Monday, February 7, 2022

What I'm Working on!

 In May of 2021 I posted my last blog in which I said I was done with making big quilts.  Fast Forward to February 2022 and I just finished Grassy Creek and now working on Rhododendron Trail by Bonnie Hunter.  Nothing like a Bonnie mystery to get you going again.  I vowed that I would finish Grassy Creek prior to Rhody Trail and I did.  Here it is on my bed.  

I told my husband it was a free quilt and he just looked at me.  Free because I used so many fabrics from my stash.  But I did buy the gray for the lozenges and the final border and a few more things.  And the backing of course but it was on sale!  And I quilted it myself but had to pay for the rental.  

At the time of my last posting, I was in the midst of having the entire house rewired.  What a mess that was and still is in some areas, awaiting the sheetrock repair and some painting to do.  I'm just tired of the mess so keep putting it off.  At the same time as the rewiring, our 3 grandkids came to spend 6 weeks with us.  Since my sewing room was dismantled due to the rewiring, I just never got back into quilting and went for several months not doing much of anything.  Finally got my mojo back. 

On to Rhododendron Trail!  Current Progress!  

I aim to work on it today and get the second half done.  Jack came out quite a bit yesterday.  As you turn the corner you have to sew on those corner blocks.  DUH!  This year, I decided to choose constant fabrics rather than scraps.  I think its turning out nicely!  And I love the green setting triangles.  
Until next time, Have a Happy Quilting Day!  

Saturday, May 22, 2021


 All of a sudden I'm done making quilts!  Oh, not really but the process of making a large quilt is over.  For one thing, I have 3 unfinished large quilts waiting for borders, or to be sewn together and then quilted.  Bonnie Hunter's Grassy Creek is one of them.  All the blocks are done but I'm not inspired to sew them together.  

I will get this done prior to Bonnie's new mystery but not even sure I will participate.  I usually like to participate because it uses up so much fabric and 98 % of this quilt was all from stash.  

The second quilt I need to finish is the Saturday Sampler from Stitcher's Quest.  

Maybe I'll take that bag with me to sit and sew today to see if I can work on it.  I'm hoping those blocks above are actually sewn together but maybe not!  I have it all done and borders cut so why not finish it?  

And the third one is Stitch Pink from Moda's October sew along.  It was 30 days of blocks.  It is all finished except the final border.  Maybe i'll take it and cut the borders.  

Now that I have a list maybe I can get to these!  I wont be sewing much in the next few weeks as our home is being rewired and my sewing room will be dismantled.  Maybe I can get it painted!  Now is the time.  
I need  to decide what I'm going to make instead of large quilts!  Bags, potholders, crafty items, pincushions, stuff to sell at our church craft fair.  No masks!  And garments!  Need to get back into that!  My 3 grandchildren are coming to visit for 5 weeks in June and July.   That will be interesting!

Sunday, April 11, 2021


 My neighbor passed away this year of a recurrence of cancer.  I did not interact with her very much, would see her in the yard or driving by.  My fault as I could have reached out to her but did not.  She was a real thrifter, going to yard sales often and then having her own.  She would open the garage door and sell what she could.  We would wave and say hi.  

My husband walked over to the sale Friday morning and came back and said, get dressed and go!  Oh my word!  She had two walk in closets filled with fabric!   One whole room was her sewing and crafting room.  She had at least 5 sewing machines, stacks of cross stitch and assorted sewing and crafting magazines.  She probably had 500 patterns and I'm not exaggerating.  She had notions, ribbons, and elastic, buttons, pins, and more.  In each closet was a set of drawers that was filled with all of these things.  Each closet was stacked to the top with folded fabrics.  She was very organized.

There was batting and pillows, iron on interfacing, stuffed dolls, one huge bag filled with 18" doll patterns.  Just this month I ventured over to Joann's to buy a doll pattern for $1.99.  Could have waited.  The second bedroom was devoted to games and toys, dolls and doll beds, a Tv with DVD's to watch filling a chest.  My 6 year old granddaughter had just come to visit and I was able to get a lot of things for her to play with when she comes.  And a few games for the boys.  I did take a handful of doll patterns, definitely did not need the whole huge tote full!  

I told the daughter that I quilted for Lutheran World Relief and that when the sale was done, would appreciate some fabric for that effort.  She was happy for me to come and take it.  My car is full.  I keep having nightmares about the fabric I left behind.  I know there were bins still full of cottons for quilting but I felt so greedy as it was.  

I recently ventured into garment sewing so I did manage to get several pieces that I can make tops and shirts with.  And a good length of embroidered denim that is beautiful!  Will have to make a jacket out of it!  And I bought a 30" by 6 ft bookcase that will go into my sewing room!  I desperately need it!  A good deal of this fabric, magazines, cross stitch items and more is going off to my church.  In the garage she had stacks of twig wreaths, already decorated.  The daughter gave them all to me for our church arts and crafts.  I'll just spruce them up a bit!  And if we can't use them, a thrift store will be the recipient.  

I don't fault my neighbor for having all this stuff.  She had a gruesome cancer that affected her face and her voice.  She was the most brave person, having lost her husband about 25 years ago in an accident.  She raised 3 daughters on her own.  If it gave her pleasure to go to yard sales and thrift stores to accumulate treasures, so be it.  She had numerous grandchildren and devoted that one room to entertainment for the.  

But it does put things into perspective in my own sewing room.  I am happy to get this extra bookcase and will be able to get better organized.  And my guild meeting is next week and some of it will likely go there.  Just need to sort out the bags and bins I brought home and donate it or fold it nicely on the shelf.  Monday I quilt with the Lutherans and my car is full of donated fabric and more.  Hopefully I can get my son and husband to help me bring in the bookcase!  

Use it up!  Or donate it!  When its a quilt, give it away!  We sew for our pleasure but it is also pleasurable to share!  Happy Quilting!  

Saturday, April 3, 2021


 I've been thinking about getting back into garment sewing for some time.  When I was younger up until my mid 30's, nearly every stick of clothing I wore was constructed by me.  I would go out of my way to find a plaid to make into a jacket, just so I could match the pattern.  I wish I had kept those jackets but of course, they wouldn't fit me now.  I do have two plaid shirts I made for my father in law and husband way back when.  

My husband wanted to send these to Goodwill but I couldn't part with them.  Flat fell seams and buttonholes!  

Last year I took a very expensive sewing course at the LQS by a woman who gave us a pattern fitted to our bodies that was supposed to cover everything.  I made a shirt from the pattern but it had some issues.  It swam on me and the neck opening seemed to high in the back and it was lopsided.  So that ended that project and future projects.  But I still had the desire to sew clothing for myself.  And I still have the pattern and the book that went with it to show alterations for future tops, etc.  

My LQS has sewing patterns from a renowned garment sewer whose name escapes me.  Her patterns are pricey, at about $22 a pop and if I'm still experimenting, just didn't want to go there.  I talked with the shop owner about making a jacket  for the shop and she is thinking about it.  I decided I would go home, use some brushed white denim I got at a yard sale and a pattern languishing on the shelf to practice.

I'll post a pic another day but the jacket is finished!  Today I downloaded a pattern from I Think Sew.

Its a PDF pattern with 20 pages to print so I think I'll take it to a blueprint company to print off for me.  Cheaper than replacing printer ink.  The LQS has lots of great fabric for shirts and this being my style, I could make shirt after shirt after shirt!  I even hooked up the serger yesterday to sew the side seams together on the jacket.  I have another Indygo Junction pattern that I have had for years and batik fabric to go with it.  It requires serged edges and that is another project!  Learn how to do those.  I might be moving away from quilts to garments.  Takes up less space!  And a new warm and cozy wrap pattern on Indygo Junction would be perfect for the Stewart wool Plaid that came from St Andrews in Scotland!  Its been waiting in my hopeless chest for 40 plus years waiting for the perfect pattern!  I would have to keep the finished product in the hopeless chest because I've had a few moth holes in woolens in my closet.  A favorite jacket sports a few but I'm going to sew some wool patches over the holes.  AFter All its patchwork!  Have a great Easter weekend!  

Friday, April 2, 2021

When do you know your machine needs a tune up?



Our guild program for April  is a man who is going to tell us about how to take care of our machines! 

I first met Bobby in Sept of 2010.  I gauge my quilting experience to that month when I also met my friend Pam  when we took a beginner’s quilting class at The Sewing Center.  It was a 6 week class and Bobby was there to help us buy our wares and I discovered that quilting was not a cheap hobby.  I still have that quilt, my first quilt.  I wonder if Pam has hers. 

At any rate, Bobby had a little “nook” at the shop where he would work on the machines, eventually moving home into his garage where he has a tidy business, taking care of my machine and many others. 

I bought a Viking Sapphire 875 in 2009 after the shop owner had several demo Vikings in a session at a local quilt show.  Most were sold but I was able to come home with one from the shop, along with a Sew Steady Table.  Bobby has been taking care of my machine ever since. 

I usually take my Viking to Bobby at least once a year for a tune up and cleaning.  Last year, she was beyond her time needing to be cleaned  but last fall I finally took her into the Spa.   When I picked her up, Bobby said I would be needing a new set of feed dogs in the future.  I asked how I would know when?  And he said, you’ll know!  Its going to be sooner than later I think.  I’ve noticed just this week that the fabric sometimes won’t go through without a tug.  And I’ll need a new cutter soon as well. Its annoying when the cutter won't work and leaves a thread hanging.  This will be the second cutter I've gotten.  I guess when you sew every day, it just wears itself out.  

My six year old granddaughter, Evelyn, has been here this week.  I wondered what I would do to entertain her but it hasn't been difficult at all.  She is enamored with my sewing room.  I don't remember what took me in there the first day or two but she followed and when she saw my lamb's wool duster that I use to clean my machine bed, she immediately wanted to clean and tidy my "desk".  Everything was put into a neat pile and she cleaned up all the dust and threads.  Then she wanted to move over to my cutting table which was a complete mess!  

I sure wasn't going to argue with that!  I got the little ladder she could stand on and we both folded and sorted and put away.  My table was so tidy and I could actually see the top!  I do have to be careful to make sure I keep my cutters closed, teach her about the sharpness and not to touch a hot iron.  While I was sewing, she wanted to press the foot peddle and I let her, telling her when to stop.  It worked out just fine until she pushed the peddle and I wasn't there.  I had to teach her about that as well.  

Evelyn will be coming back to visit this summer and if I can keep her helping me and interested in sewing, it will be a wonderful thing.  We made some doll pillows and she stuffed them and I showed her how to hand sew the opening closed!  Makes my heart happy!  

Friday, March 19, 2021


 Today is my birthday.  I won't tell you how many but I do know, that after this past year, life is too short to not enjoy it!  Last night was my local guild meeting and I was so excited because I had spent the last month making gifts that I wanted to share with the group.  But let me digress a bit.  

I set the program for Pins and Pincushions early in the year but I knew that I would need to do some research about my topic to make it effective.  So I started researching all about pins and pincushions, looking for free patterns and more.  First I posted on The Scrappy Girls Club on Facebook and Heather sent me this file!

What a treasure of pincushion ideas but I continued my search.  I found this video from Fat Quarter Shop featuring Sherry McConnell on how she makes her pincushions.  And then I was off and running.  I located the bag of walnut bird litter on Amazon for $6.99, ordered a bag.  And I also looked into other things that could be used for stuffing a pincushion.  

My favorites and things I used.

1.  walnut bird litter.  You can also find walnut shells in some quilt shops.

2.  000 steel wool, great for sharpening your pins

3.  Batting leftovers cut into 1" to 2" squares ( you know those long strips?  )

4.  Fiber Fill

5.  Sliver trimmings from blocks

6.  Fabric cut offs from my serger

7.  Fusible Fleece and lightweight interfacing.  

The first pincushion I made was for the top of a jar that holds my quilting pins.  

I chose to use a 000 steel wool and covered it in batting and then stuffed some more around the edges.  It made a nice rounded cushion for me to keep track of all those pins and it certainly was prettier than the black lid!  The ribbon I folded and sewed together during my wait time after getting my second vaccine and I glued it on.  I just love it!  

Next I searched through my cupboards to see if I could find a teacup or something cute I could make into a pincushion.  

I found this cute basket that previously held spices, added  a Yankee Candle jar lid to the bottom to make it sturdy, a purchased pincushion glued in and ribbons.  

And thirdly, I used an orphan block from the Farmer's Wife series made from 1930's fabrics.  Make sure when you are stuffing your pincushions to push the batting bits into the corners before adding the walnut shells.  Most of my pincushions were a mix of shells and batting and other bits.  

I had so much fun making and stuffing pincushions I accumulated about 15 and decided to give 9 away to my guild members for my birthday!  I've been a member of the Silver Threads Quilt Guild for 10 years and it was so much fun for me!  

I also decided to make 3 pincushions to offer for purchase.  

A local shop has these seaside appliques for sale, complete with fusible attached to them.  Iron them onto a piece of fabric and blanket stitch around them.  One blog writer that I follow suggested always adding a button to a pincushion for a place to plant your needles instead of mixing them in with all the pins.  That was fun finding buttons to use!

In addition to bringing all the pincushions I had made to the guild meeting, I also asked members to bring a favorite.  We had 2 very unique and antique pincushioins made out of walnut and several others.  So cute! I so enjoyed it and what a wonderful birthday gift for me!  

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Pincushions and more!

     So lately I"ve been making pincushions for a guild program on March 18.  These things are really addictive and you can make them with a very tiny bit of fabric.  You can fussy cut designs, use orphan blocks and cut off HST and more.  I've had so much fun I think I'll turn it into an industry.  

I was at a local quilt shop last week and I purchased this seahorse and starfish for another project.  But when I started making pincushions, I decided to use them, along with the crab that I purchased in Maryland a few years back, to make pincushions.  The starfish is 5" square for a reference.  These three are numbers 9, 10, and 11 of the ones I have made.  I need to take photos of the rest because I'm donating 8 them to the guild for door prizes.  These cut outs are done with an accuquilt die I believe and a local shop has them available with fusible interfacing already attached.  All you have to do is iron them onto a piece of background fabric and go from there.  I'll delve more into how to make these on another blog. 

I was so enamored with making pincushions in the last month, my room has exploded and I still have plenty of projects not being made.  I even put them on my Etsy shop!

Maybe I'll sell a few.  My intention is to make them as they are sold.  Hah, we will see how that goes.  Later.