Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do You Swap?

Do you Swap?

I am talking about joining a group of other fabric lovers and focusing on a certain fabric design, or designer to type of fabric.

Most groups are made up of 56 participants and require you to purchase quilt shop quality fabric of 1 or 2 yards. Then cut yardage into 5 in charms (or some into 10 in charms.)

You then send your fabric to the host and she sorts all those lovelies into 56 or 112 pieces per person and sends back to you. There is usually a Flickr group set up so that you can post your fabric choices and allows you to see what everyone else is buying too. This is so fun because there are probably many choices that you would not normally be able to purchase --- I know some try, but most can't have it all ;)

There is even a Fabric Swap Finder Group on Flickr here to help you find a swap you are interested in!

Fabric Swap Finder

Here is a new swap I am in now that still have slots open if you are interested:

Low Volume Swap Icon

Sign up here!

And what can you make with all those little charms??
Check it out here!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paying it Forward! Another Giveaway Coming Soon!

Giveaway! Yep! Coming soon to this quilty blog!

Two reasons--I was so very lucky and won this from the lovely Tammy and her staff over at

Marmalade Fabrics. It is called Cupid's Target! Isn't it absolutely gorgeous!! Bright bold Color!

So for number one I would like to pay it forward and share the quilty love!

 Pssst....Marmalade fabrics has quilt top kits to make this top for $28.50!
And no I am not being paid in anyway to say that!  I just think it is a beautiful modern quilt and wanted to share its beauty and spread the word in case anyone would like to make their own. The Kona solid strips are reading almost black in the pic but in reality they are dark grey. And I think Marmalade Fabrics does a great job with their fabric selection and customer service! 
And for number 2 reason: with the Back to School Bloghop and Giveaway going on I have surpassed 100 followers!! And that was not even a requirement to enter the giveaway!! 
You guys are so sweet! So I thought I would do a little celebrating with you and have another giveaway! This one will be for followers only, so sign up to follow if you want to get in
on the goods!
Keep your peepers open in the next couple of weeks I will be posting a new giveaway and it will have not one but two winners! where did I put that fat quarter bundle?
I wonder what else might be a prize?
Happy Tuesday! Hope you are having a productive week!
And for all of you that left me a comment on the current Back to School Bloghop and Giveaway-- I am still reading and responding! Your comments and stories are awesome!  I am loving them! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's a Bloghop Party with Giveaways!!

Happy Saturday everyone! And what better way to kick off the weekend then with a giveaway! Michele Foster, aka Mishka, over at The Quilting Gallery is hosting a blog hop with giveaways, how fun is that?! Not just my blog but a whole lotta different blogs and chances to win!

This Bloghop starts on Sunday, August 26th and will run thru Monday, Sept 3rd.

There will be nothing to purchase and entry will be simple!! Interested?
What are you giving away, you ask?

Well since I just posted my first tutorial yesterday on my Very Merry Christmas Pillow, I thought you might like the chance to win some of that cute fabric and Pearle Cotton, so you could make your own pillow.
Seems like a pretty good deal, free instructions, free fabric and embroidery threads, you just need to provide the sewing machine and needle!

So here's what is included in my giveaway:

These are rough fat eighths (largest 10 x 22 and smallest 5 x22) of 7 different fabrics - 5 of Aneela Hoey Cherry Christmas by Moda along with Kona white and med grey. Plus 5 skeins of coordinating embroidery thread for handstitching. This will be plenty to make your pillow top (or what ever little fun project you have in mind). Sound good? This giveaway is open to all worldwide!

To enter, starting tomorrow, go to:

The list of bloggers participating in the Blog Hop Party will be made available Sunday morning, August 26th, shortly after midnight, Eastern time. Return there to start hopping and entering the give-aways from your fellow quilters.

Since this is the Back to School Blog Hop, to enter, you just need to leave me a comment on your favorite teacher - and why he or she was your favorite. Teachers have such an impact on kids and adults too!

Good Luck!!  Make it a great day!


Edited to make links to Quilting Gallery Blog Hop clickable. Thanks!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas Pillow Tutorial (Pic Heavy)

Hi and Welcome to my blog! As part of the "Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop" by Beth over at Plum and June (see my earlier post) I put together this cute little holiday pillow and wrote a tutorial for it.  This is my first tutorial so please be patient. I will try to give directions as clearly as possible. I have used several pics to help clarify directions also.

It is a fun project and pretty quick to make! I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I will respond. The pillow is machine pieced with hand stitching and large hand quilting and it finished at 13 1/2 inches by 18 1/2 inches, just perfect to go with the pillows on my sofa!

When I was pondering about what I wanted to make next, I knew I wanted a Christmas project (since I am notoriously behind in my sewing of hand made gifts for Christmas) that way maybe I would have a head start on the Season! A pillow-- I like pillows and find they are pretty versatile and fairly quick to make. Ok, check, it's going to be a pillow project. When thinking about what style, I thought about stars (still thinking about them) but I knew I wanted strips (a bit easier for this first time tutorial I thought) but I wanted some hand stitching also. So I looked around and used this as my inspiration. I would like to Thank Hoffman Fabrics and Linda Ambrosini for the original free design.

I chose to use Aneela Hoey's Cherry Christmas line by Moda. It is such a fun and sweet line and I love the aqua/turquoise color with the pinks and more traditional white, red and grey prints. I also used Kona white and  Kona grey.

I then decided to add some holiday handstitiching to the large blocks. I kept the bird and tried to adapt it a bit more to the little birds that Aneela has on her fabric - so cute! Next I added a bit of a wonky star, some snowflakes and a cute little house with a pine tree outside.  These were drawn free hand on white paper and then later transferred to the fabric by tracing them.

I also decided for ease of piecing and a more uniform look to combine the upper right hand corner squares into one block of  2 1/2 x 4 1/2 in just like the one below it.
DMC Pearle Cotton Floss #5 ($1.59/skein @ JoAnns)
So lets get started, here is what you will need:

-5 fat eighths of Christmas/Holiday prints or if you want scraps for back you may use 1/4 yd each
 I used: Aneela Hoey Cheery Christmas by Moda in the following prints:
 Red Presents 18534, White Birds (didn't get the number), Teal 18531,
 White Laundry 18530, Grey Birds 18532 

-2 fat eighths of solids for the hands stitched areas
 I used: Kona Grey Med 1223, and Kona White

-Backing fabric - I used yardage  (vs fat eighth's) and therefore had leftover scraps and just pieced it. 

-Cutting mat, ruler, rotary cutter, matching thread, small scissors, tapestry needle (18), thimble if you like
-3 in or 6 in embroidery hoop, Pearle Cotton Thread - #5
 I used DMC Black 310, White Blanc, Red 321, Grey Lt 415 (my pic above shows several other that coordinate  with my fabric but in the end I wanted a more cohesive color scheme and stuck with the 4 colors listed).

-Polyfill for the pillow stuffing. (Mine finished at approx 14 in x 18in which is an odd size for a pillow form.)

All seams are 1/4 inch. On the Cutting Diagram (see pic below or see original at Hoffman Fabrics link above) all dimensions are cut sizes. You may want to cut your solid backgrounds where you will be hand stitching larger so that you may hand stitch them before they are cut down and pieced. Suggestion is for 9 in x 9in for the large house block or 6 in x 6 in block for the smaller ones. This normally helps control any stretch the embroidery hoop may cause in the fabric once the top is pieced. Ooops! I did mine when pieced with a 3 in hoop and did not have a problem with stretching. But do not leave your hoop in overnight or for long lengths of time or the fabric will stretch.  
Choose the layout of your fabrics and cut per the diagram. Note I removed the seam in the upper Right hand corner and just made that piece the same size as the one below 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. 

Hand drawn designs:

Note: I just drew a square/rectangle/box the same size as my block and drew the design inside. I have given the measurements for the snowflake and the bird can be found in the original pattern in the correct size. The wonky star and house/tree were drawn on free hand after folding the paper to find the center, so these pics may not be to scale and are for your guidance only. Feel free to use them or design your own. 

Next you will  trace the hand drawn designs onto your chosen fabric. It is best to fold the design in half both width wise and length wise to find the center. Now do the same with your fabric and finger press the folds. Match up the centers of the design and the fabric and then trace. This ensures your design will be centered.

My high tech  lightbox ;)  Tracing my design onto my fabric. I used the light  coming in through my sliding glass door.

Traced designs ready to go. Note I cut my pieces to size and  hand stitched after pillow top was pieced.

Traced snowflakes
Handstitches: I used a Outline Stitch for the majority of my designs. There are a couple of Double French knots on the house (door knob and snow drops) and for the eye of the bird. The snowflakes on the house are a single straight stitch into the middle as are the little prongs on the large single snowflakes above. And the quilting outlining each block is done with a simple Running stitch.

Here is a great resource for stitches!! Sharon has pics showing how to do each step of the stitch and then one of the finished product

Sharon b's Dictionary of Stitches for Hand Embroidery and Needlework  Main index of stitches

Ok, now to start piecing! Lay out all your pieces according to the diagram. I started with the lower center/right.  I pieced the the two top 3 in squares and then the bottom two 3 in squares. Then I joined them with the center seam. Press all seams open on the pillow top to reduce bulk. The top will have batting and then be quilted to add strength. Next add the 5 1/2 in blocks on either side of your 4 square patch.

Next sew the 2 1/2 x 8 middle pieces together. Press seam open. Now join that strip to your bottom unit.

Next piece the 3 rectangles in your top center together to form a unit. Do the same with the 3 rectangles on the upper right hand side. Now join the two units together to create one.

Next move to the far left side and join the 3 blocks. Add the 2 1/2 x 14 1/2 strip to these blocks. 

Next sew your top center/right unit to the bottom center/right unit.

Next add your left sided unit to the your pieced center/right sided unit. You now have a complete pieced pillow top!
Pieced pillow top, Decorative blocks traced on.

Next I completed my hand stittching on the large decorative blocks using a 3 in hoop.
Pieced pillow top with decorative blocks complete
After your decorative hand stitching is complete in your larger blocks, it is time to add the batting. I used Warm and White and cut it to the size of my pillow top or a bit smaller.
Add backing before handstitching outline of each block
Next it is time to baste in preparation for the quilting. I used safety pins. You may also use long basting stitches, or whatever your preferred method is.
Pin Basted

Next I used the light grey Pearle Cotton and did a running stitch approximately 1/4 inch all the way around each block. Just to outline it. I did not mark it, some stitches are not perfectly straight, some are more or less than 1/4 in away from the seam. I like it that way as it gives it a bit of character and charm. It is handmade :)
All hand stitching complete!

Close up of stitching
Now it is time to make your back. Since I used 1/4 yd pieces of fabric I had plenty left over to simply strip piece the back. You may choose to do this or use whatever method/fabric you prefer.
Pieced Pillow back
Now, almost finished! Match and square up your backing and pillow front. Trim any excess. Next pin right sides together and stitch. Be sure to leave approx a  4-6in opening so that you can stuff your pillow! I used a 12 oz bag of Poly Fill from Wal-Mart ($3-4). I wasn't sure I was going to like this as originally I had planned on using a pillow form. But I like it! Nice density, soft yet fluffy. I used the majority of the bag. Be sure and push it down into the corners to give them shape.

And finally whipstitch closed the 4-6 in opening you had for stuffing your pillow and wha-la! One Very Merry Christmas Pillow. And you have a head start on your Holiday stitching!
Completed pillow, front shot

Pieced back of pillow

I hope you have enjoyed making this pillow. I did. I can see it in different fabrics too! It would be great in solids with different designs, maybe geometric. Or maybe sweet pastels for a baby gift with baby related designs.....have fun with it!  I would love to see your completed project, email me a pic or a link to your pic! 
Thanks again!

Please note there are many ways to do many of the steps I have described here. If you have a preferred way that is different then mine, that is great. This is for guidance only and what worked for me :)

Edited to add link up buttons! Sorry guys I either forget to do this or the labels! 

Linking up to:


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lets Get Acquainted Blog Hop!

Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by my blog! Today is my day on the

Plum and June

organized by Beth over at Plum and June. She has done a wonderful job of bringing bloggers of all skill levels and interests together for a hop. Usually there are two featured blog each on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check it out here and visit some or all of the great blogs! This week be sure and stop by these wonderful blogs and be sure to leave some comment love, after all isn't that like the best thing ever!

Aug 21
        Marta from From Marta with Love
        Marion from My Quilt Diet

Aug 23
       May from Confessions of a Fabraholic

A little about me, I am a single lady, living with my dog Tucker.  I live in northern Indiana on a lake where I grew up on the weekends. I was lucky enough to keep it in the family when my parents passed on. I have 2 great sons in their 20's, and one wonderful 3 yr old grandson.  I work full time as an RN and commute about 45 min each way on a daily basis. I started sewing as a kid in Home Ec and learned how to embroidery from my grandmother.I was always into crafting and trying to figure out how things were made.  After high school I did cross stitch most of the time and then ventured into quilting back in 1993.  I made my first quilt after a supervisor at work helped me and showed me how to cut and piece. It actually involved a cross stitched alphabet in snow ball blocks surrounded by scrappy 9 patch. I am thinking this would be a great linky party!! First quilts - what do you think?
I also did alot of smaller things like baby quilts and table runners. Recently I have gotten back into quilting in my spare time and started blogging to meet others, especially during the long winters.

A couple of tips:

Favorite Quilting Tool: my Clover mini iron, sooo helpful for those quarter inch seams in tight spots! It also will decrease the amount of stretch you get if you tend to iron vs. press!

Favorite Blogging Tip: Be real. Be nice. I love to see everyones work and that includes the process not just the finish! But I also like to be real, not every day is a sugar coated love fest, everyone has those days when things just are going your way**   But most of all don't compare yourself to everyone else! Do what you love and break out of your safe box now and then.
Oh and photo editing--still learning but makes such a difference!
Here are some of my projects from this year:

Retro Flowers

Great Granny

Central Park Jelly Roll

Hot Pads from Scraps
Magical Mystery Tour
 and my most recent: A Very Merry Christmas Pillow featuring handstitching.

As promised I have a tutorial for this pillow! Unfortunately I had a computer crash this weekend** (one of those days I mentioned above where things don't go as planned) when my email got hacked! So I am still recovering and editing pics. I hope to have that completed and the tutorial up tonight or tomorrow at the latest. Just another reminder to always use virus/spyware software frequently and backup your work :)  I hope you will stop back for the tutorial! It is picture heavy and probably another good reason for a seperate post!

So very glad to meet all of you! I learn so much from reading everyone's blogs and experiences!

Wishing you a lovely, quilty kind of day!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Working away.....and a wonderful break

Hi, hope this finds you have a great week with some quilty time ;)

I have been recovering from that crappy summer cold I mentioned last week and am feeling much better with only a cough hanging on. I even missed a day of work.... my boss asked me if I had Swine flu as it has hit Indiana hard enough that it is on the 6 o'clock news-- no I said I haven't been handling any little piggies (the Indiana State Fair is in full swing right now and has many farm/agricultural exhibits given we are in the Midwest and they always show the piglets and cows :)

So, I did manage to get some sewing in as no one really wanted to come visit for fear of catching what I had, always makes you feel wanted, no?

I finished putting the sashing and borders on my Great Granny Along

I made some patchwork from the left overs for the back

Got the back pieced and now ready to sandwich and be quilted!

I am happy with the way this turned out, it is more traditional as this is a birthday gift for a dear neighbor that I have known most of my life. She is now in her 70's and has had to move to assisted living in the past year as her husband has passed and she was diagnosed last year with a brain tumor. She is a great grandmother and this line is called Summerhouse, which fits her lake cottage. I hope it will remind her of bright and sunny, summer days.

I also worked on my upcoming tutorial for Plum and June's blog hop next week. My day is Aug 23rd.
And while working on that tutorial I found I needed to shrink a drawing that I am using for a bit of off to the nearest library to use the copy machine. A library I had not visited before as there are 2 within approx 12 miles of home.... one north and one south. I went south this time.
What pleasant surprise!

A wonderful, sparkling, tinkling water fountain and garden! The library is a building from the early 1900's done in the Frank Lloyd Wright style. Beautiful.

The top of the fountain is two boys fighting over a duck and the duck is spouting the water
  The fountain is tall, 19 feet and was donated to the community in 1911. Just sitting in the shade and listening to the water was a wonderful, relaxing break in my day.

Original entrance, you can see Frank Lloyd Wright style clearly.

Close up, original windows and lamps.

Side of building, more gorgeous windows.....hmmm, inspiration for a quilt?

Have a great week! See you next week with my first tutorial!

Linking to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced