Monday, January 31, 2011

Friendship Star - 15 minutes at a time!

Speaking of 15 minutes… here’s what you can do with 15 minutes… spanning years!  J
Right by my machine is a pile of scraps to make blocks a friend showed me years ago.  It’s a TRUE friendship star!
Sew a 2.5”x4.5” light rectangle to a 2.5”x4.5” dark rectangle.  Or, sew a 2.5”x40” light strip to a 2.5”x40” dark strip and cut down into 4.5” subsets.  Press to the dark.

Using the picture as a guide, sew a light 2.5” square to the bottom of the dark rectangle.  You will be sewing on the diagonal of the square.  You can either use a pencil line or the Easy Angle Acrylic Tool as a guide.

Then sew a dark 2.5” square to the top of the light rectangle.   You MUST consistently sew the light square to the dark rectangle and the dark square to the light rectangle as they appear in the picture. 

Trim the excess square fabric.

Flip the fabric, and press down.  Don’t be stressed if it doesn’t match perfectly along the edges.  This is a very “forgiving” block.

Continue piecing these whenever you have 15 minutes to spare, forming a nice scrappy pile.
When you’re ready to assemble, sew a pair of sections together (like the picture below).  Repeat over and over until all your sections are sewed into these new units.

After sewing your sections into new units, start sewing your units together (like the picture below). 

Voila!  A star!

This is what happens when, after making them over a span of 9 years, you finally put them together!   Can you believe I lost track and have enough for 2 quilts!

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Quilt Humor

A friend shared this with me :) Very fitting for a Sunday.

Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about.

The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt."

Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed.  Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about.

He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

15 Minutes

Best quilt advice EVER! A teacher once told me that, no matter how busy you are, spare at least 15 minutes a day in your quilt room. You'll have peace of mind and will be amazed how much you get accomplished!

You can:

*Iron scraps in your scrap tub
*Gather and file pattern pieces from a completed project
*Clean out your bobbin area
*Replace your rotary cutter blade
*Throw out old thread
*Add a few more strips to your log cabin blocks
*Re-roll your interfacing back on the cardboard roll
*Make some spare quilt labels
*Clean your hot iron with wax paper
*Change the cd's in your CD player or download some new podcasts (might I recommend NPR's: Wait.. Wait.. Don't Tell Me?)
*Re-wrap your extension cords
*Make the binding for your UFO(s)
*Change the burned-out lightbulbs

What do you do with those precious 15 minutes?

Friday, January 28, 2011


Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
I'll have gray hair
By the time I read them!

Isn't that the truth for quilt books! So many gorgeous gems! I just ordered a used copy of Strips and Strings by Evelyn Sloppy. Saw an amazing example of her work today at a local quilt shop!

Better finish binding these mug rugs before my order arrives!

Mark It Up!

Ok, so I'm getting ready to work on Miss Shabby's Birdie Stitches and lo and behold!  Have you ever noticed how similar "white fabrics" look?  Yep, you guessed it.. they were all in the same box.  And manufacturers normally don't label their solids in the selvages.

So, big deal, eh?  Well... Moda white and Kona cotton are not the same fabric.  Different shades of white, different weaves.  Different textures.  And here I have a pile of white scraps!  What to do?

Luckily, this isn't the first time I've made this blunder :)  After washing solid colors, I always label the manufacturer, style, and (when I know it) project right on the raw edge.  Notice it's the edge I'll slice off when I'm ready to cut?

Ok, I'll stop patting myself on the back now. Nobody likes a smug quilter!

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Needle Pulling Thread

The purpose of this blog is to talk quilts, motivate myself to finish some UFO's, share what I know (which is really not that much - I just sound smart! Sometimes.), introduce you to some of my favorite tips, explore some of the most amazing quilt shops.... bits and pieces everywhere. I don't know how often I'll post, but I appreciate you coming along for the ride :)

A friend asked me about needles.  I'm no expert, but I'm will to share what I know!

Many of my latest projects involve embroidery.  I'm kinda stuck on DMC's size #10 embroidery needles - the smaller the needle the smaller the stitch. 

For machine sewing, my first machine instructor said to always use Schmetz.  She said cheap needles tend to be pretty solid, and you want, during the first sign of trouble, a needle that'll break.  WHAT? You WANT it to break???  Apparently, yes.  Because cheap needles, when you hit a pin, will bend.  And do you want that bent needle jamming down into your machine as you continue sewing?

For piecing, I use 70/10.  For machine quilting, I like the thicker 80/12.

Now, sewing down the binding... that's a different story.  LOVE my RoxanneTM straw needles.  (Insert mild panic attack here - searching the web for a link for you and -gasp-gasp- I can't find them anymore!)  Does this mean I have to hoard my remaining needles?  You betcha!

One of the most important (and most often forgotten) tip about needles: disposal!  You don't want this sweet baby coming across an old needle, do you?) 

I have several travel-size tea bag tins that I keep around.  With each new project, OUT goes the needle into the tin and IN goes a fresh one!  With so many coupons at your local fabric store, no sense in skimping!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just a few minutes left...

... and then my sweet girl's birthday is over.

Happy Birthday, Ginger, the "tester of quilts" and Princess of Patchwork!

First Scraps

Ok, new to this world, but I have SO much to share and I hope this will keep me motivated. Forgive me as I take my first wobbly steps.

Recently a friend's mother made me an awesome knit hat - first one in 40 years that doesn't pop off my head! So, I needed to make her a nice thank you gift. Homemade, of course!

It's a mug rug.  If you missed the trend (like me), they are literally mini quilts you can make/give away where you can sit your coffee, tea, or cocoa mugs. There's even a Flickr group out there.

So, I drafted my own design, took to my machine and made 3! (Gotta have one for myself, you know!)

I went with 6"x10". I designed the "mug" pattern from some clip art I came across. Although you don't have to, I used some leftover scraps of Insul-bright heat-resistant batting (used to make mini ironing board covers).

And I bound it using an all-machine binding technique found on That Girl That Quilt blog: That Girl Machine Binding. I liked that technique but need to work on it. Corners were tricky at first.

Sorry if the pic is a little dark. This rug was my first one - I think they got better as I went along. I'm going out tomorrow to buy some pretty little spoons and Tea bags to make up my care packages.

Thanks for listening...