Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What are you Working on, Wednesday?

In quilt blog land it's common to post a WWW (What are you Working on, on Wednesday).  Here's mine from today.

I'm working on Album blocks, for a swap (another one????), on the SBS and Other Elm Creek Quilts group.  These blocks aren't easy, and given my eye the past few months, I've put this off until the end.  They are due the middle of Sept. and it's time to do it!

Pictured is my first block finished, and the others there are centers only, ironed to freezer paper for stability, getting signed.  It's easier for me to center the words if the strip is sewn to other parts of the block.  But I don't want to do them after the blocks are all sewn, in case I mess up the signature part.  Yikes!!!

Hopefully, I'll get these done this week.  Or at least on time...................

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Today I made Block 9 of the Skillbuilder Sampler, Double Star.  This is the last of our Flying Geese blocks.  Not sure where we are headed next, but after doing so many, I no longer have to refresh in my mind how to make them, LOL!

This is the first block I've done with no red -- just white, black, and gray -- but I do think they all go together quite nicely.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Look what I woke up to the other day!  DH had been out 'blueberrying'.  These are wild blueberries that grow all over this area.  These are from our property.
Here they are, all cleaned and dried, ready to eat.  Yum!

Wild blueberries are smaller than cultivated ones, so you get lots more nutrients per cup with the wild ones -- more flavor too.

We live in Michigan's Wild Blueberry Capital.  This past weekend was the annual Wild Blueberry Festival, featuring arts and crafts, entertainers, kids games, and of course many yummy wild blueberry treats.  A good time was had by all!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Block 8, is an original block by Leila, aka Sewn, and is called Breaking Out.  This week she taught my favorite way to make flying geese -- the 4 and 1.  In fact, I use this method so much that I have the Lazy Girl Ruler to make them -- the ruler does the math for any finished size.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today I finished 6 pillowcases.  Our oldest son and his family are coming next week, and these will be gifts to use here and then take home with them.   From the left, two versions of Thomas the Train for our 3 and 4 year old grandsons (no explanation needed, LOL), girly dogs for our daughter-in-law (their two dogs will be coming along), barbecue for our son (he'll take over all week, I'm sure), coffee for me (I'll need it to keep up), and for my husband, take time for lake time - relax theme (he does love it on the water).

Some years we've given everyone matching t-shirts, sometimes pajamas, etc.  I think they'll all appreciate the homemade pillowcases this year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


There's nothing like a homemade gift, and personalized pillowcases make quick and easy ones.  On-line you can find many tutorials for making them, and even ways to bring them up a notch with prairie points, pieced quilt block cuffs, etc.

What I'm sharing here is how I make them.  I didn't invent it.  It's a compilation of skills and techniques from many sources.  Mine are made with three seams, and no raw edges anywhere.  All seams are encased, no raw edges, not serged.  These pillowcases are very professional, and much nicer than what you can buy.

First, select three fabrics.  If you are making pillowcases for gifts, think about the personality and interests of the receiver.  Would your guy like a golf theme?  How about a food theme for someone who loves to cook?  Or a music theme for someone who plays in the high school band?  Your creativity is the limit.

You will need a focus fabric, a cuff, and trim.  The lengths of these are flexible.  For a standard size pillowcase, 3/4 yard is plenty.  For larger pillowcases, get more.  For the cuff, I buy 1/3 yard.  The trim will be folded in half and you need 1/2" extra for seam allowance.  1 1/2" is plenty for a thin trim.  Sometimes the print makes me decide to make the trim or cuff larger or smaller by a bit.

For this tutorial I'm working with a coffee theme, which will be nice to wake up to.  My fabric is directional, which complicates, but that's ok.
First, lay your cuff fabric right side up, cut edge on the top, selvages at the sides. Then, lay your focus fabric (the body of the case) right side up, matching the cut edge, selvages at the sides. Don't worry if your sides don't meet up exactly. You can trim them later.

Now fold in half and press your trim strip wrong sides together.  Lay it out on top of the focus fabric, and pin all 4 layers in place.  If your selvage sides aren't lining up, trim them to match the shortest piece.  At least get rid of the selvage of the fabric if you didn't do that when you started.  I always trim those first, because I save them for other projects.

Now roll up your focus fabric, so that your cuff fabric is showing.  Strange, isn't it?

Next, bring that cuff fabric bottom edge up to match your pinned edge.  Pin it in place.  Notice my first pins are top to bottom, but after I make my roll I put the pins bottom to top so the won't be in the way when I stitch.  Here's my roll, ready to stitch.

Sew through all layers with a 1/4" seam -- SEAM 1.  This is going to be a pillowcase???  Yes.  No, it's not a jelly-roll or sausage!

Now the fun part.  Reach your hand into the roll and pull, popping the case right sides out.

Look, no raw edges where the case, cuff, and trim are sewn together!  Give that seam a nice press.

Next fold your pillowcase in half, wrong sides together, right sides out.

Be sure you have the sides and bottoms lined up.  Stitch with a 1/4" seam starting at the cuff.

Stop 1/4" before the bottom edge.

Lift your pressure foot, and pivot your fabric, so that you continue along and stitch the bottom, all in one seam with the side -- SEAM 2 complete.

Clip the bottom corners to reduce bulk.

Now turn the pillowcase wrong side out.  I like to give it a press here, making sure that last seam is opened out.

Now stitch the same seam with a 3/8" seam allowance.  Notice I have removed my quarter inch foot and replaced it with one easy to get a 3/8" seam with.

 Pivot at the bottom, just like before, and stitch the bottom edge.  This is SEAM 3, and you've just made a French Seam!

Here's the beauty of the French Seam -- no raw edges.  Bet it's called something different in France, but when I learned to make this seam, from Mrs. Ott in Home-Ec class, that's what it was and still is called here.  See the beauty of the inside of this pillowcase?

Ta-Da! Here's my pillowcase, all finished.  It took about 15 minutes to make, :)

All folded, and ready to wrap for a coffee lover.

Here are two cases I've made recently.  Notice that the dog fabric was directional too, but in the opposite direction.  I really wanted that paw print to show, so I made the trim larger on that one.  It's all up to you.

Have fun making pillowcases.  Think how quickly you can go through your gift list!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Here's my next block for the We Can Do It, Skill-builder Sampler.  It's called Virginia Star (among other names).  It was a nice chance to show off some of my large print fabric in this colorway.  You can find a link to this project on my sidebar on the left, or on Sewn's blog, in blogs I follow on the right.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Esther Aliu has launched her new Block of the Month, Peace Pathways.  Here's a line drawing of the quilt.

This will take 6 months, and she'll post on the 15th.  I love the theme of this quilt, and the fact that the words can be done so many different ways -- applique, embroider by hand, by machine, etc.

One of the items on my bucket list is to make a red and white quilt.  This just might be the one.  Esther's patterns are always stunning, and she so generously offers them free the first go around.

You can follow along by joining her yahoo group here.

Or by following her blog here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Have you heard of Quilts for Kids, sometimes called Downy Quilts, as Downy fabric softener is a major sponsor?  I've made them in the past and decided to do another this summer.  They send you the fabric, pattern, label, etc.  You add the piecing, batting, and postage to mail the completed quilt back.  The quilt then goes to a seriously ill child.

This is what they sent to me this time.

Everything comes neatly packaged in a baggie that you return and they reuse, to keep costs down.

You get the pattern, directions, fabric and label. You return the pattern and directions too, so that they can be sent on to another quilter later.

This time I'm working with soccer ball fabric. Everything is precut and ready to piece together.

It's easy to sew this up in one session. Or spread it out if you want. I have my top done, and will share it with you when I've finished the quilting and binding.

If you have a little time and talent to share, plus a tiny bit of treasure (just the thread, batting, and postage to mail it back) this is a super project. I think it would be a wonderful idea for grandparents to do with their grandchildren, or for scout troups, etc. It's a very easy pattern and good for beginners.

Click on Quilts for Kids to learn more.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Sew Prim Khris is once again hostessing a F-R-I-E-N-D-S Swap.  You send your partner items starting with the letters in the word friends.  For example, maybe a fat quarter for F, etc.  Items can be made or purchased.  I'm looking forward to joining the fun.  Check it out here.

Friday, August 5, 2011


My rows have completed their rounds and are home to me.  Remember when I sent out the first row -- three dinosaurs -- the tall middle row here -- last spring?  Well they've been busy traveling the country, getting a new row at each of six stops.

In this Row-Robin, seven of us each made our starter row in our own theme.  We included a few fabrics, and sent it on.  Each gal in turn could add fabrics, or use the ones we included as they chose, to design a 6" x 36" row to add to the quilt.

It's all been a secret until the 'owner' gets all her rows back.  As they come home I'll share the rows I made for the others.  We had six weeks for each row, taking this swap into January.  But everyone has been so enthusiastic and busy, that three of us already have our completed swaps.

This dinosaur quilt will be for my DGS, Brendan, for his 5th birthday next year.  He'll enjoy wiggling the teeth (they aren't sewn down, only at the gum line, as they are prairie points) and snapping open the eggs to see what dino is growing inside.  What a fun project!  What great friends!  What a super quilt it will be!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I'm all caught up on the We Can Do It Skill Builder Sampler! Yeah!
This is one of my favs so far, Block 6, Bow Tie. At first I wasn't even sure I liked this block, but then I thought about using just 2 solid fabrics. Voila! I love it.
And here's Block 5, Arizona.  I love a chance to show off that center fabric.

I think Sewn will be posting a new block tomorrow. I'm glad to be on top of this!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


With a couple weeks off from sewing (due to eye), it's amazing how far behind you can get in your goals. I'm doing the Skill Builder Sampler, and so I checked in with them, only to find I'm 4 blocks behind! I did block 3 and 4 today. Still need to get to the next two to be caught up!

Here's Block 3, Churndash.

And this is Block 4, Pinwheels.

You can find a link to this group on my left sidebar -- We Can Do It!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Block Lotto blog is doing African Violets for August.  I love this pattern!  This is my first block.