How to Measure a Year: “What the Hex” Finished Quilt

One year ago I started working on a twin-size quilt for my friend, Rommy, as part of an art exchange. She selected a set of aqua and green fabrics I had in my stash to use for her quilt. This quilt was full of firsts for me. I used new (to me) techniques: cutting triangles, piecing hexagons and sewing y-seams.

Finished twin-size

Finished twin-size “What the Hex” quilt (photographed on a queen size bed)

Binding Detail

Binding Detail

While piecing did not take long, the actual quilting took a few months. Between the 1/4″ spacing, stopping and turning, each unique hexagon took approximately 2 hours to complete.

Quilting Detail

Quilting Detail

Border Quilting Detail

Border Quilting Detail

The backing fabric came from a cotton shower curtain I rediscovered on a trip back to AZ. I thought the feminine print was a nice contrast to the geometric front. While it was wide enough, I had to piece in a bit for the length.  The only quilting difficulty came from keeping it smooth enough and preventing fabric tucks.

Backing fabric upcycled from cotton shower curtain

Backing fabric upcycled from cotton shower curtain

I also now understand the appeal of whole-cloth quilting. I love how the back shows off the intricate quilting design.

Walking foot quilting detail

Straight line quilting done with walking foot

Straight line quilting border detail

Straight line quilting border detail

After finishing the quilt, I decided to make two coordinating pillow shams from the scraps.  Embracing the “work with what you’ve got” philosophy, I used scrap batting in both shams and a plain white pillow case for the backing. Don’t tell my husband that I’ve started scrounging in the linen closet to supplement my quilting addiction.

Scrappy Pillow Shams

Scrappy Pillow Shams

I also made a hand embroidered label, mainly to cover up part of the backing that creeped up while quilting. It was the first time I ever tried hand embroidery and the first time I ever made a quilt label.

For Rommy | <3 Carrie 2015

For: Rommy | ❤ Carrie 2015

This has been my favorite quilt to date and I am a bit sad to give this one away. I take solace in knowing it will be going to a good home and be well-loved (and used) by Rommy.

Now to not-so-humble brag. Linking-up like crazy to:
Needle & Thread Thursday @My Quilting Infatuation
Sew Cute Tuesday @Blossom Heart Quilts
Show & Tell Tuesday @I Have to Say
Too Cute Tuesday @Funky Polkadot Giraffe
Can I get a Whoop Whoop?!?! @Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Link-a-Finish Friday @Richard and Tanya Quilts
Thank God It’s Finished Friday @Simply Pieced
Finish It Up Friday @Crazy Mom Quilts
Quilt for Keeps


#TBT: Star Quilt

Quilting on my “What the Hex” quilt has been slow going. It’s very time consuming and almost overwhelming to quilt the intricate designs for a twin size quilt with only a walking foot on a domestic machine. While I am excited of what has been accomplished and that I am nearing the final stages, I’ve also become a bit impatient with how slowly progress is made. Still I ” just keep quilting”.

I thought it would be fun to do a “Throwback Thursday” post and show one of my projects that was completed before creating this blog. It’s a nice reflection for myself as it’s easier to see how my quilting designs have evolved over the years.

I have been technically quilting for over 10 years, yet the number of projects I have finished is embarrassingly low. Being a mostly self-taught quilter, learning the tips, tricks & techniques have come from avidly reading quilting blogs, Craftsy classes, and advice from my few quilting friends.

Like many quilters, I started quilting with learning to assemble the traditional “Log Cabin” block.  This was great for learning how to chain piece and allowed freedom in layout choices by not needing a set design at the onset of the project.

This “Star Quilt” is actually the second quilt top I ever assembled, but I did not get around to the quilting part until many years later. I had an Eleanore Burns “Quilt in a Day” book to guide me and played around with the layout many times.  Why I settled on this layout, I cannot remember and if I had it to do over again I would definitely change it.

Top pieced and ready to quilt

Top pieced, borders attached, ready to quilt


It was intended to be a quilt for my X-Long twin bed in the dorms at the University of Arizona; however it was not finished until 2013 (almost 5 years after I graduated). It kind of reminds me of a Lisa Frank inspired quilt, the colors of which were determined by the star fabric I stole from my mother.

Inspiration fabric

Inspiration fabric


This was one of the first quilts I did any “free” motion quilting on on a “medium” arm machine. I say “free” because I followed a set swirl pattern and the “medium” arm machine was a PFAFF set on a large frame that was available at my workplace.  It was a learning experience in speed, getting comfortable with the motions and making sure to always put the presser foot down (I can’t tell you how many times I had to tear out a section of stitching because of this).

Always remember to put the presser foot DOWN!

Always remember to put the presser foot DOWN!

Contrasting with the colorful front is a plain blue backing. Not quite navy, not quite royal, but somewhere in between.

Simple blue backing

Simple blue backing


The binding was pieced and then cheater sewn with a zig-zag stitch. I just wanted it done and since this was for personal use, it did not matter to me that the stitching would show. Plus I think with all the crazy colors in the top and the variegated thread, it worked just fine.

Pieced binding sewn on with zig-zag stitch

Pieced binding sewn on with zig-zag stitch


The binding was finished on a trip to my parent’s ranch in New Mexico and that is now where the Star Quilt lives. It’s nice to have something so bright and colorful in such a muted landscape.

Quilted and bound

10 years in the making, quilted and bound.


Looking back, I am pleased with how quickly the top came together and still love the versatility afforded by the Log Cabin block. Perhaps one of my future projects will incorporate it again, but with the more modern twist.


UFO Sighting!

One of my biggest challenges is completing projects. Like my mother, I tend to start projects and rarely finish them. While it keeps my interests and excitement for crafting alive, it is also overwhelming having an ever-growing “to do” list.

Over the past year or so I have made a very conscious effort to A- complete the new projects I start and 2- finish the “UFO’s” (UnFinished Objects) that have been YEARS in the making.

Currently, I am about two weeks into a month long visit to my parents in AZ. Before making the trip I set a goal to finishing up some of those UFO’s. The projects I set out to finish are (in priority order):

  1. T-shirt Quilt for my younger (not so little) brother, Eddie. I started this almost 8 years ago using t-shirts he wore in high school.
  2. Subway Art Wood Transfer project. This was supposed to be a Christmas 2013 present for my dad and then evolved into an Aug 15 birthday present. Still a UFO at this time
  3. Upholstered Headboard. This is another project for my brother. He took my bed a few years ago, I stole the headboard to redo.
  4. UA T-shirt Quilt. SInce this is a UFO for myself, it’s lowest on the priority list. As you can probably guess, I went through a phase of making t-shirt quilts. I will be happy to have them done.

I have made the most progress on finishing the T-shirt quilt for my brother.  While I did plan out how I wanted to quilt this one, I have greatly underestimated how long it would take.  You can see my progress below:


Laying it out to fix the backing and batting


My mother’s machine from the 1980’s. I learned to sew on this machine


No free motion foot for this guy


Quarter inch spacing. Love the texture. Despise how long it takes.