September 2010

Toolbox Thursday

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to be entered in a giveaway of a $50 gift certificate to your favorite online quilt shop!  Leave a comment and get an additional entry!  Winner chosen on October 10th.

There are several internet sites that I visit each month because of the inspiration I find there. One particularly nice site is hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Besides the opportunity to explore the exhibits in the museum itself, there are two quilting areas that I encourage you to visit. The first is the quilt gallery at They have constructed a Quilt of Quilts. You are encouraged to upload photos of your quilt along with a brief story and your quilt then becomes a block in the larger quilt. One quilt that particularly caught my eye is this:

I love this quilt!  It is by Alicia Merrett of London.  There is a nice mix of traditional and modern quilts represented in the gallery, as well as different styles and skill levels.

This is a raw edge applique by Linda of Burke,Virgina. This gallery is constantly expanding so there is always something new to see. Maybe one of your quilts is ready to join?

Another area well worth your visit is their patchwork pattern maker. You can upload any photo and the pattern maker will turn the photo into a quilt of patchwork squares. The quilt is divided into 30 squares wide by 30 squares deep, and shaded areas are constructed out of half-square triangles. If you are a fan of colorwashed quilts this is a terrific resource because it does all of the color layout planning for you…instantly. A nifty tool for your quilting toolbox!

Don’t Forget the Giveaway to Celebrate My New Address!

I am giving away a $50 gift certificate to the winner’s favorite online quilt shop!  Sign up to follow my blog by Sunday, October 10th and you will automatically be entered.  Who wouldn’t love $50 worth of fabulous new fabric to play with?

You can win an extra entry by leaving a comment!

A Great Idea…

This afternoon I worked on my block for Kerry of Tallwoods Village, Austrailia for the round robin bee.  (Love the name of your home town, Terry!) Kerry asked for a log cabin block, foundation pieced on featherweight interfacing. I have foundation pieced on muslin and hated it because of the extra bulk it places in the seams.

There are lots of reasons to love foundation piecing with interfacing.  It is tissue paper thin, easy to see through for fabric placement, is stronger than paper and doesn’t need to be removed.  The rough surface causes the fabric to cling to it while you sew.  These blocks are literally traveling around the world, so it gives this block (with 15 seams) lots of stability until they make their way home to Kerry.  The only down side is you have to draw the pattern on the interfacing.  Kerry included a master drawing of the block so after I traced it onto the foundation, all that was left to do was choose the fabric and sew.

Kerry asked for a very scrappy block made with brightly colored fabrics.  The raw, untrimmed block can remain on the foundation until Kerry trims them into uniform sizes and sews them into her quilt!

Settling Into the New Address

To my wonderful friends:  Thank you so much for following me to my new address.
Wow, moving a blog to a new name and address is a lot of work. Importing the posts wasn’t bad, but moving buttons and links, etc. takes some serious time! But it’s been positive.  I’ve done the equivalent of painting the walls and moving the furniture around.  I still need to design a new banner so plain text will have to do for now.  So, it’s back to work on more “blog improvements”! 

My New Machine

Look what has come to live in my studio!

A 1955 Singer Featherweight!
I have been lurking on Craigslist and Ebay for months watching for one of these machines that was in good shape and reasonably priced.  I found one, bid and won!  Woohoo…..until the machine arrived.  The seller on Ebay said it “sewed beautifully.”  I took it out of its box and threaded it, put in a bobbin and tried to sew…..nothing.  The bobbin make a sickening rubbing sound and I couldn’t bring the thread from the bobbin to the face plate.  Uh-oh. 
I took her down to my local sewing machine shop and here is where I give a shout out to Marty at The Sewing Machine Shop in Walnut Creek, California.  He took the machine apart and completely serviced the machine.  He found a badly compressed mass of thread that had collected behind the bobbin casing that made it impossible for the bobbin to work correctly.  He cleaned her up, adjusted the bobbin, adjusted the tension, checked the belt, installed a new bulb and…..she is as good as new (for some additional $$$).
This little machine just purrs along.  Very quiet and a super straight stitch.  I can see why these machines are so popular.  She is 15 inches long, 9 1/2 inches tall and weighs 11 pounds.  Tiny, but amazing!  She came with 15 different attachments.  I spent all afternoon researching online what these attachments do…because they didn’t come with any instructions.  I have one foot that you can feed a strip of fabric into the foot and it will create a bias tape AND simultaneously sew it onto another fabric.  I need to do some experimenting.
If you have one of these machines and have some of these amazing attachments, please comment here about what you have learned and let’s share with other Featherweight owners.

Bee Blocks for Alex

I had a nice quiet Sunday afternoon to myself to sew.  I just recevied round robin bee blocks from Alex of Canberra, Australia and decided to work on that project because I love the block she chose.  It is a simple paper pieced kaleidoscope block.  It is easy to sew but spectacular when grouped together.  It forms a secondary pattern that looks circular, much like Storm at Sea.  I was having such a good time, I made two of them for her…just couldn’t help myself.  Here’s the first:

and here is the second:
and here are the bee blocks that have been made for her so far:
These blocks still have quite a journey ahead of them and by the time they make their way back to Alex she should have lots of beautiful blocks for her quilt!

A Bee Block for Victoria

In my round robin quilting bee, Victoria from London, England requested this framed block.  She asked for an appliqued center, if we chose to do one for her…

I appliqued a sewing machine and tiny quilt in the center to symbolize the quilting bee that has brought this group together as friends.  Each piece of fabric in the frame is a fabric that I have used in other blocks for this bee, giving Victoria’s quilt a connection to all the other quilts.  Her quilt is growing…and on its way to Southern California for its next stop.

It’s nice to have this block finished because there were more blocks in the mailbox when I got home this afternoon!

Rose of Sharon Blocks!

Sharon Pederson’s Rose of Sharon Block Book has been released by Martingale Press.  Two of my blocks are featured in the book.  This book was the result of a contest sponsored by Electric Quilt last year. 

There are some really amazing blocks in this book and I am so humbled to be among them!  Sharon was sweet enough to send me some autographed book plates for some of my quilter friends…only three and half months until Christmas!

Bee Block for Victoria

Victoria, who lives in London, requested this fun block with a six inch center.  S