Saturday, November 22, 2014


Not that there's any down side to it, but I have been sewing projects that were already started back in early November, and haven't cut any new projects though they are listed as "started" because their concepts are fully developed. I received packages from Craftsy and other companies that included a lot of fabric AND thread.
This was a photo  texted to me from Constantine with the caption "quilting gone wild." It's usually my plan to receive and open packages before he gets home but I won't become a wife who feels the need to conceal addiction. He's got his, too, believe me. 
If you knew how much thread I already owned, you would consider institutionalizing me. BUT these packages of thread are so incredibly beautiful and of such high quality and SUCH a great bargain that I indulged myself. Also contributing to my self-indulgence was Constantine, who said I should buy them, having no earthly idea what my current thread stash looks like.

These threads are incredibly high quality but are very dear. Normally selling for $12.50 a spool, these were on sale for $84.50 each, which is admittedly still an outrageous $7 per spool, but oh! you should see the colors in person. $170 is about what an hour of therapy costs, and this is maybe 4 times the boost of an hour session. Welcome to my delusional world of rationalization. It's comfy here!

I've cut the main pieces of my Day Break quilt. It's a monster king size quilt at this point since I want it on my bed, and for the first time, I actually care if it fits. 
This quilt is going to be a major production but it really deserves to be done up BIG. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Start New Projects Saturday

I'm embarrassed to realize that the Parcheesi quilt that I've been ignoring on the quilt frame has been there since July! There's nothing like a historical look at my blog to shame me into a little bit of action. Instead of quilting that puppy, I've been starting new projects, and buying them as if I'd live forever and didn't have a day job. 
The first new quilt I started was Day Break using a Julie Herman, (Jaybird Quilts) pattern. It utilizes the "Hex n More" ruler and the "Sidekick," which I needed to put into some use since I splurged on them. I'm using linen, (Robert Kaufman's Essex yarn-dyed linen in flax,) as the background fabric. I find the tactile sensation of handling linen to be extremely satisfying; like a double dose of textile therapy. However, the way linen cuts and sews is a lot less precise than good quality quilting cotton; one has to be a little flexible about the way it goes together, with seam allowances that vary a bit. Fortunately, with the Day Break Quilt, most pieces are sewn on a bit of a bias, giving a little "give and take" on each one. 
These are the fabrics I'll use for the stars in the quilt; Shimmer, from Robert Kaufman.

I really enjoy the texture that the linen adds to this quilt. I'm aiming to piece for a full size quilt, but may put it together a little creatively and ultimately end up with a king size quilt. I just bought linen sheets from, check it out, and I'd love to top the bed with this soothing quilt.

As for other new projects, I pieced the squares for Rise and Shine by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms Quilts. I used the Mormor Jelly Roll and the Kona Eggplant for background. This is the quilt I worked on on 11/17 when I spent most of the day in my sewing room. I had to pack it up because there are some garments in my future.
Image of Rise & Shine pattern 172 PDF patternImage of Rise & Shine pattern 172 PDF pattern

I also started a craftsy BOM, (2012) part of which I took to Cancun for some hand-stitching fun. English paper piecing is a quilting technique that I'd thus far avoided, but it lent itself to travel so nicely that I decided to give it a whirl. I can easily see how addictive it is. Here's the Craftsy version of it, and I'll photograph the 8 blocks I've done at some point. If you are interested in a "world tour" of quilting techniques, I highly recommend this free class by Amy Gibson. This is her version of the quilt. Mine looks less bright, I think.
2012 Craftsy BOM Sampler:  Details HERE, Free class HERE

I also bought, but haven't started, Red Letter Day, also by Camille Roskelley, using the Miss Kate fabrics that I've since fallen in love with and resorted to some serious stash-building at both Hancocks and Etsy. has been doing a terrific job of photographing their enticing projects and thus sucking me in. This quilt, called Good Fortune, features some great Cotton and Steel prints:
Good Fortune Quilt Kit - White

In addition, I've resurrected my interest in the Kaffe Fassett polka dot rich quilt that somehow has eluded my spreadsheet! I've got the whole thing kitted up in my cabinet, and will one day "slow piece" that puppy since it's a work that lends itself to cutting and piecing as you go. I think this one needs a snowy weekend to tuck into.

OK, another confession, while I'm on a roll: I've also acquired and stashed all the fabrics and pattern for this quilt called La Fete De Noel, from French General. I saw it on craftsy, and the kits were $152, so instead of just buying the darned thing, I sourced all the fabrics and saved very little money on the acquisition, but this puppy is yet another quilt in my stash waiting to happen.

So that's SEVEN new projects happening in my sewing room, none of which include actually quilting that Parcheesi quilt. I'm going to give myself a deadline of the end of the year to have that thing done and off the frame. All these new tops need to get quilted!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Keyhole neckline

Love this neckline, but can't pin it to my Pinterest boards.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pillowcases and Bags

Sweater Closure Clips and Binky Leash

For clasping cardigans, 

Do not put the clips on like this: (ask me how I know.)
This is how to align the clips on the ribbon:
Fold over RST and stitch together:
Myrtle Dress
Lounge Pants 

Monday, August 25, 2014

End of Summer

It's new to me, being sad about the end of summer. I wilt in the hot weather, and my work is just as hard in the summer so I've never been sorry to see it go, but this year, I'm feeling quite blue about sending my girls back to school. I know that I'll get a little more time to sew, and that the housecleaning projects that have been simmering in the back of my brain will have a fighting chance, but these girls are growing up so fast! I've had a fun time with them, mostly hanging out, but also doing crazy things like indoor surfing.

I also know that the fall brings with it more outdoor obligatory activities like soccer and field hockey games, and though I do love to show my support, these things take a lot of time. I'll bake some symbols of my love for the teams, and get a few sweaty hugs, which will be well worth it.

Mega Card Wallet

Lexi can only aspire to my shopping prowess, but I have faith in her. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Projects

Projects in progress this summer:

Modern Workshop Whirlybird

Road 15 Beach Balls, pattern courtesy of Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Alexandra's birthday cake, made by Alexandra and Sophia. Gluten and sugar free and delicious, none-the-less. 

It's been a whirlwind summer, so far, and there's a little time for sewing, but none for blogging. Here are some of the summer quilts coming out of my machine. The parcheesi quilt is still on the frame, with little progress made. It's hot up there and there's no AC in that room! I'll get back in there when the weather cools down. I bought a fabulous new ironing board. I'd searched for years for a sturdy board that allows me to iron fabric without the taper in the board that slows me down. This is what I got:

I love it, but this sucker is HEAVY and I can't really move it out of the way when I need to get to the window or cupboards behind it. Oh, and when I carried it up to the attic, I had to do so with it over my head like a surfboard, because it's too big and heavy to go under an arm. I forgot how tall I'd gotten, (lol, I'm 5'1") and smacked it into the twirling ceiling fan. It threw me off balance so I fell against my sewing table, and the impact between ironing board and fan made an enormous noise! You won't be surprised to learn that the ceiling fan is no longer balanced, so even after twisting two blades back where they look like they're supposed to be, I can only run it on low speed or it rocks dangerously. Anyone know how to replace the blades of a ceiling fan? I guess that's what's next. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Barcelona Jewel Box

The quilt for Mary is done and delivered! It's probably my best work yet, which is a good sign since it's my most recent completed piece. So delighted to send Mary off to retirement with this token of my appreciation. Mary was always kind to our patients and put their needs first. We will miss her at the Breast Care Center but wish her the very best of times in retirement.

This is the Parcheesi quilt on the frame for quilting. I can't believe how many times I've turned to the striped fabric from Connecting Threads for backing; it's been the absolute perfect fit for two quilts now, and it is discontinued. I think this was something around $3 a yard. It's the last bit I have. Oh no!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stitching in the Ditch

I recently bought the book Quilting Wide Open Spaces by Judi Madsen  and I've learned a few things worth remembering. First, though I never did it before, I am enjoying stitching in the ditch. This means outlining major elements, like whole quilt blocks, with stitching before getting to the business of quilting the whole thing. This does a few things: first, it makes the blocks more defined. If you do an all-over quilt design, the actual piecing becomes less pronounced. This may be what you're after, but usually, if you have spent good time and effort making blocks, they are worthy of a little showcasing.
(Don't look too carefully at my ditch-stitching. It should be actually IN the ditch, not alongside the ditch. About half of mine are. Rest assured the discrepancy was not due to drunkenness.)

Secondly, while you are toiling away stitching in all those ditches, you are preparing yourself for what this quilt "brings." You are thinking about the different elements that make up the whole, and which parts of it you most value. The way the blocks come together will strike you more thoroughly than when you were assembling them. I spend so much effort not screwing up that part, and little attention to how the quilt appears as a pieced-together unit. When ditch-stitching, I get a sense of what parts will require careful accents, and which parts are background. I also get time to think about how to quilt "front" quilt and background in a way that is different but complementary. In this quilt, I did the ditches first, then the white background, then the borders. After that, I did the grey sashing squares, and finally, I went to the different color blocks. In all, there were at least 7 passes of the quilt, after which I really felt as if it was done to the best of my ability. 
It was worth it to choose thread colors as I did the white background, putting them on my desk so I had the opportunity to edit as I thought about it, and compared those I'd chosen to different hued blocks in the same color family. 

Thirdly, when you've got the whole quilt "ditch-stitched," you then have everything anchored. As you are quilting through the quilt the first time, you can only roll the quilt in one direction. You can't go back up to an area you've already seen because the back and the front are on separate rollers, and once you've quilted them together, they can't be re-rolled backwards. That is, until you get to the end, and disconnect the front of the quilt from its roller by unpinning it. I then also trim the extra batting at the bottom.

Since the quilt now is only attached to the backing roller and the roller above the quilting needle, I can go back and forth at will. This allows me to change colors and quilting styles and quilt top to bottom or bottom to top. There is no way I have the patience to change colors multiple times each time I roll the quilt a little bit. Ditch stitching has made it a much more stable process to go all the way through the quilt and do all the white, then backwards doing all the greens, then back down doing all the blues, etc... This makes the quilting more consistent, too. On my lazy quilts done all in one go, you can probably tell where I started and where I end because I get a little better at whatever it is I'm attempting. This way, it is harder to tell how much "learning" I required in the process.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quilted Gifts

This quilt is #82 Falling Leaves and Flying Geese, and it is dedicated and gifted to the Christiansen family of Northfield Mount Hermon, who so generously shared their love and time with Lexi during her sophomore and junior years. They are moving to Cincinnati, where Brynner and Arryn will grow up closer to their grandparents. I hope the fall colors remind them of the beautiful New England autumns that they are leaving behind.

This quilt is #69, Tulane Picture Frames, and it is gifted to Heather Leeds, special ed teacher, who has patiently helped Lexi with her schoolwork. Education is a challenging field, and I have great respect for those who make it their passion. Lexi has been so thankful for her time with Heather.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Proud Mom

I admit this is not a good photo, but it's all I have, and it took a lot of coaxing to get Sophia to send me a "selfie" after her lacrosse game. I know she would be extremely displeased with me if I were to post it on FB, but I just have to brag about her, and since almost nobody looks here, :) and certainly she doesn't, (shhhhh!) I'll put it here. This girl of mine hates for the final score to be a tie. She'd actually rather lose than tie, go figure. So when her lacrosse game entered its final minute with a 10-10 score, I was dreading the mood she'd be in after the game, especially since her team had been winning by a handy margin in the first half. She told her coach, "put me in, Coach, I'm feeling it!" 
With 37 seconds left in the game, she manages to come up with the ball, and she leaps in the air to fling it into the goal over the opposing goalie's head. Her first goal of the season, (there's only one game left,) and she manages this feat! Needless, to say, her teammates went wild, the stands went wild, and her parents went wild. Later, the coaches told me they shed some tears of pride as well.

Yea Sophie!!!

Quilt Labels

Labeling quilts is one of my least favorite parts of quilting, so most of my quilts are unlabeled. I did a marathon labeling session this weekend and finished up 5 quilts, some of which I'd called finished before, and am happy to be sending these on to deserving recipients this week. There are two Quilts of Valor, which still need pillowcases, and three gift quilts for others.

This is my Barcelona Jewel Quilt. I spent almost the whole day on this, but am happy with my progress. First, I put this teal border on, and it makes a huge difference in the way the quilt catches my eye. Before this border, I thought it was done, but it was lackluster and I didn't feel strong affinity for it. Now, I think I love it! I also put it on the longarm frame, chose a poly batting, and pieced up a backing for it. 
I received my copy of Quilting Wide Open Spaces by Judi Madsen, and a preliminary reading has inspired me to do custom quilting on it rather than an all-over design. She advises stitching in the ditch to make the quilting "pop," and my initial work on this quilt actually seems to be having this effect on the actual piecing. I'm excited to be doing something new.

Stash Used:  5.5 yards
Stash Used, total: 269.35 yards
Stash Acquired: 24.5 (Hawthorne Threads: Houndstooth, Glimmer, Swedish Xmas, Voile)
Stash Acquired, total: 469.875

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

I used some of my pink stash to make double-sided napkins for our Easter dinner. I'd rather be sewing than cooking, that's for sure! 

Stash Used:  6 yards
Stash Used, total: 263.85 yards
Stash Acquired: 0
Stash Acquired, total: 445.375

Charity Silent Auction

The bags are finished, and this one is going to be raffled at the Mom Prom on April 26.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fabric Friday

It's Fabric Friday! Well, that's not really a thing, but why not? My kids post old photos on their social media sites on "Throwback Thursday," so why can't I have Fabric Friday, when I pull the trigger on some of the fabric I've been "dating" in cyber shopping carts? Today, among other things, I ordered two yards of this:
Lily Gonzales-Creed - Farm to Fork - Houndstooth in Yellow
Designer: Lily Gonzales-Creed
Collection: Farm to Fork
Print Name: Houndstooth in Yellow
Think: funky pencil skirt. I ordered from Hawthorne Threads, where they've got the bacon print on order. I'll put that in my cart when it is available.

Stash Used:  0 yards
Stash Used, total: 257.85 yards
Stash Acquired: 11
Stash Acquired, total: 445.375

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Beach Bags

My mother taught me to buy shoes that I like in many colors. It suggests that you may not be able to get too much of a good thing. In the spirit of "one good thing deserves...MORE," I made more beach bags. Here's one I made with Annie's Soft and Stable, which is perhaps a mistake since the top doesn't pinch in as smoothly as I'd like.

It's always time to sew for charity, and I've dipped into the stash of fabrics I bought specifically for that purpose. These beach bags are sure to be appealing to the charity silent auction set, so I've started two for that purpose. I am waiting for the webbing to arrive, as I'd not stashed any in an appropriate pink. Anyone who knows me well knows that I've seen more pink in a lifetime than anyone needs to, and I really am not a fan of making a whole month, (October,) into Breast Cancer Awareness monotony. Nevertheless, the charities tend to draw a passionate crowd, and the cause is not without its deserving beneficiaries. I deeply wish that so much hype would be spent on ensuring clean drinking water for the entire globe, but I am not the one who gets to decide. Here are my works in progress:

And here is the scaled-down version I've made into my latest purse. It's from the fabric line "Hearty Goid Wishes," which I've found the need to hoard.
Stash Used:  9 yards
Stash Used, total: 257.85 yards
Stash Acquired: 0
Stash Acquired, total: 434.375

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Farewell to Big Red

Kristen's father passed away Friday, March 28, 2014. 
Rest in peace, Big Red. My thoughts are with Kristen and her family. 

Stash Used:  2 yards
Stash Used, total: 248.85 yards
Stash Acquired: 0
Stash Acquired, total: 434.375

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Little Projects

Kim has a kindle that needs a cute cover. Here are two.

Annabelle's quilt, it turns out, is just the right colors for her new nursery. Kerry asked that I try to cover the glider cushions in something coordinating, and this is what I came up with from my stash. Minky...sooooooooo soft!!

Sophia has so much faith in me that she thinks I can fix shoes that are too wide! Turns out, I can, but it required a lot of hand stitching, which is NOT my forte. Tough times, dropped needles, bad words, but I think it's a good fix in the end.
I bought 8 yards of indigo shades in the Hearty Good Wishes line, which is absolutely me. Then I ordered a bunch more from in parts that they didn't have at Quilted Threads. 13 yards more.
Stash Used:  3 yards
Stash Used, total: 246.85 yards
Stash Acquired: 21
Stash Acquired, total: 434.375