Category Archives: Hand Quilting

A Homespun Finish

This quilt has been in process for quite some time. I finished the quilt top last March. The piecing was quite fun – I used two different charm packs from Benartex that both had a vintage feel to them. After sewing a 2 1/2″ wide strip to the top of each one, I sliced the block in 1/2 and flipped one side upside down. That gave me the rectangular blocks you see here. To add some size to the quilt, I sashed between rows. Finally I added a deep purple border all the way around.

I knew I wanted to try hand quilting and this seemed a good project to learn with. Wanting to think just about the hand stitching and not worry about the durability, I stitched in the ditch along the sashing lines and around the inner border. This was really helpful in keeping everything together.

There are many who would say I might have used a darker color thread but again, this was my first time and it shows! The stitches are inconsistent – honestly, I didn’t want them to be the star of the show here. I quilted around each smaller square and was ready to call it good there. However, what was the rush? I enjoyed quilting this in the evenings so I decided to go around the inner border once.

Then it came to me I might want to do some stitching in the purple border. I used a stencil to trace the curves here. I felt like I was done at this point so I put the binding on. For some reason, it was a challenge to find a binding I liked with this quilt. The neutral fabric used as the background is gone so that wasn’t going to work. There was enough of the purple fabric though and I decided I liked the simplicity of using the same fabric for binding and the outer border.

This quilt is sooooo cozy and soft. The only reason I haven’t yet washed it is there is one more thing nagging at me. I think maybe I should quilt another wavy line on the purple so it intersects and makes a bit of a chain. What do you think? Add more, or leave it as is?

Hand quilting was quite satisfying, especially since I was in no rush to finish this, and I knew I wanted to keep it so there wasn’t the pressure of it being just perfect for the recipient. I have a long ways to go. The back of the quilt doesn’t look so amazing. My stitches on the back look so tiny. I need to learn how to stitch so the front and back are more uniform. A few times, I forgot to pull my knot through and now it seems like it is too late. This doesn’t really bother me but you know…. it is a learning curve.

Spring is surely here! This pond is on the edge of our property and there are geese galore right now. Ray has seen a mama and her goslings swimming but I keep missing them.

The Dogwood tree in all its glory!

Our yard is at its best in spring time, before it gets too hot and the plants become stressed. The iris are pushing loads of blooms so they will be putting on a show soon.

This weekend I am celebrating spring flowers with a sale for you. All fabrics with flowers and blooms are 25% off. Sale begins today and runs through Sunday, April 25th! Enjoy!

Finishing Up a Nice Week

Even though nothing extra special happened, this was a lovely week. I got to have a nice visit with my parents. We knew snow was coming so we got together before their driveway became difficult. (They live about fifteen miles from here but they are at a higher elevation. When they get some snow, it is usually a lot.)

My yard earlier this week.

We did get some snow but just a dusting and it only lasted a day. I do love when we get a little snow. When I woke up that morning and saw it was snowing, I woke Julia up so she could watch the snow. It is such a treat for us. Most winters we don’t see any snow. I remember when I first moved up here (back in 1994) we did get snow each winter and it was more substantial. Climates have changed and now we rarely get any.

The rest of the week was quite rainy. This is always well received. Each time we get a good rain, we hope it means the fire season in late summer will be a bit less dangerous. Due to the rain, I was able to spend quite a bit of time in the sewing room. Above is a stack of strips I cut for a coin quilt. I am focusing on blues, greens, pinks and yellows. I told myself I don’t get to start sewing these strips until I get somewhere with my Meadow quilt though. I just don’t want to have quite so many projects in process at the same time. This quilt was designed by Kirsty of BonJour Quilts. Click the link if you want to see her version.

This is the background for the Meadow quilt. It is a series of disappearing nine patch blocks in three sizes. The largest size has a greater proportion of the cream and white colors to the greens. Medium has about an equal portion and the smallest size has mostly greens. I like how this causes the colors the gently change as the eye moves up. I will be appliquéing a large swath of cut florals through the meadow as soon as I have the background completed. I am almost there and I am itching to get to those florals.

I also took an evening to make some pink diamond blocks. These blocks are made using half square rectangles. I am going to use them for my RSC2021 quilt. I really like the blocks and found them (once again!) on Kirsty’s site, Bonjour Quilts. I think the quilt will have a cool mid century modern vibe to it.

The blocks are finishing at 6″ x 12″. I will need quite a few for a nice sized lap quilt. If I put 12 across and 5 down, it would finish at approximately 60″ square. I think I will be interspersing some plain rectangles here and there to break up the pattern though. I have all year to figure this out though. For now, I am waiting to see what the color for February is.

In the evenings I have been working on the hand quilting for this project which I am calling Homespun. I love this quilt. It is so cozy. Once I finished stitching around each of the background squares, I decided I wanted to keep hand quilting it. This is the perfect time of year to snuggle under a quilt in the evenings and do some hand stitching. I have nearly finished going around the background border. Hard to tell from this photo, but the outer border is a dusty purple color. I think I will mark a pattern on it and hand stitch that as well. It will be a while until it is finished, but really – what is the hurry? While stitching, I have been going back and forth between watching Queen’s Gambit and The Last Tango in Halifax on Netflix. I like both of them, though they are quite different. Have you watched either of these? What do you think of them?

I have also worked on some projects for my shop. There are a number of new bundles available – each one contains three coordinated pieces of fabric, cut in one yard pieces. They are perfect for using with the Fabric Cafe, three yard patterns. These patterns are very simple and quick to piece, making them nice for baby quilts, a gift or donation quilt. These kits and patterns are also wonderful when teaching someone to quilt. They make a lap size quilt and there are a number of different patterns to choose from. I also have some fun kits for baby or toddler quilts. To take a look, click here.

That sums up my week. How was your week? Hoping you found some time to be creative. I would love to hear what you are working on. Enjoy the weekend all. 🙂

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So Thankful

OK – this is such a sweet little finish! Remember I mentioned Julia is learning to embroider and to knit? She stitched the word thankful for me on a simple square of quilting cotton. (She was looking for something to do and I asked her to stitch one word I could display during the fall season.)

I knew I would make something very understated with this. Using a deep red scrap, I sewed on the first border. It finished at 3/4″ wide. Then I took an earthy brown scrap and attached a second border which finished at 1 1/4″ wide.

The quilting is simple and quite minimal. I did a few rows of big-stitch hand quilting above and below the word. You can still see the (crooked) line I had marked with the Hera marker right below the word. That has since melted away (I love using a Hera marker!) I think this is really all it needed. I did machine stitch a tiny border just outside of the red fabric as well. The binding is the same fabric as the outer border which less distracting, keeping the focus to the center.

Measuring only 8″ x 11″, it is easy to tuck into any spot. I originally planned to hang it during Thanksgiving but truly, it is something that should always be displayed. It will most likely be kept on display as a little reminder throughout the year.

Linking to Brag About Your Beauties, Whoop Whoop, and Finished or Not Friday.

Reminder – today is the last day of the 20% off sale on all Autumn and Holiday fabrics!

Quarantine Quilting – Quilt Top Done

Well all this time at home is certainly allowing for lots of time in the sewing room. Last June I started sewing these charm squares I had accumulated into blocks. The charm squares are from a variety of sample packs from Benartex. Simple, prints in soothing colors that wanted to be made into something rather than live on the shelf in the closet (where they had been for at least two years or so).

I saw this idea on Julie’s blog, Me and My Quilts, around that time. She was making something similar and I absolutely copied her!! I cut 2 1/2″ strips and sub cut them into five inch strips. Each was sewed to a charm square, then sliced vertically. One piece flipped around and then I sewed them back together.

I did lay out the pieces in a random order first but decided I wanted something a bit more organized so I started putting them in collections by color.

Finally making up my mind, I got the rows put together and added a few borders (it is a bit on the long and skinny side).

I used this purple print from the shop for the outer border. It is from the Ginger & Spice line by Missy Carpenter and looks great with the neutral sashing. I chose purple because there are only three purple blocks in the quilt and I thought it just needed more!

Draped sideways on the railing.

Now I am looking through choices for the backing. I have decided to keep this one. It is time for me to set up a hand quilting project to work on in the evenings. I have never hand quilted anything larger than a pillow or a mini so this is a big undertaking for me.

I have so many questions since this is a new undertaking for me! Once I baste it, I am thinking of stitching in the ditch along the sashing lines. I was thinking if I had it anchored in place, it would be easier to quilt. Of course one might say after stitching in the ditch it is basically quilted already. Is this a normal progression? I need all the hand quilters to give me lots and lots of tips and tricks in the comments please!! I am thinking of using Perle cotton. Yay or Nay??? I really don’t know what I am doing here so would love any and all hints or referrals to good places to read up on this.

I appreciate the help. Hope everyone is doing well as can be. These are trying times so let’s all stay connected even if virtually. Take care all of you. 🙂

Linking up with all the usuals. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Slowly Progressing

We are down to the last week of summer. Julia, as is the desire of most teenagers, is trying to cram as many activities into it as possible. She has been to the movies, we went to the river last weekend, the fair yesterday (and will be there again on Sunday) etc. I think this is because she knows her precious free time will be given over to homework after school starts. She is also trying to get through her summer reading assignment which is a boring book on the evils of fast food.  Probably not the her top choice in books.

Last weekend we were up in Downieville and it was the weekend of the Downieville Classic. This is a mountain biking competition that is well known for its grueling, technical course. The first competition involves riding 29 miles with a 4000 foot elevation ascent and then a 5,200 foot elevation descent into the town of Downieville. I can’t even imagine. (Especially since I don’t own a bike, but still…)  Julia and I were walking around and watched several riders complete the course. They were covered in dust, head to toe, with little racoon masks on their faces where their glasses had been. Day two is the downhill race over rugged mountain trails where speed and technique are critical.

We certainly weren’t there to ride but it was a great weekend for people watching. The little town of Downieville is usually very quiet and it was nice to see so many people up there enjoying the river and all that the town offers. Especially the river jump, which is a tradition at the Downieville Classic each year. Riders sign up to ride down a ramp and jump into the river, bike and all. They use BMX bikes though, not their mountain bikes. It was crazy fun to watch.  I kept thinking they were going to land on top of someone but that was just the angle that I was watching from. They had plenty of room.

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With all that has been going on, I haven’t accomplished a whole lot in the sewing room. I did bring my pink stripes up to Downieville for hand stitching. This project is a bit of a lesson in patience. I love the look of the chunky stitches with Perle cotton but every once in a while I will wonder why I am doing this when it would take 10 minutes to machine quilt it. Patience isn’t a strong suit of mine, so this is a good lesson for me to work through.

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I have made some progress on my nephew’s wedding quilt. I am thinking of calling it Harmony. It is a sweet name for a wedding quilt and I am really happy with the look of the colors that I am using. At one point, it came to me that the colors looked so harmonious, hence the name.

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I have had a couple of migraines this week which is always annoying. Yesterday I was sort of between headaches and tried to get a bit of sewing done. It just never works out. I should know better by now. This is how things turn out while in headache mode. Not once, but twice!! At least the seams match up nicely.  😉

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Playing with Quiltography is a better bet when I am in this state. At least I don’t have to pull out a seam ripper if things go south on me. Rachel over at Stitched in Color is hosting a challenge called 30 Days of Quilt Designs. She is encouraging all of us to either sketch, doodle or electronically create quilt designs. Just to get your creative juices flowing. I am having fun with it and it is a great way to play with the Quiltography app that I wrote about here.  I have finished several designs so far.

I made one using hourglass blocks and court house step blocks with limited colors. I really like the movement in this design.

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Here is another one using hourglass blocks and square in square blocks. With this design, I love that it appears to be set on point but isn’t. What do you think?

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If this challenge is new to you, check it out here.  There is plenty of time to join in. The 30 designs don’t have to happen in 30 consecutive days – I believe she is holding this through October. Giveaways are involved which is always fun. There are lots and lots of designs posted on Instagram, #30daysofquiltdesign.

Hope you are all enjoying this last bit of summer before school starts (at least those of you with kids at home!)  Let me know if you are into the 30 days of quilt design challenge. I will go take a peek at your designs.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop. Find the links at the top of the page, under link ups.

Change of Plans

The day we were to leave for our vacation in Maine, I decided I really wanted to take a hand stitching project along with me as I was fairly certain Ray wouldn’t be too keen on my bringing along a sewing machine. He can be so darn unreasonable. Ha ha. We were to be gone for two weeks which is far too long to be without needle and thread. I was searching through the closet in my sewing room and decided to change my plan for a UFO that I had.

Here is the back story. In July, 2014, I posted about a packet of scraps I ordered online. It turned out to be strips from the Moda line called Lexington, designed by Minnick & Simpson. I planned to make a string quilt. Here is a picture of some of the blocks. Side note:  wow, that is a horrible picture. I am happy to see that my photography has improved over time. 😉blue tan quilt blocks 2

Each string block finished at seven inches. After making about 20 blocks I set it aside and have not touched it since. I am not sure why, but I lost interest in it. I really like the colors in the project though. I decided to repurpose the blocks that were made and quickly sewed twelve blocks together to use as a table runner. Using twelve blocks gave me a runner that was about 13.5″ x 40″ which is a nice size for my table.

I cut a piece of batting from a bag of batting scraps that I had and also a piece of backing. I love the backing – I purchased it a couple of years ago at a quilt shop in the bay area. My sister, Cathy, found it on a sale table for me.

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It has been on the shelf for a bit and I was happy to find a project to use it in. After stitching up the blocks, I quickly sandwiched everything and ditch stitched it down the center and across the width at each seam. I didn’t want to pack a hoop to quilt it and if it was stitched already, I knew it would be stable to hand stitch.

This was such a nice way to practice hand quilting. I have not done a lot of handwork. I did quilt a pillow last spring but since then, not so much. I brought my Hera marker and a square ruler with me, hoping I could figure out some sort of design once I got going. I also brought some basic hand quilting thread as well as Perle cotton.

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There are three centers and on each, I stitched a flower. In the center I placed a cluster of french knots. To create the flower petals I used my Hera marker and traced around the top of a coffee cup. Once I got going, I could just freehand them but I needed a guide to get me started.

In each triangle I echoed the lines of the triangles with straight lines. I like the simplicity of the quilting. While we are looking at this picture, let’s all ignore the fact that the point isn’t even close to matching properly. Thank you kindly.

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The  table runner is very pretty and I look forward to using it later this fall. It feels autumnal to me. I love the binding. This bit of fabric was in my stash and works perfectly. I definitely enjoyed the hand quilting and will continue to practice my stitching.

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I still have a few more of these string blocks which will likely sit in that lonely pile where orphan blocks go until I find a use for them.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend which involves at least a little time in the sewing room. Linking to my usual favorites. Find them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

day1_quilt craftsy

In case you are searching for that perfect class to take on Craftsy, there is a sale running this weekend on their most popular classes. It’s a good time to take advantage of a great deal and learn something new.

As a Craftsy affiliate, I will earn a small portion of any sale made by clicking through the links on my page. If you choose to make a purchase, thanks a bunch!