Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The second Skillbuilder block involves a lot of skills. Sewn, aka, Leila, showed a really detailed, excellent, tutorial about lining up your seams for accurate piecing, etc. I am pretty competent with those skills, but she also included a lesson on value.

It's hard for me to not just go with gut instinct. I place colors how I like them. But in this block the goal was to use only darks and lights, no medium.

As you can see, this block is actually four 9-patches sewn together. When I sew 9-patches, I usually highlight the X formed or the cross, depending on how you use value. But Sewn challenged us to have the block in the middle of the 9-patch look like it is surrounded by a square. This was soooo against my natural bent.

Using only three colors (my choice) and two values (the goal), the hard part for me was to not have those outer rings look muddy -- blurred together -- especially when the outer square is light.

But I did succeed, in the end, I think. I knew there'd be lots to learn here, for newbies or experienced quilters. But it can be hard to break old habits, and see things differently!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Today I finished up 18 Stamp Baskets for a Friendship Group swap. 16 are shown here, and I made one of each color for myself that aren't shown.

Here's a close-up of one. I love to sew the rick-rack on by hand, just catching each outer curve with a blind stitch. Stays nice and flat that way, even when laundered. Plus that's the way Mrs. Ott taught us in home-ec back in high school, so that's how I do it, LOL!

I still need to make the fabric labels and baste them on. They aren't due until the middle of October, but I'm glad to check them off my list, because there's so much sewing I want to accomplish this summer, including two other swap which will take longer to do, both due in Sept.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This is the gift that I sent to Val in France. Although Val is French, she used to live in the USA, so I wasn't surprised when she joined the swap.

I enjoyed making this apron with its clean lines. It's so much more modern-looking to me than the gathered aprons of the past.

The apron is completely lined. It's from the pattern, Great American Aprons, that includes two other versions too. Of course I used USA fabrics.

This picture shows the pocket detail.

Here's the complete gift, including socks, pinwheels, recipe cards, buttons, and napkins with the apron.

I enjoyed selecting the USA 'things' to include, and in making the apron I got to use a Clover bias tape maker for the first time. This whole swap was very fun -- both the making/giving and the receiving.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Here are my 16 Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks all complete for the swap.

And here are my 14 Ohio Stars. There's two fewer swappers in that group.

Whew. All done 10 days early, LOL!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


This is my first block, on Sewn's Skill Builder Sampler free on-line course. I'm pretty experienced with this type block, so I chose to make a harder version of this block than the one she posted. My strips are one-inch finished size. This is a ginormous 12" block. Well ginormous to me after working on tiny things for so long.

There's a link to this project on my sidebar -- Yes We Can!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Yesterday my 4th of July Secret Sister Swap gift arrived. In this swap, we created one sewn item and whatever else would fit in a small priority mail box. Mary made this lovely wall hanging for me. Those tiny flag stripes (maybe 1/4") are pieced. What super work. She also included the flag panel fabric, the flag tile, and a post card of Shipshewana (one of my favorite places) 2011 events. She purchased the added items there during her recent visit to Shipshe. The wall hanging will be going up on the wall today. She even included a hanger!

The gift I sent is in the mail, and I'll post about it once it's received.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


As a swap hostess, sometimes you receive little gifts tucked in with the blocks. Or not, it's all good. Hostess gifts are not expected nor required ever. I generally include a FQ, a spool of thread, pack of needles, etc., as a hostess gift.

I was blown away at the beauty of the hostess gift I received from Karen T. in the Black/White/Touch of Red Swap. She sent me this lovely bookmark. It is forged at a local (to her) shop. Amazing! Love it! Thanks again Karen, if you are reading, LOL!

PS: GFG count, 10 finished, 6 to go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


My garden is growing. Seven down, nine to go.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I'm working on my 'other' Black/White/Red swap blocks. You may remember my little red bird in the center of my Ohio Star blocks. I finished those a couple months ago, I think. Somehow, my Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks just got pushed out of my mind. They are due the end of this month. Yikes! But I'm the swap hostess, so no mail time needed, LOL. Good thing I'm fascinated by the Casey Anthony trial. It gives me plenty of tv time, ergo hand-sewing time.

Some gals have hand sewing lap pillows. I love using this June Tailer Quilter's Cut 'n Press. Holds everything up, I can use it as a pin cushion, I can lay pieces and completed blocks out flat, etc. When done stitching, I just move the whole thing off my lap and onto a table.

There are many ways to make hexagons, including paper templates, and Inklingo. This go around I'm using Simple Shapes, teflon reusable templates. They work very well!

Here's a close up of one finished block. My fabrics will vary through the 16 blocks I need.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


If you've been following my blog very long, you know that last year my Dear Jane Secret Sister, Marianne K., sent me a DJ quilt block every month as part of my gift. Yesterday, while unpacking some sewing things from Florida, I came upon them. They were just too special to leave as a BOB (bag of blocks) so I pulled fabric for sashing and setting squares, and got busy. The sashing is 1/2" finished size. The blocks finish at 4.5". I put the top together yesterday.

This morning I pulled potential backing fabric from stash and also a spool of perle cotton. I've been itching to try large stitch hand quilting with the perle cotton. This may just be the project.

This will be a lovely table topper or wall hanging. Either way it will be a lovely memento of the 2010 Dear Jane Secret Sister Swap, and of Marianne.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


This beautiful star arrived from Germany this week. I love how Annette sewed a smaller block within the block. She also sent a lovely hand-written letter about herself. This is certainly a fun way to get to know other quilters around the globe. Mine will go out to her on Monday.