Sunday, December 27, 2015

Preparing For 2016

This post will cover some thoughts I have as 2015 winds to a close.  Since setting up the new quilt room, I have looked at all the quilts that I have started, or planned to start, that are not finished yet.  This will be my goal for 2016.  

I also would like to make some baby quilts to have on hand, to enable me to gift a baby quilt without feeling I have a time schedule to get it done.  It would make me feel so organized to have some finished ahead of time.  Also, I was surprised at how much fabric I have that comes in "baby quilt" category.

Also, in 2016, I would like to give more information on the blog about how I make my quilts, as I often get questions about them.  For instance, Anita left me a comment about this table topper:  "What size are the blocks?"

I think I blogged about it before, but it is a free pattern from McCall's Quick Quilts.  It is available from and is called "Peppermint Dash" by Darlene Zimmerman.

Darlene's pattern finishes at 47 in. by 55.5 inches with blocks that finish at 6 inches square.

When I made my table topper, I just divided all the instructions in half, and my squares finish 3 in. by 3 in.  I also made fewer blocks that the big quilt.  I have 20 churn dash blocks and the magazine directions have 30 blocks.  I would like to make the bigger version someday, maybe in 2016.hVE

This week I sorted the last large box of fabric, which was all scraps.  It took me a long time, and I have it now sorted into strips by color, and have just a small box of odd shaped pieces.  It was fun to look at all the pieces, and have them all sorted now.

The boxes of "projects" is a little overwhelming, but 2016 is a new start, with a clean quilt room, and all of the projects lined up for me to see.  I am open to how you tackle old projects that you want to finish......I've seen some ideas out there:

Put the names in a bowl and draw one out and finish that one before drawing another name

Prioritize them by which ones are the furthest toward finishing, and finish those first.

List them by order in which you love them.....I love them all, so that won't work.

Start with the easiest ones, and move more quickly.

Start with the hardest ones, and they will get easier as you go along.

Work on five at a time, and work on the one that interests you that day.

Besides all the projects I have in boxes, I am also starting new ones.  The new year starts with a challenge from Australia, The Ultimate Sampler, or the 365 Challenge.  There is a plan to make a quilt block every day for a year, to make a 90 inch sampler.  All the blocks will be rotary cut and machine pieced, which is what I like to do.  I also like the quilt, as it is shown on the website.  If you are interested in participating, the website it (Here)

We have had a wonderful Christmas and my dear husband have me the best Christmas present I could ever hope for!  He said I could get a yellow Labrador puppy this Spring.  And I can't wait!  He wrapped up a box filled with lots of paper, and inside was a book about raising Labrador Retrievers.  He knew how much I missed our dear Sally since she's been gone.  Here's a picture of us taken this afternoon at his sister's home:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!  On New Year's Eve, I shall toast to a new year filled with finished quilts!  

My word for the new year is "focused".  I will be focused on completing the quilts I have started.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Quilt Room Tour

I am getting settled into the quilt room, and here are some pictures to show you how the room is organized.

Here is a photo from the doorway, looking into the room:

The lovely antique kitchen storage unit that my wonderful Mother-in-Law gave me is where all of my stash is stored.  All neatly closed behind the doors:

Here is the second picture with all the doors open:  I used the moving company "book" boxes, which are sturdy and easy to cut down to the right size, to sort my stash into boxes.  I put a small label on the outside of each door, to tell me what is inside.  The categories are:

By color:
Red  (2 boxes)
Blue  (2 boxes)
Brown  (2 boxes)
Neutrals  (2 boxes)
Cheddar & Black (1 box)
Green/Purple  (1 box)
Pink (1 box)

And also by Type:
Baby (2 boxes)
Floral (1 box)
Christmas  (1 box)
Patriotic  (1 box)
Plaids (2 boxes)
Solids (2 boxes)

The unit has four drawers and inside the drawers are: 

Binding fabrics and pieces of binding to use on small quilts. I like to use stripes and black and white checks:

Zippers, velcro, snaps, and misc. notions:

Triangles on a role, and other paper piecing aides:

 Rickrack, elastic, seam bindings, hem tape:

My sewing machine cabinet has only one small drawer, and I keep needles in there:

The cutting table is an old dining room sideboard, painted white.  I love it because it is quite high, and I'm a tall girl, so it's just the right height:  I am also blessed to have a lovely view of the woods behind our house.

The top drawer on the right holds all of the rulers:

On top of the antique kitchen cupboards are four metal tins with my spools of thread, and next to the tins are several old canning jars for button storage:

In the corner is an old tea caddy where my muslins are stored, and the cart is handy to wheel over beside the sewing machine, if I want to have some items laid out next to me as I sew:

The design walls are insulation board, covered with high grade flannel fabric, and there are two projects on there right now.

The closet has batting and larger pieces of fabric in it.  Nothing exciting to see in there.  

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Giveaway Winner

There were 21 replies to the last blog post and I used a random number generator to select a winner from the 21 of you.  The lucky winner is Dee Fowler, and I will be mailing her Christmas table topper pattern to her today.  Merry Christmas Dee, and thanks to all of you for participating!

I thought you'd like to see some of the Christmas decorations at my house.

The front door has a swag of greens with two birds to greet you.

The second picture is of an old quilt that I display somewhere at Christmas time. This year, it's on the back of the couch, where you can see it from the front door. I love this old quilt that I purchased years ago.

The third picture is of a small churn dash doll quilt on the coffee table.  The knitting next to it is a cowl scarf that is my project right now whenever I am sitting in the living room.  I'm a slow knitter, but I enjoy it.

I thank you for your kind remarks on my blog.  They are appreciated very much.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Sewing and a Pattern Giveaway

Today I worked on the Christmas placemat that I'm making for my guild's Christmas party.  I can't wait to see all everyone at the party and see all the colorful placemats they have all made.  Here's mine, all from scraps leftover from other projects:

Placemat front:

Placemat back:

It felt good to make something all from things I have, and not buying anything to complete it.

The other Christmas project I'm working on is this little table topper that I've made two times.  One for me, and one for my friend, Dee.

I've had the snowman buttons for quite a while.  They were given to me by my friend Debra (  She was with me at a retreat, and had bought a packet of the snowman buttons, and shared some of them with me. Debra showed me a picture on the internet of the cute little table topper.

I copied the picture on the internet, guessed at how to make it, and made the table topper.  I liked it very much, and made another one for my friend Dee.   I used more modern fabrics from her stash and she chose snowflake buttons for her version.  I'm hoping Dee will be surprised when she opens the package this Christmas, as I took the fabrics from her stash earlier this year, with her permission.

Dee's Christmas present:


 But one thing was bothering me.  I felt very guilty for making two table toppers without buying the pattern from the designer!  Yikes!!  So I looked on the internet some more, and found out the company who sold the pattern, and called them up.  I actually talked on the phone to the person who designed the pattern!  I told her I had made the table toppers without using her pattern and that I felt guilty, and now wanted to buy the pattern.  She was very kind, and forgave me.  She sold me a pattern and I told her I was going to gift it to someone who reads my blog - as a pay it forward gift to ease my guilt.  She laughed, and said that would be fine with her.  It is sold at "Red Button Quilt Co." and is called "Snowman Garland".

So if you would like this pattern for a cute table topper (snowman buttons included), please leave a comment on today's blog post, and I will draw a random number, and send the pattern to one of you.  And here's a lesson learned:  If I am going to use someone else's design - I am buying their pattern.  The guilt isn't worth it if I don't.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Christmas season.  We are working on our Christmas cards this weekend.  Merry Christmas to you!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fall Jane Stickle Retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana

We had such fun at the Jane Stickle Retreat in Shipshewana the weekend before Thanksgiving. There were about 130 of us at the retreat, and most of us bought the pink sewing motif pjs from Target, for this epic group picture. 

I'm in the center back - pointing with my arm in the air.  (I don't know what I was pointing at.)

 Just imagine sewing together in a room full of ladies in their pink pajamas;  lots of fun and laughter from Wednesday through Sunday morning.

At the retreat, I worked on several projects, and finished a baby quilt top for my great-great niece, who is due to be born in December.  I made a doll quilt top to match it, and am working this week on getting them quilted and bound, ready to send off to the new baby when she is born.

Here is a picture of the baby quilt top:

The half-square triangle blocks finish at 6 inches square, and the top is 46" by 58" right now.

And here's the doll quilt, which measures 11 inches by 13 inches.  The little hsts finish at 1 inch.

The new quilt room at our Grand Rapids house is still being settled, and today we moved some of my quilt supplies from the cabin to the new quilt room, so I can set up a machine in there.   Pictures to come when it is ready for sewing.

I also worked at the retreat on a Christmas fabric placemat which will be used at my Manistee guild's Christmas party.  We are each to make a Christmas placemat and then leave them at the guild for every December's Christmas party.  I will show it to you in the next post, as I haven't taken a picture of it yet.

I'm linking up with Design Wall Mondays, (Here), and hope you are having fun working on something quilty this week too.   

Monday, October 19, 2015

Swap Blocks of Signature Blocks

I know I've not posted for a while, but there's a good reason:  I've moved, and my new quilt room is full of boxes.   In fact, the whole house is full of boxes, but we are so happy to be all in one state (Michigan) now.   There will be a new quilt room post when all the unpacking is finished.

Lots of quilting going on, and one project is preparing attic window blocks for a swap.  This is the first time I've participated in a signature block swap.  

Why did I sign up for this swap?  Because I have such a great time with all the ladies of the Jane Stickle Quilt Retreat that I wanted to make a quilt with all of their signatures, so I could remember them fondly when I am not with them.  We have such a good time twice a year in Shipshewana, Indiana.  The next retreat is coming up in November, and I thought I'd share how I am making my blocks.

Some people in our group said that they did the signing of the squares first, before the sewing, so that's what I did.  My thought was, if I mess up the signature and have the "Y" seam all together, that would not make me happy.  If I mess up the "Y" seam, I can do it over.  And I'm doing the "Y" seams just because they give me trouble, and I need the practice on them.

Here's how I did the signature part:

(1) washed and dried the muslin fabric

(2) cut it into long strips, allowing a little extra at the top and bottom of each strip, then sub-cut into 5 signature pieces per strip.

(3) drew lines on the strips to show left side and right side edges of a square

(4) Ironed the 4 block strip to a piece of freezer paper (for stability)

(5) Printed out my name and address from the computer in a font I liked, which was "Palace Script MT", available on my Microsoft Word software.

(6) Taped the printout from (5) above to my light box.

(7) Taped the muslin strip on top of the light box, and traced my signature onto the muslin fabric.  I used a permanent ink fabric pen, from a quilt store.

(8) Ironed the signature strip to set the ink (Don't know if this is necessary, but I did it)

(9) Cut the strips into individual block pieces.

Now I have to add the attic window two strips (one dark and one medium) to the left side and bottom of the squares.  This is what I am working on today.

Here is the first one I made, which is a little wonky on the bottom fabric, but I hope I will improve as I go along:

I'm linking to Judy Laquidara's blog for Design Wall Mondays, (Here)  What are you working on today?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Beth Polidan's Truck Show - Part 2

Here are the rest of the hand quilted quilts and some quilt tops that Beth Polidan showed our guild at her Trunk Show: 

This is a quilt that Beth quilted with lovely straight and diagonal lines:

Close-up of the quilting:

Another quilt with a close-up picture of Beth's hand quilting on it:

Such tiny, even stitches!

This quilt was quilted with the Baptist Fan quilting pattern:

Close-up of a 16 patch block:

This is a quilt top that Beth owns and she bought it because it was so unusual. 
It is made of quarter circles hand sewed onto background squares.  But the quilt top was made with the same fabrics facing each other in four squares, which resulted in a big circle - but more work than just appliqueing a circle on a big square, because it was made of four pieces of fabric.  I wonder what the quilt maker was thinking?

Here's a picture of the whole quilt top:  It looks quite modern, doesn't it?

Next, dear to my heart, is a redwork top:

I liked this moose:

This is a lovely Irish Chain Quilt Top

And another quilt top Beth owns:

This top has lovely sashing:

A big thank you to Beth Polidan for sharing her quilts with us!!

I will close with pictures of the flowers at Guild that day.  Summer has been so beautiful here in Michigan:

I am linking up with Design Wall Mondays at Patchwork Times to see what other quilters are working on today.  (Here)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Beth Polidan's Trunk Show at Our Guild

Beth Polidan is a member of our guild here in Manistee, Michigan, and she also attends a guild in Florida during the winter months.  She is a hand quilter and has beautiful small even stitches.  This past week, she brought some of her collection of quilts in for us to see.  She gave me permission to share them with you.  Enjoy!
Old top - taken apart and put back together by Beth.
Back of quilt - showing the hand quilting.

Purchased top, mended and hand quilted by Beth
A Crib Quilt of Hexies - This was my favorite one!
The piecing and quilting were so tiny.
Love it, love it, love it!

Love the border she put on this basket quilt.

Simplicity of an old Irish Chair well quilted.
Beth's choices on hand quilting this one were spot on!

See what I mean?
Well, that's enough eye candy for today.  I will continue Beth's Trunk Show on the next post.

Today is Monday, and I'm linking up with Patchwork Times to see what other quilters have on their design walls.  (Here)

What am I working on?  I'm sewing the last two rows together to complete a quilt top.  It's almost complete!