Friday, December 30, 2011

Maybe Leaves

      Before I set off to the fabric store to find a backing fabric for the one block tree quilt, I pulled out a guild charity kit and sewed blocks.   When I went to look for backing, it was difficult to find something I liked that was a good price.  I finally found one and also bought quilt thread for it.  While the fabric was in the wash, I finished sewing the charity blocks.  Here they are.

     I took a break to check email and took a look at “The Quilt Show” newsletter.  I am not a member but the newsletter had a link for a free show so I took time to watch it.  In the first part Ricky Tims showed his art quilt made as part of a challenge.  It had a tree with leaves that started me thinking about whether my tree could be improved by adding some leaves.  I fused light weight Heat & Bond to the light purple and cut out a few leaf shapes to try out.  I like them but I will have to play with placement and how many.  I need to be careful not to have so many that they are the focus.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mitered Borders On

     I had planned to use a series of narrow borders around the one block tree and could not come up with a better idea so that is what I worked on today.   I was not excited about the plan but I’m very happy to say the borders are on. The colors in the photograph are not true but you can get the idea.  

I sewed the strips together in sets and then mitered them all at once.  For me, that is the easiest way to have put on a series of borders. The quilt top is about 66" by 92" or will finish twin size.  Tomorrow I will find a backing and be ready to sandwich and start quilting.  This quilt will never win any prizes but soon it will no longer be a UFO.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Block UFO

     What do you do when you piece a quilt top and don’t like it?  I pulled out a UFO to start working on again.  I had bought the fabric on sale and I was not crazy about it.  It has an oriental red background.  Months ago I used it for a “one block wonder” which used the stack and whack technique and equilateral triangles.  After I got it pieced, I just did not like it and put it away.  Then I inspired to use it and try a technique that Cynthia Corbin  (   ) shared at the NC Quilt Symposium.  She called it “Structure and Variations”.  

First I took a digital photo of the top.  This is what it looked like.

Then I printed the photo, drew lines, cut it up and taped to purple construction paper.  This was my plan. 

Yesterday I finally laid out the top and used a metal measuring tape and a rolling chalk marker to mark the cutting lines.

I cut strips of purple ( 2” , 2 ½ ”, 3 ½” wide ) and bravely cut up the pieced top.

 I pieced in the purple strips graduating the width.
Adding the last strip through the middle vertically was the toughest.

Next I had to square up the new pieced top.  I was not scared when I first sliced it up but now I was scared to cut.  After a few words of encouragement from my sister, I cut.  Now I am please with how it looks, much better than before.  I have plans for borders and may tackle them tomorrow.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Organizing Crumbs

      Because Christmas projects are all finished I can take some time for other fun.  I will be teaching a 2 night crumb piecing class at Midlands Tech - Harbison campus in February.  (You can find details here: ).   I have used or given away many sample crumb blocks so I wanted to make some more.  Then I decided I needed to organize my crumbs and spent many hours playing with and organizing my crumbs of fabric.  I like to have the triangles separated because they are easy to use for hearts, stars, or shoo-fly blocks.  Here are a couple of heart blocks I made; and because I used squares for the lower corners, I have bonus half-square triangle units.

Here are some of my triangles. 

I also separated a pile of strings.  String quilts are a new love and I have several designs using strings on my  “wish to sew “ list so I am collecting strings and variable strips.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kindle Covers

     I’m giving a Kindle as a Christmas present and I also received one early so today I decided to make covers.   In my search I found great directions on another Elizabeth’s blog. Check it out here.

       For each cover I used scraps and strips to piece 2 pieces 6 ½” by 9” and cut lining 12 ½” by 9”.  One thing I did differently for my covers is that I added a pocket with a zipper for storing the USB cord.  I also used fusible fleece instead of batting and did only minimal quilting with programmed decorative stitches.  Following are several photos of my steps:  
                                                                     Cover 1- pieces

Cover 1 finished. 

Cover 2 - pieces.

      I thought they were easy to make and I like how they turned out.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Mug Rugs

      After enjoying a short visit with granddaughter and family in GA and back home had family here, yesterday  I quilted a small piece for someone.  I used a programmed decorative machine stitch motif about every 5 to 7 inches to tie the layers together.  I prefer it instead of tying by hand.
     Today I took time to sew a few more mug rugs as last minute gifts.  I had some small pieces of the heat resistant material made for potholders, etc. ( don't remember what it is named) so I used them with scraps of batting in these mug rugs.  Therefore they can be used as mug rugs or pot holders although I made them mug rug size of 6.5” by 8.5”.  I basted the backing, batting and other material together then sewed strips on by sew and flip method so no other quilting was needed.  On one I did use a couple of lines of decorative stitches for additional quilting. 

      As Christmas gets closer, there’s no telling how much sewing / quilting will get accomplished as I enjoy the holiday.  However, if not visiting with friends and family, I know I can pull out a project to work on.  I still have a few UFOs left.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Church Sew Day

       Today at my church quilt group, I did not work on a major project.  Instead I pulled some crumbs out of our bin and sewed.  I made several 6 " blocks, cut some 12" finish blocks from leftover strip sets and also just pieced some squares that are not yet a usable size. 

     I don't plan to be working on any sewing / quilting projects for about 4 days while I visit with family for the holiday so I will not post any thing new until next week. 

   I hope you have all your holiday projects finished or will soon. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Machine Embroidery

      Today was dedicated to machine embroidery.  Isn’t the Santa pocket cute?  The one on the left was the first try.   
 Sunday night I pulled out the directions and loaded the design.  The directions were not clear so I had to call a friend for clarification.   I finished the first beard and stopped for the night.  This morning I started back.  It took about 1 1/2 hours for each to stitch out.  The directions said to use tear-away stabilizer but I had trouble with it.  Because of the heavy stitches, it tore away too soon so I ended up using poly-mesh cut-away.  I completed 3  Santa Pockets today and with each I learned something that worked better so the last one looks the best.   

      Sunday afternoon I made another mug rug using crumbs.  They are quick and I think they will make a nice little gift so I hope to make more. If you don’t know what a mug rug is, it is like a large quilted coaster designed to be the right size for a mug and a snack.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Guild Challenge Met

    I woke this morning about 5:15 with a sinus problem and decided to get up.  I started the coffee pot and had an epiphany.  I would make a mug rug for the December guild challenge.  I had been toying with a different idea but could not get motivated.  We are supposed to use colors that begin with our initials so I was working with Eggplant, Vanilla and Kelly Green  …  or Emerald, Violet and Khaki   … or Ecru, Violet and Kelly Green. 
    A few months ago I saw the Hybrid Tea Rose block on “15 Minutes Play Blog”.  You can check it out here.   I have been wanting to try the block so I pulled out my green fabric crumbs, chose ones that I thought could pass for emerald for Kelly green and started piecing green fabric that would become the leaves.   

      I found a big chunk of neutral for the Ecru, Vanilla, light Khaki background. 
I pulled out my purple fabric crumbs ( thinking Violet and Eggplant ) and pieced the rose.  I really wanted the lady bug.

      At first I squared up subunits to 4.5” and then decided that would finish too large for the mug rug. 
I wanted it to finish about 6 by 8” so I trimmed the half-square triangle units to 3.5” and made another leaf.  Then I ended with a 6.5 by 9.5” mug rug.
      Recently on “Sewing with Nancy” on my ETV station she used fusible tape to hold a small quilt sandwich together so I pulled out my roll of ½ inch wide Stitch Witchery and used small pieces to make my sandwich.  I free-motion quilted leaves and curls and a center for the flower.  I found the gold in my box of leftover binding and a couple of hours later I have a cute mug rug finished.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Graduation Quilt Finished

     Today was a cool but sunny day so I set up on my carport to get a good photograph of the graduation quilt.  My poles were not quite tall enough with the way I pinned the quilt to the sheet.

 Irene found a panel of nursing phrases so it is pieced into the back.  Our niece is graduating with a degree in nursing.   I quilted with light gray thread.  You might be able to see some of the quilting on the back panel. 

    Then I had time to make one more Christmas pillowcase and also cut strips to sash the lego quilt blocks. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Decorating with Quilts

    So far I have not done very much decorating for Christmas, but I did take time to hang Santas in the living room

and Snowmen in the dining room.
On the mantel I placed  several quilted postcards that I have received in the past. 
     It is rainy and nasty outside so it is a good time to sit and sew.  I am still hand sewing binding.  I'm on the last side. I can only do so much at a time but I should finish tonight.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

   This morning while reading quilting blogs I found Sew Cal Gal's Free-Motion Quilting challenge and signed up to participate.  After working on my latest quilt, I want to improve my stitch regulation for free-motion quilting.  If you are interested, check out take-pledge-registration-for-2012

  I hope it will be a fun learning experience.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Quilting Finished and Binding on One Side

     This morning I had to go buy another spool of quilting thread before I could finish quilting.   Each spool holds 1200 yards and I used more than one spool.  This evening the quilting is finished, and the binding is sewn on the front.  I will start hand sewing the back of the binding down; however, since this is a large quilt, it will probably take a couple of days.  In the border I free-motion quilted my niece’s first name and a vine of leaves.

    This is UFO # 9 ALMOST finished and it will be by next week's guild holiday meeting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quilting and More Lego Blocks

      I quilted for several hours on Christina’s quilt.  It is about half quilted.  Because this free-motion pattern (echo short cut) has fairly dense quilting, I am amazed at how many bobbins of thread I go through.  

      I needed a break from quilting so I pulled out my lego blocks.  Last time I showed them I had 12 finished.  I had decided to make 30 but miss counted and now have 32 – 12 ½” blocks.  The 2 extra may make pillows.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Free-Motion Quilting

   After spending some sewing time on miscellaneous projects, I started quilting on Christina's quilt.  I am doing the free-motion echo short cut I learned from Leah Day.  This is the first time I have used it on a large quilt as an overall pattern.  It is more dense than meandering so it is taking more time.  I wish my stitching was more controlled but I am getting more comfortable.  I still have a lot to do. 

                                                                         This is the front. 

                                                                         This is the back. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quilt Sandwiched Plus Holiday Figure

     My sister and I made blocks for this quilt that will be a graduation present in December.  It is on my UFO list.  She put it together and added the border so I get to quilt it.  I pieced the back a couple of days ago and hoped I would get it sandwiched Monday.  I usually like to sandwich large quilts at church on the fellowship hall floor.  I could not do that the past few days or tomorrow so I moved my living room furniture and did it at home this evening.  It is so large I could not get a picture of the whole thing not standing on a ladder. 

   Have you heard of Beltznickel?  This morning at church quilt group, Beverley brought hers to show us.  She made it when she was working on a living history farm up north.  He is an 18th century Christmas character  and comes from the Pennsylvania German tradition. 

You can find out more at

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More Holiday Projects

     I had planned to get a large quilt project sandwiched today; but after arriving home from taking my mother for a doctor's appointment, I decided to start something simple first.  I made a couple more Christmas pillowcases and then made a set of holiday aprons.  I bought the matching kits for aprons to fit mother, daughter and doll. I thought they were cute and they were easy to sew. 

Tomorrow after church sew day I will get the quilt sandwiched. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More Christmas Pillowcases

    After family left this morning, I gathered sheets and towels.  While they were washing, I made 4 more Christmas pillowcases.   The technique for no raw seams is really nice and simple.  You can download the pdf of directions at
I still have a stash of holiday fabric but Friday morning my sister and I went in search of holiday fabric sales especially to make more pillowcases.  I plan to use up most of what I purchased Friday so not much will be added to the stash. I may just have to make some for myself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Pillowcases

    Irene and and I spent a couple of hours last night sewing Christmas pillowcases.  We are giving a small quilt to each child in one family and decided that instead of using wrapping paper, we would pack each quilt in a Christmas pillowcase.  It was good to pull out my holiday stash of fabric and now I am inspired to make some more holiday pillowcases. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

More Lego Blocks

       I need some backing fabric before I can sandwich a large quilt project so I decided to work some on my Lego blocks.  This is my version using leftover 2 ½” strips and pieces.  I have 12 blocks pieced and still have many pieces left so this quilt will grow some more. 

       I took a break to stiffen snowflakes.  My 91 year old mother has recently finished crocheting 25 snowflakes.  The directions give 4 options for stiffening them.  I bought a bottle of  “Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid” at Joann Fabrics.  It is similar to white glue which was another one of the options suggested.  I had to dip a snowflake in the liquid ( I thinned it some), squeeze it out and pin it flat on foam board covered with plastic wrap.  I have only done half.  I thought I would see how these turn out before I do the rest and it takes LOTS of pins.  I’ll finish the others tomorrow. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little Comfort Quilt

      Last evening I started quilting on this little comfort quilt for my church quilt group and I finished today.  The center panel is cheater fabric and the outer part was pieced.   I cut the kit, someone else pieced and then I got it back to quilt.  I used the walking foot to stitch cross-hatching in the outer part and for the sashing in the inner panel.  I did free-motion quilting of hearts in the red inner border and around each object in the cheater blocks.   I tried a making a curl in the corners for a transition between the hearts.  I don’t like how it looks but I hope no one will care. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Small Projects - Potholders

      Tuesday was a great GCQ guild meeting.  Members who participated in the Nov. challenge showed their work.  I’m sorry I did not take photos of them.  Projects ranged from single blocks to complete table runners and small quilts. The theme was “international”.  I paper-pieced a Japanese girl.  At this time I don’t have plans for her. 

 Show and tell was great as usual.  We have so many talented ladies.  The program was an art quilt trunk show from 2 members.  They shared some of their early pieces and recent work. It was very nice. 

      Today I took a little time for some yard work and then finished another quilt project that will be a Christmas present so I won’t show it.  Then I played with scraps and made 2 potholders.  

       I spent some time on a fabric hunt.  My granddaughter has requested that I make her a sparkly twirl-ly dress that she can wear to preschool.  I was hoping to find some sparkly fabric that could be machine washed.  Almost everything I found said to hand wash or dry clean.  I did find one that said to use a cold wash and did not specify by hand.  I’m still searching.