Thursday, December 16, 2010

One More Gift Idea

My daughter told me that her 20-month-old could use a pillow. A regular size pillow seems too big for my granddaughter, so I bought a travel size pillow. Of course she would need some pillowcases for her new pillow! I went looking for some fun fabrics. I found some great cat fabric in my stash and bought the green floral fabric at the quilt shop.
One-half yard of fabric is plenty for a pillowcase for this size pillow. Cut the fabric 13 1/2" x width of fabric, and remove the selvages. Fold the fabric in half, right sides together. (folded piece will measure 13 1/2" x ~ 22") Using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch both side edges. Serge or zig-zag the raw edges of the seams. Press under 1/4" along the top edge of the pillowcase; then turn under another 3" to form the top hem. Press. Stitch the hem close to the turned-under edge. Turn pillowcase right side out and press.
A quick and easy gift for a toddler or a traveler!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little Aprons

My almost-three-year-old granddaughter loves to help out in the kitchen. My daughter suggested that I make her some aprons for Christmas. They were fun to make and turned out very cute! The pattern I used is Simplicity 2626.
Contrary to what I usually do, I went out and bought new fabrics for this project. Each apron took 3/4 yard of fabric and I didn't have any hunks of "little girl" fabric in my stash.
Now when she's helping to make pizza or frost cupcakes, my granddaughter's clothes will stay a little cleaner! And I have leftover fabric scraps to add to my collection. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Newest Christmas Stocking

Traditionally I have been the one to make Christmas stockings for family members. All of a sudden it dawned on me that another was needed this Christmas--for my granddaughter who was born in June.
I always use the same basic template for the stocking, but try to make each one a little bit different. This time, I used some Christmas charm squares. I sorted them by color (red and green), then pieced them together until I had "fabric" large enough to cut a front and back for the stocking.
It is fun to imagine what treasures the stocking will hold in the years to come!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dressing a doll

I found a cute Fisher Price doll* for my granddaughter, but the doll came only in a diaper and bath towel. She needed a nightgown, and a hunk of flannel leftover from making a baby quilt was just the right size. I found a bit of white flannel, too, and that became a new diaper for the doll. A piece of leftover quilted muslin was just the right size for a tote bag for all of the doll's accessories! It is so much fun to make these little things! I'm looking forward to making lots more in the coming years.
*The doll really is cute, not scary as she seems in the picture. The camera's flash made her eyes glow!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Doll Quilts

First up for Show and Tell are the doll quilts I made. The fabric in this doll quilt might look somewhat familiar to you if you've been following my blog for a while. This little quilt is for my granddaughter's new doll and was made from fabric leftover from the frog crib quilt I made...remember the one that fell apart in the wash? I thought about using some of the actual fabric from the quilt--decided to only re-use the backing fabric. I chose a different green fabric for the quilt top--we'll see how this one holds together! This quilt was very simple to make: 2 1/2" strips were used for the 4-patch blocks and for the sashing strips. The borders were cut 3 1/2". The finished quilt measures ~20" x 26".

Remember the leftover disappearing 9-patch blocks? I used some of my favorite Thimbleberries fabric to border them out. This project was a great place to use up a leftover small piece of batting. And a fat quarter of fabric that I really didn't care for became the backing. I then tied the little quilt with perle cotton.

Both of these projects were fun, simple ways to use up fabric scraps!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I've Been Sewing!

I think my Christmas sewing is done! I've made lots of "little" things that sew up quickly--doll clothes, pillowcases, doll quilts, Christmas ornaments and gifts for our group gift exchange.
I've had to buy very little fabric for these things--being small, I've been able to use fabrics from my stash! Hooray! I'll get out my camera, take some pictures, and share the projects with you in my next few blogs.
I like creating and sewing so much that I'd rather do that than anything else. My house is proof of that. I could do my designing in the dust on the end tables, I think! And I certainly haven't taken the time to keep up with my blog! But now I definitely have some things to "show and tell," so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A few disappearing 9-patch blocks that I picked up on a "Free" table are making the cutest doll quilt! The 9-patch blocks began as 3 1/2" squares, and it is taking only 3 of them to make the quilt. I have some fabric in my stash that will be great for a border, so I should have this project finished in no time! It's amazing what can be done with a few leftovers!!! Fun!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

End of October!

Where did the past month go? It flew by because I was on the go! And so busy that I didn't have time to think about blogging! I knew it would be that way, though, because of everything I/we scheduled. Glad to be back home and getting back to a normal schedule.
I have lots of sewing projects I want to get to...first I had to be able to get to my materials! I spent last night cleaning out and re-organizing my sewing room. I now have a stack of things waiting to be cut--aprons, doll quilts, and a new pattern I want to try out. I also have some scrappy piecing to do. Can't wait to get started!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Have You Seen It?

If you are a member of NQA, you should have recently received the fall issue of The Quilting Quarterly. Have you read it yet? Check out the pattern on page 33!
When I sent a copy of my book, Start With Scraps, to the editor for review, she asked me to design a project for this issue. I had the perfect project sketched out in my notebook and this was the perfect time to bring it to life! (Actually it wasn't really the perfect time. Most of the work on it was done while I was at my daughter's in June, helping with the new baby. It was a challenge to work with the sewing machine of someone else and in the workspace of someone else. But the project turned out the way I wanted it to and was to the editor on time!) I hope you will give the pattern a try!
Tonight I'm showing my scrappy-piecing technique to a new group of quilters. Hopefully they will have fun with it and get hooked on this way of using up scraps!
I'm taking along my patterns and the samples for my newest ones. If you haven't yet seen them, go to and check them out! It's a great time to make some "Little Pink Houses"!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Next projects

Wow! Can't believe it's been a couple of weeks since I last blogged! Where has the time gone?
The T-shirt quilt is now in the hands of the quilter. I can't wait to see it finished...we decided to use variegated thread for the quilting and I found a great batik fabric for the back. I purchased Fairfield's Classic Cotton batting for this quilt, so I'm anxious to see how that works out, too!
Now that that project is out of the way, it didn't take me long to move on to others. I'm beginning to think of Christmas gifts. I've found the perfect pattern for this year's ornament for everyone; I've pretty much decided what I will make for the gift exchange within my quilting circle; and I'm designing the doll quilt that I'll make for my granddaughter. New aprons are needed for the little ones, too.
If you need some quick little gifts, why not try my newest pattern, shown here, "Scrappy Sacks"? They are fun to make and each one is unique! Check out the details of this and all my other patterns on my website: Happy stitching!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pattern's Ready!

Little Pink Houses is now ready! Hope you like it! It's my tribute to all those ladies who have been or are now battling breast cancer. It is designed to be a fund-raising quilt. I hope lots of you will use it to raise lots of $$ to help find the cause and a cure for this disease. It has affected way too many women in my life!!! (and probably in yours, too!) The pattern is available from me...check my website for ordering instructions:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Waiting

I guess it is a good thing that the answers to the T-shirt questions haven't come yet. The other day my sewing machine decided to act up. I wore out another gear in it, so it is out of commission for at least a week. In the meantime, I'm doing some hand-sewing, cutting the pieces for a couple of quilts, finding backing so I can take a wall quilt to my quilter, and putting together my latest pattern. "Little Pink Houses" will soon be available. I hope to have it on my website in the next day or two. Keep watching for it! Happy Stitching! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The T-shirt quilt top is all finished. I'm now waiting for answers to my questions: What type of backing should I use? Batting or no batting? Machine quilted or tied?
It was a challenge to get all the parts to fit together, but I'm happy with the results. Hope they will be too! I have a couple of T-shirt squares left that I will work into the back of the quilt. There will be many T-shirts returned; had I use them all, I think they would be able to wallpaper the room with the finished quilt!!!!
While I'm waiting for the answers to the questions, I'm working on some UFOs. It feels great to be making progress on them!
Have you checked my website lately? Only about 10 more days of the summer sale on my patterns. The sale ends on Labor Day. "Scrap Nick" and "Little Bit Frosty" are two easy scrappy patterns--the wall quilts, runners and place mats would make great Christmas gifts!
Go to: and take a look!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Something Different

This week's project is a 90 x 90 T-shirt quilt. I've made T-shirt/clothing quilts before, so that is not what is different about this project. What is different, is the subject of the T-shirts--Grateful Dead. (My kids think it is really funny that I am making a Grateful Dead quilt!)
As I was first sorting the shirts, all I was looking at was the size of the design and the colors used. It's when I started preparing them for the quilt (BTW: I LOVE Pellon Shape-flex) that I really started to notice the pictures. I can understand skeletons, skulls and tie-dye colors. But what I don't understand is how the Peanuts Gang fits in...several of the T-shirts show Snoopy and friends dancing around. The only connection I can think of between Charles Shultz and the Grateful Dead is that they were both from California. I'm curious...I'll have to check into this...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Review

I just finished reading "The Aloha Quilt" by Jennifer Chiaverini. I enjoyed it very much. Not only was it a good story about one of the Elm Creek Quilters, but it was also a history lesson. I learned a lot about Hawaii's past! Another added bonus: woven into the story are complete instructions for making a Hawaiian-style quilt! My fingers were itching to try it, but unfortunately right now I have too many other projects started.
If you want a good, easy read, I recommend this book!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A True Vacation

Last week we were on vacation in southern Missouri. We rented a cabin for the entire family at Lake Wappapello State Park. It turned out to be a TRUE vacation because we were very limited as to the available technology. My son-in-law had to drive 25 miles to find wi-fi access* and not everyone's cell phone worked. There was satellite TV, but not a whole lot of stations. I didn't even do much of the hand sewing I took along because the lighting was poor and there were no real comfy chairs. We were forced to relax and it was very nice!!! Several of us remarked that it had been a long time since we had a day where nothing was planned.
Even though it was hot, we hiked a bit, went swimming, played games, etc. And each of us was working our way through a good book.
As usual, the week went by very quickly and we were soon back to real life! For me, that's ok...I couldn't wait to get back to my quilting projects! :) (Now if only someone else would do the cooking and wash the dishes!)
BTW: no quilt shop in that town, but 3 McDonald's!

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Books

I love books, especially books related to quilting. The Marie Webster Quilt Guild always has a used book sale at the Celebration, and I can't stay away from that. I came home with at least a dozen new-to-me books, for not a lot of money!
Speaking of "new"books, did you know that Earlene Fowler has started writing about Benni Harper again? Her latest is State Fair. And Jennifer Chaverini's latest book is The Aloha Quilt. The vendor next to me at the Celebration had every quilt fiction book every published, I think, so over the 3 days I had a chance to really check them out!
Did you love to play with paper dolls as much as I did? I was always designing new outfits for mine. When I saw the latest book from Brandywine Design titled Dolly Days, I had to bring it home! The book looks like so much fun! I'll get to "play" again, this time incorporating quilting.
Are there any books you'd recommend?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Signed, Sealed and Delivered!

My goal last week was to finish my niece's quilt and get it in the mail to her. It only took me a day or two to finish the binding, make the label and sew it on. While doing that, I thought about what I would write in the note that I planned to tuck in the box with the quilt. I wanted to explain to her why I chose that particular pattern (Country Roads) for her and the significance of the colors used (things she might see as she bicycled along country roads...).
My niece called me last night--she'd received the quilt and was thrilled! Even though it was hot where she lives, she planned to sleep under it right away! It's reactions like that that make quilt making such a rewarding pastime! Don't you agree??? :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

QHF Celebration

A week ago I was getting ready to open my booth for the second day of the QHF Celebration. It had been a bit of a challenge to set up, but I like the way it came together. My only regret was that I didn't have room to put out all my quilt samples.
The wonderful ladies of the Marie Webster Quilt Guild work very hard every year to pull everything together for the Celebration event. They hang quilts for display, they hire teachers and lecturers, they plan the vendor mall, they secure the venues, they plan a volunteer banquet, etc. I'm sure they were disappointed with the small turnout this year. There was much discussion about it--due to the economy, to the hot weather, to quilters going elsewhere, to lesser known teachers and speakers???? Who knows?
A small crowd meant more free time for the vendors. We did some networking, but most of us had stitching projects along to work on. It was fun to walk around and see what everyone was doing--from embroidery to hand quilting. I was able to complete some small applique projects and make some progress on a hand-pieced quilt top.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the quilters who did come to shop. It was great to see old friends and make new acquaintances. I had a lot of nice comments re my patterns and book. The sample quilt most commented on was my mini yo-yo quilt (never fails!). And one lady wanted to vote for my Ruby Blooms quilt as the best of show! :) Fun!
I'm sure the ladies of the quilt guild are already planning for next year. Eleanor Burns will be back and the inductees will be the Jameses, who were very instrumental in starting the quilt museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. See YOU there???

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready to head to Marion, IN tomorrow morning. I'll have a booth at the vendor mall during the Quilters' Hall of Fame Celebration, Thursday thru Saturday. I'm hoping to spread the word about my book and sell some of my patterns.
It is a lot of work to get ready for the booth! I've been working at it for the past couple of weeks--making lists of what I need to take for my display, increasing my inventory, making up a few scrappy items to sell, etc. The hardest work will come later today, though, as I load everything into the car! When I arrive tomorrow and find out my booth location, I then have to unload everything and get creative in the setting-up. I have some ideas in my head, but will they work once I see my space? The three hours we're allowed for set-up goes by quickly!
Some people travel from quilt show to quilt show to sell their products. They must have a "system" worked out so that the packing and unpacking becomes routine. I plan to talk to some of them to find out their secrets! What a great opportunity to network with other quilters, both the vendors and the quilters who "shop".
To learn more about the Celebration and what all is taking place in Marion this week, go to and look under "Celebration 2010". Hope to see you there--stop by my booth, "Got Scraps?", and say "HI". :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Catching Up

It's amazing how much "catching-up" there is to do after being away from home for a month! Lots of weeds to pull in the yard, lots of flowers to prune, lots of spider webs to clear in the house (not to mention the dust!). I've also been catching up on sleep and getting back in touch with friends.
I'm trying to clean the house a little at a time--since it's not my favorite thing to do, I take a break from sewing to clean a bathroom or sweep the kitchen. :) Sewing is much more least the end results last a long time, unlike cleaning. Sometimes all it takes is 5 minutes for someone to mess up what you've just spent a 1/2 hour cleaning!
Speaking of cleaning house, please go to my website: All my patterns are on sale thru Labor Day. Check it out!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I had such grand hopes of getting lots of sewing done while away for the month of June! But Grammy duties definitely got in the way of that! Plus, I was using my daughter's sewing space and her sewing machine. It just didn't feel like "Home".
After new baby had been home a while, I was able to get away for a few days and go to visit my mom and dad in Wisconsin. I took several sewing projects along with me. Since it was going to be MUCH quieter there, I knew I'd be able to accomplish a few things.
What fun it was to sit down at the 1950-era Singer sewing machine on which I learned to sew. It still runs and sews beautifully. And I LOVE the knee pedal! I felt right at home there. My wall quilt project went together in no time and I had fun reminiscing about the other things I'd made on that machine.
It definitely feels good to be back in my own home, though--sewing whenever I want to, in my own space, and using my own equipment! Nothing like it! I'm sure you will agree.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Grammy Duty

Not much sewing has gotten done this week. The new granddaughter arrived earlier than expected, so I have been doing Grammy Duty, taking care of baby's big sister. At almost 2 1/2, she's having a hard time adjusting. Hopefully each day will get better as she realizes that she has to share the attention.
I've been doing a bit of hand applique each night, just to unwind. I'm not used to all the noise and activity! As a break, I went to a couple of fabric shops today. What fun to discover my book for sale at the local Hancock Fabrics! I just HAD to point it out to the clerks and tell them all about it! :)
Got to get back on duty now...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More from Iowa

We couldn't leave Kalona, the Quilt Capital of Iowa, without visiting their local museum. Especially since someone at the quilt show told me that they currently had 30's quilts on display!!! I discovered that they also have a room dedicated to Amish quilts, not only from Iowa, but also from other Amish communities around the country (Indiana, Ohio, etc.)
I actually enjoyed seeing the quilts at the museum more than I did the quilt show. They were displayed so nicely and one could really appreciate them from afar, as well as up-close. My pictures aren't the best because the lighting was low and I couldn't use flash. But they help me remember what I saw, nontheless.
One little 30's quilt was had prairie points all around the edge that were no bigger than 1/2"! I don't seem to have the patience to do that little, detailed work anymore! (Although making those tiny prairie points would be a great way to use up LITTLE scraps!)
I have another new pattern ready...check out the latest on my website:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kalona quilt show

I'm finally taking last month's pictures off my digital camera. I didn't realize I'd taken so many! And when you don't keep up with it, the downloading takes a long time!

Our trip to Kalona, Iowa was exciting, not only for the barn quilts, but also because that was the weekend for the annual quilt show sponsored by a local antique shop. The advertising stated that there would be over 300 quilts on display, all HAND quilted! How could I NOT go to that one? What I didn't realize until I got in the show, was that all the quilts were for sale, too.

The little gymnasium where the show was held was PACKED with quilts! The show was laid out like a maze--you worked your way through the quilt displays, sometimes being literally nose to nose with a quilt! There were new quilts, there were old quilts. There were big quilts and there were little quilts. And it was refreshing to see all the hand quilting. And people were definitely "shopping" for a quilt!

The star of the show was hung right when you walked in the door. It was an amazing quilt, both because of the hand quilting, but also because of all the stuffed work. (What looks like stuffed quilting in the white areas is actually stuffed applique!!!!) My pictures don't do it justice, of course. This quilt was already sold, and if I remember correctly, it went for $1200. To be honest with you, if I spent that much time and energy creating something this gorgeous, I would not be able to part with it! I hope the new owner truly appreciates all that went into the making of this quilt! I know I do!!!!


Monday, May 17, 2010


Today I took my niece's quilt to the quilter. FINALLY! Remember all those Thangles units that my friends helped me with? They all got made into 9-patches which then got made into Country Roads blocks--20 of them! I added sashing between the blocks and two borders. One morning last week was set aside for finishing that top. I had it all done before noon that day!
I'm always a little afraid to machine piece a quilt top where the basic blocks have lots of pieces. The blocks don't always turn out to be the same size. But this time all the blocks were pretty close in size. Amazing! And I like the way it turned out. Hope my niece does, too!
I've completed a couple of other quilt tops in the past two weeks. I've also purchased setting fabric for 3 more sets of blocks. Guess I'm in a "get them set" mode!
Don't forget to check out my website: New patterns show up there from time to time! :) I'm working on one right now! (along with lots of other projects! New ideas keep popping into my head! Guess that's a good thing, right?)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Barn Quilts

Before we left Iowa two weeks ago, we took a side trip. I knew that we were close to the Amish area and I'd done a bit of research on the computer ahead of time. The county just south of the Cedar Rapids area had barn quilts, so I planned our route. It was fun to seek them out--I just had to make sure that my husband was driving slow enough that when I shouted "There's one!", he didn't have to back up too far for me to get a picture!
Barn quilts seem to be all the rage right now! I just saw a new book by Eleanor Burns all about barn quilts/quilt blocks. My daughter sent me a news article about a barn quilt project being started in her Illinois county--I think they were involving school kids in the making of them. And the other day I heard that there are several counties in Michigan that have barn quilts! Sounds like another road trip is in the future!

Monday, May 3, 2010


This past weekend at Quilt Camp was wonderful, as usual. A chance to do non-stop sewing without having to worry about fixing meals, doing dishes, cleaning, etc. I really accomplished a lot!
The day before I left for Camp, I was noticing the cobwebs that have accumulated around the house. I told my husband that it looked like I needed to do some serious Spring cleaning!
But, a fortune cookie favor I received at Camp might change my plans...the slip of paper in MY felt fortune cookie read: "Quilting Forever, Housework Never"! Sounds good to me!!!! :)
The weeds in the yard are calling, but I'd really like to put the finishing touches on the projects I worked on this do I decide?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's Important?

Last week I was in Iowa with a group from church. We went to Cedar Rapids to help homeowners still recovering from the flood of June, 2008. We spent 5 very rewarding days working on houses that are almost ready to be called "home" again. We did a variety of things: installed a deck railing, door knobs, and siding on a garage. Some installed windows and drywall. We taped and mudded drywall and did some painting. Everywhere we went we heard "Thank you so much for coming!"
Can you imagine 7 feet of muddy water in the first floor of your house? I can't! And the homeowners only had 3 hours notice to evacuate. What do you try to take with you, knowing that anything left behind will be totally ruined? It really makes one stop to think about what is important in life...Would those bags and boxes of fabric scraps matter? Would I take any of my quilts? Probably, but only if I had time to grab them after pulling together all our important papers and pictures. I truly hope I never have to make that decision! And I admire the courage and determination of the homeowners who decided to come back to their flooded neighborhood!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quilt Adventures

I had more quilt adventures this past week. On Sunday, I attended a lecture given by Beth Donaldson (from MSU) on quilts of the 1930's, specifically quilts that were being made in the Detroit area. She showed pictures of a collection of quilts that the MSU museum acquired from a local quilting family, told the details of the quilts, and spoke about sources for the patterns for the quilts. Several of the quilts are on display at the Lorenzo Cultural Center (central campus of Macomb Community College) until May 8. They are beautiful--so meticulously made! And the reason for that is that the maker was a professional tailor! My favorite is the floral quilt shown in the picture here. The pattern was a series in the Detroit News and was titled Memory bouquet or Flower Garden. I have a collection of old patterns from the newspapers...need to see if I have this one!
I had a "duh" moment after the lecture...for some reason when I think 1930's quilts, I think scrap quilts, assuming that during the Depression years money was scarce so the ladies used what they had to make their quilts. Not everyone, tho. Some people remained affluent (there were doctors and lawyers in this particular family) and could purchase fabric and kits to make their quilts. "DUH"
On Monday I traveled to Battle Creek to do the program for Cal-Co Quilt Guild. I spoke about how my new book, Start With Scraps, came to be. I was warmly received and many members now have the book as part of their quilting library.
Please take the time to look at the book at, and don't forget to visit my website: Happy Quilting Adventures to you! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old Quilts #4

The detail that our quilting fore-mothers put in their quilts never ceases to amaze me! Look at all those tiny triangles making up the center of these Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks! But they certainly make for a spectacular quilt, don't they?
I have to admit that this is one pattern that really confuses me. I do fine making the basic blocks, but when it comes to putting them together, that's where I get lost. I know that other quilters have had the same problem--I have some misshapen old quilt tops in my collection that prove it! :)
PS...please visit my website:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Old Quilts #3

Before I move on to the 30's quilts, I need to show you this beauty of a crazy quilt. It is in amazing condition for having been made somewhere between 1880 and 1900! The silks and taffeta have not started to shred, as is typical of fabrics in old crazy quilts. What fascinated me most about this quilt is that it contains not just beautiful embroidery designs, but also painted flowers, birds, etc. Was this a group project or was the maker multi-talented?
During her talk, Donna also showed a little doll quilt made from cigarette silks. She dates this somewhere between 1890 and WWI. That's the time period when cigar flannels and cigarette silks could be had as "premiums".
Do any of you have a crazy quilt made from wool suiting fabrics? These quilts were made in the early years of the 20th century. I have two of them, made by a farm woman who lived in northern Indiana. I love them for their simplicity!
If only these old quilts could talk! The stories they would tell!!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Old Quilts #2

Donna had some great quilts on display before her talk at the quilt guild. This little one is from 1850. It is made from red and tan calicoes and the piecing is wonderful! All those diamonds and flying geese!
I chose a seat right in front of this quilt so I could enjoy it all during the meeting!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Old Quilts

This is one of the first old quilts that my new Oklahoma friend, Donna Skvarla, showed during her presentation to the Central Oklahoma Quilt Guild. Being a fan of mid-19th century red/green quilts, I immediately fell in love with it! Each block is amazing, and it turns out that the blocks are PIECED, not appliqued as one would assume! Donna says this one was made around 1840. Another unique feature of this quilt is that it has a woven twill binding. This type of binding was manufactured on the East Coast. The next picture shows a close-up of one of the blocks.

The hand-quilting on these old quilts is amazing, too! Such close quilting and such tiny stitches. Stop and think about the tools they had to work with back then and the lighting they had! These old quilts were truly labors of love!

Since being home, along with getting lots of sewing done, I've also created a website of my own. I hope you will pay it a visit: Bookmark it so you can visit it often, and please tell your friends! Thanks! Happy scrap quilting!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Charity Challenge

I just finished a charity quilt. This one began as a mystery and was a challenge! A friend at Curves told me about and their "Quilts for Kids" project. (Check it out at I looked at the website and volunteered to help. Within 3 days I received the kit to make a kid-size quilt! Inside the kit was the pattern, complete instructions, fabric for the quilt top, fabric for the backing, and a label for the quilt. I just needed to supply the batting and return postage.
So why was this a mystery and a challenge? I had no idea what kind of fabrics I would receive. From the picture you can tell that these fabrics were BRIGHT! And the theme was race cars. (I have all girls in my family...I haven't made many quilts for little boys!) Also, the quilt had to be machine quilted; it could not be tied. I normally do not do machine quilting--another challenge! And I decided to use Warm and Natural batting--something else I normally do not do. I figured, why not? All in all, I was pleased with the results.
One reason I enjoy making charity quilts is that I get to try new techniques and practice my skills. It was fun to work with fabrics that someone else had chosen (I now have some bright leftovers to add to my scrap bag!), and I'm getting a little better at machine quilting. It warms my heart to know that a child will enjoy this finished quilt. Why don't you take the challenge???

Friday, March 12, 2010

Taggie Blankie Update

While in Oklahoma, I was able to view the Taggie Blankie "in action". First of all, I am happy to report that it has been washed many times and is holding together nicely! Nothing is pulling apart on THIS project! :)
It was fun to watch how it was being used. It is a great quiet toy during church! My daughter always has it stashed in the diaper bag on Sunday mornings. It is a great soothing toy when it is naptime! And it is great for playing "Peek-A-Boo" by placing it on Granddaughter's head. She loves to pull it off and giggle! And she seems to have a favorite tag on the blankie, one that she plays with more than the others. She likes the wide, turquoise ribbon that has lots of embroidery on it! (Lots of texture to that ribbon!!!)
My daughter and I ran across a whole line of taggie items while out shopping one day. There are board books with tags, small blankets with tags, and a variety of stuffed toys with tags. They are marketed under the "Taggi" name--designed by a mom who noticed that her little ones always played with the tags on things! Cute and clever, but the variety of tags was disappointing. Only satin and grosgrain ribbons were used, in solids and prints. All seemed to be the same width, too. By digging through my box of trims in the process of making my Taggie Blankie, I came up with many more-interesting-to-the-touch tags!!! Hooray for scraps and leftovers! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baby quilt update

I've been in Oklahoma for a week and the time has flown by! Great to spend time with my daughter and family here!!!! Granddaughter has changed just since Christmas!!!
Everyone is off to work and Granddaughter goes to daycare. But I'm not bored. I brought along a hand piecing project that I want to really make progress on. (so far, so good!)
One of the first projects I tackled tho was the baby quilt that pulled apart. I started in on it with a seam ripper. Since I was limited to what I could bring along, I did not bring batting for the new quilt. I was hoping I could reuse the batting from the original quilt. As I was doing the "rip-it" stitch, I was impressed at how well I'd sewn the binding on! It took a while to take it all back off!!!
I was also amazed at how that one particular fabric really frayed and pulled out at the seams. Made me wonder if 1/4" seam allowance is big enough for a quilt that will be washed a lot? I also came to the conclusion that I'd not put enough ties in the quilt to begin with--perhaps the quilt top was allowed to move around too much during washing?
After the ties were removed, I began to separate the 3 layers. I found that the fraying seams had intertwined with the batting and things weren't pulling apart very easily. I was also surprised at how the batting had pilled. I can't remember if I used Mountain Mist batting or Fairfield, but one thing was for sure--I wasn't going to be able to reuse this batting. With all the pilling, it didn't even seem good for stuffing, so it went into the trash.
I went out and bought a crib-size Fairfield Traditional batt. And this time, I put lots more ties into the quilt. It is all bound and once I get the label sewn on today, it will be ready for Granddaughter to use! I've decided that the old quilt top will be cut up and scrappy pieced back together to make a doll quilt for her. If I get started on it soon, it will be ready for Christmas!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gettng the Word Out

Slowly, but surely, I'm spreading the word about my book. I did a couple of book signings this past week. One of them was at a quilt guild meeting. I'd given a program and workshop for this guild about 15 months ago, so it was fun to revisit them and hear from some of the members how they completed their workshop project and what they eventually did with it. From the workshop, they were familiar with the scrappy piecing technique explained in the book and were delighted to see what else they could do with their scraps using the technique.
The other book signing was an impromptu one. A friend's Senior church group was having its monthly meeting. She suggested I come to the meeting and give a little talk along with showing my book. I didn't have much time to prepare what I was going to say and I knew that there would be men in the group. So, I began my talk by asking people to share quilt-related memories. I took along some of my 30's scrap quilts to talk about, and showing those brought up even more memories! Both men and women told about quilts that their aunts or grandmas or mothers made. It was fun to listen to their stories!
During each book signing event, I love to hear and see people's reaction to the book. So many of them get so excited for me, having been published! That makes my day! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

We finally had lots of snow yesterday into today. I measured about 6"-8" when I was out shoveling this morning. Schools in the area are closed so that means my usual Wednesday activities are canceled. Yippee! More sewing time for me! I'm celebrating by working on a scrappy snowman block. Perfect, don't you think?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Making Progress

I'm hard at work on my niece's quilt, and I'm really making progress. The nine-patch blocks are going together quickly, now that I have the Thangles squares all done. The quilt contains 20 main blocks and each block uses 16 Thangles squares. That's a LOT of Thangles squares! Sewing the Thangles and cutting them apart is easy. Removing the paper and trimming off the corners always takes a bit more time.
For three days last week, my quilting buddies and I were on a "retreat". We met at one's home each day for concentrated sewing, good eating, and lots of laughs. (Her husband was off golfing where it was warm!) The first project I wanted to accomplish was removing the paper and trimming the corners on my Thangles. As soon as I pulled them out and started tearing paper, I had 3 friends there helping me! Made quick work of that job! Isn't it great to have quilting friends???? But now they expect to see a finished quilt top the next time we get together!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back to Stitching

I'm finally back to my stitching! After more than two weeks of concentrating on income tax laws and tax software, it took a little time to get back to my sewing. You know what helped? Touring a few quilt shops and picking up a few new pieces of fabric for my current projects. It also helped to spend an afternoon with my quilting buddies!
I'm back to working on my niece's quilt. See my posting titled "Final Day of Camp" for a picture of the basic block. The block contains Thangles units, and I have made all of them. Now to tear off the paper and trim them up. After that is done, I should be able to piece the blocks quickly.
I'm also working on a Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt. I'm hoping that it will be my next pattern in my "Thanks, Grandma" series.
And I'm making a new little quilt top for my granddaughter. Check out the quilt that she is sitting on in the taggie pix. My daughter called after Christmas to check to see how to wash that little quilt. Seems granddaughter had a touch of the flu and the quilt got the brunt of it! I told my daughter to use cold water and the delicate cycle in both the washer and dryer. She did, but when the quilt came out of the dryer, several of the seams in the quilt top had pulled apart. (See picture above...) Talk about disappointed! I chose that fabric because of the cute frogs on it--the nursery is decorated with frogs, ducks and chicks. But, the fabric came from Wal-Mart and was not especially tightly woven. The fabric for the new quilt top came from a local quilt shop...hopefully it will wear better! Stay tuned for a picture of the new little quilt.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Taggie Blankie

Maybe by this time, my granddaughter has had time to really "get to know" her taggie blankie. These pictures were taken when I first gave it to her. It is light-weight enough that she had fun flipping the whole thing around, not necessarily by any tag. Grammy made it into a hat for her--she didn't seem to mind! She has certainly learned how to pose for the camera!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Withdrawal Symptoms

I am suffering...I haven't worked on a quilt project in a couple of weeks! I have been immersed in INCOME TAX LAW! I've been teaching the refresher course for the AARP TaxAide volunteers locally and every night I've been studying just to keep ahead of what I'm teaching the next day. BUT today is the last day and I'm definitely planning on getting the sewing out for this weekend! Stay tuned...I'll let you know what I'm working on. (And, I finally took the Christmas pix off my camera, so you'll soon see granddaughter with her taggie blankie!).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holiday Wrap-up

The past couple of weeks have been busy ones! We thoroughly enjoyed having the Oklahoma kids visit for a few days before Christmas. I was able to have lots of cuddle time with the 9-month-old granddaughter during those days! Priceless!!!!
I didn't wrap her taggie blankie--I wanted to witness first-hand her reaction to it so I gave it to her before Christmas. She wasn't sure about it. So she didn't immediately pick it up and start playing with the tags. I guess she needed some time to get used to it. I received a Flip video showing her playing with the taggie blankie once she was back home. She was flinging it all around, from one hand to the other, sometimes holding onto the tags and sometimes just grabbing the blankie part. A hit? I'm not sure, but I had fun making it for her!
Christmas found our whole family in Illinois, visiting our other daughter. It was fun to see the two granddaughters playing together. From there we drove to visit my parents in Wisconsin. One of the first things my mother asked about was my book...she was very anxious to see it and was very impressed with the finished product! Glad I could make her proud! :)
My applique projects went along on the trip...was nice to have some needlework to do. I accomplished quite a bit! That's the great thing about hand sewing---it is VERY portable!