Sep 24, 2010

New Home Announcement!

Don't forget to come by my new blog address and sign up to follow!  You will be automatically entered to win a $50 gift certificate to your favorite online fabric shop.  What every quilter fabric!

Sep 23, 2010

Giveaway to Celebrate Moving Day!

My blog is moving to  To celebrate the move, I am giving away a $50 gift certificate to your favorite online fabric shop!  Visit my new blog and register as a Follower before October 3rd and you are entered in the drawing.  On October 3rd I will use the Google Random Number Generator to pick a winner.  So help me celebrate my move and....well, get what every quilter wants.  Free fabric!

Sep 15, 2010

My New Machine

Look what has come to live in my studio!

A 1955 Singer Featherweight!

I have been lurking on Craigslist and Ebay for months watching for one of these machines that was in good shape and reasonably priced.  I found one, bid and won!  Woohoo.....until the machine arrived.  The seller on Ebay said it "sewed beautifully."  I took it out of its box and threaded it, put in a bobbin and tried to sew.....nothing.  The bobbin make a sickening rubbing sound and I couldn't bring the thread from the bobbin to the face plate.  Uh-oh. 

I took her down to my local sewing machine shop and here is where I give a shout out to Marty at The Sewing Machine Shop in Walnut Creek, California.  He took the machine apart and completely serviced the machine.  He found a badly compressed mass of thread that had collected behind the bobbin casing that made it impossible for the bobbin to work correctly.  He cleaned her up, adjusted the bobbin, adjusted the tension, checked the belt, installed a new bulb and.....she is as good as new (for some additional $$$).

This little machine just purrs along.  Very quiet and a super straight stitch.  I can see why these machines are so popular.  She is 15 inches long, 9 1/2 inches tall and weighs 11 pounds.  Tiny, but amazing!  She came with 15 different attachments.  I spent all afternoon researching online what these attachments do...because they didn't come with any instructions.  I have one foot that you can feed a strip of fabric into the foot and it will create a bias tape AND simultaneously sew it onto another fabric.  I need to do some experimenting.

If you have one of these machines and have some of these amazing attachments, please comment here about what you have learned and let's share with other Featherweight owners.

Sep 12, 2010

Bee Blocks for Alex

I had a nice quiet Sunday afternoon to myself to sew.  I just recevied round robin bee blocks from Alex of Canberra, Australia and decided to work on that project because I love the block she chose.  It is a simple paper pieced kaleidoscope block.  It is easy to sew but spectacular when grouped together.  It forms a secondary pattern that looks circular, much like Storm at Sea.  I was having such a good time, I made two of them for her...just couldn't help myself.  Here's the first:
and here is the second:

and here are the bee blocks that have been made for her so far:

These blocks still have quite a journey ahead of them and by the time they make their way back to Alex she should have lots of beautiful blocks for her quilt!

Sep 10, 2010

A Bee Block for Victoria

In my round robin quilting bee, Victoria from London, England requested this framed block.  She asked for an appliqued center, if we chose to do one for her...

I appliqued a sewing machine and tiny quilt in the center to symbolize the quilting bee that has brought this group together as friends.  Each piece of fabric in the frame is a fabric that I have used in other blocks for this bee, giving Victoria's quilt a connection to all the other quilts.  Her quilt is growing...and on its way to Southern California for its next stop.
It's nice to have this block finished because there were more blocks in the mailbox when I got home this afternoon!

Sep 7, 2010

Rose of Sharon Blocks!

Sharon Pederson's Rose of Sharon Block Book has been released by Martingale Press.  Two of my blocks are featured in the book.  This book was the result of a contest sponsored by Electric Quilt last year. 

There are some really amazing blocks in this book and I am so humbled to be among them!  Sharon was sweet enough to send me some autographed book plates for some of my quilter friends...only three and half months until Christmas!

Aug 24, 2010

Christmas in August

Today I received a package from my secret partner in the Modern Swap, Kerry in Exeter, England.  The swap involved sending 6 fat quarters of fabric, a decorative item for our partner's sewing room, and a handmade gift.  Kerry is a very creative quilter and sent me some adorable gifts.

She made me this darling pin cushion caddy which will be perfect on my cutting table ~ a splendid place to park my rotary cutters.  And look at this Good King Wenceslas ornament she made.

There are some remarkable details on this little ornament!

She also sent along this fabulous handmade gift:

Quilted coasters!  Aren't these just too darn cute?
She also sent along fabrics from my very favorite designers:

Isn't that mini-bunting cute?  There is a booklet on quilts from the Victoria and Albert Museum collection, as well as a fat quarter of a limited edition print from the collection.  It's completed with postcard photos of Exeter, where she lives.

Thanks, Kerry, for your lovely, generous gifts!  I will certainly enjoy using each and every one of them.  I was certainly lucky to have been assigned such a wonderful secret swap partner. 

Aug 11, 2010

Pillow for Modern Swap

I have to stop signing up to participate in any more online quilting projects so I can do some sewing for myself!  I am finishing up this pillow for a swap I am in.  We are swapping a yard and a half of modern quilting fabric, something decorative for our partner's sewing room and a hand made gift. 
I know who I am sending to, but I do not know who is sending to me.  I have been reading my partner's blog to get some idea of her tastes.  She is a very talented quilter.  I hope she likes what I am sending her!  So, it's back to the machine to sew the pillow together and organize the rest of the package.  I borrowed the idea for this from my friend Krista in the Journey Round Robin bee.  Thanks for letting me use it, Krista!

Aug 4, 2010

Block Twelve for Moose on the Porch Quilt-along!

Yahoo!  The last block for this fun quilt-along.  This one is a little color crazy but I am almost out of fabric and I was absolutely determined not to use anything but the jelly roll.  Ahhh, done!  Well, almost.  Still have to do a layout and stitch it all together, but that is the easy part!

It is so satisfying to get to this point in a quilt.  The blocks are done and there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Aug 3, 2010

A Bee Block for Jen

This is another block for the round robin bee that I am participating in.  This block is for Jen in Canada.  She sent her starter block for inspiration and asked that we not make her block, but something inspired by hers.  She also asked for earth tones and asked that we use a piece of her hedgehog fabric.  This is the block I made for her:
This is my block with Jen's starter block:

and here are the rest of the blocks so far:

(Note to self.....iron that sheet next time before you lay the blocks out on it, girlfriend!  Good grief.)

As the round robin progresses it is becoming more interesting and a little more challenging.  This starter block came with three other blocks for me to consider in choosing my pattern and fabrics.  The next block I receive will have four other blocks with it.  Each successive block will have more visual elements to be taken into consideration in the design process.  I love the challenge of making a pattern that will complement the other blocks.  This project is helping me grow as a quilter and provides me with the opportunity to get creative!

Jul 24, 2010

Another block for the Round Robin Bee

I have finished my block for Monika in Germany.  She chose the paintbox block that Oh, Fransson! has made so popular.  Each block features fabrics in one color and there are two sets of borders that are a solid of that color.  The borders are irregular, giving each block a slightly different look.  Here is my block:
I have to admit that I have not used red in my quilting before.  I recently saw some very fun red and white prints in my LQS and bought a few so I decided to take the leap and make my block in reds.  Here is my block with Monika's starter block:

and here are the blocks that have been made for Monika so far:

I am not much of a photographer and this photo doesn't do this group justice.  Each block has some unique, fun thing going on in it.  A mermaid with seahorses and an octopus, two people used pretty printed selvages in their borders, some gorgeous purple batiks, and the black block features a gorgeous silver metallic floral in the center and is very sophisticated.  I think Monika is going to have a beautiful quilt when we finish!

Jul 22, 2010

Block Eleven

This is the eleventh block for the Moose on the Porch quilt-along.  I am running out of fabric in my jelly roll so I have a pretty crazy color scheme going on in this one.  It is a good thing there is only one more block to go! I am determined to make the entire quilt out of this jelly roll.  This has been a fun and very easy project.  I am glad to have a little time to sew today.  You know things are busy when you can't find 10 minutes to sit down at the machine.  I have two blocks for my Round Robin bee sitting here waiting for some attention.  I am hopeful to get at least one of them finished up today.

Jul 9, 2010

Block Ten

This is the tenth block for the Moose on the Porch quilt-along.  Two more blocks and it's done.  Well, almost.  There is still sewing the top together and quilting it, but we are almost there.

The instructions for this cute little flower block had some issues, but it still went together fairly quickly.  Which is fortunate because my youngest daughter is taking her driving test for her license next week and she has been sitting, tapping her foot, waiting for me to finish this so we can go out and cheat death....ur, practice driving this afternoon.

Jul 7, 2010

My Charming Mini Quilt from Kimmie

In yesterday's mail I received my mini quilt from Kimmie in Oregon.  She and I swapped charm packs of fabric and were to make whatever we wanted for each other.  This was organized through an online quilting bee.  Check out if you are interested in joining one of these groups.  I would encourage you to try it.  It is a great way to meet other quilters and expand your quilting horizons!  Not to mention it is just plain fun.  This is the mini I received from Kimmie.  It is about 18 inches.

A beautiful "watercolor" heart!  This had to be a challenge not only because these are one inch squares, but the fabrics I sent her were somewhat subdued and not a lot of color variations.  Kimmie did a great job of placing the fabrics, and the piece is also beautifully quilted.

Also in the envelope were a few extra gifts!  Lucky me!

A pretty journal, two cards of cute buttons, a darling Laurel Burch cat magnet (looking great on my refrigerator door) and a craft pattern for cute fabric cupcakes.  How much fun can one envelope contain?  Thank you so much, Kimmie.  It was so much fun being your partner in this swap!

Jul 6, 2010

Update on Traveling Round Robin Bee

I have finished my block for Krista in Seattle.  I love the bright fabrics she chose for her starter block and the equally pretty fabrics Elizabeth and Cindy N. used in their blocks that accompanied Krista's.  Here is the block I made for Krista:

Here is Krista's block with mine:

And here are all the blocks so far:

It is fun watching these quilts grow block by block and seeing their personality develop.  I need to finish writing in Krista's jounal and then I will pop them all in the mail tomorrow for their next stop in Southern California.

Jul 2, 2010

Charming Mini

I am on a mission to expand my horizons and step out of my quilting comfort zone and I am learning new things every day!  Last month I signed up to participate in a quilting swap.  The rules were to send a charm pack of fabric, plus a fat quarter of a coordinating fabric, to my swap partner.  My partner uses what I send her to make a mini quilt of her choice and returns it to me.  I am to do the same for her.

My partner, Kim from Oregon, sent me a charm pack of "Blush" by Moda.  This is what I made for her:

It is 16" by 16".  I had to rework the pattern twice to be able to get a complete heart out of a 5" square of fabric.  I originally used solid circles of fabric but they looked too static so I strip pieced the circles and appliqued them onto the background.  I liked the circles better in the multi-colors.  Then it came time to quilt it. I prefer hand quilting my smaller tops and the big stuff I send off to the long arm experts.  About two and half weeks ago I very gracefully tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and landed full force on both of my hands (to avoid doing a face plant on the cement), injuring both of my hands.  Hand quilting this project was out of the question. It had to be finished and mailed by the first week in July.  I have never machine quilted so I thought why not start now? 

I used almost three yards of muslin and batting practicing straight lines, curves and graduated to stipples.  I actually started to like it!  Then it came time to put this project under the needle and I froze.  What if I made a mistake?  I had planned on doing a simple stipple but I couldn't do it.  I put on the walking foot and did some tame stitch in the ditch quilting which, oddly, distorted the squares slightly.  I am not sure why, but I guess with some experience I will figure it out.  Here's the back:

I called it "Love Makes the World Go 'Round."

What I learned: sewing a tiny quilt is harder than it looks; quilting around a circle isn't easy; I have tremendous new appreciation for quilters who do amazing free motion work on their home machines.

Jun 30, 2010

Postcard Swap

In my online round robin quilting bee group, a few of us decided to swap quilted postcards.  Something like artists' trading cards, only postcard size.  I have only done one of these before, but I had fun sewing mine and sending it to Terrie in Sourthern California.  This is the darling card I received from Deanna in Ohio.

The mountains remind of the Grand Tetons outside of Yellowstone National Park and summer vacation!

The back is darling, too!  Love the yellow butterfly stamp.  Thanks so much, Deanna.  The card is proudly displayed on my inspiration board on the wall in my sewing room.

Jun 23, 2010

Block Nine for Moose on the Porch Quilt-along

Block nine was another quick, easy pattern.  I enjoy using this line of fabric (Objects of Desire - Moda).  All of the blocks have a bright and cheery look.  It is a good thing that we only have three blocks to go in this quilt along because my jelly roll is almost gone!

Jun 8, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks!

In the Traveling Bee quilt group I am participating in, we are having a quilt-along.  Each month one of the participants chooses a block and everyone sews it up.  This month Vickie chose Dutchman's Puzzle.  The flying geese block is an old standard, but Vickie posted a tutorial at that shows how to make four blocks at once.  Wow!  I have always cut the rectangle, put the squares in the corners, sewn edge to edge, cut off the ears, pressed and repeat.  The method shown in the tutorial is speedy and insures perfect points every time.

Fun!  I wouldn't mind a whole quilt out of this one...

Jun 7, 2010

Wonky Houses

In my Secret Society of the Traveling Bee group, Cindy N. asked for a neighborhood of wonky houses.  I learned something in sewing this block.  I am a symmetry girl.
It is actually harder than it looks to sew these cute little houses that are....well...wonky.  It was fun doing this block because it is so different from what I usually do.  I hope Cindy likes it.  Here is the rest of the neighborhood so far.

Take a trip over to my friend Jane's giveaway!  The button for Jane's Fabrics is at the top of my page.
She has some beautiful fabrics in her Etsy shop, too...

Jun 5, 2010


Last fall Electric Quilt organized a design challenge in conjunction with AccuCut, Martingale Publishing and Nine Patch Media.  The challenge was to design a Rose of Sharon block in the EQ software using the AccuCut shapes: a simple rose shape in 8 sizes, a simple leaf shape in 8 sizes and a small palette of batik fabrics.  I submitted a dozen designs, all non-traditional.  It was fun coming up with the designs but I hit "send" and forgot about it.

At Spring Market they displayed the six winning designs made up into a beautiful quilt.  The grand prize was an embroidery software package, but since I don't have an embroidery machine I wasn't having prize envy.

I have received an email from Sharon Pederson, who is writing a book for Martingale and doing a DVD for Nine Patch Media about this challenge.  One or more of my blocks are being included in her book and the DVD.  She only had room for 84 blocks in the book.  There were 850 entries.  I am speechless!

I will be interested to see the book when it is released in August.  At this point I can only guess which block made it in, but I hope it was "Sharon's in Love."  It was my favorite.

May 30, 2010

Rainy Day ~ Revised

After looking at the "Rainy Day" block on my design wall for the last two days, I have decided that the strong circle design fabric is too overpowering for the umbrella design.  I have sewn the block again, using a solid pink and I think I like it better.

The pink patches will show up as pinwheels more than the circles did, and I think the pink solid is not as distracting.

I love the circle design in the first block (left) but when I stand back and look at it from five or six feet away, the umbrellas disappear and all I see are the circles.  The block on the left would look great if I put the pink solid in place of the umbrellas, but I want the umbrellas!

I have to admit that I frequently get "frozen" at this point in the design game.  What if I am making the wrong decision?  What if I spend hours and hours making the blocks with the solid pink and I end up with something I don't like?  Aggghh!  Maybe I should put them aside and make something else!  I defeat myself before I even get started.  Well, today I am making the decision to forge ahead with the pink solid.  But I really, really like the circles.....oh, dear.

May 29, 2010

Japanese Cottons

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are on a four-month sabbatical in Sendai, Japan. My brother-in-law is a professor at Texas A&M and is collaborating with some colleagues on a special project there. My sister-in-law knows I love to quilt and offered to do a little shopping for me. I asked for some cottons and told her to pick some that she really liked. In the mail came these:

A fun selvage for the person in my round robin bee who wants selvages in her block ;)

The cutting slip from the Daiei Department Store in Sendai.

I have never seen a fabric quite like this.  My sister-in-law said it is very traditional Japanese cotton.  It is slightly heavier than a good grade quilt shop fabric, but it is very soft.  It is cotton, but it has a nubby texture like raw silk.  The colors are bright but in a subtle way.  Lovely.  Good job, Kate!

Now the pressure is on to find a pattern to showcase these beautiful prints.
  (Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I am making it for Kate).

May 27, 2010

Rainy Day Block

It is a cold, rainy day today so this has been an appropriate project!  I have been thinking about a block pattern that I can use for my cute umbrella fabric and I have come up with this modified pin wheel block.  It will make a nice secondary design when it is sewn together on point.  I think the circles may be a little too much visual weight.  I might try a soft pink solid the color of the background in the umbrellas and then use the circles in the border.  Hmmmm....what do you think?

May 25, 2010

Block Seven ~ Do Over!

After looking at the block I made yesterday for the Jelly Roll sampler, I decided I didn't like it.  It doesn't have enough contrast over!  This is better.  It will look much nicer with the other blocks and has a little more personality.  I will save the other one and sew it into the back of the quilt. 

May 24, 2010

Block Seven ~ Quilt Along

This is block seven for the Moose on the Porch Quilt Along.  I am not sure I like the light squares in the center, but since this quilt is for my daughter and it's all about the shoes, I wanted to put the stilettos in.  I may make another one using the four square with a darker fabric, just in case this one is too light when I ultimately put the quilt together.  I am using 2 1/2 inch precut strips so I had a hard time fussy cutting the shoes.  I almost cut off the toes on the two on the right, but I don't think she will mind.  Can't let perfectionism get in the way of the fun!

May 22, 2010

Rainy Days

Yesterday I stopped in to my local quilt shop to look at some Superior Thread after reading a number of comments about it on our flickr group for the Journey Quilting Bee. While I was there, I saw this adorable new fabric. It is called Rainy Days and Monday by Riley Blake Designs.

I love the umbrella fabric.

It said, "Take me home!  Take me home!"  So, I did.  That is one reason I have to stay out of pet shops and animal shelters.  Or zoos, for that matter.  On more than one occasion I have come home with something unexpected.  At least this doesn't eat, doesn't need to be groomed or demands to be walked.  The print is so lively and modern.  It makes me smile just looking at it.  Now time to think of a pattern to use it in!