Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

It was a quiet Easter around here, which was pretty nice. Usually we have a crowd for holidays, but not this time, and that was ok with me.

Since I finished DD#1's quilt, and got it mailed off, I decided to tackle all those pajama pants I cut out a few weeks ago.

Here were the last two pairs I finished. All the fabric was from stash, about 42 yards total. I still have lots of novelty fabrics to use up, but this did put a small dent in it.

Have you ever made simple elastic waist pants, and then you don't know which way is the front after trimming seams. My kids had that problem when they were little, so I started doing this a long time ago.

A small loop of bias tape, for the "Tag goes in the Back" rule. I never try to match the "tag" to the fabric, I want it readily visible. It's a simple solution, but really does make things easier.

On a completely different subject, one of my daughters (DD#3) was diagnosed with Lupus last year. We are doing a Lupus walk next month, and if you are interested, keep reading...

I will be walking to raise funds for the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona which is not associated with any National organization and is entirely responsible to fund all of their many outreach and support programs through individual donations and fundraisers. Their dream is to raise $50,000 to help those people living in Southern Arizona that suffer with this disease every day. I realize these are tough times for many people, but every little bit helps!

I hope that you will consider making a secure online tax deductible donation to help me reach my goal. It is faster and easier than ever to do. Just click on the link below to "sponsor me" and complete the donation process. I really appreciate your help! It is estimated that 1 out of every 185 Americans has a form of Lupus.

Lupus is an acute and chronic (lifelong) autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, creating inflammation and can cause tissue damage to virtually every organ system in the body. In November 2008, a new drug was approved for the treatment of Lupus, for the first time in 50 years. There is hope on the horizon, and with your help we can continue to fund research and see better treatment options and find a cure for this disease.

Making a difference starts with just one step. Thank you for taking this step with me!


If you aren't interested, that's perfectly fine, no guilt trips from me. If you'd like to donate, it would be appreciated, even a couple dollars. If you are in the area, and would like to participate, that would be great too! I'd love to see someone quilty there!


Monday, March 21, 2016


Don't you just love it when something comes out better than you expected? I still consider myself a beginner in FMQ, and when I try something new and it works, I just love it!

I was quilting on a strippy quilt for DD#1, and I needed a design for the solid blue strips. I thought I'd use a stencil and mark it, but none of my stencils were the correct size. I decided to free hand some vines, which I have never done before.

I am really happy with how they came out. I think this is good for a first attempt, and I won't hesitate to try them on another quilt. I'm already thinking of variations I could try.

The design I quilted in the piano keys, I have done before, but last time I stitched it more like pumpkin seeds with a line down the middle. This time I decided to make the lines curvier, and it ended up giving the design a tulip feel, all from a minor variation in how I stitched it.

I didn't want the quilting too dense on this quilt, and I think this was a decent compromise.

Here is the finished quilt. I finished this quilt top a while back, when I was working on several blue, green, and brown quilts. I had made what seemed like miles of piano key border, planning on using it on most of the quilts I was making. As it turned out, I opted for different borders on several of the quilts, so I took the remaining border, and made it into the star of its own quilt.

The blue fabric I used as dividing strips was 60" wide, so I unsewed the piano keys at just under that, and figured out how many strips of border I had, and how many strips of dividers I needed. I had ten strips of border, so I needed 11 dividing strips. I measured the length of blue fabric, divided it by 11, and that became the width of my division strips. I completely annihilated the blue fabric in this quilt, it's all used.

It's not unusual for me to make miles of piano key borders to use up short strips. I never have a problem finding uses for them. I can use them as borders of a scrappy quilt, I can use strips of them to make a backing a little wide or longer. I can use them as a row in a row quilt. If I have just a little bit of a piano key border left, it becomes the starter of another piano key border. If I have a lot of piano key border around, it becomes the star of a quilt, like the one above. If you like scrappy, this could be a way for you to use up some of the short strips you have hanging around.

Now that I have this quilt finished for DD#1, five of my eight deadline quilts for this year are completed. The last three have deadlines of June, August, and October, so I have a bit of breathing room now. Trying to get five quilts all finished in the first quarter of the year was crazy, but I did it!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Quilting Therapy

What is it about finishing a quilt, that makes you feel things will be OK in the end? Sewing and quilting is cheaper than therapy, and does me about as much good, I think.

I finished the Army quilt for DS the Younger today. It is 60 x 84 inches, which is a smaller quilt for me. I used some red, white and blue variegated thread, and just meandered on the quilt. I quilted it on my Bernina 440, which is what I usually use to quilt. I do all my piecing on vintage machines, and one of these days, I'm going to try quilting on a vintage machine, but for now, I quilt on a modern machine, piece on vintage.

I had some digital camo bias tape, and I used that for the binding. I machine sew all my bindings, and a serpentine stitch makes quick work of attaching a binding.

I even managed to get a photo of the completed quilt!

I have another quilt pin-basted and ready to start quilting tomorrow for DD#1. It is similar in size to this one, a bit shorter, but same width. I've chosen the thread for that quilt, and I have a rough plan for the quilting. I'm hoping I can finish it this weekend too, so I can get it in the mail to South Africa next week. After I finish that quilt, I will try to finish a few non-quilting sewing projects, before I start the next deadline quilt.

It's funny, even though most of my sewing and quilting is for other people, I still consider the sewing time "ME" time. I really needed some time with my sewing machine, to recharge my own batteries. It's hard to be there for everyone else when I've been running on empty. I need to get back to making sewing a priority instead of fitting it in the blank spaces. It really is better for MY mental health!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sometimes Life is Just Hard

I know I've not been posting much, I've not really been online much. There is a lot of hard stuff going on right now, and computer time is not high on my priority list.

I am still getting a little sewing done, although not as much as I'd like. I still haven't finished any of the garment sewing I started, which is somewhat ridiculous since several pairs of pajama pants are almost finished.

DS the Younger graduates from Army AIT (Advanced Individual Training) in about three weeks, and I had planned on giving him an Army themed quilt to celebrate finishing his initial training. I knew I'd be in a time crunch, so I planned a simple design, utilizing most of a panel of quotes and patriotic sayings I bought a while back. The panel was a little odd, in that the words were not always in the same sized sections, so a little creativity was needed. I also used some Army specific fabrics, as well as some patriotic fabrics from stash.

Here are some of the blocks laid out on my bed. I've got them sewn together now, and I'll take a better photo after the quilt is finished.

This is one of my favorite quotes from that panel. I think there is too much hate going around right now, and this quote is a good reminder.

The pillow panel is from another panel I've had for a while. Many prayers for my son's protection is going into this quilt.

An example of how I used some of the smaller patriotic sayings.

I alternated Army fabrics surrounded by camo with patriotic blocks. I have some desert camo left, but I used every bit of woodland camo in my stash to get this quilt done. I had woodland camo in two different scales, and it took all of both pieces to make these few blocks. I made that pink camo wedding quilt last year, and used woodland camo in it, and I also used camo in some Christmas gifts, so it is time to look for some more. Camo is something I'd like to keep in stash, since I like to make quilts for veterans, and camo comes in handy sometimes for those.

I just cut the backings for both the Army quilt, and a UFO DD#1 chose for her birthday quilt. I hope to piece both backings today (they each need one seam). If all goes well, I'll have them both basted before the weekend, and I'll start quilting this weekend. I really need to mail off DD#1's quilt in the next two weeks, if there is to be any chance of her getting it in time for her birthday. On the upside, after these two quilts are done, I'll have five of my eight deadline quilts done for the year!