The commemorative 36 patch block:


Yesterday was my 36th birthday!

Last weekend, I promised Niels that I would make us a picnic quilt.  The beach blanket is great, but a quilt would be even better!  And all he’s gotten out of my newfound hobby is a Lakers pillow made with a remnant (8 months after buying said remnant) and hemming up of some oversized pillow cases, so its probably time that I made US something.

I was looking around online for inspiration for our picnic quilt, and I came upon Crazy Mom Quilts‘ 36-patch quilt along.  The whole 36 thing seemed like a bit of synergy.  And its colorful, can be done with my ever-growing stash, and I may even make it with 36 blocks, unless I think that it should be bigger!

Yesterday morning I was wide awake early.  I headed downstairs, opened the couple of packages I set aside in hopes that they actually contained birthday presents (they did!) and then decided to head to the sewing machine for a bit before I had to get to work.  I finished up one little project that I’ll blog about once I clean it up…  Then I decided to test out the 36-patch, just to see how it went.  I picked out a couple of fabrics, and after a bit of cutting, ironing, pinning and sewing, voila:

With a birthday hat, of course

I made another block this morning before heading out to my “get to know your sewing machine” class – a month after I bought my new sewing machine.  Today, I actually followed the cutting directions, which made the whole process a lot easier . . .

If you told me last year that I would consider sitting down for an hour at the sewing machine a perfect part of a relaxing birthday, I would have thought you were crazy.  But here I am, really enjoying the process of creating (what I think are) beautiful things and sharing them with friends and family. But indeed, the next project is for me, for my birthday.

Ellie’s quilt DONE! And exploring the Beast.

It’s been a busy week and a half since the Beast – the new sewing machine – came into my life. The first night, I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and try it. And then I realized that I had a lot to learn. I knew it would be fine, but I was a bit discouraged. But I’ve persevered and I’m falling for her. For example, today I replaced a button on my blouse in a matter of seconds, all because of the Beast.  (The button replacement was one of the highlights of my day – just awesome.)  And the best part – I finished Ellie’s quilt!

Gratuitous Snoopy shot

The front:

The back:

The colors of this quilt just make me smile – I’m really happy with how it came out.  I delivered it to 6-week-old Ellie and her parents today, and I’m happy it’s going to such a good home.  Sadly, it was a cloudy So Cal day this morning, so I wasn’t able to get great pictures, but I do love my quilt holder here.

It was such a joy to finish this on the Beast.  I wanted to keep it fairly simple and emphasize the framing within each block.  I didn’t do any quilting at all around the border – I used a decorative stitch to separate the sashing from the border and then went straight to binding.

I love that my machine can do this!

This week, I also went to the LA Modern Quilt Guild meeting – it’s been months since I was able to go.  Niels decided that he wanted to see what we talk about and tagged along – he was kinda impressed with some of what he saw, though I’m not sure he believed me in advance that there would be a show and tell…  He also won one of the giveaways for me, so it was worth it to bring him along :)  Angela Walters from Quilting is My Therapy spoke and showed her amazing quilting and really inspired me to try branching out and think about the design of my quilting, and not just think about covering the space.  I say “inspired” now, but I’m sure there will be a lot of frustration coming.

The LAMQG also announced that they’re running a challenge with Habitat fabrics by Jay McCarroll, and I’m already thinking about how I can expand my skills and produce something great interesting.  I’ll try to post some updates as I move along through it.

Ellie’s quilt was based on the pattern here, but modified.

The Era of the Beast!

Flossy (the sewing machine you’ve seen in other posts) is no longer my sole sewing machine.  She’s a great little trooper, but for a while now I’ve really wanted a machine that was more powerful, had more room to work, and had more appreciation for the import of sewing a straight line.  This weekend, I went to the Long Beach Quilting Show and spend a surprisingly tiring day test driving a bunch of machines, and finally made a decision. She’s home now, and we call her the Beast. She’s huge, and has tons of potential that I’m just starting to explore.

This post is NOT my love letter to Beast. I’ll formally introduce her another day, when I don’t feel so much like her b*tch. Lots to learn.

Between work, an awesome little road trip and the anticipation of buying a new machine (it’s been in the works for a while), I haven’t spent much time sewing in the past month. Beast is getting me back in the saddle and finishing quilting Ellie’s quilt, finally.  In short, I’m back!

This morning, I used Beast to make a quick little project… I have a new car that is practically perfect in every way EXCEPT having a good place to store my key card for work. So I created this little band to hold cards and tickets on my sun visor:


The front, with key card


Back - the ties

I know it would have been better with elastic, but I didn’t have any and I am impatient. So for now, I have ties. I can always make a new one later!

Sunday morning quick project

I’m still working on Ellie’s quilt… Jet lag has been a bitch! I was heading to a baby shower today, and despite the great ideas I’d had over the week that I’d sit down and create a little something, the next thing I knew it was the morning of and I had nothing! When I picked up the gift, I’d picked up some cloth diapers – I was inspired by a variety of the custom burp cloth tutorials out there. Such cute ideas – cutting out words like “burp” and appliqueing onto the diaper. But with one hour and a lack of applique skills, that was not going to happen today.

I figured this was my chance to bring in some Snoopy for the baby. I dug out a couple of Snoopy fabrics and put these together. I threw in the giraffes for good measure. I think I can master these a little more, but I’m pretty happy with the first try.  Maybe I could have centered the pieces a little better or made them a little truer of a square, but when I think about the purpose these are going to serve, I think it’s OK that they’re not perfect.

Singapore hiatus

I’ve been out of town again with work.  It was a busy, exciting and tiring week in Singapore…  I have Baby Ellie’s quilt basted and ready to finish, and am hoping the jet lag calms down enough to get it finished this week!image

While in Singapore, I heard these magic words:  ”there’s a district where they have great fabrics.”  So on my first day off and my final day in the city, I took a walk to Arab Street, which was filled with store after store after store of bolts of fabric.  Much of it was beautiful silks, mixed in with hand painted or hand stamped batiks. Overwhelming, but great.

I took home a few batiks – some that I’m not sure I’m willing to cut into – a handmade table runner, and a quilted tote.  It really took a lot of motivation to not get more, but not paying overweight charges for my luggage helped.

I’m looking forward to cutting in and creating something from this fabric.  I’m thinking that trying to replicate that tote may be a good first start.

Back to the sewing machine!



Ahhh. Finally. I’ve been missing this!

So I finished the pinwheel quilt in Cleveland and left it there for mom.  Just realized now that I didn’t get any pictures of it finished – it was raining too much to take it outside.  But I was so relieved to get it done so I could move onto other projects.

Now I’m home, catching back up on life and work, and it’s on to Ellie’s quilt. I’d started cutting this one before Cleveland… and it’s been sitting until yesterday.

A broken needle and a few choice swear words later, and looks like we’re back in action.

Ellie’s mom and dad are awaiting her arrival soon! They had a preview of this quilt in the scraps I threw into the card for her baby shower.  I’m so excited about Ellie, and I’m also excited that I get to use PINK!!



MacGyver quilting

Yesterday was a glorious rainy afternoon in Cleveland, Ohio – in other words, a perfect day for some sewing! (Though I don’t plan on moving back, the weather here would sure make it easier to sit inside at a sewing machine…) The free motion foot fit on mom’s machine, but the feed dogs don’t go down. Undaunted, I tore off a corner of a sturdy file folder, grabbed some tape, cut out a hole, and created the beautiful modification above…

Surprisingly, I made it work a bit. But not enough. But still, had to share this beautiful creation.

Determined to finish the quilt while here, I figured straight lines were in order.  So I changed to the walking foot…  As I can’t be bothered to draw out straight lines to follow when quilting, I had another dilemma – my quilting guide is in LA, and my mom’s quilting guide (she didn’t even know she had one!) wouldn’t fit.  Here’s what I came up with:

Yes, that's a paper clip.

The piece in front is what it SHOULD look like.  The little flimsy thing to the left of the needle?  My creation.  It worked pretty well, except for when I stretched it out a bit…  Thankfully mom just loves the fact that she’s getting a quilt that she’s blind to it’s faults, uneven lines and all :)

Have walking foot, will travel

It’s been a few crazy weeks here – tons of work and some travel, and not enough time for sewing. I had high hopes that I’d finish the pinwheel quilt for mom prior to going for a visit today… didn’t happen. So then I thought – mom has sewing machine! I’m 90% confident that my machine’s presser feet will fit on her machine, so I’m packing up the operation and moving it to Cleveland for the week! with two more hours finishing the quilting, I’ll move to binding, and I won’t even have to deal with shipping!


All packed!

It’s all packed to go. I really hope that I don’t have to carry it back! Next time you see it, it’ll look a bit more complete.  Oh, and I showed the Machingers package because they rock.  If you’re new to free motion quilting and you don’t have a pair, get some.

Almost there . . .

A for effort?

I decided to try my hand at a little project this weekend – a notebook cover. One of my coworkers has a stash of spiral bound notebooks she uses in the office. For her birthday, I thought I could giver her a cover.

I found this great little tutorial for a felt cover, and thought it could translate well into a quilted cover. I was kinda right. Almost.

Maybe if I didn’t decide to make a contrasting spine and flap covers, it would have come out a little better. The biggest issue was actually finishing it. I wound up hand sewing the binding on the top and bottom – binding that I didn’t even want to have to do!

I think I’ll try another one, but I have some ideas of how to make it a little better . . . But for tomorrow, this is the one she’s getting, but I’ll make it clear that she doesn’t have to use it if she doesn’t want to :)

See the pen holder on the side?


Pinwheels, finally.

Back in November, I was visiting my mom.  I had pretty much completed my first quilt top, and I was trying to decide what the next project would be.  Looking at pictures, we were both struck by jewel tones paired with black, and came across a pindot pinwheel pattern that may work.  It was agreed – this would be a quilt for mom.

Mom's pinwheel top

Between the cutting (hours and hours of cutting) and piecing, I finally finished the quilt top a few months ago. It’s messy.  It doesn’t always match at the seams.  It was a stupid thing to try to tackle for a second attempt at a quilt top.  But it is what it is!  And this week, I will actually finish the quilt!  She’s been very patient….

After getting squirrel’s quilt sent off, I came up with an idea to solve a problem that kept me from finishing mom’s quilt – I didn’t have quite enough backing.  So I created a panel to finish the back and tie in the colors from the front.

The solution!

It’s too nice of a day around here to quilt this today, but it’ll happen this week.