Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Arizona Scrap Quilt IV

May 18, 2019

The top is pieced, and I am thrilled with how it turned out:


I waited till my daughter came for a visit, as this required both she and my husband to hold it up for a photo.  It sure grew.

Some of my fabric was used in the second border from the edge as I had used up all the blocks from the swap, and consider it a minor miracle that the math worked out.  Not one thing was planned about this quilt top.  I winged it along the way, and it is quite possibly the most enjoyable quilting experience I’ve had in the last few years.

It was partially pin basted at my Ogden Art Group meeting Thursday, and I have been playing around with tension and testing new designs for a couple of days.  I did get a nasty surprise when I opened up my brand new quilt batt, I found this:

Hobbs Batt

Someone must have purchased the batt, tested it, decided they didn’t like it, rolled it back up, and returned it to the store.  I was the unlucky person to purchase this batt.  A 90″ x 108″ Hobbs Wool Batt is not exactly inexpensive.  The store is now out of business, and I should probably contact Hobbs about this situation.

How do you like that Millenium fabric I used for the backing?  The fabric’s wrong side looks white, so it works great for quilt backing.  I have a few fabric scraps left, and they will eventually be included in other projects.

A couple of days were spent playing around with different quilting designs, practicing my free motion quilting, and getting my tension right.  I’m using a new to me thread, and it’s pretty darn thin.  I think I’ll be a fan of it for piecing, but not for quilting, only because I want my quilting to show, and it’s doing a very good job of being invisible on the back, and showing up only on dark colors on the front.  That is most likely a blessing for this quilt, as I’m definitely rusty with my free motion quilting.  😉

I hope all who celebrated Mother’s Day had a great day.  It was also my 46th wedding anniversary, so I received an abundance of fresh flowers.  They are still beautiful and haven’t dropped a petal yet.  It makes me oh so happy to see the glorious colors.  I hope you all have something in your lives that makes you happy too!!!






Arizona Scrap Quilt III

April 30, 2019

Tis the last day of April, and it still feels like winter in Upstate New York.  Hopefully, it’ll warm up soon.  Inside, it’s been warm and cozy and I’ve been having a grand time working on the scrap quilt started in Tucson:


The string piece border triangles were completed, attached to the blocks, and sewn into rows.  Now I’m auditioning what fabric to select for the next border.  Somehow this simple little quilt has decided to be larger than envisioned.

I still have 4 more 16 patch blocks to add, but haven’t decided if they’ll go on the front or the back.  Two of them are the right size, and 2 of them are smaller than the others.  I’m thinking on this and hope to come up with an idea so they can shine on the front of the quilt.

My embroidery machine is also getting used, and wonder of wonders, I selected some of my hand dyed fabric for this project.  It takes a lot of time to hand dye fabric, so I tend to put it all in a nice neat pile – yeah sure, one neat pile  😉  – saving all the fabric to  use for something special.  Nobody could be more special than the friend I made this mug rug for:

Love for Lona

This is a free design from the Kreative Kiwi website, and I have plans for sewing out more of her designs.  I love how she digitizes the edges of her mug rugs.  It’s not just the usual satin stitch.  Don’t you think it adds a lot of texture to the design?

The rest of this week has way too many doctor appointments for me – nothing is wrong – just basic body maintenance – and all I can say is, it sure interferes with my sewing time.




Arizona Scrap Quilt Project

April 8, 2019

We are back home from our wonderful Arizona get-away, and I am happily working on the 4 Patch into 16 Patch Swap quilt.  That has a link so you can refer to the original post on the blocks.

Here is what I’ve done so far:


I sewed together 16 of the blocks to form the center, and placed a small border around the blocks.  Picked up a shirt from Goodwill while in Arizona just for this quilt.  Bonnie Hunter suggests using cotton shirts in her scrap quilts, so I thought I’d give it a try.  No great buy for me.   It was $4.99, but I sure like the look.

Then I placed some 4 square blocks around that for a play on different block sizes.  I liked that too, and added another small border with the shirt fabric.

Then I was stumped.  Started cutting a block, made a mistake and cut a slit in the center of a block.  Time to step back and not force adding the next border.  Packed it up,  brought it home and played around with the blocks on my design wall for 3 days till I liked the third border idea.

Putting blocks on point adds more interest to the quilt, and I am debating about what to use for the triangles to square them up.  It might not show in the first picture, so I took a close-up:

string or solid

Should I go for the string pieced triangle look on the left, or the print fabric on the right?

The string fabric goes well with the scrappy look, but it’s kind of dark, and those are darn light neutrals.  White on white neutrals looked lousy, so I tried  light cream fabrics.

The print fabric goes well with the plaid shirt fabric – really well, but not too sure how well that look plays with the rest of the quilt.

Decisions, decisions.  I find I spend more time on this part of making a quilt, than anything else to do with the quilt making.  I would really appreciate hearing your opinions on which look you think makes for a more interesting, cohesive quilt top.





March 27, 2019

My time in Tucson is quickly coming to an end.  The weather was cooler this year, but I still loved it.  In fact, I prefer 60’s and 70’s.  It’s now in the 80’s, and let me tell you, an RV gets mighty hot in full sunshine and 80 degree temperatures.

I belong to two quilt groups here, and have made such good friends.  How do quilters manage to “click” so well with each other?  We certainly have.

I’m not one to do a lot of social sewing at home, but that is the only type of sewing and quilting I do while I’m on vacation in Tucson.  I don’t have room in my RV to sew, and while I can sew outside on my patio, it’s a lot of work to set-up and take down, and then there is the breeze.  We are in a great location, and enjoy the breeze when we sit outside reading on our patio, but not so enjoyable when pieces of fabric take flight. So off to the craft room I go.

It’s been pure joy to sew and chat this year.  After coming to the same resort for 8 years now, we’ve all gotten to know each other pretty well, and get along great.  We’ve gone on fabric shopping trips together, and quilt shows together, and some of us have gone out to eat with our spouses together.  We’ve formed a great little community here.  I’m really going to miss my Tucson sewing sisters.

One of them – Linda – gave me a parting gift, and it pretty much well sums up how we all feel:




Another Quilt Top Donation

February 2, 2019

Hard to believe, but this is the third quilt top I’ve sewn in Tucson to be donated.  I ran out of fabric I brought with me last month, and am now using fabric donated to a local church to make these quilt tops, and from Linda’s closet.

This is the last one in the BQ look:


I really like the way I got the black strips to form rectangles behind the large floral prints.

This one is good size 60″ x 72″ and two of my friends helped hold up the corners so I could take a photo in our craft room.  Thank-you, Linda, thank-you Barb.

We have the craft room scheduled for quilting on Tuesdays and Fridays, and people come and go.  We actually welcome anyone who is creating with textiles.  This is an inclusive group of ladies, and we have a lot of fun.

Social sewing is the bees knees – a saying my Dad used to say that means it’s great.  We all help each other with our individual projects, talk about our families,  and of course share lots of info about websites.   There is so much out there on the internet.  No one person can find everything.

Oh, I also polished off 2 spools of thread, and am working my way through the wound bobbins from my dearly departed Janome sewing machine.  I did bring plenty of thread with me, and it feels good to know I’ll be bringing home a little less than I brought with me.   Lighten the load in the RV is my mantra.  The less I bring home, the less I have to unpack when we get home.  😉

Onwards to making a pair of shorts for myself.  There is no guarantee I’ll be sharing photos of that.  Apparel making is a very slow process for me.  Sometimes the fitting takes two weeks, mostly because I get frustrated, give up, then get a little fortitude back and try again.  Wish me luck!!!





4 Patch Into 16 Patch

January 12, 2019

I joined a block swap in Tucson Estates this winter where each person makes a 4 patch, and then receives one from each participant.  I thought we were going to make 1 block to swap, and it turned out to be 4 blocks to swap.  Multiply that by 16, and that’s 64  blocks.  Good thing it’s an easy block to make.

I’d never seen this before, and it is a variation of the popular disappearing 9 patch technique – of which I’ve done, but never starting with a 4 patch and ending up with a 16 patch block.

Here is what you start with – a simple 4 patch:


These happen to be 3.5″ squares, but you could make them any size you like.

The first cut is to take 1.75″ off each side.  That is one half of each block, so if you want to start with 6″ blocks, you’d cut off 3″ from each side.  This is what it looks like when you make the first cuts:


Then you rotate the cut pieces:


And sew them together:


Now you cut 1.75″ off the top and bottom of this block:


Then you rotate the cut strips again and sew together:


Voila!!! You have created a 16 patch with not a lot of little squares to sew together.

Pat N. taught us how to do this, and she did a great job.  Thank-you, Pat.

Will I do this again?  Only with different ironing or opening up the center of the 4 patch and twirling the seams so you can iron towards the dark fabric all the time.  I found I couldn’t get perfect point matching because the seams didn’t nest for me.

I’m not a pinner, so that could also be the reason.  When I’ve made this block before, I’ve always ironed toward the dark fabric, and never had the need to pin.  I’m a big proponent of nested seams.

16 more blocks to make, and then onto the shorts/pants.




Pfaff Passport 3.0

November 9, 2018

My almost 15 year old Janome 720 Platinum sewing machine well and truly died a few weeks ago.  I loved that little sewing machine.  It sewed through lots of layers, and never needed to be repaired.

The computer board died, and the turn wheel seized up.  The machine has been discontinued, and even if the parts were available, it would have cost more to repair it, than it was worth.  I did check with a couple of different shops before starting the search for a new sewing machine.

Many hours of research later, I narrowed it down to two machines, another Janome, or the Pfaff Passport.  I was interested in the Ever Sewn line also, but one of the youtube videos promoting the machine, showed it sewing out decorative stitches.  In the short bit shown, there was a thread loop on the top.  Combine that with no dealer support, and I ruled out that machine. It was half the price of what I ended up purchasing though.

My priority was good stitch quality, light weight, needle down abilty, able to sew without the foot pedal, speed control, needle threader, free motion available,  and a few decorative stitches.  Went to the local dealers, test sewed with the machines – with my own fabric, interfacing and batting layers – wrote on the fabric samples what machine was used to create the stitch samples, then came home and thought about it.  I find if I can take my time with making a decision, I’m usually happy with it for the rest of my life.  😉

The Pfaff Passport 3.0 was the winner.  It came home with me yesterday, and I did a bit of sewing with it today.  It threads differently, so I will have to get used to that, and I’ll have to get familiar with which button to push for the function I want, but that will hopefully be a short learning curve.

Here is what my little darlin’ looks like in my sewing cabinet:


And yes, that is snow on the trees, visible through the window.  It was a good day to turn on all the lights in my sewing room, and familiarize myself with my new sewing machine.  I had to make my own sunshine today, because I sure as heck wasn’t getting any from the dreary Upstate New York sky today.

And WOW, I think my new little darlin’ just named herself.  Sunny!!!  I had a dear knitting machine friend named Sunny.  Coincidence that name came to mind?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes our brain makes connections without us even being aware of it, and this is one of those times.





Santa is Pieced

October 8, 2018

I’ve been busy working on projects, and can happily share the completed quilt top that has been a work in progress for a couple of years – yes a couple of years:

Santa Done

All that embroidery is by hand – the large Santas and the small cornerstone designs, then it was arranged differently from the original pattern.  I saw this setting at a quilt show and loved it, so made it happen for my quilt too.   Now for the quilting by check book.  😉

I also finished up a huck towel.  I’m a member of a few art groups, and this one tries new ideas every month.  All I can say is, huck embroidery is not my thing.  This is a one and done:


Now, what next?  I have so many new patterns I want to make, and so many unfinished projects that could be tackled.  Wonder which will win?


Santa Quilt

September 1, 2018

No, it’s not Christmas, but it is September first.  Where in the world did summer go?  We’re still having summer weather, so it’s shorts and t-shirts being worn everyday, but Christmas in my sewing studio.  Why Christmas?  The Santa quilt has finally gotten some attention again.

I’ve talked about working on the Santa quilt so much here,  that it is way past time to give you all a status update.  This might take the record for taking me the longest quilt to piece, but here is how it looks so far:

First Row

The Santas are hand embroidered redwork designs (so are the little cornerstones inside the stars), and all  embroidery has been done for over a year.  I placed 5 little pieced blocks  around the Santas to add interest.  Then I added a 1/2″ black border to set off the blocks.  All 12 of them are ready to be added to the lattice.

Each lattice piece is different, and there is no pattern, and that is what I’ve consistently been screwing up.  I’m winging it and trying to make the stars wonky.  Wonky is hard for me.  Precise positioning is easy – as those little blocks around the Santas pretty much well prove my point.  Some of them have 32 pieces in them, and they finish to 4″.

I’ve taken each visit to the seam ripper with a good attitude though.  It’s only fabric.  I have more of it.  Mistakes happen, and either having to take BP medication for the first time in my life, or old age has mellowed me out.  Surprises even me.  😉

I love, love, love this quilt, and hope to get it completely pieced by the end of September, but am not making any promises.  I thought it would be pieced by the end of June, then the end of July, then the end of August.  Now I know it will be completely pieced when it’s ready to be completely pieced.


Free Motion Quilting

August 14, 2018

I used to be pretty good at FMQ, but my oh my, did that recent Comfort Quilt test my patience.  I lost my FMQ mojo.  That’s what happens when you don’t practice – often.

I was so upset that I was considering purchasing a new sewing machine – the Juki straight stitch only one – the mini version.  Came to my senses and realized, no, it wasn’t the sewing machine’s fault, it was little old me.

Determined to get better, I watched FMQ shows on YouTube and old Craftsy classes I had purchased, and practiced, practiced, practiced.  After 2 weeks of almost daily practice, this is what I sewed out today:


Yes!!!  Now that’s more like it.  Not perfect, but I’m happy with the improvement.

I will now practice FMQ a few times a week, or I’ll lose my mojo again, and can’t let that happen.  😉