Monthly Archives: January 2012

Wrapping Up a Few Things

What did you sew this weekend?   Did you get any of your projects finished?

While I had a few interruptions, like laundry and grocery shopping, I did manage to get some projects done.  I finished sewing the binding on my Challenge Fabric project.  I’ll show you that on Thursday along with the others that members of the quilt guild did when we have our grand revealing.  Some people ended up with some really difficult to put together fabrics.  Everyone picked three sight unseen from a big bag and that’s what we had to use.  We’ve had MONTHS to determine something.  With the help of a Fat Quarters book lent to me by my friend, Candy, I was able to find a project and yesterday I stitched the binding down.  Done!

I was able to finish up the tutorial sample I’m going to show you all on February 1st.  It will be the first day of the month of Love, and I thought I’d give you a little love gift, something you could make for yourself or for a friend.  I think you’d even have time to get it done by Valentine’s Day if you put your mind to it.  Come back Wednesday to see what I’ve got for you.

I started making some more fabric postcards as two lovely ladies asked for a “private showing” last week and bought lots.  It left me rather low for the next craft show coming up Feb. 11th so I decided I had to get to work on that too.  I finished up a bunch today so I think I’ll show you them.  I have quite a few more ideas but time will determine how many more get finished before Feb. 11th.

My Heart is in Your Hands

The ribbon below the hands says “Cherish” but it’s SO small!

Textured Heart

This heart is made of lots of tiny “skrits” of fabric and thread and ribbon, definitely textured.    These are the only Valentine’s cards I made as I sold quite a few last time and Valentine’s Day will be SO close by the time of the sale.

Dancing Star fish

Ooo, a bit blurred.  This fabric is so awesome; some cuts of it feature a long-haired girl strumming a guitar, some big blue fish.  This one features the dancing starfish.  That’s just about the last of that fabric too.

Let Freedom Ring

Well, my hands must be a bit shaky today.  Sorry for the blur.  Don’t try to focus; it won’t work.  These froggies are showing their pride in the USA.

From Sea to Shining Sea

Ugh, oh!  Sorry!

Beribboned Bunny

It was fun to do a little buttonhole stitching and add a ribbon to this calico bunny.

Jumpin' Bunny

There’s no place to get wool felt around here so this is one of a few rare pink wool felt bunnies.

Poly-fil Bunny

I thought I’d try a little polyester fiberfill for this bunny.  Nice and fuzzy feeling.

Same poly-fil bunny, just a different cutesy background.

PInk Calico Bunny with eggs

This little bunny found some eggs.

Pink flamingos anyone?

This sequined pink flamingos led an earlier life as the decoration on a lady’s shirt…not  mine.  I bought the shirt to use the soft green cotton in an upcoming project but couldn’t throw out the flamingos.  Now I know what I save them.

I think I’d rather see sequined flamingos on a postcard than a lady’s shirt.

Did you like my card holder?   That’s Rosie.  She’s been sitting by my computer since a 2002 trip to Prince Edward Island.  I saw her in a gift shop on Peake’s Wharf and couldn’t leave her behind.  She’s made from local (Prince Edward Island) wool, woven and the label on her says “Primrose Teddy Bear”, ‘open edition collectable bear-not suitable for children’.  She’s never been played with by children but our grandson, Jack, has certainly held her and given her a bit of love.  Mostly she just sits by the computer giving me pleasure when I am composing these posts.  Tonight she came in handy as a card holder.  I’ll have to show you her in her entirely so you can see her Rosebud decorations in silk ribbon embroidery.

Isn’t she just adorable?   The silk ribbon embroidery is just so lovely  and dimensional.  It’s a craft I’ve never mastered and I’ve always said it’s because I’m left-handed and the stitches don’t want to lay just right for me.  (I’ve been told they’re fine but they aren’t exactly like they should be, so I don’t try it.)

That’s a wrap for tonight.  I’m going to be zigzagging around all the raw edges on my jacket pieces tomorrow, then make the binding for the whole thing; make a facing for the zipper and THEN put the jacket together.  Now I am quite sure that won’t all be done tomorrow but that’s what left to do of the Quilter’s “Jacket”.  I’ll show you where I’m at tomorrow night or Wednesday, whichever allows me the time.

Enjoy your life.  It’s the only one you’ve got!



Taking the Mystery out of Paper Piecing

Paper Pieced Basket Blocks

I showed you these blocks the other day but I thought some of you might like to see how a “paper-pieced” block goes together.  This particular 7″ block is a design by Carol Doak.  Carol has been designing paper-pieced projects for many years and has a number of books available with designs and instructions.  She has a website store where she sells her products and also posts free paper-piecing designs on a fairly regular basis.   Carol is a New Englander, from New Hampshire as well as the motivating force behind a Yahoo! group I belong to.  It’s a free site and you can join if you like paper-piecing.  Every so often there will be a challenge or a swap with the main rule that you must use a Carol Doak design in the challenge or swap.

This particular basket block swap told us exactly what block to use and also that we had to use black on white or white on black in specific locations as well as white in specific locations.  This assures that wherever your four blocks come from they will “go together” due to the white/black fabrics.

So, here we go.  This really isn’t a tutorial, more just a photo step by step of how my basket block went together.  One must follow the numbers on a piece of paper.

The foundation of the paper pieced basket block

The numbering on the block is done to assure that as each piece of fabric is placed the raw edges will be covered and the design will emerge.

You can see #1 is that on-point diamond in the middle upper quadrant.  It represents the flower in the basket.

My flower fabric

This #1 fabric gets held wrong side of fabric against the back of the paper, covering the area marked with the diamond.  The #2 fabric is held with the right side of fabric against the right side of the diamond so that the raw edge is against the edge of #2 on the paper design.

Fabric #2 held right sides together against Fabric #1

These two pieces of fabric are on the BACK SIDE of the printed design so essentially you are sewing upside down and backward.  You do your stitching along the line joining #1 and #2 on the front printed side of the paper and you stitch right through the paper following the line.  You extend your stitches a few stitches on either side of the line.

Fabric #1 is now joined with Fabric #2 along the joint seam and then pressed open.  These fabric pieces are slightly larger than the actual shape on the paper so to be sure to cover the shape.  Trimming is done as each seam is pressed open so that you have 1/4″ or less of fabric behind the pieces.

Fabric #2 added (white)

I think you can see the white patterned fabric #3  has been added to fabrics #1 and #2 along the joint line on the paper pattern in the same reverse way as the others.  Another raw edge of fabric #1 (and also #2) has been covered.

Adding fabric #4, a leaf

As you can see, we are working around the very first fabric (yellow), enclosing it with other fabrics.  Fabric #4 is one of the leaves.

Fabric #5, another leaf

Fabric #1, yellow flower, is now enclosed on all four sides-no raw edges show anynmore.  The second leaf, Fabric #5 has been added.

Now I’ll confess right here that it isn’t always so easy to place these fabrics.  Working on the reverse side of the fabric you can can confused about the direction the fabric will be facing when pressed flat.  This is like working upside down and wrong side out.  I usually use a piece of fabric a little larger than the actual size needed and trim after I have it in place.  I hold the paper up to an open window or light and I can see, fairly well, through the paper to see that the fabric is going to cover the size of the space needed and usually if I have it positioned right.

Sometimes it doesn’t come out positioned quite right so you take out the seam and place it again.  These are all small pieces so there are usually only a very few stitches to take out.

White background piece #6

Here as I add #6 we are covering a raw edge of the leaf.  It’s almost liking working around the center as we cover each edge and add the adjoining fabric.

Fabric #7 enclosed the final upper edge of the flower/leaf area.  Each piece as it’s added it opened and pressed before adding the next piece.  It’s vital to know that the piece you just stitched down is covering its alloted area.

Ah, the body of the basket

Now we’re talking!  We’re adding the body of the basket, #8, to the flower portion.  This hasn’t been pressed down yet as you can see by the curling edge.

Fabric #9

Fabric #8 was trimmed to fit its space and fabric #9 is added to give shape to the basket edge.

Fabric #10 defines the other side of the basket, on the left.

Fabric #11

Fabric #11 has been added to give the basket a base.  Here it hasn’t been pressed and the trimming doesn’t get done until # 12 is stitched to it.

More fabric to distinguish the base from the background

Fabric #12 is added below the base.  You can see on the right side of the fabric #12 where the excess  base fabric extends down.  Now that #12 has been added, I can flip that white back over and trim the two seams together about a scant 1/4″.

Step #13

Next we’re moving up to the top and adding a basket handle to the piece. Fabric #13 is the right handle.

Another handle

Fabric #14 is the second handle.  See how precisely the points of the leaves are shown, and the points on the edge of the basket.  This isn’t a matter of expertise on the part of the stitcher; it’s the outcome of stitching on the lines designated.  Even a beginner will have those same precise points.

Tiny pieces can make a big difference

Can you find fabric #15?  I gave you a hint.  It’s a tiny piece.  Okay, I’ll tell you.  It’s on the left side at the edge where the basket meets the handle, a tiny triangle.  Sometimes these tiny pieces are what it takes to give an accurate shape to your subject.

Another tiny piece

There is an identical little triangle on the right side of the basket handle, #16.  #16 hasn’t been trimmed yet so it looks larger but it’s not, or it won’t be once we add the borders.

First border section

We’re close to the finish line now.  We’re adding fabric #17, the first border section which was designated to be white on black or black on white fabric. Here I haven’t press it open yet so you can see the paper peeking out.

There it is, #17 pressed open.

I’ll tell you a secret right now.  When I was making basket #3, I was sailing along, feeling confident.  I had made two others, right?  I knew how it went together, right?   Wrong!  I got all the way to the end, to the very last border section when I looked at the front and saw a hole–a place where raw edges were still visible–!!!  I had skipped one number so I had to rip out all the steps between the one I missed and the one I was currently on, the last step.   Then added the missing piece and stitched the others all back together.  Yes, it took more time but it wasn’t the end of the world.  Everything looked precisely as it should at the end of the block and you never would have known if I hadn’t told you!!  We all can make mistakes, and we all can correct them.  We should never let the possibility of an error keep us from trying something.


And so it goes as we finish the block on the other two sides.  Why I didn’t take a shot of these last two steps, I have no idea!  Maybe it was getting late and my brain was getting fuzzy.

Completed block…19 little pieces of fabric to make a 7″ block but it has precise points I wouldn’t get any other way, and it’s so much fun to build the block and see the design emerge.

There are paper piecing designs for beginners and paper piecing designs for advanced.  Pick your poison!


Quilter’s Hoodie No More

Yes, that’s right.  I can’t call my project a Quilter’s Hoodie any more.  I decided not to add a hoodie, but went for a collar instead so I can show off the paper piecing I did across the yoke section.   Yesterday, I was able to finish the quilting on the individual pieces, thanks to the co-operation of Bernie (my Bernina).  I thought if I gave her a nickname, she might cooperate better.  I guess it worked.

I washed the fabric sections at Pat’s while the tractor guys and their wives were having a lunch time cook-out which saved me from an hour at the laundromat.  Most sections crinkled up just the way I wanted.  The back didn’t.  I think it’s because there were bigger spaces between the quilting on the back but that’s fine.  No one can look at the front and the back at the same time, right?

During the night last night, I woke up thinking about my jacket and if it had shrunk too much, too little or just right.  So, at 3 a.m. I was up pinning the pattern pieces to the laundered sections to assure myself it was all right and I could go back to sleep.  Do you ever do things like that?  I knew I would lay there and obsess about it until it was a decent hour to get up, or I could get up, check it out and go back to bed.

I went back to bed at 4 a.m. with the pieces all cut out and ready to stitch.   I’m pleased with it so far.  Quilter’s jacket, not quilter’s hoodie.  My next one will be a hoodie for sure, and yes, even though it requires a great deal of work and time allotment, I will be making more.

That’s it for today, friends.  I’m off to have a nice breakfast with DH and then probably some grocery shopping and back to work on my February swap project.  That’s about the only thing I have left on my Priority List.  My bucket list is in the background just waiting for me to start working on it.  Maybe in March!

Hugs to all.  Marsha








More Shop Hop Photos


I want to make a public thank you tonight to Peggy Gibbs who was kind enough to tell me about the shops we included in our Shop Hop this week.  Peggy lives outside of Pensacola and when I emailed her she was sweet and shared what she knew.  We might never have found out about Martelli’s if it wasn’t Peggy.  Her blog is here.

My Canadian quilting friend, Barb, who is also a great photographer sent along some pictures she took yesterday at the Shop Hop of two places we went.  I forgot all about taking photos at Derrell’s and Fournaris Brothers Restaurant!  Too much excitement I think.  Anyway, Barb saved me with a few good shots of each place and the gals from the guild.

It was pretty amazing.  Everyone showed up early for the Shop Hop.  Here’s we’re just talking about who’s going with whom.  It was great fun to travel for an hour with people you don’t always get a chance to chat with for long.   My traveling companions, Mary, Candy, Ernestine, Connie and Rita were great fun.  We were all packed into Mary’s truck and she was a great driver.  We laughed a lot, and talked the whole time.

This is a shot of Derrell’s.  They had wonderful patterns and notions, Bernina accessories and the most darling samples of children’s clothing that represented many of the patterns they offered for sale.   This is the shop on N Davis Highway in Pensacola where I found the Texture Magic.

The owners of the shop were so kind.  They had coffee ready for us when we got there and it was pouring rain when we arrived.   We found out when we got home that Summerdale where our park is had been under a tornado warning which is a step up from a tornado watch.  It means the chance of a tornado touching down is more likely.   Nothing of the sort happened, though, and we are thankful for that.

Here’s Marcia looking at the lovely Bernina embroidery and sewing machines Derrell’s sells.  Check out that sampler quilt behind here!  They also had a wonderful array of threads here.

I don’t have any photos of The Quilt Station which was our first stop.  It’s a small shop in Pace/Milton, Florida and they have a delightful selection of fabrics.  I think I can safely say 90% of our group went home with something from The Quilting Station.  This is where I got the yellow fabric I showed you.  It didn’t come from Martelli’s.  I bought it here along with the cupcake pot holder pattern.  I know my neighbor Anita bought a pattern to make notion holders that looked like frogs and turtles.  ‘Nita loves turtles.  I found a tiny glass turtle last Spring for her just before we left Alabama.

Now for lunch.

Here’s our waitress and most of the group (except Barb the photographer) waiting for our lunch entrees to arrive.  We were given a separate room for our group which was so greatly appreciated.  Fournaris Brothers Restaurant is a great Greek restaurant.  Everyone was very pleased with their food.  I had spanakopita, a spinach/feta cheese pie between layers of phyllo dough.  We had a family friend whose parents came right from Greece and she made the BEST spanakopita but I must say Fournaris Bros. came in a close second.  It came with a lovely little salad and a tasty piece of garlic bread.

Around me I saw a yummy looking chicken salad, a Greek gyro (pronounced yeer-o), and veal parmesan.  They also looked and tasted great everyone said.  We got the recommendation for this restaurant from the people at Martelli Enterprises the day we went to Pensacola to set up the demo with Martelli’s and to scope out the other shops.

Well, it was Thursday and we were sitting around tables…just not quilting tables!

Betty (right side closest to edge of photos) told our table a funny joke.  I’m not retelling it here, but from my face you can see I was surprised by her joke and laughed a lot.  It was so much fun to sit and chat with everyone.  I can’t wait for the next shop hop!  It will have to be a while though as we have lots of things planned for our meeting days AND I’m going to Florida in a another 10 days for two weeks.


Today’s Doings

Today I went to line dancing then at noon went for Chinese at Jade Palace.  It’s a nice Chinese buffet but today they seemed to be a bit lax at filling the dishes.  There were no wontons in the wonton soup, no macaroons on the dessert plate.  Other than that, the food was hot and tasty as we like it.

I went to the post office to send off my four basket swaps to the coordinator.  They aren’t due to her until mid March but since we are going to Florida for a few weeks, I wanted them mailed and received before I left Alabama.  Tomorrow I’ll use the basket block to show you how a paper-pieced block goes together.

I also got ready to start on free motion quilting the rest of my jacket this afternoon.  I had to take a lot of the stitching out on Wednesday because the tension wasn’t right and a lot of red thread (top thread) was showing through on the beige lining.  I was working to adjust the tension which was giving me trouble when DH came to help.  His big hands hit the presser foot and it went down with a bang, and his hand went down and hit a small metal piece that sticks out from the free motion quilting foot.  It broke right off.  Now I don’t have that machine to finish the free motion quilting on the jacket.  That was my Janome DC1050 I got this past summer.  I’ll have to wait until I get near a Janome dealer again to replace the foot.  Of course I was at one yesterday; little good that does me today!

As you know most likely, it’s not the only machine I have with me but for the past year the Bernina has not been very happy about doing free motion quilting.  It keeps leaving me little rats nests of thread on the underside of the fabric.  I took it to the Bernina service fellow in VT while were were there and he said there was nothing wrong with it.  Gr-r-r-r-!  It’s still doing the same thing but I was able to change the tensions etc. a bit and finally got it to the point where it would stitch well enough to get the jacket front done.  I really want to put the pieces through the washer to get any shrinkage taken care of, then I can cut out the actual pattern pieces and on Tuesday begin putting it all together.

I have two more swap projects to do in the next couple of days, probably tomorrow.  I went to and found all kinds of swaps you can participate in.  I signed up for a postcard swap where all you have to do is send some kind of postcard to an assigned person.  You will get one from someone else.  After much thought about whether to buy a paper postcard or send a fabric postcard, I decided to send one of my fabric postcards.  I have one I think is cute and it hasn’t sold yet so I think it’s been waiting for me to send it to some one.  When I pull it out, I’ll show you a photo.   I’ve been assigned a female in Texas to send mine to.

The second swap is a Valentine Day’s card swap and I must craft a Valentine’s Day card.  Not very hard, right?  I just can’t make up my mind!  Today I thought I’d do one with bees and a heart for Bee my Valentine.  Not sure about that, though.  I have another idea or two also to work through.  I’ll show you when I’m ready.  No swap name until after Feb. 3rd.  I have time to decide.

Projects for tomorrow:

-Finish the heart fabric 2-color placemats I used for demo in the class.  Two of them will go in the Guild’s Valentine’s Day raffle basket.

-Make the collar for the Quilter’s Hoodie Jacket and wash all the pieces.  I got “Color Catcher” to throw in with all those reds!

-Make the Valentine card and address the postcard for Monday’s mail.

-Begin a new selection of fabric postcards for the next Craft Sale, Feb. 11th.  My supply has been severely depleted (yeah!!!)

Let’s see tomorrow what I actually accomplish.  The woodwork in the RV (and there’s lots of it) is calling to me.  It is time for it’s polishing/clean/waxing, whatever you want to call it. I put orange oil on all the woodwork every couple of months to keep it looking good.  After almost ten years, it still looks like new.  I can’t say as much for the carpeting!  I’m pleading for hardwood floors to replace the carpet.

Time to say goodnight, Gracie.  Goodnight, all.  God bless!


Around the Table Thursday

We were sitting around a different table today, a cutting table.  The Shop Hop went off as planned, in spite of the fact that our area was under a tornado watch, and later a tornado warning.   When we left the RV park at 9 a.m. there was no rain, not many clouds and a large group of excited women raring to go.  I’m happy to say only a very few of our quilting quild had to miss this wonderful day.

We went to several smaller quilt shops which I shall cameo another day.  The program that was provided for us at Martelli Enterprises was amazing and I decided it needed its on showcase tonight.

Martelli Enterprises is located in Pensacola, Florida which is about an hour east of us here in Alabama.  The family-owned company is committed to research, design and quality products for quilters, sewists, and crafters.  They’ve been in business for over 20 years and almost all their production is done right at the Pensacola facility.   We met John and his wife, the parents who started the business. John comes up with the designs for their wonderful products, often at the request of a quilter who can’t find what he/she needs.  Valerie, the daughter who is a police woman by career, is very involved in the business and gave us the demonstrations on the amazing rotary cutters, mats, templates, binding machines and more.  John is usually on hand to do the demos but he was taping the lastest HSN program so Valerie stepped in to take over for him.  Valerie’s daughter was at the desk taking care of business.  Her brother was on hand to help with individual demos and assist us as we tried the various products.

Valerie presenting some of the Martelli products.  Note that gorgeous quilt behind her!

John Martelli, patriach of the family and the inventor of all these amazing products.  Apologies to his wife, and company president, Marsha Martelli who was blocked by the head in front of me.

Valerie’s demonstrating the Martelli “Sir Hammer Head” brand No Slip Cutting Ruler.  These truly do not slip–no need to stand on them while cutting to keep them from moving.  LOL

Here Valerie shows us the no-stick surface that is on their rulers, cutting mats and ironing pad. This blue material is available for purchase on its own so you can add it to your cutting mat or make your own ironing pad.  They have a wonderful turntable that is available as a 3 piece set with cutting mat and table top ironing pad.  I bought a 30×36″ piece of the product to make a no slip surface for a section of my island where I do the bulk of my cutting and ironing.  The product allows you to press both sides of a piece of fabric at one time and also absorbs unwanted heat when ironing.

Their cutting mats have numbers on  all four sides of the mat and make cutting with precision very simple.  There’s even square templates on the mats.

Here she is showing us how you cut around a template by just moving the turntable and even when you lift your hands or the cutter, fabric does not move out of place.  Precision cuts.

Here many layers of fabric are being cut at once with the Martelli ergonomic rotary cutter.  It comes as one for left-handed, one for right-handed and works with barely any pressure exerted.  On the training video we were given, David Martelli shows us how he cuts through the metal of a soda can, cardboard and then cuts through many layers of fabric with the blade as sharp as ever.  He said with proper use of the rotary cutter, blades should last for a minimum of one year.   This certainly pays for itself if you don’t have to buy expensive blades every few months.

Quilters, they have designed a wonderful system for attaching bindings.  It can do both sides of the binding at once and allows for mitered corners without removing the system from your machine.  Amazing, but not for those who enter their quilts in competitions.  No machine bindings allowed.   They have a separate tool for making bindings perfect and consistent throughout.  That’s it above, the small black gadget in the lower section of the quilt square.

They also make these wonderful clips called Minute Miters that make perfect mitered corners fast and easy.  How I wish I had lots and lots of money.   There were many devices there I wanted, but these miters were high on the list–and still are.  I may get them next month at the Quilting and Sewing Expo in Lakeland, FLA.

Connie’s trying the no-slip ruler–which I believe she bought.

Bev’s trying the right-hand rotary cutter.

Judi tried both rotary cutters.  She’s right handed but a stroke five years ago left her with a much weakened right arm.  These rotary cutters work with such little pressure by your hand that she was able to cut with her right hand, though she decided to go with the left-handed cutter.  So did I, as I’ve always been left handed.

Here are some shots of the show room.  They have a fair amount of lovely fabrics; right in the left front of the photo is the long arm quilting machine they have produced.

Lots of notions and Janome feet as they are Janome dealers as well….

and lots of eye candy!

Isn’t this cute fabric?  My fabric purchases for the day.  You want to know what else I bought right?

The blue no-slip material, the ergonomic rotary cutter, two fabrics came from Martelli’s.

This cute cupcake oven mitt pattern came from Derrell’s, one of the small quilt shops we visited.

These fantastic pin-point tweezers were a gift from Martelli’s for each of us, along with a $10 gift certificate to use toward our purchases.

Sorry for the glare on the photo above.  I bought Texture Magic at Derrell’s also.  It’s a product that changes your fabric from a flat fabric to a crinkly fabric with just the steam from your iron.  I saw a demo of this on a YouTube video a while ago and have been looking for it since.  I think it will make a wonderful texture for the front of a purse.  When I get around to using it, you’ll see the results.

It was a great day and there are many more photos, thanks to Barb E.  I’ll show you some more as soon as I get those.  It was a great day and I hope everyone in the group had as much fun as I did.  The car/truck ride over and back was great too.  There’s always so much laughter and smiles with this great group of women.  Thanks to all who came and made the day so enjoyable.



WIP Wednesday

It’s Hump Day for those of you in working world, halfway to the weekend.  I do remember those days and am thankful that I can spend my days doing things I really love to do after many years of working.  I loved teaching and I even loved the jobs I held after I left teaching but they all had something it common.  They left me very little time to quilt and craft and do those things I chafed to do.

It’s WIP Wednesday which means I’m supposed to tell you about my Works In Progress.  Well, I can tell you that I got very little done on my quilter’s hoodie yesterday, except to decide I didn’t want a hood on my jacket.  If I put the hood on the jacket, I’m going to be covering up the paper-pieced yoke I love.

I really don’t want to cover it up so I’ll just put a standard collar on it and enjoy the view it will give people behind me.  I’m sure I’ll make another jacket and I’ll put a hood on that one.

Maybe you’re wondering what I’m going to do with those two striped pieces I made into the two hood pieces.  I think they’ll make great placemats!!!   Don’t you agree?

Some of the gals did make progress yesterday.  I had a lot of interruptions so I didn’t get too far in creating the new right front of the jacket.  I did work on it at home last night and it’s done but I haven’t had a chance to take photos so that will have to wait until another time.

Here are some photos of others’ WIPs.

Carol’s back.  She took my braid idea and tripled it, plus she added a star on the back too.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?   Carol says she made jackets professionally for a while.  I’m honored she liked my design ideas enough to take them and run with it.

These are Carol’s two front.  She’s been working on her jacket mostly at home so it was great to see what she’s accomplished.

Here’s a jacket Carol made previously.

Pat joined me in the Rip Out and has begun her sections again.  Fickle females aren’t we!

Nita’s making progress on her fronts.

We had a visitor Tuesday.  Verda came in and showed us her rag projects.  Rags in that she has rag edges not finished edges.  Two small quilts and a bag all done with the raw edge technique.  These were so interesting to examine and got some of us eager to start on some charity quilts for a local boys home.  We thought we’d use this technique.

Jean got her 2-c0lor placemats done from last week’s class.  She decided to make both alike rather than opposite.  Several others were working on their placemats yesterday so we should see some more finished ones soon.

Here’s the other crafty thing I was trying to learn yesterday.
It’s called “nal binding” and is a craft one of the gals, Linda, found in Nova Scotia.  It uses this wooden needle and has some characteristics of crocheting but is done with fabric strips, selvage strips or t-shirt strips.  I need more lessons.  I’m left handed trying to learn from right handed.  I learned to knit from a right-handed friend years ago and I can knit up a storm.  I can crochet–with my right hand.  I think I’ll be able to do this too, but one lesson isn’t going to be enough.  Here’s Linda working away on the samples.

This certainly qualifies for a WIP!

Lots of quilters, lots of WIPs.

We have a big Shop Hop set up for tomorrow.  We’re going on a 100-mile round trip to Pensacola and Pace, Florida.  We will visit anywhere from two to six shops depending on the whims of the people in the different vehicles.  I took several pals a few weeks ago and we have scoped out different shops and  I mapped them out.  We have a demonstration of quilting tools in the afternoon and it should be incredible.  I will be taking lots of photos!  You can look forward to seeing those.  We’ll be going to Martelli Enterprises where they create and manufacture quilting tools.  We’ll even get a tour of the manufacturing end of things.

We have so many opportunities tomorrow and each car will determine which places they want to visit, with everyone meeting up at a Greek restaurant for lunch, then heading to Martelli’s for our scheduled session.  I’ll tell you more about all the places and have good photos, I hope, to share with you.

I have a shopping list, a short list.   Today I had a private showing of my fabric postcards that two ladies requested and they bought a LOT of them.  Now I have to stock up on  more items to plump up my inventory for the next craft fair, Feb. 11th.  They made a big dent in the Valentine cards, Mardi Gras cards and they took all the remaining “fruity girls” cards.  So, my list includes:

-Fruity girls fabric (no longer being produced apparently but I saw some at one of the shops before)

-Minke fabric (I think it will be a nice “touchy/feely” bunny for the Easter cards)

-Afghan needle or Tunisian Crochet hook–either one would make me happy

-fabric you put through the computer and print out colored photos or sayings

Not too many things, really; though I will be looking at the novelty prints as usually I can find one or two that I think will make nice fabric postcards.

Now here’s the TWIST in the Shop Hop plan.  The weather channels are predicting a “slight risk” of heavy thunderstorms with a possibility of tornado watch, warnings or actual tornadoes.   It’s making some of our quilters nervous.   I would like it to be a nice sunny day tomorrow so we can still go on the Shop Hop.  I’m going to be asking the Man up there to help in that area but if it’s just a “Slight risk” some of us may decide to go and try to get back before the stormy weather arrives later in the day.   I’d love for all of us to go so I’m really trying to think positive about it.  I want everyone to do what they feel comfortable doing, though, and that means some may not go.

For those of you who watch the weather and hear them say “Alabama” when they talk about tornadoes,  I’m happy to say I am far enough south in Alabama that they don’t usually come here.  We are about 10 miles from the Gulf Coast but we are between Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida where tornadoes are plentiful.  I’ve been told the fact that we don’t usually get them here has something to do with Mobile Bay and its shape.  Whatever the reason, I’m happy that we haven’t had any.  Let’s not change that tomorrow!

So much more coming in the days ahead:  Shop Hop update and hopefully photos, jacket progress, paper piecing steps, a tutorial I’m working on that should include reverse applique. So much to do, so little time!  I guess you could say I’m living life to the fullest, right?






Short and Sweet

Good morning.  This is just a “short and sweet” post.  I have been taking pictures of the 4 paper-pieced basket blocks I finished last night and I took step-by-step photos of the last one I made so I can show you how it actually goes together….later.

I saw this quote on my WordPress page and thought it was so appropriate to all bloggers:

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”   Anais Nin

I would just change that slightly from a quilting blogger:

My ideas usually come not at my sewing machine but in the midst of living.  I’m often out and about when I see something that I want to share with you.  Sometimes I’m at the sewing machine, but never at a desk when my ideas come.  Life is about the living and our quilting ideas come from that viewpoint as well as our blogs.  We are blessed, as the woman said to me yesterday in the shop, with a wonderful life.


Several things to share today:

Jo-Ann Fabrics now has an App for the Apple and Android products.  It is a free app from the Apple Store online it gives you a Jo-Ann Fabrics locator as well as the opportunity to carry your coupons in your phone or ipad rather than printing them out.  Jo-Ann’s isn’t paying me anything (DARN!) to share this info but I know for those of us who travel and often find ourselves far from a real quilt shop, Jo-Ann’s is the next best thing.

Also, for the readers out there, The Quilt Show which is an Alex Anderson/Ricky Tims venture online, shared a video of Tracy Chevalier on their blog, The Daily Quilt.   It shows Tracy at the Bythe House textile store learning about antique quilts and the quilting process.  Tracy is writing a book about Quaker immigrants to the US and the woman quilts in every spare minute she has.  Tracy described her as “repressed”.  I can’t wait to read this book when it comes out.  I have a fondness for Tracy’s books, especially the Girl with the Pearl Earring.  In GwtPE, she writes from the viewpoint of the young maid that Vermeer, the famous Dutch artist, uses for the subject of that famous painting, Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Just a heads up for those of you familiar with Tracy Chevalier’s books.  Watch for it.

Lastly, Judy Murrah, author and crafter extraordinaire, has a blog.  It’s and she shares a lot of great crafting ideas.  Go there.

I must get dressed and get ready for quilting.  It’s time to put some more pieces together for the jacket front and then this afternoon I’m learning a new sewing/crocheting type technique to make bags, bowls, rugs, etc.  You know you”ll be hearing more about that!

Make the most of your day.  You never know when it will be your last.



Monday Mix

Happy Monday.

I hope you are enjoying today.  I’ve had such a fun day.  It started early with line dancing at 8 a.m.   It was a typical line dancing session, but we danced to a great song (not sure of the name) but it was faster than usual and the steps fit so nicely.  We sure had to move to keep up with the music but it was fun!

Then back in the RV for a few hours and I decided to start work on the four paper-pieced basket blocks I’m doing with the Carol Doak Yahoo Group.  We will each make the same basket with some of the same colors, then send them along to the facilitator who will divvy them up and send them along to the swappers.  I have plenty of time to make them up but decided this morning to see how they went together.  I thought I could get all four done in about an hour which is all the time I had this morning to do them.  NOT!

There are certain requirements for all the blocks to keep them similar and able to mix together with whatever other basket blocks you receive.  One thing is they all have to be made with certain areas white, certain areas green, certain areas must have a black on white or white on black.  I got the first block done and put on the black/white fabric.  I took off the black/white fabric.

Basket #1 less the four outher triangles

The black/white fabric I had was striped and I didn’t like the stripes going one way here and a different way there so I took them off.  I decided to begin on block #2 and got all the way through the first 11 pieces when I realized I had sewn a white piece down and didn’t notice it didn’t fit correctly.  Against the white paper background, it didn’t really show until I looked closely.  Here’s what block #2 looks like now.

Like peeling an onion

I had to take off piece by piece all that I had done back to the third piece placed.  You can see all the stitching lines and all the pieces I took off.  In case this sounds confusing to you, I’ll explain a little bit.  Paper-piecing is done using a piece of paper with the design printed on it, and the design is number in the order you should stitch the fabric pieces down.

The paper "foundation"

It’s also called “foundation piecing” as you stitch right onto the foundation, the numbered pattern.  Paper-piecing is a way to get very small pieces of fabric stitched on accurately.  Otherwise some would be too small to even turn the seam allowance.  Notice #15 and 16.  They are those tiny triangles at the left and right edge where the diamond points are.  Too small to ever turn seam allowances and stitch to another piece but paper-piecing makes it happen perfectly.

Did you also notice there’s no fabric showing on the pattern?  That’s because you work with the fabric behind the paper.  It gets a little tricky now and then placing the fabric pieces where you want them so that once stitched you and flip them and they will cover the assigned area.  If they aren’t, RIP.  It’s almost inevitable that at least one piece will need to be taken off and replaced to get it to cover correctly.

I always tell people you either love paper piecing or you hate paper piecing but you should give it a try as there are some designs you’ll never be able to get otherwise.

Here’s the same block #2 from the other side of the paper.  See what sharp edges you can get (where pink meets green and green meets white).  I’ll keep working on them now and then and will share the progress with you.  I did get to a fabric store this afternoon where I picked up some black on white fabric that will much better for the four corners.

S.E.A. Quilt Shop

Doesn’t look much like a quilt shop, does it!  The first time I followed the signage to this shop, I was sure I had made a wrong turn somewhere.  It’s actually in the lower floor of this home, under that overhang.  Not very attractive, but the shop has some nice fabric in it.  I think the owner is hanging on by a thread and our quilt guild is trying to support her so we won’t lose our only real fabric store, but I don’t know how well it’s working.

Once we left the quilt shop, each of us with a few purchases in hand, we made our way to a few thrift shops.  Two were closed on Mondays so we will just have to take another jaunt out to check them out, and the other two were open.   We went into the small mall where the shop was and saw a sign for a shop called, “Just Stuff”.  Now how could you pass that up?   We went in and found the loveliest little shop with the sweetest, most gentle Southern lady running it.  She was such a welcoming person and her shop was restful and just relaxing to poke around it.  Everything was neat as a pin, and it was set up like a small cottage with each area having a designation as a room by the items found in it.  Here’s something I wanted to buy because I fell in love with it right away.

Remember, however, that I live in an RV.  I couldn’t figure out how I could keep it safe while traveling as it’s not small.  The price was so low ($18.00) and it was sound and just so neat.  Maybe I could gift it to my daughter?

Anyway, we were looking at everything and especially small things.  As you know from a previous reading, I’ve been picking up small items that I think would make a cute pincushion, and I’ve been looking for an antique pincushion.  I think I found one, maybe not a terribly valuable one but old.

Bird on a Branch Pincushion

Actually I found two other items but mentioned to the lady what I was going to do with them and that I have a think these days for pincushions.  She went over to a high shelf and came back with this bird on a branch pincushion.  Isn’t it awesome?   There was no price so I asked her for the price, wishing it could be a price I’d feel I could spend.   She gave it to me.  I mean she wouldn’t give me a price and said she just wants to make people happy so I would have to take it.  I was so amazed at her generosity but she pointed to a picture hanging on the wall and said He brings me happiness and I give it to others.  She was pointing at a picture of Jesus she had above the cash register.

I’m thrilled to have the birdie pincushion; it’s small and unique.  Here’s the two other items I had in my hand at the time she showed me the bird.

High Heel

Isn’t this darling?  It’s not an antique but in the fashion of Victorian pincushions that were often made from ceramic or porcelain shoes, it will be perfect for a pincushion.  And here’s the other one:

Another shoe

The two shoes were $3.00 each.  Sew worth it!!  I bought the polka-dotted shoe and offered the other one to my shopping companion, Anita.  She was only too happy to have a shoe also.

Here’s another item she had in her shop, an old chair with a pieced seat cover.   I thought you quilters would enjoy that.

I also got a pretty blue shirt with some embroider on it that I thought I’d take apart as sections for my next Quilter’s Hoodie which will probably be blue, but when I got home and tried it on, it fits me so I’m going to get some wear out of it in its current form before I change it into something else.

I bought my fabric for the February Swap at the quilt guild.  I can’t tell you what I’m making but the theme is “Conversation Heart” and the participants can make anything they want to as long as it has a heart somewhere on it, and they can make it from anything, not necessary a quilted heart.  That should be fun to see.   The fabric I bought is a gorgeous hand-dyed dusty pink.  You see it in its finished form after the Conversation Heart Swap Feb. 14th.  Nice that our meeting falls on Valentine’s Day, isn’t it.

That does it for my shopping adventure.  It’s sure fun to spend an afternoon with a good friend, just visiting shops and not necessarily spending a fortune.  Of course we were both dragging a bit when we got done because we had done an hour of active cardio workout at water aerobics before we went shopping!

It sure will be nice to fall into bed tonight.  Tomorrow is Quilter’s Hoodie day again so I’ll let you know how much progress I make in that area.

Thank you for visiting.  I love your comments and would love to hear from more of you readers. According to my charts supplied by WordPress, I have about 56 people who have signed up to receive an automatic email whenever I post a new post and I have another 50 or so that check in regularly.   I’d love to hear from some of you.  I know a lot of you are shy, but I do get emails and comments from others who don’t write comments.  I appreciate the time you spend here with me today.  God bless.