Various & Sundry 2014 #4

Tips, Tricks & Traps

Need some tips or guidance on sewing laminated fabric (oilcloth)? Check out the Glorious Color tutorial. Thanks to Mark Lipinski for pointing it out.

Do you need help selecting a needle? I really liked the infographic from the Sewing Parts Online blog.

Jackie has some definitions of charms in a recent post, in case you were wondering.

Exhibitions, Articles and Quilt Shows

Cathy Izzo of the City Quilter in NYC reported, in her recent newsletter, about the GRAND CENTRAL CENTENNIAL QUILTS OPENING! It is their joint exhibition with American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and was celebrated in an opening event last Tuesday March 25, 2014. 20 of the 30 quilters represented in the show attended. This is a photo gallery from the party at the NY Transit Museum‘s Gallery at Grand Central Terminal.

The Wall Street Journal published a wonderful feature article on quilting and the Grand Central project last week.

To help everyone spread the word about the GCT exhibit, the City Quilter created an easy to remember web address that provides access to all the key information and links about the Grand Central effort: So you can spread the word, too.

If you are visiting NYC, you can find The City Quilter at 133 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001 or you can contact them via phone at 212-807-0390.

Our Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle had an article about Joe Cunningham (“Joe the quilter) who will be featured on Craft in America, the PBS series, next week.

Blogs, Quilts and Pretty Things

I have seen a few tie quilts lately that have really made me think that people are getting their creative groove on more and more. Perhaps the financial crisis is really over and creativity isn’t such a luxury anymore? Someone pointed me to the 24 Blocks blog where she shows a couple of tie quilts. I can’t decide whether I like the Dresden Plate or the 3D Tie quilt better.

Amy has post up about making Sara Lawson‘s Aragon Bag. The photos really show different views of the bag , which gave me a better sense of how it looks.

Remember last fall I made a Day in the Park backpack for Sara Lawson’s Purse Palooza? Marisa also made a Day in the Park Backpack. I am curious to see how she likes hers. Hers looks really different from mine. Different fabrics really changes the look.

Our friend, Sara over at Sew Sweetness has a lot of exciting news (she’s moving to WordPress!, for one) on her recent blog post. She may need some help sewing!

I love this quilt by Valerie, which she posted on her blog recently. It reminds me of the donation quilt on which I am working, but takes the idea a bit farther, evolves the idea I have been using a bit. It is also very nice in terms of color and arrangement.

Mom is working on Scrapitude. I posted some photos of a block to her blog since she is dealing with the learning curve of her new phone.

The other day I went to Britex with my mom. She hadn’t been there in awhile and was practically swooning at the thought. Britex is a pretty great place. The amount of fabric is startling. The number of button offerings is insane. They have embroidered and beaded appliques, multitudes of patterns and on and on. Of course, we had to go up to the floor with quiltmaking cottons where I saw one of the octopus prints from the Tula Pink Saltwater collection. This led me to finally watch a video that The Quilt Show posted about Tula Pink’s studio, which further led me to look around her website. I took a look at her blog and was kind of disappointed. I view other blogs through the lens of my own blog. I attempt to post good content that includes why I am doing what I am doing. As a designer, I know that marketing is part of the job and I expect to see posts on new fabric collections, machine endorsements, etc. I also would like to see more about their process. I saw a post Ms. Pink had written about her City Sampler blocks that people out in the world had made, which was wonderful, but in a few years worth of posts, nothing about her process. 🙁 I guess we can’t have everything. There must be something I am not understanding.

Patterns, Projects & Tutorials

Sara of Sew Sweetness also a new backpack pattern out: the Edelweiss Backpack. I haven’t made it, but the pictures show great structure. There are a number of different examples in all different types of fabric so you can get a god idea of what it would look like in any kind of fabric from large scale print to small flowers. The only thing I think is missing from some of Sara’s patterns are covers for the zippers. I don’t know how hard they are, but I think a zipper cover would give added professionalism to already professional looking bags.

Pam, of Hip to be a Square podcast and blog, has a hilarious pattern for a charm holder for your quilt guild nametag/lanyard. It is a great idea and her particular rendition is fun and lighthearted. It also provides inspiration for other versions of Pam’s flasher.

Tools & Supplies

Doodle Designs Coloring Book
Doodle Designs Coloring Book

I saw a book called Doodle Designs Coloring Book in a magazine ad the other day. I remember getting Doodle Art posters as a kid and spending lots of happy hours coloring them. I don’t know what happened to the posters, but the memory of the fun lingers on on in my mind. This book reminds me of that and I want one. The reality is that I probably wouldn’t have time to color it in, so I’ll probably just admire it from afar.

I have been trying to get a new insert for sewing table that will work with my backup machine. I hope to be able to sew on it more comfortably when my main machine is out of commission (cross your fingers that such a situation will not happen often!). What a drama! I thought I had a Horn cabinet, but after going back and forth with the Horn people several times, they finally decided that I do not have a Horn cabinet. My cabinet (who knows what brand?) is outfitted with a Horn lift.

Before I winkled out this nugget of information I visited the Horn dealer in the City. they are terrible. I really don’t like to bash small businesses, but I cannot find anything good about the shop or the service. They have so little interest in any kind of customer service that it makes me think the shop is a front for some kind of illegal operation. I don’t know that, but why have a sewing dealership and not want to sell? Frustrated and feeling like I didn’t need to go to a Horn dealer (the next closest one being about 30 miles away), I called a shop that is near me called Serge-A-Lot. I have driven past it several times on my way to and from picking up the Young Man, so I know it is close. I called on a whim and they were absolutely willing to help me. I was thrilled! I went in the next day with my insert and the ‘blank’ that fits into my sewing table when the lift is completely down. Sherri, the owner, measured and double checked and really helped me. She wasn’t sure if they could make an insert, but said she would contact her vendor and let me know. I sent a long a photo of my table, per her request and she got back to me right away saying she would know in a few days if they couldn’t make one and it might be several weeks to actually get it made. In either case, she promised to keep me in the loop. I haven’t heard back, so I assume I will be getting an insert at some point.

After we finished discussing the insert, she showed me a quilt that was quilted with the embroidery function of the BabyLock (Serge-A-Lot is a BabyLock dealer). She also showed me the vast amount of Floriani thread and stabilizers they carry. These items give me a reason to go and support her shop. I wish it were bigger and had more quilting stuff, but I am happy to have customer service. Perhaps I’ll be able to cross one thing off my ever growing To Do list. Stay tuned!

Quilt World News

Caryl Bryer Fallert and her husband (partner??), Ron, have sold their building in Paducah and will be moving to Port Townsend, Washington. More information is on the news tab of her site. The “home/shop/studio/gallery in Paducah to JoAnne and Jeff Louis, owners of Paper Pieces. JoAnne, Jeff, and their staff will be moving  their internet business into our building in early June, and they plan to re-open the shop as soon as they get settled.” Paper Pieces is the company from whom I buy my EPP papers. Paper Pieces will be selling Caryl’s fabric and publications after the transition.

Charlotte Scott has a new podcast published called the Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. I heard about this from Sandy who mentioned it in her episode #154. As of this writing, I haven’t listened to an episode, but it is on my list and I will report back.

And, yes, I have the next design series concept on my list. I’ll get to it soon.

Book Review: 1000 Beads

Showcase 1000 BeadsShowcase 1000 Beads by Ray Hemachandra

This is another inspiration book by Lark Crafts, which they sent me to review. Thanks, Lark!

The cover grabbed my attention right away with the turquoise and silver bead sporting a beautiful spiral running in silver through the turquoise (Aqua Spiral Enameled bead by Lynne Glazzard, pg. 13). More eye candy and inspiration for all kinds of creative people.

This book starts off with an introduction by the juror, Kristina Logan, who is recognized internationally for her glass beads. It is clear from the introduction that Logan is as entranced with beads as I am with quilts and fabric as she says “Beads: They have a power that belies their size. They’ve been around for 40,000 years. They’ve been found on every piece of land occupied by man. Small objects of enormous impact, beads can teach us about past cultures–about religious beliefs, social system, and aesthetic trends–or be taken at face value and simply enjoyed as works of art.” She has clearly done her homework and doesn’t pull any punches when telling the reader about the importance of beads to her and hinting at the importance of beads in life, culture and history.

The photos in this Showcase edition depict surprising beads, at least surprising to me. Lily Liu shows beads that look like brightly colored post it notes (pg.7) flung down in a fit of pique. There is a dress made from beads as well as tubes, flat round beads and beads that look like they could never be worn. The book also shows beads displayed in a variety of ways, so they become part of artworks rather than just ‘a bead’.

Page 9 is the page where the photos of the beads begins and after that is a feast for the eyes. They are not arranged by artist, just page after page of eye candy. It is impossible to judge the size as the beads are photographed in extreme close-up, but extreme close-up is fabulous, because the details are amazing. Peeli Rohini’s Royal Collection has tiny 3D flowers covering the bead. It looks like each petal has been added individually. Barbara Simon’s Quote Beads (pg.10) have microscopic writing on each one.

Again, neutrals such as bronze, grey, black, gold, pearl and silver have a firm place in the range of colors in this book. Wiwat Kamolpornwijit’s Lantern Festival is a polymer clay piece that looks like nickel has been used to create lanterns that morph into jellyfish or octopi. The ceramic grey beads of Ana Gomez’s Dominoes (pg.44) make up a a dress that could easily blend in with a society gala where designer frocks are de rigour. Non-neutral color is also well represented. Harold Cooney’s Nevada Trade Beads (pg. 37) and Iris Mishly’s Brocade Collection Beads are a riot of fabulous color, as well as shape, and are inspiration worthy of any quilt.

It is very hard to pick a favorite from the 1000 beads in this collection. I do like the variety of turquoise (color not stone) beads on pages 130-131, especially Astrid Riedel’s Blue Moon. I am also a sucker for the polka dot beads Leslie Schenkel calls Loose Beads (pg.115). I also like the pink and yellow combination of Donna Millard’s Tango necklace made from soda-lime glass (pg.231). The detail work in Melanie Moertel’s Clear Lakes (pg.230) makes me want to take a second and third look. There are really too many fabulous works to chose a true favorite.

A lot of the beads are depicted singly, but many are in groups made into necklaces.

Look at the shapes, materials and colors and be inspired. any creative drought, no matter your medium of choice, will be rehydrated by this book.

View all my reviews

Finished: Fabric of the Year 2012

Finished: Fabric of the Year 2012
Finished: Fabric of the Year 2012

I am really excited about this finish! I think it looks really good. I keep looking at the center red/orange/pink shape in the middle and wondering if it is the upside down tip of Italy. No heel on the boot, so probably no hidden messages. 😉

I am pleased that I remembered to put the darker patches on the bottom this year.

You might be wondering why I am so thrilled that a two year old project is finally finished. You are probably wondering why it takes so longer for me to finish these FOTY quilts. I don’t quilt quilts of this size myself and my quilter was going through some personal struggles, so she wasn’t as fast as she normally is. She is back on the saddle, so if I piece FOTY 2013, she can probably get it done in a few months. I need to do my part.

I am thrilled that it is done, because, hey DONE is DONE-Finished-Finito-complete! It means one less UFO/WIP. Who wouldn’t be excited about fewer WIPs?

FOTY 2012 Back
FOTY 2012 Back

DH was my quilt holder of the evening and as he was getting in position, he noticed the back and actually commented on the Philip Jacobs fabric I used for the back. I used it as an opportunity to expound upon the virtues of Philip Jacobs’ design prowess. My own personal audience. 😉

And, did I say: another finish?!? Hooray!




See all Fabric of the Year quilts on the FOTY page.

Hexagon Tutorial

Hexagon Block
Hexagon Block

Here is the next block in our Sampler Quilt Class. These directions are for machine sewing your hexagons.

Supply List

  • Hexagon Template
  • mechanical pencil
  • thin Pigma pen (or similar)
  • template plastic
  • glue stick
  • foreground fabric
  • 12.5″ x12.5″ piece of background fabric
  • Perfect Piecer ruler by Jinny Beyer
  • Small rotary ruler such as the Creative Grids 4.5″x8.5
  • Fabric scissors (see note on using a rotary cutter**)
  • thread
  • pins
  • Design wall or sandpaper board
  • Wooden kebab stick or similar item you can use with your iron
  • sewing machine


  • Mary Ellen’s Best Press
  • hand sewing needle
  • hand sewing thread

Important information:

  • Block is 12.5? unfinished, 12? finished
  • These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance.
  • You will be creating Y seams.
  • Chain piecing is not part of this tutorial.
  • Respect the bias.
  • Do not sew into the seam allowance.


1. Prepare pattern for your hexagon template by printing two copies of pattern.

Place one copy of the pattern in your binder, but you can use it as reference first.  Rough cut the hexagon pattern out of the other pattern.

Add Seam Allowance if it doesn't Print
Add Seam Allowance if it doesn’t Print

Nota bene: Sometimes the seam allowance don’t print out, so you may need to add 1/4″ seam allowance to the pattern before rough cutting.

Glue the paper pattern (with seam allowances) using the glue stick (or other suitable adhesive) to the template plastic.

Fine cut the paper pattern you have adhered to the template plastic so you have an accurate template.

Gather your fabric and press it all. You can rough cut some pieces and press it with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to help deal with the bias.


Place Templates Face Down
Place Templates Face Down

Place your template face down on the wrong side of the fabric and trace carefully around your template directly on to the fabric.

Cut using scissors.**

**Do not cut around your template plastic template with a rotary cutter. There is not enough protection for your fingers. I want you to be able to finish the block with no blood.  A rotary ruler gives your finger some protection from the blade of your cutter cutter. If you use a rotary cutter, you may want to use a hexagon ruler, such as the Fons & Porter Hexagon ruler. The smallest hexagon on that ruler is larger than my template, but 19 of those will still fit in the 12.5″ block. You can also cut using a rotary ruler and rotary cutter by lining up the ruler on the line you drew around your template.

Cut 19 Hexagons
Cut 19 Hexagons

Cut 19 hexagons from your fabric.

Mark your hexagons
Mark your hexagons


Now, mark your hexagons so that the Y seams will be easy to sew. As mentioned in the supply list, I use the Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer.


Hexagon Markings
Hexagon Markings

Line up your ruler in every angle and  in every hexagon and make a dot.

You can also make a cross at the seam allowance by lining up a regular ruler along your cut edge and drawing a line near the angle. See the tutorial called Hexagons -Preparing to Sew, which gives more information.


Remember: you will sew between the dots only NOT into the seam allowance. This is how you sew Y seams and we have done that in other tutorials.

Arrange Hexagons
Arrange Hexagons

Arrange your hexagons in a pleasing manner on your design wall or on a sandpaper board.

Hexagons right sides together
Hexagons right sides together

Take two hexagons, that will be next to each other in the final block, place them right sides together.

Put them under the presser foot, lining up your Perfect Piecer mark under the needle

Sew a few stitches, then backstitch.

Sew the entire seam to the second Perfect Piecer mark. Backstitch to secure.

Nota bene: You want to backstitch even though it is a bit tedious, because no other seams will cross the seams stitching the hexagons together. If you do not backstitch, there is a chance your stitches will come out before you get to the quilting part. You can also leave long tails and make a knot at every intersection.

I like to to sew my hexagon patches together in groups of three, thus we will need to add the third hexagon to the two you just sewed together.

Add 3d Hexagon -seam 1
Add 3d Hexagon -seam 1

Lay the piece of two hexagons you just sewed on the table and place the third hexagon patch on top of top one, right sides together. Sew the third hexagon to the piece of two hexagons starting at the dot marked Start and stopping at the Perfect Piecer mark indicated as Stop. Backstitch as described above.

Remove from the machine and clip your threads.

Add 3d Hexagon -seam 2
Add 3d Hexagon -seam 2

Now you are ready to sew the last seam to make a piece of three hexagons. Line up your third hexagon with the hexagon you didn’t sew a minute ago.

Pin. I put the pin in a place closer to the stop mark, so I can fit the sewing machine foot on the Perfect Piecer Start mark.

Nota bene: I don’t normally pin small hexagons, but when I am sewing the last seam it is useful.

The second hexagon will be kind of rolled up. Just keep it out of the way of the needle. You don’t want to sew it to the underside of the other hexagons.

Sewn hexagons on the design wall
Sewn hexagons on the design wall

I keep my pieces on the design wall (you can also use a sandpaper board) as I sew them in order to keep them in order.

Sewing patches together
Sewing patches together

Keep sewing your patches together in chunks, then into larger chunks until you get all of them sewn together. Sewing groups of hexagons together is like sewing 2 or three together. Sew between Perfect Piecer dots. You just have to be carefully to keep the other, already sewn, hexagons out of the way.

Nota bene: It is useful to have a digital camera handy and take a photo of your layout in case of confusion while sewing. You can also number your patches.

More on sewing hexagons can be found in a previous post.


For small hexagon blocks, I usually don’t press until I am done sewing all of them, because I want all the swirls to be orderly.

Press in a circular motion
Press in a circular motion
Press in a swirl to create mini hexagons
Press in a swirl to create mini hexagons

Press from the back, one seam at a time so all of the seams look like they are pressed in a circular motion. The center where the patches meet will look like a mini hexagon.

Pressed back of hexagon piece
Pressed back of hexagon piece

When finished the block will have a lot of mini hexagons on the back.


In order to prepare for applique’,  you have to do something with the edges. If you want to do raw edge applique, you will need to trim the seam allowance off the outer edges, using the Perfect Piecer marks as a guide.

I suggest pressing the seam allowance on the outer edges in to make a clean edge.

Lay your hexagon piece right sides down on ironing surface
Lay your hexagon piece right sides down on ironing surface

Lay your hexagon piece right sides down on your ironing board.

Use the Perfect Piecer marks as a guide. Fold and finger press the outer edges in.

Press edges in
Press edges in

Get your fingers out of the way and press using a hot iron so the edges is pressed permanently in. You a chop stick or kebab stick to hold the edge under the iron.

Once all of the edges are pressed under you are ready to place your piece on the background.

If you have not already done so, cut a background piece 12.5″ x 12.5″.

Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters
Fold background into quarters

Fold in quarters and finger press just so you can see the lines. DO NOT press with an iron.

Using your finger pressed lines, center the hexagon piece, right side up, on the background.

Finish Line

YAY! You have completed your block! Good job!

Finished Hexagon Block
Finished Hexagon Block

You can find more information in the Hexagon Clarification post.

Remember: no sewing into the seam allowances!


Hexagon Block

Finished Hexagon Block
Finished Hexagon Block

Tomorrow I will talk about how to make a hexagon block. I realized that I haven’t been talking about the actual blocks that *I* make for the sampler more than what is in the tutorial. I decided I wanted to talk about it a little bit.

As with the other blocks, the reasons I have my students make this block are:

  1. More practice on Y seams
  2. Hexagon quilts are popular and my students may want to make one one day
  3. More practice with color is always good
  4. More practice with pattern is always good.

You may think that Y seams are tedious PITA that aren’t worth it, but becoming comfortable with Y seams has truly expanded my repertoire of techniques. I can make so many more blocks knowing how to complete Y seams.

I never thought I would make a whole hexagon quilt, but I did. I was even shocked. I don’t think I will make another, but you never know. I also watch TFQ make one with a similar sized hexagons to the hexagons in the block above.

Since my sampler quilt is basically a two color quilt, I need to create contrast within that palette for each block. With all of those Y seams, you can bet that I do NOT want you, as the viewer, to see a big blob. I want you to see every single Y seam. 😉 While I am comfortable with Y seams, they are still a technique worthy of celebration and the choices of fabric that I made reflect that.

The result of using only two colors is that my color choices have already been selected. For the foreground, I am working hard to stay in the bright red arena – like scarlet. No blood red or rust red. As a result, I had mostly pattern with which to work . Using the different patterns of the fabric draws the viewer’s attention around the block.

For the background, I am trying to stay in the aqua arena. Some of my blocks have red in the background, but for continuity’s sake, none of the blocks have a completely red background and most have more aqua than red.

In the past I have hand appliqued the piece of hexagons to the background, but I was impatient this time. I machine appliqued it using Aurifil invisible thread. I didn’t scream through it, I sewed slowly and the blocks is pretty flat. I am pleased.

Creative Prompt #255: Notebook

The Notebook, a 2004 movie

Miquelrius notebooks are my favorite

Google Notebook

Notebook computer

Definition: “A notebook (notepad, writing pad, drawing pad, legal pad) is a book or binder composed of pages, often ruled, made out of paper, used for purposes including recording notes or memoranda, writing, drawing, and scrapbooking.[1][2][3]“(Wikipedia)



O’Reilly Media Developer Notebook Series

Notebook is a digital magazine of international cinema and film culture.

Inspired by pocket journals from the early to mid 1900’s, The Standard Memorandum is designed to chronicle a year of your life.

Maya’s Notebook: A Novel by Isabel Allende

Letterforms dry erase notebook

COLORS Notebook is a special edition of COLORS Magazine. It is the first issue without filters or an editorial department.

As with many scientists, Linus Pauling utilized bound notebooks to keep track of the details of his research as it unfolded.

The Weather Notebook Radio Show is two minutes of light-hearted weather wisdom produced by NH’s Mount Washington Observatory.

Accelrys Notebook (formerly Contur ELN) and Accelrys Notebook Cloud are flexible, multi-discipline, low-cost-of-ownership electronic lab notebooks.

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

Coach’s Notebook, coaching instruction for youth basketball.

The Notebook area provides a place to store cultural and other research notes. It helps document, categorize, retrieve, analyze, and summarize conclusions.

lab notebook

spiral notebook

Rhodia – The French Orange Notebooks with a Cult Following

Trinity College Notebook – This is a notebook Newton acquired while he was an undergraduate at Trinity College and used from about 1661 to 1665 (see his inscription).

Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci


Color Group Donation Quilt

Color Group Donation Quilt
Color Group Donation Quilt

You might remember that I finished the piecing of this quilt last fall. I handed it off to Chris for quilting and then she gave it back to me last month, or, perhaps, in February for the binding.

I finished the binding and gave to the Charity Girls at the last meeting for the charity project.

I have done a lot of art quilts, but this is the first quilt that I think looks like a modern quilt. I am not saying that it is modern; I am just saying that it looks more modern than other quilts I have made. I think it was a good use of the blocks and really made them shine.

Orange & Grey Donation Quilt

Orange & Grey donation quilt
Orange & Grey donation quilt

Last summer I finished the piecing for the Orange & Grey donation top. At the BAMQG meeting last week, I saw the finished top.

I was so pleased! the quilting looks great and someone was very clever and pulled excess fabric from the back and did a very nice machine binding with a decorative stitch. It looks great!

It is one of the larger quilts so the Charity Girls will donate it to a shelter, I think.

I feel great when I contribute to this charity project.

Current Projects – April 2014

I am not sure I will finish as many quilts in 2014 as I did in 2013, but I am pleased with the progress I am making. I have to remind myself that it is about the process and what I am learning and sharing with you. You never know. There are a lot of sewing days left in 2014. 😉

Finished 2014 Quilt Projects

  1. Infinity Quilt: Finished 3/3/2014
  2. Spiderweb: Finished 2/22/2014 WHEW!

Finished 2014 non-Quilt Projects

Still WIPs

  1. Aqua-Red SamplerFrances and I started up again! We talked about the New York Beauty and I promised to start the hexagon tutorial. It is ready to post, but I could have taken a few more photos and might still do that. If you look at it and think there are a platry number of photos, check back.
  2. The Tarts Come to Tea: I still haven’t worked on this since April 2011, though, periodically, I think about working on it.
  3. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. I still haven’t worked on this, though, every once in a while I think about using some of the squares as leaders and enders. I also want to find my notes for the others and see if I want to do them.
  4. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I like the piece, but don’t know where to go from where I am. Mouth? Hair? The attitude I need to have is that I can’t ruin it; there is always more fabric. Possibility for abandonment.
  5. Under the Sea: class project; like the design, but not the colors much. Possibility for abandonment. I have to face reality.

Ready for Quilting

  1. New:* Wonky 9 Patch: needs quilting and binding. I am still thinking about quilting this myself and I am thinking about it more and more. I am wondering how far apart I can quilt it so that it has some drape? (Not on original list)
  2. New:*Star Sampler: Top finished, back and binding finished; at the quilter. (not on original list)
  3. Flower Sugar Hexagon / Attack of the Hexies – Top finished 1/12/2014: at the quilter.
  4. New: * Scrapitude – Top, back and binding finished 2/24/2014: at the quilter.
  5. New* Disappearing Pinwheel – Top, back finished 3/30/2014, binding made; at the quilter

In the Finishing Process

  1. New:* FOTY 2012: Quilting complete, working on the binding and the sleeve
  2. New:* Fresh Fruit: Quilting complete, working on the binding and the sleeve
  3. See: finished fusing applique’ pieces and  satin stitching. Working on quilting. Needs binding and sleeve

In Process
I decided that I had better put in an ‘In Process’ category. The difference, at least in my mind, between ‘In Process’ and ‘UFO’. The difference is that I am actively working on a project that is “In Process.”

Hunting and Gathering

  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I will use a grey for the background, because if I use more of the cut fabric patches, the pattern will be lost. The pieces are too oddly shaped and I don’t want to lose the pattern in a mass of scraps.
  • Stepping Stones #2 using Bonnie & Camille fabrics Bliss, Ruby, Vintage Modern: made two test blocks, but still in the thinking stage while I decide on the background colors. I want the contrast to be good.
  • Super Secret Project #3: working on color choices.


Nothing so far for 2014

You can find the  latest update for the Current Projects list provides a good comparison to this month.

I thought you might want to take a look at the first list I made, the one with the 26 Projects. I started the list in October 2011. I have made progress. I am still planning to stop this post when I have no more projects from the original list to write about, but it is so useful to keep track of all of my projects.

*New – Project started after I started working on the 26 Projects list

Pink and Blue Lemonade

Pink Lemonade by TFQ
Pink Lemonade by TFQ

This is a cool quilt top made by my friend TFQ. I love this design. It has inspired me to cut 2″ blue, green and violet squares. I have a long way to go, but it is a start.

I love the way TFQ has chosen the pinks, yellows, oranges, etc for this piece. She said that she chose fabrics that read pink, yellow, orange, etc. They are similar in temperature, and sometimes in vlaue, but because of the different hues, there is interest in the piece as well. There is that quality of making the viewer want to come closer.

Some of the fabrics had white in them and TFQ was careful to not let the white creep in too much. This is to mitigate the holes that can be caused by too much white. White isn’t bad, but it wasn’t TFQ’s choice for the look of this piece. White can create a hole if it isn’t distributed well. The concept goes back to something Sandy and I have discussed in the Design Series: what is your intent as an artist and designer?

TFQ’s top is named Pink Lemonade. I may name mine Blue Lemonade. That will be the working title for now and we will see.

My Round Robin

Round Robin after 1st Round
Round Robin after 1st Round

I was able to see my round robin start on Saturday at the BAMQG meeting. It was fun to see it, though not much has been done.

Poor Kelly moved after we started the project. My RR got stuck in a box by accident when she had some problems with the move. My piece has only had one person work on it. While it is cheerful and the work done so far looks really good, when compared to the fabulous work another group did on their projects, my piece looked kind of sad.


The other group has done 6 rounds and mine has only gone through one round so the potential is definitely there. Also, we only have 4 people in our group. Looking at the piece in photos really makes me realize how bright and cheerful it is.

Round Robin potential for Round 2
Round Robin potential for Round 2

Kathleen is next on the list to work on my piece.  She and I pulled out my piece and talked about what to do on it. At the moment the piece is very vertical. We were thinking that it needed some more horizontal, so we explored some ways of making it more horizontal. One thought was to make the edge a little smaller. In the photo you can see that we folded the edges under so that we could see how the piece would look with squares of color on the edges instead of rectangles.

We also talked about connecting the liked colored edge squares (or rectangles) with lines of the same colors, possibly weaving more than one under the other. You can see that some of the various colors on the bottom right are also on the top left. I am a fan of that idea, but I am not working on it, so who knows.

Kathleen said she might draw something to try and work out a design. I was wondering if I could use EQ7 to import the picture and then draw around it to show what I meant. I don’t know if it will work, but can try it and see.

The other thing I was wondering was if I should see if there are other people who want to work on it – perhaps non BAMQG people? We’ll see what fabulosity Kelly and Kathleen conjure up. 😉

Related Round Robin Posts

Book Review: Flip Dolls & Other Toys

Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & GoFlip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go by Laura Wilson

The toys in this book are really imaginative. Making some or all of them would really add some fun to the creative toy box of a child in your life. This is one of the books that I gave away in November’s Black Friday Sew-in, but didn’t really get a chance to look at. Shannon at Lark was able to send me a copy. Thanks to Lark Crafts for sending this book to me to review.

I can imagine an aunt or uncle making the characters in this book and sending them, one at a time, to a niece or nephew. The other wonderful thing about the creatures in this book is the opportunity for adding texture, as in fabric texture, to a child’s life.

If you have no children in your life that should not deter you from this book. Toys on your desk at work draw people in to talk, collaborate, shoot the breeze. Flip dolls, which seem to not really be readily available, are a twofer. Two toys in one and an additional spur to the imagination in children and adults.

Like many of Lark’s books, this one starts with a “Getting Started” (pg.10) section that includes tools, materials, basic techniques, special skills, and customizing. There are sidebars, two of which caught my attention, “The History of Flip Dolls (you know I love history!) and age appropriateness. I noticed, throughout the book, that the author discusses modifications to accommodate the ‘mouthiness’ of smaller children. All of the sections have a description for each entry. For example, there are three kinds of scissors listed in the tools section. Wilson writes a few lines about why you need each, e.g. no cutting paper with your fabric scissors! The section is illustrated by photographs and whimsical drawings. It also includes the basic shape and some examples of how to modify it to create different creatures.

Following the introductory section are three additional sections, which provide the projects in ever increasing difficulty. The sections are Zip & Stack, Hide, Seek & Go, and Flip & Turn.

All of the projects have a difficulty rating and it took me a minute to understand how they were coded. The arrows were a little confusing, but I got with the program quickly.

Some of the cleverness of the projects shows up in the section. The Cheshire Cat has a pocket in the back with additional mouth pieces (lips, mustache, etc) that add to the fun of this toy. My favorite project in the Zip & Stack section has to be the Smiling Crocodile. I LOVE the zipper for the mouth. There are brief instructions for shortening a zipper and also a good description of installing a zipper.

On many of the projects there is opportunity for your own creativity. The wings of the flying horse could have sparkly embroidery floss, the plates on the shell of the turtle could have embroidered outlines.

In the Hide, Seek & Go section, the Winged Horse could do double duty as a regular horse as the wings are removable. I also like the front panel of the Nuts & Bolts Robot, which provides additional opportunity for creativity.

Finally, the Flip & Turn section has the flip dolls. There is a caterpillar and butterfly combination, George & the Dragon (you might need two so some actual swordplay could happen!), and the Owl and the Pussycat. With the directions, I can see a lot of other flip dolls: Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Snow White with the Wicked Queen under her skirt as a few examples.

The one small thing I didn’t like about the book was the materials used. This is a small thing and easily remedied. I wasn’t fond of the fabrics from which the projects were made. I thought they were too subtle and old fashioned looking. As I said, that is easily remedied by using your own fabrics. Also, I would have liked to have seen some tiny red beads standing in for blood drops on the vampire (pg.25). Looking at finished objects made from fabric in a book is much different than feeling the item in person.

Templates are at the back and have to be enlarged, so plan ahead. No late night runs to the copy store!

I like this book because it is different. The projects are not your usual run of hte mill projects. The toys are clever and inspire the imagination. I also see the spark that can lead to readers jumping off and taking the ideas to different levels. Take a look at the book and enjoy!

View all my reviews, especially the Stuffed Animals review as I think it and this review will work together very well.

More from the Cat Bed Department

April Cat Beds
April Cat Beds

I whipped these up in order to get them done in time for the meeting, which was yesterday. I love the combinations that Amanda comes up with! I am wishing I had some quilting fabric in that yellow and black. Isn’t it great? It reminds me of Jane Sassaman’s work. I can see cutting out the leaves and things an rearranging them, then satin stitching them down. What do you think?

FOTY 2014 – More Progress

FOTY 2014 - April 2014 #2
FOTY 2014 – April 2014 #2

I have a couple of projects in mind that require blues, so I have been washing and pressing blues, greens and light purples/violets lately. This is a nice little collection that I am really looking forward to using. I have already cut some pieces for projects that are still in the Hunting & Gathering stage.

I found a sense of peace and not frustration when I was cutting these pieces. It is satisfying to see a little pile of cut patches grow. That was a nice change.

Free Motion Quilting

Full Piece Quilted
Full Piece Quilted

Yes, I did some free motion quilting.

Now that you have all peeled yourselves off the floor and revived yourselves with some smelling salts and a stiff drink, I will repeat that, yes, I did some free motion quilting. Kelly, the BAMQG President is issuing personal challenges and this is the first one I have really been able to do.

I got this fabric at the EBHQ show and just decided to use it for this exercise.

I decided to break up the exercise into 3 patterns, roughly the same size with the piece (1/2 yard x WOF): continuous boxes, flower petals and round swirly things.

Continuous squares
Continuous squares
Loopy circles
Loopy circles
Flower petals
Flower petals

Some of these are designs I learned in various machine quilting classes I have taken over the years. I did this exercise because of the BAMQG personal challenge, but also to test my skills.

Though I have not done a lot of machine or free motion quilting over the past few years, I am not terrible at it.I still have some skills and was able to get into a nice rhythm. I am not a pro by any stretch of the imagination and I won’t be firing my quilter any time soon, but I think I can do small pieces.

Full Piece Quilted-back
Full Piece Quilted-back

I couldn’t quite get the tension right, but the back doesn’t look horrendous. I will ask about adjusting the tension on the DC5100 when I go for lessons. I decided to concentrate on the look of the front, my speed and the length of the stitches.

I tried two different darning feet as well. Both came with my 9k. One is a hopping foot, which I don’t like that much, but ended up using on the DC5100. The other is a darning foot with no springs or hopping. It fits on to the shaft of the machine, screws in and is ready to sew. I prefer this foot as I can see better where I am headed, but it doesn’t fit on the DC5100 and no similar foot came with that machine. I also used Aurifil 50 wt thread. I used that thread, rather than the 40 wt, because I have a lot of colors and the color I wanted to use was available to me right at the moment I wanted it with no trips to the quilt store. I suspect the 9k didn’t like the speed at which I was quilting with that thin thread. It occurred to me later that I could have adjusted the tension, but I didn’t think of it before I switched machines.

Continuous squares in process
Continuous squares in process

I do free motion quilting at kind of a medium speed. I set the machine to that medium speed and that allows me to have better control over my stitch length.

One of the design elements I used was to go around some of the cups and fruits rather than just quilting over all of them. some of them, as you can see, I did quilt over, but many I outlined. I found it to be good practice in following a design.

I never like it when the quilting doesn’t follow the piecing, or fabric design, but getting a little recent experience with machine quilting, I am reminded of the ease of pantographs and all over designs.

Sewing machine[s] setup
Sewing machine[s] setup
My machine was not very cooperative, but it could have been the thread. I switched machines to my back up machine and that worked better, but wasn’t very comfortable. I don’t have an insert yet for the back up machine (traded in my Jem for a Janome DC5100) and quilting with it up out of the cabinet was pretty painful. Also, with the 9K down in the cabinet, I had no good place to put my legs and kept barking my shins.