Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

Mystery Round Robin reveal

For the first half of the year, I participated in the Modern Mystery Round Robin swap. We had no prior notice of what the others were sending, or whose was coming, so it was fun to get the package each month! Some were easier than others…. Sometimes I knew immediately what I wanted to do, others required hunting for the right fabric or putting some real thought into it. Some were done in a few hours, others took a few weeks of dedicated work. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and had a lot of fun seeing the transformation of each block just with my addition. I can’t wait to see how they each turned out!

I took before and after pictures for each block. I believe once the reveal begins, I can come back here and add the links to the others’ reveals if you want to see step-by-step.

February’s block:


This was my first block I got. I loved the color scheme and the fabrics were darling. It was the same print in 3 colors. I pulled some fabric possibilities and spent a little time thinking about what to do. I ended up going with a checkboard. It took some time, and overall I liked how it came out, though I did have some issue keeping things even on one end. I hope the next person added a lot of white to balance it out!


March block:


My next block threw me off at first. It isn’t so much my style and I haven’t done much in paper piecing or applique. I visited my LQS to pick up a better match for the baby blue, then set to work. I found a 9 patch tulip pattern and a paper piecing pattern for pots. I pretty much knew right away what I wanted to do then. I spent hours and hours on this one. It is one of the ones I am most proud of. I might wish now that I turned the tulips the other way (I tried it both, and liked this better at the time. Now I am not so sure. We’ll see how it looks with the rest of the additions). I also wish I had used more of a green for the leaves.


April block:


As I was embroiled in March’s block, April’s block showed up! I wasn’t ready for it yet, so I set it aside for quite a while. Then, once I did turn to it, I really wasn’t sure what to do with it. I don’t have a lot of browns or batiks in my stash. It was a very geometric pattern, but I didn’t want to add more HSTs (my first inclination), chevrons or squares. I wanted to give it some more interest. This is the only one where I only added to two sides. The rules allow for double the row width if you only add to two sides. So I picked up some of the animal prints in the previous rows and made diamonds. Once I finally settled on what to do, it went rather quickly.


May block:


I loved the colors of this block, but it was very Christmasy in nature. I don’t have any Christmas fabrics. 🙂 I had to go shopping. I was lucky to find some red with gold sparkles to echo the other red with gold in the block. I also had about a week to put this one together because I had been away the entire month of May and it didn’t come til after I left. This one, I had a good idea what I wanted to do, but it evolved as I worked on it. I liked all the HSTs I was seeing, and thought I should reiterate that in my row. At first I was leaning toward a chevron, but as I was browsing through my border book I decided a sawtooth would be a cool way to go. Then, as I was working on my blocks, I changed my mind again from a standard sawtooth to more of a starburst shape. I LOVE this one. I loved how it looked after I was done. I feel like it just works perfectly. I am so excited to see how it ended up.


June block:


This block was also waiting for me when I came home from vacation. Once I finished the Christmas block I looked this one over. I loved it, but was at a total loss what to do. I did some thinking and googling. I was also the last addition to this block. It was going back home after me. It is another one that evolved, and while I like it, there are things I wish had happened differently. First, I decided to make little flying geese to represent schools of fish swimming. That was my original plan and I started making them. I wanted something cute for the corners, though and eventually came across a fish block. First I was going to put a fish in each corner, but then decided to do kissing fishes instead. As I was working on that, I came across the PERFECT fat quarter pack. It had the exact colors and the prints were fish/water related. Oh, I kicked myself. I already had most of the rows made and didn’t want to waste all that and remake everything. I used the cute fish print on the corners, and brought in the fuscia in some of the fish and geese, which I was glad for. I am not so sure now, looking at the picture (with crappy lighting FWIW), that I like the light stripe next to the greenish batik but at the time it was the best option. It may be the lighting. Had I found those other fabrics earlier… I’ll be interested to see what the owner does with this, if she has yet. I still think it is cute.


My block:


And this is what I got back….

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I love the design – especially the sort of starburst row. The border anchors it all together. It is really a neat design to look at and I like how it plays off my center block. Some of the elements really surprised me, though. First, I didn’t expect the pink. I followed the rules and did not specify that specific colors be used. I had hoped my center block would guide the colors.  Seeing it now, I do like it, it is a pink that plays well with the purple – it just wasn’t what I was planning or expecting. The other thing that really surprised me is that pretty much the entire thing is batik! Only the center piece in my original block was a batik print, and it was just a scrap that I found that had my colors in it. I wanted the center to have both colors since the points were monochromatic. I was surprised that so many people were inspired to use batik. Ultimately, I do really like it, it is very pretty, it just was a surprise and not what I expected. Which is the whole point of the swap. To see what others come up with. I don’t think it will work for what I had planned for it, so I will have to come up with something else to finish it. I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful and hard work. I know from working on all of theirs that it isn’t always easy to know what direction to take the piece.

Thank you also to Michelle for putting it together. I enjoyed this first experience with a round robin. It is fun to get a surprise in the mail and figure out how I am going to work with it. I can’t wait to see how they have all turned out. Want to see what everyone else did? Check here –


My latest project –

I’ve been taking a bit of a sewing break after the finish-it marathon I had. (I still need to finish my last polaroid post) I’ve been trying to straighten up my sewing area and get the latest batch of swaps out.

I’ve also been planning a new project. If you follow this blog at all, you know I love and value reading. I recently came across something really cool called a Little Free Library. And, of course, I must have one! So, I have started a Facebook page and a Kickstarter project  (which will give you more information about my plans) to help raise funds and awareness. (Kickstarter is yet another of several new interests lately.) The first step is to come up with the money. Then, I must order or build it (I want it built, but don’t have the tools or ability to do it) and install it, then the neighbors have to participate to make it ultimately successful! I have passed out fliers to the neighbors, and am now trying to drum up support in other ways. If this sounds cool and exciting to you, please visit my kickstarter page and consider helping me out! Thanks!


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Calvin’s Jelly Roll Race

My friend’s son had surgery this week on his kidney. He is the same age as my son. With everything going on in my personal life right now, including my own issues with my son, it is easy to forget – but it is things like this that help me realize how blessed we really are. I don’t understand all the details, but I do know they have been hoping to avoid this surgery and it had to be done by 2. It has been stressful and scary for the family. I just hope that the surgery will correct the issue for good!

So I made the quickest quilt in the world for him. It will not get there before they get home from the hospital, but hopefully it will be a comfort nonetheless.

I had just gotten my I spy jelly roll swap back from my I spy swap group. I wasn’t planning to make a jelly roll race quilt with them, but I needed something quick. This does go quick, though definitely took me longer than an hour!

The first night I sewed the top…

Straightening the 1600 inch long strip. Please excuse my nasty couches.

Straightening the 1600 inch long strip. Please excuse my nasty couches.

Sewing the two rows together

Sewing the two rows together

Four rows...

Four rows…





Completed top.

Completed top – basting

I got a green and blue plaid for the backing and binding. Again, I wanted quick so I went for straight yardage. I made my first small mistake here. I did not square the top before basting. It still turned out pretty straight in the finished quilt, but it took a lot more work and manipulating than was probably necessary.

I decided to try my hand at free motion. I did two rows at a time, alternating loops in each row. No puckering on the back this time, but there are a lot of uneven and jumpy stitches.


See my new extension table and table insert? 🙂 Definitely makes for easier quilting.

I also forgot to sew around the perimeter before attaching my binding. I had a lot of issues with my binding. I machine bound, and missed a lot of spots on the back, so I had to go back over them. I also had more trouble with the corners this time. They aren’t as pretty or as even.

Here are some photos… (approx 49×66)

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day 1: top and back
day 2: baste and quilt
day 3: square (had a busy day)
day 4: bind

Now I suppose I need to wash it? And I have started back on the new baby’s quilt (The polaroid). I hope to have that finished in the next few days and get all these quilts mailed out. Then I think I really deserve to finish a quilt for me. 🙂 Also, want to get caught up on the Prism QAL, but still trying to decide how to go with that one.

Linking to…


I didn’t go to Hawaii looking for quilts…

We spent the last week or so in Kauai, Hawaii. This was my aunt’s 75th birthday trip. While we have planned it for a year and had most of it paid, it really turned out to be poor timing for us. I have also been very stressed about taking the baby on a plane trip. He requires so much stuff. It was not fun or easy, but he was a perfect angel both directions. I was not – complete with screaming at my husband our second (of four!) times through ticketing in Lihue. I will never never never do this again. When he can sit in a seat and is potty trained and cup trained and can carry his own crap, maybe then I will consider it. Maybe. Until then, we are sticking to road trips.

We stayed in what can best be described as a compound. We had 5 houses around a pool and courtyard. I am convinced we all need to set something like this up here. It was great. We shared resources, entered each other’s houses as needed, left the baby when needed, prepared meals together, hung out in the public areas, played games at night… I saw family members I haven’t seen in years. Some we picked up right where we left off, others… were disappointing.

I did a little sightseeing. One day while out with my sister and BIL we made a stop at the Kauai Museum, at my request, and I walked in to see this:

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I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that Hawaii had quilts… Of course they do. A very specific style. But it was the last thing on my mind in the packing, house repair, money bleeding whirlwind I have been in. I got excited thinking the museum would be full of quilts. Which it really wasn’t. There were a few. Here are some…

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Patchwork quilt in missionary room.

Patchwork quilt in missionary room.

I picked up a book on the quilts of the museum collection (There are others not on display) which, unfortunately, is not in color, so it is lacking something.

Another day we were out shopping and I found a selection of quilt books…


I decided I needed to find a quilt shop. This was a bit of drama because we were sharing cars and I wanted to go alone, but my father wouldn’t release the car to me. Like I am 16 again. I finally won out and found Kapaia Stitchery. They had a large selection of Asian and Hawaiian fabric. For very very reasonable prices.

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Here are my quilty purchases:

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I love the look of the Hawaiian quilts. I love the symmetry and the snowflake nature of assembly. I am not into applique myself (I gather they needle turn them). I am very very interested in the history of the quilt in general, and, in this case, of its migration to Hawaii. I tend to think of the quilt as an historically east coast craft, and I know that is flawed. I hope to become more educated from these books. Who knows, maybe one day I will tackle one. I think the designing and cutting would be tons of fun, but not so much the sewing. 🙂

I also am not into the big (what I call “scary flower”) floral prints, but I managed to find several Hawaiian fabrics that appealed to me. I also couldn’t resist the matryoshka dolls or the anime. The rolls are half yards and the flatter pieces are yards.

I leave you with my other favorite object on the island…

Banyan Tree

Banyan Tree

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June review, July goals

I am back from Hawaii! It’s been quiet here because I was doing so much to get ready to go, then being gone and just got back after 24 hours of airports and toting a 2 year old and all that comes with… A post for another day. It feels good to be on this side of that. I have a lot to post about and pictures and some 350 blog posts to read. :/

But I did come home to my acrylic insert for my sewing table which was exciting. Just in time for all the quilting I need to do in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, I didn’t get home in time to get my machine so I won’t have it til Friday at the earliest. I also have my mystery pineapple returned, and am resisting opening it for now! I want to be clear minded enough to document my response.

I am working on jet lag and little sleep, but wanted to get my goals in for the month, though I am sure I will forget/leave stuff out.

June goals:


  1. Finish ribbon chevron top – border. Back? Still no
  2. Complete 2nd Ispy Top done, need to quilt, finish and send
  3. Bento Box back (no ideas on this) no
  4. finish bloom bloom pow. (back, quilt and bind) no
  5. baste and quilt twisted ispy no
  6. Finish cleaning and reorganizing sewing room OMG I left it a total disaster
  7. May mystery border
  8. June mystery border
  9. Pick off a few things for the city craft pinterest challenge  no

Swaps –

  • 2.5 square swap sent, not received
  • waiting on tula pink rounds 6,7
  • jelly roll swap
  • send back konas well, all but one who is short postage
  • send back text swap next week
  • open June f8 swap


  1. Get the baby’s swingset installed!!! YAYYAYYAYYAYYAY We finally just had to hire someone to do it. I added it to my long, growing list of home repairs. Another post for another day.
  2. Closet I can still see my floor. Didn’t get much else done
  3. go through baby’s toys No, and this one stresses me out. He still plays with most of his baby things.
  4. guest bedroom No
  5. garage No
  6. laundry room No
  7. Hang photos still…
  • Weight loss Before the trip I had lost about 4 pounds.  I won’t be weighing myself for a couple of days, but we can just say I enjoyed myself on the trip.
  • update Baby’s baby book I worked on this a little. I seem to forget everything I want to put in it once faced with the actual task of doing so. I am a terrible mother.
  • I have a lot of dr appts to make. I went to the dentist and lady doctor before the trip. I still have a good list to get through, and 60 days to do it, but those were the most important, I think, and it’s a start.
  • investigate HTF to fly with a two year old  Been there. Done that. Never doing it again.
  • get our house and life back in order Is this ever complete? I feel in constant trip-mode and upheaval. We already have the next one planned.
  • Read read read! Did not get anywhere near as much reading done as I expected to. They were all thick books this month…


July goals:


  1. Finish ribbon chevron top – border. Back?
  2. Complete 2nd Ispy
  3. Send both the nephews’ quilts
  4. Make a quilt for my friend’s sick child (surgery is the 5th)
  5. Start Prism QAL
  6. Start Tula Pink quilt top
  7. Bento Box back (no ideas on this)
  8. finish bloom bloom pow. (back, quilt and bind)
  9. baste and quilt twisted ispy
  10. Finish cleaning and reorganizing sewing room
  11. Catch up BOM?

Swaps –

  • get 2.5 square swap
  • get trip swap
  • get Tula Pink charm swap
  • PBJ I spy swap
  • research who is missing their Kona and straighten that out
  • send back text swap
  • send back chevron swap
  • Open July F8 swap


  1. Closet
  2. go through baby’s toys
  3. guest bedroom
  4. garage
  5. laundry room
  6. Hang photos
  • Weight loss
  • plan for next trip
  • start planning for school year…
  • update Baby’s baby book
  • I have a lot of dr appts to make.
  • get our house and life back in order
  • Pay off repairs
  • Get 2 year pictures done
  • Read read read!
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