Category Archives: Mini Quilt

Island Batik Project Finish

 

As an ambassador for Island Batik, I have a schedule of challenges issued each month to create with their gorgeous fabrics. The theme for the month of March was March Mini Madness and the quilt was to be constructed with paper pieced blocks.

:ast week  I shared the beginnings of the mini I was working on with Island Batik fabric. Using a paper pieced star pattern (free download from Craftsy) I made four blocks. Each one became a bit easier than the last which was nice. I feel like I made progress and have a better feel for paper piecing now. (These blocks were very simple which was helpful). I like the various themes designated by the coordinator at Island Batik as it forces me out of my comfort zone a bit. Isn’t it nice to have the oppportunity to learn something  new?

The overall look of this little quilt is bright and cheerful. I love the purples and blues against the black batik. Bright green strips were used for the sashing.

After the top was assembled I quilted it by first adding some straight lines to the greeen sashing, using a bright green Mettler thread. Following that I free motion quilted small loops over the black background as well as an X through each star. With a dark batik, the quilting is not the star of the show. It is very hard to see.

I decided it needed a bit more detail to finish it off. First I decided to add buttons. I think it was about two weeks ago that I read a post written by Janine, over at Quilts from the Little House, where she used buttons to embellish a project of hers. I have a jar of buttons and thought it would be fun to take that bit of inspiration and apply it to this mini. Don’t they look cute? Makes it sort of whimsical.

After the buttons, I still wanted more detail. I decided to add a flange to the outer edge before I attached the binding. Doesn’t this make a nice polished finish? I am very happy with this. Hopefully I will put a hanging sleeve on it soon and it will join the other minis on the wall in my sewing room. Just in time for spring!

Linking to all the usuals – find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

If you are a fan of the TV show Parks & Rec, you are probably familiar with Galentine’s Day. The main character Leslie (played by Amy Poehler), holds a Galentine’s Party with her girlfriends each year on the night before Valentine’s Day. It made me smile to see this graphic sent to the Ambassadors by Island Batik.

Since I was in the spirit, last week I made a Valentine, to me from me. I have a number of little heart mini quilts that I have made over the last several years. I like them. Simple hearts of red, pink, cream and white. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was? We decorated brown paper bags, wrote the “to” and “from” on each card, and hoped there would be some candy involved.

This year Island Batik included some red and pink batik fat quarters in each of the Ambassador boxes. It just so happened that I recently purchased a pattern from Jayne of Twiggy and Opal called Rainbow Heart Trio. I made just one of the three minis included in the pattern. Don’t you love how the tiny heart is nestled into the center of the larger heart? Since I only made the one mini, I have hardly made a dent in the bundle of pinks and red fat quarters. No worries though, Island Batik has plenty of projects in store for us. I will put them to use soon enough.

This project was yet another lesson in value and color (when, oh when, will I learn these lessons!?) If you look at the tiny heart, you might notice a few pieces of a pale dotted batik. It is a very pale shade of lavender. On its own, it is very pretty. Included with this project and surrounded by the creamy background pieces, it is totally lost. I didn’t really get it until that smaller heart was surrounded by the larger heart. Looking at the photo above, this is the smaller heart when I was piecing it. I thought there was just enough difference between that pale dotted batik and the background. Once it was surrounded by the background it faded out. I also had some of that fabric used as blocks in the larger heart. I was able to unpick those stitches and swap the fabric out with something darker. I left the smaller heart alone. I will get this figured out one day. But for now, the shape of the smaller heart doesn’t show up as much as it would have if I had used darker fabric in those spots. I will get there though. It just takes practice.

The Rainbow Heart Trio pattern comes together quite easily. The longest task is definitely the cutting. The HST’s that make up the smaller heart finish out at 1 1/2″.  Tiny little things. I quilted it with my walking foot. The quilting was inspired by the pattern. I liked how Jayne quilted the samples and I followed along with her. The only part that I free motioned was the little scallops around the outer edge of the smaller heart.

 

Wishing each of you a Happy Galentine’s Day and an even sweeter Valentine’s Day!

Linking to all of my favorites. Check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups.

Autumn Abundance Blog Hop

Today I am celebrating Autumn! Our maple trees are filled with color. Fortunately, we have several different varieties which means the leaves all change at different times, enabling us to savor the season for a bit longer. It is gorgeous.

In preparation for this blog hop, I have been working with a line of autumnal fabrics provided to me by Paintbrush Studios. PB Studios has been a very generous sponsor. They provided me and four other bloggers with the fabrics of our choice in different fall lines and we have each made a project showcasing their beautiful fabrics.  The line that I selected for my project is called Golden Harvest.

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Here is the schedule for the Autumn Abundance Hop this week.

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When considering my options for what sort of project I wanted to make, I decided I wanted to have something to hang during the Thanksgiving season. Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday. It centers around family and food – what else does one need? I have been having a lot of fun doing some relief quilting (remember my THREAD and FABRIC pieces?) and thought it would be a good idea to do another one.

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I did a quick sketch but didn’t really plan too much beyond that. I began with the center piece. I had this gorgeous brown solid (PB Studios calls is Espresso) and I cut a rectangle and played around with the placement of the lettering. GIVE THANKS was my focus. With the stabilizer fused to the back, I quilted the letters. This goes quite quickly. Especially since Muv over at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Quilting encouraged me to free motion this instead of using a walking foot. She is absolutely right – it worked just fine! Much, much faster to get the lettering done.

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Once I had accomplished that, I thought about what sort of design should be placed below the words.  At first I thought of doing some applique but the more I thought about it, I decided I wanted to quilt a design instead. I love playing with thread and here was an open space to do with as I pleased. I decided on a pumpkin and took a look at Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt, for some inspiration. She never fails me. Never! This pumpkin is taken directly from this tutorial. It came together easily.

Using YLI variegated thread, I started by outlining the pumpkin, stem and leaves. Next I filled in the sections of the pumpkin. Following that I added to the outlining to give it some depth. The stem and leaves were also filled in and outlined a couple of times. So much fun!

The next step was to put a narrow border of the olive green solid. I had already decided to do a patchwork border to set off the center. I wanted to use a 2 1/2″ square because of the scale of the fabrics I was playing with.

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While I worked things out with the patchwork border, I was thinking about the corners. I made some pinwheel blocks but thought they looked too flat. Following that I made some churn dash blocks and liked these much better.

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As it always does, the quilt came together with the sum being so much greater than its parts. I really love this project. The sunflowers, pumpkins, leaves and turkeys are so cheerful. The fabric really is adorable. The green, orange and yellow blender prints worked well to tone down some of the color within the borders. The traditional colors and themes of this line are just right – they made me happy just playing with them. I used a brown print that was in my stash to back it and then used the olive green fabric to bind it. The quilt finished out at 23″ x 25″ inches.

As with most projects, there are a few things I learned. One is better planning equals better results. While it is fun to just sew and see how things come together, I should have done a bit of measuring and planned the patchwork border in more detail. I had to fuss with trimming borders and such to get everything to work together. Also, when I was trimming the piece, after quilting it, I somehow forgot that about the bits that the binding would consume. This is a little bit ridiculous considering the number of quilts I have bound. But I trimmed too deeply, forcing myself to cover points on the churn dash squares on each corner. I was going too fast without considering the details.

I will enjoy hanging it this season and bringing it out again with each Thanksgiving.  This simple message of gratitude will remind us of all that we have to be thankful for.

Something I am very thankful for is the generous support of Paintbrush Studios. They were a pleasure to work with and the fabrics they sent to me are just lovely. They are a nice weight and have a very nice feel to them.

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Photo courtesy of Academic Quilter

Paintbrush has also provided me with a fat quarter bundle of Into the Woods to offer to one lucky winner. Enter the giveaway by telling me about your favorite part of Thanksgiving Dinner. (Mine is definitely stuffing followed closely by homemade cranberry sauce. Way back when, I posted the recipe for the cranberry sauce I make at Thanksgiving…. just in case you want to try something new.) Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite. If you are following the blog, leave a second comment and tell me how for an additional entry.

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Now for my giveaway. I wanted to make something to give as thanks for all of the friends, inspiration, and community that happens within our online group of amazing quilters. Using this tutorial from Buttons and Butterflies, I made a pair of potholders from some of the scraps. I will pick a name from the comments to win these two potholders as well.

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After finishing the potholders, I decided to cut the remaining scraps into charm squares. I was able to cut a set of 40 charms. So, let’s give those away as well!

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I added a small spool of coordinating Aurifil so you can make a fall inspired project of your own!

Good luck! Winners for all three giveaways will be drawn on Friday evening, October 28th. I will email winners and announce them the following day on the blog. Make sure I have an email address to contact you!

Be sure to check back each day this week with the others on the hop. They have been working on wonderful projects for fall and have used gorgeous Paintbrush Studios fabrics that are different from mine. You are sure to enjoy their work. There may just be some giveaways on their sites as well. Enjoy this season of brilliant colors, family and friends, and some darn good food.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks everyone!

Linking this post to She Can Quilt as a part of the Q4-FAL event.

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If you are wanting to gain confidence in your free motion quilting skills, today might just be the day to purchase a Craftsy Class! Just today, all classes are $14.99. Can’t beat that. I know I learned a great deal with the classes I have taken. I have taken this one from Lori Kennedy and this one with Angela Walters.

(Note:  I am a Craftsy affiliate)

Fall Mini Quilt Finish

Remember this little orphan block that I scored at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago?

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I spent a fun afternoon quilting it up. I used a rust colored thread for the main leaf portion and quilted it with a tiny stipple. These little stitches look so darn cute.

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For the white background, I pebbled away for about one-half hour and filled it up. Sometimes it is so satisfying to work on a quick project. When I first started to pebble the white portion, I quickly remembered that I don’t really like to FMQ pebble patterns and thought  I would regret it. But with such a tiny project it didn’t really matter. I was done before I could even get annoyed with the tedium.

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For the border I quilted little leaves and berries but it is nearly impossible to see because the thread matches too well. It was good practice but really, I have to look very closely to see it. Kind of funny.

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The dusty green binding wraps it all up into a sweet little mini. Perfect for fall.

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Now that we are approaching fall, I need to start getting my Etsy shop stocked for the holidays. The Chemex cozies that I make are definitely my best seller around Christmas which means I need to get busy. Yesterday I cut fabric for five covers.

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Selecting the fabrics is fun but also a bit of a challenge. Looking back at what has sold well over the past two years, the favorites are definitely gray, blue, black, and red tones. Also, the two fabrics with the coffee theme text prints (in cream or black) are usually good sellers. These are the last two I could cut from that fabric so I need to purchase more of it.

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I love to make a few with novelty fabric. I have done some with bicycles for coffee drinking cyclists and another one with Marvel comics on it which made someone very happy. Last Christmas I had a custom order for a cozy made with Star Wars fabric. I am debating making a few fun ones like this but choosing a theme is hard, kind of a guess as to what will sell –  if you have any suggestions, please feel free. I truly love your input. For now, these will get me off to a good start.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Remember, I am hosting Handmade Halloween on October 4th!! Link up any blog posts, new or old, that are related to Halloween – costumes, decorations, quilts, even fun recipes. Let’s make it a fun round up of all things Halloween! I will tell you that I have had some really nice prizes offered in support of this party. Go write a post and come back and link it up. This will throw your name in the draw – maybe for a win!  See you then.

Linking up today with the best of the best. See the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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This is a good weekend to shop Craftsy! They have some great discounts on kits and supplies for their End of Summer Clearance. Take a look. This sale runs through Sunday night, 9/18/16.

(I am a Craftsy affiliate.)

Relief Quilting Tutorial – Thread

I really enjoyed playing with relief quilting when I made my FABRIC mini quilt a couple of weeks ago. So much so that I decided to make another one! I took plenty of pictures while making it so I could post a tutorial. I hope you will give it a try. The effect is wonderful and it is such an easy process.

This time I wanted to try stitching the word on a piece of fabric with fusible stabilizer and then building the quilt from there. It worked out wonderfully. Since I already had one mini that said FABRIC, I decided to make another that said THREAD. This idea was inspired by a comment left on the first post by Diana, of A Red Delicious Life.  She mentioned wanting to make one to hang above her thread. I decided to do the same. Now I have one to hang above the closet where I store fabric and another to hang above the thread collection hanging on the wall in my sewing room. Thanks Diana!!

Let’s get started.

I am going to provide the sizes that I used but this is so flexible. Increase or decrease as you like. My quilt finished at 11″ x 23″ so if you want a different size, adjust accordingly.

Materials List:

  • Background Fabric: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacting: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Scraps for your border
  • Stencils for tracing the word THREAD. I used letters that were 3″ high.
  • Frixion pen or similar fabric marking pen
  • Binding fabric:  Two strips that are 2 1/2″ by 42″ (Width of fabric)
  • Quilting thread.  I used YLI thread in a variegated green and loved it!

IMG_7181Take your background fabric and fuse the stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric. Follow manufacturer’s instructions if you are not familiar with this process.

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Trace the word on the fabric with the fabric safe marking pen of your choice. I didn’t leave very much room between the letters because I liked the way this looked. You could certainly adjust this to your taste. Also, I didn’t leave a ton of room on either side. Again, adjust as needed by cutting your background wider if you like.

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Using a walking foot, begin stitching long straight rows above, below and between the letters. I didn’t stitch the outline of the letters. This happens later on when you are quilting everything together. For now, just fill in every bit of space above, below and between each letter. You might choose to use a free motion foot for the little openings within a letter (e.g. the A and the D) so you don’t have to start and stop, twisting the fabric. I kept working with the walking foot because the block is small and easily rotates. Each time I came to the botton or top and needed to move to the next line, I very slowly stitched one stitch over, sometimes doing so by manually turning the wheel on the machine so I moved just one stitch. This kept my rows extremely close together. If you have a needle down function, this helps. Just go one stitch and let the needle stay down while you turn the piece. Now and then, the width looked to wide to me and I would back up and fill in with another line of stitching. Remember you will be viewing this from a distance and it looks much better that way. While stitching, you are looking at it from 6-8″ away and you’ll see every wobble. Not a problem. You are going for the overall effect.

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See how the word starts to come to life? I love that! Now keep on stitching!IMG_7206

Making good progress here.  The word is complete and it is time to begin working on your border.

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I made an improv border by taking squares and rectangles in my color scheme (basically greens, purples and blues) and built four pieces, two for the ends and two for the top and bottom. I didn’t worry about size too much. I made them a bit longer than the side I wanted to sew them to and since I wanted to have them trim out to 3 inches, I made sure the whole thing measured wider than 3 inches.  Note:  If you are not comfortable with this scrappy improv process, I recommend grabbing a copy of 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe at your library. She does an excellent job of guiding you through.  Alternatively, Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts did a Quiltalong last summer called Scrap Vortex. In this post, she talks about building with scraps. It might be of help to you.

After playing with them on the design wall, I trimmed each to a width of 3″. I sewed the top and bottom borders on first and then added each side.

IMG_7277The next step is to make a quilt sandwich with your top, the batting and your backing fabric. I pieced the batting from scraps I had. Just pin it around the border tightly since you are going to quilt in the center first. My batting was just barely bigger than the top but since it was such a small piece I felt ok with that. Normally I use batting that is a good two inches larger than the top all the way around.

 

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Continue to use your walking foot and slowly stitch around each letter. It is a bit like connecting the dots as you want to trace over the place where you stitched over to the next line. Just move slowly and turn frequently (with your needle down while turning) when stitching over a curve.

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I love the way the letters come to life when quilted to the batting.  Next I moved on to the border. I love the little spools of thread that I quilted on the first piece and carried them through to this piece as well. Considering the thread theme of this project, it worked well.

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With each spool, I filled in the top and bottom so they would show up a bit better. If you like this idea, take a look at this tutorial of Lori Kennedy’s over at the Inbox Jaunt.

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The spools are whimsical and they add a bit of movement to the quilting as the ‘thread’ flows off each spool.

Once you complete the quilting, trim, square and bind. Finished!

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Isn’t this adorable?????

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And both of them together?? All kinds of cuteness. What fun (and easy) projects both of these were. I have the sleeve sewn on to FABRIC but still need to make a sleeve for THREAD. They will be on the wall soon. I’ll post a picture next week.

I hope my explanation is helpful. If you make one, let me know. I would love to see it!

I’ll be linking to the usuals which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

A Beginner’s Wool Applique Project

Remember my trip to Maine? The one where I found all sorts of awesome quilt shops? When I was at Attic Heirlooms in Damariscotta I took a long look at some traditional wool applique projects. Having never made anything like this, I decided to give it a try. When I saw the Row by Row project for Attic Heirlooms it looked like a row that could stand alone and be used as a wall hanging or table runner. (I wrote more about that shop here.)

Making this project was fun in that it was slightly unfamiliar to me. I have only done a bit of applique and haven’t hand stitched applique at all. I dug into the kit enthusiastically. Cutting the little pieces didn’t take long at all. I fused the pieces as far as I could go (without stacking pieces in areas that needed to be stitched first.) Then I took the kit and my assorted Perle cotton skeins over to the coast last week. We spent a long weekend over at Bodega Bay (about three hours drive from home) with lots of family to celebrate my husband’s birthday. What a perfect weekend for hand stitching.


While I was working on it there were a couple of mishaps. At one point I was stitching and not really paying attention and somehow I sewed the project to my pants. Ha. I felt so silly. Ian and Julia found it most amusing.  Fortunately it didn’t take too long to pull the stitches out and free myself from the project. 😉

After that, the little windows started popping off of the house. I am not sure what I did but the fusing clearly wasn’t working! The more I handled the piece, the more bits fell off. I didn’t have an iron and of course, wasn’t patient enough to wait and fix it when I got home. Instead I just held the windows in place and stitched. It worked out and I was able to continue stitching. The windows aren’t as precise as they might have been but that’s ok.

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The center block is surrounded by a log cabin block on each side. Once I got the three blocks assembled, I wasn’t sure how to quilt it. Wanting to stick with tradition, I really didn’t know how to treat the area around the wool house and trees. It seemed like it should be quilted. I wanted to leave the wool pieces alone because I think the fabric is just gorgeous and I like the blanket stitch that I used to attach the pieces. (Except the tiny star and the tree trunks; I wasn’t sure what to do with those so I just stitched around the edges.) After consulting with one of my trusted quilting advisers, Janine, I decided on some wavy lines on the background. The color of the sky (background) fabric looks like a heavy sky to me. The wavy lines make it look just a bit stormy.

 

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I used an older calico fabric that I had for the backing and binding. I haven’t put a sleeve on it yet but I think I will. It would be fun to pull this out in the fall and hang it somewhere. I don’t really want to put it on the table because of spills. The wool isn’t really washable.

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This is my first try at wool applique and I absolutely enjoyed it. It is a sweet reminder of our vacation. I think I will give it another try. First I want to look at the process and learn more about it. Anyone have any recommendations for a book or a quilter who is into this sort of work? Please let me know. 🙂

As always, I am linking this sweet finish with my favorite linky parties. Find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

craftsy august sale

Want to know what is happening at Craftsy this weekend? A sale, that’s what! Craftsy has marked down their newest classes for the weekend. If you have had your eye on a class, now is the time! You can escape the brutal heat that August can bring and learn something new in the cool of your house.

As an affiliate, I will earn a bit of a commission for any sales made by clicking through links on my blog.

Happy Red, White & Blue!

To the US readers, Happy Independence Day!  To all others, Happy Monday!

I was looking for something to decorate the table with since my parents were coming to BBQ and I found this table runner.  I made this one several years ago. It was during a horrid heatwave where it was just too hot to be outside on the 4th. (We aren’t far from that this year either!!). I remember we stayed inside and I found some scraps to make this runner so I would feel like I was celebrating the 4th in some way.


This was very early on as far as free motion quilting goes but it looks pretty good. I remember thinking the spirals were a bit of a trick.


I think it is a sweet 4th of July decoration and it makes the table so festive.


Additionally, around the same time, I made this little flag for Mom and Dad. They hang in on the house during the summer. They live up the hill from me in a big house that has a large wrap around deck and it looks pretty hanging there.


I think this could be one of the first times I did any appliqué on a quilt. It is a cute little flag with an Americana feel to it.

Linking up to a few fun parties which, as always, are found at the top of the page under Link Ups.  Have a safe and happy 4th of July!!

Lots Going On!

The week is starting out with a bang! Yesterday I was scheduled to have some dental surgery today and I really, really, really wasn’t looking forward to it. Imagine my joy when the dental office called to reschedule my appointment (hopefully in another decade, another century, as far out as I can schedule it!) Anyway, Ray had taken the day off because he expected to be driving the patient home and rolling his loopy wife out of the car and into bed. Since we didn’t have to do this, we opted for a drive up to Downieville and a hike.

DV hikeThese poppies are just everywhere. Last year when they all went to seed, I collected tons of seed pods and tried to start them in our garden. Not one plant came up. I am not sure why but I am going to give it another try this fall. I know they are grow happily up here as they are just covering everyone’s yards and hillsides. I love the drama of these vivid red poppies.

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Really deep and crystal clear, the river is running so fast.  Ray and I are curious to see how high it remains this summer. Last year, with the drought, it ran quite low. I suspect this summer will be a different story. Monday was a totally different day than the one I expected. Hurray for small blessings like dental appointment cancellations!!!

This weekend I was able to catch up on the FMQ quiltalong that I have been doing with Lori at The Inbox Jaunt. This project just gets cuter and cuter.

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Those sailboats make this whole project shine! I love them and kind of want to make something for a child that features the boats. I think they are just adorable. It is with mixed feelings that I watch for today’s post from Lori. This week we will be quilting the last row and adding some finishing touches. Overall, this was a fun way to practice my FMQ.

In support of the May is for Makers theme this month, I purchased my second indie pattern of the month. Yikes, it was hard to choose. It sort of reminds me of when my youngest son was little. (Ok, even now at 25 years old, he is still like this.)  He had such a hard time making choices – picking out an ice cream flavor took such a long time. The donut shop was even worse. When he grew to be a teenager, I dreaded the hours we would spend shopping when it was time to get new shoes. It looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Here I was, shopping for a pattern-just for fun, no parameters. I was buying a pattern only because I wanted to support someone in their creative efforts. And I just COULDN’T DECIDE! Finally, I made my choice and bought a newly released pattern from Kirsty over at Bonjour Quilts. It is called Fleur.

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This mini finishes at 11″ square though she also sells a pattern for a jumbo size Fleur which works into a queen size quilt. I am thinking this mini would look great with four blocks so that it finished at 22″ x 22″. It is a sweet, summery look and will be fun to put together.

Finally, guess what! I am working on my first tutorial for Sew Mama Sew! I am excited about it and a little nervous because I really want to get all the details written up clearly and concisely. The tutorial is for something I have made so many times that I can do it without thought. Now I am making a few of them and trying to take good notes of the steps necessary. It posts in three weeks so hopefully I will have it all worked out by early next week.

I hope your week has started out as happy as mine!!

Linking to my usual favorites. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Craftsy Update:  In a continued celebration of their birthday, Craftsy is offering some of their most popular classes for 50% off. Sale begins Wednesday, May 18th! Check them out. I have taken some quilting classes purchased at Craftsy and feel that that the caliber of the classes is first rate! (I am a Craftsy affiliate, meaning if you click through my link and make a purchase, I will receive a small payment.)

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Mid-week WIP Update

Lots of projects in various stages in my sewing room this week. It is actually kind of fun to have multiple things going on. I sew a while, cut for a bit, practice a little FMQ – none of it feels tedious because I am moving back and forth between projects.

My main sewing machine is being very cranky right now so I am sewing on my smaller machine. I love this machine though – the tension is not sensitive and it sews like a little work horse. Much like The Little Engine That Could, this machine just keeps going (I think I can, I think I can.) I really miss the needle down feature and the thread cutter on my bigger machine though. Makes such a difference when I am sewing for a long period of time.

Anyway…  Here is what’s going on:

I am working on my 241 tote bag that I mentioned in this post last week. This project has become so much fun because after reading that post, Tami from Sew Much for Free Time commented that she was also going to make a 241 tote. We did a bit of emailing back and forth and decided we would have our own little sew along. After working on my Stepping Stones quilt though the quilt along at Inquiring Quilter, I found I really enjoy the social aspect of the project. I love seeing everyone’s progress, having others to ask questions and get input, and seeing the fabric choices and how much that changes the pattern that we are all using. I think working on this tote with Tami will be the same. We set up a few deadlines for progress and hope to finish up together. It is low key though. If life gets in the way, so be it. We are just enjoying our virtual time sewing together! If you want to see Tami’s progress, hop over.  We are just getting started. Anyone that wants to, is more than welcome to join us. Leave me a comment if you want more info.

By today, we are both aiming to have our bags cut out and pieces prepared. I spent yesterday morning prepping everything. I plan on using these Allison Glass fabrics.

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The pattern seems very straight forward so I doubt there will be much difficulty makijng this bag. I traced my pieces with a chalk marker and cut from there. Printing the pieces on regular printer paper made for thick pieces. I didn’t want to pin and cut them because there might be some inaccuracy. Tracing the pieces was quick. (When I was cutting pieces, I took the pictures under the kitchen lights which distorts the color.)

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Once the pieces were cut, I fused the interfacing to the outer pieces.

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I’m really excited about this project. It is going to be perfect for my niece’s birthday gift.

Besides working on prepping the bag, I also did some FMQ on the Mystery quilt along that Lori Kenedy is hosting over at the Inbox Jaunt. This week we were instructed to quilt little stars and suns. Lori calls them Spirograph Suns though we did a simplified version of them. The motif is so fun and you’ll find the tutorial here.

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We only have a few more sections to quilt and I think I will be a little sad to see this finish up. I love that the structure of this QAL only requires I quilt two lines each week. Not time consuming but it forces me to practice two new motifs each week.  (Also, take a look at my fish.  I feel like I stitched my fishies going upstream. Shouldn’t they should swim from left to right…. I must have gotten turned around (not all that unusual for this quilter.) 😉

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My Stepping Stones quilt is basted and ready to be quilted. I am looking forward to the weekly post tomorrow as she plans to give some ideas on possible quilting motifs for this pattern. Choosing how I will quilt something is still a challenge for me but maybe I will be inspired by Jennifer’s post tomorrow.

Finally, I am working on a mini that I will share later this week. It is going to be cute though. Here is a sneak peek.

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I am going for an old-fashioned, vintage feel and I think it is coming together well.

OK – what do you have going on in your sewing room? i would love to hear.

Linking this post up with all sorts of fun sites. Take a look at the list. You’ll find it at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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Just in case you need an idea for Mother’s Day gifts (for a friend, your mom, even yourself  – even if you aren’t a mom!)  Craftsy has awesome classes and I can’t imagine a crafty mom who wouldn’t love one (or two, or three…) Classes last longer than flowers and they are way more affordable! Click here to check it out.

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Pattern Testing

This week we have been reading and talking about the idea of supporting all of the Indie pattern designers that are working so hard to design and release original patterns. Besides purchasing these lovely patterns we can also offer our time as pattern testers.  Two weeks ago I was reading a couple of posts by Mihaela of A Beautiful Day. She blogs from Romania  (don’t you love the ease with which we are able to befriend quilters from all over through this blogosphere.)  Mihaela is working on a new pattern she calls Urban Folk Quilt. In one of her posts she asked for some testers that would help to verify that her English all translates correctly. I happily volunteered. It is hard enough to design patterns, figure out the measurements, draw up the instructions etc. But to do this in a language that is not your primary one must be very challenging.

You can be sure, language isn’t an issue for Mihaela. Her English is just wonderful and I did not  find even one problem with her pattern and/or the translation to English. She includes every detail of instruction and sometimes more than one would expect. She discusses how to confirm that your blocks line up correctly, how to properly bind a quilt, and suggests ways to avoid block distortion. Overall, this pattern is complete and a great tool for the beginning quilter. I loved making it and would happily make another (and probably will!)

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For this project, I chose colors that would work in our master bathroom.  There are lots of bare walls in there. Bathrooms don’t rate very high on my need-to-decorate scale. Especially the master – who sees it besides Ray and I? I decided to make something to spruce it up. These colors work wonderfully.

I had so much fun quilting this. Finishing at 16 1/2″ squared, it was small enough to feel secure in trying new things.  This quilt design feels a bit southwestern to me. It reminds me of a couple of throws that Ray bought some years ago on a trip to Mexico.  This inspired me to quilt wavy lines, in three colors, across the horizontal stripes. Using the dark and light gray as well as the brown gives nice texture to the stripes.

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Within the two rows of pieced blocks I used matchstick quilting. Having never quilted these narrow stripes before, I tried quilting with my darning/FMQ foot and with the walking foot.

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Both work – the walking foot creates much straighter lines but oh my, it was taking forever! Having to stop and turn the quilt at each end was more than annoying. If it was a larger space being quilted, I would try the walking foot again. After a short stint of this though, I switched to my darning foot and FMQ’d the lines. They have a bit of an organic wobble to them but it still look ok. I love how the purple blocks have a bit of a puffiness to them from the tight quilting that surrounds them. Above and below each pieced row, I did some teeny tiny FMQ. Those rows are only one inch tall – it was a challenge to keep the movement flowing in such a small space.

What a fun project this was. Testing this pattern was an easy way to help another quilter out. There are lots of opportunities to test patterns. Be sure that you can meet the timeframe of the pattern designer though. Most likely she is relying on you to complete the task by a certain date so she can release the pattern. Speaking of which, Mihaela is releasing this pattern today!   Check it out and show her some quilting love. It would make a great mini, table topper, or you could use it as a pillow cover if you add the backing to it.

Linking to several of my favorites, including Freemotion Mavericks, Finish it up Friday, and Off the Wall Fridays. Links to all of these are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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Just in case you need an idea for Mother’s Day gifts (for a friend, your mom, yourself  – even if you aren’t a mom!)  Craftsy has awesome classes and I can’t imagine a crafty mom who wouldn’t love one (or two, or three…) Classes last longer than flowers and they are way more affordable! Click here to check it out.

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(Always reminding you that I am a Craftsy affiliate which means if you click through from my site and make a purchase, I will be compensated.)