Violet Calm: A Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entry

Violet calm is one of my favorite designs in the past few months, and I am excited to share it with you as my entry in the Modern Category for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.

Violet Calm

Violet Calm

This design was created by piecing fabrics of several shades of violet together with thin strips of white Kona Cotton between each segment.  The circle was cut from this pieced section of fabrics.  Another circle was cut into the white background fabric, and the violet circle was machine pieced into the background.Violet Calm center detail

The matchstick quilting in this piece is done in the color of the fabric it passes through.  The horizontal lines create a sense of calm, and the variety of thread colors help to visually extend the centralized image across the quilt.  A single section of vertical quilting gives a quiet energy to this peaceful image.

Violet Calm back view


The binding is made of scrappy violet fabrics to frame the expanse of white fabric.Violet Calm front edge detail

If you would like to read more about “Violet Calm,” please check out its original post.  Thank you so much for stopping by!

A Planner made just for Quilters!

(It seems that I didn’t schedule this post properly last week, but better late than never!  This planner looks amazing, and I hope you all take a moment to check it out if you haven’t already!)

Last week, Stephanie at Late Night Quilter released for pre-sale a yearly planner that she has created with the specific needs and wants of the contemporary quilter in mind!  I encourage you to head over to Stephanie’s blog to have a more detailed look at this planner because it is so much more than a calendar.  Among its many features is a quilt block pattern for every week of the year.  I am thrilled that my block, Summer Starburst, is included, and I am so excited to see how this book comes together!

Summer Starburst Block

Summer Starburst Quilt Block

Summer Starburst: A Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop Quilt Block

Summer Starburst Quilt Block is created using foundation paper piecing.  This technique gives you lovely, precise points, resulting in a block with a clean, professional appearance.  If you have never tried this process before, it may sound complex, but I encourage you to give it a try.  Once you have done it a few times, you will develop a rhythm and may even come to love this technique as much as I do!

Summer Starburst Block


I designed this block in conjunction with the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop which is a continuation of this Summer’s New Blogger’s Blog Hop.
2015 Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop

There are going to be tutorials for more than 60 different brand new blocks over the next four days!  Not only do you get the directions for all of these lovely designs, but there are also several chances to win a bundle of Fabri-Quilt Prairie Cloth Cotton Solids in the Watermelon Summer color palette we have used to make these blocks.  For a chance to win, check out the daily host’s blog.  Links to all of today’s blocks and all of the host’s websites can be found at the end of this post.  I’m excited to see everyone’s creations, and I hope you are too!

Fabri-Quilt generously supplied each blogger involved in this hop a fat eighth of each of the six colors in the Watermelon Summer palette.  The blocks that have been made from the Fabri-Quilt solids are being turned into charity quilts by our generous hosts.  There will be at least three quilts created and donated to children facing challenging circumstances.

Summer Starburst

Finished Size: 12’’ x 12’’ (This block consists of four 6-1/2” square sections and the finished block will be 12-1/2’’ x 12- 1/2’’ before being joined to other blocks or borders)

Preparing the Foundation Paper

Download the PDF foundation paper piecing template to your desktop or folder of your choice.

Quilt Block Designs-Summer Starburst Paper Piecing

The Summer Starburst pattern along with PDF Instructions are also available on Craftsy.

Print one PDF at 100% scale.  There is a one inch square next to the pattern.  Please take a moment to measure all sides of this square to make sure that there are no scale or distortion issues that occurred in the printing process.  After this check, print three more (4 total) foundation papers.  Double check the 1” square on each print to ensure accuracy.

Note: You may print this pattern on standard printer paper or a specialty foundation paper of your choice.

/Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilting/My Quilts/Quilt Drafti

Using a ruler to check template scale

Using a ruler to check template scale


To prepare for foundation paper piecing, cut the following size rectangles from the indicated fabrics.  Italicized Colors in parenthesis indicate the color used for block construction in the following tutorial.  Please Note:  By nature, foundation paper piecing involves a certain amount of fabric waste. The rectangle sizes below allow for the easiest construction of this block. It may be possible to save some additional fabric by rough cutting triangle shapes rather than rectangles.  I only suggest this option for experienced foundation paper piecers.

Fabric A (Turquoise):

  • Section 1:  Four pieces 3-1/2’’ x 5’’

Fabric B (Aqua):

  • Section 2:  Four pieces 3’’ x 7’’

Fabric C (Lapis Blue):

  • Section 3:  Four Pieces 2’’ x 7’’
  • Section 7:  Four Pieces 3-1/4’’ x 7’’

Fabric D (White):

  • Section 4:  Four Pieces 3’’ x 5’’
  • Section 6:  Four Pieces  3-1/2’’ x 4’’

Fabric E (Chartreuse):

  • Section 5:  Four Pieces 2-1/4’’ x 6’’

Fabric F (Coral):

  • Section 8:  Four Pieces  2-1/2’’ x 7-1/4’’

Block Fabrics and Color Key


This block is foundation paper pieced in four sections which are joined in the final step of block construction.

Step 1:  Rough cut the foundation paper to be approximately 1/4’’ larger on all sides than the outermost printed lines.

Four templates that have been rough cut for stitching

Four templates that have been rough cut for stitching

Note:  The fabric construction of the paper pieced block occurs on the non-printed side of the pattern.

Step 2:  With the printed side of the pattern facing down, place a piece of fabric A right side up directly over section 1.  (See Figure A)  If desired, you may pin this to the paper.  Hold the paper up to a light source to ensure all of section 1 is covered by the fabric and there is at least 1/4” of extra fabric extending over the section 1 boundary lines into all adjoining areas.

Please Note:  Fabric is placed on the non-printed side of your paper piecing template.  For clarity, the diagrams in this pattern include grey lines that indicate what you would see if the template was held up to a light source.

Figure A

Note:  When foundation paper piecing, section 1 is the only section that the fabric is placed right side up.

Step 3:  Position the fabric for section 2 wrong side up over the section 1 fabric with a small amount crossing the line between the two sections and the main body of the fabric over section 1. (See Figure B)  Pin both fabrics along the stitching line between sections 1 & 2.  Flip the section 2 fabric along the pin line.  Hold the block up to a light source to see if the fabric will cover all of section two.  Adjust the fabric placement as needed.Figure B

Step 4:  When you are happy with the fabric placement, turn the block so the paper is on top.  With the printed side of the paper facing up, carefully machine straight stitch along the line between sections one and two.  I suggest using a small stitch and backstitching at the beginning and end of the stitching line.  You may extend the stitching beyond the line on either end, but it is not required.

Stitching Segment 3

So, I forgot to take a photo of the stitching the line for segments 1 & 2. This is the photo adding segment 3, but you can still see how the paper is printed side up, fabric down, and you are stitching directly on the line.

Step 5:  Flip the section two fabric toward its finished position to double check that all of section two is covered.  Turn the section two fabric back over section one and fold the paper foundation back along the stitching line.  Trim the excess fabric away from the stitching line leaving about a quarter inch to act as seam allowance.

Folding back the template to trim the excess fabric

Folding back the template to trim the excess fabric

Measuring a 1/4" seam allowance

Measuring a 1/4″ seam allowance

Trimming the seam allowance

Trimming the seam allowance

Trimmed seam allowance

Trimmed seam allowance

Step 6:  Carefully press the section two fabric into place over area two.  (See Figure C)Figure C

Segments 1 and 2 pressed


Note:  Now you will work around the foundation template in numerical order following steps 2-6 for each section.

Section 3:  Position the section three fabric wrong side up with the main body of the fabric over section two.  (See Figure D)  Use a light source to check the fabric positioning. Figure D

With the printed side of the paper facing up, stitch along the line between sections two and three, trim the seam allowance, and press the section three fabric into place.  (See Figure E)Figure E

Section 4:  Position the section four fabric wrong side up with the main body of the fabric over section three.  (See Figure F)  Use a light source to check the fabric positioning. Figure F

Stitch along the line between sections three and four, trim the seam allowance, and press the section four fabric into place.  (See Figure G)Figure G

Section 5:  Position the section five fabric wrong side up with the main body of the fabric over sections three and  four.  (See Figure H)  Use a light source to check the fabric positioning. Figure H

Stitch along the line between sections three/four and five, trim the seam allowance, and press the section five fabric into place.  (See Figure I)Figure I

Section 6:  Position the section six fabric wrong side up with the main body of the fabric over section five.  (See Figure J)  Use a light source to check the fabric positioning. Figure J

Stitch along the line between sections five and six, trim the seam allowance, and press the section six fabric into place.  (See Figure K)Figure K

Section 7:  Position the section seven fabric wrong side up with the main body of the fabric over sections five and six.  (See Figure L)  Use a light source to check the fabric positioning. Figure L

Stitch along the line between sections five/six and seven, trim the seam allowance, and press the section seven fabric into place.  (See Figure M)Figure M

Section 8:  Position the section eight fabric wrong side up with the main body of the fabric over sections 1-7.  (See Figure N)  Use a light source to check the fabric positioning. Figure N

Stitch along the line between section 8 and the previous sections, trim the seam allowance, and press the section eight fabric into place.  (See Figure O)Figure O

Completely Stitched Block Section that is ready to be trimmed

Completely Stitched Block Section that is ready to be trimmed

Step 7:  Finish the block segment by pressing it well and using a rotary cutter and ruler to trim the excess paper and fabric along the outermost printed line of the block.  (See Figure P)

Figure P

Partially trimmed block segment

Partially trimmed block segment

Note:  Each block segment will measure 6-1/2’’ x 6-1/2’’ at this stage

Step 8:  This is where you lather, rinse, and repeat steps 1-7 three more times to make a total of four block segments.

Step 9:  Arrange these segments into the block configuration.  (See Figure Q)Figure Q

Step 10:  Use Wonder Clips or pins to hold two segments together while you sew along the stitching line.  (See Figure R)  Press the seam allowances open.Figure R

Step 11:  Sew the two larger sections together and press the seam allowance open to complete the block.  (See Figure S)Figure S

Step 12:  If you are creating a quilt consisting entirely of this or other foundation paper pieced blocks you may leave the papers in place until construction is complete.  If you are combining this block with traditionally pieced or appliquéd block or if this block will be used on its own, carefully tear out the foundation papers now.

Here are just a few of the possible layouts that you could achieve with this block:

This Layout alternates Summer Starburst blocks with Mirrored Summer Starburst Blocks

This Layout alternates Summer Starburst blocks with Mirrored Summer Starburst Blocks

I really like the effect of this layout.  If you like it too, here is the template for the Mirrored Summer Starburst Block:

Quilt Block Designs-Mirrored Summer Starburst Paper Piecing

Summer Starburst Blocks

Summer Starburst Blocks

Summer Starburst Blocks with sashing

Summer Starburst Blocks with sashing

Summer Starburst Mini Quilt with Checkerboard Border

Summer Starburst Mini Quilt or Pillow with Checkerboard Border

Hmm . . . This mini quilt may be in my Mini Quilt Mania future!

Below are links to the rest of today’s original blocks.  I hope you take a moment to discover some lovely new designs!

Today’s wonderful host is Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl.  Remember- she’s hosting a fabric giveaway today!

The rest of today’s blocks can be found on the following blogs:

Kelly @Quilting it Out
Martha @Once a Wingnut
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Andrea @The Sewing Fools
Bernie @Needle and Foot
Silvia @A Stranger View
Wanda @Wanda’s Life Sampler
Sandra @Musings of a Menopausal Melon
Vicki @Orchid Owl Quilts
Jess @Quilty Habit
Diana @Red Delicious Life
Chelsea @Patch the Giraffe
Margo @Shadow Lane Quilts
Renee @Quilts of a Feather

Tuesday’s Host is Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs

Wednesday will be brought to you by Stephanie of Late Night Quilter

Terri Ann at Childlike Fascination will host the final group on Thursday

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

This summer, I am thrilled to have joined up with a group of amazing new quilt bloggers for the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

The hosts this year are:

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

I am so happy to be a member of Cheryl’s group, The New Bees.

New Bee Button

I really encourage you to stop by the other New Bees members who are posting this week:

I started blogging in December of 2014 and the first quilt that I shared, Petals in the Wind (Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!), is still one of my favorites.  This quilt has been accepted into the American Quilter’s Society shows in Syracuse, Grand Rapids, and Chattanooga this year.

Petals in the Wind

Petals in the Wind

Modern Log Cabin is the first quilt that I made after I returned to quilting last year.  It is a “potholder” style quilt that reverses from grey to blue.  This quilt was exhibited at the AQS show in Paducah earlier this year and will also be in the Modern Quilt categories at Grand Rapids and Chattanooga.

Modern Log Cabin

Modern Log Cabin

My pet project for 2015 is to make 50 mini quilts over the course of the year.  So far, I have completed 23/50.  Mini Quilt Mania gives me a format to experiment with a variety of quilting techniques without having to commit to a large project- it’s like keeping a sketchbook!  Details about this project as well as a full list of the mini quilts can be found in the Mini Quilt Mania post.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

π, pi, PIE!

π, pi, PIE!

Embellished Spring

Embellished Spring

Marsala Mini Quilt

Marsala Mini Quilt

Rainbow Roundabout

Rainbow Roundabout

Fruit Crush

Fruit Crush

May Flower

May Flower

Yellow Rays

Yellow Rays
















Now that you’ve seen a bit of my work, would you like to hear how I got here?

How did you learn to sew?  My Mom started teaching me to sew before I was even in Kindergarten, so the details are a little hazy.  My first quilt was completed when I was about eight, and once I was old enough for 4-H,  I did sewing projects every year for the next decade.  As I grew older, I moved away from quilting and toward clothing construction.  Quilting by hand was just so painfully slow, and after finishing one twin sized quilt, I was done.  In high school I did make a couple of machine quilted jackets that I received student awards for at the American Quilter’s Society Fashion Show in Paducah.

What did you do then?  I went off to college to get a BFA, and since I could sew, I was assigned to do my work-study job in the costume shop of the Drama Department.  I ended up double majoring in Painting and Theatre Design and Technology and later went on to earn an MFA in Scenic Design.  I have worked with many theaters over the years, including ten seasons with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and have worked at a few universities as well.

What has Theatre taught you about sewing?  I am pretty sure I can sew almost anything at this point.  I have created custom patterns and constructed clothing for almost every historical period, sewn stage curtains and drapes, done upholstery, and devised stage props ranging from drawstring bags to a 25′ long pleated, cylindrical (and very phallic), pink velour pillow with tassels at the ends.  Knowing that something very specific has to be created within a certain time frame means  there is little time to worry about messing it up- at some point you just have to dive in and make it happen.  You also become really adept at solving the “challenges” that seem to develop with each project.  This is excellent preparation for devising quilt patterns!

How did you return to quilting?  I was at a job where I wasn’t required to sew a lot, and I thought that maybe I would sew something for myself.  I wandered into a locally owned shop and was stunned to see all the new quilting fabrics.  Pair that selection with fact that machine quilting is now far more acceptable (even expected!), and I was hooked!

Quilting Tip:  Every once in awhile create your own challenge.  Limit it to a small, quick project like a mini quilt or simple bag.  Restrict parameters  so once you start so you will have already limited the choices you have because sometimes having infinite options can really slow us down.  I like to preselect a project, color scheme, and time frame.  An example could be:  One weekend to create a quilted bag using only the colors of black, white, grey, and green using fabrics and supplies already on hand. These small projects can force us to think creatively and can help improve our problem solving “toolbox” for other larger projects.

Blogging Tip:  At the beginning of the year  I created a eight inch square mini quilt that I have used as a background image for all blog “signage” that I have needed.  It provides a consistent element within the blog, and I always have an image available for posts that don’t have a feature quilt picture.

Random Facts:

  • Right now I do freelance work.  Most recently, I worked as a draper (costume pattern maker) for the Summer Nutmeg Series of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.  If you would like to see photos, please check out their Instagram at  This summer we did Les Mis, Peter Pan, and Xanadu.  The metallic silk chiffon dresses for Xanadu are especially fun- so shiny!
  • I have traveled to 29 US states and lived in Ohio, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Indiana
  • My favorite food is a pretty even tie between pizza, saag paneer, and any sweet baked good
  • Growing up I raised chickens (mostly White Plymouth Rocks)
  • When I sew I almost always watch Netflix (Downton Abby is a favorite) or listen to a podcast (I’ve been catching up on Modern Sewciety)
  • My most commonly requested baked good is a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

I have been thinking a lot about gathering inspiration for quilt designs and color schemes and will probably be writing a post on this soon.  What are your thoughts?  Where do you find your inspiration?  Do you tend to be more inspired by quilt related items (books, magazines, quilt shows, etc.)?  Or do you tend to draw more inspiration from seemingly unrelated sources (art, nature, architecture, etc.)?  Is it a combination of these?

Thank you so much for coming by, and I hope to have you visit again!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Petals in the Wind

My second entry to this Spring’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival is Petals in the Wind (also known as Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!)  This was the very first quilt I shared on this blog, and I am really happy to be able to show it again!

Petals in the Wind blog full view

With this quilt, I was interested in creating a sense of movement and explore the use of negative space.  In this instance, the idea of negative space has a very literal interpretation.  Each area of the quilt was created as a separate segment.  When these pieces combine, there are open area designed into the quilt.

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail B


Each section is constructed using curved improvisational piecing, heavily quilted with lines that emphasize the curves of the piecing, and the edges bound prior to joining it with other sections of the quilt.  If you are interested in reading more about the design process involved with this quilt, please stop by the original post for Petals in the Wind.

Petals in the Wind detail a

A Spring breeze has many small gusts which join together to gently rustle through young foliage and toss colorful petals through the air.  By creating the quilt in sections, I hoped to add to the visual movement of the piece and create a feeling of that Spring breeze.  The open spaces represent moments of calm on a windy day.

Petals in the Wind detail b

In this quilt, the petals are represented by hexagons appliquéd throughout the quilt and in the spaces between segments.  The hexagons are created by folding a circle (I have shown a very similar technique in this post), then embellishing the shape with a fabric yo-yo, cotton and silk threads, and glass beads.

Petals in the Wind detail c

This quilt will be in the Art Quilt Category of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  The Festival is currently open for entries and nominations for viewer’s choice.  Please stop by to see all of the lovely quilts that have been entered, and come back between May 22-29 to vote for your favorites in every category!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Petals in the Wind

Size: 66″w x 47″h

Techniques:  Machine Improvisational Piecing, Hand Appliqué, Hand Embroidery, Glass Bead Details

Quilting:  Machine quilted using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics: 100% cotton prints and batiks

Batting:  Warm and Natural cotton batting

Thread:  Cotton machine quilting thread

Binding:  Bias, cut in 2″ strips from fabrics used in the quilt.  Machine stitched to the front, and hand stitched to the back

What’s Next for this Quilt?  Look for this quilt at the American Quilter’s Society show in Syracuse, NY later this year!