Friday, November 27, 2009

Sew and Tell Fridays

I managed to finish a couple of small items for my Etsy shop this week while I was playing “capable assistant” to Mr. D as he cussed slaved over the plumbing in our upstairs bathroom. My sewing space is only 5 steps away from said bathroom and it was logical to be productive while waiting for instructions, right? Besides, the fabric was calling me. You all know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, skip on over to amylouwho’s blog to see what others have worked on this week. (Apparently, I’m a day late, since Amy did a Thanksgiving day post. That’ll teach me for not paying closer attention!)

Set of four quilted Christmas Coasters


I love to work with little pieces and these strips were 1 inch wide. Fun!

Quilted Christmas Potholder



I’ll let you know how that bathroom project’s going. At the moment the toilet is sitting in an adjacent room and there’s a hole in the floor exposing the new PVC pipe. Today we play with copper tubing and a torch!

Quilts and Heirlooms Etsy Team Giveaway


I’m a new member of the Quilts and Heirlooms Etsy team and we’re having a friendly contest amongst ourselves and a giveaway for some lucky voters. Go to our team blog to see the entries and leave a comment to vote. There are nine prizes up for grabs so get on over there and cast your vote before December 6th!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Etsy Monday…

will be back next week. For my regular Monday visitors, have a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful week!



On a side note, I’m really excited about today. We’re repositioning the toilet in our upstairs bathroom and Chuck is at the vet having his teeth cleaned.

chuckWe’ll all be happier! 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flea Market Fancy giveaway

If you’re a fan of Flea Market Fancy, you can enter to win some great prizes here.


I have to admit I’ve never owned any of this fabric but after some investigation, I want some! This fabric line has been discontinued and there is a petition to bring it back. But, if you enter, you might win some!

A winner will be chosen on December 1st. You know what’s scary? That’s not very far away!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I really like giveaways:)

I blog about a lot of giveaways. They’re just so much fun and a good way to discover some awesome artsy people around the blogosphere. I’ve entered quite a few and won a couple of lovely little prizes which I’ll share shortly.

Here’s the latest giveaway I’ve found. I signed up for the Hawthorne Threads Newsletter and received my first issue. I first found Charlie and Lindsay’s Fabric Supplies shop on Etsy and now they have their own website. They’re giving away some great prizes from Patricia Bravo’s Art Gallery Fabrics.

A Firenze Bag Kit


and a couple of fat quarter sets of Girly Girl in Sweet.


Hurry on over there for a chance to win!

Now for the prizes I won. This pretty fused glass pendant came from a blog giveaway at Gothic Creations. Joanna has a great shop on Etsy! Thanks Joanna!


I also won some cute vinyl magnets


and a really cute purse sized journal from annebvinyl's shop who is a member of The Kansas City Etsy Street Team.


It’s small enough to hang on the fridge with the magnets for making a grocery list and then it slips in my purse for shopping. Perfect!

They’re having a Countdown to Christmas giveaway every week with lots of great prizes. I love my new goodies! Thanks!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sew and Tell Fridays with amylouwho

I joined the ranks over at amylouwho’s lovely blog for Sew & Tell Fridays. It’s all about sharing a project you’ve finished during the week and then checking out all the others. This ranks right up there with chocolate and coffee. You won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lessons learned from my first quilt – Part II

Yesterday I shared some of my thoughts about piecing and making decisions about my first quilt. As promised, here’s my two cents worth about finishing it. (My apologies for the length of this post.)

I cut my backing and batting the same size as my top because I couldn’t figure out how to keep things “square”. Most of the tutorials I read said to leave the batting and back bigger so there must be a way to do this precisely. I was afraid I’d end up with the back being crooked. I’d love some insight on this:)

I got some of those nifty curved quilting safety pins and pinned every 4-5 inches or so. These really were easier to work with than the regular ones.


Now, the scary part for me. I had my mind made up to stipple this, so I practiced (a lot!) to get the right thread, needle and tensions, crossed my fingers, said a prayer and did it! (I found some great tutorials and will put them in the sidebar.) Here’s some of my own observations about stippling:

    • I had previously broken thread while practicing, so I tried a cotton machine quilting thread from Coats and had no trouble. 
    • I used a new size 12 Schmetz needle
    • I wound 3 bobbins ahead of time, but needed 6 or 7.
    • I preferred hiding my threads when I changed bobbins rather than backstitching or knotting.
    • I set my machine speed to the fastest speed I was comfortable with. That kept me from accidentally “stepping on it” and speeding out of control.
    • I used quilting gloves and found them to be extremely helpful. I have very dry skin and my hands were constantly sliding but the quilt wasn’t. I found these gloves to be helpful for other sewing projects, too. I don’t mind having warm hands:)
    • When I started the process, I had the quilt all rolled up in clips but quickly abandoned them. clips It made the whole thing too stiff so I ended up folding or letting it puddle. There is not enough room behind my machine and the roll kept hitting the wall. 
    • I discovered that my problem with the quilt not moving smoothly was due to the drag factor from the bulk of it falling below the level of the machine bed. I found a way to prop it up, but I’ll have to make a more permanent fix. There are extensions to buy, so I may go that route.

I used strips from the jelly roll for the binding. It’s just the right width (2 1/2”) so no cutting! I used straight seams and pressed them to one side so I couldn’t see the stitches. I did the math ahead of time so it was fairly precise.

I made a really silly mistake with the binding and will share even though my face is still red. I pieced it and pressed it in half and was feeling pretty good. The part I missed was that I was supposed to sew both thicknesses to the quilt. I sewed it all on, thought it looked pretty wide and could not get the corners to miter. So, I went back to the tutorials and realized that it’s supposed to be doubled.  It wasn’t that hard to fix…just embarrassing for someone who’s supposed to be an experienced sewer!

I used my walking foot to apply the binding.

I will use pinking shears to trim next time to eliminate all those little frayed threads.

The corners are not truly mitered but folded to look acceptable. I couldn’t get the miter to lay smoothly. More practice!

baby quilt corner2  

I’m confident that my stippling will improve as I do more, but I’m pretty happy with the finished product.

Thanks for reading through this. If these random thoughts of mine have helped you, I’m happy:) Your input is welcome if you’d like to leave a comment!

Did I ever mention that I love giveaways?

Here’s another terrific one for you fabric hounds.


Julie over at Jaybird Quilts is celebrating 100 posts on her blog and is giving away some great finds she grabbed at Quilt Market in Houston. She has a terrific and very informative blog so I suggest you scramble right on over for a visit!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lessons learned from my first quilt

Well, here it is. The quilt I started 2 weeks ago is finished and ready to mail.

baby quilt 12

baby quilt 13

I kept a list of things I learned from this experience to keep in mind for future projects. (I also blogged about it here and here.) I am a beginner and these are just thoughts I’ve put together for my own benefit. If they help any other newbies out there, wonderful! If there are quilt pros out there that would like to chime in, all the better!

Part I – making decisions, piecing and borders

Take advantage of the wonderful tutorials online!

Don’t over think the process. Since I used a jelly roll I was somewhat limited and then I chose five possible design ideas and went from there. I also bought only three other pieces to use for the borders and the back. I’m horrible at making decisions, so it’s beneficial to me to set limits.

If a written pattern is not used, draw out what your design will be and do the math. How big will it be? How many blocks will it take? How wide do the borders need to be?

I didn’t prewash anything as it was all cotton and it washed and dried beautifully.

Precision is important! Make sure the seam allowances are uniform. It’s so much easier to match them up later. (This is not new to me as I’m a little picky about things like this anyway, but it’s good to keep in mind.)

I pressed my seams open for the blocks, but pressed in one direction for the borders. I finger pressed each block seam as it was sewn and then pressed it with the iron after I had a few piled up. For the longer seams, I pressed them flat first to set and then pressed to one side. I’m pretty sure all this varies depending on the design.

I made a temporary design wall from a white sheet and it was so helpful! I put the individual blocks up and arranged them until I was happy with it. Then I took pictures and saw things I didn’t notice at first glance and rearranged based on that.

I think I might like a mitered corner on the borders better than making it straight. That was another decision I didn’t want to fuss over.

This is getting very lengthy so come back tomorrow for Part II - Stippling and binding!

I added this to sew & tell at amylouwho's blog. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I love giveaways!

This giveaway is in conjunction with The Block Party Quilt Along.  The prizes are two sets of fabrics for two lucky winners.

block party

block party 2

Alissa and Kristen, the co-hosts of the bee, are writing a book! If you want to join in, you can post your pictures in the Flickr group and yours may be chosen to be in the book.  How cool is that?  This project will be going for about a year (it takes a while to write a book) so you have plenty of time to jump in. But, the giveaway ends in one week, so hop on over and enter!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Etsy Monday Falling Leaves

Here in Tennessee the leaves are just now turning and falling. (My sympathy to our friends and family in Nebraska and South Dakota where they’ve already had plenty of white stuff.) In honor of autumn, I’ve found a few leafy treats on Etsy to share. Enjoy here, but also click to their shops and see what else they offer:)

Autumn 8 x 10 Silkscreen Print Limited Edition



Tree Leaves Leather Journal



LET THE LEAVES FALL- Handmade wooden sign with Salt Dough Leaves



Autumn Leaves 8x10 Woodland Art Print




Copper Jewelry / Leaves / FREE SHIPPING WITHIN THE US



Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A trio of giveaways

Jody at the Fabric Shoppe is having a great giveaway of 2 sets of fabric from her stash. A lot of fabric! But you have to hurry because she will draw the winners on Monday, November 2nd.



Jackie, at Canton Village Quilt Works has 5 beautiful prizes up for grabs. This one ends at midnight on November 2nd. Click on over and see what she’s offering. It really is worth it!



Update: I had to change the title from a “pair” to a “trio” of giveaways as I just found this. I have been using my Etsy Monday features for Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October and this giveaway is so fitting. Please go visit Suzanne at Just Another Hang Up to enter.