Monday, February 28, 2011


You hear quilters talk about their ‘stash’, which doesn’t necessarily sound appealing, does it? But as every quilter knows, their ‘stash’ is a lovely place. It may not be folded and stacked neatly (probably isn’t) but your stash is one facet of quilting that keeps you going. It is what you want to use up; it is what you want to add to. It is your constant quilting companion.
Many quilters have very large stashes, collected over the years. Many add bits and pieces of all the latest fabrics by all the popular designers. Compared to these kinds of quilters, my stash is quite forlorn, mostly ‘leftovers’ from projects past. I occasionally make lists of what all I could make of these leftovers, and it really is quite a lot. But often, I am mostly drawn to what is currently on the market – what’s new and exciting.
My daughter adds fat quarters to her stash. One friend usually adds fabric in two-yard lengths; another buys all the fabric she’ll need when she finds a new pattern, making her own ‘kit.’ Lately, I’ve added a few things to my stash “just because.”
Before I share the really good stuff, here’s my current stash. Pretty much three bins of that leftover fabric I mentioned, with a tad of newish stuff tossed in, roughly organized by color. Bin three has leftovers bagged together with everything from one project. It’s hard for me to separate what I know goes nicely together. I also have two bags - one of Christmas fabric, and one of "Aunt Gracie's".

New this week and ready to go into bin three are 15 layer cake squares from the Central Park quilt I’m piecing. Thinking they might make into a cute baby quilt.

I don’t have a lot of ‘basic’ solids in my stash, so I recently added three yards each of KONA Charcoal & KONA Snow. Also, because I like it and it’s ‘in’ right now, a yard of Metro Living white rings on pewter by Robert Kaufman.

The quilt class I took this month was held in a quilt store. Duh. Had to check out the goods there, and came home with a charm pack (my favorite kind of pre-cut) of Origins (by basicgrey/origins for Moda), and a fat-quarter pack of Sunkissed grays (by Sweetwater for Moda), both of which would go nicely with the KONA Ash I have left from my SOCKEN QA.

And, of course, the best kind of stash additions are those that are gifted to you! And for my birthday last week, I got two more great additions:
A Cappuccino Bali Pop by Hoffman, along with a book with a pattern using said Bali Pop. I haven’t used batiks very often, but I love how they feel as you sew, so am looking forward to putting this project together soon.

AND a half-yard pack of KONA cotton solids! Hand-picked! Wow. Someone knew I needed those solids in my stash! Those lovely colors are Cardinal, Tangerine, Canary, Sour Apple, Lagoon, Bright Periwinkle, and Charcoal. And are they ever beautiful! They will definitely add some life to the (stash) party!
Thank you to the gifters! They are two woman who both encourage and inspire me!
(Am I the only one that leaves new stash items out for a while, just to enjoy the sight of them?! Can’t put them in the bin too soon!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Show and Tell

A short report on my machine quilting class. . . It was really fun, and I learned a lot about needles, stitching designs, tips on marking, using a walking foot, and free-motion quilting. There was also a lot of practice. One of my goals in taking the class was to master stippling. I have in no way mastered it yet. But I’ve come a good way in just a few weeks. Practice really is helping, but I still feel pretty out of control with it, and am not quite ready to use it on a real project. Hopefully soon.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

Finished Projects
Sadly, nothing. Close, but not quite.

Ongoing projects
Block-a-palooza quilt along
Finished this week’s first block, so now there are nine!

Socken quilt along
Plan to start quilting this any time. . .

Blue table runner
This runner is almost done! I adapted the Hungarian Blue pattern by Clothworks, making five ‘flower’ blocks and two ‘plain.’ The fabric is beautiful. I straight-line quilted it and the binding is nearly done. It’s turned out to be longer than a typical runner (60”), but I think my cousin will like it.

Central Park
Yay! I have cut into my Central Park Layer Cake, using the Geese in the Park pattern by Freckled Whimsy. Basically it is all large flying geese blocks, so should come together fairly quickly. Loving the fabric colors and patterns as I cut into it!

Had my second machine quilting class on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will post more on my progress soon.

Need to do
The last project from the Prairie Women Sewing Circle is still on the list.

Am thinking about what 'stash quilt' I would like to do next . . .

Now head on over to Freshly Pieced to see more great works in progress!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A blogroll

See the sidebar, where I've begun a list of quilting blogs where I find inspiration . . . places and people that encourage me to try new things and keep stitching! Hope you find some inspiration there too!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

So here’s Wednesday's update on my “Works-in-Progress”.

Just finished
New Wave
A pattern from Oh, Fransson.

Next on the agenda
Blue table runner
I’m thinking of using this pattern: Hungarian Blue by Clothworks.

Ongoing projects
Block-a-palooza quilt along
Finished this week’s first block, so now there are seven!

Socken quilt along
This week we put the top together!

Still practicing for my machine quilting class on Saturday.

Anxious to start
Central Park
Still hope to be starting on this SOON!

Need to do
The last project from the Prairie Women Sewing Circle is still on the list.

Now head on over to Freshly Pieced to see more great works in progress!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Want some major patchwork and quilting inspiration? Check out the Patchwork & Quilting Blog List  rpq (Red Pepper Quilts). Feel free to share what inspiration you find there!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Quilters know all about W.i.P. That would be “Works-In-Progress”. We all have them – probably several (the dictionary indicates this as two or more) or most likely, many (a large number). I’m joining with Lee of freshlypieced for W.i.P. Wednesday. I’ll start today by listing my current W.i.P., then update the list each Wednesday and link up with other bloggers who are doing the same. Should be fun, and hopefully, inspiring!

Just finished
Seneca Falls

Top priority
New Wave
The quilt pattern is from Oh, Fransson, and a template is used to cut out the blocks. I used stash fabrics, which made me happy. I'm machine quilting it now and will pass on to my mom for her friend who is facing surgery. So this one needs to be done soon.

Quilt alongs
I get new block instructions each Monday & Thursday, so am looking forward to a new block tomorrow! I am caught up and have the first six blocks completed. Again, I'm using stash fabrics for this quilt. Old stash fabrics . . .

I have to wait till Tuesday for the instructions for the next step in this quilt along. I had the background fabric in my stash, but purchased new Kona cottons for this one, my first solid-color quilt. So far, have the strips with color stitched together.

Anxious to start
Blue table runner
My cousin really would like me to make her a table runner, so it's "on the list" - her color is blue, so I hope to use both this new FQ pack, plus fabrics from my stash. I still need to decide on a pattern - one requirement - "square" ends vs. pointy. Any ideas? Please leave a comment.

Central Park
What I really, really want to work on, is a new Central Park Layer Cake. I really like Kate Spain's fabric, and this collection is no exception! I'm planning on using Freckled Whimsy's pattern, "Geese in the Park", found on moda bakeshop. Hope to be starting on this SOON!

Need to do
In preparation for my second machine quilting class on February 19, I have a sample quilt block to quilt + practice stippling. I've been practicing, and am coming along, but still have a loooong way to go. Not quite ready to show pictures of my practice pieces - maybe later.
Lastly, I have the last project from the Pioneer Women Sewing Circle to do. Really would like that series DONE.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Project #5 of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle is complete.
It turned out to be one of my favorites.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sewing Circle

I’m nearing the end of a months-long project that I began with high hopes, but honestly can’t wait to complete. It is the Prairie Women’s Sewing Circle, a six-part quilt along where I’ve gotten a kit each month. The project was intended as a journey back in time and has featured stories about life on the prairie, when women gathered and quilted together. Honestly, I have read few of the stories. My energy has just been focused on other projects. More modern projects. But that’s fine. I’ll see it through. In the stitching of these little quilts, I have hand-quilted, which I hadn’t done in a while, practiced machine quilting and tried a new stitch, been able to gift someone special on a whim, and most delightful of all, welcome a new granddaughter. Those things have made the time spent definitely worth it.

Leap of Faith ~ 17” x 21”

Heartland Crossing ~ 38” x 38”

At Mama’s Knee ~ 17” x 17”

Mrs. Olson’s Hat Box Table Runner ~ 10” x 41”

Seneca Falls ~ 28.5” x 31”  In progress

Monday, February 7, 2011


I've joined a second quilt along, Socken (German for "sock"), sponsored by Cherry House Quilts. Cherri of Cherry House LOVES solids, and pretty much uses only them in her quilts. Solid quilts are very trendy right now, and this project looked easy and fun.

The schedule:

We were encouraged to use Kona Cotton Solids, of which there are over 200! I had enough 'Ash' for the background, so just needed to choose colors for the squares (Black, Coal, Purple, Marine Blue).  

Machine Quilting

Well, Saturday I went for my first machine quilting class, and it was great fun. We started from square one, a discussion on stitches - how to start and stop, stitch length, needles and thread, and process (there actually IS one). It was especially helpful, in that we were able to determine the current settings for OUR machine. Then we got to work practicing quilting with our walking foot, learning some tips along the way. Even though I have done some machine quilting the last couple of years, it was good to hear the basics.

The last portion of the class was about my nemesis - free-motion quilting. THIS is why I took this class, and what I seriously want to master! Believe me, it wasn't pretty. Darlene insists all it takes is practice, practice, practice, so that's what I'm going to do. There is homework for our next session, part of which is this practice, so we'll see where I am in two week.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I recently was asked to make a quilt as a donation, and went straight to my stash to see what I could work with. I'd been wanting to try a new pattern, "Chain Gang," by Eagles Nest Designs, so went to work. I didn't seriously expect much from the fabric I was using, but I was pleasantly surprised! Folks have been loving it - both those who actually have seen it, and on Flickr. Will need to make this one up again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An Adventure

Another reason I started my blog now was to document an upcoming adventure. For the first twenty-some years of my quilting, I pieced by machine and quilted by hand. And quilted by hand. And quilted by hand. It was quite lovely, and at the time, I was fine with it. It was what I knew, what I liked, what I wanted to do. But even I would confess that it took a lot of time to hand quilt. I saw others move on to new projects, and I would still be hand quilting away.
There came a time, not so long ago, when I decided I wanted to try machine quilting. Pretty much so I could make more quilts! There were more fabrics and more patterns to try! So last year, I started dabbling with machine quilting. I screwed on my walking foot and gave it a go. Unfortunately, my treasured, 30-year-old sewing machine just wasn’t quite up to it. After a bit, I gave in and bought a new machine, with fancy buttons, a bigger throat, and feed-dogs that dropped. Aha. I could straight-line quilt successfully. My first project was a table runner, and I went on to many table runners and could easily manage up to lap-size quilts. Step 1 accomplished.

It’s time for Step 2. So this Saturday, I am taking a machine quilting class at The Quilting Loft. It is being taught by Darlene Girton, who has quilted several quilts for me. The class description promises I will ‘(learn) the basics of starting and stopping stitch lines, gain confidence in stitch-in-the-ditch quilting with a walking foot, and (get) an introduction to free motion quilting.’ I also hope the class covers stippling techniques too. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thinking Back

Do you ever think, “How did I become a quilter?” Or a baker? Or a crafter? Or whatever? I do, and often. I think about how before I was a quilter, I sewed. As a little girl, I liked to stitch together little doll clothes by hand. I’m not sure who showed me that I could. I remember knitting (yes!) little sweaters for my dolls. Mom must have taught me that. And in Girl Scouts, I somehow managed to make an apron, in order to earn the sewing badge. By middle school, my grandma was living with us, and she introduced me to the reality of having a sewing machine in our very own house! It was a Singer, that she bought with her own money as a young, single woman. She taught me how to use it, and encouraged me to use it whenever I wanted! She taught me how to wind bobbins, thread needles, sew straight, carefully measured, seams – all the details of clothing construction. Crazy as it sounds now, I made clothes for myself, for my mom and her friends, and even for my dad!

Fast forward several years, past the degree in Home Economics, past the days of sewing teddy bears and little Easter coats for my children, to a day in 1987. A friend, a quilter, said, “You should learn to quilt, and then we could do it together.” So I took a beginner’s class. Every stitch was by hand. And I loved the fabric – the texture and patterns and colors. I loved the needle between my fingers – something familiar, used in a new way. I loved the process. I loved creating something beautiful. And I still do.


One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog now was that I recently joined my first quilting community “quilt-along.” Basically, this is where a bunch of quilters are making the same quilt pattern, connected only by their internet relationship. In this particular quilt-along, two block patterns are given each week, presented by a different blogger. I thought this would be a fun way to get to know more of the community while working on a “group” project. The bloggers will be showcasing the "Sunkissed" line by Sweetwater for Moda, which is really lovely, though I happen to be using fabric from my stash. I’m not totally thrilled with my fabric choice, but we’ll see where it goes.

The quilt-along, Block-a-palooza, was begun by John Adams of Quilt Dad. Block 2 came from Oh, Fransson!, and today, block 3 is coming from sasikirana handmade, a new blog to me. You can see all of the presenters  by clicking on Quilt Dad’s link above. And if you’d like to see photos of blocks from all the participants, click here. I’ll post pictures of my first two blocks here, and will be starting on block 3 shortly.

Block 1 ~ Flying over Fields 
Block 2 ~ Word Search