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Project Updates

At some point, which happened to be now, I wanted to take stock of where I am at and what I still felt needed to be accomplished.  I have finished so many different projects, but the year has already started spinning away from me.  Since I started this blog I have changed jobs twice and been part of three major projects at the companies I’ve worked for, the consequence of which is, not a lot of quilts were made.  Of course I was able to complete two this year, but that is way under what I had in mind originally.

The list of my current projects or to-do consists of the following:

A quilt for my brother, to be determined… Oh, the guilt, the guilt! He’s so wonderful and yet I still haven’t made one for him.

The new block of the month Thistleberry, Block 2 of 12 complete and posted.  If you hit the free stuff!! link you’ll see something new posted there…

Two flannel twin quilts for my nieces, fabric was purchased a year and a half ago… Update to this, I finally have a pattern that I like, now I just need to start them!

Another baby girl flower quilt, almost complete… this will be the third one of this design.  I’m keeping these behind at this point.  One is slated to go up on our wall (my wife’s request), but I have no plans for the other two.

The Ohio Star “Oh! Canada” quilt, finishing the last panel and it will be ready for the quilter finally!  Two years in the making…

I plan on updating this once a month to keep me honest about getting these done. I’m also re-dedicating myself to posting on a regular basis and answering any question others may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

Vacationing at home

If you’ve read any of my site you’ll know that I work in IT and at times it can be hectic.  I will be taking vacation shortly.  Our son is flying in from the East Coast and our daughter from the West Coast.  It’s a shame we all get so busy during the year, but nice that we’re able to get together at all, with all nine of us living is so many different locations.

We have plans to take the children and show them Dallas and North Texas as we see it.  The Stockyards, Farmer’s Markets, The unique shops, and of course the “Amber Waves of Grain” that will be just getting ready for harvest in a couple of months and have already turned a beautiful shade of Amber.

I know I shouldn’t digress, but seeing the wheat that has ripened to the rich Amber color of a sunset in summer has always taken my breath away.  I will say to anyone, anywhere in the world…  If you ever have the chance to see it in person, take the time to soak in the experience.  To my soul, it is breathtaking…

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Getting back on track of vacation planning, there are a lot of tasks that are left undone when you’re working five days a week and at times, 11 hours a day.  One of the things that needs doing is to get my website in better order.  I like to think of it as Spring Cleaning!  Another task left undone is catching up on photo organization.  For some reason, I cannot seem to get them organized on a regular basis and find myself overwhelmed until I take the time to go through them after they’re out of control.

Most of the time will be spent laughing with the five children that will be here and singing at the tops of our lungs in the car on the way to whatever destination we happen to be traveling to.  In the evenings, the whirring of our sewing machines as they beat out the staccato rhythm of creating blocks of fabric into quilts.

It may not have been mentioned in any previous posts, but I love watching (or rather mostly listening) to a favorite or even an unknown television series, or playing music on the stereo while putting together the pieces to a quilt.  It really is quite relaxing even if I’ve watched the same series multiple time.

My wish to all of you this summer is that you get all that you want accomplished, see all the sites that you’ve wanted to visit, and that you get ahead of all your projects.

Do you NAME your Quilts?

What’s in a name?  A while back fortune smiled on me in the form of a quilter named Linda.  She has taught me so much, not just quilting techniques, but the nuanced questions she asked me from the first time I brought my quilts for her to perform her magic on.  She was never pushy when asking those leading questions such as;  what thread color would I like, or did I already have a pattern in mind.

One of the biggest shocks I received was in the form of some very innocent questions.  Would I be labeling the quilt, and for her “own” records… what was the name of the quilt to be.  (Sorry I ended that in a preposition!)  I told her the pattern name for the quilt that I’d made, but realized that my wife had used the same pattern for her quilt as well.

For my first quilt given to Linda she has the name down as “Sage Garden (Blue)” and Kay’s quilt is “Sage Garden (Red)”, when I applied that label my daughter had noted that it was the same colors as her Sally doll.  When the label was affixed to the quilt at long last it read:

Sally Doll Quilt
Pieced by Michael Lawrence
Quilted by Linda Scott

quilt label

My daughter Samantha was very proud and proceeded to name all of the quilts that she saw… I actually took her advice on the names she came up with.  It turns out she is very good at coming up with quilt names, though I’m still a little nervous at her preference in baby names.  Grandfather’s don’t get to decide though, our job is to love them even if the parents do pick funny names.

New Baby Blanket

Looking through various quilting magazines I searched for my next conquest but didn’t want to tie up my time with a large project.  I have several requests for quilts at this point but wanted to get a few quick ones stashed away in case I needed to send one as a gift.  I came across this pattern and fell in love with it right away.  To be completely honest though, I was looking for a pattern that would include some fabric that I already had.  Using up part of the existing stash was definitely a prerequisite for the pattern.

The pattern is only about 40” X 40” which makes this more of a baby blanket size, but took a lot longer to put together than I thought it would.

Let me know what you think!!  It will be sent out for quilting soon.

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Some of the stages of construction to the finished quilt top.IMG_0804

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Persian Plum gone Wrong

The sabbatical is over and I’m making some changes to my site in the near future.  It is said that the only constant is change and with that I’ve decided to change from my slothful nature and get back to posting what I’ve been up to.

All of the monthly blocks of the Persian Plum block of the month square are completed.  When I opened the setting kit it was with a lot of trepidation.  As I flipped through the fabric I was extremely disappointed that some of the fabric hadn’t been cut properly.  I promised that I wouldn’t go off on a rant about it and proceeded to just make it work.  It was so disheartening that I have taken a lot of time to put this together only to find more work for myself to correct the manufacture’s mistakes.IMG_0787

Because of this and my general nature of needing to have multiple projects going at the same time, I completed what I’m calling my “Chopsticks Quilt” and am still plugging along with the “Oh Canada” quilt that I started the year before.  I found while going through fabric with my wife a mini-quilt that she started but hadn’t bound and asked that I be able to hand quilt it for her.  Yes, another project!!  It brightened my mood and I’m almost a third done with that one now.

Back to the Persian Plum however, she’s been helping me piece the other squares together in return for hand quilting her mini.  We’ve just about completed all of the other squares from the setting kit and should be finished piecing those this evening.  I’ll post up Blocks 11 and 12 over the next couple of days to give an idea of what the collection looks like.

Until next time,

The White Sale and the Sewing Room Remodel

The white sale

For this curiosity seeker the title has enabled me to compress the two things I wanted to write about into one topic, that of white and the impact it has on me and the trade of quilt making.

I have discovered within myself a great penchant for using white as a choice of fabrics.  I did not start out that way; in fact you could say that I avoided it through most of my initial quilt projects.  Having a great love of quilts, my wife and I purchased a lot of magazines, went to a lot of quilt shows, and visited a host of online sites to view finished quilts and patterns.

As I pointed out the quilts or patterns that I liked the most it became clear to me the thread of commonality among my choices, there was a lot of white fabric in my list of favorites.

I started using white in the quilts I was making and voila! I became happier with the finished quilts.  I honestly think it’s the stark contrast between colors, or how the white can extend a lighter colored block of fabric beyond its borders.

The white sale II

After shopping online and in stores I came to the conclusion that no one except for specialty stores were selling what we needed for the sewing room remodel.  The specialty shops were so far out of our price range it was incredible.  Yes, there products were perfect for use and would definitely improve anything we had in mind, but the cost was most definitely prohibitive.

Back to the drawing board I went searching hopelessly for something that would satisfy our space requirements and our pocket books.  IKEA had just what I had been hoping for on their website.  People may read this and say “DUH”, but I’ve never been to an IKEA store and no, I haven’t been living under a rock.  The problem with this store was that I had never been there but needed to see and measure each piece we were considering for purchase.

My great idea was to go there about noon on Saturday and wrap up no later than 2pm…  anyone who’s shopped at an IKEA store is laughing right about now.  I’m a good sport however and am laughing with them at my own ignorance.  For those of you who have never shopped there, well let me just refer to the phrase rats in a maze.  The cheese by the way isn’t along your journey through the place, just like a rats maze you’ll have to wait to reach the end before you can find satisfaction.

When we arrived home at something approaching 5pm, exhausted as I was Sunday was Mother’s day and I wasn’t going to have my wife waiting to use the new furniture when I could “easily” put it together that night!

The dread of messing something up washed over me as I opened the first box of parts and began assembly.  By the end of the first two hours, not only had I completed sewing table it had gone together so well hope sprang from within at the thought of the three other pieces of furniture waiting for assembly.

By midnight, all the pieces were assembled and positioned in the first of many configurations.

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This is what we were using!!


These are the new cabinets facing the entry wall

The new sewing tables and cutting board

The new sewing tables and cutting board


Progress on the “Oh Canada!” Quilt

Oh Canada

Another labor of love that I’ve been able to enjoy piecing together.  I’m 4/7 the way done with the quilt top and yes the square at the bottom will mark the center of the quilt.  I’m very excited about piecing this two-color quilt.  I wanted to break it down just slightly to give an idea of what it’s like to put something like this together.  Not to scare anyone off, but more of the scope of this sort of project.

This quilt when finished will be composed of 49 blocks (7 rows of 7).  Each block has (5) 3 1/2″ squares and (16) 3 1/4″ triangles.  Put in perspective of the whole, it will contain 245 small squares, 196 each of red and white triangles, 31 bordering strips, and 4 pieces for the panels.  In the end I have planned to add 13 maple leaves of different color to give it a total piece count of 685 individual pieces.  I could be off on my count a little as I was doing the math a little quickly, but you get the idea.

When I start a quilt, I always start with a single block and don’t even necessarily allow myself to think about the above information as it  will quite literally stall the project before it begins.  I don’t even cut out the fabric for all of the pieces because of this.

This quilt, or more correctly the idea that started this quilt is now a year past, as is the first block I created for it.  My question for anyone out there is how do YOU eat an elephant?

Flannel Binding

If I were to talk about one of the biggest obstacles that I’ve face since I started piecing quilts, top of my list is piecing and binding a flannel quilt.  It’s almost like sewing a Lycra skirt together I would imagine.  I am a “fair-weather” pinner and will always try to get away without pinning where I’m able, so long as the fabric I’m working with cooperates.

Flannel is one of my favorite fabrics to piece and wrap up in after a well-done job.  This is also one of the fabrics that needs the most pinning due to the stretchiness of the material.  To go a little into the woods with this topic, when I initially started quilting I wanted nothing more than to make a flannel quilt.  Off to the store I went to pick out some of the warmest, softest, and flannely flannel I could find.  I purchased much more fabric than was needed using the… “if it calls for a yard and a half why not buy four yards” guy mentality.

This of course saved me.  I knew something was off, and at first it was that I had indeed cut the wrong size on a couple of pieces.  Standing there trying to line the fabric up after I re-measured however I started to sew only to have the squares go all wonky on me once I tried to join them together.  This was my initialization into the world of flannel.

Lesson #1, pin… every… little… piece… to sew it together.  Then, pin each and every piece as they come together.  Use the steam and weight of the iron to flatten the material and set the seams, do not stretch the material while pressing.  Now I know there is someone out there that may be able to sew this without pinning using the proper tension and fabric selection on their sewing machine.  When I first started with my singer, I have a difficult time getting this correct.  Now that I have a husqvarna viking, it is a little easier, however I still have to ensure I have the machine set correctly.

I’ve posted before about how much I love to put satin blanket bindings on baby quilts, but I wanted these to have more of a homemade look to them.  People are finally getting vocal about what works for them on a flannel blanket and I’ve decided to go with the double-fold binding.  I’ll cut the fabric 2 1/2″ before folding rather than my normal 2 1/4″ wof.

Lesson #2, Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.  I’ll post the pics of these next week to show you how they turned out.

Until next time,

Keep Sewing!!

Are you like a crazy person?

I love the world of quilting.  I love to design, sew, and finish these wonderful projects.  I am especially fond of having a finished product to admire at the end of all my hard work.  The flurry of the holidays is long since passed for me and my time is starting to open back up ever so slightly.  If I am to be perfectly honest, I’ve noticed that something has been missing in my life, a certain lack that when I tried to pinpoint exactly what it was, I realized that I hadn’t created anything new at all for over two months.



Does anyone else feel the same when life has “caught them up”?  Given the fact that the holidays are a busy time for both work and life in general, I sacrificed one of my passions to make room for others.  It’s the dance we do when a choice has to be made.

The Persian Plum that I started last year will be complete by next weekend and then it’s off to the quilters.  Between then and now, I have two flannel blankets that simply need to be bound and they will be complete as well.  I should have pictures up of those by tomorrow.

To everyone reading…  Thank you for all your wonderful comments, they mean a great deal to me and are very much appreciated.

Sew Happy!!

My Recent Troubles with the Christmas Quilts…

It’s been crazy with work lately…  Posting up what my projects are and what I’m currently doing has taken a back-seat to work, home, and sewing.  I knew this was going to be a beat-down that will continue through next week but am able today to give a brief account of what I’ve managed to eek out.

While working on the original Christmas quilt, I was showing Kay a video on more patterns with which to make quilts and found one on YouTube of one that to me looked perfect for another Christmas quilt.  It’s basically a Jelly Roll pattern for a quilt and since Kay had a Jelly Roll sitting around with nothing to do, she decided to attempt it.  While I, having a lot of extra Christmas fabric, decided to start on a second quilt without finishing my first!  I know everyone understands what spurs us on to do that…

So, I’m working furiously during my off time to get this new one completed and realized that I had not finished Teagan’s binding so I could send it out.  I stopped working on the new Christmas quilt and finished up Teagan’s.  With that accomplished, I pulled out both of the Christmas quilts and while looking at the first decided to incorporate some embroidery into the pattern.


As you can see I’ve become distracted and have lost focus… the only good news is that I AM progressing on getting these two quilts finished until…

While reading through a quilting magazine, I came across a really simple quilt pattern that I thought would be perfect to use with some flannel material.  You can already guess what I did, I stopped working on the Christmas quilts and am 2/3 the way through this new quilt.

Alas, I have no willpower when it comes to starting new projects while the old ones languish waiting to be finished.









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