Slowing Down

Sometimes after a hectic week, it’s nice to slow down a bit. Or so I hear, from all the quilt bloggers who love hand sewing. Once again, I’m trying something new to me. It’s amazing how even with my 8.5 quilts and two little baskets to my name (“I am 25.5 years old”)*, every new project has many new and challenging elements. It’s challenging. It’s good. And I actually am finding some hand-sewing to be relatively painless and meditative.

hand sewing

Here I am, working away at the Great Green Granny Top. I have never hand-stitched anything before, and certainly never done a blind stitch. But I found this tutorial at Quilt Taffy (from 2008!). Bless the Internet. Sometimes I fancy myself a self-taught quilter and sewist, but the truth is, the lovely people of the web have taught me all I know.

Am I totally alone in finding these great 1960s/1970s fabrics absolutely delicious? I do consider myself a modern quilter, but I don’t think that has to exclude a love of vintage.

*I am not 25.5. Or rather I am, and then some. This is a reference to the wonderful terribleness that is Girls.

16-Patch Tutorial

16-Patch Tutorial from Beth McQ on Vimeo.

It’s Amateur Hour* here at Plaid & Paisley! Why should the blind not lead the blind? If you can’t do, teach! This is a very basic tutorial I put together for my mother-in-law, who is a talented and experienced sewist of clothes, but has never quilted and wants to learn. I go over the basics of making a 16-patch block, something I had never done until making this video — and my inexperience shows in the final block. It’s OK, but slightly under-sized (UGH PERFECT SEAM ALLOWANCES WHY DO ARE YOU SO ELUSIVE), so I won’t use it for the final quilt, but it should do to get Ev started on her squares. Which I expect to be perfect. See: many years of experience sewing. Also: math teacher.

*Keepin’ it real: every hour is amateur hour here at Plaid & Paisley! Did you see I missed a key step? I think it’s easy enough to figure out, but I did not include the step of sewing the first checked strips into pairs.

Sophomore Week Slump

It was a silent second week here on the Plaid and Paisley blog. This was not by design. It was just one of those weeks that takes it out of you. A smattering of what happened last week: baby gave up naps, we parents started sleep training, sister ended up in ICU (is OK-ish now), I got some devastating professional news pertaining to the work I did prior to having a baby, the air conditioner went out, the fridge/freezer died leaving us without fresh food and putting all my breast milk stash in peril, my chronic neck/shoulder strain escalated to the point that my physical therapist said it’s the worst she’s seen and I should be in traction three times a week, the HVAC repair guys showed up unannounced during one of baby’s only naps and woke him up, husband got frustrating professional news, and I dropped my phone and it shattered.

So. That was some of last week!

I guess blog etiquette says you aren’t supposed to blog about anything personal at least until the point where you have a well-established fan base and readership. Oops. I am not so good at etiquette, though I prefer to reframe that as keeping things real. I do not really expect anyone to read this post, but I appreciate when the quilt bloggers I follow keep it real, so here I am, in my quiet little corner of the internet, doing what I do, thankful that sometimes babies do nap and broken things can be repaired or replaced and people do get better and when all else fails, there’s a husband who will binge-watch Girls with me over beer and pizza. And there are cats.


Finish-A-Long Q2 Proposals

Proposals! Somebody put a ring on it. But not me. Double wedding rings are way beyond my pay grade. [womp womp; #sorrynotsorry]

I am rushing to make this blog so that I can join in this great Finish-A-Long project. I’ve been watching these for a while and they are inspiring. I fully expect to finish zero of my current projects, but let’s try, right? I have too many big projects that are just getting off the ground. We’ll see what takes flight in the next few months within my limited schedule!

Rainbow Scraps Hourglass Quilt – Still in the cutting and collecting stage. I have just over half of the necessary 320 5″ squares to begin, so this is a long-term project. Note under the stack of cut pieces is from a friend who shared some yellow and teal scraps to boost my collection. I’m still short on yellow and teal (and purple and orange).


Mariner’s Star Block/Medallion Quilt? – I decided I needed to teach myself paper piecing, so I picked up this free tutorial at Craftsy. It’s by Elizabeth Dackson of Don’t Call Me Betsy. It’s intended to be a pillow, but I think I might make it the center block of a medallion quilt. Maybe I’ll add flying geese and curves and such in the borders around it, and call it my Challenge Medallion Quilt, where I teach myself all the new difficult things. So far I have 1/4 of the first block done, so… that’s an infinitely greater amount of paper piecing done than I had ever done before!


16 Patch Mother-in-Law Quilt – I really lucked out and got the world’s best mother-in-law when I got married. So it’s totally exciting that when I gifted her the chance to learn to quilt with me she was thrilled! I bought a bunch of fabrics from Hawthorne Threads, mostly from Art Gallery Fabric’s collection Fleet and Flourish by Maureen Cracknell, with a couple extras thrown in. I love the color search option at Hawthorne Threads (and they have AMAZING scrap packs, and I’m a scrap pack rat, so…). I think I have a good chance of making a lot of progress on this one, but it’s also contingent upon another person’s schedule matching up with mine, so that might prove difficult.

16 patch

241 Tote by Noodlehead, Kit from Pile O’ Fabric – I need to learn to make more than quilts. I’m probably jumping in too deep with this one, but that’s how I do!

241 tote

Compass Quilt – My husband has requested a compass quilt made of Botanics on dark gray (which is why I’m teaching myself paper piecing. This one will be quite a long-term project but I really should make an everyday quilt for us. I’ve so far made nine quilts in my life, and only one was for me and my husband, and it’s a Christmas quilt!


The Great Green Granny Top – I inherited fabrics and quilt pieces from my grandmother. This one is a nearly complete top. It probably could be complete as is, but there are a few additional squares not sewn on. I’d love to finish this up in remembrance of her. I LOVE how garishly the forest green clashes with the rest of it! Trés ’60s! I think I might try yarn ties (another new thing — real beginner, y’all) on it for an appropriately cozy feel.

green top

Improv Score #5, Rhythmic Grid – I have The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. I’d like to try score #5 with some of my grandmother’s vintage fabrics (and some solids, stored separately).


QAYG basket – I made two of these last quarter and they’re tons of fun. I use them to hold Bubby’s dirty and clean pacifiers. Fabrics are a mix of my scraps and vintage scraps, and I’ll probably do that again, this time to make a thread catcher for myself. I used this tutorial from s.o.t.a.k. handmade and purchased the pattern from crazy mom quilts.

qayg basket

There’s more I want to do but I’ll stop there. No other fabric pulls done and the deadline for submitting this post is really, really close! Looking back over this makes me so thankful for the online quilting community; I would not be a quilter without it.

Most Amateur Quilter Ever to Start Blog

I’m trying to #humblebrag, but I’m afraid I’m doing it wrong. Here are the things I know:

  • Making quilts is challenging, but I love a good challenge.
  • I love colors, design, and pattern within quilts.
  • I value diversity in quilting. It’s important who makes the quilts and the stories they tell. I think it’s important to appreciate stories of the past and other cultures, but to continue make sure we tell our own story.
  • This doesn’t mean I don’t copy the greats. But I try to mostly copy those who encourage copying, or the standards that are so standard they don’t belong to anyone anymore. All quilting is copying, really.
  • So far, I’m better at thinking about quilts than actually making them.

That’s it for now!