Books quilts and sewing

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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

My Cat the Quilter

I set my cat to wake me up at 7am this past Saturday and he went off at 5:30am…  I think he’s broken.  Today he deleted everything I was writing… okay, maybe just the blog that I was writing.  Since I was fairly deep into my thoughts at that point and it has been erased I’ll assume that he wanted at least one blog as an ode to him.  He likes to give me subtle hints like that when he wants something.  I’d like everyone to meet Oliver, my alarm clock, nuisance, conscience, pal, and pest.

Oliver is not type of cat to play with string, he’s way too sophisticated for that.  A full bobbin or two batted around the house is more his style just to let you know that he’s the true quilter.  When you’re good to him and give his treats on time, he’ll console himself with an empty spool or two though just to prove he’s still a cat and not the devil’s imp.

He’s the one that checks over my work and either gives me a congratulatory meow, or walks over my creation (his way of telling me that it needs to be redone).  When I’ve done really well Oliver curls up on top of the quilt and claims it for himself.

If I’m walking back and forth from sewing machine to ironing board, he positions himself directly in the middle of the two to ensure that I receive extra exercise.  Of course setting the quilt top out wouldn’t be complete unless just before he jumped on the bed and got under the quilt to be in the way to inspect the underside.

Honestly, Oliver has become so good at quilting and instructing me how to quilt properly that I’ve entered him into a contest.  I could not resist as this is so funny because it’s so true.

Do you have any funny stories about your quilting cat?

Great Book

I originally got this link from and it’s about a book that she suggested and I did end up ordering. If you’re interested in Amish quilts and the history behind them then this book is fantastic.

Shopping for Fabric Again

Where do you shop?  Where are the good deals on fabric?  Luckily I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area which means that I have a lot of different options.

Here’s my latest find

I’ve gone to a lot of different stores, but keeping going back to the same store when I’m buying in bulk…  Joann fabrics.  Don’t get me wrong, I always support my local quilt shops and buy a lot of fabric from them, but pinching pennies is really important also and when I’m buying Kona Solids I like to get them for a great price.  My favorite buy was 9 yards of the Kona Solids for only $2.80 a yard…. that was a good day.

What constitutes a good deal for you?

Under the Weather/Radar

ImageImageImageI spent most of the weekend working on the Schoolhouse quilt and getting it almost finished, but Sunday I turned my attention back to the Sampler Quilt my wife and I are working on together.  I finished the last two blocks and then sewed the panels together.  Even though I did a lot of work, I kind of felt out of sorts Sunday and here it is Monday and I’m definitely feeling under the weather.

Today will be spent relaxing and taking it easy, though I might try to finish the binding on the Christmas quilt that I spent so much time hand quilting.  That project took so long and it is time to have that completed.  When you feel under the weather, do you continue to do projects or just try and relax?











On another note, my daughter finished sewing her blocks together and will finish sewing the panels together this morning.  Let her know what you think…  This is going to be her very first quilt, she chose the pattern, fabrics, and colors all by herself.


My children are thieves

My third quilt to go missing is now in Maryland with my son who is in the Air Force. He was on his way to his new base and was visiting us for a week in between bases. I was in the process of putting together a Jelly Roll quilt from the fabric that my wife and daughter had bought me for Christmas.

And speaking of, when I pulled out the Jelly Roll from its wrapping it took me a while to realize what it was. It’s not like I haven’t seen one before, I had just never envisioned using one for a quilt. What’s a guy to do when you’re given something that you don’t know what to do with? I very politely said thanks, and put it away for a while in my fabric bin.

A couple of months later while I was looking to buy some quilt books (I have said before that I have a problem buying too many right?) I came across a dozen or so books on making Jelly Roll quilts. Naturally i bought a few and even purchased some magazines on the topic at a local fabric store.

The quilts featured in these publications certainly looked fun to make and something that I could maybe finish in a weekend. I was happy with how the quilt top turned out and sent it off to my wonderful Long Arm quilter. When I picked the quilt up after it was finished it had been transformed from a good quilt into a work of art.

It was at this point in the story that our son arrived. Like any good child who shows up just as the meal is being set to the table, or when the last nail is being driven home on a project, he shows up just as I’m putting the binding on my first Jelly Roll quilt. I have to say that the colors where more to his liking than some of the previous quilts that I had made, more… manly.  Over the course of the week he made it clear how much he wanted it and in the end, I had to give in.


Have you ever had your crafts find another home though you didn’t plan on it?

The Schoolhouse blocks are finished!!

I’ve said before that I work in IT (Information Technology), what that basically means is I sit at a desk and am on the computer a LOT… So yesterday, I was thinking about getting home from work and being able to do more work on the Schoolhouse quilt. One of my commitments however, is to get to the gym at least 3 times a week because, let’s be honest… I am NOT getting enough exercise at work! Some weeks I make it to the gym three times and sometimes just once.

Even though I’m practically desperate to finish those Schoolhouse blocks, I knew it was time for me to get myself to the gym. When I arrived home from work, I had about 30 minutes until my wife would get home as well and change into my workout outfit so we could go to the gym. I quickly changed and then started sewing!! I imagine it was a funny sight when my wife saw her husband in shorts and running shoes on my Viking Sapphire furiously trying to get a little bit more sewing completed before we left. She did laugh by the way.

By the time we arrived back at the house, it was 7:30pm and we had a very nice dinner that we brought home. After dinner I proceeded to spend the next 2 ½ hours getting my blocks put together, ironed, and trimmed. I’m very happy with how they turned out and when I looked at the clock and saw that it was past 10pm I knew that I’d accomplished everything I had wanted. I know the blocks are not perfect, I haven’t quite got the ¼” seam down as much as I’d like to think, but I’m proud nonetheless at how well this quilt is coming together. I still have to sew the sashing on to bring the blocks together and then put on the border. What color should I use for the backing??? I still haven’t decided and would really like some input.

Tonight and tomorrow, I’ll be working on the sampler quilt with my wife to finish the last two blocks and start sewing that quilt top together. I’ll post photos of that tomorrow. I will finish the Schoolhouse quilt top this weekend and hopefully come up with an idea of what to do to the backing by then as well.

School House Quilt

Its been a long time in the making but when it’s important, a person makes time.

For the past four months, I have been wanted to make an Amish inspired Schoolhouse quilt that I saw in a book.  I’ve almost been obsessed with making this quilt!  I AM a quilt book junkie, but that is a story for another time.  We were right in the middle of our inspired and unplanned quilt sampler and one of the blocks I made for it was a Schoolhouse block.  The next thing my wife knew, I was pulling out my purple and black fabrics to start cutting out the pieces for my schoolhouse quilt.

At times I have to work very odd hours, it’s not too often but yesterday I was up working at 3:30am.  I work in the IT field and there are a lot of long pauses between when I have to do something.  Yesterday morning was no exception, what was the exception was that I continued to cut pieces for my new quilt in between doing what I needed to.  By the time 7am rolled around, I had finished all of the paper piecing and the cut out all of the purple pieces.

Later on that day I was able to start the sewing (and Ironing) process that would bring order to the mess of strips I had positioned all over the front room…  my wife, still working on our sampler quilt was in the midst of her last two and most difficult blocks.  She was really wonderful about me going off the reservation for the day however and only asked one time if I was going to resume my work on the sampler quilt sometime this week.  I have promised her that I will but want to get the Schoolhouse blocks sewn up first.  I have only two blocks to go for our sampler quilt and we can start the process of sewing it all together.

I think it’s important to DO when inspiration strikes and never pass up an opportunity to have another project in the works.  It might make me feel overwhelmed at times, but after it’s all accomplished, I just feel amazed.

Strips and bits already put together.

Roof under construction

Assembly line for bottom front of school house.

Too many projects!!

Too many projects and not enough time…

How many of us know and have said this exact line?

I have so many open projects right now that I find myself jumping from one to another… currently I have 5 projects and a redesign that I’m having fun with. I am definitely not saying I’m overwhelmed, or maybe I am, but just… happily overwhelmed.

My Christmas quilt that was hand-quilted needs it’s binding finished, I sewed the binding on one side, started hand stitching it down and then moved onto another project.
I made a beautiful Amish mini quilt for a swap group. In the early stages of making the mini, I knew right away I was in love with it. I had misgivings about swapping it, but rather than keeping it for myself and making something else for the swap, I realized that by not sharing what I considered a worthy piece of art, people out in the world would never truly know my efforts, my creative talents or skill level. In the end, I submitted my mini for voting and sent it off to the lucky recipient in Germany. To combat my separation anxiety (Has anyone else felt this way about giving up something they’ve made?) I proceeded to make another immediately. Thus, project number two is sitting in its hoop, mocking me from the end of the couch.
I had cut out all of the pieces for my Amish schoolhouse quilt, then decided I liked another pattern better and am in the process of cutting that down to piece together.
I FINALLY started the center block for my Block of the Month quilt from Joann Fabric called “Arbor Lane” and have to finish that up. All the blocks will be done at that point, but I’ll need to piece it all together… I can hardly wait until this one comes back from the quilters!
I’m helping my daughter piece her very first quilt together and am very excited to see how it turns out. I’ll post one of the squares here so you can see where’s it’s going.

While all of this is going on, my wife was looking through Elm Creek Quilts and came across a really nice looking pattern called a Sampler. We both looked at each other and said… “We could do this!!” It has 12 blocks and she and I have completed 8 of the 12 as of today. This will be the third quilt that we’ve made together.

All in all, I’m very happy with the various projects we have in the works and can’t wait to share them with you. How many are you currently working on?

An interesting vacation choice

This was her year to decide where we went for vacation. We were very fortunate this year that we had so many possibilities, Crete, Ireland, Geneva, maybe even Alaska. These were the destinations in my mind as I waited patiently for my wife to pick the vacation of her dreams. Within a couple weeks she arrived home excited about the destination she had chosen and couldn’t wait to share with me her plans… She had picked where we were to stay, and all the places she wanted to visit.

It would be late January when we left and I was thinking about warm sandy beaches and cocktails with umbrellas and then she revealed the wonderful place we were to spend our hard-earned vacation… Seattle. By the look on my face she immediately knew that I wasn’t thrilled about it and she started to say that we could go somewhere else if I wanted.

I’ll be honest, at first it threw me off. Seattle in winter? But I thought it must be important because she had already planned the whole trip! I reminded her that it was her turn and that I’d be happy wherever we went so long as I could spend it with her. I did ask her why she choose that as our trip instead of a more exotic locale and she told me she wanted to go to Bainbridge Island to a shop called ‘Churchmouse Yarns and Teas’.
You see, she had recently started learning to Knit and was getting quite proficient with all of the different knitting techniques. Every time she looked something up on the web, 7 out of 10 times this shops name would come up.
There were, of course, many other shops she wanted to go to as well and I thought to myself why not? This is what she wants to do and I knew I’d have fun anyway.

It turned out to be the best vacation we have ever had and I’m happy that I went into it with a good attitude.

Have you ever had a trip turn out way better than you expected?

We stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Chambered Nautilus with gourmet breakfast every morning.


Of course we visited Pike’s Place and Market Street.


On a Ferry going to Bainbridge Island


A quick trip into Vancouver…  Can you say Beautiful?


Got in touch with nature at Deception Point


And here’s the place and reason we went to Seattle in the first place.


Doesn’t she look happy?


We visited a wonderful winery called Chateau Ste. Michelle.  Winery tour and tasting.


We had the best Clam chowder I’ve ever tasted and the best hot chocolate as well down at Market Street.


Blackbirds Cafe on Bainbridge Island, best coffee and sticky buns ever!!


My favorite was the quilt museum in La Conner, Wa



Persian Plum Block 1

Persian Plum 


Block 1 Roundup

The first block in the set… With great anticipation I pulled the fabric from the package and my heart skipped a beat. There in my hands was a miss-cut piece of a triangle, and I couldn’t believe that right out of the gate I would be disappointed. As I continued to examine the pieces supplied however, my disappointment turned to excitement as I realized that it was extra!! There were already four PERFECT triangles to use and I can only assume that someone decided to include it in the kit rather than wasting a perfectly good piece of scrap!!

The other two comments are about the color and density of the fabric they choose. This is NOT cheap fabric and no matter how many pictures I post, they would never do the fabric justice. It is thick without being too thick and got me thinking about how heavy and wonderfully durable this quilt is going to be when complete. The color of the fabric has such depth and complexity as I mentioned in an earlier post, but doesn’t compare to actually holding it outside of the package. Only one word describes it… “WOW”

Below are the pictures of assembling Block 1 from the Persian Plum Block of the Month from Joann Fabrics… Let me know what you think.


Here are the triangles that came with the kit


Sewing the smaller triangles together


All the triangles joined together


Here is the finished block…


Block 1 Compared to the package!! Not bad right?

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