Selvage Quilt

My first free-motion quilting project on my new machine is my selvage quilt. I made the top a few months ago and I wasn't sure what I was going to use for the back. I recently went to the fabric store and picked out some fabric that I was sure would be perfect (without taking the quilt top with me) and of course when I got home, it was a terrible match.

Just as I folded up the fabric and placed it on my shelf, I noticed a stack of new fabric I forgot about. I went to a clearance sale last week and bought some fabrics for my stash. Some were so deeply discounted that I bought enough to make quilt backs. Lo and behold. the piece on the bottom of that stack looked like a perfect match!

I pulled out the fabric and laid it on the quilt top and I was right this time. It was just what I was looking for. So after pinning the layers together, I quickly got started on my first FMQ project on my new machine. I did have to read the instructions on how to wind a bobbin first. I discovered a really cool feature; since I was using a different color thread on the bobbin, I could leave the thread loaded on the machine and wind the bobbins without changing the thread out. What a wonderful feature!

Sweetwater fabric binding
Once I got started, it only took me just a little over an hour to finish quilting the piece. Then I chose some leftover Sweetwater fabric from my stash for the binding and completed the project.

I tried to photograph the quilt outdoors but it was too sunny to get a nice shot. However, I did get a great shot of the fall colors on the tree in front of our house.


The Elna 680

I have had my Husqvarna Rose sewing and embroidery machine since 1997. That is a long time. As my machine started to age which I only noticed each time I had to bring it in for repair, I started to look at other machines. That is an overwhelming thing. There are so many machines that offer so many different features that I realized I needed to pay attention to the things I like about my machines as well as the things I didn't like. It's been two years since I started that process. I also started a wish list of the things I would like my next machine to have. The funny thing is my wish list wasn't all that long. I wanted a bigger throat space and the knee lifter. That's it.

My Rose is an embroidery machine. It has the hoops and the software for making various embroidery designs. I used it twice. Yes, twice in 18 years. That is not a good return on the investment. I hope my husband doesn't read this; he bought me the machine and it was not cheap. I did use the many embroidery stitches on the machine when the kids were growing up and I made their clothes and the girl's dolls' clothes. But after I quit garment sewing there was no need for all that.

Lately my Rose requires more intervention. In order to make it work smoothly, I have to let the machine warm up. If I don't, the thread sensor beeps constantly driving me crazy. I could take it in for repair again but it's starting to get costly. It is time to get a new machine.

Introducing the Elna 680. It is a machine designed for quilting. It has a larger throat space and the knee lifter for the presser foot. If you ask me it still has too many stitches but that's not the end of the world. The machine was reasonably priced, unlike my Rose so it won't take me long to get the return on my investment.

I can't wait to get started on my next free motion quilting project to try it out.


Quilts for Kids - Comic Book Quilt

Quilts for KidsI had a piece of comic book fabric from the Quilts for Kids donated fabric stash. It wasn't big enough to make a large quilt out of so I had to do some creative sewing to use it in a quilt. I decided to try a shadow box quilt and just make bigger sashing around the blocks in order to make the quilt a decent size.

There are plenty of free shadow box tutorials online so I just plucked one from the internet and made as many blocks as I could. I could only get 12 ten-inch pieces from the fabric. There were two smaller strips left over so I cut as many squares out of it as I could until there was nothing left.

Because this fabric was not directional, I lost track of which end was up. So I made a really huge mistake. Half the blocks are right-side up and the other half are up-side down. The 'shadows' should all be on the same sides! Unfortunately, I never noticed...not even when I was free-motion quilting it. It came to my attention when I took the photos. So it was way too late to make any correction. Oh well.
Quilts for Kids


What's on the design board?

Tipsy Tumbler QuiltThe other day I was perusing the Missouri Star Quilt Company's website. The ladies at my QfK meetings rave about their site and have used many of their free quilt tutorials to make donated quilts. I instantly wanted to make at least 5 quilts from the free patterns I saw.

The thing about my donated quilts is that sometimes I have a piece of fabric without a pattern. The size of the piece will dictate the quilt pattern. That was the case with the Superman fabric piece. I really wanted to showcase the scenery in the fabric and still do something creative.  Enter the Tipsy Tumbler free tutorial!

I cut the larger piece into sections that I will border with some narrow sashing in gray. Then I fussy cut the tumbler blocks out of the narrow fabric piece I had left. I sewed them into a red block that goes well with the large piece of focus fabric. I want to use the tipsy tumbler blocks as a border around the larger pieces. I have to make a few more tumbler blocks before I can lay it out but the process is going rather quickly so it won't take me long to get this quilt top done.


My Little Pony Masks

I hadn't planned any Halloween projects this year. And then I came across some really cute masks on Pinterest. They were adorable. I knew my granddaughter would love them. So there was no way I was going to skip Halloween projects after all.

The beauty of this project is that there are plenty of free patterns online. Although some of the cuter ones were for sale, I could still take the free ones and alter them so that they would be cuter too! I downloaded two versions of the masks. Coincidentally, Jo-Ann Fabrics had felt on sale; 3 for 99 cents - what a bargain! Just what I needed to make masks.

I printed the downloaded templates and cut them out. I wanted some better stitching on the masks so I had to figure out a way to make them thicker. I ended up creating a bigger base piece to sew the hair and horn on. After I finished the first mask I decided to make another. On this one I tried to "free-hand" stitch the eyelashes. That turned out to be a bad idea. Oh well...good enough for a one-time use.
My Little Pony Mask
Pinkie Pie Mask

Quilts for Kids - Toy Story Quilt

Dottie Quilt - Quilts for KidsI used the Dottie pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew to make this quilt. The only thing I did differently is that I have one less row than what the pattern called for. I was working with donated fabric and I wasn't certain how many blocks I would get. I ran out of the orange-striped fabric after the 36th block which meant I was going to have 6 rows of 6 blocks instead of 7 rows. So in a way, it worked out pretty good.

I used the rest of the Toy Story fabric on the back to tie together the forest green backing with the colors in the focus fabric.

The quilt was free-motion quilted. I really like this technique because it looks good and goes very quickly. It does use a lot of thread though so I have to remember to wind plenty of bobbins before I start. This was a fun pattern and I am certain I will use it again.
Quilts for Kids

Quilts for Kids


Weighted Pin Cushion and Thread Catcher

I wanted to make a thread catcher for my travel machine. I decided to use the instructions from Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial over on her blog, OhFrannson. The thread catcher also has a weighted pin cushion to hold it in place.

I used some cute fat quarters I picked up at my local quilt shop, Elmwood Fabric Gallery and I keep a ziploc bag full of scented rice in my sewing room for just such projects. I couldn't wait to get started.

The project took me less than two hours to complete. It probably would have been even quicker if it weren't for the hand-sewing parts. I always seem to be a bit putzy when it comes to hand-sewing. I like how I can detach the basket part from the pin cushion for easy storage in my Tutto bag. And I like the little pockets to hold my scissors. Here is the link to the tutorial I used.


Meet Ruxin

This is our new kitty, Ruxin. We rescued him from the shelter just today. So far he seems to be adjusting very well to his new home. He is four years old, which apparently makes him less desirable as an adoptee. Personally, I prefer them past the kitten stage so he's perfectly fine for me. I am so glad he picked me out to be part of his life today.

He doesn't know it yet, but he will be spending a lot of time in this room. 


Quilted Baskets

I received a request to make some quilted baskets out of really fun fabric. It has film rolls all over it. Some of us see this as nostalgic however it isn't... yet. In fact, I think the photos taken with film are so much better than the digital ones we take now. Although I am sure they would be better if I weren't printing them out on my crappy little color printer. But I digress...

The fabric is so bright and cheery that I decided to quilt it with some nice yellow rayon specialty thread. They are lined in simple black fabric and look like little soldiers all in rows. I did my best to cut as many of these baskets out and I got to 11 before I ran out of fabric. All that was left was one small 2" by 10" strip once I was done. I think they are very cute.


Quilts for Kids - Patchwork Quilts Completed

Daisy QuiltI've been practicing some free-motion quilting lately. Since I have some quilt tops done for a charity group, I thought I would take the time to get even more practice in by quilting these finished quilt tops using the free-motion technique.

Once I finished the first quilt, I was addicted. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I could get the entire quilt done. So I free-motion quilted the second quilt as well.

I think I will be doing a lot more of this technique. I know I need more practice but what better way to get more practice than by quilting more projects!
Capset Quilt

My Ironing Station

The end of summer is a perfect time to get painting projects. It's when the weather is perfect for the paint to dry. So it is time to get some projects done!

I've had an old entertainment center from the 80's stored away for a very long time. It held a large-screen television which meant it was a bulky piece of furniture with a fat opening for those big, heavy televisions that were so popular back in the day. That entertainment center is made from oak and the craftmanship is beautiful. It is a quality piece which is why we could not part with it. Unfortunately, we could not use it anymore either. Those flat-panel tvs we have today just don't fit.

We were going to turn the piece into a wine rack. My husband would custom-fit some bottle racks where the tv was and we would use the shelves for storing wine glasses. So I put the piece in the kitchen until I could decide what color to paint it and I absolutely hated it there. So it was on to plan ironing station for my sewing studio.

Ironing StationI measured the space available in my sewing area where I thought it should go and it was a perfect fit. And as for color, that was easy - I have leftover paint from the shelves I painted so I used that. I then had my husband cut a piece of wood a half-inch smaller than the top of the unit and covered it with layers of batting and insul-bright. I topped it off with a white duck cloth cover and there you have it - an ironing station.

Even though painting is cutting into my sewing time, I am having tons of fun re-purposing our old furniture. I even did some stenciling on the inside for a little charm. Then I added a curtain rod and made a curtain with some fabric I bought at Ikea and changed the door and drawer hardware to something a little more modern. I absolutely love it.
Ironing Station


Batik Wall Hanging

Connie, the owner of Coins & Quilts put together a wall hanging kit for her shop. The kit uses a pattern called Autumn Leaves by Thimble 'N Thread and is made up of batik fabrics. I made a sample wall hanging from the kit for her to hang at the shop.
Thimble N Thread Pattern
I used Madiera thread to do some stitching around the appliqued leaves and just a little straight-line quilting around the blocks, like the pattern designer suggested. I was pleasantly surprised how the sample turned out, especially since I'm not usually a fan of batiks.