Release your hexes

Finally, finally I’ve put together the top for my Memory Cats!

If you’re unfamiliar with my Memory cat project they are the cats from Elizabeth Hartman’s Catvent quilt along she shared about a year ago. I used fabrics from each of the quilts I have ever made (just quilts, not other thingies like cushions etc) and used them in a cat. One cat = one quilt and so this piece symbolises the first 25 cats I have ever made. My memory cats were also a feature in the first issue of Make Modern magazine (and I still haven’t read the article about my own project because it still weirds me out!). I first posted about this project of mine in June, and have been adding cats to my posts when I’ve shared a quilt finish, except for the last few quilts I’ve been lazy and hadn’t made any. Once I finished my last quilt, which was also the 25th quilt made, I thought it was about time to catch up!

Riddle and {Whimsy} memory cats (top WIP)

I was thinking that there might be a greater change in fabric choices since this is almost two years of quilting but I don’t see my fabrics changing all that much. Types of fabric perhaps, as I’ve started to become pickier with what I buy (because I really don’t need cutesy novelty prints :( ).

I’ll go into more detail when I actually finish this (need to find a backing and quilt it, and I know just how I’m gong to quilt it and I can’t wait to start), but here are the last cats that I’ve needed to catch up on!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Memory cats 20 and 25
Cat #20: Under the seaCat #25: Quite Contrary
Riddle and {Whimsy} Memory cats 23 and 24
Cat #23: Charity Quilt
Cat #24: Yes, Deer
Riddle and {Whimsy} Memory cats 21 and 22
Cat #21: Take Flight
Cat #22: Little Red’s Granny

For now, I’m not going to make another mini to symbolise my quilts — so there won’t be any meta catvent cat ;)

I have started another memory project though, which I think suits better than cats which is because now I don’t have to piece up a whole new block when I want to be doing something else and can do this project when I’m doing something else, like watching TV instead of it taking up active sewing time. It looks a little something like this:

All my #memoryhex hexies laid out so far 😻 the bag at the top is full of fabric squares for more hexies 😳

A photo posted by Joanna (@riddlingwhimsy) on

Yep, I’m making hexies! There are around 150 so far. Then that bag in the back is full of more fabric for more hexies! I bought a 2″ hexie hole punch so I can just punch into any bits of card instead of spending $5 or whatever on a handful of precut cards. Much cheaper to buy a pack of cardstock and make my own (from an A5 sheet I could get 10-12 hexies, and with a pack of 50 A5 cards that’s a good 500 there!).

It’s basically doubling up on my cats because I’ve pulled out and cut squares out of all of the same fabrics. Some are featured more than others, and I need to remember to cut and keep 2.5″ squares out of the fabrics of future projects. I figured doubling up gives me something to work on while I make new quilts! There are no plans on how I want to put this together but I do know I want to keep it scrappy. Since the amount of fabrics per project are inconsistent, I don’t really want to group them per project. Had I thought it through before actually starting I possibly could have kept it to a couple of hexie flowers per project but oh well– the more hexies I have to make the bigger my hexagon quilt will be! I am considering groups such as “2013 quilts” and then another set of “2014 quilts” and then at the end of next year I’ll have another set “2015 quilts” just so I can actually start putting them together eventually and not hold onto random hexies forever.

Q4 Finish #4

I’m tracking well with my Finish Along goals (but not so well with keeping up with blogs — I’m still working through replying back to comments on previous posts, so I apologise for the delay!). There’s one thing on my list I know I definitely won’t finish (Gypsy Wife) and I’m hoping I receive my binding in time for the final linkups to have my Supernova finished (I was sent the wrong colour, oops! Otherwise that would be complete!).

The most recent finish is my #igminiswap mini which I actually finished a little while ago, but only sent it off this week for the deadline and on the same day I sent the one to my partner, I received one from my own secret partner!

I was in #teampoppins and partnered with @quiltsofpersonality and after seeing her inspiration I freaked out as Marie’s mosaics were made up of hand-piecing/EPP/hand quilting, which I can’t do/haven’t done/don’t have the patience for! After getting some advice from more experienced swappers, I ended up settling onto a craft room staple: a colour wheel.

Riddle and {Whimsy} #igminiswap (sent)

I cut out different colours with my dresden ruler and then reverse appliqued it onto the background. I have no idea if I did reverse applique right as I winged it, but it still worked and I’m happy with how it came out! For the background, I looked through my stash for a low volume print, and found a fat quarter of these dots from V and Co‘s first line. I thought they added a bit of interest with their ‘floatiness’ and on purpose, I put the wheel down off-centre to add to the randomness. I trimmed off the border edge as I didn’t think it suited.

Riddle and {Whimsy} #igminiswap (sent)

To send along with it, I made a complimenting drawstring bag from Jeni B’s tutorial that I packed the mini into. I have no idea why I’ve never made one of these bags before; it was so easy!

After dropping this off at the post office, I then picked up my own mini which had been sent by @greenandbell in the UK! I was blown away when I opened it!!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #igminiswap (received)

I was a little worried that I had been “overgramming” (posting too much) with inspiration for my partner. As well as posting mosaics of quilts/designs I liked, I decided to add  some different colour inspiration as well — just because I like X,Y,Z colours in quilting doesn’t mean I don’t like other combinations for decor etc. and provided a couple of mosaic of rooms in my house. My loungeroom mosaic is what Rebecca ended up using

She also spoilt me with lots of goodies! English quilting mags, chocolates and cat coasters to match my catvent quilt, and made from Anna Maria Horner fabric, which also matches the mini which features the same AMH prints mixed with screen printed fabrics from Karen lewis textiles!

Rebecca designed this mini herself and hand pieced this with EPP, knowing that as I’m not a huge fan of doing paper piecing so I most likely wouldn’t have (m)any paper pieced items in my house!

Riddle and {Whimsy} #igminiswap (received)
upside down, upside down


I’ve just got it stuck to the wall with tape at the moment (hence it ending upside down on the wall, oops) so I need to get a proper hanging thingy for it, but this is where I’ve decided it will live in my loungeroom!

Overall I found the swap to be a mixture of stressful and fun. Stressful because I wanted to make sure that I’d make something my partner would actually like — I know a lot of people say things like “I’ll like what ever you make because you’ve made just for me” (and I’m one of those people too!) but at the same time I’d hate to make something the person actually secretly hates or is disappointed in. With this swap and the Disney quilt swap I tried posting various things with patterns or colours or other people’s minis that I thought would be a suitable design, hoping my partners would comment on them or like the picture to give me an idea* if they liked it or not but whether my partners responded was hit or miss, so I never knew if they a) just didn’t see what I posted, or b) didn’t actually like it! So in those cases I just played it safe and rejected those ideas and moved onto something else…

* when posting other people’s minis, I often received comments of “I don’t like the fabric/prints/colours” when I was merely posting for the design aspect. Maybe I need to actually specify that I would not be making an exact replica and would use fabrics tailored to my partner’s tastes?

For those of you who have done/are doing swaps, how do you figure out what to make for your partner? Do you try and fish for information or have you had partners whose info and mosaics are very specific?!

Even though I’ve said I wasn’t going to join any more swaps next year, I’ve already signed up for two more, oops.

Q4 Finish #3

On my Finish Along goals, these were in my “bonus round” of things to complete. Since both were so near to completion (one needed binding, the other needed quilting), I put them into the assembly line with my previous two finishes. So I quilted all three that needed quilting, and then bound all four.

This quilt and mini are a long time in the making; I think they (the quilt anyway) were one of the first items I worked when I started quilting seriously. My Threadbias project page is dated in November 2012.

At this time, I was living in my previous house and my design space consisted of the floor I was standing on, right under my cutting and desk area. I made the mistake of laying out my plans, and then walking away. If you have pets, you may know where I’m going with this.

You can see my tiny design space with ironing board on the left and my cabinet I used for fabric storage and cutting on the right! I would have been right up against my desk to take the photo!

So, here are all these half square triangles, I think the first time I ever actually made them, all laid out ready for me to put together a quilt using the Sophie Car Seat Quilt tutorial. I was feeling ambitious and had two charm packs to make a larger version since a car seat sized quilt is not needed by me… at all.

I ended up putting a couple of rows together before I walked away and when I got back to it, I had a brand new layout.


Turns out my fabric arrangement was not mixed up enough, and it was lacking in cat fur, because this pile was now covered in fur.

The guilty party was found near the crime scene

Being one of my first projects, I couldn’t bare to go through the effort of cutting out all that sashing again (what was here was unsalvageable. It bore the brunt of fur coverage and there was no use washing it since it would fall apart being such small strips), so this is where we say good bye to that project. The half square triangles sat around for a few months. In June 2013, I wrote out a list of UFOs I wanted to work on, and this was on that but I didn’t get around to it until a year later when I actually used the fabric to make two tops. A few months again, and now they’re quilted!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Yes Deer (front)

Some instagram advice at the time of making the tops led me to adding in some matching Sketch to break up the busy prints. I made a mix of more half square triangles, some quarter square triangles and whatever you call a square with three triangles in it. It confused me when I made it because it looked smaller than I thought it would be; surely I had more triangles than this? But this is all I had so this is all I could make. The other fabric through the border is Essex Linen in flax.

Since I made the quilt prior to knowing more about using linen, I hadn’t taken any of the other precautions such as larger seam allowances or zig zagging the edges. Before basting the quilt sandwich, I found some lightweight fusible interfacing that I laid over the borders, covering all the seams to hold it down (I’ve used this method a few times when trying to “fix” a too scant seam to help hold it in place and it’s worked okay so figured it would be okay here…) and then planned on quilting it densely.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Yes Deer (closeup)

My plan was to do a spiral, in blue thread. But when I started, my lines became too far apart and was not a densely quilted at all. Not to worry, I’ll just do more spirals in all the colours! After I finished the blue spiral, I went back and made more spirals in pink, yellow and green; some more dense than others, but altogether they cover the quilt fairly densely.

The overall spiral effect looks best on the back, in which I used the feature print from Oh Deer.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Yes Deer (back)

One of my favourite parts of the quilt is the binding which is the most perfect binding ever for this quilt. I don’t know what it is though since it has nothing at all on the selvedge! All i know is that it’s a linen and/or linen/cotton or linen-looking-cotton with coloured stripes — in colours that perfectly match the Oh Deer prints.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Yes Deer (binding)

When I finished the top, my mum was visiting and staked claim to it as she wanted it for a table topper. That, coupled with the extra blocks i found under my sewing machine extension table, because i did in deed have extra fabric that I thought I was missing afterall, led me to making a mini version that was better suited to a table topper.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Yes Deer (mini front)

I quilted it some time ago but I was lazy on binding it, but now it’s done too, with the same binding as the quilt, because it really is just perfect.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Yes Deer (mini back)

It also has the same print for the backing which shows off the quilting.

And that’s my story of how one quilt took two years to turn into two!


Pattern: half square triangles, quarter square triangles
Name: Yes, Deer
Size: approx 40″ square
Fabric: Oh Deer (Momo), Sketch, Essex Linen
Backing: Oh Deer (Momo)
Binding: unknown
Thread: various Aurifil

I have a little problem

Have you seen Red Pepper Quilts’ Tangled pattern? As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make it.

The design looks like a maze, which led me to thinking about ants and their maze of their homes. I don’t have any ant fabric, but then I remembered I’ve been stashing a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink’s Birds and Bees because they totally related to ants, right? Well, bees and ants are both bugs, at least!. The maze then morphed into a flightpath of a bee dashing between flowers; so right then and there I decided that I will make this pattern out of the Tula fabric. Right after that the music Flight of The Bumblebee popped into my head which seemed quite apt a quilt name (and now I’ve started playing it while writing this post hehe).

Then I started.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Flight of the Bumblebee (Day 1.5)
One and half day’s work

It’s not a hard pattern. Lots of squares, rectangles and half square triangles.

After the first day I started doubting it. Thinking I chose the wrong fabric because it didn’t seem suited to this pattern afterall. Since I’d already cut so much fabric at this point there was no point turning back and wasting it (though with Tula destash prices I could probably still charge more than full price for the scraps.. ahem). My husband suggested that maybe I wasn’t feeling it because the pieces were loose and not lined up.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Flight of the Bumblebee (Day 2)
Growing on Day 2

After joining a couple of rows and seeing it come together I started to like it a bit more. It’s quite large though, and is awkward laying out on my design wall as it’s 20″+ too short!

It seems funny working this as usually when I have an idea for working on a quilt, I stew on it for a little bit. I do this due past WiPs I’ve abandoned or regretted. And because a lot of the time, having some breathing room from jumping in let’s me ensure I’ve made the right choice: and often have changed fabric choices for the pattern or vice versa. There’s another quilt brewing in my head that it’s on my MUST DO NOW list, but for some reason I’m putting it off — not because I’m wary of it, but because I feel like I want my to-do list a little smaller so I can fully concentrate on it. Yet here I am stalling my to-do list with this and this isn’t any less time consuming with the amount of fabric cutting. Not that I’ve started the other but I’d say they’d be on par with each other, so there’s no point in stalling!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Flight of the Bumblebee (Day 3)
End of Day 3

With this pattern, it says you need 25 Fat Quarters. Some of the coloured sections are actually smaller than the others, and you could get away with half a fat quarter for those, if not less. That came in handy because some of my bundle has been used when I made my triangle quilt so only half of my Birds and Bees set was a fall fat quarter. Due to that, I needed to watch my fabric placement carefully, which made it quite tricky when trying to mix up colours and patterns.

At first I worked on mixing up both the colours and patterns, trying to not let either of the two be touching however the further I got, the harder it became to keep them all mixed up. I settled on just keeping the different prints separated and concentrating on mixing up the contrast in colours as I figured even the fabrics that are the same colour are still differing shades (like the two blues in the top right corner, and the two purples in the middle). You can see on Day 3, I also swapped in a red print for what was originally pink. I did this with my new goal of print-separation as I decided the pink didn’t look balanced enough and the red added a nice contrast on the right hand side (and you can also notice how much more satisfying the rows looked actually joined rather being loose!).

It’s now getting trickier to keep the prints balanced, as as of now, three of the tree prints are all amongst the top half of the quilt, and along edges, as well as the two illusion prints being in the top half. I know it’s not a big deal but it bugs me and so I need to work the final tree print within the middle somewhere.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Flight of the Bumblebee (Day 4)
End of Day 4

Due to the layout, if you do miscalculate your cuts, the good thing is you can just extend one of the other colours to take its place (as long as you’re not missing a donut!). The pink squirrel fabric (to the left of the green) was just a smidgen short. I’m missing at least 2 rectangular pieces for the ‘bridges’ but I plan on using the fabrics surrounding it (such as the yellow, and one of the greens) to take the place of those bridges so it won’t be an obvious mistake unless you compare the coloured pattern instructions to my own fabric placement.

As I’ve been making sections, I’ve also been stitching them together which makes lining them up and moving them around a little easier than all the loose bits (most of row 5 is joined up already). I have two more colours to decide on and cut out, and then I can finish the four rows that make up the second third of the quilt before moving onto the last third. I really want this off my design wall ASAP because I have another WiP I’m dying to start now that I have all of it to play with! :D

Q4 Finish #2

The third item listed on my Finish along goals was a Charity quilt.

My mum’s quilt guild were making childrens quilts from novelty charm squares and she sent me a bunch so I could make a quilt too. I had to add a few of my own charm squares to make a big enough layout — the four blocks I added are the least colourful ones in the bunch since I didn’t have any psychedelic looking novelty fabric around!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Charity quilt (front)

Turns out, I like the broken dishes block quite a bit…

These blocks I put together a couple of months ago after seeing the Saltwater Taffy tutorial from Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet. Which of course ends up being the same block I made for my bee last month for the Lovely Lattices pattern I used for my Bonnie and Camille charm quilt. That’s a lot of broken dishes! Luckily not the kind I need to clean up ;)

Riddle and {Whimsy} Charity quilt (close up)

With the quilting, I tried out the boxy loop pattern which I managed to get a hang of this time, and also used a variegated thread in yellow/orange/pinks which I think makes the quilting look fun! See, sometimes I am happy with my quilting and thread choices! :D

Riddle and {Whimsy} Charity quilt (binding, back)

When picking out a backing, I was hesitant on choosing the alphabet print because I wasn’t sure what charity the quilt will be going to — there was the possibility it was going overseas to a country that doesn’t use roman letters. I went with it in the end because on the front, some of the fabrics say “woof” and “buzz” and “lady bug” and a few other English words, so what’s the difference with a random bunch of letters also? In fact I think the letters are better since they don’t say words, and I figure if you’re not familiar with roman letters they just look like a pattern of shapes.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Charity Quilt WiP

My mum took the quilt to her guild’s sew day and apparently the guild likes it so much, they’re going to put them on display in their quilt show next year. Um. Okay? To be honest I feel a bit weird about it since it’s supposed to be for a child in need – the reason why I made it right now – (but will end up being donated after the show instead), and unless there’s going to be some kind of charity set-up at the show then I don’t think these quilts really fit in with a modern quilt show aesthetic? I was planning on making/submitting a quilt to the show anyway; just not this one :|


Pattern: inspired by Saltwater Taffy
Name: Charity Finish
Size: approx 40″ square
Fabric: misc novelty print charm squares
Backing: unknown
Binding: Reunion (Sweetwater)
Thread: Aurifil yellow/pink variegated 50wt

All Crossed Up

The last time that I felt my sewing mojo was disappearing, I had a think about why.

It wasn’t because I didn’t want to sew; it was because I didn’t want to work on what I was forcing myself to work on.

So, after forcing myself to finish off my #igminiswap mini (I was up to the worst part: binding!), I looked over my to do list for everything else I wanted to work on, and I realised my motivation was starting to disappear because I didn’t want to work on anything listed and I was trying to force myself to do it. Since my list is just for me and not for any gain in profit (I wish!), I remembered the last time I was losing my sewjo and realised I just wanted to work on something else. Something new! (And turns out something blue as well).

There are two new projects floating around in my head and it was these that I wanted to work on. One is going to be more effort than the other so I decided to choose the easier one.

When I posted about my Bonnie and Camille charm swap quilt, I mentioned that I had considered making a Swell from Camille’s Simply Retro book out of my charm collection. The pattern requires jelly roll strips, but the size of the pieces can be easily cut from a charm square. Even though I decided against a Swell for my charm swap squares, I couldn’t get this pattern out of my head! For the charm square project, I had bought a charm pack of Bonnie and Camille‘s new collection Daysail but I’d only used about 10 charms from it, so still had most of the charm pack left (something borrowed?!)! And you know what? Daysail has boat motifs. As described by wikipedia, a swell is also “a series of mechanical waves that propagate along the interface between water and air”. Boats + waves! Hello!

Over two afternoons I had a complete a top.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Swell (top WIP)

For what I am sure is the first time ever, I actually used my stash for the purpose of making a whole quilt. I pulled a bunch of fabrics that complimented the colours and prints of Daysail in someway. Navy blues, light blues, aquas, reds, greys and greens. A little bit of corally orange. Spots, stripes and a few extra pluses for good measure!  I even pulled out some of Tula Pink’s Saltwater for the ocean prints, anchors and live saver rings. There are even some “christmas” prints, like the stars from Kate Spain’s In From the Cold and music sheets from Aspen Frost.

I also had a partial charm pack of Grunge Basics as I bought it for my Disney mini quilt swap but am only using half of that pack, so I added the remaining ones into this as well. And after cutting up my stash to fill in the rest of the prints, and then piecing all the blocks together, I realised I should have also checked through my scrap bin. I always forget about my scraps. I’m half inclined to get rid of them because I don’t really use them!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Swell (closeup)

My top is a little smaller than the version in the book. I used a 4×4 layout and have no border, compared to the pattern which is a 5×4 layout with a border. I did contemplate a border, but figured I’m too lazy for that. Plus I found a fabric in my stash for the backing, and if I made it any bigger I’d have to do a lot more piecing to make the back the right size! Unless I end up buying something extra for the back because we all know I’m pretty weak when it comes to buying fabric. I have been considering, at the very least, to complete the pluses around the edges which would add another 5″ or so all the way around, to bring the top over 50″. It should finish at 48″ the way it is at the moment…