Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Starting off the New Year with a giveaway!

Happy New Year!

I can't think of a better way to start off the New Year than by giving YOU the chance to win one of my favorite things - a Quilting class from  Craftsy  !

I love learning new things and new techniques, and the  Craftsy   platform is a great place to do it.  I'm still working through over 40 classes that I've signed up for!  You can read more about them on my Craftsy review page HERE.

Now normally, I would ask you to leave a comment about which class you are hoping to win, but  Craftsy   is actually hosting the giveaway for me!  Talk about the easy life.  All you have to do is....

Click HERE to Enter to win a Free Craftsy Class!  You will have to sign in or sign up for a free account, but that is basically it.

If you still want to tell me which class is your favorite or which class you are hoping to win, please do!  I took many of your suggestions the last time I asked and was not disappointed -- thus having over 40 classes now to watch and learn from!  And just as I was telling you all about my diet, I was lucky enough to receive a Gift Any Craftsy Class from my family.  So, perhaps I can be talked into just one more class....LOL!

The giveaway is open starting today and will end the evening of Monday, January 6th, 2014 when a winner will be chosen and notified by email.  So enter soon!

Thanks for reading,


Goodbye 2013 - looking back

2013 Year in Review.  I can't start a New Year without taking a quick look back.

2013 finished projects

1. Discontinuity 1, 2. For my Valentine, 3. Blue OBW w/seagull, 4. HFWYG quilt top 1.2, 5. Winter Mug Rug Swap, 6. Les Amis top, 7. Mood mug rugs front, 8. Daffodil mug rug, 9. Jungle Path, a baby boy quilt, 10. Jungle Path backing, 11. Hands2Help 2013 - blue and white Jacob's Ladder, 12. Robin, a McKenna Ryan pattern, 13. Say it With Flowers, 14. Say it With Flowers Close Up, 15. Handstitched Medallion Quilt, 16. Summerville DP table topper 1, 17. Candy corn table runner closer, 18. Sewing Mat, 19. Helpers turned models (Gigantor quilt), 20. Commission quilt, 21. Commission quilt back, 22. Giant Chevron closer up, 23. Handstitched Medallion Front, 24. Front of Tinker Tote 2, 25. Tinker Tote front

Sheesh!  Looking at some of those photos, I feel like those projects are so OLD.  I guess I am already looking forward to new projects in the New Year.  I can't wait, can you?

Speaking of the New Year....it will be here in a few short hours, and I think a giveaway is in order.  I hope you will check back soon to find out what it is!  I think it is a good one.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Inspirational Sunday (14) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

I think we need some shiny inspiration in time for the New Year!  What do you say?

I think this first one is just gorgeous!  It is called "Lux Aurumque" by Jacquie Harvey of West Beckham, Holt, United Kingdom.  Her design source was a Queen Ann silk embroidered bed cover.  It is wholecloth, hand quilted, embroidered, couched and uses trapunto.

"Lux Aurumque" by Jacquie Harvey of West Beckham, Holt, UK

She says, "I am a wholecloth hand quilter with a great interest in historical quilt designs.  English wholecloth quilts are traditionally made in one or two colours.  I wanted to try this out myself, but by hand.  I had not used embroidery stitches in a quilt before but this gave me an idea of how to use threads to introduce the colour I wanted.  I used many different thicknesses of embroidery and quilting thread.  The centre has been quilted and the outer border has been trapunto'd with wool.  The title means "light and gold" which I thought was very appropriate."

"Lux Aurumque" by Jacquie Harvey, close up

Just look at all those tiny hand stitches.

The next quilt is actually a set of quilts called "Odin's Trilogy" by Linzi Upton of Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  It won the Merit Quilting Award - Third Place.  It is an original design which she freehand wholecloth quilted.

"Odin's Trilogy" by Linzi Upton of Aberdeenshire, Scotland

She says, "Odin's Trilogy is a triptych of wholecloth quilts inspired by Norse carvings.  Metallic fabrics give the effect of hammered precious metals valued by Viking traders and warriors.  The pieces comprise a protective battle shield, warrior's helmet, and Odin's raven-headed war hammer.  Quilting motifs were adapted from ancient carvings representing water, power and life."

Here is each one, a little closer.

"Odin's Trilogy" by Linzi Upton, close up of bronze

"Odin's Trilogy" by Linzi Upton, close up of silver

"Odin's Trilogy" by Linzi Upton, close up of gold

I hope your New Year's is super sparkly!

Thanks for reading today,


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Got orphans? - give them up and feel great about it

Hey there!  I know many of you are deep in the throws of Christmas preparation, but if anyone out there is reading today and perhaps is thinking about purging as part of your New Year's - here is an opportunity to purge AND do some good.

Colby at Sew, Quilt, Explore turned me on to the "Save the Orphan Blocks" drive at Quilty Box.  To be honest, I don't know anything about Quilty Box, except for this drive.  They are planning on turning all these orphan blocks into "Quilts for Kids" items.

As you read last, I am all about giving up the guilt in 2014.  I got to thinking about a whole pile of blocks that I've either received or made myself that I could give to this drive and feel great about it, instead of guilty that I wasn't getting around to making something with them myself.  So I've joined the Flickr Group, emailed Quilty box for the address to send my blocks too, and I already feel great!

If you have some Orphan Blocks you would like to contribute, here's what you need to know (copied directly from the Quilty Box website):

Save the Orphan Blocks Campaign


What is this, you ask? Well, I know sometimes it is hard to make the time for a charity quilt - babies are being born, a holiday is coming, your just redecorated your bedroom, your kids are sick, work is busy. It happens. I KNOW! I live it - Everyday.
But, EVERYONE has Orphan Blocks. Maybe they are the misfit from the last quilt you made (your points don't need to be perfect on a charity quilt - let's be real). Maybe you started that quilt along, and you only had your first block done by the time everyone else was quilted. You started a quilt and realize you hated it. Doesn't matter. What DOES MATTER, is that those orphan blocks have a home waiting for them in a scrappy quilt for a child in need.
SO - dig around your studio and send us your blocks. They can be anything as long as they meet these criteria:
1. Fabric Appropriate for Children (no half-naked firemen - you know what I'm talking about).
2. Machine Pieced.
3. Cotton.
4. Good 1/4" or larger seams.
We are going to gather together these blocks, sort them and make child size quilts with them which will be donated to Quilts for Kids. Block size does not matter - it can be a teensy weensy Baby Jane or a colossal Swoon.
If you are interested in being an Angel (sewing together these orphan blocks or quilting tops) then please let us know - info@quiltybox.com.
We are also accepting backing, so if you have a few yards of a fabric you don't see yourself using anytime soon, send it along. 
Please post the blocks you are sending in on our Flickr Group - Quilty Box, and tag it in social media as #savetheorphanblocks

Sounds awesome right?  Blocks of any size are accepted!  Any color, just kid friendly fabric required!  Blocks from a Quilt Along you started, but didn't finish - perfect!  I love it!  

And if you are wondering more about the charity Quilts for Kids, visit their website here, to be even further inspired.

Now, go look around your sewing space, I bet you have a few blocks you could send.

Thanks for reading today, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate,


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Contemplation time - New Year's Resolutions

Have you started to contemplate your New Year's Quilty Resolutions?  I have.  I suppose I've been thinking about them a little early this year thanks to some other quilty influences.

For example, Jess at the Elven Garden turned me onto a 6 month Fabric Diet hosted by Rebecca at Making Rebecca Lynne.  At first I thought that joining would be totally ridiculous.  At the time it had been months since I bought any fabric and I had a bunch of projects planned out that would use my existing (rather well-stocked) stash.  So, I didn't think it would be very difficult.  Enter the holiday spending spree.  Clearly, I was in denial.

My husband and I have had a bit of a gift buying agreement since the kids were born.  I have a budget and I buy all the gifts, including mine.  I know my husband and family loves me, and I like this arrangement and don't feel like I am missing any "surprises".  Plus, I usually get things that I doubt anyone would really know I wanted, like a quarter inch walking foot for my machine, or a new size of hexagon paper pieces, and of course, FABRIC.

To say I have gone a little crazy this year with fabric buying is an understatement.  The picture above is just the colored portion of my stash (before all my recent shopping, and not including A LOT of fabric).  I think just considering a fabric diet drove me a bit crazy.  I even ordered things I had absolutely no plan for.  Tisk, tisk.  I almost always have a plan!  But not in this case.  Shameful.  I even went so far as buying myself a gift certificate from one of my favorite online fabric shops - just in case I need something later.  (Never mind that I still have a gift certificate from a store I don't frequent, that I haven't used!)  That kind of defeats the whole purpose of a fabric diet, wouldn't you say?

A fabric diet may also interfere with some of the other intentions I have for 2014, but it would be a challenge, right?

I was reading Deb's post at A Simple Life Quilts, where she was talking about simplifying her quilty life.  She recognized that she works better with a narrow range of focus and has decided to basically quilt for each season and use stash that coordinates with the season in question.  I don't have much in the way of "seasonal" projects, but there is something else that Deb did in 2013, that I could get behind.  She rewarded herself for every 5 and 10 UFO's she finished by allowing herself to purchase a "treat" or start a new project.  Deb has been incredibly inspirational.  She started a countdown in October of 2012 with 101 UFO's, she only has 28 left to go!  I don't actually don't have many UFO's, but I feel like anyone that can accomplish a goal like that can be learned from.  Perhaps the key to narrowing my focus is to reward myself for doing so.

Then there was Sandy from Quilting For The Rest Of Us, who talked about her resolution ideas in her recent podcast.  She mentioned having a quilting "Monkey on Your Back".  I can relate.  My monkey is called "guilt".  As you can see, I feel guilty for buying fabric, but I also feel guilty for not finishing some of my older projects that I am not as excited about any more, and there are a few blocks I owe bee mates (sorry Veena, Irene and Leanne).  Sandy recommends getting that monkey off your back.

Now some of you recognize that the rational plan of action would be to sign up for the fabric diet and finish up what few UFO's I have and get on with it.  Nothing to feel guilty about in that corner.  Well.......the whole idea of it makes me feel like a caged animal.  I just want to BREAK FREE!

I want to create with reckless abandon!  Feel OK not finishing something.  Create an enormous pile of 101 UFO's myself.  Excess!  Waste!  Wind blowing through my unbrushed hair as I gallop across a patchwork wilderness on my white horse.....whoa, got away with myself a little there.  Sorry.  But, I do want to create without guilt.

So what to do?

My checkbook certainly would appreciate a fabric diet, and while I'm at it, I should also limit my Craftsy classes -- I don't know if you noticed the 41 classes I have listed in my Craftsy review page, most of which I have not finished.  Did that stop me from adding a few new classes during their current sale?  Nope!  I was so ashamed of clicking "buy" I couldn't even bring myself to tell you guys about the sale - in case you were in a similar circumstance (No, don't click over there now!!).  Clearly, I need to rein in some of this reckless spending.  It's not like I don't have a stash to work from, or plenty of classes to finish!

Then there is the guilt about unfinished projects.  I'm letting them go.  Or, at least letting the guilt go.  If I work on them, great, if I don't, I don't.  I'm really tired of thinking about some of them.  The only exception are those blocks I owe OTHER people.  It is not fair that they wait any longer.  I have been stumped how to execute an idea I have stuck in my head for Leanne.  But, really I could have easily finished up Veena's block in the meantime, especially since she picked like the easiest theme ever, "flowers".  Perhaps completing one of the 3 would make the other 2 easier to finish up too.  That monkey will get off my back!

Now for the free spirit in me wanting to break out.  I am actually going to free myself of the monkey of having to have a plan.  Why can't I just sit down at my sewing machine and ask myself what I want to work on that day?  I tried that approach back in August and it really seemed to work.  I'm not sure it was my most productive month ever, but I certainly felt better about what I made because I WANTED to make it.

There is one more thing I've been thinking about, and trying to tie into all this introspection.  I have lost some of that connection I had with you guys, and I miss it.  At first I blamed it on the little hiatus I took, but I think it really started before then.  I'm not sure how I am going to do it, but I am going to make an effort to reconnect, WITHOUT obligating myself in new swaps, bees, etc.  I don't want to add another monkey, but I do want improve the friendships I've made in this wonderful quilty experience.

So what am I committing myself to exactly?

  • I am going to sign up for the Fabric Diet and include Craftsy classes in that mix, 
  • BUT I am not going to worry about any UFO's I may have
  • I WILL finish up those Star of Africa blocks, and soon.
  • I'm going to work on things on a whim as it strikes my fancy 
  • I am going to connect, and reconnect with friends.
  • IF I am successful with the above, I will reward myself, at the end of the 6 months, within reason (I hope)
Well, what do you think?  I am crazy?

Thanks for reading,


Inspirational Sunday (13) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

Today's quilts seemed festive to me.  Since this is the last Sunday before Christmas, I felt it was the best time to share them.

The first one is called "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" by Patricia Adair of Huntington Beach, CA.  The design source was Judy Neimeyer's Diamond Wedding Ring pattern.  It was paper pieced, hand appliqued and quilted on her domestic machine.

"Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" by Patricia Adair of Huntington Beach, CA

The quilter's statement: "I started this quilt in Judy Niemeyer's class at Road to California in 2005.  I got the center done, but was intimidated by the border.  Our UFO Challenge got me working on it again.  Sometimes we need to revisit our UFO's because our skills improve and what was difficult back then is now doable!"

How true!

"Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" by Patricia Adair, close up

Have you had a UFO that you were glad you put off, because your skills improved enough to make it really special?

The next one is called "Pretty Is As Pretty Does" by Cyndia Gerner of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Her design source was the Feathered Star and medallion antique quilts.  She hand appliqued, machine pieced, and machine quilted this quilt.

"Pretty Is As Pretty Does" by Cyndia Gerner of Indianapolis, Indiana

She says, "This Civil War reproduction quilt was inspired by a Feathered Star beelet challenge.  These fabrics do no appeal to everyone but they sing to me.  In the "use it up, make it do" attitude of our foremothers the design needed to be of a scrappy nature.  I wanted this quilt to represent what it could be like for a quilter using what she had but dreaming of more."

"Pretty Is As Pretty Does" by Cyndia Gerner, close up

Civil War fabrics don't really sing to me, but I can appreciate them in a beautiful quilt like this one.

Next week, a little "all that glitters" in time for the New Year.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Another obvious gift idea - Craftsy classes

Yesterday, I received an email from Craftsy informing me that they are offering gift classes.  As the purchaser of 41 classes myself (hey, where are those reviews, Jen? try looking here), I can say that most of them would make great gifts. Now, I've know for a while that you can pick a class and give it to someone, and I'm sure that they have gift certificates available, but this is a bit different.  It sounds like you can give "any" class for a set fee.  Which is great if your friends tastes run towards the pricier classes!

Here are the details Craftsy sent me:

Right now you can Gift Any Craftsy Class and save big while you're doing it! Want to give someone a Craftsy class, but not sure which one to pick? With our "Gift Any Class" cards, you can buy a loved one any Craftsy class of their choosing for $30! It has never been easier to give the gift of crafting fun!

Gift 1 Craftsy class for $30 (save up to $30)
Gift 2 Craftsy classes for $55 (save up to $65)
Gift 3 Craftsy classes for $75 (save up to $105)

• Gifted classes never expire
• Give one, two, or three Craftsy classes
• Deliver on any date (up to three months in advance)

It sounds like a great deal.  Do you think it will put me on the naughty list if I buy a bunch for myself?

Thanks for reading today,


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Inspirational Sunday (12) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

This week my brain has been on applique for some reason - strange since I've mostly been paper piecing this week.  So, I am sharing a couple of amazing applique quilts.

The first one is called "Flower Quartet" by Yasuko Sugaya of Ichibara, Chiba, Japan.  She one Honorable Mention in the Mixed Technique category.

"Flower Quartet" by Yasuko Sugaya of Chiba, Japan

She hand pieced, hand appliqued, hand embroidered, hand quilted, and used trapunto on this quilt.  It is an original design, inspired by a class with Ms. Noriko Masui.  She made the quilt as a gift for her daughter, sewing it and hoping for her happiness.

So sweet!  And you know how much I love the gray.

I'm not sure you could have a post about applique and not mention Baltimore Album quilts.....

This quilt is called "My First Trip to Baltimore" by Carolyn Stine of Springfield, Illinois.  She needleturn appliqued, inked, hand embroidered, machine pieced, and custom long arm quilted this beauty.

"My First Trip to Baltimore" by Carolyn Stine of Springfield, IL

The design source was Susan Garman's pattern Friends of Baltimore.  The quilter says, "This quilt consists of sixteen blocks, each with a typical Baltimore or Album style design that was popular during the 1830-1860 period in the eastern portion of the United States.  They include complex floral, fruit, vases, cornucopias, birds, berries, and eagle, bows, a ship and four diverse border of floral patterns.  This was the first Baltimore Album quilt I made, therefore the name I chose for it is "My First Trip to Baltimore".  I was drawn to this pattern by the denseness of the applique and the richness of the colors.

"My First Trip to Baltimore" by Carolyn Stine, close up

I just love the half square triangle sashing!  It is so precise!

It has been ages since I've hand appliqued something.  What about you?  Have you appliqued anything recently?

Thanks for reading today,


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gift Ideas for Quilters

Are you still wondering what to give your quilty friend for the holidays?  Sure there are journal covers and zip pouches to make, but if you are running out of time and would rather purchase a product for your friend, I put together a tiny list of things you might not have thought of.

First, my new seam ripper:

my new seam ripper

I recently listened to a podcast by the lovely Sandy at Quilting for the Rest of Us, where she reviewed this seam ripper and a couple others.  After hearing her thoughts, I wanted to try it myself, so I ordered one.  It does look a little scary, but it works really well.  You use it by sliding the scalpel between the layers of fabric.


I found this ripper EXTREMELY useful when paper piecing (it is really hard to use a regular seam ripper when your stitch length is so short), but I've also used it with regular sewing and applique stitches.  I think it would also work really well if you had to undo any satin stitching or machine embroidery.  You can get it at the Havel's website.   $10 may seem like a lot for a seam ripper, but it comes with blade refills, so I will last you quite a while.

My next recommendation would be great for anyone who does applique or paper piecing and frequently has to trace patterns.   The Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad:

I totally stole this from my daughter!  It is super thin and light and uses a couple of batteries, so it is extremely portable.  The size of the light up space is roughly 8.5 x 11 - so the size of a sheet of regular copy paper.  It is great for paper piecing (checking to be sure that first piece of fabric is placed properly), and would be great for tracing applique shapes.

light box

Now, I've seen and heard of people taking storage boxes and filling them with tap-on lights.  When the costs add up, that makeshift version is about the same as this, but it is much less portable.  Also!  As I write this, the price on the Amazon link is $35, BUT I've seen it closer to $25 on Amazon (you just have to check periodically), AND I saw the same toy at Target last week for $20 (regular price).  So shop around.

For the free motion quilter:

Machinger Quilting Gloves

Supreme Slider

Both of these products make free motion quilting on a domestic quilting machine so much easier.  The gloves help you grip the fabric to move it around easier, and some say it alleviates the strain on your shoulders as you quilt.  I tend to hunch no matter what, so I can't really attest to this benefit.

The Supreme Slider just makes your quilting table surface slippery, thus making your quilt move around with less friction.  I use both products, and love them.

For the quilter who has everything......get something completely NEW.....

This book is available from some of the authors' websites now (like HERE at Fresh Lemons Quilts or HERE at Swim, Bike, Quilt), but the regular release date is not until December 31st, meaning it is highly unlikely that your friend already has this book.  This means you can pre-order it from your bookstore, or Amazon, OR you can buy directly from the authors.  I love to support the authors directly, especially if you want an actual book to present instead of an IOU.

Well, there you go.  I hope I gave you a few new ideas for gifts (or something to put in your own stocking).

Thanks for reading,


Friday, December 13, 2013

Winner! - Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

A quick post to announce the winner of my Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway.  I offered up one of my favorite books, Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.

one of my favorite quilting books

And the winner is......

Jeifner!   Congratulations Jeifner.  I have emailed you, so check your inbox.

Thank you to all who stopped by to enter and also to those of you who are regular and new followers.  I'm sure that there will be another giveaway soon.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway (Week?) - a giveaway and a book review of sorts

I am a couple of days late to this party, but since Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day is really a whole week, I thought I would join in late, rather than never.

Today, I am giving away a new copy of one of my favorite books, Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.

one of my favorite quilting books

I reference this book almost every time I sit down to quilt something.  For example, recently, when I quilted my version of Jess's Giant Chevron pattern.  I chose a different design for each color of my chevron from the book to practice.

Giant Chevron closer up

There is the Seafoam design (one of my favorites):

Seafoam quilting design

Wood Grain with Knots:

Wood Grain with Knots

A modified version of Angela's "Plume Feather":

modified Plume Feather quilting design

Geometric Allover:

Geometric Allover quilting pattern

Could I have picked a fuzzier section of this quilt to photograph?  Sorry!

I also recently used her Flower Power design on my commission quilt:

Commission quilt back

And there are still loads more designs that I haven't tried out yet.   This book is an excellent resource, whether you quilt on your domestic machine (like me) or on a long arm. I especially love how Angela walks you through drawing each design, step by step.

If you don't have this book, now is your chance to win it!  Or, you could always gift it to a friend in need.  It is the season of giving after all.

To enter, please leave me a comment telling me what your favorite quilting design is.  My followers get a 2nd entry, please leave me an additional comment telling me how you follow (Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin, Feedly, etc.); I am curious how you follow me.  MAKE SURE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IS CONNECTED TO YOUR COMMENT, please.  I still get a lot of no-reply comments, and if I can't contact you, I will have to draw again.

This giveaway will be open until December 13th at 5 pm PST.  THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!  I will randomly choose a winner and notify them by email by December 15th.  International entries are welcome.

Now go enter some more of the giveaway at Sew Mama Sew.  There are some really fantastic bloggers giving away fantastic prizes.

Thanks for stopping by today,


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Inspirational Sunday (11) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

OK, so my hiatus interrupted my little Inspirational Sunday post just before Halloween, and I have one quilt that I thought would be fun to share at that time, and another that reminds me of fall. But, I dropped out of blogsphere before I posted, so here they are today instead.

The first quilt is called Forest Intrigues by Caroline Vroom of Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada.  She appliqued and machine quilted this spooky quilt using a newspaper rendering of Wall Street Wolves as a design source.

"Forest Intrigues" by Caroline Vroom of Gravenhurst, Canada

She says, "A newspaper rendering the business section depicted the danger of the Wall Street Wolves and their effect on the innocent or unsuspecting client, in this case, Red Riding Hood.  I started with that block and expanded on the theme of innocent damsels in the forest where some danger lurks.  The male-like animals depict intrigue and menace but also a vague sense of protection.  The middle panel suggest the happy ending. Duality is displayed by light vs. dark, man vs. woman, and fantasy vs. reality.  Magic surrounds the panels with three leaf clovers, unicorns, and a family crest for tradition.

"Forest Intrigues" by Caroline Vroom, close up of center

I was impressed with all those little wisps and tendrils of the trees - tiny pieces to applique, it looks painted to me (but they usually say it is in the description if paint is used as a technique).  And of course, I like the owl.

"Prairie Fire" by Ruth Powers of Carbondale, KS

This quilt is called "Prairie Fire" by Ruth Powers of Carbondale, Kansas.  She one the Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry.  It is machine pieced, and machine quilted.  This original design was worked from an original sketch of the early spring burning of the Flint Hills.

This quilt reminds me of fall rather than fire, and more specifically a picture of my grandfather looking across the landscape of Herbert's Hill in Connecticut.  Granted the landscape is not exactly the same, I don't remember a lake that can be seen from the hill, but it is interesting to me that, like all art, quilts can spark memories from your own experience.

Do you ever have strong memories sparked by looking at or using a particular quilt?

Thanks for reading today,


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hiatus OVER!! - a finish Friday

I am pleased to announce that I am out of my funk and have returned to quilting and blogging.  Almost the victim of blog-fade, I just needed to take a little break.  But, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and while I did take several weeks off of sewing and blogging, I did miss it and eagerly returned to my machine last week.  Here is the fruit of those labors....

Commission quilt

My first commission quilt is finished.  At first it was a little too much orange for me, but in the end I really like it.

Commission quilt

The pattern is Rosalie by Valerie Wells.   It was a little tricky cutting out those hexagons, but the rest of the piecing was easy enough.

Commission quilt

I used the same all-over flower quilting design as my Gigantor quilt.  It is an Angela Walters design, and I think it works really well for these large quilts.

Commission quilt back

Here is a picture of the back.  My "customer" originally chose these fabrics to go into the front, but they weren't teal enough, so we changed things up on the front and I promised to use the fabrics on the back instead.  I almost like it better than the front.

Commission quilt back

You can really see the quilting design with all that solid gray.  The texture will increase once I wash the quilt too - an added bonus.

Now I just need to finish up some shams to go with the quilt and I will be able to deliver it all well before the holiday deadline.  Yippee!

Thanks for reading today,


Linking up with:

Linking up with:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Huge Craftsy Sale and a mini-class review

If you are one of the millions of people who start their holiday shopping this week, don't forget to stop by Craftsy.  They are having a huge sale NOW through Monday.  Fabric and yarn is already heavily discounted (Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off from 11/27-12/2!), and classes will be if they aren't already (my link says the sale starts on Friday, but when I visit the site it looks like the sale is already live) Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2!

While this sale does appear to be THE time to stock up on classes for yourself (cough, cough, I mean you loved ones), I also wanted to share that they have recently added several new FREE classes!  I had some time earlier in the week to go through the new Learn How To Piece, Patch, Quilt Class: Basic Quiltmaking Skills.  It is great for beginners!

The class covers:
  • selecting, preparing and cutting fabric
  • designing a layout
  • sewing and pressing
  • sashing and borders
  • layering and basting
  • tying or machine quilting your quilt
  • hand quilting
  • binding***
The class even comes with 3 super easy quilt patterns.

I really thought the class was excellent and covered more than just the basics.  My only "bummer moment" came at the binding section.  The instructor does show you how to put a binding on, but it is NOT a continuous mitered binding.  This seems strange to me since it is the type of binding most people seem to use and she already covers how to join strips with a bias seam (the same technique used to make continuous binding strips).  I was surprised they didn't just go ahead and show you how to miter the corners, but perhaps they thought the joining of the ends would be too difficult??  Who knows?  Other than the binding section, the rest of the class is great and I recommend it to any beginners out there.

There is also a new free class for Longarmers called, A New Look at Longarm Quilting with Mandy Leins , which I didn't get as much out of since I am NOT a longarmer.  And a Free Pizza Making Class, which I haven't checked out yet, but definitely need to!  We made homemade pizza with the kids last week using a recipe I found online and it did not turn out that well.  Hopefully, this class will straighten out what went wrong.

I hope you all have a really delightful Thanksgiving, and those of you venturing out to battle the shopping crowds on Friday, be safe!!

Thanks for reading,


Friday, November 22, 2013

Penelope Star for Simply Solids December

Welcome fellow Simply Solids bee mates!  I first encountered this block when another bee mate from the Star of Africa bee wished it for her month.  Her blocks turned out so lovely that I was rather jealous at the time, so I am happy to have a chance to get my own Penelope Stars.  You can find the original tutorial here at Stitches and Scissors, but I have also put together a little tutorial of my own since I changed a few minor dimensions to help with success.

What you will need:

Penelope Star tutorial supplies
  • Eight 7 inch squares of Medium Gray (I will be sending you these in the mail!)
  • Four 7 inch squares of Color One (stash bust from your favorite colors)
  • One 6.5 inch square of Color One (stash bust from your favorite colors)
  • Four 7 inch squares of Color Two (stash bust from your favorite colors)
  • One 6.5 inch square of Color Two (stash bust from your favorite colors)


Set your 6.5 inch squares of Color One and Two aside.  You won't be doing anything with them but I need them for the final layout.

Take the four 7 inch squares of Color One and the four 7 inch squares of Color Two and cut them on the diagonal into two triangles.

Penelope Star tutorial

We are essentially going to make wonky star points by taking a 7 inch gray square and stitching a triangle of Color One to the right side of the square.

Penelope Star tutorial

I like to make sure my fabric will cover the square when flipped over after pressing before I sew it.

Penelope Star tutorial

Once you have your triangle sewn in place.  Double check to be sure when you press it, that it will cover the gray square (Ask me how I know this is important).  Then trim the extra gray fabric from the seam.  You can either toss these trimmings into your own scrap pile or send them back to me, your choice.

Penelope Star tutorial

Press the seam toward the gray regardless of whether you have chosen a dark color for your solid.  Repeat for the other 3 gray squares for Color One and 4 gray squares to be paired with Color 2, varying the angles of the triangle to make them all individual.  Your pieces should look, roughly, like this.

Penelope Star tutorial

Now sew another colored triangle to the left side of the gray square.

Penelope Star tutorial

Again, I like to just be sure that when flipped it will cover the gray square.

Penelope Star tutorial

Once sewn on, trim the excess fabric from the seam allowance and press toward the gray.  Again, either keep these trimmings or send them to me (I like to make improv blocks from these).  Repeat for the other gray squares and colors.

Penelope Star tutorial

It should look, roughly, like this, once pressed.

Penelope Star tutorial

Now trim your pieces to 6.5 inches square.  I purposely started everyone with 7 inch gray squares so that you would have some to trim away.  It may seem a little wasteful, but the first time I made these blocks I had a few corners come up short using the original instructions, and had to start over.  That was a pain!

Penelope Star tutorial

For each Color you should have one center square and four squares of star "points".  That is it.  Put them in a bag as is, and mail them to me.  I will assemble the rest.

Penelope Star tutorial "finished" star

In case you are curious, the stars will fit together something like this in the finished quilt.

Penelope Star tutorial stars together

Hopefully, I will have lots of different colors!  And I'm really looking forward to quilting the daylights out of those nice big stars.

Thank you in advance for everyone in my hive!  I hope I am not asking too much for everyone to do two colors.  It takes a lot of stars to make the quilt, and with your help, I'll have about 1/3 done!

Thanks again,