Friday, January 19, 2018

Perfect Timing

Last year, I decided to be honest with you about my rare autoimmune disease.  To continue with that honesty, I must admit that I'm having a lousy week.  I had another infusion on Tuesday and since then I've been asleep all but about 8 hours and didn't enjoy those 8 hours at all.  Yesterday was rather awful; I was either unconscious or miserable and weepy.  Then I got a package in the mail and everything changed.

Lucy Fazely is THE BEST!  I first met her when she interviewed me for a magazine article and she's been nothing but kind to me ever since, sending periodic treats through the mail.  I have no idea what I've done to inspire such generosity on her part but her package yesterday was truly heaven-sent.

She made me a tote bag!

I burst out in tears, happy ones, when I saw it.  It took a while for me to notice that the gift didn't end there.

It was FULL of love!

Thank you a million times over, Lucy, for brightening an incredibly dark day.

I hope the darkest days of this round of infusions are over but even if they aren't, love from my quilting friends will carry me through.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Tuturial: Machine Quilting with Rulers (Clamshells)

Have you made a Crate Quilt for a shelter animal yet?  Hopefully this week's tutorial has you jumping into your scrap pile so you can practice making clamshells!

Supply List:

HQ Multi Clamshell ruler

Handi Grip

Steady Betty Bands

FabuLux In The Pinks thread

quarter-inch masking tape

My stack of Crate Quilts for the shelter is growing.  Is yours?
*1.  Believe it or not, this cover photo was the best of the ones that they offered me.

2.  I have no idea why this 12 minute video is over an hour long.  Please don't watch a blank screen for an hour!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quilting Therapy

I was away all of last week with my Handi Quilter buddies.  We looked at quilts, talked about quilts, and made some wonderful memories and plans for the coming year.

Yesterday, I chained myself to Errol because I missed him so much!  At the end of the evening, I had a charity quilt for the veteran's home.  The guidelines say 36"x42" and patriotic colors.  I made my quilt from red, white, blue, black, gold, and brown fabrics.  Who knew that my huge box of scrappy 2-1/2" squares only had 5 blue squares in it?

I basted the quilt last night:

It's small enough to easily baste on my kitchen table!  I rolled the batting and top on old cardboard tubes to keep it contained while basting.

I plan to chain myself to Hedwig today and machine quilt the day away.  Which thread would you use?  I think I like Midas Touch (it's my go-to thread on the left), but I also considered Blue Heaven (middle) to add the blue that this quilt is missing.  I pulled out Mudpies (right) just because.

Once you choose my thread for me, I plan to quilt it the same way I quilted the last Crate Quilt.

I still have enough squares to make another veteran's quilt.  

I'll make that quilt the next time I'm in quilting withdrawal.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Geek Streak Quilting -- That's no moon

I have a Geek Streak a mile wide!  I'm a bit of a Star Wars fan and I'm married to an even bigger Star Wars fan.

I miss that man I'm married to this week since I'm at Handi Quilter headquarters in Salt Lake City all week.  I made a postcard just for my husband and sent it to him as I left for the airport.

That's no moon; it's a space station!

He mentioned it when we talked on the phone last night, so I guess he was pleased.

I have more Geek Streak quilting projects in the works.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial: Walking Foot Crate Quilt

One of my greatest joys in life is teaching people to machine quilt.  I see students in person in my classes and know that they take my Craftsy classes and watch my YouTube videos.  I hope that my classes help, but nothing replaces practice.

I know many quilters won't sit and practice machine quilting on practice pieces but would rather just get quilting.  This year, I am suggesting that quilters make small crate quilts for animal shelters and practice their machine quilting while doing good!

Raid your scraps, make a crate quilt, and practice using your walking foot.  Sew together a few mini charm packs for a color co-ordinated crate quilt.

Have you tried to quilt a quilt using your walking foot?  You can quilt many different patterns using your walking foot, but start with this simple pattern if you've never tried it before.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Cutie Quilt: Share and Share Alike

I have been playing with my walking foot on my home machine lately so I pulled out some In Bloom fabrics from Sandra Clemons (affiliate link*) and pieced a Share and Share Alike Cutie Quilt just so I could quilt it.  That's perfectly normal, right?  Lie to me.

The orange butterflies on the pink fabric are insanely adorable and I need 18 bolts of this fabric!

The pattern calls for fat eighths and border fabric, but I had fat quarters and yardage.  I cut the blocks as instructed and pieced binding from the rest of the fat quarter pack.

I've always been intrigued by quilting spirals.  Fortunately, the fabulous Pat Sloan taught me how to quilt a spiral with my walking foot in her Teach Me to Machine Quilt book! (affiliate link*)

I threaded Hedwig, my HQ Stitch 710 machine, with my FabuLux Hint of Lime Thread

and started quilting my spiral.  This thread color is my favorite neutral.  Isn't lime green everyone's neutral?

This quilt was given to a baby born during the hurricane.  OK, 3 days after the hurricane but my story is better.
*If you purchase something using an affiliate link I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission to help keep the quilty love flowing.

Friday, January 05, 2018

A Month of Birthdays!

Most of the people in my life are used to accepting IOUs in lieu of gifts or cards, trusting that I'll eventually make good on the note.  I'm a week into January, and I finally made the rest of my January birthday cards using the cupcake from my latest machine quilting tutorial.

Starring FabuLux Ocean Breeze:

Starring FabuLux Paradise:

Starring FabuLux Cabana:

Starring FabuLux Aquarium:

Starring FabuLux Springtime:

They look good enough to eat!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Not Exactly Quilting, but...

Last week I re-started a (more than a) decade old handwork project to see if my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad fingers could handle it:

The good news is that they can!  The bad news is that this is a bedspread and I will have YEARS of evening handwork.

As I was looking for a long-term home for this project formerly housed in a large Ziploc bag, I thought I needed something tall and skinny to live between my sofa and the table.  I remembered that I received a cool new project case* as a Christmas gift:

It's stupidly cold in New York and I'm living in my basement in front of the woodstove, so my photographs are all dark.  My apologies.

I store my separated threads in the top zippered pockets, the scissors tied with a ribbon, and my Tulip embroidery needles* in an elastic all on the lid of this tote:

In the bottom of the tote, I have enough room for my embroidery hoop and current project:

These are 18-inch blocks.  I apparently covered the edges in masking tape in the last millennium.  Do they still make masking tape?  I only have blue painter's tape in the house now:

Under my current block, I have my one completed block:

Only 17 to go!

There is a mesh compartment to hold my embroidery floss and my pattern:

When I lift the mesh pocket, there's a room to store all of the eleventy million 16 unfinished squares:

I can't believe that someone bought me the perfect tote for this ridiculously old project, but I'm so glad they did.  This will be perfect at home and for light hotel room sewing.
*Affiliate link.  If you purchase something through one of these links I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Machine Quilting Tutorial: Happy Cakes!

Happy New Year!  I'm so excited to bring regular machine quilting videos back to you this year!

2018 is going to be a party, so I'm starting off with Happy Cakes!

To make this postcard, I used:

HQ Mini Scallop Ruler

HQ Right Angle Ruler

HQ Handi Grip

FabuLux thread

DecoBob thread

Postcard Trimming Tool and Supply Kit

I'm out of touch for today and part of tomorrow with some icky medical treatments.  Have a cupcake for me, if you get the chance.

Leave a comment telling me what you want to see in future videos because this year is the year of VIDEO!

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Bullet Journal for the New Year

Happy New Year!

I'm an organizing geek, so January 1 means that I am over-the-moon excited for a NEW BULLET JOURNAL!!!

What is a Bullet Journal, you ask?  Let's take a peek inside of mine:

I am giddy -- GIDDY, I tell you -- because I get to start writing in my new Miquelrius journal* today.

The book Dot Journaling* has a lot of ideas about how to set up your journal.  It focuses on the "diary" aspect of the journal in addition to the calendar, lists, and quilts that I talked about.

If you have 27 years to spare, search Pinterest for Bullet Journal ideas.  Some people go totally "arty" with their journals.  I will eventually add some color to mine, but it will NEVER be as beautiful as the ones I see on Pinterest.  Mine is completely functional, and that is good enough for me.

Do you have a new calendar/bullet journal for this year?

Please recommend some pens that these arthritic hands can use and love!
*Affiliate link.  If you purchase through one of these links I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Declaring War on the Scrap Bucket!

That's it!  I've had it!  I am going to get to the bottom of my scrap bins, once and for all!

To start, I selected my 2 1/2" scrap bin:

I've made several quilts out of this bin already, and it's still as full as ever.  HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN???

Yesterday I grabbed a rotary cutter (or two) and cut:

 and cut:

until I couldn't cut anymore.

I have several projects in mind to use up these fabrics and I won't stop until I see the bottom of that bucket!


What are your favorite patterns that use 2 1/2" strips?  I might run out of ideas before I run out of scraps.  Who am I kidding?  I'll DEFINITELY run out of ideas before I run out of scraps!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Taking up a New Hobby

I've decided quilting doesn't take up enough of my time so I need a new hobby.  I've decided to take up sculpting.  My first piece is titled "Houseguests with Stomach Virus"

If you need me today, I'll be bleaching everything I own.

At least I'll have a sparkling clean house for the New Year?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

From the "Way-Back Machine"

I found an embroidery project in my sewing room that is likely close to 20 years old. 

My hands have been giving me grief for the better part of a year and I haven't done any hand sewing at all.  I miss it!  I decided to see if my hands could manage an embroidery needle.  They can!

My eyes, however, are a different story.  I was in my 30s when I put this project away.  Even with my failing eyesight, I can still easily see 50 from where I'm sitting.  I hope eventually to figure out where to hold this hoop so that I can see to stitch this!

If I do find that embroidery is the handwork for me, I won't need to buy any projects.  I probably have 10 entire quilt kits waiting for me in my sewing room.  Apparently I had big embroidery plans 20 years ago!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Post-Christmas Greetings!

If you are like me and didn't get Christmas cards sent out in time, use this tutorial to make Season's Greetings! postcards.

This was a scrap-buster!  I dug into my bin and pulled out a bunch of neutral crumbs:

Using Victoria Findlay Wolfe's technique from 15 Minutes of Play, I pieced them together into a 5"x6" rectangle:

I grabbed some Steam a Seam 2 and traced a dime to make eyes:

I sketched a triangle for a nose:

I positioned them to make a face as I desired:

 I pulled a long string of scrap fabric from the bin and trimmed it into 3/4" x 6", 3/4" x 2 1/2", and 3/4" x 3" strips.  Without any fusible, I arranged these strips onto the background to make a scarf:

I brought the snowman to my machine and prepared to stitch the features down.  I'm too lazy to change thread for the different fabric colors so I grabbed a spool of 100 weight InvisiFil:

This thread is really thin and this gray is a neutral color so it will blend with the black eyes and orange nose as well as the blue scarf.  I set my machine to a small stitch length and stitched a straight stitch less than 1/8" inside of each piece:

I didn't stitch down the scarf ends so they would flap around and add dimension to the card:

I layered white fabric, interfacing, and the postcard together:

I trimmed the card to 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" using my Postcard Trimming Tool:

My postcard is ready to place in a cellophane envelope and wish a friend or family member a Happy New Year!

I wonder -- should I confess that this is a belated Christmas card?  Or should I simply wish a Happy New Year?

I also wonder -- am I the only one who didn't get all of her cards out before Christmas?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

In the (St.) Nick of Time

I started making a Christmas present less than 24 hours before it was to be gifted.  And I finished it!

Isn't Heidi Boyd's Forest Frolic fabric just adorable?  It matches the baby's quilt and will make the parents very happy.  Momma is partial to bunnies and Poppa is partial to birds.  This line has both which is why the parents requested it for their wee one's quilt!

The pattern is Bopple Ball and it was a well-designed pattern.  They thought of everything to make it as easy as possible.  Notice I said "as possible" and not simply "easy."

The problem for me was stuffing those little grabby-thingies.  My hands don't work for normal tasks, and this wasn't a normal task.

Shoving the stuffing inside of those tiny tubes made my hands go numb.  That Purple Thang saved my life!  Even so, I could only stuff one or two at a time and had to resort to sessions baby-proofing my house as recovery time!

If the amount of fun the adults had playing with this ball last night is any indication of how much the baby will love playing with it tonight, this Grandma done good!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Next-to-Last Minute

Given that in our house we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, starting a gift at 2pm on December 23 is pretty last-minute.

These fabrics are leftover from a special boy's quilt.

The pattern is Bopple Ball and I'll report back how long it took to make!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Cutie Madness: WINNER

To say it was a close race is an understatement.  Twelve short hours before voting closed, the vote was TIED.  I never saw that one coming.

After twelve agonizing hours, I was able to look at the votes and Jack's Star was the winner.  Not by a landslide, but by a small margin.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sneak Peek

I can't show you what I'm working on YET, but I can show you what I'm doing with my leftovers:

Aren't they pretty leftovers?

Of course I'm making postcards with them:

'Tis the season for Thank You notes, so I'll likely be sending some of these on their way soon.

These leftovers gave me the chance to use one of my favorite colors of FabuLux thread -- Mellow Yellows:

I promise to tell the rest of the story as soon as possible!