenge project is introduced at the beginning of the year. This year the challenge is a row quilt. Each month, a new type of block will be drawn from 40+ possibilities and members are to make blocks for their row quilt. Size of blocks and size of quilt is up to each member, as is fabric selection. The first block type drawn for January was a 9-patch Medley.

My interpretation of a medley of 9-patches was to make each 9-patch different. My personal challenge was to make them cohesive. To do that, I chose to make 4-patches in the corners of each block. But before I could make my blocks, I had to determine what size of quilt and what size of blocks to make. After some thought, I decided to make each of my rows 60" wide because a variety of block sizes (2", 3", 4", 5", 6", & 10") would all divide evenly into 60, giving me the greatest variety of sizes of blocks.

For the 9-patch Medley, I chose to make 10 six inch blocks because it would evenly divide into 6, making each section of the 9-patch 2" finished. With all the math out of the way, I began sketching blocks on graph paper until I had 10 I liked.

I've had a partial fat quarter bundle of Etchings by 3 Sisters for Moda and decided to use it for this challenge. The bundle is partial because I stole all the red fat quarters for another project, so I had to search a little to find a suitable red. It is not from the Etchings collection, but I like how it fits in. I did find an Etchings solid gray and will be using it to insert 1" sashings between the rows.

Since these quilts are a "challenge", I try to challenge myself to try a new approach or learn a new technique each month. But the biggest challenge for me on these projects is probably finishing them! Life seems to get in the way and I get behind, then pretty soon the project gets set aside and I'm off to a new project. The last two challenge quilts are still sitting in my sewing room, half done, and now on my list of 1st quarter goals for the Finish-A-Long.

Here's hoping this row quilt challenge isn't destined for my list of goals for the 2018 Finish-A-Long!


Monday, January 16, 2017

The Lego Batman Quilt

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batman! After a year of looking at my stack of Batman fabric, I finally designed, cut, sewed, quilted and bound the quilt in the last 12 days that my grandson requested last February. I can't wait to gift it to that superhero-loving five-year-old (the one that Nana and Papa scoured every sale rack last year after Halloween buying superhero costumes in every shape and form for dress-up costumes for his Christmas present).
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman quilt, super hero quilt, Batman

I'm not really sure why it took me so long to dig into this project because it went together really easy. I drafted my pattern on graph paper, then set about sewing the quilt top together in horizontal sections. I raw edge machine appliqued the Batman logo on the chest block before sewing that section.
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman quilt, Lego Batman, Batman, super hero quilt, super heroes

I thought the challenge on this quilt was going to be sewing the curved sections on the bottom of Batman's cape (I used Sew Kind of Wonderful's Quick Curve Ruler - easy peasy), but the real challenge came when trying to decide how to quilt it.
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman quilt, Lego Batman, Batman, super hero quilt, super heroes

I fell in love with this "KaPow-Slam-Wham" digital quilting pattern by It's A Quilt Thing but thought it would be too busy to quilt over the top of Batman, so I decided to quilt it as a background fill. I quilted Batman using P2P lines which I thought would not distract the eye.
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman Quilt, Lego Batman, Batman, super hero quilt, super heroes

Pow! A pop of orange for the binding really punched up the drama of the quilt.
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman Quilt, Lego Batman, Batman, super hero quilt, super heroes

With the left over fabric, I made a matching travel-size pillow case with an inner pillow case in orange.
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman Quilt, Lego Batman, Batman, super hero pillow, super heroes

I ran out this morning after finishing the binding for a quick photo in the snow. I'm hoping to get better photos later. And I can't wait to get a photo of the quilt with my little super hero in his Batman costume!
Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman Quilt, Lego Batman, Batman, super hero quilt, super heroes

I would love to publish a pattern for this quilt and I'm currently researching the licensing issues on the licensed Batman character. Anyone with any knowledge or advice out there?

Quilt Stats:

  • Quilt Pattern: Lego Batman designed by me, aka Thistle Thicket Studio.
  • Fabric: #520211A, Batman: TM/MC & DC Comics, Eugene Textiles found at JoAnns. Kona Cotton solids (sorry I didn't record the exact colors).
  • Finished Size: 60" x 60"
  • Backing: The same Batman fabric listed above.
  • Binding: Kona Cotton in a shade of orange.
  • Batting: Hobbs 80-20.
  • Quilting: Quilted on a Gammill Statler longarm using P2P lines on Batman. KaPow-Slam-Wham digital pattern by It's A Quilt Thing.
  • Thread: Piecing thread was Aurifil 2730 50 wt. and Mettler 50 wt. in black. Quilting thread was Signature Solids in Buttercup, Ivory & Oyster Shell, and Aurifil 2730 50 wt.

This is my first finish of 2017 and for the first quarter of the 2017 Finish-A-Long. So happy to mark this one of my to-do list!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long: Q1 Goals

Thistle Thicket Studio, Finish-A-Long, quilting goalsIt's time again to assess where I am with my WIPs and to set goals for the next quarter of the Finish-A-Long. I did manage to complete one project during the busy holiday season last quarter, but still have toooo many to count that needs finished. For this first quarter of the new year I've narrowed down the looong list to nine for my goals. (Are you getting the idea that I have alooot of WIPs and UFOs?!)

Thistle Thicket Studio, medallion quilt, quilt guild challenge
1. Medallion Quilt Guild Challenge: This is last year's guild challenge. Unfortunately it hasn't been touched since mom's car accident, but I'm hoping and really need to get back to this soon. Our guild is going to have a quilt display at our local county fair the end of July with all the challenge quilts so I have a deadline. I'm always better with a deadline!

Thistle Thicket Studio, Christmas table runner
2. Christmas Table Runner: This table runner features the "Spinners" block I designed for Paintbrush Studio's New Block Blog Hop last year. This one needs a backing pieced with the remaining fabric scraps and quilted. Easy right? Yay, right!

Thistle Thicket Studio, Kansas Troubles Fabric,
3. Quilt Guild BOM 2015: No that date isn't wrong. This one is a couple of years old now and I really need to get it done. I've figured out how I want to lay the blocks out now, which is progress. Unfortunately it will require making a bunch of star setting blocks. Ugh!

Thistle Thicket Studio, Frivols, Bonnie & Camille, Hello Darling
4. Hello Darling Frivols Quilt: I'm planning on taking this project to work on when we head south for a few weeks to warm up this winter. How much progress I make with it depends on how rainy it is in Texas while we're there.

Thistle Thicket Studio, leaders and enders, scrap quilt, scrap busting, log cabin blocks
5. Leaders and Enders Project: I need to pull this one out and start using the leaders and enders method again to make the postage stamp blocks needed to complete this quilt. This is suppose to be my scrap busting project but it hasn't been busting any scraps lately.

Thistle Thicket Studio, Fall Frolic fabric
6. Fall Frolic Quilt: I just love this fabric and hope to dig into this kit soon. But realistically, it won't be until later this year. I'll leave it on the list - just in case (wink, wink).

Thistle Thicket Studio, Farm Girl Vintage
7. Farm Girl Vintage Quilt: Sadly, this one is still in the 'pile of blocks' stage. I have great plans for a really cool backing for this one, so I really need to get back to this one too. Hoping to at least get started on the back this quarter, although I doubt I get it finished either - but covering the all my bases.

Thistle Thicket Studio, Lego Batman Quilt, Lego Batman, Batman
8. Lego Batman Quilt: I can say I've made great progress on this quilt this week. The top is done and I loaded it on the long arm yesterday. Hoping to get this one quilted and bound this week in time for quilt guild show & tell. It will be heading south with us and will be part of grandson #1's birthday present in February.

Thistle Thicket Studio, halloween blocks, paper piecing
9. Halloween Mini Quilt: Speaking of quilt guild, we are having a sew day Saturday and I've been rummaging around trying to decide what I want to take. I hate dragging a bunch of sewing stuff for a few hours of sewing so I like to take small projects that don't require a lot of equipment. I discovered these paper piecing blocks that are free on Made by Marney's blog while sitting for hours each day with mom in the hospital. They will make a fun mini quilt  - so cute!

There you have it. My goals for the next three months. I've already set a precedence of only getting one or two things done each quarter, so I don't expect anything grand this quarter. But, at least I'm working towards some finishes and, as I said earlier, I work better with deadlines. I'll be linking up with the 2017 Finish-A-Long 1st quarter goals link-up. There's still time to join me in the fun and get some of your WIPs and UFOs completed, so go check it out!


Monday, January 2, 2017

What A Way To Kick Off The New Year!

I just got home from spending the holidays with the kids and grandkids and couldn't wait to share my exciting news! Yesterday, I stopped by Moda Bake Shop's blog and discovered their post "2016 Favorites" listing their top ten quilts for 2016. I was totally shocked and surprised - and THRILLED - that my quilt, "Howdy Y'all", made the top ten, coming in at #8.
I'm not sure how the top ten were chosen - maybe by the number of visitors to the page - but in any case, I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by Moda Bake Shop to check out my Cowboy Boot Block recipe!

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 31, 2016


That hashtag #2016BestNine popped up again on Instagram over the last couple of weeks and I highlighted my favorite best nine quilt finishes for the year, so I thought I'd share them all with you and reminisce about my year in quilting. As always, I surprised myself that I had even completed nine projects with the lack of sewing that I have done in the past few months!
Thistle Thicket Studio, best nine quilt finishes 2016,

In no particular order.....

1. Spell It With Moda Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Spell It With Moda, Sunkissed fabric, abc quilt
I was selected as one of the co-hosts of Moda Bake Shop's ABC Birthday Sew-Along at the beginning of 2016 and I made a few different projects throughout the year using Moda's Spell It With Moda letter patterns. This project ended up being the last project I completed for the year (it's finish was delayed due to my mom's car accident). I changed up the pattern a bit by framing each of the letters and blocks with the background fabric to make 10" x 12" finished blocks, making the quilt finish at 60" x 60". I used a leftover fat quarter bundle of Sunkissed fabric by Sweetwater for Moda and I love the colors combinations.
The remaining fabric was pieced together for the backing along with some Bella Solid white. I quilted it using diagonal lines placed randomly in white, yellow, hot pink and gray.

2. Robots All In A Row Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Robots All In A Row quilt, robot quilt
Absolutely my most favorite quilt of the year because I designed and made this quilt for my grandson! My inspiration came from fabric I found by Makower UK called "Little Monsters Robots" by The Henley Studio. There's just so much to say about this quilt and I kind of already did on my original blog post, so click on the heading "Robots All In A Row" and it will take you to that post for all the details and lots of photos. Actually, this quilt was so epic that I blogged about it more than once, so here's another link. (FYI - you can click on each of the headings to go to the original posts).

3. Modern Gem 4-Patch Quilt

This quilt was a UFO from back in my quilt shop owner days and was a demo on how to make a quick 4-patch block the Me and My Sister way. After the top was finished, I tucked it away thinking it was so blah. I pulled it out at the beginning of the year and finished the quilt up. It was kind of boring and I really needed something to spicy it up. I found it in a quilting pattern called Modern Gem. I just love how the quilting turned out.

4. Have Yourself A Quilty Little Christmas Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Have Yourself A Quilty Little Christmas, Lori Holt, Bee In My Bonnet
If you follow my blog, you know I love Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet. So when she had a sew-along a couple of years ago on Instagram for this quilt, I saved each post in a file with hopes of making it someday. Well, that someday came earlier this year. I picked up the Christmas fabrics in this quilt at JoAnn's and then filled in the rest with my stash. I love it and really enjoyed displaying it this year for Christmas.

5. Bonnie & Camille Log Cabin Swap Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Bonnie and Camille, log cabin swap, log cabin quilt
This was my first experience with participating in a swap on Instagram and what an epic one it was - with over 200 swappers! Of course this swap was so popular because there are so many Bonnie and Camille fabric fans, and who doesn't love the colors featured in their lines! Lissa Alexander, Director of Marketing at Moda, put together the original log cabin swap with a group of Moda designers and you can get her directions for the block and swap here.

6. Farm Girl Layer Cake Mini Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Farm Girl Vintage, layer cake mini quilt, Lori Holt, Bee In My Bonnet
In June, I was invited to help Lori Holt celebrate the one year anniversary of her Farm Girl Vintage Sew-Along by making this Farm Girl Layer Cake block, which I turned into a mini quilt. It was a fun block to make (you can get the free pattern here) and I framed it with squares from one of Lori Holt's fabric panels. My favorite part of this quilt, though, is the cable quilting pattern!

7. Howdy Y'all Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Howdy Y'all Quilt, cowboy boot block, Moda Bake Shop recipe
As I mentioned earlier, I was one of the hosts for Moda Bake Shop's ABC Birthday Sew-Along. As part of that event, each host designed a filler block that could be used with the letter blocks. I designed a cowboy boot and made this quilt to hang on my split rail fence to welcome visitors to the farm. Check out my Moda Bake Shop recipe for my Cowboy Boot block tutorial. I love how the quilting shows up on this quilt too!

8. Quilts For Peace Quilt

My son-in-law is a police officer in Texas so the killing of the five police officers last summer in Dallas hit close to home. I joined in the effort to make blue heart quilts to give to the families of the fallen officers. I made this quilt and donated it to the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild.
Thistle Thicket Studio, quilts for peace, heart quilt
And I included a label expressing my gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice.

9. Whirl & Twirl Mini Quilt

Thistle Thicket Studio, Whirl & Twirl quilt, free quilt block tutorial
I designed this Whirl & Twirl block pattern for the Pat Bravo Mini Quilt Blog Tour last April featuring some of Pat's Art Gallery Fabrics collections. This is probably my most favorite block I've designed thus far. I just love the secondary pattern it creates. The blue pinwheels reminds me of old fashion windmills and the pink blades reminds me of the modern day wind turbine. Click on the link above for the free block tutorial. Again, I just love the quilting on this mini, it really makes the quilt pop.

And there you have Best Nine Quilt Finishes for 2016. I can't wait to see what opportunities 2017 will bring!

Best Wishes For A Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Noel Word Scramble

A farmer can get a little bored during the winter months on the farm, especially when the temps dip down to -23 and he's cooped up in the house for days. That boredom can lead to some shenanigans once in awhile. Such was the case for the hubby during the past couple of weeks.
Thistle Thicket Studio, barnweed sign, wagon wheel letter, Noel sign, rustic Christmas decor

My Noel sign made from barn wood and an old wagon wheel that leans against the garage during the holiday season seemed to receive a lot of his attention this year. As I was returning home one evening during the cold snap, I caught a glimpse of this in my car headlights. This simple photo with the text "Nice" was sent to the Hubby in acknowledgement.

Of course, I had to return the challenge and rearranged the letters the next day to spell "Lone". And soon after, the letters magically were rearranged to read "Leno".

After a few more arrangements, the letters returned to their festive "Noel" greeting, just in time to welcome family home for the holidays.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

From Our House To Yours.....

Wishing you the merriest Christmas filled with peace, love and joy!
Thistle Thicket Studio, santa mug, vintage ornaments, Christmas arrangement