Friday, January 31, 2014

Mini Design Boards - Gotta Love Them!

I love using these mini design boards!  I posted about them previously here.

They really make it easy to lay out and stitch a whole stack of blocks efficiently without getting the pieces out of order.

I love using them so much that I made a whole stack of smaller ones (10x10") as well as some more of the 15x15" size.

Note - I skipped the edging step; I found that it was pretty time consuming, especially if you're making a whole pile.  Also, I found that using a colored or patterned binding could be a bit distracting for me when it came to the design of the block.  Basically, I should just admit that I was too lazy for that step!  However, just to assure you - they work perfectly fine without the edging.  :)

Thanks, Lori Holt, for introducing these to the quilt world!!

Click here for the link to her tutorial., or here for her YouTube video tutorial.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Armrest Pincushion Organizer

I've been wanting to get a armrest pincushion in place for my favorite chair, replacing...

...this!  Not a very good use of an expensive chair,

even though it worked perfectly, except for the fact that I was always losing my scissors!

I love it!  I never knew that not losing your scissors while hand stitching could be so enjoyable!
I based my version on this inspiration via Pinterest and this tutorial.  

Finished size:  5 1/2 x 16"
Pockets are 7" tall
Machine quilted rows are 1" apart.
Pockets divisions are stitched in the machine quilting channels.
I filled the pincushion section with ground black walnut shells, just as I did with these needle cushions.

To make one perfectly suited for your favorite chair, simply drape a piece of fabric over the armrest to get an idea of what size you will need.

Vintage Fabric Finds


I've been working at collecting vintage fabrics to add to my current stash to use in this fabulous "Green Tea and Sweet Beans" quilt by Australian quilter Jen Kingwell.

How fun to find these pieces at the thrift shop today!

Needle Cushions

I'm such a sucker for these vintage tart pans; I'm always picking them up at the thrift shop.  A friend recently asked, "What are you going to do with them??"  I wasn't sure, but I thought surely something related to sewing or quilting would be their destination.  And it was....

They became the base for these little pin cushions!

I'm always losing my needles in the middle of my tomato pin cushions, 
so I purposely made these more shallow than your typical pin cushion.

I filled them with ground black walnut shells.  Really, really like the weight the walnut shells add, helping to keep these little cushions in their place.

I picked up a bag of ground walnut shells at a quilt show last year, 

but did wonder why the shells are almost as expensive as the walnuts themselves!!
However, it does feel good to use a natural product that would have gone to waste otherwise.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Today's Fabric Finds

One of the gals from quilt guild brought a whole pile of vintage fabrics and supplies along to guild meeting today.  Apparently someone had passed these goodies on to her, and she was happy to share them with the group.  I was thrilled!  I couldn't believe my good fortune, especially since I've been wanting to add to my vintage fabric stash to make this fabulous "Green Tea and Sweet Beans" quilt by Australian quilter Jennifer Kingwell.

I love vintage fabrics.  And, this one even still had its "Newberrys" price tag on it!  Do you remember Newberrys?!  Such a fun memory of my childhood....

Then, I stopped in at Jo-Ann's for some thread on sale, and couldn't resist picking up a few more pieces of Denyse Schmidt's fabrics....

Friday, January 17, 2014

Batting Invasion!

This is what greeted me when I answered the doorbell today!

This is a 30-yard roll of Hobbs 80/20 batting that I ordered from Linda's Electric Quilters.  I wish I had gone this route years ago!  I have so many scraps of so many different types of batting taking up space in my closet and storeroom; this should help to eliminate some of that waste and nuisance.  I plan to use this particular batting for both machine and hand-quilted quilts from now on, and I plan to piece together any scraps to minimize any waste.  (In the meantime, I'm working at piecing together my current batting scraps for future quilts.) I chose the bleached batting so it would work with both white as well as darker quilts. 

(By the way, as much as I would love to replace my outdated kitchen floor, it works perfectly as a "cutting table" - I can easily square up a quilt or lay fabric and batting out to cut, using the grids as a guide.  And, it's absolutely perfect for basting a quilt!)

Now the dilemma - where in the world am I going to store this baby?!  I'd like to keep it on the main floor of my house since I always baste my quilts on the kitchen floor, but I don't know where to go with it.  It's weighs way more than it looks like it would, so for now it's sitting in the living room.  Guess I need to  finish a bunch of quilts to get it down to a manageable size!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Strips and Squares

I finished stitching this "Strips and Squares" quilt  for Kathy of Stitch by Stitch earlier this week, but couldn't get outside to take pictures until today.  (Can I just say I'm tired of this dreary, dreary weather in Southcentral PA?!)

There was no rain today for a change, but it was still cloudy; so, I decided to haul one of my living room chairs out onto the front stoop where the lighting would hopefully be better than indoors (questionable?!).  

These "Wallflower" fabrics by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew are so sweet and cheery,

even if it doesn't look that way in the winter light.

I wasn't able to nab anyone to hold this quilt up for me to take a full shot, so I laid it out on the driveway (everything else is soggy at the moment from all the rain and snow we've had lately) and climbed up on a stepladder to snap this picture.

My neighbors already think I'm crazy; these antics probably didn't help matters!

Links to the fabrics and patterns are found in this post.

Can't wait to see Kathy's longarm magic on this one!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dutch Pinwheel

 I finished stitching 12 of these "Dutch Pinwheel" blocks this evening - fun stuff!  I've been wanting to make a quilt out of these blocks ever since seeing this quilt by Messy Jesse about a year ago.  

This pile of 150 or so triangles of 1930's prints that were left over from the basket quilt I had pieced last year inspired the project.  I needed another 40 half-square triangle sets, so I used this method to quickly stitch up the remaining sets.

I used my "Bloc-Loc" ruler to square up the half-square triangle sets - love it!!  It is the slickest invention.  I had purchased it last spring at the AQS quilt show, but this was the first chance I had to use it.  I'll post more about it later.

These design boards were a great help - I was able to lay out all my triangle sets, then stack the boards and set them next to my machine so I could sew away.

I was so happy with my points, thanks to the Bloc-Loc ruler.

As much as I love my 1930's prints, they do feel a bit dreary compared to the bright, clear colors that are widely available these days.  So, since I'm having so much fun with half-square triangles, I may just have to stitch up another version out of my Pam Kitty Morning  fabric stash!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Hot Pad Makeover

I had fun stitching these hot pads from scraps left over from the quilt top I had pieced for Kathy!

I never think about how bad my hot pads look until company is looking over my shoulder when I'm cooking for them.  Then, I totally forget about doing anything about it....  But, a few little scraps from Kathy's quilt were all the inspiration I needed!

I simply recovered the old hot pad, then made another one to match out of scraps of Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting; four layers seemed about right.  

It was a fun way to try out some walking foot quilting designs.

For the backing, I used some Denyse Schmidt fabric that I had on hand from a previous purchase from Jo-Ann Fabrics, then machine stitched on the bias binding. 

I'm terrible at throwing out my hot pads - both of these nasty-looking pads were hostess gifts back when I was living in my first apartment out of college; I can still remember the guests that gave them to me.  Throwing them away is like throwing out memories!

I have a feeling that I'm not going to want to chance getting my new lovely hot pads dirty, even for the best of company....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I'm getting ready to stitch a "Strips and Squares" quilt out of these dear Wallflower fabrics by...

...Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew.

Again, I always hate undoing the perfectly coiled jelly roll....

... or opening the neatly ordered charm pack.  Am I the only one with such issues??  :)

Click here for the link to the pattern. 
(I'm planning to add an extra set of rows to the bottom since they'll be enough fabric to do so.)

Not sure how long the fabrics will be available, but here are the links for purchasing the jelly roll and charm packs from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

I'll post pictures of the finished quilt top in a few days!