Oooo! Another one!

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So, the quilt is progressing.

More on the Amish quilt

Two more little corners, then I can swing into the border. I’ve had to retrace the design THREE TIMES. Because I used chalk. Well, the first time I used cornstarch because I read some stupid tip. One white me later, I decided it was a stupid idea.

Anyway. Despite the apparent struggles of the chalk lines wiping off, I am looking forward to doing the swervy interlocking border lines. I’m thinking of binding it in black, what do you think?

(I will also add a label & a sleeve for hanging, as it’s wall-sized.)

Emma has been crafty lately.

Emma's pets

As you can imagine, being a long-term homeschooler who used to own a craft store, I have a tons of supplies. you know, just in case a crafting emergency breaks out. You never know.

So I’ve been encouraging her to do more creative exploring and independent work. (She countered with “How about you teach me to sew on the sewing machine?” Smart kid.) Now she has something like 16 of these puppies. I got the Klutz book at a yard sale where these kids tried to sell it with half the supplies left, couldn’t then tossed it in the (clean) trash at the end. Yes, I snagged it.

There were cardstock pages of small items to punch out and fold together, but these were gone. Emma traced the outlines and made her own. We got new eyelash yarn for the bodies and OF COURSE we had a plentiful supply of pipe cleaners and googly eyes or beads.

If you would like to adopt a wonky-eyes pipe cleaner dog (or kitty!) just let Emma know. Carrying case may or may not be included.


And in case you are of the 20% of my readers who are NOT related to me, you may be unaware it is my birthday on Sunday. A very dear friend that I work with occasionally sent me a “little something” from my Amazon wishlist.


I KNOW! I was pretty jazzed.

And thankful. 🙂

I’ve been quilting

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Last count (I made a list) I have 22 quilts on the go.

Over the years, I have completed three quilts.

I fall down at the actual quilting part. I *love* picking out fabric. I *love* sewing the tops together. I fight & struggle and OW and moan about the sewing together of the layers. Hand sewing takes so long. I’ve been working on a hand-quilted twin sized quilt for Sarah since she was about 6 years old.

machine quilting? My machine hates me. My other machine? Well, it had feed issue. As in, when you release the feed & drop the feed dogs, it still feeds. (Yeah, I know.) I am surely kicking myself now.

So with a looming pile of quilt tops, and the fabric re-sorted into piles, half of which are uncut, things were urgent. Emma says I shouldn’t cut out any more quilts until I actually, you know, quilt. There are four completely finished tops waiting. There are six quilts tops in progress. The rest are piles of carefully stacked fabrics no one is allowed to touch.

Except for one.

One I am actually machine quilting.

I had started trying to machine quilt it with what I had, then wound up unpicking it all.


Yes, my family thinks I am nuts. I’ve basted and re-basted this puppy, trying to find what works best for me.

properly thread basted

I finally broke down, bit the bullet, scrounged up the thirty whole dollars for something for myself, and bought a walking foot for my machine. (The one that hates me, but it may fit on my other one too)

walking foot

My friend Jo said “omg, you didn’t already have one?! “ I KNOW!

I sent my mom an all caps email & told her I was in love. I’m sure she’s deliberating which ones of her tops she can convince me to quilt for her.

Last night, I did a substantial amount of some heavy quilting on this particular quilt with my brand new walking foot. I took small breaks, put Emma to bed and kept going till I was too tired and made a boo-boo I really had to pick out. It was only one straight line.

This was earlier in the evening. The blue areas are all done now.
machine quilting

This morning my arms ache. But it’s a good ache, you know?


A word on the planned quilts: Like many sewers I have piles of fabric. My mom & I share fabric back & forth, plus I scour second hand stores & yard sales, as well as fabric shops, for any piece that “speaks” to me. This means I have a stash of fabric that needs its own room. If you knit, just replace “fabric” with “yarn” and you’ll relate.

So, since I have also been on a cleaning tear lately and ready to chuck out half our belongings, on one of my much-needed mental breaks from work things, I played around with my fabric, got inspired, and groups things together in nice stacks for future quilts. I’m using what I have here, even for the backings. Some in the stash have people’s names attached to them too.

piecing the back

The only thing I really need now is quilt batting.

Also, I’ve been sketching some designs too, because I said at the first of the year I should do more art.

red & yellow disappearing 9 patch

It’s a nice break from work, and some days sorely needed. This is how I recharge, and I need to make sure I do it.

Quilty Fabricy bits

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Seems weird to be right into quilting when the weather is getting increasingly hot out there. But I can hide in the living room, the Cave we call it, where it is still cool and blissfully dark.

Oh, but I need a light for stitching.

Amish Sunshine & Shadow

This quilt I kept having endless issues with. In an effort to use up some scraps, they were far too short for any speed strip piecing techniques. I would up spending more time fiddling with strips and ripping out seams than I did putting blocks together. I forged through until I got 16 blocks, then I stopped. It’s lap sized or wall hanging sized. It still needs a border, and then quilting. Not sure how I’m going to quilt it yet, or even what color thread. Then I think I may sell it.

The process of hand quilting

I am quilting my daughter’s quilt, on my mother’s quilt frame, with my grandmother’s tools. I have decided that while I like speed piecing techniques, I adore old-fashioned patterns and quilting. I like some machine quilting as long as it’s on a small machine. I don’t like long-arm computerized machine quilting. It makes the quilt look store bought, and then I think what was the point in that?

And I am cursing myself over Sarah’s quilt. When I pieced it together, I had a new serger and sewed many of the strips together with that. then decided to hand-quilt it. If you don’t just go “ow” I’ll tell you why: serged seams are bulky and stiff. My stitches mostly skip them entirely. And there is a lot, as I also pieced the back. Yes, I have learned a ton of stuff since then.

There’s two stacks of fabric waiting to be cut for quilt tops. One, the old soft florals for Ron & I, another, reds and yellows with white. Can’t wait to see it. I keep swapping out fabric until I am satisfied, and I have an idea for the block layout, but I’m not sure I can pull it off without overthinking, and I don’t want to mess it up either.

It has to be enjoyable for me, this piecing together of fabric and pattern and color and shape, so they all work as a whole. I see it in my head, this quilt. The hard part is getting it out.

Not sure if I want to hand-quilt a third quilt, especially a big one. But either of my machines are to cranky to machine quilt with. My mom will be loaning me hers to try, as an instructor told her it would do machine quilting quite well. If it does, and I get the hang of it, I’m sure I will be doing all mine and mom’s too.

– one quilt on the frame (Sarah’s blues and pinks)
– 3 finished tops needing to be sandwiched and basted, then quilted (blues, baby and navy/yellow)
– 3 tops in process (purple pinwheels with Nanny’s dress, Amish sunshine & shadow, rainbow stripes)
– 3 stacks of fabric waiting to be cut (faded florals, red/yellow/white disappearing 9 patch, green florals for triple Irish chain)

Oh wow, that’s ten. I’ve got it bad. Right now, I’m mostly trying to use up the stash, and picking out fabric combinations and trying to be inspired.

More weekend stuff.

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I uploaded a bunch of pictures to my flickr. I seem to do them in batches.

And I’m annoyed at ebay buyers. I sold a small pile of stuff, answered a HECK of a lot of questions about shipping (yes, I’ll combine) and then after they won, I sent combined shipping charges, no payment. I sent a reminder. No payment.

If it was one person, that would make sense, but out of 4 buyers, two have neglected to pay after a week. Both for multiple items. One won two auctions, the other won 4.

I may have to threaten them with neutral or even negative feedback.

But! I sold an item on etsy! I was pretty happy ’bout that.


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I am lost in fabric.

Mom was here on the weekend and we played with fabric. We also bought fabric, but only a little bit. I sewed some stuff for her, but I’m not supposed to tell because it was for a class and she sucks at binding. She gave me some fabric, and it wasn’t even part of my (belated) birthday present. Aw, she loves me. 🙂

And today I got up from the computer, went to start supper, then sewed. And sewed. I sewed for two hours because I was inspired to make a tote bag from a charm pack and some scraps. (Also Ron figured out why the plugs out there weren’t working.) Mom brought me some scraps from her local shop that the lady there was throwing out. I KNOW!  I can’t bear to just toss out fabric – the amount of one print and a bit was enough to completely line my tote bag. All it took was some creative piecing.

I am also jazzed that my library now emails me to tell me when my books are due. Library trip tomorrow, who’s with me? And to tie it in, I’ve made a couple of totes for the library to sell so they can raise money. I’m nice like that.

Anyone need a tote? 😀 “Seams” like I’m on a roll. 😉

Charm pack tote:

Using moda’s Natural Garden charm pack, I made two disappearing nine patch blocks  from this tutorial.

Nine patches

I think the charm pack had 32 or 40 5″ squares, all different. I arranged the patches in a pleasing manner first, saving the ones I didn’t like so much for the sides of my box tote. I had 4 blocks left over, which I eventually used on the inside.

nine-patch variation

After I did the block, I sewed nine patches in a very long row for the sides and bottom of the bag. I had to carefully piece one long edge around three edges of one block, then the other edge to the other block. Then my outer bag was done. Since I need to work on my accuracy, I was extra careful to iron, pin and align seams. Iron every seam before it crosses another seam – this is the difference between something looking handmade and it looking hand crafted.

Bag lining

I pieced all of the scraps I had from one coordinating print all together, continually holding them up to the blocks as I went to best take advantage and minimize waste.

bag inside

When I saw that I needed a bit more, as luck would have it 4 of the leftover charms fit right in. I put that strip right up the middle of one inside panel. Since the inside is pieced differently, I boxed the bottom by pinching the corners and sewing a triangle shape.

Inside and outside of bag all done

I still have to make the handles using a scrap piece and some plain fabric from my stash. All in all, given half of the fabric was free, and mom got a discount on the charm pack, this is my $7 CAN tote. 😉

(Not counting the two hours to sew it together, and the other hour to arrange the fabric and do the math.)