Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tumbler Blocks quilt top finished

Another quilt top finished! In all honesty, I had all of the top finished except for the piano key border when I got side-tracked with the Shakespeare quilt. :-) So, today I added the final border and this top is ready to be quilted! Rosie - gives the top a "thumbs up"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shakespeare in the Park - Queen Size Quilt Top finished!

I have been working on this queen size quilt top since September! The top is finished and I can put it on the frame to quilt it. Problem is, I have no idea how I want to quilt. It hasn't "spoken" to me to let me know how it needs to be quilted. If you have any ideas - please let me know!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shakespeare In The Park = progress report

Still working on my Shakespeare In The Park quilt top. I wanted to have the entire top finished before I had my knee surgery done. It's a little hard for me to get the my downstairs sewing area for a bit after surgery. But, I didn't get it done. So it will have to wait for me to get back at it.

While I'm spending time in me recliner chair, I have lots of projects to work on. My sewing basket is full of scraps for my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. This hand piecing project will mostly be a "years long" project!

I also have a basket full of yarn for knitting mittens. I have no idea why I feel the need to knit mittens for my grandchildren. Mittens are not cost prohibitive for most and are readily available. Perhaps it is because my Grandma knit mittens for me?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shakespeare in the Park

My newest project is a quilt called "Shakespeare in the Park". The pattern comes from a book written by Judy Martin called the "Creative Pattern Book".

I have admired this quilt for a really long time and purchased the book several years ago. A short time ago, a group of quilters decided to do this quilt together. The time was right for me to jump right in.

Our first assignment was to select the fabrics to use. I have decided to make a queen-size Shakespeare and the colors I selected were purple and deep teal for my dark colors with white, pale teal, pale lilac and light gray as my light colors. Many of the fabrics that I will be using came from my "stash" of fabrics.

The next assignment were to do the flying geese that would make up the small dark stars on light background.
Today was a very productive day! I finished the 20 small dark star blocks as well as the center stars for the 8 larger dark stars blocks.

American Girl Dolls

Now that my eldest granddaughter is the proud owner of a "real" American Girl doll, it's time for this grandma to get back to sewing doll clothes! I found two really great books that include patterns so that I can get started. I also decided that I needed an American Girl doll of my own so that I can make sure that the clothes that I make will fit.
I found a "gently played with" Samantha doll on ebay for a reasonable price. She has arrived and is really a nice doll. She doesn't stand alone so could use a re-stringing, but I have too many irons in the fire to attempt that now. I still have a few doll stands from my earlier days doing doll repair, so they will work for now.

I also found a doll on ebay that was advertised as a "Real American 18" Girl". Please note - this is NOT an American Girl doll. It isn't even a good quality knock off. I realize that I was wrong to think that this was an American Girl doll, but the posting was written specifically to mislead people. She is a pretty little blonde and I should be able to use her for sizing some clothes. I suspect she will be used in the toybox at Grandma and Grandpa's house. :-(

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2009 Fair Quilts are home

The 2009 Ionia Free Fair Quilt entries are home. I always worry about my quilts when they are away from home. :-)

There is even a note attached to one of the quilts that a person wishes to purchase the quilt. I'll be in touch with them tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

County Fair Wins

I've just come home from visiting my quilts at the county fair. I entered "Blue Scrappy Stars" in the pieced/patchwork catagory. I did not win any ribbons on that quilt :-( I guess the judges don't like scrappy quilts as much as I do!

I also entered a civil war reproduction quilt in the piecing /color catagory for which I earned an "Honorable Mention".

I entered a very large cheater quilt in the "Best Quilting on a Cheater Quilt". I won a blue ribbon for this quilt! I wasn't even going to enter this quilt. I didn't even get the binding on the quilt until the day I too them to the fair.

I also entered my quilt "Sophia" in the "Best Machine Quilting" catagory. The quilt is just a simple Take 5 pattern but I quilted it with a variety of different quilting techniques. This quilt won a blue ribbon as well as a Vendor's Choice rosette.

All in all - I'm pretty happy with my ribbons. This is the first year that I entered any of my quilts in the county fair.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another serger lesson & another apron

Today I finished another apron. It too is retro in style but with a new bohemian fabric. I think my sister will love this one too.

My serger lesson was to learn how to use the ruffling foot. I got out my serger book and all of the feet that came with the serger and some scraps of fabric for practice. The instructions tell you to "use your left hand to hold this piece and your right hand to hold this piece". Then you need to use your other left hand to guide this piece thru the slop and your other right hand to make sure that the flat piece stays next to the cutting blades. And, if you have a spare hand, you can guide the finished ruffle out the back of the machine.

Well, I don't know - I only have one right hand and one left hand. Then whole thing felt BEYOND awkward! However, the resulting ruffle was gorgeous and done without sewing those basting lines and pulling up threads to gather. This will certainly take more practice, but it will be worth it!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Learning to use my serger AND "Going Green"

I think I have mastered the rolled hem stitch on my serger. I have finished 4 dozen cloth dinner napkins. They are so pretty! I used fabric from my stash and now have a whole basket full of the cutest napkins. This SHOULD cut down on the amount of money we spend on paper towels and paper napkins.

I have had a request to clarify the way I made my napkins. They are single thickness. I cut a variety of novelty fabrics and some orphan fat quarters to 14" square. Some of the fabrics were not big enough to do 14" so are a bit smaller.

I hemmed all 4 sides with the rolled hem stitch on my serger. This was really good practice for me becoming comfortable with what I needed to do to set up the stitch as well as changing threads.

Then, I put a dab of fray check on each corner and threw them in the washer. I wanted to see how they would wash and dry as I do NOT intend to iron these things!

They probably are not show stoppers, but they are fun and should work!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Retro Aprons

Retro aprons - I made my first today and I might just be hooked! Fun to make and cute, cute, cute.

Fat Quarters, Layer Cakes and Jelly Rolls, oh my!

I finally finished getting the remainder of my inventory listed on my webpage at . Great deals on Moda pre-cuts! Check them out!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Starlight-Starbright Block A-13

Jane - You were a better woman than I ! I have tried piecing this block by machine, paper piecing and applique. I am not having a lot of luck. Enough for today. Tomorrow I may try this block my making little tiny freezer paper templates, ironing them to the fabric, adding 1/4 inch seam allowances and then hand piecing.

I'm off to make an apron! I really need to work with some larger pieces of fabric for the rest of today!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Journey With Jane

This picture is of "THE" Dear Jane Quilt.
This is not a picture of my quilt.

“In War Time 1863 - Pieces 5602 - Jane M. Stickle” is painstakingly embroidered on the lower right hand corner of the quilt. This quilt masterpiece is now housed in the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont. It comprises 225 pieced squares, triangles, and corner "kites." Many of the blocks contain pieces no larger than 1/4-inch square. Jane's completed quilt measures 80 1/4" x 80 1/4" and contains 5,602 individual pieces.
The Stickle quilt was made famous by Brenda Papadakis, who lovingly studied the quilt and drafted patterns for each of the intricate blocks. The patterns were made into a book and thousands of quilters across the world have re-created (or attempted to re-create) this quilt.

Given the fact that the quilt was finished in 1863, I would assume that Jane completely hand-pieced her quilt, no doubt without the very tools that today’s quilter deems necessary. In addition, today’s piecing methods do not always work for the blocks in this quilt. The journey becomes a learning experience in hand piecing, foundation piecing, miniature machine piecing, applique, etc. In fact, I soon learned that a combination of all of these methods and “what ever works” is the mind-set that is needed to complete each block!

It also becomes necessary to SLOW DOWN, enjoy the PROCESS instead of the RESULT and to become very good friends with your seam ripper!

My journey with Jane’s quilt started in 2005. I completed about 20 of the little 4 ½ in blocks, became frustrated and threw the whole mess in a box.

I came across these litle blocks the other day and decided that there was absolutely no reason why I couldn’t do just ONE little block a day - or even a week - but I did need to give this project another try! I also hope my piecing has improved enough in the last few years that I will be more successful and less frustrated!

In reviewing some of the hundreds of blogs and websites devoted to this quilt and the methods most likely to be successful in recreating the block, I see a LOT of applique. I HATE applique. I actually think I hate applique because I'm not good at it. So, I shall learn!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Professional Tote

My niece Nicole will start her student teaching this semester and requested a "Professional Bag" like the one I made for my daughter. Here is Nicole's bag. I hope she likes it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's been a beautiful Spring

It's been a beautiful Spring and lots and lots of yard work has been done around here. I basically act as a "sidewalk supervisor" as my DH does the work. But, even supervising outside caused this redhead to get burned to a crisp over the last few days.

Today - DH will install my new little fountain and I have flowers to plant. I can no longer work on my knees, so will be putting flowers in various barrels and pots about the house.

Then - back to my studio. I have lots of things lined up that need to be done and even more things in mind that I WANT to do.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I MUST learn to use this serger!

I needed to use the new serger I got last summer and when I pulled it out, I realized that I didn't have the foggiest idea what I was doing! I have used a serger for years, but this new Babylock Imagine serger is still very new to me!
I was able to make the "jet air threading" mechanism work - and I love that as much today as I did the day I purchased it! I was also able to use the needle threader. Another big plus! But then, I was stuck......

I reviewed the book that came with the serger and I reviewed the book that I downloaded by by Janet Spink who is an authority on the Babylock overlockers.

I really think that I need to sit down with this machine and take it thru all of the different feet that came with it and see if I can duplicate all of the neat things that Ms. Spink says it will do!

If I get to the big city this week, I may stop by the dealer and see if they have one of the workbooks that Babylock put out to assist people in learning to use this machine. They are very pricey and that is probably why I didn't purchase it when I purchased the serger.

I will put that on my list of things "to do" this week. The first thing I need to do is finish the "special request" bag for my sister in North Carolina. Then I need to make sure that I have enough tumbler blocks cut for my newest quilt top. Then I can start putting them together. Looks like it could be a busy week in the studio. Have a great day!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hand Piecing a Trip Around the World

One of my "stashbuster" friends was looking for some easy hand piecing to do while away for a few days.

Several years ago, I went home to live with my parents to be a private duty nurse for my dad during his last few weeks. I took with me a box of squares, all cut from Christmas fabric. I also took just a few needles, several pins, a spool of white thread and these fabulous directions on "Concentric Piecing".

It is believed that the pioneer women pieced the Trip Around The World in circles around the center piece, rather than in strips as often done now. Here is the link for the directions to do the piecing. I do not know who the person is that posted these directions in her Webshots album, but she is a genius!

I did finish that quilt top before my Dad died. It did take me a few months to be able to put it on the frame to quilt it, but I did - it's done - and one of my most precious quilts! Here is a picture of that quilt.

Another bag finish

Another bag is finished.

The bag is pretty, bigger than I expected to be and most of all DONE!

This was the bag from #$%^ The pattern itself - not for the faint of heart - and definitely not a "first bag" had no pictures or diagrams, only text to explain what needed to be done for each step.

Now, I've been sewing for 40 years, quilting for 20 and making bags for a couple of years and this one was awful! The company really needs to do something about the directions for this pattern!

Also - the pattern specifically called for each piece to be basted to lightweight cotton batting. I used the lightest bat they make and there were times I was sewing thru 8 thicknesses of "stuff".

Before I make this one again, (and I'm sure I will) I'll be rewritting the directions and deciding what does and does not have to be padded! Whew! My shoulders, wrists and hands will need a day or two to recover.

Have a great day

Beth (in rainy Michigan)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Jelly Rolls and Charm Squares are in!

New jelly rolls and charm squares from Moda are in! They are just beautiful and I am thinking about lots and lots of projects that I can do with them!

I've started on a new bag - It's going to be beautiful when it' s done, but it's a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be. The instructions - written without diagrams of any kind, are not optimal. But, I WILL figure it outI also finished a bag for another precious granddaughter. I make each of the kids a bag for "stuff". Sometimes they are used to pack necessary items for day care and sometime they are just filled with important "stuff" like little cars and truck or dolls.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kindle 2 bag - padded & lined

I am the proud owner of a Kindle 2 and felt that I needed to have some kind of a "bag" to protect it while not in use or to take it places. I knew that I needed a bag that was pretty much the size of the Kindle so that it didn't flop around in the bag. I also wanted a bag that was lined and padded to protect my investment! My first bag was pretty and it worked well, but I needed a better looking zipper.

I found Lisa's Blog that has a wonderful tutorial on doing bag zippers. I printed it out and headed back to the studio. My second attempt is great
pretty good! I even added a wrist strap. I'm not sure that I would be comfortable swinging that thing around by a strap, but it looks neat and might come in handy.

Drop me a line if you have any questions about making one of these bags for your Kindle 2!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Bags!

Taking a break from quilting the last few weeks, I've made a couple of new bags! These are such fun. And, I have picked up patterns to make a few more. Affter I finished the black bag - it really needed something on the rose colored flap. So, I found a HUGE button to cover and covered it with the fabric that I used on the bag. I like it!

This blue tote is done with 5" squares. I have a few charm packs that would make really cute totes!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mr. Sunshine is out!

Mr. Sunshine, as one of my beautiful grandsons calls it, is out! What a pretty site!

I also received notification that the Paperdolls fabric line by Windham fabrics will be shipping in late March. I received one bolt today, a beautiful gingham check. Fons and Porrter featured the fabric in their January 2009 magazine. Doesn't this look like fun! If you fussy cut the dolls, put a little stabilizer on the back of the clothes before you cut them out, and then add a dot of velcro or a snap to the dolls, a little one could be entertained for hours!

Be sure to get your copy of this magazine so that you have the pattern and instructions when the fabric gets in!

I also finished the Flowering Orchard quilt top. That thing is HUGE! It finished out at 92" x 114". I will need to let it hang on my quilt frame for a few days while it tells me how it wants to be quilted!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yep - it's snowing again!

I know that the little groundhog saw his shadow and forecasts 6 more weeks of winter........ but, can't it just be cold and stop snowing?

I've been working very hard on my niece's wedding quilt. It is pretty, but not my style. The quilt is not so very tedious, but the way it is put together is really "outside the box" for me, so I'm having to take this one step at a time. I am really trying to do this the way the pattern says to in hopes that I will learn a new technique or two, instead of relying on what I know works for me. So far, the sawtooth star blocks are turning out quite nicely.

I've also been spending a bit of time with my new Nintendo Wii Fit. I was introduced to the Wii Fit by my Physical Therapist and have decided to try and continue at home. Since my last couple of orthopedic surgeries, I have had some balance issues. So, spending some time every day bouncing soccer balls off my head and walking a tight rope is supposed to help! Bowling and golf are more fun but I don't think they are as good for my balance issues.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Strips and more strips

A handful of 2 1/2" squares and a bin full of 2 1/2" strips and you get a pretty, fun, queen size quilt top. Then, if you add in a perfectly behaving HQ16 quilting machine and the newest update for Pro-Stitcher and you get this quilt! I must admit that I loaded this quilt on the frame yesterday. But today, I quilted it from start to finish in less than 3 1/2 hours. And this is a huge quilt! I couldn't be happier! Tomorrow it will get a binding and it will be a finish! Then I'll be off to cut more squares and strips with my Accuquilt GO! This is such fun.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Miranda Bag in Heirloom Garden by Marie Osmond

I've completed a new Miranda bag from the fabrics in the Heirloom Garden collection by Marie Osmond. This was my very first magnetic clasp. I also made a small change. Instead of cutting the fabrics for the outside of the bag and the batting and then quilting them, I put the fabric and the batting on my quilting machine, quilted them and THEN cut them out. It worked very well for me and I would probably try that again! This bag is probably for me! If I had it to do over again, I would place the prominent design from the darker paisley differently on the flap closure. And, I may add the hooks to the inside to keep the sides tucked in. All in all - a nice bag.

Accuquilt GO!

Love to quilt - hate to cut quilt pieces? My problem wasn't that I didn't like to cut, or even that I have problems sometimes being really, really accurate with my cutting...... my biggest problem is that cutting quilts really makes my shoulders and arms hurt, so this is my new toy!
I did purchase a number of the available dies for this machine and I have been having a ball, cutting the fabric in my scrap bins into usable tumblers, nickel squares, 2 1/2 inch strips, etc. The accuracy of these die cut pieces is amazing and I'm hoping will make things easier for me when putting together a quilt top. Just this morning I started cutting out the pieces for my next quilt. Actually, it's not for me, it's for my niece as a wedding gift. The quilt will be very pretty, but it has about a bazillion half-square triangles. I am going to put this Accuquilt GO! to the test with this project! I'll be sure and post pictures when I get it done! Here is the link to the Accuquilt website

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Jelly Roll + A Layer Cake+ A Jelly Cake

Look what you can make with a "Jelly Cake" and an extra yard or two for borders! And, it's big enough at 68" x 78" for some real snuggling in this cold weather! This is the quilt that I showed you on the frame a few postings ago. Quilting really makes a quilt!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My geometry teacher would be proud!

My geometry teacher would be so proud! Actually, he would probably be dumbfounded because I think I failed 9th grade geometry. :0(

Look - take a stripe or border print.... add one 60 degree ruler

And, you get a neat table runner!

Directions for this are found here:

I understand that border prints are becoming hard to find due to the popularity of this table runner! Ionia Quilt Works has several border prints and stripes that work well for this project!

Been feelin' a little down, so spent the day cleaning

I've been feelin' a little down lately. Business is worse than bad, it's non-existant! It's cold, cold, cold outside, etc. So, I decided to spend the day cleaning and organizing my studio and little shop.

Ignore the dates of the photos. Must be I need to make a few minor adjustments to my camera :-(

Here is where I sew, and press. This is where my sewing machines and sergers are. This is allos the area that holds my own personal stash of fabrics.

This is my cutting table and where my store products are.

This is my quilting room.

So, now every thing is clean and put away and all of my containers are labeled! I still have a lot of scraps to go through and to sort out, but I feel like I made progress today!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Heritage Collection from Moda

This is what Moda has to say about the "Collection for a Cause - Heritage"....

"Heritage is a gorgeous collection of Civil War Era parlor prints ~ the first in a series of "Collection for a Cause" prints. Moda is donating the proceeds from the entire series to the Gildas Club ~ a charity that assists those suffering from ovarian cancer, and their families. This first in the series ~ "Heritage" perfectly depicts the parlor prints of that era. Muted tones of popular colors of the day ranging from tan to gold, to blues, burgandy & brown are artfully blended."

The last few days, I had the delightful opportunity to work with a jelly roll and a layer cake from this collections! A Jelly Cake! I did add a couple of yards of fabric from the bolt of this collection.

The first thing that I completed was a quilt top, inspired by the pattern "Candy Bar Road" from SuzGuz Designs. With a little bit of luck, I'll be able to get this top on the frame in the morning. I can dream all night about what kind of quilting to do!

Then, with the left over jelly roll strips I made a neat bag. I used the pattern "Purse-onality Plus" from The Teacher's Pet
The bag has oodles of pockets inside and out and a nifty draw-string closure. Having no hardware, it kind of reminds me of a "prairie bag". And, just a nice size for all of your "stuff".

Friday, January 9, 2009

Snowing Again....

Can you believe it's snowing again? Sheesh! I did finish the binding on that huge quilt and it is so pretty. It was brought to my attention that the quilt clashes horribly with the walls in the spare bedroom. Uck! Good thing this particular quilt is not for the bed in that room!

I've received another whole shipment of fat quarter bundles from Moda this week. I'm just dying to make something out of the new "Love Is In The Air" bundle. I need to keep repeating to myself..... "This is NOT your own personal stash......this is NOT your own personal stash!"

I have about half a top finished out of Moda's Heritage Collection. A portion of the sales of all of this fabric is being donated to Ovarian Cancer research. It's a good cause and I am having a ball working with this top quality fabric. This is also the first time I have done anything myself with a "jelly roll". It's such fun to have perfectly cut fabric strips. It makes me really want to invest in one of the new Accuquilt machines for my shop.