Saturday, December 19, 2009


Company's coming. That means I have to clean the house, especially the dining room. My dining room has been my sewing area, so the in-progress projects and my sewing machine have been packed up and put away for now. (In the new year, I hope I remember what I was doing on those projects!!!!) Before cleaning up, though, I took the time to pull together the pieces for a couple of hand applique projects. I know that I won't be able to go a couple of weeks without touching a needle and some fabric! There's just something comforting about stitching!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Taggie Blankie

According to my daughter, my 8-month-old granddaughter LOVES to play with the tags on her toys more than playing with the toys! My daughter put a "taggie blanket" on her Christmas list. So I started creating...I dug out some pieces of flannel leftover from previous baby projects. I got out my box of trims and ribbons. I looked for variety in size and texture while trying to use up some of the small pieces in the box that might not be useful for anything else. I cut the trims to ~4" lengths, folded them in half, and placed them randomly in the seams. I made sure to stitch over the ends of the trims several times to secure them. There are definitely LOTS of tags on this will be fun to see what my granddaughter thinks of it! (Things like this are my favorite kinds of Christmas gifts!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stash Comes in Handy!

A week ago today I was very glad that I have a stash of fabrics! I was preparing to be Mary in a skit we were doing at our church's annual Advent Tea. A search through the costume box at church resulted in "kid-sized" costumes and accessories, but nothing to fit an adult. Time to improvise! An accolyte robe would work for Mary's robe, but I needed a head covering. So I dug through my box of blue fabrics. I found a piece of solid Williamsburg blue that measured about 3/4 of a yard. One end was jagged--not a problem! Instead of trimming it straight (and wasting a bit of fabric!) I simply folded that end under and it became the front edge of Mary's head scarf. A rope belt around my waist and sandals on my feet and I was ready to go!
The skit went very well...the entire evening was a wonderful, peaceful way to begin the Christmas season, and a reminder of what the season is truly about! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No Longer in Suspense!

My books arrived the other day. What fun to open the box and see the finished product! The book is beautiful--I am so pleased with the way House of White Birches presented my idea and my projects. If you have been wondering what to do with your scrap collection, why not give my "scrappy piecing" technique a try? At $8.95, the book is VERY affordable!!! Ask your local quilt shop or bookstore to order Start With Scraps for you, and be prepared to have fun!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keeping Me in Suspense

I ordered a supply of books last week. I found out yesterday that I will probably receive them early next week. I can't stand the suspense! I would really like to see a finished copy of my book! Everyone is asking me if I am excited about the book...I think I'd be more excited if I knew what it looked like! Guess I expected that, being the author, I would receive one of the first copies off the presses! I'm learning a lot...just have to be patient! In the meantime, I have lots of sewing projects I need to be working on! Better get back to my machine! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's Official!

Today is November 20th! As of today, I'm a published author!!! My first book, Start With Scraps, came out today!
It is showing up on various far away as New Zealand and Japan. Fun to see that!
I haven't yet received my copy of the book...I can't wait to see it! Remember, you can go to and order your copy. Encourage your friends to do the same! The scrappy piecing technique explained in the book is fun and the projects are easy. I know you will enjoy making them!
Happy Scrappy Stitching! Carol :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Planning Ahead

For the past week, the radio station we wake up to has been playing Christmas music. They actually waited a little longer to begin this year...usually it starts right after Halloween. I'm sure you noticed that the stores didn't wait until after Halloween to bring out the Christmas merchandise! That seems to start earlier and earlier each year as the merchants vie for our $$. Soon "Christmas in July" will be just that! Actually Christmas is my favorite holiday...I love everything about it. And I shop for Christmas year round.

I also sew for Christmas year round. I'm sure you do, too. The quilt projects we make take time, so we need to start early on them! Are you making anything special this year? Do you need anything new to decorate your walls? My "Scrap Nick" wall quilt is fast and fun. It uses the scrappy piecing technique that is explained in my new book--but this project is not in the book. I designed it after the book proposal was sent off...The wall quilt measures 16" x 20". (It would be a great gift for someone special, too! ) If you are interested in the pattern, send me an e-mail:
Happy scrappy quilting for the holidays! Carol :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Have You Seen It?

Have you seen the December issue of Quilter's World magazine? Right there on pages 24 & 25 are instructions for two little projects designed by ME! :)
If you have been following my blog, back in June I was telling about all the deadlines I had that month (see the Sunday, June 14th blog, titled "Deadlines"). One of the deadlines I had was for a BIG project...that big project was finishing all the projects and instructions needed for the BOOK that House of White Birches is publishing for me!!! It is coming out on November 20th. The book is called Start With Scraps, and features projects that can be made using my scrappy-piecing technique.
If you go to and look under the new book section, you will find my book listed and will be able to see a preview of some of the projects. I have not seen the book in its entirety--have only seen what you will see there. But I love the photos they took and I really like the way they wrote up the projects in Quilter's World magazine, so I can't wait to see the entire book.
I hope you will take a look and think about adding Start With Scraps to your quilt book collection! You can order it from clotilde or if you'd like a signed copy, you can order it from me! But remember, it will not be available until November 20! (Hey, that's less than 2 weeks away!!!) Happy Scrappy Stitching! :)
Carol (

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back in Business!!!

You don't realize how much you miss the Internet until you don't have it! We had a power outage on Saturday (Halloween) and when the power came back on, I had no Internet service.
After doing some of my own diagnostics, I suspected that something had happened to the modem. Of course AT&T doesn't have techs that work on weekends, but I called in the problem anyway, the first chance I got. A work order was written up and I was told that I'd be called Monday morning...great! I had to be way across town at a 2-day workshop all day Monday and Tuesday! I followed all the instructions I'd been given, and kept my cell phone on, but got no phone call. When I got home, I again called AT&T. This time I was told that the work order was for Tuesday, and that someone would come out late in the day Tuesday, at a time when I told them I'd be home. When I got home Tuesday, there was a flier on the door that, indeed, someone had been there!!! (But obviously I wasn't!) So I called the local number that was on the flier and left a message. This morning I called that number again. I got the local service manager who sent someone out within the hour!!! I was right---the modem had "blown" with the power outage. New modem, new passwords, and I'm back in business. The tech laughed when I let out a big "Hurray!" :) And after that exclamation, he didn't believe me when I said that I resent the time I spend on the computer. I didn't tell him that I'd rather be quilting!
Hope you have a good stitching day today. I hope to get back to some sewing, after sitting in income tax refresher classes for two days!!! Yes, I'd rather be quilting!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Final Day of Camp

Sunday morning was a misty one, but that only added to the beauty of the trees across the lake! The night before, I'd left this finished block of my niece's quilt lying on my sewing table. Taking a fresh look at it Sunday morning, I was pleased. I think it will turn out just as I had it pictured in my head! That is a good thing! :) (Unfortunately I haven't done anymore on it in the few weeks since Camp! Too many other projects to work on!)

After breakfast I packed up my sewing machine and cleaned up my sewing area. I spent the morning working on the embroidery project I'd taken along (Christmas ornaments). I also walked around to visit with others and see the progress they'd made on their projects. And I took a tour of the wastebaskets to see what others had thrown away. Amid the banana peels and apple cores (euuuuw!) I found a whole collection of clean, dry 1/2 square triangle pairs. Those will be fun to work with! I didn't find much else, though. Either others have started saving their scraps or my table-mate got there before I did! I learned that she collects and saves even more than I do! She's got a big box full of teeny-tiny cut-off points and is dreaming of someday doing a "snippets" project!!!! Not for me. I'll gladly let her have THAT stuff!

There were to be several hours of sewing yet after our noon turkey dinner, followed by show and tell. But I knew that I had a long drive ahead of me, and I wanted to stop at a quilt shop on my way home (that closed at 3pm). So I reluctantly packed up and told everyone good-bye. Another wonderful Camp weekend had come to an end. I can't wait to do it all again the end of April!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Second Day of Camp

This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning! Sooooo beautiful! I couldn't resist taking pictures.

After breakfast I was all set to put together those quilt blocks. There were 9 of them, with sashing in between--piece of cake!!! I had my layout all set and they went together beautifully. As I was showing off my project, I realized that I had sewn them together completely backwards! What to do? They didn't look right the way they were, so I began to un-sew!

By the time I got them unsewn, laid out the correct way(again), and then carefully sewn together(correctly, this time) it was mid-afternoon. (Yes, it took that long. Had to do some visiting with others to see what they were up to, had to have lunch, had to press the blocks again, etc.) This project wasn't supposed to be so stressful! The completed top is pictured below. It is my scrappy interpretation of Birds in Air. It needs some applique yet, but I hope to finish that now that I'm home.
Since it was a sunny day, I decided to go for a walk to work off some of the stress. I'm glad I had packed my winter jacket because it was windy and chilly. The walk around the camp grounds turned out to be very refreshing--just the thing I needed.

Now I was ready to tackle another project. This time the shop model. It only needed some blanket stitching on it and a bit of applique, so it didn't take me long to complete that.

Later in the evening I started on my niece's quilt. I stitched some Thangles blocks--enough to piece at least one block of her quilt. I knew in my head what I wanted it to look like, but would it look that way in real life? (I also had a chance to teach the friend next to me about Thangles, and how easy they are to use!) One block was completed before bed...I left it out to look at it the next morning with a more critical eye.

Except for the un-sewing, I was happy with what I'd accomplished that day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to Camp

Last weekend I went to Quilt Camp--a quilting retreat at a campground. I have been going to Spring Camp for years, but this is the first time I have gone to Fall Camp. I knew that it would be an unstructured weekend, with nothing to do but sew, sew, sew, from 4pm Friday to 4pm on Sunday.
I had hopes of getting LOTS accomplished. So I packed a UFO (a small quilt top for my daughter that was all cut out and ready to sew), the fabrics for my niece's quilt, the parts for a pattern I've been wanting to make for quite some time, a hand-applique project, an embroidery project and a shop model that I am making of one of my patterns. I wanted to have a variety to choose from. Whatever mood I was in would determine what I would work on!
I arrived ~4:30. Most of the women were already there with their sewing machines buzzing. It looked like they'd been there all afternoon! I was told that no, they just got there at 4. Obviously they were on a mission, too!
Once I got settled in, I chose to work on the UFO. By the time I was ready to call it a night, I had all my blocks finished, ready to put together. That would be tomorrow's project.
Quilt Camp is meals to plan and prepare, no dishes to wash, no phone calls to interrupt your work. Many great quilters around you, lots of different projects being worked on, lots of inspiration. As an added bonus, camp is set on a lake and the trees surrounding the lake were in brilliant color last weekend! What more could a quilter ask for???

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In the Works

A couple of weeks ago I got out the pieces for that little old quilt. Time to finally put it back together! The nine-patch blocks went together fairly easily. Some pieces had originally been cut on the bias, but they were small enough that they didn't distort when put together into the 9-patch blocks. After pressing the blocks, I laid them out on point.

The alternate blocks in the original quilt were indigo fabric. This fabric felt very thin to me (very much like cheese cloth!), but I decided to use it anyway. I cut the squares of indigo down to fit the 9-patch blocks, cutting both alternate squares and side set-in triangles.

The quilt top pieced together fairly quickly--all the pieces seemed to fit. The outside triangles were a bit oversized--on purpose so that I could square things up when all pieced together.

Time to cut the borders to fit. These, too, were the same thin indigo fabric. I measured the quilt top through the center and cut the borders to this length. But when I pinned them onto the edge of the quilt top, I had an extra inch at each end!!! Back to measuring again, and sure enough, the quilt top measures much bigger through the centers than it does along the edges. Being put on point, the alternate squares end up on the bias. Because of the thinness of the indigo fabric, they are very stretchy.

I've vowed that this project is not going to get put away again. This time it is going to be finished! I plan to omit the borders and use the border fabric for binding. And I have a new admiration for the quilters of that time period who had to work with these fabrics! We are so lucky to have quality fabrics to use in our quilts!!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finally, a start!

At least 15 years ago, in an antique shop in Ligonier, IN, a little quilt top spoke to me. Judging by the indigo blues, deep reds, and other fabrics in the top, I could tell it was old (circa 1900). It was also tattered and a bit faded in places. But I thought it had potential and the price was right. I bought it with the intention of re-working it, just to play with the fabrics.
The little scrappy 9-patch on point quilt top sat in a corner of my sewing room until last year. It was time to do something with it. I took it along on an "up-north" quilting retreat as a "no-brainer" project. One afternoon I started taking it apart. Because it was hand-pieced (and a lot of the seams had already pulled apart), it wasn't too bad a job. One of my friends sat down to help and we quickly had it all in pieces.
The next step was to sort. Which pieces were too badly damaged to save and which ones were salvageable? Many of the pieces went in the trash (yes, I admit I did throw them away). The rest were pressed. This gave me another chance to examine them to see if they were worth putting back into the quilt.
I measured the squares from the 9-patches. I knew that I wanted to trim them down to have fresh edges to piece together. Once a good size was determined, and the squares trimmed, I then had to count them to see how many 9-patches I could make from what I had. The original quilt had 20 9-patch blocks, but I decided to only use 16 in my new project. I needed a few more little squares, so I cut some from my collection of old and reproduction fabrics.
Everything was cut, ready to go, and I had a plan. But it all got put away. Guess some other project was more important at the time. That happens to me a lot!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Color

I just got back from a walk. On the days I don't go to Curves, I'm trying to get in at least 30 minutes of walking. On a day like today, it is easy! The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue and the air is cool and crisp.

I LOVE Fall! And I'm sure it is because of the gorgeous colors! On my way to church for Bible study this morning I couldn't help but notice that almost every color imaginable is out there for us to see right now, and around here, the colors are only going to get better! Just look at the bushes, trees and flowers! Amid the green, you'll see red, orange, yellow, gold, purple, blue-purple, pink, white, you-name-it.* An unknown bush, out in the middle of nowhere on church property, is brilliant today--green leaves, but fuchsia stems and berry sprays. Awesome! (My picture does not do it justice!)
God must love scrap quilts too! :)

*The quilt I'm making for the niece who graduated from college in May has this color scheme. I'm using the block "Country Roads". The main fabric is green, the background is light blue and scrap squares of the colors of nature run through the block. I'll show you a block soon...(I'm just in the "cutting out" stage.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time Saver???

More from the 1998 issue of QUILT:
The computer is so much a part of our lives these days, supposedly saving us time, that it's hard to remember when we didn't rely on it!
I found myself smiling over several of the articles in this 11-year-old publication, articles that referred to using the internet "to enhance your quilting activities."
One article is about a quilter, proficient in computer skills, who ended up hosting "cyberspace swaps for the increasing number of quilters who were meeting each other in an interactive chat room for quilters." (where they could communicate instantly with one another!!!!) She figured out a way for the quilters to post pictures of their quilts for the others to enjoy. Imagine that!!!!
Another article gives detailed instructions on how to do a "Round Robin in CyberSpace". Still another is titled "Paper Piecing in CyberSpace: A new source for Quilting Patterns".
QUILT magazine lists a website and invites readers to visit. A few of the advertisers list websites, but most still list street addresses and phone numbers.
Oh how far we've come!!! Think blogs :), Instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter/Tweets, "Google this and Google that", "online communities", free downloads, etc. These days, one could spend all day "quilting" on the computer!!! Too bad the computer can't do some of the actual sewing for us! Now THAT would be a real time-saver!!!
Honestly, I'd rather play with my fabrics! How about you? Happy stitching!
Carol :)

Monday, September 21, 2009


Most of today was spent at the eye clinic with my husband. He is contemplating eye surgery and wanted me to be present to hear what the specialist had to tell him. Knowing that I'd be sitting a long time, I packed a bag of things to do...a small stitching project and some old quilt magazines I'd been wanting to look through.
Turns out there wasn't enough light to stitch by in the examining rooms (lights very dim for looking deeply into the eyes), but there was enough light to read by. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Spring 1998 issue of QUILT magazine.
QUILT has always been one of my very favorite quilting magazines, probably because they feature mostly traditional quilts/patterns. I love to look at all of the quilts they've photographed. It's always fun when I come across a quilt made by someone I know--in this issue is a Dresden Plate quilt made by Beth Payne, whom I know from Cal-Co quilt guild in Battle Creek.
As I read the articles in the magazine, I couldn't help but think how quilting is one pasttime where things don't really change a whole lot. Patterns get recycled, but in new fabrics. New gadgets come out, but the basic tools are still old reliables. Our reasons for quilting are no different from those of quilters before us. (And this issue contains an article about Harriet Powers and her Bible quilt of 1886. I just received an e-mail telling me about a new book on Harriet Powers, her life and her quilts!)
Lots of scrap quilts are pictured in this issue, too! Scrap quilts will never go out of style, will they?!
Happy Scrap Quilting! Carol :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No time to quilt!

I haven't had much time to quilt lately. Last week we were visiting my parents in Wisconsin and were kept busy doing odd jobs and errands for them. I did manage to do a bit of embroidery (sitting in the waiting room of the dentist's office while Mom had a root canal) and finished the binding on one little quilt. Also did a bit of hand piecing.
This week I'm playing catch-up--laundry, mail, e-mail, etc. Plus, my usual activities have started up again. And there are plenty more tomatoes and beans from the garden!
It's a good thing that my current projects are small ones because I'm only getting "scraps" of time to work on them! Hope you are getting in some stitching time! :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Seeing Red

I'm not angry, just tired of tomatoes! Those 24 tomato plants that we planted in our garden are bearing more fruit than we can possibly use! On my kitchen counter are cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes and larger ones...Early Girl, I think. I couldn't wait for the taste of that first ripe home-grown tomato (and my first BLT), but now, enough is enough! I try to give them to everyone I come across, only to learn that A LOT of people grew tomatoes this year and they have plenty, too! We've been having lots of tacos and salads, and yesterday I finally froze some.
I have to keep reminding my husband that we don't use as much produce now as we did when the girls were living at home! Definitely something to remember for next year's garden! We don't need round ones AND oval ones AND pear-shaped ones!
I have noticed that before they start to shrivel up, the little "leaves" where the stem meets the tomato form a star. Hmm, wonder if there is a design idea here somewhere? I DO love red and green quilts. . .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I bound my niece's quilt over the weekend and just finished sewing the label on. It is complete! Now to box it up and mail it (along with some of her favorite snacks--granola bars and fruit snacks!). I heard that she is going through the typical homesickness, so this box might be just what she needs. I'll get it off to her this week.
I managed to complete all the projects I had scheduled for August. Last night I finished the applique on my red/green flower quilt. Now to decide on a quilting plan before it goes to my hand-quilter! That is always the difficult part for me...I'll just lay it out on the floor and study it for a few days. Something will come to mind!
Meanwhile, I'm on to several new projects! Hope you are too! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meet the Bears

They're finished! Here are the bears made from a friend's husband's suits. I used just the pants and vest backs--they were the easiest to work with. Like I mentioned before, even though they are not fuzzy, they are cute! And each one has its own personality! I'll miss them when they go to their new homes!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interesting Insides

The other day I decided to snip apart that little quilt that I bought in the Missouri antique shop. In no time I had all those little purple ribbons snipped off . The flannel backing was brought around to the top for binding, and the stitches that held it in place came out easily, too. It didn't take me long to find out why this little quilt (34" x 42") was SO thick! MANY layers!
First of all, one half of the quilt had a double layer of flannel backing. I certainly can't figure out why. That area of the backing has a seam across it, so maybe whoever made it decided to add a second layer in case the seam came apart??? It is stitched with tiny machine stitches, though, so I don't think it ever would!
Then there's the filler. The batting appears to be cotton (and giving it the flame test, it burns like cotton). It is creamy in color and very smooth, not at all lumpy. I do not see any seeds in it. It reminds me of batting they used in the seats of early cars. It is between a layer of muslin on one side and flannel on the other, tacked in place with neat tacking stitches (short on one side and long on the other).
I have never seen batting like this in a quilt. I might have to ask one of the "experts" about it. It's little surprises like this that remind me how clever and resourceful quilters can be! :)

P.S. The quilt top is definitely feed sacks and the blocks are machine pieced. I plan to soak it in mild soap to see if it will come clean.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scrapping, but not quilts

This month I am trying to complete projects that have been promised to others. Right now I am making teddy bears. (Yes, many of them.)
A friend gave me some clothing from her deceased husband with the request that I make bears for her, her kids and her grandkids from the clothing. I'm making 3 large bears (15") and 4 smaller bears (10"). Even though they aren't fuzzy, they are coming out cute. Instead of bows around their necks, they wear ties--neckties fashioned from some of her husband's ties. I'll show you a photo of the bear family when they are all done.
I started this kind of sewing about 10 years ago. After seeing my things at a local craft fair, a lady brought me clothing from her deceased parents. I made a crazy quilt and several teddy bears for her. Over the years I have made T-shirt quilts, quilts that combined T-shirts and other items of clothing, yo-yo bears from neckties, etc. Several "customers" have said that they couldn't bear to cut into or work with the clothing themselves, but it's ok for a "stranger" to do so. And all have been delighted with the finished products! I find it very rewarding to make these keepsakes for them.
Hope you are working on a rewarding project right now, too!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation Shopping--Part Two

I love to wander through antique shops. Get me in one and I'm set for a couple of hours. I explore every nook and cranny, looking for quilt-related items--quilts, quilt tops, quilt blocks, fabric pieces, quilt patterns, quilt books, etc, etc. These things are getting harder and harder to find, but once in a while I find a treasure hiding under other things.

Up the street from the quilt shop in Potosi, MO was an antique mall. I couldn't spend as much time there as I usually like to because of the others that were along on the trip. I couldn't dig deep, but I did come across this little quilt. At first glance it is nothing special. Just some 4-patch blocks set with (a bit dirty) white. It has a really thick batting in it. The backing is (a bit dirty) white flannel. And it is tied--small bows of lavender ribbon are tacked in place with white string (perle cotton?). But the fabric in the top is not just any fabric--it is feed sacks, so right away I was interested! I could not find a price on the quilt anywhere--oh, oh!

I decided on a price that I was willing to pay and went in search of the shopkeeper. I asked how much the quilt was and when she replied "$10", I right away said "SOLD"! Talk about thrilled!

When I carried my little bundle out of the shop, my mother-in-law spied it and asked me what in the world I was going to do with it? My reply was that it would become part of one of my quilt talks. What DO I plan to do with it? First of all, I plan to take it apart. I'm curious as to what the thick batting is inside it. I plan to carefully wash the quilt top and study it to see how it was made. Then, I plan to just enjoy it for what it is. Will I re-make it into a different, cleaner little quilt? Only time will tell.

PS--I'll let you know what I find when I get inside it! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vacation Shopping, Part One

Last Tuesday I was in Quilters Corner, a quilt shop in Potosi, MO, a little town in the hills south of St. Louis. Our trip to Potosi was a little "get-away" from our camping in Washington State Park.
Quilters Corner is my kind of shop. Not only did I see lots of bolts of reproduction fabrics (at great prices, so yes, I bought plenty to add to my stash!), but there were also old quilts and quilt tops around the shop, many with price tags on them. The lady working that day, Sue, was friendly and chatty--very willing to tell us how the shop got started. Seems the owner, Laury Blair, was first into antiques, so collected them and started an antique shop. (One can see many antique furniture pieces in the shop. . .) As part of this, she got into collecting old quilts and that blossomed into the quilt shop. The shop carries a wide variety of quilting fabrics, not just reproductions. There is also a good selection of quilt blocks to embroider, along with books and notions. Sue is a long-arm quilter and has her machine set up in the back of the shop.
Sue went on to say that the future of the shop is uncertain. About 6 weeks ago, Laury passed away suddenly. She was only in her 50's and had just been given a clean bill of health from her doctor! With everything else he has to deal with, her husband is trying to decide if the shop should stay open. It is always sad to hear about a quilt shop closing, but this instance is especially sad. I felt Laury's spirit in the shop that day. Hopefully her husband does too, and will decide to continue on in her memory!
Quilters Corner is at 201 E. High Street, Potosi, MO 63664. Ph: 573-438-6718

Friday, July 24, 2009

Top's Done!

Today I put the borders on my niece's quilt. Feels good to have the top all finished! I used a triple border: 1" black border, then 2" note print border and finally a 3" blue border. It will be a good size for her dorm bed, I think!
The finishing of the quilt will have to wait, though. We are off again. This time it's vacation. We're spending a week with our kids and grandkids at a state park in Missouri--centrally located for all of us. We're looking forward to the time away and a chance to get in lots of hugs. Hope the weather will be good for outdoor activities! (I think there's a quilt shop in a little town nearby...field trip for me one day?)
Not sure I will make the Aug. 15th deadline I set for completing my niece's quilt. I was telling a new Indiana friend this last week and she gave me a great idea! Why not send it to her at college (instead of at home before she leaves) and tuck in some goodies with the quilt--Oreos, M&Ms, etc. Sounds perfect to me, and takes the pressure off!
If you have not heard of the Quilters' Hall of Fame, take a look at their website. It is located in Marion, IN, in the restored home of Marie Webster. She was quite a lady in her day--the 1920's. She designed, published and sold quilt patterns and was the author of the first book about quilting--Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them. Many of her designs appeared in Ladies Home Journal in the 20's and 30's.
Each year they hold a Celebration in Marion. A new member of the Hall of Fame is inducted and there are classes, lectures, quilt exhibits, auctions, a vendor mall. One can see "celebs" walking around--Eleanor Burns and Georgia Bonesteel have been regulars for the past few years.
I have been attending the Celebration for at least 5 years now...I use it as a time to reconnect with some of my quilting buddies in Indiana. For the past two years, I have had a booth at the vendor mall--a chance to spread the word about my patterns. It's fun to talk with quilters and hear their comments about my patterns. My "Apron Strings" was definitely a hit!
Have fun stitching (yes, I have some little scrappy projects packed to work on during vacation!). Carol :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


If I would stay home, I'd have my niece's quilt all finished by now! But last week I was in Indiana for 4 days, at the Quilters' Hall of Fame Celebration. More on that in my next blog.

I AM making progress on the quilt for my niece. I have all the blocks finished and am setting them together today. What a fun block to work with! It is a 9-patch, made up only of 4-patches and half-square triangle squares, so it's very easy to construct. I have played with different layouts, and several different looks are possible. At first I thought I would turn the blocks two different ways.

That layout looks like this picture. I like the secondary pattern that appears. But what would it look like if all the blocks were going in the same direction?

The last picture shows the blocks laid out that way. A secondary pattern appears here, too! For some reason, I like this layout better. It seems more young and fun. Plus, I don't have to think about which way to turn the blocks when I am setting them together. They all go together the same way!
Told you it was easy!!! I'll have the top done in no time, now! Back to the sewing machine...hope you're having fun with your sewing, too!
Carol :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creating More Leftovers

I'm working on my niece's graduation quilt. It is definitely a break from "scrappy"! I'm only using two fabrics for this quilt--black music notes on a cream background and a black floral design on a blue background. And I'm making BIG blocks--18" Jacob's Ladder blocks--so I only need to make 12 of them to have a quilt big enough for her dorm bed. It's turning out to be fast and fun. A picture will be coming soon.
I had another idea in mind originally so I bought a bit too much fabric. I'm already thinking of what I'll do with the leftovers! :) Happy summer stitching! Carol

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Giving Birth to New Patterns

Introducing PINKS and APRON STRINGS...

Finally my two new patterns are ready! I can't believe how long this process has taken...but I have had a few other things going on the past few months, too! This was like giving birth, but not as painful!

I've been thinking about this "Thanks, Grandma" line of patterns for a long time, and have lots of sketches and ideas for it in my notebook. There will be several quilts for little ones, some doll quilts, and some large quilts. My grandmothers were the ones who got me started sewing and interested in quilts and quilting. I hope they are smiling down on me, proud of what I'm up to! :)

I pulled fabrics from my drawers of vintage prints for Apron Strings. They were a joy to work with! And I used packaged bias binding around the edges of the wall quilt. That was easy to work with, too! I just might have to try it on a larger project!

And I used some of my huge collection of Aunt Grace fabrics for PINKS. I hardly made a dent in the collection, though. Expect to see more Aunt Graces in upcoming projects.
Patterns are available by e-mailing me: . Hope you continue to have fun with your fabric scraps! Carol :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Time Out

I've had a time-out this week--daughter, son-in-law and 17-month-old granddaughter visited. I had to put everything safely out of reach, so projects got put away in my sewing room. Now I'm slowly getting them back out. I'm taking a fresh look at them and prioritizing.
I need time-outs. I am not one who can sit and sew all day long. My body says "get up and move around!" I keep my ironing board upstairs so that when I need to press, I get some exercise. I take a break to go outside and pull a few weeds. I go work out at Curves. At the cottage with my quilting buddies, a couple of us went for a walk when weather permitted. (On one walk, we saw a deer run across the road ahead of us and spotted some Lady Slippers in the woods!)
Time-outs are good not only for working out the kinks, but also for thinking. Many a "road block" has been worked out during a time-out!
A week-long time-out is too long, though. I'm ready to get back to sewing. It won't be long before my sewing machine is humming! I need to get my niece's graduation quilt done! :)
Happy sewing to you, too! Carol

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Group Project

Whenever we go on a retreat, there is always a "group project". Participation is optional. This time the project was a scrap quilt, which one of the gals found in an issue of Traditional Quiltworks from about 10 years ago. We all decided to participate. We thought it would be fun to whittle down our stashes a bit and trade scraps with each other.
The magazine article was about one scrappy quilt block and all the designs that could be made from it. There were no exact instructions for the quilt we liked, just a photograph. This provided a bit of a challenge, right from the beginning. From the article, we knew what size units to cut. (Scrappy: 2 1/2" squares and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, plus 2 1/2" squares background.) What we didn't know, was how many to cut. We hadn't taken the time to really analyze the picture. Some of us started cutting, making individual bags to trade with each person. Some of us cut the units, but separated them only by size into small shopping bags. Others cut lots of units and put them into a box. A week before the retreat, we each received a copy of the instructions. That made it a bit easier to plan--by that time we'd all cut many more scrap pieces than we would need, anyway!
Once we hit the cottage and got our machines set up, we swapped scrap pieces and were off and running on our project. The first thing we did was to make the basic scrappy blocks. That was the easy part. Assembling them presented another challenge! The blocks were set on point for the design, and having only the picture to refer to made this project a great study in how each of us thinks!
I started from the bottom corner and worked my way up, covering up the row I just pieced with a strip of paper so I wouldn't get confused. As my rows were pieced, I laid them out on the floor. Someone else found it easier to start from the top and work down. Another was folding the picture to help her know which row she was on. One friend didn't refer to the paper at all...she laid her blocks out following my rows on the floor. Still another was trying to find the pattern to it all and work from that (I never did find a pattern to the design...).
As you can see from the above picture, sooner or later we all finished the main quilt top! And each one is beautiful and unique. Now that we're home, we're working on the borders, trying to incorporate all the leftover scrappy pieces we cut. This will be Show and Tell the next time we get together, and it will be great fun to see what each has come up with!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lots Accomplished

After our shopping stop, we headed for the cottage. Once we arrived, it didn't take us long to get set up to sew. We set up tables on the sunporch so that we could look at the lake as we worked. Talk about relaxing!
All six of us came prepared. We had boxes and bags stuffed with more projects than we would ever get to in 4 days, but we had high hopes. Some projects were brought along just so we could get help with them--"What should I do next?" or "Which color would look best here?" or " What should I do with this collection of blocks?". We love to brainstorm together and work out ideas.
We all brought sewing machines and on one day all six were running! The wiring in the cottage got a real test, and it passed. No blown fuses!
We were definitely six gals on a mission last week and it was fun to see all that we had accomplished in such a short time. Amazing what projects can be finished when 0ne isn't interrupted by everyday life! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Shop Stop

I went on a quilting retreat last week. Several of my quilting buddies have lake cottages and once or twice a year we get away to one of them for a week or so of intense sewing and good fellowship. This time, six of us were able to go.
We meet at one house, load up the cars and get on the road! We usually quilt shop hop on the way (we know ALL the shops along the route!), but this time, we got a late start. We decided to stop at only one shop--Elaine's Quilty in Hadley, MI. This shop is a favorite because of its friendly staff, great selection and good prices (especially on wide quilt backing fabric and rotary cutter blades). And if you take in their coupon from the Country Register, you get a free fat quarter!
While others searched for the fabrics they "needed", I found some cute little quilting stencils (that will be great for applique or embroidery), a couple of great reproduction fat quarters (to add to my stash) and a nice neutral quilt backing fabric (two yards is always good to have on hand). I also discovered the scrap box and found a few small treasures there.
We all left the shop with smiles on our faces, already planning the projects we'd make with what we just bought. I'm sure that the sum of all our purchases put a smile on the shopkeeper's face, too! :)
Got to keep them in business, right?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shopping At Home

I didn't have to go very far for the fabrics I used in all my latest projects. I merely went to my sewing room and started pulling fabrics from my boxes and bins. I found all I needed for the Sunbonnet blocks in my collection of fat quarters and scraps, and I had plenty of muslin for the background (since I buy that by the bolt!). Someday I want to make an 1800's style red and green quilt so I have plenty of those fabrics in my stash, too. It didn't take much of them for the challenge project.
Do you realize we scrap quilters are saving energy because of our fabric stashes? (No, I don't mean the extra insulation it gives our homes...) Instead of driving from quilt shop to quilt shop to find the fabrics we need for our projects, we simply shop at home by shopping our stash! Anytime, and even in our PJ's! We're gladly doing our part, aren't we? :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


For several of the projects I have been working on, the deadline was "JUNE". This is June, and guess what? I am meeting the deadlines! For someone who has trouble completing projects, this is major! I've decided that deadlines are a good thing, and that maybe I should set deadlines for every project???

Last Friday I sent off 18 Sunbonnet Sue quilt blocks for the on-line Michigan block exchange I joined several months ago. Tomorrow I will deliver my finished project for the challenge we had going in our little quilt circle. (My challenge project is pictured) And next week I'll send off the major project I've been working on that also had a June deadline. What a sense of accomplishment! It's just a good thing that the deadlines were all LATE June--the extra weeks were definitely necessary! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A YOU-nique Scrap Quilt

"When life gives you scraps, make a quilt." I ran across this saying the other day and for some reason I can't get it out of my head. Obviously, it is the quilter's version of "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", meaning that when life brings you hardships, try to turn them into something positive.
But the saying makes it seem like scraps are a bad thing! I, for one, don't agree with that! As you know, I LOVE scraps!
To my way of thinking, the "scraps" that come along in life are what make us who we are. The family we are born into, the people we meet, the places we travel to, the experiences we have, the everyday things we see and do--all of these things influence and shape us. Each and every one of us is a unique scrap quilt! How about that???

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Colors Out My Window

I finished planting the flowers in my yard today. I love to look out my kitchen window and see all the colors in the backyard. It brightens my day!
The backyard flowers are many different shades of pink with some white and purple mixed in. Red and white flowers are in the front yard. My perennial bed is the only place where you'll find any "oddballs"--I have an orange tickseed plant.
I wonder why I'm so fussy with my flower color choices when my favorite quilts are the multicolored scrappies?????
What colors do you see out your windows?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quilt Planting

Not much scrap quilting got done this weekend. I was busy planting!
On Saturday, I helped my husband put in a vegetable garden--our first in many years. (There is extra land at church and our pastor offered it to congregation members who would like to garden. )
We have been planning for several months, buying seeds and vegetable plants. My husband plotted the garden out on paper. I wonder if he realizes that he actually planned a quilt?
We have 4-patches: four hills each of cukes, squash and a couple kinds of melons. These are separated by sashings: rows of beans and peppers. Two rows of sunflowers are across one end. And two rows of tomato plants run down the very center.
I'll have to remember his plan. Hmm...a new design in the works???

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's a LONG way to Oklahoma! (and back)

We had a good trip to Oklahoma and back, but my, did it seem long! It is a good 2-day drive, one way.
My husband does most of the driving, so I basically sit and sometimes navigate. I try to plan things to do while I'm sitting that long.
I took along a knitting project, but I just couldn't get into that. Maybe because it was hot outside???
I took along some hand applique. Depending on how bumpy the roads were, I was able to do some of that. It's definitely harder to do in a moving car than when I'm sitting in my easy chair at home.
Mostly I found myself in the "observing" mode. I was using my eyes and ears to look for color and design ideas as we drove along. I had my notebook ready to jot ideas down that came to me as I watched billboards and road signs, read slogans, listened to songs on the radio, etc. If you let your mind and imagination work, it's amazing what you can come up with!
The clear blue sky, brilliant white clouds and various greens of the foliage I saw from Arkansas into Oklahoma gave me a color scheme to think about as I plan a quilt for my graduating niece!
Hope you find inspiration in what you see around YOU today!
Happy Quilting! Carol :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pit Stop, plus. . .

Wow! What a difference the "pit stop" made! I can't believe how easily my rotary cutter glides through the fabric now! And my sewing machine is a little bit quieter now that it is clean and oiled. And the new ironing board cover looks great. (I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find a new ironing board cover...guess not enough people iron any more, so they aren't being made????) I'm still working on weeding out the dull and bent pins, however. That may take some time.
Since I was giving everything a tune-up, I decided to also do some cleaning up. I don't know about you, but when I make scrap quilts, my whole work area turns "scrappy". There are bits of this and that all over: extra spools of thread I pulled out to find just the right color for an applique; a pile of scraps I decided not to use but hadn't put back in the scrap bag; rulers of various sizes; buttons and ribbons and pearl cotton and embroidery floss for possible embellishments; etc, etc. I took the time to put all of the excess away, I dusted off my work space and I vacuumed the area. That, too, made a big difference, not just in the way things looked, but also in my attitude. I feel rejuvenated and ready to start in again on my projects, and yes, to make another mess! :)
That will have to wait a while, though, because we're off to Oklahoma again. Savannah will be baptized on Sunday. I can't wait to see how much she's grown in the past month and my husband is looking forward to finally meeting his newest granddaughter! (Yes, I have some hand-sewing projects packed--I'll work on those when I'm not holding the baby!)
Happy stitching...Carol :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Time for a "Pit Stop"

I need to take a lesson from the race car drivers. When their car is not running at peak efficiency, they make a pit stop.
For the past three weeks I have been on a mission to sew up all the projects in my design notebook. I've done nothing but cut out and sew. Yesterday I took a GOOD look at my tools--there is a big hole in my ironing board cover (I've just been ironing over it...); my sewing machine is full of fuzz and the needle is surely dull; my rotary cutter skips a thread every now and then (I think I tried to cut a pin a while ago); and many of the straight pins I've been trying to use are bent or won't go through the fabrics! I've had my eye on the finish line and have just put up with these little irritants.
Today I decided to do something about these things. The short time it will take will make a big difference in the joy I get from sewing, not to mention the quality of the finished projects!
Hope you have a joyful day of sewing today!
Carol :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Green Diversions

Like everyone else, after the long winter we had, I couldn't wait for Spring! All the flowering trees have been beautiful, and with the rain we've had, the grass is really GREEN. But, so are the weeds! We have a brick paver patio and the moss and weeds love to grow in the spaces between the bricks. I hate looking out my kitchen window and seeing that. But I also don't enjoy yardwork! Given the choice between yardwork and sewing/quilting, guess which one I would choose?
Last Friday was a perfect day to be outside. And I was at the point where I needed a break from my sewing. So, bucket and digger in hand, I sat down on the patio and went to work. I have to admit, being out in the warmth and sunshine felt good. While I weeded, I figured out what to do next on the project I'd left at my sewing machine. In a matter of a couple of hours, I had the patio looking pretty good!
Guess the best way to get the yardwork done this summer is to just take a "green" break every once in a while! Who knows, maybe I'll get some new scrap quilt ideas while doing so! Happy stitching!
Carol :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


With all the talk lately about the flu bug, I think I've come down with a different disease--Scrapitis. Not sure it is contagious, tho.
For my latest project, I have been working with vintage fabric scraps. My problem is that I cannot bear to throw away the tiniest cut-aways from these fabrics. The cut-aways are not good for anything...they are barely 1/4" wide! But I just can't put them in the trash. (I did that, but found myself pulling them back out!!!) And I'm wondering WHY? I have no trouble throwing away similar sized pieces of "normal" fabric. There's just something different about the vintage stuff.
Is it that I searched so hard to find this fabric?
Is it that I know that I will not be able to replace it? (Maybe I shouldn't be using it???)
Is it that it's a reminder of my ancestors? (But Grandma would love it that I'm using it!)
But what I do know is that I found a lovely little jar and put all those bitty scraps into it. It will go on a shelf in my sewing room and I will thoroughly enjoy looking at it. I'm thinking of adding some of Grandma's buttons and bits of old lace and rick rack to the jar, too!
Hope you have a wonderful day of sewing planned!
Carol :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feels good to be home!

It DOES feel good to be home! I finally have my suitcase unpacked and I'm caught up on the laundry. I think I'm caught up on sleep, too. (When the new baby is awake, Grammy is awake, especially with a ranch-style house! Not used to being awakened 2-3 times during the night!) Now I'm getting caught up on touching base with friends.

One friend asked me if I got any quilting done while I was gone. I certainly did! I spent a lot of time holding baby Savannah, but I also accomplished a lot on those projects I packed. I have most of the blocks completed for the on-line block exchange. And I got most of the quilting done on the challenge project from my small circle of quilting friends.

I did a bit of writing while I was gone, too. I always have a spiral notebook along with me so I can jot down notes when inspiration hits me. I'm gathering ideas and writing patterns for a new series called "Thanks, Grandma". I'll have the first couple of patterns ready soon. Stay tuned for more information. . .

In the meantime, happy stitching!


PS: Pix is of baby Savannah, at about 2 weeks old. Awwww. . . :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Going Again!

Getting ready to leave again...this time for Oklahoma to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and their new baby girl. I can't wait to see her and give her a "Grammy" hug! I'll be gone for 2 weeks and I don't know how much time I will have for blogging. You might not hear from me for a while.

All this week I have been gathering things together so that I would have plenty of stitching projects to work on while away. Those were the first things packed into my suitcase! I never leave home without some kind of sewing project because, for me, stitching is excellent therapy. Do you agree?

I've also packed my latest quilting magazine which I'll read through while sitting in the airport this afternoon, waiting for my flight. Wonder if there are any baby quilt ideas in this magazine? Funny how becoming a grandma makes one interested in baby quilts (when I never really was before!).

Happy Easter, happy Spring, and happy hours of stitching! Carol :)
PS--the quilts pictured are from my "Metamorphosis" pattern, available for purchase. E-mail me for details:

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm back

I'm back home after an emotional week with my parents. They are definitely doing better now than when I got there, but I feel like I was living in fast forward all week. We got a lot of things accomplished, and I think we are all spending this week resting up from our hard work!

It didn't take me long to get back to my sewing projects. I'm back to working on that UFO I mentioned. I'm putting together a bunch of scrap fabrics and before I left for Wisconsin, I noticed that I'd sewn one scrap on backwards. At that point I'd decided that since it was a scrap quilt, it really didn't matter. When I picked it up again the other day, I had second thoughts and almost ripped it out. Then I read something while browsing on-line. I ran across a list of tips given by some of the teachers at this year's upcoming Quilt Festival in Chicago. One of them made me smile (and still does!) Laura Heine says "Use both sides of your buy both sides!" That solves my problem! The scrap stays in the quilt the way I sewed it!

Hope to have that quilt top finished in the next couple of days. I'm going back to work on it right now! Hope your stitching makes YOU smile today! Carol :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mind Games

We constantly hear that as we get older we need to exercise our brains. We should take a class to learn something new. We should work puzzles--crossword, Sudoku or Numbrix (I LOVE those! Anyone else like working them???). Even line dancing is great for the brain!

We quilters know that quilting is also excellent brain exercise, especially reading the pattern and figuring out how it is to go together!

As I was doing some scrappy piecing yesterday (working on a UFO--Hooray!), it dawned on me how great SCRAP quilting is for the brain. I found myself constantly asking "How old is this piece of fabric?" and "What did I use THIS fabric for?" and "Where did this scrap come from?" I remembered a quilt I had made for a long-ago friend and found myself wondering where and how she is today. I'll need to check up on her. Does working with scraps have the same effect on you?

Tomorrow I'm going to Wisconsin to check up on my elderly parents. I'll be gone for about a week, so I might not blog until I get back. I will be stitching, however. I already have my projects packed!

Happy Scrappy Stitching! Carol :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Great Little Trip!

My quilting buddy and I had a whirlwind two-day trip! We left early Friday morning with Shipshewana, IN as our destination. We both had shopping lists with us, but when we hit the quilt shops, we had a hard time sticking to those lists! Lots of things to tempt us. We certainly helped the Indiana economy as we filled our heads with new ideas and filled the car with lots of fabric! :) Friday evening we showed off our purchases as we met with some of my Fort Wayne quilting friends.
The Gathering of Quilters on Saturday was our real destination. There weren't the 1000 quilters that they were planning for, but there were over 600 quilters in attendance! The farthest one came from St. Louis, MO. It was a fun day--a chance to renew acquaintances, hear a great talk from Kaye England, do some more shopping of the vendors, and view quilts on display made by area quilters (including some great ones made by MEN!). From time to time during the day there were "bed turnings"--various quilt groups put together 10-12 quilts on a certain theme. The quilts were stacked on a bed. One-by-one they were held up from the bed and talked about. We especially enjoyed the one that featured 1920-1940 era quilts.
When it first began, the Gathering was meant to be a way for quilters in Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan to connect and share ideas. I was disappointed in the "sharing" aspect this year. Part of the day's activities were events like Show and Tell, Charm Square Exchange, and a Block Exchange. With over 600 quilters attending, I expected LOTS of show and tell. I took 2 quilts to show, but in all, I think fewer than 40 people had things to show! I am really into using charm squares right now, so I made up 8 packets of charm squares to exchange, excited to get a new variety of fabrics to use in my quilts. So few people brought charm squares to exchange that I came home with 5 of my own packets! And I saw very few blocks turned in for the block exchange. WHAT IS WITH THIS???? Was this event unique, or are quilters not SHARING these days??? I hope that is not the case, because sharing is a big part of what quilting is all about!!! Let me know your thoughts!
I'm off to sew...Carol

Thursday, March 19, 2009

National Quilting Day

What are you doing to celebrate National Quilting Day on Saturday? Are you or your quilting group doing anything special?

I'm heading to Fort Wayne, IN for the annual Gathering of Quilters. Organizers say they are planning for 1000 quilters that day! Wow! The event certainly has grown from its beginnings in Elkhart, IN in the early 1990s!

Stay tuned for a report on the event! In the meantime, Happy Stitching! Carol :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Off to the Quilter

Tomorrow my charm quilt goes to the quilter! I spent the afternoon getting the quilt top all cleaned up and pressed. I couldn't believe how many threads I had to trim from the back! Have any of you noticed that a lot of today's fabric seems to fray quite a bit? (If so, how do you handle this?) It seemed the more I trimmed, the more it wanted to ravel! I finally just gave up. I'm hoping any remaining threads won't show through once it is quilted. We will see.
Now that this quilt top is finished, I'm ready to move on. I've been thinking about my next design and am anxious to make a trial block. It is a string quilt of sorts, and I am using some of the 1940's and 50's fabric I have collected. I have my templates made and some fabric cut--ready to sew! It looks good on paper--hope it works out with fabric! Happy Quilting! Carol :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready To Tote!

It's done! My scrappy tote bag is ready to be "toted"! And it was made completely from scraps and leftovers I found in my sewing room. (I'm pretty sure the quilted muslin is at least 20 years old!) Carrying this bag around at quilt shows will be a fun way to advertise my work and my patterns!

Right now I'm fighting a cold, so not much actual sewing is getting done. I'm doing planning instead. Once I feel better, I'll put the final touches on the charm square quilt I've been working on. Then I can move on to the next project! My sewing machine is getting a real workout these days. Sew Much Fun!!! :)

Happy Scrappy Quilting! Carol :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Out of Focus!!!

Do you ever have one of those days when it is hard to focus on just one task? Today has been like that for me. And it started even before I got out of bed! My head was spinning with new design ideas and new ideas for the designs I'm currently working on! I had to grab a pencil and some paper and write things down before I forgot them!!!
The other day I told you I had 3 projects going. Well, I finished the tote bag, but I looked around at my sewing area, and I actually have 5 projects going! No wonder I find it hard to focus! Sometimes I just need to fold up a few projects and put them out of sight in order to relax a bit. Can anyone relate?
How I envy those people who start one project at a time and don't begin another until it is completely finished! But I know I'll never be like that. I'll always have UFOs. That's just me!
I'm sewing the rows together on my small charm square quilt and I think I have the design worked out to my satisfaction. A picture will be coming soon.
Back to the sewing machine! Hope you are having fun with your stitching today! Carol :)
P.S. If you need some new ideas for scrap quilts, check out my patterns at Search under "Carol E. Loessel"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Border Design Problem Solved!!! Hooray!

Just wanted to share my excitement with you! The border design I've been trying to figure out has come to me! No, not in a dream (although a lot of new ideas do just appear in my head!). I used a technique that helps me get a good idea of what the final design will look like, without sacrificing any of the fabric I'm using in the quilt.
I cut my shapes out of construction paper and lay them on the quilt top! In the photo, both of the the light green leaves and the red circle are construction paper. The colors aren't exactly right, but at least they are in the right color family, so I can truly "see" the design. This works especially great for applique.
Yes, I have a collection of construction paper scraps, too! But if YOU don't, packs of assorted colors of construction paper can be purchased anywhere you would buy school supplies. Give this idea a try next time you are trying to figure out a design or a color scheme. I've even used it to do paste-ups of pieced blocks when deciding on block size or color placement.
Back to stitching...Carol :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a beautiful day today!

Wouldn't you know it? The one day that I have a large block of time in which I can sew turns out to be the warmest (60 degrees+) and most beautiful day we have had all year! The kind of day we have been waiting for! I couldn't stay inside! I took a nice long walk this afternoon and realized that it is starting to smell like SPRING!
All was not lost, however. I got up early this morning and was able to get quite a bit of stitching done before I was "called" outside! And I went outside at a time when I needed to do some thinking and planning. I don't listen to music when I walk. I tried that once, and the wind noise in my ears was louder than the music coming out of the ear buds! So, I use that time to meditate. Today I needed to figure out the next steps of some projects, and by the time I got home, I was ready to sew again!
I'm currently working on 3 different projects--two quilt tops and a tote bag. I came across the leftover scraps from my Shoo, Flies! quilt (pictured above, pattern available, 56" x 76") and decided to use them (and some leftover quilted muslin I found in another box) to make the tote bag. It's turning out pretty cute! I just have to add the handles (for which I dug in my strips box!). I'll post a picture of it when I have it finished.
The two quilt tops are progressing. I'm designing the border for one of them and appliqueing flower centers for the other before putting the blocks together. The rainy weekend they are predicting means I can applique while watching basketball games and not feel like I should be doing something else!
Today I sent off to Pattern Peddlers a supply of my patterns #11-14. So, by next week at this time, you should be able to see my entire collection at their website: . Just search under "Carol E. Loessel". It's a site where quilt shops can order patterns. If you see one you'd like, you can ask your quilt shop to order it for you, or you can purchase from me via e-mail ( I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about any of the patterns via e-mail, also.
Back to work for me...Happy Scrappy Quilting!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Every day I learn a bit more!

I have been going on the Quilt With Us community for the past couple of days now and each day I make a new friend and find something new to do there. It is fun! But how the time flies!

I got quite a bit of the embroidery done on my latest quilt--I hope to finish it up tomorrow! I really would like to get a couple of new patterns written and published soon. I am planning on attending some big quilting events in the next few months and it would be great to have some new designs to show off! Guess that means more sewing and less chatting on the computer! We will see!

As you can see, I figured out how to add pictures to my blog! This is the very first pattern I published, called "Now Starring: Leftovers". I had fun piecing my scraps together and then cutting them into squares to form the centers of the Variable Star blocks. (Finished quilt measures 52" x 78")

I really enjoy writing and publishing patterns. It is kind of like scrap-booking. I know that if I weren't really into quilting so deeply, I would be a scrap-booker. When I taught elementary school, I thoroughly enjoyed creating bulletin boards!

Enough of this! I need to get back to my stitching! Hope you are working a project that you enjoy! If you would like to purchase this pattern, please e-mail me ( for the details. Happy Stitching! Carol :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Leap into Cyberspace, but I really should be quilting!

Well, I guess I am hooked! The other day I received a new Connecting Threads catalog. The cover shows their yummy new 1930's fabric collection (bad news for those of us who cannot resist the 30's fabrics!), and throughout the catalog they talk about their new online community called Quilt With Us.
Yesterday I gave it a look and signed on. LOTS of things to do once you are in there! Many places to blog, several groups to join, and lots of great pictures to see. I already have a new friend in Ireland! And, I signed up to do a block exchange with the girls from Michigan. Am I into this, or what?
And when do we have time to work on our quilts??? I did get the blocks all cut for the charm quilt I am working on. Everything is ready to sew now. I am also putting the finishing embroidery touches on a charm quilt I started a couple of years ago. If there are some good basketball games on tomorrow, I should be able to park in front of the TV and get a lot of that stitching done. It sure feels great to be at this point on that quilt! It is one of those designs that looked good when I sketched it out on paper...just wasn't sure how it would look in fabric. I'm pretty pleased with it. I still need to decide how I want the border to look. I think I want it to be curved...any good ways to work that out? Let me hear from you if you have ever done a scalloped or curved border on a quilt.
Once I figure out how my computer will let me put pictures into this blog site, I'll share some of my other scrap quilts with you. Happy Stitching! Carol :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Leap into Cyberspace (but I'd rather be quilting!)

Hello everyone! Here I am, blogging for the first time! All of this "high-tech" computer stuff is a bit scary for me. I'd really rather be quilting!

Quilting is something I know all about, because I've been doing it for more than 35 years! (So maybe after I do this for a while, it will become second nature???)

Because I have been quilting for so long, I have built up quite a collection of fabric and fabric scraps. It got to the point where I could hardly work in my sewing room! So a few years ago I decided to start using those scraps--really using them up, instead of creating more.

I like to come up with my own designs. I tend to let the scraps tell me how to use them! (Has anyone else discovered that fabric talks to them?) I try not to have a set quilt size in mind when I begin. The quilt top just evolves and grows as I work on it.

Working this way is great fun! And very addictive. I wish there were more hours in the day so I could make all the quilts that I have sketched on paper! Most days I would rather sew and quilt than do anything else. The amount of dust around my house is a good indication of that!

Right now my sewing machine is calling me to work on the design I started last week. I'm off to sew, but I'll be back soon. I can't wait to tell you about the patterns I have designed!

(If you'd like a sneak peak, e-mail me: