Storts Market

by Lesley Storts

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»Banner Swap Mini Quilt«

Last September I joined a mini quilt swap on Instagram hosted by Kerry (@kidgiddy) and Christopher (@the_tattoed_quilter). This was a first for me. I actually signed up for 2 swaps within days of each other but they were a little different. The Banner Swap required the making of a mini quilt of a specific size and fabric. Fabric was limited to April Rhodes Bound line through Art Gallery Fabrics or any of her previous lines plus 2 solid colors if you wanted. We were also encouraged to use additional materials for our creation including leather, feathers, beads, and other types of fibers.

I started by sketching ideas and then using graph paper with the actual largest dimensions of the mini.

In thinking about constructing different parts, I knew I wanted to be as accurate as possible. I decided that the easiest way to make the top portion of my quilt was to paper piece it. I recopied the graph paper design for my pattern and then used old fabric to mock one up…

How about those bees? Yikes! But they were helpful bees because the paper piecing worked perfectly giving me confidence to cut into my limited fabric supply.

In trying to harness my “inner April Rhodes”, I decided to incorporate leather. I found a skirt at the thrift store and cut it up. The suede appealed to me because the texture and color was slightly different on each side.


Details that my partner liked included a previous favorite fabric line from April and the color gray. I did my best to bring it all together. I was hesitant and critical of myself throughout the process because I was worried about trying to please a stranger! One unique detail I decided to add at the end was an oar because my partner is a member of a competitive outrigger canoe club. The leather tassel and fringe were a first for me too.


Quilt back of Mini Banner Quilt

I enjoyed the process so much! This project took me out of my comfort zone and propelled me to be creative. And being a part of a group and following the hashtags on Instagram, I was able to see an incredible amount of creativity. I was happy to mail this mini off to my partner but a little sad to see it go. The big bonus was that I received a mini from my secret partner @finnsdoor. The detail in the leaves and the hand quilting are some of my favorite parts of the mini. The overall design is so pleasing to look at, I will treasure this.


To see all of the beautiful and interesting banners, click on #banneradventureswap on Instagram.

Happy Quilting ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎

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»So… I Changed My Mind… «

Wednesdays have been dubbed Work in Progress Wednesday. I could think of slogans for every day of the week to talk about trying to catch up on my quilting -“Full Throttle Thursday” or “Finish it Friday”. I always seem to have many projects going in various stages and it has always been that way for me. When I was a kid and practiced the piano, I had 5-15 songs I was always working on. So, as an adult I guess I have not changed.

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Before I tell you about changing my mind, I have to post some pictures from my walk this morning. I love nature. So many colors. Green is my favorite and the midwest delivers plenty of green to look at this time of year. I also appreciate so many different textures and shapes. I have a trail that I like to walk on often. I am able to notice subtle changes as seasons change. A favorite trail is like a favorite song – I can enjoy it over and over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week I posted 3 different blocks that I practiced quilting for my Great Granny Squared quilt. I was so certain of my plan. I started quilting and finished about 4 lines and quickly realized I did not like it. So I unpicked 🙂 and then I looked at the quilt and the blocks and decided to slightly modify my plan. And….I LOVE IT! At least the first 4 blocks I’ve completed.


The lines are 1/2” apart and each block is outlined.



This is a large quilt!

My plan is to finish quilting this in the next week and get the binding on. Enjoy your week and here’s to hoping you can get through your projects! Happy Sewing! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎

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»Great Granny Squared Work in Progress«


My work in progress today is the Great Granny Squared quilt. Last Christmas, I picked up this pattern by Lori Holt. I liked the fun scrappy look that she put together with this quilt. I started gathering my fabrics in January. I decided to use Robert Kaufman’s Essex Linen for the background and a mix of modern fabrics with a few oldies thrown in from my stash.

It has taken me some time to get this quilt to the quilting stage, but I’m almost there. I ended up with 3 extra blocks from this quilt and I’m glad because it has given me a chance to “test” how I want to quilt this beast.


I really thought that I wanted wavy lines on this quilt. When I drew it out on paper I thought that would look great. Then I quilted it. It was not what I wanted. I also realized that I need more practice on my free motion quilting before I would try to do a quilt this large.


On to the next plan. I thought straight horizontal and vertical quilting would look good against the diagonals of the block. After quilting it, I didn’t like it because I felt like the quilting got lost and didn’t really compliment the quilt. Basically, it was just “ok”. 


On my last block, I went with a crosshatch and I think that looks best. I will get some straight lines coming in through the sashing, like I did on the second block, and I think the crosshatch and straight lines will compliment each other. Plus, this quilting looked the best on the back.

I don’t normally have whole blocks to practice on like this but I’m happy that I did with this since it is so large. Next up, putting the back together. Then basting – which is probably not my favorite activity – 😬 – but necessary.