Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tiny Orphan Blocks

If you quilt and you read quilting blogs, it is a safe assumption to say that you are familiar with Amanda Jean Nyberg, queen of scrappy quilting. Amanda’s blog, Crazy Mom Quilts, is one of my favorites and has been since I discovered this community of bloggers. She uses every last bit of fabric and the things she creates are inspiring.

Among a million other projects, Amanda makes pin cushions. Lots and lots of them. They are adorable and to my knowledge, no two are alike.  Wanting a quick project to play with, I created a couple for myself.


The red, black and white pincushion is a tiny one, measuring at 3″ square. The top of it was a piece of an orphan block that was languishing on the stack.

image I quilted a bit of batting to the top and stitched front to back, right sides together. It is filled with crushed walnut shells, which, along with everything else in the world, are available on Amazon. According to Amanda, they are also sold as lizard bedding at pet stores (and are likely a better deal than I got with Amazon.)


This little guy was also an orphan block from last year’s Classic Stitches project. I had planned to make twenty of these little three inch blocks for my row of Pennsylvania blocks. After making two of the twenty, my brain was no longer able to deal with the tiny pieces. The result of this sudden inability to cope with miniscule pieces was a row of lovely six inch Pennsylvania blocks. My two 3 inch blocks were relegated to the orphan block pile. This lucky one was recently rescued. I made this one the same as the red one. Quilt a bit of batting to the front, stich front and back, right sides together and fill  with crushed walnut shells. Easy peasy! Find an orphan block and turn it into something cute. Very satisfying!

Linking to Oh Scrap, Linky Tuesday and Sew Cute Tuesday. Links to these are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

New Sponsor Announcement

I am happy to announce that Needle and Foot is currently sponsored by Brewstitched!  You might remember that I posted a write up on this shop when I received my first shipment from Sheryl in early February. Since then, Sheryl and I have been in contact and have decided to work together. We have a few fun things planned for the next couple of months, including some discount offers and giveaways for Needle and Foot readers. I really look forward to working with Sheryl and hope you will get to know her and her shop as a result!

Here is a bit of background on Sheryl and her Etsy shop, Brewstitched.

Sheryl is a Management Consultant by day and maker by night (and weekends!). Early on in 2015 she decided to open an Etsy store offering many of the great modern fabrics that she also enjoys using in her own creations. Her hope is to offer her customers the most up to date modern fabrics for their creations and provide exceptional customer service.

Sheryl has been sewing for over 30 years. Her love of fabric and making began at an early age as she watched her grandmother and mother make quilts by hand. Sheryl quickly picked up the sewing bug and began making dresses for school dances and later in life for her beautiful twin daughters.

Through experience, I can vouch for Sheryl’s incredible attention to customer service and speedy shipping. She makes herself available for questions and provides input and ideas quickly. Her product is lovely and the packaging of her orders is such that it feels like you are receiving a gift when your orders is delivered.

Now that March is upon us, Brewstitched will be shipping the March fabric club orders, which are themed in the color Teal. I recently received the bundle of fat quarters and would love to share it with you. You will have the opportunity to order the bundle with the ability to see the fabrics that Sheryl carefully curated for the month of March.

This bundle is a great way to add a specific color to your stash. The various hues of teal blue are richly saturated. Additionally, Sheryl includes a small spool of Aurifil 50 Wt, #5005. Fantastic value for $15.00 plus S/H.



The bundle includes from left to right; Island Droplets Celeste by Angela Walters, Ad Lib Blooms Quiet by Pat Bravo, Arrows in Luna Metallic  Michael Miller, Wildflower Lagoon by Jeni Baker, and Bandana Panda Bebe by Cotton and Steel. All are first rate manufacturers and fabric designers, making for a gorgeous bundle of color.

Of all of the March fabrics, I have to say this Cotton & Steele’s Bandana Panda Bebe is my favorite. The pandas are subtle enough that the fabric doesn’t look juvenile, but still so adorable (because … pandas are, right?)


The Aurifil thread that Sheryl is including this month is the perfect choice.


Other than having to force myself to cut into them, I will have no problem using these pieces in a project. If you are interested in the bundle for March, or purchasing any items from BrewStitched, Needle and Foot readers will receive 10% off of their purchase through March 31, 2016. Use coupon code NANDFMARCLUB10 at checkout. Fabric shopping at Brewstitched is such a joy – gorgeous choices and great prices.

Linking to Sunday Stash and Main Crush Monday.


Winter into Spring

Earlier this week I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs. One of those is Frugal Little Bungalow.  Deb, the author of this blog, often posts about the simplest parts of life and she usually reminds me to slow down, stay in the moment and appreciate all that I am blessed with. A talented quilter, Deb often quilts her work by hand and her stitching is lovely.  A few days ago she wrote about the passage of the seasons and how often we spend our time looking toward the next season, instead of staying present and enjoying what the current season has to offer. How true. She finds herself enjoying winter and all it brings, rather than wishing for spring. Her exquisite photos illustrate her point beautifully. Take a peek at this post. You will be happy you spent a minute with Deb. I promise!

I find myself thinking winter is coming to an end far too quickly. I have enjoyed this winter season with all of the rain and snow we have received. I want more! We need more! Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen temps in the mid-70’s. My yard thinks spring is here. No, not yet!! It is unavoidable; with the sunny days we have had, everything is beginning to bloom.


My camellia’s are putting on quite a show this week.


The magnolia blossoms are just starting to open. These are likely the most dramatic blossoms in the yard.


The peach tree is starting to bud.


The almond tree is beginning to blossom. (Side note: In the seven years we have lived in this house, we have NEVER eaten an almond off this tree. This tree is apparently grown for the squirrels only. They do not share with us!)


The critters know it is spring as well. Geese are everywhere.IMG_0974

The girls in the coop are laying eggs with serious intent and it won’t be long before they become broody and snap at me when I come to get the eggs. (I bring them grass clippings since they don’t have the freedom of foraging the property. We have far too many predators nearby, such as bobcats, hawks, foxes and coyotes.)


I know that we will still have bits of winter. It is very common for our area to have this burst of spring and then have a cold snap in March and again in April. For the most part, spring is making itself known in these parts. As for me, I am trying to hang on to winter for just a while longer.



Resplendent Rows

Oh, how I love this finish! I’m not positive, but I think this quilt (so far) is the one that I have spent the most time on. I don’t track hours or anything like that, but I feel like this one has many hours into it. For RSC15 I made a row quilt by following along with Mari and her Classic Stitches BOM. Each row consists of a set of blocks that root back in quilting history. Mari chose an excellent sampling of blocks and I was able to complete nine of her eleven tutorials. A couple of them were too challenging for me and I substituted easier blocks those two months.


Overall, I absolutely adore this quilt. I love the bright, crazy, scrappy look, the traditional blocks that change row by row, sampler style, and the quilting that I did on each row. It was a great experience for me in a couple of different ways.

First of all, row quilts are a challenge in that it is tough to get each row to come out the same length. My supposition is that with all of the handling of each block and each row, month over month, they stretch a bit and become distorted. This quilt is absolutely not going to be entered into any juried shows! it is not even close to square. I sashed it because I wanted lines separating each row to give the eye a place to rest; this is a busy quilt. Additionally, the blocks are not accurately pieced enough to match row upon row. Did I cut off any points? Oh yeah. So by sashing them, I was able to deal with a lot of those issues. Cutting 60″ rows of sashing allowed me to ease the rows in and deal with any rows that were slightly longer than 60″. Really, sashing hides a multitude of issues.  🙂

I had a great time quilting this project. At 60″ by 70″, it was a reasonable size to FMQ on my machine. I chose a different motif for each row which was a great way to quilt it without getting bored half way through. Some motifs were easier than others but for the most part, I am very pleased with the result.

Lazy little flowers meander over the blue Water Wheel row.


I quilted meandering hearts over the pink row. They turned out decent but they were harder than I expected.

The orange Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks made for my favorite row. With these tiny pieces, my row had a fair-sized ripple to it and I was concerned about quilting it. After consulting with one of my favorite quilters, Janine over at Quilts From the Little House, I decided to use a tight meander. She felt like I could quilt the row into submission, and it worked. Yay Janine! Definitely good advice.


The yellow row of Double Stars is another favorite. I decided to quilt each individual star, rather than cruising over the entire row and I am very happy with the resulting flower contained within each star.


The green row of Crosses and Losses blocks is quilted with little swirls. These were tough. They are a bit more herky-jerky than I would like but this is where I am at this point in my quilting.  With each row, I worked right to left, preferring to begin with the bulk of the quilt bunched into the throat and then feed the quilt out. So the right side of the rows are a bit rougher than the left. I improved as I went along. I plan to only look at the good half.  😉


The brown Pennsylvania blocks are sporting a Baptist Fan motif. Since I rarely get around to labeling a quilt, I also put my initials on the very far right corner. (On this row I did work left to right. It seemed easier to get the fans moving in that direction.) Again, these turned out ok – they look better from a distance than up close. Curves are tough.


Here is a peek at the back. I love the simplicity of the back since the front is so raucous. With the tiny floral print, the quilting really doesn’t show but that is fine. Crazy on the front and calm on the back! I used the backing fabric as binding too. The little floral has a vintage look to it that works with these traditional blocks.

IMG_20160222_4589Yep, I love this quilt and learned so much from the process of making and quilting it. It was a wonderful project and I am so grateful to Mari for all the time she took to create the tutorials each month and her patience with my whiny emails about how hard the blocks were! Her bit of history behind each block was an added bonus each month.


Linking this week with Linky Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Freemotion Mavericks and Finish it Up Friday.

Scrap Challenge Rebel

If you follow along with Angela’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge, you probably know that this month’s color  is mocha. Angela suggested adding bits of pink if that felt like a good idea. Hmmm….  neither of my scrappy projects for this year call for brown. So I rebelled and just sewed pink. Call me crazy.

I love both of my projects. They are coming along nicely now that I have two colors to look at.

Here are my blocks for the Pretty Gemstones quilt.


The pink looks great with the sage green solid corners. They look wonderful mixed in with the blue squares from January. I already know I am going to love this quilt. 🙂


I made two rather large pieces of “made” fabric, just like last month. I don’t have a huge amount of pink scrap but I found enough.


I love the scraps that are in this piece. The windmill block is made from those little triangles that were snipped off of my row of heart blocks when making my BOM for Classic Stitches last February. It is just peanut sized, measuring two inches square. There are pink dotted triangles that were saved from my Allison Glass mini quilt swap last  spring. And, my favorite, the little girl looking into her jar of fireflies from a piece of Wee Wander, Wander Woods. I fussy cut her and will be sure top keep her intact when I make a block from this piece. It might be a trick to keep the tiny pinwheel and the little girl whole but that is my goal.

imageThis second piece has more kidlets and a deer from the Wander W!oods piece. Check out the tree that looks like it is in blossom on the lower right. The pink plaid in the center is a piece of vintage fabric from the bundle of fabrics that were given to me last spring. There are a few fun posts about this fabric here and here. I love seeing bits and pieces of past projects popping up.


I am almost certain that I am going to create HST’s with these fabric collages. I bought a pall gray dotted fabric and I am thinking I will use that for the “other” side of the HST. My next decision is how big to cut the HST’s. I need to do a little thinking before I start cutting, but they will be on the big size.  If I actually make any of the HST’s between now and next month, I will post them with my March scrappy post.

February was all about pink scraps for me. I am sure that at some point Angela will call for a pink month and I will have to substitute something else in that month.

Linking to Oh Scrap!, So Cute Tuesday, Linky Tuesday, and Let’s Bee Social. Find these links at the top of the page under link ups.

Etsy BrewStitched – My New Favorite

I have had the wonderfully good fortune to stumble across a new fabric shop on Etsy. If you are an Etsy shopper, you probably know how the Etsy app will make suggestions of things you might like and shops that could be of interest to you. One day about three weeks ago, BrewStitched showed up in my feed of suggestions.

Opened in January, 2015, BrewStitched is a relatively new Etsy shop. I’ll tell you the first thing that caught my interest in this lovely shop. The owner, Sheryl, offers three themed, monthly fabric clubs.  Customers can order the theme of the month in fat quarters, half yard cuts, or full yard cuts. I looked at these for a bit and, mainly because the pricing was really reasonable, decided to order the February FQ bundle.

brewstitched monthly club

The themes are posted for each month so that the buyer can order just those that look interesting or can subscribe for each month. February was themed as “solids”. I always need solids and figured there really wasn’t a color that I wouldn’t happily add to my stash. I am already looking forward to April for the Low Volume bundle. In addition to the five FQ’s, a small spool or coordinating Aurifil is included in the bundle. Icing on the cake! Take a look at this lovely bundle (which I must say, shipped incredibly fast).


These are Riley Blake cuts and the colors are luscious. The palette that Sheryl put together works beautifully.


I cut into the green and blue pieces in a hurry. They work well with some scraps I have and I spent an evening playing with the three pieces. I will post more about the project later but for now, take a peek.


I highly recommend you take a look at Sheryl’s shop. She has some lovely modern fabrics, including some Cotton and Steele, some Michael Miller and a selection of Art Gallery. I am all for supporting small businesses, especially those that are just starting out.

Linking to Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash as well as Main Crush Monday over at Cooking Up Quilts.





Finished the First One

I finished the first of the two extra long twin bed quilts that I am making for Julia’s room in Downieville. It is simple and so cozy. Green (my favorite), purple and tan are the colors and most of the prints feature florals and  hummingbirds, plus one abstract print of mountains. This is the perfect theme for a quilt that will live in a house along the river, in the mountains.

IMG_20160204_4565This quilt is a bit of a beast to photograph; with 10″ blocks, it finished at 70″ x 100″.  You can see that I quilted straight lines along all seams, two inches in. I marked most of the lines with a chalk marker which made it very easy to quilt.


It is backed in a violet fabric with a scroll print. I bound it in the same fabric. It is a piece from Jo-Ann’s that Julia chose.


I have just enough of the backing left over to make a pillow case which will finish things off nicely. I am looking forward to taking the quilt up to Downieville. I will be up there this afternoon to work on the opportunity quilt for the guild. What is better than an afternoon of sewing? We have had spring-like weather here and my daffodils are all ready to bloom. It is a nice break but we need to get back to winter and a lot more rain. Hopefully soon!

What are you working on? Tell me in the comments!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Finish It Up Friday. Links to these sites, and more, are found at the top of the page under Link Ups.


Easy Valentine’s Day Project

Two weeks ago I made some bookmarks to go with a tote and books that we gave to my mother-in-law for her birthday.  The bookmarks go together in a matter of minutes and are a great project if you have children that are feeling crafty. They would make a sweet Valentine for a friend. I made them with 2″ wide strips of scrap fabric, ribbon and iron-on denim.

I have four children, three are boy.  When they were little, their clothes were basically held together with iron-on denim patches. We lived on a vineyard and the boys (often) lived in the dirt.

muddy ian

This stuff came in handy over and over again.IMG_20160202_4540

Now that I don’t have any grubby boys wearing out their jeans at the knee, I can use it for crafts instead.

To make the bookmarks, cut a few 2 inch strips of fabric and as many 2 inch strips of the denim. Mine were six inches long but they could be whatever length or width you choose, as long as they are the same.


The iron-on denim will give the bookmark plenty of body. However, this pink strip was fairly thin, so I applied a scrap of iron-on interfacing to the back. (As an alternative, if you have denim scraps laying around, you could use the denim scraps and adhere them to the other fabric with Wonder Under.)

Once the interfacing was applied, I used a glue stick to adhere a piece of ribbon to the top of the strip. The ribbon could be any length or width you happen to have. Whatever looks nice, works fine.


Preheat your iron so it is good and hot and do not use steam. After you have the ribbon glued down, place the iron-on denim and the outer fabric with the ribbon together, wrong sides touching. With a very hot iron, press them together, applying light pressure to your iron.

IMG_20160202_4550At this point, you might choose to call it good. If it isn’t going to be washed, the adhesive on the denim will probably be enough to hold them together. I like to run a stitch around the perimeter just to be sure. Sometimes I will use a zig-zag stitch or a decorative stitch on my machine. Other times, I just use a straight stitch.

IMG_20160202_4554If you have pinking shears, it is cute to pink the edges too.

After making several of these, my needle did collect some of the sticky adhesive residue. Just a little warning. I used an old needle to make these and then tossed it.

This is a fun activity for kids. This idea might come in handy for a scouts project too. Hope you will enjoy making a few!

Linking to Connie at Freemotion by the River, Stephanie at Late Night Quilter, and Alyce at  Blossom Heart Quilts.


TBT – Embroidery

In keeping with Valentine’s Day and all of the sweet projects that are posted this time of year, I want to share a gift I made for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. They celebrated 25 years back in 1980, several months before I turned 20.  I haven’t done any embroidery for years and years. I remember making this piece and a few things for the boys’ room when they were babies but I don’t think I have done any since then.

25th ann stitcheryThis project was made from a kit that I purchased. After hanging on the wall for the past 35 years, it is a bit dusty.  Last fall when Mom was recovering from her surgery, I looked at this which is still hanging in their bedroom. You know what? I am absolutely sure that I don’t remember how to do this!

25th ann stitchery 4

I am sure I could still do a satin stitch, a running stitch and some french knots but the other stitches are no longer stored in my memory bank. Like the raised center of the upper flower – that looks pretty interesting but beats me how I did it.  😉

25th ann stitchery 3

On the uppermost flower, toward the left, I rather like the petals with the vein running down the center. Again, no recollection of how that stitch works. And the center of that middle flower? Very pretty and again, no idea how to stitch that!

25th ann stitchery 2

The stitching on the words is a bit herky-jerky when you see it up close. Overall though, this is a sweet tribute to my parent’s amazing marriage. They will celebrate their 61st anniversary this spring and I believe they are still each other’s very favorite Valentine.

Linking to A Quarter Inch From the Edge for Throwback Thursday for her February link up. There are others that will be posting about projects from the past so go ahead and check them out!