Modern Makers Club quilt – blocks 1-21

Modern Makers Club - blocks 1-16

Hello out there!  Is anyone still reading blogs??  I haven’t updated this blog in about 2 years (!!!), but today I decided to dust it off and drop in for an update.  🙂  Sewing and crafting time has been scarce since moving to Minnesota and starting my new job, but I’ve been trying to squeeze things in here and there.

A few weekends ago I dug out my Modern Makers Club quilt that I started with the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild in 2018.  I had pieced 16 out of 36 blocks before I moved, and I just recently I pieced another 5.  These blocks are all pretty fiddly and labor intensive, so the process is pretty slow.  To top things off, the pattern instructions are not great (to put it nicely), so I’ve been doing the math for each block myself.

The good news is that I still love how this quilt is turning out!  I’m using all Kona cotton solids with a black background, inspired by a photo of an Amish-inspired quilt that I saw in a book a few years ago.  I’m also adding a little sliver of white to each block, which I think gives the blocks a nice highlight.  I chose really bright colors (as usual), and I love the eye-searing effect.  🙂 Continue reading

Rainbow sampler quilt top

Rainbow sampler - finished quilt topIf you were just thinking to yourself, “Man, my day is really lacking in eye-searing rainbow awesomeness,” you’re in luck.  Put on your sunglasses, and feast your eyes on my finished Rainbow Sampler quilt top!

I worked on this project on and off from March through September (6 months!), so it was quite a bit of work for such a small quilt top.  Part of the time-consuming process was the hand-sewn hexagon panel, and part of it was the customized nature of this project.  I had both an Excel spreadsheet and a Powerpoint file for this quilt, and each panel was planned out in detail to make sure it would fit.  I also used this project as an excuse to try out a bunch of new-to-me techniques and traditional blocks for the first time, including curved piecing, equilateral triangles, English paper piecing, flying geese four at a time, and working with very thin strips.  I learned so much in making this quilt, and I’m pretty happy with the finished top!

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Triangle challenge in the making

Triangle challenge started - chevron layout

This past weekend I started playing around with half-square triangles in an attempt to participate in the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild’s upcoming Triangle Challenge.  Essentially the challenge is to create a quilt that is composed primarily of triangles – sounds fun to me!  There is also a “bonus level” in which you can make your quilt monochromatic, but let’s face it, I don’t think I could ever make a monochromatic quilt.  I love bright colors too much.  🙂 Continue reading

My year in quilting


Jellyroll race quilt - quilting in progress

This year has been all about quilting for me.  I’ve been really enjoying participating in the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild, which is full of extremely talented quilt artists.  And I do not use the word artist lightly!  My work is total amateur hour compared to many of these quilters.  With that said, I’ve been learning a lot and thoroughly enjoying the process.  Here are the highlights of my quilting progress since January or so. Continue reading

This blog is now ad-free

Sewing cross-stitch

Hello again, sewing friends!  I have some blog administration to discuss today, but I’m also including a photo of this absolutely amazing sewing-themed cross-stitch that my best friend of almost 20 years (!) made me earlier this year.  Isn’t it beautiful??  I’ve been proudly displaying it in my sewing room, and it makes me happy every time I look at it.  🙂

Ok, down to business.  You may have seen a post on this blog from 2 weeks ago in which I was ruminating yet again about Colette Patterns and their latest shenanigans.  I decided to take the post down after about 24 hours.  I want to be clear that my decision to take down that post had absolutely nothing to do with any feedback I received from Colette (I haven’t received any at all) or any qualms about openly calling out sewing pattern designers who I feel are engaging in dishonest or disreputable behavior.

At this point, I have decided to keep the post down permanently.  For any of you who missed it, the bottom line was that I found it amusing (and quite ridiculous and sad) that Colette, which has a bad reputation for Photoshopping-out fit and design problems in their patterns, recently released these product photos for a skirt with a very obvious fit problem in the back.  It appears that they have given up trying to hide their inadequacies and just don’t care at all anymore.  Sad but apparently true.

Anyway, here’s what happened with the original post.  As far as I can tell, the post (with its extra salacious title) was picked up by whatever ad machine uses for their free blogs (including this blog) and had become clickbait displayed when random people opened new tabs in Google Chrome.  The post was getting a TON of traffic, way more than I was comfortable with.  This blog has a small readership of people who enjoy sewing and crafting, and I like it that way.  I don’t need my face and handmade underwear being broadcast all over the internet!  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand all the intricacies of how online advertising works, nor do I care to.  Because I didn’t quite understand what had happened and wasn’t comfortable with the outcome, I just pulled the post.  Thankfully, it appears that Chrome’s chumbuckets have now moved on from my now-broken link.  However, just to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, I have decided to keep the post down permanently.

The sliver lining to this little incident?  This blog is now ad-free.

After six years (!) of maintaining this blog as a free site, I have finally coughed up a little cash to remove the ads associated with a free account.  This blog is still hosted on, which other than the above incident has been a perfectly satisfactory hosting platform for me.  For anyone interested, the annual fee to remove ads is currently about $36 (USD).  If you see any ads on this site moving forward, please let me know, as there shouldn’t be any.

That’s it!  I learned an interesting lesson here, and hopefully removing the ads will prevent anything like this from happening again.  Besides, no one likes looking at those ads anyway, right?  🙂

I may or may not actually write a sewing-related post in the near future to revive my long blogging hibernation.  In the meantime, I’ve been fairly active on Instagram, so you can follow me there if you’re interested.

Hope you’re all enjoying the summer (or winter), and happy sewing!

Edited to add August 22, 2017:

Shortly after publishing this post, I was contacted by a “Happiness Engineer” at (Hannah) who provided some insight on what may have happened with my post.  (Interestingly, she happened to find my post while reading the Sewcialists Firehose!)  Here’s what she had to say (published with her permission):

“To clarify, doesn’t use any of your pages for advertising: most sites pay to have their pages come up in ads, whether that’s Google or the advertisers works with to show ads on your site. Most likely your post was picked up and went viral which is why it was showing up in ads. Choosing not to show ads on your site won’t affect that, as any public content can be used for an ad online. Setting it to private in your post settings is unfortunately the best way to handle it.”

So, apparently going ad-free won’t necessarily prevent this from happening again, but I’m glad I made that decision anyway.  Also, this makes me feel better about sticking with, which apparently didn’t have anything to do with what happened.  Many thanks to Hannah for kindly reaching out to me of her own volition and offering some insight and reassurance.

2016 Year In Review


Ah, 2016.  Perhaps not the greatest year, but certainly not the worst.  I think it would be easy to write this entire year off as a bad dream that we will all (hopefully) wake up from at some point in the unforeseeable future.  However, when I look back at all the things I did this year while the world seemed to implode around me, I realize that a whole lot of good stuff happened.  In fact, some really great stuff happened.  If you’d like, join me as I recall the good, the bad, and the truly ugly that went down in 2016.

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McCall’s M7434 peasant top muslin


Sometimes you try something different and the result is… questionable.  With a little time off from work this week, I sewed up a muslin of McCall’s 7434, a peasant top that is much more flowy and billowy than anything I would usually wear.  The result?  It’s a head scratcher.  I also chopped off all my hair this past weekend using (gasp!) my fabric shears.  Still questioning the result of that one too.  🙂  But, let’s focus on the shirt, shall we?

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More Noodlehead Petal Pouches


I have a quick project to share today: more Noodlehead Petal Pouches.  I sewed two of these pouches for my swap partner for the recent SewBoston event, and during the event itself, I sewed these two for myself.  Yay!

I really like this pattern, as it makes a nice size bag (these are the larger size), is well designed, and is a great excuse to use up fun fabric scraps.  They only take a few hours each to sew, and you get a fun and functional bag as a result.  When you’re slogging through a large project, the pouches make a great palette cleanser.  🙂

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Floral Robson trench: layers coming together


If you told me in January when I started this coat that it still wouldn’t be finished by November, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Then again, if you told me a week ago that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States, I wouldn’t have believed you either, but that is a story for an entirely different post.  As for the coat, not only has this been way more work than I had anticipated, but the utter size and weight of this thing makes every step an odyssey, requiring a will of steel to keep it all moving forward.

Two truths:

  1. I am SO ready for this coat to be finished.
  2. There is still so much more work left to do.

Le sigh.

But never fear, things ARE moving forward, albeit at my typical glacially slow pace.  Today I have more in-progress shots to share, as the outer shell comes together and the three layers of the coat become one.  Onward!

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A few questions about Instagram

Final update: Folks, just ignore this entire post.  Apparently I’m an idiot when it comes to technology.  Find me on Instagram @allspiceabounds.  🙂

Today I’m going to put myself out there and ask a few potentially dumb questions about Instagram.  I am probably the last person on earth not to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, and I realize that I’m missing out on a lot of awesome sewing-related stuff that happens there.  Technically I have an account, but I’ve never actually used it.  Sewing friends, perhaps you can clear up some of my concerns.

The biggest factor holding me back is privacy.  As far as I can tell, you have to turn on your device’s “location” feature in order to install and use the Instragram app.  Am I understanding this correctly?  If so, this is enough to prevent me from using the service.  I always keep the location feature turned off on my laptop and phone in an attempt to hold on to one of the last shreds of online privacy offered to us.  I realize that I can be tracked to within a short distance of my actual location based on my phone pinging off cell phone towers, but I don’t believe I can be tracked to my exact GPS coordinates if my location feature is turned off.  Please correct me if I’m wrong though – I admit to being somewhat uninformed about how these things work.

My issue with the location feature is safety.  As a woman living in an urban area, I take my personal safety pretty seriously.  (Who doesn’t, right?)  Just within the last 2 weeks, I’ve been a few blocks away from a stabbing incident, a shooting incident, and a sexual assualt.  And these are just the instances I’m aware of.  I feel pretty strongly about keeping my exact location at any given time as private as I can, with the understanding that my ability to do so while using online services is already quite limited.

Friends, can you help me with these questions?

  1. Is turning your location feature on required to use Instagram?
  2. If so, do all your photos get geo-tagged?
  3. Who has access to this information?
  4. Can I turn my location feature off after installing the app and use Instagram without providing location information?
  5. Do you have any concerns about the location-based aspects of Instagram, or am I just being paranoid?

Thanks in advance for any information or advice you can offer.  While I’d like to join the Instagram sewing community, I want to make sure I understand exactly what that entails.

Edited to add:

Here’s what I get when I try to install Instagram on my phone.  Note that I have a Windows phone, and Instagram is only available in beta format for this device.  Perhaps turning your location on is only required for the Windows app?


Edited to add (again):

It seems like the Instagram location requirement may be specific to the Microsoft/Windows platform, and in fact is a blanket requirement for nearly all Windows apps.  Check out this forum post and this follow-up for details.  Based on my own research, it also seems to apply to third-party Instagram apps for both Windows phones and Windows-based PCs.  Needless to say, this is pretty sketchy and annoying.  This also explains why most people don’t have to turn on location services to use Instagram but we suckers who purchased Windows phones do.  Oh well!  I refuse to turn my location on, so Instagram will just have to carry on without me.  🙂  Thanks to all for your help and info on this.