What I did on my summer vacation, vol. 1

Oh, September. It seems like you just started. I had good intentions to be back in this space weeks ago, because in my mind, Labor Day marks the end of summer. Never mind that summer officially ends tomorrow or that, for us, it ended mid-August when the girls started back to school (a sophomore and a senior!). It always takes me a few weeks to adjust to the new normal and I think that I am just about as adjusted as I will get this year. Or so it seems.

Our summer was full and good and productive. I read a LOT, I made some quilts, I made some gifts (that I can't show yet), I knitted a TON. I thought I'd dip my toes back into blogging by sharing these things with you all over the next few posts.

First up, some socks.

Woodstock 1

I still find it somewhat unbelievable that I like to knit socks. This pair was a complete delight. The yarn, Woodstock by Must Stash Yarns, is self-striping and I just love, love, love how it knits up. It's super soft and the colors are so beautiful. Not to mention that I kept knitting to see what stripe came next! Stacie packages the yarn in two identical skeins so that your socks will be exact matches - love that! I started these as a pair for myself, but as the stripes showed themselves, I decided that I would give them to Kate.

Woodstock 3

Having two matching skeins was a prefect opportunity for me to try something new: two-at-a-time magic loop. I started off strong, but ended up having to separate them after about three inches as I had a knot in my yarn that I could not figure out how to fix with both socks on one needle. Oh well. I am not sure that two-at-a-time is for me yet - I found it kind of fiddly dealing with two yarn cakes. I am not saying I won't try it again, but for now, one sock magic loop knitting seems to be the best and fastest method for me.

Woodstock 4

I used Susan Anderson's Smooth Operator Sock with an afterthought heel. I have knit this pattern four times now and I love it for self-striping and self-patterning yarns. The heel is a bit of a challenge the first time, but Susan's pattern is extremely detailed and has tons of photos which help a lot. I also find that the afterthought heel feels a tad tight for me when I try the socks on. Once blocked, it fits like a dream - not tight at all.

  Bertie botts sock

I like having a sock on the needles at all times. It makes for the perfect knitting in the carpool line, waiting room, or if I have five spare minutes to kill. I am knitting a pair for Jane at the moment. She chose this happy, cheery yarn by Stitch Together Studio while we were on vacation in Michigan this summer. The color is "Bertie Botts", which we noticed after we had left the store. Perfect for my Harry Potter fan and fun for me to knit! When this pair is finished, I am going to cast on these for me!

The Fussy Cut Sampler Week One


A few weeks ago, my copy of The Fussy Cut Sampler by Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo arrived on my doorstep. It is such a beautiful book with 48 great quilt blocks that made me want to cut up some fabric right away. Nichole and Elisabeth walk the reader through all the in's and out's of perfecting fussy cuts in quilts which is something I could use some help with. I have fussy cut before, but not to the extent these ladies do, and let me tell you, just reading through I was having all kinds of a-ha moments. They are so smart!

To top things off, there is a sew-along happening right now for the book. It started this past week and continues through the summer with the goal of four blocks each week. You can get all the details on Nichole and Elisabeth's blog. (There are some amazing prizes!!!) I really tried to resist, but it was useless. I had to jump in.


Here are my first four blocks. I am working only from my stash and only in blue and white. The constraints are making me really stretch myself and that is good. It's kind of crazy just how much fabric I have that fits those parameters! I am going to try and stay on track with the sew-along, but no promises. It's summer, my kids need me more, we are traveling some and I am still working behind the scenes on my book. All good stuff. Sewing, included.

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Five Tops in One Week: Matcha Top, Willow Tank Dress and Gemma Tank

Thank you for the kind comments here on the blog and on Instagram about my new book, Make Your Own Medallion! I am so excited to share more about it with you over the next few months. I'm even more excited to have it out in the world and see what you all make with it.

Because my focus has been on sewing quilts and blocks for the last several months, I have been itching to sew some clothes. Does that happen to anyone else? It's kind of like a palette cleanser, I guess. I am also trying to work through my stash and using up two yard cuts of apparel fabric is making a noticeable dent. I took a long look at my closet and realized that, although I love making and wearing dresses, making some shirts and skirts would have more utility for me day in and day out.

Matcha 1

I started with the Match Top pattern by Meg at Sew Liberated. I made a muslin out of a Leah Duncan voile in a size 12. Based on the size chart (body measurements), I fit in the 14. I was bummed to find that there are not finished measurements included with the pattern because I find it so helpful to compare the body measurements to finished measurements to choose my size and see if I need to add length for my long torso. So, I made a guess and went with the 12 after searching for photos on Instagram and seeing how loosely it fit people. The muslin is wearable and fits, but I knew that I would prefer less fabric and more length so I tweaked it quite a bit for my Liberty one.

Matcha 2

For the Liberty version, I started with a size 10, but kept the length of the arm hole at size 12. I lowered the neckline notch two inches so that it was between the two notches given on the pattern. I also added 2 1/2'' to the length - 1 1/2'' for my torso and an extra 1'' so I could make a deeper hem. When I sewed it up, I centered all the back gathering instead of spreading it out over the entire collar. Likewise, for the front gathers, I left less towards the shoulder than towards the front. I cut the collar at a size 8 to further emphasize that opening. The fit is better, although slightly tight under the arms. It looks really cute with jeans and I will wear it, but I don't think it is the best style for me. Maybe as a dress? I may experiment with that.

Willow (1)

Next up, I made a Grainline Willow Tank Dress Tank in a Liberty print I bought last summer. I went up to a size 14 after my experience making the lawn one last summer. If I were making it out of a loosely woven fabric such as double gauze or linen, I would still make a 12, for what it is worth. Just like the ones last year, I added 2'' of length and that was the only adjustment. I love it and was able to get it out of a 1 1/2 yards. #winning!

Gemma 1

Then I finally got around to making the Gemma Tank by Made by Rae. I don't know what took me so long to get to this because Rae's patterns are so well done and the fit is spot on. I made a L, C/D cup, with the scoop neck out of a Cotton and Steel double gauze. I had 2 yards of this pattern and was/am hoping to squeeze a pair of pj shorts out of what is left so I used a light pink voile from my stash for the bias tape on the neck and armholes. Rae's pattern calls for the bias to be sewn on the exterior so it is visible, but I went ahead and folded it to the inside because that is my preference. What I neglected to think about was that this would make the neck 1/2'' wider and the armholes a 1/4'' wider as well as making the straps 1/2'' narrower. Rae does mention this in the sewing instructions, but I just didn't take note. Still...I love it. It fits like a dream and I didn't have to add any length! The hem was a little fiddly, mostly because of the double gauze. I ended up serging the raw edge before hemming and that helped some.

Gemma 2

And then I made another Gemma Tank because I could! I added the extra 1/4'' seam allowance to the neck and armholes so the tank would maintain the original design lines. For the hem, I serged the bottom edge and just turned that up 1/2'' which worked well with this mystery embroidered white cotton fabric. I know I am going to wear the heck out of this one. It's a great addition to my closet. But, I might like the thinner straps of the first Gemma more. Hmm.

Ok...I think that is it. Questions? Hit me. I'll respond in the comments so other can benefit from the answers, too.

I'm not done sewing clothes...skirts are on the agenda next.

Make Your Own Medallion


You guys! Today is a great day. It's my 46th birthday AND this is my new book!

I am so excited to announce that Make Your Own Medallion, published by Lucky Spool Media, will be available in November 2017. I am enamored with medallion quilts and have so much fun designing and making them. I wrote this book so you can have the tools to design your own quilt from the center out. It includes 6 stand-alone medallion quilt patterns that you can follow as written as well as 6 additional center medallion patterns and.....wait for it....30 (yes, THIRTY) different quilt blocks in at least 3 (but sometimes up to 6!) sizes so you can build your own medallion quilt border by border until it is just how you want it. The best part? I did the math for you (and I had fun while doing it!).

Of course, there is a lot more to tell you about the book and I promise I will spill more as the release date gets closer. In the meantime, it is available for pre-order on Amazon. If you do pre-order it, thank you! And, please save your receipt/proof of purchase because I will be offering a bonus to send to anyone who pre-orders - details on that coming later this summer. It'll be good - I promise!

I am sincerely grateful the support all of you have given me over the last ten plus years. It's crazy to think that starting a blog on a whim sent me on a journey to writing quilt patterns and books. It has been more than I had ever thought to dream or hope. I appreciate you sticking with me and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Ok, time to celebrate!

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Color Crush

I have a major crush on a color combination. I cannot get it out of my mind and find myself thinking of all the quilts I could make with fabrics in these hues. Are you ready?

Fabric pile

Fabric pile 2

Orange, caramel, lilac, berry-red, plum and cream.

As a die-hard lover of the color green and a huge fan of all shades of blue and cool toned colors overall, I have surprised myself. Again. And really, I shouldn't be so shocked. Every single one of these fabrics are from my stash and, by the looks of it, these colors have appealed to me in fabric form for a good long while. The combination of them together, though, is a little far-out for me. I don't think I have ever made something with so many warm toned fabrics.

Fabric pile 3

What's a girl to do? Start cutting, of course.

What color combos are you into these days? I'd love to know. Your favorites might have me looking at my stash through different eyes and I would really like that. I have put myself on a fabric-buying hiatus until I can finish some WIPs and/or bust through some of my stash. That probably includes de-stashing a good chunk of what I have that I won't likely use. I'm not sure when that will happen, or where (here? on Instagram?), but I will keep you posted.

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Let's talk socks

Socks in progress

Let's start with the obvious: I'm on a bit of a sock knitting bender.

Eight pairs since July, with the ninth on the needles right now, almost finished.

Despite the tiny needles (size 1! Officially crazy!) and the thread like yarn (fingering weight, I'm looking at you), both of which would have made me run away quickly a year ago, I'm all in. I have surprised myself - I don't do that very often - and have been thinking about why I find sock knitting so appealing at the moment. This is what I have come up with:

The yarn. This is a no brainer - there are so many beautiful sock yarns on the market. Speckles, self-striping, indie-dyed skeins are gorgeous and seemingly limitless in their variety. I can buy all the crazy colors, ones I would never wear as a sweater, and knit them up for my feet or someone else's feet. Seriously, I have sock yarn with gold sparkles in it! Fun and frivolous and perfectly suited for a certain 17 year old. I have amassed quite the collection of sock yarns and keep adding to it.

Sock yarns

Portability. It's very easy to grab socks to knit on the go. I can throw a project bag in my, admittedly very large, purse and have it with me all the time. I knit in that half an hour after we get to lacrosse and before the game starts, before doctor appointments and in waiting rooms of all sorts, while in the carpool line, in airplanes, on road trips (Fatty is our driver) and in airports, and, of course, in front of the TV. There is no wrangling of a heavy, in-progress sweater. My arms aren't flailing left and right while I wield a large circular needle with something hanging off of it.

The magic loop. This was the game-changer for me. The sock is on one needle so I am not keeping track of four double points and not dropping stitches and needles all the time. Magic looping is also extremely fast and I love trucking along at a decent clip. It does take a bit of getting used to - awkward does not adequately describe my first attempts - but once I got it, holy moly, it was amazing. I don't think I will ever knit socks on double points again.

Variety. So many cool sock patterns are out there for the taking. I love trying a new technique on a small scale. I am comfortable enough with the basic sock form now that I can stretch my brain with different techniques and variations. It has not gotten boring yet!

Small projects equal fast finishes. There is a reason I like knitting hats. Quick, easy (once you know what you are doing) and satisfying. Socks fall into this category, too. The difference, you can wear socks all day, every day. I guess you could do that with a hat, too, but that's not my speed. I have two hand knit hats that I love and rotate between. Adding a new one to my repertoire each year is plenty. But you can never have enough socks! Growing a sock drawer is seriously fun business.

My foot issues. Boring stuff, but my reality. And it has not been lost on me that the part of my body that is giving me the most trouble, is the part that I am taking the most time to cover in hand knits. Hand knit socks are amazing to wear - they are cozy and cushy and luxurious and feel like a treat each time I pull a pair on. For me, it's self-care in a new form.

Work making vs. for fun making. While I was deep into the sewing for my next book, knitting socks is gave me a creative outlet that wasn't work-based. Don't get me wrong - the sewing part is fun, too, but it is deadline driven. I need balance so I am knitting socks outside of business hours and outside of the house. It's scratching a making-itch that I need to take care of to produce my best work.

Creating memories while I knit. This part is a little more ethereal, but it's important to me. These moments in time are marked in knit and purl stitches and then come back to me when I see them or wear them. For example, I bought a skein of hand-dyed blue yarn in Vancouver that became a pair of cabled socks knit in a week, worn with Birkenstocks while Jane and I toured colleges out East this past fall. I think about our summer vacation and our college trip every time I pull that pair on. The ones I just finished knitting are from yarn that my friend Jennie picked up for me in Nashville and I think about how she picked the perfect speckles for me.  I want to keeping knitting memories.

Joy. Period. Full stop. Sock knitting brings me joy.

Darcy's socks

I know that this post is a whole lot words to explain why I can't stop knitting socks. Maybe it should be simpler than that? I could have gone solely with joy, because that is essentially what it is all about, but I am actively trying to reflect about what motivates me to do what I do. It's good mental exercise that is easy to skip if I don't make the effort.

Do you knit socks? Got a pattern to recommend? Or some yarn I shouldn't miss? Or are you obsessed with making something else at the moment? I would love to hear about it. If you want to see snippets of my sock knitting, I made a hashtag on Instagram.

Hello again.

Hey there.

I am still here.

May 12 a

I spent the first three months of this year, head down, working. It was the good kind of work - exciting, challenging, at moments frustrating, but in the end rewarding. The result? A book. I promise to share more soon. Soon! I think (and hope!) you are going to like it.

I only mention the work as a way to explain the all-is-quiet here on the blog front. I have missed you all. Missed sharing what I am working on and, more importantly, missed writing about it all. And, truthfully, just writing, in general. I feel like I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head that I want to put down on paper (or up in space, as the case may be). I just need to do it. What better time than the present?

Things of note, that I would like to discuss further:

my love of knitting socks

how my girls are growing up and how it freaks me out and reassures me at the same time

my newest favorite color combination

my struggle with all the things I want to make and how I manage not to make any of them

Right now, though, I am going to share some photos of peonies because why not?

May 12 peonies 2

May 12 peonies

Back soon. I promise.


Violet's Quilt

Violet's quilt

I made one gift this past Christmas - a quilt for my niece Violet. She was born in July and I really can't think of a better gift for a baby than a quilt.

Violets quilt 4

I stumbled upon this darling print by Kim Kight from her Penny Arcade line for Cotton + Steel. I just love the little animals and children and balloons. I also love the colors - they are bright and fun, but not too baby-ish. I used this as the jumping off point for the color palette and the rest of my prints. I pulled reds, purples, pinks and blues and made sure all of the prints were fun to look at. There is popcorn and birds and flowers and telephones and apples as well as graphic prints. Everything came from my stash except for the background fabric which is Crosshatch in Blue by Carolyn Friedlander. This fabric, in any color, is among my favorites. It plays well with others and works great when you'd like a solid with more texture. I love it.

Violet's quilt 2

The pattern is Friendship Pinwheel by Missouri Star Quilting Company and uses layer cakes. I didn't have pre-cuts so I just cut my yardage to the required sizes. It was easy, fast and fun to sew up. Once I had the cutting complete, the piecing took a couple of hours. Also: big blocks! 18" finished. You know I love that.

Violet's quilt 3

I quilted this on the long arm rental at Quilted Joy. I chose big loops instead of a denser pattern so the quilt would be soft with some drape. Violet's name is quilted in, too. I did the same for her sister so I couldn't not do it for her, too! The batting is cotton which gives it a lovely crinkle and it should get softer with use. The binding is one of my very favorite florals and was completely sewn on the machine. Its finished measurements is 54'' square - small enough for throwing on the floor, but big enough to be used beyond the baby years.


Fatty's ornament

I was up early for a Saturday morning. Jane took the ACT (how is that possible?!?) and I wanted to make sure that she had everything she needed plus a decent breakfast. I had set the alarm for 6:12 and then reset it for 6:30. I could have slept much longer, the result of a late night out. Still, I am a mom and I had mom things to do.

I feel like this year has blown by and at the same time been excruciatingly slow. Most of it was marked by my suffering feet. From March until (dare I say it?) very recently, I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I woke up one morning, stepped out of bed and let a loud expletive out of my mouth because once you've had this particular pain in the foot, you know when you have it again. I have spent hours and hours treating it - physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractor - and, just like last time, it took about 9 months to heal. It was almost gone until I took a particularly graceful (not really) stumble one Friday night in late August while walking on a sidewalk in downtown Asheville, NC. I landed hard on my right heel, my good heel, and spent the following few weeks on crutches, all of my weight supported by my left foot, my bad foot. I had to laugh about it because if I didn't, I would cry. And still, I did cry. Of course I did.

My girls are growing up. Both are in high school. Jane is 17 and drives. She still does theatre and art and loves history and analyzes literature in a way I just cannot. It is pretty amazing to listen to her talk. Her artwork is good. Two of her pieces this year have involved embroidery with drawing on paper. Seeing her use needle and thread made my mom heart happy. We have visited some colleges and have more visits scheduled. It's an exciting and anxiety-ridden time for us both. She has her heart and mind set on a small liberal arts college where she can study anything and everything she desires. When I think about her leaving in 18 months, I get weepy. Naturally, I try not to think about it. I am not sure that is the best idea, but it is how I cope.

Kate is 15 and playing lacrosse. It's a new sport to our family and I am not sure that I understand all the subtleties yet. I give that girl credit for going out there and playing hard, learning the game and gaining skills as she goes. That takes a certain kind of courage - one I don't possess. She is finding her way in a new school, with all the wonderful and truly trying things that being a teen today entails. She likes to write. I have no idea what kind of writing she does - I don't read it - but I have no doubt that it is good stuff. We bought her a laptop for her birthday and she types faster than anyone I know. She, too, used embroidery for a recent biology project where they had to illustrate the process of mitosis without drawing. I loved that, too.

I have made more quilts this year than I had made previous to 2016. Not really, but it feels that way. I should really count how many...I'm guessing that they number around 15, possibly more. I credit all the finishes with two things: machine binding and not giving a crap. Seriously. I used kits, I used other people's patterns and whole fabric lines. I decided that sometimes originality is overrated. I know that sounds bad. I know it does. BUT it was how I got my creative legs back underneath me. I went through the motions of making and, lo and behold, it made me want to make more. That's when I started designing again. I have made a whole lot of things that never made it to the blog. Sometimes I consider going back and documenting them all here, but then I think, "Nah. Move on, Erin." Moving on looks a lot like writing a second book so that is what I am doing.

We painted our house, changing the color from a pale yellow to a dark blue-gray. Navy, really. The door, which used to be a bottle green, almost black, is now a brighter green. Parrot green is the name. I love it. Blue and green is my jam. We have lived in this house for 11 and a half years and it feels more "us" than it ever has. I have taken over the entire third floor as a creative space. It used to be the girls' playroom and I would sew in the small walk-in closet. As they grew up, I slowly took over more and more of their space until I claimed it all. I still share with them - there is a TV with Netflix and a queen sized bed. It's a great place to hang out when it's clean, but it is messy most of the time. I have entirely too much fabric and I like giving away what I know I am not going to use. I would like to prioritize really paring down my stash, but the process (and the stash) overwhelms me. I would love someone to do it for me, but that is just fantasy. I would also like to replace some carpet and demo some bathrooms. A girl can dream and then plan, which is what I intend to do.

I've accumulated a decent stash of sock yarn, but, hey, I am using that. 2016 was the year I learned the magic loop and knit all the things on small needles. Five pairs of socks to date. Had you told me in January that I would enjoy sock knitting by the end of the year, I would have laughed in your face. I like surprising myself. I finished the sweater I started in the fall of 2015 and I actually enjoy wearing it. I have another one on the needles, but I am stuck at the sleeves. I can't figure out how to make the math work so I have set it aside and will probably ruminate about it until next fall.

Fatty is still the best. He really is. We have so much fun together even if we aren't doing anything other than sitting across the kitchen table as we are at this moment. He's reading the paper while I type away. He does that every day - reads a couple newspapers front to back just like his father does. He also rides his bike, but doesn't race much any more. He works hard and plays hard and really loves life. Someone recently asked me what my favorite thing about him is and, other than how great of a father he is (the obvious choice), I would choose his zeal for living. He has such a positive outlook that has most assuredly rubbed off on me. He is also extremely loyal and has wonderful, long-time friendships that enrich both of our lives. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this summer on a cruise boat in Alaska with our kids, one of my brothers and his family, and my parents. It was a great trip. We also took family trips to Florida and Colorado and the two of us spent five days in New York City. He still picks out most of the books I read, but I occasionally will download a Janet Evanovich or Mary Kay Andrews novel or other fast read to the Kindle. My favorite books this year were Purity by Jonathan Franzen and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, both of which I read in paper form. We celebrate the occasional Tuesday with a bottle of champagne and watch certain TV shows (Fargo, House of Cards, The Killing, Night Manager, Parenthood, The Crown) together. I'm a lucky lady.

I have gained 8 pounds since the foot stuff started. It's not coming off easily, but I chalk that up to my wishy-washy commitment to putting the work in to make the pounds go away. Some of the wishy-washiness is certainly because cardiovascular exercise has been difficult and some it is because I tend to eat my feelings. I'd like to work on that (I need to work on that), but life is full of messy moments and this year has been downright difficult and depressing at times. I am trying to be gentle with myself and, most of the time, I do fairly well in that department. I have good friends who listen when I need to get it out there. I have Fatty and the girls. I get massages and the occasional pedicure to lift my spirits. I dyed my hair this week. This was a monumental move for me. My red hair is the thing I like most about my physical self and I never wanted to mess with it. That is until I couldn't pull my hair back without being overwhelmed by all. the. gray. It was time. No one noticed. I think that's a sign that it was the right move. Also, less gray. Thank goodness.

And speaking of thankfulness, I am committed more than ever to my gratitude practice that I started in November 2015 on Instagram. I can honestly say that I am a happier person for taking the time to note the good, especially in the midst of all the bad, and being grateful for the big and little things that make up my days. I like looking at life through this lens and I am so appreciative of the encouraging comments people have made about it. I should add that around the same time last fall, I hired a cleaning lady every other week. I'd be lying if I said that decision didn't add to my happiness. It does. Much more than I had anticipated, in fact.

So, yes. This is where I stand mid-Decmeber of 2016. If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. I've had this blog for over 10 years now. It has definitely changed, but so have I. I miss writing in this space and would like to make it a habit going forward, but no promises. The whole being gentle with myself thing, you know. Well, that and a book manuscript that is due in April.

I hope 2017 is a good year for us all. Onward, my friends.


Free Christmas Quilt Tutorial

Super sized ohio star christmas quilt by house on hill road

I've been wanting to make a Christmas quilt for awhile and last week, I decided that it was about time. In a matter of a couple of days, I had cut all the pieces for this Super-Sized Ohio Star quilt and pieced the entire top! Then, I decided to make a second one. It truly is fast and easy! And to prove it, I wrote up a tutorial for the block to share with you all.

Get the FREE tutorial for this Super Sized Ohio Star Christmas Quilt right here.

A couple of notes:

- The tutorial is entirely hand written and hand illustrated so, needless to say, the drawings aren't to scale. I am pretty sure that I spelled everything correctly, but I just went for it using a black sharpie so please excuse any grammar/spelling mistakes.

- This super-sized block finishes at 18". I used 16 of them for a 72" x 72" square quilt. You could definitely go smaller. In fact, I love making nine 21" finished blocks for a 63" x 63" quilt and I give you the cutting instructions for those as well.

- In the tutorial, I say that you need 16 fat quarters or 16 quarter yards of the prints. You can get away with fat eighths if you have those, but an 1/8 of a yard will not cut it.

- I didn't specify a seam allowance so use your standard 1/4" for quilts.

- If you decide to print out the PDF, you may want to reduce it to 95% or the like. I used the entire sheet of paper because I was writing and drawing. If you print it at 100%, some information might get cut off.

- Let me know if you make one! You can tag me on instagram ( @houseonhillroad ) or use the hashtag #houseonhillroad.

- Questions? Ask them in the comment section of this post and I will do my best to answer them here so others can benefit from the information.


Now go sew. Seriously. Go. Sew.


Kona Color of the Year Mini Quilt

KCOTYmq_Erin Burke Harris

A little while back, the great people at Robert Kaufman asked me to make a 20" mini quilt celebrating Highlight, the Kona Cotton Color of the Year. They sent me a curated stack of gorgeous Kona solids and minimum direction - 20" square, make Highlight the star, create something "me."

While the stack of fabrics included a rainbow of colors, it was the warm tones that really spoke to me. And because I didn't have a lot of time to make this mini, I didn't have much time to spend thinking about it either. I chose a favorite technique - improv piecing - and a favorite shape - Dresden/wedge - and jumped in. I am so pleased with how it came together and I had a ton of fun making it.

This mini is hanging in Houston at the Quilt Festival along with 59 other designers' highlight minis. The festival is open to the public if you are in the Houston are and interested in going.

A big thank you to Robert Kaufman for including me in this exhibit. I felt honored to be asked.


Patchwork Pumpkin Mini Quilt

Patchwork pumpkin 12

Happy fall! I have a tutorial over on the AccuQuilt blog that tells you how to make this cute pumpkin mini quilt. It comes together quickly and easily and I love that it is holiday decor I can can leave up into November if I so desire. It is also a great way to use up scraps. I was amazed at how many oranges were in my scrap bucket. I must use it more than I think!

While I do enjoy the accuracy and speed of my GO! Cutter, this project is easily achieved using a rotary cutter and ruler, too. The individual squares finish at 2 1/4'' and the pumpkin is 11 1/4'' x 18''. I added a 1'' finished border before quilting it.

And...after I made this mini and submitted the content to AccuQuilt, I became aware of a similar looking quilt over on Cluck Cluck Sew. Great minds think alike! While my tutorial shows just this one pumpkin, Allison's pattern has many pumpkin variations of different sizes and is completely adorable. Please, go check it out. It's a quilt that I might want to make myself! It's tricky when similar ideas come to different people, but it does happen and I want to be transparent about it.

While I am being transparent, I will add that AccuQuilt provided me with the dies for this project, but the idea and opinions about their products are 100% mine.

Accuquilt Eight-Pointed Star

Supersize 8 point star 12

I have a new tutorial over on the Accuquilt blog for this eight-pointed star. It is a fun one without any y-seams! Yay! The block finishes at 18" so a handful of blocks would make a sweet baby quilt. Or make a bunch for a larger throw or bed sized quilt. I added some borders to my block to make it into a pillow. It would make a cute mini quilt, too.

I had a lot of fun quilting this one. I practiced doing some free-motion ribbons in the star points and, while far from perfect, I like them! The rest was done with my walking foot. I didn't mark the lines on the block, but rather used the seams and the edge of the foot as my guides. I love making small projects like this to experiment with quilting. It's much easier to commit to trying something new on a pillow or a mini instead of a full-sized quilt.

I enjoy using my GO! Cutter and it certainly saves me loads of time. But it is also important to me to point out that almost all of the projects I design with the cutting system in mind, can be achieved using a rotary cutter and ruler. If you make something using one of my tutorials, please let me know. I would love to see your work!

As always, Accuquilt provided the dies for this project. The design and any opinions are mine.

XOXO Quilt

Xoxo 5


One of my finishes this summer was this throw quilt. The pattern is XOXO by Green Bee Patterns and the fabric (Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel along with a few other prints from my stash) was purchased as a kit sometime in 2015 from Craftsy. It's a fun pattern with a variety of sizes and very fat quarter friendly. I love the color palette of the fabrics. I don't think it is something that I would have put together on my own as I tend towards bright, saturated prints. But, man, those peachy pinks, greens and golds are so pretty together! I love the background fabric - it is a great low-volume print on unbleached cotton. It gives the quilt some interest without being overpowering.

The piecing is all squares and half square triangles. I chose to make my triangle blocks larger than called for so I could trim them down to the exact measurement. I highly recommend doing that - it just gives you more precise pieces. I also highly recommend the Bloc Loc ruler for doing this. I'm not one to buy expensive extra gadgets and tools, but this is worth it. Total game changer!

Xoxo 2

I rented time on the long arm at Quilted Joy to quilt this one. Having the option to long arm my quilts without owning a long arm has allowed me to get so many more quilts finished this year. Yippee! I chose to do a free-motion orange peel that I think suits the quilt well. It is far from perfect, but the overall feel is there and because I had the blocks to guide me, it was a fast finish. Also...perfection is over-rated. Am I right?!?

Xoxo 4

Xoxo 3

The back and the binding are from the same fabric line as the majority of the prints. I chose to machine bind this quilt as it was slated for donation and I always think in situations like that, durability is called for. Plus, it is just plain faster. The finished size was 64" square before washing. I used 100% cotton batting so I am certain it shrunk although I did not measure it after it came out of the dryer. Gotta love that crinkle! I donated it to the quilt booth at our church carnival in July. It was a hard one to let go, but I cannot keep them all. Plus, the pattern is so fun, I can make it again!

Back...with a bag hack!


I know I disappeared. What can I say? Oh yes, SUMMER. That is it. I feel like I could go on about what we have been doing (a whole lot of just living) and where we have been (Vancouver! Alaska! New York City!), but I am just going to jump in with a finished project with plans of more finished projects to come. Sound good?

Puffy tote by hosue on hill road

Back in June, my sister-in-law, Georgia, sent me the link to Purl Soho's Puffy Tote in Nani Iro Quilted Double Gauze with a little hinting about maybe making one of those. I am pretty certain that she wasn't looking for that exact fabric, but just a puffy tote. Knowing how dreamy, light and soft the double gauze is, I decided to try Purl's version first. And by try it it, I mean that I ordered the fabric in 7 different prints. Ha!

When the fabric arrived, I read the tutorial and knew that if I was going to make this bag happen, the bias tape it calls for would not. That seemed like too much fussiness for me. I cut the fabric in the size as indicated EXCEPT I made sure that the quilting lines were evenly spaced at the top and bottom so that the quilting would match up on the side seams. I am particular this way - if I can match a pattern, I do. Next, I ran top and bottom edges of the fabric through my serger and then sewed the side seams using the serger. This finished all the raw edges and made the need for the bias tape obsolete. (You could do this with a zig zag or overlock stitch on your regular sewing machine if you don't have a serger!) I followed Purl's tutorial for making the gusset, just sewing those with my regular sewing machine. For the top edge, I folded the fabric along the top quilting line towards the inside and pinned in place. Then, on the outside of the bag, I sewed in the ditch of the next quilting line. (You can see this in the photo of the pocket below). Finally, I sewed some 25" leather handles on and called it good.

Bag pocket by house on hill road

The first bag (yellow and gray above) made didn't have a pocket. The next one does! This one I made in the same way, except that before I sewed down the top edge, I slid a zippered pocket under it and then sewed it all down together. The pocket is one piece of fabric with a zipper inserted in it so it becomes a tube. I then pressed it flat so the zipper was towards the top of the pocket and finished the sides with some binding. Fairly easy, all done by machine, including the binding. I think it makes for a much more functional bag.

Puffy tote bag by house on hill road

The pocketed one was gifted to my friend Marcia for her birthday. It just screams summer to me! I still have to put the finishing touches on the remaining five, but I hope to finish those up in the next week or so. Or maybe after the Olympics...I love a good excuse to watch TV and knit or do some hand work.

Willow Tank, versions 1 and 2


A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed to sew some clothing right away. This happens to me when I have been dealing with fiddly quilt blocks or need a palette refresher. It seems so satisfying in those moments to cut up large pieces of fabric and sew them back together. Anyhow, I had purchased the Willow Tank Dress pattern by Grainline Studios in the hopes that it would help fill a tank top sized hole in my summer wardrobe. Spoiler alert: it did.

The pattern consists of four pieces - a front, a back and bias strips for the neck and armholes. The sewing is very easy - the directions are clear and concise, plus if you are in any doubt of what to do, there is a sew-along for the pattern that includes bust adjustments and lengthening/shortening instructions. I jumped in without making a muslin because I felt comfortable that I would be a size 12 with the only modification being adding length (2" to be exact).

This worked and then it didn't. My first version (on the left above) was made out of a piece of Nani Iro double gauze that I purchased while in Minneapolis/St. Paul years ago. (The print has been reissued - you can snag it at Miss Matatabi!) I've had it in my stash, waiting for the right pattern as it wasn't big enough to make a skirt or something with sleeves. It's really a miracle that I hadn't cut it up and made a quilt. But back to business...that willow tank fits me pretty well. I didn't make a bust adjustment and I am a C or D cup depending on the bra. The added 2" of length put the hem at the perfect spot and it just skims my hips. The double gauze is soft and floaty and has a little bit of give to it. The second version was sewn the same way - size 12, 2" added for length - but it is a little tight in the bust. I think the difference in fit is down to the fabric choice. The blue floral is a Robert Kaufman lawn and it was a dream to sew up. I love the drape and the weight, but it is a tightly woven fabric that doesn't have the give that double gauze does. I could have gone up a size or done a bust adjustment and had a better fit, but oh well. I will still wear it with the one bra in my drawer that makes it passable.

Willow tank 2

As I tend to do when I find a pattern I like, I have visions of more, more, more Willow Tanks in my closet. There is even a dress version that I am anxious to try. You can probably guess where this is going...I have ordered more of that delightful Nani Iro double gauze and am hoping to whip a few more of these up as soon as I have two hours to spare.

Also, props to Jane for the photo. I am finally getting the hand of these modeled shots - she gives good direction. ;)

Super-sized Churn Dash with Accuquilt

Super sized churn dash

I have a new tutorial over on the Accuquilt blog for making a super-sized churn dash block. I really love making large-scale blocks. They pack a huge visual punch. You can have a quilt top in no time. This block finishes at 18" - these four make a nice baby quilt at 36" square! Big blocks also work great with large or small scale prints. The blue and white floral I used here was leftover from another project I made last week. I am always happy to use what is on hand and using scraps is a bonus! Pop on over to the Accuquilt blog for complete instructions. If you don't have a GO! Cutter, you can make this happen with just a little math. It's easy. I promise.

Super size churn dash finished

And for the fine print: I was given the cutter and the dies by Accuquilt, but the fabric, the project idea and opinions are all my own.

Rinse and Repeat, 2.0 and (Over) Sharing

Rinse and repeat quilt 2

I'm very slowly, but surely working on the pattern for my Rinse and Repeat quilt. I have had a few emails wondering when the pattern will be ready and I promise it's coming. I made this second version to test my math (it's good!). I love how the saturated Anna Maria Horner prints look on that field of white. I had a handful of quilters test the pattern, too, and their versions all came out great. I can't wait to share more with you.

And speaking of sharing (or maybe over-sharing?), Accuquilt put me in their Spotlight earlier this week. I had a lot of fun answering the questions. You can hop on over to their blog to find out more about me. I even dish on why Fatty is called Fatty.....I know inquiring minds want to know!

Hope you have a great weekend and that it involves some sewing if you want it to!


Accuquilt Spring Bunting

Bunting 8

I have a new tutorial on the Accuquilt blog showing how to make this adorable spring bunting. It's super easy and uses just two dies and very little fabric. Everything I used was taken from the scrap pile! There are just so many options of how to customize this to suit any occasion. Graduation parties, baby and bridal showers, birthdays, holidays...you get the drift. You can also customize it to make it longer or by using different size and shaped flags for variety. So many options! For the complete how-to, hop on over to Accuquilt and check it out.