Scrap Breeding

Do you ever feel as if your scraps are breeding in the dark corners of your studio??   Well, that is exactly how I felt when I realized that my one scrap basket was completely full…pressed down and running over, and that there was another box on a shelf with even more scraps that needed to be dealt with…..


So, I dedicated my 20 minute morning sessions to getting the boxes cleaned out and all of the scraps cut and ready for use.

I subscribe to the Bonnie Hunter Scrap User System.   She suggests cutting strips of 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 inches in width and squares in those same sizes.   I go a bit further and add squares in 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 and 6.0 inches as well.    I try to only cut strips if they are longer than 12 inches, but dont worry if the 1.5 inch strips are a bit shorter.   I also cut rectangles in 2 x 3.5 and 2.5 x 4.5.

It took quite a while to get thru everything and I was amazed to realize that I couldn’t remember what project some of the pieces came from.  And there were some that I would swear that I had NEVER even owned the fabric…..

See….  I told you that they breed….these unknowns were apparently hybrids!!!

It was a good feeling to see this fine stack at the end of the process…..



And, it felt even better to fill up my 1.5 inch strip drawer again…..


It had taken quite a hit over the last two years as I made my rainbow pineapple quilt and another friend used the same strips to make her pineapple quilt.

The same went for the 2.5 squares……they have been used for numerous quilts made by myself and others…..


As I added to the 2.5 x 4.5 bin, I realized that I need to come up with a pattern to use some of these up……


When I was finished I had two stacks of leftovers.   This first one will be handed over to the Guild Charity group to stuff Dog Beds that are made for one of the local shelters…..img_7863.jpg

The second pile are scraps that are too small to use but too big to throw away….


Most non-quilters would find that statement a bit crazy but I KNOW that all of you quilters completely understand!!!

We are excitedly heading into wedding week and are truly looking forward to the events of the upcoming weekend.    My daughter has been amazing at organizing the event and I am expecting everythng to go well.

Then, it is only 2 weeks until tax season is over.,…..and, the pièce de résistance will be our Guild retreat for 4 days at the end of April!!!








Fun times with handwork!!

Over the last few months I have posted about my enjoyment of doing various types of handwork….starting with beading and embroidery.  I have shown snippets of these, but as Quilt Show Chairman I made a badge for each of my 34 Chairmen and Co-Chairs.   I think that they turned out great…..


….and were even nicer when Claire helped to put the ribbons on each of them…..


They looked super when they were all finished…..


….and the recipients (who did an AMAZING job) seemed to enjoy having them to wear during the show…..

Over the last two (or maybe it is three) years, I have worked on a Needlepoint design from Kaffe Fasset.   It was fun to work on the funky flowers in amazing colors…..


I gave it to my son, Brian and his wife Amber when they purchased their first house and it is now residing happily in Amber’s art studio!!

And now, I am moving on to  Hand Applique.

The few times that I have tried Hand Applique, I have really enjoyed the sewing process but was never happy with the way that I prepared the pieces beforehand.   I had tried Needle Turn but that did NOT work out well!   I tried gluing the edges down, ironing them down and folding them over a piece of Freezer Paper.   I even tried it wth TWO pieces of Freezer Paper ironed together to give it more body.   But nothing really worked!

When I was at the Quilt Show in Houston, I spent a few minutes listening to quilter, Karen Kay Buckley, talk about her method for preparing applique pieces.  She advocates using heat resistant Templar plastic to form the applique pieces.   Rather than using glue, she suggested brushing the edges using Magic Sizing…..

IMG_7659.jpgShe even suggested spraying a small amount in the cap and using a brush to coat the edges….img_7661.jpg

…and then ironing the edges in place….IMG_7663.jpg

Karen says to use a dry iron but I found that it worked much faster if I used a minimal amount of steam.   This revelation came when I “thought” that I had turned the steam off but, in fact, had only turned it to the lowest setting.   So, lowest setting it is!!

The plastic is removed and the result is a piece all ready for sewing down…..img_7666.jpg

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to start with and my mind kept coming back to 70’s Mod Flowers.   The good thing about these flowers is that they are mostly gentle curves and I think that will be a good thing to start with.

I am also using Buckley’s circle templates to do the flower centers…..

img_7667.jpgThis technique involves sewing a running stitch around the fabric, brushing the edges with Magic Sizing…..


And then pull to make a perfect circle…..


I have absolutely NO idea what these will be used for, but I have started making blocks and am loving the process…..


These two went together without any problem and I am now working on a larger block with two layers of petals.

I have also added a couple of things to my sewing corner… my recliner with a table to hold my cup of tea…..IMG_7804.jpg

The biggest addition is the lamp that folds over my shoulder and does a fantastic job of illuminating my project without putting out so much light that it disturbs Michael as he sits next to me. This lamp is the Slimline LED floor Lamp made by Daylight Company.  I especially like it because it folds back on itself which means that it isn’t a super obvious intrusion into the room decor when I am not using it.

I first heard of the lamp from Bonnie Hunter in one of her blog posts.   She not only extols the benefits of the lamp but also gives some great tips for how to make assembly easier.   You can check it out here……

Tbe next addition was a wicker basket to hold all of my “stuff”.  Previously I had just set it directly on the floor but felt like it made my area look cluttered.   I am MUCH happier with this solution.

The only problem now is that I can hand sew the flowers pretty quickly but am fairly slow at getting the pieces ready.  Hopefully I will get better at that soon!!   And one of these days, I MIGHT try making a leaf or a stem or something else flower related.   I will keep posting as I go.

Show Time!!!

This past weekend our guild celebrated with our 15th biennial quilt show and it was a huge success.   We had over 1200 visitors which is about 250 more than we have ever had before.   As this year’s show chairman, I was PUMPED!!

My quilts did well in the show, with “Vila Do Conde Friendship Garden” receiving 2nd place…..

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“All Tatted Up” got an Honorable Mention…..IMG_7632.jpg


The judge even liked the sponge painted corners!!!


“The Tiles of San Giovani” received an Honorable Mention…..

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“Snowed Under” was also awarded Honorable Mention…..IMG_5449.jpg


As usual, our ribbons were amazing…..


I really appreciated the attention to detail…..

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But, the quilt that brought the most comments was “My Favorite Earrings”…..



It was such fun to walk past the bay where it was displayed and hear people oohing and aahing over it!!   There is something about it that just makes people smile!!

My favorite ribbon of the show was the Blue ribbon in the Novice Division that sweet Claire received for her quilt made for her Mom and Dad……


The judging this year was done by Doris Goins and I really enjoyed listening to her comments and watching her judge the show.   It was even more interesting when I looked at the judges comments on my 7 quilts and saw that MOST of them had the same two comments.   The first was tension issues in the quilting which I have already fixed when I tightened the screw in the bobbin casing.   The second was that my binding was well done but that my mitered  corners need work to be square.   So that definitely gives me something to work on and learn how to do better!!

All in all, the weekend was a blast!!   It is always so much fun to talk quilting for hours at a time, with quilters and non-quilter’s alike.  Although we got off to a rough start with the quilt frames collapsing after we had hung about 75% of the quilts (!!!!), everyone rallied together to re-set and re-brace the frames and then re-hang the quilts.   Amazingly, everything was finished and we all got to go home shortly after the opening ceremony!!    On Friday we had 225 visitors in the first hour and, when parking ran short, I ended up running a shuttle from a local church to the civic center.   Note to self….must have a parking director next time!!!!  We closed the show out with a bang….literally….as severe thunderstorms roared thru the area, leaving us loading trucks in the rain and dashing to our cars with our precious quilts tucked safely under our arms!!

This beautiful sight was the end to a magnificent weekend……


So now I am back to doing tax work and starting to get geared up for my daughter’s wedding in THREE weeks!!

My goals for February worked pretty well, although I missed one week of blogging and those two pounds are still around….but at least they haven’t brought any new friends with them!!

Until next time……


What’s next…..

I have finally finished all of the quilts for our local show, and I have laughed as I realized how many of my quilts have a finish date of January or February of show years!!   I guess that I really do need a deadline!!

I am now starting to think about what to do next.   I know that the next three months are going to be super busy and that I wont have a lot of large blocks of time but I do want to make sure that I have something planned for my “creative-20” minutes each day.

The problem is that there are just SOOOO many choices, including a number of UFO’s that came from my Mom!!

She left this quilt top…..


….which I dont particularly like, but I just realized that it might be a good place to practice some ruler work free-motion quilting!!

She also left several sets of block that I am not sure I EVER want to finish…..



Since I couldn’t come to a decision about where to start, I decided to  start working on cutting and organizing the scraps that have accumulated in the last couple of years.   Today I worked on them for 2 hours while listening to a webinar about Depreciation Tax Laws…..


I thought that having my hands on fabric would make the webinar more enjoyable….Not So Much!!   Anyway, it will be good to have all of the scraps cut and stored in an orderly manner and ready to use at a moment’s notice.

One of the things that I also wanted to do was to give my sewing machine a good clean.   To that end, I purchased a vaccuum cleaner attachment that would allow me to get down and dirty with my machine…..IMG_7592.jpg

It seemed to have made a big difference.

Finally, the chairman of our Guild’s charity bee gifted me two quilt tops that I can use to practice my machine quilting.   I love this quilt……img_7593.jpg

…..and am looking forward to quilting it, but think that I will do this other one first……img_7594.jpg

These two will give me some good practice time!!


Finally, I have also realized that I am missing having something to work on at night so I am playing with some hand applique….but more about that in a future post.

So for now, I am enjoying doing a few small things and looking forward to creative times to come!!!


First Finish of 2019……

I have had a bit of time to spend in my studio over the last couple of weeks and am desperately trying to get several quilts finished for our upcoming guild show.    I have already registered them and hope to get them finished by the receiving days in February.

The first finish of the year is a baby quilt that I LOVED making.  I found the pattern on the first night that we were at the Houston show and KNEW that it was exactly what I wanted.  The pattern was “My Favorite Earrings” by Sandy Fitzpatrick. IMG_7546

Isn’t it the cutest thing!!!!

I had help from my friend, Katie, to make the butterflies.   She and her husband came to our house on Christmas Day to share some Chinese Food and chatting time and she and I magically ended upstairs in my studio.   I showed her the pattern and gave some basic instruction about how to use Wonder under and she was off!!  


When I originally cut the fabrics out, there wasn’t enough contrast between the head and the background and it didn’t look great…..IMG_7441

….so I pulled out my trusty sea sponge and light brown paint and added some “shading” on the heads……


It really made a LOT of difference!!

As I got ready to quilt, I kept seeing “flower power” designs so added those first with some variegated threads….


….and then echoed the flowers throughout the rest of the piece…..


Finally, I used one of my ruler’s to quilt the border, but I talked about that HERE.

All in all, I am thrilled with this first finish of the year….here’s to more to come!!

Ruler Quilting–a little blip

I have been using a ruler to quilt the borders on a cute baby quilt and have learned a few things as I quilted along.

I first used the straight edge to quilt lines inside the inner border….IMG_7512..a nice ease-into using a ruler.

Then I started using a curved edge to quilt the pieced borders……


….and that is where I started having issues.

Firstly, I found that the foot was getting stuck as I crossed seams and, because I was having to force it along, I was making long (toe snag) stitches.  I kept raising the presser foot height but it wasn’t getting any better.

Then, I had a good look at my ruler foot and realized that there is a spring and screw that, amazingly, raise and lower the foot!!!!IMG_7513


Then a few hours later, I started having trouble with the thread breaking.   I completely unthreaded my machine, cleaned out the lint, including a small piece that was stuck in the bobbin case and started over but it still wouldn’t work for long.

As a last resort, I decided to change the needle and it fixed the problem.  I seldom think about the needle being the issue but obviously it had a burr on the eye that was causing the thread to shred.

Here is the finished border…..


I was able to quilt it without having to make any marks and it adds so much more than my normal 3 squiggly lines down the middle.

This was a simple pattern, using the easiest of the rulers, but I am pleased just to have made a start!!

I am one Happy Quilter!!!

A Little Tension Never Hurt Anyone!!!

I bought my Juki Sewing Machine about 2-1/2 years ago and I have really enjoyed it….except for my machine quilting!!   

I have never been fully happy with the tension when I was doing free-motion quilting and I NEVER was able to get “ruler” quilting to look good.  I had the top tension dialed down almost to 0 and the bobbin stitches were still making their way to the top…..IMG_7500

So, after spending a little time with Google, I came across a video by Westalee Rulers that talked about changing the Bobbin Tension.  Like most of you, I was taught that you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER did that. 

Well, I was just frustrated enough to give it a try and, with much fear and trembling, I pulled out the screwdriver and got busy, adjusting it by about 5 “minutes” each time…..


In this case, I had to INCREASE the bobbin tension which also meant that I could tweak the top tension to be a bit tighter as well.

And guess what……IT WORKED!!……IMG_7502

I spent a couple of hours free-motion quilting on a current project and had NO tension problems and NO thread breaking.

I have also decided to use a ruler to quilt the border which should make finishing much faster!!

So one of my goals for 2019 has already been reached…..learning more about doing ruler-work!!!