Books quilts and sewing

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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Shopping Day

Yesterday was a shopping day for me.  I had specifically purchased fabrics for three quilts minus the backings, but had received a couple of coupons from Joann Fabrics for 30% in addition to any other discounts.  So, off to the store I went where I found the Heidi Grace fabric collection.

This I thought would make a really nice queen size quilt.  I ended up buying enough of the fabric to make a queen and a twin.  My plan was to make a twin first as a sort of proof of concept and then make the queen.  I had assumed that I could readily find a pattern for this fabric set… and that’s what I get when I assume!  I laughed until I cried.  I will find something suitable however and soldier on.

I also found a couple of quick nursery blanket kits that I intend on making for my nephew and niece:

And of course a shopping trip wouldn’t be complete without buying some more Jelly Rolls

There was another item I was able to pick up was some of my favorite Warm & White batting.  Have you done any shopping lately?

Another Give-a-Way

I’ve posted up another give-a-way under free stuff!! At the top of my page…  I had a late start this morning and didn’t get anything done last night.  I’m excited today anyway!!  I get two of my quilts back today from the long-arm quilter.  My Arbor Lane and Sage Garden quilts.  That means that I’ll be sewing binding all weekend which is actually one of my favorite things to do.


I’ll update with the pictures of the actual quilting this weekend, until next time… keep quilting!!

Jelly Rolls and Persian Plum Block 4

At lunch I slipped out to buy something from the fabric store, not out of need but there are a lot of sales going  on and I just had to.  After almost an hour of trying to decide between fabrics I ran across some jelly rolls.  I used my last one that I received for Christmas for a quilt that my son absconded with recently.  As I have no other jelly rolls at hand, I wanted to get some should the mood strike me.  Let’s be honest, can you really ever have enough fabric?

On to Block 4 of the Persian Plum BOTM

So now onto the new block.  This was definitely one of the easiest I had the pleasure of putting together!  And the colors as usual were stunning and magnificent.  If you were looking for a beautiful block this one turned out rather well.  There is some cutting involved, so be aware.

And the finished piece!!  Block 4 of 12, hey that’s means we’re already 1/3 the way there.

Out to Lunch

I’ve mentioned it in an earlier post, I do quilt swaps of mini quilts with a group on Yahoo.  For the past two days I’ve been working on mine but can’t publish it here until after the swap is complete to ensure anonymity.  Yesterday when I arrived home from work, I had only to finish the second half and started in on it immediately.  As I compared the two halves of this really neat quilt top I realized that something was dreadfully wrong.  One side was easily four inches longer than the other.

A little perplexed, I examined both very closely and figured out almost immediately that somehow one was sewn with a 1/4″ seam while the other a more generous 3/8″ seam.  The rest of last night was spent picking the “good” one apart.  Yes, I said it…  I’m shortening the long one by resewing with a 3/8″ seam because it will have more of the look that I was going for in the finished mini.

This leads me to remember my lunchtime conversation with my coworkers on Monday.  I work with a bunch of IT techies with talk ranging from what is the latest in sever hardware innovation, to which character do you play (Sith or Jedi)…  Occasionally we talk at lunch about our families, houses, activities, and other stuff that I guess bonds us as a group.

At one point during lunch (did I mention one of our permier vendors was also there?) the table had quieted down a bit and my best friend turned and asked me what I’d done with my nine days off.  Seven people turned to me for my answer as I (shamefully) admitted that I’d spend the entire time quilting.  The table remained silent when my friend spoke a little louder, I’m not sure if he was goading me or not, but asked me again and I said a little stronger that I’d spent the entire time piecing five quilts together.

To be honest, I felt worse that I didn’t say it proudly the first time… it came out as more of a squeak and that’s not my style.  I am proud of how I finished though.  One of the others who were at the table admitted afterwards that they get together with needle and thread on occasion as well.  I apologize to anyone reading this for not standing up to the opinion of others and can only say that I must have just been… out to lunch!

Winner for the Persian Plum Block 7

And the winner is…

Pillowsalamode!!!  If this is you, then you are the lucky winner.  Please email me at

And for the rest of you, I’ll be having another giveaway in two weeks.  Stay tuned and as always keep quilting!!

The Bobbin Surprise

Among the things that give me pause while quilting is the sewing machine bobbin. It’s the red-headed step-child of the sewing machine.  It is busily doing all of these wonderful things behind the scenes and rarely (did I say rarely?) complaining. As much as I remember to check my top thread, I’m almost always surprised when the bobbin runs out. The thing is… it doesn’t even upset me when it happens.

While piecing together a top furiously… (can you imagine yourself in action?) Three times in a row, the bobbin ran out at the end of what I was sewing, so no inconvenience encountered. At times however, I am so intent on sewing straight and managing the fabric while it goes though the machine that I don’t realize that for the last yard and a half the bobbin was empty!

I HAD an excuse when I was using my Singer Brilliance machine. There was no way to know while sewing as it the bobbin is enclosed for that model. Using the Viking Sapphire though leaves me with no excuse other than I like to gamble. It is a top-load bobbin with a see-through window so you can check see the bobbin on the fly.

One of my other peccadilloes is to wind two bobbins at a time. I know that I’ll still have to stop and change it out when it runs out. It feels though like it will be quicker than having to wait to wind it every time it runs dry.  Do you have OCD about certain things while sewing?  You heard it hear first from my, mine is “The Bobbin Surprise”!  Happy Quilting.

The Scissor Effect

Nostalgia has me in its grip this week apparently. I found myself talking about some of the things my wife and I have discovered as beginning quilters. I started talking about the scissors we use most. I thought it was hilarious that after spending our time, energy and money on selecting these large and really nice scissors, (one of them bought by my wife is purple even on the cutting surface) that aren’t even the one’s we use the most. I’m not opposed to spending money on useful items but we both try to stay away from frivolity in our purchases (most of the time!!). Although we’ve used everything we purchased, when we were thinking about it, the scissors we use most are the little 4 ½” detail Singer scissors. I think they cost $5.95 Of course out of all the things we do while quilting, the cutting, sewing, measuring, ironing, and washing this is one of the key instruments that when I can’t find it, can really be a bummer. We actually have two of them and they are exactly the same… well last month our daughter visited and left them too close to the iron which partially melted one of them. Even with two around, there are times when we sit down to sew and go to clip off the thread that they aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Sometimes Kay is the culprit and sometimes it’s me, but at that moment we just want those lightweight little gems. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll use the “bulkier”, more expensive ones when push comes to shove, but the little scissors are definitely in the “can’t live without” category. What is the implement of destruction can’t you live without?

A Million Questions

There are a million questions I had when I started quilting.  Some of the information needed was readily available, other info… not so much.  I still do not consider myself anything beyond a beginning quilter and find a VERY happy place there.  I’m still in the honeymoon stage of being delighted and frustrated over the simplest things at times.

While I was working on a quilt top two nights ago, my wife walked in on me staring at the two halves of my quilt top.  She asked what was wrong when she saw me staring.  The quilt top was one that you have to assemble diagonally and I was trying to figure out which side needed the piece of fabric that I had left.  Unlike some projects, having a piece left over when you know you’ve cut the exact number does NOT work in quilting.

This brought me to realize how many question I still have and how many I have had that I was lucky enough to find or be given answers.  Some of the questions I was faced with involved personal choice:

What scissors should I use?

How large of a cutting mat do I need

Which fabric brand do I buy?

Where is the best place to buy this stuff?

This evolved into more questions:

When using a rotary cutter should I try to stay straight, or cut at a slight angle?

Should I pre-wash my fabric?

How do I get the points to look good in this pattern?

No matter where I looked people seemed to avoid answering questions where personal preference was concerned.  My take on it is that if someone has asked, give them your personal opinion but do not be broken-hearted if they end up going a different way.  I had just wanted a place to start from.

I’m sure at any stage we all have questions that need answers.  Some of these answers we get from a book or a magazine, some we seek from our fellow quilters/mentors, others we plunge into headfirst and after our 20th redo, find the answer ourselves.  Wherever your answers come from, just remember that all of us at one time or another has had the same questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask the questions… and support those that are new and try to help with the answers.

If you are looking for answers, post comments, go to quilt shows, read magazines, examine other quilts, get involved in a quilt swap.  There are so many outlets for you to find out those burning questions.  Until next time, keep quilting…

Do You Wash?

How many quilt shows have you been to? Have you ever noticed whether or not the quilts in the show have had the fabrics pre-washed? I have been fascinated by this question lately and finally took the plunge for the first time pre-washing my fabric. It was very intense ironing out the fabric afterwards, but it softened up so very nicely.  My only issue with this was that I could never seem to get the wrinkles out of the fabric no matter how much I ironed!!  I’ll wait to see what it looks like after quilting though.

Part of the five quilts in nine days that I mentioned in a previous post had three of the same patterns, but with different materials. So on the first quilt I prewashed all fabrics and the second quilt I didn’t. I’m not going to make a final determination until after they’re both bound and washed again. My first impression however, it’s impressive how soft and manageable the pre-washed fabric was. The unwashed fabric was stiff and hard to manage.  It would slip and slide while I was working with it, which is good and bad.  It seemed to slip a little more while on the sewing machine as well, where the pre-washed didn’t.

As I was sewing the pieces together, they just seemed to fit better. When piecing the non-washed fabric, I felt like a wrangler on a ranch trying to herd the fabric to its proper position. It may have been perception and not fact, but I could have sworn the pre-washed fabric wanted to go together correctly!

Free Persian Plum Block 7 Give-A-Way

Believe it or not I happen to have an extra Joann Fabrics Persian Plum block 7 that I am going to send to some lucky follower.

How to Enter:

1. [Required] Leave a comment on this post. What would you do with your Persian Plum Block 7?

2. [Required] Be a follower of this blog.  It only takes a moment to click the follow button.

2. {optional} Like, and then leave a separate comment letting me know you did {or that you do already}.

If you are reading this in your email or feed reader, please visit the actual blog post to enter. Email entries, Facebook comments, and Twitter messages will NOT be counted.


At the end of the week on 6/16/12 I will randomly select a lucky recipient to send this prize to.  This is not restricted to the U.S., I will send anywhere in the world.

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