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George X's Monkey
George X's Monkey

Sadly, no child close to me is really very interested in learning to make quilts or about any fabric related opportunities at all. I am hopeful that Kathy‘s Jessie may take an interest, or one of the nieces will come around eventually.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when George X (11YO) came over and was interested in making a small stuffed animal. One reason he was interested was that The Child was not home and George X had nothing really to do. I explained the basic process to him and we got started.

I gave him a large sheet of paper folded in half. On one half, he drew the detailed version – his ideal. On the other side, we drew the pattern together. He drew and I told him how to do it.

Detailed picture
Detailed picture

I knew I needed to get him to stitching pretty quickly, so I tried to keep the process simple. After he cut out the pattern, we picked fabric, pressed fabric, cut out the fabric and he began stitching. I tried to show him what to do, inspire confidence and supervise. I tried really hard not to hover. It was easier since I had a project I was working on as well.

Monkey Project
Monkey Project

I wanted him to do as much handwork as possible for two reasons. First, I wanted him to get the feel of the piece. Second, I was using the machine.

Learning to Stitch
Learning to Stitch

I had him sew the tummy on with a running stitch. Yes, it is raw edge applique’. I know that the tummy will ravel, but I will help him fix any problems.

George IX came home and George X lost interest in fabric. Video games were just too tempting. I put the piece away – with all the parts – for the next time.

I was pleased when George X excitedly wanted to show his parents what he had done. I look forward to working on the monkey with him again.

A Dotty Bag

Dotted Multi-Tasker Tote
Dotted Multi-Tasker Tote

Here is my latest Multi-tasker tote. As usual, I made it from the Anna Maria Horner pattern. The more MTTs I make, the easier this pattern gets. Will this be my new tote bag pattern of choice?

I bought the laminated cotton (oilcloth) at the Quilting Loft in Seattle on my week away. As I mentioned, it poured rain part of the time I was there and the regular cotton Julie MTT got wet. When I saw the  dotted laminated cotton, I thought it would be a great winter bag. I made it big, even though I still need to make the Mini Multi to see if it is a better size for my height and shape and the amount of space I usually have on public transport. I had a lot of stuff I was hauling around from cafe’ to cafe’ that week.

Dotty MTT, inside detail
Dotty MTT, inside detail

Aside from the laminated cotton, the inside is an old, but still fun and fresh and bright Marimekko print, and the pocket panels are some random turquoise that I had. I am not happy with the outcome of this bag. I am not happy with the pocket panel fabric I chose (the turquoise). It goes well with the other fabrics, theoretically. Made up it just looks wrong. I wish I had used a stripe. I may make another one and use this one for a gift or something else. I have more of the dotted fabric.

One great thing about this project was that I was able to utilize a skill I learned during my week away to add a cell phone pocket to the inside. Apparently, cell phone pockets have a little pleat in them (do they all??). While I don’t know if I would put my cell phone in this bag, I might if my jacket pockets are full of other things. The pocket might also be useful for a Nano, or other small electronic devices. It is definitely a pocket I will use in other bags, mostly because it is cool to make and I feel proud of myself for learning to do it.

After I made this bag and looked at the seven (yes, SEVEN) hanging on my workroom door, I started to wonder if I was giving up quilts and moving on to other accessories? I don’t think so, but the speed with which I can churn out a bag is very attractive and very fulfilling. I will have to put some block making on my agenda for the rest of this long weekend.

Creative Prompt #43: Gratitude

There is more information on the Creative Prompt Page.

Gratitude: thankfulness, or appreciation is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. (from Wikipedia)

Thank you!

Alfred Painter: Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.


I am grateful.

Attitude of gratitude.

Counting your blessings.

Gratitude: a way of life by Louise L. Hay

Write your thank you notes.

Attitudes of Gratitude: how to give and receive joy everyday of your life by M. J. Ryan

Operation Gratitude

Albert Schweitzer: At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. / Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Frederic Brussat wrote on Twitter (11/15/2009) “Thanks-Giving #15: In gratitude for the good service of a grocery store or gas station, tell others about it so the business can grow”

See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. It will keep all the artwork together.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, now, has a Flickr group, which you can join and where you can post your responses.

The Return of Kissy Fish

Kissy Fish Full, Nov. 2009
Kissy Fish Full, Nov. 2009

Back in the Quilting Arts Dark Ages, they showed some embroidery stitches over a series of pages. Somehow those embroidery stitches combined with a viewing of  quilt artist Susan Carlson’s work on Simply Quilts inspired me to get started on Kissy Fish.

As an aside: I am not getting back to the bleary photos, this piece is really, no REALLY, hard to photograph with the equipment I have.

This piece is covered with shiny things that reflect the light: beads, french ribbon, thread with metallic bits. It is on the list to be professionally photographed. Anyway.

Kissy Fish, detail 1
Kissy Fish, detail 1

The stitches I used most frequently on this piece are called Feather Stitch. It was highlighted in Quilting Arts #1. It was really fun to see how the stitches added to the piece and helped it develop. It was fun to see how I could make each bit of kelp different with beads, varying widths of thread, etc.

Kissy Fish, detail 2
Kissy Fish, detail 2

One of the things I knew about this piece was that it wasn’t intended to be a masterpiece. It was intended to be a test. It has turned out much better than a test.

I also never intended it to be hung as a quilt is hung. I always intended that it would be framed and hung like a piece of traditional art. That is still my plan.

I think the hand embroidery is mostly done. As I do on many of my Pamela pieces, I went about the process backwards. I did the embroidery first and now am thinking I need to do more quilting.  Machine quilting. I’ll have to seriously think about it, because I don’t want to break the beads or my careful stitching.

Christmas Early

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist

I have a number of tote bags with different projects in them. The idea is to be able to “grab and go.” The Big Game (we won, in case you needed to know) was this weekend. It is, generally, the family kickoff to the holiday season. I needed a project. Since I finished the handwork on Beach Town, I had nothing on the front burner. I grabbed an old project bag and found Christmas!

Really, I found a project called Kissy Fish. I haven’t worked on it seriously for awhile. I was pretty close to being done, so I brought it with me to the game. I’ll talk about Kissy Fish in another post some day.

The bag was a pit. It was obvious that the last few times I worked on it, I threw stuff into it willy nilly. Unearthing it was fun! I found great stuff that I had forgotten I had, like 8 packs of Oliver Twist threads! Who knows how long they have been in the bottom of the bag, but they are out now.  I also found a bunch of beads and other stuff I haven’t seen in ages. There were a bunch of spools of Aurifil, Madeira and Perl cotton.

It is really like an early Christmas gift. I can’t wait to get my hands on those Oliver Twist thread.

Babies Finished

Babies and wedding some in waves and I am in a baby wave right now. I am not having my own baby, just to be very clear. Friends are in baby producing mode, however. I have made a few quilts for friends, but am, frankly, too lazy for the most part.

I do make receiving blankets quite frequently. They are much more useful than quilts and people seem less reluctant to use them or save them for a special day. I thought I had written about them before, but I guess not. I searched and only saw mentions

Lily Blankets
Lily Blankets

Mostly I made receiving blankets, which can be used for all sorts of useful baby things such as:

Superman (or girl) cape


nursing cover

layer for warmth




changing pad

burp cover


Ayden Blankets
Ayden Blankets

I fold over a double hem and stitch with fun thread and a decorative stitch. Often I will leave the selvedge on so as not to have to hem yet another side. The decorative stitch takes awhile, so it is better for me to do as little hemming as possible. If these were going to another sewist or quiltmaker, I might rethink that strategy, but mostly they go to people who are not crafty.

Baby Gift Bags
Baby Gift Bags

Finally, I don’t usually give gift bags to people who don’t give them back or re-use them. This time, I really didn’t feel like dealing with any paper or tape or anything. I sincerely dislike wrapping gifts with paper, so I pulled some fabric off the ‘back art’ shelf and made two bags. I don’t really like the background color of the fabric. Don’t ask me why I bought it – the cherries, probably. I like the bags, though and perhaps it will encourage more people to make fabric gift bags they can re-use.

More Catch Up Monday

Yes, I know. You want to know why all of my post titles have ‘catch up’ in them? I suppose that I am entering the time of the year when I am perpetually behind. It started early this year. Anyway, I hope these posts don’t bore you to tears or prevent you from posting comments. I love your comments.

Quilt World News

I listened to Annie Smith catch up podcast on Friday and heard that Mark Lipinski is giving up both his QNNTV show AND Mark Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home magazine. apparently, the current issue is his last. Huh?

I went and looked at Mark’s blog post from a few days ago – actually, September 24 – and all of this is true, sadly. Subsequent posts have his Aurifil thread collection and his new fabric collection featured, but nothing else. Stay tuned, I guess.

New blogs

Three Kitchen Fairies – I don’t know how I found this blog – some link from somewhere. I really like it and was particularly enamored with her ‘Pay it Forward’ concept. She details it in her post and button. She writes about getting a gift and her resolve to Pay it Forward. I love this idea. We have a lot of bridges here in the Bay Area so sometimes I pay for people crossing the bridge behind me. Stay tuned for something quilt related along these lines here at Artquiltmaker blog. Perhaps you will consider paying it forward?

Ginger Monkey: I found this blog via 3 Kitchen Fairies blog. Somehow Ginger Monkey is also connected to the quilt Pay It Forward concept, but I am not sure how. I still like this blog based on the bit of exploring I have done. I like the look, the colors. She has a tutorial for a Spiderweb quilt, which reminds me that I also have a Spiderweb quilt in progress. I think she has more than one in progress or has made more than one. In any case, I like that pattern, and Ginger Monkey’s color sense. I like some of the buttons she has. I think buttons give people a sense of who the writer is and some idea of their quilt values. Hers look friendly and kind to me, after a quick glance.

Red Pepper Quilts has a lot of really cool, bright and cheerful quilts. Her Flickr stream has a lot of wonderful photos.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Sometime, in the not too distant past, I talked a bit about sewing oilcloth, or laminated cotton, as I have learned it is really called.  Kathy, over at Pink Chalk Studio, wrote a long blog post about using laminated cottons and shows her impeccable photos to display the finished product. Also, the comments posted to her blog are very helpful.


I saw this cool scrap buster quilt on Flickr from Red Pepper Quilts . Very cheerful, don’t you think?

Holiday Crafts

As if you didn’t need more to do as you gear up for Thanksgiving and the December craziness, my friend Kathy of Everyday Bliss, found this link to making individual paper envelopes. They look really fun and would be great for gift certificates or other flat gifts. You might remember Kathy from Creative Prompt #35, where we did a joint special prompt posting to link our two projects together.

Other Patterns

Here is a Wagon Wheel tutorial. This is another great pattern that would be great for a scrap quilt.

Kim’s Garland

Kim's Garland
Kim's Garland

This is a cool garland that my sister made.I thought I wrote about it before, but apparently not.

If you want to buy it, go to her Etsy shop. I love it and hope she will just make one for me and I don’t have to buy it. I can imagine it draped artistically aroung my bannister. She is a tough business woman, though, so we will see. 😉

Creative Prompt #42: Knot


Celtic Knot

Slip knot

Granny knot

Square knot

Turk’s head

Knot tying


Windsor knot – tie your tie

Gallery of Knots

Untangle the knots

There is more information on the recently updated Creative Prompt Page.


Diamond Knot Brewing Company

My stomach is in knots.

1 knot = 0.514444444 m / s – definition from Wikipedia: The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, which is equal to exactly 1.852 km/h and approximately 1.151 mph.

Tying the knot

See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. It will keep all the artwork together.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, now, has a Flickr group, which you can join and where you can post your responses.

Catch Up Thursday

It turns out that Sunday’s Catch Up post wasn’t enough. I have more photos to show you and stuff to tell you. I may have to start doubling up on posts each day!

I showed you TFQ’s Fresh Modern (or sherbet) hexagon project in a previous post.

TFQ's 1930s Hexagons
TFQ's 1930s Hexagons

Above is a piece of one she is actively working on. She is making a bedcover. The hexagons are about 1.5″ and she is doing the whole piece by hand, which I think is the only sensible way to make this pattern.

Coffee Art, Seattle
Coffee Art, Seattle

I love coffee art. I don’t usually buy mochas, but got one last week when I was waiting for TFQ in a cafe. I had about an hour to wait, so I bought a large coffee and got out my drawing materials. Isn’t this coffee flower inspirational? It has some of the same elements as Paula Nadelstern’s Kaleidoscopes.

Creative Prompt Project

Lisa has joined the Flicker Group. Take a look at her work at:

Doing Some Good

While not a knitting blog, it is important for me to collect and report on opportunities for doing good. I was reading the recent Lands’ End catalog. An ad for Kate Jacobs’ Knit the Season book caught my eye. On the same page, Lands’End offered a pattern for a hat to knit for charity and give a FeelGood web address for the campaign.

Holiday Sewing

For the first time in a long time, I am doing some major sewing for Christmas. I will, of course, show you everything, but I may not be able to show you as I make the items. Some of the people on the list read this blog. There will be lots to look at as December progresses, but lots more after the holidays are over.

Creative Prompt Responses

SherriD kindly let me know that some recent photos I had posted were ‘bleary’. Isn’t that a great word? I have reposted various CPP responses:





Please go and take another look at them. Thanks for your patience.

Using Oilcloth

Most of you have probably heard about oilcloth recently.  Anna Maria Horner has some as does Michael Miller and many other designers. While on my week away, I bought some dotted oilcloth designed/produced by Michael Miller from the Quilting Loft.

I don’t have a very strong garment sewing background and part of my tote bag adventure is learning to construct 3D objects. As a result, I have never used anything like oilcloth before, except for the tablecloth vinyl. Some issues I ran into were:

  1. What scissors to use: if used my good sewing scissors, would the oilcloth dull the blades?
  2. What foot do I use? Will I need the roller foot?
  3. The directions I found said press on low heat. What is low heat? Testing required, I suppose.
  4. What thread should I use?
  5. Will the oilcloth play nicely with the regular cotton?


As I may have mentioned I have wanted to try the oilcloth after carrying the Julie Bag around in the rain and trying to keep my stuff from getting soaked. The bag is complete, as you can see and here is what I found.

I used my medium scissors – not my good Ginghers, but not paper scissors either. They still seem sharp.

Using a regular foot was fine. The machine had no problems feeding the oilcloth.

Pressing the oilcloth was not an option. I used the very lowest setting on my iron and the oilcloth just curled up. After I found that out, I just finger pressed. Not as good as a nice crisp seam, but it worked. When I put the floor into the bag, I pressed from the lining side.

I used regular Aurifil thread and had no issues

The cotton and the oilcloth were nice to each other. The oilcloth was not too slippery. I think I sewed mostly with the flannel-ish side against the bed of the machine, which probably helped.