Fall Craftsy Sale


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Check it out and learn something new or review something you already know.  And, as always,

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler

Today we are looking at Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts: The True Story Behind the Quilt, 140 Traditional Blocks by Jennifer Chiaverini. Yep, this is another one that has been around awhile. Here is the Amazon Associate link – please note that it is also available for Kindle.

If you’ve read the Elm Creek Quilts books, you know the  history of this quilt. The Elm Creek Quilter’s recruit people from Sylvia’s life to create 6 X 6″ (finished) blocks for a wedding quilt for Sylvia Compson.  Obviously, that is a fictional quilt. In the introduction to this book, Jennifer Chiaverini (author of the Elm Creek Quilts books) describes how the real quilt came to be. There is at least one Pinterest board with examples of this quilt. A Pinterest search brings up even more examples.

The sections in this book are:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Blocks (diagrams of how to make each of the 140 blocks)
  3. General Instructions (for how to put this quilt together, not for how to make a quilt)
  4. The Gallery
  5. Template and Foundation Patterns
  6. Block Index
  7. About the Author

Since I am not an expert quilter (and I think 6 inch blocks are easier to deal with than 4 inch blocks!), I’m pretty sure that I’m more likely to make one of these than to make a Dear Jane quilt. I also think I like the quilts with these blocks set on point with lots of white sashing. (Yes, maybe I am planning to make one since I’m giving it so much thought. Sigh.)

Anyway, if you are attracted to quilts like the Dear Jane, this is definitely one you should check out.

Quilt on!

Musings on Machines

Every once in a while, I wonder if I might be interested in a new (and probably pricier) sewing machine. This usually happens when I have taken a class where a fancier machine than mine is provided for my use or my current machine is acting crappy. (In the case of the latter reason, I actually did succumb about 3 years ago & bought my current machine.)

The first time I experienced this was when taking a class at Paducah in 2011. The provided machine for that class was a Janome Horizon (6600, I think). There were features on that machine that I found quite intriguing (most notably the stop/start button) and the show special really had me tempted. I did not succumb then, but did use that experience with those features when I needed a new machine six months later.

The most recent experience was at the AQS Grand Rapids show. Over the course of my four days there, I took four classes on three different types of machines. Two were Janomes. One was a Bernina. I don’t remember the model number of the first, a smaller Janome, but I wasn’t really thrilled with it. It allowed me to sew with no warning when I had forgotten to put the presser foot down. My Brother would never let me do that!

The second was another Janome Horizon (7700, maybe?). The show special was amazing and tempting. The machine sewed very nicely. I sewed on this machine for two classes and had no problems except… Brother’s needle threader is so much easier to use! I am so spoiled! If I were a sewing machine manufacturer, I’d pay the money to purchase my needle threaders from Brother. Seriously! And that feature was enough of a deal breaker to bring me back to earth.

Now for the Bernina. I will admit that I have pretty much decided I will never own a Bernina. I kind of feel like they are overpriced or maybe more machine than I will never need or use. However, this picture illustrates a feature that I strongly believe all quilting machines should have – lines on the machine bed to help guide fabric for no mark HST sewing or binding joining. (I came to this belief when I did a tool review here.) I’m not a fast quilter, nor do I aspire to be one, but I’d be a little faster with these on my machine.


A brief note about my love affair with my start/stop button

One thing you need to know about me – I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. When I took my first free motion quilting class, it was on a machine with a start/stop button. I realized quickly that I will always do better at free motion quilting with this button than using my machine foot pedal. I can’t focus on controlling machine speed and my speed, so…  Another plus about my start/stop button, when I had tendinitis in my right ankle I was still able to sew because I had that lovely little button.

And, to wrap this up, I think I’m quite happy with my current machine even though it doesn’t have lines on the machine bed, so I get to save a boatload of money instead of spending it on a new machine.

Quilt on!

A Finished Top

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen this, but I finished this top tonight:

IMG_2299 IMG_2300Not every seam lines up perfectly where the wedges join together, but you have to look pretty closely to find where they don’t. I’m fine with that.

Now I can make the next tree skirt (once I get the backing and batting ready for this one to go to the longarmer). It’s quite different but there is a star involved.

Quilt on!

Sorry No Books on Monday, But…

So, apparently, I have not looked at a single quilt book this week and I really want to get downstairs and sew, so no book review today.

I can, however, show you what I’ve been working on.

First, I was able to complete Block Five of the 2011 Designer Mystery BOM:


I also got quite far sewing together Block Five of the 2012 Designer Mystery BOM. That will certainly be completed by the end of next Saturday’s football game if not sooner. (Football on TV is perfect for hand work because you can always look up to see the plays and replays, but keep stitching most of the time.)

All of my sewing machine time this week was spent on the Christmas Celebration tree skirt. I took a few pictures.


This is what the bottom section of the individual wedges looks like. I’ve already trimmed the bottom point to make the hole for the tree trunk. (The curved piecing of the flying geese was not nearly as bad as I was expecting.

This is the top section of the individual wedges. And, yes, there is more curved piecing when I put the two together.


And here are the two pieces put together to make one wedge. If I were doing it over, I probably would put red instead of gold around the outside, but this does look kind of Art Deco. IMG_2298

Here is what the two wedges I’ve completed look like sitting next to each other. I think this is going to be okay. I hope.

And now I should get downstairs and put the other six together! I want to get this thing off to the longarmer soon.

Quilt on!

#LDSI Results

This weekend being a long weekend with a Monday national holiday here in the US, there was a Twilter Labor Day Sew-In. And this time, I got to participate a bit. I started on Friday and here are the results by day.

Friday afternoon Christmas tree skirt paper piecing:


That was all the sewing that happened on Friday.  Then came Saturday. Football games are perfect for hand piecing because you can listen to everything being said and then look up for the individual plays or replays. So, I worked on the 2011 Designer Mystery BOM Block Five. Here’s one of the sections (I should finish this block tomorrow evening when I drive DH to his rehearsal and wait for him there):


Saturday evening I finished paper piecing these sections of the Christmas tree skirt and started to take out the paper:


Sunday was a pretty busy day so all I accomplished was tearing out the rest of the papers.

Monday I had more time. I had unrealistic visions of quickly putting together all of the paper pieced sections and finishing the Christmas tree skirt. Yeah, right. First I had to put these together (and I confess that I had to unsew at least half of them at least once to get the one seam that had to match up correctly matched):


Then I took a break for dinner and came back (after a quick ride on the stationary cycle) to put the next sections on. Now I have eight of these:


Now that #LDSI is over, this week will be full of the usual plus some hand quilting on the church quilt, hand piecing while waiting for DH, and eventually back to the Christmas tree skirt and some curved piecing as I add the flying geese.

How about you?

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns

I think I will just do a brief post instead of taking Labor Day off. So, here is an oldie (Amazon.com tells me I purchased this in September of 2009), but, to me, and essential book: The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns: 4050 Pieced Blocks for Quilters by Jinny Beyer. And here is the Amazon Associate link:

This book is a valuable resource that I have used many times to learn about specific blocks and their histories and their alternate names. I use the various indexes all the time to learn about the different blocks (although I will admit that I don’t use them quite as much now as I did back when I was working my way through Marsha McCloskey’s Block Party: A Quilter’s Extravaganza of 120 Rotary-Cut Block Patterns. I do love learning about the history of the blocks and their names!

Rather than babble on (or whatever the written equivalent is) about this book, let me tell you what is included by listing the different sections here.

  1. Introduction
  2. Part 1: A Primer on Pieced Blocks
  3. Part 2: Square Blocks
  4. Part 3: Hexagon Blocks
  5. Part 4: Continuous Pattern Blocks
  6. Part 5: One Patch Blocks
  7. Part 6: Miscellaneous Patterns
  8. Bibliography
  9. Appendices (Where you find out lots of historic info!)
  10. Index

Each section of blocks contains many, many different blocks based on their grids.

This book was sort of out of my league pricewise when I originally purchased it, listing at $35 then, but it has gotten even pricier since then. Sorry to recommend such an expensive book – but for me it really was a worthy expenditure.

Quilt on!


Saturday Stuff – Quilt Show Wrap-Up

I will not be posting lots of pictures of quilts from the show. If you want to see some, Teresa of Fabric Therapy has several posts with lovely pictures if you are interested.  She didn’t spend a lot of time on modern quilts, but she did post lots of pictures.

The first thing I would like to say about the AQS Grand Rapids Quilt Show is for all the Twilters (quilters on Twitter) out there: We Michigan & Illinois twilters don’t just meet-up, we hang! Yep, many lovely hours were spent with Carole & Nonnie. Unfortunately, Nonnie had to work so only got to be there for a couple of days. And one of those was Saturday when I had hit my limit. (I think this photo of us was my first selfie ever, but don’t tell anyone! We are in front of Quilted Magnolia’s quilt Corgi Fairy Tale.)


Now, let me tell you a couple of things I learned this time around.

  1. Don’t take four classes that all start at 8:30 AM! First, don’t take four classes. That is kind of tiring to start with. Second, 8:30 is way too early four days in a row! I am no longer used to that early to bed thing!
  2. Quilt shows are more fun with friends!
  3. If you decide to not spend money on fabric because your basement is full of is already full, you really don’t save any money because you feel entitled to shoot your budget on a Laga bag.
  4. Quilt shows are more fun when you are looking at quilts by people you know.
  5. If you ever press seams open, you need The Stick.
  6. If you are going to take a class with Kimberly Einmo, buy the rulers and tools and books from her directly. She gives great deals.
  7. Take a class with Kimberly Einmo.

So here is some of my quilt show swag. (Not pictured: an electric massager – it works basically like a stim machine with different pulse settings.)I was searching for hand quilting needles, so the top three items (I’m not sure why these pictures are rotated incorrectly) are different types of hand quilting needles. Below the rotary cutter is a thimble called a tortoise. I haven’t tried any of these yet. There is my Laga bag also.


This is one end of said Laga bag.IMG_2268And this is the bottom of the Laga bag. I didn’t even notice this until yesterday!

Below is what I bought at my Kimberly Einmo class.


Yes, that is the book that I reviewed Monday. Yes, there are two fat eighths of fabric given us by Kimberly Einmo. And we have Kimberly’s EZ Jelly Roll and EZ Flying Geese rulers. (I may never make flying geese any other way again.) And at the top is The Stick.IMG_2264

Above are the blocks I made in the two Kimberly Einmo class.

Below is my swag from the game of Quilt-O. The pink FQ really is Carole’s swag but she passed it along to me. Also pictured a blingy “May Your Bobbins Always Be Full” iron on, a scissors buddy, a bookmark, a deck of cards & the bag holding a hotfix crystal kit. Some of this stuff may show up in a giveaway sometime soon. You never know.IMG_2257

Below is what came in the bag. This is different from my other hotfix tool so I may try both of them and do a comparative post sometime soon.IMG_2267And that is my quilt show info. Although I may throw other bits and pieces at you in future posts.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Modern Quilts & More

Thanks to the AQS Grand Rapids Quilt Week, I have a brand new book to cover. Well, brand new to me, that is. Today we are looking at Modern Quilts & More by Kimberly Einmo. And, yes, that is an Amazon Affiliate link below.

First, let’s talk about the quilts in this book. Yes, they are all very modern looking. Yes, I marked every one of them. Will I make any just like in the book? Probably not, although Orange Zest, Modern T’s, and Saturated Color Play are tempting. Will I keep this book? Oh, yeah! The inspiration level is very high here. Also, there is a lot of great information here, even if you aren’t making any of the quilts. (I’m so sorry that Amazon doesn’t allow you to look inside this one!)

I purchased this during my first Kimberly Einmo class last week, and fellow Twilter Carole and I looked at it while awaiting the arrival of our dinner. One of the things we liked best about this book was the comments from the quilters of each quilt describing how and why they chose the quilting for the quilt. Also, you get a lot of description from Kimberly, with top tips and other very useful information (like how to add a good hanging sleeve) in addition to the excellently written directions.

Here is how the book is laid out:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Modern Quilts at a Glance
  • Get Ready – Before You Begin!
  • Get Set
  • Sew Modern Quilts (16 of them)
  • Resource Guide
  • About the Author

Some of the resources mentioned in the Resource Guide will be showing up in a future post about my time at the show so stay tuned, and

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Machine Quilting

Today we are looking at an oldie but a goodie: Machine Quilting: A Primer of Techniques by Sue Nickels. Amazon Associate link follows.

Yep, this one has been in my collection for awhile now. I just haven’t used it. I pulled it out to look at it again because I am taking a quickie (half day) class on this subject from Sue Nickels Saturday at the AQS Quilt Week in Grand Rapids. I am planning to start doing some free motion quilting. Really. (Yeah, don’t ask about the appliqué. It’s coming soon. Honest. I just need to finish a bit more stuff first.)

First, this was published in 2003. Now, that doesn’t seem to matter to the techniques, but maybe a little of the written information sounds a bit dated. Or maybe not and it is just me knowing how old the book is.

Book Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Machine Quilting History
  3. Long-Arm Machine Quilting (by Helen Smith Stone)
  4. Section One: Supplies (includes a very helpful description of the different types of machine needles)
  5. Section Two: Techniques (includes many designs to trace and practice, all of which I plan to do)
  6. Section Three: The Actual Quilt (how to choose quilt designs for a quilt, etc.)
  7. Section Four: Projects (four of them – accent on the quilting)
  8. Bibliography
  9. Products
  10. About the Author

Despite the publication date, this book is going to be very helpful to me. And, yes, I plan to use it. And, yes, I recommend it highly.

Quilt on!