Sunday, May 7, 2017

Even though I haven't been showing any sewing, I have been productively engaged in quilt making.

Some time ago, I began piecing quilt blocks from the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month.  It's a free course taught by Amy Gibson of Stitchery, Dickery, Dock, and I learned a number of new-to-me techniques.  I have decided I much prefer watching videos showing how to construct something and then referring to directions for specifics.  I guess that means I'm primarily a visual learner.  Anyone else like me out there?

My daughter held up the quilt top but my phone was slow to take the pictures.  After several tries, I actually got one of the whole quilt held up straight, but I much preferred this one.

Missouri Star Quilt Company had directions for an inside out block and I had the plastic template so I tried this too.  It isn't quilted yet but I found the dark purple outside fabric at JoAnn Fabrics so that will be the back and binding. 

Originally I planned to donate this quilt to Camp Acheaway for youthful arthritis sufferers, but I kept thinking of someone as I made it so I suspect it will eventually make its way to her.  Instead, I bought fleece on a 60% off sale at JoAnn's for fleece blankets to donate:

I didn't take a finished picture but here is the raw product.  The top two fabrics were coupled together and the bottom two made the second blanket.  I love the abstract design and colors!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hospital and stress relieving sewing

So much has happened but I've not blogged about any of it.  

First, the major event taking my time had nothing to do with quilting but everything to do with family.  My husband had a bad case of cellulitis, or beta hemolytic streptococcus group A infection in his right calf.  They put him in the hospital for 2 weeks until they began seeing serious progress.  He is still battling the infection but he is home now.  He is also trying to build up his strength.  Two weeks in bed has serious implications for muscle tone!  

This is what it looked like when he was able to come home:

It looks more red now because he has been up and around on it, but hopefully it will continue to progress.

On the quilting front, I received my very first Sew Sampler box from the Fat Quarter Shop a couple of weeks ago.  Here's the tin with appropriate wisdom for the week!

And the contents:

I'm quite excited to make the mini quilt with the 2.5" squares and pattern that came with it and to start the BOM for the next year.  I think I'll make the medium sized quilt since I already have a 12 1/2" square ruler that I can use in squaring up the blocks!   Underneath all of that, you can see my new Easter/spring tablecloth.  I've long eyed that fabric in my stash and been hesitant to cut it up so I turned it into a pretty table.

Another quick project while my husband was in the hospital was a baby blanket for my niece.  It was a nice stress reliever even if I STILL haven't gotten it in the mail!  A few years ago, I went through a serious fox fixation, buying a bunch of fabric, a fox cookie jar (a gift from my daughter), and fox salt and pepper shakers.  I love the colors of this fabric, but alas, it's all gone now.

One reason I haven't been sewing much (beyond the obvious reason being that I've been at the hospital with Jim), is that my walking foot went kaput.  Apparently I use it a ton!  The baby blanket was harder to stitch because I made do with the regular foot which doesn't have anything to make sure that both the top and bottom layers feed evenly.  I finally bit the bullet and ordered a new one this week.  I'll be making another (albeit different) baby blanket for the Young Women at my church to auction off next Saturday.  It's all cut out, squared up, and pinned, but not sewn or topstitched.  Hopefully the walking foot will arrive in time to sew it before Saturday or I'll be carefully sewing it together.  I love the cute little owls!!!

I think it's safe to say that the only sewing I've actually tackled in the last three weeks has been strictly stress relieving.  I've been really quite frightened for my husband's prospects so it was good to have an activity that helps me receive to the peace that has been coming to me.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Knights and Vikings

Wow.  It has been awhile since I last blogged.  I have been quilting, but I've been making gifts which means I don't want to blog the projects until after they have been gifted.  I have been much better about posting pictures to Instagram!  

Here's a sneak peak of the biggest project that I've been working on for a few months.  I made a tiny, but critical, mistake that caused me to have to seam rip the whole quilt apart and basically start assembling it all over again so really, this quilt should count as two!  I panicked thinking I wouldn't be able to fix it so I hurried to buy a second kit that is now extra.  So if anyone wants a quilt kit, I purchased it for about $80 from Craft Time Fabrics and would be happy to sell the unopened kit!

It's off to the long-arm quilter now and then my son will receive it.  Shhh!!!  I have tried really hard to keep this one quiet and nearly invisible to him.

He and I also went to see the Vikings Exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum.  It was a lot of fun especially since he specifically asked to go see it!

Just one picture:  His name in Norse, I believe.  This is how it would have been spelled by the Vikings.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Valentine quilt completed

We're coming up to Valentine's Day and I just finished the Valentine tabletopper quilt for someone who gives of her heart.  Can't say who because she has no idea it is coming!  So happy with how it looks and it will be even more personal after it's autographed by pertinent parties.

Here's the back of it.  I think it looks really nice!!!

I recently got the reminder that I canNOT pull the fabric at all when sewing because the stitches pull too tight and don't hold.  Not good especially if the quilt will ever need to be washed.  All those raw edges will fray and come out from underneath the binding.  I don't want to think about what would happen if it was in the middle of the quilt.  So if you start noticing skipped stitches:

1)  Change needles and make sure you have the right kind in the machine.
2)  Make sure the thread is properly threaded through the machine.  This should probably be number one.
3)  Use a lighter touch and don't pull the fabric back from the machine while sewing at all.

For some reason today I could not remember how to measure the binding for an invisible seam between the beginning and ending.  Normally I refer to the Missouri Star Quilt Company's BLOCK magazine for their directions, but it wasn't computing today.  I needed a video tutorial so I found Made By Marzipan's directions here:  It's now on my sidebar.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Heart happy!

Have you ever had one of those times where you felt like you couldn't get moving?

Well, that happened to me with quilting.  I couldn't get off the dime.  

I started cutting fabric for my Through the Ages quilt and then mis-cut a piece.  And couldn't fix it.  First, I didn't realize I should have fussy cut it a little more because I cut off the head of the knight and the seam would take off the head of the lady.  Then I realized I cut it 1 1/2" too narrow and didn't have enough fabric left for a second try.

Thankfully still had that particular print available. Through the Ages website did not.  For $2 more, I bought a yard rather than a 1/2 yard of fabric and it's on its way here!  $15 later including $5 shipping.  That hurt my feelings! 

That really took away the little head of steam that had been building up so I looked around for a new project.  Preferably quick and easy.  The latest issue of the BLOCK magazine had a table runner of hearts and I had some Michael Miller bright solid precuts that I've been saving.  It all worked together and I came up with this tabletopper!

Perspective:  This is laying on our family dining table that seats 6, and it takes most of the table.  

My heart is happy and feeling up to another project now.  Hooray!

This post was first published on

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Regency period and gratitude for modern sewing conveniences

My daughter has a huge creative streak and especially loves costuming and dressing up as characters in books and movies.  She has a Cosplay party coming up and she decided to step outside of her usual mold and take a fictional/historic character from the Regency period.  Channelling Jane Austen here.

Nearly there now.  Now I get to tackle buttonholes, which I have never done on my Janome.  The dread of new things is probably worse than actually doing it, don't you think?  I have a quilt that took nearly a week to begin cutting fabric for it.  So far I've only made one cutting mistake and hopefully that will be the last one but I've got three more fabrics to go.  The dress from the front:

Okay, not exactly true to the period.  We picked a cotton and another fabric would probably be the more likely fabric.  Softer too.  And I used elastic to gather the neckline because I can.  I would give anything for a zipper in the back instead of the cumbersome way they handled it.  (I didn't do so hot back there so I'll be using buttons instead of leaving it open.  They used to use overskirts to hide the open part, I guess.)  Hopefully the buttons will hide my mistakes.

My daughter has decided she's not really fond of how the dress fits, thinking it makes her look fat.  I suspect, given how exercise seemed to be frowned on for women, that most gentlewomen were fat and these dresses made them look more svelte.

Mostly though, I'm thinking we are spoiled with modern conveniences like elastic and zippers.  Those two items would have made a HUGE difference to their fashion lives!  We just don't know what we have!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wrapping up the holidays

My hexagon block is finished for the Amy Gibson modern quilt.  I'm not a big fan of doing hexagons and I have one more quilt block using them.  I suspect paper piecing will be something I'll do when I have to do it.  It takes considerably more work although Amy's video instruction makes it simple.  I used regular copy paper for templates and can see the advantage of buying pre-made hexagons.  Mine weren't perfectly sized either but it worked.


This year we finally bought an emergency kit of food for our family.  120 entrees while they were on sale.  We've often put in 72-hour kits using regular canned food but that food takes more space and doesn't keep as long.  Now to figure out where to store water.

I found a new recipe for Hamburger Stew.  Originally I used radishes instead of potatoes to make it THM friendly (which I liked but my husband did not), and then I made it again with potatoes.  The Pioneer Woman definitely knows how to cook!  I think I'll be buying her first cookbook soon to help my son become a more confident cook.

Tis the season for movies.  We saw both Rogue 1 (Star Wars) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter).  So good and we found an incredible theater about 30 minutes away from our house that makes the movie-going experience worth it.  Matinees are also my favorite way to save money and not deal with gross highway traffic.

On to failed gifts.  I made placemats with this fabric, an artist special:

They looked really nice until I rinsed off the blue marker I used to guide my quilting stitches.  If you look closely, you'll see stray pink marks from the burgundy color in the binding fabric.  I was really upset.  I learned to pre-wash fabric, especially dark fabric.  I washed them with color catchers but it wasn't enough.

Here's another set I made:

I like the quilting better on these anyway.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Husband's surprise

My husband's Christmas gift was another hard one to keep under wraps.  A couple of months ago, he turned me onto ceramic potter Jessica Putnam-Phillips' @jessputnamphillips Periscope and I learned that he would love to have a large mug made by her.  While watching her make some bowls and mugs, she displayed a jade green mug that she had made previously and commented that she had some others in progress.  Instantly I knew what I wanted to get him.

Because Jessica makes one-of-a-kind work, I emailed with a request for one of those mugs.  Since my husband watches her Periscope posts, I knew it would be tricky to pull it off.  I also use his Paypal account rather than creating my own so I knew paying for the mug would be even harder.  Thankfully, Jessica was willing to work with me and I got the mug right before Christmas.

I just realized that this picture doesn't show the carving details and he has it at work so I can't take another picture.  I stole a screen shot off his Instagram account though.  Isn't it gorgeous?!

As Jim handled and admired it, he wondered out loud if there was something he could put on the bottom to keep it from breaking.  I went into the sewing room and came out a little later with this little mug rug, just big enough for the mug.  So pretty!  

Monday, January 2, 2017


How was your Christmas?  Mine was fantastic!  I got to spend it with most of my family and talk to my missionary son.  


I finished some more projects too.  My phone rang a few days before Christmas and it was my quilter calling to tell me my disappearing 9-patch Christmas quilt was completed!  Her husband has been terribly sick and in the hospital so I had told her not to worry about getting it finished before Christmas.  She got it done anyway though!  What a nice surprise!  It was also wonderful to learn he was home in time for Christmas!

I hurried to add the binding so I'd have it for Christmas morning.

I made some last minute Christmas Eve presents for Santa to fill Christmas morning.  Yes, we still do stockings.  Santa has always only brought things that can fit stockings because I've never liked the idea of something for nothing and the very-noticeable unfairness of how "Santa" brings marvelous gifts for some children and nothing to others.  My kids were long familiar with the idea that Moms and Dads help Santa.  One of my favorite Christmases was when we taught the poem, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.  My daughter's cowboy boot is suede with a bit of leather around the ankle, and my son's has the horses and cowboy hats and leather.

Several years ago, I bought the center cowboy boot that my eldest twin son immediately commandeered.  I used it as my pattern for the other two.  They were immediate hits!  All 3 love their boots, and my daughter had received new suede boots for her December birthday.

I received this scissor holder from a quilting friend and thought it was so clever!!!

The back with its magnets:

I finished my daughter's Christmas quilt and am THRILLED to be able to share it now!  My inspiration was Missouri Star Quilt Company's stacks quilt along with her story about how it looked like stacks of books.  My daughter loves to read and tested above high school reading level while still very young.  I've always meant to keep a list of her favorite books but never done it in a permanent form.  Well, I did it this year.  While driving to a vacation destination last spring, she told me what books had been her favorites through her life.  Later I searched her bookcase for some forgotten tales and stitched them into a Book Stacks quilt for her.  The directions for this quilt is included in the Summer volume of the BLOCK magazine.

I did the quilting myself and had to unpick the wrong colored thread strips!

Some of the titles: (yes, she loves Shakespeare)

A few more titles.  She got to meet Brandon Mull at a church youth activity last Friday night.  What a grand finale for the year!

We always read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, followed by my son reading The Grinch and my husband with The Night Before Christmas.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have peace in your heart in this new year.