A little bit about myself, if this is our first time meeting or you’re just confused about why this post popped up here: I am a semi-retired romance and erotica author. By semi-retired, I don’t mean that I’ve done so well for myself that I can now live the life of leisure and write only because I enjoy it. What I actually mean is my life fell apart last year, I lost everything except my cat, I’m what some people would consider to be homeless, and the stress of everything has left me unable to write.

I tell you all this not because I’m looking for sympathy — I’m truly not, it is what it is and I’ve recently started doing a tiny bit of writing again — but because I feel like I need to explain why this is a quilting post on the obviously dormant website of an author. I haven’t hijacked it; I’m that dormant author. And I will do my best to keep you from accidentally navigating to the smutty stuff (although if you do stumble upon ‘those’ posts, I promise there’s no actual smut in them) until the hypothetical day comes when I decide to make this its own separate blog. I highly recommend keeping your clicks to the CHLOE QUILTS graphic unless you’re also into paranormal romance and/or erotica.

This is the safe space.

More importantly, I’m an amateur quilter. I made my first quilt fifteen years ago, but it was basic squares, sewn together birthed-quilt style (as in, I sandwiched the whole thing inside out and then flipped it right way through a hole in the seam, not that I expelled it from my reproductive organs), and tied it. It’s a ragged, falling-apart thing now, a testament to my inexperience, but I still love it. And honestly, it’s had a rough life. Any quilt would be the worse for wear after a decade of traveling to music festivals and camping out for work.

I got more serious with quilting five years ago, when we bought a house and I got a craft room. We frankensteined a custom sewing table from IKEA pieces (and one day, I’ll make a tutorial on that), and I finally had the space I needed to quilt.

I started small and easy. I don’t have a fancy sewing machine, just a Brother CS6000i. I cannot recommend this machine enough for general use, if you need an affordable machine that’s good for both quilting and fashion sewing. It’s very easy to use and has tons of great features, like an auto-threader and button controls so you don’t need to use a foot pedal. Button holes are a breeze. So many stitches. The problem with it — with any lower-end sewing machine — is it has a tiny throat. That makes quilting (and by quilting, I mean the stitching that binds the layers together) tricky for large projects. So I focused on small projects.

So I made table runners. I made lap quilts. I made coasters. I made a lot of tapestries. A *lot* of tapestries.

Back in college, in the dark ages of late 90s/early 2000s, I made money sewing Greek letters on whatever people wanted them sewn on to, so that applique skill came in handy for hiding the fact that I wasn’t very good yet.

I’ve got a fair amount of experience quilting now. I’ve done some stuff I’m really proud of, and I’ve done full-sized blankets. Yes, I quilted them on my little Brother machine. It’s a bit of a hassle getting the center, but honestly, I don’t mind. And I’ve played around with some of the techniques that yield really interesting, modern quilts. I’ve done a one-block wonder. I’ve designed a bargello from scratch. I took an actual in-person class on binding. I’ve done some stuff.

The problem with me is I’ve gotten really good at an extremely limited scope. There are a whole host of skills I’ve never acquired. I’ve never done paper piecing. I can’t Y-seam to save my life. Curves? No way, Josephine. And I can only do a couple of quilting techniques. I can stipple like a champ, probably from my years of cake decorating, but even my stitch-in-the-ditch is atrocious.

This year, I’ve thrown myself fully into quilting. I was forced to move 600 miles away, so I recruited some of my friends to join me on my quilting journey as a way to maintain a social circle, and I’m currently getting them caught up to my quilting level with Craftsy’s 2015 Summer Block of the Month. In researching BOMs to find one adequate for the group, I also discovered Moda Blockheads. I was absolutely not going to participate in it this year, but then I hit that aforementioned pseudo-homeless level, where I needed to channel as much stress as possible into anything else and . . . yeah, a weekly surprise block absorbs a whole lot of stress.

If you’re looking for quilting advice from experts, there are hundreds of better blogs out there. I’ll occasionally link to them. This blog is about my journey through Moda Blockheads 4 in the middle of this semi-transient period of my life. It’s not endorsed by Moda in any way. I will show you how I did things, of course, and hopefully provide you with some helpful information along the way, but this is definitely for entertainment purposes only. If you’re just now learning to quilt or have advice on the disasters I make along the way, I’d love to chat with you in the comments!

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