Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Blotto Block

Thursday was guild night for the Capital City Quilt Guild.  I took the opportunity to sign up for the guild sponsored National Quilt Day event on Saturday, March 18th. Received a square of fabric for the blotto block with a theme of Out of This World and decided to work on a block today.

I found a pattern called  sky rocket in my Carrie Hall Blocks book by Bettina Havig – page 129.  Selected some coordinating fabrics and planned out the block.  The pattern uses templates and the sizes are not conventional block dimensions.  I managed to finish the central nine patch, but my corner sections do not fit correctly. I am not a math whiz – that’s my older sister.  So, I still have to figure out how to make the pattern work to finish my block.  I think the idea is that the yellow sections look like rockets.

out-of-this-world-blotto-block

I also took hand applique along to the guild meeting and completed some applique on one of the heart blocks, but that’s all the stitching I accomplished this week. How about you?  Accomplish anything more than I did; or struggling to find time to quilt?  Hopefully next week I can show some real progress on my WIPs.

Until then…Happy Stitching!

Quilting and sewing is enjoyable only when you are able to share it with someone else.  I share my stitching with my two sisters, friends, guild members, and even acquaintances.  Now, I am sharing stitching with my eight-year-old granddaughter. She spent another Saturday morning practicing the sewing lessons I started a couple weeks ago.

Emma is learning to embroider.  She traced the heart pattern onto a piece of muslin and hooped it with flannel backing.  She selected three colors of embroidery floss and is learning to thread a needle and make a knot.  This isn’t easy for a newbie and is teaching Grandma patience.  She outlined the hearts using a stem stitch. Sometimes she made large stitches and had to take them out and redo them. Sometimes she didn’t catch the thread on the front of the stitch and either removed the stitch or kept it.  Sometimes she caught the corner of the fabric in her stitch as it folded across the back of the hoop.  All this is a part of the learning process.

emma-embroidering

We took a break from stitching to practice on the sewing machine.  She threaded the machine and stitched a sample with straight, curved and V-shaped lines. Learning to start and stop at a specific point can be challenging.  She is also learning how to adjust the speed with the foot pedal.  After a couple of hours, I think Emma needed a break.  But, she was persistent and wanted to finish the project. So, she trimmed the finished embroidery, pinned it to a backing, and stitched the seams on the sewing machine.  After turning right side out, she stuffed it with some batting scraps and whipped stitched the opening.  Voila, a pincushion.  Quite an accomplishment.

emmas-pincushion

As for my projects, I completed some hand quilting on Sunday.   Too many other activities going on in my life to allow much time for stitching.  But, sewing with Emma is worth more than finishing a WIP anyday.

Until next week…Happy Stitching!

Just Checking In

As Monday rolled around this week, I realized that I wouldn’t have much to say about my quilting progress.  At first, I wanted to rush into my sewing room and complete something, anything, so that I could say something about it.  Then, I realized that part of this process is being real about what I have been able to accomplish.

Just as in life, there are times that our hobbies take a back seat to more important things: God, family, yoga, career, day-to-day tasks.  Really, only those that make a career of quilting should get into their sewing studios every day.  As much as I would like to, I know that there are more important things in life than quilting.  Gasp!  How dare I suggest that we could spend too much time in our sewing rooms.  I do not find true fulfillment in doing just quilting.  In my not so distant past, I’ve immersed myself into my quilting to the detriment of my marriage, family, finances, and friendships.  I find myself much more satisfied with my quilting, when the rest of my life is balanced.

So, checking in today, I completed very little.  I appliqued some stems on my Craftsy class project on Friday night.  Sunday, I hand-quilted two rows of stitching around one of the center blocks of the liberated solids quilt.  Although this isn’t much, it is progress.  I will take it.

Just so I don’t leave you without some eye candy, I’ll share some pictures of my sewing room.  I could call it a studio, but it really is just a bedroom overflowing with sewing and quilting paraphernalia.

Whether your space is at the dining room table, like early in my marriage; a corner space or a well lit studio; your sewing space and mine is a haven, a place to retreat from everyday cares and create.  I hope you find time to relax and sew something this week.  Meet me back next time when I check in with more of my weekly progress on finishing up WIPs and UFOs.

Disclaimer: These photos were taken a few years ago after reorganizing my sewing & quilting space.  The room has overflowed out the door and into the next room.  It will probably never look this organized again.

Until next time…

 

This weekly progress update has multiple topics.  My goal was to complete the borders on a BOM begun about 1-1/2 years ago.  Although, I would like to say that I met my goal, I was only able to complete 3 of 4 borders.  But, I also spent time doing something crafty with each of my granddaughters, and made progress on a project that wasn’t even on my radar.

Mid-week, I put the first border on my Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  The pattern is by Jacquelynne Steves over at The Art of Home.  My older sister & I planned to do this project together.  The block options included applique or embroidery, and I chose to embroider.  The first border is the cream fabric used as the background fabric and the sashing.  This framed the blocks, making the fabric colors and embroidery stand out.  By Friday, I was able to add the second border of blue bird fabric.

2nd-border

Both of my granddaughters spent time with me this week-end doing a crafty project.  I planned a Saturday morning sewing lesson for 8-year-old Emma that included a trip to the local dime store to purchase items for her personal sewing box, practicing straight line stitching on striped fabric, and teaching embroidery stem stitching.  Her first project is to make a pin cushion, which has embroidered hearts.  Her nearly 5-year old sister Carly, spent time with Grandma on Sunday making a beaded turtle keychain kit.

In between, I added the third border to my quilt.  The dot fabric was purchased off the Hobby Lobby clearance rack.  I love dotty fabric and couldn’t pass by this purchase, only realizing after I got it home, that it is a perfect match to the fabrics in my quilt.  Bonus: I have enough to do the backing.

closeup-of-blocks

Being Grandma is lots of fun, but tiring.  Carly is a bowl full of energy.  I spent the remainder of the week-end on the sofa.  I picked up a hand quilting project in the vicinity of my resting place and added some stitches to the project.  My Solids Liberated Improv is from a Gwen Marston quilt retreat in 2009.

solids-improv-hand-quilting

So, that’s what I accomplished last week.  How about you; what projects have you been stitching on?  Join me this year in finishing up all those projects you’ve started.  I’m trying to learn persistence and determination with my UFO’s.  Just a little every week and, as the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”.

Happy Stitching!

 

Here we are in week four of the new year and I continue to document my quilting activities.  Over the last week, I basted several hearts for my Craftsy Hand Applique class.  And, that wraps up another blog post.  Wait, here’s a view of all the hearts that I have basted.

hearts

Actually, I could say a bit more.  I basted most of these while listening to the business part of the guild meeting last Thursday night.  Although it doesn’t look like much, I did accomplish what I set out to do for the week.  I applaud anyone that keeps moving forward with a project.  Each stitch leads to the final stitch.

As for the guild meeting, I am a member of the Capitol City Quilt Guild in Lansing, Michigan.  This month’s program featured quilter Debbie Grifka, of Esch House Quilts, who spoke about her modern quilt style.  She had lots of great quilts to show.  Debbie designs her own quilts, making many into published patterns.

As I was thinking about what project I would work on this week, I recalled a WIP from just over a year ago.  It’s a block of the month that I finished putting together with the exception of the borders.  My plan is to cut and stitch the borders and get the quilt top ready for machine quilting.  Check out the border fabrics.

border-fabrics

I love the dot fabric, and the whimsical bird fabric is a South Seas Imports designed by Debbie Mumm.  It’s been in my stash since the late 90’s, picked up off the clearance rack on a guild bus trip.  I finally found a quilt to use the colors and design in.  The cream muslin is for an inside border to offset the blocks, while the gold will be used for the binding.

Hope all of you are finding something fun to stitch on this week.  Next time I will reveal the quilt these fabrics will border.  See you all then.

Happy Stitching!

Progress on quilting projects has been slow this week.  But, I have a great excuse for putting my needle & thread aside: my fifth grandchild was born.  I spent three days and two nights caring for my 4 1/2 year old grandson, while Mom & Dad were at the hospital.  Then, I had to catch up on everything at home.

This week, I am sharing a new project from a Craftsy class that I purchased.  I love to applique and have taken several classes, even started a club at a local quilt guild.  I love the Craftsy platform and finally signed up for a class.  I can work at my own pace, review the information as much & as often as I need to, and the materials are excellent.  This particular class is called Hand Applique Made Easy by Mimi Dietrich.  I chose the class because I wanted to learn applique from this teacher.  This is a basic class for all levels of stitchers.

I began by selecting fabrics, mostly from my stash, but I did search out a theme fabric to use for the borders, then pulled colors from my stash to blend in.  Here is my color palette.

hand-applique-color-palette

I started the lessons after the new year began.  I decided to allot time each week-end to work on this project.  Here is my progress so far.

block-progress

I began by tracing all the applique designs onto my starched, white muslin.  I really like the hand feel of Legacy Studio muslin at JoAnn Fabrics.  I completed the first lesson on how to make stems, which also includes the basket & teacup handles.  Then, I moved into the lesson on freezer paper applique.  I really like appliqueing with freezer paper, but this class has provided additional tips that have already improved the shape of my heart.

basted-heart

Here is a large heart already basted and ready to applique.  I have prepared several more smaller hearts for different blocks.  I cannot wait to get to the applique process, but preparing the shapes correctly makes a world of difference.  Basting is also a great take-along project.

So, I am continuing to meet my goal of stitching a little each week, and sharing it with you all.  Hopefully, you are finding time to quilt, as well.  See you back here next week.  Until then…

Happy Stitching!

 

So, we meet again on the pages of my blog.  I said I would be here, so I needed to show up.  I made myself accountable to you all.  Hopefully, you showed up again too.

And, what have I accomplished?  I haven’t been lax, but quilting takes time.  I work a 40-hour per week job, so I have to find time in between everything else to do this craft that gives me such satisfaction.  And, you do to, with whatever you like to make with your hands.

The scalloped-edge binding wasn’t difficult.  I say this as an experienced sewist, but really, if you’ve successfully put a binding on a quilt, stitching a scalloped edge is doable.  Note: I use the word sewist because I like how it sounds, even though Merriam-Webster doesn’t recognize it.checkerboard-edge-treatmentI chose to make the binding single-fold.  For those that don’t know quilting terminology, that just means one layer of fabric wrapped around the edge of the quilt instead of a double layer.  With this small table topper, it seemed to make sense, but ultimately it made for an easier binding.

To make a single-fold binding, fold your strip in half with wrong sides together; press.  Open up the fabric and fold each edge in to meet the center crease and press again.  Fold together on the first fold line and you have the binding.  I like to give it another good pressing to make the folds crisp.  Don’t use a walking foot to attach the binding to the edge of the quilt.  I just used my 1/4″ foot because it was easier to maneuver, and I could see the edge of the quilt.  To stitch, open out binding and lay along front edge of quilt.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam, which will be along the first fold line.  When the binding is attached, turn it to the back and it will fold over the edge perfectly.  I started with a 1-1/4″ strip of bias fabric, choosing to use the border print for non-contrast.

checkerboard-table-topper-corner

The corners were turned just like you traditionally would, while the scalloped points were stitched by pivoting the foot at each turn.  I also clipped into the scallop point, just  through the thread on the initial seam line, before attaching.  Hopefully, my word pictures explain this process well enough that you could give it a try.  I love the finished project.

Image result for check mark symbol– one completed project off my checklist created by my 2017 blog posts.

checkerboard-table-topper-finished

Finished Checkerboard table topper

I also spent most of my Saturday afternoon working on a Craftsy class project.  It’s a basic hand applique class by Mimi Dietrich.  I’ll have to save progress on that project for next time.  Hopefully, you’ll meet up with me again next week and we’ll see what I’ve been up to with all those WIPs in boxes and bins in my sewing room.

Until then…Happy Stitching!

I make lists.  Lots of lists.  I’m the type of person that adds to a list just so I can cross it off the list.  I like to see that I completed something.  I like to look back at my lists and see what I accomplished.  At the beginning of each new year, I like to create a list of the quilt projects I plan to finish.  Generally, the list gets longer and the finishes are fewer.  I seem to spend a lot of time creating lists and less time doing what’s on the list.

Last year, I didn’t make a list.  In fact, I haven’t been working off a written list all year.  Instead, I focused on my current project and worked on it until it was done, then I moved on to the next project.  In 2016, I completed 3 baby quilts and 1 queen size quilt, from start to finish.  I made progress on several other projects.  I also stitched up several items for my grandchildren: baby burp cloths, baby bibs, baby blankets, doll clothes, and lined curtain panels.  I also didn’t post much on my blog.  Seems I get more done when I stitch and avoid the blogosphere.

elephant-baby-blanket

Flannel elephant fabric with comfy gray fabric on back and satin blanket binding with heart stitching – baby blanket for my next grandson we are patiently waiting to arrive.

Lately, I hear more & more quilters are trying to downsize their stashes and complete UFOs, WIPs, or whatever you call them.  I’ve been trying to do that, as well, but find myself obsessing about the particulars.  I can be a perfectionist.  But, I’ve decided I need to jump in and just do them.  I can’t take too long making a decision.  So, now that I have caught up on current projects, I decided to jump into a WIP and get it done.

I picked up a table topper I put together last September, from a kit I bought several years ago.  I bought the project so that I could try my hand at a scalloped edge treatment.  I spray basted the top, batting & backing together and started quilting.  After stitching around an inner border with a walking foot, I started free motion quilting organic designs.  In no time, the topper was finished.  I marked the scalloped edge, stitched the line, and trimmed away the fabric edge.  A couple rows of echo quilting along the scalloped edge and I’m ready for the binding.

Well, I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my progress and excited to have a finish in sight.  Makes me want to pull out another project and get it done.  So, meet me back here next week and I’ll show you what I’ve accomplished.  And, maybe after several more weeks, I’ll begin to see a dent in those UFOs and WIPs.

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

Quilting is a passion of mine.  I like to share what I do with others.  But I have found blogging to be time consuming and takes away from the time I get to make quilts.  So, you will see only a few posts when I have more time in my life to visit this site and input another quilt story.

Today’s story will be short and contain few pictures.  Sorry!  Many of my quilts are for gifts.  And, in the process of finishing a gift, I often forget to take a picture before wrapping it up.  I recently made another Charm Squares Baby Quilt as a gift to my niece’s son born in October.  I also made a flannel baby blanket with that bumpy, plush fabric on the back as a gift for my nephew’s son born in November.  Now, my attention is on making a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  I know, I had a grandson born in July with my previous post about that quilt finish.  Now you can see why I don’t have time to blog about my quilts.

I have a great pattern picked out for this grandson’s quilt.  It has rows of elephants, which is the theme of the baby’s room.  Check out the pattern here.  I have fabrics selected with an emphasis on grays and teals.

I cannot wait to get started on this quilt, but I have another Christmas project to finish first.  I am making bedroom curtains for my two granddaughters.  Mom made a special request to have them as Christmas gifts.  So, I must end this post and get to work on these curtains.  I have an entire week free of regular work to sew on them.  How great is that!

Happy Quilting!

I’ve completed another baby quilt.  This one is for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  Big Sister, my 7-year-old granddaughter, assisted with picking out the pattern and fabrics.  The design is adapted from the pattern Tiny Treasures in Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms.  Her pattern used 2-inch patches, but I had lots of 3-1/2 inch patches that I’ve saved using the Scraptherapy method, by Joan Ford of Hummingbird Highway.  I also completed a different border treatment than the pattern by Ami.

I found a great bargain on a dotted fabric and used it to make borders and backing.  The colors are perfect for a baby boy quilt: brown, yellow, blue & green.  And, it fit well with the patches in the quilt.  I love all the little designs fussy-cut from my collection of children’s prints.  I’ve been collecting these since my first grandson was born four years ago, but haven’t used any of them until now.  Isn’t that how it goes. We collect fabrics with good intentions to make something, but it takes forever to get that project made.  It took my daughter having a baby to give me a deadline to finish a quilt.

Speaking of deadlines, her delivery is fast approaching.  So, I took time this holiday week-end to get the outside borders onto the quilt and make the backing.  Here is a peek at the quilt top before I send it out to the longarmer.

Tiny Treasures Picture Play Baby Quilt

Baby quilts are so much fun to make.  Over the last 30 years or so, I’ve created more baby quilts than I can even remember.  I really need to document all my baby quilts together.  That may be a topic for a future post.  For now, here are more close-up shots of the picture patches.

DSCN2275DSCN2276DSCN2277DSCN2278

Enjoy!

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