Summing up summer sewing

Alison Glass swoon blocks

Summer Vacation 2015 is officially in the books as the kids went back to school this week. I’ll admit, I had pretty mixed emotions about it. Usually I’m counting down until school starts and we have more routine/structure in our lives again, but this year I have really enjoyed the laid-back lazy-hazy days of summer and I wasn’t really feeling ready to jump back into it all.

Nevertheless, here we are and I have to admit, it’s been nice to have a taste of quiet time to catch up on things (like email) that I seem to have got WAY behind on. Yikes. I’m also itching to clean out my sewing room…


I feel lucky – sewing hasn’t been totally absent this summer. I’ve had some good windows where I felt productive and other weeks where it kind of fell by the wayside and I didn’t worry about it too much. Blogging pretty much fell in the same boat.

Some summers-past I’ve tried to “do it all” with very exhausting results. This summer I was determined not to feel that way and I think it worked. Judging by the fact that I wasn’t anxious for summer to end is another good sign.

Broken Dishes half square triangles

I’ve had a few finished projects over the last few months that will be part of future publications, so I haven’t been able to share a lot of what I’m working on. This color palette has been one of my recent favorites and I’ve used it in at least five recent projects. (haha.) I had these triangles left over as scraps so I threw them together in an easy broken dishes layout just for fun.

Dresden applique

I’ve also pulled out my Gardenvale Dresdens again. With deadlines past, I want to get these finished. Plus I love that they provide some good carry-around hand-work.

Jen Kingwell Dresdens

Here’s the progress thus far. I love how each one turns out and I love that the color palette is so out of my normal range. Speaking of different than my normal color palette – the top photo is the growing blocks from my Alison Glass Swoon-inspired blocks. These are blocks I’ve sent out to members to assemble, so it’s really fun to see them start to return. Even though I chose the fabric, I couldn’t visualize exactly how they’d look. They’re looking even better than I thought!

People have asked about the background fabric. It’s a woven fabric from Diamond Textiles, that I bought at my local quilt shop, but I don’t know the specific sku. (Sorry, not super-helpful.)

FigTree Moda Farmhouse

And finally, as if I didn’t have enough works-in-progress, I’m starting something new this weekend! I broke out this Layer Cake (10″ precuts) of Fig Tree’s newest collection Farmhouse. Yardage hits stores soon – maybe now that the kids are back in school I’ll even get my blocks pieced by the time it comes out!

Happy weekend and happy sewing to you!

And don’t forget, tomorrow is the final day of the Action Kivu fundraiser.

AND: MANY MANY thanks for all of your kind words (and votes!) for my Blog award nomination. If you’d still like to vote, you can find the ballot here. 😉

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  • Reply
    August 22, 2015 at 6:36 am

    you make me want to make a million quilts and blankets!! great post! love it! thank you xxx


  • Reply
    Dede Bliven
    August 22, 2015 at 8:28 am

    So happy you found the balance for this summer and always good to see a routine in the near future. I have enjoyed all the quilts and inspiration from you this summer. I am going to make the star baby quilt for my friend’s son is who is going to be named Maverick! Love the broken dishes, fortunately the broken, broken dish is an easy block to fix 🙂

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

      A star quilt is PERFECT for a kid named Maverick!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I love all your quilts! What’s the difference between broken dishes and a pinwheel?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

      That’s a good question and hopefully I can explain well enough. Broken Dishes used the same half-square triangle blocks, and sometimes creates a secondary pinwheel design depending on the colors in they layout. But a simple 4-patch broken dishes block on it’s own won’t necessarily create a pinwheel motif. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Google Broken Dishes images to see more versions. This Jenny Doan tutorial also shows what a Broken Dishes quilt block looks like when it has sashing.

  • Reply
    Bonnie Irby
    August 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I think the bottom left square is turned wrong.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Yes! It is. 🙂 Which of course I didn’t even notice until I posted the picture. lol

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Love those dresdans!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Glad you’ve had a great summer break with your family – believe me the school years pass very quickly and there’s plenty of time to sew when your little birds have flown the nest! I do like the Farmhouse fabrics – there seems to be some fabric ranges coming out now that keep the more modern colour palettes but have more traditional style prints.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 24, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Yes! I think it’s a great one!

  • Reply
    Brenda Ackerman
    August 23, 2015 at 11:44 am

    It can be very difficult to balance family time, house hold time, crafting time and the everything else that goes along with summer. I am glad for you that you found the balance and correct choices for you are not exhausted. Your projects are looking superb! I am especially drawn to your Gardenvale Dresdens. Dresdens are such a fun pattern to play with shapes, layouts and fabric choices. Thank you for sharing and I hope that you have a wonderful creative day!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Thanks Brenda. xo I have to admit, I still did feel pretty exhausted by the end of summer (lol) but not burned out or frustrated. So I’m definitely counting that as an improvement!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Great work! The Fig Tree fabrics are beautiful.

  • Reply
    Emily Kim
    August 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Just wanted to say how much I’ve LOVED seeing your progress on the Alison Glass Swoon quilt!! I find after seeing some lines (that I didn’t like “at first sight) used on your blogs that I fall in love with them! Thank you for sharing all your projects and beautiful work with us here!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 24, 2015 at 11:40 am

      I know that feeling! Sometimes I’m not sold on a fabric line or colorway and then suddenly I see someone else’s take on it and I want it!

  • Reply
    Abby Mabe
    August 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Love your dresden plates! I have never tried to make one but I always like them.

  • Reply
    LUcy @ charmaboutyou
    August 26, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I’ve had a laid back summer too! Just enjoying the kids and sewing when I can. I adore your dresdens so pretty and modern looking!

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