Labor Day Sew-In Update

I sort of started my Labor Day Sew-In on Thursday night by hand piecing while watching the Michigan – Utah football game. Football is so great for hand piecing because you can look up for the plays and replays, but you can sew while everyone is just talking. During the football game, I got 8 of these done for the the 2011 Designer Mystery BOM:


Friday afternoon was our church hand quilting meeting. It was just Amy and me for that, but I got the crosshatching in one pineapple completed.


Saturday I was starting to get sick (thanks to my very generous DH), but I did get downstairs to do a little more hand quilting. I finished the green parts of the leaves and the outline of the pineapple, although I took this picture before I quite finished the last green line.  (I also pressed Scrap in a Box and some borders to add but took no pictures.)


Sunday I had absolutely no energy. Didn’t go to church. Didn’t read. Didn’t sew. Binge watched Criminal Minds and took a nap. Blew my nose a lot.

Yesterday, I did some of the feathers around the pineapple.


Then I did some more hand piecing for the 2011 Designer Mystery Block.

Four of these:


Four of these:


And four of these:


Yep, not much more to do to finish this block! But I did run out of steam there, so either I’ll do it during Saturday’s football game or I’ll do it sooner. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – That Perfect Stitch

Books on Monday is back! Sorry for the two week hiatus. I just haven’t been buying books, so I guess I haven’t been very motivated to write book reviews.

This week’s review is for the hand quilter in me. It’s That Perfect Stitch: The Secrets of Fine Hand Quilting by Dierdra A. McElroy.

This book covers EVERYTHING! In detail. I have not yet finished reading it, but that is because I’m trying things out as I go along. Right now I’m at the needles section. I am learning SOOOOOOO MUCH!

This is the second edition of the book. It was updated in 2011, so most of the information is fairly up to date.

These are the chapters in this book:

  • Dedication, Acknowledgements, Preface & Introduction
  • Fabric
  • Batting
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Thimbles
  • Frames and Hoops
  • Markers
  • Other Helpful Aids
  • The Quilting Stitch
  • Quilting Techniques
  • Quilting Designs
  • Taking Care of Handmade Quilts
  • Questions and Answers, The Lesson Plan, Resources, Quilting Designs

I have sort of grouped together the introductory sections and the last sections in order to save some time.

As I mentioned before, this is a very thorough book. If you have ever wanted to learn hand quilting or improve your hand quilting, I highly recommend this book. Highly. Go for it!

Quilt on!

Hoop vs. Frame

I usually quilt in one of two large quilting frames – the church frame which was constructed many years ago from saw horses and 2 x 2s and my Grace Z44 which is one of those no baste frames. (After all, we all know I hate to baste. Well, if you didn’t, you do now.) I’ve only quilted in my hoop one other time, and that was a smaller quilt than the wedding quilt that is currently in the hoop.

My hoop is on a stand, because I’m a klutz and can’t hold a hoop and quilt simultaneously. Just can’t.



Now, the church quilt frame lets us sit all around it, on all four sides, to be able to quilt in the direction that is most comfortable for us. (For me that is from right to left or toward myself, in case you were wondering.) My Grace Z44 only lets you sit on one side, so sometimes I have to sit at an angle in order to quilt in one of the directions that I find most comfortable. My rolling swivel office chair is great for this.

But using a hoop is a little bit different. I can rotate the hoop (although it is sometime tricky with the big quilt on it). I move the hoop and the chair doesn’t need to move. That’s something new and different for my hand quilting. Also new is the fact that I have to move the quilt in the hoop because, of course, it is smaller than a frame. This makes me feel like I’m making faster progress than I really am. Which is kind of fun.

And those are some of the differences between frame and hoop. And gratuitous quilt pictures.

Quilt on!

Wedding Quilt Update

Monday I got the call I’d been waiting for – I could pick up the wedding quilt! Yay!

I have two queen-sized frames in the basement, I mean quilt studio, but the wedding quilt was not destined for either of those. My no-baste frame is occupied by the Fat Quarter Shop 2009 Designer Mystery BOM. The other quilt frame is the church frame and is holding the church quilt so…


The wedding quilt is in my large hoop on a stand in the living room. This way I can have the TV on as I quilt, which I’ve done for the last two evenings.


I completed the stitching in the ditch on the star the first evening (plus a small spiral section. Then I moved on to the nearby spirals.


This is the section I will start tomorrow. Lots more spirals!


Do you know what all this quilt hanging over the side and dragging on the floor means? Yep, I have a lot of quilt in my lap as I quilt so I can put my left hand under the quilt while I’m quilting. And, yes, the last couple of days have been around 90 degrees outside. Luckily I have air conditioning. And, oh, yes, the batting is wool. Yep, it’s warm. And I like the way it puffs up! (This is the first time I’ve used wool batting. It’s a bit expensive but I do like the way it needles and looks once I have done some stitching.)

I don’t know how often I’ll be updating you on the progress now. It will pretty much all look the same and for now is all stitch in the ditch. Once I get past that part, I may post again to show you what else I’m doing with it.

And, on the wedding note, I just heard the first mix of the wedding song. It’s a good one.

Quilt on!

Easy Street

I guess I’m going to be attempting to have to catch up to Easy Street. This week is crunch time on the church quilt – it needs to be completed by next Sunday – or at least only need the binding by then. I prefer completed, including washing, so we can show it in church next Sunday.

Here is how far I’ve gotten on Easy Street: I’ve chosen the fabrics. Sort of.

The fabric choices that are not batiks

Non Batik Choices

I may have to supplement with some bright blue batiks but I think I’m good here. Also, I think my grays will be Fairy Frost, my favorite. Yes, I’m not showing much imagination as far as colors since these are basically the colors Bonnie Hunter is using, but they are some of my favorites so….

But the cutting and sewing part will have to wait for a week or so. I think I’m probably in trouble starting off behind here, but I have no choice. My quilting time today was spent hand quilting the church quilt to get as much done as possible and cutting the binding strips for that quilt. I’ll sew them together later so they are ready when we finally get the quilting done. I will be ecstatic when this quilt is finished.

As for you, quilt on!


Ridiculous Fabric Purchases

Okay, I know that ridiculous is in the eye of the beholder (or spouse of the purchaser), but I do seem to be a bit out of hand recently. I blame it all on the Quilter’s Newsletter Christmas issue! Huh?

As I looked through the Christmas issue, I saw a quilt I wanted to make. It was made with panels of Stonehenge’s Christmas fabric and the pattern said that there was a kit available at the Fat Quarter Shop. By the time I looked, it was gone. (They did have some of the coordinating fabric, which I did order.)

Now, I don’t do much Christmas decorating, but I REALLY liked this quilt – despite the fact that it was made of panels. So, of course, suddenly finding at least the panels became a quest. I found them on eBay and ordered the six I would need for the quilt. I also found more of the coordinating fabric, some gorgeous batiks, and some really pretty peacock fabric in the same shop – needed to save on shipping, right?

The bottom fabric in this picture is the eBay fabric. The top are the two that I purchased from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Then I noticed that Hancock’s of Paducah was having a sale on wide (108 and 120) fabric for backing. I really prefer using the wide for hand quilting, a fact I’ve been remembering as I work on hand quilting my 2009 Designer Mystery BOM, so…

Then to make matters worse, the Fat Quarter Shop had a half off sale on Kate Spain’s Serenade line and I’m expecting that to arrive on Tuesday. I seriously have to stop shopping on line! Or at all!!!!!
So here is a little preview of what I’ve been working on in my basement:

I am probably rethinking the half inch crosshatching, but I’m committed now!


So I let nine days go by without posting! Even after promising myself that I would get more regular here. Sigh.

This week the church quilt got its borders, got marked and got layered. Today or tomorrow it will make its way onto the frame and I’ll take a picture of it to post here. I don’t hate it as much as I did when I was trying to put it together. (Putting together blocks made by a bunch of different people with different ideas of a quarter inch seam is very tedious – sometimes involving lots of unsewing to make them fit.) However, we are discussing maybe doing a wholecloth quilt for next year. That way we could just order one and layer it and put it on the frame in January and work on it all year. Right now it sounds really good to me. But we will see.

As soon as that is on the frame, I will finish marking the 2009 Designer Mystery BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop so I can get it on my frame. Here’s a reminder of what that looks like:

I have it all marked except that I need to finish marking the crosshatching in the border. I am looking forward to getting it on the frame so I can do some hand quilting for myself – because this quilt is for me!

I am getting ready to go to the AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids in about 10 days! Yay. If you are going to be there and want to meet up, let me know. I’d love to meet some of you.

Okay, I will now get back to my regularly scheduled Saturday – making a PowerPoint to use for the song lyrics in church tomorrow!

Quilt on!

Pieced Backs

I have yet to make a pieced back, other than sewing a couple of seams to make the back large enough. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that more and more extra wide fabrics are appearing on the market so that I don’t have to sew backings together.

Is this because I am burned out from piecing the tops? Do I hate the way pieced backs look? Am I lazy? The answer to these is no. (Okay, maybe the lazy thing is a yes.)

The truth is: As a (primarily) hand quilter, I like to have as few seams to quilt through as possible. It is just so much easier if there are no seams on the back to deal with. That’s it.

Having said that, the quilt that I am now putting on the quilting frame (my own, not the church’s) has a back that is constructed of two pieces of fabric. I will survive, I think!

Quilt on

Quick Question

Am I very terrible if I take today to get the next hand quilting project of my own (FQS 2009 Designer Mystery BOM) pressed, layered and on the frame instead of working on the church top? (Look at me avoiding the church top!) I really would like to have something of my own available so I can do sporadic hand quilting.

And guess what else! I’m missing paper piecing! I never expected to like it, but…


So this is just a brief post to catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately.

Mostly at home I’ve been working on finishing the quilting on this:

I am actually on the last border row so it looks more like I will be done with the hand quilting by tomorrow! Yay!

I have also done my very first paper piecing:

I still have a long way to go, but it is a start!

At work, I have been pretty busy, but I did manage to complete 48 of these:

Now I need to trim them up and attach them to the 12 blocks of the American Beauty BOM.
So far, you may be wondering what the title of this post means. Well, now you get to find out!
The other day I was thinking about the three quilts that have taken up most of my time this year: Janni’s Woven Star (for which the pattern was named Woven Star), the church quilt (for which the pattern is named Woven Links), and the quilt being paper pieced for my niece’s wedding (for which the pattern is named Woven Double Wedding Ring). Anyone else see a trend here? It makes me wonder if there is something I am supposed to be learning from all this. Or is it just a weird coincidence. After all, I didn’t chose the pattern for any of these by myself. 
What do you think?