Archive for April 2013

Motif Monday 2

Monday, April 29, 2013

Today's motif includes a block and a sashing.  It's a little silly looking and you might think I called this one in, but let me go through my logic and it'll all come together.

I like crinkle cut fries - also known as worm fries or caterpillar fries. Ok, so maybe I'm the only one who call them worm/caterpillar fries.  Anyhow, I thought they might make a fun border design.  I also tried it as a block fill design, say for small cornerstones, but I'll have to work on that one a bit more.

Ok, back to my drawing.

So here's how this one's a twofer.

1. I couldn't decide if the fry edges were sharp or curved so I did both.  The top and left side of the drawing have curved lines, while the right and bottom have angled lines.

2. I thought about doing curls in each of the pinwheel triangles, but thought it might be a little nicer to only have the curls in the backgrounds.  The pinwheels themselves will ditch stitched and then have the inner echo.

So I've decided to show you my fry fill.  Looks more like a fabric sketch to me, but it gives you an idea of where my mind was today. (Note to self: Eat breakfast.)

The pinwheel on the right shows the outlined pinwheel and curved lines inside.  I like to keep my quilting as continuous as possible so I'll likely go with this design for inside the pinwheels.  I'm not convinced the curls are the best option for the background triangles.  I might use Leah Day's Micro Zippling in this area.  I could just echo in the triangle like a little maze and travel stitch back out to the center of the block to move on to the wiggle ghost in the pinwheel.

I hope this has given you something to think about and that one of these is useful to you.

I'm linked up to Let's Get Acquainted and Anything Goes.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



This Week's Favorite Blog Posts! (04/28/13)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It seems picking just one favorite blog post may not work for me.  Once again, here are a few I liked this week.

Random or "di" - I came upon Di's post via the Let's Get Acquainted link up.  Her Spiral Geese quilt is just fabulous.  Her post directed me to...

Better Off Thread - Janice designed the Spiral Geese quilt and this post catalogs the process of designing and making the quilt.

Both versions are just beautiful.  I see a Spiral Geese quilt in my future.  I think I'll start a Quilt Wish List page to keep track of all the incredible quilts I come upon and want to make.

Домик у моря - Or Cottage By the Sea is from Julia.  She has a really pretty makeup case she's made from a quilted rectangle.  This post lists the steps she took to make it.

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: This time I'm late for a very good reason.  My brother-in-law was over for a visit and we all had a fabulous time catching up!

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Thoroughly Modern Thursday - 2

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm still trying to figure out how best to quilt My Heart.

I tried to think of something that went in with the ombre fabrics, but that seemed less the point to me than the heart.  Oh, My Lonely Heart wasn't quite right either.

The heart really symbolizes the love between Eric & I.  We are very blessed, almost 20 years in, 1 in college, 1 on the way to the Marine Corps and we're still honeymooning.

With that thought in my heart, here are the quilting design ideas I came up with.

All but the top left are a combination of ideas rather than just one over all design.  If I choose to add the hands in, I'll spend far more time sketching out a proper set of hands and forearms.  Hubby says these look like the Grinch's hands!

We are both leaning towards the top left - sweet, simple and to the point.  What do you think?

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Technique Tuesday - 2

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yes, I know it's Wednesday, not Tuesday.

I've been thinking these last three days a lot about how I'd like to work with Technique Tuesday.  I don't think a one day/week turn with a new technique is conducive to learning.  With all the project most of us are working on, it's hardly enough time to even start on a new technique.  I also think one new technique a month seems too long.

I've settled on one new technique every other week - for now.  This will allow us time to live with the new technique and see progression of a project using the technique.

Now that I've decided how Technique Tuesday will work, next week I'll post my progress on the Sashiko project we started last week.  I'll also post new suggestions for implementing the technique.  I hope you find this updated format helpful.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Motif Monday 1

Monday, April 22, 2013

The first motif set I'm going to put up is holly leaves and is a block motif.  You may remember I posted one of these quilting designs in the Winter Whimsy quilt design sketch.  I wanted something a little more fun so I came up with these variations.  Each of them can be done free motion and continuous.

I'll normally do an original and a variation, unless something strikes me.  Today, I had intended to give two variations, but I really didn't like variation 2.  Variation 3 is what I'd had in mind all along.  When I started to write this paragraph, I looked at the drawing again and realized what my biggest issue was with V2.  I'd forgotten to do the fourth echo in one of the leaves.  It's not my favorite, but it's not awful. I hope one of them is useful to you.

I'm linked up to Let's Get Acquainted and Anything Goes.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Midnight Madness Sunday: This Week's Favorite Blog Post!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I had a hard time picking just one blog post so here's my list of favorites for the week.

Christa Quilts!
Her French Rose Buds Baby Quilt is far beyond lovely.  She's selling the pattern in her store.  I see a purchase in my future.  I have some thoughts on quilting it.  Now, if only I had someone to give it to!

The quilting on her Improv Star quilt is beautiful.  It's just dense enough, thematic, and flows in such a nice way.  Makes me want to get quilting on my TMT quilt.

Stitch by Stitch
Marelize is working on a hexie project.  She wanted a hand sewing project to work on so she's been basting hexies.  She's got about 1600 of them!  I can't wait to see what she makes with them.

I hope you find these posts as fun to look at as I do.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: Yes, I forgot to set the publish time.  I'll do better next Sunday.  Have a great week!

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Free Form Friday!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Following my new format, today is Free Form Friday and I'm in the mood to share a little bit of everything today.

First, I'm really excited to be going on the NJ Shop Hop tomorrow with two friends from my quilting group.  I set up bins for the three of us to store our purchases during the trip.  The little labels say "Hi My Name Is" with each of our names.

Inside each bin I've also included 2.5" fabric strips I matched to each of us.  I also made pull through tags from each of the fabrics.  Pull through tags are 4" x 1" strips of fabric with a 1" slit half an inch in from one of the ends.  Once our bins are full, we can use these tags to mark our bags.  They're fun, quick, easy and we'll be able to quickly identify our own bags.

With any luck, one of us will win one of the prizes!

Project Follow Up:

1. Sashiko Dragon Flies - I'm a bit further along with my dragon flies.  I decided to stitch them in a different color from the grid.  I just happened to find some gold sashiko thread at Happy Quilter. And I had a great time chatting with Susan at the store.

2. Oh, My Lonely Heart - I still haven't decided on how to quilt this project.  I think I'll baste it on Sunday and see how the spirit moves me.  The graphite ombre is the front with the quilted and appliquéd on heart.  The graphite ombre dot is the back.  The graphite zig zag is the binding.

Any ideas?  Let me know what you think! 

3. Free Motion Quilting - I shared these two projects here and here.  I've had them sitting together until I can find the rest of the fabric I used to bind the first one.  I have enough fabric left to do at least one more in this fabric combination.  There's lots to love about them and lots to fuss over, but I think they'll look nice hanging on the wall over my piano.

I'm linking up to Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Friday.  It's also worth noting that I've officially lost the marked whole cloth I'd started.  I had marked Leah's Hearts and Feathers pattern on a beautiful red batik.  It's been gone long enough for the markings to have faded so I'll be starting over next week.  Glad I didn't take the pattern off the window!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Thoroughly Modern Thursday

Thursday, April 18, 2013

There are some quilts that look definitely modern to me and there are others that look barely different for any other quilt your abuela might have made.  While there are certain characteristics that give us good guidelines, in the long run, modern can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder.

Modern Quilt Guild on what is modern quilting:

"...several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work."

I think we can agree on these characteristics.  We could also disagree on some of these.  If you look back in history, modern quilting as characterized above has been a segment of every quilting generation.


I found these great fabrics at Rock, Paper, Scissors in Montclair, NJ.  They host the local MQG meetings.  I haven't made it to one of the meetings yet, but their listing on the MQG site is what lead me to finding their store.  Quilting fabric is only part of what's going on there, but I was able to find some interesting fabrics.  These are all from Simply Color by V and Co. for Moda.

Cat Not Included

I cut, sandwiched, turned out and then quilted this heart.  Next, I'm going to applique it to the quilt top before putting it all together.  I'm all over the place on how best to quilt it.

  • Idea 1: Quilt around the heart and one echo.  Then echo quilt circles around the outside of the heart.  
  • Idea 2: Quilt straight vertical and horizontal lines to create a grid in the top left corner of the quilt.  Then in the area not covered by the lines, quilt bubbles.
  • Idea 3: Use 5 different fillers designs that change in size and density from the top to the bottom of the quilt.
  • Idea 4: Add a few more hearts floating down to the bottom right and then figure out how to quilt it. (Ack!  Scope creep!)

I'm hoping to get this quilt done in the next week.  What do you think?  Any ideas on how to quilt this?

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Sashiko on Technique Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sashiko is a running stitch that was used in Japan and China as reinforcement stitches for high wear areas of clothing - elbow, knees, etc.

Overall Thoughts

This is my first attempt at sashiko.  I've decided to start with a preprinted panel just to see if I'd enjoy it.  I'm not even done with this first piece and I can already tell you this is something I'm really enjoying.  It's very relaxing.  I can see many applications for this technique in many of my quilting projects.  It's also not difficult.  You're using a running stitch which most of you will be familiar with.  The complexity will come from the pattern you choose to stitch.  I'm about 1/2 way done with the panel you'll see below.  I'll post the completed panel Friday.


  • Cotton or Linen - While most recommend a looser weave, you can test the fabric using the sashiko needle and see if you're comfortable working with the combination for an entire piece.  Alternatively, you can purchase a preprinted panel to work from.
  • Sashiko Needles - Sashiko needles are larger than what we may be used to using.  The eye is large to accommodate the sashiko thread.  They come in different lengths.  You should try a few to see what works best for you. 
  • Sashiko Thread - This is a soft thread.  The one I am using has 6 twisted threads sets.  Each set is heavier that  average quilting thread.  Handle your thread very carefully.  I made a big, hot mess of my thread and am having to deal with the consequences.  When you open it up and lay it out, one side of the thread loop has a small thread wrapped around it.  If you hold this point, and pull the thread up off the table, it will open out nicely.  Then you can cut it into lengths.
  • Thimble - I'd recommend a leather thimble.


1. Thread and knot your needle.
Use whatever method you're most comfortable with.  I loop the end around my index finger 1 1/2 times.  Then I roll it off with my thumb and pull it tight to create a knot.  It's not the prettiest or neatest not, but it works for me.

a. Loop 1/2 x's
b. Roll off thumb
c. Pull knot

2. Choose your starting point.
Start by choosing the longest stabilizing line.  My panel has a grid on it so I am working from the center out.  You'll want to start with the straight lines and then move to any curved lines.

3. Insert your needle from wrong side of fabric.
Start from the wrong side of the panel and push your needle through to the right side starting at the beginning of the marked line.

Insert from wrong side

4. Take several running stitches.
Using the pattern marking as a guide, take several running stitches.  Be sure to cover the marked areas with your thread and move back down to the underside in the areas with no marking.

Take several running stitches

5. Continue straight line running stitches.
You may have noticed in the picture above that the needle comes back up on the other side of the dragonfly's wing.  As you're traveling along, be sure you travel underneath pattern areas to continue your line.

Some thoughts on how to do the stitches…
I have found the quickest and easiest way to do this is to scrunch the fabric in my left hand and stab through the fabric with the needle in my right, rocking the fabric as I go.  These shouldn't be tight stitches either.  They should lay gently on the fabric.

Rock & Load

6. Pull the fabric to settle the stitches.
You'll have to gently tug the fabric in the direction of the stitches to settle them into place.

Before gentle tug
After gentle tug

Continue in this way until you have completed all the straight lines in your piece.

7. Stitch curved lines.
You'll stitch these lines in the same way you've stitched the curved lines.  You may want to switch to one of the shorter needles - personal preference rules here.

Keep In Mind

Once you're piece is completely stitched you can use it for whatever you'd like.  In parts of Japan, they're used as dust rags!

I'll be using mine for a quilted wall hanging.  I'm going to add a border.  Then I'll be using a matching thread to stitch a dense filler design all over, except for the dragonflies.  I want them to really pop up off the surface.  I'll likely use two layers of batting to make sure it's pronounced.

I have seen the knotted ends left floating at the edge of the pattern as a design element.  In my project it would be at the end of each grid line.  In that case, you'd want to use a cute little knot or maybe a knot with a short tail.

Indigo bleeds so wash it separately after you finish the stitches.  You may want to use a color catcher or a cup of vinegar.  If it bleeds onto your thread, this is characteristic of traditional sashiko and isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, personal preference rules here.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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It's a Brave New World!

Monday, April 15, 2013

You may have noticed after Easter I stepped away from the blog for two weeks.  I was trying to find my writing voice.  I want this blog to be more than just show and tell.  I want to share - quilting designs, patterns, projects, techniques, and even the occasional show and tell.

Here's how it's going to work.

Motif Monday - I'll be sharing quilting motifs.  Some will be free motion and some will require marking.  For each new quilting motif I share, I'll also include a variation.

Technique Tuesday - I'll be sharing a different technique.  In some cases I'll be learning them and in other cases it will be a technique I've used for years.

Thoroughly Modern Thursday - I'll be sharing my take on modern quilting.  I'll share some of my own patterns and designs, as well as, some that I've stumbled across.

Free-Form Friday - I'll be sharing whatever I'm in the mood to share.  Maybe it's a show and tell of my FMQ for the week.  Maybe I'll show my progress on a BOM I'm working on.  It just depends on what's going on that week.

Midnight Madness Weekends - This is going to be fun.

  • Midnight Saturday: The first Saturday of the month, I'll be posting a Block of the Month.  Subsequent Saturdays will be about sharing the finished block in 2 - 3 different fabric sets.  
  • Midnight Sunday: Every Sunday I'll share my favorite post of the week.  There are so many great quilt bloggers out there.  It can be hard to keep track of them all.  
I'm really looking forward to the new format.  Please chime in and let me know what you think.  If you'd like to see something, let me know.

Today was announcement day so I'll be starting the new format tomorrow.  I hope to see you tomorrow for Technique Tuesday!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Must Do's Done - On to Free Motion Feathers

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hubby and I were able to get our must do's done by 2:30 so I had plenty of time for quilting!

Here's the result of Angela Walter's Free Motion Quilting with Feathers class.

X Marks the Spot
Free Motion Feathers

 I'll have to get the binding and label on in the next couple of days.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Quick Mini Label

Not sure how much quilting I'll be getting done today.  We've got a bunch of must do's scheduled.

I took Angela Walter's Free Motion Quilting with Feathers over at Craftsy.  I loved it!  I went to bed thinking about feathers and woke up thinking about feathers.  I can't wait to get to my practice piece.

Rather than rushing through a feathers practice piece this morning, I finished up the little pink practice piece I'd posted earlier.  In line with my finish everything with a binding & label, I added the binding and made these cute little labels.  This little pink practice piece is about 5" x 7", so the usual label seemed like overkill.  I'd remembered seeing this on someone's blog.  They'd had them mass produced.  I figured I could do it only home printer so I decided to give it a try.  I think it looks really cute.  I'm very happy with how it came out.  Now I have another little mug rug.

I made these using 4" x 6" photo fabric on my home printer and Avery's online printing tool.

Here's hoping my must do's don't take as long as expected.

Quilt.  Create.  Enjoy!


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What I've Been Up To...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I've been very busy...Shopping!

My friend Marie & I had a fabulous time on doing our own Private NJ Shop Hop.  We visited some great stores and made some great buys.

Here's the list of fabulous store we went to:

  1. Budding Star Quilts
  2. Pennington Quilt Works
  3. Olde City Quilts
  4. The Village Quilter
  5. The City Quilter
I thought it would be great to pick up 2-3 fat quarters from each shop so we could make a quilt to commemorate our day out and about.  Here's the collection I came away with.

I started with the 5th one from the right and then added from there.  I ended the day having purchased far more than I expected, but it was a great day.   We ended the day with cheesecake and milk shakes for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

I've also been practicing my free motion feathers.  I won't share any of my horrid practice pieces just yet.  I'm trying to find which method is most comfortable for me and results in beautiful feathers.  I decided to go back to basics and found Feathered Fibers has information on how to quilt various feathers.  What I found most useful would have to be the sheets to print out and just practice the shapes.  She has a few of them, so if you need help with your free motion feathers you may find them useful. Here are the sheets I've been drawing so far.

I just flipped the paper over and started drawing on the other side to continue my practice.  I'm also going to watch Leah Day's Feather pattern videos before I start.  I'll be moving to a practice scrap on the machine today.  Wish me luck!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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