Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Table Runner

Here's a newly sewn table runner made from a nice border stripe. The pattern is the same as one I used previously to make two placemats. Sorry, but the free pattern is no longer available on Timeless Treasures' website. 

And in other happenings...For the second time, I made pavlova, a traditional Australian dessert. I topped it with strawberries and kiwi - passionfruit isn't available here. My quilting group, the Batting Buds was here last evening and tried pav for the first time. Of course they liked it! Next thing you know, we'll all be speaking with a lovely Aussie accent! 

Today we've had an unseasonably warm (54F - 12C) and sunny winter day. Instead of sewing, my VW Bug got a good wash and vacuum. And wouldn't you's supposed to rain Thursday.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Basted Day

Here's the "String-X" quilt top I made following Bonnie Hunter's wonderful free pattern at I'm just tickled with this colorful, 54" X 68" quilt sewn entirely from scraps and stash fabrics. 

Since I machine quilt on a Bernina QE 153 sewing machine, I chose to make today get-ready-to-quilt day. I made backings, and sandwiched and basted two quilts. Though basting isn't my favorite part of quiltmaking, it does help to have a large surface for pin-basting, and happily, I do. I have two, old, hollow-core sliding doors, that when butted together and laid across sawhorses, give me a 72" X 79" surface. 

Here are the two quilts I basted.

I pin-baste using a Kwik Klip and 1" safety pins -- not the curved ones because I've been making quilts for so long, the curved ones weren't even thought of yet! I bet you can guess what I'll be doing next. Yep, machine quilting.

While I was pin-basting my personal chef who happens also to be my DH, prepared beer can chicken. Here's the chicken, seasoned and ready for the outdoor Weber charcoal grill. The outdoor temperature was 20 degrees, (-6 C) but am I ever glad DH enjoys grilling year-'round! This chicken tasted awesome!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Village

I recently completed this happy village, 16" X 16" wall hanging. I hope you agree that it looks like what we imagine as Jerusalem, or another Middle Eastern city. Of course, a village like this wouldn't be complete without a couple palm trees which, after the machine-quilting was complete, I machine-appliqued on top of a tulle overlay.

Instructions are in Karen Eckmeier's book, "Happy Villages," which I purchased from Quilting Books Unlimited.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Shoulder Pouch

After watching Joan Hawley explain her "Sassy Shoulder Bag" pattern on a Kaye Wood episode, I made this body-hugging travel pouch.

It's sewn from a pair of hubby's old blue jeans, and one of my favorite palm tree prints (aren't they all my favorite!?)

I've been saving the press-on rhinestone palm trees for something special, and putting them on the flap gives this some extra bling.

The inside of the bag has a nice expandable, elastic-edged pouch, with two pockets inside. Perfect for a package of tissues, lip gloss and a pen.

Velcro holds the flap in place, keeping the contents secure. There's a pocket on the back of the bag too.

This is a nice bag when you want to carrying a few essentials, and for being able to shop hands-free.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Industrious Day

Somehow or another, this blog is making me feel accountable about my sewing...even if no one is reading it! So, it's been sew, sew, sew at my house.

Thanks to a new Aussie quilting friend, Glenice, who's a member with me in Quilting Down Under (QDU) chat group, I've made one of her favorite tote bag patterns. Actually, my friend Mary and I are making these simple, one-yard bags for a church mission trip to Jamaica. The free pattern is the "With Love Tote Bag" by Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs

I made my version with a kid print, lined with a black and white check. Folding the bag down at the top to make a cuff reveals the lining. Red belting handles are sturdy and make the bag look kid-friendly.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Still Stringing

Okay, I admit I'm now certifiable when it comes to stringing. Just can't seem to get it out of my system! Below are photos of this craziness as I'm making Bonnie Hunter's "String-X" quilt pattern from This time I'm using up bright, kid-print strings. Come and see what I'm doing.

Begin with strings! Quantity is not a problem here.

Sew strings to a foundation of 4-1/2" X 10-1/2" telephone book pages.

Trim excess fabric and cut corners.

For a 50" X 64" quilt, I'll need 48 of these shapes.

Next I will select a print from which to cut triangles that will be sewn to these shapes to make a block. More to share soon, I hope!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

String Buster Days

"Stringing" (no, not stringy) is my favorite quilt word these days. I've been on this kick for a few weeks and can't seem to stop. It's that German, frugal thing again.

Here's a quilt top I made for free! Though throughout the quilt top I wanted solid black "sashing" (it's really the center strip of each block), after using up all my solid black, I switched--and used up!--two other black tone-on-tone prints. This 64" X 80" quilt top cost me nothing...except time. More time will be needed for quilting. Hmm? Think I should free-motion quilt an all over design?
In case you'd like to bust your stash too, I recommend Bonnie Hunter's great "String Piecing Primer" on her website Because this particular pattern means handling bias edges, I sewed all of it with a walking foot. When the quilt top is complete, use a walking foot to stitch the outside edge of the quilt top too. It gives the top more stability.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sewing Weather

It's pur-r-fect weather for staying indoors to snow...err sew!
Here's our backyard view of fat, fluffy flakes falling.
A total of 8" (20 cm) of accumulation is expected.
It's 27F (-2.7C)! It's Friday the 13th! It's a great day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Striped Place Mats

I'm finishing-up several projects from last weekend's retreat, now feeling completely wired to keep sewing!

Following instructions from a formerly-free Timeless Treasures pattern for an "Easy Striped Table Runner," I modified the measurements to make these two reversible place mats. I like the leafy, dark green back side print as well as the stripes on the front!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Season of Grace Christmas stocking BOM

Happily, merrily, joyfully...I spent an entire weekend on a quilting retreat with eight best friends. How blessed we are when we have very special women in our lives! These friends not only enjoy quilting as much as I do, but we can and do share our faith with one another. What a precious gift from God!

With plenty of time for sewing, I made my two identical "A Season of Grace" Christmas stockings from the Emilie Richards/Pat Sloan February block-of-the-month.

My friend, Mary and I have agreed how to make them. Stockings will be:
1. sewn with similar fabrics.
2. sewn onto a background fabric we have both purchased.
3. fully lined with muslin.
4. appliqued with a machine blanket stitch.
5. open at the top so messages and trinkets can be put inside.

Mary will get one of my stockings; I'll get one of hers. This is sure a fun way to share quilting with a wonderful friend!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pin Cushions

Well, I can finally share this picture...Here are pin cushions I made a couple weeks ago. Each "Handy Dandy Pincushion" is made on top of a golf tee. Just sit it in the center of a thread spool.My sincere thanks to Letti in Hawaii who has this excellent pin cushion tutorial on her blog: Polka Dot Pineapple (isn't that a cute name?) If you visit Lettie's blog, be sure to check out her other fun tutorials as well.

I couldn't share earlier because some of the pin cushion recipients might nose in here, and these are table favors at a Saturday brunch where we're quilting retreat this weekend. Nine of us quilting friends - the Batting Buds (because it's what's inside that counts!) - will sew together, and assuredly have a great time. Retreating with like-minded, quilting-minded friends is the best place to be while our Iowa winter continues to do what it will.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Like I Need Another Project!

One of my favorite authors, Emilie Richards, has teamed up with quilt designer Pat Sloan to create a free, on-line block-of-the-month (BOM) called "A Season of Grace." The quilt is based on book five, "Sister's Choice," in the Shenandoah Album series. The BOM begins in February 2009, and at the end of 12 months, you'll have enough small Christmas stocking blocks for your choice of an "Advent Quilt" or a "12 Days Quilt."

My quilting buddy, Mary and I have agreed to make the Advent Quilt. It takes 25 stockings, so each month we'll make two identical stockings and then swap one stocking.

Of course our decision to launch into this project required much critical discussion about fabric choices, with requisite visits to more than one quilt shop. You can see we're both engaged and committed to the task at hand!

Mary and I will use the same background fabric and base our stocking fabric choices on colors in one multi-colored focus print. That's so we (mostly me) can use up accumulated Christmas prints. By making a sample stocking (at left), we both had a clearer picture of the block size, and the scale of prints that could be used.

We're both excited to share and work on this project. I'll keep you posted about how we progress.

Monday, February 2, 2009

String Piecing on a Foundation Paper

One of my quilting friends posed this question about string-piecing: With sewing strips together, what do you gain by first sewing it to paper? It's not a silly question, and after making 72 blocks - Hoorah! - (8-1/2" unfinished), I can suggest two reasons to have foundation paper beneath the fabric strips:

1. Foundation paper is a guide. In my case, I've cut telephone book paper 8-1/2" square. Because I'm working from a tub of scraps with assorted fabric lengths, I can simply lay a fabric strip across the paper to check if it's long enough. 

2. Because fabric strips are laid diagonally across the paper, the trimmed block edges are on the bias. The paper ensures those outside edges don't stretch. However, after removing the telephone book paper from the back of the block, I am treating the block very gently. Even so, I expect some blocks may be wavy. I will use a walking foot to join blocks to one another. (I also used a walking foot to sew strips to foundation paper.)


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