March 2010

What’s on the Design Wall?

The second block from the Moose on the Porch quilt-along.  I understand why these pre-cut fabrics are so popular.  It took less than 15 minutes to put this block together using the 2 1/2 inch pre-cut strips.  Time to think about some patterns made with these.

It is a good thing this project didn’t take too long.  The sun is shining, it is warm outside and Miss Cleo is not being at all subtle about what she wants to do.


This month’s challenge from Electric Quilt is to design a quilt featuring circles.  I have designed several, but I like these two the best, so I think I will send them in.  I haven’t participated in one of their challenges yet, so this should be fun.

Favorite Applique Tools

Yesterday, when I was working on the applique on my sample quilt for my new pattern I found myself stopping to consider the little workhorses on my sewing table.  They have made my handwork easier over the years and I feel they deserve a shoutout.

First are my Little House applique pins.  I have had this tiny tin of pins for almost 20 years and they are still as straight and sharp as they were when they were new.  There is a trend now to use applique glue to affix applique in place before stitching.  The glue is useful for some projects, but these little pins with their very small glass heads are easy to place, hold the applique very securely, and I very rarely have a problem with my thread getting caught on them.  I am a big fan of these wonderful little pins.

Next are my Roxanne needles (particularly the #11 sharps).  These small, incredibly sharp needles (with impossibly small eyes) glide through layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter.  They are a little pricey, but stay sharp forever and are well worth the investment.

My applique scissors and my scissors-minder.  The little scissors-minder was given to me as a gift by a dear friend who is also a quilter.  She has a carved wooden face, a pretty cotton dress and is filled with lavendar.  She waits patiently on my sewing table and holds my needle and thread, as well as keeping those pesky scissors in sight.
This is a new product.  Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  It is a scented, clear spray starch.  This one is rose scented.  I use it to shape my applique pieces before I apply them.  It is a great starch.  It doesn’t gunk up my iron and it makes my workroom smell like the rose garden.  I am not sure my husband would appreciate his shirts being starched with this, but it is wonderful nonetheless.
Last, but not least, this pin cushion.  I have several pin cushions, each holding a different kind of pin, but this one always makes me smile.  It was given to me as a gift by my daughter.  We were in the Shanghai airport on our way home from a two-week performance tour in China with the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus.  She knew it would be the perfect little accessory for my sewing room, and she was right.

Some Favorite Applique Tools

Yesterday I was working on the applique on my sample quilt for my new pattern and found myself stopping to appreciate the little workhorses that I have come to depend upon for my applique. 

What’s on the design wall today?

Konda Luckau of Moose on the Porch Quilts has organized a sew-along.  The project is a sampler quilt made out of a jelly roll.  Not the pastry.  A jelly roll is a collection of fabric strips 2 1/2 inches wide by 36 inches long.  The strips are then rolled up in a circle and tied with a ribbon which makes them look like a jelly roll – hence the name.  I happen to have a jelly roll that has been sitting in a drawer for a few months.  It is from the fabric line called Objects of Desire (shoes).  I bought it to make something for my oldest daughter who loves shoes.  I haven’t been able to decide what to make out of it, so this is a perfect project.  12 designers have each selected one block to put in the quilt.  This is the first block.  You can see the participants work on Flickr at