Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Farewell to August

Here are some photos of my summer quilt - about a double size. It is ONE of my very first quilts (the 3rd one, actually), so please be kind! I have the old Quilt magazine (my very first quilting magazine ever) from which the pattern came from around somewhere and once I lay my hand on that to get the year I am going to make a label for the back of this baby.

First off, I had to go BUY the scraps for the quilt because, I didn't have any. My Mom had sent me an inexpensive sewing machine and that was my motivation to start this quilt. I traced the pattern and then glued the pieces onto the back of notebook cardboard to create my templates. And, I trimmed most of my 6.5" blocks down to 6" because I didn't know any better and the direction said the blocks should be 6". So - I have nice points on the inside squares, chopped off points on the outsides! Along the way I got bored with making the square in a square blocks and made those green hearts - hand appliqued mind you! You might notice that the border fabric was just a tad too short, which I "fixed" with scraps of pink in the corners. Ahhh, but I truly loved this humble little quilt. So much so, in fact, that I spent a whopping about $100 to have it "professionally" machine quilted. And - you can see what I got back - complete with pencil marks and that nylon see-through thread that looks like fishing line. Can you see that the diagonal stitching goes right into the border? Agh! So it sat in a box (for about 15-16 years) and through several moves before I finally hauled it out, put the binding on and started to use it (last summer to be exact, so it has moved from California, to Cape Cod to Canada...).

It has a fluffy poly batting which is light weight and fairly cool, so that is why it is my summer quilt. This funny little quilt gives me a great sense of satisfaction to see how far my quilting skills and knowledge have come! Did I mention that I copied the original color scheme fairly exactly (except the green hearts!). And - thankfully - my machine quilters have improved along the way too! Very big grin! Despite everything it has going against it, it is done and well loved!

And, I will just let August slide right by with this post. It was what it was - for better or worse, we are moving right along into September now!

But - before I sign off - thank you, thank you, thank you for all your kind comments about my checkerboard borders on my log cabin. I will keep working away on my projects and hope to have some finishes in September, borders and all!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Checkerboard borders...

Earlier this summer I shared this log cabin top and mentioned that I wanted to make checkerboard borders - and here is my progress, so far! I keep a little stack of these strips/squares next to my machine and every time I sit down, I try to zip a few through. The other day I realized that I just might have enough pieced together so I checked - almost! The idea is a solid red border (about 3.5"), checkerboard border, skinny red border - send to long arm quilter!

I really don't like to do borders! I love to make blocks because they are smaller units, but when it comes to piecing the blocks into rows and adding borders... sigh! I've been rotating my projects around and now, since I haven't started anything new, I have almost all of them up to the border stage. OK, I guess I have a few borders to plow through and then the tops will be done, and then I can start something new!
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Friday, August 25, 2006

Making progress

Well, WE are making progress on Octagon Flowers! My Little Helper wants to do everything Momma does! Actually, I got 2 borders on and 1 almost pinned and then he woke up from his nap - which means sewing time is over! Fortunately, I was almost at the end of the pinning for this border so I let him do a few and then - quick, quick - put it up safely out of the way!

I don't have alot of time to sew right now, but a little bit here and a little bit there is adding up. Slow and steady. It helps that I am working on projects that are all started - I am finishing up UFOs and WIPs. I would love to start some new quilting projects and have some earmarked for later - but for now I am very happy finishing up what I've started. I have mailed seven quilts out to be quilted this month and I can tell you - that feels GREAT!

One more thing - if anyone is looking for Judy of Sunshine Quilts and the 1 Hour Quilt fame, she has moved her blog over to

Thursday, August 24, 2006

One Hundred Million Ba-zillion Pieces...

One hundred million ba-zillion pieces plus one little "helper" later - I have some new cabinets...

Ta-Da! I can't fill them up though until DH bolts everything against the wall for safety. My son is 3 years old now - which translates to - everything takes 3 times longer than it should! Ha, ha - we did have a good time putting this together though - he is a real pro when it comes to the screw driver. I would just put the screw in a little bit for him and then he would have fun twisting it while I very quickly would try to do at least 3 other screws with the other screwdriver. And so sad - the directions said not to use a power screwdriver - sigh.

Anyway - this cabinet is in my office/sewing room. New cabinets should come in helpful in my quest for organization. And that bottom cabinet has a locking compartment - always a good thing when a toddler is around. And if anyone is interested - that is Bella perched up on top - a left over from my teddy bear making days...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How to make Octagon Flowers Quilt Blocks

I made my Octagon Flowers by sewing 3 strips together - all 2.5" inches. I use the entire length of the fabric and throw the left-overs in the scrap pile, but I think it will take about 26" of fabric per strip. Also, you can get 3 2.5" strips out of a 1/4 yard cut of fabric.
OK - so once sewn together I press the seams all in one direction - this way the seams will "butt" up against each other as you sew the segments together.
The ruler I used was a 45 degree kaleidoscope ruler by Nifty Notions - Cut for the Cure line (I think I bought it online from The Quilt Bus) by Kaye England.
When you sew the segments together it is important to keep track of the sequence or else your pieces might not alternate the way you want them to (ask me how I know). So, I find it helpful to lay the circle out near my machine and sew the segments together in order. Press. Sew the segments into 1/2 circles. Press. Sew the 1/2 circle units into circles. Press. If it cups up a little - spray with spray starch and press again - spray starch works like magic on circle pieces! I usually do a few circles at a time.
My setting triangles are 4.25" squares cut in 1/2 on the diagonal. This is what worked for me with the 2.5" strips. If you start with a different sized strip - adjust accordingly! Now, the funny thing is that I couldn't figure out the mathmatical formula for these pieces so I sent an e-mail to Kaye England for directions. Wonderful quick response - "fold a square in 1/2 until you have a piece larger than that corner then cut your squares to that size - cut in 1/2 - attach and square to fit the remaining. This corner is not a math perfect unit and without having to own another ruler this is the simplest way." THANK YOU Kaye England Publications ( for such a speedy response!

And here is a photo of the finished flower - mine measures 11.5". If you use contrasting fabric for the 2 outsides you will get a neat little pinwheel in the center. If you use similar fabrics on the 2 outsides you will get a series of circles - I like both ways so made some of each!
Anyway - it is a super fun way to use your Kaleidoscope ruler!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Octagon Flowers progress...

You might have noticed my little list over to the side of my blog that lists my projects I'm working on... and Octagon Flowers is on that list. So - here is a photo of my progress so far - just a few more flowers to go (2 or 6 - depends how big I decide to make it)! The orange fabric I showed in my last post will be the narrow inner border and then the outer border will be the navy (if I have enough, but I am almost positive that I will have enough). The binding will be the same orange as the inner border. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

Just a little fabric shopping

Sticking to my LIST of fabrics that I need, here is a photo of my latest fabric purchases... first and foremost - red novelty flannel for a 2nd pair of PJ's for Little Boy (as promised - I DID tell him he could pick out more fabric but not until I finished the 1st pair), and of course, his little snippet of a novelty of his choice (trains this time around). He is getting a nice collection of novelties!

Let's see... purple flower-y fabric for a border and the green and blue will go in the same quilt. Orange for an inner border for my hexigon flowers. And - a few fat quarters for stash variety - I think I am using 1 light blue as a sky background and then I bought 2 browns to audition for an applique squirrel for a wall hanging.

I must say - I was very pleased with my self-restraint at the fabric store! The plan for today is to at least get the 2nd pair of PJ's cut out... we will see!

About that LIST - I keep a little notebook in my bag and always write down what I want to make, yardage needed, yardage I already have, etc. I also make a big show of getting the list out, referring to it and checking things off as we find it in the store - for Little Boy's benefit. Before we go shopping for anything he helps me make a list. He now really understands that if we are going grocery shopping we only buy what is on the list! No more melt-downs over not getting some sugar cereal or whatever. And - at the bottom of every grocery list - only for Good Little Boy's - M&M's (to share with Momma), or bubbles, or some other little treat. Because everyone deserves a treat every now and again (or does that count as bribery?). In anycase - the list is a real life saver when it comes to avoiding temper tantrums! Oh - and it keeps me organized too - double bonus!
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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sewing Valances

My sister bought a PLAID shower curtain (made of very nice cloth) one day and asked me to make these valances. After a little thought and consideration I finally did figure out how to cut it all apart and then sew the pieces into valances - AND make all the plaids match up... here is the photo the final result! Might I add - I used HER sewing machine (ummm -that would be the sewing machine that she maybe uses 1X a year) with a wobbly pressure foot and an impossible bobbin winder, etc. etc. AND - her ironing method is using a towel on the kitchen counter. Non-quilters don't exactly have the same sewing criterias that quilters do! I also made her another set of curtains (not valances) for her bedroom and those turned out pretty nicely too - but I didn't take a photo. Anyway, just another snippet of some of the projects I've been working on - here and there. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Little Knitting...

Here are 2 Booga Bags that I've been working on... (pattern courtesy of Black Sheep Bags at, inspiration to make them courtesy of Sam over at Diary of a Mad Fabriholic) . They both will be birthday presents for people, but I am liking these felted bags so much I might have to make myself one. The darker one is all felted and I am happy to say, that since I've taken the photo the rainbow-y one is now ready to be felted too. I probably won't loop the strap through holes as directed - I am thinking of an invisible zipper with the straps sewn to either side.

And here are more knitting projects that are in line... all scarfs. The purple is Baby Alpaca Brush (80% alpaca, 20% acrylic) and the maroon is Frog Tree 100% alpaca - both very soft!!! Oh - and 2 skiens of something else for another scarf (it will be a Christmas present, but the alpaca scarfs are for me, me, me). For good measure I threw my new bamboo needles in the photo - I usually knit on those gray ones you see everywhere, but I must say - now that I've tried bamboo - ooohhh la la!

Monday, August 14, 2006

I just want to run!

Sometimes our days can be very busy. We go here, we go there - ride in the car, hold Momma's hand - this is a parking lot, into the shopping cart, sitting in a waiting room, wait in line - an adult's day. Add that to visiting people at different houses with different rules for my son for each house. So, when Little Boy crawled into my lap and asked me - "Momma, do you know someplace we can go where I can run safely and not hold your hand? NOT a parking lot? I just want to RUN!" Well, Momma knew just the place - and this is where we went for a nice long run at the end of a busy day! It was a nice reminder that we have drifted away from our own schedules these past couple of weeks - we have been skipping our running time and that is something we usually do almost every day.

And being outside just running - it is a nice way to end our day.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My nieces kindergarten dress quilt

I gave this quilt to one my nieces a few weeks ago. The fabric for the setting squares and corner stones (the mauve fabric) is from her kindergarten dress - which would have been in 1981. My sister-in-law, Mom, Nana and sister all gave me the scraps ages and ages ago to "play" with. Recognize any of these "older, but goodie" fabrics? In about 1990 I pieced the top together. So, you could say it is an OLD UFO! And - finally, last year I sent it out to be long arm quilted (I think the finished size is 48X48). Another small quilt I hesitated about sending out, but hello! Look - it is finished now! I even had it bound... I just had to add the label (which took a mere 3 months). Some of the fabrics I labeled with a pigma pen indicating whose dress they were from or where that scrap came from. It was a surprise for my niece and boy was she ever surprised! She loved it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A July List

Well... I had photos to go with this post but Blogger is not co-operating... so I will just go ahead and post a boring list with no exciting photos and hope that tomorrow I can get it to work - if at first you don't succeed, try, try again! Just so you guys don't think I've dropped off the face of the earth or anything.

What ever happened to July anyway? It is gone, that is for sure, but how did that happen?

A summary list (starting with finished items first and working down):

*I GAVE a quilt to one of my nieces! So, a finish (that would have been my photo, but maybe it deserves its very own post anyway!
*Made Little Boy his flannel PJ's
*Made Little Boy his train quilt
*Made a girlfriend a tank top - it is in the mail as I type! I thought it was really cute and I hope she likes it!

*Cut out 1 scrappy quilt for my winter sewing
*Got my green ocean waves top up to the borders stage
*Continued working on my Country Wife blocks (ugh!)
*Laid out my sampler blocks, found a few missing blocks - will work on this soon!

*Sewed some on my plaid ocean waves top (yes, I am making 2!)

And currently, I am busy making curtains and knitting a Booga bag.

That is just sewing wise. Most of my time is spent chasing a busy 3 year old and juggling everything else I have to do during my days. BUT - he does go to bed at 8:30... grin!