Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's a Wrap!

My "Mrs. Santa" sewing is done and the gifts have been wrapped. I cannot believe that all is finished well before Christmas Eve! I had lots of fun making the aprons, doll clothes and doll quilts, and the best part was that I did the shopping for most of the materials for these items right at home. With the exception of one package of bias tape, all the fabrics and trims came from my sewing room. It is great to have a stash!
The multicolored doll quilt began with a collection of charm squares. The red/blue doll quilt began with a collection of fabric sample swatches. It didn't take much more fabric to turn them into these little quilts.
I hope that all your Christmas sewing will soon be finished. May your gifts be received with smiles and hugs. :) MERRY CHRISTMAS

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here it is!

My challenge piece should be almost to its destination by now, so I'm letting you have a look at it.
Remember that I was given a fat quarter of a really wild and crazy fabric (in my opinion), along with 3 beads and ~18" of 3 different ribbons. We had to use a recognizable amount of the fabric, plus all 3 beads and some of each ribbon.
When I opened the fat quarter of fabric to study it, the first thing I saw was the bird. That led to my design, and I'm very happy with the finished project! (And happy that I was able to mark this project off my "to do" list!)
Techniques used: hand applique, lots of hand embroidery, and hand quilting.
Title: Rock-a-bye Babies

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ho Hum

My blog is supposed to be all about the fun I have making scrap quilts. I haven't posted anything in a long time, mainly because I haven't been having fun making scrap quilts. The projects are there, waiting for me, but I cannot get going on them. I think I am finally feeling the effects of all the family events of the past 6 months. Family dynamics are now different and, especially around the holidays, we miss the loved ones we have lost. I don't feel inspired or creative. I'm sure this is natural, and I hope it will soon pass.
I did finish up the challenge that was put out by the editor of the NQA journal. It was mailed off to her last Wednesday, so she should receive it well before the December 15th deadline. My next post will contain a picture of my finished challenge quilt. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Completed Project!

At a get together of our little quilt group several weeks ago, a collection of pieced butterfly blocks was shared. These were old blocks that someone had put on the "give-away" table at a guild meeting. There were so many blocks that we were able to divide them among the 4 of us who were interested in them. I brought home 20 blocks.
In studying the blocks, I discovered that they were hand-pieced. This was surprising, given the way they were so misshapen and of varying sizes. It would be impossible to square them up to all be the same size. What to do? I did trim straight edges on the blocks as best I could.
I decided to add over-sized triangles to the 4 sides of the blocks. I was then able to trim the blocks to 12 1/2" square. I set the blocks 4 x 5, alternating direction of the butterflies.
Since the butterflies had an "art deco" feel to them, only a geometric border would do. From my stash of 1930's-type fabrics, I was able to match some of the solid colors pretty closely and pieced the triple border.
Quilt top finished! (Before the others have even started on their project!) Was fun and I'm proud that I completed it, in record time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Group Support

Today was meeting day for one of the small quilting groups that I've joined. It has been so long since I've been able to make one of their meetings--I debated whether I should go or not. I'm so glad I did.

Being with other quilters really energizes one. It is so much fun to see what each one is working on, and great to get and give tips for each others' projects. At the meeting, I was putting the last few embroidery stitches on my NQA challenge piece and wondering out loud how I was going to quilt it. I received so many great suggestions--I can't wait to get it layered with batting and backing and start in. (Usually the quilting part is my least favorite part of a project, but now I'm excited!) My goal is to have it finished WAY before the deadline!

I presented my "Pink Houses" project to these ladies. They each took a kit and asked me to bring more next time. Such support! The mail requests are coming in nicely, too. Thank you!
It will be fun to see the finished houses come back, and even more fun to create neighborhoods from them. I am grateful for your participation, and hope we can generate a tidy sum to donate for mammograms for those who cannot afford them. (I hope you've gotten your annual mammogram!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back to it!

After a whole week of catching up on sleep, I'm back to my sewing. I knew I was getting back to being me when I spent some time last Monday and Tuesday in a few fabric shops. I was looking for more "sky" fabric for the Little Pink Houses challenge I sent out to my newsletter readers. (Information about my challenge can be found on my website: http://carolsscrapquilts.webs.com.)

I've also gotten back to the challenge I'm working on for NQA. It is due December 15th, and that's not too far away. I DID get some great suggestions for my challenge piece from my quilting buddies a month ago, and I 'm trying to incorporate some of them into the piece. I'll share a picture of it when it is finished.

It feels GREAT to be back to stitching! I'd rather do that than clean out a closet or two any day! I appreciate the comments you left regarding my last blog post. I'll think about those things while I'm quilting. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What to do with them?

Because I'm in the midst of cleaning out my parents' house, I'm starting to take a good look at my own home.
My sewing room is full of fabric and projects that I have begun. When I decide to start getting rid of some of these things, the fabrics will go to groups that make charity quilts. The projects will most likely go to a "free" table at quilt camp or a guild meeting.
But at what point should I sort out the quilts that I have made? Where should they go?
And what about the old quilt tops and quilts that I have collected? I also have a large collection of old quilt blocks, old quilt patterns, and other assorted quilt ephemera. What will happen to all of that?
I'm definitely not ready to get rid of a lot of these things now. They are still needed for the talks I give, the workshops I teach and the patterns I design. But at some point, they will have to go. Is it better to give them away while you can still "control" where they go? Or is it better to let someone else do it after you are gone and not know what happens to them?
I guess I feel that I need a plan. Do you have a plan? If so, please share your thoughts. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Challenge Begun

At the beginning of the summer, the editor of The Quilting Quarterly put out a challenge to the staff. She titled it "Spontaneous Delight." She sent each of us a fat quarter of fabric, some ribbon and 3 buttons. We are to work these things into a small quilt--18" square--to be auctioned off at next year's NQA Little Quilt Auction.
An idea came to me as soon as I saw the fabric. But with my hectic summer, all the materials just sat there.
I am happy to say that over the weekend, I got started on the project. If I keep at it, I should have no trouble completing it by the December 1st deadline. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Emotionally Drained!!!

Wish I could say that after being with the Livonia 9-Patchers in July that I truly was able to get back into my quilting! This summer has been a real emotional roller-coaster for me and my family. Not only did we lose my father, but my mother-in-law also passed away, three weeks ago. I have been away from home so much in the past 4 months that some mornings when I wake up, I have to stop and remember where I am! I have so much to catch up on around here--gardening, bill paying, house cleaning. I'm taking things one day at a time and gradually trying to get back to my quilting projects. They are all stacked neatly in my sewing room, waiting for me. Which one to start with is the question now. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting Back in the Groove

I spent a lovely day today with a group of ladies from the Livonia 9-Patchers quilt guild. They gathered to learn to make my "Pieces of Eight" quilt. We were all challenged. I was challenged to modify the directions for those wanting to construct the basic "flower" design by machine rather than by hand. Students were challenged to learn or remember hand-piecing and/or hand-applique techniques to insert the center and stitch the "flower" to the background. Despite these challenges, we all ended the day with smiles on our faces.
After the past two months of being very involved in the lives of my aging parents, and experiencing the death of my father, it feels good to get back to my stitching. I am even starting to get some new design ideas. Being around other enthusiastic quilters certainly helps! Bring on the fabric and thread!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Decided it was time to blog a bit again. I haven't felt like it lately because I'm being "sandwiched." I'm finally going through what so many of my friends have gone through--helping kids who are having kids of their own, and helping elderly parents. My parents, who live 8 hours from me, with no other family members nearby, have finally had to give up living in their own home. I was with them for three weeks, helping with the transition. Now that I'm home, I worry about their health and safety. The travel and the extra responsibilities I've taken on don't leave me with much time for my quilting.
I've always thought of quilting as therapy, but it is hard to be creative with all of this on my mind. I'm glad for "simple" projects, like embroidery. I'm working on a crazy quilt project--the feather stitching is coming along nicely!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Scrap fabric is becoming a hot commodity!
In past years, I would be the only one at Quilt Camp picking up others' fabric scraps. Not so this year! I found very few pieces of fabric thrown away in the trash. Quilters must be getting wise to how much fun it is to work with scraps. Throughout the weekend, a couple of my friends would give me their project leftovers and one of my table mates kept receiving small scraps of fabric (smaller than I usually use, so I'm curious to see how she'll use them).
There were collection bags and boxes around for the tiniest of cut-aways. Seems that one of the charitable organizations in Battle Creek collects these and is able to recycle them like one recycles paper. They get so much $$ per pound of scrap fabric! How wonderful! I've started my own bag for this type of scrap and will take it to Camp next year. Nice to know that even the tiniest bit of fabric will not go to waste!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going Again!

I'm still unpacking from my time in Oklahoma and my trip to the Marshall Quilt Show. But tomorrow I'm off again! It's time for Quilt Camp. I'm looking forward to 4 days dedicated to sewing--no cooking, no cleaning, no interruptions! I'm expecting to get LOTS done.
I've been cutting and organizing projects all week, and will have many bags and boxes to take with me. The car will not be as packed as it was two weeks ago, however. (See attached photo)
I DID fit everything in, but there was no extra room! All the practice of packing my daughters off to college in a Honda Civic wagon has come in very handy! :)
More about Camp when I return...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Home, But Not for Long!

I arrived back in Michigan late Tuesday night. When I got on the plane in Oklahoma City, it was 85 degrees and partly sunny. When I got off the plane in Detroit, it was 34 degrees and sleeting. Quite a change in a little over 2 hours! After being in balmy weather for 3 weeks, I'm having a hard time adjusting!
Since arriving home, I've been hard at work, preparing for this weekend. (My husband kept the house looking pretty good while I was gone, so I'm not concerning myself with that right now.) Tomorrow I head for Marshall, MI. It is time for their Spring quilt show, and I am the featured speaker. I'll be talking about Scrap Quilts on Saturday afternoon and Historical Trends in Quilting on Sunday afternoon. I'll also have a booth in the vendor mall, selling my patterns and book.
I've gathered together all the things I need to take along, and I really think I'm in trouble. I have so many quilts that I want to show for each lecture--I've filled 12 BIG tote bags (the large plastic zip ones that one can find at the dollar store). Add that to the things I need to set up my booth. I'm going to have to get creative to fit it all in our Focus wagon! Wish me luck!
Just a reminder: The quilt show is at the Marshall Middle School (100 E. Green St) Hours: Saturday from 9-4 and Sunday from 10-4 $5 entry fee.
Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Signs of Spring

I am enjoying my time in Oklahoma. I took my granddaughter for a walk the other day. All around us were signs of spring: the birds were singing, the sun was shining, the pear trees were in bloom, other trees were leafing out and the temperature was about 70 degrees. Just perfect! I know that I will have Spring Fever in a big way when I return to Michigan next week. But just looking at all of the Easter things for sale in the stores, I'll be reminded that spring is not far away.
Quilt shops, too, are pulling out the brighter, "springier" fabrics. And the latest issues of quilt magazines feature pastel or floral projects. Have you seen the new "Quilter's World" magazine? It is hard to miss with the beautiful pink, green and white quilt on the cover. And if you open it to page 56, you'll find a table runner designed by ME. :) The Goin' Green runner is a fun project, that could be made in any color you like...doesn't have to be green! It is easy to piece, and makes good use of the cut-away scraps. Give it a try!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Local Quilt Shop Celebration

The owner of the local quilt shop celebrated her 5th anniversary of ownership last Saturday. She had several "5" specials going on: buy 5 fat quarters, get one free; buy 5 yards of sale fabric, get 1 yard free; etc. Plus one received an additional discount at check-out by selecting a fat eighth of fabric from a basket and looking at the slip of paper rolled up inside. The shop was very busy with quilters taking advantage of these specials.
I was there for several hours talking to quilters about my patterns and signing books. I always enjoy people watching and listening in on what they are saying. It is a rare person who doesn't say "I have tons of scraps." I met one last Saturday, though. She told me she doesn't save any scraps--she gives them all away to groups that make charity quilts. Why? Because she doesn't understand how to make scrap quilts; she finds them confusing. Too bad I can't spend a day or two working with her to show her what fun they are!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Grammy duty started earlier than expected. Our new grandson made his entry yesterday. He's just precious! His big sister, at 23 months, isn't quite sure what this is all about. When she first saw him yesterday, she almost burst into tears. Her world will definitely be different!
Before Grammy duty began, though, I taught a workshop at the local quilt shop. I had fun on Wednesday showing some Oklahoma quilters what they could do with a stack of charm squares. I taught my pattern "In Three Quarter Time". All who participated were delighted with the results of the day.
I was able to spend a little time designing and stitching yesterday morning while waiting for the announcement that grandson was born. Not sure how much free time I'll have once everyone comes home tomorrow. It will be noisier and there will be lots to do. And I'm tired already, after less than a week away!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Time to Blog

No time to blog lately...My head has really been into the two talks I'll be giving in less than a month and I have been preparing for the trip I'm taking later today. I'll be spending 3 weeks in Oklahoma, being Grammy. Our new grandson is due any day, so I'll be helping our daughter with him, plus keeping our 2-year-old granddaughter occupied and (hopefully) happy. It will be interesting to see her reaction to the new family member!
I have several quilting projects packed and I have sent out a few e-mails to quilters in the Norman, OK area. I hope to have time to do some quilt-related things while I am there. And I hope to have the time to blog about them. We will see...

Friday, February 18, 2011


In preparing for 2 trunk shows that I'm giving the end of March**, I've been pulling out all my old quilts and quilt tops. I have them spread all over the living room so that I can study them and allow them to "talk" to me. It is so much fun to look at them and study them. Fun to imagine the ladies who worked on them, too.
But, I'm finding that I'm sneezing a lot and my nose won't stop dripping! Guess there's lots of dust (and who knows what other allergens?) in these wonderful pieces. Doesn't stop me from smiling as I work with them, though. I just keep the box of tissues handy!
**Come see and hear me at "Stitches In Time"--the community quilt show in Marshall, MI on March 26 and 27. For complete info, visit www.marshallmi.org.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Workshop Fun

Yesterday was spent teaching one of my patterns at a workshop for the Oakland County Quilt Guild. It was a delightful day!
Our project was "Now Starring: Leftovers". The morning was spent scrappy-piecing and in the afternoon the ladies learned a quick way to make flying geese units. Then they were ready to put some star blocks together.
I don't know who had more fun all day, the students or me. :) I enjoyed seeing them start to loosen up and really have fun with the scrappy piecing technique. And I loved hearing their comments as they dug deep into their scrap collections. Some pieces of fabric were seeing the light of day for the first time in years, and ladies were telling stories about when, where and why they bought certain pieces. Oh, the joy of scrap quilting!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bindings Done

All of the quilts that needed bindings have them! Now I'm working on labels. After sorting through my quilts in preparation for some upcoming trunk shows, I was surprised to discover how many of my quilts are not labeled.
I'm just making labels from muslin and writing on them with Pigma pens--nothing fancy.
I cut freezer paper to the desired size of my label, draw guidelines on the dull side with a Sharpie marker, and iron the freezer paper to leftover pieces of muslin.
For variety, I have several colors of Pigma pens for the lettering. I include the name of the quilt, my name and city and state, and the name of the quilter.** After the lettering is done, I heat set the ink so that my message doesn't get washed away. (I learned that the hard way several years ago!)
The edges of the label are pressed under and the label is appliqued to the lower back corner of the quilt.
**I'm embarrassed to say that for some of the quilts, I do not remember when I made them, so I cannot always add a date to the label. A quilting friend has decided not to date her quilts so that she can gift them whenever she wants to without the recipient knowing whether the quilt is old or new. In the future, the fabrics might help date the quilt, but if the date is somewhere on it, there will be no mistaking when it was made. A good reason to include the date whenever possible! Maybe a date range is better than nothing???

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Lined" Binding

Not much sewing/quilting is getting done right now. I'm in the midst of teaching income tax to the local AARP Taxaide volunteers. That is my annual brain exercise. :)
Pictured is the quilt that needed binding, with very little fabric left to do so. As you can see, it is a 2-fabric quilt, so I didn't have many fabric choices for the binding. After measuring the fabric I had left from the quilt, I determined that I had enough to make a "lined" binding. This is a technique that I happened upon a number of years ago, and have used successfully.
For a 2-1/4" double binding: From your main fabric, cut strips 1-1/2" wide. From the lining fabric, cut strips 1-1/4" wide. Piece all strips as necessary to achieve desired length. Then seam the two strips together along the long edges. Press the seam allowance in the direction of the lining strip. Fold the binding in half and apply to the quilt in the usual manner.
For 2-1/2" binding, cut the main fabric strips 1-5/8" wide. Cut lining fabric strips 1-3/8" wide.
For 2-1/8" binding, cut the main fabric strips a SCANT 1-1/2" and the lining fabric strips a SCANT 1-1/4".
Try it...it works! Have fun with your bindings. (I've got the next one ready to hand-stitch, so I'm really making progress!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Quilting Resolutions

A new year, and new resolutions! Of course I hope to finish some UFOs, but first I want to tackle those quilts that have been waiting for bindings and labels. A whole stack of them sits in my sewing room. I guess, as usually happens, I got interested in a new project before completely finishing an old one.
Some of these bindings are challenging--perhaps that is why they were put aside. I've already finished the scalloped one. Once I remembered the technique, it wasn't that bad. The next one is a bit more tricky. I have very little fabric left with which to make the binding. I'll let you know what I decide to do after I measure what I have.
Good luck with your new year's quilting resolutions!