Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday finish -- Three Fluffy Scarves

My husband and I drove from New York to Florida for a family wedding in April. I took along some knitting for that long, long drive. Did I mention the drive was long? I finished three soft and fluffy scarves in the car.

The white one is for my graphic designer, the orange one is for my sister-in-law (this is my only sister-in-law and it's her first Christmas with that official title!), and the scrappy one is for my daughter-in-love's friend that I've adopted as a third daughter.

They were Christmas presents, so I delayed in posting the photo until after the ladies received them.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Argyle Bag Tutorial, part 4

Here's where we left off last week:

The diamonds are filled with contrasting color, but they don't quite pop. We're going to fix that this week.


Top Thread: Spagetti from WonderFil (12 weight Egyptian cotton)
Bobbin Thread: InvisiFil from WonderFil
Needle size: 20, since I'm using a very thick thread
Stitches per inch: 11

I will be using a ruler again this week, so my Ruler Base is on for safety!

Using Turquoise thread (Tiffanys!), I retraced the lines I stitched in the first step.

The thicker thread makes the line stand out and separates the diamonds:

Tune in next Wednesday when we will finish the Argyle Bag!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday

The blizzard that left us nearly two feet of snow also left us with power so I can post this morning. We are quite grateful!--(for the power, not the snow)

Meadow Breeze by Pat Sloan is coming along. I'm working hard at hand appliqueing all of those little pieces. I'm having so much fun working on this quilt! I'll be sad when the quilt is finished, but I'll be happy to see it on my kitchen wall, the one that has been waiting for a quilt for almost nine years now!

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Argyle Bag Tutorial, part 3

Are you ready to add more color to our Argyle bag?

Here's how we left it last week:

It's time to fill in the rest of the diamonds, half-diamonds, and quarter-diamonds.


Top Thread: Konfetti from WonderFil (50 weight cotton)
Bobbin Thread: InvisiFil from WonderFil
Needle size: 16
Stitches per inch: 20, since I'm going to make tiny curves

I put on my micro-handles to make the tiny stitching easier:

I also put on my Ruler Base. I like to drag my fingers while I quilt. I feel like I have more control that way.

I chose white thread for top and bobbin, tested my tension, and then quilted little pebbles to fill in the unquilted areas:

Pebbling is a slow process, and it uses a lot of thread. I sit down at my machine when I pebble, and I set an alarm so I will stop every ten minutes to stretch and rest my eyes.

This is really starting to look like something!

Check back next Wednesday for the next step.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Roll Roll Cotton Boll, Clue 5

Last week, I was current on my Roll Roll Cotton Boll, Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt.

Not so, this week. Our task was to create 600 red and neutral 1 1/2" finished half square triangles.

Does this look like 600 to you?:

Me neither.

I'm enjoying the heck out of this mystery and hope to be caught up again by the weekend.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday

My design was has changed drastically. Maybe that means I'm making progress?

The top block is from Ping by Pinwheels. After I finish squaring each block, there's still a pieced border and more applique to go.

The large quilt is Meadow Breeze by Pat Sloan. I'm running way behind on this one, but I adore it! Hopefully it will hang above my kitchen table some day, after hundreds of little pieces of applique are done, of course.

So, maybe I'm not making progress, but I do have an awareness of how much I still need to do!

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday finish -- Gretchen's napkins

I made my daughter-in-love some placemats and napkins for her wedding shower last year. Remember?

I designed the placemat and made the napkins from the pattern Table Graces. The napkins were very nice, but very huge -- about 19 inches square!

My daughter-in-love wanted some more napkins and I said I'd make them for her birthday. I found some fabric that would match, since all of the fabrics I used 18 months ago are long gone. I designed a pattern for the napkins that gave the look of the original napkins without having to sew the mitres and position the inner square to topstitch. I also made the napkins smaller, about 14 inches square.

One finished napkin:

Compare in size to a store-bought cloth napkin:

And see how well they match the original placemat:

If you feel the need to sing "Happy Birthday" to my daughter-in-love, please know you are a few months late, just like me. I did buy the fabric before her birthday. Doesn't that count for something?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mark Lipinski's Fabric Trends

I just quilted a quilt that was published in the latest issue of Mark Lipinski's Fabric Trends. Click here and scroll down to the eleventh (11th) quilt on the left. It's a large star done in all neutral fabrics called Sarah's Wedding Quilt. If the photo is too small for you to see, the magazine is available for purchase on newsstands and quilt shops. These designers (Cathy Anderson and Sue Goth) outdid themselves with another fantastic wedding quilt. I know that I have nine weddings in the next twelve months and may have to make at least one of these. Can anyone top nine weddings?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Argyle Bag Quilting Tutorial, part 2

I've waited all week to work on this bag!

Here's where we left off last week:

Now we're going to add some color.

The details:

Top Thread: Tutti from WonderFil (50 weight variegated cotton)
Bobbin Thread: InvisiFil from WonderFil
Needle Size: 16
Stitches per inch: 20, since I am going to make small curves.

After testing my tension, I was ready to add color to my bag. I chose Sea Blue because it looks like Tiffanys!

I worked a small meander in the ten diamonds:

Can you start to see how this will turn into Argyle?

Tune in next Wednesday for the next step!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Roll Roll Cotton Boll, clue 4

I finally finished clues 3 and 4!

When I read clue 3 for Bonnie Hunter's Roll Roll Cotton Boll, I decided to do my own thing. I don't keep strings; I give them to quilty friend. I also knew I would be in The Bahamas for most of the week and wouldn't be home to sew. I pulled out my 1 1/2" strip box and decided to make log cabin squares instead. It took a while, but I finally finished them:

When I got home from vacation, I printed out clue 4. Relief! This was a quick one:

It feels great to be caught up, but how will I keep myself busy until Friday?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday

In the Bahamas, between walking on the beach:

and eating fresh coconuts:

I got some hand sewing done. When I wasn't napping, of course.

I finished piecing and appliqueing all of the blocks in my Ping quilt from Pinwheels.

This quilt isn't anywhere close to being done, so stay tuned.

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I've been blogged!

Remember this quilt?

Pat Sloan showed it on her blog!

I hope you aren't tired of this quilt, because I have some fun plans for it in the New Year. I will be quilting it on video and sharing it with you. I wonder where the instruction booklet for my video camera is?

Friday finish -- another table topper for Mom!

With the wonders of technology, you might not have noticed that I was on vacation this week. In the Bahamas! Yes, please feel bad for me. It was cold there (60*F to 70*F), but nothing like New York (18*F last night when we landed).

What did I do in the Bahamas? Not much. Isn't that what vacation is all about?

I took some hand sewing to do in between meals and naps and managed to finish everything I brought with me! I've never heard of such a thing. We quilters are such over-packers, aren't we?
One of the projects I finished is a table topper for Mom. Remember how much she loves them?

It's approximately 11-inches square. I bought the kit last year when I taught at the Lancaster show from The Christmas Shoppe. They are one of my favorite vendors at all of the shows I attend. Their booth is super-cute, the people are friendly, and the patterns and kits are such a treat! This kit included the all of the felt, buttons, thread and even a tiny pair of scissors! While I was packing for my trip, I remembered this kit and thought it was perfect for vacation sewing.
I'll probably give this topper to Mom for her birthday in the spring. I feel quite safe posting it here since the only thing Mom does with Dad's computer is dust it! So, as long as none of you tell her about it, this will remain our secret.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Care and Feeding of a Sewing Machine

It's probably best to clean out your bobbin area before it looks like this:

I had to inventory my cats, just to make sure that this wasn't the remains of one of them, stuck under the plate of my sewing machine.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Argyle -- it's not just for socks anymore!

I believe that I may have mentioned that I may be somewhat fond of thread. I have actually bought thread and then had to go find fabric that matched it! Has anyone else ever done this?

I have decided to make a quilted Argyle bag because, hey, why not? Follow along and make one of your own!

I started with a piece of black fabric for the front of the bag, approximately 10 x 12 inches. I chalked an 8 x 10-inch rectangle on the fabric with marks every one-inch on the top and bottom and every two-inches on each side:

Top thread: InvisiFil thread
Bobbin thread: InvisiFil thread
Needle: size 14 (since InvisiFil is a 100 weight polyester thread, I chose a small needle)
Stitches per inch: between 10 and 12

I layered backing, batting and velvet on my longarm machine and basted around the edges. I put my ruler base on my machine (safety first!) and stitched a few loops on the side of the fabric to make sure my top tension was correct.

Using my ruler, I stitched between the marks:

Remember that your hopping foot is 1/4" away from your needle. To compensate for this, I positioned my ruler 1/4" away from the mark. When I stitched, the line hit the point perfectly!

Stitch from point to point, following the diagrams below:

Diagram 1:

Diagram 2:

Diagram 3:

Diagram 4:

(All of the marked points will not be used during this step.)

Once I stitched all of the lines, a series of diamonds emerged:

A different way to stitch diamonds is detailed in my book, Beyond the Lines.

Next Wednesday, I'll add some color (think Tiffany's!) to this Argyle bag.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Roll Roll Cotton Boll, clue 3

For this week's installment of Roll Roll Cotton Boll, Bonnie has us making 60 string blocks. Since I'm not particularly fond of string blocks and don't actually have any strings to speak of (I give them all to Pokeytown Kim), I decided to make log cabin blocks instead. I used the same value fabrics that Bonnie suggested and I made them the same size; I hope they will work:

Truth be told, I made three of them. I don't have much time to sew this week, so it might take a while for the other 57 to be completed.

How is your Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery quilt coming along?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Every time I looked at my design wall this week, I was shocked to find a new quilt on it. The last quilt was on the wall for at least three months! Here's my new view:

The top block is from Meadow Breeze by Pat Sloan and the rest of the blocks are from an old Pinwheels block of the month.

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sunday Stash Report

Last week I took some friends to The Patchwork Co. in Windham, New York:

My friend, John Kubiniec, is a McCall's Design Star finalist. He needed fabric to make his quilt for the final round. He worked hard that day, picking fabric and calculating how much of each one he would need:

Pokeytown Kim gave some good advice:

While I was there, I saw the Eighth Wonder of the World, a man who can iron:

This iron man is Murray, one of the owners of the store.

John posted a video about our trip.

To follow the rest of John's quilting challenge adventure, check out his blog.

Even though I was at the shop so John could purchase his fabric, I did manage to stimulate the local economy.

Fabric Purchased This Week: 20 yards (It was on sale! Does that excuse me?)
Fabric Used This Week: 2 yards (for my Wendy top)

Head on over to Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Friday finish -- a Wendy top

The photo doesn't come close to showing how absolutely LIME this green top is:

Yes, it still needs a good pressing. It's from a Built by Wendy pattern.

Check out some other great finishes at

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More love for my Fusion

Because there are never enough (uncluttered) flat surfaces in my sewing room, imagine my joy when I realized that the table for the Fusion is wide enough to lay out a full width of fabric:

True joy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's official...

... I'm addicted to thread.

I've already spoken of the joy that is Accent thread from WonderFil. I have a doily to prove my everlasting devotion. But as a mother can love more than one child, I can love more than one thread.

I recently finished an applique project, so it was time to pull out a new (old) project. I chose this block of the month from Pinwheels :

Maria, the designer, did a fabulous job with this quilt. The fan/plate is hand-stitched together using English paper-piecing techniques and then hand-applique it to the background.

For the applique, I pulled out my new collection of InvisiFil thread:

Isn't that just the most lovely sight ever?

It is 100 weight polyester and is absolutely fantastic for hand-applique (and many other types of sewing, too!). The thread disappears between the applique and the background making the applique look flawless. I almost want to un-stitch the first 15 blocks and re-do them with InvisiFil, but I'm holding myself back.
Watch the progress of this quilt on my design wall on Mondays.