Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Christmas Through the Year

A quick post this evening to link up with Lily Patch Quilts and Christmas Through the Year.

     I had big hopes of starting January off with a big bang
     of a Christmas 2013 project!  That didn't happen, but
     I won't fret over it. 
     I had a leftover block from Joanne's Thread Head
     Quilt Along that I participated in last fall.  Originally
     I wanted to make a fall and a Christmas table topper
     for the sew along, but halfway through I kept the fall
     blocks coming, but ended up with only four red and
green blocks.  So I took one of those blocks, added a couple of borders,  and made a 10 x 10 mini.  It will be handy to have on hand come the holidays... perhaps a stocking stuffer for my daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, or ???

I laid the finished block on some
 Christmas fabric to give it a festive look
for the picture!

Why not pour a cup of coffee and enjoy it while checking out the CTTY pretties at Lily Patch Quilts?  I can't think of a better way to spend a few minutes of the day!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More Moravians...

I'm making progress on my red Moravian Star... I have 1/2 of  the required stars done, but not quite all stitched together.  My fingers were getting sore!

Six, 5 diamond stars will make half of a Moravian Star.

I'm sewing the "top" star unit onto my
 almost complete half star.

Queen Dee sent me a picture of her finished star yesterday... it's a beaut!!!

One more star you must simply check out is a Christmas fabric Moravian Star by Sara.  Click here to go to her blog.  It's also a beaut!

One reader told me in an e-mail that a friend of hers made a smaller version of the star as a Christmas ornament, and put small jingle bells inside.  Hmmm... I like that idea...

Happy sewing!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Three D project...

... the Moravian Star!

This beautiful creation belongs to LeAnn, a very talented quilter who joined Nor, Queen Dee, Sandra, and me for a Saturday of sewing!   LeAnn was working on making her second star, Nor and Queen Dee had their diamond templates prepped, and Sandra and I were starting at the very beginning!

LeAnn is making more fabric covered  diamonds. 
She used plastic lid covers to make her
  templates... 60 of them!

Pretty fabrics!

Nor and Deb combined 5 finished stars for the picture at right.  Twelve stars are needed to make one Moravian Star.  Along with Sandra, they are sharing fabric scraps to make the stars.

Sandra sews diamonds together to make one of
twelve stars needed.
I am using red fabrics to make my star.
Let me back up a bit...

Just to give you an idea of some of the necessary supplies needed...    very thin fusible batting pressed onto a 12 x 12 piece of cardboard purchased at my local scrap booking store.   The metal, 60 degree diamond template is 1" in size, available here.  (You could make your own template, but I have this one, and it worked out beautifully!)  The blade in the rotary cutter is an old one, because it cuts through the batting backed cardboard.  I opted for an Elmer's glue stick... I found that fabric fusing glue was too runny, and took too long to dry. 

There is a tutorial on how to make a woolie Moravian star here, and from there you can click on her YouTube video demonstrating her method.   (We didn't use this tutorial to make our stars... I found it when I was researching 3D Moravian stars).   I am waiting to hear back from a very talented lady in blog land, to verify the instructions we used are indeed hers.  We made some changes of our own, (don't we all???), but I still want to make sure I am giving credit to the right person, in regards to the instructions we collectively used. 

This will be a work in progress, but it is one that I am thoroughly enjoying!  I have three stars made and nine to go.  It's the perfect hand sewing project for the cold weather months here in the Midwest!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

An Abundant Friday Night!

Is there a better way to end the week then in one's sewing room?  Mine was a welcomed refuge after a crazy week at work!

I finished Lori's Sew Along Block, Abundance.  It has been fun viewing all the Abundance blocks that have invaded blogland!   Thank you Lori, for sharing your talent with so many of us... your instructions were awesome!  I'm looking forward to more Sew Along tutorials from you!

A little doll quilt for my favorite childhood doll!

I'm pleased with the results, although I should know better than to sew when I'm tired!  This block is far from my best work... I almost didn't post this picture!  But, you know what?  I've never made the perfect block, or the perfect quilt!  I won't be entering this in the Iowa State Fair come this summer, and I don't allow THE QUILT POLICE in my sewing room!  What makes me happy is how the finished block looks with my favorite childhood doll.  Her flannel pajamas pick up the fabric colors of the block... and I didn't plan that! 

Today I spent a good part of the day with four other quilting gal pals, each of us making a Moravian Star.  It was an enjoyable day, and I'm liking this project!  This isn't something that can be made in one day... it will be a work in progress, and a fun one at that.  I will post about it in a day or two.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Double duty for my seam ripper...

Most of the time I keep my seam ripper handy for the dreaded duty of cutting threads that I just machine sewed together.    Several evenings this week I have been relying on my trusty Clover ripper to assist me in ripping threads that I stitched over a year ago.

Can you read what it says?  Just barely.  It looks great under my Ott light, but in natural light the blue threads fade into the grayish linen.   This doesn't make me happy, so I did this.

A Hoffman Exclusive pattern available from;
 Search item # 10-1271

That seam ripper worked overtime in my steady hands as I began to slice away at those cross-stitches.  I still have a few more words to go, but I wanted to get an idea of how my new color choice would work.   Using DMC #336, I skipped around the pattern and began cross-stitching words that would show up, even in the dullest of lighting!  It's more true to the original design.  (Just like I change fabric that comes in a quilt kit, I have a terrible habit of changing the color of floss a cross-stitch pattern may call for... a not-so-good decision in this case.  When will I learn?)  So when I'm done, this little cutie will read, "Needle and thread, Needle and thread, When starlight fades I lay them to bed."   Nothing like making it twice the work, but in the end, I will like it better!

Work has been crazy busy.  I'm come home and I'm spent, more mentally then physically.  We are changing to a new software program later this spring, and the preparations for it are occurring now.   "Spare" time, (non existent in the medical field), is to be spent learning the new modules in tutorials that are long and baffling.  I have been staying after hours to meet the February 8th deadline.  Well, enough about that.   My point is, it's cutting into my sewing  time, and that's the real evil here!

Lori's Abundance block is all over blogland, and it's been fun seeing all of them.   (Rogue Quilter's is my favorite so far... see it here).   Time for a personal plan of action for Friday Night Sew In... spend an abundant amount of time cutting and piecing a little Abundance block of my own!   My fabrics have been selected (and changed out a few times...)  since last Saturday.  Looking forward to Friday night!

What will you be sewing?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Humble Abundance

Lori at Humble Quilts will share directions to make a reproduction vintage doll quilt on Monday, January 21st.  Lori posted a picture of the replica on January 18th, with detailed descriptions of the original fabrics used.   She also posted a couple of pictures of her 12" finished quilt.  Lori has named the doll quilt "Abundance," as a reminder to be thankful  for the abundance in our lives.  (I like it!)  This morning I selected the fabrics I plan to use to make this cutie. 

My selection may change between now and Monday... best to wait for the directions to get a better idea.   I think the blue fabric I picked out may be a bit dark, so I'll scour through the blue stash one more time.   It looks really dark in the photo!

Looking forward to the directions!  Thank you Lori! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Come join us!

A few days ago I posted a picture of a mini quilt I made.  It's from this book.

Edited 1/18/2013

Here is a picture of Tabitha's Trickets, from Simply Charming,  originally posted on Monday, January 14th.

Used Metropolitan Fair by Moda 2.5 inch charms,
and 2.5 inch shirting squares from my stash

Darlene at left this sweet comment for me.
"Love your mini quilt - it's adorable.  I, too, own that book and love every project.  You need to make every quilt in the book. :)" 

I responded to her, "... I'll make every quilt in the book if you do... it might take me 10 years!"  (I exaggerated a bit...) 

And so, with a few more e-mails back and forth, Darlene and I decided to make a mini quilt from this book every other month through 2013, (and probably beyond!), and write about our endeavors in our blogs.  I told Darlene that many of you in blogland mentioned that you have the book, or are interested in acquiring the book.  (Available at!!!) 

Darlene had a great idea!  We would like to invite all of you to join us in making a quilt from this book every other month, at least through 2013, and then who knows?   You can select the pattern you want... no stipulations from us.  No competition, no challenges, just make 'em for fun!  (Every other month was my idea, mostly because I have this thing called a full time job... and a few other responsibilities that occupy my time.  I'm sure it's the same for many of you).  

The book has 20 projects in it, and Tara's instructions are terrific!  Join us... and if you follow us through the year, you will have 6 mini quilts by January 2014!  You can make them for yourself, or as Christmas presents, or birthday presents, or quilt swaps, or whatever else you decide!  Start in February... between now and then I will learn how to link them on my blog for viewing.  (Darlene, do you know how to do that???  I'm kind of new at this... but I'll figure it out!) 

Here are pictures of a couple of the quilts in the book... very tempting!

Apron Scraps - finished quilt size: 16 x 20
Juliana's Jewels - finished quilt size: 16 x 21

No sign up necessary... just leave a comment on Darlene's blog or on mine.  Begin in February, and we will remind you every other month from then on.  If you have to skip a month, that's okay... no pressure, remember?  

Have fun, and good luck on deciding which quilt to make first!  (If you have already made one of these mini's, you're ahead of the game!)  So, come join us!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It must be MINI month!

Maybe I like making mini quilts because I can see results more quickly.  Yep... I'm pretty sure that's the number one reason!  And they are just plain fun to make!

Earlier this month I decided to join Kathleen Tracy's Second Annual Challenge to make one small quilt a month in 2013.  (Read more about it here.  Go to Kathleen's January 1, 2013 post.)  Kathleen has published several wonderful small quilt books.  The idea is to make a quilt from one of the books each month this year.  Kathleen also has free, small quilt patterns on her website.  The kick off quilt for January is a small quilt of your choice from one of her books or patterns.  I choose the Scrappy Triangles Doll Quilt, as shown in the picture above.  It is a free pattern on Kathleen's website, available here.  Kathleen will have more free patterns for small quilts in 2013.  You must visit her blog and see for yourself! 

At the AQS quilt show in Des Moines last October, I purchased a 2.5 inch, 100ct. light and dark charm pack from the Primitive Gatherings booth.  I used some of the charms from the pack to make the doll quilt triangles, and raided my scraps for the two border fabrics.  It's a flimsy in this stage.  I hope to finish it this weekend, and add it to my short list of 2013 completed projects.  It is by no means perfect, but I'm working on lining up those seams!  It's scrappy, and that helps to hide my imperfections. 

Do you enjoy making mini quilts?  How do you display them?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Just trying to catch up...

One of my most favorite Christmas presents is Simply Charming, Small Scrap Quilts of Yesteryear by Tara Lynn Darr.  The books has 20 classic patterns ranging in size from 15 x 18 to 23 x 26, and one is better than the next!  You can use a 5" charm squares or smaller for every pattern, but will need additional fabric for the borders, backing, and binding.  It wasn't an easy decision, but I decided on Tabitha's Trinkets for my first project from the book.  The pattern calls for a total of 80 assorted 2 3/8  x  2 3/8 inch squares, 40 in assorted dark prints, and 40 in assorted light prints.  I had a mini charm pack (2.5 inch squares), of Metropolitan Fair, by Barbara Brackman for Moda.  I used 40 2.5 inch squares from the pack, but did not trim the squares, and cut 40, 2.5 inch squares from my stash of shirting fabrics. 

Simply Charming is published by Kansas City Star Books.
It is available from  Tara's website
I omitted the two borders called for in the original design, and opted to back and bind it as shown below.  My finished size is 13 x 15.  With the borders, the original pattern would finish to 18 x 21.  I love mini's and I'm very happy with the results!

Tabitha's Trinkets using Metropolitan Fair
mini charm squares.

Once again I left the machine quilting to simple cross hatches.  I love every single pattern in this book, so it's going to be hard to decide which one to do next!

Backing up to before the end of 2012, I want to share a picture of a mini Christmas tree skirt my sister made for me. 

A treasure from my sister!

The fabrics are from Sentiments by 3 Sisters for Moda.  She told me she found the pattern in a stash of "oldies" that she has kept for many, many years.  I love the scalloped edges, and the simple quilting that accentuates it.  I purchased a few fats of this fabric line last fall, and now with this darling tree skirt, I will be inspired to make something fantastic to compliment it!   I joined "Christmas Throughout the Year" for 2013... (see, post dated January 1, 2013, for details).  So I already have a future Christmas 2013 project waiting for me! 

Happy sewing days!  Keep those sewing machines humming!


Sunday, January 13, 2013


I feel like I've been gone from "real" blogging for ages!  It was easy hooking up the new computer...  but I'm having difficulty getting use to Windows 8.  Seriously, why do they assume that everyone is a self made techie???  Anyway, it's good to be back!

My sewing room, machine, and I became very well acquainted once again.  Time not spent on the computer was allocated to sewing.  (And introducing myself, via Netflix, to the first two seasons of Downton Abbey!  Love it!)  My first finish of 2013 was this...

Oh what fun it is to have quilting gal pals make blocks for you!
 Our Threads group project for 2012 was paper piecing.  I chose an off centered log cabin for my block.  I gave the pattern and fabric to the other girls participating and they each made a block for me.  I made this small table runner using blue and off white fabrics because I specifically want it for display in January.  (Here it is with one of my favorite poems in book form, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost).  I kept the machine quilting very simple with straight lines.  I had one extra block that I made into a hot pad.  The finished size is 13 x 26.

Darlene at has designed a mystery border quilt for her local guild.  She has been gracious enough to offer blogland quilters the chance to follow along as well.  Directions will be posted by Darlene on the first Friday of the month for 8-9 months, with the option of stopping at any point in your progress.  Step 1 instructions were posted on January 3rd.  Darlene has also created a Flickr site for everyone to post their progress.  It's not too late to participate!  Here is my finished step one...

Approximate size is 24 x 28...

We have snowballs!  Darlene's instructions were excellent, and pictures were included.  I'm using civil war fabrics... looking forward to Friday, February 1st for step 2!!!

Bowties is the other small quilting group I belong to.  We meet on the first Monday evening of the month.  We don't always bring individual projects to work on... we like to do quick group projects that sometimes do not involve a needle and thread.  At our first meeting of 2013 we made these...

Starting with a sheer, lace covered, heavy cardboard heart, we hot glued buttons around the perimeter of the heart first.  The next step is to fill in the center of the heart with buttons, and then begin to layer the buttons, overlapping to cover spaces, and giving depth to the shape.  We all went home with a button heart pin!  (I forgot my camera so I didn't get a "group" picture... darn it!)

Other weekend duties are calling and I must answer them.   Admittedly, these duties are not as much fun as talking to all of you.   But hopefully, I will be able to spend some time today with my Janome, because, after all, that duty is calling as well!  


Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy days are here again...almost!

Well my goodness!  I didn't expect that my little world of quilting would start out this way in the new year, but life is full of surprises!   As suspected, the hard drive in my computer crashed in late December, so out with the old and in with the new!   I'm hoping to set all the necessary components up this weekend, teach myself all about Windows 8, and dive back into blogging!   I've missed visiting all of you by way of new posts! The good news?   My sewing machine has been humming away! 

With a little extra time on my hands it has been fun reading favorite blogs and admiring the projects that have been started, finished, or contemplated.  I have also enjoyed looking at the "2012 completed protects" posts that many blogs featured.     Some great over achievers out there, with wonderful eye candy to share with quilters and fabric hoarders everywhere!  I can't think of a better way to spend spare moments. 

I hope to have a new post with pictures to share with you very soon.  In the meantime, keep sewing!