Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Double Needle

"Tip Tuesday!" - Double Needle

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!

First of all, I know that it's been a very long time since I've posted a Tip Tuesday! Sorry about that, but life just got in the way and choices had to be made. On thing is for certain though, I've been thinking about post topics and have a few lined up so we should be good to go for a while. Thanks for your patience and welcome back.  :-)

Have you ever used a double needle? 

I have, but it's been a while and I always have to remind myself how to do it. 

You may think that a double needle is only for garment sewing, but that is not the case. I've used it to create a nice line of embellishment and have loved the results. 

Below you will find a link to a very use site for information about using a double needle. It includes what to do if you only have one spool holder and that if very helpful. 

And finally, be sure to read through the comments, as I garnered lots of information while reading them. 

Here's the link!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Therapeutic Quilting

There are lots of reasons I quilt.

Of course I quilt for my family and friends. I enjoy the process of deciding what kind of quilt I want to make for them, choosing fabrics and actually doing the piecing. I feel like I am putting a part of me in every stitch and my hope is that they will feel my love every time they use the quilt.

At times, I quilt for profit. There is a wonderful feeling I get when I see the reaction of customers who see the finished quilt that they only saw as a pencil sketch, EQ sketch, or just a pile of fabric. It ALWAYS makes me smile. :-)

Many times I quilt for donation. I've made quilts for Quilts for Kids, Quilts of Valor, Honor Flight, Hands2Help, etc. I make lots of quilts for local organizations, including quilts for auction or raffles. I enjoy making these quilts. Not only do those in need get quilts, it allows me to try new patterns or techniques. I think it's a win/win situation. :-)

Another reason that I quilt is because it's therapeutic for me. Today's quilting is for therapy.

This quilt is for Brandon's family and it's meant to be a celebration of his life. He loved Star Wars and was studying to be a history teacher. Each of the squares has something to do with Star Wars, geography, history, movies, etc. He was a really nice young man who was taken from us far too early. http://www.pfeilfuneralhome.com/notices/Brandon-Preece

I started sketching this Christmas Eve night and pulled fabric last night. I cut squares late last night and started putting it up on the design wall. I started sewing this morning and now I'm auditioning borders. I think I'll add the wide grey border, a narrow dark border to the top and bottom, and then another border of one of the Star Wars fabric to make this more of a rectangular quilt. I'll add what's here and then audition the others to make my decision. I should have this finished later today and will get it quilted and give it to the family Monday.

I'm thankful to have this skill and passion. I hope that it is not only helpful to me, but to others as well.

Hug your loved ones!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Today's Happenings

To help reduce the stress of holidays, for the past few years, we have had our celebrations on days other than the actual holiday. Earlier today we had our Thanksgiving Brunch and while Nikki, Lynn, Zach and Ty cooked, Jack and I entertained the kids. Actually, the kids entertained us and we had a great time.

Sadie gave Avery a manicure,

while Quinn and Sadie painted their own nails. (The polish is made for kids and kind of peels off the fingers. It wipes up well and doesn't leave a mess.)

It was my turn to get a manicure. Avery used the blue and orange polish and did a great job considering she is two years old and this was her first time. Sadie finished off the manicure with painting a couple of nails pink. I was a proud grandma and didn't even remove the polish until AFTER my hair appointment.  

Ronan and Avery worked together to complete a puzzle. 

And then the four oldest kids drew pictures on the chalk placemats that my sister Ann made them. 

I love days like this and am thankful to have them. It is loud when everyone is here, but it is a wonderful LOUD.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm Here!

I've had a number of people e-mail me to see if I'm ok, since I haven't posted anything in almost a month. Rest assured, I am fine. I've just been crazy busy and something had to give.

I promise to be back in the swing of posting regularly soon.

Thanks for the worries and concerns.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Design Wall Monday

I didn't meet my weekend goals, but I'm happy with what did get done. (In all honesty, I think my goals were pretty lofty so what did get done was actually pretty good, and I'm ok with it.)

The Midnight Blue Star quilt is ready for the binding to be hand stitched. 

I did a fair amount of quilting on this 48" x 48" quilt, but it was nothing special. I decided that since I was using my domestic machine, I didn't want to go crazy and try to do anything fancy. My goal was to just get it done! Here's one of the corners where you can see a bit more of the quilting.

And here is a picture of the back of the quilt. I purposely used a thread that is a bit darker than the backing fabric because I wanted the quilting to show.

And here's the back of the corner that I showed earlier. I'm glad I checked the back because there is a messy area that I didn't notice before. Do you see it? I've got to fix that!

I also started on my Live, Laugh, Love quilt.

Here's a picture of the pattern cover. I know I'm going to change the positioning of the "g" in the word laugh, but I don't know if I'll be changing anything else. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. :-)

What's on your design wall?

Check out Judy L's Patchwork Times


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Is It a Sign?

I quit drinking soda a while back and haven't had one since very early summer. I'm happy to have done it and know it was a healthy choice to make. I didn't have much trouble stopping and rarely have a craving for it, and I was happy about that. (Jack did not have such an easy time when he quit drinking Pepsi way back in March. He craved it for a almost a whole month.) 

Yesterday was a different story for me. I was craving Diet Coke all day and knew that there were some bottles of it here because Paula left some after Sisters' Weekend. Even though it's been here (I have that and Pepsi for visitors.), it hasn't been a temptation - until yesterday.

I don't know why yesterday was different, but it was and nothing seemed to work to take my mind off of it. So I grabbed one from the refrigerator and happened to look at it before I opened it. Imagine my surprise when I saw this.

Yep! It was my name on the bottle and it's even spelled the same way that I spell mine! I thought a little bit and wondered if this was a sign that the Coca-Cola company misses me and that I should start consuming Diet Coke again on a regular basis. Wouldn't that be amazing that such a large company knows me and misses me so much that they planted this particular bottle of Diet Coke in my refrigerator? They were just waiting for me to come back to them. (Actually, that would be kind of creepy!)

Alas, I decided that it was pure luck and that I am not really a big deal for the company. I mean, the chances that they know me and read my blog are pretty slim; and I'm pretty sure no one from the company has taken a quilting class from me. :-)  hehehehe

What I did decide is that I was going to open this bottle and drink some Diet Coke! 

I didn't drink all of it, just enough to satisfy my craving. (I know that was wasteful, but I'm ok with that.) I also decided that the "sign" involved here is that it's ok for me to give into cravings and enjoy a little of this every so often. I don't see myself drinking it regularly again, just every once in a while. 

Because I was in a "deep thinking" mode yesterday, I thought about how this "sign" or lesson could spread to other parts of my life, more specifically, quilting.   

I haven't bought fabric "just because" for quite a long time. I have a substantial stash and have been using it quite regularly. Anymore, I generally only buy fabric when I need it for a specific project or I know that my stash is running low in something - like neutrals. Now don't get me wrong; even though I may be buying for specific projects, that doesn't mean that I get to them right away. Oh, life would be grand if that was the case. :-)

Anyway, back to my "sign." I think the quilting lesson that can be learned from the Diet Coke experience is that it's ok if I give in to my fabric cravings every so often. Not all of the time, but every once in a while. 

Now, I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that I'll be traveling soon and have the opportunity to shop at an amazing quilt shop and buy fabric at a reduced price? 

Nah, that can't be it. :-)    

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Halloween Haunts Blog Hop and a Giveaway!

It's Time for Halloween 
Halloween Haunts Blog Hop

Halloween Haunts 2015

Thanks to Marian over at Seams to Be Sew for organizing this awesome blog hop and to The Fat Quarter Shop for their DAILY giveaway! 

And of course, thanks to all the wonderful bloggers out there who have created some tremendous eye candy for us all.  

Be sure to make your way over to all of today's participants and be prepared to be amazed at their creativity and talent.

Featured Haunts On Thursday October 22


So what does one do when it Halloween time?

She decorates!

And she makes a Halloween quilt, of course!

Here's a not-so-great picture of the entire quilt, as the wind was not cooperating with me!

I love all these pumpkins!

Why not throw in a witch's hat for good measure?

This fabric is all quite old. 
When I decided to join the hop, I took a quick look at my stash and saw the pumpkin fabric. I didn't have very much of it, but knew that I wanted to use it for this project, and there was enough for a wall hanging. After a little more extensive search, I found all the coordinating fabrics and got right to work. 

I've always preferred to decorate with pumpkins for Halloween instead of ghoulish things (like the first picture, which is actually at my daughter's house) and here are some of my favorites from years past.

This pumpkin wall hanging was made using an Eleanor Burns pattern and is a family favorite. 

The pattern includes instructions for making some placemats, which I made, but I changed it up to better fit our needs. 

I made the basic pumpkin the same, but made the face parts separately and backed them with timtex.

The placemats are now an interactive game and the face changes constantly, depending on who's here.

With the changes I made, the placemats have become one of our family's favorite Halloween decorations and traditions!. :-)


This is one of my favorite pictures of all time!
Sadie, Lynn, and Mom had such a good time playing while I was fixing dinner that night. 

I look at this picture often because it makes me smile. As a matter of fact, I just showed it to Sadie last week and was so pleased that she still recognized Mom, who passed away 12/1/12.

These placemats are getting pretty worn out and I had thought about making a new set for this hop, but alas, time got away from me. Maybe next year. :-)

I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I?

The Fat Quarter Shop 
is giving away a 
$25 gift certificate 
each day of the hop. 

Enter below for your chance to win, and I'd love to have you comment about your favorite Halloween traditions.

October 22 expires October 23 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 19, 2015

Design Wall Monday

I have two things on the wall today and both of them are so very near completion that I think I may be able to finish them this week. At the risk of jinxing myself, finishing includes the  quilting and binding. WooHoo!!

First up is the new version of the Star Parade table runner. I finished piecing this Saturday afternoon and now it's ready for the quilting. I'm going to trim the corners and bind this one like the patterns. I should finish it tonight and I'll post pictures. 

Here's the original one that I made, before it was quilted. It's quilted and bound but I don't have any pictures of that yet. I will do that today and post both pictures. I did not trim this one, so you'll be able to see how each version looks.  

And I only have two more borders to add to this - Midnight Blue Star by Karen Combs.

I was asked to make this for someone and I like how it's turned out. It's pretty small, 48" x 48" so quilting it shouldn't take too long and I'll just do it on my domestic. (Well, that's also because my HQ16 is at the "spa" getting some rehab work done.  :-(

What are you working on today?

Check out what others are up to today

I'll be hooking up to these two sites later today.


Sunday, October 18, 2015


It's definitely Fall 
and a perfect weekend for soup!

I don't know about you, but I usually like soup better the second day so today's lunch was awesome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tip Tuesday! English Paper Piecing

"Tip Tuesday!" - English Paper Piecing

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!

 As I quickly (and finally), approach the last of the blocks for my English Paper Pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, I figured that this is was a good time to have a tutorial on the technique.

I've been working on these blocks for a very long time, but not steadily. There have been times that I've stitched like crazy and finished blocks quickly and easily. There have been other times that I sew a little, put it away, and don't get it back out for months. 

The container is full and they all look so pretty.

Even though I have two more blocks to complete, I couldn't help but lay some of them out to get a feel for what the quilt will look like.

I made this sketch when I first began working on these blocks and there will be some changes; but overall, the quilt will look like this when it's done. 

I've had a number of people ask me about how to make these blocks so I thought this would be a good time for a Tip Tuesday! tutorial. 

As I was prepping for the post, I gathered up the information I use when I teach this quilt. This is a really good project to make as an introduction to English Paper Piecing because it is small enough that it can easily and quickly be completed, yet it is large enough to ensure that you really get a grip on mastering the technique.

I had forgotten that I included a link in the information with a wonderful on-line tutorial. I did that in case a student had to put the project away and not get back to it for quite some time. I figured that my written information would help, but that but this tutorial would be even better.

I love this collage of all the steps for English Paper Piecing! As you can see in the last two pictures here, she is not making the same block that I am; but it doesn't matter. The technique is the same.

Check out the tutorial and give this a try. It is a wonderful project to have if you need something that you can take "on the go."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Swaps

"Tip Tuesday!" - Swaps

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!

Since I just finished participating in the Mini Teal Swap, I thought that a post on swaps might be in order. This swap was a bit different in that we were swapping finished projects, mug rugs or mini quilts, but many swaps in which I've participated were for blocks (one or more) or even just fabric (5" squares, etc.). Swaps and be great fun and a wonderful way to meet new friends, get a great variety of fabrics without having to buy them all, and a neat way to stretch your quilting skills.

I was pretty much into swaps a few years back and participated in a number of them on a regular basis. I didn't really have much issue with fabric swaps. Every once in a while someone struggled with accurate cuts and I didn't always get the same quality of fabric I sent, but overall it wasn't too bad.

Unfortunately, I started to become a bit disillusioned with block swaps and pretty well dropped out of all of them because I was not happy with what I was receiving. Maybe I should have found other swap groups, but I found it easier to just take a break from them. I blame the issues on not only the participant not following the rules, but also the "hostess" or organizer for not following through when she warned that people would be dropped if they didn't adhere to the rules or guidelines. 

Here's the horror story before the awesome story! (Yes, I'm ranting a little and obviously still have strong feelings about what happened. I think I need to take a deep breath and let go of this. I'll do that after I write this post.)  :-)

Now don't get me wrong, I am not perfect in any way, but I was none too thrilled when I made and sent my 12 - 12" Ohio Star blocks to the hostess following the pattern she provided. The deal was that each of us would make 4 identical blocks, send them to the hostess who would divide them out among the participants. We were allowed to make more than 4, as long as they were in increments of 4 and each set was different. We would receive back the same number we made, which would be awesome for getting a great mix of blocks. 

So, I signed up for 3 sets of 4 for a total of 12 blocks. The hostess was very clear about the fabric quality, colors, contrast, fabric placement, size, and the deadline. VERY clear as a matter of fact, and she sternly  warned us multiple times that any blocks sent to her that were not up to snuff would be returned to the sender. That scared me a bit so I was very cautious.

Imagine my surprise when I received a package from the hostess 3 weeks late and it included 3 blocks that had not followed the pattern (reversed the light and dark fabric), 2 blocks that were less than 12" unfinished instead of 12.5" they should have been, and 2 of my own blocks. Did you do that math? I sent in 12 blocks and received 7 back from her. 

I sent an e-mail to ask what happened and she said that some people didn't send in their blocks (a few notified her that they were dropping out, while others did not) so she just divided up the ones she did get equally among the people who send some to her. I asked about the errors and she said sorry, but since she was short blocks, she didn't want to have even less with which to work. REALLY!?!

That was the last block/project swap in which I participated until this one. 
My faith has been renewed!   

Do you want to host a swap? 
Here are a few tips to help you.
(This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but hopefully it will get you started on your way to hosting a swap.)

I think simply being organized and having great communication will help any swap be successful, but being prepared for problems or issues is also important. Following the steps below will get you well on your way to hosting your own swap. (Most of this information is designed to help when as the host, you will be receiving the blocks and then re-distributing them to the participants.)

If you are the host and this is your first swap, perhaps keeping this one small the first time will help you learn the ropes and make it easier to grow with each swap. 

1. Decide how you are going to "advertise" the swap. Work with a local group, talk about it on your own blog, or join an online group such as flickr.com, quiltingboard.com, swap-bot.com 

2. Keep a master list of the people who respond to your advertising and be sure to have contact information such as e-mail, phone number and mailing address. This list will also come in handy in the event that a participant does not follow through (late blocks, etc.) so that you will have a record of that for future swaps. That doesn't mean you won't allow them to participate, but you may want to discuss this with them before adding them to new swaps.

3. Set up the rules. Decide the minimum and maximum number of participants, the number of blocks needed per person, acceptable fabrics, duration of the swap, etc. A "rule" that is often overlooked is how to send the completed blocks.
For mailing blocks, I think it's important that blocks be placed in a zip-lock type bag before being put in the mailing package. (That will protect the block in case it gets wet.) Each package (inside the plastic bag), should include the blocks, the maker's name, address, phone number and e-mail address in case the envelope gets broken and the blocks slip out. I also like the idea of providing a tracking number for the packages. I know this may be a bit more money, but it sure will provide some peace of mind.

YOU set the rules. It doesn't hurt to ask for input, but as the host, you should have the final say. 

4. Communicate and follow the progress. Life happens and things get in the way of our quilting, so gentle reminders are a great way to make sure blocks will be completed in a timely fashion. It is important to keep track of blocks that have been sent and received so you know who is still working on them and if there will be a delay. I think a quick e-mail to participants when you receive their blocks is a great idea and as a participant, I appreciate that. 

I was once told that we had to e-mail a picture of the blocks to the hostess before mailing them. At the time I didn't understand why, but then I realized it was because in previous swaps she had a number of people tell her that the blocks were on the way and they hadn't even been completed yet. :-(

Block swaps are meant to be fun and because I enjoyed the Mini Teal Swap so much, I think I may venture back into doing them again. 

Deep breath taken 
and I've moved past the bad swap experience.  
Life is good! :-)