Tag Archives: Tula Pink

Tula Pink Saltwater Quilt

Saltwater quilt

Back in 2012, in the early days of my (decidedly one-sided) love affair with Tula Pink, I bought a fat-quarter set of the Saltwater fabric collection, which I promptly left to marinate for three years because it was too stressful to cut into. But when I got a half-square triangle die for my Accuquilt a few months ago I went to town with it.

Although I have issues with the accuracy of the Accuquilt, for which many helpful people on Instagram provided useful tips (which I appreciate but will not be following because (a) I am lazy and (b) I didn’t buy the stupid thing to generate more work for me), I’ve become a confident enough quilter to know how to fix those kinds of problems when piecing.

Inspired by this gorgeous quilt by Sarah at coopcrafts* I combined the saltwater triangles with a variety of white-on-white fabrics, so even though the overall effect from afar is plain white, up close you can see the different patterns. Cutting the entire quilt top took maybe an hour or two, and piecing it was a complete breeze, since the die eliminates dog ears and there’s no need to mark anything.

Chain piecing action shot

Chain piecing action shot

Schnitzel helped.

Schnitzel helped.

You don’t really need these right now, do you?

After I started cutting into the set I realized that I had an unequal number of FQs in each of the three colourways, which meant I had to be creative when laying out the quilt and which I think I managed.


For the back, I loosely followed Elizabeth Hartman’s Mod Mosaic tutorial to create a long strip made from the leftover scraps.

I love this fabric line unreasonably much.

I love this fabric line unreasonably much.

After I made a strip the width of the quilt I edged it with some Saltwater strips from yardage I had purchased on other occasions (truth: this is the only Tula Pink fabric line that I actually like. I find the others super-intricate, but equally creepy. Elizabeth? EEP), and then finished off the back with some more white-on-white fabric pieces.

That's a very subtle light-blue thread.

It took longer to make the scrappy strip than it did the entire quilt top.

Saltwater quilt back

I used straight-line quilting to outline each square with matching thread and used a new-to-me thread, Mettler, which I was really pleased with. Unfortunately, this kind of quilting leaves ton of threads to bury, which normally I would bury as I go, except that I’m a dumbass and cut a super-hot chili with bare fingers the morning I started quilting, and my hands were ON FIRE for well over twelve hours, making it impossible to do anything more precise than shoving the quilt in and out of my machine. You’ll be pleased to know that dipping my hands in a vat of after sun and aloe vera made the pain go away a few minutes before midnight. Anyway.


That’s very light blue thread on the right.

For the binding I used a method I came across on Instagram and had tried on a baby quilt a couple of weeks before, and you guys, I am NEVER going back to old-school binding. I’m not joking—the no-tails method is much easier, much more conducive to scrappy bindings because you don’t need to make a super-long continuous binding strip, and gives PERFECT corners. Recently, while flipping through Sunday Morning Quilts, I saw that this method is actually in the book and I think I must have dismissed it on my first read because it seemed too complicated (it so isn’t). I also decided to go a bit thinner on my binding for this quilt, cutting it 2.25″ wide instead of 2.5″, and the quality and fullness of the binding is spectacular by comparison. I may even go down to 2″ for my next quilt.

Can I help you bind, mom? I'm sure licking your hand for an hour will help get this done in no time.

Can I help you bind, mom? I’m sure licking your hand for an hour will help get this done in no time.

I used the blue/white octopus fabric as my main binding fabric, and each side of the quilt got a small scrap of one of the other colours to punch it up a bit.

Pop of colour in the binding

Although I finished the quilt top about a year ago, I didn’t get back to it until the end of the summer, when I decided to try to enter it into the Erding Patchwork Messe, where I exhibited a couple of quilts last March, too. I worked like a fiend for only to find out that they wouldn’t accept a late submission, so it’ll have to wait for the next one.

* If you aren’t following Sarah, do yourself a favour and do. Her HST quilts are a thing of beauty.

The Whine and Cheese Quilt

“The colour of their  bedroom? Uh… sort of yellow? And wine?” said the 16-year-old son of our friends, for whom I was making a surprise silver anniversary quilt.

  1. Are you sure?
  2. Ugh, really?

This quilt was already starting out from the very far corner of the depths of the dog house, because the combination of yellow and wine has never even entered my resolution.

But off I went, rummaging through my stash to find yellow- and wine-coloured fabrics that actually went together. There wasn’t much there, I didn’t think, so off I went to the Dutch fabric market in Freising in the hopes of finding something to go with what little I could find, and found nothing except for background fabric, of which, it would transpire, I bought a questionably small amount.

I was planning to make Tula Pink’s Fade to Pink quilt, except for it needing to be yellow. AND wine. Have I mentioned? About the yellow and the wine? Ugh.

But off I went, reassessing what I had in the stash and buying a massive amount of fabric from Doughty’s Online (great shop), partly for the front and mostly for the back, of which, it would transpire, I would use very little, because the yellow? It was brown. Which I now have in my stash, a stash in which it has no brown to keep it company, because, as lazy daisy says, brown is not a colour.

So I started cutting, and things were looking pretty awful. I had to rearrange a few times and to replace some of the fabrics that just didn’t seem to work together.

The first try was just wrong. The brown. No.

The second try was getting there in terms of the colours, but the darks seemed to overwhelm the lights and the whole thing looked unbalanced. Still the brown’s fault.

The third try had all my bells ringing.

And then I started piecing, and though I wasn’t wholly convinced, it was kind of, sort of looking not terrible.

And then I pieced the top together, and huh. It was kind of okay!

basic top

That’s not terrible at all!

The original pattern is for an 80″x80″ quilt, which would be a little too small, so I had to come up with some creative expansion—I should say this right now: I don’t like quilts with borders—at which point the background fabric shortage reared its ugly head. Luckily there was another Dutch fabric market in Munich, so I rushed off to get some more fabric from the same vendor, only to discover he no longer had it. I wept. Then I bought three meters of a fabric with a different pattern, but the same colours.

When we moved into this house a year and a half ago, I popped into Ikea one day to get some shelving, and found a single yellow duvet set in their returns room. I didn’t have a plan for it but it seemed a good pattern and a good colour so I’d kept it in my stash and thought no more of it. The yellow seemed to work so I popped it out of the packaging, only to find out that it had a yellow-on-white pattern on the reverse! KISMET! I took it all apart and cut a few stripes of the yellow-on-white to make the border strip, then surrounded it by another wide strip of the background fabric, for a finished quilt top of around 95″x95″. In the end the original purchase ended up sufficing. It’s still a border and I’m still not a fan, but it’s subtle enough.

Then I went on holiday and tried to rouse some inspiration for what I would do with the back. I looked for inspiration all over Sweden!

And then we came home and I found it right there, where I had apparently left it!

From there it was a race to the finish. I had less than a week to finish putting together the back, quilting, and binding before the anniversary party. The back took nearly an entire Saturday, and I basted it that same day. I spent the entire Sunday plus three more evenings during the week quilting straight lines in the sashing. I attached the binding on the Wednesday night and started hand sewing the binding the next night. Four episodes of The Good Wife (Hey! SpyDaddy was on The Good Wife!) later, at 1:30am, I was halfway through. The next day we drove up to the party (five hours away) and I sat in the back of the car and did most of the rest. Things you discover when you sit in the back seat sewing: appalling shocks. I did the last meter of binding late into the night once we’d arrived. The next day I sprayed out the water-soluble markings and took it out for a bit of a photo shoot. (Tip from a champ: photographing yellow things outdoors is like one of those Facebook party invites that go viral and a thousand people turn up at your three-bedroom suburban house for the party your parents didn’t know you were having, except they’re bugs.)

But I finished in time for the party and you can add this one to the list of quilts that I didn’t much enjoy making but ended up not wanting to give away.

Finished top

Finished back

Finished back

Quilting detail


(They just called – they loved it!)

Tula Pink City Sampler Quilt – FIN.

Reading through my previous posts about the Tula Pink City Sampler I can see that I was just brimming with optimism about the whole process. It’s like I knew right from the start that I would absolutely hate making this quilt. But the thing is, even though I often wanted to stab myself in the eye with an ice pick rather than work on it, this quilt was an incredible learning experience. For starters, I learned–oh, who am I kidding? Like I didn’t already know–that I hate fiddly. These tiny, tiny pieces did not get any less annoying as I made my way through the quilt.

sneak peek 1

But the fiddly aside, I realised through the making of this quilt that I’m a pretty confident quilter and that I’ve seen and read enough about quilting to be willing to take some risks and to rely on my own intuition. I took a lot of chances with this quilt that could have ended badly, but didn’t.

sneak peek 2

The City Sampler book is laid out in sections. The introductory section gives basic instructions regarding how to read the cutting and piecing instructions. The piecing section, which is split into shape-based subsections, is arranged in two-page spreads and shows a photo of the finished block on the left side, and cutting instructions and a piecing illustration on the right side. The final section shows various layouts for the finished quilt.

Here’s how this quilt came together. I made about twenty five blocks in 2013, another twenty or so in mid-2014, and then over fifty blocks in a single weekend this past January (I really just wanted to get it over and done with already). I did not buy any fabric specifically for this quilt, and used mostly my scrap bins and some of my stash. As for the colour scheme, I knew I wanted to make the gridlock layout and that I wanted it in the same rainbow arrangement, so when I made my blocks I loosely kept to the colour scheme of the blocks in the book.

While I was sewing the blocks, I put them up on the design wall in the order they appeared in the book (pardon the iPhone photography, as usual. I tend to sew in the evening and the light in my sewing room is appalling).

From 1 to 100

From 1 to 100. At this point, I was still wholly unimpressed with the whole thing.

When all the blocks were done, I rearranged them in the same order as the gridlock layout in the book, and then I started playing around with them, since the colours and values of my blocks weren’t an exact match to the book, so some of the blocks just didn’t look right. After my first layout attempt, I brought the Germ in to consult.

Bringing in the consultants.

He had thoughts.

Schnitzel said she was no expert, but agreed to take a look.

Schnitzel said she was no expert, but agreed to take a look.

Eventually I settled on a final layout and even remade one block that was really bothering me.

I’m not a particularly skilled free-motion quilter and didn’t want my quilting to detract from the quilt. I was also pretty sure that I didn’t want to piece the entire top and then quilt it, because the quilting I had in mind would require me to turn the quilt around constantly, and I knew it would be too heavy for me to manage that easily. I decided to try the quilt-as-you-go method that Maureen Cracknell demonstrates in this tutorial.

I split the blocks into six segments and added the sashing to each segment. The segments were each five blocks across, with four segments made up of three rows, and the last two made up of four rows. Once the six segments were sashed and basted, I quilted each block, mostly echoing the shape of the pieces in each block.

A quilted segment

A quilted segment. Guest appearance by tracked kitty litter.

Next, I sewed together each pair of segments into three rows across, and quilted the horizontal sashing with straight lines about half an inch apart. After that I sewed together the three segments, and then quilted the vertical sashing with the same half-inch apart lines. At this point the quilt was already fairly large, but still manageable through my large machine.

Rub my belly mom! The only thing that'll make this quilt better is drops of your blood!

Rub my belly mom! The only thing that’ll make this quilt better is drops of your blood! At this point the sashing was quilted and I was working on the borders.

Last, I added the wider borders and extended the quilting lines from the sashing to the edges of the quilt, and once all the borders were on, I circled the entire quilt with four half-inch apart lines.

And everything fit! I was able to line things up really well (using lots of pins), and the QAYG just worked! It was magical! The next picture shows how the segments were sewn together. I gave it all a good press before I started quilting, though the quilt is a little bumpy in the back where the segments are connected, but please, reader, ask me if I care. Go on, ask!  This picture also shows how I quilted each block. Lots of extra threads that I didn’t trim, but it doesn’t really matter since they’re hidden behind the quilt back.

Merging the segments

Merging the segments

For the back, I made a diagonal rainbow to more or less align with the rainbow on the front, and to attach the back to the front I simply stitched in the ditch along the sashing borders. Again, it was a fair bit of quilt to fit in my machine, but it was such quick and simple stitching that it didn’t seem at all unmanageable.

Echoing the front with a rainbow in the back.

Echoing the front with a rainbow in the back. You can see the bumps where the segments were connected.

The binding was also a rainbow, mostly lining up with the rainbow on the front.

And here it is in all it’s glory. And you know? I love this quilt so much. It was worth all of the annoyance and all of the itty-bitty pieces and all of the risk-taking.

All done! LOVE!

Here are some details of the quilting.

Quilting details 2

Quilting detail

And last but not least, I entered this quilt into a show! I finished it on Thursday and dropped it off the same day, and today it was on display for the day at the Patchwork Messe in Erding.

The woman on the left with the striped bag looked at it, turned to her friend, and said: "Now this is art." I squeed.

The woman on the left with the striped bag looked at it, turned to her friend, and said: “Now this is art.” I squeed.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Dreamweaver Quilt

On the fenceI’ve shown a couple of glimpses of the Dreamweaver quilt, but haven’t said much more about it. The summer before last, in my very early quilting days, I went to Liverpool for the day with a friend. My intention was to spend most of the time in the Tate Modern there, but my friend had other ideas so we ended up “shopping” on the high street. I absolutely detest shopping so when we came upon a big Waterstones I pulled her in so that I didn’t have to keep looking at clothes. I quickly found myself in the craft section and thus began my love affair with Tula Pink. I’d never even heard of her at that point, but one of the books I leafed through was Quilts From the House of Tula Pink, and I think we know how that story ends.

There are several quilts in that book that I’d like to make, but there was absolutely no question that I’d be making the Dreamweaver quilt first, and that this one would be for no one else. As it happened, ten days later my ghetto fabric shop was having its summer sale so I spent an evening there trying to pick the twenty different fabrics I needed for this quilt. In the end, I spent about £85 on fabric that I was no more than ambivalent about.

Meh. Mehmehmeh.

Meh. Mehmehmeh.

The Germ opined that since this is the quilt that will be on our bed, it would make me absolutely miserable to look at it every day if I didn’t absolutely love every aspect of it, and he was absolutely right. I’ve since used most of those fabrics in other projects and I quite like them in other contexts, but there are a couple of fabrics in there that still make me cringe and this quilt would have been no more than meh had I used them.

When I went to the Festival of Quilts a couple of months later, I had a couple of goals: Christmas fabric for an advent calendar and fabric for the Dreamweaver quilt. I spent two days at the show and was absolutely delighted to meet Tula Pink that year (this was 2012, before she became the headliner in 2013).

Me and Tula Pink. Apparently selfies make my face look twice as long as it actually is.

Me and Tula Pink. Apparently selfies* make my face look twice as long as it actually is. *Hate that word, swear I’ll never use it here again. SORRY.

She signed my book and tried to convince me to buy her Prince Charming line to use in the quilt, but I confess that I love her quilt designs more than her fabric (though I adore Saltwater and the newest line that just came out at Market this week–Fox Field–looks amazing), so I gently rebuffed the suggestion and kept looking. I roamed those halls for two days and didn’t settle on anything until the last hour of the show, when I accosted the poor ladies at the Doughty’s batik stand. Those poor, poor ladies. They were absolutely exhausted after four days on their feet and there I was, bouncing about pulling bolts and asking them what they thought. They were, nonetheless, delightfully kind and helped me come up with the twenty different fabrics I needed. So I spent another £85 or so, but I knew that this was it–I absolutely loved these fabrics.

And then nearly six months went by before I got started. Last Christmas we drove to Germany for Christmas (funny story–as I was driving on the horrid bumpy roads in Belgium I pictured us arriving into Germany with nothing but the chassis left. Luckily, this didn’t happen, since the car broke down in Holland and we had to be towed into Germany) and since I had ten days to get through without much English and without the Internet, I took the sewing machine with me and got the quilt top cut and pieced. It came together quickly and beautifully, turning from a fabric stash to a finished king-sized quilt top in two days.

Chop chop!

Chop chop!

I find these left over strips really endearing. I think I have a photo like this for every quilt I've made.

I find these leftover strips really endearing. I think I have a photo like this for every quilt I’ve made.

Then I sat on it for another few months, until a weekend in April when I pieced the back, basted, and quilted the whole thing. Have I mentioned this thing is HUGE? Sheleg popped in to supervise. The back is mostly off-white, with three strips of the twenty fabrics in the order they appear in the front, each a different width. The quilting is simple vertical straight-line stitching.

That's a bit crooked, don't you think?

That’s a bit crooked, don’t you think?

A week or two later I took it with me to the Yorkshire Dales for a proper photoshoot.

On the grass.

On the grass.

On the fence

On the fence.

On the fence some more

On the fence some more.

And on the fence still some more.

And on the fence still some more.

She was right. It was crooked.

She was right. It was crooked.

And now that it’s been on our bed for about six months, not a day goes by where I don’t look at it and delight in how much I love it.

On the bed.

On the bed.

AmysCreativeSideLinking this one over at Blogger’s Quilt Festival under the Roy G. Biv category, where I stand no chance of winning, because have you SEEN what I’m up against? I am awed, quilters–AWED!

City Sampler Sew-Along

I’ve never been good at long-term projects. I am easily bored and even more easily distracted, which is why I’ve resisted joining any sew-alongs making the rounds in the quilting community. Until, that is, Tula Pink published her City Sampler book.

I should probably mention I don’t especially care for sampler quilts, but I was so impressed with Tula’s first book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink, that I had to buy this one, and when Sara from Sew Sweetness announced she’d be running a sew-along for the book, I decided to play along.

True to my word about not being any good at long-term projects, I jumped right in and made nine blocks in one weekend, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing. However, now that I’m documenting my quilting, there is somewhere to be accountable for it so I’ll try to get a block or two (of the hundred in the book) done each week, and to hopefully finish the quilt by the end of the Sew Along in January. That’s doable, no? It’ll also ensure that I sit down at my machine and actually sew at least once a week instead of just dreaming about and planning my sewing projects.

I was incredibly lucky to see and touch the Gridlock quilt in person this weekend at the Festival of Quilts, and I am even more motivated now to get this quilt made. I can’t even describe how much this quilt… glowed. It was so, so beautiful in person–so much more so than in the book!

Tula Pink Gridlock quilt

Another shoddy, fuzzy iPhone picture, you say? Tula Pink Gridlock City Sampler

In the book, each two-page spread is dedicated to a single block. The left side shows a photo of the finished and quilted block, and the right side provides an illustration of how to piece it. It’s a simple and quite lovely presentation. The last part of the book offers a number of block assembly options, and I’m going with the Gridlock assembly, which has the blocks arranged (shockingly) in a rainbow range, with vertical and horizontal sashing. Quite helpfully, the blocks photographed in the book are from the Gridlock configuration and are already arranged to create the rainbow range, so as long as I stick to the colour scheme in the book for each block, I don’t need to calculate how many blocks I need of each colour in order to attain the range.

Like my Missing U quilt, I initially planned to only use scraps for this quilt, but realized I’d never finish it if I waited for scraps, so I’ll cut into fabric as necessary. Since the blocks for this this quilt are quite small (6.5” unfinished), they don’t call for much fabric anyway. That said, I’ll still go to scraps before turning to my stash, so I won’t be making the blocks in the same order as the book, but rather will go with whatever scrap colours I have.

Here are the pictures of the blocks I’ve done so far (more dodgy photography, I know. I started constructing a lightbox this weekend to make sure that this never happens again!)(who am I kidding, the iPhone is never more than a foot away from me and is always the first camera I reach for)(but I promise to try!). You can also follow along on my Flickr stream, where I have a set dedicated to this quilt.


I took my sewing machine in for a service (and um, to help recover the feed dog screw I may have dropped into it) so I spent last night cutting up pieces for five or six more blocks. I’ll cut a few more this week so I can power through the blocks as soon as I get her back.

I’m New: Please Bear with Me

I had to wear a tag that said that in my first corporate job. There was a little picture of a bear on it. Twenty years on, I am still mortified about it. Speaking of corporate jobs, don’t they just blow? Mine does, which is why I spend every free minute (and some not-so-free minutes) at my corporate job dreaming about and planning my sewing projects.

There are hundreds of quilting blogs around. How will mine be different? I don’t know–I’ll know once I’ve managed to make it a little different. While I’m trying to figure it out, I’ll be using this space to keep track of what I’m working on, to record the new things I’m learning or hope to be learning, to find and share inspiration, and to hopefully join a lively and welcoming community.

In the meantime, I’m new, so please bear with me!

DreamweaverTula Pink Dreamweaver quilt, completed in early 2013