Category Archives: Work in Progress


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.

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 . . .

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.

This week’s project

Beginning of the cutting

It’d been a little bit of time since I had the sewing machine out. Between prepping for an out of town meeting and being out of town, I was up to almost 2 weeks of no sewing. I was really looking forward to getting back (I have this fear that I’ve forgotten how to free motion quilt, but we’ll get to that one later) and getting something done. Top priority: the quilt for the baby coming in April. I found the fabric a couple of months ago, so once I decided on a pattern, I was ready to go. Not being too satisfied with my improv piecing abilities, I decided on a block-based square based on a quilt I saw on the internet. I did some calculations and started cutting.

The cutting is complete

Sunday morning, I wake up and it’s a little rainy, so I proceed to cut some more and get everything ready. You can see all of my nice little piles, with post it notes and counts, lined up on my ironing board waiting for me. This is definitely one of the bigger lessons I’ve already learned – PLAN out the quilt, cutting and all. If only I were this organized in all aspects of my life!!

Starting to come together

During the evenings this week, I sewed pieces together in bunches. My favorite time (and thread!) saving trick is to chain the various pieces together by not cutting the thread after I complete the stitching of each piece. I just pull a bit of extra thread and put the next piece in… The picture above shows a chain in progress of my 30 blocks. And my trusty little machine. Her name is Flossy.

A couple of nights ago, I actually finished piecing the entire top, so all that’s left now is basting it all together and quilting. I’ve decided to go with a geometric zigzag – I hope I can pull it off! More pics to come . . .


For a person who works with the Internet . . .

This shouldn’t be that hard!  Instead of quilting, catching up on work, doing my taxes, or unpacking from last week’s trip, I just spent who knows how long trying to figure out how to make this page work the way I want it to . . . almost.  I guess it’s a work in progress, just like my quilting!

Speaking of works in progress, here’s my first quilt top.

First quilt top

I made this with those 10 yards for $20 find on the day I decided to start quilting.  It’s a pattern from great little book with great pics and a few beginner patterns, called Quilting Made Simple.  Of course, it’s the most intricate pattern in the book, but I didn’t let it stop me.  As I was piecing the top together, at every step I’d run into the next room and show Niels the strip or block or row I’d just completed …  Again, he’s patient with me!

This is also the quilt that I spent hours pulling stitches out of when I wound up gathering the back together in my first attempt at quilting with my walking foot. . .   Since then, I’ve been avoiding it. Ergh. But I think I’l be more willing to experiment with piecing together something interesting for the back when I return to this piece – some random offsets of black, red and white will really complement the front better than the flat yellow I picked out.