Category Archives: Complete

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!

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?


The SECOND quilt

I’m working on the binding for the brown/yellow/blue quilt (I call it the “squirrel” quilt for reasons that will be apparent very soon!), here’s a look at a quilt I finished last month.


Lots of friends are having babies right now, so I’m using their kids as a chance to practice…


I had a quilting kit from Joann’s that I thought would be perfect for a gender-neutral quilt. Except I found the pattern quite boring – a border of squares around a big solid center. I also found that I didn’t like some of the fabrics in the quilt, as least not for use here. Finding the BUYING of fabric to be most favorite part of quilting, I’d already started building a stash, so the entire top was fully a stash-busting effort. I decided to go with a simple strip piecing, and cut a bunch of 3″ strips that I pieced together, and I had the top basically finished in 2 days. I found this happy background fabric, which carried over the bubble/dot theme that was most prominent on the front.

Happy dots

Then I broke out the free motion foot. I did some practicing, found a groove, and quilted nearly the entire top in one night in this strange variation of a stipple. I’d like to get better (MUCH better) at it, but I was really happy with the first attempt. Within 2 nights, the quilt was quilted, and then it was just a matter of binding. I believe I’m the world’s SLOWEST binder (hand sewing takes me FOREVER), but I’m not yet confident enough that I can pull off a machine-binding technique.

I had hoped to finish the quilt in time for the baby shower, but I was about 10 inches short of finishing the binding when the day came around. So I wrapped the quilt up with a note that I was going to take it home and finish it!! The parents are super efficient, so I actually had the THANK YOU note for the quilt before I had it in the mail to them! (In my defense, the TY note arrived 2 days after the shower. The quilt – washed and ready – went out on the 3rd day).

Here’s the finished product:

Snoopy tested and approved


A completed quilt!

My favorite model

After completing a couple of quilt tops and getting the basics of piecing down (pictures of those to come – they are still works in progress) I decided it was time to make a gift.  It also gave me my first chance to make a quilt with SNOOPY.  My cousin – with whom I share a love of Snoopy – was expecting her second child.  Benjamin has since joined the world, but at the time, we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl, so I tried to keep the colors neutral.  I think I learned a LOT about color design ideas from seeing the finished product . . .

I did some searching online for modern baby quilts, and decided I really liked this framed block look.  I did some calculations, came up with my cuts, and proceeded to my trusty cutting mat.  After getting the blocks together, I had my first challenge piecing it together.  My design wall is actually my design floor.  My biggest critic (and fan!), Niels, kept suggesting ways to make some order and symmetry out of the top.  All I knew was that I wanted it random.  We compromised on having each of the corner squares framed in the same blue.  So then I started putting it together.

Snoopy approves

Here it is in process.  My ironing board is behind my sewing chair.  On the other side of the ironing board is our guard dog, a five foot Snoopy.  He seems to be happy with my progress.  And yes, Niels is quite patient.  Not only does he not object to the five foot stuffed animal in our dining room . . .  he’s been fairly relaxed about the whole “our dining room is now a sewing room” thing.

Once I finished the quilt top, I stopped.  My one previous attempt at using my walking foot on something bigger than a placemat ended with about an hour of stitch pulling after the fabric gathered together.  I was scared.  I signed up for a free motion quilting class (more on that later) and tried to gather the courage to finish the quilt.  Benjamin was born the weekend of the free motion quilting class, so the time pressure to complete it before he was born – gone.  Phew.

When I got home from the class, I practiced free motion quilting.  And practiced.  But I was still gun shy.  So I broke the walking foot back out, used a lot of pins for the basting, and remembered by previous error of not starting in the center.  I used a Sulky Blendable in a green-blue-yellow for the top (I’ve also given up on the monofilament thread that breaks in my machine) and went for it.  Relying on my trusty quilting guide, I wound up with this grid pattern, leaving the center blocks untouched.  I love the way it looks on the back.  Onto my first binding exercise, I found the fabric I had the most of from the top, and when at it, throwing in a little bit of brown for some interest.  Though I’d read about the hand sewing to finish the binding, I hadn’t realized what a big job it was!  Hours and hours later (and appreciating the wonders of the thimble), I finally finished.  I was so excited when I saw how FINISHED the binding looked – I didn’t know I could make something that looked so orderly and neat!

I crossed my fingers, threw it into the washing machine, and hoped it would stay intact.  It did!  Even Niels was impressed with how it looked when it came together.  I was so proud!  I proceeded to my first photo shoot in the front yard.  I couldn’t keep Snoopy off it.  I sense you’ll see him in more shoots.  I do have to figure out how to take some good pics of my work. . .   So the quilt was sent to its new home, and I gained so much confidence.

The back

The back - a good view of the grid

Benjamin's front

The finished front - Snoopy and all