Sunday Morning Quilts

Binding Scraps - Amanda Jean Made Me Do It

Scrap Quilts with Triangles

Amanda Jean Made Me Do It

50’’ x 60’’

Those little triangles you cut off when joining strips for binding or Jelly Roll Race quilts? Do not throw them away!! Keep them for years and years and then you can make this quilt.

Years ago, when I was writing Sunday Morning Quilts with Amanda Jean Nyberg she convinced me to start saving those little triangles. Until then I confess that I was throwing them out. Fast forward a few years and her next book, No Scrap Left Behind, has a delicious pattern for all those little triangles!

It can be daunting when working with So. Many. Small pieces at once. Generally, I would recommend having this be an ongoing project. A little bit here and there or maybe using them as leaders and enders. I ended up doing nothing but this project for a few weeks, at least to get the top done. It nearly killed me. Tedious, to say the least. But the end result was fantastic!! The top needed to sit a little while though, to muster up the steam to see it again.

My recent desire to finish things though brought this quilt up again. I actually had the back made a long time ago too, a request from my oldest, The Monster. At a time when she was feeling down she asked me if I ever made something as a reminder that life can get better? Until then, I had not. Now we have this two sided quilt for the rough days.

It Gets Better

It wasn’t too bad to quilt it, even with all the seams. I lifted up the presser foot a bit and dove in with an angular meander. On a scrappy quilt like this you aren’t going to see much in the way of quilting so something all over is perfect. Any colour thread would do as well, so I picked a favourite turquoise variegated from Wonderfil. It worked perfectly.

For those of you that also follow me on Instagram I had a fun time getting help with binding choices. Usually I know exactly what I want to do but this time I was torn. So I put the top choices out to the world. It was really interesting to see what other people thought too. In the end I chose away from my norm. I typically go for a high contrast binding. This time I went for something that blended. I think it was the perfect choice.

Quilt Binding Samarra Khaja

And now I’ve finished two quilts already this year. That is already more than last year, I think!

Amanda Jean Made Me Do It

Seven years ago I made a leap. I was recuperating from my stupid knee injuries and thinking a lot about life, about what I wanted to be when I grew up. At that time I started emailing another blogger a bit more. One day we decided to take our relationship to the next level and talk on the phone. It was like being a teenager all over again, chit chatting for hours as I lay on my bed and ignored my family. Now I consider her a good friend, a professional colleague, and a quilty inspiration.

No Scrap Left Behind Binding Triangles

Amanda Jean Nyberg now has a new book. It is out now and I jumped on board to help her celebrate. No Scrap Left Behind is her perfect book. She is extraordinarily frugal and saves everything. This book takes that mentality and applies it to all your fabric. She does so with useful tips, storage ideas, and completely inspiring quilts. 

To celebrate the release of the book Amanda asked us to not only blog about the book but to also make something from it. Back when we were writing Sunday Morning Quilts she got me to save my binding triangles. Those little bits we cut off when joining binding strips. I hadn't exactly been throwing them away, but they got dumped in with the rest of my colour sorted scraps. In our discussions writing the book we agreed on sorting by colour as well as pulling out strips/strings and snippets. She took it to the next level with those binding triangles. So I started putting mine aside. They filled a jar. Then overflowed the jar. After that they filled a bowl. Just as I was thinking it was time to do something about them No Scrap Left Behind comes out. It was meant to be.

No Scrap Left Behind Chain of Diamonds

There are two quilts in the book that I could have done, Remainders and Chain of Diamonds (not to mention Up, Up, and Away from Sunday Morning Quilts). I chose Chain of Diamonds because it reminded me of a sketch I once made myself from a store window I once saw. Plus, I had a lot of colours in my overflowing jar and bowl.

I'm not going to lie, this was an intense make. Made more so by me doing it over the last 2 weeks while I was sick (and my kids). I counted, there are 1709 seams in this quilt! But the good thing is that they are all small. 

No Scrap Left Behind Small Piecing

To keep the project a lot more manageable, I suggest turning this into one of two things. Make the blocks as leaders/enders. That is, prep your background squares and keep them next to your machine with the triangles. At the end of a seam when you are working on something else sew a triangle on instead of cutting your thread. Or, turn this into a Morning Make project. Spend 10-20 minutes a day and slowly but sure the blocks will come together. 

Regardless of how you do this I would totally recommend this quilt. It was fun, it has great impact, and it makes excellent use of those scraps!

I went from a full platter (once I unsquished them from the jar/bowl) to barely a third. I even had to cut a few extra scraps to round out the selection. Now I just might have to make something else to use the rest of the triangles! For a change from my instinctual mix of low volume fabrics for the background I went all the way to the other end of the spectrum. Black prints, including many from my Tag collection, played together. As I made blocks it was a lot of fun to think back to the quilt where the scrap came from. So many memories.

No Scrap Left Behind Binding Triangles

Thanks for being a good friend all these years Amanda Jean. And for continuing to be such an inspiration to quilters everywhere.

I'm happy to be giving away a copy of the No Scrap Left Behind to a lucky reader, courtesy of C&T Publishing. Trust me, you want this book! Please leave a comment below, including your email: nameATserverDOTcom. I can't auto reply through my blog so I need your email to get you your prize. US winners get a hard copy of the book, International winners will get a digital version.


No Scrap Left Behind


Make sure you check out all the other bloggers sharing their projects from the book:

Monday, April 24th Mary Kolb

Tuesday, April 25, Lee Monroe

Wednesday, April 26, Sandi Hazelwood

Thursday, April 27, Bernie Kringel

Friday, April 28, Erin Cox

Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves

Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney

Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison

Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske

Friday, May 5, 

Giveaway Winner was Sue, comment 190/226. Thanks to the Random Number Generator.

Love the black & white background you used! It's nice to read how you became friends with Amanda Jean too. :)

All The Sundays

Sunday Morning Quilts A Month of Sundays Denyse Schmidt

All The Sundays

70'' x 70''

An oh so special quilt is finally finished. I wasn't impatient or anything, but as soon as the last stitches went in the other day I realized how much I wanted this quilt to be done. Only so that it could be real, that it could be a thing I used and loved.

The first bits of piecing in this quilt started years ago. I was teaching a Slab class, the technique popularized in my book with Amanda Jean, Sunday Morning Quilts. In my prep for the class I grabbed a bunch of scraps from making the quilts in A Month of Sundays. They were handy, that's all. I had no specific plan. So I made my samples for the class and that was that. A bit later I was reading Denyse Schmidt's book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspirations. Her Shoeman's Puzzle quilt grabbed me immediately.

I'm not sure when the moment was that I decided to combine all these influences into one quilt, but it happened. And it was love at first sight.

Slabs and Low Volume and Shoeman's Puzzle

It wasn't an easy quilt to make. I made freezer paper templates to keep me on track. Those didn't come into play until after I'd made slabs though. The templates were totally necessary to keep lines as they should be, especially important with all those angles and bias edges. Of course, then there is the removing of the paper. Thankfully there are only 3 seams in each block, about the easiest paper piecing you can do.

The quilt top sat for a year and a half in the closet, keeping a dozen other quilt tops company. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do to quilt it and was willing to wait until the right idea hit me. Or, the right person to do it for me. 

Last summer I met Dara from Stitched Quilting Co. Turns out her MIL lives a few blocks away from me. We had a few visits and chatted quilting, dogs, and mothering. Well a couple of months ago Dara messaged to say she had an opening in her long arm schedule and delivery ready, if I had a quilt to go. Seeing as my Quilts Under Construction list is quite long I wasn't about to turn down the opportunity! This quilt made the cut precisely because I didn't have a plan for it and I already had a wide back purchased and ready to go. After a frantic evening of pulling papers and a few repairs I got it to Dara.

Stitched Quilting Co Free Motion Quilting

With so much solid expanse in the whites/creams of the quilt top this needed a special touch. Dara gave it just that! Such custom, detailed work. So much attention to detail. There are secondary and tertiary patterns in this quilt top and her quilting highlighted them. I'm thrilled with the outcome.

For the backing and binding I chose to go back to my dear friend Amanda Jean's fabric, Good Neighbors. She had a wide back fabric in that collection. And the orange dot was absolutely perfect for the binding. Conveniently I'd just ordered a half yard of it, the perfect amount. And lucky for me, because neither are available anymore!

Good Neighbors Fabric Crazy Mom Quilts

My husband will happily tell anyone that we have a ridiculous amount of quilts in our house. He is very obliging if we are asked for donations or gifts. Little does he know that this quilt will never leave my hands. It represents so much to me, not to mention that I think it is absolutely beautiful. I will always think of friendships, how my career has grown, and the history contained in some beautiful fabric. 

How Sunday Morning Quilts Changed My Life

My life changed in a lame but spectacular ski accident. I went tumbling after my ski likely hit a rock hidden in fresh powder. Initially, I heard the injuries more than felt them. Although I managed to get up and put my skis back on, one push off and I was back on the ground again. Then down the hill, full of shame and frustration, in the ski patrol sled. The romantic weekend my husband and I planned lost in hospital visits, wheelchairs, and pain medication. The year we thought we would have lost in reduced mobility and independence, physical therapy, and a change in the parenting dynamic.

I wouldn't change a thing about it.

That time sitting around, facing my frustrations about so many things, brought me here. It was during that time that I first spoke to Amanda Jean, that I contemplated a career change seriously. It was during that time that I decided to pursue a long held dream to write a book.

You see, I was a kid who loved to write stories. With my own kids now I think that is an instinct that disappears over time (with criticism and other outside influences). I, however, never wanted to stop. I went to journalism school, but transferred out. I wrote when I could but never with focus or intention. In the few years before my fall I'd been annoyed at work, missing something more meaningful in my professional life. I fought it because I was doing what should have been a dream job for my education. Plus, it felt like I'd only just paid off my student loans from grad school. I thought I owed it to myself to make something of it. But I had started writing on the side again - here on the blog and with a fledgling freelance career - and I wanted to do more. 

Those first conversations with Amanda Jean - over email and then on the phone like teenage girls - were the start of something amazing. Not only can I still call her a wonderful, dear friend, they started me on a professional path I never imagined and do not want to get off of.

Image from Sunday Morning Quilts by C&T Publishing.

Image from Sunday Morning Quilts by C&T Publishing.

I wrote the book in bed or in a tiny desk stuffed in a closet or at IKEA while taking advantage of the playroom. I learned to work to the soundtrack of PBS Kids. I did indeed take over the dining room table as I made all my quilts in the book. It was messy, chaotic, stressful, and awesome.

The day I truly started working on the book was also the day I started as a stay at home mom, having quit my policy job because our family could no longer survive with both of us working full-time. It also coincided with my husband leaving for more or less 3 months. While writing the book I had two miscarriages as well. I remember sitting in the hospital, binding one of the book quilts while waiting for a D&C.  Let's just say it was a stressful, rocky time for everyone. 

At the same time my Dad was dying. We had tears over the phone, stressful trips to see him and help, then there was me trying to meet my deadline as he was moved to Palliative Care. I still remember the day we met the final deadline and he seeing him look proud of me. He wasn't one for sharing love, but I could feel some that day.  

The book was finished and there was nothing to do but wait for it to come out. Our family life started to smooth out a little. And I even started working on the next book. I got pregnant and this time it stuck. 

Four years ago this month and a little over two years after that fall on the slopes Sunday Morning Quilts was published. Four years ago my son was born. If you are a long time reader here you might remember that we even had a little bet going on which would come first - the baby or the book? For the record, the book arrived at people's doorsteps and shops about a week or so before my little guy did.

As a mother my world blew up with his entrance to the world and our family. He's a delightful, (mostly) boy with more energy than a nuclear bomb. We worried about the age gap between he and the girls (6 and 4 years) but he's shown us that it doesn't matter one lick as he throws himself, full speed ahead into everything. I love him even when his pouting infuriates me or his tantrums last all day. I do wish he would stop talking sometimes, but he is his mother's child...

As a quilter, my world is totally different since Sunday Morning Quilts dropped. I wrote the book for two main reasons. One, I wanted to write a book and both Amanda Jean and I felt we had something to contribute to the market. And two, I wanted to teach and expected the book to be a good springboard to that. I never, ever could have anticipated what my life looks like now. 

Recently, I wrote a list of all the places I've travelled to teach or speak about quilting. Outside of local gigs, I've been to nearly twenty communities. In one year I hit all three oceans that Canada touches. In rooms of ten or over 100 I get to talk about my quilts, my approach to making. I've filmed five online classes too. This blows my mind. And I could totally do more, I want to do more.

Have you seen my other two books? A Month of Sundays came to be because the quilt, Sunday Morning, proved so popular and inspiring. You Inspire Me To Quilt is my most recent, less than a year old, and all about the design process and making quilts for loved ones. These books wouldn't exist without Sunday Morning Quilts because I never would called myself a writer and actually sat down to pitch, write, and develop my voice in quilt books.

Then there is the unexpected benefit of writing books and designing patterns - people make quilts! I say unexpected because it isn't what I went into this for, to have people be inspired enough to make. But wow, that is the best part! To know that your work, whether words or technique or designs, get people sewing is fantastic and now the part that feeds me. It's one thing to buy a book because it is pretty or because you like the looks of a project or two, it is another to be so inspired that you actually get your butt in the seat and sew. That my little books can do that for people rocks my world.

In all honesty, it is that last part that keeps me going. I'm not going to lie, I have rough days. Those days are filled with doubt and I question whether I should be doing this - for my sake, for my family's sake, and whether anyone would notice if I stopped. Then someone sends me an email or I get tagged in a photo of a quilt they made inspired by my work. That old adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery isn't quite true in this case because I am putting the designs out there for you to make, but it still counts in my book. Kind words and flattery will get you everywhere with me! 

So I keep writing, playing with genres. I keep designing, publishing in books and magazines. I definitely keep teaching, always striving to inspire. I certainly wouldn't still be doing it without the support of everyone out there, all you quilters making quilts. I wouldn't be doing any of it without that fateful day on the slopes. 

And now, I have a fancy carbon fibre brace for my knee and I'm back on the slopes with the family, all five of us.